The Challenge Never Stops

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you are already aware of the fact that I had gastric bypass surgery in 2009.  If you haven’t read that story and are curious about it, you can read it here.

So, I’m three years out now.  Most folks say that once you get to this point, you’re pretty much like every one else when it comes to eating, drinking and diet and exercise. Meaning that if you haven’t set up healthy habits in the first two years after your surgery you’ve probably just wasted a lot of time and money having the surgery because you’ve lost the leg up it gives you in terms of weight loss and getting healthy.

So, how am I doing?

image

Well, pretty good, I think.  I’ll be perfectly honest here. I have slipped some bad habits back in (like sweet treats and some sugar here and there) and, because of that I’ve paid the price.  In the past year I’ve gained about ten pounds.  Enough to give me a wake-up call.  Enough to remind me that this is not what I want and not where I want to be.

Enough to scare me into realizing that this really is a never-ending challenge. That I can’t get to my goal weight and just coast from that point on.  That I have to stay vigilant and aware of every.single.bite I put in my mouth. And that I have to remain active (in spite of the heat!) and conscious of the things that trigger me to overeat and seek comfort in food.

So, I’ve given myself a little pep talk, refocused my energies and tried to restart some good habits, replacing the bad ones that have crept back into my life.

I’m back to drinking at least one protein shake a day.  I usually have this for breakfast because I found that I was eating lots of carbs for breakfast – toast, cereal, etc. and so having a protein shake helps me to eliminate that temptation and to start the day with a good boost of protein and some fruits, too.

I’ve also been trying to focus more on eating more fruits and salads and less carbohydrates in general.  I find that when I eat any carbs, I crave more. It’s like a never-satisfied beast within me. So, eliminating those as much as possible really helps me to stay in control and be less tempted to eat what can quickly become large amounts of pretzels, breads, etc.

img_1643

On the exercise front, Big Girl and I had planned to start walking for 30 minutes every morning. But that was before the Great Heat Wave hit the South.  And walking at any time of the day right now seems like a crazy idea. So, what we’ve been doing instead is swimming every day. Which has actually been really nice.  We head down every afternoon after I finish my work day and I swim for about 30 minutes or so (laps) and then just paddle around while the girls swim.  We usually spend at least an hour (sometimes two) in the pool every day and I’ve found that the exercise is helping significantly with my energy levels, sleep, and achy joints. And it is way more fun than walking in 100 degree temperatures!

I’ve remained pretty much on plan with my supplements – multivitamins, B12, D3 and calcium/iron supplements. I find that the days I forget to take these I feel like a train with no engine and so it’s just not worth getting lazy or forgetful with these. It truly is the difference, for me, between having the get-up-and-go to live life and not.  And I don’t really have the luxury of “not” so I take them. Every day.

All of this has been working well. I’ve lost about four pounds in the last two weeks.  So, I realize, yet again, that this is a never-ending challenge. I can’t get complacent or I will find myself with the pounds creeping on again.  I realize that I have to stay the course, even if some days it is not very fun to do so.  I realize I feel so much better when I do.

The good news, though, is that I CAN do this.  And I have proven to myself that I can lose weight by doing this when I do slip up and put on a few pounds.  That was actually something I was really worried about – that I would not be able to lose weight if I gained any (It used to be really, really hard for me to lose any weight) 

So, I feel much more empowered.  I am not going to freak out at a few extra pounds. I’ll just refocus, reset, and do what I know I need to so that I can get back on track.

I’ll just keep swimming – just keep swimming – just keep swimming…

Eight Months

Many of you have been asking for some updated pictures – so I thought I’d share the recent ones I recruited SuperMan to take of me to mark my eighth month post-surgery.

To set the stage…

One month post surgery:

IMGP2326

And in July (five months out)

me-1

And this week (eight months out)IMG_0031

 

I still have a little ways to go, but I am finally starting to feel like I look on the outside like the girl I feel I am on the inside (well,I don’t feel so wrinkled on the inside, but I guess that is what happens when you get over forty)

Before the Journey Began

I’ve been thinking about bariatric surgery off and on for almost five or six years.  A friend of mine had a bypass five years (or so) ago and I was there with her as she went through the insurance approval process, all of the doctor visits, tests, evaluations and struggles with convincing her family that the surgery was the right thing for her to do.  I cheered for her in those first few months as she recuperated from the surgery. I watched her shrink and find herself in the process of shedding her excess weight.

And the entire time I wondered if maybe it was something I should be doing, too.

But I convinced myself that I was not as heavy as her and that I would never be as desperate as she was to lose weight.  I had just had my second child and I knew that I had a little weight to lose but figured with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig to help me, I’d be just fine.

Fast forward four years…

My weight has gone up and down (a little) but I have not really managed to lose the baby weight from my second pregnancy.  I look in the mirror and I see my body – round and squishy, my girls say – and I think to myself that maybe this is just how I am supposed to look.  I am a mother, after all, and there are no expectations for me to be supermodel-thin.  I focus on my children and my husband and on making a happy home for them.  I completely ignore my image in the mirror and tell myself that how I look is not really important.

And then I start to realize that I am tired.  All of the time. I’m tired and getting through the day becomes a chore. I wonder if something is wrong with me – if I am sick with some dread disease.  I blame it on my long work days and stressful commute and keep plugging along.

I try Weight Watchers (again – I think this is time number six or seven in my life).  I find I’m not really motivated by the meetings and feel like I know what I need to do but don’t really have the motivation to do it.  It feels as if it is a losing battle to fight.  At this point, I have over 100 lbs that I want to lose. How in the world would I ever accomplish that on Weight Watchers? I have seen success stories where people have done it before but I don’t think I can ever accomplish such a huge feat.

I talk with a friend and tell her I’m thinking about doing something drastic to get the weight off.  I ask her, as we carpool to work in the mornings, what she thinks about gastric bypass surgery.  She is shocked and thinks that there is no way I should do something so drastic.  I let her convince me that it’s ok to be a little overweight and that it’s part of the aging process and of motherhood.

<next, getting closer to my breaking point>