My first before-and-after photos

Here is what I looked like the day before the surgery.

And this is what I looked like on Sunday, which was one month and one day after surgery.

I can see some differences. Until now, most of the progress I’ve seen has been on the scale, but looking at the photos, I can definitely see that I’m losing weight. The roll of fat on the back of my neck is noticeably smaller. So are my calves (although this isn’t really noticeable in the top photo). And my stomach? Looking good. My shirt looks much flatter (Footnote 1).

I am still waiting to see improvements in my forearms and under my chin, but I’m sure that will come with time.

Footnote
1. It’s a 3XL Mickey Mouse polo shirt that I bought at the gift store at Animal Kingdom many years ago. I had stashed it under the bed many years ago, because it no longer fit but I liked it enough to keep it. As you can see, it now fits again. I have a white one too, and a few more 3XL shirts I had squirreled away.

Finally!

I started working back in the office last week, and I was a little disappointed that very people people complimented me on my appearance. Only the people who knew I was having the surgery said anything positive.

Today, out of the blue, a coworker who doesn’t know I had surgery said “It looks like you’ve lost some weight.” I was elated. “Yes, I have,” I said. “Thank you for noticing.”

Where shopping is a pleasure

As it turns out, one of my big post-surgery fears — going into grocery stores — hasn’t turned out to be a problem at all. I had been dreading my first trip back to a place where I’d be surrounded by food. Oreos. Pop-Tarts. Cupcakes. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Entenmann’s donuts. All temptations I need to avoid now.

As it turns out, it wasn’t that bad. The Complementary Spouse and I were running errands over the weekend, and he said he’d drop me off before going to Winn-Dixie. “I can’t avoid grocery stores forever,” I told him. “I’ll go with you.”

It was a little disappointing to walk in and see all the food I won’t be able to eat for months. It wasn’t just the sweets, which I’ll need to minimize for the rest of my life. It was the hot dogs, English muffins, pineapple, and other staples. But I didn’t feel nearly as tempted as I thought I would. I even picked out some things for myself: some Jell-O instant chocolate pudding (Footnote 1), and some sugar-free seedless raspberry jam to put on top of cottage cheese (Footnote 2).

Since that initial trip to Winn-Dixie, I’ve been to Publix and Spouts. I’ve also perused the food aisles at Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, and Walmart. And I haven’t had a problem. This is progress.

Footnotes
1. I can mix two scoops of protein powder in as I prepare Jell-O pudding. With the milk and protein powder, each half-cup serving has about 14 grams of protein. My goal is to have between 80 and 100 grams a day.
2. Another food that’s shockingly high in protein, even if the texture leaves something to be desired.

Two scrambled eggs and a recovery milestone

Last weekend, I ate outside the house for the first time since having the surgery. We went to IHOP, where I was able to get two scrambled eggs, which are allowed now that I’m on a pureed diet. I was able to finish about three-fourths of it.

The Complementary Spouse and I like to eat out, so this one meal represents a return to normalcy. However, it will be at least five week before I can have a real meal at a restaurant, and even then I’d have to be careful to only eat three to four ounces of food.

Off-topic: I saw the following sign outside the restaurant. Where am I supposed to walk?

Take me out to the ballgame

Last week, the Astros-Rangers series was moved from Houston to Tropicana Field. Tickets were only $10, and parking was also reduced. The Complementary Spouse and I decided to go on Wednesday night. This marked my first major trip out of the house since the surgery, and I was curious to see how well I would sit in the narrow seats.

The game was great: Although we were routing for the Astros, the Rangers played superbly and we saw them score six runs in the fourth inning. Even better, I fit relatively well in the seats — there’s still a lot of room for improvement, but I didn’t feel like I was spilling over into the adjacent seats.

Food wasn’t a problem for me. When we arrived, the Complementary Spouse got a footlong hot dog, which was tempting, and I really wish I was able to get my own. Yet, I was more jealous than hungry. I wanted a hot dog, but I wasn’t really hungry for a hot dog. That’s a significant differentiation, and I need to be aware of it.

So, what did I get at the ballgame? I just got a bottled water (Footnote 1), and brought a packet of Crystal Light lemonade from home (Footnote 2).

I’m very excited that I fit well into the seats at the Trop. I remember going to a Lightning game a few years ago, and my flab extended over the armrest. I was so embarrassed that all I wanted to do was leave. Being able to attend sporting events will improve the quality of my life. The Rays might not have much more to offer this season, but bring on the Lightning!

Footnotes
1. Price: $50
2. The tiny foil packet set of the metal detector.

A rewarding trip to the mall

My shorts are a little baggy, so the Complementary Spouse and I went to JCPenney to see what would fit me. It turns down I’m down a pants size and a shirt size. While I don’t want to spend too much money on new clothes when I’m certain to lose more weight, I did buy a new pair of shorts, two polo shirts, and a T-shirt. This being JCPenney, where everything is always discounted, the whole shebang cost me less than $70.

As you might recall, I’m superstitious about buying clothes before I know they’ll fit.

10 pounds in 10 days

I never expected to lose weight like magic after the weight-loss surgery. The weight would come off quickly, I knew, mainly through a combination of lifestyle change and a very limited diet.

But it sure seems like magic.

This morning, on the scale, I realized that I had lost slightly more than 10 pounds in the 10 days since my surgery. That’s about a pound a day. I know this is an unsustainable rate of weight loss; it will slow down as I add more foods into my diet, and plateaus are inevitable. But this is amazing. And, for someone who has been stuck in a certain weight zone for several years, it feels pretty darn good.