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.