Checking In and Catching Up

nicole summer selfieOver two months without a blog post? Guilty. I have so much to catch up on, I decided to dust off the blog and catch up on my summer so far.

As I mentioned in a post on my other blog, I tend to struggle in the summertime. I’ve had some significant depressive episodes in summers past, but depression hasn’t been as much of an issue this year. I have been feeling a lot of anxiety, and I often feel like the anxiety is worse when I spend a lot of time online. I do my internet thing while I’m work (since I work as a social media manager), and then I am largely offline through the evening.

I’ve also been struggling with an unusual amount of fatigue. I’m always tired, sleep isn’t restorative, and I have a hard time concentrating on anything for an extended period of time. I usually have creativity and ideas bursting out of my brain, and now I struggle to even write a paragraph without distractions. I met with my doctor, and we both expected the fatigue to be related to a vitamin B-12 deficiency. I got my results back, and I actually had an above normal reading. He ordered a bunch of thyroid tests and checked for mono…but those findings were normal. The next step is to meet with my sleep specialist about my sleep apnea – I’ve been using my CPAP machine, but I feel like it’s not helping me feel rested. He guessed that after losing 80-100 pounds, I’d likely not need to use the CPAP anymore. Now that I’m down almost 130…I’d like to know definitively if it’s needed anymore.

I’m working on getting back on track with weight accountability. I haven’t been as obsessed with numbers lately, which is part of why I think I haven’t been losing. My current weight is 244. I was in a plateau between December and April, then I had a spike up to 261 around the time I went to Vegas. I got into bad habits while figuring out my carb intake to manage reactive hypoglycemia, and now it’s hard to go through any meal without something carby. When I returned from Vegas, I decided to get back to a stricter eating plan, and was able to drop that 15 pounds of regain in about 6 weeks.

fitbloggin trout lake farm tour
At the end of June, I went to Portland (my hometown!) to attend FitBloggin’ 13, a blogging conference for health, fitness, and weight loss bloggers. The first day of the conference, I went with a group to the Nutrilite Trout Lake Farms to see the world’s largest organic herb farm. We also made a stop at Multnomah Falls, which is one of my favorite places in the Portland area. I got a dose of “nature” before being inside a hotel for the majority of the weekend. I got to spend time with a lot of my blogging friends, and presented my session on SEO.

What’s coming up next for me?

This week I’m going to Phoenix for the Obesity Action Coalition’s Your Weight Matters Conference. I’m participating in the Walk from Obesity on Sunday with Team Bariatric Bad Girls. In October, I’ll be speaking at Obesity Help’s National Conference about connecting over social media for support, outreach, and accountability for weight loss. If you see me at either event, be sure to say hi!

Hair Loss And Regrowth After Gastric Bypass

dyeing hair after gastric bypassMy body has changed in so many ways in the last 14 months. My whole-body size is different. My skin is different. My nails are different. And my hair is different.

Last summer, I was really freaking out about hair loss. I had been warned before surgery that the hair loss would come, and it started being very noticeable around 4 months post-op. Last summer I was in a bit of an emotional funk, and the hair loss was part of it.  So many things about my body were changing, and I my body felt a little out of control.

I tried to combat the hair loss with upping my daily protein intake and taking biotin pills.  But the damage was already done. Anesthesia from surgery is traumatic for your body, and there’s no way to counteract the way that your hair follicles will handle it. Even with extra protein and biotin, the breakage and hair loss was out of my control for several months. Biotin helps initiate new hair growth…which I noticed on less-desirable places on my body (like my thighs, neck, chin, etc). I felt fuzzy everywhere…but the regrowth on my head finally started.

after dying hair blackNow 14 months post-op, a lot of my regrowth is wispy, but long enough to style in with the rest of my hair. But, what I’ve noticed. I have a regimen with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, detangler, and heat protectant. I can make it look pretty good, but it’s not at healthy as it was pre-op.

It’s changed in these ways:

  • Curl: It’s stripped out almost all of my natural curl. If I let it air dry, I’ll get some wave to it, but I think the days of scrunch-and-go are over
  • Texture: My hair feels more coarse, and the regrowth is either baby fine or crazy thick and wiry
  • Thickness: I don’t have thin patches anymore, but I have about 1/3 less hair than before surgery
  • Color: It’s lighter than it was before surgery. It’s gone from being stark raven black to just dark brown. Some areas, like right around my hairline, are very light…with almost a blonde sheen to them. My grays are more wiry and noticeable.

I’m vain, so I think I’ll be coloring my hair from now on.

What Is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

reactive hypoglycemia

How RH makes me feel

Over the past two months, I’ve begun experiencing one of the dreaded after-effects of gastric bypass surgery: reactive hypoglycemia. Most people who are familiar with gastric bypass know about dumping syndrome, but reactive hypoglycemia can be just as painful and uncomfortable.

Reactive Hypoglycemia (RH) is a condition indicating recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia in people who do not have diabetes. Scientists and nutritionists think that RH is a consequence of excessive insulin release triggered by intake of carbohydrates, but the insulin release continues past the digestion phase, and and beyond the disposal of the glucose derived from the meal. According to the NIH, a blood glucose level below 70mg/dL at the time of symptoms, followed by relief after eating, confirms a diagnosis for reactive hypoglycemia.

Reactive Hypoglycemia symptoms include:

  • Double vision or blurry vision
  • Unclear thinking
  • Sleeping Trouble
  • heart palpitation or fibrillation
  • fatigue, depression
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion
  • sweating
  • headaches, tremors, flushing
  • nervousness, irritability, panic attack
  • increased appetite, craving sweets
  • numbness/coldness in the extremities

In severe untreated cases, coma can be a result from RH. It’s serious stuff.

How do you treat RH? By eating. The quickest way to feel better is to eat something that will get your blood sugar up quickly, so sugars and carbohydrates seems to work the best. But having protein and fat will help sustain you so you don’t have another RH episode.

Now, I leave a disclaimer that this is NOT to be taken as medical advice, but I’m sharing what I’ve come up with after tracking my RH episodes and talking to my doctor. I will often have peanut butter and crackers, or some popcorn. Fruit juice usually makes me dump, but a sip or two seems to help me get out of an RH episode. I’ll admit, sometimes I’ll eat junk food when I sense the first symptoms of RH, and being timely is much more important than choosing the exact perfect thing to eat.

I had my first experience with RH in November in England. I was meeting up with a friend in Liverpool one morning, and the restaurant we planned to eat at wasn’t open yet. I nibbled on some turkey jerky, then we walked around Albert Dock for a few hours, then I went to the Beatles Story museum. As soon as I got back in the car, I started getting confused, shaky, weak, and had blurred vision. I knew it was because I hadn’t eaten and I actually blacked out for a few seconds. Eating made me feel better very quickly.
The next RH episode was on Thanksgiving. I had a fairly surgery-friendly dinner (turkey, salad, veggies, sf jello) with one exception – I had a little bit of mashed potatoes and gravy. I’ve been having powdered mashed potatoes for a few months, but mashed real potatoes took me over the edge. I went into dumping mode for about 20 minutes. As soon as the dumping subsided, I laid down and fell asleep immediately. When I woke up, I felt disoriented, my arms and legs were completely numb, and had double vision. When I tried to stand up, I collapsed and started shaking uncontrollably. I got on BBGC and left a message with my symptoms, and everyone agreed it was an RH episode.

I started tracking the symptoms through the next 10 or so episodes, and I realized that there were two common items : I had done a rigorous workout within the past 24 hours, and it had been more than 3 hours since I’d eaten anything. To date, I’ve completely passed out 3 times from RH. Every Sunday in the 3rd hour of church, I’d have RH symptoms, so I began packing crackers, granola bars, and other portable items to eat between classes.

I met with my doctor, showed him my log of RH episodes, and he agreed that it was something I needed to take very proactive control over. His main advice to me, which is not what is part of the typical gastric bypass diet, is to eat more carbs. Eat something a little carby with every meal. Eat carbs and protein before and after working out. Stop exercise at the first sign of fatigue. Be intuitive and listen to my body’s signals.

My weight loss has been slow the past 2 months, but my body is shrinking. I’m down a dress size, but only about 5 pounds from the beginning of January. I’m exercising hard, my muscles are getting more lean and toned, and I am enjoying an active lifestyle. My body is no longer in ketosis, but I’m okay with that. I’d rather have energy, exercise, and eat more carbs, than be lethargic with a carb and exercise restriction.

Now, if I can only get this reactive hypoglycemia under control!

The 12 Days of Christmas – Bariatric Style

12 days of christmas bariatric styleMy friend Jennifer from Bariatric Bad Girls Club wrote a funny weight loss surgery version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. She shared the link from her blog in BBGC, and it had me in stitches. Oh, how I relate to this, especially this year since it’s my first Christmas since surgery.

The 12 Days of Christmas- Bariatric Style

On the 1st Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, a Roux-n-y Surgery!
On the 2nd Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, two weeks of protein shakes.
On the 3rd Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, three French Vanilla Protein bars.
On the 4th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, four follow-up visits.
On the 5th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, five little incisions!
On the 6th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, six weeks of soft foods.
On the 7th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, seven laps of swimming.
On the 8th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, eight glasses of water.
On the 9th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, nine little bites.
On the 10th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, ten clothes sizes.
On the 11th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, eleven kinds of beans.
On the 12th Day of Christmas, my surgeon gave to me, the tools to succeed!

Frequently Asked Questions About My Gastric Bypass Surgery

weight loss surgery not easy way out It’s been seven months since I went under the knife for my gastric bypass surgery. My life has changed in so many ways. I’ve lost over 100 pounds, my eating habits are different, I am more active, and I’m in better health than I’ve been for a long time.

I’ve been grateful for all of the support I’ve had through these months of change and transition. Writing on this blog has been very therapeutic, and I’ve been excited about the friendships I’ve made through sharing about my journey publicly. But after all these months….I don’t feel like my everyday existence is very strange or unique as a weight loss surgery patient. I don’t really have as much to write about, and sometimes I’m not sure what people want me to write about. I decided to do a Frequently Asked Questions post, since I get a lot of questions on a daily basis.

 How long had you been considering weight loss surgery? Were you looking into any other surgeries besides gastric bypass? Yes, I also considered the Lap Band and a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. Deciding to have weight loss surgery was a multi-year process. I began researching they different types of weight loss surgery in 2008. For a while I was thinking about doing the lap band. But after a few friends of mine had bad experiences with their lap bands, I was less interested in it. I read some older posts from a favorite blogger of mine, and she gave a lot of information about her experience with gastric bypass. I was encouraged by her long-term success with it, and decided it was time to consult a bariatric surgeon.

I went to the mandatory informational session at my surgeon’s office at the beginning of 2011. My intention to pursue Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RNY), but began considering the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG). By the time I met with Dr Smith to discuss my options, I was fairly certain that I wanted the VSG. We talked about the pros and cons of each procedure, and his recommendation was that I do the RNY. He said my weight loss would probably happen faster and it would give a better physiological results. I trusted his recommendation for me and decided to go with the bypass.

What food has made you the most ill since surgery? My food tolerances have varied a lot over the last 8 months. It’s hard to know when a food that I’ve had no problem with in the past will make me miserable the next time I eat it. The worst offender for me is applesauce. Even though it had no sugar added, it causes dumping syndrome. I’ve had two experiences eating it that I never want to repeat.  I was nauseous, shaky, dizzy, and broke out in a cold sweat. The other things that have made me super sick are grilled shrimp, scrambled eggs, and iceberg lettuce.

When was the first time you looked in the mirror and thought “Wow, I look skinny!”? I haven’t had a lot of “WOW!” moments with myself, but I recently had that moment looking at a picture. About two weeks ago, my office manager took a picture of me with my awesome coworker Suzanne before a work retreat. She showed it to us to make sure it was acceptable to post on Facebook, and I couldn’t believe how good I looked. I got so many supportive comments on the picture on Facebook…but I felt bad that I was the one getting all the attention on it. But I have to admit, I REALLY like how my body looks in it.

What foods do you eat these days? I have a pretty good variety foods that I regularly eat, but I’m still restricted on breads, pasta, tortillas, and simple carbs. Some veggies, like celery, I can only tolerate if de-stringed and cooked. If something is breaded, like fish sticks, I will peel off the breading. These are my current favorites:

  • Hummus and carrot chips
  • String cheese and Tillamook medium cheddar
  • Sauteed mushrooms and zucchini
  • Curry with meat and veggies, no rice
  • Teriyaki steak
  • Soup
  • Toppings off of pizza (cheese, sauce, meat, veggies)
  • Deli-style chicken salad and crab salad
  • Watermelon, blueberries, strawberries
  • Turkey jerky
  • Dannon Light-n-Fit Greek yogurt with PB2 (only Greek yogurt I can tolerate)

11 pounds lost

What have you done with all of your clothes that are too big? I’ve got a big box of clothes in the top of my closet that are too big. And I wait to put the clothes into the box until they’re hopelessly too big for me. I’ve passed on some to people in my hospital support group, but now a lot of people are smaller than I am. I’ve meant to take them to the plus-size consignment shop in SLC, but I haven’t ever made an appointment to do some. Some items I want to list on eBay. But I’m open to giving them away to a good home. Most are size 22-30.

Why did you decide to write about your surgery experience so publicly? I knew that the surgery process would be difficult, and I wanted to have a good support network. I anticipated getting a lot of questions about what was happening with me and my body, and I figured that I’d probably have to repeat myself less often if my friends had a place to get the information publicly.

Also, I hadn’t found a lot of weight loss surgery blogs at the time I started Beauty and the Bypass. In a lot of cases, the posts I read seemed a little too…unrealistic. Of course, reading about significant weight loss is interesting and inspiring, but not very many blogs went into the emotional impact of the surgery. Even though it’s been hard to personally open up about the emotional and mental aspects as a weight loss surgery patient, I don’t regret it. Much. A few times I’ve felt overexposed and wished that I hadn’t written so candidly.

I’ve connected with many other WLS bloggers through my online support groups like Bariatric Bad Girls Club. I discuss a lot of the emotional issues there, instead of blogging about all of them. Because support groups exist, I think that’s why there aren’t as many bloggers writing about those issues.

What is your greatest regret? With how much my life has changed in such a relatively short time, I wish that I wouldn’t have put off having surgery for so long. I had so many weight-related health problems, and was miserable with my body. If I would have had surgery 2 years earlier, I wouldn’t have “dieted” up my weight so high. Then again, I gained 75 pounds in the time that I was considering surgery, and it took those feelings of desperation to push me over the edge to go for the surgery.

Who/what/where did you “turn to” when you felt on the brink of failure? My husband has been an amazing support to me, and I turn to him most often. I’ve turned to my daughter, who posesses incredible maturity and instincts to know how to help me when I felt too pathetic to ask for her help. I have prayed many time for strength, health, and courage. I’ve relied on my friends and family, both online and offline. I ask for help in my support groups.

If you could go back to your first meeting with your surgeon, what would be the top 5 or 10 questions you would ask him? Honestly, I felt very prepared and informed by the time I first met with Dr Smith. But the main thing that I wish I’d known before surgery was that I couldn’t take NSAIDs after surgery. I didn’t know until I was being released from the hospital and they told me in my discharge instructions. I’ve relied on ibuprofen for pain relief for most of my adult life, and not being able to take it has been difficult. If I would have known about NSAIDs before surgery, I think I would have opted for the VSG. I also wish I would have talked to him about hair loss, fatigue, and adequate protein intake.

If there’s a question about my surgery experience that I haven’t talked about, you can ask about it in the comments. I will do a follow-up post at some point.

Six Month Update – 100 Pounds

100 pound weight loss
August marked my 6-month mark since gastric bypass surgery. August also marked my biggest milestone yet – hitting 100 pounds lost. I was stuck at a plateau for over 3 weeks, varying between 96-99 pounds lost, and I finally hit 100 pounds. I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Last week I pulled out my pre-op jeans. They are size 28/30 elastic-waist stretch jeans that I wore to and from the hospital for surgery. They used to be a tight fight, especially on my belly and calves. Now I wear a 20/22 jean. I’m still wearing “plus size” clothes, and it’s been interesting to see that losing 100 pounds hasn’t made me drop clothing sizes as quickly as I expected. But I think the next 100 pounds will be where the big size/shape changes happen.

Since surgery, I’ve lost the following amounts on my body measurements

  • Neck -2.25″
  • Bust -8″
  • Chest -8″
  • Waist -11″
  • Hip -14″
  • Thigh -6.5″
  • Calf -3.5″
  • Ankle -2″
  • Upper arm -3″
  • Wrist -2″

I’ve noticed a reduction in joint pain, sleep apnea symptoms, circulation problems, and back pain. I feel more “mobile” – it’s easier to fit into chairs with arms, I have more stamina for physical activity, and I find myself more willing to try new things. When I was in New York City a few weeks ago, I did LOTS of walking. Several miles a day. I walked enough to wear myself out and get blisters all over my feet…and it felt great!

It feels like I’m used to my life as a weight loss surgery patient. I’m more intuitive with my body’s signals and am better and respecting its limitations. The two ongoing struggles I have are with fatigue and hair loss. Luckily, the hair loss has diminished, and it’s only slightly worse than “normal.” I have patches that are thinner than I’m comfortable with, but it doesn’t freak me out every time I run a brush through my hair.

I don’t know when the fatigue will improve. I’ve upped my protein intake and doses of vitamin B12 and D. I also resumed taking Provigil, which helps with my daytime sleepiness from sleep apnea. Some days I’m fine, other days I can hardly make it through the workday.

While 100 pounds is a significant accomplishment, my journey is far from over. I’m still 100 pounds overweight. I know that the next hundred will not come off as quickly or easily as the first hundred, and it’s possible I may stall out and my body won’t let me get to my goal weight. But I have hope. I am grateful for what I’ve been able to do for my health, and am grateful for all of the support I’ve received along the way.

Hair Loss After Gastric Bypass

My body has gone through a lot of changes since surgery. One of the toughest things for my self image has been the hair loss. I’m not going bald by any means, and I know that it could be a lot worse…but I really don’t like how much scalp I’m showing these days.

There are a few reasons why hair loss happens after surgery. It can be a result of the trauma of surgery, from the anesthesia, or from nutritional deficiencies. For most people, there is a delay of 2-9 months before the thinning occurs. I started noticing it around the 3 month mark. At 5 months, it’s even more pronounced. Also, the texture of my hair has changed. It’s less shiny and more coarse.

Everytime I brush my hair, or run my fingers through my hair, I have strands come loose. The loss appears even more dramatic with my hair being so long (about halfway down my back). If I  run my hand across a surface (such as my bed or desk at work), the stray hairs are there too. The most breakage and loss happens near the front of my head, so I’ve had to find creative ways to part my hair and pin my bangs so it’s less noticeable.

There’s no magic cure for the hair loss, but I’ve upped my protein intake, started taking biotin, and switched to higher quality, less damaging hair products. I have been heat-styling less, which means it’s up in a loose bun most days. I avoid tight ponytails so I don’t lose extra hair from the elastics.

One of the common debates I hear about weight loss surgery is health vs vanity/beauty. My primary reason for having weight loss surgery was to improve my health, but there definitely was an element of vanity to it. Of course I want to appear more trim and attractive. But I feel conflicted about complaining about my hair loss because it IS vain. I’d rather have thin hair and a healthy body, but it is a tough adjustment.

Luckily, almost all post-operative hair loss will improve after time. As tempted as I’ve been to grab a box of Minoxidil at the drug store, I know I need to be patient with my body and wait it out. Unless I point it out, most people don’t notice the hair loss….but they do notice the 85 pounds I’ve lost.

Harder Than Expected

Over and over, I’ve heard people say some iteration of this idea: “Having weight loss surgery is taking the easy way out.” But I’m here to tell you – it’s tough. Life as a weight loss surgery patient has been much more difficult than I expected.

The last six weeks have been hard. Knock my socks off difficult. Throw in the towel tough. Along with the surgery-type challenges, there have been a lot of other situational stresses to deal with.

The biggest recent obstacle has been our family’s move. It’s stressful to move for everyone, and even when you have people helping you, it’s a big undertaking. I’ve moved six times in the last six years. I feel like I should be a pro mover at this point, but I seem to get more anxious with every moving experience. With the ongoing fatigue I’ve had, I felt my capacity to get things done was a drop in the bucket. My husband was the rockstar of the move, packing and lifting far more boxes than I did.

nicole's black eyeThe day we packed up the moving truck, I had a box springs mattress whack me in the head. It had been leaning against the wall, but it lost balance and landed on me as I was sitting on the floor. The wooden frame got me pretty good and knocked me out. I probably should have been checked out for a concussion, but I was too worried about moving. I worked through the dizziness because I felt like I had no other choice. The swelling from the hit eventually gave me a bruised eye socket.

And what happened the day after we moved into the new place? The sewer backed up. We were lucky that none of our personal belongs were ruined with the flood, but had to leave for a few days so crews could clean up, tear out carpet, and let things air out. Staying in a hotel right after a move wasn’t exactly restful. We’re glad to be back in our new home.

What else? I’ve been at my new job for a few weeks, and I really like it, but I feel like the fatigue I’ve felt recently is making me far less efficient than normal. It’s harder to focus and make it through the weekday. I thought that I’d feel more energetic at this weight.

Speaking of weight, I’ve been in a plateau for a few weeks. I was SO excited when I got under 300. But it’s been bouncing between 301.5 and 298.0 for over 2 weeks. At 298.0, I was officially 75.3 pounds down. Hopefully now that the move is over, I’ll be able to get into a better groove with my weigh loss. I haven’t been exercising much, and I am ready to have the strength to do so.

I’ve got an appointment with Dr. Smith tomorrow. I’m hoping to get some answers why I’m so tired. My guess is that I’ve got some nutritional deficiencies. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety, which seems to hit me hard every summer, so it might be time to switch up some medications.

A few people have asked me this week “Do you regret having the surgery?” I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings because I have had some complications and obstacles, but I don’t regret it. It’s given me the ability to make better decisions for my health. My body looks better than it has in several years, and I’m pleased with the results so far. I need to be patient with myself to keep doing the right things for my health. I haven’t been perfect with my eating habits, and it’s hard to overcome the temptations to use food as a crutch when things are hard. The difference is that surgery has given me a good tool to limit my ability to eat when I succumb to food to cope. If I’d been able to eat like a “normal person” through the last few weeks of the move, I probably would have gained 10 or more pounds. Instead, I’ve been bobbing between the same 3 pounds. I know I’m in a rough spot, but I also know it’s temporary. I just need to keep taking life one step at a time.


Sixty-Four Pounds

Last week was my three month mark from surgery, and I’m down 64 pounds. The first two months, the weight came off fast – about 25 pounds per month. Last month, only 10.

Many people are under the impression that the weight just “melts off” after you have surgery, but the last month was proof to me that if you’re not measuring and tracking every bite, it slows down dramatically. I have to admit, I’m not measuring and tracking what I eat on a daily basis. I’ve gotten comfortable with what’s on my food list, and I can usually “eyeball” the portion that I should be eating. But since I’m not dropping the pounds as fast, I’m back to measuring.

When I look in the mirror, I can see the progress in my body. I’ve lost 8.5 inches in my waist (from 49 to 40.5), 7 inches off my bust (52 to 45), and 8 inches off my butt/hips (62 to 54). When I look at my sideview, I see that my belly is flatter and less pronounced, my butt is smaller, lower and is less bubbled out, and my back is less flabby. My arms are smaller too, so when I have them at my sides, it doesn’t feel so jiggly.

But when people mention my weight loss, I still get a lot of “Wow, I really see it in your face!”

I went bra shopping last week because my bras all fit wrong. I have so much extra space in the cups and my band size is down 5 inches. I’ve gone from being really tight on the last set of hooks to being baggy on the tightest setting. I had three different people measure me and suggest bras, but I got three different sizes. 25 bras later, I didn’t find one that I loved. Guess that means more bra shopping.

This weekend I’m going out of town again. I have another cousin getting married, so I’m starting the drive to LA on Thursday afternoon. But I’ll be stopping in Las Vegas for the night, and meet up with some of my Bariatric Bad Girls Club friends. It’s the Weigh Loss Surgery Foundation of America meet-up, and I would totally stay the weekend if it didn’t conflict with the wedding.


To Be Perfectly Honest…

Today will be one of my not so pretty posts. Even though I’m posting a pretty good picture of me.

April has been a really tough month emotionally. My weight loss has slowed considerably. I traveled out of town three weekends out of the month, and never was fully prepared for all the meals that I should have planned and brought along food for. Being unprepared brings temptations. And this month I’ve fallen prey to several temptations.

What have I eaten, you ask? I’m not telling you this so you can criticize me, I’m telling you so I can be honest with myself. I succumbed to pieces of Easter candy. I’ve eaten some full-fat ice cream instead of frozen yogurt. I’ve sipped on soda a few times. I’ve snacked on Cheetos Puffs a few times (even though I know they’re useless crap with no nutritional value). My portions haven’t been monstrous, obviously since I can’t really consume more than 3 ounces at once, but I know I’m off the wagon.

Most gastric bypass patients deal with a condition called “dumping,” where condition where ingested foods bypass the stomach too rapidly and enter the small intestine mostly undigested. This causes nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness and fatigue. It usually happens after eating high fat or high sugar foods. But as far as I can tell, I’ve never dumped. My body hasn’t equipped me with the mechanism to make me violently ill if I eat rubbish. I must be crazy for wishing my body did. I seem  to only get sick eating “healthy stuff” like eggs and chicken.

So yeah….bad food choices. In actuality, I’d say that 98% of what I eat is right on track, and 2% is “bad.” I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses why I’m sabotaging my weight loss like this, especially so early in the game. And the biggest source of anger and frustration is all the damn food advice people give me. It messes with me every time.

I’ve always been a pleaser – I want to make people happy by doing what they others ask me to do. But in the case of food advice as a weight loss surgery patient, it’s infuriating. I’ve been tempted to go back to people whose advice has been a catalyst for something bad happening and say “See what you did to me!!” For instance, a certain person has bugged me over and over to try eating a certain food. I had already had a hard time tolerating it, but I knew they wouldn’t get off my back until I ate it and reported back. So I finally ate it, and I violently threw it up. I ran back into the bathroom multiple times to wretch, and I even started vomiting blood. It wasn’t pretty. And the whole time, I was mad at this person who had so persistently advised me to eat it. Honestly, I know I should have stuck to my guns and ignored the advice. I should have been stronger. But I’m feeling weak and vulnerable these days, and now that I’ve had well over 100 people give me advice, it’s really messed with my head.

Unless you are a doctor or nutritionist – PLEASE do not give me advice on food. The only exceptions to this rule are 1) If you have PERSONALLY been a weight loss surgery patient (not your friend, not your family member) AND/OR 2) if I PERSONALLY ask you for advice. However well meaning you are, it is NOT helpful. I have an extremely limited amount of things that I can eat, and can only eat very limited quantities. I need to expand my palate when MY DOCTOR recommends it, NOT YOU. When I get food advice, it confuses me. I makes me want to start to push the limits of what’s right for me to eat. It makes me want to binge on junk food. Often the advice makes me cry. Sometimes it just makes me not want to eat at all, and fasting is NOT good for me at the stage.

Secretly in my head, I want to tell people who give me food advice, “Is it important enough for you that I eat ____ that it could risk our friendship? Okay then….SHUT UP!”

I think it’s time to go into counseling again. I need to grow a thicker skin.