I am so thrilled with the results of my bariatric gastric sleeve surgery; I almost can’t put it into words. I wrote this post on August 25, so almost exactly 20 weeks post-op, and as of this morning, I am down more than 111 pounds. My BMI is down from 61 to 43. I am wearing a size 22 now as opposed to 30/32 before.
My goal at the time of surgery was to lose 100 pounds before our September Disney cruise, and I did it with over a month to spare!
And best of all, I feel great and can move as much as I want to. My weight no longer limits what I can and cannot do.
I have never admitted this to a soul before, but pre-surgery, I could not even tie my own shoes. Joe had to tie them for me or else I wore Crocs because I was too fat to bend over for long enough to tie a pair of shoes. How sad is that?
Now, I can easily bend over to tie my shoes, look for something on the floor, pick up toys, or whatever. I can sit down in the grass with the girls. As I said, I am not really limited anymore.
Right after surgery, I could walk up my neighbor’s driveway once and got tired. It’s somewhere around 150 steps from the top to the bottom, and it’s recently paved and very smooth. It’s also on a slight incline.
By three weeks after surgery, the girls and I could walk to the first stop sign on our street. It was a long walk and very tiring, and I sometimes had to stop and catch my breath, but we walked it at least 3 times a week. It took us about 15 minutes and was in the vicinity of 800 steps round trip.
Every week or so, I made the girls walk just a little bit further. At first, it was just 30 feet further. Then it was to the second stop sign on our street. Then we would cross the intersection and walk a little further. Before I knew it, we were walking about 18 minutes and closer to 2,000 steps.
Now, 20 weeks after surgery, I make the girls walk much further. (And boy do they complain!) We walk the whole way to the end of our street and turn two corners. We walk a short distance down a side street on the way out and again on the way home. Our walk now takes 22 minutes, and it is 1.1 miles. I can’t believe we’re walking just a little bit longer than we did at first but covering about 5 times more distance!
It’s so cool to be able to see my own progress. I looked in the mirror last night after my shower, and I didn’t even recognize myself. My face and body look so different.
Once in a while, we walk to my dad’s house which is about 1/3 mile straight up a big, steep hill. I wouldn’t even attempt it in the first weeks after my surgery, but by about week 6-8, we would do it once in a while. I usually had to stop 3 or 4 times on the way up the hill to catch my breath, and we took the hill very slowly. It took us over 15 minutes to get from our house to his, and we were all exhausted by the time we got back home. (We always stop for at least a couple of minutes to say hello.)
Allie wanted to go see Pappy while we were out walking this past week, so we took the turn to his house. We made it to his house in less than 9 minutes, and I didn’t have to stop even once on that big hill! I was amazed. Tired, but amazed. Then, on the way home, I was irritated that my FitBit wasn’t going to register the walk as exercise (because it has to be 10 minutes or longer), so I made the girls take a wrong turn and walk part of our normal daily path.
They were furious with me, and Allie cried and whined the whole time, but I stuck to it. I wanted the day to count as exercise on my FitBit! In the end, we walked about 26 minutes round trip, so it was very worthwhile.
I was shocked that the walk to my dad’s house – which used to be grueling and almost more than I could handle – left me feeling ready for a bigger challenge and a longer walk.
I had another big NSV (that’s non-scale victory for those of you who aren’t big weight loss aficionados) was at Hersheypark. Allie and I got on the Sky View (which is my favorite ride in the park), and not only did I fit comfortably in the seat, the lap bar closed without touching my thighs. Not only did it not touch my thighs, I could rest my hands on top of my thighs between my legs and the bar. It didn’t even come close to touching.
I was so excited that Allie and I popped on Facebook Live to share the big news while we were still on the ride. It really was big news because, at this time last summer, the attendant on that same ride sometimes had to stop the ride (which was mortifying) to squeeze the bar down over my enormous legs. It wasn’t comfortable at all, but I loved the ride and kept doing it anyway.
Beyond those things, I am still strictly following my no flour/sugar/”carb” diet (I put carb in quotes because I do eat carbs in the form of veggies and some very limited fruits, but I do not eat the traditional things people think of as carbs.), and I still plan to do that forever.
Sometimes, it’s super hard to deal with feeling left out when Joe and the girls all have hot fudge sundaes or snacks at Hersheypark. Or s’mores over our backyard campfire.
But I try to think about how good it feels when I fit into that ride or when people compliment how great I look, and that carries me through. I have to choose to be healthy no matter how hard it is.
I saw my surgeon’s assistant this past month, and she officially gave me permission to splurge on whatever I want during our cruise later this month, as long as I don’t return to my old habits once we get home. After giving it much thought, however, I am not going to splurge more than one spoonful of creme brûlée once during the whole week, and maybe not even that.
I have worked really hard for the last 5 months to stay strong in my resolve to eat a very low carb, sugar-free diet. I have not intentionally ingested sugar, honey, or maple syrup in any caloric form since the end of March.
I don’t want to have a little bit of dessert every night for 8 days and get myself back on that sugar roller coaster where I have food cravings again. I don’t want to open the door to temptations that I have gotten really good at avoiding. I don’t want to gain weight during my cruise; I want to continue losing.
On that note, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have absolutely no food cravings anymore. I want things in my head – thinking back especially to the Code Red Mountain Dew in the jury room in July or the hot fudge sundaes this evening – but I don’t ever have that physical sensation of needing a certain unhealthy food like I used to have. I really believe this has to do with avoiding sugar for all these months. I definitely don’t want to mess that up.
I do occasionally have what I call the munchies, although this is pretty rare now. What I mean is that I’m feeling bored, and I want to snack on something. In the old days, I would usually find myself some chocolate to munch on, but anything would do. I was eating for something to relieve my boredom, not because I wanted to eat or was hungry.
When I eat, I still often (almost always) feel like I’ve overeaten. Fifteen to twenty minutes after I eat, I feel uncomfortably full. I just put together last night that this might mean I’m eating too fast – there isn’t time for my brain to get the signal that I’m full before I’ve eaten too much. It’s a pain in the neck to have to eat so slowly, but I’m going to try to slow down and see if that makes a difference.
I’ve heard differing opinions on whether or not you can stretch out your sleeved stomach, but I know people who consistently overeat have trouble losing and often regain their weight, so this is a big concern for me.
Unfortunately, I have been turning to online shopping during the last couple of months as a replacement for eating when I’m bored or stressed and, as you might imagine, that has not gone very well. We no longer have any credit cards at all, so I have messed up our budget pretty badly a few times. I’m a work in progress.
I have, at this point, given away 3 of those huge black trash bags full of my old clothes and thrown countless other things (that were stained or looking shabby) in the trash. I hope their new owners treasure them, because I loved my wardrobe. It made me feel good about myself at a time when I did not think I looked good at all. There were some shirts especially that I really loved, and it was sad to part with them, but they were enormous on me.
I have loose, saggy skin everywhere. My arms hang in strange sheets. My poor boobs are totally deflated. My thighs are oddly shaped. Everything is shrinking but my skin. It’s strange to see, but it’s not going to stop me from being comfortable and wearing whatever I want to wear. I even wear swimsuits because I like to swim. I wore them at 400 pounds, and I’m not going to stop now just because I have loose, saggy skin.
I was so excited to be able to wear my wedding ring a couple of months ago, but now it is way too big. I got these ring size adjusters on Amazon, and they are keeping my rings in place for now. They are basically just tiny little silicone coils, and they wrap around the ring to make it fit more snugly. I don’t want to get my ring resized at the jewelry store until I am at my goal weight. It would be dumb to pay to have that done more than once.
Joe and I both noticed one day last week that I was looking pretty frumpy because my boobs were hanging way down below where they should have been. I mentioned it, and he said, “I didn’t want to say anything, but I noticed the same thing.”
I was still wearing the same bras and underwear 110 pounds later. We went that day to The Avenue store and I got fitted and bought 4 new bras. They are not the most comfortable bras I’ve ever worn (they do have underwires after all), but they make me look much better than my old comfy ones ever did.
So that’s about it. 5 months out and lots more to go!
© 2017, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.