Friday, October 21, 2011

Answers for anonymous...

I friggin’ love it when you guys comment on my blog.  

::  big smile  ::

Every time you do, I get a little e-mail and it makes my heart skip a beat.  It reminds me that you guys are really there reading….that I am helping some of you…and each one motivates me to keep writing. 

So the other day I got this little comment from someone who is about to have surgery next week: 

"Hi Kristen,

You look fantastic and I am so happy to see that you are updating your blog again. Like many others I check it several times a week! I am having my surgery on Monday and have found your blog to be more helpful than even what the doctor's, nutritionists, etc have said. I do have a couple questions for you if you have the time.

1. Did you experience a lot or any extra skin after your weight loss? If so, what did you feel worked best for you to help with that. I am worried about that. I am hoping to lose about 100lbs and understand that extra skin is unavoidable but any tips would be appreciated.

2. Looking back on your journey, do you have any advice or anything you wish you knew before going through the surgery?

Again, thank you for your blog!"

I know that having someone to ask questions is important, so I never mind answering as many as I can.   But, since a lot of you don’t send me a personal message with somewhere private to respond to, I always assume it is ok for me to answer them in a post.  And until someone says otherwise, I’m just going to go with it. 

SO…That being said, let me see if I can answer some of these great questions.

Excess skin was my worst fear ever.  I had horrible visions of floppy “bat wing” arms and jiggling belly skin.  In fact, it bothered me so much that I wrote about it in one of my first blog entries here.   I knew I didn’t want to trade the skin for the scars that came with the surgeries, so I did the only other thing I could think of. 

I hit the gym.  Specifically, the weights. 

Currently, do I have excess skin?  Sure I do.   Right now the most noticeable skin on my body is on my belly, but you can’t really tell through my clothes.  At some point, I plan to have an abdominoplasty (AKA: tummy tuck) but I feel that is something I’m not going to pursue until after I have babies. 

I mean…what’s the point of doing that BEFORE having a pregnant belly….right?!? 

There is also a minimal amount of excess skin in my arms, legs, and butt…but you can hardly tell (especially in my arms) because of the fact that I decided to weight train as I lost weight.  Personally, I hired a trainer to teach me how to exercise…which helped a ton…but it is certainly something you could do in a class or on your own!  I understand that having a trainer may not be an option for everyone, but I rationalized it by thinking about all the money I was saving by not having to spend so much on food!  Seriously though, learning how to exercise and sticking with it for almost 2 years is the number one thing that has made this surgery so successful for me. 

No question. 

To answer your second question, I truly wished that before this surgery I had realized how important it was to write down my I was feeling…what I was going through.  Oh, what I would give to have started this blog from day one….or even a few weeks before I went into the hospital.  Because, funny as it sounds to you now, as time goes on…and the weight goes down…you forget what it was like to be fat. 

I frequently go back and read posts from over a year ago.  They remind me of how far I’ve come.  And, through tougher times, they really keep me going forward. 

You don’t have to write in a public forum, like I do.  Buy a journal and just jot things down as they come to you.  Keep track of your weight loss.  And no matter what you think PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take “before” pictures.   You don’t ever have to show them to anyone, but I promise you will want them for yourself. 

I didn’t take them and I’ve regretted it every day since.

Well, I hope I’ve helped.  Good luck with your surgery on monday!  Keep me posted on how you are doing.  And remember that the first weeks are the toughest mentally, but there is light at the end of the foodless tunnel…promise!

-Kristen   ; )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding dress bliss...

Wedding dress shopping is something I (like every girl) has dreamed about my entire life.  In my frequent job as bridesmaid, I had always helped my friends with the planning of their weddings.  And in the process of doing this important job, I would always find little things I knew I wanted in my own wedding that I would tuck into the back of my mind. 

It was a nice perk. 

One of those things I found and settled on was my dream wedding dress.  It was a Priscilla of Boston.  A-line…silk taffeta…big skirt…HUGE price tag.  But I never really considered it, because…honestly…I never thought I could fit into it. 

Until now. 

Since the wedding was less than a year away, I figured I wasn’t being absolutely nuts if I started looking at dresses.  What the heck, right?  So I made an appointment and took my mom and Chris’s mom to the local David’s bridal store.  And it was just was awesome.    

I remembered the days when I would go with my bride friends to try on bridesmaid dresses and not fit into the samples. The amount of embarrassment at not only the measurements the poor woman had to take, but the actual SIZE dress I had to buy was almost more than I could take.  

I absolutely wanted to D-I-E.  (or eat a pizza….you know…whatever made me feel better at the time)

But last week, I walked around the store and picked up any wedding dress I wanted to try on….and generally…they all zipped right up.  It was the best feeling ever…a real confidence booster.  I felt like an absolute princess the whole time.  But, although I felt beautiful in almost all of the dresses I put on, none of them were “my dress.”  

That dress haunted me the whole time.  I wanted it…needed it...and of course had to see it on my body.  So, I made and appointment at Priscilla's.  And once I finally put the dress on, my heart almost stopped.  

It was perfect. 

Well, thank god for my mother.  Because, with some tears…my mother’s deal wielding skills…and the fact that Pricilla’s of Boston had decided to go out of business a few months ago, I squeezed this dress into the budget and got the most beautiful (and most expensive) dress that I will ever put on my body.    

That’s right…I got my Priscilla.    

It was the best birthday present a girl could ever ask for.  And it literally PAINS me not to put a picture of it on here.  I want to share with you all the gorgeousness that is this dress…but I just don’t trust Chris not to peek.   (yes Chris, I know you read this and I don't trust you!)

So, my lovely readers, you will have to wait for the wedding…just like him.  But, it will be totally worth it.  

I promise.  


Thirty.  Seriously…It’s a huge number. 

You know, its funny…I feel like I was way more worried about turning 30 when I was 26 or 27 than I was on my actual birthday.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel or look much different that I did the day before.   

Yes, I check for wrinkles now.  Don’t judge.

Chris treated me to a delicious birthday dinner in the north end.  I ordered a fantastic brick oven pizza with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and prosciutto.  (and I luckily got to eat it twice more at home the next day!)  We even stopped for a cannoli on the walk back to the car.  (A little too much sugar?  Sure...but it was my birthday and totally worth the heart racing and dizziness afterwards)  

All in all it was wonderful. 

When we were going to bed Chris asked me if I was happy being 30.  I told him I was.  But it started a discussion about different things I always thought I would have done by this point in my life…like be married…and have children.  Chris reminded me of what I already have accomplished in my life and told me I have plenty of time to still do these other things.  And he is totally right. 

But, I told him one of the real things I really wished I had done earlier in my life was to have had this surgery.  God knows where I could be now if I had this much strength and the confidence in my early 20s.  I mean, I’m shaking my head right now just thinking about it. 

Woulda, coulda, shoulda…eh?  But…Chris is wise…and after my tangent, said something to me in the way only he does.  Simple.  Analytical.  Right to the point. 

“But then we may not have met…so I guess everything worked out in the end.”

This is why I love him.  Growing up, we had been in the same room before and never come together.  There is a reason 29 year-old Kristen met Chris and not 22 year-old Kristen.  Do I know exactly why?…no.  But someday I may.  

Until then, all I know is that all the experiences I have had in the past 30 years have made me who I am and given me the wonderful life I have today.   And I have the whole rest of my life to have different good and bad experiences to make me who I will be. 

A wife?  A mother?  Best selling author?  Sky’s the limit... 

What I do know for sure?  30 is certainly going to be my best year yet...And everything will always work out in the end.  

::wink wink::

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do you want to be a mermaid...or a whale?

I continue to have insomnia.


So, as I cruise the internet for fantastic wedding ideas, new shopping deals, and try to figure out how to read my newsfeed on "the new Facebook," I came across this post and picture shared by a friend.

The message here really touches me and really puts things in perspective as I continue to fear I am not "thin enough."  There is nothing wrong with who you long as you are happy and healthy!

: )




A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

Dear people, 

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I?!?!

(The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pinch me...

In less than 2 weeks, I am going to be 30. 

Somehow, I haven’t been as worried about it as I though I would be.  Maybe it’s because I have Chris in my life now…or maybe it’s because I keep hearing that ”30 is the new 20”…but it’s coming whether I like it or not.  And I feel unexpectedly ready. 

My life…my personality…basically all of who I am has changed for the better since I’ve had this surgery.   I know I’ve said it before, but this was the best decision of my life.   And despite the friends and family I may have lost during this process, if I had the choice, I would do it all again.  No question. 

When I look back of this journey I chose to take, I never could have imagined I would have ended up here.  Honestly, I never thought I would or could ever have been so happy. 

But I am.  And it is just so good. 

I know that who I am and how I live my life has only changed and grown for the better.  But despite all the personal and mental growth I have made, I can honestly say the best thing that has happened to me since my surgery is the fact that I met Chris. 

I didn’t believe there was another person on this earth that could be such a perfect match for me as he is.  I love him so much, but in a different way than I have ever felt about anyone in my entire life.  It’s just so hard to explain.  Having him with me just makes sense.  I can’t even imagine my life without him. 

And, luckily, from now on…I don’t have to. 

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen...last Friday, September 30th, this girl got engaged.  And the kicker?  It happened exactly one year and 4 days after the “Lookin’ for love” post I wrote when I was feeling so alone.   

Goosebumps?  Yeah…me too…

Since this surgery, my life has been like a dream.  Or at least a really cheesy TV movie on “Lifetime.”  Girl loses weight…changes life…grows as a person…meets the man of her dreams…he “puts a ring on it”…and they live happily ever after.   (Book deal?  Screen play?  I’m certainly accepting offers…)

I love who I am now and I feel like starting a life with Chris is where exactly I was supposed to end up.  Knowing that the rest of my life is going to be spent with him by my side just seems like the perfect finale to this chapter in my life.  Just the perfect place to run the credits and leave everyone feeling happy and comfortable. 

But to me, this isn’t the end…it’s just the beginning.   And everything is just perfect.

Pinch me.   

Forget Me Not...

So, Beth had been haunting me for the whole summer about how the TNT fit club‘s running group was running the “Forget Me Not” 5K road race for Alzheimer’s research…and that I should join them.  

I think I tried to come up with every conceivable reason why I shouldn’t run it.  I was working the night before.  I was working the night after.  I hadn’t trained enough.  I would sweat too much.  I was scared that I wouldn’t finish.  I thought I may actually die. 

But, none of it phased her.  Shocking. 

So, when I had the opportunity to switch off work the night before the race, and knew I would at least be able to sleep beforehand, I begrudgingly agreed.  Running a road race is something I have secretly wanted to do my entire life.  So, Beth finally appealed to the tiny sliver of my “inner runner” and when I said yes I almost immediately felt nauseated.

I have been running with Beth for almost a year now.  Sometimes we run for our whole session and sometimes we just run a few miles as a warm up.   I love and hate it all at the same time.  I love that I physically CAN run.  It’s something I have never been able to do…even if I wanted to.   But running is hard.   And "hard" just plain scares me sometimes. 

So, this past Sunday was race day.  I did everything I was supposed to.  I ate my carb-ish breakfast 2 hours before.  I made my playlist for my iPod.  I peed at least 15 times.  And before I knew was race time….and there I was…#22 pinned to my shirt….standing in a group of people looking waaaay less nervous than me. 

As we started, I stuck with Beth for the first 2 miles...afraid to leave her side.  But, trying to keep up with her, I lost my concentration...lost the rhythm to my breathing...and nearly thought I was going die.   Despite all of that, with tears in my eyes, I kept running.  Beth slowed my pace and told me keep going.  She told me I could do it...over and over.  

And just like always, for some crazy reason, I believed her. 

I didn’t have a goal time to beat.  I just wanted to finish the whole race…without stopping…running the whole time.  And somehow, I did that…in 34 minutes and 1 second…with Beth’s hand on my back as I crossed the finish line.  

It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  And one I will certainly not forget.  

Summer 2011


Remember me?

With the way my life has been going, I not only find it hard to find the time to write…but I find it harder to come up with interesting things to say.  I wonder to myself if you guys are really interested in hearing me drone on about the details of my life, despite the fact that most of what I have to say is not “gastric bypass” related. 

But today I got this in my e-mail:

After reading this, I felt so guilty.  So, while trying to sleep tonight, I just laid there awake with words tumbling around in my head…just inspired to write.   And my body appears to not let me sleep until I take care of this.  So here we are.

Let me start by getting you up to speed to what has lived up to be the best summer of my life.   

This June, Chris and I vacationed in Port St. Lucie, FL…or as I like to refer to it “Golf Central, USA.”  My fantastically awesome parents gave us a week at their time share to use and we had an amazing time!

I know…they totally rule.

I was so excited that Chris could play golf...a lot of golf.  Him being gone for 4 hours in the morning gave me my own time to spend at the spa getting massaged and hanging out in my "bought in the regular sized section" swimsuit.  Or should I say "swimsuits"...since I did buy 3 this year!   But, I also did something pretty unexpected. 

This is me, collapsed
 after running 3miles
for the first time
I worked out on my vacation.  

Yup.  This girl brought her gym clothes and running shoes to Florida…and used them!  In fact, running there was so much fun I ran 3 miles….twice.   Even now, thinking about it, I chuckle.  Sometimes seeing how my personality has totally changed really boggles my mind.  It’s awesome.

Besides hanging out in Port St. Lucie, we also spent a couple of days at the happiest place on earth…Disney World!  I absolutely loved it….and Chris certainly indulged my child-like excitement.  There is just something about being in love at Disney.  It’s totally cliché and sappy but, I felt like a princess the whole time. 

It was a fantastic summer.  I continue to eat like a normal person and actually have been able to eat more than ever, recently.  For the first time in over a year I have actually had to be conscious of what I put in my mouth for fear of gaining weight. 

July 18th, I was 18 months post-op.  The doctor told me that this is the point in your recovery where you are on your own.  The surgery is no longer causing you to drop pounds for no reason and it’s up to you to stay at your goal weight.  Luckily for me, I remain at a comfortable 177-181lbs.  I have watch what I eat because if I am naughty, I know will, as I often say, “dump so hard.”

I continue to work out on a regular basis.  This summer, I worked really hard on transitioning on motivating myself to get to the gym on my own at least once a week.  As in…by myself.  No Beth.  No formulated program.  Just me and my own little brain trying to figure everything out.   

I don’t know why I am so freaking scared of being at the gym without Beth.  I know most of it is because I just miss seeing her and chatting about life, but I still think I have some PTSD from high school gym class.  Becoming an “independent exerciser” is an important part of my metamophasis as a person.  But it didn’t make it any easier to start.  When I told her how nervous I was about the fact that people might be looking at me while I was there, she said something that was completely unexpected.

“Really, Kristen?….I mean, who do you think you are?”

This really caught me off guard and I was shocked.  But she continued to explain that people go to the gym to work-out and no one really cares what I’m doing there.

And she was so right.  

I haven’t felt bad being alone at the gym since.  Now, the only hard part is getting motivated enough to get out of my warm bed at 8am. 

 We’re still working on that...