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.


90 pounds down, 10 pounds away ... ?

Well, took a bit of a blog breather during the holidays!

I simply felt like enjoying family time, baking stuff (that I mostly didn't eat) and getting caught up on some work.

Two pounds came off in December, and to be COMPLETELY honest, I was OK with that. Like really, really OK. In the past I would have called out my own B.S. because I would have been disappointed AF and beat myself up for not "doing more." But I didn't work out all that much, ate a surprising amount of Hershey's Kisses without ill effects (something to stash in my slippery slope file) and kept buying smaller and smaller jeans.

So I'll update you on my progress with a series of Instagram photos.

I got thoroughly sick of my hair -- between my half-assed DIY dye jobs, grown-out highlights, regrowth sticking out of my head like crabgrass, and the need to do something completely different.

I wrapped up the year in jeans, but I haven't stopped at a 12. I recently bought a couple pairs of Athleta Sculptek jeans in a size 10 petite ... whaaaaaah??? I can actually zip them up, but I'm realistically around 5 pounds away from them being truly comfortable.

I baked a couple loaves of no-knead bread, which was pretty cool. The first loaf was kinda heavy because I used whole wheat flour instead of bread flour. I liked the second loaf better as it rose better and had a lighter texture. I really don't eat very much bread -- maybe a piece once a week or so -- but I look at baking and cooking as more of a useful arts and crafts project nowadays.

Here's those size 10 petite jeans, and the funny thing about this photo is that I looked at it and thought "No one is going to believe these are a size 10 so make sure the tag is hanging off because you do not look like a size 10." For the most part, I haven't had body dysmorphia but this picture keeps messing with my head. For some reason I feel like I look bigger than I really am.

I spent the weekend at Epcot with a couple of awesome friends: Christine (and her husband, William) and Heather. We ate and drank our way through the world showcase, although my contribution was sneaking sips and bites of everyone else's treats (although I did get a great slice of pizza in Italy and ate around a third of it, and split a chocolate-dipped meringue four ways in France).

Finally saw 90 pounds down a few days ago. Couple weeks later than I wanted, but I am TOTALLY fine with that.

Oh, and before I forget, Julia, you are the winner of the Honey Cloudz sports bra inserts! I'll contact you on getting your info.


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.


My Black Friday deal for you: A Honey Cloudz Giveaway!

I was sent a pair of Honey Cloudz to review.

Hey, it's 2018? Why shouldn't my kid get a MRSA infection while the crown on my dental implant decides to LITERALLY go sideways on me? Oh, and the AC? Take a dump, please, while the dog goes in for Cushing's Disease testing.

(And as I type this today, I just cracked a wisdom tooth. Great.)

What I'm getting at is I literally cannot wait for this year to go away. Don't get me wrong -- many amazing things have happened (like nearly 90 pounds off my caboose), but the year has pretty much been a dumpster fire for family and friends.

I think we all can use a little somethin' somethin' right about now, and to you I give you the somethin' somethin' of a great new product for all us sports bra and swimsuit wearing people -- inserts that stay put!

Since losing a bunch o' weight, I've had the pleasure of getting a bunch of new sports bras and swimsuits, and those foam inserts are just the worst! Either they're weirdly shaped, too small, too concave, too wrinkly, too lumpy or too active -- disappearing in the washing machine, or folding in half while you're trying to wrestle on your bra or swimsuit top.

I got some great sports bras from a very popular activewear store, and while I love the bras, I don't love the weird boob wrinkles that the inserts give me.

Enter Honey Cloudz!

Inserts
They're premium bra/swimsuit inserts that have a grippy face covered with silicone honeycombs that allows the inserts to stay put. They're also a lot smoother than most inserts so you won't have wrinkles or lumps where there shouldn't be any. The part facing your body is a moisture-wicking material. 

The best thing is that they come in two shapes -- half moon or oval -- five sizes from extra small to extra large, and five colors from light to dark.

I have tried them in a couple different sports bras and also in a couple swimsuit tops that have removable pads, and they are absolutely great!

Nothing budged, everything was smooth and comfortable and they went in and came out easily, so you can get a pair and use 'em in all your clothing.

Right now, I'm around a 38C, and I ordered the medium in the half-moon shape. The size fits all my bras and swimsuits perfectly. I also got the lightest color, which is Vanilla Sugar. 

I talked with Honey Cloudz, and they assure me that they'll hold up in the pool:

"The fabric base is polyester, queen of chlorine fabric wise. We have tested them with aqua fitness instructors and competitive swimmers over the course of 12 months of an average 3 swims/classes per week. Some 4-5 and others 2-3. The inserts held up very well in a chlorine and seawater over 12 consistent months."

Here's a video from Honey Cloudz that explains the product more.

And now, a giveaway!

I really love Honey Cloudz and think you will, too. You can take advantage of their Black Friday weekend sale, now through Monday. Use code BLACKFRIDAYWEEKEND  at www.honeycloudz.com. 

Or you can try and win a pair! All you need to do is follow the directions on this Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


My squats are perfect!

One big side effect of losing more than 80 pounds is that I've lost my caboose! 

I was kind of shocked when I caught a side view of myself lately. Apparently, my rear was made up of pizza and tacos and not much muscle, because when the weight came off, so did my back side.

So I knew that I'd have to work on building muscle and definition in that area, and what better way than to squat!

But squats can be tricky -- unless you have perfect form, you can end up aggravating your knees and your back. Since I don't have the best upper spine, I tend to lean over too much when I squat, and bad squats can be more tiring than good squats. 

Enter the SquatMaster!

I was sent a SquatMaster for review purposes, and I love it. It's not a machine -- instead you do all the work but you do it in perfect alignment, which makes the squats less stressful (and you can do more of them).

Squatmaster side
Squatmaster side

From the photos, it may look like I'm sitting on something but I'm not. I'm performing a perfect squat.

This thing is great. All you do is stand on the SquatMaster, put your legs between the rollers, grab onto the handle and squat. Holding onto the handles lets you sink into the perfect squat while keeping everything in perfect alignment. 

I'm all about the squat, but you can do a bunch more moves on the SquatMaster, including post-workout stretches and yoga poses. Here's a short video showing all the different exercises you can do,

 

 We keep the SquatMaster in the corner of the living room where it's easy to hop on and bust out a bunch of squats while watching TV. 

I've made the SquatMaster a part of my everyday strength training because you can never do enough squats.

You can find out more information at SquatMaster.info.


My aqua aerobics must-haves

Here's a little secret -- twice a week I've been working out with people my mom's age and loving it. 

Maybe it's because I'm usually the youngest person in the pool, maybe it's because you can't get hot and sweaty in the pool, maybe it's because I get to wear all my new swimwear that I bought since I've lost more than 75 pounds. 

Or maybe because aqua aerobics classes are a damn good workout and it's super fun. 

Now that I have a Fitbit that I can safely wear in the pool, I noticed that each hourlong workout burns around 500 calories, which is not too shabby for feeling like you're playing with pool toys while Pitbull "dales!" in the background.

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If you want to take the plunge (HA!) and try pool workouts, I have learned there are some things that are essential.

Don't workout barefoot

Aqua aerobics has a lot of jumping, shuffling, hopping and jogging, so it's important that there's a bit of a supportive layer under your feet. It'll just make things more comfortable and more enjoyable -- and it'll keep you from getting athlete's foot from the soggy locker room floor. There are some top-notch real-deal aqua workout shoes out there but I wanted to see if I could economize and get a happy medium between those and those drugstore cheap-o aqua socks. (Do they only sell stuff like that in Florida drugstores?) I found these slip-on water shoes and they seem to be holding up well -- unlike the water shoes of one woman in class whose shoes basically disintegrated in the pool last week. She was picking up chunks of rubber from the pool bottom at the end of the class. They drain really well, dry quickly and are relatively cute.

 

Wear a supportive swimsuit

There's a lot of jumping going on in the pool, something that on land would be considered really high impact. You need to hold those girls down so finding the right swimsuit is important. I have learned that floaty layered tops don't work (the layers just hang out in your armpit area) and flirty skirted suits don't stay where they're supposed to and you spend half the time yanking the skirted part down.

Tankinis are great as are sporty one-pieces. I got a cute purple paisley tankini at Swimsuits for All, but alas, I can't find it there anymore. I also got a sporty Reebok suit at Nordstrom Rack that's made for working out in. It's not there anymore either but here it is at Amazon.

Get a wet bag for that drippy swimsuit

Here's my tip for doing a "prewash" on your chlorine-saturated swimsuit -- take a shower at the gym in your swimsuit to wash off a majority of the pool water. Then instead of wrapping up your wet suit in your wet towel, creating a wet mess in your gym bag, get yourself a "wet bag" that'll tote your suit home and keep everything else dry. I got a set of two cute Alva Baby wet bags on Amazon, and what's great about them is that they have two compartments, because I found that one of my new swim tops bled a little on my board short bottoms. This way you can keep 'em separated.

Protect your hair

The first week, before I had my aqua goodies, my hair resembled shredded wheat, so I desperately googled how to protect your hair from chlorine because my mop isn't going to fit in a swim cap without looking ridiculous. The key here is to make sure your hair is already saturated with something good so your hair doesn't suck up the chlorinated water. Fresh water, hair conditioner, even coconut oil (greasy!) is supposed to work, but I found AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense, and it got enough good reviews that I decided to give it a try. First off, it smells fantastic and has a really nice texture. I put my hair in a ponytail, then squirt out a big handful of AquaGuard and coat the outside of my hair and all the ponytail area. It has made a huge difference in my hair's condition, and it also rinses out easily (unlike the coconut oil, I'm guessing).

Soak your suit

I bought a swimwear cleaner that's supposed to get the chlorine stink out, but so far it's not working as well as Woolite Delicate Care liquid and a splash of vinegar, so that's what I'm going to stick with. Just make sure to soak the suit for around 20 minutes, then rinse it well and hang it to dry without wringing it out, because that's bad for the fabric.

My gym has its own pool noodles and aqua dumbbells, so thankfully I didn't need to buy those or shlep them to the gym. But I did learn that even though the dumbbells are basically made from foam roller material it makes a difference what size you use. The bigger the dumbbell the more water resistance, so go big for a lot of "weight." But go thinner on the pool noodles because you want to be able to sink that noodle down under your foot to provide lower-body resistance, and unless you're King Kong, you're not going to be able to keep a full-size noodle under your foot.

(I learned that the hard and hilarious way on the first day!)

 


Words of Wisdom Wednesday: On Eating Well

I've been trying to add in more fruit and vegetables lately, but when your diet is "all protein all the time" it can be hard to make room for things that aren't protein. So my plan is to cram in as much protein as I can at meal time and save snacks and evenings for the produce bins. Tonight, for example, I had a salad and some peach slices. I bought some big-ass peaches that are probably bigger than my stomach and I can't finish them in one sitting, which is NOT what the situation would have been before gastric bypass. But it feels good to make room for fresh stuff.

Eating well is a form of self respect