Week 58 – Berlin, Germany – 62 Kilos AT GOAL – November 25, 2012

Standing in front Schloss Charlottenburg, one of the royal palaces in Berlin.

BERLIN: After leaving Prague, we took the train to Berlin, the capital city of Germany. One of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities with 3.5 million people, interesting architecture, palaces, lots of culture, and of course a fascinating recent history with the demise of the Berlin wall. It’s almost hard to conceive that East and West Berlin were divided by a wall until 1990. You can still see the difference if you look closely, but for the most part both areas are vibrant parts of the city and people move seamlessly between the two now, happy they are no longer divided by a stone wall or political, social and lifestyle differences.

These brass plates are called Stolpersteines and are placed near the homes to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.

Another item of interest that you see all over Berlin is a sad reminder of the Jews that lived there before the Holocaust. As you walk through the neighborhoods you will often see little brass plaques embedded into the sidewalks in front of their former homes with the names and dates as a memorial to them. Germany is very open about the mistakes it made toward mankind; the impacts of the Nazi era are kept very visible with the goal that they never happen again.

Week 57 – Frankfurt, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic, 63 Kilos – AT GOAL – November 18, 2012

On the train again; just like last year….but between less luggage and less weight I am over 100 lbs lighter!

Back on the road again… we are practically retracing our steps from last year… Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Prague, and we just arrived in Berlin. Part of it is coincidence that exactly a year later we’re traveling to the same places. This year, though, is a huge difference as now I can walk without my hip and knee hurting, I have a lot more energy, and I can eat almost anything! So this trip I just need to be sure I don’t gain a few pounds, like people tend to do when they go on a holiday!

This sculpture is the symbol of Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, the place where I had my surgery done late October 2011

I’ll start with our trip to Frankfurt. Our first stop was Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, the place of my surgery and 8-day recovery in late October of 2011. I had my one-year checkup with Dr. Chandra, who was very pleased with my 83-lb loss, my blood work, and the results of my ultrasound. It was so interesting walking into the hospital where I began one of the most fascinating years of my life. I looked around at all the obese

Dr. Chandra said I passed my one year exam with flying colors! I appreciated the time he spent with me in their new center (with beautiful artwork!).

people in the waiting room and I wanted to look each one of them in the eye, congratulate them on making the decision to do this, and tell them that this time next year they will feel healthy and so much more confident and in control of their lives than they do now. I wanted to tell them not to be scared; it’s a little weird at first, but like so many things, you’ll get used to the changes. I want to inspire them, to let them know they are about to transform into a healthier person without the constant pressure of dieting, and that it all happens so fast that every day has a new surprise waiting for them!

Week 56 – Amsterdam – 63 Kilos AT GOAL – November 11, 2012


What side of the bridge are you on?

For 58 years of my life I lived on one side of the bridge… I was a chubby child, an overweight teen, a fat bride (twice), and then rarely ever stepping onto the bridge of good health, I morphed into a morbidly obese middle aged woman! Actually, I was on the bridge twice in my life… when I was 18 years old I contracted mononucleosis and lost so much weight that I looked like a hollowed-out refugee — not exactly a positive reminder of weighing 120 something — then when I was in my 20’s I went on some extreme diet and weighed somewhere in the 140’s… that lasted all of 5 minutes….

I hated this photo and originally ‘cropped’ me out… but it’s a humble reminder of how heavy I was compared to those I love.

Of course there were lots of reasons (some valid) and lots of excuses (some lame) for not crossing that bridge before now. Not that I didn’t try, and like most of you, couldn’t get very far without turning around and going back a few lbs fatter including a heavier heart because once again we failed. From our side of the bridge we could see other people crossing (wondering and sometimes asking… how are you doing it? will it work for me? is there a magic pill? maybe this is the answer!!!). But we knew this was one tough bridge to cross, and an even tougher challenge to stay on the ‘other side’ of it!

Crossing over seemed hopeless to me for so many years…

Sometimes that bridge seemed miles long… sometimes you couldn’t even see the other side, and most of the time it was just easier to stay right where you had been for so many years. Especially for those of us who (although not perfect) didn’t feel that we ate that much more than thin people. Getting across seemed overwhelming but I never completely lost hope that someday it would happen for me.

Week 55 – Amsterdam – 63 Kilos AT GOAL – November 4, 2012

Taken right before surgery a year ago at 204 lbs. Not sure why I look so happy… I had lost about 19 lbs, but geez, I was still huge!

Taken this past week, at 138 lbs. I love my sleeve!










It’s so interesting to be starting Year 2 of MFFS: My Formerly Fat Self! Because I have kept a weekly blog faithfully every Sunday, I can now look back at exactly a year ago and see what I looked like and what I was feeling. When I read about some of the people on the forum who say they breezed right through surgery in a few days, went back to work in a week, could eat pasta and rice after a month or two, I think… wow, that WASN’T me!!!! My first few months were exciting because I could see the changes in my body, but I was tired, never knew what would upset my stomach (and a lot of stuff did), I couldn’t drink coffee or wine for several months, and at a year out I still can’t eat pasta or rice. It’s just as well, I make up for that by having coffee and cookies every day! But thinking about my life a year ago compared to today, I see a huge change in so many things (none of these are new or earth-shattering, but it’s wonderful to see what a difference a year can make in a life):

  • I’m healthier: no high cholesterol, no borderline HBP, knees and feet feel fine!
  • I exercise regularly and enjoy it. Last year I couldn’t even walk a few blocks without feeling winded or worrying about my feet or knees.
  • Last year I cringed at climbing stairs – even a few steps! And here in Amsterdam there are a lot of very steep stairways everywhere you go… now, I don’t even think about it.
  • I look much better and don’t feel as self-consciousness being back here in Europe, land of the tall and thin!
  • My marriage is better… we talk more, enjoy each other more, compliment each other more, and have more fun (and better sex!).
  • My brain has been rewired to think like a thin person (one of the best things that has happened). I now feel so much more in control of what I eat. It was one disappointment after another all those years I tried to diet and failed.
  • I can also admit (now, I couldn’t a year ago) how much denial I had been in about my weight. I guess I thought there was nothing I could do other than starve myself to lose weight, so I convinced myself that since I didn’t binge and ate pretty healthily, that this was the way my life was and I would always be fat. But I was continuing down a very destructive path.