Weight Watchers Simple Start

In case you missed it, the Beth’s Journey DietBet starts today and it’s not too late to sign up!

Every January, Weight Watchers releases a new innovation on the program and for January 2014, it’s called, “Simple Start”. The way Simple Start works is it’s a two week program designed to get you eating the right foods without having to weigh or measure everything you eat. There are a list of allowable Power Foods that you can pick and choose from, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy, lean proteins, and some extras. If you stick to picking foods from that list and pay attention to your hunger signals, you don’t have to portion everything out. On top of those “safe” foods that you can eat from, you get 7 extra points per day for treats (aka 2 <tiny> glasses of wine if you’re me). I love that you don’t have to weight and measure everything because it’s a great way to get back into the swing of things and not feel too overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to the program.

You’ll notice this sounds veeeeery similar to the Simply Filling Technique, and it is. The main difference is, instead of using the 49 weekly points however you want (all at once, divided between a few events during a given week, or spread out however you like), they recommend spreading them out evenly during the two week Simple Start program and using 7 per day.

Since the Beth’s Journey DietBet starts today, I decided to give it a try this week (and maybe next) to see how it goes, though I’ve not been able to stick with the Simply Filling Technique before, so we’ll see what happens!

Here’s the menu plan I came up with for the week:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snack
Monday Eggs sandwich with ham on a sandwich thin English muffin w/turkey + cheese, broiled with grapefruit on the side Turkey chili w/sour cream + radishes for crunch shredded wheat w/banana + skim milk
Tuesday Greek yogurt w/shredded wheat + blueberries turkey chili w/sour cream + radishes Grilled chicken thighs w/homemade tzatziki + roasted sweet potato cottage cheese + grapefruit
Wednesday English muffin w/ cottage cheese + grapefruit chicken thighs w/tzatziki over salad with cucumbers + tomatoes Roasted chickpeas + eggplant w/brown rice greek yogurt w/mashed banana
Thursday Veggie egg scramble w/toasted english muffin roasted chickpeas + eggplant over greens turkey chili w/radishes + cheese air popped popcorn + grapefruit
Friday Cottage Cheese w/blueberries + shredded wheat turkey sandwich on sandwich thin with sprouts, popcorn + blueberries TBD smoothie w/skim milk, banana, berries, and raw oatmeal

And, in looking back at last week’s goals:

  1. Workout 3x+ this week. I only went back to the gym twice, and my goal was to go for 20+ minutes because right now I’m focusing on getting back into the habit of working out. I went twice, and ran for 25 and 30 minutes each time. I also did a walk outside on Saturday for 2.5 miles, but I really wanted to get to the gym 3x, so I’m going to make this another goal.
  2. Eat out only once this week. Done! I ate out Thursday Night for restaurant week, and then managed to bring breakfast and lunch to work, and make dinner every other night. Woohoo!
  3. Limit to 2 glasses of wine. I had a few more than two one night of the weekend, but other than that I limited drinking to twice a week.
  4. Drink 3+ glasses of water during the day. Nope. I definitely drank more water than normal, but I need to keep working on it.
  5. Get in bed by 11pm every day. I was in bed by 11pm a few nights last week, but this is another thing I need to focus on.

So, with that said, here are my goals for this week:

  1. Workout 3x+ this week. I went on a 4.5 mile walk yesterday, so one down already!
  2. Drink 3+ glasses of water during the day.
  3. Get to bed by 11pm during the work week.
  4. Stick to Simply Filling Technique each day during the work week.

And that’s it!

What’s one thing you want to focus on this week?

Back At It: Menu Plan + Weekly Goals

Helloooo!! Rather than apologize for my absence (minus my little pop in last week to share my US News + World Report Video), let me share some random updates about what’s been going on in my life lately.

After preaching about trying to break free from the power food has held over me all my life, I’ve started struggling again. The scale has been moving in the wrong direction (though I honestly haven’t weighed myself in a while and am going more by clothes/looking in the mirror) and I’ve been eating out way too much, not exercising enough, and not prioritizing my health. This has got to stop before it gets too out of hand.

I have a DietBet starting one week from today – here is the link. It’s a $25 buy in, and everyone who hits the 4% goal will split the pot. I’ve signed up and paid to play and am hoping the extra motivation ($$$) helps me stick with it! Who wants to join me?!

To help get myself back on track, I started this week with a meal plan for the first time in months, and it feels really good to be back in the kitchen. Here’s the plan:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Monday Toasted english muffin w/cottage cheese + an apple Turkey Chili with cheese + sour cream (made on Sunday) Crockpot salsa chicken (made Sunday) over a salad with spinach, tomatoes, corn, cheese, tortillas Shredded wheat w/skim milk + a banana
Tuesday Toasted English muffin w/peanut butter and banana Turkey Chili with cheese + sour cream (made on Sunday) Chicken tacos in corn tortillas with side salad String Cheese + apple
Wednesday Grapefruit with greek yogurt + shredded wheat Salsa Chicken Tacos Sesame Tofu (homemade) with brown rice + veggies cottage cheese + banana
Thursday Egg + veggie scramble with whole wheat toast Turkey Chili with cheese + sour cream (made on Sunday) Out for Restaurant Week Green Smoothie
Friday soft boiled eggs with english muffin Leftover sesame tofu over greens  TBD  Shredded wheat w/skim milk

Besides getting back to the kitchen, I also rejoined the gym this weekend and plan to get back into exercise and specifically the classes offered through my membership!

This week’s goals:

  1. Workout 3x+ this week
  2. Eat out only once this week
  3. Limit to 2 glasses of wine
  4. Drink 3+ glasses of water during the day
  5. Get in bed by 11pm every day.

I also found out recently that I got selected to speak for FitBloggin’ 14! I have been so busy that I totally forgot I even submitted a proposal, so it was a surprise to get the approval email! I’ll be leading a small group discussion called “Breaking Free: Life After Goal” to talk about moving into the world of maintenance, how it affects your blog writing and relationship with your readers, how your approach to writing/eating/etc changes. I’m really excited to talk about my own experience and help facilitate other people sharing their own!

What is one goal you have for this week?

US News and World Report: My Success Story Video

Helllllllo my long lost friends and happy 2014! Can you believe it!?

I owe you lots of updates (I’m starting a new DietBet on January 21 and also just passed the 5 month post-surgery mark), but before I can talk about anything else, I have something very exciting to share with you! I wrote a bit about getting asked to share my weight loss story and the whole making of the video for US News and World Report, and after almost 3 months of waiting, today the Best Diets 2014 list launched! Without further ado, here’s the video:

US News and World Report: Best Diets

I was pretty blown away with how it turned out, and as if that wasn’t enough, I’m also the first story on the list, which is crazy! Here’s a snap shot of the front page of the Best Diets page:

usn

Recognize anyone!?

Squeal!

Worlds Collide: Healthy Eating on the Road

Hello friends! Long time! I have been craaaaaazy busy with so many things, including lots of travel, a busy work schedule, and a busy social life! I was away for a week in Puerto Rico for pleasure, and in Denver for a long weekend for work before that. October basically flew by before I even knew what was happening, and now somehow we are almost half way through  November. I digress.

Yesterday at my day job, I gave a presentation on Healthy Eating on the Road. You may remember I did another presentation on Healthy Lunch Options a while ago, and it was kind of crazy to be at my day job talking about healthy living stuff, since those two worlds rarely cross paths. But yesterday, they did again.

I opened up the presentation with asking about what is challenging about being healthy when traveling. Everyone was in agreement that it’s definitely difficult and people were pouring out their ideas for why. Here are the challenges we identified:

  1. Lack of healthy options and not being as familiar with the options as you are at home.
  2. Wanting to enjoy new food as part of the travel experience.
  3. Time constraints/stress lead to limited time for exercise/making healthy choices.
  4. Social influences/drinking more than when at home.
  5. Lack of control over the menu/not knowing what is in the food that you’re eating (catered meals/restaurants)
  6. Kids.
  7. Portion control when eating out.
  8. Food being around all the time.
  9. Vacation mentality. (Feeling like you deserve to eat everything).
  10. Being out of your routine.
  11. Budget (healthy options cost more)
  12. Cultural Challenges (ie. not being able to turn down a 10 course meal)
  13. No scale to check in on your weight.

Originally I wanted to go through the challenges one by one and identify the tips and tricks that might work for each, but in the interest of time, we only got to a few. Here are the tips that we came up with:

  1. Do some research before you go so you can identify some accessible spots to eat and locate a grocery/convenience store not far from where you’re staying.
  2. Bring a water bottle, healthy non-perishable snacks, and workout clothes with you no matter what.
  3. Ask the staff/server at a restaurant or hotel what’s in the food and/or how it is prepared if you don’t know.
  4. Ask the hotel to put a refrigerator in your room before you get there so you can stock up on some healthy staples.
  5. Focus on eating a lot of the local fruit and veggies as part of the experience.
  6. Pay attention to portion control when you’re having heavier dishes and have less control over what you’re eating.
  7. In general, simpler foods where you can identify what is in it tend to be better for you than dishes where you can’t.
  8. 10 minutes of exercise can be enough. If you don’t have time for a full workout, just do some pushups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks. You can get a great workout and it doesn’t require any equipment and not much time, either.
  9. Carry healthy snacks with you so that you don’t let yourself get ravenous. Being ravenous is the worst way to be if you want to make healthy choices.
  10. Realize that just because you’re eating out for every meal does NOT mean every meal is a celebration. Sometimes it’s just lunch.
  11. Choose one between bread, dessert, and booze when dining out.
  12. Take a look at all the options before you choose what you put on your plate. That way you can make room for what you really want.
  13. Ask for half your meal to be wrapped up before they even bring it out to the table.
  14. Order two appetizers instead of a full meal for your entrée.
  15. Physically put yourself away from the food if it’s out all day. If it’s within arm’s reach, you’ll tend to eat a lot more than if you have to get up to reach it.
  16. Choose your splurges wisely. Ask yourself, “is this really the best cookie/brownie/etc I can get? Is it worth it to eat it just because it’s there?”
  17. Treat yourself with things other than food. Maybe go see a museum, exhibit, or show in the town you’re traveling as a treat instead.
  18. Plan a splurge meal for towards the end of your trip so help keep you on track leading up to the splurge.
  19. Stay within your routine as much as possible, even though you are in a different location.
  20. Take extra whole fruit from the breakfast buffet for later.
  21. A lot of hotel gyms are equipped with a scale, but use your clothes as a gauge instead if you can’t find one.

Lots of good stuff!

Do you struggle with being healthy when traveling? What’s your biggest tip for staying on track?

Part Two: The Evolution of My Relationship with Food

In case you missed part one, you can find it here.

Once I got to my goal weight with Weight Watchers, I had a little more flexibility with the system and how much of the “bad” foods I could eat. I was able to play the game a bit, but still cycled between that all or nothing mentality and was either being really, really good, or really, really bad when it came to eating. I learned to identify my trigger foods and make sure I never had them in my house – like peanut butter. I literally could not keep a jar in my kitchen because inevitably I would eat it by the spoonful until it was gone. And though peanut butter isn’t bad for you (like pizza would probably be considered by most), it was definitely one of those foods I did not allow myself to have when I was being “good” because it was too calorically dense, and I didn’t trust myself around it.

When you’re used to behaving one way or eating one way for most of your life, it’s a very, very hard cycle to break. I remember reading stories of people who had completely changed their lives and their bodies and preached the “everything in moderation” thing, and secretly hating them. How could there possibly be a way for someone who once struggled so much with their weight like I have all my life, come to a place where they trusted themselves around food? I didn’t buy it.

But after maintaining my weight loss give or take for about a year and a half, I realized that though I had gotten myself to a healthy weight, I still had an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. It still held a power over me and caused extreme preoccupation and anxiety, and it just came to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore.

One of the big first steps in breaking out of this cycle was changing my goal weight. I think I was putting so much pressure on myself to maintain a certain number on the scale, that it was getting in the way of me living my life and really giving food more control over me than was necessary, or healthy. When I upped my goal weight from 164 to 177, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure lifted. It gave me much more wiggle room to figure out where my body would land naturally and took away some of the power the scale held over me.

The other big thing that led to breaking out of this cycle was actually not something that I did directly – it was getting into a relationship with someone who had a lot less healthy eating habits than I did (which has since ended, but that’s a different conversation for a different day). I didn’t realize quite realize it while it was happening, but spending a lot of time around a lot of the food that used to cause me tremendous anxiety exposed me to these foods more than I’d ever been before. You know how they say if you are scared of heights, you need to gradually expose yourself to heights and let yourself feel the anxiety, and then once you realize nothing bad will happen to you, it helps relieve the anxiety and get you over your fear? (For a better explanation that actually makes sense, you can go here.)

I think for me, being around foods that used to have power over me and cause extreme anxiety over and over (and over) conditioned me to feel less anxious and preoccupied around them. It was a slow evolution and the first few weeks/months definitely still caused a physical reaction and made me ask myself a lot of questions. And, it was scary and uncomfortable being OK with being in that situation repeatedly. But, it also really helped me realize a few things.

First, I was not going to gain back all the weight by being near a pizza.

Second, I could have pizza every day if I wanted to, so there was no need to eat an entire pizza and make myself sick, because I could just have a few pieces and then if I wanted it again the next day, I could have it again (because it was probably going to be around).

Third, by letting myself have what I was actually craving and not eating what I thought I should be eating, I was able to eat less to feel satisfied.

Fourth, my preoccupation and anxiety around “bad foods” slowly lifted over time, and they stopped pulling my attention in every time I was exposed to them.

And finally, by letting myself have what I felt like eating, I actually started craving healthy foods and eating them because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.

As I said, this was a sloooow process and took a lot of courage to learn to trust myself around the foods that I hadn’t trusted myself around… ever. And it’s been a pretty eye opening process that has taught me a lot about myself. I don’t think I’m ever going to be “cured” of my issues with food and will always keep Weight Watchers as my backup for when the scale does start moving in the wrong direction. I know it works, but I don’t want to have to count everything I eat everyday for the rest of my life. And I’m not willing to.

Part One: The Evolution of My Relationship with Food

All my life, I was heavy. And I hated it. I went through this perpetual cycle of hating my body, hating myself, and hating that I let food have this power over me. I’d start off every day with the best of intentions for being healthy and losing weight, and while I knew what foods were healthy, I really had no concept of how much I should be eating of what. I would go for things with good gimmicks on the labels like “low fat” and “fat free” and “good for your heart”, thinking I was making the right choices. And I would eat just a little bit of it. And then, I would be hungry. And I would try to convince myself that I wasn’t, and do everything in my power not to eat more so I could lose weight.

And then I would binge.

I’d eat everything and anything I could get my hands on that was off limits for me during the times I was being “good”. I’d use being sad, happy, drunk, busy, anxious or bored as an excuse, and I would eat myself sick. Never to the point where I threw up, but to the point where I would feel sick to my stomach, uncomfortably full and would likely have to lay down. This would usually get it out of my system temporarily, and then I’d wake up the next day and hate myself even more. And then I’d start the cycle again.

There were periods of my life where I cared less about weight than other times, like during the first few years of college where I had my first serious boyfriend. At those times, I was just eating a lot of what I knew were bad-for-me foods pretty much all the time. And it’s no surprise that I gained a lot of weight. And then at the end of college, I decided to give Atkins a go because I knew it was something I could try that would allow me to eat excessive amounts of food and still lose weight. I was used to the “allowed” and “not allowed” labels on things, so it really worked for me. I lost 40 pounds, felt pretty good, and kept it off for a year.

But you know what? I like bread. And pizza. And fruit. And milk. There was no way I was going to be able to stick with that forever, and when I went off Atkins and back into my unhealthy restrict/overdo cycle of eating, it’s no surprise that I gained back all the weight and then some.

And then I (re)discovered Weight Watchers in 2009. I loved having the system that I could track my food (I’m a numbers person) and that nothing was off limits technically. I also loved that I was losing weight and learning to eat right, and being in a room of people where I could tell them that I ate an entire batch of cookies and they would get it and not judge me. It was very liberating. I think Weight Watchers was a very essential part of my journey because it really was what helped me develop a lot of healthy habits and lose a large amount of weight. At the time, I really needed a way out of the cycle I was in and the accountability and easy-to-follow program were right for me at the time.

But in many ways, Weight Watchers encouraged that restrict and then overdo it cycle that I was accustomed to, though a little bit less severe than it was before. I would always eat my minimum points per day, but for anyone who has ever done WW, you know that it’s really not that much. It’s enough, but there’s no way I could eat just 26 pointsplus per day every day for the rest of my life. My approach was that I would eat the daily target Monday to Friday, and then use all the extra points on the weekends or for a special event, which is when I’d way overdo it. A lot of times I wouldn’t count the points on those days where I was going above and beyond, and that freedom helped me feel less trapped by the counting of the program. But I would still have those same guilty feelings after eating excessively, and then return to the minimum points per day until I felt ok about myself again. It worked in helping me get down to a healthy weight, but it didn’t help break that cycle of being good or bad, and seeing everything as black or white.

And though with WW nothing is technically off limits, for me, it was. I didn’t trust myself to have one piece of pizza – so I would either eat no pizza on those days where I was sticking to my daily target, or eat most of a large pizza on a day when I was not. I still kept that off limits mentality with “bad” foods when I was trying to stay on track, and though this wasn’t Weight Watchers fault per se, the program allowed me to embrace these old unhealthy habits as I found my way to a healthy weight. They said everything in moderation, but for someone with as messed up a relationship as I had with food, I didn’t trust myself with the whole moderation thing.

The other side of it, besides seeing foods as good or bad, was that the bad foods caused me extreme anxiety. If I would attend a social event or be at a work party where there was pizza, my heart would literally race as I fought with myself against whether I was going to have some or not. Sometimes my willpower and resolve would be high, and I’d place myself away from the food knowing that I was not going to touch it. Other times, though, I couldn’t even pay attention to what was going on around me because I was too focused on the food and was being consumed by it. (Ironic, eh?) This was particularly sad when I was spending time with friends and could barely pay attention to the conversation because I was so distracted by the food in front of me, until it was either taken away or completely eaten. I don’t think anyone around me could grasp how preoccupied by the food I was because I put on a good act, but it’s pretty disturbing how much control I let it have over me.

To be continued…

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!

photo 2 (10)

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

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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

photo 5

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!

Take 4: Beth’s Journey DietBet

I’m hosting a new DietBet starting this Thursday, September 19. I’ve hosted a few games before and they’ve all turned out to have a great, supportive community and very active message boards with extra motivation to shed some pounds!

The way it works is that you pay $25 to play, and the goal is to lose 4% of your starting weight. DietBet has a team of people that verify starting weights and you have to submit a photo of yourself on the scale, along with a photo of your weight on the scale with a word written on a card that they provide you once the weigh in opens. Everyone who hits that 4% goal in the 4 weeks of the game splits the total pot, and winners have to submit a final weigh in to prove they’ve hit the goal. In the last several games I’ve hosted, winners have taken home more than the $25 they paid to play, and even people who haven’t hit the target have made progress on their weight loss journey and have enjoyed the game!

DietBet1

This one will start Thursday, September 19 and run through Wednesday, October 16 so it’s a great time to start making progress as we head into fall! Accepting that summer is officially over is a whole different game.

To sign up, simply click over to the game and follow the instructions!

Who’s in!?

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.

photo 2 (9)

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?

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