Crash

Have I not published this??? Wha…?

This was 2012, the night before I was diagnosed with heart failure. Before all of my surgeries. Before gastric bypass. I was over 513 lbs. at the time. ❤


I’m at the pool. Again. I haven’t started swimming yet, but I’m here. I hate walking to the pool from the locker room. I can feel everyone’s eyes on my body. Fat shifting, legs jiggling, bright white flesh, unforgiving florescent lights, bathing suit from the 1920s. Ah, the ‘20s, when horizontal stripes were all the rage. When a woman could feel confident about her swimsuit choices. When covering her thighs was an option. You were encouraged to wear a dress into the ocean. I would need a burka to feel confident about bathing suit season. I could rock a burka. Whoosh. I’m in.

I look at the children splashing in my lane. They’re the excuse I give to postpone what I came for. Where are the parents? These kids are related. Same curly hair. Same features. Their careless parents rely on the apathetic lifeguard who is more concerned about how his towel is folded under his Speedo than rescuing either of these sputtering, flailing novices who are in over their heads. Boys. Rough-housing. Slapping the water, slapping each other. The bigger boy is holding the smaller boy under the water. I’m hoping one of them will seriously injure the other. The lifeguard blows his whistle. The big boy lets go. They settle. They look at the guard and then at me. Either the sharp tweet or my intense stare has sent them splashing in another direction. Wait. Don’t go.

10 minutes. I’ve been swimming for 10 minutes. I can stop now. At least I did something. There are other swimmers who want the lane. I look ridiculous. I’m not even doing this right. I’m not burning any calories. I’m so slow. My breathing is terrible. I can’t breathe. I’m tired. I could take a break. I don’t want to do this anymore.

No. You are fighting for your life here. Focus on your heart. Your strained, stressed-out heart. I haven’t been able to breathe very well for almost two months. I start thinking about how every stroke, every paddle, is strengthening my poor old heart.

And then, when I change my thinking, when I choose to fight, I start to swim. This is a race. And I’m going to win. Now I love my body. I love everything that I’m doing. I focus on the water moving over my arms and my pale, slick legs. Slowly, I am washing away the food, and the fat, and the failure. I am washing away all the hurt I’ve done to myself for all these years. I begin to move with determination and calm, embracing my power and submitting to the task. This is spiritual. I submit. And I swim for 30 minutes, not just 10.

The next morning, I am admitted to the hospital for heart failure. Crash.

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pathways

from 2013:

Okay, so here’s an interesting breakthrough. My brain, the well-worn pathways in my brain, tell me I’m stupid if I don’t get food. I was sitting here after denying myself junk food and feeling like I hated myself.

“Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel overwhelmingly like I hate myself right now?”

My brain is feeling bad because I am choosing not to give it the food it wants. To make a new pathway is very difficult for the brain. If I give it the food it’s asking for (that I trained it to ask for) then it’s happy. If I deny it that food, it gets mad and sad.

When I was very young, when my parents would fight, I rewarded my pleasure centers with food and that made my chaotic world seem okay. I have worn a path to my pleasure center with food. You may do it with sex or drugs or alcohol. I am making new pathways and this is the most difficult thing I have ever done. And one day my brain will thank me for good food choices.

Your brain works the exact same way. Trust me.


A friend explained pathways to me after she went through an intense therapy group for eating disorders. Still thankful for that. It has been one of the most significant pieces of the puzzle in terms of changing eating habits and emotional eating.

Anything is Possible

I often have to remind myself:
It’s not entirely your fault you were fat.

This may sound like a huge justification or rationalization, but it’s not. It’s a rejection of a lifetime of shame. Of being called lazy.

It’s funny, someone who blamed me and my weight problem on the simple fact that I ate too much, is now, or was, severely overweight with heart trouble. Hm. Ain’t that easy, is it?

Karma’s a bitch. But I won’t be. You shall remain anonymous. You’re welcome. I hope you can get some help. For your heart and mind.

December 12th, 2016–I had gastric bypass.

At my heaviest, I weighed 513 lbs. I’m currently at 280.4 lbs. Lowest weight to date since August 2012. That’s ~233 lbs lost for those without a calculator, superior math skills or too busy for subtraction of the hundreds column. 😀

233 lbs. Major.

When I met with my weight loss surgeon for the first time in August of 2016, he told me something significant.

“You have a genetic disorder that requires surgical intervention.”

He believed that. And I believe it now, too. Thank you, Doctor. You gave me my life back. In so many ways.

No one gets to be 513 on their own. No one. A series of events have to happen for a person to gain 300+ lbs over their ideal range.

Genetic predisposition to obesity. Bad eating habits established by the age of 5. Lack of nutrition or access to a quality food source. Misinformation about dieting. Emotional chaos at home and at school. Thyroid. Gallbladder. Disease. Surgery. Sickness. Pregnancy. Teasing. Shaming. Cruel humor from your own family. Being misunderstood. Culture.

I can tell you one thing. Stop shaming fat people. It doesn’t help. Sympathetic, empathetic, emotional support for obese people is the only way to help them. If they want it! Demanding better food from food suppliers and the government; supporting a system of a better food source for the general population, for everyone, is a start. Being educated helps. Actual involvement in an overweight person’s life is essential. Compassion and understanding are needed. Listening is key. Stop judging fat people. Chances are you know someone who is overweight. They aren’t lazy. They have a medical problem. What’s your reason for being a self-righteous asshole?

And exercise isn’t the only answer. I haven’t exercised regularly through my whole weight loss journey, especially since I had gastric bypass. I haven’t always been able to. I’ve simply reduced my calorie intake. I am more active, but only when I choose to be. I bike, but not with a rigid, unchanging schedule. I bike and walk when I enjoy it.

I exercised and dieted for over 2 years. Worked out for 3-5 nights a week at the local Y for at least an hour each time. Usually, I was there at the Y for 2 hours. I ate the right foods in the right amounts. I couldn’t get past ~60 lb loss until I had gastric bypass. And then it FELL off. I was killing myself doing what skinny people told me to do with my body. It didn’t work.

I used to think it was a matter of willpower because that’s what every skinny person ever told me. Until my surgeon.

LISTEN! It could mean the difference between life and death for someone. I would know.

Get surgery if you’ve tried everything. You may have some other condition preventing weight loss. At least see a physician who specializes in obese patients. It may just save your life.

Fight for yourself. Advocate for yourself. No one else will.


BTW! I can wear size 22 jeans! LOL What? I can zip them up after I pour all my floppy skin into the legs. WTF???! I haven’t worn size 22 jeans in a long time. 😀 That’s hawt! They are a pair of 22 jean capris that a weight loss surgery patient gave me after they were too big. Thank you, Friend! I’m in them now! Still losing. I will pass them on when I’m done!

Hello, Gorgeous! Here I come 270s!! Bye, bye, Shamers! I’m too busy for you.

299.4

Welcome to Loozers Lounge!! LOL I’m the biggest loser.

I broke 300.

I did not think this was possible! So excited. only 99 lbs until skin surgery. 😀 Better find a surgeon. Wish I had my weight loss surgeon. He’s the best. But I have to afford the surgery first. Flying back to KC would cost even more.

Who cares! I weigh 299!!! Woot!

Total loss=214 lbs!!!!!

This is good news.  This has been a tough week full of sadness and setbacks. Welcome, Good News! I needed you.

in the teens, yo

I am in the 3teens!! I weigh 319.6 today! 😀 OMG! I am so stoked. I can’t believe it just keeps falling. I feel so lucky.

My belly has been a little flip-floppy over the last coupla days. Today is a little uneasy, but I’m still getting food down and it doesn’t come back up!

Where does all the fat go? Where is it coming from? I feel mostly like a deflating balloon because everything just looks smaller, not a different shape. When I was younger and lost weight, it was usually from my stomach. But I still have my big ol’ saggy meat apron. UGH!

Oh well. You’re my saggy meat apron, Meat Apron. *pats belly*

*covers Meat Apron’s ears* How do they even cut it off during surgery??! How could you stop the bleeding? How could it go back together??

I’m mainly thinking about skin surgery now because to reach goal I will have to have some of my skin removed because it weighs so much. Can I keep it? In a jar? Under the bed? LOL

I wanted to keep my thyroid or cancer nodules, but there was paperwork involved. Sorry, Thyroid. It was nice knowing ya. *trash*

And I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I will always love you

Gonna Getchu

I’ve explained to my husband several times. “I’m gonna getchu, Sucka!”

I’ve been threatening to catch up to his weight for a while. Idle threats from a 456+ lb. thyroid cancer victim.

“I got time!” he supposed.

Well. I’m here, Sucka!

I am at 321.4 today and I’m breathing down your neck, Guy! HEEHEE!

I’m a very competitive person when it comes to my husband. I think it’s because I’m an Aries. Or just a jerk.

I don’t like competing with strangers. Just my husband. It’s because I admire him so much and I want him to admire me. So I have to beat him. At everything. I’m so sorry, honey!

He is my equal. My peer. The funniest sonuvagun I’ve ever met. I want him to think the same. This is my Aries persona: I must best him. Crush him. NO! JK! I just want to impress the man. He’s hard to impress. Aries is attracted to someone who is better than they are, but then they try to outdo their partner. I’m just so crazy. Egomaniac.

Every time I update him with my weight loss, I see, at the same time, excitement and terror! He knows how close I am. He squeals with delight and sheer hole-puckering fright when I tell him how much I’ve lost every day. I love his glee and equal gloom.

Thanks, Guy. For helping me. Caring for me after surgery. Watching me suffer with your hands tied. Listening. Wiping my cold-sweaty brow. Sharing CPAP duties. Taking me to the ER when my guts were open to the world. For just staying. For almost 19 years. I love you so much, dear. You’re my sun, moon, stars. I don’t deserve you, but I’m thankful for you.

AND I am, in fact, coming for you. Get ready!

Twisted, Sister

I am eating healthy. I am exercising (stairs/cleaning/non-stop unpacking/moving boxes/cooking/laundry/beach walking/shell hunting–does that count?). I am doing all the right things. And I’m not losing weight.

We just moved from KC to Florida. It’s been hectic and my eating hasn’t always been what it should be, but! I am not eating too much. I can’t. I get very full at the drop of a sandwich and I just can’t physically put much food in my stomach. My stomach is still so tiny after surgery. So, why no weight loss?

I ran out of my furosemide. Generic Lasix. Water pill.

We lost our insurance at the end of May. My husband left his job and we just don’t have insurance yet. I was too busy to call the doctor or see someone before I left Missouri. So, I’m out. I know, I know! But. I had good reasoning for this decision. Let me explain.

I went on furosemide almost 5 years ago. It was a miracle drug. It helped me drop massive chunks of weight. The first week I lost over 30 lbs. I was full of juice. I was at 513 pounds and I dropped like a rock as soon as they gave it to me.

I was in the ER, diagnosed within hours, “Ms. Maggio, we think you have congestive heart failure.” They immediately gave me an IV. Pumped Lasix in and the juice came out! Immediately! I almost did not make it to the bathroom it was so fast. I lost over 10 lbs. of liquid (probably more) the first 3 days in the hospital. I felt like I could fly!

So I was released with a dose of generic Lasix that I have taken steadily since 2012. I was even put on two pills in 2014. After weight loss surgery last December, my surgeon took me off furosemide. No dose. Not sure of his reasoning, other than he knew I wouldn’t be getting the water intake I needed, at first. But I wasn’t losing like I should. So his partner put me back on one dose. That seemed to do the trick.

I can usually tell if I’m retaining water. My feet swell. I’ve learned to keep an eye on my feet. That’s typically the first sign. Obvs. It’s the lowest point in your body. That’s where liquid is going to go. Thanks, Gravity. Plus, with poor circulation (Thanks, Heart Failure!) that’s where most of the liquid is going to stay. I usually have cold hands and feet, too.

So, since I’ve run out of my furosemide, I’m retaining more water. It’s nothing like ER Martha at 513 lbs. My feet had ballooned to 3 times their normal size. Scary! That’s one reason why I headed to the ER. Nothing like that. I can just tell, I’m a little squishy.

So, I’m going to call one of my Missouri doctors today and see if they can help me out until I can find a primary care physician here. Without insurance yet, that could be tricky.

Thankfully! I am doing okay. Still have great energy. More than ever. I still have all my other meds. I was trying to get off the furosemide anyway and my doctors agreed. Plus, I have not gained any weight! That’s the great part. I’ve just stalled. I thought I was losing, but no. Every day I wake up and it’s the same.

True, I could be in a plateau. I hit one before. It happens. But I am doing everything I can to break it. Eating even less than what I’m hungry for (usually never hungry, but I am lately more hungry at night due to more activity during the day). I want to break this plateau, if that’s what it is. I want to only drink water. Working on it. I mostly do, but I like an occasional low- or no-calorie soft drink. Like half a mini Coke or Crystal Light.

I also feel my carb addiction creeping back in. I love carbs. Pasta, flour, cereal. I don’t really eat these, but I have a weakness for bread. I take little bites of a roll and I only have one, especially if we are eating out and they have free bread or something. But it’s so tempting to eat the whole friggin’ basket. I couldn’t even if I said, “Yes, more bread please!” as I wiped the crumbs from my very-full cheeks. I would totally throw it up or have to find the nearest bathroom and be miserable for hours. No, thank you. Plus, it would just stop up the whole works for days! So, I can limit, but I shouldn’t have it at all! AT! ALL! NEVER!

I am back on the straight and narrow. Mainly because I want to see that scale keep moving. I have a finite window here to lose most of it and I am very aware of that clock. It’s 12-18 months. It’s different for everyone. I went through hell to get that surgery and I’m not going to waste it.

Over the past few days, I’ve been back to salads, eating lean and limiting portions. It’s not hard, I just had to get my head back in the game and really focus. Moving just spun my head around like a Twister dial and my brain landed on all four colors.

This morning I am right back where I was when I left KC, 338.2 lbs. THAT is nothing to sneeze at! It used to be, my weight fluctuated drastically from day to day. 10 lbs. or more. So THIS is good. Not great, but okay! 🙂

Back on the very strict wagon! But glad to be here.

An Armful

Last night, my daughter came up to me after a long day for both of us and asked to hug me. “I wanna give you a big hug.”

She hugged me for a few seconds and then exclaimed, “I can fit my arms around you!” And we laughed together. We rejoiced together.

That was a big moment for both of us. She’s never embraced me and touched her hands until now and I have lost so much weight that my daughter can get her arms around me for the first time. Wow!

What a beautiful moment. I love her. She’s such a gorgeous reminder of pure love and acceptance. I see Jesus in her spirit every day and she rescued me from a lifetime of indulgence and regret. She gave me a reason to live. She helped me embrace life.

Thank you, Lilli. For your hugs and whole heart.

340s

Today, I am 347.6 lbs. I am still steadily losing weight almost every day. There are some days that I don’t lose anything. Those days, however, are few and far between.

I went in for weight loss surgery last December 2016 and since then, I’ve managed to lose 109 lbs. That feels great. Since August 2012, I’ve dropped 166 total. Plus, I’m only 4 1/2 months in. Can you imagine 1 year from now??

It may seem like a pretty standard thing to most people, but at my heaviest, I lost my ability to take a relaxing bath. I always take a shower every day, but occasionally, it’s nice to have a soak. And at 500 lbs, it wasn’t a luxury I could indulge.

So, this last Tuesday, after freezing my toes off most of the day, I thought to try a nice hot bath to warm up. My body temperature is hard to regulate with no thyroid and rapid weight loss. My extremely remote appendages are typically frigid. So, I could either vigorously exercise, throw on a pair of socks or relax in a steamy pool of life-altering suds. Bath it is!

And you know what? I fit. I fit nicely in the tub. With water! More than just a drop! Ain’t that great? I thought so. It was an ordinary achievement in a routine day, but it meant the world to be in the tub again. These small things are what excite me the most.

I can’t wait to fly again! If and when I can afford it. 🙂 Until then, I’ll fly high on my little daily wins.

The Buzz!

What’s the buzz? It’s not a new radio station in town. It’s not a hot wings restaurant down on the corner where the servers wear footballs over their tatas! It’s me, my weight!

I just broke 400!!!

I weigh 399.8 today. 😀 Starting at 513 lbs. in August of 2012, to finally be down past 400 is huge! 113.2 lbs. lost! I am so happy. I am so thankful. I am so very excited! I am so excited to be at this weight-busting moment!

I had wanted to meet this goal before the end of 2016, but I’m only 9 days late. 😀 Better late than never.

Thank you for just cheering me on. It helps. Woot!!! I’m losing! I really am.

And if you’re having trouble starting your NYE diet resolution, be afraid, because I’m on your a$$ and I’m coming for you! What better motivation to start! LOL 😉