Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No class this week!

There is no class this week. Or next week. Or the week after.  Our next scheduled class is January 8, 2013.

That  being said, I took the initiative to schedule off-week weigh ins. 

Last weekend. I traveled. I spent two whole days sitting in a car. I did not get to walk. However, I did pack food for the road in the form of  sandwiches. If I wanted a snack, I had string cheese. I did eat one Hershey's special dark chocolate bar with Almonds. Only 180 calories for the whole thing.

I went to weigh in with some trepidation yesterday. I went to the Bariatric office, and when I weighed, I was down 1.7 pounds from my previous weeks weigh in at class.  The girl that was there told me that if I wanted to, I could come back that evening and weigh in on the class scale so that it would be more consistent. When I reweighed on the class scale, I had lost 3 pounds.

I am VERY proud of myself for forgoing the fried seafood feast. As I found out recently, fried foods don't like me anymore. They make me very sick. So it makes it VERY easy to stay away from them now. I am also making a conscious effort to stay away from pasta.  I read that for some Banders, pasta and breads can 'clog' your hole and make you sick. I figure that if I begin weaning myself off the refined carbs now, it will be better for me in the future.

To date, I am down 18.5 pounds from the beginning of my class. My goal was to lose 20 pounds by January 1.  I am only1.5 pounds away from my goal, with vacation and traveling looming for next week. However, I am already making a grocery list for the food that I will pack to take with me. We rented a condo at the beach with a kitchen--so I can cook and stay on plan. I am keeping my fingers crossed that when I weigh in on January 2 at the Bariatic office, it is lower than my number yesterday-that way I will know if I lost! It might not be exact, but it will give me a gauge of my progress.

I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday! I'll hopefully be back with a positive weight loss post on 1/2/13!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A week away from the scale...

Is NOT something I look forward to! Last night was our last class until JANUARY 8.  Do you know what happens between now and January ?  That’s right—holidays.  Traveling. Visits with friends and family. Food. Cookies. Stress. Emotions. Eating. In the end, even the happiest times of the year lead back to eating. And that is a cycle that I am trying very hard to break.
I am taking the initiative to schedule off week weigh ins during the holidays to keep myself on track.  When I know that there is a scale waiting for me every week, it makes me accountable for everything I put in my mouth.  When I know that the scale is FOUR WEEKS AWAY, I will undo every ounce of progress that I have made since September! Out of sight, out of mind, right?
On a positive note, even with the week away from the scale—and two Christmas parties and a football game last week—I still managed to eek out another 2.5 lbs on the scale. I lost the pound I gained during my period, and then lost another 1.5 lbs. I honestly expected a 7lb gain.  I know you think I’m crazy—how can you gain 7lbs in a week—well, I’m not. It’s possible. I’m living proof of that! It takes FOREVER to lose a pound—but you can gain a pound in like an hour if you aren’t careful.
I’m now down 15.5 pounds from my first class weigh in.  It’s taken a long time to get here—but I’m doing it. 
Class last night was actually a reiteration of the information session that we first attended about bariatric surgery. It went over the LapBand, the roux-en-Y procedure, and the sleeve.  It was interesting because the class leader said that most people start off the class wanting to have the LapBand—but end up having the Roux-en-Y instead.  In my class, only three people want to do LapBand—everyone else is bypass.  If the LapBand wasn’t an option, the only other one I would consider would be the sleeve—but there’s no long term data or studies on 5+ years—so I think I’ll stick with my original decision. I am committed to the band!
BTW, I also had my required psych evaluation yesterday, and I passed! Not like it was a test, but you know—it’s making sure that you are ready and committed to the life style change necessary to be successful with your chosen surgery, that you are doing it for the right reasons, that you are mentally able to handle the changes that will face you as you continue on your journey, etc. I know that I still have a lot of challenges ahead of me on this journey, but I know that as I get further in the process, I will be able to face them and accomplish them.
Happy Holidays! Here’s hoping that I can continue to lose weight over the holidays.  I’d like to lose at least 4.5 pounds by January 1. Fingers crossed!

Friday, December 7, 2012

I am weak

I am so weak. I have absolutely no willpower. When presented with an array of food, I am like an addict needing a fix of crack. I think about it, and I obsess about it, and I think about how I can get it and no one would know. Sick, right?
Yesterday, we had our annual holiday potluck at work.  There was an assortment of dishes including ham and beef, mac and cheese, corn casserole, broccoli salad, assorted hot dips, Jello salad, chips/crackers/bread, and of course, the Christmas cookies and cake.
I went in strong. I had one plate, and I chose the healthiest options—I had more protein than carbs, I bypassed the mac and cheese and corn casserole (my own contribution), and I had broccoli salad (made with splenda) and Jello salad with fruit. I had three crackers with a taste of each hot dip just to try, and one roll.  Not bad, right? That was one plate. And I was done. But then I wanted more Jello salad—so I got another small scoop of that with three Triscuits. And then I was done. I was stuffed—but I was good and could walk away.  
Then the Christmas cookie tray came around, and I took one of each, because I knew that they were good since I had them last year.  And they were mini cookies.  I did not eat any of the black bottom cake. Now I was beyond stuffed. I felt like a roly-poly and that someone would have to waddle me back to the office.  But I still felt that all things considered, I had made some pretty good choices. Not perfect—but better than in years past.
Then I got hit with emotions after the Secret Santa gift exchange. My gift was so similar to what my mom would have gotten me if she was still here, that I got upset. I cried. Alot. It was a happy cry because I loved everything in my gift—but a sad cry because this is the first Christmas without my mom. And that my mom would never ever buy me another gift just because she saw something she thought I would love. And that made me emotional. And it wasn't about the gifts my mom would give me. It was that she loved me regardless of how much I weighed, or if I screwed something up.
And I turned to food. I ate a handful of potato chips. I had a roll with beef on it. I had some bread rounds with crab dip. And I felt sick because I wasn’t hungry, but I thought that I could fill that emotional emptiness inside with food. And it didn’t work. And I know it wouldn’t work—but I did it anyways.
Last night, I walked for my 20 minutes, and then my awesome loving boyfriend went on another walk with me for another 30 minutes. I could have probably walked all night to work out my emotions and to make myself feel better—but honestly, it was 30 degrees. It was dark. And I wanted to spend time with him for the first night in weeks.  And I did make myself a healthy dinner of stir fry veggies and beef for dinner.  It was real hunger this time—not emotional.
Today is a another challenge.  A company wide holiday party that is catered. The food choices will be a taco salad bar, chicken wings, and a giant sub, and of course, assorted desserts. I know that I can be stronger here, because there is less peer scrutiny, there are more people and distractions. And the menu really does allow a bit more customization. I know how to make a healthy salad. I will steer clear of chips and tortillas and sour cream. I will leave the desserts alone. Today, I will focus on veggies and protein. And I will get back on track.
My biggest fear is that I think I will gain this week.  Earlier this week, my pants felt awesome and loose. I could feel a difference. But I’m afraid my indiscretions of this week will work against me on Tuesday when I go to be weighed in. and it’s frustrating. I don’t want to be discouraged. So I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I can at least maintain, if not lose this week. I plan on doing a lot of walking between now and then to see if it makes a difference.
Have a good weekend, everyone.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last night...

Last night, I dreamed that I had gained six pounds before my next weigh in—and it made me horribly depressed when I woke up. Next week is an off week where we are supposed to schedule our first nutritionist appointment (which I’ve already had and scheduled my second one), so our next weigh in/class isn’t until December 11.  A lot of people in class LOVE missing weeks—I don’t. I need that anticipated scale visit to keep me on track. I KNOW me, and out of sight equals out of mind—and gives me leave to eat whatever.
With two holiday parties on the horizon next week (office potluck on Thursday, and Company party on Friday), I know that it will be a challenge to lose weight, even though I do plan to maintain. I’m already slightly bummed because I gained a pound at the last weigh in (although I’m chalking that up to hormones and water retention).
My weekend plans include making a big pot of my “Everything but the kitchen sink” Turkey chili, practicing my knitting (a lovely knitting coworker suggested that I get some real knitting needles and #4 yarn, and is going to show me how to get from row 1 to row 2), and trying to NOT eat everything around me.
Every week at class, we are required to fill out a form for the insurance company. It has our identifying information, along with our current week weight, and then we have to fill out questions about what challenges we faced and what success we had. It also has us list our goals for the following week. I might try to do that here when I think about it.
My challenges this week: lunch with coworkers, missing my mom so much it hurts, and not enough sleep. 
My accomplishments: not using retail therapy to make myself feel better, eating my yogurt every day, and getting half of my walks done (weather and coworker distractions prevented the other half).
Happy Friday. I hope your week has been better than mine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In the never ending quest for information

As you will learn if you continue to read me, I am a researcher. I want to know anything and everything about whatever it is that I'm interested in 

So don't be shocked that when I started the Bariatric process, I embraced it fully, and I spend alot of time reading blogs of other people who have gone ahead of me--those who have forged the path for me, and for those to follow me--on a quest for a healthier life. 

One of the more recent blog discoveries is The World According to Egg Face.  

This girl ROCKS.  I know that I'm not having the same type of surgery (I am going to be a Lap-Bander as opposed to her RNY), but I am EMBRACING her advice--and especially her recipes.  Some of them I want to try now--they sound THAT good. 

So, Egg Face, I bow at your skinny RNY feet, and beseech you to choose me to win your latest give away of awesome post surgical things that I can totally begin using now! :)

How to eat out and not blow it

This is the make- up class from when Sandy hit, and everything was closed. We basically learned how to read a menu and stay within our calorie budgets when eating out. This has been a challenge for me recently, as I just really started eating out again after having taken about a three week hiatus from it.
It all started with dinner last Friday night at Bertucci’s, where I split some small plates and shared a pitcher of Sangria with two friends. Followed by lunch at Chili’s on Monday where I packed in 400 calories for a bowl of soup alone, along with another 400 for salad with blue cheese dressing. (In my defense, Chilis has the BEST blue cheese dressing I’ve ever tasted). Today was lunch out at Panera, where I made some better choices with the Vegetable Pesto soup (instead of broccoli cheese—savings of 100 calories), and ½ of the Asiago Roast Beef Sandwich (at 360 calories) total calories—460 for that—plus another 100 or so for the deadly bread and butter.  And then I ate a Christmas tree cookie. A whopping 430 calories! That’s almost as much as my ENTIRE LUNCH was!
I know WHAT to eat when I go out—but it’s SO HARD. I’ll admit this—I am a SUCKER for bread, especially paired with butter. Bread and rice and pasta are my downfalls.  At home, I eat basmati brown rice. At home I eat Fiber One whole grain bread. At home, I use Smart Balance. When I go out to lunch or dinner—it seems that ALL. BETS.ARE.OFF. And I make poor choices like I did today—poor in eating the bread and butter and cookie.  The rest of my lunch was actually relatively good and within my allotment of calories. Now dinner will be less filling to make up for the cookie indiscretion.  I can’t escape the bread—it’s everywhere. I just need to learn how to say no to it.
Extra motivation: I gained a pound at my weigh in yesterday. So I need to get back into the soup and walking lunch that has helped me recently. No class next week, so maybe I’ll just write something anyways.
Ciao—and I don’t mean ‘chow’! J

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pick the Pink!

This past week, pre-Turkey day class was about recipe substitution.  As a plus sized girl who grew up in a house with a mom who was always on a weight loss plan of some sort (weight watchers, medically supervised shakes, slim fast shakes, etc), there are a lot of things that I grew up doing that I thought were “normal” in the context of food. Case in point:  using a mix of ricotta and cottage cheese in Lasagna.  Using Sweet-n-Low and red wine vinegar as salad dressing. Using Sweet-n-Low with mayonnaise and skim milk as coleslaw dressing.  I thought these were NORMAL! And I still do, since that’s what I grew up watching my mom do, and in turn, learning them from her.  Is it any wonder that I shun the blue and yellow artificial sweeteners and only go for pink?
The majority of the class was spent modifying recipes.  The class leader this week was my nutritionist (the one that I have met with once and will meet with once more before the end of this process).  She is very nice, and it was a change from the other class leaders.
She handed out regular full of fat recipes for us to review, and then we discussed how to make them healthier.  And all of the suggestions that were made were all things that I currently already do! I don’t fry eggplant for eggplant parmesan. I already bake it! I already use reduced fat cheeses and turkey in my lasagna (and it is delicious). If I do get the hankering for fettuccini alfredo, I already do use low fat cream cheese and skim milk instead of cream! Or better yet, a small scoop of the Philadelphia cooking cream is really good, too. But don’t think I cook like this all the time—because I don’t. (Most of my week night meals are bags of frozen stir fry veggies from Trader Joes, Tyson grilled chicken breast strips, frozen cooked shrimp, and microwave rice and veggies from Birdseye. I only cook heavy things like this on weekends when I have tons of down time).
Even though the boyfriend and I didn’t do Thanksgiving this year—yes, we shunned cooking a turkey and all the trimmings—I still feel like I’ve gained weight.  Maybe because it’s time for a visit from my aunt flow, and I’m feeling all bloated and stuff--or it could be the entire pot of corn cake that I made and ate over the course of 4 days—but it will be interesting to see if I gained or if I continued to lose after this week. I've also slacked on my exercise--none on Thursday, or Sunday.
As of last week weigh in (where I lost another 4 lbs), I was down 14 lbs from when the class started on September 11. Yes, it’s not as much as it should be—I should have been losing 2lbs a week—but it’s much more than I thought I could do! The first few weeks I struggled with fluctuating—but the past three weeks I’ve lost consistently (5lbs, 3.5 lbs, 4 lbs) I just hope to keep moving the scale down. My goal was to lose 40 pounds before my scheduled surgery—because as it’s explained, the more you lose before surgery, the more you will lose in the long run—because during the first year after surgery—you will lose about 75% of your desired goal—so the lower your starting weight, the closer to your end goal you can get within a year.
So today is Monday, and during the week, I am awesome at sticking to plan, eating at regular times, and being a great diet person.  (Well, I was until lunch today when I went with my coworkers to Chilis and ate a bowl of Enchilada soup at 400cals, a salad w/blue cheese dressing at 410 cals, and some chips/salsa that I'm estimating at around 300cals). Weekends(and weekday holidays) seem to be my weak points.
Weigh in is tomorrow night.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I have inched down another pound or two—but I’m also not going to get discouraged if I didn’t.  Every day is a new day to make healthy decisions!
I hope that all of you are making your own healthy decisions and finding your way on this journey, also.

On a side note, I think alot of people have dropped out of the class.  There has been no sightings of Amber, Half-n-Half, Dundalk, and a slew of others who never made the postings earlier in the year.  At this point, I'm beginning to think that I'm the ONLY person in my class who hasn't missed a single day. Go me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I fell into a burning ring of fire....

This is technically week 9, but week 8 was canceled due to bad weather.  So instead of talking about portion control, we talked about eating and triggers that cause us to eat. At weigh in, I had lost 5 lbs from hacking out my lungs for the two weeks previous. Go me! J
Okay, not really go me because being sick is MISERABLE.  The only good thing is that I can’t smell or taste a lot of things—so it takes away my desire to sit and eat.
This class was taught by Chipmunk, and I have to say, she actually did make some really good points about triggers and eating that I’m going to share here.
We all know that you should be eating breakfast, and try to have at least three meals per day—although three smaller meals with 2 or 3 small low calorie snacks thrown in is also acceptable. I try to adhere to that formula, as it works the best for me.  Keeps me from being RAVENOUS when I get home.
One of my BBF’s tends to go all day and not eat anything—and then when she finally does stop to eat, she’s downing a whole days worth of calories for dinner.  She wanted to know why she wasn’t losing weight, because she’s not going over the calories. And Chipmunk had a GREAT response!
She said that you need to think of your body as wood stove and the fire as your metabolism.  To keep your fire going, you need to feed it wood during the day.  If you wait all day without feeding the fire, and then shove a ton of wood on it, the fire won’t do well because it’s burned down, and it can’t burn up all that wood at once—it takes time for the fire to restart.  But if you keep your fire fed, and throw a log on every few hours, the fire maintains itself. So to keep your metabolism going, you should eat every few hours. If you wait all day and then eat 2,000 calories at once—your metabolism will be sluggish and can’t get around to burning off those calories like it could if you had them earlier in the day.  I really took this with me when I walked out—it was a great analogy and I think that my BBF has taken this to heart, as she’s making more of an effort to eat during the day. And I think that it will pay off for her, since her eating will keep her body from thinking it’s starving.
One thing during the trigger class that really kind of bugged me was that a lot of people in my class seem to think that having bariatric surgery is a ‘magic bullet’. I think that they think if they have the surgery, they will get magically thin without having to worry about what they eat, or making the life style changes needed to maintain their new life. In fact, during the class, Now asked the instructor why does it matter about eating habits, because once she has the surgery and her stomach is tiny, she can’t eat as much, and if she eats too much she will throw up and that will train her to not overeat.  Does anyone see the issue with that train of thought?

Monday, November 12, 2012


On week 7, we had a visit from a sleep disorder doctor to tell us how important sleep is to weight loss, and overall health. Of course, the first thing he talked about was sleep apnea, and that pretty much all of us need a sleep study done. No.I.don’t.

Why is it that everyone seems to assume that if you’re overweight, you have sleep apnea and need to have a machine to breath for you at night? I feel that it’s unfairly stereotyping heavy people, but I digress.  Just for the record, I do not have sleep apnea. I do have jacked up sinuses due to year round allergies which does cause me to snore sometimes—but my boyfriend says that I do not have apnea. So there.
The funniest moment of the night came when the largest woman in our class (who does walk with a cane), who was just put onto sleep machine (or as I call it, the ‘snooter snotter’) asked about what to do with the machine it when she had “company” over.  The doctor, of course, was like, “well, keep your bedroom door closed.” To which she replied, “I actually meant BEDROOM company.”  The look on the doctors’ face was priceless!
Hey Sleep Doctor—just because we are overweight doesn’t mean that we don’t get our groove on! Most of us actually do have spouses or partners who love us no matter WHAT the scale might say—and yes, we do like to ‘hit’ it. 
And of course Dundalk had to make the class all about herself, and talk about her issues of almost dying EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. due to her sleep apnea, but it’s not been diagnosed by a doctor, and she’s not on a machine to help her. She really did hijack the class—and the funny part is—EVERYONE (and not just me and my two BBF’s) notice it, and we ALL sigh and roll our eyes when she talks. I like my classmates more and more as I get to know them and their personalities.
So that was it on sleep.  I know sleep is important—but I can’t help it that all the good TV shows don’t come on until 10pm!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sweating with the Oldies (Literally!)

This is the post that I should have written for week six--I'm just three weeks late. Hey, don't judge. I'm getting caught up! :)
Sweating with the oldies (literally).

Okay, I am not the youngest person in the bariatric class. I am not the oldest. I fall somewhere almost smack dab in the middle of the age bracket.
Before now (okay, like 4 years ago), I used to work out ALL.THE.TIME. I walked 2+ miles a day TO the gym and back.  Yes, I WALKED to the gym and back, where I would do cardio classes or weight training, or both, for one or two hours a night. Now I’m big and lazy—but I like to think I still have it.
During week six, we had a visit from a trainer. He basically came in and did an aerobics class. I forgot to wear workout clothes, but I did have on tennis shoes.  Thank. God.
Personally, I think that the training was a good idea, but I think it was FAR TOO ADVANCED for the majority of the class.  Please keep in mind that about 50% of the class is older, most walk with canes or ride scooters, and take up an entire bench for themselves.  They can barely walk, must less get up and dance. This session was like the sessions that I used to take at the gym—full of grapevines, lunges, and all sorts of other aerobic moves that I’m blanking on now. I was DYING, but I think I did pretty good to keep up like I did. However, most of them sat on their benches and clapped and moved their sarms since that was the most they could do.
I remember when I was a kid, watching Richard Simmons on TV, and there was one of his success stories—about a woman who couldn’t walk or get off the couch—and he helped her—and in the beginning, all she could do was clap. And Richard Simmons had her clap her exercise.  Because clapping was all she could do—and clapping was better than no exercise at all.
I’ve been reading a blog by a woman who has a goal of losing 300lbs. It’s called  I started at the beginning, and I read every single post that she’s written since she started her journey. And she talks about how, in the beginning after her gastric sleeve surgery, she could only walk for 30 seconds.  30. Seconds.  And how every day, she increased it just a little. It’s a miraculous journey that she’s on—and she’s not done yet! I can walk for far longer than 30 seconds.  5 years ago, I did a 10k (walking it), but I did it! And I finished it—and I wasn’t the last one to finish either. I walked 6.2 miles in exactly 2 hours. Could I do that right now? Probably not in two hours—but I’m sure I could walk 6.2 miles.
The point is, it doesn’t matter how out of shape you are, or how much you weigh. The point is that you are making a choice to change your life. And that choice to change your life starts with the choices you make now.  So start with baby steps—walking 30 seconds if that’s all you can. Even if you can only clap your hands—it’s something. And something is always better than nothing!
I still have week 7 (importance of sleep) to write about, week 8 was canceled due to the hurricane, and then I’ll write about week 9 (behavior modification).  Week 8 will be made up in December. Stay tuned for more awesomeness. I have a really great insite from class last night that I want to share. Look for that in the week 9 post!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Post for Week five

This is the post that I wrote for week five, and then never posted. I'm posting it now because I really think I need to. I will get caught up.  I've been incapaciated with a nasty cold since last week--and then the hurricane canceled our class this week. But don't worry--I'll be getting better about this. I promise. :)

Week Five:

Week five was actually all about reading food labels.  I know, right? It was informative, but I know how to read a food label. And no one really did any extraneous talking about their personal issues—SCORE! But it also makes for a very boring class.
On the plus side, I lost 2lbs, even with the visit from my Aunt Flow that made me eat EVERYTHING.IN.SIGHT.  Luckily, I tried my best to make sure that everything in sight was healthy. 
As I get further into this process and I begin to accept the entire lifestyle change that this entails, it’s becoming more obvious that the people in my class will also be a support system.  They are the ones who show up every week (mostly) and sit through the classes with me. They are the ones that hang out with me before class, talking in the halls about the previous week and the challenges we faced.  How we ate two servings instead of one. How we went over on our calorie counts. How we got stressed out and ate a whole container of cookies, or just couldn’t resist that trip through the McDonalds drive through (not me!).
Going into this process, I made the decision from the beginning that I would only go through with it if I was able to get the Lap-Band. This is a personal decision that I came to, and I plan to stick with it. I also made the decision that I would keep this entire process a secret. I don’t plan on telling my co-workers. I haven’t told my best friend. I don’t plan on telling my family. The only people who know this process are my boyfriend, a good friend who had her own band done, the people in my class, and anyone reading this. I am ANONYMOUS.
Starting this journey has been hard.  Making the decision to attend the information session took huge chutzpah on my part. Who wants to admit that they have a problem, much less have to seek out help to resolve it in a public forum? I’m very stubborn. I thought I could do this on my own—but I can’t. And the help I need is in the form of major surgery that will hopefully shut up my brain when it realizes that I can’t eat everything it tells me to shove in my gullet. 
So yes, expect some bitching and whining over the next year or so—or however long I decide to keep this going. I know me. I will most likely count calories until I drive people crazy. I will ask questions of my friend about her band until she probably stops talking to me. I will complain that I’m hungry. I will still try to find humor in my classes that I can share here. But I also want to be real, with myself and with you. I want people to know that this isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be. I feel like I’m starting the war to end all wars—the war with myself.  Because I know that I AM my biggest enemy. I will be the first person to sabotage myself. I will find reasons to justify that cookie, or the swing through the drive through, or justify any weight gain as hormonal. So, not only am I accountable to my boyfriend, and two BBF’s from class (Bariatric Best Friends), but I am also making myself accountable to YOU!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weeks 5 and 6

I had written a post about week 5 and reading nutrition labels, and then never got around to posting it. Then last week was exercise week, and then two days later I got the stomach flu and have been incapacitated since then.

I hope to post an update before week 7 class tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Week 4 (or all Dundalk, all the time!)

Adding to the cast of characters this week:
Chipmunk--the Clinicial psychologist/psychiatrist
Now--aunt of Later
Minny--older black woman who is totally channeling Octavia Spencer from The Help. No joke!
Marge—older white woman with a raspy smoker voice. She just makes me think of a Marge.

This week, Blondie took the night off, and we had a guest leader whose first name was a cute little furry animal---so for privacy sake, I'm going to call her Chipmunk! Using the actual cute little furry animal might be too much of a giveaway.

Chipmunk was there to help us learn to recognize why we eat, and what triggers our eating habits. It's a topic that would have been interesting to pursue more in-depth, as I know that this is one of the issues I need help with. What DOESN’T trigger me to eat is a more valid question.

Some highlights of the night are below.  Unfortunately, my BBF was absent because she’s on an awesome vacation, where at last email, she was having an eating blowout.  And Amber was also absent for reasons unknown.  Tennessee was also missing again.  I hope he didn’t give up already! And apparently, in Ambers absence, Dundalk plopped herself RIGHT NEXT TO ME for the night, so I got to be HER new Best Friend. I actually spent most of the class with my head turned away to avoid breathing in her cigarette smoke and unwashed state of dress. At least Amber is clean, even if she's wearing PJ's.  

On triggers:
Chipmunk: Okay, now I want you to think about reasons why people eat? What kind of triggers involve food? What makes you eat when maybe you really aren’t hungry?
Now:  Celebrations.  People always want to celebrate things with food.
Chipmunk: Good, anyone else?
Minny: Barb-b-que.
Chipmunk: Okay, that's a good answer as a trigger food--but I'm actually looking more for trigger behaviors. 
Minny: The smell of it cooking. The way it tastes.
Dundalk: Spicy food!  
Chipmunk: Okay, so spicy food makes you want to eat?
Dundalk: I LOVE spicy food. I can eat it all the time. (wait for it--contradiction to follow!)
Chipmunk: Okay, but what I'm really looking for is an external trigger that makes you want to eat. Things like celebrating an event. Birthday parties, for example.
Marge: Sorrow?
Chipmunk: Yes, depression can be a trigger.
Marge: No, I meant a funeral. You know, when people bring a lot of food to the house.
Chipmunk: So not actual depression, but just the availability of food?
Marge: Yes….maybe…

On recognizing hunger:
Chipmunk: How do you know when you’re hungry? What signals you to say that you need to eat?
Now: Your stomach growls.
Chipmunk: Good. Anyone else?
Dundalk: I don’t know. I never get hungry.
Chipmunk: You NEVER get hungry?
Dundalk: Nope. I’m forced to eat three times a day, but I don’t ever get hungry.
Chipmunk: You’re forced to eat?
Dundalk: I’m never hungry, so I have to be forced to eat, and I have to take pills for nausea because thinking about food makes me sick.
Marge: I get a headache.
Chipmunk: (to Marge) Good example. Sometimes, that’s an indication of low blood sugar.
Dundalk: I hate eating (another contradiction—we are in a weight loss class!).
Chipmunk: (you can literally see the wheels turning in her brain). I see.  So you are never hungry? You are forced to eat, and you take pills just to contemplate eating?
Dundalk: Yeah.
Chipmunk: Hmmmm…..

On signals for being full:
Chipmunk:  Satiety.  Do you know what it means? It means to be satiated, or to feel full or complete. So, what does being full feel like?
Now: Being full feels like being satiated.
Chipmunk: Yes, but I just said that. What does being full FEEL like to you? How do you know when you are full and when to stop eating?
Minny: When I’m stuffed and I can’t eat another bite!
Dundalk: When I’ve eaten so much I can’t possibly eat anything else, and I’m vomiting because my stomach can’t hold anything more?
Chipmunk: Yes, when you have eaten so much that your body can’t hold anymore food and is forcing elimination, that would be the point that you are past full. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The past week....

The past week has been trying, especially on the eating part. 

Weekends are my weak points. I know this. I admit this freely. I get bored, and suddenly, my idle hands are thinking of things to shove in my mouth. So I look for ways to fill the hours that don't involve eating (or biting my finger nails--another bad habit).

This weekend, I pulled out a knitting kit that I bought two years ago. It's for kids. It has HUGE wooden knitting needles (color coded red and blue). It came with super thick funky pink yarn.  The idea is that a kid can knit the Chunky Funky Scarf in less than two hours.  I have tried to knit this scarf (on and off) UNSUCCESSFULLY or over two years now.

WTF. I'm not an idiot. I am college educated. But for the life of me, I cannot knit this stupid scarf. I can (sorta) get the casting on. I can do a whole row of stitches--but when it comes to switching hands and going backwards---it all goes downhill from there.

In between trying to teach myself how to knit, I ate a ton of steamed rice and sauteed veggies. Figured that if I was going stuff my face, I would make it somewhat healthy. I did pretty good the rest of the time, until yesterday. I stress eat, and I got stressed at work, which resulted in me walking through the door at home and eating 3 slices of deli ham and a Fiber One brownie. Then I ate my grilled chicken and grilled brussels sprouts for dinner.

Class/weigh in is tonight.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't gain (I've lost each week so far), and hoping that my visit from Aunt Flow won't cause me to retain too much water this week.

See, I can be serious, too.  And maybe I'll try to be a little less mean. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Week three

During week three of the Bariatric class, I decided to change things up and sit in a new spot.  Honestly, I wanted to sit somewhere other than near Amber, so I moved to the other side of the classroom. It’s not that I don’t like Amber, but she’s annoying.  So. Annoying.

So I move to the other side of class, and guess who decides to move with me? AMBER! She sits down right next to me, because apparently, we are now best friends! Yay, me! (Just in case it’s not obvious, that’s sarcasm).  I don’t want to be friends with her, because then I will feel guilty about making fun of her…well, not so guilty that I’ll stop, but I might not be as snarky.  And then what would be the point of this?

Will the real Dundalk please stand up?

During week two class, about 7 people didn’t show up, including *drum roll please* DUNDALK! The girl that I THOUGHT was Dundalk was NOT Dundalk. (I thought she looked cleaner and more nicely dressed than what I thought Dundalk actually looked like.)  The REAL Dundalk has a side neck tattoo of her name? Maybe—it’s someone’s name. She also seems to have a lot of other oddly placed tattoos. Her uniform of choice runs to grungy T-shirts for things like Nascar, beer, and other white trashy “likes”, leggings,  and plastic flip-flops.  At least Amber rocked her Pajama Jeans for class this week!

Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of ‘funny’ anecdotes this week, but this is the best of the bunch.

On making milk substitutions:
Blondie:  So continuing from where we left off last week, how many people decided to make a simple change, like going from whole milk to 1% or even skim? Anyone?
HnH:  What if we use half-n-half?
Blondie: We talked about this last week. You really should try changing your half-n-half to at least 1%. Half-n-half is really a waste of calories.  
Dundalk:  What if I already use 1%?
Blondie:  That’s fine.  You weren’t here last week, but that was a simple change that I thought everyone would be able to make.
Dundalk: Oh, well, I didn’t need to be here. My husband already had this done, and I already have all of his books, so I just looked at them.
Blondie: It’s good that you read some of the materials, but you are required to complete every section of this class in order to be approved for your surgery. Everyone who missed last week will need to schedule to make up that one class when the next session starts.
(it should be noted that at least 10 people didn't show up for week three. Did they quit?)

On high triglyceride diet (again):
Amber: So, I don’t understand why you want me to eat all of these foods that are bad for my high triglycerides. You should know that I can’t eat bread, and I can’t have fruit…those are all bad for my triglycerides. So is milk. Milk has sugar, and you want me to drink milk!
Blondie: What I suggest is that instead of going over this each week in class and taking away time from the teaching, you should call and schedule an appointment with a nutritionist in our office.  Then you can come in and spend an hour with her to learn what you can and cannot eat to help you meet your nutritional goals.
Amber: But I’m already eating ONLY triglyceride lowering foods. I only eat 90% lean ground beef. I only eat wheat bread. I only eat turkey breast. I eat olive oil. I eat….
Blondie:  Call the office tomorrow and schedule an appointment with a nutrition…
Amber:  I can’t eat what you want me to eat! This has to be modified.
Blondie: (sigh)

In the parking lot after class (because my new best friend wants to walk with me):
Amber: You know, Blondie is trying to kill me. She doesn’t understand that I can’t eat a lot of this food. It’s bad for my triglycerides!
Me: I don’t know, Amber. I think you should schedule an appointment to go in and meet with the nutritionist. She did say that some modification might need to be made for you.
Amber:  I don’t trust her. What kind of person tells someone with high triglycerides that it’s okay to eat carbs? Carbs  cause triglycerides. And fruit! Fruit is horrible for you. It’s nothing but carbs! And she wants us to eat fruit every day!
Me: Well, I really need to get going now….
Amber: I think she’s trying to kill me!
Me:  I don’t think Blondie is trying to kill you.  If she killed off everyone in her classes she wouldn’t have a job. She’s not going to do anything to jeopardize your health.  She’s a professional. 
Amber:  Do you think she hates me?
Me: Okay, bye! (walking to car)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekends are the worst!

I know that this is supossed to be all fun and laughs, but I think that I might actually post some serious stuff about the trials leading up to the surgery.

Just so you know, dieting during the week is SO EASY.  Work provides structure. Yes, nights are a little harder to handle, but really, it's just dinner and bed.  Now weekends, on the other hand, have no structure at all. My sleep hours are disjointed. I don't eat at regular normal times. I am lazy about writing down anything I eat. I snack from boredom. I don't exercise. Basically, I turn into a blob.

I need to figure out how to get weekend eating under control. I ate an entire bag of potato chips over the course of Saturday and Sunday. A. Whole. Bag. I did make SOME healthy choices by eating alot of homemade turkey chili, and turkey and avacado sandwiches--but that's not enough to offset the entire bag of chips...and the cookies. I forgot all about the cookies.

So, if anyone has some tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments.  No suggestion is stupid.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I forgot something about last meeting

As I was walking out, talking with a classmate about becoming "accountability buddies", or as I like to call it, BBF, or bariatric best friends, Amber latched on and walked with us.  We came to the first door exit to outside, but since our meetings are held in a hospital, the entrance is key card controlled, so to get in OR out, you need to be an employee. 

Amber gets angry, and is like, "That's stupid. Why can't we get out of this door?". So I explained the key card thing, and said, "Well, we just need to walk back to the door we came in. C'mon, it's exercise....that's why we're here, right? Right!"

So, as me and BBF and Amber continue to walk down the hall, Amber is like, "I don't need any more exercise. I do Zumba five times a week, and that burns like 1,000 calories every time!".  Really?  You're motivated to do Zumba? You wore PAJAMAS to the first class--and it was at 6pm! I seriously doubt you see the light of day before noon most weeks.

Another Amberism from the last class came during the nutrition discussion.  After we get started into the green book, and talking about calories, etc, Amber sticks her hand in the air, and says, "But what if I'm already doing EVERYTHING in this book? Do I have to take the rest of the class?".

You know what, Amber, most of us are already doing the simple changes like eating lean protien, eating alot of veggies, reducing carb intake, etc.  Obviously, if you were restricting your calorie intake and exercising as much as you say you are, YOU wouldn't need to be here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Week # 2

Week #2 wasn’t QUITE as entertaining as week #1, but it did have its moments of greatness.  Just for the record, on week #1, our regular instructor was not able to make it to class, so we had the instructor from the other session step in to get us started.  No worries, except that she was like, 11 months pregnant and ready to drop her kid at any time (which she did earlier this week).  Good news is, I lost 1.5 lbs! Yay me!
The new instructor (who I will call Blondie) was very nice. She was very upbeat and positive, and personable.  Even though she was one of those skinny girls who is probably a runner (even though she’s also pregnant and due in January) and super athletic, she didn’t seem to judge, and it felt like she loved helping people to be healthier.  I digress.
Week #2 actually started the nutrition portion of the class.  There is a lot of information about what is a calorie, how many calories are in fat/carbs/proteins, and how many calories you need to eliminate to lose 1lb. (One girl in the class already knew all this because she had been in Weight Watchers, so she was totally the teachers’ pet for this session.  From this point forward, she will be known as WW when she is referenced).  
Just to reiterate, here is a cast of characters so far:
Amber (white trashy and looks like Amber from Teen Mom—probably in mid 20’s. She wore pajamas to the first class!)
Dundalk (white trash and probably from Dundalk—probably in mid 20’s—but seems nice enough)
WW (chick that was in Weight Watchers and knows everything—probably in mid 40’s)
HnH (older black woman who is probably in her late 60’s)
Blondie (class leader—probably in mid 30’s)
Trudy (young black girl—probably around age 20—reference to the ‘Facts of Life’—probably the smallest person in the class and the least in need of this procedure)
Later (white girl—probably in mid 20’s but stuck with a hair style from 1975—called ‘later’ because she joined the class late)
Tennessee (white guy—probably late 30’s—always wears a t-shirt in Tennessee Orange. He’s also approximately the same size as the state of Tennessee. The largest person in the class—but I’m not judging).
Some selected conversations from last night for your reading pleasure:
On the use of artificial sweeteners:
Blondie: There are a lot of healthy beverage choices on the market that will make losing weight easier.  This will prevent you from drinking your calories.  Diet and reduced calorie drinks are great substitutes for sugar sweetened products, and help you to keep your calorie consumption low.
Amber: That’s not true. Artificial sweeteners are bad for you.
Blondie: That’s incorrect.  Artificial sweeteners are a necessary part of helping you to reduce your calories and experience weight loss.  For those of you who are diabetic, it will help you to reduce spikes in blood sugar.
Amber: It’s IS true.  Aspartame causes cancer
Blondie: No it doesn’t.
Amber: Yes, it does. I saw it on TV.  They also said that eating artificial sweeteners makes you GAIN weight.
Blondie (visibly agitated at Amber): You’re wrong.  I’m not going to stand here and argue with you all night.  Artificial sweeteners are perfectly healthy to consume.

On meal plans:
Blondie: I’m going to hand out a green booklet.  This booklet contains your meal plan guidelines for you to follow for the next six months to help you reach your 10% weight loss goal for the course.
Amber (waving hand in the air): I have high tri-glycerides.  Will this meal plan be okay for me, or will I have to modify it to account for that.
Blondie:  The meal plan is fine for your tri-glycerides.  You shouldn’t have to modify anything because this will limit your intake of foods that you shouldn’t be eating anyways.
Amber: Are you sure?
Blondie: Yes, I’m sure.

On making healthy choices:
Blondie:  On page two of your green book, you’ll see a page for dairy products.  If you drink whole milk, you are consuming 150 calories and 9 grams of fat per 8oz glass. By changing to 1% or skim, you will be eliminating a lot of the useless calories and especially fat.  By a show of hands, who currently drinks whole milk? Okay, 2%? And 1%? And skim? I noticed you didn’t raise your hand, ma’am. Do you not drink milk?
HnH:  I drink milk, just not any of those.
Blondie: Oh, do you drink soy milk or almond milk instead?
HnH: No, I use Half-and-Half.
Blondie: Half of what and what? Whole milk and skim?
HnH: No, half-n-half like for coffee.
Blondie: You DRINK half-and-half? Half-and-Half is half cream and half whole milk.  That’s really not the healthiest choice when you’re trying to lose weight.
HnH: Well, I really only use it in my coffee.
Blondie: Oh, well that’s not too bad, I guess, especially if you’re only drinking a few cups of coffee a week.
HnH: Yeah, I use 3 or 4 Tablespoons per mug.  And sometimes I eat it on my cereal, too. 
Blondie (obviously shocked): You use half-and-half in your cereal? And you use at least 3-4 Tablespoons per cup of coffee? (see her mentally calculating calories in her head) How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
HnH: Only about two or three cups a day. When I use it on my cereal, I dilute it with some water. That makes it healthier, right?
Blondie:  Well, that’s something we’re going to go over.

On vegetables being a ‘free’ food:
Blondie:  As you can see, you can have one ‘free’ vegetable serving a day.  A serving is either 1.5 cups cooked, or 3 cups raw.  These refer to the non-starchy vegetables.  Potatoes, peas, and corn are not on this list. 
Amber:  Does ‘free’ mean that they burn more calories than they have in them?
Blondie: No, ‘free’ means that you get them as a ‘free’ option that doesn’t count towards your meal plan.
Amber: But some vegetables are negative calories!
Blondie: That’s a myth. There is no such thing as a food with a negative calorie count. Moving on…

On being Vegan:  
Trudy: So my family, I mean, my mom and my brother, and our whole family is transitioning to being Vegan. So we’ve been drinking organic milk. Is organic milk lower in calories and fat?
Blondie: Although organic milk is a good choice, the fat and calorie content will be equivalent to the same level of milk in the non-organic side. So whole milk, generally, will have the same calories and fat regardless of whether the cows were given hormones.
Vegan: But organic milk is good for you. It says so.
Later: What about acidophilus milk? Is that healthier? Because there’s no lactose?
Blondie: Again, milk is milk and all levels of milk will be equivalent across the board. Whole milk, 2 %, 1% and skim will all have equivalent calories and fat, even if its organic, or its Lactaid.
(it should be noted that no one chose to tell Trudy that to be a VEGAN means NO products from animals—including milk. I guess she forgot about that!)

On drinking juice:
Blondie: Juices can be good for you, but juices can also be very high calorie and sugar products. I know a lot of people are hard-core juicers, but remember that juice can be drank very quickly, and leave lacking.  Eating a piece of fruit instead will give your body fiber, which makes you feel full, and it takes longer than drinking just juice.
Tennessee:  I love orange juice, but I haven’t had any since I was diagnosed diabetic.
Blondie: That’s probably a good idea, but there are other options available to you, for example, Trop50 has less sugar and calories than regular orange juice.
Tennessee:  It’s nasty. I tried it once and it was disgusting.
Amber: Yeah, and it’s probably got artificial sweetener in it, doesn’t it? It has to have artificial sweetener in it!
Blondie:  Give me a minute, I’m reading the label. Yes, it has sucralose, or splenda, in it. But it’s still an option if you can’t give up your morning juice.  Of course, it’s not going to taste Exactly the same, but it might help satisfy that juice habit. You can also look like the Morning Sunrise Crystal Light…
Tennessee (shouts): Crystal Light is AWESOME!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 1--the drama begins

Seriously, I can't make this stuff up!

In discussion about the importance of eating breakfast:
Amber: what if it’s psychologically impossible to eat breakfast, because it makes me vomit. What do I do then?
Nutritionist: well, we really encourage you to try to eat something within two hours of getting up
Dundalk (to amber): you can have your therapist write you a prescription for a drug that you can use to take when you get up so that you can eat.
Amber: I’ll ask for that!
Nutritionist: we really don’t encourage you to use drugs. This is a lifestyle change. We don’t suggest taking more drugs. Just try to eat something within two hours of getting up.

In discussion about class rules and use of phones:
Class leader:  we request that all cell phones be turned off during the class. However, we understand that emergencies arise, so we ask that you please leave the room to take any phone calls.  If you have a situation that you may need to leave for, please sit towards the back of the room, but try to limit the amount of time that you are out of the classroom.
Dundalk: I have two kids with autism. I have to take phone calls if they have issues. So, now that I told you that, I can take phone calls, right? You said as long as the staff was informed…
Class leader: We don’t want you to miss class, if possible, so yes, if you need to take a call….
Dundalk (interrupting): But I have TWO KIDS WITH AUTISM!

On scheduling the psych eval:
Class leader: as part of the course, you are required to schedule one psych eval within the next six months.  This is done on your own, and is billed to your insurance. If you are under medical assistance, you are required to complete six evals, once per month during the duration of the course.
Amber (on medical assistance):  I already see a psychologist AND a psychiatrist twice a week. Do I need to schedule additional appointments?
Class leader: No, as long as your eval forms are completed once a month by either doctor, you are covered.
Me: (in stage whisper) JESUS CHRIST!
Dundalk (not to be outdone by amber): I also see a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  Do I need to schedule additional appointments for these evals, too?
Class leader (becoming clearly frustrated at this point): No, as I just said, as long as your regular provider completes the form once a month, you are covered.

On quitting smoking 90 days prior to pre-surgical visit:
Class leader: you are required to be nicotine free for 90 days prior to your presurgical visit after the class ends.  If you are currently a smoker, you will want to begin the process now to start quitting, since nicotine doesn’t refer only to smoking—it also refers to the patches and gum used to quit smoking.
Dundalk: are there any programs to help you quit?
Class leader ( surprised about good question): yes, XXXXXXXXX county offers free smoking cessation and provides Chantix at no charge. Call this number to sign up.
Amber: Ive tried to quit smoking but I can’t do it. If I take the gum or patch, my throat swells closed. I need something different.
Class leader: Call the number to sign up for free Chantix and support from XXXXXXXXX county.
Amber: but how will you know if we are smoking or not?
Nutritionist: We test you for nicotine. We will know.  You can’t hide it, so don’t try.  You can’t be approved for surgery until you’re free of nicotine for 90 days.
Amber: oh….

On the meal plans that will be provided next session:
Amber: I have high triglycerides. Will this diet accommodate my special medical condition?
Nutritionist: if you have hi triglycerides, you should already be aware of what foods you can and cannot eat. 
Amber: yeah, but what about the foods I CAN eat?
Nutritionist: Well, if you have been diagnosed with high triglycerides, you shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates, refined sugar, fried foods... 
Amber (interrupting) : but what about the foods that are good for lowering them?
Nutritionist: don’t worry—we aren’t going to make you eat fried foods and sugar.
Dundalk: Well, I won’t eat sugar free things. I think that artificial sweetner is the devil, and its bad for you. so I have to eat regular sugar.
Nutritionist (agitated at this point): Everyone will get a customized meal plan. Please follow it to the best of your ability.