A Phoenix Rising: My Journey of Weight Loss and Self Found

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What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Answer here

What was the best advice you've ever received?

Whatever you do that follows the thought, "Aw, fuck it..." is never a good idea. You will regret it.

What is the scariest thing you have ever seen?


The Warrior's Path

Why have I walked away from this blog? I loved it. I really did. But as the years when on post op, and the new me settled in, I did what so many have done.. I forgot and I got scared to come back and let everyone know that I slipped up.
Sad, really. Isn't this the whole reason for sharing my journey? Hell, Oprah lost track too! But it is a downfall of mine, I strive to be the "A" student-- the good girl. And when I lost my way, and started gaining weight, I couldn't face it.
But the good news is, I am back. I want to discuss what has happened to me in the last year, so that post op patients really KNOW what its like LONG TERM.

So to get it out of the way... How much have I gained back? About twenty two pounds. Shit! That freaked me out just writing it.
How could I have gained that back? By not eating well and not exercising. By not doing what I know to be right. By going through some hard things in my life, and letting food be comforting again.
Do I look fat? Compared to my over 300 pound self, no. But compared to my lowest weight? I am feeling pretty chubby. It makes me want to scream.

The "warrior" in me says: "'Fess up, come clean and move on!", so that is what I am going to do here. I hope that new people reading this post will take the time to read my earlier posts--pre-surgery, post surgery, etc. I still feel like those emotions are valid and true and I would not go back for a second!

I still have alot to say about Gastric Bypass, WLS, weight loss in general, among other topics. I certainly needed something like this when I was began my WLS research.

I resolve to put ME back on my own list again. As I walk the Warrior's Path, who knows what battles may ensue? All I know now is: this warrior is trained, and understands the enemy like never before.


Why The Weight...

I have decided in the interest of me "coming clean" about my weight gain, I would post the reasons WHY I think I have gained the weight back.

Simple Truths Of My Weight Gain:
I am eating too much/ portion control
I am eating too much sugar
I am eating out too often
I am not taking my vitamins as often as I should
I am not working out
I am eating late at night
I let the fact that I am always a Gastric Bypass Patient slip back into my unconsciousness.
I eat to soothe stress.
And most importantly, I became ashamed of the gain, hid out, and gained more. Lesson learned..Keep telling the truth. Keep "the lights" on!


An Open Letter To My Former Self

(notice to readers: This is a letter I wrote to myself today. It's duality may sound a bit nutty and a bit like "Sybil" but don't we all have different parts of ourselves we choose to show or not each day?)

Dear Friend,

I am going to write this from my heart. I am so sorry I let you down. You had to go through so much as a morbidly obese woman. So much tension, so much concern and worry: "will that chair hold me?" "Can I fit behind the wheel of my car anymore?" "How do I ignore those mean and nasty comments from those kids in the mall and go have decent day?"
I know you wondered when and if the day would ever come that those concerns would fall by the wayside.. or at least, get put in to the file labeled, "The Past". I remember the endless dieting, the constant gauging your day by the numbers on the scale. I remember how you cried at night when no one could see or hear you. How quietly you despaired day by day. You had very little hope to go on.

Then, I came into the picture: The Warrior, The Best Friend, The Truth Teller. I told you it could be different if you made certain choices and commitments. If you faced your fears and conquered them one by one. I said I would be there for you. I would prop you up, and that it was okay to learn to be a strong, healthy thin woman because you had me to lean on. You blossomed into a veritable force of nature! You were thin, yes. But more than that, you became fearless, walking taller, a leader. You had your down times, but I listened and got you to look at the bigger picture during those times.

Of late, I have failed you and for that I am so sorry. I faded into the background again. I didn't stop you when you had to have that one last Reese's. I let your day to day worries creep in again and this time joined you! I lost my way too.

I just wanted to write this to let you know I am still here, still strong, still able to show you the ropes. You just need to accept where you are right now. Accept it, honor it and move on. Okay, so you have 25 pounds to lose. That is a good amount of weight to lose, yes. But it is not impossible. No need to go all the way back to the scared, tired, sick obese woman who did not believe in herself, who could not walk a block, who could not cross her legs, who made excuses about it all to hide her shame.. no need to do that anymore. You are not that woman anymore. (Eventhough it feels like you are!) You have gained back only 17% of your total pounds lost. That is still a passing grade, Missy. And no one is testing you!

So lean on The Warrior. I have been in battle and won most of them. I know how to do it. I know what to do. Just quiet the chaos and listen. Take the first steps forward. Because backward is no longer an option.

With great regard, my friend-

The Warrior


Inviting myself back into the picture

I know many of you can relate to taking care of others, and putting yourself at the bottom of "the list", so I thought I would blog about that today--and how it relates to weight re-gain.

I am a natural kind of helper-type, actually coach is a better term for it. I am always encouraging others to do more and lift their lives up a notch! But it astounds me how I can let my own self slip out of the picture. When feel good about helping others, that makes you want to do it more. But one catch is that it also can make you forget to care about YOU first.
Yes, i mean FIRST. What good are you to your children, spouse, friends or co-workers if you and not fully caring for yourself? I am learning this lesson this week.
I am slowly integrating better food into my diet, I am taking a damned nap if I damn well need one..(sorry, the swearing is emphasis for MY benefit only!), and realizing my worth to my self. Not as a wife, caretaker, daughter, sister, pet owner, friend.. but as a human being deserving good things. I start to "look away" from my life, when I forget to care for me. It's easier to look away and not get on the scale and eat junk when I don't even put myself on my own list! Does that make sense to you?


I am a fat girl inside a skinny girl's body!

Current weight: 172.3 lbs. On my way down to 147 lbs.

My sweet Sis in law, Susy said this to me today. "I am a fat girl inside of a skinny girl's body." This is so true for me. My weight has changed, my life has changed, but my brain ---well, not so much. I still react in times of stress like I used to, I want to eat. Now, granted I am better at it. But Susy and I always joke, "They bypassed my gut, not my BRAIN!" Too true. (Okay, 172 lbs and calling myself skinny you ask? Yep. Compared to the 311 lb woman I was...)

Now if I do not want the actual physical manifestation of that fat girl back, I must keep honest and clear. I can no longer try for perfection and then, when I fail back away from everyone and every thing. That does not work.

Just like "fat" comes from what's eating you (in your heart and brain)--'thin' comes from making the right choices more often than not and doing whats good for you.

Oh, by the freakin' way: went out for my first walk/jog today in eons. Felt good. Then, BAM! pulled a calf muscle! And limped hobbled and dragged my po self home to ice the injury. So now walking is a problem? Hell. The universe is trying to tell me something...I just have to slow down and listen!


The warrior returns

Current weight: 172.8 lbs

It has been a wild period of time for me. In many ways, I have lost my way. (I almost typed that: "weigh"!) I was so positive and such a warrior with a go-getter attitude. I reveled in the fact that I had lost 147 pounds and exercised, completed a half marathon and felt great. How did I get to this point? When did I go "unconscious" again? And for God sakes, WHY?

I believe that the first step of healing any addictive or destructive behavior, is the shed light into the deep dark places. To come clean, own up, man up and 'fess up! Today, I am doing that.

3 years, 6 months, 4 days ago, I was given a second chance at having an active happy life. I had my MGB surgery. I battled a severe 11 weeks of vomiting and hung in there. I did the work, I exercised, I lost 147 pounds. My life changed beyond all measure! I could move, cross my legs, buy clothes in a regular store, not stress about who was staring at me, not worry about "if that chair will hold my weight"! Life was very different and so much better. I had lost 147 pounds. My lowest weight was 147.8 pounds. I am tearing up as I type this, but I have to put it "out there" and come clean. My current weight is: 172.8. I have gained back 25 pounds. It feels so dark and sad to type that.

This past year snuck up on me. For some reason or reasons I hope to discover, I went "underground" again. I stopped blogging. I stopped talking about my weight loss. I even stopped running. I stopped doing everything I knew to be the right things to do. I cannot say I got cocky, I did not. Lazy? Maybe. Stressed? Absolutely. While things in my own life got bigger and better, things in my parent's life got tougher. My parents are very elderly and dealing with the problems of two near housebound geriatric parents has been heartbreaking. This is NOT an excuse by any means. I say this so that others can recognize the stressors BEFORE they gain any weight back. Know that you will face these stessors and prepare yourself for your reactions.

Today, I had a bit of an "aha!" moment. When I lost the weight, I lost my Shame. I put that in capital letters because I walked around with that SHAME and it was heavier than the actual pounds! I was ashamed of my body, my home, my life, how out of control I was. I was ashamed to go out in public, ashamed when people muttered about me under their breath. Ashamed when chairs would break under me. Ashamed of my very SELF. I hid it pretty well, I must say.
When the weight was released from my body, the shame was too. I did not care what others thought, I just lived my life! But today, in near tears at the scale I realized that SHAME has come back into my life. I am ashamed I am not a perfect weight loss surgery patient. I am ashamed I am not a beacon for others. I am ashamed I have let myself go again. I had not realized that I have been ashamed of myself of late! It had led me back to my night eating, grazing, eating not out of hunger...all those habits that made me big in the first place. It begins with me with shame.

SO now light has been shined on my mess, and its time to clean it up! I am going for a walk/jog tonight. I am going to eat less in the evenings. I am going to get back to drinking my protein shakes. That's what I can commit to today. A battle is won but planning and re-adjusting to new situations as they arise.

I hope this helps some other WLS patient out there who is beginning to gain weight again. Get back to doing what worked in the first place. Shed light on the problem, own it and move on. That is what I am going to do.


What Fat Feels Like

Someone once asked me in all innocent honesty: "What does fat feel like?" I just remembered this. So I will write a free flowing stream-of-consciousness rant on this:

*walking through jello
*lumber some
*being in constant pain
*obviousness/ being seen
*joints hurting
*less feminine
*less adult
*a way to communicate my inner problems
*I was less threatening to others
*not safe in many ways
*a way for others to lower their expectations of you


Short hair for SUMMER!!

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Okay, some of you have been following my "evolution" shall we say... And a few months back I photo shopped a picture of myself with short hair. I have not had short hair since I was nine years old. I hated it then, and begged my mother to let me grow it.
Well I finally did it. I figured "It's only hair, if I hate it I will grow it out..." I wanted to know what it was like to have short hair, and NOT be considered masculine in any way. Femininity is an odd thing. Erin, my niece and hairstylist (in Beverly Hills no less) said that "Short hair takes confidence and some men still don't like women to have more confidence than they do!" I think she has a point on that one!

I like it. Its short, confident, but still soft and fun. Sassy is a good word for it! What do you think?
I just washed, blow dried and flat ironed it in less that 20 minutes total! WHOO HOO!


Day Four: Ugh

Day Four. Ugh. Can't seem to stop "grazing". I am not hungry. But I am stressed out. Life issues, money issues why do I let it affect my eating? Will I ever learn? I am struggling through today. Got to have hamburger patty. That was good. But I am overeating in portions and nibbling here and there. I am SO IRRITATED at myself. My DH has his big event on Sunday. Then things should cool down around here and get back to normal. I may do the Day 1 plan for the weekend. Make this a full week. See if that helps me get more control.

I am still amazed that I can eat as much as I am able to. My pouch is tighter but I realize how little it takes to loosen it up and stuff more in. EEK. Well the good thing is: I made it this far. I may have to go back and tweak my "Plan Of Attack" but I cannot quit now...

The Warrior Needs Look At the LongTerm Vision...


What a difference a day makes!

Beginning Day Three of The Five Day Pouch Test. And you know what? My pouch is not broken, stretched out beyond recognition or otherwise hiding. Its just fine. I am down 2.7 pounds and feel pretty darned good. In fact, I feel a bit better than a did before starting. My energy level is up a bit. I am full with a far less amount of food.
So good news on those fronts! Yay.

What has these past two days of protein shakes and liquids only taught me?

That I am still a food addict
. While I did well on these days, all I thought about was food! All day long. It was silly, to be honest with you. But food addiction is just like any other addiction, it can be managed not CURED. Also, I am kind of babying myself with not doing any exercise. My head said "Well, you are just on liquids for God's sakes! You can't exercise!" Funny, how the brain makes excuses and gets really good at rationalizing! So today, I am going for a run at sunset.. A short one, but a run nonetheless.
Lastly, these past few days I have learned that this is part of my journey. The re-gain. I had to get scared, frightened out of my mind really to make this change. And I learned I will try my best never to look away again.

This warrior is making headway in this battle!


I am such a work in progress!

Sigh, I made it through my Day One of the FIVE DAY POUCH TEST plan. All liquids, protein shakes and such. It was hard but I did it. I stood on the scale figuring I would see a one pound loss. Nope. half a pound. So why am I so pissy about it? Lord, I need a smack. I am actually disappointed in the 1/2 pound loss. Hello? Earth to Barbara!

See, my problem with this weight regain is that I stopped stepping on the scale. Some folks have the opposite problem they step on it too often. I just stopped looking. So today I stepped on it one day later. Kind of a big deal for me. I have to face facts.

I think I am in mourning. Does that make sense? I think I am mourning the fact that I was a regular thin person. I am not. I never will be. Get over, woman! I am a weight loss surgery patient and I always will be. I cannot lose sight of that again.

Okay, I will post my goal weight. My original goal pre-surgery was 145 pounds. I then said I wanted to be 142 about half way through. Dumb, really. I wanted the number to be an even 150 pounds lost. Well, guess what happened? I didnt get to 145 OR 142. SIGH. I got to 146. Close!
Today I am 159.3. 14.3 pounds to go.

I will work out today. I am vowing that. Even for a half a hour. That will help. Just blahblahblahing today. Need to get this out of my head and onto the screen.

Update later.


A Warrior's Work: Part Two

Okay, I did it. I committed to doing this Five Day Pouch Test plan. I hope it helps me to rediscover my pouch! I am on day one: Liquids. Protein shakes all day. So far so good. Don't know if I could run five miles today but I am happy with my choice. The LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood is fantastic! A wonderful place to get support! I was really down in the dumps about this weight gain. It scared me to death. I did not feel like warrior, I felt like I was sliding fast into obesity again. Yet I was not scared enough to stop what I was doing! That freaked me out even more! Life stress has been enormous around here of late, and my eating has gone haywire. My workouts became non-existent and my running was becoming only a memory. So-- today I begin my journey. I am not starting OVER...I am just picking myself up and dusting myself off and starting from where I am. I have 16 pounds to go to get to my all time low of 144 lbs. I have to remember my old motto: "Progress Not Perfection"! Being too perfectionistic is a problem for me. I do not have to be the poster child for Weight Loss Surgery, only for my SELF. I am still proud of myself. That was even hard for me to TYPE! But I am. I did not let 15 pounds become 20 or 50 or 100. I am going to manifest the life I want!
I am a warrior. Are you?


A Warrior's Work: Never Look Away

I have not posted here in a very long time. There are many reasons, but one of them is what I want to discuss today.
It pains me to write this: I have gained weight. My first real gain since surgery. Not the up one pound down one pound kind of thing. A real live weight gain. I am up 11 pounds from my lowest weight. To say I am freaking out is to put in mildly.
I was chatting online with my dear sweet sister in law, Susy who also had the surgery. And she said, "we can never look away. That's what got us to where we were in the first place." Never look away. Hmmmm. That's exactly what I did. I stopped weighing myself for at least a month. And when I saw a few pounds creep up I did not take care of it. Then I looked away again.. and BOOM! 11 pounds!
I have been under enormous business and financial stress of late, and have dipped back into my old habits of eating junk. Not only am I eating it, but I am tolerating it better. NOT GOOD!! That is not what a gastric bypass patient should do. At the same time, I stopped working out with my trainer. I could not afford to spend that kind of money any more and swore I would do it on my own. I did not. So, I stopped running, stopped working out hard three days a week, started stress eating junk-- and here I am. With tears in my eyes, struggling to get back on track and get my head around this slip-up. My clothes are tight and some don't fit. That makes me CRAZY upset.

So, I started running again this week. Just a couple of miles... but I did it. And I started cooking my meals at home more.. (something I hardly EVER do) and working on taking care of the financial stress.

I can never look away again. Not for that LONG!
So for those of you who fear gaining weight after surgery. I am here to say not only CAN it happen, but it can happen easily if you "look away" for too long. I am giving myself a four pound buffer zone in the future. If I go on vacation and gain 3-4 pounds, then I take it off right away. I do not wait for it to be come 11 or 12 or 25 or 50!

I had been quietly fearing that my pouch has become stretched out and that my "tool" no longer worked. I did some research online and found a wonderful resource. It's called Living After WLS and it is run by Kay Bailey. She has a plan called the 5 Day Pouch Test. It's like the way we ate when we first got the surgery. It supposedly gets you off the junk food carbs and back onto a more protein-full diet. And in the meantime, your pouch shrinks back to a more post surgery size. Hunger is abated again and sometimes weight loss occurs. Make no mistake this is not a diet. Its a test to see if your surgical tool is still in order. I just may try this. One of the great places on this site is The Neighborhood a bulletin board of other WLS patients. Really great resource. I recommend it.

So, I am in a place of learning again. Never look away is my new mantra. Am I still a warrior? Hell, yes. Warriors have battles in which they do not succeed as planned. They just go back to camp and create a new plan of attack!. Do I feel like I went backwards? No, but I do feel like I was well on my way.

The honeymoon is over. Now the real work begins....A warrior's work is never done.


A Toast To Who?

A Toast! A Toast to me! Okay, before you get upset that I have become too vain..let me explain a bit. Today was the third day I spent in my studio painting a portrait. I have not painted anything since my weight loss surgery. I was so involved with my "new life" that painting, a real passion of mine took a back seat for two years. And it did not bother me in the least, I granted myself permission to NOT PAINT if I did not want to. One day, a few weeks ago, I started to get the "itch" to paint again. I had completely turned my studio into a store room, so: I cleaned it out and reclaimed it.
Here's where I get to toast myself: I always wanted to be a painter. I talked myself out of it since childhood as a flight of fancy. At 38, I actually learned how to paint and started classes. I was elated. I was a near 300 pound woman with no real joy in her life, and painting became my solace. Then fast forward to two years ago, my weight loss surgery changed everything. I became so much more than I allowed myself to be at 300 lbs. I gave myself permission to try everything. Painting was great, but my journey was "big enough" so I allowed myself a sabatical from painting.

So, today--here I am home alone.. and enjoying it. Painting all day in my studio, then I jumped in my hot tub and sat there with a drink and toasted myself. Here I was, painting a portrait, sitting in a hot tub (in a bikini no less), and most of all --happy. Wow. What a difference two years can make! I am a bikini-wearing-hot-tub-enjoying-portrait-painting thin woman. HELLO? When did that happen?? LOL.



Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big?

Ha! I bet that title got some folks attention! I took it from a book I recently read of the same title. And it got me to thinking: Does excess weight and clutter really have some sort of relationship? I can only answer that for myself and the answer is an unqualified "YES!"

I am a one of those folks who, let's just say: I have a high tolerance for clutter. Or I used to! Some thing's changing though. The more weight I have lost, the less I tolerate the chaos of a messy home. Now, I am by no means a newly born NEATNIK. Not in the least, but I am enjoying getting my home in order. That's VERY weird for me to say.
The clutter and junk was overwhelming. In fact, I hate even to write this out for the world to see! But its true. I feel like my husband and I were on our way to becoming one of those wackadoodle couples who live with stacks of stuff all around the house barely having room to walk! (I am exaggerating but it's not that far off!)So what is different for me?

Everything. I hold myself to a higher standard, I think. I value myself more. And simply put: the chaos just ain't working for me anymore!

So go figure, lose weight and get a new tidier outlook too. Yet another benefit of my journey.


Liberation and Short Hair!

What's that you say? LIBERATION and short hair? What exactly does that mean?

I have been thinking of cutting my hair even shorter. Why? Because I can. When I was obese I had varying length of longer hair. I hid behind it. NEVER considered cutting it short. That thought brought up feelings of: "People will see how fat my face is!" (As if hair really HIDES anything) and "People might think I looked too masculine." When I was fat I did not feel particularly feminine. (Despite my enormous curves!) I felt like I was hiding inside a fat suit. So my hair was my only link to my femininity. And it felt limiting too. I worried about every haircut.. Was it too "Mommish"? All that stupid vanity stuff we all go through!! It makes me crazy!

Fast forward to now. Two years and a loss of 145 pounds later...Getting my hair cut short will be a big moment for me. It will I can be feminine and have short hair. Strong and wise without worrying about what others think of me. And if I hate it..I will just grow it out! No longer am I bound by my LIMITED beliefs about myself and limited beliefs others have about women and attractiveness.

To quell my fears, I even Photo-shopped a picture of me with a new cute short haircut..Not bad, huh?


Passionate About Living Life

I have not blogged in a month or so. Not that I don't have something to blog about--I always have something to say! But I have been busy reclaiming my life. Standing in awe of what I never realized I had been missing while being obese. Now I am settling in to my "New Self". Its not new on the inside per se, but the new outside has created more confidence, courage, bravery and ambition (is that too strong a word?) I feel like I can take on the changes that come to me without fear now. Even the bad things that sometimes find their sneaky way to me, don't affect me in the same way. Or that is to say, I no longer react the same way.

I think people may read my blog and be frightened of the changes if they are just beginning their journey. All I can say is "Don't be! You can do it! Its a wild ride, but remember really--you are doing the driving. It's all you."

I now like to push myself to do things I normally would shy away from. I feel so much more OPEN, more adventurous, less concerned with what other's think of me! I have passion for life again. That is something you cannot give to someone. It is a gift you give yourself.

That's all for now.


Somethings Gotta Give

Every had "one of those days" turn into "one of those weeks", or for me, ONE OF THOSE FEW MONTHS? OMG I am so exhausted. I sit here, typing this with some sort of bronchial infection/crud that will not let me feel better. I have had one crisis after another and one houseguest after another since October! Good GOD, let me rest!!!! Then last week my husband got into a car accident. He is fine but our car is totaled. We have a second car, but it was very traumatic nonetheless.

I need to learn how to say NO. Even to the fun stuff. If I am tired and run down I need to stop and take care of myself. GOOD GOD, when I am going to ever learn this? My weight is creeping up, due to eating junk or what I call STRESS EATING. If I don't get a hold of it, it will lead me down a dark path.

I will be O.K. but I am not O.K. today. Just needed to vent...


Learning New Things

Saw the movie, "Bucket List" this week. It got me to thinking about all the things I still want to do. I want to learn new things.

How does "learning new things" tie into the "losing weight" thing, you ask? Well, here is my experience:

Losing weight has made me bolder. Less afraid of the world and others. I feel more authentic, and I guess "Critics be damned!" This has led me to do other things on my personal "Bucket List". One of them is to Learn Italian. Why Italian you say? Why not a more useful language, like Spanish? Well, in 1981 I graduated from high school and went on a trip through Europe. I fell in love with the Italian language. I thought any language that calls a WINDOW: "finestra" or ORANGE JUICE: "succo d'arancia" was simply beautiful to me. Useful? Not really but beautiful and that was reason enough for me to learn it. I told myself then: "When I return to Italy, I will speak the language." That was 26 years ago and many New Year's resolutions ago. This year, I have begun the learning process. This Irish princess is now called a "Principessa Irlandese"!

Maybe a trip to Italy will come for me soon. I can enjoy it and speak a little too! Cross another thing off my Bucket List!

Ciao! I blog sarà sicuramente più tardi!


Short Hair = Confidence?

I have had long hair for a long iime. I had it shorter about 10 years ago, but grew it out and kept it at a moderate length. This was mostly because I was heavy. I thought that keeping my hair long would hide some pounds. (LOL, this did not work.) I wanted to keep some essence of my feminity. Now, don't go bashing me about this: the fact is that the more weight I lost the more feminine I felt. I know this is not the case for some people. It was for me. So now 145 pounds less than my starting weight, I felt like I did not want to hide my face behind my long tresses anymore. It was a risk, but I took it. (I am good at taking risks now!)

I took a stand: I can be just as feminine with shorter hair as those with longer hair. I do not have to fit a societal mold of what "femininity" should look like.

So off the hair went. And you know what? It was so freeing! To not have to depend on my long hair. I feel like I walk in a room and people see ME, not my hair. It was empowering to cut it off!


Okay I begin my 2008 with the truth. I have gained weight. Big deal, you say? Everyone does over the holidays! Well, this is the first gain of note for me since my surgery two years ago. And I am taking it very seriously. I will not, WILL NOT become a post gastric bypass "gained-all-the-weight back" story! I refuse to. I did eat more junky things over the holidays. I did stop running due to a knee injury. Both those things have altered my body weight.

I weighed 153 today. That is 6 pounds heavier than the l47 I usually hover around. It is a huge deal to me. I am not beating myself up, but I am getting "BACK ON THE WAGON", before five pounds leads to ten..

Worked out today, started back on my protien shakes and ate pretty well. I have tolerated sugar better and candy was sneaking its way back into my life...eeek.

I am a warrior, I can do this.


How do you make friends at 44?

This newest traumatic event to my husband's mom has really got me thinking. I am a loner of sorts. I like my "little life". Scott and I run our own business from home, we go out to dinner, go to movies and travel now and then. Its a good life. My husband is my best friend and that is a gift beyond measure. I love Susy, my sister in law. I wish she lived closer. She is one amazing woman.

Being thin and fit and able to handle more issues in life, has created strength I never knew I had. But there are some things that are glaringly missing. . And now its obvious: I need more loved ones in my life, more good friends in my inner circle. Someone near to me.

I am pretty self sufficent and I used to always attract those people that were for lack of a better word, "broken". Those that needed fixing, that needed what I had to offer. I do not want those kind of relationships anymore. I want someone on MY LEVEL. I want friends that do not NEED ME but want to be in my prescence. I am very particular about letting people into my "inner cirle". I want people who have character, heart, strength and joy. Someone who does not need fixing on many levels. How do you make a good anam cara (gaelic for "soul friend") at the age of 44? How do I go about it? BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD, Ghandi once said. So true.

If I placed a personal ad for a friend it would say:

Wanted: a good friend over 40, loves life, appreciates creativity, liberal minded, understanding but not a pushover, comfortable in her own skin. Willing to see new things in life as opportunities for change. Battles her own fears and shortcomings, sometimes well sometimes not so well. Not perfect, not trying to be perfect but strives to do her best. She is not interested in those who are playing at life, but loving the life she creates. Loves animals. Funny sense of humor, but not mean. Willing to laugh with me, not at me.

This all seems so silly! I can make friends. But I don't want to, really! I want the friends and family that I do have, to live closer! LOL. (Can you hear me whining? LOL.)

Its a subject that has come up for me alot of late. I am ready to tackle it, I think. I can take a painting class again, or a language class (something I keep talking about...), I can join a group, volunteer ----any number of ways of meeting like-minded people. So now I guess I have no more excuses left. I have to "get out there".

This has been made more aware to me, by spending time with my mother in law, when she was healing here and with my sister in law, Susy. I miss the feminine energy around me. It was a hard time, but a very nice time too. It was like an extended "sleep over"!

Well, I will see what develops with this as the new year arrives...

Pain Makes Me Discouraged

I hurt my knee a couple of days ago. I went back to working out with my trainer which, after more than a month, went well. Yesterday I was ablaze, cleaning and organzing my bedroom and closets. I stepped wrong and felt pain in my knee. It has hurt me ever since. Now I have to delay my running schedule! Damn. It makes me feel very defeated. I don't want to have to baby it for weeks and not work out, but I may have to! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH. I am so over doctors and pain and aging and all of that right now. I just want to get back to feeling good and moving forward!! Sigh...


Happy RE-BIRTHDAY to me!

happy Surgiversary to me!

It was two years ago today that I chose to change my life. I was 292 pounds, aching in every way that a person could ache,.It was risky, it resulted in some pretty horrible weeks post-op, re-learning how to eat, learning to exercise and love it, working on my head/heart (not just my body!) --all which has brought me to today: weighing in at 146 pounds (146 pounds lost, size 2/4, stonger body, running marathons, and loving life.

Was it Easy? Lord have mercy, NO! Is surgery easy, pain easy? Eating liquids for weeks easy? Throwing up for 10 weeks easy? Learning to eat again, easy? Working out and running easy? No, no no no no....Worth it? yes yes yes yes yes...

What is different since surgery two years later?
There is nothing in my life that has not been touched by my weight loss. Mentally, Physically, Spiritually---all of it. I am more confident by leaps and bounds. I am stronger, calmer, and feel like I can do anything. To quote my sweet sis in law, Susy: I am living life with no regrets now.

Do you have alot of loose skin?

YES. I dont worry about it, because its part of the bargain. I don't have alot of deformity, but my legs are pretty scary--I will blog on that later.. maybe even post some pics. I have no bustline at all anymore. Really is there something thats less than an A CUP? I say this for information sake, not to bash myself.

Is it fun to shop?
I was not much of a shopper, I am a "go in, see if it fits and pay for it" kind of girl. Now I actually shop and see what looks good on me. My sweet husband says everything looks good on me now. (Not true, but very sweet to say..)

What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you since losing all the weight?
People thinking my husband divorced me and got himself a new wife. No kidding. We get that all the time! One lady I see a couple times a year for the last 13 years, said "Oh, I don't think I have met your wife, Scott!" while holding out her hand to shake mine.. OMG I started laughing! She freaked out when I told her it was me.

I feel more like the authenic Barbara. The Barbara I was meant to be. And that in an of itself, was worth this 24 month journey.


One Amazing Woman

My sister in law, Susy is amazing. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event to show someone's real character. Some people react horribly to an emergency, others rise to the occasion and really show how authentically heroic they are. Susy is one of those people. I have known Susy for many, many years. Her father, Bob, was the love of my mother in law, Carolyn's life. Scott has never referred to Susy as his "stepsister", because she has always been a real sister to him.

Susy had a very hard childhood and early adulthood. She made the best of her life with the tools she had at the time, but it was hard nonetheless. She has always been a most kind woman, sweet and matter-of-fact, without ever being abrasive. She is the kind of person you want around you all the time. Eight months ago, in an act of great courage she had weight loss surgery (the Mini Gastric Bypass, just like me). She has lost 100 pounds and has begun the ever-familiar journey of "blooming". She is really come a long way. She has become stronger, more centered, and taking a stand in the world. I love seeing all this confidence growing in her. She has a great son, a wonderful and supportive husband and now she has the best thing of all: HER TRUE SELF! Way to go, girl. Thanks for walking this life with me.


Caretaking and Taking Care

Since my mom in law's emergency surgery--life has been chaotic. Susy flew down from Oregon and helped take care of her with us. (Thanks Suz, you rock.) I learned alot from this experience. I can take care of someone better now that I am not a "patient" myself. I needed so much more help when I weighed 292 pounds. Taking care of Carolyn was an honor actually. It was hard, exhausting and nerve-wracking at times, but still an honor to help her heal.
Its nice to be able to say, "I did my best." and mean it. It once again cemented my thoughts on the strength of women in general. We are a heroic gender to be sure!
I also watched how I cared for myself. My self care slipped, but I let it slip conciously so I could do what needed to be done. I knew it was a temporary situation, so it was doable.

I pray for Carolyn's quick recovery and we are "coaching" her every day by phone now.


Life is fragile

Change is the only constant someone once wrote. How true that is. Scott ran the NYC marathon and did well. We took his Mom with us to NYC and on the way back, we arrived home at the airport, his mom took a tumble off a small curb and she is now in the hosptial with a TOTAL shoulder replacement. Not kidding. Life as we know it is so fragile. One moment and it can change forever. I am coming up on my 2 year anniversary of my surgery on November 22. This event and others, makes me feel even more grateful for the life I have had thus far. This journey has been so changing. I sit here typing this in tears. I cry for my mom in law, I cry for my aging parents, I cry for myself. I know "this too shall pass"... But I did not want to let it pass without full grieving, fully feeling the weight of it. Things could be worse, of course.
So I am grateful for the good. I just am feeling so breakable right now.


Tattoo Update!!

Haven't posted in a long time as it is our crazy-busy-season. Can't wait until NOVEMBER! Sheesh.

I am updating my post about my tattoo. I found an artsit from Dublin who specializes in Celtic art based on the Book Of Kells. I saw her work and just by chance, I emailed her asking her permission to use one of her illustrations as a basis for my tattoo. (I am an artist, and I feel strongly about copyright protection so I wanted her permission before her art become a permanant part of me! ) Well ---she was so gracious. She offered to alter the design to make it more of a phoenix . She ended up making me a completely new custom design just for me! Cool huh? (Of course, I paid her for her services. I never expected a whole new design!)

Here is a rough sketch.... It is a Celtic Phoenix rising up from the ashes with the "phrase" Is Laoch Me" On his chest..It is Gaelic for "I am a warrior". It will be bright and vibrant colors and then it will be used for my tattoo! I LOVE IT! It is perfect and just what I wanted. I wanted to remind myself that I am strong, brave and willing to do what it takes...a life warrior! I will post a pic when I get the tattoo...


Half Marathon Accomplished

Okay, its a bit belated but here is my post on the marathon! Yes, I finished! Yes, I survived. Yes, it was a roller coaster of emotion. My sister Julie signed up the night before the race to run with me. No training at all! But she has run 4 marathons before and has always run at some point in her life. She was great, we ran the same pace the whole time. I was shooting for a 2 1/2 hour time for the 13.1 half marathon pace, but finished in 2 hours and 42 minutes. Not disappointed in the least considering it was 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity! Not bad! I only had one bad mile..the LAST ONE. I just kept running for my former self. The girl who could barely walk. I did it for her!

My only issue came when I started to worry excessively about Scott (hubby) who was running the whole marathon. He has had problems with knee pain and injuries and mental blocks about finishing the race. He wanted it so bad! I started to rally my sister and brother and told them we allhave tohelp him finish. And they did. My brother ran along side Scott for miles and so did Julie. And Scott finished too and got his medal! Phew!
My motto is now and forever "I am a warrior."


Getting Ready To Run my Half Marathon!

Haven't blogged for a while, as we are getting into our business' busy season. But I wanted to pop in and ask for good thoughts, prayers and vibes...(whatever your thing may be) for my Maui Marathon race on Sunday. I feel confident I can run the half marathon. But I am also running the last six miles of the marathon with my husband so he can finish strong and happy! So thats ALOT for me... I will post pictures of me and my MEDAL soon after! I am running for the heavy tired sick Barb of 20 months ago...GO GIRL GO


Will I ever get used to this?

Okay, here I am, approaching my 2 year anniversary of my surgery (November 22) and I still get blown away by old pictures of me. I guess I am getting used to being "the new me", and seeing old pictures really startle me now. When Scott was cleaning his office, he came in and showed me these. I broke down and cried. From happiness? Yes, but also remember how limited and in pain and uncomfortable I was in those pictures.

I cried because I feel like I let so much time go by without a real life. But I cried from happiness too. That I now have that REAL LIFE.

Beating the heat

Okay, this seems like a small point to make, but I am going to blog about it anyway. Its been hellaciously hot here this past week. 112 degrees at one point. Even with central air its awful. So what's the silver lining? My memories of last year and the year before, as a bigger woman dealing with the heat...I almost checked into a hotel room twice because of not being able to sleep in the heat. This time? Its hot, but I can handle it. That was a huge difference for me. The heat affected me so much MORE at near 300 pounds. Now, that seems obvious to some. Of course it would! But its small things like this that we forget about as we loose weight and become comfortable in our new smaller bodies. We must NEVER FORGET. Its in the remembering that will keep us on the right road to health.


Being Able To Count On Yourself

Running is a strange thing. It hurts. Its tiring and its like meditaion all at the same time. After my 12 miler a couple of weeks ago, we got busy with our business and I stepped back a couple of weeks in the milage. I did 9 miles the next Sunday. All that plus running "short" runs (3-5 miles each) 3 times a week. Geez, I got tired just from re-reading that sentence!

Well, today I ran 13.1 miles. A TRUE HALF MARATHON. Which means I can truly do the Maui Half Marathon in a couple of weeks. I am ready. WHOO HOO! The lesson I am learning is this: fitness is not just good for your body, it's good for your mind and soul. Upping my physical fitness by running has given me something I NEVER had: I feel like I can count on my body to get me through the tough times. I can count on my own HEALTH. What a gift that is.


Some Random Sunday Musings...

Some random Sunday musings:

I ran 12 miles last Sunday. 9 miles today. And I felt great. That's the weird thing.. Who the heck feels great after NINE freaking miles? Scott said, "Athletes do. You have a hidden an athlete in that body for many years, my dear!" OMG that's a riot to me! Me, an athlete?

Scott also commented on me wearing a casual everyday dress I got from Target. He said, "You look good in dresses!" Now that's not such a big deal to most, but Scott has always liked me in pants better. I too thought pants were more flattering on me when I was larger. Dresses gave me "bulk", I think. Well, now he has reconsidered and loves me in dresses! As the song goes, "Ch-Ch-Changes.."

I have noticed some people acting weird around me now. One actually thought I hit on her boyfriend. OMG.. I so did not!! This person is 15 years younger than me and I think of her like a daughter. When did I get to be a threat? I was devastated to say the least.

All I can say is, thank God for therapy...LOL!


Tattoo? Who Me?

No, I am not going through a post-gastric bypass crisis. I love art and I love my new life. I have never wanted a tattoo just for a tattoo's sake. But I have started to think about it in the last few years. I never wanted to attempt it because any weight loss might make it eventually look...uh, weird. So now here's the idea. I am Irish and proud to be Irish. I have a real connection to my ancestors so something celtic is what I have in mind. Then it came to me: a Celtic Phoenix.

Wikipedia says this about the Myth Of The Phoenix: "The phoenix is a bird with beautiful gold and red plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises. The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal -a symbol of fire and divinity.

I feel like a Phoenix. Up from the ashes of my former life, rebuilding a new, better life. Feeling stronger and regenerated by the very journey I have walked.

So, I contacted the new TLC show: LA INK with tattoo artist, Kat Von D. She is an awesome artist.
I thought my story might make for good tv, and I could get a cool tattoo out of it if they pick me! So, I am going to submit my story and see what happens!
Now, comes the inevitable question: WHERE TO GET IT? I have quite a bit of loose skin on my upper arms, butt and legs---so that's out of the question. Maybe on my shoulder/upper back.


Hey Diddley Doo, Neighbor.. It's Barb

This was silly, but so much fun... I saw The Simpson's Movie and thought it was a riot. Then I went on the website and created ME as a Simpson's character! You can choose the hair, the features, the clothes.. It was hysterical.

Here I am walking in a carnival in Springfield:

10 Mile Run

I ran 10 miles on Sunday. Wow. Can't believe I did it. My half marathon will be 13.1 miles, so I think I am good to go. This is the first time Scott and I ran together. It was fun!

He knew I was getting exhausted at mile 8-9, he had his ipod and started dancing and singing while running ahead of me. Arms flailing and hat tipping off and on like he was on stage. All of this when it was still before 730 in the morning. It was a riot and it got my mind off my sore legs... Good man, that hubby of mine..
Training for this has been really odd for me. I feel like I am doing something that will change me for good. The discipline has been good for me. And it feels like it's really MY thing.. My own journey.


Normal once again

Who knew being "NORMAL" wouldn't be a boring, icky label to give someone. I like to think "outside the box", so NORMAL wasn't ever a goal for me. LOL. But today I got my bloodtests back from the doctor and he said everything was fantastic and ever so normal. Phew! Last week, I had a cancer scare and NORMAL sounds JUST PEACHY to me now. Normal weight, normal health, can't ask for better!


Writing a Book

I have been told a few times lately, that I should write a book about my weight, my issues and my trials, tribulations and triumphs.

A book? Really? (Sometimes, I feel like only two or three people ever read my blog, why would anyone want to read my story?)
But then today, some ideas started ruminating around in my old noggin.

So now it just may come to something...Hmmmm....


Those are some BIG PANTS, Barb!

I thought I would share this set of photos today. I got into the biggest pair of pre-weight loss pants I had and I FIT IN ONE LEG OF THEM! What a hoot! I really am HALF my former size, I guess. My hubby thought it was hysterical and great, and got out the camera!

Will wonders ever CEASE?

I have a NORMAL BMI!

Okay, I am taking in the SMALLEST of good things this week. Small loses, long runs, and this just blew me away: Today my BMI is 24.8 when I began my WLS journey on November 22, 2005 it was almost 50.0. Great right? Okay but when I have calculated it up until today it registered me as "Overweight" (it was OBESE). Today it said: NORMAL. OMG!! COOL!
Calculate your BMI here: BMI CALCULATOR



Okay, so it has taken me some time to get this last 40 or so pounds off. I don't really care how long, because I stood on the scale today and saw the number 149!! WHOO HOOO! 143 pounds lost as of this morning. DAMMNNN. I have lost a whole person! My original goal was to weigh 142 pounds. Thats seven pounds away. I am going to shoot for my 2 year anniversary in November for that.


What Other People Think Of Me Is None Of My Business

This seems like a simple statement, but really think about it: "What other people think of me is none of my business." (Of course, I add the tag.."unless they make it my business." This statement could have saved me alot of heartache over the years. I cared so much what strangers thought of me. I walked around in complete embarrassment. Kind of like I was silently saying, "I am sorry my fat bothers you." or "I know, I am fat. I get it." It was such a layer of self protection that it brings me to tears to think of it. How much time was wasted in my life doing this?
I know alot of larger people who are outwardly confident and almost brash in their self acceptance of their obesity. Yet, I have yet to meet one person who really, deep in their soul, prefers being fat. When they quiet the loud, accept-me-as-I-am talk, they are just like me. Sad that my life is/was so limited by my weight.
So, now I practice this mantra: What other people think of me is none of my business.

And that seems to quiet the negative self talk for that moment. Another tool in my new toolbox.


It's official: 140 pounds lost!

It's official today: I have lost 140 pounds! WhooHoo! Thats ten pounds away from my original goal weight of 142. To be honest with you..I don't really care if I hit that weight. I am fitting into size SMALL and EXTRA SMALLs in tops and 4's in pants..So I am good to go.

How my life has changed from that 292 pound number! Scott just found this picture of me and my neice from I am guessing 2001. It blew my mind...

Now notice in close up on my face:

That "I-am-smiling-but-I-am-NOT-HAPPY-about-having-my-picture-taken" look! And I noticed how sad my eyes look. Wild...I don't cringe when I see photos like this. I smile. Because that woman deserved more in life than she had. She deserved MORE LIFE period.. (And she got more. Boy, did she!)


My Moving Mantra

Webster's defines the word, mantra as: "A sacred word or syllable repeated in prayer or meditation." Because running is so new to me, I felt like I needed some encouragement while I ran--when the going gets tough! I intuitively chose this phrase: "I am strong, I am light, I am a warrior."
Why warrior you ask? For many years I considered myself weak in body and spirit. I use warrior in the "my spirit is strong" sense. A sort of "I can battle my demons and win..." kind of thing. I wonder if mantras can work in our every day life too. I never put much thought into people repeating good thoughts as a way to change. I have done it and for the most part it did not really work for me. Until running. Now it gives me confidence when I am depending on my body to take me to new places.


Running for my life at last

Before I left for England, I did another thing that shocked me. I signed up for the Maui Half Marathon. (A half marathon is 13.1 mile run...) Scott was interested in training for the Maui Marathon (26.2 miles), he talked about it with his trainer and he really wanted to do it. I said go for it! Then I found myself wondering if I could ever do a race like that. If you remember in my first 5K run, I was exhausted and not properly trained for any kind of running, but the act of running a 5K left me exhilated at my body's capacity. I asked my trainer, Sarinas, if she thought I could do a half marathon and she excited said, "Sure! We could get you ready for that!" I signed up that night, paid for it and decided to train for it when we got back from our England/Scotland adventure.

I can hardly recognize the person I am now internally and externally. A half marathon? Training? Running? Sometimes I want to ask, "Who are you and what have you done with Barbara?!" I am constantly asking myself when presented with new oppurtunites, "I wonder if I can?" That was not a phrase I uttered 18 months ago. It was more like, "Oh, I can't do that.." That was the quiet voice in my head that had lead my actions for a decade.

I am learning with this process, that I must keep the promises I make to myself. It is one thing I can do to better myself. Running is one comittment I can keep that will also help me keep my new found health and weight range. It is a tool I can use so I do not return to my larger body and much-smaller life.

When I weighed over 300 pounds, I got periodic mild-to-moderate panic attacks. Often during these episodes, I would say in complete desperation: "I just want to be able run for my life, if I had to!" At the time, I could barely walk to my own mailbox to get the mail right outside my front door without wheezing.

The little girl who sat out recess to read, who thought sports were for "other people", is fading into the past at last. Today, I truly am, "RUNNING FOR MY LIFE!"

Traveling While Fat vs. Traveling Light

May 1-17 my husband and I were in England and Scotland. What an amazing trip. We rented apartments in London and Edinburgh instead of staying at hotels. We walked everywhere, took the tube (subway), buses, trains and cabs. It was a blast. Edinburgh is like a new home for us, we loved it so much. This trip was such a celebration of our new bodies and renewed health! The old Scott and Barb would have wanted to take this trip, but would never have attempted it due to the fact we were so overweight, hated TWF (traveling while fat), and we were exhausted most of the time. I could not tie my own shoe laces 18 months ago. Now I climbed to the top of Salisbury Cathedral near Stonehenge, with breath to spare. Almost 400 stairs climbed...Phew! I amazed myself constantly.

This brought up alot of "stuff" for me:
What I have denied myself all these years(decades!)because of my weight problem. I am pretty outgoing and upfront person, so I held no illusions about how my excess weight affected me. But it almost scares me how different my life is now that I am thin. (Not different bad--different GOOD.) I am the same person only more confident, bolder, braver and happier. Not every gastric bypass patient gets these gifts, or recognizes them when they arrive. (I think my therapist has been a good tool for me to recognize these changes as they have arrived. )
In short, I feel more alive. I did not realize how little of my life I actually lived. Travel was so low down on my list because of the difficulties it presented me. I missed it so much. I feel like my life is a big adventure now! With so many more opportunities. I wonder what's next?


What would you do if your weight was not an issue?

That was a question I asked myself often over the years. I used to say "nothing, I do not stop myself from doing anything I want because of my weight!" That, my dear friends..was a lie. I did stop myself from doing so MANY things...at every corner of my life. Now, at the "other end of the scale" I realize that. The big thing I wanted to do and did not allow myself to do: TRAVEL. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing to travel at 292 pounds. It was more of a hassle than a joy. And if I did travel, I got to my destination and was exhausted. Too exhausted to enjoy the sights.

Well Monday begins yet a new chapter in my life: TRAVEL. Scott and I are going to England and Scotland for two weeks. Scott has never been out of the U.S. and it has been over 2 decades for me. This is our anniversary trip. May 25th is our 22nd anniversary and we are celebrating early in the UK! We are so pumped to go and have some fun! I will post my European Adventures when I return. Cheerio!