Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't tell me I can't!

*I am on vacation right now and have been pretty quite in blog world, but had to share about my workout this morning. I'll be back later in the week to recap my amazing vacation.*

My sweet, caring, wonderfully supportive husband said something to me this morning that rattled me a little bit. He said, "Honey, it's ok if you can't run a mile. You just had major surgery". He's right- I am only 7 weeks post-op. He's wrong- I can run a mile. I was given the ok to run about a week and a half ago. Since getting the all clear I've been running and walking 3 miles every other day. My runs have gone like this- walk .5 miles/run .5 miles, repeat 3 times. As I was lacing up my shoes this morning I was griping about how hard running is since surgery and how frustrated I've been getting during my runs. In his kindest voice he started explaining to me (for about the millionth time) that recovery takes time and that I need to be patient with myself.

I got out there to do my run. I was a ways into my .5 walk and his words resonated with me..."It's ok if you can't run a mile....". No, it's not ok. I dug deep and decided that I would run a mile and then I could quit when I was done if it was that hard. Well, I am happy to report that my 3 mile run went like this- walk .5, run 1, walk .5, run 1, collapse on the couch in a pool of sweat! :) I felt amazing! I felt alive again. I love finishing a run and feeling like I have really given it my all. My legs are jello right now and I couldn't be happier. They weren't fast miles (13 min miles), but they were miles and I was running them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to exercise!

When my plastic surgeon told me that I could return to exercise I had conflicting emotions. Woo hoo! I can't wait to break a sweat. Holy cow! What if my body no longer works like it use to. Last night was the first real test. I went to Shred last night and it was....challenging and amazing all rolled into one. My friend Kelly (who I wish I could link you to in some fancy way...Kelly- you need a blog!) Shred is a combination of aerobic and resistance training all rolled into one hour of sweat, pain, and giggles. :) It was great to do a really hard workout again. I could totally feel the difference in how my body was able to move without the extra skin. Thanks to my Polar Heartrate monitor I know that last night I burned 668 calories in 55 minutes. Wanna see the proof? Kelly took some pictures....

I HATE jumping rope. I think that I need to make some jumping goals....

Please not that my arm is no longer hanging below my chest and my stomach doesn't hang down to my hips. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Wild Ride

My weight loss experience has been a lot like the rides that I went on at Wild Waves today. At Wild Waves there are height requirements for nearly every ride. Today my son (on his tippy toes) met the height requirement for the rides that really interested him and my daughter was FINALLY tall enough to go on all of the rides she wanted to all by herself.

While losing weight I've encountered a lot of requirements that I've had to break though to do what I've always wanted to do. At 356 pounds no one told me that I was too big to lose weight. At 290 no one told me that I was too big to run. At 250 no one mentioned that I was still so obese that I would never be just plain overweight. There were no weight requirement signs along my journey, but I sure did have all of these thoughts. Too big, too out of shape, too clumsy... I thought them all and had to conquer those feelings. They still have not gone away, but I have learned (on most days) to push through.  

Today was amazing!!!

Hubby and I took our kids to an amusement park. I went on rides! I hate rides, but I went on rides. Why? Because I could! I fit! I met the self imposed weight requirement! I didn't throw up. :) I also rocked my new Old Navy Tankini in the wave pool. I went down water slides. I pulled up my new tankini bottom as I landed. ;) *Note to self- pick up a pair of board shorts for the days that I will be going down water slides.* The best part had to be when my daughter told me she was "proud of me for being so brave on the rides". She has no idea!

Friday, June 17, 2011

6 Weeks Post-op

6 weeks! Has it really been 6 weeks?! I went in today to have a stitch removed that had popped out. Tuesday was suppose to be my 6 weeks post-op appointment, but the nurse offered to squeeze me in today to see the doctor since I was already there. Have I mentioned that I love my Plastic Surgeon's office? They have always been so quick to respond to my needs and make me comfortable.

There are two parts of my tummy tuck that I don't love. They are fine, but I don't love them. There is a small section right above my bikini line that is still a bit pouchy. Is pouchy a word? I can't think of a better way to describe it. He said that that spot would be a "easy fix" and that I could return to work the next day. The best part was that he said that there would not be an additional charge for that correction. Whoop! Whoop! If it's still pouchy at Christmas time, then I'll go in to get it fixed. Part of me wonders if it's still swelling or just the lack of ab work for the past 6 weeks.

The second part that I don't love is a bit more complicated.... I am still loose though the belly button area. He said that to correct this that it would be a whole new surgery with a whole new set of cuts. It would be a vertical cut that goes from below my breastbone to my pubic bone. He explained that he would basically need to do the same surgery he already did but instead of doing it across he'd do it vertically. I read about the vertical cut prior to surgery, but never asked about it. I guess that I figured that if I needed it that he would have told me. I have to remember why I did this surgery. I wanted to get rid of the excess skin that rubbed on my legs and pounded when I ran. That skin is gone. At this point I feel like I need to move forward and not worry about the second surgery.

*Drum roll please.....* The biggest news of the day was that he cleared me to return to all normal exercise. SWEEEETTTT!!!! I have been giddy all day planning my workouts for the near future. My excitement is interrupted with moments of utter fear as worry creeps in that it will be OH SO HARD to return to normal exercise. Please remind me if when I freak out about my loss of muscle and overall stamina that I have just had major surgery and that it will take time to return to my "normal exercise".

My doctor wants to see my in 3 months just to make sure everything is healing correctly. He was pleased with my healing and the nurse told me that I looked amazing to only be 6 weeks out. I can't hear that enough! :) Now, has anyone seen my running shoes????

Monday, June 13, 2011

We Graduated!

My amazing daughter graduated from kindergarten today...

Lately I've been feeling like I've graduated from dieting to living a healthy lifestyle. What once seemed so hard has started to make sense and no longer seem like work. I looked at this picture and was impressed by how thin my face looked. We went to the movies and I didn't have to have a box of candy to watch the movie. I am able to stop when I am full- even if there is still good food left to consume.

(For the record- I did have popcorn with some butter. Hey, I'm not perfect!) 

I have SO not arrived, but feel confident that I have at least graduated from Kindergarten when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

Congratulations Sissy! We are so proud of you and the person you are becoming. I promise to continue to work very hard at being the healthy mommy that you deserve. Love you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Exercise in a Post-op World

Going into my surgery I understood that there would be some recovery involved and that I would be out of exercise for a while. What I did not know was what challenges that would create for my body and mind. Before surgery I worked out 6 days a week for 40-60+ minutes each day. When I say "worked out" I mean that I worked HARD. I ran 3.5 miles 3 times a week. I took a kickboxing class. I took a step class. I took a high intensity cardio class.

I worked out.

On May 9th that all changed. Yes, the change is temporary, but it is still a major change. For the first two weeks following my surgery I was not allowed to do any exercise. At night my legs would start to twitch. Sleep was inconsistent. I lacked energy. My muscles were so tight. I'll be the first to admit that this was partly due to my recovering body, pain medication, and poor food choices. I also know that my lack to exercise was taking a toll on my body.

At my two week post-op appointment I was given the green light to start walking. My first walk was only a mile and it was hard. Much harder than I anticipated. My next walk was 1.2 miles. I continued to add a little bit each day until I was up to 2 miles a day. My pace on that first walk was a 17 minute mile. These were brutal numbers to see. Before my surgery I had been running an 11-12 minute mile. It's been two weeks since that first walk and I am now walking 2 miles a day at around a 12.5 minute mile. I'll totally take that!

On my walks I've been able to have many conversations with myself. Hopefully people driving by think that I am talking to someone on my bluetooth as I cruise down the road blabbering on and on to myself. Being out of my normal exercise routine has been a fantastic way for me to gain a bit of perspective on my workouts. I love a good list as it's the best way to organize my ideas....

~ I miss my old routine. I can't wait to get back into my favorite classes and get back to running. I miss the gym. I miss seeing my gym buddies. I miss dripping in sweat.

~ My muscles will return once I am able to return to my normal routines. The world will not end just because I've lost a bit of muscles mass since being put on a restricted workout plan.

~ I was WAY too rigid with my exercise program before my surgery. Exercise is important for so many reasons. Exercise is not my world. I have loved being able to spend more time with my kids. Before my surgery I'd get really upset if anything interfered with my workout plan. The world will not end if I don't make it to Step.

~ Exercise is a lifetime commitment. I don't just workout because I will lose weight and tone up (although those are both amazing benefits), I workout because I want to be like my gym buddy Georgia. Georgia is ummmm...older. She is 53 and is in amazing shape. I want to be like Georgia when I grow up! I watch her in the gym in utter amazement. She is an amazing grandma who plays with her grandkids, works a full time job, and still gets up to make it to boxing at 5:30 AM. Exercise is a piece of my overall healthy living, but it is not my entire life.

For the next week and a half I plan on enjoying my walks and extra time with my family. School gets out on Wednesday and once I get the "all clear" to return to exercise I am going to map out my summer workout schedule. I really enjoy the summer because I can take classes during the day that I can't attend during summer months.

Here's to a healthy weekend~
Kari :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Have you seen the show? Chris Powell chooses individuals that have a lot of weight to lose, works with them for a year, and at the end of the year they have (hopefully!) lost a lot of weight.

I was watching tonight and this guy lost 216 pounds in a year. He started out at 459. Losing 100 pound in a year was, for me, a lot. I am sure this young man's life has changed in amazing ways, but watching this show twice now has caused me frustration and concern for the message that this show sends.

~ They always set a 3-month goal for the first 90 days. On the first episode the goal was for a woman to lose 86 pounds. Tonight he was suppose to lose 100 pounds in 3 months. That is a pound of day! How can that possibly be safe? While losing 100 pounds in a year was within the suggested 1-2 pounds a week; I battled with dizziness, fluctuations in my menstrual cycle, and headaches. How can these people be losing a pound a day and not suffer extreme side effects?

~ For the first 3 months the trainer moves in with the participant. Who can do that? I know that this is a TV show, but people that have 100+ pounds to lose don't recognize that they can not expect the same results. I know that I would watch Biggest Loser and think, "They've lost 20 pounds in a week, why can't I do that?". OR I'd think, "Of course I can't lose weight. Look at all they have (trainer, home gym, etc). I don't have any of those things."

~ Final rant.... At the 9 month mark the participants are offered excess skin removal surgery if they've lose a certain percentage of their weight. Here's how the scene has unfolded for the first two episodes....

Pre-op appointment where the patient is approved for surgery

patient is being rolled into surgery

3 months later- final weigh in

AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  I kid you not! Having the decision to have excess skin removed is a huge decision that involves a lengthy recovery- both physically and emotionally. It's not just a fade out and *poof* there you are 3 months later. You are skinnier, look great and have conquered the weight loss world.

Here's the reality of losing weight- It takes time. It is hard work. It can be lonely at times. Once you reach your goal weight you've only just begun.
The rewards are amazing!

Monday, June 6, 2011

4 Weeks Post-Op

Feeling amazing this morning I decided to weigh myself. Last time I stepped on the scale I was up 12 pounds from my pre-op weight and it was not pretty. I am happy to report that today I was actually 2 pounds below my pre-op weight. I've been told that swelling can last up to 6 weeks. Hopefully I am still a little bit swollen, but even if I'm not it's totally OK. Based on my handy heart rate monitor I burn (pre-op) approximately 3000 calories a week through exercise. I have not been burning anywhere near that since surgery. I have actually given myself the "ok" to be "ok" with a little bit of weight gain during my first 6 weeks post-op.

It's not all about weight at 4 weeks post-op. My stomach continues to feel larger than expected. I realized this weekend that that is partly because the incisions are still super tight. What felt "heavy" I now realize is (I think) tightness. As the numbness continues to fade away and the scars start to relax I am able to get a much better idea of what my final results will look like. My waist has returned! My pants fit again! Speaking of pants- I can't quite figure out where my pants are suppose to sit.... Below my super cute new belly button? On my new belly button? Somewhere in the middle? Where does one wear one's pants when you have a belly button that is actually in the middle of one's belly????

My arms are still super amazing. I have lost a lot of my muscle tone in my arms so they don't look as pretty as they did the first week post-op, but I am still really happy with the results. I know that the definition in my arms will return once I am able to start lifting again. I have one little spot near my arm pit that hasn't healed completely, but everything else (including my TT incisions) have closed up and are already starting to flatten.

My next doctor's appointment will be in two weeks. I am hoping to get the all clear to return to running and stop wearing my compression garment. I am planning on getting one tiny part revised where it's not even on both sides, but have decided that I will not have any more excess skin removed. There is still some excess skin around my belly button, but it is SO much better than before. At my next appointment I am going to ask about how long I have to change my mind if I do want revisions in the future.

This is getting long. I'll post later this week about post-op exercise, eating and balance. Happy Monday!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Choosing to be Healthy

Excuse me while I toot my own horn....

I had dinner with a friend last night and am happy to report that I made the best choice for dinner. It got me thinking about the power that I had to make healthy choices. I chose off of the "lite" menu. I didn't have to. No one would fault me for choosing a cheeseburger over the grilled chicken.

1. Pick out or select (someone or something) as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives: "he chose a seat facing the door"; "many versions to choose from".
2. Decide on a course of action, typically after rejecting alternatives
I really like the second definition. I have had to reject unhealthy living. This may be the most amazing part of my journey- I choose to be healthy. Yep, I've lost a lot of weight. Yep, I am now an athlete. Yep, I now wear a size 12 and I once wore a size 30. Those things are all great, but none would have been possible had I not made the choice to be healthy. My success does not come from drinking a lot of water, taking a special pill, or even having a surgery. I have experienced success because I have made one choice after another that will help me reach my goals.

Here's the cool part!
You can make that choice.
You can choose to eat a healthy lunch.
You can chose to go for a walk.
One choice at a time....

About Me

My photo
On June 19, 2009 I started my weight loss journey. It has become quite the journey! As of today (2-1-11) I have lost 162 pounds and have gained a whole new life. This blog is a continuation of my journey. I hope to inspire and encourage others through my process.