Monthly Archives: October 2013

An Open Letter to Fat-Shaming ND Woman

Dear Fat-Shaming ND Woman,

I understand your concern about the health of American children and childhood obesity.  I understand that you feel you need to take a stand on a holiday that is all about the candy.  Having struggled with obesity all of my life, I really wish that I had learned and appreciated the benefits of healthy eating and the dangers of fat, sugar, and salt earlier in my life.  I disagree, however, with your fat-shaming tactic.

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Handing out candy to some children, the thinner, and in your estimation, more deserving children while handing out fat-shaming letters to children you alone determine are carrying a bit too much weight, is absolutely disgraceful.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  Does it make you feel better about yourself to pick on children you view as moderately obese?   What have they done to earn your ire?  I have to wonder what is wrong with a person who has to make themselves feel superior by picking on children?

I think it would be one thing if you refused to hand out candy to all of the children, but by choosing to hand it out to some and not to others because they are what you view as moderately obese, is wrong.  Are you a medical professional?  Are you a nutritionist?

It is people like you who have gone out of their way to make me feel bad about myself my entire life.  Don’t you think that overweight children feel badly enough about themselves without being singled out by you?

You do not know a particular child’s situation.  Maybe the child you view as obese has another medical problem and candy has nothing to do with it. Maybe they will simply grow out of it.  Maybe that child has recently lost weight and their parents are trying to teach them to be responsible about candy and other treats.  Having the treats around and learning eat them sparingly and in moderation is a good lesson to learn.  Who are you to try to supersede a decision a parent might make about their child?

There are many ways to attack childhood obesity without attacking the child or their family.  I will give you some positive suggestions that can encourage good food behavior instead of attacking children with your divisive fat-shaming letter.

  • Do not hand out candy at all.  Keep your door shut and do not give candy to any kids.
  • Work with a local farmers market to hand out a coupon for a piece of fruit.  You pay for the coupons and hand them out to kids in lieu of candy.
  • Hand out silly, cheap toys instead.  Buy a big bag of plastic spiders or something.
  • Hand out tiny boxes of raisins.
  • Hand out pencils.
  • Hand out erasers in fun shapes.
  • Hand out Playdoh.
  • Hand out glow in the dark sticks – kids love these!
  • Hand out balloons.
  • Hand out fun cards with puzzles or pictures that they can color in.
  • Hand out crayons.

You can do any number of things that does not involve handing out candy laden with sugar and fat, and does not include a fat-shaming letter.  You can then feel secure that you are doing your part to combat childhood obesity by not handing out fattening treats.  You will also have the added benefit of not being viewed as an evil, horrible, judgemental, self-righteous witch that the village now wants to burn at the stake.

Happy Halloween!

Sincerely,

The Skinny Girl Inside.

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Kissing Frogs – Mid-Life Dating Pt 2

kissing-frogsSo, I have been continuing on my dating project over the past few weeks.  I joined another dating site called OKCupid.  Unlike the first site I joined, I have met a lot of guys on OKCupid.  Let me give you a breakdown of the main contenders.

The Dude from India – AKA The Boring Nice Guy

This guy is really nice.  He’s my age.  We talked and got along well.  He asked me out again, but I have not heard from him.  In his defense, I did tell him I was going to be busy last weekend.  Still, it’s up in the air whether we will go out again.  He was kind of the boring nice guy.  I don’t mind boring nice guys. There is something comforting about being with one.  Maybe not terribly exciting, but nice.  He is smart.  A little funny.  Stable. And sweet.  I like that.

The Older Guy I Am Unsure About – AKA The Good Kisser

I have to admit, when I first saw him, I thought “Oh no way is this happening!”  I knew he was 7 years older than me, which is not too bad.  Still, he looked older than that.  And when he opened his mouth and started talking I was like, “Definitely not!” He has a horrible southern drawl.  Now, I am from north of the Mason-Dixon line originally, and we northerners generally do not consider the southern drawl an attractive feature.  I don’t think it’s quaint and I don’t wax poetic over the use of the word “y’all”.  (In my defense, I also hate it when Pittsburghers use the word “yinz” or Garden Staters and New Yorkers say “yous”.)  So when he started talking, I started looking at my watch.

The thing is, I stayed.  I did really want to talk to him.  On his profile, he said he used to weigh 345 pounds, but lost a lot of weight.  He’s not overweight now.  Of course, I was curious and had to know why.  So, when he asked me why I was interested in him, I told him.  Then I told him about my weight loss and the gastric by-pass surgery.  Then he fessed up, he had the surgery too!  We had a lot to talk about.  It was fun.  He’s a really nice and very funny guy.  And after a while, I stopped hearing his southern accent and ignored the fact that he looked older than he claimed.

At the end of the date he kissed me, and bam! I was hooked.  He’s a pretty darn good kisser, I have to admit.  I have seen him a couple of times since and there has been quite a lot of kissing.

Then last night it happened.  We were talking politics and it was clear we disagreed.  Then he said to me, “I told you I’m a Tea Partier, right?”

Thunk! (sound of forehead hitting table) Um no, dude you totally left that part out!  I was pretty clear on my profile that I am a liberal.  WTF!  I’ll admit, I’m a bit to the left of most people in France, even.  Still, I can handle someone with a different opinion.  I think it’s fun to actually have a heated, intellectual debate.  But those Tea Party loons generally live in a fact-free world!  Now he claims to be an “original” Tea Party person, whatever the heck that is.  He does not like the extremists like Michelle Bachman and people like her.  He claims they co-opted the movement.  That’s something I guess. But still, not sure I can handle this.  If he wasn’t such a darn good kisser, it would be easy to walk away.

The Face – AKA The Bad Kisser

I also went out with this extremely good-looking guy.  OMG was he cute.  As soon as he walked into Starbucks, I thought, “This guy is brutally cute, no way is he going to be into me.”  The date started with coffee.  Then we walked over to the mall and walked around for a bit and talked.  We even sat in the food court and talked for a bit.  Then he asked me to dinner.  We were having fun.  The conversation was good.  He was smart.  He was funny.  I thought, huh maybe.  After dinner, he walked me to my car and the kissing began.  (I know, I feel like I’m cheating on the other guy, but I haven’t committed to anyone.  And it’s just kissing, after all.)

OH EM GEE he was a horrible kisser!  I was like wow, don’t the beautiful people feel that they have to try at all?  Do they think a pretty face is enough? Then he wanted me to take him home.  No.  Not happening sir.  One, not on the first date.  We have to go out a while before I cross that line.  Two, you are such a horrible kisser that there’s no way I am worked up enough to have a lapse in judgement that grave.  Not happening.

The Mystery Guy – AKA The Texter

This guy wants to “get to know me” before meeting me.  We have been emailing and texting for several days now.  Maybe a week even.  He said he did try to call me once, but the calls kept going to my voicemail.  He called me on Monday.  After a weekend of dating and mad kissing, I was tired.  I went to sleep very early that night, so of course his calls went to voicemail.  I was unconscious and unable to answer the phone.

I like this guy so far.  According to his pics online, he’s pretty handsome.  He’s smart.  He is funny.  I like all of those things.  He does have a teenage daughter, which can be a bit of a mixed bag, I admit.  That’s part of the reason we have not met, I think.  He’s made it clear she is a priority in his life, as she should be, and he wants any woman he gets involved with to be a good person who understands that.

I think we are going to try to have an actual phone conversation before any decision is made about meeting face to face.  Then we shall go from there.

These are all of the guys I’ve met so far.  It’s still early on in the dating game, so I don’t think I’m ready to commit to any one person yet.  A few other guys on the site have contacted me.  Some I will meet.  Some I will not.  Still, I feel like I am kissing a bunch of frogs looking for that handsome prince. Heck, at this point, I’ll take an average looking guy who is smart, funny, left-of-center, wild about me, and most importantly, a good kisser who makes me go week at the knees.  Surely, he’s out there somewhere.

Happy Surgiversary To Me!

Who can believe it has been a year since my surgery?  Not this girl!

One year ago today, I was under the knife!  Actually, at this time (10am-ish) I was already in recovery.  Wow!

This will have to be a short post, as work is already getting ahead of me, but I just had to write one today.

To date, I have lost 127 pounds.  For me to get to my ultimate goal, I need to lose 46 more.  I am very happy with where I am, and whether I reach my ultimate goal, or just get a lot closer does not really matter so much.  The important things in my life have changed.

  • My breathing has improved.
  • Food allergies are nearly nonexistent.
  • My blood pressure is normal without medication.
  • I can walk.
  • Back pain is nearly gone.
  • My overall health is greatly improved.
  • My outlook for my life as a whole is much more hopeful.
  • I do not live in fear every day that this is the day I will have a stroke or heart attack.
  • I feel like I am fully participating in my life and not just barely getting by day by day.

So, happy surgiversay to me!

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December 2011

Aug 2012

Aug 2013

 

Surviving The Holiday Eating Season – Plan Ahead!

It’s that time of year again.  The holiday season is quickly bearing down on us.  Halloween. Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  Hanukkah.  New Year’s.  These are the big winter celebrations we all love to eat and/or drink our way through.

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Health Magazine has an article of 50 holiday foods you should not eat.  I don’t think avoiding all holiday food is a good idea.  I mean, yeah, you probably should not eat everything, and any wlser who cannot have sugar should probably avoid the sweet treats anyway, but, it’s the holidays for crying out loud.  What is the point of a celebration if you cannot celebrate?  I think the key to surviving the holidays is to have  a solid plan and stick with it.

For example, I am not a big sweet eater, but the pumpkin everything is really making me kind of crazy this year, especially because I cannot eat it.  I mean, I guess I could if I did not mind getting horribly ill, risking instant diarrhea or vomiting, and laying in bed for an hour or so, but really, would it be worth all of that?  (Once you have had instant diarrhea and had to throw away your underwear in a McDonald’s bathroom while on a road trip, I can tell you the answer to that question is a resounding no.)   Instead, I purchased a can of raw pumpkin that I can turn into some kind of delicious, healthy treat that fits into the wls diet.  I have some ideas I’m kicking around, and if it works, I’ll post the recipe with pictures.

I had my by-pass just before Halloween last year.  I could not even stand to look at candy let alone risk eating it.  Last Thanksgiving, was only one month after my surgery.  I was still eating pureed food.  I did have pureed turkey and sweet potatoes for dinner, but not much else.  By Christmas, I was eating some solid food, but still, not a lot.

This year will be different for me.  I can eat somewhere between 1100-1400 calories per day.  Granted, about 300 calories per day is protein supplements, so actual food intake is more like 900-1100 calories per day.  Still, that is a lot more than 400-800 calories I was eating last year at this time.  Also, my hunger has returned, which means I feel like eating more often than I did last year.  Not as often as I did pre-surgery, but still, it’s there.  And I have introduced quite a few new foods into my diet, which means I can eat a wider variety of foods than I could last year.

All of this could spell potential trouble for the upcoming holiday food season.  And I have to admit that I am a little worried.

So, I have developed a plan to make sure I stay on track this year.  So, here it is:

  • Allow myself some treats – I’m not saying I will go for the pumpkin bread that will make me vomit, but I will come up with some kind of alternative.
  • Make a plan for holiday meals – I did this last year.  I went to my sister-in-law’s parents for Thanksgiving.  I took my blender with me so that I could puree turkey.  I won’t be pureeing my food this year, but I can still plan ahead.  I will carry the protein snacks that I need with me.  I will make sure I only eat the healthy foods, protein, veggies, the way I’m supposed to.  I do not know if I will cook, go out to a restaurant, or visit family for the holidays, but there is no reason the holiday meal cannot be a healthy one that fits into the wls plan.
  • Go to the gym – I have to stay focused on my exercise plan.  The last few months have been difficult with work, but now that things are slowing down, I have to get back on the wagon and exercise!  This will be crucial in maintaining any diet plan through the holidays.
  • Avoid alcohol – I have not had any alcohol since the surgery.  I do miss a nice glass of wine, but I’ll live.  The surgeon’s office told me to avoid alcohol for the first year after surgery.  The nurse in his office thinks it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol altogether forever.  I do not know if I will avoid it forever.  I probably will because my liver was not in fantastic shape before the surgery.  But, for now at least, I am not done losing weight and alcohol, even the occasional nice glass of red wine, is simply empty calories that I cannot afford.
  • Continue to track my food intake and exercise – I use MyFitnessPal.com.  I have the app on my phone.  I log everything.  All of my calories, walking, and exercise.  I can say I eat 1200-1400 calories per day and know that number is pretty close to accurate.  Tracking my food keeps me honest and focused.  For anyone who wants to join me on My Fitness Pal, my name is morgaine84.  I have also found that if I look up the calories for something I want to eat before I eat it, sometimes I decide the calories are not worth it.  Other times, I may adjust my diet so that I can fit it in. But most of the time, I just don’t eat it.

That is my plan.  I may add to it as the holidays get closer.  I encourage anyone who is dieting for the holidays to set a realistic plan and revisit it often to make sure you’re staying on track.  Even people who have had wls need to be prepared.  The surgery is a tool and can help a lot, but it won’t work if we don’t stay focused!

Happy Holiday Eating!

The Challenges Of WLS – Keeping Inspired & Staying Focused Pt. 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of The Challengers of WLS – Keeping Inspired & Staying Focused.

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This is the post where I discuss what helps me stay inspired  and keeps me focused on staying the course.

First, I want to say that this past year has been absolutely amazing.  The changes that have happened to my body, my health, and my life have been many.  People think losing weight through bariatric surgery is the easy way out.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet at the same time, it has sometimes been easy.

I have really ridden the emotional roller coaster from the moment I started this journey.  I had a lot ups and downs.  I dealt with a lot of very strong emotions before I had the surgery, and many of them were amplified after the surgery.  It was a difficult decision for me decide to have surgery.  I resisted it for many years even though friends suggested it and family begged me to consider it.  Once I made the decision to have surgery, I had no idea what I was in for.  I knew that through the surgery, I would lose a lot of weight, but I had no idea where the journey would take me, and the emotional ups and downs I would experience. This has been a hell of a journey, and although I’m not done yet, I have no regrets.

That said, how do I stay focused and keep inspired?  Here are some of the things that have inspired me over the last year. The first part of the list will be the people who have supported and inspired me over the past year.  They say when you face adversity, you really learn who your friends are, and I believe that is true.  The second part of this list will be the changes I have made and other things in my life that keeps me inspired.

  • My niece – I have to put this at the top of my list since she is, in part, the reason I wanted to take steps to drastically improve my life.  I have written in the past about how I have wanted to improve my health so that I could keep up with her and be there to watch her grow up and experience life.  That little girl has changed our entire family, not just my life.  She’s the first child that any of us had.  She is our next generation, the future of our family.  She turned this motley collection of adults into a family the day she was born.  She loves the new Auntie Colleen.  In fact, I don’t think she even remembers the old, pre-surgery Auntie Colleen. We go to museums together and hang out all of the time.  I love experiencing the world through her eyes. It’s like living life for the first time.  To think that I would miss watching her grow into a child, teenager, young woman because of my addiction to food broke my heart.
  • My sister Sandy– I have the greatest sisters.  I really do.  My sister Sandy lives about 20 miles from me.  She has been the greatest inspiration.  She changed her own life by changing the decisions that she was making.  She has her own incredible story.  But she also helped me change mine.  She confronted me about my health and my weight and begged me to do something.  Once I made the decision to have the surgery, she stood by me 100%.  She helped me with the many Dr. appointments. I stayed with her for a month after the surgery.  She bought me new clothes after I lost 100 pounds.  She writes my new weight and total weight loss on the wipe-erase board on her refrigerator.  She’s amazing.
  • My sister Jenny – Jenny is an incredible young woman.  I have seen her take terrible situations in her own life and completely turn it around.  She is another woman who has an incredible story of triumph over adversity.  But she has also been there cheering me on through mine.  When I tried out for The Biggest Loser show on TV, she drove to Richmond, VA with me and sat out all night on the sidewalk waiting for me to have an interview for the show.  She could not be here physically the way Sandy was because Jenny lives in Minnesota, but she texted me words of inspiration. We had many tearful phone calls as she talked me through some pretty difficult times.  She reads my blog all of the time, comments, sends me emails.  I know she reads my posts to her husband, (Hi Dean!!).  They are both wonderfully supportive.  She even cut, styled, and colored my hair for me for free.  I couldn’t have done all of this without her.
  • My brother & his wife – They have been so supportive of everything I have done.  While everyone else was cheering my decision to have the surgery early on, my brother was the voice of reason.  He expressed his concerns about the surgery and asked me some very difficult questions, making sure that I had truly considered all of the consequences of the surgery.  He was definitely worried.  He wanted me to improve my health, yes, but he also knew that this surgery can have complications. He was worried.  His wife was wonderful as well.  She helped me get a Baby Bullet so that I could puree my food.  She cheered me on and celebrated all of my changes with me.  And she’s always included me on every celebration with her own family.
  • My mom – My mom was so happy when I decided to have the surgery.  She was one of the people who had been asking me for years to consider wls.  She came here for my surgery and has celebrated all of my successes.  She also helps me keep things real when she thinks I might be falling off the wagon.  She knows how sick I was and does not want me to go backwards.
  • My friends – I really do have the greatest friends.  My best friend Jerry came to stay with me for a week a month after my surgery.  He helped me get my apartment set up after the surgery so that I wouldn’t have to exert too much energy to live my daily life while I healed.  He’s also been one of my biggest emotional supporters through this whole thing.  My friend Sushmita has also been a source of inspiration.  I have never met a more positive, energetic, happy person.  She inspires me.  My friends Lisa, Vicky, Jennifer, Joanna, & Lauren (hello my RHLS friends!) have also been hugely supportive; reading my blog; listening to me tell my weight loss stories; celebrating my successes; telling me how great I look, which I can never hear enough.
  • The Arlington Writer’s Group – Some of the people I mentioned above are members of the AWG, but I still have to make a special mention of this group of people.  The group has a whole has been supportive and celebrated my decision.  The day of my surgery last year, they had a writing session dedicated just to me.  They took words that described me and used them as inspirations for a writing exercise.  Then they mailed me the stories to read while I recuperated.  They have all also cheered on my successes.  Every week, they tell me how great I look; ask how much I have lost; given me exercise suggestions; the list of the support I have received from them is endless. I am so lucky to have them in my life.
  • My former & current co-workers – The day of my surgery, all of my co-workers at the time called all day to check up on me.  They came to see me while I recuperated.  They really cheered me on.  When I saw my former co-workers a few weeks ago, they all cheered on how well I have done.  My current co-workers also congratulate me on all of my success.  When I show them pictures of what I looked like before the surgery, they cannot believe it.  They all also comment on the weight I have lost since I started working there.

Those are many of the people in my life who keep me inspired focused.  Here are the other abstract things that keep me inspired and focused.

  • Pictures of myself – I can really see the difference in the before Colleen and the after Colleen.  I have never been able to see that in previous weight loss journeys.  I think that is pretty remarkable especially since the weight has come off relatively quickly. That is a huge change from my previous attempts to lose weight.
  • My breathing – I can breathe!  I have struggled with asthma since I put on so much weight.  I really had difficulty walking and moving because of that asthma.  That has mostly cleared up.  I know I still struggle a little with asthma, but it’s nothing like it was before.
  • Back pain – My back pain is nearly gone.  I could barely stand or walk because of back pain before the surgery.  Now, this does not bother me very much at all.  It’s still there a little bit, but it does not prevent me from doing what I want.
  • Walking – I can walk!  I can walk for miles and miles if I want.  Before I could barely make it a block before I had to stop and rest my back and catch my breath.  I do not have to stop for that anymore. Whenever I feel frustrated with my weight loss, I just talk a walk and revel in the fact that I can do it so effortlessly.
  • Clothes – I know this is shallow, but still, it is important.  I look good in clothes for the first time in a very long time.  I love that.
  • Cheese – I can each cheese again!  OK, I know this is a crazy thing to include, but it’s important to me.  I was allergic to milk and cheese for a very long time.  Some time shortly after the surgery, I started including milk products into my diet in an attempt to try to get some protein.  My allergies have apparently gone away for the most part.  That alone makes the changes I’ve made worth it.
  • Attention/Being Visible – OK, I admit it, I’m an attention seeker.  I have written posts in the past about the invisibility that comes along with being obese.  This is very isolating and lonely.  Now people see me.  I see men looking at me, which is  crazy to me.  Before men did not really talk to me much.  Now random men strike up a conversation with me.  One gentleman a few weeks ago talked to me in Starbucks for almost an hour continually looking for reasons to interrupt my writing and ask me questions.  Then later when he saw me in Trader Joe’s, he came running up to say, “Hey! I just saw you in Starbucks!”  And the whole online dating thing has been interesting as well.  So many of the men tell me how pretty I am.  I’ve never really had that much in the past, certainly not while I was obese.  Even if I never actually meet a man that way, but having the ones who see my picture tell me how pretty I am is a huge ego boost.
  • How incredible my life has become – I know this sounds vain, but it really has.  I am having so much fun.  My life has become so busy that I can barely keep up.  I am out all of the time.  Yesterday, I did some campaigning for the guy running for governor here in VA. Then I went to a political rally where Hillary Clinton (omfg!) was speaking. Then I went to my friend’s art gallery where I was one of the people speaking.  Every weekend is like that now. OK, maybe every weekend I don’t go see extremely famous politicos, but I am always out and about doing stuff.  I barely have time to clean my apartment and do laundry; or write in this blog.

OK this post is getting very long.  But I think you get the point.  My life has changed in incredible ways.  I have wonderful people in my life.  Nothing is better than seeing the joy in their eyes when they see how well I am doing.  I am doing incredible things with my life.  Even the simplest tasks that took so much effort before are a joy and inspiration.

I never want to be the girl who could not walk and breathe again.  I never want to look in the mirror and see the 300 pound person that I was staring back at me.   I never want to look in the eyes of the people who I love and who have supported me only to see their disappointment reflected back to me because I went backwards and gained the weight back.

I want to make the people around me happy.  I want to see my niece grow into a beautiful woman.  I want to be an inspiration for her to emulate.  I want to live each day to the fullest. I want to be open to whatever good things life has in store for me, for however much time I have left in this world.  I want to make it difficult for death to find take me from this world.  I will not go quietly from this life.  I want to spend the rest of my days raging against the dying of the light.

The fact that I see that as a possibility now, is the biggest inspiration of all.

The Challenges Of WLS – Keeping Inspired & Staying Focused Pt. 1

Someone asked me recently how I stay motivated and focused and asked that I write a post about it.  This has turned into quite a long post, so I am breaking it up into two parts.  This first part, I am going to write about some of the challenges and difficulties I have faced over the past year.

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I have to admit that staying motivated and focused is not easy, even with the surgery helping me out.  In some ways, my weight loss journey has been very easy.  Because I cannot eat a lot, thanks the gastric by-pass surgery, the pounds have come off seemingly effortlessly.  I cannot say completely effortlessly, because this whole process has had its own difficulties, but for the most part, losing the pounds, for the first time in my life, has been simple.  Granted, since March, the weight loss has slowed down to a snail’s pace, and I have to be more vigilant than ever, but it’s still coming off.

Nonetheless, I have had some real struggles that are sometimes difficult to deal with.  Some of them were kind of unexpected, some of them the surgeon’s office prepared me for.  All of them have had their toll on my progress in one way or another.

  • Dumping Syndrome – DS comes in many forms.  One of the forms I have struggled with is instant diarrhea.  I eat something my body cannot handle, and I cannot get to the bathroom quickly enough.  I have had a few really embarrassing events.  One, I was on a road trip and bought chicken wings at a gas station (I know you don’t have to tell me!) and I had to pull over a few exits later in hopes that I would make it to the bathroom in time.  I was not quite in the bathroom inside the McDonald’s when it started.  Fortunately, it wasn’t so bad that it was immediately noticeable to those around me and the bathroom was empty, thank goodness.  Took forever to clean myself up though.  And it was, of course, very humiliating.
  • Constipation – It’s not so bad anymore.  There were a few months early on where I felt that I had it 3-4 times a week, but it’s much better now. Whenever I am overly stressed, it does return.  It is very painful and can take a couple of days to clear up no matter how much medication I take.
  • Pain – The first six months after the surgery were difficult as far as pain goes.  Since then, I often have to deal with pain when I’m constipated.  Sometimes, I experience stomach pain after I eat, but not often.
  • Re-learning how to eat – I have drastically changed my diet.  High protein foods and vegetables.  Some of the changes have been very good – I can now have milk products and tomatoes.  Others have been difficult.  No junk foods, fried foods, and little to no bread.  Eating three meals a day and two – three snacks per day is new as well.  I have had to eat even when I’m not really hungry, just to stay on schedule.  With the small stomach, that is much harder than it used to be pre-surgery.
  • Discovering I still have compulsive eating issues – It is true.  I do.  I fight against them every day.  I still crave all the wrong things.  Not all of the time, mind you, but sometimes the urge to over indulge is there.  Of course, when I have over indulged, there have been consequences.  (See dumping syndrome)
  • Nausea – Yeah I get that sometimes.  It happened the other night when I was on the bus home.  I started feeling hot and sweaty and thought I was going to hurl right there on the bus.  I didn’t fortunately, but to be safe, I got off a stop early and sat at the bus station for a minute until I felt better and then I walked up the hill to my place.  I don’t know why this happens, but it does sometimes.
  • Excess skin – Yes, I have some.  I don’t like it, but it’s there.  It is unattractive and I do what I can to cover it up.  That said, however, I would rather deal with excess skin than 127 pounds of excess fat.  So, as unpleasant as it is, I’ll take it.
  • Fluctuating appetite – I don’t always feel hungry and I have sometimes had to force myself to eat or take my protein supplements (either drinking or yogurt) when I was not really hungry.  The doctor put me on a plan – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner – and they want me to follow it whether I’m hungry or not.  When I do get hungry, and I skip any part of the plan, I feel it.  In addition to tummy hunger, I feel dizzy and out of sorts.  It can really be awful.
  • Return of my appetite and feeling hungry – Yes, I can feel hunger.  Some people I know who have had the surgery have never had their hunger return.  Mine has.  It’s not the same as it was before the surgery, but it is there.  I do not feel absolutely ravenous, but I do start to feel hungry at meal times, the times I’ve trained my body to expect some nutrients.  I worry about this.  I am afraid that feeling hungry will cause me to make bad food choices, and I have a couple of times. I have paid for those choices, which helps keep me on track.  So, I have to stay ever vigilant that I make the right food choices.
  • Slow weight loss – I would say that since about March, my weight loss has slowed down to a snail’s pace compared to what it was the first 6 months post surgery.  It has been daunting to remain positive and hopeful when I’m losing 1-2 pounds every couple of weeks or even months instead of 3-5 pounds a week.  I lost 80 pounds just in the first 4 months after the surgery.  I have been tracking my weight loss on My Fitness Pal, and according to them, I have lost 67 pounds since January and 40 pounds since March.  That’s pretty good progress in anyone’s book.  So, while the weight loss has been slow, it has also been steadily moving down.  You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race!
  • Hair Loss – One of the side effects of bariatric surgery is hair loss due to lack of protein and mal-absorption of nutrients.  My hair loss started in March or April.  It freaked me out.  I immediately started increasing my protein intake, using biotin shampoo and conditioner, putting a biotin cream on my hair at night.  I increased my vitamins.  I was determined not to lose all of my hair.  I did lose a lot.  I did not develop any bald spots, thankfully, but people who know me noticed how thin my hair was getting.  It is growing back.  Every time I go to the hair dresser for a trim, they show me my “new growth” underneath all of my old hair.  So, there is some good news.  But I did fret quite a bit every time I combed my hair and pulled out handfuls of hair.
  • Dealing with people who do not understand – I don’t run into this often, but some of the people who are least understanding, are some of the people closest to me.  This has really surprised me.  I do not eat a lot with each meal or snack, but I sometimes feel that I eat constantly.  This is by design, I think, to make sure I get enough nutrients, train me to eat healthily, and to keep my blood sugar stable so that I don’t get cravings or the urge to overeat.  Some people think constantly eating small meals and snacks is a problem.  I get a lot of “Are you eating again?” like there’s something wrong with it.  I know they think they are helping because they fear that I will revert to my old patterns, but it’s very frustrating and kind of hurts my feelings.  I am trying really, really hard to change my life.  And this kind of judgmental comment makes me feel that they do not see how far I have come.  Part of me tries to understand, but part of me also wants to say, “Yes, I’m eating again.  I’m doing exactly what the doctor told me to do.  Following this plan, I have lost 127 pounds.  So, in the words of the inimitable Kathy Griffin, ‘Suck it!'”

These are the most pressing problems I think I have faced over this last year.  It can sometimes feel daunting.  Sometimes stressful.  Sometimes discouraging.  How do I stay focused and remain positive?  How do I stay inspired?

Stay tuned for part two of this post and I will tell you!

Mid-Life Dating 101

In one of my recent posts, I indicated that I may have met a semi-normal man through a dating website.  I was wrong.  I had not met him at that point, and I can tell you now, I never will.

I try to be open-minded, and trust me, I know everyone has problems in their life.  At this point in my life, I’m not expecting perfection from a man.  But seriously, I am not 20 anymore.  I expect a man in my age range, mid 40s, to have some semblance of stability to his life.  I’m not saying he has to be rich, just maybe a job, a stable place to live.  A working car.  A valid driver’s license.  It became clear this week that the cat who wanted to meet me does not meet these basic requirements.

Let me explain.

We were making plans to meet, hopefully this last weekend, when he tells me he cannot come to Arlington to meet me because he received a letter from the DMV.  His license has been suspended and he does not know why, so he cannot drive.  Now he lives about 18 miles from me, so not being able to drive is a problem.

Furthermore, I call bullshit.

I have never known the DMV to be vague.  When they suspend your license, they tell you precisely why they are doing so.  Plus, it’s usually not a surprise to the suspendee that their license was revoked.  It could be something simple like an unpaid traffic ticket.  That’s easy enough to resolve. Pay the ticket.  Pay whatever fine the DMV has imposed.  Done.  It’s not what you want to hear from a potential suitor, but it’s an understandable enough mistake.  Forgiven.  Forgotten.  Let’s move on.

The fact that he’s too ashamed to tell me why it was suspended, leads me to believe the worst case scenario.  My mind goes immediately to a DUI or some drug related bust.

On top of that, he just lied to me.  I have not even met him, and he’s lying to me.  There is no way he does not know why the DMV suspended his license.  I just don’t buy it.  That is a lie and you are busted.

Let me give you men a piece of advice.  Free of charge.  If you’re wooing a woman – and let’s be clear about this, I do expect some wooing – and you’re going to lie to her before you’ve even met, make it something innocuous.  “I cannot meet you this weekend.  Something’s come up at work and I have to go out-of-town for a week.  I’ll call you when I get back.”  Then go and get your shit together and come back to her on some stable footing.

Not that I’m condoning lying.  I am not.  But I understand that everyone’s life has problems and at the beginning of a relationship, you are sending in your best representative.  You want to look good to a potential partner.  Everyone does that.  You don’t exactly lie, but you don’t exactly tell the whole truth either.  You want to get them hooked on you before all of your peccadilloes start leaking out.  I understand that, really I do.  But the half truth, half lie scenario above?  Unacceptable.

darla

I am generally a very nice and understanding person.  But when a guy hands me a line of BS, I have to ask, do I look like a stupid woman?  I put pictures on the website, so you know what I look like.  Did I have “sucker” stamped across my forward and somehow I missed it?  Or did you just assume that I will put up with anything because I’m a mid 40s woman looking for a relationship and therefore desperate?

Allow me to disabuse you of that notion now.  I have been alone for a very long time.  Mostly because of obesity, but partly because even as a fat woman, I had a low tolerance for BS.  I have no fear of being by myself.  I would like to meet someone with whom I could share my life, but I’m not so desperate to do so that I will take on any loser that crosses my path.  Know this, being alone for so long has taught me to enjoy my own company.  My life is pretty good.  If the choice is being alone or sacrificing my own dignity to be with you, I would rather be alone. You need more than a Y chromosome and your mere presence to make it worth my while.  Bring something to the table.  Start with honesty and we can go from there.

I know I sound kind of heartless, or like I belong to the She-Woman’s-Man-Haters-Club.  I am just disgusted and disappointed.  I was kind of hopeful that I might be meeting someone nice and it could be an interesting adventure.  But now it is clear that is not the case.  I am a very loving and caring person.  I just happen to have a low tolerance for nonsense.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do on the dating front for now.  I still think I might check out Match.com.  My sister thinks I should steer away from dating sites.  She thinks that now that I am so active and going out all of the time, that I will meet someone through all of my many activities.   That has not been my experience.  But, we shall see.

I promise to keep you posted.