Monday, March 4, 2013

Last day of my 20s

So here it is. My last day as a 20-something. I've been kind of pyschologicaly dreading this for awhile now. I'm not exactly sure why, but the thought of being 30 freaks me out a bit. Makes me feel significantly older than 29 for some reason. I know logically it makes no sense and a number is just a number, but if I was logical all the time I would be quite boring!

This year is going to be an amazing one. Sure I'm leaving my 20s behind, but I have so many things to look forward to this year:

I know by changing my lifestyle and having this surgery that I am only adding many more years to my life. So many more experiences, trips, challenges and just time with my family. This, those added years, were the best 30th birthday present I could have ever given myself. I am proud of myself for all that I have done so far and I have never been more excited for my future. I making this the "Year of Kicking Ass" and I won't let ANY number defeat me. Not my age or my weight. As NKOTB has told me since I was just a little girl, "You're still young, Age is just a number, Don't you stop having fun."

Friday, March 1, 2013

The dreaded "Is your meal ok?"

So at nearly 4.5 months post-op I've gone out to eat a handful of times with my husband and son. We don't go out often and we only go to specific restaurants that have "friendly" food for me. (Red Robin has been great, they have an awesome spicy chicken breast I always get there.) Anyways, LOL!  Portions today are HUGE. There is no question about that:

 I obviously can't eat all my plate they bring me and I eat slowly so I ALWAYS get the worried faced server that comes back to the table asking me if "everything is ok with my meal" or "did you not like such and such?". It's kind of uncomfortable and awkward.
I eat what portion I allow myself and only dense protein with maybe a bite of vegetable and am content taking my leftovers home and having them for lunch AND dinner the next day. I feel like it's almost the "walk of shame" when they come up to you with their "oh no, she's not eating it" face and I never know what to say. I politely just say "yes it's good" and hope they leave. LOL! Just one of those things I guess I have to deal with now. 
What did surprise me is that my plate tonight was so huge portion wise and I just sat there looking at it thinking before surgery I would have eaten this ENTIRE plate, had an appetizer to myself AND desert. Now that same plate is GINORMOUS to me and feeds me for 3 meals!! 
The amount of restriction my new stomach gives me is an amazing tool. With any tool though, if used improperly your end results will not come out right. Sure I could eat anything I want, but I don't. I follow a very strict high protein and low carb diet. I aim to get 80gms of protein a day and under 40gms of carbs per day. Those numbers would not be attainable eating just anything. Before I put anything in my mouth my inner voice asks me "Does this have protein in it? Does it fit in your carb allotment for the day? Is is worth the calories for the amount of protein?" On any given day I get about 600-650 calories a day now and I have to work to get that many because I eat very clean foods. Some days my restriction really kicks in and I struggle to hit my goals. 
Overall though my relationship with food has evolved so much in the past 4 months. I still have times where I have to remind myself to take the "emotions" out of food but I am working on that and those experiences are fewer and fewer. I think just going out to eat tonight got me thinking about food and how I relate to it now and I thought I would share those thoughts with you.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Finding myself.

So, a little housekeeping is in order. I revamped my blog a bit, hope you all like the new "look". I spent a good portion of the morning working on it after my workout.

This morning I got up, dropped my son, Nathan, off at pre-school and went straight to the gym. Plugged my earphones in and got my booty moving to some Ke$ha. Don't hate, I actually really like her music, call it a guilty pleasure, whatever. My feet were still somewhat sore from Ballet on Tuesday, the balls of my feet specifically. We did a lot of releve work and I wasn't getting high enough on my toes. Anyways, so I just did an easy 2.7mph 31min walk. It felt good though. Sure I wasn't going fast, but stamina wise I was kicking ass. I ended my workout feeling good and energized instead of watching the clock, praying for it to be over with. 

I was looking at my Facebook and I came across this image and just had to share:

I've had this fear that people would think that because I'm loosing a very significant amount of weight (106lbs as of today) that I would change. The truth is, in my eyes at least, I'm now becoming the person I was supposed to be this whole time. The core of our being doesn't change when we shed weight. I might take more pride in my appearance, like to put make-up on or a nicer outfit. I might walk a little taller. I might take more risks and put myself out there, but I didn't change. I was buried under so much more than just pounds. I was buried in insecurities, paranoia, fear, shame and self doubt. When you have all those pushing down on you, you can't truly be yourself. I feel as I go through this journey I am finally on the road to finding myself. Finding out who I really am, what I really like, how I fit in and I'm enjoying it all. I am confident to take steps and try new things, even if I might fail. 

Your heart doesn't change because you loose weight either. My love for my Husband, Son, Family & Friends is even more so now. They all have helped me on my journey in their own ways. I am truly thankful for all the support and love I have received from each and every one of them. They say that Weight Loss Surgery can make a good relationship better and a bad relationship worse. I'm very proud to be in that first group with ALL of the important people in my life. I have gained so much respect & love for them as they have for me. 

Knowing that this is a life journey and not just a fad or another "diet" means that I will continue to evolve emotionally and grow into my new body. I am looking forward to what is to come, because I know it will only be good. Challenges don't stop me in my tracks anymore and I'm ready to keep working towards the ultimate goal; finding myself. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New territory.

We all have different chapters in our lives. Our childhood, high school, college, first real job, first apartment, relationships, kids. They all shape and mold us and we take valuable lessons and memories from each of them as we leave one behind and move into the next. Today starts a whole new chapter for me.

I first met my future husband face to face on May 19th 2001 in Wayne, NJ. It was a day that I can remember every detail about, every nuance. I remember seeing him for the first time and the flood of nerves and excitement that coursed through me. I remember the feeling of finally hugging him and later, our first kiss. I remember exactly what I was wearing and how much I weighed. 

The day I met Michael I was 18 years old and weighed 270lbs. I wore a white t-shirt, black hoodie (with thumbholes I cut myself out of the cuffs WAAAAYYY before it was trendy, remember this was 2001) and I wore a pair of size 20, maroon BugGirl skater/punk/raver pants that I bought at Hot Topic. (Way before it went all mainstream and was so hardcore you were afraid to walk in let alone buy anything there.) I spent $50 on those pants with my Christmas money in 2001. I remember my mom was pissed at me for spending that much money on ONE pair of pants. I got a lot of use out of them though, I wore them all the rest of senior year and that fateful day in May. 

Fast forward to today. Today I stepped on the scale and it said 269.8lbs. 

This is a weight I've never seen in my adult life before. This is a weight that I've never been while knowing my husband, he has never known me at a time when I weighed this "little". This my friends, is new territory. The day we met I was a fresh out of high school, 270lb 18 year old. Today I am a 269lb, 29 year old loving wife and mother. So much has changed and there is still so much that I look forward to doing with Michael by my side. 

This year will be our 10th wedding anniversary, 12 years together. I may be older and heading down, but down in a good way! I'm on this journey to become healthier than I ever have been and I am winning that battle. Pound by pound I am achieving my goal and you know what.........

Yup. I kept the pants. Somehow after all the moves, the changes and the fact that they haven't fit me in 12 years, I have held onto these pants because that day, May 19th, 2001, they were magical. He made me feel like a princess that day and continues to do that everyday we are together. It seems silly to hold onto a pair of pants, but maybe deep down I knew this day would come. Maybe I knew that the smile and feeling I got when I put them on 12 years later would mean this much to me. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I did keep them, they are so much more than a pair of pants. They represented a beginning when I wore them back in 2001 and they represent a completely different beginning as I wore them again today in 2013. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reliving some childhood activities.

So a long, long time ago in a far away land, I did ballet. I was always a very active little kid in dance & cheer. I remember taking ballet, tap, baton & even was a cheerleader for a couple years. I know what you are thinking, "Her?! A Cheerleader?!" Truth was I never let my weight rule my life in those early years and my parents encouraged me to do what I liked. I was overweight, but I was very active. My most famous "role" was in a dance called the "Funny Bunnies". My mom still calls me her Funny Bunny. I'm the tallest one.

 On top of dance classes I was in T-ball every spring/summer as well. I wasn't the fastest kid on the team, my Mom would always yell at me from the stands "Run faster! There's a tiger chasing you!!" to try to get me to move my chubby little legs faster!

Fast forward to now. I've been getting more active and for some reason Ballet came back into my mind. I haven't done it in over 20 years but I knew it was something that would be great for toning and working my leg muscles especially. I found an Adult Beginner Ballet class at St. Louis Ballet School and even though I'm not your typical ballerina I signed up. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there in pink tights & a black leotard at 272lbs. I was very nervous. I was just praying that the people in the class wouldn't judge me and bring back all those horrible memories from Middle school & High school about being pointed and laughed at. However, I was doing this for me. I wanted to do something fun and enjoyable and I held my chin high as I walked into class. 

There was only 5 of us. A 65yr old lady & 3 20-somethings who were all thin as rails. The nerves went into over drive, but I kept my cool and introduced myself and proceeded to do the best that I could. Sure, there are things I just can't physically do yet at my size and lack of strength but overall I went right along with the class. I wouldn't really consider it a "beginner" class though. Someone who has no ballet experience at all would be completely lost. They expect you to know your basic ballet positions & terms for sure. It's crazy what you can remember because my feet just seemed to remember certain things! 

It's an hour & 15 minute class. I did not prepare well protein or fluid wise for it. I was just so excited about doing it that I totally forgot the most basic important things to keep myself strong and make it through class. I made it through about 50mins before I started to feel it. I started getting clammy, faint and I was pale as a ghost. I had to leave w/ 20mins left in class or I might have hit the floor. Fueling yourself for any exercise is important, but fueling yourself after weight loss surgery is even MORE important because of your limited intake. I learned a big lesson that night. EAT BEFORE CLASS!!! I will better fuel myself next Tuesday and I WILL make it the whole class time. These are my goals. 

Yes, it was hard. My leg muscles are killing me! However, it was FUN! Once I let my guard down and forgot about everyone else in the room and just followed the instructor, who is a company dancer for the ballet school by the way, I was enjoying it. I am very much looking forward to next week and hope that I can do a little better each week. Adding ballet class to my workout schedule is definitely upping the ante and is going to do wonders for tightening & toning my leg muscles and overall improving my balance & coordination. 

What have YOU done that has taken you out of your comfort zone? How did it feel?

So for now, here's a couple photos of me before my first ballet class in over 20 years. Go ahead, laugh. It IS kinda funny!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

4 months!

Four whole months. I'ts amazing what you can do in 4 whole months if you put your mind, body & spirit into it. I can't wait to see what the next 4 months hold for me on my journey! Down 78lbs since surgery. 103lbs total. I've gone from a size 30 jeans to a size 22 jeans. A size 2X women's plus shirt to a L or XXL juniors size. I've even went down a shoe size! But more important than what I lost, is what I gained. That list is endless. My physical ability is drastically improved. I go to the gym or spin 3x a week and go to ballet class 1x a week. Both of those would have never been possible for the old me. I've been more active with my son, been able to play longer, take him places and overall be a better Mom to him. My mental well being has drastically improved as well as my confidence levels. I'm very proud of how far I've come so far and I know that the future is going to be a lot more fun & LONGER because of my decisions. I HAVE a future now!

Welcome Back.

Yeah, I've been MIA for the past few months. Truth was I was feeling like the whole blog thing was work instead of fun. I wasn't getting anything out of it at the time so I stopped. I didn't stop because I started slacking off or I didn't want to share my journey. It just wasn't enjoyable. 

Fast forward to now. I am now 4 months post-op as of 2/16/13 and I have lost a total of 78lbs since my surgery. There has been so much going on in my life in these past 3 months that I have not written so I will give you some snippets. The major thing was I had a second surgery during New Years Weekend. I had to have my gallbladder removed and was in the hospital for 5 days. It was however the key to everything as now I am able to eat, drink & meet my goals with out an ounce of nausea! Truly a miracle surgery. I was and am still very active on where I post quite often so I will just share with you some important posts I made over there:

Nov. 7 2012
So I'm 3 weks post op now. Most of you know I've struggled from the beginning. Well, it's not getting much better. I had to call the nurse again today because I'm almost passing out. They are concerned about my blood sugars now, they seem to be too low. Great. I've now been told to drink only my protein shakes because I need the protein badly. So, no water, gatorade or anything until I get 60gms of protein from my shakes. This is SO FREAKING HARD. Why oh why is my journey such a clusterf#ck?!? I feel terrible all the time, I struggle just to get fluids and protein, I still can not take my vitamins. The nurse scared me into trying some other brand of vitamins saying if my bloodwork doesn't come back good next week I'm going to not only get vitamin injections but I could be doing interal damage to my organs. I just want to have the happy, normal recovery. I want to be excited about my decision instead of questioning it, I want to embrace my new sleeve instead of calling it dirty names. I just want to figure all this crap out and move on, but nothing seems to work.

Nov. 16 2012
1 month visit went GREAT! All is well, moved onto Phase 3 in the diet, cleared for exercise, incisions are completely healed and best of all I lost 28lbs since surgery!!! Down 34lbs total since pre-op diet. Celebrating with some saltine crackers. Oh how I have missed crunchy things! LOL! 
 I'm still not making fluid goal, but the Dr was very pleased with my increase from 2 weeks ago when I was in the hospital for dehydration. I get abt 50oz now. He just told me to keep working on it, not to worry, I won't get dehydrated on 50oz a day. Phew. 
Dec. 3 2012
I got really frustrated & mad this morning and I did something VERY weird. I put on my work out clothes and went to the GYM!!! What is happening to me?! I love it. Then I finished my work out, still had my earbuds in as I was walking out and "Sexy and I Know it" by LMFAO came on. I may or may not have smiled & wiggled a bit. ;P
Dec. 27 2013
Something truly amazing happened this morning. It's been 11 years since I've seen a 2 in front. So unbelievably happy. This whole journey is such a blessing!

Jan. 3 2013
So, you know I have been really sick with some virus, it really hit me. I couldn't take it anymore on Sunday afternoon, I was so dehydrated that I decided to go to the ER to get some fluids and hopefully feel better. Well, that's not exactly what happened. 
Sure, I got fluids but I ended up being admitted into the hospital that night and staying for 5 days. Turns out the real culprit to my nausea and not being able to keep anything down was my gallbladder. They did all sorts of tests on me and it revealed that not only did I have gall stones galore, but the actual organ wasn't working. It was functioning at about 3%. So, I spend NYE alone in my hospital room and since there was only an emergency staff in the OR for New Years Day, I had to wait until Wednesday for my surgery. 
So, day 4 in the hospital I went under at about 3:30pm and my WLS Dr took out my gallbladder. He said that 25% of his WLS patients have this outcome and have to have the gallbladder taken out. 
All I can say is that the pain from this surgery is about 50% MORE than the VSG. They've given me some strong pain killers but it's still bad. It was the same routine afterwards, walk, rest, sip repeat to get the gas moving and out. The amazing thing is that I have had NO nausea since the surgery. NONE. It's GONE! 
So, moral of this story was don't drive yourself to the ER for what you anticipate just to be for fluids because you will end up staying 5 days & needing surgery. LOL! 
2 major surgeries in 2.5 months. Awesome, NOT. 
I just got home about 1hr ago and I've never felt happier to be here. I was VERY nervous about the surgery, I think because it wasn't planned and it was kinda out of left field. I was much more nervous about this one than my VSG. I'm just so glad to be home and have this whole ordeal behind me. Phew. 

Jan. 17 2013
Weight: 286 = 65lb loss
Wrist: 6.75in = .25" loss
Bicep: 19.5in = 2.25" loss
Neck: 14.25in = .75" loss
Bust: 47in = 3.5" loss
Chest: 40in = 2.5" loss
Belly: 42.25in = 10" loss
Waist: 41.5in = 2.5" loss
Hips: 54.5in = 10" loss
Thigh: 30.5in = 6.5" loss
Calf: 23in = 3.5" loss
TOTAL inches lost = 41.75"

Feb. 2 2013
So, the motivation has set in. The incisions are healed. (From second surgery, gallbladder) The Dr. has cleared me. It's time to kick some butt!!! Went and got a new pair of running shoes and am training for my very first 5K race ever. I have 85 days until race day. I'm so excited! Who in their right mind would have ever thought that I would be excited about something like this?!?! Exercising?!? No way. The new me is ready, willing and excited!! I know it's going to be hard, I've never ran, ever, but I'm ready to try. Even if I run/walk the race, I don't care. I just want to cross that finish line. YAY!!!! 
Photo: Bring it on!  5K here I come.
Feb. 9 2013
I can't believe it. Me??! Happy about exercise?!? Excited about working out?! Being more active & liking it?! Who am I?! LOL!!
This week I started hitting the treadmill 3x a week for 30mins. 
I also signed up for adult beginner ballet class that will meet 1x a week for 1hr. 
I signed up for my very first 5K race. The Color Run in STL on 4/27!! I'm fundraising since the charity for the run is Autism Speaks and my 5yr old has Autism. If you would like to donate please do, any amount is GREATLY appreciated!!