Monday, June 5, 2017

It's hard to believe that I am almost 2 years out from surgery! In October, it will be 2 years.
Here have been my thoughts and experiences lately (within the past 3-4 months):

  • This is hard. This is time consuming. This is life now.
  • I have no issues with sugar (no dumping), so I have to be very careful.
    Yes, I've eaten entire large bags of Cadbury Milk Chocolate (and dark chocolate) eggs. Yes, I've eaten handfuls of gummy bears. Yes, I ate a couple of brownies this past weekend while spending time with family. No, I don't track my food every day through an app, but I should. I don't beat myself up for it, but I know not to justify it.
    Can't keep these things in the house, period.
  • I did not exercise over the past almost year. I walked through the healing phase and a little after, but then I went right back into not doing much of anything. It makes a huge difference in my energy level and overall general happiness when I actually do workout. This summer I have been walking - this will be increased over the next few weeks in preparation for my first 5k in July. I don't plan to run. I'm not a runner (unless being chased by someone who wants to harm me). I plan to finish. I will also be doing a Pumpkin Race in the fall. I never thought I'd even sign up for these things except as a volunteer.
    Yoga: this will also be added to my routine. I don't have a good routine anymore. My boyfriend now works third shift so I spend time with him when I can and have stopped getting up early like I used to. By getting up early, I can usually get some sort of exercise in before work. Yoga is great in the morning, before bed, during the day...literally any time of the day! It is wonderful for strength, balance, and flexibility, but also for relaxation, time to work through issues, positive affirmations, and emotional relief (yes, sometimes I just cry on the's so relaxing and personal that the emotions just run wild).
    Zumba: I plan to do this occasionally as well. I have YouTube playlists created and now I just need to do them.
  • Meal prepping. It's a lot of work, but, again, it is very worth the time! When I don't prep for the week, I am lost and tend to grab whatever I can at work (vending machine foods, things high in carbs) or sometimes just not eat which makes me feel very ill and I end up binge eating a little when I get home. Not good! So, prep is key. I have found a wonderful support group that is run by a registered nutritionist. She keeps us in check and provides us with healthy and delicious recipes that are easy to prep.
  • People treat me differently. I didn't notice it at first, but they do, or maybe it's just perceived differently by me. When I was heavier, there were stares, whispers, jokes...none of which bothered me because I thought those people were just rude and unhappy. Now, people are interested in what I have to say; they take me more seriously. I notice this when I do something different with my hair, wear jewelry, wear even the slightest bit of makeup. What is up with this? Are we really part of a society that can't celebrate the natural? How sad? Sure, I sometimes feel a little better about myself when I do little things like put Jamberry wraps on my nails, or a little mascara on my eyelashes, or I straighten my hair, but the idea of it being required for people to take me seriously is absurd.
  • I am thoroughly enjoying buying clothes anywhere! I'm no longer limited to just a few stores that charge crazy amounts for larger clothing. I can wear summer dresses and feel cute. They fit my shape better.
  • I still have a silly belly pouch of fat. This is most likely because of my lack of exercise and the higher carb intake that I had for a few weeks. Back on track for me in order to build muscle and stamina.
This is a picture from a friend's wedding last June. I feel beautiful in the photo for a couple of reasons:
  • I am with the one I love.
  • I am wearing a color that I never looked good in until now.
  • I am wearing a dress that looked amazing on me, even though I learned that halters do not work well with my body type.
  • I have my bat wings (arm fat) free and never cared once about them while in that dress, even while dancing at the reception.

Overall, this is still the best thing that I could have done for myself. I am healthier and happier and am continually learning how to maintain both of those.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

One year

Yesterday marked one year from my surgery date.
I have lost 115 pounds.
I started at a size 26/28 and am now in a 12/14. I don't ever remember wearing this size. I didn't have a goal to begin with aside from becoming healthier so the clothing sizes are a wonderful surprise.
I, unfortunately, did not take measurements. When I go to my year follow up appointment on the 31st, they will measure my waist. Once I implement a better workout regimen, I will take measurements as my goal will be toning and building muscle.
I am happier. I am able to do more things physically. I was never not confident but I have more confidence now.

Here is a side by side comparison photo. The picture on the left is from 1 day before surgery last year. The picture on the right is from last week.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Comparison Photo

I made a comparison photo.
I used a picture from a time where I was happy with life, but was unhappy with the way I felt about myself and my weight caused struggles. This picture was prior to surgery, but I wanted to do something that showed me where I came from and where I am today.
I still have work to do and will every day, but this was very helpful for me to see and very motivating to continue moving forward.


Sunday, April 24, 2016


I feel often like there isn't much to update when it comes to my surgery journey. Most days I feel like the actual surgery journey is over. I know this is a lifelong alteration, but I almost feel as if I didn't really have surgery.
  • There are no foods that I have trouble with. I attribute this to waiting a little longer to try new things after surgery. I kept to a strict regimen of food for a few months out. I am coming up on 6 months out now and have no issues. I do eat sweets occasionally. I most definitely have to limit those. When I overdo sugar I feel like crap (overdoing it is nowhere near like I did prior to surgery - for example, eating a whole Reese's Peanut Butter cup is bordering on too much for me in one sitting). I have not tried ice cream, but really haven't had the desire. I have had blended fruit and frozen yogurt/milk.
  • I still don't drink enough water/fluids. I have always struggled with this and, I'm sure, will continue to struggle with it. I do really well for a while and then I fall off the bandwagon and deal with minor constipation and irritability from being dehydrated. I do not get sick, but I do feel miserable until I get the water balance back in my body.
  • I have major support from my boyfriend still. He has adapted his portion sizes so that we split a lot of things. He will make one steak instead of two. I will eat my portion and he eats the rest. It is still, by far, healthier than the portions either of used to eat before my surgery. He has since had his gallbladder removed and the smaller portions are helping with weight control and him feeling better.
    He also compliments me on my outfits. No, not every day. No, not every outfit. There are some that he just really likes and he mentions it. This came from a discussion about the need for me to not be the only one noticing any change. He also has commented that I just seem happier (even when I complain that some of my clothes are too big and I have to change them before going to work - yes, I still have some that need to be altered (learning to alter clothing is on my to-do list for this summer) and some more things to purchase in the right sizes).
  • My mom and I are sharing a journey with a different timeline. She had her surgery 2 months after I did. It is still very interesting to see the differences in our journeys and be able to talk about anything related to it.
  • As of today, I have lost a total of 84 pounds since the day of surgery. I do not feel like I've lost that amount of weight, but I also know that I have more to go. My hours are changing at work and I will have more time and more room (buying a house) to be able to workout at home in order to boost the excess fat loss and tone the little bit of loose skin that I do have.
  • I periodically still notice random things that I wasn't able to do prior to surgery. I can bend down under my desk and come back up without struggling to breathe or pushing my belly out of the way. I can walk up and down stairs at work and at home without being winded. I can sit with my legs crossed, comfortably. I can sit with my knees together. I can wrap my arms all the way around people when I hug them. Sex is easier and more fun. Yes, I went there. Energy levels are higher.
  • I can wipe myself more easily. Yes, this was a struggle prior to the weight loss. I can reach behind my back and undo my own bra. No, I could not do that before. I can bend over to tie my shoes and only worry about moving my boobs out of the way instead of struggling to breathe and reach the laces.
  • If I don't track my food intake, I don't eat as well as I should. It is very important for me to log everything that I eat.
  • I am able to shop in the non plus size clothing sections which means I have a better selection of cute clothes. I receive more compliments than I ever have at work. I enjoy them, but I also find it sad that it took losing the weight and being able to find cuter clothes to get those compliments.
Life is settling down for the moment. I have the summer off from classes. My work schedule is going back to five 8-hour days (from four 10-hour days). I am able to spend more time crafting which is relaxing to me. We will be buying a house soon (not sure exactly when as we are waiting on the appraisal and the offer from family). Life is wonderful and I am absolutely thankful for my body alteration.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Dresses and shopping with my mama

My mom had the sleeve surgery in December so we've been sharing our journeys together. My surgery was in October so I had a few months of learning and losing ahead of her. We decided to go shopping for clothes together today. I can't remember the last time we did that. I needed a new bra and am always looking for new, smaller clothes as the weight falls off. She needed some new clothes and new bra as well.

We met at a boutique where they do special bra fitting. I had dropped a few band sizes but the cup size was the same. I ended up getting one bra from there and I'll order some less expensive ones online. I'm not sure when I'll need to order a different size so I don't want to spend a lot of money on them yet.

We went to Cato - one of my favorite places to shop. Their stores are set up like Fashion Bug used to be where they have smaller sizes on one side and larger sizes on the other. Their clearance prices are wonderful (dresses for $6, pants for $4...I find some great deal there). I walked in and found a super cute spring outfit (black and bright yellow) hanging on the wall. I just had to try it on. I found all the pieces and tried them on and bought it. I rarely pay full price for clothing, but I just had to have that outfit. I did not take a picture, but I will when I wear it. My mom had some trouble finding things that fit well, so I just wandered and tried more things on. I was trying on a lot of size 14/16 in the larger section, so I asked the manager there (she's amazing too) what the difference was between the 14/16 on the larger side and the XL on the smaller side. She said they were mostly equivalent. I hopped over to the other side to see what was over there. Mostly the same styles, but there were some things that were not on the other side. A whole new world opened up for me.
This is one dress I bought (on clearance)...from the smaller sizes section of the store:

I just love the fit of it! It is actually sort of a sweater material.
Again, I forget most of the time to take pictures, so I don't have a picture of the other dress I bought.

We then went out to eat at TGI Fridays. I had a small portion of the wings (Parmesan Garlic). They were pretty good. They were a little greasy, but the flavor was delicious. I didn't have any trouble with them.
We went to Avenue after that. Mom was able to find a great shirt to go with her favorite leggings. I realized that the sizes there are all too big for me. Time to scratch that store off my list.
We had a great day shopping together. I spent the next day at her store helping and trying on clothes (like I always end up doing).

Here are a couple of other dresses that I have worn recently (I'm really digging wearing dresses):

This black and green dress was given to me by my mom.

This retro-style dress was one I purchased from Cato (in a size just a little too tight for me at the time) a while back (on clearance, of course). And, of course, the work bathroom selfies.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Today is the day I officially hit Onederland.
Apparently it's a term used for when overweight people (weighing over 200 pounds) reach a weight of under 200 pounds.
My official weight today is 197.6 pounds.
It has been a long time since I've seen anything under 200 on the scale.
This makes a total of 74.4 pounds gone from my body.
That is a large number to me and I feel wonderful. I have much work to do to tone my body, but that will change when my work schedule changes at the end of April. I will be going to the gym with my boyfriend and riding bikes with him as well (as long as the weather cooperates).
I catch myself sneaking glimpses in mirrors and windows as I walk by them. I genuinely feel cute a lot of days. Life is good!

I have been terrible at taking pictures for milestones and did not take one on this day.
Pictures to come though.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cooking day with a friend

One of the supervisors at work is having the sleeve surgery this summer. We have become rather close while talking about the surgery. She is also a great mentor for my career as I plan to pursue a supervisory role at work in the future as well.

In preparation of her surgery, she has altered her eating and has implemented healthier choices and has been tracking her food. I can't stress the importance of anyone preparing for this surgery to begin by making small changes prior to surgery. Reading labels, tracking your intake (water, nutrients, protein), and cooking more at home can really open your eyes to how your life will change after the surgery. Yes, the sleeve helps with your eating choices, but ultimately it's up to us to make good decisions. It's up to me whether I want to have cake or not. The sleeve helps me not eat too much of anything, but it's up to me what I put in my body.

Anyway...we pulled a couple of recipes off from Pinterest, made a grocery list, and went shopping. We had to stop at a couple of different stores because the first one didn't have a spaghetti squash.

Here are the recipes we made:
Ricotta Bake 
Mashed potatoes and cauliflower (We didn't really follow a recipe for this. We boiled a few potatoes, threw the cauliflower in toward the end of the potatoes cooking, drained them, added a little Fairlife milk, a little butter, and a little garlic powder, and then blended with a hand mixer.)
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan, Spinach, and Mushrooms - I think this would be amazing with some grilled chicken or even tofu.
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins - The flavor of these was great, but they were very dry. I will make these again but with alterations. I will add more egg whites (maybe throw in a full egg as well) and something more for moisture (perhaps some worcestershire sauce as well). I may cut down on some of the oats as well or find a recipe that calls for quinoa instead. So many options!

Here is our food:

This was definitely a fun day and I look forward to doing another one in the future. Perhaps after her surgery would be better. Our schedules don't line up currently so we'll see what we can come up with.