Monday, June 3, 2013

Buying Clothes off a Rack - A Novel Idea!

For the last 15 years one thing I was unable to do was to easily walk into any store I wanted and buy clothes off the rack.  More often than not they didn't have my size, or if they did, it didn't fit well or I thought I looked like a whale in it.  Shopping for clothes was often a depressing and sad experience and more than once I left a store in tears.

Not anymore.

A few weeks ago I walked into two of my favorite clothing stores - Bass Pro and REI.  Yeah, yeah, I know...  I'm not a girlie girl and I like fitness clothing.  I like tank tops and shorts and running shorts and stuff like that. 

I haven't bought clothes from there in a long time that weren't XL in size, usually gigantic shirts, etc.  I never could find shorts or pants to fit me, esp. not the neato Columbia hiking shorts, etc.

This time, though, was very different.  Not only did I walk into both stores, found multiple outfits that not only fit but also looked good - and were a size 6. 

Many of us on this weight loss journey write about buying clothes off of the rack.  It's a biggee to many of us!  The reason is because it feels SO good to be able to do that - like you fit in, you aren't the fat chick who has to shop at Lane Bryant, but most of all, because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

So just a short update today, because I wanted to comment on this topic, and I also wanted to link up to a blog that is very inspiring to many of us.

300 Pounds Down

Work hard, play hard, eat well and keep your chin up!!! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So What Does Weight Loss Really Mean?

I've been thinking lately about what my weight loss *really* means to me.

Current stats:  5'3 and 126 lbs.  LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT.

Get it?   :)

Is it simple, as in I wanted to be skinny and now I am?

Only a very small part of it.

Is it vanity?  Did I want to just look good, and not be the fat person in the room?

That was a small part of it too.   I got tired of being the fat girl in the room, the fat sister, the fat family member, the fat friend.  And, just to be VERY clear:  I was NOT morbidly obese.  Obese, yes...  but not morbidly.  I was what many considered "average" - size 16-18.  What many would consider not that fat.  Even today people tell me you weren't that fat but that you look really great since you lost 60 freaking pounds.

So, an example of what I'm saying here.

Last week I went on a trip to Yosemite National Park.  I had a GREAT time, because I love that park, but the reasons behind it were somewhat new to me.

See, for the last 10 years I've gone to that park once a year, but I was always FAT.  I was always focused on when the next meal was instead of truly enjoying the beauty surrounding me.  I mean, I always hiked and walked around, but physically I was unable to really enjoy it.

I don't think I really got that or understood that until this last trip, because honestly, I never thought I was that fat.  190 lbs on a 5'3 frame - yet I wasn't that fat.

This time, though...  this time...  not only did I hike to places I would have DIED hiking to before (uphill!) but I also was able to master (OK, master is not the right word but I was able to DO IT) downhill skiing.

What I didn't realize before was that I was too fat to be agile, too fat to maintain my balance well, too fat to do something that requires real physical endurance and ability.  I took lessons and tried for days on end, when I was fat, to master the slopes.  I never got off the bunny slopes.  I was fat enough that missing a meal made me lightheaded.  I looked forward to eating after every bit of physical exertion.

But this time I did, and boy was it fun!!!

Being fat keeps you from enjoying life to its fullest.  Period.  The End.  SIMPLE.

I also have had a goal of doing pullups.  You know, Terminator-Linda-Hamilton type of pullups.  Um, when I was fat - NO.  They're hard enough for a girl - add on a hay bale of extra weight and they are impossible.  I worked for a few months to get to where I could do them and never could.  But guess what happens now when I try?  OK not there, but halfway there - without it being as hard, because I'm not lifting myself plus the hay bale!!!  I will be able to do pullups soon, without a doubt, and part of that is because I lost weight.

Along these lines, I kept hearing people tell me You only need to lose a little weight or You're not that fat, just a little plump or my personal favorite,

It's OK to be 60 lbs overweight as long as you're healthy.  What the hell does that even mean???

Now I know how much bullshit these words really carry.  Nobody WANTS to be fat.  All of us would be thin and lean and healthy and fit if we could magically snap our fingers and BE that.  But it requires so much work and there are SO many external influences encouraging us to EAT EAT EAT that it's nearly impossible for most of our population to achieve that goal.

Instead we tell ourselves we aren't that fat and being pleasantly plump is OK.

I disagree with my whole body and soul.  Despite what I just described - how much easier and better and more fun physical activity is when you aren't trying to lug around a ton of extra weight, FAT EQUALS INFLAMMATION IN YOUR BODY.  It affects everything, even your mind and thought processes.  Proven fact, and a topic I plan to discuss in the coming days.

So for those of us BRAVE enough to DO something about our fat selves, who are brave enough to put our lives on the line and have this surgery so we can regain our lives...  KUDOS TO US.  THANK YOU to my sleeve for helping me achieve my goals, for giving me back a chunk of my life and for stabilizing me mentally. 

We don't have to convince ourselves anymore that we aren't that fat.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This Is Awesome!

Okay, okay...   so while I don't think I have that many readers, I *do* apologize to the few who are keeping up with me because it's been a while since I last posted!  I won't say I have a good excuse, because it's still just an excuse, but...  I was a little sick for a bit and not feeling too much like writing.

Part of it was because I wasn't quite sure where to lay the blame, and I was defaulting to beating myself up for having this surgery because I was scared it caused me to get sick.

So what happened?

Well, I got a kidney stone.  I had my first "attack" in June, two days after my surgery.  I say "attack" because it was more like a very intense muscle spasm in my back, over my left kidney.   I had no idea at the time that it was a stone.   I also had some of the most severe menstrual cramps (or, what I thought was menstrual cramps) at the same time.  My doctor ended up treating me at my hotel (I had been discharged from the hospital and was staying at the Hotel Lucerna  ( with some strong steroids, NSAIDs and some very lovely lorazepam, which made me feel better within a few hours.

(as an aside, how many U.S. doctors will go to your hotel for an emergency?  Yeah - my care was top notch down in Mexico!)

After that, I'd have these "attacks" every 2-3 weeks, for a couple of months.  At first I blamed Sleevie, but you know, that first attack happened so soon after surgery, that I now think that it had been going on for a long time.  That's when I also realized that I'd had a similar attack a few months before surgery.  It's a very odd sensation that changes and moves, so it's hard to pinpoint it and I didn't tie it to my kidney at first.

I think that changing from a body that was chronically dehydrated to a body that was well hydrated caused me to start flushing that little sucker out of my body.

Anyway, after two trips to the ER for pain, and one directly to my doctor's office, I went in to see a urologist and was planning on having surgery for it.

Luckily enough, I passed the little sucker on Dec.21!  Merry Christmas to me!

I wanted to post about this for a couple of reasons.  First, don't assume your surgery has "messed anything up".  If anything, I think that the fact that I eat better quality food now, drink a LOT more water, take better vitamins, etc. has made me a MUCH healthier person.  And, I believe, this caused me to rid myself of that annoying stone.  So in essence, I am thanking my sleeve for making me pass that stone.

It's not the protein I eat or the spinach or anything else.  My urologist told me that no matter what, stones are caused by dehydration 95% of the time, hands down.   My diet and lifestyle choices prior to surgery caused me to develop it, and changing those things allowed my body to rid herself of it.

It could have been a LOT worse had I continued to drink cokes (which equals dehydration on a daily basis, I don't care who argues that point with me - sodas are terrible for you - and I say that as someone who absolutely loves Coke!) and eat fast food and basically fill my body with junk.

Soooooo....  fast forward to today!  I'm doing VERY well.

I've lost 56.5 lbs and my BMI is now 23 - NORMAL!!  The changes in my body are incredible.  I can wrap my hands around my calves - heck I can wear tall boots now with no problems!  It used to be that I'd cry trying on boots cause I couldn't get them over my calves cause they were so fat.  Not any more!  I'm wearing size 6/8 in jeans (depends on the brand, but I tried on size 8 Levis last week and was thrilled)

I have delved a bit into the world of too many carbs.  The holidays were a nightmare;  but what I learned is that it is SO EASY to fall back into those traps, to start eating a bunch of carbs again and gain back weight.  The sleeve is not a guarantee;   in fact, most of us will be able to eat a larger quantity of food in the coming months, and if we aren't making good choices, we'll gain the weight back.

So it will still be a battle and a conscious decision to make those good choices.  But I honestly feel that my body has changed in some very good ways.  I don't know if it's the sleeve itself, the change in the ghrelin hormone, the essential fasting we go through that helps us break some of those bad addictions in the beginning or the new-found cravings for healthy stuff...  but the idea of eating fast food every day makes me want to vomit now.  I was just telling my husband last night that seeing the produce section of a grocery store makes me giddy now, as opposed to the junk food section!

But if I go back to eating that junk again, I'll want it again...  so I avoid.

Last...  I watched another one of those left-leaning, granola documentaries (that I love) last night called "Hungry for Change" that I highly recommend to anyone reading this.  It's basically about our sugar addiction and labels and how our society contributes to making us fat.  It's another eye-opener for sure.

Good luck everyone!  Please feel free to comment or shoot me an email and let me know how you are doing!  And remember:

We are what we eat
We are what we drink
We are what we THINK!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Last weekend I did a 5K run - that ended up being a walk, really, because it was pretty freaking hard!  Lots of it uphill!  But, it was called Run For Your Lives and it was a Zombie run... meaning, there were ZOMBIES all over the course trying to steal your flags and KILL you!  So it wasn't a boring 5K, it was an obstacle course and everything!

What have I been eating lately?  Hmmmm...  things are going SO well for me now.  I've finally gotten through the hard part... the mental aspect has improved greatly, the weird aches and pains and stuff have gone away, and my tolerance for most foods is coming back. 

I'm still craving a ton of fish and I find that salmon sashimi goes down the BEST of all!  Something about its creamy texture just agrees with me.  Considering the fact that I would not EVER touch salmon before this surgery...  you can appreciate how some things really do change!

My most favorite meal now:

I started this blog to express the emotional side of this journey - something I find we don't get enough of, on other blogs.  Everybody talks about how great it is, about how happy they are, etc. but not enough people talk about the down side of it or the scary parts of it.  Well, I'm here to tell you that the down sides are present, but you will get through them, and that feeling of....  you know...  having muscles and a shape...  make it worth it.  :)

I can honestly say I've finally reached my own state of nirvana where I am happy with my decision, proud of the guts that I have -  that it took - to make that giant step, and thrilled with my success.

So hang in there!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OH YEAH!  The GOOD Stuff!  STATS!!

I started at approximately 190 lbs.  My highest weight was 195 after a particularly *fun* vacation that revolved around food.  :)

The day of starting pre-op was 187 and the day of surgery I was somewhere around 182.  This is all approximate because of fluctuations on a day to day basis.

Today, 4 months after surgery:

I weigh 141 lbs.   My goal is 125, although if I'm comfortable at 130, that's where I'll stop.  I still have sections of fat  that I still want to lose and that requires exercise.  But I am being very objective about my body now and I can see just exactly how small my frame really is.  I haven't seen it in quite a long time.  :)

I have MUSCLES!  I can make a muscle with my arm now and Super Hubby says, "wow!!"  

My body is changing in many great ways.

My hair:  It is thinning a bit, but I can't really see it other than seeing more of it come out in the shower.  It was a side effect I was willing to accept.  It'll grow back.  I hope.  :)

When I look at myself in the mirror, I almost do not recognize myself.   My mind expects to see a fat person looking back at me, and instead there is this slim person standing there.  I cannot even convey how GOOD that feels.

So hang in there readers!!!!  It will be worth it!!!  

Coming Around Full Circle

Well, well.....

If nothing else, I am solid proof of the emotional roller coaster that is the Gastric Sleeve.

After feeling down a few weeks ago, I've come around to feeling quite content and happy.  Some things have happened that added to that and helped it along, and I sure am glad.  Someone had told me that it would take 3-4 months before I would feel "normal" and boy were they right.

I still have to monitor myself and eat slowly and chew well, but things are definitely easier than they were just 2 months ago.  I'm used to all of the weird feelings and sensations, and some of them... well, I realized that they aren't any different than before surgery.

For a while you will convince yourself that:

1.) you never USED to get heartburn or
2.) you never USED to feel stuffed after a meal or
3.) you never USED to have a gurgling stomach.

Simply. Not. True.   If it were, why would I have a medicine cabinet full of antacids?  Why do I have memories of laying across my bed after eating a huge meal because I was miserably stuffed?  Yeah.  FAB at work again.

Something happened to me last night that felt so good that I want to share it, so that maybe it will encourage my readers to stick with it and not let FAB get to you TOO much.  I went to a memorial service for a good friend of mine who recently passed away.  I hadn't seen some of the people there in 15 years.  Last time I did, I was pretty chunky, though not at my heaviest weight.  Most of them were SHOCKED to see me and commented on how "skinny" I am.  Many of them have put on 20-30 lbs with the years just like I did.  Except now *I* was the thin person in the room.  Everyone told me how young I looked and how small I am.

It was a GREAT feeling.

But I also kept thinking about my friend who died.  She was obese and had been for many years.  I kept thinking...  if only she'd gotten sleeved, maybe we could have beat this together.   But it was too late for her and I lost her and now there is this huge obesity-related void in my life.

On my way home, I told Super Awesome Hubby that I am SO GLAD I had this surgery, that I am SO GLAD I made a CONSCIOUS DECISION to do something about my weight.  I no longer care about the judgemental comments by people who think it's too extreme to have WLS;  ironically enough, it's usually the overweight and obese people who pass that judgement...

I feel very proud of myself for HAVING THE BALLS to do this.  I know it was the right decision for me, both physically and mentally.  And, any and all of the challenges I've faced...  have been worth it.  Small beans compared to dying in my 50s from obesity-related illnesses.

I look great, I feel great and I am very very happy with this decision!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So I wanna talk a little bit today about the dark side of this journey:  Regret.

For the first time since this started, I truly felt some regret this week.  I can see it for what it is and I can appreciate it, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I do have solid moments of regret.

It kind of snuck up on me a little bit and I'm not really sure what started it.  I also know that this is another attack of FAB because the source of the regret is....   my food addicted brain.  For certain.

It's all about quantity.  Being unable to eat a large quantity of food is just sometimes downright annoying.  But more than that, it's not always mentally satisfying to eat a tiny little portion. 

Earlier this week we bought a beautiful ribeye for us to share for dinner.  I'd also made some yummy bacon tomato soup.  So I planned for a half cup of soup and 2-3 oz of the steak.

I ate:  1/4 cup of soup and 1 oz of steak.  After chewing it really, really well.

At that point, I felt physically repulsed by the food.  It wasn't that I was super stuffed;   I just felt repulsed.  It went beyond feeling full;  I just couldn't stand the thought of putting any more of that food into my mouth.  And it tasted GREAT!  It was weird.

So that made me start feeling regret because it made me start thinking, "will I ever really enjoy my beloved friend Mr. Food again?"

I know these are not rational thoughts, but they are real thoughts.  I also know that, at only 3 months out (I just celebrated my 3 month sleevaversary!) I've got a long way to go before things are really normal.

Even so, I'm wondering what I did to myself and if this was really worth it?

Okay, okay...  yes it was.  I'm THRILLED with my weight loss but also with how I look and feel.  People notice every. single. day. now. 

But I'm still working on severing that relationship with FAB and for the last few days, FAB has won.

For those thinking of getting sleeved:  I don't intend for this to be a downer.  AT ALL.  But I do want you to make this decision with open eyes.  You are making a big trade off for this weight loss - and you need to be aware of ALL possible emotions that you are gonna go through.

That said, I'm trying to beat FAB back down again by cooking, making homemade smoothies and exercising.

And I will tell you...  the BEST part of this is seeing how wonderful my body is changing - I have muscles, I have visible veins, I have definition that I haven't seen in at least a decade.

So FAB just needs to shut the hell up and leave me alone.