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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm overweight!

It's official!  I am no longer obese and am now merely overweight.  I started this process with a BMI of 42.6.  As of today, my BMI is now 29.7.  I lost 2.4 lbs. (1.1 kg.) this week, bringing me to 195.2 lbs. (88.5 kg.).  I haven't weighed this amount in eight years.

As I achieve these milestones (Onderland, no longer obese), I'm finding that I am really grappling with the way I think about myself these days.  Who am I if I am no longer obese?  What do my kids think of me?  What do others see when they see me?

I rember as a child my mother doing a diet program called Weight Loss Center.  She had to weigh in at their clinic each weekday.  She was allowed to eat 600 calories per day.  She would have a green salad and a broiled chicken breast almost every night for dinner.  I think she did the program twice and both times managed to lose down to about 160 lbs.  (72.5 kg.).  But when she was no longer on the program and was eating normal foods again, she always regained the weight.  I don't remember ever thinking of my mother as thin, although at 160 lbs., she must have been. 

When I started this process, I felt like the person I was on the inside didn't match my outward appearance.  I valued health and fitness, but if someone looked at me, they wouldn't assume that were the case.  In fact they'd probably assume I did not value those things.  I've been a vegetarian for 18 years.  I've always exercised on a regular basis.  Although I've struggled with binge eating for years, my day-to-day eating was pretty normal.  I probably consumed an average of 1,800-2,000 calories.  Not crazy by most people's standards.  But I was still fat.  In fact, I was Obese Class III. 

And now I'm not.

I'm really the same person I've always been.  I have the same priorities and goals.  I'm just very lucky to have found a way out. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It all fits!

We've had some warm weather lately and after a couple weeks of cool, autumn days it was kind of unexpected.  We've already pulled out our room air conditioners from the windows and stored them away.  I've been wearing jeans and slacks and long-sleeve shirts.  I haven't packed away any clothes yet, but all my light-weight summer clothes are way too big.  So this morning as I was getting dressed I remembered a pair of crop pants that I hadn't tried in awhile.  They are a junior size 16, but even though I am wearing a size 16, the last time I tried them they were too tight.  I tried them again and they fit!  So I tried a bunch of other jeans and pants that I've been storing in my drawers and THEY ALL FIT!!!  Which means that I no longer have any smaller sizes tucked away.  Which is kind of bizarre.

For years I've had several different sizes in my closet.  I've had entire wardrobes in sizes 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24.  I've had clothes on hangers and in drawers that I couldn't wear.  I've moved with these clothes more than once.  I've occasionally removed sizes - I used to have sizes 10 - 14 too, but at some point I gave up hope that I'd ever wear them again.  As I've lost weight, I've gotten rid of the too-big clothes.  Some have gone to the Sisterhood and some to Goodwill.  So now I have size 16 and a few 18's and that's it.  This means that I could walk into my closet to put on ANYTHING I find there.  Everything fits!

Of course that means that when I'm ready for size 14's, I'm going to have to do some shopping.  Hopefully everyone will get me clothes for Christmas because I'm going to need them!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Olive Garden

Every year the company I work for has an employee recognition lunch and today was the day!  We always go to Olive Garden, which is one of my favorite places to eat.  Since I don't eat out much, I hadn't been there since before my surgery.  I was a little nervous about eating there.  You just never know how things are going to go down, especially when you're talking about restaurant food.

I ordered the soup and salad and had a few bites of each.  I also had TWO (yes TWO) bread sticks and about three tablespoons of Alfredo sauce to dip them in.  You can see where my food priorities are when it comes to Olive Garden.  All in all it was a completely satisfying meal that I enjoyed 100%.

I am often surprised by how much I enjoy the way I eat these days.  I like eating slowly and especially eating all I want to eat at each meal.  I feel satisfied when I eat.  It is weird that I seldom felt satisfied before, even when I was Thanksgiving-dinner STUFFED!  I always wanted to eat more, more, more, even when I chose not to eat more. 

Life is so much better these days!

Hey, look at me!  Two posts in one day!


Happy Monday!  I'm looking forward to reading all about the BOOBS trip to Chicago.  I'm sad I couldn't go, but we had our own little get-together in Eugene, Oregon.  Let's call it the TITTIES.  Debi from Hawaii Bound Boundster was there as was Tina from Losing It.  Debi and her husband were on their way back from visiting some friends in Portland.  Tina, her husband and her daughter came down from Beaverton.  My youngest daughter was also there.
This is the first time I've ever actually met in person anyone else with a gastric band and it is also the first time I've ever met someone I knew from the internet.  I was very excited and a little nervous, but Debi and Tina are so nice and easy to talk to.  I am sure they found me kind of boring because I am usually more of a listener than a big talker. 

After we set everything up, my oldest daughter's soccer schedule came out and of course she had a game right in the middle of the lunch so I had to do some juggling and I had to run off before anyone else.  But it was cool getting to know them and I hope we can do it again!  It was fun eating with other Bandsters too.  We sure don't eat much!  Also we are all pretty thin.  I mean I don't think anyone would have looked at us and thought we were a bunch of weight loss surgery patients. 

Here's a pic:

Debi, Tina, Me & Bryn

In other news, my fella has a job interview today at 12:45 PM.  It would be a great job and I sure hope it is meant to be!  Please say a prayer!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe next week...

I was going to entitle this post, "I'm Overweight!" to celebrate transitioning from having a BMI considered obese to overweight, but I'm not quite there yet. I weighed in at 197.6 (89.6 kg.) this morning, down 1.6 (.7 kg.)from last week. I'm actually .4 lbs. (.2 kg.) from a BMI under 30 which just confirms my suspicion that BMIs are a bunch of hooey.

Maybe I won't feel that way once I get below the "obese" range, but I really don't think I look that fat. Or maybe I just have a skewed perception of how I look and what fat looks like.

Really I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. I don't mind the slow losses. I like how I look, at least in clothes. I feel attractive.

But I wanted to bring up the subject of weighing. I weigh myself once a week, three times of every four weeks. "Why the skipped week?", you might ask. Well, I guess it is because I don't lose during that fourth week. In fact sometimes I'm up a bit. I attribute it to hormones. If you really want to know, it is probably when I'm ovulating. But it still messes with my mind to step on the scale and not see a loss so I just don't step on that week! I know many of you weight every day and I honestly don't know how you do that. I have so much anxiety about the scale, I can't imagine putting myself through it each day. So how often do you weigh yourself and why?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is it too early for righteous indignation?

A while ago several of you wrote about a study that detailed the bias towards the obese held by the medical community. The study demonstrated that, among other things, medical professionals were more likely to view the obese as "non-compliant" with medical treatment. This bias even exists amongst bariatric medical professionals. This isn't the article that was passed around previously, but it is another article that references a different study that found similar biases.

I bring the topic up again because I was reading a post yesterday from a blogger who was banded about a month ago. I want to be really vague about the identity of this individual (although they did nothing wrong). Essentially the gist was that this individual was being criticized for choosing one specific food item by their surgeon and staff. Since banding, this person has lost considerably more than the recommended 2 lbs/week. My point was why was this individual being criticized for eating something with sugar in it? Why wasn't the surgeon looking at the results and saying, "Way to go! Keep up the good work!".

See, here's the dirty little secret: naturally thin people eat sugar (shh!). In fact, most of us have had the experience of dining out with our thin friends and watching them eat salad smothered in dressing and croutons, a fat-filled, smothered- in-gravy entree, a glass of wine or three, followed by a luscious dessert. Usually we are picking away at our dry salad while they enjoy their delicious dinner. They don't feel ashamed to have eaten it. They relish it, they enjoy it and they feel satisfied by it! Shocking, right?

Now I do realize that some people may have valid reasons for avoiding sugar. Truth be told, I chose to have sugary desserts only occasionally. But I don't avoid fruits, juices, milk, etc. simply because it has some sugar in it. In fact I like to say that I avoid sugar free foods (and fat free) like the plague. The reason I avoid them is because I am not dieting and those are diet foods.

I'm not dieting because diets don't work. 30 years of dieting is what got me to 280 lbs. (127 kg.). (I've written about some of this before so I apologize if you've heard this from me.) The reason that I believe that diets don't work is because they don't adequately address the problem. The problem is that people who develop weight problems have become alienated from their sense of hunger and satiety. They eat for reasons other than hunger and they don't stop eating when they've had enough. And the thing is that diets actually further alienate you from your sense of hunger and satiety. Diets tell you what to eat and when to eat and when to stop eating, but this information has nothing to do with whether you are actually eating due to hunger or stopping due to being full.

Of course with diets there's also the typical rebound when the diet is over. I think this rebound is what causes people to become so heavy. We think we need a diet so we restrict our eating for awhile. We lose weight. But then we resume our previous eating behaviors and we gain that weight back. And we gain some more. Rinse and repeat. Knowing this, it actually seems pretty crazy that ANYONE would suggest someone go on a diet. It especially is mind-boggling that medical professionals would recommend a diet. This cycle of losing weight and regaining weight and gaining additional weight is what makes us obese!

We all assume that WE are the problem when the diet fails, but I also challenge that idea (shocking, I know). I don't think it is natural for us to radically alter our eating behaviors permanently. We eat the way we eat. It is as natural to us as breathing, just as it is natural to a naturally thin person to eat the way THEY eat. Sure, we can strive to make healthier food choices. Of course we cannot eat crap all the time. Your thin friend doesn't eat that high calorie/high fat restaurant meal EVERY night. The diet fails because it doesn't correct the actual problem which is eating when we are not hungry and not stopping when we are full.

This is where the gastric band comes in for me. It doesn't work because we are on another diet, despite the recommendation of our surgeon's office. It works because it instills very healthy behaviors that are conducive to weight loss and maintenance. We eat small portions, we eat slowly, we are aware as we eat, and we stop when we are full. Many naturally thin people utilize these behaviors themselves. We need to do a few relatively simple things. We need to minimize sliders that thwart the band's effectiveness. We should (generally) eat only when we are hungry. Because we eat relatively small portions, we need to make sure that we are eating as nutritiously as possible (protein first, blah blah blah...). And that's all that is required for success with the gastric band!

Okay, I'm putting my soap box away for now. Thanks for putting up with me!

Friday, September 17, 2010


This is the third day this week where I have been hungry about every hour or so. What's with that? I usually eat my breakfast (normally Greek yogurt) and lunch (varies - today a Weight Watchers frozen lunch) and am good until dinner. Occasionally I have a snack (cheese stick, apple, etc.) mid afternoon, but normally I am only hungry at meal times.

It makes me wonder if I need a little fill, but I'm kind of afraid to get one because in the last three weeks I've PB'd at least once a week. Last week I could hardly eat on Thursday and Friday. I attributed the tightness to stress and it has gotten better since then. I am really comfortable with where I'm at, fill-wise. I consider myself to be at my sweet spot. But suddenly I am getting hungry every hour or so. That's crazy!

What do you guys think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Attention Oregonian Bandsters!

On Sunday, 9/26 @ noon I get to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Debi from Hawaii Bound Bandster at the Red Robin in Eugene, Oregon. She and her husband will be riding their motorcycles through Oregon and are going to make a pit stop right here in Eugene! I have never actually met a real-life bandster in person (except for the people who were in the hospital with me, but we didn't really socialize). I've read about the lucky ones of you who have gotten together with someone from the blogs with jealousy in the past so I can't tell you how excited I am!

Also I really, really, really (did I say really?) wanted to do the Chicago BOOBS thing, but extreme poverty got in the way so that's not going to happen.

So if you live to Oregon or Washington or hell Idaho, California, etc., please come! Janelle from Lap Band Living might come. Speaking of Janelle, she and I were emailing yesterday and it turns out we have the same fill doc (we live about an hour apart) AND had our surgery at the same hospital in Tijuana. How did I not know that?

And did I mention I hit Onderland yesterday? I think I'm going to end all my blogs like that from now on ~ lol!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have wanted to write this post for so long. Hitting Onderland is really the first milestone that I've coveted and longed for. Funny that I had to lose more than 80 lbs. (36.3 kg.) to get there. Originally I wanted to get there by the end of August, but then my rate of loss started slowing down. I'm not seeing 10 lbs. (4.5 kg.) a month anymore. Now it is more like 4-5 lbs. per month. I'm okay with that. Here's the obligatory scale picture:

BTW I don't know what is the deal with my toes. And yes I did paint my nails just for you guys. I have a bruised nail from a tripping incident a few weeks ago so without the polish you'd all probably be traumatized by my blue toenail. But I digress...

I was banded seven months ago on February 12th. I am down 80.8 lbs. (36.7 kg.). Here's a before pic:

This journey has been incredible. Here in no particular order are a few random things I've learned:

#1 - Stress is not my friend. This past week was the perfect example of this. By Thursday of last week, the cumulative effect of weeks of extreme chaos at work left me beyond stressed. I wasn't sleeping well. True to form, my lap-band tightened up like a vise. I took my kids out to dinner after a late soccer game on Friday and a couple of small bites eaten slowly had me puking in the bathroom. I had horrible acid reflux, something I haven't had to deal with since having a hiatal hernia repaired when I was banded. Things are finally settling down at work and I feel better, but I wish I knew how to deal with stress better than I do.

#2 - I wish I could blog professionally. I hate that I have been so out of touch with you guys. I know I'll never be able to catch up, but I hope I can keep up from here on out. It would be great if you could summarize what you've been up to for the last several weeks and email it to me!

#3 - I would highly recommend gastric banding to any person struggling with obesity. I used to consider WLS as my last resort in sort of a gloom and doom way. I would hold it out as punishment to myself, "If you keep eating like that, you'll have to have weight loss surgery.". I've since come to realize that DIETS DON'T WORK and gastric banding has been like a miracle in my life.

#4 - BMI charts suck. I am still obese for another couple pounds. I don't think I look obese. Other than the loose skin which I don't think is visible unless I'm naked, I think I look pretty good. Maybe I'm delusional. Here's a picture of me this morning. What do you guys think?

#5 - All foods in moderation. Every time I read posts, I see people talking about how they want to have this or that and are longing for it. If I want something, I have it. It is that simple. I know that for me deprivation leads to binges. So I don't deprive myself. Does that mean I eat everything I want all the time? No. No one can do that. I try to restrict desserts to the weekends and special occasions, more because I am not crazy about how I react to the sugar than to promote weight loss. My lap-band keeps my portion sizes relatively small. For me, that's all there is to it. I eat whatever I want. Lately, for example, I have been eating a lot of deep fried zucchini with ranch dip. Really! I also drink my coffee with REAL cream and sugar. I eat regular butter and cheese. I avoid low fat and sugar free like the plague.

#6 - High carb diets make weight loss difficult I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 18 years. As I've gotten older and fatter, my rate of weight loss when I dieted slowed to a trickle. My last diet lasted six months, during which time I lost 25 lbs. (11.3 kg.). I quit because I was losing too slowly and I became frustrated by not seeing any significant results from my hard work. I'm still a vegetarian, but since surgery I have tried to get 50 grams of protein a day and it has made a HUGE difference! I realize 50 grams isn't a lot by many of your standards, but without meat it is sometimes a stretch to hit that mark.

So that is me today in Onderland! I am so grateful to all of you who've been along for the ride. Your support and wisdom is a big part of my success.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I've been OUTED!

Every Sunday at church I have several people, mostly old ladies I don't really know, come up to me and tell me how great I look, how they can tell I've lost weight, blah blah blah. So yesterday a lady came up to me and told me I looked great and then asked if I had to do anything special or if the Band did all the work for me! WTF!?!?!? I was completely taken aback because I know I never told her about the surgery. In fact I've only told four people from church about my lap-band. So apparently the cat's out of the bag!

I can't even say how bothered I am by this. First of all, several church ladies have asked me what I'm doing and I've said I was eating less and exercising more - BOTH TRUE! But now I feel like they're going to hear about the surgery from someone and feel like I wasn't honest with them.

Second of all, who betrayed my confidence? I told my pastor who has since relocated to Ashland. I told my BFF who has been so crazy-busy this summer she's hardly been at church. And I know that she would NEVER tell anyone. I told a woman who I thought had previously had lap-band surgery, but when we spoke about it, it turns out she'd had gastric bypass. She is a friend and I told her I wasn't telling people, but I guess I wouldn't be shocked if she was the "leak". I told one other woman, another friend, who is significantly overweight. It could be her too. Both of these ladies were members of a Women's Bible Study group with me and we had a strict NO GOSSIP policy in the group. Everything that was shared was supposed to be confidential. I realize I didn't share the news in the setting of a group meeting, but I guess I still expected the privacy.

So there it is. People know. I guess it doesn't really matter, but it still bothers me.

On another topic, here's a pic of my new outfit:

The jeans are size 16 and the shirt is a large. I think it looks pretty good.

I had a nice long weekend, although I was pretty busy. Saturday we cleaned house. Sunday was my goof-off day: church, go to my mom's, take my daughters to the movies. Yesterday we went for a hike in the morning, then I came home and canned tomatoes and then I tackled all the week's laundry. At 5:00 my daughter had soccer practice and I hung around and read a book.

And then I had dinner. We had tofu and rice and I got stuck BAD! Really BAD! I was in so much pain! I PB'd a few times. It was so bad I even intentionally drank some water to induce vomiting. I don't have issues like this very often, but last night was a doozy!

A couple of hours later I had a snack. I had crackers with peanut butter and cheese. I had previously planned to have some chocolate so I had that too. I am not sure why I was eating. Usually after a bad PB and stuck episode, I'll stick to liquids and mushies. I kind of think I was rebelling a bit. It was weird. Even with the extra snacking, I only had 1,177 calories for the day. And of course some of those calories came back up (so sorry!). And I hiked up a big ole mountain. So overall, the extra food was no problem, but I don't like eating like that. It makes me feel out of control. I have had years where I felt like that and I don't want to go back there. So I try to notice whatever is going on when it happens now so I can be aware. And like I said, I think it was because I was pissed off about PB-ing and being stuck and feeling a little sorry for myself because those kind of things happen now. Not all the time, but sometimes. And maybe I was also still upset about people "knowing" at church.

I hope you all had a great weekend! I'm going to try to read some blogs today. I miss you guys!

CROP Hunger Walk

Greetings Blogland friends! I hope you had a wonderful long weekend. I'll post about my weekend later, but I wanted to take a second and ask for some help. On October 3rd, I will be participating in a three mile CROP Hunger Walk in Eugene, Oregon. It is my hope that you will be moved to make a donation. If each of you pledged $5, I'd raise $825!

CROP Hunger Walks are put on by neighbors from different faiths, cultures and ages walking together to take a stand against hunger in our world. Since hungry people in developing countries typically walk as much as six miles a day to get food, water, fuel and to take their goods to market, we walk to be in solidarity with their struggle. 25% of the pledges to this CROP Walk will benefit local, Eugene area food banks and programs and the rest will help people around the world.

Please email me at for more information about making a pledge. You can also donate through the link above. Thank you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Headin' South!

Last night my oldest daughter asked me, "Are you wearing a bra? Because your boobies are all saggy like you don't have a bra on."


And for the record, no, I wasn't wearing a bra. I had taken it off to get ready for bed. My ta-tas look pretty good with a nice lacy black push-up there to support them, but without it, well let's just say there's a lot of sagging going on down south.


In non-saggy ta ta related news, I'm down to 201.8 lbs. (91.5 kg.). I had hoped to see Onderland by the end of August, but since I was 204.2 (92.6 kg.) last week, I knew that wasn't going to happen this time. I won't be weighing again until 9/15 so don't be expecting any big Onderland news from Amandalandia any time soon.


But really I'm very happy with where I'm at right now. I recognize that the weight loss slows. After all, if it didn't slow down, I'd weigh 0 lbs. (0 kg.) by the end of 2012.

In other Amanda-news unrelated to weight loss, my dad is getting married again. Wife #4. They've been together a couple of months. I don't even know what to say about that.