Monday, May 30, 2011

More Than Ever Before

A lifetime ago...I can't even remember when, but it was before I had kids...and before I quit smoking in anticipation of having kids (I know this because when I quit smoking my weight BALLOONED, unchecked), so let's say 1997 or 1998 or thereabouts...I lost 67 pounds on Weight Watchers. I weighed less back my lowest in this period I think I probably was probably around 160.

Anyway...I've lost more now than I ever have before! Sixty-nine pounds, yeah baby! (I held off posting yesterday because I was tied at 67 pounds, then the scale decided this morning that I deserved a two-pound loss overnight, haha. A note to other WLS patients, my doctor says this five-pound rapid drop followed by a week or more at the same weight is very classic. So I hit my Onederland mark, then my weight just hung out there, then it went up a few pounds because I now experience the magic of the monthly menstruation cycle (weak cheer). And now the pounds are dropping again, I'm experiencing my quick five-ish pound loss. Needless to say, these are my favorite days, haha. :)

So exciting. The other day I ran in the parking lot with my five-year-old and could not keep my pants up! The same pants that were a bit too smallish when I started yoga and so they tended to want to roll up under my belly.

I should check in here and admit that I have scrapped yoga and deep water aerobics. Sigh. I lost all momentum when we had to re-jigger the custody schedule to accommodate my ex's vacation (I am trying not to grouse here because he also freely traded weekends with me to accommodate my trip to see Kim in a couple weeks), and then I had a couple pre-planned events that conflicted with the classes, etc. I am satisfied with this right now and will figure out how to reincorporate these fun activities. But happily, just my general activity level is up, up, up. I am feeling really great.

My food intake is such that I have wondered a bit what life will be like at goal. A silly thing to worry about right now! But I did think about it when I was realized how little I actually eat. When you're at goal, do you just eat these little tiny meals constantly to avoid losing weight? Ah, what a terrible problem that will be. ;) (Okay, this issue is a little thought-provoking to me, but as an aside, who read Stephen King's "Thinner"? You know where he wants, more than anything, to be thinner, until he's cursed by a gypsy - with a strawberry pie - and he gets thinner, and thinner, and thinner...[I am completely mangling the story, but you get the idea.])

Thinner. Come what may, I am in the heyday of feeling thinner, and I


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Today I...

- ran with my five-year-old,
- took my boys swimming, and
- rode my bike around the neighborhood with my five-year-old.

I love my sleeve. :) I love feeling so great.

Oh! And... (drumroll please)

I GOT THE HOUSE! The big one - the one I've had a lead on for a long time, just waiting for the tenants to decide whether they are staying or going. They are going - and I saw the house today and loved it! Already turned in my notice on my condo - this will be a fantastic move!

We're moving at the end of June - both my lease and the other people's lease ends 6/30, so timing is going to be a little tight there at the end. It will work out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Roof Over Yer Head

Argh, housing. I have until the end of the month to turn in notice at the condo if I find a place to live.

Two developments:
- The house I want, want, want has been offered to me. Yay! The rent has been jacked up to $1700/mo because of the rental climate. How will I pay $1700/mo? I do not know. It's a $500/mo increase for me. I haven't seen the inside of this house, but it is the right neighborhood, the right size, etc. It is the one I want. Now, how to pay for it?
- I am viewing the "cheap" house tomorrow morning. It seems fabulous, but I am not getting any warm fuzzies AT ALL from the owner. I think single mom (e.g. single income) with three young kids makes landlords go "yikes." I believe this is a courtesy showing, nothing more. The owners are an older couple and I just do not think they are stoked about my application. She was clear with me that they are showing the home to others. It is $1475 and includes yard service. It is dramatically underpriced for the market. I will take it if I can get it.

Third development - I decided it was impractical to abandon the kids so I can live freely wherever I'd like. I'd miss them, and sometimes they clean the kitchen or living room. I didn't see them tonight, but it appears someone attempted to vacuum the living room floor. It is hard to find good help these days.

Housing has been the biggest hassle, the most painful problem, the most ongoing stress of the whole divorce process. More stressful than the divorce itself. I am glad to be rid of the husband, I have seen many benefits of that. Housing for the last four years has been one long hellish agonizing ride. (Since ex walked out and I had to move the kids 30 miles to my new job - which I was ultimately fired from for oh, NOT BEING ABLE TO CONCENTRATE - husband walked out 7/15, I started new job 7/17 and by 7/31 I had secured a house and moved the kids to new home and school district to be close to work. It has been an incredibly long, sucky ride. I absolutely crave a home where I can just raise my family, without worrying each year about moving.

I am taking one of these houses. I don't know how I'll work it out, but I will work it out.

Stairs with Benefits

First off, like so many others (but not everyone, I see!) - I can't comment on blogger. Not from home, not from work. Very frustrating. I am reading, and dammit, I want Runner...maybe's buttered nuts giveaway as much as everyone else, but can't enter!! You should check out that giveaway so that you, too, can be desperate to try this stuff but unable to post an entry, hahaha.

Because of my sore thighs, (which are much better today, thank you) my buddy and I decided to re-introduce ourselves to the stairs slowly, by doing 20 flights for our morning run. HA! If ever there was doubt about how we've improved since starting this work out, it is gone now! We can knock out twenty flights NO PROBLEM! We weren't even breathing heavy, and talked the whole way. Very, very cool feeling. I remember when it was a huge struggle to go from 40-52 and only after immense peer pressure some cajoling would I even venture up to floor 60 with Barb. (When we started, we went from the main floor to mine, then she started continuing up the stairs to hers after awhile. Then I started going up to her floor and walking back down, and then we got SERIOUS about the work out and started adding flights.)

That's all I have right now. :) Busy day at work, just wanted to say that we are STAIR NINJAS!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I have thought about blogging this week, really I have. When I haven't been consumed by the crippling pain that is the mangled muscles of my ruined thighs. YOWSA! Okay, Saturday afternoon I did two hundred squats. Saturday evening I walked like I was drunk. Sunday I was near paralyzed by pain. Monday I was unable to walk straight. Tuesday I was just incredibly sore. Today I actually would have hit the stairs again had my friend been able to join me, but she wasn't, so I pretended I couldn't find the staircase without her.

Tomorrow. Back on track tomorrow. I will be taking it easy - probably 2x20 flights instead of 2x44. Wow. Yes, I *could* do 200 squats but in retrospect, probably shouldn't have, hahaha.

Oy. Such a stressful time. I have less than a week to find a house or I am forcefully committed to sleeping on the couch for another year. Ask me how badly I want to find a house. Just ask. I have two remaining leads and I am pouring energy into them but it is really out of my control at this point. Oh yes, I have a third option: abandon kids and choose a home freely without regard to school boundaries. I'm not in school, what do I care?? ;)

Because life is never crazy enough, I initiated conversation with the mother of my youngest's bio-dad. I *could* spiral you into this whole other aspect of my life, but then you'd be half-bonkers too, so I try to keep the focus here on weight loss surgery and my changing body, habits and attitudes. But this has been a big thing and it touches on the emotional/stress eating that has always plagued me. I'm happy to say that I have not been stress/emotional eating, although I have been gnawing my fingernails, another bad habit of that same ilk. The conversations have gone extremely well - better than I could have ever hoped, but it is still stressful and now we have agreed to a paternity test, of which I both absolutely know the result and am completely and utterly terrified to test. Someday when I am feeling less like this: (((((ARGHHHHHH IS THIS REALLY MY LIFE????)))))) I'll expound upon this journey. Suffice to say it is positive, I am hopeful it will ultimately be helpful to my little guy and I am glad I opened the door (with my ex's full support - this isn't something I would do without engaging him).

Anyway. Tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. it will be my absolute most favoritest hour spent in my office building, a little time I call "naked with a hot black man," and my insurance calls "therapeutic massage - $15/copay." I have been looking forward to this for weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkksssss. At 4:30, everything will seem better, if only for a little while. Immediately afterward, friends and I are going to see Hangover 2, which better not have Mel Gibson in it or I swear I will spit nails. (Mel - God bless his Road Warrior heart that I adored for many years, gets no more money from me after the misogynistic/homophobic/anti-semitic/you-name-your-hatred-he-seems-to-have-it rants. I washed my hands of him, and I know at one point they planned a cameo for him in this movie. They better not "surprise" me. And I'd watch that ridiculous beaver movie, too, darn him.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

200 Squats Challenge

Whew! My legs are like jello - but I thought after months of stair climbing, I could probably knock out 200 squats on my first try, and I was right! Yay! 'Course, I probably won't be able to walk tomorrow, haha.

I just did my second day of the 100 Push Ups Challenge, I'll have to play catch up to keep up with Jen. On my first day, I just did the endurance test (maxed out at 10 push ups). Then on Wednesday, I did the day 2 work out (you do it 3x/week) and I missed it yesterday, so I just did it today, and maxed out at 10 again.

But squats? Yeah baby, I can kick some squats ass!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Breaking Barriers - ONEDERLAND!

Okay, blah blah blah, I wrote this massive diatribe in advance, thinking how I would feel on the morning that I broke two hundred. Today, I didn't just break it, but broke it decisively! I'm 198 pounds this morning!! Everything I wrote below still holds, but how I *really* felt stepping on the scale this morning can be summed up simply:


You can slog through the rest, if you'd like. It feels a little melancholy to me, but believe me, melancholy ain't on my emotional palette this morning! ;)

This is a truly joyous post, but I want to start with some reflection, because I think it's important to remember how I got here.

Something broke inside me when I passed two hundred pounds on the way up. I don't remember where I was, how old I was, or any of the details. I remember distinctly, though, the feeling of complete and utter failure and hopelessness. While I had always struggled with my weight as an adult, passing two hundred was the first time I felt I would not win the battle.

And for many years, I didn't. I stopped caring. I stopped caring about myself, my health, my body. I think I completely stopped caring about Julie and anything that concerned her specifically. By then, I was a mom and I threw myself into parenthood and my kids. No more makeup, no more pretty clothes, nothing. Julie was gone - Mom was here and the kids were all that mattered. I was doomed to be fat, doomed to continue gaining weight indefinitely, until one day it just killed me.

When my son Blake was born in 2001, I tipped the scales at 275 pounds. In my mind, I was as huge at 275 as I was at 200, a giant amoeba-like mom-blob. Now, feeling the difference between 263 pounds and 198 (!!) pounds, I know there is a *huge* difference in health, vitality and self-worth.

My 18-year marriage ended abruptly in 2007, and was finalized in 2009 (after a brief but futile reconciliation that I still am glad for and regret deeply). After the divorce, I went through a tremendous amount of self-destructive behavior, wanting to feel loved and wanted but feeling so repulsed and disgusted with myself that I only reinforced how terrible, and valueless, I felt. There was no hope for me: I had a man, but I lost him and I was too terribly gruesome to ever be able to find one again. When I thought of diet and exercise to rebuild self-esteem...there was no self-esteem to rebuild. I was so far gone, there was no way I could reverse the damage I had done to myself. It felt absolutely insurmountable to me.

Through the love and support of my wonderful friends, including a very, very dear friend, I started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. While she would not condone my self-destructive behavior, she stood by me through it. She had been through a divorce herself and remembered what it was like to feel alone and scared. She treated me the way she had wanted to be treated in her divorce, and I can never express how grateful I am for her friendship. Ironically, we had lost touch for nearly twenty years and had reunited through facebook either just before or just during the start of my divorce, and we picked up our friendship like we were still in high school, although we are much closer now than we ever were then.

Anyway, through Kim's constant nagging  ongoing support and prodding even from across state lines, I started working out and feeling good. I took off some weight, I was feeling strong and my competitive spirit was rejuvenated. I *wanted* to succeed at weight loss.

It was about that time that my extremely frequent blood donations (every 56 days, like clockwork) caught up with me, I think. And inexplicably (to me, anyway, since I have already confessed numerous times on this blog that you have to hit me in the head with a clue about my body in order for me to see it), I was exhausted. Lifeless. The work outs ground to a screeching halt. That was probably May 2010. I had lost 25 pounds or so, which I promptly gained back. I had started smoking again (after quitting for TWELVE YEARS) with the divorce, and I held firmly to the vile habit, like a spoiled child. Twice in 2010 I quit for 3+ weeks, only to pick it up again at the drop of a hat.

My spirit was completely broken then. I had tried to take control of my weight and lost. I was utterly exhausted, it was all I could do to go to work and wait until it was time to put the kids to bed. I spent all my free time laying on the couch while they were with their dad . It wasn't until months and months later that I had pre-op blood work done and found out my iron (ferritin, specifically) levels were negligible, as were my vitamin D and B12. I was rushed off to a hematologist, who gave me four or five iron infusions and mega-doses of vitamin D. I started to feel human again. :)

One day, in late September, I was on the hospital website looking for some sort of class. Our hospital does very cool classes, and I am a total school geek. I'll take anything. :) I saw that there was a weight loss surgery seminar that night. I had considered weight loss surgery in the past, when my employer started covering it a few years earlier. I had naively thought I needed to go to the hospital about 30 miles away, and that seemed like a hassle to me. My doctor had recommended several times that I attend an info session. But while I will get up and drive to eastern Washington on a whim (as I did Saturday) or will happily drive several hours to Oregon to see my friend Kim (as I will next month), that 30 miles was a deal-killer to me. Nuh-uh.

Huh. They do surgery at the hospital five minutes from my house. Imagine that. And it's a "Center for Excellence," whatever that means. On a total whim, I registered for the session. I knew by the time I left that I would have the surgery, and I knew I would have the gastric sleeve. I called the surgeon's office the next morning and booked my first appointment with him. Had my appointment later that week and told him then, I'm having the surgery, what do I need to do to make it happen?

From there, it was a mind-boggling array of appointments with a wide variety of specialists. I made a deal with myself that if I was going to have the surgery, I had to quit smoking first. I quit on 10/16/10 and am happy to report it was for good this time. I started this blog very early in the process, so you can always go back and read, if you're interested.

And in the process of it all, I started to be reborn. My original "Free Julie" blog was about my divorce: "My Divorce, Survival and Triumph," I subtitled it. While I had many, many ups and downs, I wouldn't say I was feeling particularly strong during the process. I was surviving. I was finding myself. I was TCOB (Taking Care of Business). But I was doing a lot of things to kill my spirit, too, instead of rebuilding it.

After I decided on gastric sleeve surgery, I started to find my spark. I felt much better with the iron IV infusions, so I started feeling human again. I had a plan. I was going to kick this extra weight to the curb once and for all. I found a way, through surgery, to feel strong and powerful and in control of my life again. My biggest fear in dieting was gaining back even more weight than I had lost, and thus I had put myself in a state of paralysis when it came to addressing my weight.

Since the surgery, every day has made me feel stronger and healthier. Well, not every day! Some days I feel 263 pounds again, but those days are fewer between, and have much less hold over me. I'm tracking my food and exercise, which is making me be honest with myself about my weight loss - almost without fail it is showing me that I am eating *just fine* and not doing anything to sabotage my surgery. I am a MASTER at beating myself up at any opportunity, so forcing myself to acknowledge that I am doing nothing wrong has done a lot to make me stronger.

I am saying goodbye to an old version of myself. There are two incidents that I always think of when I think of my obese self. Both happened many years ago, but within a pretty short timeframe of each other. One time, I walked across a bridge: Deception Pass Bridge in Washington. I am deathly afraid of walking across bridges, but I made myself. I was with my kids (was I with my husband? I don't remember. I must have been.) and it was a beautiful sunny day and I was KICKING ASS on a big fear of mine. About mid-way through the bridge, a car or truck passed by. There were so many people walking on the bridge, so I was mortified when some punk yelled out "WIDE LOAD!" as he passed. I felt my spirit crumple, I truly did. Here I had been feeling victorious and strong, and it was gone in a heartbeat.

Shortly after that, I was in my car waiting for carryout at Outback Steakhouse. You know how they bring the order out to you. Now, what happened that day and what I felt like happened that day are two very different things, but I wouldn't acknowledge that for a long time. I know now that I was so filled with self-hatred and loathing that I read a lot into a ridiculous exchange with two young men in the car next to me. It was simple. I caught the eye of the man in the passenger seat, and he made a sultry face and blew a kiss at me. I burst into tears almost immediately. I was so mortified and so humiliated, and it wasn't until days later that I realized he hadn't *done* or *said* anything to warrant this distress. It was just so unfathomable to me that two men could interact with me with any intention at all except to mock me.

That's the old me. The damaged, worn out me that had stopped caring about myself and couldn't think how anyone else could feel any differently.

The real me - the one I was before all the weight gain, the one that I am rediscovering everyday - she's not like that. She feels sexy and smart and funny, and knows she makes a positive mark on the world. She loves to laugh and doesn't care who hears. She is strong, and vibrant, and pretty. She is the one about whom a high school teacher once remarked in class, "has the most zest for life of anyone he's ever met." That's me. That's who I'm finding under layers and layers of fat, under years of a not-bad-but-not-good-marriage, under years of self-neglect and abuse.

And I am excited. So very incredibly excited. I get to become this person, and quite frankly, I get to do it without a nice-but-not-much-else ex-husband who is a great father and a terrible, terrible fit for me. I get to find myself *and* remake my life the way I want it to be, without summoning the courage to divorce, which I doubt I would have ever considered. I truly feel like my life is just opening up, just reinventing myself, picking up where I left off when I closed the door in my own face.

So, to pass this threshold back into "onederland" (like "surgiversary" I hate the word, but you can't deny how well they fit, haha), I feel every bit the degree of passion and emotion that I felt passing out of it. But at the opposite end of the spectrum! Under two hundred for me feels like "normal" weight, like a manageable goal with an end in sight, like something I can not only accomplish, but accomplish easily. Okay, not easily, but with strength and power!

It is an awesome, indescribable feeling. I will feel incredible success when I reach goal, when I hit other milestones such as one hundred pounds lost, etc. But those feelings will pale in comparison to how I feel today, passing through this huge mental barrier that has played such a key role in my self-esteem and feelings of success or failure. Today, I feel reborn. Today I feel strong and successful. Today I feel so proud of myself and my accomplishments, and so hopeful and optimistic about my future. Not just in terms of weight lost, but in terms of every facet of my life. It is an incredibly joyous feeling and I want to savor every second. I want to be able to come back and read this post when I am feeling frustrated, or sad, or angry, or hopeless. And when I do, I want to tell myself this:

Close your eyes and remember how you felt writing this post. How you felt stepping on the scale this morning. Strong, overjoyed, successful, renewed. There is nothing that you cannot do when you set your mind to it. Think hard about exactly how you felt writing this post, and summon up that energy again to push through your challenges. Think of all the many obstacles you've faced and overcome in the last several years. This is what it feels like to take care of yourself and your family and to understand your strength and courage and power. Never forget.

Monday, May 16, 2011

100 Push Ups

Eek. Thanks Jen at Runner...maybe? for a great idea. Well, it *seemed* like a great idea until I tried doing my initial push up test. This is a six-week training program to do 100 push ups. Um, my baseline is 10 girlie push ups. I have a ways to go to reach 100, haha.

Read about it here. Like Jen, I am concerned about my less-than-sculpted arms and related areas. And because Jen is doing the training program, and I am very good at glomming onto my friend's ideas doing things when I am motivated by friend, this will be fun.

Fun. Yeah, like climbing 88 flights of stairs a day is so freaking fun. But hopefully, with this program I'll begin to see some of the same definition and results in my arms and chest that I am seeing in my butt and thighs after all this stair climbing!

So, today's initial test was 10 push ups. I actually did 3-4 a couple times before that, but stopped when I saw people coming my way in the cube farm. (Yes, I did indeed drop down in my cube and do my push ups!) I wish I would have done the test consecutively without tiring myself out, but the reality is that I just don't have a lot of upper body strength, so I don't think it would have made much of a difference.

I'll be doing this on M/W/F

Day 1

rest 60 seconds between each SET (longer if required)

Set 1: 6 push ups
Set 2: 6 push ups
Set 3: 4 push ups
Set 4: 4 push ups
Set 5: max - at least 5 push ups

Day 2

Set 1: 6 push ups
Set 2: 8 push ups
Set 3: 6 push ups
Set 4: 6 push ups
Set 5: max - at least 7 push ups

Day 3

Set 1: 8 push ups
Set 2: 10 push ups
Set 3: 7 push ups
Set 4: 7 push ups
Set 5: max - at least 10 push ups


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ha Ha I've Got You Figured Out (Well, Sorta)

Kudos to me, the Inspector Clouseau of my own body. Never one to know what the heck is going on with any given body part or system, today I think I nailed it.

I am bluesy as an all get out today. I am eating like they're about to stop making food, and I just feel like crying.

Why, hmm, when did I last start my period, anyway? Exactly three weeks ago! (When I first started writing this, I thought it was *four* weeks, not three, so I am feeling less excited and AH-HA about this post, but I'll leave it up anyway. Might as well see what happens with these cycles.) I have had that IUD for so long, I've lost all sense of what a "normal" cycle feels like. But I remember when I was tracking my periods on iPeriod last year, before I had the IUD replaced. Two days before my period started, I would feel sad as an all get out. Just really, really blue. Lonely.

Ah...good for me? Hmm, good for me for figuring it out , anyway. Now, why do I have to crash so hard when I'm about to get my period? Is this PMDD, instead of PMS? I don't know what PMDD is. I just watch tv commercials, haha.

Anyway, something to track. Could explain why I bought a (small) bag of taco-flavored Doritos on my car ride this morning, which I soon dumped out the window. I needed to, so I'd stop eating the damn things, which were making my stomach wad up in a protesting ball. I bought Chewy Sprees, too, which were even worse, agonizing from the get-go, and were also dumped to get them away from me. String cheese = yes, crap gas station food = NO.

To follow up on the Mirena IUD removal, just for the heck of it: I removed it 4/21, started my period with a vengeance on 4/23. 4/26 was the last day of my period and it looks like I'm coming up on it again. Wow - could I already be on normal cycles? Except for being a bit short for my usual (whatever that is), that seems like a pretty normal cycle. Yay me!

Oh, and I've lost 9 pounds since removing the darn thing, let's not forget that. Now to figure out how to manage this terrible drop in my mood...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nefarious Swimsuit Photos

Ah, well, how badly can it hurt to include these pictures in my blog? It is part of my monthly drill, after all. These pics are from the day of surgery and four months post-op, down 62 pounds. Eep.

Well, Welcome Back, Blogger!

Hmm, that was a little annoying - the blogger site was down for most of the day yesterday. Amazing how much I missed it!

I calc'd this out the other day and wanted to record it for's my weight loss by month:

Pre-Op Diet: 12/28/10 - 263 pounds

Surgery Date: 1/11/11 255 (-8)
Month One: 2/11/11 233 (-22)
Month Two: 3/11/11 220 (-13)
Month Three: 4/11/11 213 (-7)
Month Four: 5/11/11 201 (-12)

Hmm, I'll come back and put that in a table later.

Also, thank you and welcome to all my followers! I am so glad you are here, writing my WLS surgery has been really great, knowing I was sharing it with other people. I see the numbers have bumped up a bit, it wasn't too long ago when I was blogging about having 23 followers! Very happy to have you here, and if I'm not following your blog already, please leave me the address in the comments and I will!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

See You on the Downhill Side - Four Months Post-Op Pictures

Woohoo! I'm at the half-way point in my weight loss: 62 pounds gone, 61 pounds to go! Very exciting stuff. I'm also four months post-op today, so I'll post photos later. I wish my daughter were here to take my nefarious bathing suit photos! She's at her dad's - I'll have to work it out somehow.

I commented to a friend yesterday that I should be wearing summer dresses, since my legs and thighs are looking so much better due to all the stair climbing, but my big ole gut still abides. (I just watched The Big Lebowski again this weekend, haha.) So I went to the mall and tried on a cute summer dress, which I would never have the nerve to wear in public, haha. I am so not a dress person! Never have been. However, I am *so* a dress person in the dressing room in front of the big mirrors, you should have seen me strutting my stuff!  But this was cute. big ole flumpy gut. Oh dear. Spanx are the order of the day if I'm going to expose my midsection.

I decided to continue dressing like myself (jeans and t-shirt) until I'm further along in my journey. Spanx are expensive! I don't want to shell out money for fancy dresses and underwear that I will be shrinking out of (for some reason the thought of paying $$ for Spanx really bugged me, knowing they wouldn't last. But yet, paying for happy hour wine doesn't bother me, and it doesn't last, either.*)

Anyway, it was fun to see. Things are definitely looking better. Studying my flump in the dressing room mirror, though, made me confront exactly how much of an extra skin problem I may be in for. As I'm losing weight, all these BONES are appearing in my frame. Who knew? At 5'3", it is apparent that underneath it all, I am actually quite small. If I could just wave a magic wand and make my gut disappear, well, I'd be pretty darn close to a good size. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand! I will just press on, working on my weight loss and seeing what happens. Hopefully things will tighten up as we (my flump and I) go along.

Speaking of weight loss: at four months post-op, I'm halfway to goal, or 1/2 my excess weight gone. I am hopeful that I can reach goal in an additional four to six months. I want to continue losing 8 to 12 pounds a month. It's a bit of a wait-and-see game, because now that I've been tracking my eating quite well and exercising regularly - well, that's kind of all I can do! My calories are about 500-1000 per day, averaging 600-ish. I am happy with that and with my exercise, although I will continue to work on incorporating more. Late last week I went to the Y and did circuit training - this is fun(ish) and will help me feel like I'm doing my part to address the skin problem (since good muscles underneath the flump will make it all seem better!).

Come back later for four month pictures - I'll have my buddy take them at work later. Not the Nefarious Swimsuit Pictures, just the Baggy Brown Shirt Pictures, haha.

*Happy hour wine was a "Fat Julie" expense, because "Free Julie" can only drink part of a glass, I'm a cheap date!

Monday, May 9, 2011

De-Motivator/De-Moralizer in My Midst

And I've got to keep him around because I love him so stinking much!

Ah, my 10-year-old son. A very perceptive and thoughtful (as in deep-thinking, not innately courteous, haha) young man. Just full of little off-handed remarks this weekend that made me SO VERY GLAD to ship his butt back to school this morning.

"Hmm, is that a new shirt? It makes you look pregnant." (Ok, this is the shirt I felt SO PRETTY wearing, haha. He was able to finally fumble through his explanation, it's the empire waist that reminds him of pregnancy clothes. Not how he described it, of course.) My 12-year-old daughter finally told him, "Blake, you should shut up now before mom puts you out of the car."

"You are looking a lot smaller now, but I thought it would be faster than this since you had a surgery."

"You got your hair cut! I liked it longer. You should grow it back."

When I said that they didn't need to have another piece of cake, that we all needed to work on healthy eating, "I know mom, but I don't think any of us would get as fat as you used to be."

ARGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Go back to school! Go stay with your dad! The thing is, these aren't meant to be *mean* comments, they are just his little musings that he is running without a filter. The filter will be the duct tape I put over his mouth if he keeps it up.

Oh, but I did have a good one with my youngest son late last week. We had walked up to the little store and on the way back, he wanted me to run with him. I actually did! Cannot *think* of the last time I ran. It wasn't far, just a block or so at the most. My 10-year-old was ahead of us on his bike. My little guy was grinning from ear to ear as we ran together and he yelled ahead to his brother, "Mom is running! She's really running! Look at her, Blake!" Laugh, I agree, it was quite remarkable. And probably quite a sight.

After a short distance, though, he said, "Mom, go faster, you're really just jogging now." Yes, but I'm not collapsing onto the ground with a heart attack, either, you goofball.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

They Say You Won't Go Bald - But I May Be the Exception

Ugh!!! The hair loss!! I can feel how much my hair has thinned, and it is awful. I can see it, too. And I am always cleaning out the drain when I shower - there's so much! I'm afraid I'll go be bald.

I think I've got Sheila's hair loss beat:

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Do not like. This is just from this morning's shower, God only knows how much made it down the drain.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sixty Pounds Gone!

Wowsa! I am so excited! Yesterday, I must say, I was feeling quite thin. All this stair climbing has got my thighs and butt feeling pretty darn solid. My once skin-tight jeans have gotten very baggy again (true to form, baggy everywhere but the big gut!).

What a milestone! I am beyond happy. I would be crying tears of joy, but I'm saving them for when I break the 200 pound threshold. *That* will be an emotional moment, let me tell you, and I'll subject you to a long missive about how it felt to pass into the 200s and then out of them again. ;)

Sixty, sixty, sixty. So cool! I am creeping up on the most weight I've ever lost - sixty-seven pounds on Weight Watchers a lifetime ago. I was doing so well and then I hit some sort of mental barrier. I am big on self-sabotage, I'm afraid. I am being super mindful about not doing that to myself again.

A couple quick updates:

Stairs: While we haven't received an official free pass, I have heard from TPTB (The Powers that Be) that the restriction *probably* isn't meant to apply to walkers. We continue our exercise as if the signs weren't there. As a coworker said, if they try to enforce the ban, I will produce a doctor's note about my crippling (but transitory) fear of elevators, haha. Yesterday I upped my climbs: 1x44, 2x24, 1x12. I was beat. Since I can't attend yoga or water aerobics this week (kids' dad is on a cruise - don't get me started - it must be exhausting being him as this is his third vacation in less than three months).

Shelter: Interesting development in the works. I think I blogged about it, but am too lazy to check. Heaven knows it's been on my mind constantly! A family (I thought single mom but was wrong) looked at my condo last night and liked it. They rent a house right by my kids' school, and my landlord knows the owner. Turns out I do, too! We work together in a very distant relative sort of way, and he is a Cub Scout leader in my son's den/pack (I can never keep the big group/small group names sorted out). They are willing to rent the house for $1600/month - something I can stomach. (Insane to me, how the rents have gone up around here in just a couple years.) Kids and I drove by the house last night, it is four-bedrooms, 1700 square feet, everything seems right and good about it for my family. (I haven't seen the inside of it, but am hopeful it is fine.) What I'm waiting for now is to see if the potential condo family wants this place or not. I'm leaving it to the two landlords right now - I told mine that I will pitch a reality show, "Tenant Swap" to the TV networks for him. ;)

Weight: SIXTY POUNDS, SIXTY POUNDS! (haha, had to sneak that one back in there!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jump Around

Edited to add:

You have got to be kidding me.

Rainy Monday! Yesterday was glorious in Seattle, and the kids and I took full advantage of it. We stopped at Subway for a picnic lunch, then made it to the zoo before 11 a.m. and spent the day. Then we went home and barbequed in the sun! Excellent day.

Today, it's rainy and dark, and at least 10 degrees cooler than yesterday. Ah, Seattle. How I love to love thee, and hate thee, too. When you are good, you are very, very good, but when you are bad, you are awful.

I did well with my exercise last week. I neglected to copy over last week's plan before I started this post, but I did the stairs every day, I did deep water aerobics and yoga. I will call the week a smashing success!

This week, the plan is pretty much the same. Stairs, water aerobics, yoga. Oh shoot, my ex is out of town, so I have the kids. The likelihood of the evening classes working out is actually quite slim, I just realized. No child-free nights this week!

Regarding the living situation. I decided last night to sign another lease at my condo. This house-hunting is draining. There is no inventory, it is so stinking competitive, and I am not feeling like a contender. There was one ass-ugly (from the outside) house in my neighborhood that was out of my price range. Inside, it was quite nice - 4 bdr, all hardwoods, very much what I was looking for. I was scheduled for the second of two mass showings. They canceled the second showing because they got so many applications during the first. Also, a 3-bdr in my condo complex (all individually owned, thus no ability to "get on a list.") became available. It was ridiculously expensive. I went to look at it - it was awful. The most claustrophobic floor plan, with bizarre use of space.

Anyway. I called my landlord this morning and told him I'd sign another lease. There is a curious development. He wants to continue with plans to show my condo to a woman tomorrow night. She rents a home just a couple blocks away, but only has one kid and wants to downsize, while still staying in the immediate neighborhood. My landlord, as it turns out, knows the owner of the house she rents. They have been talking - perhaps a tenant-swap is in the works! All I know of the place is that it is at least three bedrooms and only a block or so from the elementary school. Those are two big pluses, right there. The other home currently rents for $1650/mo - my landlord told the other guy that I can't pay more than $1600 (ha, negotiating rent on my behalf, I love it). We'll see. Tomorrow, he will show my condo, and I will get more info about this house. If it works out, it is an amazing happy coincidence. I am hopeful, but trying not to get my hopes up: there are so many variables that come into play here.

If not, I'll just sign another lease. Put away money, have a lease expire early next spring and get into the market early and with great vigor. Now, my spirit is pretty beaten up over the whole process. Last night, I drove the kids by a cute house that is out of our immediate neighborhood. My 5th grader could finish at his school next year, but my kindergartner would have to switch schools. My middle schooler would stay at the same school. "Kids," I said, "I think our options are go for this house, or stay in the condo another year." They both resoundingly said they'd rather stay in our condo, in the same neighborhood (little guy was crashed out from the zoo, so he didn't get a vote).

We'll see. On other fronts, I am glad I'm tracking my eating on I would characterize yesterday's eating as a train wreck, but looking at it online shows me it was only a fender bender! Calorie count less than 1000. Not too much damage in fats or carbs. I need to be more forgiving of myself - the website tracker is helping me see when I'm doing really good, and that my "bad" is not as terrible as I let myself believe. That will be a helpful tool in fully understanding the effects of food on my body, especially as I transition more into maintenance (which is not anytime soon, hahaha).

I'm so glad I took out the IUD. In general, I just feel better. I am making a conscience effort to not yell at the kids - trying to break the habit so I can see how much is habit and how much is relieved by correcting the hormone situation. I just don't *feel* like yelling - I don't feel as impatient or short-tempered. It is cRaZy to think that this might have been an external force this whole time. (Not wholly, of course, but I mean in a general sense.) The fairly immediate drop of five pounds in the week following its removal did not go unnoticed, either.

Oy, that "Jump Around" song by House of Pain has been stuck in my head since I read some reference to it last night. Now maybe it will be in yours, too! With love, from Julie. :)