I went into the operating room around 10:00 a.m. for my Roux-en-Y surgery and had no complications or problems at all. (I shared a room with another WLS who obviously hadn't paid attention during our nutrition classes because she kept asking for crackers and apple juice on the day of her surgery.) I had surgery on a Tuesday and was home on Thursday evening. If you want to read all about my surgery experience, you can read about it in the blog post I wrote 5 years ago. A lot has happened since then. So let's go through the highlights that I cover every year:
Vitamins - As I said last year, this is mostly just routine now. But all the calcium doses throughout the day still throws me off and I have a hard time remembering all four dose times. I've taken a candy dish into work and filled it up with the Bariatric Advantage Calcium and that's helped a lot in the past couple months.
Labs - I have a doctor appointment in a few weeks for my annual lab work. I'll keep you posted on how that comes out. I typically give my doctor the list of lab tests needed after WLS and he orders it up for me.
Weight - I stepped on the scale this morning expecting to see the same weight as I've seen for the past few years. As you know my weight loss stopped when I hit the 10-month post-op mark and hasn't really moved since then. I have maintained my weight in the range of about 190-200 for the past few years and it doesn't fluctuate at all. Good behavior is not rewarded with weight loss and bad behavior is not punished with weight gain. Until now.
This morning the scale told me I was at 205. This was sort of a surprise to me because I haven't weighed-in for about 3 or 4 weeks and last time I weight I was still within my range. However, for the past several months I've been hanging out at the top end of the range and the scale was playing with 200 consistently.
I know that over the past month or so that my eating has not been stellar In fact, it's been down right carbalicious. I've slacked off on my protein intake and slacked off on drinking enough water. And I've always been letting stress get the best of me and not sleeping enough. So I shouldn't be surprised that the scale is responding accordingly.
What am I going to do about it the extra 5 pounds?
Well, first of all I'm not going to think of it as just 5 pounds. I want to be back down in a comfortable place within my normal range of 190-200. So that means to get down to 190 I need to drop 15 pounds.
I know my body well enough to know that this will not be easy. (I'm rejecting the notion that it's not possible.) I also know myself well enough that I can't jump into a "diet" mindset because I'll get all rebellious on myself. So instead I'm going to focus on a few key areas that I know I've been slacking on and make changes that are necessary. Those include:
- Meal Tracking -- I believe my calorie range has been around 1400 per day. With the extra carbs that's probably more, but I need to check on myself to see where I am and what needs to be adjusted. So for the next week I'll be tracking all my meals at FitDay.com.
- GoWear Fit -- I retired my GoWear Fit armband a while ago but I'm digging it out of storage again. My daily routine is mostly just work and school with very little formal exercise. But even when I have a full day of work and school and daily chores, I was still burning around 2000 calories a day, which was well below what I was taking in. I just want to do a check on my body and see where it is today and determine if I need to make adjustments to my eating routine.
- Exercise -- My days are packed with work and school and stuff - working full time, school full time, doing some design work on the side, leading support group meetings, family obligations and all the rest.... Being real with myself, I know that I'm not going to suddenly begin a big formal exercise routine right now. So I need to find ways to just be more active during the day - even if that means more housework or yard work.
- Mental Crap -- You've heard (read?) me say it a thousand times, but I'll say it again. The hardest part of this weight loss journey is the mental crap we need to get straight in our own heads. I have been neglecting some of that lately. So I'll be digging out my journal and taking the time to examine stuff that might be getting in my way.
- Support -- I am still active in 3 support group meetings each month. However, I've been slacking a bit on attendance and allowing other things to get in the way of attending as regularly as I'd like. So I'm recommitting to attend every meeting, no matter what. I know that being surrounded by friends in the WLS community is essential to long term success.
- Small Changes -- When I combine all these small changes into my routine, they will most likely make the difference I want to see. There's no need to panic or take radical action (like going back to eating 2 tablespoons of food or only liquid protein shakes for the rest of my life, that's crazy!) -- with these small steps things WILL get back on track and I'll be where I need to be again.
The five year mark is a huge milestone for any WLS patient. Many of the scientific studies published in medical journals use the five year mark as a point of success vs. failure when it comes to follow up and weight loss maintenance. In the grand scheme of things I'm a resounding success. I've been able to maintain my weight loss for five years and have remained healthy and my lab results prove that.
With my weight at 195 my percentage of Excess Weight Loss is 64% -- well within the range of what the scientists say is a success. If I were to use a target weight that's more realistic for my body, that percentage would be around 75% weight loss. (To understand more about excess weight loss numbers and how to calculate yours, see this post about how to set your Goal Weight number.)
I'm proud of all that I've accomplished. This little set back of a few extra pounds to shed is no big deal and I'll handle it like I've handled every other challenge I've faced. I'll keep you posted on my progress, of course.
To get a snapshot of how my WLS journey over the years, here are some annual updates.