Today is March 6, 2012. It has been 1 year and 8 months since I’ve added anything to this blog. I initially started to chronicle my “journey through weightloss” in January 2010, which I did very well for several months.
I had Lapband surgery in January of 2010, because being 5’4” tall and weighing 260# just wasn’t working for me. (Ya think?) Even today, I think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Now, at this point, I know I have managed to slide backwards some, but I don’t consider that a failure of the surgery, but my own personal inability to address why I have always sought solace in food. But I digress.
When I left off in July of 2010, I had lost 83# in a little over 5 months. That was pretty impressive, and I felt absolutely great. By December 1, 2010, I had lost 107#, weighing 151#, the least I have weighed in 25 years. It was so liberating, so satisfying, and my shopping excursions became legendary (transferring my addiction to food into addiction to shopping!). I managed to put 10# back on over the holidays and a trip I took to Florida, but all and all, I didn’t get too upset about that.
I stopped going to the gym over a year ago. My last visit was in February 2011, and I swore I would get back in the groove, but here I am in March of 2012 and I still haven’t managed to do that. I have lost my “mojo” and I don’t know where it went or how to get it back. I’m afraid to weigh, but am pretty sure I’m back up around 180# because instead of wearing the size 10’s I was in before, I’m now wearing size 14’s. Of course I rationalize that “that’s better than 260#, but how do I think I got there in the first place?? I am so mad at myself, but seem powerless to fix this. I LOVED being thinner. I LOVED feeling better. I LOVED wearing nice clothes that I looked good in. I LOVED the compliments I got. I LOVED being able to sleep better. I feel like I’m teetering on a fence where I could fall either way - into the regular sizes in the department store, or back into the “big girls’ section” where all the running suits and oversized sweatshirts are found.
Four weeks ago, my reflux became so bad that I had to sleep sitting in a chair. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling as if my chest was constricted, and I threw up at least twice a week. My band was too tight, and I’m fairly certain it was because I was trying to shove too much food in, and my main intake has been sweets (always my biggest temptation). I contacted my surgeon (who is fabulous) and he got me right in and took out all of the saline from my band, allowing me to eat pretty much freely, and to start getting decent sleep. Of course now, four weeks later, I’m fairly certain I’ve gained more weight, because ever since my band was loosened, I’ve felt as if I was starving and have eaten “regular” portions (unlike the small portions I was eating before).
I know everything I’m doing wrong. I just don’t know how to stop.
Not sure why it’s been so long since I got on here. Maybe it’s the same reason I haven’t been going to the gym as much. Summertime is really busy! Seems like there’s something going on constantly. Week-ends have been taken with company, holiday celebrations (albeit mostly rained out), kids, etc. etc. Plus, I’m working longer hours at work and when I leave the hospital later in the evening, it’s harder to think about working out and getting home around 8:00. Summer is flying by, but I’m maintaining - I had what I hope will be my last “fill” on July 1st, one week ago today. I threatened my surgeon with bodily harm if he filled it too tight - (I love to give him a hard time), and he promised me it was perfect. Turns out he’s right. I had gotten to the point where I could “eat too much”, meaning I didn’t feel like I was getting full soon enough. I really do live in constant fear that I’m going to go back the other direction, and I’ve come so far! Toward the end of about 6 weeks after a fill, after losing enough weight, the band relaxes some naturally because there is less fat surrounding the area (makes sense, but I hadn’t really considered it before). Now, I’m back to eating smaller amounts and feeling full much sooner. I still concentrate on eating and drinking as much protein as I can - usually averaging around 70 to 80 grams a day. I’m down to going to the gym twice a week, which is not good, BUT, as of Tuesday (July 6th, which would have been my Mom’s 81st birthday), I have lost 83 lbs! After 6 months, this has become a way of life for me. I don’t feel like I’m cheated of anything. I take an occasional bite of something I really miss, like a good hamburger, or a cookie, but in general, I’m happy and I feel great. I want to lose 27 more pounds, for a total of 110. My goal is to get there by September 1st.
I’ve started to do some shopping - (something I’ve always loved). It’s so strange looking in areas of stores (or in whole stores) I’ve never been in before. I’ve gone from size 22 to 12’s and 14’s. The idea that I may be into a size 10 for the first time in 20 years is pretty daunting. I’m also noticing the difference in how people react to me. Other than the obvious reaction about my being 83 pounds lighter, even strangers who pass me now actually look me in the eye. I hadn’t considered the opposite when I was much heavier, but as I’ve said before, people treat and react differently to you when you are obese!
One of these days I need to post an updated picture of myself. The difference is pretty noticeable, so I’m told.
I’m back with the program - thank God! After a couple weeks of faltering, I have gotten back on the right track. After missing 9 days of working out at the gym (the longest I’ve gone since I started), I’m going again at least 3-4 times a week and starting to add in a lot of weight training and working on the machines. I’ve got more stiff muscles than I’ve ever had and I love it. I love to work hard enough to sweat and to make a lot a rude noises when I’m doing it. Fortunately, the gym is so crowded and noisy, than no one ever pays any attention. Sometimes after work, I just don’t feel like working out, but I make myself go, and I’m always glad afterward. When I’m on the reclining elliptical and looking down at the tops of my legs, I can’t believe they’re my legs! They’re so much smaller! This is such a wonderful feeling, seeing results because I’ve kept with it and I know that I can get to my goal. I originally said I wanted to lose 75 lbs by July 1st. It is now June 16th and I’ve lost 76 lbs! I want to lose 34 more pounds, and I hope to do that by August 15th. I have now cleaned out all three of my closets (takes a lot of room to store clothes of all shapes and sizes), and have a huge load of clothes to take to a local consignment shop. I’ve purchased several inexpensive tops and capri pants and one pair of slacks I wear to work everyday and will continue to work with those until I lose the remaining weight.
Next week is our 20th wedding anniversary, and like most people who reach this point, I find it hard to believe that the time has gone by so quickly. About 6 weeks ago, I asked my husband if he was planning anything and he said, “we don’t have any extra money, so we really can’t plan much of anything”. I decided at that time to plan something for us myself. Two days from now (Friday, June 18th), I’m meeting RD back here at the house at taking him for a couple’s massage. When we finish that, we’ll come back to the house and pack up our things, including evening clothes (including the new skirt, top and nightgown I bought tonight on the way home) and go check into a Bed & Breakfast down near the Plaza. We’ll get settled in there and open a bottle of wine. At 7:30, we have reservations at The Capitol Grille, where 13 of our friends and family will be waiting to wine and dine with us. He has no idea about any of this.
I had such a great time getting a new outfit and a real nightgown today (I’ve worn nothing but “sleep shirts” for years). I’m now shopping in a completely different section of the store. I actually walked by the “Women’s” sizes and quickly turned away because I never want to go back to that section again! I’ve actually found it a little difficult to know what I need to look at and what size to try. It’s kind of a trial and error thing right now.
I hadn’t realized when I started on this journey how much my behavior would change. I find myself automatically thinking that I have to pull the seat belt all the way out before I put it around my mid-section to snap it into place, and then realize I don’t have to do that anymore. I start walking a certain direction at work and have this momentary thought that I have to walk somewhere where I’m less likely to be seen, and then I remember - I don’t have to be embarrassed about how I look anymore. I was even more likely to do this before if I was about to see someone I hadn’t seen in a while. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone seeing how obese I had become. I could just imagine the thoughts - “…that’s a real shame that she let herself get that big, she used to be so pretty…”. It’s like a little present every time I have one of these revelations. I’m starting to realize just how low my self esteem had gotten. I had started to tell myself that I could be a “happy fat woman”, when I knew deep down inside that I was so unhappy and would have continued to be so until I did something to make myself feel better and be healthier. The difference I feel now is so much more than physical. I feel like I have a new life.
It was bound to happen. I finally did a backslide and gained a couple of pounds. Not that that should be such a big deal, but after weeks and weeks of doing great, I’m mad at myself for losing my momentum. I had a “grazing fest” on Memorial Day week-end, followed by a 5 day trip to the lake with the girls, when all we did was eat and drink. Of course, in relation to how I would have eaten in the past, I still did pretty well, but lots of sweets and treats, and the horribly bad habit of grazing reared its ugly head again. I didn’t go to the gym for nine days, so I guess I should be happy that I’ve only gained 3 pounds in the last two weeks. Now I’ve gotten back on track. My next fill is due on July 1st, which I know will change things a lot. I just have to find a happy medium. I would like to lose another 35 lbs, which would put me around 150. I’m back to going to the gym and have had another session with my personal trainer, who has given me workout plans to include weight training and use of the machines (really fun).
I’ve gotten a promotion of sorts at work, and I’m asking myself if losing weight has made me feel like I can do more, or at least have more enthusiasm to go beyond what I’ve been doing at work for the last five years.
I’ve lost 71 lbs. How will I feel when I get another 35 lbs off???
Finally! I can eat and drink in controlled amounts and I am happy again! I am back to three meals a day eating high protein foods, avoiding the carbs and fats and working out at the gym! I have officially run out of clothes to wear and had to go to Walmart this week-end and buy some cheap shirts, capri pants and some underwear to get me through until I get to my goal (that number changes from day to day). I wear the same pair of black pants to work every day (just keep rewashing them), and change the shirt. Not very inventive, but it’s the best I can do under the circumstances. I did make the fatal error of trying on bathing suits at the mall this week-end, and that was not pretty. While it’s nice to be able to wear a size 14 or 16 (as opposed to the 20’s and 22’s I am now getting rid of), things don’t look too hot. I know exercise will help eventually, but man, I don’t look forward to being at the pool this coming week-end for Memorial Day with all of the family. I need a really good cover-up. I am finally starting to see a different me in the mirror. It has taken this long to get past seeing the fat woman that has been staring back at me from every mirror I’ve passed in the last 20 years. I might actually be entering territory I have not seen in a very long time.
I have now lost 74 lbs.
Since April 22nd, when I had my last “fill”, I have struggled with getting food down. It was supposed to be “normal” at first, which I accepted. That first week, the surgeon’s nurse told me if I wanted to come into the office and have some saline taken out of the band, I could. I decided to wait it out and keep trying. I graduated from fluids to very small amounts of soft food, but I’ve had some pretty rough days. I’ve had to sleep in the living room chair a couple of times. I’ve fought back the urge to throw up on many occasions. That is not a nice feeling, and actually kind of scary, since vomiting can damage the band. Prior to this last fill, I was able to eat reasonable amounts of food - actual meals, where I was able to get a large amount of my protein in food instead of having to drink shakes. In the last four weeks, I haven’t had a meal at all. I eat a few small pieces of chicken if I chewed it really well. I could eat part of a container of yogurt. I got down a cracker or two a couple of time. I gave up trying to eat scrambled eggs, my former favorite thing, because it kept getting stuck after about 4 bites. I spent 8 hours two days ago having so much discomfort in my chest that it hurt to take a deep breath, and I couldn’t lay down flat. I kept thinking it was that I was eating too fast, so I slowed down more. Finally yesterday, I’d had enough and I called and left a message at the surgeon’s office. Someone from his office called me back to tell me he was out of town until next week, so if I couldn’t wait to see him until then, I could go to the Emergency Room, where they could call a resident to come and take some saline out of the band. No way Jose’ - no resident is coming near me! I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to wait, when I was rescued by a wonderful Nurse Practitioner named Lisa, who called me and told me to come to her clinic that she was having in my doctor’s office today. I told her all of my woes and she withdrew some saline to give me some relief. I have to stay on liquids today and tomorrow (that’s not really so different), and then I can start to eat again! Yea!
I’m actually hungry for the first time in a while. I’ve lost 17 lbs in the last four weeks, which is great, but I worry that I haven’t been getting enough calories. As of Monday, May 17th, I had lost a total of 71 lbs! This is way cool, and worth every detour I’ve had to take. I’m wearing size 14 slacks, having started at size 22. I didn’t measure anything when I started this, but I wish I had now. My goal at this point is to get down to 150 lbs, which would be a total loss of 108 lbs. Once I get there (and I know I will), I’ll decide if I want to keep going. I would like to reach my goal by August 1st.
It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I’ve actually logged on a couple times, but sat and stared at the screen, wondering how to gather my thoughts about how things have been going. I crapped out a couple of times.
It’s funny, how people interact with you once you start to look different. I’m convinced that people treat you differently when you’re obese. That could seem like a really obvious statement to people who are overweight, and a statement that may sound unlikely to people who have never had to worry about their weight. In the eyes of “regular sized” people, being obese is a sign of weakness, of laziness, of being “lower class”, undeserving of positive attention. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there. Actually, I’ve been on both sides of that situation. When I was young, I was aware that my Dad was larger than most dads - in actuality (is that a word??), he was morbidly obese for most of his adult life. There were times when I was a little embarrassed that he was “larger” than most dads, but somehow he made up for it by being entertaining and funny. He was probably one of the funniest people I ever knew. I owe him for my sense of humor today.
But - I digress - people do treat you differently when you’re obese. I spent quite a few years of my adult life being “regular size”. As I put on more and more weight each year, I felt as if my opinions and my thoughts weren’t taken as seriously as they had been before. In retrospect, maybe it was just as much my own self-loathing that figured in. Why would other people respect what I have to say and think if I didn’t have any respect for myself?
After not being able to eat any food for more than four days, and having difficulty just getting liquids down, I finally spoke to the bariatric nurse this morning. She assures me this is the way I am supposed to feel, and that I should have nothing but thin liquids for at least a few more days. The weird thing is, I’m not at all hungry. I manage to get a protein shake down over about 45 minutes in the morning, and I’m going to start having one in the evening too. That actually gives me 76 grams of protein for the day. That most likely explains why I’m not hungry. I guess I should be OK with this, it’s just that I was progressing so well eating my three high protein meals a day and supplementing with a morning shake, that it seems strange to be “taking a step backwards” after 12 weeks.
I went shopping for the first time yesterday and used my gift certificate Sharon gave me for my birthday. I actually bought size 16 slacks and got out of the “Women’s” sizes (1X, 2X, 3X) and bought tops in the “regular” section. How great is that? I have all new things to choose from.
I have now lost 68 lbs!
Well, it’s been 2 1/2 days since I had my second fill, and I’m still struggling to get fluids in without feeling like they can’t get down my throat. I have the sensation that I need to stretch my neck out to smooth the way for something as little as a small sip of water. It appears very pelican-like. I’m sure my husband thinks it looks like “Animal Planet” here. I managed to get down a protein shake both yesterday and today, but it took me about two hours each time, as opposed to the 20 minutes it took me before. This can’t be right can it?? I called my surgeon’s nurse yesterday and left her a message to call me, because I’m not sure I can continue like this for any length of time without starting to feel weak. I actually had a sudden lightheaded spell this afternoon, like I was going to fall. It went away as quickly as it came, but I have to think it’s due to my lack of calories. Funny, I remember wishing many times in the past that I wish someone could wire my jaws shut so I would quit eating so much. Didn’t plan for it to essentially come true.
I have continued to work out several times a week, and bit the bullet yesterday and signed up for something called “My Coach” at Lifetime Fitness. I’ll get two more Personal Training sessions with my trainer Aaron, a young and very helpful young man who is confident he can turn me into a fit person in just a few months. From his mouth to God’s ears. He’ll also create a plan for each day that he doesn’t work with me - something I can follow and build strength and endurance as I go along.
I had my second “fill” today. If you don’t know what that means, the band around the top of my stomach that creates a small “pouch” (about the size of a large egg), is initially an empty “donut” surrounding the top of the stomach. The band stays empty for six weeks, allowing for complete healing of the surgical sites. Six weeks after the surgery, my physician injected saline into the band, essentially “tightening” it around my stomach, making it more difficult to eat large amounts. I can honestly say in hindsight that I didn’t feel much different after that first fill. I have still eaten what I should to get my minimum amounts of protein in (72 grams a day for a woman), but in the last couple of weeks have noticed that I have had to stop myself from continuing to eat because I haven’t felt full. So…since it has now been 12 weeks since surgery, today was the day I got my second fill. Oh my God - what a difference! It took me about 3 hours to get down about 6 oz of fluid! I’m hoping that I will get used to this - it feels just like it did when I first had the surgery. I’m actually worried about getting my protein in. Every time I take a sip, it feels like it’s getting caught up and feels like a giant burp that’s caught sideways. I’m excited about losing more weight, but the possibility of feeling dehydrated and weak like I was at first is very scary. I think I’ll give this 24 hours, and then call the doctor’s office if I still feel like this tomorrow.