Category Archives: jeans

Strange Encounters

So, I am going to take a risk and describe an odd encounter I had this weekend.

As I posted before, I went to Pittsburgh this weekend to help my mom.  I took her out for coffee Saturday night because she kept asking me if we were supposed to go out and do something else that day.  I could not remember any specific thing we had scheduled, but I took her questions as a desire to get out of the house for a bit.  We went to the evil corporate coffee bar down the street from her house, which despite its innate evilness, I really secretly like.

She ordered her cafe mocha and I had my cappuccino with a liberal serving of cinnamon sprinkled on top.  We sat there for quite a while talking about books, movies, life, etc.  when a man approached my mother, pointed to her broken arm, and asked if the other guy looked worse.  He was an attractive, middle-aged man, I’m guessing late 40s early 50s, (my mother is nearly 20 years his senior).  We all laughed and my mother implied that she pulverized “the other guy” in the mythical fight he was implying she had.

He then talked to both of us jokingly and then went off to his own corner of the coffee shop.  I continued having a nice long talk with my mom.

When we got up to leave, he came running across the store.  He told us that he is a writer and had been working on an essay.  He wanted to know if we would give him our thoughts on what he wrote.  My mom interjected, “Oh really! My daughter is a writer!” she exclaimed, pointing at me.

“Well, I’m trying to be one,”  I stated shyly, a little embarrassed that my mom overstated my writing career in an overly obvious attempt to get me a date.

We had a brief conversation about my nonexistent writing career and went over to his table to review his essay, which he insisted on reading aloud to us.  I would have preferred to read it and give him my comments, but whatever.  It was a pretty good essay and I gave him my thoughts.  Then we talked about his book.  He had a copy of a book with him which he had “compiled.”  It’s a book of inspirational quotes.  That’s not really my cup of tea, but I do know some people who like that kind of thing.

Throughout this whole encounter, I thought he was flirting with my mom.  She is a beautiful woman, but she’s 19 years older than him.  Some guys go for that, I guess, but I still found it a little strange.  My mom, on the other hand thought he was flirting quite a lot with me.  She said it was obvious he was just being nice to her hoping that if he made a good impression on the mom, that would go a long way to getting in with the daughter.

I don’t know.  I am not good at knowing when men are flirting with me, mostly because I am not used to it.  Nobody really flirted with the fat girl I used to be.  Plus, I looked horrible on Saturday.  My hair, which I had not washed that day, was pulled up in a pony-tail, and I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  I was not wearing appropriate date-finding attire.  He did give me an autographed copy of his book.  (He did not give one to my mom, a fact she has continually pointed out.)  Which makes me pretty sure he was mostly digging for a good rating on Amazon, which let’s face it, I’d do a little  bit of flirting myself if I thought someone would read my (nonexistent) book and give me 10 stars on Amazon.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

Although, he did give me his business card and asked my opinion on where I thought he could send his story to be published.  Clearly, this is a sign.  OK, maybe not.

Still, it was nice to be flirted with even if just a little bit.

Momentous Occasion

To say my weight loss has slowed down to a crawl would be a huge understatement.  I have been bummed because I gained three pounds while in Texas and it has taken forever for me to lose anything at all.  I have hit plateaus in my weight loss before, but this one seems to be the only plateau that has brought me down.  Mainly because this plateau has lasted almost a month.

That aside, I have good news today!

I lost the three pounds that I gained while in Texas.  Furthermore, I have lost two additional pounds on top of that.  I am down to 188.  This brings my total weight lost to 110 pounds!

Whatever else is going on in my life, this is good news!

I celebrated this week by getting a mani-pedi and a hair cut.  I took a day off of work.  I had lunch with a friend who I have not seen in what feels like forever.  I met another friend for coffee and reviewed a portion of a book he’s writing.  I just had a pretty good week and losing a total of 110 pounds is a great way to cap it off.

This weekend promises to be fun as well.  I am having some friends over for breakfast on Sunday.  Tomorrow I am supposed to be doing a “girls night” with my sister and my sister-in-law and possibly my niece.  Originally, the niece was not included, but she heard us talking about it and started crying because she wants to go to girls night too.  For girls night, we plan on getting all dressed up in our nicest clothes and go out somewhere.  I have a pretty dress for which I have no purpose other than I wanted it.  And the “buy the cocktail dress…the party will come” theory is not working, so I need to make my own plans.  I want to wear it somewhere before I shrink out of it.  The dress is a size 16.  I am already wearing a 14 in jeans, but still a 16 in shirts and dresses.  So, I have the dress, the shoes, the mani-pedi, and haircut…time to party!

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feet

We thought about doing high tea, which is generally at 4pm.  It could be fun if we find a place that has hats and gloves that we can use.  I went to a place like that once for tea and it was fun.  The five-year old would really enjoy something like that I think.  Most likely, we will just do dinner.  It’s hard to find a tea house that does gluten-free, egg and milk free sandwiches and treats.

It will probably be a pretty tame girls night out.  None of us are huge drinkers.  I cannot drink at all and my sister-in-law never really did drink.  My sister is pretty light-weight and it only takes her one or two glasses of wine to knock her on her butt.  Plus, we might have the kid with us.  We all adore my niece and relish having her around, so I don’t see her presence as a barrier to fun, but Mommy may want a night off.

We’ll see how it goes.  But in either case, I am glad that I am where I am with my weight loss.  I am hoping to kick up the weight loss for the summer by joining a gym.  I have not yet, but I hope to this weekend. I need to really start focusing on toning and strengthening.  I have been walking a lot, which is good.  But it’s time to kick it up a level.

Have a great weekend!

Shopped Till We Dropped

My phone rang promptly at 930am today.  I was awake but still in bed thankful that it is Saturday.  I recognized the ringtone right away, my sister Sandy.  She lives in Sterling.  She has been calling me every week asking me how much weight I have lost.  She marks it on her wipe-erase board that she keeps on her refrigerator.  She’s been waiting for me to reach the 100 pound mark.  Today I am still only at 95 pounds.

Finally she says, “I can’t take it anymore.  I’m not going to wait another 5 pounds.  We’re going shopping today!”  She promised me a while back that when I reached 100 pounds lost she would take me clothes shopping.  She figured by then I would definitely need new clothes, and she was right!

I was always planning to check out some dresses this weekend just to see what I could find. I did not expect an entire shopping extravaganza.  I drove all the way out to far away Sterling, VA and we went to Dulles Town Center.  We must have hit about a dozen stores.  In total, she spent over $350.00 on me.  That’s right, my cool younger sister bought me $350.00 in clothes.  I did not really expect that.

She knew that I would never spend that much on myself.  Not at this point.  I am saving up for a big shopping spree when I am done losing weight, but I do not see the point in spending that kind of money now.  We must have bought 10 items at Old Navy alone.  Some of the stuff we bought does not even really fit me yet.  She made me buy a pair of jeans from JC Penney’s that I cannot even button.

She just said, “Get them, you’ll be wearing them in a month!”  She’s probably right.  We bought jeans, blouses, dresses, sweaters, and skirts.

I have some complaining to do, though.  (Not about my sister.  She totally rocks.)  I had a really hard time finding dresses that I like.  When was it decided that fat women only like to wear sleeveless dresses?  I mean seriously.  I know summer is just around the corner, but could we throw in some short sleeve options, please?  Not all obese women want to show off their arms.  Mine definitely are not ready for prime time.  I’m trying to exercise them, but I still have a long way to go before they are in shape for sleeveless dresses and shirts.  I could have come away with a bunch of dresses if only a couple of options had short sleeves.  I’m really disappointed.

On a good note, Dress Barn is really an awesome store.  After going all over the mall, my sister and I decided to try Lane Bryant which was across the way from the mall.  There was a Dress Barn next to Lane Bryant.  We went into LB to see if there were cool dress or skirt options.  I did see two skirts, but I thought they were way to expensive.  So, we did not get them and went over to Dress Barn.  Dress Barn had the cutest stuff.  The dress that I bought was a size 16 misses.  I did not have to buy a plus size.  I bought it in the regular women’s section.  In the plus size section, I bought a blouse that was a size 14/16.

The dress was a tiny bit snug in the tummy area.  The sales woman at the store told me I needed a bigger size.  I laughed and said, “Um, no, I”m not getting a bigger size.”  By next month, it will not be tight at all.  I explained to her about the surgery and how much weight I’ve already lost.  She was then like, “Oh!  Stick with that one then.”

The next time I decide to go shopping, I’m going directly to Dress Barn first.  Then maybe Old Navy!  Plus, by then, I will hopefully be out of the plus sized clothes and into normal girl clothes and will be able to shop anywhere I want!

Days Like These

I sure have been writing all of wonderfully positive posts recently.  Maybe the rain in DC today has me feeling kind of glum, but I feel the need to write a counter post of sorts.

I do not want to imply that everything I have experienced these past few months has been  unbelievably positive.  It is true that I feel great.  I have lost 88 pounds.  I fit into a size 20, which is down quite a bit from the 26-32 range I was originally.  I look better.  My blood pressure is controlled without meds.  I can breathe. I can walk.  I can breathe and walk at the same time!  Life is good and I feel good.

Part of why I started this blog was to give a realistic picture of what losing weight by having a gastric by-pass is really like.  There are a lot of great things happening that I love.  I do not have to stress about eating too much.  That pretty much takes care of itself.  I am losing weight pretty much effortlessly.  There are also some things that are a struggle, however.

HAIR

Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that I am shedding a lot of hair.  I am starting to freak out.  I know that many people who have had a gastric by-pass suffer tremendous hair loss and start showing bald spots.  I have been very worried about this.  I am diligent about my protein intake and my vitamins.  I though that I had managed to stave off any significant hair loss.  It could just be now that spring is coming, I am just doing some natural shedding in preparation for warmer weather, but I am very worried.

I made a few changes over the past month in how I get my protein and vitamins, which could be part of the problem.  I have been eating more protein bars instead of drinking shakes.  Pure Protein makes several very good protein bars.  I sometimes like eating them for two reasons.  One, less cans.  I hate drinking stuff out of a can.  Such a waste.  Yes, I recycle them, but still.  Two because they help in staving off hunger sometimes.  They are a little lower in protein, but not significantly.  I also changed my b-12 vitamin.  I was doing the melt-aways, but I got a good deal on the chewable kind.  Turns out, that may not have been a good idea.  Apparently,  you do not absorb as much of the b-12 in a chewable form.  I also ran out of the biotin shampoo and have been using regular shampoo and the biotin conditioner.

I have given up the protein bars and returned to the Pure Protein shakes.  I am heartened by the fact that I can by a large tub of Pure Protein powder at a store called Wegman’s.  Yeah, it’s a high-end fru-fru type grocery store, but a 16oz tub of the Pure Protein powder is only $9.99, which is much cheaper than buying it in can form anyway.  I also bought some more Unjury chicken broth protein.

In addition, I went back to the melt-away form of b-12.  The b-12 I bought also has folic acid and biotin.  I still need to buy more biotin shampoo, but I think I have enough conditioner to see me through until I get online and order some.

Constipation

I am still suffering through bouts of constipation.  I have been taking a stool softener sometimes and for emergencies, I do take Dulcolax suppositories.  I hate taking the Ducolax.  I have to be at home when I take that, which means if I have constipation during the day, I have to suffer until I get home.  Constipation is quite painful and even using the suppositories are painful.  Once I am done, however, I feel so much better.

I just do  not know why I keep getting constipation.  Maybe I am not getting enough fiber or liquid.  Who knows.

I suggested to a friend that maybe I was eating too much meat.  She immediately replied, “Yes, you are.”

I came back with, “But you do not see what I eat, how would you know?”

She answered, “You’re eating meat.  I’m sure it’s too much.  You should have more lentils and spinach.”

Now how could I argue with that.  She’s not a vegetarian, but she fully believes in the curative properties of vegetables, so I shall defer to her expertise and eat more lentils and spinach along with drinking luke-warm water and massaging my belly,  (her other suggestions for dealing with constipation).

I am really getting tired of dealing with this.  I was pretty sick and uncomfortable this week because of it, which is why I have not been up to blogging much.  I am doing better now, but  am still in a little bit of pain.  My stomach is a little bit sore even and I find I am not that hungry at all.  I really have to force myself to eat.  It’s kind of irritating.

I am also getting a little bit worried about having to use a supplement to go regularly.  I do not want to become dependent on them.  Plus, the pain and discomfort is so horrible, I can kind of understand how someone can develop a dependency on that feeling of release when you finally do clear up the problem.  It is such a relief and I feel so cleansed afterwards.  I can almost understand how someone with bulimia can become addicted to that feeling.  I would hate to go through all of this only to replace one eating disorder with another.  I have an appointment with the surgeon next month.  I am going to discuss it with him.

Coordination

I was never one anybody in their right mind would ever call graceful.  My mother used to joke when I was younger that after all, she did not name me Grace.  But as I am losing weight, I find that I have become even more clumsy than before knocking everything over, bumping into stuff, and dropping things.

The other day, I was walking to the Metro station after work, trotting along at a pretty good pace, feeling pretty good that I can walk to / from the Metro station every day and not get out of breath at all.  I went to step up on a curb after crossing the street, and BAM!  I was face down on the pavement.  I smacked the crap out of my knee and the laptop that I was carrying cross-body fashion hit me in the back of the head.  Fortunately, it did not hit me hard, but still.

I wish I could say my pride was hurt more than anything else, but I was really afraid I had done some serious damage to my knee.  A nice gentleman helped me up off of the ground and offered to call an ambulance.  I declined the offer, but he insisted on at least a cab.  I declined that as well, but came to my senses a few minutes later and hailed one myself.

Fortunately, my knee is fine.  Just slightly bruised.  My shin is a little sore and pretty scraped up.  And my head is fine, well at least as fine as it was before the fall.  It is my hope that after I reach a somewhat normal weight, I will get used to how I feel inside my own body and will be slightly less of a klutz.

Clothes

I am getting kind of tired of the whole clothes situation.  Most of my clothes are too big for me.  I did purge my wardrobe of anything larger than a size 24.  Now I am going to get rid of the 24s as well.  That will leave me with just clothes int he 20-22 range.  And I will be down to one pair of jeans and two pairs of yoga pants.  Not good.

I feel like I am at a crossroads.  I do not have enough clothes that fit me, and I do not want to spend any more money on clothes that I will only be able to wear for a few months at most.  I have decided that I will buy a few outfits.  I am not happy about it, but I am going to do it.  I need new pants and skirts to get me through the next few months.  And I need some new blouses and tops.

My sister gave me a gift card for my birthday and I bought a cute dress and a cardigan sweater.  I need sweaters these days.  Soon, it will be too warm for a jacket and I feel I need a sweater to get me through from spring to summer.

OK, I think that will be enough whining for now.  I did have a fairly rough week, which I think has really left me feeling exhausted.  I am looking forward to a good weekend, though.  St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday.  I love St. Patty’s Day.  There will be no green beer on the menu, which s good because I never could stomach green beer, but I will wear green and a button that says, “Kiss Me I’m Irish”.  Who knows, maybe somebody will.

I will be celebrating my sister’s birthday with the family tonight.  I am picking up her gluten-free vegan chocolate birthday cake, which I cannot eat, and we have having dinner at Carabbas, my sister’s favorite restaurant.  They actually have a gluten-free menu.  Her favorite dish, the Chicken Bryan, is on that menu.  She will have a very good night.  I have not had the Chicken Bryan in years, and now that I can eat cheese, I may have it too.

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!

Closet Clothing Finds

I am now down to a size 20 in blouses.  I can hardly believe it.  Today, I wore a shirt that I purchased the last time I was a size 20.  I think that was in 1999.  Yes, I have some old clothes.  But I am thankful that I saved those clothes because I can wear them now.

I tried to get a good picture of me in this blouse, as I do not have a full length mirror, this was difficult.

blouse

I love the blouse and it looks good on me.  I have few outfits I feel I can say that about.  As I have been losing weight, I have been trying on different outfits in my closet that I have been holding onto for years.  Some of the clothes I bought when I was thinner and only wore a few times.  Some of the clothes were a gift from a friend who had the surgery herself.  These are three of my favorites.  Not great pictures, but trust me, cute clothes.

 

I love finding these clothes in my closet.  Of course, finding them was made easier by some of the pre-surgery purging and cleaning that I did.  Yes, I had a bunch of clothes in storage bins in my closet, but because I purged a lot of clothes that I either did not wear, that I hated, or that I thought was no longer wearable because of stains, holes, or other damage.  Or if I just thought something was ugly and had no intention of wearing it ever again.  Once I made room in my closet by purging the crap, I was able to take all of the clothes that I had in storage out in anticipation of being able to wear them during my weight loss.

Well here I am, deep in the throes of my weight loss, and I am enjoying finding new clothes to wear every day.  Now that I a working in DC, I have a place to wear these outfits.  Many people are encouraging me to go out and shop now for clothes.  I really do not want to spend money on clothes that I will not be able to wear in a month or two.  That seems like a huge waste of money to me.  Yes, I’m running low on pants and skirts.  I will need to replace those as I lose, definitely.  While I saved every blouse or dress I ever laid my hands on, I did not do the same for pants.  I just got rid of a pair of jeans, three pairs of dress pants, one pair of casual pants, and two skirts because they do not fit anymore.   I also have two other pairs of jeans, the size 24 jeans that I purchased in December and excitedly blogged about, that are on their way out.  I can barely keep them up.

I will then be down to, one pair of jeans, two pairs of yoga pants, one pair of leggings and three black skirts.  I do have about 6 other skirts that I can just about wear, which is good, but no additional pants.  So, unless I want to wear skirts everywhere, or run around looking like I’m in my jammies, I will need to get more jeans and pants as I continue to lose.

Once I get down below a size 14, I will need to basically need to replace my entire wardrobe.  I have nothing below a size 14 in my closet.  My sister has some clothes that she will give to me, but she wears a size 6.  There are a lot of sizes under 14 that I need to go through to get a size 6, if I ever do.

But before I get to the shopping spree or the hand-me-downs, I am enjoying finding cool outfits in my closet that I am able to wear again.

 

The Fashionista Inside of Me

scarf

I always knew there was a Skinny Girl lurking somewhere inside of me.  But what I did not expect that I also have an inner-fashionista.  (My sister Jen would be so proud!)  Now that I have purged my closet of all sizes 26 and above, I am anxious to start shopping for real clothes.  This feeling was further compounded today by my trip to the local shopping mall.

As an aside, I guess I have not been to the mall in a very long time, but my last two excursions to two different malls left me shocked by the preponderance of designer and high-end, high-fashion stores like Louis Vutton and Gucci.  Yes, the Gap and other stores are still there, but seriously, when did everyone but me start to think they should dress like Brangelina?  I guess being a fat chick for so long, I missed out on the social significance of being a fashionista, but I seem to be catching on quick!  And what the heck, why don’t these designers make clothes for larger girls?  I mean, we like to be fashionable too!

But I digress…

Today I went to Tyson’s Corner Mall, I guess it’s really called Tyson’s Fashion Center or something like that.  My original goal was to go see Les Miserables before the Oscars tonight.  Well, the movie starts at 335pm, which left me plenty of time to get some walking in, drink some fruffy tea or coffee at Barnes and Noble and write a blog post.

I parked at the part of the mall closest to the main roads.  AMC is at the furthest point from that location.    I figured this would give me lots of walking space, which it has.  And, I could stop at a store and get some panty hose and/or tights for my new job, which I start tomorrow.

What I did not count on was the effect “window shopping” would have on me. Seriously, I could really empty my bank account at this place.  Fortunately, I stuck to two pairs of tights, some tea and the cutest scarf from Free People (see pic above).  That store certainly appeals to my inner bohemian.  But I was sorely tempted to buy the clothes at Ann Taylor Loft even though I cannot yet fit into them.  Fortunately, I held off.  The LL Bean store did not have the shoes I like in my size, but the sales associate kindly reminded me that I could order them online.  The woman at the Spanx store wisely talked me out of buying any more Spanx until I lose more weight.   (The 3x I have is quickly becoming useless to me, but I cannot quite fit into the 1x I bought online).

I actually had a funny exchange with the sales girl at the Spanx store.  I guess it is their policy to approach people by asking them if they have ever tried a Spanx product instead of saying, “Can I help you?”  It’s clever, I’ll admit.  “Can I help you?” is pretty cut and dry.  Yes or no, that is all that is required.  The people who say “no” actually mean, “Leave me the bleep alone! If I have a question, I’ll ask you!”

Asking if they have ever tried the product is still a closed question, but if you say no, that is an invitation for the sales person to explain the product to you.  Sneaky.  One side of me likes that.   Another part of me is still irked that they are trying to sell me something.  Well, my response when I was asked was, “I’m wearing one now,” which you know, I am.  That led to a conversation about why I’m wearing one and ultimately led her to advise me to wait to buy any more.  Maybe not their original goal, but my wallet feels better.

All I know is that I had better start saving now, because when my weight loss is complete, I am going on one heck of a shopping spree!

C-c-c-changes

OK, so yeah, I stole from David Bowie right there with the title of the post.  I have not written in a while because I have been afraid that I would spill the beans about something before I was actually able to talk about it.

I have been going through so many changes since the surgery.  I have lost 78 pounds. and I am creeping up on the momentous 80 pound mark.  I am now able to wear clothes that I have not been able to fit in for years.  I had my hair done, cut and colored.

You never know though what one little change in your life can bring about once you get started.  Yes, I have lost a lot of weight.  I have made big changes in my personal lifestyle.  I am walking more, breathing easier.  All of these things I just love.  I had also anticipated a lot of these changes.

There is a lot that will happen that you may not expect once you start making changes in your life.  Friends of mine have told me that I am much more energetic, that I am happier and bubblier and more confident than before.  One of my writer friends at my writer’s group told me that when I critiqued someone else’s work, I was much more confident than I had been in the past.

But the biggest change of all happened a couple of weeks ago…I got a new job!

I can hardly believe it myself. I have not put this on Facebook, my blog, or any other social media because I wanted to make sure that I had left my old job and given them the appropriate notice before announcing it to the rest of the world.  I have no hard feelings about my old employer.  They were very good to me.  But this new job a big promotion for me.

I was not actively looking for a new job.  I found this job through a friend of mine who recommended me.  Then the company pretty actively recruited me for the job.  That is a nice feeling.  I went in to the interview completely relaxed and really not even that sure if I wanted the job.  The more they told me about the job and the company, the more excited I became.   They made me a pretty good offer.  I thought about it for a long time before accepting, at least a couple of days.

I had a lot to consider.  I was with my old company for eight years.  I had accrued a lot of vacation time.  But I did not see a lot of advancement opportunities.  I would not say I was unhappy with my old job, but I was starting to get kind of bored with it.  If this job did not seek me out, I could see myself in that job in another year, maybe, before I started looking around if things had not changed.

I am convinced that the 78 pound weight loss had a lot to do with my getting this new job.  If I had not had the surgery, I might not be looking at this new opportunity.  Well, that and the new hairdo…obviously!

Another thing I have changed recently is my closet.  I have finally decided to get rid of all of my clothes that are a size 26 and above.  Most of the pants I had before the surgery were a size 26.  Some tops ranged from 26-32.  I had only kept the clothes that were in good condition in my pre-surgery closet purge.  So the clothes I have decided to get rid of this time are in really good shape.  I am currently looking for a place or person to give them to.  I reached out to a friend of mine to see if she has suggestions.  If that does not pan out I may just give them to Goodwill or a women’s shelter or something.

In another ten pounds, I will start getting rid of the size 24 clothes as well.  I figure around 210-200 range, I should be looking solidly at size 18-20 clothes, if memory serves me right.  Once I get below 200, I will be moving into the 14-16 range.  After that, I will be in the strange limbo between fat girl clothes and skinny girl clothes.  Once I move beyond that, I will be in territory I have not been in since college.  Wish me luck!

Who’s That Girl?

Yesterday was a very strange day for me.  I saw several people whom I have not seen in a while.  Their reaction to my 75 pound weight loss was surprising to me.  I know that I have lost a lot of weight, but sometimes, when I look in the mirror or step on the scale, I can only see how far I have to go.

Last night I went to my weekly writer’s group.  I forgot to take my water with me to the meeting, so as I was running out to my car, I decided to stop in the little market that is in my building.  Pre-surgery Colleen went to this market all of the time.  I bought junk food, frozen foods, drinks, etc.  Post-surgery Colleen does not go there at  all.  I think I went there once to buy some water one time shortly after I returned home from the surgery.  Needless to say, before the surgery, I got to know the guy who owns the store pretty well.

I walked into the store to buy a bottle of water, and he gasped when he saw me.  “You look so different!”  He asked me what I did, I told him that I lost weight and had my hair done.  He told me how good I look and to keep up the good work.

Then at my writer’s group, my friend Bobby was visiting who is visiting town was there.  Bobby is a long-time member of the writer’s group and has recently relocated to a Central American country.  I have not seen him since last summer when he moved.  He follows my blog pretty religiously.  In fact, he was my #1 reader for 2012.  However, he has not seen me in person in a while.  Bobby is very excited about my weight loss and everything I am doing.  He always offers me such wonderfully supportive and encouraging words.  I really love his comments.

Bobby came to the meeting a few minutes late.  I was reading over my notes for one of the stories we were discussing, so I did not see him enter the room.  He apparently did not see me either because I received a text from Facebook from him saying, “Where are you?”  I looked up at him in surprise.  I could see this look of frustration on his face and I’m sure he was thinking, “Bitch. I told her I would be here.  I came here all the way from Central America and she does not even show up! Grrr!”

So, I messaged back.  “I’m right here, looking at you.”  I saw his eyebrows raise as he read the message.  Then he craned his neck looking around people to find me.  I can understand his not seeing me right away.  I am kind of short and we were sitting in rows with taller people in front of me.  When he did see me, he just smiled and waved and texted back to me, “OMFG!”  It was hilarious.

After the meeting, I walked over to where he was and he gave me a big hug and told me how great I look.

Also, another writer friend and writer’s group member, Michael Sullivan, attended our meeting.  I have not seen him in several months either, maybe even before the surgery.  He does not attend the meetings often, but I think he showed up to see Bobby.  Before I had a chance to even say hello to Bobby, Michael came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but are you related to Colleen?  You kind of look like her, but different somehow.”  Clearly he was joking about that, but he also told me how great I am looking.

Even the leader of our group, who I see nearly every week, commented on my weight loss last night.  He called me the amazing shrinking woman.  I find this funny because I saw him just last week and I have not really lost any more weight.

I have kind of hit a plateau.  I am not too worried about it.  That has happened two other times so far.  The surgeon says this is normal.  Your body needs time to adjust to the new lower weight and then the weight loss starts back up again.  I have found this to be true, so far.  Plus, it gives me a couple extra weeks before I have to go and buy new pants again.

I do know that I have changed a lot.  I do see it when I look in the mirror or when I look at some “before” pictures.  I also know when I put on some old clothes and pants fall off of me or blouses and t-shirts are ridiculously too big.  I can also feel it.  I am breathing much easier, my back does not hurt so much.  I can stand.  I can walk a good distance.  I can walk up steps comfortably.  I am sleeping better.  And I just feel better all around.  I do not feel that I have a huge mind/body disconnect as far s the weight loss that I have achieved.  But it sure does make me feel good about myself when I receive such positive reactions from people who know me.

 

Sisters Weekend and the New and Semi-Improved Me

My baby sister Jenny lives in Minnesota.  Well, this weekend, she was in Pittsburgh visiting my mother.  My other sister Sandy lives not far from me.  We carpooled up to PA to visit with my mom and our baby sister.  None of us have seen Jen since her wedding, (see previously posted pic of us at her wedding).

We were all very excited to get together and have all the girls together again.  I wanted to get my hair done before going to town.  Jen is a hairstylist.  I did not want to go to see her with that mess of a hairdo I have been sporting since the surgery.

Photo on 2013-01-21 at 21.09

She called me before the trip and told me she was bringing hair cutting supplies with her and she wanted to celebrate my 73 pound weight loss with a new hairstyle.  She also planned to stop by a beauty supply store and pick up some professional hair coloring to cover up my gray hair.  She also wanted to do Sandy’s hair.  Neither one of us are fashionistas like Jen, so we really appreciate her bringing us up to speed.

In addition to being a hairstylist, Jen has her certification as a Master Colorist.  Impressive.  As a funny aside, the day she received her certificate, she was so excited.  When I found out I called and left her this voicemail message:

“Jen, I have a serious problem and I need the help of a professional.  What two colors do I mix together to make purple?”

Yeah, I was teasing her, but that’s my job as a big sister.  We older siblings reserve the right to torture our younger siblings for being the youngest and getting all the things we were not allowed to have like their own room with a phone and lax rules for staying out on weekends.  Granted, the rest of us had moved out by the time she was a teenager, but that’s no excuse.  But I digress.

Nonetheless, Jen did not miss a beat and came back with, “You have a pen handy?  Write this down.  Red and blue make purple, crazy girl!”

In addition to getting my hair done, she and my mom wanted to take me clothes shopping for new pants since all of my pants either do not fit me at all or are starting to feel a little big, even the new jeans I bought in December.

We went to the mall on Saturday and checked out many stores.  We walked so much, we wore my mother out, which takes a lot.  We were all kind of tired except for Jen who can keep going forever, I think.  I went to many normal clothes stores with them.  Of course, there was nothing for me.  I did see a lot of clothes that I can wear after I lose a lot more weight, but nothing that I can wear now.

So, then we went to Kohls and Target on Sunday to try to find pants for me.  I do not know why we did not hit Lane Bryant or The Avenue while we were at the mall, but we did not.  I also did not want to spend a lot for pants since I will be losing more weight over the next few months.

We went to Kohls first and we could not find the plus sizes anywhere.  We finally found the section upstairs way in the back.  One or two walls filled with the ugliest clothes I have ever seen.  The only “activewear” pants they had were made from velour.  Not happening.  We were hoping to get some more yoga pants.  So, we left there and went to Target.  Again, very difficult to find the plus sizes.  Then one tiny corner of semi-OK clothes.  I did get a pair of cute purple pants, size 22!  And one pair of yoga pants in a 1x.

In December, my new jeans were a size 24.  The purple pants fit me perfectly.  The yoga pants fit me perfectly in a 1x as well.  For those of you who do not know, a size 22 is the equivalent of a 2x.  A size 1x is about an 18/20.  I am still wearing a 22-24 in tops.  I also got a light spring jacket, which my Jen insisted that I had to have since my purple jacket and winter coat are way to big for me.  The jacket is a little small, but it will fit me in a month.

As we were walking away from the plus section in Target, Jen said to me, “No offense, Colleen, but the clothes for plus sizes suck!  You get the teeniest section with the worst looking clothes.  Geeze even fat girls want to have cute clothes!”

I responded with, “Don’t I know it!  Welcome to my world!”

She went on with to say that somebody should do something about that.  I told her to let me know when she gets that fixed.  And while you’re at it, please let the clothes makers know that not all fat girls are nine feet tall.  Even the petites go down over my shoes much of the time.

My mom treated me to new pants and Jen did my hair.  I think she did a great job on my hair.  I was not in Pittsburgh for very long, but I sure had a great time!  Please enjoy the before and after pictures of me and Sandy.

I love my new hair!  It is a little Marlo Thomas-esque, but very cute.  Sandy went from gray to platinum blonde.  A true Targaryan if I ever saw one!

Me and Jen BEFORE

Me and Jen BEFORE

 

Me and Jen AFTER

Me and Jen AFTER

Sandy and Jen BEFORE

Sandy and Jen BEFORE

Sandy and Jen AFTER

Sandy and Jen AFTER

Colleen Jen and Sandy looking good!

Colleen Jen and Sandy looking good!

What I did over Christmas

I know I have not posted in a while.  The holidays were just crazy.  Many Christmas parties.  Many struggles with food.  New outfits I can now fit into.  A few new pounds shed.

The holiday parties were rough.  I will not lie.  But before I go into parties and food, there are a few new developments I want to discuss.

Pureed vs Soft Food

I am out of the pureed food phase.  Yes!  I ended it myself probably two weeks early.  I was so done having pureed food.  I moved onto soft foods a bit early.  The key for me was to make sure that I chewed everything thoroughly.  I did talk to the surgeon’s office after the fact and the nurse was OK with this decision, so long as I made sure I was following the rest of the program.

What do I mean by soft food?  Soft food is solid food that is soft.  So, nothing crunchy or chewy or tough to eat.  No raw veggies yet, still no bread or starches, and no red meat yet.  So, chicken, salmon, tuna, other soft fish, yogurt, and cheese are good for protein.  Green beans, avocado, sweet potatoes, and other soft vegetables for the veggie part of my meal.  Meals are still 2 parts protein, 2 parts fruit/vegetable.  Protein drinks are still required.

Also, within the next four months, I have to work myself up to 1200-1400 calories per day.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do that considering my stomach is still teeny tiny, but I will try my best.

Speaking of food, I can now have some milk products.  I am shocked, really.  I have been eating soft cheese and yogurt without an allergic reaction.  The nurse told me that some people with an intolerance to lactose can sometimes have it after the gastric by-pass surgery.  I do not have a lactose intolerance.  I am allergic to milk.  They are two totally different things.

Lactose intolerance is kind of the modern buzzword people use or all milk intolerance, but they are not the same.  Lactose is a sugar.  Lactose intolerance is an intolerance of the sugar in milk.  People who are allergic are allergic to the protein in milk.  That protein is casein.  Casein is found in both cow and goat milk.

Before I could not have many soy cheeses because even though they are made from soy, they use casein in them for protein.  This is why I was having Daiya cheese.  It is made with coconut milk, which I can have.

But now, it seems that I can have regular cheese.  The nurse suggested sticking to the white cheeses for now.

I have been buying my cheese at this little market down the street from me called Cheesetique.  Cheesetique has a little restaurant as well as a cheese case with all kinds of yummy cheeses in their cheese case.  My current favorite is the honey goat cheese.  I can tolerate the sweet in it without a problem.  It is so very yummy.  It’s a little pricey, but I do not eat enough to affect my budget too much.  And since I do not eat at restaurants since the surgery, I feel I can splurge a little on my honey goat cheese.

I did take a few of the cheeses to my brother’s house for his birthday celebration and our Christmas gift exchange.  I took the honey goat, a sharp cheddar, some peppered sausage slices and a baguette for a cheese tray.  Gone in 10 minutes.  My family could not get enough.

OK enough about my love of cheese.

Parties and Food

The Christmas parties were a bit rough.  The first one I went to was a party for my writer’s group.  They served wings.  I loooooove wings.  Before the surgery, I could have eaten every day.  There were wings made with a dry rub.  I had a couple of those and a side o guacamole for my vegetable.  I initially only had two wings.  But as the night wore on, I justified eating two additional wings by noting that I had only actually eaten one meal for the day before the party.  In total, I had 4 wings, a couple of pieces of cheese and a spoonful of guacamole over the course o 3 hours.  Not a lot of food in anyone’s book, but probably more than I should have had.

My stomach definitely got very full.  I was in a little bit of pain later that night when I got home.  But I got over it by the next morning.

The next party was a casual Christmas gathering with a few of my co-workers.  We went to one my co-worker’s houses and just had a small party.  It was fun.  For this party, I did make my own wings.  I also made two sauces that I put on the side.  I bake my wings, so it is better than deep frying them.  I also use fresh peppers, fruit, or vegetables in the sauces that I make.  I made one with sweet peppers and mango.  The other I made with habanero peppers, raspberry jam, and honey.  Sweet and mild, and sweet and spicy.  I make good sauce.

At this party, over the course of 2 1/2 hours, I had three chicken wings with a small dollop of spicy sauce, four tiny pieces of kung pao chicken with no peanuts, and a slice of cucumber.  Still a lot of food for me, but again, I had only eaten one meal earlier that day.  I did liquids the rest of the day and an extra protein shake to make up for missing a meal.  Not really the best choice I’m sure, but I survived the evening pretty well and did not get an upset stomach this time.

The third party I went to, I was very good.  I went to my brother’s as I stated earlier.  I did very well here.  I had some cheese as a snack and then for dinner, I had some baked beans, three bean salad and less than half of a chicken sausage that had artichoke in it.

Christmas day, I was invited to my sister-in-laws parents house.  They are always so nice in extending an invitation to me.  I had a small slice of turkey, a small slice of ham, sweet potatoes and whatever vegetable was served.  I did pretty good.

For the most part, I have been eating three meals a day, even when I do not feel like it.  Only in a few instances, did I reduce my diet plan to two meals.

Clothes

OK, onto clothes.  I did buy two new pair of jeans in a smaller size.  I did a post on that already.  I have also been wearing tops and blouses in smaller sizes two.  The one I wore yesterday was a size 22, which is smaller than the 24s I have been wearing and certainly much smaller than the 26-28 sizes I fit into before the surgery.  I also have a nice party outfit that I wear at Christmastime to parties.  It is a pants suit that is very bright.  Before, I could only wear the jacket and the pants.  Now I can wear the shirt that comes with it as well.  I was also happy to note that this will be the last year I will wear this outfit, because i all goes as planned, this outfit will be far to big for me next year.

I also am down to a new low in my weight loss.  I now weight 242 pounds.  I’ve lost a total of 56 pounds.

Walking

I am so amazed by the amount of walking I am doing.  Before, I could barely walk 100 feet before my back hurt so much I had to stop.  Grocery shopping, any shopping was a nightmare.  Now, I can walk for a long, long time.

Christmas Eve I went to one of the art museums in DC with a friend of mine to see Michelangelo’s unfinished David statue.  It was awesome.  We had to park something like 3-4 blocks from the museum.  Then we went to see the Lichtenstein exhibit before we saw the David statue.  The Lichtenstein exhibit was extensive and that took us over an hour to walk through it.  There were benches in from of some of the paintings where we could sit, which I did.  But it was still a lot of walking.

I did make him stop once because I had to drink my protein shake and get some water in me.  I brought all that with me, so we went to the cafeteria so I could have my shake and my water.  Then we went to the other wing of the museum to see David.  Of course, it was at the furthest point away from us, but it was so worth it.  Then we walked back to the car.

For regular people, this is all normal walking.  For me, two months ago, this would have been impossible for me to think about.

Picture Time

I am going to put a new picture of me here.  A friend of mine took this picture just the other day.  I have just purchased a used car.  It’s a Smart Car.  I love it, but that’s not the reason for this picture.  The picture is a full shot of me, what I look like now.  I am also going to include another full shot from my sister’s wedding so that you can see the difference.  IMG_1255IMG_0587