Category Archives: fat chick

Breaking The Rules – Emotional Highs

Today’s post is a little bit late. Sorry about that.

I know I have a set program that I am supposed to follow, per my own rules, but I want to talk about what I have been doing the past couple of days, so am breaking them. Sort of. Let me explain.

In 2000, I moved to Phoenix. This was probably one of the biggest mistakes in my life. Phoenix was not kind to me. I was sick almost the entire time I was there. I gained over 100 pounds. It was way too hot for me. And it just was not right for me.

There are only two things that keep me from thinking it was absolutely the worst thing that ever happened to me. One, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am not the rugged outdoorsy type. I learned that I do not like excessive heat. And I learned that I really am an east-coast city girl.

The second thing, that happened was I met my friend Cherilyn. I met her about a month after I moved there. I was working at  call center with American Express, and I was seated next to her.

We hit it off immediately. We talked nonstop. We would talk from the minute that we arrived at work until we left. We often hung out after work as well. We became very good friends. She is one of the reason I feel my move to Phoenix wasn’t a complete and utter disaster.

I have missed her a lot over these last ten  years. I have a lot of great friends here in DC, but Cherilyn is a good friend too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have all of our good friends in one place?

I think I have linked a picture of me from her wedding previously, but I will link it here again.

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Obviously, she’s the bride. (And this one’s for you, baby sis), I’m the one on the left in pink.

That’s how Cherilyn knew me. That’s what I looked like for most of my stay in Phoenix. That’s what I looked like when I left Phoenix in 2004. And that’s what I looked like when I went back for a visit in 2007.

Now, she has been following my progress with the surgery and weight loss. She reads this blog sometimes. And she follows my updates on Facebook.  But still, I don’t think she was taken aback by what I look like now.

This is us outside the White House with her kids. She’s the one on the left in black and white next to her son. And I’m on the right with the obnoxious pink shorts. The hamlette next to me is her little girl. Her son is so cute. They took a tour of the Capitol and I met up with them after. I asked him how the tour was, he shrugged and said. “OK, but we haven’t seen the White House.” So, we had to do that first.10403230_10152875391775299_2429342450171835273_n

Cherilyn and I have lived full and complete lives in our separate respective cities. She obviously got married. She has two children.  I’ve had surgery. I lost weight. I am trying to be a writer. I blog. We are very different in many ways. Still, when we met up again, it was just like we had never parted ways.

She was so excited to see how much weight I have lost. She was even more excited that I was able to walk all over the city with them. And walk all over the city we did. Miles and miles. We walked to the White House, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Wall. Then we walked to the Foggy Bottom (near GWU) area for dinner. We walked so much, we wore the kids out. The kids and her hubby, couldn’t get out of bed yesterday. I have to admit, I did a little happy dance at the thought that I wore out kids.

While they were sleeping, Cherilyn wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial, so I took her on my Blossom Walk. Then we walked back over to the Smithsonian Metro station to meet her family and took them to the American History Museum. Her little girl wanted to see the ruby-red slippers worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. (They are in trouble with this one, let me tell you!) I made her see the original American Flag first. Then the shoes. Then Miss Piggy.

Then we had an impromptu visit to the Urgent Care. Her son’s eye started hurting and got a little red and puffy. She wanted to make sure he didn’t have pink-eye, especially since were getting on a plane today. We had thought to do paddle boats in the Tidal Basin or to do a Moonlight Bus Tour. We no longer  had time to do either. So, I suggested we just take the Metro out to Rosslyn and walk over to the Iwo Jima Memorial. That was one of two things left on Cherilyn’s “must do” list. Once we were in Virginia, Cherilyn suggested we go to my apartment.

We took the Metro then a bus to my neighborhood. We went to dinner at Busboys & Poets down the street. When we left the restaurant, it was pouring down rain and none of us had an  umbrella. We were SOAKED by the time we got to my apartment. We walked into the building looking like a pack of drowned rats and the guy at the front desk just cracked up. We cracked up. “I think it might rain,” I said to him and pushed the button for the elevator and we all just laughed even harder. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a long time.

Obviously, I gave them towels and wrapped the kids up in thick plushy robes once we got inside. And I made sure they were good and dry before I sent them back out into the rain for the metro ride back to DC.  Because I rock like that. If I didn’t have a Smart Car, I would have driven them back to the hotel. I guess I still could have, I just would have had to do it one at a time.

OK, all of that to get to my point. The last few days I have been riding an emotional high. Having one of my dear friends be so obviously happy for my weight loss. The surprised gasps and hugs telling how good I look. How happy she was that I could walk all over town and they couldn’t keep up with me. Nothing feels better than having the people you care about sincerely tell you how wonderful you’re doing and how happy they are for you.

It is hard as time goes on and I get less and less of that. The people who see me every day are used to seeing me the way I am and don’t sing my praises every time they see me. I hit a prolonged plateau and haven’t lost anything for a long time.  I have to depend on myself to feel good with what I have done. It is nice that my friends celebrate my success. They should not be required to celebrate every day or every time they see me, however much I may want them to.

It has been a struggle for me during this prolonged plateau to remain positive. Still, I have to find a way to stay focused and positive on my own. This visit from Cherilyn was awesome. I enjoyed spending time with my friend and showing her everything I love about living in DC. I also enjoyed her telling me how great I look and how nice it is that I am so much healthier than I was before. It’s been a nice reminder of how far I have come. But now that she’s gone back home, I have to be my own cheerleader.

That’s not always as easy as it sounds. I know that I write some pretty positive posts on this site, but sometimes it is very difficult not to be very hard on myself. I am hoping that with the walking challenge going on at work, that will kickstart me into really increasing my activity level and start the weight loss again. We shall see.

If you want to follow my progress in the walking challenge, check my daily updates on my Skinnygirl Facebook Page.

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Talking About Food – Liquid Pizza (Writing 101 Day One Challenge)

Today is my first food post for my June blogging challenge. Not too many people understand meal planning and restrictions for bariatric patients. Today I am going to share a recipe for one of my favorite, albeit, stranger meals. I also want to talk about some of my dietary restrictions and why I chose to create this strange little meal.

For a long time after the surgery, I could not have bread at all. I do sometimes have a little, but I keep it very restricted. Bread swells in the stomach and can stretch the pouch. Also, it fills you up with starchy empty calories. My surgeon and nutritionist want me to focus on nutrient rich foods. Starchy foods, such as bread, are not nutrient rich.

One of my favorite foods is pizza. I have not been able to eat pizza since about 2002 because I developed very serious food allergies. I was very allergic to tomatoes and milk products. The combination of tomatoes and cheese sent me to the emergency room with a swollen face on more than one occasion. It seemed the wiser choice to give up pizza entirely.

After the surgery and some weight loss, my allergies abated. I decided to slowly reintroduce foods I had been allergic to. I had great success with that. My allergies did not bother me at all. I decided it was time to try pizza again. The problem was, I could not have any bread.

In the diet plan my surgeon gave me, I was allowed to have a few tablespoons of marinara sauce as a source of vegetables, especially during the pureed food phase of the diet.

During the first few months after the surgery, I decided to try to add cheese for protein, put it in a small dish and pop the whole thing into the microwave for 30 seconds. Tada- liquid pizza was invented.

Now I have taken this idea to a whole new level. I put shredded cheese into a dish and pour marinara sauce over the top. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and put in toaster oven for 20 minutes.

The dish I use is 4 inches in circumference and 1 inch deep. This holds about 1/2 cup shredded cheese 1/2 cup marinara sauce. I usually cannot finish the meal. Here is a picture:

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The dish looks much bigger than it actually is. I put it on a small plate because it is so hot when it comes out of the toaster oven.

I have varied this recipe quite a bit as well. I’ve added ground turkey, vegetables, pepperoni, chopped up turkey burger, whatever I happen to have on hand.

I do sometimes have pizza now. Thin crust, always. I usually take a couple of small bites to get the full-on pizza experience. Then I just peel off the cheese and other ingredients and eat that. Mostly though, when I want pizza, I forgo the bread and just make myself a small dish of the liquid pizza. I couple that with some vegetables or a piece of fruit. Here is the full recipe.

COLLEEN’S LIQUID PIZZA (This has been added to Skinny Girl Recipes tab)

1/2 cup shredded cheese – any kind will do although Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio is one of my faves (100 calories per 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup marinara sauce – I use Trader Joe’s organic marinara sauce (50 calories per 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon of parmesan cheese (5 calories)

Calories per meal: 255

Combine all ingredients in a small dish, bake in toaster oven for 20 minutes. Use egg turner to remove from toaster oven and place dish on small plate. Enjoy with a small piece of fruit or a vegetable.

Alternately, you can microwave this. I am trying to get away from microwaving. I have become somewhat of a purist when it comes to my food. I’m buying more organic, shopping at farmer’s markets, and buying grass-fed meat free of antibiotics and steroids when I can. But that’s just me. You don’t have to be as neurotic as I am about food.

Enjoy!

(Disclaimer: While marinara sauce is an acceptable vegetable, I do not subscribe to the notion of pizza as a vegetable. Pizza is pizza which is a meal, and not always a very healthy option, particularly when a loaf of bread is consumed in the process.)

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.

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!

mepurple

December 2011

Aug 2012

Aug 2013

 

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.

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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.

Fun Facts Friday!

I weighed myself this am and I see I am down another pound.  I thought I was down two pounds.  The first time I weighed myself, the scale said 170.  I ran and grabbed my phone to take a picture. Then weighed myself again and it popped up to 171.  Mean old scale!  Still, I’ll take it.

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Here’s the proof!

Another Friday fun fact, I can now wear a size 12 jeans!  I did not think I could ever get here.  Granted, the first time I tried them on, I could not really button them.  So, I laid down on the bed and I was able to get them buttoned!

I told my mom this qualifying my news with the, “Well, they don’t really fit yet.  The only way to button them was to lay down on the bed.”

Her response?  “But if you can button them while lying down, that’s how you know they fit!”

And I wonder why I have body image issues.

Well, the good news is, I’ve lost a couple of pounds since then, and I do not need to lie on the bed to button the size 12 jeans.  I won’t lie.  They are a tad tight, but still. I CAN FREAKING WEAR A SIZE 12!!!!!

That makes me officially out of the plus sizes in pants.  I was always a little bit top-heavy, so it will be a few more pounds before I come down to only a large and not an extra-large in tops, but I’m pretty happy with where I am right now.

I have three pairs of size 11 jeans in my closet.  I tried them on and tried to button them.  Not even close.  I have been wearing the size 14s since March I think  And it’s taken me about 40 pounds to go from 14 to 12.  I’ll give it another 15-20 before I try the 11s again.

So, when I saw my former work buddies last weekend, one of them showed me a picture from two years ago.  I had her text it to me.  This was taken December 2011.  I had already decided to do the gastric by-pass surgery to help me lose weight.  Compare that to this other picture which is me from about a month ago.

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Aug 2012

Aug 2012

What a difference, huh?  I guess that picture was two months ago, now that I look at it.  I have to get some new pictures I think.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would look like I do now, I’m not sure I could have believed it.  I would have wanted to believe it, but the possibility that I could look and feel as good as I do now was something I just could not fathom.  It just goes to show you that you can make big changes in your life.  The results may not come quickly, but if you keep plugging along day by day, you will get there.  And the results can be bigger than you imagined.

Never give up!

Something I Have Always Wanted

So, my life has been just super busy recently.  I seem to be doing something every day and nearly every night.  I cannot remember the last time my life was so full.  I just love it.

Friday, a friend of mine from Arizona was in town on business.  I lived in Phoenix from 2000-2004.  I also have a cousin, Dan, who lives there as well.  He’s still there.  I left and moved back to the DC area in 2004 because, let’s face it, I’m an east coast city chick at heart.  Well, Jeff is friends with my cousin and I met him through Dan.

We went to dinner Friday night.  It was so much fun.  Jeff told me he’s not a big dinner out kind of person, and I told him that’s perfect, because I am not a big eater, anymore.  Now, Jeff and I became Facebook friends a while back and we have sort of followed each other’s lives, ups and downs, etc via FB.  He knows all about my surgery and the changes I have made in my life since he last knew me in Phoenix.

We chose to go to Cheesetique since we could just nibble on a cheese platter and not feel pressured to get a big meal that neither of us would eat.  Jeff had never been to a place like this and didn’t know quite how to order a cheese plate.  I totally love Cheesetique because it’s really kind of perfect for me.  I can get little pieces of cheese and small portions of veggies and I love it.  So, he very kindly permitted me to order for both of us.

Truth be told, I’m a take charge kind of girl.  You give me the power to make all of the decision, and I will.  The server came to the table and I very decisively ordered, “Yes, we’ll have te six cheese platter with the brie, the blue cheese, the Swiss, and the pumpkin cheese, and these two meats.  On the side we’ll have olives and the spiced Greek figs.  Thanks!”

Jeff was like, “Well, OK then!”

It was awesome, I have to say.  It was nice to just nibble on our snacks and catch up on old times.

Saturday, a friend of mine from my writer’s group had a picnic at her new house.  She moved to far away Maryland, (really only about 1 1/2 hours from here), and bought a house in the mountains.  Actually, it’s more of a compound as the house has about 4 buildings.  It’s gorgeous!  Here is the view from one of the buildings:

wendys

I know!  Hard life she has, right?

It was a great day.  I am happy that they bought this place and are happy there.  She and her husband have three kids and this place is pretty perfect for them.  They all live in the main house, but the kids can go and have their own private time in one of the other buildings. And my friend has her own little writing house.

Then last night, my former work colleagues had one of their twice yearly meetings/dinners.  The team all works remotely, and they have these meetings to bring everyone together, meet with the client, each other, and just have fun.  Well, they called me and asked me if I would like to meet them after for drinks, which I did.  I haven’t seen them since January.

I still worked with them in January, but in February, I started a new job.  I have changed a lot since then, obviously.  So, I made sure that I got all dolled up and did my hair, make-up, etc. I wanted to look good.

I was meeting them at the Grant Hyatt in Washington.  I walked in, and they were all gathered in the lobby waiting for me and our friend Greg.  Greg gave me a ride as he lives about 2 miles from me.

First, let me start with Mario.  Mario was waiting outside the hotel for a friend of his.  He’s grown a beard since the last time I saw him, and I didn’t recognize him.  He didn’t recognize me either.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was like, “Oh my God, Colleen! You look so different!”  We exchanged hugs, and I went into the hotel.

I saw them in the lobby so I waved to them.  A couple of them looked at me and then looked away.  I kept waving as I walked towards them and then finally someone recognized me.  The oohs and aahs started as each of them in turned hugged me and told me how great I looked. I have to say, it was quite awesome.  They were all so happy for me, which was nice.

We had a great time and hung around in the bar of the hotel until about 1230am.  Just FYI…no alcohol for me.  I did have a cafe Americano and some water.  It was so nice to see everyone again, but I have to say, I am glad that I changed jobs.  I miss the client, I miss my friends, but I am glad that I expanded my horizons and tried something new.

On a side note, I wanted to update my experience with the dating site I signed up for.  A guy who is seemingly, somewhat normal contacted me.  He lives in this area, a bit far out in the boonies for my tastes, but still, in Virginia.  We exchanged emails on the website and he gave me his phone number and asked me to call him.

I called him this am.  He sounds relatively normal.  I gave him my number and are planning to meet one day this week, or maybe next weekend to talk some more.  He asked me what I was looking for in a relationship.  I hate that kind of question, really, but I guess it’s kind of natural when you’re looking for a date.

I really have no preconceived notions of where any of this may take me, and I told him that.  I told him that I am open to whatever possibilities may lie ahead, but I don’t believe in setting false expectations and trying to mold the relationship into something it may not be.  I just said that my goal is to meet someone, talk, get to know them, and just see how things develop.  If it turns into something, great, if not, then, whatever.  These things need to develop organically, in their own time.

He seemed OK with that.

I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about dating after such a long time not having that kind of relationship.  I’m in no rush.

I did tell him about my weight loss and what I have been doing for the past two years.  I also told him that I have not reached my goal, but I am close.  He was not put off by that at all.

One thing I have noticed recently is that I am not quite as focused on my weight as I used to be.  I mean, I am paying attention to what I eat.  I exercise.  I walk.  I am taking care of myself, definitely.  But I am not quite so focused on the scale so much anymore.  I will definitely continue to try to lose the additional 46 pounds to reach my goal, but it’s not the main focus of my life anymore.

I am living my life.  I am going out and having fun.  I am busy.  I am enjoying my friends and all of the new possibilities this new life has opened up for me.  That is all I have ever really wanted.  If I only measured my weight loss success by that marker, I have already achieved my goal!