No More Wallowing

There are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately and as always I am wanting to open up a dialogue about them. I can remember when I was first contemplating WLS again back in 2017. This was after my failed and horrendous lap band fiasco at the hands of a surgeon in QLD. I had my doubts that WLS was really going to be a good idea for me and I also wondered how effective it would be in the long term.

I do not jump into things without truck loads of research first. I read medical journal posts, I read the Monash studies, I read the US medical pages, I read THOUSANDS of posts from sites all over the globe (yes I am the info lover)!!! I read posts from normal people, like you and me, who typed things like “60lbs gone forever” “70 kilos gone for good” and I used to wonder, “wow is that true? What makes that true? I know people that have had WLS and regained……. so what is the difference? How do we define success?” On and on and on my questions would go. That rabbit hole does have a bottom but it probably isn’t always popular to talk about.

Eventually I got past asking my 56 billion questions because I was so tired of my life becoming more and more limited by my ever growing size! I also realised that no one, no surgeon, no matter how spotless their reputation, no WLS guru, no body could tell me that I was going live a complication free, thin life for the rest of my life after surgery! I wanted, for years, to not be responsible for my outcome. I was actually looking for some kind of reassurance that bypass or The Switch would be my “golden ticket” and I would be able to keep up my unhealthy relationship with food – just eat less of it. If I am honest, and it is only in the last few days that I have been bold enough to admit that my TOTAL reason for delaying having WLS again after my band was because I was frightened that I would have to change my relationship with food and I didn’t want to.

Finally I got to the point where I decided that any weight loss, however small, had to help! So in June of 2018 I bit the bullet, jumped up onto the operating table and had RNY. Since then I have learned a lot of different things! One of the most frustrating is that there isn’t a standard “one size fits most” approach in the way to walk the journey after WLS. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions – this makes it so interesting but it also can be very scary and frustrating at times. What I have learned is that I cannot eat the same diet I used to have and expect that my results will be good in the long term. What I eat has changed and will never be the same again. I have learned that for me – changing my relationship with food would transform my whole life.

I have learned that food is not my comfort, my treat or my friend, it’s just a tool to fuel my body and I have learned that I have to face my emotional shit and I hate that part!! I don’t eat my feelings anymore. This has been harder than I bargained for but I know it will pay off in the long run. I have also learned that sometimes their are complications that we just have to work through!! I didn’t plan to get as thin as I have so that has taken some adjusting to. But I am grateful for an amazing team and brilliant friend here that support me.

It is not about being a certain weight or a size for me. It’s about knowing how to work with my body, giving it what it needs to be healthy and how to be resilient when the challenges come. It is about keeping in mind the reason that I did this and understanding that I am not a powerless victim of circumstances. I decide how this story plays out so if I am knocked down then it’s on me to get back up. I have been knocked down for a few months now but I am back up again 🙂 I didn’t want to get back up. My heart has been broken and I wanted to stay down and stay hurting. What woke me is I have seen the way that my kids have been broken. The tears of my boys are the fuel that drives me and they NEED to see me get up, so I am! It’s okay to feel a bit lost at times, and it’s okay to say “I need help” it is also good when you can finally see clearly again. We got this guys and I refuse to wallow anymore.

Worth it

While we were visiting with family I spent a lot of time lounging around in the sun and enjoying gloriously warm summer day. My excess skin is still there – it is still a reality and it is what remains from my years of self abuse with food. I am never going to have a perfect body – whatever that is – I actually don’t care that I will never have tight skin. I am a happily marred roadmap of imperfections and I love that about me. I don’t want to be anything other than the best me that I can be and right now – this is it! Self love and acceptance shouldn’t be based on when you reach a certain milestone – self love is knowing that you are loved, valuable and worth it so every other thing that you reach for in the journey to better yourself comes from that. I’m not waiting to be loveable or worth it – I already am! I was when I was over 95 kilos heavier too. Wherever you are at on the journey – please know that you are worth it. Well that’s what I believe anyway xx

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 💗💗💗

Cats, Pigeons and Brutal Honesty

I was not always one to just say it like it is. I would think it, I might whisper it quietly to my partner and to my close family …. but I rarely said it and if I did, it would come out in an explosion of zingers that were both cutting and, at times, extreme. Isn’t it good that age, life, and a genuine desire to be a better human being can cause us to change. And there is the word that I want to highlight today – CHANGE! Sometimes loving ourselves means that we have to acknowledge that change is needed and we should seize the opportunity to do it!

The last 2 years of my life have been full of that word. I have changed and realise that I have to say things sometimes, even if it is hard to hear. We walked away from toxic situations, I decided that I was absolutely fricken worth the heartache and struggle to take a big risk on myself and finally get my weight and life under control and I CHANGED. I stopped looking for all of the reasons that I shouldn’t improve my life and started to focus on all of the reasons that I needed to do something different. The definition of insanity ” doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. For years I tried all of the diets, all of the fad eating ‘lifestyle changes’ I exercised and thought that I was just destined to be big for always. But there was something that I didn’t do.

What I didn’t do was take full responsibility for my obesity. I don’t mean that the reasons that I ate were all my own fault! Seriously tragic things have happened in my life but allowing myself to stay bound to them gives those things the power over my future!! I mean that by not taking my life in hand and realising that only I could change it, I was staying stuck in an unhealthy, disempowering cycle. I was fat, I was miserable and I wanted to unstick myself from the crappy situation that I felt trapped in. Weight loss surgery was not THE ANSWER, weight loss surgery is A WINDOW IN TIME – ME CHANGING IS THE ANSWER. Weight loss surgery will be as effective in the long term as you are educated and disciplined – I didn’t want to hear that but my surgeon told me that and when he did he put the cat well and truly amongst my pigeons! I wanted to believe it was going to be simple. But life has taught me that NOTHING worth having is ever simple. It isn’t as simple as having surgery and waking up and you will then just magically be skinny. Success is found in the details. It is in our daily routines.

Weight loss surgery removed a part of my stomach and in my case a part of my intestines (RNY) but without using the incredible gift that WLS is to its maximum advantage, it would be possible to gain weight. It is possible to sabotage yourself. For years I convinced myself that I was eating really well. After all, my kids and hubby aren’t big people. I knew what a healthy diet looked like right? After all I had been on enough of them!! The fact is that NO, I did NOT know what a healthy diet looked like. I did not understand moderation ….. How could I think that I did? I did not become an 163cm tall 140 Plus Kilo woman by eating in moderation – I ate like someone who weighed 140 plus kilos!

When I had WLS, brain surgery was not performed at the same time. I wasn’t suddenly endowed from ‘On High’ with the ability to know what “normal” was in terms of my eating. And I didn’t understand what moderation was either. I knew that I had restriction and I knew that dumping syndrome, which in my case is terrible, would condition me to avoid certain foods, BUT I had to educate myself. I sat down and cried and cried because I realised that I had been completely deceiving myself for years about my understanding of food. And so began the process of educating myself.

For me, I wanted to maximise the 12 months after my bypass. I wanted to make the most of that period of time when weight loss is supposed to be the easiest. I had to learn what a serving size actually was. I had to learn to read the labels on the food that I was eating. I had to understand how much protein I needed to consume a day and how many grams of carbs. I wanted to understand the best way to give my body nutrients and how many calories I should aim to consume. I found that while I had a fairly good understanding of the types of foods I should be eating, I had NO IDEA about serving sizes. That had to change and it has! It may have taken 6 months for me to wrap my head around it all. But those were months well spent. Weight loss surgery opened up a transformative window in time for me. I choose every day to take advantage of it.

Self love and self care in my life looks like this – giving myself grace to learn, grow and change. Love Tash x

Every time I think of me believing I ate well I think of this line 🤣🤣

Day 15 Post Op

Day 15 post op – I woke up this morning pretty sure that I could take on the world, then I tried to roll over 😳 ugh not for the faint of heart when you just had your insides chopped and changed and a few bits fixed that you didn’t know needed fixing. I wandered into the bathroom and stumbled onto the scales, to discover that I am 20kg down from my highest weight. Wah ….. like actually “What The Heck” I am now the lightest weight that I have been since Lincoln was 6 months old. I am not gonna lie, I did a little victory dance right then and there – the dog popped his head around the corner of the bathroom and clearly decided that it was all too weird for him, so he left me to my celebration. That celebration was short lived however, as I tried to decide how I would consume 60 grams of protein a day. This is the amount that the surgeon wants me to eat. I am limiting carbs. 

So these are the things that I can currently eat each day and I can have approximately 1/3 of a cup in total at one time. I am to eat three times a day. 

There is 10grams of protein in 100 grams of scrambled egg – at the moment so could possibly eat 50 grams of it. 

There is 14grams of protein in 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese. At the moment I can eat about 1/3 of a cup

There is 4grams of protein in 1/2 a cup of hummus

There is 6 grams of protein in 1/2 a cup of Kefir. 

Obviously, without a protein powder I am NOT reaching 60 grams of Protein a day – soooooooo now I must delve into the scary world of protein supplements 😳 and also find one that is gluten free and that is not a meal replacement as that has too many calories. 

A few people have congratulated me on taking the easy way to deal with my weight 😑 I politely perform a rude hand gesture to them in my mind as they spout their ill-advised dribble in my direction. The facts are, there is never going to be an easy way out for me. Because I have abused my body in the past with long periods of starvation, my body thinks it’s fun to hold on to it’s fat. Without enough protein going in, my body could do that again. So at the moment we have to work out how to get my fat cells to give up their plentious bounty 😂 Telling my fat to be gone doesn’t work (I’ve begged it to bugger off in the past)

I am going to have fun for the next few weeks working out how to eat enough of everything. I see the dietitian on Friday – I know that she is a well learned young lady but she also told me that I should have benefiber – which is made of wheat…. she also knows that I have Coeliac so I have decided that I have to check and double check everything she says. In the mean time give me your proteiny ideas xx

Day 10 Post Op

Day 10 post op – today was very cold here and thankfully it was a beautiful, slow day for us. I am still having problems with one of my surgical wounds – it doesn’t want to stay shut and keeps bleeding so I didn’t go for a walk yesterday. Today the wound hasn’t actively bled so I went for a very little walk with Steve this afternoon. It was so nice to get out of the house! Fresh air freak here! It is good for the soul and oh how I love to see the way that fallen leaves rush by me as they are carried around by the breeze. It’s good to be alive! I am grateful.

Today I feel like a H2O LIVING LEGEND!!! I have managed to have 1.5 ltr s of water since I started sipping away at it this morning. Breakfast and lunch were the same – 1/3 of a cup of protein shake. For dinner I mashed half a small avocado with two teaspoons of hummus and 1 teaspoon of cottage cheese. I ate about 2/3 of it. This is the thickest consistency of food that I have had and it went down and stayed down 🤩

Day 9 Post Op

Day 9 post op – Mum left early this morning 😥 I know that I will be fine but it all feels a bit overwhelming right at this moment. The last two nights have been rough. I have a wound that does not wish to play nicely and keeps bleeding. Obviously I am moving too much at night because I woke up feeling sore and I bled through my dressing. I’ve cleaned myself up now with new steri strips and a new dressing. I am down another kilo so yay for that! 

This morning I forgot that I really need to wait a few weeks before I start trying to perform much cleaning – Oops 😔 I am not allowed to do any lifting for 4-6 weeks because of my prior history of hernia and how many previous surgeries I have had. I may need to write myself some reminder notes because it’s easy to forget. 

This morning I had a protein shake for breakfast – I am able to have about 1/3 of an optifast sachet so that’s not too bad. My gorgeous boys have vacuumed the house and dusted while I have been told to get back to bed which I think I will ignore. I have done a few laps around the inside of the house today and Steve said he will come with me to go for a little walk later this afternoon. I can’t go too far just yet and I am not going to lie, it really is an adjustment to get used to the amount of calories that I now consume in a day. I don’t want to get dizzy and fall on my face so I will just take things slow 🙂 #gastricbypass