Maui Bound

So I’m going on my first ‘big’ vacation since my surgery. The husband and I are headed to Maui in just a bit, a trip we normally would not be able to afford but my incredibly generous in-laws are there and are paying for us to come meet them. This will also be my first time on an airplane in years. The last time I flew I needed a seatbelt extender, I bet I fit into a seat this time around.

I’m not too worried about being terribly strict with my diet or finding healthy low carb options while I’m there. There’s tons of fish and I can get FRESH ahi tuna and mahi mahi, which makes me very happy. My one real indulgence is going to be fresh pineapple juice but I’ll balance it out with some protein so my blood sugar doesn’t decide to go insane.

I really am very excited about this trip. I love Maui (I’d live there if I could manage it) and I could really use this time to unwind and destress. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to get in front of the camera for a few vacation pictures. Been a long time since I’ve done that.

I’m a terrible, terrible blogger

Hi. Remember me? No? I don’t blame you. I’m a crappy blogger and I haven’t kept up with the newsletter either. I am working on some guest posts for the newsletter, though. Things are going great. Just out living life, which I did not really do as much of before my sleeve as I should have.

Weight is still pretty much stalled. Plateaus suck, but I can live with it. I’m still losing inches, slowly but surely, even when the pounds don’t come off. I still love my sleeve. Even if I’m never ‘thin’ again, my life has improved 100% already.

I have some great recipes to post so I’ll be doing that. Weather is getting colder and I start craving soups and stews. They’re warming, filling, and all of the ones I’ve found are pretty protein packed. I’ll also post the update on my leg (from my last blog post). It was a fun story (not).

Updates Finally!

I haven’t updated recently, for that I apologize. I’m really a TERRIBLE blogger. No, really, I am. I’ve pretty much just been out living my life. Since losing a chunk of weight, I’ve been a lot more active. That means getting out and doing more.

The first part of July, my best friend in the whole wide world had a VSG! I went to Ohio and spent a week there, so I could be there for her surgery. It was great getting to see her and spend time with her and her family. When it was time to come home I was really sad but now that we know it’s not too expensive for me to travel there, I may get to see her more often.

I had my one year follow up at my surgeon’s office yesterday. My one year isn’t until the 18th but I had an issue I wanted looked at now. I’ve been having some swelling in my legs, especially the right leg, some edema, the skin on top of my shins is reddened (more pink than red but still a color change) and there’s some intermittent achy pain, again mainly in the right leg. I admit, my first thought was the possibility of DVT so I wanted my surgeon to look at it. No, I did not go to the ER – don’t judge me. Seriously, just don’t.

My appointment went really well. I’ve lost a total of 60% of my excess weight and, even though I’ve been on a six month plateau, my weight is right where they ‘wanted’ me at this stage. They were really encouraging about the plateau, too, and I’ll be seeing my nutritionist on Friday to discuss it and see if there’s anything we can change. I still need to do my one year labs, but they’ll call me if there are any issues with them.

About the leg…  More

Broken

The small intestine.

Image via Wikipedia

For approximately ten years, maybe a little more, I’ve had undiagnosed lower quadrant ‘gut pain’. The very first time I experienced it, it sent me to the ER. The positioning and type of pain seriously had me believing I had appendicitis. It was not. I had no fever. My white blood cell count was normal and the CT scan they did showed a perfectly normal looking appendix. What it did show was an inflamed ileum.

The gastroenterologist the surgeon called to look at me (since the surgeon did not want to perform surgery on me unless 100% necessary) admitted me to the hospital and pumped me full of enough antibiotics to cure a small third world country of syphilis. The pain went away but the cause for it was never found.

A few months later, I had the same pain. Went to get it scanned. This time the ileum was not inflamed. Neither was my appendix. The solution? Pain medication (which did not work but made me care less I was hurting) and steroids. Joy of joys. If you’ve never had to be on prednisone, you don’t understand what a joy this crap is. And by joy I mean hell.

Because of this weird, undiagnosable pain, I had my first colonoscopy before I was 35. The results were nothing out of the ordinary. I did have a polyp that was removed, but it was not the cause of my pain. A second colonoscopy a few years later yielded the same ‘no answer’ results.

I’ve been poked. I’ve been prodded. Changing my diet seemed to help a little. Since going fairly strictly low carb, the pain has improved. It’s not quite so often, but I still get it. When I do get it, it’s awful. The pain nearly doubles me over.

I don’t know what to do. On days like today, when the pain strikes out of nowhere, all I want to do is curl up and cry. I have, in fact, cried a lot today. It REALLY hurts. It’s a sharp, stabbing pain that also throbs. It also just exhausts me. I got a full night’s sleep and already feel like I haven’t slept a single minute.  Add that to the frustration of not having lost a single pound in three months, in spite of doing everything ‘right’ and following all the ‘rules’, and I’m feeling more than a little broken today.

New Clothes!

I could not put it off any longer. Yesterday I went to Target and got some new clothes. I was especially in need of some new britches. I only had a couple pairs of pants that fit and they were either leggings or stretchy exercise type pants (my favorite is a pair of yoga pants). I haven’t had much luck with thrift stores, but Target is inexpensive enough for me to not feel too guilty and buy a variety of things without breaking the bank.

I admit it was a little daunting at first because I had no idea what size I wore. The couple pairs I had were a 2x but I had NO idea what that translated to. Turns out, at least in Target clothing, that’s a 20. So I’m in a size 20 down from a 26 and a 2x down from a 4/5x. I’ll take it for now.

VSG, Carbs and You

I was originally planning to write this in response to a comment posted on my best friend’s blog. The person commenting obviously had no clue what they were talking about. Yes the recipe they were commenting on seemed high in carbs (and certainly more carbs than I would consume in one meal) but, that’s not taking into account WLS sized portions. Since my friend is having a VSG, she won’t be able to eat that much post surgery.

At any rate, the comment got me to thinking about the differences in surgeon’s guidelines. For instance, my surgeon’s program allows up to 50 grams of carbs per day (I am typically around 30). They also tell you to cut out carbs from pasta, rice, potatoes and bread and limits high sugar things like juice. I get my carbs from vegetable sources, limited fruit (no more than 1/2 cup a day due to the natural sugars), and milk sources.  What I’ve learned over the past 9 months is that there is no one size fits all approach to diet after weight loss surgery. Even the surgeons can’t agree.

This is Dr. Cirangle’s sleeve guide. He’s a top surgeon in California who performs the VSG. His patients practically worship him and you absolutely can not argue with most of their results.  His recommendations for carbs are 40 grams or less per day (limiting the same carbs my program limits).

The Institute for Advanced Bariatric Surgery Manual. This one gives no hard numbers on how many carbs per day to have. They say that carbs should be kept to 15 to 20% of your diet while losing weight (while avoiding the ‘white’ carbs). It also recommends looking for 10grams of carbs or less per serving of carbs when reading labels. There are also instructions pertaining to diabetics if you’re interested.

NCA Surgical Weight Loss Program in Bethesda. This one also gives no numbers for carbs but one of their sample meal plans had 39 grams of carbs for the day.

Cornell Sleeve Guide: Cornell is another of those respected programs. Their diet also gives no hard numbers in the guide. Just to eat protein first, avoid refined carbs, and follow with your fruits, vegetables and then whole grains.

Johns Hopkins Sleeve Guide: As a name, Hopkins is almost as trusted as Mayo. Surely they know what they’re talking about, right? This guide also gives no hard carb numbers and mentions living sugar free.

Northwest Obesity Surgery Sleeve Guide: Couldn’t find numbers here either. LOL

At any rate, there is no 100% ‘you MUST eat this way post surgery or you will fail’ diet. Low carb GENERALLY is the way to go but the numbers for what constitutes low carb for YOU may vary. Also generally speaking, if you want to get into ketosis (this is NOT a bad state, it’s the state where your body is burning FAT to lose weight though opinions vary on how long it’s ‘safe’ to be in ketosis), nobody can really agree on the numbers. Somewhere between 50 and 100 grams of carbs per day will supposedly allow you to go into ketosis. For me, I know I don’t get there above 50 grams. So, your mileage will definitely vary.

So to all the trolls out there. Do a little research before you come barging into one of our blogs, trying to tell us what we need to do in order to be successful. You’re just going to get laughed out the door, then we’re going to make fun of you after you’re gone.

What’s this, an update?

I haven’t posted in awhile. The truth is, I’ve been really frustrated with my weight loss or lack thereof. I try to tell myself all things will happen in time. If I follow the program, I won’t be able to help but lose weight. Still, it gets incredibly frustrating when you do everything right (though I DO need to exercise more) and the weight loss slows or becomes almost non-existent.

To make things worse, I actually GAINED 4 pounds. There is no way with the amount of calories and carbs (Less than 900 calories a day and generally around 30 grams of carbs) I consume that I could gain that much weight in less than a week. It may just be water weight but I’m not sure. My hands don’t feel too puffy (maybe a little) and I can usually tell when I’m bloated from water but, you can imagine just how ‘meh’ that left me feeling. I’ve been averaging 10 pounds a month weight loss but gaining back that four pounds (even IF it’s just water) has put me off that average.

Maybe I’m just impatient, I don’t know. I try really, really hard not to compare myself to other people because I know it’s unhealthy and can lead to disappointment. It’s still really difficult to see people who had their surgeries after I did and who have much less weight to lose than I did losing more weight since their surgeries than I have.

I should be very happy. In total, I’ve lost 124 pounds (120 if you count this four inexplicable pounds I managed to gain). 64 pounds were lost pre-surgery. That leaves the other 60 post surgery, in six months time. I am proud of that weight loss but I still somehow feel as if it’s ‘not good enough’. I’m starting to have fears I always kind of laughed off when I saw other people posting. “What if this is it?” I know, deep down, it isn’t but I’ve failed so many times in the past, those old demons tend to rear their ugly heads.

I’ve been sick a lot this winter, just like I am every freaking winter, which hasn’t helped any. I’m finally getting some energy back but I was hit with back to back illnesses (including a 24 hour stomach bug) and left with a lingering cough. Now that I’m finally feeling better, I should be able to step up my exercise. I need some great ideas though since I simply can not afford to join a gym right now, no matter how much I want to, or spend a lot of money buying things to help me exercise.

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