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Monday, December 19, 2011

My Secret Santa was. . .

Daphne!!

Thank you again, Daphne, for the great presents.

(You didn't include your blog and I don't think I follow you-- I'd love to, so can you comment so I can follow?)


Friday, December 16, 2011

JammyJams from the Secret Band Santa


Yay, Secret Santa!  (I know who you are, but am I supposed to still be keeping it a secret?)



My lovely Band Santa sent me the best gift-- these absolutely adorable polka-dot pajama pants (seriously, my husband agreed that you must know me personally to realize how 100% me these are), and a gorgeous dark green dressy-blouse.  

Thank you for being so lovely and thoughtful.

My package went out today, so my giftee should be getting a package on Tuesday or so.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Back on the Wagon. . . Again

Man, this semester has seen me be all work no play which means 1) I've once again disappeared from blogland and 2) I went way off-band.

Before Thanksgiving I'd managed to get solidly into the 157-159 range, but frankly my volume is way up from where it had been and my choices were hmmm, not always great.  Still, I was maintaining easily.  Then Thanksgiving came and I had my first real gain since before getting banded.  It was a kick in the ass for me-- I'd been playing around with the idea of getting serious again so I could get to my goal and actually seeing a real gain back into the 160's on my scale convinced me to go for it.  So I joined Weight Watchers (I can't get in for a fill until January).

One week on WW saw me back down and today my scale showed a new low of 156 so whew.  I have always been able to lose about 20 lbs on WW before I get tired of counting and tracking, and considering I want to lose about 20 lbs to get to my personal goal, this will hopefully work out well for me. I know some banded folk are critical of going on weight loss plans after banding-- I've heard people say, for instance, that they got banded so they could be DONE with Weight Watchers.  I just don't see it that way-- I have always viewed my band as making it easier to change my eating behaviors, but not to replace the need to occassionally tweak my calories, etc. Sometimes, I mentally need a plan to follow, because left on my own, I push slowly toward more and less healthy food.  It's that "food addiction" thing-- I like food.  I'm a fat girl in an almost-normal BMI girl's body and that may not always be true but it is true for now. 

In other, somewhat anxiety provoking news, I'm having a strange pain under my left rib-cage during deep breaths.  Sometimes it is horribly sharp and very painful (when it first happened) and other times it is a twinge here and there (like during yoga).  I have to admit that given my band looseness and the volume I've been able to eat lately, that I worry this is a little sign of erosion.  Of course I have nothing to back that up with.  I have an appointment for January to see my band doc-- if the pain gets sharp or more frequent again, I'll push to get in earlier but otherwise I'm going to wait it out and see. 

Non-Scale Victories:  This week I wore 3 different pairs of size 8 pants in different brands (Gap, Banana Republic, Express) and I'm wearing size 10 designer skinny jeans.  My shirts are pretty much Medium now (yay!) unless it's clingy to my belly.  This week I ran a route around my neigborhood that used to be difficult for me to walk, and I went to yoga today.  I got my tenure and promotion application in at work, I successfully supervised 4 different experiments my seniors ran (papers and presentations to come), and I submitted an article to a top journal.  I have a HUGE amount of grading to do, I have a Secret Santa and a Sisterhood package (Joyful, I'm a flake, but I do remember) to mail, and an incredible amount of other stuff to complete before the holidays-- but I have the ENERGY to do them, and that is the biggest NSV.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sisterhood (I get a D-) and Other Slacking

Dearest Dawnya-- I FINALLY got your sisterhood package mailed.  I sincerely apologize for how long it took me.  I have excuses but they don't matter, I just hope that you like and can wear some of the clothes I sent.  The good news is that most of them are fall/winter clothes anyway. 

I have just cleaned out my closet of some XL/14/16 clothes and you are welcome to those too :)   In fact, if Dawnya doesn't want them, the first person who asks can have a surprise package of "basics"-- a pair of barely worn khaki pants and a series of barely-worn, brand new looking long-sleeved t-shirts in black, white, brown, and teal (size XL) as well as two cute sweaters in XL- one short-sleeved purple, and one dolman sleeve teal.  I bought all of these clothes last winter so they are barely worn.  Nothing fancy, but serviceable and free.  Just know that my track record on timely mailing is spotty at best.

Now as for the other slacking. . . today I weighed in at 162.4.  I have weighed somewhere between 159.8 and 162.8 for two months now.  Everytime I seem to be settling right at 160 and almost ready to really break through into the 150's, I bounce back up.

That's because I'm eating exactly like I did before banding food-choice wise. I just happen to be eating less of it.  I am failing myself by making bad choices (I baked cookies AGAIN this week) and by not exercising.  And of course I have avoided blogging too, because I'm not concentrating on what I need to do to treat myself right.  The only difference between now and every other time I've lost weight and then lost motivation once I got close to goal (never actually made it TO goal) is that my band is helping me maintain.  On the one hand, that's good, because that's why I got the band.  On the other hand, I've gotten complacent and lazy and if I ever have a complication that requires the band to be removed, I know I can't say I've used this as an opportunity to learn new habits that will sustain me for life.  That's disappointing to realize.

I'm going to first try to get back to blogging and commenting (computer problems have also been contributing to this-- I can't find a good Blogger app for my iPad, anyone know of a good one?).


Friday, October 14, 2011

Quick Request

I have some students doing some research, and they need help choosing the images they will use in that research.  If you would be willing to rate a series of 20 photos of female celebrities for how "sexual" the picture is, please click on this link:

http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?C5E18D97C38F949FC4

Please be aware that some of the images contain partial nudity (breasts, but no nipples), so if you're concerned about doing the survey at work with that information, no problem!

Edited to add: Thanks to you that have done it already- my students will be very appreciative.  We do want you to rate how "sexual" the picture is, and how people define that is going to vary-- that's ok, that's why we take an average rating :) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Book of Face

I followed Drazil's lead and made a Lapband version of my facebook page so I can follow you all there too.  Here is the link: Zen State.

I don't know if you've seen MandaPanda's tough love post today, but I needed it.  I have been drinking wine EVERY night, and not drinking water every day.  It is no wonder I'm not feeling my best these days.  I'm not gaining or anything (also not losing), but I just don't feel as strong and healthy as I could.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dinner of Champions





This weekend I made these cookies.  They are candy-corn crunch cookies, and I substituted white chocolate for the milk chocolate chips.  They are monster cookies-- each cookie is 1/4 cup of dough.


I have eaten. . . more than I intended.  I may have had one for breakfast AND dinner last night, with a bean and cheese chimichanga sandwiched in the middle for lunch.  So even though I dipped my foot briefly into the 159 territory on Sunday, I have waved it goodbye and settled back in the 160's.

Ladies, I hope you have the time of your lives in Chicago.  I will miss you but I can't wait to hear about the shennanigans when it's all said and done.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Curses!

My students insisted that I should play Words with Friends (through Facebook- I downloaded the app on my iPad)

I listened, and now I'm sort of addicted.

So if you are a player, my username is. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My One-Year Bandiversary

Today it has been one-year since I was banded.

In some ways I feel no different.  I am the same person after all, and I had such a "healthy" sense of denial from a day-to-day perspective that it wasn't like I was miserable being morbidly obese.  I had accepted it and loved myself anyway.  But, there is no doubt whatsoever that life is a bit different one-year later.  The lap-band has been such a gift and I thank God that I was given this opportunity to get to a healthier weight before I developed any medical complications (not including the back/foot pain) related to my weight.

A year ago, I weighed 264 on the day of surgery.  I had weighed 286 in August after returning from vacation, and my high weight was 293.  I low-carbed my way down before surgery to get a jump start and I truly believe that it was the key to my success.  I got my mind on board before the band was on board, so I was ready and already practicing "doing my part". Today I weigh 161 and I generally eat what I want, just a lot less of it.

A year ago, I wore a 3x in shirts, a 46G bra, and 24 pants.  Today I wear a M in shirts, a 34F bra, and a 10 (closer to 8 than 12) in pants. Even though I've been stalled at my current weight for a month, my clothes are fitting more loosely. 

A year ago, my measurements were:
Bicep: 17
Breasts: 51
Ribcage: 46
"Top Roll": 53 (this is where my waist is supposed to be)
Hips: 56
Thigh: 30

Today my measurements are:
Bicep: 12
Breasts: 38
Rib: 34
Waist: 34
Hips: 38
Thigh: 22

My measurements do reflect a lot of excess skin (my breasts and stomach), but I'm ok with it for now until I can afford some plastic surgery.

A year ago, I intended to mark my one-year bandiversary with a final attempt at a successful pregnancy.  I'd been told the reason I was having miscarriages was my weight and that's what finally spurred me on to try bariatric surgery.  Today, though I've been told by every doctor I see that I'm "super fertile" because of the weight loss, I am no longer sure I want to have children.  Life is good, as-is.  It would be good with kids, too, I know, but maybe that's not the right path for my husband and I.

A year ago, as outgoing as I was, I was largely invisible to a lot of people without really knowing it.  Some of them were people I work with and it is really frustrating to have people acknowledge my existence now when they generally ignored me before (I'm talking to you, creepy coworker). Mostly it's strangers, and to be honest, primarily men.  Today, I get doors held open for me, I get checked out constantly, I get chatted up-- it's a strange, strange world.  If I were single, I'd be thrilled.  I'm not single though and while occasionally it's flattering (I'm talking to you, hot young fireman at the grocery store), usually I find it annoying to be constantly "ducking" my eyes not to invite attention. 

There are a lot of things I still need to work on.  I got yelled at during my "yearly" because my urine was so dark my doc said she's surprised I don't have kidney stones-- of course brought on because I don't drink water.  And I'm not talking 64 oz-- most days I probably don't even drink 16 oz of water.  I do two cups of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night and that may be my liquid intake for the day.  I'm working on that.  I also don't take any vitamins, and I don't exercise.  There is a lot of room for improvement and I need to find that inner fire that got me this far to take me those next steps.

One of the best things about this year, though, was having BOOBS to turn to for support-- in laughter, in anger, and in sadness.  Everyone has lifted me up and in turn, accepted my support, and I truly give you all of the credit in the world for my success this year.  I honestly could not have done it without you.


-Yesterday, I turned 36.  Here I am in my cute little size medium dress, ready for a fancy-pants dinner and a night at the symphony with my husband.  Last year I would have been wearing a loose dress to "hide" my fat.  Last night I wore a looser fitting dress because of fashion!  Gasp, the thought.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Urk.

I am no longer a virgin, gentle readers.

Not in the way you are thinking-- that ship sailed a long, long time ago. No, this time I lost my innocence in a much more unpleasant context: the full stuck episode.

Stuck on my first bite of raw broccoli? Check. Horrible pain in my chest? Check. Slime? Check. Hiccups followed by the icky PB? Oh yes-- in fact, it took three cycles over 40 minutes to clear the pipe hole.

I made it 11 months + without experiencing this lovely lap-band phenomenon, thank god.

The good side is that because of my 2 days of liquids, I lost a lot of water weight and my scale is being momentarily friendly.

My semester starts tomorrow so I've been super busy working to get things ready. At the moment, I'm stuck at home working because my wood floors are being installed in the master bedroom. Not ideal timing, but I'm glad to get rid of the dog hair carpet that has accumulated over the last years no matter how many times I vacuum.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Updates on Me (Fascinating, I Know)

Update the first: I talked to my doctor about the Factor V Lieden issue, and she took me off my bcp and we talked prevention (stuff like hydration and semi-frequent stops/walking during long car trips or plane trips). Of course she wouldn't go so far as to openly disparage the fertility specialist, but she did think it strange that he prescribed me bcp after the genetic testing. Apparently it's a "new" genetic disorder (recognized within the last 10 years), but still-- Google, man! I will be discussing a copper IUD with my OB/GYN at the end of the month, but considering I already have issues with heavy bleeding/cramping, I'm afraid the IUD will be miserable. The second option is the Big V for my husband, since we are 99% sure we're not going to try for biological children anymore. Eh, we'll see.

Update the second: I am eating like I am in maintenance even though I'm not ready to call it quits on losing. But I've definitely not been in the correct mindset for losing- I pay practically zero attention to my diet and while it is exciting that I can do that and not GAIN, it's not where I want to be. I am holding pretty steady at 165 right now and I want to take off 20 more (ideally) and 10 more at the least. Then again, I seem to have bought myself a fall wardrobe that predicts I'm staying right here-- all size 10 pants with nary an 8 in sight. This is me today in my thrift-store steal size 10 Banana Republic slim fit pants (love) and my super-amazing-skinny shirt that makes me look smaller than I am. (This is me one year ago, for comparison)




Update the third: We went to see Death Cab for Cutie two weeks ago and had a GREAT time. We got floor tickets, which I never would have been able to do this time last year since my feet were in constant pain from the plantar fasciitis. Not only that, I bought a concert t-shirt in medium. Freaking medium! Concert t's are notorious for being smaller than advertised, imo, so I was surprised as anyone that it fit but it was a definite NSV.

BYOC

1. How much makeup do you wear daily, how long does it take you and are you loyal to certain brands?

Daily, none :) I wear basic Oil of Olay SPF 15 moisturizer and call it a day. But, I have of late begun to wear more and this is my regimen: Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (in place of foundation), Clinique silver eye shadow, Shiseido eyeliner, Cover Girl lash blast mascara, and either Nars matte lip pencil (I have several colors) or Fresh Sugar Plum chapstick, which is amazing.

2. Repeat question: I’m going to pick a person not knowing your relationship with them (or even if there is one) and you try to describe this person in 5 words/short sentences.

Your oldest paternal aunt


Artist
Free Spirit
Mom
One girl with 6 brothers
Warm

3. Tell me about your first real kiss and how old you were.

Oh wow. How bad is it that I don't really remember for sure? Why yes, I have kissed my fair share of young gentlemen. I will say it was probably a boy named Lincoln at church camp around 7th grade. Yes, at church camp. I'm telling you some down and dirty stuff went on there every year. Praise the Lord!!!! ;)


4. If I gave you $1000.00 and told you that you had to give it to a charity – which charity would you choose and why?

I would give it to the Rape Crisis program that I volunteer for. They do much needed work. American society likes to give lip service to sexual violence, but when it comes to the nitty gritty they'd prefer to believe that rape doesn't exist and that women who are violated are just "crying rape" or lying, or worse, that somehow they deserved it for not locking themselves away in their homes or because they dared to trust their guy friend and actually drank alcohol in his presence.
It's horrible how we, as a society, treat women and girls and men who are the victims of sex crimes and I am proud to be a part of a program that makes it our mission to be there 100% for the survivor as they go through the forensic evidence collection process and beyond.

5. Repeat question: Summarize your week in blog land and in real life.

I have been absent from blogland for about 2 weeks now and I miss you all! I spent the time trying to give myself an attitude adjustment, which has largely been successful. I also redid my bathroom-- painted the walls, replaced the showerhead, shower rod, towel bars, tissue holder-- everything, not to mention the towels and adding some art/decoration. We also finally bit the bullet and bought hardwood for our bedroom-- the installer comes in a week and my allergies can't wait (carpet and dogs do not mix).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fat is Not The Cause of Every Ailment: Anger Issues!!

We are in the process of trying to shore up our retirement savings with an investment company that sets retirement through life insurance/disability insurance that rolls into dividends. Of course they are being super intrusive about our medical history before they admit us. Through this process, I was told that I have Factor V Leiden, a genetic clotting disorder (the underwriter ferreted it out of my medical record and had all kinds of questions to which I had no answers, because I've never heard of it).

To say that I'm angry is an understatement.

I know exactly where it comes from-- the only time I've ever had genetic testing was in 2009 by the fertility specialist after my last (of 3) miscarriages. I remember the conversation-- he said I had tested positive for a blood related disorder, but that it was no big deal because I only had one not two copies of the gene and that it couldn't explain my miscarriages but would mean I would probably need to go on aspirin early for future pregnancies to thin my blood.

And then he told me that nothing significant popped up otherwise and his best guess was that my miscarriages were because I was so fat, and that I should get lapband surgery before I tried to get pregnant again.

And then he prescribed me a birth control pill to prevent any accidental pregnancy until I had the surgery and sent me on my merry way.

Fast forward to now, when I'm told I have Factor V Leiden and they want to know what kind of treatment I'm receiving for it. The answer: none. I'd never even heard of the term (because the doc used these really general terms and basically acted like it was no big deal).

Um, except that it is a big deal. First, it is CLEARLY the cause of my last miscarriage without any doubt whatsoever. Factor V Lieden is a clotting disorder-- it makes you more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis, clots that travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), and surprise surprise, clots and miscarriages in women who become pregnant. In my last pregnancy, I had blood clots in the chorion right outside the placenta the entire pregnancy, which caused me to keep bleeding fairly heavily even though the baby was growing great with a normal heartbeat, etc. Seriously, I had weekly ultrasounds with it because we were monitoring the clot size and the baby size. And then at 13 weeks I lost it in the ER.

I did not have a miscarriage because I was fat. I had a miscarriage because these huge blood clots formed and compromised the uterus. But once again, obesity is the default reason for EVERY health problem in a fat person. How do you treat it-- just lose weight! Um, yeah, I have lost weight and from what I'm reading I'm still probably going to have blood clots during pregnancy that increase miscarriage, stillbirth, and traumatic birth. Thanks for that info, fertility specialist! Also, thanks for prescribing me birth control pills, which are absolutely contraindicated for someone with blood clotting disorder! Oh yeah, and for telling me to have surgery, but then not telling me to make sure I tell the doc about my blood clotting disorder which is a risk factor for surgery because that's when I'm most likely to experience a pulmonary embolism!

I'm just pissed beyond belief that I have to find out this info from a freaking life insurance underwriter. And yes, I'm pissed at myself that I just took in that nugget of info and took his word for it that it was no big deal and never even though to educate myself.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I LOVE the Thrift Store

So today I decided to get rid of more clothes and shoes (4 trashbags worth-- serviceable, but honestly not cute enough to pass on to you all!). I took them to our thrift store in town, and then HAD to go shopping.

I walked out with a pair of Banana Republic gray dress pants, The Limited brown dress pants, a ?? brand of denim trousers, a khaki Gap skirt and a dark denim Kenneth Cole skirt all for $23. All are size 10, and all fit!

I have actually taken advantage of our thrift store a lot while downsizing my wardrobe. If you've got one, give it a try. I often find brand new tags on/ looks brand new clothes in brands I like for dirt cheap. I had tried the outlets and TJ Maxx for pants yesterday, but walked out with shirts/jackets instead (I bought medium yesterday for the first time-- only one thing I bought was in a large and it was because I have huge bazoongas and it was a fitted button-up shirt).

I am cheap, if you hadn't noticed :)

Bras for the Sisterhood

I have cleaned out my lingerie drawer and have bras in good shape for good (or bad, very bad) homes. We are smoke free, but there may be dog hairs (for free!) in your package.


40 D : Black Victoria Secret Lined Demi (lightly padded seamless underwire)
40 D: Black Playtex (lightly padded seamless underwire)
40DD: Black Victoria Secret biofit lightly padded seamless underwire
42DD: Light Blue Bali cotton wireless
44DD: Black Cacique (lightly padded seamless wireless)
44DD White Cacique (lightly padded seamless wireless)
44DD Blue Cacique cotton underwire
46DD: Cream Cacique cotton wireless with wide band at bottom


Please spread the word to any new bandsters. You can email me at my gmail account, with the name stateofzen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

BYOC

1. Sun or rain? Roses or tulips? Romantic movie or comedy?

Sun, definitely. I used to love a good rainy day, but now that I have a storm phobic dog it's just too stressful.

Tulips, absolutely. I love the black-purple kind the best, but any tulip is gorgeous.

Comedy, absolutely. I love stupid comedies the best: I'm talking Super Troopers, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, etc.

2. I've been sick lately and haven't eaten in two days - except for ice cream...which leads me to ask - what's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Ben & Jerry's cheesecake brownie is my current fave, but I would say my non-brand-specific fave is mint chip (with the little chips, not the big chocolate chunks).

3. Are you a door locker - in your house and car?

I am now. One of the things I used to love about our house was that it is on a dead-end, with lots and lots of space between us and the neighbors and lots of privacy. I never worried about locking the doors-- sometimes I would, but if I forgot no big deal. But then our neighbor said the traveling meth labs have been visiting the subdivision, so now I'm paranoid about locking the doors. The car is in the garage, so I don't lock it, but if it were outside I absolutely do.

4. In the spirit of my being sick and wanting to die - tell me your "go to remedies" for when you are sick?

Sleep
Macaroni and Cheese (oh, the comfort food is all about carbs)
NyQuil-- the kind that knocks your ass out
My own bed (I go to the guest bedroom to avoid the hubs and the dogs- bliss)

5. Repeat question: Summarize your week in blog land and in real life.

In Blog Land, I'm finally catching up with everyone after a couple of weeks of being "offline". I've also been over-sharing about things better kept private ;) You ladies make me laugh at myself though, which is very much needed.

In real life, I'm trying to recover from having my mother and niece in my house for a week. Holy crap was that both nice and exhausting. My niece turns 13 tomorrow, so when I went upstairs after they left to pull sheets/towels/etc., I found several surprises that only an almost-teen kid could leave-- like a mascara/eyeliner stain on my white shower curtain from where she clearly used it to rub her eyes, or the pink-stained white towel (I have non-white towels, by the way) from her pink hair dye. Oh, and the neon orange fingernail polish chips on the white sheets.

My mom just exhausts me from dealing up close and personal with her poor mental health. She has Bipolar II, with depression and impulsive money spending (shopping and gambling) being her two main symptoms. So she's either crying about something or she's spending money that she literally doesn't have. This trip was more challenging than usual because her behavior is increasingly starting to infringe on my life (financially) and it was hard for me to bite my tongue. I didn't bite it a couple of times, and she took it fairly well, but I wouldn't be surprised if it comes back to kick me in the ass later. For instance, when she told me she didn't want to be put in a nursing home, I told her flat out that she was not coming to live with me. To which she responded that I could put her in a "nice" assisted living apartment instead. Does she have a dime to her name for retirement or in savings to help pay for this "nice" assisted living apartment or a home health care nurse? NO.

Beggars can not be choosers, mom.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Draz, Just Look Away

What is it about this surgery that has made me lose all sense of privacy? I post pictures of myself in swimsuits, yell my weight out loud, and now, lovely BOOBS, I'm going to talk about poop.

Yep, I am.

I have unfortunately experienced my first full-fledge case of constipation. It got so bad that on Sunday I had to do things to myself that no one should ever have to do, and when it was over, I weighed 4 lbs less than I had at the start of the day.

Now, I'm paranoid because I do not want to ever go through that again. I am now adding benefiber to my coffee and water and also taking a probiotic every day for "colon health". My husband said I seem to be completing my transition to a 70-year-old woman quite nicely (ass!). But he's right, because now in addition to my haggard boobies, I have a counter full of products to help me poop.

If I log on to tell you I've fallen and can't get up next week, don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Setting That Final Goal

I know I just posted about the plastic surgery consult, but I wanted to separate this question out.

How the heck do you go about setting your maintenance goal?

I'll tell you that when I started this journey, I was very vague-- I said if I could get under 200 and stay under 200, then I would consider the surgery a success. Then, when it became clear that was going to happen with no problem, I started thinking about a final goal. Initially I set it at 150 (because it's a nice round number and it would give me a BMI right inside the "normal" range). I recently decided I'd like to get more comfortably inside the normal range and set it for 140, which would still put me at a BMI around 23, still at the high side of normal.

Right now I don't feel like this will be a problem-- I am still losing without any real effort, though my loss has slowed to 3-4 lbs a month.

But both my lapband surgeon and now the plastic surgeon have given me surprised frowny faces when I say I still want to lose some more. Neither has cautioned me against it but I'm wondering what the deal is? Is it that they're worried I'll start looking unhealthy? Are my goals insane? I mean, if I were struggling and killing myself to lose every lb I would certainly reconsider and could be perfectly happy where I'm at, but so far it's been easy and I'm fine with slow.

What are you all doing? What has your doc recommended?

Plastics Consult

First, you guys are awesome and wise. I appreciate the thoughts concerning my last post about my niece and modeling good body image-- it gave me lots of food for thought.

I tell you that the plastic surgery consult this morning was relatively pleasant, considering I had to get (nearly) naked and show off my body to a complete stranger who also happens to be male. This was an information only consult in my mind, because I have to pay out of pocket and I have to do it in the summer because I can't take time off for recovery during the school year. Because of that, I knew this summer is out, which leaves next summer or later. But, I wanted to have the information on costs NOW, so I can save and plan.

Here's how it went for those of you who are curious:

I strip down to my panties only and put on a paper gown that opens in the front. The doc comes in and introduces himself. He asks me about my weight loss surgery and how much I've lost, and then tells me I look GREAT and NORMAL and that he would never know I ever was obese. That felt good, but I laugh and tell him he hasn't seen under the robe yet. That's the cue to stand up and open my robe so he can first look at my stomach and then my breasts. He said I'm in pretty good shape (for a massive weight loss patient, of course) and that my lower belly isn't big enough to qualify for insurance, and that the tummy tuck will take care of my issue with my mons. He did suggest that I could benefit from a circumferential body lift because of my love handle fat pockets, but I told him I'm not looking for perfection and really just want my upper stomach pouch gone (I could give a rats ass about my sides, honestly), along with the lower apron. He seemed to think he could get very good results with a basic tummy tuck and didn't really try to push the cbl after the first suggestion. In fact, he kept saying I'm closer to the "normal ps" side of things than the typical massive weight loss patient and that a tuck would remove about 4 lbs of skin/tissue.

For my breasts, he said I need a lift not a reduction (he'd remove about 100 grams per breast or whatever unit of measurement they use, which is not enough to call it a reduction- so again, no insurance), but that I had enough tissue that he wouldn't need to add an implant. He suggested a procedure that only uses a horizontal cut (no vertical scar) that would allow him to also get at the fatty part between my breast and my armpit easily. He would reduce my areola size as well.

I told him that I want to lose 30 more lbs and first he gave me a funny look and basically asked "really, why?"-- which, by the way, is the same reaction my lapband surgeon had when I said the same thing. I told him that I still had a lot of fat-- it's not just hanging skin in my belly but still a lot of fat-- and he warned me that losing 30 more lbs probably wouldn't significantly change my belly in any way; he suggested that I'd be more likely to see it on my back and thighs (fine!). He did say he would like to wait until I've lost it to do the surgery, especially for the breasts because he can't guarantee that losing it after the surgery wouldn't drastically alter the appearance of my breasts or make them lopsided.

I asked him about how many weight loss patients he's done and the answer was a vague "tons", which was irritating. He did receive training at one of the major weight loss surgery centers in Louisville, which is why I chose him to do the initial consult and he spoke with confidence about the different needs of someone with a port, etc. He said both surgeries together would take up to 5 hours and he would have his partner assist to cut down the time I'm under. He said it would be outpatient and that he'd prefer to do it in his surgery center rather than the hospital because "you're young and fit and you'll be fine as an outpatient".

At this point, I'm like "Dude, we should run away together and you can tell me how pretty and "small framed" I am every day".

Ok, so the price tag: $6,000 per surgery if I do them separately, or $11,000 for both at the same time. This was about what I expected, so no happy or sad surprises there. To have it in writing, though, makes it much more real and I'm sort of glad that there is NO WAY I can fit it in before next summer so that I have time to live with my body for a year and really decide if I really need both and also what the priority is. This summer, my breasts have really started to bug me a lot, but to be honest, they look good clothed now that I have found my correct bra size. My stomach does NOT look good in clothes-- even Spanx doesn't flatten me out and I do think I'll get more bang for my buck going that route if I only do one. I know my husband is very reluctant to spend that kind of money (on anything, really), so I'm going to have to figure out a way to make some extra cash over the next year or so to cover costs.

Anyway, it's good to have the info and I walked out feeling better about myself strangely enough.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Telling My Niece to Love Her Body. . . and My Boob Job Consult

Sorry I haven't been around and commenting-- my mom and niece have been here for the past week (they leave this afternoon) and I've been busy entertaining them.

A lot of this week has been spent in swimsuits and clothes shopping (urgh, my bank account!). We took an impromptu trip to Pensacola Beach over the weekend and also have spent time at my pool. My mom hadn't seen me in person since my surgery, so she's been very complimentary and though my niece hasn't said a word about my weight loss, of course she's been hearing the conversations about it. She turns 13 in a couple of days, and she's right in the thick of her body changing in ways that typically make adolescent girls' body image plummet. I REALLY hope I'm not in any way contributing to her feeling bad about her weight or her body. Especially since she heard me tell my mom I have a consultation with a plastic surgery tomorrow morning.

I feel like I need to tell her that it's ok to have a non-perfect body, but I can't because it would make me a hypocrite. Basically, my trip to the ps is based on appearance and it makes me think I must be in denial about how I feel about my body, deep down. I mean on the one hand, I really sort of believe that I accept my body and I'm fine just the way I am. But on the other hand, I'm visiting a surgeon to see how much it would cost to fix my breasts (sooner rather than later), out of pocket, because the way they look is really starting to bug me. These two things don't add up. I'm not sure how to deal with the discrepancy. Maybe the price tag will deal with it one way or the other.

I'll also be asking for an estimate on my tummy work, but that will definitely be a year to two out. I have a lot of fat to lose yet (I think this last 30 lbs will show significant belly loss because it's definitely the sight of the most fat), and I want to wait until I have a good amount of non-interrupted recovery time for that particular surgery. But to be honest, I'd like to have the breasts done as soon as I can afford it (I think reduction, but maybe just a lift- that's something I'll find out tomorrow).

In weight news, my typical period-loss happened, and I have a new low of 168.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beach Bums


Sandy Toes

I'm back from vacation land, a little too tan and a lot too tired. I seem to have brought an urky post-151 rum tummy back with me, but I'd say the trip was a great success.

We spent 7 days on the beach (with a little afternoon pool time here and there), reading and relaxing and generally having a great time. We went to an all-inclusive resort and stayed in the "club" section, which was adults only. We got lots of pampering and the crowd was quiet (lots of honeymoon and anniversary celebrators), which was right up our alley.

Food and drink was interesting for me. First, I broke the band rule of not drinking while eating, mostly because I was trying to get water in me sometime so I wouldn't get dehydrated and meal-time was the easiest bet. This created a fairly big problem for me at times-- I had several close-calls with getting stuck that seemed to be at least partially the result of taking a drink of water right after a bigger-than-recommended bite of something. So this was a good reminder about following the rules.

I felt a little panicked at times about my eating/drinking. I didn't let completely loose, but I definitely ate more in quantity than I normally would and pushed myself past my satiation point nearly every meal. Not only that, I drank a lot of high calorie "slushy" drinks. A LOT. To combat the additional calories, I worked out in the resort gym a couple times and took some long walks on the beach but I was definitely worried about jumping on the scale this morning.

Beach Walking in a Swimsuit- Oh My!

No worries! I didn't gain or lose a thing as far as I can tell. Of course the pattern over the next few days might reveal a slight gain after all (I do think I'm a bit dehydrated), but nothing worth worrying about. Phew.

So yes, you may have noticed I just posted a pic of myself in a swimsuit. In public. It's a bit of a NSV for me, not because I like the picture (I'm super critical, and the suit is so much cuter in person), but because even though I see the flaws, I can say that on that day when I walked for 2 hours on a crowded beach with topless Europeans and lots of bikini-clad young bodies, I felt confident and not at all self-conscious. Not a bit. I just felt normal, and that was awesome. I actually allowed someone to take a picture of me and I didn't immediately delete it (though I wanted to).

In addition to eating and drinking and laying around, I didn't do much else. I did participate in a beach volleyball tournament one day- my team made it to the finals but lost to my husband's team. Boo.


I may, in fact, be very drunk on rum punch in this picture.

I plan to veg out for the next several days. My mom and niece are flying in on Wednesday for a week long visit, so I need to get rested up for them. We will be celebrating my niece's 13th birthday which should be fun.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Southern Boobs

I can't go to Chicago this year (the airfare is ridiculous), so I'm bumming about not getting to hang out. Any interest among the Florida/Georgia/Alabama/etc. contingent to figure out a way to meet for a night at some point? Maybe in Atlanta?

Just throwing it out there to see if it sticks.

New number on the scale; Punta Cana here we come

I am packed and we are pretty much ready to go to Punta Cana tomorrow! So excited.

On the band front: Today I broke the 160 barrier-- 169.6. I only count whole pounds down, so I'm officially 170, but it was awesome to see a new decade on the scale. The day before a vacation is a mixed blessing, I think, but maybe it will motivate me to actually use the workout clothes I packed while we're gone.

Today I also almost got stuck for the first time-- on a peanut butter sandwich. Duh. Man, that thing went down like a lump. But I didn't have many options in the house and it sounded good. I probably won't be doing that again.

Thanks for all of the comments on my last two posts. First update, our dog sitter did not back out so cross your fingers there are no more snakes to traumatize her! Boarding the dogs is easier, but they absolutely hate it and we're gone for so long that I feel bad stressing them out that much. Plus, I like having someone to take care of a few things so I don't come home to dead plants and a pool filled with algae. And by the way, Justawallflower and Ronnie, I am very offended that you wouldn't want to go on vacay with me-- I can't imagine why not! As for the boobs-- I absolutely plan on having work done, but it will probably be a year or two for me to save the money. Plus, I think I'd like to wait until I go on my 6-month sabbatical (gotta love being a tenured professor) so that I can have plenty of time to recover without having to miss precious pool time in the summer!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oh, the Drama!

I hope you have plans for get togethers and fireworks. I have to admit that I do not-- we don't live close to family and our friends here tend to get together with their families so we usually just hang out the two of us and have a nice relaxing day. Hubs will be throwing a small pork butt on to smoke today, so we'll have yummy pulled pork for dinner tonight and then pork quesadillas for at least one day if not two this week.


Saturday night we went to see U2 (the main show) and Florence + The Machine (opening act). It was amazing, but incredibly hot. We had seat 1 & 2 in our row. . . . which for some strange reason was not on the aisle but in the middle of a row because they ran two sections together (seat 46 of section I was next to seat 1 of section J). We were packed in like sardines. Still, totally worth it.



We had to travel out of state to see it, so we spent the night in a hotel and had one of my students dog/house sit.

Well, here's the thing-- when we travel, bad things seem to happen. The last time we left town was in May for a quick trip to Pensacola Beach, and on the day we left three things happened: 1) the check engine light came on, 2) my dog sitter called because the smoke detectors were going off and my dogs were flipping out at the noise, and 3) my husband's credit card was denied because he hadn't activated the new one they sent-- not to mention that he'd had to contest about $100 of drinks someone had charged to our room from the bar.

Of course this trip was no different. I was feeling sort of itchy in the room (most likely because it was just hot outside and my skin was dry), so I got a little paranoid about bed bugs even though it was an immaculate room. So we got a really bad night's sleep. As we're leaving to come home, my house sitter called, hysterical, because my dogs had caught a snake in the yard. It was a big one, and it would have been horrifying enough for anyone just worrying about the dogs, but she has a full-on snake phobia so she was literally in the midst of a panic attack. As I was trying to calm her down, my husband was making a deposit at the ATM, got distracted trying to figure out what had happened at home, and forgot to get his debit card back, something we didn't realize until we were an hour into the drive.

All of this has me superstitious about our trip to Punta Cana (this Friday!). It would be really nice not to have anything alarming happen during at least one vacation this summer. We may have lost our house/dog sitter over the snake incident, so we might have to board the dogs but maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing since the last two dog sitting incidents have been filled with drama.

As for the snake, either the dogs killed it or it was dropped into the yard by a (very large) bird already nearly dead. I believe the latter because though my dogs are huge and love to "hunt", they pretty much suck at the actual death and spend more time spatting out their prey than effectively killing it. I have a hard time believing that two dogs that can't manage to kill a tiny lizard (we have lots of anoles and blue-tailed skinks that love our house) once they catch it would actually kill what I've determined is a Black King Snake.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bra Shopping- Only Slightly Less Torturous Than Swimsuit Shopping

*Actual Bra, Blogger Not Pictured :)


My band has been very mean to my breasts. My band is a bully, really. All those times my band stole my boobs lunch money and made yo mama jokes was bad enough, but it also left my boobs all depressed and deflated and prematurely aged from all the abuse.

I have found it impossible to find a bra that fits these new haggard boobies. I started in a 46G and I've been trying to wear 38DD (because I can find those in regular stores), but it hasn't worked because they gap at the sides but my boobs fall out the top. Strange, strange situation happening up under my shirt.

So, I go to a very chic-chic lingerie store for a fitting today. And guys, WTF has my band done? I walked out wearing a 34FF. I am skeptical about the fit, actually, but the 36FF was way too big and the 34F was too small-- I personally think she should have tried me in a 36F but she insisted the 34 is a better fit. So I bought myself a $70 bra (don't tell my husband-- it is not pretty enough for him to like the price tag).

I'm a mutant with a small ribcage and huge funbags. And apparently until I get my breast reduction, I'm not going to be able to buy bras in a normal store.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crankhead Zombies. . and other sleepless nights


So, I'm reading the book World War Z.

For those of you who haven't read it, it's about the Zombie Apocalypse.

Now, I should have realized going into it that it would hit.my.buttons.hard. See, the scarriest thing to me since I was a small child were books and movies about global pandemics. Diseases that killed almost everyone, and left a horrible world for the survivors to live in. They have ALWAYS given me nightmares, yet I still read them (The Stand is the scarriest Stephen King book ever, forget that stupid clown. But the dead pets/children are a close second). I guess the thing I find so frightening is that they are realistic, and that it's not so much the disease that's scary but the prospect of the horrible ways the survivors or the attempting-to-survive people behave in their panic.

Yet, I decide to read a really good book about Zombies. This already freaks me out, and has me considering what I would do to try to survive such an event (including the modifications that would be necessary were I to stay in my house), or whether it would be better just to shoot myself in the head to prevent myself from infection.

I realize you're probably worried about me now.

But it gets worse! My husband tells me that our cross-the-street neighbor told him that there is a bit of a drug problem happening down in the creek region of our subdivision (very nice subdivision, very isolated creek on the other side where traveling meth labs seem to have popped up recently), and to be careful with locking doors, etc. He even said he had to call the police a couple weeks ago because some guy was just sitting in his yard, high. We live on a dead-end and it has been idyllic in my mind to this point. Very quiet and private, and I often forget to lock the doors. No more.

Well, last night, I kept having visions of crankhead zombies staging an invasion of our house. Talk about a bad night of sleep.

And you wanna know what the ridiculous thing is? I'm only half-way through World War Z and I can't stop now! I'm just going to have to keep giving myself nightmares.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Confessions

* I can't stand my mother's husband. I mean, I really loathe him. So when she called and said he can't come with her to visit this summer after all, I literally did a happy dance.

* I take my national licensing exam on Monday. I think I'm ready, but I do plan to spend the weekend cramming.

* I take my state exam on Friday. I have not studied for it. I am so cocky that I think I'll be fine looking over the material tomorrow night. If I whine later because I failed, don't give me any sympathy.

* I have gotten super comfortable with 175 on the scale over the past week. I have started imagining what it would be like to just stay here. This is not a good thing. My BMI is *barely* under 30. I would have to gain about 5 lbs in order to qualify for lap-band surgery all over again. That's crazy to think about.

* Looking at myself now, it's hard for me to imagine WHY someone who "only" has a BMI of 30 or 31 would EVER get WLS. It's short-sighted and judgmental, and it's all about perspective- so if you're a low-BMI'er, please realize that I know this is my issue and not about you at all. My 29 BMI seems tiny and healthy to me because, in comparison to a 48, it is. But objectively, I'm still carrying around too much extra weight that will put me at risk for developing Very Bad Diseases. It's just so hard to remember that when I look at how far I've come.

* Summer teaching puts me in a bad mental place when it comes to food. For the past 4 summers, I have followed each 6 hour teaching day with a stop at a fast food place on the way home, where I binged, and then followed it with a 2-3 hour nap, at which point I'd get up and eat dinner. This summer I have made sure to take a protein bar for breakfast and some lunch for my 30-minute break between classes (today it was a few slices of pepperoni, a tomato/cuc/moz salad, and a slice of cantaloupe). That is PLENTY of food. But I'm so conditioned that when I got done at 2:30, I was ravenously hungry even though I already ate. I did manage to resist the pull of an ice cream cone and go home, but once here I had a few chips with salsa as a snack. On a normal day, I would not have been hungry but these summer teaching days are crazy hard-wired in my brain or something. I just hope I get through the next two weeks without a gain.

*I am pretty geeky when it comes to my entertainment. I was a big Buffy fan back in the day, and then my love turned to Battlestar Galactica, and now I have it bad for Game of Thrones & True Blood. I read any crappy paranormal romance book I can get my hands on, including Twilight (blech).

*I'm pretty sure that my exercise push was yet another short-lived and failed attempt at getting into a habit. Maybe this was just a bad time for me to try to start, but really, when is a good time when you're just not that into it compared to other ways you could be spending time? Perhaps I will get there someday, but this week will not be the week.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I have a hard time making myself exercise even when I've got hours of free time-- no excuse is a good excuse in my book. I am in awe of all of you who have made exercise a regular part of your weekly routine.

I'm hopping back on that treadmill tomorrow, by golly (haha). If I work out tomorrow, then I've still done 3 days this week, which is 3 more days in a week than I've normally done.

Summer classes started this week, and man is it intense to teach for 6 hours straight every day for a month. But it's marathon work and when the month is over, I will have a big chunk of money and the rest of the summer "free". Or at least unstructured in terms of the hours I have to do in order to get work done.

Here I am in my back to school outfit :) I took a pic because even though my two weeks of exercise has made me GAIN 2 lbs, my size 10 Anne Taylor shorts fit me perfectly. The top is a size L Banana Republic and the shrug is a junior's size L. I felt very sleek, I have to admit. I can just imagine what students who had me last fall and are just now seeing me again are thinking, but one thing about the South-- people are very polite about these kinds of things!



And here is a dorky, "look at me I think I'm hot shit" poolside pose. Just for fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Will. . . Not. . . Kill. . . Husband.

Just a quick little gripe-- one that you ladies with a partner might understand only too well.

I booked our trip to Punta Cana in January. That's 6'ish months ago, for those of you counting. I said to husband, who is normally "the anal one", that he needs to get his passport and not to wait. I then proceeded to remind him a couple of times-- don't forget you still need to get your passport for our July trip.

So in completely uncharacteristic fashion, he blows it off until today. Today is exactly 31 days before we are supposed to be flying out of the country. He gets to the passport office, they process his application, and then as he's leaving the lady tells him she doubts it will make it by our trip since it's taking 4-6weeks for passports.

He calls me in a panic. I say, ok, so why didn't you expedite it? He says he couldn't (which was a lie-- he had no idea what the hell I was talking about and the passport office-- also the post office-- could give a shit about actually being helpful and informative about options if it takes two extra seconds of their day). So after somehow trying to blame me for all of this, which is his #1 stress reaction-- make everything my fault no matter how much he has to stretch to do it-- he goes back to the office and inquires about expediting. They say, ok, but you need to pay us more money and it has to be before our office closes because we've already notarized your application and we can't give it back to you to start again tomorrow. So he leaves, and calls me bitching because he has to drive 30 minutes home to get our checkbook and 30 minutes back and by then it will be too late. So I say, won't they take a money order?? And he's like, yeah, but how do you get one of those.

???????

The mind boggles that he is a well-educated man with a graduate degree and lots of people working for him.

So I say, uh, get some cash, then go to Walmart. Or, I said, better yet, I bet you can get one at the dang post office! Which he denies. But then after blustering (I may have hung up on him), he manages to go back to the post office and ask HOW MUCH additional it will cost for the expediting, and then leave the post office to go to Walmart for a money order, then go BACK. And, I feel a little gleeful telling you this, what did the passport clerk say to him as he was handing her the money? "We have money orders here, you could have just bought some stamps and got cash back, then done the MO here."

The end result is that unless something else went wonky, he should have his passport in 2-3 weeks, just in time for our trip.

But, I will tell you that there was about an hour of time there where I was planning on going to Punta Cana on my own and finding a new dang husband ;)

My New Favorite Breakfast

1 packet of sugar-free instant oatmeal made with water (100 cal)
1 tablespoon of sweetened coconut flakes (35 cal)
Sprinkle (teaspoon) of crushed walnuts (? less than 50 cal)


Yummy to my tummy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two Days Do Not a Habit Make. . .

But I feel good anyway.

I have three life goals for June, that I will call the 3 E's: 1) pass the EPPP- my licensing exam, 2) Exercise, and 3) Economics- stop spending, start saving.

For the purposes of this post, I'm happy with goal number 2-- exercise. Yesterday and today I used my treadmill for 45 minutes. Today I even jogged, probably for the first time in 12 years. Considering the last time I used my treadmill I could barely walk for 30 minutes, the jogging felt like such a huge accomplishment. And just a note: Florence & The Machine's Lungs is the perfect cd for a 45-minute workout.

I have absolutely no weight loss goal for this month, because I don't want to disappoint myself and typically I stall out on weight when I exercise, at least in the beginning. So any loss will be counted a bonus. I took my measurements instead and I'll check again at the end of the month. My goal is to get into some kind of habit of exercising over the summer so that when the regular semester starts again, I will already have it down. We'll see-- this is certainly my weakest link on the health front.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Beach = Awesome

Back from Pensacola Beach, peeps!

It was a great two days. I know Pensacola is a total tourist trap, but I love that beach. White sands and if you are at one of the hotels farther down the beach, it's comparatively quiet. The surf was VERY rough for our two days, so I didn't get in the water much-- I had one point where I was swimming and swimming but not getting any closer to the shore, so I freaked out a little bit. I realized, then and there, what horrible shape I'm in and vowed to renew my efforts to develop some cardiovascular stamina. I was a trained lifeguard, back in the day! The fact that I was so fatigued by fighting the tides was a wake-up call about my complete lack of fitness.

Otherwise, I felt very good about myself and my progress. I wore my swimsuit that I've been bitching about to y'all all spring and felt fine in it, even good when I was laying on my back so that my bulges flattened out (haha- you know what I'm talking about). Last night I wore a form-fitting dress to dinner and it looked pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I'm really not used to feeling this way, honestly, but it's pretty nice.

Next week summer session starts and I will be super busy and tired for a month straight. If you don't hear from me, that's why!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Only a Bandster Knows What It's Like to Celebrate Being Overweight

Had my third fill on Thursday. I've been stuck with no weight loss for about a month, which was fine, but I was hungry and thinking about food all of the time so decided a fill was in order. Crossing my fingers, but I think it might do the trick. He has me at about 4.5 cc's now. I'll tell you, this fill actually hurt a little only because my port is so much more sensitive now without the extra fat padding (not that it still doesn't have plenty) and his prodding around to find the right spot before he needled me was youchy! I was a bit of a baby.

I am, as we speak, trying to eat my first solid post-fill (my protein bar). It seems to be going down well, so yay!

I'm down to 177, a 4 lb loss in two days from the liquid diet post-fill. I know it's water weight but I have a new low nonetheless. And I've finally reached my next mini-goal: I'm overweight, not obese!!!

Now I just need to set my next goal. I'm 27 lbs away from my initial goal weight (150), though I've decided I might want to adjust my ultimate goal weight to 140 instead. That's still a little far off to be used as my next weight-loss goal though. Maybe I'll work in 10 lb increments from here out? That seems more achievable.

Energy is a Good Thing

One of the best NSV's that I take for granted a lot is the increased energy I've had since surgery. My baseline is just so much more active than it used to be and I love it. I'm taking fewer naps, I'm getting up earlier in the morning and feeling rested, and I'm just generally getting more done. It's little things. It's actually not being too lazy to water the plants on my porch, because it's so hard to fill up the watering can and take it out there. It's actually planting *more* plants, both outside an in that require maintenance. It's staining my pool deck, it's repainting my outdoor dining furniture. It's making phone calls! Man, this is a big one. I generally hate calling people and I will put it off and put it off-- well, having more energy means that I don't put it off quite as long and get things done. In fact, yesterday I called the handyman who I'd paid to tear down and haul off the wood play structure in our yard to remind him that he needed to get his butt back here and actually haul it off as promised because I didn't want it in my yard anymore. Now that it's gone, I plan to go out today and start raking up the pebbles. I plan to use the area for a raised vegetable garden, so the plan is to get it ready this year for planting next spring as I imagine it is really a little late to try to start something in June/July.

It's funny that with that increased energy, I seem to have a drive to take care of my nest and do maintenance things that I've been putting off for a couple of years. What don't I have? Any real spark to exercise. Cozy Coconut asked me how I'm doing on exercise recently. The fact is, I'm not doing any. I was for a while, but after my trip to Vegas in April I've not done a single thing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I have two dogs that love to take walks. I have a really nice treadmill and a spin bike in my basement. I really enjoy Zumba and Yoga. Yet I do nothing. My goal for this summer is to start some kind of exercise routine, even if it is a laughable amount. I just need to get some habit going.

One thing that isn't a victory: my body is not used to sleeping without 100 extra pounds. I bought a very nice, moderately expensive mattress set two years ago to help with my bad back. It was amazing. Yet now that I'm over 100 lbs down, I ache and hurt when I wake up and can't seem to get comfortable at night. This is particularly true of sleeping on my stomach, which seems to contort my shoulders into a weird position that leaves me really in pain when I first get up. Also, my back is almost worse in terms of sleeping. My body hasn't quite figured out how to sleep without the extra padding. Do you all think a body pillow would help?

Monday, May 23, 2011

I hate the 180's

The 180's-- specifically, the space between 180 and 182 is my nemesis. I am 2 pounds from hitting my next goal (overweight, not obese on BMI charts) and I am not making a bit of progress.

I've been stuck here for a month. I now completely understand how people who plateau lose all motivation because at this point I feel like giving up.

I go in for a fill on Thursday-- here's hoping it gives me back some mojo.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inaugural B.Y.O.C.


Oh my gosh, I am a B.Y.O.C. virgin no-more. Sort of. I don't have anything interesting to say for 3 of the 4 questions, but I do have a picture of my cute shoes I wore Saturday to my sis-in-law's graduation.



Aren't they cute? I wore them with a white skirt and a black blouse. They are surprisingly comfortable.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Band Status Update- Just More for the Chronicle






Well folks, it is time for fill #3 for this bandster. I have been chowing down like a crazy woman, and a lot of it is because of hunger (not all of it-- I'm not gonna lie). I think I must have hit that crazy point where I've lost enough weight that my band has loosened, and I just want a little top off to help with the hunger some more. I'm not done losing yet!

The other "I've lost a lot of weight" symptom I'm having is all of a sudden my port site is so sore all of the time. I just think the fat padding around it has shrunk so much that it isn't as cushioned. I'm a stomach sleeper, so I wake up with it sore almost every day now. When I went in to see my regular doc about my reflux issues, she poked my stomach and hit the port twice-- youch! She said she'd never actually felt a patient's port before (she has others who've had the band), so I guess mine is really out there. Of course I've always been able to feel it if I press down, but now it's just right there! At least you can't see it-- only feel it.

My PCP put me on a trial of prescription antacid meds to see if it would alleviate the acid reflux. It has. I want to go off for the next week to see if it comes back-- I certainly don't want to be taking an expensive medication every day if the reflux is a "come and go" symptom. But, I'll be discussing it with my surgeon in any case to make sure he has the opportunity to order an endoscope if he thinks it necessary.


Ok, now on to the frustrating-- I can't seem to get a pair of jeans that fits. URGH! I have been wearing a pair of 14's that fall down (seriously-- I don't have to unbutton/unzip them and they fall off my hips if I'm not careful- ass crack city, baby). When I was in Vegas, we went to the Lucky Brand store and I tried on two pairs of size 12. One of them fit perfectly but I wasn't going to buy a $130 pair of jeans that I have every intention of shrinking out of. But, when I got home, I thought I found them on ebay for $30 and snatched them up.

Not the right ones, apparently, because they won't even button. I'm in some size 10 pants, but these 12 jeans are not gonna work.

So, I go to the thrift store to get some used jeans-- I buy two pairs that are marked 31 waist. Neither fit, both way too small. Then I went back yesterday for another try and yet again the size 12 is too small.

I know what I need to do is go into a store and try jeans on before I buy them but I'm trying to be cheap! That's not working out so well for me as I now have 4 pairs of jeans that I can't wear. But, if I lost this last 40 pounds, I'll be set in jeans at least.

Oh, but the awesome news is that my husband booked us a two night stay on the Gulf at the end of the month-- just a quick little trip to relax on the beach after his marathon work hours this month and before I start my summer classes in June. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be like a mini-beach-training before our 7 night stay in Punta Cana in July :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beautiful Saturday




What a gorgeous day down my way.

My husband is on the board of a community arts council, and today was a "First Saturday" art show in the park. I took my big baby dog (all 120 lbs of him) and we went for a walk in the park, a splash in the creek, and followed it with perusing the artist booths. I came home with a dog sculpture made from recycled paper materials. His name is Chico :)



The real dog


Chico the Boxer in his new home


Oh, yeah, and I hit another goal! Today, I weighed in less than my husband! WOOT! I was at 182.2 this morning and he was around 184. I have weighed less than him maybe once before in our relationship, when we first met. Even the last time I was at 180 (the fall and winter we got married), he was less than that. Lucky for me he's picked up about 10 lbs over the past 10 years!

This is me at 182.2, front and side (size L shirt and the shorts are 12). I'm still obese for 4 more lbs. I want to lose at least another 35 lbs to put me in the normal BMI range.


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Dreaded Acid Reflux

So I'm 99% sure that I'm suddenly experiencing acid reflux at night.

This has been happening for about a week now. I wasn't sure at first, because the first symptom was really a sore throat and since I've been sick and coughing, it was hard to tell. But, it's a different kind of sore throat-- it feels more localized? I don't know. Along with that I've had some mild heartburn after dinner for at least 3 days during the week, and I found myself waking up in the night with coughing (could be cold related) and just to swallow (that isn't cold related).

I have no bile taste, and I haven't hacked anything from my stomach up, but this just feels strange.

I have an appt with my regular doc on Monday to rule out things like allergies and strep throat (because I am dealing with allergies too). Then if she thinks it's GERD, I'll call my surgeon.

I don't know what to think. I am terrified of having some kind of complication. But I am not tight at all. I still have no restrictions on the "what" of eating, and I've never gotten stuck or had to get rid of food (no PB'ing, sliming, or vomiting). Other than coughing related to my recent cold, I can't imagine how I might have slipped my band and I certainly am not having trouble with eating. Maybe I'm just anxious and making the most of symptoms that could be explained away with something else. But, better safe than sorry-- I certainly don't want to wait too long and end up damaging my esophagus.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I think I'm paranoid (now I have Garbage stuck in a loop in my noggin)

I'm a mess, dear blog friends.

I've reached that sick point where all my body wants to do is cough those deep, chest jarring coughs meant to dislodge all of the nasty mucous that has adhered itself like super glue to my insides.

And of course that means I'm terrified I'm going to slip my band with coughing, a paranoia which is not helped by the pain in my chest from coughing (which of course I attribute to the band slipping, instead of the phlegm dislodging, because anxiety and logic do not go hand in hand, amiright?)

I have also been completely stalled in weight loss because apparently, I have zero will power when I'm sick. I have eaten so much sugar over the past two weeks (Cadbury eggs, ice cream, reese's peanut butter eggs, key lime pie, brownies-- should I go on?) than I have all combined since surgery, and probably double that. Today for lunch I had chips dipped in ranch dip and Reese's.

As I laid in bed after my carb binge, feeling guilty, I realized I am definitely still a fat person stuck in a less-fat-person's body. I have been very motivated by the surgery and my successes, and the band has certainly helped in all of the ways I expect it to, but at the end of the day I still very much have it in me to stall out right here and start slowly but surely gaining it all back. I have gone from 293 lbs to 185, but if left to my own devices, part of me still wants to eat like a 293 lb person. I like sugary, fatty, carby foods. They taste really good. I like eating food that tastes good, and more than that, I like eating as much of it as I can.

This is why I've never been able to maintain weight loss in the past. I've said it before-- I'm great at losing weight, but I find it impossible to keep it off. Once I reach a certain point and really feel like a success, the smallest derailment (like getting sick) can get me right off track and back to the usual food orgy. I've noticed that lately I'm eating at fast food places again-- which frankly is about as big of a warning sign as I can get. There's no reason for it other than not being mindful and careful to pack a good lunch, or go to the grocery store so I have appropriate food stocked on hand. I get lazy, careless, and off track and then I'm right back where I was, addicted to the taste and the feeling of carb-lethargy after a binge.

I know what I need to do to get back on track, and I will do it. I guess I just needed to get it out there in black and white.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Well How Do You Like Them Apples?

Today my husband said I was annoying him.

And I hugged him and gave him a kiss, because it was a sweet thing to say.

Huh? Zwhat?

I was back in the ill-fitting swimsuit, grabbing some sun. And I was being critical again. And husband called me crazy and told me I was seriously, no lie, annoying him.

So I laughed, and said, hey, this is what girls who care about how they look do-- they are self-critical. He just wasn't used to it because I never cared before.

And he said that me being so confident and accepting of my body all of these years was one of the things that he really really liked about me.

So I had to give him some love.

But now I'm mad at him, because my next mini-goal, after reaching onederland, was to weigh less than him. And now that I am closing in, he's sick and not eating and I can't catch him! Bastard.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sick

Being around sick people has made me sick. What are the odds?

Being sick has made me give the finger to my band. I am finding it hard to care about shoving things into my mouth today. I have a sore throat and a COMPLETE lack of energy, so I want things like ice cream, and ice cream. If I had Easter candy, I'd be eating it.

I started to question today whether I need a fill. I've been averaging a loss of about 10lbs a month since surgery, but I'm short this month (8 lbs instead of 10) and like I said, my portion sizes are UP. But then I looked at my birth control pack and realized that I'm in that time of month that is always a struggle for me (mid-cycle, for some reason). Add to that the fact that I don't feel good when I overeat (proving that the band is, in fact there, and doing something) and I think maybe I'm doing just fine.

Eh, we'll see.

Hubby is sick too, and has developed a middle ear infection complete with swollen tongue, so he's a joy to be around. We are one partying household, let me tell you.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recap


Vegas was a blast. I went with my good friend from Texas, and a friend of hers that I've interacted with for years online (but never met in person) from New Zealand. We spent the first part of Friday night at Fremont. Now, Fremont is an experience, because it's about 50% of folk who visit the dentist mixed with 50% of folk who are missing a significant number of their teeth. The dancers are a little broke-down, if you know what I mean, you can easily find a crack house a block off the street, and all in all it's a bit of a freak show.

Which of course makes it awesome to visit, especially when you've got a tourist from New Zealand with you. I saw that MandaPanda did the zipline there earlier this week-- that looked awesome! I'm jealous-- but the line was just way too long for me to want to wait.

We countered Fremont by ending the night at the Bellagio (talk about night and freaking day), and then got a good night sleep.

Saturday we went shopping at the Forums and then got dressed up that night to do dinner, a comedy show, and then gambled at the Paris. I'm not a big gambler, but I had a great time watching my friend win $300 at the craps table. But the absolute BEST part of the trip, and believe me, I feel very vain saying this, was all of the attention I got from young, good looking guys.

I'm not gonna lie. It was very ego-inflating to get serious, obvious attention in a place filled with young, thin, beautiful people. I was nervous about dressing up (and I appreciate all of your kind comments on my fashion police post-- you all gave me the courage to do it), but it turned out ok- haha!

Saturday night I got about 2 hours of sleep before I had to leave for the airport, but it was so much fun and totally worth it.

On the eating front, I'm not doing great. Lately I keep pushing myself too far-- I keep eating past the point I know I need to stop and then I pay for it with discomfort. Always, always at dinner time. Ugh, why do I do this? I have seriously got to get my crap together. I'm seriously worried about stretching my pouch if I keep this up and there's no reason for it beyond gluttony. It's not like I'm depriving myself from eating things I enjoy-- so I can afford to watch my freaking portions and stop when I'm not hungry, no matter how good it tastes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegas, Baby V.2-- Be My Fasion Police

Ok, so FINALLY this weekend is my girl's trip to Vegas.

I'm looking forward to it very much. I'm not a gambler, so the times I've been to Vegas by myself have been less than exciting. This will be my first time for a non-work function.

I have been going CRAZY trying to find the right dress to go out in (we're dressing up one night and doing jeans the other night). I have bought 3 dresses. The first two weren't right for various reasons (one I bought in size 14 months ago and it's a little big now-- just don't like it as much, the other I just bought but realized it is too short unless I want to be pulling it down all night, paranoid about showing my business). I think I have decided on this one, but I need your honest opinions:


It's simple but comfortable, and I think, flattering. Is the necklace ok? I think my friend is wearing sequins, but I think this will hold up to that anyway. But what do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No Exercise = Swimsuit Drama

Weigh-in this morning: 188.4.

It's the next-to-last week in the Spring Challenge, but I suspect this will be my low point. I will be in Vegas for a girl's weekend next weekend before the final weigh-in, so I'll be lucky if I hold steady and don't gain. Very lucky.

I enjoy doing the challenges. I will never win one, but I have fun with them and I like that my entry fee goes to someone who has worked their band super hard and has seen great losses.

I haven't done any exercise for 3 weeks. I suck. I have a treadmill and spin bike in my house, I have $3 Zumba classes 10 minutes away, and I have 4 yoga classes paid for and ready to go to as soon as I make myself go. I skipped my last 3 belly dancing classes, mostly because I just wasn't that into it. But I do love the Zumba and the yoga, so my lack of activity is all about me being lazy when it comes to exercise.

I think my goal for this summer is going to be to get into a steady exercise routine. I mostly want to do this because, in complete honesty, I hate the way my body is so jiggly. It has little to do with health, or even weight loss, but is all about the vanity.

Yesterday this really hit home again when I put on my bathing suit to enjoy some sun. And it still doesn't fit! It's a new tankini in size 14. I'm wearing smaller clothes than that now, so I don't understand why the tankini top still rides up so much and the bottoms roll down at the waist.

Well, that's a lie-- I do know why. My freaking belly! I knew, going into this, that I was going to have to have a tummy tuck at the end but I have to admit that I still find it incredibly demoralizing to be making all of this progress but still have to deal with my double-decker belly. The top roll bothers me the most in regular clothes, but put a swimsuit on me and they both make an unsightly appearance.

I was whining to my husband last night and I asked him what the heck I was going to do if my new suits didn't fit me properly by July when we go to the DR. And he said, "they will, and if they don't, you'll buy one that does fit".

Duh.

It was a nice reality check in the face of my emerging insecurity.

Sometimes, I think I liked my body image better when I was fat and didn't give a crap how I looked in a swimsuit.

Anyway, it looks for sure like summer 2012 will be spent picking up extra summer classes so I can earn the money for my much-needed tummy tuck after all. Because I just don't think I'll be one of those people who can be happy just looking better in regular clothes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Oz Rebuttal

As suggested by Amy W., I am going to post what I eat as a lap-bander who is just over 6 months out from surgery.

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee, followed a half-hour later with a Zone Perfect protein bar (typically Cinnamon Roll, 210 cal, 22 g carb, 15 g protein)

Lunch: leftovers! Particular favorites= 4 meatballs with sausage marinara sauce (meat with meat sauce, as I call it), salad with deli chicken and cheese, a piece of thin crust pizza, or if I'm really busy I eat turkey pepperoni and cheese cubes

Dinner: oh so much. Last night I had 3oz of steak with sauteed mushrooms and a side of spinach-artichoke dip with low-carb crackers, the night before I had a steak, onion, and green pepper quesadilla made with a low-carb tortilla; I often have baked fish with a side of veggies, or "skillet chicken" sauteed with vegetables, or a hamburger without the bun, or a lighted breaded and baked pork chop, or chicken enchiladas (assume some vegetables-- a salad or a steamed side throughout).

If I snack, which is not every day but if so, usually in the late afternoon, I snack on: peanuts, cheese, hummus with low-carb crackers, kalamata olives-- something that is "munchy". I often try to substitute a cup of decaf coffee for a snack if I'm higher on calories for the day. I have a skinny cow truffle bar maybe 2-3x a month but otherwise have given up dessert.

I eat very well, and sometimes I do splurge on nachos or chicken wings or pasta or pizza (carbs!). The only thing my band doesn't like me to eat is french fries-- but onion rings still go down well ;) I have lost 75lbs since the day of my surgery and 104 lbs overall.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Glug, Glug. . . Blergh


Friday night was date night with the hubby-- I put on my sexy size 12 dress and a pair of heels and we were off.

Started at the bar portion of one of the "fancy-pants" restaurants we like. I had two glasses of wine there and ordered the scallops-on-half shell from the appetizer menu for dinner. There were three, they were amazing, and I was appropriately full.

Problem came later-- because apparently, three small scallops is not enough food to counter-act 5 glasses of wine.

After dinner, we went to the symphony (loved!). While there, I drank two more glasses of wine. It should be noted that the second of those was against my better judgment but at the urging of my husband.

Then we went home. And I had ANOTHER glass of wine while we listened to music and chilled.

Saturday I was seriously and completely hung-over ALL DAY. I never threw up, but I had a headache like whoa that three doses of tylenol wouldn't touch. My whole body felt "off" and even though I really wanted to eat (eating greasy food has been my hangover treatment of choice for many years), I wasn't able to eat much. By the end of the day, when it just wasn't getting better, I had some moments of wondering whether 5 glasses of wine on 3 scallops had somehow managed to damage my stomach.

Sunday I was fine, thank goodness.

Today on the scale, I dipped my toe into the 180's (189.6). I would really like to see 185 by the 15th, but I'll need to do a better job with my eating if I do want to see that. I also need to do better with my vitamins-- my blood work had me barely in the good range for Vitamin D and low on B12.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Centenarian


Today I weighed in at 192.6, which means I am 100 lbs down from my pre-surgery high weight of 293.

Whee!

I was 264 on surgery day, so it will be a while before I make the "official" 100 lb mark, but I don't care about that. Every pound that I lost was in preparation and anticipation of the surgery and was a part of this journey.

Thanks for supporting me so far!