Tag Archives: Pounds Lost

Learning to Wear a Bathing Suit…

You didn't think I would post a picture of me in a bathing suit did you? Well, I'm gaining confidence with my body, a swim suit photo isn't going to happen!  A cute hat and swim suit cover up go a long way in giving a girl confidence, though!

You didn’t think I would post a picture of me in a bathing suit did you? While I am gaining confidence with my body, a swim suit photo isn’t going to happen! A cute hat and swim suit cover up go a long way in giving a girl confidence, though!

Yes, I really did title this week’s blog post as “Learning to Wear a Bathing Suit.” Don’t worry, I do know how to put one on, but before my gastric sleeve surgery, I wasn’t happy to wear one. First of all, finding a plus size bathing suit is difficult especially when you’re cursed with a large chest. After I would find one, I would have to squeeze my body in it and then go out in public. It was difficult, depressing and scary when I did this, especially when I would go swimming with my kids. Now that I’ve lost 95 pounds (yes, I keep fluctuating with these two pounds, but that’s for another blog), bathing suit season is easier, but it still comes with its own struggles.

First of all, finding a bathing suit was much easier this summer. I could finally buy one with a built-in bra in my actual size. Having my breasts actually supported and somewhat covered is liberating, so to speak. I’m not as worried when I’m splashing around the pool or walking around. Wearing a bathing suit that fits and is stylish is a huge bonus after losing weight.

So, what do I mean about learning to wear a bathing suit? I mean, even though I am not obese, I still have issues with my body. The parts of my body exposed in a bathing suit are not my favorite parts. A bathing suit shows off my flabby arms, my wrinkly thighs and my lumpy and protruding stomach. I was so excited to try on my normal size bathing suit, but when I looked in the mirror I just about broke down in tears. My body still shows the wear and tear of being obese. Some might call them badges of honor, but when I first looked at myself, I thought of myself as a failure.

I took a moment to wallow in self-pity and then I figuratively slapped myself. I’m 45 years old and was obese for most of my life. I will never have a supermodel body. Even with plastic surgery which yes, I am looking into for my stomach and breasts (another blog post!), I will always have issues. But then again, I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some body issues, no matter what their shape or size is. I have to live with the body that I have and do what I can which means keeping a healthy weight, exercising, and perhaps having some surgical intervention.

I promised my kids a summer full of swimming and I will not let them down, no matter what I look like in a bathing suit. Yes, I have flabby arms, but they can hold on to my daughter as she gains confidence to swim on her own. These wrinkly thighs can kick fast as I race my son to the end of the pool. My lumpy stomach isn’t keeping me from having fun with my children!

So, if you see me at the pool, you’ll see a woman with the remains of an obese body, but I hope you will also see a confident happy woman who is enjoying the summer with her kids. Going Down the Scale has taught me many things and I am happy that one of them is to live with my new body in a joyful way.

My First Year Anniversary of My Gastric Sleeve Surgery!

Yes, a year makes a difference!  96.5 pounds are gone!

Yes, a year makes a difference! 96.5 pounds are gone!

96.5 pounds are gone! This is one of the ways I am marking my first anniversary of my gastric sleeve surgery. Yes, I am thrilled and amazed by the numbers, but that’s not the only success I feel from my surgery. Losing this much weight changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined:

  • I now enjoy walking and participating in outdoor activities! Walking instead of driving to pick up my kids from school and running errands is easy now. Hiking and exploring our great city and surrounding natural attractions are now some of our favorite family activities. For a girl who was always searching for the gift shop and snack bar when doing outdoor activities, this is a huge change!
  • I still enjoy food! I thought going to the Farmers’ Market and eating at restaurants would be a thing of the past, but it is now part of my life in a positive way. I look for better quality food and I eat in smaller amounts. Dinning at restaurants can be challenging, but I can always find a healthy option on most menus.
  • Yes, I will admit that I feel like I am more attractive. And some of this does come from outside validation. Having friends and family comment on my looks does make me feel better about my “outside.” But more importantly, I am more confidant on my outward appearance which makes me seem more confidant. A confidant woman is an attractive woman.
  • Mentally I am in a better place than I could have imagined. Once the crutch of eating my feelings was taken away, it was necessary for me to face my feelings. It’s still not easy and I will always have to work on my mental health. And you know what? That’s OK.

The best measure of success hasn’t been the scale. Sure the numbers are important, but it’s not the end all be all of my weight loss journey success. I finally realized that taking care of myself is not only important, but essential. It doesn’t make me a bad mother or bad wife or bad friend or bad person when I put my physical and mental health first. Such a simple lesson, but it is one I needed to learn.

I look forward to continuing to share my journey…the good and the bad! A huge thanks to everyone who supported me in my first year of my weight loss journey. Here’s to another year of going Down the Scale…

Let’s Talk About Some Good Stuff…

My son and I at our first Maker's Faire!  Staying on my feet all day is much easier with 94 pounds less on my body!

My son and I at our first Maker’s Faire! Staying on my feet all day is much easier with 94 pounds less on my body!

Here I am at Week 50 and up a pound. No, that’s not the good stuff. It puts my total weight loss from 95 pounds to 94 pounds so I won’t complain..too much. I think I’m still figuring out what my “real” weight will be so I’m going to put the numbers aside for today. Let’s have a positive chat about the good, no, the great things, that losing 94 pounds has done for me!

  • Staying on my feet all day and walking around is not a problem! This weekend we went to Maker’s Faire which basically is a science, computers, arts and crafts, techie geek festival. All day we wandered a convention center full of wonders for nerds of all ages. It was overwhelming, fun and interesting, but I know if we had gone last year I would not have felt that way. Walking all day and standing on my feet with another 94 pounds on my body would have made it miserable.
  • Having more physical stamina rocks! Not only is walking around and standing on my feet all day a really great feeling, but just being able to do more without it being an issue is incredible. I still don’t like doing laundry, but going up and down two flights of stairs is so much easier. Walking my kids back and forth to school is a breeze! And yes, having better physical stamina in other personal areas is really, really great, but let’s just keep that between me and the hubby…
  • Clothes shopping is a whole new world! I can choose from such a huge variety of clothes now that I’m not limited to one section of a store. I will admit it is still confusing and overwhelming shopping in larger stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom. Can they just have a section for 45 year olds who want to dress modern, but not too trendy? Not matter how much weight I loss, short-shorts will not be featured on this body!
  • Positive comments from acquaintances are great for my ego! Just this week, a school secretary and a parent at my children’s school told me how great I look. Now that I’ve lost such a large amount of weight, I think more people are comfortable commenting on my new appearance. I will honestly admit I love the positive feedback. It really helps during this fluctuating time in my weight loss journey.

These are just a few of the positive results I am feeling this week and I realize how fortunate I am to feel this way. Life can’t just be about numbers! I plan to keep my eye on the scale, but I can’t let a number define me. Feeling good about my accomplishments and keeping a positive attitude in life is the true goal in my journey Down the Scale…

One and a Half Pounds of Physical and Emotional Weight…

My first new dress in my weight loss journey!  And high heels too!  It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a "moms night out" evening.

My first new dress in my weight loss journey! And high heels too! It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a “moms night out” evening.

It’s hard to believe it has been 49 weeks since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. My total is 94.5 pounds which is good, but I have this one and a half pounds that keeps me going up and down the scale.  It’s not just physical weight, but emotional weight that is frustrating me. I have come to realize that emotional baggage can be as damaging and painful as the actually physical pounds.

I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer” completely. Physically I’m in pretty decent shape. I am still 17.5 pounds away from my goal, but my practical side thinks that’s OK. My perfectionist side is disappointed that I’m not at goal and that I haven’t lost 100 pounds. I know I look better as shown by the photo I’ve posted. I went to a moms night out and felt great. But you know even when I looked at a lovely photo of me with a few other moms, my first thought was “I’m the fattest woman in the picture.” Sigh. I need to get those thoughts out of my head. I worry that I will always think of myself as the “fat chick” even though I know I look “normal.”

So how am I going to get myself out of this “fat” mentality? Well, first I am going to take care of myself physically. I have an abdominal hernia from my c-sections that didn’t bother me in the past. I assume all the fat I carried around was supporting my muscles before, but now I am in pain from the hernia. I had to stop running because of the pain and I think it is keeping me from progressing in my weight loss.  It is also keeping me from the mental relief I get from running. I am trying to put the guilt of the time and financial burden this causes my family in the back of my mind. It isn’t easy, but I do have an appointment with my weight loss surgeon who can also fix this hernia next month. I promised myself that I will take care of this so I can move forward with my weight loss.

Another important promise I made myself was to get help mentally with the struggles I face as I lose weight. Part of the pre-surgery requirements was to be evaluated by a therapist. I felt very comfortable with the one I met and a few weeks I reached out to her for an appointment. Not being able to shove my feelings down with food has brought out higher levels of stress that I thought possible. I realized I need a professional to help me learn to cope with my stress in other ways besides eating. I have come too far in this journey to regain this weight. Mental and physical health go hand in hand and I need to focus on both. I hope to find a healthy and positive way to move forward.

So here I am at the crossroads. I’ve come so far yet I realize I will always be on this journey. Some days I don’t believe I deserve to spend this much time on me. The guilt of focusing on me haunts me. And while most of the time I feel supported by my family and friends, some times I still feel alone. But then I realize, if I don’t think I’m worth the trouble, how can they?

Yes, it’s time to get refocused on my journey and learn to appreciate the beautiful and amazing things that have happened. But I know it’s OK to admit defeat and reach out for help. Going Down the Scale (and yes, sometimes up) is full of drama, depression and chaos, but it is also beautiful, inspiring and full of hope. I look  forward to working toward hope…

Up the Hill and Down the Scale…

Following Jack and Jill up the hill...really!

Following Jack and Jill up the hill…really!

Week 46 of my gastric sleeve surgery is here and I am happy to announce my new weight loss total is 95 pounds! I lost two pounds last week to get to my new total. I didn’t lose anything this week; I blame the Easter Bunny. OK, not really. My weight loss has been up and down these past few months, so I am concentrating on the other aspects of my journey and going “up the hill” is a huge part of it.

First, let me share with those who don’t know that my children are named Jack and Jill. Yes, my husband and I named our almost 10-year-old and 6-year-old after the fairy tale. Hopefully they’ll still like their names as teenagers or I guess I should start saving for their therapy bills. Anyway…we joke a lot about going “up the hill” because of them. And now I can really join them going up the hill with my new body. Two weekends ago I got the chance to literally go with them.

We spent the weekend with friends in Northern California near snow. My fairytale children spent most of their lives in Florida so snow was completely new to them. We went to Lake Alpine (7,000 foot elevation) for them to have a quick snow experience. When I was 95 pounds heavier, I would have dreaded this trip. This time I was ready for it! Instead of just standing at the end of the snow making a snowman, I joined them walking and running through the snow. Well, as much running as you can do when you keep sinking in the snow. It was icy and now and then we would drop into the snow.

I laughed as my legs would fall through the snow and it would be up to my knees. I know I wouldn’t have done this is the past. The first drop in the snow with my heavier body would have crushed my spirit. Not this time! I pulled myself up out of the snow and kept following my kids. They found a hill and started sledding. The laughter, the cheesy grins and the screams of delight were infectious. I had to join them.

I did hesitate though. Thoughts of my old body haunted me and I grabbed the sleds to try to find a weight limit on them. My ever-supportive husband took a sled and headed up the hill first. Watching him laugh and the kids cheering him loudly was just the encouragement I needed. I grabbed a sled and walked right up the hill.

I lowered my body on the sled and looked down the hill. Granted, it wasn’t that big of a hill, but to this formerly obese woman, it was a mountain. “Would I actually be able to slide down?,” I worried. In the words of the incessantly played song “Let it Go”, I did just that. I pushed off and glided down the hill.

My "tah-dah!" moment after sledding for the first time with my new body!

My “tah-dah!” moment after sledding for the first time with my new body!

It was fun. It was quick. It was freedom. I kneeled up on the sled and threw my arms in the air. My son was behind me, waiting for his turn and laughing with me. My ever-supportive husband and my daughter cheered. Such a simple act of sledding brought me such confidence, fun and joy.

Those feelings are the ones that I want to remember as I continue this journey Down the Scale. Losing weight is full of such intense emotions, good and bad. I want to remember the joy of confidently walking up the hill and then letting go and enjoying the freedom of going down the hill. Life is all about ups and downs I think. And a trip to the snow was just what I needed to see the beauty in that…

 

My Weight Loss Journey: My Messy, Beautiful Truth

93 pounds gone in Week 44 of my weight loss journey!

Today’s blog is part of Momastery.com’s Messy, Beautiful Project. I am proud to share my gastric sleeve weight loss journey here at Down the Scale and now with other Warriors. In the Momastery community, everyone shares their truths – the messier the better. Life is Messy. Life is Beautiful. My weight loss journey is a perfect example of this philosophy. When I decided to take control of my obesity, I though I was searching for complete control and perfection in my life. What I really found is that losing weight and becoming healthy isn’t full of control or perfection. It is messy, painful and chaotic at times. But it is also rewarding, inspiring, loving and perfectly imperfect.

While my head knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems, my heart sure hoped it would. Being obese caused so many problems, but losing weight doesn’t solve them all. Sure, physically I am in the best shape I have been in as an adult. I enjoy exercising now. I can keep up with my kids at the playground. I can shop in the “regular” section at clothing stores. I don’t take high blood pressure medication anymore and I’m not pre-diabetic. Losing 93 pounds from my body is the best thing I have physically done for my body.

That’s not a messy part of life, is it? No, it’s pretty beautiful. What is messy are the mental hurdles I just assumed would go away with the extra pounds.

“If I’m thin, I won’t be as stressed as much.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be popular and have tons of friends.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be a better mom and wife.”

“If I’m thin everything will be perfect.”

Pretty crazy of me to hope for these things, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m alone in dreaming of an easy, perfect solution to my stresses and anxieties. And I know some people felt by having my gastric sleeve surgery I was taking the easy way out on losing weight. My smaller stomach does make physically losing weight much, much easier, but it doesn’t truly affect your brain, your heart and your soul. I can’t stuff my problems down with food now. I have to acknowledge them and deal with them. While my body isn’t working as hard to survive, my brain, heart and soul have to take up the slack.

Sounds messy doesn’t it? Yes, it is, but I was surprised to see the beautiful side of my perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities. When I started blogging  with my post “The O Word”, I was terrified to put my feelings on paper for the world to read. Would anyone really understand how it feels to be obese? Would anyone relate to the shame and feelings of failure my obesity caused me? Would I be judged negatively for my solution to my overwhelming issues?

Here’s the beautiful part….I am understood. My family and friends rallied around me and showed me more love and support than I could have imagined. Mere acquaintances became huge cheerleaders in person and online. Strangers found me and became new friends. Suddenly, people who I thought were “perfect” shared their own struggles with me publicly and privately. My community grew and strengthened when I shared my story. I finally knew I was not alone. I realize my weight loss journey will never really end. I will always struggle, always be emotional and always worry if I’m doing “enough.” But that is OK. I think these weaknesses are really a sign that I care. I care about life, my family, my friends and most importantly, about me.

I realize now that striving for perfection isn’t the solution. I want joy, happiness and love in my life. And by sharing my messy, beautiful life with others, I am finding those things. Who knew a weight loss journey would help find not what I wanted, but I really needed?

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Which Change is the Right One?

Week 43 and down 92.5 pounds!  Time to make changes like exercising more to reduce stress!

Week 43 and down 92.5 pounds! Time to make positive changes like exercising more to reduce stress!

Week 43 is here and I am down a half a pound and I am grateful for it. A loss is a loss and it does bring my overall weight loss total to 92.5 pounds, so it can’t be bad. The last few weeks of the scale going up and down is making me think of the changes I need to make to keep motivated. Unfortunately, I am not very practical at times when it comes to changes and the past few weeks have been no exception.

Let me honest and share that I am the queen of “let’s make big changes…NOW!”. In many cases, this is actually helpful such as having gastric sleeve surgery. Having your stomach reconstructed to lose weight isn’t a small change, but it was the big change I needed to get healthy. After years of fighting my weight and living as an obese woman, I finally came to the conclusion I needed this drastic change to be the person I wanted and needed to be for myself and my family.

This change was necessary for me and I am very happy with my weight loss and my new healthy body. But…I’m bored. I still have much work to do on my body such as losing another 20 pounds, toning up and having my abdominal hernia repaired. I need to get excited about the next part of my weight loss journey, but my head and heart aren’t feeling it.

So instead of focusing on the next phase of my journey, this “big changes now!” queen was focusing on other things, most of which aren’t truly productive. We’ve considered moving to the suburbs so I focused on that for a few weeks. While it is practical and positive option for our family, I was using it to run away from my anxiety and stress of my life now. I am overwhelmed with finances, the kids’ activities, lack of social life, little time alone with my husband and my slow weight loss. Instead of working on each issue on its own, I tend to come up with grandiose solutions, like “let’s move and change everything!” While moving might eliminate some stresses, in reality it adds another set of problems and issues. I can see that now, but for a few weeks I focused on making a big change to escape my issues.

Don’t get me wrong, big changes can be productive and just what you need, but when I focus on them instead of what really is bothering me, it isn’t productive. I’ve put aside the “suburban solution” for now and think I’m ready to tackle each issue on its own. Yes, I said I think because quite honestly I am terrified to face many of these issues. I’m not sure how to deal with many of my stresses and anxieties since they affect others. Being a parent is the hardest job I have ever had and finding the balance between my needs and my family’s needs is something I struggle with every day. My other stresses, like finances and spending more time doing fun things with my husband and children, have concrete solutions so I know I can find the solutions I need for my anxieties.

No change can be good. Small changes can be good. Big changes can be good. I need to figure out which changes are right and when to make them. Since I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s up to me to decide what solutions will work for me and keep me healthy, happy and sane. Wish me luck as I get re-motivated to go Down the Scale…

Finally Back Down the Scale!

Losing 92 pounds keeps me going on my journey!

Losing 92 pounds keeps me going on my journey!

Just a quick update on Week 41 on my Down the Scale Journey…92 pounds gone!

It feels great to lose weight again, but more importantly it is giving me the extra encouragement I need to keep going.  20 pounds to go!

Thanks for supporting me on my journey!

 

The “S” Words

Week 40!  While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Week 40! While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Forgive me, blogging world, for it has been two weeks since I last blogged here at Down the Scale. The last two weeks have been “the ugly” part of “the good, the bad and the ugly” of my weight loss journey so I resisted writing. Time to get back on the saddle and share my story here at Week 40…

Well, you’ve probably guessed that I’ve gained weight so that’s why I haven’t blogged. Week 39 I was up a half a pound and yesterday I was up a half a pound for a total of one pound gain. This morning I am actually back down to a half a pound under my lowest weight, making my loss 90.5 pounds. But I’m a stickler for rules and since Tuesday is my official weigh in day, I’m going with yesterday’s number and making it officially 89 pounds down since I started this journey last June.

Yes, I have tons of reasons and excuses for this weight gain. I think there are two main reasons for this jump: sugar and stress. They’re the “S” words in my life.

Sugar is an obvious reason. The past two weeks have been a good reminder that my new stomach, my sleeve, is just a tool. No, I can’t eat the quantities of food I could before, but I still need to watch my caloric intake. Sugar sneaks in so easily and since I celebrated my birthday last week it was easy to see how it snuck in my diet. That is easily fixed; the birthday celebration is over!

I also realized I was going back to some old habits like drinking sugar coffee drinks like my old favorite, the non-fat white mocha. I love it, but it is definitely not worth the weight gain. Back to my skinny vanilla lattes!

Instead of going to get those sugary or even the sugar-free drinks, I got back into my walking and running schedule. It was my ever supportive husband, who while I was having a breakdown, gently asked when I ran last. I’ve been back to running and adding in more walks with friends. It has made a world of difference this week and again, it was a good reminder to go back to the basics of weight loss: exercising and eating right.

The other “S” word in my life is stress. And I really should be honest and say my stresses are truly “first world problems.” I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing life! My husband and children are my world and I have great friends and family. We live in a beautiful state, we have a roof over our head and we’re healthy and happy. So why the stress?

I think I feel this stress and anxiety so deeply because I care so deeply. Now, that’s not really a bad thing, but I haven’t really learned to temper the stress to realistic levels. The issues I deal with wouldn’t seem so bad to other people and I’m sure some of my friends think I’m crazy about the things I worry about. I just am always thinking that I’m going to disappoint my family or the people around me. It’s usually about something that I can’t completely control such as dealing with a group or person. While I have tried and occasionally succeed in extracting myself from an unhealthy situation (for me), I can’t always do that. I end up feeling out of control and guess what I can control…my eating habits.

So in theory, I should control my eating habits by eating healthy, right? Instead I try to comfort myself and numb myself with unhealthy food. I realized what I was doing the past two weeks when I finally admitted that I was eating more than usual, especially sugar. I let anxiety, stress and depression control me. Obviously that’s one of the main reasons I became 100+ pounds overweight.

They say talking about your problems is the first step to solving them, so I hope that putting this out there is my first step. I am very proud of the progress I have made so far in my journey and I need to remind myself of all the positive changes and progress I have made this year. I hope, no, I WILL tackle my stress issues so that I will be healthy both physically and mentally. Time to kick the “S” words to street and keep running Down the Scale…

90 Pounds Bites the Dust…

Week 38 is here and 90 pounds are gone!

Week 38 is here and 90 pounds are gone!

Just a quick update on Week 38 of my gastric sleeve surgery journey!  I hit another milestone — 90 pounds!  It’s been a slow road these past few months, but reaching the 90 pound mark is giving me the inspiration to keep going!  22 pounds to go until my ultimate goal!

I would not have made it this far without the support of my incredible family, friends and the Down the Scale community!  Thank you for your support, inspiration and encouragement!