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!