Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: 1 Week Later.

Pretty crazy to see how much life has changed within one week, huh?

Hello, Letter Readers! Here I am, finally we’ll enough to sit down and type this bad boy out without feeling any waves of discomfort or pain now that, well…

Hi, my name is Liz, and I’m officially one week post-op!

Man, I never thought I would say that! I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but I was in the Bariatrics Program for 18 months. Normally, the program runs for 6 months but due to COVID, a lot of things (like this) were delayed. After months and months of testing, I signed consent and paid my fee in May, got my surgery date in June, and bam! We are now a week in since I had surgery.

For those who may be wondering, I had gastric bypass surgery. Unlike the sleeve, this type of surgery is when they take a smaller portion of your stomach and make it your “new stomach” and reroute the small intestine directly to that new stomach. In simpler terms, the food doesn’t go into the stomach press, but straight into the intestines.

When I was considering surgery back in January 2020, I was given both options and ultimately went to for the bypass, mainly because I needed some discipline in my new lifestyle. I know myself well enough that if there was some room for error (i.e still being able to obtain sugary things) then I was most likely not going to keep the weight off. With the bypass, if I have anything with added sugars, I can get severely ill. I needed that scare tactic to keep me away from any of the sweet things!

But yeah! Here’s how surgery day went:

I had to be at the hospital by 12:30pm but my actual surgery wasn’t scheduled until 3pm. My family and I got to the hospital and registered, and it wasn’t long until they called me up to the 4th floor (the ambulatory surgery area) to prep myself for surgery. They did the usual; stick me in a room with a gown and all that to put on, a pee cup to take a pregnancy test (which I couldn’t even pee since my nerves were all over the place) and put all the necessary stuff on me before heading to the operating room.

The thing that I hate about procedures like this is that they have you wait FOREVER before they actually call you into the OR. I had to have been sitting in that damn preparation room for 2 hours before I was called to surgery. But nevertheless, a nurse got me, told me it was time, and placed a blanket around me and we walked to the operating room.

Like LITERALLY walked to the operating room like I was entering someone’s party.

Anyway, I walked into the operating room and it looks like what it is; an operating room. The room was bright, there were tons of nurses and doctors getting prepped, and I was directed to lay down on the operating table. Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” was playing while everyone was prepping and I couldn’t help but laugh. For something as small as that, it really did help me calm my nerves a little bit.

So, they strap me down onto the table and hook up cables and all of that onto me, and then someone (I couldn’t see who) was reading and reciting these things that the surgeon and nurses had to answer and state back which was a little nerve-wrecking. The anesthesiologist put the anesthesia on and I was out like a light.

I wake up in the recovery room with a nurse sitting on a chair and typing some things on a computer. Her name was Jannett and honestly she was the best nurse I’ve ever had to date; she was so sweet and she had a good sense of humor! I must’ve been still so goofy on the anesthesia because I was cracking jokes with her and she was laughing while taking care of me. I was only fed some ice chips for the night, but I was encouraged to walk around and use the bathroom and all that jazz. For the most part, I was doing well, until it was time to sleep.

It was hard to sleep just because I was still in the recovery room area and the nurses were attending to those who were newly coming into the recovery room, fresh out of the operation room. Also, I was experiencing some unbearable pain and needed a painkiller to at least help me sleep. It did for a little while, but it definitely was a night of struggles.

I was able to go home the following afternoon because I was making a lot of progress in my recovery. I was able to sit and lay down on my own (even hook myself back up to the machines which blew one of the nurses away when watching me from afar) I was able to walk around and use the bathroom on my own, and my pain was mainly minimal at that point. I was discharged and I came home, took a shower, and tried to relax for most of the night. I did, and the pain was not as bad, but again it was another night of barely sleeping and tons of pain.

As the week progressed, I’ve gotten better. I’ve been taking my medication (a lot of it) as well as my shots to prevent blood clots. My pain has been more on the minor side (with some days being a little worse than others) but for the most part, I am just trying to learn how my body now works. I gotta learn when my body is hungry and when it’s full. I gotta learn how to eat slower and drink slower now that my stomach needs to keep it down in a different way (that’s honestly the hardest part for me is to eat and drink slowly). I need to learn what foods I can handle and what I can’t, how to take my medication without completely forgetting it or dreading it. I have to learn how to move and adjust and make these changes into habits so that I can move past recovery in a smooth and safe matter.

This is just the first week. I am off for another week before I return to my life back at my job, being a human being and doing human responsibilities outside of the house. I hope to come back here for a week two update feeling ready to conquer the world and live the rest of my damn life.

I can’t wait to noticeably see changes in my body, and I mean more than just the weight loss. I wanna be able to walk for long periods of time and feel like I’m not out of breath for once in my life! I can’t wait to be able to push myself to do the things I couldn’t do before having this surgery. It’s a long journey ahead, but man I’m excited to see how it goes.

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (4/8/17)

So, you have bad habits. They suck, don’t they? I know my bad habits are bad habits for a reason and because they are habits, they are hard to break. Sometimes, these bad habits lead to poor life choices, and you all-around just feel shitty and lousy and no one likes feeling that way. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with bad habits developing and coming back every once and awhile due to the excessive stress I’ve been going through because of grad school. Anyway, here are some ways to make your bad habits actually good habits!

Bad habit: Poor Time Management // Good Habit: Calendar Organizing

Listen, no matter who you are, I think everyone has experienced poor time management at least once in their life. We have deadlines coming up, bills have to get paid, and it seems like every now and then, we never have time to hang out with friends or see family that often. One great way that I try to organize my time is to have a dry-erase calendar board. It’s beneficial to me because if I ever decide I need more time to work on something or if something in my schedule changes, I can just erase it. Doing that on regular calendar make it look less organized and messier due to the cross-outs and rewrites.

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My life as a grad student currently. (Yes, I’m still alive.)

If you’re a stressed out student in school that feels like your assignments are eating you alive (like me), then it’s crucial that not only you write down the deadlines for these assignments, but also the days that you are planning to work on those assignments. Make sure you have different colored markers or pens to differentiate the assignments and classes you have to do the assignments for. (Of course, you can always color coordinate different things that pertain to you like appointments, bills that are due, or social events). I adapted this little technique during my first semester in grad school when I only had a month to literally write 30+ pages for two of my classes. I would color coordinate the assignments that I wanted to do on each day for whatever class it was for. I tell you not, I finished everything before the semester ended, and now I’m trying to get through this semester following the same technique. Whether this looks like it would be overwhelming or not, I assure you that you’ll get things done more efficiently when you plan ahead when to work on things instead of just waiting it out last minute.

Bad Habit: Too Much Junk Food // Good Habit: Portion Control

They always say that once you eat one chip out of the bag, it’s hard to stop. In my duration of being on WeightWatchers, I’ve hit this dead end where it’s been hard to lose more weight because I just really love junk food. Like seriously, that commercial where Oprah is practically screaming she loves chips makes me angry because I LOVE CHIPS AND YET THEY ARE STILL BAD FOR YOU. Anyway, cutting down on junk food is one of the hardest habits to break. One way to change it into a good habit is to possibly find an alternative to binge-eat on these bad foods. For example, if you really love potato chips, eat baked potato chips instead of the regular one. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure you eat sugary foods in moderation. Maybe half a donut, half a candy bar, half a brownie, whatever it is that you like. Of course, you don’t need to take it out of your life completely; take a day out of your week to treat yourself. I know that if I’m out with my best friend, we eat a lot. As long as you’re not eating junk food all day every day, then you’re helping to cut out some bad foods in your diet.

Bad Habit: Over-Tweezing & Nail Biting // Good Habit: Eyebrow Pencil & Nail Polish

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One personal bad habit I have is that I over-tweeze my eyebrows when they get a little stubby. Because of that, I haven’t had tails to my eyebrows in a really long time. They’ve gotten better over the years, but I still consider it a bad habit because I still over-tweeze. One good way I try to not do that is that I do have my eyebrows drawn on for most of the day, and yes, I sometimes fall asleep with them. I find myself tweezing them at night when I’m laying down, and my hands just gravitate towards my eyebrows. With my eyebrows drawn on, I don’t pick at them as much. The first time I did it, a lot of my eyebrow hair did grow back, and I’m currently doing the same thing to help them grow back again. It’s the same thing when you’re a nail biter; painting your nails will prevent you from biting them because then your nail job will get all chipped and nasty and nobody likes chippy nails.

There’s a lot of bad habits out there, and it honestly does take some thinking to make them as good habits. These are just a few, but I believe any reasonable bad habits could be turned into good ones.

-Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (3/11/17)

Goals are the things that keep us going in life. They are typically used to better yourself and your habits, and to keep you moving forward with the things you want in life and want to achieve.

People will tell you time and time again that goals are easier said than done. It’s great to set goals because it’s honestly something that you want to change, but to sit down and finally change your lifestyle for these goals is probably the hardest part.

In other words, actually starting is what prevents us from actually achieving our goals.

Last year, I made a goal for myself to write in a daily journal every day for the entire year. Once I realized that I actually did what I wanted to do, 2017 became the year where I was going to set life-changing goals. I’m a person who lives in self-doubt because I sometimes feel like I set goals that are impossible to achieve because I just lack patience doing them. I realized that I’m a long-term goal maker, and sometimes I forget to set short ones that coincide with the overall goal I have.

I dedicated to set goals for myself this year and so far, they’ve been going pretty well. Here are some of my goals that I’ve set for myself and here’s how I’m keeping them.

Weight Loss

I’ve been wanting to lose weight for the past 4 years, and for awhile it was working. Of course, I got impatient to actually see results, and losing weight was beginning to get difficult for me because I wanted certain to eat certain food. After getting my gallbladder removed, it caused rapid weight gain in the course of 4 years and I started to notice it in my activity and my size in clothing. In 2015, I joined Weight-Watchers for 2 months and lost 15 pounds, but I didn’t stick to it because of the immense stress I was going through at the time. Since then, I’ve been discouraged about losing weight because I believed I wasn’t ever going to lose it. I realized that my weight was becoming one of my disadvantages in doing things, so I told myself that this was going to be the year that I was going to lose weight. I’ve been back on Weight-Watchers for two weeks, and although it’s been pretty hard, I’m still trying to adjust, and I lost my first 4 pounds.

People tend to think of losing weight being their primary goal of dieting, which really isn’t a goal, it’s a motive to diet. Once you understand that “dieting” is a lifestyle change, then you’ll start to think of it as starting a new habit. The reason why most diets don’t succeed is that you can’t restrict your body for wanting something that you’re not giving it. By restricting yourself from food your body is used to having, you’re just causing it to crave it more. I believe that Weight-Watchers helps me with that, in all honesty. It’s all about measurements and portions, and the points really do help me keep on track what I’ve been eating. Yeah, I sometimes go over my daily points, but the program allows you points throughout the week that you’re allowed to have because the fact of the matter is that it’s not the most realistic thing to constantly be within your limit every day. You should always try to, but don’t feel bad if you do go over your limit. Just know that you’re capable of changing the little things everyday, and always remember that losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re looking to lose a good amount of weight like I am, you have to tell yourself that it’s going to take some time to reach your weight goal. Personally for me, I would like to lose at least 30 pounds by the summertime, whether it be the start of it or the end of it. If I keep my mind focused and positive on the lifestyle change instead of the pounds, than I believe I could achieve my goal.

Finishing Grad School & Staring Life in 2018

I am currently in my second semester of grad school, and this time next year, I will be most likely getting ready to graduate in the upcoming months. As of now, I’m doing pretty good for a first-year grad student, but I’ve heard some horrendous stories of people taking up to 4 years on their Master’s because of the amount of work is needed to graduate. School has always been an easy thing to maintain, but for those who find it hard to balance out school and life, I say to always organize your workload. with grad school being a lot more intense with work, organizing your time management and assignments will help you succeed without the never-ending stress and doubt of not completing school.

Of course, the biggest concern of mine has to do with the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to transition my life from being a student to being a functional adult with a real job in the real world. I also going through this almost quarter life-crisis where I have set goals to do something with my life, but don’t have the necessary resources to do what I want to do. Where yes, it will be harder to get in the field that I want to be with my MA degree, I just have to really start working on my craft and hopefully get in my field without actually getting a degree on it.

Working on my Craft

Eventually, I want to be a scriptwriter, whether it be for the big screen, silver screen, or the stage. I applied to get my MFA in Screenwriting in a film school, and when I got rejected from it because of it being overly competitive, I decided to continue my education at CSI and just get my MA in English. Although I told myself that this will be a solid Plan B if everything else fails, I am beginning to realize that because of it being extremely demanding, I am not writing creatively as much as I want to.

One of the things I’m doing now is as I begin to use TNTH as a platform I can write creatively, I still want to incorporate my script writing into my blog, and eventually start working on a bigger project. I say if anyone is in a place where they want to do something creatively and don’t have the time to do it, you should make the time to do what you love doing. My friend, Tori, is currently a student teacher at a high-school and taking three classes on top of that, and she still finds a way to draw and paint; something she has a passion for. The time people are spending just watching TV or watching YouTube videos (like me), you could be working on a creative project that you’ve been holding off for awhile. Live my the most basic cliche: practice makes perfect.

Personal Growth

Besides my weight and academics, one of my main goals every year is to experience some self-growth. That could mean anything between drinking more water, letting my hair breathe and grow, reevaluating my values, maintaining friendships and relationships, and just keeping positive vibes and happiness in my mind.

Personal growth is just as time-consuming as physical growth, because life happens and it leaves you in unfortunate situations. Your job as a person is to remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself, and not for anyone else. When you take good care of your mind and stay positive, you start feeling good about yourself and your decisions will be more influenced instead of being impulses to make life better.

Goals are all about perseverance, determination, and consistency. Anything can be turned into a habit, whether it be good or bad. Of course, we want good habits to develop, and they can happen if you keep it up. Try to make your goals an actual reality, and see just how proud it will make you feel.

-Liz (: