Bariatric surgery Feed

Is shooting for 100 pounds lost a shallow goal?

Keep_It_100Hey, I just started my new job this week and I have my "weekend" today and Thursday, so I get to play catch-up on a bunch of stuff -- one of which is this blog.

The few pounds that I gained over a few weeks came off really easily plus a couple more, which now leaves me just 5 pounds away from losing 100 pounds.

Do I need to lose 5 pounds? Not really. I'm comfortably into my size 10 Athleta and NYDJ jeans and wearing more mediums than larges in tops. 

But do I want to lose those 5 pounds and strut around saying "I lost 100 pounds?" 

What do you think?

Oh-yeah-PixTeller

To be clear, 165 pounds is still 16 pounds away from a so-called "healthy" BMI number. Apparently I need to be below 150 to fit that outdated standard, and not even my doctors and dietitian is pushing for that. (For more on BMI, click HERE at FitBottomedGirls.com.) 

But for me? I think 165 will be just fine -- better than fine, really. I still want to build more muscle and probably shave off a little more fat and I saw that working out super regularly, like I did last week, goes a long way to achieving that goal.

This week, though? Eeek. I missed Monday and Tuesday because I was reminded that slogging back and forth through traffic and working a full day does not make one eager to workout as soon as they get home from work. So I'll play catch-up with that today and tomorrow, and also on the days that I'll be working evenings. It's a lot easier to workout before work, but I don't want to get up at 5 a.m. right now to do that because that won't be my regular schedule in a couple weeks.

Am I making excuses for not working out? Sure! But I don't need to make myself nutty anymore when it comes to working out, so it's all good. I'll get enough in while my schedule jumps around. I'll also make sure to take the stairs at work and take active breaks during the workday instead of sticking my nose in my phone in the break room.

So yeah, I'm gonna go for it.

 


Back from my weight-loss rumspringa!

(I had written a great blog post a couple weeks ago, but I forgot to hit "save" and the whole thing went ka-blooey and I got ticked off and didn't feel like rewriting it, so here we are today. Hiya!)

The Amish and Mennonite communities have a rite of passage called rumspringa, where some teenagers in the sects sow their oats for a bit before coming back into the fold (or not -- I've seen those TLC reality shows).

Anywhoozle, I kinda did that the past few weeks, but instead of oats I used popcorn. And really good granola, and basically anything that could fit in Tiny Tum-Tum.

I’ve been using the LoseIt app and WW, but the 6-month membership to WW had run out as did my interest. I was realizing that those magical zero-Point foods weren’t wielding their magic anymore, and I was just eating random hard-boiled eggs and tangerines because ZERO! Listen, food is food, and the plan is great and all, but I have a finite amount of real estate inside me (going from a McMansion to a studio) and I really can’t be eating food and not counting it.

I also discovered that carbing it up and not counting said carbs led to a gain of 3 pounds from March 17 to April 1. Not a huge gain, but a gain nonetheless, and I am not into backsliding.

So I’ve pared things down to the LoseIt app now and vowed to count everything I consume.

What else am I doing?

Better meal planning: None of this willy-nilly foraging in the kitchen stuff.

Tuna salad

Better meals: I can get pretty lazy with eating, depending on protein bars, protein shakes, protein tortilla chips, protein waffles -- you get the drift. Some of those things just don’t leave me satisfied, so I stocked up on cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, and tuna packets for “lazy” protein that is more satisfying and “food” like. (That's a Thai chili tuna packet and some chopped avocado over salad greens.)

Jillian body rev

An Active April: I had been half-assing my workouts and to fully-ass them, I made a pledge on Instagram to do something -- anything -- every day this month. I pulled out my copy of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution from 2012 and am committing to that for the month. So far so good. I’m three workouts in and really enjoying the half hour workouts.

So, lemme tell ya, it doesn’t take much to turn this ship around: Those 3 pounds I found on Monday are just about gone as of Wednesday. I don’t know if it’s because I’m smaller, or my metabolism is better or what, but I can turn things around pretty quickly now and it’s gratifying.

Gail 0419

I spent all of Wednesday wearing my Athleta size 10 petite jeans and I felt pretty darn bad-ass.

(I’m growing my hair out a bit from the big December chop and I feel a bit like that guy from “The IT Crowd.”)

Gailface 0419
Gailface 0419

OK, not quite, but growing out haircuts is the worst.

In other news…

I got a new job! I’ve been freelancing for the past decade and the hustle game has never been my thing, so starting Monday I’ll be on the alerts desk at CBS Sports Digital. I’m really psyched because I have always loved writing headlines and it’s sports! Everybody loves sports! So no hard news (I’ll leave that to the husband). I'll still continue doing stuff for Fit Bottomed Girls because I lurrve them and it's fun.

I’ve been sorting out my office wardrobe, since working from home plus losing over 90 pounds means I have a lot of bummin’ around stuff but not much for working around people who aren’t your family or dog. Thank goodness for ThredUp, Poshmark and sales at Athleta, Old Navy and Loft (those are my go-to stores now). It still blows my mind that I'm in sizes 10, 12 and medium now. I haven't worn those since I was in my 20s.

I’m also perusing my lunchbag and container stash because I’ll be bringing my own stuff. It’s much easier to deal with my tiny stomach and its many likes and dislikes without wasting money on takeout food.

So, to use a phrase from my mom, that's what's new in the zoo.


A year ago I started 'today'

A-year-from-now

Y'know that quote "A year from now you may wish you had started today"? Year after year I would see that phrase and sigh wistfully. 

  • Sighing for the eating plans I gave up on.
  • Sighing for the gyms and trainers I had abandoned.
  • Sighing for the workout rotation calendars I had stopped following.
  • Sighing for everything I had started and stopped because it wasn't working for me.

And then, at the end of 2017 I decided to make that phrase a reality, to look at that sticker in my planner and feel a sense of accomplishment.

That's what I got to do this year.

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(Anyone else a Happy Planner sticker fanatic? I have FAR too many sticker books.)

(And yes, the wording on the sticker is slightly different than the actual quote; don't think I didn't notice. I AM a copy editor and it's in my DNA to obsess over things like that.)

I got to look at that New Year's Eve sticker and shake my head "Yep! I did that!" this year.

I had my 1-year post-op recheck on Monday. The doctor didn't really do much -- mainly asked me if I had any health concerns, told me my bloodwork and scale work were stellar and send me on my merry way. I spent more time with the dietitian (as usual) because it's all about the eating and what the fancy Tanita scale shows. 

The best thing it showed was that my basal metabolic rate is 1,445 calories, which for a woman of my (ahem) age and lifetime of dieting is pretty darn good. That means that not even factoring in activity, I can eat that many calories and maintain my weight, which as of Monday was 173 pounds. I'm shooting for 165, which will get me to an even 100 pounds lost, so the BMR should hang out around that number. 

While 1,400 calories may not seem like much, it's pretty substantial for tiny tum-tums such as mine. I average around 1,200 right now, so 1,400 should be doable. 

Since Monday was my last prepaid visit with the bariatric dietitian, I asked her for the calendar of bariatric post-op meetings. Cleveland Clinic Florida has a fantastic support network, and I can go to a variety of post-op nutritional, emotional wellness and general support group meetings twice a month. 

Monday morning was the nutrition support group, and I got there about 15 minutes after it started. The group of around 20 was already into a spirited conversation about the keto diet, mostly because one guy seemed to think that everyone should be eating that way without exception. (Cool story, bro, but I like carbs.)

The dietitian leading the group was a familiar face, because I went to her and my other dietitian when I did the non-surgical weight-loss program at the hospital around six years ago. 

She got pretty "inside baseball" on nutrition, which I adore. We talked glycogenesis, the Krebs cycle, bariatric anatomy -- all the fun stuff! 

She also explained why we should be chewing fibrous food thoroughly, with the explanation of what a bezoar is (and no, it's not the founder of Amazon.com). 

Another takeaway from that class, which I had heard before but had cemented into my psyche: My morning coffee with two scoops of collagen peptides is kind of a waste of time and money. "Think of it like eating Jell-O for breakfast," she said of the quality of the protein. So this morning I kicked off my day with a half cup of cottage cheese and a few pineapple chunks -- real, actual, complete protein. 

I think I'm going to start hitting up the meetings for another layer of information and support on the journey to maintenance, because as I have said and will continue to say: This weight is NOT coming back.

Video extra!

If you didn't catch that TV news segment that featured my sister and I (and the dog), here it is from Ivanhoe Broadcast's YouTube page:

 


Coming to a teevee near you (maybe) -- me!

A few months ago, a TV crew visited my sister and I to do a story on weight loss. We basically talked their ears off (as I am wont to do), but the story was ultimately boiled down to a 2-minute healthy living segment for local news.

I knew it would be airing in February but wasn't sure when. Then I got an email that some people had signed up for updates through Mailchimp and figured the segment was starting to air around the country. 

I don't know exactly where or when it'll air on any given station because TV stations throughout the country subscribe to this syndicate (Ivanhoe). 

But you're in luck! Here's a link to the piece from a station in upper Michigan. My sister (and my dog) are in the piece, and my sis is down more than 60 pounds since April.

The producer had asked me for "before" photos, and to be honest, it was kinda hard to find any. As most "fat moms" know, we're the family photographer, always volunteering to take photos and grudgingly appearing in a few, hiding behind the kids. But I found a few. 

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Anywhooo...

I got my bloodwork back for my big one-year bariatric checkup, and once again my blood kicks butt. My total cholesterol is a swanky 146 with an HDL (good stuff) of 55, LDL (bad stuff) of 71 and a ratio of 1.3, which supposedly gives me half the risk of heart disease of the average person. My triglycerides are 100, which is big news for me because they've always been a little high (hello, carbs!). 

And, no, my eating is not particularly stellar. It's kinda boring, still pretty toddler sized, but the occasional fistful of tortilla chips or square of dark chocolate makes it into my day. 

Did I mention I joined WW before Thanksgiving?

I wanted to see what the hubbub was all about with its new focus on wellness, and I'm really enjoying it. There's not that old focus on weird low-point dessert recipes and overprocessed snack foods. It really does get more into activity and mindset, and WW has teamed up with the fitness app Aaptiv and the meditation app Headspace, and offers abbreviated selections on the WW app. I've lost 14 pounds with WW's help and I like the accountability of having someone other than myself weigh me once a week, because this weight is NOT. COMING. BACK.

As for the number on the scale, last Saturday I was at 174, which is nine pounds away from an even hundred.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever be able to lose 100 pounds -- even after having gastric bypass. The amount just seemed so overwhelming. I didn't think I needed to lose 100 pounds, and to be honest, I probably could stop here and be fine. 

But, c'mon! Who doesn't want to hit a hundy? 

I'll fill you in next week on how the one-year anniversary checkup goes.


The belly shot (and last day for giveaway!)

Ladies and gents, I present to you: What my midsection looks like after losing 87 pounds:

Bellyshot

Overall, not bad! I'm pretty happy with the lack of squishy, loose skin, but I carried the bulk of my weight in the butt and thighs. Butt looks OK, thighs are kinda wobbly, upper arms are hilarious, but 1) I lost a bunch of weight; 2) I wear Bermuda shorts; and 3) I'm in my mid-50s so things were not going to spring back anyway. 

I do have a goofy deal going on in the belly button region now, since one of the surgery scars is right above it. Again, I'm not 1990s Britney Spears wearing belly shirts, so I'll live with it. 

Loose skin was something I fretted about when I was considering surgery. But loose skin doesn't just come from weight-loss surgery; it comes from all substantial weight loss, so it was gonna happen no matter what I did to lose weight. 

I'll take loose skin and wobbly bat wings any day over carrying around the excess weight and feeling like crap. 

Will I do "plastics" and tighten things up? I don't see that happening. It's all out of pocket, more major surgery, really expensive, involves multiple drains (I couldn't even deal with the one drain I had in February), and, to be honest, I look good in clothes and I don't have a burning desire to wear booty shorts or a bikini. 

I'm sharing this photo to help anyone thinking that loose skin is in their future after they lose weight. I'm over 50 and I don't feel like a freak show. Go for it.

Last day for the Honey Cloudz giveaway!

If you're interested in winning a pair of the best sports bra/swimsuit inserts I have ever tried, today is the last day. Go to my post HERE and get in your entries.


It doesn't work that way anymore

Rewire my brain-PixTeller-1319743
I don't know why I think I'll be back over 200 pounds when I get on the scale every week because it doesn't work that way anymore.  

I don't know why I think my jeans won't fit when I put them on, even though they fit a couple weeks ago. 

I don't know why I thought all those extra-large tankini tops would fit me when I brought them in the dressing room when I just got rid of a bunch of swimsuits in that size.

It doesn't work that way anymore.

But my brain still works that way, and it's going to take time to remold it to my new normal. That's the cool thing about brains -- you can rewire them but it takes time.

It's not really body dysmorphia because I DO see the changes when I look in the mirror. It's more like my brain having to play catch-up with my body. When I'm folding laundry I'll hold up a pair of my jeans and think "How do these possibly fit me???"

But they do. 

:) 

 


Three cheers for getting the heck out of the 200s!

Gail-in-onederland

I was waiting until this morning to step on the scale because I thought "Why not have the entire nation shoot off fireworks for this?"

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via GIPHY

via GIPHY

And that was after eating restaurant food last night! Granted, all I had was half an appetizer eggroll, one nacho and the insides of a blackened shrimp taco, but still.

 

via GIPHY

So now we come to the part of the show where Gail tries to figure out her "goal weight" because for YEARS I used to just say "Oh, I'd be happy just to get below 200!" 

Which I am now.

We all know BMI is a joke, especially if you have a large frame and a lot of muscle, which I thankfully do, so I'm not going to base my target weight on that random number. The scale at the hospital spits out a target weight every time I step on it, and it takes a lot of parameters into account, like age, height, body fat, muscle, bone, water, etc. The last time I stepped on, I got a "predicted weight" of 169.4 pounds, so I'll go with that for now. 

And since it's the Fourth of July, we shall celebrate with a vegan hotdog and my favorite Sousa march!

 


Burnin' my butter

Hey! Quickly popping in with a tale o' the tape -- more precisely a printout from the hospital dietitian's fancy Tanita scale today.

I meet with the dietitian every couple months to go over my eating, make any adjustments to my plan, and step on the high-tech scale. I have a pretty high-tech home scale in my Withings/Nokia/Withings Again Body Cardio scale, but this one is hospital grade, so I tend to trust it a bit more. 

I've been kicking butt in fat loss -- my April reading showed that out of the 17 total pounds I lost from February to April, 11.4 pounds was pure fat, 1 pound was total body water, and only 1 pound was fat-free mass. I know that doesn't completely add up, but I'm going by what the printout says. Apparently the more fat you lose, the more accurate the scale readings get.

Today's reading -- from April 10 to June 13 -- showed that out of the 17.8 total pounds I lost, 17 pounds was fat with just under a pound of fat-free mass lost.

All this to say ...

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 I am burnin' the butter, which is a phrase Denise Austin used to say in her exercise videos. I used to cringe when she said it, but now that I am burning actual human butter, I'm kinda digging it.

I have been exercising more (but am totally behind on it this week), but I'm not going nuts or anything. I make sure my meals are protein-forward, but not every meal is stellar.

I mention this because THIS is exactly why I had weight-loss surgery. The times when I could pound off a few pounds I was making myself absolutely NUTS, doing workouts I hated, obsessively and neurotically tracking my food and watching the scale slowly creep down, bounce back up or flatline. Now I can exercise and eat without making myself crazy, and the scale moves down. 

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My waistline is moving down, too. That's the only measurement I'm taking. At the beginning of the year my waist was around 42 inches. Today it was right around 35, a number that I've kept in my head ever since Dr. Oz used 35 inches as a marker for increased chronic diseases. So you can say I passed a big milestone this week.

Other notes from today

  • She's really happy with my weight loss, even though I intentionally slowed it in May to try out new foods and calorie levels. According to her scale I'm at 203.8, which is tantalizingly close to Onederland.
  • She wants me to increase my daily protein from 60 grams a day to 80 grams, so I'll be throwing protein powder in everything and chugging protein shakes until I can tolerate more solid proteins (STILL having an issue with chicken!).
  • She'd like me to keep my total calories to around 900 a day. I wasn't really sure how much to increase it from the initial 600-ish but I knew I had to once I started exercising. 
  • And I really need to do better with water. According to my Tanita printout, I'm on the low end of the hydration scale, so I'm breaking out the big Hydro Flask again and making sure I drink two of those a day. When you can't eat and drink at the same time it can get frustrating to get both your water and your protein in when your stomach is the size of an egg.

Less than while being more than

Y'know all those motivational platitudes about moving out of your comfort zone, or living life outside of your comfort zone?

FIND YOUR COMFORT ZONE - THEN LEAVE IT!

LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!

GREAT THINGS NEVER CAME FROM COMFORT ZONES!

Etc.

Lemme give you a different way to look at the phrase.

Pretty much all my life I have felt uncomfortable. 

Chosen last at kickball, made to wear the matronly ballet costume because it was bigger than all the other ones, being the youngest kid in the "teen" Weight Watchers meeting.

Being called Gail the Whale.

That's a pretty uncomfortable childhood. 

The discomfort shifted as an adult. 

Having the armrests dig into your hips at a theater, having a theme park employee shove the safety bar into your gut until it clicked, getting stupid "atta girls" from people at the gym because they thought I had never worked out before ("I'm a regular and I can squat you under the table, old man!").

Postponing routine bloodwork because if I give it a couple more months I can turn it all around with extra fish oil and walking and kale.

So I've been out of my comfort zone for quite awhile now, always feeling bigger or slower or lumpier or somehow "less than" while being "more than."

* * *

A couple weeks ago we went to a baseball game and I realized that I could stick my purse next to me on the set. 

Next to me on the seat!

I wasn't hip-checking my neighbor or having the armrests nudge into my sides. I was comfortably sitting in the seat, bumping into nothing and no one.

I didn't feel the dread of intruding on someone else's space. My space was my own.

Comfortable in my comfort zone.

And now, some updates!

2018-weight-loss-tracker-MAY

I deliberately added in more calories and carbs in May because I had been walking around lightheaded all the time, and I didn't like the feeling that I was going to fall over at the gym. I also have been trying and retrying foods to test my tolerance, and chicken and tomatoes are still on the naughty list. I just can't stomach them - literally. But some prepackaged protein shakes are back on the nice list, which is great because I have a lot of them. I had read that your tastes will evolve, and they really have. Stevia-sweetened things are still WAY too "aftertasty," but monkfruit sweetener is kinda nice. Overall, though, I do better with unsweetened stuff or just a touch of the real thing, like honey or agave. 

GAILFebToJuneAllSides2018

Here's my progression from Feb. 1 of this year to June 1. The front view doesn't really show a lot of change in my eyes, but the side view really has me stoked. I'm a lot flatter in the midsection, and my upper arms have deflated a lot (but holy jiggles, Batman! Those things are wobbly!). Total weight dropped from the beginning of the year is 59 pounds. I am around 6 pounds away from Onederland.

And now, a song for the weekend!

 


I think I found a great meal-planning app for my tiny new meals!

This is not a sponsored post. I just really think this is a great app and want you to know about it.

When I first had my weight-loss surgery back in February, and for weeks afterward, I averaged around 600 calories a day, which is TEENY-TINY, but believe it or not, that's the average. 

Now that I am 3 months out and exercising more regularly, 600 calories simply does not work. I discovered that when I started my stint with a personal trainer. I was wobbly, weak and lightheaded, and I knew that I had to get in more calories. 

Over the past couple months I've been working my way up in calories, and now I average around 900 to 1,000 calories a day and my weight loss is still plenty speedy. 

(Did I mention I'm 10 POUNDS AWAY FROM ONEDERLAND??????)

But planning a protein-heavy 1,000-calorie meal plan can be time consuming, and often I just wing it and end up not hitting my protein target.

Another problem I face is that in logging my food in My Fitness Pal, the app freaks out when I attempt to complete my food for the day. It throws up a red-lettered warning if my calorie is too low for its algorithm. 

Eat-this-much-logo
So I don't know where I found this, but clicking around the web yesterday I discovered Eat This Much, which is an automatic meal planner app, which you can use on your phone or on your desktop. 

I can tell it to make me a 1,000-calorie day and it doesn't scold me! I also can tell it what foods to exclude, whether I want to try paleo, Mediterranean, or vegetarian, how much protein I want to get in my day, what size meals I want and how many of them I want. It's really customizable.

It'll generate a day's worth of meals, and if you aren't fond of a meal or a meal component, you can replace it with another one. If you're dining out, you can choose a restaurant meal from its database that'll fit in with your macros. And if you're thrifty, you can direct the app to give you dinner leftovers to eat for lunch or dinner the next day.

Now, I'm only a day into using this app but it looks like it'll help a lot with my meal planning and won't have me lunging for the protein bars and cottage cheese all day. And as you can probably tell, this app is great for anyone on any type of eating plan. 

The plan is free, but there is a premium version that allows you to plan a week in advance and make more modifications. The first two weeks of premium are free. 

Here's a super cute video that explains the program:

And here's a deal!

Any time someone clicks on my link (https://www.eatthismuch.com/a/gogogail) and signs up for a subscription, you AND I will automatically receive $9 in credit. 

Let's dance!