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…]

Facial Plastic Surgery Update

I had my facial plastic surgery 15 days ago and had an appointment today to have my remaining sutures removed.  So, I thought this was a good time for an update. (Well, to be honest, I am also working on a long weight loss related post but this was a very taxing day and I just don’t have the stamina to finish the other post today.  I was originally going to do it today and this one tomorrow, but I’ll flip it).

I wanted to post a few pics of my current status and some of my thoughts on where I am now.  One of the super cool things about getting all my sutures out is that I was cleared to wear makeup.  I still have some bruising on the sside of my face and I just wanted to be able to see my progress with makeup on.  I am not a big wearer of makeup, really.  I don’t usually wear it around the house, for example, but it has been hard to not wear it at all.

Before I post pictures, I have to make a few caveats though.  First, the light in my makeup mirror burnt out so the lighting I had to put on the makeup was not the best.  The result is that the makeup is heavier than I really like to wear it.  But, after having gone to the doctor’s to get sutures out today, it was just too tiring to take it off and start over.  Second, I replaced all of my makeup before surgery.  I thought it was a good opportunity to make sure I had fresh makeup as I didn’t want to risk any infection from makeup past its prime.  So, I was in some cases using new products that have a bit of a learning curve (gel eye liner instead of pencil for example).  Third, applying makeup was different.  Most of that is because I still have areas of numbness.  I have some feeling everywhere on my face, but it doesn’t feel like normal.  Putting on mascara with tingling eyelids was interesting.  And, applying makeup was different because part of my face is now shaped differently.  For example, typically I haven’t been able to really see the lids on my eyes unless I closed my eyes.  Now, I can see them.  So, putting on eyeshadow is different.  That is an adjustment as well.

All of which is a way of saying that that my makeup application was less than optimal.  Another point I must make is that I still have a lot of swelling left.  The rule of thumb I’ve read by some of the doctors at Realself is that 20% of the healing is done at 2 weeks.  I have improved a lot during the last 2 weeks as you can see from the pictures I previously posted on my last update.  But, the vast majority of the healing has not yet occurred.  So, this is where I am basically 2 weeks into healing with makeup with about 80% of my healing left to do. Anyway, without further ado:

5-24 Medley

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Body Image as We Change (and an Update on Me)

As I have been recovering from my facial plastic surgery, I have been thinking a lot about body image.  Part of that has been realizing how much I still don’t “see” me as normal weight.  And, in fact, not only do I not see my as normal weight, somehow I still in many subtle ways still thing of me as being over 200 pounds instead of in the 140s.

Logically, of course, I know I’ve lost weight.  But, I still have difficult in going to the correct sizing in a store.  I will wonder if I should pick the size 14 or 16 pants to try on when really I should be debating between 10 or 12.  I guess that it some progress.  I no longer consider the size 20 pants.

The other day I was ordering some Jess n Jane T-shirts from Amazon (I adore them).  I really agonized over whether I should order the large or maybe the extra-large.  I had bought my daughter one in a small so I had some idea as to how the sizing ran.  I finally bowed to logic and ordered a medium.  But, right up until the moment I put it on, I was worried about returning it.

And, it isn’t just close.  I came across a book about losing weight the other day and briefly considered buying it.  But, I don’t actually need to lose weight, at least not more than a very few pounds to be “ideal” instead of just normal.  But, for years, I have pored over every book or article about weight loss.   The fact that Kitty is overweight and needs to work on losing weight has just been part of who I am.  It is disconcerting at times to realize that how I internally see myself doesn’t necessarily reflect reality.  When I see a picture of me at 200 pounds, I don’t exactly like that picture, but it is what I expect to see.  When I see I picture of me taken recently in the 140s, it looks good…but doesn’t yet match my mental picture.

I’ve thought about this a lot as I recover from facial plastic surgery.  I was aware of the whole body image thing that many go through losing weight.  I try to consciously be aware of it.  But, I don’t think I had thought about this with regard to my facial surgery.  I mean yes, I wanted to have that turkey neck gone, but it is also part of me that I have become used to.

When I consulted with my plastic surgeon, one of the things we discussed was whether I wanted to have a temporal brow lift.  I knew for sure I was was having a quad (both upper and lower eyelids) blepheroplasty and that I would have my cholesterol deposits excised.  But, another option was to lift the outer part of the brow.  My middle brow was fine, but a temporal brow lift could open up my brows a bit more. I had a lot of loose skin on my lids that had only become much worse with weight now.  The blepharoplasty would help with that.  But, my brow had always been, in my view, a little low and hooded.  I hadn’t liked it in my 20s, let alone now.

Anyway, in discussing the option of the brow lift, the surgeon said he thought it would help with the things I was concerned with, but some people might not like it.  Why?  It would change the brow enough that it might change the actual appearance in the area.  In general, with facial surgery like I am having the goal is not to change the underlying appearance.  You still look like you, just minus the turkey neck or loose eye skin or whatever.  Doing the brow lift might cause me to look a little different in that area.  I was OK with that, since I never liked that brow area anyway.

During my recovery, though, it has been disconcerting that for about 10 days I literally haven’t recognized myself in the mirror.  That is basically from the swelling.  A combination of a brow lift and blepheroplasty results in swelling, lots and lots of swelling.  For the first few days after surgery, I could not open my left eye at all and could only see a tiny slit out of my right now.  And, I had a lot of facial swelling.

After several days and lots of icing of the eyes, much of that swelling has gone away.  That was good.  I still have quite a bit of swelling there and the incisions haven’t yet flattened out, but it is so much better than it was.  It was that point, though, that I realized I had a lot of swelling in the lower face.  There were a few days there where my eyes looked pretty good in terms of swelling, but I still didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.  That was a really odd feeling.

I still have a long way to go before the swelling is gone.  It takes months for it to all go away.  And, I still can’t wear makeup.  I actually ended up with less bruising than many.  I have some bruising on the side of my face, but not nearly as much on the face as I expected.

At some point I will post some of my early recovery pictures, but I will probably wait until I am a bit farther along.  I finally realized today that, even with a lot of swelling still existing and not all of my sutures out yet, I can recognize myself.  So I will post a couple of pictures.  Again, these are pictures of me with no makeup and with a lot of swelling still present.  I have 2 sets of pictures.  In each of them, the photo on the left was taken before surgery.

5-20 Comparison Side

The photo on the left shows my much hated turkey neck. On the photo on the right, I particularly like the fact that I no longer have the turkey neck.  Note that I do still have a lot of swelling in the lower jaw and neck.  You can see the bruises that still exist on  the side of my face and neck.

I post this next set of pictures to give some idea of the roller coaster that recovery has already been.  I still have a long way to go in terms of reducing swelling and bruising, but today I finally recognize myself in the mirror.

5-20 Quad

The upper left photo was pre-surgery, no makeup. The other right was the day after surgery.  I could see nothing except a tiny slit of vision from my right eye.

The bottom left was 4 days after  surgery.  The red splotch on my forehead is from a reaction to adhesive used during surgery. If you look closely you can see the sutures on my eyelids.  The puffiness underneath my eyes is part of all that swelling. I didn’t totally realize it at the time but I also still had a lot of lower face swelling.

The picture on the bottom right was taken today with no makeup.  I do still have my facial bruising, but a lot of the swelling around my eyes has gone away.  My external incisions on my eyelids have come out, but I still have swelling so those incisions haven’t flattened out yet. I still have a lot of lower facial swelling.  I can feel it when I touch my face.  But, it is much better than it was.  Given that I am 11 days past surgery and with all that I had done I am happy with the progress.

But, I also realize that in terms of body image I will not only need to continue to adjust to my size, but will work on adjusting to the differences in my face.

I’m Fine and Recovering

Just a brief post to let you all know that I am fine and recovering.  There were no problems but the swelling around my eyes has been really a lot so I haven’t been able to see hardly at all.  I stayed overnight at the hospital after surgery and they were extremely attentive.  I came home Tuesday afternoon and my husband has literally been my eyes and hands for almost everything.  Early on, I had so much swelling I could barely see a slit out out of one eye and nothing out of the others.  Also, I had a lot of pain and couldn’t sleep at all.  That was rough.

On Wednesday, the doctor upped my pain medication which helped a little.  For that first 48 hours I didn’t seem to do much except ice my eyes using gel packs.  In between that I would try to eat some food so my medication wouldn’t make me nauseated.  I was totally not hungry at all.  Monday was a zero point day as I couldn’t eat anything even after I got out of surgery, only ice chips and then water.  Tuesday I proceeded to a liquid diet and when I could hold that one I went to a soft diet. Once my catherer was out and I could prove that I could fee I was able to be released.

Wednesday was the day of maximum swelling. I couldn’t see out of the left eye at all and could just barely see light out of the right eye.  I still wasn’t every hungry but I did try to eat food with protein.  I ate some Quest bars heated in a microwave and also had a scrambled egg which was great.

Thursday I went to see the doctor to get dressings changed and to have my drains removed.  It was a great relief to get those out and to get the really heavy bandages off.  They also did something absolutely wonderful, beyond wonderful.  They washed my hair for me.  They were super gentle as I still have sutures in my scalp but it felt so great to just the hair yet and get some of the blood washed out.

I also talked to the doctor about how exhausted I was and I couldn’t get any restful sleep.  The higher pain medicine was helping some, but I was still having difficulty sleeping.  He said that the narcotic pain medications help the pain but interfere with restful sleep.  He suggested that I take a low dose of valium occasionally which would help my to be able to reduce the pain medication and would help me sleep.

I came home Thursday and found that was true.  I was finally able to get real sleep.  At one point I slept for 6 hours which was really wonderful.

Today, I was able to take my first shower and to get my hair wet again.  I was just rinised it out and since I don’t want to tug on incisision.  I am still icing eyes a lot, but this afternoon ai could finally see a little bit out of both eye.  Little slits, but that was OK.

Foodwise, I made sure my husband kept a written list of everything I ate, even starting in the hospital.  I wanted to be able to track it all later.  After over 1000 days of not missing I didn’t want to miss any days. I am still finding it hard to eat much.  I have mostly tried eat stuff with some protein and the doctor said it would help to limit sodium.  I was actually eatning something higher sodium today and I couldn’t finish it because it was too salty.  I will say that I have had a few half cup single servings of ice cream and they were a big help.  My mouth was sore and it was hard to open my mouth and they made it possible for me to eat something when I needed to have something  so I could take medication.

One of the issues with taking pain medications is that they tend to be constipating and I haven’t produced anything yet.  I’ve been taking a stool softener and I am eating a few more calories now wo I am hoping I’ll produce something soon.

I am not posting pics now because they are pretty horrific looking (peeled purple onion comes to mind with all my swelling and bruising), but I think it is all going to be fine.  Just have to wait the process out.

I go back on Tuesday to get most of my sutures out and I am really looking forward to that.

May Weigh In

This morning I went to Weight Watchers and did my monthly weigh in:

Weigh in 5-7-2016

With a goal weight of 146 pounds, I weighed in at 146.2 pounds which keeps me at free lifetime status.  I was up 3.4 pounds from my April weigh in.  That fact taken alone might make you think I would be really upset at the gain.  Actually, I was very happy and not upset at all.  I had posted previously about my Awful April.  While I was slightly over 146 at my weigh in, I was under my goal weight of 146 when I weighed in at home.  And, the thing is, that I am down about 3 pounds from the height.

Actually, I weigh this month exactly what I weighed at my January weigh in.  And, I’m OK with that.  Yes, I would like to be a few pounds lighter and I was a few pounds lighter last month.  But, I have had many things going on and have been preparing for surgery and I am just thankful to be able to maintain right now.

I will be having my facial plastic surgery on Monday.  During my recovery period I am not going to make any effort to lose weight.  I want to do everything possible to heal and need good nutrition during this period.  I don’t have to weigh again until June so I think that by then I will be able to weigh and stay in maintenance range and that is all I am striving for at the moment.

I am not sure when I will post after surgery.  If all goes well, I should be able to do a brief update when I can see well enough to write something.  One of the procedures I am having done is a blepharoplasty, which is surgery on my eyelids.  My understanding is that vision can be limited for a few days due to swelling and the ointment being used on the eyes.  So, I’m not sure when I will be seeing well enough to post.  But, I hope it will be sometime during the next week.

For all the mothers out there:

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!