I’ve Finally Lost Enough To Wear Jeans from Lane Bryant

I’m sitting at my laptop with a glass of sparkling water after a lovely day with Michael and Mom, and I want to talk about clothes right now. It’s crazy to think that I had to lose nearly 100 pounds before being able to wear jeans from Lane Bryant, but that’s reality. It’s sad, but true.

The number on the scale finally seems to be moving again, at least a little, and I’m knocking on the door of 100 pounds lost. There’s something about that number that makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, particularly since I’m so close to it at my 6-month mark. I’m not sure if I’ll hit that number goal before March 28th. Actually, I don’t know if I’ll even weigh in on that day because I already feel like I’m experiencing success.

Michael and I went to Mom’s house recently, and I pulled out several pairs of jeans that haven’t fit in the last several years. There are some that are still one size too small, but several of them already fit again. I even have a couple pairs from Avenue that are smaller in size. (I’m thankful they were around when nothing from LB worked!)

The number inside the jeans doesn’t matter too much though. It’s just a good feeling to know I’m back on a healthier track, and it’s even cooler to see the evidence of that in my clothing! A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out my closet and got rid of several bags of clothes that are too big now. Whew!

Now I need to find tops. I love tunics and long cardigans because they typically make me feel more put together than a simple shirt. I also have a long torso, so it can be challenging finding shirts that are long enough even when they fit everywhere else.

I am currently using GwynnieBee to supplement my wardrobe. I wear dresses to work frequently, and I love closeting items that are a size smaller than the last ones. I seriously need to take pictures in the dresses because several of them have been adorable! They’re great for dresses, but I rarely closet tops there because I like to have complete outfits when my boxes arrive. Does anyone else here use GwynnieBee?

It’s hard to express how good it feels to wear clothes that were way too small. I regretted gaining too much weight to wear them for quite some time, but now I choose to focus on the fact that I’m getting smaller and feeling healthier once again.

Now I’m going to finish my relaxing glass of sparkly and prepare for a long day at the office tomorrow.

 

 

Is Sparkling Water Bad After Weight-Loss Surgery?

I had one long stall pretty quickly after surgery, and, once again, the scale isn’t moving. I’m tracking my intake more closely now than I have been, but I’m also looking for things that I could or should be doing differently.

Sparkling water is my favorite beverage by far. Sometimes I drink flavored ones, but my absolute favorite drink is unflavored La Croix. I love it more than I used to love cake. There’s nothing more satisfying (in the way of food things) than starting the day or going home and enjoying a sparkling water.

Some people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer. All I want is a glass of bubbly…bubbly water.

Earlier this week a good friend who had lap band surgery was surprised to learn that I was drinking sparkling water at dinner. (I don’t usually drink anything during my meal, but I drink before it and after.)

She said that she saw someone put a carbonated beverage in a ziplock bag only to watch the bag expand due to the bubbles. She was told that the same thing could happen to our stomachs if we drink water. I immediately stopped drinking the sparkling water and started looking for answers.

I tried calling the dietitian I met with at my surgeon’s office, but they’ve never seemed interested in giving guidance beyond the 8 weeks after surgery. I hope she calls me back, but I asked people about it all day.

One of my co-workers, whose career is based on health and wellness, said that the difference between our bodies and a ziplock is that our bodies allow air to escape.

Everyone else I discussed this with recognized that it’s unhealthy to drink sodas (regular and diet,) and I agree. I haven’t had a soft drink of any kind since April 2, 2009. It’s been almost 8 years since I drank a Coke. Obviously, that garbage isn’t good for you, but does that same go for carbonated water?

Has anyone reading this had the gastric sleeve surgery? Were you told not to drink sparkling water?

Is sparkling water getting a bad rap because it’s unfairly being linked to soft drinks?

 

 

Plus Size Fitness Instructor? Yep…That’s Me…

Life is filled with ups and downs, and there was a time when I blogged about them in real time. Now I spend less time online and more time thinking through situations, praying about them and venting less.

Right now, life is mostly good for Michael and me, but many people around us are hurting. Nothing good can come from sharing those hurts here, but I’m doing what I can to show support and offer love to those around me whether I know them or not.

One of the major ways I do that is through work. I do membership and marketing stuff, and I spend most of my days visiting with people who are striving to become healthier or hoping to start. I encourage kids with special needs to be creative, and I get a lot of fulfillment from loving others. I may not always do it well, but I definitely do my best.

One facet of my job is to bring in families, individuals and even corporate members. I strive to connect with everyone and to make them feel welcome. Often times it works, but once in a while there’s a perspective member who never makes it in. They’re often women who feel like they’ll be judged if they walk into the gym, and I understand that because I was one of those women for a long, long time.

I speak to plus-size women who have been shamed, as well as women who fear being shamed. I always ask them to take a chance on me. “Come in and visit with me face-to-face. You’ll feel so much better when you do.”

There’s nothing more satisfying to hear from a member than what I heard from one of my favorites recently.” She said, “Thank you for helping me see that life is worth living.” I can’t tell you how emotional I am just writing this now…knowing that somewhere in New Orleans a lady who didn’t always know her worth knows it now. (Thank you, God, for using me in that situation!)

Helping people see that who they are is okay has been my mission since I learned that who I am is okay, and I’m ready to take that to the next level now.

I recently completed group fitness certification, and I’m gearing up to teach a class that I’ve created with help from my guy.

I’m doing a demo class next week, and I hope to officially launch in mid-April. (That’ll depend on the rate of choreography and memorization that I out it, but I think it’s a realistic goal.)

My class, which will be formatted specifically for plus-size people (even though everyone is welcome) will allow me to uplift and encourage people like me who need it, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve spent some serious time putting this together, and now I’m working through the routines – making sure I know them inside out, nailing transitions and working on cues. I haven’t spent so many hours sweating and smiling since I exercised with Richard Simmons and friends in L.A.

Richard is completely off the radar now, and I hope and pray that he doing well.

He helped me change the way I looked at myself, and he helped me understand that I could embrace fitness. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me, but I’m still here trying.

I know that Richard would encourage me to keep striving to be healthy because he did that throughout the time that I did know him. I can’t think of a better way to honor him that by encouraging someone else the way he encouraged me and countless others, and I wish he still emailed, called or tweeted me so I could tell him thank you again.

I’m pretty positive that I was made to do this, and I love it so much already. I’m excited to take this next step giant leap in my own fitness while helping others do the same. 

 

 

 

Back Home from California

Last week I went to California. I started my trip in San Francisco, and it was immediately evident that I’ve come a long way since September. When I step on the scale it always feels like it’s not moving fast enough, but I’m getting smaller, moving better and enjoying life more fully. That means more to me than a number on the scale every could, so I’m pleased with my progress.

I met up with my dear friend, Leslie, in California, and we didn’t take an Uber even one time throughout our days in San Francisco. We walked up and down hills to go to dinner, to go shopping and see everything we saw. We spent the day (well, two days) at Nieman Marcus, and I was tired by the end of the day. I wasn’t exhausted though, and that was such a cool feeling.

We ate lunch at The Rotunda inside Neiman’s, and the lobster was delicious. The popovers with strawberry butter were just as delicious as i remembered, and they brought me back to the time when I lived in New York. I loved that experience, but I’m so happy where I am now. Who knew that a popover could bring me to such an awesome realization? Ha

When I arrived in Pebble Beach, where I would spend the next few days, I walked along the beach from Monterey to Pacific Grove. The scenery was so gorgeous that I didn’t realize how far I had walked until Leslie drove from home to pick me up. I remember how hard it was to complete the Saints 5k on flat land several months ago, but this time, even though I was wearing boots, I felt so spectacular that I felt brave enough to climb on rocks. I wish I could have gotten better pictures to show how far out I was on the rocks, but a selfie was the best I could do since I was out there alone.

 

It’s hard to explain how different I feel, and I’m thankful for that because I felt pretty rough in the weeks following my surgery. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how difficult it was to be so miserable, but that’s okay. It helps me remember how far I’ve come, and it encourages me to keep moving forward. Did I mention that I climbed around on rocks while overlooking the ocean? I wouldn’t have done that six months ago, so it’s a big deal to me.

Now that I’m home again I’m feeling pumped up. As fun as it is to go on an adventure it’s even more fun to return home to my fiancé, my friends and the life I’ve created here in New Orleans. That’s a great feeling too, by the way.

I started trying on clothes this morning, and everything was so big that it’s time to clean out my closet. There’s a giant pile of clothes on my bed now, so I’m going to sort through it and figure out what to keep, what to give away and what to toss. Michael and I will be married 3 months from today, so it’s time to start making some space for him too. He’s going to move in with me, at least until my our lease is up, so we’ll have adequate time to find our next home.

I’m working on some big goals that I’ll discuss in an upcoming blog post, and I’m thankful that I’ve finally found an exercise groove again. Life is pretty good right now, and I’m excited about what the next few months will bring.

Until next time…

 

 

 

Mardi Gras, Travel, Wedding Things and Such…

It’s been a few weeks since I said anything here, and I appreciate the messages and comments asking if I’m okay. I’m okay. It’s just a busy time, and blogging hasn’t been a priority. I have to say that I still enjoy it though, so I’m happy to be spending quiet time at home today.

I’m down a little over 80 pounds, which hasn’t changed much in the last month. I’m not exercising much, but I hope that if I exercise it will break this plateau. The numbers haven’t moved in the last few weeks, but I can wear jeans that I couldn’t wear at the beginning of the year. Two pairs of jeans that have been too tight since 2013 now fit again. One is even so big that people keep suggesting that I buy smaller pants.

The picture on the left is from about five months ago when I finished dead last at the New Orleans Saints 5k, and the picture on the right is from a few weeks ago. I’m obviously still big, but I feel so much smaller and lighter on my feet than I did that day. I’m incredibly proud of my progress, but I’m still striving to change what’s in my heart and head. My life’s purpose is not to lose weight; it’s to love people.

I’m doing an in-depth study of the book, “Made to Crave,” by Lisa TerKeurst, which unpacks the reality that God made us to crave Him, not food. People here have suggested that I read it in the past. Is anyone else reading it now? Has anyone read it?

It’s incredible how much my life has completely changed in the last several years, and I’m seriously ready for God to change this part of me too. The number on the scale is important, in that, I need to live at a healthy weight, but none of that will really change for good I don’t invite God in to really change the way I feel about food.

 

Speaking change…my wedding is only a few months away, and everything is going well so far. People keep asking if I’m stressed, but it hasn’t been stressful at all since I wrapped my head around the fact that I get to spend my life with Michael.

The venue, the food for the reception and the registries are complete. We’ve secured a block of hotel rooms, and the invitations are sitting in my kitchen waiting to be addressed. It’s still a bit early for that, I suppose, but I’m ready to do this. My soon-to-be sister-in-law is an event planner for one of the most popular venues in New Orleans, and she has been a tremendous help! I’m thankful for my future family of chefs too because they’ve made the process of choosing foods so easy for me.

I’ve always joked about want to register everywhere if and when I actually got married, and it was, indeed, as much fun as I thought it would be! It was most fun at Bed Bath and Beyond because they made a big deal about it, and I got to use the scanner gun thing. Target was cool too because I could scan things with my phone. There’s no way I’ll get everything that I scanned, but it’s okay. It was one of my favorite parts of wedding preparations so far.

Last week I came home to a gift from my Amazon registry, and I want to thank Connie for the beautiful salt and pepper shakers. I’ve loved them for years, and I was so touched to receive such a sweet surprise from someone from my blog. Thank you so much, Connie! It really made my day! I’m already using them, and Michael gets to use them too when I cook for him too.

Have I mentioned that I cannot wait until we live in the same place? It’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to when I can go to sleep and wake up with him everyday. Is it June yet??

My plan (after blogging) today is to finish up our little wedding website. I enjoy quiet weekends from time to time, and I carved out some time to relax at home this weekend because it’s crazy in my neighborhood due to Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star game. (Seriously, it took 45 minutes to get from my exit to my parking garage, and it usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes.) Next week I’ll be in San Francisco skipping out on the revelry, and I’ll be back when Carnival Season is over.

I’m looking forward to heading back to California because it’s been several years since I was last there, and any time that I get to spend with Leslie is awesome. She’s one of my closest friends, and I never would have met her if I hadn’t started this blog. Isn’t the internet cool like that?

Now Leslie is like family. I’m excited to meet up with her in San Francisco, and I’m excited that she’ll fulfill such an important role in my wedding this summer.

Life is good right now. It’s not always easy or perfect, but I have so much peace. I’m joyful and hopeful about what’s God has done and is doing in my life. I’m in awe, and I’m thankful.

 

 

 

Wedding Things

I can’t believe that January will be over next week. I have a long road ahead, but it feels good to be moving in a healthy direction. I’ve lost 80 pounds in nearly four months, and that’s just a fraction of the changes that are happening in my life right now.

I’m getting married in June, and last week we picked the venue, booked the date, decided on the cakes (yes, wedding cake and groom’s cake) and chose the menu. We’ll have 3 choices for the main course, heavy hors de vours and an open bar. Michael and I don’t drink much, but we figured some of our guests will enjoy it.

I came up with a wedding hashtag (because that’s how my brain works,) and I started a wedding registry on Amazon over the weekend too. (Who knew that was a thing?!) And we will probably register at Bed Bath and Beyond as well. Can’t we register at Target too? Ha…

It’s hard to shop for wedding dresses, but thanks to Kiyonna, I’m pretty sure I know which dress I’ll buy. Kiyonna is one of my favorite brands, and though my size is changing too much to order now, I’m looking forward to trying on the dress in the spring.

I’m thankful that companies like Kiyonna exist because, honestly, I’ve lost about 80 pounds, in addition to what I kept off before, and I’m still too big to have many choices at a place like David’s Bridal. Wedding dresses tend to run small (at least that’s what I’ve heard,) and they go up to size 26. That’s about where I am in now in traditional plus sizes. There’s just no way I’d be willing to order a dress without having an idea of how it’ll look or if it’ll even fit. No way, man….

The next few months will be busy. Michael is in the process of taking his CPA exams, we’re traveling a few times in the coming weeks and months, and we’re looking for a new place to live. I’ve been in the same apartment for nearly 5 years, but it’s kind of small for two people.

I’m looking forward to the changes that are coming, and I’m so thankful for everything happening in my life right now. 2017 is already a good year, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it even more.

 

Progress Pictures and Goals

When I think about the fact that I’ve lost 70 pounds over the last few months it doesn’t feel real, then I look at myself in the mirror. It’s impossible to deny that I’m smaller, and it feels so good to have some pep in my step again.

I’ve always been aware of my size, but I’m hyper aware of it now. I’m sure that’s because it’s changing. My weight-loss feels so slow, but I’m averaging a solid 20 pounds a month (a little more actually.) That’s a lot more than I was capable of prior to surgery, and I’m finally at the point where I can honestly say that I’d go through it again if I had to.

I’m so far away from an average weight. It’s happening slower than I thought it might happen too, but I don’t care. I look and feel better than I have in years, and that’s worth more to me than arbitrary numbers.

I’m making real and significant progress, and food matters less than it used to. That’s good enough for me, though I’m definitely looking forward to continued progress.

Earlier this week Michael and I went out with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday, and I ordered a chicken taco salad.

It’s hard to go out to dinner with friends because my brain is still programmed to eat more than I can eat, but it has gotten a lot easier over the last month. When I’m at home it’s easy to just put my plate away, but it’s much more challenging when I continue sitting at the table with my food in front of me.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to discipline myself, in that, I’m not overeating. When I start to feel full I stop because I have no interest in making myself sick and/or stretching my stomach prematurely.

My friend, Stacie, took progress photos of me today, and we took a selfie as well because…why not?

 

I’m so thankful that I feel like to hardest part of the surgical process is over. I’m seeing my surgeon again next week, and I have an appointment immediately following with the dietitian. The latter seems kind of pointless because I haven’t gotten much direction from her up to this point. I’ve figured out a lot of stuff on my own, but I plan to see her anyway. If it’s not helpful, it’ll be the last time.

I saw the surgeon three weeks after my surgery, and I’ve made significant progress since then. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my progress and any tips he might have to make me even more successful.

I need to exercise more…period. I’m not doing enough walking, weight lifting, etc. I know that, but for a time it was more important to me to focus on taking all of my vitamins, consuming enough protein, etc. Now that I’m comfortably doing that it’s time to reintroduce more fitness. I’d love to get back to the point in which I took for granted that I’d workout everyday.

For now, I’m pleased with my progress, but I know I can and should do more. One day at a time….

 

 

End of the Year Reflections

I suppose the end of the year always makes me reflective, and this year is no different. Many of my friends are so glad that 2016 is almost over, and there’s something so hopeful about starting  a new year. I’m ready for that too, but 2016 was a great year for me.

At the end of 2015 I started going into an office everyday, and over a year later I had no idea that I could like that so much. I’ve always enjoyed being around people, but getting to work with the people I see everyday has added so much happiness to my life. I feel so much joy when I think about the people whose lives have been touched, and I feel thankful for those who’ve touched mine.

 

I struggled to let go of people who weren’t good for me at the end of 2015 too. Letting go of those people made it possible for me to meet someone who actually loves me.

I technically met Michael for the first time in December of 2015, but I started having feelings for him when we attended a Bible study together at the beginning of the year. That time of intimacy and healing among friends led me to fall in love with that man while allowing God to move in our lives and heal us from past hurts.

In the Spring I had the most terrifying experience of my life when Mom had, not one, but two strokes. I was so afraid of losing her for a while, but God was gracious once again. I knew at that point that I wasn’t turning away from Him, and I told Him that no matter what, I needed Him to continue holding me. God really showed off His strength in my weakness throughout that time, and my faith was renewed over and over as a result.

When the Summer came I got health insurance for the first time in a long while, and I found a new doctor who suggested that I have weight-loss surgery. My process was streamlined because of my experience with Weight Watchers, and on September 28th I went through with the surgery.

The surgery took much more out of me than I realized it would, and the healing process felt a little like hell on earth. I faced feelings of regret, fear and faced an unexpected lack of self-confidence. I was miserable for many weeks, but the weight started coming off. As hard as it was I am so thankful that I went through that process. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have now to remind others that it will eventually be okay again…better than okay.

Throughout the post-op, healing process I was reminded how loved I am. My mom, Michael and a few friends did everything they could to make me happy and comfortable even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was forced to recognize how loved I am for no reason other than people choose to love me. That was a pretty awesome realization.

Now I’m moving into 2017 planning a wedding to a man who makes my life feel like a Hallmark movie. Seriously though…we compliment each other well.  I don’t have dreams of a big, crazy wedding, but I can’t wait to get it done so I can wake up next to him everyday. I spent a big part of the afternoon researching venues and talking with friends who have gone through this process in the area. I think I may have found the perfect place, but I won’t know more until after the holidays (next week maybe.)

There’s so much to be thankful for at the end of each year, but this year has been pretty wonderful overall. It wasn’t all easy, but the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I don’t think life is patterned in yearly segments, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. I hope you are too.

Happy New Year!

 

Three Months and 68 Pounds

I had surgery three months ago yesterday, and I’m down 68 pounds since I started my pre-op, liquids phase. It seems like weight-loss is different for everyone, but I’m happy with my progress so far. 

Right now, I can eat one whole egg with part of a piece of toast, or I can eat about 1/4 of a small bowl of Pho. (That’s the only way I enjoy beef. It just takes too much effort to eat it now.) I can also eat about 2 ounces of chicken or pork in one meal, and one string cheese is enough to keep my full for a few hours.

I drink ISO 100 because I like it more than ISOpure. I also drink peanut butter Quest protein shakes with Fair Life milk. Drinking protein is the easiest way to ensure that I reach my daily protein goals. I can also drink sparkling water again too, which is awesome.

This year was easily the best holiday season I’ve ever had. I spent the week with family, got engaged, rode a train up Pike’s Peak and introduced Michael to my favorite people and one of my favorite places. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 

On Christmas Eve we dined at my sister’s house, and we spent Christmas evening at the home of her in-laws, who moved to Colorado recently. We had delicious food both nights, and even though I served myself tiny portions, I wasn’t able to try everything. There was so much food that I couldn’t even taste a lot of it.

It was hard to sit at the table while everyone else continued eating, but it was one of those rare moments when I didn’t push my plate away. I didn’t continue to either though. I just sat and enjoyed the company while reminding myself that if I ate too much I’d be uncomfortable. I don’t like getting to that point, so I try to avoid it.

I wished I could eat more than I did during those two meals, but when I got home and stepped on the scale I remembered that it’s worth it. I wasn’t able to try everything prepared for each of those meals, but by eating such limited portions I was able to lose several pounds over Christmas. That’s pretty cool.

We did some walking while I was there too. Michael proposed to me on a short hike with my mom, sister and brother-in-law, and we went for walks around the neighborhood with my sister because the weather was so awesome. It was cold and blistery outside, but I love that. 

There’s something about being in Colorado that makes me want to be more active. Maybe it’s the 315 days of sunshine that they see every year. Maybe it’s the crisp, clean air. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve dropped a fairly significant amount of weight since the last time I was there. (I know that was a factor.) Regardless of the reasons, I felt lighter on my feet and more active than I have in the last few years, and it was great. I’ll be there again in the Spring, and I wonder if I’ll feel even lighter and more active than I did on this trip.

These adjustments to life after weight-loss surgery haven’t been easy for me, but I’m happy to see and feel the changes in my body. It feels like I’m making some big, positive strides, which definitely makes it all worth it to enjoy a longer healthier life with my family and friends and my future husband.

 

 

If you’re reading this I hope you had a happy holiday season, and I wish you the best in 2017.

 

He Asked Me To Marry Him Today

It was nearly eight years ago when I started sharing the details of my life here, and throughout that time I’ve grown and changed so much that it would be hard to explain to a stranger. Let’s just say that it has been an incredible journey filled with ups and downs.

This year wasn’t easy, but overall, it has been one of, if not the best, in my life, and it got even better today. Michael asked me to marry him, and I said yes. 

I’ve prayed/wished/hoped/dreamed of being loved by a tall, strong, handsome, smart, Jesus-loving man who understands me and accepts me for as long as I can remember, and at the beginning of the year I found him.

We have been through some major life events together over the last year, and today added a pretty big milestone to that list.

I didn’t think this week with my family could get any better than it already was, but Michael proved me wrong. This was already the best Christmas season ever, and now it’s even better than that. I can’t believe I’m going to be Mrs. Michael. 😉

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…