Day 5

Day 5 is going to be a little different. I’m not doing soup/yogurt/protein shake today as normal. Today I am eating! But there were some lessons I learned these past few short days that I thought I’d share anyway, along with the scale read from this morning.

  • Counting calories has been an amazing eye-opener. I counted every calorie my first 8 months post-op and I remember that I was very strict, but it’s been many months since I stopped and I realize now that I can and do eat a LOT more than I used to. Even though I’m “back on the regular-eating wagon”, I feel a LOT more mindful about what foods actually mean for me in terms of energy and I am going to use that lesson to try and be more mindful from here on out.
  • Dramatically lowering my calories for 4 full days makes my brain do horrible, horrible things. I was really depressed for several days, and though that my not be 100% tied to the lower-calorie eating, I’m pretty sure it didn’t help, either.
  • Soup is not a meal. Don’t try and tell me it is because it isn’t.
  • This is a good experiment for weight-loss kicking off, it put me in a mindset that I think will help future successes.
  • Calorie-fluctuating is actually a really helpful tool for weight loss and I am going to continue to monitor my losses and/or gains these next few days to determine whether this is something I should do regularly, or every other day, in order to maintain losing until I reach the point where I’m happy.
  • I can now see my ribs. On my sides under my arms, they actually poke out. Don’t think anything weird, now, I am still in the “obese” category for my weight and height and have a good 25lbs more to lose before I can even consider myself at goal. Even with 25lbs more lost, I would still be considered overweight by medical standards (which are complete and utter bullshit, by the way).

And now, drumroll please! From my Monday morning weigh in until this (Friday) morning (pre-food, no clothing) I lost: 8.2 LBS!

This is the lowest weight I have ever been as an adult. I hope I don’t kill this momentum! Yay me! I deserve this yogurt for breakfast!

Day 4

So yesterday I had a really down, sad, depressive day. I’m still in a sort of funk, but yesterday I was not feeling good, and my normal instinct is to immediately make myself feel better with food– plan a meal, eat something, fill the void, etc. Which I could have easily done, because this week has been created by me and I’m the one who made up the rules and parameters and I could have just as easily thrown up my hands and grabbed a granola bar or some french fries or chips and had myself a little food pity-party.

But I didn’t.

Food comforts me. I love eating and cooking and both of those activities bring me a lot of joy. But that said, it’s also mindless eating that got me where I was struggling to do the things I love. So I powered through the depression, did not cheat or stray, and I am a better person because of it. I did, however, very stupidly look through photos of recipes as I was feeling hungry and sad and needing of comfort, which is not the best thing to do. Talk about a test of will.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about – I feel I’m consuming, volume-wise, a lot less than I have been lately– and yet still hitting over 1000 calories a day. That’s pretty crazy to me. I just think about ALL of those times I tried to lose weight in the past, prior to surgery, trying to stay under 1200 or 2000 calories, and it’s really insane how very little food that really is compared to the portions I had been used to all my life. I think about it harder and realize that I must have been eating upwards of 3000-4000 calories a day sometimes. That is crazy to me. I feel for those who want to lose weight and struggle with it, because I feel it’s some fine-tuning that just doesn’t come naturally. Hence the surgery, for me. If you told me two years ago I’d be holding myself accountable for 1000 calories of yogurt, soup, and protein shakes for almost 5 days, I’d tell you you’re nuts.

ETA: I’ve had a cadbury creme egg on my desk ALL WEEK but haven’t touched it. WILLPOWER.

But I digress– here’s today’s food count:

-A cup of skim milk (~70 cals, 10g protein), and a 5-hour-energy

-Lowfat plain Greek yogurt and berries (~200 cals, 23g protein)

-Coffee (35 cals)

-Milk (244 cals, 17g protein)

-Soup (100 cals, 14g protein)

-Protein shake (~200 cals, 20g protein)

Approximate calorie count: 849

Approximate Protein count: 84

Day 3

Hello from Day 3! Remember I update my food log during the day, so go back to the last 2 entries to see what happened, if you care.

Another encouraging scale read this morning! A new low (in a good way)! I’m not sure if I should count my chickens before they hatch, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll give a “grand total” on Friday. Here’s the food log for the day!

-A cup of skim milk (~70 cals, 10g protein), and a 5-hour-energy

-Lowfat plain Greek yogurt and berries (~200 cals, 23g protein)

-Coffee (35 cals)

-Soup (220 cals, 20g protein)

-Chobani nonfat yogurt (150 cals, 16g protein)

-Mocha light frapp (130 cals, 4g protein)

-Soup (160 cals, 6g protein)

-Protein shake (~200 cals, 20g protein)

Approximate calorie count: 1195

Approximate Protein count: 99

Day 2

Hello from day 2! The beginning of day 2, mind you! I will (like yesterday) update with what I eat as the day progresses. Come back for updates throughout the day.

The scale was incredibly encouraging this morning, so I feel good about my progress! Here goes:

-A cup of skim milk (~70 cals, 10g protein), and a 5-hour-energy

-Lowfat plain Greek yogurt and berries (~200 cals, 23g protein)

-Coffee (35 cals)

-Tall iced skinny mocha (70 cals, 7g protein – from the website)

-Muscle milk light (150 cals, 20g protein)

-Chobani nonfat yogurt (150 cals, 16g protein) x2

-SOUP (280 cals, 20g protein)

Approximate calorie count: 1105

Approximate Protein count: 112

Day 1

Hello from day 1 of whatever the hell this is I’m doing! So this is what I’m going to do this week up until Friday night where I have a dinner planned with friends.

I allow myself:

  • Low/no sugar protein shakes of any variety
  • Fresh fruit
  • Skim, lactose-free cow, coconut, and almond milk
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit/vegetable juice without added sugar
  • Vegetable-based soups (no meat soups or pasta soups)
  • Clear broth
  • Any seasonings I want
  • Any amount of no-calorie drinks

The main purpose of this will be to lose some water weight and jump-start some healthy eating. I know myself a little too well in that if I allow cheating, I will, and I will cheat with poor decisions. This is why I added soups– they tend to be healthy and generally low-calorie with the feeling that I am “eating something” which will help me from straying too far from the original “protein shakes all week” plan.

So far it’s good. This is what I’ve had today (I’ll update with the full day’s consumption later):

– Protein shake (~170 calories and 30g protein) and coffee (30 calories, 2g protein) for breakfast

– A small vegan tomato soup (~100 calories, 5g protein) and fresh carrot/grapefruit/cherry/lemon juice (~150 cals) for lunch

– A coke zero, a cup of skim milk (~70 cals, 10g protein), and a 5-hour-energy

-Chobani nonfat Greek yogurt (140 cals, 14g protein)

-“Cabbage soup” – basically onions, garlic, cabbage, roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and a crapload of seasonings. Simmered forever. Made about 5 servings at a cup a piece and 1 tblsp of oil for the whole thing. I’m thinking about ~150 calories and 5g protein per serving, and that may be generous on both counts.

-Protein shake (~200 cals, 20g protein)

Approximate calorie count: 1010

Approximate Protein count: 86

As an aside: Fruit and juice have a SHITLOAD of calories. I knew this already, but it’s important to remind myself. Yes, of course they’re good for you and should be eaten– but remember it’s all fructose– sugar, or starch, and those tend to hold a lot of energy (calories). Strictly from an energy-producing standpoint, for me, juice needs to be limited, because it ends up going down in seconds but packing a huge calorie punch. For the same amount of calories, I could be getting 10-20 grams of protein. Food for thought.

Oh so long.

It’s been a while, eh?

As far as surgery goes, weight loss, and health– I’m doing just fine. That’s probably why I haven’t written, actually. I feel normal, no big losses or gains, no big things to report. I feel just… normal. I function normal, I feel like I eat “normal”, and so updates about that part of my life have not been in the forefront of my mind lately.

However, I have been in a pretty massive stall for months now. Now that I’m under 200, and to be honest my first goal was 250 (so hey, progress is pretty good, eh?), I haven’t really thought about it much. But ultimately I’d like to lose another 30-40lbs, and I’ve given myself this entire year to do it. I can do it, right?

So to kick-start myself, I’m going to do a 5-day protein jumpstart. From Monday to Friday of next week, I’m going to start my day as normal (1 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup chopped berries and a little splenda), and have a protein shake for lunch and dinner along with various sugar-free beverages throughout the day. This will NOT be easy. I’ve been eating pretty normal, regular meals for a while now and going back to shakes will be ridiculous compared to what I normally eat. I’m going to allow myself clear broth for a salty change of pace, and probably some frozen fruit in the smoothies or frozen banana “ice cream” (basically a frozen banana blended with some unsweetened cocoa powder and maybe some splenda until creamy). I expect to lose about 5lbs during that week. If I amp up the exercise (something I’ve definitely been lacking since the holidays), I could even potentially see a 10-15lb loss, but I’m not going to count my chickens. Too high expectations lead to disappointment, and if there’s one thing I know I’ve carried with me from my pre-surgery says, it’s that I EAT my disappointment. Not worth it!

So anyway, 30lbs in a year! I did 200lbs last year, I’m hoping it can be a slow-and-steady progression this time. I want to document my progress, so keep your eyes here for more updates next week!

A Few Tips From Me to Post-ops

A lot of these things might seem like common knowledge, but I didn’t realize how important they were until now, almost 15 months out.  I thought I’d share some of the things I wish I kept in mind as I’m going through this journey in hopes that others benefit from them.

1. Use the same scale.

One thing I think has been important to remember, at least for me, is that the measure of progress is the change in numbers, not just the number itself. That is, just because I’m still XXX weight, that doesn’t mean I’m bad—because I’ve lost almost 200lbs, and that change is what means I have made progress. The best way to discourage myself is to have inconsistency in those numbers, and so even though my husband’s scale weighs me a full 2lbs less than my scale, my scale has been the scale I have used since before surgery, and the change in numbers is more important than the numbers themselves. It’s helped me keep perspective, because regardless of the actual number that scale says, all I care about is that I feel good and make progress.

 2. Try things on.

This probably seems like a total given for many of you, but for me, I KNEW my size pre-surgery. I would shop online and know exactly what size I needed, even without looking at size charts. I could go into stores, grab some tops and pants, and walk out without trying anything on, knowing exactly what size I wore. Now, though, I can’t even be confident week-to-week. Just recently I picked up a top with the lowest size one of my favorite plus-size stores carries, thinking because the numbers represent my pant size they would fit, and realized when I got home (and after I ripped the tags off), that it’s actually too big! Plus sizes and straight sizes are different (even if the number is the same), and every store has a different view of the size “large” or “XL”. Online shopping means measuring myself with a measuring tape weekly and cross-referencing size-charts. I don’t order online nearly as much as I used to because we live out in the middle of nowhere, and our postal service isn’t as great as it was in the city, so I have to trek into stores and take a large handful of sizes into the changing room with me to find the best fit. It’s annoying to me, but it keeps me from coming home with a super-oversized sweater (that I am currently wearing), or clothing that just plain doesn’t fit.

3. Get measured.

I had my first bra-fitting last week. I had never had a bra-fitting before. I was absolutely shocked by the number, too (for reference, I was wearing a 42C and I’m really a 38DD. I used to be a 48C. Yes, it makes a huge difference to get a bra that fits!). I have a measuring tape at home I can use to keep tabs on my waist and hip sizes, and I find myself using them when pre-shopping for clothing online before going into stores and measuring progress. Not only does it help with sizing changes, it helps find clothes that are comfortable and that fit.

4. Throw it out.

I just bagged up around 300 articles of clothing, which actually feels more like 500lbs of clothing, to take to Goodwill. My closet it huge, but since I’ve gone through SO MANY sizes since I started (if I go from single sizes, I’ve gone down almost 20 sizes since pre-op, and I still have a ways to go), I’ve desperately needed to purge. I was trying to sell stuff online and have friends take what they need, but even then it became more of a hassle than it’s worth. For a while I was just trying to pull out the clothes that fit me between the clothing that’s too big, and I decided it wasn’t worth the struggle to find what I needed every day. I took around 5 empty laundry baskets, and went through my closet, pulling out everything I knew wouldn’t fit. As time has gone on, I find new items that are just too big, and add them to the piles. It helps me mentally take stock of what I have that I can wear and fit into without feeling overwhelmed and buried under a pile of clothes that don’t fit me.

 5. Take chances.

I admit, I just didn’t feel comfortable in anything but either work pants or jeans and a top for a very long time. As my body has changed, I started branching out—and I found that I really enjoy dressing up and creating a style for myself. I can wear heels now (though very short heels), as well as dresses and skirts, hats and scarves and accessories. I would have never taken that chance before. Some people are braver than I am, and I salute them, but for me—I just never felt right in anything dressy. Now I want to dress up—all the time! And I like looking a certain way. I’ve always had that sense of vanity, but now I feel like I have a lot more choices. I’m not sure if the weight loss has made me braver, or I just feel more confident, but taking chances and wearing things I feel good in has really helped make this change worth it.

6. Slow your roll.

I understand the urge to try and forge ahead when it comes to diet, but I feel the majority of my success to date was that I was quite compliant my first, oh, 9 months or so. A year, really, if you consider how long it took me to even taste something with added sugar in it. I didn’t follow every letter, but I measured and I recorded my consumption and I was really, really good about following orders. I weighed myself once a week and I saw a personal trainer and I just did what I felt was needed to make the surgery a success. Now everyone’s mileage may vary, and I’m not your surgeon, blah blah blah, but I still feel like taking my time and realizing that in due time I’ll be able to try new things, but right now I’m just following orders to make progress happen, has really helped my mindset and progress in the long run. A life-long change doesn’t happen overnight, but rather comes from building habits slowly. Allow yourself to do one thing at a time and don’t rush—it will all come back soon enough.