Two years since surgery? It’s not all sunshine and lollipops…

The struggle is real…

I’m at the two year mark.  I’m scared and I’m worried.  I’m struggling with some weight gain.  I’ve allowed old habits to creep back into my life – Mindless snacking and making excuses to not exercise.  Up until now, I didn’t see the impact of allowing these habits to return  –  it has become real with a 17 pound weight gain.

I had to verbalize that number…17…seventeen…SEVENTEEN…when I went to the doctor this week with a suspected gallbladder problem.  I had to say that number out loud – it brought back memories of August 20, 2013 when I stepped on the doctor’s office scale and cried.  The day I decided to have weight loss surgery.  I felt defeated.  I felt  like a failure.  I knew what was going on – I was procrastinating making my two-year follow up appointment.  If I didn’t go to the doctor, that number was still just in my mind – saying it made it very real and very scary.

While I absolutely adore my doctor, I didn’t want to see her.  She’s not judgmental – I take care of that on my own – I guess I wasn’t ready to face her or my weight gain.  The gallbladder issue forced my hand.  She is so gracious and thoughtful – there was no judgment.  She asked what a typical day looks like from a food perspective – yes, I’ve been grazing a lot (my restriction is still really good, but I’ve learned that 30 minutes after I eat, I can eat again…taking in way to many calories).  She asked about exercise – I’ve been busy with work travel, I haven’t been able to exercise on a consistent basis.  In all honesty, I haven’t made it a priority for the past 3 months.  Her response…a cleverly stated, “Exercise is not an optional activity.”   We also talked about appetite suppressants…queue the doomsday music.

“I thought those days were behind me!”  Meaning, taking an appetite suppressant is what I used to do prior to surgery – one of those things I didn’t think I would ever have to do again.  It felt “diety”!  Her response was, “Maybe this is what you need to get a jumpstart.  This could just be a short-term solution to get you back on track.”  We talked about my daily meal plan (3 meals with food and 2 shakes daily) along with the appetite suppressants.  I reluctantly agreed and scheduled a follow-up appointment for six weeks.  I went home and felt sorry for myself for a few hours.

I networked with some folks on line and did some research.  Then I had an attitude adjustment with myself  –  I thought about how I’ve been eating, my excuses for not exercising, how I’ve lost my focus.  I was taking my surgery for granted.  I reminded myself that this is a lifelong commitment and that I still have responsibilities to take care of me and live the right way, I was relying way to much on my sleeve.  I got defiant – fat was not going to win!  I need to put verbs in my sentences and regain control.

So, the timing is great – a new resolution for a new year!  2016 is my reset button.  I have some lofty goals with regard to physical activity:  1008 miles (a friend of mine and are doing a “run the year” challenge, our team of two will do a total of 2016 miles in 2016), 120 yoga practices and 210 days of at least 10K steps (trying to keep up the activity level, not doing a lot miles in a couple of days).  I am also vowing to blog at least once a month in 2016 to show my progress – accountability is key.

I’m feeling energized again.  I’m feeling like I’m working towards my goals again.  In fact, I’m looking forward to 2016 – maybe this is McButterpants 2.0!



Too much travel!!!!!!

I’ve been home 5 days out of the last 26 days…I’ve been traveling more for work, then took a working vacation with Mr. McButterpants to San Francisco.  I leave again in a week for two weeks.  I told my boss that I need to limit travel starting in April because my son plays baseball and I am not willing to miss any of his games.  She was so nice about it, “No problem, I understand completely.”  Refreshing since so many bosses I have had in the past would not have been that understanding.

Our time in San Francisco was awesome.  We rented an apartment about 8 blocks from the ocean.  We have always stayed downtown or in Nobb Hill…this year we ventured out to the more residential, Outer Richmond.  We worked during the day and explored in the afternoon and evening.  It’s largely residential, so we didn’t have the sirens and city noise we have had in the past.

We walked, walked and walked some more.  We explored Lands End and Golden Gate Park.  We logged over 56 miles in a week…17 miles in one day!  OMG, I could not have done that 75 pounds ago.  I was tired, EXHAUSTED, but I was really proud of myself.  Though we were tempted at times to call a cab, we just kept moving and finding new sights to explore.  It was a beautiful day wondering through a beautiful city.
(One of my favorite spots at Fisherman’s Wharf…I could watch the sea lions for hours!)

We rented a convertible one day and hit the road.  We stopped in Pacifica and went for what was supposed to be a little walk.  It ended up being a 45 minute hike up a cliff.  It was beautiful!  Again, something I couldn’t have done 75 pounds ago!
(Our car is parked in that parking lot…)

I started back at hot yoga when we returned from San Francisco – it had been over three weeks since my last practice.  Wow, it was hard.  I didn’t feel good for a day or two after that first practice.  I have gone two days in a row now and am getting back into the swing of things.  I leave again next week, so I’ll lose it again!  Ugh!!!!

The power of the buddy system…

I never really bought into that work-out buddy theory.  I always thought I was good enough motivation for myself, but that really didn’t work out for me as evidenced by the number of times I would hit the gym hard, then give up after a few weeks.

Since reconnecting with my lifelong friend, we’ve been making appointments appointments to exercise.  We actually put our hikes in our work calendars and we plan our hot yoga sessions in advance.  Knowing she will be there is a good motivator to go.  I rely on her to be there and she relies on me to be there.  We both slack off a little when we know the other person won’t be there.

Last night we were texting with her sister-in-law that is doing the 2,015 for 2015 that I mentioned last week.  They were sending me their miles for the week and both were higher than mine because I didn’t put in any miles that day.  I said, “Underachiever here, I didn’t do anything today!”  Her response was, “The day’s not over!”  That did it for me…I got my ass up off the couch and went to the gym and got in 4.8 miles.  I felt better about myself and about helping the team.  I was amazed at the power of those four words.

I’m now a believer in the buddy system.  I know that my friends will be looking for me at our 5:30 am at hot yoga class.  I know I don’t want to make the call to say, “I’m not going hiking today.”  Or now that we’re doing the challenge, “I’m not going to get to my mileage this week.”  Call it friendly competition, call it peer pressure – it doesn’t matter, it’s motivation for me!

I can tackle that mountain – 3 times in a row!

I was looking back at some old posts and saw my post from June 6, 2014 where I made to the top of the 200 foot butte without stopping.  I remember that day well.  I remember that I cried when I got to the top.  I remember how hard it was and how my son cheered me on to not stop, that we were almost to the top and to keep going.  That was an emotional day.

Well, I’ve come a long way in 4 short months…I can now climb up that same butte, three times, back to back to back without stopping and we even run up the last 30 yards to the top!  Talk about a sense of accomplishment.  We timed ourselves once and it takes between 5 minutes and 6 minutes to do the climb – that doesn’t sound like a lot until you’re about two minutes into and your lungs are burning, your legs are tired and you are gasping for breath.  It’s not easy.  It’s physically and mentally hard…but the reward at the top, is so worth it!

Some days are easier than others…

I started out my day this morning with hot yoga practice at 5:30 am.  I took a couple of days off and boy did I feel it.  My muscles felt tight, I didn’t feel as flexible and at times it felt like the heat was blowing right on my face.  I did the best I could – some days showing up is half the battle.  For me, I think I shouldn’t take more than one day off at a time.  The same thing happened last week when I took two days off in a row.

I’m having a hard time concentrating at work today as well.  It seems like I’m in a funk.  I don’t know why.  I just feel tired and a little lazy.  At least I got my exercise in and I have plans to go for a walk later this afternoon…maybe that will clear this haze I seem to be in.

I just enjoyed a great breakfast morning…it was my usual egg with a diced Jimmy Dean turkey sausage pattie and topped with cheese.  Today, I felt like having a little more, so I added about 1/8 of a bagel with some cream cheese.  I used to love sitting down to a huge bagel store bagel – you know the ones…they are the size of a hubcap.  I could eat one or two bagels in one sitting along with a cup of strong coffee.  I can’t begin to imagine the calorie content in that, but I suspect it’s well over 500.  So, I enjoyed a part of a bagel with some cream cheese and it hit the spot.  I can’t drink my coffee while enjoying it, but I’ll save that for later.  (The omelet looks big in the picture, but I promise it’s one egg…it was very thin before I folded it over!)
IMG_1485I took a picture of myself over the weekend as I do fairly often.  I like to look at the progress pictures.  Sometimes it feels like I’m looking at someone else when I see my “before” pictures.  It’s strange, too, that my husband says he doesn’t remember me looking like that.  Weird.  So, here’s me on “decision day” 08/21/13 and this weekend, 09/14/14 at 10 months post-op…
Photo on 8-20-13 at 12.17 PM09-14-14

A day in the life…

Prior to surgery, I often wondered what a day in the life of a weight loss surgery was like.  Here is what my day consisted of yesterday…I guess this is a typical Saturday for me.

I woke up at 5:30 am…ugh – why so early on a Saturday?!?!  I think my body is getting used to the 4:30 am wake up call since I’ve been doing the 5:30 am Hot Yoga classes during the week (more on that in tomorrow’s post).  I enjoyed a wonderfully strong cup of coffee (one of my weaknesses…I do drink it with Half & Half and agave…no judgements, please), read the paper and caught up with my on-line support group.

I ate a protein bar on the way to Hot Yoga.  I usually have 1/2 of a protein shake made with coconut milk to help replace the electrolytes lost during class, but I didn’t have time.  Class was amazing!  I feel so energized after.  When I got home I had a 1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt topped with some Honey Nut Cheerios (not the greatest choice, I would have preferred granola, but I didn’t have any) and 1/3 of a banana.

The hubs and I went to the Farmers Market where we wandered around sipping coffee and people watching.  After scoping out the choices we decided on sweet corn and onions and he stopped at the bakery kiosk where he picked up some sweet rolls for he and my son.  I admit, I had a few bites of the cheese danish and OMG, it was wonderful!

When we got home, I made myself a breakfast for lunch.  A Jimmy Dean Turkey sausage patty and an egg topped with cheese.  This is usually my breakfast every day.  It’s got tons of protein.

After lunch we went to my son’s baseball game.  I had another cup of coffee (I’m identifying a behavior here…too much coffee, too many empty calories!).  I ate some peanuts and a protein bar at the game.  (I ate way too many peanuts…I wasn’t hungry, it’s a nervous reaction – again, another behavior I need to address!).

We went out to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings – I had some chips with queso dip as an appetizer.  Dinner was one chicken tender with Buffalo sauce and some blue cheese dressing.  (It still amazes me how little I eat when I have dense protein like chicken or beef.)

I was a great day with lots of family time, exercise, great coffee and good food.  I still enjoy good food, I just don’t eat a lot of it.  That cheese danish was amazing, but I didn’t want more than couple of bites – I know that if I had more, I wouldn’t feel good.

I read something once that said thin people subconsciously think about how they are going to physically feel after they eat something.  That was foreign to me because I am an emotional eater – I wanted something I was eating to make me feel better emotionally.  That has changed.  I now go through that thought process of “How am I going to feel after I eat that?”  I am often surprised at how I can go thru that process and change my mind on what to eat.

Have a great week, everyone!

Weigh-in – Week 7…and a Mr. McButterpants message

Starting weight (08/20/13):              256.0
Pre-op weight (11/12/13):               238.2
Today’s weight (01/04/14):              212.8

Total weight loss:                            43.2 pounds
Weight loss since surgery:            25.4 pounds
Last week’s loss:                               3.2 pounds

I’ll start by stating I am a very lucky girl.  I was lucky enough to find and marry by best friend.  The fact that our paths crossed in the first place was amazing.

I was a buyer for a small company in the Northwest.  He was a salesman for a company in the Southeast.  We would talk on the phone when he would try to sell me his wares.  Our conversations started getting longer and longer until one day his secretary came in and complained we had been on the phone for 45 minutes.  He asked me if he could call me at home that night.  I gave him my home number and immediately thought, “This is crazy.  If he calls tonight I’m going to tell him to not call me again.”  Well, he did call me that night and in the eight hours we talked, I didn’t get the chance to tell him to not call me again.  We wouldn’t meet each other face-to-face until about a year later.  That was 18 years ago.

Yes, there are days that I want to run him over with my car or push him off a cliff, but most days, I love him to pieces.  We enjoy spending time with each other, we have the same values, and we rarely fight (and when we do, I’m usually right!).   While our marriage isn’t perfect, our house is in disarray and we procrastinate on just about everything, I wouldn’t trade my life with him for anything.

I asked Mr. McButterpants to write an entry for my blog, kind of a “weight loss surgery from the husband’s perspective” sort of a thing.  I cried when I read this the first time and I cried when I read it the tenth time – this means so very much to me and it warms my heart.  My weight loss surgery has ruled my life for the past four months.  If I wasn’t talking about it, I was thinking about it.  It still occupies many of our conversations – either my struggles, my successes or we talk about people I meet in on-line forums.  Sometimes it takes a message like this to make you truly thankful for what you have.

From Mr. McButterpants:
The wife recently asked me to write a little something for her blog. Not much on writing more than witty quips in response to my friends Facebook posts, my first response was a “oh sure” and then to politely ignore the request. It’s a tactic that works I’d say 75% of the time. I was hoping that she would be so excited (or distraught) about weight loss/lack of weight loss/not pooping/pooping/someone else pooping or not pooping, she’d forget that she asked. So a week passed and then I get a, “So I’d really like you to write a post for my blog. You know, from the spouses point of view.” I thought I was home free with her focus on the stall. Guess not.

My wife’s weight has never really been an issue for me. We met over the phone and had a 3000-mile long distance relationship before the Internet and unlimited phone service. We worked in the same industry and developed a relationship over months of hours-long, bank-account-crushing phone calls. We have always said that if we had come across each other in a bar or other typical meeting place, we wouldn’t have been each other’s type, physically. Since we fell in love before we ever met, we got what we got. Which by the way, I was pretty happy with upon our first meeting. So when she informed me of her thoughts on surgery I tried hard to keep the slack jawed WTF look off my face as much as I could. I initially thought, “Your going to cut out most of your stomach just to lose a few pounds. What?” What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t a few pounds. Much like your surprise when someone comments on how much your child has grown because they only see him once a year, I hadn’t noticed she had gained a hundred pounds since we first met. She had always just been my wife, my best friend, the person I would spend a long wonderful life with. My attachment to her has always been so much more than physical, and when I look at her I still see that 25-year-old girl I fell in love with. So when she told me how much she weighed I thought, “Holy shit, when did that happen?”

My blessing of the surgery wasn’t without hesitation. I know what obesity does to a body over time and have witnessed it first hand in my father and mother-in-law. The breaking down of joints, the insulin injections, heart issues and on and on…I know, preaching to the choir. But what if something happens during surgery and I lose the love of my life? What if our boy loses his mother? The mere thoughts made my heart hurt. How would I ever cope if something tragic actually happened? But you can’t live life on the basis that something bad MIGHT happen. Its what kept my mother from fully experiencing life and I always hated that. I wanted to have the healthiest wife possible as we get older. I wanted her to be comfortable in her skin. I wanted her to wear clothes she likes, not just the ones that hide the most. I wanted her to not feel awkward around others. I’ve never really struggled with weight. Sure I could lose more than a few pounds, but it falls off with little effort. I don’t fully understand the angst that the weight causes my wife but I know she isn’t as happy as she could be because of it. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. You gotta make the most of it. So I agreed, reluctantly.

After coming to grips with the minimal risk involved and nervously waiting for good news from the operating room, it’s been a pretty easy journey for me. I’ve had to do very little except listen. Listen about the surgery, shakes, stalls, pooping, not pooping and then pooping again. My wife is hard-core about obtaining information off the internet. So much so, she once gave her GP a tutorial on thyroid testing and the latest acceptable ranges for each test, which came as news to her doctor. Still not sure why we had to pay for that office visit. So nothing came as a surprise. It made my life easier knowing that if anything came up post op that might freak me out, she had the stats on how many patients experienced the same thing, why it happened, how long it will likely last, and what the next day, week, month has in store. Easy for me, but I know it hasn’t been easy for her and that each day brings a new challenge. I am so grateful for what she is willing to put herself through for a healthier future with our son and me. Recently she’s been in the dreaded stall, but it’s subsided, and she has a little pep in her step. I love the gleam in her eye when the scale tells her what she wants to hear. I love how she gleefully shows off how crappy her clothes fit. Mostly I love that each day she seems to feel more comfortable in her skin and happier with herself. What more can you really ask for?