Maintaining

Just checking in and talking a bit about maintaining.  Not much going on right now.  I had a follow up doctor’s appointment today, 5 1/2 weeks after facial plastic surgery.  In 6 weeks I will have my tummy tuck and breast lift.

The last couple of weeks I felt I was sort of on hold.  I felt reasonably good but still tired easily (sleeping on my back in a recliner wasn’t easy for me).  This week I am finally sleeping in bed on my side so feel much more rested.  And, that is good, since I want to get back to full strength before my surgery at the end of July.

I weighed in at Weight Watchers on the first Saturday in June but for the last 10 days or so have been pretty loose on how much food I am eating.  I am consciously working on maintaining right now. I am counting SmartPoints and calories, but notice that I tend to have a pattern on maintenance.  Basically for the first couple of weeks after I weigh in, I eat mostly what I want to and don’t pay a lot of attention to whether I stay within my points or my calories.  Then, I tighten up in the couple of weeks before the next weigh in.

In practice, I really seem to go more by weight on my home scale than I do by my points or calories.  It isn’t that I don’t pay attention to them.  I do.  I record them and there are certainly times that I choose what I plan to eat because of points (or the lack thereof).  But, during that first two weeks after I weigh in, it doesn’t bother me to end the week in the red.

I still can’t do any exercise beyond light treadmill so I am not earning the Fitpoints I would usually earn.  Since I do eat my FitPoints (beyond the baseline), that makes it much easier for me to end in the red on Weekly SmartPoints.

I realized last night I sort of am going more by weight right now.  I weigh at home in the morning without clothes.  My home scale weighs a little “high” so usually my weigh in at Weight Watchers is about .4 pound above what I weigh in at home (I wear shorts and a tank top to weigh in at Weight Watchers).

So, right now, if I weigh at home and I am 145 pounds or below I am golden.  I know that if I am in that range then I am sure to weigh in at Weight Watchers at 146 pounds (my goal weight) or below, even if I had a temporary gain of half a pound or so due to fluid retention.

If I am between 145 and 146 pounds, then that is acceptable.  I know that my true weight is at or below my goal weight of 146 pounds so I find this acceptable although not my preferred weight.  I also know that if I weigh in at Weight Watchers, I may weigh slightly over 146 pounds, but I can weigh up to 148 pounds and still keep my free lifetime status.

If I am between 146 pounds and 147 pounds, then that is like a caution light.  I should still be able to weigh in at Weight Watchers and not go over 148 pounds.  (Even though my goal weight is 146 pounds, Weight Watchers considers me free lifetime at goal as long as I don’t weigh in at more than 2 pounds over goal).  But, in this range, I need to pay more attention to what I am eating.  If I am going out to eat, I will be more cautious where I eat and will pay a lot more attention to where I am on my SmartPoints available.

If I am over 147 pounds, then that is the point to start eating very carefully and staying within my SmartPoints.  My goal at that point is to get back to the 145 pounds.

Now, in reality, all of that is also overlayed with the time piece of this.  That is, if I recently weighed in and then eat out a few times and jump up to over 147 pounds, I take note of it but am not that concerned.  I know in that situation this is largely fluid retention and I am nowhere close to my next weigh in. To the extent, I may need to lose some true extra weight, it isn’t very much at that point.  I do need to pay attention what I am doing, but it isn’t as urgent as it would be at, say, a week before weigh in.

Also, if I have just weighed in and I am at 145 pounds, then I feel comfortable with going out to eat and eating whatever I want (bear in mind, I am not talking about going nuts on food — my choices even when eating whatever I want are nowadays a lot more moderate than they used to be).  On the other hand, if it is 3 days before weigh in and I weigh 145 pounds, I am going to be careful with what I eat and probably won’t eat out at all (if I do it will only be at a place where I know I can stay within my daily SmartPoints).

Right now, I am 16 days away from the first Saturday in July.  So, I am starting this week to tighten up my eating.  I am up a little from where I want to be on weight, but think it will drop quickly with a couple of days of eating more carefully and not eating out (I’ve eaten out 3 times this week and that is most of the issue). Sunday, I will be eating out (Father’s Day), so I will be eating very carefully on Friday and Saturday. And, then after that I really will use those weight guidelines above. From this point, I will weigh daily and will take action as needed so I can be ready to weigh in for July. (And my next weigh in after that will be post tummy tuck/breast lift).

 

Facial Plastic Surgery Update

I thought it was time for an update since it has been 4 weeks and 1 day since surgery.  Overall, I am doing much better.  I don’t get as tired and am able to use the treadmill for light walking now.  I am still sleeping in my recliner until next Monday so I can avoid sleeping on my side.  That is challenging, but manageable.

6-7 front

6-7 left

These pictures were taken today.  The only I don’t like is that my gray is starting to show and my perm hasn’t much left to it.  I can get a new perm in 2 weeks and then color a week after that.  Really looking forward to that.

Even though, I know I am still in the healing phase I am happy with the results thus far.

On a daily basis, it is hard to see the changes in swelling, but the changes can be seen when I compare prior pictures:

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In the above pictures, the one on the top left was on my birthday in April.  The top right was 2 weeks after surgery, bottom left was 3 weeks, and bottom right was today.

Looking at them together I can really see the difference from before surgery and the difference between 2 weeks ago and today.

I am happy with the results at this point, but may need a couple of small revisions at 6 months.  The attachment of my left ear may need a slight revision.  Also, my right brow was really low and had a lot of excess skin.  It could not all be removed without making the scar too long past the end of the eye.  It is possible that as the swelling goes down and the scar flattens that it will be OK.  But, it may possibly need to have some more skin excised at about 6 months.  I’m OK with that if need be and will just wait to see how the healing goes.

I still have the excision of cholesterol deposits to complete and some of that will likely be worked on when I have my tummy tuck and breast lift in late July.  And, of course, I’ll have that whole big surgery and recovery to go through.

Right now, even at the stage of healing I am at, I am very happy I did this.  The hardest thing for me has been adjusting to my eyes.  That is the thing that is different from how I have ever looked in my life.  For example, I love that I don’t have a sagging turkey neck now.  But, I remember when I didn’t have one when I was younger and thinner and hadn’t lost as much weight.  And, just the general facial lifting is something that isn’t startling to me because I remember when my jowls didn’t sag and so on.

But, the eyes are different.  I really had several issues with my eyes.  First, I had lots of excess skin.  That was something that just got worse and worse the more weight I lost.  And, I don’t miss that skin being gone.  I also had cholesterol deposits on my upper eyelids and underneath my eyes.  Those showed up less than 10 years ago, so I remember not having them (and look forward to when they will all be gone).

But, there were things that I didn’t like my eyes ever.  Even when young, if my eyes were open the upper lid where I put my eye shadow couldn’t be seen.  My eyes were always hooded and I didn’t like it.  One of the things that I found out when I had my consultations was that my outer brows were low which didn’t help.  My doctor told me that a temporal brow lift (this lifts the brown only on the ends — not the middle brow which I didn’t need) could help.  But, he also said some people don’t like it because it can change how the eye looks.  I decided to go ahead and have the temporal brow lift along with the quad blepharoplasty.

I know understand better what he meant.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my new eyes even knowing they still have a lot of healing to do and even if I have to have a small revision later.  But, my eyes look different from how they have ever looked at any time in my life.  Between the brow lift and the blepharoplasty on upper and lower lids, my eyes are not just rejuvenated to what they were at some earlier time.  They look different from how they have ever looked in my life.  I am still learning how to put on makeup for eyes where the upper lid can be seen when my eyes are open. (Note the last couple of years, you could see my lids because of loss of facial volume and eyes hollowing out but that wasn’t a very appealing look).

The interesting thing for me is that when I see myself in the mirror I do not yet recognize those eyes as “my” eyes.  I mean, yes, I realize that looking at my face as a whole I am recognizable as myself.  But, when I look in the mirror, my eyes still seem foreign to me, like they belong to someone else.  I like them better than my old eyes, of course, but it is definitely an adjustment in getting used to this being how I look now.

Oh, one more pic, since I don’t want to just compare pictures with makeup.  The picture on the left was a few weeks before surgery with no makeup.  The one on the right was today with no makeup.
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In this pic on the right you can really see how I still have the cholesterol deposits remain under my eyes (and there are a couple on my lids as well).  But, that will eventually be taken care of.

June Weigh In

I did go to my Weight Watchers meeting today for my first weigh in since surgery.  As I’ve mentioned, I currently have myself set on maintenance.  Adequate nutrition during healing is important and this is not the time to try to lose more weight.  I ended up weighing in at 145.4 pounds, down .8 pounds from last month.

I was happy with the weigh in.  The first week after surgery I ate very little, just wasn’t hungry and only ate as necessary to take medication and to try to get some calories and protein in.  The next two weeks I ate a lot more and actually blew through all my points.  Despite that, I lost weight during those weeks.  I spoke with my doctor and basically chalked this up to the body metabolism increasing in order to do more healing.  So, I had no negative effects (weightwise) from eating so many calories.

This last week was more like an almost normal week.  Since last Monday I have been able to use the treadmill to walk and I have slowly done that (very slowly) and have gotten to where I do about 30 minutes usually divided into 2 sections.  Before this week, my activity was really low since I wasn’t supposed to do much activity.  I am still not supposed to do anything other than walking or light exercise bike for several more weeks.  I’ve also been told that even if I feel good I shouldn’t do things like heavy cleaning or anything that would cause any straining.  That might cause bleeding and increase swelling. [Read more…]

Vanity, Aging and the Visible Signs of Aging

As I have mentioned before, I did a lot of my research on plastic surgery at Realself.  One of the concerns that I have often seen from those considering plastic surgery is that they will be thought to be vain if they have surgery.  That is, the fact of cosmetic surgery is considered by many to be an act of vanity.

Vanity

So what is vanity?  One definition I read that that it is the “quality of people who have too much pride in their own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc.” This goes on to say that it is the quality of being vain, which doesn’t help much.  So, I looked at the definition of vain which included “too proud of your own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc.” So, I sought another site to see if it was to the same effect and that definition was also similar: “excessively proud of or concerned about one’s own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.” Another definition of “vanity” perhaps went in a bit different direction: “the personal characteristic of being too proud of and interested in yourself, es.p. in your appearance of achievements.”  So, not just being too proud but simply having too much interest in your appearance.

It seems to me that the key to vanity in these definitions seem to be the idea of “too much” or excessive pride in one’s appearance.  Or, perhaps, must thinking about it too much. It doesn’t really, objectively speaking, have anything to do with what you do to achieve your appearance.  Rather, it has to do with how proud you are of your appearance and whether that pride is excessive in nature.  Does having surgery to improve/rejuvenate/change your appearance necessarily mean that you are excessively proud of that appearance?  I would argue not.  I could perhaps see better the idea that if you have surgery then you are necessarily “too interested” in your appearance.  You have gone beyond the norm.  Still, that seems very subjective.

There are two factors that I think must be present for vanity.  There must be pride and concern about one’s appearance and it must be excessive. For most people in the modern world, it is expected to have a certain concern about appearance.  It is, in fact, outside the norm to have no interest in your appearance at all. I don’t really like the word pride as it can be a loaded word that can be used positively or negatively.  But, there are few of us who have no interest in our appearance.  At a minimal level, it is expected that we be clean, well-kept and wear clothing that is appropriate to the situation.   And, in general, I think that the vast majority of people out there (male and female) like to look good.  Yes, women generally put more care into appearance than men, mostly because women in our culture are usually more likely to wear more elaborate hair styles and wear cosmetics.  But, even most men that I know will shower, comb their hair, shave (or shape a beard or mustache), and wear nice looking clothes when going to work or important events.  They may not culturally do all that women do, but that doesn’t mean that they have no interest in their appearance. Even most men don’t choose clothes based purely on utility.  They buy a shirt or suit that they think looks nice on them. [Read more…]

Weight Watchers Discusses That Biggest Loser Study

I posted a few week ago about that Biggest Loser study which talked about weight regain among Biggest Loser contestants.  Essentially the study found that out of a group of contestants studied several years after competing all but one had regained at least some weight.  And, in general, their resting metabolic rate (RMR) remained at a level much lower than would be expected by the size of the participant.  That is, they burned fewer calories than you expect using standard calculators to determine resting metabolic rate.

There was a New York Times story that talked about the study that I felt had been somewhat overhyped to assert that the study this meant that weight loss doesn’t work. Or rather, those who lose weight are doomed to regain.  In my post, though, I pointed out that many of the participants had regained some weight but had maintained significant weight loss.  While the reduced RMR found in the study participants is concerning, the study was also clear that the participants as a group had lost a lot of weight and maintained significant weight loss.

Now, Weight Watchers has weighed in with its interpretation of the study.  I have very mixed feelings about that article. While I do feel the article makes a number of valid points, I thought its treatment of the RMR question was simplistic at best and really didn’t come to grips with the key finding of the study — that weight reduced subjects years later had lower RMRs than would be expected based upon their size. [Read more…]