Well, my story is pretty typical of people who have difficulty with their weight. I've had a problem with it for as long as I can remember. I have 6 brothers and sisters and my youngest brother and I are really the only ones who are really obese. My sister's weight fluxuates a little and she exercises, diets and takes it off. After a while though, it seems to creep back up to where she doesn't like it and feels uncomfortable. I think she looks good. She's not satisfied and it is a continuous battle. My brothers, with the exception of the youngest, are "normal" size. They don't have the weight issue going on.
Anyway, I can remember my mother telling her friends, "Look at Mary. As big as she is, she doesn't have one roll in her back. Isn't that amazing?" Yeah, amazing, great. Thanks, Mom. I don't think my mother intentionally made me feel bad about myself. But, somehow, I interpreted everything she would say about my weight as negative. I've always been self-conscious and felt like I didn't fit in because I was the "F" word. (No! I mean fat, silly.) Speaking of not fitting, when I was a child none of the "cool" clothes fit me. To this day I won't shop at Sears because my mother ordered my "chubs" clothes from there.
When I became a teenager, I had problems with my gall bladder. I was 14 and weighed about 190 lbs. I'm 5'7" and I thought I was a cow. I had surgery to remove my gall bladder and was out of school for 6 weeks. (they didn't do it lap at that time) During that 6 weeks, I decided I was going to get thinner. I dropped 30-35 lbs. I kept it off through highschool but I still thought I was a cow. (But no rolls in my back, you know) I wouldn't eat because I was afraid I would gain weight. My typical day of eating would be:
Breakfast: 1/2 glass OJ
Lunch: 1 cookie and container of school juice
Dinner: 1 cup of milk and a piece of meat (whatever mom was cooking)
If I ate like this, it would leave me a little room to have a soda or something with my friends if we went out. If I ate more, I would gain weight. When I did eat differently, I was right, I put on weight. Then I would go with my mom to TOPS or try some other diet she recommended. (There were quite a few) Let's see, we did the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the red meat and salad diet, the Richard Simmons, Never Say Diet Live it program, Deal-a-Meal, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Dexatrim, and any other diet we could find. All of this was while I was still in high school.
Well, needless to say, a normal person doesn't eat like that for the rest of their life. Right after high school, I started dating my husband to be. We ate out....ALOT....and I started packing on the pounds. When we were married, 2 years later, I was back up to 195. I joined Medical Weight Loss and took off 45 lbs. The diet was strict and my blood pressure dropped to 90/50. I would get dizzy, etc... I went off the diet and apparently hadn't learned any healthy habits because I gained back all of my weight and 13 lbs more. I was depressed. Then I got pregnant and miscarried....more depression. I gained more weight...went up to 225. Had two more miscarriages....up to 235...Then my body said, ENOUGH! I couldn't get pregnant anymore. As a distraction, I started college and decided to work on my degree. Little did I know what a good choice this would be.
My husband was a little frustrated. He really didn't care for "really fat" girls. "Of course I don't mean you, honey." But every time we would see someone overweight (women only) he would point out to me how bad they looked. I would say, "I am as big as her. So you're saying you don't like how I look, right?" And he would say, "Of course I don't mean you, honey." This did nothing to help my rapidly decreasing self-esteem. My sister and I started a diet together. It was very restrictive. We both lost weight. She met her goal. I got down to 190. One day on our way to the college, we stopped at Seven Eleven. We decided to cheat for one day. (That never works out for me. I know better.) We bought caramels and chocolate and licorice. We had pop and chips, and basically just made big honkin' pigs of ourselves. I felt so sick. But I didn't go back on the diet. I gained it all back.
Finally, at 26, I got pregnant and it was a viable pregnancy. I ended up having gestational diabetes. I was very careful about my diet and controlled it without insulin. During this time, I was doing my student teaching. I was almost finished with my B.S. in elementary education. I only gained 1/2 lb through my entire pregnancy and after I delivered my 1st daughter, I went home 15 lbs lighter than when I started. (back to 220) I felt pretty good and was ecstatic about my new little angel. Staying home for 6 weeks wasn't good for my body. I gained the 15 lbs back. (back up to 235) I began substitute teaching.
My weight fluxuated for the next few years. I went anywhere from 235 to 265...up and down like a yo-yo. My marriage wasn't doing well, either. It really wasn't weight related but it was just another thing to not be successful at. On top of that, I got a teaching job in a high needs district. It was very stressful to me, but I wanted to stay there. I did stay there and have now been there for almost 14 years. (another good choice)
Well, I decided I was going to get rid of some of the dead weight. Couldn't get rid of my own, but I could get rid of my loser husband who was never supportive of either me or my daughter. Lost 180 lbs that year (haha). Unfortunately, it was my ex-husband and not my excess weight. That was another step on the right path. I removed my daughter and myself from that negative environment and felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I finished up my Master's degree and felt like a whole new person. I also met a wonderful man on the internet. Now, I had no intention of dating anyone, but it happened anyway. We ended up married and thus, another great choice. We now have a 3 1/2 year old daughter as well as my 14 year old daughter (who my current husband claims as his own).
Everything was turning around for me. My job is stable, I finished my Master's, I had a 2nd daughter, I married a wonderful man....but I kept gaining weight. I quit smoking when I got pregnant for our 2nd daughter and put on 30 lbs with the pregnancy. I never took it off. However, I didn't start smoking again, so that was an accomplishment. Also, over the past few years I have felt like I could eat whatever I wanted because my husband doesn't care how much I weigh. (not a good choice) I packed it on again and got myself up to 308lbs. Oh MY GOSH!!!!
I couldn't believe I had let myself go so much. It was bad before, but this was totally unacceptable. Ridiculuous!! I was thinking about WLS. That seemed so extreme, though. Did I really want to rearrange my insides? I decided to give it another try. I went on the 5- Day Miracle Diet (Adele Puhn), went to the gym 3 days a week and determined that I was going to take off 100lbs in a year. I started on New Years Day 2006. By March 31, 2006, I had taken off 55 lbs and I was feeling great. My oldest daughter, who decided to diet with me had taken off 33 lbs, which put her right where she should be.
My husband and I went away for a long week-end to celebrate our anniversary. I cheated and binged, telling myself that I would go right back on my diet when we got home. I didn't. I gained all of my weight back. All of it. I was so disgusted with myself. I decided I needed a professional intervention. I can't do this on my own. I started to reconsider WLS. I began talking with a friend at work about it. She has been considering surgery, too. We decided to check into it together.
In March, 2007, we went to a informational meeting at Hurley. After listening to the Dr I knew for certain this is the route I wanted to persue. We set up a consultation.
April 4, 2007, my friend and I went to see the surgeon for our consultations. Everything went well and we agreed upon Lap RNY. Now all I need is a psych eval, and everything can be turned in to the insurance company for approval. My eval is in May, so we'll see what happens after that. I am looking forward to a new life.
April 20, 2007 I opened up what I figured was some junk mail from MESSA. (my insurance co) They always send out newsletters, etc... I was so surprised I didn't know what to do. It was an approval letter for my surgery. I haven't even had a psych eval and the insurance co has approved me. I walked around in a daze for about 15 minutes with the letter in my hand not really knowing what to do or who to tell first. I showed it to my hubby. He is very excited for me. My oldest daughter gave me a high five. Then I called friend and support person. I am really going to get to do this. I doesn't quite seem real to me yet. Yahoooooooo!!!!
May 2, 2007 Alright, I went to see Dr. Williams, the dude at Hurley Mental Health Associates, and had my psych eval. Apparently, in direct conflict with my ex-husband's opinion, I am not crazy. I have papers to prove it. LOL Anyway, he says I'm good to go for WLS. That is all I needed. Now I am waiting for Hurley to call and set a surgery date.
May 9, 2007 I have a date!! My weight loss surgery is scheduled for June 14th first thing in the morning. Now I just have to go for pre-admission testing and a nutrition class.
May 12, 2007 Today I received a packet in the mail from Hurley. My pre-admission testing is on May 23rd. Also, I had to order the 15 day diet that I must be on prior to surgery. $137.00....not bad for 2 weeks worth of groceries, I guess. I am going for my nutrition class on May 24. Then I should be good to go. I'm getting more and more excited ( and a little nervous, too)
May 23, 2007 Today I went for my pre-admission testing. The Dr says because of my bloodwork, my medical history, my EKG, and my family history, I am at a heightened risk of pulmonary embolism. Therefore, the week before I have my surgery, I have to go to the hospital and have a vena cava filter put in. This will trap clots and help prevent pulmonary embolism and keep the lungs functioning properly. I will do what I need to do.
May 24, 2007 Well, I had my nutrition class today. It was pretty much what I already knew. I've been doing so much research, that she really didn't share anything I hadn't already found out from talking to others on OH and looking things up online. They gave me a book with the pre and post op diets, food journal pages, and some recipes. It's nice to have something in writing as a guideline. I also received a call from the hospital today to schedule my vena cava filter. I will have that done on June 6. They say it is an outpatient procedure, so I should be able to return to work the next day. Before we saw the nutritionist, we saw the nurse and she explained what to expect at the hospital before, during and after surgery. I think that was more informational. I like to know details. Now I don't need to see anyone else, other than having the filter put in, before surgery. Just 3 weeks now!!
May 29, 2007 Today is my last day of solid food before my surgery. Tomorrow I start my 15 day liquid diet. I can do this and I will do this. I will not let those little boxes of dried shakes and soups in my cupboard intimidate me.
May 30, 2007 Today was my first day of the "liquid feast." I have decided to convince myself that I am not losing food, I am gaining fluids....the essence of life!!! Unfortunately, I don't particularly care for the taste of the "essence." I have been trying to gulp it down and chase it with Crystal Light. It works. I do like the little fruity drink they have put in my kit that is supposed to give you a full feeling. I'm drinking that right now. It is evening and this is my worst time of day for binging on food. I have decided to be productive. From now on, during my lunch period at work, instead of sitting and smelling everyone else's lunch, I am going to get off my hiney and walk a couple of times around the block. Well, one day down, 14 to go!
June 6, 2007 Today is day 8 of the liquid diet. It's not so difficult anymore but if I don't drink enough my stomach really hurts. The first 5 days of this were the most difficult. I had a lot of psychological food issues that I didn't realize I had. I had a couple of meltdowns and have been quite emotional. Things are going well now and I have lost 12 lbs, so that is good news. This morning I am going to the hospital to have my IVC filter put in place. It is an outpatient procedure and I should be home tonight. This will protect me from pulmonary embolism, which really gives me some peace of mind since my brother died from a pulmonary embolism. I have a slight head-ache. I think I am a little stressed even though this is going to be a good thing.
June 7, 2007 Ok, yesterday I had my IVC filter. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. Everything went well. Today I was able to go back to work, so at least I didn't have to miss another day. Tomorrow is the last day of school. Actually, today is the last day for students, but teachers have to hang around tomorrow, too, to get everything put away and accounted for. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I have training for Summer School. (yes, I'm crazy) My session doesn't start until the end of July. Thursday is my surgery. I'm trying to keep busy so I won't fret or get anxious. Friday night I am going to the stock car races with my husband, my friend Cindy, and hopefully, my angel (Phyllis) and her husband. I'm looking forward to that.
June 12, 2007 Ok, this is day 14 of my liquid diet. I have not cheated and I am very proud of myself. I have lost 17 lbs as of this morning. I was hoping to reach 20 lbs before surgery, but if not, I have still done well. My surgery is in 2 days. Today I went to lunch (well, protien drink while they had lunch) with some friends from my support group. That was really nice. I was actually able to sit in a restaurant and drink my protien drink while others ate. That's an accomplishment and I feel I am really going to be successful with the surgery and after. I will reach my goals.
June 18, 2007 I'm home from surgery! Actually, I came home yesterday. I'm still a little sore, but all in all, things went well. I was able to have the surgery laproscopically, rather than open, and that made me very happy. My surgeon had told me that if there was too much scar tissue, they may have to do the procedure open. Well, thank goodness he didn't have to do that. They weighed me right before surgery and I had lost 23 lbs on the 2 week pre-op liquid diet. Very cool! After surgery, I had gained weight. I guess I am retaining fluids. This has been much easier than I anticipated. The only problem I have right now is getting in my water and protein. It is really a chore because I really feel full all the time. I'm determined to get it in, though. My family and friends have been a wonderful source of support and encouragement and that really makes a difference.
June 25, 2007 Well, time for an update, I guess. My overall weightloss, so far, is 37 lbs. I can now fit into the clothes that I had lost enough weight to buy last year, and that is exciting. Tomorrow I go for my 2 week check-up and hopefully will move on to pureed food. Yummo! The protein drinks get old really fast, I'm telling ya. I finally don't have that horrible "I ate too much at the buffet" feeling in my stomach. As I heal, things must be getting better. I do feel full most of the time, or should I say "not hungry"? I still have to remind myself that I have to get my protein in. The water is the big issue, though. It doesn't agree with my new "pouch". I hate that word----pouch. I feel like an animal. So, I am not going to call my new stomach that. Anyway, water doesn't like me anymore. I will ask the doc about this tomorrow.
July 12, 2007 Well, I find myself not wanting to get on here and update lately. As of today I have lost 48 lbs overall. I know that is pretty good, but for the last week or so I have kind of been at a standstill. My body must be in shock or something. Finally, yesterday and today I lost one pound each day, so at least the scale is moving again. I am going through a mild depression and from what I have read, this is fairly common. However, that doesn't make me feel any better. This whole food thing is complicated, emotionally. It is hard to give up the one thing that gives you comfort and after this surgery, it is not like you have an option any more. I really like how the new me is shaping up, so don't get me wrong. I just have to find a way to get myself out of this funk. You know what I miss the most? Being able to have a nice tall, big cold soft-drink and actually chug it down. It could even be water. I would just like to take 4-5 big honkin' swallows all in a row so I wouldn't be thirsty. Since my stomach doesn't like liquids very well these days, I have to take little tiny sips and it seems like I am always thirsty. Well, I have complained enough for one day. I'll update when I'm in a better frame of mind.
July 22, 2007 Ok, well I am finally kicking this depression thing. I'm slowly learning that I don't even like those foods that I think I am missing. Drinking is getting easier. It must all just be part of the healing process. I'm down 54 lbs and I feel good. I went out and bought some new pants and a couple of new shirts because I start back to work tomorrow and my other stuff was falling off me. I'm down from a size 26-28 to a 20-22. I'm pleased with that and can't wait until I melt away some more. In two more weeks, I get to try some salad and raw veggies. I'm looking forward to that. However, by the time I get my protein in I am finding that I really don't have any room for anything else. I'm very full all of the time still. Most of the time I have to make myself eat because I really don't want to. It is a chore. I'll update soon.
July 29, 2007 As of today, I have officially lost 60 pounds. Hard to believe that in just 8 weeks (that includes my pre-op liquid nightmare) I have lost that much weight. I notice that some parts of me are becoming a little saggy and baggy so I need to get busy toning. I feel good, although today I am a little tired. Didn't sleep well last night. Last week was a difficult week. I went back to work and that was enough to deal with. However, that wasn't all. I got a call from a friend's wife that he had passed away on the 23rd. He had RNY on July 9th and was finally moving things in the direction he wanted them to go. He had a bloodclot go to his heart and it caused a fatal heart attack. Very sad. Wayne was a wonderful person who touched many lives. Also, this week my sister and her 6 year old daughter got into a car accident. Thankfully they are ok, although a little bruised a battered. The car was totaled. All of this just reminds me that life can be snuffed out in a split second so we should enjoy everything and everyone that we love each day.
On the food side of things, I experienced my first dumping episode the other night. Remember people, pizza is not your friend. I had a slice of thin crust pizza and it seemed good going down. NOT!!!! Just a word of advice, Don't Do IT!!! It is not worth it. Other than that, things are going well. Each day is different and it is difficult to know what to expect. Water and protein are my main concerns, so that is what I work on.
August 31, 2007 So I haven't updated this thing in a while. I guess I just get caught up in the everyday things and forget to do this. As of today I am 77 lbs down. I am excited about that. I was at a standstill for almost 3 weeks. That was a little frustrating. But I upped my protein and my fluids and things finally started moving again. I went in for my 3 month check-up and everything was good. All of my bloodwork looks good and I have lost 36% of my excess weight. It is so exciting. I feel better than I have in a long time, although I have my days like everyone else. This is absolutely the best thing I have ever done for myself.
September 20, 2007 I am now averaging about 2 lbs weight loss per week. It is slow, but I'll take it. I'm down 85 lbs and I can finally see it in the mirror. For the longest time I just saw the same old me. I guess my mind is starting to catch up to my body. I feel so much better, physically. Each day when I put on my clothes I can see a difference. I can hardly believe what fits and what is now baggy. I look at how big the clothes are and just shake my head in bewilderment that I was filling those out not too long ago. I don't think I ever really realized how huge I really was. I still have days when I feel like Jabba the Hut, then I think of how big I must have looked before and just shudder. I have a picture of me and my husband at Christmas and every time I find myself missing eating I take that out and remind myself why I did this. I don't really get hungry yet, but sometimes I do miss eating. All in all, this has been a good trip so far. 85 down - 88 to go!
October 22, 2007 It has been a while since I've updated, so here's the scoop. I have lost a total of 98 lbs as of this morning. I can't wait to hit that 100lb mark. I feel good, but have had some hair loss. I've tried increasing my protein but it comes out anyway. Thank goodness I had very thick hair when I started and it doesn't look to odd yet. I am now down to a size 18 jeans, which is just unbelievable to me. I haven't been in an 18 in I don't know how long. I have more energy and more ambition to do physical activities these days. I go to work out with a friend every week-end. Other days I go for walks with my daughters and just try to get around more and do fun activities with the kids. I still have 75 lbs to lose before I get to my goal, so I am not skinny by any means. However, I feel healthier, sexier, and more attractive than I have felt in a long, long time.
January 17, 2008 Well, Happy NEW YEAR!!! I haven't updated in quite a while. I am now down to 210 lbs, which means a total weight loss of 113lbs. I had a hard time from my last post until now. I went down to losing 102 lbs and my doctor took me off my blood pressure meds. I then gained 10 lbs and couldn't take anything off. FRUSTRATING!!! Anyway, I finally reassessed both my diet and my exercise and made some adjustments. I had to choose better carbs, like fruits and veggies rather than rice and crackers. I should know better. I couldn't eat that stuff and lose weight before surgery, so I don't know what made me think I could get away with it now. I also had stopped walking because it got cold outside, so I wasn't getting any exercise. Just going to work each day DOES NOT count as exercise. So, my wonderful friend and Angel, Cindy and I, decided to exercise together right after work, before we leave the building. We are now up to 4 days a week at work. I also exercise at home on two other days and go to the gym once on the week-end. So, exercising every day has made a big difference in both my weight loss and how I feel. Also, some of this flab is toning up a bit. I have 60 lbs to go to get to my ultimate goal, so I need to stay on track and just make this a lifestyle change. I've set a short-term goal of getting to 185lbs by March 31st. We are graphing our percentage of weightloss and have it posted on the wall at work. I just need these kinds of motivators to keep me on track.
February 4, 2008 Well, the exercise thing is working, I think. I am beginning to see some of the results. Things are beginning to tone up. However, there are just some parts that will not be fixed no matter how much I exercise. I'll worry about those later. I've lost 119 lbs now and I feel great. My body has really changed over the past 3 weeks or so. Although I haven't lost a tremendous amount of weight in that time, it seems that things have shifted and my clothes fit differently. I now take a size 16 jeans, and a 12/14 in exercise wear. I've went down from a 46 DD bra to a 40 C, and I think I will be in a B cup soon as the C is a little roomy. I take a 1X in a shirt and jacket. That's a big transition. I find that people are always shocked at my weight loss. They are a little too enthusiastic. It really makes you wonder how they percieved you before the weight loss. I still have 54 lbs to go before I reach my goal. I have people who ask how much more weight I am going to lose. Then, when I tell them, they tell me I would be too skinny at that weight. There are alot of people who are thinner than I will be at my goal weight. It's not that I will be too thin. I think people who are used to seeing me so morbidly obese have a hard time wrapping their head around the idea of seeing me at a "normal" weight. Change is difficult even when it is good. I shouldn't complain. I'll take all the compliments. I just want to be normal.
March 17, 2008 Ok, well I haven't been on here in quite some time. I get frustrated when I haven't had any weight loss. I am now at 199lbs, which is a total weight loss of 124lbs. That is good, it really is, however, I have been at a plateau for the past 4 weeks. I've been exercising daily, eating like I'm supposed to, and all of that important stuff. Still, the scale refuses to budge. I do feel good about my progress up to this point, though. I just don't like being at a standstill. I went to the surgeon's office last Thursday with my sister. She is going to have lap-band. I couldn't keep food down well last week, so the surgeon scheduled an endoscopy for me last Friday. The bad news is, I have an ulcer. That explains the vomiting and the pain. I also talked to the nutritionist. She said that I have lost 64% of my excess weight and this plateau is the body's "normal" reaction to excessive, quick weight loss. She said I should just stick with it and I should start losing again in a few weeks once my body stabilizes itself. Well, ok then. I'll accept that answer for now, but I want the weight to keep disappearing. If something doesn't change in a few weeks, I'll have to re-evaluate my eating again. I feel like I am doing all the right things and getting in enough protein and liquids, but I'll have to go through the food journals and double check myself.
The end of this month is my husband's and my eighth wedding anniversary. He bought me an Alaskan cruise to celebrate. We never had a honeymoon, so this is going to be our celebration. (better late than never) I am very excited. I would like to be close to my goal weight by the time we go. We are going the first week in August. That gives me 4 1/2 months to lose 49 lbs. That's close to 11 lbs a month. If the scale doesn't start moving soon, I won't have a chance of getting that much weight off. I'm going to keep pushing forward and try to keep a positive attitude. I'll update again when I have some more weight loss.
April 11, 2008 Ok, so I keep working and working and nothing will move the scale. I finally lost 1 lb in all this time. However, I am losing inches. I lost 2 inches in my hips, 1 1/2 inches in my waist and 4 inches in my mid-drif area. I've lost 3/4 of an inch in each arm and an inch and 1/4 in each thigh. So, as long as there is positve change, I am good with that. I've lost 125 lbs altogether so I remind myself of this whenever I get frustrated. Yes, we must remind ourselves that we are successful. Last night I took my daughter to driver's training. I needed a jacket because it was chilly out and dang it I am always freezing. I grabbed a hoodie that used to be mine (but I have since given to my hubby) before WLS. Oh geez, I looked so foolish. The arms were about 4-5 inches too long. I could have fit a whole other person in that jacket with me. It was drooping and sagging and that made me feel really good. When I had the surgery, that sweatshirt was starting to get too small for me. It is a man's size 4X. Can you believe it????? I now take a women's XL or a men's medium. Things like that always give me perspective. That's why I try to remember to live in more than the moment. I want to remember where I came from so I don't go back there, if you know what I mean.
April 15, 2008 The scale is moving again!!! Yes, it's true, the scale does go lower than 198. I am now down to 193, which is a total weight loss of (drum roll please) 130 lbs. That makes me very pleased. If I can just lose 2 lbs a week up until my cruise in August, I will be down to 163 by the time I go. Now, I know that is probably not a reasonable goal considering that I just got through a 2 month spurt with no weight loss at all. But, I am going to keep trying. Sometimes, even when we do all the right things, our bodies just don't cooperate. Hopefully, the scale will keep moving for a while, now.