Weigh-Ins are on FRIDAYS - Updated January 13, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Hit my goal weight on December 17, 2010:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Five Years at Goal Weight with My Lap-Band

It's been a crazy busy time for me lately.

Here are the places I've been to for business trips or for fun in the last three weeks:
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Newark, NJ
  • Scranton, PA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Green Bay, WI
Phew!

I've been keeping up with my workouts and mostly eating how I should while on the road. 

As you know, I share all those lovely little annoying details of the day-to-day living with my Lap-Band on my Facebook page. You're welcome.

I've been so busy that my Goal-iversary came and went and I didn't even notice! On December 17, 2010, I reached my goal weight.  I lost about 120 lbs in 14 months.  That was five years ago.

I've been holding steady around the 145 lbs mark for FIVE YEARS now.

It's a lot of work. No sugar coating here.

Did I say it's a lot of work? Indeed.

Here's a pic of the Fiance and I on Christmas morning. I posted it on Facebook, but alas, there are some of you who are not on Facebook! Gasp!

The presents were all unwrapped.

The holiday treats were all eaten.

The Fiance was heading out the door for a 6 mile run in the freezing cold. His usual.

I was about to get my sweat on with my favorite workout trainer, Jillian Michael's via her free online videos in the living room. My usual.

What is the biggest learning lesson from these past five years at my goal weight?

There is no finish line and no "done" on this road to health.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Can't Figure Out My Recent Blood Test Results

The "why" behind why I do what I do each day.

The "why" behind why I make my careful food choices each day.

The "why" behind why I measure my food portions each day.

The "why" behind why I drink over 100 oz each day.

The "why" behind why I exercise and sweat each day.

What is the "why" I got my LapBand in the first place way back in 2009? MY HEALTH.

Sure, fitting into a certain clothing size is super fun.

Sure, being able to be active and present in my daily life is good. (And not napping at home and watching TV for hours, 'cuz that's what I used to do at 260 lbs. Missing out on life in general)

But for me, the main focus has always been my HEALTH.

Did you know that at 260 lbs, my doctor was talking to me about pre-diabetes and high cholesterol medications?

Every year since I got to my goal weight, I've been doing well with no signs of diabetes and all results at normal levels. Yay me.

So I was extremely surprised when last week I got the results of my annual blood test / lab work.

I really didn't think I could improve on anything from the year before.

Weight maintenance gets pretty boring.

Here are my results.

I have improved my cholesterol results dramatically this past year! Yellow highlights are my newest results from last week and hand written info is from last year's tests:

The only issue is...

I have NO IDEA how I did this.

I haven't changed my diet and food choices in the past few years.

I am doing the same exact type of workouts I've been doing for the past 3+ years.

The only thing that I could guess is that this is a LONG-TERM result of eating WAY less red meat and animal proteins (chicken, beef, pork, etc) over the last 3 years?  Sort of a long term affect of reduced meat eating?


Back story: Three years ago I began my a new job at a vegetarian foods company.

Since employees can buy these vegetarian food items at a reduced price and these vegetarian foods are pre-portioned/frozen/convenient, I have been eating them ALL THE TIME.

It is convenient and cheap for me. Tasty too. That's all.  No other reasons.

Therefore, I eat meat only 2 or 3 times a week in these past 3 years.  Not very often.

Could I now be seeing the long-term benefits of a reduced meat (semi-vegetarian) diet?

Here's what I do know: I am a cholesterol ROCK STAR.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sad News and a Visit to the LapBand Surgeon

Pemberley passed away last week.

I've been sad, but remembering the fun times we had together is helping.

She will always be my favorite workout buddy!

June 2015:

4 days post-op. October 2009:

In other news, since about late July/early August, I noticed that I was getting hungry quickly after a small sensible protein meal.

So then I thought, oh well, my seasonal sinus allergies will be ramping up soon, let's see how it goes. That band will get tight again. Allergies always makes my band tighten up.

And I waited.

And the seasonal sinus allergies went crazy.  Boxes of tissues later...

I was still hungry!

So I thought, with a big vacation coming up to Italy, I figured there would be jet lag and travel stress/etc (stuff that usually tightens up my band), so let's wait and think about a fill when I returned.

That vacation came and went.

But I was still hungry!

Then Pemberley passed away.  So I thought, oh no, this is very stressful/emotional (stuff that always tightens up the band), I bet that band will tighten up. Let's wait and see.

Nope.

I was still hungry!

SO, long story short, I finally went to see my Lap-Band doctor last Friday 9/25/15 for a fill. He added 0.4 ccs to my Lap-Band.

My hunger is reduced and my thoughts of food and what my next meal will be are GONE.

I love that at almost SIX years post-op, I can still get my Lap-Band adjusted and have that same reduced hunger and full feeling as I did at the very beginning of my weight loss journey.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Italy is a dream...

...that keeps returning for the rest of your life."

Someone famous said that quote. 

And they were correct.

I'm back from two whole weeks in Italy.

There was Michelangelo's David:
 

Wine in Florence.
 

A climb up the many stairs to the top of the Duomo (Cathedral) in Florence.

There's always time for a cappuccino in the rain of Florence.

Tuscany countryside adventures:
 

Chillin' poolside.
 

Ummm. Yeah. More wine.

But I DID workout six times. Water bottles for hand weights with my usual Jillian Michael's videos from YouTube:
 

Day spa relaxing under the Tuscan sun.
 

Cocktails at sunset at the Forum in Rome:


Gelato in Rome:

Cooking class in Rome on our last night in Rome. Homemade ravioli and tiramisu!


And by the way.

One very important event happened on day 1 of our vacation. 

In case you missed the many, many hints in the previous photos.

The event happened before the wine.

Before the cappuccino.

Before the poolside relaxing.

The boyfriend got down on one knee at River Arno in Florence at sunset.

And proposed marriage.

Of course I said, "Yes!"

Fortunati Noi
 
(Italian for Lucky Us)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Orbera. Weightloss AND No Surgery Needed


Orbera inflated with saline and deflated.
Orbera in the stomach
It's NEW.

It doesn't require surgery.

AND it's removed after six months.

Talk about a weight loss tool for the those of us fearful of a commitment.

But wait.

There's more!

It's durable.

It's safe.

AND it's now FDA approved.

Over 220,000 patients worldwide have received this tool as part of an entire weight loss program that include nutritional guidance, exercise requirements, and the medical support from a bariatric team.

And now us Americans can get Orbera too! Is it for you?

Watch this quick video to meet an Orbera (and me!) up close and personal: 


Here's a video of the placement of Orbera: https://youtu.be/w9dWiV_pYdE

Here's a link to find an Orbera specialist near you: http://www.orbera.com/find_a_specialist

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Visit To Apollo Endosurgery!



Guess what? It's that time of year again...

When us Lap-Band patients and obesity patient advocates gather in Austin, TX at Apollo Endosurgery.

Apollo makes the Lap-Band. Cool fact of the day #1.  You're welcome.

Aren't we pretty?

You can't deny it.

Can you believe that this was the FIFTH year of this annual meetup?!

And of course, we all were ready to catch up. We picked things up right where we left off last year. Do you recognize any of these Lap-Band super-stars?

You know that we OWNED that back row of the shuttle bus!

Word.

At our meetings we got to Skype with Lap-Band surgeon extraordinaire and Aussie: Dr. Dixon.

Don't be jealous.

He really knows how to rock a PowerPoint presentation.  A master of the slides.

You can hear the most amazeballs podcast interview with Dr. Dixon HERE.  He's kinda pretty too. Don'tcha think?

He told us cool stories about successes with the Lap-Band patients that he works with and even a story about medical studies with RAT BANDS. Yep, teeny tiny Lap-Bands that go inside rats where doctors learn about obesity. Cool fact of the day #2. You're welcome.

Next, Amy shared her story of her weight loss with the Lap-Band. Go check it out HERE. You will learn what a half-lesbian is.

Then we heard from Rachel Blind. Nurse practitioner who works daily with Lap-Band patients. She even shared with me her workout habits (but I've been sworn to secrecy):
We talked about myths too.

One myth that's floating around there that is FALSE: Lap-Bands are not being used anymore. So FALSE! Did you know that over 40,000 new patients received Lap-Bands last year? Cool fact #3.
I am short. That is all.
With the man who invented the Lap-Band.
He would like to remain anonymous on this blog. Very secret-agent like.




Dinner & Fun Times! Yum.
I can't wait for next year's visit with Apollo!

Super Star Links:

LapBand.com
Land of Cheese & Sunkist
Bariatric Pal
Banded Wendy
After The Band
WLS Matters
BariMart
BariatricGirl.com
Obesity Action Coalition



A few photos above courtesy of BariatricGirl.com

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Weigh-in Day -- Lost 3 lbs this week


Friday Weigh-in Day! 

I have weighed-in each and every Friday since August 2009.  That's more than FIVE years of weekly weigh-ins.

Here's today's weight and last Friday's weight. 


I'm down 3 lbs!
How did I achieve this?
  • 100+ oz water each day
  • 1200 cals, 60+ proteins each day (I WROTE IT DOWN)
  • 5 x 30 min workouts this week
  • Took my vitamins 
This last week of dedication and hard work reminds me of the 14 months of when I was in my "Losing Phase" of my weight loss journey. These are the same behaviors and choices that I made to lose about 115 lbs in 14 months.

What does this past week also tell me? 

If I do the work, then I am successful on the scale.

PS: My capri pants are lose this morning. Pretty baggy on my hips. Non-Scale Victory (NSV) alert!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I've Kept Off 115 Pound Weight Loss For Over Four Years with My Lap-Band

Summer.

A time that I enjoy MUCH MORE now.

The heat and hot temperatures are easier for me not being a big girl.

I'm not so sweaty.

I'm more comfortable.

Don't even get me started on the thigh chub-rub of wearing shorts when I was 260lbs.

Now at 145lbs, I don't have to be hot and sweaty carrying around my extra 115 lbs of weight on my body.  

Long gone is my "fat" blanket" as I like to call it.. 

I was always so sweaty! Gross.

But now.

Let me tell you about how Summer time is for me NOW at 145lbs:

I enjoy wearing dresses now.

I like to wear cute shorts now.

Tanktops? Yes!

A bikini? Abso-freakin-lutely.

I've been in maintenance for over four and half years now.

Please join me...Let's travel back in time.

And here are the summer pics to prove it:

((Cue that time travel music!))
 
4th of July 2015:
 
 
Summer 2014:
 

Summer 2013:

Summer 2012:

Summer 2011:

And now one last reminder of where I began.  At 260lbs before I had got my Lap-Band. Winter 2008:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Weigh-in Day AND a Big Girl Fill

Here's another post to document my stats and help me remember the numbers.

It's been 5 years, 7 months since my Lap-Band surgery in October 2009 when I began at 260 lbs.

I've been at/below my goal weight of 145 lbs since December 2010.

Where am I today?

I had another adjustment last Friday, May 29, 2015: the doc added 0.8cc's. Whoa, big girl fill alert!

Therefore, here's the history of fills/adjustments since the January WTF freakout of when I thought I broke my band (I didn't):

1/1/15: 7.3ccs current level
1/5/15: -3.5ccs
3/26/15: +1.5ccs
5/29/15: +0.8ccs
TOTAL in my band now: 6.1 ccs

How do I feel today?
  • NO. HUNGER. AT. ALL.
  • Small portions keep me satisfied for about 3-4 hours.
I've also lost about 2 lbs in the last week.

This is mainly due to me doing the liquid diet for 4 of the last 7 days. My choice. My doc doesn't require this. I just know from past experience this is helpful for me to ease into a new band adjustment. 

Also worth noting I suppose, the last time I had food come back up (a PB) was in January.  6 months ago.  Having food come back up has been a rare occurrence for me in general for me in my Lap-Band journey.

In my very subjective opinion, I keep my band on the looser side of the spectrum.

I can eat anything I want, no food choices limit me. For example: I ate a small slice of thick crust pizza for dinner last night. Doughy. Cheesy. Took me about 25 mins to eat it, but no problems.

It's interesting how different a 2 lb loss on my 143lb body is compared with a 2 lb loss on my previous 260lb body.

  • 2lbs loss now is 1.3% loss of body weight: I feel it immediately in my pants fitting better and less tummy rolls. It's so weird yet amazing!
  • 2lbs loss when I was at 260lbs was .07% loss of body weight: didn't even notice it at all in how I felt.
Maintaining my weight is an every day challenge for me. 

What I have learned is that it never gets any easier.

Maintaining my weight is just as difficult as losing weight. 

But it was difficult being 260lbs too.

Here's Friday weigh-ins for the last two weeks.

Onwards.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

An Amazing Read! Great Tips for Lap-Band Success!

Did you see it?

Did you read it yet?

Did you know that there are Lap-Band patients out there who are over ten years post-op who are maintaining their goal weight?!?

Indeed.

Meet Karen Gillman:
 
In 2004, Karen had gastric band (Lap-Band®) surgery which ultimately helped her combat her obesity, shed and maintain a weight loss of 145 pounds and bring her BMI from a staggering 45.3 to a maintaining a normal weight BMI of 23.

Go Karen!
Lucky for us, Karen is very open about her life before and after surgery.

This lady is representin' on the interwebs:

She's got a BLOG.

She's got a fancy Facebook.

She even has a BOOK.  That's what she said.  A book! It's called, "It's Never Too Late. A Ten Year Journey with Weight Loss Surgery."

I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary from Karen and here's the scoop:

I read it cover to cover.

Twice.

It's a super quick and easy read.

Lots of pics.

And.

It.

Is.

Awesome.

Sauce.

But, wait.

Who is this especially great for?  Anyone considering any type of weight loss surgery.

My favorite parts of this book?

-- She lists her items she keeps in her kitchen.  Who knew that there was a special type of grater and chopper that makes portion sizes easy? 
-- She shares her top must have items to be a successful Lap-Band patient. I love her recommendations of her fave shapewear that she wears underneath her clothes. (gasp!)
--She tells you about her new level of happiness and energy now that she has lost her excess weight.

You can find her book HERE.

Go.

Order.

It.

Now.

You're welcome.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Did I Break My Lap-Band?

Let's rewind.

Back to that time when I seriously thought that I had broke my Lap-Band.

I had been cruising along for over a year with 7.3 ccs in my Lap-Band.

I could eat anything.

Bread. Yep.

Pasta. Yep.

Anything.

Just not in huge quantities.

My hunger was under control.

It. Was. Awesome.

Food would get stuck or "PB" (food coming back up) maybe once every 2 or 3 months.

Then my food choices got STUPID over the holidays: Cookies, cake, treats, etc.

Then came new years day 2015.

And EVERYTHING changed.

My honey and I went on a weekend getaway to San Francisco: Ice skating, Shopping, Theater Shows, Food, etc!

Here's what went down:

Jan 1  -- We started the weekend by going to the Trampoline park in SF. We jumped and jumped and jumped.  Great exercise and so fun! Nifty socks included.

Jan 2  -- Major PB lunch. Again a bad PB at Dinner. Bad food choices by me. Liquids going down fine though. There was a constant middle of my back pain and the really bad heartburn began. This was such a NEW experience for me. My Lap-Band had never caused me such pain. My constant thought: Did I break my Lap-Band by jumping on the trampolines? Seriously. WTF.

Jan 3 --Our fun weekend was over and we headed home. I called my surgeon for an emergency unfill that week.

Jan 5 -- Major unfill of my Lap-Band at bariatric surgeon's office: 3.5 ccs!  Now there was less fill in my band than when my band was put in at surgery in October 2009. 
 
Jan 5 onwards - heartburn and some pain with most all food choices.  Liquids going down fine.

Jan 21 -- Barium swallow.  The barium swallow doctor and the tech assistant guy in the room kept saying "Looks good" and "be careful, you'll gain weight with a band that loose"  They even had me swallow a barium pill (HUGE PILL!) And that pill went down no problem.


Jan 28 -- Appointment with Bariatric surgeon for the official verdict on the barium swallow.  He said it looked OK.  I did not want a fill.  He didn't want to do a fill. Still having slight pain and some heartburn occasionally.  He said some scary words to me: "You don't want to lose your band" and we ended the appointment with "Let's see how it goes at this fill level".

March 5 -- The last time I had heartburn.

March 5 onwards -- No pain when eating. No heartburn for awhile now. Uh oh! I can now eat more.  I am getting hungry after about 2 hours with my usual small portions.  The scale is going up. I'm HUNGRY!  Called bariatric surgeon for fill appointment.

March 26 -- Appointment with bariatric surgeon.  1.5 cc fill.

March 26 onwards -- Hunger is GONE.  Scale has gone down a few pounds.  Still no pain. Still no heartburn.

So here we are: April 4. Today.

These past three months have taught me:
  • I can't take my band for granted. I need to make good food choices.
  • If and when my Lap-Band is removed (a silicone device has a limited lifespan) I hope the good folks over at Apollo Endosurgery are still manufacturing Lap-Bands so I can get a band replacement. I don't think I could ever revise to a bypass or sleeve. Not my thing.
  • Hunger is still scary.
  • And NO, I didn't jump my band broken.
I remember during my fill appointment with my bariatric surgeon on March 26.  I joked with him when laying back on the table and said "Look! I'm winning today. I don't have to undo my pants for the fill. These pants are loose!"

He then smiled calmly down at me and replied with,"You've already won."

That brings me to my last learning lesson: Perspective

Friday, February 27, 2015

One of My HUGE secrets to my Success

What's the big secret to my success? Weekly weigh-ins.  EVERY Friday.

I've been consistently weighing in every Friday since August 2009.

My starting weight: 260.0 lbs

Today's weight: 144.8 lbs

Goal weight: 145.0 lbs

I've been at my goal weight since December 17, 2010.

Onwards.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What If I Fall?

I tried something new.

For the for the very first time.

Yesterday.

Was the BIG day.

The most physically challenging Non-Scale Victory (NSV) to date.

I swung on my my hands.

And dangled from my knees.

I was upside down.

And I flew through the air.

...on a TRAPEZE

At a trapeze class, to be quite specific.

And guess what?

I survived to tell you the tale.

Right here.

Right now.

Climbing up the metal ladder was the most difficult for me. 
 Swinging from the platform was a leap of faith...could I hold on and support my body weight?


 I learned to get my legs up and hang from my knees!


 I even learned that I could let go and have someone catch me!
Check out the video of me flying through the air HERE.

Today, the day after, my muscles are the most sore they have ever been since I had Lap-Band surgery in October 2009.

My abs hurt.

My arms hurt.

My calves hurt.

It hurts to sit down.

It hurts to laugh.

Did I mention that my abs hurt?

Oh my.  Like a thousand sit-ups.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely.

The.

Most.

FUN.

Ever.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Weigh-in Day & Do You Remember the Secret Power of the Pink Tutu?

Friday weigh in day!

I've been weighing-in every Friday for over FIVE and HALF years. 

Weekly weigh-ins are one of the secrets to my success. 

Accountability is KEY.

I'm still below my goal weight of 145 lbs!


Do you remember this post about my Mom and her pink tutu and completing her first 5k race? Go back and read it. She's awesome-sauce. 

Last weekend I went to my Mom's interval circuit workout class at her gym. What an intense workout. It reminded me of my Jillian Michael's Shred workouts: planks, push-ups, etc!

Mom's been keeping up with her daily visits to her gym and personal trainer for over a year now. I am so proud of her!
Left: At the 5k race                                                Right: at Mom's gym last weekend
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