Tag Archives: Husband

Downsizing More Than My Weight…

The past few weeks I have thought a lot about downsizing. Obviously, my weight is number one on the list of things to downsize, but my Down the Scale journey is making me think about other ways to downsize my life in positive ways.

Here I am wearing my new "regular" size work out clothes at Week 14!

Here I am wearing my new “regular” size workout clothes at Week 14!

First things first, my weight loss for 14 weeks is 52 pounds! I am thrilled, excited and feeling great! I am four pounds away from my next goal of being halfway to my final goal of 112 pounds. Every pound gets me closer to my goal, but more importantly it is helping me feel better and look better. Health and vanity go hand in hand in this journey!

Speaking of vanity, downsizing my wardrobe is thrilling. 52 pounds means I really need to find other clothes. When your pants fall down as you run and your shirts are exposing way too much cleavage (even by my husband’s standards), it’s time to shop! I have bought shirts, new pajamas and workout clothes from the “regular” section. It’s exciting as well as a bit overwhelming. The “plus” clothing section doesn’t offer much so having more to choose from is challenging, but this is a challenge I welcome wholeheartedly.

One of the best downsizing moments of the last week was buying a new car. We traded in our tank, AKA the mini-van, for a Honda Fit. It’s a little bitty thing, but the perfect city car. I never imagined our family choosing such a small car, but lo and behold, we all fit! My ever-supportive husband has also lost over 50 pounds this year, so our shrinking family can enjoy the benefits of a small car. Well, until the kids’ growth spurts get out of hand at least.

My next downsizing goal is one I have tried to work on for years, but never seem to get it done. With the newfound confidence of my weight loss and the change in living a better, healthier lifestyle, I think I’m finally ready to tackle it. Yes, it’s the dreaded “downsize all the crap in your house” goal. Some days I feel like we’re three boxes away from an episode of Hoarders. Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but some days it feels overwhelming and I want it to stop. I have learned to downsize my food and eating habits so I think it’s time to tackle this project.

My last and most challenging downsizing goal is lessening stress and anxiety in my life. I imagine everyone has this one of their own list. I am still trying to come up with solutions, but honestly I feel like I am focusing so much on my weight loss that I don’t know how or where to start. Becoming physically healthy is definitely making an impact on my stress levels, but not as much as I would like. Time to work on some solutions!

Losing weight isn’t just about pounds; it’s about becoming healthy. I have realized that I can downsize in other areas of my life. A thinner me, a tiny car, smaller clothes, less “stuff” and less stress are all part of my journey Down the Scale. Looking forward to having less has never felt so good!

Surprise, Surprise, This isn’t Really that Easy..

My new life began 10 weeks ago with my gastric sleeve surgery. 40 pounds down! My body is changing as expected, but it is the emotional changes that are the biggest surprise. I thought I was prepared for the emotional changes, but I am embarrassed to admit, I was wrong. I was nowhere near ready to deal with the feelings, stress, highs and lows that my new lifestyle would bring. Time to deal with them now, and I don’t think it is going to be pretty.

Starting a weight loss journey is something I’ve done many times, but this time it is extreme. The surgery permanently changed my body and while I knew I would have to change my mindset about food, I was naïve to think it would be simple. When food is your reward, your comfort, your stress reliever and your go-to friend for boredom for more than 40 years, changing your mindset is harder than you think.

Week 9 and on vacation!  A non-food oriented vacation was just what I needed.  Better yet, I loved it!

Week 9 and on vacation! A non-food oriented vacation was just what I needed. Better yet, I loved it!

Some lifestyle changes have been easy, like reducing my craving for sweet things. We were on our first vacation last week, and I didn’t find myself looking for the closest ice cream shop or candy store as I did in the past. We didn’t eat out much so I didn’t face temptation or feel deprived constantly. One of the few times we did eat out, I did indulge in a burger and fries. A half a burger and three french fries were all I could eat and it wasn’t that great. I would have enjoyed a salad more I think.  I hope I can keep that mind-set.

What helped me keep my mind off of food were all the outside activities we did each day. For a girl who used to say “that roughing it was a hotel without room service”, a vacation in Lake Tahoe was pretty radical. We hiked, we swam, we relaxed without making food a highlight of our trip. I guess this is what most people would consider normal, but for me, an emphasis on eating has always been part of my vacations. Treating myself to fattening food in large quantities was part of the vacation experience. This vacation showed me that having fun, by being physically active, is better than any food experience. I am thrilled I have changed my mindset, but I am more excited that my children will think of vacation as a fun time full of physical activities and not food.

So changing my food mindset on vacation wasn’t so hard, so what’s the problem? Every day life is now my problem. We came home from vacation to a stressful traffic weekend due to a three-day concert in our neighborhood. We came home to bills stacked up, loads of laundry and no food in the house. My commitment to my children’s’ school overwhelmed me even before we made it to our home. Real life slapped me in the face and I melted down quicker than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream.

Every day stress is nothing new, especially when coming home from a vacation, but this time I felt crazy, out of control and angry. Part of it could be the hormone changes from my surgery, but I think most of it is that my old way of comforting myself is gone. Oh, I could eat sugar or fatty food if I want to soothe myself, but only two ounces of it. I can’t gorge on food like I did in the past to numb myself. I have to handle stress in a different, more healthy way. This is the biggest struggle I think I have ever faced.

I haven’t handled it very well, I must admit. I have cried more this weekend than I can remember. Suddenly, every stress, every hurt, every betrayal I’ve felt is heightened. It’s not pretty or fun, but I am coming to terms that this is part of life…my new life, and I can’t ignore it. My numbing agent of food is gone. I come from a family of addicts and I am determined not to exchange my food addiction for another.

So, what am I going to do? Now that the tears are gone, I have decided that the first thing I need to do is acknowledge my stress, anger and pain. It’s here, but I think it’s also important for me to come to terms that having these feelings is normal, but how I handle it is what makes me who I am. I will not eat to deal with these feelings, I have to find ways of handling it like exercising, talking with my ever-supportive husband and friends, and of course, writing about my feelings.

The next part is probably the hardest for me. I’ve always wanted to please my family and friends even to the detriment of my sanity and happiness. I used to feel that if I made someone else happy, I would be happy. While I will always believe in a need for compromise, I am finally realizing my joy, my happiness, my peace are important, too. I need to stand up for myself. The consequences of this are not always good; I have lost family and friends because I am putting myself, my husband and children first. Realizing that I am not in charge of everyone’s happiness is still hard for me to believe, but the times I have stood up for myself, have made me realize this is right for me.

I am going to have to change commitments I made, say no to people and really think about my actions in terms of my physical and mental health. I can only hope I will find understanding and support from the people in my life. Saying no to people isn’t easy, just like saying no to food isn’t easy. This tough new journey Down the Scale is tougher than I imagined, but the thought of being healthy mentally and physically is too important to give up, no matter what struggles I face…

One Month Down…Blah….

Today is my four-week anniversary of my gastric sleeve surgery. I should be celebrating with balloons and confetti! Well, not confetti, since I would have to clean it up, but you get the point. And while I am happy and still don’t regret my surgery, I’m not feeling that excited about my success so far.

What the hell is wrong with me?” I asked after I weighed in this morning. I’ve lost 24.5 pounds and gone down one clothing size and one shoe size. Not too shabby for a month! As it is with most things, I wanted more. I wanted this huge statement, like 30 lbs! I wanted this huge difference in my body! Here are my photos from before and after so far, and my hubby promises me there is a difference. I do see less puffiness in my face and since my jeans are falling off I know my body has changed.

3 days after my surgery.

3 days after my surgery.

4 weeks after surgery!

4 weeks after surgery!

I had my pity party this morning, so now it’s time to give myself a swift kick in my now smaller rear. I feel good and my body feels healed. “Real” food is part of my diet although I’m nervous to try too many new foods. Fear of gaining weight and vomiting is helping me take this new part of my food lifestyle slow. After doing the Optifast liquid diet for six months, I threw up for about three months afterward so I’m erring on the side of caution. My focus is still on protein so chicken, real chewable chicken, is my mainstay.

What I know is really going to inspire me is exercising. I have been walking, but I’ve been given the OK from my doctor to start really exercising. Fast walking is on the schedule and then back to running. I have a new phone and new headphones so I can start back on Couch to 5K. This year, I’ll be ready for the Thanksgiving 5K race. Last year I did finish, but I was not ready physically or mentally for the race. I vow to be prepared this year and really enjoy it!

I realize this next month will be filled with new challenges like eating out. If I can spend two weeks on a liquid diet and then two weeks with pureed foods, I can handle anything can’t I? Yes, I can! I am the little engine that could….with a smaller caboose.

Three Weeks Bites the Dust…

Happy three-week anniversary to me! I am surviving and more importantly thriving with my new stomach. I am 20 ½ lbs and 10 inches down! My body is repairing itself and I feel healthy and strong. At the end of the day, I am exhausted. I feel more energized every day so I know that will go away soon.

The hardest part of this three-week journey has been eating, naturally. The first two weeks of only liquids was bland, very bland. The protein shakes I loved, OK liked, before my surgery tasted horrible afterward. All the liquids protein drinks I bought were too sweet. I never thought this would be a problem since I have a sweet tooth. C is for cookie and cake and chocolate for me! I finally found a cookies and cream protein shake that I could tolerate and sugar-free lemon lime jello was tolerable.

I’m an equal opportunity eater so I like salty food as well. Have you ever had broth by itself? Even for this salt connoisseur, it was either too salty or too bland. Strained soups turned out to be a better choice since they had some flavor besides salt. Chicken noodle soup broth became my go-to dish. I actually wished for cheeseburger flavor Crystal light to add some variety and normally in my life!

Two weeks post surgery and pureed food is on the menu! Blended soups are decent, especially my friend’s homemade chicken noodle soup. Gumbo blends nicely and gives me that spicy flavor I crave. Won Ton soup, however, does not purée well at all. The white soapy remains of the soup was unbelievably off-putting. But pureed tuna with salsa is a winner. Yes, it looks like cat food, but I honestly don’t care now. Food with substance and flavor is high on my list.

Since my stomach is handling pureed and soft foods well, I’m on to flakey fish! Over the past few years I’ve come to enjoy mild, white fish. For a girl who went crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, you would think I was a shellfish lover, but I’m not. Shellfish and any fish that is, well, too fishy, is not for me. My ever supportive and great chef of a husband, is baking Mahi Mahi for me. It is like heaven!

Here is a picture of last night’s dinner, Mahi Mahi with pureed roasted carrots. One and a half ounces of fish with two tablespoons of the carrots. And the next picture is the end of my meal. With my stomach only holding two ounces at a time, I can’t always finish my food.

fishcarrotsbeforeFishCarrotsAfter

It is a strange feeling for me, as a life long overeater. Before, even when I was full, I could still manage to eat another bite or two. And I always could manage to squeeze in dessert. Now having gastric sleeve surgery, I know when I’m full and there is no denying that feeling. I’ve come close to throwing up once or twice, but I realized it was gas and Gas-X saved the day. Fortunately I’ve managed to keep my food intake low and really work with my new stomach size. The sleeve is my first defense in managing my food intake and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it.

In another week I am back to regular food and I am excited, but nervous. It will truly be the start of my new life with food. I need to eat well to lose weight, but also to keep up my energy and be healthy. No going back to fried foods, mindless liquids and junk food. Well, not all the time. I plan on having wine again and a bite of a Reese’s peanut butter egg is in my future next Easter. The difference will be the amount and how often I indulge. As I’ve said before, the gastric sleeve is another tool in my arsenal to battle my weight and keep myself inline after I reach my goal. The war is on and I’m the general! Here’s to the next three weeks of battle at DowntheScale…

The Zombie Curse is Lifting….

As dramatic as that sounds, it is true. I feel human on day ten of my recovery from gastric sleeve surgery. Ten days can go by slowly, but I survived it and I’m on the path to my new normal.

Since coming home from the hospital, it has been emotional, exhausting and awkward. Thankfully, my family didn’t send me back to the hospital or a mental hospital, which might have been appropriate. Changing my body, which also changed my way of thinking, has been one of the hardest situations I have willingly put myself in.

Learning to live with my small stomach is more challenging than I realized. I did the Optifast diet (only liquids and the random protein bar) for six months so I assumed this would be just as simple. Wrong! With the Optifast diet I supplemented the meager liquid food with Diet Coke. Really, healthy I know. Since my new stomach only holds one to two ounces, I can’t fill up on other food or drink. Physically, I don’t need the food or drink, but for the first few days my head believed it did need it. If the food smelled too good while my family was eating, I hid in my bedroom and moped. But I did try to remind myself that this is the liquid stage and, then pureed food stage is only for a month. I’m not proud to say I let self-doubt creep into my brain and let myself whine that a month was too long.

Fortunately I came to my senses today. A month really isn’t that long. July 3rd is not that far away. I really am starting to believe these statements, but spending the day outside with my kids changed my attitude completely today.

The guilt of putting my kids through one month of their summer vacation with their whiney mother finally got to me. We have amazingly gorgeous weather now. When you live in San Francisco, you know to enjoy every sunny day in the summer. The cold and fog creep in before you realize it and that is your summer. The kids and I have been out a bit this week, but I decided Friday was the day to truly enjoy it.

The kids and I enjoying a beautiful day.  And I'm celebrating my 15 pound weight loss too!

The kids and I enjoying a beautiful day. And I’m celebrating my 15 pound weight loss too!

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It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas..

I am sleeved. This past Tuesday, the weight loss journey truly began with gastric sleeve surgery. It’s wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pretty, but it is done. No turning back now.

Tuesday I felt positive on my decision. Pre-op was smooth. The nurse was able to get the IV in my hand without too much trouble which is a miracle. I have tricky veins and nurses always struggle with me. After an hour, we went to the surgery waiting room to meet with my sleeve gang. The professional and warm nurse soothed me right away. My Doogie Howser anesthesiologist was reassuring even with his baby smooth face. The physician assistant from my surgeon office was her usual friendly, confidant self and my attractive and experienced surgeon all reminded me that the surgery would go well.

 I kissed my ever supportive and very handsome husband goodbye and walked into the operating room. Or should I say alien ship? Stark white walls and blinking machines were not calming nor comforting. Doogie Howser’s gently whispering of “It’s going to go well” and my warm nurse gently rubbing my arm steadily did calm me down and suddenly I was asleep.

My two-hour nap was brutally awakened by the aliens of the mothership. After a minute I realized I wasn’t in a large experiment room on an alien vessel. Contrary to my first thought, aliens had not pumped my body full of so much air that I was going to explode. I was in the recovery room of my hospital and I hurt like hell. 

I pride myself on being a tough cookie when it comes to pain, but at this time I was not that tough cookie. I wasn’t even a cookie crumb of strength. Meet Jen, the moaning, whiney hot mess. The head nurse finally brought over medicine and I calmed down and mellowed a bit before I planned my escape from the alien ship.

Somehow I made it to my room and I recall my still handsome but now annoyingly perky doctor telling me about the hiatal hernia that he fixed and that I have an abdominal hernia that needs repairing in the future. He smiled and said everything went great. My hubby was comforting and not too perky when he arrived. Later, my friend who has been to my recovery of two of the four surgeries I’ve had, arrived with some trashy magazines and support.

I can’t say if I talked much to my hubby and friend that afternoon. The day passed in a nauseous haze. Finally, when I kept complaining about my nausea, one of the nurses checked my morphine pump. Turns out I enjoyed pushing my pain clicker a bit too much. I switched from food comfort to morphine comfort that quickly. A new painkiller was introduced and it made a world of difference, but not enough to go home that day. I stayed another night to keep my fluids up and to heal.

In theory, another day at the stay-at-home mom spa seemed fun. The never-ending gas and constant vital checks ruined the relaxation vibe. No one came to do a mani/pedi or rub my feet. And then my pity party began. “What the hell have I done?”, “How pathetic am I that I must have surgery to be normal?” and the more concise “F— me!” statements filled my head all day and night.

Two days after surgery, I took a welcome but nauseating ride home with these self doubting statements. Encouraged by my friends, and resting at home with my own Dr. Hubby and sweet and loving children have helped my outlook tremendously. There is guilt on my part that I am putting my family through this uncomfortable and awkward time. Even through all the pain, nausea and doubt, I still believe in my decision. A month of drastic physical and emotional changes will be worth it. I had gastric sleeve surgery to become a better me and to truly live my live the way I want to live it. Determination, humor, pain and change will get me Down the Scale to where I need and want to be.

Here I go…

Here I am ready to go back out until the world with my water bottle in hand!  Where did I go first?  Target, of course!

Here I am ready to go back out into  the world with my water bottle in hand! Where did I go first? Target, of course!