Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Weight Gain and Loss

My lack in posting was not because I forgot I had a blog - it's because I was embarrassed.

On June 13, I had a 6 month post-op appointment. The moment my doctor looked at me, he asked the nurse to bring a scale into the room. I stepped up and the numbers said 184. He looked on his iPad to see what my pre-op weight was; it was 177.

I was 10+ pounds over what I should have weighed.

Doc said something to the effect of, "Well, we can wait until your 1 year post-op to start talking about what other areas we can sculpt or if you need me to go back in again and get rid of some of the new fat." I don't remember the exact words because all I really heard was, "Why did you ruin my masterpiece?"

Within a week, I bought a treadmill from a friend so I could run everyday and get my rear in gear. And I did - I ran everyday for 2 weeks and I felt better and tighter. I didn't see a difference in weight but I loved how I felt. Then July happened. July in Virginia is the worst month to do anything outside. (Note: our treadmill lives in the garage because it wouldn't fit in our basement so I'm basically running stationary with the 4th wall removed to provide some ventilation.) I decided that since I couldn't exercise as often, I should concentrate on eating better.

In July and August, I started eating healthier foods and drinking meal replacement smoothies. I lost 2 pounds and celebrated with pizza, which made me gain it back immediately. It was frustrating and disheartening that all of my work was so quickly un-done by one meal. Nothing was "sticking". Finally in September, I decided to give up bread, excess sugar, and dairy on a quasi LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) plat. My goal is to get to 175 before my 1 year post-op.

Friends, it's this part in the story that makes me most happy and mad at the same time. When I gave up bread, excess sugar, and dairy, I lost 8 pounds in a month.  I did minimal exercise. I did no diet plan.  (I was mad because I didn't do this sooner!) The best part is that this is something I can keep up with intentional grocery shopping and strategic restaurant selections.

The biggest positive effect of cutting out bread, excess sugar, and dairy is that my moods have stabilized at a positive level. My family has a strong history of mental illness (depression, anxiety, self harm, bipolar disorder, and suicidal behavior). I've been on medication previously and it keeps me stabilized as a zombie instead of a fully functioning member of society. In these 3 weeks, my family and I have seen a noticeable difference in my moods and temperament. My brain is less foggy and I can pause before reacting to something that goes awry.

So on this glorious 21st of September, I am officially 176 lbs.

Now onto a comparison photo!

This picture gives the best representation of a "before and after" thus far. I used to hide behind my kids so people could see the beautiful reasons for my fluff. In my 2015 picture, I was wearing 2 pairs of spanx and 2 bras to look as tiny as possible for our friend's wedding. In my 2016 picture, I didn't have to wear spanx or a control top.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Normal Pants Dance

Friends, I completely forgot I was keeping a blog about my surgery. Duties have taken over since returning to work and I'm no longer consumed by the day to day maintenance of post-op life! Yay!

Since my last update, I no longer need to wear compression garments for my abdomen. I sometimes wear my initial post-op bras but they're either stretched out or too large for my slowly deflating bosom.

But hey, guess what?  I can wear normal pants now!! For the first time in 5 years, I can wear pants with a zipper fly that aren't 95% spandex. I recently bought a pair of size 10 jeans from Target and a pair of size 12 red dress pants from NY&Co. My flat stomach means my hips and thighs are now the stars of the show. Shopping for pants requires a great deal of trial and error. I'll continue to shrink little by little as my exercise routine kicks into high gear. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Not Weight Loss Surgery

The need for this post is an unfortunate reality.

With the sudden change in my physical appearance, many have asked if I had weight loss surgery. I did have two major procedures: Abdominoplasty and a Mammoplasty. Neither of these procedures were intended to aid in my weight loss, although they did remove pounds from my overall weight.

I did not have gastric bypass surgery.
I did not have intestinal surgery.
I did not have major liposuction, although it was used in two small areas.

It looks like I lost 20 pounds but the reality is that I currently weigh about the same as I did prior to the procedure. They removed 7 pounds of skin and adipose. I still have a great deal of swelling while I continue to heal. My overall weight is an ineffective method of measurement when it comes to this procedure. It's more accurate to use inches or overall dress size to measure differences in my body. I went from a Large/X-Large to a Medium in my torso and my pant size remains a Large.

I did not put my body through 2 major surgeries in order to lose weight - I did it so I could prolong and improve the overall quality of my life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Eating For Healing

This surgery has unveiled a body that was hiding under pounds of skin. I'm not going to throw away this opportunity to have my healthy life back!

I am the smallest in a "large" family with a history of obesity and heart disease. Growing up, it was constantly on my mind that I could balloon at any minute. As a result, I trained myself to portion control and avoid extra things like salad dressing, condiments, and cheese sprinkled on top of anything. I now have a relationship with food that can be defined as "necessary". I know I need food to survive and I usually enjoy eating it. But often I eat because I know I should rather than eating because I want to. If I'm stressed or on an adrenaline kick, I forget to eat. However if I'm bored and looking for something to do, I'll snack on something salty and retain water. When I gain weight it's because I eat the wrong foods, not because I eat too much of it.

My definition of good food is somewhat limited. I enjoy food that is equal parts good looking, good tasting, and with limited texture. I eat strawberries sliced in half so my tongue doesn't touch the seeds. I peel off fatty tissue from meat. I eat pizza sideways so I can have equal parts crust and non crust in every bite. My hot dogs have ketchup and only ketchup (unless there's chili in which case there should be only chili.) I'd rather have a slice of fresh baked, buttered sourdough bread than a cupcake. And I don't like cold shredded cheese on top of a hot meal. Ever.

After surgery, I now need more protein to help rebuild tissue.  This means more food that I didn't like eating in the first place. These are the types of food most people think of when they hear "high protein diet." Instead of constantly eating meat, low-fat dairy, and eggs, I'm drinking something called New Whey Liquid Protein. Each 3.8 ounce tube has 42 grams of protein. New Whey comes in a variety of super sweet flavors to hide the fact that it tastes awful. I usually chug the tube then drink a cold glass of water to wash out the taste. Low calorie, low sugar, and a ton of protein. It was especially wonderful when I had no appetite in the week after my surgery.

There are also protein powders and protein shakes on the market. I personally don't like all of the added sugars or dairy products. I'd rather swig a protein tube than sip leasurely on a chocolate banana flavored frozen ingredients that's pretending to be ice cream. 

And can we discuss beef jerkey? It's portable, enjoyable at any temperature, and delicious. (Just remember you need to refrigerate it after opening and that it only lasts a few days.) I tend to buy the natural beef jerky because of the lower sodium content. The girls also love eating it.

Not only am I increasing my protein but I'm also keeping an eye on my iron levels. I tend to be anemic at least 12 times a year. Combatting low levels of iron with protein and iron-rich foods helps minimize my crankiness and exhaustion during those times. I also combine iron with Vitamin C so it will absorb more effectively. (Protip: Don't consume iron with dairy. The dairy prevents the iron from fully absorbing.)

So the moral of the story is that when you're heaing, protein protein protein.