1 year Surgurversary – We went to Disneyworld!!!

Apr 08, 2010

On March 25, I celebrated my 1 year surgurversary.   And how did we celebrate it?   We went to Disneyworld!!!! It was a WONDERFUL trip and, WOW, what a difference 130 pounds lost makes in the enjoyment!

Tale of the Tape

So, before I get into the details of the trip, here is the “Tale of the Tape” on my WLS journey.  From my high point of 303 pounds on Sept 16, 2008, here are some of the significant changes:

Weight -- 303 to 168 --  135 lbs lost, 105 lost since surgery on 3/25/09
Waist -- 48 inches (stretch waist band -- probably should have been 50) to 34 inches. (Believe it or not, I had to *increase* the my pants length by 1 inch. I guess I was wearing my slacks too low before my weight loss)
Neck size -- 20 1/2 inches to 15 inches
Shirt size -- XXXL to Medium (bordering on Medium for some cuts)
Exercise -- none to 4.25 miles/day in 50 mins 5 times a week,  weights two night a week
BP --  145/90  to 118/72
Sleep Apnea – Stopped using CPAP back in September after sleep study showed NO episodes of apnea.
Migraines -- 20 per month to 1 or 2 a month

Wow.   I feel so much better than I did before my surgery. 

“WOW”s at Disneyworld

1)      I walked anywhere and everywhere and STILL had *so* much energy.   If anything, I had more energy than my 17 year old daughter and her 16 year old boyfriend. Yeah, I was tired in the evenings but it was a *good* kind of tired.

2)      I fit in EVERY ride – no worrying about getting in or out. No worrying about whether the latch will close. No cases of having a “cast member” push down on the restraint to make it latch. It was great!

3)      I had trouble finding a Disney sweatshirt that would fit me.   However, it wasn’t the same problems I had in the past. Everything they had that I liked was always in an S, XL or XXL. I had trouble finding a Medium or a Large. 

4)      I didn’t have to put on “Body Glide” each morning to keep my thighs from chafing

5)      I wasn’t sweating like a pig the entire time we were there. If anything, I needed to carry a jacket with me every day. Even though it hit 80 degrees a couple of days, the mornings and evenings got chilly (for me at least – my daughter was in shorts and a sweatshirt).

6)      I handled the roller coasters and the “thrill rides” better than I did when I was 300 pounds.   I guess since I don’t have as much mass to swing around, it doesn’t mess up my equilibrium as much.  

WLS eating at Disneyworld

I had absolutely NO problems finding something I wanted and could safely eat at every restaurant in which we ate. I’ve been told that the Disney restaurant system is extremely accommodating for special needs eating, but I never had to use anything special. Every restaurant had good moist meats and, in most, I even found a good selection of sugar free or no-sugar added desserts for a special treat (since it was a celebration). Even the “Wishes Dessert Celebration” that we attended had fresh fruit, sorbet and a couple of sugar free selections on the dessert cart.

I had trouble getting in enough calories during my trip.   With all the walking we were doing (see “How far do you walk?” below), I ended up with a 1000 calorie deficit on some of the days we were there. Even though I had decided to back off and not track my eating so closely during the trip (it was a vacation and I’m below goal), it kind of backfired on me.   I didn’t eat enough given the increased exercise. That, coupled with being sick one day, caused me to lose almost 5 pounds during the week.   I’m still within my “safe zone” but it wasn’t what I expected.

If anything, the biggest problem was the fact that I had to leave leftovers at every meal. The portion sizes were huge and I just had to walk away from the leftovers. When we eat out at home, I would take home the extra and have it for another meal (or two). However, that wouldn’t really work when you are spending another few hours in the parks before going back to the hotel.   I did have a couple of managers come over to make sure that everything was alright with the meal. But the only place it caused a “problem” was at the 50’s Diner in Hollywood Studio’s. If you’ve never been to that place, the waiters/waitresses act like “Mom” from 1950’s sitcoms and the whole meal is a running gag with them telling the “kids” to set the table and keep their arms off the table, etc.   I got chastised (in fun) for not cleaning my plate like my “brothers and sisters” did.   I played along with it for awhile but it took my wife jumping in telling the waitress that I was serious and couldn’t eat anymore before the waitress dropped out of character and backed off (with apologies).  Even with that, it was a fun evening and I left her a big tip.

How far do you walk at Disneyworld?

People are always asking “How far do you walk when you go to Disneyworld?” Well, I wore my GoWearFit the entire time I was there and got a great set of data.   The GoWearFit only calculates steps but I’ve calibrated mine for steps per mile (2038 steps per mile – average over 5 separate tests). So, here are the results

Animal Kingdom – 9.3 miles (in park from 8am rope drop to 4pm)
Epcot – 8.85 miles (in park from 9am rope drop to 9pm Illuminations with 2 hr break in afternoon)
Magic Kingdom – 10.1 miles (in park from 7am rope drop to 10 pm Fireworks with 3 hr break in afternoon)

We didn’t get to do a full day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (See “Sick” story below) but we “touched” Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (4.5 hours) on the last day. On that day I put in 7.8 miles

It is not fun being sick at the “Happiest Place on Earth”

At 3 am on April 1st, I woke up feeling REALLY sick to my stomach.   I ended up losing what I had eaten for a snack the previous evening and then going into dry heaves every 20 minutes for the next 12 hours. At first I was thinking it was related to my surgery. That is, until my daughter’s boyfriend came down with the same thing about an hour after I did.   We were both out of it ALL day long. I slept fitfully all day long when I wasn’t up with the dry heaves.   I wasn’t even keeping water down.   It mysteriously passed after about 12-15 hours for both of us.  The best we can figure it was some sort of food poisoning but we are having a hard time nailing down what we had that my wife and daughter didn’t have.   My wife and daughter thought we were pulling an April Fool’s Day joke on them -- it was too convenient for both of us to be sick on the morning of April 1st. However, they knew we were serious when the next round of dry heaves came around.

Needless to say, we didn’t do our planned trip to the Hollywood Studios for that day. Luckily we had planned for the next day (our last day) in Disneyworld to be a “catch up” day in which we would revisit a few rides we wanted to do over. We had a prepaid tour in Epcot that we had to attend and we were chosen to be in the Parade in Animal Kingdom so we had to go there for that (it was a BLAST). After that, we “caught up” on the rides we missed at Hollywood Studios.

The good news is that, because I spent ALL day in bed that day, I got a great confirmation on my basal metabolic rate with my GoWearFit.   Lying in bed all day long and only taking 285 steps all day, I burned 1845 calories.     This is within 5 calories of the 1850 they measured me at the fitness center at work with the oxygen burn test.

Summary Overall, it was a great trip and a great way to celebrate a major milestone.   I can’t wait to see what the next year of being at a healthy weight brings! Next up – I have a consult with a plastic surgeon tomorrow to see about doing something with this excess skin.

After 17 years, I get to toss the CPAP machine!!

Oct 16, 2009

Just got the official word back after my sleep test last week -- "With his weight loss, patient has had a complete resolution of previously diagnosed sleep apnea.   No further need for CPAP treatment".

After 17 years (my daughter has never known me sleeping without it), I get to go without it.   It made a tremendously positive difference in my health while I was using it, but I am SO thrilled to be able to pack it up and put it away.

I've got a business trip next week and it will be *so* nice not to have to cart that machine along with me.

6 months after surgery

Sep 30, 2009

I hit the 6 months out mark last week.    Wow!!!   What a difference 6 months can make.    It just so happens that my high point on weight was almost exactly one year ago this week.    Wow!!!  What a difference 1 year can make.  

So, from my high point of 303 pounds on Sept 16, 2008, here are some of the significant changes:

Weight -- 303 to 181 --  122 lbs lost forever
Waist -- 48 inches (stretch waist band -- probably should have been 50) to 38 inches (too big but 36's don't fit right because of extra skin)
Neck size -- 20 1/2 inches to 15 1/2 inches
Shirt size -- XXXL to Large (bordering on Medium for some cuts)
Exercise -- none to 3.33 miles/day in 50 mins 5 times a week,  weights one night a week, EA Active one night a week.
BP --  145/90  to 118/72
Sleep Apnea -- still using CPAP but I dropped the pressure from 14 to 10.  Going in for a new sleep study this week -- hopefully I can get rid of the CPAP machine I've been on for 17 years.
Migraines -- 20 per month to 1 or 2 a month

Wow.   I feel so much better.  


GOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! -- Now what?

Sep 07, 2009

When I started this journey, I set my goal with my surgeon at 185 lbs.   So, on Saturday, Sept 5, 2009 at 5 1/2 months out from RNY surgery, I hit 185 lbs -- at total loss of 118 lbs (30 prior to surgery, 88 since surgery).    Now comes the hard part.    What do I do from here?  

I've lost weight before but I've always gained it back plus more.  I don't want to do that again.  This is the point at which I've always screwed it up in the past.   So I need to REALLY make sure I nail this maintenance transition correctly.

New Goal?
I see my surgeon and nutritionist tomorrow for my 6 month post-op visit (not quite 6 months but this is when they scheduled it).   Given how fast I hit goal and that I'm still in the "honeymoon period", I'm guessing that we'll be discussing setting a new goal.     I can see myself going down maybe another 10-15 lbs to 170.  Right now, I don't think I want to go below that.   If we set a new goal, that may make all these questions moot for today.   However, I'm going to have the same questions a couple of months from now, so I really want to understand it.

How do I slow things down?
I'm almost embarrassed to ask this given the struggles I see folks having with stalls here.   But, how do I slow the loss down?   I was assuming that I would come in for a "soft landing" at goal but I'm still losing at a pretty good clip.

Month 1         25-Apr       -23.5
Month 2         25-May      -22.7
Month 3         25-Jun      -13.5
Month 4         25-Jul       -13.0
Month 5         25-Aug     -10.4
Month 6         25-Sep       -5.2 (so far over 2 weeks)

I had been shooting for 850 net calories per day (total intake minus exercise as per DailyPlate).   So for me this normally worked out to 1100 intake and 250 or so exercise per day for a net of 850.   I'm always between 85 and 110 on my protein but usually closer to 95 - 100.     I exercise usually 7 days a week but it isn't extremely vigorous.   Right now I'm walking 2.85 miles in 45 min on 5 days, weights on 1 day, and EA Active 30 day challenge on 1 day.   I shoot for approx 250 calorie burn on each of those.

For the past two weeks, I bumped up my calorie intake to 1300-1350 to try and slow things down a bit (going for the soft landing), but, if anything, it may have speeded things up.   I zoomed right by the goal and I'm still going.

So, how do you find that right point of calorie intake and exercise to maintain?

What am I really burning per day?

So, last week I bought one of those GoWear Fit monitors to see what I'm really burning.   I've only had it 3 days but my calorie burn for those three days was 2601, 2504 and 3108.   So according to that I'm running at a calorie deficit of at least 1150 per day.   Which  works out to a 2.3 lbs/week loss ((1150 * 7days)/3500 cal per pound lost).    I don't see how in the world I could get up to 2500 calories per day to even out that calorie burn.   

So, I'm thrilled to be "at goal" but now a new "hard part" starts.


A WOW Triple Play

Aug 01, 2009

I'm not sure how it happened, but within the space of 10 days, I've scored a WOW triple play!
Nobody out. Runners on First and Second. Here's the pitch….

100 lbs Lost Forever -- July 23, 2009 -- "It's a line drive to the shortstop. He snags it!"

I started out this journey at 303 pounds. I lost 30 pounds from October 2008 to my surgery in March 2009.   By July 23, 2009 (almost 4 months after surgery), I had lost another 70 pounds.

"One-derland" -- July 29, 2009 -- "He steps on the bag at second for the second out"

It had taken me almost a month to get from 210 to 203, but once I crossed the 100 lb barrier it didn't stop.   Six days later, I was at 199.8. Yeeee Hawwwww! I hadn't been below 200 in 10 years and that was only after I had been in the hospital for a month.  

No Longer Obese -- August 1, 2009 -- "On to First -- TRIPLE PLAY!!!!"

OK -- Just Barely.   Today I hit 197.   It shows up on my ticker as a BMI of 30 (Obese). But officially, it is 29.95!!!   I'm now down into the Overweight category!
I don't post here very often but I do "lurk" everyday.    I get a lot of encouragement and help from all the great supporters on this board.   So, thanks to ALL of you.

The journey is only beginning.


About Me
Cary, NC
Surgery Date
May 23, 2008
Member Since

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