Thursday, December 30, 2010

Buying size 16 jeans at the regular Gap at the mall. Oh yeah, they're skinny jeans. Goal achieved.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fill numero three

Saw Dr. Minkin today. I'm down 12 ish pounds since I saw him at the end of October for a total of 71 ish per his scale. He was very complimentary of my progress thus far. It's silly how encouraging this is for me. It's like getting a good grade in school - a big motivator for the geek that I am.

He even said that maybe I'll hit 100 down by my next appointment. Wow. I see him again on Feb. 23 so it's a possibility. I'm going to hunker down and do my best to get there.

I didn't ask him how much of a fill he put in. I can feel that it's tighter when drinking now. Soup for lunch and coffee now.

I was describing the fill to my mom. For me, it's uncomfortable, but not awful. I try to keep talking like when you're getting a pap smear to distract myself. The "stick" is more ouchy than when getting blood drawn. A bigger needle maybe? He got the port on the first try this time. It was a little stingy after he took the needle out but I think that's just because it bleeds a bit and the alcohol used to clean my stomach makes it sting. Sorry for TMI but I thought this might be helpful for anyone new. The fill thing kind of freaks me out a little since he had a more difficult time finding my port the last time. I was glad it was one try and in today.

He gave me a prescription for blood work today which is good. I'll be glad to check in on things. I'm going to start tracking my protein intake again. I've gotten a bit sloppy on making sure that I'm getting enough. I still largely eat protein but I'm not confident that I'm meeting the targets consistently.

I'd never discussed a goal weight with him and wanted to ask him what he thought. He said given my height, that he thought 170 would be a good weight for me. 191 has been my goal and then 173 for a stretch goal. I think I'm going to round things off and say 190 for my goal and 170 for my stretch goal. It's a bummer that 170 still does not get me into the "normal" bmi category. 163 does that. We'll see but I have a feeling the OCD person inside of me will want to make it to the normal category.

Who is this person that is talking about weighing 170 pounds? Let alone 163 pounds. This would be by far the thinnest I've been as an adult. Total phen-fen weight. I think this is about what I weighed when I was "thin" in college too.

What a journey this is. At the beginning, even losing 40 pounds seemed incomprehensible. Now, actually making it to my stretch goal seems definitely plausible (still too nervous to jinx anything). Maybe even attainable by my one year bandiversary. What's even more amazing is the good prospects for then maintaining my goal weight. Frankly, I think that's the best thing of all.

NSV today... I went to Nordstrom and shopped in the regular department. Walked right on by the women's department. Tried on a bunch of cardigans to go with my new skinny jeans and ended up buying two (thanks H & J for my birthday present!).

I'm trying really hard to hold off on buying things before goal and I think I'm going to need to stay out of stores. Having things fit is intoxicating. I also tried on a size 16 pair of trousers. They zipped but would be a bit obscene to wear. But, let's focus on the "they fit" part.

Off to the tailors next week. I'm getting 3 or 4 pairs of pants taken in and hope that that will get me through for a while.

And side note, I'm really not wigging out that much about turning 37 - notwithstanding the eight million times I mentioned it in my earlier post. For some reason, I can feel 40 out there, looming a bit more these days. But, I know I'll be a much, much healthier 40.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time to face facts... things have changed.

Happy Christmas - and happy Christmas being over. We had a really nice holiday plus, my birthday was yesterday so we get all sorts of celebrating wrapped into a condensed period of time.

The above is a photo of my daughter and I with our matching headlamps so we can read at bedtime.

My Mom made my favorite dessert for my birthday and it officially marks the end of holiday indulgence for me. In yet another "things have changed" oddity, I'm actually looking forward to healthy eating. For now at least.

I need to really spend some time trying to articulate how my mind has changed in regards to food and eating. I seem to spend most of the time sputtering out a variation on "it's so weird" but I need to figure out how to be more specific than that. It is so weird though!

So, what all has changed. The world of denim for one. I think all of Target heard me laughing in the dressing room last night as I was trying on skinny jeans. Yes, heaven help us. I tried on skinny jeans.

So, I have these short "booties". I wore them out to dinner with dear friends recently. My calves still aren't small enough for tall boots. I have really big calves. And that's just a fact, not even bait for "no Susan, they're not big." They are.

But I digress. We're actually going to a New Year's eve party. It's at someones house, with kids so I don't want to get too fancy. I'm not sure how everyone else is going to dress. I am the queen of the long sweater and recently got a new black one. I thought it might look nice with jeans and my new booties. But, I only have one pair of jeans that fit (more on that later) and they're boot cut. Not tuck-in-able.

Thus, I entered the world of the skinny jean. Heaven help us all. Is this a colossal mistake? Are the small children going to run away screaming? I have to say that my ability to judge is so out of practice, I think it's pretty much disappeared.

I have become one of those weight loss "afters", or rather "durings" who is still wearing pants that are three sizes too big under the false pretense that they are just fine. Maybe people at work don't comment a lot on my weight loss because I'm still wearing the same clothes that I wore 75 pounds ago.

I'm in a sort of limbo right now. I'm planning on losing about 35 more pounds which I know will impact my size considerably. Thus, I don't want to make a lot of investments that are just going to get chucked in a few months. But, I really need to stop hitching up my pants. I think I'm going to pull out a pair of black pants and tan pants and get them altered so they fit for now. I hope they'll get me through a bit longer. Then, when I get to goal, I'll get new ones.

I have one pair of jeans that fit and they'll get me through casual for a bit. And, I bought a new pair of "stretchy" pants at Target last night. An XL. Fits just fine. Maybe even a little roomy. Maybe I'll be an L when all of this is done? Maybe a M - surely not.

So, back to the changes in the denim world. I sort of feel like an alien that has landed on earth for the first time when shopping for jeans in the "regular" department.

First - sizes. I had been toying with the idea of skinny jeans for a bit. We were at Target last night and the first display we walked by was a rack of skinny jeans. I thought - this might be a good idea. Cute jeans, cheap price. Let's look...

Who knows what size I was. Who knows if they had it. They were waist sizes. I have no clue. Didn't even know if we were even in the right ballpark. Walked on by.

Then, I guess I was in the juniors department and realized that sizes now go up to 17. They stopped at 13 when I still wore junior sizes. Grabbed a couple of pairs to try.

Then, the jeggings. Now, when I was pregnant, my maternity jeans had a fake zipper and an elastic waist. Genius. However, I'm not sure if jeggings are really appropriate for the non maternity set (or the non 4 year old). Grabbed some to try on anyway.

Finally made it to the misses sizes and grabbed a few more.

I understand from other blogger's comments that Target sizes are generous. I guess the 16 skinny jeans fit. If they are supposed to end about an inch above my bum division which I think they are. I'm pretty sure the top half of the pants were missing on these low rise pants. I don't think a 37 year old is supposed to wear these? Thank God I missed the entire low, low, low rise craze. The laughter begins.

Then, the jeggings. What a concept. On the next day's trip to Old Navy, I tried on more jeggings and had to text my friend who is a buyer for Kohl's to make sure that a 37 year old WLS patient in jeggings wouldn't get laughed at. She says I won't.

I purchased a size 16 pair of skinny jeans from Old Navy. They fit. I also understand that Old Navy sizes are generous but these are skinny jeans so I'm thinking that that might even things out a bit? Even when I'm a reasonable size, baby still has considerable back.

But the quest is not over. I'm going to check out the Elle jegging at Kohl's that my friend recommended. Still need to try all of this together to avoid the laughter.

Ok, what else has changed....

Mirrors are not the enemy. I've spent a lot of the last 5, 6, 7, 8 years or so avoiding looking at myself in mirrors. Even now at home, I have to work at looking at myself in a full length mirror. Have to get the mirror out from behind the door, set it up where I can see into it, turn on the big light. Doesn't happen a lot.

When I went to Texas a few weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror in my hotel room. Oh, that isn't right I thought. That mirror is a skinny mirror. Wait a second, is it? I have no idea. A month or so before I'd had the same experience at the Nordstrom rack. I have no confidence in my ability to gauge what is looking back at me from the mirror. Last night at Target, I was looking in the mirror and realized... It's not a skinny mirror. I'm not just a slightly smaller version of what I was at my heaviest anymore. I'm considerably smaller. I look at my stomach and think "oh, I'm holding it in," - try to stick it out, no ... I'm not holding it in." It's just smaller. I can't tell you how many times I've done this. Silly.

These next 35 pounds are going to make an even bigger difference I think. All I can muster for now is "it's so weird".

I'm someone who is still overweight. Still obese actually by the medical charts. But, I'm in the lowest category of being obese as opposed to the top category. I don't wear a woman's size anymore (and a large one at that). I'm pretty sure I wear an 18, maybe even a 16 these days. My shoe size is again a 9, 9 1/2 (not a snug 10). Just as I now have to shop in the little girl's department instead of the toddler's section for my daughter, I now need to move to a different section for me. It's so weird!

I'll post a picture of the New Year's Eve outfit. Honest feedback requested please. Can't trust myself yet.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

RIP 2010 Christmas Cookies

While you were delicious while you lasted, I'm pretty sure having cookies for dinner three nights in a row is not what my doctor had in mind when he said "don't worry about he calories, just focus on three meals."

It's a little weird to enjoy Christmas cookies like regular people do - indulge during the season an cleanse in the new year.

They were great. I'm glad they're gone.

Here is to a 2011 filled with many more remarkable moments!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Too. Many. Cookies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yep - it's time for a fill I do believe. The holidays plus PMS plus a bit less restriction are combining to significantly lessen the odds that I will reach my 79 pounds down goal by Christmas.

Still bouncing around between about 74 to 70 down. With my poor choices over the last few days, I'm thrilled with that. We're baking cookies this weekend so that will be a big challenge.

Even with really bad choices, I'm amazed when I compare it to the poor choices pre-band. The other night we stopped by DQ (unfortunately right by my daughter's school) for dinner. Great mom. I got popcorn shrimp and a mini blizzard (that really is pretty mini). I ate about half of the shrimp and the blizzard. Not awesome but it could have been a shrimp basket, a cheeseburger and a regular size blizzard.

So, I'm trying to recognize that I'm going to have to work hard if I want to see the scale move again before my doctor's appointment on Dec. 29.

It's funny how my brain works too. Even though I've lost a solid 70 pounds (wow), a couple of days of backsliding really makes the old demons rear their ugly heads. The band is an amazing tool but it is no way a cure all. Thank God for it though.

I remember after Valerie Bertinelli lost her weight with Jenny Craig, she had a New Year's resolution commercial and she teared up because for the first time in forever, her resolution wasn't to lose weight. I remember tearing up too because I was still heavy with limited prospects of losing the weight.

This year, I'm amazed. I remember before my surgery I told my husband (tearfully) that I almost couldn't even dream that at some point I wouldn't have oppressive issues with food and my weight. It was too unbelieveable. Too much to hope for.

Heaven knows, the issues that got me to my highest weight are still there but so much more manageable. As the people in AA like to say... I don't have a problem, I have a program. Thank God the band is my program!
It's amazing to turn the corner on the year and not want to switch the weight loss commercials because I feel bad. Now, I just want to switch them because they're annoying. I have the energy and fortitude to start working on other areas of my life now that my weight isn't this (pun intended) weight weighing my down. Ha.

So, I will try to make good choices. I will try to keep the scale moving downward. I will do my best. And, I will not beat myself up when I make a choice that isn't "good". It's ok. It's normal. That's what people that don't have issues with food do. Sometimes the indulge, sometimes they don't. I need to get this printed on a tee shirt.

And, when I get to my goal of 108 lbs down, I'm going to get this dress which I LOVE!!! In black of course. Picture above - sorry, I can't figure out how to get it down into the text.

Happy Holidays! Happy Baking! Happy Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Guess what I did yesterday? I walked into Banana Republic and saw a black crew neck sweater (which I've wanted/needed), picked it up, thought it would fit, bought it and took it home. Regular store, regular sweater. Just bought it and took it home. And it fits - the XL is pretty roomy actually. HUGE NSV!

Monday, November 22, 2010


We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. I was pretty proud of myself that I made gravy and it actually was good. I used the Barefoot Contessa's recipie and it was delish. Of course, anything that has a full stick of butter in it should be.

I then used said gravy to enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and even a bite or two of a roll with relative ease. Gravy could be a bandster's best friend - or rather worst enemy. I wasn't hungry until dinner on Sunday. Even though it was the largest meal I've had since getting the band, it was still probably 1/3 to 1/2 of what a regular plate would contain. STUFFED. Just like the turkey. Still full I think.

Other fun news from the weekend, I bought a sweater at Nordstrom Rack in the regular misses section and I'm wearing it today! And, my smallest pants are becoming too big. Does that make sense? The smallest sizes that I still have in my closet are becoming too big. Time to think about how to make it through to last 40 pounds or so. Even my new "small" jeans are fitting just fine and I can see the day when they'll be too big. I was wearing my 18W jeans the other day to go grocery shopping and had to keep hitching them up.

I'll probably get a few pairs of pants tailored so I can make it through. I'm also trying to figure out what I want to get altered period versus replacing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Update and Photos

I'm going bullet-point style with this post - and even with that it will still be really rambling. My apologies.

I had my last doctor's visit on Oct. 27. At that time, I didn't get a fill becuase I was really pretty tight. However, like clock-work my band seemed to loosen up about a week later. I called my doctor's office about scheduling a fill sooner than my Dec. 29 apointment. The person said that Dr. Minkin doesn't do that. Your appointment is your appointment. She said to follow the rules, eat solid protein, yada yada yada.

I was a little bummed but I do think I'm at a pretty good restriction level. Head hunger was getting in the way but something I read on "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon" has been really helpful. She said her doctor told her (I think) that it's not about how much you can eat but rather about how little you can eat and be full.

So what's the big deal with that? I was really focused on - what can I eat and hadn't been paying as much attention to hunger. I don't get that hungry which of course is a big part of being at a good place with the band. That's not to say that I can't eat.

I always think of that scene on Friends where Chandler and Monica are dating but haven't told anyone. They're in the tub when Joey pops in to ask Chandler if he wants some chicken. Chandler says no and then after the door shuts, Monica pops up and says "I could eat some chicken". I could pretty much eat some chicken all of the time but I'm working on dealing with the head hunger and trying to eat only when hungry. Novel concept.

For the past few days it seems like I'll have coffee in the morning, maybe a latte and then I'll be hungry for lunch around 12 or 1. Then, I'm pretty good until late evening. Skinny Cows have been my nemisis but I've just been eating them because I want to, not becasue I'm hungry.

So, for now I'm cool with my level of restriction. Still amazed that I've lost 65 ish pounds. Here is a picture of my progress thus far. The first is starting (299), second is 264, third is 248 and the fourth is 234. Roughly 40 pounds to go to which is nuts. That would be a weight that I know I would be happy at. I think anything more than that would just be a bonus.

Where I'm at now is how I see myself in my mind pretty much all of the time whether heavier or lighter. The photos are a helpful tool and I think will be even more so as I drop below this weight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did you change your hair?

If I had a nickel for everyone that has asked me over the last few months...

"Did you get your hair cut? It looks nice".

No dumba**. I've lost 62 lbs. Hair's the same.

Had my appointment with Dr. Minkin this morning and he was really happy with my progress. Said all of his patients were doing great today. Talked to him about fullness/too full/too little? He said to stay at my current level and work on small bites and chewing well. I've lost 22 lbs since I saw him on Aug. 25. Next appointment is Dec. 29. Maybe I could be at 215? 220s probably more realistic and that would be about what I was when I got married. Yippee!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are you full? Time to eat? Time to stop?

You would think that an almost 37 year old woman (Dear God) would know if she's full or not. Especially since I have spent most of the past decade in a constant state of fullness - if not overly so. Maybe that's the problem

I have an appointment with Dr. Minkin tomorrow.

Do I need a fill?
Do I need some taken out?
Am I full for 4 hours on 1/2 cup or am I just willing myself not to eat?
Am I chewing enough?
Am I taking small enough bites?
Am I taking long enough to eat?

Obviously, I have questions. I'm hoping he has answers.

I felt a little silly googling "How do I know when I'm full" but I did it. I found this...


Helpful. I think most of the time as of late I've been about a 4 to a 4 1/2 to a 5. More and more, I'm a 4 after eating. I think I should be closer to a 6?

For example, I'm just finishing my lunch of three meatballs with marinara sauce. Probably about 2/3 of a cup of food. I'm a 4ish. I think I should be closer to a 6.

Next question - how do I know if I should eat? I first typed "am I hungry" but I think the question or rather or not I should eat is probably more apt? Does my stomach need to be growling? Loudly? Just feel empty? Time to hit google again.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here is the article link...

From a Size 14 to a Size 4

Sorry, the other link didn't work.

.2 pounds away from 60 down this morning! I think it's really helpful for me to track my weight weekly on a specific date. Friday is my date. This helps to see the progress when you feel like all you're doing is bouncing around. The week after my period is my weight loss friend.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I read an article last night that stirred up a lot of thoughts. Some cranky, some amused, some reflective. Very interesting...


Where to begin...

Everything is relative.

There is a lot of talk here in blogland about goal weights. Sometimes it's because a goal weight is a seemingly arbitrary number. Sometimes it's because of the paradigm shift we experience as the weight begins to come off.

In the past, it was all about the number. Must. Get. To. The. Number. Getting to the number... and then promptly seeing it in the rear view mirror as the weight (and more) came back on.

Goal weights are also relative in that my 190 is not necessarily your 190. Our bodies are amazing things and so very personal. Well, duh Susan. What I mean is, we all share so many things in common - especially with our weight issues - but our journeys are hyper-personal.

I sort of stopped short in reading in the second paragraph about Anne that she saw a photo of herself at almost 190 at 5'8 1/2 and almost cried because she was so heavy. That's my goal weight. Sort of hilarious.

Now, Anne is a socialite in New York who is getting divorced from the President of Vera Wang. I am a mom, wife, and a professional in one of the "states in the middle." We travel in slightly different circles.

After a diet/exercise program and the aid of pills, Anne now weighs 130 pounds. I think that's close to what most models weigh (yep, a quick Google search confirms that that's about what Gisele weighs).

I have never weighed 130 pounds. Maybe when I was like 12. After my first diet when I was a freshman in high school, I weighed about 145 pounds and that is the lowest on record. And, I was 14 years old.

Good for Anne. Good that she feels good about herself. I'm happy for her. But you know, I'm going to be more happy for me when I get to 190. I'm going to look at pictures and do cartwheels - because I expect that I will be able to do cartwheels again.

Along the way to becoming more than 100 pounds overweight, something happened to me. I realized that 2 or 3 pounds here or even the 5 or 10 pounds there.... not that big of a deal. Or rather, it's not a big enough deal to drag you down and obsess over.

Am I going to be thin when I get to 190? Nope. I won't even be close to the normal weight range on the BMI chart (need to drop 27 more pounds for that). But I will be healthy. I will be at a weight that I expect to be able to maintain - and live - at. I will be at the weight that I have decided is good for me. Not a weight that the designer at Louis Vuitton has decided matches up with a size 4.

I think that's what I wish most for me - and for anyone else who has struggled with weight, Anne included. I want to be happy with me, with my body, with my relationship with food - on my terms. I have beaten myself up about my weight for the vast majority of my life. You know what? When you get to be 300 pounds, it doesn't really matter if you would have lost 5 or 10 pounds before that big night out or the family portrait session. I stopped beating myself up because I'd gotten so far gone. In the midst of that awfulness, I started to realize something really important. I am not my weight. I was exactly the same on the inside at 300 as I was at 190 - or hell, that I would be at 130. Most importantly, I wasn't any better or any worse at any of those weights than at another. Sort of takes away some of the power that that number has. Takes a lot of it away.

Ok - bear with me, a few more points to make about my new friend Anne.

My journey isn't yours. Don't marginalize mine just because it doesn't jive with your choices.

Loved the quote in the article when she started to get asked about her weight loss "What did you do? A band? Gastric bypass?" and Anne replied "I did not have surgery. I sweat it off." Well honey, good for you but you know what? I'm sweating too. A lot.

Anyone who loses weight by any means is sweating - physically and emotionally. Losing weight is hard. Whether it's 100 pounds for me or 5 pounds for someone else.

Is the band an amazing tool that is helping in so many ways - absolutely! Does that mean that I'm just eating twinkies and snickers and melting? Not at all. I am working and I'm working hard. Just as Anne did.

Let's all get behind one another and realize that just because you have a band, or used pills, or somehow managed to lose it on your own - doesn't make any of those options better or worse than another. Just makes it what worked for each of us and that is the most important thing.

Pills aren't for me (anymore).
Ok, this next part might seem a little disingenuous given my previous few sentences but it bothered me how cavalier she was about the drug combinations she was taking/is taking? Anne took an off label combination of drugs (phentermine of the famed Phen-fen combo and topiramate which is an anti-seizure/migraine drug).

Been there, done that, not going to do it again. I have taken just about every diet drug there is. Phen-fen, herbal ephedra, Alli, Meridia, pretty much straight up amphetamines at one point I think. I'm sure there are drugs I'm missing. There was a time in my life when I would have read this article and then immediately would have started researching (plotting) how I could get my hands on the Phentermine/Topriarmate combo. Fast!

Ironic that I never did "drugs" but I never met a diet pill I wasn't willing to try - or plot a trip to Mexico to get.

Some might argue that surgery is even more dangerous than drugs. I don't know. With the surgery, you know who you are getting into bed with. I've made my choice. It's me and the band baby. Hopefully forever.

With the drugs, you don't know. You hope that the weight will come off. You hope that there won't be any adverse side effects. (an anti-seizure medication??) This year, next year, in 10 years.

I bet I'm not the only past Phen-fen user though who hears a story on the radio about heart issues and pauses to hope that their heart is still ok. Medication isn't something to take lightly but that's me now. Making my decision for me.

Thanks again for everyone's comments on my "too tight" conundrum. I'm doing better now that I'm over my period and adhering to the rules in a strict way. Still mulling a tiny un-fill and I'll figure that out by my appointment on Oct. 27.

I have a piece of paper tacked up on my bulletin board here at work. It lists out the dates of my six month supervised diet appointments from Nov. 10 - May 7. I checked off each apointment as I went last year. It helped to keep me going.

The note is sunfaded and gibberish to anyone that looks at it. It's really important to me though. I look at Nov. 10 and think about where I was a year ago. Where I was mentally, physically. And where I am now.

Pushing 60 pounds down (another thing my friend Anne and I have in common), feeling good but most importantly, feeling hope. I hadn't felt hope in a long time on Nov. 10, 2009.

Nov. 10, 2010 is going to be a much sunnier day - no matter the weather.

Here's hoping that anyone else out there who has struggled, is struggling or might struggle with their weight in the future finds their best solution for hope as well. Hope and ultimately, peace.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Thank you all for your comments - and insight. I agree that "when in doubt, take some out".

Between now and my appointment, I'm going to try to stick to the rules religiously to make sure that I'm chewing well enough and taking small enough bites. I want to rule out "operator error".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guidance please - too much restriction?

I need some guidance please.

Ever since my last fill, I've wondered if I'm actually too restricted. Crazy. I've only had two fills.

Since fill number two, I'm very limited in what I can eat and definitely how fast I can eat. No bread, rice, pasta. No lettuce. Mornings are really tough to eat anything and I can even feel tightness if I drink a cold drink instead of coffee.

On the weeks when I've had my period, I can pretty much it mushie food, ice cream, soup.

Today for lunch, I had some deli turkey, cheddar cheese and a chocolate doughnut hole. I was feeling some tightness before the doughnut hole but then it seemed to go down ok. Then, I pb'd.

I'm making poorer food choices because I'm more limited in what I can eat.

I'm not really hungry but I think I'm snacking more because when I can actually eat something, I want to eat it.

I think I'm answering my own question but I'd love to get any thoughts. I go to the doctor on Oct. 27 and I think I'll ask for just a smidge out. I'm nervous that then I'll loose any restriction but I'll have to find out if/when I can come back in for more if I need it.

I think I'd do better if I could eat a reasonable diet and focus more on fullness rather than consumption.

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Halfway there!

Halfway. Halfway there. Where is there? Done? No longer with a weight problem? Cured? I don't know. I'm not sure if I'll know even when I get there. But I'm halfway (actually a bit over halfway) to wherever "it" ends up being. At least the "it" for now. I do reserve the right to adjust the goal - you never know :).

55.2 pounds. Obviously, I can tell in many ways. But, in so many ways it's so intangible. I think part of that is because I had gotten so heavy before that I really stopped thinking about my weight to a certain extent. But that's another blog for another day. Living more "in my body" is a goal - not just living in my head.

I'm getting better at having a lap band. Knowing how to eat, drink, when to eat and drink. I'm pretty darn restricted. I did not expect to be so restricted after just two fills but I'm glad it's working. I'm also still not great about chewing well enough and waiting long enough between bites. Soup is my friend. As is the lapband. There is no way I could have done this on my own. I hadn't done this on my own.

It's weird. Really weird to be satisfied with the amount of food that I'm eating. For lunch yesterday I had three small squares of cheese (120 calories) about 45 minutes before lunch then I had maybe an ounce of salmon and 3 or 4 bites of a chopped veggie salad. And, I was good. Was I stuffed like I'd just eaten Thanksgiving dinner, no. But I was good. No hunger pains, rumbling stomachs, headaches. Weird.

Here's to the next half!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

And Exercise!

Yeah, time to exercise too - regularly. Or even sort of regularly. Going to look at a used treadmill this weekend.

Buckleing Down

Still bouncing. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Even wrapping up my period didn't result in a nice loss. So, time to buckle down. I want to get this train moving again - and fast.

All of this is relative - still 50 pounds down in 3 months so who is complaining. I just don't want to get complacent. And, I want to keep moving towards my goal.

One of the diets I used way back in the day was called the rotation diet. It's premise was to vary the amount of calories you eat to keep your metabolism moving. On the diet you ate 600 calories for 3 days, 900 calories for 4 days and then 1200 calories for a week then repeat the 600/900 week. 21 day cycles. This is pretty much only do-able with the help of diet pills (at least in my experience).

So, we're doing sort of a modified version of that. I'm going to go back to tracking all of my food as I've gotten away from that in the last month or so. I'm aiming for 1000 calories for Friday through Monday then bumping down to around 600 calories for Tuesday through Thursday. Still getting the protein I need and drinking enough.

I think 800-1000 calories a day is a typical target for a bandster? My doctor doesn't give me a specific target. What do other doctor's say?

I know some in the bandster community think that "diet" is a dirty word. I am enjoying loosing at a fairly good pace without doing a lot of the traditional diet. I'm ok though with making some adjustments with the hope of accelerating things.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


It felt really good to see a nice round 50 down this morning on the scale. I've been bouncing between about 47 down and 49 down for the last week or so. Time to buckle down and get back to fundamentals.

I've realized that unless I drink a good amount of a hot liquid in the morning, I have a hard time eating for the rest of the day - even drinking to a certain extent. I was a bit worried that I was too tight (the irony) but I think it's more of adjusting to how the band operates throughout the day.

The "big" numbers are such a big deal. Such a big goal and a delight to see on the scale. But, am I significantly "thinner" at 50 down than I was at 49 down? No. I think that's a positive side benefit of this journey. The numbers are important but to a certain extent I'm so much more confident that they are going to happen so I'm not as crazy about getting there.

50 down also gets me into a new decade which is awesome. It's been a while since I've seen a 4 up there.

Before, I would struggle to reach a milestone and once there, promptly fall of the wagon and start the super quick slog back up. Maybe the number starts to loose some of its power when there's more confidence that it's all a part of the long term process?

So, yeah!! It feels good. I'm almost back in the "before the wheels really fell off of this thing" weight range. Wearing spikey heels today in honor of the fifty down. DD approved them this morning. I'm going to take pictures this weekend for some comparison shots.

Now, I would love to be at 60 down by our big work annual conference which starts on Oct. 16. Four weeks - 10 pounds. Stretch goal - 15 pounds which would be 234 by then. Fingers crossed!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yep - I have a band!

I've been initiated. I can now say I know what a PB is/feels like. That's a productive burp for the non-bandsters reading this. Lovely concept huh? It's essentially like vomiting but you're just regurgitating food that is in your esophagus and/or the top part of your stomach (above the band). Less sweating though. Pretty.

My husband made breakfast this morning. I had one egg, about 2 tablespoons of hashbrowns and two strips of turkey bacon. I'm pretty sure it was the bacon that did it. I've had turkey bacon since having the band without big issues. However, we ate breakfast at about 11 a.m. this morning. I'm like so many in that I'm much tighter in the morning. Usually, I just have coffee or a latte until lunch. I thought 11 a.m. would be ok. I should have taken it easier. So, PB #1.

Why are you numbering the PBs Susan?

Well, after my family took a bike ride (more on that later), we stopped at a local pub for a late lunch. I thought I'd do soup. I got a white bean chili and a Cesar salad. Thought I was ok. Had just a few bites of each. Nope - my first trip to a public restroom for a PB. PB #2.

Lesson learned - scope out where the restrooms are when dining out.

Only liquids for the rest of the day for me and probably for part of tomorrow too. It didn't hurt. I don't feel badly now. Not even really hungry. I don't want to push things and mess anything up. Need to remember to chew, chew, chew.

So, about that bike ride. My husband got one of the bike "tag-a-longs" for our 4 year old. It's essentially a half of a bike, only one wheel. He can pull it behind his bike. I borrowed my neighbor's bike and we loaded up the car. I don't think we rode all that far but the bigger NSV was that we did an active family activity together. It is a beautiful day here (finally!) after a sweltering summer and it was really nice to be able to enjoy moving around so much more.

Before I had the surgery, I thought about wanting to lose about 2 1/2 times the amount that my daughter weighs. I'm about 2 pounds away from being down 50 pounds so I've lost one of DD plus about 10 pounds. I have a hard time picking her up these days. It's remarkable that I'm already walking around without dragging that much weight around with me.

Before the PBs, I had been thinking about writing a post titled "Bizarro World" because I sort of feel like that's where I'm at. It's totally bizarre that I've lost almost 50 pounds. BIZ-AR-RO! It's bizarre that I can walk for 40 minutes with my neighbor at a pretty good clip and actually feel good at the end. It's bizarre that I'm eating pretty healthy. It's bizarre that I'm in the mental space that I am. Absolutely nuts. But, I'll definitely take it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Post Fill Report

Wow - definitely much tighter. A day of liquids, then a day of mushies. Back to regular food today. I was hungry and got the eggs from the bakery across the street. It's sort of like a crustless quiche but very creamy. I do think I'm always tighter in the morning but much more so today. A few more bites and I'm going to put it away until lunch time and have coffee. I have been having a latte in the morning and that works well.

On the good news front - 4.2 pounds down since my fill. Nothing like a few days of minimal eating to get things going. I really cannot believe that I'm pushing 45 lbs down. That means the next benchmark would be 50! And then 60! And then, and then and then!

And in other good news, my DD started preschool this week. I can't believe she's so grown up already - total cliche but true. As I walked in with her this morning, holding her hand, I looked down at her with her butterfly backpack on and carrying her Iron Man lunchbag (selected by her - the girl likes her super heros!) and just couldn't believe we are already here. She had a good first day yesterday and hopefully a good second day today!

Oh - and I'm walking in a triathlon tomorrow. Just the walk/run part of it but still, I'm getting up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to actually move. Nuts!

And finally - my BMI is under 40 - 38.7!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Did It!

I wanted to hit 40 down by my doctor's appointment today. I was at 39.6 lbs down on Sunday and then again yesterday (bounced up a pound on Monday).

I weighed myself before my shower, after my shower and then finally I thought - one more time. 40.6 down! Now, some may quibble with a scale that can read anywhere within a range of 5 pounds but I saw the number once and I'm going to take it.

40 pounds! 40 pounds! 40 pounds!!! Yippee! Yippee! Yippee!

Why is this such a big deal to me? I still have 60 plus to lose. This only gets me to roughly where I was weight wise when I had my daughter.

I've never lost 40 pounds before. I've really never lost much more than 20 at a time. I've never stayed "on the wagon" for 2 1/2 months. I've never felt as much hope this far in as I did when I started.

I'm really proud of myself. My doctor seemed pleased with my progress. I asked about a calorie target. He said instead of worrying about calories that he suggests 4 meals with a focus on solid protein. By his scale, I've lost 36.6. pounds and 15 pounds since my last visit 6 weeks ago.

Time to start walking in earnest. No excuses. He called me on giving him the same answer on exercise that I gave him the time before. I want to have a better answer next time.

And the fill... I got 1 cc last time. He put in 1 1/2 cc's this time. He said it was unusual to put in more in a subsequent fill. I don't know why he went with that but I'll take it. I learned that my band had 2 cc's put in it when it was placed during surgery. So I guess I have 4 1/2 cc's. I think a lot of people start out with that much on their first fill. Who knows.

When I was drinking my water in the office, I burped quite a bit and it does feel tighter but everything is going down. I'm also going to really work hard on not drinking during meals or for one hour after. He said that can lead to a stretched pouch or a slipped band - do not want that.

And, it took him a bit to find the port. Yuck. It was more uncomfortable than painful but I hope it goes better next time. He thought he had a hard time the previous time but he didn't.

40 pounds. Can't imagine what I feel like with the next 40. Can't wait to find out!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


We've returned from vacation. It was really a nice time - much needed relaxation and just hanging out. Lots of water and sun.

As I previously mentioned, I might have indulged in a bit of junk food on the trip. Chez-its. Skinny Cows (why do they make that last bit of chocolate so yummy!). Chips. Cheese. Not awful by any comparison to the old days but not great. I took a scale with me and it stayed in the same 1-2 pound range the entire week. I weighed myself this morning and depending on which reading I accept, I'm either up about 3 lbs from when I left or down .2 lbs. I think I need to get that scale that Joey just purchased.

So, my second fill is one week from today. I want to get down to a round 40 lbs down by then. Roughly 4 lbs. If I buckle down, I can do it. A detox of sorts.

Old Susan would have used vacation as an excuse to fall off the wagon and then to keep on falling. One night, while enjoying my 100 calorie Skinny Cow, I was thinking about how it was normal to enjoy extra treats while on vacation. Before my surgery, I'd had such bad habits all of the time that I was always "on vacation". It is nice to think that I can indulge occasionally and then get back to a more healthy routine. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I haven't been "bad" if I have two skinny cows (again that would be 200 calories!) and I haven't been "good" if I don't.

When I started my last weight loss attempt before surgery, I thought a lot about wanting to have a healthy relationship with food. What a concept. Before though, this was about as likely as me going to the moon. Still not there yet but I do feel like I'm making so much progress. Kind of like what I talked about in my last post, having a healthy relationship with food (a peaceful relationship) is almost - almost - an even greater reward than losing the weight. I think in so many ways that it has always been an even more unattainable goal than losing weight. I could imagine being thinner but it was essentially unimaginable to not have issues with food, seemingly every minute of every day.

Again, still not there yet but it's starting to seem much more plausible that I could actually achieve both. Maybe it's not that the issues go away, but more that they are managable. Kind of like alcoholics in AA. They say that they don't have a problem, they have a program. Essentially they have a program that enables them to manage their problem. I'm working on my program.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vacation + 10 days to needed second fill = not good! Not awful though. Back to the new normal on Wednesday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Comparison Photos

Here are a few shots for comparison....

I can see the difference. Still no jaw line but my stomach is starting to recede - thank God!

Note to self - smile in the next set of "afters" and put on some makeup!

I think having the photos will really help me appreciate the progress. I've never done this in the past. It's helpful to be able to look at the photos and see the (now subtle) changes everywhere on my body.

The photos on the left were taken a few days ago and I'm around 34ish pounds down in them. The photos on the right were taken a week or two before surgery. No one outside of my family has really said anything which is fine - and pretty understandable. I work with a lot of men who probably wouldn't notice if my hair was on fire.

I'm fitting in to a lot of my clothes that I haven't been able to in some time which is fantastic! I think I have about 30-40 more pounds before I'll need to buy clothes. Elastic and stretch are the wonders of plus size clothing. I'd love to hold off on buying for as long as I can which is weird for me.

40 is a magic number that I'm fixating on for some reason. I've never lost 40 p0unds - for that matter I've never lost 34 ish pounds either :). But maybe if I can actually lose 40 pounds my mind will start accepting that I can get to my goal weight.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?

Struggling with your weight is in many ways an outward battle. When you are heavy and you walk down the street, people know. You look around the room and know you are the biggest person - and not in a good way. God forbid there are creaky lawn chairs involved in a bbq.

Being heavy isn't like some demons that you can keep hidden. So much of weight struggles manifest in practical, out there experiences... seats are taken up, clothes are too tight, sweat is way too prominent.

But, much of a struggle with weight takes place inside our heads. The toughest part of the struggle. The internal dialogue that seemingly doesn't end. The endless, silent agony that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. That little voice inside your head that is continually obsessed with food and weight - good and bad - 24/7. You're own little running commentary that is cataloging and documenting you based on one rating - up or down, thin or heavy and equating it all to "good or bad".

That's the most destructive part of having issues with weight - I think. God knows, others can have a profound affect of "feeding" that voice but I did the most damage to myself. How messed up our thinking can get. How we can hurt ourselves so much. The weight (pun intended) of living under the oppressive thinking patterns that I let myself get into was crushing.

The only time I can remember having that voice retreat was when I was pregnant. For the first time, I ate when I was hungry. I ate what I need to eat to sustain myself and nourish my baby. Food was about fuel but mostly, it was about making me feel better. But again, my outward behavior was just a part of it. The bigger piece - I didn't obsess. It was a non-issue in my life outside of nourishment. I don't even know how much I weighed when I went in to give birth. I knew I was being as healthy as I could be and that was what was important.

Maybe it was because it wasn't about me anymore? It wasn't about how I was feeling? Or what had been said to me? Or what I thought people were thinking or would think? Maybe I just gave myself a break for once? Maybe it was the hormones?

Last week when I was talking to my therapist (How many times am I going to type "talking to my therapist" in my blog? I should get a ticker), I was trying to verbalize something that I was terrified of jinxing - or even really admitting. I'm scared to type it too....

It's not gone completely but a good amount of the internal obsession has retreated. I feel like my thinking is healing, along with the scars on my stomach.

There have been some comments lately about a sense of "Peace" and I totally get what people are talking about and I'm glad I'm in line to get me more of what they're selling.

In the weeks leading up to surgery, I was talking to my husband and got emotional verbalizing a hope (almost too impossible of a hope) that my weight could one day not be an ever present issue. It didn't seem like that could ever be a reality. I'm not ready to say that I believe that this reality will exist. But, I am willing to say that just maybe, maybe... it might one day. That's insane.

So much of my life has been defined by weight - lost weight when we moved, gained weight at high school graduation, lost weight in college, "heavy" again by graduation, on and on and on.

What if... I lose weight and it stays off and I eat healthy (relatively) and don't obsess (outside of weighing myself every morning) and maybe even exercise on a fairly regular basis and provide a healthy role model for my daughter.

What if?

What if I lose the weight and it stays off?

What if?

It's enough of a new paradigm that this is even a viable question, let alone a plausible outcome.

I don't know. It really is crazy.

What do I know...

I feel better than I have in a long time.
The inside of my head is a happier, less obsessive place than it's been in a long time.
It's nice to have more options when I get dressed in the morning.
It's nice to have a bit of hope and to marvel at the possibilities every once in a while.
PMS can bite me - but that's another post for another day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

30 Down!

Woo Hoo - officially at the 30 lbs down mark. I'm not sure if I've ever hit that before. I usually stall out at 20 down. I continue to be surprised at how I can eat so much less than before but still the scale can bounce and bounce and bounce. But, it said 268.4 this morning and I'm going to take it!!

It's also awesome to see the "60" (I'm going to gloss over the 2 in front of it for now). So much closer to a tolerable number and further and further away from the dreaded 3.

I pretty much have no restriction and I am working hard to continue to see the scale go down. I don't have another fill until Aug. 25. My doctor is going on vacation and his office said he's double and triple booked. I can call today to see if there is a cancellation so I'll try that.

I've really been aware that nightime is not the "righttime" for me and healthy eating. Or, it can be healthy but the volume is just too much. Once I get started, it's tough not to keep snacking. So, I'm trying to not eat anything after 7 p.m. I've done this for 2 nights - yeah! Last night I was really hungry by the time I fell asleep but I held fast.

For now, I'll enjoy being able to drink my water fairly quickly and not freak out about eating in public. I'm heading to California for work and will have to eat in front of people for the next three days. I'm a little worried but I'll just take it slow. People in California don't eat anyway right?

It feels really good to be in a new decade and I can't wait to hit the next one!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scale worked this morning - yeah! Dependent much?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stupid scale broke! Now what?!?!?!?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Fill

I had my first fill this morning and it went just fine. He felt around for the port (weird!) and it sort of felt like when you get a tetanus shot or get blood drawn. I was surprised when I checked afterwards that it bled a little.

I didn't ask how much saline he put in. I sort of don't want to know so I don't obsess about how much or how little restriction I'm "supposed" to have. My next appointment is in 6 weeks which sort of seems like a long time but again - trying not to obsess prematurely. Plenty of time for that later.

When I drank my cup of water, I could tell I couldn't drink nearly as fast as I have been. I'm still working on my latte that I got on the way into work and it's going down easier. Liquids today, mushies tomorrow, normal(ish) on Friday.

He seemed happy with my weight loss so far and encouraged me to start exercising so it looks like our dog Gigi has more walks in her future. I'm going to try - anything is better than nothing! I wish it wasn't a million degrees outside but frankly, there will always be something that I can blame for not wanting to exercise.

I'm hoping I can lose at least 12 pounds between now and my next appointment (34 total - 265). That would be 2 a week. My stretch hope would be 20 (42 total - 257) which would be super. Downward movement of any kind is welcome!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Steady as She Goes

I told my therapist the other day that I felt like I did when I was first pregnant. See, when I was first pregnant, I felt pretty normal for the first month or so. No nausea, no weight gain (actually lost probably), nada. I felt like I should have a neon sign on my forehead or something but everything appeared to be status quo.

Everything had changed but in many ways, nothing had changed.

I sort of feel the same with the band. In so many ways, everything has changed.....

* I already feel better physically - not awesome but better.

* I feel so much better emotionally - I know I'm going to stay on the wagon.

* While I still haven't seen the 22 lbs down number that was there (I swear) before I transitioned to soft food, I have stayed consistently down 17 pounds. Old Susan would have fallen off the wagon by now, gotten back on a bit and would now be heading towards regaining those 17 pounds plus.

* I'm not perfect, but I'm making pretty good choices. Eggs are my friends. I have eaten Tuna multiple times for God's sake and that is truly a miracle.

And, when you start to feel better, you know when you're feeling crummy that there is probably something going on. I was extra hungry this week (or rather just wanted to snack) and I looked at the calendar and realized that I should start my period - and I did. So, I blame the starbursts and oatmeal cookies on that but again, could have been a whole lot worse!

* I only have 5 days until my first fill! Trying not to jump the gun and think ahead to my next fill after that :). I'm a little freaked about it possibly taking a while to feel restriction so I'm hopeful that I'll get there pretty soon. The nurse said my doctor is pretty aggressive about fills. How soon after your "first" did you get your "second" and "third" ...?

So, everything really has changed and more and more, the "nothing" is turning into "somethings". The biggest thing - hope has returned and that is worthy of the happy dance right there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Honeymoon's Over?

I'm hungry. Again. Eleven days until my first fill - yeah!

Now, me saying I'm hungry is relative because I think I'm still getting much fuller much more quickly than before the band. I'm just eating more than I was in the days after surgery - which is understandable.

Last night wasn't great. It was a combination of just wanting to eat in the evening and I was actually hungry and having a hard time getting full. In my quest for validation (and/or a cyber slap on the hand), I was reading on Lapband Talk. It sounds like during this in-between time, I should do my best but eat until I am full so I can heal? Is that just rationalizing at its finest or actual truth?

I've got a call into our program's dietitian to check on a few things and I'll talk to her about this.

I think I'm doing pretty well but the scale just keeps bouncing. I haven't seen the 277 low again and have been stuck in the low 280s. I'm blaming this on my body adjusting because heaven knows I'm eating way less than I was before.

And - I had tuna salad for lunch and actually liked it! Salmon patties tonight for dinner. Hummus and deviled eggs for the bbqs this weekend. See - I'm hungry.

Happy 4th everyone!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Houston - We Have Restriction!

Today my daughter and I went to lunch at "The Pancake Store" aka First Watch. I knew she'd eat the pancakes and that I could get eggs - my new favorite. I sort of jumped the gun a bit in having them (not supposed to until Wednesday) but I'd tried it at home and it had gone ok.

Our waitress had to think we were nuts as both of our plates looked minimally touched. My daughter hardly ate any of her lunch and I managed about 1/2 of my eggs and about 7 of the little potatoes that came with it (about an inch square). I didn't touch my english muffin of course. After eating that much (and frankly, about a bite or two before) I could tell I was done. I felt like I needed to either cough or burp. I was a little nervous because I hadn't felt that much tightness in a number of days. We had lunch around 12:30 p.m. and I really wasn't hungry at all until probably 5 p.m. Yeah!

I guess it's still my stomach healing because I'm not even two weeks out but this was the first time that I really felt the "stop"!

As promised, here are my lovely befores... The scale has been bouncing around so I haven't seen the technically 20 down again but given that I'm eating between 800-1100 calories, I have to lose weight at some point. I'll have my husband take comparison shots when I get to the 20 again - even though there is minimal difference.

I'm going to have a party the day my jawline magically reappears :)!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Feel Good Friday!

Today I'm wearing....

* Pants that I couldn't wear two weeks ago

* A shirt that I couldn't wear two weeks ago

* Heels - ok, so they're wedges but still!

And per my scale - I'm officially down 22 lbs woo woo!! I'd like to get to 25 down before my first fill on July 14. Hunger is starting to rear its ugly head but it's manageable.

I took the dog for a walk last night which she loved and I didn't die.

Good news all of the way around!

Oh - I did have a moment of old behavior that I didn't feel good about. I was fired up about something my husband did that involved my parents. I had planned on picking up soup from Houlihans for dinner anyway.

Well, I ate that soup in about 5 minutes I think. Totally old school Susan - ticked off about something and use food to cope.

Afterwards, I worried that I might have messed up the band but it was soup so I don't think I could have done much. I was more upset about falling into old habits. But, it was a bowl of soup. And, I recognized the behavior so hopefully I'll be less likely to repeat it.

I really noticed how the stress in my body just evaporated after eating. It was pretty bizarre to recognize such a physical reaction. Maybe next time I'll try taking the dog for a walk again :)

I'm going to try to post some pictures this weekend. I love seeing everyone else's so I need to get some out there too.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shoulder pain?

I've eaten oatmeal twice now and both times I've had searing (maybe not quite searing) pain at the tippy top of my left shoulder. Gas I'm assuming? So weird though. It really hurts so I think I'll hold off on more oatmeal for a while.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Ode to Cottage Cheese

So I sprung for the full fat version of cottage cheese for my re-entry to chewing. I even put a little pepper on it. I ate 1/4 cup in about 20-25 minutes. It was delicious. Not a bit of fake sweetness to it. Yum, yum, yum. I'm sure I'll be sick of it my the time I move onto soft foods next Thursday, but for now HURRAY!

I had my one week follow up appointment with Dr. Minkin today. First time I've had on makeup and fixed my hair since leaving for the hospital. First NSV (non-scale victory) - I didn't sweat when I was getting ready Yeah!!

Dr. Minkin said everything looked good and that he'd see me in three weeks for my first fill. I have the standard Allergen AP band. He said he thinks it's the best band that they've made. Sounds good to me. I thought I had staples that were going to have to be removed but I don't - yeah!! I can start putting vitamin E on the incisions next week.

Another NSV - I can wear both of my wedding rings again! I had only been able to get my wedding band on and off for a while so it was a nice treat to be able to wear my engagement ring too. I usually take off my jewelry as soon as I get home (and don't wear it around the house) but I think I'll wear it today.

Dr. Minkin was really pleased with my weight loss - 17 pounds per his scale. I'm sure things will bounce around as I start to eat food. It's really nice to have the first 20 pounds almost done and to know that I'll be able to lose more than that. 20 lbs has always been a block for me in the past.

I'm pretty sure I'm the burping queen. I burp pretty much after drinking and eating but it's not like a regular burp. It sort of hurts because it's right at the top of my chest. Maybe this will get better? It's not a deal breaker - just takes some getting used to.

Oatmeal for lunch!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Every day does get better - thanks Jenny!

And Heather - I'm in St. Louis. Did you have your surgery here?

Haven't figured out how best to respond to comments :).

Yeah for me - I just drank about 3/4 of a premade protein shake pretty quickly (blech!!!). And, I don't feel an awful amount of pressure in my chest. I think that's a good sign that I'm healing and the swelling is going down.

So looking forward to being able to eat a healthy diet and ditch the protein shakes.

Three movies so far during the recovery. I honestly think that's more than I saw in at least the last 6 months, maybe even the last year.

The September Issue - pretty good. Nice and low key so good for resting. So fun to get a peak into Vogue.

Pirate Radio - British music in the 60s. Again fun, sort of slow but super cute British boy "Young Carl".

Sherlock Holmes - more rambunctious bit requires a level of attention that I wasn't always able to give. Really like Rachel McAdams though.

I'd rate them all - pretty good. Might watch 500 Days of Summer tonight (bouyed by Catherine's recommendation).

And, way, way too many episodes of House Hunters to count. So much for my grand plans of home organization.

Oh- I forgot, saw Toy Story 3 yesterday. Pretty dark for my 4 year old. Lots of tears for Mommy.

My Internet at home is down so sending a quick update via mobile posts. First of all - thank heavens for the blogging community! It has been so helpful to go back and check in on how other's recoveries went. I know that this too shall pass.

Second - surgery suckity suck suck sucks!!! I haven't ever had anything like this (besides delivering my daughter). Yuck. So looking forward to having this behind me.

I took my bandages off today and I'm pretty bruised. I have some staples that they'll have to remove and I'm trying not to freak out about that.

I'm having quite a bit of pressure when I drink (and then it lasts for a bit). A little weird burb helps.

Thanks again for all of the past entries that hare guiding the way for me. I'll post a more detailed version when I get to a regular keyboard.

4 days till runny oatmeal - hurrah!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I am a bandster! I understand the surgery went well. Love the magic button with the morephine. I feel pretty good but tired. No gas yet. More info to come. Thanks so much for all of the well wishes!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Really real?

The hospital just called. I'm supposed to be there at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow for my 1:30 p.m scheduled surgery.

My husband just texted to see how I'm feeling. My Mom has called. My two best friend's have e-mailed to see how I'm doing. I'm sort of weirdly calm. This has been such a long process (and it really hasn't even started) that it's kind of amazing that it's going to happen. Hopefully. No jinxes please. Still struglling with the if/when thing.

Please, please let me wake up. Please, please let it go ok. I joked to my husband that I was going to write a note in magic marker on my stomach to my surgeon - Do a good job! I have so much to live for! Ok, maybe I am a bit nervous.

See you on the other side! (Fingers crossed)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Value - Inside and Out

A few years ago, I saw a motivational speaker, John O'Leary. He has an amazing personal story...

Per his web site www.rising-above.com...
John’s life is proof of the power of the human spirit. As a nine-year-old boy, he was burned on 100% of his body and given less than one percent chance of surviving the first night. He endured months in the hospital, years in therapy, dozens of surgeries, and lost all of his fingers to amputation. Despite the odds, John overcame these challenges and enjoys wonderful success in life.

John sends a regular e-mail message that I often find incredibly thought provoking. Here is one of his recent messages that really resonated with me. Interestingly enough, I think my weight gain helped me to ignore my "cover" more and really learn more about who I am and why I have value as a human being. I got to the point where I was so far being able to pull it together and try to look/feel attractive. I had to get past it and just look at me. Who I was on the inside. Who I wanted to be.

I want to be attractive on the outside again and of course that is part of the reason for having weight loss surgery. But, I think I am finally going to see the good that is behind my appearance - for myself - and appreciate me for all of me. The good and the not so good.

Ignoring the Cover

"Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances." Wayne Dyer

Too often we let our first impression of brands, foods, events and people dictate the way we feel about them going forward. By just seeing the cover, with little real perspective and with limited knowledge we judge, pigeonhole, write-off, and never offer a second chance. In doing so we often miss the opportunity for them to prove us wrong, reveal their real value, and (occasionally) become a significant presence in our life.

Having an early morning presentation the following day in northern Wisconsin, I HAD to make the last flight out of Atlanta, GA. Arriving at the gate as the plane was boarding, the airline attendant shared with me that the flight was oversold by five passengers that evening; it was extremely unlikely I would make it. (Not good!) Shockingly, five potential passengers voluntarily deplaned, agreed to fly out in the morning and left with roundtrip tickets anywhere in the US.

With great joy I boarded the plane last, found my seat, sat down next to a large, goateed man, smiled at him and said, "Man, I bet you were hoping that I was going to sit next to you tonight!" The giant stared back at me without expression and in a deep voice growled, "Actually, I was hoping like hell that no one was going to sit there."

Normally, I would have run and hid or at least sprayed mace in his direction (the cover of this man certainly suggested that would be the right move!), but as we were stuck sharing an armrest for the next 2 hours, I just smiled, nodded and pulled out some work for the coming flight.

Shortly after takeoff the brute spoke again: What happened to your hands? How did the fire happen? Anybody else hurt? How was the recovery? What do you do now? What kind of messages do you deliver? How is business? How is your family?
The colossal man listened deeply as I answered.

His chiseled face became soft as he smiled discussing his own young family: his older boys, the adopted son, the new baby, the beautiful wife. He loved his new company and his new city. The wild grizzly I had feared because of his abrasive cover was, in reality, a tender teddy bear.

About a month ago my new friend, learned of a high school near his new city that had dealt with a recent string of tragedies. A total of four students had committed suicide in the past 12 months. He called me the morning he heard the story and said, "Dude, don't care what it costs, don't care if I have to collect bottle tops, I am bringing you into this community to inspire these kids."

Last Friday, after challenging 1,200 young adults to dream big, act courageously, and impact others' lives through their own, I asked my friend (the former grizzly bear) why he felt the urge to do something.

He replied, "Dude, when you see others suffering, and you don't do something, you become part of the problem. Life is way too precious to not risk a little when there's an opportunity to serve others."

Servant leadership was not on the cover of his book when I first met him. Being forced to sit next to him on a flight, though, offered the gift of reading much more than some superficial cover. After learning more of his story I am reminded of the value in reading past the cover.

My friends, in your life, consider diving into the stories being written all around you. Turn past the ragged cover and expect a beautiful story to unfold.

Celebrate the pages of your relationships, rejoice in your own experiences, demand beneficial growth from even the most difficult challenges you face today. To paraphrase the giant, "Dude, life is way too precious to expect anything other than that."

Protein Shake Challenge....ugh.

My real "three day pre-op" diet started yesterday. It was my daughter's fourth birthday party but I abstained from everything yummy in favor of the watery, brown, overly sweet water as told. Ok, I had two small bites of my Mom's potato salad, but that was it.

In my quest to find a decent "shake", I tried Muscle Milk light (pre-made) and Atkins Advantage (pre-made). Both of these, along with the Slim Fast pre-made and mix, are all about the same in my book. Overly sweet, weird taste, I can get it down but yucky.

This morning, I'm enjoying a decaf, nonfat latte and had an Optifast shake. Interestingly enough, I think the Optifast is my favorite. It's not as super sweet and mixes well in my new blender bottle. I have quite a supply of about every shake on the market that I need to get through. After that, I'm going to see if I can procure some Optifast. Is there a black market for protein :)?

Speaking of shakes - I was reading on Lap Band Talk and it seems there is a bit of a debate about the role of protein shakes and ongoing weight loss. Some doctors encouraged them while some told their patients not to drink their protein. Also, people were talking a lot about "hard protein or solid protein". I'm assuming that that is meat, cheese, eggs other? Someone said their doctor advised them not to eat beans while in the weight loss stage?

One final question - does a protein bar count for a protein shake? I also caved yesterday and had an Atkins protein bar because I just couldn't have another shake. Need to call my surgeon's office today to find out if that is ok.

T minus 2 days.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slim Fast Low Carb (pre-made)

Consistency/Smoothness = Good. This is a pre-made shake so it's very well blended. One lump.

Protein Content = Good. The pre-made high protein slim-fast has 20 grams of protein which is considerably higher than their mix.

Smell = Higher protein equals weird protein smell. Hence, the yuck.

Taste = Passable. Sort of a weird, watery, overly sweet taste. Who started calling these things shakes? Thick, brown water is more like it.

Overall rating = Not awful, which for a protein shake may in fact be high praise.

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't do so well with my protein shakes over the weekend so the taste test challenge lapsed. Back on the wagon today. Real pre-op protein shake diet starts Sunday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Protein Shake Challenge

In Today's episode of "Susan's Protein Shake Challenge"....

Slim Fast High Protein (previously Optima) has emerged as a clear favorite. Pretty sweet but minimal weird protein aftertaste. Only has 15 grams of protein and that is with the milk.

The Slimfast soundly defeated the "unflavored" Unjury protein powder that I mixed with chocolate pudding yesterday afternoon. Gross!

I tried a "Think Thin" protein bar (240 calories with 20 grams of protein so good stats) yesterday and thought it was yucky. However, it got my 4 year old's stamp of approval and she finished almost the entire bar. Bonus - it's also gluten free.

Muscle Milk Light will be this afternoon's contender. Not nearly as fun as the Pepsi Challenge :).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feelin' Good

Looking back over recent posts, I've been a bit of a Debbie Downer. Amazingly enough, when you don't feel good, it comes across in your behavior (just a bit of a sarcasm problem there).

I know I'm barely into Day Three of my Pre-Pre-Op diet but amazingly, I feel good. I feel better. I feel like I can do this.

Typically when I would start a diet, every day was a struggle. I think this was in large part because of the sheer enormity of the task in front of me. I wasn't focused on the changes I wanted to make each day but rather "OMG, so I lost 1.4 lbs, I have eight million more to go". I worried about the inevitable falling off the wagon. I expected to fail again.

Over the past few days, I've tried to focus on - Am I hungry? How am I feeling? What does my body need? And amazingly enough - I already feel better. Still way too big with minimal clothes in my closet that fit. But feeling good. Hope is a drug and I am signing up for more.

I can't tell you how helpful it is to read everyone's blogs and to get a sense of their experiences with the band. It is really helping me to stay both optimistic and realistic.

T minus 13 more days - yikes!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 16 Baby!

I'm approved!!!! And, my date is June 16!!!!! Wow - how quick was that.

I think it took about 24 hours for the insurance approval. They must have really thought this was a good idea ;). Good thing I started my "pre" pre-op diet this morning.

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments. I read them when I first woke up and it really helped as I got ready to face the day.

YIPPEE!!!!!!!! I'll post more later but my Internet is down. Good thing I set up mobile blogging!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Bottom??

Tonight's the night. The night before I start again. God willing, the last free for all before the all too important "Monday" start of another try to lose weight. I don't know about you, but I always have to start on Monday.

We've had a great weekend. Lots of activity. Lots of fun. Lots of creakiness when I get up out of a chair. Lots of fatigue - sometimes before the day even started. And as always, lots of sweating.

As I was sitting on the couch this evening (eating my "last" oatmeal cookies), I thought. ... "is this the bottom? Is this as bad as I'm going to feel?". And for once, I'm pretty confident that yes, it is.

Tomorrow, I start a new chapter in this journey. I'm going to have good days and bad days. But, this is the last "Monday" because I'm confident that the band will be a tool that will allow me to make a positive change and stick with it. I'm starting m "pre" pre-op diet my surgeon only requires three days but I figure about two weeks can't hurt. And, it's just time.

Can't wait to write the post when I reach my goal "See you at the top!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

OMG! Denied.... but so close!

I got a voicemail from the surgeon's office this afternoon that my case had been denied by Cigna because they didn't have a letter from my PCP. What?? I didn't know that it had been submitted to the insurance company yet. I thought we were still waiting on the hospital tests.

So, good news = all ready to submit to the insurance.

Bad news = denied but for something really minor. The woman at the surgeon's office said she'd never seen this before and thought it was silly. Also, it had to have been denied super fast because I just called them yesterday to check to see if my test results were back.

Good news = get the letter to the insurance co., open an appeal, Please God let the appeal be approved and schedule the date!

Between this and my plans to start my "pre-op" changes on Tuesday, this is getting really real. Wahoo!!!

Making a list and checking it twice

I am a list maker. The mere act helps me to calm down and feel better about having a plan. Right now, I'm working on honing my master "prep for surgery and the weeks after" to do list. Getting the "before's" taken care of is at the top of the list.

I'm gearing up to take the before pictures. Maybe this weekend.

I did take my measurements yesterday...

Ankle - 10 1/4 inches
Calf - 20 inches
Thigh - 33 1/4 inches
Hips - 59 inches
Waist - 49 1/2 inches
Bust (no bra) - 52 inches
Wrist - 7 1/4 inches
Upper arm - 16 inches

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Check.... Check....

I'm inching towards a surgery date.

I had my pre-op tests yesterday which included a chest x-ray, an EKG and a stress test. I didn't die on the stress test so that was a good thing. I'm wondering why my doctor doesn't require an upper GI? I'm cool with not drinking chalk but the variations in protocol does worry me. Shouldn't there be more of a standard consensus on best practices?

I also attended my nutrition class last week. The dietician didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know given that I think I've read just about every piece of info about the lap band that is out there on the web. She does seem quite knowledgeable and I'm going to try to make sure I use her as a resource.

So, that should take care of everything that my insurance requires. I called my surgeon's office after leaving the hospital. The regular woman who handles the insurance approvals was out but another woman told me that it typically takes about 2 weeks to get the test results from the hospital. This is a bummer and I'm hoping that it doesn't take quite that long.

Next steps - get test results back, submit to insurance, receive approval.... get this show on the road!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Make that Memorial Day!

I know I would cry if I was waiting until Labor Day - whoops!

I'm starting my pre-op diet on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, June 1, 2010.

I had my final "6 month supervised diet" appointment today - check!

Talked to the surgeon's office and got the scoop on the last few things they need - check!

They'll be able to submit everything to the insurance after I complete my nutritional consult on May 11 and my pre-op testing on May 17.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feeling Better

Addiction. It's a scary word. It's an even scary place to find yourself. I have a loved one who is an alcoholic. As he's gone through his recovery process (4 years sober on Sunday!), I've learned a lot about recovery, addiction and how they apply to my issues. Some people are addicts when it comes to food. They might be heavy, they might be thin but they are addicts. Some people aren't - even if they are heavy. I am an addict.

I've heard that there are three stages of addiction...

Stage One: Your drug of choice is fun, makes you feel better, have a high, a rush. It is a choice to use it.

Stage Two: You still get a high from your drug but it takes increasing amounts to get and sustain the high. It still makes you feel good but the let down is getting worse.

Stage Three: You use to maintain your habit. You use increasing amounts of your drug to maintain a menial level of existence. There isn't any feeling better, just a lot of feeling bad.

I've been in stage three for a while now... essentially since I decided to have the surgery. My habits make me feel bad - both physically and emotionally. I feel like I'm at my physical bottom and have been for some time. Over the last few weeks, I really have been struggling with feeling bad emotionally too.

I don't know if I'm being more introspective because the surgery is approaching? Because I feel like I'm getting closer to the "last times" for overeating, ordering too much, too many drive thrus ? Maybe because I can see the light getting closer, the "bad" stuff feels even worse. Maybe I'm just at the bottom.

I'm tired of feeling bad. I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of discounting so much of my existence because I'm in such a bad place.

It's time to feel better.

My surgeon only requires a 3 day pre-op diet. However, I've decided to start my pre-op diet on the Tuesday after Labor Day. I'm going to do a combination of protein shakes, lean cusines and veggies (much like the last big weight loss push I did via a supervised program at the local university). Lots of water. Getting rid of soda. I can still have coffee right?

I want to get going. I want to do all I can to make sure that I'm as prepared as possible for the surgery. I don't want to go through withdrawal (essentially) while I'm recovering from surgery. I want to jump start my weight loss. I want to start moving forward. I want to start my recovery.

I've started therapy again as a part of this process and my therapist stopped me yesterday and had me repeat something that I'd said. I'd said "I want to do things that make me feel better". It's time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Within Six Weeks!!!

I had my appointment with my surgeon Dr. Minkin on Wednesday. My husband went along with me which was very helpful for him. He has been very supportive since I told him about my decision and I think meeting with the doctor helped to assure him that this is a low risk procedure. It helped to reassure me too. All of your comments helped too - thanks!

Dr. Minkin was generous with his time and spoke with confidence. We talked about the risk of anesthesia and just surgery in general. Dr. Minkin performs the most lap band procedures in St. Louis and that is reassuring to me. I have my prescription for the bulk of the pre-op testing (minus the blood tests) and I'm registered to take the nutrition class that his office puts on next week!

I'm really looking forward to the nutrition class. Dr. Minkin only requires a 3 day pre-op diet. Why do pre-op diets vary so much? Don't get me wrong, I'd like to minimize my intake of protein shakes but I also want to make sure I'm best prepared for surgery. And, loosing a bit of weight to jump start things wouldn't be bad either. I've tried to google this but haven't found a good explanation.

And, speaking of diets... My last "six month diet" appointment is next Friday and my six months will officially be up on May 11. I can't believe it's finally here.

I didn't realize my insurance would require a two year weight history and I was a bit worried that that would throw a wrench into the approval. I got it together and fortunately (or unfortunately) my BMI has been over 40 for the past two years. I knew I have been gaining weight at a pretty good clip for a while since I have essentially thrown any restraint out the window but it's something else to see the numbers in print.

During my "six month diet", I have gained 16.4 pounds. I hope that the insurance company doesn't deny based on that. They only specify a diet, not loosing weight. Maybe I should have had a better attitude about the "diet" but I really think it's just a crock. Pouring salt in the wound if you will. I have been on (unsuccessful) diets for more than 20 years. My bad attitude is definitely reflected in the numbers. I think a better term for me might be a "six month bender".

I've had such little hope about losing weight for so long that I really tossed all consideration about what to eat (or rather what not to) out the window some time ago. I'm actually looking forward to making choices again. I want to make good choices and I'm so happy that I'll have a tool to help me.

I'm beyond thrilled that I'm getting close. My daughter's birthday is June 12 so I'm guessing that I'll have the surgery after that. YIPPPPPEEEE!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

To Sag or Not to Sag

My appointment with the surgeon is in two days - YEAH!! I hope I get good news... ala we can move ahead with testing, get a date to start the pre-op diet and maybe even a tentative surgery date.

With things getting closer, I am starting to get more worried. I've never been under general anaesthesia before. I'm terrified that I could have monumental complications because of something I'm choosing to have. Of course, I could have (and do already have) complications from my weight and it's just a matter of time before those complications escalate if I don't do something. I'm going to call the physician's board to check on my doctor. Any other tips?

I'm also starting to wonder more about sagging skin. Kudos to the "Band Babe" for her bravery in posting her tummy tuck photos. I've never had a problem with saggy skin in the past but that was always about 60+ pounds ago and one pregnancy. I'm not sure I could handle a tummy tuck but I really hope that things sort of shrink back into place. Is there anything that can be done to help that?