Wednesday, July 29, 2009


So this isn't weight loss related, but since this blog is "all about Pam" - I thought I could go here.

I am in the process of getting my PMP certification. PMP stands for Project Management Professional. I have wanted to get this certification for quite a few years, but I wanted someone else to pay for it. :)

The acredidation is not an easy one to obtain - especially if (like me) you do not have a college degree. Then you need to provide proof of almost double the amount of experience in project management that someone with a college degree doesn't have to provide. I have to provide 5 years of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education on the application. Once the application is accepted I am allowed the privilege of taking the exam. The exam is 4 hours long and is 200 questions and many people fail it the first time. I also get the privilege of PAYING to take the exam - over $400 (if you are a member of PMI - $$555 if you are not).

So I just completed my application process. That in and of itself took me a good week's worth of time to compile all of the information and then enter it online. PMI now has to accept the application. I am told I will be notified in a couple of days. I am quite nervous as I know a few people who have had their applications audited. That shouldn't be a problem for me - it's just a pain if they decide to do that. they would go through and verify with each of my manager's that what I put in my application is true.

Next I am slated to take a "Boot Camp" class to prepare to take the exam. The class is all about how to take the exam. It assumes you know the information that the exam will test you on (The Project Management Book of Knowledge 4th edition - or PMBOK as it's widely known) and basically just prepares you to take the exam. I take the class in the middle of August. I am hoping to then schedule my exam within a month of taking the class.

Having submitted my application for this credential I am suddenly wrought with anxiety. I have wanted to get this certification for years. But have also been happy to put it off. They recently changed the exam to match the changes to the PMBOK - so that is one reason for me to be nervous - not a lot of people have taken this edition of the exam yet. I am even running up against having trouble finding the latest version of study guides and practice exams. It is a lot of time and energy to put towards something and then fail. I know because I have done something similar to this back in 2000. I got my certification as a Microsoft Certified Professional in Analyzing Requirements and Designing Solution Architecture. I took that freakin' test 3 times before I passed! I missed by 2 questions the first time and 1 question the second time before passing by 4 questions the 3rd time. It was awful to go through all the studying - the gut wrenching exam - hit the "submit" button and then have them say "So Sad Too Bad". I am so not doing that again.

So now I am waiting to see if my application was approved. I don't want to get too ahead of myself.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not just a WOW Moment - WHOA!

I have been slacking on my blog this past week. I have been without children for the past 12 days and really just taking advantage of the free time I have had.

But this past weekend I had a major WOW moment. So major I am calling it my WHOA moment. :)

I had a girls night out planned with some friends I don't get to spend as much time with as I would like. I had jeans on that have been taken in several times, but are just too big, so before arriving at my friends house I decided to stop by TJ Maxx and see if I couldn't find any jeans that fit. I knew I was fitting into a size 14 - so I grabbed a bunch of those and headed to the fitting rooms. The 14's fit perfect - that in itself was fun! But then I noticed that ALL of them had room in them. Seriously? 14's with room? No way. You don't think a 12 would fit, do you? Do I dare even try? I can't even remember being a 12. Maybe for a nano-second in my sophmore year in high school? Maybe?

But I ran out and grabbed a couple of 12's and brought them back to try them on. I did it. I put them on! I buttoned and zipped them without any trouble! SIZE 12!!!! NO FREAKIN' WAY! Here is my pic in the dressing room!

I jumped in the car and ran to my friends house. I burst in her door gave her a hug and was like "It's so great to see you - but I have to change!" I ran in her bathroom and put on my jeans and then I couldn't shut up about it the rest of the night. Randomly I would burst out going "I am wearing a size 12!!!" I wouldn't take the tags off my pants. At one point we ran an errand and my friend goes "Are you going to go out with that sticker on your pants?" Why yes, yes I am! I don't care who sees it! I am wearing a size 12!!!! Here is a picture of me with the sticker on my forehead - SIZE 12 PEOPLE!

And here is a picture of me hanging with these friends last year. A reminder of how far I have come. Do you even recognize her? I know she is smiling, but I don't think she was happy.

Another WHOA moment this weekend ... I had a dear friend who sent me a box full of clothes earlier this summer. Some size 14 and a couple size 12 and Medium shorts. At the time the 14's fit but were a little tight. Now they all fit. Upon realizing that I fit in the size 12 jeans I decided to check on a particular pair of shorts that she had given me that were really really too small when she sent them. They were a size MEDIUM. I put them on last night and went for a walk! Medium! MEDIUM! MEDIUM! Seriously? I don't remember that size ever either. Medium. Not 3XL, not 2XL, not XL, not even Large! MEDIUM!

Times they are a changin'! WHOA!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


So I have been trying to run at least 5 miles during the week when I get my runs in. I run at least 3 times during the week (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and on the days I don't run I do strength training. On Saturday I try to do a longer run - at least 6 miles and gradually working my way up to more. Now that I have been running longer distances I am finding the need to hydrate better and find some way to fuel my runs. This is a challenge in general for me because of my decreased ability to take in food - especially in the morning when I like to run.
So I did some research and did some shopping and this is what I came up with.

I bought an Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Hydration System. I was thinking about getting a hydration belt of some sort, but not quite ready to make a jump like that. I like this because I don't really have to hold it - just strap it to my hand and it stays in place. It is shaped for your hand.

Something I did discover is you don't want to put something too cold in there - it will freeze your hand! :) It holds 20 ounces which is good - I can just sip here and there and it's just enough for me.
It also has a little pocket and I can put my license in there, or something else I am experimenting with - sports beans.

I tried using these in my run for the first time yesterday and it went really well. I was worried about dumping on them, but since I take them when I am running - they metabolize and absorb really well. I take a few before I run and then every 30 minutes. I didn't have the totally exhausted feeling I had last week - like I just couldn't run any farther even if my life depended on it. I bought an assortment of these at REI this weekend, including some CLIF BLOK SHOTS and some PowerBar Gel Blasts. So I have a few things to try and see how they work for me.
I continue to love running and it boggles my mind. But I look forward to my runs - especially my long ones on Saturdays.

Tucked In

I did something today that I haven't done in a very long time - at least the past decade.

I tucked my shirt in.


Here's some pics:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Body Image Ruminations

This post may be a bit rambling – I am having trouble organizing my thoughts around what I am really trying to say – but here goes.

This body image stuff sucks. Plain and simple.

My body image is in the crapper. On paper I can make it all work out – I’m doing great – when I look in the mirror – YUCK. I know – that’s common for a lot of people – especially women. I get it. But I’m just increasingly bothered by how prevalent this problem is. I am even seeing it trickle down to my 7 year old daughter and it breaks my heart. I have twin girls who are 7. They are not identical. One is tall and rail thin. The other is not as tall and of average weight. She is 7 years old in size 7 clothes. She is in like the 60th percentile for her weight. Her twin sister is in like 20th percentile for weight. They eat almost all the same things most days – they just have totally different bodies. What breaks my heart is that she already sees herself as “the chubby twin”. I know there is a different dynamic here because they are twins and everyone expects twins to be “the same”, but seriously? Body Image problems at 7? What is this world coming to? She has this really cute tankini bathing suit and she said to me the other day “Mom – where is my one piece bathing suit? I don’t want my belly to show like it does when I wear this suit.”

So how do I combat this when I have my own body image demons to deal with? How do I counteract all that the world would have her believe about herself? How do I ensure she is filled with self esteem so that she can defeat these awful body image beliefs? Before I know it she will be a teenager and I won’t have as much say in what she eats, etc… How do I make sure that I prepare her fully for adolescence and all the craziness that goes with it?

I have to live it. It is said that behavior is “caught” more times than it is “taught” with our children. I owe it to my daughters to defeat my own demons and fix my own body image. I know – easier said than done. But I got to thinking about this a lot after my last post. I had so many encouraging responses to it. I do need to get past the numbers – the pounds lost – even the measurements – and get to how I FEEL about my body. I need to be more comfortable in my own skin. I need to BE beautiful and self confident – even more for my daughters than for myself. When I say BE beautiful and self confident - it's not about the skin I'm in or the size clothes I wear or even a number on a scale and how it changes - it's about ME and being happy with ME - who I am and how I live.

All of this fantastic weight loss will taper off and end some day and I will have a "new normal" to get used to. It is already somewhat difficult for me to adjust to this new way of life. It's so much more than what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising. It is a totally different lifestyle for me in every way - down to how I think and act and hold myself.

If you had asked me a year ago if I was happy with myself I would have said "SURE! I like me!", but I so did not like me. And for some reason that has been one of the most difficult things for me to face up to. That I really wasn't happy like that as much as I told myself I was happy - that I was OK - that it was perfectly fine for me to live that way because I wasn't hurting anyone else. Having to acknowledge that I was hurting myself, my family, my friends, because I couldn't actually be healthy for them. I wasn't being the best mom for my kids - I wasn't being a good example - I wasn't able to play with them or keep up with them as much. I have wondered if it may be why I have so much trouble getting rid of my "fat clothes" - because I don't want to admit that was a problem.

So I said this would be a rambling post and it is. From being concerned about my daughters body image to my own body image issues to getting used to the new normal to confronting my past. All of this will hopefully lead to a new life for me where I don't have to spend so much time and energy focusing on these issues and I can just live life to the fullest - this time in my life as "morbidly obese" just a memory from my past instead of a cloak that I try so desperately to shed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

6 Month Surgiversary

Well, I hit the 6 month mark last week, but I didn't have time to blog and to be honest I wasn't feeling too positive. I realized that since my 4 month surgiversary I had only lost 10 pounds. I know some of you are like "SHUT UP! 10 pounds in 2 months is great!" Yeah - but not in Pam's little gastric bypass world. I hit a major stall in there where I played with the same three or 4 pounds. I seem to have broken that stall, but am still now losing at a much slower pace than I was just following surgery. I am at 85 pounds down since surgery and I was really hoping to be close to 100 pounds down by now. That was my own self-imposed goal. My doctor is very happy with my weight loss to date. My nutritionist is also quite happy with my progress and feels that some of the slow down is because of my drastic ramp up in exercise with my running, etc... So the trade off with the increase in exercise is a bit of a slow down in my weight loss, but in the end this new attitude toward exercise will benefit me much better in the long run - so I guess I will just have to take it.

As I have said before, I don't always see the changes in me. I know in my head because the scale is going down, the sizes are going down, etc..., but living in it day to day can sometimes blind my eyes to what changes are actually happening. In an effort to see more clearly I will sometimes look at comparison pictures. Today I want to look at some cold hard facts - measurements.

Measurement Pre-op 3 Months 6 Months
Full Bust 50 44 40
Rib Cage 46 39 35
Waist 46 39 37
Hips 56 50 45
Thighs 30 26 24
Arms 15 14 13
Total 243 212 194

Here is how some of this breaks down. Since surgery I have lost 49 inches! That is 4 feet y'all! That just blows my mind!

I have gone from a size 24 to a size 14.

I have gone from a 46D bra to a 36D bra. I haven't been a 36 anything since college I think.

My BMI has gone from 47.4 to 32.4.

Underweight less than 18.5
Normal 18.5-24.9
Overweight 25-29.9
Obese I 30-34.9
Obese II 35-39.9
Morbid Obesity 40 and above

So I have gone from Morbidly Obese to just regular ol' Obese. I have 15 more pounds to go until I am just Overweight. Can I just tell you what awful awful awful feelings I have in my gut when I hear the word obese? I can even remember the first time I heard it said about me. All of those feelings come rushing back. But then add morbidly as an adjective - seriously I want to hurl. I digress.

Then if I look at percentages - I want to loose 130 pounds total. I am 65% to that goal!

I also wanted to look back at some of my goals and update them. They are listed below and include my comments from 3 months out in red - my most recent comments in blue:
  • I want my feet to stop hurting. Well they hurt - but because of my new tattoo! I recently went on vacation and we went to an amusement park. We were there from open to closing and my feet did not hurt. I even ran around a bit of the park trying to meet up with the rest of our group on time, etc... It was great!
  • I want to be able to walk more than a mile without stopping because of my back. DONE! I now walk 3 miles without stopping at all. And I have taken to jogging! I can jog 2 miles without stopping! I now RUN! I have done two 5K races, and most recently a 4 mile road race. I am targeting a 10K in the fall and I have upped my workout runs to five and a half miles!!!! I never stop when I run anymore.
  • I want to stop wearing my CPAP machine at night. I have not worn my CPAP since surgery! I don't snore (much) at night anymore! In fact, I gave my CPAP away! Hope you're enjoying it, Tim! The vacation we recently took required us to take a 20 hour drive to our destination. So we stopped to spend the night in Tennessee -giving the kids an opportunity to get out - play in the pool - and generally enjoy spending the night in a hotel which is a special treat for them. I shared a bed with my daughter, Megan, and in the morning she said "MOM! You didn't wake me up with your snoring!" Yeah!
  • I want my knees to stop hurting. My knees still bother me - I have arthritis in them, but they don't hurt ALL the time like they did before - only when I really push myself exercising. I have seen my Primary Care Physician who is also a sports medicine specialist and a triathlete. He recommended that I not run on consecutive days and then add in strength training in the intervals. This has made a huge difference on the pain in my knees as well as my pace in my running.
  • I want to be able to cross my legs comfortably. I can do it! I want to be able to be a little more comfortably doing this and do it longer, but I can do it! Even in church in the pew where there's not much room! I cross my legs all the time now! I love it! I can do it comfortably and keep that position for a good long while.
  • I want to be able to run around with my kids. I even got on the trampoline with my kids! I also go bike riding with them now! They love it when I get on the trampoline. They always want to go for walks, etc... I play in the pool with them now that it is so hot.
  • I want to feel like I don't have to avoid mirrors. I still avoid mirrors a lot. This will have to be something I work on. And when I look in them I still see me 3 months ago. But my friends are helping me work this out. I'm a little better in this regard. But I don't like looking at myself much. I plan to address some of the body image issues in a future post.
  • I want to be able to fit comfortably in a roller coaster when we go on vacation this summer. I haven't done this yet, but I'm feeling good about the possibilities this summer! I did it! We went to Silver Dollar City in Branson and I had a blast going on all the roller coasters! And I fit just fine in them - even had some room in some of them. I had such a blast!
  • I want to be able to fit comfortably in an airplane seat. On my trip to see my sister I had no trouble with the seatbelt and didn't feel like I was imposing on the person next to me. Yeah!
  • I want my blood pressure to go back to normal. I was on 3 different blood pressure medications prior to surgery because I am allergic to ACE inhibitors. I have not taken ONE of them since the day of surgery! My blood pressure has been phenomenal since surgery. I just took it now and it was 114/68! My blood pressure continues to be great and my resting heart rate has plummeted! It used to be in the high 80's to low 90's. Now it's in the mid 60's.
  • I want to be able to go to the doctor and not have my blood pressure go up just at the thought of having to get on the scale. So I've only had one doctor's appointment since surgery and my blood pressure was 122/72. That is pretty freakin' good for me! My last appointment my blood perssure was 118/70! I just about did a happy dance.
  • I want to shop in a "normal" store for clothing. I am so close to this I can taste it. It is possible I could actually shop in normal stores right now, but I am going through clothes sizes so fast right now I can't bring myself to spend money on new clothes that I will only wear for a little while. A lot of clothes I am currently wearing are just too big and that is just how it will be. I plan to make a trip to a local thrift store soon and see what I can find. I am officially shopping in regular stores. I still find myself drawn to a size 24 - just automatically. But I am in a size 14. A lot of my clothing doesn't even have the X in front of the L! WOO HOO!
  • I don't want my kids to be embarassed by their fat mom. My kids spend a lot of time telling me how good I look when I have a new outfit on, etc... In fact, the day that the kids came to the hospital after my surgery my daughter, Marissa, took to telling everyone in the elevator that she was coming to visit her mom and that her mom was in the hospital to "get skinny". Having my kids at the finish line of my first 5K made me quite verklempt. To have them high fiving me and cheering me on - wow - I can't even write about it without tearing up. It meant so much to me.

And now I have added a couple of new goals for myself:

  • I want to see my collar bone. Isn't that strange? I can feel it now, but I don't feel like it is quite visible.
  • Along those same lines - I would really like to see my hip bones. That might be a long time in coming simply because of all the extra skin I have in that area. That may have to wait for the tummy tuck.
  • I want to be able to buy cute bras and panties. HEHEHEHE. Yeah - big girl panties and bras have been what I have always gotten - but I'm now in a size that I can buy those cute little sets! I haven't done it yet because the sizes have been changing so fast, but I'm feeling more comfortable with this now.
  • I want to no longer see myself as the fattest person in the room. Even though I have lost so much weight, I still see myself as "the fat girl".
  • I want to get the the "century" mark in my weight loss. I actually want to loose 130 pounds total - but this is a good progress mark for me.
  • I am now adding some distance goals for my running. I want to run a 10K this fall, and hopefully a half marathon in the winter. I can't believe I just said that.

So this is my 6 month update. Here is a picture to go with it all:

That is my man. We recently celebrated our 15th anniversary. This was a sunset dinner cruise that we went on while in Branson to celebrate our anniversary. I think it's safe to say he is enjoying the new me on a lot of different levels as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shout Out

I've been meaning to give a shout out to my mom on this blog. She got started with her own blog last month and she has been rockin' the net ever since! I am very proud of her! She writes some great stuff! Her blog is about decorating. She is a great resource from all angles. Not only from advice about decorating, but a super place to buy just about anything you could want for your home! She sells At Home America homewares. There is always something on sale, and their catalog is fantastic. So check her out at Decorating with Pat!

Another Race

I ran my third race this past weekend - The Great Raleigh Road Race. This one was a little different in that instead of a 5K (which is just over 3 miles) this race was 4 miles long. I hadn't done anything that long yet. I was running about 4.5 miles during my workouts.

My friend Jen ran with me again. She is so good to me - thinks of things for us to talk about to take our mind off the running - encourages me - gives me pep talks as we go. I wasn't sure what to make for my goals for this race because it was going to be a different length than the others. Again - I wanted to not stop and to not be last. In general I wanted to improve my pace. My second race "Run the Quay" had me finishing 3 miles in 40 minutes with a 13-something pace. My first race The Skirt Chaser had me finishing 3 miles in 45 minutes with a 14:30 pace.

Well, for this race I finished in 49:18. That put my pace at 12:20! I didn't stop, and I wasn't last. Although - there weren't too many people behind me. I think Jen and I came in at 344 and 345 out of 350. OUCH! But I was still very proud of myself for my accomplishment in improving my pace time again.

I have totally caught the running bug and am already working on upping my workout mileage in preparation for a 10K in the fall. I am recruiting other friends at work to run this one as well. It is the Running of the Wolves on October 24. I need to think on what my goals for that race will be seeing as how it's so much longer. Jen has also planted a seed in my head about a half marathon in 2010. She is running her first this fall. I hope to cheer her on! She has been such an incredible inspiration to me.

It is still such a crazy thing to me to even hear myself say that I am going to do a 10K and possibly a half marathon! It's like hearing a different voice in my head. But I seriously CRAVE running. If for some reason I skip a few days of running - I itch to get back on the road. While we were on vacation a couple of weeks ago I ran 4 or 5 times while we were gone. When I didn't run I did the elliptical or the bike. It was my morning routine and it got me going for the day. I was usually up and back from my workout before the rest of the family even got up. That is SO NOT ME! I love to sleep in. But especially in the heat of summer, if I don't run first thing in the morning I have a hard time running later in the day.

As I start to get into longer distances I really need to work on my hydration and fueling my body for the runs. I struggle big time with getting enough water or fluids in on a regular day and I am starting to notice times of dehydration after I have a longer run. I have taken to drinking a lot of G2 Gatorade. I also really like Vitamin Water. It's a good way for me to rehydrate as well as get a few extra calories in on days when eating is a chore. (Yes, I just said there are days when eating is a chore - who knew?)