Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Well, I did it!  Just a day after I made the last post, I made  it to Onederland.  My weight is finally in the 100's.  It's been a long time coming but I did it.  You know the odd thing, I think I made it because I slightly increased my calories.  It makes me wonder if my metabolism just needed a jolt.  I got about 1000 calories a day a few days in a row.  Now I will drop it back down to 800 and see what happens.

Granted the reason for my calorie increase was not a good one.  I was preparing for my twins' birthday party.  I made a ton of lollipops and cupcakes.  I had to sample some to make sure they were okay.  Well, maybe I didn't have to, but would you serve food you hadn't tasted?

The last time I weighed this much was in 2003.  The time before that was high school.  I actually got down to 172 last time I lost a massive amount of weight and will be thrilled to reach that again.

Did you do the math?  8 years ago I weighed 172.  A year ago I weighed 286. I actually gained most of that within a year!  That's a 114 lb gain.  Yikes.  Thank you progesterone & estrogen.  I stand by my claim that Provera is the devil in shot and/or pill form.  So now I've lost 87 lbs of that regain.

That brings me to mini-goals.  I think I've shared some, but I've made a few more so it's time to post them again.

  • 199 lbs (Onederland)
  • Fit into husband's t-shirts
  • 195 lbs (Less than husband)
  • 186 lbs (100 pounds lost)
  • 172 lbs (weight I was at my last weight)
  • 167 lbs / BMI 29 (No longer obese)
  • 150 lbs - Goal Weight
I don't know if I'll get to my goal weight but I'm going to try my hardest!  At 6 months out my weight loss has definitely slowed, but it has not stopped and that's the important part.

The picture above is one that I took at my twins' birthday party.  It was at the Science Center and there was a full length mirror, which I don't have at home, so I took full advantage of it.  Quite honestly, I was surprised by how thin I looked.  I'm also getting my curves back.

Speaking of curves, I've got plenty of them but not how I'd like them.  Sure my breasts are looking a little better, it's no longer the same size as my waist and my pear shape is finally going away, but I have so much loose skin.  This is a picture taken of me from behind.  Those aren't fat rolls on my back.  It's hanging skin.  It's even worse in the front.  So much so that it hangs over my pubic area.  I'd probably be a size 12 by now if it wasn't there.  Maybe even a 10.  But as it is I have to tuck it in and then the front of my jeans look funky (you can see this in the post below where I'm standing in front of my husband's Trans Am.) 

My jeans are baggy in the legs, loose around the waist but tight around the lower abdomen.  I hope everything catches up because I hate it.  It's awful and takes a lot to maintain so I don't get a rash or odor under the skin.  It adds an extra 5-10 minutes to my shower time to make sure everything is completely dry plus adding any powder or anti-chafing gel that may be necessary.

I don't know if plastic surgery will be something that I'll be able to do, but if I have the opportunity I'll definitely consider it.  If I wasn't so diligent with staying dry and clean I'd be having major issues with rashes right now.  We'll see when that time comes. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Toenails

Why did the elephant paint it's toenails red?  So it could hide in a cherry tree!
Why did the bariatric patient paint her toenails red?  Because she could!

I was about to head out to a support group meeting the other day in flip-flops.  I looked down at my poor pitiful feet which are in desperate need a pedicure.  I had to do something.  I went into the bathroom, took my bright red nail polish out of the medicine cabinet, put my leg foot up on the bathroom sink and stood there painting my toenails.  It's so much easier than it used to be.  

I had my 6 month post-op appointment yesterday.  It went excellent.  I'm right on track and my labs were perfect.  Guess I'm doing something right!  I have some trouble with hanging skin.  I was told that if down the road it is still a problem, my surgeon can do something about it so that's a relief.  In the meantime, adding weights to my cardio should be a helpful way to tone it.  I bought a size Large shirt yesterday.  It fit so nice, I went back and bought another one today.  I'm loving my new size.  Oh, one more thing before I go.  See the scale above?  I'm hoping to be in Onederland this weekend.  Crossing my fingers!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How I See Food

To me, the whole world is a Taco Town.  If you're not sure what I'm referring to, I highly encourage you to view the Saturday Night Live skit, Taco Town at  You'll have to watch a short commercial first.  What I can eat and what other people can eat has such a stark contrast.  I see the whole world eating Taco Town Tacos.  So what's a Taco Town Taco?
It's a crunchy all beef taco smothered in cheese, lettuce tomato and special southwestern sauce.  Then it's wrapped in a soft tortilla with a layer of refried beans.  Then it's wrapped in a corn tortilla with a layer of monterey jack cheese.  And, it gets even awesomer when it's covered in a gordita shell and smothered in a layer of guacomolito sauce wrapped around the outside.  But it gets bigger!  It's baked in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo then wrapped in a crepe with egg, sausage and portabello mushroom.
Then the whole thing is wrapped in a Chicago style deep dish pizza.  But wait, it's not a Taco Town taco until it's rolled up in a blueberry pancake, dipped in batter and deep fried until a golden brown.  Finally, it's served in a tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili.  This sounds insane right?  Well, a quick search for these images on Google proved that it wasn't so far fetched.  It's amazing how many people have actually tried making this at home!  Not only did they make it, they ate it, too.

This huge monster of a taco probably sound outlandish to most people, though.  But, the thing is, anytime I go out to eat I see Taco Town Tacos.  Not literally, but metaphorically.  Take this Baconator from Wendy's for example.  My husband loves these.  Admittedly, he does not eat one very often, I can only remember him eating one or two in the past year.  This thing is huge.  If I tried to eat it, I would probably only get a couple bites in.  Then, I'd spend the next hour with nausea, sweats and the feeling that a baseball sized glob of food was stuck in my esophagus.  I can't even imagine trying to eat this thing!  The burger alone weighs 300 grams, that's about 10 ounces or 2/3 of a pound.  My poor little stomach will only hold 4-6 ounces.  It has 930 calories (that's over my 800/day goal), 58 grams of fat, 195 mg of cholesterol and 41 carbs.  About the only thing it has going for it is 58 grams of protein, but then again, look at all that burger, cheese and bacon.  Of course it's going to have a lot of protein.  Unfortunately the calories, fat and cholesterol are not worth it.
KFC's Double Down was something that repulsed me even before surgery.  Using fried chicken as the bun?  Seriously?  And people raved about this.  I didn't take the time to look up nutrition facts.  I just know that it makes me sick just looking at it.  I do like KFC's grilled chicken, though.  Our local restaurant only recently started serving it.  It was delicious.

Even a Big Mac from McDonald's just looks so huge to me now.  How did I ever eat one and still be hungry?  You could remove two of the buns and one of the patties and it would still be too much for me to eat.

There's even a local Mexican restaurant whose claim to local fame is a burrito the size of your head.  Who can eat that??  Apparently, a lot of people can.  But not me, and for that I'm grateful.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  The only reason I feel this way toward food is because I've had surgery.  That's partially right.  I think that having the surgery has put a lot of things into perspective.  The portion sizes in this country have increased dramatically.  Just look that this burger from 20 years ago compared to today's burger.  The calories are almost doubled!  It's no wonder we are an obese nation.  We need to get portion size under control.
 Who's to blame?  Us?  The restaurants?  Fast Food?  Busy lifestyles?  I think it's a combination of everything.  We wanted bigger sizes and the restaurants gave it to us.  We got too busy to make homecooked meals so we stopped in the drive-thru too often. 

So, if you haven't had surgery or don't plan to, how can you get your portions under control?  First of all, eat from a smaller plate or bowl.  We also eat with our eyes.  If our plate looks full, we are more likely to eat less.  Secondly, eat slow.  Allow the food time to hit the stomach and for the stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.  Often, overeating is because we are simply eating too fast.

Focus on protein and fiber.  These are the things that will fill you up and keep you full longer.

Limit bad carbs.  This includes potatoes and pasta.  If you must eat carbs, opt for whole grain.

The general rule of thumb is half of your plate for veggies, 1/4 for protein and 1/4 for grains.  However, this will be different for bariatric patients.  We must always eat our protein first and this will compose the majority of our meal.  We should have about 4 oz.  Then, we eat our veggies.  If, and only if, there is room left for grains, then we can have them.  The majority of the time, however, there will be no room left for grains. 

The first time I went to Denny's post-op, I swear my eyes just about popped out of my head when the waitress set the plate down in front of me.  I couldn't believe how big it looked.  I ended up eating about 1/4 of the meatloaf, 1/4 of the green beans and a few bites of the potatoes.  I took the rest home and got 2 more meals out of it.  It's not that much different today at 6 months post-op.  I always at least have one more meal whenever I go out to eat.  Gotta love sleeve leftovers. 

I even started ordering my steaks medium rare because I knew when I brought them home to heat them up, they'd cook a little more and I hate well done steak. 

So now that we've established that I'm repulsed by portion sizes, what do I think is an acceptable fast food portion size?  Check out that picture to the left.  That would be it... minus the soda, of course.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

6 Months Post-op

I've been meaning to update for a while.  Really, I have.  Life has just gotten in the way!  I'm doing pretty good.  Weight loss has slowed down to a crawl.  In fact, I've been hanging out at just a couple pounds above 200 for a month now.  So close to Onederland but not there yet.  I thought I was going to make it by the end of June, but I didn't.  Now, I'm hoping to make it before I go see my surgeon for my 6 month followup one week from today.  I just can't seem to lose anymore but I'm trying really hard.  I need to get out and walk more.  I was doing so well but then it got hot outside, near 100 temp with  114 heat index.  I wish we lived closer to the mall so I could just go walk in the air conditioning.  But, we don't, so I don't go often. 
I started this journey in a 28, sometimes size 30.  I'm now in a 16 and can wear some 14s depending on the cut and fabric.  I'm still feeling restriction.  I've discovered that I can eat about 3/4 cup of food but I usually stop at 1/2 cup because 3/4 makes me very full.  A typical day at 6 months post-op includes a protein shake for breakfast, lunchmeat and cheese or tuna for lunch and a grilled meat like chicken breast, steak or pork chop for dinner with some sauteed veggies.  I get about 800 calories a day, 70g of protein and less than 40g carbs.  I love my carbs, though, still do and sometimes they creep in and I get closer to 60g.  My weakness is potatoes.  I don't really do pasta anymore (though occasionally I'll have some Dreamfields.)  I've been guilty of having a few potato chips but not many.  One thing that kinda scares me is that I've discovered I'm able to tolerate bread again to a small extent.  I actually ate a hawaiian roll the other day.  Granted, they are small and I stopped there.  I've been able to eat a piece of toasted whole wheat bread for a while but the fresh bread thing is new.

Another thing I've noticed is that if I eat something other than a protein shake for breakfast, I'm more likely to graze for the rest of the day.  For instance, last week I had an egg in a basket for breakfast.  Then by the time lunch came around, I felt like I was starving but can't remember what I ate.  Later, I had a handful of almonds.  Then I ate dinner.  Later that night I had a small bowl of popcorn.  Compare that to yesterday.  I had a protein shake for breakfast, ham and cheese for lunch and a half of a small Wendy's chili for dinner.  That was it.  In fact, I almost feel like I could go back on the liquid protein diet (shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, lean protein and veggies for dinner) and be perfectly happy.  I know I'd eat less anyway and not miss it.

I started working again at the end of last month, but it didn't last long.  I was hired at a well known retail store for their bakery.  I have a lot of bakery experience so I was excited to start the job.  I loved the work, it was great.  But, let's backtrack.  I arrived to work early on my first day, water bottle in hand, ready to start the day.  When the manager showed up, she told me I was not allowed to have the water behind the counter.  She recommended I talk to personnel when they came in later that day, so I did.  Personnel told me that no, I can't have my water but I was welcome to leave the bakery to get a drink at the water fountain.  I offered a letter from my doctor but I was still not allowed my water.  So my problem was this - it gets busy and the water fountain is halfway across the store.  Not only that, but when I use the water fountain I am unable to track my fluids so I have no idea how much I'm getting in.  The first week about killed me.  I never had time to go to the fountain and I was so dehydrated.  By the time I got home from work after a 9 hour shift, there was just no way to catch up on my fluids.  I had to use my first break to drink my protein, my lunch to eat (can't drink after eating) and that left only my last break of the day to try to cram in as much fluid as I could at work.  When you only have a 6 oz stomach, that isn't easy.  I warned the manager and personnel that if I didn't have my fluids, I would end up in the hospital.  They didn't believe me and I really think they doubted that the majority of my stomach had been removed.  Anyway, come July 4th, guess where I was?  Yep, in the hospital hooked up to an IV getting fluids.  I had been so lightheaded and dizzy, had a headache, was weak and my blood pressure had skyrocketed.  I got 2 bags of fluids and went home that afternoon feeling so much better.  I called my work to tell them what happened and I still think they thought I was making things up.  I thought about it overnight and the next day I called to resign my position.  5 1/2 months post-op and that was the first complication I've had, first time I've needed fluids.  I didn't even get dehydrated when I had the flu 2 weeks post-op!  I figured it wasn't worth my health to continue that job.  So now I'm on the job hunt once again, looking for something that will accommodate my school schedule.

I guess that's it for updates for now.  I really need to update this blog more!