Moving Day!
Thursday, November 05, 2009
I'm alive, I'm well, and I've moved over to here. So change your bookmarks and come on over!

More of the same, really
Sunday, January 11, 2009
So that was Christmas, and New Year's, and another year is gone. I'm officially 18 months out from my surgery, and I've been the same weight since I was one year out. On the one hand, this is a good thing. My body has found a weight that it is happy at, and I don't have to try very hard to stay there. I can stop obsessing over what I put in my mouth and just be focused on life instead. On the other hand, I've stopped losing weight when I am still 40-60 pounds higher than I was hoping to be at the end of all of this.

I don't really know how to deal with this. 120 pounds! I've lost an entire person, and yet sometimes it's not enough. See, I'm still fat. Obese, if you talk to the BMI people. And I was all kinds of prepared for shifting from Fat to Skinny, but I wasn't prepared to shift from Really, Really Fat to Kind Of Fat. Don't get me wrong, I love the change. I'm healthier and more active and more comfortable in my skin. I don't worry about chairs breaking or armrests bruising my hips or what I'm going to do the next time I need a cute dress for a function. The day before Thanksgiving, I led my family on a 4 mile hike in the cold drizzle of Mt. Tamalpais and it is one of my favorite memories of 2008 just because I felt so fantastic during it.

But sometimes I feel like I need to carry around a picture of myself from 2006 to prove that I've really accomplished a lot, that I've come a really long way and that this? This is my Skinny. And then I feel pissed off because why the hell should I feel like I need to justify my current size to ANYONE? The ironic thing is that at the same time that I want to run around justifying my flabby ass, I am insanely tired of being told what a good job I've done, how amazing I look, how great I must feel. I started a new job in July and starting there let me breathe out at last, because they only know this me. They don't know the pre-surgery me, so they're not constantly watching what I eat or telling me what a good example I am or telling me how fantastic I look. To them, I'm just a mid-30's office manager who happens to be on the pudgy side. At a size 16/18, I'm average, and that's how they look at me. And I kind of love it.

I am trying to reconcile all of this, trying to accept that this is my reality and that those amazing before and after "size 28 to a size 2!" pictures don't happen to everyone who has this surgery. I am trying to believe that this is enough, that it's okay that the vast majority of the time I am perfectly content to be who I am right in this moment. I eat whatever I want (and it's usually good for me), I work out (not as often as I'd like but more often than most of my friends), I get drunk on occasion (because I still love wine), I take my vitamins (more often than not), and I weigh myself every day to make sure I'm staying in my 198-202 range (which I randomly decided is my Acceptable Weight Range). 90% of the time I'm truly content with my life as it is right now and I really like where I am physically. I'm not focused on losing weight anymore, but I am focused on getting healthier.

It's that other 10% of the time that I'm working on. That's the time when I see other patients who have lost more weight, faster, and I wonder what I'm doing wrong. That's when I look in the mirror and think that I have failed at this and I start thinking about going back to Weight Watchers to try and lose these last 40 pounds. Luckily, I have this fantastic support system, and they have been able to talk me off of that ledge more than once. But I need to work on this whole self-acceptance thing a little more on my own, so I need to make more of an effort to keep dumping this crap out of my brain and onto the web, because that is where brain dump belongs.

2009. The year I fix myself. (I hope)

Yarf express
Thursday, October 16, 2008
When I was about 6 weeks out from surgery, I started throwing up. Sometimes my vitamins would set it off, sometimes one bite too much of dinner would, sometimes I'd have the dreaded "stuck food" issue. Once, I had an insanely bad reaction to some carnitas, a reaction that meant my husband had to pull over 4 times during out 15 minute drive home from the Zoo so I could throw up.

It was my body's way of getting used to doing its thing again, my stomach's way of figuring out how exactly it was supposed to work now that it had been made teeny. And it lasted a few weeks and then the adjustments were made and voila, the vomiting stopped. Until this week.

Saturday: We went out for dessert...a small cupcake and a chocolate covered strawberry with a side of tea for me. I at 3/4 of the cupcake and suddenly felt horrible. i didn't tell my husband, but I ended up throwing up in the bathroom before we walked home.

Sunday: We had a somewhat late lunch, and I was still really, really full feeling when we headed out to dinner with friends. I took a few bites of my salad and ate a breadstick and suddenly knew I was going to throw up. I finally figure out that I had probably gotten something stuck earlier when I threw up 3 more times over the course of the night, unable to keep anything down.

Monday: Had 3/4 of a frozen South Beach pizza with a salad on the side for lunch, a normal meal for me. Suddenly felt insanely full and promptly went and threw up. Miserable for the rest of the afternoon.

Today: Had a salad no different than any other salad I've had ...tuna, light cheese, baby romaine. Carrots and hummus and Wheat Thins on the side. And now I feel like something's stuck again because I can't even look at a glass of water without feeling nauseous. I've already thrown up once and I think I feel another round coming on.

I have no idea what's going on here. Maybe I'm not able to eat lettuce anymore? Maybe my stomach is still trigger happy from last weekend? Maybe it's revolting aginst the crappy foods I've indulged in? I just don't know.

What I do know is that I am tired of throwing up. It hurts and dehydrates me and I am miserable for hours afterwards. I'd like to stop now, please.

Off the grid
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I didn't end this blog, really I didn't. It certainly seems that way though, with my disappearance after the anniversary post. In reality though, life intervened. We got a kitten, I got a new (crazy, hectic, stressful, awesome) job, my best friend got married, my other friend had a baby and I went back to school. In other words, life happened.

The only thing that did not happen was more weight loss. And exercise. Coincidence? Probably not.

Also probably not a coincidence: my current class is on Monday nights, which means I have not been going to support group, which means I am eating rather haphazardly. And haphazard eating + no exercise = Plateau City.

On the good side, I've maintained my weight loss (with minor fluctuation between the same 2 pounds) with little to no effort. I honestly believe that this might be my body's new "set point", the place where it's happy and comfortable. I'm certainly happy and comfortable here; I'm small enough to buy clothes off the rack of department stores without trying them on (size XL or 16/18), small enough to not draw attention to the size of my ass, small enough to be able to find a cute party dress off the rack without even trying. But I'm still pudgy enough to still have my fat girl cred, to have the ass and hips and boobs that my husband likes so much. You'd be surprised at how comfortable straddling the line between thin and fat can be.

And a funny thing happens when you get comfortable. When you get comfortable, you find yourself sliding into old habits, like Frosted Flakes at 10pm. Sure, it's a teeny bowl of Frosted Flakes's Frosted Flakes! In the middle of the night! (Something tells me that Dr. Mueller would frown VERY BADLY at me for that one.)

People ask me what I can eat now. And here's the plain, unvarnished, gorgeous truth of it: I can eat anything I want. (With the odd exception of carnitas, ribs cooked a certain way, and ground beef.)

The plain, unvarnished, not as gorgeous truth: I eat anything I want. I just don't eat as much as I used to, because I am physically unable to. Sure, too much sugar leaves me feeling bloated and gross, but I can still have dessert if I know when to stop. (And no, I don't always know when to stop.)

So here's where I am. The bloom is off the rose, so to speak. My body has figured shit out and while my metabolism is better now, my rerouted intestines are not the advantage they once were. But I've got another 40 pounds I want to lose, so I have to do exactly what every other person out there has to do: eat right and exercise more and see what my body does with that. I am no different than any of my non-surgeried friends anymore, aside from the smaller capacity. I eat what they eat, I work out how they work out (okay really, I work out more than most of them these days) (which is a stunning statement, right there), and weight loss is no longer a random, miraculous occurrence.

And that sucks, because that means that damn it all to hell, I have to work at this. I have to buck up and put on my big girl panties (and ten million other platitudes) and get my ass in gear. And getting my ass in gear means blogging again, it means going beack to support group, it means joining things like the Breast Cancer Awareness 30 Minutes Challenge over at Elastic Waist and getting up and going to the gyme before I go to work more often than not.

But it also means not beating myself up, not shaking my fist at my reflection and saying I'm a loser for eating those Twizzlers (because a life with Twizzlers is a ad life indeed). It means exercising because I want to beat a previous record and it means sitting down to enjoy a four course fondue dinner at a fabulous restaurant with a fabulous friend because it looked too good to pass up (and oh my god, it was amazing). And it means not freaking out if I never lose another pound, because this may be it. All I can do is treat myself and my body better than I have been.

And most of all, it means coming back here and examining my belly button lint again. Lucky you!

Remembering where I came from
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I think I am supposed to have something profound and deep and wise to say today. I think I am supposed to talk about some giant epiphany that I have had since that wacky summer day last year when I was wheeled into a cold operating room to have my guts rearranged. Or maybe I am supposed to talk about the monumental changes that have happened, the kinds of changes that rock you to your core and make everything Better! and Different! and Awesome!

But you know, other than that whole "Oh wow, I have an eating disorder or two"moment, this year hasn't been full of drastic, dramatic changes. It's been a year of slow and subtle and gradual changes. It's been a year of shifting my perspective, of changing my habits and my priorities.

If I had to describe it to someone, I would simply say "I was there, and now I am here. And next year I'll be somewhere different."

I weighed 317 pounds when I started the process of getting approved for surgery.

I weighed 299 pounds last year on the day I had my surgery.

I weighed 198.3 this morning, and there are 58 inches less of me taking up space on this planet.

I was there, and now I am here.

One Year, Front View

One Year, Side View

One Year, Back View

All of a sudden, there I am
Monday, July 07, 2008

Inside of the wrist
Originally uploaded by Minarae
I keep thinking I'm in a weird plateau and have stopped losing weight because I spend days and days bouncing around in a 2-3 pound range that centers on what I weighed the previous month. And then at the end of the month, all of a sudden I drop 2 or 3 pounds and blammo, successful month!

This has been the routine for the past 4 months or so, and to be honest, it's getting tiring. That scale keeps playing with my emotions, taunting me into thinking I'm done now, thanks! This past month has been the most frustrating because I've been hovering in the 200-202 range for weeks and weeks. Somedays I'm up to 202, somedays I'm down to 200. Never less than 200 though! That's not allowed, apparently.

I enjoyed my 4th of July weekend immensely anyways. There was lazy coffee on Friday with my husband, followed by a movie with my mother-in-law and a barbecue with the whole damn family over at my moms, topped off by awesome fireworks. We ate out for almost every single meal we ate this weekend, I had wine with dinner, we went out to our favorite bakery for dessert....twice! (I am addicted to their Spiced Chai tea...a pot of that and a tea cookie or two and I'm a happy girl!) I took a lot of naps on the couch with kitties sprawled over me, and the only exercise I got was an afternoon spent playing in the hotel pool where my mother-in-law was staying.

In other words, it was an awesomely perfect weekend, complete with temperatures in the low 70's and lots of time in the sun.

Of course, I figured the constant eating out and wine indulgences and dessert indulgences would mean disaster for me. And considering that my one year anniversary is on Wednesday, I wanted to see what kind of damage I had to undo.

Needless to say, I nearly hyperventilated when I looked down and saw not 202, not 200 but 198.7 on the scale. (I also made some rather loud noises that may have left my neighbors to wonder exaclty what I was doing, all alone in my apartment.) I was shocked, to say the least.

But when I told my husband about how amazed I was, that I had lost all this weight despite all the eating out and wine and coffee and slackiness, he pointed out that I really never ate that much at any of our meals, that I got full really fast. And you know, he's right. I do get full very fast. I can eat whatever the hell I want (to a point) but I just can't eat much of it. Call it pouch awareness, call it working the tool, call it whatever the hell you want. All I know is that a year later, it's still working for me. It's still keeping me from pounding down 3000 calories in one meal, it's still keeping me from binging, and I still feel fucking awesome.

And to celebrate all that, I got a tattoo. It was an expensive, painful, time intensive tattoo, but it turned out so beautiful. People compliment me on it every day, even though they have no idea what it represents to me. I told Kevin last year that I wanted to get a tattoo either when I'd lost 100 pounds or when I hit one year out. (I was really hoping it would be the 100 pound mark that came first.) From my highest, I'm down 119 pounds. Since the day of my surgery, I've lost 101. I've lost 75% of my excess weight and I'm still losing, slowly but surely. The last 38 pounds I want to lose are totally doable.

I think that I can definitely be added to Dr. Mueller's list of success stories when I see him on Thursday for my one year check up. If only he had a Wall of Fame! Maybe I'll just make one of my own in my living room.

Someday maybe I'll just be happy
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Am serious hiker!!
Originally uploaded by Minarae
Earlier this month, I joined some friends in Las Vegas to celebrate the birthday of the fabulousWeetabix. And because Weetabix is a damn rock rockstar, it was indeed a Wild and Crazy Rockstar Weekend. it was Vegas the way Vegas should be: nightclubs and cocktails and cabanas and pool parties and floppy hats and just enough gambling to say you did some. It's been a couple of years since I've been to Las Vegas, and to be honest, the last time I was there, I didn't feel like I fit there at all. My clothes were all wrong and I was too flubbity to go swimming. I was hot and uncomfortable when we were walking around and I was nowhere near pretty enough to be seen in the nightclubs. This time was different, and while it was mostly the fantastic company that made it different, a big part of it was me.

This time, I showed up in Vegas with an array of dresses and sandals that made me confident enough to not just go in the nightclub but to fall down on the dance floor and then get up and keep dancing. I had not one but two swimsuits, and both of them looked decent on me (flubbity white thighs notwithstanding); in fact, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, with my big floppy hat and gigantic sunglasses, the low cut bathing suit on and a towel wrapped around my waist and thought "Damn, I look good right now." And then I went swimming. In public! In Las Vegas!! I spent no time tugging and pulling at my clothes or having anxiety over not fitting in just so. The heat didn't make me want to cry; instead, I was thrilled because for the first time in six months I was warm. (The dryness of the air can bite my butt though, ugh). In other words, it was a whole new experience for me, doing Las Vegas as a size 16.

And it was good, all of it was good. No, it was great. It was fucking fantastic and exactly what I needed, being with that particular group of people at that particular moment in my life, because I'd had a really shitty week and they are the ones I feel safe being completely fucking nuts around.

But on the way home, sitting in the car as we sped along the highway, I started thinking about me and Anne (who was also there that weekend). And I started thinking about how she has lost so much more weight than me, that she is positively tiny and fine-boned and petite and I am...still pudgy, and flubbity, and Not Skinny. Here we are, two people in the same group of friend who have both had weight loss surgery, and we have had such different results. And even though I reminded myself that she had a different surgery, she had surgery 8 months before me, and most of all, we are two different people, damn it, I still ended up thinking to myself that she won. She's the skinny one, she's the one who's lost over 150 pounds, she's the "normal sized" girl. And I must obviously be doing something wrong since I've only lost like 8 pounds in the past two months and I still haven't broken the 200 barrier (201.1 this morning, damn it all to hell) and I'm not even a full year out and ohmygodI'mafailure. And I thought that oh, my friends must have looked at the two of us and wondered what the hell I'm doing wrong to still be this big a year after my surgery because look at Anne! Anne lost way more weight in her first year than I did! Anne wins! Everyone who's had the surgery and lost more weight than I have wins!

And oh, I know it's all stupid and broken and lame of me to think this way because these are my friends, and they love me and dear lord in heaven, they are the only ones who don't immediately squeal "Oh you look so good!" every time I see them because to them, I have always looked good and they don't need to validate my looks now that I'm thinner. And yet I feel like I'm a disappointment to them, like I'm a disappointment to everyone I know who expected me to be a size 6 by now. Everytime I eat a piece of chocolate or collapse on the couch instead of going to the gym I feel like I am letting down Everyone. Them. Society.

As of today, I've lost 117 pounds from the highest weight ever recorded at my doctor's office (back in January 2007, that was). 117 pounds. That's a 12 year old for crap's sake! And yet I still feel like a failure because I am not losing as fast as other people, because I'm not losing as much as other people, because I'm still not as think as I "should be" after the surgery. I still want to lose another 40 pounds, because apparently, 117 pounds is not enough.

The problem is, right now I don't know what is enough. When will I be truly satisfied? When will I be able to revel in how good I feel and never have it slip into the "Yeah but..." territory that I slipped into after my awesome weekend in Las Vegas? When will I finally be able to look in the mirror and say "This is enough for me and no one else matters" and believe it?

I'm beginning to think that maybe I need therapy. (Duh, right?)