Tag Archives: diet

A Room With A View: What Gastric By-Pass Surgery I Really Like

Today’s Writing 101 Assignment is called “A Room With A View” and they are asking us to look ahead and talk about a place we’d like to go. I am going to turn the assignment on its ear a bit and talk about where I have been.

One of my Facebook followers asked me to talk about what the surgery is really like because not everyone has such positive results. She is absolutely correct. So I am going to talk about my experience the first day or so after the surgery.

A day and a half after my surgery, I blogged a bit about what it had been like. Re-reading that post, I realize that I did not give many details or really describe how I felt physically, so I will talk about that some here.

The doctor said the surgery went well. He did notice that my liver was very large and covered in fat. He took a sample so that they could have it analyzed to make sure that it is OK. Bottom line, my liver is not that bad off. Mostly just covered in fat, which is getting better.

I awoke on the table, which they told me would happen. They woke me up to remove the tubes from my lungs. I had been intubated for the surgery. I remember them  yelling at me to breathe and I remember having the sensation for a long time afterwards that I could not breathe. I also had what I thought was horrible chest pains. I told them I was having chest pains. I was afraid I was having a heart attack. The nurse asked me where the pains were, and I apparently pointed to directly to my incision. The pain was unbelievable.

I was clearly briefed on all of this before hand. They also told me that I would not remember waking up. They were wrong. I remember and it was horrible.

I do not remember being in recovery. I do remember finally being wheeled to my room. The room was incredibly hot. When I weighed 300 pounds, I was much more sensitive to temperature than I am now. I could not stand being hot. So, being wheeled into an overly hot room, did not go over well. It took the hospital an hour to get someone in to change the temperature and bring me a fan. Finally, my sister, who works at one of their other hospitals, flashed her badge and raised a stink. I five minutes, the problem was solved. Apart from that minor hiccup, the hospital, the staff, etc, were fantastic. I have no complaints.

I was in a lot of pain. A lot. Of. Pain. Anybody who tells you that the surgery is the easy way out, is clearly an idiot. I challenge them to allow me to cut a 7 inch incision into their stomach to slice and rearrange their innards and see how they feel. It was just awful. All I could do was lay in bed, moan, and sleep. When the nurses told me I had to get up, use the bathroom, and take a walk, I seriously thought they were nuts.

The good news is, I did have a pain machine. I did not use it at first, mostly because the other drugs they had me on kept the worst of the pain away. Also, I thought that I had to be careful about using it. I didn’t want to take too much. The head bariatric nurse came in and told me to go ahead and use it as I needed it because they wanted me to not allow the pain to keep me from getting up and walking. And they wanted me to do a lot of walking.

So, I did use it. And I walked. The pain meds were kind of nice, I have to admit. I regretted leaving the hospital and leaving the serious meds behind because once I got home, that’s when the real misery began.

The pain meds made me sick the first day I was home. I almost ended up back in the hospital. I almost vomited. That would have been really bad as I could have done a lot of damage to the incision and staples. My sister called the surgeon at 3am my first night at home. He had prescribed some stomach medication, but they were huge capsules. I couldn’t take them. Finally, he told me to empty the capsules and dissolve them in water. I felt much better afterwards and the emergency was averted.

Life was very hard for about two weeks. I couldn’t stand on my own. I couldn’t lie flat. I slept in a large overstuffed chair in my sister’s house. And I had a hard time keeping on the food/water schedule.

That said, I did get out and do what the doctor wanted me to do. I walked. At first, I only walked to the corner and back to the house. My brother would pick me up from my sister’s and take me to Target or the library. Target was good because I could use a cart to steady myself. My sister even created a route through the living room and dining room for me so that I could walk around when I was home alone while they were at work.

Learning to eat again was painful. I was eating pureed food for six weeks. In some ways, it wasn’t so bad. In others it was So disgusting. I got really tired of hummus and now I cannot even stand it. Sometimes I can eat it, but often, I cannot even look at it. Not every meal sat well with me. My brother-in-law made grilled chicken for me and then put it in the food processor. It was awful.  I took one bite and while the chicken taste was OK, the texture almost made me hurl. Nonetheless, I couldn’t not eat it because he really went to a lot of effort to make sure that I had appropriate food that I could eat. So I ate as much as I could.

Also, I could eat something one maybe two times, then the sight of it made me sick. That did not bode well for the big pot of pureed lentils they made me. I love lentils. I eat them all of the time now, but just after the surgery, a few servings made me not want to even look at them.

I also had a lot of constipation in those early days. The worst part was, I was not allowed to push to help expel. Pushing could have strained or potentially ruptured my incision and internal staple line.

I was home after a month at my sister’s place. I was able to take care of myself. I went back to work six weeks after the surgery. I worked from home at the time, so I was able to return and not worry about the impact traveling to/from work would have on my health. I had the surgery on October 24, 2012 and by New Year’s I was slowly starting to introduce solid foods.

The first few months after the surgery was very difficult. The rapid weight loss made it a little easier to bear. I was slowly able to walk with ease and breathe. That alone made it worth it. Sitting where I am now, 127 pounds less. Able to walk anywhere I want, able to exercise, eating a little more, and feeling healthy, to me it was all worth it.

That said, the surgery does have the potential for some very serious problems. I encourage anyone considering the surgery to research and arm yourself with the knowledge of what the potential complications could be. Do what you can to make yourself as healthy as possible before the surgery. It will help a lot to prevent some of the complications.

The surgery is not for everyone. It is a huge life change. There are foods that I may never be able to eat again. I will always have to take vitamins and protein supplements. And I will always have to be prepared for adverse reactions to the food I eat. I also do not know what sort of health issues I may face in the future.

That said, to me the surgery was worth it. I was facing some seriously scary health problems as a result of my morbid obesity. The potential health problems that could result from the surgery were no more serious than the health problems I faced every day.

Looking back, the pain and difficulty during the surgery, the months of prep, doctor’s appointments, medical procedures, tests, and personal sacrifices that I made to have this surgery were worth it. I learned a lot about myself, the food I eat and why I overeat. The surgery has been a great tool to help teach me control.

I think that’s the most important thing for anyone considering the surgery to understand. The surgery is a tool. It’s not a miracle cure. You will not be all better. It will not solve your psychological problems. And it’s a temporary fix for your bad behavior.  You will be able to eat more eventually. You can go back to eating high caloric food, fattening food. The surgery only temporarily helps you control what you eat. The behavior modification has to come from  you.

I have reached a point where I can eat more and eat different kinds of foods. The surgery taught me control. The doctor and nutritionist taught me healthy eating. They prescribed exercise. They gave me all the tools I need to successfully lose weight and live a healthier, fuller life.

Now it’s up to me.

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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!

No Time

You know that Styx song, “Too Much Time On My Hands.” Yeah, well that’s not me.  Not these days.

OK, I know that I have a problem with over-committing myself.  I have struggled with this my entire life.  The problem is I want to do everything and there just simply is not enough time in the day to do it all.  And now that I can do more, I seem to really relish trying to cram as much into each day as possible.  Combine that with the fact that I am easily distracted by shiny objects, and boy am I in trouble.

Work has been keeping me very busy.  I think I have mentioned this before.  It’s the busy season with meetings and travel just before the holidays roll around.  That’s just the way it is.  I have been working a long string of ten-hour days for what seems like an interminable amount of weeks.  I’m glad to have a job so I won’t complain too much.  But I a looking forward to when I can take some vacation time, definitely.

I am also keeping my weekends completely filled with fun activities.  Walking, gym, museums, this weekend is the National Book Festival.  This was always one of my favorite things to do.  When I was unable to really stand comfortably, let alone walk, doing this bordered on nightmarish for me.  I had to settle for watching the lectures on C-Span.  This always broke my heart, because I love books, reading, writing, lectures, anything that has to do with the written word.  I know it seems kind of pretentious and snooty, but I love it.  I might be too scatter-brained and over committed to be a voracious reader, but I still do read a lot.  And I have amassed quite a collection of books of my own.  So, a book-fest is a little slice of heaven.  It is to me what a Ren-fest is to an RPGer.  OK, who am I kidding, I’m a Ren-fester, too.  Add another event to the list of things I will be doing on the weekends.

My point is, that every minute of my days seem to be filled right now.  I love it.  I love being able to go places and do things.  I was trapped by my obesity for so many years, I was afraid I’d never be able to do anything again. Yeah, my weight loss has slowed down and I haven’t reached my goal yet, but I am not overly worried about that.  I am just happy that I can get out in the world, walk around, and have some fun.

I’ll get to my goal weight eventually, but for now I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve lost 125 pounds and have the freedom to go out and enjoy life again.

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Speaking of going out and having fun.  This is a picture of me at my friend Sush’s Art Studio.  Last Saturday she had a grand opening bash and I finally had a place to wear the dress I bought this spring.  I’m just glad I had a chance to wear it before I shrank out of it.

Here’s another pic of me in the same dress.

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The party was a blast, and Sush’s studio is just beautiful.  If you’re in or near Arlington, I recommend checking it out!

 

 

When I Get Discouraged…

It is easy to get discouraged when the scale does not move or does not move as quickly as it did in the beginning.  I have amped up my exercise recently, and I am trying to re-evaluate what I am eating to make sure that I am staying on plan and getting the right kind of nutrients.  I’m thinking of cutting back on the cappuccinos and converting back to regular coffee instead.  Fewer calories in regular coffee, although I will miss the foam.

Sometimes all I see is how far I have to go and not how far I have come.  To test the waters and attempt to cheer myself up, I tried on an item of clothing the other day that I have not worn since high school.  Yes, I still own one or two things from high school.

Let me preface this by saying that when in high school, I weighed between 120-135-ish range, depending upon the year.  I still have my high school band jacket and a t-shirt from my first school play.  I was in the orchestra my Sophomore through Senior years of high school.  My skinniest, at 125, was my Sophomore year when the school did West Side Story.

So, I put on my high school band jacket just for shits and giggles.  I can put it on and almost get it closed.  I cannot yet, button it, but a year ago, I couldn’t even an arm through a sleeve.  (Pay no attention to my messy hair and room, please.)

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It’s strange, because in high school I thought I was fat.  Everyone around me, almost everyone at least, confirmed this.  I was always being encouraged to diet.  I was always told how pretty I would be if I would just lose some weight.

Right before my surgery, my sister Sandy tried to put the jacket on.  She’s 5’4″ and weighs maybe 145 pounds.  She was always the skinny one.  She put this jacket on.  The sleeves were too short, and she could not even get it close to buttoned.

She turned around and looked at me and said, “Oh yeah, you were soooo fat in high school! Yeah right!”

If only I had known then what it was to be really fat…makes me sick to think about it.

So, when I’m feeling like I am making no progress, I put this jacket on.  I cannot wait until I can get it buttoned.  When that happens I will post a follow-up pic.  Maybe I will even put on my West Side Story t-shirt with it.  (I cannot believe I still have that!)

Happy Sunday, everyone and enjoy the start of football season!  I cannot wait until the weather cools off enough so that I can start wearing scarves and jackets.

My Thoughts on the Diet Industry

A couple of days ago, I read this fantastic open apology letter that a former weight loss counselor wrote to her former clients.  It appeared in the Huffington Post today, but also was originally posted on this blog.

I found that very interesting.  I have hated what I view as the “diet industry” forever.  Fad diets, diet pills, prepackaged meals, I’ve tried them all in all of them failed me.  Yet, I was always made to feel that my failure to make these diets work and keep the weight off was always my fault.  I did not exercise enough, walk enough, I ate too much, I ate the wrong combinations of things, if I only did this or that, etc.

I found it very interesting to hear from a former “weight loss counselor” about how some of these plans deliberately stack the deck against their clients to keep those clients coming back as they rebound from diet after diet.

“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself as I read this apology letter, “they sold a diet plan which they knew would not work or have a lasting effect, one which would most likely keep their clients coming back again and again?  How, exactly, is that healthy?”

Simply, it is not.  The diet business is just that.  A business.  There is no real lasting money in the cure.  It’s the repeat business that keeps the store open.

This is another reason why I think categorizing obesity as an illness is good.  Have people work with their doctors and trained dietitians to help them lose weight.  And force companies that want to pretend that they are offering solutions instead of a lifestyle of using their service, meet medical standards for a healthy weight loss and lifestyle plan.  Eat right.  Exercise.  Work with a doctor or nutrition specialist.

There is no real short cut to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.  Yes, I guess you call the bariatric surgeries a short cut, but really, it is only a tool.  I am forced to eat smaller meals, but I work very closely with the nurses and nutritionists in my surgeon’s office to make sure those meals consist of nutrient rich food.  This is something I was not doing before.  I ate a lot and I ate a lot of junk.  Now I eat a little, and it’s primarily healthy food.

Here is an example of my before surgery diet:

Breakfast: (choice of one of the following)

  • Toasted bagel from Panerra with egg and bacon.
  • Breakfast burritos from local deli with egg, bacon, potato, onions, green peppers.
  • Croissant from deli with egg and bacon. (croissant fried on grill, of course).
  • 2 bowls of cereal with fruit.
  • Fried potatoes and eggs, bacon, or sausage, and toast or english muffin.

Lunch:  (choice of one of the following)

  • Chipotle burrito.
  • Chinese food, usually kung pao chicken with rice and an egg roll or pot stickers.
  • Sandwich and potato soup from Panerra.
  • Chicken drumsticks and rice and some kind of vegetable.
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken and some bread and vegetables.

Dinner: (choice of one of the following)

  • 12-24 Chicken wings and fries.
  • Large Bag of Chips and some kind of dip.
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken and bread.
  • Chicken Saag – entire order, rice, one somosa, garlic naan.
  • Chinese food, same as lunch.
  • Subway sandwich – footlong, cookies and chips.

Snacks: continuously throughout the day, chips or whatever.

Examples of meals post WLS:

Breakfast: (choice of one of the following)

  • 4-6oz nonfat plain greek yogurt & 1/2 cup of berries.
  • 4-6oz nonfat plain greek yogurt and peach or nectarine.
  • 1 scrambled egg with spinach and 1/2 banana.
  • 1 hard boiled egg with some kind of fruit.
  • 2 oz cheese and fruit.

Snack:

  • 4-6 oz nonfat plain greek yogurt & 1 scoop protein powder.

Lunch: (choice of one of the following)

  • 1/2 chicken breast, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 2-4oz cheese and fruit
  • Chicken Saag (2-3 cubes of chicken breast, 1/2 cup spinach), and fruit.
  • 1/2 cup tuna salad, fruit & vegetables

Snack: (choice of the following)

  • 4oz nonfat greek yogurt (plain)
  • 2oz nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc)
  • 2-3oz cheese

Dinner: (choice of the following)

  • 4 wings, celery and carrots (that is a rare, but special treat)
  • cracker pizzas (usually 4 or 5) (saltines, tomato sauce, cheese bake for a few minutes in toaster oven)
  • Chicken Saag (2-3 cubes of chicken breast, 1/2 cup spinach), and fruit.
  • 4oz Chicken breast and two vegetables of some kind.
  • 4oz salmon and two vegetables of some kind.
  • 4oz cheese and vegetables and fruit.

See the difference?  So, yes, I am eating considerably less than I was before.  I am following the Dr.’s plan very closely.  I may allow myself a treat of chicken wings or cracker pizza, but look at the difference between my before surgery meals and after.  I used to eat out a lot.  I still eat out sometimes, but I often end up coming home with a huge amount of leftovers that I eat over the next couple of days.

Conceivably, you can try to continue to eat all of the bad food and make yourself sick stretching out your stomach so that you can eat almost as much as you did before the surgery.  But why would you do that?

The WLS surgery does not solve all of your problems or change why you ate badly, binged, or ate out for nearly every meal in the fist place.  It’s a tool to jump-start you on the path to good health, and it’s not for everyone.  But all of the good you can achieve can be undone if you do not take steps to address why you became fat in the first place.  These are things the “diet industry” was never designed to address and therefore never will.

Whatever you decide to do to improve your health, lose weight, or whatever, you need to find the will within yourself to stick to the plan.  It’s hard.  I still struggle every day.  And people on the outside continually give me bad advice or tell me what I’m doing wrong, even when I know I am doing what the doctor told me to do.  Staying focused is tough.  But once you experience all that you can gain from improving your health, it becomes harder to turn back.

All I know is that while I may want to eat certain things, and sometimes I may find a way to fit a night out at a restaurant or a special treat into my diet, I do not ever allow that to throw me off my plan.  I’ve come too far and worked too hard.  I do not ever want to go back to being the fat girl who could not even walk to from the bus to the office again.  Ever.

So I kind of wandered away from my point here about the “diet industry,” so let me try to find my way back…

Anyone who tells you there is a short-term quick fix to losing weight and being healthy is selling you something.  One thing I have learned over the past year is that it is a lifetime of work.  The changes you make will have to be permanent.  I will never be able to go back to having the kinds of foods I ate before my surgery.

Bottom line, if you’re not willing to make the commitment to truly change your behavior, you will never permanently lose the weight.  All the fad diets and pre-packaged plans in the world will never replace a life-long, sustainable, sensible diet and exercise plan.  And that’s what the “diet industry” does not want you to believe.  As long as you believe there is a short-cut, or a quick fix, they know they have you right where they want you, in their pockets.

Everybody Has One

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An opinion about your diet or weight loss that is.  I have found that people are always willing to give your their opinion about how you are losing weight, what you eat, if you’re losing weight fast enough, too fast, exercising or no, exercising too much, you should do this, you cannot do that, always do this, never do that, etc. etc. etc.

Often, that advice is contrary to what your doctor has told you told and can be wildly different from what he/she thinks you should be doing.  More often than not, the advice is kindly meant by people who care about you.  Sometimes, the advice is given by people who just like to hear themselves talk or think they know everything about dieting.  Sometimes the advice hurts your feelings or feels overly judgmental.

It can be very overwhelming.

Everybody has an opinion about dieting because, let’s face it, almost everybody diets.  Each person is different and a diet technique that works for one person may not work for the next.

I like to think that most diet advice is well meant by well meaning people.  They may not know a thing about what works for you, or what you have discussed with your doctor or personal trainer, if you have one.  But I think most of the time, people mean well.  There are people who shell out advice or judgments in a hurtful way because it makes them feel superior and therefore better about themselves, but they are not really worth giving any value to, are they?  No, I didn’t think so.

So here’s my advice for dealing with diet advice, critiques, judgments from other people.  This is pretty much for anyone who is trying to lose weight, but it’s especially helpful to any bariatric patients out there.

  • Ignore most diet advice you receive.  Some of the advice may actually be pretty good, but most of it may not really work for you.  If what you are doing works, stick with it.  If not, then it’s OK to seek outside opinions, but I would start by talking to your doctor, then maybe your dietitian and/or personal trainer to make sure you are following a safe, healthy plan.  Your best friend’s older sister’s cousin’s friend may have told you about the perfect “cleanse” where he/she lost 15 pounds in 3 days, but that plan may not really be the best solution to your problem.  In fact, just don’t do that.  Those “cleanses” are pretty crazy.
  • Always consult with your doctor/dietitian/personal trainer.   The most important part about losing weight is to do it in a healthy manner so that you never gain it back.  Doing crazy fad diets, cleanses, pills, powders, unrealistically aggressive exercise plans will all backfire in the end.  You may lose that 15 pounds in three days, but as soon as you start eating the way you were before, stop exercising, etc., you will gain all that weight back and then some.  Nobody wants that.
  • Be honest with yourself.  I cannot stress that enough.  You know when you’re following your plan and when you’re not.  If you hit a plateau and you stop losing, or god forbid, start gaining again, take a look at what you’re doing.  Honestly assess your diet plan.  Write down what you eat, drink, and how much you exercise each day.  You will get nowhere if you’re not honest with yourself about what you are doing.
  • Set achievable goals.  Setting unrealistic goals only sets you up for failure.  If you set smaller goals and you exceed them, you feel better about what you are doing and it makes weight loss and better health seem possible.  You’ll get there in the end, one small step at a time.
  • Mix it up occasionally.  Let’s face it, diet’s are boring.  And boredom is the death knell to any diet.  Feel free to try new healthy foods, new exercises to break up your routine a bit.  Doing so could be a new jump-start in the right direction for your diet.  It also keeps your plan fresh.  If you’ve been riding the exercise bike for cardio, try swimming.  If you’re eating nothing but bananas and yogurt for breakfast, try a melon salad and scrambled eggs with spinach.  If you like spicy food, add a little more flavor to your baked chicken.  Try Thai spices or Indian curry powder.  There are a lot of low fat, low calorie ways to add more flavor to your meals.  That will also help you feel more satisfied and less bored with what you’re eating.
  • Listen to your body.  You know your body better than anyone.  If you’re having problems such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach aches, sore muscles, not losing weight, getting dizzy, or feeling off balance take another look at what you’re doing.  You could be eating too much cheese, pushing yourself too far, not pushing yourself far enough, not getting enough protein, vitamins and nutrients, or enough water…any number of things.  Again, keep a journal of what you’re eating, what you’re drinking, and how much exercise you do.  If you cannot figure out what the problem is, take the list to your doctor or nutritionist and explain the problems you’re having.  They may have ideas and suggestions to help you out.
  • Don’t let the turkeys get you down.  My mom has this saying that goes something like this, “You’ll never learn to soar like an eagle as long as you’re hanging out with turkeys.”  I’m not suggesting that anyone abandon their old friends and find new ones, (although really, sometimes that’s what you need to do), but instead maybe give less credence to people who are not supporting what you’re doing.  If they are not supportive, don’t talk to them about your weight loss progress.  If they invite you over for lunch and serve fried foods or chips and pizza, maybe next time, offer to go to a movie with them instead.  If they constantly criticize your progress, or what they perceive as your lack of progress, just ignore their comments and talk about something else.  But really, if they are insulting you, what kind of a friend are they, really?  Maybe you do need to find new friends…or at least join a group of like minded people who are supporting one another through this process.  A support group, a friend to go the gym or share diet notes with.  Spend less time with people who make you feel bad about yourself.  (Oh, and don’t tell my mom I implied that she’s right.  I can’t have her knowing that.  We’ll just keep this between us, OK?)
  • Never give up.  I think this is the most important item on this list.  Losing weight, dieting, exercising, and getting healthier is a constant battle.  It’s easy to let minor set-backs get you down.  And it’s hard to stay focused and committed when you’re down.  Everyone messes up.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone gets discouraged.  You are not a unique snowflake in this arena.  If you’re feeling alone, reach out to someone else for support.  I like to think that I can do everything myself, but even I sometimes need to phone a friend.  If you give up, you will never know what you’re capable of achieving.  As the saying goes, get up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!

Have a great weekend and remember, never give up!

Non Scale Victories

Several other WLS bloggers that I follow talk about NSVs or non-scale victories.  These are victories, or milestones that have been achieved due to weight loss that have are not measured on a scale.  I guess I kind of have as well, I just have not labeled them NSVs.

My NSVs  mean a lot to me because my lifestyle has really changed since my surgery in October of last year.  I think I have made great progress, even though my weight loss has kind of plateaued.  I am bummed about that, but I still feel good about what I have achieved so far.

  • I dropped 112 pounds.
  • I’m only 61 pounds from my goal weight.
  • I went down from a size 32 to a size 14-16.
  • I can walk.
  • I can breathe.
  • I can walk and breathe at the same time.
  • I can walk a long, long time before I have to take a break and rest.
  • I feel more confident.
  • I feel healthier.
  • My blood pressure is normal without medications.
  • My cholesterol is normal.
  • My triglycerides are normal.
  • My back hurts a lot less.
  • My feet hurt a lot less and do not swell quite as much or as often.
  • I’ve noticed guys checking me out.  
  • I suddenly do not feel invisible.
  • I can stand on the metro without severe back pain.
  • I can run to catch a metro train if I am running late.
  • I sometimes run across the street.
  • I walk through my neighborhood on an almost daily basis.

Before the surgery, I was very sick and had great difficulty walking and breathing.  I was pretty heavily medicated for my blood pressure.  I had managed to get my cholesterol under control, but my triglycerides were off the charts high.   I feared that my poor little heart would give out on me.  And I felt just awful all of the time.  

I may not have hit my goal weight yet, and maybe I never will.  But I am so happy with the progress that I have made and I feel great!

OH!  And I colored my hair using the professional stuff my sister used a few months ago.  I think I did a pretty good job.

me