2016 in Review

2016 was an interesting year.  From a weight standpoint, on the surface, things were kind of quiet.  At my December 2015 weigh in I weighed 145.4 pounds, which was just under my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds.  At my last December 2016 weigh in, I weighed 142.8 pounds.  Not much change there. My highest Weight Watchers weigh in was 147.8 pounds just a few days before my tummy tuck/breast lift in July.  My lowest weigh ins were 142.8 pounds in both April and December.

Plastic Surgery

My plastic surgery was really the dominant event of the year.   Losing over 65 pounds has been great.  But, weight loss just exacerbated my loose skin on both my face and body.  I worked with a personal trainer for almost a year and I got stronger.  But, it didn’t do anything to repair my abdominal muscles and loose skin that I had had ever since pregnancy.  Losing weight had helped get rid of fat, but it didn’t get rid of the loose skin.  That was like an elastic band that had been stretched out and that would never return to what it had been before.

I had been thinking about surgery for years, even while I was still losing weight.  As I got smaller, I felt my tummy still looked fat.  I read on blogs and websites (I especially liked Realself) about tummy tucks and thought it might be what I needed to get rid of the loose skin and repair the abdominal muscles.   As I read on Realself, I started to read about people having facial cosmetic surgery.  I hated my turkey neck and my sagging eyelids.  Even when I was much younger, I felt my eyelids drooped.  But, I hadn’t really thought about doing anything surgically.  At some point, I realized that if I did the tummy tuck, I would still hate looking at pictures since my face didn’t really reflect how I felt about myself.  So, I decided to do facial surgery.

Facial Plastic Surgery

In May, I started the first part of my body transformation.  I had a facelift, necklift, eyelift, and lateral browlift with fat transfer.  I also had cholesterol deposits around my eyes and I started the process to remove them (this took 3 procedures to do and I may have one more).  I also had my ear lobes repaired.  They were originally pierced too low when I was teenager and the piercings had almost pulled through.  I couldn’t really wear earrings any more.  So, I had the old piercings re-sewn and then in November, had my ears re-pierced.

The change has been astonishing.  This is last March:

This was taken a couple of weeks ago after a follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon.  Note that I am wearing earrings once again!

These aren’t the best pictures.  I took them in the car just because I was wearing regular earrings for the first time after the re-piercing.  Still, the change between March and December is remarkable.

And for a more formal look, this was taken earlier in December when I attended my son’s college graduation.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have followed up with a few other facial things.  I’ve had Botox and also fillers in the nasolabial and Marionette lines.  And, as of the photos above, I had had 2 of 5 Resurfx and IPL laser treatments on my face.

I am very happy with the results of the facial surgery.  I am not one in the past that spent a lot of time on my appearance.  I often wear no makeup and even “full” makeup rarely takes me more than 15 minutes to do.  But, before surgery, I always worried about how I looked.  I agonized over every photograph and rarely would like any of them.  Now, I don’t think about my appearance once I’ve left the house.  I know I look fine so it just isn’t an issue for me any more.

Tummy Tuck/Breast Lift

In July, I had the second phase of my transformation.  I had a tummy tuck and breast lift.  Originally, I had planned to do only the tummy tuck.  But, as I read about the mommy makeover type of surgery (essentially a combination of a tummy tuck with any breast surgery), I realized I wouldn’t be happy if I did only the tummy tuck.  I worried that doing two major surgeries at once would be a difficult recovery.  As it turned out, all the difficulty was in the tummy tuck.  The breast lift really didn’t add any pain or difficulty for me.  I am so glad that I did both of them at once.

As much as I didn’t like how my face had seemingly melted with weight loss, I really really didn’t like how my tummy looked.  I felt like I had lost 65 pounds and still looked fat.  This is before (I hate posting these pictures, but I do it because looking at these kinds of pictures of others was helpful to me when I was deciding what to do):

And this is post surgery:

Wow.  What a difference.  I used to hate looking at myself in the bathroom mirror when I was changing clothes.  Now, I don’t.  Today I went shopping and it is so much better now.  My clothes fit me and look good. Before, nothing ever really fit.  To fit over the huge tummy, everything else would be too large.  And, the top wasn’t much better.  Now, things are in proper proportion.

2016 Goals

Body Composition

I knew when I wrote my 2016 goals that I might have surgery this year, but I wasn’t totally settled on when I would do it.  So, my goals were not written thinking I would be having surgery. The result is that those 2016 goals don’t really bear much relationship to the events of 2016. One of my goals was improve my body composition while staying at or below my Weight Watchers goal weight.  I did achieve the goal weight part.  But, honestly, I have no clue if my body composition has improved or not.  I had my body fat percentage tested in December, 2015 and I had planned to check during 2016 and that would have included a December, 2016 retest.

With the surgery, however, I didn’t really feel I would get meaningful results.  Six pounds of skin and fat was removed during surgery,  That may have slightly improved my body composition, but it wasn’t enough to make a big difference.  I was doing strength training through April and maybe that helped some.  Although, after almost a year of regular strength training, I did realize that I do not easily build muscle.  And, I was not allowed to do strength training post-surgery until recently. Even so, I still have limitations on what I can do.  And, actually, I haven’t gotten back to it at all.  I let my YMCA membership go when I had surgery and I haven’t gone back yet. Also, I didn’t test body composition this month because I wanted to wait longer after surgery before having it retested.  I expect to do it in a few months.

Food and Activity

My other major goal was 2016 was to live a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and activity. For the first 4 months of the year, I did well on activity.  I was regularly going to the Y and did strength training twice a week with a trainer.  I also did walking or the exercise bike or the elliptical several times a week.  But, from May on, there has been little activity.  For the first several weeks after my facial surgery, I was told not to do anything in terms of exercise.  I was able to get back to using the treadmill for awhile after I was cleared by my doctor.  But, not long after that, I had to stop again for the body surgery.  I have done some walking post-surgery but not as much as I really need to do.  I am giving myself an incomplete on the activity front.  I started the year good and I really lost months of activity due to the surgeries.  I have slacked off the last couple of months, though, and getting back into activity is a priority for 2017 (more about that in my upcoming 2017 goals post)

As far as food, this year has been …mixed.  On the one hand, I weighed in at a lower weight this December than last December.  I was within my Weight Watchers criteria for free lifetime (no more than 2 pounds above goal weight) for every month of the year.  Maintaining weight loss is hard and I did maintain.  To do that, I couldn’t be too off track on foods especially given my lack of activity from May on.

At my last weigh in this month, I weighed the same thing I weighed at my April weigh in before I started having all the surgery.  In a way, that is great.  I maintained during a stressful time when I was unable to exercise during most of it.  But, it isn’t so simple.  Remember, about 6 pounds of fat and skin were removed.  So, if I was really at the same place I was at during April, I would now weigh 6 pounds less than I did then.  But, I don’t.  I weigh the same.  So, in real terms, I gained 6 pounds from April to December if you don’t factor in the 6 pounds that were removed through surgery.

And, that is a combination of more food and less activity.  Fitbit tells me that during 2016 I burned about 1600 calories a day less than I burned during 2015.  Now, part of that is that I was smaller during 2016 than I was during 2015.  I started 2015 not yet at goal, so my body was bigger and would burn more calories.  And, during 2015 I was active and did regular exercise throughout the year.  This year, after April, I was much less active.  The result is that I burned fewer calories each day.

And, I ate more food.  This was the big issue for me.  I ate about 185 more calories a day.  The result is that looking at Fitbit and MyFitnessPal I didn’t have a calorie deficit for the year.  In fact, I have a surplus and my weight shows that.  Yes, I weigh 2.6 pounds less than I weighed last December. But, 6.18 pounds was removed through surgery.  So, if that was added back in, I would weigh about 3.6 pounds more than I weighed last December. That isn’t a huge amount, but I can’t afford to add that back every year either.

So, while I started out the year good on activity and food and I was OKish on food for most of the year, I wasn’t really stellar.  And, if I don’t want to have a slow gain, I need to either eat a little less food or to up my activity.  Preferably I’ll do both.

For 2016, in addition to the overall goals mentioned above, I had two specific goals. One was to up my calorie burn each day.  The other was to cook more real food at home and to eat out less.  With surgery and recovery, I didn’t really do well on any of this.  I did burn more calories pre-surgery.  And, that was good.  But, the rest of the year was not so great on that front.  Yes, there was a reason for the lower calorie burn.  And, it was most important to follow my doctor’s instructions and to not exercise when he told me not to.  But, now, I am allowed to be more active (with some restrictions) and I have no excuse not to get back into it.

Food was a bit of a problem for me most of the year.  I wasn’t horrible in terms of what I ate, but it was more than I could sustainably eat given my activity level.  If I get back to a normal activity level, I could maintain on what I was eating this year.  But, I really do want to lose about 5 to 10 pounds.  So, I need to do better on food going forward.

Achieving a Better Me

2016 was a year of great changes for me.  This was the year that I really felt I had achieved my weight loss dreams.  Getting to goal in 2015 was wonderful.  But, it was a bit shadowed since I didn’t feel my outside appearance reflected the results of the weight loss.  Now, I feel that my appearance is aligned with what I accomplished in terms of weight loss.  I am happier and more confident.  I like how I look.  I feel I have really taken many steps this year to become a better me.  So, maybe I didn’t meet my stated planned for goals for the year.  But, my real goal every year is to try to be a better me.  And, this year, I feel like I made real progress on that overarching goal.

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