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Thursday, December 24, 2015

FIVE YEARS (and Merry Christmas!)

I have been at my goal weight for over FIVE years! 

Although my weight has fluctuated in that time, I can honestly say that I have stuck to my program.

That doesn't mean that I haven't overeaten at times or that I never make bad food choices, but I always get back to the basics.

For me the basics are:

EXERCISE.  I move each and every day in some form or another.  I walk, ride my bike, work out at the gym or do all three.  Every day, unless I am sick.  I really enjoy walking and riding my bike.  Like REALLY enjoy them.  My fella will often ask if I want him to come get me at work because the weather is total CRAP, but I like riding my bike.  I put on my rain gear and lights and warm clothes and it really doesn't matter if it is dark or wet or cold.

Speaking of which, LOOK what I got!

It is a stocking cap with a FREAKING light on it it!  I'm so excited!

FOOD PLAN: I generally log my food on MFP.  I have a calorie goal and I try to stick to it.  I eat veggies and get some protein down.  I eat all foods in moderation.  I don't eat traditional diet food (low fat, sugar free).  I think the full fat/sugar foods are more satisfying. 

WEIGH:  I weigh myself at least once a week.

That's really about it, actually.  I guess I also try to be kind to myself and avoid negative self-talk.

So, I have been kind of struggling lately, feeling like my body isn't cooperating even though I have been following my food plan carefully.  I have kept my calories below 1,500.  Still, I have gained about six pounds since August.  I am a little frustrated, but I am trying to keep things in perspective.  First of all, this is weight I lost when I was so sick after surgery, so maybe I won't get to keep it after all.  I have been making some tweaks and in January I will probably stop drinking high-calorie coffee drinks and see if that doesn't take care of it.  Still, I am 120 pounds down from my high and that is not a bad thing!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


There just isn't a way to string all of my thoughts into meaningful sentences, I'm afraid.  So here are some random words that are bouncing around in my brain.

Fuck. Cheese. Scale. Christmas. Money. Insurance. Anxiety. Arguing. Food. Stupid. Body. Candy. Bonus. Trip. Teenagers. Fella. Ingrates. Ruined. Therapy. Plan. Respect. Anger. Frustration. Apathy. Hate. Coffee. 1,500.  Trust. Crazy. How? Overwhelming. Unhappy. Control. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I have read on a few blogs lately that in order to maintain weight, the writers say they need to eat about 1,400 calories per day and to lose, they eat about 1,200. 


That seems low.

Maybe that's why I have been maintaining at 157 and not losing down to 153 or so where I want to be.

This last week, armed with that information, I have kind of given up in frustration.  Not given up in that I am overeating, but given up in that I haven't been trying to lose because I am most certainly eating too much for that.

I haven't been on the scale in a few days and for some reason now I am afraid to get on.

Stupid fucking thing.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rain or shine

It is raining in Eugene, Oregon (shocker!).  Since I do much of my exercise outdoors, this could create an obstacle if I let it.

My work outs are more ones of frequency than high intensity.  I walk every day, usually for about an hour.  I go out for 30-60 minutes in the morning and then walk again for 15-30 minutes in the evening, depending on what else I am doing that day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I ride my bike to and from work, which takes about 40 minutes total.  One Tuesdays and Fridays I go to the gym.  I do 30 minutes of cardio (usually the elliptical) and 20 or so minutes of weight lifting.  I often ride my bike on the weekends as well.  And of course, there is housework, yard work, shopping, etc.  I average the equivalent of 12,000 intentional steps per day.

I do some sort of exercise each and every day.  I may miss a couple of days per year if I am sick or traveling.  I am pretty obsessive about it, to be honest.  I enjoy cycling and walking my dog very much.  Neither of those activities feel like a chore.  I do not love going to the gym, but I do it anyway.  I have rehabilitated a shoulder injury by lifting weights so I know it is important.

The right gear is really important to safe and comfortable outdoor work outs. 
This is my bike, which is currently serving as a hanger for my gear in my office.  I have Columbia Sportswear rain pants, a helmet, a cool flashy bike light on the front and back and a super-stylish reflective orange safety vest.  I wear plain old rubber boots on my feet.  You can't see my jacket in the photo, but on a day like today that is both wet and cold, it is a heavy winter jacket.  I wear the rain gear when I walk too, but forgo the safety vest and lights.

It has been dark on my night walks lately and my daughter reminded my of the Woman in Black so now that's all I can think of when I walk in the park.

Have you seen that movie?  I watched it because I love Daniel Radcliff, even though I hate horror movies.  It is very creepy and this freaky woman appears to children and others who then immediately commit suicide in increasingly horrific ways.  They often see her in seemingly innocuous places, like oh, say the bushes in the park on a dark, rainy night. 

So I am mostly just walking around my neighborhood instead. 


Monday, November 2, 2015


I can back from vacation in August up about three pounds, which seemed about right.  Since then I have gained another four pounds or so.  September was a tough month and I didn't eat lite, at all.  I continued to follow my normal plan of logging my food and exercising, but I was probably eating about 1,600 calories a day on average, which is a little more than I would need to eat to lose.

All of October was spent really working at it, but at the end of the month, I was still up.  I weighed 158 at my last weigh in. 

Usually when I am not satisfied with my weigh in, I can look at my habits and see why.  It will be too many high-calorie coffee drinks or too many desserts or something obvious.  I just looked at MFP and saw that I was about 600 calories under my goal for the current week, 900 under for the previous week and 1,100 under for the week before that. 

Now, I do know that this time of the year is when I am more likely to gain weight.  It has happened before and it usually starts with Summer vacation.  The first time, I gained about 15 pounds, the second about six.  I'm at seven or eight this time around.  This is dangerous ground for me.  I feel like my body isn't responding or I am delusional or something. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Being everything to everyone

I feel as if I have been through the ringer this year.  At first it was two major health crises: Lap-band re-positioning (followed by almost two months of sickness) and then it was the cardiac ablation procedure (which wasn't really a big deal, but kind of messed with my head for a while).  Then I worked like a crazy fool for five months.  Then my tenants put their notice in and I had to dump a bunch of money into renovating my rental property.  I also had a job offer across the state, a big fancy vacation and all the stuff I usually deal with: unhappy relationship, teenage daughters' drama, being a small business owner, etc.  Also I have gained a few pounds and that sucks.  Although I have been doing all the usual stuff to lose them, they don't seem to be going anywhere.

I have pretty much paid all of the bills associated with my rental property and yesterday the new tenants moved in.  It is actually someone I know, so I am feeling pretty good about it, which is important since I live next door.  But I emptied most of my savings to do the renovations.  This morning I was calculating things out and I was really bummed out by the final tally.

For some reason, I have been thinking about the coming holidays this week and getting preemptively stressed.  We are planning a little trip right after Christmas and I'm just not feeling it.  I don't know if I want to travel with my family.  I don't know if I can bring all of the Christmas joy to our lives, like I usually do.  I don't know what to get my kids for their main gifts.  The ideas I have seem too expensive.

I really want to do some remodeling in my house, where I live.  In fact, before my tenants gave their notice, I was thinking I would paint and replace my flooring, which is the same old carpets and vinyl that I had when I moved in eight years ago.

And I really wanted to take the job and move, but between my tenants moving out and needing to renovate my place, it would just be too expensive to leave town.  I just don't have the money.

It is cold and rainy and damp in Eugene, Oregon and so is my mood.

When does it get to be MY turn?  When does someone give a shit if I have a perfect Christmas or a perfect vacation or a perfect place to live?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gym Night

I am supposed to go to the gym tonight, although I don't want to.  I happily do all sorts of exercise every day, but I don't enjoy the gym work outs much. 

I have to remind myself that lifting weights is very good for me.  Among other reasons, I have been able to recover from an annoying and painful shoulder injury by gently working out that area for several months and gradually increasing weight and repetition.  A year ago I would have said my shoulder would probably require surgery to function properly, but now it is about 90% of normal and I wouldn't have surgery, even if it were offered. 

Here I am heading to the hotel gym when I traveled for business last month.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Have you ever had an affair?

You don't have to answer that.  I've been thinking about having an affair.  I don't really have anyone in mind.  I'm just very lonely.

My feelings for my current fella (of 16 years) are mainly resentment, to be honest.  I don't have a lot of respect for him.  Mainly the source of these feelings is his long-term unemployment.  I divorced him over it back in 2006, but he manipulated me into letting him stay with me by telling me he was dyeing of cancer.  I didn't really believe him, but a part of me was afraid it was true.

9 years later, I have no one to blame but myself for allowing things to go on so long, but since he has no source of income, I don't know how to separate myself from him.  I can't force him to leave and he won't go voluntarily.  I don't want him to have to pitch a tent and live in the park, but I also don't want to continue being miserable for the rest of my (or his) life.

Mostly I just pretend it isn't how things are and I go about my life. 

Intellectually I know having an affair won't really change things, except maybe he would get the point.  And maybe I wouldn't be so lonely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vacation was a month ago and I am just now posting


I have a very, very busy job this time of the year.  Things will be quieting down soon, but the last few weeks since I returned from vacation have been CRAZY.

We had a really nice trip.  We traveled from Eugene, Oregon to Orlando, Florida.  We went to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter lands and it was AMAZING!  I am a complete Harry Potter geek and so are my kids, especially my oldest daughter.  Here are some pictures:

After we did four days at Universal, we rented a car and drove to the Florida Keys.  We stayed in Tavernier in a lovely condo.  The weather was lovely much of the time, but on the two days we tried to go snorkeling, a passing storm and wind respectively thwarted our plans.  This is the closest I got:

We did spend lots of time laying around the pool, shopping, eating, etc.  My youngest (age 12) went swimming with dolphins and my oldest (14) made me go parasailing with her. Here are some pics:

On our last full day, we drove down to Key West.  It was the most beautiful drive I've ever taken.

This was the trip of a lifetime.  I saved money for YEARS to make it happen.  I gained a few pounds while we were away (Key lime pie, anyone?) and unfortunately I am still struggling to drop them.  I think the stress and business of work haven't been my friend.  I am just eating about 200 calories too much each day.  I'm still tracking my food and exercising like always, but I am drinking too many coffee drinks.   

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Well, this is a first.

There is a hole developing in my jeans.  Can you see it in the photo?  It is on my leg, up a bit from my knee.

I do not think I have EVER had a pair of jeans wear out before. 

I've outgrown lots of jeans.

While I was losing weight, I got too small for lots of jeans.

When I was heavy, I busted out the seams of lots of jeans.

I even ruined several pairs of (probably too tight) jeans by yanking them on and busting the belt loops out.

But I do not believe I have ever been the same size for long enough that I could actually wear out a pair of jeans.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


I saw Trainwreck last weekend.  Have you seen it?  I had heard that it was very funny, but it was also sweet and touching in a way I hadn't expected.

I'm coming pretty late to the Amy Schumer party.  A few weeks ago, this is all I knew about her:

I've loved Bill Hader for years and this movie is my favorite thing I've ever seen him do. 

My favorite thing about this movie, however, wasn't the story or the comedy, it was that there were no jokes or discussion about how Amy doesn't have the typical Hollywood leading lady body.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  Like how in the Bridget Jones movies, all anyone could talk about was how fat Bridget was, even though she wasn't.  Online sources tell me Renee Zellweger weighed between 137 - 147 lbs. (62-66 kg.).  She is 5'3" (1.63 m).

Amy Schumer was recently quoted as saying, "I'm probably, like, 160 pounds right now and I can catch a dick whenever I want. Like, that's the truth. It's not a problem."

Throughout the entire Trainwreck movie, there was no mention of Amy's weight or size, except some comments about how hot and sexy she was.  There were some gags about her being out of shape, but it was more from the perspective of being someone who parties hard, rather than because she was supposed to be "fat".  It was refreshing to see a person of average size in a leading role without the constant barrage of granny-panties and fat lady jokes!

So if you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, see Trainwreck and let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My diamond shoes are too tight.

You know how fitness and weight maintenance is pretty easy sometimes and at other times it is hard?  I'm having a hard time these days.

I don't really know what the problem is, which is often the case with me.  I have been going along and doing what I do, but for some reason I had a crappy weigh-in this week.  I was 155, which is two pounds higher than what I consider my goal-weight.  Actually I consider 150 my goal, but I have a three-pound acceptable range so 153 is the heaviest I would like to see.  The only possible explanation I can offer is that I have had a few high calorie days since the last time I weighed myself, which was about ten days ago.  I normally weigh myself once a week and I will often have one high-calorie day during a normal week.  I think I had three days of the ten during which I exceed my calorie allotment. 

My daily calorie allowance is 1,050 net calories so 1,050 plus whatever I burn by working out.  I am very active (I average about 12,000 intentional steps per day).  I offer this information so that people know that when you abuse your body (not that way, ya pervs) for years and years by starving yourself, dieting, binging, compulsively exercising, etc. you fuck up your metabolism and end up not being able to eat as much as a "normal" if you want to stay relatively thin.  It sucks, but it is the way it works.

Today I was back to 153, but again, this is the highest number I care to see so I still need to keep my calories low so I can get a little lower and feel more comfortable.

It is exhausting being me sometimes.

I have about six or seven months a year when my job is pretty crazy - April - the end of September or so.   The rest of the time, things are busy part of the month, but not too bad the rest of the time.  In the summer, I also do all the summer things that my daughters want so they can have a childhood.  So we go camping once or twice a month on the weekend.  One weekend day is spent driving them to camp (this year that trip took me 10.5 hours). I have to work one Saturday, 8/1 so I will only have one day off that week.  The next weekend is my birthday and we are going to take a day trip to go back-to-school shopping.  I also will be taking a week off for vacation at the end of August.  We're going to the fair this Sunday.  I'm also trying to have some work done around my house.  (Does anyone know why contractors are so flaky?). 

Don't get me wrong.  I am so lucky to be able to all this stuff and I know that.  This is not a case of "my diamond shoes are too tight".  This is a case of "Mama's fucking exhausted.  She's tired of working non-stop.  She's tired of pinching pennies so we can go to the fucking fair or camp or on vacation or camping or back-to-school shopping".  Do you know I have been saving money since February to pay for back-to-school shopping?  Every month, I put a bit away.  I spend eight months of the year saving for that and my car insurance and the rest of the time saving for Christmas shopping.  Mama's so tired she'd have a drink, but there are too many fucking calories and didn't you read the first several paragraphs of this blog???

Maybe I should start smoking weed.  It is legal in Oregon now. 

Monday, July 20, 2015


I will be taking a vacation next month and I'm curious, do you take a vacation from your health and fitness goals when you're on vacation?

A friend of mine who is also a My Fitness Pal friend, commented in that forum that she was on vacation and eating like crap and I started to think about it. 

On one hand, I am feeling kind of burnt out and perhaps a vacation from my health and fitness regime would be appropriate.  We will be going to Florida next month to visit Harry Potter world at Universal Studios in Orlando.  I know that the days we are in Orlando, I will get lots and lots of exercise and will be able to eat whatever I want.  It will be a non-issue.  After that, we are renting a car and driving to Key Largo so I can lay on the beach, sipping piƱa coladas for a few days.  We're also going snorkeling and there is probably a gym at our hotel, so I could work out if I wanted to.

But do I want to?

I have had several camping weekends and other little excursions so far this summer and I have stuck to my plan, for the most part.  But the way, occasional deviations is completely acceptable in my health and fitness plan.  Some days I eat too much.  Sometimes when I'm traveling, I can't exercise like I do at home.  But when I'm home, I stick with the general plan.  I HAD been planning to increase my calorie goal from 1,050 net calories (1,050 plus exercise) to 2,000 calories per day so I wouldn't have to see MFP tell me I'd gone over my calorie goal.  That seems pretty easy.  No foods will be off-limits.  I will exercise by walking and standing all day in Orlando and perhaps by incorporating exercise into my beach days if I feel like it.  Or not.  I don't expect to go crazy.

But I must admit there is an allure to just doing what I want and not thinking about it.  What do you guys do while on vacation? 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fitness Tracking Thoughts

I have been thinking about getting a Fit Bit.  I currently use a free app on my phone, Map My Walk, to track my intentional exercise and I really like it.  But it drains my phone battery and I try to only use WIFI (not data) so there are some delays in syncing the data to My Fitness Pal.  Plus since it is free, there are ads and other annoyances.

I know that I currently am averaging about 7+ intentional miles per day of exercise, through walking, biking, and cardio at the gym.  If 5 miles is 10,000 steps, I think I am getting about 14,000+ intentional steps per day.  I say intentional steps because I do not do any sort of tracking of the unintentional steps that we all take everyday (walking around the house, walking around at work, etc.).  It is there that my desire for the Fit Bit comes in: I would like to know how many steps I am getting.

So I would like some suggestions and information from you guys about the fitness trackers that you use.  What to do have?  Do you like it?  How's the battery life? Does it easily sync to your apps?

But I also kind of see a dark side here.  You may not be shocked to hear that I am kind of compulsive (YOU?!?! Impossible!), especially about exercise, health and fitness.  I don't think it is a real problem in my life (a clinical psychologist once told me that exercise is only an issue if it interferes with one's life in a significant way), but I do think I have the capacity to have it become a problem.

I'm just going to take a moment and list all of the things that I have been compulsive about at various times in my life: food, eating specific foods, counting calories/fat grams/sugar/protein, overeating, not eating, binging, purging, work, exercise, weight loss, relationships, sex, dieting.  There may be more,  but that's all I can think of now.

Moderation is my new life mantra.  All things in moderation:  All foods, the right amount of work, the right amount of exercise, the right amount of relaxation, the right amount of family time. 

But here is the issue: when your brain is a little broken in this regard, how do you know when you're crossing from moderation to a little too much in the wrong direction?  Is it when you buy a Fit Bit tracker to tell you every little step you take so you can enter the number in your daily electronic journal and then post about it on your blog?  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fat Acceptance Movement

I have been reading a fat acceptance blog lately.  It is called Dances With Fat.  One of my Facebook friends, someone I went to junior high with, often posts articles from this blog on Facebook and I've found them really interesting.  They make me question some of my own biases and bring awareness to how acceptable it is in our society to discriminate against people who are overweight.

I believe that each of deserve to be treated with kindness and should be able to live free of discrimination in all areas of life, regardless of size, age, religion, gender, gender identity, race, sexuality or any other status.  I work very hard to be aware of my own biases and I try very hard to be kind at all times, even when people are not kind to me.  I think that discrimination against fat people is insidiously ingrained into our communal psyche and even fat people are guilty of it.

I also believe that fat people are just as smart, worthy, valuable and healthy as their thin counterparts. They deserve the same access to health care.  They deserve the same career opportunities.  They should be portrayed in the media as complete and vibrant human beings.    
I realize that I, and many of you guys, are the exception to the experience most people who are overweight have with weight loss.  I used to weigh 280 lbs. and now I weigh 150 lbs.  But most people, myself included at one point, who are overweight are not successful when they diet to lose weight.  It is not just the majority of dieters who fail to reach a normal weight and maintain the weight loss for any length of time, it is a super-majority.  Only a very small percentage, perhaps as few as 2 in 100, lose weight weight and keep the weight off (1).
This sad statistic should signal that there is a problem with the whole diet-weight loss plan when it comes to treating obesity.  What is even more troubling is that most people who lose weight on a diet will re-gain the weight and then gain additional weight as well.  I suspect that it is this process of losing, re-gaining and gaining more over and over that is a main cause of obesity.

But instead of viewing the dismal failures of diets as a sign that they do not work and a signal that more research should be done into obesity treatment, our society blames the dieter for the failure.  They may be viewed as medically non-compliant by medically professionals, which can effect the type of treatment that they receive.

Having said all of that,  I still want to be thin.  I want to be viewed in a certain way by society: as attractive, fit, healthy, competent.  I want to like what I see when I look in the mirror and I don't think that I could like myself fat.  I sure didn't before.  I did not create the impossible standards by which society judges one another and I try not to perpetuate them toward others, but they still exist in my mind. 

I recognize that my unique set of circumstances that took me from obese to "normal" is a path few others would be able to follow.  Even if they did things exactly as I did, they would probably not experience the same results.  Not because I am exceptional, but because our own individual experiences are just that: individual.  What works for me may not work for you.

So I am curious what you guys think about this.  How can we reconcile the seemingly contradictory ideas about loving ourselves as we are with trying to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be?  

(1) Goodrick GK, Foreyt JP. Why treatments for obesity don't last. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1991;91:1243-1247.

Friday, June 12, 2015

My broken brain

You know that thing where you can't even hardly stand the thought of talking to one more person and you just want to go home and crawl under the covers?  The one where something shitty happened and it's all you can think of all week and it keeps running through your mind and makes you want to cry or scream or quit and run away?  Do you know what I am talking about?

Yeah, that thing.

That things SUCKS. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dear John Letter:

Dear Peanut Butter Trail Mix from the Bulk Bin at ‪#‎Winco‬, I am breaking up with you. Although I love you more than you know, I suspect that you're not really good for me. I want to quit you, but if you're in the house, I just can't.  Trust me, it's not you, it's me. Sincerely, Amanda

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wait, what?

Apparently I do not know how old I am.  I made some changes to my blog and said I was 42 (see above).  I am actually 41.

So, I saw my Lap Band surgeon last week and the band is staying put for a while.  I am okay with this.  Although it has slipped out of position, I am not currently having any complications and I would much rather be banded than bandless BUT...

...I am kind of pissed off at my surgeon.  First of all, the way I found out that the band had slipped was by asking how the UGI came out.  No one got in touch with me until I sent an email asking if everything was okay.  Then they told me it was NOT okay, the band had slipped.  Then they tried to get insurance authorization for the revision to the sleeve, which was denied.  Removing the band was authorized.  So then they call me and make a pre-op appointment.  And then I meet with the surgeon and he acts like I am wasting his time by coming in because I was not currently having symptoms.  He asked why I had the UGI (which his office ordered) and I have to tell him that I was sick for five or sick weeks after the last surgery to which he responds, "Well, maybe you had a virus."  Wait, what?  I had lap band repositioning surgery and was sick every time I ate or drank for three weeks and every time I ate for 5-6 weeks BECAUSE I HAD A VIRUS???  And also he has my UGI results that show the band is out of position, but THAT couldn't have possibly been the problem. 


Since I am not having any problems, I wasn't really planning to have the band removed, but then I learned that insurance would probably never cover a revision unless my BMI increased.  Also my insurance will be changing next month, probably to a crappy cover-nothing policy.  I explained these things to the surgeon and he pretty much ignored me.

So whatever. 

The thing is, I'm really not unhappy to be keeping my band.  The idea of life without it was kind of terrifying. 

This is kind of stupid, but another thing that happened at the surgeon's office that pissed me off was that the resident was talking to me about what was going on and he said I looked great after having lost the 20 lbs. since surgery (I looked great before too, asshat) and he also asked me if I was still working out two or three times a week.  WHAT??? I work out two or three times A DAY, every day and I am sure it is in my chart.  I've always been active, even when I was fat. 

I feel like neither of them, the surgeon or the surgical residence, bothered to do more than skim my file.  They also couldn't show me the films from the UGI, although the surgeon said the slip wasn't bad. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Focus

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and barely recognized the person that you saw?  This happened to me over the weekend.  I saw the picture that I posted above and thought I looked really different.

I lost 20 lbs. after my surgery and it is kind of amazing how much of a difference that can make!  I now weigh about 150.  When I look at this photo, I think I look thin.  Really thin for me. 

I've decided to change the focus of my blog.  I will probably be losing my Lap Band in the next few weeks so I want to focus more on weight maintenance and fitness.  I've changed the blog name and look.  I've also removed many of the weight loss references from the page.  That isn't my focus anymore.

I really need some help.  When I originally lost weight after surgery, this blog was a huge part of my success.  At that time (in 2010-11), there was a really active online community of bloggers, but I now have very few people reading my blog on a regular basis.  I am hoping that you will consider posting a link to my blog on your blog and asking your readers to consider giving me a follow.  If you don't do that sort of thing or don't want to promote my blog, that's no problem.  I'm just hoping to gain a more active and current community beyond the few of you that are still checking in and reading.

I want to stress that the support is just something that I really need right now, but I won't think less of you if you do not wish to participate.  I know blogs are really personal  and we all have our own "rules".  If you feel comfortable helping out, thank you!

I feel so awkward right now.

So let's segue onto something else, shall we?

I went hiking yesterday.  It was about a six mile hike, round trip.  I found it really easy.  I also went to the gym in the evening.  I was going to do a light work out, but then I ended up doing a pretty tough leg work out.  I only lift twice a week so I do sort of a circuit and cover all the major areas.  I have been trying to recover from a shoulder injury that I've been struggling with for a few years.  I fell down the stairs in my house and wrenched my shoulder trying to grab the bannister.  I must have torn some ligaments or something.  I frequently re-injury it by doing things like putting on my coat and brushing my hair.  I've been trying to lift very light weights to strengthen my muscles. 

Here are some pictures from my hike.

This place is appropriately called "Blue Pool".  The water is so clear that you can see the bottom, even though it is 30-40 feet deep in places.  There were people jumping from about 30 feet above the water and it was kind of terrifying because the water looks really shallow.  I was not among those people!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Have you had Lap Band revised to the Sleeve? Please advise...

Have you had your Lap Band revised to the Sleeve?  If so, did you have a normal BMI at the time?  Did you have comorbidities?

I ask because I had a conversation today with the woman in my surgeon's office who applies for insurance authorization.  She thinks that even with another insurance company (my current insurance will be changing in July), I wouldn't be approved because my BMI is 22.8 and I have no health problems. 

So it kind of seems like I should just have it removed now, but I really want to hear your experiences too. 

I am freaking out. 

Please advise...

I was officially turned down for the revision to the sleeve.  This is the second time.  I believe my surgeon's office appealed because they told me that Dr. Mattar had a video conference with the insurance company doctor. 

They did approve removing the Lap Band.

The reason the insurance company gave is that basically I am just too healthy.  I have no health problems and my BMI is normal.

Duh, BECAUSE I have a Lap Band!

I am also expecting my insurance to change at the end of next month and I don't know if it will cover Bariatric.  Right now the surgery would not cost me very much, but that is an unknown if I wait and have it with another company.  I also may have to repeat all of the pre-op requirements, but there is a chance that the new insurance would approve the revision.

I am not having any symptoms at all of the band slip, although after it was repositioned, I had a lot of symptoms for several weeks.  The UGI identified the slippage.  With the previous slippage, I had no symptoms except smelly belching (sexy, I know), but apparently my stomach was in pretty bad shape at that time.  I don't know how significant the slip is this time around.

Part of me wants to just wait and see what happens, especially because I do not have anymore paid time off except for my planned summer vacation this year.  But a part of me thinks that is a really bad idea and I don't know what to do.

So please tell me what you guys think.  I'm really uncertain.     

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Boring Blog Post

When I was losing weight, I blogged at least twice a week.  I almost always posted my weekly weigh in.  I loved to hear the "way to go's".  I hit goals - onederland, 100 lbs. down, one-year bandiversary.  I developed an understanding of why I had struggled with my weight in the past and I learned how to be kind to myself.  I learned how to lose weight and keep it off.

My blog was such a big part of all of that.  It was my virtual support group.  I know people in real life who have had the same surgery who haven't been successful and I have suggested that they blog because it was such a vital part of my process.

But for me anyway, blogging during maintenance is boring.  I don't want to post a weekly picture of my toes and the number on the scale.  I don't want to hash out all of the same stuff that I've already discussed here, although I know followers come and go and it may not be all that boring to you.  But it is boring to write about it.

I also know there are other bloggers in maintenance that are not at all boring!  Lap Band Gal & Amy W. are just a couple of blogs that come to mind, but I know there are lots of others.  They post interesting things in weight loss news, or about their lives and I love to read them.

Like me, there are also lots of bloggers who have had health issues to blog about.  I came back to my blog in January because I was facing a band slip and surgery.  Then I blogged about the recovery (spoiler alert - it sucked!) and I've mentioned that my bland slipped again, although nothing is really going on with that right now.  It has slipped, but I haven't had it removed.  My surgeon's office is staffed by snails and slugs (all amazing, wonderful people, but they move really, really, really, r    e    a   l  l  y, slowly).  I am not having any symptoms (except outrage).  So there is nothing to report really.

Things are as boring as the weather in Eugene, Oregon today.  This is a "cold and gray skies" sort of post.  

I am maintaining the weight I lost when I a̶l̶m̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶r̶v̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶t̶h̶ couldn't eat much for several weeks following surgery.  I weigh about 151.  I am 5'8".  I am eating a lot right now.  Like three squares plus snacks.  I am struggling to stay in my calorie goal, but I am happy with my weight so I am not stressing about it too much at the moment.  My BMI is 23.  When I had my cardiac ablation on the 24th, the nurse called me "little" (at 5'8" tall I am not normally considered "little"). 

I like being called little. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

R.I.P. Jean Nidetch, Weight Watchers Founder

I read this morning that the founder of Weight Watchers, Jean Nidetch, passed away at the age of 91.

Weight Watchers and I have a history.  Would it surprise you to know that I am a lifetime member?

I first joined in about 1991.  I weighed about 185 and ended up losing 45 lbs. or so to get my lifetime membership.  Over the years I went back many times.  Lifetime Members need never pay a joining fee and it is free to weigh in if you are under your goal weight.

I also appeared in Weight Watchers Magazine after doing an ad for the Dairy Farmers of Oregon.  I received copies of many of the photos that they took for the photo shoot and here is one of the ones from the ad:

I had a lot of problems with food at that time in my life.  I was binging and purging, binging and starving, binging and compulsively exercising.  I lost most of the 45 lbs. that I lost at WW by binging for three days and then not eating for four days until my weigh in.

This is not the WW plan.

I haven't been back to WW since right after my youngest daughter was born in 2003.  I don't think I'll ever go back, but I do think it can be a good plan.  I'm just done with dieting.  I don't eat traditional diet foods for the most part.  When I was fat, I ate WW meals almost every day.  I ate diet margarine, sugar free drinks, fat free dairy products.  Now I eat real butter, real cheese, real sugar and real cream.  I think these foods are far more satisfying than the diet version.  And I think diets are temporary.  What I do now is permanent.  It is my lifestyle.  I eat all foods in moderation.  I track my foods using My Fitness Pal, but mostly I do so because in my mind, I have always eaten way too much.  I just don't have a good mental barometer when it comes to my food and weight and what I have or haven't eaten.  I get really uncomfortable and things feel "out of control" if I don't keep track of what I'm doing.  I feel like that beautiful 19-year-old skinny girl in the picture who hated herself and hated her body.  Who wanted to be so small that she no longer existed.  Who once dieted and took laxatives until she weighed 119 lbs.

But I'm not her anymore.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Why I don't weigh myself daily, cardiac ablation & pictures of my crotch (please read until the end)

I don't weigh myself everyday, although I know that many of us do.  Today I was reminded why.  I got on the scale this morning and didn't like the number I saw.  Just now I went to the bathroom and realized that I was ovulating.  I am always up a couple of pounds when I ovulate, but I wasn't expecting it for a couple more days.

So, I had my cardiac ablation on Friday.  They ablated my cardiac.  LOL.  That sounded really funny to me to say it like that.  I'm a dork.  I weighed 149.2 lbs. (67.7 kg.) on their scale  The procedure went fine and it wasn't a big deal, but it took a really long time.  I was in the procedure for several hours, like more than four.  When it was over, the cardiologist told me that I had the rare set of circumstances that produce the deadly results in some Wollf Parksinson White Syndrome patients.  I'm not really sure I understand what circumstances those are, but during the procedure they caused the racing heart beat several times that I have previously experienced.  I was mostly asleep, but I did wake up to feel my heart exploding in my chest a few times.  All in all, it was not a big deal.  I felt fine afterward.  I feel fine now, several days later, although  I have a huge bruise on my thigh.  I'm putting in a pic because I know how much you like to see pics of my naughty bits, ya pervs!  The red marks are where they inserted everything that ran up into my heart.  The bruise is actually more pronounced today.  Be sure to check out that THIGH GAP!

So on my way out of my office on Thursday, I noticed that I had received a message from my Lap Band surgeon's office.  I had emailed them earlier in the week about the UGI I had had.  Since things seemed to be working well and no one said anything at the appointment, I had assumed all was well with my Band.  Here is the message:

Hi Amanda,

Dr. Mattar just reviewed the results and it looks like your band has definitely slipped again.  He is recommending that we try and move forward to convert your band to a sleeve gastrectomy.

This can be difficult with your insurance, but we can at least start the process and submit an authorization.  If they deny the claim, we can always appeal, and sometimes that works. 

I will route this to our scheduler who submits the authorizations.  We will be in touch with you once we've heard back from your insurance.

Please contact us if you have more questions or concerns, or if you do not wish to proceed with conversion to a sleeve.

Thanks so much,

Vanessa, RN


I was already denied for a conversion to a sleeve.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When it rains, it pours...

I have always been a very healthy person.  I don't even take Tylenol on a regular basis.  So this process of having my Band repositioned followed by two months of constant sickness hasn't been easy.  I'm so happy to be getting back to normal.  More than happy, ecstatic, and very relieved.

But in the process of getting ready for that surgery, a funky EKG revealed that I have Wolff Parkinson White (WPW) syndrome.  So I will be having a cardiac ablation on Friday to correct the arrhythmia.  During this procedure, they insert a catheter through a vein in my groin up into my heart to destroy the accessory pathway.

Sounds kind of freaky, right?

I very seldom talk about things like this in my real life.  Very few people know I had surgery in February and fewer know what the surgery was for.  Only those closest to me know how sick I was.  I didn't say anything about what was going on on Facebook. I'm kind of uncomfortable telling all of you about the heart procedure, but I want to talk about it so I'm not so...scared isn't the right word...stressed out? freaked out? worried?...I don't really know how I feel about it.

It is weird to have so many things going on all at the same time, especially when I've always been so healthy.

So for those of you who don't know about WPW, it is an abnormal arrhythmia, or heart rhythm.  It is not caused by lifestyle or heart disease.  It may not be a really a dangerous condition for some people (although I looked up some stuff on Google to write this and read about some examples where it was very serious so it must vary).  It isn't progressive (as far as I know).  If you have WPW, you were born that way.  The symptoms of the condition are kind of disturbing, though.  Most of the time when I have had an incident, it has felt like my heart was stuck in a super-fast rhythm.  My heart POUNDS really fast like it is going to explode.  It last 60-90 seconds or so.  A few times I have blacked out when it has happened.  Once I was driving when I blacked out.  I did not lose consciousness, however, which was a good thing.  I was driving on a quiet road without much traffic and I wasn't going very fast.  Everything started going black, like static on a TV, so I stopped the car in the middle of the road.  I couldn't see well enough to pull over.  And then the lights came back on in my head and I resumed driving to my destination.  I felt out of sorts for the rest of the day.  I'm so grateful that I wasn't doing 80 down the freeway because that would have been a much worse scenario.  So that is why I'm going to have the cardiac ablation.  After that is done, I will no longer have the condition.  The treatment will correct the abnormality.

If you happen to be a fan of the show Modern Family, this is the same condition (and treatment) that Claire had in the Season 4 episode called Heart Broken.

The first time I had a WPW episode, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.  I had the racing heart and dizziness.  We called my OBGYN and they sent us to the hospital, where the checked me out in the maternity ward.  They did not perform an EKG.  They took vitals and had me sit with a fetal monitor for a while.  Finally they told me they thought I'd had an anxiety attack and sent me home.  I told this to my cardiologist in February and she said that people with WPW are often told they are having anxiety attacks.  Isn't that a bunch of shit?  A simple EKG shows the irregular rhythm.  Why wouldn't they have done that if I was having racing heartbeats all the way back in 2000?


Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers on Friday.  Hopefully I don't have to take much time off from my work out routine because that will piss me off.