Here It Is

I’m not really sure how to package this for you, so I’m just going to come right out with it…

I’ve been working through some things lately. Namely, blogging and the role it plays in my journey. Blogging was supposed to be therapeutic, and in the beginning, it certainly was. But then I got some negative comments, and it frustrated me. In sort of a reverse Pavlovian way (Is that a thing? I guess it is now.), I started curbing my writing to try and avoid those comments. Every time I got a nasty comment, I’d make a mental note to never write about that particular topic again. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me, so I chose the tone of my posts carefully to make sure they were upbeat and positive. I didn’t want people to attack my personal choices for my personal diet plan, so I sort of… um, quit talking about the food I was eating. I didn’t want people to think I was self absorbed or morally corrupt, so I also quit telling stories about the exciting little things that happened here and there with men (because yes, they do treat you differently when you lose weight). I wanted to tell you about those things, but can you blame me for not wanting to get beat up in the comment section about how I’m lacking in standards because I allow myself to get butterflies when a guy who barely noticed I was alive a year ago stopped me in the hall today to flirt a little?

I don’t particularly think that makes me a terrible person. And I would really like it if everyone would just nod their heads along with me and agree with everything I say. That’d be wonderful, and we could all just get along.

But that’s never gonna happen. And you know what? I’m finally OK with it. I was talking to Jen, A PriorFatGirl about it this week, and I told her that I’m tired of spending hours in front of my computer screen trying to edit my pieces to death. “This is perfect!” I would say at last. But then I’d read over it again and think “yes, perfectly :::yawn::: boring.” But hey, at least no one will say anything ugly.

At that point, blogging is no longer fun for me.

So what does all that really mean?

It means that I’m just going to start writing straight from the gut. I know we won’t always agree, and as long as we’re respectful, I think that’s ok. I can learn from you. PriorFatGirl is a public blog, and I knew that when I started writing here. Out of the 5,000 or so people who click through here every day, there are bound to be one or two who see the world differently from me.

I was never going to be one of those bloggers who posts a perfect food journal and lots of recipes. It isn’t who I am. My roots are in creative writing, and my passion — from the very beginning — was to bring others with me through my story. The story of losing weight, changing sizes, learning to enjoy healthy food, and dabbling in the world of real romance (or some semblance thereof?) for the first time. I wanted to do that because it’s exactly what I wish I’d had while I was losing weight. There’s a reason I’ve read “Jemima J” about 184 times.

So there you have it. That’s who I am. That’s where I’m at. You got a little taste of it with yesterday’s post. Changing your lifestyle isn’t always easy, it isn’t always pretty, and it isn’t always motivational. Sometimes it sucks out loud. Sometimes you want a cupcake, and sometimes you really do look in the mirror and think “I hate my body.”

But that’s just sometimes. There are other times when you look in the mirror and say “That’s progress Elle. Slow and steady, but it’s progress. And I’m proud of you.” Emotions fluctuate. They especially fluctuate because I’m a girl. That’s part of the package. Hormones man, they’ll make you crazy.

So don’t worry. I’m not falling off the deep end, nor am I sitting in a closet stuffing my face with chocolate and wishing I could end it all. I’m just losing weight. And just in case no one has told you yet – it’s sort of a jerky ride. So strap in and hang on. Because I think I finally figured out what “sugar coating not included” means.

Now that’s what I call therapeutic.

You can follow me on Twitter @LDunkster

Tummy pick (kind of graphic)

Ready for my stomach picture? It is sort of graphic but not as graphic as the other ones so hopefully most of you can handle it.

The black horizontal line is my incision.

My belly button is new so there is a complete incision around it.

The two tubes on the bottom are the drains – I only have one left and am hoping to have the last one removed on Friday. Once it is removed, I can shower. The blue lines in the photo are the permanent marker lines. The red lines are from the compression garment, it has to stay very very very tight and causes my skin to wrinkle, have indents and become sometimes sore.

My stomach is very bloated and swollen so it’ll be interesting to see how things go in the next week to month. I’ll continue to take photos and share them so ya’ll can see the difference!

I’ve received some great questions so I’m putting together a post for tomorrow to answer a few I’ve received. Before I hit publish, I thought I’d check with you to see if you had any questions about my experience so far you would like answered. I’m pretty open to answering (within reason) so ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them. {be respectful to get a respectful response}

I have some friends coming over today so luckily my sister, Melinda, stopped over to wash my hair yesterday. I really do not know what I’d do without my sisters. They are amazingly supportive. Carlos’ niece, Elizette, is coming on Thursday from Boston and I can’t wait! So my goal from now thru Sunday is to remain as still as possible so that I can possibly go back to work part-time next week.

The Yucky Part

It’s one thing to talk the talk, but taking action – especially at this most joyful and foodful time of year – is the real test.

Yesterday wasn’t super fun for me. I went dress shopping at lunch with some girlfriends from work to try and find something for our office holiday party this weekend. Incidentally, that part of the trip was enjoyable. I tried on two dresses, and both of them fit. I didn’t make a purchase, but it gave me some ideas about what to be looking for when I go shopping again later in the week.

The part of the trip that wasn’t so neat… stopping at Sprinkles for cupcakes afterward. In some ways, it wasn’t so bad. Everyone knows I’m on a strict and legalistic diet, so nobody tried to pressure me into buying a cupcake. On the other hand though, I just plain wanted a stinking cupcake. I wanted to bite into one of those ridiculously overpriced fluffy sugary sweet confections and forget all about my plans and my goals. I really did.

But I snapped out of it. Because really, you only have two options – give in and regret it, or move on and forget it. I had a simple salad for lunch sans the cupcake, and I came home and had a protein shake for a snack. I worked out, I burned 250-ish calories (proof below), and I had two hard boiled eggs and some vegetables and toast for dinner. And then I cooked up some chicken for my lunch tomorrow.

Calories gone forever. Thank you Polar.

I made a commitment to myself to lose the weight, and that means facing some uncomfortable situations. But at the end of the day, it was worth giving up a cupcake to know I’ll see that scale go down tomorrow morning. Not because I’m obsessed with numbers or with my caloric intake. Yes, it makes me feel great to have the visual aid, but it’s about soooo much more than that.

For one thing – the big thing, if I’m totally honest with you – I’m going to be 27 on Thursday. I’m going to be 27, and I’m scared to death of dating. Absolutely terrified. I’ve dated only a handful of guys, but none of them were ever people with whom I saw myself having a future or a serious relationship.

I’m not sure where the fear comes from, but all I know is that when I sense someone might be interested, I intentionally shut down. There’s an internal panic button that goes off because I start thinking about how humiliated I’ll be when we go to the movies and I sit down in the seat and my love handles squish out over my jeans. I think about him potentially seeing me in a bathing suit – no, that can never, ever, ever happen. I hate my body. And I don’t want anyone getting near enough to it to see something that might embarrass me.

Do you see what a personal hell that is? I want to dye my hair blonde. Why? I don’t know. I have enough hair for three or four people and I want to do something completely crazy with it – just for the heck of it. But I won’t. I won’t do it because my hair is my one good thing that I’ve always been able to depend on for confidence, and I’m too afraid to take chances on it right now. How stupid. How completely, utterly stupid. I’ve built a prison for myself, and I’m the only one who can break out of it.

So that’s why I’ll skip the cupcakes and the birthday cake and the chocolate and the chips and the snacks today, tomorrow, this weekend, and next month. That’s why. It’s brutal right now in the thick of it, but in the end –  there’s rest. I’ll go on a date without being paralyzed with fear by the idea that he’ll be gagged out when he hugs me, and I’ll go crazy and dye my hair blonde (or maybe just chop it all off!) for the summer and not worry about whether people like it or hate it. Somewhere, at the end of the weight lifting and the jumping jacks and the squats, there will just be… me. Regular, thin, Elle.

You can follow me on Twitter @LDunkster

Bloating & eating

Post-surgery, my bloating is intense.

My hands & fingers are still marshmellow-like. I’m trying to drink water but know I’m no where near to where I was pre-surgery mostly because it still takes a lot to get up and go to the bathroom. On Sunday, I noticed something else… my thighs are massively bloated too!

It’s not a good picture but my thighs are touching about 3 inches longer than usual (they typically touch just a little at the top). I know I know there is post-op weight gain but I don’t think this is weight gain, more of bloating. I have my 3rd post-op appointment so I’m going to talk to the Dr. today about it. I’m also trying to cut back on sodium too.

I feel like I’m doing fairly well on eating. The good thing is I can’t binge because I get food myself. We’ve been eating a lot of the frozen meals I made, which have really come in handy. I’m starting to eat more of the veggies I bought but I realized last night, those are probably soaked in sodium so I’ll have to check into that. I also ate a lot of soups the first five days which I’m sure contributed to my bloating.

Norma, one of my online friends, often comments with things I need to hear. Norma’s comments are tough love, sugar coating not included and often seem to be very objective {Hi Norma!} Here was Norma’s comment last week that stuck with me:

Norma: Jen, glad your recovery is going well so far! A few things to keep in mind: you’re going to be so inactive for the next several weeks compared to your usual routine, your appetite should (mind you, *should*) not be very much. You’re not going to be re-fueling after intense workouts or compensating for busy days/lack of sleep etc. You will *probably* not need nearly as much food as you do when you’re on the run as you usually are. BUT: be mindful of when/how much you eat, that it’s truly out of hunger and not boredom. If you can really tune in to your body for a while and just put some good sustenance (protein + fiber) in it every 3-4 hrs, it’s not going to turn into fat or result in weight gain even if you’re not exercising. In any case, healing is most important at this point so eating healthy foods is a big priority…also remember that your body *is* using a lot of energy to recover, and that it needs good nutrition to do so. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend together as well! :)

Intuitive eating. There’s that monster of a obstacle I’d like to accomplish! My goal this week is to finish reading the book “The End of Overeating” and also really pay attention to my intuitive eating. I haven’t been overeating since my surgery but just heavy on the carbs and light on the fresh veggies.

I have all the time in the world since I’m just sitting around!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some updated post-op pictures!