The other day, I let my daughter take my picture. They were full length pics which I hate. Most days, I feel uncomfortable in my skin so when I look at pictures, all I can see are the imperfections. My daughter is a good hype-woman and one of my biggest cheerleaders so I let her take the pic and I actually felt cute. I decided to share and talk about extreme weight loss highs and lows from my perspective.
I used to weigh 226.796kg (500lbs). Here I am 150lbs down. I realize that is quite an accomplishment; it’s the smallest I’ve been in about 15yrs. You know what I see when I look at this picture? 70+lbs of loose skin in my belly, thighs and arms. That was one thing I didn’t know to expect with extreme weight loss; some days it bothers me more than others but I’m always aware of it and it makes me more self-conscious than when I was heavier. I am not a fan of the jiggly bits I have now that were solid when I was heavier.
Here is another picture my daughter took…
I have always been curvy and now that I am smaller, I do notice that my waist is more pronounced and my butt and hips are more shapely. My thighs are super jiggly from the excess skin but it is what it is. I know that will change as I continue with my cardio and strength training.
I notice that my face is slimmer as well as my neck. What is most important is that I feel better; not getting short of breath walking from one room to the next, little to no joint pain and just an overall feeling good. I’m definitely not where I want to be but I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey.
I’ve wrestled with writing this post for about a week now. I’ve been pretty transparent as it pertains to my health and weight loss journey but it’s still a struggle to put myself out there sometimes; too vulnerable and exposed. I find it to be both frightening and cathartic. I worry that people will feel like me sharing is giving them permission to comment on my body; it doesn’t, but they will and it is what it is. Ultimately, I decided to share because I am damn proud of myself. Plus, if my sharing helps motivate even one person then I will be happy.
July 31st was my 3-year surgi-versary; the anniversary of having my adjustable gastric band placed. There are those that think a surgical intervention makes losing weight an easy thing; that is a big misconception. Surgical intervention is a tool; diet and exercise is still a vital part of reaching my health and wellness goals.
As my weight loss journey continues, I focus less on the numbers on the scale. I know that I have lost quite a bit of weight although I still have a hard time convincing my brain of that fact. But as I was looking at old pictures and preparing this post, I was encouraged to focus on the feelings from then and now.
I was 497lbs at my heaviest; now, I weigh…less.
I don’t think I was unhappy when I was heavier but it was definitely limiting and I was for sure uncomfortable…always uncomfortable. I couldn’t breathe very well, moving around was cumbersome and painful and my joints were always swollen and aching. My doctor at the time was always telling me I just needed to be more active but that wasn’t my reality. Walking from the house to the car often left me winded. I would try to walk for exercise but a 5-minute walk would result in excruciating lower back pain as well pain and numbness in my hips and legs. I did find a water aerobics class which was awesome for being able to get some exercise without the weight and pressure on my bones and joints. Now, I can do my 1-mile walk in the mornings without thinking twice about it. I’m able to bend down and tie my own shoes which I couldn’t do previously. My only aches and pains are from a hard workout.
Adventures with my wife are a lot better now
One constant is that Tomi has never loved me any differently through all of my physical and emotional changes. She’s always been consistent and my biggest cheerleader. I didn’t stop doing things just because was heavier than I’d ever been. I still fixed myself up and put on a brave face when Tomi and I went out. It wasn’t until I started making moves toward my surgery that I truly expressed to her some of my feelings and experiences of navigating life in a fat body. It was eye-opening for her to discover that the thought of going out to eat was super stressful for me. Why? What if the chairs have arms? Not to mention I was convinced that people were watching to see what I ordered and how much I ate. I love to dance but going dancing meant I may get through one song but then we’d spend the remainder of the night sitting at the table and nursing a drink. I think the hardest thing to share was that I considered breaking up with her because I wanted her to be able to go out and be able to have the life I felt like I was holding her back from. Now that I am smaller and definitely more comfortable in my skin, my bravery and sense of adventure has kicked into overdrive. I am saying yes more because I’m not in pain, I’m less apprehensive about what people will think and I can advocate for myself in a way that doesn’t bring extra attention and embarrassment. We go on hikes, ride gondolas and I can sit in a camp chair without the fear of it toppling under my girth. It might sound like a small thing but a very big deal for me.
I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with pictures. I love the idea of capturing memories but hate the idea of capturing the truth of how I look. I’m slowly but surely coming around. I am working on loving my body through all the phases of my journey. Just like before my weight loss, I still have a hard time loving how i look with and without clothes but I must admit that now, I have more good days than bad. My brain sometimes doesn’t register the changes my body has undergone which is when pics are helpful. I am feeling good about being able to buy clothes off the rack and sit where I want and go on hikes and dance the night away. Most importantly, I am proud of myself for putting in the work.
For those not in the know, June is my birthday month. I’ve always loved celebrating my birthday, being with those that I love and who love me back and most importantly, reflecting on the year I had and focusing on the year to come.
Well, this year feels different. I have been/ am working on me; spiritually, mentally, physically & emotionally. I have been on a long journey with regards to my physical health. I have been more focused and putting in the work with diet and exercise and I am feeling myself a little bit 😉. I have worked on loving myself through every phase of my journey which is not always easy but, I’ve found, very necessary in my process and progress. I am feeling more confident, but not the fake confidence of my past. You know, the feigned exuberance often used as a defense mechanism to keep people from trying to dig too deep? Just me? Well, I feel good now, better than I’ve felt in years and my shine…it’s like I can’t turn it down. I gotta shine no matter what!!
I’m not where I want to be but I’m definitely on my way. Do I hate working out? Absolutely!! But I love the way I feel afterward. Some days, it’s hard to love what I see in the mirror as my body changes. But, even on the difficult days, I look at myself everyday in a full-length mirror and I tell the woman that I see there that I love her and that though the journey is hard, she is worthy and worth it. I took a picture of myself on our recent trip to Vegas and I struggled with whether to share it. When I first took it, I loved it but then slowly started to pick myself apart. Well, FUNK THAT!! I can look at myself and see my blemishes as battle scars; that means I have survived many battles and I have so many things to be thankful for. I can look at my body, see the imperfections and find beauty in the fact that God allowed me to carry a life in my womb. I’m thankful for that. I am strong and all my parts are in good, working order. I am thankful for that. I have soundness of mind (most days). I am thankful for that. My spiritual foundation is strong and continually nurtured and growing. I am thankful for that. Most importantly, I feel all the feels about all the things. I no longer try to numb my feelings with food, drink and other forms of camouflage. I am thankful for that.
So, as my birthday approaches, I revel in all that I have learned and continue to discover about myself. Here I stand in all of my glory ready to shine, no matter what.
2017 was quite a year for my family and I; full of plenty of highs, lows and lots of in between.
New Year 2017
New Year 2018
We (Tomi & I) are -150 lighter between the 2 of us as we start this year. We became homeowners this year. We have lost a few family members & friends (may they RIP) and gained a few new ones. We have both been working toward maintaining/ reestablishing familial relationships that have faltered along the way (such a long story-perhaps in a later post). The end of 2017 was particularly busy for us with traveling. We saw a lot of AMAZING concerts last year; the highlight of which was seeing Earth, Wind & Fire.
2018 won’t be quite as busy as last year for us when it comes to traveling but we have a few trips planned. Our oldest grandbaby (the only boy) graduates from high school this year. One of our daughters is getting married this year. Lord willing, we’ll celebrate another birthday and anniversary this year.
For me, 2018 will be a year of being intentional and consistent. I am really good and being consistently inconsistent. I’ve perfected over the last 20yrs or so. This year, I plan to step my game up and be more intentional about life as opposed to just letting life happen. I know that comes with being consistent. Some would say that it’s about time but I say that every day is a good day for a new beginning. Can I get an AMEN?!? I have been making lists, making plans and setting short/long-term goals. I’m trying to do an overhaul by making small changes (I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew) in several areas of my life where I want to be more consistent; working my business, blogging, skincare, continued weight loss, cleaning house, clearing debt.
This will be a year of fostering, maintaining or releasing relationships. I’m reaching out to those that have previously fallen by the wayside, I am putting in the work to maintain those and that are hanging out there by a thread and I am releasing, with love, those relationships that no longer serve me. I’ve learned that it’s OK to let go of those that don’t want to be a part of my life (and not take it personally) and also to allow myself to be let go of by others. I am going to be more intentional about fostering my relationship with God; spending time in fellowship with Him and in His word.
I’ve also been trying to adopt the action of doing little things with big love. Doing things for others and even for yourself does not always have to involve a grand gesture.
I’m stomping into 2018 with a new look, a new attitude and a new vision. I’m excited to see what this year brings.
I’m feeling stuck…again. My weight this week was exactly the same as last week. That was a little deflating but I’ll take that over having a gain. I’m going to have to be more consistent about hitting the gym and eat way more veggies and a few less carbs.
This weekend, I posted a pic of me in my Mickey Mouse leggings. Two body shots in as many weeks? I’m feeling myself! I love them and felt like I look ok in them. It’s an extremely vulnerable place to be in for me, sharing myself. I find that in my vulnerability, there is strength. Luckily, I have an amazing support system which helps when I need a bit of shoring up.
I got to visit my home town this weekend. I got to see my parents and our youngest daughter (She just turned 26 on 1/23). I miss them so much so it also makes me feel ‘full’ to see them and be around them.
I also got to see cousins and countless others I have known my entire life who’ve become ‘family’. I’m glad we have our life in the the Tri-Cities and for all the ‘framily’ (friends that are like family) we’ve gained over the past 12yrs but there’s no place like home.
This was not my best week. I gained 3lbs. i’m not particularly stressed about it but I know I can do better. I think its a combo of late-night eating and more carbs than usual. Plus, this last week wa pretty sedentary. In other words, I need to do better. No other changes to report at this time.
Happy Friday!!! Those that are keeping track realize that I skipped last week. I got busy and I just forgot. I have set myself a reminder on my calendar so hopefully, that will help me remember. I am one of those people who has to write everything down. People say I come across as very organized but truth is, I’m a bit of a scatter brain. Alright, enough about me; let’s talk about me.
Last week (9/16/16), I had a gain of +2lbs. I was a little bummed but I know that I ate a few things that I shouldn’t have so I completely expected it. We fall down but we get up, Right? This week’s weigh-in showed the results of a week where I did all that I was supposed to do and I am down -8lbs!! Woohoo!! For those trying to do the math and keep track, I am now down -54lbs and it feels AMAZING!! I’m down 4 dress sizes. I’ve had to buy new jeans but otherwise, I am still wearing my same wardrobe; everything just fits better.
Last weekend was very active so I didn’t focus on any planned exercise. Friday, we went to a concert at the Washington State Fair (Puyallup Fair-for the locals). It was Joe and Charlie & Wilson and the show was absolutely AMAZING!! Before the show, we spent lots of time walking around the fair and seeing the sites and sampling some food and beverages. We didn’t go too crazy and although I really wanted to, I did not have the elephant ear.
Saturday, we decided to spend some time just laying around at the hotel. We don’t get much time together during the week except for an hour in the morning when she’s getting in from work and I am getting ready to leave for work. Then, that evening we went to a Mariner’s game that we won tix to. We had great seats out center field about 20 rows back. Anyone who has been to a professional sporting event knows that walking from the parking structure and navigating the stadium to get to your seats is a good bit of walking and moving and I did it without pain and without getting too winded (non-scale victory).We got up Sunday and after a light breakfast, we headed home.
I have to say that I love how much energy I have now and how much easier it is for me to get up and get moving. Not to mention that I am much more willing to get up and do things now because it doesn’t cause me pain, fatigue and embarrassment like it used to. This journey is hard but is proving to be worth it every day.
So, I have to tell you that making the commitment to step on the scale 1x weekly on the same day and about the same time of day each week; no problem. Not being tempted to step on the scale every time I go to the bathroom? That’s a different story. I was strong though and waited until this morning.
Drum roll please…454.8lbs.
For those keeping track, I am down -9.6lbs since surgery day (7/29). Woohoo!!!
I had my 1-week follow-up with Dr. Fox (the surgeon) yesterday and I am doing really well. My wounds are healing beautifully. I am taking my meds as I should and am doing well with getting my nutrition. I did express to him my concern about not having enough intake. I explained that I am so concerned about nausea and vomiting from being over full that I am afraid to ‘eat’. He let me know that my concerns were valid and gave me some tips and tools for getting the protein shakes down. I am feeling good!! Next week, I should be able to start a light workout routine. I’ll probably start with walking.
I bought myself a book to get me through the day-to-day because I know this won’t always be easy. It is a book that starts on Jan 1st and ends Dec 31st. I decided that instead of starting on the first day of the year, I started yesterday; the day I received the book. There are daily action and journaling points. I want to immerse myself in this whole weight loss surgery (WLS) process. I know that I have healing to do; physically, emotionally and spiritually, as I change my relationship with food and myself as my body changes so I a taking advantage of any tools I come across.
I was supposed to have my first set of appointments for my weight loss surgery journey. Unfortunately, that was thwarted by issues with insurance. I was disappointed but not discouraged so I rescheduled and got on the docs and the insurance to make sure all the ducks were in a row for my appointments.
I thought long and hard about how and what I will share. My answer? EVERYTHING!! When I say everything, I don’t mean the minutia. I do mean the stats and plans and goals we (my nutritionist, my doctor and I) set and meet along the way. The stats are a hard part for me. I’ve always been a big girl but I’ve never revealed the numbers. I never wanted to be judged by the numbers. In my attempt to be transparent, with you and with myself, I am going to share. Here we go… December 17, 2015
At the nutritionist, we discussed my cholesterol (which isn’t an issue but we need a diagnosis for me to see the nutritionist – apparently obesity is not enough) and then, we talked about my diet. We went over a day in the eating life of JaVonna. After that, we discussed exercise; which didn’t take long because I do little to none.
We discussed and created an eating plan, what a day should look like, using a carbohydrate counting method to try to decrease my carb intake and increase my fruits, vegetables and proteins. A serving of carbs equals about 15g. We set a goal of 1-2 carb servings per meal and no more than 1 serving of carbs for snacks. We also set an exercise goal of 2 days/ week for at least 30 minutes.
With my PCP (primary care physician), we discussed my most recent labs. They were good except for my TSH (thyroid numbers). What they are? 15%. What she would like them at? .4%. I had to admit that I have not been taking my meds consistently. She sternly made sure I was aware that I am aware that until my thyroid numbers are under control, my weight issues won’t be under control. Good to know!
I’ve got my appointments scheduled for next month and I’m on the road to a healthier me.