Rob’s Weight-Loss Journey–Part 1

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A reader asked if we would mind journaling Rob’s weight-loss journey to provide encouragement for her and anyone else who needed it.  I asked Rob how he felt about sharing something so personal in such a public way, and he said he was willing to share in hopes that it would help someone.

In December, 2018, he got weighed at the doctor’s office, as he does monthly.  This is our new (since August) primary care physician and is the overall manager of his weight loss journey.  He was down another 12 pounds from the last appointment, around Thanksgiving.  Since last May, he has lost 67 pounds.  If we go back to last January, the number of pounds lost is even higher.  Every doctor weighs him, and they all have different scales.  No matter which scale you look at, though, it is apparent that he has lost a great deal of weight!

Rob has always struggled with his eating habits and his weight.  He has always put more effort into taking care of those around him than he has in taking care of himself.  He also struggles with emotional eating.  Last spring, he was informed that the chronic pain in his lower back was actually originating in his left hip.  X-rays were taken, shots were given, and nothing worked.  He was informed he would need a full hip replacement, but they would not approve him for surgery until he lost 120 pounds.  

They recommended that he get bariatric surgery for a gastric bypass, lose weight, and then they would do the surgery. He has gone to the classes for the bariatric surgery and they highly recommend that each person think long and hard about that option, as it is permanent. He is keeping that door open and following the guidelines they are laying out in regards to check-ups and other things on the list they require before that surgery would be allowed. However, he decided he really wanted to see what he could do with weight-loss before he would take that super-serious step. And, then, not long ago, the bariatric doctor stated that she would want him to lose each and every pound he needs to lose BEFORE she would clear him for the hip surgery. That would be far more than 120 pounds! Wait, What? He’s in constant, agonizing pain each and every day. So, clearly, that pushed that option down to the bottom of the list. He is doing what they ask, though, in case he cannot lose the 120 pounds in the end by himself. Then, he would have to use that option, because he has to have relief from this pain. We hoped it would ease off with the weight loss, but in fact, he’s getting worse each month.

As life often does, ours took a turn when his contract was not renewed at the school district and his job ended last spring.  He had worked that job for 2 years, and it was on a 1-year contract each time, always with the understanding that it could end each June.  When it all came down to it, he didn’t really want to do another identical job in another school, so we looked at other options.  We spent the summer figuring out what we were doing with insurance, a job, etc., and he just watched what he ate–not worrying too much about it, but losing a few pounds here and there.   Once our life was in rhythm again, and we got our new doctor (because the old one was not covered on our new insurance), he started working away in earnest on this project.  So, most of the 67 pounds have been lost since August/September, 2018.

He has been asked for his “magic secrets.”  I wish it was otherwise, and I hate to tell you this, but there are none! It has been lots and lots of work, but he prevailed and he’s losing weight slowly and steadily, just as the doctor wants him to. This is what is working for him:

  1.  When he met with the new doctor last fall, she asked him to start tracking every bite that went into his mouth on a phone app.  He uses “Lose It.”  He has been faithful with it.  For months, he has faithfully and consistently entered all of his daily food into his app.  The app says he can eat over 2,000 calories a day and lose the weight he wants to.  He can’t.  He is a very tall man, but is unable to move freely and exercise easily because his left hip is completely ruined and he needs full hip replacement.  Most days, he eats from 1,300 to 1,500 calories.
  2. In the daily calorie count, he allows himself a few treats such as a small square of brownie, a 1/2 can of full-sugar Coke, or 1-2 bites of a less-than-healthy food that he likes such as home-made macaroni and cheese.
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  3. He eats lots and lots of salads and veggies.  It was easier when the garden was going strong, but he cooks home-canned green beans frequently and I buy salad stuff every week.  One thing I do is check the marked-down rack at Fred Meyers and often get mushrooms, tomatoes, and other veggies for $1/bag, which we need to eat quickly.  He loves to stir-fry mushrooms with garlic salt from a grinder and eat a big pile of them.  He eats veggies at almost every meal.  I make veggie-loaded soups as well. He often makes salad his dinner–and tops it with everything from pickles beets to tuna to cucumbers to feta cheese and so on.
  4. He is eating lower-carb than before.  He eats lettuce wrapped hamburgers, tuna salad on lettuce instead of bread, taco fillings without the tortilla, etc.  He is not eating paleo or keto–just less carbs.  He still eats an occasional potato, some corn, or a piece of bread once in a while–he just counts in the calories.
  5. He has cut out almost all dessert from his diet.  He does not enjoy artificial sweeteners, so has a small amount of real sugar occasionally, instead of lots of artificially sweetened foods or drinks. He does have artificially sweetened things on occasion–just not often.  We tried ice cream with sugar alcohol in it, but didn’t really enjoy it much and returned to very infrequent, small scoops of the “lite” ice creams. To give a clear picture, he’s still on the 2nd of 2 cartons I bought last September and he had help with the first one.
  6. He drinks coffee with a small amount of 1/2 and 1/2 and sugar–1 per day, and makes his own so he can regulate what he puts in it. We buy coffee to-go cups and lids from Cash and Carry so he can take it with him.  2 of his good friends just gave him metal cups for hot drinks.  He’s been using those lately.  He makes his own smoothies with fruit, milk or almond milk, and frozen banana chunks and whatever else he wants, like vanilla or cinnamon.   He might add a tiny bit of sugar, or not, according to how sour the berries are.  He made Starbucks so disappointed in him that they took away his Gold Star Status.  For reals.  I guess he will use that money he has saved for new pants one of these days:)
  7. He eats lots of protein.  He has protein at each meal. Most breakfasts are eggs.  He usually fries some ham, sausage, or bacon with them, and often sautés mushrooms, peppers or onions with them as well.  He does omelets with cheese and some of those veggies.  You may ask how he can eat bacon and cheese and lose all that weight.  He controls his portions.  A little cheese works for him–it gives him the flavor he wants without too many calories.  Bacon is always cut in half so 1 strip becomes 2 strips at our house.  He eats a smaller portion that way.  Extra bacon is cut into small pieces and used on salads or in a scramble another day.
  8. He tells himself that no foods are off limits–he just has to count them and write them down.  He uses real butter and 2% milk, regular yogurt, and regular cheese .  He simply eats less of them than he did before.
  9. He does what exercise he can.  It’s not much right now.  He goes to the pool and moves his arms and legs as the physical therapist instructed him to do.  They admit it will not help the hip–nothing but surgery will–but it will strengthen his core and help his body be stronger since it has to compensate for the bad hip.  He did the 6 weeks of physical therapy the insurance covered.  He was glad to learn exercises he could do.  He still walks around as he can.  Every little bit helps.
January, 2019
Spring, 2018

It’s really working, as you can see! He is far from done, but I’m so proud of his progress so far.

51 thoughts on “Rob’s Weight-Loss Journey–Part 1”

  1. Rob is doing so great! I know you’re proud of him. I did the Lose It app for about 3 weeks and then got distracted & discouraged. Thank you both for sharing this journey with everyone, it gives us some motivation….Vicky in Ky

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  2. Excellent job. You can really see the weight loss. It is so hard to lose weight when you can’t exercise but I hope Rob stays proud of himself for each pound he loses and eventually he will get there.

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  3. My brother in law had to lose weight for hip surgery also. I don’t think he has continued to lose weight though. I am type II diabetic and it is hard. I use Stevia and low carb bread. I need to lose 35 lb. but I feel I am always hungry.

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  4. A big thumbs up to Rob. Everyone I know that has had the by-pass surgery has gained all the weight back. He’s dieting the smart way.

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  5. I am so impressed! Losing weight is HARD, and it’s emotionally daunting when you see a big number to deal with. Kudos to him for being so dedicated!

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  6. This is just wonderful. Way to go, Rob!! I’m rooting for you from California and l know you can do it!!

    I lost the 40 lbs l needed to lose before l had knee surgery, and it made an incredible difference in my recovery and subsequent ability to get fit again, continue to exercise, and keep the weight off. I did it slowly as well, by building up those healthy habits a small step at a time. It truly does become a lifestyle when you do it the way Rob is doing it and not by doing some crazy crash diet, which is unsustainable. I’m so impressed by his ability to slog along, even when it is rough (as a fellow emotional eater, l truly understand this), and to not give up on himself. Kudos to you, as well, Becky, for being such a great support and cheerleader. I appreciate you sharing the journey with us.

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  7. You look fantastic. For a dessert you might want to try frozen yogurt. Walmart makes a a nice chocolate cherry one. Best of luck and happy new year.

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  8. AMAZING weight loss! I have a family member in a similar position. It’s so hard to change the eating habits of a lifetime, so huge congrats to Rob!

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  9. Congrats on the weight loss. The before and current picture really tell the story.
    I lost 70# starting in 2007 and it took me about 2 years. I’ve gained about 8 back which I should get after. I kick started my diet with JennyCraig and then did WeightWatchers for a while. Then just did the WW program on my own. It was all about tracking what went ‘in’ versus ‘out’. I was able to exercise though which did help. My big takeaway was just to keep on keeping on. It’s a slog but doing it day by day gets it done. Cheers

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  10. You’re looking good Rob! You are an encouragement and I so appreciate your willingness to share your journey with us. 🙂

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  11. I am SO impressed – losing weight is hard, hard work and Rob is doing a phenomenal job. You are too, supporting him. I’ve known folks who try to “treat” their loved one and really just ruin their efforts. Kudos to you both!

    I’m unable to drink/eat “diet” products that contain aspartame or several other things used to make things zero calories, but I do like soda. I don’t know if Rob has tried this yet, but Coke makes a product called Coke Life that is sweetened with a bit of real sugar and partly stevia. It *does not* taste like regular Coke but it’s still pretty good, and comes in small glass bottles that are (for me, at least) a good size to have a little treat but not a big portion. It’s something like half the calories of a regular pop. I have a terrible habit of drinking my calories, as a friend’s doc once defined it, through soda. That helped me transition to naturally flavored seltzer water (I’m realizing it’s the bubbles that I so desperately want). Sometimes I’ve even found coupons.

    I’m so excited to see the very clear weight loss – GREAT work, Rob!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for all the encouraging words! Right now, Rob’s in a place where it’s been going on for several months and it’s not as easy to see the results! So, all the encouragement is wonderful right now.

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  12. Pain is in itself a horrible distraction from faithful perseverance, and makes you want to cope in any way possible–like eat! Rob, you are an amazing testimony of someone who depends on God for the help to do hard things. Becky, you are a stellar cheerleader! We are rooting for both of you.

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  13. WOW! Those pictures really show the difference – especially in Rob’s face (even with the beard).

    Good job, Rob! Losing weight is SO hard – especially when you can’t move correctly and eat for emotional support. Lots of habits to change all at once. You’re doing great!

    Thanks for sharing – it’s definitely encouraging.
    Lea

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    1. I (Becky) can really see a difference, too, when I look at pictures. Day to day, it has been quite gradual, so I can tell his clothes are really loose, but it’s not as dramatic as looking at the pictures!

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  14. Rob you are doing amazing. I am sorry that you are in such pain. I am praying for you. A friend had her hip replaced in August. She was very overweight also(because of the hip) and had to lose weight before they would let her have the surgery. She did it and so can you. She is a new person. She walks everyday for miles with no pain. She barely could get into my house from the driveway prior. She has a whole new life and can’t wait for the weather to get nice again so she can do all of the things she was missing out on. She did find a doctor (after several years) that was willing to work on her. She was considered morbidly obese. He was a specialist in the field and is located in NYC. Maybe there is one that is on your coast that you could see. Other doctors wanted her to lose over 150 pounds before they would look at her. This doctor worked with her from day one. She did lose 50 pounds before surgery and has lost another 50+ since.

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    1. We have been told that there are other hospitals/surgeons that will do the surgery with less weight loss. He would have to go out of area, though. Also, the success rate is supposedly less if you are heavier. It is very encouraging to know that your friend was able to lose an additional 50 pounds after the surgery! It’s amazing, and very hopeful to hear that she can get around so well now. Rob used to be very active, and is sometimes frustrated because he is so limited now. The only good thing, he says, is that he is praying more, since he is forced to be still. He’s learning a lot on a personal level through this, but can’t wait until the day that he is in less pain! Thanks for the encouragement.

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  15. Cheering you on to the finish line!

    A close friend had gastric bypass about 10 years ago and can only keep her weight down by drinking 2 L of diet Pepsi daily so it was not the solution she hoped had for. That has really been disappointing since she had to pay out of pocket for the surgery and then to have 40 pounds of skin removed on top of the way she has to eat, etc for the rest of her life.

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    1. You know, Lana, that is not the first scary story we have heard. That is why Rob hopes that he can lose the weight without that surgery. It will be a last resort, though, since he absolutely has to have something done about that hip. He gets weighed again next week. Here’s hoping it’s another drop in pounds for him.

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  16. Rob, I am so very proud of you! You are such an inspiration. I too am a emotional eater. It started after my father died from cancer when I was 21. My mom passed away years later from cancer, then my much beloved sister died from cancer. I had a Dr. tell me that I was trying to eat for all of them and myself also. I get so mad when I realize how much of my life I have wasted being over weight. I know you will do this, Rob. Lean on the Lord and he will help you thru. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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  17. Wow!!! Fabulous weight loss journey. I too am losing weight and for me it is very very slow. But I’ve always been a turtle at weight loss. Rob, you are doing GREAT it is so so hard and you are nailing it! You are also inspiring a lot of us as well. Yall are a great example of a loving couple working together.
    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Ginger

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  18. Seeing the before and after pictures really shows how much Rob has lost. He is doing a wonderful job especially since he can’t walk much. Thank you for sharing his story because it has been an inspiration to Bill and me.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  19. Well done on the weight loss! It is hard work, I know, and staying motivated to continue is hard, too. I hope the weight loss continues until the correct weight for surgery is achieved. Hope the surgery, once it takes place, will help with the pain. We are all cheering you on, Rob, and encouraging you both as you support each other through this.

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  20. Just a thought as I am sitting here in pain this AM in my hip. I know my pain is also kidney related and that is what it is today. Lemon essential oil is really working on it today. Has anyone thought to check Rob’s kidneys?

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    1. You know, Lana, I have lost count of all the tests they have run on him. He had an extremely thorough panel of bloodwork, though, with so many things checked that I had never even heard of (I’m not medical) so I’m pretty sure they would have done that then. The x-rays show complete disintegration of the hip joint in the left hip. There isn’t even a ball shape left–only a flat area where it should be. All the doctors agree that it’s a really big problem:(. Do you rub the oil on the sore place? He’s willing to try anything at this point!!! Thanks for the suggestion–I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt him to try it. Would I get it at the Natural Grocery store?

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      1. He can put a drop of Lemon essential oil on each kidney every night at bedtime. Anyone of our age really can use to do this as the kidneys just get so junked up. It smells so good, too! You should be able to pick it up at your local health food store. It is pretty inexpensive. The fact that his pain got worse after he started the diet tipped me off because anytime the body is getting rid of anything the kidneys really get a work out. I really hope it helps! Don’t be concerned if there seems to be some pain in the kidneys after applying it because it will start to flush out the junk pretty quick. Do drink plenty of water, too.

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