Category Archives: weight loss

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Day One

The process to be approved for weight-loss surgery is not short, but if the end result leads me to incredible health benefits it’ll be worth it. It’s slightly less overwhelming now that I’ve spoken to my doctor about everything I need to do in preparation, but it’s going to be a long road.

The surgeon sent me a checklist that must be completed before I can be approved, and the process has begun:

  • Clearance from Cardiologist with a recent EKG – I had an EKG a few weeks ago, and it came back normal. Whew! I still have to see a cardiologist though, which means I have to find one soon.
  • Psychological Evaluation – I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been in my heart and mind, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I just need to schedule an appointment.
  • Pulmonology Evaluation – I have to have a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas. I really have no idea what this means, but it sounds like it might hurt. Yikes!
  • Blood work with a TSH within the last 12 months – I did this a few weeks ago too, but if they need more blood I’ll let them poke me again. I think we’re good are though.
  • Physician supervised weight loss and exercise program for 6 months – My insurance pays for Weight Watchers meetings, which counts. I’m already doing pretty well there, so I’m going to keep it up. Today was my first of 6 appointments that will be specific to my weight-loss progress. I’ll see my doctor again a month from now, and I hope to be 8 to 10 pounds lighter.
  • Dietician Evaluation – This seems pretty straight forward, and I think I could benefit greatly from it. I’ll do that on the same day as my surgical visit.

I’ve been doing well with Weight Watchers lately, and I’m finally starting to feel well after a few weeks of pain due to skin issues. I haven’t exercised in over two weeks, but I think I’m well enough to start again. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription or remedy to completely fix the problem, so even though it hurts again I have to deal with it.

sleep studyTonight I’m doing a sleep study, which should be interesting. Thankfully, they sent me home with the equipment, so I’m not required to spend the night anywhere else. It seems invasive, but it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as sleeping in a hospital or another strange place.

I typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested, so I’m guessing I’m okay. I’m just going to do every test they suggest with the hope that it will lead me to a healthier place overall.

This process feels overwhelming to me, but I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how life would be different. I already love my life! I have a loving family, a great job, a group of good friends, a boyfriend who is thoughtful, encouraging and understanding, a comfortable home and a bright future. I don’t want any of that to change; I just want my health to improve long-term, so I  can enjoy the life I’m already living. It would be cool to be able to buy jeans again too, but I think I’m pretty close to that right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Work, Parties and Pictures…

My pain level has decreased significantly since my last post, and while I’m not 100% better, I feel well enough to exercise again and do the things I usually do.

My weekend started with friends and colleagues at a work party Friday night when I went to the Sizzling Summer Soiree, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and finally being there felt like a huge success.

Michael and MeMy boyfriend, Michael, was my date for the event (obviously,) and we arrived early with a car load of sushi that had been donated for the event. When we arrived he went to work as if he had been a part of the team forever. I love that about him. He’s incredibly intelligent, bright and successful, but when a job needs to be done he gets it done. No job is beneath him because he values everyone, which is such an attractive characteristic.

He already knows the folks I work with because we’re all friends, and they’ve known him since before we were really dating. The cool thing is that he would have worked just as hard or strangers. His parents definitely raised him right. Swoon.

Stacie and KenlieStacie, who has become one of our aforementioned close friends, worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I know others did too, but I saw the work she did first-hand. We definitely all breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the event come together, then she and I took our first selfie. Seriously, we’ve had some great times together, yet we had never taken a picture? We’ve talked about that a few times.  Aren’t we cute?!

After we took our first one we took a few more with our friends and awesome co-workers. (Why not?! We were all feeling snazzy without our ponytails and gym clothes. Haha We were only missing Haley, who looked gorgeous and sparkly from head to toe! )

YMCA Friends

Michael even took one of us that was not a selfie. Who doesn’t love a good group photo?

The Cannery New Orleans

Following the party Saturday and Sunday were the quietest days I’ve had in quite a while. Michael flew out of town for work early that morning and landed as I was waking up for the day (at 7:30 am) while I ran errands around town before returning home. I typically fill my weekends with activities and events,  but I chose to take a much needed rest from all the things.

I did some writing, cooking, reading, baking and shopping. I also watched Hillary and Kaine as she announced him as her VP and  picked up a ring that I had resized. (More on the ring later.)

I had such a quiet and relaxing weekend that I almost felt guilty about it, then I was reminded that sometimes I need that. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled lifestyle tomorrow, but it felt good to have some rest after the last few weeks. I can’t say that I’ve been busier than usual, but I do have to say that everything feels more tiring and challenging when I don’t feel well.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend. I’m seeing my doctor again on Tuesday, and I hope to have a lot of questions answered pertaining to weight-loss surgery.

Oh, and my blood work came back normal. They tested my A1C (Yay! No diabetes,) thyroid, cholesterol and a long list of other things, and it all looked fine apart from my weight and blood pressure. (Both are higher than they should be, but I’m working on it.) I figured I was probably okay when I didn’t hear back from them immediately, but it’s comforting to know  that I’m alright for the most part anyway.

 

 

 

 

Intense Pain, Pretty Nail Polish and Weekend Plans

I’m currently in more pain than I can ever remember being in…ever, and I’ve never felt as weighed down as I do right now. I’m still not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I feel every pound that I’ve regained over the last few years.

I know that my pain is a direct result of obesity, and I’m disappointed in myself for not taking charge again sooner. I’ve fought hard, but I need to fighter harder…or smarter…or something.I went in again for blood work, and I’m awaiting results from a myriad of tests that they did during my visits. They took blood from my hand, which was odd. I’m glad they’re checking everything, but I’m so ready for relief from the skin stuff I’ve been dealing with for so long.

Skin irritation doesn’t sound particularly bad, but it hurts to stand, drive, lie down, etc. I finished Day 2 of the 10-day prescription, so I’m guessing I’ll start to feel better soon. I definitely hope so.

red OPI polishThankfully, it’s the weekend, and my plan is to stay out of the heat. I don’t usually work on Fridays, but I will get a few things done that I can do from home. I did some cleaning before my shower tonight, so I won’t have to worry about that tomorrow either.

My nails are painted, which always makes me feel good. I’m excited about a few books that I have to read, and Michael will come over for dinner after work.

Saturday I’m having a few friends over to grill on the roof, and the nice thing about the height of my building is that it’s never hot up there. It’s always breezy, and we’ll stay cool in the swimming pool. (Uh, I just rhymed.) It should be an easy weekend, so I’ll have some time to heal.

It’s been a long, physically challenging week, but there’s a lot to be thankful for too. I’m down another 2.6 pounds this week, and I’m thankful for the Weight Watchers meeting I found even if I’m the odd ball. Everyone else is significantly older than I am, which was evident today. I don’t mind though, and I don’t think they do either.

I cannot say it enough. I’m so grateful for my doctor, the medicine and the hope for healing change that seems to be just on the horizon.

 

 

Doctors, Weight Watchers and Friends…

It’s been a long couple of days, but I’m feeling thankful for it right now. My boyfriend and I had dinner with my long time friend, Shannon, her husband and their adorable baby girl. She’s 12 weeks old, and I already love her.

I spent the majority of the day at my new doctor’s office yesterday, and I went back in for blood work this morning. Those who know me know how hesitant I was to seek out a primary physician because it hasn’t always been a good experience for me.

Now that I have health insurance, which is such a relief, there’s no excuse to avoid the doctor when I’m in pain. I went in to get some help with my skin irritation yesterday, and I was met by a friendly, empathetic staff and a compassionate, knowledgable doctor. I cannot express the relief I feel now knowing that I have a doctor to go to when I’m sick.

We talked about my weight. (How could we not?) We just talked about everything else as well. She asked why I waited so long to get help with my skin, and I explained that doctor visits are usually different than my visit to her office. She prescribed meds that I picked up last night, and I’m hopeful that it will help me heal over the next 10 days.

My blood pressure was elevated, which has never been an issue until lately. I’m getting older, but I’m far too young to face high blood pressure. Of course, it’s not a surprise because I’m carrying so much excess weight. I’ve also carried a lot of stress this year since Mom’s health issues.

After talking for quite some time she asked me if I had ever considered bariatric surgery, and I explained that it was never an option for me. Financially, it wasn’t plausible because it’s so pricey without insurance, and for a long time I was opposed anyway. Now that I know that my insurance will cover it I’m going to consider it.

Weight-loss surgery is such a huge, life-changing step, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I could do something like this, but it’s certainly worth exploring. I know several people who had the gastric sleeve surgery and were incredibly successful.

I also went to the eye doctor (because again, it’s been a while since I had health insurance,) and my eye doctor is from New York. He lived only a few blocks from my old place, so we had a lot to chat about while he checked my eyes. I definitely can’t wait to get my new glasses on Friday, but I chose to use  my favorite frames that I had already. I’ll pick a new pair later this week when my eyes aren’t dilated.

I have to see my primary doctor again in two weeks, and I’m looking forward to feeling much better than I felt when I walked in yesterday. I can’t stand taking medicine, but I’m thankful for it right now.

I’ll head to Weight Watcher tomorrow, which should be a decent weigh-in. Right now I’m tired, so I’m going to curl up under the blankets and sleep.

Weekend Update: Family, Cardio and Pie

Saturday was a great day. Mom came to visit, and we always have fun when she’s here. We went to the movies to see Tarzan, went to Target and Whole Foods, then baked a coconut cream pie together. We also watched a Christmas movie on Hallmark because I have cable again. I’m still avoiding the 24 hour cable news cycle, but I always love watching Christmas movies with Mom in July. coconut pie

We used my grandma’s recipe to bake the pie and added a few of our own touches, and it was great. I’ve made prettier meringue, but we were satisfied with it. We’re definitely going to make it again soon.

Before Mom arrived, I spoke to a group about diabetes prevention. We discussed fitness and how it’s different for those of us who have significant amounts of weight to lose, and I learned a lot about how they feel and what they’d like to experience at the gym.

Kenlie and MomSunday morning we headed to Wal-Mart before church. My boyfriend, whose name is Michael, by the way, met us there because we both had errands to run. He got to see Mom before she left town, which was great. I love that they get along so well. We both have close, loving families, which is awesome.

When Mom left Michael and I went to church, which is where we met, by the way. After that we had ridiculously amazing burgers with our pastors, then I headed home for a long, cozy nap. We  spent the evening together as well, and we ate smoked pork, watermelon and pie, of course.

I’ve done a better job keeping track of what I’m eating since I wrote about that last week, but I’m still not exercising as much as I would be if my skin wasn’t causing so much pain. My goal right now is to avoid the hospital. I’m not trying to sound dramatic, it’s rough. I plan to see the doctor this week, and I’ll make an appointment for that tomorrow morning.

Now it’s time to sleep. I have a lot to look forward to this week, and I’m thankful for everything that made this weekend wonderful.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

Hello, 36…

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but in a good way. Tonight I actually made it home just as the sun was going down, which allowed me to cook dinner and catch up on The Mindy Project. Does anyone here watch it? It’s definitely my favorite show right now! Suits comes on again next week too, so I’ll have a few things to watch in my free time.

friendsYesterday was my birthday, and it was easily the best one I’ve had so far. I can identify a few reasons for that.

My friends and co-workers made a big deal about it (because they know how much it means to me.) My boss, who has become a close friend, booked a private karaoke room at a sushi bar over the weekend. Um, does she know me or what? I love to sing, and I love sushi. Put me in a room filled with friends, and that makes for a pretty perfect night. I’ve never been in a room full of people who love to sing karaoke as much or more than I do. It was awesome. We need a reason, any reason, to do that again soon. (As you can see I took a few selfies that night, but most of us forgot to take pictures because we were having so much fun.)

Earlier that day my boyfriend and I spent the day with my mom at her house. We ate lunch, played board games and relaxed. I love being close enough to Mom that I can see her often, and I’m really glad she likes my guy. It usually takes her a while to like who I’m dating, but she liked this guy right away. He’s a gentleman. He treats me really well, and she sees it. What’s not to like?

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

Monday I slept in, went shopping with my good friend, Michelle, then went to a dinner party with friends. We never got around to playing board games, but we all had great time. I met a guy who went to the same church I went to in Oklahoma at the same time I was there. He was so familiar to me, and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Tell me the world isn’t small…I just won’t believe you. 😉

Cafe Dumonde New OrleansTuesday, which was my actual birthday, was fun because when I got into work I got flowers from a sweet friend and co-worker and friend. My boss, who’s also one of the most awesome people I know, brought me flowers and a bag of beignets from Cafe Dumonde.

I didn’t do much tracking in my Weight Watchers app this week, but that changes today. It’s hard to stay in the tracking mindset when you’re distracted, but life is busy. I need to make it a bigger priority, so I will now.  I managed to lose weight while my sister and nieces were here, and I kept it under control for the most part throughout the last week.

Michael KorsI’ll go to the meeting tomorrow, but I won’t weigh in because my feet are . It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily. because my feet are so incredibly swollen. It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily.  I’m hoping that they get back to normal soon, but the last few days have been rough! I’m drinking water, but not enough. My Hyrdroflask goes everywhere with me, but I need to fill it up a few more times a day.

 

In addition to my swelling feet I’m having some painful skin irritation issues. I mean, my skin hurts. This is one of the unfortunate effects of being plus-size in New Orleans during the overbearing heat of Summer. It’s hard to exercise because right now it hurts to move, but the only way this will ever go away is if I lose weight and have excess skin removed. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. Now would be the perfect time to find a primary care doctor, but I still haven’t attempted to do that.

I’ve had a stellar week, but I’m looking forward to the quiet time that Friday brings. My favorite thing about Fridays is the time I spend alone reading and praying in the morning. I think it’s important to pray and read everyday, but I like the habit of quiet,  uninterrupted time that I’ve developed over the last several months. I’ll also do some grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll even make time for some arts and crafts.

There’s a lot going on in my life, but it’s mostly good stuff. I’m happy, and I’m moving in a positive direction. I took it easy this week because I’ve been in so much pain, but I’m looking forward to doing some cardio this weekend. I’ll probably give myself one more rest day.

If you’re reading this I hope you’re doing well too. Until next time…

 

 

 

The Number on the Scale

I’ve always been a fan of writing things out on paper. Whether I’m taking notes in my Bible, writing out grocery lists or making goals I always prefer doing it on paper.

When I spent some time with my family this week I came across a goal I had written out years ago. I left it in my room at Mom’s house, and it’s been a while since I really stopped to think about the hope I placed on that piece of paper years ago.

I also noted the date (almost exactly 4 years ago) when I recognized how hard my personal weight journey felt inside my head.

lose weight

At the time I weighed about 15 pounds more than the number I wrote down, but now, four years later, I weigh almost 70 pounds more than that number. I’m going to be really transparent for a minute; it sucks.

I remember sitting at the desk thinking about how impossibly difficult it felt to lose the necessary 15 or 16 pounds to reach that weight. I just The truth is it seems a lot harder now because it will take a lot more effort, but I think it feels possible. I realize that to most this number still seems high, and I know it is. I also know how awesome and accomplished I felt when I reached it, so it matters to me.

People with good intentions, naive though they may be, often say “stop focusing on the numbers,” and that just doesn’t work in my mind. I never obsessed over reaching a certain weight by a certain date or anything, but I do need to see the numbers moving in the right direction. It motivates me to see the numbers inching down, and now that I’m back with Weight Watchers I’m more aware of it than I’ve been in years.

The good news is that I’ve learned some things about myself and how my mind works since the day I put that number on paper. I’ve learned that I like routine. It’s good for me to know what time I’ll wake up, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll go out, when I’ll be home. (I need to work on the latter. I spend far too much time away from home, but that’s improving.) I always felt like routines were boring, but now that I love my work, my friends and my home it’s great to know that I can look forward to certain things on certain days.

Monday – work, exercise and dinner with my gentleman friend

Tuesday – work, exercise after work, then spend the evening with friends/gentleman friend

Wednesday – late day at work. I go in later than usual, but I’m still home in time to enjoy the evening.

Thursday – work, exercise, band practice for the worship team at church

Friday – rest day

Saturday – prayer with friends at church, followed by free time

Sunday – church, lunch with friends (most weeks,) followed by free time

There’s a lot of time in my schedule to add in exercise, and I could do meal prep too. I’ve never been a fan of eating leftovers, so I think it’s important to come up with ideas to make healthy and easy lunches and dinners.

I used to beat myself up when I saw the 284 photo, but lately I’ve been feeling a renewed hope. (I think it’s because I’m making an effort again.)

I don’t like the way I look in photos right now, but I’m not going to stop taking them. I don’t like how hard it is shop for clothes again, but I’m still going to do it.

I don’t like the fact that I let myself veer so far off track, but I’m happier than I was back then. I’m healthier in so many areas of my life than I was at that time, which means it’s not too late to do this.

 

 

 

 

Now That I Have Health Insurance Again…

This has been a productive year, and now that I have health insurance again I’m facing the daunting task of finding a primary care physician. Can we talk about how hard it is to find a doctor who will look at your whole person when you’re obese? (Yeah, I know I’m obese. I know I need to change that. I know that’s all you see, but can we discuss other things as well?)

I’m not saying that every doctor will see my size and nothing else, but the reality is that I’m facing an uphill battle. I haven’t had a lot of experience with doctors or hospitals, which is awesome.  I do know that I do need to get a physical and address a couple of  issues that have bothered me for a while. (I’ve mentioned them here in previous posts.)

Last time my blood pressure was checked it was 138/82, which is the highest it’s ever been…ever. I know that’s not terrible, but it was a reality check for me. I think it will be lower in the coming months because I’m exercising more than I have in a long time. My blood sugar was perfect too, which was good. I  just realize that I’m getting older and that I need to get serious about making some minor changes (at the very least.)

My biggest issue lately has nothing to do with finding a PCP though. I constantly squint because it’s harder to see the screens I stare at for the majority of the day. Even reading books on my iPad is taxing on my eyes, so it’s time for another visit to the eye doctor. Thankfully, that’s no big deal.

Do you have health insurance? If so, are you satisfied with your doctors and coverage?

 

 

 

Week 2 with Weight Watchers

Today was the beginning of Week 2 for me, and it was the first meeting I’ve been to in ages. I’m happy to say that I’m down 5 pounds for the week, and I’m looking forward to losing more in the coming week. The meeting itself wasn’t earth-shattering, but the people were nice. weight watchersThey were discussing food finds that I learned about during my first jaunt with Weight Watchers in 2010. Seriously, they were talking about the same brands and products. They also discussed  fat-free dressings made by Bolthouse Farms that I wouldn’t dream of eating because it’s simply not food, but I didn’t mind these discussions. It was all so familiar, but I liked that. Unfortunately, the awesome lady who led the meeting was just filling in for the leader who was out of town. I am familiar with the other leader, and she’s been with Weight Watchers for 31 years. She knows her stuff, and she has a reputation for being tough. Maybe that’s what I’ll need. I’m just hoping I like this meeting even though there was no one my age there.

 

leafy greens with strawberries

This spring mix with strawberries, walnuts and more is one of my old favorites.

I joined just in time to participate in a 12-week Try-A-Thon, which is comprised of weekly goals to try something new. In my old New York meetings I had a reputation for loving Bravo stickers, and it’s still true. I was reminded of that today when I started thinking about trying new workouts and foods.

Last week I tried water aerobics, which was fun. It’s not a very intense workout, but it’s really enjoyable. I’ve also made an effort to create more interesting salads. I’ve made a few without lettuce, which is fun. I’m also trying to recreate some of my old favorites.

I still love everything I make from SkinnyTaste, and right now following recipes are in my regular rotation.

Spiraled Summer Roll Bowls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Spicy California Shrimp Stacks

My goal for the coming week is to eat more leafy greens and vegetables, in general. I also want to exercise at least 3 times, though 4 would be even better. I’m also committed to tracking everything I eat.

Kenlie

I felt pressure lift when I stepped on the scale today. It sucks to face the fact that I’ve gained so much back, but I am also relieved that I’m dealing with it now before gaining every single pound back.

I feel hopeful and encouraged, which seems like a good place to be.

My JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Makes It Easy

I’ve been doing a variety of workouts over the last few months, and I’m finally feeling some positive momentum. I’ve talked about exercise lately, but I I haven’t mentioned how much I love my new JumpSport Fitness Trampoline.

I’ve had it since late April, but I didn’t really start using it until about a month ago. I didn’t make a lot of time for exercise of any kind when Mom was in the hospital, but I’ve had some fun jumping on it since then.

I’ve wanted a JumpSport trampoline for about 5 years since I first discovered them at Fitbloggin, but I have always been so nervous on them that it never seemed like a good idea. Last year, in Denver, I jumped my heart out for a few minutes and realized that my heart rate was elevated – just from bouncing on the trampoline! I figured I could benefit from owning a trampoline because I didn’t have to leave home to get my heart rate going, so when JumpSport offered to send me a fitness trampoline, I was pretty excited to try it.

JumpSport Fitness Trampoline

I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment. I only have one bedroom, so when I’m not using it I leave it behind the door. It’s completely out of the way, and it takes about 5 seconds to move it into place.

My fear of breaking it (even though it’s built to support my weight) made it difficult to enjoy first, but I’ve been using it enough now to trust that it’s not going anywhere. I typically jump pretty close to the wall just in case I lost my balance, which hasn’t actually happened. It comes with a handle bar as well, but I don’t have enough room to use it because I couldn’t stand it up if it were attached. Seriously, when I have a bigger home I’ll definitely attach the bar.

JumpSport Fitness

I knew when I received it that it would help me burn calories, but I didn’t realize that I’d feel lighter as soon as I started jumping. It’s hard to explain, but after about one minute I feel as though I’m floating. The trepidation I feel initially is replaced by a liberating feeling. It almost feels like I’m flying, and that makes me feel as light as a feather. It came with an exercise DVD as well, but I haven’t used it yet. So far, I’ve only been brave enough to jump and do a few planks. Those are killer!

I’m looking forward to watching my nieces jump on it when they visit next week, and I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about it a few months and several pounds down from now.

Overall, I love it because it takes very little effort to get my heart rate going, and I can do it for a few minutes at a time several times a day. I think I’ll love it even more as I continue to reduce my weight because I don’t like being at the top of the weight limit. While I haven’t experienced any problems with it, I think I’ll feel more secure 25 pounds from now. The only down side is that I wish I had a bigger living space. My apartment is cozy and comfortable, but when I have an extra room the trampoline will be more prominently displayed for even easier access.

Have you ever tried a fitness trampoline? Do you own a JumpSport trampoline? Would you like a chance to win one here on my little blog?