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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hair - Part 2

Remember this post back in January?  Hair...Not the Musical

Well, I must say that I was expecting hair loss...but wow I don't really think it would be as much as it has been.  I'm not complaining...okay, maybe I am a little...but I really am just amazed at how much hair I had to lose...and really hope it slows down soon!

So what are some of the causes of hair loss after RNY?  Lots of things could be contributing factors...not enough protein, low iron, and system shock just to name a few.  I'm pretty consistently getting in the recommended protein, so I don't think that's it.  Low iron?  Possibly.  I'll have labs done at my 6 month appointment so I'll know more then.  I did add Biotin to my vitamin regimen and may even add flax seed oil.  Regardless, this is still just a "minor" side effect from my surgery and one that is temporary.

So you can see what I'm talking about, here's a glance at what I'm losing EVERY day.  Actually, it's probably more than this, but this is what I lose each time I shower...and this is even on the light side of things.  

So a funny thought hit me as I was uploading this... how in the world does God keep track of how many hairs are on each one of our heads???  Especially when I'm losing so much!!!  He truly is amazing!!!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, August 26, 2012


As part of bariatric center's program, we are required to attend a monthly support group for the first year after surgery.  We're welcome to attend indefinitely, but it's highly recommended (because can they really make me go?) for the first year.

Last week was a good one for me.  We spent time reflecting on the past year, looking at where we are now and identifying goals for long-term success.  As we wrote down our answers and began sharing with one another, I realized that I was the only one that did not mention a weight number...neither amount lost to date or a goal number.  I found that interesting as much as I've complained about the weight seemingly to come off slowly - but I really think it was an subconscious response that the number doesn't matter and that I am truly getting healthy - body and mind!

So here are my responses:

Looking back...what motivated you to change?
* Not being able to do active things with my boys.
* Being on a mission trip and realizing that I couldn't do what God had sent me to do.
* Tired of being in constant pain and tired of being tired all the time.

List your positive achievements: (this is where most people put a weight loss number)
* Participating in 5K walks (Thanks M!)
* Exercising on my own
* Climbing a tree!
* Hubby being able to pick me up with those great bear hugs!
(I could have put more, but I suppose these were my "top" feel goods!)

What are your goals regarding achievements, personal growth and maintenance?
* To continue self-discipline when it comes to both eating and exercising
* To change the "I Can't" mentality to "I Don't"
* Growth - continuing to hear and accept the fact that God created me and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I think all of those will make future achievements and long-term maintenance much easier!

It was about this time last year when I really started considering surgery.  It was a scary thought.  The time during the informational meeting was extremely emotional for me.  It actually left me in tears and unable to even talk to CME about what was going through my head.  It was a journey that I still wasn't sure about.  It was one that I feared, to be honest.  Not the surgery itself, necessarily, but everything that went along with it.  Would I really be able to do this?  Would I ever be able to eat <insert food here> again?  What if it didn't work for me?  What if...?  Truly, the answer is no - I couldn't do this...not on my own.  It was through courage and strength from God that I was able to make this decision.  It has been through the loving support of my family and friends whom God has placed in my life that have made this side of the surgery so precious.  And it is only by His grace that I am able to write about this journey and where it's taking me.  I am one blessed lady!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

What's Up With That?

A couple of different times this week I've had some issues with my digestive tract.  Nothing to call the doctor about, but let's just say that I've spent a lot of time in the bathroom.  I just went back and looked to see if I could pinpoint anything different in my diet that might have triggered some of it - but I'm still not seeing anything consistently.  I even checked my sugar intake again to make sure it wasn't Dumping Syndrome.  The sugars were fine and it doesn't appear the symptoms were all there either, so I'm sure it's not that.  The only thing I can say that has necessarily changed is an increase in the amount of protein I'm consuming.  I had noticed that I was only getting about 60-65 g of protein again (I had cut out one protein shake per day) and should be getting at least 80 g of protein per day.  I added the shake back into my diet which gives me the required amount.  I'm still not convinced that has anything to do with it - but maybe??

And all of this leads me to another thought.  (TMI warning!) During my last support group meeting, someone mentioned that their worst side effect of the surgery has been constipation.  I'm told it is a common problem for a lot of patients.  Once again, I thank God that it's not a side effect for me!  My worst side effect is the massive amount of hair I'm losing on a daily basis.  (Another reason I needed to increase my protein.)  Even with that, it's not noticeable to other people - only to me and my hair dresser!  :)
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Can't vs I Don't

I was listening to KLove Radio on Tuesday and this news bit and subsequent discussion caught my attention. 
Watch what comes out of your mouth: In a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, 80 percent of women stuck with their diets by saying, "I do not eat that" to temptations, while only 10 percent succeeded using "I can't eat that. " "I can't signals deprivations, which makes you more likely to cave, whereas "I don't" signals determinations and empowerment, making your refusal more effective," says study author Vanessa Patrick, Ph.D., of the University of Houston. But you don't have to announce that you don't eat cake, reframing your self-talk works too. (Women's Health)
It really got me thinking about how my friend was so right, that words matter.  I looked at this journey and realize that it's not about the I can'ts.  It's a choice.  I can have something if I want it...but I don't because of the potential effects it could have on me and how it's negatively effected me over the years.  I've read where some people who have had gastric bypass really test the waters - trying foods they KNOW they shouldn't have, but do anyway.  Some are disappointed that their body doesn't react negatively, but my question is WHY try it?!  I want to be successful.  I want to make good healthy choices.  It makes me wonder if these people are using "can't" or "don't".  I am making a conscious choice...therefore "I don't". I Can't gives me no control...I Don't leaves the choice to me.  I like I Don't.

Below are some I Can'ts of the past - and these weren't just the words, they were the truth at the time.  Because of my I Don'ts through this journey, all of these have already changed.

  • "I can't walk very far without being in pain."  
  • "I can't wear an XL anything."  
  • "I can't go to the gym by myself."
  • "I can't walk in a 5k."
  • "I can't sit in the back seat with two other people AND wear a seatbelt."
  • "I can't reach my toenails to paint them."
  • "I can't climb trees."  I did it today while geocaching with the boys!  It may sound silly because I didn't go very high, but I climbed up in a tree today!  NSV?  You betcha! 

So, dear ones, be careful with what comes out of your mouth and into your brain.  Words matter and so do you!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In Other News...

Yes...two posts in one night!  These things just didn't seem to fit in my Global Leadership Summit post.  So here they go...

More non-scale victories!

  • Twice this week (Thursday and again Saturday morning) I went to the Body Pump class at the YMCA by myself.  While that may not seem like an NSV to some, for me it's a big deal.  Seriously!  I tried to talk myself out of it both times.  Thursday I even had a conversation with myself on the way to the Y that went something like this:  "No one will know if you don't do it."  Yep...tried to "sneak" my way out of it.  But I didn't!  I wen to class and had the sore arms to prove it!  Then Saturday morning, I didn't set my alarm...purposefully...so I could say I didn't wake up in time.  Guess what.  I was awake by 7am on my own.  I TRIED to go back to sleep, but my brain kept saying, "Really... c'mon.  Go to the class.  This is good for you!"  So at 7:45 am I left the house and tackled the class.  Yes, these are BIG deals to me.  I did it!
  • Hiked ~3 miles with CME and our boys at John James Audubon State Park  AFTER the Body Pump class AND I pretty much was able to keep up with them - with the exception of a couple of semi-steep (in my opinion) inclines.  Last year, this wouldn't have happened.  I couldn't have happened.  Add to that the grocery shopping (Aldi & WalMart) and then working an information table at church and my legs were pretty much like jello last night!
  • I was talking with someone that previously served on a committee with me.  About 3/4 way through the conversation he said, "I'm sorry...but who are you again?"  Now, there were some medical issues on his side that could have affected this too, but when I told him who I was and he said, "I thought that's who you were, but you're so small now." made me realize that the changes are noticeable to others.
  • As I type this I'm wearing a pair of CME's large pajama pants.  LARGE.  L-A-R-G-E.  Not XL or my previous XXXL.  LARGE.  :)

Other items of interest to me this weekend...

  • I am starting to realize that the terms "thin" and "skinny" are relative.  Multiple times this weekend I had people say something like, "You're getting so skinny."  And I laugh because I'm no where near "skinny"...technically I'm still considered obese.  Only because of the comparison of where I began to where I am now would anyone use the term skinny to define my size.
  • I have a canned (though genuine) response to the "You're looking great!" comment.  EVERY time I say, "Thank you.  I'm FEELING great!"  I want to keep this in perspective for me.  Though it's good to know that I look better, this surgery is the tool for me to get healthy.  I must remain grounded in that truth or Satan could easily lead me down other paths with other lies.  
  • I was in a meeting today where there were a lot of sweets: birthday cake, cookies, zucchini bread.  The sweet aroma that once would have me salivating was actually VERY overwhelming for me.  I won't go as far as saying that the smell made me nauseous, but it definitely put my nose on alert.  It was like my brain said, "DANGER, WILL ROGERS!  DANGER!"  Though it "looked" inviting, the smell was overpowering for me.  (Maybe this is an NSV too!)
As far as exercise goes, I know I asked you to pray for me in that regard.  Please continue!  Exercise and I are not friends yet.  We're conversing, so there's potential, but we're definitely not BFFs!  It's not who I would choose to hang out with, but I know it's one of the most important ingredients of this journey.  

So there ya have it... the "rest of the story" of my busy past few days.  I'll close with a quote that I wrote down from the Global Leadership Summit...

"We must marvel at Jesus because His work is not done yet." - John Ortberg
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Global Leadership Summit

It's been a busy few days!  Busy isn't bad by any means, but whew! 

Thursday and Friday I was blessed to take part in the Global Leadership Summit.  It was an inspiring, power-packed two days.  It's hard to answer in a very short time, "How was the Summit?"  It's almost like when returning from a life-changing mission trip and trying to compact it into a 30 second response.  What do you say past, "It was great!"  or "There were a lot of really good things that were discussed."  Heck, even after a 2.5 hour "debrief" today with others that were in attendance, I'm still really trying to process a lot of it myself.  So, if I were to boil it down for the purposes of this specific weight loss journey, a few of take aways I have are (these apply to other areas of my life as well, but for this story this is how I see them):

  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better. - Bill Hybels.  For me, as one of the 'leaders' of our home, as I get better in making healthy choices for me I pray that my children "win" from that.  That they, too, will recognize healthy/unhealthy (physically, spiritually and emotionally) and strive to make the right choice every time.  They'll learn from example not just "talk".
  • You need truth tellers around you. - Condoleeza Rice.  For me, my truth tellers are the friends that God has so beautifully placed in my life. The ones who can "call me out" on the negativity they hear from my posts.  The ones that can tell me that God would never call me a loser or to tell me they feel that I am surrounded by a spirit of depression.  Those are things my friends do and without them in my life, this journey would be so difficult!  I truly am blessed with great friends!
  • The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency. - Jim Collins.  I have led a mediocre health-wise life.  There was never a consistent effort on my part to get healthy.  Mediocrity and I were best friends.
  • Authenticity trumps cool. - Craig Groeschel.  This speaks a lot to me mainly because I see the word "authentic" very much as I see "transparent".  This blog is authentic.  My true feelings about this journey, my struggles as well as my successes which are through God alone!  I'll pick authentic over cool any day of the week!
There are a ton more things I could put here, but this is just a glimpse of where a Leadership Summit can be applied to the journey God has me on right now.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to be part of this event and know God will use it to strengthen me as I continue down this path!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Right on Target

Those were the words of MD today at my 3-month post-op appointment.  I really do like the staff at bariatric center.  They know me by name, remember that I was on a trip last month, and are just full of positive and encouraging words.  I know I chose the right facility for me!

For so many years I have dreaded getting on a doctor's scales.  Not knowing what the number will be and waiting to get chastised about the results.  Just because I've had surgery and am losing weight doesn't mean that fear has left me yet.  But everyone from RN to RD to LCSW and MD were all pleased with my results.  It's still difficult to get out of the comparative mode - meaning comparing my results with someone else's.  So to know that MD was pleased (I've heard he can be a bit gruff at times - though I've never experienced that!) made me happy.  

The official scales say that I have lost 45# since surgery (15 lbs per month), though my Wii still weighs me less.  I've lost 8.5" off my waist and 9" off my hips.  Funny thing is they measure neck (which, as RN said, I've never had a big neck) and I've lost 1" off it.  I wish they would have measured thighs...I think there's a significant difference there too.

LCSW always checks in with the patients too.  I felt like I should have something negative to report (not really)...but seriously, I struggled to find a negative.  We did talk a little about how I have to be careful not to fall in to that comparative trap I mentioned earlier, but she said that's common.  She also mentioned that not seeing ourselves at the new weight is common.  I know that's a fact.  If I don't see side-by-side pictures I can't really tell a difference even if I'm looking at a photograph.  I think that for so long my brain denied what was blatantly obvious that now it can't distinguish the difference.  Regardless, that's "normal" too.  :)

So as far as my medical staff is concerned, I am right on target! Thank you God for your faithfulness and for helping me select the right center for me!!!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dehydration and Dreams

So I think I may be dehydrated this morning. Yesterday was a day that my body needed sleep, and sleep I did! I slept from around 2:00 until 5:30 and then went back to bed at 9:00pm! That being said I did not get in all my water for the day and I could tell.

My dream last night focused around all of my friends asking and urging me to drink more water. In my dream that's all I did! Drink...refill...drink...refill...drink. But I was still thirsty! When I woke up this morning my mouth was so incredibly dry that I didn't think I could open it! Ok, that's a tad dramatic, but you get the point.

So I'm finishing up my first bottle if water as I type this...not a normal thing for me to have water before work. It makes me wonder if this should be a new routine so the day doesn't slip by without me getting enough fluids. Anyway...the good thing was that there were no leg cramps this time and I know that even in my dreams my friends are my support team!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another NSV!

Yep...had one today!  My friend Missy and I finished another 5k!  Though the temp was only in the mid-upper 80s...it was HUMID and it felt like 100!  That being said, according to the app on her phone, we walked slightly farther than a 5k (3.28 miles) in 52:41 minutes...or an average of 16:02 mins per mile / 3.74 miles per hour.  I went back and compared it to the last two 5k races I've walked and the difference is phenomenal!  I suppose I should wait for the "official" race results, but I don't care what they say.  I'm going by what's on the app (because the proof is in the pictures!).  

My 5k Race Results:
June 21 - finished in 1:01:24 - avg 19:45 min/mile - 3.03 mph
July 4 - finished in 56:31 - avg 18:11 min/mile - 3.29 mph
Aug 4 - finished in 52:41 - avg 16:02 min/mile (3.28 miles) - 3.74 mph
Update: Official time from the Y:  52:28 - avg 16:53 min/mile - 3.55 mph

Sure, the official results will be slightly different, but even if they are I'm sure I've taken at least another minute per mile off my speed!  That, my friends, is a huge NSV!!!

One of the best parts about this is that I've got friends like Missy who walk with me.  I'm sure her pace by herself would be quicker, but she stays back with me and is an encouragement the whole time.  She doesn't make me feel like I'm holding her back and she makes sure I'm doing well.  Missy is a  blessing from God ...how are paths crossed is crazy, but I am sooooooo  thankful they did!

Here's to another NSV and here's to friends like Missy!!!!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14