Catching up: I know…it’s been a while

I know…it’s been a while

It’s been a long time since I updated here, and I am sorry for that. Life got in the way.  After a stressful spring, a somewhat restful summer that inevitably became yet another stressful autumn, I decided I’d had enough. It culminated in me deciding to resign from my position and focus on freelancing and fiction writing again. This is my first week of writing full-time and so far, so good. I am still open to finding another full-time job, but right now I am enjoying being in charge of my own time and being able to choose the projects that I work on and the people I work with.

How am I doing?

How am I doing? Update

I’m getting there… 🙂

My weight loss has been a bit slower than I’d expected, but I expect some of this was due to the stress I was under and not having enough time to exercise as I should. Now that I am freelancing, I have more space in my schedule and I’ve already booked two yoga passes for this week and gone on two long walks. Next week, I’ll be returning to strength training.

Back to meal planning

Another good thing about working from home is that I can focus on planning my meals again. I lost focus of it during the summer and never really got back into it. I started again last weekend and made Skinnytaste’s turkey meatball stroganoff (though I substituted chicken for turkey since my local supermarket was out of ground turkey) in my slow cooker. If you haven’t tried this recipe, you really should! It’s delicious.

I’ve already got a few dishes planned for next week:

Buying winter clothes

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My new winter parka (Photo: lindex.com)

Since I’ve lost quite a lot of weight, most of my winter clothes are now too big. I was hoping I could continue using the same winter coat (which I bought last year at H&M and loved) but it fits like a sack now. I’ve added it to the donation bag, along with an autumn-weather coat I purchased a few years ago from ASOS, and several pairs of jeans that are in excellent condition but that slide off my hips now.

Yesterday I went to H&M to look for another winter coat. I tried on three, but none of them really spoke to me and said they wanted to follow me home. I ended up going to Lindex and found a green parka that looks exactly like the one I’m donating. Plus, it’s got sherpa fleece in the hood and lining. I love it! 🙂

I also stocked up on socks, since you can never have too many pairs of socks.

I’ve already got two pairs of great winter boots, so I don’t need to worry about those. But I need to find some thicker pull-on pants for the weekends and another pair of jeans. That’s a project for next week.

And how are you?

How’s it going for you? Have you reached your next major weight loss goal following surgery? Hit a stall? Or what’s your favourite workout? Drop me a line! 🙂 I am still trying to figure out what mine is (or will be) any tips you have will make me a very happy camper.

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Hair today…gone tomorrow?

Now that I’ve hit the three-month mark since I had my gastric sleeve operation, I’ve started to notice a few things:

  • I always seem to go through a weight loss stall the week before my period starts
  • My stomach does not like fried eggs so much, it prefers omelettes and scrambled eggs
  • My hair is starting to shed…a lot

I’ve learned to accept the weight loss stalls. Now that I’ve noticed they always seem to be in conjunction with the oncoming start of my period, I don’t bother to panic. I met with my surgeon and nutritionist last week and was assured that my weight loss was right on track and to keep on doing what I am doing, so yay me. 🙂

My stomach not liking fried eggs right now is also something I can deal with, even though I do appreciate perfectly fried eggs. At least it likes scrambled eggs and omelettes–which happen to be my favorite sort of eggs.

My hair though…well, this is not the first time I’ve gone through hair loss.

Back when I was around 27 or 28 and my PCOS problems were at their worst, clumps of hair fell out. I woke up one morning to a big clump of hair on my pillow. I also went through a period of hair loss when I had an allergic reaction to birth control pills. It took several years for my hair to regain anything close to its original thickness and coverage. Luckily, a nurse at my local health clinic recommended some hair vitamins that helped when things were at their worst.

But now, due to losing so much weight, I am going through it again. I haven’t bothered to get into a panic about it, though it did take me by surprise yesterday morning when I washed my hair and I saw just how much hair I was shedding.

It was a lot more than normal.

It was enough that it made me realize that it’s time to start taking hair vitamins again.  Luckily, I’ve already been using a shampoo and conditioner for fragile hair, so I think that will help a bit too.

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I just started using the Coriander Strength Source range from L’Oréal Botanicals Fresh Care. I like how it makes my hair feel.

 

 

In the meantime, I am looking into how I should cut my hair so that I won’t think so much about how much hair I am shedding. I know it’s only temporary, but still…

Maybe one of these styles will be perfect for me?

Have you experienced hair loss or excessive hair shedding since losing weight? Which products are you using to help with slowing it down? And which hairstyle do you think I should try?

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Catching up – life so far

I really should apologise for the radio silence. My ambition has always been to post at least once a week, but since my sick leave has ended and I am back in the office it’s been difficult to find the time and energy to post. Work is work. I don’t see that situation changing very much unless I find a better place to spread my wings. Will try harder though.

So in case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to (besides writing at work): I’ve been trying to finish two novellas (will tell you more about those on my author website) and following my eating plan (as per nutritionist’s instructions, give or take a few tweaks) and exercising (as per my physiotherapist’s instructions, give or take a few tweaks). The weight is coming off at a slow, easy pace–which is exactly what my surgeon recommended. He said this would ultimately be better for long-term weight loss maintenance and would give my body time to adjust.

A typical day’s eating is something like this:

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This is a typical breakfast for me. (Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash)

Breakfast: a bowl of lactose-free yoghurt with fresh fruit or a bowl of oat milk/almond milk/lactose-free milk with some granola, followed by a cup of tea or a glass of water. Plus, I take my vitamins.

Mid-morning snack: I choose one of these: crisp bread with some cheese, some grapes,  protein peanut butter cookie, or cottage cheese with a dried fruits and nuts mix. A small coffee with a little oat milk or lactose-free milk.

Lunch: a small serving of a Chicken Burrito Bowl from Skinnytaste washed down with a glass of water.

Afternoon snack: a banana or 2 rice cakes, a glass of water and a small coffee with oat milk/lactose-free milk. Or a Barebells protein bar.

Dinner: a small serving of bolognese sauce with rice pasta (Biorì’s gluten-free tortiglioni made with rice is really good) and veggies, plus a glass of water. Sometimes I treat myself to a small glass of wine. This depends on my stomach. Sometimes it likes wine; sometimes it doesn’t.

Evening snack: a small cookie (baked by my gorgeous hubby, who adjusts the recipe to how I have to eat these days) and a cup of coffee with oat milk/almond milk/lactose-free milk.

I don’t drink protein shakes, diet soda or any diet drinks. I stick to water and unsweetened tea or coffee. As I said earlier, sometimes I have a glass of wine, depending on the whims of my stomach. I don’t use artificial sweeteners in anything. Instead, I choose to honey, maple syrup or a little brown sugar.

I haven’t had any problems with dumping syndrome other than when I ate a small piece of chocolate mousse cake during fika. I’ve tried other sweet things and my stomach seems okay with them–as long as I only have a small piece. But most of the time I don’t have cravings for sweets.

As for exercising, I have an exercise plan recommended by my physiotherapist, which includes doing 3 sets of tricep presses, crunches, leg lifts and planks. I do these every weekday morning as soon as I wake up. I’ve also added an at-home kettlebell workout to it, which I do twice a week.

So how am I doing, weight wise? According to my surgeon, I am right on track. 🙂

How am I doing?

Have you had bariatric surgery? How’s it going for you?

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How Am I Doing? – My Progress Report

How am I doing?

It’s now officially two weeks since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. It’s hard to believe that it has already been fourteen days since I went under the knife. I’d heard so many horror stories of being in pain worse than childbirth, etc or of horrible complications.

I think I have been pretty lucky:

  • I’ve had no infections around my incisions
  • I don’t have the awful gas pain a lot of sleeve patients seem to complain about
  • I haven’t had any problems staying hydrated, so no dehydration issues
  • I haven’t had hair loss (yet) so I must be eating enough protein, vitamins and minerals
  • I haven’t been troubled with constipation (probably because I stay hydrated?)
  • I haven’t puked or had acid reflux or anything like that
  • I haven’t experienced dumping syndrome (yet) even though I have tried things that others have said brought it on for them

I have been pretty good at not comparing my weight loss progress to others. I know we’re all different. So far, since the 23rd, I’ve lost around 6 kilos (approx. 13 pounds). It’s not a huge amount, by I am glad the weight is coming off a little slower. I know it will speed up once I have clearance to start working out again. Right now, I am only allowed to take walks.

All that matters is that I am following my surgeon and nutritionist’s guidelines.

Have you been sleeved? Share your progress too. Let’s cheer each other on! 🙂

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Post-Op Day #3: How much am I supposed to eat?

You wouldn’t think it, but following weight loss surgery, you spend a lot of time eating. The portions are smaller, but you eat… a lot.

Here’s what my eating schedule is like for the next two weeks:

Breakfast: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

Morning Snack: 2 dl of a diet shake

Mid-Morning Snack: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

Lunch: 2 dl of smooth, warm soup

Afternoon Snack: 2 dl of a diet shake

Dinner: 2 dl of smooth, warm soup

Evening Snack: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

All of this comes out to around two litres of liquid meals. On top of this, I also need to drink 4 dl of water, coffee or tea.

I’m trying to stick to it as much as possible, but sometimes I am supposed to eat a snack and I am still full from lunch or dinner. I know I need the nutrients, but I also need to pay attention to how much + how fast I eat.

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Last night’s dinner, lovingly prepared by Tord. (Photo: me)

Last night, I had homemade sweet potato soup, prepared for me by my gorgeous hubby. He has been so supportive of this, even if initially he was skeptical. I don’t blame him. I was skeptical too. But now when I feel the difference when I take my daily walks, I understand that this was a good thing for me.

I still haven’t had the gas pains that other sleeve patients have mentioned. I think this is because I keep moving around a lot. I try not to sit still too long. I get up, walk around the apartment, I take walks during the day. I’ve even done a few loads of laundry (not lifting anything heavy). I take one painkiller in the morning just because sometimes I feel a twinging. But otherwise, I feel okay.

I notice that two nights in a row my stomach has woken me at 3AM, so that’s how I know I need to eat more. Today, I have managed to have all the snacks I am supposed to have, but I swear it’s not easy.

Anyone who thinks that getting a gastric sleeve is the easy way has no idea what they’re talking about. It’s not easy and it’s not a short cut. It’s a tool and you have to learn the right way to use it.

Well, it’s dinner time and I know because my tummy is poking me and reminding me that we still have yummy sweet potato soup left. Going to warm some up now and enjoy.

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Home from the hospital

Yes, I am back! On Monday, I went for my weigh-in with the nurse at Capio St. Görans Sjukus in Stockholm. I weighed 102 kilos, which meant I’d lost enough weight to go through the operation. Then I went home and packed my hospital bag to be ready for the next morning. I had to purchase one extra item for my hospital bag, per request from nurse, compression socks to help prevent blood clots. These had to be worn during the operation and the entire time I was at the hospital.

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Me checking in at 6:45AM at the hospital. I look strangely alert for someone still sleepy. 🙂 (Photo: me)

I had to be at the hospital by 6:45AM. I took an Uber to make sure I arrived on time and I was checked in, changed and waiting to be operated on by 7:15AM.

When I compare this hospital experience to what I had in Greece back in the 1990s….yeah, this was like staying in a five-star resort compared to that experience. Honestly, I still have nightmares about the Greek public hospital experience. I am sure not all Greek public hospitals are like the one I experienced in Volos but the whole thing made me happy I live in Sweden, that’s for sure.

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Me, post-operation. Sleepy, a little sore and in my stylish hospital PJs. It was actually easier with theirs than changing to mine. (Photo: me)

One of the first things that struck me was how calm the doctors and nurses were. They came to meet me in the waiting room and then escorted me to the operating room. Once there, they talked me through each stage of the operation and made sure I was comfortable on the operating table. I was covered with a weighted, warming blanket and then they began inserting the IVs to be used to administer anaesthesia, etc. I was out pretty quickly. Unlike the horrible Greece incident, I did NOT wake up on the operating table. I didn’t wake up until I was in the recovery room. The doctor spoke to me very calmly and made sure I was feeling okay. Then I was moved to my room in the gastric ward on the 8th floor.

One of the first things  I did was sip a few spoonfuls of water. My throat was parched, as were my lips. Good thing I had my Carmex with me. I spent a lot of time sleeping, but I also did a lot of walking in the corridors to help with the gas pain and general surgical pain. Actually, I didn’t feel a lot of pain. I was sore, sure. But it was manageable. I’ve got five incisions from the surgery–they look pretty good. I thought they’d use surgical glue to close the incisions, but I instead I’ve got sutures that look almost like staples. In two weeks, I’ll need to go to my local doctor to get them removed.

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Breakfast of champions? Maybe so. Tastes good anyway.  And it’s rich in iron and calcium.

I spent the next few hours (when I wasn’t sleeping or walking) having blood drawn, getting temperature checked, having doctors or nurses listening to my stomach, checking my breathing, checking my blood pressure, checking that even my urinary tract was functioning as it should.

All the while, I was being fed glucose intravenously. That went on until the next day, when I was told that I could have breakfast: 2 dl of gruel, yoghurt or sour milk (it’s similar to yoghurt and Swedes love it). I had lactose-free Greek yoghurt. It took me 45 minutes to eat all of it.

For lunch, I had mild tomato soup (also 2 dl). And then later I had a snack of 2 dl of rose hip soup. Mind you, the recipe in the link has sugar in it, but the one at the hospital was unsweetened.

Since I had no fever, my incisions looked good and my pain levels were pretty low, I was discharged from the hospital at 3PM on the 24th. Now I am at home recuperating. I will be on sick leave for a month, which is good. I need the time to get adjusted.

So far, I’ve had breakfast + a snack + lunch. I’ve taken one walk and will take another in a few minutes. I actually feel pretty good. Sure, I am still sore, but I expected the pain to be worse.

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Walking in my neighbourhood in Solna, Sweden.

I probably need a nap soon too.