New Information

For the past three or four days I have been bombarded with new information and I admit I am feeling a teensy bit overwhelmed and a whole lot confused.

When I first talked to my husband about weight loss surgery, he asked me one question

Have you really tried everything?

I gave the most passionate, emotional but confident answers I have ever given.

YES!!!!  Honey, I just don’t know what to do to make my body work.  There’s some magic key to making weight loss work and I have never been able to find it no matter what I have done.  You’ve watched me…even you say there is nothing in the way I eat that says I should be overweight.  I love hearing that but at the same time it is maddening because you see it too.  I’m stuck and I don’t know what else to do.

Then he promised to support me in whatever decision I made.

And he has!

The man is a prince!  I have really never known the unconditional love and support I have with him.

And that is why I knew he needed to be the first person I talk to about the new information I have.  As we were on our way out of town I used to the time to really explain the wacky, wild, weird, wonderful thing that is happening…for the first time in my life I am losing weight like a normal person.

As of this morning I have lost, 7.8 pounds and 6.25 inches since 9 July.

Holy…What…The…OMGOSH…Are You Freakin’ Kiddin’ Me????!!!!!??????

Not even on the weeks I delivered babies MORE than 7.8 pounds have I lost 7.8 pounds in a week.

That’s right…giving birth I never managed to lose the weight of the baby thanks to C-sections.

I know as a teenager I knew weight loss like this but that was a really long….long time ago.

My willingness to undergo weight loss surgery has always been predicated on the “fact” that my body doesn’t know how to lose weight…and now I am losing weight.

UGH!!!

So if my husband were to come back and ask me the very same question he did at the beginning of my journey, I cannot be as passionate or confident but it is safe to say I am still emotional.

Here are the things I am doing different than any other time in my life:

I eat 4-6 times a day
I do not drink and eat at the same time
I eat on a luncheon sized plate rather than a full-sized dinner plate
I drink at least 80oz of liquid a day
I am NOT exercising like crazy
I do NOT consume artificial sweeteners
I take small bites
I put my fork down between bites

Additionally, I am reading Chris Powell’s blog–the trainer for Extreme Weight Loss and using his “carb cycling” approach.  Thanks to Chris’ awesome advice I broke a 13 day stall–that’s right for 13 days I did NOT lose an ounce.

Wait?

What was that?

Oh you read it right but let me explain again a different way.

From 9 July-15 July, I lost SIX POUNDS!!!!!!

From July 16-27 July, the scale bobbled–a tiny bit down, a tiny bit up, a tiny bit down, a tiny bit ANNOYING!!!!  (Considering my longest-ever plateau was 11 months a couple of weeks was “just” annoying *read with sarcasm and envision an eye roll*.

But then I did not lose the next 1.8 pounds until I stepped on the scale this morning.

Basically, I lost 7.8 pounds in a total of six days!!!!!  On my own…with a lot of hard work.

I seriously feel like I am in someone else’s body.

I have never had results like these!!!

So, for now I am staying the course but with this new information I am also thinking about surgery much differently than I was even three days ago.

You see three days ago I would have done just about anything to see that scale move…but I didn’t.

I hung in there.

I trusted my body.

I trusted my inquisitive nature and my instincts.

I tried something new.

I’ll be buggered if it didn’t work.

Surgery is a drastic step and one which should not be taken lightly…

…and until the flippin’ scale started moving I did not think I was being too hasty.

Right now, I am looking at over 700 words in this post and all I know is I am going to wake up tomorrow and follow my plan for the day.  If the scale and my body seem to be functioning in the same universe, I know I will have a lot to think about in the three and a half weeks until my next doctor’s appointment.

 

 

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Children’s Chewable Vitamins

Image courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

Image courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

I don’t know whose awful idea they were but BLICK!!!

Oh they’re going to kill me!

I have tried chewing and chasing it with liquid and have come to the conclusion that short of battery acid I do not know of an appropriate chaser.

Today I tried taking one between bites of food.  All I managed to do was ruin the luscious taste of a chicken salad wrap on my favorite Flatout brand wrap.  This time it also burned and fizzed in my mouth which was probably due to the Dijon mustard and tarragon vinegar in the dressing.  Oh it was nasty.  Turned my stomach upside-down too.

From the moment I broke the seal on the bottle I knew these lil’ buggers were going to be trouble.  I must have searched 50 brands of gummies to find one with the iron I am desperately falling short on.  My conclusion is iron tastes so awful they cannot put it a gummy.  Now, I don’t know if that is true but I do know enough to know it is not a good idea to hop on the operating table consistently low on iron.

In all fairness to the creator of chewable vitamins, I have a faint, wispy memory of having problems with prenatal vitamins for the exact same reason–IRON STINKS!  I can and do take “normal” vitamins just fine.

Post-op supplements are crucial to our health.  I already know they will need to be crushed so I thought I’d get a jump on it, buy them now and get myself into the habit of taking them.

Because of the nastiness factor, I am really grateful I have several weeks….many weeks…to figure out how to take these without wanting to barf.  I already know my tummy well enough to know that if she’s even the slightest bit out-of-sorts popping one in my mouth and chewing is a no-go.

My next attempt is going to be pre-crushing one of the animal shaped tablets and stirring it in some yogurt and fruit.  Maybe I won’t notice it that way.

If that doesn’t work, I might actually resort to eating liver.

I hope it works.  I really hate liver.

 

A Paradigm Shift

When I talk about my weight loss efforts and even when I created this blog I say something to the effect of, “I have 12 years of failure.” This has got to stop!

Let me back up two nights ago.

My husband and I were laying in bed talking about my past, my present, and my future and his own efforts to lose weight. I caught myself revealing something I absolutely do not give myself credit for…I successfully lost at least 65 pounds. I only say at least because I do not know my exact start weight. However, I do know I was not too comfy in my size 26 jeans. I didn’t buy a scale until after those jeans were loose and I remember being 278 pounds at some point on that early journey.

When I started back to school in 2002, I decided to take an exercise class every semester. Three months after I graduated in 2005, I reached my lowest weight of 212.5.

The truth then is I did in fact lose at least 65 pounds.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I started this blog, I wrote the tagline:

“This is my journey from 12 years of failure to success.”

Well just slap my butt and call me Miss Liar Pants.

In my mind I failed because I never got below 200 pounds or even to a “normal” weight–199 for my height is still not in the “normal” range.

My mind needs a good kick in the ass.

That is exactly what I have been doing for the past two days.

But, this talking I’ve been doing is not in that negative, self-defeating way I used to talk to myself.  This time I have been real…more real than I ever have been in my whole life.

I never celebrated losing most of those 65 pounds.  Instead, I was just too wrapped up in the results other people were having compared to my s-l-o-w loss.

I also spent much of that time really angry at my body for “failing” me–oh there’s that “F” word again.  There I was doing all the right things and my body was just a big, fat, failure.  Except, back then, I am ashamed to say I often substituted the word “cow” for failure.

I have to walk away from that this time!

For the past two days, I have watched as at least a dozen women have posted pictures of their normal sized, very healthy looking bodies.  Instead of celebrating, I saw a couple so determined to kick the last 17, 22, or 25 pounds to the curb that they reported being willing to endanger their health to do it.

I used to be that girl too so I absolutely understand what is going on inside their head.

I have to walk away from that too.

My weight has been stuck for five whole days and yes my mind started to play tricks on me.  Maybe because I’ve been there or maybe because I don’t want to go back there so far I have been able to just breathe and remind myself I am doing the right things, weight loss is not a race, and my health is more important than any number on a scale.

I have also seen new losers fussing over three-day stalls.  The longest stall I had was almost a year of bouncing the same five pounds up and down and I find myself being grateful for the perspective all previous weight loss attempts has given me.

My thinking has to shift or I am going to end up miserable no matter how much I weigh.  I am absolutely not going through the drama of letting a surgeon cut off and throw away most of stomach to end up miserable again.

Someone asked if anyone had done a vision board and I replied immediately that I had pulled pictures but I had not assembled my board.  I need to put it together.  I need to focus on this new journey in a very visual way.  I need to see me and celebrate me.  I also need to change that tagline….

My First Scale Victory

Today I checked in at my primary doctor’s office with my lowest weight in just over a year!

As I took the time to backtrack through my more than a decade of records to figure that out, some weight goals started coming into mind.

Today I am 271 pounds. As much as I hate that number, I am confident today is the last day I am ever going to see it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did drop below it two days ago but as is typical I bounced slightly above it the very next day.

However, once I stay below 271 I will be wearing my lowest weight since 7 April 2011. And you know what, that is the last time I am going to see all those numbers on the way down.

And there is where I found some inspiration for my weight loss goals.

I have decided to celebrate each milestone on my way to shrinking below any weight I have recorded in the past 12 years.

The lowest weight on my past journey was 212.5 on 24 October 2005. This also happens to be the lowest weight I can positively identify since I became an adult. I do know after the birth of my first son, over 25 years ago, I was under 200 but I do not remember an exact weight. I may even have stayed under 200 until son number two but I absolutely know I have not been under since he was born almost 22-years ago.

None of this brings me closer to identifying a “goal weight” and I am still okay with not having one at this time. What this does allow me to do is enjoying and celebrating each of these numbers on the way down. Because of all my past failures, I really feel I need to acknowledge I have managed to reach those numbers on my own while celebrating reaching them again and making the commitment to myself that I will never see them again.

Tuesday night I was watching Extreme Weight Loss and something Chris Powell said really smacked me upside the head, “This is more than just turning numbers…This is about having integrity along the way.”

I know me well enough to know that if I make this journey all about the numbers it won’t take long for me to end up in serious trouble. I know that because I had set myself a mini-goal to be under 270 today for my doctor’s appointment. I caught myself tipping over to the dark side of calorie restriction to try to banish the last pound from the scale. I recognized an old pattern immediately and put a stop to it just as fast.

When I started my weight loss journey in 2002, I used to say I really just wanted to be under 200 pounds and if I could find 175 I would be thrilled but most of all I wanted to live through the journey with grace.

Courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

Courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

I determined I would not fall back on old and dangerous habits to achieve a healthy weight. Most of all, I really wanted to know I was losing the “healthy” way. I held up my end of the deal. My body for whatever reason just did not get on board so here I am about to give my body the one tool it has never had, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

I guess you could even say today I had a non-scale victory too because I realize not much has changed.  I am still the same skinny-girl on the inside who really wants her outside to match how she feels about life.

I still want to be under 200 pounds and I still think 175 would be a fine number.  If this tool makes my body work in such a way that I can weigh less than 175 then I will worry about that when that time comes.

Right now, my tummy is telling me it is past time for a protein shake.

With grace, I will shrink.

Reaching For Joy

A very dear friend of mine frequently reminds me to take “joy in the journey.” What he means is no matter what you are experiencing — positive or negative — to approach it not only with joy but as a journey.

I’ve caught myself doing something that does not reflect joy. When I talk about my weight loss journey, I find myself referencing 12 years of failure frequently. I need to stop reminding myself of these failures because the truth is at no time did I possess the very specific tool that is weight loss surgery. The statistical truth is: weight loss surgery works and it is work. I am okay with work so it is high time I become okay with enjoying this journey for all its wonderful differences  to all past journeys.

For the past month, I’ve been easing myself into what my life will be like after surgery. I call it practicing. I am following a successful weight loss surgery weight loss rules including no drinking with meals, avoiding those “bad” carbs, taking my vitamins, and drinking tons of water. A little over a week ago, I decided to get really strict with myself. An amazing thing has happened, I am losing weight.

Does this mean I think I do not need surgery? No.

This is a hard life to maintain. Right now I am proving to myself success is possible. However, I am also reminding myself a sleeve will help me to maintain that success for the rest of my life.   Because of my past, I know that if I were to suddenly stop following all the weight loss surgery rules the weight will come piling back on. And I know that because I have been here before. I can look at this practice time realistically and authentically and know for long-term success I have a body who needs the very specific tool weight loss surgery provides.

I never thought I would say that and honestly sometimes I’m tempted to be mad at myself for not coming to this conclusion sooner. But if I take my friend’s advice seriously and look back with joy I can honestly say I know a lot of things about my body that most people don’t know about theirs.

Knowledge is power my friends. I am empowered by what I know!

As I move forward, I can look back on the past month and specifically the past week and I see tons of success. I can also see myself trying to pick that success apart to figure out why it’s different this time.  That is the antithesis of joy.

Joy is not only happiness when things are going well but, probably more importantly, it is peace when things are not going so well.  I have to find a way to achieve that state of joy this time because it was absolutely missing from all past attempts.

Attaining joy is about remaining present enough in the moment to experience the journey.

If this journey to a thin body is also about change this is one of those things I have to change!

Be present!

Image courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

Image courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

 

What’s Your Number?

Scale graphic

All over the support groups today there have been conversations about goal weights and target BMIs and I do not have either.

I also do not think I’ll be pinning them down soon.

Once upon a time I was obsessed by those numbers to the point I was not living healthy.  Today I live healthy and am obese and if that is my only two choices then I am more okay being obese than to go back to those “normal” numbers and be unhealthy.

I know someone who has had weight loss surgery who talks about her weight in terms like “movie star thin” and is completely upset she went through the “trouble” to lose weight and still cannot wear a bikini.  According to her she doesn’t have enough loose skin for plastic surgery but it’s still too much for a bikini.

Wait??????  She’s mad because she doesn’t have enough loose skin.

She is also obsessed about losing her last 25. She really doesn’t look like she has it to spare.  Her eyes are sunken in and she has deep, dark circles.  She looks sickly.  People try to tell her to be happy and she still obsesses over every detail of her body.

This lady tells anyone who will listen her current weight and desire to shed the last of her “fat.”

Nope!  I don’t want to be that girl.

Then there is one of my dearest friends and favorite people who doesn’t have a “movie star” body but who constantly talks about how healthy and good she feels.  She has lost and maintained over 100 pounds through gastric bypass.

Then there is the lady I started my weight loss journey with over 10 years ago.  She also has lost over 100 pounds and kept it off.  She even reversed several serious physical conditions and cured her agoraphobia.

Okay…now we’re talking!!!!  I want to be like those last two ladies.  They talk so little about the number on the scale I do not even know what either of them weighs.

Today I tried to make a cute ticker to help me see my progress but I can’t since I do not have a “magic” number as my goal.

What’s my number?

The one where I feel happy and healthy.

I think I’d like to be in single digit sizes but if pushing my body there starts to make me into the first woman I know my husband will stop me.  I know he will because I have asked him, begged him, made him promise to sit me down and have an intervention with me if I start doing unhealthy things or talking about my weight in an unhealthy manner.  I have even given him permission to talk to my doctors.

My goal is more health and fitness in my life.

Wonder if they make a ticker for that…..

To Thine Ownself Be True

This week has been a curious exercise in getting to know online support groups. As a fibromyalgia patient I am well aware there are good groups and bad groups just as there are good people and bad people. So far this week I have been told by already the already sleeved: I’m going to die, having goals is unrealistic but the funniest one of all was someone telling me I have a bad attitude because I don’t drink enough water.

Sigh.

At this very moment, I can only guess of what life on my sleeve is really going to be like. As I have read the experiences of others, I think I am getting a pretty good idea. I am even sure that for all my preparation there will be some surprises that’s okay. I know I’ll deal with them as they happen so I can figure out how to be successful. It’s part of the journey–and I am embracing it!

The negative comments have done something really positive.  They have helped me remember who I am and who I want to be after my sleeve are really the same person…only a few sizes smaller.

Here’s what I have decided so far:

  1. I trust my body to talk to me and my mind to listen and respond.
  2. To every extent possible I will consume only natural sugars.
  3. I will practice clean eating habits.
  4. I will move forward with confidence.
  5. Whole food is my friend.
  6. Fiber!  It keeps me happy and satisfied.
  7. Health is more important than any numerical measure of my progress.
  8. Discipline and sacrifice have different meanings.
  9. Tools plus work equal success!
  10. My mind, when made up, can accomplish anything!

It has been a long day and I still do not understand why people have to be so mean.  But, I also know it is something I am never going to understand.

I have absolutely decided to ask as few questions as possible to avoid negative and/or ill-informed answers because they bother me.  This is my journey and I am going to give it my 110-percent.  At the end of the day, I am going to have to live with every single choice I make.  I am going to make good choices.  I am going to have a healthy life.

Just a Little Taste

food on a forkLast night quite by accident I think I managed to get a taste of what the sleeved life is going to feel like.

I planned an amazing barbecue as part of our Fourth of July celebration. On the menu: hobo packs of potatoes, red bell peppers, and white onions; salt and pepper zucchini, elk steaks for me and my hubs and beef steaks for the boys (who were supposed to have been gone or they would have had elk steaks too).  We grill with this great real mesquite wood charcoal which imparts a deep smokiness to everything. It’s really out of this world!

As we sat down to eat I noticed I didn’t feel incredibly hungry.  Honestly my first few bites were non-sleeve friendly and then I started to remember what I was preparing to do to my life and to my body.  I read somewhere that sleeved bites should be about the size of a pencil eraser.  I won’t lie when I read it was seriously concerned about my ability to be successful — for just a few moments.

Right now I am six weeks or so pre-op sitting there taking tiny bites.  I even understand why some doctors recommend using children’s utensils because it feels awkward to have such a tiny bite on such a large fork.  Perhaps if I can find utensils without cartoon characters I will buy some. In the meantime, I’m glad I am practicing now.

I was feeling really good about remembering all the things I’ve read. I was even putting my fork down while I chewed slowly and carefully. I did not put my drink on the table so I wouldn’t be tempted — honestly this is really hard for me so it’s a good thing I’m practicing this now too.  Where I live we have been consistently in the triple digits for almost 2 months already so being without liquid for even in hour his brutal.

As I was mentally patting myself on the back, I was also really enjoying the company of my husband and two of my sons.

And then it happened this plateful of smoky, wonderful, delicious food was not to be finished. I was legitimately and disappointingly full.

Oh I could’ve eaten more but I would’ve regretted it and I’m proud of myself for knowing that and I am hoping it’s one of the things that will help me be successful later. I couldn’t help but think this must be what it feels like and what it’s going to feel like for the rest of my life. and as As tempting as those barbecued morsels were in an uncharacteristic move I was okay with letting them be leftovers.  This is really big for me.  As a general rule , I am not a fan of leftovers — granted this was also a special treat of elk steak but still un-me.

It feels good to be on the path of un-me.

Little Changes, Big Results

Even though my sleeve surgery won’t be for a few more weeks–I am guessing it will happen the last week of August or the first week of September–I am already making changes to my diet.

As a foodie, one of the things I know about myself is too much of the same flavor and texture too often bores me.  Since I know that, I can increase my chances for success by making for sleeve-friendly change-ups now.  I am not a big carb eater but I am also restricting my carbs too.

Yesterday I took some time to search for some recipes.  I looked for ones that will help me transform current favorite foods to post-op approved choices.  Plus, I am using this time to try a few new things.

This morning I tried coconut milk for the first time.  I cooked some oatmeal in it.  It was delicious!  I used 1/2c of oats, 1/2c of coconut milk, 1/2c water.  When it was cooked, I sprinkled 2tsps of brown sugar and 1tbsp of silvered almonds on top.  The extra creamy, rich texture of coconut milk really takes oatmeal to a new level.  It was decadent!  I also could not finish it all!  I was shocked!  I tried it with oatmeal because it is one of my go-to breakfasts especially when I am writing.  It keeps me satisfied for a good long time so I can keep my creative juices flowing.  This was a good healthy breakfast that can transition through all phases of this journey.  Score one for me!  Next time, I am adding some protein powder for extra oomph!

Yesterday I bought light agave nectar for the first time.  The light type tastes similar to honey but is a lot more subtle.  The texture is runnier than honey.  I tried it in my coffee this morning and it was okay…not bad okay…just not used to it okay.  I’ll do it again because I only needed a scant teaspoon–and yes I did measure it–to sweeten my 10oz mug o’ java which means I cut the sweet calories by more than half.  The agave did not have that weird after taste like Stevia or the artificial sweeteners I try to avoid like the plague.

For my last cuppa of the morning, I thought I would really go wild and add a scoop of vanilla protein powder.  My son tried it a few months back and said it was okay but I have been chicken.  The texture is different–it is thicker and along the lines of a Slim Fast shake.  I did not get a big vanilla hit it so that was disappointing.  It would be easy to add a drop or two of vanilla extract to kick it up a notch though.  The weirdest thing about it is feeling a sense of fullness from a cup of coffee.

Mostly the tweaks were a success.

Now, I have a whole stack of new recipes from Pizza with a Cauliflower Parmesan Crust to Avocado Egg Salad–honestly I don’t know which one scares me more!!  They both incorporate foods and flavors I already love but the combinations are definitely out of my wheelhouse.  I am also going to try tofu for the first time in a cool Tofu Parmigiana which looks a lot like a noodle-less, saucy, cheesey lasagna.  If it tastes half as good as the picture looks, I am sure I’ll like it.

The most important part of this whole journey is teaching myself to make high protein food choices a priority.   Big flavors, small portions.

PS>>>>>>>>>>>Since posting, I tried the Cauliflower Pizza Crust…It’s a keeper!!!  WOOT WOOT!!!!