Tag Archives: hair

Unexpected Changes – HAIR

There are many changes I experienced as a result of the surgery and weight loss. Today I am going to talk about hair. My hair has been through so much since the surgery. I was pretty vain about my hair pre-surgery. I did not win the bikini-body lottery, but I did get the beautiful mane of thick hair.

I lost a lot of hair about 4 months post-op. I was freaking out. I mean really f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g out! Losing my hair was one of my biggest concerns.

Here is my hair January 2013, 3 months post-op:

Jan 2013

Jan 2013

 

 

 

 

Here is my hair April 2013, 6 months post-op:

blouse

 

And again in May-June 2013:

 

photo[2]

As you can see, my hair was not so thick anymore. I did a lot to try to cover up the fact that I was losing a lot of hair, but it was still quite obvious that something was going on. I tried increasing my biotin, upping my protein intake, I even bought a whole collection of biotin shampoos.

The good news is, my hair did grow back. The crazy news is, it grew back in curly. My sister calls it Shirley Temple Curly. I fought it for a long time and straightened it every day. I have since given up and let the curls take over.

It has taken me a while to try to get a good hair routine together for the curls. I have had several hair cuts to try to find one that works for curly hair. My sister’s hairdresser did a really good job cutting my hair recently.

Here is a current picture of my hair. This is just the back. I need to get some of my front. My sister took this one last weekend after we walked all over the convention center for the National Book Festival, so I wasn’t really thinking too clearly, or I would have gotten one of the front as well.

hair

So, if you are worried about hair loss, don’t. You may lose some hair, but it will grow back. It may come back in crazy-curly. Who knows! But do not despair. I would do it all over again to lose 127 pounds!!

 

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Non Scale Victories

Several other WLS bloggers that I follow talk about NSVs or non-scale victories.  These are victories, or milestones that have been achieved due to weight loss that have are not measured on a scale.  I guess I kind of have as well, I just have not labeled them NSVs.

My NSVs  mean a lot to me because my lifestyle has really changed since my surgery in October of last year.  I think I have made great progress, even though my weight loss has kind of plateaued.  I am bummed about that, but I still feel good about what I have achieved so far.

  • I dropped 112 pounds.
  • I’m only 61 pounds from my goal weight.
  • I went down from a size 32 to a size 14-16.
  • I can walk.
  • I can breathe.
  • I can walk and breathe at the same time.
  • I can walk a long, long time before I have to take a break and rest.
  • I feel more confident.
  • I feel healthier.
  • My blood pressure is normal without medications.
  • My cholesterol is normal.
  • My triglycerides are normal.
  • My back hurts a lot less.
  • My feet hurt a lot less and do not swell quite as much or as often.
  • I’ve noticed guys checking me out.  
  • I suddenly do not feel invisible.
  • I can stand on the metro without severe back pain.
  • I can run to catch a metro train if I am running late.
  • I sometimes run across the street.
  • I walk through my neighborhood on an almost daily basis.

Before the surgery, I was very sick and had great difficulty walking and breathing.  I was pretty heavily medicated for my blood pressure.  I had managed to get my cholesterol under control, but my triglycerides were off the charts high.   I feared that my poor little heart would give out on me.  And I felt just awful all of the time.  

I may not have hit my goal weight yet, and maybe I never will.  But I am so happy with the progress that I have made and I feel great!

OH!  And I colored my hair using the professional stuff my sister used a few months ago.  I think I did a pretty good job.

me

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!

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!