Monthly Archives: May 2013

Momentous Occasion

To say my weight loss has slowed down to a crawl would be a huge understatement.  I have been bummed because I gained three pounds while in Texas and it has taken forever for me to lose anything at all.  I have hit plateaus in my weight loss before, but this one seems to be the only plateau that has brought me down.  Mainly because this plateau has lasted almost a month.

That aside, I have good news today!

I lost the three pounds that I gained while in Texas.  Furthermore, I have lost two additional pounds on top of that.  I am down to 188.  This brings my total weight lost to 110 pounds!

Whatever else is going on in my life, this is good news!

I celebrated this week by getting a mani-pedi and a hair cut.  I took a day off of work.  I had lunch with a friend who I have not seen in what feels like forever.  I met another friend for coffee and reviewed a portion of a book he’s writing.  I just had a pretty good week and losing a total of 110 pounds is a great way to cap it off.

This weekend promises to be fun as well.  I am having some friends over for breakfast on Sunday.  Tomorrow I am supposed to be doing a “girls night” with my sister and my sister-in-law and possibly my niece.  Originally, the niece was not included, but she heard us talking about it and started crying because she wants to go to girls night too.  For girls night, we plan on getting all dressed up in our nicest clothes and go out somewhere.  I have a pretty dress for which I have no purpose other than I wanted it.  And the “buy the cocktail dress…the party will come” theory is not working, so I need to make my own plans.  I want to wear it somewhere before I shrink out of it.  The dress is a size 16.  I am already wearing a 14 in jeans, but still a 16 in shirts and dresses.  So, I have the dress, the shoes, the mani-pedi, and haircut…time to party!

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We thought about doing high tea, which is generally at 4pm.  It could be fun if we find a place that has hats and gloves that we can use.  I went to a place like that once for tea and it was fun.  The five-year old would really enjoy something like that I think.  Most likely, we will just do dinner.  It’s hard to find a tea house that does gluten-free, egg and milk free sandwiches and treats.

It will probably be a pretty tame girls night out.  None of us are huge drinkers.  I cannot drink at all and my sister-in-law never really did drink.  My sister is pretty light-weight and it only takes her one or two glasses of wine to knock her on her butt.  Plus, we might have the kid with us.  We all adore my niece and relish having her around, so I don’t see her presence as a barrier to fun, but Mommy may want a night off.

We’ll see how it goes.  But in either case, I am glad that I am where I am with my weight loss.  I am hoping to kick up the weight loss for the summer by joining a gym.  I have not yet, but I hope to this weekend. I need to really start focusing on toning and strengthening.  I have been walking a lot, which is good.  But it’s time to kick it up a level.

Have a great weekend!

Memorial Day Fun

George Washington's Mansion Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mansion Mount Vernon

What a busy weekend.  A college friend came to Washington, DC to visit me.  I have not seen Jerry since November when he visited me after my surgery.  He came to town to help me get settled back into my apartment after I came back from my sister’s house.  I stayed with my sister for a month after my weight loss surgery.

Cow at Mount Vernon

Cow at Mount Vernon

I have known Jerry since I was 20.  We attended the University of Dayton together and we have been friends ever since.  He has seen me through many ups and downs.  He knew me when I was thinner, healthier, and of course much younger.  He saw my health decline as I gained weight.  And now he has seen me make an incredible comeback after my gastric by-pass surgery.  He is so happy that I have started to regain my health.  My return has allowed us to do quite a bit this weekend.

Saturday, we went to Mount Vernon and walked around for over three hours.  We toured the grounds and then stood in line forever to see the mansion itself.  The ride there was hilarious.  Instead of staying on the GW Parkway and following the signs to Mount Vernon, we followed Siri’s directions on the GPS feature of my iPhone.  We ended up in a subdivision.  I have been to Mount Vernon before and I knew this was not right.  So, we back-tracked to Route 1 and found the signs for Mount Vernon and viola, we found it.  We did not follow Siri back home.  Then we went to visit my brother, his wife, and daughter  after we had some dinner.  That was a lot of fun.

Wonder Woman Auntie Colleen

Wonder Woman Auntie Colleen

Then yesterday, he magnanimously allowed me to use him and his truck to pick up some furniture.  We went to Unique and I bought a buffet for my dining area for $13.11.  That’s right, you read that correctly, $13.11.  It was originally $24.99 and they were having a 50% off sale.  Amazing.  Then we went to Goodwill and I bought another small book shelf and a wooden filing cabinet.  Goodwill is a lot more expensive than Unique, but they had a better selection of stuff.  Still, much cheaper than buying new, which I really cannot afford at the moment.  Then we went back to my brother’s house and he gave me a dresser and a very large print for my walls.  Jerry has been exceedingly generous with his time, truck, and willingness to move furniture around for me.

My niece enjoyed her two visits with her Uncle Junkle as she calls him.  Well, OK, she called him that one time three years ago, and we thought it was so cute, we just continued to call him that.  He generously gives her piggy-back rides and runs around playing games with her.  He is as enthralled with her as the rest of us.  We have all fallen under her spell and pretty much do whatever she wants.  She has become our raison d’etre.

Today, we woke up, had breakfast, and took a nice long walk along the bike path in Shirlington.  Then we had coffee before trekking back up the hill.  We are hoping to see my sister later today.  She has been in visiting in Pennsylvania with her husband’s family and my mom.  They were supposed to be back last night.  If they are not back yet, I am sure we will find something to do today.  If nothing else, we can always head down to the Tidal Basin and walk around.

I am so lucky to have such great friends and family around me.  They have all been so supportive of my efforts to regain my health through the gastric by-pass surgery.  I could not have come this far without them, that is for certain.  I will miss Jerry when he leaves tomorrow morning, but at least I know that the next time I see him, thanks to my weight loss, we will be able to have just as much fun as we did this weekend!

Listening To My Body

Since my Dallas trip, I have really been suffering and in pain as I recover from the damage I did.  I gained three pounds while in Dallas and I ate out for every meal.  I had no choice but to eat out, but I did cheat at least twice and have things that I probably should have passed on.

Then when I returned, I had to buy all new vitamins.  I decided to go ahead and start taking iron supplements in hopes to further combat the hair loss I have been suffering, which by the way, has slowed down tremendously.

As soon as I got back from my trip, I returned to my normal eating habits.  It took me all week, but I lost the three pounds that I gained, but my stomach was still really bothering me.  Then the other day, my stomach started feeling better.  I also noticed that I forgot to take my iron pill.  I made sure to take it yesterday though.  As soon as I took it, the stomach pain came right back.  Not only that, it felt like the iron tore right through me like Drano.  My stomach burned and ached and I had to run to the bathroom three times.  It was awful.  Today, I did not take the iron and I have not had any stomach problems at all.

All this time,  I thought it was just the food I ate in Dallas still bugging me.  I was afraid I had really hurt myself.  But no, it was the iron supplement.

I still want to take iron, but maybe I’ll only do it once or twice a week and take it with crackers or something so that it doesn’t rip my stomach apart again.  Or maybe I’ll just eat more spinach.  I like spinach.  Can you say Chicken Saag?

Shenanigans

A couple of my friends called shenanigans on me last night.  I wrote the other day about feeling uncomfortable with some of the new attention I have been receiving, especially increased attention from men whether it is compliments, touching, hugging, or being ogled by random men while on a business trip.

Well, last night after my writer’s group several people complimented me on my weight loss.  I usually handle that well.  Then a guy friend of mine, we’ll call him Bobby, came up to me and complimented the t-shirt I was wearing and said, “You look really good in green, you should wear it more often.”  A really nice, neutral, fairly innocuous compliment.  My response?

“Oh my hair is just a mess today!  I look awful!”

When I said that, another friend, we’ll call her Joanna, jumped in and said, “Oh no, no, no, no, no!  That is no way to respond to a compliment!  How would you feel if I came up to you and said, ‘I don’t want you to get all bitchy on me Colleen, but you look really good in green.’  Rude huh?  That’s basically what you just did to him!”

I turned back to my friend and sheepishly said, “Thank you, Bobby.”

Then a bunch of them spent the rest of the night complimenting me and then applauding when I said “thank you” instead of deflecting the compliment with a self-deprecating comment.  One guy even told me I am simply going to have to get used to it because I am apparently a “looker.”

What can I say to that other than I know, right? 🙂

Anyway, this picture of me was taken last week at my training class in Texas, so it is fairly recent.

texas

What? I Am Not The Center Of The Universe?

OK, maybe I’m the center of the Colleeniverse, and blogging about myself everyday certainly reaffirms that notion.  But I have conceded that I am not really the center of the rest of the universe. 

There are two events taking place today that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me, yet both are consuming every thought in my head and every ounce of my focus.  One is of a celebratory nature, the other more solemn. 

My niece, who is the actual center of the universe, is graduating from pre-K today and despite her request that I attend, I cannot be there to help her celebrate.  If I could choose to be anywhere today, it would be with her.  I will see her this weekend, and shower her with love, kisses, and presents, as aunties are wont to do, but I really wish I could be there today to cheer her on. 

The second, more solemn event…a good friend and fellow writer is having surgery.  He has been suffering from a horrible illness and today will determine if his treatment has been successful.  I hope that has been.

So, instead of thinking of me, my general health, my weight loss progress, my mental health, and all the petty problems that plague my life, I am asking that everyone cheer for my niece and send good wishes to my friend. 

Better yet, show your good wishes and buy one of his books or his music.

Writing About People, Places, & Things – Book

The Girl, The Drugs, & The Man Who Could Not Drink – Book

Cash & Carry – Music (also available on iTunes)

Fighting Back My Own Demons

I know that I have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for since my WLS surgery.  I have lost 108 pounds.  I have come down in size from a 30/32 to a 14/16.  I can walk.  I can breathe.  I can walk and breathe at the same time.  I have many new cute outfits.  I can fit into old cute outfits that I have not worn in years.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

And yet…

I still find that it is a daily struggle to fight back the demons that took me to that awful place where I weighed over 300 pounds and felt that my life was not worth living.  I still have to struggle against the same self-doubt and fear; the same desire to fill that void inside of me with all the wrong things; the paralyzing thought that I have wasted too much of my life; the fear that I have already done too much damage to my body and that no matter what I do now, it cannot be repaired; the fear that no matter what or how much I change, I will always be unloveable; that I will always be alone; that I will never progress any further in life than where I am now; that the evil voice inside my head and the people in my life who reinforce that voice are right, that I am nothing and not worth the effort.

The intellectual side of my brain knows that none of this is true, but some days it is harder to believe than others.  I know tomorrow I will feel differently, but today the struggle continues.

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There Really Is An App For That! A Cool Diet App

I have been using this App on my iPhone called My Fitness Pal.  I typed in my current weight, my height, and my goal weight and it tells me how many calories I need each day to achieve that goal.  Not only that, as I lose weight, I can update my current weight and the app will adjust my expected caloric intake appropriately.

You can enter any profile information you want; your measurements, your height, weight, goal, gender, date of birth, and activity level.  Then each day, you enter the food you eat and any exercise you do. 

pal

I think this is a great app.  Not only does it track your calories, it gives you a nutrition breakdown as well.  You can see how much fat you are getting each day, protein, vitamins, minerals, cholesterol, sodium, and potassium.  It’s pretty cool.  It is also a social networking app.  You can connect with other friends using this app and comment on each other’s progress and offer encouraging support.

I mostly use it to make sure that I am getting at least 1200 calories per day and to track my protein intake.  I’m not so concerned with tracking every gram of fat or every calorie.  I just need to make sure that I am getting enough per the goals set forth by my surgeon.   The doctor wants me to get between 1200-1400 calories per day.  Sometimes, that is difficult to do.  My stomach just cannot handle that much food at one time, so it can be hard for me some days.

For instance today my goal is 1480 (per the app).  I already have taken in 717 calories.  I still have one more protein snack and dinner with 763 calories remaining.  My protein drink is 170 calories.  That will leave 593 calories for dinner.  I doubt I will eat 593 calories at dinner.  I plan to have spinach and chicken.  I did a quick calculation using the app and that will end my day having consumed 1099 calories with 381 calories remaining.  Then the app will yell at me that I am not getting enough calories. 

I’ll be honest though, I have been having some stomach problems today, so if I do manage to eat dinner, I will consider it a good day.  I think my tummy is still in rebellion over the hell I put it through last week.

That aside, if you are trying to lose weight, I definitely suggest this app.  They have it for iPhone, iPad, and Android, so no excuses people!  Get busy…and if you want to connect with me, my user name for this app is morgaine84.

What Is In A Look

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I have experienced so many changes over the past few months it has been difficult for me to mentally catch up to where I am.

First, I forget sometimes that I am not as big as I was.  I sometimes have to do a double take when I look in the mirror.  I cannot believe how small I am sometimes.  I definitely sometimes experience a disconnect between the Colleen that is in my head and the one looking back at me in the mirror.  I also sometimes forget that other people see me differently.

When I was in Texas, I had a training class every day, so I dressed like I would for work.  I wore dresses every day except for my last day there.  My first day of training, I was walking from the shuttle through the hotel lobby towards the elevators to get back to my room.  There was a group of men standing in front of the hotel check-in counter.  I caught one of them looking at me as I walked through the lobby.  I watched as his eyes moved up and down my body and finally stop at my face.  He smiled and said, “Hello!  How was your day?”

My first reaction was disgust and I immediately thought, “Creep!”  My next thought was, “OMG! Did he just check me out? ME? Holy cow!”  Then I felt my face turn about 2,000 shades of red.  I simply replied, “Fine,” then turned away and walked a little faster towards the elevators.

I really did not know how to respond to that.  I’m not used to being looked at by men with anything other than disgust or disinterest.  Not that I think there was any real connection.  It was just a look.  But the look left me feeling unsettled.  I realized that I have no idea how to handle myself if anyone does one day show real interest in me.  To date, no one has.  I have noticed a small increase in overall attention from men, but no romantic interest.  And that’s OK.  I’m not sure I’m really ready.  Maybe I am.  Who knows.

When I returned to the room, I checked myself out in the full length mirror.  I do not have a full length mirror at home, so I really do not know what I look like in my clothes most of the time.  I can only see myself down to my waist in mine.  The first thing I noticed when I looked in the mirror was my dress.  The dress I was wearing was too big.  I immediately tried on one of my other dresses.  That one was too big too.  Then I tried on the rest of the clothes I had in my suitcase.   I could not believe the difference I saw in myself.

Still, I could not understand what the man in the lobby was looking at.  I couldn’t get beyond the fact that my dresses were too big.  I mean, my legs are definitely looking much thinner.  I lose weight in my legs and face before I lose anywhere else.  I’m smaller on the bottom than I am on top.  Always have been.  But that is all besides the point.

The point is, I need to recognize that I really do look different from before.  People notice.  People who have never met me do not see me as I was.  And I need to learn how to better handle the attention the new me is receiving.

The Return Of Spring!

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Finally!  Spring has really arrived in DC.  I returned from Dallas to a nice balmy 79 degrees at 1:30 a.m.  Today’s high will be 81.  It might get a little bit chillier over the weekend, but all next week is 80s as far as the eye can see!  At last!  Granted, it may rain every day, but at least I will not be freezing.  I’m so tired of being cold.

I will be glad to put away the sweaters and scarves for the winter.  In fact, I may get rid of most of them altogether as I will need all new ones by the fall.  I love getting rid of old clothes.  Spring is a good time to do some closet purging, right?

I used to be a bit of a pack rat.  I have kept a lot of the clothes I have acquired over the last 15 or so years.  I was kind of glad that I did because it meant that I could have some clothes to wear as I lost weight.  But now that I have shrunk out of almost all of them, it’s time to let them all go.  I am hoping to get some of them to a used clothing store called Unique this weekend.  If not this weekend, definitely next.  I have a friend coming into town for Memorial Day and he can help me unload some of the stuff jamming up my closet.

Apart from that, I need to get my place ready for my out-of-town guest.  I am not sure what we are going to do other than reorganize my closet, but I know we will be out and about.  There will have to be at least one visit with my niece.  Probably at least one visit to the DC Mall or something.  And dinner with a friend of ours from college.  Maybe we will actually make it to see Rolling Thunder. 

I’m just glad the weather is finally getting better.  Bring on the shorts!

Eating On The Road Post Bariatric Surgery

This week has really been a struggle for me while I was in Texas for training.  Nothing wrong with Texas, mind you, but apparently with my lack of planning. I thought I had planned out my protein/food/vitamin regime pretty well.  I was wrong.

I also failed to take into account how eating out for every meal would affect me.  I have eaten out several times since the surgery, but generally, I cook or have many options that fit well into my new diet. The ginormous buffet breakfast offered by the hotel was more difficult for me to deal with than I thought it would be.  They had so many bad food options and very little good food options.  The buffet was laden with bacon, sausage, ham, eggs, freshly made omelets, muffins, rolls, bread, cereals, etc as far as the eye could see.  No hard-boiled eggs.  No fat-free, plain Greek yogurt.  They did have lots of fruit, though.

I did the buffet the first day and made a bad choice.  Bacon. That’s all I’m saying. The last two days, I opted for oatmeal and fruit.  The only problem with that option is that there was no protein.  If they would have offered a plain Greek yogurt option, that would have been golden.  They did not.  I think I am going to send them a message and make a suggestion.  The hotel seemed open to recommendations, so that’s what I’ll do.

My first night there, I had wings.  Probably the best wings I’ve had in years.  I did limit myself to 5 wings and ate the carrots and celery.  That was too terribly bad.  The second night, our sales rep took a group of us out to dinner.  I ended up having steak medallions encrusted with artichokes and roasted vegetables.  I think I wrote about this earlier this week, but I really cannot remember.  Still, the steak sat heavy on my tummy.

I ran out of protein bars and bought some at the hotel.  They made me sick.  They said they had zero grams of sugar, but after a more careful reading, I noticed that it actually had 16 grams of sugar alcohol.  The worst part is, I got sick during my training class and nobody understood what was wrong.  I experienced dumping syndrome.  It really sucks.

So, I have been without protein bars and have had to find other ways to get my protein.  I ended up eating cheese or tuna salad.  The cheese was fine, even though it was a big calorie hit.  The tuna salad made me nauseous.  The tuna was fine, but the mayo may have been too fatty or something.  I have had that reaction from tuna salad in the past.

Last night I went out to dinner with a friend and we went to a Mexican restaurant.  Everyone says you have to do Tex-Mex at least once while you’re in Texas.  I agree.  I’ve had Tex-Mex in Dallas before and it is really good.  Well, I had refried beans, one taco, guacamole, and some corn chips.  I had the worst stomach ache after I got back to the hotel.  The chips may have been a bit much.

I do not eat chips anymore.  I did have a couple of corn chips one time since the surgery when I had some chili, so I thought I was good to have some more.  I guess not.  Live and learn.  I do not eat potato chips, junk food, pretzels, Doritos, cheesy-poofs, etc any more, but a good corn chip is tough for me to pass up.  I guess I’m going to have to do just that in the future though.

I was pretty good with lunch all three days.  I had small salads with balsamic vinegar dressing every day.  I had one small chef salad and two small apple, walnut, blue cheese salads over the course of three days.  So, not too bad there. Fortunately, the hotel had an exercise room and I did use it.  I rode the stationary bike every day while I was there.  I had to work off all those bad food choices.  I felt really good after I exercised too.  It really helped.

I am determined to join a gym when I get back home.  There is one very close to where I live.  It is time.  I have lost enough weight that I can breathe and I’m not in so much pain.  Time to rebuild my muscles and tone some of this up. The best part of the trip was the bed.  I love pillows.  I keep like 5 on my bed at home.  I can never have too many.  Someone must have warned the hotel because check this out!

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Best part of the trip, let me tell you!

Well, I am on my way back home now.  I sure will be happy to get back on my normal food schedule/plan.  I cannot take too many messed up weeks like this.  I learned a lot about what to do next time though.

Here are some thing I plan on trying:

  • Get hotel room with refrigerator and an exercise room.
  • Bring protein powder.
  • Buy non-fat Greek yogurt to put in refrigerator.
  • Make better food choices when eating out; stick to salads, chicken, vegetarian options when possible.

Taking those steps will certainly go a long way to making eating while traveling much better.