Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stair Climb

Ah, this is a boring little update, but we did the stairs in 7:40 today - six seconds shorter than yesterday. We may have hit our pace for awhile (although we do plan to make 7:30 tomorrow, as planned). Seems like we're both busting our asses as fast as we can go, with no stopping.

Because we are foolish, foolish women, we're going to try incorporating a second run next week. As in, an AM stair run and a PM run. I think we are actually trying to nuke our friendship, because I know my thighs start hurting and I can't breathe whenever I see her now, haha. (Hmm, that actually sounds a little dirty. Oh, you know what I mean. Pavlovian response: see friend, feel pain.) But we figured since it only takes us 7.5 minutes, we could force ourselves to do it real quick twice a day. Unless we die in the stairwell.

Mmm, I had a massage this afternoon after work. Yay! I lurrve massages.

My massage therapist commented that I was downright peppy this afternoon. He noticed a marked difference in my energy level. I told him I would never admit to saying it, but I think the exercise is making me feel a lot better.

I'll test the hypothesis tonight by slugging out on the couch watching tv. Kids are away and I have been battling insomnia (trouble falling asleep, not staying asleep) for a couple weeks. I'm hoping to catch up on some zzzzs.

Hoping, hoping, hoping to hit the 50 pound mark tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Over My Head

Deep water aerobics, that is. Because I am ALL ABOUT THE EXERCISE right now. Ha! And when did anyone think I would say that?

Tonight, I went to deep water aerobics. I am quite worn out now. The timing of the class is perfect, if I am organized. It's at 6p back in my hometown, so I must leave promptly from work and head straight there. Actually, I've got a little wiggle-room: tonight I came home, grabbed my suit (but not my towel or brush) and still made it to class the requisite fifteen minutes early to fill out the registration.

Tough workout! An hour of cardio and abdominal stuff. The instructor was really good. I've done regular water aerobics before, but not deep water. I am reminded how much I love to be in the water. Mermaid, that's me!

A moment about self-perception. As the instructor was giving me a brief run-down before class, she told me how to wear the buoyancy belt. Floatie in the back, belt as tight as possible. Tuck in the extra tail of the belt so it's not slapping you around the whole time.

Do you have one that will fit me? I asked.

The instructor was a little flummoxed. Of course. Use the medium belt.

I didn't want to put it on in front of everyone, and I tried to discretely loosen the belt out. Way out. Put it around my waist. Belt is now about a foot too big. Tightened it up. Maybe I should cut myself some slack, I thought.

Funny how you see yourself. When I ran home today to change into my suit, I hurriedly pulled my sweat pants out and slipped them on. For the first time in awhile. Uh, I need some new sweats. Same goes for the old t-shirt I grabbed. I am shrinking.

So, I'm planning to do the water aerobics. With my shared custody of the kids, I can attend deep water one night a week, and regular aerobics one night a week. I'm not sure I'll sign up for a session, which gives me a better rate and has a lot of flexibility to attend up to two classes a week, or carryover missed classes to subsequent weeks. This would be my biggest motivator to go, I think.

But my WLS support group is once a month on Thursdays, and my monthly volunteer meeting is once a month on Wednesdays. I will need to do a little planning to see if I should sign up or pay the drop in rate.

Shells Manipulated Here

ETA: We did the stairs in 7:46 today! That's down 1 min 12 seconds from Monday's time and 44 seconds from yesterday's! Woohoo!!
I've decided to change my goal weight. It's not that I'm changing what I *want* to weigh - not at all. But when I think and talk about my weight loss goals, there is one thing I am thinking of, at this juncture.

A "normal" BMI. That's what I run my calculations against, that's where I do my mental math, that's how I define success. I want a normal BMI. You can see by my goal list on the right hand side - those BMI chart divisions are very important to me! Passing from morbidly obese to obese, passing from Class II obese to Class I, passing from obese to overweight. These are huge milestones for me.

I want to find my perfect weight, when I get closer to it. I won't be satifisfied with 140 just because I broke into the normal weight barrier, but I will be very, very satisfied with myself. I will have hit goal. My weight, my height, plugged into a little calculator, will read "normal." Healthy. HWP.

So, as my goal stretches out long before me, I've decided to update my ticker to where the real prize is for me on this part of my journey. Normal. Normal. Normal. I want it so badly I can taste it.

I hope it doesn't have carbs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Haulin' Ass

Literally. I am noticing my changing body, and while I don't carry much extra weight on my posterior, I can feel the saggy aftermath of the weight loss. Hrm, it appears that I will not be immune to the horrors of extra skin following weight loss. My butt is feeling, uh, less firm, and my wobbly double chin skin has a definite...changed appearance to it. Loose. Empty. This displeases me, but the fact that I am seeing changes to my body pleases me.

My buddy and I just finished our 20-flight stairclimb. And even better, we turned around at the top and went back down eight flights to my floor. While today seemed more excruciating and painful than yesterday, we were pleased to see that we shaved 28 seconds off yesterday's time! 8:30 today, from 8:58 yesterday. We are hoping to be at 7:30 by the end of the week. I think we can do it: today we lingered on a landing to allow someone coming down to pass. We didn't stop otherwise, but had several long pauses at the bottoms of flights. You know, because our lungs and thighs were on fire.

So, I am feeling good about all that! I've pictured today's food, above. It's about 4 oz of salmon (I have a half-ounce or so nub left), 4 oz of Sunday's Pagliacci sausage lasagna - this is not weight loss food, but at least I am getting four-plus meals out of the one serving size, and 2 oz of oven-roasted asparagus. Yum! I ate that lasagna for breakfast, the asparagus mid-morning and the salmon for lunch. Trouble is, the salmon sat in my stomach like a bomb. I think I ate too much/too fast. Good news: I called my friend and begged to run the stairs early to work it out. Look at me incorporating exercise into my everyday life as a way of making myself feel better! Shocking!

Still pouting about attending Sarah Vowell by myself last night. Hrumph. Tonight it's Dan Savage with a friend and I am greatly looking forward to it. Here's the thing: I loves me some Dan Savage. He's a Seattle boy, too, and I am sure we would be marvelous friends. However, I will not be seeking his autograph (along with his partner's) and photo for my copy of the book. Why? Well, I am a longtime fan and Dan Savage is pretty openly prejudiced against fat people. And if I went for his picture (I would not be content with an autograph, haha, I'd go all groupie on him and want a photo), I'd either be feeling self-conscious or all up in his grill about how I don't hate on him for his homosexuality, how 'bout him not hating on me for my obesity? Hrumph. And then I would break down in tears and apologize for raising my voice to him, 'cause I just adore him. It's better that I hold off on the autograph seeking. ;) It might lead to a restraining order.

Seriously, though, as I said, I am a longtime fan, both of his spoken and written word. I find him smart, HI-larious, and over-all good-hearted, if not a little hard to take sometimes. And I respect his opinion of obesity: fine for you, not for him. When it comes to dating advice, he openly encourages hitting the gym and making yourself marketable. He talks about his caveats to his relationship: grow facial hair or get fat, and you're out. Sometimes I find this hateful or grating, but other times it makes good sense. He takes care of himself, it's reasonable to ask the same of his partner. I saw a comedian, Christopher Titus, who said the same thing: partners should stay within five pounds of "first date weight." (I happen to feel the same way about obese men and facial hair. I realize this is hypocritical - due to my weight, not my facial hair - but it was a reality I started facing when I started dating. I am not attracted to obese men. However, when my own ex gained some forty pounds, I didn't think a thing of it. First impression thing, I guess.)

I guess these things affect me because I very much let myself go after I got married. Part of the reason I think I let myself go was *because* of the marriage, but the fact remains. And my ex never said a thing about it. This, I think, works both for him and against him. Sweet that he loved me no matter what the size. Questionable because, with him, he may well not have even noticed. Sad that he was probably the only one who might have been able to give me the kick-in-the-butt motivator that would have woken me up to what I was doing to myself. Sadder that I didn't give myself my own wake-up call.

Regardless - it is something that will stick with me. Dating as an obese woman is not one of life's most pleasurable experience. In my limited experience, I am nearly invisible to men I meet in person. I give extraordinarily "good phone," I believe, because when I talk to contractors (a generally horny bunch, anyway) at work, I am frequently hit on. But in person, I don't garner a lot of attention. Online, I have not attracted the caliber of man I am interested in. And strangely, since losing some weight and not being super-obese but not being regular-sized, I am actually getting less attention. This confirms my suspicion that as a morbidly obese woman, I was attracting either a) the men who did not think they could do better, or b) the men who simply wanted to sleep with a fat woman.

I've got news for you, gentlemen. I am on my way. And pre-marriage, I was smoking hot. Not in a super-model way, but in an accessible-to-men-damn-she's-cute way. And I am coming back. But now, I am much, much savvier to the ways of men, and I know exactly what I want.

Dan Savage - you'll be begging to take your picture with *me.* ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011


It's Monday, and my friend and I have made a firm commitment to run the stairs every day this week. We have been averaging 3-4 days a week and have not yet had a five-day consecutive run. But today, we timed our 20-flight run and will re-time it on Friday.

8 minutes 58 seconds. Hmm, it feels so much longer than that. Like 100 hours. Oh, but it's an exhausting just-under-nine-minutes, I assure you!

Oh, lookie how much the scale likes it when I don't eat late at night! That's right: Run, Scale, Run!

Am thinking of soliciting entire new crop of friends. Cannot *PAY* any of my friends to come see Sarah Vowell read Unfamiliar Fishes at the Town Hall tonight. Jeez!! Methinks me friends are uncouth. Tomorrow night I am seeing Dan Savage and Terry Miller read It Gets Better, also at Town Hall. Another friend deigned to attend that one with me. Hrumph.

Today's food:
- 4 oz salmon with lemon
- 2 oz roasted asparagus
- 4 oz sausage lasagne from Pagliacci Pizza

Hmm, I won't be going home after work, so I'll have to figure out the dinner situation.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I am exercising tough love with myself and preventing before-bed eating. Last night I just toughed it out, but tonight I decided to switch to drowning myself before bed. I generally do not get enough liquids, anyway (about 40 oz/day). I bought some lemon/lime crystal light Pure, and found that I like it (it tastes just like Crystal Light lemonade to me, though). I've actually had a ton of liquids today, and quite a bit in the last several hours. I'm keeping my belly sated by moving liquids through it.

If I can beat this bad habit, I will give myself a huge advantage in my pursuit of weight loss!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


That was the most exhausting five pounds ever! And it's a crispy clean forty-five, too, 218.0 pounds.

Ok - I've got a touch over two weeks before my three month surgiversary (oh what the heck, I'll go ahead and use it, even if I don't like it). I'm going to do everything in my power to take off another five pounds before that date. If it happens, great, if it doesn't, at least I'll know I gave it my all.

Oh, and one last ugly digestion update. :) I was taking the fiber, I was taking the stool softeners. I was not getting a lot of, um, relief. I went out to dinner one night earlier this week. It was a gorgeous evening, I was with wonderful friends, it was perfect. After dinner, we were walking around downtown and window shopping. I started feeling crampy. Then very crampy. I went to the bathroom, where I knew what my body needed to do, but it could not. I begged off the evening and we all headed back toward the office (where our cars were). On the ten-block walk or so, I started feeling nauseous. Then urpy.

A half-block from the office door, I yakked. Oh, except I can't do that anymore. So I hairballed and spit. Uh, I'm glad my friends love me. I ran into the lobby restroom, which the janitor was just walking in to clean. I begged. He aqcuiesced. Again, nothing. I ran to my car in the parking garage, now actively nauseous full-time. I drove to a damn drug store and bought a box of laxatives. I took three. I walked in the door at home, the logjam broke pretty quickly, but I continued to "puke" too. Several hours later the laxatives kicked in.

It was the most awful, miserable night ever. And I tell you this because I only remember things when I write them down, and clearly this is very very important to my body. And if you are out there in your own WLS journey, and you are not pooping, well, you better do something about it before your body takes over. Even on a beautiful night in the sun with your friends. Your colon don' care.

Friday, March 25, 2011

WLS: Not a Magic Wand

I am still pretty discouraged - tomorrow is my WLS support group at the hospital, and I am remembering that I am only down a pound from my last meeting on 3/10. (The group meets the second Thursday and fourth Saturday of the month. Like many people, I will eventually switch to only attending once a month, but right now, it is good support for me and I look forward to both meetings.)

It has been a tough month, weight loss wise. I did spike up those six pounds, and thankfully have taken that all off. I am down to my lowest, but again, still just hovering here.

I am a messy jumble of conflicting emotions about the current state of my weight. On the one hand, "Hello, who's lost 44 pounds this year? Yeah baby, it's me!"

On the other - grr. Weight loss has pretty much crapped out lately. You can see on the above graph how things have slowed down. I refuse to acknowledge the spikes in weight and subsequent loss, haha. I record lowest weight only!

There are things that I can change. I am impressed with myself when I get in 40 ounces of liquid (Diet Snapple tea) a day. I should push this more. I need to track my food, but I loathe doing so.

I eat my protein first, but I doubt I actually get in enough of it. Today, for instance:

2 hard boiled eggs
2T light mayo
Squirt of mustard
Squirt of pickle relish

Right now I am drinking a protein shake - 160 calories and 30 grams of protein.

Yesterday, it was the egg salad, 2T of peanut butter, a SBUX oatmeal package of nuts (100 calories but I can't remember how much protein.

And then, here is the one thing I need to change in order to adopt a more pragmatic view of the rate of weight loss:

I am a night eater. I have always, always been a night eater. Like right before bed. Last night, I attended an event for a friend. Stupidly, they did not serve food there, and I was expecting to be able to buy dinner. Afterward, I bought a small protein-laden salad (chicken breast, salami, garbanzo beans, mozz cheese) and a personal pizza. (Ok - at some point I just need to acknowledge that I need to cut breads out of my life completely for awhile.)

Now, I can't eat much, so I don't disparage myself much for what I ate. One slice of the pizza, not the crust. A fair amount of the protein off the salad, a couple bites of lettuce. When I finished with the salad, it pretty much looked untouched.

What I need to change is *how* I eat - pretty much only at night. I can't eat much, but I kept eating when I knew damn well I was full. I ate until I was physically very uncomfortable. And when I was no longer in physical pain from eating - well, I decided I wanted some frozen blueberries. Again - it wasn't the quantity. It was one ounce or so in a two ounce bowl. It is the uncontrolled nature of the eating that kills me.

Pre-surgery, I ate until stuffed, pretty much every night before bed. The worst time to eat like this. Post-op, I have proven to myself again and again that WLS is not a magic wand. I am not hungry. I was not hungry pre-op, either. And still, I eat to the max I am allowed.

I hate this. A friend and were talking about it today, and she was brainstorming the whys - and I said, well, for as much as I've thought about it - it really doesn't matter *why,* at some point, I just need to stop. Whether the calories sabotage me or not - this is the only thing that I am doing that is actively destructive to my weight loss goals.

If I can stop it - I can acknowledge that my weight loss will have ups and downs and varying rates of success. I accept that I am doing my best, and that is enough.

But first, I have to stop this nighttime eating. And it is so hard. I have battled against this all my adult life. It is just my time to decompress, or self-medicate with food, or wind down, or ??

It ends now. I need to have a clear conscience about my weight loss so I can enjoy the journey. This nighttime eating weighs heavy on me (figuratively/literally) every time I'm struggling.

ETA: I did do 12 flights of stairs today (my friend had the day off and has the card key access to our 20th flight, haha. I did 12 to my floor and decided I would rather stop than go up 20 and back down 8. I wimped out, but I was super busy at work today. Also, my lunch walking buddy wasn't around, but I did get out by myself and take a nice walk. Glad I did, because it was beautiful at lunch but STORMY now - we had a couple great days of sun, and now the forecast is another week of rain, bah.

Also, I always feel a little embarrassed/sheepish when I re-read posts like this, confessing I am a major nighttime eater. But then I figure, hey, you all don't think I got fat by eating apricots. ;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Well, Let's Hope We've Seen the End of That

The scale graciously cooperated with me today and read my lowest to date, 219 pounds. Bahaha, I accidently typed "119 pounds" there at first. Let's hope that particular milestone is not out of reach in the not too terribly distant future!

I wholeheartedly invite such phrases as "She weighs less than 120 pounds soaking wet," and "wow, that surgery worked well for her, but I'm afraid she's gotten a little too thin." Please make a note of it! Although I will certainly remind everyone in the future. Heck, I'll probably walk around holding cue cards.

Ok. What's changed? I am back to basics on my eating. Hunk o' salmon for dinner and lunch today, hard boiled eggs, cooking up some tilapia for dinner. I do not like tilapia, but I like almost all fish, so I am trying to force the issue. I think talapia is a made up fish. Did you hear about it when you were growing up?? I did not. It did not exist, in my humble opinion. And my family was big fish eaters, so I oughta know. Also, years ago I saw some Discovery channel type show about farmed tilapia. They basically started farming it because they needed some yucky bottom feeder fish to eat the bottom of the tank that was dirtied by some other fish they were farming. Fake, garbage-eater fish conjured up in a lab, I think.

Hmm, dinner is not sounding so appetizing right about now. But tilapia is cheap and readily available. I bought some coconut-type encrusted stuff at the seafood counter. And as I'm typing this, I remember that I just agreed to go for a long walk in the sun with a friend right after work. Sushi for dinner was mentioned. I probably won't eat my tilapia, after all. No problem, it's gross anyway.

And you shouldn't eat farmed fish, by the way. But tilapia doesn't grow in the wild, because it's fake fish.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crepe Paper Boobs

Oh dear, my body is deflating! I was noticing two things when removing my bra last night:

1. The rigid foamy-type cups of my new bra were a bad idea for shrinking breasts. Now the cups are "out there" but the boobs are diminishing and it will soon look puckery and odd.

2. Speaking of puckery and odd: since my breasts aren't filling up the cups, I noticed the skin looks like crepe paper. Hmm. Not festive as you might imagine.

Thank you all so much for your comments on my "Agony" post! I greatly appreciate it, and Susanne, I wish you hadn't deleted your thought-provoking comment! (I am not easily offended, I guarantee you, and my bestest friends are always the ones who know they can give me the proverbial kick in the ass when needed, haha.) I still have your comment in email, btw, so neener neener neener. ;) Thank you, and thank you everyone!

Yes. Carbs and quite probably shoddy recordkeeping. In thinking about Susanne's comments about not recording the cheese and the A1 sauce, I also thought about the little bit of oil I sauteed in, etc. I've never been good at tracking - and I am RIDICULOUSLY forgiving in recollecting what I ate. Still, I think the big change - the only change, really - was reintroducing lots and lots of carbs into my diet in the last week or so.

Within a day or so of that post and the resultant comments, I cut out the carbs and am sitting here with gnarly ketosis-breath for my efforts, haha. The scale was back down to 220 yesterday, but up to 222 today, so I think I still have some issues going. And yes, at some point I will have to stop weighing myself daily. :) But I am trying to balance that with getting to 263 pounds by refusing to acknowledge that scales existed. It is my way of holding myself accountable, even if it has other repercussions.

I have been diligent about mixing Benefiber in with my Snapple. I am seeing a little effect, but not much. I am going to go aggressive on this problem very shortly. I wonder if this will be a long-term issue or if this is more of a new body regulation type issue?

There are other, non-scale related victories (or improvements) going on in my life, anyway. I cleaned the fridge yesterday. As in, dumped stuff out, took out all the drawers and shelves and scrubbed, made it look shiny new. For reference, I haven't done that in the nearly three years we've lived in the place.

I took the kids on a mini-getaway overnight Saturday, and climbed around gun batteries and such at Fort Worden. I am feeling more energy, in other words. I am feeling like doing things and not collapsing on the couch exhausted. I am a long ways from where I want to be: I crapped out on working out with Alli on Saturday because I didn't have my headphones with me. I am still exhausted at the end of the day even though my sedentary desk job is not especially tiring.

But I'm climbing 12 flights of stairs pretty much every day with my friend, and taking a nice walk at lunch with another friend. I'm incorporating activity into my life, bit by bit. I am glad to feel my energy up: I have been vigilant about taking the vitamin D and iron supplements since Kim commented on the vitamin D blahs, too. I think it makes a big difference for me.

And yesterday, I got rid of tons and tons of clothes. I decided I am not going to hang onto them: I wasn't going to anyway (I am not a saver) but I hadn't gotten around to paring things down. And part of my de-cluttering was to get rid of baggy t-shirts and things that made me feel frumpy and/or unattractive.

Edited to add: I took a nice walk in the sun at lunch, and climbed TWENTY flights of stairs with my buddy! We are training for next year's 69-flight Big Climb Seattle, we decided. It's easy to decide that right now, since the 2011 stair climb was just held on Sunday, haha.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Agony...

Ugh, worst week ever!! Today, the scale is up an unbelievable six pounds. My weight has been jumping up all week - taunting me with the reminder that I shouldn't weigh myself every day.

I am loathe to even blog about it because I am so mortified, so frustrated and irritated. But again, I want to look back and read this and remember, "Oh yeah, these things happened. And it all turned out fine." And for whatever reason, these things are happening.

Maybe I'm pregnant. (This is not scientifically possible - but NEITHER IS GAINING SIX POUNDS OFF THE FOOD I'M EATING. )

Clearly, something is all whacked out with my systems. My periods cycle radically: I'm on-again, off-again every four days or so. I wonder if I'm bloated - but I only drink about 40 ounces of fluid a day (not enough, but it's reality). I thought about taking one of my prescription water retention pills, but with my fluid intake being what it is - well, it doesn't seem prudent.

I've expounded ad nauseum about my digestive issues. Food in = nuttin out. I am drinking fiber, I'm trying the stool softener again. (I promise, I am about DONE talking about my digestive issues here. Not trying to be gross, just trying to figure out how this new body works.)

My eating. I am able to eat a larger quantity of food, but still, the larger quantity is not much. Last night, I ate a whole garden burger patty (of the Costco variety) for dinner. I thinly sliced some cheese on top, and ate it with A-1 sauce.

For lunch, I had quite probably my biggest meal since the surgery: a thin-sized bagel with turkey bacon, avocado slices, tomato and lettuce. Jalapeno cream cheese. I actually felt pretty badly about this one, because in order to eat it, I did what I'm not supposed to do: took a long time. I bought it, brought it back to my desk and ate about 1/2 of it. Then later in the afternoon, I ate the other half.

Breakfast was a protein shake (again the Costco variety). Last night, stressed about eating, weight gain, and going to a school event where I dreaded sitting with ex and his new girlfriend and his mom, when my own family couldn't attend...well, I bought a Push-Up at the gas station.

So, my "worst" eating day looked like this:

Protein shake - 160 calories
Bagel sandwich - I don't know the calorie count from the restaurant, so we'll have to break it down:
   - turkey bacon, two slices: 80 calories
   - jalapeno cream cheese, 60 calories
   - thin bagel, 110 calories
   - avocado, 60 calories
   - lettuce and tomato, eh
Garden burger - 160 calories
Push-Up - 90 calories

So, my baaaaad day eating was 720 calories. Give me a break. For this I am mentally torturing myself over blowing this whole surgery?

It's my body. It's adjusting. Maybe larger portions have it thinking, "HURRY - she's eating - let's save it for when she starts starving us again!" Maybe my womanly cycles need to regulate themselves after all the surgery and reduced eating trauma. Maybe I'm carrying an immaculate conception baby. (Whom I would immediately turn over to monks to raise.)

I've decided a couple things from this week's trauma. It's time for me to start logging my food. Even though I *know* in my heart I am not eating to destroy my efforts, when the scale doesn't go my way, I immediately start beating myself up over food. If I acknowledge my eating on a daily basis, hopefully I'll steal my self-flagellation thunder away. Can't beat yourself up over what you're not doing wrong.

Whole foods. Right now, I need to know what's going into my mouth. When I saw the scale this morning, I immediately freaked out over how many thousands of calories that Noah's Bagels sandwich must have had. Even though I *knew* it was not bad. But still, I need peace of mind while my body works itself out.

Also, I'm comparing last night's dinner of a Gardenburger to this morning's breakfast of a hard boiled egg. The garden burger was bigger, yummier, went down easier. For pete's sake, my hard boiled egg is sitting in my stomach like a bomb and it's been three hours since I ate it. Perhaps this is what I need right now. With the garden burger, I ate faster and I ate more. With the egg, I know my stomach is oh-so-skeptical about eating them, so I eat slowly and I don't drink for a long time after eating. As in, I just had my first drink since eating it. (Which puts me far behind in my Snapple in the morning, Snapple in the afternoon liquid intake plan, haha.)

Eggs are harder to digest, but I do a better job following program. And even if the scale went up 10 pounds in a week, if I were eating eggs, plain tuna, etc. - well, I wouldn't even think to beat myself up over what I'm doing wrong.

So maybe it's time for a little back to basics eating. I've gotten more adventurous with my eating, and maybe there's nothing wrong with that, but my feelings of success really took a beating over it this week.

p.s. - In titling this post "The Agony," it is my most sincere and fervent hope that next Friday I will get to write a post sincerely titled, "And the Ecstasy." Keep your fingers crossed for me!

p.p.s. - And if you think I am shoving that weight loss counter upwards, you are sadly mistaken. :) I won't push it downward to my lowest weight achieved, 219 pounds, but I'm not pushing it back up either. I reached that milestone, I just tripped over my shoelaces and fell back a couple steps.

p.p.p.s. - Also, in the midst of writing this post I took a break and climbed twelve flights of stairs with my friend. And I'm meeting another friend in an hour for a brisk walk. I *am* trying. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not Martha - Thoughts on Seattle Winters

I enjoyed this post and it is apropos for my own post earlier today, so I'll share it here.

What led me to the site today, though, was this super-adorable St. Patrick's Day Cake.

Oh Dear, Where Did I Disappear to?

Wow, I see that I last blogged on Sunday. No particular reason! It has been a very bad weight loss week, though. In fact, the scale was up ridiculously this morning, but I am ignoring it.

Well, not *ignoring* it exactly - because I also put myself back on a protein shake diet today. I am so over food. I am tired of thinking about what to eat, when to eat, how little or much I eat, etc.

I need a handler. Or a team of ladies in waiting. Or something. Someone to manage my life and say "Here, this is exactly what to do. It is the perfect thing."

So...why is the weight up? Well, one, I am still plugged up. I did buy gummy fiber chews, (thank you for the suggestion!) which I used for a couple of days. This has been a terrible, terrible week for taking my pills. Remind me, when I have to have my gallbladder taken out, remind me exactly how unsuccessful I was at taking my anti-gallstone medication, which I am supposed to take twice a day.

I used stool softeners one day oh, about a week ago, thank you for the comment suggestion! By the way, thank you all for your comments, suggestions, support, concern...all that wonderful good stuff. I am always so appreciative of it, even if I don't respond. I always read them and am thankful a) that people are reading my blog and b) that I have such nice, meaningful feedback coming back to me.

So, yes: stool softeners, immediate effect. Not one I would want too often - eep! Maybe if I took just one instead of two. And perhaps took it at night. I didn't notice an effect from the gummies, but I only took them for a couple days before the bottle disappeared. Grr.

Today, I am drinking Benefiber! I bought the unflavored stuff - my motto is always "Buy what Costco tells me to buy," and they said, "here, this is what we sell." I mixed it in with my Snapple diet iced tea. I cannot taste it or feel it, not even a little bit. Good!

But this blog isn't about poop. It's about a poop-like life. :) Why am I feeling down? I have battled depression in the past - when I got divorced, I battled it long and hard. (I always feel like qualifying here, I do not regret losing the *man,* I am well rid of him and was pretty damn tired of him, even if I didn't realize it at the time. What I regret was losing the *marriage* which was rather unexpected, if not long overdue, and even though I pretty quickly figured out that it was absolutely the right thing to do. Then when I say this, I always feel like qualifying it further by saying, yes, I am well rid of the man and would not want him or take him, but truly, he is a good man and a wonderful father. It is still possible to acknowledge this and vacillate between feelings of respect/gratitude and outright hatred, I assure you.)

So, this week has been hard, and obesity/food/work/children have done nothing to assuage it. Here is the likely crux of the problem: I live in Seattle. I love Seattle. I have lived here since I was a toddler. I know nowhere else. But. at. this. time. of. year. the. weather. makes. me. suicidal. and. homicidal. (Remember, if you are feeling suicidal and homicidal, always go after yourself first!)

It rains, all the freaking time. And when it is not raining, it is dark and gray and gloomy. I mused to my friend this week that I wonder, truly, truly wonder, how my life would be different if I lived in a sunny climate. In the rain, I shut down. I do not want to go outside, I do not want to pass go, I do not want to collect $200. I want to lay on the couch and watch tv.

This is not an effective plan for 6+ months out of the year.

But when the bad weather starts in the fall, I am accepting. I can tolerate months of it. But by this time of the year, when we are *just* on the cusp of maybe possibly getting some decent weather in only a month or two...well, I am losing my freaking marbles.

Sadly, it has taken me years to figure out the pattern. I do not readily associate it with the weather. Instead, I turn on myself: all my imperfections, flaws, weaknesses, reasons that my life deservedly sucks.

This year, I'm taking a different approach. I am contemplating a long weekend away with a friend to the sunshine. I cannot afford it, but I don't care. And yesterday, I hired a girl to clean the house. This was actually a bit more depressing: the problem with our tiny townhouse is not so much mess as clutter. And not clutter like knick-knacky type stuff, of which I have practically none. It is things like, oh, CANNED GOODS that won't fit in cabinets. Teeny tiny galley kitchen, teeny tiny living room/master suite. I have HAD IT living in such small quarters.

Oh magic genie, gimme a life makeover. I have served my penance from reckless spending, divorce and financial ruin. I earn a good living, I want to live like a grown-up again. I want a kitchen and a bedroom and cabinet space and sunshine. Sunshine first. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Own 5K

Busy day today but I am happy to report I dragged myself up to the gym. I was planning to do my own 5K on the treadmill, but they were all in use! It was packed this morning.

Instead, I think I achieved a greater accomplishment for myself. I did the elliptical for 30 minutes. Every time I've tried that darn elliptical, I am completely exhausted within five minutes. Today, I decided I was going to ride that thing until I couldn't do it anymore. My original intention was to do 3.125 miles (5K) on the elliptical, but 30 minutes proved all I could take. I think I did 1.85 miles.

It was hard! This is much, much more of a workout for me than the treadmill. I was red as my hair, and when I could not get my heart rate below 160+ at the 30 minute mark (the highest light on the spectrum of this equipment, "max rate"), well, I decided it was time to end it.

But I will do it again - it was a nice change from the treadmill.

Now I am running terribly late for the day's activities - have stalled long enough. It is SUCKY weather out there.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No 5K This Time

I am sick. Blech. And it is POURING down rain here - I am about DONE living in Seattle. (I say this every year, sigh.)

Anyway, I've got a stupid sinus infection, but worse, an eye infection, and it hurts and is ugly and I don't want to deal with it. And the weather is so gross, of my three friends who were doing the 5K with me, we were all just waiting for one of us to bail.

I said that I don't feel good and don't care enough about it to spend the morning in the pouring down rain and wind. Plus, I had to cancel fun dinner plans with them tonight (due to my grossness), so it's just kind of a stinky weekend.

Thanks everyone for your kind words and support about my two-month pics and the bummer words from my coworker. Definitely made me feel better, and I appreciate it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Month Post-Op Pics

I'm two months out today and down forty-three pounds. Here I am in the same shirt (different jeans). Ahh, I was feeling so happy about this when I first pulled together the pictures, and a coworker (whom I consider a friend) says, "You should be proud of yourself...(implied BUT)...having your stomach surgically removed played a big part in it."

Well, duh. And f*** you, too. I am looking for a way to spin this into a positive, but I'm not feeling it right now! Yes, surgery played a huge part in it. I always knew I could lose weight - I was very good at doing it, in fact. I could not keep it off. And I always gained back more. So I got to a point where I was unwilling/afraid to lose any because I didn't want to get any fatter.

I didn't do have the surgery to win some "losing weight contest" or show anyone up. I did it to save my life. To make my life something worth saving. I am very open about the surgery - especially to my coworkers as it is a covered medical insurance benefit for them, too. I figure that if I can be of any help or inspiration, it would make my struggles worthwhile. It's the same reason I started blogging: I want people to know that it is OK to go this route. It doesn't make you a failure, and it's not a magic wand, either. It's hard work. There's a lot of emotional pain and growing that comes with it, too.

Anyway. My weight loss is becoming pretty noticeable and this seems to have opened me up to oddball comments which I am trying to take in a spirit of support and/or friendship but really hurt. "It's still great no matter how you lose it," or "Too bad you couldn't do it on your own." People, PUH-LEEZ. Do you think I do not know the victory of taking weight off "ON MY OWN." I know it so freaking well I've been doing it since I was eighteen years old. I also know it's evil twin: gaining it all back and then some, and feeling like a piece of shit loser for not being able to maintain all that hard work and effort.

Yipes. My friend really hurt my feelings. In case it wasn't obvious, haha. But anyway, I am proud of myself and thrilled with my results and that's all that matters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Burro Day!

Hello, little burro! Yes, if I want to, I can ride you - straight into the bottom of the Grand Canyon! That's 220 pounds, the next goal on my list!

I ventured onto the scale this morning, against my better judgment. I decided my problem is that I am feeling all plugged up. Stopping at the store this morning to buy some of Sheila's Benefiber! :) I think it's all this damn meat I eat. Do you know I was a vegetarian for ten years or more? Now I'm always gnawing on a hunk o' meat.

Anyway, my cycles are still a little screwy, so I always feel a little PMS-bloaty, I'm constipated...yes, I am sharing way too much information here but it is MY BLOG, haha, and when I look back on this, I want to remember, "Oh yeah, that's why I started drinking this nasty orange shit." Or better yet, if *you* are recovering or preparing for your own surgery, you can think, "I better just plan on buying some of that, too," just I did when I read Sheila's Benefiber post. Which I will hyperlink here later, but am oh-so-procrastinating getting ready for work, and taking the time to declare today "Love Your Burro Day" has already wasted much too much time. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Takin' Care o' Mama

Well! Only two days shy of my two month surgery-anniversary. (I have tried, but cannot embrace the nickname "surgiversary." Even though it is less time-consuming to type than surgery-anniversary. We'll see if it grows on me. I'm all for saving key strokes, right?) I am a bit nervous about it tonight, which is silly. I think because I did not weigh myself today, which is my OCD post-op habit (as opposed to my compulsive scale avoidance pre-op). I filled myself up last night and tonight on, uh, boiled cabbage. I hardly think this is harmful food, but I overfilled nonetheless. That was earlier, and now my tummy is sloshing with diet Snapple ("water" in my world). So I am not especially warm to the idea of thinking about post-op success.

Plus, my bra is tight. I think I must be a little bloaty. The bra? Oh yes, my new size 40 bra, thank you! The old ones were 44, and they were snug as heck when I bought them. And at my highest, my breasts spilleth over from the cup. Woohoo!

The cup size on this one is a 40G (what is that, a 40-quadruple-D?). Mama has some big-ass boobs. I could have probably gone to a 42DDD or something, but I decided that afternoon I was going to try a 40 and fit the cup size around it. I kept going up and up and up.

Rambling. How am I taking care of me? Well - I haven't told you that I am doing my first 5K on Sunday! The Seattle Saint Paddy's Day Dash. No, sillies, I won't be *running* the 5K, I will be walking, but hey, I'm participating! Pictures to follow. Pray it's sunny. Pray the Alaskan Way viaduct doesn't collapse when we walk on it (but hey! if it does, we had the best view in town before we went down - don't cry for me, Argentina.)

Also, this was a big week on the home front. I try to keep this blog about my WLS adventures, but you can tolerate me while I say that I re-hired last summer's nanny, am pulling the boys out of after school daycare (before they throw my youngest out, haha), and I hired a cello instructor/housekeeper.

You heard me right. :) I got a one month membership to looking for 1) a summer nanny, 2) an after school nanny starting immediately, 3) a cadre of occasional babysitters I can call in a pinch, and 4) a hapless victim to help me clean and organize.

What? Did you not know I am made of money? Oh yes, I positively bleed it! BAHAHA. No, we're in code red mode. My five-year-old, a chipper little off-the-charts-ADHD type guy...well, the chaos of the YMCA is not a good fit for him. A quiet, calm, padded-walls-type place would be better, perhaps, but he is stuck with the middle ground: home, with his siblings and a nanny.

Last year's nanny wanted to come back to us, and we are happy to have her. We will have to work with her to tighten up the ship she runs, but she is a wonderfully sweet and reliable girl whom I consider part of the family.

Separately, I planned to interview a music major from the University of Washington who is an experienced nanny (and one of eight kids in her family). Her school schedule doesn't allow nannying right now, but she responded to my housekeeping ad. In her profile about nannying/babysitting, she mentioned she plays cello. Hey! I have a cellist in my house! And she has been b-e-g-g-i-n-g for private lessons.

And thus, I hired the cellist housekeeper. And I invited her to attend the cello concert my daughter and I are going to on Friday night. I think she will be a great role model and inspiration for my daughter, who is in her second year of playing cello, and is quite good, I think.

This all equates to taking care of me because, well, I need some help around here. I hope that by getting the house in order, combined with my continued weight loss and energy recoup, I'll be running a well-organized domestic machine around here in a few months.

In the meantime, I'm glad for the help. Here's to reduced stress!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Get Thee a Pill Box

Every now and again, you can rely on this blog to provide you with earthshattering, cannot live without pre-and post-op advice. Things you could have never possibly figured out on your own.

Today's advice is "get a pill box."

No, really.

So, I am eight weeks post-op today, and, true to form, I am terrible about taking my pills. Twice a day pills? HA! More like "several times a week" pills.

This week, I was fed up. I take a prescription twice a day to prevent gallstones. A common result of rapid weight loss is gallstones, and thus the need to have your gallbladder removed. I do not want my gallbladder removed. In fact, I want to stay away from anything that lands me in the hospital for another surgery.

Ipso facto, I must take my gallbladder medication for the next four months or so.

Now - I knew a pill box would facilitate medication management. So, for a good four to six weeks, I mused that I needed to remember to pick one up from the drugstore. Then, I *did* pick one up, and for a good week or so, I mused that I needed to sit down and fill it with medications. Then I actually sat down to load it up, and within a couple days after that, I rounded up all the pills that need to go into it. I put the bottles in a gallon zip-lock bag, so next week's re-load will hopefully not be such a time-consuming endeavor.

Here it is. Ain't she a beaut? AM and PM pill holders, and each day pops out to drop into your purse or pocket, should you so desire. And there are my pills, if you are interested:

Gummy vitamin
Actigall anti-gallstone pill
1000 IUI vitamin D
Some reflux/antacid med - I think I take this for a few months, too
1/2 my high blood pressure med. I have turned amateur physician on myself. I stopped taking the high blood pressure med weeks ago and monitored my blood pressure and found it consistently to my liking. However, now that I have been exercising more, I noticed that my heart rate is still high. On the blood pressure med, my heart rate is much lower (for example 80 bpm versus 100 bpm when first stepping onto the treadmill, and 120 max versus 155 max when in full workout). I like a slower heart rate, it makes me feel less like I'm going to drop dead at the YMCA. So, I started taking 1/2 a pill again. I'll monitor my blood pressure to make sure it's not too low, and see how it affects my heart rate when working out.

Gummy vitamin
B-12 sublingual
Prescription iron supplement

I have nasty, nasty calcium liquid purchased from Costco to take daily. I haven't been, and need to get on it. Nasty, nasty stuff. Claims to taste like a blueberry smoothie. Does not. WLS peeps are supposed to take calcium citrate, which is pretty limiting in terms of the stuff you think of when you think calcium supplements (TUMS, vitachew, etc). I have hated everything I've tried, but I'm difficult that way.

Monday, March 7, 2011

VSG Surgery Costs

I am compiling up some fascinating data about the costs related to my VSG surgery. I'll post that later: I am waiting for insurance review on one final claim from the assistant surgeon. Once they make a decision, I'll know what the final amounts are that I paid versus what my insurance paid.

What really strikes me though, is this little item:

Hospital charges (surgeon/asst surgeon invoiced separately):

Invoiced amount: $27,307.36
Insurance paid:      $6,589.90
Julie paid:                $932.20

Isn't that shocking? I feel so badly for the people who self-pay. There was a woman I met who self-paid for the surgery at the same hospital. I believe she told me she paid upwards of $20K for the surgery. Now, for myself, I am grateful that insurance negotiated the cost down to 1/3 what the hospital billed - but it's still pretty difficult to grasp the discrepancy.

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

Okay, actually, I felt prettier before I saw the picture, but still, I feel pretty! Here's me, down 42 pounds (yeah, baby, snuck another one in there!)...and those are size 14 slacks! Ha - that won't work in every brand, but it did in *this* brand! And HIGH HEELED boots! I am stylin', but I will be back in my tennies by lunch, I predict. It has been many, many years since I've worn heels, 'cept to play around the house. ;)

3/7/11 (1 day shy of 8 weeks post-op)

June 2010

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Seven Dwarves Diet

Gotta love a forty pound loss! It's forty-one, actually, so things are clipping along even farther. I am feeling great about my success. I'm also feeling a bit more up for the challenge of what to eat. Today, I'm going to make my own turkey meatballs/turkey burger/turkey meatloaf. Haven't quite decided what direction to take it.

Post-op VSG eating reminds me of a chick-lit book I read several years ago. I want to say it was from the "Shopaholic" series, but I don't think it was. Something of that ilk, anyway. There was a character, a single woman, who followed a "Seven Dwarves Diet." At the beginning of each week, she bought seven yogurts, seven apples, and seven tiny pieces of chocolate. (There may have been more food involved, I can't remember.) Anyway, that's how I feel about my eating. Anything I buy, I think, wow, that's going to go bad before I can eat it. Preparing ahead is tough because we just have the little freezer, and it's jam-packed. Maybe we'll concentrate on eating out of the freezer this week! Make a little space, make it a little more sleeve-friendly.

This will also be a fish week, I think. I'm finding that I'm focusing so much on eating protein, e.g. meat - that I'm eating these little sausages, or salamis, pepperonis, etc. Too much processed - too much sodium. This week, we're going to push that sleeve a little harder and go for foods I can make at home.

Part of that revelation was my last couple purchases from Costco. Yuck. I bought some aidells teriyaki and pineapple chicken meatballs. Too sweet for me. I've slathered a few in A1 sauce, but I just don't like them. I also bought some Aidells mini sausages - now I'm kind of turned off all of it. I'm thinking about being evil and returning it to Costco. Hmm. Maybe I'll call my parents and see if they want it.


Friday, March 4, 2011

No Longer Extreme! Scale Cooperation and Mathematical Manipulation

I told my friend on the phone this afternoon that I am both deeply mortified and embarrassed to achieve this goal and super proud of myself. It is an odd feeling!

I am now officially..."Obese." Not "Extremely Obese." Thankyouverymuch! The BMI chart has spoken: my BMI is 39.7, *well* under the 40 BMI classifying you as extremely obese. If I showed up at the weight loss surgeon's office today, demanding a gastric sleeve, well, I'd be turned away because my skinny little BMI didn't meet my insurance company's requirements.

There was a little mathematical manipulation at play, too. After getting measured at my surgeon's office since they had neglected to do it, and asking the hematologist's office to measure me...well, I am ready to concede that I guess I either grew as an adult or have always had an inaccurate understanding of my own height. I bumped it up from 5'2.5" to 5'3". Amazing what a nice little push a half inch will give you, haha.

But, notice the scale has favored me this week, as well. That's a four-pound weight loss, ladies and gentlemen! I am on the cusp of the 40 pound lost goal, as well. Yay! It feels good to have started losing again after no loss last week and the evil Chex Mix incident.

You may notice my goal list in the upper right corner. Why do I want to ride a burro into the Grand Canyon? Well, I probably don't. But many years ago a coworker went with her husband, who was turned away and left at the top of the canyon while his wife and daughters rode their burros to the bottom. He was over 220 pounds, and thus not allowed to ride on the burro. I remember both a) being embarrassed for him because she was sharing this story with everyone at work, and b) feeling embarrassed because I, too, would be turned away from the burro ride.

But soon, that burro would have to take me on its back, and thus, it's the next goal on my list. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Know What Evil Looks Like

I should have walked away. I knew that the mini-mart by my house has nothing of value for me, food-wise. I was hungry, I wanted breakfast. I had no time to go to the grocery store, I told myself. I asked the cashier where their little bags of almonds were: but even as I asked, my tummy said, "hmm." Wasabi-flavored almonds, while delicious, are probably not wise right now. As I mulled over the almonds, the face of evil locked eyes with me. I blame 23imaginaryfriends and her daughter, who introduced me to the homemade version of this incredibly powerful monster!

I bought the bag. I told myself I was being ridiculous. I am ever so reluctant to blog about this major transgression, because I am embarrassed and disappointed in myself. However. This blog is a chronicle of my experience with weight loss surgery. In a year, in two years, I want to be able to look back on my experience and know where I came from, where I am now, and how I got there. Making bad food choices is part of that journey. Will I get a handle on it? Will I overcome the problems that led me to reach 263 pounds? Will I ever learn?

Yes. I am confident I will. I cannot pretend that I have solved my eating issues overnight just by virtue of the surgery. I can admit to myself, however, that poor eating choices may put myself at risk of physical harm. This excerpt is from the obesity forum today, the story of someone who has lost 150 pounds in a year. This person learned some lessons the hard way, too:
"Once after about two or three months out I ended up in the hospital with severe stomach pains. Never had that much pain in my life. My doctor ordered blood work, abdominal X-Ray , CT Scan, Upper endoscopy all test came back negative. He...did a leak test and discovered a leak and repaired it...All this was due to me going carb crazy when I deviated from program two days before my pains. I didn’t think that my deviation two full days before I experienced any pain was related to my symptoms but looking back I think it was. This is why I always advise people to stick to program. You never know what the results of a little deviation can do, especially when you’re a newbie."

Powerful lesson. Over the course of the day, my listless, feeling sorry for myself day, I ate the whole bag. I don't think it was 10 oz, I think it was 7 oz. But really, does that matter? It was 7-10 ounces of poison. Poison to my body, poison to my hopes, poison to all the hard work I've been doing.

I will learn. I am DONE with obesity and food addiction and all its related self-destruction and stupidity. DONE.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Ah, I am so over food. I'm over EVERYTHING today. (It is no coincidence, I'm sure, that today is the day I compile a report at work - I *strongly dislike* this task and find that it kind of puts a funk on my day. Fortunately, it's only twice a month.)

Anyway. I can't think of anything to eat. On Sunday, I bought two feta/spinach turkey burgers from the meat department. I cooked them up, cut them in half and stuck them in snack sized baggies. This, I planned, would be lunch at work for the next four days.

Sigh. My stomach hates the feta. My mouth loves the burgers, but the feta is a sleeve no-go. Okay. Regroup. Yesterday, I went to the lunch buffet place (from my food photos) just before they closed at 3:00 p.m. I was over-hungry. I went bananas and bought $2.40 worth of food (as opposed to the $1.20 worth I posted last week, haha). I gave myself a stomachache. I wanted to go home.

Today, then, the buffet doesn't sound good, even though it wasn't the buffet's fault. It was too much food, and probably too much variety. I had a spoonful of egg yolk and a spoonful of tuna salad: foods that have not historically been well-tolerated. I got over-cocky with my assumption that it would be okay, since my sleeve is being more tolerant. Maybe it was too much food, maybe it was the wrong food.

So now, I am just over food, and over my sleeve. For some reason, today I have been obsessing about not losing fast enough. I am down 37 pounds in 9+ weeks (including two-week pre-op diet). Twenty-nine pounds from the day of the surgery. This is fast! But I didn't lose last week, and this week I dropped two pounds and holding steady.

I am overthinking. No, I have not reached maximum weight loss. I should probably stop reading the weight loss surgery forums so intently. Yesterday I read that someone's surgeon said you lose most of your weight in the first three months. "I'm blowing it!!" I thought.

Silly girl. Don't stress so much.