Month: September 2013

Behind the Scenes: US News and World Report

I posted this exciting news last week on my Facebook Page, but I had a really amazing opportunity that I am so grateful for, and I got the go-ahead to share it, so here we go!

Over Labor Day weekend, I got contacted by the Senior Editor of Health+Wellness at US News and World Report. I get media inquiries pretty regularly, but most of the time they are for diet pills or some weight loss gimmick that doesn’t go along with my view on the subject, so I ignore them. This one caught my attention though because of the source.

Each January, they come out with the Best Diets list (here’s the list from 2013) and I remember having to wear the “#1 Diet by US News and World Report” pin as a leader for Weight Watchers since WW was ranked #1 in 2012. For 2014, they are releasing 8 real life success stories along with the launch of the list for the first time – and the email they sent me was asking if I wanted to be one of those success stories!! They found me through my blog and I was totally taken aback and excited, but wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I was told they wanted to make videos of the 8 success stories in their studio, and asked if I could come in to be interviewed on film.

So last Wednesday, after work, I headed to their main office to get interviewed!

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They took a bunch of still shots of me holding one of my before shots in frame. This one, to be exact.

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After the still shots, they had me sit down in front of several cameras and under lights and asked me a bunch of questions.

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These included:

  • State your name, age, job, location, before weight, and current weight.
  • What caused you to gain the weight?
  • What was your turning point?
  • How did you lose the weight?
  • What type of support did you have during your weight loss journey?
  • What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
  • How has exercise played a role in your weight loss?
  • What made you decide to have plastic surgery after your weight loss?
  • What is your best advice for someone wanting to lose weight?
  • How is your life different now than it was before?

I had been sent the questions ahead of time so I had a little time to think about what I was going to say, but I honestly don’t remember exactly what I said for each of the questions! I got a little choked up at the end talking about how different my life is, and was so happy to be able to share my story.

I also learned that I make really awkward faces when I talk on camera (and probably in general), so you’re welcome.

AwkwardThe story will be coming out in January 2014 along with the launch of the list, so I’ll be sure to share it when I hear more, but was excited to be able to write about this much!

 

Video Q+A with Dr. Ruff

Last week I had my 6 week post-op check up with Dr. Ruff of Ruff Plastic Surgery, and he sat down with me and answered a list of questions that I compiled from you guys! I knew most of the answers to these questions but it was really fun to talk to him (in regular clothes and not a surgical gown, to boot).

Here’s a look at the video:

And here is the list of questions that I asked him:
  1. What are some of the most common procedures that people who have undergone massive weight loss consider?
  2. How many areas would you recommend operating on at one time?
  3. At what point in a weight loss journey is it recommended to look into a body contouring surgery like this?
  4. Do you have any recommendations while people are undergoing the weight loss itself to reduce the need for surgery like this?
  5. How old is “too old” for someone to consider a procedure like this?
  6. How would this surgery impact future pregnancies? How would getting pregnant affect the results?
  7. Can you talk a little bit about the nerve pain – why it happens and how long it lasts?
  8. How long after a procedure like this do you see the final outcome?
  9. Even though it varies from individual to individual, can you talk a little bit about the cost of a surgery like this? Will insurance ever cover it?
  10. What are the most important things to look into when you are selecting a plastic surgeon?

Hope you guys enjoyed the video and my awkwardness!

He did say if any other questions come up he’d be more than happy to address them, so let me know if you think of anything else!

6 Weeks Post Op

Holy crap! Where has the time gone? I know I’ve started every single update this way, but I cannot believe it was six weeks ago today that I headed to Ruff Plastic Surgery to get my procedure done. They say 6 weeks marks the end of the first stage of recovery, and I made it! I could not be happier with the results and though it sucked pretty bad for the first several days after surgery, and then emotionally for quite a bit longer than that, I am so happy with the results that I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Since my last update at 4 weeks post op, quite a few things have changed. Here are the highlights:

  • At 4 weeks I was given clearance to start running slowly, and I was really scared to think about what it was going to feel like to run again and how many steps back my body would have taken with the break from working out. The first time I went, I walked briskly for 15 minutes, then jogged very slowly for 20 minutes, then walked for another 10 to cool down. I didn’t wear my compression garment when running because I didn’t want to get it sweaty (plus at that point I was allowed to wear it just 12 hours/day), and it felt… awesome! My body was so much firmer than before and it felt so great to be running. The only part that felt kind of weird was the outside of my butt on either side, which seems random. The next day I was a little sore in the quads, but more from a haven’t-run-in-a-month way, rather than a just-had-major-surgery way. Since then, I’ve worked up to running 30-35 minutes straight, and have still been going pretty slowly for me. I’m averaging about 10-11 minute miles, and for a while there I was around the 8-9min mile mark pre-surgery. Still a ways to go, but I am so happy that it was such an easy transition back. As of today, all activity bans are lifted, so I can resume all activity with no restrictions.
  • At the 4 week mark, I was also given clearance to wear the garment for 12 hours a day instead of 24, though I wore it almost 24/7 until a few days ago. I was nervous I would have a lot of swelling and feel weird without it on, but I didn’t have any ill effects and love the freedom of not having to dress based on the cut of the garment!
  • Speaking of dressing, I went through my closet over the last couple weeks, and almost none of my clothes fit. Before surgery, I was a 10/12, and I wasn’t sure if my size would be effected or if my clothes would just fit better after surgery, but my size was cut almost in half. I got rid of everything in my closet than doesn’t fit, and was down to a pathetic amount of clothes, so I’ve done a bunch of shopping over the last couple of weeks. And, I got several skirts and a few pairs of pants, everything in a size… wait for it… 4 or 6! It is insane. When I went into the dressing room, I originally brought in size 6, 8, and 10 with me of most things because I had no idea what size to wear, and the 6s were too big for several of the items, which is crazy. All my tops are down to a small or x-small, depending on the cut, and I am so thrilled to be able to wear fitted clothing and not worry about extra stuff going on in the mid section. Woohoo!
  • I also started using a silicone gel sheet to treat the scar from NewGel+. They provided me with a strip complimentarily, and this is the one that I got (which is standard for tummy tucks). They are pretty pricey ($83.50 each unless you buy multiples), but I feel like this stage of the game is NOT the one to skimp on, so I am going to use my own money to buy additional strips. They last for 3-4 weeks depending on how well you take care of them, and it’s recommended you use them for 3-6 months for the best results. If you look at the before/after pictures on the site, the results are pretty incredible. The strip itself is VERY sticky, and you wear it for several hours at a time, the more the better, but its important to clean the area 2x a day to make sure you don’t have a bad skin reaction. I made the mistake of ignoring that suggestion and wore it for 24 hours straight when I was traveling to Woodstock. Once I realized I had overdone it, I took the strip off and looked to see that I had a minor irritation where the strip was, and ended up leaving it off for a few days and just using the BioCorneum, and it totally went away. I’m now back to wearing the strip almost all the time and haven’t had any adverse reactions. I am excited to see the scar fade and go down, but it’s honestly looking pretty awesome right now for this point during recovery (photos below). I’ll keep you guys posted on the progress as I continue to use the strip/gel.
  • Physically, I feel amazing. The only lasting effects I feel at this point (besides the whole body-cut-in-half scar) is sometimes a little tight in the stomach area, and my belly button is still healing. I have had almost zero swelling since the surgery, which I think is largely because Dr. Ruff is such an amazing surgeon. My primary care doctor had told me that I wouldn’t have a lot of swelling if I picked a talented surgeon, and I didn’t believe her because I had read so many horror stories about the swelling, but I think she may have been right. I feel very lucky! I do have a bit of swelling in my back that will continue to go down over time, but my stomach is, and has been, very flat since the surgery and has gotten better with time.

So before I show you the pictures, I want to share a funny story that definitely borders on inappropriate to tell the world but I’m going to anyway. I think I had mentioned this, but before surgery, there was one particular style of underwear I would almost exclusively wear, because it was cute and kept everything contained better than anything else. These underwear were size XL from Target and I had literally 15 pairs. I continued to wear these after surgery because they were all I had, and I wanted to wait to see more final results before purchasing too many items. Right after surgery, when I was still wearing those it was actually OK because I had the foam pads in and the compression garment, so they worked. Well, lately, not so much. I noticed they were pretty loose and knew I needed to buy some new undies, but I kept putting it off.

But then one day last week, I went to CVS to pick up a prescription after work, and I had been wearing my compression garment, said underwear, and then a skirt over everything. As I was walking to the back of the store, I felt something weird around my foot, and I looked down, and my underwear had literally fallen down AROUND MY ANKLES. I was mortified! I didn’t even look back because I didn’t (slash don’t) want to know if anyone saw, and I just pulled them up haphazardly and scurried back to the prescription counter and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. The next day I went to Target and bought new underwear in a size small. Guess we all need an “a-ha moment” on occasion.

SO, without further ado, here are some pictures from yesterday in a bikini bottom.

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Despite the stretch marks that remain, I am absolutely thrilled with the results.

Here’s a look at the scar from 6 weeks post op, which I think actually looks worse in the pictures than it does in real life.

Scar

Kind of crazy to look at, but it is hidden under even the lowest cut items, so no one sees it unless I want them to.

And here are some side by sides of the progress

1 v 2 v 3 v 4 v 6 weeks

This Wednesday, I have my 6 week follow up with Dr. Ruff, and we are going to make a little Q&A video so he can address some of your questions. Do you have any burning questions you are wondering about that you’d want a plastic surgeon to answer?

Scenes from Labor Day in Woodstock

Spending Labor Day weekend at my sister’s house in Woodstock has become a tradition of sorts. Both my niece Claire and my dad’s birthdays fall over the weekend, and hanging out at the house with the fam seems like the perfect way to close out the summer. This year, I ended up flying into Albany from DC, which is just over an hour from the house. The one hour flight was suuuuuuch a breeze compared to the 6ish hour drive from DC, so I was really happy I went with that option. My sister and the kids picked me up from the airport, and after making it back to the house, we wasted no time before heading to the pool.

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Me, Claire, and Ben

My other sister, Wendy, and her fam plus my parents came Thursday evening, and we spent the whole weekend doing a whole lot of relaxing and barely leaving the house. Some highlights included tons of games of my new favorite card game, Phase 10.

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A campfire!

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Complete with smores and lots of lovin’ on my nephews.

by the fire

Me and Harper

Ice cream cake for Claire’s 6th birthday.

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Does life get any better than when you’re 6?

So much time by the pool.

beth and claire

(In a BIKINI, no less!)

And countless hours watching my niece and nephews bond with each other.

Cousins

Cousinly love is so awesome.

This weekend was exactly what I needed. Too bad they always go by way too fast!