Monday, November 19, 2012

My makeover has been uploaded!

Finally, the makeover I did in April is up on YouTube. I am actually surprised at the makeover they chose to post. I thought for sure they would post my 1st makeover as that is the one I got the most compliments on. But maybe they are going to at a later date (who knows). In any event it was fun to see this. Enjoy and please give your feedback!

P.S. I know I have posted in a long time. I will be working on a new post soon. I've been on vacation and just came back yesterday so I'm playing catch up.

Thank you all for the support and cheering me on!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I've reached the 200's!

First of all, I want to apologize to those of you that follow my blog and don't follow me on Facebook. I don't post on my blog as often as I'd like due to time constraints but on Facebook I do post updates more often. So please add me as a friend on facebook.

Well the big update (for those that don't already know) is that I FINALLY have a 2 in my weight. That is right. the first number is a 2, meaning I am in the 200's! As of this morning I was 294 (total of 285 pounds lost)! I am so amazed that I am so close to my goal weight. I know 94 pounds doesn't seem so close but if you take into consideration that there is skin that needs to be removed (20-40 pounds worth) then I'm looking at closer to around 50-75 pounds until my goal weight. I reached the 200's on Tuesday, October 2nd. Definitely a date I will remember. I reached the 300's on November 17th so it took about 11 months for me to lose this last 100 pounds. I know my last 50-75 pounds are going to be even harder but I know I can do it.

I've come so far in such a short amount of time and I have a hard time recognizing myself. I know my brain needs to catch up to my physical appearance and I'm allowing time for that to happen. But it is not just the physical it is also things such as crossing my legs, fitting into chairs, walking for some distance and not being out of breath. I can do all of these things now. My knee does hold me back from being able to walk as long as I'd like or being able to stand for long periods of time but there is significant improvement that is for sure.

I know there are some people that think I will gain it back. But for the first time I know I won't gain it back. I finally have the lifestyle change that I needed. I know I never won't to go back to that scary dark place. My life now is much more full of fun and life. I am so active now so I don't get much time to write my blogs. But I consider this a blessing. My blogs are good and I love to share with you all but really living life is what I need to do and I need to catch up since I've missed out on so much it seems. 

So this post is short and sweet because I need to go to bed. I am treating myself tomorrow for reaching the 200's. I don't treat myself with food anymore. Instead it is massages and spa packages. I'm going to Glen Ivy tomorrow and I'm getting a 80 minute body wrap and massage along with a pedicure. I'm also going to be dipping in the mud baths and into some of the mineral water. It should be a fun day of pampering which I deserve!

Remember to be nice to yourself. Treat yourself how you would treat your best friend because you should be your own best friend!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moving My Body

Well it has been awhile since I've blogged. I have been busy. As I reflect over the past year so much has changed. I remember a time when there was a ton of time. I couldn't move much so I sat in my bed or on the couch with little movement. Now I am rarely home and always on the move. I've been in bed sick (sore throat) for the last 24+ hours and I can't stand not being active. I really have realized just how far I've come in such a short amount of time. My trainer took some pictures of me in action and in looking at them I realize how far I've come. I couldn't move like that even a year ago. I definitely couldn't get down on my knees and there I am on my knees. I couldn't lift very much either and now I'm lifting 20 pounds in each arm. It  never ceases to amaze me just how far I've come. I would have thought you were crazy if someone told me 18 months ago what was in store for me. I didn't realize what I was missing out on. Life can be so good and the food and extra weight (or the thing we are drowning our sorrows in) can really blind us. I had just about given up hope. I was at the rock bottom and somehow I was able to dig myself out from under the bottom to being on top. I am on top and I will never allow myself to go there again. I am so grateful to all of you as your support helps keep me "in-check". 

As far as weight-loss goes it is up and down right now. But I am focusing on the inches and the last time I checked a few weeks ago it was about 9 inches down in a total of 6 weeks. I will be happy once I am in the 200's which is so close yet so far away. My weight loss has definitely slowed down so this is where the real hard work comes into play. I have a little over 100 more pounds to go to be at my goal weight. I was told I could have upwards of 45 pounds of extra skin. I really think it is closer to 20 pounds but won't really know until I meet with the plastic surgeon for a consultation which won't be until the end of the year.

I am hanging in there and continuing to fight everyday for my health. I hope you fight for your health too! I encourage you to find a buddy to move with. It will help keep you accountable. Also, find something you enjoy doing so it isn't such a "chore". Also, a personal trainer can help you to get stronger and move more and give you the confidence to be able to do it. I don't have much confidence to do some of the exercises but my trainer gives me that confidence which really makes a difference.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lots lost but much more gained!

I'm back.... yes, I don't blog quite as often as I would truly like. Life gets in the way. To be honest though it is much better than being pretty much bedridden. I remember those days well because they weren't that long ago. Yes, I was able to move but it just hurt too much to move. So most weekends and nights were spent at home in bed or on the couch. Now I am hardly ever home just sitting around. I'm much more active because I can walk and I can move. I can do so much more and life feels so much more worth living for. I didn't realize how depressed I was. Sometimes it takes change to make you realize just exactly how bad things were. I've enjoyed the changes that have happened. My husband and I go grocery shopping together and I can actually do it. I have to admit towards the end my knee(s) are aching but at least I'm able to walk around and do it! We have been camping a lot because I can! Although, we haven't gone much this month. There is a lot of other things going on. The biggest thing is that I'm not afraid to get out of the house. I now realize I had a fear of leaving the house. Not necessarily to go to work but to go anywhere else. I just got stressed thinking about "what if" scenarios. I couldn't walk far so I had to be sure to park close and then walking around would only be a few minutes before I was in so much pain I had to sit down. The other stressful scenario was if there would be chairs I could fit into and most of the time there wasn't. I just recently learned that my husband was also burdened thinking about those types of things for me. We would go to a restaurant (or somewhere that we had to sit down) and he would scan the restaurant for a chair that I would fit into and a chair that was sturdy. His biggest fear was that I would break a chair and I would be so embarrassed. So my weight really impacted him which I feel badly about. It is one thing to burden myself but quite another to burden the ones I love.

So with that said I've accomplished some non-scale victories. The biggest one for me was being able to get down on the ground and get up without hurting myself. In fact I was even able to get up without even struggling much to get up. I was also able to get on my knees. It hurt a little bit but I was able to do it. I was super scared though because I imagined my 579 pound body getting down on my knees rather than my new 310 pound body. Yes, it is still a lot of weight but it is definitely significantly less. My brain still hasn't really embraced that yet. I think it has been such a short amount of time that I have lost so much weight and my brain only can process that sort of change slowly. So my other non-scale victory was to put on a dress and skirt without feeling "fat". I actually felt "girlie" which is a first in a very long time. The only time my husband has seen me in a dress was on our wedding night so as you can tell it has been a very long time since I've even put on a dress. 

So going back to the part that my brain hasn't caught up. I find myself looking at a picture of me thinking "gosh she looks good" and then I catch myself and realize I thought "she" instead of "I". I do that quite often and it is a bit odd to me. Or I will be told that I'm an inspiration and then I want to say "who me????". I think I am too humble to take credit for it all. Or maybe it has to do with my self-esteem. In any event it is something I know I need to work with my therapist on.

I still am amazed about how much extra weight really can alter your life. Even 50 pounds ago I wasn't able to do what I am now and I am sure 50 pounds from now I will be saying the same thing.

So I wanted to share a few quick facts about my journey of health.
Total pounds lost: 269
Starting BMI: 76.4
Current BMI: 40.9
Starting Weight: 579 pounds
Current Weight: 310 pounds
Goal Weight: 200 pounds
So much lost but much more gained including my health and my life!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One Year Surgiversary...A Reflection of the Last Year

I just recently celebrated my one year surgiversary (on June 14th). It was one year ago that I went and had my guts rearranged without knowing what the outcome would be. It was something that I didn't take lightly. I researched for several years contemplating if this was the right choice for me. I also did a lot of praying about it. I'm not a religious person but I am very spiritual. I came to realize that you really don't know the answer until you go through with it. But I felt at ease going through with it so I knew that was my sign that it was right for me. I had no idea if I was going to have a hard time or an easy time. Everything was unknown which was the scary part. I hoped to have a easy time and for the most part I did. The first three months there was a lot of throwing up going on. I really learned that I had to listen to what my body did and didn't like and how I felt when I was full and that just one more bite could make the difference of throwing up or not.

In one year I lost 184 pounds. That is remarkable, in my opinion. My surgeon seems to think so too. He even gave me a big hug because he was so excited for me. As of my surgiversary date I had lost a total of 260 pounds total. That is such a huge number and really is hard to fathom I've done all of that hard work. Every ounce of blood, sweat and tears contributed to that weight loss. Lots of decisions were made as well. A decision to eat this and not that, definitely lots of those types of decisions.

So much has changed in just one year. I don't depend on my husband to do as much for me. I was so heavy and being that I was bone on bone in my left knee... just standing hurt let alone walking a step or two. So it was hard for me to get up and do things for myself. Now I get up and do things for myself even when my knee (or now my back) are hurting. The pain will always hurt but it is much different with 260 pounds off of my knees (which is 1,040 pounds reduction in pressure in my knees). I am so much more mobile and aren't stressing out in almost every situation like I was previously. I'm not as worried about fitting in chairs as most chairs that I sit in I can fit with ease. I don't worry about being able to walk around as I know I can walk around (but still can't walk all day). I will take the improvement I do have though. I'm sure once I have my knee replacement things will change for the better (was I recover).

I feel different. I feel so thankful to be alive. I feel like living life instead of dreading life. My outlook is so much more positive. I actually can look in the mirror and find myself attractive and love myself. That has been lots of therapy though. I even am learning to love all of the imperfections. I won't ever be perfect so I am acting me how I am. Again, it has been a work in progress. I can now cross my legs and am quite comfortable when doing it. I can see my clavicle bones (collar bones) in my chest which is surprising since I still have 115 (as of today) more pounds to lose.

The other good news is that my surgeon, my doctor and I are all on the same page in regards to a goal weight. That is a miracle in itself because my goal weight is higher than the BMI charts. My doctor told me that the BMI charts don't take into consideration muscle mass or bone density (which I knew) so they aren't accurate for someone who has some muscle (me) and big boned (me). But I was thrilled with that and that I don't have some unreasonable expectations.

With the weight loss has come all sort of other issues. I'm having hormone issues (big time), back issues and a few other things that are a result of the weight loss. But in the scheme of things I am happy to have my health back and I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been in my entire life. It feels so great!

I really encourage others to find support in what ever it is that you are trying to do. There is nothing worse than feeling alone and like you are the only one on the journey. I'm talking whether it is weight loss, smoking, alcohol...anything. There are support groups everywhere for everything these days. I know for me having a support group has made all the difference in my progress. Knowing I'm not the only one battling this battle definitely helps me to move forward in the right direction.

I'm hoping to be at or very near my goal at my 2 year surgiversary. I think losing the rest of the weight in the next year is realistic. I'm also factoring in that there will be skin to remove that will weigh something (maybe 20 pounds). So I'm really looking at maybe loosing approximately 100 pounds in a year. I know with lots of hard work and determination I can do it!

Thank you all for your feedback, your input and your support. I love hearing from each and everyone of you, even if I don't always respond to everyone. Here's to another year of life, love and health!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Makeover and 250 Pounds Gone, Oh My!

So much has happened since I last blogged. I have to say I’ve been very busy. Not a bad thing at all necessarily but nonetheless it is what it is! J So I am hoping I can break everything in an organized manner as there is so much to talk about. Let’s start with what many people don’t know about or have asked me about.

“THE MAKEOVER”. Yes, that is right I got not one, but TWO makeovers for FREE. I always love the word FREE. So to start off with, some of you know that I was almost selected to be on the Biggest Loser Season 8. At the last minute they changed their mind. I was very upset at the time but looking back I think it was definitely the best thing to happen. So many people that go on the show come home and gain their weight back for many different reasons (which is my biggest fear) and I really think I needed something more drastic (my surgery). As they say, things happen for a reason. So the casting company has me in their database and has contacted me in the past with different shows which I have applied for but never got anywhere. I’m also friends with a few of those people on Twitter. So one of them contacted me for a makeover show. I responded that I was interested and then was asked to send a picture of myself and my phone number to a certain email address. I did and the same day I got a phone call. They told me that they wanted to do a interview with me via Skype that day. I was working so I told them I wasn’t available until after 6:00 that I would still need to go home and download Skype onto my computer. So the interview was set. So I had the interview and they asked me the same questions but in a different way. I was smart enough to realize that they were looking for a different answer so I said my answers to their questions in a different way. That lasted about 15-20 minutes. They told me they recorded the interview and it would be sent to the producers for a decision. They briefly told me they hadn’t exactly figured out what the show was going to be called but something about looking younger and that I would receive a makeover if I were picked. All of that took place in February. I was also told they would be emailing me an application and I needed to fill it out and get it over to them. So I did. Also, just as a FYI, I did focus on my weight loss progress so far as the reason for being deserving of this makeover. So I didn’t hear anything for a few months and just figured I didn’t get picked. Then in April I get a call stating that the producers were still deciding on the contestants but they wanted to have us fill out the paperwork now. So we had to fill out more paperwork (basically giving up our rights to the photos/video of us). Then a week later I got a call stating they were still deciding but were going to tape on Sunday, April 29th and Monday April 30th and asked me which day would be better. I told them Sunday would be best (since I have to work and this was only a little over a week away with no decision yet). This was on a Wednesday and I asked if I didn’t hear anything if I could call on Friday. She was very sweet and said I could call anytime. So I didn’t hear anything so I called on Friday. She stated, “Oh yes I just got an email with those that made it let me look if your name is on the list… Ummmm…ohhhh…nope… oh wait… yes… Shanda Macomber, you are on the list you made it.” I screamed for joy and probably caused her to lose her hearing for the day. My coworkers came into congratulate me (they knew I was waiting and urged me to make that phone call). She told me that I should be receiving a call from the producer with details. All she knew was that I was going to be getting TWO makeovers and the show is called “Make Me Younger”. I was also told it would be a YouTube show that they are doing a beauty channel on (and who knows it could go to TV). I didn’t care if it was on TV or not just getting a FREE makeover is something I am always up for. So I didn’t get the “Call Sheet” until the day before I got my makeover. It has the executive producers information, camera guys, stylist, contestants (me), etc.  It was so cool to see my name on that. I did some research the night before and realized the executive producers are the same executive producers as The Biggest Loser & The Amazing Race (among other shows). That made me very nervous and excited at the same time. So I had to drive to West Hollywood and I left early and got there a few hours early. So River and I went and got some coffee and took bathroom breaks. I was super nervous! I finally went in and people were greeting me and congratulating me. I wasn’t sure what they were congratulating me on until I asked and they said your weight loss of course. Everyone knew my story apparently and everyone was so inspired. I was so humbled. So I had to weight hour and a half before anything started happening. Then I did my before pictures and my plea as to why I deserved this in front of the cameras. They coached me somewhat and were so impressed that I had lost an additional 20 pounds from what they had on their sheet. So I really did a bad job at that because I was so nervous. Luckily they can edit and put together all the pieces which is what they are going to have to do. Then we took a break for lunch and they had food catered. I was so nervous there wasn’t going to be anything I could eat but they did have some chicken and veggies that I was able to eat. Then it was time to go back and I had my first makeover with Joey. He was the most awesome stylist. He asked me what my original hair color is (because I had some blonde and brown in my hair) and I told him I’m a natural red-head. He said he couldn’t imagine me as anything but a red-head but he wanted to die my hair a different shade of red and go with a Julianne Moore look. I told him I thought she was absolutely gorgeous and to go for it. Now let me intervene here for a second that there were no mirrors in this salon and if there were mirrors they were covered up with trash bags. They really did not want us to see ourselves ahead of time. So Joey dyed my hair, put me under the dryer, rinsed my hair and then blow dried me. People were walking by saying “Oh you look gorgeous” or “Wow, you look amazing”. All these comments was making me more anxious. I’m telling you EVERYONE was gawking over me (what a nice change). So then next was the make-up. The camera guys were on us pretty much the entire time. They would ask questions and we would respond. If there wasn’t a camera in front of us then there a camera on the wall that was recording us as well. We had microphones taped inside of our shirts so they could have better sound quality. So the last thing we had to do was go get changed. I told him I had a blue shirt or a purple shirt and asked which would look better. He said to go with the purple. So I went and changed. I came out of the dressing room and some staff was standing outside of the room and I walked out and all I heard was “Oh my god, wow, ohhhhhh!” and then the next thing I heard is “SHHHHHHHHHHHH QUIET ON THE SET!” They were recording someone’s reveal of their makeover and that is when we had to be quiet. I did feel pretty fantastic though even though I did not know what I looked like. So the reveal went like this. Everyone had to be quiet and they did one at a time (so 3 of the contestants/stylists had to basically just wait). So they did the reveal with the stylist and the contestant. Then when that was done they did an interview with just the contestant. Then after that they would do an interview with just the stylist.  This was a long process multiply that by 4 contestants/stylists per session. Anyhow when they finally revealed me I cried. I finally saw the beauty in myself but not only the beauty for the first time in the mirror I saw the weight loss and it baffled me. I can’t really see the weight loss unless I am looking at pictures but I saw it in the mirror so it was quite overwhelming for me. So then when that was over they gave me makeup remover clothes and told me to change back into my “before” clothes and wipe off the make-up for the next makeover. Joey saw me wiping off the make-up and said “I see how you are” I told him I felt bad because he did such a great job and I really wanted to show the world the way I looked at that moment. So I got my 2nd makeover by Norma. I think she was really perplexed since he did such a great job. She left my hair color alone and decided to focus on my eyes and make them look more dramatic. I think she did a great job but the look was not as drastic as the first makeover. As a side note I had one of the other stylist come up to me wanting to make me over. He was very nice and I really did feel like the star there that day. The other makeovers turned out great but really I don’t think anyone’s was as dramatic as mine was that day. I left feeling like a super star which is exactly what I needed to boost my confidence to help me push forward to the last 136 pounds (as of that point) I have to lose. I’ve included pictures of the two different makeovers below (the first one is makeover one and the second one is makeover two). I don’t have any information as to when the video will be up but once I do I will be sure to let everyone know. I must say the most touching part of the whole day was when one of the contestants came up to me and said “I know why I was here today”. I said, “Yeah, me too, you were here to get two makeovers” and then I smiled. She said, “No, I was here to get inspiration from your story. You have really inspired me to lose some weight and I want to thank you.” I was so touched by that and I got a few tears in my eyes. I know I’ve done a great job but I am always so touched when someone is inspired by me. ME!? Yes, me!

Makeover #1

Makeover #2

So then the bad news showed up and we (my husband and I) got the miserable 3. His godmother passed away, then his Mom’s dog (who he picked out and had a strong bond with) and my great aunt (who was one of my favorites of my great aunts). That was really horrible but we get through things like that. It made me realize that it could have been me if I had kept up my old lifestyle. It really upset me that I let myself get out of control but again there is a purpose for everything so maybe I am supposed to help others get their lives back on track. I still don’t know and I may never know but I keep living day by day and helping others when I can.

Then back to the good news. I can officially say I’ve lost 250 pounds! WOW! I am soooooooo proud of myself! It has been a fight and lots of hard work but I’ve done it. I still have over 100 pounds to lose but 129 pounds seems like nothing at this point. Of course I won’t be saying that during a plateau but hey right now it seems so doable. More doable than at my highest when I needed to lose 379 pounds! I’m 29 pounds away from being in the 200’s since my early 20’s which will be a huge victory and I’m certain I will get there this year (even possibly in the next 3 months) which I am pumped about!

This journey has brought so many great things. I am so fortunate to have so much support and thank all of you! I had voiced my concern to my therapist that what if this was just the “honeymoon”. She said well it has been almost a year and you are connected to others with support so it isn’t just the “honeymoon”. She said support groups and supportive people in general is what made AA so successful. That we, as humans, need to connect with others that understand what we are going through. It was profound and something I already knew but never really made the connection. It is so very true. We definitely cannot get through anything alone. Whether it is death, food addiction, alcohol addition, etc. We always need friends and family as support to get us through our toughest moments and to congratulate us through our victories. We do rely on others much more than I even realized.

So thank you to YOU for being my support and being a part of my success. Now let’s celebrate! J

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Reflection of My Progress So Far

So I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I'm not sure if it is because my birthday is approaching or if it is random but it could be a little bit of both. So yesterday I was waiting for my breakfast burrito to be made (I usually eat yogurt but my yogurt was bad so our office has a cafe and I ordered the breakfast burrito and ate the inside with the egg, cheese and bacon and left the tortilla alone) and I saw a butterfly. It was so beautiful and I can't remember the last time I had seen a butterfly. I then began some deep thinking and came to the conclusion that my life mimics that of a butterfly as well. I started as a caterpillar when I was born and then as I got older I spun my cocoon (which to me was the fat that I felt protected me just like a cocoon protects the caterpillar). Then the caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly which is me shedding my weight turning into a butterfly. It made total sense to me at least.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I remember one year ago getting that call with my surgery date. I remember that being the best birthday gift ever. But honestly, having the surgery was the best gift I've ever given to myself. I really wish I would have done the surgery sooner in life but they say timing is everything. Maybe I would have had the surgery but maybe I wouldn't have been as successful due to where I've been. I came from rock bottom and thus maybe I learn more and don't take things for granted. So I try not to reflect on those sort of things.

My trainer reminded me today how far I have come. She asked me what it felt like at my heaviest. I couldn't even describe it. I couldn't even fathom just how I was able to walk around with so much extra weight on my joints and having to move that weight around. My Grandpa told me a few weeks ago that I was carrying him on my shoulders (he apparently weighs near what I've lost). That really put it into perspective because I've always seen my Grandpa as a big guy. Not fat but just a big guy (he's quite tall) and well he's German.... he's a big guy. It makes me realize just how strong I was physically. Of course my upper body was really strong because I definitely used my upper body a lot to get me up but my legs had to move the weight around. Now I understand why my knees hurt so badly. It is amazing to me how things are so different when you are at a different spot in life. In the moment things don't make sense or they aren't clear. Once things are in the past and you have a different perspective things begin to become much clearer. It is like I had smudgy glasses on and now I have brand new smudge proof glasses, much better!

Another thing I was really thinking about is how close I am getting to being in the 200's again. I can't remember the last time I was in the 200's. I think the last time was possibly in high school. It has me giddy thinking about when the scale says 299! I'm only about 38 pounds away. I should be seeing the 200's this year! WOW! To think I started in the 500's last year!

I am beginning to see changes in my body both the good and the ugly. The ugly, of course, is all of the excess skin and it just isn't in my stomach. It is in my arms and my thighs and possibly my backside too but I don't see that. I probably would be at least 1 pant size smaller than I am now, if not more, if I didn't have all of the extra skin. Extra skin is not pretty...saggy, wrinkly and just plain ol' yucky. Definitely doesn't make me feel good about myself. But I look at it for now and try to think of it as battle wounds. It is the scars from what I've been through so to speak. But then there is the good which is many things. I actually have a shape now which is a pear shape versus being a round blob. My wrists and arms have really thinned out too. My trainer pointed out the shape of my upper arms. Yes, my upper arms (top part) are toned and have sexy curves. It is the stuff that hangs below that isn't so attractive but again the top part is looking good. The muscle, yes that is right I do have muscle, is starting to become more pronounced. My legs and and my core are also getting stronger but it is harder to see the results behind the loose skin.

My 35 year old body has been through some things that most people won't go through in a lifetime. I've really beaten it up. I'm learning to love my body. One of the things I treat my body to is massages. I LOVE massages and for my birthday I am buying myself a 90 minute massage because I deserve it! I'm not concerned about going out to dinner or eating. For me it is more about doing what makes me feel good and food does not make me feel good any longer. I will eat dinner, of course, but I will make it a healthy meal and take it to the beach and sit in the car and eat. To me that is the best birthday ever. Maybe I am becoming simple at my old age (hahaha). Maybe I have finally realized that there is more to life than food. Or maybe I am really tuning into to my body to figure out what my body likes since I've abused and neglected it for so long.

So as I sign off I want to remind you all what a positive influence you have all been in my life. Whether you've been in my life for a lifetime or only for a brief moment all of your support collectively has led me to where I am today. For that I am grateful! Thank you!

Good night.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Learning Curve

Dearest Family & Friends,

Well I have had a rough five weeks. The news about my knee needing to get replaced, then exactly a week later I got news that I have significant hearing loss and I need hearing aids. Between those two things I really felt like my body is that of a 70 year old. Definitely not 34 (almost 35) years old. It definitely was a lot to take in all at once. I never imagined either things to happen so soon in my life but I firmly things happen for a reason. It has definitely taught me to take better care of my body, which I am now, but sometimes it is too late and the damage has been done. Maybe that is the message I am supposed to share with others and have them learn from my mistakes? I don’t have the answers right now but I am sure one day it will make sense. I am a bit embarrassed by it, especially the hearing aide thing. That is why I’ve taken so long to expose it for everyone to read. I’ve told some people but admitting it on my blog is a whole new level of honesty and coming to terms with it. I had to come to terms with it myself. I have been and I am on the search for hearing aids. They are very expensive and I am told they last only about 5 years. What a bummer! So I already went to once place and will be going to Costco in a few weeks (I have an appointment) and then will decide from there. I definitely want to get them sooner than later (financially willing) because I do know I am missing out on quite a bit. Plus I am frustrated with having to read lips and telling others they need to speak up. I get so embarrassed.

I’ve also had a hard time with my weight loss. I was on a plateau for about five weeks that I would fluctuate between 3 pounds but never getting down past that certain number! My trainer is aware as well and was hoping that adding in the personal training component would help as it is a change that my body isn’t used to. Well something finally worked and I stepped on the scale yesterday (a fluke) and I had dropped two pounds. Then I stepped on the scale today just curious to see if my body was going to fluctuate and I actually dropped another three pounds. So five pounds in two days makes me extremely happy. I know another plateau is inevitable but I just hope it doesn’t come again for a very long time! So I have lost 236 pounds total and 159 pounds since surgery. I am approaching my one year since surgery very soon (in another 2 months). I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.

The plateau actually gave me some time to experience what it will be like when I am at goal. Not seeing those numbers move may be something that will take some getting used to especially since I have been seeing those numbers move quite rapidly. I will definitely have to focus on something else so it did give me time to “practice”. But when you aren’t near goal weight it is very frustrating and I know it has definitely affected my moods and my overall well being. I felt like when someone asked me how I was doing I was negative or I lied and said I was ok. But it seems like my knee was hurting, or I was feeling sick, or this hurt or that hurt. It wasn’t the normal me that is for sure. So I now know I need to work on not letting my weight loss (or lack thereof) affect me and my moods.

My personal training is going great. She had me do some things at my last session that I was definitely scared about doing and didn’t think I would be able to do it. But I did it and I lived through it. She admitted she wasn’t sure about it either but gave me the confidence to do it. That is what trainers are for. They give you the confidence to do things you probably wouldn’t otherwise do. She is still impressed with my upper body strength. Quite frankly, I am too. She is also working on getting my leg strength back as well which I can tell she is working the muscles as my legs and even my butt have been very sore. Who am I kidding… my arms have been very sore too. But of course it is a good sore. She even has me sweating in just 30 minutes. The last session we did a lot of weights and core training.

I’ve had to work through a lot of things that aren’t familiar to me lately. When I wasn’t losing weight I began to worry that my metabolism had slowed down (which could be true) and that maybe I needed to increase my intake of calories from my average of 900 a day. So I had to get creative. I know it isn’t good to drink your calories but in my situation it is a little different. So I have a hard time taking pills. I have lots of them to take (vitamins due to malabsorption issues). I take one pill at a time and even sometimes those get stuck and are too much. So to increase my calories and to help the pills go down easier I take them with milk. So I am not only getting the benefits of having a creamier liquid to help them go down I am getting some extra protein, Vitamin D, Calcium in addition to a few extra calories which I consider healthy calories. I do the organic milk boxes so I make sure I am only doing a serving. It is hard to get my mind around it eating more calories though. My entire life (for the most part) has been focused on eating less calories. So this is the opposite extreme which is very hard. I am just getting creative. I eat a 60 calorie pack of prunes everyday (3 prunes) which help keep me regular. So I eat things that have other benefits rather than just eating something that has calories and no other benefits for me.

I want to say thank you to everyone for such great support you’ve given me. having people check in on me and giving comments and feedback really does help me to move forward in both good and bad times.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Battling the changes that come up in life

Well life continues to happen whether I like what is happening or not. Now more than ever do I realize what an impact we make on our bodies good or bad. You all know I am very honest so I am going to be honest. I am usually very positive but with that said sometimes life isn't all about good times. Sometimes there are things that you just have to deal with as they come and sometimes they aren't good things. Sometimes writing here on my blog helps me sort it out in my head as well.

With that said, I got the results of my knees. I met with the surgeon and he unfortunately didn't have any positive news for me. My right knee (which is my "good" knee) he said is very close to needing a knee replacement. I have more cartilage on the right side of my knee than the left side (inside). He said in another 5 - 10 years my knee will probably be worn out by then. Then my left knee he said is completely gone. He did show us (my husband and I) the x-ray and explained everything which was very helpful. But I have no cartilage on my left knee. This is why I have been unable to straighten my knee. I am currently grinding my bones together and probably have been for a while as the bone looks like it is a bit worn. He said that my bones are also starting to bow and are currently bowing at about 5 degrees. So he then proceeds to tell me they won't do surgery on anyone unless their BMI is under 40. That is very understandable to me and what that translates to me is another 50 pounds or so. That isn't such a big deal to me. But he said age is another factor and at my age he doesn't recommend knee replacement. He said due to the fact that they last approximately 15 years (depend how hard I am on my knee) that I will have to have multiple knee replacements in my lifetime and with each knee replacement it gets more complicated. So he basically said to continue until I can't tolerate the pain anymore and see if technology improves. With that I was so upset. He left the office and I cried. No, I bawled my eyes out. Then I got my act together and left the office. I got to the car and bawled my eyes out again. I went to work and was so emotional and just drained. Every time I even started to talk about it I couldn't stop myself from crying. It was just a rough day.
This is similar to what my knee looks like. No space between the bones means
no cartilage which means bones are grinding up against each other. 

I had (and have) so much going through my head. What did I do to my body/knees? Why was I so careless? He did mention the history of bad knees in my family could have contributed to my knees. He said the weight didn't help it but being that I wasn't over 400 pounds for long he said that the weight wasn't the only reason for the deterioration. So all these regrets I now have that I can't take back. The damage is done. If... I should have...are all words that get me nowhere now.

I am "young" and losing weight should be giving me the opportunity to be more active and trying new things. Instead my activity is not much different now than it was 226 pounds ago. I had dreams of possibly doing a 1/2 marathon, hiking, and in general just getting out there and being more active. But now my knee(s) is holding me back once again. I am so mad and frustrated! But these are my feelings and no one can take my feelings from me. I expect to have a roller coaster of feelings. This weekend I got a lot of sun and the sun made me feel alive again. Honestly I felt like I was dead on Friday.

I'm not going to give up. I've already worked to hard (which is part of my frustration). But I will just continue doing my water aerobics which I know is the best for me until my knee situation is rectified. Luckily, I enjoy the water aerobics otherwise I'd be even more upset. I think the struggles are only given to those who can handle it. So I feel like this is only making me stronger. Hubby is amazed at how strong I am and was surprised that I really can tolerate the pain. I don't complain too much about my knees when they are hurting it has just become part of my day, which I know is unfortunate, but there are some things we just have to live with. Even if it is temporary.

My weight loss has slowed down significantly this last month which does scare me. I am hoping that the honeymoon period isn't over quite yet. They say there is a 12-18 month honeymoon period and it has only been 8 months for me but I worry this could be it. With that said I can't complain but I will. I have had an amazing transformation in such a short amount of time. I've lost 150 pounds since surgery (in 8 months) which I feel like is quite a blessing in itself.  I haven't weighed myself in over a week because I've been disappointed every time I step on the scale. I have people telling me I look thinner so I may be losing inches and gaining muscle. I've lost a total of 226 pounds and have reached another plateau. But I'm sticking with my lifestyle and not giving up.

I went clothes shopping last weekend and it was bittersweet. The shirts I was able to fit into a size smaller than I have in my closet which was very exciting. So now I know officially my closet (most of it) is too big for me, well at least the shirts. The pants now that is another story. Because I have a smaller waist, big hips and my legs are fairly big I wasn't able to find pants that fit. I know I will probably always have to wear a belt so I can fit my legs and hips in pants (my Mom & sister told me they have to do the same thing). Now grant it the store didn't have any tall pants to choose from either which was disappointing. But I thought for sure I'd be able to find something. All of my pants of the same size at home are too big but in the store they are too small? Doesn't make sense. So that was very disappointing and I came home and ordered some pants online. hopefully they fit.

I did FINALLY hire a trainer! I am so excited. She is someone that was referred to me and had awesome results. She is close by and I will be meeting with her on my lunch breaks. I am so happy to have made this decision. She knows what she has to work with now and feels up to the challenge. We will see what happens. I will be mostly working on weight training with her since I have the aerobic stuff down with my water aerobics and the fact I can't do much on land. We will see what happens. I look forward to toning my body!

So there are some good things mixed in with the bad. I am trying to keep a positive outlook but also learning to just deal with my emotions and not shove them down. This is all new for me. I actually took a hot shower Friday night and then called to schedule a massage trying some new coping skills. The massage place was booked for the weekend but was proud I made the initiative to do something other than eating which I can't do anymore. I'm learning that being upset and sad is ok too. Expressing my emotions is ok. I don't have to be happy 100% of the time. I just know the danger comes when it consumes me which is I am not going to let happen.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for letting me vent!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Update and more surgery....

Total Weight Loss: 219 pounds
Post-op Weight Loss: 142 pounds
Total to goal: 160 pounds
YTD Weightloss: 21 pounds

Well I am happy to report that I am continuing to lose weight (although I've been stalled for a week) That is always a plus! I want to take a moment to congratulate my Mom who has lost 34.8 pounds doing Weight Watchers. I am so proud of her. She has struggled with her weight most of her life as well so we understand each other's journey. But I am so proud she's doing so well! Our family is getting healthy which I am happy about.

I am learning so much about myself. Not only on the inside but on the outside. You mean I have a chin? Cheek bones? Ribs? Yes I can feel or see them all. I really must say that my upper body has really gotten small. I look at my wrists and barely recognize my hands and arms. I can actually see the tendons and veins in my hands. I haven't seen them in at least 12 years. I went to have blood drawn and was told I have good veins. I don't know if that was the guy hitting on me or complimenting me. :-)

But with all the good stuff comes all the stuff I have to deal with now. I went to the doctor to address a bunch of issues. I must say my doctor is so good at explaining things and taking all the time I need with him. In any event the main issue I went for was my knee. I told him (and showed him) that my left knee will not go straight. If I try to make it go straight it just hurts (intolerable pain). So he said he doesn't feel it is something that physical therapy would be able to fix at this point. So he referred me to a Orthopedic surgeon. Oh goody! Can I tell you the knee issues in the family...especially as of lately. My Dad has had multiple surgeries on both knees and about 2 years ago (maybe it was 3 years ago) had knee replacement on his left knee. My mother-in-law had knee replacement on her left knee in December. My husband just found out this last week he has to have orthoscopic surgery on his left knee and the appointment has been scheduled for March. My Mom is having knee replacement on her right knee in April. So as a joke I said maybe I will be having surgery in May. Uggghhh! But I am just trying to accept it as it is and move on. Then I also am having problems hearing. That has been going on for about a year now. Part of it is caused by rapid weight loss (who would have known) but I have had fluid behind my ear drum for over a year now and medication hasn't helped. I have fluid behind both ears but the right ear is much worse. So I am being referred to a specialist/surgeon to take care of that.  In April/May I have to get my thyroid nodule checked and measured and find out if it needs to be removed this year or if I can wait. I really wish I could have all the surgeries I need to have all done at once but I don't think my body would like that. 

But I have to remember I'm not a kid any more and things happen and your body breaks down. I know the weight really affected my knees and probably caused even more damage to them. My weight still isn't great so I know there is still lots of pressure on them. I am very grateful though for those days where my knees don't hurt. I remember not too long ago I only prayed for those days and they never game. I was in excruciating pain 24 hours a day. Now I get some relief in between which I am so grateful for. Then there are times where my knees hurt really bad and it just reminds me to be even more grateful for the times when my knees don't hurt.

I want to be a resource for YOU so please tell me if there are things you'd like to me talk about in my journey. Sometimes I find it easy to talk about my journey and other times I find it hard because I don't want to bore people. But obviously there could be things that I think would bore other people that just aren't boring to others. All feedback is appreciated.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Struggles Won't Hold Me Back

Total Weight Loss: 212 pounds
Post-op Weight Loss: 135 pounds
Pounds left until I reach MY personal goal: 167

Not much to report. My weight loss is coming off. I am exercising. I am being a good girl or at least trying. I am in the process of experimenting with new recipes. I'm bored with the same ol' thing and there are so many things I can eat so it is time for some variety. 

I'm still working up the courage for a personal trainer. Not sure why I am so scared. I am trying to reach down inside of me to see what the real blockage is but I can't find any answers. I think I do really baby my knee and have a fear of having someone damage it more. But I am going to start with going to the doctor and see if physical therapy is the answer or if it is beyond physical therapy. There are lots of knee issues going around my family right now. Mother-in-law had knee replacement in December, my Mom is having knee replacement in April (waiting for insurance approval) and my husband is more than likely going to have to have orthoscopic surgery on his knee. It isn't fun! But alas it is what it is and I will deal with it as it comes.

I do know that a personal trainer will get me more aligned with where I need to be. So my goal is to schedule appointments with a few personal trainers to meet with them by the next time I write my next blog. I think my legs are really lacking in so many ways. I absolutely hate the way they look and I feel like they aren't quite as strong as they should be. I also think my core is a bit weak as well. So I know a trainer will get me on the right path. As Nike says I just need to "Just do it". 

I feel like my health is really strong though. No major incidents of getting sick (knocking on a big block of wood). Prior to surgery I would catch things fairly easy but as of now all things have been avoided. My husband has been sick twice since my surgery and I haven't caught either of them. I am so very grateful for my health in that way. 

I am having a hard time taking my vitamins which I feared prior to my surgery. They do have a vitamin that is powder that I put in my water and drink it like it is crystal light so that has been very helpful but I don't always remember about that. My multi-vitamin and calcium are chewables because I don't swallow pills well. Plus it gives it a bit of flavor and some change. There are other vitamins I do have to swallow and I dread it. I find I do better during the weekend but the weekends really throw me off. As usual... the weekends throw me off in a lot of different areas. But I am definitely working on it.

If anyone ever says weight loss surgery is "easy" they obviously haven't ever experienced it. I hear people say it all the time and it really upsets me. I guess it is hypocritical because I used to think it was the "easy way out" myself. But in no way is it easy. It is a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to mindfully plan ahead to make sure you are getting the proper nutrition (vitamins and protein specifically). I've also heard people say that weight loss surgery is for "lazy" people. That really gets my blood boiling. I literally work my ass off with my workouts and in no way am I lazy. Not just the workouts but all of the planning as I mentioned above. I'd say weight loss surgery is harder than any "diet" I've been on. But I also know it is because this is a lifestyle change and lifestyle changes are very hard because you have to break those old habits. But I do understand it is easy to judge without having gone through the process or even done research on the process. Most people are ignorant when it comes to weight loss surgery and don't know everything that is involved. So I like to give people the real truth and educate them. Maybe I can change someone's mind. Not to have surgery but to admit that it isn't the easy way out and that weight loss surgery patients are not lazy.

To wrap this up life is good. I have some struggles that I'm working on but nothing in life is easy. I will get through it one way or another. I appreciate the support all of you give me, it definitely helps me to get through some of the harder times.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Progress Is Where the Heart Is

Current update
Starting (highest) weight: 579
Day of Surgery weight: 502
Current weight: 370
Total weight loss: 209
Post-op weight loss: 132
Yes, I am finally posting the true and said numbers. You know why? Because the numbers are not who I am but the numbers are a reflection of where I was an where I am now. So many factors are involved in the numbers though. Such as muscle mass will make the numbers higher, for a female during that time of the month numbers change and many other factors. But with that said I can say that I’ve had some progress.

My husband and I in Las Vegas, 2012
So my lifestyle change can be hard when travelling. I had to make choices eating out while in Vegas. I made decent choices I must say. Chose to eat meatballs only at an Italian Restaurant (ate 1/3 of the very large meatball). I had chicken fajitas minus the tortillas and rice (so just basically chicken and some beans with some guacamole & sour cream). I ate a hamburger with no bread (ate about 1/3 of the burger). After eating the burger though I realized I ate way too much beef for me. I eat beef maybe once every few weeks but while I was in Vegas I ate it two days in a row. My body definitely let me know that eating beef that often is not something it likes. It doesn’t mind the occasional but that was too much. I didn’t throw up (thank goodness) but I just felt “blah”. Yeah I know that really doesn’t describe it but it is the best I can do. Just an overall feeling of “yucky”. I know I must have regressed with my vocabulary coming from that of a 4 year old in me describing how I felt but I suppose that is the 4 year old in me that has been telling me for years how my food habits have been. They have definitely been “blah” and “yucky”.

I was thrilled I was able to get around much easier than 3 years ago when I was in Vegas. I remember 3 years ago all too well. Walking and having to sit down at one of the slot machines just so I could catch my breath every 20 feet or so. This time I was able to walk from one end of the casino to the other with no breathing issues. The only issues were my knees (the left one in particular) which gave me some pain and such but I did it. I can tell I’m in much better shape since I am not so out of breath. If my knees were better I would have walked around like it was nothing but my knees still hold me back considerably.

But honestly I think the progress is where the heart is. I think inside of me is where the progress has been not only the most gratifying but the most work has been done on the inside and in my heart. I really listen to my body, my mind and my heart and have really began to sync them together. I think God has really created this wonderful being (me). I’m learning so many wonderful things about myself and learning that when I say nice things about myself it doesn’t mean I have an ego. I used to think that saying nice things about myself meant I had a ego issue and that people would think of me as “bitchy”. Well now I don’t care what people think (as much) and secondly I am a good human being and it is ok for me to say that. I am finally learning about what some of my gifts are. I have the gift of writing. I have had so many people tell me that but never believed it. Now I do believe it and realize how much joy I receive from it as well.

As each day goes by I become more grateful and humble for my health and the gift I gave myself. It has truly transformed my life. I see pictures of myself and I still am in awe. I haven’t seen my face look as thin as it looks in a very long time. My body has really thinned out too and I am so proud of the healthy lifestyle I have chosen and I have dedicated myself too.

Something interesting that came to me the other day. I was reading the People issue about people that have lost ½ their body weight “with no surgery”. What makes me most upset about that is that it is as if they are alluding to the fact that surgery is some kind of magic and people don’t have to work just as hard. I mean I give people credit for losing weight now matter how they do it because no matter if you have surgery or “diet” it is all the same kind of hard work. I mean do people really think that because I have had surgery I’ve lost this weight by watching TV all day and eating bon-bons? I’ve had to watch what I eat and specifically even more so than someone who hasn’t had surgery. I’ve had to exercise and I do exercise my butt off.  I’ve completely changed my lifestyle and I have changed what is going on in my head… which is the same as someone who hasn’t had the surgery. I understand that surgery is a tool but isn’t Weight Watchers a tool to others, Jenny Craig to others, so on and so forth.? I think it sort of belittles those that decided to have weight loss surgery and have had amazing accomplishments. I still hear so many negative comments about having weight loss surgery which upsets me because no one should judge unless they’ve experienced it or dealt with obesity issues. But alas I know people won’t change and they will continue to judge. Yet something else I wish I could remove to make this world a better place.

But I continue to stay positive and live my life and not try to let others or the media belittle my progress. I’ve worked so very hard to lose 209 pounds and will continue to fight hard for the 170 more pounds I have to lose.

With that I say good night, God Bless, and may you all have good health!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I've lost over 200 pounds!

I did it!
So I can’t believe I haven’t shared the good news here on my blog. What am I waiting for? Well to be honest I have been a bit busy. I’ve increased my workouts so don’t have a lot of time during the week as it is work, workout, dinner, bed. But the good news is on New Year’s Day to start out my day my body decided to weigh me in at a lower weight. As of the 1st I had officially lost 202 pounds. Yes I even got an extra two pounds in that. That was definitely a rough plateau in which I was up and down 2 pounds for two weeks. I also counted how much weight I lost during the holidays. Only because that is when most people gain. I was surprisingly shocked (so shocked I calculated twice) that I lost 19 pounds from Thanksgiving Day to January 1st . That is a lot of weight and to have 2 weeks of it with no change means basically I lost 19 pounds in 3 weeks. I am shocked that it is so much not shocked I lost weight. I didn’t eat bad at all and felt no guilt this holiday season. I kept my workout routine and pretty much kept everything the same.

So as of this morning (1/5/12) I’ve lost a total of 205 pounds (128 since surgery). I have created a piece of paper that has 18 stars on it. Each star represents 10 pounds. So I only need to lose 1 star 18 times for a total of 180 pounds. I’m 4 pounds away from coloring my first one in which is exciting.

So I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve already lost more weight than what I want to weigh as my goal weight. I have lost more than the “average” adult weighs. I’ve never ever lost close to this much. The closest was when I lost about 115 pounds about 6 years ago. I am so humble about this change though. I know it doesn’t make me any more special than the next guy or gal struggling with weight. The only difference is it has clicked in my mind and I am taking action to make it happen. I know at any point I could gain the weight back which is my biggest fear which is what I am really trying not to do. But I like to focus on what to do and NOT what I shouldn’t do.  Because I’ve learned if you focus on what not to do well you spend so much energy on it; it happens anyways. Instead energy focused on what you should/want/need to do is much more beneficial.

Anyhow, I thank you all for your support and words of encouragement. It is all greatly appreciated!