Weight Tracker


The Skinny on My 1 Month Weigh-in

It’s officially been 4 weeks since my surgery and 5 weeks since I started my pre-op diet. I figured this would make as good a time for an official weigh-in as any. I took some 1 month post-op pictures which can be viewed below if you’re interested. It’s actually pretty cool to see how much can change in a month. In addition I also took my measurements again. Of course they’re probably completely meaningless since the first time I had them professionally done by my personal trainer, J and this time I had to do them myself since I haven’t been cleared my Dr. G. yet for PT level working out. I hope it’s at least somewhat accurate. So here goes…

Post-op pictures

Weight: 313.4#
Chest: 52.5”
Waist: 51.5”
Hips: 59.5"
Thigh: 29.25"
Calf: 20”
Arm: 21.5”

Weight: 281.0#
Chest: 51”
Waist: 45”
Hips: 58”
Thigh: 29.25”
Calf: 19.75”
Arm: 20”

My weight was actually down to 279.5 a few days ago but it seems to have gone back up a tad. I was really happy being out of the 280’s. It meant less than 10# until my BMI was below 40. Oh well; before I had my unfill I could barely even drink water so I was dehydrated. I know this has to be it because now I’m drinking more but still haven’t been peeing much the last couple of days. A 32# loss is still pretty damn good for 5 weeks.

In other news, I get to start real food today—woohoo! I’m excited to get off munchies. So far I haven’t been having trouble tolerating my food, but I definitely still feel restricted. I had 3 oz of Tyson steak strips and half a baked potato for lunch and was stuffed. Also, I’ve been looking for alternatives to Diet Coke since I’ve really been missing it lately and water is getting boring. The Crystal Light and Diet Snapples are just too aspartame-y for me now. Well, I’ve got to tell you, I’ve discovered a new Snapple—Noni Berry Juice—10 calories per 8 oz serving and super yummy. I’m loving it. I also tried a Tropical Punch Fuze yesterday, also 10 calories per 8oz serving. Not bad either. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over the Diet Coke but these might ease my pain a little. The only think I have to do is make sure I don’t start drinking just that. I still need my H20 goodness, even if I don’t like it.


The Skinny on My First (Un) Fill

Well, last week I know I was all gung-ho about my super-duper restriction. Yippee, I was hardly eating and I was losing weight fast. What more could a lap-bander want? Well I’ve got to tell you, it got old quickly. You see, this past week I actually started to experience some hunger. Only problem was—I couldn’t eat…or drink. Maybe it was just because I was actually hungry that I noticed it more, but my band actually seemed tighter this week than it was last week. Looking back at some of my MyFitnessPal daily food logs, this seemed to be supported by the fact that I started out eating about 800-900 Calories a day on mushies and was down to less than 600 Calories a day. Not only that, but I was hardly getting any water in. Even drinking gave me chest pain. It wasn’t good.

So Tuesday night was the monthly support group meeting for patients of Dr. G. and associates. I made my way down to the hospital and met with several other patients as well as one of the PAs and the psychiatrist that works with the program. I sat through several recently banded patient’s descriptions of bandster hell before finally getting to express my (opposite) concerns.

The PA, Deirdre agreed that I was too tight and told me to make an appointment to come in to the office. It was nice to have someone agree with my worries. It seemed that everyone else I told was like—“GREAT! You should be happy. Isn’t this what you wanted?” Well no, not exactly. I didn’t really go into this aiming to become practically anorexic, experience chest pain constantly, suffer from dehydration, send my body into starvation mode and totally screw up my metabolism. That’s not really what I wanted. But alas, while everyone I know has been very supportive, it doesn’t mean they understand what I’m going through. Deirdre however was much more appreciative of my predicament. She shared the same concerns about my lack of nutrition, and while I stated that I was afraid of going into starvation mode and seeing my wonderful weight-loss stall, she added the concern of losing weight too quickly. I can’t really say that I was too worried about that one, but still…at least she acknowledged that there was a problem.

So Wednesday I called the office and set up an appointment for first thing Thursday morning. I went in as scheduled and met with the same PA. She explained that Dr. G. fills each band to capacity to ensure there are no leaks and then takes out enough fluid to get rid of all the air/air bubbles and equalize the pressure. This leaves a slightly different amount of fluid in each person’s band post-op. Sometimes there is as little as 0.5ccs, in one patient she saw recently, there was 5ccs left in their 14cc band. Anyhow, I lay back on the table and she stuck and big needle into my port. No local anesthesia or anything, but I prefer it that way. I hardly felt the needle at all whereas lidocaine burns like a mother effer. She attached a syringe and aspirated the fluid from my 10cc band. For some reason Dr. G. puts a dye called methylene blue into the saline so the fluid that came out was bright blue. She aspirated until no more fluid came out. Deirdre told me there was still about a half a cc left. In the end she wound up removing 3.2ccs. She had me take a few sips of water and it seemed to go down smoothly this time. We said our good-byes and I left.

I subsequently spent the next 15 minutes looking for the valet ticket I got when I pulled up to the hospital. I never did find it but it turns out it didn’t matter anyway; the valet was happy to take my word for it. Apparently I have an honest face or something. I got in my car and drove to work while sipping happily, pain-free, on a Medifast protein shake as I was instructed to stick to fluids and really soft foods for a couple of days.

It’s definitely a relief to have all that restriction gone. I know I’ll probably be in bandster hell soon, but to me that’s better than chest pain every time I swallow. I’ve definitely been hungrier the last 2 days but it has hardly been unbearable. I still do seem to have some restriction and am mostly satisfied after a meal. If it stays this way I think I should do alright moving on to solids on Monday. And if worse comes to worst, I go back for what was supposed to be my first fill (and may technically still be, I suppose) in just over 2 weeks. I can suffer through some hunger pains until then.

On a completely unrelated note I would just like to quickly tell you about the extreme shopping high I am currently riding. You see, a few years ago I received a Coach purse as a Christmas gift. Sadly, earlier this year the leather strap began to tear. Well, for those of you who don’t know, Coach has a life-time guarantee. I sent the bag back and received a voucher for the full retail price of the bag—over $320. I took my voucher to the outlets today where they had sales galore. I bought a large purse, a wristlet purse, sunglasses, a key chain and an umbrella. Actual retail value—over $1000. Actual price I charged to my credit card--$51. If I could get deals like this all the time, I would have been a shopping addict over a food addict long ago. Hmm, maybe outlet shopping will be my new vice after all.


The Skinny on NSGs

So I finally got a chance to sit down and watch my DVRed episode of The Biggest Loser finale. I have to say, for a show that promotes losing weight and getting in shape, they make you sit in front of the TV for an awfully long time to find out who won. That aside, those contestants are damn motivational. Seriously, Mike lost over 200 lbs in 6 months, and that 64 year old guy who won the at home prize lost nearly as much and he was only on the Ranch for 2 weeks. If these guys can do it without surgery, surely I can be as successful with the help of my new, super, duper band.

Personally, I wanted Tara to win. I think because I related the most to her. Sure, she’s a little younger than me, but only by 4 years. We’re still both in our twenties—the prime of our lives. She’s my height and was close to my weight when she started out—her just under 300lbs and me just over. She never fell below the dreaded yellow line and she won challenge after challenge. She was truly a force to be reckoned with. I hope that I can be half as successful as she has been.

And speaking of the challenges, I come to the real point of this blog. By week 11, the remaining contestants were all confronted with a true test of how far they’d come in less than 3 months—they ran a half-marathon. Then, 2 months later they were faced with a doubly difficult challenge—a full marathon. Every remaining player completed a full 26.2 miles, even Ron—the 54 year old father with a multitude of health problems.

If they can accomplish such a feat, in such a short time, I certainly can as well. And so I will. I have set a goal for myself. Those of us looking to lose weight and get in shape often look to NSVs—non-scale goals—to keep us motivated. Well today I am setting myself a NSG—non scale goal. I am going to run a half marathon. A little bit of research on my part has informed me that there is one in Queens on September 20th and another in the Hamptons on September 26th. I will be at one of those two races and I will make it to the finish line.


The Skinny on How Much I'm Loving My Band

Man I love mushies. My protein shakes were tolerable, but this is definitely better. Right now I’m perfectly fine with my new diet. The portions (2 oz protein, 1 oz carb 6 times a day) are more than adequate for me. I’m still feeling plenty of restriction and sometimes I’m not even eating my entire meals. I do feel hunger, usually if I haven’t eaten in 3 hours or more, but otherwise I’m fine. I’m thrilled with my progress so far but I’m waiting on this bandster hell I hear about to hit. The way I feel right now, I can’t imagine it happening to me, although I know it’s still early and it might.

I had my first follow up with Dr. G on Tuesday, 1 day after I started mushies, so I was able to discuss how my body is reacting to the beginning of this new stage in my diet. I do sometimes feel that pressure in my chest but it’s been less often as the week has gone by. He said that’s fine, but that I should try and slow down my eating. Of course I feel like I’m eating really slowly already—I usually take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to eat my designated portions. Since my post op instructions said to aim for 5 minutes per ounce of protein/carb, 15 minutes is the right time frame. But I guess my body just needs even more time right now. I also explained that even when I felt “full” up in my chest area, I still could feel my tummy rumbling—like I could tell the difference between my pouch and the rest of my stomach which was still empty. He said that the mushies shouldn’t necessarily fill me up at this stage and that it was fine that I was feeling that way. I think it might have just been psychological though. I’m not really having problems with that anymore.

Even more exciting than the fact that I am not hungry physically, is how little head hunger I’ve been suffering from. I can only think of 1 day, the first week after surgery when I had really bad head hunger. Otherwise I’ve been OK. Sure, I’ll see commercial with some yummy looking food, or see what someone else is eating and I’ll want it, but it’s not the same as it was before. Just yesterday the people at my office went on a Friendly’s run for ice cream sundaes. I was able to sit with them while they were eating it and not have any problems. Sure, they looked nice and tasty, but that was it. It’s almost how I’ve always imagined it must feel to be a “normal” person without an eating disorder—to see food and to want it a little, but not to be consumed with that desire. To be able to say no and move on without this obsessive nagging in my head reminding me of how good it will taste and how much I want it. Okay, I’m seriously tearing up right now because I’m so happy about this. Anyhow, Dr. G explained that because the band presses on the Vagus nerve—a nerve which runs directly to your brain and has effects on hunger and satiety—that there is actually a neurological component to the band as well that will often make patients want to eat less. I’m thinking this is my favorite part of the band so far.

And last but not least, I got clearance to go back to the gym. When I had my appointment Tuesday, I had my gym bag packed and in the car with me so I could go straight there after I got the okay. Dr. G said I was allowed to do very light lifting and cardio, but warned me not to do the cardio machines on an incline or with too much resistance. He doesn’t want me grunting and groaning and getting my intra-abdominal pressure up yet because he said that it can make the band go from being arranged in a 2 o’clock to7 o’clock direction to a 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock direction which will screw me up. So I headed to the gym and got on the elliptical—no incline or resistance. I tried to go slow which was the hardest part since I very carefully selected my gym music to be songs that motivate me to work out hard. Since I had to hold back I tried to make up for it in length and did a full hour. I skipped Wed, and Thurs as I work 12 hour days and spend most of that on my feet, but I headed back today and repeated my work out from Tues. It felt great. Plus I think it stimulated my weight loss again. I slowed down last week on the last week of fluids but the weight seems to be melting off again now that I’m on mushies and exercising. I think my metabolism just needed a boost.

I’m so happy with how everything is going so far. I'm feeling good and I'm down 26.4 pounds. This band kicks ass. Dr. G was pleased with my progress as well. I also met with my psychiatrist today—the one who cleared me for surgery—and he also says it seems like I’m doing great. So basically everything is great. I truly and completely believe that I made the right decision getting my band and that I’m going to be so successful with this. It’s a great feeling to have. Alright, I’m tearing up again it’s time for me to get my ass up and go get a tissue. Hasta la vista, amigos.


The Skinny on Getting Back into the Groove

Week two has been an eventful one—though sad to say, not on the scale. In fact, the scale didn’t move at all for 5 days. Luckily it started up again and I’ve lost 3 pounds in the last 2 days. Now, I know I need to get out of this pesky habit of weighing myself everyday. I certainly can’t expect to keep up the rate of loss I have for the weeks pre and post op, but it’s hard not to expect big changes when you’re eating 600 Calories a day. Anyhow, I’m down a total of 24 pounds in 3 weeks and still going in the right direction plus you can already see a change in the way I look—especially in my face—so I’m pretty happy with that.

But what else has been happening in the week since my last blog? Well, for starters I went back to work. My first day back was Wednesday. Now normally I work a 4 day work week which means I work 12 hour days during the week. That meant 12 hours Wednesday and 12 hours Thursday. Luckily Friday is my day off, though I did have to work a 6 hour shift yesterday. It actually wasn’t too bad. We were pretty dead on Wednesday so I got to do nothing most of the day, and Thursday wasn’t particularly hectic either. Of course I’m told it was a zoo all last week, but of course that’s what happens every time one of the doctors is off. My biggest concern has been evenings. For night hours there’s only me, one assistant and one receptionist so it’s harder for me to go without lifting. I definitely feel bad when a big dog comes in and I have to just stand there and watch while my assistant and the client do all the hard work (well, physically hard anyway). But, I’ve been managing. One day soon I’ll get to stop feeling like an invalid and start lifting things again. Saturday was more hectic but I have lots of help and the assistant who was assigned to me was a big, manly man who works out everyday. It made me feel less bad about not participating in the physical labor part of the job. Tomorrow starts my first full week, but I’m pretty much feeling back to my normal self, so I’m not too worried about it.

Other news pertaining to my work—right before I left someone managed to abandon their dog in our waiting room. We’re not sure how they got the pup in there without anyone seeing, but low and behold, there she was. She’s a cute little schnoodle (poodle/schnauzer.) The poor thing was completely matted with fur, covered in fleas and emaciated. She also had some mammary masses. Well despite the sorry state she was in (or perhaps partly because of it—I am a vet after all) I decided to keep her. While I was off, the other doctors took care of her for me. They cleaned her teeth and biopsied the masses (we almost had surgery on the same day :P). Luckily the masses were benign—no breast cancer for my little pooch. She still needs to be spayed and she’s still very weak and has a bad hip, but she could be a lot worse off right now. I’ve decided to name her Maddie (which kind of sounds like “matt-y” which is what she was when she came to us.) I brought her home on Thursday night and she’s been attached to my hip ever since, although today she spent a little time with my parents. My other dog is tolerating her well, but you can tell she’s jealous. Oh well, she’ll get used to her eventually.

So how’s the post op diet going, you ask? Well tomorrow I’m scheduled to start mushies—yay! Though I must admit that I’ve been a bad girl and taken a couple of liberties this week with the liquid diet. I had scrambled eggs twice, though they were really runny and it took me about 45 minutes to finish them. I also ate a few tiny bites of matzo ball out of the soup I got for lunch one day. I didn’t have any problems with that or the eggs. Tonight however, I took my mother out for Mother’s Day and decided to move on to mushies—for real—one meal early. Bad me, I know. I had ~1 tablespoonful of chicken salad and ~2 tablespoonfuls of my father’s chopped steak. I also had some chicken broth with a couple of bites of matzo ball. It took me a long time to get it down as I was taking exceptionally small bites and chewing like crazy. I was still feeling a little hungry in my stomach but I started to feel a little bit of pressure in my esophagus so I stopped before I had the last little bit of chopped steak (my nutritionist through my surgeon recommends 2 oz (~4 tbsp) of protein and 1 oz of carbs per mushie meal for a total of 6 meals a day so I was just about on target.) I don’t think it was stuck, though I haven’t experienced that yet so I don’t know for sure. But I didn’t feel like regurgitating and didn’t start sliming up or anything. It’s pretty much settled now.

Anyhoo—Tuesday is my first post-op check up. I’m excited. I hope I get clearance to go back to the gym, at least for cardio, plus I’d like to get permission to swim/bathe—then I can follow up my work-out with a soak in the hot tub. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Or maybe I just need to get a life.


The Skinny on Week 1 Post-Op

I’m about a week into recovery and things are going pretty well. I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. My immediate recovery from anesthesia was extremely smooth but I didn’t fair so well on the pain front. I was popping pain pills like crazy the first few days. The only problem was that the Vicodin was too big for my new, little tummy. It eventually went down but I could feel it sitting there for a little while at first and it was pretty uncomfortable. I started crushing them up after a couple of tries. The first few days all the pain was from the incisions, especially around the port that sits under my skin and connects to the band. On Thursday I experienced my first, real gas pains. Some of the gas they use to blow up the abdomen with at surgery gets stuck in there and can irritate the phrenic nerve which runs up towards the shoulder. As a result after surgery a lot of people experience pain in their shoulder. By Thursday my incisions were starting to be tolerable and then all of a sudden I started getting these gas pains. They gave me a horrible headache too. I had them to a lesser degree Friday and a little last night as well. But overall it’s getting much better. Yesterday all I had to take for pain was 1 extra strength Tylenol. The incision where they placed my port is still sore if I bend a certain way and it’s very black and blue, but other than that the pain seems to have mostly passed. I do still have to deal with these little hiccup-y burp things that are very uncomfortable. I think it’s because any little bit of air that I suck in takes up such a large portion of the new stomach that I have to burp it up, but because of the restriction to my stomach and the trauma to my abdominal muscles I can’t really burp properly. Whatever the reason, they’re annoying as heck.

I’ve also been a lot more tired all week, probably as a result of the general anesthetic they put me under. I’d wake up at a normal hour and feel bright eyed and bushy-tailed (like a squirrel on crack :P) but I’d be wiped out by mid afternoon and have to take a nap even though I hadn’t done much except take a couple of short walks. The last two days have been the only two where I haven’t needed a nap and by the end of the night I’d felt like I’d been working all day. Hopefully by the time I actually go back to work on Wednesday, that will have passed as well—especially since I work 12 hour days. It’s going to be hard for me at work knowing that I can’t help lift and restrain animals. I mean, that’s what the techs and assistants are hired for, but they’re all so much littler than me I always wind up jumping in and helping. It’s going to be especially tough at night when there’s only 1 tech. If we get a really big dog she won’t be able to lift it by herself. I guess either the owners will have to help or I’ll have to get down on the floor to examine them. As long as I stick to actually doing my job—examining, diagnosing and prescribing—I should be OK at work. Although if there are any surgeries I should probably let the other doctors take them for the first week back.

The good news is that so far this really seems to be working. I’ve lost 20# since I started the pre-op diet not even 2 weeks ago. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose weight when you can’t fit anything into your stomach. I’m still on the liquid diet and will be for another week. Right now I’m supposed to be eating (or more accurately, drinking) 4 of my Medifast protein shakes and 2 other liquid meals (soup without chunks, yogurt without chunks, pudding, jello, ices, etc) a day along with 6-8 glasses of water. Right now I can’t even eat that. I think yesterday I came the closest. I had 4 Medifasts and 1 6oz light, fat-free key lime pie yogurt and 7 glasses of water. By the end of the night I felt completely bloated. I could feel the liquid splashing around in my new, bite-sized belly. The total was 460 calories. I’m actually worried about my body going into starvation mode. I know that next week when I start mushy foods I’ll be able to get more calories and nutrients in and I’m sure that will help me feel better. Plus mentally it will be a lot easier as well. Friday was really tough for me to get through the mental need for real food even though the physical need wasn’t there. Also, as the swelling goes down from the surgery I’ll be able to fit more volume in. I’ve actually read some other bandsters say that they wind up feeling no restriction at all for a while before they are able to go in and get their band filled with saline for the first time (usually 6 weeks post-op). I’m told that’s bandster hell. Hopefully the swelling doesn’t go down that much. I have to keep on track if I want to get to 225# by my sister’s wedding in October. I just have to keep on plugging away and before I know it I’ll be back to my normal self—only skinnier and less hungry all the time.

Just 1 more week until I can eat that egg I’ve been dreaming about. Yippie!