Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Anti-Reunion

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to Pittsburgh for Christmas and while I was here I was meeting with some of my high school friends for a sort of anti-reunion.  Well, it happened.  I went. Here’s the proof:

1984

They scheduled the event for a Friday night, which made it a little difficult to get to. I worked on Friday morning then took the rest of the day as a vacation day.  I drove the 4.5 hours to Pittsburgh then had to change clothes quickly.  My best friend from high school was meeting me at my mother’s house.  We had plans for dinner and then we were going to the casino together to meet our classmates.

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Now, I graduated from high school 29 years ago.  I find that so hard to believe.  Yes, I know I’m 47, but it feels like the years have just flown by.  My friend Carolyn showed up a little late for dinner, but I didn’t care.  I just had more time to prettify myself, and trust me, I needed it.  Carolyn has not changed at all.  She looks slightly older, but that’s it.  She pretty much looks exactly the same.  The years have definitely been kind to her.

Sophomore hs

Sophomore hs

Talking to her really felt like coming home.  It was amazing.  I haven’t seen her for many years, but we talked as if we have talked to each other every day since high school.  We just picked right back up where we left off.  I felt the way I did when I met up with some of my grade school friends a few years ago…that I had found something I had been missing for years.  It was like finding the missing part of myself that I had forgotten about.

We showed up at the casino fashionably late.  We walked right past our high school friends.  Then we heard them calling our names.  They probably recognized me right away from all of the pictures of myself that I put online.  And of course Carolyn has not changed at all.  And the fact that we were together, the way we always were in high school, of course they recognized us.

I had trouble recognizing people.  My one friend, I was in the band with him, I just walked up to him and another guy and asked them their names.  I’m friends with him on Facebook for crying out loud.  He just looked at me and said, “You know me, Colleen.”  What an idiot I am.  As soon as he spoke and smiled, I knew.  Then I recognized the other guy with him.  He was in the band too.

Now, you would think that I would have thought to pull out my yearbook and look up the people who RSVP’d to this thing.  No.  Not that smart apparently.  So, instead of making an ass of myself, I just started asking the people I knew who some of the other people were.  By the time the evening was over, I was able to place everyone.

Now, none of these people knew me when I was fat.  In high school, my weight ranged between 120-135 depending on the year.  I think my lowest weight was about 120-121, but that did not last long.  Most of the time, I weighed between 125-130.  I spent a brief stint in my freshman year weighing 135.

So, for them to see me at 171, I had definitely gained weight since high school.  Still, I think I look pretty good.  Most of the people who were there are friends with me on Facebook and some of them read this blog.  Not all of them.  Now I’m sure many of them will at least read this post.  (hello guys!)  Some of them have seen the pictures of me at 300 pounds.  Most of them have not.

After most people had left, me, my best friend, and two of the other girls had a very long talk about weight.  We all laughed at how when we were young we thought we were fat.  I know.  We were not.  Carolyn and I weighed roughly the same weight in high school.  Funny thing is, we weigh about the same now.  Still, we were always dieting, and we always thought we were so fat.  Clearly, we were not.

It’s really a shame, because we were all beautiful, but none of us felt it.  We were always so consumed with how the other girls looked, the fact that some of them were so skinny.  When I look back, I realized that they were unhealthily skinny in many cases.  Yet, we felt so inferior to them.  Why, I do not know.  Some of the girls we were so jealous of, that we thought were so perfect were no different and no prettier than we were.

What I wouldn’t give to go back and talk to my younger self and tell her not to take it all so seriously.  That in the end, none of it mattered.  None of it defined who I am.  I defined myself.  The number on the scale didn’t matter.  Not to people who were truly my friends.

At some point during the evening, we appointed someone to organize an official 30th reunion, since 2014 will be 30 years since we graduated high school.  We are having an official reunion over Thanksgiving weekend next year.  Plans have been made, date set, location secured, Facebook page created, ticket prices established.  They apparently put the right person in charge.

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Holiday Foods: Planning vs. Reality

So, a few weeks back, I wrote a post about being prepared for the holidays food-wise.  I thought I was ready to deal with the holiday eating season.  Honestly, for the most part, I have been very disciplined.  I have allowed myself some cheats, but all in all, this has been much harder than I originally thought it would be.

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There are three things that have really put me in jeopardy this Christmas season.  Well, five now that I think about it.  They are as follows:

  • The return of hunger pains – Not with a vengeance, but at meal time and snack time, I do get hungry.  And if I skip any part of my diet plan, I definitely feel it.  So, I have had to learn to manage hunger pains, which I really did not need to worry about for at least 8 months post-op.  Plus, I can eat more now that I could last year.  Those two things combined has made dealing with food this holiday season difficult to say the least.
  • Office party #1 – My work has had two Christmas parties.  The first one was at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in DC.  This was so much fun.  Trays and trays and trays of food everywhere.  And if that wasn’t enough, waiters walked around with more trays passing out more food.  I was very good all day.  Light meals and snacks, sticking to the bariatric food diet plan.  Then the party hit.  I still tried to stay on schedule, protein and veggies only.  I just ate too much, which let’s face it, is probably just a normal sized meal for non-bariatric surgery peeps.  But for me, it is way too much.  I did have a tummy ache and get a little nauseated, but I survived mostly intact, I think.
  • Office party #2 – My department had its own office party.  That was a 2 1/2 hour eating feat I have not really done at all since the surgery.  I had appetizers, fried zucchini shoe strings, cheese, a slice of some kind of meat, and assorted veggies.  Then we sat down to dinner.  Salad.  Not bad. I had a small spoonful.  Then the pasta course started. Two different kinds of pasta.  I had four tiny pieces of pasta.  I really cannot have starchy food, but I wanted a taste.  Now, keep in mind, I was pretty much full after the appetizers.  They served the food slowly, so there was a lot of time between courses, but I am already in forbidden territory and the food just kept coming.  Then they brought out eggplant parm, which I hate, so I did not eat.  Then rosemary chicken and roasted broccoli.  I had about three bites of chicken and 2-4 bites of broccoli and I really just had to stop.  I thought I was going to explode.  Then they brought out dessert.  Tiramisu and chocolate mousse.  I did not even look at the Tiramisu.  I knew if I did it would be all over.  I took my spoon and sliced off the teeniest bite of mousse I could manage and just a spot of whipped cream.  It was just heaven.  I thought I was going to pop.  I had to get up and walk away from the table before I was tempted to try another bite.  My stomach hurt so much, and I was very nauseated.  It stayed in the bathroom for about 10 minutes.  Then when everyone else was done eating dessert, I ordered a cup of coffee hoping the warm liquid would start moving some of the feast through my system.  When I got home, I dutifully logged every bite into My Fitness Pal, chocolate mousse bite and all.  I ate over 500 calories in one meal that took me over 2 hours to eat.  For me, that’s twice what I normally have.
  • Writer’s Group Party – OK, this one was not so bad, but still, a little bad.  This was held at a bar.  I did not actually order any food. I just ate what other people were sharing.  I had three wings, carrots, celery, humus, and some nachos over the course of about an hour and a half.  Not the greatest meal, but not too bad.  Once I was done nibbling, I just drank water for the rest of the night.
  • Office treats and other junk – This has been the hardest for me to deal with.  So many yummy things.  Tons of cookies, truffles, peppermint bark, candy, etc.  I got tired of seeing cookies, so after having one cookie, I was done.  I managed to stay away from the cranberry-orange bread, which was tempting.  But the chocolate truffles just killed me.  Someone sent French truffles filled with caramel.  I love, love, love, love, love caramel filled chocolate.  I decided that I would give in and allow myself one French caramel filled truffle.  I took it back to my desk and took one small bite.  It was heaven.  The caramel just melted in my mouth.  Before I could stop myself or change my mind, I quickly threw the rest of the truffle into the trash.  I knew if I finished it, it would be all over.  I would have to go back and just scarf up the rest of them. My co-worker could not believe I did that.  She was like, “Wow, you have incredible will-power.”  I replied, “No, I do not.  If I didn’t get rid of this now, you might as well check me into French caramel truffle rehab!”  It was tempting to reach into the trash and retrieve the truffle, but my pride just would not let me.

Now I am in Pittsburgh visiting with my mother for the holidays.  She’s kind of a food nazi. All my life, I have hated her fixation on limiting what I eat.  Now all I have to say is, “Thank goodness.”  She does not keep junk in her house.  OK, she keeps popcorn in her house, but I dare not touch her stash.  It has been a relief not to have all those temptations so close at hand.  I need to refocus.  I need to become more disciplined in the New Year if I want to lose the remaining 46 pounds.

I will be glad when the holidays are over, and the pressure is off.  It will be a relief to return to normal eating patterns.  This holiday season has been very tough for me to deal with.  Last year was not as difficult because I could barely eat.  But now that I actually feel hungry and can eat almost 1400 calories per day, (including protein drinks), the temptation to over-indulge has been very stressful.

My next biggest hurdle is New Year’s Eve.  I am spending that time with friends.  I am making chicken saag and my pumpkin brownies for everyone.  And I know that there will be a lot of other foods.  I think I’ll be OK because I will have many good options to choose from.  And my one friend is kind of worried about food herself so I know she will not have a lot of junk on hand.

Wish me luck!

Where The Heck Have I Been?

No, I have not abandoned this blog, although it may seem that way.  I have just been super busy.  Some good things have happened recently, and I just wanted to take a moment to share.

1. Work has suddenly become much more manageable.  I have been through an extremely busy period for the last few months, but with the holidays comes the traditional slow-down.  I have also been permitted to actually hire someone, so when the busy season hits again in January, I won’t be so overwhelmed…hopefully!

2.  I took vacation Thanksgiving week.  I was also very busy that week.  I had a friend visit me, and we spent that time running around visiting family and friends.  I had a blast.  We saw some friends that I haven’t seen since the surgery and a couple of friends who I have not seen since January.

As a funny aside, my friend Marianne’s son told me he did not recognize me with my glasses.  Everyone thought that was funny.  Not that he didn’t recognize me because the last time he saw me I weighed 298 pounds…it was the glasses that threw him off.  I told him it’s because I’m secretly a super-hero and with glasses I’m like Clark Kent.  Did I say he’s 10?

3.  I finally dumped the tea party guy.  Oh I know…I said I was dumping him a month ago.  I tried to.  But we still went out a couple more times.  Then things just got weird.  Not that him being a tea partier wasn’t weird enough.

He stopped calling and said work was crazy busy.  I thought it was pretty much over.  Then the texts and phone calls started again.  “I miss you.” “I need to see you.”  So, we planned a couple more dates, all of which he cancelled, promising to reschedule “soon.”  Finally, I just sent him an email and ended it.  I told him that I want someone who is excited to see me and makes me a priority in his life and I didn’t feel I was getting that from him.

A friend of mine told me that maybe I scared him off by telling him this.  I thought that was a nutty response.  Maybe I did scare him off by telling him that, but if being honest is enough to make him run, then it’s better that he goes.  That’s not the kind of relationship I want.  I want to be able to be honest with someone, and I want them to be honest with me.  Tell me what you want.  I’ll tell you what I want.  We can build from there.  Anything short of that is a lie and won’t work.

Here’s the thing.  When I weighed 300 pounds I didn’t put up with that kind of crap.  Granted, I had fewer options, but I still did not settle for less than what I wanted just to have a guy in my life.  So, when I have more options why on earth would I start to settle for less?

I was disappointed to see it end.  We actually did have a good time when we were together.  We had a lot in common, apart from politics.  He also had the gastric by-pass surgery and had lost a lot of weight.  We had many great conversations.  But, he was never going to be anyone I would be terribly serious about.

4.  I also posted a new recipe.  This is one that I created myself.  I wanted a yummy pumpkin flavored dessert that was not too sugary.  I think I came up with a pretty good option.  Click on this picture to get to the recipe:

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5.  I also “finished” my children’s novel.  I say “finished” because I did get all of the major plot points down on paper, and I have written about 55K words, but it is quite a mess.  I still have a lot more writing ahead of me in the form of re-writes.  I’m not going to look at it until January, however.

That is pretty much it.  I have not lost any more weight.  I have also not gained any weight.  I am not going to weigh myself until after the holidays.  I am watching what I eat, definitely.  I still log my food on myfitnesspal.com.  I have had a few bad days, but overall, I’m sticking to the plan.  I want to get back to the gym now that things have kind of slowed down in my life.  I’m hoping that will kickstart the weight loss again.

I promise to keep up on this blog more often.  I have a lot planned for the holidays, but I will have time to get a few more posts in.  And in January, I will post my weight to let you know how I fared through the crazy holiday feasting season!