Wednesday, December 30

What do you want your life to look like?

**I apologize in advance (and am warning you) - this is going to be a long, deep post.**

As a self-pay patient, I was not required to do the psych eval before surgery, but because I am determined to be successful, and because I am a head case, I decided I should do therapy while going on this journey. My first appt was two days before my surgery, and it was your typical "get to know your therapist and let them get to know your history" appt.

However, we did touch on one of the things that I think has contributed to my weight issue - my career. Well, really, my lack there of. I currently work for a non-profit doing communications/PR/marketing. I'm woefully underemployed, seriously bored, and even more seriously and woefully underpaid.

To back up a bit, I've pretty much always excelled at anything I've tried. Not to be braggy, but I was always the head of the class, the leader, in charge, first place. Valedictorian, national merit scholar, magna cum laude in college, graduate assistantship for grad school, magna cum laude for grad school, GREAT job working for Accenture right out of grad school. And I never really studied much or worked that hard. It just kind of happened for me. And as a result, I never learned how to work hard or study.

Post-9/11, I got laid off. Five months later, I finally found a job working for a small non-profit. I LOVED what I did, but I was making less than half of what I had made before. And the job wasn't nearly as glamorous. No laptop. No travel. No company car. And so on. Suddenly, I wasn't the most successful among my friends. Suddenly, there was no career ladder for me to climb. For pretty much the first time in my life, I wasn't leading the pack. And while I was overweight at this point, it was nothing major. It was really at this point that I started packing on the weight.

Fast-forward about ten years, and I am still in virtually the same spot career-wise. New non-profit, new field, but pretty much the same - without a ladder to climb. And this has really bothered me for some time. A huge part of my identity and self-esteem has always been tied to being the leader, the smartest, the most successful. It's who I am - or perhaps I should say, who I was.

So last time, I left with this question to ponder, "What would a better job mean for me?" I've thought a lot about it and have been unable to really determine what it is. More money? Prestige? Success? I like all those, but they aren't quite what I am looking for.

OK, so today, we talked a bit about this when my therapist hit me with the question that about knocked me over:

What do you want your life to look like?

I had never really considered this. I felt like I had been slapped upside the head. You mean I get a say in what my life looks like?

I've not been able to stop thinking about this, and I doubt I will for the next few weeks.

This is the first time I've ever considered that maybe I don't want a high-powered job. Maybe I want to be making a difference at a non-profit while being able to be home with my family every night. Instead of feeling like I have no choice because I can't find a better job, maybe I am CHOOSING this job. Hmmmm, this is so monumental for me, I can't really put it into words.

What do I want my life to look like? How exciting to contemplate this! I get to decide! I'll definitely be writing more about this as I consider it. I'm sure I'll be boring you with it for a long time to come...

However, this question also relates to my weight loss journey. As I see it, I have two choices:

1. Diety - count calories, measure food, journal, work out at 5 am every day. Lose weight quickly. Be the poster child for lap-band. Have my surgeon rave about me and how I'm his most successful patient ever. Be exhausted every evening. Not enjoy meals with my family. Turn down invites to go out with friends. You get the picture.

2. Lifestyle - follow the band rules but don't consider any food off limits. Incorporate more activity into my family's daily lives. Lose weight slowly and steadily. Get to goal eventually, or not. Perhaps hover 15 lbs above goal forever. Enjoy meals with my family. Indulge occasionally.

I think I want my weight loss life to look like #2. But either way, I get to decide. Me. I am in charge. What a concept.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! The support of this online blog community is amazing.

Sunday, December 27

Who needs the band? Just get the stomach flu!

Seriously, who needs the band? I might not have restriction, but I'm barely eating anything. Unfortunately, it's not as fun as it might sound, as it's because I am still nauseated from that dumb stomach flu. For example, last night for dinner, I had 2 oz of meat, about 6 brussel sprouts, and 2 bites of roasted potatoes. And I felt instantly nauseated. It happens at every meal, regardless of what I am eating. I'm tired of this - it's been nearly a week, and I still don't feel 100%.

I just hope that means I lose this week. I have been a good girl and stayed off the scale, so I won't know until Wednesday. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Other than that, DH and I are going to work on decluttering this house. We have SOOOOOOO much junk - and I am tired of it. Vanessa posted about the show Intervention. Also on A&E is Hoarders - anyone else watch it? Whenever we watch an episode, I have a near compulsion to get rid of everything but the bare necessities! It's like aversion therapy. So, off to declutter I go...

Friday, December 25

Santa brought me... one month bandiversary!

What a wonderful Christmas present! I really couldn't ask for anything else. I'm nearly 40 lbs down (17 post-op) and am looking forward to my first fill in less than two weeks. In one month, I've (mostly) physically healed and already started working on relearning my attitudes towards food and eating. In the next month, I intend to start doing more purposeful exercise and continuing my mental work by keeping up with my blog and seeing my therapist.

Actually, more so than Christmas, I keep thinking how this is going to be the best New Year's in a very, very long time, because I don't have to make a resolution to lose weight and then feel guilty when it doesn't happen. That was so 2009. 2010 will be the year of ME! (But more on that later...)

Merry Christmas to all my blogger friends who celebrate...and a relaxing day to all my Jewish and other blogger friends who don't.

Wednesday, December 23

Back in the land of the living

Thanks for all your support - I'm calling my surgeon today!

But boy, that bug SUCKED. We got hit h.a.r.d. DH slept for 16 hours straight yesterday! Thankfully, my mom came to help, or we would have been in a world of hurt, as we were both too weak to even pick up the kids. Poor DD still isn't really eating, but she seems to be feeling a bit better. I'm back at work today.

The good news is the nastiness helped me lose another 3.8 lbs this week, bringing my grand total to 39.8 lbs. My stretch goal was to be at 50 lbs lost by my first fill, but I think I'll have to revise that to 45, since it's in less than two weeks. I knew 50 was a stretch, and I'm ok with not hitting it. I like stretch goals. Either way, I'm thrilled with how well I've done. Seriously, I'm already 20% of the way to my goal!

Since we both have small families, our holiday celebrations are minimal, meaning I don't have too many food mines to avoid these next few days. Thankfully!

Today is my last day of work until January 4th. No complaints here. And off to work I must go (well, I'm actually here, but I must get to work.) Toodles!

Tuesday, December 22

Losing the hard way

Just a quick post to say that our house has been hit by the stomach bug. First, DS. Then DD got it bad enough that I had her in the ER last night. While we were gone, DH got it. Once I got back home, I got it as well.

It's nasty. I did use DD's Zofran to keep from vomiting, and managed to only have one bout of it, so hopefully, I didn't do any damage, especially since I'm not even 4 weeks post-op.

Post more when I am feeling better.

Monday, December 21

Even boring myself...

I just sat here for 10 min, trying to come up with something to post about. A witty title. Anything to interest my 32!!! followers. And guess what I came up with? Nada.

But I guess that's actually a good thing.

Let's see. Eating is going pretty well. I've not gone overboard and have only strayed from my prescribed post-op instructions twice. Once was last week at my work holiday party - I had two small cookies and about 8 potato chips. The other was over the weekend - I had a few bites of a hot fudge sundae. Not too shabby - I've almost completed 5 weeks, including pre-op, and I'm happy with where I am. I have avoided the scale this week, so I have no clue what Wed will bring. I hope it's good news, but if not, I know this is still recovery time, and with zero restriction, I can't expect miracles. My goal is to hold steady through the rest of the holidays until my first fill in early January. If I can go into that still 36 lbs down, I'll mark it down as a success!

Other than that, I seriously am boring. Work through Wed, then Christmas Eve at our house with the in-laws, then Christmas Day at my parents' house. And then DD and I are taking a short road-trip to visit my BFF in WI. That should be interesting, as DD has never been on a long car trip. I'm hoping she does OK! Since she still rides rear-facing, I am going to flip her carseat around for the drive so I can see what she's doing easier. Hopefully that will thrill her enough to keep her occupied for the 6-7 hour drive!

OK, enough boring you. Off to see what everyone else is up (or down!) to!

Friday, December 18

Amazingly good at being amazingly bad

I'm still contemplating the "Secret and Other Destructive Eating Habits" question. And I have come to realize I was either really, really GOOD or really, really, really BAD. There was rarely an in-between for me. I could undo a few months of GOOD in a few days or weeks of BAD. I am amazingly good at being amazingly BAD.

For example, while being BAD, I'd have a craving for something healthy, like a chicken salad. But instead of eating a grilled chicken salad with a light dressing, like I wanted to, I'd opt for chicken strips and fries. Because I was being BAD. I only ate salads when being GOOD. Therefore, I had to choose the BAD option. And hell, I don't even really like fries.

Another example is butter on veggies. I don't even care for butter on veggies. But in a BAD phase, I'd butter the heck out of our veggies. Why? Oh, yeah, because I'm BAD, and BAD = butter + veggies. Michael Jackson wrote BAD just for me.

I'd eat a bedtime snack, even if I wasn't hungry. Because I was in a BAD phase. A giant bowl of ice cream. Or a vat of buttered popcorn. Those are BAD snacks in Amy's World. And it doesn't matter if you want it or not. If you are BAD, you eat it. Because that's what you do when you are BAD.

I've always known this was a big problem for me, but I never could conscientiously overcome it. Maybe because I was always anticipating the next GOOD phase? Knowing I'd have to give all these things up, and so regardless of whether I wanted them or not, I felt like I had to eat them so I wouldn't miss them as much when I was being GOOD. Funny thing is I still missed them, whether or not I had eaten them recently.

So, as you can imagine, I rarely just maintained my weight. I have been gaining or losing since my senior year of high school. Lots more gaining than losing going on. My shot up the weight charts looks like a giant bolt of lightening.

My goal is to work through this and come out not feeling like foods are GOOD or BAD. To work towards a middle ground where food is neutral. Is that possible?

Wednesday, December 16

36 lbs gone and other babbles - and an NSV ALERT!

WOOHOO! I lost 5 lbs this week, bringing my total to an even, very cool, 18%-of-the-way-to-my-goal 36 lbs gone. I am beyond thrilled with that!

And I'm even more thrilled to be on soft meats starting today. I had 5 ham-and-cheese roll-ups for breakfast. They were super tasty, and boy, was it nice to sink my teeth into something other than what they serve at nursing homes.

My %&#$@*&%) period is STILL hanging around. Seriously. That blows. I know it's normal to be long and heavy when it's your first post-partum one, but I would like it to go away. Today, if possible.

I also still have a sore throat and a certain two-year old who will not sleep in her own bed. Or even in my bed without me. Ugh. It's time to pull out the mean parent cards and force her in her own bed, but I just don't have the energy. Maybe this weekend. I'm a-draggin'.

Two other things I wanted to mention:

*I hate, hate, hate not being able to drink while eating. I hate the dry, sticky feeling in my mouth. I hate the way the food feels like it sticks on its way down. I hate the lingering taste of the last bite before the next bite. I just hate it all. If you were a big drinker-while-eating, when did this get better for you?

*The Other Amy had a great post earlier this week about food habits/eating secrets that brought you to your highest weight. I certainly had my share.

I almost always, always overate at meals. I always had/have this feeling that I'm going to get hungry before my next meal, and of course, being hungry sucks, so I would do everything I could to avoid being hungry at all during the day. I have never been a big snacker, which probably attributed to this problem. I'd eat to stuffed, get hungry, and eat until stuffed again. Nice cycle, huh? I will say that pre-op + post-op diets have already started teaching me that hungry won't kill me, and I will survive until my next meal.

I also have a bad, bad case of 'all-or-nothing-itis' - in that, I am either on a diet or OFF a diet. Obviously more off than on. But I would be soooo good, so virtuous and stick to a diet perfectly for 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, etc. And then when I went off, boy, did I go off. I would eat everything I'd denied myself while dieting plus some. And I'd gain all my weight back plus a few friends. Rinse. Repeat. Talk about yo-yo dieting. I take the crown.

I can't say that I had a huge addiction to any one particular food or food group. I rarely drank regular pop. I did eat my share of fast food, but it was nothing outrageous, at least not outrageous enough to justify 374 lbs. I do love chocolate, but I rarely kept it in the house, so it was only occasional binges. I really do attribute my weight to the bad yo-yo dieting cycle and general overeating at every meal. Large meals at every meal + occasional binges = FAT.

This is why I am so excited about my band. Knowing that I'm not really a snacker and my general problem is overeating at meals, I really hope that my new behaviors + the band will make me successful. I have very high hopes, and since I'm determined to be successful, I have no doubt I will be!

PS - BEEP BEEP! NSV ALERT! NSV ALERT! BEEP BEEP! I went shopping today for snacks for our company's holiday party, which is tomorrow. I was so weirdly detached from what I was doing and had a hard time picking out things to buy. I stood in the chip aisle for like 5 minutes and couldn't decide what to get. Nothing was ringing my bell, when I suddenly realized, I didn't care, since I wouldn't be eating these foods. What an NSV! In the past, I would have been jumping for joy to get to do the shopping so I could pick out what *I* wanted to eat. This year, eh. YEAH!

Monday, December 14

A bad case of the Mondays

I have a sore throat, DD still isn't sleeping well which means I'm not sleeping well, my stupid period is STILL hanging around (to be fair, it was my first post-partum one, so understable, but still annoying), and the weather is yucko.

How's that for a case of the Mondays?

However, I'm going to concentrate on the good news. I'm almost done with mushies (tomorrow is the last day), and I peeked at the scale today, and it was back to exactly where it was two weeks ago. WOOHOO! That means there's a chance I'll be back into losing mode by my official weigh-in on Wednesday. That sure would make me happy.

I made an executive decision to stop tracking calories & protein grams a few days ago. And ironically, that's when the scale started to go back down. I have no idea if it is a coincidence or not, but I was making myself WHACKY with entering and counting and tracking and thinking and planning. It was feeling very much like a DIET. And since that word is no longer in my vocabulary, I had to take a step back.

Since I am comfortable hitting 70 grams of protein each day without much effort, I figured the rest of it will take care of itself. I am following the bandster rules (which I really hate not eating and drinking together, but we'll discuss that later) and eating to not-hungry, not to full, and I have to trust that the rest will happpen.

I did this so I don't have to track and count and plot and plan everything that enters my mouth, and I realized very quickly, I was already headed towards obsessive behavior, and I wanted it stopped NOW. And to reiterate, the weight started coming off again as soon as I did that. Hmmmm, I am starting to think it's not a coincidence!

Saturday, December 12

Holy Inches, Batman!

Rock on!

Took my measurements last night. For the record, I am measuring my neck, biceps, bust, waist, lower belly, hips, thighs, knees, and calves. Yes, I have fat knees. :)

I have lost 34.5" already!

This is probably more exciting than the weight lost at this point.

Friday, December 11


It's Friday. Thank goodness. I have been so unfocused at work this week. We've been having troubles with DD sleeping in her own bed. I'm not really anti-co-sleeping in theory, but in reality, I cannot sleep with ten little toes digging in my side. So part of my unfocus-ness is due to lack of sleep, but a large part is just due to my obsession with my band. I'm sure that will lessen eventually.

We don't have much planned for the weekend, for which I am thankful. I do a bit of consulting on the side, so I have a meeting with a client tomorrow, but I think that's the only thing on the agenda. If it were nicer, we'd go see the holiday lights at the zoo, but it's supposed to be pretty cold, and I don't feel like dragging the kids out in it. Yes, I'm lazy.

Today is officially 1 month since I started pre-op, so I'll be taking my measurements tonight. I KNOW I've lost quite a few inches, and I'm anxious to see the new numbers. I guess I'll also take pics. I'll post both later tonight.

And for those who read the 700-calorie breakfast, you'll be happy to know I packed a much more reasonable breakfast today. (Oh, and I only hit 1700 calories yesterday, so I managed the rest of the day pretty well.) Here's my breakfast, which has about 275 calories and is VERY filling (I used to eat it when I was doing Weight Watcher's Core program a lot.)

Cream of Wheat Pudding
(18 grams of protein)

3 Tbsp Cream Of Wheat
1 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 packet Splenda or 2 T. of sf pudding mix (the dry stuff, not made!)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Spray small saucepan with cooking spray, add milk and heat until just about boiling. Be careful as it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
2. Add cream of wheat and stir with a whisk for about 2 minutes.
3. In a small separate bowl combine egg, vanilla, and splenda.
4. Stirring rapidly to avoid "scrambled egg effect," add the egg mixture to the cream of wheat and cook for 1 minute longer or until thickened to your liking, and long enough for the egg to cook.

You can also just do this in the microwave, which is my preferred method. I cook the cream of wheat, add the egg, and then stick in the fridge. The next morning, I heat it up, which finishes cooking the egg.

Thursday, December 10

700 calorie breakfast!

Guess I was hungry! I made egg salad with about 4 eggs (I say about, as DD was eating some of it as I was making it) and 2 T. of mayo last night. I intended to eat part for breakfast and have part of it if I needed it late morning or mid-afternoon. Instead, I just devoured the entire thing PLUS a piece of string cheese. Now, I did eat it slowly (at least slowly for a starving woman) and in small bites, but in no way am I overfull. In fact, my belly is still growling an hour later.

Apparently, I was hungry.

And since this process is not about torture, I'm okay with a 700 calorie breakfast. I obviously won't make a habit of it, but I think I need to respond to my what my body is asking for, unless it involves chocolate ice cream. :)

So, moving on and aiming for a bit lower calorie lunch.

We did go to the Y last night, despite the crazy winds that threatened to blow DD right over. I walked about 1.4 miles in 35 min on the treadmill. It felt good to just get out and do something. Our Y is brand new and has amazing machines. Each treadmill and elliptical has its own TV, which I find so cool. Here's the funny part - I was channel surfing and looking for MTV, and they had it blocked. BUT they didn't block VH1 or BET, both of which have shows that are just as objectionable (hello, Real Chance of Love!) as MTV's shows. I watched Wheel of Fortune instead and beat all those contestants in my head! I actually am really good at that show, and DH keeps threatening to sign me up online to be on it. Once I lose 100 lbs, I might actually consider it.

I guess I don't have anything else to bore you with today. So until something exciting happens...

Wednesday, December 9

Food, glorious food!

Mushies. I've never been so happy to eat grits and an egg in my entire life. However, I don't have a bit of restriction, so boo-hoo. But that's OK. I will survive until my first fill (four more weeks), especially knowing my surgeon is aggressive with his fills (or so he claims - I hope my aggressive is the same as his aggressive.)

I gained 4.2 lbs this week on full liquids. I'm okay with it. I'm still down 31 lbs in 4 weeks. Not too shabby. I think it's a combo of the trauma of surgery and low calories (I averaged less than 1,000 calories daily last week.) Even though I realize this week is still about healing, I'm going to aim to average 1,500 calories daily and see if that helps things a bit. At well over 300 lbs, I don't think my body likes too low of calories. 1,500 shouldn't be too hard to hit with CHEESE on the approved list of foods. I'm gonna be gnawing on some cheese - perhaps even that trophy of cheese that Heidi gave me! :)

But here's the strange thing. I rarely get headaches. And I have a giant one today! The first food I've had in a month, and I want to cry from this stupid headache.

Even stranger, I just called DH and asked him if he wanted to go to the Y tonight. WHAT?!?!?! I actually do like exercise, so this isn't really that odd, BUT I haven't liked it lately, because it's hard to enjoy purposely hoisting around 375 lbs of flab. Now that I'm not utterly exhausted at the end of each day, I have a bit more energy, and a stroll on the treadmill or elliptical actually sounded appealing.

Now I know for sure that 28 days of liquids affected my brain!

Tuesday, December 8

Day 28 of 28!

I've officially made it! I am on day 28 of the 28-day liquid diet. WOOHOO! I seriously can hardly believe it. Granted, I have to make it through today yet, but I am obviously not going to mess it up now.

It's amazing what 28 days of liquids will do to your thought process about food. Someone brought donuts in the other day, and I easily walked right past them. I am not craving sweets of any kind. I am craving solid protein and veggies - eggs, hamburger, peppers, broccoli, chicken, steak, fish. I am having serious fish cravings. I am so-so on fish, so this is surprising me! Oh, and cheese - can't wait to have some cheese. In fact, I think I'm going to run to a local farmer's market at lunch and buy a variety of cheeses for this week.

Yesterday, Elliana posted this great stuff (her stuff is always great and thought-provoking and makes me go, "Yeah, exactly" but this was especially great):

"Even though I never let my weight get in the way of my enjoying life, I realize now that in a subtle way, it did hinder my ability to enjoy those things I love the most. Changing my lifestyle to achieve a healthy weight is about more than just preventing future health problems like diabetes and heart disease, it's about living life to it's fullest. Embracing every opportunity to enjoy each day, undertake new challenges and find the peace within that brings the true joy in life. I am so grateful that I got to the point I did. As difficult as it was, it has made all the difference."

Exactly! As much as I am/was mad at myself for getting so far overweight, I don't know if I would have ever considered the band at a lower weight. Perhaps I needed to get this heavy to find a solution.

Monday, December 7

Is it Monday already?

We got our tree up!

Oh, how the weekend flew by. Partly because I had about three more things I wanted to accomplish last night, and neither kid would go to sleep and stay asleep. I ended up sleeping with the two-year old in my bed, and boy, I do not sleep when she is in there, so yawn...

I snuck a peek on the scale this morning, and let's just say I should not have done that. I'm up about 5 lbs, which I *knew* to expect, but I was certainly hoping I'd be one of the lucky ones to avoid it. I haven't been consuming more than 1200 calories daily this week, so I logically know it's not 'real' weight, but it's still annoying. Oh well, I am in this journey for the long run and 5 lbs is not going to make a bit of difference when I'm at goal in two years, right? Ok, letting it go, letting it go...

I am proud to say I am on day 27 of 28 of my liquid diet (includes two weeks of pre-op.) I just have to make it through the rest of today and tomorrow, and then I get to start mushies! Looking back, this has already been an incredible journey, and I can't wait to see how the rest of it goes. In some ways, this is more exciting than the weight I've dropped, as this is the part *I* can control. I stuck with it, gave it 100%, used every bit of my willpower some days, have already started the rethinking process regarding food, and am ready to start the next phase.

And how's this for one of those "rethinking" things about food? I just realized today that I can actually eat Christmas dinner. I'm so used to not eating, I really hadn't even thought about the fact that I do get to eat with the family that day. This has to be significant in some way.

Which leads me to my next thought. I was talking to my mom earlier, and she asked if I had thought at all about the foods I'd foregone these last four weeks. Unfortunately, I have. I can name several things that I had to pass on. And then I went on to tell her that I still think about a piece of peanut butter pie that I passed over at my sorority's national convention over 10 years ago. I couldn't begin to tell you my roommate's name that I roomed and spent 24/7 with for FIVE days, but I can still describe exactly what that pie looked like. Of course, I was dieting at the time and starving. Honestly, I can do this with about 15 times in my life - tell you what I did (or did not) eat, but not tell you other details of the event. I think this is definitely something to bring up in my next therapy appointment. Disordered thinking of the first degree.

The good news is I'm not at all sad about this, but curious and excited to see how I can work through it. Does the mental work make your butt get smaller, too?

Sunday, December 6

Feeling good!

Sorry I've been MIA. Work was busy Friday and then yesterday was a nice family day, and I really didn't jump on the computer long enough to post an update.

Let's see. I am feeling MUCH, MUCH better in the whole 'fun bodily functions' arena. The gas pains have disappeared for good (knock on wood), that really hollow feeling in my tummy is gone (thankfully), and I'm not having any pain (woohoo!) I was t-h-i-s close to calling my surgeon to ask if I could move to mushies early when everything just kind of stopped bothering me. I really think that hollow feeling was the rest of the gas moving its way through my system. Don't get me wrong, I'm still super excited about starting mushies on Wednesday, but this week has been doable. I'm even hitting 70 grams of protein most days without protein shakes (which make me want to hurl right now!) Between 1 cup of greek yogurt at 24 grams of protein and a venti latte (homemade or Starbucks) at 15 grams, I can pack in nearly 40 grams of protein before noon. Not too shabby.

I had a small NSV yesterday. We took the kids to see a movie (it was free) and DD (just turned 2) only lasted about 30 min, so we decided to wander the mall for awhile instead. Pre-pre-op (got that?), I would get so tired and sweaty within 20 min of walking the mall. I made it almost two hours yesterday without feeling sore, sweaty, or tired! It's amazing how much of a difference even 35 lbs can make. My hips didn't ache, the bottoms of my feet didn't hurt, and while I got warm, I wasn't dripping with sweat. Love those NSVs!

We're putting up the tree this afternoon. Please send me don't-kill-DH-if-he-whines vibes. He's not much into this kind of stuff, but dammit, we're going to have a nice family afternoon!

Thursday, December 3

Just a bit of babbling...

Oh, the gas! It is still hanging around and making itself known once or twice per day. Fortunately, walking and/or GasX seems to do the trick. But dang, that pain is frickin' fierce. It is s-l-o-w-l-y getting better, and I think it's the full liquids, so I'm hopeful as I move into mushies, it'll completely go away.

I'm really enjoying my soup, yogurt, and pudding, but of course, now I'm dreaming about mushies. Cheese grits topped with a poached egg sounds heavenly. As does ricotta cheese mixed with an egg and some parm, baked, and topped with marinara and mozz. As does cream of wheat mixed with an egg (to add some thickening and protein). As does hummus...and cottage cheese...and oatmeal...tofu...and... Can you tell I'm excited about starting mushies? :)

One thing that has been bothering me is the gnawing hunger in my belly. I get satisfied on some soup or yogurt, but that hollow, gnawing feeling never goes away. It's getting quite old. The ONLY thing keeping me from going crazy on a big fat cheeseburger or something else is the fear of messing up my band. Good thing I'm a rule follower, or I'd be shoveling food down my throat right now.

I guess that's all I have to babble about today. Hmmm, the lack of food must be affecting my babbling!

Wednesday, December 2

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Why do all my post titles start with a song title? I have no idea!

So, today really is a beautiful day in my neighborhood. Let me count the ways:
  • No shoulder pain (knock on wood)!
  • No gas pain (double knock on wood)!
  • I lost 11.8 lbs this week!
  • I've lost 35.2 lbs in 3 weeks!!
  • I have officially gone from super obese to morbidly obese. Never thought I'd be so happy to be morbidly obese!
  • I just ate about 1/2 cup of the most wonderful, tasty, beautiful, out-of-this-world yogurt. My first "solid" food in 3 weeks!
  • I discovered that 1 cup of greek yogurt has 24 grams of protein and has virtually the same nutrition facts as a protein shake. Screw the shakes! (I knew it was high, just didn't realize how high.)
  • I am looking forward to a very tasty soup lunch. My second "solid" in 3 weeks!
  • I love exclamation points!

You see? It really is a great day here! I am so excited. My clothes are already fitting looser, although I realize at my size, it's probably going to take in the neighborhood (there I go again) of 50 lbs to lose a size and/or for people to notice. I'm okay with that, though, as I'm really not ready to answer questions yet. I should probably start rehearsing my lines though, because it's probably coming sooner than later.

I do have to say, while eating my first couple bites of yogurt, I realized I was randomly sipping on my water. Duh! This is probably going to be the hardest bandster rule for me - I usually drink copious amounts of water while I eat. But I put my spoon down, timed 20 min, and then continued to eat my yogurt until I felt comfortably satisfied but not full. I saved the other half for later this morning, if I want it. Otherwise, it can be an afternoon snack. My dietician only calls for no drinking for 20 min after eating, but I think I'm going to err on the side of caution and go for 45-60 min. I'm dang thirsty, though, so we'll see. Mornings are going to be the roughest, because I wake up super-thirsty, and getting in enough water before eating breakfast might prove challenging. I may have to start drinking while I'm getting ready! The lifestyle changes have begun...

Tuesday, December 1

Holy gas pain

I was in such pain from gas today that I was starting to kind of wonder if something was wrong. It was stuck in my left side, right at the bottom of my rib cage, and it was shooting pains and hurt to breathe deep. It was awful!

Fortunately, I had some Gas X strips (thanks, girls!) and sucked down three of those. About 30 min later, it finally subsided. And since we're all friends here, I won't lie - this was my motto for about 10 min:

DH was getting concerned, because I was almost in tears, it was so bad. And he knows I'm not a wimp. He was convinced it was more than gas, but I told him this seems to be a common problem at this stage of recovery. I promised him I'd call the doc in an hour if it wasn't better, which it was. Honestly, I was almost as concerned as him.

So, was this normal? It hurt so bad, I am tempted to preempt any more pain and just suck on Gas X strips 24/7. I won't, but dang, the pain can STAY AWAY. This was seriously, by a mile and a half, the most pain I've had since surgery.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go...

Back to work for me. I'm feeling fine. Hardly even a twinge of pain. I did have some major shoulder pain last night, and I am praying it's just some residual gas pain and not that horrid referred-diaphram-pain I keep hearing about. It feels better so far today, so I am keeping my fingers crossed!

I had one protein shake spread out throughout the day yesterday, and I did really well with it. I'm getting progressively hungrier, though, so I am currently sipping on an entire protein shake for breakfast (a Muscle Milk Light - 8.5 oz, 160 cal, 20 g protein). Not sure if I'll get it all down, but I didn't want to be miserable at work this morning.

Have I mentioned that I work for that organization that is famous for their cookies? I am in charge of PR/marketing/communications, and since cookie season is quickly approaching (Jan in this part of the country), I am finishing up this year's PR campaign. This includes creating marketing packages for all the local tv/radio/newspapers, and I take them all a sampler pack of cookies (one of each flavor). I have to pack them this week or next - and that means staring at lots and lots of cookies. Fortunately, when you have access to them year-round, they don't hold the same appeal they hold for your average consumer. Thankfully!

Other than that, I'm anxious for tomorrow to arrive. I can start soups, pudding, and yogurt. I also get to weigh in! It certainly is the small things in life!

EDIT: Holy moly, no way am I finishing that protein shake. I made it about half-way through before my stomach said, "WTF are you thinking? I am full!" Wow. That was a new sensation!

Monday, November 30

Ahhhh, relief.

First, thanks for all the supportive comments last night. I was feeling a bit guilty about the whole thing, but I'm going to try something new - letting go of the guilt! So, I did what was right for me - and no more guilt.

Those 2 oz of protein shake definitely took the edge off and I was feeling soooo much better. Thank goodness - I was becoming homicidal.

I'm sipping on about 3 oz more right now and will see how it settles. As long as it goes well, I'm going to have three protein shake meals today. And really, it's just today and tomorrow, as I can start full liquids on Wednesday (pureed soups, sf yogurt, and sf pudding). It will be heavenly. Ohhhh, I also get to weigh myself on Wednesday - can't wait!

In other breaking news, I just scheduled my first fill - Jan 5 - one day shy of 6 weeks. That's my surgeon's schedule, which is fine with me. Of course, I'd love it a little sooner, but I'll play by his rules.

I'm off today, the kids are at the sitter, the hubby is at the doc, and it is quiet (at least until hubby gets home.) One relaxing day to get a few things done before I get back into the grind tomorrow.

Sunday, November 29

In the interest of keeping both arms...

...I broke down and am sipping some protein shake instead of eating an arm off.

I am so. very. hungry.

Like headache, stomache, nauseated, shaking hungry.

I just couldn't do it any longer. After reading other blogs and LBT, I realized I was one of *very* few who wasn't drinking protein drinks nearly 5 days post-op. And while my surgeon said TEN days, my nutritionist said three days. I'm sure she has some kind of degree, right?

It's kind of bothering me, since I am a total rule-follower and wanted to do this perfectly, by the letter, to the "T".

But when I called my mom sobbing about how miserable I am, she talked me into trying just a bit. Wise woman that she is, she said this is about discipline, not misery and torture. And she's right.

So, instead of feeling like I broke the rules (which will drive me bonkers! Yes, I am type-A, just a bit!), I will instead think of them as guidelines, and what I am doing fits within the guidelines.

Now I'm just hoping the guilt doesn't eat me alive (get it? eat? ha!)

Four always was my lucky number.

Today is day 4 since surgery, and I woke up feeling 95% better! I still get a muscle twinge if I move the wrong way. And I'm not picking up either kiddo until at least two weeks post-op (hard when you have a just-turned-two-year-old and a 7-month old).

My tummy, however, well, that's another story. I'm such a lucky gal, and my period started on top of everything else this morning. And I'm still on totally clear liquids, which is not appeasing my tummy one bit. Let's just say I'm not constipated. Ugh.

But really, I feel so much better than I imagined I would today, so I am not complaining. DD and I took a long walk - I walked while she pushed her doll in a stroller. It felt good to get out and get some fresh air and do some real movement.

I'm holding off on full liquids until Wed. My dietician said today, my surgeon said next Sat. I am splitting the difference. My executive call. The tomato soup is calling my name!

Friday, November 27

Oh, you wanna know about my surgery? OK...

Just a quick recap of the last few days.

We had to be at the hospital by noon on Wednesday. I was feeling a bit nervous, but mostly just THIRSTY! We got there, and I had to do a bunch of pre-op testing while DH had to wait in the surgical lounge.

My pre-op testing consisted of an EKG (normal), urine workup (not pregnant - yeah!), blood work (my coagulant was a bit high but everything else was good). About 1:30 pm, DH was allowed to join me, and in between the surgical team coming to talk to me, they gave me the relaxant drug. I can't remember what it was, but it sent me into fits of hysterics. I was laughing so hard I was crying!

All of a sudden it was 3 pm, they whisked me off to the surgery room, and it was on! I am a little hazy on the details here, as I was a bit high - hee hee. I remember being told to take a few deep breaths, and the next thing I knew, I was awake in recovery.

I had a bit of a tough time staying awake in recovery. I had shoulder pain for which the nurse gave me Dilaudid. Let's just say I could not keep my eyes open. I wasn't breathing deep enough and the dumb machine kept beeping at me, but I finally got it together.

Once I was ready to go to my room, I was still a bit groggy. DH took some nice pics of me - I will post later, but I am sure they are hilarious, as I could not even open my eyes! I am a wimp when it comes to pain meds.

I had one more shot of morphine about 11 pm that night and haven't had anything since. I'm not pain-free, but it's not bad.

The roughest part of the stay was the lack of somewhere for DH to sleep - he ended up sleeping on the floor, poor guy. We asked for a cot four different times to no avail. He's a trooper.

After getting home yesterday, I had a hard time getting comfy, but wasn't in real pain, if that makes sense. Just more edgy and couldn't figure out what I wanted.

I finally fell asleep about 10 pm last night in one of our recliners in the family room. About 3 am, I shifted to the couch, and about 5 am, I shifted to our bed.

I managed a shower and a 3 hour nap today. Sipping on some G2 since water seems to give me heartburn. Hmmmm, I have a friend who had gastric bypass 5 years ago and still struggles with water giving her heartburn. I hope I'm not the same, as I love water!

Anyhow, I'm on 10 days of clear liquids (no protein shakes) per the surgeon. The dietician said 3 days, so it'll probably be somewhere in between, since I can't imagine 10 days of clear liquids. We'll see...

My only real complaint is my stomach is grumbling and hungry, but I am not hungry. It's just a bit of a uncomfortable sensation. Anyone else have this? Will it go away?

Later, my banded friends!

Thursday, November 26

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We got home about 1:30 pm today. It would have been about 30 min sooner had we not hit traffic from the parade and Packers/Lions game trying to get out of downtown Detroit.

A few highlights from the past two days:

1. I have a Lap-band AP Large, for what it's worth.

2. My surgeon does the first fill at 6 weeks and is aggressive with his fills.

3. My surgical nurse was banded in 2004 and has lost 167 lbs!

4. I am supposed to be on clear liquids (no protein shakes) for 10 days. Anyone else have to do this?

5. The pain still isn't that bad. I haven't had pain meds since about 11 pm last night. I hope I can continue, as pain meds have a tendency to make me puke, which I am obviously scared to do.

Other than just being tired, I'm feeling OK. Not fantastic, but pretty darned good all things considered. Thanks for all the kind thoughts and words - they really, really helped!

La la la la la la...

Can you tell what that is?

I'm singing with the BAND - just singing with the BAND - what a glorious feeling, I'm singing with the BAND!

Yep, I'm banded. It went well. I did have a hernia that was repaired. Minimal pain. Much, much less than my laproscopic gall bladder surgery and my c-section, so I am thankful!

More later, but so glad to be on the portside.:)

Wednesday, November 25

Apparently, the only thing I've eaten is butterflies!

My tummy is a flutterin' away!

It's here. Banding day. The BIG event!

I lost another 6 lbs this week, bringing my pre-op diet total to 23.4 lbs. I'm beyond thrilled with that!

I have to be at the hospital at 1 and am guessing the surgery will be around 3 or so. We did find out that we have wireless, so I will check in again on the portside, as shrinkingmommy so pun-ly put it (love it!)...see you then!

Tuesday, November 24

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow...

Anyone recognize the tune? Yep. Sung by the cute Little Orphan Annie.

Did I ever mention I tried out to be in a local production of Annie when I was about 9? This was a very bad idea for a variety of reasons.

I can't sing.

I can't act.

Did I mention I can't sing? Singing is kind of the point of a musical.

I was so petrified when it was my turn to sing with the piano that you couldn't even hear me OVER the piano. In retrospect, that was probably a blessing given how well I don't sing.

Oops, got off on a tangent there.

So, tomorrow. Tomorrow is the big day. I'm starting to flip out a bit. Like most sane people, I'm not too keen on surgery. The whole cutting me open bit makes me a bit squeemish. And I don't do well with anesthesia. I tend to vomit and have a hard time coming out of it. Fortunately, most of the anti-nausea drugs work pretty well for me, so I am hopeful I don't have a tough time with it this time.

Today is clear liquids only. The usual suspects plus I'm allowed to have apple juice. WOOHOO for apple juice! I don't even like apple juice, but it tastes pretty darn heavenly this morning after two weeks of protein shakes.

I am working until about 2:30, then it's off to the derm to remove my stitches and hopefully get the all clear on the melanoma front, then to pick up a few odds and ends at the store, and then HOME to pack and chill with the kids. My mom is coming tonight to stay with the kids, as DH will be staying with me.

I'm sure I'll check back in before tomorrow. I tried to find out last night if the hospital has wireless or not, but we'll probably take the laptop regardless. I sure hope it does - what will I do without the internet?!?!?!

Monday, November 23

"As long as you don't get skinnier than me."

Told to me by my friend this weekend.

A little back story:
Friend and I met several years ago. We both needed to lose some weight, me more than her. We did Weight Watchers Core together long-distance and both had great success. I lost 60 lbs (still had about 90 to go), she lost about 40 to get to her goal weight. Then I got pregnant, gained it all back plus some, and haven't ever truly gotten back on the bandwagon since. She's been off and on the bandwagon since then, and has managed to only gain back 20 lbs at the most. She recently got back to her goal weight for her wedding in June, but has gained some of it back.

We both love to cook and like to exercise (when I'm not so fat, it's so much more fun!), so our friendship has revolved around cooking healthy, trying new exercise (spinning, running, etc.), and sharing recipes/cooking ideas.

Back to this weekend: She is one of two friends I told about my surgery. I wasn't even necessarily going to tell her, but she was coming to visit for the weekend, and I am on my pre-op diet. Plus, with her own weight struggles, I thought she'd be a good support. And really, she is being pretty supportive.


She obviously has some issues with me having the surgery. She's made some random comments here and there, and while they bothered me, I just kind of brushed them off (Example: When referring to this upcoming year and my surgery, "It's going to be a rough year, but I know you can do it." Rough? I was thinking awesome!)

And her issues came to light when I was showing her some of the Before & Afters on LBT this weekend. It obviously dawned on her that I truly am going to lose this weight. And I might not just be not-fat, but I might be skinny. And that comment came rolling out of her mouth. I was stunned. I should have said something, but I didn't.

After thinking about it, I realize that this is more about her than me. It's about her insecurities and her issues with her weight.

However, it was a bit of a wake up call about how my relationships may change as I lose weight. I never thought that my friends thought of me as their "fat friend" but obviously some do. It's going to be an interesting journey.

In other breaking news, I am 54 hours away from surgery! Drinking my last pre-op-protein-shake-breakfast as we speak. I hope to get my bag packed tonight, so we can have a nice relaxing family night tomorrow night.

Friday, November 20

Just call me Ms. Cranky Pants

Work sucked today. Four hour meeting. A coworker cooked her butt off last night and brought in ALL kinds of goodies that I had to stare at for four hours. Oh, and she baked one of them DURING the meeting, so it smelled heavenly. It was really, really, really hard to resist. Bowls of candy on the tables. I was sitting there thinking, I probably easily ate 1000+ calories at a meeting like that in the past. Mindlessly.

Anyhow, got home and...

DD was cranky.

DS was kinda cranky.

DH is VERY cranky. D stands for damn tonight.

Cranky + liquid diet = Ms. Cranky Pants

I've only got 3 more days of protein shakes and then 1 day of clear liquids and then surgery. I can do this, right? I am so hungry for something, I almost had a pickle. With only 15 calories, I figured it wouldn't hurt. But I resisted...I just want to be able to say I did this without even the slightest cheat.

On brighter notes, one of my dear friends is coming from Chicago this weekend. YEAH! I've told her about the surgery and she's going to drink protein shakes with me. What a friend!

Thursday, November 19

Getting to know me - bloggy style

Since all the other cool bloggin' bandsters are doing it, I want to, too!

- Age: 34
- Annoyance: Intolerance of pretty much any kind, Paula Deen
- Animal: We have 3 cats. Sigh. I love animals, but would love a dog instead.
- Actor: I have two young kids. I forget what it's like to watch a movie!

- Beer: Guinness!
- Birthplace: Syracuse, NY
- Body Part on opposite sex: Smile
- Been in Love: Still am.
- Been bitched at: Once or twice. I tend to hold my ground pretty well.
- Believe in yourself?: I do! I do!
- Believe in God: I believe in my own version.
- Before weight: 374.4 lbs. Ugh. This is why no one IRL will ever see this blog.

- Car: Pontiac Aztek. I love it!
- Candy: Chocolate with caramel and/or peanut butter
- Color: turquoise
- Cried in school: I don't remember a specific incident, but I have no doubt that I did many times.
- Chocolate/Vanilla: Chocolate
- Chinese/Mexican: Oh, both! Probably mexican
- Cake or pie: Yellow cake mix cake with chocolate canned frosting. Not a big fan of pie.
- Country to visit: Denmark

- Day or Night: Night
- Do the splits?: I wanted to desperately, but alas, no.

- Eggs: Pretty much any way, but my favs are hard-boiled and poached
- Eyes: Greeny-hazel - have no idea where they came from since both my parents are blue-eyed?!?!?!

- First crush: Andrew in sixth grade. Ahhh, he was so cute!
- First thoughts waking up: Are the kids still sleeping? Yes? Then so am I!
- Food: On week 2 of liquids. I am dreaming of ALL food. :)

- Greatest Fear: Losing one of my kids
- Goals: To live a long, healthy, active life with my family
- Get along with your parents?: I have the world's best parents. They are paying for my lap-band and love me unconditionally. I talk to my mom probably 3x/day and my dad at least a few times per week.
- Good luck charm: Nah.

- Hair Colour: Dirty blonde
- Height: 5'10"
- Happy: 95% of the time.
- Holiday: Used to be Thanksgiving, now I'm thinking Christmas
- Health freak?: No, but I know enough to be annoying!
- Hate: The fact that we can't afford insurance for my husband through my employer ($1100/month) and he can't get private insurance (high blood pressure) and people say we don't need a public insurance option?

- Ice Cream: Chocolate with lots of stuff in it
- Instrument: Not musically inclined at all. My two-year old daughter asks me to stop singing all the time.

- Jewelry: Love my wedding/engagement set - blue topaz center stone instead of a diamond. Love it! Other than that, I wear a chunky silver bracelet my daughter "got" me for my first mother's day and then everything else is loud, funky, chunky costume jewelry. The bigger and louder, the better.
- Job: communications manager

- Kids: 2 - DD just turned two 4 days ago and DS is 7 months old. Yes, I am constantly tired!
- Kickboxing or karate: Kickboxing!
- Keep a journal? I have several blogs - does that count?

- Longest Car Ride: 20+ hours from northern OH to southern FL
- Love: Doesn't have to be a wild ride; a nice mellow, friendship-based love can be so much mor fulfilling
- Laughed so hard you cried: All. the. time. I do this several times a week!
- Love at first sight: Romantic love - no. Parent-child love - yes.

- Milk flavor: None. Gag me with a spoon.
- Movie: See Actor category. I miss movies!
- Mooned anyone?: Guilty!
- Marriage: 3.5 years and we're both still alive!
- Motion sickness? Nope.
- McD’s or BK: Both!!!!

- Number of Siblings: 1 brother, 32
- Number of Piercings: 3 in each ear, one in the upper ear lobe, and navel. Only wear in the lowest ear holes now.
- Number: 4

- One wish: To be uber-successful with the band!

- Place you’d like to live: Phoenix, Tampa, anywhere with a better economy than here!
- Perfect Pizza: Tomatoes, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers - basically the works!
- Pepsi/Coke: Diet Pepsi and regular Coke. I despise regular Pepsi and Diet Coke. Oh well, doesn't matter since I won't be drinking them anymore!

- Questionaires: Duh.

- Reason to cry: Watching my kids play together - it always makes me cry! I'm a total sap.
- Reality T.V.: Any MTV stuff designed for teenyboppers. I love it!
-Roll your tongue in a circle? Yes

- Song: The One Who Knows by Dar Williams
- Shoe size: 9.5-10
- Salad Dressing: Bleu Cheese or Greek
- Skipped school: Enough.
- Smoking: Nope.
- Sing well?: No.
- Strawberries/Blueberries: I love all berries, but can I choose blackberries? My fav!

- Time for bed: 10:30-11
- Thunderstorms: Deathly terrified.
- TV: We watch WAY too much.

- Unpredictable: Me!

- Vegetable you hate: Celery, any type of bean (I know they're not veggies, but I hate them anyway!)
- Vegetable you love: avocado, asparagus, BRUSSEL SPROUTS, mushrooms, tomoatoes, onions
- Vacation spot: A warm beach in the Caribbean...I'm not even picky about what beach!

- Weakness: I cry easily. Happy, sad, mad, glad, overwhelmed.
- When you grow up: I want to live in a retirement community and drive a golf cart!
- Which one of your friends acts the most like you: None, really.
- Wanted to be a model?: Nope.

-X-Rays: Just had them done on my teeth yesterday!.

-Year it is now: 2009
-Yellow: Add some green and you've got Green Bay Packers!

- Zoo: We are supporters of our local zoo.
- Zodiac sign: Aquarius!

Wednesday, November 18

I lied! I LOVE this protein shake diet!

So, I hope you are sitting down. Seriously. Take a seat before you read this. Well, you probably are already sitting since you are most likely using your computer to read this. Unless you are one of the cool kids who surfs the internet with their phone. But I digress...

7 days of protein shakes and not a bite of solid food. 7 days of not-so-much-fun. 7 days of FAT-busting, liver-shrinking goodness. That's what it was!

Because guess how much I lost in 7 days?

17.4 lbs!

Yep. You read that right. 17.4 lbs.

I can hardly believe it!

The funny thing is when I first saw the number, I did the math real quick and thought I lost 14.4 lbs. And I was ecstatic with that. Then I was thinking about where I might be next week and the numbers weren't adding up. So I re-did my math and realized I had been WRONG. 17.4 lbs!

I'm still in shock. Although this has certainly given me the motivation to keep going for another 7 days!

Tuesday, November 17

And then there were 20.

Day 7. Finally. 7 days left. But more importantly, only 20 shakes left (I am on total clear liquids the day before surgery.) Yes, I know I will be drinking them for 2 weeks after surgery, but I'm not focusing on that right now, thankyouverymuch.

In some ways this has been easier than I anticipated, and in some ways, it's been harder than I anticipated. Now that I really think about it, the head hunger has been the harder part than the stomach hunger.

For you veteran bandsters out there, how is bandster hell worse than this? I can't imagine! Did anyone try doing a low-carb diet while waiting for restriction? I know I just said I wasn't going to think ahead, but I lied. Now I am curious as to how to make the bandster hell period as least hellish as possible. If that's possible!

Monday, November 16

Since we're closing in on the big day...

I figured it would do me good to get down, in writing, the reasons I am getting banded. I mean, obviously, I'm getting banded to lose weight, but that's really the side effect I'm looking for. I'm more excited about the other reasons, those that come along with weight loss. Hmmm, maybe that didn't make much sense. Let me try again. I'm more interested in achieving these than the actual number I lose.

So, here's my list of "Why I'm Getting Banded" (this will probably become a permanent part of one of my sidebars and I will continue to add to it):

1. To be able to paint my toes and breathe simultaneously.
2. To be able to shave my legs and breathe simultaneously.
3. To be able to play with my kids on the floor without my legs going numb within 30 seconds.
4. To be able to fly to lots of fun places with my family and not have them wonder why mommy is using an extra seat belt.
5. To be able to wear the seat belt in my husband's car without having to breathe shallowly the whole trip (damn Isuzus!).
6. To be able to run up a set of stairs without thinking about it.
7. To be able to run up a set of stairs without breathing heavily.
8. To ride on roller coasters.
9. To get back to spinning (I actually really love spinning!).
10. To complete another triathlon.
11. To cut-up my Lane Bryant credit card.
12. To be able to shop anywhere I want.
13. To be smaller than my husband.
14. To not have my kids be the ones with "the fat mom."
15. To not think about food 24/7.
16. To not worry about going somewhere and wondering what the seating will be like (parties, the movies, etc.)
17. To not sweat all the time.
18. To not have swollen ankles at the end of most days.
19. To inspire others that they can do this as well.
20. To feel like I am more than my weight and not feel like I have to "prove" myself in other ways so people look past the weight.
21. To finally win this war I've fought for so long.
22. To wear shorts again in the summer.
23. To wear clothes without an X in the size.
24. To wear clothes without a W in the size.
25. To wear clothes with a size that doesn't start with a 2.
26. To not be embarrassed to see old friends again.
27. To never skip another social event because I'm embarrassed about how much weight I've gained.
28. To like looking at pictures of myself again.
29. To not hide from the camera as much as possible.
30. To not "untag" pics of myself on Facebook because I'm embarrassed by how bad I look and I don't want old friends seeing them!
31. To help my parents quit worrying about my weight.
32. To keep myself healthy, since I don't have any comorbidities and certainly don't want any!
33. To turn heads when I walk in a room with my dazzling smile instead of my big butt.
34. To lose inches and inches!
35. To pick healthy foods and feel full on them instead of opting for unhealthy things just because I crave that full feeling.
36. To know how it feels to eat breakfast and not think about food again for a few hours.
37. To set a good example for my kids.
38. To make sure my daughter does not grow up with body issues.
39. To dance at my daughter's wedding.
40. To dance at my son's wedding.
41. To contribute to this amazing online community of bandsters.
42. To help someone along the bandster journey when they are struggling, because I really like helping others.
43. To be able to cross my legs.
44. To be able to sit indian-style on the floor. (Is there a more PC term these days?!?!?!)
45. To be able to do my favorite hobby, photography, without breaking a sweat after the first shot.
46. To not have to worry about the weight limit on any activity, whether I want to skydive, bungy jump, or scuba dive.
47. To overcome the emotional part of my eating.
48. To rewire my brain about food and eating.
49. To become an inspiration to others who are scared to get banded.
50. To live.

I will come up with 50 more before surgery.

One other thing I have to add. You'll notice that nowhere on my list is anything about feeling beautiful or sexy in front of my husband. I hate when people get all sappy and lovey-dovey about their spouses, but I have to say, he is the most amazing man who has never said one negative word about my weight and who has looked past my weight and finds me beautiful no matter what, even though I've gained probably 100+ lbs since we started dating and 175+ lbs since we met. I am doing this for him as well, for being one of my biggest sources of support and finding me beautiful at any weight.

Pre-op diet side effects

I know from a medical perspective that the pre-op diet is really to shrink your liver. I can already tell it's working - I have never peed (sorry!) so much in my life, and my mid-section is much less bloated.

However, I've also discovered it has a few other unintended (or perhaps they are intended) side effects:

1. It's already rewiring my brain around the way I think about food. I know I have a long way to go. A looooong way. But it has made me rethink meals, food, eating, and all that goes with it.

2. The strictness of a 14-day liquid diet has made me CRAVE anything healthy. I look at fruits and veggies and lean protein and practically drool. Again, it's almost like it's rewiring my brain to be thankful for when I can finally eat those things, let alone any other food.

3. I think it's curing my sugar and chocolate addictions. These shakes (pretty much every brand I've tried so far, and I've tried 5 or 6) are so sweet. And seem to taste best in some form of chocolate. Not sure when I'll want to eat chocolate again!

4. I'm adapting to a low-cal diet now. Hopefully, I can stick with it and get through bandster hell a little easier having been so faithful on the liquid diet.

5. I am so ready for this part to be over, I'm not even nervous about my surgery. This is a HUGE added bonus!

I'm on day 6 and going strong. I figure tomorrow is 50% of the way there! After that, I'm on the down hill slope. Wheeeeeeee....

Sunday, November 15

5 days down (almost)...

OK, this pre-op diet ain't no joke! Ugh. I'm not struggling horribly, but it isn't exactly a walk in the park either.

Yesterday was DD's 2nd birthday party, and I'm proud to say I made it through the entire thing without so much as a bite entering my mouth. It was hard, especially because I ended up not eating for 8+ hours, but I stuck with it. I want to be able to say I stuck to the pre-op diet 100% without cheating. It's just a personal battle I want to win.

I have realized in the five short days I've been doing this that I do eat partially out of emotion, boredom, and habit. I always knew I did, but this confirmed it for me. It's been a very eye-opening experience, and I fully intend to use these two weeks to my advantage after surgery.

9 days to go...and lots of learning left to do!

Friday, November 13

I survived!

I had a lunch today as a part of a committee for a board I sit on. Since I'm the head of the committee, if I had cancelled on lunch, they would have just rescheduled to accommodate me. Sooooo, I faked a unsettled tummy (it was partially true, since I haven't felt that well since starting protein shakes).

It was tough. It was at a great Italian restaurant. I almost ordered a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup and would have just had the broth. But I knew that would be really tempting, and even if I just had the broth, I would have felt I cheated. I had an iced tea instead and enjoyed it.

I kept wishing I was on a less strict pre-op diet. And then I realized - no matter what pre-op diet I was on, I'd want what I couldn't have. So if I was restricted to lean meat and veggies, I would have wanted a sandwich. Murphy's law.

Anyhow, one food event down, one more to go. My daughter's second birthday party is tomorrow. I plan to have a shake right before everyone arrives and be so busy that no one notices if I eat cake or not!

Random ramblings

Starting day three of my 14-day pre-op diet. I struggled a bit yesterday - I was damn hungry late afternoon/early evening. It didn't help that DH fell off the I'll-do-it-with-you-wagon, and when I stopped to get a diet cherry limeade from Sonic, he opted to get a whole meal. And ate it in the car with me. Honestly, I wasn't upset - I HAVE to do this to have my surgery, so it is what it is. But I won't lie - that burger and those fries smelled heavenly, and I think I could actually taste them. This is after TWO days. I really am addicted!

Good news on the melanoma front. I saw a specialist yesterday and she said the type I have (melanoma in situ) is 100% curable as long as they remove all the surrounding tissue. I'm having the remaining tissue removed Monday morning at 7 am. I'll have about a 2" scar. And then we made two other appointments for 1 hour each to remove 6 other moles. That won't happen until January. Is it sad that all I could think about is I could be 30-40 lbs lighter when she sees me in January? HA!

DH did a bunch of research on protein drinks yesterday, and he found one that had good reviews on every site he went to. We found it at GNC. It's called BSN Lean Dessert Protein, and it actually is good. We got the Chocolate Fudge Pudding, and we're ordering a Whipped Vanilla Cream and a Cinnamon Bun as well. I don't intend to use protein drinks beyond the two weeks pre-op and two weeks post-op that I *have* to, but a little variety will be nice.

I'm starting to feel a bit ? panicky? smacked by reality? second-guessing? I'm not sure what it is, but I'm starting to realize my surgery is in 12 days. 12! And my life will (hopefully) never be the same. While this is a good thing, I do need to learn to rewire my brain around how I think about food. Food is such a big part of everything we do as humans. Celebrations, work meetings, family outings, and so on. It's always going to be there, so I have to learn how to deal with that. I actually scheduled an appointment with a counselor who specializes in dealing with bariatric patients for the Monday before my surgery. I hope I like her and can continue to meet with her regularly. Maybe she can be my brain lap-band, because I'm pretty sure my brain needs one!

Thursday, November 12

9.29% done...

...with my pre-op diet that is.

4 shakes down, 35 to go.

Lessons learned already:

1. Bulking up your shake with a bunch of blended ice makes it seem sooo much more filling.
2. The clear Isopure protein drinks are nasty. Like gaggy nasty. I only finished it because I paid $3.79 for it.
3. It would be very easy to confuse baby formula and protein shakes. Just sayin'.
4. Adding something to the shake makes it MUCH more palatable. Decaf instant coffee crystals, sugar-free, fat-free pudding or jello mix (the dry stuff), diet soda, etc.
5. Even if you think you won't survive, you will.

I had my moments yesterday when I wondered what the hell I was doing. I was soooo hungry. And I had a rough day - found out that a mole I had removed two weeks ago is melanoma. What a crappy day to get such terrible news. I couldn't even turn to one of my greatest comforts, food. But what a great lesson as well. I survived yesterday, my first pre-op diet day coupled with some terrible news, without falling off the wagon. It was almost like a lesson from the universe showing me that I CAN do this. And I WILL do this.

Wednesday, November 11

1 down, 38 to go...

Protein shakes that is.

My pre-op diet is two weeks or 14 days. But the 14th day is clear liquids only (no protein shakes), so I figure I get to enjoy 39 lovely protein shakes.

The first one actually wasn't so bad. I had an EAS Myoplex Original 17 oz Mocha Latte with 42 grams of protein. It's a little higher in protein than what I technically need, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start off with more protein as I get used to this.

I poured it over a HUGE glass of ice and let it sit for about 10 min to get icy cold. And then sipped it with a straw. It was fairly tasty. The worst part was actually the way it left my lips feeling a bit sticky and dry. Nothing a little chapstick couldn't cure.

I won't lie, however - 3 hours later and I am getting a bit hungry. With each hunger pain, though, I picture my liver shrinking. Wanna help me cheer it on? Sing it with me! SHRINK, LIVER, SHRINK!

On other notes, DH has decided to do this liquid diet with me! Which is very sweet. No messy kitchen for two weeks. WOOHOO for the small things, right? Anyhow, I really appreciate him doing it with me, and I won't be upset if he doesn't stick with it. He doesn't quite have the same prize dangling in front of him - a smaller liver and a lap-band. I know I certainly couldn't do it if I didn't have such a prize at the end. Although watch - he'll lose more weight on it than I do, and he's only got about 40 lbs to lose!

Tuesday, November 10


Mmmm, sushi. 'Twas my lunch and most likely my dinner. Of all the foods I hear bandsters talk about as problematic - white bread, chicken, pasta - sushi is the only one that if I can't eat it, I'll really miss. I know I can do it minus the seaweed wrapper or with light rice or a million other ways. However, I love sushi just as it is - with the seaweed wrapper and sticky rice and lots of wasabi and soy sauce.

I hope I'll be able to still enjoy a few pieces here and there post-band, but if not, well, I'm enjoying it a few more times!

Monday, November 9

But I'm doing something about it!

I make no sense. I know this. And I'm okay with it.

I've really never been one to apologize for my weight. In the sense that I've never been embarrassed about eating in front of others, being heavy, etc. Not that I *like* it per se, but I've never really felt the need to explain it to people, apologize for it, or feel bad about it.

But suddenly, now that I AM doing something about it, I feel the need to explain it to people. When I am eating in public, I want to say, "Don't worry - this is the last time I'll be eating (insert food here) for a long, long time. I'm getting banded!" I know, seriously. It makes no sense. Especially in light of the fact that I'm not even telling many people about my surgery. But I feel like I've become hyper-aware of everything I'm putting in my mouth, how big my butt is, how crappy I feel, how much I had lost hope until I decided on the band, and so on.

It's like I've finally, finally accepted that this isn't a battle anymore. It's a war. I'm pulling out the big guns to deal with it. And in pulling out this big guns, I'm finally acknowledging a lot of things that I kept locked up. Perhaps locked up with the big guns.

And letting go of these things that I kept locked up will hopefully take lots of the pounds with them, never to return, as I work towards better health, physically and emotionally.

Friday, November 6

A bad case of last supperitis

Knowing that I have 5 days left to eat real food until at least the end of the year has given me a bit of a case of last supperitis. Don't get me wrong - I very willingly scheduled my surgery smack dab in the middle of the holidays. But there are a few things I want to have this weekend before I start on this journey. This journey that starts with two solid weeks of no solid food - but I'll whine more about that later!

This weekend I plan to have sushi and maybe a little more sushi with a big fat side of mexican. DH doesn't know it yet, but those are the plans. And he'll like it, if he knows what's good for him.

In between the sushi and mexican, I plan to do a little taste-testing of protein shakes, since starting Wednesday, they'll become my best friend. Costco, GNC, and perhaps the Vitamin Shoppe - I'll let you know how it goes!

Mmmm, protein shakes...

Wednesday, November 4

Reactions to dropped bombs

I have intentionally chosen to tell very few people in my life about my surgery. This is my personal journey, one that is painfully embarrassing in many ways. I fully admit I may be ready to tell more people as I lose weight and feel more confident in my choice and/or when the reality of taking the easy way out isn't so fresh. But for the time being, this is something I just don't want to discuss with the entire world. Or even my little circle of friends and family.

Having told two of the chosen few recently has reinforced my decision. While neither reaction was overly negative, neither was either reaction overly positive. I realize that I wanted, craved, expected excitement. And support. I got neither. I got surprise and trepidation. Which, to be fair, is probably how I'd react if a friend dropped a bomb like I just did. However, I also like to think that I'd step outside of myself to realize that the bomb they were dropping wasn't easy for them to drop and at least pretend to be supportive and excited.

I am learning, quickly, to accept that how people react is not about me but about them. Maybe it's about how they want to also take the easy way out, how they feel about themselves, how they wish they had the courage to do what I am doing, how they wish they had the opportunity to changes their lives like I am. It's not about ME. It's not. It's about them.

And since this journey is about ME, I am not going to worry about them.

Tuesday, November 3

How did I get here?

I admit, I am judgemental when it comes to obese people. I will see a really large person and wonder, "How did they let that happen to themself? Why didn't they do something when they hit 50 lbs overweight, 100 lbs overweight, etc.?" And here I am. 200+ lbs overweight. How in the hell did I let this happen to me? Seriously. I am smart, I am educated, I know how to eat healthy, I actually like working out, I like playing sports, I can tell you the calories and fat grams in just about any food.

I just don't know.

But I do know it's embarrassing. I mean, 200+ lbs overweight? 200? That's a HUGE number. It's not like it happened overnight or without my knowledge.

I'm here to tell you, it can happen to anyone.

I've been looking back on my life and thinking about my weight at various times. I'm going to try to piece together a timeline as best I can. Here's the last 25+ years in numbers:

1993 - Senior year of high school - I remember weighing 174 lbs. I wore a size 8 for my senior pictures. I remember feeling huge.

1999 - 2000 - Second year of grad school and my first attempt at Weight Watchers. I started at 232 lbs, was wearing a size 18/20. I lost 39 lbs and got down to 193 lbs and a size 12/14 before going back to beer and fast food.

2001 - Another shot at Weight Watchers; I don't remember exactly where I was, but probably around 250 lbs, size 20. I lost 30 lbs or so before getting frustrated yet again.

2003 - Shot back up and decided to give Atkins a shot. I probably started around 270 lbs, a size 22, and lost down to 215 lbs.

2006-2007 - Had gained a BUNCH of weight since my last serious weight loss attempt. I started Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time, although this time I did Core. I started at 322 lbs and a size 28. I lost 59 lbs, bringing me down to 263 lbs and a size 20. Then I got pregnant! I gained back all 60 lbs and didn't really lose any after my daughter was born.

2009 - Had a few false starts here and there, and every time I lost some, I'd find it plus a few extras. I worked my way up to 350 lbs. Then I got pregnant again! This time I managed to only gain 15 lbs, and I actually lost about 30 lbs after my son was born.

Current - I found all the pounds I lost after my son was born plus about 20 extras, bringing me to my current weight of 374 lbs. I had lost about 12 lbs in the last few weeks. But essentially, I am starting at 374 lbs and in a very tight size 28.

And that's how I got here.

The babbling begins...

I've made the decision to get banded.


It's done.

I'm getting banded.

In 22 days.



Am I sure about this?

Ok, calm down. Yes, I am sure. Eventually I'll start from the beginning, but let me just babble a bit about my consult today.

After getting the kids, DH, and myself out the door by 7:15 am, which is no small feat, we headed out for the drive up to Detroit. Within an hour, we'd found the hospital, the right floor, and even the right suite. Or as DH would call it - the Fatty Clinic. Really, it's kinda the Becoming-a-Non-Fatty Clinic, right?

I was expecting to walk in and see a bunch of Fatties, or band-needing people, like myself. Instead I was met with a wide variety of people, most of whom did not appear to be getting nor have had a band. Turns out the suite has 25 or so other surgeons, so whew! We'd made it to the right spot. Unfortunately, the right spot stunk like hell and was quite grimy. DH asked me several times if there were any other surgeons I could go to. Um, yeah, for twice the cost. I put on my brave face, but I was starting to question what the hell I was thinking.

Fortunately, the exam rooms were MUCH nicer. And less smelly. However, they had one of the SMALLEST chairs I've ever seen. Really? In a room for patients wanting weight loss surgery? She asked me if I was in any pain, and I almost had to answer YES - the chair was squeezing my hips so badly!

Anyhow, after being weighed away from DH's watchful eye, we met with Angela, one of the program coordinators. She reviewed my health history briefly and then Dr. Webber, my surgeon, came in. He reviewed my health history more thoroughly, explained how the surgery is done, and answered my questions. I really didn't have many, since I've been researching the hell out of this the past month.

And we scheduled my surgery for Wednesday, November 25. 22 days. The day before Thanksgiving. I'll actually be released on Thanksgiving. Guess I'll be especially thankful this year!

The pre-op diet starts in 8 days. I am DREADING that part. But I will do it. And do it with minimal complaining. OK, probably with lots of complaining. I already warned DH I am going to be a raving bitch, and he's just going to have to deal with it.

OK, more later!