30-Something Mom Seeking Sexy

I never thought I’d do a boudoir photo shoot. 70 pounds ago, I thought that it was something only skinny bitches did. But I kept hearing that it was something that would boost your self esteem and that’s pretty much always good news, so I looked a little closer. And I figured it may also have a pleasant unintended outcome, too. My guy is hard to buy for anyways and if I can make him like me more, I’m in favor of that.

The Prep

I planned it so that the day before my boudoir shoot was devoted to me prepping. I was off from work. The kids were at school so I had time for me. I went to the nail salon early and had the whole place to myself. I got an acrylic set of fingernails and a gel pedicure to ensure it lasted. I even had my eyebrows waxed. I felt amazing, even before my shoot. I dyed and deep conditioned my hair. I even shaved everything below the neck.

Her instructions were pretty detailed. I was given enough time to do up to three outfit changes so I made sure the night before to lay then all out. I didn’t have three outfits that I loved so I kept to two. I mean, at that point I wasn’t even sure I was really going to go through with it. But I did.

Embracing New Experiences

When I walked into my boudoir shoot I was visibly nervous. Katie welcomed me and smiled warmly. The shoot was at her home (As a lot of boudoir shoots are) and after meeting her and seeing how kind she was, I was just glad I wasn’t going to get murdered, honestly. Prior to the shoot we had exchanged several text messages and she even sent me google document with detailed instructions on how to prepare for my shoot. So I guess I was “prepared” – even if I pulled up to the address feeling ready to puke.

But then there was Katie. It didn’t take long before I was feeling a bit more at ease. After reading reviews of other boudoir photographers, I’m convinced this is the thing they have in common: They can make you feel comfortable, even when you’re entirely prepared to be awkward and weird. We talked a few minutes about what I wanted and I showed her the outfits I’d chosen. She was very reassuring and suggested I start with the more modest outfit. She said by outfit number two, I’d have the confidence to rock it. And boy, was she was right.

She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

She took the time to make sure all my poses were, not only flattering, but that I was comfortable with each. She showed me a few images here and there as she shot to build my confidence so the more she shot, the sexier I felt. It was the most secure I’ve ever felt about who I am, while still feeling so vulnerable at the same time.

I did the shoot for me. But showing my better half the results? Well, let’s just say he was pleased, to say the least. And even better, he was proud, mostly. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time but in these images, I finally saw it, too. He was proud to see that I saw it. All my hard work; raising two babies, weight loss and just everything that a working mom life entails. I still saw a sexy, strong, powerful woman in those pictures and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.

So thank you a million times, Katie; for an amazing experience. I can’t wait for our next collaboration. Check out her website and Instagram to see all her amazing work.

 

 

 

 

Insecurities

There are never quick fixes, at least never in the way you think. Leading up to the surgery I thought once I get this surgery done I would lose all this weight and then I will be healthy again and I’ll look amazing. Right?

Wrong!

I imagined my body looking the same as it did prior to kids all fresh and smooth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. The thing is, when I look in the mirror I don’t see all my progress. I am so clouded by the flaws I still see that I just can’t see it. The stretch marks are still there, the loose skin is just getting looser and my hair has started to fall out. I know that there are things I can never change. But it doesn’t stop me from reading another new article on stretch mark removal or reading all the ingredients listed on the Rogaine bottle for the millionth time.

I’m human. I have flaws and I know that. But every so often, I get this uncontrollable urge to Google quick fixes. (But that’s human, too, right?) I know there aren’t any and they wont work but what harm can it do? This is why I need to write. To force myself out of my old habits of quick fixes and get myself into real life changes.  If I’m publishing things, then I’m more likely to hold myself accountable.

I know I’m not alone; there are people out there with way worse insecurities than me. 62% of women all over the world feel insecure about something. That is roughly 2 billion women in the world. So I’m not alone. And neither are you.

For so long I have lived mortified about what has happened to my body. I’ve always blamed myself not enough lotion, not enough cocoa butter and probably could have eaten better as to not gain the weight. So many could have, should have, would haves.

But in the end, this is now me. In all my wonderful squishy glory.

But with all my insecurities, still all in my own head. I want to be skinny, strong, and have great skin. I don’t think those desires will ever go away, nor do I think it’s realistic to expect to achieve those goals to a point where I’m 100% satisfied. I can own them for what they are. I can be skinnier and stronger if I got my ass up and to the gym. But that’s not the point and it won’t change the root of the problem.

When I look in the mirror, I just want to be proud of what I’ve accomplished.

If there is more I can do like going to the gym. I will do those things. But 16-year-old Jen with a perky set and flat tummy is a far reach. It will take me years to get over the body I feel I’ve lost. But the fact is, it’s a mental problem, not a physical one. And it’s a habit that I may never stop. But if me writing about it can help me own it and feel less of the shame (or help someone else) then I guess half the battle is won.

Me and Gastric Sleeve…

I’ve struggled with my body since I was about 14 but as I got older and times changed I got to the point where it didn’t matter anymore to me. I was me and I loved me. Yea, of course, I wanted to be able to go up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, but excuse are easier then change some times. I joined a few gyms, tried a few diets but nothing worked and I always just told myself I would try something else at a later time. Then I’d pack on 10 more pounds.  I called it my pity weight.

It wasn’t until I was at my heaviest at 272 lb , that I knew something was wrong.

I had started to experience fatigue, restlessness, and my arms would go numb no matter how I laid in bed. I was always tired but could never sleep more then a few hours. Finally I decided to visit my doctor. At the doctors office the few concerns I had, turned into bigger ones. My weight and diet had caused me to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. When I pointed out how hard I’ve tried to lose weight I realized I was making another excuse, to my doctor who is telling me what was wrong and why. She mentioned a weight loss clinic, and explained how surgery wasn’t the only thing they did. So the next day I called the weight loss clinic just to see what it was all about.

This weight loss center I went to provided weight management including nutritional counseling, medical evaluation, psychiatric evaluation and weight-loss surgery. My first step was to attend one of the information seminars. There they discussed the process, handed out tons of literature, and set us up for our journey. My first visit at the weight loss clinic wasn’t what I expected. It was a lot of learning at first and tired to absorb as much knowledge as possible.  I attended every classs and group they afford,  there weight management class that was very informative and one of my favorites. Each class was different, one class would talk all about how to make healthier choices, another about Food Journaling, and then different bariatric surgeries. I also went to some Support group meetings, which I found to be very helpful. Those meetings were a mix of pre and post opp patients and you could discuss concerns and fears with actual people have been down this road. During this time I meet with doctors and had decided maybe surgery was the best path for me. I began food journaling with the nutritionist and in doing so I learned a lot about my eating habits and things that trigger my overeating, like stress and boredom. I learned to make healthier choices and as i progressed through the program I did lose a few pounds.

Meeting with the psychologist was the most pivotal point in the journey.

We sat and spoke about what this weight loss meant to me. I was confused by her question because I never thought about what it really meant. I was fat, I had medical issues?  But I blurted out all of my fears dying young and leaving my children behind, not being able to keep up with my 4-year-old anymore, telling my 13 yr old son no I couldn’t go for a run because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it more than half a block. I was embarrassed about how big I had let myself get. How can I tell people after this I punked out and opted for weight loss surgery and didn’t try harder. It was refreshing to let it all out my worries and insecurities all out on the table. That was probably the first time I knew I was actually doing the right thing.

A week prior to the surgery I was instructed to begin my pre-op diet. The Pre-op diet consisted of only liquids. The reason for the pre-op diet is because the stomach is located just to your left of your liver. To access your stomach for most bariatric procedures, your surgeon will use a liver retractor. This is a device that lifts the liver up and out of the way so your surgeon can safely operate on the stomach without the liver getting in the way. When you consume a lot of solid foods the liver becomes stiff on a liquid diet you liver can easily be moved. The first day wasn’t as bad as my second day, I was still working and seeing other people eat and snack around me was hard. My whole department ate lunch is secrecy to be supportive, but others who had no clue randomly walking by with a donut while I wiped the drool from my mouth. Then when I was home I had to be a mom, I still was cooking dinner for my family.

But I stuck it out until the end.

I kept different clear liquids around me at all time things with empty calories to ensure I could distract myself. My favorite where raspberry ice pops so good by the end of the week even the kids were eating them with me.

August 22nd 2017 I had my surgery. Prior to the surgery I decided it was best for me to get the Gastric sleeve surgery. The day I went into surgery I was 258 lbs. Once out of surgery everything was pretty easy for me. I didn’t have some of the most common medial complications ie. heart burn, nausea. It wasn’t until I got home that the discomfort kicked in. It felt like my stomach was sore and inflamed. Consuming liquids was strange at first I would get a cramp if I drank anything to quickly. The first 2-3 weeks after I was on liquids. I was walking around a bit but I  tried to relax to give my body time to recover. I wasn’t as drawn to food as I was prior to surgery because I didn’t feel hungry. But I missed chewing food, what a weird thing to miss doing I know. But its true the feeling of chewing was one of the things I missed most. By the third week I was up walking around no support bathing normally and finally was allowed to have some soft foods.

Still no real chewing.

I did not have any solid foods till my ninth week out from surgery. It was amazing I could actually chew something. By my 12th week I was back to all foods and still am. I can now consume about a cup of food during each meal. I no longer have drinks with my meals. So either I drink something prior and wait 15 min or I eat and then wait 30-45 min after to drink. It sounds silly but my stomach is so small I have to do one or the other not both at the same time. I have changed a lot of my eating habits, but I cant give up salty foods. I no longer have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. My health is at a good place but I’m still considered overweight. Now am 173 lb, and I have hit my plateau I need to start working harder towards new goals. Running a marathon, doing  push ups and just living life. From here on out its all me and wont be losing anymore weight unless I make an effort to start working out or tracking my calories more. So lets see where I go from here.

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery ??

The Google machine definition of gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical weight loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of your stomach along with a greater curvature. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery states that in 2016, 216,000 people in America had some type of Bariatric surgery and 58.1% of those surgeries were Sleeve Surgery that’s 125,496 people.

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