Six Months–Shrinking

This, my six month sleeveversary, post is dedicated to all the newbies, the still deciding, and those who just need to take a step back and really see how far they’ve come…because like I always say:  This journey will eat your brain if you let it…
As most of you know, I was sleeved 8 March 2016 so I just passed my six months. I do not ‘celebrate’ my surgery day because that’s just the surgeon doing his job.
Instead I celebrate my first full day home from the hospital because that’s the day it’s all on me now.
That was yesterday. 
Of course, I have been extra contemplative. 
It’s only natural. 
Extra contemplative, however, to the point I have written this six month post more than three times already. 
This journey cannot be contained in a reasonable amount of words so I decided to pick the ones that would likely help others as much as they have helped me.
Anyway…
I scooted out of the house yesterday before taking my measurements. This morning I was half dressed before remembering and stripped back down just to mark the occasion. But, not before debating if I really “needed” to take them.
Thankfully, I decided that since I have to be out of the house before 8 a.m. tomorrow that I had better stop now and record the numbers. It only took me about five minutes and then I got dressed so we could go out to breakfast.
 
It wasn’t until coming home that I was actually able to reflect on the numbers and compare my progress.
“Whoa!!!”
 
All the “big” body parts–chest, waist, hips, thighs–have shrunk more than one inch for every month I am post op.
 
A whole inch.  Per month.  Minimum.  Per body part.
 
I am six months post-op so that means I am at least six inches narrower than I was. To give yourself and idea go find a ruler and look at six inches.
 
But here’s the thing my chest (bra band) was the smallest shrinker at 7.25 inches.

My waist: 9.75 inches.

My hips: 10.25 inches.

My thigh: 6.25 inches (right leg only because I’m right handed…some people measure both but I don’t).

All the ‘little’ body parts–neck, bicep, forearm, calf, ankle–all shrunk from 1.5 to 3.75 inches.
Actually one of the things I am really loving about my journey is I am shrinking in nice proportions.
 
What I really want to stress especially to you newbies is thanks to the ‘joys’ of thyroid disease I am a slow loser by comparison. I try not to compare but most post-ops lose so much faster than I have so I’m only mentioning it to give you an idea that my results are slower than what many people experience.
Slower.
But, still awesome…and it feels great!!!!
be-proud-of-yourself

Now take a look at that ruler again.
Put it up next to your body.
Make yourself see it.
Half of a foot, at least.
 
Six months.
So what have I been contemplating?
Well, like I said I cannot contain it in a reasonable amount of words so I have decided my focus thought for September is: “Self-Reflection.”
I have changed in more ways than size.
Thoughts I had at the beginning no longer matter.
Things I never thought to think or at least thought I would not be thinking about at this point are flooding my brain.  The only logical thing to do is let myself think.
My journey has always been about becoming rather than losing so one of the big questions I am asking myself is: Who am I becoming?
So far, I’m liking the answers.
Plus, I’m still waiting on my thyroid retest results anyway and since my body is clearly unimpressed with my efforts of late now is the perfect time to think.  I am sure my doctor will be lowering my thyroid medication so it will be a few more weeks before my body is rid of this stupor.  Instead of driving myself bananas I am just going to sit right here and be…(and by sit right here I mean while doing all the things I know I am supposed to, to elicit results).
Skinnier…by at least half a ruler and close to a full ruler at the widest part of my body.
nobody-sees-the-number-on-the-scale
 
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Lowest Known Adult Weight

211.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it.  I’m still in a little bit of shock.

My lowest known adult weight was 212.2 on 10/24/05.  It was a few months after I became only the second person in my family to graduate college with at least an Associate’s degree.  But, I actually had two of them and on my way to a Bachelor’s degree.  I also was getting divorced.

The regain was slow–10 pounds in the following two years–but it did happen.  Then I remarried in 2008, found out he was clinically insane (no, really like the stuff of horror movies), got divorced again, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and gained over 50 pounds in four months as the side effects of the medication took hold.

I went from healthy and active to disabled and gaining weight I didn’t earn in less than eighteen months.

It was heart-wrenching.

Then in 2010, I kicked the medications to the curb and demanded my life back.

It’s been a long, slow journey to here and I absolutely know having weight loss surgery was the right tool for me and my body.

I have been curious how I would feel about getting here.  I have lost all the weight of those painful moments and have arrived at a weight when I felt my most triumphant.  I was curious if that feeling would return too.

It has.

It’s taken me just less than two months to lose 11 pounds so I’m giving myself two months to lose 11.1 pounds and see 199.9.

Onederland…you’re mine.Goals Quote

 

 

Four Months–The End, The Beginning, But Really Barely The Middle

Yeah, I know that makes one huge heap of sense.  Please allow me to explain.

The End: I have decided to fire my surgery practice.  I’ll try to give you the Cliff’s Notes style story.  My surgeon repaired a hiatal hernia and despite me asking no less than six times, in and out of the hospital, I was NEVER informed and therefore received no aftercare instructions or alterations to the diet plan.  I only found out when I received a bill for charges not covered by the insurance company.  Then last week there was a HIPPA violation when I was sent a lab order for another patient.  If I wasn’t already fuming, that sent me to my outer orbit.  There’s just no amount of anything that is going to make this right.  It means I have to give up my AMAZING nutritionist and that almost makes me want to collapse into a pile of tears.  She’s helped me more than anyone in my whole nearly 13 year weight loss story.  However, the irony is by all appearances the hernia repair has been a failure since the moment I started asking about it.  I’ll be having a barium swallow and complete upper GI series next week to confirm it.

The old me would have just swept this all under the rug but the new me keeps asking myself: “What are the consequences to your progress if you try to hold on to this obviously broken situation?”  I don’t want to find out.  I have spent the past few months ‘fixing’ myself of all the moments I tried to puzzle together the good bits and doing my best to tip-toe around the bad ones.  The best part of all of this is I feel zero need to fix it.  It’s broken.  I didn’t break it so it’s not up to me to run around trying to make it all better.  End of story.

The Beginning: I want to draw my line in the sand and move forward.  Four months ago today I drew a different line in the sand when I had surgery.  It’s not like I can go back and change it, right?  So my job is to continue to move forward.  Today is a different sort of new beginning.  My only concern about moving forward is losing my nutritionist.  Oh I have the food part down and she even agrees.  The scary part is I have a weird body and she’s known exactly how to fix it.  No one has been able to do that for me.  Ever!  I have 12 years of diet failure so it’s not like I haven’t been begging and pleading for help all along the way either.  Fortunately, I have also learned a lot.  I know how to fuel my body.  I just need to hold on to the hope that God and the Universe will continue to place the helpers I might need in my path…and to not go crazy waiting for them to show up.  Today, I am moving forward all alone and all for me.

Barely The Middle:  Here’s the truth: I am two months shy of the halfway point on what is often referred to as the “Golden Window” by many bariatric specialists and patients.  The Golden Window is that magical first year where everything is easy–metaphorically–meaning the bulk of the excess weight comes off as long as the patient is doing her, or his, part.  Sure there are bumps along the way but the first year is very similar to the rapid change in the life of an infant.  Growth. Milestones.  I am not about to let anyone fuck with it.  This is my journey dammit.  My goals haven’t changed.  Of course, it has been feeling like everything is upside down but after a few moments of wildflower therapy on top of a gorgeous mountain it all became clear: I am upset about what happened…not where I have been or where I am going.  Huge difference.  My choice then is to let all the past die where it is and focus on MY GOALS!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh there will be fallout as the surgeon discovers what has happened because in my absolute heart of hearts I cannot imagine he knows but that fallout is the natural consequences running their course.  My goals are independent of the outcome…

Wait, how did I get this strong…

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

 

 

Un-Goals

On 7 January I started my, My Fitness Pal, account.  I had been faithfully using Fitday for over a decade but it had become a reminder of all the failing-to-lose past I knew I needed to break from it and start fresh.

On that presumably blustery day in January, I put in a goal weight even though I am NOT interested in being any one number on the scale. Ever.

But, it’s a number. It’s something to shoot for and something to mark my progress against. And, today I am so glad I did I let myself believe, if just for a moment, that number would be possible.

Because…

Today when I logged this morning’s scale wiggle in My Fitness Pal, it told gave me a celebratory message to announce I have made 51-percent of the progress toward that goal-but-not weight.

I’m just shy of my 3-month appointment.

Okay, let me pause and let that sink all the way in.

Blinking hard.

Disbelief.

Shock.

Surprise.

Amazement.

Wet-eyed smile.

Never. In. A. Million. Years….Did I think I could get to this point this fast.

Honestly, even sitting in my surgeon’s office four months ago I did not really believe having weight loss surgery was going to work.

I didn’t believe it.  But, I knew I had to try.

I am so grateful I found the courage and the oomph to try as hard as I have with everything else I have tried.

(In case you’re a new reader…I’m really only interested in having a healthy body fat percentage and for women my age it’s between 10-32 percent.  But scales are readily available in doctors’ offices so I have to at least be friends with the number they show me.)

Time. Real Change Takes Time

11 Days…It took ELEVEN DAYS for my body to get back on track after discontinuing the lunch meat for my body to say, “Okay, we can lose again now.”

First, I’m thrilled!!! I knew things would start moving again simply because they had been going so well. In some ways, these 2.2 pounds feel better than the some of the 40 I’ve already lost because they’re the first I really had to work for.

Second, my the big point I want to make is even when you identify things that might be slowing your progress and you make the necessary positive changes you have to be extra diligent and patient while your body is healing from the ‘damage’ you have done. It all happens so innocently enough too. For me, it was lunch meat.

If you’re struggling there IS a reason and it’s a whole heap of work to figure it out.

Do it.

Don’t quit.

In my case, it’s been a lot of reasons over the course of 14 years. But I haven’t given up.

Not that I’m a fan of the BMI chart but I’m also under 40 for the first time in I don’t even know how long.

Of course I also owe my amazing nutritionist a huge thank you!  She is literally changing my life!  Yes, I know I’m doing the work but to not be fumbling around in the dark trying to figure it out on my own IS life changing.

So many people interested in weight loss surgery focus on the surgeon and having a good surgeon is important but if the rest of the practice especially the nutritionist is not fully invested in your success you could end up with a less than stellar experience.  Your nutritionist should be your lifeline as you learn to navigate the post-op world.  It is her or his job to help you through those stuck moments.

Are you reaching out?

Are you listening and responding to your body?

My surgeon created the tool that is a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

My nutritionist is the one schooling me in the fine art of using it to my best advantage and helping me take my complete medical history into consideration as I make food choices.

Knowing the difference is success like I have never known it.

Weight loss surgery was THE BEST DECISION I have ever made for my health.

Ever.

Hands down.

Even before the scale moved, yesterday was my best, healthiest feeling day in two weeks.

Yesterday, I hoped the scale would move but I was also sure it was going to move. And, I have to admit it caused me to pause. I have never felt this much confidence in my body’s ability to lose weight in my entire life.

I’m so glad the scale is catching up to the work I’ve been putting in.

I cannot fully express how amazing it feels.

The changing numbers are awesome but to being doing the work AND getting results was elusive, at best, before surgery.  Now, I have confidence.

Amazing!

 

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.

IMG_20160507_101425[1]

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!

 

 

 

“Eat Half A Quest Bar And Chill Out!”

My morning started in earnest at the bright, but cloudy, glorious, but not, 6:54 a.m. hour.  It had only been about 22 minutes since I swallowed my thyroid medication so eating breakfast would have to wait another 38 minutes.  So I swapped my cute coffee mug for my personal blender bottle and I was out the door in less than 10 minutes.

Where was I going at such an hour?

To help my hubster.

Honest to protein bar, he’s the only thing that can drag me out of the house at that time of day…and my surgery, of course.  We’re talking serious upper-level importance or I am content to slowly, very slowly, come to life.

After travel-izing my coffee, I grabbed what I thought was a Quest Bar, dropped it in my purse, and gingerly walked down the wet stairs to my car.  I was following his truck because after we were done he had to head to work and I had a pile of honey-dos.

Much to my dismay when the 38 minutes expired I rooted around in my purse for a few nibbles of breakfast.  My purse is evil as hell so the rooting meant unloading half of it looking for the bar.

No Quest Bar.

I may have sworn.  Okay, I did swear.

Instead of the lovely Banana Nut bar I had a non-high-quality-but-on-sale-for-50-cents-each Nature Valley protein bar.  I also had a Cappuccino Nectar single serve but I’d already slurped all my coffee and no water so that was out.

Tanya’s Rule One: ALWAYS have a variety of protein in your purse, camera bag, briefcase, tote or whatever just do not leave home without protein.  Period.

I only bought the 50-cent bars as an emergency stash and because they were on sale for 50-cents.  Hey, sometimes the budget wins.  As long as I balance my day like I’m supposed to one ‘cheap’ bar once in a while isn’t going to break the protein bank.  And they have decidedly less sodium than fast food and most convenience store offerings.  Plus they are so much easier to eat than trying to pick the meat out of fast food breakfast offerings at 75-mph.

I noshed half the bar while I was waiting for hubs to catch up with me.  I don’t know how I managed it but I beat him to our storage shed.  Maybe I was going a little faster than 75 miles per hour.  Whatever.  As soon as he pulled in behind me, I carefully folded the wrapper over the rest of the bar and stuck it back in the hellish purse while knowing I’d cuss again later when I couldn’t find it.  Seriously, my purse sucks.

Hubs only needed my help for an little over an hour but despite the unseasonably cool, wet air I had actual sweat running down my back.   Eww and TMI, I know, but I want you to really understand how I make this all work–juggling medication that has to be taken on an empty stomach, eating protein without resorting to junk, having a life, having good hair, and best of all being a true help-mate and companion to the most adorable man on Earth while still sneaking in time to do my own thangs like writing these notes to you.

As he slipped me $20 for gas to complete said honey-dos I had a choice:

Cool liquids or ‘real’ protein.

My sweat picked liquids.

At that point I was thirsty and as you probably know being thirsty after weight loss surgery is a sign you are already depleted.  Protein could wait until I made it home.  If it couldn’t, I always knew I could pull over to the side of the road to empty the purse from hell in search of the half-eaten bar.  But you and I both know that unless symptoms of hypoglycemia started coming on the contents of that most-hated handbag were safe.

Can I just pause to tell you how much I am in love with Bai antioxidant waters.  OMGOSH!!!  Clean, fresh, and no chemical sweeteners.  Plus the flavors are seriously worthy of YUM!!!  I grabbed the Brasilla Blueberry, filled the tank, stretched at the gas pump (Oh yes, I did and I didn’t give one single fig that the parking lot was full of construction workers ready to start their days), rolled all the windows down and sipped my way home.

From our storage shed to home is about 30 minutes.  As I was walking up the soggy steps, only a couple of ounces remained.  When they were slurped, I made my way down the hall to pick clothes for the day.

“Humm, business meeting with hubs later…a trip up the canyon to check on one of the stores…grocery shopping on the way home…wait, screw grocery shopping…there’s leftovers…I have nothing to wear…”

There are over 65 hangers on my side of the closet but I’m at that stage where my pre-surgery clothes are looking clown-ish and my small stash of smaller clothes aren’t quite right but getting righter by the day so that I was starting the “I have nothing to wear” tantrum tipped me off to one very important thing.

I. AM. HUNGRY!

Okay maybe ‘hungry’ in the wrong word but I definitely was past time to eat.

Honestly on the way to hangry and irrational.

I made three trips from my closet to the refrigerator, “Nothing to eat.”

That there is ‘nothing’ for me to eat is not quite as untrue as the ‘nothing’ to wear.  I need to shop but there is food.  Good food.

So I took a big deep breath and reminded myself my want to eat has passed and I’ve let myself get to the need to eat stage.  There’s a difference.

“Just eat half a Quest Bar and chill the hell out woman!”

Yes, I said it out loud.

Because, sometimes I have to get that tough on myself.  I have to hear it.

So I noshed the Banana Nut while I started this post to help me from chomping through it too fast.  Distraction is a necessary tool for me when I let myself reach this stage.  Otherwise I can plan on the next several hours dealing with a sad tummy.  Did I mention I have things to do today?  I do not have time for a sad tummy.

It doesn’t matter one single bit that I do not want to hold still and babysit my belly.

Or that the former me might decide to skip breakfast altogether in the name of “Stuff to do” even though the truth would be skipping meals is just a form of self-punishment or abuse, and can inspire disordered eating.

Today I have a sleeve.  Sleeves need food on a fairly predictable schedule.  They need high protein of good quality along with fiber and plenty of water.

Today I know I have to love my sleeve, myself and my body if I want to stay happy and healthy.

I ate the other half of the bar after I showered and while waiting for my trusty t-shirt to extract most of the water out of my curls before blowing them to smithereens since, thanks to my hangry moment, I was now out of time to let them dry naturally.

And then I was able to get to the rest of my day which included choosing to not have the most glorious sweet potato fries in the whole world when we stopped at one of my favorite cafes for lunch.

Sweet potato fries, no matter their glory, are actually worse than letting my day spiral to the point I have to ‘force’ to eat.  Glad I was not hangry because I might not be quite so rational.

And, this my friends is how you get through a real life post-op day.

Weight loss surgery success is all about navigating your life within the requirements of your new tummy.

Choices.  Always, always, always making your choices and holding yourself accountable for them.

So far days like these and making these choices have yielded weight loss totaling 35 pounds in seven weeks.

 

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.

IMG_20160415_162216[1]

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.

IMG_20160422_103136[2]

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