Tag Archives: weight loss surgery

A year since I began the WLS pre-op journey

25 Aug

This week marks one year since I started my WLS preop journey, beginning to work on losing weight and attending a WLS seminar.  I can’t believe its been a year!  A year ago I weighed 278 pounds.  Today, I weigh 184.  A year ago, I couldn’t fit in an airplane seat without an extender. Today, I have about 8-9 inches to spare.  A year ago I couldn’t walk up one flight of stairs without dying.  Today, there was a fire drill and I was able to get up 12 flights of stairs after the drill and be huffing less than some other “skinny” people.  A year ago, I was wearing size 26 pants. Today, I am wearing size 14.  A year ago, I was really focused on weight loss. Today, I’m not and need to be re-energized to go the final distance.  A year ago, I was afraid WLS was not going to work for me. Today, I am afraid that I will not be able to go the final distance and maintain my loss.

So a lot a lot of good stuff, but also still some other stuff going on that still needs worked on.  Overall, what a difference a year makes!!

Advertisements

My new reasons to lose the last 38 pounds #wls

21 Apr

I woke up this morning with a major V8 sort of epiphany.  My motivation has been flagging for a while, I’m not exercising like I was, and not being as food vigilant as I should.  I have been struggling to figure out why, beyond the general concept of the honeymoon being over and it being hard to sustain attention on something like this for such a long time (which is still a major factor of course).  Another factor is the slowdown overall in weight loss speed.  I mean, its really hard to get excited about continuing to eat only 800 calories a day and exercise every day and lose weight at the same rate when you are eating 1200 calories a day and not exercise every day.

Anyway, I woked up realizing that another factor is that I have achieved MOST of the reasons I originally set out to lose weight by reaching where I am now.  So I need to come up with new reasons.  The original reasons were:

Original Reason #1 — I will be healthier. I am dramatically healthier now.  I am no longer actively diabetic, my CPAP is down to on average 4 cm H20 per night rather than 14.  My knees feel better.

Original Reason #2 — I will be more confident.  I already feel this.  I definitely have more swagger and know that I no longer stick out in the crowd.  That is a great feeling!

Original Reason #3 — I can buy cuter clothes.  I love this!  I can now buy clothes in the “regular” sizes and have soooo many more options. Its rather unreal.  The only store of interest beyond my reach at this point in Victoria’s Secret.

Original Reason #4 — I will have more energy.  Jury still a bit out on this one. Because I traded the lack of energy of extreme overweight for the lack of energy from low iron and low calorie intake, I haven’t really seen much boost on this one yet. 

Original Reason #5 — I will be a better role model for my kids.  Oooh, this one is one I can still retain as a goal.  I was definitely being a better role model when the hershey’s bliss were out of the house and I was exercising more. 

Original Reason #6 — Travel will be easier/more comfortable. I am definitely feeling the benefits of this one.  I can travel without being exhausted and sweaty, I can fit comfortably with room to spare in airplane seats without feeling like I am spilling over into someone else’s space any more than the next guy.  This is an awesome benefit.

Original Reason #7 — Diabetes might go away.  This has happened.  A1c is normal without meds.  Yay!

Original Reason #8 — Maybe I can get rid of the CPAP.  While my average pressure has gone down from 14 cm H20 to 4, I haven’t been able to ditch it yet, and doc says I may not be able to do without an operation to correct severely deviated septum.  I am close to being able to ditch it, but no cigar.

Original Reason #9 — I will be able to move easier.  This is definitely true, but I am sure there is still room for progress.  My knees feel better and I can walk or exercise for extended periods of time without feeling like I am going to die.  I still have knee instability and fear of going down stairs because of my knees though.

Original Reason #10 — I will be able to try different types of activities.  I have added some things, like Zumba, to the bag of tricks.  I still haven’t tried things like water aerobics or things outdoors that I have avoided, like hiking, skiing or snow tubing or water skiing. 

Original Reason #11 — I will feel less self conscious about my weight.  This is definitely true.  I have always constantly polled the people around me to see where I fit in weightwise, whether i stuck out as one of the fat ones. That isn’t true anymore.  There are usually plenty of larger people in a room.  This is a ridiculous one, but its just how it is.

Original Reason #12 — I will feel better about myself.  This one is still one to keep on the list.  Because I am not engaging in all the habits I know to be the right things to do, I don’t feel as good about myself as I could. 

Original Reason #13 — I will feel sexier.  I am not sure that losing all the weight in the world could fix this.  Sexy is a state of mind that is wrapped up in so many other things, not just weight. 

Original Reason #14 — I will enjoy amusement parks more.  I know this one sounds silly, but I really love amusement parks.  And it was a great loss to not feel comfortable in them.  I know that because of the airplane progress, its logical to figure I’d feel ok on rides now.  No chance to test this out until the state fair in August.

New Reason #15 — I will have a BMI in the normal range.

New Reason #16 — I will weigh less than my hubby.

New Reason #17 — I will achieve a new physical goal (need to pick something here0

What else can you think of that I should add to the list?  What did you focus on to get yourself to go the final distance that I should consider for myself?

An open letter to Judith Beck :( #wls #CBT @beckdietsolution

16 Apr

Some of you may have seen this Huffington blog post from Judith Beck to Carnie Wilson about her repeat gastric band surgery.

I am really bummed out by this, as I have been a huge huge supporter of Beck Diet Solution and my copy of  the book is always close by and very dogeared. I have even paid for a coaching session with beck institute, and seen great value.

But, this open letter is  just….wow.

In the theory of CBT, how would you have Carnie reframe her reaction to this column?  Ouch. This would be enough to make me pissed off, defiant and trigger all my bad habits.  I don’t get the logic about this at all, unless it was just to sell books, in which case, not only am I disappointed, I think that it probably backfired.  The response by the weight loss surgery community has been swift.  The problem is, Dr. Beck, your work IS the foundation of what we all need to do to change the mental part of our struggle with food.  Your work is so good, and now this post totally drags you down and will make people question your credibility.

I’m not saying that most of your points aren’t correct–of course they are.  I think a large majority of people who have WLS have food issues; I certainly do.  And our surgeons encourage us to work the psychological part of this program — its a requirement to even get the surgery.  Its how, ultimately, I found your book, upon recommendation.

What I am now left feeling like, is that the person who’s work has inspired me the most, may think that those of us who have weight loss surgery are copping out.  Maybe its only those of us who have had it twice? But now I would have to suspect that any WLS is seen as a copout.  Its just not true — the medical statistics speak to the fact that the likelihood of morbidly obese people being able to lose the weight and keep it off is less than 5%–and its not just the mental aspect.  There are mechanisms in our bodies that are simply “broke” when we are that overweight.  Our bodies physically and mentally fight against us to lose weight the “right” way.

I am not saying that I don’t question Carnie’s choices too….but the reality is, I get it.  I get her, I get the struggle.  I don’t like her trying to use it to make a career comeback.  I do think it takes a lot of courage to admit you’ve failed and have to try again.  I don’t understand how any doctor could suggest that getting a lap band again would be a good choice for her.  It didn’t work the first time, and definitely is not the surgery with the best track record out of the 4 primary WLS types.  But I do think a revision is appropriate, just not to repeat the band.  So why choose it again?  Why not pick a more permanent WLS?  Why take the way that didn’t work last time?  I don’t get that.  I’m not trying to dis the band, but the statistics seem to support a lower level of success with band than other procedures.

Anyway, so Dr. Beck, while I guess, as Carnie is a public figure and has made her weight loss issues public, its fair to talk about it, but wouldn’t a call or direct private reach out with an offer to share your considerable knowledge and approach have been more humane?  Imagine the long term payoff if your method could have been the reason carnie really kept it off this time? Now THAT would sell books.

Because I already know that the approach is best, I won’t be abandoning the principles of CBT for sustained weight loss but I am sad that this appears to be a judgement against weight loss surgery and I am sad that the WLS community will probably not dive into this important book because of this issue.

In one of the primary aspects of the beck diet solution, you’re supposed to give yourself credit for the good choices. Let’s find something to give Carnie Wilson credit for….

A bad day, low iron and identifying triggers

21 Mar

So this is all feeling rather like a big pile of spaghetti noodles to sort out.  Today was a really strange day.  It is the first day that I would say I willfully broke most of my eating guidelines and just kept going.  I also didn’t exercise.  I am trying to figure out why.  Possible reasons:

  • WLS Honeymoon is over?
  • Hubby was home and I just wanted to be like old days in having fun with him
  • Onederland is close and some part of me is not ready?
  • TOM?
  • Stress from some source I can’t really identify as a trigger?

What I can say is good about it is, despite how crap my eating was, I still logged it.  The temptation to just “skip” logging the bad stuff I ate and say I’ll start over tomorrow was very strong.  But I didn’t.  Its out there in all its shameful glory.

I know I recognize this sort of feeling.  I felt disconnected today, not with it.  I felt like I was somehow not a WLS post op.  I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, eat what i wanted to eat, and pretend like life was like it used to be.

So I can see I did this, but I can’t really FEEL that any of the reasons above is a legitimate “oh yes, that’s absolutely it” source for why I did what I did.

So I guess, more musing is required to see if I am ever able to overcome my “trigger blindness” that I seem to have.

I also got a call from the doc and learned that my iron level in my 3 month post op blood work was low, it was 24 and should have been in the range of 50-150.  So I had to go out tonight and get an iron supplement. I am not sure how soon it will help.

Well, I won’t say “back to it tomorrow” because really, its back to today.  In the next minute, i can choose to make better choices than I made in the last minute.

miles, mood and multivitamins

12 Mar

Well, this past week I hit a lot of new milestones physically. I use a fitbit, and reached my “500 mile” status, and I also yesterday had a long day of walking that for the most part was fun until we reached an area of our walk that was under construction which resulted in a long walk around and not so ideal walking conditions. But the whole walk yesterday was 8.25 miles. Amazing, and I don’t feel bad today, still managed to take another decent walk today. Yesterday was something like 23,000 steps. (also got my fitbit badges for 15k and 20k steps in a single day.) I would have never been able to do that even six months ago, and if I had walked that much (which I may have done at disneyworld or the like in the past) I would have been sore and miserable. I was fine today and we walked again today!

Yesterday we did a circuit to walk to breakfast then we walked to a craft store, then we walked up through neighborhoods to a grocery store for a bathroom stop and to buy some water, then we took off up further, visited a park where the kids played, and then up to lunch and to Target and back home again. Home again got a little overwhelming for the kids — particular my 11 year old daughter. She was whining the whole way so that made the walk home not so fun.

The scale isn’t moving though, which is just insane to me. Granted I am eating more calories than I was, but on an average day, my net calories are still around 800.. 1000-1200 consumed, and 200-400 expended in exercise on average. So wtf? Its been about a two week stall again at this point. I have to just figure that at some point the scale has to move again, doesn’t it?

This week was a really hard week, emotionally, and I had a visit to my regular doc to talk about medication adjustments. I’ve been noticing post-op that mid cycle and PMS time have gotten worse emotionally. This past week was really bad, it was all I could do to get out of bed, and get myself to do the things I need to do every week. The first day of the week was ok, fine and productive, and then I just got slammed on Tuesday with overwhelming tiredness and moodiness, didn’t want to do anything. Very hard. The doc said adjusting mood meds is more of an art than a science, so he upped the wellbutrin to 300 mg a day, thought that one would be a better one to try first because it also has an appetite suppressant effect and manages my ADHD, where as my other one tends to increase appetite at higher levels. overall though he was quite happy with my weight loss. He has no need to start me on diabetes meds again at this point, which is cool. I hope the increased meds helps.

I am having problems getting my multivitamin in FOUR times a day. Do other sleevers have to take a multi 4x a day? My nut is so emphatic about only two good options for bariatric multivitamins out there that I am scared to switch. I will say when I travel, I use opurity once a day vitamins, which taste like crap but at least I only have to take one a day. Normally I am supposed to take optisource vitamins, which are fine, but I almost always miss one dose a day. So I wish I could find an equivalent formulation to optisource that could be taken 2-3x a day.

tomorrow starts the next Mytinytank six week accountability group. I really enjoyed the first round. Tracy is an incredibly smart and nice person and is so far ahead of me down the road, a wise mentor. I really appreciate what she does for the WLS community. I have to decide today on my next six week goal and I am having trouble settling on one, whether I should continue with an exercise consistency goal, or whether I should switch it something around eating behaviors, as I am seeing more desire to eat bad foods. I am still getting my required protein in, and a reasonable number of calories (I think..is 1000-1200 ok? it seems a lot larger than what some eat, so maybe not)

I had a good appt with my therapist this week, I guess I’ve settled that its just nice to have someone who gets it to talk to. She is very down to earth and kind. I have another issue that is much more tender/emotion ridden for me and we talked about that as well as eating issues. I have a different issue that again is a “socially acceptable” sort of addiction, and I am trying very hard not to let that issue pop up and become an outlet. I swear, its like a game of whack a mole. All I can do is keep going one day at a time. A worn out expression but very true.

6 week post op, Groundhog day, awash in behavior change options

2 Feb

Well, yesterday I was officially six weeks post-op. I am really surprised how fast the time went. The time sure CRAWLED to get to the surgery date and through the liquids phases of the post-op diet. At this point, I basically feel like me again. I don’t have any tenderness in my tummy, my energy level is pretty much back to normal, and I am allowed to have a full range of diet options. What does all that mean? It means I feel like I am teetering on the edge of my own personal possibility of groundhog day, of either spring coming early, or an interminable stretch of time ahead of me where I continue to battle darkness, personal choices and challenges. I want spring to come early for myself, and with it the possibility of change, new behaviors and new hope. I want spring to come and bring me new confidence, increased self-esteem and higher belief in myself that I can change my behaviors, tiny steps at at time, to develop a new normal.

This surgery is sooo not about the physical and mechanical aspects of all of this. I keep thinking of other analogies in life and none of them quite work but have parts that resonate. At first I thought, its like declaring bankruptcy. But that is long before I realized the truth of the matter about weight loss surgery, about how the day of surgery is really just the beginning of hard work. Up until the last while, I realized that even a part of me felt I was taking “the easy way” out. But this is not the easy way out. Just because my stomach is smaller doesn’t change my personality, my habits, my behaviors. It is easier to stick to the post-op diet in the early phases, ironically. Honest to god, I do think its like the “rehab” equivalent for a drug or alcohol addict. The radical change in behavior, supervised medically, to ensure you don’t hurt yourself and have a chance at a do over. You don’t feel like yourself, you feel very “medical”, you fear complications if you choose the wrong behavior. But I can see that as the medicalness fades, and the risk of complications decreases over time, its just me out there. Me and the things I choose to do next to make my life different than it was before.

I started with a therapist locally last week, and I was given two homework assignments. “Stay in Today” and think about what triggers me to eat. The first assignment is better for me right now, because I can do that. I know that I have the tendency to spend my life thinking about everything but the day in front of me, and making today the best day I can make it. Imagine what the world would be like if you lived each day just focused on today? Trying to do what I can, just in the day, to make it good. After many of those days, the past starts to become easier to look back on, and the future starts to potentially become something less to worry about, if you’re taking care of each day, one at a time. I know this cognitively, but it is hard to change the behavior of daydreaming about tomorrow, in particular. When I pay off this bill I can….when I get my tax refund I can….when I weigh 199 I will….when I am a size 14 I will….What a shame that I have been living my life in suspended animation, always holding off the good stuff for later. What is going to be good about today? What is going to be good about today for you? Think about that. Because that is at the core of this thing, I think.

The thinking about what triggers me to eat is much harder, particularly because I’m post-op and everything just feels kind of different right now, if that makes any sense. I think because i have gone through my six week rehab, whatever triggers there are aren’t working the same way on me, so its hard to pinpoint what they are. I did identify the ones about travel back in October or whenever that was, for sure. So that was good, but in day to day life, I’m not necessarily seeing it. I know that at the end of a work day, I can feel pretty mentally wiped out and lazy, and that its easy just to succumb to going out. That is still true, and we eat out a lot, even now, post-op, but I am able to make good choices still when I am out. It is easier now that I have a wider choice on the menu. When i was in liquids or softs, I felt pretty pissy about eating only what I could eat. Now I feel pretty happy that I can eat a good portion of protein and try some tastes of other things. My worry is, its a slippery slope? Do I valiantly NOT have any tastes of other things, to avoid sliding down the slope, or is it better to have the tastes and get some joy out of it, so that I don’t take a nosedive off the top of the slope at some point? My guess is, that answer is different for everyone, and we have to find that truth within ourselves. Shit, I hate that answer. 🙂

Another thing we talked about was fear being at the base of a lot of behaviors like addictions (and i consider that I have a food addiction) And she mentioned that for a lot of people with issues with food and money, that fear of lack is at the core of it. I haven’t been magically been able to put my finger on the reasons I am the way I am. Its like an elephant in the room that I truly can’t see. I know certain truths about my past that I can logically see have probably influenced my life, but I haven’t had that big “a-ha” moment that I feel like I should have.

I am working so hard right now on amassing my knowledge around behavior change. I am a researcher my nature, I love to know about stuff, and why it works. So that is pretty time consuming. I can’t blindly follow one methodology either, so I am in the midst of learning about several, including The Beck Diet Solution, Change Anything, and Tiny Habits. Honestly they all support each other, and have different steps to approaching the same thing, which is behavior change. I like comparing them and taking different ideas from them, but at the moment I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I wish God would just knock on my head and say, “here, this is the way, you’re making this way too complicated.” But honestly, I feel that I have to practice some critical new skills that come out of these methods to get to the other side and see it get easier. One of the things I liked hearing about in Change Anything is this idea of “being a scientist” — to try different approaches and after you try them, look at them to see why they worked or did not work. This is something that honestly happens in my work life all the time, so why this should be so novel to me in my personal life is kind of ridiculous, but I like the idea of framing that way. Because again, it takes out the “that was a failure, therefore, I am a failure.” thought process. It makes all of this an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, and then a matter of assembling those things that work and figuring out how to hang them together to make a total program of change.

I have joined an accountability group for six weeks with Tracy from mytinytank.net and some other lovely ladies that hopefully will join us as we go along. The idea is to commit to a single thing we want to make a change around and be accountable to each other to report our progress, our successes and our challenges. We have a once a week brief call to report on this, and are free to reach out to the other members durign the week to ask for support at crucial moments or victories. I like this! I think two elements I’ve avoided in past attempts to change behavior is social support and exercise. So therefore, these are two areas I am focusing on the most right now to help with setting in new habits.

Phew. That was soapboxy. Thanks for reading.

Post Op Day 3

24 Dec

 I really have had a pretty good first few days, relatively speaking. 

I had a NICE full night of sleep last night, waking up only to take my pain meds to keep ahead of the pain, and that was FABULOUS. I woke up feeling tons better. I know by night time I will not be feeling so great if my past experience with c-sections holds true, but I’ll take how i feel right now. This is great. In general, I have tolerated liquids great, not had any nausea, had lots of bloating and gas pain and referred pain through yesterday from the CO2, but all in all doable.

I walked 6200 steps yesterday with my small walks around the block with hubby or son. Which, ironically is more steps than I was getting in on average pre-op. LOL. Small walks add up if you do them regularly (lightbulb moment, duh)

I really don’t WANT anything to eat. but it is hard to see the commercials on TV for yummy things and to smell the foods other people are eating in the house. Hubby has felt bad and I told him, he needs to eat and he shouldn’t feel guilty about that!

My hubby has been GREAT. He always is. So helpful and uncomplaining, he is the best. He’s very supportive. He has a difficult time sleeping when I am not there, so although I would have preferred sleeping in the recliner, I slept in our bed so that he could get some good sleep. with the incline in my bed because of pre-op reflux and a stack of pillows, it worked out quite well. I slept great.

The only really bad thing that has happened was that my two year old was sitting on the lower part of the recliner I was sitting on last night, and although I had a pillow protecting my tummy, at one point he suddenly turned and wanted to lift himself up and of course somehow shoved his little hand UNDER the pillow, and shoved all his weight right on the most tender site to hoist himself….OMG. I cried. I couldn’t help it. That hurt.

One thing, I don’t know if its the meds, the wear off of anesthesia or what, but my sleep is heavy and my dreams are vivid and crazy. the last dream of the night I dreamed that I “accidentally” ate beef stroganoff and noodles during the post op clear liquid stage and was sitting there horrified wondering what was going to happen to me. It seemed SOOOO real, I woke up sure I had accidentally done that.

Also, although i was pumped full of liquids, I’ve been able to clear them adequately and I’m not really water bloated, and I would say that is confirmed by the fact that I’ve lost a few pounds since surgery when I weighed myself this AM. I was expecting to have gained some water weight.

%d bloggers like this: