Tag Archives: walk

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

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Memorial Day Fun

George Washington's Mansion Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mansion Mount Vernon

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

Cow at Mount Vernon

Cow at Mount Vernon

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

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

Wonder Woman Auntie Colleen

Wonder Woman Auntie Colleen

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

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

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

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

Wagon? What Wagon?

So, reading my blog might leave one feeling that for the most part, I am having a pretty easy time dealing with life after weight loss surgery.  For the most part, I’d say that is pretty true.  You wouldn’t know it from this weekend, however.

Somehow, I have managed to get myself upset over a situation that I created.  It is all in my head.  I know this, but still, I have allowed it to control my moods.  With a couple of exceptions, I pretty much moped around all weekend.  In the past when I would get like this, I would over eat.  I have not really been able to over eat since the surgery since my stomach is so small.  I have manged to get my diet up to about 1200 calories per day.  This means that my stomach pouch is a little bit bigger than it was shortly after the surgery.  This is as it should be and I am right where the doctor wants me to be.  That also means I can eat a little bit more.

Since the surgery, I have for the most part, been able to manage my stress level and keep my emotions in check.  I have been much better about dealing with life.  Friends have commented on the changes they see in me.  They say I am more confident, I speak with more authority, and I carry myself differently.  But for some reason, this weekend, I allowed something that has been bugging me to really get me down.  That and some poor meal planning really left me struggling last night.

I have a hard time when my meal schedule gets thrown off track.  Most of the time when it is time for me to eat, I do not actually feel hungry, or more to the point, my stomach doesn’t feel hungry.  I just start feeling the effects of not having eaten enough.  I get light-headed and cranky and eventually, my stomach starts to hurt.  This usually means it has been probably six hours since I have eaten something and I have missed my protein snack.  Bad Colleen.

I had been out yesterday and had not eaten for quite a while.  I stopped at the grocery store because I knew I did not have anything that I could just eat right away.  I was going to have to cook, which would mean another 30 minutes or more.  I could not wait that long.  I bought some food for the week and I bought a rotisserie chicken.  This was the beginning of my downfall.

Pre-surgery, rotisserie chicken was one of my trigger foods.  You can also include chips, pretzels, pizza, pretty much anything that was salty, crunchy, or savory would do the trick.  And I didn’t just eat a little bit of it.  I could eat almost an entire rotisserie chicken in one go.  Same thing with chips.  All or nothing.  The bigger the bag, the better.  Pizza, pretty much the whole pie. 

For anyone not familiar with the terminology, this is called bingeing.  Want to know what a binger looks like?  Look it up in the dictionary and you will see a picture of me.  Anyone who has suffered from bulimia is also familiar with bingeing, the difference is they follow it with some kind of “purge”.  Purging can take many forms, vomiting, exercise, or laxatives are a few.  I didn’t purge afterwards, unless you include tears of guilt.

The drive to binge is overwhelming and uncontrollable.  Sometimes the binge starts out as hunger, just a meal.  I tell myself I will buy the chicken and just have a little bit, combine it with a potato or rice and some veggies, bam – dinner.  What really happens after I have the chicken home is something else entirely. 

This is what happened to me last night.  I was hungry.  I was stressing out over my own self-created mellow-drama.  I bought a rotisserie chicken. 

Now, in my defense, I have bought rotisserie chickens since the surgery and had just a drumstick and some vegetables, put the rest in the refrigerator and was fine.  That is not what happened last night, however.  And it is really no excuse.

I put together my dinner, which was a piece of chicken and some fruit, and I sat down to eat in front of my computer.  I knew I was having a hard time dealing with my emotions, so I decided to write about them.  I started a word document and just started writing down everything that I was feeling.  What I was not paying attention to was my eating.  I just kept right on eating.  I ate until my stomach started to really hurt.  It hurt so much that I thought I was going to vomit.  Fortunately, I did not.

I had two drumsticks and was working on a wing.  I had also started to pick at the larger pieces of chicken.  I was sitting on the edge of my bed in pain and ready to cry.  I felt like I had really slipped up and felt guilty.  I could not believe I had done that.  I knew it was a mistake when I bought the chicken.  I could feel it.  But I thought that I had all of that under control.  Clearly, I do not.

I did not save the rest of the chicken.  I threw it into the trash can and then bagged up the trash, took it down the hall, and threw it into the garbage chute in my building.  I then went back into my apartment and put my shoes on, grabbed my sweater, and took a good long walk.  I had to leave the scene of the crime. 

I took a book with me.  I walked around my neighborhood for a very long time.  I thought about everything that had just happened.  I thought through my problem.  I analyzed why I had allow myself to fall down that pit again.  Then I stopped at the coffee shop and had a good hot cup of tea while I drowned my sorrows in the fantasy of a novel for a while.

When I finally returned home, I deleted the word document and cleaned up my mess.  I did not really come up with any good solution to my problem.  And there may not really be one other than to just let things be for a while. 

There are some things in life I just cannot control and I need to accept that.  What I can do is take charge of the things that I can control.  I can control what I eat, the food I buy, and whether or not I allow this one incident to completely throw me off track.

I have had small mishaps since the surgery, accidentally having too much sugar, eating a little bit too fast, eating protein bars that made me a little sick, etc.  I have paid the price for those mistakes, and I have learned how to handle them. 

This was the first time I have really fallen completely off the wagon since October.  I thought that I was beyond all of this, but I guess not.  I learned something about myself last night and it was not pretty.

Adventures in DC

Scan

 

Yesterday, I was getting ready to head out and explore my world.  First, I had to buy a new headset for my iPhone.  I fell in walking home a few weeks ago and smashed my other headset.  Thanks to the new iPhone cover my sister bought me, the iPhone survived the fall, but the headset did not.  Could have been worse, definitely.  Then I was going to head out to a different coffee shop, one I have not been to in a while, to try to write a bit.  I wanted to finish up an essay for a contest and the early deadline is Monday.

I was walking out the door when my cell phone rings.  My brother called me and put my niece on the phone.  She informed me that after lunch, they were coming to Auntie Colleen’s house.  Oh really?  I’m glad she called me before I was too involved in my own plans.  Obviously, this required me to rethink my entire day and reschedule everything, which I was more than happy to do.  When the five-year old requests an audience, you don’t ask questions, you simply adjust.  It’s kind of like getting a summons from the Queen.  I talked to my brother for a few minutes and decided I had enough time to go get my new ear-pods and get back home before they arrived.

When they showed up, it was clear that they had no plans.  I saw an open-air street flea market of some kind in at Court House near Clarendon and suggested that.  There is also a pretty large park nearby and I offered that up as well.  We ended up going to Busboys & Poets to get fries to feed the child and then trekked into the city, and by trekked, I mean we drove, found parking and walked to the museums in DC.

I love that I can do this.  Just six months ago, walking all over the Mall and wandering in museum after museum would have been at best an extremely painful and difficult venture bordering on impossible.  Now I can walk around for hours, which we did, with no struggle.  I almost want to cry from sheer joy every time I venture out on one of these excursions.

My brother and I had a short conversation about this.  He said that he and his wife used to struggle to find excursions that they could do with me that I would be able to do.  Usually, dinner out, movies, sitting at home and talking, etc were safe activities.  Going to fairs, festivals, The Mall, etc were out of the question.  Now he says they don’t even think about it.  They just call me and make plans.  I love hearing this.

But I digress…

My niece always loves going to see the dinosaurs, she cannot get enough of them, actually.  We went to the Natural History Museum.  Then there was bird chasing and kite watching on The Mall and then the American Indian Museum, which is really cool.  I had never been there before.  Unfortunately,  we arrived there about 30 minutes before it closed, so we did not get to see much of it, so we will definitely be heading back there.

Then we went to “Old McDonald’s” for chicken nuggets.  I’m horrified that my brother feeds her MCD nuggets, but it’s something she can eat and she loves them.  She has food allergies, so their choices when eating out are limited.  Plus, she is fussy, as most kids her age are. So, I keep my opinions on MCD to myself and just let it go.  She does not have a weight problem, which is good.  She’s always been very thin, even as a baby.  She eats all the time too, and she has no problem asking for food when she’s hungry.  In fact, she was so hungry by the time we got to MCD that she was literally singing a chicken nugget song she made up.

That little girl is something else.  I am just  so glad that I can go out on these adventures with her when she leaves the confines of the DC exurbs and ventures into the city with her dad.  Maybe this summer we will make it down to the American Folklife Festival with her.

Surgeon – Six Month Post-Surgical Update

Today I saw my surgeon for my six month update.  I had blood taken last week so that they could test my vitamin/protein levels in my system to make sure that I am receiving the proper nutrients. 

Everything looked good.  I still weigh 196.  My total weight loss to date is 102 pounds.  He cleared me to kick up the exercise.  I am going to join a gym, do yoga, and I have been meditating.  The surgeon then wants to see me in three months.  In between, I will have my annual physical with my primary care doctor.

So far, health-wise, I’m doing pretty good.  I know I feel great, so much better than I did before.  Just the fact that I can walk as much as I like and not struggle to breathe or stand is a miracle to me.

Walk This Way

Today was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining.  The birds were singing.  It was the warmest day of the year so far.  I worked on reports at work so I did not get a chance to go out at lunch.  As I was walking to the metro after work, I really did not feel like going home and just sitting in my apartment.  I decided that I was going to change into shorts and a t-shirt and take a walk down the hill to the shops to get some tea or something after work.

Then, my phone rang.  One of my friends from my writer’s group called me.  She has a class tonight and her husband is out of town, could I come sit with her kids?  Well, she is a great friend and has really done quite a lot for me.  I could not say no.  So, of course I rescheduled my plans and drove over to her house.

When I arrived, she had dinner all ready for me.  She made some kind of spicy Indian chicken, green beans, and roti.  Well, I cannot have bread, so I did not eat the roti, but I did eat the chicken and green beans.  While we were eating, her daughter asked if they were going to Redbox to get a movie.  Her mother said no because I was already there and she had to leave for her class.  The ritual whining ensued.  “You promised!”  “I came home early.”

I said that after she leaves, the kids and I would walk down the street to Redbox to get a movie.  “Yay!”  The store was more than 5 blocks away.  The kids were happy because they would get their movie.  I was happy because I would get an extra walk in.

So, here I sit, at my friend’s dining room table typing away on my laptop and surfing the internet.  One kid is playing on a device called a DS, whatever that is, another kid is glued to the tube watching “Rise of the Guardians.”

They really are great kids.

I Walked A Mile!

photo (3)

I know it is not such a big deal to walk a mile for most people, but considering 5 short months ago I could barely walk to the corner and back this is a big deal for me.

Yesterday, my new employer took a bunch of us to a National’s baseball game.  I stopped going to games and such years ago because of my inability to walk around.  I am doing much better now with my walking, so I decided to go.  Another friend of mine was there also.  She lives across the highway from me in Arlington.  I spent time hanging out with my co-workers and time hanging out with her. 

After the game she said she would give me a ride home.  The caveat was that she worked about a mile from the stadium and we had to walk to her office to get her car.  She asked me if I thought I could make it that far.  I confidently said yes, but secretly I was like, OMG can I do this?

I was kind of worried, I have to admit it.  I thought about it and really, I have probably walked a mile or more recently without even thinking about it.  I have walked laps around the malls here in DC.  I have walked around the museums.  I have walked around the National Mall.  But I have never really said, “OK, I am going to walk a mile now.”  

My friend knew me pretty well before the surgery.  She knew what kind of trouble I had walking.  The whole time we were walking she said stuff like, “Look at you!  You’re walking great!”  No back pain.  No gasping for air or even struggling to breathe.  It totally awesome!

I know it’s not much, but for me it was a big emotional milestone.  I can now say confidently that I walked a mile!