Wednesday, December 30
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
Sunday, December 6
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
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
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
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.
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!