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Monday, March 19, 2012

Food...Yuck!

I know I have talked about this before but one of the beauties of the VSG, is I don't get hunger pangs (having the part of your stomach where the hormone Ghrelin is produced removes the signal to your brain that you are hungry). Since I do not get this signal, I have to eat on a set schedule. For the past year, this has not been a problem for me because, despite my tiny tummy, food still tasted and smelled good. Until now...

Here I am - one year out and for whatever reason, over the past week, food has been extremely unappealing to me. I do not want to look at it. I do not want to taste it. I do not even want to smell it. I felt this way one other time in my life, which was during the first trimester when I was pregnant with son. Now, unless my body grew another uterus since I had it removed 10 years ago, this is not the reason.

I am sure most people would be excited to have this feeling but I am not exactly thrilled. Why? For one, I need to fuel my body properly or else it will burn the muscle I have been working on building instead of my fat. I brought ricotta cheese with sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce Syrup for breakfast this morning and I struggled with getting it all down. I did not even want to touch my all-time favorite lunch (my Mexican fiesta of hot shredded chicken with melted cheese and topped with light sour cream and fresh salsa). Instead, I forced down a Chocolate Brownie Quest Protein Bar (I knew the protein and fiber would be good for me).

This is such an odd feeling because for nearly my entire life, I used to turn to food for reasons other than hunger. I was bored. I was depressed. I wanted to reward myself. It did not matter. It was for all the wrong reasons. In all honesty, back then food was my frenemy (one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy). I now know that food is not the source of all evil when eaten properly. My problem now is I just do not want it.

This is all just somewhat funny to me and, I mean funny in a HA HA, LOL, ROFLMAO kind of way. I mean...how funny is it that I am actually worried about food sounding yucky? How many times have you had to "worry" about this? I do not want to go back to drinking protein shakes or other supplements to stay healthy so I hope this passes.

Stay tuned for the outcome...[she said in her 'to be continued' voice].

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Little Buddy...All Grown Up!

At exactly 4:31 a.m. on March 16, 1994, my son was born and even though it was 18 years ago, it seems like yesterday. The Italian in him was very dominate in his features with his long, jet-black hair (that the nurses had to comb over to the side because it was so long), his dark complexion and he had the most beautiful blue eyes.

I had to have a c-section and my mom was with me during surgery. All I could see during the operation was her face as she stood by my side. I watched her facial expressions as they opened me up. It entertained me. She was the first to see him when they pulled him out. She had wanted me to have a girl so badly and when she frowned (for just a quick second) after he was pulled out, I knew I had a boy.

I had been contemplating names and couldn't decide between two. After they cleaned him up and let me get a good look at him, the doctor asked me what his name was. I immediately said, "Taylor".

I was a single parent until he was nearly 15, which is when I married my husband but for the first 11 years of Taylors life it was just me and him. I took him to tons of baseball and hockey games (despite the arm rests of the chairs cutting into my thighs). We went to the movies at least twice a month. We visited my parents and would spend weekends with my grandma in Eastern Washington. We popped popcorn and curled up on the couch to watch his favorite Disney cartoon movies. We went to McDonald's...a lot.

Since I didn't have anyone to watch him when he was small, he would sometimes have to come to work with me when I was working on a big project. He would help me assemble proposals and put the binders together. He would three-hole punch documents, run between printers and photocopiers to get stacks of papers, and sometimes he would curl up in a chair and watch a movie in the conference room.

One day he was in my supply closet and was being just a bit too quiet for any parent to stand. I walked in on him organizing the soda bottles that we kept for a special client. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was just making sure they were all lined up. He then pulled out a handful of caps from his pocket and said, "Look, Mom. I won". There was a contest from this particular soda and you could win a free soda if you had a winning cap. This little bundle of joy of mine had opened EVERY SINGLE bottle to look for the winners. He put the five winning caps in his pocket, tossed the soda, put losing caps back on, and lined them all up. Little boys are so much fun [insert sarcasm with a half-smile and a wink here]. I still have the apology letter Taylor wrote to my boss (even though my boss thought it was hilarious). I carry it in my wallet.

Despite that little soda incident, Taylor was (and is) such a good kid. Always respectful, always there to give you a hug, always there with a smile on his face, always there to help. He was my little buddy.

When I decided to have weight loss surgery, I had to update my will. He was old enough then to ask what items of mine he wanted. At first, he said none. After I told him that he was already getting my car he started listing all kinds of things, which turned out to be very sentimental. In addition to my laptop, cell phone, iPad, iPod, etc., his list included the Christmas decorations (we have been decorating the house together since he was old enough to place an ornament on the tree), all my cookbooks, my rings so he could wear them around his neck, all of the family pictures, the cat, and a recording of my voice so he could play it every day [insert weepy eyes and a sniff, sniff here].

Taylor loves to play sports. He played soccer for five years and he started playing football his freshman year of high school. His soccer years were awesome. Every Saturday morning in the fall, we were up early to get to his games and we would always stop at Starbucks for a hot chocolate (they have the best) and a Chai Tea Latte. As he grew older, I grew more self-conscious about my size. The first three years of him playing football, I hid in the stands and hoped that his friends weren't snickering at him because of my size. I hid from his friends because I feared he was embarrassed by me. He always told me that he didn't care what anyone said or thought and that I shouldn't either. Even though he said it didn't bother him, it bothered me. In a way, I excluded myself from a lot of activities that involved people from his school and I feel awful that I did.

After I had lost nearly 100 pounds, Taylor gave me the courage to volunteer to be the varsity team photographer for his last year of football. It was his senior year and I wanted it to be memorable for us both so I did it. I was a nervous wreck the first night because I was no longer hiding in the stands. I was no longer hiding from his friends. I was upfront, on the field, dead smack in the middle of the action (literally). One Friday night, I was so focused on getting my shot that I didn't realize two players were running directly at me like a flippin' freight train. I took the hit well and even made Hit of the Week on the local news (my favorite part of the commentary was when he referred to me as a "young lady").

video

I like to take credit for how well-mannered Taylor is today but I do have to give credit to many others who have been a part of his life, as well as his dad. Taylor has grown into a very respectful young man with good manners, who makes straight A's, has an excellent work ethic and today, he is an adult. I couldn't be more proud of him.

Happy Birthday Buddy! I love you VERY much. Thank you for being a major motivator in my own journey and I look forward to the next chapter in your life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weight Loss Tips from the 'Wizard of Oz'

As you go through your own journey of weight loss, remember these important basics with help from these infamous characters.

There are TONS of websites and blogs out there (including this one) that talk about weight loss, weight loss surgery, nutrition, fitness, etc. and it is easy to get overwhelmed about what works and doesn't.

While only you can actually decipher what works best in your life, let Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion inspire you and keep you motivated:

Dorothy: Keep trying to lead yourself "home". Dorothy's goal was to get home and she spent her entire time in Oz trying to get there.

Your "home" is your ultimate goal. Before you choose to eat something or head into a workout, think about how it will affect your goal and the results you are expecting. If you are expecting to drop 10 sizes while constantly eating or snacking on handfuls of carbs, fats, and/or sugars, you may as well stay locked in the Wicked Witch's tower because you will never get "home".

Remember, your goal is to get heck out of "Oz".

Scarecrow: Share the knowledge you have. Scarecrow thought he needed the Wizard to give him a brain, but he realized (with the Wizard's help) that he had one all along.

You, like Scarecrow, have knowledge too. You might think you don't but you really do know what is right and wrong with your own diet and fitness habits. If you avoid those subjects, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure. Educate yourself on the basics and then share the knowledge with those who surround you.

Embrace your brain and you will become an expert for yourself and others.

Tin Man: Have a heart (and carry an oilcan in case of emergency). Just as the Tin Man showed that he had a heart, so should you. It is OK to feel good about yourself. As you accomplish your goals, share your emotion with the world and be proud of your achievements.

If you have an off day and get a little "rusty" in your diet or fitness routine, have a friend (or other motivational tool) nearby to "oil the squeaks" and keep pressing on. Just don't let yourself get so rusty that you can no longer move.

Cowardly Lion: Don't be afraid. Don't hold yourself back because you are afraid to take a step forward. Making a decision that takes confidence to stick with it, such as changing your lifestyle (including eating and exercise habits), can be a scary thing.

BUT - just as the Cowardly Lion discovered his own confidence and realized he was the king of his own forest, you can too. In other words (Henry David Thoreau's to be exact- and yes, I know they aren't related to the Wizard of Oz but this is my post...), “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined".

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Disclaimer - I cannot take full credit for relating the Wizard of Oz to weight loss. I was inspired by an article I read the other day about Social Media sites and the Wizard of Oz, so I borrowed that concept and translated it into my own goal of "getting rid" of excess weight. I recently started saying "getting rid of" rather than "losing" because typically when you lose something there is a chance you can find it again...and I don't want to find the 137 pounds I have worked so hard to...get rid of.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's a ONEderful day in ONEderland

It's official...as of this morning, I can officially say that I weigh one hundred and something pounds! I have not been able to say that since I was 14 or 15 years old.

Words cannot begin to describe how I feel right now but I can express this feeling through a good "Carlton" dance...



I just wanted to share this ONEderful news!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flirting with ONEderland

The last time I could say I weigh one hundred and something pounds was when I was in the 9th grade. Well, just one year after being sleeved, I am less than one pound from being able to say it again. I have been flirting with ONEderland for more than a week now and it is driving me crazy. I think the anticipation of this major milestone is hanging on to that pound for dear life.

I celebrated my one-year "surgiversary" on February 24. It is hard to believe it has been a year since I started this journey. From everything I have learned, to the results I see and feel, these past twelve months have been truly amazing. As of today, I have lost 136 pounds (an average of 13.6 pounds a month), more than 40% of my excess body fat, and I only have 25.5 pounds to go before I reach my goal.

According to those incredibly stupid BMI charts, I would still be considered overweight when I do reach my goal weight but I want to be realistic with my weight loss (BMI charts are misleading anyway). However, it goes without saying, that if I lose more, you will not hear any complaints from me. I just want to achieve my goal and I know I will.

Don't Stop, Don't Give Up!
Every now and again I need a little motivator to keep me going. My mother MADE me watch this when I went home for Christmas and it stuck with me. This little girl ALWAYS gives me that extra push when I need it. Her little voice echoes in my head while exercising or working on a difficult or time-sensitive project. I guarantee you will be repeating it at some point too.




Photo Update
Costco Card ComparisonI searched for two good before and after (current) photos and, in my eyes, these were the most dramatic. The image on the left is me in 2009 at probably my highest weight and the one on the right was taken this month after an employee at Costco questioned the validity of my card. After checking my ID (which looks similar to the picture in question, they took a new photo let me keep the old card as a "souvenir". I wonder if I am going to have this same problem in six months when I renew my license.


It's Game Time
Since surgery, I have been focused on losing the fat but now is the time to step up my game and start building muscle. The added muscle will help me lose body fat quicker. In case you did not know, muscle burns fat three times faster than fat does alone. At rest, a pound of muscle can burn approximately 6 calories per day all by itself (if you add resistance training you can increase that number to 7). For example - if your exercise program does not include resistance training and your muscle/body mass weighs approximately 100 pounds, it will burn 600 calories a day all by itself. If you add resistance training, you could increase this to 700.

Now, I am not going for a body building physique here. I just want to be in a healthy body fat range. I am getting there. I need to drop about 12% before I can be considered in a healthy body fat range.

Exercise, fitness, shoot even just plain old P.E. have never been my strong points. I remember in Junior High we had to do the 20-minute walk/run every now and again. The intent was to either walk or run a mile within 20 minutes (which I could NEVER do). Well...two weeks ago I bought an elliptical and just three nights after I got the machine, I ran 1.2 miles on it in the same time it took me to do 1/2 a mile in Junior High. For all you pessimistic haters out there, yes, that equates to what it would have taken me back then had I ran the damn thing. For all you optimistic ones, that simply means that today I have twice the energy despite being twice as old. I know 1.2 miles in 20 minutes is not much to brag about but considering where I was a year ago, I would say that this Butterfly is spreading her wings and beginning to fly...

Listen to R Kelly's words in "I Believe I Can Fly" and you will experience how I am feeling right now.
 
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