Vertical Sleeve

Tossing Out the Invisibility Cloak

The past couple of weeks have been challenging. As I mentioned in my last post, my second semester of school just started and my office is going through a re-organization, two major events and since I ditched my former coping mechanism of eating, I’ve been working hard to allow myself to feel all the stress, and process it the best way that I know how without shoving chips and cake and other junk in my face.

Eventually, the stress got the better of me and I had a few days of what I call “the blahs”, where I just don’t feel so great and I start thinking about all the things I am NOT vice all the things I am. One of the things I am not, and I wish I was, is outgoing and overtly social. I have always chosen friends who had those characteristics, but I have been more of the wallflower, the wing-man, kind of blending into the background and seemingly (at least to me) being invisible.

In the Harry Potter book series, Albus Dumbledore gives Harry an invisibility cloak that once belonged to Harry’s father. This gift protects Harry as he moves around the castle, among other places, while also aiding Harry in his sleuthing and protecting him from harm and danger. I have used my fat and low self-esteem as my invisibility cloak my entire life – protecting me from making friends, getting hurt and even knowing/loving myself – and I am getting pretty darn tired of it. I want to be seen, I want to be heard, I want to feel that my voice matters. Now I know my family and friends would argue that all of those things are already a reality, but in my mind, I am not fully convinced.

As of today, I have lost just over 50 pounds since January 1st, and 37 pounds since surgery. I am finally shedding my invisibility cloak and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I am not sure exactly how I am going to do it, but I think I will start by purchasing clothes that fit and flatter, vice the black on black ensembles that I used to be drawn to, it’s time that I allow color into my closet! Then, I think I will work on actually allowing myself to have an opinion about stuff again – when I was hiding behind the fat, I tended to shy away from sharing my opinion because I feared bringing attention to myself. Not anymore, I want the world to see me for who I am and recognize what I bring to the table.

It’s time to toss the invisibility cloak side and step out of the shadows into the world, it’s time to LIVE!!

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

A Lesson to Learn Over and Over Again

I apologize for not posting last week, it’s been pretty hectic here between work and trying to figure out a new workout/gym routine and getting everyone back-to-school ready and preparing for our road-trip to South Carolina with my daughters to witness the total eclipse yesterday.  I go back to school this week, so the next couple of weeks will be spent trying to find a balance between work/family/gym/school and homework, and just when I get that routine down, something else will come up and I will have to adjust again – but that’s life right, ever changing. I will admit, if it wasn’t, I would get bored.

The only issue with constant change and fluidity, is that it can cause things like weight loss to move at a slower pace than it would if that was all I had to focus on. And that can be a little frustrating.  I am not complaining though, I’ve been losing consistently, but I’ve been losing very slowly – I’ve only lost 32 pounds since surgery almost two months ago,  and only 40 pounds since starting the liquid diet the week prior. I know that it’s amazing compared to how difficult it was to lose weight before surgery (it would take me months to lose 5 pounds and I would easily gain it back after a weekend traveling) and I also know that I shouldn’t compare my weight loss journey to anyone else’s, but there are times when it is difficult not to.

 
That being said, I have lost inches, in fact, my daughter and I were at TJMaxx this past Sunday and she convinced me to try on a pair of jeans that are a size 16. Initially, I was dubious since I recently bought a pair of capris that are size 18 and are a little tight around the calf, but I tried them on as requested and was thrilled that they fit! Later in the evening, we found ourselves in another department store and I bought a pair of capris and shorts, both size 16! No more saggy bottom jeans for me!!
 
It seems that I have to learn this lesson over and over again, if you get discouraged or depressed because you don’t feel you are losing weight at the rate that you feel you should be (or as others are), make sure you are paying attention to more than just the numbers on the scale. I haven’t lost as much as some, but in two months, I have gone from wearing size 22 pants to size 16 – I will take that over the number on the scale any day!
 
Have a great Tuesday, much love to you all!!!
Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 1 Comment

An out of town guest, visiting Savannah and St. Augustine.

My girlfriend flew in from Southern California to visit me this past weekend and though we were in vacation mode, we were constantly on the go. She flew in late Wednesday evening, and I had planned to take her to Ichetucknee Springs State Park to spend a few hours relaxing among nature while floating down the spring. Unfortunately, the weather forecast called for thunder and lightning storms and choosing not to get her electrocuted while visiting my wacky state, I opted to drive her around to see the lovely sites instead. We first headed out to the beach, then went back inland to enjoy a BBQ lunch, buy some yummy cupcakes and the head to a huge used bookstore where my daughters and I regularly shop.

The following day, Friday, we headed up to Savannah, Georgia with my daughters,  my cousin and his wife to walk River Street and meander through the city, enjoying the perfectly manicured and picturesque squares sprinkled every few blocks. We made reservations at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant, where she was introduced to fried green tomatoes, fried okra, cheese biscuits and Johnny cakes (cornbread pancakes). I did eat 1 fried green tomato, and a couple of the fried okra, but for lunch I opted for the chicken salad sandwich with cheese grits.

I only ate the chicken salad part out of half of the sandwich and the cheese grits were too cheesy for me (I never thought that was possible), so I only had a small bite. We then ordered dessert, and each of us shared among the table. All together we had banana pudding, key lime pie and peach cobbler. I had a bite or two of the pudding and cobbler and a bite of the pie and was completely satisfied. How drastically different from pre-surgery where I could have polished off my entire meal and dessert and then had bites of everyone else’s dessert. Once our meal was over, we headed back home. We decided to stop at a local department store and I was very excited to discover I could wear capris that are two sizes smaller than what I am currently wearing. They are still a little snug in the calves, but not for long!

Saturday, we headed a little south to the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, for a leisurely walk down St. George Street, shopping for trinkets and souvenirs. I usually get fudge when I go to St. Augustine, but I didn’t this time, and honestly other than when we passed by the shop when we first got there, I didn’t even think about it the rest of the day. We stopped at a pizza place where I ordered a Panini and ate about a quarter of it. I brought it home, but it really wasn’t very good the next day.

Finally, on Sunday, we choose to relax and head to the beach! We spent a few hours laying in the sun and playing in the water then headed home to shower and nap for a bit before my cousin and his wife came over for dinner. We decided to treat my girlfriend to a good home-made southern meal on her last night at our house so my husband and I made shrimp and grits for dinner. I have to admit, it was the best shrimp and grits we have made in a while. The only bad part is that I could only eat a few bites before I was done. Of course, that’s really a good thing, and I usually don’t miss foods that I can’t eat a lot of, but shrimp and grits and my cousins home-made banana cream pudding are two things that I would have loved eating full portions of.

I am so happy that my girlfriend came to visit. I truly enjoyed showing her around and catching up with her. I know that she will be very happy to get back to her healthier eating though. I am done eating out for a while, it’s one thing to have left overs at home, but at one point this weekend, my refrigerator was full of to-go containers from restaurants. Most of which ended up in the garbage, because I have a three-day limit on the leftovers I will eat. If I brought home pulled pork on Thursday, I will not eat it after Saturday — it’s just my thing. Eventually I am going to have to convince someone in my family to split meals with me, just to prevent wasting so much food, it hurts my heart as well as my wallet.

All-in-all, I think I did well this weekend. Could I have done without the fried okra and the bites of cobbler and key lime pie, sure, but I don’t regret anything and given the opportunity, I would probably do it all over again. Just because I have had bariatric surgery, that doesn’t mean that I will stop living and enjoying myself. A lot of celebratory stuff revolves around food and I don’t see that culture changing any time soon. I have to be responsible for how I handle that and if it means that I have a small bite of something and move on, then I am ok with that.

I know that some people disagree, what are your thoughts?

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 8 Comments

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

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