Karla's Journey Six Months Post-Op
Wow, has it really been six months? It has officially been a little more than that since my surgery in late April. I have made so much progress, it is hard to explain. My weight loss is more than 30 pounds since my surgery date, and 60 pounds since I first had my initial consultation a year ago.
For some people, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but I have not had a single backwards step in this progress. It has been slow and steady. I have had some stressful weeks, and been frustrated when the weight does not just fall off. But then I have a week like I am having now and I lose another four pounds! I also have gone from a size 24-26 (yes, I owned pants and tops that size!) to a nice size 16 pants and I am buying some tops in a size large!! I even had to get new bras!!
Some of the best rewards are the comments people and patients are making on a daily basis. I hear things like- “Oh my God you’re melting”, and “Karla, I didn’t know that was you from behind!” I recently went back to the gym. People there are trying to figure out what I have been doing. I don’t belong there in the summer in order to get my time in golfing. The trainers all noticed, and it felt wonderful. It also felt good to get right back into my routine and not feel like I was torturing myself as my overall fitness has improved so much.
I am still trying to swim at least twice a week, usually between 2,000-3,000 yards each time. I am moving up to a faster swimming lane too! In December, I will try to swim something called the Bruit Challenge which means swimming one mile (1650 yards), a 400 Individual Medley (100 yards of fly, back, breast, and freestyle), and a 200 butterfly , all in one practice. I know I can do it now!
One of the other perks is not worrying at the airport that I am not going to fit [in the seat], or have to ask for a seatbelt extension. I fit just fine and have extra room in my lap now!!
Being honest is another part of this process. I made a decision when I started that if anyone asked me what I was doing, I would not hide, but would share my story about what I am doing. I have not heard any negative criticism for choosing surgery, and in fact have been able to help both patients and peers decide if making a choice for surgery is appropriate for them.
I am amazed at how many people did not think I was “that fat”. Or how many do not think they qualify or really need to lose that much. When I talk to people, they usually say they have 20-30 pounds of excess weight. When I show them their BMI (Body Mass Index), they are shocked that they are really that far out of control. I have been there, so it is nice to be able to tell people they have a choice. Do something now and start being accountable for your choices, or die!! That sounds like something extreme to say, but it is the truth!
Has it been easy? I will tell you it really has. Of course I have had some bad weeks, and not been able to eat some of the foods I used to enjoy. I thought I would miss bread, but I am able to eat small amounts occasionally so I really don’t miss it. I do eat lots of soup, which is good for the fall. I struggle a lot with solids in the early daytime hours, and often have to remind myself to chew more or slow down. Again, old habits die hard. With the adjustable gastric band I have to watch the portions, similar to any diet. The one big difference is that I am not afraid of eating too much because I can’t! I also am not hungry often. I use some protein supplements and vitamins and have also avoided at least three colds this fall that I know I would have gotten before, so I feel my immunity is improved as well. If I don’t exercise or I eat too many liquid calories, I don’t lose weight. But if I keep my calories in control and exercise, I see the results. It is really fun to see the results!!
I would be happy if I maintained this weight , as I am so much healthier than I was a year ago, but with so much positive reinforcement, I know my journey is not done. I cannot wait to see where I am at a year!! I will let you all know!!