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....