Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Reflection of the Year

Wow another year has come and gone. Some parts of this year I felt like it went slow (when I was recovering from my surgery) but mostly the year went by very fast. I always like to do a reflection of the year and I definitely have a lot to reflect on. The most obvious being my health. Someone asked me what my favorite gift for Christmas was, I responded with “my health”. It is so true. It wasn’t necessarily a Christmas gift but it was definitely something that I now treat as a gift and don’t take for granted. I’ve lost 141 pounds this year alone (and I still have 1 more day to account for). That is both pre-op and post-op. Post-op I have lost 121 pounds in 6 months. That is something I would have never imagined that I would lose so much so quickly. I am so grateful for this new tool I gave to myself. It was definitely a gift to myself I will always treasure. (I have it in writing now to remind me when I am at a point of plateau or frustration). I’ve hit a plateau this month but my doctor had warned me about 6 months ago that no matter what kind of surgery you have at about 6 months the body goes into a shock. The bummer is that I am so close to “200 pounds total” but I guess it just makes me stay on top of my game. But I know it has to come off eventually (I am hoping). I’m not done. I’m hoping by the end of next year to be at or within 25 pounds of my goal weight. It may be a little aggressive but that would be so amazing. I have tears of excitement just thinking about it right now.

199 pounds gone 12/25/11
Not only am I appreciative for my new tool but I am grateful for all the changes in my head that went along with my surgery. I no longer feel like I struggle with food, at least not right now. I know that could all change but my therapist thinks it is a permanent change, I sure hope so. But cookies, brownies, sweets in general do not tempt me. I don’t crave the sugars. I don’t really crave anything except once in awhile I crave a healthy salad. I don’t turn to food anymore. I’ve truly found new coping skills other than food. Food really doesn’t feel good anymore. I suppose from all of the throwing up I did in the beginning it probably really helped to change my mind about food. There are still foods that make me feel ill and sometimes I will throw up so I suppose having that “fear” sort of, in a small way, puts a fear of food in me. I think of it as a reprogramming sort of like a mathematical equation whereas; food = throw up. It is just not appetizing anymore. Although I must say I do eat, of course, but again I only eat for my health rather than for all the other reasons I shouldn’t eat.

199 pounds gone (side view) 12/25/11

Exercise is something I used to hate doing but now I enjoy it. I know I need to step it up so will be working out more and/or getting a trainer. I really think my knees and legs are still fairly weak, despite the water aerobics, and need to help build them up some more. I can say for a fact that water aerobics and water yoga have definitely helped my knees in recovering and feeling better. But I do love my water aerobics class a lot. When it is cooler it makes it a bit harder for me to want to go only because I am so cold the entire time working out but I always treat myself afterwards to the warm Jacuzzi to warm up and to relax my muscles. It is definitely paradise.

I’m unquestionably grateful that my knees were feeling better. Yes I used the word “were”. The last few weeks, my left knee in particular, has not felt good at all. Then to add to it I tripped and fell yesterday and I tried saving my knees by catching myself with my hands and upper body but my left knee hurts so bad that it has ached ever since I fell so I don’t think I accomplished what I was trying to do. I also ended up with rug burn on my hands (still have it on my palms) and bruises up and down my arms and back. I must have fell hard because I’ve fallen before when I was heavier (close to my highest weight) and I don’t recall being hurt this badly. Hopefully I will heal and everything will be fine but it really makes me appreciate those moments when my knees don’t hurt and I feel like I can live life again without pain and get some good sleep too!

I must also include that my sleep apnea is not as severe now due to my weight loss. I haven’t been wearing my mask for a good portion of the year because when I did I would wake up feeling like I was drowning in air. I was retested recently and my lowest setting is at the lowest setting they can make it at and the highest setting is only 5 points above that. I am hoping in another 100 pounds or so I can completely be off my machine! I also got rid of my cane this year. The first part of the year my knees hurt so bad that I had to use a cane for support a lot of the time. I was so embarrassed by it but am completely humbled that I am walking all on my own (pain or not).

I’m incredibly appreciative for all the support I have. I definitely couldn’t do this all alone. Very grateful that my class from Kaiser options program decided to keep in touch and we meet once a month. I am so grateful to have them around for support. Love you gals and guy. J I am thankful for all the support that I get from people online such as twitter, facebook and those just visiting my blog offering me words of encouragement or support. I also have a few message boards I frequent and although I don’t post a whole lot I am so indebted to be able to read up on something so I don’t feel so alone. I have several people on there that have lent me words of encouragement as well which I’m very appreciative for. My water aerobics classes have a few people I talk to and have made a few friends. They also will tell me how great I’m looking which does help me to continue on that someone can see changes. Last, but not least, my friends and family that cheer me on no matter what. Those that lend an ear when I just need to whine and complain, provide an ear when I need to share my accomplishments because I am so proud of myself, or those that just tell me how stunning I am becoming (although I do understand I have always been beautiful but I know that fat really can hide the real beauty).

I’ve really changed and grown a lot for the better. I really notice that I don’t let people walk all over me anymore. I stand up for myself and don’t let people bully me. In fact I will even say something when someone bullies me. I am still very shy in general though, especially in a group setting, which is something I think will eventually change. I don’t think I will ever be a social butterfly because I really have always loved listening and watching people, and that just isn’t who I am, but I do think as I lose more weight and gain more confidence I will come out of my shell a bit more.

I really look forward to 2012 and all of the accomplishments it has in store for me. But not only that but all of the opportunities in store for me.

I had a good 2011 but I know I will have an even more amazing 2012!


With Love,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weight loss is nothing but a mental test

So I've known that weight loss (and any addiction for that matter) is very mental. What I mean by that is it is a "mind game". But I realized that really it is about 98% about the mental mind game and only 2% about exercise and "diet". Think about it... when you are mentally motivated and you are mentally ready for something it is easy to do. When you aren't mentally motivated and you aren't mentally ready then it is more of a chore and much harder to do and to stick with. That is what weight loss (and any addiction) is all about. But it isn't about motivation because that is short lived. It is about that little switch in your head committing to the change. 

I talked to my therapist last week and realized how much has changed for me mentally since surgery. I could swear that when they were rerouting my insides they also did some mind work and cut out my demons but I have no scars or proof that happened. My therapist mentioned I had been doing lots of work prior to my surgery and the surgery was the day it all just came together... and while she is probably right I find it absolutely amazing at how different I am than I was even the day prior to surgery. I was pretty strong mentally but things would bother me (scents of food or watching other people eat something I wasn't allowing myself to have on my program). But I am so detached from food now that I don't even recognize myself. Smells of food don't bother me. Watching someone eat something doesn't bother me. I don't think about food AT ALL except when I have to figure out what I want to eat which takes forever but nothing ever really sounds great. I don't have cravings and specifically the cravings for sweets which used to be my weakness. I don't have the demons in my head trying to talk to me into something. I don't have any negative self-talk. It is like all that was laid to rest while I was in surgery. 

So lots of things go through my head though. I stepped on the scale the other day and was the same weight as my lowest point when I was doing medifast. I got scared. I realized that there are some things that do scare me. I am scared that I may gain some weight back. I am also scared that all of my mental changes are all part of the "honeymoon phase." While it definitely could be I feel like I have committed myself not to a diet but a lifestyle change. When I did medifast it was a diet but right now I am living the lifestyle change. My therapist said it could be a "honeymoon phase" but she really feels it is more permanent since I've been so committed to this lifestyle for 6 months already. She also stated that I am very humble and have learned so much since gaining weight from the last time that I've probably have a good set of tools with me on my journey this time. No ego allowed here. Don't get me wrong I am proud of myself and I allow myself to bask in the joy of my hard work; however, I don't bask for long. It is a real quick get in and out type of thing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not perfect nor am I the queen of health. I still can make poor decisions. But usually it isn't because I am craving it but rather because I am bored of my other options. But my poor decisions are few and far between and it is usually a poor decision just because it isn't as protein packed as it should be. For instance, Oatmeal would be a poor option for me but overall for most other people it isn't a bad option. But I add some unflavored protein powder and then it is a good option for me. Been loving my unflavored protein powder to add to food to increase my protein.

So my only hope that I am truly who am I am going to be, mentally, permanently. It has been so nice to not have to deal with all the mental garbage especially after a lifetime of dealing with it. Again though my guard is still up. I am ready for anything. I know I can do this and I know deep down that this is a permanent change but someone who has struggled with this for their entire life, such as myself, can't help to wonder some of these things. 

I haven't weighed myself in a week and I will be tomorrow so not sure where I am weight-wise. I cleaned my closet out which in essence was a cleansing of myself. It was hard letting go of the fat Shanda and all of the fat clothes. I'm not even sure why because I was so miserable where I was. I think a lot of it has to do with the change and letting go of the old and accepting the new. That has always been a challenge for me. But on a positive note I now know everything in my closet fits me. There were so many things that were hidden in my closet that I feel like I have a new wardrobe. Life is good.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

50% of my weight loss GONE!

Well I can officially say I DID IT! I reached my 1/2 way point of weight loss. I'm so astounded! I'm sooo proud of myself! When I stepped on the scale and saw the scale say 389.4 I just started gushing with tears. They were tears, of joy of course, but I became overwhelmed with my emotions of joy. I've officially lost 190 pounds and have only 190 more to go. It seems so much more attainable than the original 379 I had to lose total. I feel like I've climb up the big hill and now I am just on the other side and get to go downhill. Don't get me wrong, I know that it isn't going to be easy from here on out. I have no expectations of it being easy and in fact I know that as I get closer to my goal it will be much harder to lose the weight. But I am ok with that. It isn't a race to the finish line. My body has to fight me... I mean otherwise it would be easy. But my body has every right to fight me as long and harsh as I abused it. I really did abuse my body. No one gets to 579 pounds without lots of abuse. But I think my body understands my love for it. Every square inch of saggy skin, cottage cheese looking thighs, saggy underarms that look like "Dumbo ears". I have learned to embrace it and love it all. I look at them as battle wounds. You don't go into a fight without battle wounds and well I have been fighting for my health and those battle wounds are definitely showing. I may eventually opt to have skin removal. It really just depends how bad it gets and if it gets in the way of everyday functions. I think my thighs and my stomach may be too saggy I will need to get it removed but only time will tell.

So speaking of saggy skin.... I know it is time to get a trainer. I'm so scared. I don't know why because I had one about 5 years ago when I lost weight the last time and I did fine. But this time seems different. So if anyone has a trainer they love that is in the San Diego area please forward me their contact information. I prefer someone close to my house or someone that can come to my house just so I have no excuses. I am going to see how much firming a trainer can do with my saggy skin. I also need to get my legs stronger. I am happy to report that my knees are much better. I really noticed today when I went to my appointment regarding my lump on my stomach (I will talk about that later). I remember going to this facility a year ago and couldn't walk to my appointment without being out of breath and in pain and I remember having to "take a break" just to walk a fairly short distance. Today I walked to my appointment with no pain (today is a good day) and I was not out of breath at all. I even took the stairs when I left. Now I don't always have good days with my knees. Yesterday my left knee kept giving out and hurt a lot. I don't know if it has to do with my workout on Tuesday (lots of leg/knee work) or it was random. But I am happy that at least I now have good days with my knees whereas before my knees hurt 24/7.

So as I mentioned I went to my appointment regarding my lump on my stomach. I went in thinking the doctor/surgeon would look at it and send me home. Instead he decided to go ahead and remove it. I was soooooooo nervous. The nurse told me he has been doing it for 35 years and that he is very good. She was right. He numbed it and all I felt was pressure and some uncomfortableness. I was really uncomfortable for about 3 minutes and was really hot but once he got through that part (I think it was the cutting) I was good. We talked about weight loss and he educated me on fat. How when you have too much fat (like I did) it can compress blood vessels as it did on mine where the lump was removed. He said it was a thrombosed varicose vein and had to put a stint in my blood vessel because it was attached to it. There was lots of bleeding that I saw by accident (he put his hands up and I saw all the blood on his gloves). But it doesn't seem like anything serious. He showed me what it looked like and it looked similar to the picture to the left. But it was definitely more lumpy.

I have come so far in my weight loss. I feel like this is my lifestyle and a lifestyle I can truly live with. I think that is the difference between now and all the other times I "dieted". Before they were just diets whereas this isn't a diet this is my new life. That is the key to success. Finding a lifestyle change that will help you loose weight but also once you get to your desired weight loss goal you can still maintain the same lifestyle and maintain. I know people tell me I'm in the honeymoon stage and yes I guess I am. But I am telling you... my head has changed and there is no honeymoon about that. I don't feel like I have to hurry up and get done with this "diet". Nothing is going to change for the rest of my life other than I will always have to be mindful of what I eat and exercise. I will always have to keep my head in check. In fact I have learned through my journey that beating any kind of addiction whether it is food, drugs, alcohol or any other kind of addiction, it is 99% mindset. If I have the right mindset then eating healthy and exercising isn't such a chore. If I have don't have the right mindset then eating healthy is a bore and exercising doesn't happen or I make excuses. I think that pretty much goes for anyone. The journey is one of a mental battle where we are battling ourselves. We are either telling ourselves positive things or negative things and that determines our actions. It is all basic and makes sense but never really made sense until recently.

Again thanks to all of you that keep me going. If it weren't for you I don't think I would be where I am today. Much love to all of you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

So Grateful!

I really do have so much to be grateful for. I could go on and on and I may bore you so I'm not going to put you through all of that; but with that said, I am grateful for my new life. I really believe I was born again on June 14, 2011. I feel like that is when I became alive. That is when everything began to change both mentally and physically. I am so grateful for my surgeon and his staff. I'm grateful for such loving and supportive friends, family, co-workers and for my virtual support which is those that have never met me but yet continue to support me through my journey.

A lot has happened this last week both good and well I'm not sure if the other item is good or bad yet but I will explain that.

So the first thing is I am officially in the 300's. Yes, that is right... I went from the 500's to the 400's and now in the 300's. It is so exciting to officially see that first digit on the scale move. What a victory for me!

That same morning I was getting ready for work and realized after I put the shirt on that it wasn't my shirt but it fit. It was my husbands shirt but it fit me just fine. I will be honest and it was a bit big in the upper section but the lower section fit! Not that I plan on wearing my husbands' clothes but it was just another thing to celebrate. I ended up just wearing the shirt because it was a unisex shirt and well I was proud of the accomplishment! Honey, if you are reading you don't need to hide your clothes. 

Yet again the same day something else ironic happened. So after I jumped off the scale I thought to myself "I really need to get a personal trainer. Maybe I will post for people to send me referrals." I didn't post it (and I still haven't until now) and later that day I got a message from one of my favorite teacher's in high school. She stated her daughter is a personal trainer and she really wants to talk to me about my weight loss as she just got a new client that is over 300 pounds. Is this going to be my trainer? Who knows. But I thought it was so cool it presented itself to me. Not only that but really my passion is helping others. My goal is to be able to inspire and motivate others to make healthy choices and life decisions. That is what I want to do for my job. I love Real Estate don't get me wrong but I think I've finally realized what my passion is. We will see how things turn out.

The last thing I have not yet categorized into good or bad news. But on Saturday night I found a lump on my stomach (lower left side). When I woke up Sunday it was reddish and purple. I thought it might be a boil. But I woke up this morning and it seems to have moved away from the skin or maybe it got smaller or it could all be in my head. But my husband definitely confirmed there is a lump. I see the doctor Tuesday morning and will determine from there. I'm sure I am fine but all prayers and positive vibes are appreciated. I will keep you all updated on that.

It is hard to believe I am where I am today in regards to my weight and my health. I took a picture of myself in hubby's shirt to send to him and I didn't recognize myself. I haven't really looked at myself (full body shot) in the mirror in 5 months. I noticed how much my upper part of my body has gotten smaller (considerably) but I've also noticed how my hips are not as wide as well. I'm definitely a product of my Mom so I know I will always have hips but it is so crazy how small I am looking. Don't get me wrong I'm not small by any means and I still have a ways to go but seeing myself shrinking is definitely amazing.
I'm so grateful for being able to live in this life and to share my journey. If I can just save one person by sharing my story then I am truly fulfilled. I love this life!

Friday, November 4, 2011

100 pounds post-op!

It is official.... I am now 100 pounds down post-op (177 total). It has been 17 weeks since I had my surgery and my eyes are filled with tears of joy. I would have never thought I would be where I am today. The weight has come off pretty quickly although I do have days and even weeks where I don't lose and sometimes I feel like I see the same number too often but 100 pounds in 17 weeks is absolutely amazing. Even more amazing is 177 pounds total. I've lost an "average" sized human.

I must admit this has been a roller coaster for me. Right after the surgery I would wake up every morning for about 3-4 weeks and wonder if I did the right thing and would sometimes wake up with regret. Looking back what I realize was that I was having a hard time dealing with all of the changes. My mind and my insides weren't connecting. My mind was still back in the unhealthy, OMG this is not enough food Shanda. The healthy Shanda was very upset with the unhealthy Shanda and so there was a war. There were consequences of the war which was lots of throwing up, nausea, some pain and lots of frustration but in the end healthy Shanda has won. Unhealthy Shanda will rear her head on occasion but overall I think she is dying. She is melting away revealing the healthy Shanda.

I can't believe how much my mind has changed along with my taste buds. When I had my surgery they only rearranged my insides ( have the scars to prove it) they didn't do brain surgery nor did they alter my taste buds although those have definitely changed. Once my brain caught up and connected to the new healthy Shanda things have been a lot easier. I don't have unhealthy cravings. I strongly believe it is due to the detox of sugar. Sugar is very bad and I remember the first few weeks when I did without it, I really did feel like I should be in rehab. Sugar was my drug of choice and I remember crying, yelling, getting depressed and just an overwhelming fear for those first two weeks. Now I don't care about sugar and I definitely don't crave it like I used to. In fact I've had sugar free candy and it tastes okay but definitely not something I need daily. Occasionally a piece is okay but chocolate isn't really appealing to me. I know... I'm weird. Chocolate used to be a favorite of mine... I mean I am a girl... of course it is. But not any more. I've totally detached myself from food. Nothing ever sounds good, I'm never hungry and when I do eat and I eat only because I know I need to nourish my body. I no longer run to food when feeling sad, happy, angry, depressed, etc. I've learned to reward myself in ways other than foods.

So for instance, to reward myself for 100 pounds post-op I am going all out and pampering myself. I'm getting nails back on (something that used to make me feel really good about myself before), pedicure and in a few weeks I have a 2 hour massage scheduled. There is no amount of food that could make me feel as good as pampering myself makes me feel. If I am feeling down I turn to a friend, journal, play a game, read a book or listen to music which are just a few coping skills I've enjoyed. Again, these fulfill me more than food would. Food was a temporary fulfillment that turned into a downward spiral of regret and frustration. The other things fulfill me without having a downward spiral. It is so amazing how much food really controlled my life. I was in complete ultimate denial that I was in control of food. Quite the contrary is what I have learned. 

With all of this said I am not perfect. There are times where I think about food and then think about the consequences. Due to the consequences (throwing up) I have not yet chose to indulge in food. This surgery really has changed my life. I know at least think about it before just indulging. It is like I was replaced by a totally different person. I am so proud of myself but this time (versus last time when I lost 115 pounds) I am not cocky about it. My ego is completely out of the equation and I am focused on getting to my goal. Once I get to my goal then I continue to do what I am doing. Knowing this is a lifestyle change versus a "temporary diet" makes all the difference in the world. So many people go on "diets" and do lose weight but they get to their goal and don't know how to eat and function and so they gain all of their weight back. That is exactly what happened to me when I did medifast. It was a great program to help me lose weight. But once I went off of it I gained weight back (and fast) and then I was completely and utterly out of control. I think if you are losing weight you need to find a lifestyle change. You need to find something that will help you lose weight but will also be something you can continue to do when you get to your goal. 

My next goal is 12.5 pounds away. I will then be at my 1/2 way point. Yes, it means I will be 1/2 way to my goal. I can't believe that is only 12.5 pounds away. With that said I know the reality of as I get closer to goal it will be harder and won't come off as fast is approaching. I still have a lot to lose but I'm thinking the last 100 pounds will be the hardest. But I am just living day by day eating right and exercising and it will come off one day or the next.

I must give thanks to all of you who have been supporting me through this process. There are many of you that have been following me since 2006 when I started medifast and your support then and now has really been my strength in all of this. It is amazing how much we can accomplish when we have people holding us up to reach our goals. I know for a fact I could not have gotten this far with all of your support. Whether it is those reading my blog, support on twitter or Facebook, those of you on my email list, my weight loss surgery group , friends at the gym, co-workers, friends or family your support has been helpful in my recovery and my success. I truly could not have done this alone. With all this said I look forward to sharing with all of you when I get to my 1/2 point in 12.5 pounds from now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Healthy Living

So as each days goes by I learn more and more about my body. I am so amazed at how resilient my body really is. I can survive on a low calorie diet, imagine that. I am taking a lot of vitamins to make-up for the lack of nutrients and vitamins my body isn't getting. It is a lot of pills but at least it isn't medication. I've also found a few things where it is a cream and you eat it and it is done. I have chewable vitamins which are nice because swallowing a pill is not so easy for me. I think the thyroid nodule in my throat is why it bothers me to swallow pills. It feels like pills get stuck where that nodule is. So I take one at a time and make sure I have a straw which seems to put more pressure to force it down.

Protein is the foundation of my diet. I can tolerate things like chicken (dark meat is best), turkey (although I seem to get fuller faster), fish & shell fish. I have had some beef but I don't really make a habit of having beef. I've had only ground beef and I was able to tolerate it but I just am not a big beef eater. My personal choice. As far as veggies go I can't really eat them mainly because by the time I get my protein in there is no room for any else. But if I do eat veggies they are usually not raw (too hard to digest) and they have to be cooked well.  I love squash cooked well. In fact I had some tonight for dinner. The other thing I've found that I do good with is Dry Roasted Edamame. OMG, it is so good and has 14 grams of protein for 1/4 of a cup. To me they taste like nuts without all the fat. I will eat these as a snack just to help with the overall intake of protein for the day. The other proteins such as cheese, milk, yogurt and beans sit well for me too. I just don't have those as much since I lived off of them for awhile. I will add cheese to some items just for a little bit of added protein. I also use protein shakes to help me get in my protein. I try to use the whey isolate version since they absorb the fastest. I always make my shakes with milk for the added protein and also it usually makes them taste a bit better. I will have protein bars as well. The Quest protein bars are a little more friendly for me as they don't have a lot of carbs and sugar and come in delicious flavors. They are all natural as well which is what my diet consists of. There are other things that I will eat such as potatoes which are only eaten in small portions and are only eaten once in awhile. I don't do salads and I honestly miss them. I thought I wasn't much of a salad girl until they aren't part of my life. Maybe later on I will be able to tolerate a salad but right now it is just not going to happen.

As far as my workouts they are coming along great. I am so impressed with how much my body is changing physically. My stomach is significantly flatter, but don't get me wrong I'm not saying I have a flat stomach. I'm saying my stomach is smaller than my breasts (as far as sticking out) and that is something that a woman is proud of. My arms have a more defined shape (again just hate the hanging skin underneath). My legs are thinner although they are still large. I noticed I'm definitely not as wide as well. I am starting to be able to fit in most chairs which is a relief. I couldn't fit into any of the chairs at work at my highest weight and now I can sit in all of the chairs. Some aren't as comfortable but I know that will change too. My flexibility has improved tremendously. I remember when I couldn't lift my legs and touch my hands underneath and now I can with ease. Just so many little things that have changed. I'm sure with the fat not being in the way, that has also helped with some of the flexibility but I know the water yoga and water aerobics have also contributed as well.

My knees haven't improved much. Today they actually felt pretty good (knock on wood) but they still ache most of the time. I saw my doctor a few weeks ago and let him know how disappointing it was that I've lost 160+ pounds but not much improvement in my knees. He told me I need to be patient and that I will probably continue to feel pain for at least another year. He explained that they are healing. My tendons were stretched to accommodate the fat and as I lose weight they will be loosen up and with exercise they will tighten up but this won't happen over night. So this makes a lot of sense to me and I will just have to be patient. I am doing better I guess but they aren't where I wish they were. I will continue to be patient.

I still no longer have hunger pains. They say some people eventually get the hunger pains back and some don't ever get them back. I hope I don't ever get them back quite honestly but will accept whatever happens. I don't have any desire to eat sweets which is the biggest shocker. Sweets was my weakness post-op and I never crave anything sweet. What they say about getting it out of your system is true, if you don't eat it... you won't crave it. The things I will crave occasionally is a sandwich or a salad. I just can't eat bread so the sandwich thing really I can't do. I do eat the insides of a sandwich but it isn't the same. Also been craving one of my favorite shrimp salads. Eating just the shrimp isn't quite the same as eating the salad with all of the veggies, shrimp and salad dressing. Ironically I crave healthy things. Imagine that. I would have never imagined it nor would I have believed anyone if they told me I would be where I am today. Not only with my weight loss but with where my mind is. I'm in a good place overall. 

I don't weigh in everyday as I was getting obsessed and disappointed with the scale. So I only weigh myself a few times a week. As of my last weigh-in (10/10) I've lost 90 pounds since surgery and 167 pounds total. I'm so impressed by these numbers. Wow... I am really doing it this time. I don't feel like it is a huge challenge and definitely feel like this is a lifestyle change that I can live with. YAY for me!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm a winner!

Well wouldn't you know. I actually won a contest. I always enter contests. It is totally free to enter so what have I got to lose? But I've never been lucky enough to win these types of things. Well I won this contest and got the good news this morning. Of course I ordered a bunch of vitamins last night and I won a bunch of vitamins this morning but I will definitely use them. Thank you so much Shelly I am so excited!

See what I won below:

The Prize: This totally SPOOKTACULAR Gift Basket of Celebrate Vitamin goodies to help you maintain post weight loss surgery good health.

Calcium Plus 500 (Cherry Tart) 90 ct.
Multivitamin (Pineapple Strawberry) 60 ct.
Multivitamin (Mandarin Orange) 60 ct.
30mg Iron (Grape) 30 ct.
B-12 (Cherry) 90 ct.
Sample packets of many of Celebrate's other yummy flavors


4 single servings of ENS - Multivitamin & Calcium Drink Mix (Wild Cherry)
4 single servings of ENS - Multivitamin & Calcium Drink Mix (Citrus Splash)
4 single servings of ENS - Multivitamin & Calcium Drink Mix (*New flavor* Cranberry - Grape)


4 single servings of ENS + Protein (Vanilla Cake Batter)
4 single servings of ENS + Protein (Chocolate Milk)
4 single servings of ENS + Protein (*New flavor* Strawberry)

Your Multivitamin, Calcium, Fiber and Protein all in one drink. If only these were around when I was a new post-op.

but wait there's more... a Pumpkin Orange 28 oz. Blender Bottle and a Pill Organizer

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Changes, food and a great protein bar

Life is good for me. I'm learning what it is going to be like for the rest of my life. My lifestyle change is finally settling in. I am doing so much better than I was a few months. I will occasionally come across things that don't agree (last night home made chicken & veggie Chinese style and tonight some soup) but most of the time things sit well with me. I have to be aware of what I am putting in my mouth which is a change from the norm. Prior to surgery I would be known to eat without thinking about it. I go into some black cloud in my head and just eat as much as I could. I now have to always be present which is something we should all do.

I'm learning I don't need food to survive but I need food to live. That is something that is pretty deep with me. I'm all about living life to the fullest; whereas, prior to surgery I was just surviving. Yes, my knees are still holding me back a bit BUT they are better than they were. They aren't great but I am not walking with a cane which goes to show that I am getting better.

I no longer have a relationship with food. Instead I focus on relationships with my family and friends. That is something that is so important to me and I've been selfish and sort of put my friends and family on the side and focused on food. Well I'm slowly trying to rekindle some of what I have destroyed, if possible. I have friends nearby and then I have those that aren't close but I still love them. My shout-outs today go to Jen & Ray B. and family, Michele N., Paul J., Mike R., Jennifer A., Susan S. - thank you so much for being my friend and for always supporting me no matter what.

Exercise is still fun and I went and exercises even though it was cold and rainy. The pool is heated but it still was cold even while working out. I just kept thinking about the Jacuzzi which I got into after my workout and it was so nice and warm and cozy. I'm going to have to workout when it is cold and rainy there are no excuses anymore!

I have a great new protein bar I discovered. It is made by Quest and my favorite flavor is Peanut Butter & Jelly. They are all natural, gluten-free, 4g net carbs, 20g protein, no sugar alcohol, and no trans fat. Since I can no longer eat bread this really satifies my need for  a PB&J sandwich. They are a bit chewy, which I didn't expect, but they are delicious. Try them out by visiting their website

I had so much good stuff to say but now my brain is shutting down and telling me I need to sleep. I will be back to post and hopefully will be able to remember what I was going to say.

Update: I've lost a total of 163 pounds [86 since surgery & 77 prior to surgery]. Wow those numbers are just adding up quickly. So proud of myself to see those numbers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

These are some important and interesting articles I came across, courtesy of OAC (Obesity Action Coalition).

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to Cover Behavioral Therapy for Obesity

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Real Changes

I’ve made some real changes. For instance, yesterday was our wedding anniversary, so rather than planning a big dinner and “porking” out (like we usually do), instead we went to the gym and did our hour workout. In the past any type of something special (birthday, holiday, anniversary, etc.) was a reason to eat things that weren’t so great for my health. The excuse was “Oh [insert holiday/special occasion] only happens once a year.” But you times that by how many holidays and birthday parties and it is more than once a year. Let’s see on average I would say that would be a total of 15 times throughout the year which is more than once a month. No wonder my weight got out of control. That was only a small contributor to my weight issues though.

I must say going the gym is much more rewarding than eating. I love working out in the water. I really wish I could do it every day. If I didn’t have life to deal with then I most definitely would. But doing it every day is way too much not only on my body but also things around the house wouldn’t get done especially during the work week. Bills have to be paid, and things have to be kept up all a part of life. I have to remember that life is about balance. Don’t get me wrong I still make time to go workout but I honestly wish it was more often [can’t believe I just said that, wow]. I am going to gradually increase my workouts maybe 1 more day a week. I think working out 4 days a week is plenty. That is about 5-6 hours a week which I think is just the right amount. I have noticed my arms changing a lot. My husband commented on it yesterday too. They are starting to get definition (minus the saggy stuff underneath). I’m also building muscle and can actually make a muscle on my arms and can actually see the muscle bump. I can feel my stomach tightening up and I am sore today in my stomach from yesterday’s workout. My legs although I can’t see the muscle I do know my legs are changing shape and I can tell they are stronger. Although I’m doing well with my weight loss and sometimes I have stalls and get bummed out, my husband reminded me that I’m gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. I knew this but it is always a good reminder. I can definitely say I have gained a lot more muscle so I’m trying to blame the occasional stalls on that. This time I know for sure it isn’t what I’m eating (although I may need to increase my protein intake).

Not only has my body changed but my mind and taste buds have as well. Last night we went to Claim Jumper as that is the only thing that sounded good to me. I had their meatloaf which sits well with me (about ½ a piece). We picked it up to go and take home and eat. River was offered a mother lode cake for FREE. He couldn’t pass that up. He decided he would have a piece and we could take the rest to work and share at work. He ate a piece and gave me a bite. I put it in my mouth remembering how it tasted the last time I ate it so delicious and full of chocolate sweet goodness. I then began to chew it and realized I didn’t like it. I thought to myself, “Yuck, it is too rich and too sweet.” That was an ah-ha moment! I don’t crave sweets and haven’t since surgery. That was my biggest weakness prior to surgery by the way (especially chocolate). I don’t like the taste of chocolate much anymore. Even some sugar-free chocolate I’ve had isn’t that great to me anymore. Most of it is too rich and sweet, and then some of it just makes me nauseous. Even chocolate ice cream or yogurt isn’t that great. I prefer fruit flavored sugar free popsicles or vanilla flavored ice cream (sugar-free of course). I’ve never ever been able to say that in my life that I could care less about sweets. It is amazing to me just typing it out. It is amazing that I crave healthy foods, if I even crave anything. I can’t say I have cravings too often but when I do it is usually things like salads. I can’t eat salads right now, too hard on my system and there isn’t enough room for the protein too. I’m just amazed at all the changes that have been made, mentally and physically and it has only been 3 months.

I’ve lost 76 pounds since surgery 153 pounds total. I see my surgeon next week so I will find out how he thinks I am doing and will let you all know any updates I may have.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I've made it to the 150+ pounds lost mark! Feeling "free"!

I am feeling free today. I am freed in the fact that I don’t have to worry about over eating. So many people get worried about holidays and what they are going to eat or if they are over eating. To me it is just another day. Another day where I will eat very little and make good choices because really I have no other choice. I am liberated by that. No more thinking oh I shouldn’t have that but maybe a bite of this and oh I will eat that and then eat veggies and then that will cancel that out. As much as this is a struggle there are many positives to having this surgery. This is definitely one of them.

I stepped on the scale this morning and almost cried, alright I did cry. This is a real reason to celebrate. I’ve lost 151 pounds total. Oh My Goodness! It is finally hitting me that I am really doing this. That is a lot of weight. There are many of you reading this that weigh less than 151 pounds. I’ve lost an adult and I’m so proud of myself. This is the biggest accomplishment of my life. Really… that is a huge number. Don’t get me wrong I am still very humble and I know I still have a long road ahead of me. But wow! So today I celebrate life and being freed from the 151 pounds and being freed from food consuming my life. Oh…and let’s not take the glory away from my surgery. I’ve now lost 74 pounds since surgery (12 weeks tomorrow).

I now use food for nutrition only. I don’t think about food like I used to. I don’t crave the things I used to crave (sweets). I crave a big shrimp salad which I can’t have. Although I can have the shrimp but not that salad. At least not yet. I will be able to eat my shrimp salad eventually it just won’t be a BIG shrimp salad. It is amazing knowing how little our bodies do really need. I barely eat anything but yet I am still surviving. All of us shove our bodies with food that isn’t necessary. I watch other people eat now and know that I wasn’t the only one. I see most everyone around me shoving their bodies with “crap”. Stuff they don’t need. Portion sizes that are ridiculous. I used to be one of those people. Have you noticed some people eat “crap” but yet they don’t gain a pound. They either exercise a lot or their body just metabolizes things differently. I know my body if very lethargic in metabolizing food. Hopefully that will change. I have a suspicion that my thyroid nodule really is affecting me more than I thought (prior to surgery). I am sure it is affecting me now too but since I don’t hardly anything of course the weight is coming off. But it will be interesting to see what happens when I do have the thyroid nodule removed.

You know what delicious is. Delicious is a protein shake my husband just made me. It is vanilla protein with ice and some fruit. Blueberries, strawberries and bananas. All very delicious! I worried about the sugar but I’ve had fruit smoothies a few times since surgery and it went down fine. Maybe because it is natural sugar and I’m not eating a whole lot of it. Plus it is “milked down”. I couldn’t say watered down because there is no water (other than ice cubes). There is milk though.

Ok, so remember you don’t need the “crap”. Our bodies are resilient. Remember it is your mind that wants the “crap” not your body. Remember to give your body what it needs so it can perform at its best capacity. Love your body!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One day at a time

So it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted an update on my blog. Well the numbers are easy to post. I’ve lost 65 since surgery (10 weeks ago) and 145 total. The numbers are pretty amazing. It doesn’t affect me when I say them but when I type them they seem to be more impressive. I’m still staying humble as I know I still have a long ways to go. I’m just nearing the halfway mark (in about 45 pounds).

How have I felt? Good question. Well it has been up and down for me. I was sick for 3 days and later, after some investigating, came to find out it was caffeine. I got sick and threw up the other nights (veggies) but I think that is due to garlic. So I have to play investigator and see if anything is in common with another time I have gotten sick. I don’t venture too often and try to sick with the same things but I have to be honest, I’m bored with it.

I’ve given up on food. I wish I didn’t have to eat to survive. Alas, I can’t. Nothing really tastes good or even sounds good. When I eat it does nothing for me (other than nourish my body). But that pleasure center in my brain definitely doesn’t get pushed when I eat. I throw up occasionally (usually because something doesn’t agree) but I remind myself I need to learn from it (what not to eat again for awhile). My hormones are going wild. Not only from the surgery but hormones are stored in fat and being I’m losing fat…well the hormones go wild. Especially since I’m losing fat at a pretty fast pace overall. So each day varies. You know that saying take one day at a time… I literally have to do that.

I’m not wanting to sound negative but just being honest. I really hope it doesn’t come across to you as being negative. This isn’t easy. I didn’t think it would be easy as weight loss isn’t easy no matter how you decide to lose weight. But I have to say this is much harder than I anticipated. I think it also has to do with the fact that the surgery is still “recent”. Just because my incisions are healed up and my scars are all good doesn’t mean my insides are healed up or even my head. It is a big adjustment for my head.

I have no regrets though. I am living each day to the best I can. Even when I am not feeling well I still try to push through it knowing I am going to be ok. I remind myself that I did this so that I would live and be able to celebrate life. I can’t even imagine what I would feel like being 145 pounds heavier right now. I think I would just be so miserable and feeling worse than I am now. So I am grateful for the opportunity.

I’m very grateful for those of you that send me emails or messages. It is nice to know I have people out there reading my blogs and supporting me. Sure makes the journey easier.

Feel free to email me at any time. I’m here to help, encourage and inspire. If I can just inspire one person to make a lifestyle change to get healthier than it is all worth it to me!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What I have learned and am learning

I have learned that it isn’t about the food it is about the mind and how we think about food. That is all weight loss is. We have to change our relationship with food which is not a easy task. It is like telling a drug addict, you can have your drugs, but you can only have these drugs and you can only have it this many times a day and you can only have it for this reason. Food was my drug of choice. Did you catch the fact I said WAS. I am officially letting go. I am so over food now. I don’t enjoy it like I used to. Sure I can taste some delicious flavors but I don’t need to have it for every single reason you can think of. I eat (or drink) my 3 meals a day and I am good. An average day is a protein shake for breakfast, 4-5 bites of tuna or beans or a string cheese for lunch, and for dinner it varies. But dinner again is about 4-5 bites and I’m done. I’ve finally gotten to a point where I am not throwing up. I was throwing up due to eating too much food. Even though I was only eating 4-5 bites but at the time it was too much. I remember I was so excited to see food and the taste… oh goodness. If it tasted really good I shoved in as much as I could and it was too much. My body would tell me it was too much by throwing it up. I’ve only thrown up once in the last 2 weeks which is a good feeling. I’m finally getting the hang of when I am full and the flavors don’t hold me for ransom anymore. I enjoy the flavors and enjoy what I eat and that is it. I’m done. Sometimes I don’t enjoy it but know I have to eat.

I have noticed many changes in my body. My face is obviously smaller. I can’t notice much of a difference until I look at pictures to compare with and there is definitely a difference. My upper body is thining out. I have so many people tell me my shoulders and upper body are thin but I honestly don’t see that. My stomach though… I can see that. My skin is saggy, my stomach doesn’t protrude out as much and my pants are very big. I have a few pairs of jeans that I’m grateful I have hips because that is what keeps them from falling off. My hips have thinned out too I noticed there isn’t as much padding there (although there is still some everywhere, obviously). Even my legs are thinner and are getting that saggy skin. Saggy skin go away! I am working out which will help with my sagging skin and in about 50 pounds from now I have been thinking I will get a personal trainer to help me out. Oh yeah… another thing… my wedding ring barely fits… meaning it is falling off me. I have to be very careful with it. I am going to buy those ring adjusters so that I don’t have to continue to resize my wedding ring.

This time losing my weight versus last time feels a lot different. I don’t have the giddy feeling. I think that is a good thing though because it means my head is level and I’m not being over confident. I am proud of myself of course, but just not that peppy I’m on top of the world and I’m invincible feeling. I think that is what is needed in order to be successful. I’ve been told by many that once you become cocky you will start gaining weight. I have promised myself to not become that cocky person. I think I am much humbler than ever before. I also know I have a long road ahead of me still so I can’t get too excited quite yet. When I’m at goal I will party but until then I’m staying focused.

I’m including a picture of myself. I’m now at 60 pounds gone since surgery and 137 pound gone total. Those numbers are staggering. I guess I really can do this! I am doing it! This doesn't stop today. This is to be continued....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My progress is coming along

Well not a whole lot to report but I figured I get on here to post an update. Yesterday was my first time going out to a restaurant and I was really stressed out about it. I did find something I could eat and it stayed down (yay). I found a shrimp and avocado appetizer. Definitely a small portion which was good for me. It was just enough! The waiter kept asking me if I wanted a drink... it was odd to not have something but I knew if I ordered water I would be tempted to drink it which is a weight loss surgery no-no. No drinking 1/2 hour before meals, during meals and 1 hour after meals. I also ventured out and had some yogurt. I love Golden Spoon frozen yogurt and 1/2 of a mini size is just enough for me. I have the other 1/2 in the freezer for later.

Also went to the movies. It was a huge step for me. I'm not too into going into crowds of people. It just makes me feel super uncomfortable. So going the the movie theatre and sitting in the front row was a huge step for me. The good news was it was a great move that my husband and I both enjoyed. If you wanna laugh then go and see Friends with Benefits.

As for the weight loss... I am losing but not as fast as I was. I guess a good steady 2-3 pounds a week is definitely something I will take. But also knowing how limited my food intake is I would expect to lose a little more. I am happy to be meeting with my surgeon this next week just to go over things and get more of a grip on things. Maybe I will need to up my protein which I am thinking I may just start leaning more towards protein shakes and not worry about the food. We will see what is said. So I've lost 44 pounds since surgery (almost 6 weeks out) and 121 total.

I have to admit this is much, much harder than I had expected. My mind is the one having the hardest time. My body knows what to do. My body is keeping me alive by surviving on my fat storage. But my mind is all over the place. I know hormones do have a lot to do with my mental state but my mind STILL wants to eat more. Not only that but I now have no choice. I can not eat emotionally, period, nada, nilch, none, zero. I also cannot get stuffed or else I will pay the consequences. That is the hardest part for me. Of course it is great for me and my health BUT on the same token it is just like quitting cold turkey I guess and I have to really depend on those new and healthy coping methods I know about. It is definitely hard to change those habits. Although I thought I was mentally prepared and ready prior to surgery somehow it makes it much more different when it is real. Don't get me wrong I was somewhat prepared but not as much as I thought. I guess you can only imagine so much but when something is real and you live through it it is quite another thing. That is why I don't like to judge others, until I've lived in their shoes. Ironically I don't have the unhealthy cravings still. Hopefully I don't ever again. But I also know that I'm lucky to get in a few bites of whatever I eat and even luckier if it stays down. All the stuff I used to like and crave I know would make me very ill and I've consciously made that decision that it just isn't worth it. So I guess it just comes down to choices now. I don't have a lot of choices right now, in that choices that I know won't make me ill. I have a small handful of choices I can say yes too and everything else is a "NO" at this point. That part is still hard to grasp especially when I see others around me enjoying that food that made me so fat. It doesn't bother me to see others eat it just sort of makes me sad inside that I've cut off that relationship with food. I know it needed to happen but when you lose a best friend no matter how you lose that friend and no matter if that friend was toxic or not... it still hurts. So yes... it still can hurt. I do knwo that time is on my side. I know that with time all of this will get easier. Time is necessary to heal the past wounds, to make the new healthy choices and remember that this is my new life. This is the lifestyle choice I chose for myself so I didn't end up in the ground at 35 years old. This is the choice I chose for myself and I know it is the best choice for myself it is just getting through the rocky patches and back to the road where it isn't as rocky and I am more confident in the choices I am making.

But honestly I can't complain because I am getting health under control and that is what my goal was all along.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Exercise after surgery and other tidbits

Well I FINALLY did it. I went to the YMCA in Encinitas and did my first workout since surgery. I put on my bathing suit and it was definitely looser as well which felt good. We got there about 15 minutes after the water yoga class had already started but joined in late anyways. I must say the yoga feels soooooo good. It is just nice to stretch and relax and focus on breathing. I really needed that. After that class was finished I told River that it is nice to be back in the water again. It really did feel good. I recently hurt my knee (again) so been having some knee issues and the water just let me do whatever I wanted to do without having to worry about my knee hurting. After that class we were waiting for the water aerobics instructor to show up and apparently she called in and said she wasn’t coming. So we sort of just did our own thing. After about 30 minutes of that I was done. I was EXHAUSTED as in I could fall asleep right then and there. So about a hour and 15 minutes the first day back isn’t too bad. I’m going to gradually work my workouts during the week in but knowing how exhausted I was today I definitely won’t be doing them after work every day yet. I want to go on Thursday as that is when our favorite instructor teaches so I am going to do Thursday & Sunday for now until I can start feeling normal again.

I did go back to work on the 5th of July. The first week back was extremely hard and I left when I was tired. The second week I ended up working full time (pretty much) but I do know that when I come home I am really exhausted. I think stress really has a lot to do with how I feel but can’t really make the stress go away. I try to not let it affect me like it used to which has helped some but not a whole lot I can do to completely get rid of my stress, other than quit my job which is not an option. Not only that but then if I didn’t have a job there would be stress about income. It is never ending which I just have to realize and use coping methods. I don’t have the food coping method anymore which I have also found frustrating. Because I am now forced to deal with it differently which I know is better for me but the old habits are so much easier (as we all know). I want to eat but I can’t. The good news is I don’t crave necessarily bad things…still craving the protein type things. It isn’t so bad.

I think the hardest part right now is finding things my “pouch” likes. I have been having a hard time keeping things down. I really have to focus on chewing and eating slow as well. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. When I finally get to eat something that tastes good I get excited which I find sometimes I am not chewing well enough and/or I’m eating too quickly. So far shrimp does well. I ventured on to chicken because other fish has not done well and chicken does well but I know I am not supposed to really be eating it yet as per my surgeon. I will talk to my surgeon and see what he says. Tofu does really well and that is about it. I plan on getting some cheese to eat because I’m craving cheese and I can have it. Light string cheese is on the grocery list!

I really thought I was prepared for this but honestly it is much harder than I had imagined. I know some people have a easier time and then there are others that have a harder time than even me. Yes, there are days where I think “what have I done to myself”. Those aren’t necessarily thoughts of regret but mostly of “wow this is hard and am I ever going to get past this stage”. I know this is not reversible and this is a decision I chose. I’m sure a year from now I will say it is the best thing I’ve ever done but again this stage is really hard. A year from now it will be hard but I am guessing it will be a bit easier as I will know what I can and cannot eat. Right now I have a very small list of what I can eat and a year from now it will be much larger. I must say I didn’t imagine losing as much weight as I have post-op. Since surgery I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds. That is 40 pounds in not quite 5 weeks! That includes several plateaus in there and also 3 weeks of PMSing (sorry if it is too much information). Yes, that is right my hormones are whacked out to the max. But I’m still somehow losing. It took me about 11 months to lose 77 pounds pre-op so I was comparing the pre-op versus post-op weight loss thinking I’m already halfway to what I lost pre-op. That is amazing! So I am down 119 pounds from my highest weight in May of 2010.

My highest weight at 579

119 pounds gone from highest weight
I can feel the difference now. My knees (prior to my injury) were in pretty good condition. But now I hurt one and so they aren’t feeling so great. Everyone can see a difference in my face and many people say my upper body (neck, shoulders, etc). I can tell by the way my clothes fall off me now or they are really lose when they used to be tight. I fit in my truck differently and the seat belt has a ton of slack whereas before it barely went on. So many things already and I’ve really just begun. In about 71 pounds from now I will be at my halfway point. Honestly pretty amazing it is that close. J  I've included my before & after. What do you think?


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reflecting with 4th of July upon us

I must admit I am learning so much on this journey already. I am learning that food will always be there. Yes, I am starting to crave things but ironically it is healthy food. I crave a nice salad, shrimp, chicken. I notice I am craving mostly protein. I would love a nice shrimp or chicken salad right now. In due time it will come. I need to be patient and let my pouch heal.

It's been a very reflective time for me as well. Yesterday was the first time I experienced a birthday party without eating food or cake. I had a few bites of my yogurt (with a squirt of lime) but realized that I survived. Sure the food looked good (BBQ chicken, salad w/ strawberries & blueberries, beans, watermelon) but in time I can have that. I'm learning that I don't NEED it. My body can live off of all the extra fat I have right now and keep me alive. In a few weeks I will be introducing fish, shrimp, melons and veggies but for now I am ok.

The hardest part is listening to my body... I know I've mentioned it before but it is still a struggle. So I will have some beans with lots of hot sauce. But because I get only a few bites before I am full, my brain wants more. I don't feel like I get to actually bathe the taste in my mouth. I am sure once I continue to introduce more foods in my diet it won't be such an issue. But having such a small selection of foods (yogurt & beans) sorta gets a person bored after almost 3 weeks. I'm building up the courage to try eggs again. I bought some fat free mayo to maybe do a deviled egg type thing but still afraid. I am tired of feeling horrible and if it doesn't agree with me I will definitely feel horrible. Cottage cheese I loved post-op but now I don't love it so much. My taste buds have changed for sure.

So as 4th of July approaches and I go to a BBQ it won't be a focus of food but more of a focus of family. They will eat and I will be grateful at this 2nd chance of my life. Knowing I have a new and improved relationship with food will make me humble. Just knowing that last year food was on the brain and this year family, living and being so grateful is on the brain is a huge relief.

As an update how I feel changes hour to hour and day to day. Some days are ok, some days are horrible, some mornings are horrible but the afternoons are good. I just never know what I am going to feel. So I just do what I am supposed to making sure I take my vitamins & medicine, drink my fluids & lastly have my protein. That is all I can do. I have to constantly remind myself I just had major surgery. Although my incisions are healed up my insides are not. My insides are on a giant roller coaster. I know in time I will feel better. It is all about time and taking one day at a time as I have no control over tomorrow and how I feel anyhow. My weight loss has stalled. It is expected. My body is freaked out and not sure what to do. I know it will eventually release and I will start losing again. I just have to be patient. I am still impressed with the weight loss so far though so I really can't complain. I've lost 35 pounds since surgery. That is a lot at an average of 2 pounds a day. I am still so shocked I've lost a total 112 pounds. That is a lot as most of that I did on my own with diet and exercise. Unfortunately, it is hard to see the weight loss on me. My face is thinner but that is all most people can see. I can tell I'm less wide (by how I fit in chairs) and also most of my pants are very baggy in the stomach.

I hope all of you have a SAFE and wonderful 4th of July. I am so grateful for my freedom from food!