Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2 year pictures are here!

Size 28/30 Lane Bryant Pants.  Size 12 now : )

Last night, I was asked to go back to the weight loss surgery (wls) support group and give a presentation on "Defining Long Term Success".  It was a great event and gave me a good reason to pause and appreciate all that has changed about me and my life in the last 2 years.  1 month ago I was invited to participate in a "Drop Your Drawers" fashion show for wls patients where you walk down a cat-walk (yes... cat-walk) with a pair of your old pants.  And that my friends, is where my 2 year pictures are from (technically 2 years and 1 month - but I'm a new mom... give me a break!)  I've found that for me, sharing my story - both with pre-op and post-op patients as well as on the blog, helps to keep me motivated and on track. 

I know this blog has diverted more than a few times from it's originally intended purpose (read about that in my first blog post) - but I have changed, so my blog has changed with me.  I might be making changes in the next few months to the blog to make it more "sectioned".  By that I mean - if you're interested in pregnancy/mommy/baby stuff- you can click on a section.  If you're interested in wls/recipes/healthy choices - click on another.  And then who could forget my deals/steals and couponing.  I have totally embraced living on a budget and hope to share my money saving ways as I have been doing.  I think that will be my summer project after Aiden goes to bed : )

So here are some of the questions I was asked last night and my brief answers.  Thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way and will continue to support me in the future.  It is your love and support that has given me the courage to make this a successful, rewarding and truly fulfilling journey!

What has surprised you the most about your post-surgical life?
That I love cooking now!  That was the entire reason I started this blog - to document my attempts (some failed - here's one that did) at trying to learn how to cook and do something good for myself.  It might not look pretty... but it tastes good ; )  ---- the question was surprised... I suspected that I would be FULL of energy and ready to take on a whole new list of goals after surgery.

What did you discover about yourself along your weight loss journey?
How truly disconnected and in denial I was about my weight and the condition of my body/health.  Somehow I managed to protect myself from seeing what other people saw on the outside.  One good thing that came out of that is that my personality was not affected.  I never withdrew or changed who I was - I'm still a little bottle of sass ; )  But even now looking back at those pictures - I intellectually know that it is me, but I have no emotional attachment to that version of myself.  I never saw myself that way. 

What have you learned about your support environment?
Support comes in all shapes and sizes - just like we do!  Some people can offer support in one way, while another person can offer support in another.  My husband is, and always has been my number one supporter.  Without him, I would not have been able to do this.  My motivator is my son (even before he was conceived). See some of my pregnancy pics and my message about motivation here.  I knew how much I wanted to accomplish this for him, us and our family!

Is there a difference in your lifestyle regarding weight loss versus weight maintenance?
I need to watch calories now (see how I do that here).  I know what range I need to stay in to make my weight stay maintained.  I have never gotten hung up in the number on the scale - it is always 10x's better than what it used to be.  But I do track my weight and have done so every week for the last 2 years.  I've never missed a weigh-in and it's a strong motivator to go back and see what has happened - especially through the pregnancy (I worked hard to only gain baby weight!).  I expect to see some weight re-gain over the next couple of years, but that's ok.  If I see more than 5-10 pounds creep back on from my 170 mark - it's time to take a SERIOUS look at what I'm doing and not doing.  I would love to be in the 160's by next December, but I also appreciate where my body is at now and want to make healthy choices based on how I feel and not what the number says on the scale. 

What are your top 3 habits for weight maintenance?
1) Buy clothes that fit and ditch the big ones!  This also goes along with my love of shopping and finding a great deal (always on a budget).  If there is room to grow back into the clothes... I think you will.  I realized after surgery I was very emotionally attached to clothes.  Almost every outfit I had I could recall where I first wore it, how I felt that day and why.  With my wardrobe constantly changing now with the pregnancy and my weight loss - I'm starting to learn to remember the moments and memories - and let go of the clothes.
2) Try - try - try new foods!  I have talked to some pre-op people that have said "I can't eat any meat - it just doesn't sit well with me".  That has not been my experience at all, but I have found that some things don't sit well the first time or two around.  I try very hard to not rule any type of food out.  I'm a lot more adventuresome in my eating.  If it doesn't go well the first time, try, try again!  Just prep it differently and see how it goes.  Make sure you only change one thing up at a time so you can truly identify what works for you and what doesn't.
3) Be honest with yourself.  If you can't be honest about what you're doing or how you're doing it (or not doing it as the case may be) then you're really only hurting yourself.  I need to remember on a regular basis that I did this surgery for me and everyone in my life gets to benefit from it.  It has been the key that has allowed me to open so many more exciting doors - but that has only come with true honesty.  I value myself enough to tell myself the truth.  Good and bad.

What are some areas in your lifestyle that still need refinement for better health?
Read above about being honest... yep.  Here I go.  I don't work out.  Never have throughout this process.  I had a brief fleeting moment where I thought I would train for a 5K (wanna laugh??? go here to read about my 5k goals!).  Want to know what I did instead?  Obsessed about what music I could download to the correct beat so I could keep up a "good" pace while training for the 5k.  I'm not kidding... I spent 8 hours one day doing that (pre-baby of course!).  Now, with being a new mom - it is totally ridiculous for me to think I'm going to set a work out schedule of 1 hour a day and stick to it.  I know myself well enough to know that is not going to happen.  I'm not proud of that, but it is what it is.  I don't like working out.  I don't like how I feel afterwards.  I don't like the feeling of obligation that comes with a scheduled workout.  So - what I need to do is find a way to incorporate more activity (on a regular) basis that gets me moving and grooving.  I'll tell you what ... dance party with Aiden has put some serious muscle on my arms and has helped me slim down my waist fast after the pregnancy.  Eventually, I will find something that works for me - I think we're going to start with some serious stroller walking in the spring!

Did your relationships change after surgery? If so, did you expect this?  How did you deal with the change?
Some of them have and some of them haven't.  Some of those relationships might have changed anyway.  I think people do see me differently now.  I've been referred to as "tiny" and "little".  I still chuckle at that.  I don't see myself as tiny... probably because I don't associate 170 with tiny, but me being short adds to that I think.  I feel like people that know I've had the surgery watch me eat now.  They look at me and think "can she really eat that - or how can she really eat that much - or should she be eating that".  Those same things, or at least similar, might have been thought about me before, but now I'm aware of them.  I kind of have a love-it or leave it attitude when it comes to people now.  If you're not good for me or you don't add to my life in some sort of a positive way - you are not my problem to fix.  It is my job to surround myself with good people and move on from the rest.  I owe no one an apology about that.  It's less drama and healthier I think.

What has been your greatest accomplishment after surgery?
My son - Aiden : )  See his birth story here - nothing gross, I promise.

What piece of advice or words of wisdom have proved most valuable to you?
-Take pictures! (My one year pictures are here and my 16 month pictures (10 weeks pregnant) pictures are here) Looking back at pictures along the way has been an awesome way for me to reflect throughout this process.  I have them and can't wait to show them to our children someday when they are older.  I worked hard for this and want them to know that if they put their mind to something, they can accomplish it too. 
-Get help.  Whatever that means for you.  One of the reasons I was so stuck in my weight for so many years was because I tried to "keep it all together" for all the wrong reasons.  I never wanted to admit that I didn't know how to do something or couldn't do something.  I still don't take "no" for an answer (well, not very well) - but now I ask for help and it has been a life saver!
-Love yourself and "trust the process"... ; )

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