Thursday I went to the doctor for my 6-month post surgery check in. Time to see how the doctor thinks I'm doing.
The good news:
The bad news:
Unfortunately, there was no fix offered along with the bad news.
I've been putting off writing anything about this for a few days while everything sank in. My weight pretty much plateaued for a month which would slow down any observed loss. Since my 3-month check-up, I've lost about 20 pounds. Between surgery day and the 3-month point I had lost roughly 70 lbs. I feel a lot better, and feel better every day. Why would my weight loss slow down so much? I went back and looked at the recipet the scales of doom print out.
|Fat Free Mass||180.6||161.0||162.4||196.4|
|Total Body Water||132.2||117.8||118.8||143.8|
Fat Mass = How much fat I'm lugging around.
Fat Free Mass = Bones, Muscle, & Water. Me without the fat.
Total Body Water = How much water is in my body, at least that's how I understand it.
Taking in not just the past 6 months, but the past year+, a couple of things jumped out at me.
1. I lost 39 pounds before surgery (Jan 2013 - Sept 2013). In that time, my Fat Mass went from 258.6 to 249.8 (9 lbs) while my Fat Free Mass went from 180.6 to 161 (19 lbs). Most of what I loss was muscle.
2. Since Sept, my Fat Mass went from 249.8 to 119 (130 lbs). My Fat Free Mass increased from 161 to 196.4. I've gained 35 lbs of muscle. Muscle! Muscle and water, but muscle is the way I'm looking at it.
3. Everyone else I've talked to after they go in for their 6-month check-up is told to increase their vitamins or their protein intake. Evidently 3 Calcium, 2 Multi-vitamins, 2 Iron, 1 B-12, and 110gm of protein per day is what I need to be in the normal range.
4. I've yet to have any negative side effect from surgery. I haven't thrown up. No nausea when eating (or after). No hair loss, which was the one thing I was really worried about (and the big reason I down 2 Iron vitamins per day along with all of that protein). I don't have folds of flappy skin from rapid weight loss, although I do have a jiggly belly no one sees when I bend over.
5. The biggest side effect the doctor seems to worry about is gallstones developing from rapid weight loss, as he tells me what to look for as symptoms each time I go. I think I'm not losing weight fast enough to worry about this, and in my mind that's a plus.
6. Although not a measurement on his scales, I now wear jeans that have a 12" smaller waist than I did when that first weight was taken. My waist is a foot smaller. Another 8" and I'll have the same size waist as I did in high school.
7. Gina and I now walk 5 times per week. Our walks are usually a little over an hour, and we walk roughly 3ï¿½ miles. My knees still can't handle the pounding of a jog, and the limiting factor on our speed is not me trying to catch my breath, but the burn in my leg muscles (see those 35 pounds of muscle I've gained?) or general soreness in my knees. By the end of our walk I'm a little tired but breathing normally. I still remember being out of breath trying to cross the parking lot at work a year ago.
With all of this, I've decided that if I'm not losing weight fast enough that it's ok. I'm still losing. My quality of life has shot through the roof. Everybody is still supportive and proud of what I'm doing, which has made more of a difference than I originally thought.
I have another check-up in 3 more months. No blood work is required this time, so I won't get an update on my vitamins and protein. We'll see if my progress speeds up any by then. If not, and I'm still feeling like I do now, everything will still be good.
In the words of Matthew McConaughey, I'm feeling "Awright Awright Awright!"
Time for another post-surgery weight-loss update. 6 months after surgery I'm down 90 lbs from what I weighed on surgery day, and 130 lbs from my max last February.
My weight-loss has slowed/stalled over the past month, but now it looks to be picking up again. We'll see how this plays out over the next couple of weeks, as I don't know of anything that I've been doing differently.
I had to get blood taken this week for my surgical follow-up in 2 weeks. That's when I learn how vitamin-deficient I am. I haven't suffered from any of the normal post-surgical side effects yet - I've still got all my hair! I'm interested to see what the doctor says during my visit. I would be a little worried about my weight loss slowing down (I think I've lost 20 lbs since my last visit), except I feel so freakin' good!
More updates when something happens.
Last month I was amazed when my little Nike walking app I've been using since mid-December rolled over 100 miles total. I was shocked and proud that Gina and I had walked 100 miles in roughly 3 months. For someone who had trouble walking across a parking lot a year ago without stopping (once or twice ) to catch my breath, the idea of walking 100 miles over any amount of time was more than I could fathom. Granted, losing 120 pounds will help anyone feel better.
March was my month to walk. I tried to go walking 5 days per week as opposed to the 3 days I was walking before. Thanks to Gina, my pace had picked up when walking so we were going faster, and technically farther since we would roughly try to walk the same amount of time.
With March over, my little Nike walking app showed that we had walked 61.33 miles in March. That's walking for exercise, not toodling around like when I was wearing a pedometer to keep track of my activity (those things just get in the way of my keyboarding). 61.33 miles of exercise. In a month.
When people ask how I'm feeling or how my surgery went, I'm just going to talk about how much I've been walking versus how little I used to move around.
There hasn't been a diet update in a month - mainly because my weight has leveled off - but at least I've been keeping active. Gina and I still go on our evening walks around the school in Athens. My goal as of a couple of weeks ago was to try to reach a 20'/mile pace as I was normally walking 21-23'/mile. Gina took this to heart and sped up my stride.
Our average for the past week was 18'43". I was happy when we got close to 19'/mile. For 3 days we would average 1 second better than the previous day. Suddenly on Thursday we averaged 18'30". On Friday 18'00". That's just crazy!
Saturday Gina was busy so I took a longer route at a slower pace. Not as slow as I was used to, as I still averaged less than 19'/min (but just barely).
It's weird. I now like going out for a walk. I needed to clear my head after weeks of intense (for me) programming, so when I went for my walk I didn't take anything to listen to. I just walked and listened to the crunch of the gravel beneath my shoes. When I was done with my 4.5 mile walk, I didn't want to crawl into bed or scuttle around like an old man, I just continued with my day.
I'm starting to think that extra 120 pounds I was carrying around with my sedentary lifestyle wasn't good for me.
With the threat of winter weather and snow closing everything down in the upcoming days, I went for my longest walk on Saturday. My walking has been a little lax due to the weather of late, but this past week I tried to get back on a semi-regular schedule. My schedule wasn't as regular as I had hoped, but I at least put the distance in.
Over 3 days, I walked 12 miles in just over 4 hours. I have a slow pace (21 min/mile), but up until now I haven't been worried with my pace so much as getting my butt out there and going. Most of the time, I'm not winded or tired at the end of my walk. That may be because it's not above 40° most of the time.
Now, it's time for me to pick up my pace. Goal #1 is to try and make it down to a 20 min/mile average over the course of a week. Granted, I decided this when there's supposed to be snow covered death on the trails of walking, but I work better with goals. My "short" route around the school is roughly 2.5 miles, so I'm going to concentrate on walking that route faster on my next couple of trips out.
I've never been swift, so secretly I'm dreading picking up my pace, but this is one of those past-surgery weight-loss things I don't have a choice about. Whoosh!
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