I met my final weight loss goal of 225 pounds… now what?

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 14-07-2013

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So, I did it. I got on the scale this morning, looked down and it said:

225+ pounds lost. 2 years, 23 days post vertical sleeve. Holy shit. I did it.So, I got off of the scale and got back on. It said the same thing. I stared at it. I took a couple of pain pills and laid down in bed and thought about it. So… what’s next? I’ve been easing into the maintenance phase of my weight loss over the past few months so I’m starting to feel more comfortable about what I need to eat to maintain my weight and stop losing (unfortunately, it doesn’t include ice cream every night LOL). While waiting for my back pain to subside, I just thought about that for a while and tried to figure out what I was feeling.

There’s a LOT of celebrating. I’ve never felt like a such a success in my life. My weight was always the huge pink elephant in the room. It was the ONE thing in my life that I couldn’t control. It was the one thing that defined me. I was always “the fat friend” or “the funny fat lady”. I think it’s unfair to say that my weight loss hasn’t changed me. It has. I like to believe that I’m mostly the same, but the changes inside are so enormous, it’s the things that you don’t see that have made me as successful as I have been.

I’ve been very honest throughout this process. It’s been HARD. The decision was hard too. You don’t wake up one day and say “oh, I think I’ll go get my stomach cut out”. A lot of thought and planning went into this. As I’ve said before, I had a pretty bad childhood. Food was an escape and a way to soothe feelings – whether good or bad. Having a party, have cake. Having a bad day, ice cream. Someone called you a bad name, there’s always pie. I had to learn about food – really learn about it. I had to learn to deal with stress and feelings. I’ve been seeing a counselor on a very regular basis now for over two years. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, therapy has been the single best thing I’ve done for myself, aside from the surgery itself. It’s something that is SO overlooked in the bariatric community.

So. I’m at my goal weight – actually, I will lose about 10 more pounds after plastics and 140 puts me right smack dab in the middle of where my doctors say my ideal weight is. Heck, no one expected me to get this far, so they’re happy no matter what. Anything under 175 was gravy, this is pure cream cheese frosting at this point. They are THRILLED with my progress. So few get as far as I have given my starting weight.

I feel great. About myself. About my family. I share my success with so many people. My husband, my kids, my support groups, my counselor, my trainer, everyone that’s ever said “yay!” to my stream of updates about my weight. I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have amazing people in my life that have been behind me ALL the way.

My next steps are figuring how how to maintain my weight while keeping a food plan that is something I can live with, allowing for “treats” and good overall healthy foods. I also need more clothes that fit. While I’m sure my size may change a little after plastics, I have a pretty pathetic closet right now. Continuing with therapy and working on my mental roadblocks. Choosing a weight range I want to stay within and keeping an eye on the scale to see how I’m doing. I had my head in the sand for FAR too many years, if I’ve learned one thing throughout the past two years it’s that I cannot just ignore the scale. I have to have some sort of check in for how I’m doing. And, just, living life.

So, I wasn’t sure what to post today, to be honest. I mean, I’ve probably written this post 20 times in my head over the past two years. So I’m going to give you the stats, share some photos and then give some tips if you’re supporting someone that is on a weight loss journey (surgery or not). I think that’s the best thing I can give right now.

In May 2011, my weight reached it’s highest at 375 pounds. I had surgery on June 21, 2011 at 355 pounds. 2 years and 23 days later (aka today!), I’ve lost a total of 225.5 pounds. I weigh 149.5 pounds. Holy wow. I have a LOT of skin. I’m asked that a lot. It’s pretty bad. It keeps me from wearing the right size jeans. Swimsuits without shorts are out of the question, I have to wear loose shirts or there is so much hanging flab that it looks terrible. I’m hoping to figure out how to afford at least a trunkplasty (around $12k). I’m hoping to finance it after my surgery is paid off. I feel great. I can eat anything I want except for pasta, squishy bread and carbonated beverages (all seem to expand in my stomach and cause me discomfort so I just don’t bother). My whole family changed their eating habits and we’re ALL healthier and happier.

…. and, now, the photos. A before & after and Tom giving me the promised piggyback ride for reaching my ultimate goal. He even ran around the front yard. It was pretty hilarious and SO sweet. I, of course, worried I was going to hurt him. LOL.

Candy reached goal weight      Candy reached goal weight

In past blog posts, I’ve given advice for people that wanted to lose weight, but I think it’s equally important to know how to support someone that is. So, just a few things that I found helped (or didn’t):

  • Be there to listen and not judge. If they are having some ice cream, don’t judge them for it. Maybe they worked it into their plan for the day. Maybe this is a day off of their food plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if they’re eating ice cream EVERY day. Be gentle and just ask, “hey, you said to check in with you, so don’t think I’m judging, but are you taking the week off? I just notice we’ve had ice cream every day this week…”
  • Be prepared for them to be annoyed that you asked. LOL!
  • It’s okay to ask about their weight loss, but “how do you feel” is a REALLY stupid question. I always answered this with “oh, just terrible” with a smirk on my face. Yes, I’m a smart ass.
  • Unless they are truly skin and bones, do NOT tell them they are getting too skinny or that they need to stop losing weight. I HATE this. I was still “overweight” and had a few people that insisted I was losing too much. I learned to just simply say I was working with my doctors about my ideal weight and had it handled, but thank you for your concern. I mean, really. I get that you are used to seeing your loved one a certain size and drastic weight loss really does seem like they are “too skinny”, but most weight loss people totally understand what weight they should be. That’s why we have doctors. It’s made me really feel like maybe I was doing it wrong and nearly sent me down another disordered place wondering if I just wasn’t seeing myself correctly.
  • Don’t call your friend “skinny bitch” more than a few times. It gets old and becomes hurtful. Just because we lost weight doesn’t mean we don’t love you or judge you and it feels bad to feel judged. Luckily, the friend that was doing this caught herself and stopped. I KNOW you don’t mean it, truly, but think about how that feels.
  • Absolutely, 100% tell us congrats and most don’t mind talking about it, but there are other subjects. After a while, even we get really tired of talking about our weight. Talk about the Paris Hilton. Or the weather. Or the Nicks game. ;)
  • Just be there. Be there to celebrate. Be there to high five. Be there with a hug when needed. Just show up and love us. No matter what.

So, that’s it. I am VERY aware that this is going to be a lifelong struggle. I meet people all the time that had surgery and gained back some (if not all) of their weight. I KNOW that my weight and food issues won’t disappear just because I see a number on the scale. It’s something that I will likely have to be aware of for the rest of my life.

But I’m there. I made it. Take THAT fat genes :)

2 years of weight loss, 223 pounds gone

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 21-06-2013

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So, today is kind of a cool day. Two years ago, today, I had weight loss surgery. I won’t bore you with the details, you can read my other blogs here marked “weight loss” for the “skinny”. If you just want to see the photos, scroll down… otherwise, I’ll ramble :)

Overall, I feel great. I actually hate when people ask me that, “How do you feel?” I am a smart ass and it shows because I tell them it’s awful. I mean, really, I’ve lost an obese person. How do you THINK that feels? It’s amazing, awe-inspiring, a little sad to think about, and I feel freaking amazing.

It’s also nice that my friends and family are starting to treat me normal again. My weight isn’t the first and only topic of conversation anymore. It really does get old sometimes. Yes, I’m proud of myself. Yes, I don’t mind talking about it, but can we please talk about something else like the weather? Or my annoying children? Or how your husband is a big goofball? LOL. Luckily, I see my friends often enough that it’s becoming a non-issue again. Whew. It also gets annoying to hear about Great Aunt Edna’s daughter who gained all her weight back. Thanks for that story. *laughing* No, seriously, there’s the good and the bad and the good is definitely outweighing the bad ;)

I’ve yet to see the magical “150″ on the scale, but I’ve been maintaining at 152-155 for the past couple of months and that’s fine. After plastics, I’ll be well within my goal and that’s fine. I’m on the upper end of the BMI scale, but we all know that’s crap and frankly, I’m happy where I am right now. I mean, hello. I’ve lost a LOT of weight. I can’t be unhappy about that. Considering that I started at 375, met my surgeon’s goal of 250 at week 36, met my goal of 175 at 18 months and am now well below that… yeah.

Note: I’m 5’6″ – I’m not tall – why do people insist on telling me I’m getting “too skinny”. My doctors all agree that I’m great. If I lose another 5-10 pounds, they will be just as happy as if I stay this weight now. It’s a bizarre phenomenon in the weight loss community. I think it’s because we lose it relatively quickly and people don’t realize what your normal weight really is. My doctors all seem to agree that if I can stay between 135-160, that’s ideal. Heck, anything under 200 is amazing for where I started. So, mom… stop worrying. The doctor says they won’t worry about me unless I dip below 125 and I’m definitely not trying to lose more at this point :)

So, what I did right – journal what I eat and drink, get enough protein, cut out bad carbs, followed my surgeon’s plan, started regular therapy, not beat myself up when I had ice cream or an occasional treat.

What I would do differently – Hmmmm. I don’t know.  I hate to say this, but I can’t think of anything I would have done differently. I think I’ve done a good job, overall and everything I did was part of my own process.

My advice for those seeking to lose weight and/or have weight loss surgery? Do it. But be ready to change your life. I’ve said this a million times, but I didn’t get fat because I was hungry for food. I had a lot of issues to work through in therapy. Get therapy. Then get more therapy. I honestly believe that counseling is the most missed thing in the bariatric community. It’s sad really how many people don’t deal with their stuff. Be ready to change your eating habits. Don’t just CHANGE them – live them. Commit to them. Get support. My husband and children committed 100% to backing me, to cleaning up our eating as a family and to call me out when I’m screwing up. My friends have been AMAZING. I told them what I was doing and why and asked for their support. I have a few other support groups as well. Seek support, use the support. Keep using it, even when you think you don’t need it, show up. It matters. Relax and stop worrying about when you stall for a while, your body has to adjust. I didn’t lose my weight in one line, it was a long process.

At the end of the day, this is the best thing I could have done for myself. I tried dieting and exercise, but this saved many years of my life. I’ve yet to have anyone give me negative judgements and frankly, if they do, that’s their problem. I did what I did for myself and my family. I went public about it to help others and to be transparent about myself – and that has served me well. Knowing that others are watching me has, in some weird way, kept me on the right path :)

Yes, I had an emergency neck fusion 9 months after my surgery and, yes, I’m looking at a double lumbar fusion late next month. That’s life. It would have likely happened anyway… but recovering will be easier with all this weight gone. Much easier.

Okay, so the before and after photos… I can NOT believe I’m putting up photos of me in a freaking swimsuit, but here ya go. The last photo is GUCCI. A GUCCI shirt. Me! It was a gift from a dear friend <3

2 year Comparison

 

2 year Comparison - Side View

 

2 year Comparison - Face

Merry Christmas and year-in-review

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 24-12-2012

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Wow, 2012 is quickly ending and today is Christmas Eve already! Above is our holiday card this year (yes, we really are dorks). I was sitting here thinking about this year and all the amazing changes and adventures we have had.

The whole family had an amazing time in Disney over the Summer. I think that will, likely, be the highlight of 2012, for sure. It was also interesting to watch the family change over the past year, we’ve completely changed our eating habits and what we choose to do. We’re all healthier and happier, for sure.

Cassie is now in 4th grade and doing amazing, of course. She carries all As and still has never had to move her clip (I’m seriously going to find out next year if they have a perfect behavior award and if they don’t, I’m making the principal make one up for her LOL). She’s a Daddy’s girl for sure. She can get Tom to do almost anything for her if she asks sweet enough. She has been doing an amazing job with her violin lessons and she loves her computer games and plays Minecraft a lot with her friends. She’s turning into such an amazing young lady right before our eyes. We are so proud of her and know she’s going to do amazing things in 2013.

Jamie is in 6th grade. Yeah. Middle School. He’s actually doing really well, all As and Bs. He is in the band and is loving playing his clarinet. He’s taught himself to play several extra songs on his own and we’re so proud of him. He’s a Momma’s boy and is always ready with a hug and kiss for just about anyone. He’s every bit of a pre-teen, though. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he evolves over the next few years. Jamie is one of the most empathic people I know, he feels your pain and wants to do whatever he can to make you feel better. I’m constantly amazed by him and how much he cares for his friends and family.

Tom turned the big 4-0 this year. So, he’s an old dude now. He’s still working as a teacher (math interventionist) and loving it. It took him a little longer to figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up, but he’s definitely found the right path. He’s happier than he’s ever been and I’m proud to call him my hubby. (But seriously, you could not pay me enough to work with a room full of elementary – or any – children, I would go insane). He still loves to cook and is the comic relief for Cassie and I (who are known to take things too serious sometimes).

For me, this year has been kind of a whirlwind. The emergency neck fusion surgery really messed up my life for a few months, recovery kind of sucked. I, of course, reached my goal weight – losing 200 pounds – and decided to lose a little more. I figure I’ll know when I’m done. I’m still running OffAssist and still trucking along very well. I started playing violin, myself, and am having a great time learning – and spending time with Cassie (who is helping to teach me along with our instructor).

So, 2012 is nearly gone and onward we go…

Happy Holidays!

How I Lost 200 Pounds…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 13-12-2012

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I’m not going to write a whole lot here… still kind of reeling that I made my goal. You can read the whole story of “how” by looking at my posts tagged with weight loss – the one in December 2011 explains the how (weight loss surgery) and the ugly (it ain’t in any way, shape or form easy LOL).

I’m a different person on so many levels. Physically, of course, I mean… I’ve lost TWO HUNDRED FREAKING POUNDS. But I think it also changed me emotionally and psychologically as well. I’m open with my children about my own childhood and the issues I had (to an extent, I think it’s important for them to understand the “why” of so many things in our lives). I won’t go into it here, but obviously no one gets to weigh 375 pounds because they were hungry for food. I had (and have) a lot of healing and work to do. Honestly, mental health, I believe, is THE single biggest missing component in the bariatric community. So many people don’t seek the help they really and truly need. I needed it. I got it. I’m working on me. It sucks sometimes, but I’m doing it.

So anyway… this morning, I woke up at 4:30, just couldn’t go back to sleep so decided to give it up at 5:15 and get up for the day. I got on the scale… and viola… my goal weight stared back at me. It’s wonderful and it’s fabulous and I’ve been on cloud 9 all day, but I also know my work isn’t done. At 5’6″, I’m still overweight – technically and in reality. So, I know I’ll want to go on to lose more. The 175 was a number I threw at the surgeon just to have something. I figured there was no way I’d do it. Ha!

Anyway. I did it. I reached the big bad wolf goal. In the process, I’ve pretty much eliminated a few big bad wolves from my life. It’s been a good 18 months.

A few people have asked why I share this so publicly and why I share my weight numbers. I think part of it is that it’s accountability issue. I have so many friends pulling for me and it keeps me motivated. But, also… I think it’s important for others in the position I started in to know that they aren’t alone. There is absolutely no way I ever thought I’d get to be less than 250. I figured that would be the best I could do. I think it’s important that people understand that those of us with major weight issues aren’t lazy, we aren’t stupid and we definitely aren’t clueless. It truly is an addiction and one that a lot of us need help to overcome. I needed not only surgical but also mental health help to overcome mine. But you know what? Much like an alcoholic, I think I’ll always be in recovery of some sort. Unlike an alcoholic, though, I can’t just throw out the drug of my choice and never look at it again.

Okay, getting too deep, today, though… I celebrate life and the extra years I’ve added to my own to enjoy.

And yes… a photo update:
December 2012 Comparison - 200 lost

Major (!) weight loss update and a sleep update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 22-08-2012

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First, a really quick update on Cassie’s sleep… she slept ALL night last night. My friend gave me samples of some essential oils. I honestly have never seen another human being look SO tired in my entire life. Whether it was just down right completely exhaustion or the oils, I don’t know, but she says the oils helped so I’m going to buy a truckload of them if it continues to help. It felt SO good to check on her at 10:30 and see her sleeping like the little angel (coughcough) that she is.

I did it! The scale finally has a number 1 in front of it. This means that since my VSG surgery journey and having surgery 14 months and 1 day ago, I’ve lost over 175 pounds (Disclaimer: 20 of those were lost on the crazy pre-op diet you have to do, but I count it ALL darn it!). That’s just amazing to me. Even still! I STILL was getting on the scale amazed that it started with a number 2, a number 1 is just beyond my ability to comprehend. Getting under 200 has been one of those “yeah right” goals of mine. When I started this process at 375, my surgeon gave me the goal of 250. I will admit that somewhere deep down I never thought I’d actually hit that number. He asked me for my own personal goal and I threw out 175. That would mean a loss of 200 pounds and I liked the sound of that number. It almost feels like I can reach that number though. My next mini goal is 186.5. That will mean I’ve lost half my body weight and will also put me into the “overweight” category. According to the BMI charts (which I think are antiquated) my upper normal range is 155. I’m not making ANY goal decisions until I hit 175 though because I want to see what that looks and feels like.

So, that’s where I am. No tears today, I thought for sure I’d totally break down, but I’ve just been happy and smiling because I worked hard for this. Like I’ve said on this blog before, don’t EVER think this is the “easy way out” for anyone that has weight loss surgery. I’ve been lucky, no one has ever said that to me, but I am here to tell you that there is NOTHING easy about this. It really is just a tool to help you along. I did all the work. I took the time to really learn about food and nutrition. I worked my butt off at the gym. I choose to say no to sugar and carbs unless I’ve planned for them in my day. I went through all the mental issues that this whole thing brings about. *I* did that. Like I said, no one has said a single negative thing to me, but if you ever see someone that has done this, know that they are working harder than they have ever worked in their lives. Congratulate them, their achievement is no less important than someone that did it without surgery. Trust me. Obesity is a lifelong disease, I can still gain weight back. The real fight comes after I reach goal. Keeping it off. Part of me thinks that’s why I went more public with my surgery. It makes me be accountable.

I also shared a photo 75 pounds ago of me behind the steering wheel of the van. My stomach used to still graze it when it was all the way back. Today, I sit in the same space as my husband and there’s a LOT of room when I move the seat all the way back. Cassie can slide across my lap when we sit in restaurant booths (which I always avoided because I didn’t fit at all before). So, I’ll share another steering wheel photo because driving is the one thing that really does remind me of all the work I’ve put in. It’s kind of amazing even now (and look how freaking skinny my legs look! LOL!)

I am also taking time out to attend a conference that is NOT business related (stop gasping). I’m attending the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) conference in late October in Dallas. There looks like there will be some really good speakers, and it really is a chance for me to celebrate myself. I do so few things that really are just for me that I’m excited to do this with a couple of friends.

One year later – weight loss surgery update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 21-06-2012

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If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be sitting here (cross-legged) blogging about losing over 150 pounds, I’d have laughed. One year ago, today, I had the gastric sleeve.  I won’t bore you with the surgery details. You can read about it HERE, but my life is so different. I started this crazy journey in March of 2011 when I had had enough. I weighed 375 pounds. I was tired. I was tired just from every day living. I couldn’t walk long distances. I couldn’t play with my kids the way I wanted to. Oh, I thought I could. Denial is a super morbidly obese person’s best friend. I know denial well. I was sick of living in denial and decided, with the support of the most amazing man on the planet, to take the step that scared me most. Surgery. I had tried everything (that cabbage soup diet SUCKS, by the way – let’s not talk about the watermelon and rice, k?). On June 21, 2011, I had surgery and I changed my life forever. For the better.

Today, I weigh in at 216 pounds. That’s 159 pounds, an entire person, gone from my body. Today, I’m “moderately obese”. Yes, I’ve still got a lot of work to do for sure. I’m not done yet. My starting BMI as 60.5 and is now 34.9 (just barely slipped into that moderately category, but it’s mine, dammit!). I’ve lost a person. I’ve gained a life.

I can cross my legs when I sit down. I don’t worry about restaurant booths. I can bend down without thinking about it. I can kick a little butt on the elliptical. I enjoy walking. I enjoy playing with my kids. I still enjoy food, but it doesn’t rule my life. I enjoy my time with my therapist (as much as I hate it sometimes too). I can buy clothes from regular stores. I STILL get on the scale sometimes JUST to see that number 2 at the beginning of the number.

I still feel like a faker though. I have this fleeting fear that the weight will come back. That I will wake up and this will have been a dream and I’ll be  375 pounds and miserable. I fear of going back to that dark place of feeling like I’ll never be normal. I spent 30 years being overweight/obese. Do I just get one little year of somewhat normalcy? I feel bad for people I see walking around like I was. I fear I’ll be like that again. I worry I’ll magically be able to eat an entire pie one day again.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever completely get past that fear. Nor the guilt. The guilt of being the fat mom. The guilt of watching others struggle through while I’m whizzing through the pounds and losing steadily. It’s almost like a survivor’s guilt of sorts. It’s really hard to explain. THIS is why I am very vocal about others seeking weight loss (surgery or not) to find a therapist. Most of us didn’t gain weight just because we like food a whole lot. There’s a lot of emotions that come into play when you get into that SMO (super morbidly obese) category.

So, here I am. 1 year later. To the day. I feel like I’ve come so far. Yet I look and realize how far I have yet to go. This is where the real work starts. This is where I have to show my body who is boss and that I will WIN this war. I didn’t pay someone to  remove most of my stomach to go back now. I can do this. I’ve lost 159 freaking pounds. I want to lose 41 more and then look to see where I am and where I want to go. There will be, of course, plastic surgery in my future. I have major skin issues. My arms flap, my thighs flap, my stomach flaps. Everything sags. But it’s mostly empty. It’s no longer full of fat. Oh, there’s still plenty there, but one day it will be totally empty and I’ll be left looking like a melted person. Then, I’ll talk to a surgeon about what I need to do to fix the damage I did over the past 30 years. And at the end of the day, I have only myself to blame for it. No one made me get that overweight. I did that all myself. I take ownership of that as much as I’m taking ownership of fixing the problem now. I could spend time looking back to how I got there, and I have. I’ve spent a lot of time. But I also have to look forward. Look forward to my kids having a normal sized mom. To leading a normal life. To living it to the fullest. That’s why I did this. I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to feel good about myself.

And I do. I do things now that I never thought I would. I walk 5ks. I chase my kids. I buy clothes from the rack simply because I can. I go to the gym. I work out hard. I enjoy my life and make sure that I’m grateful for everything I’ve accomplished and everything I will accomplish.

I post photos and people see me and they all comment on that part. It’s the part that they cannot see that really matters though. There’s still a little bit of heartache, a little regret for the years I wasted. But mostly, it’s the positive. It’s how I feel about myself. It’s about that feeling of finally being who I really, truly, feel like I’m meant to be. It’s that part that people DON’T see that is the real change. Yeah I “look great”, but my psyche is what has really changed. I think that anyone that says you don’t change internally with such a drastic external difference is lying. I know I’ve changed. I like to believe for the better. So, I’ll share photos below, but know that the part you can’t see is the real change here. I love myself. Obesity won the battle, but the war is mine to win.

To my friends and family that have stood by me, shared food in a restaurant so I didn’t have to take home MORE leftovers, hugged me when I cried, laughed with me when I did something silly, gave me an atta-girl when I needed it, reminded me why I did this when I was full of remorse, dragged me to the gym when I didn’t want to go, told me to stop wearing clothes two sizes too big, took me shopping and helped me figured out what to buy, called me when they sensed I needed a reality check, and loved me no matter what… thank you. They are the real heroes here. I couldn’t have done this without them. They all know who they are. I can never repay them for the kindness and support. They are my success.

 

Candy Update – 150 pounds in 11.3 months

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 31-05-2012

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Wow, what a crazy year I’ve had. I’m officially down 150 pounds from where I started this journey. I said I wanted to be at 225 when we left for Disney and the scale rewarded me this morning. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was this weight, probably high school. I still want to lose another 50 pounds and then see where we go from there, if I want to lose more or look at plastic surgery or what my next step will be. The neck fusion surgery kind of slowed things down more, but I’m okay with that. The doctor expects me to lose 2-4 pounds per month at this point. In month 11, I lost 6. I’ll take that. I don’t freak out like I did before when things stall out. I seem to lose in a stair step pattern. I’ll lose 2-5 pounds in 2-4 days and then stop for 10 days or so. I just ride it out knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to. Honestly, it’s kind of nice because people don’t notice as often and I don’t get the “Oh My God!” reactions. Those are nice, really nice, but I also like just kind of blending in too. *laughing*

I can’t help but think back to where I started all of this and be in awe of what I’ve accomplished. The surgery can’t fix your head so while I’ll give it 100 pounds, the last 50 have been mostly me and changing my thoughts and feelings around food and its purpose in my life. Yes, it’s helped me not really ever have hunger and keep my portions small, but I can totally eat a whole lot of calories if I really set my mind to it. Trust me, I’ve done it. And learned from it.

I’ve said it before, but the world is a different place when you’re not worried about if you’ll fit into the restaurant booth (or getting there early to make sure you’re the first one so you can request a table). Or hoping that the one store you can shop in will have black pants. Or having to ask people to move so you can slide by them at a table. Or 900 other things that the rest of the world doesn’t even think twice about.

So, we keep on going… I’m doing a great job. Not as fast as others, not as slow as some, but the good fight keeps being fought. And that’s really what it is. A fight against obesity and for the life I want and deserve.

Family and Friends – what matters – the personal side of my hospital stay

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Illnesses | Posted on 13-04-2012

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I don’t want to rehash the whole thing and those of that follow me on Facebook already know, so check out the link we posted on my business blog about what has happened over the past week or so. It’s been a very emotional week.

The worst is that I spent a lot of time in denial. Denial about having to go to the ER. Denial about being admitted. Denial about how long I’d be there. Denial about what it will do to my work out schedules. Denial about how they’d have to do surgery, about how long it would take me to recover, you name it, I was in denial about it.

I’m better now, but I’ve reached kind of a disbelief place. I’ve spent the past 10 months of my life busting my butt to lose weight, change my life, change my body, get exercising, eat right, move, treat myself the right way… and now this. Three months is a long time to recover – and they say I won’t be full recovered for 12-18, just that a lot of my restrictions will be lifted by three months. We all worked SO hard to get to go to Disney and now I’m not sure if that’s possible. Surely it is, right? I will find out at my doctor’s follow up on the 26th.

BUT… I must tell you that I have the most amazing family and friends. Several standouts though… my sister hopped on a plane with very little notice and flew nearly 1300 miles to be here – even before we knew if there would be surgery – so she could help with the kids, help run the business, take care of the kids and make sure everyone got to school. My neighbors made sure my kids had a ride to school while I was hospitalized and had somewhere to go after school. Two very dear friends each took a kid Easter night and when we realized we forgot to prepare a basket for them in the hoopla… they went shopping and made SURE my kids had an Easter basket. Seriously. They DID THAT. One even realized I must be feeling so lonely and left out so brought all the silly Easter stuff up to the hospital and let me help put together the basket for my daughter. One is even going to the post office, dealing with all client mail and checks every single day.

THAT is friendship.

But they didn’t stop there. My dear, sweet and amazing neighbor made homemade soup. I hadn’t realized what a problem meals were becoming for us. There are 3 adults in this house, but I am useless after a few minutes of walking around (I fall asleep randomly, it’s SO much fun), Tom is trying to nursemaid me, deal with school stuff that comes for not only the kids, but himself (they are heavy into STARR testing timing). Marcy, my sister, is nursemaiding me, making sure the kids get to and from school, helping me keep my business afloat, the house, etc etc. It’s crazy around here and between the exhaustion and pain meds, I’m basically no help at all. The kids are doing what they can too, but dinner has become a huge problem. No one wants to cook. Everyone is so tired. We’ve basically been grabbing what ever food looks edible, sometimes resorting to pizza. Everyone in this house is doing what they can, but we all seems to be burning the candle at both ends. My neighbor apparently even told a few other neighbors that if they felt like helping, I was open to it. A few couldn’t cook anything, and honestly, that”s perfectly okay too, but a few bought a gift certificate for EatOutIn.com (whomever thought of that is a genius, they go to take out – real restaurants – and deliver at home!) or Subway gift cards. I’m floored that people care this much. It’s not the money either, it’s just that they thought of some small way to help in a bad situation.

This is hard for me. It’s hard for me to ask for help. I want to be able to do it all. I am super woman. I can do everything and anything all at once. I can do it! Especially something as basic as feeding my family, but the harsh reality is that I can’t do it all. Not even close. So I did something hard for me today. I accepted a group of my friends that started a menu planning thing. They are going to bring meals (mostly freezable that I can put into my freezer) by now and then for me so we have one less thing to stress about). This whole thing has been a major strain in our lives. It’s been SO hard. So I swallowed my silly pride. I know I like to help others and I’m going to accept their help too. Graciously.

When stuff like this happens it makes me realize just who in my life mean so much to me and where the love that fills my heart every day really comes from. Thank you all for reminding me that it’s okay to to let others help and it’s okay to accept it too. Major thanks for being amazing friends and family and being there. Especially those that have driven from other towns even to deliver help, or something as simple as visiting with me for a few minutes so I don’t feel lonely. I’m lucky to have amazing people in my life and please know that I’m very aware of us. My heart is full.

The scale made me cry

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 26-02-2012

Tags: ,

Almost exactly a year ago, I stepped on the scale and cried. I realized that it was time to stop doing lip service to healing from this disease of obesity that had taken over my life and to actually to do something about it. I was frustrated with the constant circle of failure, upset with myself for being unable to control my weight and completely bewildered by what I knew I had to do to get myself healthy. I cried.

This morning I got on the scale and cried again. But for a completely different reason. Today, I am (quite literally) 2/3 the woman I was then. In the 8 months since I acted on that extremely difficult decision to have weight loss surgery (see my post in early December), I’ve lost 125 pounds (yes, you can do math, yes, I did just share “that number”). Let me say that again. I have lost 125 pounds. 125 pounds. I’ve lost another adult. I’ve lost 25 freaking bags of flour. It’s been very hard (again, I say anyone that thinks this is easy is obviously an idiot or insane LOL)

In a few more pounds I will no longer be considered “morbidly obese” and will simply be “obese”. Dropping that “morbid” word is significant to my brain for some reason. I cannot remember the last time my BMI was under 40. I realize I still have a lot way to go to get out of that obese category, but I started this insanity at “super morbidly obese”. I cannot believe I got that big and I cannot believe at how my life has changed. Since my 100 pound update, I’ve noticed more changes… in how I move, how I sit, how I carry myself, how I feel. I no longer worry about fitting anywhere. I feel somewhat like a normal person. I can buy clothes at ALMOST any department store (plus size still, but hey, I’m not limited to just a few stores). I can longer buy “Just My Size” underwear.

Okay, the underwear thing deserves it’s own paragraph here. You guys can laugh all you want. Go ahead, I’ll wait… done? Yeah, so I’ve been wearing JMS undies for FOREVER. I like the way the white granny panties briefs fit. Hey, I’m a pretty simple girl here. Well, I’m now below their largest size. I’ve bought at least 20 different brands/styles and I can NOT find one that doesn’t make me crazy or ride up in places it has absolutely no right being. I am majorly struggling with this and I’m wearing baggy drawers! (Yes, I know Hanes should be the same, but they aren’t. ARGH!) Okay… laugh again. Go ahead. Sigh.

Seriously though… this has changed my life. It’s changed my marriage (it’s true what they say that a bad relationship just gets worse and a good one just gets better, and mine has never been better). It’s changed my family, my friends, the way I look at the world, the way I look at other obese people, the way I look at skinny people, the way I feel about myself and everyone around me.

So… I’m feeling brave from being high on the adrenaline rush this has brought. Be kind, I’m still pretty sensitive about sharing this…. but this is my heaviest photo from May 2011 and my photo tonight (tired from a crazy night, but it’s all me LOL). This is what 2/3 of a woman looks like. This is what a 125 pound loss looks like.

My hair may be thinner, but so is the rest of me. My hair is growing back in, but my waist is just getting skinnier by the minute. I am wearing size 34 pants and a 5X shirt in that first photo (yes, really). The the 2nd is 24 jeans and a 2X sweater. Yesterday, I wore a size 22 slacks. Life is good.

How I Met Your Father…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 15-12-2011

Tags: , ,

I’ve told the kids how Tom and I met before, but I guess they just don’t pay attention. But I mentioned that we were going out this weekend to celebrate 20 years since our first date and they asked, so I thought I would share. This Saturday marks exactly 20 years since Tom and I had our first date. We are going out to a nice local restaurant (Wink) and then going to see Beauty & The Beast at Bass. This is actually very significant. When I heard it was coming and I heard the dates, I called Tom immediately and we both laughed and knew right away where we were going…

In October of 1991, I was heavy in to the Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). Back in the day, before the internet, us geeks used something called a BBS. We would dial in to another computer and use the forums, download freeware/shareware and play games and stuff like that. There was even a fancy one or two that could have multiple “nodes” and you could chat live with one or two other users. It was all very fancy. My own first connection was with an old computer that had two 5.25 floppy disks (one to run the computer and the other to house the program) and was at 300 BAUD. What’s a BAUD, you ask? Yeah, just don’t ask. It was slow. Watching one line of text scroll across, then the next line…. etc etc. This new guy showed up on the scene, named DayStar (I went by the witty name of Candie) and he was EVERYWHERE. And he replied to almost all of my messages. It was a little weird, but whatever, right? He sent me a private message  and we talked back and forth and eventually he got my phone number out of me. I cannot recall why, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.

… and then he wouldn’t stop calling me. It wasn’t really stalkerish, but almost. I would talk to him, but he wanted to meet. I had a LOT of good reasons. Like my sister’s birthday party. Then my other sister’s birthday party (he totally didn’t believe me, but they really do have birthdays just two days apart). Let’s see, I was washing my hair. I had homework. I managed to NOT meet this guy for nearly two months. It’s not that I was being mean, but he was 3 years older than me. He was in the military. I was 16, he was 19. Eventually, my mother asked what was going on. I told her and she said, “He sounds like a nice guy just looking for a new friend. He is in a new city. Give him a break. What’s the big deal?”. Le Sigh. Mothers just don’t get it?

So… I hatched a plan. He was almost 20, so what did he want with a 16-year-old anyway? I decided that I would make him go away by making him realize that I was just a kid. Beauty & The Beast had just hit movie theaters. So, I would agree, but to make him think I was just a kid and make him go away, I’d insist he take me to see that movie. So, I set my plan in place. He called. He asked if we could meet again. I was pretty bratty and told him that yes, I would, but only if he’d take me to see that movie… I waited, with odd glee, as he surely was trying to back out…

… and then he said “Oh, wow, yes, of course… I love Disney stuff”. I think I may have threw up a little in my mouth. WHAT? Okay, surely, he is kidding. Maybe I could just shake him? So, we agreed to meet at the mall (on December 17th). I would be wearing a red Christmas teddy bear sweater and jeans. Ha! Do you KNOW how many people were at the mall in a red sweater? Okay, so I was kind of mean to him. He couldn’t find me, but I saw the Metallica hat and figured it was him. I followed him around for a few minutes, noticed he had a cute rear end (hey, he does!) and walked back to our meeting place to see if he actually figured out who I was. It was kind of funny, in a mean twisted way…

So, off we go to the movie. I’m thinking that surely we’ll watch it, I’ll go home and he won’t call again. Then he started singing the Disney songs. What the heck? I figured I would just change my phone number. Obviously, he was crazy. At least he paid for the movie… so, after the movie he asked if I wanted to go grab something to drink. We ended up at McDonald’s and split some fries where, once not singing Disney songs, I realized he was actually a good guy. So… he called the next day and asked if I wanted to go out on a real date. He was willing to come get me and take me somewhere.

Let me explain… this is not a small thing. I lived in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. It was a good hour for him to get there if he hit any traffic at all. So, I gave him directions. He would be there at 6pm. By 7pm, I was pretty sure I had gotten rid of him and really felt bad because he was a nice guy. Dammit. I was pretty resigned to putting on my PJs and going to bed when the phone rang. This was before cell phones and he was lost. He was also out of our area so he had to talk some small itty bitty store into letting him make a long distance call. So, yeah. He was late. He was VERY late. I have no idea what I told my parents we were doing, but by the time we got back to civilization it was later. We ended up going back to his apartment where his weird roommate was watching a movie (Backdraft, I think?) and talked for a while. I think we grabbed take out from somewhere. Not very exciting, but hey, it worked.

While I’m telling this story, I’ll take the opportunity to embarrass my husband by telling you that we went back to the car, he opened my door and leaned over a little (cuz apparently it was time to kiss) and said “I hate this part”. I think I snorted with laughter and said “Thanks”, which totally ruined my 16-year-old “moment” so I told him to just get in the car. I think later he said we should try that again and he managed to not make a really stupid comment.

And that was pretty much that. We were pretty inseparable at that point. We both have a really weird sense of humor and we have enough inside jokes (like I randomly tell him “I hate this part” when he tries to give me a kiss) to confuse all of our friends. By Valentine’s Day, I was in lurve… he asked me to marry him in March (WTF was kind of my response). We found out in June that he was being moved to Hawaii in December. At that point (I mean, I was a kid, but I was smart enough to know that THAT long distance wasn’t going to work), we decided that I would finish school, get married and move to Hawaii in a year. We had a plan. We got engaged. He left and within a week things changed in my home life and I ended up moving in with friends in December. It was tough all around. Tom found out he wouldn’t be able to get leave until September. I graduated in June, so I was kind of in flux with the whole living situation. He could, however, get leave in early March… which is why my wedding date is 1 day after the day I turned 18 – and moved to Honolulu. I graduated with my class (I only needed 1 English credit to graduate, they let me write a few papers and mail them to the school).

Yeah. I was 18. He was 21. It could have been a disaster for sure! But, we made it work. And we still make it work.

So, that my friends, is why we knew we HAD to go see Beauty & The Beast on the 17th. Exactly 20 years from our first date when we saw it in the movie theater. Can we all get a big “awwww”. Thanks :)

18 years of marriage so far :)