Weight Loss Surgery Update – One Year Later!

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since my surgery. It sounds cliche, but on one hand it feels like it’s flown by and on the other, it feels like forever since I had weight loss surgery. So much about my life has changed, mostly for the good, but some for the not so good. One of the things I wish I had been able to keep up with is this blog, but as you may have noticed, a post every three months seems to be my average in the past year. I want this to change and I’m working toward it, but that’s a post for another time. This post is all about my weight loss surgery update, one year later!

Let’s look back at December 30, 2015 when I weighed 343.2 lbs and was headed to my very first surgery of my entire life.

Surgery Day 12/30/15

It wasn’t the largest I’ve been in my life, but it was my turning point. I knew something had to change and I had been seeing the changes Howard was experiencing after his surgery on August 17, 2015. I was nervous and a little scared. I was hopeful and a little excited. I was hoping I could keep up with this lifestyle change and nervous that I would not be able to treat this surgery as the tool it was intended to be.

Before picture at 369.8 lbs Before picture (side) at 369.8 lbs

Here are pics of me at my largest. I was 369.8 lbs. I don’t know what to say about these pics except that it was a hard way to live. You can tell by my expression that I was not happy, and not just because I have depression, but because I was at a rock bottom moment in my life. I guess you could say that I started my journey here when I started to lose weight on my own, but I felt I needed an extra tool to help me get further and save my own life.

Janet and Howard Krugel

Last summer, I was featured on a website called More Than My Diagnosis where I was talking about my depression. This is a pic of Howard and me from that photo shoot in June 2015. He was close to 500 lbs and I was about 350 lbs. We put up a good front and we parented our son as best as we knew how, but he didn’t truly have his parents actively like he deserves.

Family photo 2016

Now THIS is a family that is worthy of my son and his active lifestyle! Howard has lost over 200 lbs and I’ve lost just over 100 lbs…and we’re still works in progress!

Weight Loss Surgery – One Year Later

Now that you’ve seen the pics and read the numbers for our transformations, I’ll share a little with you about the past year of my life. I asked on Facebook what you all wanted to know so hopefully I’ll be able to answer all your questions here.

My Workout Routine

Just after my surgery (still over 300 lbs) I began my exercise routines. It was difficult being so large and moving around in ways that I have never moved before. I would walk two laps around my work parking lot and feel like I had conquered the world. When my surgeon told me that was not enough and suggested that I needed to head to the gym, I was reluctant. He encouraged me to find the time and shared with me his schedule of hitting the gym early in the morning before work.

Our local YMCA gym opens at 5am so I went for it. I was at the gym between 5:30 and 6am every morning. I started out slow with just the NuStep machine (sitting down stair stepper) for about 30 minutes. People started to notice that I was there every day and started to talk to me and encourage me to do more and try more. A trainer talked to me about weights, but I was reluctant because my surgeon said I didn’t want to hinder my weight loss by adding in muscle weight just yet. I would do some weight training from time to time, but it never really caught on. A different trainer (Patti, who has become one of my favorite people in the world!) really took an interest in me and gave me a more in-depth training on the weight machines, then invited me to join a Fit Circuit class on Saturday mornings. After about two weeks, I joined the class and really started to learn what working out was all about. Howard bought me a fitness belt that tracked my progress for Mother’s Day and I have become addicted to watching my progress during my workouts.

Once I got under 300 lbs, I promised myself I would graduate from the NuStep to the treadmill and I kept that promise to myself. I would walk for 30 minutes at a time on a Fat Burn cycle. I would start at a lower speed and work my way up to my highest speed, while also increasing my incline in intervals as well. I’ve tried the elliptical a few times off and on, but I just have a love of the treadmill because I can set my speed and it “forces” me to stay at a steady speed.

In the past two months, I have discovered fitness classes and I’m hooked! I no longer get up early in the morning (I’ve never been a great morning person), but rather I workout in the evenings after work. I’ve also branched out into BodyPump and Kickboxing classes for variety and to tone up. Here’s what a typical week looks like for me: Monday – treadmill for 10 to 20 minutes, then BodyPump (30 minutes) and Zumba (30 minutes); Tuesday – treadmill, then Fit Circuit class for 30 minutes; Wednesday – treadmill, then BodyPump for an hour; Thursday – treadmill, then Kickboxing for an hour (although I’ve missed quite a few Thursdays due to family events); Friday – treadmill, then BodyPump for 30 minutes. I haven’t gotten back to they gym on Saturday yet because we usually go over to Tyler to weigh in and/or we’ve had some type of activity planned for the past few months. I miss my Saturday morning workouts and there’s a BodyPump class that I could join once things settle down for us.

My Eating

Eating, for me, is still a struggle on some days. Most days, when I’m well prepared, I can eat my small snacks/meals every two hours and I can stick to my eating plan pretty well. If I’m not prepared, or if there’s a change in my schedule, things can go awry pretty quickly. For the most part, I cannot eat more than a few ounces at a time. A typical snack for me might be a small Lunchable (not the one with the candy or cookie in it), two string cheese sticks, a greek yogurt, or a handful of almonds or mixed nuts. A meal might be a baked, breadless chicken tender, two to three chicken wings, a small piece of fish, or some other small protein that Howard cooks.

However, there are still times when I “want” or I’m “tempted” by foods that I shouldn’t have. I might eat a slice of pizza for dinner or a cookie for snack. Once a month, I think about chocolate and sometimes will give in and have a piece. On Thanksgiving, I feasted (as best as my stomach would allow) and I had a bite or two of each of the carb dishes that I can only get at Thanksgiving.

I definitely can’t say that I have resisted temptations throughout the year and I’m sure that it’s slowed some of my weight loss, but I can say that I don’t get the same cravings for sweets near as often as I used to. In fact, most of the time, sweets will make me feel yucky so I’m able to stay away “most” of the time. And…the better I eat, the better I feel, the better I can work out, and the better I lose. I can recognize all of this and it’s what motivates me to say “no” to food when even my stomach allows it. But, on the other hand, my stomach often tells ME “no” or revolts if I eat something bad or too much. I’m a work in progress.

My Future – The Next Year

In October, I declared on Facebook that I wanted to start training for a 5K and I wanted to be prepared next year to run or walk/run a 5K for domestic violence in October 2017. I’ve started a little with tips from the Couch to 5K program, but I haven’t started the full program yet (I need to get on that!). I’m not a big runner and running is not something I have a major passion for, but I know that I want to say that I’ve done this in my lifetime and there’s just no time like now.

I still have quite a bit of weight that I want to lose. My surgeon and I did not set a goal weight, but I have in my head that I want to get down to at least 175 lbs and see what that looks like on me before I set a final goal. I am currently at 240.6 lbs and just recently hit my goal of 100+ lbs lost in one year and I would like to hit my goal weight in the next year!


  1. Patti says:

    I admit I wiped a few tears while I was reading this wonderful post. I hope you know how incredibly proud of you I am. For 5 years I typed for a bariatric surgeon and saw firsthand how many WLS patients did NOT avail themselves of the gym and exercise and treated the surgery as a cure instead of the tool that it is. You started with goals, made a plan and have stuck to it. You have changed so much in the last year that I can see and I didn’t even know you preoperatively. You aren’t that shy woman on the NuStep anymore…no, you’re the athlete woman on a mission and NOTHING is gonna get in your way or you’ll kick it down!! Treats through the Holidays aren’t a deal breaker, sometimes they are what helps us stay the course! I love you Janet and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!!

    • janet says:

      Patti, you and Missy and the girls from that Fit Circuit class opened my eyes to what I was capable of trying. I’m so grateful each day that you took an interest in me and encourage me. I love you more than you know and I’m pretty darn excited for 2017 as well!

  2. Censie Sawyer says:

    You look incredible! I am so happy for you and Howard. Looking forward to 2017!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Censie! We are so excited for 2017 as well!

  3. Looking good, lady, and happier than I’ve ever seen you. That last part speaks volumes! Keep up the good work. You know what? A little cheating here and there is totally OK (as long as your doctor approves); we all do that. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve made incredible progress!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, lady, for being so encouraging and following my journey. I’m much happier now than I’ve ever been and I’m working hard to keep up the hard work. I’m determined that this surgery was just a tool and the progress is really about the work that I put in after that day a year ago!

  4. Jen says:

    Janet, you continue to amaze and inspire me. I am so proud of how far you’ve come and hope that I can take your lead with exercise. That is my Achilles heel. I’m about 5 months behind you and will try to take some of your motivation with that. I am so glad we met and I look forward to continuing this journey with you!

    • janet says:

      Yes, we need an update from you! Exercise makes a huge difference in my overall well-being, not just the weight loss. I just FEEL better when I’m able to work out every day!

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