Two Years Ago…

We hosted a Labor Day barbeque. I ate my usual large amounts of fatty food (nothing wrong with fat in food) and the next day had to face what Sue and I had known for a few years – I had gallstones. A surreptitious ultrasound had shown them earlier, but I rarely experienced symptoms. Post Labor Day binge, I had excruciating pain that took me immediately to my primary care doc then for an ultrasound later that week to reconfirm what we already knew.  Within 2 days of seeing one of Sue’s favorite surgeons, I was scheduled for surgery. Terrified, on September 16, 2009, I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Just one little incision under my umbilicus (sorry, it’s hard for me to say “belly button”), and 30 minutes later 3 large stones and my gallbladder were removed.

My post-operative course was a little rocky with a small bile leak that did not require surgery but caused a lot of pain. My incision took forever to heal. And, I had no appetite combined with tremendous, um, disturbance in my gut. Couple little intake with tremendous output and one gets a 30-pound weight loss in a month. Sue and I had been contemplating a joint weight loss program prior to Labor Day. During my post-op misery we discussed that this was the perfect time for me to get healthy and continue the weight loss in a rational manner.

So, this 2-year journey was kick-started by a health crisis. Methods have been adjusted as I learned what worked and didn’t for my body. I choose a hiatus after the death of my mother, focusing on maintenance. Frustrated by repeated plateaus (damn post-menopausal state), I read all I could find on different methods of losing fat. Thus was born the totally new approach in January, 2011, of no starch, sugar, grains combined with watching calories. A little breast cancer got thrown in this Spring. Exercise (I prefer to call it physical activity) continues to be a struggle given my recent surgery, but I enjoy challenges.

Suddenly I weigh 138 pounds less, am 2 years older, maybe a little wiser, and have met so many wonderful people by writing about the process. Thank you all for blogging, inspiring me, letting me comment on your thoughts, giving me a place to lend support and write things that I would never post on my own blog.

Here’s to health, writing, and connections.

138 pounds later picture

September, 2011 - 167 pounds

July, 2009 - 305 pounds


14 thoughts on “Two Years Ago…

  1. Wow. Those pictures say it all! And while I know you’ve been through so much this year with the breast cancer and rough recovery from the surgery, I have to say it – you look so much healthier than in the “before” picture. WOW. Congratulations on your amazing weight loss – sounds like you have been on quite the journey!

    Oh, and re your comment on my post today – I’m so glad I’m not the only (lunatic) who will.not.consider. a size XL top, LOLOL. Except that it was super hot and I needed something to wear to that dang Aggie game – that’s why I ended up with a shirt in that silly size.

  2. Jan, you look incredible! You’ve put so much dedication and work into your plan, coupled with conquering illness. Do you think you could write a post (or direct me to one if you’ve already written it) outlining your eating plan that you described above? When you say no starch, does that include higher carb veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes? Does no grain include All-Bran (don’t know how I would poop without it)? Thanks and continued good health.


    • I don’t eat any added sugar and try exceptionally hard to exclude processed foods. If I eat anything out of a can or in a container I look for words like “cane sugar” “beet sugar” fructose, etc. You are correct that I don’t eat potatoes, although I plan to eat the occasional yam when I hit maintenance. Carrots and other tubers (love beets) are off my list for now. And yes, no grains means no cereals, no breads, no pasta. My fiber comes from fruits (almost only berries) and veggies. Nuts have some fiber, too. Also, I don’t eat legumes, which is quite the sacrifice because I could live off of pinto beans every meal! I still try to keep around 1200 calories a day because my body is just so resistant to hanging on to my fat! Notice I don’t count carbs or fat. Lean protein and veggies and fruit (OK Greek yogurt homemade shakes) are my staples. Boring, but that’s a good thing for me.

      • Thanks, Jan. I’m printing out your reply, and when I get back from a little trip we’re taking, I’m going to try to plan a similar menu for myself to follow till the end of the year. For a long time, I was keeping my calories between 1200 – 1300 and I think that is when I was most successful. I need to do that again. And, I had almost entirely cut bread and crackers and potatoes out of my diet, but I’m eating all of those things again. So thank you again for helping me see where I strayed.

  3. You do look fabulous – though I know that looks are not the only thing that matters! My weight has been yo-yo-ing most of my adult life. While I certainly wouldn’t wish for what you have gone through, I do hope I find your dedication to health and wellness.

    (Oh, and I was lucky to have healed super quickly from my cholecystectomy which came months after a c-section. The stones were discovered during a pregnancy ultrasound!)

  4. Your transformation is amazing! And not just your appearance, which is lovely, but also your commitment to your health and wellness.

    I’ve had two gall bladder “flare ups” (both years ago now), and I was sure death was imminent. Fortunately things calmed down over the years, and I haven’t had one—wait, that’s just a big ol’ jinx, isn’t it? Never mind. 🙂

    Congrats on all your successes!

  5. What a journey you have been on Jan. Congrats on all of your success, you look amazing! I am so glad we have “connected.” I think you are brave, inspirational and an awesome writer! I wish you more success as you move forward with your journey.

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  7. You look wonderful. I know it’s been a rocky road this last year, but things seem to be on an up swing. At least you know you are headed in the right direction! take care

  8. Wow! Congrats on your amazing hard work and dedication. Thanks for visiting my site. I’ll stroll through yours as well and pick up as many lessons as I can.

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