Our Annual Photo Shoot

So, a little over a year ago I made a post with a picture of my oldest sister and me. The caption said it was a sneak peak and a post would be coming soon. Well, that post never happened until today. It was regarding our annual photo shoot that we are clearly dropping the ball on this year. That’s disappointing, but life has happened quickly this year, and there was no planning. Anywho…

Once again, it was time for our annual photo shoot. This was our third year. It was decided that instead of doing a boudoir shoot that we would just do a glam/beauty shoot. We didn’t do all of the preparation that we did the first two years. I think we both didn’t have very high hopes and weren’t necessarily looking forward to this shoot. We had goals that we didn’t meet, which was a little disappointing. We did remember that the ultimate goal was a feel good photo shoot.

We had a different makeup artist this time, Kawambee D. She actually came to the photography studio to apply our makeup. We had fun, and since it was a beauty shoot, we ended up with some bling on our faces. Our photographer had some new hair for us, and it was gorgeous. The music and the vibe were just right as usual, and magic was made. Let’s get into this by looking at a few pics from our shoot. Enjoy!

Walking into my destiny
I’m an Amazon
Wonder if that dream is to big…No girl, go for it.
Sisterly Love

Makeup by: https://www.instagram.com/kawambeed/

Photos by: https://www.instagram.com/pdillonphotos/

Until next time,

It’s Me

The Journey Continues

If you read my previous post, then you know I had lapband surgery. I was down 50 pounds and forging forward with working out and eating better. Then I was hit with a knee injury. I tore my ACL and medial meniscus in my left knee. I have pretty much been at home since September 17th. I had knee surgery October 21st. I have not been able to do cardio. I’ve only been able to do upper body workouts for the most part. I have gone through all types of emotions since I was injured.

One of the common judgments that people make regarding people who have had weight loss surgery is that we have taken the easy way out. Well, I can definitely vouch for the fact that it is not easy. At this point all I can ask is, “Easy where?” I still love to eat, I am still an emotional eater, so like I stated before, this injury has taken me through all of the emotions. In the beginning I was doing well food wise, but mentally I was challenged because I could no longer do my workouts. Although I was being physically challenged because of my significant decrease in mobility, my biggest challenge was the mental aspects.

I felt quite discouraged from the beginning, but I also started feeling very much alone and lonely. This caused me to go to my place of comfort, food. Of course that is not the way to cope, but clearly it became my way again. Then I had the feelings of disappointment in myself that I would sabotage myself in that manner. If I could change one things about the injury, I would change the way I dealt with my emotions. It was hard to watch my muscle definition and stamina revert because of my limited mobility, and while I made some good choices food wise, I definitely made some poor ones.

I was beating myself up over this lack of progress, but through this ordeal, I would like to believe that I have experienced some growth. I never want to wallow in self pity about what could have been. My knee got messed up, and I messed up in the process of recovery. I am still here with more opportunities to do better. If you can learn anything from me, please let one of them be that “HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY IS NOT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT!!!” The big picture for me is that I have not gained back the weight that I lost after being derailed/recovering for the past two and a half months. That is definitely a huge victory. I have a good way to go mentally and physically, but I am here to see where this journey will lead me.

Until next time,

It’s Me

The Journey to Accepting Me

I battled with whether or not I would even share my story because of how judgmental people can be, but no matter what, people will judge me for something.  If my story helps even one person, then it is worth it to be transparent.  Here goes:

After struggling for so many years and watching my health decline and quality of life suffer, I began heavily considering bariatric surgery. I had several signs along the way that lead me to believe that this was the way I needed to go. My struggles with my weight date back to childhood. It’s something I’ve always dealt with, but it really got out of hand once I moved away from home and started working.

Back in 2010 I had a doctor who kept recommending it to me. She basically told me that with my PCOS my body craves carbs, and I would have a difficult time trying to lose weight on my own. I was not ready to go that route and decided I would still try and do it on my own. The years after that were filled with multiple weight loss attempts through dieting, exercising, etc in varying stages and much with little to no success. The most success I had was prior to conceiving my son where I had lost about 40 pounds, and I had to struggle to lose each of those pounds.

Around June 2018 I joined a program that had workouts and meal plans incorporated. By September my back began aching and I had a pain down my leg like I had pulled a muscle. I went to an orthopedic doctor to get checked out. The doctor I saw was around my age. They did an x-ray and didn’t find anything. Of course I didn’t want anything to be wrong with me, but it’s hard to have no answers. The doctor left out of the room, then he came back and told me he felt like he’d be doing me a disservice if he didn’t come back and talk to me. He told me that about half of my body weight was fat, and that I might want to consider having weight loss surgery. He said that at my weight I should not be doing high impact exercises because that is too much impact/pressure on my joints. He said I should be doing lower impact exercises like swimming. I tell y’all, I literally cried in the car because he wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t know. I thought about all of my successes and failures and just cried. This doctor really gave me permission to stop doing those high impact exercises that were doing more physical harm than good. They were taxing on my joints. This was my first sign.

An OB/GYN that I had gone to undergrad with was doing these Maternity Talks on Facebook live where she would speak about obesity in pregnancy and other maternity related topics. During one of her talks she told us not to be afraid to seek help through weight loss surgery so that we can lose weight and have a healthier pregnancy. She spoke of the difficulties that women experience while trying to lose weight and some of the complications that can happen when the mother is overweight and pregnant. This was my second sign.

Then one right after another there were about three people that I followed on social media who got weight loss surgery. Two got gastric bypass and one got the duodenal switch. I felt like I was getting one sign after another. I had decided on the lapband for myself. Some of these last instances happened after I had already begun the consultation for bariatric surgery.

I had my first consultation on February 4th of this year, my second on March 11th, and my 3rd on April 8th. With my insurance, the requirements were to have three nutritional sessions over a 90 day period and to get a psychiatric evaluation. My third appointment was less than 90 days from the first one so I had to have an additional one. At that appointment I finally had questions, a page full to be exact. My doctor answered every question. One of the many things I really liked about him is that he did not try to push me one way or another towards any particular surgery. Looking online in these support groups, there’s so much good and bad mentioned about each of the surgeries. One thing we have to remember is that someone else’s experience may not be our own whether it is good or bad. We have to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is best for ourselves and our lives in general. I felt good about my decision to get the lapband, and I just had to wait on a surgery date.

May 14-17th I was in class for work, and I got a call from my doctor’s office telling me that the approval had come through, and they were calling to schedule the pre-op and surgery. I wanted to schedule it for my next day off which would have been that following Friday, but I was a little nervous and also wanted to give myself a chance at really trying the pre-op diet which was the Sugar Busters diet. I told them that I’d come in on June 6th for pre-op. It was an all day ordeal, but everything was good to go, and I went in the morning of June 7th for my surgery.  My crew was with me. Y’all, I was so nervous, but I was ready. I still had those thoughts in my head like, “Maybe I can try one more time, etc.” I remembered this one guy along the way who told me that I did not want to miss my window of opportunity, and I just knew that I needed to go through with it. I went in that morning, and they took great care of me. I came out of surgery just fine. That anesthesia is so difficult to wake up from. I made sure I thanked all of the nurses there for taking such great care of me. They took me into the room where my family was waiting for me, and I was excited to see them, although groggy. They wanted me to get up. I really wasn’t ready, but I knew how important it was to get up and get moving to make sure I could recover well, so I did. They discharged me, and we went home. Things were definitely not easy.

I went back to work on that Monday, and I felt very strongly that I really should have taken a week off. I just went through the motions of getting everything accomplished even though some days it was very difficult. All in all, my healing was going well. I was definitely a little hungry going through the beginning stages. As more food was incorporated things got a little easier. I made sure to walk for exercise everyday whether it was walking outdoors or doing a Walk Away the Pounds video by Leslie Sansone.

I was asked about joining an online support community, and at this point I was down about 50 pounds from the beginning of my journey. I joined the community. There were options of live workouts, prerecorded workouts and meal plans, etc. Once I got the clearance from my doctor to do other workouts, I joined in. I was doing very well. I was able to do movements I hadn’t been able to do in a long time. My flexibility and overall mobility was coming back, and I felt so strong. Then on September 16th, I had less than ten minutes left in a Tabata workout. I was doing burpees, and when I came down, my knee made the most gruesome sounds, and I knew it was bad. I had injured myself.

If you want to know how I am navigating on this journey to accepting me, please be sure to subscribe so that you will be notified of any future posts.

Thank you to those people who pushed me to tell my story because as they said, “People need to read it.  You don’t know who you might help.”

Until next time,

It’s Me

5 Signs You’re Not Eating Enough Protein | Nutrition | MyFitnessPal

Consuming enough protein is important for mood, hair growth and more.
— Read on blog.myfitnesspal.com/5-signs-youre-not-eating-enough-protein/

Protein is an important part of our diet, yet studies have shown that many of us, especially women, are not eating a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis. When I evaluated my diet, it was over laden with carbohydrates. With the new things I have going on in my life, protein is the most important nutrient for me to ensure that I am taking in. Are you eating a sufficient amount of protein to sustain your body? Are you tracking your daily intake of macronutrients? Tracking is the one way that will let you know how much of each macronutrient you’re I taking on a daily basis.

Five Steps to Build Your Emergency Fund

If you are looking for a way to start saving, view the link.  So often we think we have to have a large goal or we have to set aside a large sum of money from every paycheck.  That is not the case.  Maybe one day you’ll work up to that.  Until that day, start with what you can.  Make a commitment to yourself so that you can save for a rainy day.  Make yourself a priority.  If you don’t no one else will. You never know what might happen.

Be Prepared: 5 Steps to Build Your Emergency Fund

https://www.navyfederal.org/resources/articles/personal-finance/emergency-fund.php

Pregnancy-32 weeks-hidden post from Apr. 2, 2014

I traveled to South Carolina (5 hours away from where I live) for my first baby shower this past weekend.  My feet and ankles became swollen.  Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I was able to see one friend that I had not seen in person since high school (May 2000).  I was able to see some other people who I probably had not seen in over a year and others who I had not seen in some months.  I was very excited to see everyone.  I was very overwhelmed by the amount of gifts we received for the baby.  It was totally unexpected.  I received quite a few diaper cakes as well as a diaper baby.  There were quite a bit of clothes, bibs, socks, burp cloths, etc.  I think we probably got a little bit of everything for the baby.  I was overwhelmed with the love.  I really did not want the shower to end.  I was quite exhausted, but so were the people who helped plan and make it a success.  My poor mom was miserable afterwards.  I think she got a little overwhelmed, and even said she felt like giving up the morning of the shower.  She did a great job with the shower cake.  There was some for us to take home, so we’ve been eating it little by little.
At the shower everyone wanted to touch my stomach.  I really didn’t mind it. It’s a different story at work where some people are mean to me and then try to touch me.  I tell them that I just don’t operate that way.  Most of the people at the shower were like family to me anyway while some of the people at work, well, not so much.  There are times where I really don’t feel like being touched such as when I am overheated.  I have also developed that rash called PUPP on my stomach and my side.  It’s a very itchy rash, and if it’s touched the wrong way, it can lead to more itching.  I have scratched that rash to death, but it still itches.  I can’t wait for it to go away.  That Benadryl spray really burns something fierce.  I guess once you’ve scratched something to the point of soreness that is to be expected. 
We went to childbirth class a couple of weeks ago.  It was on a Saturday from 9 to 5.  It was really a few hours too long.  After we came back from lunch break we took a tour of the hospital.  It was a little painful because my feet were hurting.  There was a lot of information to be gained, but I really know that I do not want to have to have a C-section.  I am hoping that everything will go fine with my labor so that I don’t have to be forced into one like a lot of people that I know.  I was reading today that going to the Chiropractor is one way to get your body ready so that childbirth isn’t too bad and you won’t have to have a C-section.  I have not seen my chiropractor at all during my pregnancy for an adjustment although I clearly need one.  I have gone for a pregnancy massage once.  I really do need to go back.  I will talk to my doctor on Friday about going to make sure it’s still ok. 
I think a lot of people don’t understand the plethora of emotions you deal with while pregnant.  Some people think it’s ok for them to have mood swings and they aren’t pregnant, but it’s not ok for a pregnant woman to have mood swings.  I don’t know how I will be feeling from one moment to the next.  There is always someone telling me what to do or what not to do or just trying to have some type of control over me.  Although pregnancy is beautiful and really something that is very amazing, it can also be very stressful and overwhelming.  You don’t know to expect all of the pain that you’ll be experiencing.  It wasn’t until last week that I really started experiencing pain.  I hate it when people seem to try and diminish the pain that I am feeling.  I try not to complain too much, but some days I could literally cry because I would like a foot, leg, and a back massage, but I just can’t get one.  When I am laying there and I feel my baby doing all of his movements, the pain just seems worth it because at the end of it all, I will be able to hold him and just enjoy him.  BTW, I went to one of my doctors today, and my little one weighed in at 5 lbs 12 ozs, and he is head down.  That really made me nervous.

Until next time,

It’s Me

Here’s a small glimpse of some items we were blessed with from our baby showers because we also received some bigger ticket items that were life savers:

28 Weeks-March 4, 2014-another hidden post

The progression of my pregnancy is great. As of today I am 28 weeks along.  I wish that I had been keeping a journal throughout.  I had great intentions of doing so, but they obviously did not pan out.  There were some very emotional times where things were a little difficult, but mostly things have been good. 
One thing I have noticed is that when someone is pregnant, people seem to think they can say whatever they want to you.  It’s infuriating.  I have allowed people to say all types of things to me and get away with it.  If I had responded to a lot of the ignorance, they would have said, “Oh, it’s just your hormones.”  This would have made me even more irritated.  I think that people don’t realize that perhaps the problem is that they’re being a complete and utter a**hole.  I don’t know why it must be this way, but it is. I think people and their insensitiv e comments have been the most irritating so far.  I try so hard not to be mean, although it may not seem like it.  It’s been a real struggle.  When you’re pregnant, there is so much going on in your mind, so much you want to talk about, but sometimes not enough people to share it with.  Instead of listening people tend to just want to give you unsolicited advice.  I will admit that there have been some days that I’ve felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster and I literally could have just crawled into bed or into a corner and just bawled my eyes out just to relieve some of the tension. 
One of the great and scary things about pregnancy is watching your belly grow.  It’s like one day, you don’t even think you’re showing, but then the next day it seems as if out of nowhere, your stomach is so huge and you cannot function in a normal shirt.  I have gone to workout at home some days and put on a regular t-shirt, and it has been so tight.  It’s crazy because it doesn’t seem as though you’ve gained that much until you try on something that you were once able to wear comfortably and now are unable to fit at all.  I will admit that I have always been kind of scale obsessed to the point that I weigh myself at least once a day.  Since I’ve gotten so far along in my pregnancy, I cannot bear to weigh myself that often.  Now I might weigh myself once per week, if that.

It’s Me