My Weighty Story: Week 8 and Habits

Food continues to be really hard. I’m struggling the last couple of weeks. I admit that.

Last week I went on a business trip, and because food is hard, I went by myself. I didn’t want the temptations of what other people were eating and traveling for work has historically been candy bars and fast food.

This time I packed all my own food, which made things easier, but it was still so hard not to run through the drive-thru of Carl’s Jr for a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, or get the chocolate cake at the Mobile Resturant, or drive through the Wendy’s for a frosty or any other fast food for a shake or ice cream because it was hot.

These are HABITS that hard to break. Weight loss surgery does a lot of things for us physically to help with the weight loss. One thing it doesn’t do is fix the food addiction or the habits that you have. The point is that over the next year (or two) you develop new habits for a healthier lifestyle. It’s a massive and strict tool, but if your new tummy doesn’t give you issues with what you eat, it’s so easy to still eat those bad things. The tool is great, and I would do this all over again, no questions asked, but the habits are oh so hard to break.

While on the road, I did had to “suffer” and go through Yosemite. I know rough right. I stopped at Tuolumne Meadows, which is one of my favorite places. There is just something super relaxing about the wide open area surrounded by mountains.

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This is only a quarter of the meadow, but man it’s beautiful. On this journey, I have a goal of hiking the loop around the meadow, which isn’t a small feat considering that you’re at 8,600 feet. I want to try and do it next summer, but we will see how travel goes.

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Yosemite is a beautiful place. I also stopped further up the road at the creek and sat by it for a few minutes reflecting on where I have been and how far I’ve come so far in this journey. I realize it’s only 8 weeks, but so much has changed. I’m trying to change my mindset and get used to working out on a more regular basis.

Habits and head hunger are hard though. When researching all of this, you hear a lot about head hunger. I define this as when you think you should be hungry, but when you listen to your stomach, you aren’t really. I think this ties in greatly with habits. For instance, just over the weekend I was sitting at the computer playing my computer game and I kept finding myself walking to the fridge because I thought I needed to be snacking on something while playing. I wasn’t hungry, I was just following YEARS of habits that say that because I’m sitting in front of the computer, or sitting watching TV, or in the car traveling, I should be eating, and not necessarily carrot sticks. Like I said, habits. They are hard to break.

I really think that sums up what a lot of this is. Breaking Old Habits. Not an easy thing when I’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 plus years. Many will tell you this is the easy way out. Honey, it is anything BUT. This is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

So now onto “Weighty Matters”.

When I was on my business trip, I walked by a mirror and went… okay. I see some of the physical changes. I’m happy about this …

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I can actually see it there, but it isn’t showing on the scale. It’s is broken. I’m convinced. It’s stuck. I’m still where I was two weeks ago. What the hell.

Not to mention that I’ve been running the last two weeks and was really excited because I really thought I’d be able to run for exercise. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that is going to be an option. My back decided to blow out on me on Tuesday. In a matter of SECONDS. I usually can feel it coming, and be able to do some things to stave it off. NOPE. Not this time. Within 30 seconds, it went from oh… to OH $#^@!

I’m exploring other fitness options and am going to see about swimming a couple days a week starting next week, but we will see. I’m really bummed out and I’m not in a good mental space because of it (there are other factors contributing to that negative space as well, but I digress).

I just have to keep pushing forward, but I am going to get back to the basics with food, and find a way to up some workouts. I mean, it isn’t like I can eat less.

So while this week was an exceptional downer, I am going to TRY to keep my head up. This is a new week, and I can do this. I just gotta figure out how to break the cycle.

My Weighty Story: Week 7 and Food is Hard

Just what the title says.

FOOD.      IS.      HARD.

Last week at my 6 week appointment I was released for full foods and exercise. Which of course followed my camping trip, unfortunately means between fighting food while camping and being released for full foods, something triggered in my brain this week and I ate .. well, HORRIBLY! I’m not even going to weigh myself this week for fear of crying. Just time to pick myself up by the bootstraps and move forward.

One positive thing I started doing is jogging. I have never been ABLE to jog before so being able to jog to stay warm while camping made me realize that I might be able to as a real form of exercise. So last week I did some light jogging just around my complex to see if this was going to be something I could legit work on right now. With a history of bad knees I don’t to injure myself and set me back. I’ve done all this to better myself. I did fairly well, so over the weekend I jogged during our dog walks, and Sunday I even went out without the dogs (who want to stop at each and every smell along the way) and did .66 miles!

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The only walking I did was to cross the street in a very steep section. All the rest I did! It’s not even flat area either. I go down hill then come back uphill. I may be slower than a turtle running through peanut butter, but I ran!  YAY ME!

So Week 8 Goals:

  1. Be on point with my food
  2. Continue to run each day before / after work. Oh I ain’t gonna lie and tell you my legs are hurting, because they are, but it’s that weird hurt that feels good because you know that you’ve done something new and productive.

I also did something drastic this weekend. When I took a shower on Saturday I pulled so much hair out that I just rage quit on it. I just screamed, “FINE IF YOU WANT TO FALL OUT! I’LL CHOP YOU ALL OFF!”  So that’s what I did.

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Hair Gone!  It’s a bit scary because I’ve never had my hair this short before. I’m not used to it, but my hair does look healthier and fuller. It’s so fine and thin that if I didn’t think my husband would divorce me, I may have seriously considered a pixie / super short cut with shaved sides. To be fair, I’m not sure I could pull it off if I did go that route. So this is as short as I go, and like I said it does look much healthier than it did before.

Last week some time I also set up some side by side comparisons. I don’t see a huge difference, but I’ve felt it in my clothes, how I feel, and others have said how much of a difference they see.

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The left are just after surgery and the right are last week. There are differences, so I will take it.

So there is my strange week 7. It is what it is. Not every week is going to be perfect.

Week 8 will be better!

 

My Weighty Story: Week 6 and More Changes

Week 6 was one where I noticed how much more I was able to do. See we went on our yearly camping trip and it was cold. Okay, so not winter, blizzards, -100 without the wind chill cold. Cold for us Central Coasters. Which means that it was consistently in the low to mid 50’s. The biggest problem wasn’t that it was in the 50’s it was that there was a ice cold wind that kept whipping through and just made staying warm, well not real easy.

My solution to staying warm? Walking, even jogging around the campsite. Yes, me! I was jogging! I haven’t jogged in decades. My husband kept looking at me and shaking his head. He couldn’t believe just how much more energy I had this trip overall.

Regardless of the weather, it was beautiful. It’s such a beautiful place and camping right on the Big Sur River is just something that I won’t pass up all too often.

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On top of finding out I can jog and not die a horrible death, look at what else I was able to do!

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I know right! When was the last time that you were able to cross your legs? I’m not sure when it was for me. Well at least comfortably, and not constantly readjust.

One thing that was difficult. Food. I had packed protein shakes, P3 protein packs, string cheese, apple sauce, lunch meats, cheese, all of which have been staples for me in this soft food stage. That being said, it was really hard not really having control over meals. When we cook at home, we use the low fat versions of things, or the lower calorie versions, but not everyone who was there was doing that so much of the food being served was full fat / calorie. Not to mention that I felt like I was being rude if I didn’t serve what was cooked (and yes, I had to do that a couple of times). My in laws had made french toast because they knew how much I like it, but they just didn’t know I can’t have it anymore. To make it worse, it smelled AMAZING, so I walked away with my protein drink and went for a walk to get away from the smell of it.

Snacks were difficult too. The more I’ve thought about it, it may have been because of camping habits. We would always buy an ice cream and sit with our feet in the river eating it, or eat chips with our sandwiches (both of which I can’t have yet).  That being said, bread doesn’t sound that good most of the time anymore, but it was really difficult when the donuts and the french toast sticks came out one morning with the coffee.

My will power got the biggest workout in a long time. I didn’t do perfect, and I failed at some points. I tried to walk off the cravings as much as possible over the weekend. Which between that and the “adventures” we went on brought me to some 12K steps a day days.

The other thing about week six… on the day we came back from camping I had my 6 week follow up with the surgeon. I met with the nutritionist first and she gave me some tips on how I can cut some of the fat from my diet. For the soft food stage cheese has been a bit of a staple. She said that if I cut back on the cheese that my daily fat should come down. If my protein is still a bit low at the end of the day, she suggested that I should have a protein shake. So I’ll be working on that.

I was pretty bummed out when it came to the scale though. When I weighed last week I was at 208.6, however when I weighed at the dr’s office I was back up to 214. So I’ve been a bit upset about that. Okay, I’m really upset about it.

I’m trying to keep the momentum of high step days, and getting my food on track. It’s hard though.

So very hard.

 

My Weighty Story: Week 5 and it was a doosy!

Week 5. OH week 5. Sigh.

Okay. So no more side pain, I’m able to exercise more and do more things. I don’t have to use my feet to get things off the floor anymore, I can help around the house again, and to my husband units delight, I can pick up the dog poop when we walk the dogs again.

Wednesday, I got on the scale to check to see if it lied to me on Tuesday, and as I mentioned in my last post, it does look like I’ve finally broken that stall.

It’s been a highly emotional week.

Friday the daughter unit graduated high school. I can’t believe it, but she fought and clawed her way through all the obstacles that life threw at her, and I can’t be more proud of the human being she has become. She is kind, compassionate, wants to help others, but all at the same time doesn’t let people walk all over her. She refuses to be a doormat. She is just a really good human being.

Then, if I wasn’t emotional enough because of that, the very next day, I turned 40 years old. I have not looked forward to it for a very long time. That being said, over the last two months it has not looked so ominous. Yes, I still didn’t want to talk about it, but I wasn’t having mild panic attacks over it anymore. Why? Because I’m on the upswing of my life. I’m taking strides to make my life better.

Now if all that wasn’t emotional enough for you I have a couple NSV’s (Non-Scale Victories) to share.

1. I have not been able to see my weight loss in the mirror at all really. I can see it a little bit in my hands, feet, and a little bit in my cheeks, but not otherwise. Now the girls at work have been great at telling me that they see it, and the husband unit is making a point at mentioning where he sees it coming off. I just haven’t been able to see it. Body Dismorphia at its best right? Well I did try to put jeans on, and only had one pair of long pants that might work for the next couple weeks. Donated all the rest there. Shorts, a little better situation as I’ve been hoarding the smaller sizes for years, but only had 1 pair that I could wear camping next weekend. When I started this process (through surgery) I wore a 22 /24 (or XXXL shirt). On Saturday (my birthday), I went and bought two new pairs of jeans and a few t-shirts. Here is the surprising thing. I bought one size 18 short and one size 16 short! The T-shirts? XL! They are a bit snug, but the XXL was just too big. I rather they be a little snug because they are going to only get looser over the next month.

I know right?! I was shocked too!

2. Sunday: We / I decided for my birthday outing I wanted to go to a movie. I ate lunch before I left, we got our tickets, husband unit and daughter unit went to the snack bar. They got popcorn, churro’s, an iccee, a soda, and what did I get? A water. I didn’t even have a second thought about the oh I want that. The churro sounded good in my head, but I didn’t feel the need to eat it, and then the smell of it actually entice me.

2. Part B: When we got into the theater, I sat down and realized I wasn’t squeezing my fat ass into the seat! There was even some room! I won’t lie, I cried.

Yea. So an emotional week, but all good things. So here is my take home statement. Believe others when they say there are changes, because it won’t be long before you will see it. Maybe not all in one week like I have, but it will start popping up.

So accountability time. Got on the scale this morning.

I couldn’t believe it! Almost to onederland!!! I got on the scale 4 times this morning to verify that weight. Was within a pound each time.

I’m hoping I’ll be 200 in the next two weeks!

My Weighty Story: 1 Month Out and POOP!

(Yes I know I’m late posting this. )

So week 4 was a rough week.

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I had really good days pain wise, then only to not sleep well and hurt the next.

I got on the scale on Thursday and I had gained 5 lbs since Tuesday’s weigh in. I know there are fluctuations, but in two weeks I did nothing but fluctuate between 215 and 222. 4 years ago I was at this weight and I couldn’t get it to budge. I would by lying if I didn’t say that I was freaking out a bit that my body is going to do the same thing.

When I spoke to the doctor at my 2 week appointment he wanted me to work on getting my protein up to 60-70g a day and up the water to 64oz a day. Basically get me going on what I will need to get to for the rest of my life. Let me tell you. IT IS HARD. I feel like I eat and eat and eat, and am full all the time, and I’m still only at just under 50g a day. Granted that is up from the average of 30 a day I was getting.

Well then Tuesday, June 5th came and it was weigh day. This was TECHNICALLY 4 weeks from the surgery date. I got on the scale and… it said I was down to 216.4.  I didn’t believe it. I still hurt in my side, and the scale had told me that before so I didn’t believe it. So off to work I went.

***Warning for those who don’t like poop talk, skip to the next paragraph***

I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom in almost a week, my side still hurt, and I was tired. I had to work out of the office that day, and let’s just say that I finally got to the point that I had to make myself go. I held my side because I needed to push, and so I pushed on the area that hurt to help distract the muscle, etc. … [insert a whole lot of work here]. Suffice it to say it was one of the hardest times I have ever had going poop. But here is the interesting thing… after I was done… all my side pain went away. Yup. We think I was bound up. I haven’t hurt since. Sure I have a sore muscle, but life is otherwise back to “normal”.  So if you are reading this and still deciding or waiting to have surgery, please take your constipation meds. You don’t want to go through that.

So side pain now gone, I had a wonderful nights sleep, a great day, and because I didn’t believe my scale the day before, on Wednesday, I got back on and it said 213.4. So, I’m going to take that as breaking the stall.

Overall over the last month, I feel like I have more energy, and I’m starting to get my food more stable. I have my 6 weeks appointment in little over a week and I’m hoping to be released for full food and exercise. Since I don’t have the side pain anymore I have been getting on the elliptical 2-3 times a day, plus my daily walks to get my exercise in, which are bringing me to about 8-9000 steps a day. I know the Dr. will want me to be consistently getting 10K in, but even at the time of surgery I was only at 5,000 a day. I just wasn’t either able to or making myself get anymore than that.

So here is to another week toward a healthier me. Week 5 has been sort of amazing. I’ll have that scheduled for Tuesday release!

My Weighty Story: Week 3 and Things I Didn’t even realize I did

Before surgery, you practice eating slow, taking smaller bites, limiting the meals you have, and overall changing your habits in preparation for your new life.

No matter how prepared I thought I was,there are things that I’m finding that I do, that I didn’t even realize that I had done.

Just a few:

1. Wanting sugar while sitting and playing my video game. Frankly, I had realized how much I like to snack as I game, but I didn’t realize just how much I wanted SUGAR as that snack, let alone how mindless that snacking was.

2. Wanting Ice Cream each time I walk into the grocery store. I really don’t know if I felt this way each time I go to the grocery store before, but now, each time I go in for anything, milk, dinners for the family, more Vitamin Waters, laundry detergent. I. Want. Ice. Cream.

3. Opening the refrigerator just to see what I can snack on only to realize I’m not really hungry. I will stand there look at what are my options, I assess how hungry I am, and quickly realize, I’m not. In fact many times I’m feeling pretty full, and shouldn’t be thinking about putting in my mouth other than water at all.

4. How when everyone leaves the house there is a reflex to get up to the kitchen to look for comfort food. This one surprised the hell out of me one morning when I realized I had done it a few times.

5. This sort of ties into the mindless eating at the computer while gaming, but it also happens to be while watching TV. How much I will absently drink a beverage. While this is good for helping me get my water in each day, I’m not watching out to make sure that I’m not gulping, or taking too much in.

I’m sure there will be LOTS more in the future, and that is okay. These are things I have to work through.

Unfortunately I had a little set back toward the end of week 1.  I was doing really well up until then. The pain in the right side was getting better each day as well as my energy and then…..

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That sneeze hurt like a sonofabitch. I saw stars, my vision dimmed, and then I remembered I had to breathe. Breathing of course hurt, so thank goodness for birthing breathing techniques still in the back of that grey matter. Once I regained my senses, I took some pain meds, and went to bed.

I was laid up for quite a few days, then I remembered that I had my DoTerra stuff. I fully realize that a lot of people believe that essential oils are hokum, witches brew, hogwash, or a scam. That’s fine. I respect your opinion. That being said, I have used them for a few things and have found them to be very helpful. For instance, during allergy season, just a dab of peppermint on the tip of your nose helps clear you up. There are lots of other things you can use for various things, but that isn’t the point of this post. Anyways,  I started taking the Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex and started using the Copiba oil on my stomach about a week ago, and I wasn’t instantly cured, but I noticed a marked improvement, and have each day since. Why I hadn’t remembered this earlier, I don’t know, but damn I feel like an idiot for it. When I talked to my doctor about it on my 2 week follow up he said if it is still bothering me come the 6 week appointment, he’ll look into it more, but he things I pulled the compromised muscle when I sneezed.  Figures right. Leave it to me.

On the bright side … the doctor released me to go back to work today. Oh it was really nice to get back to normality. the girls greeted me so excitedly. It was really heartwarming. The day itself was pretty calm for me, and it was really nice to see my email not blown up. My boss did a great job of keeping up on it so I didn’t have a billion things to come back to. (THANKS GIRL!)

My energy level was really good, and I iced my stomach a bit as it was starting to get sore. I expected that, which is why I brought ice packs with me. I am still using them at home. Then 1:30pm hit, and it was like I walked into a brick wall and I couldn’t get comfortable in either my chair or standing.  So even though I didn’t make the whole day, I did end up working 3/4 of it, and tomorrow is another day.

This isn’t a easy ride, but I know in the long run it will be SO worth it.

Stats:

HW (Highest Weight): 289

PW (Process Weight ie: what I started at when I started talking to the dr about this): 265

SW (Surgery Weight) : 232

CW (Current Weight): 215

 

 

So what happened on surgery day?

I had my VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. diagram-VSG

For more information on VSG and RNY, click here to be forwarded to Kaiser’s Bariatric, Northern California Department website.

My surgery went great and I’m doing okay. Kaiser Fremont was amazing.

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The day of surgery really made me love Kaiser all the more. Everyone at the hospital was helpful, nice, and genuinely acted like they WANTED to help me. I arrived at 8:30am, checked in, and then headed to pre-op. Once I dropped off my paperwork, it wasn’t very long until they called me back.

After a quick wardrobe change, and a prego test (which obviously was negative), they set me up in a recliner to get the IV and first round of stuff started. Yes, you read that right. A recliner. No hospital beds for pre-op here. Unfortunately, I did have a bit of a problem with the IV. I got super light headed, and I almost passed out a couple of times. I am NOT blaming the nurse though because I’ve always had a problem with needles, and I wasn’t able to lay down for them to do it. Plus no food or much in the way of liquids for 12 hours before that, well, I guess in some ways it was expected.

Once they finished with all that they asked the same questions again and again. It’s pretty usual. They want to make sure you haven’t forgotten something or your stories change. What procedure are you having done today? Did you do the bowel prep? When was your last meal? When was the last time you had anything to drink? Any allergies? Do I have a Health Care Directive? (Which I have, but not on file with Kaiser, and the husband unit knows my wishes. If you don’t have one, you really should get one done. Never know what could happen.) Pretty typical questions.

Once they had me all settled, and gave me a blood thinner shot, they let the husband unit back to hang out with me until I walked into the operating room. The anesthesiologist came in when it was almost time (they were running a little head of schedule) and went over the same questions. I reminded him that I have had problems with anesthesia induced nausea multiple times, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem because they will put all kinds of anti-nausea meds in me during surgery.  He was hilarious by the way. Completely upbeat, and explained it by saying he was gonna start me off with a couple light weight margaritas, then he would then give me a super strong pina colada and next thing I would know I would be waking up in recovery.

After he left, Dr. Dutta, my surgeon came in and went over everything again and gave me a quick run down of what they were going to do. That basically consisted of me walking into the OR, laying on the table, and as he described it the hive swarming in. There would be nurses strapping me down so I wouldn’t fall off the table during surgery, nurses putting the pressure cuffs on my legs (to help prevent blood clots), the anesthesiologist would put an oxygen mask on, and various nurses running around the room. So lots going on, don’t worry, its all normal. Then he said he would see me in about 10 minutes.

10 minutes.

Yup. At this point it was like 10:20 or so, and I was originally scheduled for 11:00ish so my heart started to race in excitement. Kel and I finished getting all my stuff in one spot, and then they said the OR was ready for me. One more quick kiss and I love you to the hubs and I was off, walking out to start my new life!

The OR was pretty much as they had described it, but the room was bigger than I expected it to be.  I walked in and everyone shouted their hello’s, like it was a big party and I climbed up onto the table. From there it was the swarm, just as expected. Dr. Dutta came over and in a very jovial voice said, “Alright everyone ready for the breakdown?” or something like that. “Alright everyone we have Kimberly Ringer here for the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. You are Kimberly Ringer and that is the procedure you are here for right?” I confirmed and then the nurses rattled off a bunch of techno-gargon related to the surgery and the tools that were needed, confirmations around the room and then the bartender showed up.

The anesthesiologist put the mask over my nose and mouth and told me the margarita’s were coming in, verified after a moment I was feeling okay, said the Pina Colada was incoming, pressed down, and …………………………………….

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The rest of Tuesday, I pretty much slept until about that evening. I vaguely remember my husband coming into recovery and telling me I was sleeping the day away, and then later coming in and saying he was gonna head home so he could get the daughter unit to dance, since I was sleeping, and that I probably wouldn’t remember him telling me that, and to PLEASE not be too mad at him for leaving. Or something like that. Like I said. I VAGUELY remember all of that.

When I did come to and after I got up to go to the bathroom, they brought me some Crystal Light, some Jello, and some hot rose tea. The Crystal Light and Jello was not a problem. Once the hot water hit my stomach, it was a huge NOPE. It all came back up. Alright… new baby stomach did NOT like hot yet. Noted.

A while later they were able to get me into a room and I was wide awake by then, and feeling alright. Once they got me settled, they gave me some nausea meds, and some more morphine. Yup, threw that up pretty quick. In fact I threw up the pain meds all night long when they tried to give them to me.

So … when you are researching weight loss surgery, you often hear about people who have these moments of regretting having the surgery. Usually during the first month or so, sometimes after due to complications, but it was at 5:30 am on Wednesday, that I laid there, hurting thinking to myself that “Okay, now I can see why someone could regret going through this.” I wasn’t, and I still don’t, but I could see how someone COULD think that. I hadn’t been able to keep much down in the way of pain meds, and I wasn’t sleeping, because, well who sleeps in a hospital.

At 5:30 when the nurse came in, I asked her what medication they were giving me for pain, because I couldn’t remember, and when she told me morphine, I asked her if they could check with the doctor if we could switch it to something not as strong as I’ve had issues with some of the stronger pain medications in the past making me sick. That could be why I wasn’t able to keep it down and historically, I’ve not been able to keep much past Norco down before and she said she would check on it. She came back with Hycet, which is in the same family as Norco / Tylenol, and it worked.

I got to see Dr. Dutta a couple hours after that, and thanked him for changing the pain meds, because it had really helped. He also gave me a run down of the surgery and reassured me that everything was textbook, and no leaks were detected. He also gave me pictures of before and after, which are super cool. I am not going to post them because there are going to be some readers who may be a bit queezy. Dr. Dutta then went over his exceptions for my water and protein intake until I physically see him again at the 6 week mark (I have a phone appointment with him on Wednesday), that if I have any questions just to let him know, and then said I could go home and should be able to leave about 10:30.

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Super excited. From there it was just a matter of getting my new medications, going over things with the nutritionist and having discharge paperwork done. When it was time to leave, I was ready. I would have walked out if they had let me.

The husband said he has never driven that highway home that slow before EVER. He was so concerned about me throwing up or shifting wrong in the car and being in pain, he drove super slow. Which was really nice, because that road he drives every day, and …. well I can’t stand it.

I was so incredibly happy with Kaiser’s staff. Every single person I interacted with were nice, helpful, and seemed like they really wanted to be there. I totally give Kaiser Fremont an A+ for my care and well-being.

Well now it’s been two weeks, and I feel great with one exception. The pain on the right side is sticking longer with me than it does for a lot of patients. For the most part my energy feels good, I’m walking as instructed (every few hours at minimum), and I’m getting about 30g of protein in a day and about 40oz of water in a day. It should be higher, but it is hard. I’m just not hungry, and I’m full on just 3oz of food. Eventually I’ll need to get the protein to about 70oz a day and the water to 64oz a day, but I’m only two weeks out.

Well, here is to the new me. Let’s rock it.