Give the girls a lift

One of the hardest aspects of losing so much weight — 175 lbs, to be exact — is the loose skin. And sadly, my once voluptuous breasts only look good these days with a really good bra. And by really good, I mean the pricey, push-up, stocked-only-at-Victoria’s-Secret kind of bra. Without? Well, let’s just say that there are probably grannies rolling around in nursing homes with better set of breasts.


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Whether it’s a lift, an increase in size, or even a decrease in size, it’s easy to see why breast augmentation procedures are so popular. Yes, breasts are designed by nature for feeding and nurturing babies (and my breasts did that quite well!), but thanks to society breasts are also a bit of an influencer of status (interesting article from Mothering.com: Are Breasts Sexual or Have We Just Sexualized Them?). Some women feel insecure about their breasts, either because they feel they’re too big, too small, hang too low, don’t hang evenly, etc (for the record, my right one hangs a bit lower than my left; and my left breast is a bit bigger than my right — and apparently produced more milk, if my son’s preferences were any indication — but those two facts never bothered me).

My breasts are a hot mess, so god bless good bras (if your breasts are in need of a good lift and custom fit like mine, I can’t recommend Jockey enough – they size their bras by volume, and will send you a fit kit to use for your own private sizing). But for those who want a more permanent, no-special-clothing-required solution, breast augmentation is the way to go. In the last two years alone over 307,000 women have had some sort of breast implant augmentation — are you one of them? Would you consider the procedure?

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I have a 1:30pm appointment with my bariatric surgeon. I plan on discussing two things with her:

  • Why am I experiencing stomach pain? And, can we set up an endoscopy to make sure nothing is going on?
  • I need a referral to Dr. [Name], a surgeon who comes recommended by my bariatric surgeon’s patients for reproductive/gynecological issues – in this case, my intense desire to have my uterus removed

Not again.

I woke up early the other morning with some abdominal pain. I’m due for my period, so in my sleepy state I chalked it up to pre-menstrual cramping (what I refer to as dry cramping), and went back to sleep.

This morning I again woke up with abdominal pain, only this time the pain was significant enough to wake me up fully. I took a bowel spasm calming medication (similar to Bentyl – I forget the name) and was able to fall back asleep. That was a couple of hours ago. The pain is still present, but I can function through it. Still, it’s clear now that the pain is most definitely not menstrual related, because it’s higher up in my abdomen, and all too familiar. I want to cry…

But big girls don’t cry. Not all of the time, anyway. So instead of crying, I’m calling my bariatric surgeon and setting up an appointment for an endoscopy. If anything is visibly wrong (such as an ulcer in the making…), they can often fix it right then and there. Pro-active treatment for a possible ulcer is definitely preferable to emergency abdominal surgery!

What are some common vitamins or minerals that most people are deficient in or unbalanced in?

file000132411717 Despite the fact there are greater quantities of food being consumed that ever before, there are still millions suffering from deficiencies in multiple vitamins and nutrients. Diets that are high in carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats are also missing key minerals, fatty acids and vitamins, which is turn is having a detrimental effects on the world’s health with obesity at critical levels and heart disease also on the rise.

There are certain vitamins and minerals that are way ahead when you list what people are most deficient in, some make perfect sense some are greatly overlooked when it comes to their importance so are basically ignored. The following are a list of the most common vitamins and minerals that people are deficient in, and how to address the problem.

It is estimated that around half the population is Vitamin B deficient, and whilst folic acid is probably the best known of all the B vitamins, B6 and B12 are just as important and both carry an extremely high deficiency rate.

Women of child bearing age should boost their intake of folic acid before they get pregnant, not just after, and this is easily achievable by drinking a glass of fresh orange juice every day as well as eating leafy greens. Supplements are also readily available if you do not want to drink or eat these. Older people in particular tend to have B12 deficiencies, as many medications reduce the absorption of this vitamin so a supplement is recommended.

We hear a lot about calcium deficiencies in the elderly and also post menopausal women and whilst there is no doubt that deficiency’s do exist in these segments of the population, we hear little about how important it is to maintain a steady input as a child or as a teenager. Basically, teenagers build up their ‘bone retirement fund’ during this period of their life, and as our bone mass is completed by the age of 21, what is lacking at this stage can be hard to rectify in the future.

file000974322550 It is expected that, unless the problem is addressed, the rate of osteoporosis occurring amongst today’s young by the time they hit their 50′s will have sky rocketed. How much you need to boost your intake by depends on lifestyle, and those youngsters who take regular exercise, eat little salt and limits their coffee intake need less of a boost than those who eat high fat diets, do little exercise and drink lots of fizzy pop. Supplements are widely advised for both children and teenagers to prevent problems occurring years down the line.

Magnesium is one of the minerals that is often overlooked in terms of importance and deficiencies are more common than many realise. The major problem here is that those who are over zealous with their calcium consumption are actually blocking their body from absorbing enough magnesium.

As far as bone health is concerned, Magnesium is as important as calcium, and it doesn’t help either that’s its main source is beans, green leafy veg and whole grains, which are largely missing from the fast and processed food diets most of us live on. It is advised that anyone who takes a calcium supplement should also take a magnesium one, on a ratio of 2-1, and the better quality multi vitamins should include this so check the packaging before you buy.

The importance of protein

Before my surgery I attended enough appointments and did enough research and reading of personal accounts to know that a focus on protein would be a daily thing for the rest of my life. But it wasn’t until after I had surgery, when I knew firsthand just how small my stomach pouch was and how little it could handle at a time, that I knew for absolute certainty that protein powder would be the key to meeting my daily protein needs without having to graze all day long, or risk overeating which at best causes discomfort and/or vomiting, and at worst can lead to stretching out the pouch. And while 60g (my bariatric surgeon’s recommended minimum) to 80g (my personal optimal goal) doesn’t sound like a whole lot when you think about normal portion sizes for dairy products and meat, for me, it’s a lot.

So, protein powder it is. Protein powder, whey isolate protein powderr in particular, is the best form of protein for bariatric patients because a little amount packs a lot of protein (one protein powder in particular that I have has an impressive 15g of protein in just 4 tbsp!), and whey protein is the best for absorption. Protein builds, repairs, and maintains muscle. Muscle tissue is present in all parts of our body, and keeping it in tip-top shape is essential for overall health – and even energy. Additionally, without a sufficient amount of protein, the body will take from other muscle areas in order to give the lacking muscle areas what they need. Additionally, insufficient protein levels can lead to hair loss and fatigue. These are things that you do not want!

Moral of the story? Take your protein. Here’s a post I wrote on how I get my protein: A quick & easy list of protein sources

On the hunt for a bigger pill box

Someone really needs to make a bariatric-specific pill box. And by that I mean a larger 7-day, 4-times-per-day pill box with individual pill holders that are bigger than 1″ x 1″ x 1″. What I’m using now (Ezy-Dose Ezy Dose Push Button 7-Day Medtime Planner – four of them, so I only have to do up all of my vitamins about once per month) meets that measurements, and while it works great for standard vitamins, the larger chews and tablets from Bariatric Advantage, Bariatic Fusion, and Celebrate barely fit. Currently I have pill boxes with only the PM/bedtime slots closing. The rest are left open because my bariatric vitamins are just too big for the containers.

The perils of loose skin

You don’t want to see me naked. Trust me. From the outside perspective, the clothed me at 156 lbs. and 5’6” isn’t bad. But take off the clothes and the Spanx I sometimes wear…and…ick. As my mother put it a couple of years ago, I look like I’m melting. I have bingo flaps (loose skin hanging from my upper arms), loose skin around my upper thighs (lower bingo flaps?), and loose skin around my stomach. If I had to guess, I’d say that I have a good 10 lbs worth of loose skin on my body…which explains why I’ve had to work so hard to get from the high 160s to the mid-150s. After all, I was already at a healthy weight; my body’s metabolism wasn’t taking into account the extra skin I’ve been lugging around when deciding whether or not to let loose of another couple of pounds.

While loose skin is a cosmetic thing for some of us — myself included — there are real issues to deal with. I’ve been fortunate to not deal with rashes, chafing, or fungal infections as a result of loose skin, but I’ve heard plenty of stories and have seen plenty of pictures. For me, loose skin is just cosmetic. But it does cause my self-esteem to plummet at times. Also, I’ve had some minor issues with the loose skin getting…caught. Did you know that it’s possible to lay on your own excess arm skin and pinch it painfully? Did you know that loose thigh skin could get trapped between the toilet seat and the toilet when you shifted oddly? Why isn’t there a bra to deal with loose boob skin “overage” around the underarm area? Is there a name for slightly loose skin that is on the backs of lower legs? How many other women have to lift up loose abdominal skin in order to shave the girly bits?

At 331 lbs I looked better with my clothes on. And at 156 lbs I still look better with clothes on. And as much as I try not to let that affect me, and focus instead of being at a healthy weight and living a healthier lifestyle, sometimes it does.

- @kissmykitty on Twitter

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Hi! My name is Jenn. I'm a 29 year old, married, work-at-home mother of a nine year old daughter and seven year old autistic son. In 2008, after over a decade of being obese, I reached my highest weight of 331.5 lbs, and I decided to do something about it. In November of 2009 I had gastric bypass surgery, and since then have lost 180 lbs. I am currently maintaining my goal weight range of 150-160 lbs.

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