Tag Archives: Vertical Sleeve

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….

 

 

Chains Are Breaking

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I don’t feel so chained to my plate anymore, and I want to take a little time to explain what I mean.

chick-fil-a-nuggetsMy love for food makes it easy forget how much smaller my stomach is now. For instance, when I went to Chick-fil-a in the past I typically skipped the fries and drink and opted for the original chicken sandwich and an order of 8 chicken nuggets. It was easily justified in my mind because it was still less calories than fries and a drink.

Now, if I actually go to Chick-fil-a, I can eat 3 to 4 little nuggets, and that’s enough to keep me satisfied for at least a few hours. They’re protein-packed too, which is cool.

Last week I attended Shiftcon, and throughout the conference we were provided with healthy, shiftconbalanced meals. My stomach is smaller, but I still wanted to enjoy the food. I got the smallest portions I could, but I still found my plates to be far too full. That happens a lot, but now instead of torturing myself by trying to eat more than I should I just let it go.

The plate of food on the right looked delicious, and it was. I ate most of the chicken wing, a few bites of the fish and a few bites of the cabbage slaw. (I love cabbage!) I shared the rest of my food and let them take what I couldn’t eat.

I don’t like wasting food, nor does my leftovers loving boyfriend. I’m just learning that it’s better to eat it later, or let it go. My old, overeating normal wasn’t making me strong and healthy. It was making me gain weight and feel lethargic, but my new normal allows me to let it go.

shiftcon-2016I’ve lost 55 pounds in the last 10.5 weeks, and I’m feeling good about that. I eat more protein than anything else. I’m not avoiding any particular type of food, but am I learning that some foods just aren’t worth eating. For instance, I like bread and pasta, but right now it’s not worth my time to eat more than a bite of it (literally, one bite!) I ate a beignet from Cafe Dumonde with a good friend who was here over the weekend, but I learned that I’d rather have the coffee right now. And that’s okay with me.

I’m learning that I can eat whatever I want, just not at one time. Most of the time I’m content with a high-protein shake in the morning, chicken or pork in the afternoon or evening and a bite or two of other things (based on what’s available.)

I can’t express how good it feels to recognize the chains that are breaking in my life right now. I’ve been addicted to feeling overly full for so long that I didn’t realize how awesome it could feel to be satisfied, yet light on my feet.

I am starting to look at food now without feeling a need to eat all of it (whatever it is,) and that feels even better than dropping the 55 pounds I’ve shed so far.

I’m striving to be more active, and I’m seeing improvements there too. Instead of taking an Uber over the weekend I walked to the hotel for the conference. I also walked to a neighboring gym to bring cookies to a friend who was working there. I wouldn’t have done that six months ago. Actually, I wouldn’t have done that a month ago.

I feel less lethargic and more content than I’ve felt in years. I know that it’s a long, long road, but I’m finally happy/thankful/pleased to be on this path.

 

 

 

 

 

The Aftermath: The Truth About Weight-Loss Surgery

I seriously wish I had something to talk about right now, apart from my surgery and healing process, but I don’t. It has consumed the last two weeks since I’ve been home from the hospital.

Today was emotional for me, just like many other days in the last two weeks. The difference today was that I feel stronger than I have in a while. My heart still races when I walk out of my apartment down the long hallway, to the elevator, then to another elevator, then to my car. I’m still nervous each morning as I step into the shower, but I’m doing it.

I’m struggling with the things I’m missing right now:

  • Eating Food – I haven’t chewed a piece of of food in a month, and I still have a week and a half to go.
  • Singing – I can do it, but it takes my breath away. Leading people into worship at church is one of my favorite privileges, but I need to continue to heal before I do it again.
  • Snuggling and Hugging – We can hold hands, and we do. I just can’t curl up with him to watch a movie or anything. My top love language is physical touch, so that’s been difficult for me. I haven’t hugged many people in the last few weeks, which is categorically unlike me.
  • Shopping – I like the instant gratification that comes from doing things like this, but I’ve been too tired to bother.
  • Cooking – It would be too hard to cook right now since I can’t eat, but I’ll be able to make a few recipes from SkinnyTaste.com in the coming weeks. I can’t wait because I just want to feel normal again.
  • Spending Time with Friends – I had a couple of visitors this week, they brought so much light into my day! I’m so thankful that I have such amazing friends. I just miss seeing them and doing things we usually do together.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, and I’m not trying to. I’m just trying to express how difficult it is to experience all of these changes at one time. It’s insane.

A few times today I cried and said that I wished I could take it all back and that if I could go back in time I wouldn’t go through with surgery. I know how stupid that sounds even as it’s coming out of my mouth. I just want want to feel like my old, energetic-enough-to-get-through-the-day-and-night self.

What I have been reminded of over the last couple of weeks is that I’m surrounded by people who love me. Mom and Michael are both sincerely willing to do every little thing I need. I’ve acted like a baby. I’ve been difficult to handle because I’m dealing with anger over being hungry and tired. They’ve both stopped me in my tracks and prayed for me until I felt better.

Dad is coming to visit next week, which makes me happy too. I’m also feeling so much better today that I think I may head back to work next week. I’ll probably work less than I do regularly, but it gives me something to look forward to.

It’s still hard, but it’s getting easier. I’m finally out of the haze of discomfort that I’ve been in, so I’m starting to feel like things might be okay soon. The hardest part is almost over, and that’s a relief.

Surgical recovery is different for everyone; I know that. I also know that no one seems to remember being in so much pain or needing much time to heal, so I’ve documented this pretty closely. I don’t want it to define me, but I also don’t want to forget how hard I had to work for this.

When there’s a time down the road when I have to do something hard I’ll look at posts like this one, or the posts about the 5k I finished in last place when I weighed well over 350 pounds. I’ll remind myself that I’ve gone through hard things before and that I can do it again.

 

 

 

 

An Attitude Adjustment

I had a major adjustment in my attitude yesterday, which needed to happen. Surgical recovery has been rough to say the least. I’ve struggled more than I imagined I would, but I finally feel like I’m on the mend.

Yesterday I woke up and felt a level of pain that I haven’t experienced since early Summer. My skin irritation (cellulitis) was back in full force, and I was immediately reminded “why I did this to myself.”

I struggled for a few days with regret, knowing it was temporary, but allowing it to anger me none the less. When I felt the pain associated with my skin, which is a direct result of obesity, I was filled with hope. Yes, I did this to myself, and now I’m doing something about it.

Sleeping last night was a major struggle, but I was bothered by my skin more than anything pertaining to surgery. My boyfriend has a Tempurpedic mattress, and he thinks I need one too. I’m not sure what to think about that yet because there are so many choices now. It’s overwhelming.

Today I saw my primary doctor, and I’ve lost over 10% of my body weight since I last saw her. She took me off of my blood pressure medicine, which is great. I started taking it in July, and I’m glad it’s over.

I couldn’t do this with Mom, Michael and Jesus. I already knew that Mom would move the earth to make me feel better, and I couldn’t be more thankful for her. And Michael has been more patient, strong and loving than I ever imagined a man could be. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I even spent some time at the park today, and I’m finally feeling well enough for friends to visit.

I almost feel human again, and I’m hoping my tolerance for protein shakes, water and vitamins will help increase my energy levels. Overall, I’m improving, and I seriously hope that I can say that I feel great again soon.

 

 

 

 

Five Days Post Op

I’ve officially reached the “why in the hell would I do this to myself?” phase, and I’m not happy about it. I’m healing and dropping a little weight, but I’m exhausted from showering, walking and trying to drink 48 ounces of liquids each day.

Yesterday I was struggling with cabin fever, so my boyfriend and Mom took me on a little trip to a place I’m always comfortable. I slept much better than I have since surgery, and I know I’m healing. I know I have to be patient…blah, blah, blah…I’m just ready to see some progress. I’m ready to confidently move around without fear of the gripping pain that comes with moving too quickly. I’m ready to curl up in my own bed, which just isn’t possible yet.

Right now it takes me almost 5 minutes to drink an ounce of anything. I knew it would be like this, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around it. It’s even hard to hold my iPad up long enough to read books, answer messages on social media and such.

I know I shouldn’t complain about this awesome opportunity that I had to regain control of my body while losing weight, but today I’m frustrated. Today I need to be reminded that I made a carefully thought out choice and that everyone I know who has been through it says it was the best choice they’ve ever made.

I definitely don’t feel like that now, but I know feelings lie. I know this was a good decision, but right now it’s hard. I guess that’s just part of my process, but what I should do is remind myself that God is faithful and cut myself some slack since it’s been less than a week.

My goal for today is to read, walk, sip and spend time with people I love, and hopefully, I’ll improve a bit more tomorrow.

Heading Into Surgery

I’m going in for surgery this morning, and the procedure should last about an hour. It still doesn’t feel real, but it’ll be over in a few hours.

If all goes well, as I assume it will, I should be home tomorrow or the next day. (I’m hoping for tomorrow,) and I’ll begin the recovery process at home. Based on what I’ve learned from the doctors and people I know personally the recovery isn’t too bad. Most people I know didn’t even take pain pills, which is awesome. (Don’t worry, I’ll take them if I need them, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be too terrible.)

Right now I feel as though I can do anything. I’m down 20 pounds, and successfully completing two weeks of only liquids prior to surgery makes me feel like a rock star. I’m ready, and I know that God is going to carry me through this part too. It’s almost time.

Let’s do this…

I Don’t Want Everything To Change

I’ve been extremely open about the fact that I’m having weight-loss surgery this week, and the majority of people have been encouraging.

I keep hearing that my entire life is about to change, and people say that with such hope. That statement, which always comes from well-meaning people, is so discouraging to me.

I don’t want my entire life to change. I want to get my weight and habits under control, but I’m already genuinely happy with my life. I’ve had to work through a lot of things to get to this point, and I just want everyday things to be easier.

My relationships with God and among friends and family are stronger than ever, and I have the love of a man who has walked in my shoes. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for, and I honestly feel like I couldn’t ask for more.

I have a job that allows me to share joy with people everyday. I get to offer hope to people when they need it, and they encourage me as much as I encourage them.

Mom’s health has improved significantly since she had strokes in April, and Dad seems pretty healthy too.

My home is cozy and comfortable, my church family is awesome, and all of these things make this season of life a beautiful one.

I feel more loved, fulfilled and valued than ever could have imagined, and I don’t want any of this to change. I just want my body to shrink. I want to move more easily throughout the airport as I fly to Colorado with Mom and Michael at Christmas, and I want to enjoy certain activities that are currently prohibited due to my size.

I believe that change is a good thing. I never want to stop evolving, so when I hear someone tell me that it’s all about to change I try to remember how much has changed already. So many things had to fall into place before major surgery/weight-loss became an option.

Good grief! I’m tired of focusing on the topics surrounding my body, and I’ve taken time to serve in areas that allow me to focus on other things. I just can’t escape these thoughts right now. I’m so excited, nervous, happy, anxious, ready, curious, etc.

I’m just ready.

 

 

 

I Want To Cry…and Eat Food…

I’m a week into the liquids phase. I’m down 13 pounds so far, but today wasn’t easy. I went into the office and chatted with my boss, who is also a dear friend, and I left after less than an hour. I just didn’t want to be there today, so I left.

A big part of my job requires talking to people, which is my favorite thing about it. I just had trouble finding my smile this morning. Thankfully, my amazing support system extends to work, and I was able leave without issue.

When I left I met Michael at the movies to see “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” then we watched “Snowden.” I don’t think I’ve ever watched two movies in the same day at a theater, but tickets are dirt cheap on Tuesdays. It was a great way to zone out and to take a break from thinking about the lack of food and my upcoming surgery. Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by the smell of popcorn, but as we were leaving the theater I was hungry even though I brought protein shakes with me.

When I came home Michael joined me here too, and we had a great evening. I’m so thankful for that man. He’s the kind of man I’ve always dreamed of spending my life with, and it’s even more amazing than I hoped it would be. He’s my strong arm, and he knows what I need before I say it.

Tonight I needed to curl up and relax, and he knew it. I’m much sleepier right now than I usually am, and I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about it. I’m just going to rest as much as possible and remind myself that I’m halfway through this first phase.

When Michael left I cried for a few minutes. I can’t explain exactly why, but the tears have come and gone a few times today. It probably doesn’t help that it’s almost that time in a girl’s life. (Ladies, you know what I mean.)

Right now I’m hungry, but I’m going to go to sleep feeling victorious once again. I’m just hoping that tomorrow will be better than today.

 

I Can Do This

I’m several days into my liquids phase, and while it’s not fun it’s not miserable. I avoid situations that might feel like torture (like watching everyone eat pizza,) but I’m okay otherwise. I have a cozy, comfortable home, and it’s my favorite place to be right now.

Yesterday after church I skipped my weekly lunch with friends, and I went home. My plan to was to change clothes and head to the mall to do a little shopping, but I took a long, afternoon nap instead. It’s just easier to be here right now because food is everywhere, and I’m hyper-aware of my desire to eat something no matter where I am. It made me feel sad and lonely for a few minutes until I realized how excited I am about this opportunity.

I also feel empowered right now. As much as it sucks to skip a delicious meal among friends, it also feels good to think about how well I’m doing in sticking to the plan. The liver-shrinking diet isn’t sustainable long-term, nor should it be. It’s definitely giving me more confidence by the day though, which was unexpected.

The truth is I really didn’t know if I could do it. I have to give all credit to Jesus because He’s strong in my weakness, but it’s incredible to know that He provides enough strength everyday.

Mornings are good for me because I don’t want food, but evenings are tougher. Thankfully, I discovered my love for Ramen broth and strained French onion soup. Those things satisfy my craving for savory things, which makes this phase much easier to tolerate.

Now I’m enjoying a quiet night at home with Michael. I love it when he’s here, and it’s comforting to know that he has already experienced this. He’s traveling a lot for work now, so he can be here for my surgery.

Overall things are going much smoother than I could have imagined. I don’t know why I’m always so surprised when God provides exactly what I need. Thank you, Jesus.

I’m looking forward to chewing things again, but I’m going to make it through the next several weeks until it happens.

I know I can do it now, and that is a tremendous feeling.

 

 

 

 

“I Don’t Want Your Pity; I Want Pizza.”

I was at a party tonight, and I’m happy to say that I lived through the torture. Unfortunately, food has dictated my life for longer than I’d like to admit, and right now I’m making some strides to change that. For me, that means that I’m going to let it (err, the lack of it) dictate what I do for a little longer. I doubt I’ll be going to any more pizza parties for the next couple of months.

At the party someone needed me to know that she didn’t feel sorry for me. Luckily for her I didn’t want her pity, I wanted pizza. I didn’t eat it, but it was tough to sit and watch everyone else do it. I left before the cake tonight because it was just too much to take. (Please excuse me while I adjust to this big life change. I might need a few days.)

Overall I’ve done well on my liver-shrinking, liquid-only diet so far. I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m glad I’m finally doing it. I’ve made it through a couple of days, and it’s an empowering feeling. I’m still hungry, but I’m gaining confidence in myself (and losing weight.) I’ve also dropped 6 pounds. I’m looking forward to seeing a lower number next week and the week after, etc.

I do love sugar-free popsicles right now, which I didn’t expect. (Everyone else seemed to know though.) I’ve also tried some variations in my protein shakes, as well as mixes that I can pour into a bottle of water. I don’t plan to drink these long-term, but if they help me get through this phase I’ll do it.

It’s been a long and productive day, and I’m tired. I felt a little sleepier than normal today, but the only difficulty I’ve faced is moments of legitimate hunger and breaking up with foods I love that don’t love me back.

I can do that.

I am doing this.