Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Year Update: Sweet Freedom

One year ago today I was being wheeled into an operating room for a procedure that I knew was going to change my life.  Just how drastically it would change it, however, I hadn't a clue.  A year ago I looked to the future and figured by this time I'd have reached my goal.  And I was correct on that guess.  What I hadn't been prepared for was what that would do to me.  A number on a scale means little in comparison to the ways my life is different now.

I reached my original goal of 143 pounds a couple months ago.  I decided to keep going.  As of this morning I am 137 - two pounds shy of my new goal.  But the number no longer matters to me.  I'm focused on my fitness goals, concentrating on getting stronger, leaner, more toned, and properly nourished.  While I will confess to still enjoying chocolate, I will declare that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

Two days ago I had my one-year followup with the surgeon.  My progress astounded him.  Most patients are expected to have lost about 65% of their excess weight by this point.   I have lost over 90% of mine.  I truly believe my commitment to fitness has facilitated this, and Dr. C agreed.  I wasn't messing around with this.  I had this surgery to change my life.  I didn't have it so that I could continue being overweight and unhealthy.  This is why I fought so hard to get approval for it.  This is what I wanted to do, and this is the result I wanted to see.  I knew a year ago I had a long road ahead of me, and I knew it was going to take hard work and dedication.  I also know that at any point I could undo all my hard work, and this is a lifetime commitment to staying on the path.  The most important exercise in my regimen is that of self-awareness.  It doesn't matter how many squats I do, how long I spin for, or how much weight I lift.  If I'm not aware of myself and everything I'm doing, I will fail.  I've already seen how bad behavior affects me.  What's important is that I learn from it and commit to not repeating mistakes.

In the last year I have lost 122 pounds and many inches, but what I have gained is much more impressive.  I have gained FREEDOM.  Freedom from twice-daily corticosteroid inhalations.  Freedom from constant joint pain.  Freedom from chronic fatigue.  Freedom from self-loathing.  Freedom from self-consciousness as I walk through the grocery store.  Freedom from chest pain and shortness of breath and soaking sweat from the smallest exertion. The list is endless.

To count all the ways my life has changed for the better would take far more time and space than I have to spare right now, but if there's one thing I can say with unwavering confidence it's that I have ZERO regrets.  The surgery came with side effects.  I can't drink carbonation anymore, which means I had to give up Pepsi and beer, two things I really, REALLY love and really, REALLY miss.  I can't really eat bread or pasta anymore.  Potatoes, a food I once consumed in obscene amounts (hey, I'm Irish), are something I have to enjoy in extreme moderation.  I have to be careful not to eat too soon before bed or I'll wake up choking when everything backs up after I lie down.  When I go out to eat I have to eat really slowly or I'll be done well before everyone else, which is awkward.  There are many modifications and concessions I've had to make. But there is absolutely nothing that I have experienced in the past year that has ever made me stop and question my decision.  Nothing has ever made me regret having the surgery.  Even the pain afterward, the recovery time, all that goddamn JELLO...I'd do it all again.  In a heartbeat.  Because nothing trumps how I feel now.  Forget about how I look.  I FEEL incredible.

For the first time in my life, I feel strong inside and out.  I feel confident.  I feel healthy.  I wake up in the morning and I don't feel like I'm 80.  I sleep better.  I breathe better.  Those were all expected benefits.  There was other incidental stuff I'd looked forward to - fitting into smaller sized clothes and being able to go nuts at thrift stores (and believe me, I have) and being able to zip up boots over my calves even over pants, for example - and that has all happened.  Then there were the unexpected pluses that I hadn't even taken into consideration.

I smile all the time.  Other people have remarked on this, too.  "You're so happy all the time," they say. And I am. I'm happy to be healthy.  I'm happy to be alive.  My future looks bright. I'm in a relationship with a great guy and I just landed a new job in my chosen career.  Things are falling into place, and it's about damn time.

Things are also very weird. Men look at me.  Everywhere I go.  It's not something I'm used to.  My friend Carla once told me that I turned heads, but I never saw it.  Now I do.  And it's strange and kind of uncomfortable.  I should be like, "yeah, I'm hot and you should be so lucky to get the time of day from me."  But I'm more like, "uh...could you please not eye-fuck me so hard?  You're making me feel weird."  I'm not used to being attractive, and part of me resents the fact that I'm only considered attractive to strangers now that I'm smaller.   It kind of pisses me off, really.

And then there's this exceptionally weird thing I'm experiencing, and that's...portability.  My 6' tall, 210-pound athletic boyfriend has no problem just picking me up and carrying me around.  It's very, very strange, and it makes me realize why my cats put up such a fuss when I do that to them.  In some contexts it can be fun, but most of the time it's unpleasant and I'm like, "put me DOWN!"

So my life is way different one year after my surgery, and in many ways it's far better than I'd imagined.  Having the immense support of my incredible friends and family has helped immeasurably as well. I've had the most amazing cheering section, and it's both uplifting and humbling.

There are so many things I want to talk about, and I will get to them in greater detail in later posts.  Right now I know you're all waiting for the stats and photos, so without further ado, I give you...*drumroll please*...

3/31/13    5/19/13    7/10/13    10/11/13    1/12/14   4/10/14

Starting weight on 3/31/13 (start of pre-op diet): 259.8
Surgery Day weight on 4/10/13: 244.2
Current weight: 4/10/14: 137.0
Total weight lost: 122.8
Goal weight: 135
Pounds to goal: 2-ish but whatever.  I'm happy here.

This is the last you'll see of those polka dot pants.  I had to fold and roll the waistband to keep them from falling down (hence the weird bulge at my waist in that last photo).  And no, my boobs did not get bigger, but I've taken to wearing a push-up bra since they deflated.  LOL.

Thank you to all my loyal readers and friends for your support over the last year.  I will continue to blog, because this ain't over by a long shot.  I may have gotten this far and reached my goal, but this is a lifelong commitment.  Blogging helps me sort it all out, keeps me accountable, and gives me an outlet for the weirdness.  So please keep reading, and I promise I will keep posting!

Love you all!!! <3

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luck O' The Irish

Some colors just look better on me than others.  Green has always been a good choice, so St. Patrick's Day has always been easy to pull off.  This year, though, I think I pulled it off better than I ever have.

We were allowed to wear jeans to work on St. Pat's Day as long as we also wore something green (besides our aprons, lol). I had found this adorable Kermit tshirt at the thrift store a few months ago, so I wore that along with a green sweater.  Just for shits and giggles, here's a photo of me at last year's St. Pat's Day parade:

And this year in the above-mentioned green getup:

It's not luck, really, but looking at these two pictures I gotta say I FEEL pretty lucky.  Lucky to have been able to do what I've done.  Lucky to have the support of so many folks during this process.  Lucky to have the strength to keep at it.  Lucky to be alive.  Maybe "lucky" isn't the right word.  "Blessed" might be a better choice.  But whatever you want to call it, I'm cheerier than a leprechaun with a pot of gold.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

11-Month Surgiversary: Short and Sweet. Unlike This WINTER.

Valentine's Day just passed and Easter is coming.  So you know what that means.  Lots and lots of chocolate.  So much chocolate.  And so much chocolate on sale.

I have eaten too much chocolate.

The last few days I have given into serious stress eating, and those goddamn Reese's eggs are the death of me.  I feel like garbage.

And it's not just the chocolate.  It's cookies.  Chips.  Pastries.  And all other kinds of junk food.  I feel like absolute SHIT when I eat that crap, and yet...something in me just wants to keep eating it, despite the fact that it hinders my workouts, gives me serious gastric distress, and causes intense fatigue.  I know how much better I feel when I eat clean, and yet something in my head is making me want the shit that makes me feel like absolute death.

Seriously, head?  Why???

I feel like the last few days I've taken GIANT LEAPS BACKWARD.  This must stop.  I haven't had food in the house for awhile, mainly because I haven't had a lot of extra money to buy any.  But that's no excuse.  If I go to the store with $10, there's no reason for me to buy $5 worth of candy.  All $10 should be spent on healthy options.  I KNOW this.  But I'm not DOING it.

Maybe it's this fucking NEVER ENDING WINTER that has my head all screwed up.  Maybe it's this guy I'm seeing and the fact that I'm distracted by him and his drama (there's plenty).  Maybe it's my financial situation, my insane schedule, whatever.  It has to stop.

Today I will grocery shop.  And I will behave.  

Monday, February 10, 2014


Today is my ten-month surgiversary.  Man, did this last month FLY!

Yesterday I stepped on the scale and saw my original goal weight on the display.  143.  I had to step off and step back on about six times before I'd actually believe that's what it said, but each time I did, it was the same.

So here I am.  Now what?

Well...I keep going.  I'm not done yet.  I've decided that although I've landed, it's just a layover in a place I wanted to visit - this is not where I want to stay.  I feel good, I feel healthy, I feel strong...but I don't feel finished.

Where is my final destination?  I don't know.

As I discussed in my previous entry, it's about fitness and health.  I am not sacrificing either to reach a specific number on the scale.  Granted, I understand that I'm carrying more than a few pounds of extra skin, but there's still a considerable amount of subcutaneous fat under some of that skin (primarily on my belly and thighs).  If I get my way, I'll have the skin removed and/or lifted within the next year.  In the meantime I continue to watch my diet, eat cleanly, and exercise at least four times a week in an effort to burn as much of that fat off as I can.  When I've lost all the fat I can lose and I'm as lean (not thin) as I can be - THAT is when I'll be done.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pump ME Up!!


In recent weeks I have bumped my workouts up to four times a week.  I typically do a cardio and weight routine twice a week, yoga followed by spinning once a week (yeah, on the same day; I don't screw around), and then on Sundays I ski if there's enough snow.  If there isn't, then I hit the gym and do another cardio/weight day.  I also just signed up for a dance class, so for the next four weeks I'll be doing that once a week as well.

But despite my fitness regimen, which I keep varied so as not to get bored or burned out, I have been feeling lately like I need more.  As I've lost weight and my body has changed, so has its requirements.  When I weighed 260 pounds, I burned calories faster simply by virtue of moving my massive body.  Now at 145 pounds, I have to work harder to create a caloric deficit.  I still have fat to burn, despite some people's protestations to the contrary (more on that later), but my focus really needs to be on building more muscle so that my metabolism stays revved.  And while hamster-wheeling on the elliptical, following a machine circuit, and participating in other sports certainly have their benefit, I wanted some hard-core weight lifting incorporated in there, too.

But where do you start?  Some of those weights and benches and contraptions look pretty intimidating.  And heavy.  And like they could trap you and kill you in a most embarrassing way.

This would totally happen to me.

Luckily, I have the awesome privilege of working with a woman who just happens to have a degree in exercise science.  She's a pretty excellent person to begin with, but we talk all the time about workouts and diet and whatnot, so it's like a super excellent bonus every time I get to work with her.  Last week, after a couple months of trying to coordinate such, we finally had a chance to work out together.  Because Jessica totally knows her shit, I had asked if she'd help me devise an effective fat-burning and muscle-building routine that was less machine-based and made use of more free weights.  She was delighted to help me, so I bought her a day pass to my gym and we went.

My gym has personal trainers and I'm sure these people would be tickled to help me out, but I just felt more comfortable with Jessica.  Maybe it's because she knows me outside the gym and knows my personality; we frequently work together beginning in the wee hours of the morning, so she's seen me at my best and my worst.  No matter the reason; I was just glad to take her up on her offer.

She started me off with a short cardio warm-up - about six minutes; just enough to literally warm my body.  Then we moved into the weight room and she took me over to the cage.  The cage is big and scary looking, and any time I ever see anyone using it it's always a guy with a neck the size of my waist.  And you know, it's the Y.  It's probably the most diverse group of gym-goers I've ever seen in my life; people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and fitness levels.  But the guys who hang out at the cage...those are the dudes I'd want on my side in a brawl, okay?

I just hope if he's protecting me in a brawl he wears better clothes.

Then again, why would I need big muscle-y dudes if I could pump my own self up?  I'm not saying I want to look like this:

Yeah, not really my goal.  But go, girl.

But a stronger core is definitely something I want.  The stronger my core, the less plastic surgery I'll need down the road.  It'll also help with recovery time when that happens, too.

So we started with squats.  Using a 40-pound bar with no additional weights, Jess had me do two sets of fifteen squats.  Two words: Holy. Shit.  Then she had me do steps.  And she wasn't going to let me get away with a little aerobic step.  Nuh-uh.  She pulled a bench over that was a good 18 inches high and handed me two ten-pound dumbbells.  "Hold these and do fifteen steps on each side," she said.  I looked at her like she'd just told me to climb the Empire State Building.  "I can't."

That answer was not acceptable.

"Yes, you can.  And you will."

It took me awhile, but I did it.  Then we moved on to rows, then pushups, then stability ball crunches.  And then we did the whole shebang again.  And then we went back to the cardio room and I did 15 minutes of interval training and five minutes of cool down.

I was SHOT.  My legs, especially, were screaming.  Even after my most intense spinning workouts my legs have never felt so gelatinous, rubbery, incapable of holding me up.  I wobbled my way to the locker room and somehow managed to get my stuff and get out to my car.  Could I even DRIVE in this condition?  Jesus.  I did drive, and when I got home I chugged a protein shake and then collapsed on my bed.

I had to work early the next day, so I opted to stay in that night.  A friend stopped by and hung out for a couple of hours, and I was able to sit comfortably on the floor with my legs crossed during his visit.  I thought, "Well, that's not SO bad," and just kept getting up to stretch every once in a while.  And when I woke up the next day my legs were sore, but I was able to walk.  Barely, but it was manageable. But then I got to work and my boss said, "Hey Deedee, can you do me a favor and before you do anything else, would you put those boxes of coffee away?"

Putting those boxes of coffee away involved unpacking and stocking about 200 one-pound bags of coffee - on to shelves that required the use of a step ladder to access.  So for the next hour I climbed up and down three steps with several pounds of coffee in my hands.  I was sure I was dying the slow and painful death I've always been afraid of.  Little did I know the worst was yet to come.

After working eight hours on my feet, my legs were really, really starting to hate me.  I had a party to go to that night, so my plan was to chill for a bit, maybe grab a little nap in the meantime, and then get up, get ready, and go out.   But by that night, my legs were like, "FUCK! YOU!!!"  I was in a tremendous amount of pain, and I could barely move.  I had to hold on to furniture and walls to move around the house.  I was experiencing what is known as "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness," or DOMS.  I skipped the party and, at Christopher's insistence, took a Tylenol.  I'd been avoiding taking anything for the pain because I hate taking painkillers, but it was bad enough to warrant one.  I looked for my tin of White Monkey Holding Peach Balm (yes, it's a real thing; I discovered it when I was in Thailand three years ago and brought some back because it was so amazing) but I couldn't find it, so I went to bed and hoped by the morning my legs would feel good enough to ski.

Seriously excellent relief for sore muscles.  Too bad I couldn't find mine!

As it turned out, there wasn't enough snow to ski, which was a relief because my legs were still killing me.  But I couldn't not exercise, so I ran my errands and then went to the gym to swim laps.  I hadn't gone swimming in years, but I joined the Y specifically so I could use the pool so it was about time I got in it!  I swam laps for 30 minutes, surprised at how well I seemed to do despite not having been in a pool in ages (the last time I did any actual swimming was in the ocean in Thailand.  The last time I swam laps in a pool was...I have no idea.  It's been longer than I can remember), and my legs actually felt BETTER after I did.

So what's the plan from here?  Well.  Tomorrow I'm going to the gym, and I'm going to do Jess' routine again.  Because that's just what I have to do.  Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And eventually my muscles will cooperate, which is the whole idea.  And in the meantime I'll have to order some more of that balm.  I have a feeling I'm gonna need it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What the Hell Happened to Me?!

This past Sunday morning I woke up and the sun was streaming in through my window.  There were several inches of snow on the ground, and it appeared that the whipping winds of the previous day had died down.  This all boded very well for my skiing group.  Well, other than the fact that it was all of NINE degrees outside.  Yay, Polar Vortex!

One of the hardest parts of keeping my fitness regimen up in the winter is getting the motivation to actually GO OUT into the harsh weather.  It's so easy to sit around in one's flannel pajamas, cursing the weather while flanked by cats and pizzas and hot chocolates and remote controls, and so not easy to change into workout gear and walk out the door. But I decided to take up cross-country skiing in an attempt to overcome my rabid hatred of the season and to thwart my usual MO of hibernating and stuffing my face with warm, carbalicious, fatty, salty comfort foods and sugary hot beverages.  

I hate winter for so many reasons, one of which being the amount of clothing I'm forced to wear during it.  It just seems like endless layers of hats and scarves and sweaters and coats and gloves and eight pairs of socks stuffed inside chunky, clunky boots that get all caked with snow and ice and then drip everywhere when you get in the car. Everything is just such a goddamned production all the time.  Layer up, go outside, get to where you're going, peel it all off, change the shoes, set it aside, put it all back on, venture back outside, and pray that you don't fall over at any point, lest you end up like Randy from "A Christmas Story."

Anyway.  I thought if I took up a winter sport, something that required snow and cold to participate in,  something that got me outside and engaged me, that maybe I'd embrace winter a little more.  Maybe I could even...appreciate it?  Well, I wouldn't go quite THAT far, but I do know that learning how to cross-country ski HAS made me hate winter a little less, anyway.   

So this past Sunday I'm skiing around Delaware Park with three other people, and it's nine degrees, my face is numb, I can't speak, my nose is running -- and I'm having the time of my life.  One of the things I really, REALLY like about cross-country skiing versus downhill (aside from the positively terrifying prospect of falling off the side of a mountain, which ranks right up there with my paralyzing fear of parenting, circuses, and the GOP) is the fact that it can be done wearing little more than some running tights and a lightweight jacket over a thermal top.  Seriously.  No insane puffy jackets, no extra-thick pants, no stormtrooper boots, no goggles, no helmets. Just this:

Note the color of my face - that's called "Single Digit Crimson" - surprising I could even get it to move into any semblance of a smile - but everything else on me was pretty toasty thanks to the constant movement.

Not only is it fairly low-maintenance,  it's a GREAT workout, too!  It's kind of like being on an elliptical, except for the freezing face part.  And the occasional part where you unsuspectingly ski into a branch.  But after an hour, I definitely felt like I'd done some serious calorie burning damage (an hour burns close to 500 calories) and if it hadn't been SO cold, I might have kept going because the actual act of skiing is so much fun.  You're outside, you're breathing fresh air, you're meeting people along the way, and you're getting exercise.  All-around winning.

So this brings me to the question I've been asking myself a lot lately.  Who the hell AM I?  I mean, back in May I did the Gay 5K and wrote about the "new me" emerging.  But eight months later...who is this girl who gets up on a Sunday morning in the grip of a Polar Vortex and skis around the park for an hour?  Who is this girl who is on the elliptical as early as 6:30 some mornings?  Who is this girl who braves the snow and the cold to make it to the gym (albeit not without a fair amount of whining under those conditions), who arranges her schedule around yoga and spinning and just signed up for a 4-week Bollywood dance class? Who is this girl with seemingly boundless energy most days?  Is this really me?  

Sometimes I wonder.  

I always maintained that losing weight wouldn't change me fundamentally; I'd always be the same person I was all along.  I'd still be broke, still hate doing dishes, still despise tomatoes and love pet rats. And yet...there's something about me that's not the me I knew before.  This person actually LIKES to exercise.  This person actually CRAVES physical activity.  This person wants to engage in SPORTS.  Seriously. This person spent the better part of a recent date with an avid runner (five marathons...HOT) talking about fitness goals and future activities to do together.  Never in my LIFE have I sat across a table from a self-proclaimed jock and suggested bike rides and hikes as a way to spend time together.  Never have I nodded enthusiastically in agreement when a man has offered to give me weight-lifting pointers. Never in my life have I said to a man, "Yeah, a Tough Mudder is on my bucket list." And truly meant it. 


Of course, losing weight isn't going to change the fact that I'm still chasing this dude after months and months and will likely never see any development because I'm losing patience with him, nor will it change the fact that my other dating prospects are still pretty grim around here. But at least I have a whole new list of interests and activities to keep me active in the meantime.  And when the next prospect does come along...hell, if I keep going like this, by the time that happens he'll have to run a whole lot faster to keep up with me.

I'm still getting to know this girl, but I like her.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Clean Eating Saves the Day!

I'm currently "incubating" on a project, so I thought I'd pop over here and give y'all an update on what's going on at the moment.

Last week I posted my 9-month stats and photos and got tons of hits and feedback.  Thank you all for your kind words - you have no idea how much it means to have the support of such awesome people in my life.  Even those who were initially wary of my decision seem to have come around now that they've seen what a positive force it's been for me.

One thing that had been bugging me was that I seemed to be stuck.  I understand that plateaus happen, but I knew something wasn't right.  I knew I was eating not optimally (and by "not optimally" I mean "like shit"). By sheer luck, my Facebook friend Kim started a seven-day "Clean Eating Challenge."  She invited me to join, and I said, "what the hell."

Clean eating means consuming nothing processed, no dairy, no flour, no sugar.  It also means drinking way more water than I could possibly ever consume in a day, so I got a pass on that one.  I figured if I survived the Great Juice Fast of 2012 and the pre-op liquid diet last year, I could handle a week of clean eating.  The key, I found, is in careful planning.

Every night I would plan my menu for the following day.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two or three snacks.  It took a bit of effort to remember to get up early enough to eat breakfast at home and/or pack my food for the day, and occasionally I would forget to take the fish out of the freezer and end up having to run to the store to get something fresh instead, but I did it.  I did manage to bump up my water intake, too - by replacing my regular low-cal Gatorade with just straight water in my bottle, and by toting my bottle with me wherever I went.

The result?  With just one more day in the challenge to go, I have broken my plateau and lost five pounds this week.  Now I understand it's not five pounds of fat.  More than likely it's just five pounds of water weight and impurities being flushed out of my system.  But that's okay, because that means I have a more accurate measure of my weight now.  Without all that sugar, flour, processed crap, et cetera clogging up my system,  my innards are clean.  And let me tell you - nothing tastes as good as that feels.  I feel lighter, healthier, and no - I'm not starving!

I've also bumped my workouts up to four times a week.  I've started spinning in an effort to fulfill my resolution of getting back on my bike this year, and it's been brutal but not unbearable.  After the first time I stopped feeling like I'd been hit by a Peterbilt the next day.  Working out four times a week also takes careful planning - with my schedule I really have to work to find a time slot to squeeze it into, but with a little foresight and the mindset that it's NOT OPTIONAL, it's getting done.  It also helps that I bumped my Gympact up to $20 per missed workout.  So there's that.

I had a Weight Watchers counselor once who had this to say about exercise:

You wouldn't go days on end without showering, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes.  Even if you were super busy.  Even if you were running late.  You would find a way to get those things into your routine, right?  Well, exercise is no different.  Incorporate it.  Make it part of your daily life.

And she, of course, was right on.  Of all the things I took away from my previous experiences with WW, that was probably the most valuable and the one that stuck with me. Even with working a gazillion jobs, even with all I have going on in my life, I have resolved to make exercise just another obligation in my schedule.  Work it in wherever I can.  I can't skip work.  I can't cut out hygiene. I can't blow off appointments.  I can't postpone commitments.  I can maybe not do the crossword one day.  I can maybe go to bed a little earlier and skip the trashy TLC shows on Netflix.  I can turn down social invitations from time to time.  But I can't blow off exercise.

I'm going to stop here because I have to get back to this job, but I just wanted to share with you my revelations and observations from this past week.  Clean eating is really where it's at, and even if I don't follow it 100% in the future, I feel armed with the knowledge that it's a powerful tool that I can ALWAYS pick up if I fall off track.  I owe Kim a world of thanks for giving me that kick in the ass that I needed to figure that out.

Coming up next: Who the f*** AM I?  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Nine-Month Update: Minding my "P"s

Happy New Year, everyone!

Two days ago was my nine-month surgiversary.  For whatever reason, the surgiversaries in the last couple of months have slipped my mind until late in the day - and in this month's case I was simply too busy to do anything about it until today.

So here I am.

Nine months after this journey began, I am happier and healthier than ever. Life is FAR from perfect, as am I, but I've come to the conclusion that I have to be okay with this.  See, the other night I had a little introspective moment during which I remembered the "Three Ps" that I mentioned way back in June: patience, persistence, and presence. A lot of the challenges I've faced in recent months have been the direct result of my failure to remember these.  Whether I failed to remember because I've gotten cocky, or lazy, or just distracted, the fact remains that I've lost patience with myself, my persistence has wavered, and I've not been present in my own existence as much as I need to be.

I also figured out that I should add another "P" to the list, and this is a big one: PROCESS.

Life is a process.  This journey is a process.  And instead of getting all caught up that I don't look perfect, that the scale isn't moving downward as quickly as it was before, that the guy I like is dragging his feet, that the job I applied for hasn't returned my call, et cetera, I should just fucking RELAX and work through the process.  As a designer, I know all about process.  Process is, in my humble professional opinion, just as important as the product - if not more so.  You don't just sit down and whip out a design.  There's a process.  And at the end of that process you've created something effective - and if you've done it right, you've created something outstanding.  But it starts with idea sessions and sketches and scribbles and notes and a bunch of other shit that ends up in the trash before you get what you ultimately want.  This is no different.

They say that getting there is half the fun - and if I've made ANY resolutions for this year, it's to enjoy the journey, and just let it unfold.  Sure, I look weird without clothes on, but when I am wearing clothes, I'm wearing a 6 or 8.  Nine months ago I was a 20. Two nights ago I got myself into Ultrasana, or Camel Pose, at yoga.  Nine months ago I could barely kneel on a mat.  Last week I went cross-country skiing for the first time (well, technically the second; I'd gone once before, 25 years ago) and I didn't fall.  My instructor was impressed with how quickly I picked up the sport, and I do believe it's because of the strength and flexibility I've developed from nine months of working out. It's the little things that are adding up to big changes, and if I continue doing what I'm doing, continue being present, patient, and persistent with the process, I will continue to see yet another big "P" -- PROGRESS.

Yeah, I can do this now.  

Instead of looking in the mirror and being grossed out by my "Bingo Wings," I should be flexing my biceps and marveling at how developed they are.  I should be loving the definition in my shoulders.  I should be proud of my strength and I should pay attention to what I've gotten accomplished instead of obsessing about what I still need to fix.  Instead of staring with disgust at the cascade of loose skin on my belly and getting all worked up about my sagging boobs, I should put that energy into clean eating and furthering my fitness goals.  I am a work in progress.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  I spent 30 years fucking up my body.  It's going to take a lot longer than nine months to undo the damage.  I will undoubtedly require some plastic surgery at some point, but instead of rushing into that, I should just keep doing what I'm doing and see what I can get done on my own.  It might take awhile, but minding my "P"s will be crucial in getting it done.

I have a lot more to say about all of this, but if I try to get into everything right now it'll be The Blog Post That Never Ends.  I suppose if I actually posted more than once every couple of weeks lately I wouldn't be faced with the dilemma of trying to cram everything into one post, but again - it's a process.

For now I'll leave you with my nine-month stats and (drumroll, please) progression photos.

Starting weight on 3/31/13 (start of pre-op diet): 259.8
Surgery Day weight on 4/10/13: 244.2
Current weight 1/12/14: 152.0
Total weight lost: 107.8
Goal weight: 143
Pounds to goal: 9-ish 

Progression photos.  I actually had to buy a new gray tank top because the other one hung like an old sack on me!  It'll be time to retire those PJ bottoms soon, too.

 3/31/13             5/19/13              7/10/13            10/11/13           1/12/14

And yeah, I know....the photos aren't taken at EXACTLY the same distance, so I appear to be getting taller throughout the process, but whatever.  You get the idea.  :-)