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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week #7 Weigh In

I decided to weigh in a day early this week. You might recall that last week’s weigh in wasn’t good. This was due to hormones and not because I’d done anything wrong, but it still left me feeling really discouraged. I know this is how my body loses weight. If I eat well and exercise, I can count on losses three weeks a month, but on that fourth week, I’m going to gain. I may just skip that weigh-in altogether because it sure does a number on my head. But I digress. I weighed in a day early because I have my first fill this afternoon and I didn’t want to get on a strange scale at the doctor’s office and go off in a cycle of despair if I didn’t like what I saw. I know that we weigh differently on different scales and throughout the day so now I’ll have my “real” weight from my morning weigh-in. I was down three pounds from my weigh in two weeks ago (3.8 from last week, but that doesn’t count since I’d already lost that .8 lbs.). Altogether I am down 27.2 lbs. (12.4 Kg).

I am right on the cusp of some major accomplishments. I am .8 lbs from hitting 10%. I am 2.8 lbs. from 30 lbs. lost. I am also 2.8 lbs. away from being SMALLER THAN MY FELLA.

I have also broken through a weight-loss barrier. In the last seven years (the time that I’ve really had to struggle for weight loss a.k.a. my 30’s), I have lost 25 lbs. on two occasions. The last time it took me six months to lose that much. Of course I gained that weight back both times, but I guess I knew I could lose 25 lbs. if I really, really worked at it. With my lap band, I’ve lost 27.2 lbs. in just under seven weeks. I have been working at it, but so has my band. I am completely confident that THIS IS GOING TO WORK FOR ME! Please remind me that I said that when I hit a plateau.

So onto Fill #1. I am going to see Dr. Kelly Fitzpatrick, a naturopathic physician who has an office in Portland and an office in Eugene. I hope this fill will accomplish one thing. I have been getting hungry about every two hours. I usually eat breakfast at 10:00 AM and lunch around noon. Between 2:00 and 3:00, I am hungry AGAIN. I have been drinking my protein drinks or having a piece of fruit, but it is frustrating to be hungry so often. Yesterday I had a really high calorie lunch – a three cheese bagel sandwich. I ate half of it and was quite full (B.B. (before band) I would have eaten the whole thing PLUS a bag of chips). I figured the calorie content for half at 320. At 2:00 my stomach was rumbling away so I ate ¼ more of the sandwich. This wasn’t part of my plan for the day.

I am planning to write more this afternoon. I was given a couple of awards and I want to report on my fill. Talk to you then!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A while ago, I started a Facebook page about lap bands. If you are FB user, please consider becoming a fan of my page:

Also if you'd like to friend me on FB, send me a request. My name is Amanda Wooldridge.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Support Needed!

Grace is having surgery tomorrow and could use some support. Here is her information:

Fat is a family affair

Bryn, Caelyn, cousin Emily
I have two beautiful daughters. Caelyn, my oldest, is nine years old. Bryn will be seven on April 12th. They are both intelligent, happy children. Being a mother is probably the single-most wonderful thing in my life. I really don’t want to mess it up!

Bryn is a normal eater 100%. She is a little bitty thing. She eats when she is hungry and stops when she is full. She loves sweets and fattening foods, but she won’t finish them.

Caelyn is like me. Or rather she is like I was at age nine. She is bigger than most of her classmates. She is the tallest girl in her class. She isn’t fat, but she has a little tummy and she is starting to develop a bit. She also loves food. A few months ago she got in trouble for stealing 13 candy bars from the vending machine stock at my office. When I was her age, I used to steal change from my dad’s dresser and go to the neighborhood store and buy candy.

I’ve always tried to encourage my kids to eat well and exercise. They both play sports and are vegetarians. I have talked to them about making sure they are eating because they are hungry. I’ve also told them that only they can decide what to eat. Oftentimes if they will ask for a sweet, I will remind them of something they will be having later and encourage them to decide what they want. For example, if we are going to a birthday party where there will be cake and they want to have a cookie or something earlier in the day, I tell them to choose one or the other. I think that when kids get to make those choices themselves, it teaches them to make good choices when they are adults. I also model regular exercise habits and prepare balanced meals. We seldom eat fast food and their lunches at school are brought from home. We always have lots of fruits and vegetables at home and my girls know they can have them whenever they want. They don’t need to ask for a healthy snack.

I can’t help projecting my own issues on Caelyn. I never say anything about her shape, but I think about it every time I look at her. I don’t want her to become self-conscious or to head down the diet path that I went down. After all, I truly believe that diets are responsible for distorting my relationship with food so much that I now don’t even know what is normal eating and what is abnormal eating. It kills me that I’ve passed on my problem to her.

Even as I write this posting, I wonder if I’ll put it up. I’m truly ashamed of myself for harming my daughter in this way. If I knew specifically what it was that I’ve done, I’d stop, but I don’t. Maybe it is just the result of having a compulsive eater for a mother. If so, I hope that she will see my recovery as a model to follow. My own mother is overweight and has been all of my life. She also tried hard to serve healthful meals in our home. She made pretty much everything from scratch when I was growing up. We seldom had soda or fast food. She even baked homemade French fries in the oven to go with our homemade hamburgers (served on slices of bread instead of buns). We always had salads and another vegetable with dinner. We also ate dinner together at the dinner table every night.

When I was pregnant, I really wanted to have daughters – just like the home I grew up in. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful children. I want them to have peaceful, happy lives. I don’t want either of them to go down this road that I’ve taken.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You Guys Are Incredible!

I was reading through the responses that you'd posted to my blog entry yesterday and was overwelmed by how supportive everyone is here in Blogland. Thank you so much for all your suggestions and words of encouragement. I also really appreciate you sharing your own experiences. I know it is sometimes difficult to talk about these issues, but you are all so honest and open.

I had a very active day yesterday, something I am trying to do more and more these days. I always start my morning by taking my dog for a walk before work. I was planning to ride my bike to work so we only walked for 10 minutes. Then I rode my bike the three miles to work (did I mention it was pouring down rain?). During my workday, I ended up going to Costco for an hour. After work I rode home and then my husband and I went grocery shopping at Winco. I always write my exercise down in my little food journal. This morning I was curious about how many calories I burned so I went to to see. I estimated that I burned 600 calories. This is what the calculator came up with:

10 minutes walking = 84 calories burned (CB)
150 minutes shopping = 829 CB
50 minutes cycling = 844 CB

Grand total = 1,757! Holy cow! I only ate 1,265 calories yesterday. I also got in 74 grams of protein. Not a bad day, all in all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This is Why I Quit

For the last seven years, my dieting efforts have been thwarted by a really slow metabolism. I’ve blogged before that after my second daughter was born, I joined Weight Watchers and dutifully followed the program for six weeks. I didn’t lose one ounce. I was so frustrated. Perhaps the worst thing was going in each week for the weigh in and getting on the scale and then trying to explain to the lady behind the counter why the number hadn’t budged. I didn’t understand it myself, but I couldn’t stand the idea that this person was judging me and thinking, “Yea, right.” as she smiled sweetly and recorded my weight on the little booklet.

In retrospect I realize that the pregnancy hormones were probably responsible for the trouble I had. The thing is that it doesn’t work that way for every woman. Lots of women lose weight really quickly after giving birth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that woman who breast feed lose weight effortlessly.

I quit WW and didn’t try again for a couple of years. Fortunately my weight loss speed increased a bit with subsequent efforts, but not much. When I was trying to lose weight, I developed a pattern that went something like this:

Week #1 -1.5
Week #2 +2
Week #3 -1
Week #4 -1.5
Net loss 2 lbs.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I am not. I also wish that during Week #2 I’d had a bunch of pie and cookies and fried foods to explain the increase, but, alas, I did not. I would follow the exact same food plan from week to week and diligently follow the rules and eating guidelines. I would also exercise regularly.
Once again I would have to say the culprit is hormones. That second week of the month is about 7-10 days from my TOM. It usually is also marked by irritability and a smattering of pimples. Being a woman is such a joy.

All this is a really long explanation of why I didn’t see good news on the scale this morning even though I’ve been eating consistently well and have increased my exercise in the last week or so. In my head I know that it is hormones and that I am not doing anything “wrong” and that I shouldn’t give up. I know that my lap band really is working and that I shouldn’t add it to the long list of diet failures that I’ve experienced in the past. Just last night, I couldn’t finish my dinner and tossed part of it in the compost. And yesterday I didn’t finish an ice tea that tasted too sweet. I know in my head that I have lost 24+ lbs. in seven weeks, which is a much faster rate than I’ve lost in the last seven years. I also know that next week, I will get on the scale and see the numbers go down again.

It just seems like a really long time from now. I can’t even call it “bandster hell” since I do feel restriction, although not as much as I had a few weeks ago. Maybe I’ll call it “Amanda hell” since it seems exclusive to me.

So, once again, thank you for coming to my pity party. Believe me, I wanted to complain about a bunch more stuff too, but I’m actually restraining myself. I’m going to end by saying STUPID F-ING HORMONES!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wow 61!

I am overwelmed to have 61 followers. I have received so much support and help from all of you. Thank you so much! Also please check out my newest follower, Butterfly. She was banded 2/15/10 so just a few days after I was. Welcome!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been watching lots of programs about addiction lately. It started innocently with Celebrity Rehab and then I started watching Hoarders and now I am watching Addicted. I don’t watch much TV during the week, but I like to watch these shows while I am folding laundry on Saturday and Sunday. I am not sure why I find these train wrecks so appealing. Maybe it has something to do with my relationship to food and compulsive eating.

I know there is some debate about whether or not compulsive eating is an addiction. I’ve read some other blog entries on the subject and I know most of us here in Blogland seem to be of the opinion that it is an addiction. I pretty much believe that.

Several years ago I attended Overeater’s Anonymous (OA) meetings on a regular basis. OA is a 12-step group modeled after Alcoholic’s Anonymous. When I first attended OA I was not overweight, but I was struggling with feeling really out of control around food. I was also experimenting with purging behaviors. I worked the program and abstained from compulsive eating for three or four months.
At some point during my years as a person with disordered eating behaviors, I discovered the author Geneen Roth. Geneen wrote a book called Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating and several other books that I really enjoyed and found helpful. She does not believe that compulsive overeating is an addiction. Specifically I recall her taking exception with the idea that we are powerless over food, which of course is the first step in a 12-step program. She argues that diets teach us that we are powerless – that we need someone to tell us what to eat and when, but that if we wish to “break free”, we need to reclaim the fact that we do control what we eat and our bodies know when to eat and when to stop eating. Her argument is pretty compelling.

So with Geneen Roth’s influence, I decided that I wasn’t powerless over food, but I was powerless over the compulsion to overeat. A normal eater probably wouldn’t think about eating the way I do. They wouldn’t want to eat when they weren’t hungry. They might make bad food choices from time-to-time, but they wouldn’t chose bad foods as a method of stress relief or boredom relief or as a way to stop feeling things that are uncomfortable. Is this an addiction?

The only other addiction I have had is cigarettes. I was a smoker for many years, beginning as a teen until I was 21 or so. Then I quit until I was 26 and smoked off and on until I was 34. I haven’t smoked for four years. I don’t usually think about smoking or want to smoke. I didn’t want to smoke during the five years between 21 and 26 either, but I starting smoking again because I was going through a difficult break up and I continued smoking because I was addicted. I quit during both of my pregnancies, but smoked again after my kids were born. Much of the time, I only smoked two cigarettes a day which I think demonstrates a stronger mental addiction than physical one.

It some ways the food thing is similar to the smoking addiction. I ate even though I knew it was bad for my health. I sometimes ate badly even when I didn’t really want to. Like the week before my surgery. I did not have to follow a pre-op diet so I made the rounds for my “last meals”. I went to all my favorite lunch places. I went out to dinner at my favorite dinner restaurant. I considered driving 50 miles to Corvalis, Oregon to eat one “last meal” at Burgerville (Sidenote: If you ever find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, you must eat a meal at Burgerville. Their special sauce is so yummy. Be sure to order a side to dip your fries in!). As I was eating all these “last foods”, I had this feeling that I would be so relieved when I didn’t have to do this anymore. Like I was eating like this because I had to and not because I wanted to. Perhaps the biggest similarity that I can see between the two addictions is that I have gone along before on a food plan and thought about how crazy it was to eat like I did before and feel like I cannot imagine eating like that again. But I always resumed those crazy eating habits and then felt like I couldn’t stop – not just that I couldn’t stop, but that I couldn’t even muster the desire to want to stop. Just like the way I quit smoking and went for years without even wanting to smoke and then one day started smoking and found that I couldn’t stop – that I didn’t even want to stop.

This is important for me because right now I am in the space where I cannot imagine resuming those crazy eating habits again. I am losing weight really well. I feel great. I have lost weight and am a bit smaller than before. I am trying to be mindful of the pitfalls and am making plans to deal with them when they come. I am also trying to do different things. The lap band is an obvious difference, but I’ve also signed up for a 10K (I will be walking). Today for the first time ever I rode my bike to work. Unfortunately I probably won’t be able to do this regularly (my kids come to my office after school so there would be the logistical issues of getting their bikes to my office for us all to ride home). But what happens when I don’t feel like following my food plan anymore? What happens when I can’t make myself want to eat well?

I have been watching the shows about addiction for a couple of months now and one of the tidbits I’ve gleaned is something that Dr. Drew said on Celebrity Rehab about addicts creating situations in their lives in which the only way they can deal with it is by using. For example, if they normally use because of stress in their relationships, they might pick a fight with their boy/girlfriend. It scares the hell out of me that I might be creating situations in my own life in which the only way I can cope is by abusing food. I am worried that I can’t trust my own instincts – like my feeling that I may not be ready for my first fill. So I made the appointment for my first fill. It will be next Wednesday. Because if I am an addict and if I am unconsciously setting myself up to be in a position where I might “use” food in a compulsive way, I want to be ready with an effective tool.

Monday, March 22, 2010

To fill or not to fill?

Ah…the weekend. 48 hours of bliss, more or less. Now that I am back at work (and working hard, can’t you tell?), I miss those unstructured hours so much. Why can’t my whole life be one long weekend? Is that too much to ask?

I need to decide if I’m going to have a fill this week. Friday is six weeks post-op for me and that is the time I was told to have my first fill. The thing is, I don’t know if I’m ready. On one hand, I am doing great. I am following a food plan and have lost 24.4 lbs.. On the other hand, I do not have much restriction. I have noticed that I can eat larger portions (I am still sticking to my 1 ½ cup of food per meal rule). I haven’t had any issues with foods getting stuck, even when I don’t chew as thoroughly as I should. So my band is ready for a fill, but am I?

I am not really worried about having a bad experience or anything like that. Maybe I like not being careful about chewing and eating quickly. Maybe the addict in me is setting myself up for a binge by allowing me to get into a situation where I can get into trouble (i.e. little restriction, few consequences for bad behavior, etc.). I kind of think that I shouldn’t trust myself here because I haven’t proven myself trustworthy in the past. Does that make any sense at all?

On a related note, we had a family dinner and birthday party yesterday. In times past, these events have really spelled trouble for me. I would normally snack so much prior to the meal being done that I wouldn’t be hungry when it was. But then I’d go ahead and eat the meal anyways. This time I waited until dinner was ready and dished myself small portions of everything I wanted. It is so satisfying to eat this way! I don’t know how I didn’t realize this before. I even had a piece of cherry pie and some ice cream, but I didn’t feel even a little bit bad about it because I knew that my food choices had been spot on for the entire day!

Today I am eating high protein, low calorie and focusing on my staple foods that are sort of boring, but don’t require a whole lot of thought. I will avoid sweets today so I don’t get in the habit of eating them every day. And I will make a decision about the fill.

Friday, March 19, 2010

10K Butte to Butte

Yesterday I signed up for a 10K on July 4th. Although I will be walking it, I am still pretty excited because I have never done anything like this before. I am sure I could walk 10K today if I had to so I don't expect the training or event to be too difficult, but I did print out a schedule that I will do in preparation.

I feel like I am becoming the person that I was meant to be! I have been stuck in this prison of fat for so long and now I am starting to break free. Instead of beating my head against the same wall and doing the same things over and over, I am actually trying something new. Now I'm banging my head against a new wall! Just kidding...

I did have a huge conflict when I filled out the 10K enrollment form though. What size shirt do I request? I wear a 2X now, but will probably (hopefully) be closer to a 1X by then. I don't want to jinx myself by ordering a smaller size and then not being able to wear it. I also don't want to get a 2X that I will never be able to wear again. Ack! What do you guys think?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday = Weigh Day

I know that you all begin your Thursdays with a sense of anticipation for me to announce my weight for the week. No? Maybe that's just me then. Anyway (drum roll, please) I am down another 3.4 lbs. to 255.8. I am pleased to be down so much this week, but I am also really excited that I almost weigh less than my fella! Matthew is a big guy - 6'3" and 250 lbs. and I hate that I have out-weighed him for a while now. In another two weeks or so, I should weigh less than him.

I had this strange thought this morning when I was walking. When I picture myself, I don't really see myself as all that fat. I know that is kind of hard to imagine. Like yesterday I was wearing my new outfit (Thanks, Kristen!) and imagining that I looked really nice. The clothes fit nicely and weren't too tight or anything. But then I saw the photo that I posted with yesterday's blog and thought how fat that I still look. Which I guess is about right since I've only lost just over 24 lbs. and I needed to lose at least 100 lbs. But I am still constantly catching my reflection in store mirrors and being surprised by how big I am. It makes me wonder how I ever became so disconnected from reality.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look - I'm not bitching today!

I want to start by saying thank you to Kristen for the clothes. She was so nice to send me two pairs of pants and a shirt after hearing me belly-ache about not having any pants that fit. The things she sent fit great and are soooo cute! I took a photo of me in one of the outfits. Sorry it is not a great picture. I tried to take it 100 different ways and kept getting the blur at the bottom. BTW I still have some size 24's to send off if anyone needs that size.

I didn't eat much yesterday, but I kicked ass in the protein department thanks to the chocolate Premier Nutricion Protein shakes that I got at Costco. They have 30 grams of protein and only 160 calories which I love! They also taste pretty good for protein drinks. I have mentioned before that I'm always hesitant to drink my protein shakes because they are 220 calories. Every day that I've had one, I've logged more calories than usual. Being a vegetarian, I do have to work at getting my 50 grams of protein in. I think I am hitting that mark on average, but not every day. Like yesterday, I had 78 grams of protein. The day before I had 43. So I averaged more than 60 each day. I'm not sure if that is good enough.

One of the reasons that I am thinking so much about protein is that my typical vegetarian diet pre-band was a whole lot of carbs. I think this is a big part of the reason that I gained weight so easily, even though I exercised regular and didn't eat crazy quantities of food most of the time.

For some reason I ate less than 1,000 calories yesterday. I haven't had much interest in food lately. It really blows me away that I can go from thinking about food all the time to just eating a cup of cottage cheese because I'm hungry and it has lots of protein. I used to eat out almost every day for lunch. This was very expensive and added lots of calories to my diet since we all know that fast food and really any kind of restaurant food is typically very high cal.

My band is doing a pretty good job of telling me when I've had enough to eat. Like last night, I measured out a half cup of rice and about 1/4 cup (2 oz.) of tofu. I had five or six tofu cubes and was so full. I even got that weird neck/shoulder pain which tells me my pouch is full, I guess. Later I had a tangerine because I did not have one fruit or vegetable all day (unless tofu is a vegetable?). It was yummy, but I kind of forced myself to eat it. I wasn't too full or anything since it was a couple of hours after dinner, but I just didn't really want to eat. How did I go from being litterally OBSESSED with food to this point?

I know from past experience that part of the reason is that I am not eating much sugar. Eating sugar causes me to start craving foods of all kinds. I haven't eliminated sugar from my diet by any means, but I am not eating sweets regularily. If it happens to be in something I'm eating, then fine, but I am not eating many things that are mostly sugar. Remember that box of chocolates I got for Valentine's Day? I have had five of them. They are really decadent and almost too sweet. When I've chosen to have one, I've been prepared for the thoughts that come 30 or so minutes later about fixing a snack.

What I don't really understand is how I can be going along like I am and then completely fall off the wagon. I have done this countless times on diets before. I will follow my food plan diligently for months and months and then just say screw it and start eating whatever I want. It usually takes me years to get back to a point where I am ready to try again. I am living in fear of coming to that point again. I am hoping that since I am doing some things differently this time, it won't happen and if it does, I will be able to address it. Like I am working on the protein this time around. I also have the band, of course, which will help keep my portions small regardless of what I am eating. I can always get a fill if I need to re-focus my efforts. The mandatory post-fill liquids and mushies should kick me back into gear. I hope that these differences will be enough because compulsive overeating is a cunning and baffling disease. Good thing I'm clever and strong!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Yesterday I blogged a bit about how much I have come to resent the lady I work with. In the evening, one of my BFF told me that she was quitting her job as she’d got a new, better one. I’m a little jealous of her too. So I think it may be time for me to move on from this job I have. I have worked here since 2001 – going on 9 years. I’ve gone as far as I can money wise and advancement-wise. My plan has been to work my own company until I could work for myself and quit this job, but now I’m wondering if I should find something else sooner. I decided this morning that I would give this job six more months and if I am still unhappy, I will begin aggressively looking for a better job.

I think that my willingness to put up with a bad work environment has a lot to do with my weight problem. It is easier to stay here than go out and try to find something else. There are some things that I really like about this job. I have a lot of autonomy and my kids can come to my office after school (a mixed blessing), but overall I feel like I am a bit of a doormat. My co-worker comes and goes as she pleases. She seldom gets here on time and probably once a week she just doesn’t show up at all. She performs a few specific tasks and leaves the rest of the work for me. She takes weeks to do things that I accomplish in a couple hours. She also makes the same pay as me and I am pretty sure that she lies about the hours she works on her time card. When I put it in black and white like that, it seems really awful, but she is a really nice person and also a good friend of mine. I have told her many, many times that it bothers me that she doesn’t get here on time and she always agrees that she is a total flake, blah, blah, blah…, but she never does anything about it. She also takes tons of extra time off. Last summer she was off for about seven weeks between the end of April and the end of August. The summer is our busiest time at work so this created so much extra work for me. She didn’t get paid for all her time off, but her finances are such that she can afford to miss weeks of work without a problem.

So SIX MORE MONTHS. If I am still unhappy then, I will make a concentrated effort to find a new job. Hopefully my own company will grow sufficiently that I can work for myself. If not, I will find something that doesn’t leave me feeling resentful and jealous.

Food-wise, things have been going pretty well, but I am thinking it is about time for a fill. I haven’t felt much restriction for over a week now. Next week is six weeks post-op which is the time I was told to get my first fill. I have been following my food plan, but I have noticed that I can eat pretty quickly and that foods that would normally get stuck seem to be slipping through without any trouble.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Monday!

Greetings Blogland! I have a case of the blahs today. I think the high of just being banded has worn off and now I am realizing that if I want weightloss, I'm going to have to do the work. Which I guess is okay. I don't mind the work. But it isn't very exciting.

I used to take little mini trips on the weekends every few months to combat the blahs, but I've been really broke for awhile so that isn't an option. My fella has been out of work since the first of the year so things are pretty tight around our house these days. I've also been feeling unappreciated and underpaid at work. I make my boss a lot of money which he spends recklessly and then always claims poverty when it comes to passing it on. I haven't had a raise in almost three years and I lost a bonus that I used to get so really I am making less than I made in 2006/07. I started my own little company awhile back, but it is growing very slowly so I still have to work at my regular job.

I work with one other person. Her name is Sarah and she is a great person and one of my best friends, but she can be a HUGE FLAKE. She often comes to work several hours late and sometimes not at all. She performs her specific duties, but all the incidentals fall on me. And my boss knows that if he wants something done, he has to have me do it, because I am always the one he asks to take on new projects.

So thanks for coming to my pity party! My food has been good. I don't weigh until Thursday. Hey - does anyone need some size 24s? I have some clothes that I want to pass on. Let me know if you want them. Happy Monday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

How about a soda?

I've been asking a lot of questions this week and here's another one. Soda: Do you or don't you?

I'm following quite a few blogs these days and I am absolutely facinated by how many people are mourning the loss of soda and the few who are talking about drinking soda. Apparently some surgeons do not prohibit diet soda. I've also heard that the whole issue of the carbonation stretching the stomach may not be supported by any actual evidence.

So I'm curious what you are doing and what sort of research you have run across.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Questions about food plans

Thursdays are my weigh-in days and I am happy to report that I am down three more pounds! That is 21 since my first pre-op weigh-in five weeks ago tomorrow and 18 since my surgery four weeks ago tomorrow. I am really happy with this progress. My size 24 pants are all too big. Unfortunately I only have a couple pairs of size 22s and they are crop-pants. I am wearing a pair today despite the fact that it is pouring down rain and not really ideal short-pants weather.

I’ve been thinking about food plans today and I am curious about what you guys are doing. Are you following a food plan? I have been writing down my food and tracking my protein and calories which is very helpful for me, but it also feels kind of like a diet.

I am not eating “diet” foods. In fact, I am eating whatever I want. I am just eating small portions and trying to make good food choices. Is that a diet? Or is that what normal weight people do?

Yesterday I got some great feedback about fruits and veggies and breakfast. I talked to my co-worker about how I wanted to cook eggs and toast in the office and she was all for it. In fact, she had been wanting to have a toaster in our office for a long time. She brought in a small egg pan (we already have an oven, microwave and fridge) and we came up with a toaster so now I just need to bring eggs, cooking spray and salt and pepper. Today I am having peanut butter toast which didn’t require as many supplies.

I also brought some carrots for a snack later. I know they will take me a really long time to eat so that should be fun.

Finally I wanted to report that my BMI is now below 40 – it is 39.4. I am still officially obese (I hate that word so much!), but it is nice to be under 40.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I've got questions. Do you have answers?

Since I was banded last month, I've really been trying to eat only when I am hungry (and stop when I am full). It seems like such a simple concept. I run into a snag each day, however, because I do not get hungry for breakfast until 10:00 or so. This means that I am packing my breakfast to eat at work. It also means that my breakfast options are really limited. What I want to have for breakfast is a piece of toast and peanut butter or a piece of toast and a "dippy" egg, but to prepare this at work, I would have to pack a toaster, a pan, cooking spray, an egg, the salt and pepper - you get the idea.

So I usually have yogurt with fresh fruit (or raisins) and nuts or cottage cheese or warm applesause. These are perfectally lovely breakfast foods, but they're not what I want. Right now I am all about eating what I want whenever possible.

Also, I am not really eating very much fruit or vegetables. I'm usually having 1-1.5cups of food at each meal and maybe one or two servings (if it really is the size of an actual serving)of vegies. And no fruit except every few days when I have it with breakfast. I've been so focussed on getting in the protein and not eating too much at a meal.

Does anyone else have these problems and if so, what are you doing about it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Eating out.

I love to eat out. If I could afford it, I would probably eat out every night. For me, cooking is a chore. My kids can never agree on what sounds good so I often don’t ask them and just make whatever is easy or whatever sounds good to me. Inevitably that elicits a round of complaints about how this isn’t what they wanted, they don’t like this food, blah, blah, blah…But we can always agree on eating out.

On Friday my oldest daughter offered to buy dinner from her birthday money. She wanted to go to Subway and then do some shopping at the mall. Since she only had $40of birthday money, I told her I would buy dinner. I had been thinking about garden burgers for awhile so we hit a burger place. Now before my band, I would have ordered a dinner salad, garden burger and fries – easily a 1,350 calorie meal. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat that much so I skipped the salad (which is really just an excuse to eat lots of dressing) and ordered the garden burger and fries. I had maybe four thick cut fries and less than half of the burger and I was literally stuffed. I could not have eaten more if I tried. Compared to my normal meal, I ate ¼ - 1/3. I was so excited, I texted two friends to tell them all about it. What a satisfying, delicious meal! I love my band!

Friday, March 5, 2010

No food police needed

At any given time, there are approximately 10,000 food “rules” running through my mind: Drink 64 oz. of water a day. Eat 9 servings of fruit and vegetables. Eat whole grains. Avoid sweets. Avoid fats. Eat lots of soy. Don’t eat trans fats. Don’t eat fast food. Avoid fried foods. Don’t drink soda. Don’t eat foods and drinks made with artificial sweeteners. Don’t eat red meat. It takes more calories to chew celery than it has in it. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Avoid fats that are solid at room temperature. Don’t eat movie theater popcorn. Green veggies are healthier than white veggies. Don’t eat pizza with cheese and meat. Avoid caffeine. Don’t eat too much seafood (mercury). Don’t eat eggs. Eat eggs every day. Drink a glass of wine every day. Choose olive oil. Don’t eat processed foods. Eat blueberries (antioxidants). Don’t use too much salt. Drink orange juice (folic acid). Don’t eat dairy. Eat nuts before dinner. Don’t eat veal. Avoid organ meats. Eat yogurt with active cultures. Don’t eat chips.

And now that I am banded, I can add a few more: Chew food 30 times before swallowing. Don’t drink for 30 minutes after meals. Watch out for high calorie drinks that can sabotage weight loss. Watch out for bread, pizza, bagels, hot dogs and other foods that aren’t band-friendly. Eat at least 50 grams of protein a day. Eat no more than 3 meals a day. Don’t eat more than a cup and a half of food per meal. Eat protein first. Take a daily multi-vitamin. Don’t eat “sliders”. Take small bites.

So with all this information in my mind at any given moment, you can believe that I do not need anyone looking at what I am eating and making “helpful” comments about whether or not I “should” be eating that particular food. In fact, many a binge has been triggered by the “food police”. If there exists a food law, believe me, I am well-aware of it and do not need someone to point it out to me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3 week post-op update

Today is my official weigh-in day and I am down another 3 lbs. this week! This brings my total to 18 since my first weigh-in four weeks ago. Tomorrow I will be three weeks post-op. I’m supposed to be returning to regular foods tomorrow, but I’m afraid I jumped the gun a bit and started eating regular foods last weekend. Oh well!

These are the things that I am doing well:
1) No drinking with meals – I thought this would be harder, but so far it has been pretty easy. Except when I forget to look at what time it is when I get done eating and then I realize a bit later that I don’t know when I can drink again.

2) Journaling – I have a cute purple notebook in my purse that I am using to write down what I eat and track my protein.

3) Exercise – I walk every morning with my dog for about 30 minutes.

4) No soda – Oh how I loved my daily diet cherry Pepsi, but I’ve only thought of it a few times since being banded. I’m drinking Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng (sweetened with Splenda) instead which is very yummy.

These are the things that I am not doing so well:

1) Eating slowly – I had a couple “stuck” episodes early on (like last week – LOL), but now everything is pretty much going down no problem. I think I sort of want something to get stuck so I know for sure my band is there and working.

2) Eating no more than one cup portions – I have been eating about a cup and a half for dinner which goes down fine, but maybe ten or so minutes later I get that weird pain in my neck/shoulder. It’d be nice to get that WHILE I am eating so I’d know I was eating too much.

3) Resting – I was back to work a couple of days after surgery and I’ve been running on full speed ever since. About a week after surgery, I developed this horrible cough and I’m just now starting to feel better. I know my body is still recovering. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to take it easy.

So this is my three week evaluation. I made it through a minefield of birthday parties last weekend and I feel great about how I did and especially that I still lost three pounds this week. Overall I am really happy with my weight loss (the last time I dieted, it took me six months to lose 25 lbs.).

I am also wondering if there are any other vegetarian “bandsters” like me? I’ve been a lacto-ovo veg since I was 19. So far I am not having too much trouble getting the protein in, but I feel like I’m really working at it. If you are a veg or know of one, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why do diets fail?

I was perusing the blogs that I follow and I came across a post from Camille, a physician from Corpus Christi in which she discussed her recent trip to the nutritionist as a part of her pre-op insurance requirements. Here’s a link if you didn’t catch the blog:

Camille was reflecting on why she overeats and there was great discussion from a bunch of people who, like Camille, are not unhappy people who had horrible childhoods that drove them to abuse food as adults.

I posted the following comment:

I think that the common assumption is that people who have weight problems are lazy, not very smart, disorganized and/or have no self-control, but I think most of us know that that is total BS. I really think that it is all the years of dieting that screw us all up. We get wrapped up in this cycle of eating too much and feeling bad about it and then making bad food choices because we are ashamed and then starving ourselves which triggers a binge. If you look at ANY weight loss program, you will see in their fine print that the advertised results ARE NOT TYPICAL. This means that most people do not lose weight and keep it off on Jenny Craig or WW or Adkins or any other commercial program or diet. But the assumption is that WE are the problem and not the diet. I cannot imagine any sane person buying a product that doesn't typically work as advertised.

As I typed it, I felt like it was a blog entry in the making all in itself so I wanted to explore it a bit here.

First of all is the issue of the weight loss results not being typical. Here are a couple of examples:

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I find it kind of bizarre that we as consumers would put up with this for so long. Imagine if you were planning to buy a car and you read the advertisement to see that the vehicle got great gas mileage, had air bags, and offered a smooth ride. You were about to make the purchase when you noticed that the majority of people who’d bought this car DID NOT get the advertised gas mileage, air bags or smooth ride. You probably wouldn’t buy that car and you would be outraged that this kind of advertising is permitted.

But not with diet programs. When they fail, we blame our self. Why is that?
I went on my first diet when I was about 10 or 11 and I have steadily gained weight ever since. I wonder what would have happened if I’d never dieted.
The problem is that I now cannot determine the difference between not being on a diet and eating whatever the H. E. double hockey sticks that I want. When did I lose the ability to listen to my body and know when it was hungry and when it was full? Did I give this power to a diet company that told me what and when and how much to eat, regardless of what my body wanted and needed?

The other issue is that of overweight people lacking something as human beings that allows them to reach this sorry state. For some reason I keep thinking about this old episode of The Brady Bunch where Alice and Mrs. Brady went on diets. Of course Alice (who really wasn’t fat) couldn’t follow the diet. She didn’t have the will-power. And lovely Mrs. Brady (who also wasn’t fat) and who had supposedly birthed three children, had tons of will-power, but ultimately she couldn’t follow the diet either.

I know that overweight people are no less-intelligent, less-organized, less- motivated and possess no less will-power than the average person. I, for one, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Oregon, own my own business, and have accomplished many professional and personal goals in my life.

I’m not beating my head against a wall anymore. I’ve been overweight for nearly seven years and before that, off and on since I was a kid. I’m tired of letting food and weight issues run my life. I’m finally doing something different, something in which the successful results ARE typical. Because I ran across another interesting bit of information today as I was blogging. It was a study by the original developers of the lap band weight loss surgery. They tracked nearly 2,000 patients for 12 years and the average patient lost 96.14 lbs. after surgery and continued losing weight over the course of the study. Those are the results that we can expect. Yeah!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some photos to go with my last post

My salad tray AFTER I was done eating.
Me and my boyfriend
My daughters Bryn and Caelyn and niece Emily
My walking partner & best furry-friend, Brody
Caelyn blows out her candles

Marathon Birthday Party Weekend

This was such a busy weekend. My oldest daughter turned 9 yesterday and my two nephews turned 21 so I was at two different birthday parties. I had decided previously that I was going to eat some solid foods this weekend even though I am supposed to be eating soft foods through the week.

I took my daughters and their cousin to Chuck E. Cheese’s on Saturday for lunch. For financial reasons, we’d decided not to do a big party and I’m really proud of my daughter for making the most of it. Originally we were going to have a big party with 10 or 11 friends at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but my kids’ dad has been out of work since the first of the year so I told my daughter that we could take one friend or she could have a big party at our house. She chose to take her cousin, who is also her best friend.

I ordered pizza and a salad bar and they asked me if I wanted the all-you-can eat salad bar for $1 more. The regular salad comes in a bowl and the all-you-can eat comes in a plate so I opted for the plate so that I could get some cottage cheese and not have it mix in with the salad. I ate so little that I took a picture when I was done because the plate looked pretty much the same before and after. I also had a piece of pizza. In all, it was a really good lunch and I was pleased that I was completely satisfied with my small meal. I was also relieved that I didn’t have any trouble with the pizza since that is one of my favorite foods and I know lots of people with bands cannot manage it.

From there we went to my sister’s house for her sons’ 21st birthday party. She made a yummy dinner and I had about a tablespoon of everything that I wanted. It took me about 45 minutes to eat since I was taking such small bites and visiting with my family, but it was such a satisfying meal. Normally I would eat so much before the meal that I wouldn’t even be hungry when dinner is ready, but I’d eat it anyways. This was such a different experience and I am so pleased with my band (and myself).
We had my daughter’s party at our house the next day (Sunday). I decided not to prepare a meal since I’m still recovering from surgery and fighting this cold I’ve got. I put out snacks and then we all made ice cream sundaes for desert. In the middle of the party, we all walked to our neighborhood park and enjoyed the sunny day. All in all, I think I made good food choices through the party.

When I compare this weekend to how I would normally have behaved, I feel like I am comparing apples to oranges. I know I would have eaten the entire salad and snacked my way through both parties. I love my lap band and I love my life!