Anxiety And Barrier Breaking

Today was a big big day in our lives. My little boy, my baby, graduated from Junior school and will embark upon his journey into the big wide world of Middle school in 2020. I sat in his graduation ceremony with a big ball of emotion in my chest but was determined to make sure that it did not well up and come out of my eyes! I am so proud of my little guy! He had an incredibly hard year. People in general and no one except our immediate family know what we have gone through – what this little boy has gone through. I am so grateful to his teacher – she has been an incredible influence and made an indelible mark upon my littlest treasure boy. He is good for my heart and I am thankful every day that I get to be his Mumma. Years pass far too quickly. Time marches on far too fast and honestly my heart hurts just thinking of it.

2020 represents so many things to my family. It is the last year of my eldest son being at home, the big wide world is calling him. 2021 will be the start of University, dorm life, his own space and adulthood are approaching with his younger brother hot on his heels. I am so excited for them. They are wonderful boys, brave, ambitious, clever and self sufficient. At the same time I am gutted for myself. None of this is about me, I have done this before – I know that parenthood is not about me – but my heart breaks at the hole that I know will be left when he is gone.

I am not sure that it would be possible to have a year like we have had and come out of it the same. I have been gripped by anxiety in a way that was completely suffocating and I think if you are the same after this type of year that you are probably at best a very foolish person, and at the worst, a total imbecile. 2019 has been the year of change for me and I am determined to go even harder in 2020. I refuse to allow myself to sit back and be fearful behind invisible barriers of my own creation. There are so many things that I want to do, so many things that I want to experience as a person and as a mum. Look out world. I haven’t even started yet!

I like the way it hurts

Change hurts. There is no two ways about it. It does not feel pleasant to change everything about ones life. It just doesn’t – but there is a strange comfort that can come from this kind of pain. It lets me know that I am alive. For years and years I did everything within my power to numb my pain. I over ate to numb myself to the pain that I was carrying around in my heart and when I couldn’t shove that volume of food into myself anymore I found that all of that pain came bubbling towards the surface. What a suckfest that was! But the wonderful thing about that situation is that it was a chance!

Sometimes all we need is a chance and that is exactly what I needed – a chance to reevaluate – a chance to change. I have now decided that I am used to being uncomfortable and I rather like it. Yes, I do like the way it hurts! I am in a state of renovation at the moment – both inside and outside. What about you? What are you learning lately that is revolutionising your life?

Love Tash x

Why age is not just a number to me!

Strange things happen when you lose a lot of weight! Your social circle changes, your life takes on a different feel and if you happen to be like me and you love to share about your day to day life on social media – well ….. let’s just say that there are some pitfalls!

My favourite comedic pitfall so far seems to be the unwanted messages from random, strange men via Instagram. When I reply to their generic, droll narrative with the fact that I am married and with my age, 42 years old, I am inevitably met with “well age is just a number” Ummmm WOW – did you work hard to come up with that startling revelation? Age IS a number but I don’t need the validation of any man to let me know that I am okay at my age! I worked out that I am much more than a number a long, long time ago! I am not okay in spite of my age!! I am great because of it! But here is one for those who are convince that Age is just a number – Age matters! And here is why!

I am not saying that I am better or worse than anyone else because of my age! What I am saying is that my cumulative experiences have taught me a hell of a lot over the last 42 years! I am an expert in me! I know that I LOVE coffee first thing in the morning, I know that Pear Cider Spiders SHOULD be a thing! I know that I need silence every day to feel a sense of peace and balance in my emotions, I know what delights me and I know what and whom drain me of all energy. I know exactly how much I love to be challenged by people that I allow to speak into my life. I am great at ignoring unsolicited opinions and I know the traits that make me turn tail and run from situations and people.

Age has taught me to know what is worth fighting for and I have finally learned when to lay down my sword. I know that if you happen to hurt those I love, I will NEVER again trust you even if I do forgive. I know that I am fundamentally flawed and imperfect in every single way. I also know that I am okay with that. That even in my imperfections and through my flaws that I am a good, kind, loving human being.

Age has taught me so many things and those years mean something to me. I wear those years with pride and with a grateful heart. My wrinkles don’t need to be excused, my stretch marks don’t need to be overlooked. I am fabulously marred by my life and I would not change it. Look at me and you can see my story and if you don’t – well that’s a reflection of you and not me. To me, my age is the sum of my life experiences and THAT is exactly why it does matter.

Living at Goal Weight

Well that was a big title! What do you mean that no one is joining in my overflowing excitement that I am no longer plumpy me!?! All I can think when I say the word ‘Plumpy’ is of Moto Moto from a kids movie that I absolutely adore. I’ll try find a clip so you can see what I mean.

Annnnnnyway I am not sure what I was expecting to happen when I reached my goal. I think I was probably feeling like I would suddenly self actualise, all would be well in my universe, all of lifes bigger questions would be answered and BANG, just like that, things that had sucked would no longer be sucky and I would live in a state of perpetual bliss. WRONG. This sounds extreme and it is, BUT the bones of it are true. Numbers don’t fix things, smaller numbers on the scales may fix some health problems and give you a longer life but they will not remedy any inherent misery that you happen to be experiencing unless you actually work on those things.

My Nan was one of the most influential people in my life for the years that I was fortunate enough to have her. She was a bigger person for most of her life, and along with her bigger size, came her great big personality, her kind, generous heart, wicked baking skills and her stories. It is safe to say that I adored her – I always will. One day she was in considerable pain with her tummy apron. Her skin was excoriated, bleeding and causing her so much discomfort. I asked her if she would consider going to the doctor and she said “for him to tell me that I need to lose weight again! No thank you, I could go in there with my head dangling by a thread and that doctor would tell me that it would be fixed if I lost weight”. Guess what, Nan was totally correct about that attitude AND she was also correct that ole mate the doctor, would have told her to lose weight and her rash would go away because her apron would shrink. I know this because I saw the same doctor, for the same thing and that is what he told me! I can emphatically call bullshit on that notion!!! In losing all of the weight that I have lost I did not lose the tummy apron and the skin rashes and tearing only became worse not better! The only thing that worked for me and would have worked for my Nan, is the unceremonious removal of the offending apron. I didn’t really expect that my reward for all of my hard work and weight loss was going to be a body that resembled ET. Those smaller numbers on the scale were meant to fix everything right?

My Nan and Pop 💗 Nan is no longer with us. Poppy is our last living treasure ♥️

I also didn’t expect to find it so different to find my way in the world. I spent so much of my life obese, that I was comfortable with my role as an often disregarded, second class human. I actually didn’t want to believe that I was treated differently to anyone else. With that denial of the obvious firmly in place, I decided that I wanted a change! So in 2016, tired of working for myself, I decided that I was going to go in a different direction. Over a period of 2 years from 2016-2018, big me applied for in excess of 90 jobs and went for MANY interviews. But guess what, there was always someone better suited to the role. One lot of feedback I received from the recruiter was “the employer would love to stay in touch with you and said you are just the kind of person that would be in her friend group!” 🤔 What even is that? I am never opposed to making new friends but I went for a job interview. Fast forward 8 months – because I was tired of continual rejections, I went for no more job interviews until January of 2019. Imagine my shock 😒 when I was offered two jobs in one day from the first two interviews that I went for post weight loss surgery. I WAS STUNNED! Am I suddenly a more acceptable human being? Apparently I am. I was filled with rage. I know that rage is a strong term, but it is befitting the storm of emotions that I felt. I was NO DIFFERENT, still the same person – except that I was 50 kilos lighter at that stage.

That was a low point for me. It should have been a wonderful high point right? But it wasn’t – As the kilos continued to come off I realised that living at goal weight was something that I was spectacularly unprepared for. I believed in myself, I was losing weight for the right reasons and yet I was frightened of all of the changes that were happening. It is odd to go out and be hidden in plain sight. I don’t look like I did so I can accept that people do not recognise me. But it takes time to form a new image on the inside of yourself of who you are and where you fit in the world. These are my hot tips for living at goal weight. They are my must do’s and they have given me so much courage to take the road ahead.

Yeah yeah possibly getting a bit thin but I am doing all I can to stabilise my weight 🙌🏻 helpful comments are great. No one likes a Captain Obvious kind of comment 🌟💗🌟

Here is my LIST OF GOAL WEIGHT MUST DO’S

  1. Celebrate yourself and what you have achieved. Most people won’t truly get it – they may be happy for you, some will be sick of hearing about it, some will be downright jealous, some will not see what the big deal is – all legitimate and valid points of view so celebrate yourself!
  2. Make friends with your flappy bits. If you have lost a lot of weight then you are gonna need to make friends with your excess skin. I am friends with mine. Sure if I had unlimited spare dollars I would go and get a few other things sorted but right now I’m okay with me. My arms are still waving bye bye to people three minutes after I stop waving and that’s okay!
  3. Get regular check ups from your GP – its so worth seeing the way that our body heals itself when it is given what it needs to do so. One of the most gratifying parts of this life change for me is the fact that I no longer have high blood pressure and I am no longer pre-diabetic. Mwahaaahahaaa take that genetic pre-disposition!!!
  4. Learn that there are some jealous mofo’s out there in the world. Not everyone will be happy for you. In fact, there will be people who will give you the stink eye at every opportunity. Thats okay, all that squinting will make them wrinkly AF. On this matter I believe that Jane Austen said it best via Elizabeth Bennett when she penned this phrase “I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” In other words – there opinion doesn’t matter – you just do you and let them be a squinty mess – who knows, you may even inspire them!
  5. Keep track of your eating and your weight. That doesn’t mean be obsessive. That doesn’t mean go and jump on the scales 3 times a day. That means check yourself that you are staying on track. Enjoy good, nourishing food and drink. I stay within my calorie guidelines on a daily basis and when I do go over I do so because I am choosing to do so. Goal weight does not mean that we are dieting forever. It means that I am mindful of what I eat so that I stay within a 3 kilo tolerance of my goal.
  6. Living at goal weight means that I am no longer restricted like I once was in terms of my physical activity so for me it means getting out and moving my kick arse body a whole lot more than I used to. Who knows I may even do a pole class soon 😜
  7. Talk to your psychologist, see what I did there – I made an assumption that you have one because massive weight loss = massive mental shift and that needs support. It requires more support than I could give to myself or than my usual support system could give to me. Our mental health should not be an after thought.
  8. Have fun. Don’t sit back and find another excuse to not live your life. I try to do something that scares me every single week. Its amazing what cultivating a culture of breakthrough will do in your life.

Love Tash.

SwimWear 🤣

Does anyone else dream about wearing a bikini like this but wonder where to put the rest of their vagina 🤣😂 over the weekend someone I know cough, cough may have tried on some swimwear and found that there was more out than in 🤣 my Quarter Pounder ain’t fitting in there!! I don’t think it ever would have 😳 I am below goal weight but clearly not ready for this 😂

Hope

Some days are days for reflection. Looking back is generally something that I try to avoid doing. Lets face it the past IS gone BUT we can learn from it. A number of years ago I was sitting in a meeting and a man was quonging on and on and on – My mind was drifting to every other topic, and every other conversation that I had heard that week but suddenly he shared something that hit home to me! The boredom fog lifted for a moment and I felt the words that were being said actually hit a little target in my heart. Has that ever happened to you? I almost wanted to yell “Okay just shut up now! Let me wallow here a bit longer!” What he said that day stuck, and it was roughly as follows “When we drive a car, we are looking out of our windshield/windscreen. It is a big, wide expanse of space that enables us to look forward, but we also need to look back regularly so that we maintain an awareness of what is around us. The mirror that we use to look back is so much smaller than our windscreen. If we were to focus on the rear vision mirror for too long, we would crash our car. The same is true for our life, looking back briefly is a good way to orientate ourselves and maintain an awareness of where we have come from, but if it is all that we focus on, then we can ruin our lives. Thats why, in a car, we have a small mirror to gaze back with. We don’t have to turn around and look backwards – we can keep moving in the direction that we want to go, while safely looking back for a moment or two.”

In that moment I knew that I would likely never ever forget that analogy or the way that it resonated inside me at the time. I knew then, just like I know now, that we can not move forward boldly while we are facing away from our future and looking back. Even if you can only see the tiniest little speck of hope on your horizon or even if you can see nothing at all I have found that hope has a way of calling me. Sometimes it whispers to me in my dreams and other times it floods my thoughts and screams as loudly as my kids did when they were tiny. However hope talks to you, I trust that you find a way to listen to it – because we all need it.

This has been particularly true for me over the last 18 months of my life. Moving forward is not always easy. Sometimes it means that you leave things behind. That is the hard part of allowing ourselves to be momentum driven – leaving things and more particularly, relationships behind. Hopefully, at some point down the track, our paths intersect again but if not, it has become so obvious to me that it is vital to always leave people and situations better than when we found them. That is my personal challenge to myself for the last 10 months.

So where are we right now? Are you sitting in the car that is your life, facing backwards, are you parked, stalled, slowly moving or are you tearing it up, taking it down the highway? I have to say that I have moments of all of these things! Some days you ain’t catching me! And other days I am a stalled backwards facing mess – It’s okay to admit that we are not 100% all of the time. It’s okay to say that we have days when it’s hard to keep the focus but what I am finding is that I am becoming more willing to move forward. For the longest time I was not willing to move. I would make the appearance of someone that was moving! I can do the best impression of someone that is running through life but on the inside I was had raised my little white flag in defeat and was sitting down! Has anyone else ever been very comfortable within their safe little comfort zone. I was hidden away, I wasn’t unhappy as such but I was not stretched. I was not growing. I was just marking time which actually equates to moving backwards. Sitting in my car, accidentally driving in reverse, caused me to crash! What was your crash? Mine was in the area of health and family? Here is my hot tip – don’t drive in reverse, either knowingly or by default because of inaction! We can glance back but living there is no way to live.

I had to get a clear picture of what I wanted and the direction that I wanted to go ….. I am now driving in the right direction after that. Every day is a choice. Every day I chose to anchor my soul back to the things that I value and, with varying degrees of success, I keep myself on track. I keep my hope high and I refuse to allow myself to give in to every other thing and all of the distractions that would like to bombard me. What do you do to keep your focus?

Love Tash x

When You See How It Was.

WARNING GRAPHIC POST SURGICAL PIC

Today I met with my plastic surgeons nurse. I love going in and having chats with Natalie. She is just genuinely a good human being. She has been so honest with me from the start. She did not blow smoke up my arse when I said that I thought I was going to need a revision surgery because of the excess skin. She has been supportive of me from the first time that I met her and I am grateful for that.

When you go to plastic surgery follow up appointments it is an odd thing to start with. I have taken my clothes off in front of this woman so many times now that I truly think nothing of it anymore. This morning, as I stood semi nude again, we were able to see that the seroma I had seems to be resolving or resolved, as the big bump that I had on my right hand side over the scar has significantly dissipated. My incisions have healed beautifully and basically I can get back to life. I wish that my energy levels were better but hey things are what they are and we just have to work with what we have, so I am.

The other thing that was wonderful about today, is that Natalie gave me the photos of my surgery! They are graphic but they have helped me to come to terms with what has happened to me. I can see why my surgeons thought that they had taken enough skin. Those photos have gone a long way to restoring my trust and confidence which is a very good thing.

Taken by surgeon

Cheer for Yourself!

Hey ho gorgeous folks – it’s been a hard weekend here. We have had a sick kid, hospital time and I continue to battle along with some issues that I have been having. I am tried and I feel emotional but guess what – I can choose how I am going to finish off this weekend. I can opt to allow myself to fall into despair and wallow here for a bit or I can GET UP and decide that I’m gonna cheer for myself today!

We can be problem orientated or we can become solution focused, we can look for the silver lining and choose to keep ourselves moving forward. Some days are hard and there is no two ways about that. Some days we wonder how the fuck we are gonna manage tomorrow and we feel a bit overwhelmed because eating is harder or easier than we were expecting. Honestly there is something to be said for proactively CHEERING for yourself on days like that!! I refuse to stay down today!!

So I am looking at this side by side pic and thinking – WOW me in the blue was 45 kilos lighter than my starting weight and I was so happy – me today looks a whole lot different again and both these pictures make me smile!! Yay little me!! You did it girl, you did it xx cheer for you today, pat yourself on the back or pull yourself up and get ready to go again because you are worth it and friends don’t let other friends wallow – Love Tash

Food Files

This is a reoccurring theme in the WLS community and honestly it seems to greatly divide many us post op. What Should I Be Eating?!?! Why the hell isnt there a standardised plan? What do I do now that 60-90% of my stomach is gone??

Anyway these are my personal thoughts, I would love to hear yours also. For ME personally, I do not believe in eating smaller portions of the same stuff that made me fat. How can I hope to believe that I could eat the same kind of things and stay slim in the long term? At 17 months post op I am well over 90 kilos down from my highest ever recorded weight and I know what works for me. It’s taken time but this is my way of life now. It was not easy! It was a rude awakening! I felt like my best friend was ripped out of my life – I had an unhealthy relationship with food. That’s how I knew that I needed to change my ways.

My rude awakening came at 4 weeks post op when I was lying literally on the floor crying because I couldn’t eat something that I wanted 😳 ….. overreaction much? But at that time I was just so fricken salty over it all! That’s when I realised yep, Gastric Bypass alone isn’t going to fix this. I have to change. That change was slow. It took time and re-learning things but I knew that I was worth it! We all are.

So now I count calories, and I know the nutritional information on everything that I regularly eat. It’s not to be obsessed – my lack of education about my poor eating habits pre op got me to were I was. At 143+ kilos I had no idea about portion control or what I should have been eating or I would not have been that way to begin with. I can be honest and own it because it’s true. It makes me sad to remember back to that, because I honestly didn’t think my eating was that bad! I do not want to be there again. It doesn’t mean that I never exceed my calories for any given day, but it does mean that I don’t believe that food is a reward – I don’t treat myself with food. I am not a pet to be trained.

Yesterday I went out with my husbo and I had a few drinks and a bit of “hardly ever” food. Lemme loose in Lindt ♥️ And gingerbread balls are just a little bit too amazing 🤣 We had fun, it was great but the time with him is what meant the most. To me food is a fuel – it’s not good or bad – it’s the choices I make consistently around it and what I choose that will make it either good or bad for me. This is what I chose for my dinner.

The reality of this for me is that at my highest weight – when I could hardly wipe my own arse, couldn’t walk for more than 2 minutes without feeling sweaty and breathless and had constant body aches and pains – I NEVER WOULD HAVE gone to Melbourne for a half a day and legged it around with hubby or gone to a concert! I would have been too scared That I wouldn’t fit into the seats, too afraid of having to walk up and down stairs, to embarrassed that my body would make it difficult for other people to walk past me in the aisles and too ashamed to eat in front of others – my life is now full of rewards that I can enjoy every day. Things like seeing U2 live 💗

Since RNY, I’m not trapped in my self made prison and I won’t put myself back in it. But hey I am just one person and this is just my point of view – so let’s talk about it. There isn’t right and wrong with this – it’s about our lives long term. That’s why we do this right? For the long term benefits – so how do you achieve your success long term? That’s really what we all want to know …… Can this work for me in the long term. So let’s talk about that – it’s a conversation that we really need to have. So awesome ones, much weight have you lost, how far post op are you and what do you do to stay on track … on your track not anyone else’s 💗💗💗