“I Want To Stay Hopeful Even Though I Get Scared About Why We’re Alive At All” – Lana Del Ray

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And right now it’s probably the only thing that’s keeping me going. It’s been a rough couple of months, peppered with truly awesome sprinkles of pure joy, and release that have fueled me through the motions like some sort of beautiful fem-bot.

Before I venture of the topic of why this blog was created. I figured it’s worth mentioning that I hit my goal weight of 140 back on October 16th and this morning when I got on the scale I weighed 130.4. I don’t really want to lose any more weight considering I probably have like 10 to 15 pounds of loose skin that has to go. I’ve even had weeks where I ate like shit (as far as food choices) and got on the scale and still dropped two pounds expecting to have gained or maintained that week. If I get down to 125 I am going to call my doctor and see if they want to see me, because I am starting to feel like I am getting too thin.

Excuse my candidness if this post offends anyone but the only way I can get through the dark times is to try and make light of them. While the meds they put me on have helped me from wanting to slit my wrist on a moment to moment bases, I have certainly returned to the dark side in the last couple of weeks.

All I find myself wanting to do is lay in bed and listen to Lana Del Rey and pondering what the fuck it is I am doing with my life. While the medication has helped my mood it’s also made it really hard to create or do much because I have little to no energy. So then it makes me wondering if I am on the right path but when I try to think about what I would be if I wasn’t an artist my all my mind hears is crickets. So at the moment I am on auto pilot just trying to navigate this shit storm until I figure it out. Art is hard kids especially when you are in the middle of a creative block and your homework relies on your ability to create.

My saving grace this quarter has certainly been my creative concepts class. It’s taught by my favorite photography professor but we are allowed to use whatever medium we want. It’s been nice not to have to rely on photography for the whole class. The class works by all of us submitting 10 concepts at the beginning of the class and for each project everyone pulls one concept out of a bag. We then all vote until there’s only one concept left.  The way you determine if you passed the assignment or not is if 2/3rds of the class votes that your piece met the concept. There has been some really cool work presented in this class and I wish you could take it more than once.

For our concept “I can’t hear you” I decided to do a burlesque/pole routine. This truly is a non-scale victory for me in a couple of ways. I grew up my whole life hating watching videos of my performances because of my weight. For the first time in my life not only do I love watching this video I have watched it many times because I have a hard time believing it’s me lol.

I know this is probably another post that’s going to generate a lot of worry for some people who read it. It’s okay I weather the storm kids it’s just sometimes the water is fucking rough and I am prone to sea sickness so it hits me a little harder than others.

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“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year?”

Next Tuesday will mark one year since I went under the knife and changed my life forever. The last year has been a whirlwind of change, growth, and curve balls. I am doing this post early since it will require a bit of time to gather all the details and photos required to write it, and next Tuesday I will be back in class. If I get a chance on Tuesday I will post some official one year numbers. At this time last year I was morbidly obese (301 pounds with a BMI of 53.8), scared about having surgery, unsure if I could handle the post op life change, and terrified that I would be one of those people who have gastric bypass and only drop 50 pounds never even getting close to their goal weight. This was me, and I was leading a life that was ruled by fear.  The night before surgery I was 296.6.

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Today I am almost a year out from the best thing I could have ever done for my life. I am no longer led by fear, I have learned that if you take a leap of faith it’s not always spikes waiting to impale you, it can be a circus net awaiting your landing.  I am currently overweight with a BMI of 26.6 and 15.2 pounds to go until I hit my goal. I have no regrets, well one and that’s that I didn’t do it years sooner. I have lost 158.4 pounds total. Even now as I write that number it doesn’t seem real. I have a hard time seeing it in the mirror sometimes but it punches you in the face when you look at before and after pictures. Here are my current measurements.

1 year measurements

I am not sure what it is about birthdays or anniversaries that make you question your life plan and where you’re at. It could just be that I haven’t had a moment to process anything since October. I am glad that my birthday and surgaversary are close together because the last week or so have been a bit of a mind fuck.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I am approaching my golden birthday (29 on the 29th) marking the last year of my twenties, or the fact that this last year has housed more change than you can shake a stick at, but it makes me wonder what the next revolution around the sun holds for me. The one thing I do know is if it’s as transformative as this last year, the chapter that is my twenties is going to close monumentally.

Time Keeps On Slipping Into The Future….

It turns out that when I’m not chained to a desk 40+ hours a week it’s about as easy for me to make regular updates to my blog, as flying a block of cheese to the moon. A lot has happened but I’m not going to dive deeply into most of it (in this post at least). I just realized that the 14th marked the 10 month mark from my surgery and that perhaps it was time for some sort of update.

Seattle, New York, and Sint Maarten were all fantastic. I’m not going to lie, and be totally accountable because I don’t want to say I do everything by the book when I haven’t. I broke down and had wine and dessert in Seattle. We went to a ridiculously delicious (but pricey) El Gaucho. I didn’t have to drive and was with my parents and enough strapping lads that if I got black out drunk off a glass of wine I would make it home in one piece. If I was a light weight before surgery I am like the cheapest date on earth after because one glass of wine is equivalent to drinking 3 or 4 cocktails now. I had bites of all the desserts that came out to the table (table side liquid nitrogen ice cream, cherries jubilee, from scratch keylime pie). Then in Sint Maarten when we went to the french bakery I bought a macaroon and eclair (I ate them over a few days). I also got black out drunk when I was in Sint Maarten because I drank a bottle of wine way too fast without food. I rallied and was fine within a couple of two hours to quote my friends “you went from passed out topless on our balcony to giving a concert (we went to karaoke) in like two hours with no hang over.” I am not saying you should go out and drink and eat sugar. I also don’t need a lecture on the risks of drinking before 18 months or at all after surgery. I am fully aware and rarely partake. Here are a couple of pictures brought to you by that bottle of wine.

I included this one because the other one make my stomach look bigger because my body is tilted toward the camera

I included this one because the other one makes my stomach look bigger because my body is tilted toward the camera

If you look at my top you can see where I dropped my self head first into the sand when I tried to drop back into wheel drunk.

If you look at my top you can see where I dropped my self head first into the sand when I tried to drop back into wheel drunk.

I ate pretty shitty as far as what I should be eating while on vacation, but we were on the go so much that I probably could have ate a whole cheesecake everyday in New York and still lost weight. I came home and everyone was like damn you look like you got much smaller while you were gone. Considering we were walking 15,000 to 20,000 steps everyday in NYC, and I was swimming everyday in SInt Maarten as well as working out a few days on the island my body was put in beast mode. The blisters on the bottom of my feet are finally almost completely healed and smooth.

I came home and had to face the music about not doing any homework on vacation and consequently have been doing work  non-stop to try and save my GPA. I really haven’t done anything or have seen anyone unless it involves something to do with school. This week has finally been the light at the end of the tunnel as far as the school load goes.

As far as a weigh update goes this morning when I did my weekly weigh in I weighed 169 pounds. That’s 144.6 pounds down from my highest weight of 313.6 in December of 2013 and 132 pounds down from the start of the 3 day liquid diet for surgery.

Everything had been going swimmingly until last week around this time I started experiencing abdominal pain right below my breastbone. It’s not constant and gets worse when I eat and radiates into my back/shoulder blade. This is all pretty consistent with gallbladder issues. I am going to wait this out as long as I can before I see a doctor for two reason. 1. I have no insurance 2. If you miss 3 classes in one quarter they drop you from your classes. If I end up having to have surgery not only is it going to cost way more money than I have but all of the work, money, time and effort put into this quarter will have been a complete waste.

So everyone keep your fingers crossed that this gallbladder thing will calm down long enough for the quarter to end, and for my ass to get on medicaid. I am not super hopeful however, the only reason I have a moment to update this thing is because I feel to shitty to do anything else at the moment.

Howdy Stranger

Sorry that I have done another vanishing act. School started again and i have been so busy between that, and shooting photos for clients that I hadn’t noticed it’s been a while since I have updated. Briefly before I get to that I am excitedly awaiting the Diamond Candles I bought myself as a reward for all my hard work lately. If you have ever wanted to try one you can get $10 off your first order through this link http://my.cndl.es/x/qlLee2 . I had always wanted to order one but was a little gun shy without seeing them in person. We bought one for a friends divorce party and it burns forever. It took about 6-7 hours to get to the ring and there was still a ton of candle left to burn after.

I will talk about that stuff a bit more later, on to the nitty gritty. I hit Onderland folks! I hit it about a month ago on February 7th. It seemed like it took forever to loose those last few pounds to get out of the two hundred but I did it.. As of last Friday my current weight is 188.4. Can you believer it!!! In 7.5ish months I have lost 112.6 pounds and 125.2 total from my highest known weight of 313.6. I have lost 40% of my total body weight, that not my excess weight, I have lost a super model lol. I took some measurements and they are as follows:

Bust: 7/13/14 – 49 in- — 3/9/15 40.5 in

Waist: 7/13/14 – 50 in- — 3/9/15 36 in

Hips: 7/13/14 – 60 in- — 3/9/15 48 in

Thigh: 7/13/14 – 33.5 in- — 3/9/15 23 in

Calf: 7/13/14 – 18 in- — 3/9/15 15.5 in

Eating has been better but I haven’t been getting enough protein in. Consequently that’s probably why I still feel faint fairly often. It has also kept me from working out. I went to one pole class and felt fine. It’s just very hard to make sure I have hydrated and ate enough to feel like I am not going to push myself to a dangerous point in class. It also doesn’t help that I get going and forget to eat. I have been trying to keep high protein snacks (nuts, cheese, etc.) on hand to munch on while I am busy so I don’t go too long without something to eat.

School is going well despite having to drop a class this quarter. I should qualify for this pretty decently sized grant for this next quarter which is nice.

I have been kicking ass and taking names and thought it was time to treat myself for my hard work. I have done a few things, I purchased the diamond candles. I love them because they remind me of pyro ways as a child. I loved playing with candles, and I used to love when my mom would let me buy a charm candle from her work. They were shaped like teddy bears or Christmas trees and would have a fortune capsule and other charms that would reveal themselves. I could never wait and would use lighters and sticks to dig that shit out. Diamond Candles are a similar concept except there is a costume jewelry ring inside the candle that has a code. You take the code and enter it into the website and you could win a ring that’s worth $100, $500, $1000, or $5,000. I know your chance of getting a super nice ring is slim but as long as the ring in the candle is cute the value is worth it. The candles burn forever. They are typically $25 but if you use this link it’s only $15 for the next 4 days. Not only do you get $10 off but I get a free candle. It’s would be a great way to congratulate me on my progress 😉 just kidding…kind of.

Then I am going to NYC with my school for AIPAD which is a big photography convention in NYC. While I am there I am crossing something off my bucket list and I booked a photo shoot with pinup photographer extraordinaire Viva Van Story.

Well that it for now, I will try to post again before NYC and Sint Maarten, but I can’t make any promises. In the next 40 days I have finales, and I am going to Seattle, New York, and Sint Maarten.

Be well my babies, and Mahalo.

“The Best Thing About New Years is the Christmas Lights” – Widespread Panic

Happy New Year everybody! It’s amazing to think that it’s time to start another year. As I sit back and think about where I was one year ago from today I am very proud of the things that I have accomplished. 2013 wasn’t perfect but I have done things that I thought were never possible. I have been watching a lot of Biggest Loser lately since the cold just makes me want to crawl under blankets. Jillian Michales always says “feel fear, and then do it anyway”. I feel like that quote perfectly sums up 2013 for me. I was over living in fear so I started doing stuff even though it was scary, and my life has changed in so many ways.

Never ever did I think I could lose 100+ pounds and be on the verge of onderland for the first time since my childhood. I have a 4.0 and am on the Presidents list for the first time in my life. Both of these things were achieved by doing things that scared the shit out of me.

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I can tell you after doing something that terrifies you, it makes you see that you are so much more capable then you have ever thought. After this last year I really feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. So this year break the grip that fear has on you. Feel fear and then do it anyway.

Rewind The Future

Since much doesn’t change on the weight loss front from week to week I thought I would share some of the stuff I have been working on for school. I’ll share some art but I only had one art class this quarter. I thought I would start with a paper we had to write for my critical thinking class.

The assignment was to choose a commercial or print advertisement and analyze the effectiveness of it. This particular ad goes hand in hand with my nightmare of what my future might have looked like if I didn’t have gastric bypass. Below is the ad and my paper.

The advertisement I chose to analyze was Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Rewind the Future. The commercial was released on September 18th, 2013 as part of their Strong For Life campaign making it a little over a year old. The commercial is meant to create a shocking reaction that many viewers can identify with either personally, or through someone they know.Since this advertisement is being presented by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, they are using ethos as its primary persuasive tactic.

The advertisement opens with a point of view shot from a 32 year old man on an emergency room table in cardiac arrest. As the doctors go over his vitals one asks “how does this happen?” We then begin to rewind as we see his eating habits through his life all the way back to his infancy where his mother is appeasing him with french fries to keep him from crying. The screen cuts to black and in writing says your child’s future; we then cut to an aerial shot of the medical staff cutting the patient out of his clothing and the words printed over it “doesn’t have to look like this.’ The screen cuts to black again, and we see the message “There’s still time to reverse the unhealthy habits our kids take into adulthood. We can show you how” followed by information on how to access their services.

While the intended audience is for parents with young children, or young adults, I believe it makes anyone who has been brought up with a similar lifestyle to think about the choices they make.  Even though I am not the intended audience for this particular clip because I do not have children, I personally identified with its message. I was brought up in a household where we weren’t told no to whatever we wanted to eat, and were raised on fatty, starchy Mexican food. At the time that I first saw this commercial, I had just begun the long process of getting approved to have Gastric Bypass. Upon viewing this it reaffirmed the reason I was going under the knife to

insure that I wouldn’t end up on an ER table at 32 under cardiac arrest. I think it’s a very powerful message for parents to see because part of the problem with my weight is I didn’t learn how to eat properly until I was 17, and the problem was out of control.

The advertisement has come under a lot of flack for being anti obese people, as seen in an article from the August issue of Good Housekeeping by April Rueb. I don’t necessarily agree with that viewpoint; I think it’s more anti a health issue, not anti a group of people. I would, however say that it does portray a couple of negative stereotypes. It makes it seem like every single heavy person is a walking heart attack, which is not true. All of my blood work prior to surgery showed that I was actually very healthy despite my weight with no comorbidities. I decided to go under the knife to make sure that I didn’t occur any comorbidities in the future. It also made it seem like every heavy person is lazy. I know many big people (myself included) who play sports, work out, and are active but have other conditions that make it hard for them to lose weight.

I thought the scare tactic was effective for this particular message. I feel like most of the time when advertisements come on about health or fitness that people tend to zone them out since we are constantly bombarded with them. Since the advertisement holds no punches as far as shock factor goes, it makes it successful in not only capturing the audience’s attention, but also making them remember the message. The use of the point of view camera angle was effective in making you experience what the patient is experiencing both on the operating table, and during the flashback sequence. The flashback sequence was effective in highlighting habits that parents don’t see as hurtful but really make an impact on the choices their child will make about food in the future.

The language used is a bit accusatory making it sound like unless you follow their tips that this will for certain be your child’s future. My one concern I would have as a parent would be the unnecessary stress this ad might have on my child. If my child was overweight it might cause them to be unnecessarily stressed out about keeling over at the age of 12 since children can’t always fully comprehend. Adversely it might cause a child who doesn’t have any weight issues to become unnecessarily obsessive about what they are eating.

Overall despite the few flaws I found with this particular campaign I thought  it was effective. They knew by being shocking this video would go viral causing lots of people to see it. In a day and age when according to the American Heart Association one in three teens is overweight or obese, which is triple the rate from 1963, perhaps Americans can use fright as motivation. I think this advertisement was so poorly received by some because we have become a society where everyone is a winner, so no one feels bad. We have also gotten to a state where we want to put our heads in the sand when it comes to anything that is unpleasant, making childhood obesity a big elephant in the room because parents would rather ignore the problem than hurt their child’s feelings.

The ad is certainly food for thought for anyone. The fact of the matter is for a lot of children raised on fast and processed food this will be their future. If it’s not a heart attack, it might be joint issues or diabetes. I think the ad has an important message that the best start that you can give to your children’s health is to teach them healthy habits as a child. Like the saying goes, you can’t teach a old dog new tricks. By the time a person is 18 and able to make their own decisions about food they might be so set in unhealthy ways that irreversible damage has been done. While scare tactics don’t always work, because it’s such a dramatic difference from the smiling faces we normally see on health ads, it makes a lasting impact with the viewer.

Sources

  1. Rewind The Future [Motion picture]. (2013). USA: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. YouTube
  2. Rueb, A. (2014, August 14). This Anti-Obesity PSA Sends a Powerful Message But does it go too far? Good House Keeping.

    http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/womens-health/powerful-anti-obesity-psa

  3. What is childhood obesity? (2014, August 1). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/HealthierKids/ChildhoodObesity/What-is-childhood-obesity_UCM_304347_Article.jsp

Weightloss Update

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As of last Saturday when I last weighed in I have lost 100 pounds (at least) since this time last year!!! In all honesty it’s probably more than that since what prompted me to get on the scale last year was I could feel in my clothes that I had lost weight, I just had no clue I had gained so much before hand. There’s a neat site called I lost What? That tells you how much you’ve lost in objects, according to them :

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Things have been pretty steady. At the start of the 3 day diet I was at 301 Saturday my weight was 212. My weight loss for each month has been as follows:

July: 21 pounds

August: 14.8 pounds

September: 17.2 pounds

October: 16 pounds

November: 12.4 pounds

December so far: 7.6 pounds

I don’t know if this is above or below average, or right on track but I am happy with it. The only thing I wish is that I could work out. Since I feel faint fairly easily it’s made me afraid to get back into a fitness routine or get to far from the house as far as walking goes.

Food continues to be a little bit of a struggle. I know I am not getting as much protein in as I should but it’s getting better now that I can stand the taste of milk again. It seems like my taste buds are finally starting to mellow out a bit. My hair started falling out pretty much 3 months to the day but it seems like it’s finally starting to slow down a bit. Considering I have taken advantage of being an art student and have dyed my hair purple and pink. I am pretty lucky I haven’t lost more.

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Drinking water is starting to get easier again too. Up until recently if my water wasn’t ice cold I couldn’t drink it. My NUT is the one who told me about this. Apparently a lot of bypass patients will experience nausea when drinking room temperature water but not ice or hot water. Sure enough as soon as I made sure my water was always full of ice I could drink it with out feeling sick. It was just strange because if I was drinking a Vitamin Water Zero or something it could be room temperature and I could drink it just fine. This issue only happened with water.

So it’s been a 100 pounds from my highest weight and I have lost 89 pounds since the start of my 3 day liquid diet. I was putting this picture together for the blog and I can’t believe I have turned into one of those people who don’t notice their 100 pound weigh loss in the mirror. I notice it in my face but I didn’t really notice it in my body until I put my current pictures next to the pictures I took the day before surgery:

Dec weight

What the fuck is wrong with me lol? How could I not see the difference it’s huge! A couple of non-scale victories my legs are finally small enough that I can find knee high socks that fit this is hugely important because it’s been cold and I hate pants. Long socks are kind of like crotchless sweats. My legs don’t tend to get cold as long as the bottom portion are covered.

IMG_0631Other shopping victories i have consistently been able to find dresses in the non plus size section the last two times I have went shopping I picked this gem up for 12 bucks!:

IMG_5978Well everyone that’s it for now, I have some presents to wrap and lunch to eat. I plan on sharing some of my school projects on here over the break so you can see why I was absent for so long. I am wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas (I don’t care what you celebrate you can still have a merry fucking Christmas! lol).