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!

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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

One Week Post-Op

Today was my one week post-op surgical visit! Debi drove me out to Ft. Worth to meet with Dr. Novak and the PA. It wasn’t a long visit but it was a great one!
-Scar sites healing nicely
-Good feedback on liquids/protein
-Date for lifting and exercise bumped to 3 weeks!
-All great!

As I was talking to my surgeon and the PA, it was so incredibly encouraging to hear them say, “we just knew you’d do great”.  Maybe they say that their patients, who knows. I don’t really care. I know that they mean it. It feels SO great to hear your surgeon and their staff cheer you on and to celebrate your progress as much as you are! One of the reasons why I chose Dr. Novak to begin with was because I felt that he was confident in ME. Not cocky because he’s a great surgeon, not confident in the surgery- confident in ME! That’s a great feeling!

I let Dr. Novak know I was interested in trying Title Boxing and he seemed really thrilled with that idea. He mentioned he had wanted me working with a trainer so I wouldn’t hurt myself, but he was very familiar with Title and said that was a perfect route to go. I’m excited to get to try it out in a few weeks and see how I like it!

In other news, I’m basically having a long-term love affair with tomato soup. There. It’s out now. Tomato soup is life. Based on my certified tomato soup expert opinion, I’m providing you all with a definitive ranking of best and worst tomato soups:

Worst: Campbells (canned)
-Lacks any flavor
-Can be saved if you add your own basil/salt/milk
Bad: Progresso
-Salty and sad
Mostly OK: Campbells (boxed)
-More flavor, that’s about it
Alright: Starwood
-Texture was really smooth but had bizarrely large chunks of tomato
Better: Panera
-Favor doesn’t need any help
-Only gripe is some of the tomato chunks were yellow, not red. That weirded me out
Best: La Madeline
-God’s gift to the soup world
-Please bury me with a jar of this

Now that we’re all on the same page about the soup situation, I can tell y’all a little about my new (old) liquid diet. I’m back on full liquids… yay! I had a FABULOUS half a protein shake (GNC Go Lean, duh) this morning. Some La Madeline’s tomato soup for lunch (about half a bowl- which is somewhere around half a cup?) and for “dinner” I finished the 2nd half of my shake. Tomorrow I’ll be better about protein because I can add my unflavored protein to my at home soups- but it sure is nice being able to sit and have soup like a normal person.

There have been two really difficult changes so far:
1. Not drinking while eating
2. Putting the spoon down while eating
REALLY, really, really difficult. I’ve been watching Dr. Duc Vuong‘s videos and he said until you get into the habit, you should try sitting on your hands between bites. While I’m not “chewing” my soup, I’m also not gulping it down either. It is shockingly difficult to set the damn spoon down between bites. Who knew! When I do start eating, it’ll be a longer process of chewing between each bite- but this is a solid habit to get into now! For the next week, I’ll keep practicing on soup. 🙂

-Alee

3 Days Out & Half A Stomach

Today is my third day post-op after having a good portion of my stomach removed. So far I’ve been tremendously thankful to report almost no gas pain from the procedure! I have a bit of pain in my abdomen near my belly button, but not anything that isn’t manageable. Over all, I don’t think it could have gone any better!

Thankfully, my surgeon gave very simple and clear instructions: hydrate. Several of my fellow sleevers (still not sure if I like that word yet) have been given strict orders to hit a water minimum of 64 oz. and protein goal of 40 grams the entire first week. I was SO thankful that my doctor gave me one job. The day of surgery it was difficult to get in my water. The day after it was less difficult, but still not enjoyable. Yesterday and today it’s felt less like a chore and more normal.

I’ve been able to mix in a little protein here and there. Unflavored whey protein irks me. I can’t get it to blend right and it leaves a weird film in my mouth. This morning I mixed up a half a scoop into 8oz. of ice water in a blender bottle and was able to sip and enjoy that! I may have to keep that going for the next couple of days.

Also- hot tea goes down like magic! I shocked myself when I’d finished my first cup of hot tea this evening. It was such a pleasant surprise to be finished so quickly.

Over all:
-Laying down still feels more comfortable
-I’m staying hydrated
-I can’t keep any pills down, but I expected as much
-I’m not in horrible discomfort
-I’m physically tired
-The bruising isn’t as bad as I’d anticipated
-My movement is slow but not very painful
-I am constantly aware of the pain, but not hurting horribly from it

My fantastic husband has done a phenomenal job of taking care of me. The day of surgery he woke me up every hour to walk, drink and put my DVT preventative leg squeezers on. Since then he’s gone above and beyond to ensure I’m comfortable and taken care of. He’s really got that, “in sickness and in health” thing down. A few years ago when I had major scary eye issues- he had to wake up every hour on the hour through the night to put drops in my eyes. No complaints, just taking care of me. I’ve flashed back a little bit to that. I appreciate how well he loves me and love him lots for it. 🙂

I’m also über thankful to everyone who’s checked in on me! I couldn’t have a better support system.

Thanks, y’all!
-Alee

Last Night With A Full Stomach

Tomorrow is surgery day! I’ve been physically preparing for weeks, mentally preparing for months and hopeful that it would happen for lots longer than that.

My brain feels like it is in 1,000 different directions right now. Here is a small glimpse in:
-I’m SO sick of clear liquids
-Trader Joe’s should do peony sales more often
-I can’t forget to take my nail polish off for tomorrow
-Did I set an out of office message yet?
-Can’t forget surgical soap tonight
-How much water have I had today?
-Have I triple checked my hospital backpack?
-How am I going to get my industrial and tragus piercings back in?
-I wonder what the dogs are doing
-Did I overspend at Market?
-Why didn’t I buy that bag?
-Still tired of clear liquids
-I think it would be really fun to eat something
-When am I going to get my car fixed?
-How will it feel to wake up at 4:30 tomorrow?
-I wonder if I’ll lose any more weight  between here and tomorrow
-I wonder how many inches I’ve lost on my liquid diet

The last two days have been a whirl wind. I’ve been on clear liquids only and am REALLY feeling over it. Having soup in the full liquid stage helped me feel less blah about “food”. I’ve been living on these guys:

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Honestly, they’re not the worst. However, I’ll be happy to never drink one again. They taste like melted jello. Weird and thick. They don’t taste awful and certainly don’t taste great BUT 40 grams of protein is hard to beat. I’ve only felt hungry once the last two days. That is so bizarre for me! I’m used to feeling hungry ALL the time! They certainly aren’t a joke… they’ve done a great job of doing what they’re supposed to.

Nearly two full weeks of no nicotine, caffeine or alcohol and all I really feel is that it would be nice to have those things. I don’t crave any of them. I’m ok without them. It would just be reaaaally nice to have them. I definitely don’t need any of it- just sort of miss it. I don’t intend to bring nicotine back in, but certainly don’t want alcohol to be as regular a part of my life as it was before. Drinking and overeating are a very familiar combination for me.

On that note- 20lbs down as of today! 20lbs in 2 weeks! Wild.

Several people in my support group have mentioned that their last day pre-op was a miserable one. I feel really sad for all of them! Today has been a great day! I got lots of laundry done, had a fabulous friend help finish the housecleaning, and then went to spend the day with a few of my favorite people at the Dallas World Trade Center! We walked around for hours checking out makeup, clothes, jewelry, home goods, and my VERY FAVORITE- lighting! There’s just something magic about a good light fixture.

I’m tired, have new glorious jewelry and couldn’t have hoped for a better day.
-Alee

7 Days Liquid & 7 Days Left

My full liquid diet started seven days ago. I feel like I’m getting the hang of it! The most major changes have obviously been cutting out eating normal foods, no alcohol, no caffeine and no nicotine. It has been a busy, tiring and interesting week:

Day 1- Tired and underprepared. Cottage cheese late afternoon snack gave me life.
Day 2- Birthday party for a couple of friends including chips, dips, pizza, Jameson… All things that I love. It wasn’t hard to turn them down, just felt kind of out of place not being able to enjoy myself in the same way as everybody else.
Days 3 & 4- Busy and long days at work. It was difficult getting all my protein in between appointments.
Day 5- Better! It was less difficult being around everybody eating and drinking what they wanted. Getting the hang of timing my shakes right. Found some fabulous GNC shakes that taste like Starbucks drinks and satisfy all my pre-op requirements.
Day 6- Feeling great. Staying hydrated, having my protein and not feeling like I needed a 2nd snack or all of my soup.
Day 7- Bought 2 cases of the GNC shakes (treat yo self) and for the first time in a week, not having chicken and veggie soup for dinner!  Had a fabulous cup of Pho soup that meets the requirements (maybe a little sodium high, but I’ll be back to my chicken and veggies soon enough) and couldn’t have been happier with it.

I’ve been doing lots of mindful thinking. Thinking about the shakes I’m putting into my body. No, it isn’t an omelette and isn’t as fun to eat or as delicious- but it’s giving my body the exact nutrients that it needs! I’m also trying to pay better attention to when I’m not hungry anymore. I think that we’re all very used to just eating whats in front of us. Sometimes that’s ok because it’s healthy stuff in front of us. But- we need to be able to recognize when we’re done. That’s something new for me!

One week of full liquids and I’m down 15 lbs. Fifteen! Fifteen. How wild is that? I’ve got 5 more days of full liquids (shakes, cottage cheese/yogurt/jello snacks and chicken with veggie soup) and then the final two days are clear liquids only. It feels GREAT to step on the scale every morning and see it go down! I feel like this is a little taste of what post-op might feel like. I know every day I won’t lose and will probably stall after a few months, but it sure is nice seeing the scale get into numbers I haven’t seen in years. I’m now below my lowest weight from a couple of years ago when I was hitting the gym at 5:00 Monday-Friday and eating right! All it took was a medically supervised liquid fast- haha!

Last trip to the grocery store: I think on day 4 of the liquid fast I’d gone to the grocery store for more cottage cheese (story of my life) and saw some tiny cocktail spoons. One thing I’ve seen other weight loss surgery patients recommend is using these to slow down your meals! I figured, hey- why not make the tiny bit of cottage cheese you get last longer! Try these! So, I grabbed them. When I got to the register, the high school aged cashier scanned the tiny spoons. Upon putting them in the bag she said, “Awww, tiny spoons! Are you going to eat a tiny meal with the tiny spoons?”

Yes, yes I am.
-Alee