Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Crazy Summer

It's been a month and a half since I last blogged. Things have been a bit crazy around here. We are still living with my mother and father-in-law. They are so sweet to let us stay here until we get on our feet. Retiring from the Navy left us with benefits, but not much in the way of money. Don't get me wrong. We do get a monthly retirement check. But once the care payment comes out of it, it doesn't seem like much. LOL I had a job for about a month. I won't go into details, but lets just say that my co-workers and I had different ways of handling issues with the children. It was frustrating beyond belief, and I was so stressed out that I was getting physically ill. So, I've spent the last month trying to find a job, without much success. But I'm not giving up.

Ryan has found two part time jobs. One he loves. It's in a gun shop, and he gets to play with guns all day. A man's dream job right? LOL The other job is in a large chain store, and he doesn't care for it much at all. But there is hope on the horizon. While working at the gun shop he met a customer who happens to be the son of the owner of an oil field company. They got to talking and it turns out Ryan has some skills they can use in their training and/or safety departments. He has an interview on Friday, but it sounds like it's just a formality. Ryan spoke to the owners son again this week and while he wouldn't come right out and say it, he seemed to be hinting very strongly that Ryan already has the job! It will be a huge blessing and will mean that we can finally find a house and get settled! Yay!

This week I'm working on getting the kids enrolled in school. Steven will be going to Ryan's old middle school and Tori will be going to our old high school. I'm excited and nervous for them. Now if I can just get all the required paperwork rounded up, we will be in good shape!

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten to update you on my weight loss progress. I'm just saving it for last. :) As of today I have lost a total of 99 lbs! I actually spent about an hour and a half going through clothes my sister passed on to me as she was losing weight, and it seems my size has changed once again. At the beginning of the summer I was wearing a 16w/18w in pants and an XL in shirts. Now I'm wearing regular 16/18s (the 18s are getting kinda big though) in pants. And I'm wearing a large in tops! I'm so excited!!

This past weekend was our 20 year high school reunion. I had an outfit picked out from my closet for the Friday night meet and greet. On the day of, I tried them on and they were swimming on me!! So I went into panic mode trying on things that were cute enough to go had drinks with people I hadn't see in 20 years, but not so loose that I'd lose my pants before the night was over. Luckily I found something...a size large blouse I had bought in a REGULAR store at the mall, and a pair of capris passed down from my sister with some cute accessories and sandals, I was good to go. For the Saturday night banquet I bought a new dress. It was a 14/16, and showed some leg. I got compliments all night long! I'm seriously not used to that!

I did NOT lose this weight to look good for my reunion!! When I made the decision to have he surgery, our reunion was the farthest thing from my mind. But losing almost 100 lbs in time for it was a huge bonus! It made going to he reunion into something that was truly fun!! I danced! I talked to classmates that I've been in touch with the last few years as well as classmates that I hadn't talked to since middle school and classmates that I had never talked to before. There was a streaker! there was dancing, there was an after party. We had an amazing time! And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I had gone to this reunion with those extra 100 lbs on my body, I would not have had nearly as much fun. I wouldn't have danced. I wouldn't have talked to hardly anyone. I wouldn't have gone to the after party, etc. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun! I've made new friends and reconnected with old. I knew that moving back here was the right idea!!

Exercise. It's like a dirty word. Not just because I've never liked it, but because with my fibromyalgia it can leave me in pain for days. But, I have a new plan of attack to keep me moving, limber, and strengthen my muscles. I'm going to start a beginner's yoga class the first of September. One of my old classmates is a yoga instructor here in town and she's familiar with fibro. I'm so excited to have her help with this!! Thanks, Angie!

I think that's about it for now. I've got some other things to talk about, but haven't decided if I'm going to blog or do a video. Either way I'll try to have it out next week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Video Update

Getting Settled

Hi, Everyone! It's been a while since I posted. Things, as you can imagine, have been crazy and hectic with the retirement and the move. We made it through the retirement and have made it to Oklahoma, but we are still trying to get a house. Meanwhile we are living with my husband's parents. They are wonderful people, and I love them like they were my own parents, but as you can imagine having 4 extra people and two dogs in their typically quiet house has been an adjustment for them. And living in someone else's home has been an adjustment for us. But we are settling in and making it work for now. We have our eye on a couple of houses. We just have to work out a rent-to-own option or a mortgage. Wish us luck!

As for the post-op weight loss journey, it is going great! I am 4 months post-op tomorrow, June 21, and have lost 82 pounds total. That number includes the 18 lbs I lost before surgery, so I've lost 64 lbs in 4 months. I've gone from a size 24/26 in pants down to a 16w/18w. I'm anxious to be out of the plus size pants, but it will happen soon enough. As for shirts I'm down from a 22/24 to an XL in the ladies more plus size tops for me! Yay! I will have to go back later and calculate the inches I have lost. I'm very happy with my progress so far!!

Now, I want to take a moment and stress something to all of you. This is something I have to remind myself of often. DO NOT compare yourself or your progress to anyone else!! All of us are different in so many ways that we can never expect to have the same type of results. We have different bodies, different metabolisms, different health conditions that can affect our progress. We have different doctors and nutritionists giving us different instructions on everything from protein and calorie intake to what type and how many vitamins to take. All of this alone can affect our progress in positive and/or negative ways. Add in our own personal situations with family, work, finances, etc and you have a whole new level of factors. Then we add in our personal likes, dislikes, and struggles with food, what we can and can't eat at certain stages, and trying to plan our meals on our busy schedules and we have even another layer added to the process. So please, don't compare your progress with weight loss to me or anyone else. Take a look at where YOU were, and where YOU are. If you have made progress, then be proud and happy about that. If you've had some stalls, take that time to evaluate what you've been doing, let your body catch up with you, and start with small changes to see what gets things moving again. Remember, this is YOUR journey, not mine, not someone in your support group, not someone on's YOURS and YOURS alone!!! Be proud of you and your progress, and take the pressure of yourself to be just like someone else. We don't need you to be someone else. You are wonderful and amazing all on your own. I think maybe that will be the topic of my next blog...learning to love and accept yourself.

I'm going to go for now. I want to record and post a video before I head to work. So, go over later and check out my YouTube channel and see what I've posted. Once it's up, I'll post a link on here and on my FB pages. Thanks to everyone for reading. I'm so glad that my journey can help others. But remember...I'm only human, I'm not a doctor, and I'm just sharing my experiences and opinions. Please, don't take anything I say over medical advice, or over what you feel is right for you. Love you all, and have a fabulous summer day!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hello, hello, hello! I am still here. I've been wanting/needing to write this post for a while, but just hadn't been able to do it. I've been struggling a LOT lately with fatigue and body pain.

After surgery my main focus with my meds was getting them down. Some I had to crush, some I had to open the capsule and add it to yogurt, some were chewable. I have a medicine organizer to make sure I get all my meds at the right times in the right combinations. So I was very aware of meds and vitamins post op...and I still am. But one thing I didn't think about, and was not brought up with me, is changing dosages.

In the 12 weeks since surgery I have become increasingly tired and sore. This is due to my 3 main health issues...severe depression/anxiety, hypothyroid (under active), and fibromyalgia. All 3 of these conditions cause fatigue and 2 cause insomnia. The meds I take were working great before my surgery. I had energy, I rarely hurt, and I could sleep.

Now, they aren't working at all. Or at least that's how it feels. I think the reason for this is the malabsorption factor with RNY. So, my ass has been dragging for weeks!! The funny thing is, in some ways I feel better and more energetic...due to being practically 60 lbs lighter. But it comes and goes in small spurts.

I find myself being able to do more and more things without the added effort I used to have to put into it, without huffing and puffing, and being able to actually FIT places I didn't before. So even though I'm struggling with the meds, I'm loving this!! And I have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday to get the doc to make some changes for me. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be feeling much better.

So what about the crazy part of this blog? That would be this month in general! This month is the last month of school...lots of events and activities going on for me as a teacher and the kids. It is also Ryan's last month in the Navy. His retirement ceremony is next week!!! And his parents will be here a couple of days before the ceremony. They are staying in a hotel, but I still have to have the house ready for company. In addition to that, we live on base so we have to be out of our house by May 31st...the last day of school and last day of Ryan's official enlistment. That means making sure EVERY closet, drawer, cabinet, dresser, etc is ready to be packed. They all need to be purged and organized, It's craziness! Add to the mix that we are both looking for jobs, we don't have a place to live yet when we move, and I'm so tired most of the time that I just want to veg, and you've got a crazy month.

So, if I'm not blogging regularly, please forgive me. LOL I'm doing the best I can. But I need to get my butt in gear and make sure everything gets done that needs to be done.

Before I go, let me share my progress with you:

Weight: Total loss: 59.6 lbs!! Pre-op loss: 18.2 Post-op loss: 41.4


Neck: -2
Waist: -3.75
Hips: -5.5
Thighs: -3
Calves: -1
Upper Arm: -.75
Upper Abdomen: -2.5

Total Inches Lost: 23.5!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Where In The World Is Michelle?

Well, I'm still here in San Antonio. I just looked back to see when my last post was and it was 3 weeks ago!!! Aaggh!! I didn't realize it had been that long...a week, maybe two tops. But to see that it had been three weeks was a shock! So, what has been going on in those 3 weeks to keep me from blogging? Well, thinking back I can blame PMS for the first 2 weeks. Yep. It can be that bad folks. It's not a weight loss surgery thing, I've just been like that for years. So I apologize for letting that get the best of me. Last week was just a crazy week!! My theme at school was Fiesta. We did confetti eggs, a piƱata, and a shoebox parade. Friday I was off, but found out that morning that we had won tickets to go see the Zac Brown Band...and have dinner with them at their Eat and Greet before the concert!! That was a fun day!!

I will try to do better about blogging more regularly, but the next month or so may be sporadic. We have one month before we move, and that means LOTS of work to do!! I have closets to clean out, baseboards to scrub, etc, etc, etc. But I will try to post at least a few short things each week to keep you updated.

This is going to be a quick post today, because I have a lot to do this afternoon. I will try to post more tonight. But before I go I will give you a quick update on my progress. I've lost a total of 56 lbs, and I've dropped form a size 26 pant to a 20. I've also dropped from a 3X to an XL in tops or from a 22/24 to an 18/20. I'm really excited about my progress!! I'll update you more later!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nesting Doll Syndrome

One of the benefits of military life has been getting to see parts of the world that I might not otherwise have been able to see. We lived in England for three years and Spain for about a year and a half. As you might guess we purchased many things from the countries we lived in as well as countries that we visited. But another great thing about military life is that while we were over seas, they would bring other countries to us! You would walk into the Exchange (kind of a cross between a department store and a Wal-Mart for military people on base), and they would have tables set up selling pottery from Poland, Love Spoons from Wales, and once in a while they would have Russian nesting dolls. We bought several of these dolls some for gifts for friends and family, some for ourselves. We even have a Winnie the Pooh set where each doll is a different character and the smallest one is of course, Piglet. Many of these sets have each doll decorated as a different character of some kind.

You might see a Star Wars Set:

Or a Beatles Set:

Maybe you'll find a family set:

Or even a fairy tale set:

But most of your traditional sets will have dolls that are basically identical as far as the details painted on them:

As you can see, the only real detail that is different is their size. Their shape is the same, the colors are the same, the face is the same, and even the flowers are pretty much the same.

So what does this have to do with weight loss? Well, I've lost 48 lbs in about three months. I'm wearing smaller sizes. My bras are too big. People comment on how much I've lost all the time. And sometimes I can see it too. But other times, especially if I've just gotten out of the shower and see myself nude, I see exactly what I saw before I started all this! I still see the same body shape, the same fat in the same places, the same proportions. I look just like I used to!! It is hard from my mind to comprehend. How can I wear smaller clothes, lose 48 lbs, have people comment almost daily on how great I look, even the tape measurer says I'm smaller....and yet, I still look the same in the mirror?

Well, I've decided it's the Nesting Doll Syndrome. I look basically the same. Same body shape, same proportions, same skin....just smaller size. That's why it's so important to take pictures!!! And measure!! Our eyes can fool us! Our brain can trick us! They will have us thinking we are still the biggest doll in the set, when in actuality we are getting smaller and smaller all the time. So, don't fall for this trick of the eye and mind. Document for yourself with pictures and measurements. And when you get discouraged and start seeing yourself as the big doll, pull out the pictures of the old you, and compare them to the new you. Let your eyes and your mind take it in that this is real and it is really happening!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fat For Thought

Take a good look at these faux globs of fat!! Now think about how many of them you have lost...and be proud of yourself!!

I've lost an elephant heart and an ostrich about you?

1 pound = a Guinea Pig
1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts
2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs
3 pounds = an average human brain
4 pounds = an ostrich egg
5 pounds = a Chihuahua
6 pounds = a human’s skin
7.5 pounds = an average newborn
8 pounds = a human head
10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year
11 pounds = an average housecat
12 pounds = a Bald Eagle
15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs
16 pounds = a sperm whale’s brain
20 pounds = an automobile tire
23 pounds = amount of pizza an average American eats in a year
24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream
25 pounds = an average 2 year old
30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year
33 pounds = a cinder block
36 pounds = a mid-size microwave
40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg
44 pounds = an elephant’s heart
50 pounds = a small bale of hay
55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner
60 pounds = an elephant’s penis (yep, weights more than his heart!)
66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year
70 pounds = an Irish Setter
77 pounds = a gold brick
80 pounds = the World’s Largest Ball of Tape
90 pounds = a newborn calf
100 pounds = a 2 month old horse
111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year
117 pounds = an average fashion model (and she’s 5’11”)
118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica
120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month
130 pounds = a newborn giraffe
138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year
140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year
144 pounds = an average adult woman (and she’s 5’4”)
150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary
187 pounds = an average adult man
200 pounds = 2 Bloodhounds
235 pounds = Arnold Schwarzenegger
300 pounds = an average football lineman
400 pounds = a Welsh pony"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury... a woman scorned by Buffalo Exchange second hand clothing store.

Scorn: The feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt.

Today I was made to feel as though I was worthless. How did a second hand clothing store do this to me? The story started Friday afternoon. As I've been losing weight, I've been cleaning out my closet and putting all the things that are too big for me into large black trash bags. For weeks I've been trying to decide what to do with those clothes. The solution I came up with was to sell what I could to a second hand or consignment shop (I'm not foolish enough to think they would take everything), and the rest I would donate to a ministry at my church. So yesterday afternoon I looked online to find a consignment shop that would take plus size clothes. Not all stores sell plus size clothes, so I wanted to check before I took my stuff in somewhere. I tried one store that said it was a plus size boutique but the number was disconnected. My husband found Buffalo Exchange, but they didn't specify sizes, so we called to see what sizes they accept and what they are looking for as per their web site: "Call your local Buffalo Exchange before you go and ask what they're currently buying to get an idea of what we're looking for."

They said they DO sell plus size clothes, and that they were looking for spring and summer clothes in current styles. Now, to expand upon that let me share what their web site says they are looking for:

"Bring in your former favorites for trade or cash on the spot! Our ever-changing inventory includes designer labels, vintage, jeans, leather, current basics and one-of-a-kind items. You'll also find brand new merchandise and accessories."

Notice they say they take jeans...I had jeans from Lane Braynt, and a pair of great Levi's that I got lots of compliments on...didn't wear them much though before I was too small for them. And they said they take "current basics" I had black, navy blue and kaki slacks and capris. Coldwater Creek solid lace trimmed t-shirts. Lots of solid and print blouses in long, short, & 3/4 length sleeves, in blacks and whites, reds, pinks, oranges, you name it...a rainbow of colors and prints. I'll show you in a bit. Oh, and they say they take "brand new merchandise"...well I had a light weight jacket perfect for spring....tags still on it!!! There was also a dress I had worn twice and several denim skits in varying lengths. I also had shorts and capris in denim as well as athletic wear. There was even a really cute pink and black polkadot bathing suit.

So this is what happened when we went today, the day after I spoke to them on the phone:

I had sorted through the clothes, taking out things that were definitely fall/winter or that I had missed spots on. Even weeded out a couple of more worn looking graphic t-shirts. I weeded the 3 large black trash bags of clothes down to 2. (BTW...I asked if they needed them brought in in any special way, because some places require you to fold them and place them in a laundry basket or plastic bags, but they said bags were fine, no special instructions.)

So today I walked in with my two bags of clothes, and she had me dump the clothes out of the bags onto the counter. She began looking through the clothes, unfolding and refolding them. Some she put back down in the bag, some she stacked on the counter. (This was the first bag) Then after she looked at all of them, she picked up all of the clothes from the counter and put them back in the bag. Then she repeated this process with the second bag. By this time however, she wasn't even unfolding all of the items. Some she just moved from one pile to another without even looking at them. Then she put them all back in their bags and informed me she couldn't take any of them due "to excess wear and laundering."

That is bull!!! Let me show you why!

This dress was worn twice!

Colwater Creek

Coldwater Creek - Never Worn

My Levi's that I got compliments on all the time. Another plus size woman even asked me what brand they were and where I got them because she wanted a pair.

The back of my Levi's Cute pockets!

This blouse is from Lane Bryant. Very cute on, ties in the back...flattering to the figure with a high waist line and the way the top lays it accents the bust line.

The tags are not on this, but only because I was planning to wear it, but when I put it on, the blouse I had bought to go with it didn't match the way I expected. So...brand new!

Cute chemise from Lane Bryant....very cute under sweaters or low cut tops. The lace is even prettier in person. I think I wore it once or twice.

The bathing suit I mentioned...worn less than a handful of times.

This is the butt on the bathing you can see it wasn't even worn enough to cause the fabric to start to pill like they usually do!

These are Dockers from Dillard's.

This is a close up of the fabric, a mix of white and pale pink pin stripes.

Cute denim skirt...I had at least half a dozen denim skirts in different lengths and styles all from Lane Bryant and Avenue.

Wore this one twice! Bought it within the last six months.

Worn once or twice.

Less than a year old. Worn maybe half a dozen times. The stitching detail on the blouse is all still intact, no runs or pulls in it.

Nice 3/4 sleeve blouse in red, I had another one almost identical in pale pink...the pink one went well with the gray pin striped Dockers above.

These are a cross between slacks and capris. They are cut like a loose legged trouser, but only come down to just above he ankle and have a small slit on the outside seems.

This blouse got me compliments EVERY time I wore it! Beautiful blouse! And still in great shape!

Another solid black pair of long slack/capris, but this pair was cuffed at the bottom...very cute!

Wore this maybe 3 or 4 times. Beautiful, but a little too dressy for work, so I wore it to church. That means that when I did wear it, it was only for a couple of hours. Still looks brand new!

Very cute top. Looks better in person than in the picture. Has a cute ruffle at the bottom. Bought it to wear to the theater when we went to see Wicked...then wore it a few times to work. Still looks new.

This is the top I was wearing in one of my Vlogs the other day. I love this top! Cute, cool for summer, and still in great condition...not faded or worn out at all.

This would be the jacket that is brand new...notice the tags still hanging under the arm! It's light weight, so perfect for spring or fall.

This blouse is perfect for spring. Very light weight, actually a little see-through so you have to wear something under it. And I have a white one just like it! It was a little wrinkled from being in the bag, but otherwise in perfect condition.

This is another light weight jacket from Lane Bryant. I think I wore it once and took it off while we were out and never put it back on because I got warm. So basically brand new.

Now, I cold be catastrophically wrong on all of this. Maybe I over-value the quality of my clothes. But for those of you that buy plus size clothes, you know that Lane Bryant and Avenue are NOT cheap stores. And Coldwater Creek isn't either! (though they carry regular and plus size clothing) In fact, I can't afford Coldwater Creek. My mother-in-law is responsible for all my clothes from their store. So, you guys give me your opinion. Do these clothes look "worn", "over laundered", or "out of style"? Because from what I was told in the store and what I read on their website, those are the reasons they would turn down clothes. And don't forget...this is just a small sample of what I had for them...maybe 1/4 of it. And that's after I weeded out things that were definitely out of season or worn/stained.

Please, give me your input on this. I am furious with these people right now, because I honestly feel that after they told me they take plus size clothes, they discriminated against me because my clothes size. I could have accepted if they had only taken some of the clothes, or told me up front that they had a size limit. But don't tell me you take ALL sizes then turn away everything I bring in! Odds are in my favor that with all the clothes I took in, they would have accepted a few things...even one or two things...but none...that's a little bit more than suspicious to me! Especially given the state of some of the things we saw on display in their store.

Okay. Rant over, but please, if you agree with me, share this blog post with others. Spread it on Facebook, Tweet it on Twitter, link to it on your blog. Because this is a chain that is all over the US. And if they are treating me like this, I'm guessing there are others like me out there. And if I'm wrong, if you disagree with me, please comment and let me know how you see this. Because I know my experience is tainted by my own feelings. So I want to be fair, I want to get your opinions. I'm a big girl, and I can handle if you disagree with me. But please comment here on the blog and let me know how you feel about this.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yes I AM a Dork Vlog

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WLS & You (& Your Spouse)

Disclaimer #1: Since I am a wife of nearly 19 years and my hubby has been by my side through this surgical journey, I will be discussing this issue from that point of view. I do however understand that some of you may be dating, may have a significant other, or currently unattached (or any number of other situations out there). However, I think that many of the points I make today can apply in non-romantic relationships as well. So, don’t let my use of the word Spouse scare you away.

Disclaimer #2: After completing this blog and reading back over it, I must warn you that today is one of my “chatty” days so this blog is on the longish side. I cannot be held accountable for eye strain, broken noses due to face plants on your keyboard when you fall asleep reading this, or your spouse/child whining at you wondering when you’re going to get done with the computer. Read ahead at your own risk! (But I did add in pictures to make it more fun!)

This is me back in high school where Ryan and I first met. I thought I was as big as a barn (Check out my What Lies Beneath Series - 4parts, to find out more about how my childhood shaped these thoughts. ), but as you can see I was not. I also thought I was ugly enough to scare the stink off a skunk. Again, as you can see I was not. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized this. I was going through some old photos and came across some from high school.

When I saw this one I almost cried. I really didn’t recognize this girl. It couldn’t be me. But it was, and I wasn’t the hideous fat old ogre I thought myself to be.

Back in our early days, Ryan wasn’t much of one to tell me I was pretty or beautiful. (He tells me all the time now.) I think in his teenage boy/young adult male mind it was implied that if he wanted to kiss me, make out with me, or have sex with me that he must find me attractive. I was under the impression that it was more my personality that attracted him. (Oh, and my boobs. I’ve always had a nice rack.)

And in fact for many years, even after we were married, I wholeheartedly believed that I was not good enough for him. I was terrified that some day he would figure that out. I just knew he was going to find a beautiful, thin girl and fall madly in love with her. Then looking at her next to me, he would realize his dreadful mistake. One of my first clues that he really was truly and honestly in love with me, and didn’t just “think” he was, came the day our daughter was born. We had been married 2 years. When I delivered her, my epidural had come out of my back, so I had no pain meds in me. They had to do an episiotomy, and I felt every bit of it. It shocked and hurt me so much that I screamed. At that point Ryan began to cry. He felt helpless seeing me in pain and couldn’t stand it. There in the delivery room, seconds away from delivering our daughter I had an epiphany….he really did love me!!!

Please understand, the problem was all mine, not his. He never did anything to make me doubt that he loved me. He told me and showed me all the time. But in my mind I thought, “He just thinks he loves me. Some day he will find someone he really loves, and I’ll lose him.” I realize now that it was a very twisted way to think. But that’s what my warped sense of self did to me back then. I felt that no one could truly love me…because I didn’t truly love myself. I had been taught that I was un-loveable.

You’ve seen what I looked like back in the day when he met me. All of that changed after I had our daughter. The doctors convinced me to take depopravera for birth control after I had her. They promised me that despite the “rumors” the shots would not make me gain more than maybe five pounds over the course of an entire year! Well, that didn’t sound so bad, so I did it. I had that stuff in my system for six months. And in that six months I gained 60 lbs! Yep, gained 10 lbs a month for six months without changing my eating habits, my activity level (except that I was taking care of a baby), or anything else. I shot up from a size 16/18 after delivering my daughter to a 22 in six months. It was horrible.

And it was hard for my husband to accept. He was too nice to say it, but it really bothered him. I wasn’t the same girl he had married. My self–confidence was gone. I dressed horribly, because all we could afford in plus sizes were frumpy t-shirts from Wal-Mart…you know, the kind grandma’s would wear (no offense to grandmas, but I was only 22). Gone were the days of my sexy bra and panty sets, cute sundresses, and satin nighties. Hello granny panties, and worn out t-shirts! A year and a half after our daughter was born I gave up on my hair as well and chopped off my long locks. The girl he had married was nowhere to be found.

Our love life suffered. And it didn’t help that I started having flash backs to things that were done to me as a child. These flashbacks would come out of the blue in the middle of an intimate moment, and leave us both feeling horrid. It was a good thing we were best friends and stationed far from home where we had to depend on each other.

As the years went by, I worked hard to overcome my childhood issues. Ryan worked hard to overcome his disappointment in what I had become. He loved me too much to let my size come between us, but it was something he did have to put some effort into. Please, don’t think he is shallow. He is far from it. His love for me never faltered, but the physical attraction suffered some. He put his love for me ahead of his idea of what was physically attractive, and learned to find me attractive as I was…by focusing in on how much he loved me and what it was that he loved about me. I am truly blessed to have a man that loves me as much as Ryan does. Many times I’ve told him that lesser men would have left me long ago.

Our love and our friendship kept our marriage alive. So did some marriage retreats and self-help books for couples. Eventually we found ourselves in a place where my flashbacks became a thing of the past themselves, and our passion for each other was burning once again. We had grown in so many ways. We had learned to accept ourselves and each other as we were. And that was an amazing place to be!

This is where I found myself when I decided to have gastric bypass surgery. For years I had tried diet after diet…cabbage soup diets, Richard Simmon’s Deal A Meal, Weight Watchers, counting calories, etc., etc., etc. You all know the drill. But none of it had worked. And I was yearning for a way to lose the weight. I was finally at a point in my life where I was happy and felt complete, and I didn’t want to lose that because I had a heart attack and died due to all my excess weight. I didn’t want to burden myself and my family with diabetes. I wanted to live a long, happy, full life with my family and friends.

So when my sister mentioned weight loss surgery, I perked up and listened. In the past I had sworn it off. I had heard the naysayers telling how dangerous it was, and I hadn’t wanted to consider it before. But this time, I did the research. This time, I reached out into the WLS community and talked to people who were living it. And I was able to determine that this was exactly the tool I needed. I’m not foolish enough to think of it as a magic fix for my weight issues. I know I have to work for it in order for it to work for me.

So that brings me to the present. I had my surgery a little over a month ago. And the weight is already dropping off me. I have a long way to go, but I’m so thrilled with the results so far. And so is Ryan. But bless his heart, he tries so hard to hide his excitement. He’s so afraid that I will think he didn’t love me the way I was, or he wasn’t attracted to me then. Or that I have to lose the weight to get his approval. But I know better. I know he loved me and was attracted to me even at my highest weight.

In the past few years I had started taking better care of myself again. I’d started dressing better, wearing cuter clothes, as cute as I could find in my size. And things were wonderful between us. Never once did Ryan pressure me to lose weight or have this surgery. Never once did he give me a hard time about what I ate, how active I was (or wasn’t), or what number was on the scale. He loved me for me. And that was one of the things that empowered me to have this surgery.

You see, I did this for me. It was my choice. He never pushed it, even after I started talking about it, and looking into it. He just supported me every step of the way. So now, I want him to be able to sit back with me and enjoy the benefits of this surgery. I can see already that he appreciates it. He spends a lot of time rubbing my arms, feeling the difference in them. He makes cute little comments like, “I can see your metatarsals!” or “You have muscles!” He also hugs me longer. The other day he kept locking his hands behind my back with a huge smile on his face. And this morning he stopped in his tracks as he was walking up saying something to me. He stopped mid-sentence and his jaw dropped a bit and his eyes opened wide and he said, “You’re getting so small! Your face is smaller!” He truly notices all the changes my body is going through.

But he hesitates to show too much excitement. He hesitates to show how much it turns him on. He hesitates to say too much about it, and how he feels. He hesitates, because he doesn’t want me to think that he didn’t love me as I was. And I love him for it. But I want him to enjoy it! I want it to excite him! I want it to turn him on! And I want him to be comfortable telling me these things.

You see this weight loss journey is a lot for us who have had the surgery to take in. It’s a lot for us to adjust to. But it’s a lot for our spouses, family, and loved ones to take in and deal with as well. They’ve come to see us in a certain way, grown accustomed to how we were. And they don’t always know how to respond to the changes that are taking place. Some, like Ryan, may love what they see, but not know if it’s okay to express it. Some may feel intimidated. Some may be skeptical. Some may just not know what to say or do.

So my advice? Do what I did. Sit down and talk to them. Tell them what you need from them. Tell them it’s okay for them to feel the way they do. After all, their feelings are as valid as ours. (Now this advice is for those loved ones that love and support you through this, not the Negative Nancys that are trying to sabotage you. That’s a whole different topic.) Keep communication open! Talk about your feelings. Blog about them. Talk to your friends and family and let them know what you are going through…good or bad. Just keep talking it out. You can learn to adjust together. And as you do, you can learn to enjoy the new you, and the new life you have…together.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


My health. That was my main motivation in having gastric bypass done. I mean, this is a major surgery. It changes you forever! There are so many things that could go wrong. It was just too much risk for something as shallow as vanity. No, it honestly took me fearing for my life to get me to even consider weight loss surgery. Every time I had a pain in my left arm I feared it was a sign of a heart attack. Every time I had blood work done I was afraid they would tell me I had diabetes. I knew my life was limited, not just in terms of what I can do now, but in how long I'd be around. I didn't want to leave my family. I wasn't done living my life yet. I mean, I want to see both of my children grow up and find love and have families. I want to have my grandchildren over playing in my yard and eating my homemade cookies. I want to grow old and gray with Ryan. I have a lot of life left to live. But the way I was going, I was risking it all. That's what pushed me to have the surgery done.

Now, with all that being said, there is a huge benefit to this surgery that has nothing to do with my health. That benefit would be the fact that I will be smaller and look better in cute clothes! I will not lie, that is a huge plus! And to be honest, I'm more excited about that than I am about being healthier. Maybe I worded that wrong. I'm excited about being healthier...most definitely excited. But the fact that I'll be able to be smaller and cuter while enjoying that better health...that's really exciting! Besides, while I can daydream about what it will be like to have grandchildren...I'm not in a hurry to have them. My kids are still too young for that! And while I look forward to growing old with my husband, I'm also not in a hurry for that either! I want to live my life to the fullest and enjoy it! And while avoiding diabetes is a huge blessing, it's not something I dream of. The same with reducing my risk of heart attack...I'm thankful that my risk is reducing with each pound I lose, but again, not something I dream about.

But wearing cute clothes...that is something I can totally daydream about! Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to ever look like a super model. And I realize that I may not get down to a size 6 or even if I do I might regain some. But even if I can just get myself down to where I don't have to buy plus sizes anymore and can manage to stay there, I'll be thrilled! So, I daydream. I window shop, I dream of what I might be able to wear. I know I may never get into some of the things I'd love to. But it's fun to dream. And I'm expecting to be able to get into some of them and look cute. That's better than being able to wear none of them like now. So, I thought I'd have a little fun and share with you a few of the things I've had my eye on. Remember, this is just for fun. I'm not setting any of these as "must reach" goals. They are just fun things to aim for.

So, first of all, as I said, I want to be able to shop in regular stores. I never want to have to shop in Lane Bryant or The Avenue again. They are great stores, but having to buy plus size clothes, no matter where you get them, is very limiting when it comes to fashion. So my main fashion goal is to be able to buy clothes in regular stores. I don't care if I'm buying the largest sizes you can get in a regular store, it will give me more options than plus size stores. And one of the stores I really miss shopping in is....

Victoria's Secret!

Sure! I can look like her!! A little air brushing and digital manipulation and I can look just like her! LOL The thing is, Ryan won't care if I look like a VS model...he'll just be thrilled to buy me pretty things from there and see me wear them!

These are some of the fashions I'd love to be able to wear:

Cowboy Boots. I haven't worn cowboy boots in probably 16 years. I really want some, but my calves have been too big. If I can get my calves small enough I want a new pair.

Knee High Boots. I want, want, want at least one brown and one black pair of knee high boots to wear. Again, my calves have been too big.

A Nicole Moan ceramic corset. My BFF is friends with Nicole so I've been able to see some of these corsets in person....beautiful! Not a practical clothing item, but hella sexy! And I want one!

And Dresses. I miss dresses!! Especially, summer dresses. Here a few few that I found that I would love to be able to wear!

And every girl wants to have one of these...or two...or three. :)

And shoes. I want to be able to wear sexy heels! I may never be graceful in them, but I'd love to have some to go with those cute summer dresses!

I've been adding other things like this outfit to my Pinterst page. Some of the looks I have pinned there are ones I would actually wear, others are things I would wear if I had the occasion/reason to wear them. Click the link to check them out.