Finally – a confirmed surgery date…

And the winner is…November 30th, just as I had requested.

I’ve been a bit MIA for a bit as we went on vacation and I was busy gearing up and than catching up with work, but I’m back to blogging!

I’m going to go into detail about all of the following in posts soon, but just wanted to recap what’s happened in the last couple of weeks:

* Surgery confirmed for November 30th. I will be flying (along with hubby) to San Diego on November 28th, pre-op testing in Mexicali on the 29th, and if all goes well surgery on the 30th. Then 3 days at Almater Hospital, followed by a couple days in a local hotel (my choice, just to be sure I would be in good shape for the long flight home) and then finally back home. I’ll basically be gone for a week.

* Started buying stuff for pre- and post-surgery. Protein power, samples of ready-to-drink and powdered protein, Isopure (clear protein drink), sugar-free syrups to flavour stuff, blender bottles, water bottles, small bowls and containers, a food scale, some books and cookbooks etc. etc. Getting everything organized makes me feel that much better about the surgery – I’m a researcher and planner by nature, so I have to do it.

* Started my pre-op diet TODAY. Goal right now for the next two weeks is 1500 calories, less carbs (and only carbs from fruit, dairy etc. – very little bread, rice, pasta, potato etc. and very little sugar) and then I’ll drop it to about 1200 and see if I can continue to drop it up until surgery. I did really good today – resisted pizza (pretty much my fave food) and took my youngest out for frozen yogurt but just sat and watched him eat it. Sounds like such a minuscule victory, but the journey starts with a single step, right? I have promised myself that I will allow myself “cheat” meals pre-op (when it doesn’t interfere with the actual pre-op diet two weeks before surgery), so I can feel like I had my “food funeral”. Starting to change my diet but allowing myself a cheat meal now and then is a much better idea (as far as I’m concerned), than just continuing to eat whatever up until I have no choice.

* Tracking my daily intake via My Fitness Pal and their amazing iPhone app. Highly recommended by me (and lots of others!)

* Had a great vacation but surgery was constantly on my mind for a number of reasons – more about that soon!

So…at thing point I’m honestly just really looking forward to surgery and making it work 😉


Surgery date…?

Over the past few days I’ve been emailing back in forth with Nina (Dr. Aceves’ patient coordinator) about surgery dates etc., and I think we’ve got a winner.

My deposit was sent off yesterday, and I’m just waiting for confirmation back from them next week that it has been received and my surgery has been scheduled for…

November 30th, 2012

This is basically the earliest possible date, as I need to do a two week pre-op diet, and I don’t come back from the wedding in Cabo San Lucas until the 15th.

I’m anxious to get the surgery date in the books and completely confirmed so i can book our flights (my husband is coming with me, time already booked off work), book a hotel room in San Diego, get our hotel situation figured out for after I am released from the hospital (planning on staying a few extra days in Mexicali) and just know that everything is set.

Because we are going on vacation next week, I’ve actually ordered some stuff online that I’ll need (some protein drinks and samples, a few books, a food scale and some other odds and ends) so that I can have it sent to our US address for us to pick up on our way back (since we are allowed up to $750 duty-free per person when we cross back over the border).

It feels good to get the ball rolling and to finally be making progress. I’m still 100% convinced that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing, and I believe that the results will eventually bear that out.

I know there is risk, I know there can be health complications that may stay with me for the rest of my life, but I have to believe that they can not be as bad as what I am facing being 275+ lbs overweight.


Die Fatty Die…

It occurred to me today when I saw an article that maybe people don’t realize what kinds of things are said about obese people, or about weight-loss surgery etc. Maybe you read my post about people who say that weight loss surgery is “the easy way out” and thought to yourself, “self, that’s not really the way I think, it that what others think”. You bet they do, and it was reinforced to me today not ONCE, but TWICE.

I’m a bit of a celebrity gossip-hound, I admit, and I do usually check Perez Hilton’s site once or twice a day to fill up on celeb news etc. Today, Perez posted on his website about his 5-year weight loss journey. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that he overhauled his life and lost 80 lbs in the process, but how did he describe it?

“…we did it ALL naturally! The healthy way! The painful way! The slow and steady way! Over FIVE years! NO surgery! No drugs! No gimmicks! No shortcuts! We started slow and built upon that. We changed the way we ate and we incorporated exercise in our life. The old-fashioned way sometimes really is the best!”

Notice that he feels that need to say he didn’t have surgery, in a way which makes it clear he thinks surgery is a “shortcut”. Why is it necessary to tear other people down to build yourself up? I would never think of saying “I lost XXX lbs after having weight loss surgery – the smart way. Look how great I am! Those poor saps out there doing it the hard way, what chumps“. I respect those who can do it, not matter how it happens, because it is a struggle – there ARE no shortcuts.

Then I came across a post on a forum about an article from 2004 written by a guy who I can only describe as a douchebag. The DB is question is Chris Shugart, who is (surprise, surprise) a former fattie, fitness journalist and author of the V-Diet (a diet that is basically 100% liquid, save for one meal every week – so don’t ya know that you NEED to buy their special supplements to keep you healthy on this radically diet, right?).

Here’s an excerpt from his post, Die Fatty Die:

“And what’s with the gastric-bypass surgeries? This is nothing more than surgically induced anorexia for people who lack the willpower to become real anorexics. I have much more respect for the anorexics. At least they have a sense of self-control. Their self-discipline may be misdirected, but dammit, at least they have some!”

Hehe…funny. I actually pretty much tried the real anorexia thing (but when you’re fat they call it a diet) and it’s one of the reasons I’m in this position now. Ironic?

The article above is honestly just shock tactics as far as I’m concerned – not that I doubt he feels this way, as do many people – but his way of expressing it is just to get publicity for his diet etc. Cheap, low-brow tactics, but what’s new in the diet industry?

Check out this article from Shugart where he basically blames fatties for all of America’s health system issues: “Why I Hate Fat People”

Basically fat people cost the healthy system money. Yep, can’t really argue with that, but so do all those terminal cancer patients. Should we just put them out of their misery to save money? What about those thin, healthy people who just live for-frickin-ever in nursing homes etc., sucking up social security. Should we euthanize them too, to save a few bucks?

Love the fact that he glosses over how fatties contribute to the economy with the $60-billion a year (in the US) diet industry that puts food in his mouth. Yeah, nothing like a healthy dose of hypocrisy Chris, thanks for coming out.

I was talking about this with my husband tonight and I mentioned that in some ways I am actually grateful that I have ALWAYS been fat, rather than suddenly becoming fat. I have years and years to build up a thick skin when it comes to ignorant judgemental windbags, and I actually find stuff like this just funny and sort of pathetic now. I feel sorry for people who think it’s appropriate to teach their children to point and laugh at fat people to “motivate” them so they can stop being fat and wasting people’s money (Shugart mentions this very thing in both articles).

As always, bullying is never about the object of the bullying, it’s about the bully himself. Sorry your deep dark food issues make you hate fat people Chris – maybe you’re just jealous ’cause you’re so damn hungry.

Short and sweet…

Okay, so it’s been a few days as I’ve had a nasty, nasty cold – no doubt brought home to me by one of my children from school and/or daycare 😉

I should have some big news in the next few days, but in the interim…

You may have read my last post about WLS being the “easy way out”…obviously, I’m not down with that statement. I heard it summed up perfectly on a forum recently, and it pretty much explains the reason behind my choice to have surgery:

“If you had cancer, would you choose the treatment with the 95% success rate, or the one with the 5% success rate?”

‘Nuff said.

Weight-loss surgery is the easy way out…or is it?

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, because I think this is the number one misconception about weight-loss surgery – that somehow by choosing to have weight-loss surgery I am being lazy (after all, since I’m obese I must already be lazy anyway, right?) and don’t want to “do the work” required to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

I read stories of weight loss and somehow they always need to be qualified – “I lost 200 pounds, no surgery”. Does that somehow make you a better person? But people feel they need to say it, because of those that don’t understand what weight-loss surgery is about (including some formerly obese people who have lost weight “the hard way”).

You know what I say to that? Bullshit.

Anyone who spews crap like the statement above is one thing: ignorant. And I mean that in ALL of the ways it can be construed. Rude and uneducated for sure, just for a start.

First and foremost, yes, saying something like this makes you rude and inconsiderate, any way you slice it. I can bet that if there were a surgery to cure alcoholism or addition to smoking, people would be thrilled and everyone having it would be encouraged to do so, to make them healthier. Would you tell an alcoholic that if they could have surgery to “fix” their alcoholism that they were “doing it the easy way” and that somehow there was more merit in doing it “cold turkey”? Sounds ridiculous, right?

But consider that you don’t HAVE to smoke, or HAVE to drink, or even be around people who do. But you have to EAT, every day, repeatedly, and around everyone you know.

And also consider that weight-loss surgery isn’t somehow a magic solution to being fat. Ignorant people who make statements like the one above somehow seem to think that you can have weight-loss surgery, eat whatever you want, and still get skinny – but the truth is that is FAR from reality.

Weight-loss surgery is a TOOL – nothing more. You decide how you use that tool. Having surgery means that I’m having 70-90% of my stomach removed. Sound easy? And then six weeks of a liquid/pureed/soft diet? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. What about having to take supplements and vitamins forever, because I can’t get enough nutrition from the small amount of food I’m eating? Is that easy? How about eating 600-800 calories a day of basically pure protein and no “fun” carbs, for 2 years (and then maybe 1200 calories a day for the rest of your life to maintain your weight loss – very little sugar or carbs, forever)? Sounds like a riot, right? How about gallbladder attacks, massive hair loss, and all the other fun things that come along with it? Yeah, good times. Clearly, I’m taking the easy way out here, right?

Or maybe, I’m doing it the smart way.

I’ve always been a very logical person, and logic tells me that a success rate of losing weight and keeping it off over 5-10 years of 2% is shit. But those are the statistics for diets – 98% failure rate. What kind of person sees a stat like that and thinks, “Great, sign me up for that diet thing?”. A large majority of the population actually – and the reasons are too many to mention, but consider that the diet industry is one of the most lucrative, and yet the return on your investment is? Yeah…exactly. Big fat (literally) FAILURE.

Even IF (and that’s a big if) I could agree that surgery was the “easier” way, why does that mean that I should somehow be ashamed of doing things the easy way? Doing things the hard way may build character I suppose, but what else does it get you? I mean, look at it this way – you don’t need to drive to work right? You could walk the 20 miles (hey, it would be healthier for you). Clearly, you are weak chump, since you choose to drive instead of walking. You should be ashamed, car driver! You are clearly inferior to people who walk.

See? Silly isn’t it? If the walkers and the drivers all eventually get to work, then aren’t they equally successful at the ultimate goal? Should we all be shunning any kind of short-cuts or anything that makes our lives easier in favour of working as hard as possible at everything? Didn’t think so.

The thing is, you can’t convince me that what I’m doing is easy (or “cheating”, or “being lazy” or “weak” or any of the number of things I’ve heard about having WLS).

Partially because I’m stubborn, and mostly because you’re wrong.

Could I lose 200+ lbs without surgery? Of course, it’s possible. Would I? Probably not. Statistics and personal experience tells me so.

I absolutely admire and applaud those people who can and do lose large amounts of weight without surgery – I am in no way diminishing what their accomplishments. In fact, who knows, maybe those people are superior to me because they beat the odds. The fact is, I just don’t care. I care about getting where I need to be, and other people’s opinions just don’t really matter.

But…I do get really riled up when people make totally ignorant statements that belittle the accomplishments or positive decisions of others. It’s bullying, plain and simple, and it comes from a place of knowing that you are a failure. Yeah, I said it. It’s generally the jealousy that comes from being a failure at losing weight “the hard way” that causes that reaction. But don’t worry – you’re in good company with that 98%, so don’t feel bad.

Am I 100% confident that surgery will work for me over the long term? No, to be honest, I’m no 100% sure, because surgery is just a small part of the picture. The uncertainty lies with me, and my commitment, and that’s my real journey.

But I’m happy to educate some ignorant folks along the way.

Today I did it (sort of)…

So I had been flip-flopping about surgery timing and had decided that Jan/Feb would be best overall (my ideal time would have been November, but I’m already going to be in Mexico in November for a destination wedding for an all-inclusive, so I couldn’t combine trips).

I actually sent off the email this morning to Nina (Dr. Aceves patient coordinator) asking her about the deposit and if I could book in late Jan/early Feb.

So of course, I’m now thinking November would be better. I realized the two big reasons for not doing in November were really sort of trivial. First, it seemed silly to turn around and fly back to Mexico two weeks later after just coming home (if you’re wondering why I couldn’t just stay there and have the surgery right after the wedding, it’s complicated by having to be on a pre-op liquid diet, and I just think that would be too hard and too much to bear while on vacation with my whole family). Second, I have a big bridal show to do on January 6th, although it is only one day.

I realized though that although it’s a lot of flying in a couple of weeks, who really cares if I go back two weeks later? It’s not like I’m going back for a vacation! I’m having surgery and it just happens to be in Mexico (in a completely different part of Mexico no less).

As for the wedding show, I have a wonderful husband and friends who could cover for me that day if I’m too weak to do the show (or the whole show). It is 100% ideal? No…but it’ll do.

As far as business goes, November would actually be the very best time – the least impact on my busy time of the year. 

The only somewhat sad part would be having to deal with my 10th anniversary, my 35th birthday and Christmas/New Years on a liquid/soft diet. But, it’s a small price to pay for being able to enjoy many, many more anniversaries, birthdays and holidays to come.

Stay tuned for me to make up my damn mind 😉


My goal (appearance) – warning: you may be surprised…

Image above is model Tara Lynn – she’s 5’9″ and a size 14/16

So, I think I’ve said it before, and now I’ll say it again – this journey isn’t really about what I look like, it about being healthy and sticking around to see my children grow up.

But it would be crazy to say that I don’t think at all about my appearance. In fact, anyone who knew me as a teenager or in my early twenties knows that I was always very into fashion and my appearance. At that point, I was actually fairly confident with myself to be honest. I didn’t FEEL like a huge whale – I certainly wasn’t “normal”, but there were times I wasn’t huge. If only I could go back and tell myself that I had a right to be self-confident, and that no matter what everyone was telling me (whether it was my family, the media, my peers, whatever) I was actually healthy and fine exactly as I was. I wish I could go back and tell myself that I would eventually dream of being the weight I was back then again. If only I knew then, what I know now, things would have been so very different. Giving in to what other people told me about my weight was, ironically, the beginning of the spiral from overweight and healthy to super morbid obesity.

The least I can recall weighing past my 13th birthday was 206 lbs before my grade 8 graduation (I remember wearing a sz 18 dress, although that was from a bridal store, and those sizes are totally out of whack – I was probably actually a 14) and then 212 lbs when I was 16, after I had lost about 40 lbs (in completely the wrong way, but I share more about that another time). At that point I was also a size 14/16. In fact, I was represented by the only plus-size modelling agency in Canada (at the time, before most modelling agencies had plus divisions) for a while, until my weight started creeping back up due to the manner in which I originally lost it.

And now – on a good day I’m a size 32, and I’m probably even fooling myself there, as I generally try to buy things that are somewhat stretchy etc. I haven’t fit into a pair of size 32 jeans since right before I was pregnant with my second son in 2008, and I’m sure by measurements alone, I’m definitely not a 32 anymore.

But sizes, like weight, are just a number – and I’ve never been that fond of numbers 😉

When it comes to appearance, having been overweight my entire life, my perspective is probably very different from most weight-loss surgery patients. I don’t care to be skinny, at all. I care to be healthy. I grew up knowing I would never be able (due to genetics) fit society’s ideal (or at least today’s society) body type, never be a size 0, or  2, or even a 6 or 8.

My ideal of beauty is very different to be honest. I think that all women can be beautiful, no matter their size – it is about so much more than what is on the outside. But, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I think that ultra-skinny models make clothes look good (but then again, so do wire hangers), but when did that become the beauty ideal? It certainly isn’t mine to be very honest. I think that a woman’s body is beautiful, but when I think of what I find attractive, it’s curves – full breasts, a big butt, hips etc. I’m certainly not saying that to suggest a thin woman can’t be beautiful, just that it’s not *my* ideal. I am fully supportive of anyone’s right to be attracted to whomever and whatever they choose (and you may surprised to note that in high school and university, I was the one who dated the most of all of my friends, and I was by far the biggest), I just don’t like one particular ideal being pushed on everyone.

As the mother of two sons, this is especially important to me. I never want them to feel ashamed or embarrassed by who they are attracted to (whether that has to do with size, gender, whatever). I dated more than one guy who thought I was very attractive, but was clearly not into me meeting his friends or family, because he thought he would be judged by them. Sad really. Aside: I really need to write a post sometime about dating etc. as an obese woman – I’m sure it would be a real eye-opener for some people.

So…remember a few posts ago I said my husband was a big fan of my Pinterest account? That was a bit of a fib.

He’s a big fan of one particular board – this one.

It is full of images of women who are ideal beauties to me. This is what I used to look like, when everyone told me I was fat, I needed to lose weight, I would never get a man looking like that (little did they know), etc. Okay, maybe not exactly like these women – but you get the idea.

These are women who are sexy, powerful, seductive, beautiful…and “big”. And I love that – I want to be them, not a size 0 supermodel.

And there is a part of me that would like to be back to that size 14  (which is the average size for North American women, and most of the women in the photos on my Curvy Girl Pinterest board are probably in the size 12-18 category). I may not be “normal”, but at least I’d be “average”…

…for once.

Then again, who has ever strived to be average 😉


My goal (weight)…

Tonight I bought a scale…because we literally have never had one in the house.

Another story for another time, but the scale and I once had a very unhealthy relationship, and I never wanted to go there again. So I banished it.

From then on, the only time I ever knew my weight was when I would be weighed at the doctor’s office, hospital etc. In fact, the last time I was weighed was 2009 – 100% truth.

But now, realistically speaking, I need to know my weight so that I can inform the doctor doing my surgery and fill out all the forms etc. And of course, I can’t buy a regular scale…nuh uh. That was many pounds ago. I had to actually order a bariatric scale on Amazon. I should probably feel ashamed of that, but honestly I don’t. Shame is a useless emotion, and I have never felt it when it comes to my weight.

Embarrassment, yes. Definitely, and frequently. But shame, never, because I don’t feel like there is anything “wrong” with me. I may be morbidly obese, but it is just a physical attribute in the end – many people you meet on any every day basis are unhealthy, you just can’t SEE it, like people can when they encounter me. But I will not and do not allow other people to shame me.

I’ll go into more detail in another post, but the smallest I’ve been since I was 14 years old is 212 lbs. And I would kill to be 212 lbs again. That probably sounds hilarious to most people reading, but here’s a story that may put in into perspective:

You know how you hear people talk about being big boned, and everyone thinks that’s just a euphemism for fat? I actually had to put a few people in their place on a weight-loss surgery forum recently who were telling someone that there is no such thing as being big boned. Frankly, that’s just plain old-fashioned ignorance right there. Surely no one would suggest that there is no such thing as having a very small frame (I’m sure we all know some adults who can fit into children’s sizes as their frame is so slight). So why wouldn’t the opposite be true?

At 16, I was referred to a specialty children’s nutrition (read: weight loss) and exercise program at a local hospital. Part of their program was “water-weighing” in a specialty chair/harness, that allowed them to take all sorts of body composition readings. Once of those was bone mass. Mine was 125 lbs. Remember that although I was basically at my full height, I wasn’t even an adult yet, so I’m guessing that it’s more than that now.

The average healthy weight for women at 5’10” (I’m actually 5’10 1/2 though) 135 to 165 lbs. Um…not going to happen here. There is your proof right there my friends. I would be dead if I weighed 135 lbs (and in fact I’d probably have to be missing body parts at that point), and even 165 would likely be unhealthy (considering that body fat under 12% for a non-athlete is considered unhealthy, and we still need to account for organs, blood, skin etc.).

At 16 I was told that 180 lbs would be my ideal weight. To be honest, I’d be happy with 195 at this point (purely because it would be under 200, which I haven’t weight since elementary school).

Based on the last time I was weighed (again, 3.5 years ago), that would mean a weight-loss of 250 lbs. Sounds crazy, but it’s definitely possible.

The number itself doesn’t mean much to me though – I know the perils of being addicted to the scale, as I’m sure many people do. I wouldn’t care if I was 250 lbs, as long as I felt good and was healthy etc.

After spending a lifetime of not giving a rat’s ass about what other people thought about my weight, why would I start now?

The truth is that although a goal weight is important to have, it’s just a number to me. My body will tell me when it’s done losing and when it’s at a happy place.

And I’m fine with wherever that is.

Pinterest, oh how I love thee…

So, I’m spending a lazy Saturday night (yes, I actually am taking the night off for once) doing research and pinning to the Pinterest account I started to keep track of weight-loss surgery recipes and info, as well as other stuff.

I LOVE Pinterest…it’s a complete time suck, mind you, but it is awesome. It’s also used in a huge way by my colleagues and clients (my business is wedding industry related), so I’m used to using it for work-related things.

It is perfect in a case like this – one place where I can link recipes, products, links to website and blogs etc.

My husband is a fan as well. Why?

More in my next blog…


After a long crazy week…

This past week was super-busy and super-stressful with work, and it made me realize how terrible some of my eating/health habits are because of work. Long hours with no food/drink/bathroom break because I’m in the middle of something or on a roll, frequent night where I sleep only 2-4 hours, and then end up crashing at 7pm against my will, waking up at 9pm or 10pm and then starting the whole terrible process all over again. Eating at weird times, eating whatever is easiest to grab, eating on the road…all bad. Not helping the situation…at all.

I realized that if I want to be successful at having a healthier lifestyle, it needs to be more than just losing weight (which I probably won’t be very successful at if I continue the pattern above anyway). Which means that I need to get shit sorted out with my business as well, so that I can set myself up for success, instead of failure.

Just one more thing to do.

Sometimes I really feel like my life is completely out of control, and as much as I try to do to and plan, it always ends up like a rodeo ride on a bucking bronco – just trying desperately to hold on while it goes wild. I actually feel some comfort in the fact that after the surgery I am going to have a very restrictive diet for 12-18 months…something I CAN control, with the help of the surgery. After all, the surgery is a just a tool, but I still have to do the work – the same work that everyone else who wants to lose weight has to do. It’s just helps up that 2% diet success rate 😉

And maybe once I control food, my body, my health – I can start to control those other things as well. Although I damn well will be doing as much I can pre-surgery to figure WTF is actually going on.

Self-examination – gotta love it.