Hey everyone! That's right - seven months in! Still seeing progress! Happier than ever! (And if you haven't tried Snapchat filters...you should! They are amazing! Add me @ehphotog)
Okay, stats first!
Weight Pre-Op: 437.8 (start of pre-op diet)
Last Month: 330.2
This Week: 317.2
Weight Lost This Month: -13 pounds!
Weight Lost Since Pre-Op: -120.6
Total Weight Lost Since Highest: 149.4
So, what have I been up to the past month?! SO MANY incredible things!
Last we met it was late April. Life was crazy! I was traveling all over the state for work and just constantly running this way and that. Not much has changed. I've expanded my reach a bit...more on that in a bit...but otherwise - working, traveling, meeting people, fostering friendships, having NSVs all over the dang place! There have been ups and downs - and not just on roller coasters - although I've seen some of those in the past month as well! Here's the recap for you.
Even before I started this journey, I signed up with Gwynnie Bee. It's a subscription services that sends you clothing every month. You wear the piece (or pieces) as long as you'd like, when you send that back, they send you something else. It was going good for a while. It was nice when I switched sizes to try new things. But I started to notice I was getting less things I liked and more things that felt like the "old" me. I guess my style was changing. I've since canceled the service and signed up with Dia & Co (which is similar, but it's more a stylist shopping for pieces for you - keep what you like, return what you don't - it's like having a personal shopper), but I do recommend it to anyone plus size and anyone who is changing sizes and wants to try new things without a huge financial commitment.
The best part about being back down in sizes? I can shop in stores again! I was back up to where online shopping was all that was available to me. Probably the biggest reason GB really helped me get through that time. But now that I can shop at regular stores - that's all I want to do! I try not to shop too much because my sizes are still changing. Like this green dress I found in the Juniors section (didn't know that at the time) of TJ Maxx and paired it with some LuLaRoe leggings (don't even get me started) - which I can now wear! I bought this less than a month ago...they are already fitting even better. In a month the dress might be approaching "too big"...but I'm not complaining! I LOVE pulling XL clothes! I love shopping on both the plus size and regular size sides of a store! My tummy is down to a 22/24. My top is down to about a size 18. And it feels GREAT!
Biggest "store" NSV to date!? Victoria's Secret. I was able to buy some of those bras. I actually walked into the store, tried on a bra and it basically fit (band size). Now, the boobies were too big (cup size) to pick out the size and style I wanted in store...but I made an online purchase and am happy to say I now comfortably (as comfy as a bra can be, comeon!) into these bras! It makes me feel like I gained something! I did! More clothing options! I've become much more picky about what I'm willing to spend money on! It has to make me feel GOOD for me to buy it. It's no longer just whatever will fit. A lot fits! I get to pick! (Remind me how much I am enjoying this when I go shopping this weekend for the dress I need for our vacation! *lol*)
Know what else has been more fun?! Exploring! Having adventures! My body is cooperating. I'm able to do more and have way more energy. So when a work trip turns into a waterfall detour - I'm ready for it! I've climbed waterfalls this year! I've gotten my feet wet. I've had actual adventures! And I'm loving it! NSVs all over the place!
Biggest adventure of all so far?! Traveling for 20 hours by car to spend 5 days with 400 of my closest friends! All of them obsessed with planners and organization and stickers and having a sassy attitude! It was a blast! And I don't know if I would have done it before surgery. It was high anxiety. It required a lot of walking - a lot of stamina. And in the past I would have been the biggest and probably least able-bodied there. This time, I wasn't. I was just one of many. I'm not tiny or small. I'm still not even "normal" by any standards. But I totally fit in. And, what's more, I was able to concentrate on the experience instead of how I felt and how much I hurt. (Granted, 20 hours in the car meant my hips hurt BAD the entire time...still haven't solved that problem yet.)
I met people that have inspired me (Whitney English and Erin Condren are amazing girl bosses doing it the way I want to do it - step by step!) and people that make me laugh and people that make me cry with joy. I even had some moments where people knew ME and talked to me about how much I had done to inspire them. It felt weird to be 'noticed' like that...and it felt good too for it to be for such a good reason!
Now...remember when I told you that had been ups AND downs?! Yea, it's not all been gravy. There are some things I just haven't been able to do, some things I'm not ready to do and some sobering realizations about myself and my new body along the way.
The week before my NOLA trip, I went to Kings Island with my kids and the high school band. I thought I was going to overcome my demons and try to get on a few rides. Even growing up I was too afraid of not fitting. I thought this was the time my confidence would lead me through... it didn't. I didn't ride a single ride. I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for the disappointment. I wasn't ready to even try. I was nervous and scared and all of that won out over my confidence. It's something I plan to try to come back to in July with the support of my family...I hope...
And even things I thought I was confident about - like being a part of a huge scavenger hunt team through the streets of the French Quarter - turned into a fizzling mess for me. Those same fears and anxieties came up. I felt I wasn't being heard or considered. I felt slow. I felt tired and sluggish and ignored and pushed aside. It was really, really difficult for me that day. Top that off with pants - in the heat of NOLA - and the rain - and two hours of nearly running from place to place - all of that on top of the frustration. By the end of this I wanted to GO HOME. I even had a moment when I realized I was getting heat exhaustion and was about to throw up from the exertion. I was still able to get through and back to the hotel (I ubered back - not ashamed of that AT ALL). I learned a valuable lesson about myself that day in NOLA. My new body can't do it all...especially rehydrate fast enough to recover from several hours in the heat with no water. See, when you have a 5 oz stomach, your body can only hold 5 oz of water at a time...and that's just not enough to allow you to recover quickly from that kind of exhaustion. I BARELY made it to the bed of my hotel - dizzy and THIS CLOSE to passing out. Lesson learned! (Other lesson learned - food is still good - but find someone to share it with! *lol*)
But when someone sends you a photo of you that THEY took and you think to yourself - I look GOOD in that photo --- something you haven't said about a photo someone else has taken in a really long time...well, it makes it all worth it. (This is Michelle and I adore her! She's just as nerdy as me! I shared some hand-crafted Doctor Who items my MIL made for me and she shared a David Tenant Doctor Who bookmark that makes me laugh EVERY TIME I see it!)
NONE of this would have been possible, though, without my dedication to my health. Some people may think of surgery as an easy way out. They think post-vsg patients have it easy. But I tell you I am dedicated to my health and fitness still every single day of my life. This image is a prime example. We arrived in NOLA at 1:30am. I had already scheduled a workout class with The Sweat Social at 6:30am the next morning - and the class was at least 15-20 minutes walking distance from my hotel. While everyone else went out for a drink - I went to bed and was up by 5:30am the next morning and out the door by 6am. I was one of two people at the class and had a great time and felt really great that I was so dedicated to my healthy lifestyle!
I spent 29 days leading up to the trip doing a 30-day plank challenge. I didn't really consider when it would end when I started it, I just started. No excuses. I missed one day (totally forgot), which I made up the next day by double planking. And then the last day fell on the day we drove down to NOLA. And I spent my time at a gas station completing my FIVE MINUTE PLANK while the other girls were in the car munching some pizza and drinking Monster. Dedication to fitness! Dedication to my goals!
Between life at the gym...
...or life on my new bike..
..and life in the yoga studio...
I'm taking the time to make sure I reach whatever goals I can reach with my sleeve helping me get there!
And all this has meant that I've been allowed and able to shoot more and devote more love to my passion of photography! It's easier to run after little kids and get in silly photographer positions to get the best shot. I don't get wore out as fast and I can really get through sessions and direct my clients better. And I'm loving it!
I'll be editing this one this weekend...
I even went out with a friend in NOLA and took some really great shots completely out of my element (I'm a posed portrait photographer and was trying to do macro and landscape and street photography and still life - it was a challenge and I loved it!)!
So...what's next? Well, I'm working on a 30-day yoga challenge right now (see pic below). Feel free to join me - all the videos are free on YouTube! I had to take a day off yesterday due to some back issues, and I probably have wait until I see the chiro tomorrow and get an all-clear to continue, but it's been really great learning about my body and devoting time each day to something active. In the yoga studio I've had instructors comment on how beautiful and great my practice is - they can't believe a girl my size is able to hold poses with such confidence and actually have proper technique! It's been great fun!
We're also headed off in a few weeks to Florida where I intend to have one of the most active and relaxing family vacations of my life. Snorkeling. Swimming. Kayaking. Stand-up Paddleboarding. We want to do it ALL! And now I actually CAN! And - secret time - I'm even biting the bullet and having family photos taken! Let's hope that goes well too! I'm trying to remember to stay confident and just love whatever skin I'm in right now.
If you have any VSG-related questions, I'm happy to answer them! I haven't had my 6-month post-op check-in with my surgeon yet (he went out of town - it was supposed to be today), but I did get bloodwork back from my regular doc and my Vitamin D is up (but still somewhat low) and my good cholesterol still needs a little help (so I'm taking fish oil). Everything else looked good, they said.