A year ago today, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I’m not going to lie, it was the best sorta-selfish decision that I have made in my life. It probably saved my life. So far I have lost 99-100 pounds (it bounces a bit) – and that weight was not only a lot to carry physically, but that kind of extra weight takes other tolls on you as well. I still have about 40 more pounds I am working to lose, but I feel pretty great with the progress made so far.
For those not familiar with the procedure – in the gastric sleeve surgery they basically go in and remove 80% of your stomach – the physical organ, not the fatty outer layers. This means that (after several weeks of liquid diet), I eat A LOT less. I can only eat about 8-10 ounces at a time… Now, if I don’t follow smart eating and listen to my body when I feel full, I can, over time, stretch my stomach out again. I make sure to get lots of protein – I use a powder with 30 grams in my coffee each morning, I snack/lunch on nuts, cheese, lunch meat…. I try to get in as much protein as I can through my foods. Dinner, I eat a little bit of whatever I make the family. I stay away from bread – it tastes good (still), but it fills me up and leaves me hungry in a short period of time. I take vitamins each day. I eat some things I should probably stay away from. I am not perfect, but I am different. Oh, and one of the hardest habits to break – I can’t eat and drink at the same time. It is harder than you think.
So yeah. 100 pounds. It makes a big difference. I have a lot more energy. I have clearly had to clean out my closet a few times and get rid of the stuff that was too big. Here is a fun fact – rapid weight loss leads to hair loss. My hair was so thin, and I was shedding like crazy! I upped my vitamin intake with one for hair skill and nails – and it helped…. now I have a ton of baby hairs sticking up all over the place, driving me crazy, but it is a good sign.
Before the surgery, I didn’t realize how much extra weight I was carrying. I was always the one behind the camera, not in front of it. Every once in a while, someone would get a snapshot of me, and I would wonder how no one told me I look so bad. I knew I had unhealthy eating habits. I knew I needed to exercise more. I knew what I was supposed to do, but I never could seem to make myself the priority to do it. My nature is to take care of others. I put everyone else first. So when I say that my decision to have surgery was sorta-selfish, it is because for once I put myself first.
In reality, my choice to get healthy really benefits everyone I love. I will be around a lot longer to continue to care for them, I have the strength and energy to do more for them, I am better at teaching the ones I love to make the better choices. I am showing them that I think I am worth the effort to change into a better person. I am helping them see that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
What you couldn’t see a year ago, is the shame, hurt and depression I carried under all that weight. I clearly didn’t care enough about how I looked or how I felt. I was ashamed of the fact that the weight showed that I didn’t care enough about myself at all. My body hurt. I am thankful I didn’t have more serious health problems – but it hurt to walk, I tired out way to easy, and I struggled to get a good nights sleep (snoring)….. I hated buying bigger clothes, but I did. I piled them up and shoved the smaller sizes in the back, thinking I would wear then again “someday”. And I put on a brave face and kept trudging through life, getting my enjoyment from taking care of others. Avoiding the question of why I don’t care enough about me to take care of me.
I didn’t know how much I was physically and emotionally hurting before the surgery. I didn’t realize how much I missed restful sleep. I had forgotten what it felt like to walk without pain. I couldn’t remember how it felt to get dressed without fearing the clothes would be too tight, or not fit in a way that I was comfortable wearing.
I’m far from perfect. I have a long road (the rest of my life) ahead of me. I have not given up all my bad habits – I still enjoy Diet Pepsi (way too much), I need to drink more water, I need to exercise more regularly, and I need to find a way to get in more fruits and veggies. As my 4oth birthday fast approaches, I am determined to make my next decade my best decade.
Next week I start a new career, that I am very excited about. I am determined to continue on the path of self love and self improvement. I will keep sharing my journey, and maybe some of what I share will help someone along the way. I am an open book, and I even share the chapters of my life that maybe I shouldn’t read out loud…. But I would rather have people know that even if it looks like I am super-mom, with my shit together on the outside – that isn’t me. I am crazy, full of love and mistakes – and finally to a point in my life where I am not afraid to forge my own path and be truly happy. There will be bumps, dead ends, detours and adventures – but they will be mine.
If you have questions about the surgery, or anything, don’t be afraid to ask. I have been able to share and help a couple of beautiful women, who have also decided to get the surgery done – and knowing that I can share what I have learned to help others is the best gift of all.
Be a little selfish. Be true to you. Be happy.
#CrazyAsAMother #40IsTheNew30 #SharingIsCaring #OpenBookNewChapter