- HEALTH TRACKER
Things are going to be better than okay. They're going to be awesome. Go into your surgery with confidence that all will be well. *hug*
I wish I'd known how freaking amazing life can be when the package in which you live it has changed.
The weeks before surgery, I spent so much time worrying, stressing, reading, psyching myself out. I was so scared of every little thing. I envisioned a lifetime of deprivation, dumping, fatique, hair loss, saggy skin, endless vitamins, disgusting protein shakes, and I got scared. I got scared of anemia and lethargy and vitamin deficiencies and strictures and ulcers and food withdrawal and emotional issues.
Truth is, none of that happened. Well, lots of it happened,m truthfully, but none of it was a big deal.
I lost a lot of hair. Like, a lot. A frightful amount. But then it grew back.
I have no boobs. My boobs have all but vanished. They're a bit deflated and empty. But I can button my shirts without gapping and my back doesn't hurt, and I look so much more petite.
I take vitamins every day. But it's routine now, I barely even think about it.
I dump on sugar. Badly. So I rarely eat sugar. And when I do, I lay down til it passes, and it's fine. No biggie.
I have saggy skin. Mostly on my arms, belly, and inner thighs. We're probably all going to have saggy skin. It happens. You can't prevent it, so you might as well expect it and roll with the punches. Spanx helps.
I can't stomach traditional protein shakes. I've tried them all. Spent more money than I care to admit, and thrown it all away. Now I drink two Atkins readymade shakes a day. They're not the highest in protein (only 15g apiece), but they taste delicious, and they're easy. I do what works for me. You do what works for you.
I've never had a stricture. I've never had an ulcer. I've never had a vitamin deficiency that wasn't quickly resolved by an increased dose for a week or two.
I've had plenty of emotional issues--hormone dumping, cross addictions (I turned into a massive caffeine junkie in the absence of sugar), self control issues that come with newfound confidence. I see a counselor to help with some of that, and so far, it has not been overly problematic in my life. Watch for issues--they likely will happen, but you can cope with them. Any major life change will come with mental changes as well. Expect it. But don't freak out.
I had surgery 15 months ago. Since then, I've taken up Crossfit, joined a running group, and started training for a marathon.
My highest weight was 269. I was a size 24.
Today, I'm 138, and a size 6.
And life is good. No, that's not true. Life is great. I have so much more energy and confidence. I feel good in my body, and I feel healthy. And if I had to go back and do this surgery over and over again, I absolutely would.
So if you're new, and you're freaking yourself out, stop. Read. Educate yourself. Talk to people. But don't start thinking that all there is on the other side is misery and work and complications. Because it's simply not true. I was very fortunate in my recovery and loss, and not everyone is so lucky. But the horror stories that might have you scared happen far, far less than the good stories--the successes and happy people whose lives have been dramatically changed for the better.
So good luck. It's worth it.
Last year, I ran the Zombie Apocalypse Run, the Warrior Dash, and the Glow Run. I haven't done any mud runs since the Warrior Dash, but I'm looking forward to running again when it warms up. A group of friends and I are looking into the Spartan races, and there's a permanent mudrun site a couple hours away--because it's permanent, the obstacles are huge and complex, and the mud is deep. It's situated on a vineyard, and it has hot showers so you can clean off and go celebrate with a bottle of wine. :) I'm really excited to go. It's like Disneyland for grownups who love mud. ;)
Hey thanks! You've done an outstanding job as well! I'm always fascinated to watch the progress of people who started at the same height/weight as I did--it always amuses me how closely we tend to follow one another.
It's really neat to be in a place where, if I never lost any more weight, I'd be okay with that. A year ago, I wasn't sure if I would ever get here.
Whew, it's been a long time.
Life is good. My one year Surgiversary is coming up in 24 days, and I'm 3 pounds above my initial goal weight. I still have more to go--maybe 15 pounds or so, but if it doesn't happen, I'm happy. I'm comfortable. I chopped all my hair off and adopted another dog. other than that, no huge changes.
When I started my pre-op diet, I was 244 pounds and a size 22-24.
I'm 11 months out and currently 147 lbs and a size 8.
I still don't tolerate sugar very well, but my capacity is about that of a "normal" person, and small meals are pretty typical. I can eat just about anything and haven't had any issues at all related to my surgery. Yay! In fact, it's gone so well that my mother and aunt were inspired and both got bariatric surgery (VGS) last month and have been progressing nicely.
It was incredible to begin the New Year NOT making the resolution to finally lose the weight. What a tremendous change.
I've set a rather ambitious goal. March 2014 is the Jerusalem Marathon in Israel. I have a year to train and raise $3500 for the cancer center Zichron Menachem to pay for my lodging and airfare to Israel. I'm gonna do it. A marathon. Holy crap. I've never run anything longer than a 5K, but darn it, I'mma do it.
Anyway, I've been having some gallbladder issues, so I may possibly be looking at having it taken out. I'm also contemplating a tummy tuck. I don't have much in the way of hang (Yay youth!) but the skin is all wrinkly and loose and unattractive, so it needs to go. I figure I'll give it a year to tighten up as much as it can on its own, and a tuck may be my reward for finishing the marathon.
I hope everyone's 2013 has been wonderful so far. Cheers and good health!
I spend about $100 a month on Vitacost.com ordering Atkins products.
I am constantly on the go, and having a protein bar or three to stash in my car or in my bag is a lifesaver. I love the way they taste, and have narrowed it down to two meal-replacement bars I really like--the peanut butter granola and the chocolate chip granola. I use those as meal replacements if I don't have time to cook. I get a wide variety of the smaller, less-protein-heavy bars as snacks or desserts or quick breakfasts. My favorite is the chocolate hazelnut bar. It tastes so crunchy and creamy and decadent--like Nutella. And for almost zero sugar, it's much safer than, say, a handful of cookies.
I have an Atkins shake almost every morning for breakfast. I'm almost 10 months out, and my stomach doesn't like solid food too early, especially if I'm running around, so downing a shake as I get my kids ready for school is ideal. However, I HATE whey shakes. I haven't found a single one that tastes good. But the Atkins shakes, while not as high in protein, are not only palatable, but I really like them--and they make the Cafe varieties now which contain a little caffeine. Bonus!
My only complaint is that I wish they made a more savory bar. I don't have a tremendous sweet tooth, so sometimes, having my meal replacements all be sweet like dessert is a bit...blah. I'd be very open to trying a savory, crunchy alternative.
It'll be different for everyone. Sugar alcohols make my stomach rumbly, but they don't make me sick. Only a couple Atkins bars give me that effect, and so I avoid those.
Hey Sarah. *hug* I'm sorry life's been throwing you lemons lately. I don't have much advice about the hospital or the car. :(
One thing, though... Now, take this with a grain of salt, coming from a person who doesn't celebrate Christmas... but perhaps instead of "buying Christmas" this year, you could take the family out and help someone who has even less. Join a service project at a church or community center or shelter. Spend the day working soup kitchens, handing out toys to the homeless, distributing gifts at a nursing home or hospital. There is always a call for volunteers, and giving back and helping the community will not only take your mind off the things you are doing without, but may help give some extra perspective into how much worse it could be. Volunteering is a very good lesson for children, and helps strengthen family bonds. Not to mention, fate has a way of repaying generosity and kindness.
This website has 53 volunteer requests--all organizations looking for Christmas help, near Tyler, TX.
I hope there is some relief in sight for you, and I hope you have a good holiday.
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
My husband is deployed overseas, so being there physically wasn't an option. But as far as taking interest, asking questions, reading up, posting on forums...nope. He's not interested at all. He's very supportive, but we don't really talk about it. Any time I bring it up, i can sorta HEAR him tuning out.
At first, I was frustrated and annoyed that he didn't care, but then I realized....he doesn't care.
He trusts my judgment as far as the safety of the procedure, and my weight has truly never been an issue for him--he's always loved me, regardless of my size. So for him, it's no big deal. Me losing weight is FAR more exciting and fascinating for me than for him, because in his eyes, it doesn't change anything.
I had to comes to terms with the fact that he's not gonna be my go-to person when I need to read thousands of fascinating details about my surgery, or when I want someone to ask questions or talk at length about it. I have other friends for that. And as for him needing to be involved...meh. I'm a grown woman, I can make decisions about my food. Yes, it has totally changed my life, but it doesn't particularly affect him unless he wants it to. So he doesn't need to be a scholar on my lifestyle changes, because I'm in control of those--not him.
Good luck, I hope you can move forward without resenting his disinterest, and try to view this surgery as something for YOU, and enjoy it without worrying about his involvement.
"I know you weren't implying this but I just want to point out that some of us are also living happy, healthy lives and and still come here! ;)"
I just figured saying so was redundant, considering the newbies would see those people regularly.
1) Qui****ching the scale. Staring out the window won't make your loved one come home faster. Peering at the oven won't make your cookies bake quicker. And watching the scale tick slo-o-o-wly downward isn't going to make the fat melt off any more speedily. So don't make yourself nuts, enjoy the ride. You're in this for life, remember? You have a long haul to go. So focus on what you need to do, do it, be healthy, live your life, and stay off the scale until you notice your clothes loosening up again. Weighing every day, if it frustrates you and causes you to lose momentum, is not doing you any favors.
When I was in your shoes, I read everything I could get my hands on. I scoured the boards months deep. I absorbed every story, every fear, every side effect, every complication and got myself all rattled and freaked out. "Omg," I thought, "There's pages upon page of people with horrible stories! Why am I doing this?"
One thing that was hard to remember was that a LOT of people who have had successful surgeries and successful weight loss and are leading happy, healthy lives don't always come to the boards and post, "Hey y'all! Day 279, doing great!!"
So just to maybe help put your minds at ease a little bit, I'll be celebrating my 9 month surgiversary on the 15th, and life is awesome. Down 112 lbs and 7 dress sizes, from a 24 to an 8-10 and have NO regrets. I'd do it again and again. And in fact, my aunt and mother are both getting bariatric surgery next month, after being reassured by my success so far.
There is totally life after surgery. This is not the end of life as you know it--it is simply the doorway to a much BETTER life if you take the opportunity and make the most of it. So. Just to put it out there... Day 279 and doing great!
Not a single regret. Not one. If my weight loss required me to do this again every year of my life forever, I would. Again and again.
I almost never get 6 hours, let alone 8. I usually function on 3-5 hours a night. It's been a lifelong problem. It's not insomnia, it's...something else. Getting my brain to shut up long enough to want to put down whatever project I'm absorbed in and go to bed.
Anyway, when I do take the initiative to get my tuchus to bed on time and get a solid 8, I definitely feel the difference, and if I do it for a couple days, I always see a drop on the scale.
Two reasons, plain and simple. One or the other, or both.
1) They truly believe it is a quick-fix scheme and are justifying something in their heads by denying its potential longterm success.
and / or
2) They want to be able to smugly think, "I told you so" if you DO happen to gain it back. Everyone loves to be right.
So go out there, be confident, and prove them wrong.
I had a month of "last meals".
Here's the thing though. There is no reason on earth you won't be able to eat your favorite foods post op. I was so silly--I cleaned out my pantry of all crackers, pasta, peanut butter, anything high carb or high fat because I was positive I'd never be able eat it again. I spent a ton of money on protein powders and supplements. And now I look back and think, "Geez, that was dumb."
I'm very fortunate to have had a really easy recovery and zero complications. At 9 months out, I can eat Mexican food. I can eat Chinese food. I can eat burgers and pizza and pasta. I can eat cupcakes and brownies and ice cream. I totally dump, so I have to be careful not to take more than a bite or two of the sweet stuff, but I can still eat them.
But I don't really want to. And if I do eat those things, I can only eat a small amount.
So don't go mourning your food like it will no longer be available. If you want a splurge meal before your surgery, by all means--go for it and enjoy! But it's not goodbye forever, because they will still be in your life -if- you want them to be--you just have to find a way to enjoy them in much smaller moderation, and with healthier balance.
I had surgery at size 22-24, weighing 233 lbs.
I didn't start dropping sizes until I broke 200, which took about 8 weeks. After that, I dropped about a size per month until I hit 16.
Once I hit size 16, it really picked up and I dropped quite quickly, going down through 14 and 12 in what seemed like a matter of weeks. I am now 8-10, depending on the cut, and I really don't imagine getting much smaller. But we'll see.
Larger sizes take longer to change. It's like a fresh roll of paper towels. Take 20 towels away from your big plump roll, and it'll still look about the same. But if you start with a half-used roll and take away those same 20 towels, it'll look much smaller, much more quickly.
Haha! Yup, I know! It's so weird to have an actual armpit! Every now and then when I brush up accidentally against one of my new contours--collarbones, armpits, etc--I'm always surprised by how hollow it feels. It's going to take a long time to get used to that,
I'm 9 months out.
For the first 4 months, I ran like a furnace. I was hot all the time, but that was normal. I was baffled about why everyone complained about being cold. In the last month, I've been getting the cold. All the time.
My boobs are gone. I've always been super chesty, and this is the first time in my adult life I've ever had tiny boobs. I like it.
Soda no longer appeals to me at all. Even if it wasn't uncomfortable and gassy to drink, it no longer tastes good.
I am wrinkly everywhere. I don't have any major sagging or drooping, but my skin is just....loose... It wrinkles and crepes everywhere--I have stretchmarks in my armpits, creping on my hands and boobs, lots of jiggle, but I hope that will all tighten up in a year or two.
Even when I was fat, I was really active, and I always joked that I had a really athletic figure--under my fat. Turns out, that's true. As the fat melts away, I'm really kind of pleasantly surprised to see what's been lying underneath and how well toned my muscles are. It's a bit like an archaeological dig. :P
That's a big reason, I think, that I never really saw my weight as an issue before. because it didn't cause me to think less of myself or undermine my self esteem. I have, and have always had, really good self image.
But other people don't necessarily see it that way, and so bringing it up and reminding them that I used to be grossly overweight isn't something I want to do.
I was at dinner with my mother tonight, and I ate barely half a dozen bites of my meal before I was full. And I said sadly, "The waitress is going to think I hate it" which would be a shame, since it was incredibly delicious. So my mother replied, "Well, if she asks, just tell her you had surgery." And I recoiled. No way. We had a little battle about it, she kept probing on WHY I was so anxious about telling people, and I finally blurted out, "Because I don't feel like telling total strangers, "Hey, by the way, I used to be a total fatass!'
And then it hit me. I always struggled with the issue of telling people about my surgery, but never really understood why it made me so uneasy. I had no shame in having gastric bypass, so I really couldn't pin down a solid reason for my discomfort. Until now. And I realized I wasn't ashamed about having the surgery, I was/am ashamed for having needed it in the first place.
Logically, I know I was morbidly obese. But as I've mentioned here ad nauseum, I never really wrapped my head around the fact. I never SAW myself that way. And so, I never really figured other people saw me that way, either. And by admitting I needed weight loss surgery, I am reminding the world how big I was. Now, obviously, everyone already knows I was obese. But in my own little delusional head, that's not the case, and it feels like being the Emperor and his (no) clothes. Everyone could see the truth, but I had no idea, and even though I discovered what they were seeing and resolved the problem, I'm still too ashamed to remind them of my embarrassment.
I feel a need to remind you of something, here. You said you're burning 200-300 calories a day, right? That's not accurate. You might be burning 200-300 calories at the gym, but that's not taking into consideration all the calories you're burning just so your body can function. Most obese people, without even getting out of bed or moving all day long, will burn in excess of 1500 calories a day just doing absolutely nothing but breathing. Add to that 300 calories burned at the gym and you get a total burn of at LEAST 1800 calories a day.
Eating an average of 600 calories a day, you are feeding your body less than 30% of what it needs just to survive, let alone build muscle, burn fat, and repair tissue. Especially considering you're malabsorbing what you eat--you're not even GETTING many of the calories you're eating, so that drives the percentage even lower.
You have to eat to lose. Your body and metabolism do not have eyes and they cannot see that you are surrounded by food and choosing not to eat it--it thinks you're starving to death. You want a calorie deficit, but this early out, you don't need that drastic a deficit. Make sure to feed yourself properly, and you'll see the pounds melting off in no time.
Gah. This sucks.
It feels like those bubbles of surgical gas did, right after surgery--except these gas bubbles are in my abdomen, right below my stoma.
There is absolutely no common factor, pattern, or trigger. Sometimes they happen when I'm hungry, sometimes after I've just eaten, sometimes for no reason at all. I can FEEL the bubble shifting around, and very occasionally, I can lessen the pain by burping or changing position, but 9 times out of 10, it just hurts badly until it eventually dissipates. My belly gets all distended and I look pregnant, and it can be painful to stand straight, because the bubble presses upward and hurts. GasX doesn't help. Water doesn't help. Laying down helps, but the pain often comes back when I stand up.
It always dissipates. Sometimes it takes longer than others. My doctor says there's really nothing they can do.
Anyone have any tried and true remedies for sudden, "stuck" gas?
I don't feel guilty for losing weight, but I feel guilty for talking about or being proud of it.
Everyone on Facebook is doing that "Month of Gratitude" thing where every day, you post what you're thankful for. I've been doing it too, and I always want to add, "I'm thankful for not being fat anymore." But that seems tacky and shallow, and I can't bring myself to say it, even though it's true.
I find myself feeling guiltier for being frustrated with friends who are still stuck in the same cycle I used to be in--getting mad at their lifestyle, vowing to change, and then dropping out a week later... We've all been there and we've all done it, but from the outside looking in, it's hard to watch them continue to self sabotage and make excuses, knowing it's all only going to get worse if they don't change something.
A friend of mine is trying online dating. She wants to put out a personal ad, but didn't know what to write, so she asked me to write one for her to use as a template. Kind of a fun project. So I was writing this ad, and I didn't know what to use to describe myself. In the past, I would have written "plus sized, full figured, BBW, voluptuous, etc" And now, none of those really fit. Voluptuous maybe, since that doesn't really relate to size as much as shape. I guess.
Since it's not a real ad, it didn't really matter, but it struck me as odd that I no longer have a category. I'm not thin. I'm not athletically built. Even though I'm clinically obese by BMI standards, I'm in a size 8, and don't look obese.
I never thought I classified myself, but I totally did. I found a certain comfort in having a label or a tag. Being able to call myself something--a plus sized woman, a BBW-- gave me a sense of belonging. There was a whole culture of women with that same tag that I could relate to, among whom I could blend in. And now I don't have that anymore, and it feels a little disconcerting not to have a group.
Lord, is this the beginning of an identity crisis? ;)
I keep seeing this all over the place.
"I don't have time to exercise!"
"I don't have time to cook healthy meals!"
"I don't have time to ________"
I've caught myself using that phrase occasionally, but it's a load of crap. It's true, I don't have a lot of spare time. I've got two kids, two jobs, a full activity calendar, and I'm juggling it all on my own. Time is a precious commodity for me. So busy folks--I get it, believe me. I get it thoroughly. I'm not diminishing your hectic schedules.
However, if you have 20 minutes to browse through OH, you have 20 minutes to take a few laps around the block.
If you have 10 minutes to circle the parking lot, looking for a closer spot, you have 10 minutes to just park in the boonies and walk.
If you have 15 minutes to wait in line at the drive-through, bring it home, and flip on the TV, you have time to make a simple meal at home.
If you have an hour to chat on Facebook or watch your favorite show, you have an hour to do something good for yourself that you've been putting off.
We all have time--we just have to prioritize how we use it and quit making excuses.
There are a few days where I am literally running from one obligation to the next, and those are the days where dinner comes from a gas station deli counter and my kids eat it at daycare while I go to work. Those days happen. But 95% of the time, when I hear myself saying "But I don't have time!" it really just means I have more fun things I'd rather be doing,
So next time you hear yourself saying that phrase to explain why you're not taking the best care of yourself, pause a moment and determine whether it's true. If you feel it really is true most of the time, and you can't find a single hour to work in a healthy meal and some exercise, perhaps it's time to MAKE room and find something that you can afford to cut out.
Remember, no obligation you make is more important than your life, your health, and that of your family. Make that time for yourself, because if you won't, nobody else will.