Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's been ages, I know...

So, the minute I posted about how I'm amazed that I stuck with this blog so long I hit a little speedbump.  I just have not been able to really go online since Thanksgiving--lack of focus, lack of motivation--basically there has been no lack of lack-age.  And today I had to stay home to work on a cold that I've had coming on for a couple of days, so I'm forcing myself to go online and post a little.  And in my cold medicated-induced state, I think I need to refer to my inner Yoda, who is repetitive, extraordinarily irritating, and speaks backward as a rule.  But I keep hearing, "Online you should go.  Blog you shall.  There is no try, only DO."  Damn that little green dude.

Let's summarize the problem:
I can eat more.  This is not such a good thing.  At the end of one year post-surgery, most people have lost about 75-80% of their excess weight.  According to my doctor, my excess was around 190-200 lbs, so by January 21 I should be down about 160 lbs.  I'm still hovering between a loss of 145-150.  I know my size has changed a little and I'm now fitting into size 18 jeans, and I think my upper half is between a 16 and an 18.  But the weight is a bit stuck, and I'm pretty sure it's my fault.  I really need to step up my exercise (like, a lot) and stick closely to the rules.  I know I'm eating too much, and I'm having a really hard time stopping when I'm supposed to.  So yeah, I'm freaking out.  I feel like I lost my momentum and don't know how to get it back.

About there my little inner Yoda starts yelling, "Back to basics you should go, young Bariatric Babe-walker!  Yell I must to get through to your stubborn self!"  And for a while I've been telling that imaginary inner-muppet to take a long walk into a dark cave (or some other similar trademarked Jedi thingy that basically means, "get stuffed.")

But now it's time to figure out what I want to do from here, and start taking steps to get there.  What better time than the first of the year?  I hear the clock ticking and the ball dropping and I'm ready to see that same downward movement on the scale.  So I have to set a goal, which is like pulling eye teeth to me, and this is as good a place to start as any.

I don't feel ready to set an actual goal.  So instead, I'll just make myself a new commitment to getting back in touch with the weight loss community by blogging, by reading blogs written by others who are in the process of losing weight, and by revisiting all the bariatric sites with their tips and such.  At least 2-3 times each week.

So I'm saving the recap of my holiday experiences as a first-time bariatric patient for my next post, to come in a day or two.  In the meantime, feel free to tell me in the comments what goals you're setting for yourself this year...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The adorability continuum

When you're 200 lbs overweight, you just become resigned to the fact that no amount of lipstick, or cute shoes, or clothes will make you adorable.  In fact, I didn't realize how big I had gotten (until I saw the pictures) because I had just stopped looking at myself in the mirror completely.  I'm not really sure when that happened--maybe somewhere around 290 when I decided to stop going on airplanes--so it was very strange to me when I started to see myself again.

Now I find myself marveling at my face, which has become "3-D" again.  I like feeling that I have bones I didn't know I had (collarbones!  hip bones! ribs!).  I take more time putting on my clothes and matching my jewelry to them.  In fact, my morning routine is ridiculously long now (complicated by the fact that I'm a slow riser anyway, and that it takes me a while to drink and eat enough to restart my engine) because I put on makeup every day--not just a swipe of sheer lipstick I can do without a mirror and a little mascara.  I use EYELINER, which I had forgotten how much I love love love, despite requiring more time and patience than I actually have.

But here's the thing that I have come to call "The Adorability Continuum."  When you lose a lot (but not all) of your excess weight, your self-image swings wildly back and forth.  At one end is the side where you compare your new self to your old self (we shall call it the A side--A for Adorable), and on the other side is where you compare your current self to your ideal self (we shall call it the side that-shall-not-be-named, or the SNBN side).  Depending on which side of the continuum I wake up on, my day can be very different.  Let me break it down for you with examples. 

When I swing to the A side, I am so freakin' cute I can hardly stand myself.  I got talked into going to Old Navy by Goldilocks (even though I told her that nothing there would fit me), and I found a coat that actually fit!  My first purchase at a non-Omar-the-Tent-Maker store!  It's got a retro 60's vibe, fits very close to the body (in fact, I can't wear it over anything bulky still) and makes me look thin, energetic, fashionable, and (dare I say it) younger.  This weekend, I got an adorable little winter cap to match, and let me tell you that I am super-cute in my new winter wear (I can't wait to go to some tree lighting ceremony outside to wear it).  Even if it WAS the largest size that Old Navy had, I fit into clothes from a non-fat-lady store, and I look great.

Then there is the SNBN side.  The side that only sees that I still have a double-chin and a really big stomach.  The side that wonders if I'll ever get out of "plus sized" clothes, and points out that I'm still really a woman's 1X, and not a regular-size XL (yes, they are different).  The side that knows that men still don't see me, and that to society I'm still just fat.  The side that looks up the BMI chart to see if I'm still "obese" (I am, by the way).  The side that knows that shopping for pants is still a horrible ordeal because not only am I still too big (all of my weight sits at my belly area), and now I have the additional loveliness of extra skin droopage, with a perpetual camel toe as a result.

So the pendulum swings back and forth, and I wonder sometimes if I can just slow it down.  Objectively I know that I have achieved a lot so far with this, but objectively I also know that I still have so far to go.  Today, I find that struggle exhausting, and I wonder if I will ever be able to settle in to my body, without being overly critical or totally self-centered, and just call it home.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Post #100!

That's right, peeps.  It's my 100th post.  Weird, right?  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a "stick-to-it" kind of girl.  I'm more of an idea gal, and it's best if someone else does all the details and followup.

But it's been a year and a half, and I have 100 posts to show for it.  When I started, it was May of 2009.  I was still trying to do Weight Watchers and hadn't even gone to the seminar on bariatric surgery.  I knew change was imminent, but I didn't know how or why.  I was miserable, and couldn't walk from my house to my car without having to stop and rest at the bottom of my stairs.  I had full-blown sleep apnea, and weighed 353 pounds (give or take a few).  I wore a size 30/32 shirt--on my thinnest days (I don't even know my pants size because I just kept wearing my 26/28 until they stretched to fit).

In November 2009, I went to the bariatric seminar given by my surgeon to educate people on surgical options and to help them decide if it's right for them.  It's been a year since I decided to have the surgery, and so far I'm so glad I did (recap alert!):
1.  I survived 2 major surgeries, 2 strictures, 3 ER visits, 9 days and 8 crazy nights in the hospital, all with my good humor intact (mostly).
2.  I can walk to and from my car without even thinking.  Hell, I went hiking on a mountain, cardio-kickboxed, pilates-ed, elliptical-ized and can even go up and down stairs.
3.  I am 5 pounds shy of having lost the equivalent weight of my entire mother.  Soaking wet and wearing shoes.
4.  I had to give away my "skinny" clothes because they were too big, and I shopped and actually bought clothes in a store that sells regular sizes.
5.  My surgeon didn't recognize me until I told him that I was "the one with the NG tube who you told was going back into surgery if I had gone one more day with a swollen-shut pouch." (he remembered that!)
6.  I have spent more on my medical condition this year to date than I made in a year at my first HR job.  And if you include all the expenses of weird, high-protein food, vitamins, new clothes, pilates classes, gym memberships, and special "hair-loss" shampoos, I've spent more this year to date than I made when as a regional HR manager.

It's a hell of a lot to pack into 100 measly little posts.  But here is what I'm hoping in the next 100:
1.  Buy all my clothes at a store that is not exclusive to plus sizes.
2.  Lose 34 more pounds, which will make me "overweight" instead of obese.  If I really want to shoot for the moon, I'll lose 64 pounds, which would put me at "normal."  That is absolutely unimaginable to me.
3.  Try more fun exercise stuff--Zumba, Hot or Core Power Yoga, ride a bike--outside, Boot camp (well, maybe not that one, that doesn't sound like fun).
4.  Look into and possibly start the process of surgical skin removal and a tummy tuck.
5.  Sit in an airline seat WITH the tray table in it's non-upright position (and not resting on my belly, either).
6.  Ride a roller coaster.  Or not.  But just to at least have the option.
7.  Date.  Someone.  Anyone.  Preferably a dude (nothing against the ladies!).
8.  Be able to travel.
9.  Ride a horse.  Or a cowboy (see #7).  Whatever.
10.  Wear an inappropriately sexy Halloween costume.  Maybe just in the dressing room, but still!
 Probably a whole lot more stuff that I can't even think of right now.  But the possibilities are out there!

Just to close this one out, I thought I'd leave you with a little glimpse of what I see now when I look down.  It still surprises me (especially that I fit into these cute new tights!), and I'm wondering when I'll stop being amazed that this is me...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving possibilities...

Thanks to those of you that responded with ideas for Thanksgiving.  Here is a tentative plan, glooped together from lots of different stuff people said:

1.  We are going to cook, mostly because then we know what's going into everything, and we can make stuff with reduced fat, sugar and carbs.  But...
2.  We are going to Goldilocks' house to have "the meal" so that anything except meat can be left with her.  I won't have bushels of stuffing hanging out at the house tempting me, but I'll be able to sample something if I really want it.
3.  We decided we want to watch the parade in the morning instead of going "Turkey trotting," but since Goldilocks lives right by the best gym on the planet, there will probably be a stop-over involved.  I'm telling my parents to bring their bathing suits--if nothing else they can sit in the hot tub.
4.  We decided to get a "mini-ham" from the Honeybaked Ham store, which is close-by (scroll to the bottom to see my EXCELLENT story about the local HH, which is totally off-topic and slightly inappropriate, hence it's relegation to the bottom of the page).  This gives a delicious protein option that does not make me think, "Where the h*ll is the d*mn stuffing?"
5.  We also decided for the Turkey Fiends that we would get a turkey breast.  I was gonna get it pre-cooked from Whole Paycheck Foods, but just found an excellent recipe for preparing it in the crock pot, which looks just as easy.
6.  We are going to spring for some new board games to play, which will be fun, interactive, and less food-centered than watching a movie (which often requires munchies).
7.  I even thought about trying to make quinoa "stuffing" which would give me the flavors of my favorite food at Thanksgivings, but with a protein boost and fewer carbs.  We'll see how crazy I get.

So there will be a lot less emphasis on food, although still enough that it will feel like Thanksgiving.  A good compromise, I think.  Now the challenge will be the rest of the parental visit (since I tend to do nothing but eat when they are around).  Send me any thoughtful strategies you've developed.  So far, I think just keeping them busy and out of the house will help...

Now, for the HoneyBaked Ham story.  A couple of years ago, an adult "bookstore" (why do they call it that when there are no books there?) opened up in my area of town.  I found out about it because I got a marketing post card from them WITH MY REAL NAME ON IT!  So here are the odd things about that (and it really does tie into the ham, if you wait for it):
1.  How the h*ll did they get my first and last name?  That type of mail always is addressed to "Occupant," and does not usually get personalized with my full name.  But no!  It wasn't it addressed to "Sex-Crazed Occupant," but directly to ME!
2.  What mailing list am I on, and how did I get on it?  The raciest thing I get in the mail is my Allure beauty magazine and Entertainment Weekly.
3.  Those in the  Sex Trade apparently had not only my full name, but they knew where I lived.  (I considered actually moving at this point).
4.  I actually got TWO postcards from them.  The second one was also addressed directly to me, although at least they had the courtesy to spell my name wrong the second time.  Perhaps the thought, "Maybe she didn't get the message from the first one and we should send her another, just in case."
5.  The postcard itself not only advertised the name of the store, and the types of items they sell, but it gave a tiny map on how to get there with directions spelled out underneath it.  Just in case I was thinking, "Hey, I need to get me some penis-shaped pasta ASAP!  But however will I get there?"  Then I could whip out the marketing card and read the map.
6.  And the best part was the directions themselves.  What did the directions say?  (wait for it)
RIGHT BEHIND THE HONEYBAKED HAM STORE!  That's right.  They used the HoneyBaked Ham store as a touchpoint for directions to the porn shop.  These are not normally things that go together, as in, "Hey...while we're out getting the holiday ham, we can swing by and pick up some crotchless panties.  Two birds, one stone!" In fact, I think the last thing I would be considering when getting Easter Dinner would be stopping for an item to get my freak on after the relatives leave.

All in all, a very disturbing trip to the mailbox with lots of unanswered questions.  Except for one...I did find out how they got my name for the mailing list when my voter registration cards arrived in the mail--one with my correct name and one with the same incorrect spelling as the porn store.  Apparently they could only send to individuals above age 18, and the way they screened it was by using voter registrations.  So that was a relief.  But I still can't wrap my mind around the link between porn and HoneyBaked Ham.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Calling all cooks....and post-ops too...

First of all, welcome to those of you who are new and joined me--thanks very much!

Now for the main event:  I need suggestions on how to handle Thanksgiving.  It is my first big "foodie" holiday since surgery, and I'm worried.  Here is how Thanksgiving normally transpires at my house:

1.  My parents come for an extended stay, which puts three adults in a condo for one.  Not only are there more people in a smaller space, but the people in question all have somewhat big personalities (I actually think I may top the list on this).  So while I love it when they come visit, it can also be overwhelming.
2.  We wake up and turn on the Thanksgiving parade and my mom and I cook.  My mom's job is to hold the turkey while I fill it with stuffing, and to amuse me by making the turkey dance while she's doing it.
3.  We eat the food.  What is it?  For me it's always a little bit of turkey on the side of a large plate of carbs--stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls.  We try to have salad and veggies to make it a slightly rounder meal, but I usually push those to the side.
4.  My mother cleans up.  Our deal is that I cook (with the exception of preparing the naked turkey for the oven), and she cleans up.  That, and she's somewhat compulsive about cleaning so even if we didn't have the agreement I would just leave it until it drove her so crazy that she cleaned it up anyway.  So the trade-off is actually a much better deal.  During clean up, there is usually a great deal of "stuffing-stealing" on my part, which consists of me deciding that there is no way for all the stuffing to fit into the tupperware and I should therefore eat it while standing in the kitchen.  And maybe another roll.  With butter.
5.  Then there is much laying around in a tryptophan-induced semi-comatose state while my father attempts to watch football with his eyes closed and my mother and I attempt to change the channel to something girly without waking him.
6.  We eventually make it over to a friend's house for a dessert buffet and to practice having more appropriate social skills than sneaking stuffing and slumping on the couch.
7.  We go home, we have a late-night snack (ie. a second Thanksgiving dinner), and we go to bed.

These are things that I cannot do this year.  I can't make it all about the food.  I can't eat the same type of food, nor can I eat it in the same quantity.  And I'm realizing that I'm going to have to re-design Thanksgiving.  Here's where I need your help.

How do I celebrate the holiday without making food the centerpiece?  How do I get some physical activity space for that day?  What food can I have that feels festive and holiday-like for all of us, but doesn't make me hate myself the next day?  How can I change our holiday without making my parents feel punished?

I don't know.  I've thought about going out to dinner (not a great option for us), ordering a "Turkey Dinner for 2" from Whole Foods, having yummy and festive nibbly things (since I have to eat small amounts several times a day) and avoid the one major holiday meal altogether, or invite ourselves to a friend's house.  I'm just not sure.

What are you guys all doing for Thanksgiving?  What do you do to stay on plan for the day (or do you just give yourself a free pass for the day)?  How do you make it feel like a holiday when you have to change everything?

Any and all suggestions are welcome--please leave them in the comments.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gastric Bypass (and other weight loss) internet tools

To finish up "internet week,"  I thought I'd tell you about a few other great things on the internet that I've really found useful since having gastric bypass.  For those of you that are following for non-surgical weight loss/health, some of these will be really great for you too.

1.  Please go check out BTV (Bariatric TV).  They speak the truth about a healthy post-surgical lifestyle in a funny, interesting way.  Normally I don't like watching videos (I would prefer an article I can print out), but they are a significant exception.  My favorite part of it is the "I Freaking Did It" segment, which is where people who've had the surgery share the new and exciting things they are able to do because of their smaller bodies.  Some of them are riding rollercoasters, or doing a marathon, or riding a horse.  You can see my own "I Freaking Did It" pictures of my first time hiking here on my blog.
2.  Take a look at my blogroll...those are the people that inspire me.  Some of my favorites include Happy Fun Pants, The World According to Eggface, Melting Mama, Shrinking Blubeary, and probably a bunch more that I can't even think of right now.
3.  Do searches for healthy recipes.  Check out SparkPeople.com, LiveStrong.com, ObesityHelp.com.  Ask your friends for recommendations, or just use a Google search.
4.  As much as I love using the internet as a tool, don't forget to go outside and live.  In fact, I'm cutting my post much shorter than I initially planned so I can go out to work out, shop, and hang out with my friend Goldilocks.

Here's hoping that you found something fun, new, interesting, or educational over this last week.  I know I did!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turbo what what?

So today I was feeling frisky, and instead of heading to the gym for a boring elliptical workout, I decided to try a Turbo Kick Box class.

Yup.  You read that right.  It went much as you are probably imagining, except I did not get KO'd for zigging when I should have zagged (you should see me trying to do the Electric Slide--although at a wedding everyone is drunk and doesn't mind that I'm running into them).

In honor of my risky new adventure, and keeping with this week's "internet theme,"  I give you Telling Dad, who is a blogger about families, and he absolutely cracks me up.  He volunteered to video himself doing the "Flirty Girl Workout" if people would donate to the "Sweet Dreams Fund", which is a charitable organization he started that helps women and children get out of domestic abuse.  Originally, he was shaking his booty to raise $500 for the charity, and he more than doubled that amount.  If you are interested, you can still visit his website and donate to the fund.

Take a look at the video and you can see why people were willing to donate money to this man.  I only wish that my ridiculousness this evening could have similarly benefitted charity.  Alas, the only people who benefitted from my flailing attempts at group exercise are those who, unfortunately for them, ended up behind me in class (yea, you're welcome).




I hope you all are enjoying internet week on my blog. If you want more of the Babe, head over to Smaller Fun Pants's blog, as I'm a guest star over there today with a much less silly and more weight-loss relevant posting. While you're there, hang out and wish her a speedy recovery--maybe even subscribe to one of her blogs. As a thank you to her for letting me be her temporary nom de plume, I plan on taking a photo of myself in my brand-spankin' new pair of "fun pants." I'll post it here too, for you all to enjoy.

In the meantime, I encourage you all to go out and shake your booty, regardless of how uncoordinated, ungainly, and clumsy you might be. If I can do it, and if Greg can do it, I know that you can too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pretty

To continue with my Internet theme, I'm embedding a "poetry slam" I found through fellow gastric bypasser Melting Mama.   Please go check out her website if you are thinking about/have had weight loss surgery--she is feisty, inspirational, and tells it like it is.


All my life I wanted to be pretty.  Not smart, not creative, not athletic.  Pretty.  And I watched this video of poet Katie Makkai and I saw myself.  I'm still reeling.





Pretty powerful.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I can do anything good! Yea yea yea yea!

So, I found this show called Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, and it's given me some really funny links that I've been enjoying.  I'm dedicating this week to "Cool stuff that is on the internet."

Today's example is a positive affirmation if I've ever seen one.  Although I sometimes now look in the mirror and think, "Wow, I'm doing great!  I look so thin and healthy today!" it happens just as often that I look in the mirror and think, "My god, but my stomach is the size of Cincinnati!"  So I'm taking a page from little Jessica's book here and trying to eliminate those kinds of negative thoughts.  It's really hard when nothing you own fits, when you take your measurements and find out that your bust is only one inch larger than your waist (with your hips taking the lead at 1 additional inch), when your hair is falling out by the fistful and when all you can see is excess skin.  But if some little girl can figure it out, I suppose I can too.  Enjoy (and practice!)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

So, what's your costume?

This Halloween I went dressed as my favorite character from Mad Men, Peggy Olson.  I love the show, and I love that the characters are caught in a cultural clash between the staid "perfection" of the 1950's and the rebellious power of the 1960's.  So I thought it was pretty appropriate for me, considering that I'm a bit caught in the middle too.  The middle of my old life, and my new life.
I practiced for the makeup and hair, and here's the self-picture of it (just because I love how the lips turned out, even if my bouffant had completely fallen:  


The best part of Halloween is getting to be someone different--to try another persona on for the day.  It made me so grateful that I never lived in this era because I would not be able to work outside the home because the makeup, the hair, and the outfit would all be full-time jobs.  It also made me realize that that era was as focused on the external as we are today.  I can't imagine how the very overweight woman must have lived in this day of girdles and being married before turning 25.  I would have totally been S.O.L.  While I love the "glamour" of the past, I'm not sure that I really would want to live there.

When I was looking for a costume (before realizing that the new dress I got--see picture in the margin--would work out fine), I visited thrift stores and Halloween shops.  Right now this is a total nightmare for me because nothing fits.  I'm still "plus sized", but I'm not curvy, so nothing fits right.  I did a little measuring and found that my bust and hips are both a size 20, and my waist is still a size 26.  Yup, I look pregnant--without all the bother of having actual sex or having an actual child to care for.  Yippee!

But it's all getting there.  Slowly.  I've lost a couple more pounds and am really hoping that I'll get under 200 by the end of the year (and also hoping I won't be upset if my body doesn't cooperate).  I realized that I'm still wearing my own "fat girl" costume, and that I have no idea what a "normal girl" costume would feel or look like.  I'm hoping that by next Halloween I can report back to you and let you know.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Magical Mysticism of a Bariatric Post-Op

Today was a good day.  I was going to meet Goldilocks for a workout this morning (we were actually going to attempt a Zumba class), but she was too sick to go God intervened in order to prevent me from subjecting my spastic, flailing dance-style to the world.  So I decided to cash in a bunch of freebies I had--a free fresh face mask from LUSH in exchange for 5 recycled empties, and a gift set of spices from Penzy's in exchange for the bitchin' coupon I got.  This meant a brief road trip to Boulder, CO, since the closest LUSH is there and the new Penzy's is right next door.

For those of you not local (i.e. 95% of you), Boulder is a unique and beautiful town in the foothills of the Rockies:  home of great beer, the University, and a bunch of weirdos.  No seriously--they are now marketing the city as the "Republic of Boulder" in homage to the very strange political (and non-political) people who live there.  In other words, everyone is respected and valued for their differences, unless your name is Bill (O'Reilly), Anne (Coulter), or Rush (this one should be obvious).  Lots of free-thinkers, hippie throw-backs, street performers, and the people who love them congregate there.  This leads to what I think is truly The Best People Watching in Colorado (without having to drive up to Aspen).  On this trip I saw tap dancers perform, a string quartet, a man fit his entire body into a small, clear, lucite box, a woman who looked like a 1950's Rockabilly pin-up calendar, and a homeless man with a sign that said, "Please give generously--I need gas for my spaceship."  So it was free beauty products, kitchen gear, AND a show! 

In homage of my fun and spontaneous trip to the land of weird, I decided a themed post of the Sideshow Freak was in order.  So here you are...Welcome to the weird, wonderful world of the Post Weight Loss Surgery Woman! 

*MEET* the woman with 2 stomachs!
*SEE* the Rapidly Shrinking Belly Dance turn into the Smaller but Not Going Anywhere Belly Monument!
*WATCH* as her chins (and boobs) are lost to the Other Realm!
*MARVEL* at the fact that her current weight is actually 1 pound lower than what her drivers' license says it is!
*HEAR* her upper arms flap as the loose skin gets looser!
*AVERT YOUR EYES* as she actually "pants" herself without unbuttoning them.  And they are NOT stretchy pants, but actual DENIM!

Well, that was fun, wasn't it?  I do sometimes feel like a bit of "surgically altered freak" (borrowed phrase from the Bariatric TV gang), so I guess it's fitting.  Unlike my jeans, which I really can take off now without unbuttoning them.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mauna Loa's got to go-ah

Ever wondered why macadamia nuts are sold in the smallest can on the nut shelf?  I always thought it was the price.  It is not.

I made the mistake of going to COSTCO (never a smart thing for someone who can eat 1/4 c. of food), and I browsed (mistake number 2).  I did find, but did not buy, an awesome Michael Kors pea coat, and the XL just about fit...yeah!  If it's still there in a couple months I will buy it!  Then I found, and bought, a ginormous can of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.  Hey, I've had them since surgery, and they tasted really good, so why not?

I can now tell you why.  Those tricky little Hawaiian nuggets of goodness would not let me stop at one.  Or at 4.  Or at fourteen.  Next thing I knew, I was bloated with Mauna Loa Madness and really mad at myself.  I very nearly threw up.  If I'd swallowed so much as a mouthful of air or saliva I would have lost the whole caboodle.  It was not pretty.

Instead of learning from my mistake, today I thought, "I really should get ahold of that macadamia nut craving and slow down and eat a couple and really savor them."  That lovely thought turned into a slobbering, gulping food fest and now I feel really icky.  I feel even worse now because I saw how many grams of fat are in these.  YIKES.

This is a great example of how the surgery works on our bodies, but not our minds.  I'm really doing some intensive work on my relationship with food and how to find some peace with it, instead of letting it rule my life like before.  I am really afraid that if I don't get a handle on this that I will end up gaining all my weight back, and it's terrifying.  So I'm going to a class on emotional eating sponsored by my surgeon and am thinking of trying individual sessions with the instructor.  If the Great Macadamia Munch of 2010 shows me anything, it is that I can't do it alone.

On the up side, I weighed myself this morning and was down to 217.  Finally.  It took only 4 months to lose the first 100lbs, and it's taken me 4.5 months to lose another 32.  And I went without a loss for the entire month of September.  I'm hoping this recent loss means that I'm starting on a new downward trend.   In order to continue this, though, I'm fairly sure it will mean saying Aloha to the Macadamia Nut Devil.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New! Post-Gastric Bypass Pics, and a great link

I finally found the cord for my camera so I can download my most recent pictures, and you are about to benefit.

Before I get into the story, though, I want to post a link that really resonated with me.  It is from a blogger "Shrinking Blubeary," and if you have ever been overweight, if you are overweight now, or if you're in the process of losing weight, you must go read it.  It's about "The Old You,"  you know, the one you beat up and hate because she/he is (or was) so fat.  When you finish reading, give your own "Old You" some love...she/he got you to where you are today.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled silliness.

So I mentioned before that I went hiking.  In the wilderness.  Up hills with rocks and gravel on them (and in my shoes).  With bugs.  Oh, and there were signs warning us against falling rocks, loose footing, mountain lions, pumas, and other assorted nasties.  OK, I did make up the one about pumas, but the others are all too real.

Anyway, one of my best friends and favorite people JulieBeth* was in town from Chicago, and she was very sick with Colorado Fever, which includes the strong and sudden desire to do nature-y type things out in the sunshine.  Usually I would beg out in favor of a mall (see previous post), but I decided that I was game.  Check me out...



This is very much a posed shot with me doing a great simulation of "Adventurous Babe."  We weren't actually in the rocks, but it was a hill/small mountain, and we did do the entire trail.  And I know the hat is goofy, but the sun here is way too strong for me (I had skin cancer before I even turned 30 so I'm extra-cautious) so fashion be damned.

When we got to the top of the trail, the view was beautiful (despite the recent wildfires) and made the hot sun and the fear of carnivorous beasties it worth it.  JB and I high fived and rested on a bench to admire the view.  When we got back to the end of the trail, all I could think of was, "I freakin' did it,"  which is a segment on Bariatric TV of post-ops that achieved something they could never do before.  Maybe I'll even submit it for their show.

And yes, I do look at that picture and think, "I've lost an entire person, and yet I still have an enormous belly and a double-chin," I also think, "Wow, what a difference.  I would never have even tried this before!  I wonder what else I'll be able to do when more weight starts to come off?"

We must revel in those moments of success, of feeling powerful and alive, and then tap back into them on those days when everything is hard and your pant size is getting you down.  Remembering your milestones and planning for new ones is a great way to tell your self-doubt and critical voice to "take a hike."** 

*Thank you to JulieBeth for asking me to go with her, for believing in me, for not getting impatient with my slowness, and for the high five.  If only Chicago was closer to Denver...
**I really do apologize for the painful pun.  Alas, I cannot promise that it won't happen again. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

If the Apple store reports a crazy lady, it's probably me

I've been noticing lately that I have a hard time looking people in the eye when I'm in public.  Now I'm no shrinking violet, and I definitely know how to use good eye contact to my advantage.   But when I pass someone walking in the store, I tend to look away or avert my eyes.  Weird, right?

When you're overweight you get used to being invisible, and you don't challenge the invisibility cloak of fat by looking strangers in the eye.  You may see disgust or judgement of you in their eyes, so you just don't look at them.  It's a non-verbal way of trying to "shrink" into yourself so that no one notices you. After all, you don't deserve their notice, and you definitely don't want to seek it.

This evening I went for a walk at the mall that's on my way home from work and I actually looked at people.  Lots of people smiled, some didn't react at all, and some looked away quickly (the way I usually do, lowering my eyes).  What I found was that it is super difficult for me, and really requires me to stretch myself.

So, as I'm out practicing my skills, I decided to go into the Apple store to ask how difficult it would be to switch from a Palm OS to an iPhone, since I'm an Apple-lover (but don't really know what I'm doing).  That, and it is the Apple store where the dude who bought a new iPad was walking out when someone tried to rip it from his hand and took the man's finger along with it.  So it was educational, and trash entertainment at the same time.

Of course the store was filled with lots of cute boys.  Well I think they're cute, but I love me some geeky boys.  So I went up to the cute greeter-boy (which is a younger and geekier version of the greeters at Wall-Mart) to ask him the questions.  This is when I don't really have a problem with eye contact--when I have a reason to talk to someone instead of just passing them by--so I gave my good eye contact and my "you're speaking above my head about technology" head-nodding.  And he was cute, with a capital "q." 

After he finished speaking with the mumbo-jumbo, he started apologizing for being distracted while talking to me, because he had to make sure no one else came through the doors that needed to be greeted.  I told him, "no problem."  And then we had the 1.5 minutes of "oh good, thanks" and "sure" and "have a good night" and "you too" and "have a good weekend" etc., etc.  And I smiled at him, with my excellent eye contact.

And then it went horribly wrong.  That's right, I winked.

Apparently, I'm one of those people.  I might as well have whipped out my finger guns, waved them in the air, and then blew on my fingertip barrels.  Oh dear.  I must have then turned very red and then I quickly left.  He was still exchanging token pleasantries to my retreating back--"enjoy the rest of your weekend!" as I hauled my embarrassed butt out of the store.


Oh dear.  I had a nice chuckle at my own expense all the way back to my car.  Making eye contact all the way. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My fantabulous weekend, part 2 be continued...

I want to tell this story when I've downloaded the pictures, which I'm hoping will be in the next couple of days.  I'm hoping I can get someone to take one of me in my new dress so I can post that too.


Not much to report on me until I have the pictures to prove it, but if you have the time please hop on over to Happy Fun Pants and show her some bloggy love.  She is a wonderful person, and she's having some worries over her health.  I'm sure she'd love a supportive shout out from you, my peeps, my homies, etc. etc.

In the meantime, may you need a calculator to count your blessings...

Monday, September 27, 2010

My fantabulous weekend, part one

For all intensive purposes, my weekend started when I left work on Thursday.  I had Friday off, I had best buds coming into town, and I was ready to roll!

So after work I went to a makeup swap in the area that was publicized on one of my favorite makeup blogs, Hooked on Beauty.  Even better, I had just cleaned out every nook and cranny of excessive moisturizers (you would think I'm the most moist person on the planet!), makeup that was the wrong color, haircare I got bored of or didn't work with a new hair length, etc.  It goes like this:  pay for a ticket ($10 for those bringing swap items), take in all your lightly used stuff you no longer want, and get new stuff you want to try.  (Don't worry, everything gets cleaned and sanitized and it's not gross). The best part is that everything you don't want cluttering your bathroom goes to a loving home, and anything that isn't picked up is donated or recycled.  See, I get to be greedy with new stuff AND I'm saving the planet in the process.  God only knows that I would have taken up all the room in the local landfill just in bottles of soap, lotion, and shampoo!

You have no idea.  It was like the mother ship calling me home.  I got to meet Carissa, who is a well-known local makeup artist and a true sweetie.  I had 2 sips of free champagne, and got to try Pop Chips (not baked or fried, but popped potato chips in a Bariatric-sized bag--yum!).  I chatted with several lovely, amazing, and very fashionable ladies.  AND I got the world best brow wax, trim, and tips ever from a professional brow artist--for free!

Then, there was the swapping.  It was like Sephora in there, but everything was free.  We all felt a little guilty for taking anything--I kept hearing comments of how it felt like stealing!  But it was so much fun to see someone with darker skin tone get that bronzer that was too dark for me, and the shaping hair paste from when I had shorter hair, and the body lotion that just was too rich. 


I know, getting this excited about a makeup swap is a little silly.  It just reminds me of how much life, fun stuff, and new people I had been missing out on.  I would never have gone when my weight was at it's highest.  I would have felt intimidated by all the beautiful people, and would have just turned around and left.  As it was, I only left when I absolutely had to in order to pick up my incoming friend at the airport.  And what a great metaphor for cleaning out my life and losing weight.

And even though I had to leave early to pick up my friend, they allowed me to enter the drawing.  And, I know you all are surprised, Carissa sent me a message that I won something.  I don't know what yet, but it's clear that the lucky streak continues.  As such, the price for rubbing my belly for luck has gone up dramatically.  I may even get it insured by Lloyd's of London, just in case.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bariatric Surgery yummy stuff!

I have had an amazing weekend, and will be sharing pictures and stories soon.  In the meantime, I just had to share some of the yummiest stuff I've been eating.

If you've had surgery, or are cutting down on sugar, let your fingers run, not walk, over to Shelly's website.  I just made the pumpkin spice muffins, which is her sugar-free take on the ones at Starbucks.  OMG--cakey and lovely, with glazed pumpkin seeds (yup, I made those too) and a cream cheese-type filling.  Please visit here for that specific recipe, but check out her whole site.

I've also been loving the Paul Newman's organic Soy Crisps in White Cheddar flavor--sometimes a bit too much.  They are very hard to find in my area, and I've been harassing our local Spouts market manager to keep me supplied with the crack chips.  8 grams of protein, and tastes better than a lot of the "bariatric products."

Soon, I will be trying roasted chickpeas, which I heard about on a recipe site.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I've also been eating Honeycrisp apples with some really good aged cheddar.  Try them if you get them in your area--sweet and crunchy, which can't be beat.

Obviously, I've been missing a lot of crunchy things lately, so a member of my support group suggested trying some "legal" substitutions.  So far, I've found some wonderful things, and it's been helping.  Let me know what suggestions you have...and if you tell me salted cucumbers or cucumbers marinated in vinegar (blech!) I may have to ban you from further commenting.  :-)

Next post, I'll tell you about the fabulous makeup swap hosted by local makeup artist Carissa that I went to last Thursday, and then info on my fabulous weekend of outdoor activities with my wonderful friends JulieBeth and Little Lefty.  No, you did not read that wrong, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES!  In fact, I will post some pictures as evidence that I do occasionally go outside, despite my strong aversion to direct sunlight, uneven ground, and dangerous woodland creatures.

I bet you can hardly wait...me too, but it's too late to try and figure out how the h*ll to download stuff from my camera (I finally found the charger so I could take pictures) without having the cord to connect it to the computer (I've lost that now too).  So even though I actually went outside, I guess some things don't change.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Judge-y McJudge-ington

A major turn-off for me is people who judge.  I actually think this is pretty common for those of us who are often judged on our looks.  Like, fat=lazy, blond=dumb, business suit=competence.  Yea, right.  It never ceases to amaze me the way people are judged unfairly--and it always makes me mad.

Yet, here I am, looking into the mirrored door of the gym elevator.  Yup, that's right, I take the elevator at the gym--going down the stairs is incredibly painful unless I go one at a time and create a stairway traffic jam. So I don't.  It's a little like waiting for the closest parking space at the gym, I know.

Anyhoo...here I am looking at myself in the mirrored door of the elevator gym, and I am being a Judge-y McJudge-ington.  My knees now have a crease above them since I have extra skin now.  My belly is still a size 24, with a size 20 from the waist up.  My shorts are too big and sloppy-looking.  I'm red in the face from exertion.  I imagine that all of the buff and beautiful people look at me and think, "Who is she kidding?"

I judge myself much more harshly than anyone living outside of my head ever has.  I judge myself MUCH more harshly than I do anyone I know, and even more than I do strangers.  I would never talk about someone the way I self-talk.

I wonder when my judge is going to pack up her black robe, her white wig (yeah, she's British), her heavy gavel, and leave?  I really do think it's time to retire the bitch and send her off to Boca Raton.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Head and body--reaching a detente?

One of the things I hear over and over is that weight loss surgery is on your body--not your head, and if you don't take care of the issues that made you overweight in the first place you will not be successful in the long term.  So I'm really trying to examine what it is that drove me to overeat.

The answer very frequently comes down to avoiding negative feelings. 

I was diagnosed as Bipolar type 2 in 2001 (yes, it's different than regular Bipolar or Manic Depression as it is mostly on the depressive side, with an occasional side of hyper and, for me, anxiety).  I consider myself lucky, as it is pretty mild--to the point that only my very closest friends knew that I had issues.  I was REALLY good at hiding it at work and to casual friends.  I developed a whole set of coping skills that consisted of me hiding whatever emotional state I was in.

Turns out, that's not a great idea.  1.  It means you are a lot harder to diagnose, and less likely to get the problem addressed.  2.  It means that your state of life requires hiding who you really are, and how you really feel, which becomes a huge hit to your self-esteem.  3.  It means that you have to find a way to cope with the dichotomy.  For me, it was food.  I regulated my emotions with lots of carbs (found out later that carbs boost serotonin as well as your fat cells), with sugar, and with fat.  All of those things, in mass quantities (which I also hid from the world, for a long time anyway), are really effective in blocking out your feelings.  Temporarily.  But they tend to rear their ugly heads eventually--in the form of 350 pounds.

I knew that after surgery I would have a lot of emotional work to do, and that I would have a hard time letting go of the food.  There have been times that I had a whole meal of just bread.  There have been times that I overate to the point that I thought I would die from the pain.  To me, these are the limits that I knew I would have to test, and that I need to learn from--quickly. 

And for the most part, I have.  I get a "cheat meal" each week, and then I go back to high protein, low carb and lower fat foods the rest of the time.   That means that when I get into emotional trouble now, I don't have my default coping mechanism of stuffing my feelings down by stuffing down food.  Angry, sad, lonely happens to everyone, but it feels to me like I get them stronger.  Not only because I have a tendency to intense feelings, but because when you don't express them they build up and get out of control.

The funny thing is that I've figured out that the best way to express and work out these negative feelings is body-based.  I always thought that the depression, bad feelings, and loneliness were thoughts and feelings in my head and the only way to get them out was to use my head (agonizing about everything) or my belly (filling it up until I was numbed by the serotonin).  I try to do pilates, meditation, and body movement to get rid of and deal with stress better.  I make myself "play dates" to keep from being too lonely.  I take deep breaths whenever I can.  I take a bubble bath, or clean out my closet of clothes that don't fit. 

All of them lean to the physical realm.  And I'm finding that  a lot of these things can help regulate those uncomfortable feelings.  I'll admit that it's not as easy and fast as pizza, and that there are times I forget, and that it's really hard.  I'm hoping to eventually come to a truce between my head, my heart and my body.  Right now, they are all in talks (see how political I am?).  There are occasional outbursts, but it doesn't seem to be a full-out war anymore--it's more of a Switzerland-type state of neutrality.

Honestly I don't think that I will ever win the war, but if a detente is enough to bring the Cold War up to a comfortable room-temperature, I'll take it.



So it seems like there

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sunshine, rainbows, and a leopard-print bra

Sure, of course they are related!

Weight loss is really hard.  I've stalled out, and I get frustrated.  I'm realizing how difficult it is for me to be by myself, and how lonely I feel without my friends pizza and garlic bread.  Somedays it is almost unbearable.

Even though I had an employee in a terrible Worker's Comp accident and another employee that I had to use my broken-record means of discipline (where I say the same thing over and over until they either get it or they are so sick of me they storm out of the room/hang up--isn't HR fun!?), I ended up with a super-fabulous day. 

1.  I got a surprise package from my parents--a new low-carb cookbook (by Dana Carpenter, who is supposed to be the low-carb recipe guru...I'll let you know), and an instant-read thermometer (so that I can stop overcooking my chicken to the point of inedible leathery strings of protein).  Why did I get a gift?  Don't know.  The message in the box simply said that the Parents are proud of me.  Aw, shucks.

2.  I got a really cool card from my friend, the Jabulish (she both Jewish and fabulous, so I think the name fits).  It was just a no reason, thanks for being my friend card.  I needed to hear that, and I love getting things with actual postage.

3.  I went to a Layne Bryant event to get workout wear that fits, and they were having an in-store drawing.  I heard them announce it from the dressing room, and I went flying out--clothing slightly asunder--to put my name in the hat just before she drew the winning ticket.  And, of course, it was my name.  Let me tell you there were some large and lovely ladies who were shooting me daggers with their eyes (although I can't blame them on this one).  So, I got a free bra, which I desperately need (and which all the Layne Bryant shoppers could figure out when I ran out of the dressing room still buttoning a shirt).  And I got to pick my own.  In leopard print.  Because there is just something fabulous about winning a practical item that is also just a little bit of fun.

So between having amazing parents, wonderful friends, and a new leopard-print bra, I figure that I am one lucky b*tch.  For a small fee, I'll let you rub my belly like a Buddha for luck.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gastric Bypass Babe...

I'm still mad at myself, but I did get out and go for a wonderful swim at the gym (and I'm hoping that I'll be let in at the next set of bellydance classes, because I think it would be good for me to try it).  Afterwards I skipped out on my boring chores (laying on a 2nd coat of spring green paint in my guest bathroom, grocery shopping, a Target run for sundries) and decided I would use the Layne Bryant coupon I got in the mail and get some new undies (mine are sad and baggy in the butt, so it's well-past time).

Wow.  I bought some nice new undies (5 for $26), and a few new bras (buy one, get one 50% off).  That was all I was going to get, I swear.  But then I saw it, taunting me from the "new arrival" rack.  Floating delicately.  A gorgeous dress.  That I had no reason to try on or buy.  So, of course, I did.  I got a size 24 since that was the size of the pair of jeans that fit last.

And the dress looked horrible.  I couldn't figure out why it looked so bad...it had a lot of promise on the rack.  Great great tweed-looking fabric, with just enough texture to make it OK for fall and just enough shine to make it appropriate for now.  Sort of a shirt dress, with a little tie belt, and a fuller (but not too full) skirt that hits me right at the skinny part of my legs (always a good thing).  Basically, the perfect dress for my body type.  Somehow, it was all wrong when I actually put it on.

Cue salesperson.  "That looks a little big on you, would you like to try another size?"

Big?  On me?  "Uh, sure.  But this one is a 24, which is the size of the jeans I got here last month."

Salesperson, "Uh huh.  It's too big.  Let me get you a 20."  Which is code for, "I'm going to guess your size and get whatever I think you should have that will give me a good commission."  Little did she know I was packing a righteous coupon. 

So she did, and I tried it on, and it actually fit.  The last time I fit into a size 20 was in college, when I was about 35 lbs lighter than I am now!  I look smashing, if I do say so myself.    I would have kissed the salesperson if I wasn't worried that she might call in security.  I'm so used to clothes that don't fit right that it didn't even occur to me to try another size.

So, in case you lost count, today's score is:

Fear, Ego, and Self-Pity:  1 for the self-defeating thoughts that kept me from my belly-dancing class, 1 penalty for going off-sides of a new experience, for a total of 1 point and a foul.
Bariatric Babe:  1 for going to the gym even after I was fouled on by my own negativity, and 1 for fitting into a new size, for a total of 2 points.
And the Babe wins today's game by a dress size!

All things considered, not such a bad day after all.

Disappointment in myself

WARNING:  This post is not as HI-larious as most of them.  Sorry about that for those of you reading for my humor--I'll try again later today or tomorrow.

I'm just having a down sort of day, mostly because I'm mad at myself.  Since having my weightloss surgery, I've been a very brave soldier.  I've had 2 operations, 3 ER visits, a couple of "procedures," and major dental work.  I've started working out diligently--I bought a bathing suit and go swimming, I can stay on the elliptical for almost 20 minutes (after a 10 minute warmup), I lift weights, and I'm doing one-on-one pilates.  I never thought I would do any of those things, and should be proud of myself for doing them.

Instead, I've been focusing lately on what I can't do.  I have lost about 130 lbs., yet I still can't shop in a "normal" size clothing store.  I still can't go too much farther than 30 minutes of cardio.  I feel as though I still am trying to gain back the muscle I've lost.  I have a hard time with eating at night, and I don't always get in enough protein.

And this morning, I was supposed to go to a new bellydancing class I got at a great deal from Groupon.  I chickened out and didn't go.  I'm not sure why, but I just couldn't.  I know that this is super-stupid, and that it isn't a big deal to go and shake my still-big belly that has 10 (or 12--I've lost count) little stabby scars (I'm still going to tell people I got into a knife fight).  I know that belly dancers, real ones, have bellies, and they don't care, and they still look beautiful even with rolls and pudge.  But I somehow can't get myself into that picture.  And I'm really mad at myself for letting my fear and body-shame stop me from something that could have been so much fun.

That's what I used to do.  I let my self-consciousness stop me from doing wonderful, fun and adventurous things.  I told myself that after surgery I wasn't going to let fear or self-consciousness stop me from doing new things--things I might (or might not) like.  But here I am, sitting at my computer instead of shaking my stuff.  Right now, I totally suck.

I did make myself go put on my (adorable) swimsuit, and promised myself that I would not take it off until I'd gone to the gym and done some swimming.  Oh, and then get back into the ladies locker room before taking it off--they frown upon skinny dipping at public pools.  I gave myself a deadline of going by noon, so I'm signing off and heading out (it's 12:05, so I'm pushing it).

What do you do when the only person you can be mad at is yourself?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jeggings....really? Do they know it isn't a real word?

Now I am a big fan of making up new words.  My most recent favorite is from Mia Michaels on "So You Think You Can Dance", which is "gorgious"  (pronounced gor-jwa', for those of you not obsessed with the show).  But seriously, "jeggings"?  If you need proof that there is evil in the world, the invention of both the word and the item should do it for you.

Why the tirade against jeggings?  Because I have actually started looking at clothes again.  Allow me to explain.

At a size thirty-something (I'm not even sure of the size, since most of the time I just wore stuff until it stretched to fit) you tend to ignore fashion, which is truly against my nature.  I love clothes and am a beauty junkie.  When I was young, I would have killed for a pair of Guess? jeans (which would have never fit, even if we could afford them).  In college, I went wore a lot of LL Bean (hey--it was the mid-nineties and it was all about the flannel).  When I started my first job, I wore long skirts with tights and chunky shoes (late nineties, so again it was quite fashionable).  But after my first job, I sort of gave up.  Nothing fit, nothing looked cute, and shopping just sucked.  The only thing I got excited about was shoes and bags--because they always fit (this is probably also the reason I love makeup so much).  Then I broke my ankle, and adorable shoes were out too.  All I had left were a couple of great bags and a LOT of makeup.  And it made me sad and angry that all the cute stuff was not meant for me.

But now, I'm starting to see the fashionable light at the end of the weight loss tunnel (that was a stretch of a metaphor, wasn't it?)  I don't have to shop for clothes on-line at Fatima's House of Tents anymore! Instead, I'm finding that I can shop in Layne Bryant again, and they do have some cute things.  I've bought a couple of pieces I couldn't wait on (a bra, a pair of jeans, and a t-shirt), but I'm putting off buying anything else until I can get into an 18/20.  Why?  Because when I reach that size (and I'm right on the verge), I will have nothing left that fits.  My adult wardrobe, as large as the range of sizes was, stopped at 22/24.  So I'm really looking forward to getting to actually shop soon (knock on wood, by Thanksgiving), and so I have started looking in store windows and fashion magazines.

Hence, my discovery of the evil items known as jeggings (nope...still not a word).  Here's hoping that by the time I can fit into them they will be out of style and I can move onto something that is actually flattering.

Friday, September 3, 2010

8 questions...

I just got tagged by TinaM to answer 8 questions.  Then I'm supposed to make up my own 8 and ask people to answer those on their own blog.  I love doing these (ask my friend StarMom), so here goes:

1. What pets do you have?
Sophie the cat, aka "The Beast".  She is getting a haircut tomorrow, and if I can find the charger for my camera I'll take a picture and post it for you to see.

2. What is your favorite color?
Blue.  When I was little, I would always say "rainbow" so that none of the color's feelings would be hurt (am I a Libra or what?!)

3. What TV show are you addicted too?
I hate to jump on the vampire bandwagon, but I heart True Blood.  It's the reason I kept cable. 

4. How tall are you?
5'5" (ish--I'm actually 5'4.5", but I figure I should round up).  In fact, whenever my Mother asks me "What are you up to?"  my answer is always, "5'5".

5. Have you ever got a speeding ticket? How many!
Yup.  The first one I ever got was on my way to church (which the cop didn't believe--duh, where else am I going in a fancy dress on a Sunday morning?).  He literally jumped in front of my car to stop me, and then asked me if I knew how fast I was going.  Luckily, I stopped myself before saying, "Is that before or after my friend yelled, 'COP!' at me?

6. If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing would you change about yourself instantly? (physical or otherwise)
I would like to be able to try out different looks.  I think it would be fun to be a very petite teeny lady one day, and then switch it up to be an athletic 6' tall Gabrielle Reese type.  I'd even want to try being a boy for a day (and I'd totally write my name in the snow).  I would just want to switch it up all the time, again with the typical Libra.  I think it would be fascinating to see life through many different eyes.

7.What one thing do you love about yourself, and wouldn't change? (physical or otherwise)
My sense of humor, hands down.

8. How long do you think you will keep up your blog? forever?
Ah, Miss M.  Nothing lasts forever.

I do not even know how to tag 8 other people.  Is it OK if I ask you to comment on this one with your answers to my 8 questions?  Here they are:


1.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Why did or didn't you become that person?


2.  What is your favorite holiday of the year and why?


3.  Favorite ice cream flavor?


4.  What is the biggest lie you told as a child?


5.  Have you even gone skinny dipping?


6.  Do you have a particular scent that is nostalgic/brings back a memory or moment for you?


7.  Dogs, cats, or both?


8.  What gets you out of bed in the morning?


Please feel free to answer in the comments, or let me know to check out your answers on your blog.  Thanks, TinaM!  This was fun!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lose to Win

If you've never heard of this movement, Google it and check it out.  It's called "The Ripples Project", and I get their weekly e-mails.  The whole point of it is to "explore the extraordinary power of tiny actions."

Ain't that the truth when it comes to weight loss!

You may (not) be surprised that I am a bit of a drama queen.  (SHOCK!  HORROR!).  I've never been good with planning, or consistency, routines, or baby steps.  Baby steps are for suckers; I wanna leap from one place to another, dammit.

Weight loss doesn't work that way.  Sure, the drama of losing 30+ pounds between the time I had my surgery and the time I went home 8 days later really fed my drama appetite, but it's been a month and my weight hasn't changed--except for up and down 2.5 lbs.  So I'm having to rely on the little things, instead of the big losses.  Like not eating until I get sick.  Like choosing a protein over a carb.  Like being able to do 15 minutes on the elliptical when I could only do 10 minutes last week.  And what I'm really hoping for is that all of these little things will eventually add up.  That I'll feel the "extraordinary power of my tiny actions."

I thought of this today because in their weekly e-mail they always include some cool quotes, usually submitted by other readers.  This week, it really struck home:

"When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be."
--Lao Tzu

(Disclaimer:  It does seem like I'm all cool and zen-ish with this quote, doesn't it?  Zen doesn't exactly describe me.  Case in point, one of my all-time favorite quotes is this one:  "Whenever I'm driving through the desert, and I see a roadrunner, I run it over and say, 'That's for the coyote!' I don't really like the coyote, but it's a good excuse to run over things."—Craig Stacey.  Yeah.  Zen, I ain't.)

So anyhoo, right now I'm taking baby steps (grumble, grumble) and trying to let go of the fat person I've been to be the healthy person I might be.  That's this week's homework assignment.


Does anyone have a quote that they live by, are trying to live by, or that they just really like?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Attitude of gratitude

This morning, I had my last pre-paid Pilates class, and I really do like it.  I'm trying to figure out a way to pay for more sessions, as I think it really helps get me in touch with my body as it's changing post-bariatric surgery. 

On the way home, I was overwhelmed by a sense of how grateful I am for so much in my life.  It's easy to get caught up in the number on the scale (which hasn't changed more than a pound or two in the last month and a half!), or a still-bulging belly, or how hard it is to eat differently.  I feel compelled to wear my "before" picture on my shirt so that people can see, saying, "Yeah, I'm still fat, but look how far I've come!"  I even find myself comparing how much I've lost to other people who have gone through gastric bypass--have I lost more than them, or more quickly, or am I on track?  I wonder if I could have started exercising earlier how much more I would have lost by now.  I worry that because I ate some croutons yesterday that I'm blowing my chance to lose more weight and get to my goal.

I've been doing a lot of beating myself up lately for all of this, and this morning I just took a breath and realized I need to concentrate more on the positives (I think the Pilates reminded me of this).  For me that starts with being grateful.  So it was time to check in with my center of gratitude and fill it up.

I am so grateful:
*That my parents support me, both in paying for the surgery and for the moral and physical support following it.  Yeah for Mom and Dad!  You guys rock!
*For my job.  I have wonderful people I work with, and they are very understanding.  How many bosses have you had that tell you to take time off?  And I also know that with this economy, I'm lucky to be employed.
*For Sophie the cat, aka. The Beast.  She keeps me company and reminds me to be less self-centered.
*For my friend Goldilocks, who reminds me to go to the gym, who keeps me company there, and who even slows herself to be patient with me and my physical limitations.
*For my body.  As much as I resent it, and tell it how ugly it is, it still gets me around.  It's easy to forget how wonderful your body is when you focus on how it looks and not how it feels.  And I need to continually remind myself how I couldn't walk without pain, or go to restaurants with booths, or go swimming.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm meeting with a friend to eat some low-cal Japanese food for lunch and then walk the mall, so I gots to go. 

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's been a hard days' week...

...and I've been working like a dog.  This week, I've just gotten tugged in every possible direction.  I've been bullied by management, threatened (with lawsuits) by employees, and led around the office by our CEO like--well, like a dog.  I knew it would be a rough week because I'm in a symposium on Thursday and Friday, so there ends up being extra stress to get everything done by Wednesday.

It got to the point yesterday that people were asking me "What's wrong?"  Which only happens when I'm extremely ill and don't have the strength to keep up the "HR Professional Mask," or when I forget to put on mascara (seriously, I look like I'm suffering from H1N1 when I don't have eyelashes).  My boss even came into my office and told me to take a day off...soon.  So yeah, the cracks in my armor must have been pretty visible.

And you know what I realized?  I haven't done anything active since Sunday.  No walks around the block, no stretching exercises, no yoga or pilates, no swimming, no weights, no nothing.  You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so shocked when I realized this.  The woman who refused to sweat (unless you count sweating while trying to open a stuck  jar of pasta sauce), NEEDS to work out in order to feel right.  Who knew?

Well, I guess I sorta knew.  I mean I knew about all the studies on how exercise boosts your mood and that the effects can last over a day.  I know that I'm mildly ADD and need variety.  I know that anxiety can be burned off, along with some calories, by a brisk 10-minute walk.  And yet, before I lost the weight I couldn't take advantage of this.

You see, there is an idea out there that fat people are lazy, and if they just got off the couch they could turn into Ironman.  I don't believe being lazy makes you fat--I've met far too many skinny people who won't lift a finger if they don't have to.  I DO believe that being fat can make you lazy.  I am a hard worker, I'm dedicated and stubborn as all heck, yet I got truly lazy because moving around just didn't feel good.  I was in near-constant pain when I walked--to the point of wanting to just give up and lie down.  I hated feeling my thighs rub together, and my jiggly spots jiggle.  So I avoided it like the plague, and I'm sure people around me assumed that I was lazy.

Now I'm finding that I can actually move, and that it's fun.  And that when I don't make time to work out, I really miss it both physically and emotionally.  Don't get me wrong--running around the block isn't going to make my CEO less of a bully, or keep the employee I secretly refer to as "The Emotional Titanic" from cornering me in my office to tell me of her most recent crisises (or crises?).  It just helps me burn off the stress, anxiety, and tension that result of these things so that I can start the next day fresh.  Then, I can see my CEO as a powerful, decisive woman (which she is), and I can see the Titanic employee as a very troubled lady who just needed a sympathetic ear (which she also is).

So after my symposium ended this afternoon, I made a stop at the gym.  I saw a friend there, and watched a bit of the Turbo Kick Boxing she's been telling me about (I'm a little scared to try it just yet).  Then I did a warm-up on a recumbent bike (7 minutes) and 12 minutes on the elliptical (a new record for me!) doing intervals.  Then I did weights for my shoulders, my back, my pecs, my biceps, and my triceps.  I know it probably sounds wimpy to those of you who work out a lot, but remember that I've had 2 major surgeries in the last 7 months and I'm still 225 lbs, which is just barely out of the morbidly obese column for my BMI.  (Woo hoo!  I've lost about 130 lbs and now I'm just the regular kind of obese!).  So I've got a long way to go before Ironman.  But this evening I feel better--less stressed, and less driving to eat unconsciously.  So this is definitely a new, positive discovery for me.

Basically, the moral of the story is that if you work like a dog, you should run and play like one too.  Or you just might end up "barking" mad.  (sorry about the pun...feel free to punish me in the comment section).

Monday, August 23, 2010

High anxiety--a tribute to Mel Brooks

OK, maybe not a tribute to Mel, but I keep thinking of him singing that  song, "High annnnnnnzzzzzziety!!!"

I've been worried about everything lately.  How much money I (don't) have, how stable is my job, what if I get laid off, how do I go about rebuilding my savings, what will I do when the Beast dies (she's about 87 in people years), what if I never reach my goal weight, what if I do and then regain it all...

I tell you, sometimes my brain is an exhausting place to live in.  Wildly entertaining, but exhausting.

So I'm trying to let go, and live one day at a time (thanks for the reminder, TinaM!).

Is it bad if I say that I'm starting this tomorrow?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm a star! And a role model! (be very afraid...)

This Thursday night,my surgeon held a bariatric seminar, which he requires all of his pre-op patients to attend.  He talks about his background (Dr. Michael Snyder of Rose Medical in Denver, also the inventor of the Full Bars you may have seen on late-night TV), the different surgical options, and what each one entails.  I was invited to be one of the speakers on the panel of post-ops, who tell their story and answer questions.

This was really exciting, because:
1.  They thought of me as a post-op success story (so far...)
b.  They realized how articulate and charming I am
3.  It's a great way to remind myself of where I was, and where I am now

It was a wonderful experience.  I got to see my surgeon while standing vertically, instead of lying down and drugged up.  I wish I'd had a chance to talk to him, but he got a call into the ER and had to leave early.  I would have liked to see if he still recognizes me, or if remembers that it's me whose new pouch was swollen shut for 7 days (and that he told me if it went one more day that he would have taken me back to surgery--which he's never had to do).

The biggest thing is remembering what it was like for me to attend the very same seminar, back in November of 2009.  I remember that I was worried about how far I would have to walk before I could sit down, because I was in so much pain.  I remember being too timid to ask any questions, or talk to any of the post-op panel.  I remember trying hard not to cry as I listened to him speak, and as he reignited the hope that I could have a life again.

So that's what I told everyone on Thursday.  I brought my before picture, and heard someone ask, "Which one is that?" because they weren't sure who on the panel the pictures belonged to.  I introduced myself, told them what kind of surgery I had, when I had it, and how much I've lost (down 130 now, which is only 15 pounds shy of what my mother weighs).  I told them the best thing about the surgery was getting my life back--being able to do things, go out, walk as much as I want, and all without pain.  I told them that the worst thing is the routine and planning--I'm not naturally good at either and have to work on it every day. 

What I didn't tell them was that I've only lost 5 pounds in the last month, and am worried about how I might not lose more.  Or that I will gain it all back again.  Or that I still cannot control myself around bread, but sweets now hold very little appeal to me.  I didn't tell them that I used to order pizza 2-3 times per week, and that I haven't had real pizza since the last night I was allowed to eat before surgery.  I didn't tell them about the strange comments I get while losing weight, or that I get mad when I get judgmental looks for being fat (I assume) and that I really want to shout, "You think I'm fat NOW?  You should have seen me in January!"  I also didn't share that I'm so anxious to get to a size 16 or less, so that I can shop at normal-sized clothing stores (I'm still around a size 22, since all my weight is in my midsection).  And what if I never get there?

And I don't know if it was right of me to leave that part out.  Because I wanted to know that sort of stuff as a pre-op.  I just didn't know how to ask anymore than I knew how to say it this time around.  Such a long way I've come, and yet such a long way to go...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New stuff I'm loving...

I thought it might be time to update you on some new things that I've really been liking.  Note that these are all snacks (which become meals for me) and so they aren't high enough in protein to enjoy too often.  But lately I've been craving snack foods, and these are things that help beat the cravings with the least amount of damage.  Please ask your doctor/nutritionist what is right for you.  And, no, I don't get any free product, new cars, or even a slap in the kisser for mentioning these items--I just really, really like them.

Laughing Cow cheese wedges:  I know that this isn't new, but what is new are the flavors--blue cheese (icky--but I don't like blue cheese), queso fresco and chipotle (my new favorite), and sun-dried tomato and basil (haven't tried it yet).  They are all "light" with 35 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.  Now for me, that isn't really enough protein for a meal, but it sure does solve the need for some creamy cheesy goodness on occasion.  Visit the website for recipes and a fun 80's workout mix.

Justin's Nut butters:  They are from Boulder, CO, and so they have hit major popularity in my area.  What I like is that I can get single-serving squeeze packs.  No temptation to eat out of the jar.  My favorite is honey almond, and I've found them at Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, and just about any natural supermarket in my area. With 190 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar, it isn't idea for WLS folks.  But it helps me get my peanut butter on in a controlled portion size (and all-natural, with no high-fructose corn syrup).  And if you go to the website you can enjoy the catchy song by a fan crazier than I am (good singer, too!)

Dr. Kracker:  You gotta put that nut butter and cheese wedges on something, right? (just not at the same time, please)   Enter, Dr. Kracker, cheddar and pumpkin flavor flatbreads.  They are SERIOUSLY crunchy (as in you might lose a filling), they are slightly cheesy, and they are quite filling.  100 calories each (they are big), with no sugar, no transfat, 4 g of fiber, and 5 g of protein.   Hey, they didn't go to 4 years of Kracker Medical School just to make some crappy crackers--they are delish!


Newman's Own Soy Crisps, White Cheddar flavored:  Danger, danger!  These will squish in a pouchie and let you eat too many.  Either portion them out in single servings or don't buy them.  In fact, I don't think I can buy them anymore (I'm going to order some higher protein snacks from a bariatric website), but I thought I'd share.  120 calories, 1 g sugar, and 8 g of protein PER SERVING (so if your serving size the whole bag, these numbers will need to be adjusted).

Arctic Zero:  It's like a frozen protein shake, especially if you don't feel like making your own (please go visit the fantastic blog of Eggface if you do feel like making your own--she gives great directions).  This stuff is good if you need an ice cream fix--really good.  Like, 150 calories for the ENTIRE pint.  It tastes wonderful--especially if you haven't eaten real ice cream in over 7 months!  My fav is the chocolate mint, but I also tried the chocolate peanut butter and liked it.  It's 45 calories for 1/2 cup (no, that's not a typo),  4 grams of protein, and 6 grams of sugar.  I avoid anything with more than 5 grams of sugar, but for a couple of spoonfuls (about 1-2 T is all I eat at a time) it's a lot less.  Amazon sells it, but I get it at my local Sprouts market.

Dreyer's No Sugar Added Fruit Bars:  Yum!  Especially the raspberry!  Now this is not like sugar-free bars, each one has 25 calories and 1 g of sugar, so don't eat half the box.  But they are made with actual fruit and no high fructose corn syrup, so I feel nearly guilt-free.

Now my nutritionist and surgeon said these are the types of treats that I can have 2-3 times a week.  My problem is more about not having them once a day, so I talked to my support group and they recommended some bariatric foods that are high-protein, no/low sugar, and low calorie.  These are special order items, so when I get around to ordering some I'll let you know what I try, and give you my opinion.

If you get a chance to try any of these and you like them too, let me know.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My tips on going to the gym...

Hi again to everyone--especially those that are new who have joined me.  Thank you!

I'm having a great time, now that I can work out.  I like going to the gym, I love my new pilates teacher, and I've even been swimming laps.  It is all very cool, and very new to me.  And I'm learning there are a lot of things I don't know about going to the gym.  I've been going with a friend of mine, we'll call her Goldilocks, who is VERY athletic and actually knows what she's doing.  I recommend finding yourself someone like her to go with.  If for nothing else, then to help you get off the &^$ floor when you're done stretching.

Now she had warned me that the gym has it's own culture, and that there are lots of unwritten rules to follow like putting back the things you use, wiping down the machines when you're finished, and not talking to other people who are working out at the same time.  According to Goldi, people are there to work out, not socialize.  She is so naive.   For example, I have made me a new gym friend, I'm sure of it. 
Goldi:  "You made a friend?"
Babe:  "Yeah.  He was filling his water bottle at the same time I was filling mine and so I told him that we were racing, and that I won."
Goldi:  "You know that people aren't supposed to talk to each other at the gym--you need to respect that person's private circle."
Babe:  "I think you're wrong.  My friend and I (after racing to fill our water bottles) both went to the hot tub.  I got out first and said to him, 'OK, I'm leaving you in charge.'  It was hilarious, and we laughed together."
Goldi:  [sigh]  "Honey, that was polite laughter.  The 'if-I-laugh-maybe-the-crazy-lady-will-leave' laugh does not constitute a friendship."
Babe:  "Sure it does.  He and I are tight now--being gym buddies and all"
Goldi:  "Really.  So what is the name of your new friend?"
Babe:  "Uh...Baldy."
Goldi:  [snort of derision]  "And his last name?"
Babe:  "Uh, yeah...he doesn't have a last name.  Like Madonna.  Or Cher.  Only his bathing suit was completely devoid of sequins, which is weird for someone with just one name."


It's worth mentioning that at this point in the conversation, Goldi just gave up, which means I win.


Now just in case you are also new to the "workout scene," let me share some additional tips that I've learned so far:
1.  Never, EVER take off your shower shoes at the gym.  Seriously.
2.  You can always spot the serious weightlifters by the gallon jug of water they carry around with them and drink from.  What is that about?  They can't pour their water into a normal-sized bottle like everyone else?  My workout buddy, Goldilocks, says that they just really like lifting heavy things, and that they can accomplish that with every sip.
3.  Try and get a spot on a machine that overlooks the personal training area.  Then you can watch the Marquis de Sade personal trainer make their client do ridiculous-looking training activities to humiliate them in front of the entire gym.  It makes for a more interesting view when you can watch a 5'2" petite woman make a gorilla of a man walk on all fours, with his feet on slippery disks, and do frog-kicks.  I don't know if that gave him a good workout, but I know that it made my workout more interesting.
4.  Take your iPod with you, and get a good workout mix (let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions, or would like the list I'm using right now).  Using ear buds will help drown out the two women on the ellipticals next to you who are carrying on a full conversation, texting, and managing to make comments on every other woman that walks by.  Without even breaking a sweat.
5.  Do not wear your old baggy clothes (like I've been doing).  Apparently my shorts are so big that when I get on the floor to stretch they gap and show my undies (also too big) to anyone who cares to look.

How about you guys?  Any tips you'd like to share?  Please leave them in the comments!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Out with the old

Today I went through my closet and got rid of any size 30/32's that I have.  I got rid of most of the 26/28's too.  I had a threefold test to see if it was time to get rid of it:  1. Is it so big that it looks ridiculous?  2. Is it totally out of style?  3. Would this item be better served with someone else?  If I answered yes to any of them, into the Goodwill bag it went.  I have 3 large paper bags (from Whole Foods, see I recycle too!) full.

And instead of being thrilled that I'm smaller and able to get rid of my largest clothes, I find that I'm a little melancholy.  It's funny how going through your old clothes is like looking at little pieces of your life.  That's the outfit I bought because I needed something for an event and it was the first thing that fit that didn't make me want to gouge out my own eyes.  It was also my first visit to the real "fat lady" store, because I was getting too big for Lane Bryant.  That's the outfit I got at Christmas that I never even tried on because I knew how awful I would look in it (Sorry, Mom).  That's the first outfit I got at Avenue, and I was so thrilled to find it had size 30/32.  That's the shirt with the retro graphic on it, that made me feel like I wasn't so out-of-step with everyone else ('course, this is back when retro graphics were cool).

I'm terrified to get rid of it all, it's like getting rid of my history.  At the same time, it would make my life easier to have clothes in the closet that fit and that I actually like.  So my compromise is to keep the outfit I was wearing in my "before" picture.  It's a reminder of where I came from...and where I hope to never be again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Proportion Distortion

So I talked before about how a lot of post-surgical peeps are thin, with a bit of bulk in the abdomen/hip area from extra skin (I spoke about this previously here).  Since it seems to be very typical of post-ops to be disproportionate this way, I'm trying to be kind to myself and not let the weeble-wobble image in the mirror throw me.

But I finally had to replace my jeans because it isn't attractive when you have to keep hitching them up as you walk.  You can see in my 6-month pic that they are pretty baggy, so I went to Lane Bryant.  They have a new sizing system based on your build--curvy, average, or straight.  I tried on an average pair first and I was a size 22.  Shocking to think that 6 months ago I didn't even know my size because I wouldn't have been caught dead in a pair of jeans.  But the 'average cut', while just barely fitting around my waist, was way too big in the hips, butt, and thighs.  So I got the slender straight cut...and found out I had to get a size 24.  While they fit smaller, the size was larger.  And the tops I bought were all 22's.  Grrrr....

I know that sizes and numbers shouldn't matter, but at this phase they really do.  The scale isn't moving, my clothing size is still starting with a two--shouldn't I be thin by now?  And why is it that my stomach is still so increadibly out of proportion? 

I don't know the answers.  I don't know what will cause those numbers to go down further, other than to keep doing what I'm supposed to.  And I know in my head that my proportions will be off and strange until the time I lose enough weight and get plastic surgery to correct that.

But it still is very frustrating.  Anyone who says that surgery is the easy way out should be slapped.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Notice anything different?

I had my 6-month surgiversary celebration this week (even though it was actually last week that I hit 6 months).  So that meant some new jeans, a blood panel, a visit to the doctor, a new photo, and a new look for the blog (it's a library, see?  cause we're 'rewriting' our lives, see?  get it?  scribblinginthemargin?  I knew you did!).


So last week I went to Kaiser to get my 6-month bloodwork done in time to take the results to my bariatric surgeon this week.  It takes at least 3 times to explain, yes--this is for another surgeon.  No, he isn't with Kaiser.  Yes, I still need the bloodwork done.  Yes, I do enjoy hassling you. Etc., etc.  When I finally had the bloodwork ordered in the system, I headed down to the lab to get my blood drawn.  I remembered to take a list from my bariatric surgeon of the names of all the tests he wants taken, which he nicely typed up and put on his letterhead.  So I show up to the phlebotomist with this paperwork, hand it to her, and she says, "Bariatric surgery.  Oh that's great!  Good for you!  When is your surgery date?"

*crickets*

"Uh, January 21.  Last January 21."

Now, to her credit, she didn't even miss a beat or realize the enormity of her faux pas.  "Wow, that's fantastic!  How much have you lost?"  God bless her little phlebotomist heart, because her genuine enthusiasm kind of took my mind off the fact that I apparently still look like I need surgical intervention.  On top of it, she was REALLY good at drawing blood--super-fast, no prodding, no second pokes (or thirds), and NO bruising.  I told her she was so fast she should have holsters for her needles and that I was going to call her "Quick Draw."

So my blood work came back fine, although a little anemic.  My triglycerides are down into the 200's (hey, they've been up in the 500's before) and although my cholesterol is higher than before, it's still within the normal range.  I'm down 120 lbs since my pre-surgical appointment, and 125 lbs total.  I just tried on a size 22 pair of jeans and they fit (although I opted for the "skinny" cut and had to go up to a 24 so that they would fit in the waist).  My t-shirt size is almost to the 18/20 range.  My feet are smaller.  I can stand in line and the only impatience comes from the idiot in front of me who is still using checks, and not from the fact that my back hurts so badly that I might fall down on the floor and not be able to get up.  I can cross my legs, and fasten my bra strap by reaching behind me.

So yeah, so far so good.  Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop and start gaining weight back.  But I've gotten better at telling that negative nelly to just shut the hell up 'cause I don't want to hear it.

Thank you to those that have been following my journey so far.  Thank you for your support, and for listening to my rambling.  I'm sure there will be a lot more of it to follow, and I thank you for continuing to read.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It puts the lotion on its skin...

Creepy (but so funny out of context).

I just wanted to answer Miss Tina M, who asked about lotions.  If you go to Sephora, or Nordstrom, or Ulta, or any other place that sells lotions and potions (and I do love them so...but that is for another day), they will tell you that lotions will help with sagging skin.  They say it increases circulation and diminishes cellulite, and that it does just about everything for you except wash your dishes and give you an orgasm (well, unless you are using the lotion in a VERY different way).  They will sing promises and dance dances of mighty lotions that will turn you into a slender, gazelle-like creature with big boobs, big eyes, a round bum, and a flat tummy. 

*They LIE.*  That's right, like sleeping dogs, like a braided rug, like Tiger Woods in front of a microphone.  You can pretty much bet that if it's on the back of the tube, or in a glossy ad featuring an already-thin woman, that it is not entirely true.

What you can do is maximize what you have.  Stay out of the sun, drink lots of water, eliminate caffeine (in beverages only, however, because studies have shown that lotion with caffeine has a slight, and temporary, tightening effect).  Get a faux tan, because it will make stretch marks and wrinkly skin less apparent.  Work out regularly and build your muscles to help fill out the skin a bit.  Exfoliate to increase your circulation, and indulge on a massage occasionally for the same reason.  Hydrated skin is healthy skin, so use moisturizer liberally.

But stay realistic.  While all of these things will help slightly, they won't fix the shriveled balloon appearance of someone whose lost the equivalent of an Olson twin.  Your skin has only so much elasticity, and can only recover so much.  If I had stopped losing at 90 lbs, I would have no problems at all.  It was at about 115 lbs that I really started noticing it.  And I have REALLY good skin.  I've seen some people lose half of what I have that are as withered as a raisin.  What you end up with is a product of genetics, how much weight you had to lose, how quickly you lose it, and how badly stretched your skin was to start with.

I suggest getting yourself a drug-store brand (Nivea, Aveeno and Neutrogena are consistently rated highly) that won't break the bank, and slather it on.  It won't hurt you, and if you are losing less than 100 lbs it may be enough.  Otherwise, save your pennies for a good, experienced plastic surgeon and vow to donate the skin that's removed to burn victims (yeah, you really can do that!).  And maybe by the time I lose all my extra weight they'll use my extra skin to create a new Olsen twin triplet.