Monday, July 30, 2012

Body Lift Surgery

I have very exciting news to share... I am finally booked in for my body lift surgery!

After losing 50 kilos (110 lbs) my body desperately needs a lift and no amount of exercise or lotions is going to put it back into place! I didn't carry my excess weight on my hips, bum, thighs or boobs, it was all on my stomach, so after weight loss I am left with an awful sagging apron stomach. I hate to be overly dramatic, but this excess skin has taken a huge toll on me both mentally and physically and so I always knew that I wanted to have the skin removed.

At the start of the year I saw a plastic surgeon about a tummy tuck who told me that I had too much skin for a tummy tuck and I need the more extreme surgery of a body lift. He referred me to a body lift surgeon who was fantastic, but the quote I got was out of my price range and so I was crushed that it didn't look like the surgery could go ahead.

I've spent the last 6 months thinking about ways to come up with the money and finally made the decision that I should just go ahead with the surgery and add the cost to my home loan. I am sure a lot of people will think this was a silly decision, but I couldn't keep putting my life on hold and being miserable for another second.

I went to see my chosen surgeon on Thursday afternoon and asked all my final questions and then when I was completely satisfied with it all, I booked in a surgery date. I will be going in for surgery on Thursday 22nd November, which is exactly 3 years and 6 months since I had the lap band! I wanted to have it as close to the Christmas break as possible so that I could have extra time to recover if I need it. So I'll probably have 4 weeks medical leave and that will run straight into the (almost) 2 week Christmas break.

The good news about my surgery is that it will be slightly cheaper than I first anticipated. The surgeon has decided not to do the upper torso suspension and hopes he can flatten my middle roll of skin with the body lift. I am not seeking perfection so I am sure I will be happy with whatever he can do to help! I have broken down the costs below for anyone interested in the body lift surgery.

Surgeon's fee $12,500 $1,306.75
Hospital fee $1,138.50
Anaesthetic fee $3,149 $1,574
Garments $218.90
Insurance excess $500
TOTAL $17,506 $2,880.75
OUT OF POCKET $14,625.65

Please let me know if you have any questions about the surgery or advice to offer. I also apologise in advance for talking your ear off about the surgery while I count down the days over the next few months. To say I am excited about the surgery is a massive understatement!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Weigh In- 27 July

Start: 87.5 kilos (192.5 lbs)
Last week: 82.1 kilos (180.5 lbs)
Today: 80.3 kilos (176.5 lbs)
Loss: 1.8 kilos (4 lbs)
Total: 7.2 kilos (15.5 lbs)


What a loss I had this week. To say I am excited is a total understatement! I honestly could barely believe my eyes when I stepped on the scale this morning.

I have been working extra crazy hard the last few weeks and I think the results have finally come through for me. I have to say that I think the main reason the loss is so large this week is because I have had my period for the past few weeks (damn PCOS) and it has probably caused me to hold on to some bloat that is calming down now that period is starting to go away.

This week I decided to treat myself a little for all my hard work on my Final 15 challenge. I am slightly crazy and still like to reward my dieting efforts with food (it is my favourite thing in the world) but this week I was a bit smarter and rewarded myself with some pampering.

First I got a haircut and eyebrow wax... though AJ deflated me slightly when he asked me if I got the 'Rachel' haircut...

Then a pedicure for my toes, even though it is winter and no one is seeing my feet at all, it still makes me feel nice to see shiny red toenails!

Next week my sister-in-law and I have an afternoon of spa pampering to look forward to (love those Groupons!) so that should keep me motivated for at least another week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Moving

A common theme on this blog is me complaining about how much I hate exercise and how I wish I could get skinny without working out (oh and eating ice cream too). So far, the one and only exercise I enjoy is pilates, but then my instructor changed and I didn't like the new person and I haven't found another class I like. I joined a gym late last year (for the millionth time) and, like all other gym memberships I have had, I decided I hated it after a few months.

So when I started my Final 15 challenge I knew I needed to find a way to move my body if I wanted to get the kilos off. The most important thing for me with exercise is that it has to be convenient. I know that I just won't do it if it won't fit in with my life. So I racked my brain and came up with the most obvious answer in the world. Go for a walk. Genius!

So every night after dinner AJ and I have been going for a brisk half hour walk. I know half an hour doesn't sound like an intense work out, but that is the point, it is do-able. It doesn't matter how busy or tired I am, I can pretty much always find half an hour for a walk. Not only that, AJ and I love having a chance to have a good chat while we walk, away from the TV, iPad and iPhones that tend to keep us distracted.

There are some nights when I am not going to be home until too late for a walk or AJ is away at a conference and I don't want to walk in the dark on my own, so on those days I find the time to do a workout DVD at home. I like The Biggest Loser DVD I have because it requires absolutely no coordination at all and Bob makes it very easy to follow along and keep up. I get a good workout and it's only 25 minutes-- which is perfect for someone like me who would much rather be having fun than exercising!

The last thing I am doing is taking advantage of the insomnia I have been struck with and getting up early to do strength training. I have always preferred doing strength work than cardio workouts so this is not much of a chore for me. I have a little set that my brother and his wife bought me that is a fitball, 2 kg weights and an exercise band. I can do heaps of different exercises with these each morning while I watch the morning shows before work.

So that is how I am making exercise work for me right now, I might hate it next month, but this is how I am currently conquering my exercise demons.

Me getting ready for a walk

My Biggest Loser workout DVD

My fitball, weights and band set

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Weigh In- 20 July

Start: 87.5 kilos (192.5 lbs)
Last week: 82.8 kilos (182 lbs)
Today: 82.1 kilos (180.5 lbs)
Loss: - 0.7 kilos (1.5 lb)
Total: -5.4 kilos (11.8 lbs)

I am really happy with my loss this week, losing 0.7 kilos (1.5 lbs) is a great loss for me. I worked really hard for this loss so it feels especially satisfying. Once again I kept my calories under 1000 every day (except last Saturday night when I went a little over with my indulgence) and I exercised every day. Having my foot fixed has just been fantastic for getting me motivated to work out because I just really appreciate being able to move freely again.

I have to say that lately this whole diet thing has been feeling easier. After all the drama of initially being over-filled, I think the fill in my lap band has settled into a great place and I have a good restriction. After more than 3 years with a lap band I finally think I might have hit the ever-elusive green zone for the first time. I am not starving all the time anymore and I feel quite satisfied after eating a small portion. I haven't been getting anything stuck and I can eat a variety of foods. I must say that I am probably more restricted on the foods I can eat than I would normally prefer, but I am in a good headspace to deal with that at the moment.

There have been times when I have wanted to give up on the lap band, but I am pleased I have persevered because I can really feel it working now. I finally understand this whole satisfaction thing I have heard other people talking about! Of course I still have days when my head does not want to work with the band and it wants to eat a box of chocolates... but we all have to deal with our cravings and emotions and I know the band won't help there. I am just trying really hard to be positive at the moment and I think it has really helped with the way I manage the band and my eating.

I feel really grateful lately that I have never had any band complications. It seems like lately almost every day I have read a lap band blog or forum with someone having major complications with their band and having it removed. I have bitched a lot about the lap band and how hard I have found it to manage but I am so grateful that my band hasn't had any problems (touch wood). I really feel for the people I have read about (and a couple I know in real life) who have had to struggle through pain and frustration with the band and then ultimately have it removed. It just sounds horrific.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself...

Monday, July 16, 2012


I just had the most relaxing weekend I have had in a very long time. The best part is that I didn't even de-rail my weight loss attempts by pigging out for the entire weekend! So instead of feeling bloated, tired and hung over, I actually feel relaxed, re-energised and happy.

My old best friend from high school, Katie, and I went to Daylesford for the weekend and I thought it would end up being a bit decadent because we both like to have a drink and enjoy food a lot (massive understatement). When we got there I asked her how she felt about us trying to keep things a bit healthy and she was all for the idea. She has been doing the 12 week body transformation and has already lost 7 kilos in 6 weeks so she was completely on board for a fun, but healthy, weekend.

So we decided that we would keep up with our exercise, be as healthy as possible for the weekend and allow ourselves one treat meal on Saturday night with some wine, cheese and chocolate. Saturday afternoon we had a 90 minute hot stone massage (best massage of my life) and then settled back into our villa for a relaxing night of movies and treats. What an amazing day!

I have known Katie for about 20 years now, so we feel completely comfortable around each other. We cooked in our villa, gossiped about boys and watched all our favourite movies from the 90's. We walked and talked, we shopped for clothes and constantly expressed our strong desire to eat a tray of brownies. It was just like being 14 years old again. We decided it will be an annual event and I already can't wait until next year!

Outside our gorgeous spa villa

Along the way on our early morning walk

Katie showing how great we felt about getting up early to walk instead of sleeping in

Delicious Tuscan bean soup for lunch

A visit to the Chocolate Mill to select some treats for later that night

A well deserved treat meal and bottle of wine in front of the fire

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Weigh In- 13 July

Start: 87.5 kilos (192.5 lbs)
Last week: 83.2 kilos (183 lbs)
Today: 82.8 kilos (182 lbs)
Loss: - 0.4 kilos (0.9 lb)
Total: -4.7 kilos (10.3 lbs)

Well I am absolutely stoked to see the scales going down this week, even if it isn't by very much, especially since earlier in the week I sneaked a peek and they had spiked right up. It is just really nice to see an 82 instead of an 83 and be getting closer to the 70s again.

That being said, I am slightly disappointed it wasn't a bigger loss. I really am being 100% right now and keeping my calories under 1000 every day, exercising 4 times a week, and not having any treat meals. Even when I went to McDonald's this week (Hi Kelly!) I only had 150 calories of McBites and managed not to eat a single McFlurry. I seriously suspect the severe insomnia I have had for the past 2 weeks is affecting my body and wreaking havoc with the scales.

Anyway, I can't do anymore than I am doing so I just have to be patient and happy with any loss. I do feel like some of my clothes are fitting better so I know I am on the right track. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I'll have one of those magical days soon were the scale drops by a kilo overnight!

I am really nervous about this weekend though because I am going away to Daylesford with a girlfriend for 2 nights. I am sure it will be a weekend of decadence and indulgence because she loves food and wine as much as I do. I would just love to have a nice weekend but not gain weight, which is something I struggle with when I travel. I am sure it can be done, Rachel just went to Morocco for 10 days and she managed to lose a kilo, so surely I can do this!

 Girls weekend...

What we'll be doing

Where we are staying

What we'll be drinking!

What we'll be watching

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Oh my god, another cold Melbourne winter and it is killing me!

Cold wintry day at work

I thought when I was fat the summers were bad, but it is nothing in comparison to the pain of the cold winters now. My body still hasn't adjusted to the weight loss and it is literally painful to be so cold to the core all the time. The science of being colder after weight loss is all explained here, so I am hoping it is not just all in my head.

The worst bit is that I feel like I am constantly complaining about the cold. I have turned into one of those whingers that has to go on and on about how cold she is all the time. I can hear myself whining and I want to stop, but I just seem to keep going on and on... I am tedious to be around. I am aware that I have even complained about this on my blog previously, but it isn't getting any better.

So I have taken drastic measures to try and be more comfortable (apart from just pumping my heater 24/7 at home).

Firstly, I have purchased an electric blanket to keep over me at work. My workplace keeps the temperatures quite cold for 'environmental' reasons and I just can't bare it so I have snuck in a heated blanket that keeps me toasty all day. This thing has changed my life!

Bought from here
The other thing I purchased was woolen gloves with touch screen pads on the fingers so I can wear them on the tram to work, but still read blogs and twitter on my phone. Genius!

Bought from here

The main thing keeping me going right now is thoughts of this resort in Thailand where I bought a voucher for a 5 night stay for me, AJ, my brother and sister-in-law. We are not actually going until March next year, but it gives me something to dream about in the mean time.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday Weigh In- 6 July

Start: 87.5 kilos (192.5 lbs)
Last week: 83.2 kilos (183 lbs)
Today: 83.2 kilos (183 lbs)
Loss: - 0 kilos (0 lb)
Total: -4.3 kilos (9.5 lbs)

This is why I hate weighing myself. Let the over-analysing begin...

  • Am I still carrying water weight from my period a week ago?
  • Is it because I have suffered badly from insomnia this week and feel super crazy exhausted?
  • Should I be cutting lentils and legumes from my diet because my body doesn't like any type of carbs, even the 'good' ones?
  • Are my calories too low?
  • Am I sticking my finger in the peanut butter jar too much?

Or do I just accept that weight fluctuates and I need to stop over-thinking the situation? Yes, I think I know the answer to that question.

Big sigh.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis

This is not a very interesting topic, but I know a lot of people suffer from plantar fasciitis so I wanted to share my experience. I started getting symptoms close to 10 years ago and I just ignored it because I was at my biggest weight and I was working on my feet in retail, so of course my feet were killing me and I didn't think much more about it.

The pain got bad enough that I consulted Dr Google and pretty much knew right away that I had plantar fasciitis, especially when I read this:

Overweight individuals are more at risk of developing the condition due to the excess weight impacting on the foot.

Oh great, another fat person problem to be embarrassed about.

So I suffered with this for 10 years because I was too embarrassed to see a podiatrist because I was scared they would just tell me to lose weight. I actually thought the problem would go away when I lost weight, but it got worse because of my increased activity. Earlier this year the pain became so bad I could barely walk and I was limping so much I threw my hip out. So I knew it was time to bite the bullet and finally see a podiatrist.

The guy I saw was great (and a bit cute) and he said I would need custom made orthotics because the damage was so bad (which is what happens when you ignore a problem for 10 years). He set about taking a plaster cast of my feet and made me orthotics for both of my feet. I wore these for about 3 months and the pain did ease up, but it didn't fix it completely. I still couldn't walk any distance, even shopping or a day at an art gallery was too much for me, let alone any sort of exercise. He then tried increasing the height of the orthotics and gave me exercises to do at home to try and loosen the calf muscles, but nothing helped. At this point I was $1000 out of pocket and still in pain so I was at the end of my rope.

Those who have had plantar fasciitis might know what comes next... the dreaded cortisone injection. Now I am not afraid of needles at all, I regularly donated blood before I got anaemia and I don't flinch at all when getting needles in my stomach for lap band adjustments. But I knew it would be a problem when my podiatrist told me it was going to be unpleasant and gave me a look of massive sympathy as he gave me a referral for my doctor.

Oh good god this needle was horrific. To be fair, the pain wasn't too bad, it was just the grossness of feeling a needle go up inside your heel. I honestly nearly passed out when the doctor gave me the needle. The good news is that after about a week the cortisone injection started to work and I am 100% pain-free for the first time in years.

It really has changed my life and I am back at the gym again and making plans to do things on weekends that involve being on my feet. So if you are silently suffering with plantar fasciitis I urge you to see your doctor or podiatrist and just get it sorted... and maybe try and avoid the expensive orthotics and go straight for the cortisone injection!


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

To Fill or Not to Fill

What to do, what to do....

A few weeks ago I had a fill in my lap band that left me struggling to get water down, let alone food. Over the course of the past few weeks it has very slowly settled down and I am able to each much more. It is still tighter than I would prefer during the day and I have random days where food doesn't want to go down, but I can still eat quite a bit at night.

I am booked in to see my doctor this Saturday morning and I am faced with the same old problem...

Get fill removed
  • More likely to binge eat at night
  • Increased hunger during the day
  • More likely to obsess over food

Get fill added
  • Likely to not be able to eat many solid foods during the day
  • Near impossible to eat out at restaurants/socialise like a normal person
  • Struggle to get my nutrients in and my aneamia and B12 deficiency worsens
I was all set on having fill removed and now I am actually leaning toward having a very small bit of fill added. I figure that if I am going to endure the annoyance of having a lap band, it would be good if it actually helped me to lose weight. I have never gone above this current fill level and maybe if I do I will hit that magical place that lap banders talk about where I don't feel hungry all day and think about food.

I am pretty confused about it all and I am thinking that I might just cancel my appointment until I know what the hell to do. What would you do?