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Blossom Walk Update

This gallery contains 19 photos.

As many of you who follow my blog know, I set some goals for myself this spring. Two of those goals were to walk around the Tidal Basin and to attend the Cherry Blossom Parade. I walked around the Tidal … Continue reading

Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out

Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out.

 

I am sharing my friend’s blogpost because I agree with her wholeheartedly! Anyone who says that bariatric surgery is the easy way out has no idea what they are talking about. Please click on the link and read her post!

Bariatric surgery is a huge lifestyle change. There are struggles and difficulties, and potential major problems. But, if you follow the plan, you can achieve great success and change your life.

My surgeon’s office made it clear to me that the surgery is not a cure, it is a tool. The tool can help you change your life, improve your health, and lose weight, but you still have to do all of the hard work. There’s nothing easy about it, but like anything that is good, it is worth all the hard work in the end.

via Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out.

Another NSV Victory – Spring Goals Accomplished!

I had a major non-scale victory today. I walked around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC to see the cherry blossoms.

This is the route I took. I parked on Jefferson just before the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC. I marked my starting point as 1400 Independence Avenue, which is just a block away.

Along the way, I saw the Jefferson Memorial, The George Mason Memorial, The FDR Memorial and the MLK Memorial.

This morning was a gloriously beautiful morning. Chilly and windy, especially along the water, but beautiful. I am planning on going to the Cherry Blossom parade next week, so I will do this again. Hopefully by then, the Cherry Blossoms will be at the peak bloom. I cannot wait to see those pictures.

In the meantime, Enjoy these pictures! Some facts first though:

  • Before today, I had never walked around the Tidal Basin before.
  • I had never seen the MLK memorial or the Jefferson Memorial.
  • The walk from where I parked and back again was about 2.5 miles.
  • I am exhausted and need a nap.

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Springing Forward With Panache! (Good-bye Winter!)

This winter was rough. I am using the past tense because I really want to put this winter in the past. I know technically, it is in the past and already spring as March 21 was the official first day, but it has still been cold and snowy here. We even had some flurries yesterday, in fact.

Spring keeps threatening to pop up, but winter just won’t let go. Here is a picture I took the other day of Cherry Blossoms trying to bloom.

photo 1 (5)

A few posts ago, I gave myself a list of things to accomplish this spring. Stuff that I could not do before  the weight loss that I can do now.  I have some dates picked out for these events. I even bought some new ponchos for all of my walking events, so I’m totally prepared!  (I love ponchos and have very fond childhood memories of wearing the ones my mother made for me. Regrettably, I have no talent with knitting needles and crochet hooks, but I’m glad she did.)

April 5 – Walk around the Tidal Basin, see Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, and the MLK Memorial.

April 12 – Attend Cherry Blossom Parade. The kite festival was supposed to be Sunday, March 30, but was cancelled due to inclement weather. Hopefully, that will be re-scheduled for this weekend.

June 4-6 ish – Lots of DC touristy type stuff that will include a lot of walking. I might try to put my walk to Roosevelt Island during this time frame. A friend of mine is bringing her family to DC and they want to be, in her words, “complete tourists”. I will join them. I am so happy they chose now to visit so that I can show them the city.

I am now officially adding one more thing to my list. (insert drum-roll here)

My friend Sushmita, who owns Studio Pause, is a graduate of Empowered Women International.  Their motto is “Helping Immigrant, Refugee, and Low Income Women Create Sustainable Livelihoods.” They basically teach them to run a business, mostly around arts, crafts, cooking, something they are good at, passionate about, and turn it into a business that can sustain them and their families.

Sunday, April 6, 2014, Sushmita is hosting a fundraiser at her studio, Studio Pause, and I’m helping. We are going to cook Indian food, and serve meals to our friends and family in an effort to raise money for their scholarship program. I will be making my famous chicken saag, (recipe on this blog). And I might also make my curry chicken salad with mango chutney if the mood strikes me, which if I know me, it will.

Here is the Facebook page for the event.

If you’re in the DC area, and wish to attend, please do! It should be fun!

Like The Best Compliment Ever!

Recently, I had two separate friends on two separate occasions pay me the best compliments.

Let me preface this by talking about something else for a minute. I have written the past about having friends, colleagues, etc who only know me as the “after” Colleen. When I show them pictures of the “before” Colleen, they are absolutely aghast.

mepurple

“OMG! No, that’s not you!”

“Oh I can’t believe you ever looked like that!”

I expect that reaction from people who did not know me before the surgery and before the amazing 127 pound weight loss. What I never expected to hear, but secretly glad I did, are the following comments by people who knew me both pre and post surgery.

Recently, I took the metro to the writer’s group one night. I was approaching the escalators, which I routinely walk up and down, btw, when one of the other AWG members came up behind me.

Right after she greeted me with a, “Hi Colleen!” she smiled and told me, “I’m getting used to seeing you look so small!”

I’m not always used to seeing myself as small, so it really felt good to have someone else say it.  I just smiled and said thank you, but really, on the inside I was doing one giant happy-dance which is probably more reminiscent of Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Shoe Dance than an actual happy dance because I’m a horrible dancer even in my own head, but still, I’ll take it.

The other compliment came from my friend who helped me pack and move my apartment. In typical white-trash fashion, I festoon my refrigerator with magnets and pictures. The magnets mostly hold the pictures of family members, (OK mostly pictures of my niece), in place, but some of the magnets are decorative in the loosest sense of the word.

On the refrigerator at my old apartment was a picture of me and my baby sister at her wedding. I weighed probably 300 pounds at the time. I have posted that picture of me and Jenny before. I was quite fat.

Aug 2010

Aug 2010

The friend who helped me move has known me since 2005 or 2006, which is to say she knew me when I weighed 300 pounds.

She grabbed the picture and loudly proclaimed, “OMG Colleen, I almost asked you who the other person in this picture is.”

I of course replied with, “The bride is my sister Jenny.”

“I know that! I almost asked who this person was!”

She was pointing at the 300 pound me.

“But you knew me when I looked like that!”

“Yes, but I don’t think of you like that anymore. It’s hard to believe you ever looked like this.”

We both laughed and packed the picture and magnets away for the move.

When I’m feeling down because I haven’t finished losing the weight, or feel that I haven’t made enough progress, I think of these two incidents. They are great reminders of how far I have actually come, not to mention great reminders of the fantastic friends I have.

Me at Shenandoah Mountains

Me at Shenandoah Mountains

I Have Always Wanted To Do That

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I have had a rough winter, physically, emotionally, food-wise. I have just been making myself crazy. Like most people in the US, I will be so happy to put this winter behind me.

With spring making an appearance in the DC area today, I feel inspired. I got up early this am and went to a Women’s Day luncheon for Empowered Women International. My good friend Sush took part in their program and now has her own art studio.

When I woke up this am, I was not feeling well. I had a bit of constipation, which is quite painful. I had to pick up my friend at 10am, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it. I forced myself to deal with it and just go.  I am so glad that I did. I had a great time. I also came away from the event inspired.

I also started thinking about all of the things that I never did because of my weight and all of the health problems that I had. I had trouble walking and breathing. I felt that I could not fully participate in events because of that. Or I was depressed because of my weight and health problems, so I did not even try.

One of my biggest fears, now that I have lost 127 pounds and can do so much more, is going backwards. I do not ever want to find myself in that place again. So, when I got up this am not feeling well, it was tempting to just say home under the covers and whine about not feeling well. I probably would have too if Sush had not called me.

I dragged myself off the couch, took a shower, put on a pretty dress, styled my hair, and left the house. As Sush would say, “The New Colleen goes out!” I did. And I’m glad for it.

So, I decided I would make some goals for myself this spring. There are all kinds of things that I never did that I really want to do. Here are 5 things I have never done that I am going to make myself do this spring.

So, we’ll see how much I get done. I have to do the Tidal Basin walk and Cherry Blossom parade at particular times, obviously, but the rest I will give myself until the first day of summer to complete.

I want to kick off the warm weather season right. I need to dust off the funk from this winter. I think getting out and doing stuff I have never done before I a great way to jump into spring!

lent

Learning My Triggers

I have had many conversations with a fellow bariatric friend of mine about the subject of learning what my eating triggers are and how to deal with them.

“You’ve done the easy part,” she tells me, as if any part of this weight loss journey has been easy. “Now it’s time to work on why you overeat.”

She tells me all the time that I need to learn what my eating triggers are and learn to deal with them differently than I have in the past. This is especially important now that I can eat a little more. She’s ten years post-op, and she said she is still learning herself. (She looks great, btw.  She’s lost 135 pounds and has kept them off for ten years, so she’s doing something right!)

So, here are some of the things that I know cause me to overeat, eat without thinking, binge-eat, or whatever you call it:

  • Stress – My job, although wonderful, is very stressful sometimes. I find myself snacking more during the day.
  • Well meaning (or otherwise) rude weight loss comments from others – Why do I care what they think, right? But sometimes I do. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am, and I hate that other people think they have a right to judge or tell me what they think I’m doing wrong. That’s the one thing I’ve always hated about “dieting”. Other people’s comments. Weight loss is at once private and public. I could write about this one all day, but I won’t here. Maybe in another post.
  • Plateaus - Everyone hits them. Mine has lasted almost 5 months. The science of dieting seems simple enough. Eat less, burn off more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Right? Wrong. That’s true and not true. Yes, you do lose weight if you eat less, but your body is not a machine. It is complex. It has to readjust to the new lower weight. You have to keep the diet change up for the weight loss to begin again. You have to increase your activity. You cannot stop. You have to have faith that it will all work out. I think that’s the hardest part for me.
  • Negative thinking – We all do it. It doesn’t help that sometimes those negative thoughts are reinforced by the thoughtless masses who feel free to comment on your diet, body changes, etc. Mass media does not help either. Constantly seeing images of fat stomachs walking down the street while the news media bemoans the obesity epidemic in this country. Reading magazines with unrealistically skinny super models on the cover and adorning every page. It is easy to feel bad about yourself when you are constantly bombarded by these images letting you know how wrong you are.
  • Change – Change is stressful for as it is for anyone. I have changed my life a lot in the past two years. I lost 127 pounds. I changed jobs. Now I am moving into a bigger apartment. All of this change has been for the good, but I am still overwhelmed sometimes.

So, how do I deal with all of this without overeating. The truth is, sometimes I don’t. I have definitely fallen victim to an eating binge even since the surgery. Admittedly, more often than not, I am able to fend off a binge by doing something constructive, eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, writing. But more than once, I have caved. I try not to beat myself up about it, because that just makes matters worse. Everyone makes mistakes. Still, I recognize that I need to learn to deal with this issue.

Learning to constructively deal with my eating triggers may take a lifetime, but I am determined. As difficult as it is, I have to do it. I do not want to ever go back to the life I had before.

There are some good things to be said for all of this.  Despite a few episodes of binge eating the following remains true:

  • I am still committed to losing the last 46 pounds that I want to lose.
  • I am still committed to never gaining the weight back. And on that note…
  • I have not gained any weight. Not one ounce.
  • Despite my prolonged plateau, I came down one size in pants from a 14 to a 12.
  • I can sometimes wear a Large instead of a 1x.
  • That means I can shop in the normal women’s department and not the plus sizes anymore.
  • I have purged my wardrobe of almost all of my plus-sized clothes.
  • I still eat much healthier than I did before the surgery. (5 fruits and veggies per day, 70 grams of protein, keeping starches at a bare minimum!)
  • I can walk without struggle.
  • I can breathe.
  • I really feel as if I can be a full participant in my own life again.
  • I have great people in my life. I really am very lucky. I have great friends and great family, all of whom have been extremely supportive of everything I have done.

So, the struggle continues, but I have no intention of giving up. I stay focused on all the good things I have accomplished. Even though it is hard sometimes, I have faith that I will get to where I want to be in the end.