Welcome to my Fatboy series. This is a chronicle of my journey after weight loss surgery in January at the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery.

I knew it would happen sooner or later. After 11 months of declining weight, my scale came back with a less than desired response Monday morning. It said I actually gained weight.

At first I didn’t believe it. How could that be? No way I gained weight. People say I look amazing. My clothes are too big for me. I go to four workouts a week at TransforME/Body by Frances without fail.

I stick with my diet — for the most part.

OK, that is a bit of a lie. I have noticed lately that I've cheated on my diet. I actually ate ice cream for the first time in about 13 months.

How much weight did I gain? Four pounds.

Do you know how hard it is to work off four pounds? It may seem like I am making a big deal out of a small amount of weight, but after seeing huge drops of weight since January, this was rather disappointing.

The good thing is that I expected this would happen at some point. Second, I am not doing what I would have done in the past and try to justify it with lines like, “Come on, you deserve it, you’ve worked so hard.”

The first thing I did was go home and toss everything I considered not on my diet into the trash.

My super trainer Frances Field told me recently to remain positive when the struggles come up. She also said I should expect to see some extra weight as I build up muscle.

So I also measured my waist size. Last month I was a 46. After gaining weight, I am a 44.

My obsession with the weight side of things may be a bit overblown. As I have preached in this blog over and over: It’s about body image as much as it is about weight loss.

My weight gain episode reminds me of a Facebook post in October from my other super trainer Shellie Long, who confessed to eating a fast food hamburger, some fries and half a soda.

She called it a confession of “her sins.”

It was the first fast food meal she had in four years.

“So for once I don't feel guilt for making a bad choice but I do feel like I need to throw up,” she wrote.

That’s the attitude I am still working to adopt. It’s all about life change. I have said all along that I would not become a lettuce-eating, seaweed shake-drinking health fanatic. That’s just not me.

My journey hasn’t been as much of a struggle as it is for others who read this blog. But as I continue down this path, I know more obstacles will be in my path than before. I’ll need to find the way to get over or through them without feeling like a failure.

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(4) comments

Kevin Lang

TJ, it's tough putting on 4 pounds, too. That is if it's a real 4 pounds. Over a short period of time, it's likely that a lot of that 4 pounds is water. If you happened to eat a bit of extra salt, that could trigger a bit more water retention. I think changes in weather can also change the water balance. For that weight that isn't merely water, you have to consider what the makeup of that weight is. Don't be too quick to assume that because you slipped in some ice cream that you added a bunch of fat, especially since the measurements seem to indicate otherwise. You may have actually added net muscle.

Now that you're more than a year into this journey, it's quite possible that your body is moving into a new metabolic cycle. Hopefully, it's one where it just want's to make muscle instead of fat, and since muscle is denser than fat, you'll lose inches but perhaps not weight. Your body may also be wanting to move into a plateau phase, too. Those plateaus can be particularly frustrating because it seems that no matter how much you deprive yourself and how much you work out, you just can't seem to make any progress. In that phase, you may see a few weeks in a row of just bouncing up and down around some weight number.

If it's just a one week blip, don't punish yourself. If you start spotting a trend, either upward or flat, then you might need to change up the routine. I think you're wise to not just treat it as an aberration, and use it as an excuse to do a bunch of off-diet stuff, but don't go overboard and declare it a trend pre-maturely. After all, as you start getting closer to your goal weight, you're going to have to get used to eating for maintenance rather than loss. How you manage your way through this should help you prepare for going through life as the lean, mean, fighting machine version of TJ :-)

Shelly Pearl

I had the same experience, after about a year my appetite came back with a vengeance. I had lost 110 lb and have gained 15. This is since 2009. I work at it and switch back to liquids occasionally, I got a Magic Bullet so that every thing I put in the container comes out in a sorta' liquid form. I find them very satisfying and know I am getting the nutrition I need. I feel very satisfied after my healthy drink, because I have not found a junk food yet that doesn't go down very easily! Hang in there you are doing great. Your successes are successes for all of us that have had this procedure done.l Keep up the good work.[beam]

Shelly Pearl

I also add protein to my drinks, as well as hemp seed, chia seed, flax seed, so I am sure I am getting good nutrition and protein, I still have trouble eating meat unless it is ground.[innocent]

Walter Manuel

TJ, while I don't know anything about bariatric surgery, I certainly know my challenges in trying to lose weight on my own, it's quite difficult no matter what method you use.

I have to agree with Kevin, nobody typically gains 4 lbs in a week unless it's from water retention. As you know I'm a nurse and have learned not to be too concerned by calling a doctor to report such weight gain in a short period of time.

Since October 17th, I have lost 20 lbs, but it hasn't been easy. I find myself being too consumed with the scales every morning and what my weight is and it sometimes dictates my attitude the rest of the day. I find that is only part of my problem though.

My worst battle for me is between my brain and my stomach when I feel content with what I have eaten and yet there's still food on my plate. I grew up knowing that you could have as much as you wanted, but you were expected to eat it.

There's more to the scales and the disappointment for me that helps me recover from not losing on a day when I really thought that I did my best the day before to lose another pound or two the next day.

I can only tell you that you look marvelous! Your picture on any post is simply incredible and almost unrecognizable to me, but I am so proud of you! Hang in their your on your own path. Nobody ever said I'm sure how long or short your path would be in comparison to others. We're all our own individuals and our bodies are biologically made up differently.

I can say for myself having lost the 20 lbs I feel as though I look 10 years younger and my confidence is returning more than I have felt in a long time!

Hang in there my friend! You shouldn't be so hard on yourself because you know better than any of us what you live with day and night and sometimes it can be a battle. Every now and then a slip up is ok because that's what only makes us stronger! [thumbup]

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