Health

Weight Loss Milestones

I have lost 35 lbs and I weigh 249 lbs. Getting under 250 was my first major milestone. Here is a list of all of them:

249 (under 250)

234 (50 lbs lost)

209 (75 lbs lost)

199 (under 200 and what I weighed when I got married)

195 (100 lbs down from my highest weight)

184 (100 lbs lost)

175 (what I weighed when I met my husband)

169 (my lowest weight as an adult)

149 (under 150)

139 (goal.. I am not sure if this is realistic)


Two Months After Gastric Bypass

I haven't taken pictures yet this month, but I did weigh and measure. The loss of inches this month isn't nearly as dramatic as last month, but I have lost more weight, so that's nice. (Surgery was 11/29/10.)

Since last month, I have lost:

  • 9 pounds (31 total)
  • .75 inches off my chest (2.5 total)
  • 0 inches off my hips (5 total)
  • .75 inches off my waist (2.75 total)
  • .25 inches off my neck (1.75 total)
  • (arm and leg measurements were a little screwy)

I found a great support group to go to once a month. They do a clothing exchange before the meeting, which is cool. I have a lot of 3X stuff to bring next month. I am continuing to do well with protein and I am doing better with the fluids. I am still not doing well with my supplements. I don't know how to make myself get into the habit on this one. I have always been terrible about. I also need to motivate myself to exercise. That's another thing I have always been terrible about.

Things I had been doing well with but I have not been doing so well lately are: eating things of little nutritional value, and consuming caffeinated, carbonated beverages. I am already back on track with the food. That part was actually pretty easy. (New tiny tummy helps immensely.) Oh, but I love diet soda. I can't drink it the way I used to, so there is no danger of returning to my former levels of mass consumption, but I can't seem to cut it out entirely.


One Month After Gastric Bypass

I was making myself a little crazy by weighing in every day, so I only weigh in once a week now, and I take my measurements monthly. I also take pictures monthly (but I won't be showing those for awhile).

Since my surgery on 11/29/10, I have lost:

  • 22 pounds
  • 2 inches off my chest
  • 5 inches off my hips
  • 5 inches off my waist
  • 1 inch off my neck
  • 1 inch off each arm
  • 2 inches off each calf
  • 2 inches off each thigh

Since my surgery, I have gained:

  • Clothes that fit me better
  • An easier time going up stairs
  • Dragon breath

Things I have been doing well:

  • Getting enough protein every day
  • Not eating things I shouldn't eat
  • Staying away from caffeine
  • Staying away from carbonated drinks

Things I need to improve:

  • Getting enough fluid every day
  • Trying new foods
  • Taking all of my supplements every day
  • Finding a support group

50 Reasons It Sucks to Be Fat

I am having gastric bypass surgery tomorrow. If you have been reading my autobiographical posts, you know I have been overweight for two-thirds of my life. I started looking into gastric bypass in February. I decided to go through with it in May, after my mom was killed in a car crash. I don't want to struggle with my weight until the day I die, like she did.

At my last weigh-in, a couple weeks ago, I weighed 286 pounds. I am 5'6" tall. I imagine I will weigh about 280 tomorrow when I go in for surgery. My scale is broken, so I don't know for sure.

I wrote the following list on July 11th, when I weighed 295 pounds, my highest weight ever.

  1. I weigh as much as the Olsen twins, plus one of their friends.
  2. My feet hurt.
  3. I'm not pretty anymore because my face is so fat.
  4. My knees hurt.
  5. I can't find cute clothes in my size.
  6. Even cute clothes in my size look like crap on me.
  7. I can't wear skirts because of the painful chafing of my thighs.
  8. I can't wear heels.
  9. Even my armpits have rolls.
  10. Skin tags.
  11. I can't do my own pedicures.
  12. Sex is [redacted]*
  13. My ankles swell up at the end of the day.
  14. I haven't worn a dress since my wedding day.
  15. Heartburn.
  16. Even one flight of stairs has me breathing heavy.
  17. I'm too heavy for my bike.
  18. No one ogles me.
  19. Stretch marks everywhere.
  20. I have two bellies, one below my waistband and one above it.
  21. My breasts are sad sacks.
  22. My butt moves independently of my body.
  23. I've damaged my body so much that when I do get to my goal weight, I'll need plastic surgery to attain even an approximation of a normal body.
  24. I rarely want to take my girls for a walk or to the park.
  25. I don't want to be seen in a bathing suit.
  26. I barely want to be seen fully clothed.
  27. I'm not as fun or as interesting as I used to be.
  28. I want [redacted]
  29. Shaving my legs is a chore.
  30. I don't even want to walk to the next block for lunch.
  31. I needed a seat belt extender on my last flight.
  32. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels have crept up (but are still normal).
  33. I sweat.
  34. I'm lethargic.
  35. I don't fit into the bath tub.
  36. I don't want to go to Magic Mountain anymore because I am afraid I won't fit on the rides.
  37. I don't have enough pictures of me with my kids.
  38. I'm worried about [redacted]
  39. My seatbelt buckle digs into my hip.
  40. I didn't buy a Miata because I thought I would look ridiculous.
  41. I can't play comfortably on the floor with my girls.
  42. I can't wear tank tops. I mean, I don't.
  43. I had to get my wedding rings resized.
  44. I had to turn down an opportunity to get a free mini-wardrobe from Gap for a blogging conference I [was] attending. They don't carry my size.
  45. When I was pregnant, I had to mail order most of my clothes.
  46. And no one could tell I was pregnant.
  47. [redacted]
  48. [redacted]
  49. I can't run.
  50. I am too embarrassed to take yoga classes again.

*This is from my journal. I didn't remember there were a few things that were a little too personal to post.


More than you want to know about my right breast

At the follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Monday, he removed the steri-strips that held the incision together. The wound closed up nicely and looks good. In fact, you can barely see it because he made the incision right along the edge of the areola. If you compare Righty to Lefty (a.k.a. Biggie and Smallie), the areola looks a little jacked up, but that's fine since it never fully recovered from pregnancy and breast feeding. I'm just glad I don't have a Frankenstein boob. Or cancer.


Biopsy Outcome: Benign

The biopsy results were benign. I have to get another mammogram in six months to make sure all the calcifications are gone because the surgeon and the pathologist could only find four calcifications in the tissue that was removed. He thinks he got them all and that the mammogram will confirm that. Regardless, it's not cancer, so that's good.


Biopsy Update

I had the biopsy today. The surgeon didn't get all the calcifications. There was one (of six) for sure that he couldn't find. I will see him next week for the results and then I will have another mammogram in a few weeks.

There is an 80-90% chance that the calcifications are benign. Most women would have simply had another mammogram in six months to look for any change. Biopsy was recommended for me because of my family history. I couldn't have a stereotactic biopsy in the office because the calcifications were too close to the skin. If these are benign, I am going to ask that the simply watch any remaining ones instead of going back in for them.


I give Leah Peterson odd advice.

You might know Leah Peterson as leahpeah from leahpeah and leahpeah. I have, on two occasions, given her strange advice about her body. It's not like I run around giving people advice about their bodies whenever I can. In fact, I don't think I recall ever giving anyone else advice about their bodies, yet I have done this to Leah twice. Two times.

On the first occasion, Leah had posted on her blog that one of the negative side effects of a new medication she was taking was bruxism. She asked for advice about how to deal with this. I clench my teeth when stressed, so I had experience. Of course, she could get a mouthguard for sleeping, but a person can't wear that all day long. I told her what I do when I find myself clenching my teeth. I flatten out my tongue and place it between all of my upper and lower teeth. (I'm doing it now.) With my tongue there, I can't clench my teeth hard enough to give myself a headache. I can even do this in my sleep now. She emailed me later to say that it was helping.

On the second occasion, Leah and I were chatting about her upcoming mega road trip while our husbands loaded her old couch into my van. Leah was telling me about her elaborate pillow system and how it was going to cause some trouble on the road trip because lugging seven (nine?) pillows in and out of the van every night wasn't feasible. I told her about the system I used when I was pregnant, which involved two body pillows. Now, I forget exactly how the conversation veered in this direction, but I soon found myself suggesting to Leah that, when sleeping on her side, she cram her nightgown between her breasts to keep them from sweating. It works, as I know from personal experience. Last night, as I was cramming my nightgown between my breasts in preparation for sleep, I recalled this conversation with Leah, and that is how this post came to be. She never emailed me to say this piece of advice was helpful.

Do you have a weird body problem that needs solving? Apparently, I have weird advice for you.


A New Deodorant for Your Stinky Pits

Kate the Peon asks:

I need a new deodorant. For years I have used either Secret or Dove, and now I feel like both of them fail me within minutes of putting them on. I don't like invisible ones and I have to have a solid. What do you recommend?

Currently, I use Dove. I think I have been using Dove for a year or so. Prior to that, I used Degree. I only use a regular solid and I only choose scents that aren't powdery or flowery. The reason I stopped using Degree is that I felt like it stopped working for me. What I think really happened was that I became so used to the scent that when I smelled it, I equated it with the smell of my armpits. Then, I think I became so used to the scent that I no longer smelled the deodorant, only my stinky pits.

That's my theory anyway. I haven't tested it because, during the time I have been using Dove, Degree stopped making the scent I used and I don't like any of the other ones.

My recommendation is to switch to Degree for awhile and then try switching back to whatever your favorite was.


Oprah's 21-Day Cleanse

I hear Oprah did a 21-day cleanse diet. I am a little late to the party because I had our satellite TV service turned off over four months ago. I heard about this on dooce.com. Heather was trying out the cleanse. She lasted about a week before she caved to the detox sickies. Her friend, Carol, had the same experience.

I had a similar experience a few years ago when I did a 37-day juice fast with my husband. I lost about 30 lbs. and I felt like crap the entire time. I eventually gained all the weight back, and more, because I didn't change one single thing about my habits. I have tried about once a year since then to either do another juice fast or switch to a raw food diet, with little success each time.

Still, I would recommend an extended juice fast to anyone. Why? I have been sick only three times since that juice fast. I didn't escape two of the flu seasons and I caught a cold a couple months ago that the baby brought home from daycare. Even the subsequent failed attempts were each long enough to be considered an annual maintenance fast.*

I didn't have an exceptionally strong immune system before the juice fast, but I do now. Even that cold I caught from the baby was because I was tempting fate. She had it for four weeks before I finally caught it, because I wouldn't stop kissing her on the mouth.

Compared to the juice fasts and the raw food diets we have done in the past, Oprah's cleanse, which eliminates caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from your diet for up to 21 days, is child's play. You get cooked food! You can have sweet potato fries! After reading through Oprah's blog about it and my own blog about my past attempts, I think I am going to give a mostly raw diet another chance. The version of a raw food diet we tried in 2005 actually sounds pretty good again.


*A full detox fast is your age plus 17 days long. Each year after that, you should do a 1-2 week fast.


Gastric Bypass Surgery

Jen14221 asks:

What is your opinion on:

A 38 year old, 245 pounds, 5'9" with a BMI of 37 getting gastric bypass surgery. Because there is no way in hell I can lose 100 pounds by myself. I am going to get it even if I have to pay for it myself.

Well, it definitely seems like you have made up your mind about it. I am not going to offer you an opinion that tries to sway you against it. I know several people who have had gastric bypass surgery and none of them regret it at all. They have all lost a lot of weight, though only a couple of them have reached their goals. Apparently, it hurts like hell and the first couple weeks of your recovery are worse than you can imagine, but the end result is you drop weight like mad.

Besides the recovery and the possible surgical complications from gastric bypass, I have watched enough Discovery Health Channel to know that the biggest downside, at least it would be for me, is all that gross skin you are going to have leftover that will need to be surgically removed by a plastic surgeon. As long as you are prepared for that as well, I say go for it.

One more thing, if I were in your position, I would really look into getting the lap band procedure over the gastric bypass procedure. It is less invasive, has less potentional for complications, is easier to recover from, and is not permanent.