Monthly Archives: March 2013

Women My Age

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***Warning*** Icky subject matter, strong language, and general irritability.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Last summer my eye doctor leveled the phrase, “women your age” at me when I went in for my check up.  I had been having problems reading my medication bottles and other small print and I figured it was time to consider some reading glasses.  I hate to admit I am getting that old, but sometimes you just have to face facts.

The phrase came up when she was asking me what kind of vision problems I was having and she nodded knowingly and said, “Yes, these are common problems for women your age.”  She is 30.  Maybe.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that mind you, but honestly what does she know about “women my age?”

I almost retorted with, “You know, women my age long ago lost that need to please and the politeness filter that goes with it which gives impression that we are somewhat unstable and will snap for no reason, dearie.  You might want to rethink that saying.”

Instead, I just smiled and said, “You know, women my age hate that phrase.” (Because women my age have also learned a self-control we were noticeably lacking in our youth.  Or maybe I just find amusement in politely smiling through someone else’s discomfort.)

The young doctor made it through the eye exam relatively unscathed and I got my glasses so that I can see, but those three words have stuck with me

I find them especially relevant today, as I sit here trying to write while battling cramps and planning a trip to the drug store to restock my supply of feminine products.

Many years ago, my periods began slowing down and occurring less and less frequently.  My doctors mentioned several times that my excessive weight can cause that to happen prematurely.  For years, I have had only one or two cycles a year.  Conversely, the nurse at the gastric by-pass surgeon’s office told me that sometimes when women lose a lot of weight, their periods start up again.  She also warned that when that happens, women can become quite fertile and get pregnant easily. (I wrote about this before here.)

Now, THAT is a phrase that can freak out a woman my age.  Not that I am in jeopardy of getting pregnant right now.  Single, straight, willing men of my age are sadly in short supply.  But Holy Mother of God, I’m not prepared for that.

Let’s start with some basic facts.  I am 47.  I’m no longer a young woman, but I’m not quite an old woman yet.  Nearly there, certainly, but not quite yet.  At 47, it’s not inconceivable (see what I did there?)  that I would continue to menstruate or possibly get pregnant, but it’s also not something I really want to think about anymore.  Ten years ago, I might have been thrilled at the possibility, but at 47 I’m kind of mad and freaked out that I still have to think about this.

I’ve heard rumors that eventually, this comes to an end, but I have not seen any evidence of this so-called menopause yet.  I am beginning to think it is something doctors just made up.  I keep waiting for it to come to an end, but every few months, BAM!  I am struck down with painful cramps, bloating, wild mood swings, messiness, and general miserableness.  Oh let’s not forget the constipation.  That’s a nice little ancillary benefit.  More pain and discomfort on top of already being pissed off.

My sister and I had a discussion about this earlier this am.  She has a history of endometriosis.  She recently had a pretty serious surgery to remove the endometriosis from her insides.  This was her third such surgery.  During a previous one, they removed an ovary.  During this most recent surgery, they removed half of her remaining ovary.  She was so angry.  “Why didn’t you just take the whole thing?  Or do you just want to make sure I come back for another surgery?”

Their reasoning was they left it in, just in case.  (Three other really irritating words, btw.) She is still trying to figure out what they meant by that.  She and her husband have made it clear that children are not an option for them.  I will not go into details out of respect for their privacy, but her getting pregnant is not possible.  She made that clear to her doctors.  She’s also three years younger than me and not really any more prepared to have children than I am.  Furthermore, she never wanted to have any.  She never considered having children an option.

She assumes that the doctors left it just in case she wanted to continue having periods every month.  Of course, they told her that her cycles would probably stop.  “They lied,”  she informed me this morning.  To which I replied, “Fucking men!”

Seriously though, there has to be a better way for women my age to navigate this issue.  The worst part, since my gastric by-pass I cannot even eat the comfort foods that helped me through this in the past.  I cannot have sugary foods, so chocolate is not really an option.  I mean, I can have a chocolate protein shake, but that’s not really the same as the chocolate croissant the girl at the table next to me is eating.  I cannot have fried food, so General Tso’s chicken, fried chicken, or a large plate of gravy fries are out.  I cannot have starchy food, so no mashed potatoes and a hot turkey sandwich smothered in gravy.  How is any of this fair?  I have cramps and I cannot even enjoy some creature comforts?  (Did I mention irritability?)

So, here I sit at my favorite new coffee shop trying to write my way through the misery hoping that and a large cappuccino with cinnamon will get me through to menopause.

Oh Goodie It’s Friday!

Friday is always a glorious day!

Yes, I know today is Good Friday and for Christians of all stripes it is officially the day Jesus died on the cross and we are supposed to mourn, sacrifice, and pray.  I just cannot bring myself to mourn today, however.  Thinking of Good Friday has me thinking of Easter, and Easter is a day of celebration. 

When I think of Easter, I think of where I was two years ago at this time.  I went to Easter dinner with my brother and his wife to her parent’s house.  They are always so nice to include me in all of the holiday celebrations.  They know that I am single and I cannot always get to Pittsburgh to see my mom and step-dad for the holidays, so my sister-in-law’s family always makes a place for me just in case. 

Two years ago, I was miserable.  I weighed over 300 pounds.  I could barely stand or breathe let alone walk.  I felt uncomfortable and I did not feel as if I had much to celebrate.  I went to my sister-in-law’s family’s for Easter and I felt out-of-place and uncomfortable. 

Of course, this was not their fault.  They were nothing but gracious to me, but I was really down about my health situation.  This was before I decided to take control of my life and health and do something to improve my situation.  I remember sitting on the porch, because I had to sit, and watching two groups of guests having fun. 

The kids, my niece and her cousin, were having an Easter egg hunt in the yard.  The other group, several of the adults were standing at the other end of the porch talking and having a good time.  I was sitting alone, just watching.  I felt like a spectator and I might as well have just been sitting at home watching a TV show, that’s how involved I felt with the world around me.

Two years later, I am again preparing to go to Rachael’s parents’ house for Easter dinner and the annual Easter egg hunt and I could not be more excited.  Of course, I will get to spend the day with my niece who I absolutely love and adore.  But I also know that this year, I can really participate in the celebration.  I can actively cheer my niece and her now TWO cousins in the hunt for candy filled eggs.  And I do not have to sit on the side alone feeling sorry for myself.  I can stand and talk with the adults, too.

I feel completely transformed this year, like I have resurrected a better version of myself, so to speak.  I know that I had a couple of bad days this week, but overall, I feel great.  I want to celebrate and share my new life with the people I love and rejoin the world I thought that I had left behind.

My feelings of celebration and joy this year are also tempered a bit because some of my friends and family are not in the best of health.  I have 2 friends and one family member battling cancer and one friend with AIDS who is awaiting test results to see if he has developed stomach or liver cancer, or cancer of the spleen.  I know that while they may be happy for me and my new life, they are all facing some very troubling and dark times in their own. 

I wish I could tell each one of them that everything will be OK, that two years from now, they will look back and see this as a temporary blip on their radar, that there are brighter days ahead.  Alas, it is not in my power to make those kinds of promises.  Would that it were.

I am not an overly religious person.  I do pray, but I do not go to church and I do not proselytize to all of my friends.  Even so, I do still consider myself Catholic.  My grandmother had a big influence over my life and how I view religion.  She believed you served God by serving others.  She treated strangers with as much love and respect as she did her family and close friends.  She took care of everyone around her, often to her own detriment.  In other words, she believed in living the gospel, not preaching it.  Well, not just preaching it anyway.  I know that I am not perfect and I know that I fall short everyday, but I try to follow her example.  I think my positive attitude and belief that I can change my life are, in part, thanks to her influence.

So, my Easter prayer is this:  I pray for good health for all my friends and family; I pray that whatever difficulties they are suffering through now are short-lived and put in the past as quickly as possible; and mostly I pray that in two years we can all look back together and say good bye to the past and celebrate their new, healthier, happier lives.  Amen.

May you all have a Happy Easter!

For The Record

I am feeling much better today.  I am still having some stomach problems, but I think the worst of it is over for now at least.

I did go to my writer’s group social event last night, and I had a lot of fun.  I felt like crap, but I tried not to show it.  I did just what I said I would do.  I went home and freshened up.  Put on clean clothes and curled my hair.  That went a long way to helping me feel better, but not quite the full 100%.  I had a good time socializing with all of my writer friends.  Then I went home and was sick with stomach problems until about 1:00 am.

I forced myself to down another protein shake and finish drinking the litre of water I had purchased.  I needed at least that much to make sure that I hit my minimum water requirement for the day, which goes a long way to clearing up my little problem.

I see the doctor again in a month, but I’m calling his office tomorrow to see if they have any suggestions for what is going on with me.  This is just getting out of control.  I cannot continue to have this problem all of the time.

Apart from that, I’m doing pretty good.  I did lose another 3 pounds, bringing my total lost up to 93 pounds.  I can hardly believe it.

I also found the inspiration for a new short story.  I started writing it today.  Hopefully, I can get it finished tonight and then spend the weekend polishing it up.  I might try to submit it to a one of the many contests I know about.  The deadline for several of them is March 31.  We shall see.

My secondary writer’s group was cancelled for tonight, so I am off to Trader Joe’s to pick up some supplies for the next few days.  Then I am going to turn in early.

 

 

 

Just One Of Those Days

I am just not feeling it today.  It has been cold and snowy or rainy here all week.  Today the sun is shining and it looks beautiful outside, but as the day progresses, I’m feeling more and more blah.  I would love to put my head down on my desk or crawl back under the blankets in bed and sleep for the rest of the day.  I’m not usually like this.  I normally have a very cheery disposition and try to stay positive, but today I am having a bad day.

Part of the problem is I am suffering from some digestive problems today.  I’ve written about this particular problem before and I just do not feel like discussing it again.  I am going to have to go to the drugstore at lunch and instead of eating, get something to help my system out.  This just ticks me off.  I had been doing so well for a little over a week, and now here I am again.  I’m in pain and I feel like crap.

I have also hit another weight loss plateau.  My weight loss has slowed down considerably from the first few months.  Of course, the first few months, I barely ate anything.  Nonetheless, I’m 83 pounds away from my goal and I feel like I will never get there.  Normally, I do not sweat the plateaus, etc, but today I am impatient.  It is probably compounded by the fact that I am not really feeling very well.

I am also fretting about my hair.  I pulled another fistful out this am while I was washing my hair and I almost started crying.  I do not know if my hair actually shows signs of thinning yet, but I am always checking the mirror for evidence that I am going bald.  I have become ridiculously obsessed with this.  I am taking two different forms of biotin every day, I just bought some more biotin shampoo, and I am going to try some iron supplements as well to see if that helps.

Tonight my AWG friends are meeting at a local restaurant for a social event.  Maybe I’ll go home after work, change, do my hair etc and see if that helps.  And, tomorrow the girls from my essay group are supposed to come over and we may have a writing session.  I usually feel better after I get some writing done.

On the writing side of things, I edited one essay that my essay group reviewed for me.  I have also submitted the revised version to AWG for another round of reviews.  Maybe one day, it will be worth something.  Also, I started two slightly humorous essays.  One has to do with my work, which is mind-numbing drudgery.  The other has to do with language and the regional dialect in the small part of America where I grew up.  I do not know if that one is working out the way I wanted.  I also have another essay about when “frenemies” break up that I have to edit.  That essay needs a lot of work and I have been avoiding working on it.  It is a very personal account of what happened when a former friend and I parted ways and what that did to our inner circle.  So, it is a difficult subject for me to revisit.

I do not know why I have decided to focus more on essays than fiction recently.  I think maybe because I have been writing so much of my life on this blog and what it is like to be a fat woman in America, it has forced me to review certain events in my life and how they affected my psyche.  Maybe the essays are a way for me to put things into perspective so that I can finally put them behind me and move forward to accept whatever the future may bring.    Or maybe I’m just full of crap.

To Be the Center of Attention

A while back I wrote a post about being invisible.  I talked about the many different types of social invisibility that I have experienced.  And I also talked about a friend of mine who had the bariatric surgery who talked about how it felt to no longer be invisible after losing her weight.

To me, she seemed sort of unsettled by it.  She was not used to being recognized as a person, let alone receive attention from men.  I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to no longer be invisible.  To have people see me as a person and not some nonentity or worse would be a wonderful change of pace.  To have the opportunity to be seen for who you are and not what you are sounded like a dream.  And to receive attention from men?  There are no words.

Well, ninety pounds later, I find that I am experiencing some of what she was talking about.  I have been receiving a lot of positive attention because of my weight loss.  Granted, part of that attention is due to the fact that I have been very public in the way I have handled my weight loss.  I have been blogging the whole thing even before the surgery.  A lot of the attention I receive from friends and family has to do with this blog and what I am doing.  But some of the attention I know is because of my physical transformation.  I feel very different and I know that I look different.

I know that I am not skinny by any stretch of the imagination.  I have lost 90 pounds, but I still weigh over 200 pounds.  I have 83 pounds to go if I stick to my ridiculously low goal weight of 125.  Nonetheless, I do recognize how different I look to people who knew me pre-surgery.

The amount of attention I have received at this mid-point, particularly attention from men has really surprised me.  Do not misunderstand me.  I have not received any kind of romantic overture or sexual attention from men.  Don’t worry guys, I have not misconstrued any words of kindness or support or your behavior to be anything other than just that, kindness and support.  I just noticed that I have been receiving a lot of attention from you guys recently.  I’m sorry if this topic makes you feel uncomfortable and embarrasses you, but I am a girl after all, so I feel the need to talk about you for a bit.  Just bear with me.

Men are usually the first people to comment on how much thinner I look, how pretty I am or will be when I’m done losing weight.  In some cases, they are my biggest cheerleaders.  They talk to me a lot about my blog and how surprised they are by some of the subjects I write about.

Then there is the whole touching thing.  As a woman who spent most of her adult life obese, physical contact with men has been very limited.  I see the way men act with thinner, pretty women.  There is a lot of casual touching.  There is hugging, a touch on the arm, a pat on the back, etc.  As an obese woman, I never really received much of that kind of casual contact.

Recently, however, I noticed that I have been receiving some of that and it has really surprised me.  On one level, I absolutely love it.  I know that it is nothing more than just a friendly interaction, but it is one that I have lived almost my entire adult life without.  There have been a few exceptions of course, but not enough in my opinion.  On another level, I have to admit it kind of freaks me out.  Because I’m not used to it, I do not always know how to respond properly.  I’m too busy thinking, “OMG he just hugged me!  He’s never done that before.  Why did he hug me?  That was kind of nice.  Nobody ever hugs me out of the blue like that.  I like being hugged.”

I know, I’m a freak and over analyze everything to the nth degree.  I need to get over it, I know that.  I’m just saying that I have noticed how differently men act towards me and that has affected how I see myself.  I feel more confident, and sometimes more attractive.  And I’m a little more comfortable talking to men.  Sometimes.  Maybe thanks to all of this preliminary attention, if I do one day actually receive romantic attention, I won’t pass out cold from the shock of it.

Oh and btw…this is post 100 on this blog!  OMG!

Conquering The Fear

Like pretty much all people, I have been living with fear my entire life.  In my case, however, that fear has been paralyzing.  I felt stuck for a very, very long time.  I kept waiting for it to end, for life to get better and less scary, but that just was not happening. 

I tried many forms of escape to keep me from dealing with my problems and facing the truth.  I have already discussed on this blog my obsession with World of Warcraft.  Obviously, I over-ate.  And I had a whole host of financial problems.  Each of these fed off the other, spiraling around and around, keeping me in a very dark place for a very long time.

I was unable to break the pattern and set any kind of realistic goals for my life and I was not doing the things I know I needed to do to make my life better.  Furthermore, I was absolutely convinced that my obesity was going to kill me sooner rather than later.  I could not handle any kind of real stress.  My blood pressure was out of control.  I had pains all over my body.  My feet are a mess.  My back is a mess.  I was certain I was days away from a stroke or heart attack.  I was afraid of dying.  I was afraid of not dying.  I hated going out with my friends in case I got myself into a situation where I could not walk to where they wanted to go or I could not afford a cab if I needed it.  Not to mention my finances were out of control.  A few more months of ignoring the problem and I’m sure I would have been homeless.

What did I do about all of this?  Nothing.  I spent more time living in Azeroth, (see previous WoW reference), than the real world.  I mean it would have been fine if I was living inside some fantasy world that I created in my head and was writing it all down in the form of short stories or a novel, sold the book on Amazon and made a mint,  but I wasn’t.  My escape was a computer generated fantasy land where I totally rocked.  Except in real life, I did not.  My real life was falling spectacularly to pieces around me.

I had to do something.  I finally accepted that my life would not improve if I did not take action.  When I made the decision to do something about my health, I just started fixing everything else as well.  I kind of had to.  Everything was connected.  Things were a mess for quite a while, but they did start to slowly get better.  Some of the health changes that I started making before the surgery really improved my quality of life just a little.  And let’s face it, a little bit of improvement was a big change for me. 

I took control of my finances.  I had to borrow money from a friend of mine with the caveats that I would take decisive action to fix the problem and that I pay him back.  I am happy to report all of my bills are paid.  I have money in my savings account.  Furthermore, I only owe him one more payment, which will occur next month.  I’m not proud of the fact that I had to do this, but I am very proud of the fact that I was able to turn things around and pay him back.  He’s has been my best friend for 25 years and I would do nothing to jeopardize that friendship.  Clearly he is way too good to me.

I have moved out of Azeroth.  I no longer play WoW.  I did have a very short visit there recently when I took advantage of a 10-day free trial.  I took that time to put a whole bunch of game gold in my personal guild bank which was chock full of game goodies.  Then I gave it all away to some random newbie player.  When the 10 days ran out, I did not re-up.  They had my old debit card info and I never gave them my new info, so the account has been deactivated and I have not looked back.

My health has significantly improved.  I have lost 90 pounds.  I walk everywhere.  My back no longer hurts so much.  My feet still have some problems, but they are getting better.  I no longer live daily wondering if today is the day I will have a stroke or heart attack.  I know I still have a long way to go and that I still have many health problems to fix, but I feel so completely different.  I feel good for the first time in a very, very long time.

I am no longer afraid of every little thing.  I feel more confident.  My friends have even told me that I act more confidently.  At one of my writer’s group meetings, one of my friends told me that during a critique I spoke confidently and with authority.  I was kind of surprised.  I never thought of myself that way.  Yeah, my little brother and sisters always told me I was bossy, but that was only because they are family.  I immediately thought, what right do I have to speak with authority about someone else’s work?  I’m a novice and a dilettante at best.   Then I thought, meh, somebody has to do it, why not me?

You see, I still have fears and doubts, but I am no longer crippled by them.  I still find myself falling down that dark hole sometimes, being tempted by horrible food.  Not wanting to leave my apartment.  Still tempted to return to my old ways of escape.  Still wondering if my bad choices will catch up to me some day.  I just do not let those thougths paralyze me.  I recognize what is happening much sooner so that I can stop it.  I just feel much better equipped to face my fears.  Maybe one day, I will actually conquer them.

 

Days Like These

I sure have been writing all of wonderfully positive posts recently.  Maybe the rain in DC today has me feeling kind of glum, but I feel the need to write a counter post of sorts.

I do not want to imply that everything I have experienced these past few months has been  unbelievably positive.  It is true that I feel great.  I have lost 88 pounds.  I fit into a size 20, which is down quite a bit from the 26-32 range I was originally.  I look better.  My blood pressure is controlled without meds.  I can breathe. I can walk.  I can breathe and walk at the same time!  Life is good and I feel good.

Part of why I started this blog was to give a realistic picture of what losing weight by having a gastric by-pass is really like.  There are a lot of great things happening that I love.  I do not have to stress about eating too much.  That pretty much takes care of itself.  I am losing weight pretty much effortlessly.  There are also some things that are a struggle, however.

HAIR

Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that I am shedding a lot of hair.  I am starting to freak out.  I know that many people who have had a gastric by-pass suffer tremendous hair loss and start showing bald spots.  I have been very worried about this.  I am diligent about my protein intake and my vitamins.  I though that I had managed to stave off any significant hair loss.  It could just be now that spring is coming, I am just doing some natural shedding in preparation for warmer weather, but I am very worried.

I made a few changes over the past month in how I get my protein and vitamins, which could be part of the problem.  I have been eating more protein bars instead of drinking shakes.  Pure Protein makes several very good protein bars.  I sometimes like eating them for two reasons.  One, less cans.  I hate drinking stuff out of a can.  Such a waste.  Yes, I recycle them, but still.  Two because they help in staving off hunger sometimes.  They are a little lower in protein, but not significantly.  I also changed my b-12 vitamin.  I was doing the melt-aways, but I got a good deal on the chewable kind.  Turns out, that may not have been a good idea.  Apparently,  you do not absorb as much of the b-12 in a chewable form.  I also ran out of the biotin shampoo and have been using regular shampoo and the biotin conditioner.

I have given up the protein bars and returned to the Pure Protein shakes.  I am heartened by the fact that I can by a large tub of Pure Protein powder at a store called Wegman’s.  Yeah, it’s a high-end fru-fru type grocery store, but a 16oz tub of the Pure Protein powder is only $9.99, which is much cheaper than buying it in can form anyway.  I also bought some more Unjury chicken broth protein.

In addition, I went back to the melt-away form of b-12.  The b-12 I bought also has folic acid and biotin.  I still need to buy more biotin shampoo, but I think I have enough conditioner to see me through until I get online and order some.

Constipation

I am still suffering through bouts of constipation.  I have been taking a stool softener sometimes and for emergencies, I do take Dulcolax suppositories.  I hate taking the Ducolax.  I have to be at home when I take that, which means if I have constipation during the day, I have to suffer until I get home.  Constipation is quite painful and even using the suppositories are painful.  Once I am done, however, I feel so much better.

I just do  not know why I keep getting constipation.  Maybe I am not getting enough fiber or liquid.  Who knows.

I suggested to a friend that maybe I was eating too much meat.  She immediately replied, “Yes, you are.”

I came back with, “But you do not see what I eat, how would you know?”

She answered, “You’re eating meat.  I’m sure it’s too much.  You should have more lentils and spinach.”

Now how could I argue with that.  She’s not a vegetarian, but she fully believes in the curative properties of vegetables, so I shall defer to her expertise and eat more lentils and spinach along with drinking luke-warm water and massaging my belly,  (her other suggestions for dealing with constipation).

I am really getting tired of dealing with this.  I was pretty sick and uncomfortable this week because of it, which is why I have not been up to blogging much.  I am doing better now, but  am still in a little bit of pain.  My stomach is a little bit sore even and I find I am not that hungry at all.  I really have to force myself to eat.  It’s kind of irritating.

I am also getting a little bit worried about having to use a supplement to go regularly.  I do not want to become dependent on them.  Plus, the pain and discomfort is so horrible, I can kind of understand how someone can develop a dependency on that feeling of release when you finally do clear up the problem.  It is such a relief and I feel so cleansed afterwards.  I can almost understand how someone with bulimia can become addicted to that feeling.  I would hate to go through all of this only to replace one eating disorder with another.  I have an appointment with the surgeon next month.  I am going to discuss it with him.

Coordination

I was never one anybody in their right mind would ever call graceful.  My mother used to joke when I was younger that after all, she did not name me Grace.  But as I am losing weight, I find that I have become even more clumsy than before knocking everything over, bumping into stuff, and dropping things.

The other day, I was walking to the Metro station after work, trotting along at a pretty good pace, feeling pretty good that I can walk to / from the Metro station every day and not get out of breath at all.  I went to step up on a curb after crossing the street, and BAM!  I was face down on the pavement.  I smacked the crap out of my knee and the laptop that I was carrying cross-body fashion hit me in the back of the head.  Fortunately, it did not hit me hard, but still.

I wish I could say my pride was hurt more than anything else, but I was really afraid I had done some serious damage to my knee.  A nice gentleman helped me up off of the ground and offered to call an ambulance.  I declined the offer, but he insisted on at least a cab.  I declined that as well, but came to my senses a few minutes later and hailed one myself.

Fortunately, my knee is fine.  Just slightly bruised.  My shin is a little sore and pretty scraped up.  And my head is fine, well at least as fine as it was before the fall.  It is my hope that after I reach a somewhat normal weight, I will get used to how I feel inside my own body and will be slightly less of a klutz.

Clothes

I am getting kind of tired of the whole clothes situation.  Most of my clothes are too big for me.  I did purge my wardrobe of anything larger than a size 24.  Now I am going to get rid of the 24s as well.  That will leave me with just clothes int he 20-22 range.  And I will be down to one pair of jeans and two pairs of yoga pants.  Not good.

I feel like I am at a crossroads.  I do not have enough clothes that fit me, and I do not want to spend any more money on clothes that I will only be able to wear for a few months at most.  I have decided that I will buy a few outfits.  I am not happy about it, but I am going to do it.  I need new pants and skirts to get me through the next few months.  And I need some new blouses and tops.

My sister gave me a gift card for my birthday and I bought a cute dress and a cardigan sweater.  I need sweaters these days.  Soon, it will be too warm for a jacket and I feel I need a sweater to get me through from spring to summer.

OK, I think that will be enough whining for now.  I did have a fairly rough week, which I think has really left me feeling exhausted.  I am looking forward to a good weekend, though.  St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday.  I love St. Patty’s Day.  There will be no green beer on the menu, which s good because I never could stomach green beer, but I will wear green and a button that says, “Kiss Me I’m Irish”.  Who knows, maybe somebody will.

I will be celebrating my sister’s birthday with the family tonight.  I am picking up her gluten-free vegan chocolate birthday cake, which I cannot eat, and we have having dinner at Carabbas, my sister’s favorite restaurant.  They actually have a gluten-free menu.  Her favorite dish, the Chicken Bryan, is on that menu.  She will have a very good night.  I have not had the Chicken Bryan in years, and now that I can eat cheese, I may have it too.

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!

My Expanding World

Now that I am getting smaller my world is getting bigger.  The one thing about my being obese is that it was very hard for me to move around.  Walking to shop area of my neighborhood was out of the question.  Between back pain and asthma, I could barely walk to the lobby of my building.  It was horrible.

Now that I have lost 86 pounds, I feel so much better.  I am walking a lot more and that is such a liberating feeling.  I am walking a lot every day now and I love it.

Yesterday, WordPress sent me an email from the Daily Post called Phoneography Challenge in which they instructed their bloggers to take their cell phones and hit the streets in their neighborhood, take pictures, and write about it.  I really wanted to do this yesterday, but I did not get a chance yesterday because of work and the general exhaustion that followed.

Today is such a beautiful day here in Northern Virginia.  The sun is shining.  The birds are singing.  Everyone is out walking their dogs, (big thing in my neighborhood).  I just could not sit still inside my apartment in this weather, especially after the horrible cold, windy non-snow storm we had earlier in the week.  I had to get out.

I left my apartment armed with my iPhone and laptop and marched myself down the hill to Shirlington Village to get some pictures, have some decaf cappuccino in my favorite café, and write a blog post with pictures.

I love the area of Arlington where I live.  There are quite a few restaurants, some specialty stores, a grocery store, a library with a theater inside of it, a movie theater where the independent movies are run, and lots of places where you can sit and read, or socialize.  It is a walking village, so there are people walking all of the time, especially with their dogs.  There are even bowls of water on the sidewalk, which there were none out today unfortunately, in case your dog gets thirsty.  Humans have to pay for their drinks.

The first thing I saw was this is the tree outside of my apartment building.

tree

 

So, here are the pictures I took today on my trek through Shirlington.  This first one is of a shop that sells locally made olive oils and vinegars.  I love this shop.

ahlove

 

Busboys & Poets is my favorite restaurant.  It is named after Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1920s.  He literally went from busboy to poet.  They have good food and provide a great space in the community for art, culture, and politics.  Love this place.

 

busboys

 

 

Someone knitted a cozy for the bus stop sign.  I thought that was cute. busstop

 

Cakelove is a locally owned business.  The cakes here are awesome.  They do sell cupcakes, which works very well for this community as people can grab a yummy cupcake while walking their dog.  They also have cakes.  I ordered one today for my sister’s birthday.  The best part about their cakes is that they make gluten-free and vegan cakes and cupcakes.  Probably the best cake I’ve ever had.

cakelove

Cheesetique is a locally owned shop that sells, well cheese.  They also have a restaurant side which serves the best mac&cheese in the country.  Don’t take my word for it,  Food & Wine thinks so too.cheese

 

How nice they provide doggie-doo-doo bags. dog

 

You have no idea how hard it was to get a photo of this fountain when there are no people sitting all around it.  To the right there is a small boy and his mother.  You do not see them here because I really tried to get the picture with no one in it.

fountain

 

This is the Shirlington Library.  It is the only library I know that has a theater included.  There are plays there all the time.

library

 

Cool street lamps and my thumb. light

 

 

I got a salad at Medi, which, as you can plainly read on the napkin, is a Mediterranean restaurant.  I had not been there before today.  A friend of mine goes there quite frequently and raves about it.  It kind of works like Chipotle.   You decide if you want a pita wrap, a salad or a rice dish, choose your meat which are chicken, steak, lamb, or veggies, then choose toppings which are a combo of sauces, veggies, and cheese.  I chose chicken because as my friend Bobby reminded me through peels of laughter, that lamb is red meat.  I still cannot have red meat just yet.  The food here is delicious.medi

 

Cool sign. sign

 

Thai Shirlington restaurant where I got sick from dumping syndrome after having the soup.  My own fault, really.   I had the soup about a month after my surgery.  Nonetheless, their food is delicious.thai

 

 

 

The movie theater where the independent movies are shown.

theatre

I enjoyed my walk, coffee, and lunch today.  It was great to get out of the apartment and walk around.  I will have to do this more as the weather improves.

village

 

 

Thank you for visiting Shirlington!

 

Being Prepared: It Is Not As Easy As It Looks

Now that I am working at an office again, I have to spend a lot of time preparing and being ready for my day as far as food and vitamins go.  Staying on schedule as far as food/drink/protein/vitamins is very important post surgery. 

When I worked from home, it was pretty much a no-brainer.  I could cook when I want.  Take my vitamins and drink my protein as necessary.  Everything was right there with me.  It was easy.

Now I have to make sure that I have two protein supplements, all of my vitamins for the day, my lunch for the day, and money to purchase food in case I forgot something.  Not to mention, I have to factor in a 30 minute breakfast window into my morning routine.  I normally just barely have time to shower, dry my hair, style my hair, get dressed – keeping in mind that he getting dressed portion of my routine includes squeezing myself into some Spanx – find everything I need to take with me and dash out the door in time to catch the bus to the metro.  Now I have to take 30 minutes to have breakfast?  What a P.I.T.A.

I tried eating breakfast while I dry my hair and get dressed, but that has not been working out too well.  I start eating and then forget I was eating and end up throwing it away.  Or I eat too fast and get a stomach ache.  Not good.

I could wait to get to work to have breakfast.  If I do that, I have to carry one additional meal with me on the Metro.  Plus that puts my breakfast too close to lunch.  So, I either put off lunch until later in the day, have my meals too close together, don’t get enough water in, skip a protein supplement so that I’m not too full for lunch, or some combination of the aforementioned.  It just throws my whole schedule off if I wait. 

It has been a struggle to get the combination right, but I think I have a good system going.  I have also done some things to help me streamline the morning process.  I pick out my clothes the night before.  I prepare at least 3-4 days of breakfast and set it aside in refrigerator to only be used for breakfast.  I make 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, small pot of oatmeal, and some kind of fruit.  I also keep extra non-fat plain greek yogurts handy just in case.  I make my lunches ahead of time too.  Then I pack up everything I think I might need; laptop, keys, vitamins, protein supplements, etc.   In the am there is less gathering and less prep work.

Here was my am schedule last week:

  1. 6:30am  – wake up and shower
  2. 6:50am  – dry hair
  3. 7:10am – get dressed
  4. 7:20am – gather everything I need
  5. 7:30am – dash out door

Here is my new and improved schedule for this week:

  1. 6:00am – eat breakfast
  2. 6:30am – shower
  3. 6:50am – dry hair
  4. 7:10am – get dressed
  5. 7:20am – gather everything I need
  6. 7:30am – dash out door

In between all of this in my crazy morning routine, my sister calls me nearly every day.  We have our daily sister-chat in the morning otherwise we would never have time to fit in a good gossip.  Some times we talk for a full 30 minutes, but most days, we barely have 5-10 minutes to talk.  It’s quality not quantity that counts right?

I hate getting up at 6:00am.  It is so early, but I found I had to make starting my eating schedule off properly a priority.  Some days this may shift a bit as I have some flexibility with my starting time.  And days like yesterday where the government was closed, I can work from home which helps. 

I just cannot afford to lose focus just because I am working in an actual office now.  Staying on the proper food/water/protein/vitamin schedule is too important if I want to continue successfully losing weight.

 

Halfsies

When I first started this process, I set a goal for myself.  I wanted to have a go weight so that I knew where I wanted to stop and how much weight I wanted to lose.  When I was in high school, I weighed between 125-135.  I know that the average weight for a woman my height can range from 106-140 depending upon the size of her frame.  I believe I have a medium frame.  The average weight for a woman who is 5’1″ with an average frame is 115-129.

height weight chart

 

I would love to be in that range, 115-129.  That would be perfect.  But, I am not too concerned with perfection.  I am very concerned about my health.  If I end up in the 125-135 range, but I’m in good health, I will be happy.  Heck, I’d even go up to 145 as long as I am healthy and can do everything I want to do and can fit into cute clothes.  I would just be tickled pink.

That said, I do have a goal weight.  My goal weight is 125.  I do not know if I will ever get there, but that’s it.  To reach 125, I have to lose 173 pounds off of my original weight.

Well, today I am proud to announces that I have reached the half-way point.  I weigh 212 pounds.  That means that I have lost 86 pounds, 86.5 being half of 175, so roughly estimated, I have lost half of the weight I need to reach my goal weight.

That is all I have to report today.  I just had to blog to say, “Yay me!”

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