Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Forget You...

I'm back! I know it has been a long time and as much as I am sure I wasn't really missed as we all lead busy lives, I missed writing and I need to be a more active participant in my rantings so they don't simply stay in my head. So, to tackle this problem head on, let's talk about our heads since most of our problems originate here, whether our problems stem from food...ummm other issues...


 It's amazing how much we let ourselves "forget" when we really put our minds to it. For instance, I forgot what it was like to do a lot of things I used to do. This summer I spoke about kayaking and roller coasters, rollerblading and my intent to ski this coming winter if it kills me, and it might. I forgot about what it was like to receive compliments on my appearance, to receive attention from both sexes in positive and negative ways and more than anything I forgot how to feel sexy as a woman. However, those are the big things I forgot about as I was eating myself to 364 pounds of no-fun fatness. I stopped doing and feelings all of those wonderful things and, therefore, I stopped really living certain parts of my life. 



The little things I forgot about are now starting to become big things as my loss slows down a bit. These upsetting memories are yanked from my subconscious into the light of current day. I thought I had pushed them WAY down into the memory abyss but alas, they resurface and remind me about a place to which I will never allow myself to return. I read a blog the other day that jarred a memory about one of the obese person's worst nightmares in school...generally high school and college...the connected desk chair...the DHAIR!  When you are a bigger person, and I could mean heavy or tall really, you dread the DHAIR! You will go out of your way to set the alarm clock early to get to the class before others so that you can either find the biggest one there is OR find the one desk and chair not connected to anything OR sit with the removable part bent down and write on the desk next to you, claiming you are just more comfortable that way. God forbid if you had to adjust any of these things with other people in the room because the embarrassment could ruin your day and send you into another sad eating binge. If it was going to mean a lot of re-arranging, you might even just cram yourself into the thing and do your best not to cry or vomit as you crush the extra person inside you. The DHAIR is the worst...WAS the worst. I sat in one today as I was talking to a colleague and I had so much room to spare that my instant bad memory was abolished by my joy as I sat with my legs crossed all lady like feeling pretty. Screw you DHAIR...back to the abyss with you!

I'm sure I will have these little revelations from time to time, like almost being able to borrow my mom's belt (she's much shorter and lighter than I...love you mom!) and realizing I can wear calf and knee boots now. However, I also still get the random..."well it's obvious you are carrying some extra weight on you" from people that didn't know me even a year ago...random people who go in and out of my life that I should not let effect me or my self image because they don't know where I have been or where I am going...I should simply take their words and use them to keep working hard and I do...it's not their fault they may have a case of diarrhea of the mouth and pre-judginess without looking in the mirror once in a while themselves. You can't change people, only yourself. The little revelations will get me through now that much of my loss has slowed and many of the big ah-ha's have passed...the revelations and my memories.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unintentional Absence due to Living...Life

Many apologies for being absent from the world of blogging for over a month...wow a month?! I can't even fully begin to comprehend how time flies. It seems like yesterday I was making the decision to change my life and commencing the constant calorie counting that is my life in preparation for a life-changing operation. Last July, I attended the informational meeting for Bariatric Surgery or the don't ask, don't tell...GASTRIC BYPASS...Shhh lest someone hear and form an opinion either way. It was during this informational meeting that I began feeling the fear and cold sweat making its way from the nape of my neck down to my "pedicured by someone else because I can't reach my own" toes. It was during that meeting that I made the decision not to be just a participant in my life but the leader of it. I think it's this way with any life-changing decision. We fear...we hedge...we re-think...we DO...and we can't look back. In some cases, we want to look back on our decisions and change them. In most cases, however, we reflect on them and are thankful for what they have taught us. I know I am. One year ago the process began. I had 6 months to lose 5% of my weight before surgery in December and now I am magically 6 months post-op and am down a total of 121 lbs. I can't even begin to think about what I would be doing this morning or, for that matter, what I would have been doing from December 22 through June 22...nothing much is my guess.

Instead, I have been busy...and loving it! Since my last post I have:
*Attended a bachelorette party in Boston for my bestie, Emily, during which we participated in a POLE DANCING class (and learned a floor AND chair routine) and danced for hours to deafeningly fun music, all without booze for this party girl.

*RUN on a treadmill...not long and not too hard but, if you know me then you know I do NOT run...ever.

*Bought 3...yes 3 different colors...$9 sun dresses in a 12/14 and a 16/18 because my sizes are changing again AND they were $9. I can't even begin to imagine being comfortable in a strappy dress at a size 28...

*Stood up for my bestie Emily at her wedding as her Matron of Honor, had my dress that I bought in November really "re-fitted," given a teary speech during which I said "frickin" into a microphone, and danced the night away without any alcohol to get the party started and my ass on the dance floor.


*Had a few bites of wedding/birthday cake without becoming sick or wanting more...apparently that dreaded sugar intolerance is also a non-issue for me and although many would say "oh no, now you may cheat or eat things you aren't supposed to"...I don't see it as a pandora's box...I am still sugar free the majority of the time, still count and track all my nutrition, etc. and am not, in any way, more attracted to the crap I do not and should not want. I like that on a very rare occasion I can feel like the normal girl who can indulge in a bite or two without feeling like a no-sugar freak. The slippery road is not for me, that is for sure.


*Gone bike shopping and out to dinner with a high school friend that I haven't seen since then and would have NOT gotten together with last summer due to my weight shame, during which I was scared to death I would fall off the bike, seeing as I have not been on one in over 12 years. I know, I know...we never forget...but sure as shit I would have been the one who did. As it turns out, I didn't fall and although i didn't buy the $400ish hybrid, I had a great time with my friend.


*Gone kayaking AND mountain biking up at our camp in the Adirondacks. I haven't been in or on either in more than a decade and it kills me that I lost 10 years of my active life that way, but wow what a good feeling it was to be back in and on both! Sore shoulders and a bruised butt aside, this summer is going to be so much better than any part of the last ten years and I am uber excited to do all of the things on my list, including but not limited to a trip to the amusement park(s) to get my roller coaster on!

120 down...80ish more to go and so excited for the journey!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

100 Years...More Likely Now...

All I can say is...holy shit! December 22, 2010 changed my life and so have I...forever, if not for the next 71+ possible years of my life. As of May 13, 2011, less than five months after my RNY surgery, I have lost 100 pounds! I can't even fully comprehend this loss yet, only gaze in awe at my Spark chart that shows my numbers decreasing month by month. I have averaged (with a stall once a month, at least) to lose 15-20 pounds average over the course of this crazy journey. Did you know that one pound of fat is equal to 4...count them...4 sticks of butter?! I did. However, I never fully comprehended that fact. That is a shit-load of butter! That is seriously 400 sticks of butter, sacks and sacks of potatoes or sugar and a crap-tastic amount of calories seeing as it takes around 3500 calories to gain one pound. If I had dully comprehended this, I don't think I would have reached my highest weight, but sometimes facts don't really mean anything until we are standing in the shoes of someone who weighs 364 pounds. 

What I did comprehend was my relationship with food. Food was my enemy in high school and then friend, confidante and source of comfort for a very long time and throughout some very difficult situations. It was my late night study buddy in college and my dirty little secret (not so secret as evidenced by my expanding body) afterwards. Sometimes I grieve the loss of my friend "Food," but more often than not I look upon my past relationship with this good friend and horrible enemy as a very distinct part of my life and an overall learning experience. Food taught me, if nothing else, that at the end of each and every day, I matter. It taught me to love myself for me and not settle for anything less than what I wanted in my life. Food taught me to love not only me for me but others for themselves and not for what size pants or skirt they wore. Food taught me that some of my relationships were unhealthy and toxic, besides the affair I was having with Food. I thank Food for making me value my life more than anything. I am thankful that Food has been resurrected to be helpful to me now, a healthy and life sustaining substance that I still enjoy, and that I can still create with and share with my family in a life-sustaining way.

On that note, you have all seen my recent blogs that center around cooking. It sounds really funny saying that I enjoy cooking even more now...she likes to cook? Jigga what?! It's SO true and I love to make regular recipes healthier and more "me" friendly. For example, there was a recipe in the Sunday paper coupon section (Oh yeah, I am THAT girl) about a month ago and I ripped it out along with the attached coupon. The recipe I so exuberantly ripped out was for a breakfast casserole with Hillshire Farm smoked sausage...because THAT is a healthy ingredient worthy of my post-op kitchen?! Riiiiiight...really?! Well...NO! It also called for whole eggs and heavy cream and shredded cheese! Holy heart attack Batman! I almost left it where it was. But then I didn't...because I could do some serious calorie control with this baby! And I did...ohhhh I did. Here is the original recipe in case you would like to consume at least a couple HUNDRED extra calories per serving (remember, it serves 12...) or make others fat, either way you are cruising for a bruising. 
Crustless Quiche:
1 pkg. Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups (divided: 1 cup and 1/2 cup) shredded cheddar
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
*Preheat to 350. Cut sausage into cubes and set aside. Lightly beat eggs, cream, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add 1 cup of cheese, sausage and green pepper. Stir well, pour into a 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and sprinkle rest (1/2) cup of cheese on top to melt. Serve and enjoy!

Here is what you can do to avoid the guilt, beef up the recipe and enjoy with some serious healthy smiles:
*Use the Turkey Hillshire Farm sausage (less cals, fat and better protein).
*Use 4 large eggs and 1 cup of Egg Beaters (I used the southwestern or garden veggie flavored variety).
*Replace heavy cream with light cream (saves fat and cals).
*Use more like 1/2 green pepper, who cares to measure out something that is good for you anyway!
*Add broccoli or Zucchini to beef up the volume per serving!
*Use 2% shredded cheese (I used a % cheddar and mozzarella mix)
Per serving, this recipe now contains only 185 calories, 13 grams of fat, 4 carbs and 14 grams of protein. Without these adjustments, you are seriously looking at less food with more calorie and fat bullshit per bite! Here is what mine looks like...



It is things like this that help me remember why I made this choice in the first place. I am married to a phenomenal man and I would like, more than anything, to be able to have a phenomenally healthy little mini-me or mini-Evan of my own. And what I want in addition to conceiving a baby is for people to KNOW I am pregnant, not just FAT. I may have been able to carry and give birth to a healthy baby at my highest weight, but I highly doubt it would have been complication free or without risk of gestational diabetes or some other hellish issue. There is never a guarantee that I will not have complications when we do decide to try to conceive. However, the less weight and stress I have on this body, the better 9 month home I can give my little one and in total, a better life. I will most likely still be considered high risk due to the need for more frequent blood tests to check my vitamin levels etc. due to malabsorption issues etc. etc. etc. However, my chances to conceive, carry and birth a healthy baby will be through the roof compared to what my odds were before. I did not just do this for myself but also for my present and future family. It is important to me and a dream that I may be more likely to live in happily once I am cleared to begin trying...probably 12-18 months post op. To have a healthy baby means the world to me...and to have a healthier me, in order to be a good parent, means even more. I will not be an obesity statistic...one that dies and leaves my family behind because my fat ass didn't make a change...I want my 100 years and then some damnit!      
                              

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dead Men Tell No Tales...

Today was a very nice prelude to Mother's Day with a freaky, creepy little undertone. Not being a mother yet myself, it was very nice spending a portion of my day with my husband and my mom, dad, aunt, uncle and grandparents. We had lunch at this awesome place where I spent 5 summers and 4 winter holidays waitressing. I love Pier 57, the people and the customers that helped pay for my college tuition. It is a family owned place, whose owners never get to take a vacation but they are such amazing people and so are the rest of the wait and bar staff. I am lucky to say that I keep in touch with a good deal of people I used to work with and am proud to have worked alongside them. I loved waitressing and may, with all of the budget cuts, have to go back to it one day. I loved it because at the end of the day, I earned what I earned and I didn't bring any work home with me as I do now being a teacher. I had only to show up to my next shift chipper and ready to go. I am sure my back and arm muscles were stronger for it. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching my special needs friends, but just think what it must be like not to bring any extra stuff home...hmmm. I digress...this restaurant was and is special for more than one reason. Truth be told I never experienced this but apparently, the place is haunted. Ask many employees who have worked there for a number of years and they will tell you that a woman that was killed there years ago, still walks the up and downstairs. I am just glad the poor bitch didn't mess with my blackened chicken caesar salad light on the dressing. 

After our lunch with the spooky undertone, the hubby and I decided (or really I did) that it would be a great idea to plant a new rhododendron bush that we bought from an annual fundraiser for a local group home for disabled and non-disabled adults. As we are digging in the perfect spot, Evan hits something hard. It's hard to tell what the shovel is hitting, exactly, so he keeps digging at my prodding ("Come on, dig harder...pansy ass love of my life...push!" Oh, alright, it wasn't actually SAID) and continues to make contact with this very hard, solid mass! We try to brush the dirt off...is it a pipe or a monster mutant tree root? Is it a box with a dead pet from owners past? Is it a freaking skeleton of a dead body?! Shit! Keep digging!!! Whatever it is, he takes a chunk out of it and picks it up (I would have gagged had he not had gloves on) only to find that this white piece of mystery crap breaks in two in his hands. Double and triple shit, is that bone or some other kind of body part?! Neither of us know so of course we continue with the exploration. Well, it turns out, the damn thing is most likely a big ass tree root but we still, to this minute, do not know exactly what it is because we were too freaked out to get down on the hands and knees, touch it further or whip out a trusty magnifying glass. We simply dug a new spot right next to the root of death, planted the bush and walked away. Unsolved mystery, I say. Ten to one completely gone from my husband's memory or sense of giving a shit...but I think there lies a mystery buried deep within our garden. I'm just saying...

On a side note, and more to the point than ANY of my previous republican-like ramblings (hehe just a joke friends!), take a look at that freaking ticker at the top of this page! I have less than one pound to go before joining the century club and 3 more pounds total before reaching my half-way to goal number! These are the reasons I get up on a Saturday to work out and do extra gardening work during which I try not to let my boobs fall out of my top as I bend over to weed! It is so exciting I could pee! I think I will...maybe that will help...goodbye friends, have a wonderful Mother's Day in any and every way you choose to celebrate it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

29 Forever

Well, I am now 29...in the last year of my twenties...shit. I knew this day would come and you can say I am being dramatic all you want but I will still say the same thing...shit. My birthday went off without any issues big or small and I received some very nice cards, wishes and gifts from the people I care about. What more could a girl ask for? Not much. What made me laugh on my birthday was that I had after school meetings, half a voice (that story will follow shortly) and I was so tired I could have fallen asleep at my desk during my lunch. The first week going back to work after a break is always a hard one for me and I didn't sleep well Sunday through Thursday. This weekend has been my saving grace...I guess I really am getting old.

So the reason I had half a voice on my birthday was because I hosted a "Pure Romance" or "Tupperware" party, as I like to refer to these events. And I do mean...events. The night before I turned 29 I had a few friends over to bring in the last sane year of my life with a bang. And boy was it bangin...or buzzin...or strappin. These parties are a total riot. Our consultant from Pure Romance, Mary, was hysterical and the stuff she brought even better. I never thought that I would write about this in my WLS blog but let's be honest, 96 pounds ago, the strap on dildo that Mary made me wear for about 45 min, would not have fit. I know, at least I would have had an easy out but at this point, it feels great to have anything and everything on that fits, even a pink rubber penis. My friend Liz has pictures of the two of us posing for the camera, not that it will ever make it here, but she was a trooper for strapping on the purple people eater to make me feel that I was not alone. She's awesome...period.

The strap-on was just the beginning of the party during which I discovered too much about my mother (love you mom), my friends and myself. We played a game where we had to move to the right if we had done something our consultant decreed and if someone was sitting there, well, sit on their lap. My pink strap-on made this difficult for some as they received a little love poke when having to sit on my lap. There is so much more I could tell you, but you just need to host or attend one of these parties to believe it. Did you know that you can judge the sensitivity of your nether regions by placing a vibrating toy on the tip of your nose? Did you? Well, now you do. Boy, my family really shouldn't read this entry...complete trash...LOL.  One of the reasons I enjoyed this party so much was...well...there were a few. The fact that "if the dildo fits" actually applied to me was awesome in itself. Other than that, the laughing, facial expressions of hilarity and horror and overall presence of wonderful women, really made my birthday special. So thank you ladies!

The other thing that made my birthday special was all the facebook love I received all day. I have my wall posts sent to my phone and since I received so much love, my phone was buzzing all day. After work, my husband and I had a wonderful dinner followed by my mom and dad coming over to the house for a bit. My mom, amazing as she is, attempted to make a half size of her deliciously famous chocolate oil cake sugar free for me but could not figure out how to make her butter cream icing sugar free (p.s. got the answer from Jeannine...put splenda into food processor and it will turn into powdered splenda perfect for powdered sugar substitute). I discovered two things...not that I didn't know this but my mom is the absolute best and most thoughtful, supportive mom I know. And the other thing is that my sugar tolerance is not so low as to not allow me to have a 1-2 inch squared piece of mostly sugar free birthday cake. It was one of those experiences that felt good to be feeling normal enough to try that and at the same time be thankful that it is not a part of my everyday diet. I thought it was very good but I just don't have too much of a sweet tooth or desire for carbs or baked goods in general. All in all it was a great first birthday since beginning this new part of my life and again, I am thankful and appreciative of all the love and support.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

She has Risen...

So, let me say first...Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate! Today was a really fun day for me for a few reasons The first being that I got to spend time with my husband, mom, dad, aunt, and grandparents and that is always a fun time...more so in recent years as the older members of my family have conveniently forgotten their verbal filters and say whatever they choose to say without apology. This "no-filter policy" is unwritten in the handbook and can contain anything from a variety of old racist terminology to the pronunciation of a word to who claims credit for some silly event or saying.

During two holidays (thus far) this year, a dictionary has been brought to the table to prove something or another about some seriously ridiculous word or expression. The first incident was during Thanksgiving when the dictionary was hunted down so that the correct pronunciation of "Horrible" could be found. The argument was "hORibble" versus "hARible." I say it's the one that sounds like a fun name for street walkers, prostitutes or ladies of the night...sort of like "Whoreible" which took the conversation to a whole other level as the argument continued for maybe an hour or so. The topic on Easter Sunday was the definition of the phrase "Cul-de-sac." Now, this was discussed in the car on the way to my Aunt's house, when we got there, and around the dinner table when my Dad got up to go look up the definition. This is what it literally means: "Bottom of a Sack." Yeah...let that one sink in. Enter into my world for a second and really try to understand that the word most used around the dinner table on Easter Sunday was the word "Sack." There was snickering and sexual references being made by my Dad and almost 92 year old Grandfather as well as the discussion of whether or not the plural would be "Cul de sacS" or "CulS de sac"...yeah...really. This was just the beginning of our conversational prowess...let me tell you!

The other reason I really loved today was that I got to focus so much more on those inane and hilariously inappropriate conversations with my family because I wasn't focused on my plate, the food on it, or on refilling it. I had my small piece of ham and a small spoonful of most things on the counter and licked some lemon curd off my finger for dessert. I waited my five minutes in between bites, sat back and laughed with my family. There was no silly drama, no real meaningful talk of politics (it's pointless really in my family) and people only griped about the cost of gas for about five minutes. We laughed, avoided stepping on my Aunt's really fat cat (watch out, she bites) and repeated stories (this is what happens when people who cannot hear well sit at opposite sides of the table) and had a nice time being with each other. There was no food coma and I feel really great coming home and not collapsing on some sofa somewhere. Instead of my diet, my LIFE was rich today and so again, I am so very thankful. Here's hoping that no matter what you did today, you had a wonderful time doing it!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Have you ever...


So I absolutely L.O.V.E. PINK...the performer, the singer, the woman, the role model, the cursing like a sailor, be me at any cost, say what I need to say and the hell with everyone else...PINK. As I was finishing up some craptastically long reports for work, I was listening to my i-tunes in the background and PINK's "Glitter in the Air" began to play on my "Easy Listening" playlist. Now, I am sure this song has many different meanings to many different people but the following lines touched me and made me feel more empowered to be the person on the outside that I already am on the inside...a funkily-fantastic retail therapy shopping FABU-Gorg-wah strong and empowered 20-something (we won't mention that I am quickly approaching my last year in Twenty-dom). What would you feel inside if you heard these words inside a beautiful crooning melody...



Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands...close your eyes and trust it, just trust it...have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air? Have you ever looked fear in the face and said "I just don't care?"...Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone...your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone? Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry? Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?...there you are sitting in the garden, clutching my coffee calling me "sugar" you called me "sugar"...have you ever wished for an endless night? Lasso the moon and the stars and pull that rope tight...have you ever held your breath and asked yourself "will it ever get better than tonight?"
 I think that although it may have had a very different meaning to her, PINK really spoke to all of us as individuals. We wait, most of us, a very long time to make the decision to do this great big horribly wonderful thing...changing our lives. We wait by the phone for strangers to tell us we're not alone, we can do this...oh and in the case of the WLS patient "you've been approved for surgery." We hesitate to throw that glitter in the air, love ourselves enough to take this crazily wonderful step towards our new lives and then we invite more strangers...the nurses and the surgeons, the support group leaders and fellow patients, our WLS family...into our lives. But before we throw that glitter... that first step...many of us, in any bad situation wish for that "endless night." All we want to do is sleep away the fat, the depression, the ugly, the not-being-able-to-do what-we-want-to-do blues. We hold our breaths and pray to look...act...be able to act like ourselves in a world that doesn't accept us for who we are on the outside, no matter what our de-function. PINK would say that is complete and utter horseSHIT...be yourself, whoever that is, whoever you want it to be.



Our country may be one of the most free in the world, but we are also one of the most judgmental...and I fully believe that. Yes, if you are willing to put your hands up, throw the glitter, that hope in the air...that we will all be able to welcome all the new strangers, all the new experiences and say "I just don't care" in the face of all those who would have us question our choices in life, no matter what they are they are OURS and no one else's. We are the only ones who will pay for them, in whatever form of currency we will be charged in. No one can tell me which exchange rate I should have to pay. Screw them all for thinking they can tell any of you how to LIVE your lives. We all only get one...so smile, LIVE and LOVE yourself enough to do what is best and right for you...you will thank yourself later. I know I have. I have thanked myself, my husband, my family, my friends, my doctors and all of you out there in BLOG world and I will thank you many more times in years to come. The biggest thanks has to go to me, however...so THANKS me...thanks for believing in yourself...thanks for taking a huge and controversial step...thanks for thinking of the children you want to have and grow old holding...thanks for working so hard to lose 85 pounds in 3 1/2 months and THANKS for believing it can always get getter than tonight...cause tonight is pretty great but tomorrow can be even better!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Thankful

I don't have any snazzy titles or quips for this blog. All I can say is that I am EXTREMELY thankful to be getting my life back. To others I am sure it seemed as though I was a strong, confident woman who was overall happy with herself and her life. This is partly true. I am a strong person who has made some mistakes when it comes to taking care of myself. I am a confident woman when it comes to helping others and listening to their problems. I am happy with my life in the way of my family and friends, my husband, home, job and beautiful furry babies. I was NOT strong when it came to dealing with my emotions for a long time...ergo I ate my feelings for years and only came to terms with those emotions when I felt like I had already strayed too far on the fat freeway and there was no U-turn available. I was not a confident woman in who and what I was as a person and I have to say I think that we all work on this our entire lives in some way, shape or form. I was not happy with my lack of a life. I wasn't living. I wasn't doing the things I love to do. I was not loving myself enough to change early on and by the time I was at 364 I felt so stuck in my body.

Did you know that I LOVE...effing LOVE roller coasters? How about skiing and kayaking and playing volleyball. Swimming? Water slides? Camping? Traveling? The list goes on. Did you know I liked to do these things in my past life? My past life, of course, being...skinny-dom. It is a kingdom I have not traveled to in many years and the first few years I was there I felt like an imposter because I had gotten there under false pretenses. I had dieted and starved myself, taken ephedra, not slept and limited my carb intake to bitch slap levels. I was a complete idiot but I knew no better and as "happy" as I was, I was also NOT very happy...as evidenced by the years following high school. I dealt with very difficult situations in a very self destructive way.  It took me years to face myself and I finally have. I will get to do the things I love again...even if I SUCK at them now!

On that note...it has been three months. I will get flack from friends about posting these pictures in more than one location...bite me...and enjoy! Three months, 75 pounds later...many to go but feeling wonderful and more importantly, like the real me...the beautiful, strong, confident and happy person I am meant to be. Thanks for all the support along the way friends!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The other kind of "Stall"...

I am annoyed. Not just "I didn't sleep well last night" or "the idiot neighbor left his lights on all night again" annoyed. This is STALL annoyance. Not just any stupid crappy bathroom stall either...but I suppose just as crappy. The worst kind of stall...a weight one. Grrr! So I have posted in the past on the blog and on my support forum about how stalls happen. I have read posts from people way more post-op than me, how weight loss after surgery is pretty consistent for the first 8-10 months and then slows down...plateaus...whatever. I get it. I understand that weight loss is like a long spiral staircase and that on the way down we hit different levels and plateaus where our bodies will need to rest from the previous pounds it has just lost so it can then keep going down to the next level. Again, I get it. Do I LIKE it? No...I...don't.

For two weeks I lost about a half pound per day. I was down 7ish pounds and had been welcomed into TWOville (299) with open arms and I was feeling SO great about my 65 pound loss. This week, I went back to work, worked out early in the week, ate the appropriate amount of calories, looked into some higher quality vitamins and lost NOTHING. In fact, because my hormones are so messed up with my "special Aunt Flo" coming to see me without warning and whenever she wants, I was up about 2 pounds and I know it wasn't from what I was eating. Even though I know I am doing everything right, I am still easily frustrated by stalls. Should I be? No. Should I even be weighing myself as much as I am? Hell no! I can't help it, I do and I am bothered by the stalls. I know my body is adjusting and taking a rest before losing again, I do. I know that when we stall, we are probably not only preparing for the next loss but also losing some inches in the process. I know I should be measuring myself but I hate to. I know I should have taken a "right before" surgery picture and be taking pictures now too. I don't because I am not down to a point where I want to show a full body picture to anyone. If I don't see a ton of change, how will others? If I see someone I haven't seen in a while and they don't notice any difference, why would I be motivated to show pictures of myself to others yet? I'm not so it won't be happening right now. For now, I keep plugging through the resting levels on my very long, personal spiral staircase. I keep hoping I find my castle below the clouds. Until then, I will take one big breath and then another until I am rested enough to take on the next level. There are not banisters any of us can slide down on this staircase to heaven (sorry couldn't resist). 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Scale Never Lies...

I previously mentioned the Thinner Times forum as one of the best places for any question a WLS patient may have. Not everyone there knows what they're talking about, however, so you need to weed out those who have been living the life long term from those who may be pre-op and not as well informed as others. This goes without saying for anything you find on the internet and in forums in general, but some people still need the "dummies" version of the book. Last night I was reading a thread someone posted inquiring help about how many calories a day we should be eating post-op. This is a really really REALLY relevant question...mainly because I had the same one and of course my questions are the most important (even though I had not had the guts yet to ask it myself). There were so many replies my head was reeling. 

The thing is, you are going to get a different answer from each person that has a different doctor, in a different state, who went to a different medical school and heard their info from a different professor or research study. I saw every single answer from 400...to 800...to 1200...to 1500! Are you kidding me?! I have asked my nutritionist the SAME question and do you want to know what the NUT said? Really? She said not to even worry about the calorie intake as long as I am getting my protein requirements for the day...which are above 50...which will spark a whole other debate on the forum (more than 50...70...80...1 gram per pound of goal weight...so for me that would be 150 grams a day?!). Let's stick with this one for now and when my hair starts falling out (which it better now, damnit) we can discuss protein again. So the forum has numbers all over the spanking place and my doctors are telling me something completely different. This is what I decide to do...



I chart my every single day intake on sparkpeople.com (it's amazing and awesome and you all should join because it's amazing to see what we do with ourselves daily). I track my calories, fat, protein and carbs. I also track my fitness minutes, fruit/vegetable and water intake. In terms of protein, I strive for at least 60-70 grams, if not more, a day. In way of calories, however, let me break it down. As time goes on in pretty pretty post-op land, one can consume more ounces of food. I was on liquids, then soft foods, then about a week afterwards I was eating about 2oz of food at each meal. Two months out, I can now eat about 3-5 ounces of food (depending on what and how dense it is: ground meat versus stew with lots of soft veggies). When I was about a month out, I was eating between 300-500 calories a day tops. I just couldn't get in more than that and my body was definitely in starvation mode. I was still healing too, so I felt tired all the time from taking in so little and recuperating. Now, I am able to thrive on about anywhere between 600-900 calories daily. I never break 1000 and although many people would say I am too high, many others say I am wayyyy too low. I find that varying my caloric intake helps me more than staying on the low or high side multiple days in a row. Here's why...

Simply put, sometimes you HAVE to eat more to lose more. That doesn't mean go out and hang out with all the police officers at DD on a daily basis. What it means is that if you eat too few calories, no matter who you are, your body will go into starvation mode and hold onto all the fat it can for dear life. Our bodies panic, and instead of losing weight on the scale, we stall out or even gain a pound or so. The stall can be the biggest bitch of all. I looked back at my weigh-ins on spark during the time I would lose about a pound a day and then stall and not really lose the next week. Now, I know that our bodies play catch up with us and the not losing is a sign the body is readjusting. However, I have found that since I have upped my intake and vary the calories I am eating daily ( day 1: 630, Day 2: 800, Day 3: 732 etc.) I have lost weight more consistently without the dreaded stall for more than a day or so. Also, I will eat on the higher end of my numbers on days I work out for more than 30 minutes and also up the fluid intake. The science of it all is too much for me and if I read another post right now about who thinks or has heard what about calorie intake, I may cut a bitch. But in the end, it's not anyone's fault, yet again, that we do not have an accurate picture of what we need to do. We each have an individual body that has very different needs from the next person. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. All we can do is support the choices of our friends and online community members, and keep asking and answering questions. Sometimes half the battle of not feeling alone is knowing someone else is just as confused as you are. 

I'll have the vitamins with a side of VITAMINS please...


 I was very puzzled today. I am a member of a support forum called Thinner Times and it is mainly for people who are thinking about or have been through Gastric Bypass, Lapband surgery, or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  It is a FABULOUS resource for all things weight loss surgery-related. The people there are as real as it gets. Those who have had wonderful recoveries and results post as well as those who have been through the wringer (not even the proverbial wringer). People post classifieds, questions, concerns, ventings and social/emotional issues as well as the everyday WOW moments. I have definitely posted my fair share of questions as well as my own WOW moments (i.e. losing 60 pounds and two pant sizes and being able to find jeans in a regular department store versus "Shame Bryant."). I can't say enough wonderful things about the forum and about its people. 



So as I am browsing the threads and responding to someone's post about what kinds of vitamins people who are post-op take, I realize my doctors may not have my best interest at heart...or their own professional interest long term, if you know what I mean. The deal-io is that people who have bypass are at serious risk for mal-absorption issues throughout the rest of their lives...our lives...shit...my life now. I knew that going in and that's why I had a wonderful multi-vitamin and iron chewable all lined up. It is called Bariatric Fusion and according to my doctor and the effing bottle, all I will need "for life" is two chewables, twice daily in order to get what I need as a baratric patient. WRONG. According to the ASBS.org (American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery), I would need 8 of these little chalky suckers just to help me prevent Osteoporosis, if not neurological problems etc. The bottle says 4, the ASBS says I would need to have 8 (200% daily value doses) and I say WTF?! Why make a product that is called "Bariatric" Fusion if it is not going to follow the guidelines that prestigious researchers put out there. And of top of that, why in the hell doesn't my nutritionist KNOW this about these shit heads and tell me, "Amy, you are either going to chew yourself to death eating 8 of these chalky wonders a day OR find a better vitamin than the one we encourage you (because we are probably getting paid to do so) to take." Isn't is the job of the nutritionist to keep the patients healthy so that research continues to show that they can do their freaking jobs? Just a thought.




Well, now I have to print out the damn ASBS document that says clearly what we need as patients and be one of those annoying broads that brings it IN to my next appointment ALONG with my Fusion vitamin bottle, and says "What in the hell is wrong with this picture?" until someone listens to me. THEN, I am going to need to find a different vitamin regimen. Thank heavens for the forum...they did not tell me what I should do but directed me towards two other acceptable vitamins for bariatric patients and I am getting some free samples in the mail. The "Celebrate" company apparently stands by their word when it comes to their products and does, in fact, supply all the vitamins I will need along the way. I may have to take 2 multis, 2 iron, 1 sublingual, 203 chewable calcium etc. a day but at least I will know that if I fall down at the ripe old age of 30, I may, just MAY not break a hip. Thanks for all the great support "bariatric" center. Way to stay up and current on research and vitamin guidelines so the health of your patients shines in the research of years to come. REALLY?! Thanks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meatloaf Heaven

So I have to say that I have always been a "meat person." Given the choice between carbs and   protein...protein wins by a landslide each and every time. I don't really remember a time that I didn't want some kind of protein with my meal and today was no different. My very wonderful bestie from Brooklyn was visiting this weekend. She generally teases me that I don't cook when she visits but she had not yet met...

"Post-op Betty Crocker Barbie" who loves to try new things and then bombard her Facebook friends with recipes and corresponding pictures via her super amazing blog. I cooked three meals for her this weekend and loved every minute of it, even if I could not consume one of the recipes myself. 


When she flew in on Friday night the weather was warm, the moon bright and the promise for bitter cold for the rest of her stay had already been foretold. In preparation for the brick temperatures that have been Syracuse in the past few days, I made my Zucchini Stew recipe from a previous post, and included the meat from a rotisserie chicken. It was delicious, nutritious and the leftovers are sitting safely in my freezer. Saturday morning I made french toast with fresh Challah bread that she brought from Brooklyn (this is the meal I could not partake in but boy did it smell good). Today, to celebrate the sadness of her departure (get out house guest! ;o) I jest), I made a new recipe...Taco Meatloaf. 

Now, I had previously made a turkey meatloaf recipe in a muffin pan but this new recipes was a whole different ball game. JUST as easy to make with only a couple more ingredients (see past blogs for other turkey meatloaf recipe). I do not have the nutritional info for this recipe as I simply do not have the patience to sit and figure it out yet. However, it is very healthy and when paired with steamed carrots and baked potato (I rub a little garlic flavored infused oil on the potato and sprinkle sea salt on them before baking for a yummy baked potato), this meal is great for flavor and to keep you and your family warm on a cold evening.

Taco Turkey Meatloaf:
*2 lbs ground meat.....I use very lean (93/7) turkey
*2 packages of taco seasoning
*2 eggs
*1 onion chopped fine
*1/2 cup of crushed saltines
*1/2 cup of crushed fritos 
*1/2 cup of salsa I use hot
*1/2 cup of taco sauce
*1/2 cup of Mexican cheese

Mix the meat, seasoning, eggs, onion, crackers, fritos, and salsa by hand in a large bowl. Form 2 loaves and place on a non stick cookie sheet....cover with 1/4 cup taco sauce each.....place in preheated 350 degree oven....cook 70 minutes and cover with the cheese cook 5 more minutes.....ENJOY!!

C-C-C-Coffee!

After Gastric Bypass surgery, and depending on your doctors and nutritionist, you may hear very different things about coffee and caffeine in general. Many doctors say NO caffeine at all, others do not say a thing...and mine stay somewhere in the middle of the road, saying it is OK to have decaf beverages. The answers vary for these reasons:

  • Caffeine is a diuretic which means in order to get in all the water we need a day, you will then probably have to consume more if you drink coffee (which can already be challenging for some before adding coffee to the equation).
  • Caffeine can cause ulcers in our new stomachs. We are prescribed a generic prilosec to control stomach acid in our new mini-mi pouches and it varies how long they are prescribes for. However, aggravating the stomach acid can cause some serious, if not, bleeding, mega ulcers.
  •  Caffeine tends to make WLS patients very jittery and there is a lot of controversy about whether or not caffeine helps wight loss or hurts weight loss. 
I find that regardless of the research, those who enjoy coffee and who are allowed to integrate it into their daily lives, can and will find a way to do so. I myself, enjoy coffee on a non-daily basis. I find that it is comforting and warm in the winter, and refreshing and fun in the summer. It makes me feel (and I can imagine this being the case for other WLS patients) as though I am still able to be "normal" after surgery. It is a small comfort that I can now enjoy with the help of some friends: decaf coffee, my NEW Keurig, sweet N low and sugar free creamers (or sugar free syrups like Torani...that I have not yet tried). I bought the Keurig yesterday using some rebate cards and gift certificates to pay for an already "on-sale" item in the mall and in celebration of 60 pounds lost forever! These milestone rewards have helped to keep me motivated, and in the case of this winter...much much warmer!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PB2-tastic!

In honor of it A) Being a weekend, B)Being the weekend before Valentine's Day and C)Being 10 pounds from Two-ville (below 300lbs.), I am going to share a new find with you! I know you are jumping up and down, screaming from the rooftop, crap your pants happy about this but try to contain your excitement until you see the nutritional info cause...it gets friggin better! Are you ready...I mean can you really handle the excitement? Here it is...POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER! 

Hmmm doesn't sound great does it? Just keep an open mind, because that is exactly what I had to do when I saw it in the health food store. It is an all natural, no chemicals, powdered peanut butter. They literally remove the oil from the peanut, which in turn removes about 85% of the fat. All you have to do is add water. I feel like an astronaut just saying that you need to "just add water" to get the creamy full effect, but it's true. Bonus...they also make a chocolate version. If you are counting calories or looking for a low calorie, low fat, more natural way to get in some good protein, here you have it. 
                                                   
It must taste like completely dry doo-doo right? Nooooo, this stuff is for reals for real. Although it sounds like I jest, it is really delicious or I wouldn't be inclined to share. First, let's talk nutritional comparison...
                                

Calories210Sodium140 mg
Total Fat17 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated3 gTotal Carbs6 g
Polyunsaturated2 gDietary Fiber2 g
Monounsaturated2 gSugars2 g
Trans0 gProtein8 g
Cholesterol0 mg


                    PB2:                                               

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 tbsp (12g)
   
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 13

Calories 45
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 1.5g2%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Cholesterol 0.01mg0%
Sodium 94mg4%
Total Carbohydrate 5g2%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
   
Hugeeeeee difference! Also, I haven't even mixed it with water to make a creamy PB. I have simply added it to my Valentine's gift from Evan to make a delicious snack/meal replacement:
Use 1 scoop of the chocolate truffle Nectar protein powder and add in 1/2 banana, some milk or light yogurt and 2 TB of the PB2 (I used the chocolate PB2) and you have yourself a yummy tummy approx. 200 calorie, 1 gram of fat and approx. 30 grams of protein snack/meal. Plus it doesn't have a long ingredient list with all the stuff you can't pronounce. It is simply guilt-free, god-damn goodness in a glass! And that's all I got. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Food!

I know this seems a little redundant and I hope no one is truly bored by this (other than my co-workers), but I promise that as soon as I tire of cooking (which, based on my attention span, shouldn't be long now), we will be back to regularly scheduled programming on the blog. However, in my internet travels, I found this awesome and easy recipe for mini turkey meatloaf in a muffin tin! I think I am in love with muffin tin cooking. It is fun to mold or pour food right in the little nooks and see what comes out. Here is the latest creation...feel free to adapt/change/add anything you want, just be prepared that if you agg more, you will use more than one 12 cup tin.
Mini Turkey Meatloaf in a Muffin Tin:
Ingredients: 
* 2 pounds or 2 container (mine were 1.3 lbs. a piece) lean ground turkey (93/7)
*1 box any flavor stove top stuffing
*2 egg whites or 1 egg white and 1 whole egg (I used 2 whites and may try the other way next time)
*1 onion, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:
*Combine everything in a large bowl
*press into lightly sprayed (oil or pam) tin. They will be rounded at the top
*Bake for 35 minutes at 350
*Enjoy and add/change things to make it fun (i.e. 2% cheese etc.)

                                                      Nutritional Info per serving (1):
Calories: 164.5

Total Fat: 5.8 g
Cholesterol: 53.3 mg
Sodium: 277.1 mg
Total Carbs: 10.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 16.7 g