Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Return to Swimming

Back in high school I was a swimmer. I was a BIG swimmer. I don't mean big like I won big, but rather I was obese and on the swim team. It was the only physical activity I got and was only 3 months out of the year. Even to this day when I put on a swim suit I have horrible flashbacks of trying to fit into the largest size team Speedo swimsuit the swim shop carried. Someone very close to me asked me if I had to go to Omar the tent maker to have my suit made. That hurt! That still hurts today.

A few days ago David posted about going on a midnight swim. I was inspired! I wanted to swim. I wanted to glide through the water. I've been toying with my workouts and thinking about changing things around. I love to run, but have grown tired of my running routine.

To fix my running lulls I've decided to run twice a week and add in a day of swimming. Today I swam for half an hour. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I am definitely tired! Probably the hardest part for me was that I only burned 250 calories. Running half an hour will give me a caloric burn of over 400 calories. Swimming felt great! It was amazing to feel my muscles work together to move me forward. I even messed around with a few flip turns towards the end. Back in the day I could do a flip turn. Turns out that I still can. :)

What about you? Have you tried any new forms of exercise lately???

Monday, September 26, 2011

4(ish) month post-op

Ok, so I'm really closer to 5 months post-op, but have been promising for weeks to do a 4 months post-op update and here it is! :) I am going to break it down in the same was I did my 2 month post-op update. I decided to include some pictures. Consider yourself warned! If you don't want to see my stomach you had better stop reading right now.....

~Exercise- Everything has returned to normal when it comes to my exercise routine. I ran a 5k the other weekend and finished an amazing 9 minutes faster than last year. It was amazing!!!! I am able to bind my poses during yoga in ways never possible before my surgery. The extra skin in my arms and stomach had really gotten in the way. I still hate continue to work on loving ab work. There are no restrictions when it comes to my exercise. I do feel some tightness around my TT incisions when I am doing extensive stretching, but nothing that is too uncomfortable. During boxing the incisions on my arms tend to sting a little bit. The doctor told me that the nerves were still healing and that the stinging will go away with time.

~Clothing- My quest for the perfect pair of pants continues. It still feels strange to not have an extra layer of skin between my pants and my thighs. I've settled into a comfortable size 12 pant and a medium/large shirt. Finding clothes that fit me are no longer a problem.

~Arms- I LOVE MY ARMS! They have a little bit of give now, but nothing like pre-op. They have healed completely. The incisions are still really red. At my 4 month post-op appotinment the nurse said they the scars start to lighten up around 4 months and that the redness is just part of the healing process. I wear short sleeve shirts pretty much every day. Strangers ask me about my scars and I proudly tell them that I had lost 170 pounds and needed to have the extra skin removed. I have to keep sunscreen on them all the time when I am outside or they turn bright red.

Arm scar- 4 months post-op

 ~Stomach- I wish that I could say that I love my stomach, but I'm still not there. I like it more than I did 2 months ago. There is still quite a bit of excess skin on the sides. It's hard to explain. It like when you have too much wrapping paper and you double fold the sides instead of cutting off the extra. The present looks fine, but it's not perfect. My PS is willing to do another surgery, but I don't want to go under the knife again nor do I want the vertical cut that would be required to remove the skin from the middle. I have one very small spot on my left hip that still has not healed. The doc told me to come back in another 2 months if it still is not closing up. The problem is that the incision ends right where my pants fall on my hips. I have been putting a band-aid on the spot to keep it from rubbing.

Four months post-op I can honestly say that having this surgery was one of the best things that I have done for myself. I feel lighter. I can look in the mirror and (on most days) see the "skinny" person that others see. Plastic surgery is not for everyone, but for me if was what I needed to correct my image of myself. The greatest difference that I have noticed is in my ability to move freely during exercise. I didn't realize how encumbered I was by the excess skin. Feel free to ask questions. I love sharing about my experiences.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who? Me????

Young. Fit. Healthy. Strong. Determined.

Three times today I've had people comment on my appearance. Each person used a combination of these 5 words to describe my appearance or attitude. Over at Prior Fat Girl they are having a contest to come up with a new t-shirt slogan. On the run today I was thinking about an exercise slogan that would sum up my transformation.

My slogan?????  I've earned this!   

I've earned a body that is young, fit, healthy, strong and determined. Did you notice a word missing from that list? The word is skinny. No one called me skinny today and it's totally ok. I'm not skinny. I am STRONG! I would rather be strong than skinny any day of the week. It's not always easy, but it is always worth it.

Your words are powerful.
Use them to encourage someone today!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The ride comes to a complete stop

It's fair season. We went the other night and I had my share of an Earthquake burger (the kind of burger where the grease runs down to your elbows!), scones, and caramel apples. Ok, I may have had more than my share of scones. ;)

When the rides end you always hear the ride operator reminding people to remain in their seats until the ride comes to a complete stop. I am happy to say that my Teacher Strike ride has almost come to a complete stop. It's kind of a funny story. The governor called both sides of the dispute to the capitol last night and said that she wouldn't let them leave until they reached an agreement. I told my daughter that it was like getting called to the Principal's office and being told you had to stay in detention until you could play nice.
7 hours later they had a press conference to say that they have reached an "innovative" agreement. The word "innovative" scares me a little bit, but at this point I fully trust my bargaining team that they reach the best settlement possible. They are not releasing the details of the contract until the teachers can look at it first. I love that! I feel respected!!! I look forward to seeing the contract at noon and voting to ratify. School will be back in session tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone for your encouraging words during this very difficult time. I am looking forward to returning to normal.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chiropractor Visit #2

I am addicted to my chiropractor after only 2 visits. :) He's fantastic. He moves my bones in a way that feels amazing with the quick flick of his pen. I went to yoga on Friday night and could actually feel a difference in my poses with my new corrected alignment. On this second visit he went over my x-rays from the other day. My x-rays show that my L5 vertebrae (near my tailbone) is indeed compressed. In this pictures it's the bottom of the blue near the yellow.
This compressed vertebrae explains my pain during sitting on hard surfaces (like bleachers) and doing sit-ups. I asked him about doing sit-ups and he suggested doing them on a ball to alleviate the pressure.

In addition to my compressed vertebrae, I also have an uneven pelvis. The left side of my pelvis is 10 degrees higher than the right. THIS explains my hip pain and (at least to me) what it's harder to balance and stretch on my left side. The rest of my spine is out of alignment because it's leaning towards the left 30 degrees to compensate for the 10 degrees that my pelvis is off. Still with me?  Basically my spine is overcompensating for my pelvis.

Oh, and I can't forget my coccyx. It's all out of whack too. See, I am a chiropractors dream. As always- there is an amazing part....

My NeuroSpinal function score was 84. A perfect score is 100. Dr. Mike says that he see "very few" patients that ever score in the 90's, even after therapy, and that 84 is really good. 356 pound Kari never would have gotten a NeuroSpinal function score of 84. It basically means that my spine is in good healthy. Additionally, the disks between the vertebrae were in "excellent" condition. Whew! What a relief. I was worried that putting additional weight on my body for so long would have resulted in doing permanent damage on the back that could never be undone.

A small huge problem is that if I went as much as he wanted me to it would be hundreds of dollars a month for the first few months- even after my insurance. I am just starting to pay for Bug's eye surgery and am still paying on my surgery. There is no way I can take on another medical expense at this time. My hope is that I can go every other week (instead of 3X a week like he wants) and still reap the benefits of adjustment. I am also going to ask for exercises that I can do at home to keep aligned between appointments.

Whew! Sorry this was so long. Tomorrow I will be back on the picket line (yep, still on strike) and then going to a Big and Rich concert at the fair. Can't wait to get my hands on an Earthquake burger.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Wanna go for a walk?

I shared earlier this week that my union was going on strike starting on Monday. Well, today is the 4th day of the strike with no resolution in sight. If you are interested in the details of the strike you can check it out at We Teach Tacoma. It's been really ugly and mean. You read about strikes that get resolved in 1/2 a day. This has not been one of those strikes.

I struggled (still) with the idea of teacher's striking. We are public employees. It is a hardship on our families. There are budget cuts around the state. All of those things being true there were some other truths involved in this decision. We (the teachers) have already lost our COLA and 2 additional training days of the past 2 year. We currently have a system of displacement that, while not the best, is at least equal to all employees. The district wants to impose a system that could be easily abused by administration. Our class sizes are already too big. Adding another 1-2 kids would be unfair to both teachers and our students. So.....

Based on all of this I've decided to strike with my fellow teachers. This means that I walk, and I walk, and I walk. In the first 3 days of the strike I have walked 26.69 miles on the picket line. I pick up my sign at 8 AM and start walking. Everything from my waist down hurts! In a few hours I will start walking again. Ready for some good news????

I can walk. I can walk, and walk, and walk, and walk. My legs are strong. My core is solid. It's like I have spent the last 2.5 years and 170 pounds working towards this strike. I never could have done this in 2009. Also, I think that in 2009 that I *may* have refused to picket. I would have been too worried about what people think. I am doing this for me and for my students (and my children who are in the same district!). I have leared that there are times where I need to put my needs ahead of others. Usually this applies to fitting in my exercise, but today it will apply to me exercising my right to be a part of a union. On the plus side I was down to 189 this morning. This is the first time since the surgery that I've been able to break through the 190s. I know that it will come back a bit when I stop walking 8+ miles a day, but it's fun for today.


Monday, September 12, 2011

So much to say, so little time

I've had great intentions of blogging over the past week, but haven't been able to find that time. Recently I have found myself being very busy playing Citiville on Facebook. Have you played this game? It's pretty fun! :)

First off- I know that I owe you a 4 month post-op post. I hope to get to it tomorrow. I promise it's coming.

Second- I ran my second 5k this past Saturday. Last year I ran the same race and it took me 43ish minutes. On Saturday I ran the 5k in 34:43. Yep, that's an improvement of nearly 9 minutes and 30 fewer pounds to lug over the finish line. I felt so strong during my run. It was fantastic! I had 3 other friends run with me. They were such an encouragement.

Third- I've been experience horrible lower back and hip pain. It comes and goes, but this time it doesn't seem to want to leave. I decided to see a chiropractor today. Chiropractors scare me a little bit. Have you ever gone? I went in today to have an initial eval. They did a bunch of tests, including x-rays, and then I was adjusted. I don't know what he did, but I do feel better than I did when I went in. The doctor (are they doctors???) wants me to come back on Thur. to go over my results in detail, but he did say that I have a compressed vertebra and some other stuff. I don't fully understand that, but he said he's explain more later. I'm thinking that this might be what make my butt hurt when doing sit-ups.

Fourth- Our district voted tonight to go on strike. :( It's been a really stressful start to the school year. I'm sitting here tonight trying to figure out what healthy foods one can eat on the picket line.

Whew, like I said there is a lot going on. Thanks for sticking with me- even when I don't get to post as much as I'd like to.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

You say it's your birthday???

It's my birthday too! :)

I had two different ideas last night....
1. Start my day by taking care of myself. I read an article that other day that say that for every hour of exercise you do that you add an hour to your life.
2. Sleep in. It is my birthday after all.

I started my day with an early morning run. It was great! :) I am running a 5k on Saturday and have a goal of getting a sub 40 minute time. I ran 3.12 miles this morning and came in at 39:08. I am so ready for this race. Today I gave myself and those that love me the perfect gift- I chose to take care of my health. Tomorrow is my 4 month post-op anniversary. I hope to get some pictures up along with an update of how healing is going.

Happy almost Friday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ignore me while I wallow...

192.5. Yep, 192.5. Yep, I've been around 192 since January. January!  9 months of being in the 190's. Why can't I be a normal weight? Why does 174 seem so unreachable? Am I really meant to be overweight? Will I ever conquer the BMI chart? I feel like I've written this post a hundred times over the past 9 months.

Ok, I have to get logical about this. Here are the facts:
- I've lost 164 pounds
- I've maintained my weight for 9 months
- I stopped recording in May and have been able to maintain my weight
- People still ask me if I am losing
- I am getting faster each time I run
- I can use two risers during step class

What do I do? Do I settle for being overweight? Do I celebrate my success and trust that eventually my body with do what it's suppose to do? Do I go back to restricting calories? I know that I could get down to that 174 if I really restricted my calories and increased my exercise. Is it worth the price??? Is being a "normal" weight worth living an abnormal life? Back to my wallowing...

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.