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Friday, June 1, 2012

What's fair is fair

I have two jobs.  I work full-time for a company and I also own my own company with my sister.  My sister is also an employee of the company that I work for.  I love her very much.  She's a good sister and I even like working with her.


I do WAY more of the work than she does.

WAY more.

The Olympic Track & Field Trials will be held in Eugene, Oregon later this month.  One of the things that we've done since 2008 is work with a sorority house on the campus of the University of Oregon to book their rooms for various track and field events, including the Olympic Trials.  This is a client of our own company (not the one for which we are employees).  I have done 80% of the bookings and work for this event.  At least 80%.  Maybe more.  Is it wrong to think that I should get more than half the proceeds from the event?  Actually I don't think I should get paid more than she does.  I just think it isn't fair.

We also have several clients that we work for on a year-round basis.  Last year we had two clients, but we added three new clients around the first of the year.  ALL of the new people, all of them, were people that I have relationships with.  They are all people who signed on because of me.  I'm also the only one who is licensed to do the work we do (property management) so I have to deal with all the government BS for licensing and following the many, many rules they have about how things are done.  I have to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. 

She has been trying to step up in the accounting and other work that we have to do.  I guess I'd just like some appreciation that she is reaping rewards that are not necessarily in line with how much work she does.  I doubt she sees that.

I also do more at the company we work for as employees.  I wish I could say that to our boss sometimes.  I know that he appreciates me and probably that he recognizes that I do more work and am a more reliable employee.  Maybe a nice raise or a bonus would help :)

BTW we are going to Disneyland later this summer.  The trip is mostly being paid for with funds earned from the Olympic Track & Field bookings at the sorority.  I'm excited!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Update, Amanda-style!

Hello Blogland!

Look, I'm posting two days in a row!  In a comment on my last post, someone suggested that I talk about things that are going on in my life like work, kids, etc. to give me something to write about (other than how I have nothing to write about).

This is a picture of my daughter.  She was in a soccer tournament over Memorial Day weekend.  She plays goalie.  I am pretty crazy about this kid!  She is playing for a new team the spring.  I have a lot of pain and hurt feelings about her last team which seems really nuts to me and I've thought about writing about it, but it seemed too complicated and I kept telling myself I should get over it.  Maybe writing about it will help.  Caelyn has played for the same team since first grade.  She's in 5th grade now.  Last summer we received an email that the coach and one of the parents had had a falling out and the assistant coach was wanting to combine the team with another team.  Wanting the best for everyone, I agreed to go along.  I felt badly for the old coach.  He had given so much to the team and to Caelyn and he was essentially being squeezed out.  Caelyn had to "try out" for the new team, which was very stressful, but everyone made the team who came to the tryouts from the two teams that were merging.

As it turns out, the new coach's daughter plays the same position as Caelyn, goalie.  We weren't worried about it because Caelyn is a really good goalie and they both played other positions too.  Generally you switch goalies at half-time anyways so two kids can share the position.  Except the coach never put Caelyn in as goalie.  Okay.  We are team players.  I let the assistant coach know I wasn't too happy about it and I told Caelyn to let the coach know she wanted to play goalie sometimes.

The thing is that the coach's daughter wasn't as good as Caelyn in goal, but she was a little snot.  She told Caelyn that she was an All-Star player and could play several different positions.  She was okay in several positions and was a pretty good goalie, but still.  I heard her yell at another kid in practice for not kicking the ball straight at her.  By the end of the season, Caelyn's confidence was shot.  This coach did not appreciate her and he made her feel badly about herself.  Asshole.

Caelyn usually plays indoor soccer in the winter so we found her a new team to play on for the indoor season.  She was happier and had fun.  Indoor soccer is just for fun - there are no practices, just a game once a week.  The problem was that the team sucked!  I think the lost all the games but one or two.  Luckily they made a better Spring team and they actually had an undefeated season in the Spring!  Caelyn was the starting goalie.  She played in various defensive positions for half of the games.  And the put her on the tournament team for Memorial Day.

The first tournament game ended in a tie which means they have a shoot out to determine the winner.  A shoot out is where they line the kids up and they get five penalty shots directly at the goal with only the goalie to stop them.  Caelyn was the goalie for the shoot out and she even got to take a shot on the opposing team's goalie (which she made).  Needless to say, she won the shoot out by stopping more shots AND by kicking one in on the other team too!  They won two of their games and lost two.  I think they finished 5 of the 7 teams in the tournament, but it was a redemption of sorts! 

I can't believe I care this much about 5th grade soccer...Actually what I really care about is my daughter and her happiness and that assholes don't hurt her.     

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I remember an episode of Seinfeld where one of the characters - Elaine, I think - describes an issue she's having with a neighbor.  At first they were friendly and they'd say hello when they passed in the halls and maybe stop for a chat.  As time passed, they only smiled and nodded.  After more time, the smiles stop, the nods stop until finally they are glaring at each other when they pass.  It is like they hate each other, but there's no reason for the animosity.

That's how it has become for me and this blog.

I used to write almost daily.  I looked forward to writing and checking in with all of you.  Then my posts became less frequent.  I had less to say about weight loss and my Lap-band.  But I'd still stop in and smile and nod from time to time.  But somehow I started actively avoiding my blog and I don't really know why.

True, I lost all my weight and got to goal.  In fact I lost another 15 lbs. after I hit goal.  Also true that I regained some weight over the holidays and have spent the last six months losing a bit and then regaining.  I'm still under goal, but I'm about 10 lbs. from where I was and it is frustrating.  Some of my clothes are tighter than I'd like them to be. 

I have found myself going back to what I used to do: dieting.  And then I realized what I was doing and I quit it and I lost several lbs.  I felt good and was confident that I'd be back at my previous weight.  And then I had about three weeks of not-so-great eating.  And my weight didn't just creep up.  It SHOT up!  Now I'm back where I was in January when I started trying to lose the holiday weight.


I've been eating well for several days.  I know what works.  I need to eat three meals a day with only planned snacks in between.  I can't "go on a diet" or my brain freaks out and I start binging and starving. 

I had a good long time where weight loss was easy.  I also enjoyed several months of easy maintenance.  If I slipped up, it didn't seem to be noted on the scale.  Not the case these days.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

You don't write. You don't call...

I read once that if you don't update your blog for awhile, you shouldn't mention it because most people won't notice anyway and really, what's the point of another blog post that says, "I haven't blogged FOREVER!"?

But DANG!  I haven't blogged FOREVER!

What can I say?  I'm busy.  My job is busier from March until October than the rest of the year. 

Plus I don't have much to say.  Things are going pretty well.  My food and exercise has been great.  I'm still up from my lowest low, but all is well.  It will come off when it wants, I guess.  I'm not eating a super low-cal diet - definitely more of a maintenance diet so I am not surprised by the number on the scale.  I'm not overeating. 

I wonder, however, if you guys have any words of wisdom about being tired?  At my last physical, I think the doctor said something about a low potassium level which I see can cause lethargy.  The level was the low side of normal.  I'm thinking I need more bananas or something.  I spend my days yawning even though I get eight hours of sleep each night.  I always get up once or twice to pee, but I usually go back to sleep.  Sometimes I fall asleep while reading or watching TV and it will be like 9:15.  I get up at 6:30 or so (my alarm is set for 6:50, but I seldom sleep that late).  What do you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gas...and not the $4 a gallon kind

Remember the gas pains that you had post-op?  Does anyone else still get them sometimes?

I don't really know when gas pressure became an issue for me.  Basically I feel like I need to burp and when I do burp, I feel better.  Sometimes when I am laying down in the evening, watching TV or whatever, I'll constantly feel the need to burp.  I'll do so and then the pressure starts building again.  Annoying.  I don't have any issues with the gas coming out the other end.  I even quit drinking soda because it made it worse.  I discovered Gas-X and it took care of the issue whenever is came up - maybe once a week or so.  Until my fill last week, that is.

I had the fill on Wednesday last week and every night I've had pain so bad that it was really miserable.  At first I thought I torqued my back, but the pain doesn't respond to analgesics at all.  Then I noticed that the pain subsided when I burped.  So I took Gas-X and it works for a half hour or so, but then the pain comes back.  Drinking hot tea makes it go away for 45 minutes or so, but it comes back.  Yesterday I was in pain all day.  Today no pain thus far, but in the past several days, it has hit after dinner.

I did some research and discovered that a few people on LBT have had similar experiences, but no one seems to have resolved it.  I'm afraid that my only solution is to get a partial un-fill, but food and drink go down just fine so I don't want to do that.  Plus at my fill appointment, my fill doctor said that if I had problems with this small fill, I should go get imaging done since I could have a slippage.  I think she was being a little ridiculous since I have zero symptoms of that (She said it because I indicted I had decent restriction at .25 ccs in my 4 cc band and because I didn't gain a significant amount of weight during the year I was essentially un-filled.).  So I know if I go back and have some fluid let out, she'll want me to get imaging done (which I can't afford and have no insurance for) and she won't treat me beyond the un-fill until I do.

So I am a little frustrated at the moment.  Does anyone have any words of wisdom?           

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are you a different person?

Have you noticed the blogs where people have become super-studs running 5Ks, commuting by bicycle, doing Zumba and lifting weights like it's their JOB?  What about those who are now eating for health and nutrition instead of eating for entertainment and stress release?  A few bloggers have gotten out of bad relationships with spouses and friends as well.  Which makes me wonder, do we become different people after weight loss surgery?

My messed up relationship with food was a HUGE part of who I was.  In a lot of ways, I felt like two people: There was the healthy Amanda who has been a vegetarian since age 19, who exercised regularly, who cared about health and fitness.  And then there was the other Amanda, who wanted to binge and overeat at every opportunity.  She looked at giving up unhealthy foods and unhealthy behaviors like someone looks at giving up their hair.  She didn't want any part of it.  That Amanda clung to her behaviors.  She wanted to be thin, but she didn't want to change.

I lived in two states.  I was either overeating and/or binging or I was carefully dieting, recording the fat and calorie content of every morsel that went into my mouth, exercising religiously and obsessing about food.  If I screwed up on the diet, all hell would break loose and I'd eat and eat and eat.  There was NO MIDDLE GROUND.  There was NO MODERATION.  It was either one or the other.  I didn't even believe that I could ever be normal with food or have a normal life in that regard.  I do not remember EVER, not one day in my entire life, when I can honestly say that I was not in one extreme or the other.

Weight loss surgery changed everything.  It did things I didn't know it could or would.  I hoped that I would lose weight, but I didn't know that I would discover the freedom and joy of a life of moderation.  My Lap-band made me eat smaller portions.  It made me slow down when I was eating.  I actually did not always do a bad job with food choices pre-op so I just continued eating the foods I always had.  I didn't know my problem was really one of portion control until I could sit down and eat a moderate portion and feel good about it.

As I lost weight, I stopped beating myself up.  I stopped hating myself when it came to food.  I learned to ENJOY the food I ate instead of feeling ashamed when I ate, no matter what I was eating.  I began to enjoy eating for good health and for fitness.  I savored the treats I ate, but I also now understand that moderation doesn't mean eating everything I want, all the time.  I have to regulate the portions and frequency of desserts and snack foods and I have discovered that I can do this.  Sometimes I fail and make bad choices, but generally I do a pretty good job.

I've had a chance in the last few months to really remember what it was like for me before weight loss surgery.  Those who read my blog know I gained a few pounds over the holidays and have struggled to take them off.  I finally acknowledged that I needed the help a fill can give me and saw my fill doc this week.  I don't know why I waited so long, but I don't regret the brief glance of how I don't want to live my life.  I have been dieting and having occasional binges.  I have been living in the two ends of the spectrum that I knew before surgery.  I did it because it was familiar and apparently because I'm not very quick on the uptake.  I didn't realize what I was doing, but now I see things clearly.

So am I a different person?  No, I'm still me with all my fabulous flaws.  The "other" Amanda still lives within me.  She will always be in me, but now she and my true self are learning to play nice and live in harmony.

How about you?  Are YOU a different person?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ah, mushies...

I am sitting here eating my vegetarian re-fried beans with a sprinkle of melted cheese and a dollop of sour cream like a good Bandster who just got a fill.  So yummy!  Definitely my favorite mushy meal!

I think I sort of forgot I had a Lap-band which probably tells you how little restriction that I had.  Sitting here eating my lunch slowly, I am feeling like a Lap-band patient for the first time in a while. 

I am almost embarrassed to confess that I only had .25 ccs in my 4 cc band.  Now I have 1 cc.  I've had as much as 2.7 ccs before, but I had issues with reflux at that level.  I'm a total fill light-weight, but I can honestly say that regardless of how much fill I have in my band, I still feel some restriction and it still helps me at least a little bit in this battle.  So I hoping this level gives me what I need and doesn't give me what I don't need (reflux).

And that's the skinny! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Well, duh!

I have a real hard time spending money on myself.  A really hard time.  Almost all of my clothes are purchased with gift cards I get for my birthday or Christmas.  I only have three pairs of pants.  Until Friday of last week ALL of my shoes had holes in them except a pair of rubber rain boots.

I think of myself as frugal.  I have lived on a tight budget for so long that I know that if there is something that we need, I have to plan and save to make it happen.  And there's always something that we need.  Kids need new coats, new shoes, soccer gear, summer camp, new clothes.  The list goes on and on.  The things that I need almost never make it to the top of the list.  Take the shoe example - I bought new tennis shoes (with a gift card) in September, but they got holes in them in December (stupid crappy shoes).  So I started wearing my old tennis shoes again.  They were in okay shape, but they were starting to get holes in the insoles and a small hole in the top.  My dress shoes also had holes in the insoles and were no longer water proof.  So I just didn't wear them in the rain.  I wore my ugly rain boots and changed my shoes when I got to wherever I was going.  I was chatting with some friends from church about it last week.  After we talked I walked home (I walk to church whenever I can because it is only a mile from my house and don't get me started on gas prices).   I got a blister on the bottom of my foot from where the hole in the insole was rubbing against my skin.  So yes, I could no longer deny that I needed new shoes.

Luckily I found a deal at Costco.  I got a cute pair of Fila tennis shoes for $19.99.

But why was I walking around with holes in my shoes?  Yes, I have to be careful with money, but could I really not afford to get some shoes that didn't have holes in them?  I don't know. 

So maybe instead of being frugal I am really cheap, at least when it comes to buying myself things. 

This is a really long post to get me to the point where I say this: I am getting a fill tomorrow.  It will cost $190.  I hate that I am spending $190 on a fill and I keep trying to convince myself that I don't need it, I don't want it, I can get by without it.  But I have really been struggling with trying to lose the 7 pounds I have gained.  Even though my food has been back under control after a short Christmas deviation, the extra weight hasn't come off.  And I am starting to feel really bad about myself.  I'm starting to say horrible things to myself in my head.  I have binged because I am trying to diet and for every diet there is an equal and opposite binge, at least for me.  And then I had this thought this morning:

Well, duh!

I have a Lap-band.  One of the reasons I paid over $6,000 for the stupid thing was for situations JUST LIKE THE ONE I AM EXPERIENCING.  The Lap-band is "rechargeable".  I can get a fill and it will work better.

Well, duh!

So I called my fill doc and am going in tomorrow.  I will be spending $190 on the fill and it will help me to end the cycle that I am on right now.  I am not going to try to do this on my own.  I know that won't work, which is another reason that I got the Lap-band.

You know, for a pretty smart person, I can be really dumb sometimes!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I received this email from a very cute tenant this morning who is probably 25 years old (I'll be 39 this year):

I'm sorry to bother you with this and hope you will not be either offended or see need to report it up the later. First of all I would like to thank you for the flexibility and understanding you showed at the first of the year and moving forward.
Beyond that I wanted to say that you are extremely beautiful, and I noticed you don't wear a ring. So I was hoping you would entertain drinks or lunch someday. I had planned to do this face to face but as I just dropped off my rent their were several other individuals in the office.
Have a wonderful day and I hope to hear from you soon.

Oh, my!  I am so flattered.  I sent him a very nice response and declined due to the fact that I have a boyfriend.  I also told him he made my day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not where I want to be

I haven't had to work so hard to lose weight since being banded and so far, no progress whatsoever.  WTF?!?!

I thought I was out of the 170's forever, but I am stuck at 174 after gaining about 7 pounds over the holidays.  I reined in my holiday eating right after the first of the year and started logging my food, with no loss.  Since I was logging, I could see that I was eating about 1,800 calories a day which is too much for weight loss so I dropped my calories down to about 1,500.  No loss.  At the same time I was dropping my food down, I increased my protein AND increased my exercise, but I still haven't lost anything. 

So now what?  Jeez!  I swear I didn't work this hard to lose 115 lbs.  During that time I could have done any ONE of the things I've done and seen results.  Just logging my food would have allowed me to make progress.

This SUCKS!!!

I was chatting about it to a friend who had surgery pretty recently and she said, "Well, you know what you need to do.", but the thing is I really don't know what to do.  I am NOT overeating.  I am being honest and putting in the work.  Where the hell are my results?

The ONLY thing that makes sense at this point is to keep plugging away.  I'm not gaining.  Perhaps when the weather gets better and I am more active, things will start moving again on their own (providing, of course, that I keep eating well and logging my food and exercising).  I'm not going to let it fuck with my brain (much) because that is where I really can get into trouble (in my own mind).  When I throw up my hands and say, "Fuck it!  It doesn't matter what I do, so why do anything?" I will start gaining and I do not want to be there again. 

I also will start saving money for a fill.  My restriction is weird.  I know I can eat more than I could previously.  I also am eating more frequently than I probably should.  I am worried about acid reflux, but a very small tweak should be okay (I hope).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reading List Maintenance

A while ago I discovered that I'd exceeded the number of blogs that I could follow, at least according to Blogger.  If you're curious, they allow you to follow 300 blogs.  It is kind of irritating to see that I have a new follower and go to their page and discover that I couldn't follow them back.  So before I forget, if you are following me and I am not following you, please leave your blog address in my comments.

So I started the process of reviewing all of the blogs that I am following.  I'm only on the D's.  Sigh.  I noticed some stupid things about Blogger.  #1 - If a blog no longer exists, I cannot "de-follow" it.  Stupid.  #2 - If a blog has been made private, I have to send an email or some other BS and ask to be allowed to stop following the blog.  Also stupid.  Or maybe I'm the stupid one.  It is possible that I am doing it wrong, especially when you consider that it took me a really long time to figure out why I couldn't add more blogs to my reading list and an even longer time to learn how to stop following blogs.  If you have any tips, I'd appreciate them.

What I really wanted to post about, however, is how it feels to stop following a blog.  Sometimes I chose to stop following because they haven't posted in six  months or two years.  In those cases, their last post was usually something like, "I can't believe how long it has been since I posted!  I am a bad blogger!" (Ya think?) Sometimes the last post was more like, "I am really struggling and need help."  (How did that end?) A couple last posts were, "I had a horrible stuck episode" which left me wondering if they never recovered.  (Can that happen?).  I know blogging isn't for everyone, but as I glanced at the blogs and the last posts of people who had stopped blogging for whatever reason, I felt sad and wished I knew that things were going well for them. 

Then there were blogs that I really wanted to stop following.  People whose blogs I never read because something about them irritated me or we just didn't jive for whatever reason.  A few of the blogs I was following were people who had not had WLS.  They were trying to lose weight through WW or some other method.  When I've read their blog posts, they usually sound like things I could have written a few years ago. ("Everything is great.  I'm following the diet 100%.  I rock!" Followed by, "I slipped up.  I'm going to start again."  And then, "I suck.  I hate myself.")  It isn't that I can't relate or don't empathize with their situation that caused me to de-follow them.  It is more that I spent too much of my life on THAT particular treadmill and I just don't have the energy to do it again.

There were also a couple of blogs (okay maybe just one) that I wanted to un-follow, but I didn't.  At some point the blogger said something that hurt my feelings.  In general I like her blog and can relate to many of the things she talks about, but I can't get past the hurt.  Dumb, right?

And remember, I'm just on the D's!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

One of the coolest things about being two years post-op (as of this past Sunday) and being at goal is that every so often, someone acts as if I know a thing or two about weight loss.  I can't lie; it strokes my ego a bit!  Here in Blogland, there is no bigger honor than being featured in the Band Superstars blog.  (The second biggest honor, IMHO, is having Amy W. or Band Groupie comment on something I've written).  I am the February superstar, which is amazing and very flattering.  Thank you, Sandra, for thinking of me and for all of your efforts to keep the Superstar blog going!  You can read all about me right here.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Two years ago yesterday marks the day I took control of my eating and my life and had Lap-band weight loss surgery.  It feels like a life-time ago.  I feel like a different person.  I know I look different on the outside, which is what I originally thought mattered the most, but what I have come to appreciate is how this surgery changed me on the inside. 

Surgery does a pretty good job with the physical part of obesity.  The mental stuff is much harder.  Surgery cannot make us make good food choices or force us to exercise or slap the third cookie out of our hand.  In all the years that I struggled with food, I wanted to be thin, but I didn't want to give up binging and overeating.  I wanted my cake and to eat it too.  Literally.

Proverbial Cake

And then I had weight loss surgery and I realized that what I really wanted was to be healthy.  I quit beating myself up and trying to shame myself into making good choices.  Shame, as it turns out, isn't a great motivator unless you're trying to create resentment and hostility.  I also realized that I could still eat the foods I loved.  Getting and being healthy is not about deprivation.

I have learned so much in the last two years and you guys have been a huge part of my success.  You've given me a sounding board.  You've listened and supported and encouraged.  I know I wouldn't have been so successful without you and I am eternally grateful!   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Man, I am still dealing with those 6-7 lbs. I gained over the holidays.  I got my eating behavior under control pretty quickly, but I am really eating a maintenance diet at the moment and I need to be eating a weight-loss diet.  I am tracking my food and doing all the right things, except I need to drop my calories down by about 200-300 per day.

And I don't want to!

I like eating the way I'm eating, but I'm not so crazy about those extra pounds!

I've been hoping they'd drop off by magic, but I guess that's not going to happen.  So...

I guess I better decide if I'm happy with where I'm at or if I want to lose those extra EL BEES.

And then I'd better do it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Putting Shit Off

I have stuff to do at work and I'm not doing it.  I've been playing games, checking Facebook and now reading (and writing) blog posts.  I swear I'm not a procrastinator.  The problem is that there is an email in my in basket that I am afraid to read.  I know I need to open it, but I can't and the anxiety is sending me into fits. 

I used to eat when I was anxious.  I did it so much that I didn't even know I had an anxiety issue until I quit binging over it. 

I know that there are drugs for what I am experiencing, but I don't have health insurance or even a doctor that I see.  It would be a major expense to try to get help right now.  When my bills are paid this week, I will have $175.52 left over for groceries and anything else my family of four needs.  I do have some cash I've been squirreling away that will go for food because $175.52 will NOT get us through two weeks.  It just won't.

My last two weekends have been less-than relaxing due to my reacting badly to stress.  The first weekend because I saw this financial hurdle coming up and was preemptively stressed out.  This last weekend I had to deal with the person who's email I am avoiding today.

My brain gets stuck in a loop of conversation going over and over about the issue I'm anxious about.  I try to direct my thoughts elsewhere, but they always drift back.  I can distract myself with a book or a TV show or writing a blog post for a little while.  As you can imagine, it interferes with my sleep sometimes.  I even took Tylenol PM over the weekend.  It didn't help Friday night, but it helped Saturday and Sunday.  I didn't take any last night and I slept okay.  But now I've got that fucking email that I need to open.  Ugh!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paula Deen...Who Cares?

I'm sure there have been many posts written about Paula Deen's big diabetes news.  I haven't had much of a chance to read blogs so I don't know for sure, but a radio show I listen to had a whole segment devoted to talking about it.  My initial thought was that I didn't really care.  I've never watched a Paula Deen show and I really don't know much about her.  But the radio show made some interesting points so it has been on my mind.

There seems to be a lot of fuss about how she's had diabetes for a couple of years without saying anything.  Now she's been hired as a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company and is suddenly going to be role model for people with diabetes who need to change their lifestyle.  People are criticizing the fact that she has made her brand based on Southern home-cooking with lots of real butter and real sugar and all sorts of other fattening ingredients.

I must admit that I don't think much of her not saying something sooner.  I'm also not real impressed by endorsing drugs for a pharmaceutical company.  But I must admit that I am feeling a bit defensive about the criticism about using "real" food ingredients in her cooking.  I happen to agree that real butter, real cream, full-fat cheeses and real sugar have their place in a healthy diet.

I am very suspicious of foods that are made of chemicals and are artificially created.  Margarine is one of those foods for me.  It is made of refined vegetable oil.  Foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners are also suspect.  I believe sugar is healthier and there's research to back that up.  As far as full-fat (rather than non-fat or reduced fat) foods, especially dairy products, I think they just taste and cook better and are much more satisfying.  I can use and be satisfied with a dollop of real sour cream or butter.

I do occasionally eat or drink things that contain artificial ingredients.  My kids love squeeze cheese and I usually buy it when we go camping or on a special trip as a snack.  I don't consider squeeze cheese to be real food, but I eat it a couple of times a year.  I used to drink diet soda, but I quit because the carbonation bothered me.  I will now occasionally drink iced green tea sweetened with Splenda.

So the question is, should we criticize someone with diabetes for doing a cooking show where these natural ingredients are used?  Can't diabetics eat a healthy diet of all foods in moderation like the rest of us are supposed to be doing?  I think they can!

So say what you want about Paul Deen, but don't criticize her for cooking with butter instead of artificially created and modified chemicals disguised as "food".              

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wish me luck!

I have an important meeting tonight about managing a new property.  I really hope I get it!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Balancing Act

How's your balance?  No, I don't mean the kind of balance that is required to do the grasshopper pose in yoga.

I'm talking about the balance in your life between work, family, relationships, food, personal time, spirit, and exercise.

Oh, that balance. 

I have learned that when my life is out of balance, it gets really messed up, really fast.  There are two prime areas where I struggle: work and food. 

I am the daughter of a workaholic.  My father ran a small business while I was growing up.  He ran it out of our house initially.  He was a contractor.  He worked a lot.  When he got home from work, he would go up to his office and do paperwork and make phone calls to schedule jobs for the following day.  I am lucky that my mom was a stay-at-home mom and could provide the hands-on parenting that we needed.  In that regard they made a good, balanced team.  But I could easily be a workaholic myself.  I've always had jobs that didn't end when the work day was over.  Now I have a full-time job plus I have my own small business.  I often work on weekends and evenings.  I always have my phone and am checking email and texting with clients.  I work at balancing my work life, but do you know what's hardest for me?  When I'm not working.  I always think I want more free time and wish that I wasn't as busy as I am, but I have the hardest time keeping my head when I lack the structure of my job.  During my vacation after Christmas, I had a hard time with the down time.

But this is a blog about weight loss and having an-out-of-balance relationship with food is something I know quite a bit about.  To me either end of the food/weight spectrum is a problem that represents a lack of balance in my relationship with food.  If I am compulsively counting calories, weighing myself obsessively and exercising like a maniac (you know, dieting) then I am out of balance.  If I throw my hands in the air and eat everything that doesn't eat me first, I'm out of balance.  Either extreme is a problem for me.

One of the reasons that I ended up fat is that every time I decided to "do something" about my weight problem and screwed up relationship with food, I ended up back on the extreme dieting end of the spectrum.  I believed that this was the behavior that would lead me to freedom from weight issues and freedom from the general nuttiness in my brain when it came to food.  But because this approach lacks the balance that is required for a good, healthy life, it was doomed to fail.

Now please don't think that I'm all balanced and serene.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I am not.  But I'm working on it because I know that it is important.  I believe it is the key to a normal, healthy life.

So how's your balance today? 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I own my choices

I chose to spend the week from December 28th through January 2nd pigging out.  I did it because I was making myself crazy (Don't believe me?  Read my last posts before Christmas.  Coo coo, I tell you) and I knew just giving myself permission to eat would quiet the craziness.  And you know what?  It did, at least for a while.  I ate what I felt like eating.  I didn't shame myself.  I enjoyed my food.  I stopped freaking out about every food choice.

But here's the deal, that sort of "relief" brings its own set of problems.  I gained three more pounds in that week.  Remember how freaked out I was about the original three pounds that I spent about four weeks gaining?  Well now they have three more new friends!  I am up six pounds over the holidays!  FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC!

But I own my choices.  I made them.  No one forced me to make bad choices. 

I don't need to go on a diet.  I don't need to start a liquid fast.  I don't need the latest miracle pill, cream, exercise craze, or diet book. 

What I do need is to quit eating between meals.  I need to log my food, at least for awhile.  I need to avoid snacks after dinner (which is pretty much the same thing as not eating between meals, but I guess I need to say it both ways).  I need to focus on getting in my protein first and making nutritional food choices most of the time.  I need to limit sweets to a single serving on weekends.  I need to continue exercising and drinking lots of water, two things that I have been doing well this whole time.

I may get a fill if things don't improve.  I'm so glad I have this amazing tool that can be "recharged"!  Although I have noticed that I have been PBing a lot lately, I think it has more to do with overeating and poor food choices than being too tight.

And someone commented that maybe I should see a therapist.  I thought you guys were my therapists?  No?  Well, that probably isn't a bad idea, but I have done therapy many times and I don't really want to do that right now (Not to mention that I don't have health insurance or extra cash for that sort of thing).  So we'll see!  Really I feel like I'm back on track already so I'm not too worried.  I just wanted to publicly own the gain and my choices.  Thanks for listening!   

Vote for Pedro!

I mean my dear real-life friend, Kenda!  She's entered a contest to win some exercise equipment and she sure deserves it.  She graduated college last year and has been struggling to find a full-time job since.  She had VSG in September and has already lost 130 lbs.

And if you're not already following Kenda's blog, you can find it here

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Product Review: Nature Valley Protein Bar

I sure hope Nature Valley sees this post and sends me some coupons for their fabulous products because this is really good!  I tried the peanut butter dark chocolate variety.  It is 190 calories and 10 grams of protein.  It does have a fair amount of fat (12 grams).  It also has five grams of fiber (and don't we all need more of that?).

What I really liked about the protein bar is that it isn't really sweet.  It doesn't taste like a candy bar.  It has six grams of sugars if you're counting, but with all the protein and fiber it balances really well.

The Black and the White of It

My problems with food and weight have traditionally fallen to one extreme or the other along the spectrum of eating behaviors.  I was either "being good" with food or "being bad".  When I was good, I was oh so good, but when I was bad, well, you know.

Ah, but the "good" is so sweet!  I perfectly count every calorie.  Every food I eat is carefully planned.  I think, "This is EASY!" and wonder, "Why don't I always eat like this?".  In time, I become a bit smug.  I wonder why everyone doesn't do what I'm doing?  I feel in control.  I exercise like a mad-woman, getting up at 5:00 AM and sweating in the gym. 

But of course it doesn't last.  This type of rigid-perfectionism is unsustainable in the long-term.  Something happens - it's someone's birthday at work or I overeat a restaurant meal or my fella does something that pisses me off and I eat my feelings.  There's no "gray" when I'm being good.  There's no room for bad food choices.  Suddenly everything shifts.  I'm no longer "good".  I'm horrible, stupid, fat, ugly, hopeless.  I'll be fat forever.  Everything will always be they way it's always been.  There's no sense in trying.  I'll just fail.  Again.

Somehow having Lap-band surgery changed everything for me.  I began living in a place of moderation.  I was successful even when I made less-than stellar choices.  Slowly I began to do things differently.  I questioned the long-held beliefs.  I didn't start another diet, slipping into the "good" zone.  I didn't make foods off-limits.  I allowed them for the first time, in moderation.  I began to trust myself with food.  I was okay for the first time in my life.  It was freeing, unbelievably so.

But lately I've seen a bit of those old black and white thoughts creep back in.  It started around Halloween when I had several candy-binges.  I ate candy I didn't even particularly like.  I just shoved it in my face without enjoying it.  It wasn't moderation.  It was "bad".  I was bad.  I didn't start gaining weight for awhile, but around the first part of December I noticed I was up about three pounds.  I've struggled with that all month.  I've had weeks where I did pretty well with food, but I've also had some colossal failures.  Last week was hard because I was off work and my house was filled with Christmas goodies.  My weigh-in on Wednesday after Christmas was good - I was down a bit, but since then I haven't done such a great job of holding it together.

Now I'm afraid of the scale.  I'm afraid that my pants feel tight.  I don't want to fail.  I'm ashamed.  I'm "bad".  My eating has been okay, but I'm afraid, perhaps irrationally so.  The number on the scale tells me if I'm okay or not.  It defines me.  It evaluates me.

And I know that I have lost my moderate living, at least for the moment.  I'm back in the black and white of it.   

Me and my dad on New Year's