200 Days Down–A Lifetime To Go, Gracefully

Okay, I’ll admit it…When I had weight loss surgery I was focused on that first year, of getting to that ‘finish line.’  It’s something my nutritionist has been slowly dripping on me about ever since she met me.  I know there really is no finish line when it comes to health but I did get caught up in the first year post-op craze of making it the end all be all.

She would say things about how this is for life and how it’s so much healthier to let our bodies unfold–and unfat–in their own due course and how with thyroid disease my journey is not always going to be in my control.  All things I know.  But honestly in the beginning I was so caught up in the rush that all I really heard was “Blah, blah, blah.”

Sorry Michelle and thanks for being so beautifully patient and supportive.

So what changed?

My scale battery died.

And it did so on a week when I was too busy to rush out to replace it.  I live in a rural area so it’s a 25 minute round trip to the nearest store which might carry the right size button battery.  Instead of making myself crazy trying to work in a special trip, I just let my scale sit there in the dark under the bathroom cupboard.

Of course, that meant I was also in the dark about the numbers it displays.

As you know, I’m super anti-goal weight but what you may not know is I weigh myself daily.  Daily weigh-ins are a tool.  But, to help manage my chronic edema which is a side effect of an injury over six years ago.  The injury damaged the veins in my left leg so sometimes the fluid pools in my body and I have to use a diuretic to help it escape.  When I was heavier, I didn’t always feel the water weight gain.  I didn’t always see it either.  After gaining over 20 pounds overnight a few years ago, I decided I couldn’t rely on my own body dysmorphic eyes to show me the water retention and started the daily weigh-ins, reluctantly and at the insistence of my physician.  Water retention of that magnitude is taxing to the body so I know it’s the right thing for me.

However, now that I have had weight loss surgery those daily weigh-ins can eat my brain.  Oh sure they were cool in the beginning as the pounds were flying off my body.  Now, not so much.

My thyroid is wigging out big time so I’m stuck more than I’m unstuck and the scale is cruel reminder of how much progress I’m not having.

Frankly, and without any fanfare, I checked out of September.

reflection-quote

I just let myself think.

I helped myself avoid stressing about weight loss on any level.

I did work with my doctor on my thyroid.  We’re still working on it actually.

I did work with my sleeve and kept my focus on doing the right things for my body.

And some really amazing changes started happening…

I noticed I am happier.

I have more peace about my journey.

Without knowing my weight, I developed a clearer vision of how I want to live the rest of my life.

I have actually arrived at a place I did not expect to see so soon.

Grace.

No, I am not talking about spiritual Grace.

Personal Grace is what you think about yourself when you are alone with your thoughts.

When I started my weight loss journey in 2002, my goal was to be able to live with Grace about my body.  To love her, to be kind and compassionate to her, and to be really real with my honest feelings.

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I never thought I needed to be certain size or weight to have Grace.  It has always been something I felt like I would know when I found it.

I have.  And, it’s every bit as beautiful as I hoped.

Except…

Finding it now okay lead me to more questions.  Interesting, unexpected questions:

  1. If I have Grace now, what does that mean for me moving forward?
  2. How do I balance this peace with knowing my weight loss is not finished?
  3. How do I make sure I hold this feeling?
  4. Is this feeling going to become an excuse to give up or not work hard?
  5. Am I settling for less than I deserve because I do not really believe I can do it?

Whoa, right?

Those are some pretty tough questions.  Good thing though questions have always been my favorite kind.  Such the existentialist!

thoreau-quote-achieving-goals

I don’t have all the answers yet but I do know holding this feeling is important and that lead me to thinking about what else I feel is important:

  1. Onederland–199.9  Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just a number but after over 12 years of chasing it I think I’ve earned it.  202.3 this morning…Go body, go body, go body.
  2. 30% Body Fat–That’s been my weight loss surgery goal since I first started thinking about weight loss surgery.  On 23 September, I reached 39.9% and that felt pretty wonderful so now I’m really looking forward to dropping out of the 30-percent bracket.
  3. Sculpting and Toning–This goes hand in hand with a healthy body percentage and it has also been part of my plan.  I knew at some point I would make the mental switch from ‘worrying’ about weight loss to focusing on defining my body.  I just never expected to be even thinking about making that switch at six months post-op.  Making muscle gains can make weight loss look slower so it’s really something you have to be mentally prepared to see.
  4. Seeing Me–Like I have said before I have had body dysmorphia my whole life.  It has driven me to do some really dangerous and unhealthy things and that is so not what this journey is about.  For the past three weeks I’ve been pulling jeans out of the closet that I still cannot fathom will fit my body.  That’s some scary stuff.  I’m not too, too worried though because at the same time I have also looked in the mirror and thought, “My arms are smaller…I can see it…They look smaller.”  Just to reinforce that I am seeing my body as smaller I grab the tape measure to prove it to myself.  Yep, smaller.  Yay me…go body, go body, go body.  That I am seeing myself shrink is the ultimate victory.  This is also something I need to hold so much stronger than the number on the scale.

So on my 200th day post-op, I’m declaring I’m done.

Not done with weight loss, done with being a jerk to myself.

I am making the switch to building my body and holding this Grace I have found.

Existentialism = Living authentically

Living authentically = Having Grace

So much more me than any number could ever explain…

grace-beauty-quote

Irony, Schrodinger’s Cat, And Me

Here’s some irony for you…
 
I’m (this close) to Onederland and my scale battery picked this morning to die. For all I know, I’m there and I don’t know it.
 
BUT….
 
I’m also not freaking out about needing to race out and get the right batteries (bought the wrong ones yesterday) because I don’t care. Okay, I do care but it’s not an obsessive, “I must know right this instant” sort of feeling. I’ve been chasing 199.9 for as long as I have been trying to lose weight.
 
This morning…It’s. JUST. A. Number.
 
It’s this whole Schrodinger’s Cat moment…Am I? Am I not 199.9?

And what are all the possible outcomes for my day and my life whether I am or am not that particular number at this particular moment.

 
Today, tomorrow, next Tuesday…the number isn’t why I am here.
The number…DOES NOT MATTER!!!!!
I did want to and made a goal to celebrate the anniversary of my grandmother’s early obesity related death by reaching that milestone but it absolutely does not matter that I do not know if I made it.
Not being wrapped up in the number today or ever again…coolest thing in the world!!!
Cat

In My First 100 Days

I have planned this post for quite some time but I’m just finishing it up this morning.  It’s too hot to sleep with the desert southwest under a heat advisory–111 degrees today–so I might as well wrap this up before I decide too much time has passed and it feels lame.

My 100th day home from the hospital was Saturday June 18.

It seems unreal.

When I had 100 days before surgery, it felt like time was crawling.

But isn’t that always the way?

So what has the first 100 days brought me?

Let’s start with the obvious:

50.9 pounds of weight lost
3.8-percent body fat lost
25.25 inches lost (measuring right limbs only)
4 jean sizes down
3 shirt sizes down
3 dress sizes down
1-1.5 shoe sizes (yes, for reals and depending on the shoe)
2.25 pounds of muscle GAINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those are all measurable outcomes and they are completely mind blowing to the point I knew I had to frame them in this context.  I needed to write this out because I need to see it so much more than I need to share it.  I know my fellow WLSers totally understand how the brain and body are so out-of-sync especially at the beginning.

But what else have I seen, done, heard, and felt in these first 100 days?

The inside of a swimming pool…
I can hold Tree Pose again…
“Slow down…you’re walking too fast.”  (It’s hilarious to me actually)…
I have little baby abs starting to poke out from under my ‘melon’ of belly fat…
My rib cage…(but when I lay on my back there’s a good size depression)
My son said, “Mom…You’re getting some guns.”
I can do a forward fold and put 3/4 of palm on the floor…
I jumped across a small ditch but it was wider than my leg span so it was a full jump…
Realizing just how utterly amazing my nutritionist is…
My commitment to keep my goals health-focused rather than scale focused is stronger…
I can wash my whole back…(with a jacked shoulder this is a big deal)
A greater sense of confidence in the whole of my journey…
I trust my body…(so weird after all these years of putting in the work without reward)…
Less to almost zero acne …(46 years old and I can FINALLY stop using zit cream)
The positive changes it’s had on my family’s attention to their own health…
How many times I did NOT resort to food when faced with unimaginable stress…
That I actually learned to like water…(most days, most days…lol
That I haven’t needed to be perfect one million percent of the time…
I want to do squats…

I could probably do this for an hour or more but I think this is a good list to hold on to.

My point is having weight loss surgery does change the number on the scale but it also changes you and those around you in so many ways that cannot be quantified or anticipated.  I am grateful 99.99-percent of the changes in my body, life, relationships, and world have been positive.  So grateful!!!

It has definitely not been all sunshine and daisies.  It’s been a lot of hard work and making choices I would have rather not like getting that next bottle of water to go down or fixing myself a meal slightly different than the one I cooked for my family.  But, isn’t that the junction of success…doing the things you know are wise and prudent even when you would really rather not?

I love this quote by Jim Rohn and think it absolutely applies to the post-op life.

Jim Rohn Quote

This Month Was Better

In case you don’t remember, last month my home-from-the-hospital anniversary ended up being rather emotional.

My progress was stalling.

My body felt off.

The old, familiar feelings of “WHY, WHY, WHY…isn’t this working?” were swirling.

Thankfully, I recognized and honored those feelings and decided to share them with my seriously amazing nutritionist.  Through a chain of emails we pinpointed the suspected culprit in my diet and eliminated it immediately.  Ten days after discontinuing the preservative-laden lunch meat my body felt like it was getting back to normal–yep, a protein…a legal, nutritionist-approved protein–knocked my body out of whack and ground my progress to a halt.

I didn’t assume I was in a natural stall.

I listened to my body.

I did NOT listen to people who were telling me I should just ‘be happy’ with my progress so far or that I was being too hard on myself.  They haven’t lived in this body so there’s no way they could know but I couldn’t help but wonder maybe they were right.

Instead, I asked for help with confidence I was right something was wrong.

I found solutions.  Simple, simple, simple solutions to get me back on track.

I’ve been trying to lose weight for over a decade and have experienced a similar scenario more times than I can count but I have never had the level of professional support I have now and for me that is what is making all the difference.

Yes, having a vertical sleeve gastrectomy helped.  A lot.

BUT…

Without the custom attention of my brilliant nutritionist, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I like it here.

I like the success I’m having.

I really like how almost predictable it is.  It’s only almost predictable because let’s face it…autoimmune disease is a roller coaster of crazy body blowouts…but I have been able to wrangle my body back into submission faster than ever.

I like having confidence in myself and my body.

I have never experienced any of this on previous attempts.

This…weight loss surgery…was the right tool for ME.

After last month’s experience, I also learned something new.  Despite my attempts at non-nonchalance, the remembrance of the day I came home from the hospital does matter to me.

It is a natural benchmark.  But, there is no requirement for me to have any emotional investment whatsoever.  I certainly do not need to be freaking myself out with goals, celebrations, photos, or anything else.

After last month, I decided I didn’t want to do that to myself again.  So, I didn’t.

This month instead of piling a heap of expectations on the day I barely let it register including moving my three month check up from the day before ‘the day’ to the week after.

You know as well as I do had I driven to Las Vegas the day before my body would have swelled up like a toad.  It always does.  Bodies with chronic venous insufficiency do not like to be captive in a car.  I would have stepped on the scale the next morning feeling defeated.

Seriously, who needs to ‘celebrate’ what has become a very positive step in recapturing my health with feeling betrayed by one’s own body?

Not this girl.

Not any more dammit!!!

Instead I realized I am super close to some milestones and so I tightened up my eating and made sure I was really holding myself to the line and I lost the most last week. 3.2 pounds, since lunch meat decided to go rogue in my guts.

Let me just tell you…

THAT FEELS BETTER!!!!

Not just because 3.2 pounds is nearly SEVEN TIMES what my non-wls surgery good weeks looked like but because I focused on what I could do.

Such a simple, subtle change.

I am now exactly one pound from losing 45 pounds since coming home from the hospital.

I have never, not even when I was lifting over 100 pounds in the gym, have I lose 45 pounds in a single year.  Probably not even in two years.

Then I’m exactly 8.6 pounds away from achieving my lowest known adult weight.

In between, there’s the 50 pound milestone.

It’s not just the poundage.

I’m down 3.4-percent body fat too.

For most people, you need to lose 7-12 pounds of body weight to lose 1-percent body fat.  What that means is I am losing mostly fat and retaining my metabolically active tissue aka muscle.  What that means is even though some people might call weight loss surgery the ‘easy way out,’ I am managing to keep my body’s metabolism from being destroyed by rapid weight loss (Have you seen the Biggest Loser studies?)

And, I sashayed into Old Navy on Friday and could zip every single pair of size 18 jeans I pulled even though while in the act of pulling them I was steeling myself for disappointment.

No more ‘big girl’ clothes!!!!!

I did take a peek at my measurements a few days ago but stopped when I saw I had lost over an inch from my waist since my last check three weeks ago.  I was trying to surprise myself…and I did…but now I want to wait until the day before my check-in for the full surprise.

I owe myself that much.

Do you know how crazy cool that feels to know and accept it too?

Adoring Your Body

 

 

Here Fishy Fishy

Yesterday I went swimming.

Yesterday I went swimming for the first time since our Princess Cruise to the Mexican Rivera last March.

Last March 18 I made the goal to go swimming onboard the ship.

Last March from the moment I ducked my head under the water and pushed away from the prickly concrete side I felt a big part of me swish to life.

Last March submerged in the Neptune Pool I decided swimming needs to be a permanent fixture in my life.  I missed it.  I knew it.  It was time to bring it back to me.

When the community pool at home opened less than two months later, I quivered wet and cold with fear over the thought of keeping that promise to myself.

I shivered for exactly 444 days.

Yesterday I was no long afraid.

Okay, I was sick and tired of being afraid.  There is a difference and I need to make sure I properly acknowledge it.

So yesterday I went swimming for the first time in exactly 444 days.

A curious thing happened. As my flip flops were clip clopping closer to the water’s edge I realized I had precisely zero fucks to give about what anyone thought of me or my body.

Yesterday as my body made the transition from land to water I felt the same swish of me returning to me the moment I was free of the ladder.

Ahh.

Yesterday I even laid out in the sun.  Twice.  Let me assure my milky white legs desperately needed to see the sun but my soul needed to be one with its light and warmth.

And one I was.

I remembered who I am.  Again.

The me I was before I wasn’t was a fish.

The me I was before I wasn’t actually looked forward to a new swimsuit each year.

The me I was before I wasn’t actually spent so much time in the sun I had body tan lines the year I picked the multi-color and white striped suit.  (Who knew you can tan through the white stripes on your swimsuit?  Surely not the diagonally stripped me that was.)

Today, I guess I could beat myself up for letting go of the me who was before I wasn’t or for holding her back another 444 days.

But, I’m not.

Today, I can’t wait to go swimming again.

And again.

And again.

I am a fish and I am glad I remembered.  Again.  After 444 days.

 

 

 

 

And She Slows Down Long Enough To…

Tell you…

IT DID HAPPEN!!!

The morning of my nutrition class, 3 May 16, I hit…

228.4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh, huh.

Oh yeah.

Can I get a woot, woot?

Happy Dance.

However…

Traveling to Las Vegas on the third set off a firestorm of busy.

My hubs business took another leap forward, with my amazing help, and we’ve been scrambling to put our ducks in the proper, proverbial row.

Hubs is locked up tight at his weekend job so I’m going shoe shopping.

I wore my black loafers with the denim skirt I wore on our first date.  I am about falling out of them both.  Oh and I’m wearing my black knee high compression socks.  Yeah.  With a skirt.

I must say it’s not a look I would not have pulled for myself but I have happen to become fond of it.  The mini-ish skirt, the knee highs, and the loafers just work with my lower half.  I guess maybe I have to admit the compression socks are mostly responsible for pushing me to it.

Could it be I actually have to admit I like them?

“Umm, No.”

*Laughing Hysterically*

But, my daughter also agreed it’s a look that just works for me so maybe, just maybe, I do need to stop being such a snot about the ‘evil’ stockings and appreciate their place in my life.

Although, one of my goals is to no longer need them.  Ever.  Again.

Socks and compression aside we found a rockin’ and totally me pair of Adidas at Ross.

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Shoe shopping aside…

It’s been a long busy week of being outside of my routine which means I haven’t been as on top of taking my water pill as I ‘should’ be.  Sigh.  Of course, this means the scale is inching up and I need to take the day to stick close to home.  And, that ‘should’ word is dogging me again.

Should is an asshole who is only there to bring me down.  As much as I know that I’ll be damned if I didn’t start ‘should-ing’ myself into feeling bad about how the week played out.

No.

Stop.

This has been a GREAT week.

Busy, yes.

But part of figuring out my new life is learning how to make everything work.  Because sometimes it is road trips, unexpected blessings which bring bigger To Do lists, and on the extra special weeks it is also polka dotted sneakers.

It’s about learning when to say ‘YES’ and when to say ‘I need to do this for me (even though I have other things I ‘should’ be doing’), it’s wearing compression socks, taking water pills, and holding still enough to eat slowly, finding time to write, using a timer to remember to drink and having snuggle time with my doggies.

I found a way to have it all this week.

Feels good!

 

 

 

The Reliability Of Your Inner Voice Should Be Suspect

As most of you know I’m a writer.  Today I am going to share with you something all writers experience.  It’s called the ‘inner editor’.

If you’re not a writer you might not understand writing and editing are not the same thing.  Not even close.

The writer is creative.

The editor is corrective and sometimes bent on destructive.  Self-editing especially while writing is also highly unreliable.

For the writer to truly edit her work she needs distance from the project and also knows to never attempt editing when she’s feeling emotional, discouraged, or just plain bitchy.  Good writers know self-editing is a minefield and just how often the inner critic is a liar.

Oh gee, doesn’t that sound like the inner ‘fat’ person who hasn’t quite caught up to the outer thinner person?

Of course!

Self Criticism

Last week it was raining so I took the opportunity to try on my favorite blazer.  I have had it around 10 years.  For the last eight or years so I have only been able to wear it a handful of times so I was beyond thrilled when it fit.  It was even loose in the arms.  Of course, I had to take a selfie.

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As proud as I was to be standing there in all my blazer fitting glory, when my daughter came over a few hours later and said…

“Mom…with your arms down…it’s actually too big for you…look see…right there,” as she pointed to my waist.

My brain had a hissy fit.

It’s not too big.

It can’t be too big.

She’s just being nice.

She’s lying.

“Oh well thanks for being so generous sweetie.”

“No mom, I’m serious.”

I couldn’t handle it.  I did not know how to handle it.  The former bigger girl within wasn’t ready to listen.

Then a few days later I tried on a pair of mesh-y capri workout pants.  You know that fabric that is used for basketball shorts?  It’s that heavier material not the thinner yoga type.  Anyway, they’re this lovely shade of yellow-orange that’s almost fluorescent.

“Honey, BE HONEST…Can you see my cellulite?”

“Babe, I don’t know how to tell you this but your cellulite is almost gone?”

“Shut up…it is not.”

“Honey…listen to me…it is almost gone and no what’s left is not showing.”

I rolled my eyes convinced my sweet hubs was lying to me.

And the inner bigger girl went on with the smack talk about my lumpy, bumpy, bulbous thighs.

Just so you know they were over 31 inches EACH when I started my journey and they were riddled with cellulite.  These are not ‘cottage cheese’ these are ‘cheese curd’ bumps and lumps.  And, I have a life-long hatred for them.

For him to say those curds were almost gone was inconceivable.

Two days later I slid those same unforgiving capris on and checked my backside in the mirror.

“Well whattaya know,” I said aloud while I stood there flummoxed and blinking in disbelief.

The backs of my legs are about 75-percent smoother.  It’s really unbelievable.  It feels more out-of-body than real.  The front side still has a ways to go but the point is I couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel, I couldn’t appreciate my daughter’s unsolicited assessment or my hubs solicited one because my inner bigger self has not caught up to my outer thinner self.

I need to tell that inner big girl to shut up in the same way I tell my inner editor to shut up.  I can get rather mean to my inner editor and feel okay about it because I have confidence in my writing ability.

My inner big girl…umm…she’s a bit more fragile.  Okay, a lot more.  Who am I trying to kid.  That part of me still has a lot of healing to do.

So today I decided to slide on my white jeans.  I’ve been toting them around longer than the blazer.  But, these white jeans are much more sacred.

You see these are the jeans I was wearing the day I found out my divorce attorney had absconded with my $1,000 retainer, moved to out of state without telling me, and would not be in court to represent me.  I had to fire him over the phone in open court and agree to represent myself if I wanted to get divorced that day.  After two years of my children’s father dragging it out and being an ass I needed to be done right then and there.  These jeans and I went to work rebuffing each of my ex’s objections to the terms of our divorce.

These jeans are part of one of the most badass days of my life.

I kicked my ex-husband’s attorney’s ass wearing these jeans.

I’m talking to the point the judge’s mouth kept gaping in disbelief.

I might not be fully feeling the outward changes to my body but I’m definitely remembering the fierceness of that day.

I am basking in the strength of the white-jean-wearing woman…while I’m reminding myself that 33+ pounds in 43 days is also badass.

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And…

The truth is to keep from sabotaging my progress I have to help my inner critic catch up to where my body is today…breathing and trying to be present.

Hello non-scale victory!!!

I am wearing white jeans with a waist band loose enough that fresh out of the dryer I could still fit my whole fist in the gap…HELL YAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

My inner critic can shut up today.

Her opinions are not valid.

 

Feelin’ A Bit Off…The Next 25ish Pounds

So if you’ve been following along you know I hit what I call my ‘fibromyalgia weight’ four days ago.

Honest to hell nothing clicked in my brain on any day prior to Sunday to warn me I was inching ever closer to the number I have been fighting for, for the past two years.  The shock of seeing it has left me in a funky, funk ever since.

Fighting.

I have been fighting to reclaim my body from the weight Lyrica and Cymbalta piled on for over TWO YEARS.  And thanks to weight loss surgery those pounds just melted away like nothing.  I should be turning cartwheels.

Shouldn’t I?

Ahh, the ‘should’ problem.

No wonder I’m feeling depressed and angsty.

I’m telling myself I should NOT be feeling anything other than rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns–purple, glittery unicorns.

The truth…

The truth is I feel sad.

I feel lonely.

I am grieving…not the pounds lost but the life I have lost since the day fibromyalgia changed my life forever and what sparked its arrival in my life.  I was 236.6 pounds on 9 September 2009 and again on 10 April 2016.

And to be entirely transparent in that way that keeps me real…

The next pounds to lose are the ones I gained after I married the professor who turned out to be a narcissistic psychopath (No, I am not exaggerating in the least in case you don’t know that story).

Oh Sweet Mercy!!!

More grief is coming.

There are a tiny handful of things I would truly change about my life if grated the power and marrying that man is definitely one of them.

I was my best me when he found me.

As with all charming narcissistic psychopaths, I was beguiled enough to say ‘I do’.

What I did not know is he trolled for me because my four children and I were supposed to be his Penance for destroying the lives of his wife and four children.  He had a magical plan that God would forgive him if he swooped me and my children up.  As we stood as proxy for his ex-wife and children, he was sure he would be healed by God’s Grace.

Of course, part of his plan included me being demure, submissive, and perpetually blinded by his charm. (Oh God, I can’t even type demure or submissive without laughing.  As anyone who really knows me, knows those are probably the last words that could be used to describe me.)

I guess his plan could have worked if he had managed to remain charming.

Instead he committed unspeakable atrocities.  He humiliated me for sport.  He abused me.  He told me of his plans to rape and pillage those who have wronged him.  And, he was enraged when I wouldn’t sit back and take it all with a cheerful and willing spirit much less worship him what he felt was magnanimous charity toward me and my children.

Fortunately for me, he failed to plan on his mental illnesses to unmask him.  His true colors are the stuff Stephen King writes about.

The stress of our 18 month marriage piled on about 25 pounds.

As we were divorcing, he called me ‘elephant ass.’

Right now…

Right this very minute…

I am sitting on those 25 pounds.

Yes, the bulk of the weight I gained landed on my booty.  Yes, those words stung.  The tear sliding down my cheek says they still sting.

But what you don’t know, unless you know the whole story, is the professor was teetering close to 500 pounds when he decided on this cruelty.

The man with the waist bigger around than I am tall called me ‘elephant ass.’

Unfortunately he’s not the first super obese person in my life to say something nasty about my weight so it triggered all of those past pains too.

Those are the next 25ish pounds on my To Lose list.

Losing weight isn’t about losing weight and losing weight alone.  It is about losing all the shit that came with the pounds.

A 500-pound man with a questionable grip on reality called me elephant ass…and I have to deal with it.

Even though I already knew this was coming I guess I am a little surprised it has arrived so quickly.

Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuckity.  Fuck.

When he met me, I was the strongest me I had ever been.

I had risen from the ashes of abuse and neglect.  I had healed myself and my soul.  My words were even being featured on the gratitude journal section of Oprah’s early 2000’s website.

Me.  On Oprah’s website.

Less than two years later we were divorcing and the tell-a-tale symptoms of fibromyalgia started appearing.

It is the scar of our relationship that will never leave no matter how many pounds I lose.

Despite much personal growth, I am still not back to where I was the day he found me.

Even if I could snap my fingers and be instantly rid of those 25 pounds, fibromyalgia will remain.  It has changed me and the course of my life.  Granted some of the change has been positive but this new reality does not lead back to that woman I was.

So maybe I just need to get a grip.

Maybe I need to cut myself some slack.

Maybe I need to deal with the terrifying horror that was being linked to the most truly evil human being I have ever known.

“These next 25 are some of the most painful ever placed on my body.”

Maybe I just need to say that, put that out there, and let it be.

Maybe I need to trust myself and all the work I have done to reclaim the spirit of the woman who captured the attention of Oprah’s people.

Maybe I just need to be present.  Because my here and now is even better than the woman who was the best me could have foreseen and frankly that’s pretty damned amazing considering all the shit I’ve waded through to get here.

Maybe I just need to do the work instead of feeling glum.

For my sleeve to do its job, I have to do mine.

So I’m feeling a little off…

If this is all you know about my story, I am sure you’ll tell me it’s to be expected.

Maybe I need to give my elephant ass a hug before I shove it off the wall…

Elephant

 

Status Update

Humm, I haven’t been too sure how to handle posting my progress.  For me, it’s complicated.  You see I do NOT have a weight loss goal.  I am NOT a number.  The scale will never again define me or my success.

This journey is about health.

Being emotionally dependent on the scale is not healthy.

Period.

My personal goal is simple: A healthy body fat percentage.

Since I am a woman in my 40s that is a range between 7 and 32-percent.

A RANGE!!!!  Not a single destination!!!!

Fortunately, my surgeon also believes weight loss goals are dangerous little numbers to be clinging to.

He says, “I just want you to be healthy…in all the ways you should be.”  I swear I coulda kissed him!

But, the other side is the whole point of weight loss surgery is…umm, like, weight loss and since you cannot lose body weight without losing body fat percentage (Okay, you can but that’s a long convoluted explanation and not the point of what I’m doing here) they sorta go hand in hand.

So here goes…

Morning of surgery: weight 259.5, body fat % 43.9
Two days post-op: 262.4 (Yep, my Hashimoto’s body GAINED weight in the hospital..all fluid, of course but c’mon body…REALLY????????????????  I held no grand illusion that my body would magically behave like normal but I wasn’t exactly fully prepared for a 5.2 pound gain so soon post-op.)
One week post-op: 245
Scale change from two days post op: 17. 4
Body fat change: 0.8% (For a explanation of how body fat loss is calculated check this out)

And because this journey is more than numbers…

Non-Scale Victories:

I put on a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in….umm, so long hubs and I can’t remember exactly but we’re thinking TWO YEARS AGO!!!!  I even wore them for a few hours.  I could have worn them all day but my belly is still tender from surgery making waistbands uncomfortable.

I WORE CUTE SOCKS!!!!  With my severe edema, I have been limited to hideous black knee high compression socks for the most part unless of course I wanted to suffer the wrath of gaining water in the name of fashion.  Not only did I wear cute socks but I had virtually zero imprint on my ankles at the end of the day.  I honestly think what imprint there was, was more from my shoe than my body simply because I still had ankles at the end of the day.  I’d say it’s been 3+ years since I’ve been able to wear this particular pair of lime green no-show ankle socks.

I can SEE myself shrinking.  It’s generally noticeable all over but the biggest “WOW” moment is on my back of all places.  That little chub of bra-line fat us big girls get is visibly flatter.

I feel GREAT!!!!  I feel like I had surgery, of course, but otherwise I feel really great.

 

On Never Giving Up The Hunt For Simple Solutions

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most obvious and easiest solution is the most oft overlooked?

I have hinted here and there that I have been working with a nutritionist for the past few months.  One of the things she puts an emphasis on is supplementing with whey protein.  She was delighted to learn I have been doing so for the past 15 or so years.  She said one of the biggest battles she has with clients is convincing them certain bodies, especially those with chronic medical conditions, need the extra nutritional support.

For people with fibromyalgia the cheapest, cleanest, easiest way to infuse our bodies with the glutathione they so desperately need is with whey protein.

Except there’s a catch: Most national brands of flavored whey protein contain chemical sweeteners which can send a fibro body into a full-on temper tantrum.

Not all patients understand why the whey which is supposed to be helping them is not.  As a consumer, and a health and patient advocate, it is a source of great frustration.

I’ll avoid ranting excessively other than to say I cannot wrap my head around the sense of doing healthy things for your body only to be battling artificial sweeteners at every turn.

Pure whey protein is nourishing and healing.

The chemicals in artificial sweeteners are potentially disease-promoting.

Isn’t this a case of multiplying fractions imitating real life?

Remember, sometimes numbers cancel themselves out when you multiply fractions.

Whey
X
Artificial Sweetener
Not doing any good whatsoever

However in case you have yet to taste plain, unflavored, unsweetened whey protein it is fairly vile on its own therefore ingredients do need to be added to make it more palatable.

Ingredients NOT chemicals.

There are a few brands gaining national traction which contain non-chemical sweeteners but they also come with a bit of sticker shock.  In some cases, the price is more than triple.  I don’t know about anyone else but my wallet cannot absorb triple the price for the convenience of a ready-to-mix flavored powder.

The other drawback to the pre-naturally-sweetened varieties is they are often so sickly sweet I cannot bear to drink them.

My solution has been using unadulterated whey and blending it with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I rarely add a sweetener.  Simple.  Inconvenient.  Time consuming.  Messy.  Good for me.

Healthy is as healthy does though and my body has responded wonderfully.

I really do try to keep doing the things which coax my body to respond wonderfully.  It’s just good practice for us all, don’t you agree.

Yet, I am always on the hunt for ways to simplify or even add a little convenience for the days when life is overflowing.  Remember, I have been doing this for at least 15 years so I have had a lot of time to not realize I can mix my own whole ingredients to make my own mixes.  Two days ago I found this great blog with recipes for homemade whey protein powders.

Seriously?

Like, really…where was my brain?

SO SIMPLE?

After I tested her “Gimme Chocolate” recipe I started thinking of all the ways I could expand on her concept to bring other flavors to the mix.  Those thoughts sent me down a four hour research hole.  I’d love to tell what I found but I’m keeping it a secret until I can order some supplies and make some mixes.

The recipe was PERFECTION, by the way.  Intense cocoa, lightly sweet, easy, convenient, and from jar to glass was six pure ingredients including the water and ice.

Pure ingredients have no other ingredients: for example, my cocoa powder contains only cocoa powder.

Please do not be fooled with convenience recipes which say they have a certain number of ingredients when the truth is each ingredient has 3, 8, or 27 items listed on its own packaging.

SIX INGREDIENTS.

That’s it.

And, it tasted great too!

The journey to this point has been wonderfully worth the effort.

I can pat myself on the back and say it takes a lot of courage and determination plus a healthy amount of stubbornness to hang in there as long as I do sometimes.  When it comes to health and healing, those qualities are crucial.

Remember:

It’s not supposed to be easy because if it was everyone would be healthy.

However:

We also do not have to go out of our way sometimes to make it so damned hard.

“Just eat real food.”~ Michelle, my nutritionist.

(She has helped me lose 11 pounds so far even with a 10-pound water weight gain nightmare.)