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Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Underwear is on Fire

I spent these last two weeks of December in Washington State with my family. I arrived on December 19 and the Hubs arrived on Christmas Eve so I was able to spend the first five days with mom all by myself (well…with the exception of my dad). I was away from my scale, most of my regular diet items (picked up a few things from the store to have on hand at the house), but I did not stress about it at all. Much like our trip to Walt Disney World in September, I gave myself permission to be a little relaxed with my diet. I still made good food choices but slipped in the occasional cookie…or two…ok, maybe three per day. Nothing tastes better than Mom’s cookies.

With most of my clothes nearly falling off, I desperately needed to buy new ones so I did not pack a whole lot for my trip. Before I arrived, we had already made plans to go to the Goodwill to find new pants. When you are dropping sizes every few months you do not want to shell out the money for brand new things all the time so the Goodwill is a great choice.

We started our first day of shopping at the outlet mall to get some new bras (something I was NOT going to get at the Goodwill). With a sewing machine at home, I had gotten pretty crafty with the only two I had that fit. I had taken the sides in a few times so I had NO idea what size I was. Bra shopping is never any fun and as much fun as it has been dropping pant and shirt sizes, bra shopping was still a chore. I found several that I liked and Mom bought four of them for me.

Our next stop was Ross where I found myself in that same predicament I was in at Disneyland a few months ago. I tend to head straight to the plus sizes and when I realized that I could shop in the ENTIRE clothing department I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the choices. We had to have a shopping cart to hold all of the things I wanted to try on and I had so much fun trying them on. I used to despise trying on clothes. I hated looking at myself in the mirror after squeezing myself into the largest pair of pants they had in the store. I hated how sweaty I got after stuffing myself into something and peeling it off after I gave myself a disgusting look. I have a newfound fondness of clothes and that is something I have never been able to experience before. My favorite outfits were a pair of blue skinny jeans with a black and white striped sweater and another pair of blue jeans (not skinny though) and a red sweater. Once again, Mom surprised me and purchased them for me along with a new belt (which was ordained with four small brass butterflies). I still think it is hilarious that I even need a belt. We closed out our first day of shopping with a trip to the Goodwill where I found three pairs of pants and two shirts for only $30.

The next day we went to JCPenney. I had some gift cards to use and decided to finally buy some new underwear. Since having my surgery, I had not purchased new underwear and after losing nearly 120 pounds, this was something I really needed to buy. Mom had a good laugh after I had showed her how far up my back my underwear went. She said I looked like Urkel from the old TV show Family Matters and laughed some more. I bought six new pairs there and picked up a four pack of good ole’ Hanes when we went to Target later that afternoon. Underwear that fit is amazing!

We shopped for two more days for various Christmas gifts and we had the best time. I don’t have anyone near me at home that can shop like Mom and I can. We can go shopping for hours and not buy a thing.
On Christmas Eve, I was downstairs getting ready to go to my Aunts house to spend the afternoon with my Grandma before picking the Hubs up at the airport. Mom walked down holding up one of her shirts and asked me if I liked it. I was not sure if she was asking me if I liked it for her to wear or if I simply liked it at all. I was not fond of it either way so I was not sure how to respond. She said it ran big for the size Medium it indicated and asked me if I wanted to try it on. I politely declined because it was a bit short for my taste. I still prefer to cover my behind with my shirts. I sensed a bit of disappointment in her eyes so I followed her upstairs and looked through her closet. I found a green sweater/cardigan top with an attached tank that looked cute. Again, she suggested I try it on. I hesitated but decided to try it on for size. I nearly fell out when it fit. It was at that second we both got a little teary eyed because I have NEVER been able to wear my mother’s clothes. She gave me the top and we relished in our “moment”.

Christmas Day came and went and the day after we went shopping again (yes, we are those crazy people that were at the store waiting for the doors to open at 7am). After Target and BestBuy, we made our way to the mall where I bought my very first pair of Victoria Secret underwear (well…OK, I bought five), something I have never been able to do before either. Five days later, I am still smiling over it. Yesterday, as I was packing our bags to come home, I tossed out all of my old underwear and the Hubs burned them in the backyard.

These last two weeks have been so much fun. Full of surprises, firsts, and moments I will treasure forever. As I close out this posting, I will leave you with a funny little story that is making me giggle as I sit here in the airport thinking about it. Totally, non-scale, non-weight related but makes me laugh and describes my mother’s personality (which I love and adore)…

As we left the mall, we were walking through Sears and my brother stopped to look at a really nice tool bench. It was stainless steel, had diamond plating on the drawer fronts, and a nice big light at the top. My brother reached up to touch the top where the light bulb was attached and it came crashing down shattering the bulb into a dust cloud. We (as in the entire store) stood there in silence for what seemed like hours and all you could hear was mothers little voice say “whoops”. We giggled and high tailed it out. I am sure there is a picture of us somewhere in that store with the words “have you seen this family” written above it…

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Hustle and Bustle

I have been busy running amuck getting ready for Christmas these past two weeks and have not had time to blog but here is a quick update...
  1. I went shopping for an outfit for my company Christmas party a few weeks ago and discovered that shopping for clothes has become fun again. I even bought one of the pieces from Forever 21, a store I have never been able to shop in before.
  2. We went to Disneyland (our home away from home) this past weekend and no matter how many times we have been since my surgery, I am still amazed that I can run around that park now without complaining about my feet or knees hurting. At the end of the night (the VERY end of the night), the lines for the Tram were about 30 minutes long. Without hesitation, we walked to the parking garage and I didn't even break a sweat or get winded.
  3. We were filming a new commercial for my office last week and as I was escorting the camera guy through our shop, one of the foreman, who I haven't really seen since my surgery, stopped me and said he had to ask his supervisor who I was because he didn’t recognize me. I do not want to sound like I am full of myself but I do not think I can ever get tired of hearing things like that.
  4. We are heading home for Christmas next week and I am looking forward to spending some time with my mom and the rest of the family. It has been too long since we have had some good quality family time. In the words of Clark W. Griswold, “it is going to be a fun, old fashioned family Christmas” and I cannot wait.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Down, One to Go...

Thanksgiving has come and gone and for the first time in my own personal Thanksgiving history this was the first year I did not follow my usual "gobble ‘til I wobble' mentality.

We spent Thanksgiving at home and my in-laws drove up to spend the day with us. I had prepped the turkey the night before and got up early to prepare all of the side dishes before they arrived. Cooking for others since I have had surgery was not new to me so it did not bother me as I was tossing ingredients for my famous sweet potato casserole or corn bread stuffing. I did not get weak in the knees when I was whipping up the mashed (whipped) potatoes with butter and cream and the smell of the roasted turkey did not send me into a post-traumatic stress frenzy.

The hardest part of the entire day was when I plated my food. I knew it was going to be a carbfest kind of day so I gave myself permission to have a sampling of everything including the gravy. I put a small spoonful of each the mashed potatoes (and gravy), sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a piece of turkey. Like every good "sleever", I ate my protein first (turkey). I then took a small forkful of each of the side dishes and I was stuffed. I made sure to wait long enough to digest everything so I could have a piece of Apple Boysenberry pie (which was FABULOUS).

I ended my Thanksgiving Day with a shopping trip with my friend visiting various Black Friday sales that started at 10pm on Thanksgiving. We left at 9pm and were home by 2am. Not too long but it was a good way to burn off the extra carbs and calories (this was a great idea because I woke up the next morning a half of a pound lighter).

In the end, although it was a bit odd to only have a forkful of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, I had a great first post-op Thanksgiving and feel I am fully ready to face the ultimate post-op challenge...Christmas dinner at my parents (my mother knows how to "throw it down" in the kitchen).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Embarrassing Reality

People often ask me why I don't include pictures of myself in my posts (other than my Loser or Seeing is Believing posts) or talk about how much I weigh. I have always side stepped this question but the reality is...I am embarrassed. Even though I have lost 108.2 pounds to date, putting that kind of reality out there for the world to read causes me great discomfort.

It is easy to hide behind an old profile picture on social media sites so your friends from high school (the ones you have not seen since graduating over 20 years ago) cannot see what a mess you have made of yourself. I find it humorous and ridiculous that I hid behind a picture that was taken nearly eight years ago because I did not want people to see the current me. It all stemmed back to those five little words that haunted me for so long...if only she were thinner. I felt people would judge me and think I was less of a person if they saw how much I had gained over the years. Why do we try so hard to impress people who have absolutely no bearing on our own happiness?

Well, the time has come and I will side step no more. I need to rid myself of the embarrassment so I can continue to move forward in my "Flyers Ed" journey.

Here goes...my starting weight in February was 336.6 pounds (ugh...those words still taste like vinegar when coming out). I honestly think my highest weight was a little more than 340 pounds at one point because I remember thinking that I had less than 10 pounds before I would be forced to use the "special" scale at the doctor’s office that was reserved for patients who weighed more than 350 pounds.

My current weight is 228.4 pounds (yes, that point four is important to me) and my goal is to get down to 175 pounds (just 53.4 more pounds to go). Considering that I was 200 pounds when I graduated high school, I feel that 175 is a very realistic and achievable goal for me.

There...it is out there...for the entire world to read. In the words of Yoda, "Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well...you should not."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holiday Survival Tips

10 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Food is an important part of many holidays, celebrations, family and cultural traditions. In fact, special occasions often center around the food table. I recently learned that as a result of all these tempting foods, people gain an average of five pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

What (or who) is to blame? Perhaps it is all the delicious treats from customers, family, friends, and co-workers that we tend to overindulge in. Maybe it is the increased emotional eating (otherwise known as "the Joys of Holiday Stress") or because you know you are going to start a strict “new diet and exercise plan” on January 1 and you are "going out in style".

Regardless of the reasons, it is not necessary to hide from holiday parties or gatherings in an attempt to maintain your weight. Consider these tips and enjoy the holiday season!
  1. Focus on weight maintenance rather than weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this may not be the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is an excellent goal this time of year. Do not set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
  2. Plan to NOT diet after the New Year. Knowing you are going to be on a strict "new diet" can set you up for binge eating. Get out of the mindset of “if I am never going let myself eat this again in the new year, I might as well eat as much as I can now”. Simply plan to make a New Year's resolution to make positive and long-term changes (hey - weight loss surgery was a positive and long-term change for me).
  3. Offer to bring a healthy dish. You may not always know what is being served so why not guarantee yourself at least one thing that is healthy. This strategy not only provides you with a good menu option, but your host will appreciate the help.
  4. Do not skip meals. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished. Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you will also gravitate toward the heavier foods with higher fat and calories. Do not skip meals in anticipation of “saving room for the party”. Have a healthy snack before you go to take the edge off, such as a handful of nuts, vegetable sticks, small bowl of whole grain cereal, or good protein bar.
  5. Make a plan. If you are concerned about overeating, think about which foods are special to you (those you really want to eat) and those that you could do without. Contemplate your personal triggers to overindulge and how can you minimize them. Once you have thought about all of these things, make a plan of action. It is much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you have already planned for it.
  6. Take steps to minimize social eating. While some foods are more calorie-dense than others are, no food will make you gain weight unless you eat too much of it. At parties and holiday dinners, we tend to eat (or keep eating) beyond our body’s physical hunger simply because food is there and eating is a “social thing.” To avoid social eating, consciously make one plate of the foods you really want and walk away from the food table.
  7. Eat slowly. Take time to enjoy the taste of your meal. Pace yourself and try to be the last person to finish each course. Take small bites (I eat with a cocktail fork) and chew slowly. It usually takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stocmach that you are full. By eating slowly, you might be less likely to raid the dessert table.
  8. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes. There are tons of low fat and low calorie substitutes that taste amazing. Try using applesauce in place of oil in your favorite holiday breads; use egg substitutes in place of whole eggs; try plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream. Magazines, websites, and blogs are full of reduced calorie and reduced fat holiday recipes. Check out some of the recipes on Eggface's blog.  She has some fabulous receipes.
  9. Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. By contrast, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. Limit your intake to one or two alcoholic drinks per event/gathering. Also, be aware of the extra calories in soda, fruit punch, and my favorite holiday beverage...eggnog.
  10. Enjoy good friends and family. Even though food is a big part of the season, it does not have to be the focus. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks. Focus more on these other holiday pleasures, in addition to the delicious flavors of holiday foods.
The key to any healthy eating plan is to maintain perspective. Overeating one day will not break your scale or ruin your eating plan! If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you and return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.

As I said in my last post...Bring it on Santa!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Temptations Are Everywhere

Bring it on Santa! Halloween is over and from what I have seen already, the stores are decorated and ready for the Christmas season and this can mean only one thing...

…the holidays are among us and everywhere you look there is going to be temptation. Some people think that just because you have weight loss surgery that you are automatically cured of eating junk food. I have written about this in the past but I will say it again…weight loss surgery of any type is a tool…not a cure. I had surgery on my stomach, not on my head. I still have to see and smell all of the wonderful holiday treats and foods and have to make a conscious decision of what I put in my mouth.

I do not know about you, but the temptations for me started last week with all of the Halloween candy that is around the office. I swear every corner I turned there was a jar of chocolaty goodness looking me dead in the eyes. One day someone brought donuts, another there was cookies, and yesterday there were mini-cupcakes. For the most part, it is easy for me to say no. I usually came to this decision after standing in front of the treat just smelling it. Not going to lie, I did indulge a few times. Did it hurt the scale or me? No. Yesterday, I had a mini-cupcake, two fun size Hershey bars, and (gasp) a fun size pack of peanut M&M’s. I totally blew my daily carbohydrate intake out of the water. I normally do not take in more than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day. Yesterday, I took in approximately 70 grams. Still very low but it’s more than double my daily intake.

I made those choices on my own and I do not consider them a failure. In order to be successful, I have to live in the real world and the real world is full of junk food. It was Halloween. I got my candy fix and I am over it. I am not worried about Thanksgiving but I am nervous about Christmas. Starbucks already lured me in with their “The wait is over” sign for Eggnog Lattes. However, I did not succumb to their evil marketing scheme this time. I will allow myself to divulge in ONE this holiday season but I will wait until it is closer to Christmas so I can slow sip it next to the Christmas tree on a Sunday morning while reading the newspaper or flipping through the holiday advertisements (another evil marketing scheme).

This holiday season is going to be a true test to see just how much I have learned over these past eight months (and how strong I am emotionally). For me, it is easy to say no…but…it is still easy to say yes.

Let the holiday temptation games begin!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seeing is Believing

It is funny how our eyes can deceive us at times. Even though I have lost 104 pounds, I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and do not see the drastic changes that others have said they see.

For my 100-pound milestone, I put together a slide show and even then, I did not see the drastic change. I mean, of course I can see the difference, I just don't notice how much of a change it was. It was not until I put these two pictures side-by-side when I realized just how much I have changed (physically and emotionally) in the last 8 months. This may sound egotistical and bigheaded but...WOW!

8MonthComparison

I almost cried when I compared these two pictures because when you see yourself every day you still pick on the things you want to correct and forget just how far you have come. This was very motivating to me and made me hold my head a little higher today. I just wanted to share this moment with you all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old Habits Are Funny Things

The Hubs and I went to Disneyland this weekend (a.k.a. our home away from home) and I decided to buy a sweater. Not a big deal right? Well...it sort of became a big deal for me because I had NO stinkin' clue what size I was. This was because as my weight dropped, I had been repurposing my clothes by taking them in with my sewing machine so I would not go broke by constantly buying clothes that fit. Shoot, I even took in my undergarments to make them last longer. I know this is not a permanent solution but it has worked well for the past 7 months.

So there I was, standing in the middle of Star Traders in between Space Mountain and Star Tours and I was staring down the most adorable sweater jacket. It was a gray, cable-knit sweater jacket with three blue stacked Mickey heads on each side of the chest. I am usually not a sweater kind of girl but this one was calling my name.

Out of nothing but pure habit, I started looking for a 3x, which they didn't have (they didn't even have a 2x). Not even thinking an XL would fit; I decided to try it on to see if it would. I slipped my arms in, buttoned it up, looked in the mirror and discovered that it did not quite the fit the way it should...it was too big! I quickly took it off and double-checked the size just to make sure it was labeled correctly. Yep. It was an XL all right. OMG! "Could I fit into a Large?” I asked my friend who was with me. I grabbed one off the rack, slipped my arms in and buttoned it up. Answering my own question aloud, I said, "Why yes, yes I can" and I bought it right there on the spot.

The following day, the Hubs and I went to Target. He wanted a new game and I needed a new sports bra. I have been working out at the gym with some of my girlfriends for the past month or so (including going to Zumba for the past two weeks) and nothing holds the "girls" in place better than a good sports bra. If I can offer anyone some advice on this subject it is this...do not cheapen out on it. You will end up with a "uniboob" if you go for the cheap one. Spend the extra five bucks and get one that keeps them in place where they should be and not as one in the center of your chest.

After we picked up my sports bra and started heading toward the checkout, we passed by the rack of footed, one piece pajamas. You know, the ones you wore as a toddler that zipped from the waist up to the neck. They have them in adult sizes. I smiled and felt like a little girl all over again as I flipped through the different colors and styles. The Hubs must have thought they were pretty cute too because he told me to pick out a pair. Again, out of nothing but pure habit, I started searching for that 3x. It looked ginourmous so I put it back. Same thing for the 2x. They did not have an XL in the style I wanted so I picked up a Large and did not even bother to try it on. Even though it looked too small, I decided that if it did not fit now it would fit in December so I bought it.

We got home and unloaded our things. The Hubs took the dog outside so I snuck in the bathroom to try on my new pajamas. You know I was just dying to see if they fit!! Well...they did. I even got them zipped up without having to stretch them out first. I seriously felt like a little girl. I walked out of the bathroom with a smile from ear-to-ear and marched myself right out to the backyard to show the Hubs (who smiled just as big as I did). I did not care if it was 80 degrees outside; I was rockin' my new, red Sock Money footed pajamas.
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Old habits are a funny thing. We tend to gravitate toward the things that we are used too because it is what we know. Not gonna lie...I started feeling a little scared when I was shopping and buying clothes in a size that I haven't worn since middle school. It scared me because all of a sudden I realized that I am no longer bound to the big girl stores or the four racks of big girl clothes in the back corner of the store. It is a freedom that I haven't experienced before and it made me nervous because I don't want to fail.

George W. Carver once said, "Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."

I was used to making excuses for everything. I made excuses for not exercising. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, I was too tired, etc. I was used to giving in to evils of junk/fast food because it was quicker and I did not have time or was too tired to cook. I made excuses for my excuses and would justify them. All I was doing was lying to myself. No more though.

And as I sit here typing this, in my red Sock Monkey pajamas, I am actually looking forward to going to the gym...even if I have to go by myself because I am not going to use that as an excuse not to get my workout on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yep, I am a LOSER!

Do the happy dance with me!



In other news...

I take pictures for my son's high school football team and last Friday night I was knocked down by two football players on a running play. I was so focused on getting my shot that I didn't realize these boys were running directly at me like a freight train. I took the hit well and even made Hit of the Week on the local news. My favorite part of the commentary is when he refers to me as a "young lady".

video

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Survived Walt Disney World...

...on a diet (and lost two pounds to boot).

The Hubs and I went to Walt Disney World in Orlando for six nights/seven days. This trip was my Christmas gift to him last year and was booked two months before I knew I was going to have surgery. I did not think about food options until it was time to make our dining reservations just a month after surgery (Disney lets you make reservations as early as 180 days ahead so you can ensure you eat where you want). When I booked the trip, they were offering the FREE dining plan, which allowed us a quick-service meal, table service meal and snack per person for every night of our stay. Each meal included an entrée, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert (I added up all of the receipts and we saved $615 with this free plan).

Now, I am not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that I was not looking forward to eating all that delicious food when I booked the trip. Disney has some amazing dining options and I was looking forward to devouring every meal (especially the desserts). After my surgery, knowing I would not be able to consume much, I was looking forward to "just a taste". I knew the Hubs would be eating well on this trip because he would have the opportunity to finish what was left on my plate.

Since we could not make reservations until after my surgery, I carefully reviewed every menu Disney has posted on their website. They do not provide the nutritional values of their meals so I had to plan carefully. Of course, all my planning went to crap when I was face-to-face with the actual menu. Despite the arguments I had with my nose (the brain and the nose are best friends in an evil sort of way), I made good choices in my entree selections. Dessert was another battle - I decided that since we were on vacation, I would allow myself to divulge in a few bites (and I did just that...a few bites). It all goes back to the balance topic I wrote about a few months ago. We, as weight-loss surgery patients, have to learn how to live in the real world of dining out without losing control. 

Knowing the weather was going to be hot and humid, I was prepared with my water bottle. To save money on buying water, I brought along a supply of Crystal Light On-the-Go Packets and used the water fountains to refill my own bottle. Surprisingly, the water fountain water at Walt Disney World is nearly ice cold and tastes good (I won't comment on the horrible water at Disneyland). A little tip for all you water drinkers...every restaurant at Disney World must provide you a cup of ice water at no charge.

I got in TONS of exercise...as expexted because we walked...and walked...and walked some more. This actually gave me an idea for a Disney Wellness Program for guests. My idea is - for a low nominal fee, guests can purchase an add-on wellness package that includes a pedometer for tracking how many steps/miles you walked each day, a water bottle to keep you hydrated, a guide to healthy eating options at each restaurant, and a map with a walking route for each park that could guarantee you a set walking distance. I just might have to pitch this to Disney...

We got home early in the morning on Thursday and I was eager to step on the scale to see if I had done any damage from my divulging (I nicknamed this trip my "carb fest" vacation). I was elated to see that I had lost two pounds! Even though I felt guilty for those bites of dessert and the extra carbs I consumed, I realized that I can manage my diet and can live in the real world without losing control. It is all about portion control and choices. How come this stuff never clicked before I had surgery?

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To be as honest as I possibly can about what I ate while on my "carb fest" vacation, here is the list of everything I ate (menus are linked if available):

  • THURSDAY 
    • Boatwrights Dining Hall (Download Boatwrights Dining Hall menu)
      • Grilled Pork Chop (ate almost 1/2 the chop, one onion ring, and two bites of the cheesy grits)
      • No Sugar Added Lemon Pound Cake (ate a few bites)
  • FRIDAY
    • Pecos Bill and Tall Tale (Download Pecos Bill menu)
      • Chilled Chicken Wrap (ate 1/4 of the inside and not the wrap)
      • Chocolate Cake (ate a few bites)
    • Nine Dragons (Download Nine Dragons menu)
      • Honey-Sesame Chicken (ate about 1/3)
      • Ginger Cake (took back to the room and snacked on it for a few days)
  • SATURDAY (my birthday)
    • ABC Commissary (Download ABC Commissary menu)
      • Angus Cheeseburger (ate almost the whole patty-no bun)
      • French Fries (had maybe five fries)
      • Chocolate Mousse (too sweet so only had a few spoonfuls)
    • Sassagoula Food Court
      • Beignets (I had 1, the Hubs had 2)
    • Spirit of Aloha Luau Dinner Show
      • Roast Chicken (took the skin off and ate the meat from a leg/thigh)
      • BBQ Pork Ribs (ate the meat from two small ribs)
      • Chocolate Volcano Mousse (not fond of raspberry sauce so I only had a few bites)
      • Glass of Wine (only drank half of it)
  • SUNDAY
    • We spent Sunday with our good friends at their house and had a BBQ. For breakfast, I had a protein shake and for dinner I had a chicken wing, burger patty, and a few bites of baked beans. Later that evening I had some grapes.
  • MONDAY
    • Sunshine Seasons (Download Sunshine Seasons Food Fair menu) 
      • Sweet n Sour Chicken (ate 1/3)
      • Milk (made a protein shake)
      • Apple Caramel Crunch Cake (took a few bites)
    • 50's Prime Time Cafe (Download 50s Prime Time Cafe menu) 
      • A Sampling of Mom's Favorite Recipes (ate the pot roast, three bites of meatloaf, two bites of the fried chicken, a bite of collard greens, and three green beans)
      • PBJ Shake (the Hubs drank it though)
      • Apple Cobbler (I snacked on this for three days)
  • TUESDAY
    • Riverside Mill Food Court
      • Bacon Cheeseburger (ate half the patty and no bun)
      • Apple Blossom Pie (took a few bites)
      • Milk (made a protein shake)
    • Goofy's Candy Co.
      • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie (I ate the whole thing)
  • WEDNESDAY
    • Liberty Tree Tavern (Download Liberty Tree Tavern menu)
      • New England Pot Roast (ate 1/4 of the pot roast and a few bites of mashed potatoes)
      • Chocolate Milk (took a few sips)
      • Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake (ate a few bites of the cake and a bite of ice cream)
    • Riverside Mill Food Court
      • Beef and Blue Sandwich (only ate the beef and no bread)
      • Grapes (ate these in the car ride home after our five hour flight)
      • Peanut Butter Cookie (ate the whole thing on the five hour flight home)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Walk this way...

I attended a conference in Las Vegas last week and stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort (which by the way is flippin' huge). The conference center is nowhere near the hotel rooms so I covered many miles in the four days I was there.

I attended this same conference at the same resort last year and I have to say that walking this year was not the chore it was last year when I was nearly 90 pounds heavier.

What I found funny was my stride. It is longer. That may sound strange but it is true. I used to blame my slowness on my short legs. Turns out it was just the friction between my thighs that was slowing me down and making me take shorter steps.

This year my thighs are much smaller and the friction is no longer there. My stride is longer in length and I walk faster. I made this little realization after I had to apologize to like the 10th person for walking on their heels.

In a way, I feel like I have to learn how to walk all over again. I guess this is not a bad problem to have...

I just hope I can learn to control my "new legs" when we go to Disney World later this week for vacation. I would hate to step on the heels of Mickey Mouse and make him fall over.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Non-Scale Victories ROCK

"Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality." - Ralph Marston

I have had many non-scale victories (NSV's) over the past six months including a few of my favorites (losing my pants and seat belt extender) but yesterday I had another one that will go on my Top 10 NSV list...

I was driving home from the gym last night (more on this is a minute) and I was struggling to reach the gas and brake pedals. For the first time in probably 10 years, I had to move my seat forward [insert full-on toothy smile here]. I had anticipated losing the seat belt at one point in time. I did not anticipate this at all so I actually think this little NSV was *this* much more exciting than losing the extender.

Now...back to the gym....

I had not stepped foot in an actual fitness center since 2002. I met my friend out front and I think I held my breath when we walked through the doors. I was actually anxious to try the elliptical machine so we hopped on those first...and after about 10 really long minutes we hopped off. Umm,..yeah....kicked my butt.

We got on the bikes next and rode those for about 40 minutes. I rode at a pretty fast pace for all 40 minutes and kept my heart rate up in the cardio zone. When I was done, I prayed that when I got off the bike I would not pull a Bridget Jones and fall because my legs and butt were numb. I didn't. Whew!

So, in total I only got in about 50 minutes of cardio but hey...it was only my first day and I cannot wait until my next visit (yes, I actually just said that). I that statement alone might be an NSV...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Out of my comfort zone...

...and lovin' every minute of it!

If you are a long time reader you will remember several months ago I blogged about goals. A few of my goals were to be more social with my neighbors and to wear a tank top in public. Well, I am proud to say that I have accomplished both of these goals.

Goal #1 - Since June, I have been much more social with the neighbors and have made some good friendships with them.

Goal #2 - My husband's birthday was last week and after we had a nice birthday dinner, he went outside to hang out with the neighbors. About 15 minutes after the Hubs was out, he came in and said the neighbors wanted me to come outside too. I was still wearing my work clothes (capris and a sleeveless collared shirt that I wore under a denim jacket) and I said I would come out after I changed my shirt (I was not about to bare my naked batwings in front of other people).

He looked at me as if I was crazy and said that after all the weight I have already lost I should feel good about wearing my sleeveless shirt outside and didn't need to change it. I was hesitant but he encouraged me to go outside with what I had on and I did. It was the first step out of my comfort zone and it felt great.

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New Recipe Alert:

Raspberry Delight
1/4 cup Simply Kraft Reduced Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 tsp. Sugar-Free Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
Handful Fresh Raspberries

  1. Mix Ricotta Cheese and syrup until well blended
  2. Top with fresh raspberries
YUM-O! You can eat this for breakfast or even dessert.

Calories: 102, Protein: 7.5g, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 9g

p.s. - I only have 15 13.5* more pounds to go before I reach 100 pounds lost!

NOTE: I lost 1.5 pounds since I originally posted this last night.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Playing with My Food

For the past five months, I have been making two separate meals for dinner - one for the family and one for me. While this does not really bother me, I felt it was time to start cooking just one meal that all of us can eat.

For the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with various recipes that not only meet my dietary guidelines but that can also be served to the Hubs without complaint. Most people think that eating healthy means bland or tasteless food but that is really just a myth. To prove that, I am sharing a couple of my favorite recipes along with their nutritional value and am happy to report that I haven't received any complaints.

Happy eating...

p.s. - I am down 81 pounds today!


Shrimp Scampi
Butter flavored cooking spray
3 cloves garlic (or minced equivalent)
1 pound raw jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup clam juice
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

  1. Spray skillet with butter flavored cooking spray. Heat pan over medium-high heat (do not let the spray start to smoke).
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned.
  3. Add shrimp and cook until pink (turning over once).
  4. Add white wine and clam juice. Bring to a boil for 30 seconds.
  5. Add parsley and lemon juice. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4 servings (or in my case, 1 serving for me and 3 servings for the Hubs)

Calories: 162, Protein: 24g, Fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 6g

  

Pulled BBQ Chicken Breast
4 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)

  1. Place chicken breasts in pressure cooker and top with barbecue sauce.
  2. Secure lid on pressure cooker and set timer for 20 minutes (40 minutes if frozen).
  3. Release pressure, remove lid, and shred chicken with two forks.
Makes 5 servings (if serving to a family you can serve on a bun and top with additional barbeque sauce. I eat just the chicken and no bun or additional sauce).

Calories: 145, Protein: 20g, Fat: 2.5g, Carbohydrates: 9g


Maple Bacon Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
2 slices maple bacon, cut in half

  1. Place pork tenderloin in baking dish and top with four half slices of maple bacon.
  2. Cover baking dish with tin foil and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard bacon and slice.
Makes 5 servings

Calories: 205, Protein: 30g, Fat: 8g, Carbohydrates: 0g


Breakfast Scramble (who says you can't have breakfast for dinner?)
1/2 cup Southwestern Egg Beaters
2 Tablespoons Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles
Pinch fat-free shredded cheese

  1. Pour Egg Beaters into a microwave safe bowl and stir in turkey sausage crumbles.
  2. Cook on high for 40 seconds. Stir.
  3. Cook for an additional 40 seconds.
  4. Top with cheese.
Makes 1 serving (can also serve in a low-carb, high-fiber tortilla)

Calories: 102, Protein: 17.25g, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 3.5g

Saturday, August 6, 2011

All bad relationships...

…must come to an end!

I travel several times a year for work, which requires quite a few flights. When you are a person of size flying can be embarrassing because typically the smaller the plane the smaller the seatbelt. I have been on many types and sizes of planes over the years and I will never forget the first flight I took when my seatbelt did not fit. I was too embarrassed to say anything to the flight attendant so I faked as if I was wearing it (which was not hard from a window seat). I thought for sure they had a red light blinking somewhere indicating I did not have mine on (like the one in cars when the driver does not have their seatbelt on). I prayed the entire flight that there was not a moment when I actually needed it to keep me safe. I was relieved when we landed.

It was on my return flight from that same trip when I experienced my first true public humiliation from being overweight. I was in an aisle seat this time and once again, my seatbelt did not quite fit. I figured I would just fake it again (I also made a pledge to myself that as soon as I got home I would go on a diet so I wouldn’t be faced with this scenario again).  It was not until after we pulled out and were heading to the runway when a flight attendant came running up the aisle yelling, “Why don’t you have your seatbelt on”. For a moment I thought, “Crap, they DO have an indicator light”. I quickly realized that half of the seatbelt was dangling to the side of my seat in the aisle. I gave him a blank stare because I did not know what to say and this very rude flight attendant (who was a man) kept yelling at me to put it on. I had to tell him, in front of everyone who was now listening, that it did not fit. He rolled his eyes and said he would get me a seatbelt extender. Even though it has been several years since that incident, I can still feel the shame and disgrace from not just him yelling at me but for having to admit something so embarrassing aloud and then having to travel with these people for two hours on a plane where I could not hide.

The next flight I took, I quietly asked the flight attendant if she could discreetly bring me a seatbelt extender (which she did) and when we landed, I decided to “borrow” it and I never gave it back. I would always make sure I had it in my purse or backpack near the top so I did not have to dig for it and before I boarded the plane, I would put it in my pocket. I was not about to go through the humiliation again and no one ever knew.

Since I had surgery, I have had to take several flights. I celebrated my first “no seatbelt extender” flight when I flew first class on a large plane. Yes, flying first class does have its benefits other than champagne and a nice meal. I knew that I would still have to use it on the smaller planes because for whatever reason the airlines seem to think that if the plane is smaller than the passenger must be smaller too. I have to fly on a plane that holds less than 30 people quite a bit so that darn extender and I had quite a bad relationship going.

This past week, I had to take another business trip. I have lost 30 pounds since my last trip so I was hopeful I would not need the extender. I knew it would not be until the last segment of my trip on the way home when I would be put to the test on that dreaded 30-seat commuter plane so I had to bring the darn thing with me. I got on the "plane", made my way to my seat, put my stuff under the seat in front of me, already had the extender near the top of my bag so I could quickly pick it up without anyone seeing in case I needed to use it, and then proceeded to attempt to buckle the actual seatbelt. I held my breath, closed my eyes and then I heard...CLICK. I thought it was lying to me so I opened my eyes to try it again and...CLICK. What a GREAT sound.

Needless to say, I bid farewell to my seatbelt extender. I pushed it to the bottom of my bag and smiled all the way home. Now, I just need to decide on whether or not I give it back or keep it as a reminder of how far I have come and where I will never allow myself to be again.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Put the paper down and walk away...

...and no one will get hurt!

I had to go grocery shopping today and went to the Super Wal-Mart. Instead of walking in through the grocery entrance, I went in through the "Home" entrance. When I walked through the doors, I found myself right smack in the middle of the "School Supply Zone". I had always considered myself a school supply junkie and even though I graduated high school 20 years ago (happy 20th to my fellow Tomahawks), I thought I was going to walk out with a basket full of stuff to add to my "collection".

Growing up, nothing was more exciting to me than buying new school supplies and putting my binder (or Trapper Keeper) together. Paper, pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, dividers, notebooks, pee-chees (the original orange/yellow ones), and anything else that was needed (or not), I was excited to buy it. Buying school supplies was the easiest thing for me because, unlike school clothes, I did not have to try them on. I knew I could go back-to-school shopping with my friends and always walk out with something because school supplies always "fit".

I remember there was a store called "Saturdays" at the mall near the town I grew up in and it was "THE" place to shop...if you were smaller than a popsicle stick. The only thing I could ever purchase in that store was earrings. I had to buy my clothes in the "woman’s" department at Sears, JCPenney, The Bon Marché (you know that "section"...the one in the BACK of the store in the corner by the stockroom where plus size girls are limited to like four racks of clothes), or at the big girl’s stores such as Lane Bryant and Avenue (where everything is twice as expensive).

As I got older (up until I had my surgery), I found other things to purchase when friends wanted to go shopping. Shoes, purses, candles, perfume, skin care products, socks... anything that did not require a trip to the woman’s section of the store. It was no secret that I was a big girl but I was too embarrassed to shop with anyone for clothes in my size.

So there I was...standing in the middle of the rows and rows of school supplies contemplating on what I "needed" to buy. Then it hit me...I do not need to buy a darn thing. I heard a little voice in my head "put the paper down, walk away and no one will get hurt". After debating on whether I was becoming schizophrenic, I listened to that voice and did exactly what it told me. I realized that I no longer have to hide behind "school supply" purchases. This was a "weight off my shoulder moment" and I could not help but smile as I turned my back on a former obsession and walked away.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Put your big girl panties on...

...and deal with it!

These past few months I have been "feelin' myself" and gaining more confidence. I walk with my head a little higher and do not try to blend into the background as much. Long time friends know that I am not afraid to express myself when I feel the need but some people in my life seem to think that my weight loss has brought out a little bit of cockiness.

I try not to boast too much to my friends about how my clothes are falling off and how I do not want to spend loads of money on new clothes now because I am going to need new clothes again in a few months. I also try not to rub it in to those who are struggling with their weight as well.

I started this blog so my friends and family can follow my journey and this includes how I deal with various components of it. I like to share the things I discover (physically and mentally) and I am proud of myself for finally doing something for ME. If my stories can help motivate someone else to do the same then that makes me happy.

I apologize for...no, wait...I am not apologizing for anything. Do not mistake my confidence for arrogance. I cannot allow myself to hide my self-confidence because people are not familiar with this behavior. I am not exactly familiar with it either so be patient with me as I figure it out. Put your big girl/boy panties on and deal with it.

Crap...did that sound cocky?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If you don't like something, change it...

...If you can't change it, change your attitude. - Maya Angelou

I read that quote the other day and afterward I sat back and was almost dumbfounded at how true it is. How often do we find ourselves complaining (a.k.a. bitching, venting, whining) about something in our lives that we do not like? Whether it pertains to work, family, friends, or even something personal, do we ever sit back and make the decision (and/or commitment) to make a change or...[gasp]...change our own attitude about it? Of course, the latter is the hardest so we end up trying to change what we do not like (only to end up frustrated because we cannot) rather than changing our attitude toward it.

I did not like my weight so I decided to make a change. I opted for weight loss surgery because for whatever reason, I could not change my attitude toward food.

Maya's way of thinking can be applied to any situation. Some situations are simple - If you do not like your hair, change it. Some situations are a bit more delicate - If you are having a problem with a co-worker you can change your attitude toward the situation by mentally picturing yourself slapping the crap out of them and NOT getting into trouble.

The Serenity Prayer says it all: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Embrace the fact that God blessed us with free will. If you are not happy with something, you can either learn to accept it and move on or reject it and make a change.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"How does one become a butterfly?"

"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." - Anonymous

In other words, you must be willing to go through the necessary phases in your life to bring you out of the cocoon, so that you may spread your wings and soar instead of being on the ground looking at life from the lowest point of view.

Maya Angelou once said "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." The process of becoming a butterfly is tough. The caterpillar’s job is to eat and only those caterpillars that are willing to stop and separate themselves from their self-destructive lives are transformed.

Life after weight loss surgery is much the same. In the beginning, you are healing from the process (physically and mentally), you separate your current self from your old self, you start reassessing your life and you start making changes and setting new goals. You become a reinforcement to yourself and while everyone needs support from others, you find that you don't need to look to others for strength.

You start to feed off what has been living deep in your heart and you rid yourself of things that are no longer meaningful. Rather than making excuses for your eating habits, you take control of them. You set new rules for yourself and you follow them. You regain self-confidence and begin to like what you see when you look in the mirror. You find your smile and can hear your own laughter. You are learning how to fly (I call it "Flyer's Ed").

I am nearly five months into my own metamorphosis and while I am not quite ready to bust out of my cocoon and take flight, I am changing dramatically on the inside. This transformation is nothing short of a miracle and I thank God for blessing me with this experience.
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This past week has been a good one for me. I am nearing the 75-pound mark (lost nearly five pounds this week) and my parents sent me some money as a surprise to "help fund my new wardrobe". I went shopping yesterday and discovered I am down another size. I bought two outfits that should last through the fall/early winter.

I am also going to have to clean my closet out again soon. I have a few outfits that I thought I could wear a little longer but after I caught a glimpse of myself on video wearing them I decided I needed to take them on my next road trip...so I can leave them behind in the hotel trash can...(if you are a new reader to my blog, read my post "Na, Na, Na, Na" and you will understand the humor in that).

Shoot, after talking about butterflies, all I can hear in my head now is R Kelly singing...I believe I can fly...I believe I can touch the sky...I think about it every night and day...Spread my wings and fly away...I believe I can soar...[music fades out]...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Your Scale Isn't Telling You

I learned this quite early in my journey because it happened to me. My scale said I only lost 7 pounds in three weeks but the truth was I had lost 16 pounds of body fat and gained 9 pounds of muscle.

Click the picture below to read the original article! You will be enlightened and maybe you will not hate your scale so much...

Monday, July 11, 2011

So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen...

Goodbye - 70 pounds are gone forever!

I hit the 70 pound mark this morning and am inching closer to my first major milestone of 100 pounds. As each pound drops I feel like I am gaining a mile of self-confidence. I am no longer hiding behind people or furniture when meeting new people or chatting via video messaging and do not run when someone pulls out a camera.

I am refusing to purchase a new wardrobe until I am close to reaching my goal. I am trying out my domestic skills and am utilizing my sewing machine to take in certain clothes (work pants, etc.). Despite my middle school home economics sewing skills, I discovered the key to keeping my clothes staying up is a belt. I have never needed a belt before so this was something new to me. I thought I would have to get a pair of those rainbow-striped suspenders that old men wear but a belt works much better!
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What I Am Eating These Days

Breakfast

  • 1/2 cup Southwest Egg Beaters
  • Sprinkle of Kraft Fat-Free Shredded Cheese
Mid-Morning Snack

  • Mini-Babybel Light Cheese Round OR
  • Peanut Butter Protein Ball (mix 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, 1/2 scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Protein Powder, 1/2 teaspoon honey and roll into a ball of yummy goodness)
Lunch

  • 1/2 chicken breast (4 ounces), shredded or cubed
  • Sprinkle of Kraft Mozzarella Shredded Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Daisy Light Sour Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Pace Salsa
Mid-Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Dinner can vary for me. It depends on what I am cooking for the family or if I am even interested in food. I usually have one of the following:
  • 3-ounces Solid White Albacore Tuna
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayo
OR

  • 4-ounces ground Jenny-O turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup Classico Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti Sauce
OR

  • 4-ounces chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
I average about 750-800 calories a day with less than 30 grams of carbohydrates and I drink at least four-24 ounce bottles of water a day (for a minimum total of 96 ounces). I use Crystal Light to flavor it or else I would not get it in every day. My favorite flavors are Fruit Punch, Lemonade, and Grape.

I do have days when I have a few tortilla chips and pico de gallo or extra slices of cheese. I do not deprive myself if I get a hankering for something. I adjust my diet if I divulge in something extra so I do not end up adding calories in the day. I keep track of everything I eat (yes, even the stuff I sneak in) on http://www.fatsecret.com/ and http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ (both are FREE and are available as an App on your phone too). This helps validate my daily intake of calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc. and holds me accountable for my choices.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do You Suffer from POPC?

I didn't before but I do now.


After questioning a fitness trainer about how much water one should consume on a daily basis, he replied with "you know you are drinking enough when you suffer from POPC". I threw him a "whatchu talkin' 'bout Willis" look and he said, "If you pee often and pee clear, you know you are well hydrated". Good to know...but that does not answer my question.


I think we all grew up with an understanding that you should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (8, 8oz. glasses). Those words "at least" are not very telling are they? I am not a big fan of plain water and until I had my surgery, I did not drink a whole lot of it.


According to Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong.com, drinking water helps increase your metabolism. When you drink much more water, you increase your blood flow. When your blood flow increases, the quantity of oxygen delivered to your muscles, cells and organs increases. The more oxygen delivered to your muscles, cells and organs, the far more energy your entire body has to metabolize consumed vitamins.


So, how much water should you drink each day? It is a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water intake depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and the climate you live in.


Although no one formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. Check out this calculator to help you determine how much you should be consuming. You may be shocked with the answer.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just 'cause you got the monkey...

...off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town. George Carlin

I read this quote on another blogger's site and thought to myself "this is so true". When you own up to and admit aloud "Houston, we have a problem", you have to deal with everything that comes along with that confession.

For anyone considering weight loss surgery, you have to understand the big picture. I am only four months into my own journey and I have learned a great deal but I have a long way to go before I feel I have mastered the art of healthy living (if there is such a thing). I talk a lot about "I choose to do this" and "I chose to do that" but I am not going to sit here and pretend that it is "that" easy. Some days are easier but some days I have to wrestle with old habits to keep them pinned to the ground and I imagine this will be a match that will last my entire life. Addiction is addiction and nothing will ever change that. All I can do is choose to continue making the best choices I can for my future based on the reality of what my past decisions have done to me.

Which brings me to my point today - Mr. Whoever who brought in the fresh baked donuts this morning...I say this to you (as I stick my tongue out) "pfffffffffffft".

I may have gotten the monkey off my back (addiction) but the circus (temptation) is still in town. So, if I have to blow razzberries in order to walk past temptation I will. I just hope that I do not do this in public too often. An unknowing person watching a woman going around sticking her tongue out and blowing razzberries at food might leave the impression that I was recently released from a mental hospital.

Onward and upward...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Frapp or Not to Frapp?

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been learning balance over the past month or so. I have been doing a great deal of research on new recipes that I can incorporate into my diet. I prefer high protein, low carb, and low fat recipes so occasionally I have to modify the ingredients. A little sacrifice in calories and fat does not mean we have to sacrifice flavor or texture. Not gonna lie - there are times when my experiments don't work so well.

I chose to give up nearly all of my old eating habits and with the exception of the required Tim Horton's while traveling in Canada and the few Starbucks drinks I have had in the past two months, I been avoiding coffee since February. Prior to surgery, I had to have my coffee made in a particular way and I had to have it with Heavy Cream and sugar. Knowing these habits would not make for a successful diet, I chose to give it all up. Considering I grew up in the Seattle area, where there is a Starbucks on every corner, this was very hard.

Lately, since I have been playing with balance, I realized it was time to try and incorporate a little coffee back into my life. I came across a recipe (that I have modified a bit) that mocks a Starbucks Frappuccino but is high in protein, and low in carbs and fat.

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 scoop GNC Gold Standard Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Starbucks Sugar-Free Caramel Syrup
  • 1 packet Starbucks Via Ready Brew (I used Columbia blend)
Put all ingredients into blender and blend for 1 minute until thick and frothy. Based on the ingredients listed above, this makes 1 serving and contains:

  • 195 calories
  • 29 grams protein
  • 10 grams net carbs (regular carbs minus fiber equals net carbs)
  • 3.5 grams fat
  • 8 grams sugar
I was not hungry for breakfast this morning so I made this instead. I was able to get in my protein requirements while keeping the calories, fat, and carbs low. If I went to Starbucks to have a Caramel Frappuccino there, I would have consumed 290 calories, only 3 grams protein, 45 carbs, 11 grams fat, and 44 grams sugar (and that is for a Tall - most people get a Grande or a Venti). I choose to take in less than 30 grams of carbs per day because carbs are NOT my friend. They are evil and only make me want more carbs so I keep them low.

In the words of Julia Child - Bon Appétit!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Whole New World

I spent most of Father's Day weekend at Disneyland with the Hubs and I have to say that since I have had surgery, Disneyland is a whole new world to me.

Before surgery, going to the "Happiest Place on Earth" for me was all about the food. Sure, catching a ride on Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean was always a priority for me but after that, it was all about what kind of delicious goodness I could find.

For me, this past weekend was all about the rides and attractions. I went on the swings for the first time (would have tossed my cookies if we swung around one more time) and was able to experience rides without discomfort. I even enjoyed all the walking we did. Before surgery, I would have been slow poking behind and complaining about my knees but for the first time, I enjoyed walking from one side of the park to the other.

With the exception of water, I wasn't focused on food. I didn't cave into the temptations of Disney's luring scents of buttery popcorn, that heavenly fragrance of fresh churros, the call of the ice cream parlor, or the smell of the corn dog stand that I love so much and I my legs didn't buckle when I walked past the funnel cakes in Frontierland. However, I did indulge in a gingerbread cookie on the way out of the park BUT that was after we had spent the entire day walking and it was a little reward for our two-hour drive home.

It was almost as if I experienced Disneyland for the first time all over again. These little “discoveries” are what remind me of how far I have come in my journey and what I have to look forward to in the future.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Witness Relocation Program

Somewhere between 2004 and 2006, my hipbones went into hiding. I searched high and low (even put out an A.P.B.) but they were nowhere to be found. They just disappeared. I figured, since they had been witness to so many unhealthy eating crimes during that time, they must have joined the witness relocation program and I would never see them again.

Well...last night, as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I discovered that my hipbones came out of hiding and whispered hello. I no longer have to pretend where my hips are because I can feel their shape when I place my hands upon them.

I am still waiting for my butt to make its grand reappearance but I think my thighs are still holding it hostage. It will not be long until they are forced to set it free so for the time being I will enjoy building a new relationship with the rest of my body.

On a side note - I saw my surgeon today for my three-month follow-up appointment and he said that he could not ask for a better patient. I have lost 26 pounds of body fat since my last appointment and I continue to gain muscle. While I still suffer from anemia (and probably always will), the rest of my labs look great. The doctor said to keep doing what I am doing because it is working beautifully. I am on track to reach my first goal at the end of September and I cannot wait to celebrate.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Answers to Your Questions

I received many questions via email and I am pleased to provide you with my responses. After reading them and you still have more questions, please send me an email and I will elaborate further.

How do you physically feel since you have had surgery?
I feel AWESOME. I have more energy, my knee does not hurt, my feet do not hurt (unless I wear the wrong shoes), and my scars from surgery healed very well.

How much weight do you want to lose all together?
I would like to lose at least 130 pounds. I am nearly half way there. When I hit that goal, I will review my overall health and see if I need to adjust that number. For now, I want to be realistic.

How is this surgery different from Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass and having gone through this particular one would you select it again if you had to do it all over?
The Lap-Band is a plastic and adjustable silicone ring that is placed around the upper portion of the stomach creating a small pouch just above the ring. Its purpose is to restrict the amount of food you can take in at one time. The ring is connected to a tube with a port on the end that is attached to the muscle wall of the abdomen. The port allows the doctor access to fill the silicone ring to tighten (or loosen) the band. Side effects of the band can include:

  • Band slippage
  • Band erosion
  • Food getting stuck either in the new pouch or where the band sits
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Feeling of tightness in chest
  • The stomach can actually grow over top of the band and cause it to embed itself into the stomach itself.
Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y) is when the stomach is stapled across the top, sealing it off from the rest of the stomach. The resulting pouch is about the size of a walnut and can hold about an ounce of food. The pouch is physically separated from the rest of the stomach. Then, the surgeon cuts the small intestine and sews part of it directly onto the pouch. This redirects food, bypassing most of the stomach and the first section of the small intestine. Food enters directly into the second section of the small intestine limiting the ability to absorb calories. Even though food never enters the lower part of the stomach, the stomach stays healthy and continues to release digestive juices to mix with food in the small intestine. Side effects of gastric bypass can include:

  • Gallstones or gall bladder infections
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia caused by iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies
  • Early osteoporosis cause by calcium deficiency
  • Dumping syndrome
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food (and therefore calories) that can be eaten by removing 85% or more of the stomach without bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption. It is a purely restrictive operation. The stomach is restricted by stapling, dividing it vertically, and removing more than 85% of it. This part of the procedure is not reversible. Side effects of this procedure can include:

  • Leakage from staple lining
  • Vitamin deficiency if you don't eat a balanced diet (taking a multi-vitamin every day can prevent this)
  • Acid reflux
Would I make the same choice if I had to do this all over again? Absolutely. Of the three choices, I think I made the best choice and I have not had any of the side effects listed.

How does your family feel about you doing this?
No one has come out and said they were against it and so far they have supported my decision. They know how long I have struggled with my weight and how long I have wanted to have the surgery. Unfortunately, my side of the family lives in another state so they have not been able to see my progress in person.

I know people who have had gastric bypass can have "dumping syndrome" and people with Lap-Band can have constant heartburn. Are you having any side effects?
Per my response above, I have not suffered any side effects from this surgery. Quite a few "sleevers" have acid reflux but I have not.

What do you say to people who don't know you've had weight loss surgery and they have commented on how much smaller you look? Do you tell them you have had surgery?
I have been pretty open and honest about my surgery with most people. If they ask me how I have lost the weight, I tell them. I know there are people out there who have had weight loss surgery and are (or were) embarrassed to admit it because they feel like people will think less of them or that they took the lazy route. I have read many blogs from people who have felt this way and I feel sad for them. I have chosen to be very open about it.

How much did the surgery cost? Does insurance cover it?
My type of procedure costs nearly $14,000. Most insurance policies cover this procedure but it can take quite a long time to get it approved. I have met people who got it approved right away and some who had to go through several months of supervised weight loss attempts, psychological evaluations, and numerous tests before they got it approved. Some will get denied and will have to self-pay if they want it done. Each company/policy is different.

Do you have any restrictions on what you can do or eat?
So far, I have not had any restrictions. My nutritionist recommended I stay away from red meat for one year because it can take a while to digest. I do not eat much red meat anyway so this has not been a problem for me. I chew my food really well so it does not just sit in my stomach and I choose to eat meats that are softer (fish, chicken, or ground turkey). I can eat what I want but I choose to eat healthy. Each day, I take in 80-100 grams of protein, try to take in less than 30 grams of carbohydrates, less than 20 grams of fat, and I eat between 700-800 calories per day.

I read an article somewhere that said if you increase your water intake by 16 ounces above the recommended 64 (total of 80), you can increase your metabolism by 30%. Since I read that, I drink between 80-96 ounces a day (which makes for many trips to the restroom).
 
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