Monday, January 19, 2015

Gastric Bypass Surgery - 18 month update (3 months late)

In October, I passed the 18 month mark after having Gastric Bypass Surgery in April of 2013.  I have lost 99.5 lbs, and am holding steady 8.5 lbs BELOW my surgeons goal weight.

I saw my doctor for blood work and to make a long story short -- my numbers couldn't be more perfect.  I'm off all meds, and in the doctors words, "healthy".  She followed up with a sincere, "Shanna, you made it." 

I also saw the behavioral therapist for a quick check in.  I'm sure she's called something else -- a fancy medical name, but I can't remember what it is.  Regardless, she's nice.  And, I'm a fan of counseling.  A good counselor is worth their weight in gold in fact.  Everyone could benefit from having one in their life.

She asks me some questions on just how "worried" I am that I might gain the weight back.  Well, I say fairly sure, "The thought crosses my mind at least once or twice a day."  Therapist, "Do the thoughts you have cause you to not be able to function in your day to day life"?  Me, "Uh, no.  I have 5 kids and one is adopted and blind -- the rest are teenagers.  I have a busy husband, a relationship with Jesus...friends...I run a business.  I have people who work for me, people in training, accounts payable, receivable, kids going to sports, music lessons, play practice and poetry readings.  I occasionally clean my house."  I smile.  I say, "All that is just to say, my life REQUIRES that I function.  I'm pretty good at focusing my thoughts, telling myself the truth, keeping a good attitude, having faith, and persevering.  You know, FUNCTIONING.  I'm good at functioning.  At this point I'm thinking that 'non functioning' would be a little like a vacation, you know?"

She smiles and asks questions about my doctors take on my weight loss.  How I've determined my goal weight and what "wiggle room" I have according to how I know my weight fluctuates.  She asks about my families response.  She listens to me whine about the well meaning people who regularly tell me I could "weigh even less" or "be even smaller."

Me, "It feels like I've been on this wild airplane ride, and about now I'm looking for where I should land.  I guess that's my real question.  Where do I land?

Therapist smiles and says, "You don't land, you just stay on the journey."

She ends with, "No matter what happens, even if you gain weight back, you KNOW HOW to lose weight now.  You know the rhythm of food preparation, eating healthy, and exercise.  No one can ever take that away from you."

And, I breathe deep -- and leave her office to return to all my functioning.


This season has raised questions for me like when do you decide you like the number on the scale and are now free to enter MAINTEANCE mode?  For some, the answer is obvious, but when you've NEVER MAINTAINED ANY WEIGHT -- always gaining or losing -- the ground that answer lies on feels a little squishy. 

And, am I really free to decide that anyhow?  Or is there some secret obligation to let other people's opinions decide for me?  I mean really, honest question, is there?

Questions surface like, will there be those people  who just forever and always try to influence me to lose more weight?   Seriously.  Tell me.  WILL THERE BE CERTAIN PEOPLE WHO JUST AWLAYS DO THIS?  By "people", of course, I mean other women.   And, well, is this how all women who have healthy weights (and good numbers on blood reports) yet don't have perfect bodies feel all the time???  Does this exhaust everyone or is that just me?  I'd like to rest knowing that I'll eventually be able to shake all the YOU SHOULDS, YOU COULDS, IF ONLY YOU WOULDS off, but as I listen to others talk, I'm not convinced we ever do.  I hope we do.  I hope I do.  We shall see......


My big revelation of this season has been that losing 100 lbs hasn't cured me 100% of fat thinking.

This past weekend, we had enough CAKE left over from a piano recital to feed a small country.  B says, "Let's throw it away."  I say, "No, let's take it home to Benjamin."  So, innocent.  So stupid.

Bless my heart.

Fortunately, B followed up with, "No, let's throw it away.  I don't want it in the house."  Mature of him.  We went home cakeless.

Whereas I am pro eating for pleasure every once in a while, a recovering alcoholic doesn't keep margarita's in the fridge just for "everyone else" -- and frankly -- the family members of an alcoholic don't need it either.  And, I'm kinda like that.  And, so is my family.  A recovering food-aholic....sugar-aholic.  And, I know there's a difference between a piece of cake in my fridge and a box of leftover cake that could fill a VW bug. 

I sooooooo know that.  But, again, I'm not cured.

Keeping THAT in mind, is important in this stage of the game apparently. 

I am well aware that my best defense against gaining my 100 lbs back is too do the following, a short set of "rules" I have for myself......

1.  Keep my environment as free of temptation as necessary.  And, after the holiday months, "necessary" would mean COMPLETELY FREE OF TEMPTATION.  I need an environment at home where I can not fail.

2.  Avoid restaurants.  The food almost always makes me feel terrible, and well, it replaces the nutrition I could be putting in my body.  DEFENSE for eating food I shouldn't -- to EAT THE FOOD I SHOULD.

3.  Have convenience foods on hand.  For me this includes Advocare Berry Meal Replacement Shakes, Spark, Protein Bars, Greens, Diced Veggies, Avocado, and Cooked Protein.

4.  Move my body.  Bodies were made to move.  I am happier when I am moving. 

And, well, that's it. 


I don't always have time to prepare a week's worth of meals for my family of 7 on the weekends.  This weekend included my 41st birthday, 2 piano recitals, and 2 birthday parties.  Throw in errands, kids and church -- and I really just didn't want to stand in the kitchen for 2 hours cooking.  So...I didn't.

However, in order for my week to go the best it can -- I still needed to prepare SOMETHING.

So,on the way out the door to church, in the spirit of rule #3 above, I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot with some lemon pepper.  I laid 1/2 of a spaghetti squash on top of the tenderloin and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  I wrapped a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in foil and tossed them on top as well. Threw the switch on high and let the machine do it's thing.

Later that evening, I shredded the pork and the squash. I browned 4 lbs lean beef that I'll use for chili and tacos later this week.

And, that's the extent of it.  Less than 30 minutes of prep this weekend.  But it will benefit me and my family GREATLY this week. 

Dinners are simple.  Shredded pork tenderloin and steamed green beans.  Chili with beef and beans...ladled over a bed of organic greens.  Sautéed peppers and onion, with sliced chicken over the spaghetti squash.  When the protein is prepared, it's easy to toss together a quick lunch.  And, well, snacks around here (for me AND the kids) are actually small meals.  Real food.

And, thus, my functioning.

And I'm so thankful for it.  Thankful the time has passed so quickly, healing has been so powerful and that all I've learned as been such a surprising blessing to me! 

I love that I've gotten the chance to do this, and I love walking along side others as they embark or just continue on their own journey towards optimal health and healing...however that fleshes out for them. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."  2 Cor 1:3-4

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