Category Archives: weight loss

The Scale Says What?!?!…Two Years and Counting

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A journey of many miles starts with the first step.  What a journey it has been the past 18 months.  From the informational meeting with Blue Point Medical Group, to my first visit with Dr. Amir Mozzaez, surgery, recovery, hair loss, dropping 14 sizes and many inches. I have experienced anxiety, excitement and growth plus many other emotions that are related to such a journey.

As I look back while moving forward, I think about the process to get to the point of surgery. Here are some questions that I have answered for myself and am asked by people inquiring about my process and progress.

Why did it take so long for me (you) to decide?  In short, I wasn’t ready.  I kept thinking that I could lose weight with another fad diet, more exercise or not eating as much.  Prior to making the choice to go this route (and yes, it was a choice), I spent hundreds of dollars on weight loss programs, personal trainers, bigger clothes and diet food (and pills).   Choosing to have 85% of your stomach removed (reminder: I had the sleeve form of surgery done) is not a quick overnight process.  I had to wrap my head around the fact that I would only be able to eat about a cup of food a day for the rest of my life in order to be successful.  I had to grasp the fact that I wouldn’t be able to “grab and go” when on site producing a conference.  I had to make sure that I was 110% committed to a new lifestyle of taking vitamins, making sure that I got in 80 grams of protein daily and was willing to give up sweets and other junk food that I liked to “treat” myself to from time to time.  I wanted to make sure that I was willing to do this and more…exercise regularly, eat on a regular schedule, drink 64 ounces of water or non-carbonated beverages daily, be committed to working on the things that triggered me eat comfort foods, be willing to do the work….and yes, it is work.  I had to accept that my obesity was much like any other disease and that I needed to treat more than just the symptoms – I needed to treat the root causes!

How do you survive?  This one is a bit easier to answer – like anyone else – with smaller amounts of everything that I consume – less food, less drink.  As the doctors and dieticians told us in prepping us for this journey “you will become a cheap date”.  Those words ring true just about every time I go out.  A regular entree purchased out can be up to three meals for me.  And alcohol – well, that is where I really save money – usually one drink will do it.  I didn’t think I would survive without drinking (after all I am in a profession where entertainment is a central part of what I do) – but I can nurse a glass of wine for about two hours now!  Back to the question…there are days when I look at foods that I used to eat and want them.  And sometimes, I try to eat it.  However, I am founding (still) that my taste buds have changed drastically.  Those french fries just don’t have the same taste as they did before and they upset my stomach too much to indulge.  Just like any addict, I take it one day at a time.  Fortunately, I find that I am winning this time.

What is the biggest change? My Quality of Life!  I am more positive than ever now.  I find joy in getting up every day.  I am not tired or exhausted after a night’s sleep.  I don’t have to take five medications to cope.  I don’t need my cPAP machine to make sure that I am breathing while I sleep.  I have fun shopping (well, sort of as I have never been a big shopper) but now it is nice to run into a store and grab something off the rack and know it will fit without a struggle.  I still enjoy cooking and entertaining – just don’t eat all the food – and I still bake treats from time to time.  I am learning how to modify favorite recipes to make them more healthy.

What foods do you miss? If I were to say there is one thing I miss … it might be pasta.  I haven’t eaten pasta for close to 24 months now.  And I used to have it at least three times a week.  I always enjoyed a good plate of spaghetti with my homemade sauce – well maybe two plates or macaroni and cheese.  I don’t crave it but I do miss it.  It was an old friend that gave me comfort when I was stressed out or feeling down.

What is your biggest challenge? This question varies from day to day.  One day it could be resisting a scrumptious-looking treat in the office or at dinner.  Another time it could be not wanting to exercise.  Or having more to drink than eat which means low blood sugars and fainting.  And some days it is myself…old tapes playing in my head that I work to erase or remove regularly.  Learning to accept compliments from strangers and friends.

For those who are reading this blog and have been considering (or know someone who is) bariatric surgery of any kind my recommendation is simply this…find a surgeon that is part of a Center for Excellence practice, talk with them and jump in with both feet!  It will be work but it will be the best work you will ever do for yourself – and – most of all – the best present you will EVER give yourself.

Dream big.  Dream often. And live each day to the fullest…I do that every day now!

The Scale Says What?!?…12 Months Makes a Difference

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Where does the time go?  Didn’t realize I have been so remiss in posting updates until I started sharing my blog this weekend with a friend.

Thanksgiving 2012 has been a bit challenging for me.  It was a year ago that I shared with my family and friends that I was having my surgery.  I am back with them a year later a much healthier, happier person.  However, it was a difficult time for me.  While I have learned new habits, changed my food habits, tastes have changed – in part because of the surgery – and in part because they had to in order for me to be a success…the worlds that my family live in have not changed.  So I worked with what I had…added what I could…and made the best of it.

What challenges could there be?  I can hear that question loud and clear.  Carbs were the worst.  Recently I have been feeling challenged by the excess carbs that are being added to the menus in my home since my husband has retired.  And it was no different this weekend.  From freshly baked dinner rolls to more than seven pies (but I did contribute two bean pies to try to introduce a new taste to the family) … it made for difficulty in navigating the Thanksgiving buffet.  Selecting turkey over the ham loaf wasn’t hard but walking past the dinner rolls was like slicing my wrists.  I was dying to dive in and never look back.  But I didn’t.

I stood for myself and asked to have unsweetened tea made.  I did enjoy asparagus wrapped with bacon and baked.  My brother-in-law didn’t realize that he was helping me have a bit of enjoyment with his addition to the menu. Thank you Dan!  And my sister, Janell, added fresh broccoli to the menu.

Okay, enough whining.  I am keeping my eye on the prize of being healthy and it is one day (well in this case,  a weekend) out of the big picture.  When I look at pictures from last year compared to this year – I have made great strides.  Over 110# gone forever.  I am drinking my Body by Vi shakes while I am traveling to help keep me on track.  It has made a difference between caving in totally or not.

During my trip back to Ohio, I was able to catch up with some friends.  To remind myself how far I have come, I stopped in to see Lee Kelly and take a picture in the same spot where we took one last year.  This my friends, is my measure of success….

I am thankful for the success that I have had the past 11 months.  I am pleased to see that the closet is starting to fill with smaller clothes and that the fat clothes are gone.  I am having fun finding new clothes and new looks.  It is an amazing feeling to walk into a store and buy “pretty” clothes that make me feel pretty.

So for the quick comparison – I re-created a photo with my dear friend and wonderful supporter, Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving Day this year.

With Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving 2012

With Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving 2011

With Lee on Thanksgiving November 2012

With Lee on Thanksgiving November 2012

So my friends…as I approach my year anniversary of the surgery that has changed my life, I leave you with this thought.  When you want something bad enough, you can have it – simply put it out to the universe and begin living as if it is so – and it will come to pass.

If you are reading this blog and are considering one of the bariatric surgeries, I am very open to listening to your concerns as well as sharing my insights to help you make a decision that is best for you.

Watch for the annual update blog!

The Scale Says What?!…7 months and counting!

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One thing I enjoy each month is celebrating another anniversary of becoming a healthy individual.  Friday, July 13 was seven months since surgery.  I have never felt better in my life.  I am becoming more confident with every day and matching what I am seeing in the mirror with the photographs in my mind.

When I stepped on the scale today, I have officially lost 90 pounds from when I first met with Dr. Moazzez at Bluepoint Surgical.  I am down 10 dress sizes (oh and I am wearing dresses!).   I do need to get some photos taken this week to post as an update but I promise you that it will be worth the wait!

I still struggle to find the perfect exercise pattern.  Thank goodness for Bentley, my chocolate lab, he is my walking buddy.  I love taking him out and about with me.  He keeps me honest!  The yoga class I was taking ended and they didn’t renew the session for lack of interest.  I am now in search of a new yoga class that I can go to during the week at work.

I am watching Extreme Makeover tonight and am hearing so many of the words that I have said about myself from Nyla who is on the show tonight.  What people saw on my exterior – my confidence, my humor, my laugh – was not at what was going on in my inside.  I was a scared individual who didn’t believe that I deserved to be happy all the way through.  I can identify with the struggles that she is sharing on national TV.  Many have said that they can’t imagine that is how I felt – that is the whole point – I didn’t want anyone to know that is how I felt.  So I hid behind my weight and in the comfort of the food that took away the pain, I buried myself in my career as the ‘fat girl’ had to try harder to prove herself.  As I shed those beliefs and attitudes, I am becoming a stronger person whose exterior confidence matches the inside!

So to answer a question that Bryan Dodge asked me a few months ago…Where do I see myself in two years?  What am I seeing? – Bryan: this is for you – I see a fun loving, confident self who knows that she is a pretty and beautiful as the mirror tells her everyday!  My smile that I am famous for – matches the person inside! And I am loving that person fully every day.  I am blessed to have had this opportunity and do not take for granted one day.  I am shedding more than weight I am shedding bad habits – I am decluttering my life with Kathleen Ronald’s DeClutter U Program – from beliefs to stuff to relationships. I am learning to be kind to myself.  I am learning to give myself credit for my accomplishments and acknowledge my weaknesses.  I am facing issues head on and standing for myself.  I am appreciating where I am in life more than ever before.

So as you read this post and are thinking about having surgery to help you lose weight…that is just part of the process – the real work happens long after you leave the surgery table.  It is understanding that you will need to think about what you eat at every meal (yes, that is right no more McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardees, etc.), you will face ups and downs, you will deal with emotions and feelings that you have either buried or never dealt with before – you are worth it!

I know I am!

Until next month…enjoy a peaceful July!

The Scale Says What?!!!…The Journey Continues!

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It has been a while since I wrote an update on my journey to better health.  I’ll start with the great news…I had my six month check up and Tiffany, the PA, at Blue Point said words that I didn’t expect to hear…You are no longer considered obese!  My BMI is below 30 and that makes me normal in the medical world.  Holy cow!  Did I hear her correctly? So I asked her to repeat it.  And she said it again.

The other news she gave me was that all of my other numbers – cholesterol both the good and the bad, Vitamin D, B, and all the other things they check are all GREAT!  Blood pressure is so low that I don’t recognize it.

And it didn’t stop there…I have lost 72% of my pre-surgery weight.  They consider a patient successful with 60 – 65% weight loss. And I am not done.  I am excited to continue the journey to better health.

As I go through this journey, I am being challenged to “rewire” my brain to think more positively, to be kind to myself (yes, Tiffany, I am practicing your instructions), and to make me a priority.  From accepting compliments from well wishers and friends to loving the look I see in the mirror now, I am learning how to embrace the newness of this in my life.  This is a challenge that many have when it comes to weight loss – whether it is through the process of surgery or other methods – and it is one of the reasons that people can fail.

So how do I deal with this new phenomenon? Learning to simply say “thanks” and not to undermine a compliment – not as easy as it sounds – but I am practicing every day.  I have begun beginning my day with a positive affirmations such as “have joy today in all that you do” or “today is the best day in the world” or “hello beautiful” – just a few things that you would hear if you were able to listen in on my morning ritual.

Another new thing that I am doing is a “time in” where I spend 10 minutes a day simply being quiet.  Now for those that know me – you will find that fascinating – but it is giving me time to reflect, put things in order and understand where I need to head on this journey.  I have to give the credit for this concept to Tim Durkin who was the facilitator at the IAEE Krakoff Leadership Institute this past May.  It is very challenging to be quiet for 10 minutes a day but I am finding it to helpful to keep me focused.  Thanks Tim for sharing this with us.

I am thankful for all the goodness that has come my way as I go through this journey.  My willingness to talk about having this surgery has given me the opportunity to share with people on a level that otherwise would not be.

What are you thankful for that has come your way as a result of making a major change?

P.S.  As I close, I realized that I haven’t told you the best news…I have lost 85# and am in a size 14!

 

 

The Scale Says What…More Musings, Insights and a photo update

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Wow! where does the time go?  I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted in a while and a LOT has happened since my last post.  So where do I start…accountability? new look (you are dying to see the pictures – don’t peek)? insights? new discoveries?

Recently, at the Journey’s Support Group, the surgeons came to our session – amazing how caring these guys are – and the time they put into helping us be successful.  They reminded us of how we have to do the work – they simply operated on our body  –  the work is ours to do to create real success.

Let’s start with accountability (that is the most painful sometimes in this journey)…I strive to keep exercise at the forefront of my schedule…and it is difficult when it was never a priority before.  However, I see the results when I do make it so it is becoming more and more important.  So I am not making it to Zumba every week like I want to.  But I have recently tried a yoga class and signed up for six weeks.  I am convinced more and more that exercising must be, like many things in our lives, convenient and easily accessible.  So I found a yoga class that is 5 minutes from my office, is designed for baby boomers and beyond, the instructor works with bariatric patients regularly and I can do it over lunch!

As I approach my six month anniversary (13 June), I look back with amazement with some of the “walls” that I have climbed over, through or walked around.  I was having issues keeping solid food down and I constantly felt as though my system was irritated.  The doctors suggested and did an endoscopy to check for scar tissue from the surgery (this is commonplace) and no scar tissue.  They discovered a slight irritation that was caused, most likely, when I transitioned from mushy foods to solid foods.  This caused some acid reflux – they put me on Nexium and the symptoms have been erased and I am able to keep solid foods down.  This was probably a wall that I broke through once  the issue was resolved – it was aggravating not being able to eat solid foods.

Guess what happens when you lose a lot of weight?  Your shoes get too big – can you believe?  Now what shoe size do I wear?  Not sure but I know it is a pain in the tush (oh yeah that gets smaller also LOL)!  Recently, I wore a blister on my heel as a result of my shoes rubbing from walking.  Dressy Birkenstocks out there anyone?

So the update is 80#…and counting.  Wearing dresses (yep!  dresses!) and looking at clothes in the regular sections of the store.  Daunting for sure.  I’m not used to looking at the clothes of “normal” people (whatever normal is) – other people wear those clothes.  I know you are dying to see it — my new photo!

2012 May photo

I’m still amazed when I look at this photo!

In my recent discussion with my wellness coach, the subject of fear arose.  I was describing how I am having a difficult time letting go of my plus-size clothes.  They are my friends. They are comfortable. I know them.  They are gone on many trips with me.  I know it sounds crazy.  So there are several questions that I ask – does letting go mean letting go of a part of me?  What if I need them sometime down the road?  Is my holding on to them setting myself up for failure?  I have so many clothes and they are beginning to pile up and bug me – part of my vision for 2012 and beyond is less and less clutter (more on that later).  So my coach and I agreed to a goal of me removing three piles of clothes and donating them over Memorial Day weekend.  Wish me luck and help hold me accountable!

I am participating in Kathleen Ronald’s deClutter U for the next 12 months.  In addition to decluttering my weight, I am learning that clutter can be in any part of our lives…it is not all about piles of papers, collections and stuff – it is also people, environment, schedules, experiences, etc.  As part of this bootcamp, I am discovering the “stuff” that is cluttering my mind, my vision and ultimately blocking my dreams.  If you haven’t thought about clutter in this way, I encourage you to do so.  It is very enlightening!

I could spend the next few hours rambling on about all the new-found energy I am discovering or the way I am able to focus a better but I must also sleep.  So I close with this thought – borrowed from my Mary Kay Director, Kellie Hammett – “I did the thing I feared the most, excuse me while I cheer! Now here I stand a braver soul and all I lost was fear” (EENSD Arlene Lenarz) … so the next time I post, I will have lost some fear (and clutter) plus a few more #!

What is it that you fear the most?

Until next time – stay healthy, believe in you and above all remember…it is a journey!

Happy Memorial Day and blessings to all our men and women who have given and are giving their lives for us to live in America!

The Scale Says What! March Musings

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Surprises can be nice…and fun…recently I went back to Columbus to see friends, many of whom, were not aware that I had began this journey to have a healthier lifestyle…at Gregg Dodd’s Ugly Sweater Party.  I had purposely not posted pictures of the “new” me on Facebook so there would be the element of surprise.  Or was it that I wanted to hear them praise and congratulate me?  Probably a bit of both.

When I started this journey, I thought I would not enjoy friends commenting, congratulating, asking questions or even acknowledging the physical changes that they could see.  However, 2+ months post surgery and I am finding that this is one area that I can be encouraged.  While still not great at accepting compliments, I do have a sense of “wow, I am doing this journey successfully” when people acknowledge the work I am doing for myself.  I do have to be careful not to get on a soapbox about nutrition and labels when people ask questions about surgery or the how much I am eating – it is exciting for a couple of minutes but not 30 minutes.

I am of the opinion that humans crave (and I am sure there is science out there to back up my humble opinion), consciously or unconsciously, praise and acknowledgement.  I think back to my childhood and when I wanted attention – I acted out by being a brat, doing something I knew I wasn’t supposed to do, etc. – that resulted mostly in negative attention but nonetheless it was attention.  As adults, we still want attention, approval and acknowledgement.  And when we don’t get it we find other ways to get/give ourselves attention

Let me give you an example from my own life…I have found through this process that outwardly I displayed a lot of confidence.  However, inwardly, I was not as confident as I acted.  Results:  I second guessed myself, I made snap decisions, I “took control” and “fixed” things [whether they needed to be fixed or not – I “always” knew a better way].  Consequences:  I got attention – most times not positive attention, I have been passed over for promotions, I haven’t advanced as far in my career as I would like, I had to buy bigger clothes to cover up the weight, health issues developed, I was exhausted all the time – this created other results:  This negative attention “confirmed” my fears and thoughts – I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or pretty enough to succeed…that then created a different set of consequences – I ate in an unhealthy manner, probably (well matter of fact) drank too much at certain times and basically didn’t care.  As you can see, it is a very vicious circle! On December 13, I broke my circle!

So, today, I acknowledge that I haven’t been so good to myself for several years.  I am proud that I am taking control of my life and going on a journey that will forever change my emotional, physical and spiritual mindset.  I care about me.

As I was sharing with a friend recently about some of my struggles to ‘get it right’ [my schedule, eating, etc].  He gave me an excellent (a big “A Ha” moment for me) suggestion…think of this as an event and create a daily ‘run of show’ for myself. How brilliant!  Thank you MA!  You are the best!

See it is about having a supportive circle of friends and family that will get you through…so if you are reading this and thinking about changing your destiny by having bariatric surgery or changing your lifestyle to be more healthy…go for it!  Surround yourself with supportive people – chose your support group carefully and engage them in your journey.  By the way, your support group does not have to include your blood relatives – it is nice if they are on board – but do this for yourself and you alone! 

Here is the new look of one proud girl…

Me, Lori, Megan, Gregg and Diana - we all ditched our ugly sweaters...thank goodness mine didn't come home with me - donated for a good cause.

The Scale Says What?!?…2 Month Anniversary!

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Healing is a journey.  Learning is a journey. Creating a new lifestyle is a journey. All of these journeys take time and do not happen overnight.  I am beginning to understand that more each day.

As I learn and create this new lifestyle that involves caring about myself, I find that I am healing so many other issues in my life.  Friends who read this blog will find some of what they read as surprising.

Fear of success has been an enemy of mine for a long time.  I would back down when it appeared that I was losing the discussion so as not to cause a confrontation. I would set aside my wants and needs to ensure that the needs of others were taken care of.  I hid behind my weight and allowed it to be my mask.  I made sure that I was always kind, caring and generous to a fault…why is the next logical question you are asking – I didn’t want the ‘fat’ girl to feel any more pain than she was already covering up.

Over the past six months, (remember my journey started in September with Dr. Moazzez), my journey has been about learning and healing.  The first big “A Ha” I had was that I have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Yes, I know the intellectual side of this but I am learning the emotional side for the first time.  It is okay to feel pretty, laugh and have fun without being judged. To care for others while caring for myself, to be kind to others while being kind to myself and to be generous while being generous to myself.  It is okay to be the center of attention when necessary while letting others be on center stage when appropriate. For my career, that means, I am learning to lead by letting others lead.  For my personal life, it means that I speak up and protect my “me” time.  It means that I put myself first when it comes to taking care of my health, well-being and energy.

For the past two months, I have learned that eating does not mean that I am hungry – it means that I need certain amounts of good nutrients to sustain my energy and muscles.  Making sure that I get 50 grams of protein and 64 ounces of water are my two main priorities every day.  I never thought I would see myself sitting at a meeting with Isopure instead of coffee and cookies. Or going to dinner and eating eight (8) tiny bites of meat over 20 minutes and thinking – wow! that was really good.  Then taking the rest home with me for two or three more meals.  (It sure helps with the grocery bill!) But most importantly, it is part of the journey that is giving me improved health, increased energy and a new attitude!

I celebrate the close this post with a total of 55 pounds and 27.5  inches gone and celebrating my success 2 months post surgery! And in clothes that do not have a W after the size!

Until next time…