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.