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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 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. is out there...for the entire world to read. In the words of Yoda, "Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And 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!
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