Author Archives: Sweet Red

About Sweet Red

Hey, I'm Darleen and I live in North Florida, the posts included on this blog are samplings of the random thoughts and ramblings of my mind.

Back to Work

So, after five long weeks of recovery, I went back to work yesterday. Fortunately, I was only there a half day, and most of that was spent waiting on my access to the system to be restored. Today was a full day and I am surprised at how tired it made me. I mean I knew I would get tired, up until late last week I felt like I needed a nap around 3 pm, but I thought that was because I wasn’t doing anything strenuous. Apparently that wasn’t the case.

Another reason why I think I feel so sluggish is that I am not getting in as much walking as I had been and with company coming into town at the end of this week, I don’t see myself finding a new routine until late next week, then at the end of the month, school starts back for me and I will be in class late one day a week and reading or writing the other days, I will have to figure out a new routine when that happens too. I’ve given myself permission to relax and take the time to let everything die down, before stressing out about not getting in my exercise, but now that it’s here, I am having difficulties not worrying about it. I suppose I need to take this challenge and learn from it, because it will not be the last time that I have to adjust my routine to fit in with my life. After all, isn’t that what life is all about, change and challenge and learning? If I am going to be successful, I have to learn how to be adaptive in a world that is forever changing.


Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | Leave a comment

My 1 Month Surgery Anniversary

Today marks one month since I had my vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and there hasn’t been a moment that I’ve regretted doing it (ok, maybe one millisecond when my fat brain wanted to eat a whole piece of birthday cake, but I got over that quickly!).

Since having the surgery last month, I have lost 20 pounds! It’s not as much as I would like, but the numbers on the scale are going down and more importantly, I am feeling so much better, physically as well as mentally. The non-scale victories (NSV) don’t stop there, I am losing weight all over, so even though I haven’t dropped a dress size, I can see the weight loss in my face, in my stomach and even in my legs and feet. I know my hips are smaller because when we were at my parent’s house for my daughter’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t feel uncomfortable in their dining room chairs.

That being said, it has definitely required a lot of work and commitment. I have to be very particular about what I eat, I CAN eat anything, but I CHOOSE to eat the best things, lean proteins are my priority right now. I have intentionally stayed away from sweet candy/dessert type protein drinks or bars because I am fighting hard to break my sugar addiction and feel they would become a slider food, making me crave cookies and cakes and ice cream. It is not easy, but I am determined to be healthier and consume foods that are going to give me fuel, rather than make me feel run down.

My daughters and I enjoyed a morning at the beach today. As soon as we got there, I headed out on a 2 mile walk and then spent the next 45 minutes out past the breakers swimming. If you’ve never tried to swim in the ocean, let me tell you, it’s hard as heck! IMG_2018Honestly, it is time to amp up my physical activity, I still walk most days, but I think it’s time to force myself back into the gym. I have the membership, I need to use it.

I go back to work on Monday, and I have to really think about how I am going to prepare for the week so I don’t set myself up for failure. At this point, I could probably just drink a smoothie for breakfast and have a protein bar or almonds for lunch, but in my opinion, that is not the healthy lifestyle I want to live. I ran across one post on Facebook where a woman was doing her meal prep for the week, I’ve always wanted to try that, but I don’t want to be chained to the kitchen all day Sunday just so I can pack a few lunches and snacks — I hate cooking on any regular day, I can’t imagine I’d love spending a whole day doing it.  Do you meal prep? How do you do it without losing an entire day?

I want to thank everyone who comments on my blog, who sends me texts and private messages encouraging me to continue with my blog. I enjoy writing about my journey and appreciate all of your support!

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 9 Comments

22 Days In

Yesterday marked the beginning of week four post-op for me. Things are progressing a little more slowly than I would like; I still fatigue easily, I still struggle to get in my protein without shakes or powders, I still struggle to get in my fluids and my scale isn’t moving as quickly as I would like. So far I’ve lost 16.5 pounds since surgery. I know, I know, 16.5 pounds in three weeks is awesome, and I actually do prefer to lose slower so that my skin has an opportunity to catch up, but I know women who had surgery the same day as me who have lost 20+ pounds. I try really hard not to compare my weight loss journey with others, I was a slow loser before surgery I can’t really expect to be much different after surgery, but sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what I am doing wrong.

I continue to walk four or five times a week, though some days I only do 1.5 miles instead of 2.5. I don’t know if I will meet my goal of reaching 3 miles before I go back to work, but I will do what I can and focus on the fact that I am getting out and doing something. I am anxious to get back to the gym and plan to go back either late this week or early next week, even if it’s just for a swim or a yoga class.  Up until about two weeks before surgery, I was working out with a trainer at the gym, she was super nice, but when I told her that I was going to have bariatric surgery, and she asked me what that was, I realized that my “beginner gym” (her words, not mine), wasn’t doing me any favors. So, after my husband and I did some research, I cancelled my membership at Planet Fitness and joined the local Jewish Community Alliance (It’s basically a Jewish YMCA). With my membership, I get 4 half-hour sessions with a licensed personal trainer, access to all fitness classes, two pools, a hot tub, sauna and steam room – something I wasn’t getting at Planet Fitness. I am super excited to get going, but I have to remember that I have to start small and it’s going to take some time to build up to hard workouts. Right now, I don’t think it would be smart to take a spin class and burn 600 calories, if I can barely eat 600 calories in a day. But, patience is not my strong suit, especially when it comes to myself.

I have been very fortunate that I’ve not had any food-related issues. My stomach has tolerated everything quite well and aside from over-eating a couple of times or swallowing food that hadn’t been chewed enough, I think I am starting to understand my stomach again.  This weekend, we celebrated my youngest daughters 16th birthday. We went out to Olive Garden and I had my first real restaurant experience since surgery. I passed on the salad and breadsticks, had a few bites of soup and a few bites of my chicken and mashed potatoes. I took 90% of my meal home and ate off of it the following couple of days. Eventually, I might convince one of my family members to share a meal with me, but that might take a while! Later in the weekend, we had a small birthday party with hamburgers, hot dogs and of course, birthday cake. I ate a quarter of a burger, without the bun, a few bites of potato salad and a couple of bites of cake. Earlier in the week I started getting my cravings for sweets back, but just a few bites of cake satisfied me and I’ve been good ever since.

All-in-all, I think I am getting the hang of things, it’s going to take a while to get the calories up and I am going to have to be careful at the gym, but I am confident that I am on the right track. Hubby says he can definitely see the weight loss and even though I haven’t gone down a size, I can comfortably fit in the size I was wearing and I can wear items I haven’t worn in years, and that’s a really great feeling.

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 3 Comments

It is a Learning Process

Now that I am feeling better, I find myself wanting to get out of the house more often. Obviously this is a good thing for my mental stability, but it also invites fun, new challenges to my new world.

Yesterday morning, I took my walk around the neighborhood, came home and jumped in the shower then got dressed and made my breakfast. I was going to make chorizo and eggs, but by the time I got around to breakfast, I was so hungry I just wanted to make something quick so I poured 8 ounces of Fairlife chocolate milk (140 calories/13g protein and lactose free), 1/2 of a banana, and a scoop of Genepro protein powder (an additional 30g of protein, though there is some controversy over whether those claims are true) into my NutriBullet and made my own “smoothie”. Unfortunately, whenever I’ve blended my milk in a blender or NutriBullet it makes it very frothy, which I do not like, but I drank it anyway because I was hungry and my girls and I were going out to run errands, so I needed to “eat”.

Here’s the thing about having a very small stomach, you cannot eat a lot so you need to eat often, at least five times a day, to get the calories and nutrients that you require. Unfortunately, I did not pack a snack to take with me so by the time we finished our first errand I was hungry again, and even more unfortunate, no-one else was hungry so I decided to wait until we got home to eat again. We had stopped at the grocery store to pick up the fixings for Taco Tuesday and I grabbed a two pack of chicken enchiladas from the deli to eat when I got home. I thought I was being smart in choosing the  chicken enchiladas, because I figured the chicken and beans would be high in protein, plus I knew that I wouldn’t eat both of them and figured my daughter and I could share them, making it a two-for-one kind of thing. We get home, I heat them up and could only manage to eat about 1/4 of one enchilada and my daughter, having not slept well the night before, fell asleep and didn’t eat the other one, so I ended up wasting an entire meal. In hindsight, I guess I could have wrapped up the left overs and had them today, but I didn’t. Later on, I made tacos for dinner and again my head was bigger than my stomach (literally) and I made myself two tacos. I don’t know what I was thinking, there was no way that I was going to eat one taco much less two and unfortunately this time, with the tortilla, beans and beef, I ended up eating just a little too much and getting a terrible case of hiccups (that’s my curse for eating too much or drinking too quickly). I feel this same refrain is a constant loop, playing on repeat, and I hope that sooner rather than later I learn my lesson. Everyday provides a new opportunity to combat my old habits, especially when it comes to fixing my plate in the evening, and I understand that it is going to take a few times to learn the new rules, to get into a new mindset where food is fuel and not comfort, some of it I feel I am doing very well with, yet there are other things, like allowing myself to get too hungry, I need to work on. The good thing is, I have time, I don’t need to have all the answers right now. I have a great support system, my husband and kids keep me honest and my friends are constant cheerleaders, sending regular messages of encouragement. I am very lucky to have all of you in my corner — thanks for giving me so much strength!

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 1 Comment

It’s Been Two Weeks

It’s been two weeks since my surgery and not only can I tell I’ve lost weight by looking at the scale, I’ve lost 14 pounds, but I can also fit more comfortably in some shirts and pants  that have been hanging out in my dresser.

My diet has progressed as well. My doctor allowed me to introduce “soft” foods into my diet starting last Thursday and as excited as I was, I now know how truly difficult this journey is going to be. I’ve learned that It is challenging getting the appropriate amount of the protein rich foods that my body requires without depending on protein shakes or powders, in fact, it’s pretty impossible at this stage considering I can only handle about 700 calories a day.  Last Friday morning, I completed a 2+ mile walk and then decided to scramble myself an egg for breakfast, I knew that the egg wouldn’t have the same amount of protein that I usually get from a shake, so I decided to add some unflavored protein powder to it as well as a glass of chocolate milk.Unfortunately, the consistency of my egg was heavier with the protein powder added to it and I did not give myself sufficient time between eating the egg and drinking the milk and I became over-full and immediately didn’t feel well. I actually had to go lie down for about a half hour just to feel better. I would like to say that I learned my lesson with that one mis-step, but unfortunately,  I still either eat too fast or too slow; I haven’t been able to find that perfect balance. Not only that, there have been times when I have taken one or two too many bites, causing me to feel ill. I knew it was going to be difficult, and I am lucky because my stomach has been able to handle everything that I’ve tried, but learning to eat normal again is more difficult than I thought. Luckily, I have the next two weeks off of work to get adjusted to eating and understanding how my body is going to react to foods now.  IMG_1892

One thing that I know I need to change is my schedule; currently I haven’t one and that is preventing me from getting in enough calories as well. I usually wake up around 8 am and then head straight out for my walk, by the time I get back and make breakfast is close to 9:30 and I am hungry and already a meal behind in getting protein in. Going forward, I think it would behoove me to wake up closer to 6:30am, get the walk in then I’m home making my breakfast by 8 am. I know many of you are probably saying that I should eat before walking, and you are right, but I have never been one to eat and then workout, it makes me sick to my stomach and since I have to take medicine when I first wake up and can’t eat for an hour after taking it, doing that and walking after seems the only reasonable way for me to make it work. Of course, it will not matter at all once I go back to work, since I work from 7-3:30, there won’t be any time to walk before getting ready for work, unless I plan to get up at 4:30 every morning and walking in the dark — I just don’t see that happening. So I suppose my new routine will be for naught once I go back to work, but it will make me feel better anyway.

Luckily, I know that these are all milestones to learning new and healthier eating habits, but I can’t help but hope I catch on quickly.


Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 2 Comments

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