100 Pounds!

One year and 3 days after my surgery, 21 months after starting my journey, I hit 100 pounds lost, total.

In bariatric circles that’s pretty slow. But it’s steady, so I can’t complain too much.

Losing Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about losing weight, like would I recommend it to others? As a Fat Activist, I would NEVER consider that. But as I see the other side, has my thinking changed?

A little.

I absolutely believe in dignity for everyone at every size. I also absolutely believe you can be healthy and active at any size. Nobody should feel they need to change their weight just because of being big, or really big. There’s nothing wrong with managing medical issues that might arise because you are bigger.

I would never give unsolicited advice to someone to lose weight because that’s their business. But if you are large and asked my opinion about losing weight, here it is:

In my humble opinion, these are the only reasons to try to lose weight:

  • You have health problems that are likely stemming from your size, and they are not manageable with medications or other means. For instance, my diabetes has caused some damage to my kidneys. It’s not terrible, and I can manage it, but losing weight has improved my diabetes, which in turn will protect my kidneys from getting worse.
  • You can’t move in ways you want to move.
  • You have pain in your body, like your back or your joints that is likely caused on exacerbated by your size and isn’t isn’t correctable by surgery. When I had pain in my knees, knee replacement took care of that. However, my back injury caused me severe pain every single day and there was really no operation that was likely to fix it. I was on 800mg of Ibuprofen several times a day, and that sort of kept it at bay, but not really.
  • You have serious enough mental health issues stemming from the constant abuse you face as a fat person that you just can’t deal anymore.

For anyone who thinks they want to lose weight, first start with these things:

  • Start with just eating healthier. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables (at every meal), more fish and chicken than fattier meats. Don’t “diet” – but consider changing how you eat with a goal for it being a LIFELONG change, not just until you lose 50 pounds.
  • Work on your mental health (likely with a professional) around food: decouple it from comfort, celebration, boredom.
  • Practice radical self-care:
    • Wear clothes you look good in that fit you well and are comfortable
    • Bathe enough to feel clean
    • Get massages and manicures if those are your things
    • Keep up with regular medical care (with a doctor who won’t fat-shame you) like mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, yearly physicals, etc.
  • Find doctors to address any medical issues who will listen to you and treat you and not blame everything on your fat.

In other words, VALUE yourself, and see how that works for you, before you decide you need to lose weight.

If you do these things and decide you need to do more, TALK to me.

Creeping Along

After essentially being stalled, I’ve now lost 4 pounds in the last month. Slowly…

I am encouraged because there is a woman in my bariatric support group who has lost all the way to her goal weight 3 years ago, but said that 10 months in she stalled for 5 months, then lost 50 pounds more. Maybe that will happen to me.

Check out the timeline

Nothing Much To Say

I haven’t posted here for a while because, well, I don’t have much to stay. I’m continuing with my eating plan, exercising, living life, but not losing weight. My back is sooooo much better, but I still have a long way to go. I can’t walk for more than about 15 minutes before I’m in pain. I still have a huge belly, which I know will take plastic surgery to fully correct but I can’t get that until I have a lower BMI.

“Stalls” like this are very common, and I keep telling myself and seeing how far I’ve come, but I’m still super frustrated. It definitely tells me that weight loss is way more than a “numbers game”. I track all of my food, and generally eat between 1100 and 1300 calories a day. Given my activity, that *must* be a calorie deficit, but I’m not losing.

Goals, BMIs, Surgeries

When people have bariatric surgery, often they’re asked what their goal weight is. I have resisted coming up with a number for two reasons. First, because this isn’t about weight, it’s about my mobility. Second, because I’ve discovered how variable the results can be, and I don’t want to feel like a failure if I don’t meet some goal that my body just won’t achieve.

That said, I actually do need to think about weight because of this nasty never-was-supposed-to-be-a-measure-of-health number known as the BMI, or Body Mass Index. This is important to me because I will absolutely be having plastic surgery to deal with the sagging skin resulting from large weight loss . I’m not talking about a little pooch; I’m talking many FEET of skin, mostly around my belly, mons area, sides/back, and upper arms. Some surgeons won’t do plastic surgery unless your BMI is below a certain level, usually around 30. For someone who is about 5’5″ tall like me, that’s 180 pounds.

I do not think I will get to 180 pounds. My surgeon thought I would get below 200. I would be thrilled with that. But I might not be able to find a surgeon who would operate on me. This is enough of a problem that there is at FaceBook group (probably many of them) dedicated to plus-size women wanting plastic surgery, where we share info about procedures and what surgeons will do them. There are women on that list who are my size (currently at 224 pounds) and larger who have had great results from plastic surgery. My current BMI is just over 34; It was over 52 when I started this journey.

In addition to getting to a low BMI, some surgeons won’t operate after weight loss surgery until you’ve been at a stable weight for 3, 6, or even 12 months. I guess this is to make sure you won’t need more surgery later. I’m just impatient to have surgery because right now my belly is keeping me in larger sizes than the rest of me needs, and my mons area is keeping me from being able to cross my legs or ride a bicycle, something I used to love to do and want to do again. Plus my insurance may cover some of the surgery, but they also have hoops you have to go through to determine “medical necessity”. I’m not sure I’ll qualify; you need to have things like rashes, which I’ve learned how to avoid over the years, so I don’t really have them.

My other impatience has nothing to do with weight loss: I have a hernia around my belly button area that I’ve had for 20 years, but it was mostly dormant. But in the last few months I’ve had painful attacks. I’ve gotten through them, but if they continue I will need to have it repaired. However the most efficient thing to do is to have it repaired when I’m having plastic surgery on my belly anyway.

Anyway, this is all very complex, and distracting. but it’s on my mind so I figured I’d write about it.

Scale Victory

I’ve posted about a lot of non-scale victories (NSVs), but today is a scale-related victory. I am now at the same weight I was when I graduated college, almost 39 years ago. And I’m officially down 90 pounds since the start of my journey.

Staying the Course

No posts in a while because it feels like my journey is just going along. I’m just inching along weight-wise, but every day my back is a little better and I can do a little more. Trying to be patient…

Body vs Weight

I continue to struggle with slow weight loss. If you look at the timeline, you can see that it’s going down, but just creeping down. I lose a pound, go up and down for 3 weeks, lose another, etc. I posted I was down 50 lbs total, but that was about 2 weeks ago and NOTHING since. I am following the plan. I have certain “macros” to follow:

  • Protein between 75 and 90 grams
  • Water at least 80 oz
  • Net carbs under 50

I don’t have a specific calorie target, but generally get between 900 and 1100.

I also follow all of the other guidance about not drinking while eating, and getting exercise. But nothing seems to change.

On the other hand… I’ve gone from a 4XL shirt down to a snug XL. That’s huge! I can wear some tops from a regular store! Unbelievable! I am thinner in many places: face, arms, legs, butt, chest.

On the other hand… I’m still carrying a huge amount of weight in my belly. I’ve gone from a size 26/28 to a 20/22. That’s 2 sizes, which is great, but actually I hit that many months ago, and since then, nothing.