Friendsgiving, Vacationing & 31in31

It’s been a while!

Since September, work has been a 24/7 thing. Between new bookings, current weddings and impending holidays- it’s felt like I blinked and all of a sudden it’s December.

Several of my friends in the weight loss surgery community were absolutely dreading Thanksgiving because it’s an entirely holiday devoted to FOOD. Not just food– but a ton of food. I may have mentioned this before- but I feel like most food struggles post-op can be remedied by mental reframing. Thanksgiving isn’t about the food, it’s about the family and friends you’re around! The food is a fun bonus, but it’s over fairly quickly and is significantly LESS fun than everyone you’re spending time with!

Friendsgiving at ALR was an absolute blast. We had a fabulous turnout and so many yummy things to try! My rule that I gave myself was that I’d be allowed anything I wanted as long as it was a spoon full. I got to try everything I wanted. There weren’t any sad.. “I’m missing out” feelings. I didn’t feel sick or over eat- just had a great, yummy plate with so many different bites on it! Several of my WLS friends tried the same approach on Thanksgiving and had great experiences as well!

IMG_4402.JPG

For thanksgiving, we went to visit Alex’s family in Georgia for a week. Vacationing is difficult because I can’t run to the fridge for a slice of lunch meat or cheese when hunger hits. It’s got to be planned or you have very limited options. Over all, I felt like I ate ok over the week without worrying too much. I ran several mornings while I was there and that kind of evened out all the weird snacking I did. Here’s a fun comparison picture from our second (I think?) thanksgiving together vs. Thanksgiving weekend at the Falcons game!

95A41C6E-2CF4-4CD8-A3E4-DBA4EF35AA63.JPG

That’s about 150lbs combined loss between the two of us. He just gets better and better. 🙂

Finally- somewhere I got a weird idea in my head that I wanted to run 31 miles in the month of December. Obviously, not all at once. BUT over the course of the month, I want to put 31 miles on my shoes. The good part of all of this is that my miles have been taking between 13 and 15 minutes (depending on how close attention I’m paying to my watch) and 13-15 minutes of exercise a day is COMPLETELY DOABLE!!! It’s not even the 30 minutes everyone always tells you to do! The last couple of runs I’ve pushed myself to run 2 miles and thanks to my new running friend, Ashley, we did our best time last night!

IMG_8617.PNG

I’m still feeling over the moon about having finished two full miles in (just barely) under half an hour! I haven’t been focusing on time much because I’m still fighting the mental struggle of even doing it at all- but I’m excited to see major (measurable) progress!

Also- I’m 85lbs down today. WINNER WINNER (TINY) CHICKEN DINNER!

 

Advertisements

Onederland & 75lbs.

Good morning, fam!

Yesterday I hit a huge milestone- I’ve officially lost 75lbs. and weigh under 200lbs. for the first time since Sophomore year of college.

Here’s what is wild: A couple of years ago when I was hitting the gym every morning and keeping calories super low- I’d read all these blogs and Instagram posts about “getting to onederland” or “journey back to onederland”, and at first I didn’t really understand. I’d been WELL over the 200lb. mark for so long, it seemed abnormal that people would weigh LESS than 200lbs. Initially that goal seemed so, horrendously far out that it was silly to even put myself in that category.

Yesterday was like any other day: a cheese stick, protein, water, coffee, sushi, you know… all the normal stuff. However, I’m in a weight class I haven’t been a part of in YEARS. How?! The entire weight loss still feels surreal to me. I know that I look better. I know that I feel better. It just feels like absolute insanity to me that from July until now, I’ve got 75lbs. less of me.

SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS. That’s like, a kid. Like, a big kid. Or… an emperor penguin:
3139c892dfdc7f8e34ac411b5732f445--weight-loss-calculator-fitness-workouts.jpg

Those guys are huge!

I got a few concerned messages from friends and family about the period situation and the balding possibility- Good news! They’ve slowed down since the last post about it. I had a little over a three week break this time and it feels more normal. I think my body is still trying to figure things out. I’ve still not seen a significant SCARY amount of hair loss. I’m shedding more than normal, but not anything that has caused a mental breakdown, so that’s nice. The side of my hair closest to my part looks a little thinner than normal, but that part has always looked thin.

I’ve had two HORRIBLE dreams about going bald lately. I think I’m letting it get to my subconscious. The good news is that my husband will still think I’m hot if I shaved my head and I could get a ton of sweet wigs. Let’s all just hope it doesn’t come to that.

Speaking of husbands, one of my very favorite non-scale victories so far has been that Alex can pick me up without ME feeling like I’m going to break him. As a portly-wife, I’e always thought the whole “sweep her off her feet” thing was a saying and not an actual possibility. Now it is!
IMG_7944 2

Here’s a few pictures from the last couple of weeks. The first one is a before and after from this Halloween and last Halloween. Since Halloween was on a Tuesday, there wasn’t much going on. Alex & I went to Bar Louie with a couple of friends and had Halloween martini(s). I allowed myself to have one, felt a little tipsy immediately and then nothing. I still don’t plan to make drinking a regular thing, but it was nice to have one to sip on over the course of the evening.

F30A8192-8EEE-428B-BCC2-6679D1FEE1DB

Mama Faye had mentioned she’d thought I’d be really surprised to go back and look at photos from her birthday compared to now. I was pretty blown away! Here’s another comparison shot from a few days ago and this spring:

19CFEE9E-D2A4-4944-A015-4D0ED00578EC

I remember looking at these pictures and thinking, “GOOD GRIEF” and moving on to the next photos. I think candids are always shocking because you never have time to pose or decide if you like it or not. These were extra shocking because.. well, I looked huge. I obviously look happy, but definitely not an angle I prefer. Thankful is an understatement for how I feel about VSG.

And here’s me today! All 199lbs. of me. I’m feeling pretty good. 🙂
-Alee

 

 

Fall clothes & FAQ

Holy moly, y’all-

Fall is here in North Texas. This past weekend we had two days of 30 degree temperatures and a couple of lovely 70 degree days. Let me tell you, I feel COLD. So much of my insulation is gone. I remember wearing flip flops all through the winter in Jr. High & High School and my mom always saying, “You’re making ME cold! Put some shoes on!” but I never really felt the freezing temperatures. Apparently, I’m making up for lost time.

This will probably sound strange to those of you who haven’t been around to experience it- but I gag when the temperature changes. If I walk outside in the summer, I gag because it’s hot. Walking outside to freezing temperatures (ex. laying linens on tables at 7:30am with 34 degree temperatures) makes me gag. Rapid temperature change and I have never gotten along well. It’s ESPECIALLY bad now. I went and had coffee with a girlfriend this past week and after stepping outside from Starbucks, it was a good couple of minutes of it. I’m assuming because I feel colder, it’s happening more. Who knows, honestly.

Anyway, I got pretty well stocked up on fall clothes from Debi’s wardrobe. I still needed a few nice work dresses and the big item- BOOTS! I donated all but one pair of boots from past years because they were literally all falling down. What a great problem to have! If you’ve ever been over weight or plus size, you probably know boot shopping SUCKS. It just does.

Here’s my top 5 reasons why plus size shoe shopping is complete BS:
5. It takes luck. Do they have my size? Will they even have anything I like?
4. It is STUPID expensive. Ah, ya got fat calves? $90 minimum on our boot monopoly, thanks for playing! Want boots? Better have a small fortune.
3. They all seem to have massive heels. Finding flat, all-day wear boots as a plus size woman was a lot like what I imagine searching for the holy grail felt like. When you did find a flat pair, they were back ordered or not quite wide enough.
2. You are at their mercy. Several years ago I remember looking AIMLESSLY for wide calve riding boots. Every Google search, Amazon search, Torrid, DSW, Zappos… NOTHING. Just wide calve hooker boots or wide calve pirate boots. However, regular width riding boots were everywhere!
1. It is endless frustration. Find one you like? It won’t go all the way up. You’re an 8.5? Sorry, we only carry 8 or 9. We only have 5″ heel boots. We don’t carry wide calve. These won’t be on sale until July. We only have wide calve sizes starting at size 10. $98 for faux leather that scuffs on the first wear. Just so frustrating. 

So, there’s that. Basically it’s the worst. I’ve been eyeing a few cute pairs of boots for this season and have been hopeful to find a pair that wasn’t wide that would also fit! Lo and behold, ta-da:
IMG_7532
Thank you, Amazon for the $30 boots! They are a 16″ calve with two fabulous tiny stretchy panels on the back. They fit like a glove and were frustration free. Whee!

Onto the next thing. This could probably be it’s own blog, but I’m throwing it all in here together.

I’m still in several online support groups and am fairly active on Instagram. I see these same themes & questions pop up ALL THE TIME from people who are looking to have VSG done or who are in the first couple of weeks post-op from VSG. Although I’m only three months out, I feel like answering them here may help some people. I hope!

-Will I have loose skin?
-Will it hurt?
-How long till I’m normal again?
-Will I lose hair?
-Have I stretched my stomach out?
-Will I still be hungry?
-When can I start drinking again?
-I just had surgery, why am I already stalling?

Skin: Yep, you’ll have loose skin. We all do! The degree of loose skin varies from person to person, but loose skin is crap reason to not have surgery. Life is infinitely better, jiggles and all!
Pain: Every single recovery is different. I’m saying it again for the people in the back: EVERY. SINGLE. RECOVERY. IS. DIFFERENT. I had a stupid easy recovery. If I told everyone that asked, “it’s easy! do it!” that would be a lie. Some people take weeks to feel normal. Some people still experience severe pain a month post-op.  It is major surgery, pain is to be expected.
Recovery: I recovered quickly. By day 4, I felt like a person again. A week later I worked an entire bridal show weekend! Others take a couple of weeks or a few months. Some use 90 days of PTO for recovery! We are all different and all of our bodies recover differently. Nobody can answer this for you with absolute certainty.
Hair: Probably. Most people do! Hair is like skin, temporary hair loss is way better than morbid obesity. Hair will grow back when the follicles wake up again. It is still so worth it.
Stretched Out: Dr. Vong addresses this in several of his videos- VSG is not undone in one sitting. It is stretched out, “one bite too many, over a coupe of years”. I’ve seen countless posts from people in total panic because they ate a couple of extra ounces of cottage cheese. Y’all- you’re OK! You’re doing great! Some days you can eat a little bit extra. One meal will not stretch out your stomach. Trust the process. Listen to your body. Use common sense.
Hungry: Yep! Some are hungry right out of the gate. Others don’t feel hungry for several weeks/months. There are days that I feel like a bottomless pit and others where I could go the entire day without eating. Trust your doctor, follow the instructions, give your body quality food and you’ll be just fine.
Drinking: Some doctors say 3 months, some say 6 months. However- ask yourself, is it the right thing for my body? We have surgery as a last resort, major overhaul event! Falling back into old habits can be so harmful. Just like everything else, moderation is key. “is this best for me?” is a great question to continuously ask yourself.
Stalling: I read post after post of people who are a week out of surgery or a month out of surgery and they are angry and frustrated that they’ve hit a stall. “I’ve only lost 10lbs!” or “I’ve only gone down one size”. This is phenomenal! You are doing GREAT!!! The scale doesn’t move for a week or two, who cares? It had been over a year since the scale moved in the right direction before I had surgery. It certainly didn’t move 10lbs! Stalls happen! Trust the process, keep following doctors orders- you’ll get this! It’s ok to be frustrated, but keep in mind you are still recovering from having 80% of your stomach CUT OUT! Let it do its thing and give it time to normalize. We all want to wake up to the final product and be at our goal weight, but that doesn’t happen over night.

My best advice for anyone looking to have surgery is to read and learn EVERYTHING. Watch vlogs, read blogs, join communities online- learn it all and you’ll be more prepared.
-Alee

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:

1EAE47E5-8D6C-4012-8496-EB84EDFA5ED6.JPG
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?

8A8B447C-215D-4282-8CAC-00774244D38A.JPG

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

 

 

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!

IMG_7287

Next, here’s some pant comparison-

IMG_7280

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!

IMG_6861

Camp Gladiator starts tomorrow. Wish me luck!
-Alee