One Year Post-Op

It has been 1 year since my weight-loss surgery, here’s how I’m doing and how I celebrated.

1 Year ago today, I went to El Camino Hospital to have my Gastric Sleeve surgery.  One year later I have lost 96 pounds since the Surgery, a total of 195 pounds since I started my weight loss journey.  It’s a shame I didn’t quite make it to 200 pounds total loss, but I’m very proud of my weight loss progress and I’m nowhere near done.

Today to celebrate my 1 year anniversary from the surgery I took a day of PTO to have a little stay-cation.  Now the old me would have used an anniversary celebration as a reason for cake, ice cream, or other treats, but this is an anniversary of weight-loss surgery.  Instead I chose to celebrate my weight loss by having an amped up day.  I started by making a high-protein low calorie hot breakfast.   Barbara and I then went down to the gym for an amped up version of my normal workout.

A couple weeks ago I ordered a Spanx for men compression T-shirt.  I ordered this not to make me look thinner, but because as I have lost those 195 pounds I now have a lot of loose hanging skin in my abdomen.  This skin makes vigorous cardio very difficult as with every step it flaps and smacks against the rest of my skin.  When I have tried in the last couple years to jog or run, this has become very painful very quickly and has prevented me from doing anything vigorous.  Today, wearing my Spanx I was able to get up to 6 miles per hour and maintain that for several minutes.  I did the rest of my 30 minutes on the treadmill at a still brisk 3.8 miles per hour.  I then followed up with 25 minutes of strength training doing more sets at higher weights than I’ve done in the past.  I’m very proud of what I was able to do today and I intend on spending the next several months continuing to amp up my workouts.

I have a goal now of getting to the point where I can run a 5K, hopefully within the next year.  My hope is to do one of RunDisney’s 5K runs in 2014, and then start ramping up to bigger and better runs after that.

After going to a movie (where I drank water instead of anything caloric), I came home and made a delicious low calorie high-protein dream dinner to finish off the day and I’m not hungry and was quite satisfied with my meals today and my physical activity.

If you like Piña Coladas...
My First Piña Colada in over a year

I did do one thing this evening as part of my celebration which is not best for my weight-loss.  I had a Piña Colada.  When going through the pre-op preparation I was told that I would have to stay away from Alcohol for a year.  Since that year ended yesterday I let myself have a single 6 ounce Piña Colada to celebrate.

I never was much of a drinker and I’m not going to become one now that I can drink again, but I will allow myself a drink here and there.

I’ll keep you all up to date with how things keep going as I continue my weight loss journey.

Not too fat to journey through space… mountain!

As many of my friends know, I am a huge Disney Fan.  A year and a half ago, on a trip to Disneyland with my wife and Brother-in-law I went through the line queue at Space Mountain and attempted to get into the ride vehicle.  Sadly, I couldn’t even sit down, let alone pull down the lap bar, and I was forced to get off the ride and wait while they enjoyed it without me.

Later that trip in July of 2011, at Disney California Adventure, I attempted to ride California Screamin’ only to once again sadly have to wait while they enjoyed themselves without me.

As those of you who follow my blog know, I’ve lost a lot of weight since that trip.  On Tuesday, December 11th, I went in for my monthly weigh in and I was 339.6 pounds.  This is a total of 150.6 pounds lost!

Nick Rides Space Mountain
Nick Rides Space Mountain

Friday, December 14th, 2012 My wife and I went to Disneyland again, and the first thing I did that Friday morning is make a bee-line for Space Mountain.  I’m happy to report that the weight loss was enough, I was successfully able to ride Space Mountain, and the proof is above.

The next day, December 15th, 2012, we had a great time at Disney California Adventure, and like before I made it my goal to ride California Screamin’.  I’m happy to report that once again I was successful and I was able to ride it as well.

Both rides were fantastic (in fact Space Mountain seemed even better than I remember from my childhood) and were a great encouragement to me that my weight-loss efforts are working.

A Month after Surgery, 21.2 pounds down since Surgery, 107.4 pounds lost total so far

2 days before the surgery I wrote that I was at 404.0 pounds at my monthly weigh-in that day.  Today, one month later, I am at 382.8 pounds, which is 21.2 pounds less than 1 month ago, and 107.4 pounds lost total since I started my weight loss efforts.

Time for the clear liquids only

31965874This morning at 10 am Pacific time marked 48 hours till I go under the knife.  That means it is officially time to switch to clear liquids only.  On the bright side, no more protein shakes until a few days after surgery.  On the not so bright side, I’m now severely limiting my caloric intake even more.

I had my monthly normal weigh in this afternoon and was down only slightly from my pre-op appointment with my surgeon from a couple weeks ago.  I’m now down to 404.0 lbs which brings my total weight loss down to 86.2 pounds.

For those of my friends and family who believe in the power of prayer, please pray for me as I go through this final diet step before surgery, and on Thursday at 10 am Pacific time, when the operation will begin.

Note for those confused why losing 2.7 more pounds only brings me to 86.2 pounds when I had previously stated I had lost 86.1 pounds. I apparently was mistaken when I wrote that my initial weigh in number was 492.8 pounds back in January, 2011.  My initial weigh in was actually 490.2 pounds.  I have adjusted the numbers from my previous 2 posts accordingly to indicate that at my previous post the number should have been 83.5 pounds.

Just over a week to go…

and I’m really feeling the pressure of this liquid only diet.  It’s hard, it’s extremely hard.  The strange thing is, it’s not the lack of food that makes it hardest.  What makes it really hard is that I’m just sick of the protein shakes.

Fortunately a good friend and coworker has brought me some home made chicken stock that while still just being liquid broth, is a great respit for me once a day from the monotony of protein shakes.  Thank you.

Next thursday I will go under, and when I come out I’ll have a tiny stomach that should make dieting easier, hopefully.

Pre-Op Appointment Day, Down over 83 pounds!

7410067LToday was my pre-op appointment with the surgeon to make sure I’m all set for surgery.  When I stepped on the scale (which looked just like the one pictured on the right) today I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I’m down to 406.7.  This means I’ve lost 83.5 pounds total so far and I haven’t even had the surgery yet.

Surgery is scheduled for Thursday, July 26, 2012.

I attribute the accelerated weight loss to the liquid only diet the surgeon has me on leading up to the surgery date.

Weight Loss Update and transparency

As everyone who has ever seen me (or a picture of me) can attest, I am extremely obese.  After I wrote my most popular blog post ever, one wiki (which doesn’t seem to be online anymore) linked to my article and credited me only as “a very large man” and it is true, I was and still am quite huge.

What those closer to me know, is I have since January 2011 been working on this problem.  I started working on losing some of that excess weight and have made some great progress.  As of just last week I’ve reached an important milestone in this progress and I wanted to finally come clean and share the real numbers with the world.

On Tuesday, January 4, 2011 I went to my first monthly scheduled weigh-in with nutritionist Karen Handy at the Mountain View HMR Office of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.  At that weigh in, I weighed 490.2lbs, frighteningly close to 500 pounds.

I started working on it hard, changing my diet, tracking calories, joining a gym class and working out, and it started working.  By my May weigh in, I was down to 453.2lbs, almost 40 pounds of weight loss in 4 months time.  I was pretty proud of my progress and vowed to work even harder to keep losing.

Unfortunately, my progress stalled out at that point.  At my June weigh in, I actually gained a few pounds and was up to 457.0lbs.  I kept working and working at it, but for some reason I was at my first real plateau.  In July I had gone down again slightly, to 455.0lbs but the rapid weight loss seemed to be at an end.  It was time for phase 2.

I scheduled a consultation with a Bariatric Surgeon (Doctor John Feng) about having the Gastric Sleeve Surgery on July 27, 2011. See while I was doing everything I could to eat healthier foods and exercise more, I was having serious problems with hunger.  I would eat what I was supposed to, but it was just not filling me up, so I would eat more (still healthy) food.  But too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

There are basically 3 main types of Gastric surgery done commonly today (there are others, but these 3 are the most common and safest).  Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Band.  Bypass is the one credited with the most weight loss, but also has the biggest impact on your life and has many dangers related to it (as it reroutes part of your small intestine to decrease absorption of nutrients in foods, many people end up severely malnourished after getting Bypass).  Band is the most reversible (you put a small tube around the top of the stomach and insert saline solution into it to squeeze the stomach, tricking the body into thinking the stomach is smaller and killing your hunger) but has the least amount of weight loss success.

DiagramGastricSleeveI’m going for the middle ground, Gastric Sleeve.  With Gastric Sleeve, they cut out a large portion of my stomach leaving a small cylindrical stomach.  Most surgeons will make it about the size of a banana (my mother’s did that for her).  My surgeon is a little more agressive and says it will be about the size of a Magic Marker.  With a stomach so small, naturally I will feel full with far less food (they say I will basically be able to “stomach” about 2-3 ounces of food per meal).  This, along with continuing my healthier diet and exercise will help me to return to the rapid progress I had in the beginning.

There was just one wrinkle.  The surgeon wanted me to lose some more weight before he would give me the surgery.  Specifically he wanted me to lose an additional 25 pounds before he would be willing to operate on me.  As I was 455lbs at that visit, that set my goal weight (for the next phase) at 430lbs.

The weight loss continued (more or less) but at a much slower pace than the beginning.  To make matters worse, in September I had a health complication that in October put me in the hospital for a week.  I developed a bad (and particularly persistant) case of cellulitis in my left leg which dampened my cardio routine for a couple months.

I didn’t get close to the goal until my December 2011 weigh in when I was 433.3lbs (within striking distance and oh so close).  It was also around that time that I finished all of the other checkpoints for having the surgery (blood tests, heart tests, shooting me with x-rays while I sucked down barium, and a psych eval).  I was getting excited, it was finally going to happen.

Unfortunately, I guess Christmas hurt me a bit more than expected.  In my January weigh in I had gained nearly 10 pounds and was up to an ugly 441lbs.  In the few months that followed I really struggled to try and lose those last 11 pounds.

Last week, on May 23, 2012, I had my latest weigh in and I was 428.0lbs a full 2 pounds under the mark for the first time.

In the last week things are on track once again and appointments have been scheduled.

My pre-op appointment is scheduled for June 12, 2012 and my post-op appointment for August 14, 2012.  I don’t yet have the actual date of the surgery, but it will be in there somewhere.  I personally am hoping for on or around July 16, 2012 for the date of the surgery.

I will keep my blog, as well as my facebook and google+ profiles updated with my progress as I continue losing this weight and moving towards “a new Nick” as someone just called my future self.