Pre-Op Nutrition Class: Done!

Today I had my final class before surgery with the nutritionist at the Dr’s office! We are officially a “Go” for surgery!

As you may recall, I actually had a Lap-Band in like 2012, and removed in 2014. I also had the revisional surgery to convert to a sleeve approved last year (but never went through with it). So, I’m not exactly a total newbs when it comes to the whole weight loss surgery thing.

However, today’s class was pretty informative and I think very well done. There was ample time for questions, and we truly covered every detail from the pre-op diet, to the recovery diet the first month, to proceeding to our lasting bariatric diet, which is how we will live for the rest of our lives. We also went over exactly what will happen on surgery day, during the surgery, all potential (including very remote) complications, etc.

I feel very comfortable getting ready to go into this surgery. I feel as prepared as I can be, and that I really understand all facets of life with the sleeve, what to expect, etc. Now it’s just on me to do my part and use this amazing tool and finally get the weight off.

I thought I would have to wait until a month or so post-surgery before I could start exercising again, but in reality I can get on that treadmill as early as 2 weeks post-op. They say that your body will never lose weight as quickly or easily as it does that first year after surgery, so you really want to make the most of it. That means following the diet 110%, exercising, getting in your required protein every 3 hours, getting in your water every day, taking the bariatric vitamins, etc.

My original goal was to lose 50 lbs by the wedding. That is a very realistic goal, and I would feel so much better. I’d be down around 260. Potentially– I know it isn’t the norm— but, potentially, I could lose more than 50 lbs. The nutritionist lost like 70-75 lbs in her first 6 months after her sleeve gastrectomy. So… being such an “all or nothing” type girl, guess what my goal is? Yup… 100 lbs. Now- is that really feasible and realistic to expect? Nope, probably not.

But, if the first year is the easiest time in my whole life to ever get this weight off, and your body starts to reset itself to a new weight after the first year, you can bet I’m going to try like hell to lose as absolutely much weight as my body will possibly let me in the first year as possible. My “realistic” goal is to lose 100 lbs the first year. But, you can lose a tremendous amount of weight in the first 6 months… So, I’m going to try my hardest and see what happens.

I’m going to join a gym in March, and plan to start back to the gym (on the treadmill only) 2-3 weeks post-surgery. I need to give myself a goal, so it doesn’t just drag on, and I don’t get around to it, etc. So, by the time I’m well enough to go back to work, my ass is well enough to get to the gym.

They’re opening a new gym this February right at the corner by where I live. So, no excuses. I’ll literally be passing this place on the way to work and the way home from work every.single.day. My goal starting out will be to walk 3-5 times a week, and I want to work back up to 5-7 times a week. I was committed before, working out 6-7 days/week, 1-2/day. I’ve done it before, I’ve pushed myself and seen results (10lbs down/month) and I can do it again. Now I will have this amazing tool and my body will be in overdrive. I’m never getting a chance like this again the rest of my life, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.

Now, this means I literally need to forego pretty much all carbs for at least a year. Once your weight stabilizes, you can add carbs back in, in small amounts, in moderation. But, definitely for the first 12 months, carbs are a no-go and will slow down or even stop weight loss. Like she says, you know what bread tastes like. You can have it again. It’s not a “never again” but it should be a “not now” during that first 12 months. You will never have another opportunity like this, and is cheating with bread really worth it?

It’s a huge, huge, huge lifestyle change. A forever change. This isn’t some new diet I’m trying, that I’m going to quit in a month, or two months, or three… I can never quit this. For the rest of my life, I have to focus on getting in enough protein, while only eating very small amounts of food. I’ll never be able to eat a full meal again. Food has to become less of the focus, and less important in my life.

It’s overwhelming a little to even think about.

But, this is my chance to make a brand-new me, to get down to a weight I can be happier and healthier at, and one that won’t hold me back from living and enjoying my life. I’ve got to take full advantage of this opportunity and not screw it up and screw myself over.

I’m feeling really determined right now to follow though on all the guidelines and really commit to learning to live in a brand new, healthier way. I’m going all-in!

The last supper

Who has ever been on a weight loss journey and not had their version of a “last supper”? Tonight was the fiancé’s birthday, so I took him to Ruth’s Chris. We usually have the Ruths classics, but tonight we decided to splurge. I wanted him to have whatever he wanted on the menu… And I also wanted to enjoy my last “fancy” night out– so I opted for the 11oz filet mignon. 😍

Needless to say, it was utterly delicious, right down to the vanilla bean creme brûlée (my absolute fave) for dessert! Yes– we even had dessert… This was an all-out splurge fest.

I’ll never eat a full meal there again 😔 kind of sad to think about like that. I had to cancel our valentines reservations, because I’ll be on all liquids.

We’ll still go again– our rehearsal dinner will be at Ruth’s Chris , but I’ll only be able to eat a little of the steak– probably 3oz.

I’m just a little in mourning over losing the ability to splurge if I want, you know? It’s a little sad, to be completely honest with you. Obviously I like food, I use food to celebrate when I’m happy, or comfort me when I’m sad or stressed, etc. I’m no longer going to be eating the way I’ve eaten for my whole life.

I’ll be eating a whopping 6 meals a day, which seems like tons, but I’ll be eating such teeny weeny portions. And all protein. If I liked protein that much, I wouldn’t be this fat. I like carbs. And carbs and I are basically breaking up forever.

It’s sick to say this, but it’s almost like mourning the loss of a friend. Food has always been there for me through the best and worst of times, you know?

So I’m actually getting a little depressed.

Also, maybe a little mad. Because I can’t just have a night out anymore, after this surgery. It’s not like I’ll ever not be able to eat something ever again (though that’s entirely what it feels like). But, I’ll be able to have maybe a bite, at most.

In order to stay healthy, besides taking alexia bariatric vitamins for the rest of my life, I have to eat protein, protein, protein. 1g for every 10cals. So not alleged “high-protein” fun stuff like almonds or peanut butter.

I have to stick with “real” high-protein, like lean ground beef, chicken, and some Greek yogurt. At every single meal. For the rest of my life. My pouch will be so small I can’t eat fruits and veggies, like I love.

I have to get as much “bang for my buck” so to speak, with the protein. If I eat fruit or veg, there’s less room for the protein that my body will desperately need.

So, it’s just a little depressing and I really do feel like I’m in mourning a bit. How sick is that? Clearly there’s a reason I’m over 300 lbs.

But, at least I got one last night out, at a nice restaurant, with the love of my life, and I definitely savored the deliciousness. Now, I have to let go of turning towards food, and work on new and healthy alternatives. I have a long journey ahead of me, but I intend to be strong, both physically and mentally.

Surgery approved!

After about 3 weeks of waiting, I finally got an answer today on my pre-authorization request for bariatric surgery, and the answer was YES- Surgery is approved!

So thankful this is officially happening, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. This is a HUGE lifestyle change, and comes with risks. But, everything in life is a risk-reward evaluation, and the potential rewards for proceeding with surgery (to me) outweigh the potential risks and certain side effects.

I haven’t written in awhile, so I’ll give you a bunch of updates and try to bring you up to speed. I also just updated/added “pages” on my blog, so check them out, and keep checking back for the latest pics, etc!

I don’t think I told you how my first info class went… I found out that I will definitely have hair loss with surgery. I knew it was a potential side effect, but I found out it’s happening. For sure. Virtually everyone that undergoes sleeve surgery loses hair.

That freaked me out a little. I’m a typical girl, who’s rather attached to her (beautiful, long, blonde) hair.

I’ve been working SO hard to grow my hair out for the wedding. I’ve also been killing myself to keep it blonde, which is really a lot of upkeep for a naturally dark brunette. To keep it from getting brassy, from breaking, constantly getting highlights to hide my roots, it’s really rather obnoxious. BUT, I love, love, love, being a (bottled!) blonde!

Now, I’m worried all my hard work was for naught. I’ve been resisting the urge for MONTHS now to chop off all my hair, because I know that I want beautiful, long, blonde locks for the wedding- I’ll look back at those pictures forever. And now, I will definitely lose hair? What exactly does that look like?

According to the nutritionist at my Dr’s, her hair got “quite thin” and I should expect the same. It also happens between approximately months 3-9 post-surgery: Right in the wedding window 😦 I am not a happy camper.

But I’m also not blowing this chance and not getting surgery just because I’m going to lose some hair.

I’m up to about 310-315lbs right now. I know. It’s enormous, trust me, I know, I get it.

But, those extra 10-15 lbs are seriously killing me. I FEEL it.

I feel it now when I’m trying to walk, or get comfortable to sleep, my feet and ankles have been swelling like crazy again. I feel it just sitting here, I feel FAT everywhere. Uncomfortable. Unhealthy. I get winded walking to my car now. It’s pathetic.

I hate the way I feel, not to mention the way I look. I’m just SO big again, it’s unreal.

But, I can’t get down on myself, I have to keep looking forward.

I’m having surgery to get healthy, be able to be more active, hopefully sleep better, and live longer. That’s what it all really comes down to.

So, my new goal is to lose 50lbs by the wedding, which is just under 5 months away. They told me I can expect to lose 10 lbs during my TWO WEEK liquid diet (b/c of my BMI being so high), and then that’s just 10 lbs/mo for the next 4 months.

That is totally doable, and of course I’m really hoping to lose more, but I’m trying to stick with very realistic goals.

I’ve been pinning bariatric-friendly recipes on pinterest, and I bought a George Foreman 3-in-1 grill thing, which I still have to learn how to use.

I’m committed to getting this weight off, and changing my life, and living healthier.

There’s so many things I can’t wait to experience and share with you.

This Chrismahanukkah I want to get my fiance the annual passes to Islands of Adventure that I realized I couldn’t buy this year, because I couldn’t fit in anything.

My first big concern is fitting on the airplane for our honeymoon. We’re going to Sandals in Antigua, so there’s no way around flying. I’m terrified about this. I had hoped to be down 100 lbs by my wedding, so I expected to be smaller than I will really be. Even at 50 lbs down, that’s still a whopping 260lbs that has to fit into tiny little airplane seats. My anxiety level is rising just thinking about it. I really hope it’s not horrendously embarrassing. That’s my first size-related goal.

Seeing the scale go down will be great, but I want to start noticing results. Actually, my first goal, which I should hopefully experience before the wedding, is being able to close my bra like a normal person again. This is totally TMI, I’m sure, but I want to keep this blog real. Trying to lose weight isn’t just about vanity for me. It’s about being able to do things I cannot currently. Right now, it’s so embarrassing, but I have to hook my bra and then pull it over my head like a T-Shirt, and jiggle and tug it to get semi into place. It’s uncomfortable and annoying, and did I mention embarrassing? I want to be able to put on and take off my bra like anyone else would.

I think I’ve (over) shared quite enough for one post– But, suffice to say, I’m very excited and looking forward to improving my life and the journey ahead!

Pull yourself together

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I had a rather rough day yesterday, and found the above quote. I think it fits perfectly. Life threw me a curveball, but I’m pulling it together (minus the drink… Empty cals!!!). But, in theory, I love this quote.

I was trying to redirect my emotions into productive ones. As I posted the other day, you can’t change how people treat you, but you can change how you react. Not that it’s easy, I’ll tell you that much. But, if you really focus and try, you absolutely can. Sometimes you just have to take a step back or a time out and digest things and refocus.

So that’s what I’ve been working on since yesterday. Surprisingly, I am feeling like I’m finally getting my groove back today, which is awesome! I felt a bit lost and really struggling for awhile.

Today, for lunch, I was thinking of Taco Bell, because I’m poor and only had $6 cash. But, I decided against it and chose outback. I had to pay with a credit card, which was highly annoying (I’m waiting for a replacement debit card to arrive), but, it was a better choice. Plus, instead of garlic mash I chose mixed veg and a side salad. Could have done without the side salad, but, it’s an improvement over my usual order.

I also had breakfast and my afternoon snack and actually finished both Greek yogurts today. I knew I could find flavors I actually enjoyed eating 🙂

So my protein is 34% of my daily nutrition today, which is a lot better than I had been doing. So far today I’ve had 84 g of protein, and my goal is 90/day, so I’m golden after I eat dinner and a snack. Pretty happy with myself and my progress.

I also devoted time to work on homework (MBA program starts Saturday!) and I have volunteer work to do as well, for an event next weekend. I asked the fiancé to help with dish duty and trash duty tonight, and he obliged.

I’m determined to make this all work. The surgery (praying it gets re-approved still), graduate school, volunteering, planning the wedding, all my commitments. It’s a lot, but it’ll be worth it.

Oh- I also resolved to learn how to cook today! I ordered a George Foreman 3-in-1 evolve grill. It has the regular grill, plus a baking pan and muffin pan. Which, based on protein-packed bariatric-friendly meals I’ve been pinning, muffin pans are a must!

You can make an appropriate portion, with multiple servings all at once. I’m really excited to actually try to cook some of the recipes I pinned on Pinterest!!! Who knew that would ever happen?!

But, like the nutritionist told me, if I eat what I’ve always eaten, I’ll weigh what I’ve always weighed. That has become unacceptable to me and I’m willing to put in a little extra effort to cook healthy dishes. I don’t think anything will b exceptionally hard, it will just be new for me. I’m used to throwing something in the oven or microwave and being done with it. Now I’ll be working with actual ingredients…

I’m really excited and happy with my progress today. I can tell I’m committed to making drastic changes in my life. It’s going to b hard work (all of it- not just my battle with weight), but I’m determined to see it through and be successful. If you want something badly enough, you’ll work for it and find a way to make it happen, right?

2015 update

I’m now 32 years old, and getting married in about 5.5 months (June 20, 2015).

At the end of December I went to see a bariatric surgeon about sleeve gastrectomy, after failing to lose weight and maintain the loss on my own, through diet and exercise alone.

I’m not preaching any one way as the “right” way to lose weight- it’s an individual journey that each person must decide for themselves.

But this is chronicling my journey… If all goes well, through a weight loss surgery, a wedding, and a transformation- both inside and out.

Below are my new “before” pics… Yes, I ultimately gained weight the first 6 months I was trying to lose weight on my own.

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Forming new habits

Last night I did manage to make time to run by the grocery and purchase some food, based on the guidelines.

Basically, it’s super easy to figure out if something is “ok” for me to eat. It should have 1 gram of protein for every 10 cals. Which sounded intimidating to me, but all you actually have to do is cover up the last number of calories (ex: 130 cals, you would cover up the zero and have 13 left) and that is the minimum number of grams of proteins the food should have to be something you should eat.

Anyway, I looked at every single label before I bought anything, and made sure it adhered to these guidelines. I found some cheese that was actually ok (the nurse mentioned adding cheese to my egg beaters) and I got some chicken breast, which is of course fine, and then I also got some fruit.

Post surgery I won’t really be eating fruit, but the nutritionist told me it’s not about eating “perfectly” right now, like I would after surgery, but it’s about getting into the habit of eating 6 times a day and making better choices. So, in my book, fruit is ok to have a bit right now.

I have cut out all soda, though I am going to phase out the carbonated water in the next week or two- it’s no calories, but I’ll no longer be able to drink carbonation post-surgery. I’ve also cut out all fast food.

Today I did have a fruit and cheese plate from Starbucks, along with a grande frap (better than my normal venti). That has thrown off my progress today. But, I had a gift card, and the nutritionist told me to use it and then I’ll not go back. It’s not a habit anymore that I go all the time, anyway. I just got a couple gift cards for Christmas.

So, my “calories” are well over where I would normally want to be today, and due to the Starbucks, my protein to calorie ratio is off. But, I will get 5 meals in today (meals and snacks), which is pretty good. I missed one snack somewhere, but that’s ok. All in all I did well, and I’m trying to focus on the positive and change my thought patterns as well.

I’m proud of myself for having a pretty decent first day. I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do this and see results.

This is a forever change, and I’ll never be 100% perfect, but I’m learning to accept that as being ok. But, I can stick to a healthy eating pattern, follow easy guidelines before buying or eating food, and cut out all the crap. I’m committed to doing what I have to in order to have a healthier and happier lifestyle. (Not that I am at all equating size with happiness- I’m very happy with much of where I am in life… But, not being so self conscious, or worrying if I can fit in a chair, or being able to go to concerts with my fiancé and sporting events and go on roller coasters again. All of that will just add to my contentment and happiness with my life overall.)

New Direction

According to the scale at the surgeons office, I am officially one pound over my highest weight ever. My all-time, earth-shattering, lapband-propelling, highest weight.

Today, I weighed 310 lbs. That is something I never thought would happen in the first place, and after topping out at 309 in 2012, I decided to get the lapband and started a journey.

Today, I am on a new journey. Not the end all, be all journey for everyone, but one I think is necessary for me.

This morning I had my first weight management appt, to talk about life after the sleeve. There was an insane amount of information packed in an hour or so. It’s an entirely new way of looking at food.

And, inevitably, there will be haters and naysayers. That’s something I really have to work on accepting and just getting over and letting it go. I can’t change how people treat me or what they say, all I can change is how I react, right?

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That’s going to be hard. And people don’t understand a bariatric lifestyle. It’s not eating like a normal person would eat. It’s not about getting in fruits and veg, its main focus is protein. It’s not counting calories, it’s following a protein to calorie ratio. It’s not how YOU may eat, or what may be healthy for “YOU”, but it’s what is going to work for me.

I think that’s so frustrating. Some people think they know it all and have all the answers and understand being super morbidly obese. You don’t. You don’t understand my struggle, for one, and you don’t know what the right path is for me. I wish more people would respect your journey, regardless of what you choose. You have to do what is right for you. No one else can decide that for you.

So, I’m excited about hopefully getting surgery re-approved. I went to the grocer tonight and got my new food staples. I still got some fruit, because I did really enjoy clean eating, and for now I’m focusing on getting into the habit of eating 6 times a day. Im not trying to eat as if I had surgery yet, which was huge for me. I had been trying to do super low cals and eat as if. But the nutritionist told me today that it’s not like after surgery. I still have a full stomach, and probably way too much ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”). So it’s not feasible and I shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to eat so low right now.

But what I can do is cut out all soda immediately, start following my 10-to-1 calorie to protein ratio guidelines and making the kind of choices I will make after surgery. Right now I’ll be eating more, but that’s ok. I’m starting new habits. I’m going to have to eat like clockwork the rest of my life. And take vitamins. And I can start doing all those things now.

I’ve also got to get back to walking. It’s definitely a priority. I was disappointed I didn’t make time to walk tonight, but I have no excuse not to walk tomorrow. I’ll have to start small again, and build up to it, but I need to accept that where I am now is ok, too. Everyone has to have a starting point.

I’ll be posting new pics, as I’m definitely a higher weight than I was over the summer. I’m also going to work on blogging more often, because 1) it gets things out of my head, and 2) i gain so much support from all of you who read my blog!

I’m learning to be more positive about my new journey, and I’m working on accepting where I am. I think it’s the only way I’m going to be able to get to where I want to be.

Someone recently told me I need to be as compassionate to myself as I would be to anyone else. Isn’t that the truth? There’s enough things that happen in life to beat us down. We don’t need to add to it. I know that I would never be as harsh or critical of a friend of mine as I am of myself. That has to change.

Birthday weekend

As anticipated, I am being completely awful this weekend. Chilis for dinner tonight (had to have queso one last time…) and then my mom asked us to lunch at Olive Garden tomorrow for my birthday and we are going out to dinner at red lobster with friends.

I know- lots of bad/fattening food in a short amount of time. But, starting Monday, I am back to being hardcore.

I’m not sure exactly how I’ll be eating yet. I have an appt Monday morning at 930 with the nutritionist in the surgeons office. I met with et before, when I was previously considering surgery and she put me on a high protein diet. Think all-meat, all the time. No veggies and def no carbs.

I’m wondering though, if they’re possibly going to start me on all liquids. I think you might have to be on liquids before the surgery, but I can’t remember. I know you definitely are for awhile after. So, with an expected January surgery date, I’m not sure what they’ll do.

Whatever they tell me to do, I’m going to follow it 100%. It’s time t do this for real.

I’ve tried on my own for a solid six months now, and unfortunately it didn’t happen. I’m going to post new “before” pics, because I think I’m actually up a few lbs over where I started last summer.

I hate feeling like I wasted 6 months, when I could have already had the surgery and been losing weight. But, like the surgeon told me, you have to be ready and I was not ready then. It’s a huge commitment and lifestyle change. It’s giving up things, I’ll never be able to eat the way I used to again.

Which is entirely the point …

But, it’s definitely a huge change and I’m trying to just focus on now and let the past go. I actually need to lose 150 lbs. so that will be my new journey.

I’ll still be blogging and chronicling my weight loss journey, until the wedding and beyond.

I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve received on this blog, and I can’t wait to start showing you my progress again.

This is going to be a whole new lifestyle, for the rest of my life. I suspect my weight will always be a battle, but I’m taking steps to equip myself to better fight it.