Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recent obsession

OK, so ever since I impulse bought the chicken, I've been coming up with new ways to eat it, and here is one of my favorites:

BBQ Chicken Pizza
1/2 a whole grain, low carb tortilla
1/2 TBS pizza sauce (choose one without much added sugar)
1 TBS BBQ sauce (again, a low or no sugar brand)
An ounce (or so) of shredded cheese--I like to mix monterey jack and sharp cheddar
Seasonings (chopped onion and chopped cilantro are the traditional flavors, but I don't use either of them--I'm a plain jane kind of gal)
1-2 oz. of shredded, cooked chicken--like from a rotisserie chicken that you might have impulse bought at Wal-Mart (or maybe that's just me)

Preheat your toaster oven to 400.  I like to preheat the cookie sheet I use (lined in foil) for the time it takes for me to put the pizza together so it gets a little crispy.

Mix the 2 types of sauce together in a small dish.  Spread a spoonful of the mixed sauces over the tortilla.  Add the chicken to the remaining sauce mixture and stir until just coated.  Evenly place the sauced chicken around the tortilla; top with the cheese blend and any seasonings you choose. 

Place "pizza" onto pre-heated cookie sheet and put in the oven.  I usually go do something else for a while and then come back and check after 5-7 minutes.  If the cheese is bubbly and the edges are getting crispy, you're done!

Personally, I like the Fat Flush Sprouted Grain tortillas for the nutrition and the slightly denser texture.  I also don't worry too much about sugar free sauces, but I do try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup and I choose varieties with lower sugar when I can.

It's fast, it tastes good, it fills me up, has good nutrition, and makes me feel like I'm eating pizza.  What more could you ask for?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I impulse-bought a chicken...

...Let me explain.

I was at the Wal-mart with Goldilocks the other day, waiting in the purgatory of the longest checkout lines in town, when I saw a beacon of light--the checkstand rotisserie chicken carosel.  I am not making this up.  You know how at the grocery store at 4:00 they put all of the fresh bread, smelling of deliciousness and your future shame of eating half of it before getting home?  At this Wal-mart they do the same thing, ONLY WITH CHICKEN.  Genius.  I nearly bought two out of crazed delight before I remembered it would take me a week to eat just one chicken and the second would go bad before I could enjoy it.

And it got me thinking how things have changed since my gastric bypass 20.5 months ago (I'm counting the time like mothers do their children.  As an aside, when do they stop counting in months?  I actually heard a friend of mine say her boy was 36 months.)  Sorry for the tangent.  Anyhoo, it's one of those clearly illuminating moments of how things have changed.  I think Oprah calls them Aha! moments, but I'm afraid to use that term in case I have her goons sent after me.  That's right.  The Oprah goons.  I'm pretty sure they're real.

2 years ago, I would have impulse-bought a king size Snickers, maybe some gum, or the aforementioned French Bread Loaf of Shame.  Chicken?  That isn't fried?  Forget it.

So much has changed that it's hard to realize when exactly that happened.  Don't get me wrong--old habits WILL creep back in:  night eating, carbs, overeating, taking a piece of candy from a co-worker's jar.  I promise you, if you are still within your 1st year of surgery and thinking that it won't happen to you, that these things will happen.  I had people tell me, and I didn't believe them either.  But your own food demons will pop back up in an ugly way.  The key is to focus on the changes you've made and to stay positive that you have made enough of a change in your first year of surgery that you have the tools to beat them back into submission.

So today, I'm focusing on my new impulse purchase.  The Snickers didn't snicker at me or anything.  I instinctively and without much thought went for something that really feeds my body, and not something that feeds those food demons.  I beat them back...for today...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Les Miserables loves company

I went to the Les Mis show here in town with a friend of mine, even though I was sick (I am too cheap to let $60.00 tickets go to waste because of a little COLD!).  I had so much fun!  I'd forgotten that it's a big deal to get dressed up and go out to a show.  We're already talking about the next one we want to go to--The Lion King, and then Wicked in the spring.

Because I'm having fun learning about my new fancy I-gadgets, here's a pic of us:
I'm on the right--but aren't we cute?  And because it's a phone-photo you can't see how red my nose is from constantly blowing it.  And because we saw Les Mis, everyone around me was doing the same thing from crying, so I fit right in!

I think that when you are really overweight you don't do things that you love because they are physically too difficult.  And when you go too long, you forget about them and then wake up one day when someone asks you what your hobbies are, and you can't answer.  "Duh...I dunna know...Me forgets what me likes."  Truly, eating was my only hobby.

Tonight was a reminder.  I really like the theater.  I like live music.  I like getting gussied up and going out.  Now I just need to find a way to be able to do it more often.  Maybe I'll ask for some season tickets for my birthday or something.

Now I need to find at least 2 more things so I can have a nice number of hobbies to tell people about.

Send me your suggestions.  It helps if it involves wearing a cute outfit...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Only 4 or 5 stomach flu till I reach my goal weight...

Sigh.  I have a cold and am not feeling well at all.  There are two upsides:
1.  I have a dead-sexy voice when I get sick.  Like Kathleen Turner.
2.  I don't feel like eating.  Or drinking.  Or staying upright for longer than an hour at a time.  But I'm going to concentrate on the not feeling like eating.

I went to support group last night, before the onset of the cold symptoms (if any of my fellow group-ies get sick, please don't blame me as the Typhoid Mary).  I'm really glad I did.  I got to see a woman there who had her surgery about the same time I did, and is struggling with the same "bounce back" that I am.  I'm so glad it's not just me.  I hear all the time about post-ops who have no food struggles (or so they say) and I would like to kick them in the shins.  Not that I'm bitter.

I know that I should be proud of losing about 165 lbs., but the fact is that I still have about 15 pounds to go before I am out of the "obese" category on the BMI chart.  I'm starting to think that between the cravings for carbs, the thyroid imbalance, and the constant tiredness from the thyroid imbalance (i.e. lack of exercise), that I will not only never get there, but that I will actually gain weight from here.

Enter in the year's first illness!  Hooray!  A stuffy nose does wonders for cravings...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gettin' high tech all up in here!

So, apparently I'm very into things that start with vowels.

I have an iMac, an E-Reader, and an iPod, and recently I just got an iPhone.  You know, a SmartPhone.  I have learned that they call them that because they are truly smarter than I am.  Here is my new favorite picture of a high school friend of mine and I giving our best "SmartPhone face" (ie. feeling really old and confused) with my new iPhone:

OK, so I did skip a bit, didn't I?  I went to my 20th high school class reunion, and had an absolute blast!  I was constantly reminded that if I had tried to go 2 years ago, I wouldn't have made it.  It was 110 degrees there, for starters, and at 350 lbs. I would not have survived.  Not to mention the plane ride, the walking, the rental car (they can be too small if you're big), etc.  The best part was seeing people that were a huge part of my life, especially my childhood best friend, S.  My parents moved away when I left for college, so I really hadn't been back to town since Thanksgiving my Freshman year of college and it's really easy to just drift away.

And, this part is a kick, almost everyone told me I looked exactly the same as I did in high school.  In fact, I'm about 1 size smaller now--the dress I'm wearing in the picture above is a 16/18 and my prom dress was a size 20.  THAT was really cool.  Now, if I manage to get back to my college for a reunion, no one will recognize me at all.  I bounced between a size 20 and a size 24 all four years (and I had super-short hair that changed colors about every 3 months with my whim).  I'll have to dig up some pictures of that another day.

Here's the other high tech-ness that I'm trying.  eHarmony.  I know, cliche, but I have no idea how to meet people and frankly I'm 37 and it's time I date.  I am horrified, terrified, and completely out of my league.  But I do believe that if something scares you a little it probably means that it's worthwhile to try it.

Here's the thing:  how do you tell someone you're just meeting (and that you might want to date) that your life was on hold for 10+ years?  Or that the last relationship I had was all one-sided?  Or that I'm trying to figure out what I like and who I want to be still?  It's like my personal development is still stuck at age 21.  And I'm getting matched with people in their 40's, who have had real relationships, been married & divorced, had kids, etc.  How the hell am I supposed to catch up?

I guess the answer is that I don't.  I can only be me--arrested development and all.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bariatric surgery stream of consciousness

I didn't really know what to write about, but I keep having people tell me it's been too long since I've updated.  So I'm going with a stream of consciousness thing.  Let's try the "Good news, Bad news" thing.

Bad News (let's get it out of the way)
  • I've been off-program.  REALLY off-program.  I haven't been working out, and I've been grazing in the evenings instead of eating my meal and then stopping (this, by the way, is the surest way to failure after surgery).  I couldn't figure out what had changed until clumps of hair started falling out again.  Ta-DA!  My thyroid is extremely low (for me), which translates to weight gain and extreme tiredness (which then translates to skipping the gym and eating continually to keep your energy level up).  Now that we know what's going on and have adjusted my thyroid dose, I've started working out again, feeling better, and slowed down the grazing.  But I still have work to do on the eating thing.
  • My weight is not changing.  The doctor took out about 12lbs of fat, and I weigh the same now as before surgery.  Some of it is still swelling, I'm sure, but I also think my thyroid hiccup and the resulting changes is a big part of that.
  • My cravings have come back.  The doctor told me this would happen eventually.  I hate it when other people are more right than me.  I do know that if I can kick the carbs completely for about a week that the cravings will subside (although not disappear completely).  But it truly is a miserable thing to do.  Think about all the movies you've seen about people going cold-turkey off drugs.  That's what it feels like to quit carbs--it ain't fun.  But you do feel better afterwards, and you find that you don't have the same cravings, or that they are more manageable.
Good news:
  • Pilates (with a one-on-one trainer) has been an absolute god-send for me.  Not the mat-based pilates that you see at the gym or on workout videos.  That crap is HARD.  But the real thing, on the real machines (that look like torture devices), with a real instructor guiding you along so you don't hurt yourself.  See, when you do it on your own, with just a mat, you have to use your body weight for resistance.  On the machines, they take away some of that resistance so you can still do the same moves, but more easily (and less likely to hurt yourself).  I find I look taller and leaner, and I love the concentration it requires.  It's helped me rehab my knee and get my muscle tone back in my legs.  It's helped my feet and ankles, which has re-trained the way I walk.  If you can afford it, I highly recommend it.
  • I am still enormously lucky.  I have a supportive family who loves me, and who is willing to help me along every step of this process.  A big part of that is the financial assistance, which I don't know if I'd have been able to get the quality surgery that I had.  My insurance company, that starts with a K and means a German General, had approved me for surgery with a waiting list of 1 year.  They also were not designated a Center for Bariatric Excellence at the time (although they are now), and that was a big deal to me.  So I was able to go the self-pay route with the best doctor in the area because of the help from my family.  They also helped cover my other bills when I was off-work (with no salary) during recovery, and who is helping me with the surgical "business."  And, to boot, they are loving and supportive, and just generally good people with good humor.  Yes.  I am seriously the luckiest person I know, and I don't take it for granted.
Think of your own "good news bad news" list.  It helps me to get perspective, and might do the same for you.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick update

Yup.  I had the lipo, and it went great.  I'm not really all that much smaller, but it's amazing how different my shape is.  The best part, I can wear tan color pants.  Yup.  I actually went out and bought some khakis.  Size 16.  Low-rise (I didn't even really know what that meant, but apparently when you're short and you're buying pants that aren't elasticized, it's the way to go).  Very little pain, very low recovery time, and now it's just waiting 6 months before deciding on the skin thing.

Here's the thing, and why I haven't been blogging.  I'm off in Babe-land again.  I really don't feel like examining my soul, or thinking about what works and what doesn't.  I just want to get out and live life.  But my problem is the same problem I've always had--that I am all or nothing.  So I'm not finding a good balance of introspection and still living "in my body" so to speak.  I'm in, or I'm out.  Frankly, the recent plastic surgery has put me much more into my body, and driven out the desire to stay at least a little into my head.  I've started meditating again, hoping to find some balance.  You'll know if it's working if you see more posts soon.

In the meantime, let me leave you with this fabulous little find:  The Laproscopic Bypass kit, sold on Amazon.  I actually found the post making fun of it, and celebrating all the sarcastic reviews it got.  Just for fun, check it out here (it's number 2 on the list).  Enjoy, and hope to see you again soon...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Upcoming surgery...

Folks, it's been a long time.  I've been avoiding again, and drifting into Babe-land.  I've had a lot of emotional stuff coming up, and I've been trying to find ways of dealing by distraction.  Sometimes it's overeating, or unconscious eating, sometimes it's just staying too active to think.  Only one of those is actually productive to becoming the person I want to be, but they are all distracting me from the real stuff going on.

Here's the thing.  I have what I like to refer to as "The Business."  When I mention this phrase, it comes complete with a gesture where I indicate the area I'm referring to with what roughly looks like I'm rubbing a budda belly.  Only the gesture covers from the top of my belly to the top of my thighs--the area where The Business is taking up unwanted residence.

See, many people with massive weight loss develop what's called a "pannus" after surgery, which is a hanging belly consisting of hanging skin and (frequently) a stubbon fat pad.  I'm lucky in that I have only a little of that going on.  It's irritating, but not the end of the world.  The main issue I have is that same phenomenon happening in the pubic area.  It's embarrassing, disturbing, restrictive, and humiliating.  Hence the more innocuous and inarticulate term, "The Business." 

Despite the weight loss I find my movement is very restricted by it.  I can't really cross my legs, or keep my legs together very well.  I don't wear pants that fit because I'm too worried it will look like I'm smuggling a fighting chihuahua in the crotch.  I'm stumped on how to "spot reduce"--there are no machines at the gym that really target that area, you know?

So I consulted with a plastic surgeon.  I didn't know if there was anything that could be done to solve this issue for right now, with the expectation that somewhere down the road I'll be addressing a tummy tuck and skin removal, maybe take care of the extra skin under the arm, and put my boobular area back to where nature intended.  For all of that, I want to be much closer to my goal.  But this issue just cannot wait. 

At the surgeon's, I found out it's a combination of a fat pad that is very stubborn and resistant to weight loss, and the loosening of the skin after massive weight loss.  And yea, nothing but surgery can fix it.

So at the end of the month I, The Babe, am going in for liposuction.

That is really hard to say.  I tell people it's the first step in the surgery to remove skin and such, which it technically is.  But to tell people I'm having lipo sounds like I'm some vain rich lady who is trying to get rid of her last 10 "vanity" pounds without giving up her expensive wine habit or (gasp!) sweating.  It makes me feel like I'm being ridiculous; like I should be content with having just lost 155-160 pounds and not worry about how I look.  Like I'm self-centered and awful.  And on top of that, it is a big chunk of money that I don't really have, but that my parents are willing to spend, and so I feel like a huge spoiled brat who is taking advantage of their hard work and savings.

But it's also that I've worked really hard to lose weight, and I deserve to wear a pair of pants that fit in something other than black.  It's that this is a problem that cannot be fixed by eating less and exercising more.  And that I am the luckiest person in the world to have parents who worked hard all their lives so that they could afford to do things for their kids that will change their lives for the better.

So this is a very emotional decision for me, mixed with happiness, excitement, guilt, worry, vanity, and everything else you can think of.  And what fat people do when they are overwhelmed with emotion is eat.

So my best solution, both for my health and my weight loss, is to come to terms with the emotions this stirs up, get into the reality of the situation, and allow my eating to fall back into the pattern of 80-90% protein, some fruits and veggies, very few other carbs, eating small portions, and eating consciously.  I've given myself a full 2 weeks for the freak-out, and now it's time to touch base and get back to the New Normal of caring for my body and my self.

Wish me luck...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's time...

Just reaching out, because it's time.  I tend to wander off the path, and this blog (and all the ones I check and read on a regular basis) seems to keep me on track best.

So I had a few minutes this morning to check in and see what was what in virtuality today, and I am so glad I did.  Please go see a few of these excellent posts:
Shrinking Blubeari
Send a congrats to Sheila
And a shout-out to HFP

Hope you like them (and get as much from them as I do).  I have to run off, but I feel a little more centered than I did before.

Thank you all...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Really? Time for New Rules...

Oh dear.  I'm afraid I've encountered another situation that requires me to look at the individual in question and say, "Really?"  It is actually an expression of disbelief, and requires a certain knack for sarcasm (i.e. certain Adorable Moms--Alma, this means you again--need not even try this one).

I was at the gym with Goldilocks and went to wash my hands.  As I'm at the wall dryer-thingy, I spy out of the corner of my eye a woman sidle up to the sink.  Right next to me.  There are 8 sinks along the wall, and she had to use the one right next to me.  Okay fine, right?  Odd, but fine.  That is it WAS fine until I see her hoist her bare foot up and into the PUBLIC sink, where she proceeded to wash her toes.  Did I mention that she was Right. Next. To. Me. 

Of course I ran like a lawyer out of church into the next room, palms still damp, to report this breach of etiquette to Goldy.  She could hardly believe it either.  So we casually walk past the sink area together, and this woman has gone from washing her feet in the PUBLIC sink to saturating her hair from the sink.  At this point, I'm wondering why the woman didn't take the 20 extra feet to the showers?  And I'm wondering how to turn her in to the gym police.

As a recent convert to the gym scene, I did check in with Goldy to make sure this sort of behavior is not common (she was decidedly against it).  And I thought, as a public service, I should create a list of my Top Five New Rules for those who are new to the gym, as I was just a few months ago.

Rule #1:  DO NOT WASH YOUR STINKY FEET IN THE PUBLIC SINK!  I would have thought this was obvious.  Apparently not.

Rule #2:  The comfy chairs they put in the women's locker room are there to use while waiting on your gym buddy, not for you to lean bare-butted upon while watching the TVs that are inexplicably mounted to the locker walls.  People.  It's a locker room, not your den.

Rule #3:  You are there to get sweaty and gross.  It's expected.  It's also expected that you at least mime a wipedown of the machine you sweated your sweaty self all over.

Rule #4:  It is NOT okay to bring in your DQ treats you got on the way to the gym.  Ditto with bags from McDonalds.  I do not care if you were just cleaning out your car and throwing your old wrappers away.  Some of us use the gym as one of the few sanctuaries from food that we cannot/should not eat. 

Rule #5:  The really lound grunting in the weight area, followed by the dropping of weights that are obviously too heavy for you to pick up in the first place.  While I applaud you for doing some serious work, I do not wish to hear your agonized grunts.  You're manly.  I get it.  Try being manly without the sound effects.

Bonus Rule:  Do what you gotta do to build your stamina, strength and flexibility.  You may be the one moving to the right when everyone else moves to the left, but you're there and you're doing it.  Hold your head high and don't be intimidated by the spandex-wearing gym bunnies (or the weight belt-wearing walking abs).  Not everyone can be coordinated, or have buns of steel, or personalized weight lifting gloves.  You do what you gotta do for you.  And if you happen to see me at the gym, know that in my head I'm not judging, but giving you a secret and well-deserved high five.  Really.

That is, unless you start to wash your feet in the sink.  Then all bets are off.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You know you're becoming a spinster when...

I just watched the 30 Rock from last week (yea, DVR-o-Vision!), where Liz has broken up with her boyfriend (played by Matt wonder she's so depressed) and decided she doesn't have it in her anymore and is just going to give up.  She arrives at work in a sweatshirt/jammie-pants combo, with a chip-clip holding her hair back, a fanny pack, and a new pet cat she named "Emily Dickenson."  Sounds crazy, right?  But hitting a little too close to home.  I am wavering on the line into spinsterhood and I need someone to pull me back onto solid ground.  How do I know?

Top 10 Reasons to believe I'm falling into Spinsterhood:

10.  I only own sensible shoes.  Yup, not a heel in sight.
9.  I caught myself telling a funny story about the cat the other day and ending it with the phrase, "She thinks she's people."
8.  I have food wrappers on my bedside table.  Granted, they are from sugar-free Popsicles...holy crap, I just realized it's WAY weirder to eat Popsicles in bed than junk food.
7.  I have a designated friend (shout out to D. Willy) who, in case of my untimely death, is in charge of going over to my house and tidying, i.e. removing any parental-inappropriate items.  If you are confused by what that might be, then you are probably my mother and should not concern your cute little mom-head about it.  Seriously, Alma.  Quit reading.  Now.  You may resume reading at #4.
6.  I do not have a single pair of adorable or sexy undies.  Granted, I did have them, but they got to be too big.  Nothing worse than a pair of lacy black undies working it's way towards your knees.  Except maybe a pair of granny undies in unappealing tan with a bit of elastic hanging off the top working down to your knees.  While wearing a skirt. 
5.  While I'm on the underwear theme, I just bought a new bra.  It is a workout bra, and it is battleship grey.  'Nuff said.
4.  The only items in my shopping cart are 3 bags of Soy Chips and a jar of peanut butter.
3.  I can count on one hand the number of men I have had a non-work-related conversation with in the last week
2.  I find myself eyeing babies with the intensity that only a single, childless woman has.
And the number one reason I know I'm sliding into Spinsterhood?
1.  The overwhelming desire to shake my fist and yell, "you darn kids!"

I actually am somewhat OK with this.  It's not completely glum--I can watch whatever I want on TV, I can eat peanut butter on a spoon as my dinner, I get the whole bed to myself, and I can set the thermostat to whatever is comfortable for me.  So while some days I feel like I am the saddest, lonliest woman on the planet, on other days I feel like I own the world.

But please, if I EVER wear a fanny pack, it's time for an intervention.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blah blah blah...

Well, it's a blah day.  In fact, it's been a blah week.  Guess what overweight people do when they feel blah?  Yeah.  And I've really been struggling.  My surgery has not ended up as restrictive as I'd hoped for.  I knew before surgery that I needed a really tight leash to rein myself in.  If I didn't, I wouldn't have needed the surgery.  Frankly, if I could throw on a choke collar right now I would.

Don't get me wrong, I am restricted, but it isn't enough.  I can eat around it (in that I don't dump, and I don't throw up), and I don't want to do that.  About 80-85% percent of the time I follow the rules and do what I'm supposed to, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am now, 155 pounds lighter.  But 15-20% I take the leeway, and it goes from being "wiggle room" (which my doctor says should be 5-10%) to a big problem.

So I need to ask myself some questions:
1.  What's bothering me?  Why am I turning to the food?
2.  Why am I sabotaging my own success?  Am I content with where I am now?  Am I afraid to get smaller?
3.  Is this a clinical depression, or am I just struggling like normal people do?  (Full disclosure: I stopped taking anti-depressants after surgery with my doctor's approval.  I do not play when it comes to this stuff.)
4.  Is it hormonal?  If so, should I change my birth control to see if it helps or should I just be prepared for this every 4 weeks?
5.  Is it that I haven't been working out as much?  I know that working out really does improve my mood, so if that's the issue I just need to refocus my time and energy.

If you have half a brain (and I know you do), you probably came to the same conclusion I did after reading this.  I need to journal EVERYTHING--food, mood, and exercise--so I can get to the bottom of what is going on.

Have I mentioned here before how much I hate that?  If not, let me explain.  I hate it with a purple passion.  I hate it like "Sarah Palin in 2012."  I hate it like being stuck in a cave with canned green beans as my only option for survival.  I hate it like I hate having to tell 300+ people that they no longer have a probably get the picture.

Unfortunately, I think it's really my only option if I'm going to figure this out and be successful in the long run.  It's time to put on my big girl panties and get my journal on.  Please feel free to send me any hints, tips, or suggestions on how do make this less painful...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And the Winner is....

Ordinary Girl!  I'll send you an e-mail so I can find out where to send your gift package.

Thanks to everyone who responded.  I got some great tips.  I love the ideas of organizing or cleaning out the house, reading a book (which sometime after grad school I started neglecting), knitting (my class starts soon), and a bunch of others.  I hope you've been following along so you have all the tips too. 

One of the biggest challenges after surgery is, "What the heck do I do with myself?"  For those of us that are single, it's probably an even bigger challenge, since we don't have kids and spouses to occupy our time (that said, it's also easier to eat whatever and whenever you need to post-op because you don't have to worry about what other people will think about it."

I'm sure it will be something I'll have to continue working on, which is really what this blog is all about. 

I hope you'll all stay for the ride.

Last chance for schwag!

Good morning!  So far, I'm really getting some good ideas for keeping myself busy without food, but the drawing is tonight so I'm hoping for more.

Send me your ideas for how to stay busy while snowed in (without eating the furniture) by 6:00 Central/Mountain time to win these fabulous prizes:
(See previous posts for details, and how to get more entries).

Geesh.  After I give this stuff away I'm going to have to come up with real posts again! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I said, "Free stuff!"

Wow.  Overwhelming response to my offer to send someone free stuff (but a shout out to my two peeps who did respond--right on!).

I was telling a friend about this and she said, and I quote, "Duh!"  She told me I needed to post a picture of the schwag I've put together for the giveaway so people know what they are getting.  And then I went, and I quote, "Oh.  DUH is right!"

So here you are:

  • A new copy of Geneen Roth's fab book "Women Food and God" on intuitive eating
  • My favorite snack (decent protein in a chip!), Newman's Own Organic White Cheddar Soy Crisps (although I can't promise it will be this exact bag if the munchies strike, but I'll get you a new, unopened one)
  • Single-serve Justin's nut butters--classic almond and honey almond (really good with some apple slices)
  • Myoplex lite protein bar in chocolate chocolate chip.  (Note, the carbs are a little high if you are post-op and tend to dump on carbs--I've never had a problem with them myself, though, and they are seriously good!)
  • Life Script protein powder in chocolate bliss (good for reg'lar people as well as post-ops)
  • The world's best hand absolute favorite one by Bliss
Did you guess the theme?  Follow Your Bliss, of course! And how do you win?  I'll give you one week to respond, and draw for the winner on Sunday, Feb. 13--just in time for Valentine's day!

  • Get an entry for posting your favorite strategies in the comment section (please remember to leave me an e-mail address so I can contact the winner). 
  • Get a bonus entry for each suggested strategy (up to 5 bonus entries, although you can always leave more suggestions).
  • Get another entry for announcing this giveaway on your own blog, and get a bonus entry if you include a link to this post.  Be sure to tell me about it in the comment section so you get your bonus entries (and so I can check out your blog).
  • Get a final bonus entry if you spread it to a social-networking site like Facebook, Twitter, or post it on a message board (one bonus entry for each one, and be sure to tell me about it in the comments to get credit).
So let's try this again, shall we?  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Preparations for the blizzard!

(Note...check out my last post on 2/6/11 to find out how to win some awesome free weight-loss related schwag...)

We are supposed to get about 5-10" of snow.  This is where I think weathermen...ahem...meterologists that work near the Rocky Mountains should be shot.  There is a HUGE difference between 5" and 10".  The difference between wearing regular boots vs. hip waders.  Heck, if I told my Wii that I'm between 5'5" and 5'10", I would already be considered "overweight" instead of "obese." 

But I digress.

Even though I live near the Rocky Mountains, I'm in the citified part.  I do not have a snow blower, nor do I need skis to get to work.  But we are used to some cold and snow.  A fact that you would not believe what happens when an impending storm is announced.  People make a mad rush to the grocery stores, people buying as much toilet paper as they can carry, folks gassing up their Hum-Vees, fighting over the last bottle of cold medicine at the drug store.  In short, the preparations turn to mayhem.

And I do share some of that.  But it occurred to me this evening that my last-minute snow rush is a bit different now, post-op.

Before:  Make sure I load up on bread.  I couldn't go without bread for comfy grilled cheeses, toast, or to go with some spaghetti.
After:  Stock up on pre-made protein shakes and soy crisps (I swear I did this, along with a bottle of Vitamin D).

Before:  Race to get home before the snow flies so I can cuddle with the cat and eat the pizza I ordered.
After:  Race home to do Zumba on the Wii (yes, I did this one too).

Before:  Gas up the Prius
After:  Gas up the Prius (hey, they can't all be different, right?)

It's funny how different some things seem now, if I take the time to look back.  When they tell you that losing weight is a lifestyle change, they really aren't kidding (regardless of the means you have to lose weight--surgical or not). 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In the deep snow of Colorado, no one can hear you eat...or give away schwag

Winter has returned here, with a bit of a vengence.  Here's the dirty little secret...Denver does not usually get the kind of snow you think it does.  Our usual pattern is a couple of inches overnight to make you morning commute a horror, but then because we get so much sun and because the air is so dry--high desert you know, usually the snow melts and evaporates off the street in time for the afternoon commute.  All of the fun benefits of snow with only a small proportion of the inconvenience.

This freaking arctic air has given us a taste of the Midwest and East Coast type of snow.  Once it snows, it stays.  And stays.  And stays.

And I had forgotten how difficult it is to make good choices when I am stuck in my house for too long.  Heck, I have problems making good choices when I'm just in my house for an entire evening, let alone two and a half days.  So weekends are always difficult for me. I've learned to do stuff, get out, and distract myself from just sitting all day and polishing off any carb in my house (if I had the stupidity to allow it through the door in the first place).

Don't get me wrong.  I could clean my house and make it presentable.  I could do my taxes.  I could go through my closet and pull things out that are too big and prepare them for the Goodwill.  But all of that seems like work when I could just snuggle into the couch, pull up my sadly neglected DVR, pet The Beast (i.e. my 7.5 pound kitty), and watch TV all day.  But, more than likely, that leads to constant snacking, the one easy way to defeat the purpose of weight loss surgery.

You see, you can trick your pouch.  If you just slowly snack all day, you can pack in a whole lot of calories without even realizing.  If you snack on soft or airy things like carbs, they will squish through your pouch quickly enough so you have room for more, more, more.

I have done this a few times.  I'm not perfect, despite all the rumors to the contrary.  I did have a weekend where I gave in to the darkness and ate nothing but bread all weekend long.  Seriously, the Babe ate an entire loaf of bread.  It took all weekend to do it, but do it I did.  (This is why yummy artisan bread has to stay at the store or the restaurant and can never come home with me).  What can I say, I'm one of those types that always has to test the boundaries.

But here's what I learned:  I may not get "sick" in the traditional sense (i.e. throwing up), but by Monday I felt like crap.  I had no energy.  I felt bloated and icky.  And all my old cravings that hadn't bothered me too much came back with a vengence and I had to keep talking myself down off the "nothing but carb" ledge for about a week until I was able to purge that out of my system (physical and mental).  And that was HARD.  I had forgotten how strong those cravings can be, and how powerless they can make me feel.  And I had a whole week to be reminded of it.  So yeah, the temporary enjoyment, the freedom of eating whatever I wanted, the comfort of a familiar and beloved food ended up not being worth it.

I'm reminded of all of this because when I'm stuck in my house for any length of time it all comes roaring back.  And I know that I have to make a pre-emptive strike against boredom, old habits, the need for comforting, and lack of structure.

I found a great post by the post-op ladies of Pouch Party, on Top 5 Ways to stay occupied when snowed in (check out the link).  And I decided to create my own:

  1. Try a new Protein-Packed recipe.  Today I'm going to make quinoa porridge, which I've heard lots of post-ops rave about, so I have it for breakfast this week.  I'm also making Buffalo-style chicken in my crock-pot (chicken + Frank's Red Hot sauce + butter = delicious).  This way I'll have good food to eat all week.
  2. Do a workout on the Wii, or using a DVD, or one of the On-Demand workouts.  Smartly, I bought Zumba for the Wii yesterday before the snow started to fly, and I'm ready to try out a full workout on it.
  3. Comb the internet for healthy ideas.  Check on the other blogs I subscribe to, post-surgical chat sites, look for a new workout music mix on iTunes, etc.
  4. Have a game plan (so appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday).  I've planned out my day's eating, and so far so good.  
  5. Mix it up.  I have HD-ADD, which means that I'm easily distracted but when I do manage to concentrate, I REALLY concentrate).  So that means, start cooking, then workout, then watch a 30 minute show on the DVR, then empty the diswasher, then organize my tax receipts, then repeat the whole thing.  It's like circuit training, but for my body and mind.

I've learned that planning is really the secret to being successful for me.  And since it is not in my nature to be a planner, I really have to force myself into it.

What strategies do you all use to avoid falling back into bad habits?  I really need to hear your ideas, so I can add them to my book of tricks.

To encourage you, I am doing my first bloggy give-away!  How about a sampler-pack of some of my favorite healthy treats--from protein bars and powders, to my favorite guilty pleasures (like the soy crisps I always rave about).    I'll throw in some other gifties too--I have a bunch of stuff in mind and will post a photo of the "gift basket" this week (when I organize it and make it pretty).  Don't worry, it'll be good stuff for anyone--not just post-ops.

I'll give you one week to respond, and draw for the winner on Sunday, Feb. 13--just in time for Valentine's day!  Here's how to win:
  • Get an entry for posting your favorite strategies in the comment section (please remember to leave me an e-mail address so I can contact the winner). 
  • Get a bonus entry for each suggested strategy (up to 5 bonus entries, although you can always leave more suggestions).
  • Get another entry for announcing this giveaway on your own blog, and get a bonus entry if you include a link to this post.  Be sure to tell me about it in the comment section so you get your bonus entries (and so I can check out your blog).
  • Get a final bonus entry if you spread it to a social-networking site like Facebook, Twitter, or post it on a message board (one bonus entry for each one, and be sure to tell me about it in the comments to get credit).
Let the games begin!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Babe and her belly...

I have noticed that my body tends to follow a pattern.  As I lose weight, it comes off everywhere other than my belly.  Then, after my legs and upper body shrink about a size, my belly finally decides to get on board and it shrinks a little too (but never quite catching up).  So I am perpetually going through this cycle of getting thinner and more pregnant looking, to thinner and slightly-less pregnant looking.  It's really irritating.

Well, I'm back in the big-belly stage where the rest of my body is going down in size with my midsection staying disproportionately large.  And it's irritating.  Nothing fits right.  Nothing looks right.  It does a number on my confidence level.  It becomes the bane of my existance.  Not that I am the type of person to exaggerate or anything.  Basically I'm saying that my belly has been on my mind a lot recently.  This has always bothered me more than the actual weight.  People who were more overweight then me but carried their weight in their hips or rear or legs always looked thinner than I did. 

So I'm taking action.  I tried a Zumba class last week, and all those hip swivels (even when done by an uncoordinated pasty-white girl) really worked my abs.  I asked my Pilates teacher to help me concentrate on my "core" muscles today.  And just so you can benefit from my experience, know that when you ask your Pilates teacher for an area to be worked she will not shy away from the challenge and you will FEEL it.

By the way--funny story--I made my doctor check my belly on Tuesday due to the pain.  I seriously thought I had pulled a stitch or tore the belly mesh from my hernia repair.  When he asked if I was working about and I told him about Zumba, he laughed and said that it was probably just muscle fatigue from working out.  I explained to him that I don't have abs, and he assured me I did.  Who knew?

Eventually, I may have to get surgery to even out.  I hate that thought, but it probably is the only way to truly get rid of the pregnant look.  We'll see in another 20 lbs how I feel about it.

In the meantime, I'm trying to be patient and to do what I can do build up muscle in my abs.  I even got the Zumba game for the Wii (and it doesn't yell, "that's obese" at me, so that's a plus) so I can try it on my own.  Any other thoughts?  Anyone else with the pregnant belly look?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well, crap.

So it's good news, bad news time again.

Good news, I went to my surgeon today for the one-year followup appointment, and I apparently am a weight loss rockstar.  I'm right on track, and he said I should aim for 10 more pounds in the next 3 months.  He was thrilled that I'm off my cPAP machine, that I don't have back pain, and that my triglicerides are down almost 200 points.  He also said I looked great, that he wanted me to be on his patient lecturer panel again, and then he gave me a hug.

Bad news?  His scale said that I was 201.something (I momentarily blacked out after reading 201).  Son of a preacher-man!  What the nut!  And other weird phrases I often use to substitute for actual cursing.

Yes, I know.  It's just a number.  But it's such a LARGE number (not really, this is the overly-dramatic face of the Babe), and I really wanted to be under 200.  Yes, with all my clothes on, having ate breakfast, drank 4 glasses of water, and having not pooped for two days.  Is that too much info?

Hey--fun tidbit!  I weighed myself last week first thing in the morning before I peed and then again after.  Know what?  I lost 1 whole pound just by peeing!  Is it too much info NOW?

So yeah, everything I said about numbers not mattering, and weight is really about how you feel and not the actual number?  All lies!  (again, this may be my overly-dramatic self taking over).

Sigh.  I think I need a 1-week break from weighing in, just to clear my head and remind myself that in the overall scheme of things, IT DOES NOT MATTER.  Anyone else with me on this?  Tell me in your comments...

P.S.  So's that I can end on good news, this does mean that my evil scale truly is evil, since it told me I was 202.something first thing this morning--before drinking, or having breakfast, or putting on my clothes.  My suspicions are confirmed!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Babe is in One-derland (officially)

OK everyone, keep your socks on.  Friday morning I weighed myself on the evil scale, ie. the one that reads several pounds heavy, and it was officially under 200 lbs.  The last time I was under 200 lbs. was 1995.  Course, the next day I weighed myself again (mostly because I enjoy torturing myself in the morning) and it was back to 200.2.  But screw that.  I'm saying under 200 officially.

I did expect for confetti and balloons to start dropping from my ceiling, like they do on gameshows when someone wins the big prize.  Guess what?  It didn't happen.  In fact, my whole day went on just like there was not a momentously small number on my scale. 

This leads me to two conclusions I thought I would share.  One:  somebody, somewhere, owes me some confetti.  Two:  IT REALLY IS JUST A NUMBER.  What the nut?  It didn't make a choir of angels sing.  No one said, "Wow, you look like you are under 200 lbs!  How does it feel?"  My clothes didn't suddenly fall off my body.  I didn't find a queue of hot men outside my front door waiting and wondering "Where the skinny Babe at?" The Wii still yells, "That's Obese" at me in an insane helium mocking tone.

And, frankly, I am still obese.  Strangers just meeting me think that I'm chubby.  I can't go to a fitness store and find workout clothes in my size (Damn you, Title 9!  You just HAD to stop at a size 16 and couldn't go one more size?).  My doctor wants me to get "into the 150's", and that is 40lbs away.

But I still had a mini-in-my-head celebration.  A moment of satisfaction.  A self-congratulatory pat on the back (where I now have shoulderblades).  All the while reminding myself that I am not doing this for the numbers, but doing it for ME.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Apparently, I'm stylish!  I just got some bloggy love from new follower Lauren, from Dude, I think we might be fat.  Which, by the way, is an awesome freaking name...

You know that these always come with rules, and here are the rules for this one:
  1. Post and link back to the person who gave you this award.   
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 15 recently discovered great bloggers (or as many as you can).
  4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they've won! 

Here goes....
1.  Done, and done
2.  Let's do bullets to keep these straight
  •  I'm exceptionally good at the "pigeon" yoga pose (way better than the teacher), but my hamstrings are so tight I still can't touch my toes.
  • Apparently, I have a "young soul."  This is from the same person at the Metaphysical Fair who told me that my necklace was full of dolphin energy (and who did not think it was funny when I asked her if there was an exhausted dolphin swimmin' around somewhere because of me).
  • I went to college on a writing scholarship, an academic scholarship, and a music scholarship.  Note that there is nothing there about an athletic scholarship.
  • Speaking of my great athleticism, I coined the term "Freestyle Stair-Diving" and told people that was how I broke my ankle.  It sounds way cooler than "I was carrying a bag of presents, a large box, an apple pie, my purse, and wearing 2.5 inch heels while running down the narrowest stairs known to man."  And no, I didn't even drop the pie.
  • My first kiss was when I was 16, and the boy in question has since come out of the closet (shout out to Mr. B!).  I like to think that I ruined him for all other men, but in hindsight his fondness for show tunes should have tipped me off.
  • My (not so) secret ambition is to be a esthetician and makeup artist, and give away my services to women who are trying to get back into the workforce.  Like "Dress for Success," but for your face.
  • I am a Libra, and making a decision on what to put down for my #7 has taken me 30 minutes of wandering around my house and thinking.
3.  The bloggers I've really liked and recommended:
I think I may have gone over, but I'm also sure I'm leaving someone out.   Anyhoo, go and check some of these out.  After all, you like me, and I like them, ipso facto you will like them.  I'm sure there's a mathematical collary for that, but I'll leave that to those geekier than I.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1 year after gastric bypass...what I've learned (so far)

One year ago, yesterday, I had a gastric bypass.  I started out at 353 lbs, and a size 30/32.  I couldn't walk with out major lower back pain--to the point that getting from my car to my house might as well have been a marathon.  I didn't travel because I couldn't fit into the airline seats (if I didn't collapse from pain just trying to GET to the plane).  I could (and did) eat a whole pizza in an evening.  I knew that I did not have a diet left in me, and I knew that I was dying a whole lot quicker than a 36-year old should be.

What a difference a year makes.

I'm down 155 lbs., to about 198 (194 according to my Wii, and 202 according to my scale, so I'm splitting the difference).  I wear a size 18.  I don't have lower back pain, and I don't even think about how far I have to walk (except when it's really cold, raining, or snowing) to get to my front door.  I fit in an airline seat and I can even lower the tray table.  I don't eat pizza (tomato sauce tastes funny to me now).  I work out now, and my life expectancy is much closer to normal.

It's like getting a second chance.

Now, I don't recommend this path for everyone.  While I've reaped a lot of benefits so far, I am concerned about what this will look like in another 5 or 10 years.  I've seen a lot of post-ops regain a lot of the weight they lost (factoring in the 10% regain that is normal).  I've heard of a lot of people who have permanent problems, from severe nutritional deficiencies to major issues getting sick on everyday food.  I know visits to the doctor or ER will always create problems for me, and that I have to watch those treating me like a hawk so that they don't accidentally give me ibuprofen or sugar popsicles.

But I'm one of the lucky ones, so far. 

Last night, I went out with a group of friends to celebrate.  We went to dinner, then for fro-yo, and then back to my house for a Wii dance-party.  I can't remember the last time I had so much fun, or felt so much joy for just being.  I'd forgotten how much I love being around people, doing things, and just participating in my own life.  See how happy I look (I'm in the middle)!

I updated my photo in the left side, as well.  It's a picture of me standing in the same spot as 1 year before.  Now you can actually see the door frame behind me!  As I was editing the blog page to add the photo, I noticed in my self description that if I were to be in a sitcom, I would be "The Wacky Neighbor."  Still true (I am a bit wacky and tend to make an entrance by falling into the room), but now I'm starting to feel a little like the Leading Lady.  Maybe by this time next year, I'll manage to transition to being the Star of my own show.

Stay tuned to this channel to see it evolve...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Say hello to my little friend...

It's my Wii.  The Wii and I are having a bit of an affair, you see.  I've even been cheating on my regular gym partner, Goldilocks, with the Wii.  It makes me feel like a bad person to say that, but the Wii is always at home, where it's warm and not snowing, ready to snuggle down with a good game of imaginary boxing, or cycling, or even pretending I'm a penguin and trying to catch fish.  I don't have to drive there.  I don't have to worry if my new yoga pants make my crotch look "insane" (to quote Michael Kors from Project Runway).  I don't even have to wait for some sweaty dude carrying a jug of water that is bigger than my butt to get off the one weight machine I have left to use for a complete circuit.

So yeah, me likey.  I even named him "Frank."  His full name is Frank Wii.  As in, "Frank Wii, my dear, you need to get your butt up off the couch and bust a move."  He's a tough-love kind of friend, what can I say.

As a poster child for ADD, I'm sure that I will eventually lose interest in poor Frank.  But right now, we are hot and heavy.

My recommendation is to find a friend who already has one and try it out before you buy it to see if it's something you even like.  But if you decide to get one, you can't name it Frank Wii--that name is taken.  I would suggest Sudden Wii, True Wii, or--if you yell the secret word--Pee Wii (that one is courtesy of my friend D. Willy).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gastric Bypass "surgiversary" is almost here.

Yup.  This Friday will be one year since I had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass at Rose Medical Center with Dr. Michael Snyder.

It's an exciting date, but one filled with mixed emotions.  Excitement, anxiety, happiness, sadness--you name it, I've got it.

My goal was to reach the 100's mark (known in the bariatric community as "one-derland") by the one-year mark.  According to my Wii Fit scale, I'm in the right area, fluctuating between 198 and 202. According to my other scale I haven't, saying I'm fluctuating between 202 and 206.  My other scale can suck my big toe. Either way, I think I'm in the right place, even if it's not quite exact.

The hitch in my giddyup to congratulate myself, however, is all because I made the mistake of reading an article that stated bariatric patients will have lost 80% of their excess weight within the first year.  According to my doctor, I was about 200 lbs in excess of my ideal weight.  80% of that (hey, math!) is 160 lbs.  160.  Not the 150-and-change that I've lost.    It shouldn't be such a big deal right?  I'm close, right? 

Here's the thing.  I started out as a rock-star, losing almost 100 pounds in the first 4-5 months after surgery.  I was a weight-losing wunderkind.  Then things started to slow down, considerably.  It's taken me 7-8 months to lose the next 50 pounds, so I'm no longer at rock-star status.  To go from rock-star to not-even-quite average is hitting me hard. 

I guess the light at the end of the obsession tunnel is that it is a good reality check for me.  I've started to recognize that I've let myself wander off the path of what I'm supposed to be doing far too often.  I eat sugar occasionally.  I let myself have carbs.  I choose the protein bar that tastes better (which for protein bars meas that they taste less ass-like) instead of the protein bar with the least carbs/sugar and highest protein.   I often justify it with "I want to have a life and not let the weight loss prevent me from having things I love."  Which is good when it's once a week because it keeps me balanced and lets me enjoy life.  More than once a week, though, and it truly is the old fat me just trying to justify having whatever I want, whenever I want it.  The fact that I'm not losing at a decent pace is a sign that I'm living in "Babe-land" instead of reality again.

So here's the thing.  I have to remind myself that I have limitations--ones I chose to put upon myself so I can lose weight and live a real life.  I have to remind myself that the old food-addict is still there, ready to come out, and that I'm not done with making changes to my brain.  That the next year is going to be harder, but that this past year has helped me train for the struggles ahead. 

In thinking all of this through today, it made me realize that I need to mark this occasion with a congratulations for what I HAVE acheived (even if it's not perfect).  I particularly want to make it a day of gratitude for what I have, that I was given the chance to make these changes, and for the people in my life who have been so supportive (and who I will probably need over the next year to continue to support me).  So decided to have a little party in my own honor--nothing big except a dinner out (to somewhere with a delicious buffalo-style grilled chicken breast that I've been obsessed with lately), a sugar-free dessert (that I'm making), and some fun activities (bowling, karaoke, or Wii Dance Party--the decision is still up in the air).  

Of course there are lots of people long-distance I would love to include--all my readers here included--but instead I will just send and post pictures here.  Consider yourselves on the inside, because just having regular followers and reading your comments has been a major source of support for me.  Thank you all!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The babe gets busy...

And no, the title is not a euphemism, it's a call to action.  I need plans.  I resist them, but I need them.  And frankly, it's a new year, so I need new plans.  A big part of it is getting out into the world again, and the other part of it is to give me something I enjoy and keep me away from food.

The hard part for me is finding things that really catch my attention.  I've never been a "hobbyist" or really excelled at any one particular thing (although there are some things I'm REALLY bad at, mostly anything to do with balancing or catching a ball).  There are lots of things I do pretty well, but nothing that jumps out as exceptional.  I'm a fairly good singer, but not a soloist; I can speak in public, but I'm no orator; I'm smart, but I'm no get the picture.  There are things I like, but I ebb and flow with it.  Something will completely take my fancy for a few weeks, and then I lose interest.  It's probably from watching too much TV as a young child, or something (Hi Mom!)

So frankly, my train switches track a lot, and I got to keep it moving or I lose interest.  In the interest of progress, I've lined up a bunch of activities either from Christmas presents or from Groupon, to stay busy, fit and motivated.
1.  I have a learn Spanish DVD/ROM.  It is still in the box.  But hope springs eternal that I will actually get it out one day, get obsessed, and suddenly be able to fly to Spain with my latin lover before you can even say "Por favore" (or however the H you spell it...I was prissy in high school and took French).
2.  My brother gave me a gift certificate for a local cooking school.  I know, it sounds counter-intuitive to take a cooking class when you can't really eat, but I think it would be cool to learn how to use a knife like a chef...and it certainly would make cooking easier and quicker.
3.  I still have my Zumba classes sitting out there.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to try them either in February or March.
4.  I have a month of yoga lessons for a great studio close to where I work.  Maybe in February...
5.  I have a 5-week course of knitting lessons.  My friend Julie-Beth said that knitting is great for people like me with lots of nervous energy...nervous energy?  Me?
6.  I still have weekly sessions with Pilates, thanks to The Dad, for the remainder of the year.
7.  Also thanks to The Dad (and the Mom), I have a Wii player.  I'm pretty sure that a video of me Wii-ing would be excellent blackmail material...thank God the cat doesn't have the thumbs required to operate the camera.

Basically, I'm just trying to get out in the world a little more.  Believe it or not, the larger I got the smaller my world became.  Now that I'm shrinking, there is so much more that I can do.  And, if I were to be honest with myself, I'm a living large kind of gal. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The blonde is back, baby!

Brunette (August 2010)
Blonde (today)

I was born blonde.  Correction:  I was born bald, and became a blonde as soon as the little baby hairs started sprouting from my baby head.  When I went to college, my blonde turned dark and I started coloring it.  I didn't even know what my real hair color WAS.

Then, about 3 years ago, I decided I should grow out all my highlights and donate my hair when it became long enough.  By the time I had my gastric bypass last January, I had cut off all the highlights and only needed about 4 more inches of length to meet the minimum donation.  Then, I got hit with post-surgical hair loss.  So much fell out that my ponytail wasn't even big enough to fill any of my barrettes--down to about 1/3 of it's former density.  

Basically, donating the 3 strands of hair I had left was not going to happen.

So I decided that if I couldn't donate it, I might as well get it colored back to it's former glory.  That's right, people.  We are talking blonde (well, highlights anyway).

So this evening I took the plunge, the results you see in the photo above.  And when she turned me around in the chair and I saw myself, I felt like me.  I felt, dare I say it, pretty.  Finally.  Not in the way that "I can't possibly leave the house without makeup!" way.  But in the way that every person has the right to feel--regardless of whether or not they meet some arbitrary standard of attractiveness--simply because they are comfortable with who they are.   I felt pretty in the way that you feel when someone who loves you looks into your eyes.  Only this time, I was looking at myself that way. 

For years I have been denying myself that gift.  I've been unable to see the good things about myself, and I've been especially ashamed of how I looked--to the point that I just went into denial.  I stopped getting my hair colored or cut, I bit my nails to the quick instead of growing them out and polishing them, I avoided doing more than mascara, etc.  On the outside I told people that I wanted to do something nice by donating my hair, I was trying to live a lower maintenance lifestyle, I was going organic and wouldn't wear too much makeup.  It sounds good, but it's not the truth.

The truth is that I couldn't abide looking at myself in the mirror.  All I could see was the fat that covered me.  I couldn't see past it--not that I'm a hard worker, or that I'm a good person, or that I have value.  I started to let all the many parts of me (both the good and the bad) go by the wayside.  Fat became who I was, how I defined myself.  The problem with avoiding the reality of who and what you are means that you get stuck there, with no option for growth or change.  Blinded by the fat, I guess.

Now losing the weight is reminding me that I am more than my appearance.  More than my fat would let me be.  And, frankly, one thing about myself that I'm re-discovering is how much joy I get from being girly, wearing makeup, playing dress up.  Not because I have to to meet anyone's approval, but because it's fun.  What better way to start the new year and celebrate the changes I'm making than with highlights?  And to remind myself that it's OK to look into my own eyes in the mirror and see some love.   

Now it's your turn--go do something that makes you feel pretty.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So far, so good (or...Hey, I made it a whole day!)

I'm getting back on track.  I've found my mojo.  The force is with me.  I've got air in my tires and wind at my back.  However you want to put the cliche, I'm feeling much more motivated now to do what I need to in order to break through my weight loss stall.

My biggest hurdles are always planning and being accountable.  So this morning I woke up and started my day out right with some Eggface-approved chocolate mini-muffins (YUM!).  If you haven't visited her blog, do yourself a favor and click on the button in the right margin of my blog.  She has great tips and recipes for those of us needing the help (ie.  everyone I've ever met who's had weight loss surgery).  She's even doing a vitamin giveaway on her site right now (although I shouldn't tell you so that I have better odds of winning).  By the way, with a little adaptation, her recipes even work at high altitude!  I made her chocolate mini muffins 3-ways:  a dot of creamy peanut butter in the middle for some, a sprinkling of Black Onyx cocoa powder (the kind that makes Oreos so darkly delicious) and instant coffee crystals for others, and a CocoaRoast almond for the last set.  I think the peanut butter and mocha ones were the best.

Then I made a BBQ chicken "pizza" for lunch, which consisted of a low-carb tortilla (I use the Fat Flush Plan tortillas, despite the appalling name) topped with a little mix of pizza sauce and BBQ sauce, pieces of roasted chicken, and a sprinkle of pizza cheese.  YUM! 

For dinner, I made chili.  Taking inspiration from Eggface, I just made it up as I went.  I put a pot roast in the crockpot with some blended-up salsa, chicken broth, and a bunch of chili spices I bought at a fair.  I added a can of black beans about halfway through, shredded the meat and added it back in, sprinkles in a teaspoon of coffee crystals, and let it stay on warm until I was ready to eat.  Yes, that sound you hear is me patting myself on the back for being so clever.

I still have 1-2 meals left for the day...I average about 5 meals per day, but sometimes on the weekend time gets away from me and I don't get them all in.  But the chili was so good that I may have some more of that.

Basically the quality of what I'm eating is much better, but that is just half the battle.  What I'm really worried about is the quantity of food.  I've never been great about measuring and it appears to be catching up to me.  I could have eaten 1/2 cup of chili, but forced myself to stop at 1/3 cup.  I know that if you haven't had surgery that sounds ridiculously small, but from someone who was only able to eat 1 tablespoon at a time only 10 short months ago, it's a lot.  And at the point I am, I should still only be able to eat 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup.  I'm hoping that with a week or two of restricting myself to 1/4 cup that my stomach may re-shrink.  Or I'll get so hungry that I gnaw off someone's arm during a budget meeting.  One or the other, really. 

Now that my cold seems to be on the downhill side, it means getting back to the gym tomorrow night.  I'm dreading the inevitable "January Crowd" of people who start out the year working out and drop out by March.  To make it even worse, the 24 Hour Fitness that is on my way home is closed for renovations, so all the other centers are that much more crowded.  It'll be like shopping at Loeman's the day after Christmas.  Or Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving.  I'm anticipating shoving, pushing, and a small amount of bloodshed.  That way anything that actually does happen is a bit of a denoument.

I hope your year is starting out well too.  Here's to staying on track...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1st day of the new year!

The new year is bringing me a gift--that of a reality check.  If you've read any of my blog, you'll know that reality and I have a somewhat spotty relationship.  I much prefer the imaginary Babe-land that I retreat to from time to time, a land where carbs have no consequences; a land where I can eat all I want, never exercise, and not gain any weight; a land where I have men lined up around the block to date me, fabulously high-paying jobs, a party every night, etc. etc.  So yeah, it ain't real.

Here's the reality.  I have a cold, so I wasn't able to go to the one party I was invited to for New Years.  And I love parties.  And New Years.  Huge Bummer.  And when I'm sick the idea of protein makes me queasy, nor is exercise all that feasible.  Also a Bummer.  Then this morning I woke up with a carb-bloat so bad that my eyes were nearly swollen to slits, and I'm up to about 209 lbs.  Biggest Bummer of them All.  With all of that, my Babe-ness crawled out of Babe-land and announced, "Self, it is time for reality."

And that's the point of the blog make my experiences real and concrete enough to exist in the spoken word on an actual page, with actual people seeing it.  Without that check-in, I could retreat back into Babe-land, where I once weighed 350+ lbs and was too miserable to go out into the world.  Reality is harsh, but it is real and can be relied upon to always be truthful.  Retreat too far into imagination and you never really know what's what.

Reality is bitch-slapping me in the face and telling me to make a damn plan already.  So, here is the plan:
1.  Checking in online 2-3xs per week (so far, check!)
2.  Food diary.  I truly TRULY hate this step, but I know that it is the best way to stay real about what I'm eating and how it's affecting my mood and my weight.  I'm taking inspiration from blogger TinaM, who records her food almost religiously.
3-4.  Make plans and stay busy (I know that it's 2 things--just consider this a combo-plate).  My family did a wonderful job of listening to me and got me things to use, instead of just stuff.  I got a gift of weekly Pilates from my parents, my brother and sister-in-law got me classes at a local cooking school (for a knife skills class--be very afraid!), and I have 3 Groupons that I bought--yoga classes, knitting classes, and Zumba classes.  I just have to figure out how to schedule it all, and I know it sounds overwhelming, but I need to have plans and I need to stay busy.  Otherwise I end up as a lump on the sofa, eating as many carb-tastic things as I can.
5.  Find a better way to plan and eat meals.  There are way too many good sites with recipes for post-surgery folks (and those that otherwise need healthy meals), and I need to utilize them.  Maybe I'll blog for a week of Cooking Adventures.  Especially once I've gotten in my knife skills class!

I can think of a lot more things that I should be doing, but frankly I can only concentrate on so many things at one time (the gift of ADD--just keeps on giving and....wait, what was I talking about?).

What is your New Year's Plan?  (I just can't bring myself to say resolution, since the resolution ship sailed on the day I decided to have surgery).  Tell me in the comments what you're looking forward to or planning for 2011....