Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three-month Appointment Update/Rough Week/NSV

I had my 3-month appointment with the surgeon this morning. I didn't get the full 40# banished but 39.3 is still darn good, IMHO. :-) I've been kind of thinking that I'm banishing slowly, but he told me that I'm on par with the average bypass patient, so I guess I'm doing better than I thought. Thus far, I've not really had a stall to speak of, so that's part of why I'm doing so well. He told me that his ultimate goal for me is 150 and asked me if I'd be happy there. I don't know about the rest of you, but that sounds just fine with me. :-) It's about 20# above my "ideal", but we both agree that it's a realistic goal. I'm all about realistic. So, as of this appointment, I've now banished 38% of my EW, and he considers anything above 60% a success. I got a copy of my labs, and I'll have a better idea of how I'm doing when I input the numbers into my spreadsheet - update forthcoming. :-) I do know off the top of my head that my HDL is much better, which means the exercise is paying off. My goal from Dr. C for my 6-month appointment in June is to be under 200. I'd already set that goal for myself, so it's nice to see that we're on the same page. :-) It means maintaining my 2.5#+/week average, but I still think it's a realistic goal. All-in-all, a good appointment.

I have had kind of a rough week, so my good appointment this morning, and the NSV I'll tell you about in a mo' were very welcome. Saturday, I tried to go camping. Unfortunately, the weather conspired against us and we had to come home Saturday night. The damp cold settled into my joints/muscles quite well, and left me on the teetering edge of a Fibro flare. Then I was up way too late on Sunday (though I'm certainly not complaining about the reason ;-)). Monday I was just dragging, but in decent spirits. Tuesday, one of our faculty members (and the man I'd taken Spanish from) had a stroke and died. I didn't know him as well as I would've liked, but we'd had many conversations over the years about Spanish, Hispanic culture and books since we both loved to read. Yesterday would have been my Daddy's 73rd birthday, and I tend to miss him a lot on his birthday. I'm a bit better today, but it's still been a rough week.

In my last post, I mentioned the 18Ws I'd hung onto. Well, the pair I'd tried on that didn't fit is probably the smallest of the three pairs. I am always confused how pairs of pants in the same size, from the same lable, cut with the same pattern can be different, but these are. I have a black pair, a khaki pair, and a burgandy/maroon pair and the burgandys are the smallest. I was able to wear the black the longest on the way back up the scale, so I figured they were cut just a little bit bigger. Anyway, I decided I'd try them on again yesterday for a little non-scale encouragement. Even if they didn't fit, even if I couldn't button or zip them, just knowing I can get them up over my hips means I'm doing the right thing. So I pulled on the black pair. Up over my hips they went (that was nothing new). To my supremely happy surprise, they also buttoned... and zipped! And I didn't even need to do the on-the-bed-butt-wiggle to do it! I nearly cried! So, I thought I'd try the khaki pair. Same thing. Up. Button. Zip. Woot! Now, for the smallest of the three. Up. Button. It took a little more wiggling to zip them, but I still did it standing up!!!!! They are still a little to snug for my comfort regarding wearing them out of the house. But I now know that they'll fit just fine on our anniversary. :-)

Now I just need to get out and get new sneakers so my feet don't give out on me doing all this walking. :-)

Happy Thursday, everyone. Hope the sun comes back soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Victories of the Scale and Non-Scale Variety

First, the scale victory. I've banished an additional pound at this week's weigh-in. I'm not down as far as a low during the week, but I only record the weight at my "official" weigh-in and it's still good. :-) I'm edging closer and closer to 40# banished since surgery. As of this AM, it's 38.2#. I'm really, really okay with that. It's still almost 3#/week and I think that's pretty good! Hopefully, I'll have a woosh week this week and banish a LOT. I have my 3-month appointment with my surgeon on Thursday, and having the full 40# banished by then would be AWESOME! We'll just have to see.

Now, the non-scale victory. I've been walking around in clothes that make me look like a kid playing dress up. Thanks to my tax refund finally showing up, I went yesterday and got a few pairs of pants. I wasn't really sure what size I'd need, but figured I'd take a stab, try them on, and go from there. :-) Well, my victory is that, in 3 months, I've gone from a 26/28 to an 18/20!!!!!!! My new button-and-zipper pants are a 20W. Holy guacamole, Batman! Just for gits and shiggles, I tried on a pair of the 18W's I've had hanging around since 2007, knowing I'd get back into them eventually. They are nowhere near where I can actually button or zip them, but I CAN get them up over my hips! Woot! I don't know if I'll be able to get them buttoned and zipped by our anniversary on 04/13 but I'm definitely still going to try. It's 2.5 weeks away. Even if they are so tight I can't breathe and I certainly wouldn't wear them OUT, I'll count it. ;-)

While we were out and about yesterday, we also went to the supermarket, so I have high-protein noms to take my brekkie and lunch and snacks, leaving me less vulnerable to the dreck they serve in the cafeteria here at work. This is an good thing. So, proper foodness, exercise, fluids... oh, yeah. I sense a WOOSH. How 'bout y'all? Favorable weather conditions for the next evolution. Hooah!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Official Weigh-In

So, I alluded to a new recent low in my last post. I hit that, and it just got better for my official weigh in! I'm now at 234.6! From my high, I've now banished 66.4# and since surgery, 37.2#. I'd hoped to have banished an even 40# by my 3 month surgiversary, and I got close. But I walked every weekday last week, and started my strength-training routine, so I'll count that more as my victory. :-) I took my measurements, too, yesterday and I've shrunk an additional 11.5" since last month! I'm kicking myself for not having done "before" measurements because now I won't know how much total, but since the measurements I took for my 1-month surgiversary on January 20, I'm now 33" smaller! I can definitely tell that shrinkage in the way my clothes don't fit. ;-) I'm not sure that what went on over the weekend could really be counted as a "period", though I've had lighter when I was on the Pill. Since I'm no longer wanting to suck at the teat of the Reese's Cup factory, I'm gonna count it at least for now. :-) If I suddenly have a more obviously "normal" period, I'll re-figure. :-)

I finally got a 5# dumbbell, so I can really get down to doing the routine my sis sent me. Hope it starts firming up my batwings, as they are getting kinda annoying since it's almost sleeveless weather. ;-)

I'll be seeing some people this weekend who haven't seen me since well before surgery. I wonder if they'll even recognize me. Heck, there are days when -I- don't recognize me. :-) I saw a friend on Friday who'd not seen me since before surgery and she declared me the "Incredible Shrinking Woman". That was kinda kewl! I see my surgeon next week for my 3-month follow-up. I hope he's as happy with my progress as I've been.

Have a great week, everyone! Hope the weather is as nice in your area as it is here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good week so far!

It's been a great week so far, regarding exercise. I walked part of the way or all of the home Monday, Tuesday and yesterday. Yesterday, I walked 20 minutes on my AM break AND walked all the way home. Today is my late day, so I walked for an hour before work! Yesterday, I did a simple resistance routine, though with light weight because I've not gotten out to get a heavier one yet. :-) Something is better than nothing, right?

Food-wise, not as good. I've made the best choices I can, but my head hunger is AWFUL! I don't know if it's the "Super Moon" or if I'm gearing up for the worst period known to humankind or what, but it's been really bad. I'd like to honestly be able to tell you that I've not succumbed to my head hunger. But if I sat here and told you that, I'd be lying. So I won't. I'm trying to eat something with protein in it every 2 hours or so. That's helped. I figure that, if my body is fed, then my head can just STFU. :-) If anyone else has helpful hints for slaying the head hunger beastie, hit me in the comments.

To end on an up note: I had my lowest weigh-in in recent history. It's not official, so I won't tell you. But it's the lowest it's been in about 3 years. :-) We are rapidly approaching the lowest my weight has been in over a decade. Kinda scary, actually. Maybe that's part of what is behind the head hunger? Hmmm... I shall have to ponder.

In any case, I hope that you all are having a great week. The weather here is beautiful and I've really been enjoying getting out and walking in the fresh air and sunshine. It'd be nice if I'd remembered that the Bradford Pears bloom right around now and had started taking my allergy meds about a week ago. Oh, well. I'm gonna make a note in my calender to start at the beginning of March next year to give it plenty of time to kick in before the darn trees start with their bloomin' blooming. :-) With the cold snap we just had, the Dogwoods are hot on their trail, which means I'll be miserable by next week. I'll just keep taking the meds and hope for the best. TTFN!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Current Theme Song

I know I cannot be the only person on the planet who has their own internal soundtrack. :-) If I am, just play along with me, okay? Every so often, I hear a song the grabs me by my emotions and fills me with motivation and inspiration to be my best me. I consider that my "theme song". Right now, my theme song is Katy Perry's "Firework".

Lyrics from

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that there's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe-awe-awe"

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on slet your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe-awe-awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

What's your theme song?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Countdown to 3 months

On March 20, I will celebrate my 3-month "surgiversary". I can hardly believe it's been three months already, but I can also hardly believe that it's -only- been three months. YKWIM? So much has changed in my life for the better in those three months, that it's difficult to believe that it's all happened in such a short amount of time. Since I hit the weight that prompted me to seek out a tool to assist me with taking off my excess weight, I've banished 64 pounds. Since surgery, almost three months ago, I've banished 35. I'm off medication for blood sugar, I can walk for an hour at a stretch without feeling like I'm going to d-i-e. I'm down two sizes, including fitting into a pair of jeans I've not worn since 2007, which are a size withOUT a W! It's really pushing the bounds of possible, I'm sure, but I would LOVE it if I could banish enough this week to be down a round 40 pounds by the 20th. I'm going to give it every effort and know that, even if I fall short of the number on the scale, I'll have done everything I can this week right.

* I will walk every day it's not raining, for at least 45 minutes.
* If it -is- raining, I will utilize my pedaler for at least 1 hour.
* I will stretch my muscles.
* I will drink (sip, sip, sip) at least 70oz of fluid.
* I will take in at least 70g of protein.
* I will keep my kCal between 600 and 800.
* I will limit my carbs, particularly refined ones.
* I will meditate or utilize some other method for stilling and centering my mind.
* I will make mindful choices regarding everything I take in, whether that's food, drink, or information.

For any of you reading who may be thinking that weight loss surgery is a "quick fix" or "the easy way out", let me disabuse you of that notion. My surgeon operated on one of my internal organs. He removed 85% of my stomach, leaving me with a banana-shaped stomach that will hold roughly 6oz of food. I try to keep my intake/meal to around 4oz to prevent pain and indigestion, which means that I need to eat about every 3 hours or so to ensure I take in what I'm supposed to daily. I have to, daily & for the rest of my life, take vitamin supplements. I have to have follow-up blood work/visits with the surgeon every three months for the first 18 months post-op and then annually FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I think I may eventually have my protein/carb/kCal/fluid balance so firmly entrenched as a habit that I don't have to constantly think about it, but right now, I have to think about every bite of food and every sip of liquid that goes into my body. Yes, the surgery did help me lose a lot of my hunger and cravings and it physically stops me from over-eating. However, the surgery was on my stomach, not my head. I have to always be aware of my motivations for eating. I now have to eat to live rather than living to eat. As a food addict, that is a ROUGH transition.

I'd decided when I started the journey towards surgery, that I wouldn't hide the fact; that I'd be open about my decision. Frankly, I figured that if people I see every day knew I was having surgery, they wouldn't start to wonder if I were dying when I started losing weight as quickly as I have. :-) I told my MIL early in the process because she is a nurse at the hospital where I had my surgery, and I wanted to get her take on my surgeon. I waited to tell my mom until I had my date, not because I thought she'd try to talk me out of it, but because I have met my mom and know that, were the Americans to enter a "worrying" team into the Olympics, she'd win the gold, for sure. ;-) I also wanted to be open about it, so that if anyone around me were considering surgery, they'd KNOW someone who'd had it, and they could ask questions. Also why my blog is open to the public, as it were. Hiding in the dark does nothing but make you afraid of the light.

If you are a person who can just cut back on soda and lose the weight you need to lose, good for you! If you believe that, for you, you need to go to Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous and sweat for each pound, I'm here to support you the whole way! I've tried everything and have realized one thing about myself: I can follow -any- diet you put in front of me, so long as I'm not hungry and so long as nothing is completely off limits. The VSG has removed the hunger component and since there isn't any malabsorption/dumping, nothing is completely off limits. I -choose-, however, to limit foods that I know are triggers for me and/or are slider foods that make me make poor choices. The Sleeve is nothing more than a tool. I'm still having to do the hard work with my diet and exercise that anyone else has to do. I just have internal support. :-)

So, that's what I've learned in the past 3 months. I can't wait to see what the next 15 months has in store.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

I had a post all written and then lost my internet connection. :-( So, count yourself lucky that I'm not going to try to re-create it, just hit the highlights.

I'm on Spring Break this week. I still have to work (just like I worked during my College's SB), but I don't have to stress about getting to class on time this week. I have a few projects/assignments/papers due in the next few weeks, so I'm intending to see if I can't actually get myself ahead a little this week so that I can go out of town in a couple of weeks and not stress about it. Hell, who am I kidding? I'll stress anyway, but I'm going to try to mitigate it. ;-)

Hormones are still whack. I think we can all agree that is my default setting right now. Tired and hormonal. LOL But I'm putting a plan in place so that I can better deal with the hormonal-based cravings. I'm not exactly hungry post-op and I can't eat very much at a time, anyway. But the cravings are just about killing me. Sheesh! I'm really trying not to feed the beast in hopes that starving it will make it go away. Not having a lot of luck. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted. I don't mind the PMS-like stuff that I'm dealing with, but it would be all kinds of awesome if I'd actually get the menstrual to go with the pre-menstrual. YKWIM? Frankly, I'm so not in the way of caring if I'm fertile or not. DH had a vasectomy, anyway, so we are obviously not wanting kidlets. Thusly, I don't really much care if I -ever- get a period again, so long as I'm not stuck in this constant state of any-day-now-really. My only concern re: periods & the lack thereof is the accompanying side-effects of low estrogen/other hormones. I can work around that, though.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hormones AKA the roller coaster ride from H-E-L-L

Just as a warning to those who come after me:

VSG screws with your hormones. No, really, it does! Not only does it help defeat the hunger hormone, ghrelin, losing weight quickly (and I think that 3-ish pounds/week is pretty quickly) floods your system with the hormones your body has stored in your fat cells. So I've got all that going for me. Plus, after 15+ years, I went off of hormonal birth control just before surgery, most recently the progestin-only "mini pill".

So what does that mean? It means that my monthly cycles are all screwed up. *sigh* Everything I've read has said that it might be as long as 6 months before I get normalized again. Right now, I can't even say with certainty that I'm "late" since I've not had a period that my body was in full control of since 1995. The Pill suppresses ovulation and the "period" you have is really hormone withdrawl bleeding. So, my body's all like "Wait, what? You mean I have to re-learn how to ovulate now? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?" And I'm all like "Yeah, and it'd be nice if you'd figure out how so I can actually get off of this hormonal roller coaster." :-)

Between DH's vasectomy in January and us faithfully using condoms, the liklihood of my being pregnant is EXTREMELY low, but I'll be testing that to make sure. I have my annual with my OBGYN next month and if my period is still AWOL by then, I'll be talking to her about this and see what she recommends OTHER than going back on hormonal BC. In the interim, cross your fingers for me that my body gets with the program ASAP. :-)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Shopping Happened and an NSV*

*For those not in the know, NSV = non-scale victory.

So, DH & I went shopping yesterday and I got a week's worth of foodness for breakfast/lunch/snax. If you have not tried the pomegranate Chobani Greek yogurt, you are missing out. Yes, it's a bit high in carbs at 21g. But it has 14g of protein and I've really cut my carbs on other things. My menu for the day is:

Brekkie: Chobani; 140 kCal, 21g carb, 14g protein
Snack 1: 2 pc light string cheese; 120 kCal, 2g carb, 12g protein
Lunch: Chicken "salad" (canned chicken breast w/ green grapes); 110 kCal, 5g carb; 20g protein
Snack 2: Atkins ready-to-drink shake; 160 kCal, 3g carb, 15 g protein

So, without supper (which I've not decided on yet), I'm at 530 kCal, 31g carb and 61g protein. I'm supposed to get 600-800 kCal, 45-ish g carb and 70+ g protein, so I think I'm doing pretty well with that menu. :-) I also picked up some of those flavor things that you can put in water which will help me drink water and not buy LifeWater from our cafeteria (saving me a BUNCH). I've had 20oz of fluid so far and have another bottle waiting for me to have finished my yogurt. I -may- re-think my plan, but right now, I've decided to eat pretty much the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch and only changing it up at supper. Dr. Oz says something about eating the same thing everyday. I'll have to re-read that, maybe. But basically, if I can find a menu that fills my requirements, then I can rock my Sleeve and worry about variety when I've gotten closer to my goal weight. I have about 6 months from surgery as a "honeymoon" period where banishing excess weight is easier. I'm almost 3 months out, so I really need to buckle down and take advantage of the next three months.

I did have a pleasant shock this weekend, though. I am keeping a spreadsheet with all of my lab results and measurements so I can track the changes throughout my journey. I wasn't on my computer the day I took my measurements in February for my 2-month update, so I just jotted them down on a piece of paper. When I was on my laptop on Friday for class, I decided that I'd go ahead and enter them. When all was said and done, I'd discovered that I'd shrunk 21.5" in ONE MONTH!!! So, while the scale and I might be continuing our adversarial relationship (though it showed that I'd banished 2.8# this week), the tape measure and I are bosom friends. :-) No wonder my clothes are falling off of me!

So, my week is off to a pretty darn good start. I'm getting ready to take my AM walk (though it's much cooler today than it has been). How's everyone else doing?

Friday, March 04, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

I've noticed that a few of my old habits are trying very diligently to sneak back into my life. Since surgery, it's physically impossible to eat more than about 3/4 of a cup of food at a time. If I even try (which I have occasionally), I'm in a LOT of pain until the food starts to digest and move out of my teensy tummy. I've also allowed too many carbs to sneak back in. So I went over to one of my favorite sites, Bariatric Eating and downloaded their nifty food journal. I'm planning on making good use of it for the rest of March and make sure I'm back on track. I've allowed myself to eat without measuring too often, so I'm bringing the measuring cups back out. I've also not brought my own food from home and that is the WORST thing a post-op bariatric patient can do. In fact, I don't recommend it for anyone. If you leave too much of your food to chance, you're sometimes left with having to make a choice between the lesser of two evils. It may be lesser, but it's still evil. :-) This weekend, I'm going to plan out my meals and I'm going to go to the supermarket and get the makings of those meals. I'm going to write down what I eat, and I AM getting back on track. I'm still averaging about 3#/week since surgery, but that's on the very low end of where I should be right now, almost 11 weeks out. I'm losing inches, and I'm excited about that, too, but I need to buckle down and rock my Sleeve!

I made a comment on a group of which I'm a part on FaceBook that the wellness journey is not a race, it's a revolution. It's so true! There really is NO finish line. I have a goal weight and several mini-goals like "be out of the 250s by the end of January", "be down at least 30# since surgery by the end of February"; goals which I have met, by the way. I'm not really sure what my March goal is, yet. I should probably set that, huh? I think that it'll be "start and maintain an exercise program". I've already started one, but it's not really regimented. I also need to add weights ASAP because weight lifting will help build the connective tissue that will help me not look like a sharpei when I've banished all my weight. :-) I do have class two nights/week, but I have the routine that my sis sent me that I can actually do while I'm in class since it's online. ;-) So long as I'm not required to participate in a discussion, I can huff and puff and move my body while I'm listening to my instructor or professor. So there. I'd thought about waiting until class was over on two of the nights (I'm shooting for MWF), but class isn't over until 9PM and if I work out too close to bedtime, I won't sleep.

Okay. So "start and maintain an exercise program, including resistance training" shall be my goal for March. I think it's probably a better goal than any sort of scale-related goal because I actually have control over what I make my body do. The scale? As adversarial as our relationship tends to be... I don't want my goal to fall short simply because the scale hates me that day.

DH & my anniversary is on April 13, which is a little over a month from now. I'm currently wearing a 22W pants and 18/20 or L-XL top. Do you think it's realistic to set a goal of being in an 18W pants by then? The last time I wore an 18W, I weighed about 220#, for reference (I weighed right at 240 this AM). That's my tenative goal, in any case. I honestly believe that if I buckle down and get back with my eating plan AND exercise most days of the week including resistance 3X/week, that 20 pounds is on the low end of what I can drop in almost a month and a half. I guess we'll see. :-)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Medical Anomalies 'r' Us

Just got a call from my Internist's nurse (which is a surprise in and of itself, but that's another story). She wanted to tell me that all the arthritis/lupus/etc tests came back negative, but that I had elevated strep antibodies. That's news to me, because I think I'd remember strep throat, right? Anyway. Apparently, strep infection CAN cause the joint pain I've been experiencing. So, she's called in a Z-pak.

Riddle me this, Batman.... How in the name of all that is good, decent and holy did my cholesterol get WORSE????? Apparently worse enough that the doc wants me back on the cholesterol meds. :-( Thankfully I'd already gotten them re-filled prior to surgery, so I have some. It is my hope that I'll be able to get back off of them as I continue to banish weight. I did do some reading regarding perimenopause this morning. Yeah, I'm a smidge young for it, but I have a LOT of the symptoms, and have had for a year or so. Even on BCP, my periods were weird. They weren't terribly irregular, but they weren't regular, either. And they've been getting lighter and lighter, then I'll have one that's extremely heavy. I read that elevated LDL is often present in women in perimenopause. Dunno. I go see my Ob/Gyn next month, so I'll talk to her about it. Sadly, there's not a lot they can check to see if that's the case, but maybe she'll have some suggestions regarding the cholesterol. The periods? Meh. I can deal. I'm just concerned about my cholesterol. I did read that women who have PCOS and/or hypothyroidism (lucky me, I have both) and women who've never delivered a baby (me again) tend to go into perimenopause earlier. I'll be 38 at my next birthday, and that's not too far under the average of 41 that I think I'm totally crazy. :-) Okay, I may be totally crazy, but this is not the proof. So, I'll just add that to the things I want to talk to my Ob/Gyn about. The thing that throws me is the idea that you can get an idea of when you'll go through menopause based on when your mother did. Unfortunately, my mother had a complete hysterectomy when she was in her early 30's, so I have no idea when she would have gone through if her body'd been left to its own devices.

Mostly, I'll just keep trucking with my VSG diet, exercise and stress management. Everything will work itself out and it'll all be all right. :-) At least it's not RA causing my joints to hurt!