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Archive for the ‘rewards’ Category

Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 22 brought with it the change of seasons.  Finally, we’re experiencing cold mornings and evenings, although our days are gorgeous and sunny.  I love the layered clothing of fall, and it’s been fun putting cooler-weather outfits together.  My closet is down to the bare minimum, so I’ve spent a bit on some new sweaters – more on that in a bit. My food has been great, and I’ve been enjoying lots of fall flavors – butternut squash casserole, rotisserie chicken and pumpkin soup, and today I’m going to make pumpkin pie crockpot oatmeal.  Of course I put my own spin on each of these recipes, especially the oatmeal. I need more protein than the original recipe has, so I add in scoops of vanilla protein powder (I also omit the maple syrup in favor of flavored sugar free torani – saves calories and tastes just as good).

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 217.6, which is a loss of 1.4 pounds this week, and a loss of 59.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 97.4 pounds from my highest weight!!  The weight loss is slowing down a bit these past couple of weeks, but I’m proud that I can honestly say that I have never had a stall in these 22 weeks.  Considering how awful my weight loss was pre-op, this is a fantastic fact! Actually, forget the caveat, this is a fantastic fact no matter what!  I see so many others on MyFitnessPal struggle with stalls from week to week, but I’ve never experienced one.  I can’t speak to what happens with other people’s bodies, but I can say for mine that having the surgery absolutely reset my metabolism, which had been shot after so many years of yo-yo dieting. Plus the fact that I have followed (most of) the rules Kaiser laid out and cook most of my meals myself.  I have gone out, of course, but it’s a rare, celebratory thing.  I have completely embraced this new lifestyle, and it’s paying off.

I can’t believe how close I am to losing 100 lbs!  I just can’t wait for that magic number to show up on the scale – I really hope I can get to it this week, but if not, I know that within 2 weeks, I’ll be there.  Can you believe it?  I really can’t.  I know I’ve been working hard, and have done everything I should, but it feels very surreal to me that I’ve lost this much weight.  Thank God I had the surgery!

One of the fun things that I did this week was spend the Anthropologie gift card that Amber gave me a couple of months ago.  Her gift was absolutely incredible because it came as a total surprise, and she said she sent it because I was so inspiring to her.  I mean, c’mon!  So generous and so sweet.  I’ve held onto the gift card because I’ve had it in my mind that I’d spend it when I got to goal.  But then I started thinking about the fact that I’m just now moving into tops that I can find in “normal” stores, so why not treat myself?  Plus the fact that my closet is in desperate need of some new fashions.  I went onto Anthropologie.com and hit the “sale” tab.  We all know that their regularly-priced clothing is so expensive, so I figured I’d see what was on sale.  Wow, there are some amazing deals on really cute stuff, and surprisingly, much of it was for this season.  There were quite a few things I liked, but I also wanted to keep to the $50 gift card and not have to spend too much extra.  So, this is what I settled on:

black anthro It was originally $128, marked down to $39.99.  With tax and shipping, it came out to $49.80 – pretty good shopping if I do say so myself! I got black because I figured it would take me through fall, winter, and into spring.  Plus, I love it.  And it will go nicely with jeans, skirts, and pants.  I know you can’t see much detail from the photo, so here it is in cream, which shows it off much better:

cream anthro I love the shoulder detail – those little loops are fun and funky and just different enough to be unique.  Plus, I think having something at the shoulder will probably help define my hourglass shape.  Or, it will make me look like a linebacker…I guess we’ll see.  I ordered it in a Large, which is crazy!  Many of the comments online were saying that it ran large, so I figured that I would get the most use out of it in that size.  I can’t wait!

Amber, thank you again so much for your generosity.  This is my first clothing purchase ever from Anthropolgie, and it’s all because of you!!  I’ll definitely think of you and your support and friendship every time I wear it.

Today’s quote is a great reminder of all of the things that I CAN do.

  • I can walk a 5K (or 5 miles, as I did with the SJ RocknRoll) without any pain. More than that, I have fun doing it.
  • I can go into any clothing store and buy tops that fit.  This is a huge milestone! (I can’t wait for the day I can say the same thing of pants).
  • I can lose weight even though my life is hectic and there never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish everything I need to do.
  • I can make time for workouts because I love the way they make me feel and I know they help me create a stronger body, inside and out.
  • I can inspire other people toward their own weight loss goals, and I lead by example.
  • I can achieve every goal I have set for myself, which I’m doing, one by one.

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

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Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 21 was another great one.  Life continues to be busy, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing my weigh-in post on Tuesday, when I normally write it on Sunday.  Craziness!

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in Sunday morning, I was 219.0, which is a loss of 1 pound and a loss of 58 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 96 pounds from my highest weight!!  Even though this is a small loss, it’s significant because it marks a new weight “decade” that I find myself in.  The TEENS!!  I haven’t weighed this little in…well, I really can’t remember.  My 100 lbs lost is just around the corner, and right after that milestone is Onederland.  Whoohoo!  So much to look forward to.  🙂

One issue that’s come up lately for me is a lack of fiber in my diet.  Ahem.  So, I’ve been adding Amazing Grass to my morning protein shake, as well as taking Miralax nightly.  It’s definitely better than the alternative, which I experienced to an alarming degree on Sunday.  Not fun.

What has been really fun is shopping for new clothes.  I know I mentioned a bit of shopping last week, but as my closet continues to dwindle down to almost-nothing, I’ve been replenishing it.  It’s so cool that I can now buy tops in the normal sizes at stores.  This week I spent a bit of money at Dress Barn, which is a place that I love finding unique sweaters.  Although I hate the name, I really do like the store because it carries both plus and regular sizes.  Another place I’m about to hit is Macy’s.  If I can walk into their Misses department and buy an XL off the rack, I know I’ll be pinching myself in the dressing room.  All these small changes add up to being something that is really amazing.

Today’s quote is one that I really take to heart.  Over the last several years I’ve spent most of my efforts chasing this goal, sometimes spinning my wheels in the process.  So now that I’ve completely transformed my lifestyle (and my body) so that I can build the life I’ve always wanted, it feels fantastic to see my goal in action.

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

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Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 20 brought with it a bit of a break from the craziness of the week before.  I decided to take Monday off to catch up on errands and housework, and I even got a new ‘do. This week I also had some shopping NSVs.

So, how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 220.0, which is a loss of 2 pounds and a loss of 57 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 95 pounds from my highest weight!!  I’m really pleased with this week’s weight loss, because I’d taken the week off from working out.  My body seemed to need it, especially after all I did last week, and besides that, I had my period, so it seemed like a good week to take a breather. I made really healthy meals for myself, and paid attention to my water and vitamin intake.  I’m also glad to see a loss with a “2” in front of it this week, because I’ve been losing around a pound for the past couple of weeks.  Since I have 5 pounds to go to be down 100 pounds, I’m going to push to make that milestone before the end of October.

butternut squash casserole One of the meals that I made this week was Eggface’s Butternut Squash Casserole.  I changed it a bit by adding sage in with the sauteed ground turkey, and it was a delicious touch.  I highly recommend this dish because it’s hearty and filling, yet so good for you.  I had it several times this past week for lunch and dinner.  Plus, I have half of it left in the freezer.

Monday I got a haircut, and I feel like a brand new person!  I’ve mentioned before how much hair I’ve been losing, which is normal after surgery, because of the hormonal changes caused by the rapid weight loss.  It lasts from month 3 – 6, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Not only was my hair getting thinner, but it was also completely changing texture.  My hair has always been dry, but now it’s super-dry and much frizzier.  I hated the way it felt.  So I decided that it was time for a major cut.

These were some of the inspiration photos that I brought into my stylist:

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And this is the great cut I walked out of the salon with…

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I love it! It’s sassy and short, and because so many inches were cut off (at least 4 or 5, I think), the hair is so much healthier.  Plus, because it’s shorter, when the hair does come out in the shower, it seems like less because it’s not as long. I got a ton of compliments at school, on FB, and in person. It was time to make a change.  In the past when I’ve had shorter hair, I was always really self-conscious because my face was so full and my body was so big, and I felt so exposed.  I don’t feel that way at all now.  My face has changed so much since the last time I had a short cut, and I don’t feel like I need to hide behind long hair to somehow balance out my body.  It’s very freeing.

The other major NSV this week came at Old Navy.  I’d gotten a coupon for 30% off, and since I’m in desperate need of some new clothes, especially tops, I figured it was a long overdue excursion.  The thing is, I’ve never been able to shop inside an Old Navy store for myself before.  Their plus sizes are online only, so this would be my first attempt to fit into normal sizes in the store. I really wanted get some sweaters, but I didn’t like the choices I saw.  So I ended up with a 49ers long-sleeved thermal and a fleece hoodie.  Both are in XXL, which I guess could be considered plus-sizes, but I’m just so happy that I didn’t have to be relegated to a plus-size store to get them.  The XL fit, too, but was a bit too tight for me to wear out, so I went with the larger size. As you can tell with the 49ers shirt, it fits well and I don’t have to worry about washing & drying it.  (If it shrank a bit, it would still be fine).  As I was in the dressing room trying on clothes, I was struck by just how far I’d come.  There were times in the past when nothing at Torrid fit, and when I was almost out of sizes at Lane Bryant.  I’m wearing a 14/16 top (highest weight = 26/28 that was tight) and 18/20 pants (highest weight = 28 tight).  I can’t wait to be solidly in the normal sizes in pants, too.
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Another shopping NSV hit when I realized that I’d donated all of my warm pjs, and literally had nothing to wear now that the weather was turning chilly.  So I went to Kohls and found two sets of pjs in XXL (18/20) that would have NEVER fit me last year at this time.

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I know they’re really similar, but I love having red pjs for the cold-weather months.  The first have cute little Scotty dogs and the other is a classic plaid.  I got each of the sets for $18.99, which is unheard of in the plus-sized clothing world.  That’s just another little perk of being able to wear clothes from the normal stores – I can find such great deals, and the clothes are more reasonably priced.

This coming week I want to get back to my workouts, up my water intake to 10 glasses a day, and keep enjoying the fun fall menus I’ve been making.  Life is so good right now, and I hope my weekly weigh-in posts don’t sound boring, because I feel like I write that all the time.  But those of you who have been with me for a while know just how far I’ve come.  Today’s quote couldn’t be more apropos.  THIS is the place I always knew I could get to, and it feels fabulous to finally be here and be able to enjoy each and every moment.

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

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Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 19 was busy and fun-filled! I had a blast dressing up for each day of homecoming week (see my Intagram), played in the powder puff football game, and participated in the SJ RocknRoll Mini Marathon.

So, how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 222.0, which is a loss of 1.2 pounds and a loss of 55 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 93 pounds from my highest weight!! 

This week really showed me just how much more I am able to do with all of this weight gone!  Yes, I’m in smaller sizes, yes, I like the image I see when I look in the mirror, but this week I really FELT how much healthier I am now.  I’m doing things that I would have never even attempted a year ago.  It’s exciting to tap into this other side of myself that I didn’t realize I had.  I can’t wait to see all the new adventures in fitness I achieve in the coming months and years.

I also had a few non-fitness related NSVs this week, both of which make me smile when I think of them.

The first happened at race packet pickup on Friday.  The RocknRoll series is very strict about each individual picking up their own bib, and IDs are absolutely required.  I showed my ID, and the woman scrutinized it, looked up at me, went back to the ID, and looked back at me with a questionable look on her face.  Then she said, “well, all this walking is obviously working, because you look like a totally different person.”  How cool is that?  It’s so rare that I ever have to show my ID, and it had been months since I’d really looked at the photo, but there is a major difference, to be sure.  My license expires July 2014, and it will be neat to see how much more I change between now and then.

The next NSV happened Saturday morning before the SAT.  One of the other teachers, who is typically really cynical and snarky, told me, “you look fantastic! When I look at you, sitting across from me at the table like this, I see a thin person.  You inspire me to get back to a healthier life.”  I was blown away by her compliments!  The fact that I might inspire her to get a bit healthier really pleases me.

This coming week, I’m looking forward to the pace of life slowing down just a bit.  It means that I can get back to cooking some healthy dinners, workout on my hybrid, take care of the house and Sofi, and take a breath.

This quote really proved true for me this week, as I did a lot that took me out of my comfort zone, and it was all AWESOME!

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

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Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 18 was exciting! I got a wonderful surprise from a very generous friend, started practicing for our faculty powder puff football game, and I attempted to go stand-up paddle boarding.

So, how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 223.2, which is a loss of 1.2 pounds and a loss of 53.8 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 91.8 pounds from my highest weight!! 

I’m really proud of my continued success on the scale, and when I stop to think how far I’ve come in such a short time, I really am amazed.  I am so thankful that I had the surgery, especially now that school is back in session and it’s shaping up to be such a hectic year for me.  I know my tool, and my success, has helped me incredibly.  Now that I’ve lost 92 pounds, moving through the world is so much easier.  I’m able to do so much more and it’s all so much more effortless.

Life is so good,and I feel so lucky to be able to truly live each moment taking all the small steps that reveal successes daily.

2013-09-28 09.17.04Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Autumn has 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 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 17 was another busy one, which makes me all the more grateful that I have this new lifestyle in check.  I’ve come to realize that this school year is just going to be much busier for me for a number of reasons, but thanks to all the changes I’ve made personally, I’ll be able to handle the added pressure without derailing my progress on the scale. That fact makes me feel amazing!

So, how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 224.4, which is a loss of 4 pounds this week, and a loss of 52.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 90.6 pounds from my highest weight!! Ninety pounds down!!!  Over 52+ pounds off in just a little over 4 months!! I am so proud of myself and stunned by these results.

When I see this sort of progress, I realize that my decision to get the VSG surgery was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, just as I knew it would be.  I think back to myself 1 year ago, 3 years ago, 5 years ago and know that all of my perseverance through the terrible struggles with the scale was to get me to this moment.  Even as I was failing and had almost lost all hope, there was a small spark, a tiny voice in my head, telling me to keep going because I could do it.  Once I made the decision to get the WLS, I knew that the tool would be the missing piece of the puzzle, and it’s proven to be.

Now that living this post-VSG life has become second nature to me, I think it’s time to make some milestone goals for myself.

  1. I will hit 100 pounds off by November 1st.
  2. I will get to ONEDERLAND (199 or less) by the end of 2013.
  3. I will reach my ultimate goal of weighing 150 lbs before my surgiversary on May 20, 2014.

Given my average weekly weight loss (~3 lbs per week), these goals are completely reasonable and achievable.  The nicest part is, I’m not going to have to do anything extraordinary to reach them.  I’m just going to keep up with the food and exercise plan I’ve been following, and I know the weight will come off.

Way back when, I’d set up some rewards for myself for losing weight, and I think they still hold true:

1.  When I hit 100 pounds off – buy a new, red beach cruiser.  I love my beach cruiser, but I hate the color.  When I went to buy it, I wanted a red one, but they were going to have to order it for me.  Being as impatient as I am, I didn’t want to wait, so I settled for the one they had in stock.  Now it’ time to get the bike I really want.

2.  When I hit Onederland – buy an outfit from a non-plus size store.  I know I’ll be able to buy a top from a non-plus size store (I could fit one now), but I’m not sure of the bottoms.  I’m wearing 20s or 18s, depending on the pants, but with another 24 lbs off, maybe I’ll be able to fit into 14s?  I’m thinking that maybe a store like New York & Company will have something that will work.  Any other suggestions for stores with generous sizing?

3. I’ve always said that when I hit my ultimate goal of weighing 150 lbs, I’m going to buy an entire outfit from Anthropologie.  I love so many of the silhouettes I see at the store, and have always longed to be able to buy more than just their housewares. This is going to be a huge reward!

It’s so fun to think about reaching these milestones and knowing that they’ll happen in the very near future, not a faraway and nebulous “someday.”  I saw this quote on Instagram this morning, and it really does encapsulate how I’m feeling:

20130922-141041.jpgUntil next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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On Wednesday I had my 3-month post op appointment, which was informative, but because it was done in a group setting, it was sort of boring. The group was comprised of WLS patients who all had surgery around the same time I did. A few of them had already hit the 4-month mark, but most of us were around 3 months.

Food
It began with a talk with the nutritionist who gave the standard information about food: amount, portion size, balance, etc. I’ve always eaten really well, and understand how to keep my menu balanced, so I didn’t learn anything new. She did say that she doesn’t recommend using protein shakes as meal replacements, but because I’m not a huge fan of breakfast foods, I’m going to continue having my shakes in the morning. Once in a while I’ll replace the shakes with overnight oats or crock pot oatmeal (to which I’ll add a couple of scoops of protein powder). My lunches and dinners are going well, and I’m figuring out ways to keep the variety high. At this point, they recommend that I eat between 800-1000 calories per day, which I am most of the time. Most days are somewhere between 800-900 calories. They also recommend getting around 80g of protein per day, which I’m definitely fitting in, most days I try to get closer to 90g.

Vitamins
Next the bariatric department doctor came in and answered a bunch of questions, which was great. She even gave some helpful tips about cutting down on the number of vitamins we need to take each day. She suggested Wellesse liquid Calcium, and the reason I like it is because I only have to take two 2-TBSP servings to get in the required 2000mg per day. Little things like that are going to make it a lot easier for me to remember to take my vitamins, which I’ve been really failing at lately. She also said that she thinks it’s “rubbish” that we can’t use straws, which made me happy because I’ve been drinking with straws from the 3rd week post op. I was surprised when the doctor said that she “shrugged her shoulders” at carbonation. She said that immediately post-op carbonation was too harsh for our stomachs, but at this point if we want to have some carbonation from time to time, we can. I’m not a soda drinker, but I do enjoy having sparkling water now and then. The doctor said as long as the carbonation didn’t cause us any discomfort or excessive belching, it should be fine in moderation. I’m not going to go out and buy a bunch of sparkling water, but it is nice to have the option.

Hair Loss
One thing that’s been really disturbing is the amount of hair I’m losing every time I wash it. I’m not talking the normal 100 strands of shedding, I’m talking whole handfuls of hair. Mounds of hair. Yes, I have a lot of hair, and it’s very thick, so I’m lucky. But with the amount that I’m losing every time I wash it, I’m getting worried about what I’m going to be left with when this period of hair loss is over. The doctor said hair loss begins around month 3 and lasts through month 6, and that it gets worse before it gets better. She said that Biotin and other supplements don’t have any affect on the hair loss or on the regrowth, which is just as well, because when I did take Biotin, I broke out terribly. The only thing that helps is to keep up with my Iron intake. My family and friends tell me that I’m the only one that’s noticing how much smaller my ponytail is getting, but it doesn’t stop me from being concerned. Although, I still wouldn’t change a thing, I’m so glad I had this surgery and only wish I’d had it sooner.

Reward
After the appointment I decided I was going to treat myself to a little shopping. I’ve been trying my best not to buy anything, because I know that it’s only going to hang in my closet for a short time, but things are getting a bit desperate. I have no work pants whatsoever, and while I can wear jeans any day I like, I really like to try to wear them only on Thursdays (when we wear college gear to promote that college-bound culture) and Fridays (when we wear blue to show school spirit). Once winter hits I wear jeans more often, because I think sweaters help dress them up, but for now, I wanted some work pants. I went to Kohls, where I have never really shopped for clothes in the past because I was too big to fit into most of the Womens (Plus) sizes. I got some really great pieces:

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This one looks great on because of the black color blocking on the sides. It’s really flattering. Plus, I can wear this on school color Fridays.

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Another one to wear on school color Fridays. It may not look like it on the hanger, but this one shows off my waist really well.

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This one was too cute to pass up. I can wear it on blue Fridays, and I like the whole Superman thing. I did customize it by cutting out the crew neck and cutting more of a v-neck. This is a men’s large, and a year ago (or even 6 months ago) I would’ve been too big for a men’s 2XL.

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I really like these pants because they look like dressy grey pants, but they’re actually denim. They’re a wide-leg cropped pant, and I love them.

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These pants were the ones that blew my mind. They’re just regular, black work pants that I can wear with anything, but there’s something special about these…

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THEY’RE A SIZE 18!!!!! They’re a bit snug in the hips/thighs, but they zip up and button without a problem. This is incredibly exciting!

I started out in a tight size 28 pants, so the fact that these pants are a size 18 is amazing to me.  I am over the moon that I’m able to fit into these.  I seriously can’t believe it.  This is ridiculously fabulous!!!

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bilbl_mainLast week a friend of my on MyFitnessPal wrote about how she had just purchased a great new machine for her home gym.  It was a ProForm Elliptical/Recumbent Bike Hybrid that HSN was selling for $399.  The thing that got me to look at it was that they were offering it for 5 payments of $80, which is much more manageable on my budget.  Plus, free shipping!

I was SO tempted, but could I justify buying it? I already have a great membership to 24 Hour Fitness that I have at such a great deal ($99/year) that I will never give it up.  Plus, I really like the classes (Zumba, Aqua, among others that I want to try) and the interaction with people that the gym offers.  But the thought of being able to roll out of bed, put on my sneakers, and just hit this machine was really too much.  And those two machines are my favorite cardio machines at the gym.

I  checked out all of the reviews I could find online, and the only negative people found was the time it takes to put it together.  All the other reviews were positive, mentioning how solid the machine was, how smooth, how much they enjoyed it.

I’m sure you can guess where this is heading.  I’m not one to deny myself much if I can help it. And after all the factors mentioned above, I was sold.   So I ordered it, and as of today, I am the proud owner of a great new piece of workout equipment.

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I can concur that it is a b!tch to put this thing together.  My dad is a master at stuff like this and it took us about 2 1/2 – 3 hours to put it together.  It wasn’t difficult to follow the directions because everything was outlined and organized so perfectly, but it just had SO MANY STEPS.  Luckily for me, my dad is a patient man who will do anything for his daughters, so we got it done and all it cost me was a 49ers sweatshirt.  (Yesterday as I was purging and organizing my closets I found a sweatshirt that I’d purchased for myself long ago but never worn.  Now it’s too big for me (:)!!) and so I gave it to my dad).  Yes, I know just how special my dad is.

After recovering from putting it together, grabbing some lunch, and answering some school emails, it was finally time to give it a go!

I loved it!  It’s not as easy as the machines at the gym, but it does work really well.  The elliptical mode especially got my heart rate up in no time.  The bike was great, too.  This machine is really built solid, and is worth much more than the $399 price tag.  I’ve seen ellipticals on Craigslist selling for $400 – used.  This is a MUCH better option. All told, I was on the elliptical for 15 minutes and the bike for 25 and I burned 570 calories, which is great!  I can definitely see myself using it in the morning before school.  That way, my after school workouts can be more focused on strength training/C25K (more on that in another post).

I love that I was able to reward all of my hard work and success on the scale with a piece of equipment that will spur me on to even greater success.

What’s a reward you’ve given yourself recently to celebrate a success or to motivate you?

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I’m really excited to share my newest NSV with you! Yesterday when I weighed in at Kaiser, I was so excited about being below the first goal weight, it completely escaped me that I’d also lost a total of 31.4 pounds! Which means that I’ve officially also lost 10% of my body weight. Which means….

I can now wear the 10% bracelet I bought for myself 2 years ago! It’s sort of eerily perfect that I purchased the bracelet back in March 2011, and now in March 2013 I’ve finally achieved the weight loss. I’ve been keeping it in my jewelry box all this time, just waiting for this moment to wear it. Today I donned it proudly:

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The charm is actually a key from an old typewriter, which is so appropriate for someone who loves writing and literature as much as I do.  I absolutely love this constant reminder of what I’ve achieved.  I’m going to wear it proudly every day.

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222857881530160080_Kp2dmjFr_cLooking at my bank account and the weight I still have to lose to get to WLS, I’ve spent the morning thinking things through with my mom and sister.

I have enough money left for 3 1/2  more weeks of Jenny Craig, and realistically, I’m not going to be able to lose 17 lbs in that time period.  My mom told me that she and my dad can’t help me with any more funds, so when this money is spent, that’s it.  Jenny Craig food alone costs $500/month, not counting the produce and dairy supplemental food, so we’re really talking about almost $700/month.  I simply cannot afford that much.  So I had to think of what comes next.

When I was talking to my mom, I asked her whether I should even buy Jenny Craig during the week of Christmas, since I wasn’t going to have a loss that week.  Should I really pay $175 just to maintain my weight or even gain?  My mom asked why I couldn’t put the principles and eating plan that I’ve learned through Jenny Craig to use with food from the grocery store.  And then it hit me – I can!

The week of Christmas I can make my breakfast cookie or green smoothies, I can have Light Progresso soup and a salad for lunch, and I can have Hungry Girl Crock Pot chili and veggies for dinner.  I can keep my meals to 200-250 calories plus veggies.  I can eat two snacks of fruit + yogurt/string cheese.  And I can have a Fiber One bar or 100-calorie dessert.  I can indulge in family meals on the 24th and 25th and workout to mitigate those extra calories.

And as I was telling all of this to my sister, she said, “why can’t you do that starting now?  Why can’t you weave in other options with the Jenny Craig food? That way, the Jenny Craig food lasts longer.”  She’s absolutely right!  This way, I can make the Jenny Craig plan last 7 weeks, which is more than enough time for me to hit my goal weight.

I’m going to have to be very careful about my portions, because overeating has been my main downfall in the past.  One of the great things about Jenny Craig for me is that I know that I only have a limited amount of each treat.  I don’t eat more than I should, because there isn’t more to eat.  With this new idea, the key is going to be keeping the extra food out of reach, in my garage, locked with a key that my sister keeps.  That might seem a bit extreme, and I may not even need it, but I’m not taking any chances at this point.

I’m so glad that I entered my daily Jenny Craig plans into MyFitnessPal so that I can go back and see what each day looked like and find the right substitutions.  I’ll follow MFP to drop down calories as my weight loss continues.

And of course, I have to make sure to get my workouts and water in.

I can’t explain the relief I feel, because watching my money dwindle down and not knowing what to do to continue the weight loss was incredibly stressful.  It made me lay awake at night.  This new plan combines the best of Jenny Craig, with a realistic way to make it all the way to my goal.

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