Tag Archives: Normal

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!

Week 12 and the Magic Number is…

Week 12 and 47.5 pounds gone!

Week 12 and 47.5 pounds gone!

47.5 pounds! Yes, that’s my weight loss total for the first three months of my Down the Scale Journey. Yes, I’m excited about how much I have lost in such a short time. Yes, I am damn proud of myself. Yes, here comes the but… I’m not as excited as I thought I would be at this point. 

Part of my lackluster attitude is really silly; I wanted to lose 50 pounds. It was the estimate my surgeon gave me so I assumed I would do it. Yes, I’m close, but let’s face it, 50 pounds has a better ring to it than 47.5 pounds. Here’s hoping that in lucky week 13 I can say I have hit this first goal.

Achieving the first goal will definitely help my attitude, but I am nervous about the rest of my journey. My goal is to lose 112 pounds. It is such a huge number and with it comes an enormous sense of dread. While the surgery definitely speeds up the time it takes to lose such a large amount of weight, it still takes time. And it is a painful reminder of how I let my physical and mental health take a back seat for so long.

So, is there anything positive to my blasé attitude? Actually the best thing about it is that my new lifestyle is normal. Losing weight is now normal. Eating healthy foods in reasonable quantities is now normal. Walking instead of driving is now normal. Exercising is now normal. The fact that these things are part of my everyday life is such a good thing.

I hope to make my first goal next week, but if I don’t, I think I’ll be OK. Yes, I will be OK. Time to work a little harder, keep my goals in mind, but also I think it’s time to relax a bit and enjoy this journey a bit more. The big successes like losing 50 pounds are amazing, but I think it’s time to sit back and enjoy my new “ordinary” life as I go Down the Scale…

This is the New Normal

My new Starbucks treat, Skinny Hazelnut Latte, and my journal with one of my favorite sayings!

My new Starbucks treat, Skinny Hazelnut Latte, and my journal with one of my favorite sayings!

I woke up this morning full of dread and excitement. Week six is here which meant time to weigh myself. My gastric sleeve surgeon recommended only weighing in once a week, but I must admit I’ve cheated and checking every few days. I jumped on the scale on Saturday and I was only down about a half a pound. Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper.

This morning I was a happy camper though! For the week, I’m down three and a half pounds! This makes a total of 29 pounds for six weeks! Yes, I’m finally happy and not feeling blah about it. I realize more stalls are going to be part of my journey, but I’m learning to enjoy the victories, however large or small.

My biggest victory of the week is that I’m learning to live with my new lifestyle. No, I’m not perky or feeling successful all the time, but I’m coming to terms with the new normal. This means eating healthy food in small quantities. My favorite meal is three slices of Trader Joe’s Oven Roasted Turkey lunch meat with a Roma tomato. Not very exciting to most people, but after eating pureed foods, it’s heaven and healthy.

Another part of the new normal is learning when I’m full and listening to my body. As a lifelong over-eater, this is still is a strange feeling for me six weeks after surgery. And when I’m full, I am full. Eating too much is extremely uncomfortable and even with the magic pink Gas-X pills, it doesn’t automatically go away. I am getting better at this each day.

One of the biggest challenges I have dreaded is eating out. No, I haven’t been cooped up in my house this past six weeks, but I have brought food each time we’ve gone out during mealtimes. Of course, that’s the best thing to do since it gives me control over what I’m eating. This past Friday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and not bring lunch when I took the kids on a day trip. We went to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch and I did great, if I may say so myself.

Yes, the kids had pizza and I was OK sitting across for them with as they ate. I ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wrap Appetizer. Yes, I wanted pizza, pasta or anything with gooey cheese and meat, but I knew it wouldn’t be worth it. I ate one lettuce wrap and was full and satisfied. I was surprised to be full from one, but I was proud of myself for not eating more!

I took my time eating and engaged with my children more than I used to when we ate out. Being a mom, I tend to spend more time getting my children settled with their meal and then wolfing down my food. This time I ate my meal slowly and could truly enjoy it and my kids. Another big change was not finishing the food on my kids’ plate. Really, pizza crusts aren’t that good so why was I eating them before? Another bad habit I’m breaking!

Another food habit I’ve changed is my coffee intake. I drank one to two cups a day at home and went to Starbucks or Peet’s three to four times a week for a sugary espresso drink. I don’t drink coffee at home now and I go out for espresso once or twice a week for a sugar-free drink. No caffeine headaches and I feel like I have a treat when I get my coffee when we’re out. This new normal is amazing.

Challenging, frustrating, exciting are just a few of the words to describe my weight loss journey so far. Having had some tough times, I know I can get through the future ones. My post-sleeve life is settling in and becoming a bit normal. And normal is all I’ve ever wanted to be in terms of my weight. Here’s to being normal in all the right places…

The Last Week of the Blahs…I Promise!

Week five of my gastric sleeve surgery journey is here and I hate it. I’m not a happy camper and I’m trying hard to get over it. I’m worse than my kids when they want to play their computers and I say no. I’m an instant gratification kind of gal and it’s not happening this week.

I’ve only lost one pound this week. Yeah me, I should say. Losing is better than gaining, right? But I went through an invasive, expensive surgery that has caused me and my family, time, money, and emotions. I researched online about post-op sleeve results and I know a slow weight loss or even no loss is very common. I just didn’t think this would happen to me. I’ve always had great results from all the weight loss programs I’ve done. I don’t think I’ve had a week during a weight loss program were I didn’t lose weight; the problem has always been maintaining the weight loss.

It’s the knowledge that my sleeve will help me maintain my eventual goal weight that is keeping me going now. Also, that as impatient of a person I am, I am also a fighter and a planner. When I want or need to accomplish a goal, I go after it with determination, drive and a bit of crazy energy. Time to wipe the tears off my thinner face and go for it. I am having successes even if they’re not showing up on the scale.

For one, I feel so much better. It is easier to keep up the with kids when they ride their scooters through the park. I’ve started walking on my own for exercise and it feels wonderful. I know I’m almost ready to start running and that makes me happy. Stairs are much easier to manage, even the two flights I climb to do each of the six loads of laundry my family magically creates weekly. Not carrying 25.5 pounds of fat really does make moving easier.

I know I look different. My face is less puffy and my body is smaller. The biggest NSV (non-sleeve victory, as it’s known in the gastric sleeve world) is I’m down two pant sizes and one shirt size. Shopping for a few pieces of clothing last weekend was exhilarating. The closer I get to shopping in the “normal” women’s section the happier I am.

My Down the Scale journey has not been as easy and smooth as I imagined, but it’s time for me to come to terms with it. I can’t change the surgery and even with the disappointment, anger, sadness and frustration I feel, deep down I know I will make this new lifestyle work the best I can. This week is one of those times that I need to take a few deep breaths, remind myself of my accomplishments so far, and put on my big girl panties (well not too big) and work toward my weight loss and lifestyle change goal. Here I go…

Week 5 with pants two sizes down and a shirt one size down.  Yeah to non-sleeve victories!

Week 5 with pants two sizes down and a shirt one size down. Yeah to non-sleeve victories!

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!

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow….

Tomorrow is the day. The next chapter in my weight loss journey begins. It isn’t the last chapter since my journey will continue forever. I will always need to think about my weight, my eating habits and exercise. I have no doubt about that. Tomorrow is the start of my new way of eating, thinking and living.

At about 11:30 AM, part of my stomach will be removed. Adios! Au Revoir! Buh Bye! It isn’t magic, but gastric sleeve surgery. For a more scientific explanation, visit http://www.sutterpacific.org/bariatrics/weightloss/vertical-gastrectomy.html. In a nutshell, my stomach becomes a sleeve that can hold about 1 to 2 ounces. My surgeon will stitch me back up and I will stay overnight at the hospital. Assuming my new stomach isn’t leaking the next day, I’ll be right back home and start losing weight.

I am not fond of full body photos, but I am happy to have a few before I begin my transformation.  Always important to remember where you came from!

I am not fond of full body photos, but I am happy to have a few before I begin my transformation. Always important to remember where you came from!

Sounds easy, right? It won’t be that way and I know that. The gastric sleeve is just a tool to help me lose weight. The new stomach forces me to be mindful of my portions and types of food I eat. It may seem like a quick fix, but in fact this is a lifestyle change. It gives me the eating boundaries I need.

While I love spontaneity and surprises, I actually thrive on structure. I’m a planner, sometimes to a fault. In the case of my eating habits, this is what I need. The gastric sleeve will make me think, make me plan and actually physically keep me from overeating. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I need this kind of physical boundary to keep me in check.

Oh, I’m good with boundaries like diets. I am a successful dieter for about four months. After that I’m bored or frustrated with the diet. Or I’m full of confidence that I can continue or maintain the weight loss on my own. The key problem with this is that I said the word, diet, not lifestyle change. Diets are temporary and don’t work for me. I needed to think of my weight loss journey as a lifestyle change, a permanent one. I am finally committing to a lifestyle change with my surgery.

It is this commitment that makes this time different. There is no going back. My stomach will not grow. Yes, it can stretch a bit, but eating large amounts of food will not work or vomiting will ensue. I have a slightly irrational fear of vomiting. That fear alone will help keep me in line, physically. Mentally, it will actually be harder for me. Eating mindlessly, eating when happy, eating when sad, they are all part of me. I have to remove this part of me on my own.

In theory, eating right and exercising will take and keep the weight off. I honestly wish I was that person who could succeed on her own. I am not. I need help and I am finally admitting it and taking charge of my health and my life. To many, this must seem like such a drastic step and I agree it is a huge undertaking. I haven’t made this decision lightly or without considering the risks involved.

After more than six months of waiting (required by my health insurance), researching, thinking, talking with friends and family, and a bit of good old-fashioned praying, I decided that the gastric sleeve surgery is the best path for me to follow. Fortunately, loving and supportive family and friends surround me. This journey is about me and what I need and want, but I can’t walk it alone. And I don’t want to be alone. I’ve been alone too long in this obese hell and I am thankful I won’t be going Down the Scale alone…

The “O” Word

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me.  My daughter asked to take my picture and you can't say no to a 5 year old with a camera.

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me. My daughter asked to take my picture and you can’t say no to a 5-year-old with a camera.

Am I obese? Yes, yes I am. I am finally using the “O” word. I’ve never denied I have a problem, but I’ve always used “cute terms” to describe myself. I’m full-figured. I’m overweight. I’m plump. I’m the fat chick. No, I am medically obese. I need to lose more than 100 pounds to be even considered overweight. This is the harsh reality that I’ve hidden from most of my life.

Finally, as of 2013, I am taking control of my obesity. I’m 44 years old and admitting I am not in control of my weight. I know I can control it, but it has been a struggle since childhood. Now as a mom, I don’t want my children to have this issue. I can’t protect them from everything in this world, but having an obese mother isn’t going to help them nor does it set a good example.

 Fortunately, I married a man who loves me through thick and thin and when I’m thick or thin. Not once has he complained about my weight, but I know he wants me happy and healthy. Don’t we all want that for our loved ones?

 Of course my family is part of the reason I am on this new weight loss journey, but the biggest reason is I want to feel normal. I want to run and walk and climb without thinking about my weight and having to stop to catch my breath. I don’t want to be the biggest woman in the room. I want to join conversations about clothes and exercising without feeling like I don’t fit in. I don’t want to be known as the fat mom. I want to be known for who I am – the smart, funny, cute woman, the mom of the fairytale children and the wife of a smart, funny handsome man, a good friend to people, a writer…just Jen.

 I am starting my new weight loss journey next month with gastric sleeve surgery. This isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. In many ways, I feel like a failure in that I need surgery to take control of my health. And yes, I’ve tried every diet, exercise and drug available.

At 44, I want to enjoy my life and my body. I want to be a runner. I want to take hikes. I want to wear a bathing suit without fear or shame. I want to be normal and I know this uncomfortable, stressed, obese woman isn’t really me. Gastric sleeve surgery is just one of the tools I will use to find the person I know I am.

 I’m starting Down The Scale to share my journey. I hope to keep myself accountable to my weight loss, but I am openly looking for support and the sharing of experiences. While I feel like I’m the only one in my immediate community who looks and feels this way, I know I am not. We all have fears, struggles and dreams and they’re not always the same. Not everyone will agree with my actions and opinions and I’m OK with that. Supporting someone doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them, but when it comes from a place of love it is important to take it in.

 Thank you for reading and hopefully being a part of my Down The Scale community. Here’s to finding peace, happiness, humor and love in our lives….