Wednesday Weigh In- Week 18 & Birthday Talk

As I entered my 4th month post-op on November 8, 2014,  I realized with the exception of a few updates on my Wednesday Weigh In page, I had not updated the blog in quite a while. There were many reasons for the absence, one being life continued. I won’t say it began, I will just say after the surgery it was just to be continued. With work, exercise and finding the right balance between active social life and active social media, life sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete every task. I do however keep up with others journeys as much as I can.

I had an amazing few months. I celebrated a birthday on Monday and turning 40 never felt so good. I completed a few 4ortyby4orty goals, and I’m preparing for a huge transition in my life, which may possibly consist of me making a move. I have my health. I feel good, and I’m looking forward to the next chapters of my life.

I am forever surprised by the sizes I drift in and out of rather quickly. Even when the scale doesn’t budge, the inches seem to drip away like water. My sleeves get looser, the belt goes down another loop, the thigh area fits loser, feet get smaller, and breast disappear. It’s all so fascinating.

For my birthday I was able to attend a dinner and was thankful I was able to share the day with close friends and family. One of my goals was once I lost 40 pounds I would purchase a LBD. Well, I actually purchased three. I decided in the end to wear the dress below because it was fitting like a bodycon dress.

  • Vince Camuto dress: I also choose it because it had super stretch. The dress is a size small! I KNOW! I couldn’t believe it either.
  • Nine West shoes: I went from a size 9 to a size 8 1/2 and now a size 8 in shoes.
  • H&M: Blazer and it’s a size….. 12. I know, crazy.

Stats:  Stay motivated and be inspired!

  • BMI 44.9=> 34.2
  • Weight 230.0=> 175.0 lbs
  • % Weight Loss=> 23.9%
  • Total Weight loss => 55.0 lbs
  • 40 lbs to go until goal weight.</

Oh So Close…. 2 Months & Couldn’t Be Happier.

I started this post yesterday, however due to life I wasn’t able to finish it, until now. 🙂

It has been 2 months since I had VSG surgery on July 8th, 2014, and I’m not sure what I expected as far as my weight loss was concerned. I only really had one small goal, which was to lose at least 40 lbs before my 40th birthday this November (hence the name 4ortyby4orty). To my surprise when I did my weigh-in for this week, I found I am so close to my goal that I can almost taste it.

I was trying on a pair of camo jeans, just to see if I would get into them and decided to take a pic. When I looked at the photo I had taken a few days before my surgery, I was pleasantly surprised. The first photo doesn’t show my weight nearly as much as it was, because I was wearing Spanx at 23o lbs. (my stomach area was much larger, and thighs for days. The second photo I’m not wearing anything underneath. I regret not taking more body shot pictures before my surgery.

Because I only did the liquid diet for 2 days before surgery, I didn’t have a pre surgery weight loss, in fact I actually gained 3 lbs from my original weight by the time I had surgery. My total weight loss is all post surgery weight.

38.6lb lost. 19.3 lbs lost per month if I divide it by 2, but there were stalls here, and there and a lot of waiting, hoping, and watching.

 

Happy morning!
Didn’t quite make it to 190 lbs by weigh-in, but I’m sure it will happen in the next few days. 

                        2 month stats

2 month weigh in VSG surgery

Congrats to everyone on their losses. Almost there! To everyone on this journey, it’s worth it!

Outside The Lines: Week 7 VSG- Post Op

 

I can remember coloring in my Donny and Marie coloring book, and every pair of pants Donnie wore was a mixture of blue hues. His shirts were orange and yellow, and his shoes were purple of course.  Oh you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t damn near Picasso with it. Until my sister looking over my shoulder said “noooo, you have to stay in the lines” I like many children didn’t know this was forbidden . Who say’s I thought?  But it was unspoken rule, stay in the lines, stay in your lane, stay comfortably put in your nice little confined box as an adult.

Many times the lines and boxes which confine us are manifested by ourselves. Fear is one of the biggest reasons we hold ourselves back from living our truest self.  Before having weight loss surgery I made every excuse imaginable on why I couldn’t go to the gym.

  • Too fat.
  • People will stare.
  • They are all skinny.
  • Too tired,
  • Not ready.
  • Too early.
  • Too late.
  • Too crowded.
  • I can’t do it.
  • Ah ha, no baby sitter.

For me the list went on, and on. Now I don’t have the luxury of lying to myself anymore. Growing up, I was active. I played softball in college, tennis, handball, and basket ball during the summer. Somehow  for me movement came to a halt as going to work, and home was exercise enough for me. With this VSG weight loss surgery comes the commitment to movement. Sure you will still lose weight if you do nothing at all, because you are consuming a small amount of food, but with movement you burn more fat, calories, and help to tone muscles, and skin.

I finally decided to join a gym and plan to dedicate three days per week to cardio and weight training to start. At this time I do a  Cardio Sculpt class several times per week and Tai- Chi on Saturdays along with Kick boxing and alternating between shooting baskets with my son, and playing handball, or tennis. As Fall/Winter approaches, I will definitely enjoy the indoor activities. I know in the weight loss community a lot of people do the Couch to 5K, however I want to make that my 6 month goal.

Now that I’m going to start going to the gym on a regular basis I want to stay committed to a plan, so each week I hope to add to my gym cardio workout by alternating days with weight training concentrating on abdominal work, legs and arms.  I may change my cardio sculpt class for some other movement class periodically, since there is so much to choose from. So, here is my workout plan and I’m starting very simple and hoping by writing it down, I will hold myself accountable and continue to get moving. Continue reading

I Am Her: Week 7 Post-Op VSG

Transformation

If I didn’t understand the process of true transformation, I completely  get it now. After weight loss surgery life truly begins and there is not enough time in a day to fit all the joy in.  There is this shedding of the proverbial exoskeleton, which allows the truest self to emerge, and you move accordingly. I laugh harder, and louder. My smile is bigger, and wider. I walk and sing to myself and could care less who hears the melody. It’s in the sway of my hips and the purse of my lips that I feel free. When my thighs rub together, I know in a few more months it will be a thing of the past as nothing temporary is supposed to last. I don’t stress the small stuff, I don’t sweat the large stuff. I live in the moment and just be.

Advancement

This surgery tool forces us to be more active, and I enjoy it, and look forward to it.  Monday through Saturday I do group workout classes and the instructors are a bunch of super amazing women who inspire me. The women in the class are supportive, nonjudgmental, and we support each other in the most beautiful way. I love how although we are all from different walks of life there is something I learn from them, and they from me. What a great feeling to know a kind word, information, or gesture can make someone else move forward in some way shape, or form.

Progress

The scale is moving slowly but surely. It soared up, it came back down, it was stable and now it’s moving down in the right direction once again. Whoo-hoo. This time I did nothing to force myself out of the stall, I kinda just let it be.  As of today 33.5lbs  pounds lost in 7 weeks is more than I could have ever imagined. I lost inches, a bra size, clothing size, and I fit clothing which once lined the back of my closet that I never thought I would fit in again.

Nourishment

Eating has been going well. I find that I am more thirsty than ever.

  • I drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and love the taste of non flavored ice cold water.
  • I still watch my carb intake, because as I said before paying attention to my carb intake was one of the prime reasons I found myself out of the first dreaded stall.
  • I stay away from processed added sugars, and only use stevia for a sweetener, if that.
  • I still use protein powder every morning 2 scoops plus soy milk, which gives me 59 grams of protein right off the back. It takes me about 2 hours to consume the whole thing.
  • I don’t always take my supplements, so I’m working on it, but I get 75% of the vitamins from my shakes and foods, but I will continue to be more consistent with taking them.

Realization

It’s not to say that I didn’t feel empowered before surgery, but now there is a new way of thinking and seeing things. As I approach 40 I find the things I once concerned myself with no longer matter. I forgive, forget, let go,  and  move on without batting one eye. Life is too short, and my present time is truly a gift. I continue to pray for health, wisdom, and discernment. I find I am always blessed with the most positive, beautiful people I have ever came in contact with.  I am beyond thankful.

Hope all is well with everyone on this journey.

In Onederland. 1st Goal Reached, It’s The Little Things.

 

I was beyond happy to see the scale began to move again after a two-week stall just two weeks after my VSG surgery. Implementing certain changes, and sticking to it really helped to place my body in fat burning mode again. Once the numbers began to drop they continued daily at a steady pace. If I didn’t really grasp the concept of this surgery as being a tool, I totally get it now. There is no way I would be able to eat whatever I want to eat with the thought of it being a smaller portion so, no harm, no foul. The little choices we make food wise in a day, will surely add up.  There is a simple equation to weight loss and had I known it before surgery, who knows where I be right now.  I am beyond grateful for this journey and learning as I go. At my one month post-op appointment  everyone was surprised by the loss, I don’t see it visually myself, because my weight is carried in my lower body, but my clothing fit differently  and that makes all the difference.

Yesterday was especially exciting because I reached my first personal goal with a weight of 199.7. I had a loss of 30.3 lbs in 31 days and a weekly loss of 6.43 lbs. As the weight loss community says “Onederland” never felt so good.
My next goal is 185 lbs, which will be around 15 lbs for the month of August. Who knows If I will get there as the weight loss usually slows the second month, but as long as I follow the dietary guidelines given to me, continue the protein shakes as directed until they tell me to stop, stay hydrated and continue moving, I’m sure I will get close.

 

I cheated, I claim it, I move on. Part II

Ohhhh and did I mention I cheated? Oh yeah big time and it wasn’t ice cream, cake, or even cookies. I cheated with my arch nemesis the wonderful and beautiful potato chip. Oh I licked it, let it melt in my mouth, then masticated it to death before swallowing. ( and I  had the audacity to wonder about others) Oh yeah ketosis definitely stopped then, not to mention my addiction to sugar-free Ricola throat lozenge. ( I started after the  scale stopped moving) The scale has not budged since the 18th and I checked it daily.  I acknowledge it, I publicly place it in the ether so I do not make the same mistake again. I forgive myself, now it’s time to move on. I did not go through this VSG surgery for nothing. Is she tripping even though she lost 22 lbs so far? Yup, because If I don’t act now, It may take longer to get back on track. Sure I know my body may be in a period of adjusting, but I also know my body and changes are needed. Here’s what I’m doing differently.
Cut out high carb and high calorie foods.

  • Cocoa powder
  • puree baby food (fruit)
  • apple sauce
  • synthetic sugars, no more crystal light, vitamin water, popsicle, jello and puddings temporarily. My body doesn’t understand the difference and doesn’t process it well. Between the stomach pains, cramping and bloating my little sleeve asked politely then yelled for me to stop feeding it the nonsense. I have switched to just stevia, which is a herb and doesn’t give me any problems. I use very little of it. If that doesn’t work, I will use nothing. With the artificial sweeteners I think my body still produces insulin.
  • No more soups, too much sodium, even low sodium for me causes me to retain water and the carbs are too high.
  • No mayo
  • Anything else with hidden sugar
  • skim milk in protein shakes, soy, almond, or water.

Other things I changed

  • Limit carbs to below 130 grams if that much. (according to a published scholarly article) I’m not getting close to that now I do under 3o if that. No, or low carbs, no, or less glucose to burn, no glucose body has no choice but to burn fat instead. It’s genius when you think about it.
  • Increased water to no less than 64 oz. The body responds to  shocks, do something different, something it doesn’t expect and it will respond accordingly, heres 64 oz of water, or more, now do as you will.
  • Increased protein to 100 grams from shakes and additional from protein rich meals, three times per day.
  • Increased walking. Oh my little walks around the park was nothing, I don’t stop now until the pedometer reads, 10,000 steps. No more waiting for the magic to begin.
  • Switched my protein shake to include no synthetic sugars. Synthetic sugars for some still mimic real sugar in the body, for some it really can’t tell the difference. I like the Isopure, because one scoop gives 26 gm of protein and amino acids and it’s 100% Whey isolate, so the body absorbed it better than any other form. Three times a day in 4 oz’s of liquid
  • Only low carb, non starchy veggies at this stage string beans, cauliflower, if I eat that my focus is on protein.
  • elimination is soooooo beyond important. I help it along each evening with an herbal tea, and coffee gets the party going i the morning.
  • Scheduled meals 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Time will change slightly when I get back to work in August.
  • No eating, or drinking after 7:00 pm if it’s not in by 7 it won’t be eaten.
  • Bed by 8 and up by 4 start water consumption, coffee and protein, and so on. and so on.

I have no idea if any of this will work, but it’s all worth a try. I started on Monday so by my 1 month surgiversary August 8th I will know for sure.

Oh and I know where the potato chip binge came from, so I made an appointment with the therapist who did my evaluation, and I told him to remove all the pillows from the sofa except one so I can get comfortable and deal with my relationship issue. He laughed, but I’m so serious. Oh yeah, I can either be cute and think I can handle it myself, or I can be grown and talk it over with a professional and clear the clutter. I don’t want the next time to be some other food.

Thanks for reading

Peace, love and light.

 

Horse Pucky! At Least That’s What I Thought.

The never-ending two week stall? My scale hasn’t moved since I started eating puree. Not up, not down, nothing, zippo, nada zilch. I changed the batteries, told my son to stand on it first, and put a weight on it  just to see how accurate it was. Then I thought  I’m not about to stress over it, but it’s hard not to sweat it.

I started to see the glass half full again when I thought about it for a moment.

For me as soon as food touched my mouth, no matter how little, weight loss ended for me, point, blank, period. This is why I was able to lose 40 lbs just doing the Master Cleanse diet over the years, which brought me eventually to my starting weight to begin with. Once I did it for 7 days, then 15 and another time 30 full days. Drinking my calories has never been a big thing to me, I could do it in my sleep.  I lose the most weight, when I don’t eat at all. I shake my head as I write that, but it’s true.

So as it stands, I truly doubt knowing my body as I do that the scale will move any further unless I jiggle this jelly in the gym, track, handball, or basketball court number one. Also after reading many published articles in the “Bariatric Times” I found I needed to change a few things.

  • I needed to decrease my carbs,
  • Remove synthetic sugars
  • Move more.
  • Increase water during a stall for effective weight loss in this phase.

So I cut out a few things I was doing. I have no idea if it will work or not, but anything is worth a try.

 

Peace, love, and light.

What Would I Share Post Op? Part II

Edited.

This post was actually a part of the post before, but I broke it in two, since it was way too long.

I was asked several questions about my experience with the surgery by individuals in my life who are now considering it. I waited to share I had the surgery, because I didn’t want to deal with the judgements, or discouragements. It was my decision,  and mine alone. I didn’t want the overweight people in my life thinking I did it all on my own, as the pounds start to melt away, so I decided to share with those who asked, listened, and wanted more information. I don’t notice a change in weight, but others seem to notice right away and they ask what I’m doing differently. I decided to answer the questions in one big ole swoop.

*This is my experience, it may not be typical as you will read.

  • The surgery can be painful, slightly painful, or not painful at all for  some patients. Everybody has a different tolerance for  pain. For many it won’t hurt, while for others the intensity varies. I thought I knew pain Lol. I gave birth naturally, with nothing for pain and thought I was cute. I have also had dental work performed with no local anesthetic  (fillings mainly, I’m not crazy) but “for me”  the pain after surgery was unbearable at times.
  • Lidocaine is used to numb the area of the incisions, the area where the muscle  which is cut was not anesthetized.  In a way I’m glad it wasn’t  if it was numb I would have moved around thinking I could so anything like lifting, pulling stretching and working out etc before the muscle healed. This way it forced me to acknowledge it, and be careful, so as not to create an incisional hernia or something.  Also the larger the patient sometimes there is more pain, maybe more visceral fat, muscle, larger stomach etc. If pain management is on point from the begining , they may not feel as much pain.
  • I didn’t need a drain thankfully, and everything was administered through the IV.
  •  Not every surgeon uses the same technique, or the same amount of incisions. Some use 5, or 6 incisions or more, and they are situated in different areas depending on the size of the stomach I gather. I have two incisions below and three above. The incisions are closed internally and externally I had no stitches, or tape just the dermabond glue.
  •  My BMI was over 43 to start, and I am a pear shape, which means I carry the majority of my weight in my stomach, hips, thighs and buttocks. There was a lot of visceral fat, and muscle to go through. All of the patients on my floor after the surgery all complained of the same pain at varying levels of intensity and we all had different surgeons. Some described it as a pinch, throbbing, sharp, like they had done several crunches, and for me it just felt really sore and swollen. During our first week appointment all but two us still felt pain, while the others admitted they were totally pain free.  When your core muscle is cut, and sewn it effects breathing deeply, coughing, laughing, bending, and everything else. I was told drinking the protein would help to heal the muscle. We helped each other through it with laughs, and walking as we held our sides. Once home I used a heating pad and binder.
  • Nausea: I stress the pain felt was not from my sleeve, but from the muscle. The nausea was not from my sleeve, but from the anesthesia, which lasted for a few days. The anesthesia team checked on me regularly. If you have a history of nausea with anesthesia it may be a good idea to request a anti-naseua patch from the beginning. It was my first surgery ever, and I had no idea how my body would react. Out of the 6 of us in recovery I was the only one to experience the post surgery nausea. This was the biggest reason I could not keep down the liquids. It had nothing to do with my sleeve.
  • PCA: There is a system which we self administer pain medication to ourselves, it should be pressed every ten minutes until the pain resolves. It did nothing for me, I made a conscious decision to deal with the uncomfortableness, because I didn’t want the narcotics in my system especially since they were not helping me. The strongest thing I have ever taken was Tylenol for pain, so the other things were just too much. I have since thrown out all narcotic pain medications. Not everyone will have this device, pain medication may be administered a different way.
  •  Eye mask came in handy, as the lights of the hospital room come on all through the night, when they enter to take vitals, change IV, or give blood thinners to prevent blood  clots from forming (heprin)
  • Taking pajamas really came in handy, as the bariatric gowns ran extremely large in my hospital, and I was swimming in mine.
  •  I would never compare my weight loss with anyones else, just as I would never compare experiences. Everyone loses weight at a different pace. I lost 2o lbs a little over my first week, but my friend who had the gastric bypass, lost 25 the first week, and by now it could be 30. Two different surgeries, two different weight classes, two very different body compositions. My surgeon said sometimes, the larger you are the more excess weight you can lose. Another woman who had the  same surgery as I did only lost 9lbs, It just really all depends. Who knows what can happen in three weeks, I may stall and she may have greater decrease in weight.
  • I take my time drinking, eating, and make sure all fluids are in, which is about 48-64 oz per day. I drink my protein 3 times per day. and I take all vitamins, and medications.
  • It is common to feel like “what did I do”? after surgery especially if there is pain, or in my case I had a personal issue I was dealing with. But now that I am almost 2 weeks post op I can say emphatically, I feel good, I look good, and this surgery was one of the best decisions I made for myself, and myself only.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Little Tips That Help Me Get Through The Day.

Edited for missed typos.

It is so weird how I go to sleep way earlier than I did before surgery and wake up 4 a.m each morning as if I have a farm to tend to. But it’s o.k. as it gives me a chance to write post, or at least start them for my blogs until I officially start my day. I write this blog about my experience with the VSG surgery to above all hold myself accountable and to have something to look back on, when I have my year surgerversay. It will be nice to see how far I came, how I felt, and to see what other things I felt with in this crazy thing we call real life.

I also wanted to support others, share information I have come across, and to share my own experience straight with no chaser. I will always share the “unpretty”, because I believe it is always good to have both sides of an experience. Although my journey may not be the same as others, maybe there will be something someone can take what they need and discard the rest. With peace and love I share my experiences and look forward to catching up on others post this weekend.

Tips That Help Me Get Through Any Given Day

  • Binder: I use one during the day if I have to do anything physical, i.e. washing dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping etc. I also wear it at night, because it helped to hold in my abdomen especially the right side where it is still a little tender. Wearing it helps me sleep better, and on my side since I’m not a back sleeper. I know someone who was sleeping on her side and stomach after the first week. ( sooooo beyond lucky lol.) I was beyond happy for her progress.
  • Pillow: It helped to place it on my side just beneath my stomach while laying on my side.
  • Spanx: I never go outside without it. It helps of course to hold everything in, but as I lose weight it will help  keep the skin from spreading too much. (it has worked for me in the past) Again everyone is different though, just sharing what helps me 🙂

 Food:

  • Protein: I don’t drink the ready made shakes because it is too much volume to drink to get the protein. Adding only 1/4 cup non-fat milk to one scoop of protein 3 times per day  gives me 81 grams of protein from the shakes alone. Adding more milk just adds more volume to the shake, and I don’t particularly find it appetizing  and I will not drink 8oz-12oz of it 3 times per day. Adding 4oz of milk gives me the same amount of protein. I then add 1/4 tsp unsweetened cacao powder and call it a day. A couple of sips and it’s gone.
  • Purees: I look for veggies already pureed in the freezer isle. I can find squash, turnips, and sweet potatos just to name a few, and I can eat from one at least 3-4 times. I also bought fresh veggies to puree as well. I will return to cooking whole foods during stage III of the diet. Not because of the pain or anything, but because I have a 18 year old who doesn’t always want what I eat.  Thankfully I taught him early, so he prepares what he wants and tells me to rest and put my feet up.

For the stage II diet, only a few fruit and vegetables are allowed. These same things can be purchased fresh and pureed, but these were specifically recommended by my hospital.

  • Fruit:  Jars of baby food fruit cost anywhere from $.50-$1.00 Mixed with my cottage cheese. I use applesauce in my Greek plain yogurt.
  • Watermelon: I cube, weigh and pack in containers and place in the fridge. It melts in the mouth, no chewing, an no need to puree.

Any tips that help you get through the day, please share.

 

 

Packing Smaller Portions: Portion Control Containers

I  found walking outdoors everyday has helped with the pain in the right side of my abdomen. Now that I’m eating I wanted to be able to carry my food with me, and I was on the hunt for smaller containers. While in Marshals I found these containers in three different sizes. I also found a BPA free bottle which opens two ways and I figured I could use it for my shakes, or crystal light mixtures. I found the spoons in Target and as I said in the post before, these spoons help a lot as they pick up just enough for me to swallow at a time.