Wednesday, March 31

A new low

And we all know lows are actually good when you are talking weight loss!

333.8 lbs

YEAH! That means I officially lost 2 lbs this week, bringing my grand total to 40.6 lbs lost. And 13 lbs since my fill 3 weeks ago, when I finally decided that I was going to have to do my part to lose some weight until I find that elusive creature called restriction. Which I am starting to think is just a mythical creature. Or maybe an urban legend. Or some pie-in-the-sky concept some jerk dreamed up in order to get me to convince my parents to fork over $11,000.

Anyhoo, I digress.

It's been a long couple of weeks, but my next (and fifth) fill is next Tuesday. YEAH!

A few random notes:
  • Thank you ALL for your support! It's so nice to hear how well you think I am doing when some days I barely feel like I am keeping it together. Smooches to all of you!
  • Cara - I didn't mean to make you think I'd been doing this single-parent thing for 42+ days straight. I meant 5 nights/week x 8.5 weeks, and that's where I got the 42 from. If I had done this straight through, I'd be in the looney bin. Seriously.
  • We went for a walk last night; it's getting easier and easier. I still huff and puff and sweat, but it's not painful.
  • I made some yummy crab cakes last night for dinner. I even took pictures! I'll email it to Jen so she can put it on her new blog.

And now, for my PSA of the day:

I was really tired by the time I got the kids to bed last night. The house had just been cleaned, though, and I want to keep it that way for at least a few days. When I came downstairs from putting them to bed, I just didn't want to do anything. But I convinced myself to spend just 15 min tidying up. I'd just get done what I could in 15 min, and whatever didn't get done could wait until today.

I set the timer for 15 min.

I went through the mail, finished cleaning up the kitchen, cleaned up approx. 753 toys, washed bottles, refilled sippies, and put away shoes and coats. I looked at the timer and I had EIGHT minutes left.

All that took me 7 min!

I decided to tackle the clean dishwasher, figuring it'd take me the remaining 8 min. I unloaded it, not going especially quick, because I didn't really have anything else that needed done. After the last dish was put away, I looked at the timer.

It read 5:02.

It took me less than 3 min to empty the dishwasher.

I used to do this 15 min thing all the time, but I had gotten away from it. Last night was a good reminder of how much I can get done in 15 min when I really focus.

I'm sure there's some tie-in to weight loss with this one, but I'm not feeling like analyzing it right now. Maybe later!

Tuesday, March 30

Split personality

I was so happy and doing so well yesterday. Then I picked up the kids, and BAM! My mood shot straight to you-know-where on a rocketsled.

It wasn't really the kids, although they were kinda testing my patience last night. It was that I tried to eat some leftover shrimp, even though I knew that was an incredibly dumb idea. I was being stubborn, and I have no idea why.

I PB'ed, although nothing really came up. And it was a weird PB. I didn't have the painful stuck part beforehand. I just suddenly had this sensation that it was going to be reappearing any second. I made it to the sink in time to hoork like a cat (which I talked about on someone's blog last night) while DD said, "Bless you, Mommy!" Does hoorking sound like sneezing? Apparently.

That left me hungry and with a headache (I PB'ed so hard, I was seeing stars). And two trying-my-patience kids. And a house that needed tidied up so the cleaning lady could clean today. And a gift that needed wrapped for a good friend who just had her second child. And friends who wanted to talk and a shoulder to cry on.

Playing single mom all week is getting really old. This is week nine, in case you were counting with me. So, it's been 42 nights (5 nights per week) of taking care of the kids on my own. I'm ready for this all to be over. Just a few more months, I can do anything for a few months, right?

Anyhow, this morning, I was so hoping for a better start to the day. I actually even did my hair and makeup. Then DD proceeded to throw FOUR temper tantrums before we even got to daycare. DS fell as soon as we got there and cut his lip pretty good. I was seriously sweating off my makeup and my hair was matted to me, after trying to wrangle two crying kids into daycare by myself.

Where's the Calgon when you need it? Or maybe a shot of vodka?

The good news is when I stepped on the scale this morning, it said 334.2. That means that tomorrow should be a nice loss of a couple of pounds for my official weekly weigh-in. YEAH for good news.

I'm determined to have a better night with the kids. I may make a frozen pizza and go for a walk. It's beautiful here, and I am going to take advantage of the nice weather to have a nice evening! If all else fails, I will find that vodka.

A quick shout out to Elliana

I can't comment on your blog, because the word verification box is cut off! I'm missing you!

Monday, March 29

How the band is affecting other areas of my life

Is it just me? Maybe I used to be the laziest person alive. Seriously. I had NO energy to do anything. I did what needed to be done, and that was good enough.

Now I'm on top of things in my life - phone calls made, appointments scheduled, laundry managed, house tidied, and so on.

I don't think I can contribute all of this to just the actual weight lost. I think a larger part - indeed most - of it has to do with the mental aspect.

I no longer have to spend my time worrying about being fat the rest of my life. It's like I have rediscovered what it means to live. To feel like caring about tomorrow.

I no longer have to beat myself up over not dieting/not losing weight/not working out/eating the wrong thing. I still do this a bit, but not like before, and I am getting better. This gives me time to focus my energy on more important things.

And as these things fall into place, my life feels more organized. And as my life feels more organized, I feel more energized. And as I feel more energized, I feel like caring about myself more. Doing my hair, wearing makeup, going for walks with the kids. It's an amazing feeling - like I am waking up from a deep sleep, only to realize that I was sleeping even when I thought I wasn't. I never thought I was depressed or anything of the like, but I actually think I was to some extent. Depressed over this battle I never thought I'd win. And now that I can see victory on the horizon, I am reenergized!

On other very shameless-self-promotion fronts, I took pics of the kids this weekend - a few of them in their Easter clothes and then some for my son's first birthday, which is in a few weeks. I love these kiddos (they make my heart sing with joy), but I am also proud of my budding photography skills!

In his birthday crown.

It was a huge, pretty lollipop until he dropped it 15 seconds after we handed it to him.

She looks soooo sweet, but don't let her fool you!

The only pic of them together where she wasn't mauling him. Honest to goodness!

Sunday, March 28


One of my (two) friends that knows I was banded came to visit this weekend. She's been pretty supportive, but due to her own weight issues, I think she's struggled a bit with my band. She's the one who told me I just wasn't allowed to get skinnier than her.

We had a great weekend together - cleaning, decluttering (we're nerds - we like doing this together), cooking, shopping, eating.

A little back story - we have been friends for about 5 years now. Maybe 6. We met online on a message board for people divorcing young. We hit it off immediately and became friends instantly. We have tons in common. Tons.

She lives about four hours from me, in Chicago. In July 2006, I joined Weight Watchers and did Core. I had great success with it, and a few months later, she joined me on Core. Of course, we live 100s of miles apart, so we emailed and talked about it constantly, sharing food finds and recipes.

By March 2007, I'd lost 60 lbs (from 322 to 262), and she'd lost about 30 lbs (216 to 185ish). I then found out I was pregnant and totally fell off the wagon. She kept on, but we've both screwed around since then - losing and gaining the same 15-20-25 lbs. Well, obviously, I gained a lot more, but it was in those increments. Anyhow, she's bounced between a 16 and a 12, maybe a 10.

Fast forward to this weekend: We had a great time together. But I realized I really do eat a lot less than I used to. A lot. And waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy slower. I mean, I knew I did, but I didn't realize how much less and how much slower. It was very eye-opening to spend the entire weekend with someone who you know you used to eat almost exactly the same as.

Beyond just this weekend, though, I am starting to realize that eating is just not enjoyable like it used to be. Don't get me wrong - I still enjoy certain foods. But in a lot of ways, eating takes so much mental and physical effort, it has become a bit of a chore. I never, ever, ever in a million years thought I'd say that!

On other notes, if you are struggling like me with tightness yet no restriction, chili is a great meal. It goes down easily, and you can actually eat enough to feel satisfied for more than 2.2 minutes. Luckily, I made enough for a few meals this week. YUM!

Thursday, March 25

Just call me Ms. Skinny Pants today...

...because I did it!

I hit 40 lbs lost on my fourth (month) bandiversary! Actually, it was 40.2 lbs, and I am dammmmmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnnnn proud of that .2 lbs. Better yet, I am officially at my lowest so far - 334.2 lbs.

I'm in a much better mood than I was yesterday. Partly because of this - and why I let the scale dictate my moods, I'll never know. Partly because my friend is coming in from Chicago (she ended up not coming last weekend, because her grandpa died), partly because I have tomorrow off, so today is my Friday, and partly because I slept well last night.

Oh, and guess what? I took the kids for an hour walk last night! Go me!

So, about the move...

The owner is FINALLY heading down to FL April 14-18 to scout out locations and hopefully sign a contract. Since there are so many empty warehouses right now, I don't see this being an issue. They are looking for something within ~10 miles of the Orlando airport, which means that we'll probably live somewhere in the vicinity as well. It doesn't have to be right there, but it'd be silly for DH to commute too far, when we know exactly where he'll be working. I am guessing the owner will sign a July 1 lease, but that's really just a guess on my part. If that's the case, we'll probably be moving down middle-end of June, just in time for the real FL summer heat. Oh yeah!

Anyone familiar with the area? Shrinking Mommy - what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 24

Just call me Ms. Cranky Pants

I had a long day yesterday - 7+ hours of driving for a very worthless two hour meeting. Fun times, I tell ya.

I also had my first public PB. I am soooo over PB'ing (my fourth in case you are keeping track). They no longer scare me or gross me out or anything. They just PISS ME OFF. Seriously. I went out to lunch with a coworker. I avoided the burger, because I knew that would spell trouble. But I did opt for chicken nachos. Chewed the first tiny bite very well, and boom! Stuck. Seriously. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom. Thank god, no one was in there, since there was just one stall. I came back and pushed my food around on my plate so she wouldn't really realize I wasn't eating. I think she realized but was too polite to say anything.

I hate that it leaves me starving. I hate hate hate the point that I am at. All the crappy parts but no restriction. It sucks.

I lose exactly 0 lbs last week. I deserve it after my bad weekend, but I was really hoping for at least something. So unless I lose 1.4 lbs today, I will not be hitting 40 lbs in 4 months. Sigh.

Why else am I cranky?

  • My so-called friends on Facebook who think that I am unAmerican because I think it's aboutdamnedtime that the government tell insurance companies that it is illegal to deny someone coverage just because they lost the game of genetics roulette and have an inherited pre-existing condition that makes getting private insurance impossible.
  • The person at McDonald's who assured me my iced coffee was plain when it was in fact not and then argued with me that it was - because yes, I like to waste my time and get to work late over an order that's not indeed wrong - makes total sense to me.
  • My husband who has a stomach bug again and wonders why I seriously do not want him to come home this weekend.
  • The fact that I can't talk about our move at work yet and I want to sooooo badly.
  • The fact that I'm even at work today.
  • That I'm still fat. Why aren't I magically skinny?

You might be well-advised to stay far, far away today! Do you think being angry burns additional calories? Maybe I can hit 40 by tomorrow after all. HAHAHA Alright, I'm going to go try to be in a better mood, since I have to give a big presentation at a staff meeting in about 20 min. Smile!

Monday, March 22

Better than a shopping spree!

Bet you didn't think there was anything better than a shopping spree! But there is....

Getting not one but TWO boxes in the mail from the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants!

The first was from Jen and had a bunch of really cute tops in it. They are already washed and ready to wear!

The second was from Shrinking Mommy and had a ton of pants, capris, and tops in it. Some of the pants even still had tags on them! I have to tell you guys - I think she owns (owned) more jeans than they sell at the Gap. Seriously - she has given me no fewer than a dozen pairs of jeans!

Thanks soooooooooooo much to both of you. I really, really appreciate it and will certainly pay it forward when I actually lose enough weight to pass my too-big clothes on!

I had a horrible weekend eating. The good news is I am still struggling with certain foods sometimes (Hamburger Helper was not my friend last night), so even though I ate a bunch of crap, I didn't eat much at meal time, so the overall caloric intake wasn't too dramatically awful. The scale was only up 1 lb this morning, and I'm determined it's leaving with a friend or two by tomorrow.

I do great during the week, but then DH comes home, and I let it fly out the window. I'm going to have to work on moderation when he's home.

I hit my goal of working out three times last week. My goal this week is four times. Considering I have a VERY long day tomorrow (have to travel 4+ hours each way for a two-hour meeting), I am going to have to be vigilant about getting those workouts in.

And I didn't get up this morning and workout, as I stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too late last night watching the healthcare stuff. I am a political junkie...not good for my sleep or workout needs!

Thursday, March 18

The Five Stages of Banding

With all due credit to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, I think the five stages of grief are very applicable to the process of getting a lap-band. Here's my interpretation with my own spin on her five stages:

The Five Stages of Banding

1. Denial

"I don't need the band."
"I would never take the easy way out."
"I can do this on my own."
"Only xxx people need the band (replace xxx with any combination of the following: really fat, lazy, weak, co-morbidities)."

This stage typically lasts from the first time you hear about the band (or like me, someone approaches you about it; in my case, it was my mom) until you're sick and tired of losing weight only to regain it again and again and realize that this problem is bigger than you (no pun intended). It's typically a temporary defense.

2. Anger

"How did I let myself get so fat?"
"Why do I need the band when everyone else can just eat what they want and not gain weight?"
"Life is sooooo unfair; I don't want to have to have surgery just to lose weight!"

Once you hit this stage, you realize how deep in denial you were. Maybe you are still pissed off that you feel like you should be able to do it on your own and are angry at yourself. You are out of denial, and excited about the band, but still pissed that it's come to this. You're angry that you have to do 6 months of dietician-supervised dieting. You're ticked that you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. You're just ticked off at the world.

3. Excitement

"I'll be completely thrilled and consider this a success if I just lose 75 lbs/get to onederland/fit in a size 16."
"I have my band - life is wonderful!"
"I know I am going to lose 100 lbs in the first six months. I've seen so many people do it. This is going to be awesome!"

The excitement stage can come and go and overlap with stage 4. This stage typically hits as the surgery date is set, the surgery date approaches, even post-surgery before bandster hell hits. The liquid diet causes you to lose a bunch of weight, you're seeing successes, you're doing it! It's an exhilirating time, although as with most highs, it's often followed by a low...

4. Frustration

"The band doesn't work for me. Why did I even do this?"
"I'm NEEEEEEEEEEEEVER going to get to restriction."
"I've only lost 1/3 of what I thought I would have by this time; I'm a failure."
"Wow, this really isn't the easy way out."

The frustration stage coincides with bandster hell. It's like coming down off a high. For most bandsters, from the time of approaching their family doctor to actually getting the band, is many, many months, and once they've been through all that, they are ready for the band to work now. NOW. They've been patient and jumped through all the required hoops, and now that they have the band, they are ready for it to work immediately.

Pretty much every bandster cognitively understands that bandster hell will happen, but after going through stage 3, they are pretty sure it's not going to happen to them. Or it won't be that bad. Or long. Wrong. Whatever the struggle is - the emotional side of losing weight, lack of restriction, slow fills - it can be very difficult. As noted above, some bandsters will bounce back and forth between stages 3 & 4 several times.

5. Acceptance
(Please note, I am not here yet. But this is what I've gathered from reading blogs and LBT.)

"The band really works if I am patient and work with it."
"Hitting onederland/wearing a size 16/losing 75 lbs actually wasn't the be all - end all I thought it would be. The journey is really the reward."
"I CAN do this."
"I am doing this."
"Banded life is good."

This is where the rollercoaster kind of flattens out. It's back up from the dip of stage 4 but of course is not as high as stage 3 was. And that's a good thing. It's the place where you coast along, doing what you need to do while living. Living your life - the good banded life. You're at good restriction; you are keeping up with your fills; food is no longer central to your life and every thought you have. You might experience periods of both excitement and frustration, but not to the same extent (not as high/low nor does it last as long) as when you were in those stages.

I am firmly between stages 3 and 4. I still get excited, but then the next day, or even the next hour, I am frustrated. I'm frustrated with the lack of restriction, the length of time between fills, and so on. But I am excited by how much weight I've lost, how far I've come, and how much work I've done both physically and emotionally to coast into stage 5 very soon.

I'd love to hear what you think of the five stages and if you can relate!

Wednesday, March 17

Feeling good!

I am down another 1.8 lbs today, bringing my weekly total to 6.4 lbs and my total since my fill 8 days ago to 11 lbs and my grand total lost to 38.6 lbs! This whole "it's ok to be hungry, it's not going to kill me" attitude is really working. Don't get me wrong, if I had to do it forever, it wouldn't be doable. But I know it's really only for three more weeks, until my next fill. It's totally doable!

I've worked out twice this week, despite the fact that I have the cold from hell. GO ME! I have that kind of sore throat that makes it impossible to lay down because it makes you cough. Yeah, that one. It kept me up most of the night last night. I have THREE big meetings today and a presentation to give. Lovely. Oh, and a major press release to send. Otherwise, I would have taken the kids to daycare and turned right around and headed home. Alas, no rest for the wicked this morning.

Will check in more later. Have to go get ready for my presentation. Oh yeah.

Tuesday, March 16


I work 3 miles from home, so I often go home at lunch. I enjoy the peace and quiet. A lot.

Anyhow, I did an experiment today. I counted how many restaurants are on my drive home.


That's how many!

Then I got curious and decided to apply some Amerrific Reasoning to this.

26 restaurants over the course of 3 miles means I see 8.67 restaurants every mile.

Assuming I am averaging 30 mph, it takes 2 min to go every mile. Therefore, every 1 minute, I see 4.34 restaurants.

Assuming a restaurant comes into view and leaves in 10 sec (I really have no idea how long it actually is – just guesstimating), that means that 43 sec of every minute of my commute is spent viewing a restaurant.

This means 72% of my commute I am bombarded with thoughts about food. And knowing me, that means that I am thinking about food more than 72% of the time. Even if it is subconscious.

Obviously this is very unscientific, because it does not take into account stop signs, stop lights, seeing multiple restaurants at once, etc.

But it does illustrate a point. No wonder I'm always thinking about food. It's EVERYWHERE!

The sad thing is I've been to more than 50% of the aforementioned restaurants. So it's also no wonder I'm fat.

Dealing with hunger and other random musings

I admit, it's not exactly fun being hungry most of the time. Obviously, or I wouldn't have gotten the band. But I also realize it's not the end of the world. Yep. I just said it. My thinking is s-l-o-w-l-y coming around. See? The band does work on your brain in a very strange way.

I really have been hungry most of the time since my last fill, a week ago. But it's ok. And that's HUGE. It's not going to kill me. It's not going to wreck my whole day. It's not really a big deal. I eat what I'm supposed to and just go from there. I was hungry last night after dinner and throughout the evening. Not gonna-keel-over hunger, but instead a no-sense-of-satisfaction hunger. However, I worked out instead (half the time while holding a two-year old on my hip, which was really tiring, and she only weighs 25 lbs, so I kept thinking about how happy my body is with the 35+ lbs I've lost), and then I played around with some photos in Photoshop. I really am learning that a little hunger isn't the end of the world.

And the scale rewarded me for my good behavior with another pound gone today. I've lost exactly 9 lbs since my fill last week. I'm also now 3.2 lbs from my 4 month goal of 40 lbs lost. I have 9 days to lose that - I'm confident I can do it.

My next fill is 3 weeks from today. I'd LOVE to be able to go in 20 lbs less than last time, but I think that's a pretty big stretch. 11 lbs in 3 weeks. Hmmmm, maybe not such a stretch after all. That's going to be my goal. That would also put me at 50 lbs lost!

Other random musings:
  • It's going to be 55 today, and the sun is shining. Kids & I are definitely going for a walk after work. Oh wait, my mother's helper starts today. Good, she can come with us!
  • DH's boss (the company owner) is FINALLY heading to FL April 14-18 to scout out new locations. Thankfully, as that means we'll finally have some answers as to when we are moving.
  • Three years ago today, I found out I was pregnant with DD. Ahhhh, how time flies.
  • I am so looking forward to another spinach salad for lunch.
  • My cleaning lady is at my house right now, so when I go home for lunch, the whole house will be shining. My favorite hour of the week (well, actually every two weeks, since that's how often she comes)! Too bad the cleanliness only lasts until the kids come home in the evening.

Later, gators!

Monday, March 15

I think it's safe to say...

...I'm not overfull considering I just sucked down a spinach salad like it was my last meal.

Seriously. Probably 2 cups worth of baby spinach, onion, pear, blue cheese, pecans, grilled chicken, and a homemade dressing. It was soooo good. And so not sticky. At all. It went down with no pain at all.

Unfortunately, I could have eaten twice that much, but since the weight has been coming off nicely, and I'd like it to continue that way, I stopped. That does mean, however, that there's a nice salad waiting for me for tomorrow's lunch. Makes my belly happy!

Confusion abounds

(Are you guys tired of me yet? I kind of am! But honestly, I wanted to document my struggles with understanding restriction so that others can learn from them as well as you guys helping me figure this out!)

Half of me thinks I'm overfull. Half of me thinks I'm not there yet. How's that for a fine howdy-do this morning? I'm seriously scratching my head like the screen bean above.

I did a test to see how much I could actually eat last night. I measured out 1 cup of food (veggies, a little rice, and chopped up shish kafta). I was able to eat about 1/2 of it, maybe a tad bit more, before I felt like the next bite was going to sit in the back of my throat. Later on, I was able to eat a slice of deli cheese (horseradish cheddar - yum) with a thin slice of roast beef without much problem. I did go slow and chew well, but it did go down. So, this makes me think I'm not too full. Coupled with the constant hunger, I'm pretty sure I'm not too full.

But then there's the quick pain if I take too big of a gulp of liquid. And the fact that I can't eat more than 1/2 cup of food in 30 minutes. And that I've lost 8.2 lbs in the last 6 days. And I'm pretty sure I'm too full.

Either way, I am going to ride it out. If I am too full, I'm not much too full. The quick weight loss should relax the fill a bit within the next few days. And if I'm not too full, then my next fill is scheduled three weeks from tomorrow and should absolutely, without-a-doubt get me there.

And that's my story.

Like I said before, I got on the scale this morning, and it said 338.6! That's awesome. I am 4.2 lbs from 40, which is my goal by next Thursday, so 10 days away...I can do it! It makes dealing with all this confusion totally worth it.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! We had friends in for the weekend who don't know about my surgery. While she's a very good friend, she's the type who'd call me daily for a status update, and I'm not ready for that. Both times I was pregnant, she literally called/texted/emailed pretty much every day for the last trimester wanting any update. I love her dearly, but that's something I can't handle right now. Or ever.

She commented on my limited food intake no fewer than eleventy billion times. Sigh. And since they stayed with us all weekend, I couldn't play it off like I'd had a big meal just previously or anything. I ended up just saying I was trying to eat smaller amounts of regular food to continue my weight loss. I don't think she totally bought it, hence the asking again and again. And again.

She's used to my efforts to lose weight, so it was enough to quiet her until the next meal. But it was frustrating. I have another friend coming to visit this weekend, but she knows. She's also the one who said I could lose weight as long as I didn't get skinnier than her. Sigh. It really sounds like I need new friends, doesn't it? I really don't. They are both wonderful, wonderful people. They both just have their own weight issues, and I know those weigh on their mind when they think of my efforts and successes (pun intended). Indeed, the friend coming this weekend is taking a day off of work to help me start decluttering in preparation for our move. That's a true friend!

Enough of a novel from me - Happy Monday, my dear banded friends!

Sunday, March 14

Being happy with progress, not perfection

Since my last post about PB'ing, I've been barely able to eat anything without pain or just plain feeling full. That's the good news. The scale has also rewarded me with another 3 lb drop, so I'm exactly 6 lbs from a 40-lb-loss and hope to do that in the next 11 days, so I can say I lost 40 lbs in 4 months.

The bad news is my full feeling is not a satisfying stomach type full. It's more of a sits-in-my-throat full. It's so strange. I want to eat, eat, eat, but I just feel like I am filled to the max and one more bite won't even go down.

But I still feel hungry when this happens.

Soooooo, instead of focusing on the hunger (which is what I've been doing), I'm trying to focus on the fact that the band is forcing me to eat less. It'd be nice if it came with a feeling of satisfaction, since it's more like aversion therapy right now. But I'll take what I can get. This is still A HUGE STEP in the right direction.

And that's what I am focusing on - progress not perfection.

I can deal with the hunger. I really can.

We went out to breakfast with our friends this morning, and I got the same thing I always got - the country scrambler. It's skillet potatoes scrambled with tiny bits of ham, bacon, sausage, and onions, topped with poached eggs (my choice), cheese, and country gravy. I used to be able to eat the whole thing. This morning I literally ate about 1/6 of the dish. I have enough left over for 3 or 4 more breakfasts (I left most of the eggs behind, because I do not like reheated eggs). While I still hungry, everyone else was done eating, so I stopped too.

Progress. Not perfection. I'm working on it...

Friday, March 12

PB'ing for the third time

Tonight's PB was on shish kafta. I was SURE it would go down fine. But nope - up it came. Twice. And the pain STILL wasn't relieved.

So, I realized tonight that all three PB's have come when I am sitting at the table with my entire family. I've never PB'ed when DH isn't around. I honestly think some of it is the stress of trying to make sure everyone's got what they need and trying to eat while also attending to both kids.

I ate some potato soup later. And have been drinking lots of water and sugar-free lemonade. It's going down hard.

I've either really swollen it up, or maybe I'm inching a bit towards restriction. The bummer is I am HUNGRY. Hungry. Hungry. Hungry. I'm not surprised, though; here's what I've eaten today:

B: chobani yogurt with about 1/2 c. of granola
S: string cheese stick
L: 1/2 of a burrito bowl from Chipotle, heavy on the salsa
S: string cheese stick, 3 strawberries, a tiny slice of cake
D: 1.5 c. potato soup

If I were at good restriction, this would probably be more than enough. Right now, it's not quite enough, but I am hoping against hope.

I hate rules.

The clinic WILL NOT do a fill sooner than 4 weeks after the first two. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Period. I hate stupid rules.

I'm scheduled for 4/6 for now. That's 4 weeks from Tuesday. Or 3.5 more weeks.

Here's my question. I've not even tried finding a local surgeon since we are moving. I figured my chances of finding someone to take me on when we move to FL would be greater if I'd stuck with my original surgeon until I move. I am not sure if this has any merit, but I just know that surgeons aren't always willing to take on patients they didn't band.

But now I'm tempted to transfer to a Fill Center USA or see if I can find someone local. I just want someone who's not so rigid and is more responsive to the fact that I am nearly four months post-op without restriction. And getting more pissed off about it by the minute.


A Frank Discussion on Bandster Hell

I admit - I poo-poo'ed bandster hell in the weeks leading up to and the weeks after my band surgery. My thoughts were along the lines of:
  • How can it be any harder than any of the eleventy billion other diets I've done?
  • After paying for and going through surgery, I'm certainly going to do everything I can to be successful, so no bandster hell is going to stop me.
  • I will be the poster child for lap-band surgery and lose weight, with or without restriction.

Um, not so much. I'm here to tell you that bandster hell sucks. Let's walk through a few of the (my?) misconceptions about bandster hell.

1. Bandster Hell is no harder than a regular diet. Just do what you've always done to lose weight. Sooo, it seems it's not quite that easy. I had a mental transition when I decided on lap-band surgery. I didn't (and don't) expect it to be easy, but I expect it to be doable. And if diets were doable, I wouldn't have needed a lap-band. It's circular, you see? Therefore, I am just not in the same place mentally as I was before, which is a good thing, but it does mean that I can't just do what I did before. It's just not possible when you've made the mental transition.

2. A few fills will at least get you closer to restriction, meaning bandster hell won't be quite so bad. HAHAHAHA, HOHOHOHO, how I wish. My experience has been that fills bring about all the bad (PB'ing, sticking, hiccups, etc.) before they bring about the good (restriction). Four fills and 10cc later, I am not at restriction. And I have no sense of prolonged satisfaction nor am I getting full on smaller amounts of food. But the hiccups and all the other fun bodily functions, oh baby, I got those! Quite honestly, it blows. Big time.

3. They might tell you it'll take up to 6 months to get to restriction, but for most people, it's not that long. Unfortunately, I totally fell for this one. I *knew* it could take 6-7 fills to get there, but I just *knew* I'd get there sooner. 6-7 fills might not sound like much, but let's do the math. Let's assume you get your first fill 6 weeks after surgery (which is pretty standard), and each fill every 3 weeks thereafter (splitting the difference between early fills happening every two weeks and later fills happening every four). 5 fills x 3 weeks = 15 weeks. Plus 6 from the first fill, and you are at 21 weeks. Or 5 months. Not so far from 6 months at all. Which sucks big time.

4. Coming off the liquid diet, you won't be as hungry and your portions will be smaller. Somehow, I fell for this one, too. I seem to be gullible these days. Yeah, for the first weeks, this was kinda true, but not really. And then as time went on, it was totally not true. I can put away as much as I did pre-surgery. I don't (most of the time), but I certainly can. And still want to.

5. Soon enough, it'll be a distant memory as you are enjoying your new skinny body, and you'll wonder why you stressed over those few short months anyhow. So, this is the one I am still hanging onto as a truth and not a misconception. And I do believe it. I *know* it's true. I *know* I'll be there soon enough. And when I sit down to write my one-year bandiversary post, I'll have lost 120 lbs (my one year goal), and a few weeks here or there won't have made a difference.

So, there you have it. My frank and forward thoughts on bandster hell. I am in it. Right in the middle of it. Off to call the surgeon's office and see when they'll see me again. I am afraid they are going to say 4 weeks. I am going to cry and plead for 2, hoping they'll pity me and at least agree to 3. I'm paying them for fills now; you'd think they'd let me come whenever! Ha, I know it's not just about the money, but seriously.

On other notes, I exercised again yesterday for two days this week, which was my goal. My goal for next week is 3x for a total of 4 miles. The following week is 4x for 6 miles. And the following week is 4x for 8 miles. And by that time, I'll be bored with walking and need to mix it up. And hopefully back in shape enough that I can tackle something else.

Oh, and for the record, I've been really good food-wise since my fill, worked out twice, took the kids for two walks, and have gained .4 lbs in the last two days. Lovely.

Wednesday, March 10

Is this gonna work?

I just read Vanessa's blog, and it made me think about all these fears I have with the band. I just feel like it's not working. I am almost four months out, and I am 8 lbs heavier than I was a month post-op. I should be down 50 lbs by now. (Edited to add: I realize 50 lbs in 4 months might seem aggressive, but I need to lose 200+ lbs, so in reality, it's actually not!)

I just keep stressing over whether or not this is going to work for me. I had some poached eggs with grits for lunch and they didn't stick with me at all. Cheese sticks aren't sticking with me either. This is freaking me out that this fill didn't do anything restriction-wise.


I am hungry. I'm tired of being hungry. I'm tired of waiting for restriction. I'm tired of wondering when and if this is going to work.


The logical part of me looks at other people's blogs and knows that restriction will make a difference, and that it WILL happen. The illogical part of me feels like the band just isn't going to work for me. Maybe it's slipped. Maybe it's eroded. Maybe it's not connected and just floating around freely in my guts.


If you had a slow start, please let me know how it went for you, even with a link to your blog. I need some reassurance!

Honesty & Exercise

I promised to be honest.

And it paid off, because...

Drum roll, please.

I got up and did a mile with Leslie this morning!

Go, me! Go, me!

Tuesday, March 9

Publicly committing... getting up and doing a one-mile Leslie Sansone in the AM. I need to start working out and this sounds like a good start. She kinda gets on my nerves, but I know it's doable.

I'll be honest and post whether or not I did it. And if I don't, you all have permission to unfollow me. OK, not really, because I love my followers, but it's not like you can come smack me instead!


Yes, I am being optimistic. This morning's fill was my fourth; I got 1cc bringing me to a grand total of 10cc. Remember, I have a 14cc band. Both the surgeon and the program coordinator said they'd be really surprised if this fill didn't bring about a decent level of restriction. I am so hopeful! Last time (when I was at 9cc), neither of them made such comments and were much more "Everyone's different." I think that based on my symptoms (two PB's and a little sticking) and the level of fill, I have got to be close!

I want to go eat something right now to find out!

But I won't. No solids until Thursday. Or tomorrow if I rebel against the rules (clear liquids today, full liquids tomorrow, mushies on Thursday, regular food on Friday).

I took the rest of the day off. About to go do some laundry, work on a logo design for my maybe-photography-business, and take a nap before I go get the kids. Later, my find banded friends!

Monday, March 8

Do I even have a band?

Seriously. I am so glad I have a fill tomorrow. I have been a very, very bad girl. Naughty, naughty. I had a bad case of last-supper-itis this weekend. Knowing I most likely (hopefully?) will be at restriction after tomorrow's fill, I went a little wild this weekend. I deserve only coal from Santa next year based on what entered my pie-hole all weekend. What the hell is wrong with me? Restriction or not, I don't need to eat like this. It's like teenaged rebellion gone wrong - "Fine, no restriction. I'll show you, you stupid band. I am going to eat this and that and this and more of that until you give me that restriction."

By the way, they've called me three times to remind me of tomorrow's appointment. Maybe it's a sign that tomorrow is the day. Restriction is on the horizon, right?

I did have a glimmer of hope this morning when I realized it was lunch time and had been satisfied all morning on my greek yogurt with granola. I never even touched my banana. But after lunch, it was like the flood gates opened. I'm trying to stave it off with water and coffee, but I am hungry. Very hungry.

On other notes, does anyone else have FBS? That's First Bite Syndrome for you luckies that don't have it. It's where the esophagus basically spasms with your first bite or two of food. I realized I had it when I thought about my two PB incidents (first or second bite) and how often I feel stuck at first, but if I wait it out, I can eat the rest of my meal without problem. A little research over at LBT brought me to the conclusion that I do indeed suffer from FBS. If you do suffer, here's what helps:

1. Start your meal with a hot liquid.
2. Wait 30 seconds between bites, even if it doesn't feel sticky.
3. Take small bites.
4. Take a primer bite or two about 20 min before your meal to get your esophagus to behave during the meal.

And here's my very un-scientific explanation for FBS, sticking, and PB'ing. So imagine your band. It's wrapped around the top of your stomach, which is essentially the bottom of your esophagus. Now think about when you swallow; food doesn't just plummet freely into your stomach. It's forced down by the esophagus through rhythmic tensing of the muscle. So the top of your esophagus tenses and then relaxes as the next part tenses and so on, which pushes the food through. The AMY Theory on FBS/sticking/PB is that the band interferes with the final point of tensing, and your esophagus/stomach kind of freaks out. It doesn't like being messed with, so it doesn't finish pushing the food all the way into the stomach, and it just kind of sits there at the bottom of your esophagus, causing pain. Lots and lots of pain. Really bad pain. And instead of being smart and just pushing it the rest of the way through, it tells your mouth to make lots of mucus and saliva. And tells your heart to start beating like crazy. And your kids to start screaming at that very moment. Ok, that last one isn't my esophagus talking, but damn, why do they always decide to cry when I am stuck? I like to PB in peace, thankyouverymuch.

My theory really does make sense, doesn't it? It would explain why waiting is so crucial. If you eat a second bite before your esophagus has given your food up to your stomach, it's just going to sit on top of the first bite, causing even more issues.

And there you have it! Did you all enjoy your science lesson? I seriously should teach! I could come up with a theory on just about anything. Global warming? It's all these cell phones giving off heat! Or too many teenaged girls straightening their hair with those freakishly hot straightening irons! Yes! Or my over use of exclamation points!

Off to read some blogs, my friends...just wanted to say you all rock. Mucho much.

Wednesday, March 3

What's going right

Wow, I sounded like a whiney brat in my last post. I promise, I'm really not Debbie Downer in real life. I'm really not!

So, I am going to focus on what I am doing right. And what is going well right now:

  • I'm down more than 35 lbs in 3 months.
  • I'm averaging almost 3 lbs/week lost. Not too shabby.
  • I haven't drank soda in almost 4 months.
  • I do not drink while I eat.
  • I wait 30 min after eating to drink.
  • I've cut down my portions substantially.
  • I'm learning to take small bites.
  • I'm thinking about exercising. ;) Hey, that counts, right?
  • Dinners are much simpler (meaning smaller and less caloric) now that I don't feel like I have to cook something elaborate for DH.
  • The weather is breaking, at least for the time being.
  • It's sunny out longer, meaning we can go for walks after work.
  • I'm being vigilant about my fills.
  • I'm learning to chew well.
  • I'm recognizing self-defeating behaviors.

I should be celebrating instead of feeling like a failure, right? In my perfectionist, type-A way, I was seriously ready to throw in the towel of success on my first year banded. How's that for "all or nothing" for you? I need serious mental help. Oh wait, I'm already getting serious mental help, and I'm still a mess! This is not looking good. :) Just teasing, although I really was feeling like a band failure until I took a step back and realized that this is A. a journey; B. a learning process; C. the very beginning and I am still a total baby bandster. 3 months is nothing. NOTHING. NOTHING. in the whole scheme of things. Why do I expect that I'd have it all figured out by now? Not that it excuses the Starbucks and lack of exercise - those are both my fault - but it's a process. Some steps forward, some steps back. As long as I am moving forward more than I am moving back, I am fine. And that's good enough for me. Fine. (OK, not really, but I am working on it being good enough for me.)

Tuesday, March 2

{Insert title here}

I can't even come up with a title. Is that sad or what? So, yes, I am here. With obviously only half of my mind left!

Since I posted last week, the only thing I have really done is up my water. It's ironic, as I normally drink so much water. Like at least 2 liters per day. But since I'm trying to follow at least some of the bandster rules, I haven't been drinking while I eat, and I've been waiting at least 30 min after eating before drinking. Unfortunately, that tends to just make me forget about drinking until it's meal time again. And then I just chug some water before I eat. Not ideal.

I have not exercised nor have I been eating right. However, I wanted to say THANKS from the bottom of my heart for your comments. Because I am really struggling with this right now. I am definitely in bandster hell - and my definition of it is all the shitty parts and none of the good parts. Because, yes, I PB'ed again. On french toast Sunday morning. Really, it was my fault, but it's still frustrating to feel food getting stuck and PB'ing yet have no relief from hunger.

It's so good to know that restriction should help a lot. I know I'm going to have to do my part, but I am encouraged that it will be doable and I'll be more motivated when I have the band helping me. Honestly, if it weren't for you all telling me that, I would be a mess right now. You are keeping me from falling right off the cliff of band-insanity.

And then I had a mini breakdown today, because DH called to let me know that it's going to be at least three weeks before the owner of the company he is working for heads to FL to scout out locations. Which means at least three weeks before I have any answers as to how long I have to continue playing single mom. I know some of you out there do it all the time, and my hat is off to you. I am really struggling with it. Mornings are a battle to get me and the kids out the door on time, work all day, pick them up, feed them, clean up the kitchen, play, get them to bed, prep for the next day, and if I'm lucky, have 30 min or so to myself. And because they are both so young, they have to be wherever I am, so cooking and cleaning take three times as long as they should to do.

I do MUCH better when I know what I am working with. This whole unknown is driving me insane. INSANE. I can keep doing this, BUT I can't do it indefinitely. I need to know how long I have to do it. Even if it's 6 more months, I can do it. I just want to know.

I did, however, once I quit pouting, put a plan into place to help me out. First, I am pampering myself with a cut and highlight over lunch on Thursday. I also called my neighbor to see if her 12-year old would come over twice/week and watch the kids for a few hours while I cook, clean, decompress. It'll take a week or two for DD to warm up to her (she only wants mommy all the time), but once she does, I hope this will help a bit. Finally, I told my boss that I needed to take next Tuesday off for a personal day. I have my fill in the AM and am going to CHILL in the PM while the kiddos are at the sitter's. I need it.

On the work front, I HATE the frickin' media. In case you didn't know, I am the PR manager for Girl Scouts, and one of the cookies has been recalled for an off-taste (no danger in eating them). Fortunately, it's not a cookie that we sell in our council. Unfortunately, all the media cares about is that a GIRL SCOUT COOKIE HAS BEEN RECALLED. DANGER. DANGER. DANGER. RED ALERT. STOP THE PRESSES. DANGER.

They have been horrible about reporting the recall and then holding up one of the boxes of cookies that *I* gave them. One that has NOT been recalled. So, I have been doing press releases, media alerts, interviews, and such all. week. and all. weekend. I am seriously tired of it. I've been on the tv and radio about a dozen times in the last 5 or so days. Too bad I'm wasting my fifteen minutes of fame on this crap.

That's my life right now in a nut shell. I am hanging on by a thread in so many ways - work, family, band. I feel like I am on the edge on all three of them. I am really hopeful that I will be at restriction next week with my fill. With the sticking and PB'ing I've been doing, I've got to imagine I'm close. If not, it's not going to be pretty. I just keep telling myself just to make it until Tuesday.

I'm alive.

I'm here. Just swamped. And frustrated. And not at all doing what I swore I would do last week. I will post more tonight when the kiddos are sleeping if I am not!