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Posts Tagged ‘support’

Autumn has (almost officially) arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout. I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years! Bring on fall 2014 – it’s time to reach new heights! Wednesday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the work week, and will give me a positive outlook for the weekend. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Wednesday weight loss updates called WonderFALL Weigh-Ins.

Week 65 has been wonderful! I had a great weekend, filled with bike rides, walks with Sofi, spending time with friends, watching my 49ers win, and relaxing after a very busy first week on the new job.  So far this work week has been really productive.  I’m finding my rhythm as I meet with new teachers, gather resources for them, and keep track of all the notes and paperwork. I can already tell I’m going to love this new position, and I’m so glad that I took the chance and went for one of my goals.  Monday I rewarded myself with a shopping spree at Dress Barn, buying tons of new clothes for my fall wardrobe.  The neat thing about this shopping trip was that I think these clothes might last for more than one season.  I’m wearing tops/sweaters in size medium and small (SMALL!!!!!), skirts in medium, and 2 pairs of pants in a size 10! I got a great camel-color water-resistant hooded trench in a medium that I can’t wait to wear because it’s so flattering. 

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 173.6, which is a loss of 1.6 pounds this week***, and a loss of 103.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 141.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 23.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. ***The cool thing about this loss is that it only reflects the last two days, because my last weigh-in was on Sunday.  1.6 pounds in two days is phenomenal!  I’m on a losing streak, and I’m loving it! Especially considering how busy my days have suddenly become.

What am I doing differently?  Lately I’ve been concentrating on making sure to get several servings of veggies in with most meals, and I think that’s making a big difference.  I’m still allowing myself the popcorn I love, but only a few times a week.  And of  course, protein is at the heart of every meal I eat. And I’m still getting plenty of exercise and drinking lots of water. Still, I’ve also been having a few glasses of wine on the weekend, but that doesn’t seem to be affecting my weight loss in the least, which is nice.  I love this lifestyle that I’ve created!

In terms of exercise, I’ve been really proud of the workouts I’ve been fitting in.  I did wake up early on Monday to get in a before-work sweat session, which left me feeling super energized and positive all day long.  Most days I’ve worked out in the afternoon, and I enjoy those after work sessions as a way to transition from work mode to relax mode.  As long as I’m getting a workout in, I’m ok with whatever time of day it is.  I actually enjoy working out now, so I look forward to moving my body, rather than dreading it as I used to.  I really think one of the reasons is the communities of support that I’m part of on MyFitnessPal and Instagram.  I love snapping post-workout pics and tagging them with with my ToneItUp hashtags, and seeing all my #TIUsisters’ posts, too.  On MFP, every time I workout it posts a status, and the outpouring of love I get from my pals spurs me on and makes me smile.

As much as I’ve absolutely enjoyed this summer, I have to admit I’m really looking forward to the true start of autumn.  The crisp, cool mornings and evenings.  The sunny days that aren’t ever too warm.  The changing colors of the leaves, the decorations, and the outfits.  Not to mention all the fun that comes with football season, pumpkin patches, Halloween, and simply sipping cups of coffee, tea, and maybe even a pumpkin spice latte or two.  This year I think I’d like to go apple picking, because it just sounds like so much fun and I’ve never done it before.  What are some quintessential fall things you love to do at this time of year? Help me create a fall bucket list.

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Until next Wednesday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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bilbl_mainLast night I went to a Kaiser WLS support group, and it was the best 2 hours I’ve spent on a Wednesday evening all year.  I walked out of the meeting completely inspired, totally pumped up, and willing myself to get to my “within 5 lbs” phone call by the next meeting (next month).

My other experience with the Kaiser WLS support group was the completely opposite of this one.  The only good thing about that meeting was that I met BeautyJunkie824 for the first time, and our friendship grew from there.  Most of the people in the meeting that time had been post-op for months, all of them having RNY.  The leader spent the meeting knitting and making less than useful comments.  It was so underwhelming that I never went back.

Until last night.  Tinkerbell and I had been chatting about how we’re really supposed to go to the support group meetings and that neither of us had gone to one.  So, we decided to go to this one last night, which was at a different location than the other one I’d gone to.  It had the same leader that I wasn’t impressed with, but this time the big difference was in the support group members.

There were about 10 people who were pre-op, 7 of whom, including me, where getting the VSG.  Two other members were 1-week post-op, and doing great.  The fact that both of them were feeling well enough to get out of the house and attend a meeting was really encouraging.  There were also a few “old timers” who’d had surgeries 1-2 years ago who were giving sage advice to a few people who’d reached plateaus or were experiencing other struggles.  And there were three others who were scheduled for surgeries within the next two weeks.  So exciting!  The combination of new and old really lent itself to lively discussions, advice, and inspiration.

One of the things that really helped me was hearing from a few people who had similar tales as I did.  Two of them had been within 5 pounds of their pre-op goal weight and then gained it all back and had to re-lose the weight, which they did, and were now post-op.  That motivated me more than anything else, because I know that story.  I’ve never been that close only to have it taken away, but I have been striving for this pre-op goal for longer than most.  But as one of the OGs said to me, “you’re on your own journey, going at your own pace.  You were meant to be at this place now so that you could learn more about yourself.”  And that’s exactly it!

Yes, I’ve been enrolled in this WLS program for 2 1/2 years, and it’s been frustrating and challenging.  But it’s also been a way to learn so much about myself and how I handle adversity, food issues, etc.  At one point last night Tinkerbell leaned over to me and said, “Bella, you were meant to be at this place right now so that we could go through this experience together.  To support each other, and to push each other to get to our goals.”  And she’s so right!

Both Tinkerbell and I are within about 10 lbs of calling for our “5 lbs left to go” notification.  At that point, I can call into the bariatric department and start the ball rolling with getting a surgery date.  I have 11 pounds to lose before I make that call, and I am feeling incredibly inspired to make that goal by February 20th, the date of the next support group meeting.

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I saw this on Alyssa’s blog and I just knew I had to steal it.  It encapsulates so many different things that I’ve been going through:

  • Frustration over slow (or no) weight loss.
  • Feelings of failure around the fact that I’m STILL not where I want to (or should) be.
  • Lack of willpower when it comes to food.
  • Trying this thing and that thing, all resulting in the same thing – nothing. 

But it also speaks to the main thing that I needed to read today – just RELAX and realize that I will succeed, eventually.  But only if I truly believe in myself.

It came out again last night when I was with my family and my mom asked me why I thought it had taken me so long.  She didn’t mean it in a mean way, she was sincerely trying to understand.  But tears rushed to my eyes, and I said in a very small voice, “because somewhere deep inside, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to do this.”  (I get teary-eyed now as I type that sentence).  I explained that consciously I have a lot of confidence in myself.  I’m proud of myself for my perseverance, my positive attitude, and my ability to never give up.  But subconsciously there’s that voice in my head (that evil bitch, Fat Girl) that tells me I’ll never really get what I want most.  I even mentioned that as thrilled and excited and happy as I am for my friends who have (and are) losing weight, I am also really envious of them, too.  I mean, naturally, right?  But then again, they worked for what they got, and I need to do that too.  The evening was cathartic, but emotionally draining.

And really, for the past several days I’ve been feeling lousy, mentally and physically.  I took a couple days off of work, and it helped.  One thing that’s become abundantly clear to me is that I need a support group to air out a lot of the feelings and emotional issues I have around food.  Don’t get me wrong, you guys, my friends, and my family are all great support systems, but I need the paradox of camaraderie and anonymity that comes with a support group.  People that don’t know all about me yet can share my struggle.  A place to talk about the issues that are coming up and maybe get some advice as to how to deal with them.  And maybe a bit of education, too.  I know more than I ever need to about food and nutrition, but I could definitely use some skills around coping with stress.  It’s getting so bad that I’m getting persistent headaches, stomach problems, and my face is breaking out.

So I decided to look into what Kaiser could offer.  In Southern California, Kaiser requires WLS patients to enroll in an Options class, which is a weekly 12-week class that meets for two hours each time.  Education about nutrition, emotional eating, preparation for WLS, and support.  The thinking is that by the end of the class, the participants have everything they need to lose the required weight.  In fact, many of them finish the series and have lost the required weight.  Sounds fantastic, right?  I know!  The problem?  They don’t offer it here in Northern California.

But I didn’t let that stop me.  Because if there’s one thing you can say about Kaiser it’s that they are excellent about the education classes/support groups that they offer.  And I knew there had to be something available to me.

The first thing is obvious – there’s a bariatric support group meeting once a month in my area.  In fact, it meets at two different locations, two different times of the month, so it’s really available twice a month.  I went to one group and felt like they spent all the time talking about food (just like in many WW meetings), and I didn’t find it helpful.  Plus, most of the attendees were post-op, so there wasn’t as much for a pre-op person like me to glean.  But then again, I’m sure that if nothing else, it will keep me on my game and recharge my commitment. And I shouldn’t judge it based on only going to one meeting.

Then I also found out that Kaiser offers a Healthy Weight Program which “is designed to help you adopt healthier lifestyle habits. Share ideas, discuss challenges, and get support from others. Discussion topics include physical activity, nutrition, and stress management.”  It’s a weekly series that runs for 10 weeks, each session lasting two hours long, and the fee is $75 ($7.50/week).  The education staffer I spoke with said that they even provide a diet coach who works with each participant personally.  The program isn’t just for people who are having WLS, in fact, I’m guessing that many of them are just people who want to lose weight, or have to lose weight for some sort of surgery, etc.  In any case, I think it will be a great step for me.  There’s a pre-class to explain more about what the Healthy Weight Program entails, which I’m enrolled in for March 28th. The classes begin on April 18th through June 20th.  It’s going to be my goal that by the end of those classes, I’ve met my weigh loss requirement.

But I’m not going to wait for April 18th to get started.  I’m continuing on the path that I’ve started.  Going back to where it all began in August 2010:

  1. Following Kaiser’s 1200 calorie/day meal plan.  Protein first, healthy carbs, whole grains, and lots of water.
  2. Exercising.  30 minutes every single day, and 60 minutes of more intense activity 4 times a week, minimum.  450 minutes/week.
  3. Taking my vitamins. I’ve gotten way off track with this.
  4. Tracking my food in MyFitnessPal. I’ve tracked for over 90 days: good, bad, and ugly, which I’m really proud of.
  5. Blogging at least 4 times a week to connect, support, and encourage.

Chill, Bella, you GOT this!

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Last night on The Biggest Loser Bob took his team to this spot that was a hidden oasis, complete with a waterfall in the middle of a mountain range in Malibu, CA. He said, “there’s magic around every corner and all you have to do is go out and find it. You can achieve anything you set your mind to do.” I really love that, and after these past few days, I can say that that’s so true.

Today when I got home from work, these were waiting for me on my front porch:

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Boxes of clothes that Scale Warfare (aka Skinny Minnie!!) had gotten too slender for (she’s lost  over 54 lbs!!).  And don’t be fooled by the “small box” moniker; these boxes were filled to the brim with tons and tons and tons of clothes:

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I know this photo looks like a big mess, but I was trying on and sorting through it all.  I have a whole box of clothes that I’ll fit into in a size or two, and an entire box of items that I can wear now and for quite some time.  Scale Warfare gave me everything from dresses to pants to blouses to tanks to cardigans to glitzy tops to pjs to blazers.  The clothes are high quality, expensive, and in excellent condition.  I mentioned the gift to my sister and she came over and claimed a few things that she wants to “borrow.”  (I see some fashion fights in our future, like when we were in high school.  :)  I marked the second box of clothes “inspiration” and put them in my spare bedroom closet. I cannot wait to wear each and every one. I especially have my eye on a pair of pin-striped Michael Kors pants that I’m dying to fit into.  Talk about great incentive!!

Here’s my outfit for tomorrow, all laid out. The whimsical top is from Scale Warfare and I’m pairing it with a black cardi and a black skirt.  If you come back on Friday for my OOTW post, you’ll see me in it.

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Not only do I have clothes in sizes ranging from 24-16 and everything in between, but I’m seeing that there are quite a few stores that I never/rarely shop at that I should be.  Like Talbot’s, Old Navy, and Khol’s to name a few. It’s so interesting to see that stores that I thought were out of reach actually have clothes that fit (and look good) on me.

I knew that Scale Warfare and I had a lot in common, but now I see that she and I have a very similar fashion esthetic, too.  When we finally do meet up, we are most definitely going to burn a hole in our credit cards with all the shopping we’ll do!!

I can’t tell you how thankful I feel Scale Warfare her generosity with me.  Not only did she send me an immense about of expensive, like-new (some with the tags still on!) clothes, but she also paid to have them shipped to me across the country (not cheap at all).  I can tell you that Santa is going to treat her very nicely this year.  Between Scale Warfare and BeautyJunkie824 these past two days have made me feel invigorated, grateful, and very, very loved.  How lucky am I to have such amazing people in my life to call my friends?  I absolutely will pay it forward when it comes time for these clothes to go on to another home.

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Via Pinterest

Today I had the BEST day, all thanks to one of my newer friends!  Before I tell you what happened, let me give you some background.

BeautyJunkie824 and I “met” online through YouTube, and when we discovered that we only live about 40 minutes apart, we knew we had to meet.  Originally we decided to meet up for the first time at a WLS support group through Kaiser, when we were both pre-op.  We spent an hour at the meeting and then we headed to Starbucks and stayed for hours, just chatting, getting to know each other and realizing just how much we had in common.  BeautyJunkie824 got VSG surgery about 8 weeks ago, and looks fantabulous!  She’s lost over 66 lbs – 30 lbs since surgery and the rest from her pre-op diet.  She’s one of my inspirations on this weight loss journey, and I’m so lucky to have met her.  It really was kismet.

So today, BeautyJunkie824 and I met up at Starbucks again and talked for another 3 hours about losing weight, wls, life, and everything in between.  As she let me ask her “20 questions” (probably more!!) about her experience with VSG, I got more and more excited.  To think that that could be me in a matter of a few short months is incredible.  She said that she felt like VSG was truly a miracle for her, but pointed out, as ScaleWarfare did in her post today, that it is all about the healthy choices she’s making.  BeautyJunkie said that she could easily eat a ton of ice cream and never workout and she’d be putting on the pounds.  Instead, she eats protein first, is up to running a 5K several times a week, and make sure to get in all her water.

I told BeautyJunkie824 that I knew I had to ramp up my exercise (calorie burn) if I was going to see the weight loss results that I wanted, and she reminded me that I don’t always have to hit the gym to get in that extra workout.  Again, life’s not all black and white; an idea that keeps repeating itself to me, and will continue to do so until I start living it, I guess. Anyway, she mentioned that when she first started back with exercise this time around, she began with the Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds DVDs.  Scale Warfare also mentioned those, and I just so happened to have bought this DVD from Amazon about a month ago.  (I haven’t opened it yet, but I will, this week).  And then I remembered that I have a few Biggest Loser DVDs (Boot Camp, Yoga, and 30-Day Jumpstart) that have been gathering dust in my garage for about a year.

As I was leaving, BeautyJunkie824 told me that she’d brought something for me.  We headed to her car, and she took out 2 huge bags filled with clothes for me!  All sizes 22-18!  I’m not in those sizes just yet, so this is even more incentive for me to keep up my good work and get these pounds off!  I have great clothes just waiting for me.  (On a side note, Scale Warfare is also being wonderfully generous and sending me some of her too-big clothes!!  Between these two ladies, I’m going to be all set until I get to my goal weight!)  I am so  touched by this generosity!  It’s overwhelming, and definitely something that I will “pay forward” once I’m out of these sizes.

Between BeautyJunkie824 and Scale Warfare, I feel so loved, encouraged, and supported!  It’s amazing to have these two women in my life.  They’ve both been through the VSG surgery, so I can learn from them, but even more importantly, they are two people whom I met online and whom I felt an instant connection with.  Like we’re meant to be friends and will always be in each others’ lives.  This is the power of blogging and vlogging that you just can’t beat!  Meeting up with BeautyJunkie824 makes me want to meet Scale Warfare even more, too!  Someday soon, lady!!!!

I was so motivated that when I got home, that I took Sofi for a 30-minute, quick-paced walk and then came home and did Week 1, Day 1 and 2 of the Bigges Loser 30-Day Jumpstart DVD.  Day 1 was 10 minutes of cardio and Day 1 was 10 minutes of upper body strength/core training.  The plan for this week:

  • Wednesday: Walk Sofi; 30-Day Jumpstart cardio (10 min.); Walk Away the Pounds (level 1 – 18 min)
  • Thursday: gym day – 35 min. on elliptical; walk Sofi; 30-Day Jumpstart lower body (10 min)
  • Friday: Walk Sofi; 30-Day Jumpstart cardio (10 min.) (We’ll see if I feel like doing more)

I’m rocking it with my food.  So much so that I’m going to make a video tomorrow about my latest “haul” from Bariatric Choice.  December 17th is totally within my reach, and I know I’m going to make my goal.

Who have you inspired today? 

via Pinterest

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As you guys know, I’ve been struggling a bit, so instead of spinning my wheels, I decided to take a completely different tactic than I ever have before.  I’m going to give therapy a try AND I went to my first WLS  support group last night.

I called yesterday and set up a therapy appointment for next Tuesday, so I’ll definitely post all about that next week.  As far as the WLS support group, I decided to make a video blog:

I mentioned this in the video, but for those of you who don’t have 11 minutes to spare (which I totally understand!), I wanted to make sure to highlight the fact that last night I met up with someone I met through YouTube.  It was exciting, because she’s the first person I’ve ever met in person whom I’ve first “met” online.  (ScaleWarfare, I hope you’re next!!) Sylvia aka BeautyJunkie824 is just as sweet in person as she comes across in her videos.  She drove quite a distance (over an hour) to come to the meeting, but it was really great to get the chance to meet her.

It was nice to see that we vibed just as easily in person and we did online.  After the group we headed to Starbucks for some iced tea and we just gabbed about the wls group, our lives, our diets, and our hopes with the surgery.  She’s also getting VSG, which is so nice.  Now there will be two other people who are going through the same path as I am, just a bit before me.  The other exciting thing was that she just found out this morning that her surgery is scheduled for Aug. 30th!  So, now SW is having hers Aug. 22 and BeautyJunkie824 is having hers Aug. 30, so I need to get my butt in gear and join them on “the loser’s bench” as people in the wls community say when people have the surgery. Knowing that they’re both getting the surgery soon really motivates me to qualify and get my scheduled, too.

I have a few changes up my sleeve that I’m excited to tell you all about in the coming days.

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Many of you know that ScaleWarfare and I are BFFs in blogland.  We’ve never met in person, but we’ve been friends for a couple of years via our blogs.  About a year ago (more now) SW and I started emailing each other our daily food logs to keep each other accountable, for encouragement, and for support.  Just knowing that someone out there understood my struggles made them easier.  She and I are similar in so many ways.  In fact sometimes we sort of freak each other out with how spookily similar we are.  ;) She and I have been through so much on our weight loss journey, and it’s happily carried over into our personal lives too.

We started giving each other gifts to celebrate all of life’s joys – birthdays, weddings (hers), and just because.  We do it because we want to let the other one know we’re thinking of her, or that we want her to smile through a rough day, or because she deserves it.  You know, all the reasons that friends are there for each other.

I consider SW one of my very best friends, but today that notion was forever solidified when I recieved this:

What an overwhelming surprise!  She took one of the many photos that I have of Lulu and turned it into this amazing keepsake.  It’s printed on a canvas so it’s more like a painting, and she had it personalized with Lulu’s name.  It also has a little poem on it that is beyond sweet:

Dogs come into our lives, leave paw prints on our hearts, and we are forever changed.”

It’s perfect!  Not only does it capture everything that I feel, but it has one of my very favorite photos of Lulu. I’d said I’d wanted to have a photo collage to hang up, but this is even better! Now every time I look at it I’ll remember Lulu as a little puppy, but I’ll also be reminded of what a great friend SW is to me.  And I’ll feel loved for both reasons.

ScaleWarfare, I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me.  You are the BEST friend anyone could ever ask for.  You are thoughtful, kind, supportive, empathetic and truly special.  I am honored to call you my friend. It’s amazing to me that two people who have never met face to face can become so significant in each others’ lives.  Thank you!

And now you know this means that we need to meet up somewhere halfway in between our two homes even more!  I can’t wait to give you a huge hug and thank you for everything.  You are the embodiment of friendship!!

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