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 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. 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 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!!