All the little things add up

I’ve been chewing on this post for a while, should I write it or not????  So here goes. . .

One area my favorite group of bloggers hasn’t addressed is sex.  Yup, I wrote it, S-E-X.

Sex didn’t suck before surgery. I think Jim and I were both very comfortable and content. But now, 200 lbs less between us (yes, that’s a whole person (plus) and no, I will not make a threesome joke) we are loving our physical relationship more than ever.  I don’t know that this is a given.  It’s a bit unnerving figuring it out all over again but that adds to the fun.  We have increased stamina, better flexibility, heightened appreciation for the commitment and work the other has put into weight loss, and just plain better access.  The biggest turn on is to feel sexy and that’s so much easier when you’re feeling confident and proud of your body.  There is still weight to lose but the progress is amazing.

A blogger friend just posted about fitting into bathroom stalls – not a joke, so very true!  I hope I never have to touch a toilet paper dispenser with my leg again.  A girl can hope, although I’ve seen some small stalls in my life that even 125lbs would be a tight fit. Also, to look down and see the toilet seat between my thighs is unbelievable.

I recently caught the plague du jour and still had the mmph to go out for a run.  Before weight loss that would’ve easily been an excuse to take four weeks off from the gym while my body recovered and my respiratory system cleared up.

Shopping.  It’s now a dangerous proposition.  I developed shopping fatigue because my shape and size changed constantly and every item in my closet has been transitional. However, I’m now a size Large and I’m finding I can grab items off the rack and just slip them on.  I ran through Costco like a mad woman Friday night and left with work out clothes, a shirt, and two dresses.  We went in for coffee filters.  Ooops.  I got home and everything fit, perfectly.

girl w shopping bags

The shirt from Costco has little tiny sleeves and most of my arm is exposed.  My arms never see the light of day at work but today they’re out in all their glory.  I still have work to do but I’m pretty sure no one will run screaming from the building due to getting a glimpse of them.

Tomorrow is 11 months since surgery and we’re slated for our 12 month blood draw in the next few weeks.  Our one year post surgery appointment is April 6th.  We’ll have photos taken and the pictures will be posted in the surgeon’s office as a testament to our success.  I think Jim and I are both pretty motivated to push hard over the next few weeks so the numbers (inches and weight) and photos are clear proof of our success.

Jim’s weight loss:  137 lbs    53lbs to goal

Linda’s weight loss:  75 lbs.  36lbs to goal.

A few fun shots from Jim’s folk’s 50th Wedding Anniversary.





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My personal weirdness

People are weird.  We all have different motivations and forms of feedback that we prioritize.  When we go to weight loss support group it’s interesting to hear how other people measure success.  For some it’s the scale, for others it’s measurements, for others smaller clothes, comments from family and friends, doctor visits, lab reports, needing a seat belt extension (or not!), etc.  My weirdness was a scale number and date . . .and I’m happy to report, I hit the number before my goal date.

As I’ve previously written, I was always a fat kid.  I’m pretty sure I was born 200 lbs.  “Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, here’s your 200 lb. baby girl.  Good luck with the Garanimals!”  Only briefly about six years ago when I was training for a triathlon and half-marathon did I see a blip on the scale under 200.  I jumped right back up and haven’t been close since.  Sometime in September I had a fleeting thought I’d like to be under 200 by Christmas.  I actually said it out loud to my husband and that was Game On for me.  I kept my usual drop 2 pounds, stall for 2 weeks pattern but didn’t want to leave my goal to chance . . .especially with the holidays.  Who sets a weight loss goal around the holidays???  This girl!

After Thanksgiving I knew I had to shake it up and head to the gym.  Nothing huge – just 30-40 minutes of cardio and some core strength training.  The change was immediately evident.  Not only the scale but the impact on my shape.  Enough so I kept going and I kept pushing myself.  I’m now running on the treadmill and doing intervals with walking and incline.

Last night’s workout was particularly hard.  I didn’t want to leave the house.  It was dark and rainy and everyone else was snuggled in.  I go to the gym after Liam is in bed so really, it feels like it’s super late and I’m the last person on earth to be out and about.    It’s typically between 7:30pm – 8:30pm.  Ha!

I pushed through the workout even though I had a list of 10 excuses why I should stop.  It sucked.  My hip flexors were tight.  The sweat on my face was all burny.  I was tired.  There were only 6 people in the gym and we’re all dorks. The Christmas Workout Remix album was feeling old and I was bored.  blah blah blah.  But something wouldn’t let me quit until I did all my intervals.  I knew tomorrow was my self imposed weigh in day and I was sooooo close to my self set goal.  I finished and went on to do the rest of my workout.

This morning I did my morning routine and just before I got dressed I stepped on the scale.  Well hello NOT 200 Pounds!

For me officially losing 70 lbs felt huge.  Apparently not weighing over 200 lbs is too.  That’s my weirdness.  Now my goal is to put as much distance between me and 200 lbs as quickly as possible.  I never want to see that number on the scale again.  If you need me I’ll be at the gym running from 200 pounds on the treadmill.

Number Update:

Jim:  down 124 lbs.  66 pounds to go

Linda:  down 71.7 lbs.  39.3 lbs to go.



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Family Travel

We survived!

We’ve been planning a multi-generational trip to Disneyland for well over a year.  We tend to go every three years and it’s a lot with grandparents, kiddos and the sandwich generation in tow.  All really good, but a lot of details to pack and consider and juggle.

A moment of truth was Jim buckling into his airplane seat – will he need the seat belt extender . . . NO!  One easy click and he was in.  It was a joy to make our way through TSA with less huffing and puffing and sweating.

We had spent some time talking about our food strategies for inside the park.  We knew we’d be up against long days, lots of carbs, and a lot of walking.  We hit Target and and a Walmart grocery store and stocked up on protein bars, beef jerky, peanuts and peanut butter.  Standing in line or kid snack breaks gave us opportunity to get a dose of protein in and stave off the temptation for bad choices.  Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of bites of deliciousness, but they were bites or shared treats.

The aches and pains of being on our feet were certainly diminished.  Pounds per square inch were reduced from three years ago.  I started the week doing a two mile walk through Disney California before the park opened (an experience offered to guests staying in the resort hotels).  It was awesome!  Seeing the magic at sun up was fun and walking quickly is a gift compared to the snail’s pace and people dodging which typically happens during park hours.

I think the thing that sticks with both me and Jim the most is the ease of getting on and off the rides.  We no longer have to worry if we’ll fit.  We just get on, buckle up, and go.  So nice.

We’re back home and facing Thanksgiving.  We’ve elected to go out instead of cooking.  The turnaround between travel and Thanksgiving felt too short to take on preparing a feast.  We’ll be going to a favorite restaurant for a plated dinner.  Just say no to buffet!  It doesn’t make sense anymore.


Jim is down 121 pounds.  69 pounds to go

I’m down 65 (holding for a few weeks). 47 pounds to go.



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Hair today, gone tomorrow

Like most girls, my hair is a big deal – at least to me.  I’ve been steadily growing my hair to its longest lengths for several years.  I’m not super uptight about it but love the flexibility of long hair.  I pull it up, tie it back, wear it down, pop in for a blow out or up-do when the occasion calls for it.


As an earlier post indicated, I’ve been loosing my hair like crazy.  Taking biotin has helped tremendously and I have lots of new growth coming in.  My hair just didn’t feel healthy and very honestly, it was kind of a security blanket I would hide my several chins with.  Definitely the last hold out from my pre-surgery days.

I started to talk to Jim about perhaps cutting my hair – not asking permission, but just making sure I wasn’t being rash and setting myself up for huge regret.  He was all for it. I started researching “short hairstyles for thin hair” and came up with several long-bob styles which were super cute and sassy – just like me!

I walked into the salon committed to coming out with a new look and Tawnee, my stylist was really game.  We did my color and then got to cutting.  The end product is A-Mazing!  I’m in love with it and feel set free, no more hiding my chins (I have a few less to hide these days), and it moves with the bounce in my step.  Walking into work the feedback was encouraging and I’m excited to try new styles.  Without further ado. . .

87 65

Number update:

Jim has lost 109 pounds and I’ve lost 60.5 pounds.

We’re both over half way to goal, Jim has about 80 more pounds to go and I have about 50 pounds.

We head to our 6 month post-op appointments next week and look forward to reviewing our blood test results to see how our insides are doing.  Support group in October is focused on nutrition and supplements and November’s is on plastic surgery (so stinking excited to hear about options for skin removal)!

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Becoming old hat

It’s been a long while since my last post.  As summer has come to a close the past few weeks have demonstrated everything life can throw at me, seemingly all at once.

Good news:  Our household is shedding pounds!  I’m now down 57.8 pounds and Jim is down 102.  I head to my 5 month post-op doc visit this week and will receive orders for a blood draw so we can review the panel at my 6 month visit.  Both Jim and I are looking forward to it for a few reasons.  For me, I want to confirm my nutrition is balanced and my body is getting what it needs.  For Jim, we’re excited to see if his blood pressure and cholesterol meds can be adjusted.

More good news:  My dad made it through a shoulder replacement . . .and serious complications.  I don’t typically blog about dad but his medical crisis certainly had an impact on our household (he lives with us) and in turn Jim and I both had to deal with a more significant amount of stress than we have had since our sleeve surgery.  Dad came home sporting 23 pounds of fluid weight from being pumped full of IV and blood transfusions and he’s now back down to his pre-shoulder replacement weight and doing well.

I managed to keep my exercise up and my food intake hitting my protein and caloric targets.  Thank God for Luna bars!  In a pinch they fuel me up and hold me while I figure out a food game plan.  I’m also really good at selecting meals from the appetizer menu and asking for substitutions or just plain re-working a menu item.

I still have moments of foggy brain or short term memory lapse.  I think the largest cause is trying to do too many things at once.  With Liam back in school we are settling back into routine and it feels good.  Menu planning still happens weekly and I support the plan by doing my grocery shopping the same day.  I’ve acquired an Instant Pot which broadens our menu with quick meal options.  I wish I had this back when we were in the soft food phase! Frozen meat is now ready to eat and delicious in  30 minutes.  Ok – I’ll get off my infomercial box.

Instant Pot = Instant Dinner

One area of concern, and I know it’ll pass but it’s bothersome, is hair loss.  And I mean, big, nasty, clumpy, thinning hair loss.  I already take Bariatric Advantage multi-vitamins and I’m now adding in additional Biotin to help but I’m still suffering.  Everything I read says about 6 months and it’ll taper off but this is ridiculous!  Our post-op nurse isn’t really concerned . . .it’s hair not a life threatening illness but the shedding is hardcore.  This is why I’m most excited for my labs just to ensure my body is getting what it needs.  We have support group on Monday and I look forward to hearing what others have to say.

So that’s it for now.  Looking forward to fall and more progress!

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Is it foggy in here? Or is it just me?

I had my four month post-op check up last week and discovered some new information.  I had only lost 3 pounds the prior month (typical is 1-2 pounds a week, so a definite slow down) and basically felt like crap. Our surgical nurse reviewed all the findings and declared me in desperate need of calories, specifically calories from carbs.  No one has ever told this girl she NEEDS to eat a carb.  I have been suffering from fog head. . . a horrible condition where I can see and hear everything going on around me but I’m in a time delay for processing the information.  I find myself zoning out during meetings and conversations.  I struggle to recall and remember items in the short term.  I’m tired and want to sleep – all the time.  Thankfully, it’s an easy fix.


When my weight loss slowed down, par for the surgery, I really assessed my intake of carbs.  I eliminated most grain type carbs and moved toward vegetables and fruit.  This helped with the scale but it caused my brain to starve.  Much like depression, you know you’re feeling “off” but you don’t realize how crappy until you come out of it.  Getting out of bed each morning required nothing short of a crane and even coffee wasn’t a magic bullet.  By two o’clock in the afternoon I was plotting a nap under my desk and fantasizing about a 6pm bedtime.  I finally admitted to Jim I was struggling with the scale and feeling like yuck.  It’s easy to hypothesize that I wasn’t getting enough calories and sending my body into starvation mode, but it’s absolutely frightening to eat more and possible gain weight.  This is such a mind game!

Our nurse gave me several pointers and permission to test the waters with some “no-no” foods.  For instance, if I’m struggling to focus in a meeting, drink a bit of juice.  The quick sugars will kick start my brain.  This isn’t a blank check to guzzle OJ, but it’s using food as fuel.  We also talked about how to incorporate some whole grains and perhaps I wasn’t ready to go to three meals a day with no snacks.  I had bumped my protein to 4 oz, three times a day but my stomach could only take the protein and I wasn’t able to eat anything else with it hence, no carbs in my system.   I’m now snacking on apples throughout the morning and adding a whole grain cracker with cheese in the afternoon.  I’ll munch on crackers with hummus in the evening before bed.  Not a huge change but enough I can feel a difference.

Total Weight Loss:

Jim  97 lbs

Linda   53.2 lbs

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Side by side

Our weight loss this week has brought to light some interesting changes in our relationship.  My husband Jim grew up in a house with a magic kitchen.  Magic kitchen?!?!?  Yes, magic kitchen.  Jim’s mom and sister magically made meals appear and my husband never needed to cook or look very far to find a meal or snack.  Not a bad deal!  When Jim and I married the magic kitchen kind of stayed in place.  I love the kitchen.  It’s my place of solace and I take great pride in feeding the ones I love.  Sure, after a long day at work I’m not always cheery about preparing a meal, but often it gives me great satisfaction to start and complete a task when so much of my professional life feels like a never ending project.

Over the past few years Jim has ventured into the kitchen honing knife skills, becoming comfortable with recipes and measuring, searching for new recipes and taking flavor risks.  Some wins, a few losers, but a lot of growth overall.  One thing we discovered quickly is Jim and I do not do the kitchen dance well.  I dance well with my sister and sister-in-law in the kitchen.  I dance well with my best friend (she stands still and I dance around her.)  I dance with an old friend and team member, Shelyn.  We divvy up the work and enjoy the camaraderie while creating meal and memories.  Nothing makes me happier than the productivity and finished product of these shared times.

Jim grumbles and grouches as I reach around him.  He doesn’t appreciate the gentle nudge when I reach in a drawer or come around him to the stink.  Undoubtedly he’s in my way and I’m in his.  Usually one of us just backs off and waits for the other to complete their work before continuing on.  The other night, both of us were standing at the kitchen sink, physically not able before, working on dinner.  I mentioned we were able to fit!  Wow!  Perhaps our inability to dance had something to do with our previous size?!?!?!

About 10 minutes later I went to season our eggs for dinner and dumped no less than 3 tablespoons of salt on the eggs.  My loving partner of almost 6 years neglected to readjust the sea salt from pour to sprinkle after making a bbq rub.  I used a horrible tone and disciplinary words (hello general manager/mom) and watched my words erase two years of cooking confidence from my husbands face.  Jim retreated to the sidelines of the kitchen and waited for me to finish cooking.  We ate our salty eggs in silence trying to recover our night.

I chewed on the experience for a couple of days and finally had a few moments to talk with Jim about the event.  I started with an apology for my words and handling of the situation in general.  I also acknowledged that we are transitioning to a new place neither of us have been.  We literally fit in the kitchen together and we have to learn to kitchen dance.  Jim graciously accepted my apology and asked me to teach him my kitchen rules (moves) and I willingly agreed.  It’s scary to acquiesce power and control and it also means I will need to be willing to eat what Jim creates.     Thankfully we’ve both received the same training and live by the same protein’centric diet so I’m not facing a plate of rice in my future, but I will need to have a heaping help of graciousness at the ready when things aren’t exactly as I planned.


Weigh in updates:  Jim has lost 91 pounds and I’m down 51.

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