Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's the little things

This is the second post of the day.  I guess I have a lot to say today.
This past weekend, we went to the hubby's company picnic.  We took John's truck.  It's a big F-150 with big comfy leather seats.  I keep my purse between my feet on the floor and I found I needed something from my purse.  Without thinking, I bent down and picked up my purse.  So what you say?  Yeah, me too, until I realized that I did it effortlessly.  I didn't have to unbuckle the seatbelt or maneuver the purse with my feet until I could raise it up so I could reach it.  I just reached down and got it.  Wow.  That's a biggee for me.  I was too big before to reach over my belly to get anything from the floor.  Yay for that one. 
The other thing I found out that same day:  I was sitting in my folding chair, you know the kind: the canvas ones with the sling backs?  I usually dread those chairs because I'm always afraid I'm going to break it when I sit in it because I'm so heavy.  So there I was, sitting in that chair.  I was reading a book and I crossed my legs.  I don't mean crossed them at the ankles, I crossed them at the knee - one leg over the other.  Holy shit, Batman!  I was amazed!  I was thrilled!  I mentioned this to John and he did the nice husband supportive thing, but I don't know that he really understood how happy that made me.  That is a biggee! 
I really do need to blog these things because I will forget them later on.  Baby steps, you know?  Kind of like when you  have kids and your kid does something really cute and you think you'll always remember that thing, but you don't.  You have to write it down.  In detail.  I'm sure my details probably bore you sometimes (all the time?) but hey, this is my blog/journal.  I'm just glad you're here reading and being there for me.

Trash Day

It's trash day and I'm "allowed" to get on the scale.  I say "allowed" because the NP told me that I was weighing myself too much and relying on the numbers as opposed to how I felt.  I was allowing the numbers to dictate how I was eating.  So today, trash day, I weighed myself.  I was 230.2 today.  No, I wasn't upset that I was up a pound from last week.  It's just a pound.  I'm not freaking out.
Here's what I've noticed in the last week, though.  My body is getting smaller.  I am losing inches.  Noticeably.  The thing is, I'm getting flabby.  I don't know that I've ever been flabby.  Overweight, yes, flabby, no.  I can grab a handful of fat now (around my waistline) and it jiggles.  When I was heavier, it was just solid fat, not jiggly fat.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  Jiggly, people!  I do not care for jiggly!!
I have the bat wings.  I never wanted those.  Who does?  I have jiggly tummy and jiggly thighs.  Oh, don't even get me started on my thighs.  I'm very upset about those.  I LOVE wearing shorts year-round and I do not want to stop wearing them because my thighs are jiggly.  Oh, and I've got chicken neck now.  Yikes!  Crepey, wrinkly skin on my neck.  Ack!  Is that age or is is rapid weight loss?  I don't know, but I don't like it.
So, the answer?  It's right there in front of my nose - I need to work out.  And hard.  I need to start toning those muscles so that the flabby parts go away.  I need to start burning more fat and building more muscle.  I have a gym membership so why don't I use it?  I WILL use it.  I've been lazy about going to the gym.  Would rather just go home and knit than work out, but the harsh reality is that I have jiggly fat and I want that gone more than knitting. 
And those of you who are wondering what all that looks like naked, forget about it.  You know who you are.  I'm not taking pics. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I learned something

A lot, if not all, gastric bypass patients are put on medication for excess stomach acid after surgery.  The stomach continues to produce lots of stomach acid even though there is only a small stomach to protect, therefore, excess stomach acid.  After my go-round in the ER for dehydration and stomach pain, I talked to the Nurse Practitioner in the surgeon's office and she told me that I probably needed more antacid medication.  She doubled my dose and I've been fine ever since.  Almost.
Once in awhile, I get in a rush in the mornings and I forget to take my meds, including the probiotics/antacids.  I've noticed those days, I feel more "hungry".  I find I'm feeding that "hunger" and it's not hunger at all.  It's the stomach acid grumbling around in there.  If I look/feel beyond the "hunger" I realize I'm not hungry at all, that I've just eaten and I couldn't possibly be hungry.  The old tapes in my head would say that the stomach feels hungry, so eat!  Ah, but it's not hunger at all. 
I need to be more diligent about taking my stomach pills.  I feel more even food-wise when I do.  I also don't want to slip into those bad habits about eating all the time, either. 
This surgery is not just a physical adjustment, it really is a mental one, too.  A BIG mental adjustment.  I think if I don't pay attention to the little things along the way, that I'd fall right back into the old habits and my surgery would be unsuccessful.  What a shame that would be.  My surgery cost the insurance company over $70,000 and I sure wouldn't want that money wasted.  I'm sure they wouldn't want it wasted, either. 
So I continue with the daily check-in's to my brain and my stomach and I continue with group therapy.  It's the only way I can figure to make this a success.
Picture updates coming soon.  Oh, and tomorrow is trash day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brain vs Stomach

Things are changing, yes they are. 

I'm finding that I'm becoming more and more comfortable with my food.  I'm more comfortable with eating less, even though I fill my plate like I did before.  I'm ok with the reality that I cannot eat the whole plate of food.  I stop when I'm almost full and I'm ok with that, too.  I'm not eating to satisfy my brain, I'm satisfying my stomach now.  It's a weird change, but a good one. 

I've been eating what I call mainstream food.  I'm not worried about eating only protein or veggies, no carbs, etc.  I'm just eating what I want.  Really, I don't eat that much, so why stress about eating "clean".  By "clean" I mean that I would eat a basic protein, grilled chicken, for example and then either a salad or a veggie.  No sauces, no spices.  I don't know why I got on that kick, but I did.  I would eat most of my meals that way and thought that's what I had to do to eat right.  Where does my brain get that?  I don't know.  I thought that if I restricted my food in that way that I would lose weight.  I'm finding I put so many unrealistic restrictions on myself that there is no way I could possibly live like that.  I set myself up to fail.  Why? 

Hard to get rid of all that old shit in my brain.  In the past, in trying to lose weight, I'd try stuff like that.  It's impossible to follow for a long time.  Like the Atkins diet.  Easy enough to follow for a week, but a lifetime?  Hell no.  Too restrictive.  So why did I let my brain tell me that it was ok to eat like that after surgery?  I don't know.  I tell you, this surgery does a number on your head.  So much of this has to do with how you think about your relationship with food, not just how much or what you eat.  So now I eat what I want and I just stop when I'm almost full.  It's working.

Oh, and I'm down to 229.4!  I'm in the 220's and I can hardly believe it.  I'm feeling like a normal person these days.  I can wear smaller clothes and I feel like I can move better and I definitely feel better.  Only 29 more pounds to reach my goal of under 200 by Christmas.  I'm sure I can do it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coping - or not

I guess I don't cope with frustration very well.
Yesterday was a good day at work, so no frustration there.  Cindy and I went to the yarn store at lunch and I got new needles and yarn to make a vest.  Cindy has been teaching me how to knit and I am loving it!  She is a great teacher and a great inspiration.  She thinks I will succumb to spinning my own yarn.  Yeah right.  We'll see about that.
So, once all the chores were done once I got home, I sat myself down and started knitting.  I was just knitting to check for gauge, so nothing that stressful, right?  Wrong.  New metal circular needles, new yarn, struggling with the actual process.  Dropping stitches, uneven rows, which way do I wrap the yarn?  What the heck is going on?
This is food-related, so hang in there.
I tore out the first sample, and the second sample and the THIRD.  I was becoming very frustrated.  I gave up knitting for the evening (or so I thought) and headed upstairs to check out what was happening on Facebook, but before I went up there, I stopped in the kitchen for a little something sweet to eat.  By this point, I knew I was giving in to the alternate food personality and was going to binge.  I considered the apples in the bin, but no.  Then I saw the low-sugar cookies in the baggie.  Yes!  Only 5 cookies left.  I can eat those!
These cookies are a chocolate-filled cookie.  Only 5 grams of sugar per cookie.  I've had one here and there with no problems at all, and was satisfied with only one cookie, but did I only grab one cookie?  Nope, I grabbed the whole bag and headed upstairs, fully aware of the fact that I was going to eat them all.
So why didn't I stop myself?  I didn't want to.  I wanted to drown my frustration in food, sugar to be exact.  I deserved to binge because I was frustrated.  That was my old pattern.  Frustration = eat = sugar.  It's kind of like I disconnected from reality when I made that decision.  I knew it was a bad decision, but I let myself go for it anyways.  "Hell, what's 5 grams of sugar times 5 cookies?  Only 25 grams of sugar.  Who cares if I dump?  I'm going to bed anyways.  I can just sleep it off."  Those were some of the thoughts racing through my head.
So I sat at the desk eating cookies and after the third one, I started to feel sick.  Not dumping sick, just sick.  My stomach was over-full (I had been drinking iced tea) but I reached into the baggie and pulled out the fourth cookie and ate it.  Now I'm really feeling sick and extremely sleepy all of a sudden.  There was no way I was going to be able to physically handle the fifth cookie, so I went downstairs to go to bed.
As I'm getting ready for bed, I feel myself check back in to reality.  My brain felt like it was disengaging from the alternate personality.  I made myself check in with my body as well as my mind.  I did not like what I felt.  I really felt as if I'd let myself down.  Why, oh why, did I let myself slip into that alter ego and do what I did?  Because I'm human and bad habits are hard to break, that's why.
I didn't beat myself up.  I just told myself that that was a very quick and real learning experience and went to bed.  In the past (before gastric bypass surgery), once I came to my senses while on the frustration eating binge, I would have said, " fuck it, I've already messed up, why not just finish up the cookies?"  Not this time.  No more. 
Not only is my body not physically able to handle the huge food load of a binge as before, but I'm finding that I'm connecting back from the binge personality quicker.  Sometimes I'm able to stop it before it starts.  The feeling of wanting to succeed after this surgery is stronger than anything I've ever felt for a long time.  I do not want to ever weigh as much as I did before.  Ever!  I am learning to deal with the demons as they appear in my life without pushing them away with food binges.  It's a slow process, but I am feeling really good about how I'm dealing with it.
I did knit a bit after I got in bed.  I still made mistakes and got frustrated, but I was still so sick from the 4-cookie binge that it served as a reminder that food is not a substitute for coping.  I just put down the needles and went to sleep.
I can see that knitting is quickly becoming my current obsession.  Is that such a bad thing?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm feeling much thinner these days.  Oh no, I don't feel SKINNY, but I am really feeling the weight loss now.  I'm now in 18 tops and 20 or 22 bottoms.  I feel like my clothes actually FIT now instead of me just wearing them.  I've vowed no more baggy clothes!  I'm not going to hide myself behind fabric anymore.
I spent the better part of Sunday cleaning out drawers and closets.  I found I was holding on to some short-sleeved shirts for whatever reason so I took those off the hangers and put them in the recycle bag.  I'm thinking I was saving them for over-shirts but hey, they're too big in the first place, why put on an even bigger shirt?  Makes no sense.  I bagged up 3 bags of clothes to pass along to my friend.  That makes 9 or 10 big garbage bags of clothes already.  Wow, only 2.5 months post-op (42 pounds lost) and I've got 10 bags of clothes to get rid of?  Amazing! 
I have a friend that has been on her own weight loss journey and she is graciously donating her larger clothes to me.  How fantastic is that?  She's a few sizes ahead of me, so it works great, plus, she shops and the most fun stores, so I'm getting some fun, trendy clothes. 
Know what I realized when I was going through my clothes?  At my heaviest, I had become a frump.  I wore stretch pants and baggy tops to cover what I had become.  No fun dresses, no fancy blouses.  Boring colors and fabrics.  Now that I've got my closet organized, guess what's in there?  Dresses!  Skirts!  Fun blouses!  Yes, I am a girly-girl.  Always have been.  So what happened when I got fat?  Oh, the girly-girl was there, she was just hidden.  I didn't feel too girly with all that extra weight.  I am so excited to be able to wear dresses again.  Jean skirts with fun short- or long-sleeved blouses, maybe with a sweater.  Dresses with scarves and even some high heels.  Oh yes, I do love me some shoes, too!
Oh and jewelry!  I have a jewelry box full of fun stuff that I stopped wearing.  Too much effort?  Didn't feel pretty enough?  No, I think I just didn't care enough about my appearance before to accessorize, but now, NOW!  Back to those sparkly, garish pins I have.  Get out those fun, dangly earrings!  The rings that would make a drag queen weep!
Watch out, world, the diva is BACK!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Trash Day!

Since I weighed on Monday, I wasn't going to weigh today, but hey, it's trash day, so whatever.  I weighed and I'm down to 232.2!!  Can I get a HELL YEAH!?
I think I need to update my progressive pictures.  I wonder if I'll look any different?  I'm thinking, YES!  I feel so much better now, how could I not look thinner?  LOL  Today, I'm wearing a very fitted dress.  Yes, I still have a stomach, but I feel sexy.  Thank goodness for Spanx, ya know?  heehee 
As I'm sitting here and I look down my body, I can tell that a hell of a lot of my stomach fat is gone.  I can sit closer to the desk now.  I don't have to lean back to sit in my chair and fit at my desk.  When I walk and look down my body, all I see are boobs now.  I used to see my stomach stick out farther than the boobs.  Baaaad.  I may never have a flat stomach, but at least I won't look pregnant, either.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Food is not my friend today

Nor was it yesterday or the day before that. 
Oh, I'm eating, it's just that it seems whatever I'm eating makes me feel too full or bloated.  Not a good feeling either way.  I just had about 6 almonds for a snack.  I chewed them each until they were the consistency of baby cereal and still my stomach hurts.  I've had almonds before, so it's not a nut issue.
I brought an egg and bacon burrito for breakfast today.  I didn't eat it until lunch because one of the ladies brought in zucchini bread for the morning meeting.  I had one thin slice of that with a little cream cheese and I was ok.  For a while.  Then the grouchy stomach kicked in.  Straight to the bathroom I went.  Ugh. 
For lunch, I heated about 1/3 of the burrito and ate some of the egg and bacon part before my stomach did flip-flops.  The flour tortilla tends to stick in my stomach too long so I avoid it.  The egg and bacon was not a good food choice, either. 
So now here I sit with water.  Just water.  I need to keep hydrated because this is the pattern I got into before with the dehydration and the hospital visit.  The icky, sometimes semi-painful stomach makes me not want to eat or drink and so it goes. 
I can really tell the size of my stomach now.  Even though I can eat more than I could a month ago, it's still small.  Very small.  I am reminded of that fact every time I eat one bite too many.  Oh the pain!  My stomach feels tight and it feels like the food is still in my esophagus waiting to enter the stomach sometimes.  Ouch.  I really have to stay connected to my food intake or I end up this way.
I do like the check and balance, however.  I mean, how effective would it be if I had the surgery and then nothing changed?  What if I could still eat all and everything I wanted?  Dumb.  This is a physical reminder that I cannot, and will not, eat as I did before.  I'm taking this challenge one day at a time.  That's all I can do.
I really, really need to go shopping.  There are no viable vegetables or fruit in the house.  I have to scrounge for dinner items and snacks.  I think I will hit the grocery store before heading home tonight or I'll just be repeating today again tomorrow. 
Thanks for listening to my woes.  This is such a learning process for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Much needed update

I need to post more often.  Not that there's that much to say, but because it keeps me honest.

I'm finding that I'm slipping into the old habits.  I'm drinking fluids when I'm eating.  That's a big no-no.  Need to fill that pouch with good food and let it sit in there and have the nutrients absorb.  Will stay fuller longer.  If I drink when I eat, then the pouch fills with food and water and leaves the pouch faster.  That means I get hungry more often and not enough nutrients are absorbed.

I'm also eating more carbs than I want to.  No, I'm not eating sweets or refined carbs so much, but I'm eating breads and crackers.  Granted, I'm only eating one piece of bread at a sitting or maybe 8 crackers, but still.  I told myself I wasn't going to eat that so soon after surgery.  My body doesn't seem to have a problem with it.  That's good and bad.  Sometimes I crave a piece of toast, so I eat it.  I feel I'm being smart about eating breads, but I'm down on myself for eating them like I have been – more than one serving in a day.

I have no idea how many calories I eat in a day because I don't count calories.  One day I wrote down everything I ate and it was well under 1000 calories for the entire day.  Yay me.  I'm eating my protein and not snacking.  I do need to get back into eating more veggies since I'm not juicing or making smoothies like I was before. 

I've really just started eating normal everyday food.  I don't spaz out because the hotdog came on a bun or that I ate 2 bites of the bun.  Not worried so much about the salad dressing having too much sugar in it because I never, ever eat the whole salad anyways.  I just can't eat that much yet.  I've been trying very hard to keep the sugar content less than 5 grams per serving.  That keeps me on track because sugar IS my crack.  I know it's my drug and I need to stay away from it as much as possible.

On the up side, I've lost 5 lbs in the past 10 days.  That's very cool.  I would weigh myself on non-trash days and found I was between 238 and 240 most of the time.  Right before we left for vacation on the 4th, I weighed myself and it said 240.  The scale this morning said 235.7.  Wow, 5 more pounds and I'll be out of the 230's already. 

Two things that bother me right now are:
  1. I'm disconnecting when I eat.  I'm not paying attention to the food and how much I'm eating when I eat.  I'm busy talking or doing the forbidden "multitasking".  I need to stay connected to the food so I don't overeat and get that sudden "OMG I've eaten way too much and now the food bomb in my pouch is going to explode!" feeling.
  2. Diarrhea.   Maybe not so much it's diarrhea, but loose stools.  I know this is probably TMI, but I've got to report it to me and the doctor.  I've had it since surgery and that's over 2 months now.  Will I always have loose stools?  Is it healthy?  Is it ok, even? 
I've set a goal and I hope it's not too grandiose.  I'd like to be under 200 by Christmas.  That's 35 lbs in 102 days.  I'm going to start exercising regularly now.  Up until now, it's been just walking whenever I could, but now I'll get back to the gym and take those water aerobics classes.  That's a start.  I'll also get on the recumbent bike at home and use that for a little more calorie burning.  I heard this morning at work that the gals want to walk at lunch time.  I'll add that in a few days a week if I feel like it.  I won't add too many changes at one time because then I'll feel overwhelmed and I'll just chuck the whole shebang. 
Baby steps, right?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time will tell

Having food issues, but don't want to think about it.

About 10 days ago, my stomach changed. It is now able to hold more food at a sitting. That is good and bad. As much as I disliked my small pouch of a stomach, it kept me "honest" by eating small, frequent healthy meals. Now that my stomach can hold more with one meal, I'm eating less meals but a little more in each meal. I know that's redundant, but I need to say it to myself in more ways than one so that I "get it".

I'm finding that I overeat now and my pouch gets unhappy. Very unhappy. It's like learning to eat all over again, just like when I got the new pouch. I've got notes all over the place reminding me to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and not multitask while eating. If I do something while eating, watch tv, read, paperwork, I find that I either didn't chew well enough and therefore make the food feel all lumpy in my stomach or I eat way too much. I end up going past the near-full point and then my tummy hurts for hours.

I am happy that I don't have to eat as often, but I'm finding that I am not willing to give up those frequent meals. I feel well eating those frequent meals. Ok, so who says I have to give them up? Whose rule is that? If I only eat when I'm hungry, who's to say it's only three times a day as opposed to five? Wow. If it's only three times a day, then fine. I'm talking to myself now. Trying to sort this out.

I'm also finding that I'm able to eat more bready things. Um, uh-oh. My downfall. I'm ok eating a few crackers with my tuna or a piece of toast to fill me up before bedtime, or a plain biscotti with my evening tea. On and on and on. When did I tell myself that was ok? Those are not good calories, Debbie. That's temporary fullness and not very nutritional.

Today's food choices were actually ok. I had instant oatmeal with a little agave nectar for breakfast. For some reason, I dumped badly after that meal. Had to lie down for nearly an hour today. Not good. I've had the agave nectar before with no dumping, but maybe it was the combo that cause the dump, I don't know. Then I had sashimi for lunch. I did overeat a little and my tummy was very full, almost to hurting, for hours. I love that when it's full of protein like that that it doesn't get hungry for many hours. That's awesome. Dinner was chicken parmesan and I only ate a half-portion.

Two hours later, I had the biscotti and tea. Not physically hungry for the snack, just bored. Bad. It's the only snack I had today and looking back at what I ate, I couldn't have eaten more than 1000 calories for the day. I don't count calories because I usually eat very healthy. I'm hoping this craving/wanting of bread will end soon. I think it will. I am very aware that I'm eating it for the simple pleasure of eating it and that's an easy fix for me. At least I know why I'm eating eat, right? It will end soon. It's just something new.

I have so far still avoided rice and all sugary foods. I do not intend to start on cakes, cookies or candies. Not even one bite. I'm hoping that if I stay away from it completely, I won't have cravings later. I don't crave sugar now, so that's good. I just don't want to get the drug, the sugar, into my system and have to detox again. It will be harder to give it up later on as opposed to when I had surgery and had no choice.

The scale today, trash day (!), says 238, so I'm holding steady right around that weight. I'm not freaking out like when I held at 250 or two weeks. My body is changing physically, so I know it's just changing and the weight will start dropping again soon. I am going to up my physical activity with hope that that will lessen the time I'm at a plateau.

All in all, I'm a happy camper. Not very many problems at all. I am a bit tired since I've gone back to work full-time, but I expected that.

Flying back to PA for my niece's wedding this weekend. I'll update if anything earthshattering happens. I think I'll skip the wedding cake.