Oversharing & Vitamins

Before I start spilling my guts on things you probably could live your entire life without knowing, here are a few comparison pictures:

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On the right is one of my least, least, absolutely least favorite photos of me. Ever. I remember being tagged in it and cringing SO bad. “WHY are my legs so huge? HOW many rolls can my side have? WHAT is going on with my arm fat? HOW COME THERE ARE SO MANY CHINS???” That was a fun night celebrating a friend but I remember being so worried I couldn’t squeeze into my size 22 jeans and that I was going to split a seam in the jacket that Alex had bought me. I was worried so much about how I’d fit into my clothes and not enjoying everything as much as I could have been. Then, the tagged photo hit and it cemented everything I’d been feeling about myself. Yuck.

Now, on the right- I’m in size 12 jeans (still not over that) and feeling much less picky-a-part-y on my pictures. I don’t think I need a wide shoe anymore (wide width boots are still a must, sigh~) because I can slip in and out of the booties here without unzipping them. Who knew my feet would lose so much fluff, too?

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And here with the faces. What even. Who is that girl with the tiny chipmunk mouth???? Weird.

Now, the oversharing part you’re dying to read- I’ve basically been on my period ALMOST non-stop since surgery. I’m 6 days away from being 3 months post-op and have had a week or so without CONSTANTLY having my period. I know this is a common thing for people that have lost lots of weight and those that have had weight loss surgery. Basically, my body is freaking out and this is what it’s decided to do. I can’t do a whole lot about it besides just constantly be prepared. Some days it’s a ton and some days I think, Oh! It’s gone! Except it’s not. Hardly ever. I think this has something to do with why I’ve been sleeping SO HARD at night.

When I finally crash at the end of the day, I’m sleeping SOUND. No middle of the night wake ups, no tossing and turning.. just dead asleep. It’s nice but also kind of scary. I’ve been a little nervous that I’ll fall asleep before I set an alarm- or worse, sleep through my alarm. This hasn’t happened, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I haven’t had any issues waking up in the morning… once I’m up, I’m up. But, I’ve been sleeping like a champ.

Next on the oversharing list is the fact that I’ve got a lot of extra jiggly skin now. I mean, not that I was perfectly toned before (HA) but it’s even more noticeable (to me) and even more jiggly than pre-op. It’s on my stomach, my arms, my thighs… lots of skin, doin’ what it does best, just being there. I’m in a few support groups for weight loss surgery patients and hear lots of people who are considering surgery mention their main hesitation for finally taking the plunge is that they’ll have excess skin. If through my weight loss, my excess skin DOUBLES- I’d still have done it again in a heart beat. Sure, nobody really needs to see my tummy/arms/thighs flapping in the breeze, but to feel a million times better- I think it’s worth it. Who cares? I’d rather have extra wobbly looking arms than to be obese. It’s easy to cling to jiggly skin as an excuse to not take the next step. If you’re thinking about having surgery and are worried about lose skin… don’t. Every minute of every day I’ll take a little more jiggle to be healthy.

Finally- vitamins. I hate taking them. I forget and then just don’t. I have several bottles at home and at work. I just can’t bring myself to take them regularly. I haven’t gotten my blood work done yet because I keep telling myself, “You’ll take them like you’re supposed to tomorrow!” and then I don’t. I HAVE TO GET BETTER ABOUT THIS. Vitamins aren’t optional. I know hair loss is eminent. I know my body needs them. Getting protein in is easy. Getting water in is easy. Taking a truck load of vitamins shouldn’t be so hard. At night it’s easier because I can munch on a string cheese and take a few while watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU (you can’t just pop them all at once). Building new habits is hard.

Right now I’m supposed to be taking a multi vitamin twice a day, a calcium with vitamin D twice a day, biotin and vitamin B & B12. I also try to take a fish oil because my mom says they’re good for me. When I schedule my blood work, I’ll report back. Hopefully my major lapses in vitamin intake hasn’t hurt too much and nothing is horribly out of whack.

Until then, I’ll keep up with the string cheese and SVU.
-Alee

 

 

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2 Months Post-Op!

I’m about a week late, but I live by the “better-late-than-never” motto. I’m two months post-op for my VSG! Within the last two months I’ve had several fabulous things to report:
1. I’ve lost a total of 55lbs (woo!)
2. I’ve gone from a size 22 pant to a size 12 jean!
3. I’ve lost an entire ring size
4. I’m getting great reactions from people I don’t see very often
5. One of my spare chins has left the building
6. Most photos look “flattering” (read: I don’t hate the majority of them)
7. My feet are less puffy looking
8. I’ve been invited to join the itty-bitty-titty-committee (sigh)
9. I’m in a men’s medium shirt from a men’s 2XL!
10. Over the month of September, I’ve had pretty spectacular food and workout habits without having to put much thought into either.

Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

Let’s talk about the first one on the left. That was at one of my most favorite wedding receptions EVER. I remember seeing this picture and thinking, “WELL, THAT’S TERRIBLE. MOVING ON.” and did some weird kind of mental magic to block it out. The one on the right is from a few days ago when my hair still looked fly AF after a long, long day working a wedding. I really love the facial changes here!

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Next, here’s some pant comparison-

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First off- these aren’t the largest pants I’ve ever owned. These are a size 20 pair of jeans I’ve decided to keep in the hopes that one day I can take one of those pictures where I’m standing in one pant leg. #skinnygoals BUT the top pair is a SIZE FREAKING TWELVE. I called my mom after I bought them to tell her I’d squeezed my butt into a 12 and asked when was the last time I’d worn a size 12 since I couldn’t remember. Well, I couldn’t remember because I skipped straight from a size 10 to a size 14 (thanks, high school). So, today I’m wearing a size I’ve never actually worn before. That’s nuts. I don’t weigh less than I did in high school, but I’ll get there soon enough.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is trying on my wedding dress. I know it’ll be nice and roomy now, but I think I’m going to wait for our anniversary to do that. If you’ve been around for a while or follow me on IG, you know the story about me not being able to zip it up a month before the wedding. Hello- worst nightmare. Busting my butt for a solid month to squeeze back into it was SO incredibly rewarding… I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel next time I put it on.

The last thing I’ve really thought a lot about this month is how unprepared I was to have to deal with feelings and emotions– I posted about this on IG a few days ago and got several concerned messages from random internet strangers about how much I drank before surgery, if I felt like I was out of control, etc. But truthfully, dealing with happy feelings, sad feelings, anxiety, nervousness, joy– all of that is usually accompanied with some sort of food or drink. We celebrate with a terrific meal. We unwind from a long day with a glass of something good. Socially we meet for drinks. Family time is centered around meals. Now, I can’t run to food. I can’t kick back with a drink.

THREE WEDDINGS now I’ve been asked by the bride or her family to celebrate with a drink- I can’t do that. This is a major life change! I do miss drinking. I do miss eating my feelings. Now, I just have to deal with them. Staring straight at your emotions is a scary thing. There aren’t any burritos or scotch to hide behind anymore. This is something I’m relearning daily. I’m happy to recognize it, but it doesn’t make it less difficult.

If anybody needs me, I’ll be working on a sugar free slurpee that’s taken up permanent residency in the fridge.
-Alee

 

 

1st Goal Met!

It’s early on a busy Tuesday morning BUT I’m happy to share that I’ve met my first weight loss goal of 50lbs. down! It’s such a wonderful feeling to know one number-related goal has been met! I’ve got a mile long list of non-number-related goals, but this is the first one of five scale goals and it’s a BIG deal!

I’ve had a few other non-scale victories this week-
1. I’m in men’s size L t-shirts now
2. I’m in women’s XL athletic pants
3. Shoes are starting to feel too wide
And my favorite-
4. The extender for my birthday Kendra Scott necklace from Alex is pointless now! Woo!

Another cool thing that happened was a local gym in McKinney, RNG Fitness, contacted me on Instagram about some free personal training. I’m excited to start that the last week of this month! It looks like more group exercising but with more training. Both sound appealing to me! I’m enjoying Camp Gladiator and especially Jen- the trainer at the location I’m at… but like I’ve said before, I’m ready to try it all before I decide what I want to stick with. Until I’ve done spin classes, dance classes, Pure Barre and Orange Theory, I can’t make a decision!

As wonderful as this week has been, I’m a little bummed. The color run is cancelled. Again. I know I need to find another run while I’ve still got the fire in me, but I feel like someone let the air out on that idea and I’m just.. bummed.

Also, I had a weird experience in Old Navy this week. I had some super cash I had saved knowing I’d probably need new clothes by now. When I walked in the store, I looked at everything… literally everything, and felt SO OVERWHELMED. Maybe it was because I was tired, I’m not sure. I felt like I had no idea where to start and didn’t want to buy anything because I’m only going to be in it for a short time. Although I’m quickly running out of work appropriate clothing, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy anything besides $10 workout crop pants. It felt like I’d need to bring 3 sizes of everything into the fitting room and that’s just overwhelming. Maybe I need to bring someone along with me to help next time. I’ll game plan better next time and stop whining about buying smaller clothes.

But $10 workout pants are really great.
-Alee

23.65″

So far I’ve lost at least 23.65 inches. That is NUTS. I know it’s more than that too, since these measurements only start from 3 weeks post-op! That’s a ton of body that’s gone. I’m thankful to see it go!

This week has been significant in my journey for a two huge reasons:
1. I’m in the 220’s now
2. I see myself now

On the 220’s:
Back in 2011 Jennie moved the scale from her bathroom to our laundry room… I’m not sure if she was making space or had noticed I’d packed on a ton of weight rather quickly and was trying to help me without screaming, “DEAR GOD WOMAN, LOOK AT YOURSELF!” a subtle scale re-home is more her style. It had been months since I’d weighed myself but in my head I was still 180 something. When the scale read 220 something I thought, “gee, when did that happen? I should do something about this.” and continued drinking copious amounts of boxed wine and eating my hearts content of mac & cheese. I remember having conversations with myself that sounded a lot like this:
-If I get a hold of this now, I can get back under 200!
-It’s only 40ish pounds
-You put it on overnight and you can take it off overnight!
-How the hell did you put on 40ish pounds?
-Where did this come from?
-If you don’t stop this now, it’ll get away from you
Yet, it just rose from there. So, here I am. Back in the 220’s. That place where I really, really, really finally noticed I was gaining. It feels weird to be back here because 220s feels like I’ve made it back to the base of the mountain. Once I get in the 180’s, I don’t think I’ll know what to do with myself. My goal weight is significantly under 180, but that will feel like uncharted territory. 180 was my teenage and early 20’s weight. What does life as an adult look like at less than 180lbs? I can’t wait to find out.

On seeing myself:
If you follow me on Instagram (@lighterladd) you’ve already seen this. I went upstairs at work to curl my hair where I could sit on the floor. I enjoy a good sit and curl.. standing and curling just feels like work. No thanks. Mirrors aren’t fun. Most of the time when I see myself in the mirror I see all the immediate flaws and through years of practice I’ve been able to quickly shove all the flaws into a box into the back of my brain and finish whatever task I’ve started (doing my hair, fixing my makeup, checking clothing for stains/wrinkles/dog hair). If I didn’t immediately shove all the “bad” into a mental box, I’d probably stand there for ages picking apart everything that I don’t like about my body.
Anyway, Sunday while I was sitting in front of the massive mirrors in the bridal suite, I looked in the mirror and just saw me.
I didn’t see extra chins.
I didn’t see love handles.
I didn’t see giant arms.
I didn’t see back rolls.
I just saw me! I sort of wanted to cry happy and confused tears over it but I just really enjoyed seeing myself staring at me in the mirror vs. all my flaws glaring at me from their tiny box in the back of my head. What a great feeling!

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Camp Gladiator starts tomorrow. Wish me luck!
-Alee

 

First Week of Workouts

The last week has been busy with new post-op activities! I’ve really been enjoying kickboxing with Alex at I Love Kickboxing in McKinney. We’ve still got a couple of classes left in our try out phase. I bought a groupon to try Title Boxing in McKinney, too! I can’t wait to see how their classes feel!

I also decided to try running again. My first run was GREAT! I had a couple of hours while a past bride was taking maternity pictures and wanted to see if I could finish up a full mile without stopping. So, I took off running the trail from the venue, to the chapel and down around to the lake. I finished the mile in a little over 11 minutes… that’s CRAZY. Last time I ran (2015) my mile time was around 17 minutes. I have a hard time running on a treadmill because I can’t ever seem to get my head in the right space. Everyone says trail running is more difficult but it feels FUN. Treadmill running just feels like punishment. My second run wasn’t quite as successful- 14 minutes for the mile mark.

I’ve decided to try for another 5K. Back in 2015 I’d been training to do a color run! I’ve had a goal to run a 5K for YEARS now. I was absolutely crushed when the run got cancelled… (thankfully, my sweet husband made our apartment into a fun glowey party and turned a really crappy night into great one.) and didn’t have a huge urge to seek out another 5K after that. Here we are again! October 21st is the day… I can’t wait!

The last wildly out of character thing I’ve done this week is sign up for Camp Gladiator! My former co-worker and I are planning on getting ourselves in over our heads twice a week for the month of September! My plan is to try just about everything to figure out what fitness stuff I enjoy the most. Victoria has decided to come along for the ride. Having a friend there for accountability is HUGE!

I can’t wait to try it all!

One Whole Month!

It’s been one month since having undergone VSG. It’s been a great month! So far, I’ve lost 42 lbs and already had a few non-scale victories!

Here is a face to face from the day I had my first consult with Dr. Novak and a couple of days ago:

 

Bigger eyes, less chins, less round shaped face… all wins! This month I was also able to get rid of 3 trash bags (and counting) of clothes and fit into a pair of jeans I’ve been saving since 2010. When my Torrid closed, all of us girls bought tons of clothes for dirt cheap. I’d set aside a pair of Silver denim that was a size 18 (they have the same measurements as Torrid’s size 16) for when I “got skinny”. These jeans have made FIVE moves with me and finally fit. It was such a huge surprise! I’d forgotten that was even a goal. It felt great!

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I’ve also been cleared for exercise. Alex and I tried our first kickboxing class at I Love Kickboxing here in McKinney. The first 15 minutes were ROUGH but I really enjoyed it after that! I can’t say they’ll be in my budget permenantly, but I’ll definitely enjoy my first five classes!

Other things I’ve noticed:
-Fitting into XL easier
-I’ve stopped wearing 4 of my everyday rings because they’ve started slipping off
-I had to buy new underoos because mine started sagging (not my best look)
-I’ve only got 3 notches left on my FitBit band!!
-I can move easier! Running around all day doesn’t wipe me out in the same way it did before. I still get tired, but it doesn’t feel like my body is melting and I’ve been deflated. This is huge!
-For a couple of weeks, the idea of eating chicken really repulsed me. I don’t really crave it now… so I’ve been mainly eating fish. Sashimi without the rice has been a great treat for me!
-I feel like strangers are being nicer to me. Maybe it’s in my head or maybe I’m projecting more confidence or a better attitude? Maybe they’ve always been nice but I didn’t notice. At gas stations or in Target- people holding doors open and saying hi or smiling has been much more common in the last week or two.
-Crossing my legs feels much more normal and natural than it did before. I LOVE this. I still sit criss-cross-apple-sauce when I can but that’s because I’m actually a 4 year old.

I’m only eating 2 oz. at a time. Work days like yesterday make that difficult. I’ll eat what I can of an egg for breakfast, then have a shake for lunch, then have a few afternoon and evening 2 oz. meals. Having appointments from 10:00am until 5:00pm makes breaking away to sit and eat for 30 minutes a chore. I don’t feel hungry really.. ever? yet? I feel head hunger when something smells good or I start thinking about carb-ey things- but haven’t really felt hunger much at all post-op. I’m sure this will come back in a few months but I’m really enjoying it now!

Having cleared out 3/4ths of my closet I’ve learned how sentimental I am about clothing. When I’m fitting into an XL shirt, how many 3XL t-shirts do I need to hang onto for “sleep shirts”? GET A GRIP! I want to save a few things for “after” pictures but 10 3XL t-shirts may be considered excess. I’m not sure what I’m going to do- after all I took an entire vacation once wearing only Raising Canes shirts almost the entire time. Time to start replacing, I suppose!

Apparently my measurements from pre-surgery got thrown in the trash, so I’ve had to start from 3 weeks post-op. Quite the bummer- I was hoping to report back lots of inches lost for my one month post. The good news is that there will be many more lost in the future.

I’m looking forward to seeing them go.
-Alee

Vacation & the sleeve

I’m finally able to eat pureed foods and soft foods. Let me tell you, it’s glorious.

Alex & I were able to take an impromptu trip to Colorado this week. We spent a few nights in Denver and our last day/night in Colorado Springs. It was so wonderful to get away. We’ve been ultra busy lately- his eye surgery, my VSG surgery, work going a mile a minute… we’ll just say, we needed it! When the mountains are callin’, ya gotta go.

The last time I was in Colorado was last October when Debi got a wild hair and a great deal on plane tickets. Here is a comparison picture from then and from this week!

 

Yikes. There’s that. I can’t tell you exactly how much I weigh in the left picture, but we’ll say it was at my starting weight. Between here and that picture there is a THIRTY SIX POUND DIFFERENCE! Holy moly! Just… insane. I see it a bit in my body, but mostly see it in my face. I can tell I’ve lost weight because my eyes and mouth have both gotten bigger. I forgot that happens when I lose weight.

Finding puree or soft food appropriate foods was a little tougher than I expected. Although, most restaurants sold some kind of fish and that was really great! Chick-fil-a also will make you scrambled cheesy eggs… this was a major win.

Anyway, much like all adoring mothers like to list of the things their babies love to eat, I’ll give you a list of things that don’t make me want to puke:
-avocado
-eggs
-meatballs
-cheese
-refried beans
-cottage cheese
-salmon
-tuna

I’m still having a protein shake a day- 60 grams of protein is REALLY hard to get in when you can only eat a condiment cup size of food at once. I’m working on it! When I can, I try to add protein powder to foods. It doesn’t always happen, but at least I’m really well hydrated. I’ve got that going for me!

In other news, several of my dresses now look “frumpy”. They’re baggy and look weird in certain spots. This is a very new feeling. I’m anxious to get rid of all my clothes because trying to find a dress this weekend was extremely frustrating. I’m not going to rush out and buy a ton of new clothes yet- but I’d really love to get rid of the ones that aren’t working.

True Confessions: I did buy a size XL shirt while in Colorado and a size L shirt at the Jimmy Eat World/Incubus concert. I had to.
-Alee