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Please ... No More Hoops

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Breast Reduction

Best news ever! On Friday just gone I got a letter from the hospital with a date for my breast reduction ! I've waited so long, and worked so hard for this, it's all a bit overwhelming, but very very exciting.

For those who don't know, I've been working on getting this breast reduction done for about 10 years. It's the reason I got lap banded. (To lose weight so I would qualify to have it done in the public system as I can't afford to self fund and I don't have any super or PHI.)  I'm having to travel a bit for it and have no idea at this stage how I'm going to get home from the hospital as depending on how long I'm in for my sister might be busy that day with school concert stuff. My son can drive me home but he's a learner so I'll have to forgo strong painkillers for the 2 hour drive home. Hopefully by day 2 or 3 I'll be fine with just panadol. But if that's what I've gotta do I'll do it.

Can anyone clue me in on what their pain levels were by day 2 or 3 and if panadol was enough at that stage?

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When Food Gets Stuck

This is what it's like to have food stuck in my lap band. It hurts so much that I go into a bit of a panic sometimes. I talk about what causes food to get stuck and ways to avoid it. I also talk about how I deal with this problem. I'm not sure why I was smiling during this video cause the stuck food was hurting like a bitch ... lol. I think the pain was making me a little hysterical.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWxwtdUIpnk

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Face Down in the Sand and Full of Joy

On the weekend my niece asked if I wanted to go to the athletics track with her so she could practice for her upcoming athletics thing at school. I was already dressed to go to the gym and thought, well, it won't kill me to do something a little different and do a few laps with her instead of my usual routine, so I went along. I don't think I've ever voluntarily gone to an athletics track in my entire life.

Pre-banding/weight loss the walk from the car to the gate would have been enough to exhaust me ... all 50m or so of it. Then we had to go through one of those turnstile thingies. Pre-banding/weight loss I just wouldn't have fit in it. I would have had to watch her from the outside. I fit in it just fine now.

We got in there and did a warm up walk around the track (400m according to my niece.) Then she wanted to run a lap and I told her I'd run too, but that I'd be slower and have to alternate with walking. She was fine with that, and encouraging. I managed to run halfway, walk a quarter of the way, then run the last bit. She timed me at 2.52 minutes. She was excited for me. I was excited to have done it and not died ... lol. Then she wanted to practice some long jumping and I told her I wouldn't be able to do that because I was afraid of injuring myself. So I went over with her to watch her. She did her first jump and something just came over me and I wanted to have a go ... injuries be damned ! I hadn't long jumped in over 30 years ... I couldn't even remember how to do it ... but do it I did. I didn't jump from the line because I was worried I wouldn't be able to clear the concrete, so just ran and jumped from the end of the concrete. OMG. I ran, I jumped, I threw my whole body forward and ended up flat out face down in the sand and full of joy. OMG. All covered in sand and laughing and wanting to just do it over and over and over. I must have done at least a dozen jumps. My niece cheering me on each time.

We followed it up with a sprint ... again, cheered on by my niece. Then we finished with push ups and planking and lunges and other exercises and stretching. I was like my nieces personal trainer for a little while and she loved it.

In ye olden days I would never have done anything like this and not just because I couldn't but because I never even wanted to. My life is so different now.

ps. Two days later my thighs are still screaming at me and I've re-injured my shoulder quite badly because of an awkward landing in the sand but you know what ... it's worth it because I can do stuff !

Anyway ... have a giggle at me hauling my jiggly body at the sand pit and jumping all of about 2m ... lol.  video-1439018680.mp4.mp4

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I Made a Video

OK, so someone was asking about loose skin and I was going to take some photos but decided to make a video instead. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58IdU78nYKM

Warning: Middle aged lady in undie-wears being unashamedly in love with her body.

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Jeans

This happened.

When I was at my biggest I’d go into Autograph, pick out a pair of size 26 jeans and head to the changing rooms, only to be disappointed each time because I couldn’t get them past my knees. I’d hate myself that I was that fat that I couldn’t even get the largest jeans I could find to go higher than my knees. What an awful feeling. Knowing that if I could only get a pair of jeans, in any size, that it would give me that illusion of at least being not so fat because hey, I could wear jeans, and I couldn’t even accomplish that. Too fat for the fattest jeans. The ultimate in fatness.   When I began losing weight I gradually was able to wear jeans I’d tucked away and slowly slowly they all became too big on me. I was winning. I was fat, but not so fat there weren’t any jeans for me. Then came the day I ventured into Jeans West to try on regular jeans. I can’t remember what their biggest size was but I got into them with all my belly fats spilling over the top and my arse threatening to burst the seams. But I got into them.   Then came the day that I took a pair of my son’s size 38 jeans out of the dryer and thought, I’ma try these on and I got them on … with plenty of belly fats spilling over the top and unable to breathe AND move in them. It was one or the other. But I got them on and he let me keep them.   Over time those jeans have become so baggy that I just shouldn’t wear them any more, but I do. They look awful on me. All baggy and shapeless but they symbolise how far I’ve come and damnit, they’re so comfortable and I swear I can feel my son’s love in them every single time I wear them.   I got to a size 18-20 and started trying to find a new pair of jeans but every single pair I tried on gave me this bloody awful moose toe because of my saggy belly. Not an attractive look. I eventually lucked upon a size 16 pair of stretchy jeans in Kmart that look great sans moose toe that I wear to death … along with my son’s old jeans. I’d given up on trying to find decent jeans pre tummy tuck but then today, buoyed by a positive appointment with a plastic surgeon, on a whim, walked into a Jeans West store, walked straight up to the counter and asked for a range of low rise jeans in a size 18 to try on. There was no, “Really, are you sure you can fit into an 18,” or “Maybe you should try a plus size store,” attitude from the sales assistant … she just went and got me what I asked for. Two pairs of jeans in and I had to ask for size 16’s. I couldn’t believe it. The size 18’s were just so ridiculously big on me. Like, handfuls of fabric on the thighs too big.

I tried on a pair of boyfriend jeans in a 16 and they looked great. No moose toe. Just normal middle aged fat belly. I felt amazing. I just stood there in disbelief checking myself out thinking, whoa, is this happening ? Me ? In a normal girl size 16 in a regular jeans store ? I’m normal. I’m a normal size. A normal (age appropriate) shape.

Later on, because I neglected, regretfully, to keep a pair of my largest jeans for comparison, went on a stealthy excursion to Autograph and tried on a pair of size 26 jeans … over the top of my regular jeans, to see how far I’ve come. I couldn’t get over just how massive they were on me. They made me feel tiny.

I’m 2 and a half years post banding and have been maintaining at my goal weight, or within cooee of it, for almost a year now and this shit just never gets old. I’m still constantly surprised and delighted by how much progress I’ve made. Every single day is so so hard, and I know it will be for the rest of my life. There’s no cure for obesity … all I can do is manage it but the delight I feel from these little things … like discovering that my moose toe is gone and I can wear size 16 jeans from a regular jeans store (when I can afford to buy them) is my new reality … that will never ever get old. I love this new life. I love it !

I’m including some photos of my excursions into my new jeanery reality today. I apologise for the crap quality but I had to be sneaky sneaky as it’s often frowned upon to take photos in change rooms. (Certain conversations are also frowned upon like the one I had whilst sharing a changeroom with my daughter once that went along the lines of, "No, no, your boobs have really dense breast tissue. Here, feel mine. See how they're not so firm." To which my daughter replied, "Oh yeh. They are quite soft. Feel mine." To which I replied, "Yep, see. Yours are nice and firm." ... We were asked to leave ... lol ). (Please excuse the Mary Jane’s with long black socks. I promise it was a good look with my other jeans … lol.)

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At Least I Looked Fabulous

Went out for my daughter's birthday dinner tonight and met my ex's wife for the first time. (They've been married about 5 years I think.) As always, I checked out the menu beforehand to see what was bandit friendly and had decided on the scallop salad as I've been pining for scallops for ages. My band has been really tight the last few days, and I knew nerves would see to my band being even tighter but I thought I'd be fine as long as I took my time. One small bite of garlic bread, a taste of artichoke heart, a couple of leaves of rocket and 4 scallops later I gave my son the usual instructions, "Don't let them take my dinner ... I'll be back," and casually made my way across the restaurant to go pray to the porcelain gods begging them to just please let me get the stuck piece of food out so I could go back and finish my meal without anyone noticing my dash away from the table so soon after starting my meal ... especially as I'd just been to the toilet for more normal peeing related matters just before I got my meal. I was ever so grateful for the toilets being far enough away from the table that no one could hear my very animated heaving, and that I was the only person in there. I so wish I could master silent expulsion.

I thought I was done as the pain was gone so casually made my way back to the table and sat down to knowing sympathetic looks from my family. I thought I'd better have a few sips of water to make sure I was good to go which only served to confirm that I wasn't and that I was now sliming. I then gave my son the escalated instructions as I pushed my plate away, "Let them take it. This meal is over," before making a very urgent dash back to the toilets which, unfortunately, weren't empty this time. My sister was in there with my 8 year old niece but I didn't have the luxury of waiting 'til they were done so made my apologies and got down to business, chatting with my sister and niece inbetween heaves. I came out and my niece asked me if I'd been vomiting so I then had to give her a quick lesson on lap bands and food getting stuck and the only way to stop the pain is to vomit. She took it all in her stride in typical 8 year old fashion.

So then I had to make my way back to the table, again, with red watery eyes, and even more sympathetic knowing looks from my family. To top it off the waitress came and asked me if I was finished with my meal and as I passed my still full plate to her I said, "Yes thank you. It was lovely!" Because it was. She just gave me this incredulous look that said, sure, I can see that by the fact you ate practically none of it.

So now, my ex's wife has met me for the first time and what she would have seen was a woman who ordered an entree salad for dinner (the plate was piled high with rocket ... just rocket and a few scallops really), plus garlic bread, and then ate only a few bits of it and a small bite of garlic bread before running off to the toilet, twice, having most likely been vomiting each time, only to return and hand over her still full plate saying it was lovely. I must have looked like some crazy woman who goes out and says, "Just a salad and glass of water thanks," and to make it worse, barely even touches it before vomiting up what little she had, AND her family all being complicit in it and understanding and sympathetic about it.

At least I can see the funny side of it. And you know what ... tonight, half the size I was when I left my ex (partly) because he went off me because I was too fat ... in my knee high boots, leggings, short skirt and long top, with my hair, make up and nails done ... at least I looked fabulous doing it ... lol.

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Bikini !

So, I needed new bathers 'cause the ones I got last year could have fit another me in them. I've been wearing a baggy pair of bottoms with a tank top to swim in but they looked just awful and didn't fit properly anymore. I went to the shops on a few occasions, taking my daughter with me for moral support, and her blunt honesty, to try on bathers. (I asked her many many months ago to keep me in check. I told her there would come a time when I'd get over excited about my new body and get out of control and when that happened, she had to reel me in. We had such an occasion a month or so ago when I tried on a pair of shorts that were all kinds of wrong and she just looked and said, "You know you told me I had to tell you when you went too far? You've gone too far." So I knew she was the perfect person to take bathers shopping. I tried on one pieces ... so much ugh it was unbearable. So then I tried on tankinis ... just as bad as the one pieces. I just looked like this big round frumpy ball on a stick. (and trust me, I DO NOT do frumpy.) There was nothing flattering about me in bathers. So then I tried on shorts ... long shorts, medium shorts, shorter shorts ... nope. Long shorts look positively stupid on me and medium length shorts draw all the attention to the worst of the loose skin on my thighs. The shorter shorts were ok but my daughter asked me, "Do you really want to wear shorts for swimming?" I never have before and I never will. They're just too uncomfortable. I then said to her, "You know, if I'm going to be going to the pools or beach, I've gotta get my legs and arms out ... there's no getting around that and whatever I wear, everyone will be able to see them. Unless I wear a wetsuit, I can't hide my arms and legs. I have no problems with my back and belly, despite having loose skin, scars and stretch marks, so why don't I try on some bikinis?" At this point she gave me a truly withering look that said, "Wow, you have really gone too far now," but deferred to not judging me before she saw some bikinis on me. She probably wanted me to see for myself that a bikini would be inappropriate. We found a store that stocked underwired bikini tops up to a G cup and picked some out, along with some more substantial bottoms with little skirts on them, for me to try on. I put the first set on, looked in the mirror and was honestly just blown away. I looked at myself in the bikini, and then looked at my daughter. She was just as shocked as I was and said to me, "You can do this. You look great !" We talked about how odd it was that I looked so crap in one pieces, tankinis and shorts, yet looked fine in a bikini and she told me, "It's not about having to have a good body to wear a bikini, it's about feeling good wearing it. If you feel good in it, you'll look good in it," and you know what. She's right. I feel great in it. You know what else ... I know there will be people who will look at me and think, oh, she's too old/fat/saggy/scarred/stretched marked to be wearing a bikini ... but I really truly just don't care. There will be just as many people who won't even look twice at me. I have, for the first time in over 25 years, super cute swimwear. A gorgeous bright floral print top with a matching purple crochet skirted bottom. I'll be wearing a 'normal' style. My body isn't perfect, I don't need it to be perfect. It's fit and strong and healthy ... that's all I need ... and like every other summer before this one, I will rock the beach, only this time, I'll have my belly out.

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With a Yoga Mat Slung Over My Shoulder

Here's my day yesterday: My daughter has developed an interest in going to the gym so she asked me to take her to my gym and show her how to do weights etc. I took her yesterday morning and showed her the ropes and she loved it. I loved being able to share something I love with her and feel happy for her that she's found an activity that she enjoys. It'll be something we can do together and she can improve her health and fitness and develop some good habits. Then back home to a delicious lunch of tuna, chickpeas and salad. I pottered around for a few hours, hearing giggling from my daughters room on and off. (She's been having a rough time lately so to hear her giggling again sounds like magic.) Then a great big hearty early dinner of chicken and leek soup before heading off to yoga at 7pm. I went to my third yoga class and loved it. I'm not particularly good at it, and it hurts, but it's so relaxing. Then I went and did a few laps in the pool before going home. (Swimming, for me, is like meditation.) In between laps I stopped and thought about how perfect my day had been ... time spent with my daughter, good delicious food, yoga, swimming ... and thought I just couldn't be any happier. I showered and gathered all my stuff together and as I was walking back to my car thought, here I am, leaving the gym to go home and have yet more food I don't need to feel guilty about because it's nutritious, delicious and not excessive. I can go home and sit on the couch and cross stitch and not feel like a lazy slob, because I exercise regularly. I've earned the right to sit on my butt for an hour or two. I'm THAT girl I've seen in my past life that I wanted to be. Active, fit, strong, healthy ... with a yoga mat slung over my shoulder. I got home and my daughter was in the kitchen talking to me as I made my mango, yogurt and bran, and I told her I've just had the best day ever. THIS is the life I've dreamed of. She just smiled and said, "So, we'll go to the gym together on Saturday morning." Even more happiness. My lapband didn't just prolong my life ... it made it worth living. Really living.

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So Relieved

I had a clinic check up today and I'm down 8.3kg over the last 8 weeks. They're very happy with me. I also got the results of the gastroscopy I had a couple of weeks back (looking for the source of my left sided pain) and it shows that there's no erosion, no slippage and no pouch, but a little gastritis, so I have to go back onto low dose Pariet, at least for a little while. I'm quite a stress-head and have worried since I got the lap band that I'd screw it up and end up having to have it removed. Every single time I've had food stuck so badly that I've had to make myself vomit I've worried that I've made the band slip and every single time I've been a little piggy and eaten a regular sized portion I've worried that I'm making a pouch. I've done neither so I know that my worries are unfounded and I'm obviously not vomiting too much nor overeating to the point of doing damage. So ... I'll just continue on as is but much more relaxed about it all now. They'd told me a long time ago that the success goal they had for me was 99kg. I soared past that a long time ago. Then they said I'd be very happy at 85kg, which I reached on their scales today. They told me I look to be a very healthy weight now but I can keep going if I want to. They'd originally told me to not go under 79kg but then today they told me my ideal weight is 74kg. Are they going to keep shifting the goal posts on me ??? lol

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How I Measure Up

In case anyone's interested, here's my measurements. I didn't start measuring until I started the 2 weeks pre-op Optifast (143.8kg) even though my highest weight was 170kg because when I was at my biggest my tape measure just wouldn't reach around my belly. Going by how much of a gap there was when I tried I'd say my belly measurement was around 160cm, maybe a bit more. First measurement was taken on 14.2.13 and I was 143.8kg. Second measurement was taken on 18.9.2014 and I was 84.9kg. Calf @ widest part: 48.5cm - 43cm = Loss of 5.5cm Above knee: 60.5cm - 47.5cm = Loss of 13cm Thigh @ widest part: 79cm - 62cm = Loss of 17cm Hip: 148cm - 115cm = Loss of 33cm Belly (@ belly button level): 145.5cm - 110cm = Loss of 35.5cm Waist (narrowest part of torso): 125cm - 88cm = Loss of 37cm Bust (with bra on): 139cm - 108cm = Loss of 31cm * I measure my waist at the narrowest part of my torso because I have a relatively high waist so it's not in the 'normal' place. (Midway between top of hip bone and bottom of ribs.) Mine is much closer to my ribs. * I have to measure my bust with my bra on otherwise I'd be measuring only my chest and would have to take another measurement around my belly to catch my boobs. I also started measuring my upper and lower arms plus my ribs just under my bra strap later on in the piece. I know for certain my upper arm measurement at my biggest was 44cm. (I measured it once to ascertain which size blood pressure cuff should be used on me. Turns out I used to need a thigh cuff. Now I fit the regular sized one.) Upper arm: (1.8.13 @ 110.6kg): 38cm - 35cm @ goal = Loss of 3cm. (But total loss of 11cm since my highest weight.) Ribs: (1.8.13 @ 110.6kg): 99.5cm - 79cm @ goal = Loss of 20.5cm Forearm: (21.11.13 @ 98.9kg): 29cm - 27cm @ goal = Loss of 2cm (I started measuring this one when I noticed how much smaller my forearms looked in a progress photo, plus I could all of a sudden wear a jacket that I'd previously been unable to wear because it was too tight around my forearms.)

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What No One Told Me About Losing a Tonne of Weight

To celebrate becoming overweight yesterday (obese again today of course. I'll be bouncing around for a while before I become permanently "overweight".) I thought I'd write a new blog. I'll say it straight up for those with more sensitive sensibilities ... this will have a LOT of TMI. If that's not for you, just look at the pictures and move on. For those a little more robust, read on. So ... I knew when I began this adventure that I'd go through a lot of exciting changes. I knew I'd get fitter and stronger and healthier. I knew I'd become smaller and that my shape would change. I knew my skin would get saggy and I'd start to develop wrinkles. I knew people would treat me differently. I knew I'd be able to shop in the 'normal' stores for clothing. I knew I'd eventually only take up one seat on public transport. All these things I expected but there have been things happen to me that were totally unexpected. Some of them pleasant, like being able to cross my legs and paint my own toenails again. My feet shrunk enabling me to buy a wider variety of shoes. (Even so, I tend to wear only two pairs of shoes day in and day out.) Some things were just surprising. Like, I just stopped eating rice, pasta and potatoes and quit soft drink, AND, haven't missed them. I only eat bread when I'm out ... I don't buy it for home. (I buy mountain bread for wraps.) I've developed new food obsessions like dates, prunes, spinach, seafood and ricotta. Plain greek yogurt tastes like delicious sweet cream to me. I get cravings for hot chips. Some of the changes haven't been so welcome however. They range from mildly annoying, like friends avoiding me because they've become the fat friend and don't like it, and a bloke I'd been seeing for a while beginning to see me less and less the smaller I got. Clearly he was only into big girls. I'd expected my boobs to shrink and had been looking forward to being able to buy regular sized bras. No such luck. I went from a 24F to a 16I. It's so far been impossible to find a bra in that size so I'm making do with 16H's. I'd expected my back pain to decrease as I lost weight but no such luck there either. It's actually gotten worse. My theory is it's because my boobs haven't shrunk in proportion to the rest of my body so I'm now carrying around comparatively larger boobs on a smaller frame. Now ... here's a few very unpleasant things no one told me would happen when I lost a massive amount of weight: When I get in the bath now, whilst it's awfully lovely that my hips don't touch the sides, and it's somewhat amusing poking at my floating saggy skin, it's absolutely NOT pleasant that I don't have enough padding on my butt anymore so to sit up in the bath, rather than lay down, is really quite painful on my tailbone.
I sleep in just undies as I find any other clothing too restrictive. Now, because my boobs are so unbelievably saggy, when I roll over I have to physically pick up my boobs and pull them out from under my body. If I keep losing weight I'm sure I'll be able to actually wrap my boobs around my body like a belt. Also, before losing weight, when I put on a bra it was a simple matter of just lifting each boob into place. Now I have to lift each boob into the bra, pull in my side boobs and then FOLD my boobs out from the centre. Ridiculous ! (But at least now I have separation between my boobs instead of that bloody awful squished together cleavage which was really just one more place to accumulate sweat.)
Oh, speaking of separation ... no one told me I'd have to wear 3 bras to the gym. One regular underwire bra, then a pancake sports bra, then a crop top. I do this because if I don't separate these babies (with the underwire) and then squish them (with the pancake sports bra) when I do any kind of cardio my boobs slap together. LOUDLY. It's terribly embarrassing trying to pretend I can't hear that loud slapping noise and pretending to myself that no one else can hear it either ... from 4 suburbs away. Even so, I still get a bit of a swing and bounce going on. At least it's all visual now with no accompanying sound track.
Another saggy skin issue ... I've had to modify my moves in the bedroom to avoid the distracting slapping of my belly against my thighs/the blokes belly and my arms flapping against my sides.
I have a thigh gap. Yay huh ? Well, yes and no. Sure there's a gap at the top of my thighs and it's seriously fantastic that my thighs, for the first time in my life, don't rub together BUT, cause I've lost so much weight the skin on my thighs has drooped. So now instead of my thighs rubbing together, the insides of my knees bump together because that's where the skin has fallen to.
Slowly slowly as I lost more and more weight, my map of Tassie began to reappear. That was nice. What wasn't so nice was noticing that with the combination of visible map of Tassie and thigh gap, I can now see my arse sagging down ... from the front. No one wants to see that.
Whilst we're on the subject of my saggy arse, when I sit on a hard surface ... I don't even know how to describe it ... my butt cheeks fold up ... like, fold in on themselves vertically. It's uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and let's be honest ... a bit creepy.
Finally, speaking of 'cheeks', it brings me to perhaps the most frikking awful and humiliating thing that's happened to me, and thank goodness it only lasted a few months and has now cleared up on it's own as I've lost more weight because I felt like I was going to literally lose my mind over it because it was so disgusting. I think it must have been a temporary transitioning issue. *big sigh*. I began to have problems with my weeing department. Apart from the fact that because I've lost so much fat which means my bladder isn't supported how it used to be (or some mumbo jumbo) I now occasionally have trouble weeing (I have to push it out sometimes and other times can only manage a slow trickle), I went through a period of a few eternally looooong months where ... man, I don't even know how to put this ... I'll just say it straight out ... I lost so much weight that EVERYTHING has become saggy to some degree and my (as my family politely refers to them) vagina cheeks, lost some of their once fullness and temporarily became somewhat saggy to the point where every.single.time I wee'd they interrupted the flow in a way that made me spray urine all over the tops of my inner thighs. I tried sitting different ways, I tried holding my thighs up out of the way of the spray, leaning forward, leaning back ... I was disgusted and extremely upset because I thought it was a permanent problem. Thankfully it cleared up on it's own and I can wee like a normal person once again but for those few months it was so awful.
Despite a few less than desirable changes as I've lost weight I wouldn't change a thing. Well ... I might change that spraying wee over the tops of my thighs thing if it were at all possible, or just have future me tell past me that it was only temporary and not forever. It would have made it infinitely easier to deal with. I've no doubt I still have more surprises in store as I continue my adventure. Hopefully predominantly good surprises. Anyways ... here's some photos I took yesterday to celebrate and commemorate becoming "overweight". As my son would say, "Feels good man."

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My First Fun Run (WHAT !?!?!?)

So, I did my first Fun Run last weekend. I picked the 5km run category and alternated running and walking, doing about half of each. No mean feat for me as only a year ago I'd get puffed out walking to my letterbox. It was quite intimidating for me because all this sporty stuff is new to me and back in my heavier days I thought Fun Runs were something people did to ruin their weekends. I never understood how people did them for pleasure. I trained as best I could but had been battling a fibromyalgia flare-up for a couple of weeks prior to the event due to stress and the extra training so had to reduce my gym time (fibromyalgia is exercise intolerant and stress is the enemy), so as the day approached I had serious doubts as to whether or not I'd be able to do it (I was zapped of almost all my strength and energy and my fitness had taken a beating) but I was determined. I went out and bought myself a new sport top so that if worst came to worst and they had to carry me across the finish line on a stretcher that I'd at least look like I was meant to be there with all the other cool sporty kids. It was 2 x 2.5km laps of Lilydale Lake and all I was thinking as I lined up with all the other 5km runners was, "Just keep running 'til you get around the corner and out of sight of the starting line, then you can walk a bit." Once I'd got halfway round the first lap I relaxed and thought, "I CAN do this. I can actually do this." And to be honest, once I'd finished my 2 laps I felt like I could have gone another. It was the best feeling in the world. Before I lost all this weight a Fun Run wasn't even on my list of things I'd like to do when I lost weight. It just never occurred to me that I could be one of those people who did things like this, nor that I'd want to. My non-severely-super-morbidly-I.don't.know.how.I'm.still.alive-obese world is exciting. Here's a few photos of my day. I'm the one in the hot pink top. (That's my sister in the blue top. She came along and did the 5km walk. I was so proud of her and it was nice to have the support. My niece also came and cheered us on which was lovely.)

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Mini Unfill

I went to my clinic appointment today and as usual, got weighed. I've lost 4.8kg over the last 9 1/2 weeks which averages out to 0.5kg per week, which they're very happy about. When I mentioned to the nurse that I was a little disgruntled at my weight loss having slowed down and that it came off in chunks now with plateaus inbetween she waved her arm towards the waiting room and said, "You're doing better than most of the people out there." I had a big talk with the surgeon about heaps of things and feel much better now. She said as long as I'm getting to the gym 3-4 days a week that it's enough and reducing my time spent at the gym to 3 x 2 hour sessions per week is fine. She said a lot of people on 'diets' have only 1200 calories a day but that it's just not enough long term and that I should be aiming for around 1400-1500 calories per day. That I can do. I told her that I'm having 3 meals per day but that I'm absolutely not having half cup serves and that I'm having more like 1 cup serves otherwise I just can't get enough calories in as my tastes have changed so much and most of the foods I eat are low calorie. (An example is that if I halved my current breakfast obsession of low-fat ricotta with pineapple and raspberries to only half a cup I'd be having only 80 calories. Definitely not enough.) I told her I know I'm fine calorie-wise but I'm worried about developing a pouch. She told me that as long as I eat slowly I won't develop a pouch. She said people tend to develop pouches when they eat very large meals quickly. I'm just not even able to do that these days so that's put my mind at rest. I also told her that since my last fill several months ago I'm feeling too tight a lot of the time and have a bit of trouble eating, and a bit of trouble with reflux from time to time. I asked if I could have 0.1ml taken out and I know it sounds like a ridiculously small amount but my logic is that the last time I had a fill I had 0.2ml put in which took me from not tight enough to sometimes too tight ... so I figured that if she took out half of that, ie. 0.1ml that it would be perfect. She agreed and took 0.1ml out. I've already noticed a difference as I had a turkey and salad focaccia for lunch and that meal would have usually caused me quite a lot of difficulty but it went down without any pain at all and didn't get stuck even once. I still felt satisfied and have only just now, over 4 hours later, gotten hungry. I've passed the clinic's expected weightloss (under 99kg) so talked to her about what my goal should be and whether or not I need to take into account the estimated weight of my excess skin. I told her I estimate that I have around 7-8kg of excess skin so wouldn't like to go under 80-85kg and she said that sounded like a good goal. Hopefully I'll continue to steadily lose weight, even though it's slowed down a lot now. I live every single day in fear that I'll fall back into old habits a little bit at a time and not even notice. If I stay this weight now, I'm happy, but I don't want to start regaining weight. I've worked too hard.

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My 2013

This past year has been one of the biggest, most challenging, most rewarding years of my life. I started the year at around 150kg and finished it at 96.6kg. (Not my lowest weight, which was 95kg but, you know, Christmas ... lol.) I've achieved my surgeon's goal weight of 99kg and kept going. I'm regular obese now, not super morbidly obese. At the beginning of the year I was bursting out of size 26's and couldn't find any jeans to fit me. I was spilling out of a size 24F bra. The only shoes I could wear were runners and thongs. Now, I wear size 18's which are becoming too big, and some size 16's. I now have 3 pairs of jeans but can only wear one pair because the others are too big. My boobs have only just begun to shrink after topping out at size 16I. (That's just fucking ridiculous.) And shoes ... oh glorious shoes. I can now wear ankle boots, flats and break-my-neck heels. I've gone from wearing big baggy tops and wide leg pants to short close fitting skirts with leggings and even sometimes pantyhose, fitted tops, short fitted dresses and belts with anything loose to define my shape. I have pretty bras and have rediscovered the joys of undies that look super sexy but ride up so far I need a crowbar to get them off. I fit into any chair with arms, with room to spare AND I can very comfortably cross my legs. When I sit on the floor or the couch I can bring my knees to my chest and wrap my arms around them. When I go on a bus or train there's room enough for someone to sit beside me. I fit into the back seat of a car and the seatbelt fits me. My doctor now measures my blood pressure with the 'normal' sized cuff instead of the thigh cuff. A tape measure wraps all the way around my belly with plenty left over. What used to be my hardest speed/level on the exercise bike is now my warm up and cool down. Interval training has become easy so I've started running on the treadmill for a challenge. A single flight of stairs doesn't puff me out anymore and I even went and did the 1000 steps in the Dandenongs. This year at the gym I've increased weights/reps/sets and added new exercises. I can now do 150 fitball wall squats, 150 sit-ups, 30 push-ups, have started knee lifts in the Captain's Chair, and can plank for a minute ... twice. I have muscles on my muscles and have never been fitter. I have something inside me now that wants me to run. Run everywhere. It's like I've been possessed by Forrest Gump. My 45 minute work out has blown out to almost 2 hours. I get so damn tired that the thought of getting up and going to the gym is exhausting but I push myself because I love it and I need it. I am, however, looking forward to reaching goal and reducing my gym time as part of maintenance. My eating and drinking habits have changed dramatically. I've cut out all soft drinks, hardly ever drink alcohol and stick to water and diet cordial instead, with the occasional skinny chai latte when I'm out for a special treat. I have started drinking coffee and hot chocolates though. (It's not too bad though as I limit how much I have and they're Jarrah 98% fat free ... not bloody sugar free though !) My food obsessions have changed from things like pies/pastries/cakes, lollies, Deb potato, fish'n'chips, Maccas and dim sims to things like low-fat ricotta/cottage cheese, tuna, spinach, red onion (oh how I love thee red onion), pineapple, raspberries and plain non-fat greek yogurt. (I'm actually sitting here salivating at the thought of the pineapple, raspberries and yogurt I'm going to eat soon.) If I want a bit of sweetness I have a teaspoon of honey ... like in porridge or with ricotta and banana, but I'm even phasing that out as I don't crave the sweetness so much anymore. I've had some not so shit-hot moments over the last year. One of my friends said she didn't want to be the only fat one left. I didn't like that because it makes me sad when people define themselves in kilos and that it made her feel crap because she was still fat and I was getting smaller. We're both still the same people. I've had heaps of people make thoughtless yet well meaning comments to me. Comments like, "Oh, you're so pretty now." That shits me to tears. Prettiness isn't dependent on what you weigh. I've also had smartarse comments made when a family member saw me weighing food. He said, "Seriously ? You're weighing your dinner ??!!" Rather than justify my actions I quipped out a, "Yes. I'm weighing my dinner. This is how you lose over 70kg !!" Then my daughter jumped in (I was so proud of her sticking up for me) and said, "Yes. She's weighing it so she can calculate the calories," to which my other family members rolled their eyes at each other, then my daughter continued, "because mum had stopped losing weight and couldn't work out why. So she started keeping track of her calories and realised she WASN'T EATING ENOUGH. She's doing this to make sure she eats enough !" There's been plenty of fantastic moments too and I've done a LOT of emotional crying. Things will happen and I just get so overwhelmed by how much my life and body have changed and that it's because I've really worked my butt off to make this lap banding thing work. I go to the gym 4-5 days, every single week, and seriously push myself. I watch what I eat, every single day, and make good healthy choices in sensible portions 95% of the time and don't beat myself up over the other 5%. I let myself have free reign over eating for 4 days over christmas. I didn't count calories or limit myself to 3 small meals each day. I just ate whatever christmassy food I wanted, when I wanted. As it turns out I just nibbled and grazed and the damage done was with excess salt in the form of pretzels, nuts and chips, which caused fluid retention to the tune of 3.6kg in one day ! LOL ! I'm not fussed. On the 23rd, before I started my christmas feasting I was 95kg. Today I'm back down to 96.6kg. It's a minor hiccup and hasn't broken my good habits. I've gone back to my normal eating with no problems at all. Oh, and as it turns out, chips might be a slider for every other bandit on earth but a handful is my limit before they get stuck. Pretzels, nuts and cheese (oh glorious cheese) go down a treat. One of the biggest surprises for me has been the sheer number of people who have told me I'm an inspiration to them. It's nice because it means they've noticed how hard I've worked to make this happen, and some of them have even begun to change their own lives as well. One of the saddest things that has come out of all this is that a man I'd been seeing for over a year stopped wanting to see me. Turns out he only likes the really big girls and I just wasn't big enough for him anymore. This year has been a dream come true for me. I'm finally a 'normal' girl, albeit a still little bit fat one but I'm fine with that. I don't want to be skinny. I'm hoping that when I next see my surgeon (in a little over a weeks time) that she'll say, "Chill dude. You've reached our goal. Maintain." (I'm so tired.) Here's some comparison photos of my year:

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Bandit Life at Christmas

Prior to being banded, for the entire month of December, I ate dark fruit cake. Mountains of it. We're halfway into December and for the first time since being banded I'm having dark fruit cake. I decided that rather than completely cut out something I love, I'd let myself have some as a treat if my calories for the day were low enough. So here I sit, with my Ovaltine and 25 grams of dark fruit cake. 25 grams ... lol. And you know what ... I'm relishing every little morsel AND I won't go cut myself another piece until at least tomorrow and that's only if my calories for the day are low enough. I think I'm actually enjoying it more now than when I used to eat it like a mad woman because I'm taking the time to enjoy it. Really enjoy it.

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1000 Steps

Today I went and did the 1000 steps Kokoda Walk in the Dandenongs. It was huge for me as before I lost all this weight I'd be puffed out walking from my letterbox to my front door, so to be able to do one of the most difficult bush walks in Victoria was a massive accomplishment for me. It took me almost an hour to get to the top, then 30 minutes to get back down ... I even ran part of the way. RAN. As I was running I was screaming, (only in my head, thank goodness), "LOOK AT ME ! I'M RUNNING ! LOOK AT ME BEING FUCKING AWESOME !!!!!!!" I didn't tell anyone I was going and I did it by myself because it was a bit of a personal challenge of my progress. Like a litmus test of my fitness and mental strength. Before I lost weight steps and hills were the bain of my life and I avoided them like the plague. They don't scare me anymore. I feel invincible.

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Perspective

I wrote this a few days ago and posted it on my facebook and was going to post it here as well but hesitated. Here's why: The last time I posted something on this site about the odd day that I feel shit about myself I predominantly got canned for it. To be more blunt, I felt attacked, so just stepped away from the conversation. The issue is this: 95% of the time my self-esteem is through the roof. 5% of the time it's rock bottom. (A symptom of depression combined with hormonal peaks and troughs.) My take on the crap I copped last time I posted something like this is that I'm in the minority of people who feel good about themselves most of the time. There's a lot of people out there who feel crap about themselves most of the time and then project that onto those of us whose self-esteem is usually healthier. I am not responsible for how other people feel about themselves. I will not apologise to anyone for my 95% raging self-esteem and the only person I will apologise to for my 5% rock bottom days is myself. If you hate your body for any reason then so be it. I'm not responsible for that and I can't fix it for you. It's your journey, you travel it however you see fit. It's not for me to dictate how you should feel or live but nor should I have to keep my mouth shut about myself. Self esteem isn't a competition or something to feel guilty about. Whatever issues you have with your own body doesn't give you the right to rain on my blog and attack me. Don't use my openness here as a vehicle to project your own self esteem issues onto me. If it makes you feel better about yourself to attack someone for feeling good or bad about themselves then you have deeper issues than poor self-esteem to deal with. This blog is about me. You don't have to like it. You don't have to agree with it. I'm laying myself bare here. I'm an open book. This site has been a wealth of information and support for me over the last year. I've gained so much from being part of this community and I think it's important that I give back ... even if it's just to share my ramblings ... good and bad. Other people's ramblings have helped me so for that reason I've decided to share this. Who knows, maybe someone will read it and think, "I'm being much too hard on myself. I will start being more kind to myself because I deserve it. It's ok to feel good about myself." One last thing ... this is not directed at anyone in particular so I don't need anyone crying victim at me. I'm not the boss of what anyone feels when they read stuff ... they are. I'll restate it one more time: This blog is about ME. Not you. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt. At the gym I have burped and sworn really loudly, fallen asleep and now, cried. Thankfully I was alone in the Ladies Only room. Losing this much weight isn't just about kilos ... it's a great big mind fuck as well. For 95% of the time I'm extremely confident with how I look and honestly don't give a rats arse what anyone else thinks. For 95% of the time I love what I see in the mirror. Clothed AND naked. As I'm getting less fat I'm getting more saggy. This is difficult to deal with, but deal with it I am. I'm a work in progress and doing my best to keep loving all my bits as they change. I'll be honest ... it's not always easy. For 5% of the time I can't stand to be in this body for even one more day. All I see is my belly caving in and sagging, my flappy arms, my puddles of thigh when I lay down, my empty bags of boobs. For that 5% of the time I hate myself and the thought of losing more weight and becoming even saggier is unbearable. The last two days have been 5% days, then, when I was at the gym this morning, doing my squats, I turned my head to look at my saggy belly in the mirror ... and started crying. Not because I was disgusted by what I saw but because, once again, I saw myself how I really am. I saw a cute rounded belly that sags only a little bit. I saw how my waist comes in under my boobs and then flares out over my hips. I saw big but muscular thighs and calves with muscle definition. I saw a 45 year old woman who looks barely 40, who is fit and strong despite battling fibromyalgia and shocking back pain. I saw a woman, who only 3 1/2 years ago (literally) felt like she was going to die when she did a 30 minute embarrassingly easy workout twice a week, who now works out for 1 1/2 hours 3-4 times a week and walks away feeling fantastic. I saw a woman who had just done 100 sit ups, was in the middle of doing 90 squats and was just about to do 30 girlie push-ups and even though they're 30 pissy little girlie push-ups ... it's a lot more than doing zero girlie push-ups. I saw a woman who can lift 60lb on the lat machine and 280lb on the leg press machine. I saw a woman who not only knows what HIIT is, but can do it. So I cried because I have no place hating my body. Yes, I'm still fat. I always will be at least a little bit fat. Yes, the saggy skin will only get worse as I continue to lose weight. But I am fit. I am strong. I am healthy. And you know what ... I'm alright. ps. The 5% days were triggered by finding out I won't be waiting 6 months for my breast reduction, but 3-4 years. Another 3-4 years of almost unbearable back pain. Another 3-4 years of ill-fitting bras that cost $120 EACH and no sports bras in my size which means working out makes my back pain so bad that I have trouble sleeping. Add more years on top of that for a tummy tuck. Add infinity for an arm and thigh lift that I will never be able to afford.

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Another Rollercoaster

My daughter asked me for an update on my weight last night and I told her, adding that it'd gone up a little but that I wasn't too fussed as that's what it does ... it bounces around but predominantly goes down rather than up. She nodded sagely and said, "Yep. It's like when you're on a rollercoaster and you're going up up up and you can look ahead and see it getting higher but you know that pretty soon you're going to be screaming back down again."

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Crying into My Porridge

Was just sitting here eating my little bowl of porridge (made with oat milk and topped with strawberries, banana, a dollop of non-fat plain greek yogurt and a teaspoon of honey) and thinking to myself, OMG, I LOVE eating ! This is like eating a little piece of heaven ! And then I started crying because I realised the reason I never enjoyed eating before. It was because I ate too much crap food and had the attitude that I may as well eat crap because I was so fat anyway and what difference did it make. I used to punish myself with food. Now, I nourish myself with food. With almost everything I eat now, I'm loving my body, not punishing it. I really do love eating now but not in a, "must eat every 5 minutes" kinda way. I love it in a, "I'm going to plan what my next meal(s) will be so that I can have something I'll enjoy that's also healthy for me" kinda way.

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