Decision made -- committing to a new goal weight
Aug 27, 2014
When I got to 134.8 lbs on Dec. 31st of last year I couldn't even imagine wanting to lose more weight. I was experiencing diet "fatigue" and just wanted to figure out how to live my life as a normal-size woman. I set 135-140 as my "comfort zone" and had no problem staying there. I started a pretty rigorous exercise program in April of this year and after 3 months of consistent exercise my new normal settled in at 132 lbs. So I set a new "comfort zone" of 131-135, which I've managed to maintain for the most part.
Today I weighed myself and I'm at 134.8 but it feels different than it did back in December. After all the hard work I've done to tone up my body and decrease my body fat percentage, 135 lbs. feels a bit "fluffy"...if that makes any sense. With my arms and legs in great condition I can clearly see that there's still excess fat around my middle. And no, it's not excess skin; that skin hangs low and loose while the "fluff" sits higher in the abdomen area and is pretty firm. I should probably note here too that I am 5'2.5" tall and claim 5'3" on a good day ;-)
So, I've decided to go for it - my new goal is 125 lbs. and 18% body fat. I'm not going to cut back to previous WL mode levels of 800 calories and 40 carbs, I just can't do that any more. But I will cut back to around 1200 calories and 80 carbs so I can ease my way into the new weight range. I'd love to be close to the new goal at my 18-month post-op appointment in November but I know my doctor will be thrilled regardless.
When I started this whole journey I just wanted to get below 180 lbs. because I hadn't seen the 170's since my early 20's. And now I'm looking at getting back to the weight I was in high school. Never, ever, ever in a million years could have predicted that. WOW!
Body Fat Percentage - Update!
Jun 24, 2014
After completing almost 11 weeks of hardcore exercise 6 days a week, I went back to my local university to have my body fat retested in the underwater tank. They tested it at my gym but they use the electronic hand-held monitor and it was logging my body fat almost 4% higher than when I started their program, which of course totally pissed me off I'm convinced that those monitors don't do a good job on people who've got a lot of excess skin from WLS.
I actually weighed in 4 lbs. less than when I was there in February (nice!). And my body fat came in at 22.6% - yahooooo! That's a loss of 4% body fat since February's test! Best of all, I gained 1.5 lbs of precious, beautiful muscle in the last 11 weeks. For those of you that know anything about fitness, you know how incredibly difficult it is to gain muscle when your calories and carbs are severely restricted. I can't begin to eat the amount of food, calories and carbs that the trainers believe a woman my size should eat for building muscle. I just stuck to my own food plan and proved that it can be done.
I will continue with this exercise program and will go back for another round of underwater body fat testing in 6 months to see if I've hit my goal of 20% body fat. I'm not really interested in losing any more weight at this point but I can see myself settling in at 130# with 135# as my "red flag" to go back to weight-loss mode.
Jun 11, 2014
I'm a bit late with this but wanted to make sure I document where I'm at today because it's a bit different from my last blog that was just one month ago. I had the VSG on May 24, 2013, in Omaha, NE with Dr. Brad Winterstein at Methodist Hospital. What's funny is that 6 months ago I changed jobs and now I actually work for the same health care system that performed my surgery :-)
Thinking back over the enormity of all the changes in the last 12 months overwhelms me a bit. Here's some of them:
- I've gone from weighing 218 lbs. the day of surgery to weighing 132.2 lbs. this morning.
- I was wearing a size 20 back then and now wear a size 8 and could probably get into a size 6.
- I was immediately removed from all my diabetes medication post-op. My last A1c was 5.4; my blood pressure is perfect; my iron level has gone up to normal, which allowed me to donate blood for the first time in over 10 years.
- I don't spill over the seats at the movies or theaters; I can cross my legs; I fit into any and all restaurant booths
- I can sit down and get up from the floor without holding onto something
- I am working out and pushing my body to get more fit
- I can run up stairs without getting winded and can chase my nephews and niece around without getting tired
- I never have to shop in a plus size store again; clothes shopping is ENJOYABLE!
- People call me "skinny" and tell me how healthy and fit I look
- I'm smaller than both my adult daughters
- Airplane travel is no longer torturous
- I am brave enough to wear a swimsuit for the first time in decades!
- I don't snore anymore and have much better sleep
- I have come out of the "closet" about my surgery and can speak with pride and honesty about my journey to WLS and my struggles since getting surgery
That's just a sampling and the list grows every day. Perhaps the biggest NSV is that my husband saw my transformation and finally started believing that this surgery thing could work. He got VSG two months ago today - so we are a two sleeve family. He's lost almost 40 lbs. in those two months and is off his b/p meds and no longer needs his CPAP machine.
I'm still working on reducing my overall body fat and will go to my local college next week for another round of underwater body fat testing. I am completing a 10-week intensive exercise program this week and will be interested to see the results. I haven't lost much weight in these 10 weeks, in fact I actually went up at the 5-week mark and have come back down. But then again, I didn't need to lose a lot. My doctor is thrilled with where I'm at now. Personally, I'd like to get to 125 and then stay in the 125-129 range, but we'll see. If I never lose another pound I am thrilled with my results! I've also decided to sign up for a one year program with this gym I'm going to - I really want to see how much I can change my body in the next year by really working hard.
So those are a lot of positive but there are always negatives too, right? And I would be sugar-coating things (ha! ironic term) if I didn't talk about the struggles and difficulties. Here they are:
- gastric reflux and excess acid issues - STILL a problem and STILL taking medication. Trying to wean off it now.
- hair loss - ugh! My hair guy says I've lost at least half my hair and I didn't have much to start with :-( For me it was a multitude of factors including genetics, my age, surgery, etc. My doctor has me on a medication now to help slow down the loss and I'm using Rogaine. The hair guy thinks it's starting to come back a bit - I guess only time will tell how much I can regrow.
- my sugar addiction is still alive and well and I battle it almost every single day. I continue to go to Overeaters Anonymous because it provides me some great tools for dealing with this crazy addiction that "normal" people just don't understand. Everyone looks at me and sees a thin woman and thinks nothing of me eating a cookie or piece of cake. But that one bite or piece of something is ALWAYS going to turn into more...and more...and more. I could have easily been at 125 lbs. if I hadn't messed around with trying to be "normal" and eat in "moderation" like normal people do these last 6 months. I can't...ever...end of story.
- excess skin and face issues: well, we knew there would be extra skin, right? I just didn't realize how much it would bother me. And at my age I really can't afford to spend the amount that I would on a new car and put myself in deep debt for all the surgeries I think I need (upper body lift, lower body lift, necklift). So I'm just going to focus on the neck for now because that's the part I see every day. Now that I feel healthier and younger I don't like looking older and tired, which is what happens when you're 52 and lose a lot of weight!
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, even with the reflux and hair issues. I truly believe I've extended my life by 10 years by dropping the pounds and getting rid of my co-morbidities. I've certainly increased my enjoyment of life. I'm much more willing to try new things and put myself out there than I was a year ago. Sometimes it makes me sad to think of how much I've missed through the isolating I did as an obese person. But I look forward to a lot more years of living a healthy, vibrant life; living the life I was meant to have.
May 13, 2014
The last time I wrote a blog it was right after starting a 10-week exercise program. Well, last Thursday was the half-way mark and they took our measurements, weighed us and checked our body fat, as well as re-tested us on sit-ups, push-ups and the mile run. Have to admit that I was bummed to see the scale go up 2 lbs. but even more bummed to see the body fat monitor go UP 2% - WTF?!? It put me in a huge funk for the rest of the day. The whole point of doing this damn class was to lose body fat and the cheap-ass monitor is saying I'm going the other way? Fortunately, I had a surgery f/u appointment that next day and the doctor convinced me that: 1) those monitors are crap and I should go by the previous underwater testing I've done, and 2) it's impossible for me to have lost muscle and gained fat in those 5 weeks with what I've been eating and doing.
However, I did take a really hard look at what I've been eating since I hit "goal" at the end of December and you know what? I've been messing around....for the most part I've stayed within my goal "range" of 135-139 lbs. but I always wanted to really get to 130 lbs and I haven't come close to that. Why? Because I'm eating a lot of calories...and a lot more carbs and variety of carbs...and more protein than I probably need. Excess of anything is going to get stored as fat, even protein. And I've been doing this by deluding myself that it's "OK" because I'm working out so hard and trying to build muscle. Time to hold myself accountable...
I finally had to call "bullshit" on myself and face the fact that I'm only working out 45 minutes a day! Sure, it's a tough workout but it doesn't come close to the athletic, high-intensity training that a lot of OHers do. And I had to face the fact that if I want to lose weight then I have to go back to the proven plan that I used before, regardless of what my coaches at the gym would like to see me do. My body has been metabolically and physiologically changed for life and I will always have to do food plans my way regardless of what the muscle-heads at the gym tell me.
So I told my coaches last Friday that I would not be turning in my food logs anymore because the small amount I am eating will completely freak them out. They were cool with it because they know about the surgery. And then I went all "hard-core-Tracy". I changed my breakfast back to a protein shake; before I was doing an egg, a little fruit and then a protein shake on the way to work. No need for that since I'm not working out in the morning anymore. I'm doing my level-best to keep total carbs between 40-50 a day and my protein around 90 per day. Total calories is falling between 900-1100 depending on the choices. And it's working!!
Since last Thursday I have dropped 4 lbs. and I'm at my all-time low weight of 134 lbs. I looked at my husband the other day and said, "Shit, it really is all about the carbs!" The other benefit is that my restriction and satiety have increased and the carb monster has been kicked to the curb. Yeah, it's only been 4 days going "hard-core" but it's been a great 4 days and I'm finally headed in the right direction.
I've set another appointment for myself to have underwater body fat testing done in mid-June. That will be right about when this exercise program ends and I'll use that number to determine how successful I've been with getting to a healthier body fat percentage. And whether or not I'll sign up for another session of this or do something else.
And by the way: at the 5-week mark I doubled the amount of sit-ups and push-ups I could do in 1 minute and shaved 2.5 minutes off my mile run. Proving that you can't measure success by the scale or a stupid-ass body fat monitor!
10 month update - exercise
Apr 09, 2014
OK, I'm a bit late with this ;-) My goal post seems sooooo long ago now! I have maintained for the last 3 months in the 135-139 range. Today's weight was 137.2. At my 9-mo. post-op appointment in February my surgeon encouraged me to kick up the intensity of my exercise. I was telling him how I wanted to get my body fat percentage down to 20% (it's currently sitting at 26.7%). He suggested CrossFit or Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping. I was able to get a good deal at Farrell's and started this week.
OMG - I obviously don't know what working out is because I haven't felt this kind of exhaustion and muscle pain in decades! Farrell's combines 3 days of kickboxing with 3 days of resistance band training. All are 45 minute sessions and the time flies by. I am an uncoordinated mess at kickboxing and I'm a little afraid I'm going to hurt myself.
I've signed up for the 10 week program with the goal of dropping 6-7 lbs. while gaining 3-4 lbs. of lean muscle. That should put me right around 20% body fat...my ultimate goal. We'll see how that goes.
After hitting goal my husband and I went to California for a week in early February to see our new granddaughter. I had the BEST time! Complete ease and comfort on airplanes, wowing family members who haven't seen me in a couple years, and having the energy and stamina to walk everywhere and keep up with people. And the best part - LOTS of pics with me in, pics that I love, pics that I'm happy to frame and have people see. Memories!
After I complete Farrell's 10-week program I will get another set of "after" pics taken and post my fitness and measurement stats. By then it will be just a couple weeks past my 1-year surgiversary. A good time to take stock and relish the victories.
Happy birthday to me?
Nov 07, 2013
I weigh 148 lbs. I can't even remember ever weighing 148! The 140's were probably an area I lived in briefly as I climbed through to a much higher weight in my early 20's. But I don't remember how it felt to be this weight.
My body feels so strange to me now. Bony in certain areas, bonier than I ever felt when I was younger. And saggy in other areas. And even though I'm only 13 lbs. away from goal I still have significant fat on my back and lower stomach. As in fat that I can grab and manipulate. It's just all very....odd!
The good news is that I should be on track to hit my goal weight of 135 by my birthday on Dec. 23rd. Woohoo! There will be champagne for sure :-)
After assessing the fat that still lives on my back and my stomach, I may need to shoot for a slightly lower goal of 130. I'll see when I get there. And I'll absolutely redo the underwater body fat testing to see if I've come close to achieving 25% total body fat. THAT is the true measure of success for me.
Making a decision to love my body
Oct 25, 2013
How many years have you spent hating your body? I struggle to remember a time when I wasn't embarrassed by it or when I wasn't loathing, disliking and picking it apart from my face down to my toes. By the time I was in 1st or 2nd grade I was getting "chubby"; I outgrew that by 5th or 6th grade but my natural shape/build was always a lot more sturdy and muscular than other girls. I considered that "fat" or "overweight" and, frankly, my family seemed to reinforce that idea.
I look back now at pictures of when I was in my teens and early 20's and I'm envious of how healthy and fit I looked (and how flat my stomach was even after two babies!). That dissolved pretty quickly by my mid-20's when my eating disorder and life got the better of me. From that point on I can't remember a time when I wasn't overweight or obese...until now. So fast forward 25+ years to now...
What no one prepares you for when you lose lots of weight is that the body bashing/hatred doesn't stop. It's become such a habit now, a tape that runs constantly in my head. With the loss of 81 lbs., I just have different things to focus on. It's not the size of my thighs or my stomach or the number on the scale. It's the saggy skin on my neck...or the batwings...or the flat-as-pancake boobs....or the (fill in the blank). Every day it seems like there's a new flaw to pick apart. And, unfortunately, I pick...and it drives my family crazy. My daughter said the other day, "you're never going to be satisfied are you? You'll always find something you don't like."
What she said made me stop and think. I'm constantly attacking and dishonoring a body that - despite my best efforts at destroying it - has faithfully carried me through life. It produced my two beautiful children. All my major organs are intact, all my senses are in working order, I've dodged some major health bullets and it's responding fantastically to WLS and exercise. My body should be exalted and worshipped for the fantastic job it has done, especially for surviving the years of misuse and abuse I heaped upon it!
This morning I made a conscious decision to "talk" to my body and thank it for everything it has done for me. Touching my skin, feeling my muscles, I thanked it for hanging in there with me when it would have been easier to just give up and get sick or die. I told it I appreciate it how strong it is, how gracefully it moves through time and space, how the muscles are getting strong, and for the good health that enables me to enjoy my family, friends and job. And to the extra fat that is still hanging around, still trying to protect me after all these years, I gently told it: "I bless you with love, and now I release you and let you go!"
Changing my mindset is going to take lots of practice - I'm certain it will be worth it. I don't want to spend the next 20 years fixated on my flaws only to look back and think, "Wow, I really looked good back then!" I don't want to waste another minute hating myself or the fantastic body that I was blessed with.
In the 150's...24 lbs. to go
Oct 03, 2013
I had to travel down to Oklahoma for work earlier this week. Let me just say that traveling and staying in a hotel at 4 months post-op has it's drawbacks AND advantages. Drawbacks: all the damn planning that went into what I was going to eat each day, making sure I took it with me, and planning for how to store it (my fancy hotel didn't have a fridge in the room), not having anywhere to store my dinner leftovers. Advantages: all the money I saved not stopping for "road food", freedom from the mental obsession of food - most of the time. I did find the evenings were more difficult because sitting in a hotel room can get kind of lonely.
But I was SO rewarded when I got home. On Sunday the scale said 161.2. I got back late yesterday and this morning the scale said 159 - YAHOOO!!! I went shopping at Macy's for some jeans while I was out-of-town and was very surprised that size 12s fit. A little snug, but they fit! And then today, I wore a new shirt that I just bought less than a month ago. In fact, this is only the second time I've worn it...and someone told me it was too big - LOL!
Only 24 lbs. to go - wow. Most of us have lost and gained 24 lbs. or more dozens of times. But I realize it'll be the hardest 24 lbs. I've ever lost in my life. I'm pretty determined to get it done in the next 2 months before my honeymoon period expires but I'm thinking it'll probably take closer to 3 months just based on my average weekly loss of 2 lbs. per week. Which is still awesome!
Sep 28, 2013
I went to my local university yesterday and completed a hydrostatic weighing session. I wasn't crazy about the grad student seeing me in my borrowed swimsuit but at least I didn't have to traipse through the exercise physi lab in front of a bunch of people. It was a surprisingly private set-up with the weighing tank in a room all by itself. So it was just me, the tank and the grad student.
I was worried that the results were going to bum me out; I fully expected the results to show me at a pretty high percentage of body fat. I was high but it didn't bum me out at all - just the opposite! So here's how it went:
1. Even though my scale weighed me at 162 this morning I was at 164.2 by 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. So that was the starting point.
2. They had me dunk under the water about 10 times and used my best 3 efforts to get a good average.
3. Fat mass: 57.7 lbs Fat free mass: 106.4 % Body Fat: 35.16
4. The way I figure it, if I can get to 141 lbs. with NO loss of lean body mass, I should be at 25% body fat. Optimum for women is 22-25% (some professionals even go up to 32%).
5. I still plan to shoot for 135 as my goal weight and allow myself a 3 lb. "cushion".
Biggest surprises: how hard it was to blow out all my air and how still I had to be under water. The scale is super-sensitive so I had to concentrate on moving slowly and as little as possible.
This just goes to show that we shouldn't live-and-die by the BMI Charts. Based on my height, I would barely be in the normal BMI range at 135 lbs. But getting to 141 clearly puts me at a very healthy body fat percentage (if I can retain 105 lbs. of lean body mass).
So that's my challenge for the next three months: Lost 20-25 lbs. of FAT while retaining all my non-fat body mass.
Wish me luck!