Before & After
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Almost a year out on August 21, 2008 7:48 am
I am almost a year out from surgery. I have been thinking about what changes have occurred in my life this last year. I have lost 130 lbs and gone from a size 28W to an 18, for pants and skirts and from 3x to L in tops. I wore the new suit I bought for a court appearance yesterday and it was amazing to realize I was wearing a cute misses suit from JC Penny, when a year ago I would have had to order something online.
I went off of all my blood pressure medication and my pulse rate has made a huge drop. I have been very fortunate, while I have sagging skin it is not as bad as I expected. I am very comfortable in this smaller skin but I still find myself thinking of my self as fat. Hopefully, my mental picture will adjust to match my physical picture over the next year.
I have done very well food wise. I carry a water bottle with me all the time. I drink mostly water and herbal tea. I can eat most anything that I have tried. I still tend to focus on protein but I have had a few more carb foods in my diet over the past month. I can have small amounts of some foods like chocolate or a single cookie, with out too much trouble but mostly I limit these. There are several things that were a major part of my diet before surgery that I have not had in the last year. These include diet soda, pizza, bread and pasta. I have tried small amounts of rice and potatoes but they are not a major part of my diet.
I exercise regularly, which I also did before surgery but I have so much more energy and can do things that I never imagined. I have run sprints, done pull ups, jumping type exercises and it is amazing to see how much stronger my body has become.
I am having a blast dancing; I have more stamina and can dance for hours which I love. I have been able to buy costumes off of the rack and while that has been very exciting it also has been a little expensive. I would rather buy costumes than work clothes.
Overall my life has changed dramatically over the last year but it is still my life. I still do the things I love including go out to dinner with friends about once a week. I still love to cook and am learning how to better size down my cooking so I don't eat it for weeks.
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The nine month update on June 15, 2008 5:21 pm
It has been a while since I sent out my last update, and I have had a lot of wonderful experiences that I want to share, so I am apologizing in advance for this long entry, also while this is a nine month update I did not have a baby but I have lost a small person
First lets talk about the numbers, as of yesterday June 14th, I am 9 months out of surgery and have lost a total of 120lbs. I have also been measuring my arms, calves, ankles, legs, hips, waist, and bust and have lost a total of 81 inches. I started in a size 28W pants and a size 3x top. I am now wearing a size L top and a size 16W pant. My feet are even smaller, I no longer need wide shoes and have dropped between ½ and 1 size depending on the shoe. All of this puts me 30 lbs from my surgeons goal for me, now I would actually like to be a little lower than that so I am shooting for about another 50 lbs. Now I have reached the part of my journey where it will be somewhat harder to lose weight so I suspect it may take at least a year for me to reach my goal but that is ok by me.
I am generally eating about ½ to ¾ of a cup for a meal, some days it is more and others it is less. I am still eating mostly high protein low carb but I have tried a small bite of rice, bread and pasta and they seem to be ok, but they will never be a huge part of my diet. That seems so strange to me because I was a huge bread pasta and rice eater I frequently had all carb dinners. But I am really not that interested in them any more, I also really don’t get hungry. I know when I have waited to long to eat but it is not the overwhelming hunger that would make me want to eat everything in the fridge.
Now I want to share a couple of stories about how this surgery has changed my life.
I have bought a couple of tops in xl and such but a couple of weekends ago Ross to get a cheap bra for a costume. Next to Ross was a dress barn. I haven't been clothes shopping anywhere but discount stores but wanted to see what the new spring stuff was. I saw this on dress in the misses sizes that I just loved, but all they had was a 16 and I really didn't think it would fit so I decide to look at the women's stuff. There was a great sexy halter dress in an 18W so I tried it on and it was too big, so I went to the 16W and it was about right. Well I decided that if a 16W fit I might actually fit into a 16 dress so I picked up several others that I had liked, including the one that I spotted as I went in the store. I decided that the first dress I looked at was perfect, It fit great. (ok I need to wear a real bra and some control panties). It took me 22 years but I am now shopping in misses sizes and I can't wait to see all the new stuff I can wear.
Since I started bellydancing, I have taken dance workshops at least a couple of times a year. Generally these workshops are about 4.5 hours long, with a 1/2 hour break in the middle to catch your breath and have a snack.
Before surgery I would generally make it through about 3 hours of the workshop and be completely spent. The next day I would barely be able to move. Well I did a workshop last weekend and it was incredible. I danced all 4 hours, learned a ton, had more energy and was better able to move and was actually complimented by the instructor on how well I was doing.
I am so thankful for how well this has worked out. I know some people have heard horror stories about surgery and I also know some people with problems but I have been extremely fortunate that I have had no complications and this surgery has really changed my life. Now I still have to deal with my emotional issues related to eating but I am working on that and as always I am a work in progress.
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Instresting realization post surgery on May 5, 2008 8:06 pm
I was out with some dancer friends this weekend and we were talking about our favorite restaurant Grecian Gardens and how much we miss it now that it is closed. Now given that I needed WLS it might be easy to see that what we missed was the food. Well the food was pretty good particularly their dolmathes and avgolemono soup, but generally the service wasn't great. But we loved the place because they supported belly dancers. The owner paid (not much) a dancer to be their every night and one Saturday a month they held open dances so people could perform. The owners were elderly and it closed suddenly about a year ago. So after talking about Grecian, I started craving dolmathes and avgolemono soup. Now I never found a place that had as good dolmathes but Olympus burger comes pretty close, and their soup is pretty good, but they add chicken to the soup.
I still have trouble with ground meat, so dolmathes are not currently on my list of foods to try, but that soup has been in my brain all weekend. So tonight after the gym I stopped by Olympus burger and got a container of soup, and a grilled chicken salad (for lunch/dinner tomorrow). I really enjoyed my 1/2 a cup of soup. It tasted wonderful, and I realized that I was as satisfied with that 1/2 cup of soup, and didn't have to eat the entire container.
I have been noticing that I really enjoy my food now that I have learned to slow down and savor what I am eating. In the past I would have eaten the entire container of soup and the grilled chicken salad and not really enjoyed my meal. Before I was eating quantity and now I have learned to enjoy each bite. I knew that surgery would change my life but I really didn't understand all the little things that make this such a wonderful adventure.
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I am no longer Morbidly Obese!!!!!! on April 11, 2008 7:05 pm
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I have lost 100 lbs since my surgery 7 months ago. I now have a BMI of 39.1, meaning that while I am still obese but not morbidly obese. I started this journey at 350 lbs and am now just under 250. I went to see my surgeon this week and he is very pleased with my progress. He was very surprised when I reminded mentioned that I had been on blood pressure meds before surgery, because I have been off them for months, and my blood pressure numbers of 127 over 77 with a pulse of 50. Before surgery, I always had a resting heart rate in the 80-90’s.
I seem to be growing out of my clothes fairly quickly right now, but that is kinda fun!. . I went to Mexico City with Nancy a friend that lives in the same appt complex. We saw some amazing history and had a great time wondering all over the city. Now there were days that my feet hurt from all the walking and standing but I never felt exhausted and even made it ½ way up the pyramid of the sun. (I would have made it all the way but I was more worried about getting down the steep stairs in the short amount of time I had before the bus left.
The history in Mexico city and the city itself was amazing and I will definitely be going back to see more. The current population is about 27 million people. The traffic was indescribable, they would squeeze their car into any available space, but they were courteous drivers and we didn’t see any accidents. We also went to the Basilica de Guadeloupe, which was very amazing and left me pretty speechless, a common occurrence on this trip! The people we extremely helpful and pleasant, and we had no problems until we
I am so happy about how gastric bypass has changed my life. While it was a big decision, I know that it was the only possible way for me to be healthy again. It also is not a easy way out. I still have to watch what I eat, eat very slowly, don’t drink anything with my meals, generally only drink water, and exercise, and I have been fortunate that I rarely get sick. But I still have to follow my Dr rules about eating and drinking or I will get sick. Now if it would finally decide to be warm I could spend more time outside!.
Six months and I have lost a ¼ of myself . on March 16, 2008 7:10 pm
I had my gastric bypass 6 months ago Wednesday. I am amazed at all of the changes that my body has undergone. I have lost about 90 lbs and 66 inches, my bmi has gone from 54.8 to 40.6. That means I have lost a 25% of my body weight and about ½ of the total weight I want to lose. That works out to an average of 3.4 lbs a week.
I can honestly say I don’t know when I was this weight the last time. I know that I weight less now than I did when I moved to Salt Lake City. I have been extremely fortunate that I have had almost no complications. There are days where I still struggle to get in all of my calcium supplements, I generally only miss one of the 4 I take daily. I have gotten off of all my prescription medication except my allergy meds. I
I have completely outgrown my entire wardrobe, and have been able to donate most of my stuff to a local thrift store. Luckily, I found a great sale on some work attire and ended up buying some tops in my current size and the next size down for $5 each. I even grew into a xl coat that I won at a work contest 5 years ago that never fit. Before I had surgery I was wearing a size 28 pant and now I am between an 18-20. I even bought a size 18 swimming suit that fits.
I have so much more energy than I ever remember having. I have been working out with a trainer and going to the gym and I can’t wait until spring actually gets here so I can spend more time outside. I had my first belly dance performance of the year, and while there were some glitches, the best part was how great I looked in my costume. This is the first time I have been able to purchase a commercial costume. They never even came close to fitting, so I had always made my own.
I really do feel like a new person and I am looking forward to the next goal, which is to have a bmi of less than 40 which would take me out of the Morbid obese category.
I hope everyone has a great Easter and spring.
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I have spent the last several months thinking about gastric bypass and what it will mean for and to me. Now with a surgery date finally set I need to express some of the ideas that have been floating around in my head. I want to preface this by saying I have a surgery date of September 12th, and I will be having a laparoscopy gastric bypass.
I have always struggled with my weight and as of a couple of months ago I weigh 350 lbs, that is the same as 2 normal people. When I graduated from college in 1990 I wanted to join the peace corp but I was not eligible unless I weighed less than 200 lbs, at that time is was about 230? So I was already over weight and since then I have gain an addition 120 lbs, not the right direction.
I know I eat for a lot of reasons but at least for me one of my big issues is because of loneliness and boredom. I have been single for a long time and while I don’t regret it there are lots of times that being single means you are lonely. I also have to admit that while I try to be friendly, in general I am more comfortable alone than in groups. While that may seem contradictory, it is the reality of who I am. I like my independence and value my time spent alone with my cats, but that same thing can also trigger me to go on an eating binge (mainly lots of carbs) potatoes, pasta, ect.
As an important side note I need to also acknowledge my huge dependence on fast food. When I was growing up my parents had a fast food restaurant and that is where I spent lots of time. We ate burgers and fries most nights for dinner, and we always had access to the soda machine and ice cream machine. So while I might not have had lots of friends I had all the comfort food I wanted. I am not trying to blame my parents for my problems because I was 14 when they sold the restaurant and I while I was probably a little over weight I was not obese. I became obese mostly as an adult. I probably weighted about 175 when I graduated from High School.
I have tried to loose weight several times and part of the issues is that once I hit a plateau after a while I give up. Once that happens I eventually gain back all the weight I lost and then more. I have tried to stay very active and mostly I have done ok, but the last few years have been more of a challenge.
Moving to Salt Lake was a real challenge for me. While I have never had a huge number of friends I did have several good friends and things were fairly good except that I didn’t have a job. So I moved to SLC, I loved my job but it was very stressful and I didn’t deal well with the stress. I was going to the gym but my eating got way out of control. I continued to focus on exercise and while that was good I was not dealing with the other part of the problem food. I had several bad bouts of depressions which did not help the situation.
One of the biggest problems I had moving to SLC was meeting people and developing friendships. I really struggled with that for several years and it has only been in the last couple of years that I have found and made some great friends.
I am so very lucky that I heard about a Belly dance festival. I even said I wanted to be a belly dancer as a little kid, but I had never taken classes because of my work schedule. Well at the festival I learned of the large BD community in SLC and I meet my first teacher, Amanda. What a huge change that has made in my life. I have been welcomed into the community and they have made me realise that I am a beautiful, woman. I now dance regularly as part of Troupe Ostara. One thing I can say about all of them is that it might have taken me a while to find them but I was very blessed to find some amazing women and men that I now consider friends and family.
So now back to my reality. I am officially classified as morbidly obese, with a BMI of about 45. I have several comorbidies, including high blood pressure, depression, sleep issues, irregular periods, and a high risk of blood clots. I have tried for years to convince myself that while I have a weight problem I am generally healthy. While is some cases that is true, I have several serious medical issues that I need to address.
Once I decided to investigate weight loss surgery I did some research and learned that many people have to struggle to get insurance to approve surgery, and most have to prove that they have tried a medical supervised program for 6-12 months, have a psychological evaluation and lots of people spend years getting the surgery approved. Mine was approved less than a week. You might view this as lucky or good karma, what it made me realize is that the insurance company figures that my health is so high risk that they think spending $20,000 is a good deal. They figure my health problems will cost them lots more money and they reason they use the term morbid is that I was on my way to death because of my weight. When you sit down and think about that it is a very powerful statement of just how unhealthy I am.
Ok so here I sit looking at the situation I face after surgery. My insurance company realized that drastic measure were necessary to address my current situation. We are not talking about an easy solution here. Prior to surgery, I have to go on a restricted diet (1000 calories) for 2 weeks to help shrink my liver to decrease the risks of complications from surgery. Then there is the whole surgery issue, while it is safer and the risks are lower there are still risks.
They will have me up and walking the day of surgery and I will have to keep up a consistent exercise routine. They recommend walking 5 days a week for about 2 miles. Then there are the vitamins, and mineral supplements that I will have to take every day for the rest of my life. Some of these like the B-12 are critical or I may loose cognitive abilities.
Once surgery is complete my stomach will be the size of a small egg and I will be limited to eating 1-2 ounces of food in a meal. Assuming there are no complications I will basically be on a clear liquid diet for 3 weeks ( 500 calories) and then I spend the next 3 months on soft foods and learning more about what foods my I can eat on a 70 % protein, 30% veg diet. I will also have to drink 64 oz of water every day, by sipping very slowly, but I am not allow to have liquid with meals or 30 min before or after eating. This will involve lots of testing of food to see what my replumbed body will accept with out pain, dumping, or vomiting not a pleasant picture.
Granted while this is going on I will be loosing weight relatively quickly, but lots of it is because of the severe calorie restriction, and required exercise. In a year I should have lost the majority of my excess weight and will then have to learn how to eat in a manner to maintain my new healthy weight and not regain the weight and ruin the entire effort.
I will basically have to follow a diet of mostly protein (70%) and vegetables (30%) for the rest of my life. I will no longer be able to consume carbonated beverages, and alcohol will not be allowed for at least a year. I will never be able to drink much again because the surgery will change how my body reacts to alcohol. There are probably a lot of foods that I will not be able to eat in the future and I will always have to watch what I eat to ensure that I do not regain the weight.
Looking at all of this you may wonder why I am still going through with the surgery. It is very simple; I have reached a point where I have to take this drastic measure to live. This is not a decision based on wanting to be skinny and looking good but a mater of life or death.