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Friday, October 29, 2010


I have been reading about sugar on several of your blogs this week.  Tis the season, I guess.  I find this an interesting topic as it is something that has been a struggle for me too.  I have also developed some completely un-scientific theories about sugar that I thought you might find interesting. 

Before I was banded, I would sometimes eat dinner and decide to have dessert (sort of like I do now).  I would eat some luscious yummy thing and about 15 or 20 minutes later I would start having cravings for something else.  Often I would want popcorn or crackers and peanut butter.  At the time, I would wonder why the initial dessert didn't satisfy me?  It struck me as kind of bizarre that I would crave something, chose to indulge and then want more and more.  I'm not much of a grazer, but sometimes I would start in on eating candy (like many of you, we always have candy in my office) and I would eat and eat.  Even though I don't really like that kind of candy.

After going through the trouble and expense of having lap-band surgery, I decided to really take a hard look at my relationship with food and this was one of the issues that came up.  Like many of you, I wondered if the answer was to give up sweets altogether, but I didn't want to do that.  In the past that kind of deprivation has always led to a binge for me.  And I just don't want to live like that.  I've always believed that I should be able to eat all things in moderation and that includes sweets.  But why wasn't I satisfied by them?

So this is where the completely un-scientific (or maybe pseudo-scientific is a better word) theory comes in.  What I think happens when I eat sugar is that it causes my blood sugar to spike or the endorphins to kick in or whatever it is that makes us feel good when we eat sugar, but then 15 or 20 minutes later, things start to plummet and so the cravings begin.  Since I know this I can anticipate it now when I choose to eat sugar so when the cravings come, I just think, "Oh, there's the cravings, right on time.".  And I don't have to give into them.  They really only last a few minutes and then I get distracted by something else and move on.  It is so freeing to recognize this!

I usually have sweets twice a week on weekends.  I limit desserts during the week unless it is a special occasion.  I don't want to be in the habit of eating them more frequently than that.

Which brings me to the Halloween candy that some of you have been talking about this week.  If I want to have some, I will this weekend.  I will have a serving which is 2-4 mini-size bars, depending on the type.  But chances are, I won't have any because I have become really particular about candy and I just don't like those kinds very much.  I mean, they are okay.  But if I am going to have 250 extra calories in a day,  I want to have something really, really delicious.  Not just something okay. 

Which brings me to my next suggestion.  If you are coveting sweets right now, I think you should plan to have some.  But don't just have something okay.  Go to See's Candies or another candy store and buy an ounce of really, really delicious chocolate.  Look forward to your delicious treat!  When your kids come home with the little mini-bars, think about the special dessert you have.  When it is time to eat it, savor it!  Turn off the TV and eat it slowly.  Think about how it tastes as you have it.  Enjoy it!  Be satisfied by it and do not feel guilty.

If you want something else 15 or 20 minutes after you've eaten it, recognize that too and acknowledge that that is a physiological response that will pass.

Happy Halloween!   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vegetarian Bandster

I have mentioned that I am a vegetarian a few times, but it has occurred to me that it might make a good post topic so here I go.  I want to start by saying that I do not judge anyone who chooses to eat meat.  I think it is a very personal decision that everyone makes and I cannot say what is right for another person. 

I also know that a few of you have mentioned that you or your husbands have been hunting lately and I want you to know that I actually think hunting is the next-best-thing to being a vegetarian!  What do I mean by that?  Well, most people buy their meat in a grocery store and are really, really distanced from how their food goes from being a living creature to a yummy meal.  Not so with hunters!  You guys see your meat up close and personal.  Not only do you pull the trigger (or pluck the bow or whatever), but you also haul the carcass and often dress it too.

I grew up a meat eater.  My grandparents had a farm and all the kids helped with butchering.  I have plucked chicken feathers from  dead chickens (don't squeeze it or it will poop on you!) and cut beef from the bone to be turned into hamburger.  I also watched my beloved Boppie step on the chickens' heads ("Mama?  Why does Boppie step on the chicken's faces?") to butcher them and walked by the dog house to notice a hog's head in his dog dish.  I remember droplets of blood dripped on the patio as the women carried the dead, headless chickens from the barn yard to do the plucking.  While these things made an impression on me, they aren't the reasons I became a vegetarian.

When I was 18 I went to work for the local animal shelter.  I was looking for a clerical job and this was one of several that I applied for.  Right after I started working, I was called for an interview by Tyson Chicken.  Imagine how different things might have been if I'd taken the job there!  But I digress.  I took the animal shelter job and entered a world I didn't know existed.  A world where animals are abandoned, lost, abused and discarded.  It affected me profoundly.  There are shelters in nearly every city and county across this country and around the world.  Thousands, millions of companion animals pass through them each year.  The people working there do their best to care for the animals, unite them with their families, find new homes for them and give them a "kind" death when nothing else is possible.  It is heartbreaking.

Of course there are animal shelters that do not euthanize animals.  These are good organizations and people are a lot more comfortable supporting them, but what these places really do is further shift the burden onto traditional shelters.  These so called "no-kill" shelters are very particular about the animals they accept.  They take the small dogs, the puppies, the purebreds and they turn away the rest.  I visited one such shelter in New York state that had a screening staff that took phone calls for people wishing to surrender their pets.  On that day, they were turning away black and white cats.  They had too many already, you see, and just as you can't have a showroom full of yellow cars, you cannot have a cattery full of black and white cats.

The real problem is that pets are considered disposable in our society.  People are busy.  They get pets without thinking about what they'll do when they have to move and without committing to the training and exercise needs of their dogs and cats.  They select breeds that are not well-suited for their family.  They have unrealistic expectations about owning and caring for a pet.  And too often they fail to have their pets spayed or neutered.  Animal shelters quietly and without fuss "dispose" of the unwanted, excess so the rest of us don't have to deal with them.  And people blindly continue insisting that they can breed their pet if they want because they don't know and they don't understand.

My staff - Betty, Wilma & Lucy.  They produce eggs in exchange for chicken feed.
I am not nearly as passionate as I was at age 18, but back then as I learned about this problem and became a part of the system that enables the rest of society to ignore it, I became more and more angry and disenfranchised.  I became distrustful of people and again and again felt let down by those around me.  After about a year, I came to realize that I could no longer justify continuing to eat meat, knowing as I did that the situation was so much worse for the animals that are raised for food production.  For many years I also did not eat dairy products or eggs.   

Most people become vegetarian for reasons of either health or ethics.  For me, it was an ethical decision.  Any health benefits were secondary.  I also learned about environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet.  But as I said before, I don't expect others to think as I do.  I understand that most people will never become vegetarian.  I believe there is room for compromise.  For example, what would happen if everyone, vegetarian and non-vegetarian combined, refused to buy eggs from factory farms that house their chickens in cages so small that the chickens cannot stand up or turn around and are stacked on top of each other with feces dripping through onto the chickens below?

The righteous indignation of my youth has passed and I am a much more even-tempered person these days.  I've learned to live in this imperfect world and I try to make a little difference each day.  I don't really know if I have ever managed that, but I hope I have!    

(I am editing this post to add this last bit)

It isn't difficult at all to get enough protein on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.  I shoot for 50 grams a day and I am typically able to do it without protein supplements.  Some typical protein rich foods that I eat are:

Greek yogurt (14 grams)
Beans (vegetarian refried 15 grams)
Eggs (8 grams)
String cheese (8 grams)
Cottage cheese (14 grams)
Cheddar cheese (14 grams)
Chili (15 grams)
Tofu (5 grams/ounce)
Meat replacement items (Chix patties, veggie sausage, etc. 8-10 grams)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hiya 188!

I was all set to do a down 90 lbs. (40.8 kg.) post today, but I'm not complaining.  I am now down 92 lbs. (41.7 kg.) with a loss of 2.4 lbs. (1.1 kg.) since last week.  My goal is 8 lbs. (3.6 kg.) away!  HOLY CRAP!!!!  As of this morning, I weigh 188 lbs. (85.3 kg.).

I know there are quite a few newbies following my blog so I thought I would roll out one of those What I'm Doing posts.  I haven't done one in a while.  I want to start by saying that GASTRIC BANDING WORKS!  I struggled with my weight and sluggish metabolism for a long time.  I feared nothing would ever work for me and that I would be fat forever.  My starting BMI was 42.6.  It is now 28.6 and I am no longer obese.  

So here it is, in no particular order:

#1 - Eat all foods in moderation:  Nothing is off-limits.  I eat and enjoy all foods without guilt in moderation.  If I want something, I have it.  You will not see me posting about how I was "bad" and ate this or that.  I do not think there are such things as "good" or "bad" foods.  Some foods are healthier than others.  

#2 - Exercise every day:  Even at 280 lbs., I incorporated regular physical activity into my routine.  I have done many things over the years, but what I do right now is walk each morning for 30 minutes.  I also ride my bike to work on Tuesday and Thursday (about 3.5 miles each way) and I often ride my bike to church on Sundays (1 mile each way).   A few nights a week, I lift free weights while watching TV. 

I know a lot of people equate exercisee with going to a gym to work out.  I have done that in the past, but right now I cannot afford a gym and I don't have the time to go even if I could.  I want people to know that you don't have to spend a lot of time and money on a gym workout if they don't want to.  It is possible to lose weight without it.

#3 - Eat at least 50 grams of protein:  I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since I was 19 years old and so I have to make an effort to get my protein in.  In this process, I have found that I lose weight more consistently when I eat protein. 

#4 - DON'T count calories:  I should say that the first few months post-op I did write down everything I ate and the calorie counts.  I did it sporadically through June and then it just sort of petered out.  I will sometimes count everything up in my head, but I don't usually do that anymore either.  I did it initially because it was a safety net for me, I guess.  I didn't know how the whole band-thing would work and I wanted to be successful.  But after months of steady weight-loss I came to realize that I didn't want to do it anymore.  I want to live my life and NOT be on a diet.  I've always believed that the healthiest diet was one it which all things were permitted in moderation (see #1) and my gastric band lets me eat that way without dieting.

#5 - Blog: I had my surgery in Mexico so I don't have a local surgeon for follow up care.  I do have a great fill doctor here in Eugene, but I've been at my sweet spot since June so I don't see her much.  What I do have is all of you guys to support me and be accountable to.  You are amazing and I am so glad I started this blog!

#6 - Eat when I'm hungry.  Stop when I'm full:  I generally eat only when I'm hungry and I stop when my band tells me to.  I typically have three meals a day.  I seldom have snacks.  When you have good restriction, there is a lot less hunger.  But if I am hungry, I will eat regardless of whether it is a meal time or not.  And sometimes I chose to have popcorn after dinner or a dessert in the evening, but it is a pretty infrequent thing.

So that's it!  I have said many times that there isn't anything special that I am doing that I will stop when I hit my goal.  The gastric band has been the very best choice for me and I am so happy I did it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soggy Monday

It is raining in Oregon.  Shocking, I know.  But even for Oregon, this rain is spectacular.  It is pouring, giant droplet of rain.  The sky is gray.  The leaves are falling.  La niƱa is planning to bring us months and months of cold, wet weather.  Ugh!

Halloween is coming and my girls and I spent Saturday at Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul, trying to come up with costume ideas.  We don't usually shop there, but tough economic times call for creative measures.  It was actually kind of fun.

I am trying to must up some enthusiasm for the upcoming holidays.  I've posted before about my precarious finances and I can't report any improvement.  My fella has been out of work since last December.  I am hoping he can at least get some sort of temporary holiday job.  If he doesn't, things are going to be kind of dismal.

I am trying to adjust my mindset.  I want to look forward to the holidays for the family, the music, the decorations - all things that are free.  But I can't help feeling like there isn't much to look forward to.

I feel bad for my kids.  Why does it have to be like this?  We have friends that are pretty well-off.  They spend thousands on sports and fun activities.  I am jealous.  And I'm ashamed of my jealousy. 

I know this sounds depressing, but overall I am okay.   Weight-loss and food are good.  I did some fun stuff over the weekend and last week.  I have good friends and a great family.  Things will get better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oregon Ducks Win!!!! (oh yeah and some band stuff too)

I went to my first ever University of Oregon football game last night.  One of my good friends invited me to go and we had a great time!  Although I love watching Ducks football on TV, I just don't have extra money for tickets.  Even when I was a student and could get free tickets, I never attended games because they're usually on Saturdays and I always worked Saturdays.  So it was super fun to have the opportunity!

I have to say that I am so much more comfortable doing things like this since losing the extra weight. At 280 lbs., I always felt uncomfortable in crowds and I always worried about seating issues.  I felt like people were judging me for my size.  I felt unattractive. 

But no more!  I now feel healthy and fit.  I am no bigger or smaller than the average person.  No one looks at me and thinks I'm enormous.  No one sees me sitting in the seat next to them and groans knowing that I'll be taking more than my share of space. 

I am also really pleased by how much more active I've become.  I've always exercised regularily, but now I am more active than I've ever been.  Yesterday, for example, I rode my bike to work.  I've been riding on Tuesdays and Thursdays for several months now.  Since I had game tickets, I rode my bike the three miles to my office in the UO campus area and then I walked through the park and over the footbridge crossing the Willamette River to Autzen Stadium.  It was probably a 15 minute walk and 25 minute bike ride.  It was great to avoid all the traffic hassles.  I have found that it is easy and rewarding to incorporate activity into my normal routine rather than trying to find the time and money to go to a gym.  Here's a picture I took as I came out of the park and approached the stadium:

Here's a pic of the field from our seats:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I've almost lost 90 lbs. (40.8 kg.)!  I'm just 4/10th  of a pound (.2 kg.) from being 90 lbs. down.  In just over eight months!  When I started this whole gastric-banding process, I honestly never imagined myself getting to this point.  I didn't want to get my hopes up.  I was so afraid this was going to be another crazy thing I tried that failed.

I lost 3.2 lbs. (1.5 kg.) this week and now weigh 190.4 lbs. (86.4 kg.).  My goal has always been to lose 100 lbs. (45.4) which means I am just 10.4 lbs. (4.7 kg.) from goal!  I am fully planning to revise my goal once I hit it because I'd also like to lose another 17 lbs. (7.7 kg.) from there to get to a normal BMI, but STILL!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support through this process.  Blogging has been a HUGE part of my success.  You have supported me when I was down and helped me work through various problems and challenges along the way.  I try to follow as many of you as I can and some weeks I do better than others at reading and commenting.  Please leave your blog info in my comments if I am NOT following you.

I have read a few blogs lately talking about the upcoming holidays and what people are planning to do to make sure they don't get off track.  I have never really had to make any major plans through this process to avoid overeating.  My gastric band keeps my portion sizes small.  I try to make good food choices, but I also eat all foods in moderation.  I don't engage in behaviors that sabotage my efforts.  For example, I seldom drink high-calorie, low-nutrition coffee drinks.  I rarely drink alcohol.  I don't "graze".  I usually eat three times a day with nothing in between.  But if I'm hungry, I'll have a high-protein snack like a cheese stick.  I have been to several family dinners and not had any problems.  I either have a few "munchies" portioned on my plate before the meal or nothing until meal time, depending on how I feel.  I eat dessert.  I never deprive myself. 

But I also don't want to go into this time with my head burried in the sand.  So please tell me what your holiday plans are.  How do you handle the pitfalls of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the December holidays?

Can you tell I haven't posted since Friday?  I am jumping from topic to topic here because I have sooo much to say.

I have talked before about my financial stresses since my fella has been out of work since December and since I got fired for blogging at work (ha ha kidding...not fired yet anyways).  I took a loan to pay for my surgery (which my mom was supposed to pay when she got an inheritance that still hasn't come through so I've been paying) and I also have a small loan on my fella's laptop.  I have figured out a way to pay them both off by the end of the year.  I'm selling all my extra organs!  Do you need an eyeball (near-sighted) or a kidney?  No, not really.  Basically I am going to dedicate my Christmas bonus, tax refund and every extra penny I make to paying them both off.  So Christmas is going to suck.  And no going to the cabin during my vacation in December to play in the snow and the hot springs.  But the reward will be that in January those stupid loans will be paid off and 2011 should be a better financial year. 

Now of course if my fella manages to find a job, things will be much, much better and Christmas won't suck and we can still go to the cabin.  Figures crossed!

Lastly, I am feeling 1,000 times better.  All of the annoying band issues I was happening are resolved.  My acid reflux is about 90% resolved after 7 days on medication.  I'm not puking or PBing or having any other issues anymore.  I feel good.

Oh ya...I'm also going to the University of Oregon v. UCLA game tomorrow at Autzen Stadium.  So excited!  GO DUCKS!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

There is HOPE!

I read a lot of blogs.  They are pretty much all about weight loss.  Most of them are written by people who, like me, have had WLS are or in the process of getting there.  I read one yesterday that broke my heart.
I don't think I'm going to link to the blog here because I don't want to connect this person to the things I'm about to say.  I want to start by saying that I once believed as she does.  I once felt responsible and ashamed of my obesity.  But I don't feel that way any longer.

The blog author had had a horrific experience related to her obesity.  I don't want to be too specific, but the gist was how could she let herself get into that situation.  And her public flogging was intended to shock her into finally doing something about it.

How often have we heard thin people, after looking at an obese person, wonder, "How does someone let themselves get that way?".  How often have we, the obese and overweight, looked at someone even more obese and more overweight and thought the same thing?  Don't we feel secretly superior when we see someone who is significantly overweight?  How often have we thought, "Well, I may be fat, but I'd never let myself get THAT fat!". 

THIS HAS TO STOP NOW!  The public floggings, the feelings of superiority, the disdain, the shame, all of it ends here.  (Oh, if only it were that simple!)

I'm not talking about discrimination of fat people right now so much as I am talking about the inner belief that we are somehow "less than" because we are (or were) obese.  Fat people aren't stupid, they aren't lazy, they do care about their health, their children, their futures.  But we internalize these beliefs and we hurt ourselves in the process.  We do things like post about our humiliation and beg the world to learn from our example of how NOT to be.  We are cautionary tales.

I've talked many times about my anger and frustration at this system that tells us that all we need to do is go on a diet and exercise and we will be thin.  I probably sound like a broken record.  If you are tired of hearing it, feel free to scan to the bottom of this post, admire how foxy I'm looking and move on.  'Cause I gotta say it again!

Diets don't work.  Unless what you are trying to do is gain weight.  Then they work GREAT!  We have all dieted and lost weight and stopped dieting and gained it back.  And then some.  This phenomena is so profound that I believe it is irresponsible of a doctor to suggest a diet.  But I recognize that they don't really know what to do either.

Of course everyone assumes that diets don't work because it is the dieter that doesn't work them.  We are the problem, right?  If we just followed the diet for the rest of our life, everything would be fine.  

But naturally thin people don't eat like that.  They don't usually diet.  We've all sat down for a lovely dinner with our thin friends and watched them pig out on everything in sight while we pick away at our salad.  Why can thin people eat cookies and salad dressing and bread and cheese and we can't?  Naturally thin people eat the way that feels, well, natural to them.  In general they eat all foods in moderation and they don't eat when they aren't hungry. 

I like to watch my youngest daughter eat.  She loves sweets and junk food, but when she's had enough, she stops eating.  Even if it is cake.  Even if it ice cream.  Even if it is candy.  She eats a few bites of each of the foods in her meals.  A little protein, a little starch, a little vegetables, some milk.  And then she's full and she stops eating.  I never ate like that until I was banded and even now I sometimes want to keep eating even after my band tells me to stop.  But I know if I keep going, the band will give me consequences.  So I stop.

I needed the gastric band to give me what naturally thin people automatically have.  I'm not sure why I wasn't able to learn these skills without surgery.  Maybe it is because no one tried to teach me.  They were too busy telling me to go on a diet.  And I didn't figure it out until I had the band and could SEE what I had previously been missing.  I was missing that inner voice that told me to stop eating because I was full.  I also lacked the ability to be mindful as I ate, to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and to take small bites.  The gastric band has given me all of these skills. 

To prove that this is hope, I am posting my "before" picture and a "now" picture.  The first shows me at 280 lbs. (127 kg.).  It was taken less than a year ago, in December.  The second picture is me now at 193.6 lbs. (87.8 kg.).  I am 13.4 lbs. (6.1 kg.) from goal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Worst Band Week EVER!!!

This has been a tough week.  I mean a really tough week!  I posted about my Monday already, but to recap I basically puked up my dinner and then proceeded to cram as much food into my mouth over the next hour as I could.  Tuesday I ate well, but I was white-knuckling it after dinner because I wanted to overeat so badly!  Through it all I have had acid reflux almost constantly.  Last night I threw up my dinner again.  Later I had a bowl of ice cream.  I NEVER have sweets during the week and I very seldom eat again after dinner.  I was really disappointed in myself. 
I started on a acid reducer yesterday, but haven't had any relief yet.  Last night I woke up choking on a mouthful of stomach acid.  I must have burped or coghed some up.  I went in the bathroom and spit into the toilet for awhile.  I brushed my teeth, drank some water and tried to go back to bed.  I could still taste the nasty, acidic saliva in my throat so I got up again.  I stood over the toilet and started puking bile.  Finally I was able to get back to sleep after reading a bit.  I actually feel pretty good this morning after taking the daily dose of the acid reducer so I'm sure it is working and will bring relief within the next few days, but OMG!  That was so nasty.  And I'm sure you're grossed out by having read about it.  Sorry.

Some of you have suggested that I contact my doctor and I will do that if the acid reducer doesn't work.  I haven't had a fill since May and I'm not too tight.  I do think this acid issue is the reason I've had nausea and sliming or PBing unrelated to being stuck or drinking too quickly after eating.  I wrote about my running off to the bathroom at Walmart last week after drinking when I hadn't eaten for hours and I wasn't stuck.  At the time I thought it was bizarre, but now I think it is the acid reflux wrecking havoc with my stomach.  I've had heartburn for about a month after 7 months with ZERO heartburn post-banding.  It has progressively gotten worse. 

If you haven't been banded, I should say that I don't believe the reflux issue is a major complication for most people.  I know of a few other Bandsters that have struggled with it.  It seems to me that they are all people who've lost the majority or all of their extra weight.  I'm not sure if the acid started right away or if it is something that came along later, like it has with me. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weigh Day

I weighed in at 193.6 (87.8 kg.) today which is a loss of 1.6 lbs. (.7 kg.) since my last weigh in.  Altogether I am down 86.4 lbs. (39.2 kg.).  Yesterday was my eight month bandiversary. 

I've only lost 20 lbs. (9 kg.) since July.  The losses are much slower now, but still steady.  I am losing about 6 lbs. (2.7 kg.) a month.  I should hit my goal of 100 lbs. (45.4 kg.) down by the end of the year.  I will be 10.5 months post-op then.

I'm perfectly happy with my rate of loss.  I think I look fine now and if I never lost another pound, I'd be okay with it.  I do look forward to achieving my goal and eventually I want to lose another 17 lbs. (7.7 kg.) from there to bring me to a normal BMI, but I'm not going to kill myself to get there. 

As I've said before, I am not doing anything special to lose weight.  I am eating the way my band tells me to eat.  I try to eat when I'm hungry and the band tells me when to stop.  I try to eat healthy food most of the time, but I also eat junk food.  I subscribe to an all things in moderation philosophy.

I picked up some omeprazole magnesium acid reducer this morning after reading Band Groupie's blog from yesterday. I can't describe how the acid feels. I just feel a little yucky all the time. A few times a day, I burp and a bit of acid comes up into my mouth. I also can't sleep on my left side because I gurgle too much on that side.  Tums help for a couple hours.  It isn't bad heartburn like I sometimes had before my hiatal hernia repair, but it is annoying.

I wanted to share a picture I took recently.  It is the road on the way to my office by the University of Oregon.  I love love love it when we have beautiful, sunny days and the leaves are changing.  Pretty soon it will start raining and it won't stop for months.  So these last few beautiful days are precious!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please read this!

You've got to read this.  It is a letter from a mother to her college-age daughter about the suicide of the young gay man who was "outed" by so-called friends who shot a video of him with another man.
I had a weird night yesterday.  I had tofu and rice for dinner and was promptly stuck.  I PBed and I guess I was sort of feeling sorry for myself because I decided to eat more.  Oddly I kept that down fine, but I was eating in that old out-of-control manner where I just wanted to eat as much as I could before I stopped myself.  I've only had a few such incidents since I was banded.  Calorie-wise I probably was fine.  A little more than normal, but nothing crazy.  Still, it is a reminder that I need to be wary of my eating behaviors.  I can't assume that I have my problem with food solved for good.  It wouldn't be hard to go back to the former binge-overeating behaviors that used to be my norm. 

The feeling sorry for myself element was strange too.  I've felt it before when I PBed or was stuck.  The feeling is something like, "Why does my eating have to be restricted?  Why can't I just eat what I want like a normal person?".  The funny thing is that I really like eating the way I do and I usually feel like a "normal" eater, whatever that is.  But when I'm two or three bites into something I really want and feel that, "Oh, $hit! This isn't going down right." feeling, there's definitely some sadness.   

Most of the time I feel like I'm not doing anything special to lose weight.  I try to eat only when I'm hungry.  The band tells me when to stop.  I try to eat healthy food since I eat so much less than I used to, I want to get the greatest nutritional value possible.  But I still eat so-called "junk" food sometimes.  The biggest difference is that I refuse to feel bad about it.  If I chose chips or sweets, I also chose to enjoy them. 

But I am doing something special - I'm choosing not to eat with that old frenzied sense of trying to stuff as much down my throat as I can before my brain starts screaming at me to knock it off. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

What shall I write about today?

I had a very busy weekend.  Every year the ladies from my church pack up and go on retreat.  We have gone to Suttle Lake in Sisters, Oregon for the last three years.  Before that we went to the Oregon coast.  Before that, a different retreat center near Eugene.  This is my ninth year attending.

It is great to get away from our families and obligations and have a little grown up time.  The place we go to is a camp and retreat center with a full-time staff to do the cooking.  The food is AMAZING!  My daughters went to this place for sleep-over camp this summer and are still talking about the food.  The cooks use lots of healthy, organic ingredients, but there were also yummy desserts.

Always before several of my good friends have gone on retreat too, but this year I was the only one.  It was kind of lonely to spend the time with a bunch of ladies I don't know very well.  I enjoy visiting with many of them, but I don't have much in common with some of them.  There were different times when we were divided into groups for meals or Bible study and a couple of times I ended up with a bunch of people I really didn't want to be with.  One is a huge complainer about her litany of medical problems.  One is a bitchy old lady who says mean things (She told our new pastor who lead the retreat that she was dumber than our old pastor!).  One lady kept talking about how she's disowned her children and about how her husband's children can hardly stand her (Hmmm....I wonder who's the problem there?).  And then there was the new pastor...I am trying really hard to like her and I do, but I love my old pastor.  She was wonderful and amazing and I really miss her.  The new pastor is...welll, different! 

Change is hard, I guess. 

Yesterday I had to get up really early and pack up my things and drive three hours to Portland for my dad's wedding.  He was married to a woman I've met once before (they've only been together a couple of months).  They belong to a very...enthusiastic church.  I don't want to offend anyone if this is the kind of worship style you enjoy, but it isn't my thing.  The service lasted HOURS.  People were sobbing and laughing and dancing and shouting and prophesying and waiving flags.  My kids were STUNNED.  My dad is a musician and he plays on the worship team.  I understand why he enjoys the environment.  He probably feels like a rock star up there on stage playing guitar and signing while people whoop and holler.  For me it was just uncomfortable.

And then I met my two new step-sisters.  They seemed pretty enthused about the whole thing (that's some sarcasm there). 

The good news was that my older sister brought my daughters to the wedding.  Since I'd been gone since Friday evening, I was really missing them.  They'd sent me a couple of texts during the weekend, but I had to drive about 10 minutes to get cell reception and they didn't answer when I called them.

And my youngest lost her front tooth.  The tooth fairy even came to my mom's house, where she was staying.  I was talking to my mom in front of my daughter and I asked her if she texted the tooth fairy (because that is what I do).  She just looked at me blankly and said, "I guess she just figured it out."  LOL - Mom.   

This is sort of a rambling post about nothing!

In band news, I had to field a hundred questions from people at the retreat about my weight loss.  Few of them know the truth.  Yesterday after the wedding I went to pick up my 16 year old sister at my aunt's house in Vancouver, Washington.  My aunt asked about my weight loss.  I've seen her probably 10 times in the last 7 months and this is the first time she's noticed.  I guess I had to lose 85 lbs. to make a difference.  So I told her about the surgery.

And then I had lunch at Burgerville.  Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that is my favorite restaurant in the whole world.  The closest one to my house is about 50 miles away so I don't get there much.  Burgerville is a fast-food place, but better than any other fast food restaurant.  I love that a little cheese sandwich and part of my fries fills me up these days!

Well, I think that's it!  I hope you had a great weekend too.  I'm going to try to read some blogs now.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Did you see me running to the bathroom in Walmart yesterday?

That was me running off to the bathroom to slime.  I felt a lot better when I was done, thank you very much.  Which brings me to my topic today: my band has been weird lately.

For probably the last two months or so, my band has been behaving strangely.  I haven't had a fill since May and I've felt I was at my sweet spot since.  I can eat whatever foods I want in reasonable quantities.  But for the last couple months, I've gotten stuck several times.  Probably once a week or so I'll PB or slime after a meal.  The weird thing is that I don't feel too tight and I can still eat normally.  But I've had heartburn almost every day.  I had a hiatal hernia repaired when I was banded and I hadn't had heartburn at all for months and now I have annoying slight heartburn every day. 

Yesterday I had soup for lunch.  About an hour and a half later, I had something to drink and was instantly nauseous.  (TMI warning) I had to have my sister pull her car over so I could spit bile on the side of the road.  Then we went to Walmart and I just felt icky.  I wasn't stuck - I hadn't eaten for hours!  I even wondered if I just had the flu or something because it seemed unlikely that it was band-related.  So I rushed to the Walmart bathroom and slimed in the toilet.  Copious quantities of bile came up (I warned you).  I think my stoma was full of spit and I was sick because it wasn't going anywhere!  Despite that, I had no issue eating dinner later.

I don't think an unfill is in order because my restriction is great!  I can eat normally without issue most of the time.  But OMG there's so much gurgling when I'm laying down and I am really tired of the heartburn.  And the random sliming is just weird!  What do you guys think?   

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Falling in love

I've been in love once in my life.  I was 22 and I met E. in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  From the time of our first date, we were inseparable.  In fact he pretty much moved in with me that day in that he stayed the night and never left.  After a few months, we made it official and moved all his things in. We had such an intense connection.  I remember one time when we were making love feeling so connected to him that we were practically the same person. 

E. was a great guy.  If you met him today, you'd love him.  He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and inspiring confidences.  It didn't matter to me that he was 13 years older than me.  We were together for about four years.  We bought a house together.  Much of the time, we were very happy.  My feelings for him never wavered.

I broke up with E.  It was agonizing.  But it was the right thing to do.  I was growing up and he wasn't.  He still believed there was a perfect person out there for him and he never fully committed himself to the relationship.  Or maybe I just wasn't enough for him.  We went to counseling.  I wanted to get married and he wanted our relationship to be "perfect" before he committed to that.  I knew there was no such thing.

I loved E. fully and completely.  I was vulnerable.  It was risky and I lost.  The experience changed me profoundly.  I have never given myself away like that since.  And I've never been in a relationship since where I so deeply loved my partner.

Which isn't to imply that I do not love my kids' dad.  I do love him, but I was never "crazy" about him.  I have always felt that he loved me more than I loved him.  I've always felt that if I had to walk away from the relationship, I could, unscathed. 

I can see now that I built a wall around myself.  I married a man who was deeply in love with me because it felt safer than the alternative.  Perhaps I've tolerated things in the relationship because I feel guilty that I don't feel that way for him.  I've given him things because I can't really give him my heart.

Deep inside, I long.  I want to be in love.  I want to be crazy about someone.  I know E. wasn't the right guy.  Even now, 11+ years after our relationship ended, he is still single, going from relationship to relationship trying to find the "perfect one".  He has no kids.  He turned 50 last weekend.  I still love him, but I don't hold any illusions about who he is and what he is capable of.

But I still wish things had been different.  And I hope for something more in my future.  That is my secret.   

Monday, October 4, 2010

Banging my head against a wall

Good Monday morning!  I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  I spent a fair portion of my weekend fighting a cold (I think I'm over the worst of it - Thank God) and sitting on the side of a soccer field.  My oldest daughter (age 9) plays soccer.  She is big for her age and is a great defensive player.  Nothing and no one gets by her!  I'm proud of how hard she works at it and it is cool to see her work as a part of a team.

But I digress because soccer is NOT why I am banging my head against a wall.  My frustration stems from watching someone I know struggle with obesity.  A woman I went to college with is quite obese, as is her fiance.  I am facebook friends with both of them and the fiance is constantly posting about how fed up he is with being overweight.  He has also posted that he weighs over 400 lbs.  (181 kg.).  They have two young children and he has been in and out of the hospital this year with various obesity-related issues.  He has been unable to find a job and they are also struggling with poverty.  I have never before said anything to either of them about WLS, but this weekend, for some reason, I posted.  Here is the stream (I am posting in several colors to make it clear when the dialogue changes from person to person):

 (Original status update) If you're overweight and want to fix that, what would help you the most? Support group? Partners? Excercise programs?

Peter : Support group.

Caelyn: getting off the computer, exercise, eatting healthy, sand quitting smoking

Amanda Wooldridge (ME!): I truly believe surgery is the only option for the severely obese. The vast majority of diets fail - somewhere in the neighborhood of 97% fail,, leaving only 3% who manage to lose weight and keep it off more than one year.

Anna: it did not take overnight to get ourselves obese. surgery is a tool. and you need to be mind set. do what works best for you. it will take time. small steps for best progress. im here if you need to talk i know how hard and frusterating it is.

Brandy: I have had several doctors tell me weight watchers is the very best thing and either of those. they are both spendy but worth it. I need to do something..... ugggggg and absolutely exercise.....that one is a must .

Anna: i was given a bunch of weight watcher stuff ie the point program. started today not hungry. want me copy it and send to you

Brandy: it really does work!! I tried it for a while but then got too busy to go to the meetings and stuff.

Dawn: just deciding to take one more step than I took the day before & portion control (why does food have to taste so good?).

Heather: NO on the surgery! A support group, exercise, lowering your calories. I am working with a client right now that is very heavy, and he has had no luck til now. We have lowered his calorie intake by 800 calories, he is doing 45 minutes of wal...king four times a week, and doing 30 minutes of weights twice a week. He has lost almost 30lbs. Now we are will lower the calories he eats another 200 for a total of 1000 calories less then he was eating. Surgery is not a permanent fix. You need to fix what is broken. You need to find out how come you have gotten to where you have, you need to work on that. Usually it is emotional and not an easy fix. Then you make the mental choice to change your eating habbits, how much you eat, what you eat, and make it a goal to get in exercise at least to start 30 minutes four to five days a week. Any kind of muscle building on top of that, pushups against the wall, lifting of gallons of water, whatever you have around the house. Then go from there.See More

Heather: If you need help Call me when you feel weak, want to give in, or need a push, I am here to help. (End of stream)

I'm just shaking my head here.  I don't know how any responsible person could tell someone who is so significantly obese with numerous co-morbidities NOT to have WLS.  This guy probably won't make it to 50.  He has two kids under the age of 4 who will not have a father if he doesn't get a handle on this problem.  There are several things that really strike me about this facebook conversation.  One is that a few people suggest Weight Watchers, a program I have done numerous times (I'm actually a lifetime member).  I think WW is a good program and it offers great tools for losing weight, but it isn't the answer for most people.  Even the people who were recommending it in that facebook stream were saying they were too busy to do it or that they too were overweight and not doing anything about it.  Another person was recommending Alli and saying their doctor recommended it, but I'm pretty sure that drug is on the way out (if it hasn't already been recalled) due to numerous problems.

UGH!  I wish I hadn't said ANYTHING.  Now I'm just pissed off!  So here is what I posted in response to the last comments:

I have a lot of strong opinions on this subject as someone who used to be obese and no longer is. I've also done WW and many other diets over the years. I have come to realize that diets are a huge part of the problem. The real issue is that we are eating when we aren't hungry and we aren't stopping when we've had enough. Diets actually magnify this problem because they tell us what to eat and when to eat and when to stop eating, but they don't teach us to re-gain our innate sense of hunger and satiety. Every one of us is born knowing when we are hungry and when we are full, but those of us who are or have been obese lose this sense. We eat because we are stressed or tired or bored or angry or WHATEVER. We start eating and we don't stop when we are full.

Weight loss surgery is a tool, but it is also the ONLY tool that can offer a greater than 50% chance of beating obesity. Every diet can offer only a very slight chance of success. As I said previously 97% of diets fail and if you just read the responses to this status update, you can see several examples of this phenomenon. We assume diets fail because we are failures, but I challenge this assumption. I believe the real problem is as I stated previously.

If you have co morbidities and a BMI greater than 40, weight loss surgery is your best chance of conquering this problem. Statistically it is the ONLY valid option.

Okay, I'm going to put away my soap box now.  Why, oh why, can't people just do what I say?  Wouldn't life be so much better then?