The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Inching Closer

I knew as soon as I complained about not losing any weight, I would finally see some lower numbers on the scale. I'm below 180 - weighing 178.8 this morning. I actually only got on the scale once because I was afraid if I got on again it would read higher. I am now just 8.8 pounds away from my goal, and only 18.8 pounds away from a normal BMI.

I'm still not sure what my final weight will be. The conventional wisdom among my group of experts seems to be that I can get to 170 but 160 might be tough with the excess skin. I know I've talked about plastic surgery but I'm still iffy on it, simply because I don't have that big of a problem with it and I can still tone and tighten some of the excess within the next year. Most PS surgeons will not operate on a WLS patient until they are 1 year post-op and have 1 year at a steady weight. Ideally, I will get to 170 before the end of the year and be able to maintain that weight through 2007 so I can consider PS in 2008. What I really want done are "the girls," but that's also the least bothersome area. I hate my arms and my thighs, but they are not that bad in comparison with some I've seen. Heck, even my stomach isn't horrible. I might actually be able to get away with lipo in some areas.

I just don't know if it's worth the pain and additional scarring for a measly 10 pounds, but I have to be mentally prepared to not stress over those 10 pounds. From what I understand arms and thighs are the two most painful areas to have reconstructive surgery, and the scars are sometimes worse than the loose skin. There is also the Total Body Lift, which is becoming popular, but the expense, time, pain all will factor into my ultimate decision. Of course I worry that I will never be satisfied and always be in such fear of gaining the weight back that I won't enjoy the body I'm in now.

My shoulder/rotator cuff injury seems to be healing up just fine. It doesn't cause me pain all the time, just when I do certain movements. I'm still doing the physical therapy and I've laid off the weights at the gym for the time being. I'm hoping to be cleared to do light arm weights today so I can hit the gym over the weekend. I know I'll go tomorrow and at least do legs and cardio prior to coffee. If the weather holds, Don and I will take the dogs for a nice long hike today. I just need to get some more activity in during the week instead of trying to cram it all in over the weekend.

Don's traveling to Buffalo on Saturday. I don't have any big plans over the weekend other than trying to frame some photos from this summer. I framed one last weekend and then got distracted (probably dog related). I have about a dozen or so to do plus I have a few multi photo frames that need filling. Now that I'm not embarrassed to be in front of the camera, there are suddenly a lot more photos of me. Even Don was talking about getting our photo in front of our maple out front now that it's in full fall colors. Maybe this year our Christmas card will actually include Don and me instead of just the dogs.

Work, for the most part, is going well. One of my new hires started last week and he's doing a great job. I've finally figured out a transition plan for my group that I schedule, so that's a weight of my shoulders. I'm almost afraid that once I get everyone in place with their new groups, I won't have anything to do! My boss assures me that there is plenty of work to go around. The one bad thing that happened is that the admin who I've been having some personality conflicts with (but I'm trying to be mature about), asked me to forward some information to her, which I did but accidentally included some chatter between me and another admin about her. It, rightfully, upset her and I needed to face the music and admit that I had gone to her boss with some feedback. I told her exactly what I said to him and that I wanted her to succeed but she needed to want to as well. I then had to tell my boss and her boss what I did so she couldn't spin it into "Shannin was mean to me again."

The best news, however, is that I finally was able to have a conversation with my boss about money. It's never easy to discuss, and our company has pretty strict rules about when you can get increases and how much. One of the "rules" is that when you move from one level to the next, you only get a 10% raise, no matter what the minimum new salary is. Because I had to take a pay cut when I moved from California to here, I was way below what I should have been for my last two promotions but never wanted to say anything. For the last few months, I've been over $10k less than what the minimum salary is for my current position. Also, some of my own team - the ones I manage - make more than I did. I didn't think my boss was going to be able to do anything because of the "rules," but he totally stepped up and got the approvals he needed to get me right in the range I should be. I thought for sure it would just be a little bump of 10% of my current salary, but it was a lot more. I'm still a little below what I should be making but with a good review and bonus in April, I will be (finally) where I should be.

Off to get the work day started. I'm bugging out a little early for my PT appointment, and I think I can convince Don to take me out to dinner tonight...

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Catch Up Sunday

What a gorgeous day here in Minnesota - mid-60s, clear skies, light breeze. You can tell fall is here a bit early with some of the trees showing flashes of color. Some of the smaller trees are alreay in full red, while my front yard maple has a beautiful crown of rust. Two of my other trees (not sure what they are) have gone from a deep green to a yellow-green and they have lost leaves in stong winds. It won't be long before deep fall sets in with it's damp weather, but for now, I'm satisfied with having the windows open and enjoying the mild weather.

I had a very Zen moment earlier. I walked out on our deck to check on the dogs and Jager was sitting in on the lawn in a patch of sun, facing the sun with her eyes closed and ears flapping in the gentle breeze. She was sniffing the air and looked so peaceful and calm. Of course, Baja came over and nudged her with a ball, and a chased ensued.

So, what's going well? I'm pretty comfortable with my current eating plan. I know I'm getting plenty of food, eating 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks per day. I'm eating all my protein requirements and getting in between 800-1000 calories. My distribution of calories is fairly balanced - about 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fat, although that varies slightly day-to-day. I'm eating a well-balanced diet with whole grains, lean protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fat.

I did exercise 5 out of 7 days last week - everything from light weights to bellydancing to walking. I expect to workout another 5/7 days this week. I'm still rehabing my right shoulder, which makes lifting hard, but I'm doing what I can. Work and life in general are always at the ready to disrupt the best laid plans to workout, but with Don's new schedule we are getting more time to walk the dogs, which is always good.

What isn't going well is the numbers on the scale. I am still bouncing between 180.4 and 186.0. I don't know why - I mean, I am eating far fewer calories than I'm expending. I'm eating low-fat, med-carbs and high protein. Even my carbs aren't bad - fruit, veggies, whole grains. I am having some stomach issues that makes it hard to eat only protein without any carbs, especially in the morning. I don't want to panic and start anything drastic (liquid diet, cutting calories, etc.) but it's hard not to get into that mindset. I know my body is probably just adjusting to the recent weight loss, and I should be thankful that during my 11 1/2 months since surgery there has only been one 2-week period in which I didn't lose some weight (over vacation, but I maintained!). I hear all the time how people just a few months out of surgery are hitting 3-4-5 week plateaus. Part of me should be happy that I can finally settle in to some clothes without having to worry about skipping a size or shrinking out of something I just purchased.

I know I shouldn't focus on the scale number, but that has been what's driving me for so long, it's hard to ignore it. Especially when I am just 12 pounds from my own personal goal. Twelve-freakin'-pounds. That is what stands between me and, what? Paradise? Hell, no. Once I actually get to 170, then I'm sure it will become a quest for 159 (giving me a "normal" BMI). Or 20% body fat. Or some other random number that I assign myself to achieve.

I still tend to focus on the negative - my arms are saggy, my boobs resemble two socks with organges in them, my thighs look like elephant legs. It's so hard for me to celebrate the achievements I've made in the last year.

At this time last year, I was just starting my liquid diet and 10 days away from surgery. I was still well over 300 pounds, hardly able to move, high blood pressure, acid reflux. Today, I'm at a much healthier weight, I am off all blood pressure/acid reflux meds, I'm doing things like yoga and bellydancing, I belong to a gym (and actually go!). I have more energy, a better body image (for the most part; see above), more confidence. Yet, I don't feel successful because I don't weigh less.

Anyway, it seems as I get closer to my goal, I become more and more self-critical. I know I have to work on that. It's a mere 2 weeks from the anniversary of my surgery and I really need to look at where I've come from and not where I need to go...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fall's A-Coming

The weather here is messing with us. One day, it's in the 80s, the next day it's in the 50s. My body, much less my wardrobe, know what to do. It's currently breezy with mild temps, but last night there were winds so strong they ruined homes and killed a 10-year old girl not all that far from here.

I'm hanging in there. My weight doesn't want to dip below 180, no matter what I do - eat less, exercise more; exercise less, eat more. It's frustrating, but I have to remind myself that I am so much better off than I was a year ago. I'm down 155 pounds and only 13 pounds away from losing half of my former self. That has to count for something,

Life is busy - I will have one of my two new hires starting next week, so that is some weight off. I am rehabing my rotator cuff injury (impingment syndrome with rotator cuff tendonopathy) twice a week. I start bellydancing on Monday and am looking to see if my shoulder is ready to go at the end of the month for a new 12-week yoga class.

With the conversion of blogger I have realized I can't comment on all the blogger blogs that haven't converted so know that I am reading you by can't comment. I'm trying to keep up with everyone, but am having a hard time keeping up with myself...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

11 Month Photo Update

Updated photos HERE.

Yes, there is a new hair color. In fact, here is my hair color last Saturday morning:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And here is my hair color on my birthday:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Yes, it's my fall color palate. I opted to go a little red with blonde highlights jusst for a change in pace. I really like it and I've gotten a lot of compliments on it, so I guess I will keep it at least until spring when I will probably go back to blonde.

The weather has taken a turn - it was 80 degrees on Thursday and it's been below 60 ever since. Fine by me, as fall is my favorite season. It's a little grey with some heavy mist/light rain, but I have the fireplace on and will break out the sweaters soon. One of the best things about being a "normal" size is that I can walk into someplace like CostCo, see 2 pair of flannel bottoms for under $15 and know I am going to fit into them. I do love cold weather!

We took the dogs for our hike around Staring Lake yesterday. They are widening the path, so it's torn up, but still walkable. What the dogs love though, is that with all the upturned soil there is a lot to smell. It really tires them out and they have so much fun on these "hikes." They even get a bit of a swim towards the end of the hike, which may make them muddy but happy!

I spent the first part of today at the local Ren Fest with my friend Jen. I had my palm read, bought a blown glass perfume bottle, had two bronze discs stamped. I could have spent a lot more money but reined myself in. There was a lot of cool stuff - dragon eggs (geodes), saucy period photos, jewelry, pottery, etc. but I thought I did pretty well. Heck, I even did well in the food department, buying a wrap (I ate half) instead of a huge turkey drumstick or pork chop on a stick.

With the weather, I have the fireplace on, some candles buring and some incense going. It smells lovely in here - very cozy. I might just go change into some of those flannel bottoms with a big sweatshirt and call it a night. It seems a good day for some hibernation...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Adventures in Shopping

Because I have such a wonderful family and circle of friends, I was lucky enough to receive several gift cards for clothing stores for my birthday. These were to help replenish my wardrobe for fall, seeing how anything I was wearing in September, 2005 no longer fits. I had cards from Target, Macy's, Nordstrom and Coldwater Creek.

I planned it all out so I could hit the last 3 (I'm saving the Target one for later) all at Mall of America. I can't believe how many cute outfits there are for "normal" sized people AND how much fun shopping can be! If I hadn't run out of money on the gift cards, I would probably still be there.

First stop was Coldwater Creek. I picked 2 skirts in size 12, figuring they would fit. Ummm, not so much. Although it's a little tight, I am actually in a size 10 skirt. A size 10!! I don't think I've been in a size 10 since high school. When I went to find a sweater, I took in a medium and a large. Guess which one fit. Yep, the medium. Holy crap. I always figured I would get down to a 14 and maybe a 12, but never a size 10 and a medium. Granted, it all depends on the fit since some of what I bought was a large, and I know I'm still a size 14 in shirts (bust/shoulders).

So, one cute outfit down, two stores to go and no dressing room panic attacks.

On to Macy's. I knew pretty much I would have to try on everything since sizes differ so much depending on style and designer. I picked up a taupe cord skirt (size 10), brown suede blazer (large), Anne Klein grey knit skirt/sweater (medium skirt, large sweater), 2 oxfords (size 14), black v-neck sweater (large) and a Kenneth Cole black wrap dress (medium). There was a killer leopard print pencil skirt I may have to get. It was so cute, but that store only had size 14 and a size 6. I'm OK with buying things a little tight, and if they had an 8 I might have gambled that I would eventually fit into it, but a 6 was a tad risky.

At Nordstrom, I totally focused on shoes. I really wanted a pair of black leather dress boots, but my calfs are large (muscles!!) and the shaft was too tight. I ended up with 3 pairs - wine suede mules, black slingbacks (really pointy toes!) and brown loafers. I still need the boots but I tried some on at Sears which did fit, so I may just get those. I also bought 2 pairs of (gasp) nylons.

I think I am going to use the Target gift card for accessories - belts, scarves, etc. I still need a few winter staples like a jacket, coat, turtlenecks, but I can go to Sears and stock up on Land's End stuff.

The whole shopping experience used to really mess with my head. I've had more than one occassion where I was close to a panic attack in the dressing room. I don't know why it's so hard to realize that I'm in a smaller size, but I think the change has been so fast that it just takes awhile for my mind to catch up. I remember when I used to go into a dressing room and being afraid that a store's largest size wasn't going to fit. If something was tight, I couldn't buy it because I knew it was never going to get any looser. Now, I'm fine with buying something a little small because I know it will fit in a week or so. It's a 180 for my mind, but I am getting better at being able to handle it. I don't know if anyone who has never had to be concerned about weight would understand, but for all the readers who are losing or who have lost a large amount of weight, I know you do.

Don is taking me out to dinner for my birthday tonight. I think we're going to Blue Point in Wayzeta. It's seafood, which is really the best thing for me (high protein, low fat). We went there before I moved here so it will be nice to go back. We tend to get into a bit of a rut with restaurants and only go to the same handful over and over. Should be fun, and I think I may wear one of my new outfits to dinner and for my 11 month photo update!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

And Just Like That...

I've been bummed about the lack of movement on the scale over the last week or so. I don't know why - I mean, I know I'm not done losing and I know that there are hormonal factors working against me this week. I got on the scale this morning in hoped I'd be back to 186 and the scale read 184.8. Yep, I am officially at my surgeon's goal of 185, which was 85% of my excess weight lost.

That means, I have lost 151.8 pounds from my highest weight last year and 137 pounds since my surgery date of 10/5/05. I am 15 pounds away from my personal goal of 170 (which would be pre-plastic surgery goal weight) and 25 pounds away from a normal BMI. I have lost a total of 97 inches - that's over 8 feet of space. I'm in a size 12 - 14 pant, a 10 - 12 skirt, a 16 blazer and a 14/16 or large top. Even my bra size has changed - from a 46C to a 38D (actually I measure closer to a 36B but went up because of the excess skin in my breasts and under my arms - gross, but a fact of WLS).

It's still kind of scary for me knowing I will soon be in the maintaining part of this whole journey. That's where failure can rear its ugly head. What if I get to 170, stay there for a day and go on a return trip back up the scale? I don't think that will happen since I am way to focused on making this surgery work.

Anyway, it's still way early for a Saturday morning. I need to shower and meet some other WLS'ers for coffee and then get my hair done (cut and color - be prepared for a change!). Today is Operation House Clean, so that will be the remainder of Saturday. Fine by me - the house is in desperate need of a good clean and I have a lot of niggling projects to complete (mail photos, hang shelves, frame photos, hang said frames). Should be a good day to get a lot accomplished!