Dizzy Lizzy

6:59 PM Sunday – no bike ride this afternoon. Got back from the Farmer’s Market and felt dizzy and disoriented. Could be dehydrated from yesterday’s Ren Fest, so I’m taking it easy and drinking a lot of water.

Shopping and Menu Planning

8:37 AM I’ve made my power protein oatmeal for the day – idea and recipe courtesy of Venice Nutrition who provided the nutrition element of the two Biggest Losers Challenge I did at Knuckle Up Fitness.  The dishes from last night are finally in the dishwasher and now I need to make a menu plan for the week. I was tempted to pull one of the plans from a previous week so I could start writing, but then realized that menu planning was a good  blog topic for a lazy Sunday morning.

Healthy but Thrifty With only one income these days, eating economically is almost as important as eating healthy. I’m lucky that our one salary is a good one, and unlike so many Americans these days, don’t have to sacrifice health for cost. But we have adopted a few great habits in the last 9 months since we became OIOK’s (One Income One Kid) that have really cut down our costs AND contributed to our being more healthy and losing weight.

Eat at Home This one was huge for us. When we looked at our finances in preparation for being a single income family, we found that after housing, our biggest expense was food. Most of that was eating out. We often ate breakfast, lunch and dinner out – even paying for Whole Foods to bring in lunch at my son’s school instead of packing it up for him. We were also spending a ridiculous amount on buying prepared food for fast meals we could put together after work. Any fresh food we bought was likely to go bad because we rarely got around to cooking it, so waste factored in as well.

Meal Planning The next major change was the meal plan. This is not a unique suggestion! Every diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle change book I’ve ever read (1000? 1500 by now?) suggests that creating meal plans is one of the best ways to get control of what you are eating. At work, I always believed the adage that you “Plan your work and then work your plan” but I wasn’t applying that to my family’s life until last fall. Now every weekend we sit down and plan out the week’s menu, based on what’s in the pantry and freezer and then make a shopping list for the missing items.

Buy in bulk or on sale and store for later: I keep an inventory of what’s in the freezers -one in the kitchen fridge and another huge standing freezer in the garage. We buy in bulk at Costco and whenever something we use goes on sale at our Publix. They have great BOGO sales (Buy One get One free). Frozen foods are much less expensive in the summer and early fall so we tend to stock up and then use them up over the winter and spring. It’s June now and we are just getting to the end of the frozen fruits and vegetables we stocked up on last year. Just in time for this years sales – so I’m pretty psyched about that. The key is to just buy the things you really use and need. Don’t be swayed by a sale – a good price on something you don’t or won’t or can’t use is NOT a good deal.

Re-Package Bulk Items at Home We buy cases of Ziploc bags at Costco: Gallon and Quart freezer bags and Sandwich and Snack regular bags. We break up bulk purchases of meats into family size portions and label them with the contents and date. (You will start doing this when you accidentally defrost a pound of pork chops instead of a pound of sliced ham -really hard to tell the difference when they are frozen!) Or when you finally get around to using that nice bison filet you bought at the organic market, only to find it old and tough because you kept it too long. The USDA has some guidelines on Freezing and Food Safety if you are interested.

Bread, Desserts and other Treats I don’t eat a lot of bread. Part of that is the surgery and reduction in volume, part of that is trying to eat lower carb and part of that is that I’m a diabetic and I really need to get my carbs from vegetables and fruit for the fiber. But I do eat a piece of toast about once a week. I like the Ezekiel sprouted sesame bread. It comes  frozen, so I split it up into quart size freezer bags, then just pull out a slice and pop it in the toaster when I need it.  I don’t think it lasts as long if you leave it in the bread wrapper. We also buy pound cake at Costco – comes three loaves to a box. We can cut the loaves in half and have 6 weeks of dessert. A serving of 1/20 of the loaf is actually a satisfying size and on 1.5 WW Points at 58 calories/3 grams fat. We add fresh berries for fiber and flavor. If we splurge on any other treats like this, we typically split it up and freeze most of it before we eat it. If you have to thaw something out, it gives you time to think if you really want to add it to your daily points or not.

Cook Ahead I am a big cook ahead fan. Now that my husband is doing the cooking, he is more a cook now and have leftovers man, but about once a week we build something into the menu that we can split up and freeze for a future meal. Casseroles, soups, stews and roast meats are all good things to have on hand for a planned no-cook night or a night when life happens to you instead of your plan. Transforming those frozen goodies into a meal is really fast: defrost soup and a frozen loaf of bread or thaw and shred chicken or steak while you warm up frozen whole wheat tortillas. Chop up some lettuce, tomato and red pepper to build soft tacos or add sour cream and grated cheddar if there are no vegetables in the house. Open a can of black beans for a quick side dish and to increase your fiber.

Transform Food Ruts into Healthy Routines We all get into ruts, but usually they are not good ones. We have turned our natural tendency towards sliding into a rut into building new and healthier routines. I have already posted about how I eat the same breakfast pretty much every day. Each week I might vary how I mix it up a bit, but it is still oatmeal, protein powder, peanut butter and fruit. For snacks I supplement with protein drinks and while I have 6 different flavors, its still a drink with protein powder, liquid and possibly some flavoring for variety. Lunch is almost ALWAYS the leftovers from the healthy dinner the night before. The beauty of this rut, um, routine, is that it frees us from having to plan 42 meals a week and we only plan 7 meals a week. This week I will add menu planning to The Melting Point, along with some sample weekly meal plans that have worked well for us.

Weight Loss versus Measurements

Weight Loss vs Measurements 7:11 AM Saturday morning Bliss is: slept late; came down to fresh, hot coffee and great distracting conversation in the kitchen. Would love to able to stir some protein powder into my coffee – but I’m out of all but the fruit flavors and that just doesn’t work for me. So I’ll have my protein powder in my steel cut oatmeal and watch eagerly for the delivery truck.

Beach Body Count Down I’m still riding high from my recent success. There was a contest at the fitness center where I swim: 8 weeks to see who could lose the most. Unlike the Knuckle Up Biggest Loser where we had a great package with nutrition, boot camp and chiro ($250 and so worth it) this was a free contest where we just weighed in and got measured, then got going on our own. I confirmed that they were okay with my being a weight loss surgery patient, then when they gave the okay, I signed up.

Astonishing I had my final weigh in and measurements on Wednesday morning. I was down 12 pounds, which is great – very respectable 1.5 pounds per week overall, much better than I expected at this stage of the journey. But the real mind blower was the measurements. My chest didn’t change. (I’m really hoping I don’t lose much more there, as I’m almost down to a B-cup.) I lost an inch on my stomach, which was great. But I also lost 1 inch on EACH arm. The big shock? I lost almost 4 inches on my hips and thighs.

Disbelief My first thought was that there was obviously a mistake. A difference in the way the trainer measured me or he wrote it down wrong the first time. But he asked if I had noticed a difference in my pants and I realized that all my pants are bagging out in the thighs now. Because the waist and stomach are about the same, I hadn’t really noticed. How cool is THAT??? It was three days ago and I’m still psyched!

Lost a Skinny Girl I have kept a history of all my measurements since I started two years ago. When I’m seeing slow or no weight loss, it really helps to go back and remember that in May of 2008, my stomach was 59 inches at the belly button. Now it is 40 inches. Still not where I want to go, but damn – that’s 19 inches off my stomach. That’s a whole skinny girl gone from my stomach. 19 inches of fat that I’m not carrying around anymore. 19 inches of belly killing fat that is gone. Gone forever. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Project Goals One of the places I keep track of my measurements is on my bathroom mirror. I write my starting measurements, the last couple of months, plus my next goal in eyeliner or lip liner right on the mirror. I see that every morning and every night. It’s the same as posting your project goals and metrics for work: you need to know where you started, where you are going and what your current trend is. That makes it impossible to fool yourself into thinking that either you are making more progress than you are, so you can slack off a bit or almost as bad, that you are making no progress and you might as well give up. If I was only tracking the pounds lost, I wouldn’t have as clear a picture of my progress and there are definitely weeks when I would have lost my motivation.

Renaissance Woman I’m off to the Ren Fest today. I tried on my costume from last year and what a surprise – it doesn’t fit! I had this great bustier vest that made my “peaches” really pop. Might have to buy a new one today in a smaller size! Meanwhile I’ve got a long white dress and a blue scarf that makes me feel cool and somewhat dressed up. I wonder what I did with the garland for my hair? Have a great Saturday and don’t forget to post some questions because I’m having a great time answering them!

Wardrobe Basics and a checklist

5:45 AM I posted before about how often my clothes size has changed. I “shop” at the Goodwill so I’ve developed some techniques that have helped me successfully create a wardrobe that serves me for work, play and even a few dress up occasions. I’m at the point where a lot of the clothes I’m buying now will fit when I’m in maintenance, so I decided I needed to be more organized about that process. Here’s what I came up with:

Sizes I’m usually looking for smaller sizes than my current size, unless there is a specific need, like my class reunion last week. So I can’t really try on the clothes, except to make sure they don’t fit NOW. (It does happen that you find something in what should be a smaller size, but is really too big.) I’ve gotten pretty good at estimating the size/fit of the clothes after 9 months of doing this, but expect that some of your “finds” are going to be too long, too short, or just not quite work for your body type even when you can fit into them. But at less than $5 per item, I decided the risk was worth it. I’ve been surprised and pleased by how few of my “new” clothes have been un-wearable.

Color and Feel The main things I focus on are the colors – no more black wardrobes for this girl – and fabric. I refuse to wear cheap, uncomfortable fabrics – brings back too many painful childhood memories. I tend to find several of the same item I’m looking for while I’m shopping, then cull thru them and compare to find the best of each before I make my final selection and check out. I also make a last pass looking for stains, rips and missing buttons, broken zippers, etc. You can fix those, sometimes, but is it really worth it for something you’ll only wear for a few weeks? Doubtful!

Shop with a List Here is my list of wardrobe-checklist that I use to keep track of what I have. (I created this when I discovered that I had accidentally purchased 6 pairs of khaki pants that were basically the same size!) I am putting this on my blackberry and keeping a printed copy in my purse to track which ones I have in each size. It should keep me from buying too frivolously.

Wardrobe Basics List

Bottoms

I tend to start with the “bottom” basics and then build outfits around those. This is what I consider essential and the starred (*) items are nice to haves if I can find them.

Dress Pants:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Tan/Khaki
  • Gray
  • Blue or black pants with a narrow white/cream stripe*

Casual Pants:

  • Blue jeans
  • Khaki’s
  • White jeans*
  • Black jeans*
  • Other fun colors and styles as you find them*

Other Bottoms:

  • One good black skirt
  • Any fun, colorful skirt that I find in an upcoming size*
  • Shorts for summer: khaki and white are good staples that go with everything
  • Colorful crop pants for summer*

Tops

Tops are usually the most fun to find and provide scope for my color palette. I find that the best selection is in the multicolored section, where I just go with what looks good and feels good. Since I stick with pretty basic, neutral colors for the bottoms, I can mix and match endlessly.

Dress Tops:

  • White button down
  • Other button down style blouses for wearing under suits, tucked into pants (tucked in – can you imagine that???)
  • Long sleeve black blouse, slightly longer (for those days my stomach feels as big as the side of a barn)
  • White, black, cream or other solid color camisoles – great layering pieces for under suits
  • Whatever strikes my fancy in colors that make me look great: I like stripes, prints and solids*

Casual Tops:

  • White tee-shirt/polo shirt
  • Black tee-shirt/polo shirt
  • Fun prints, designs – whatever I can find *

Other Tops:

  • Sweaters for winter and fall – I like thinner fabrics, since I live in the South and I go for jewel tones and a couple of useful neutrals like white, black, navy and gray
  • Vests – I have deep and secret passion for vests of all kinds*

Workout Clothes

  • Bike shorts, Sweatpants, yoga pants and shorts/pants with lycra to hold the belly
  • Swim suits
  • Workout tops with built in shelf bras
  • Workout jackets, either pullover or zip

Suits and Jackets

My job isn’t very formal, but I do like to have a suit and some jackets in my closet for building more professional looking outfits. You never know when a job interview might come along!

  • One good black jacket
  • One or two jackets in great colors. I confess that I always end up with too many. But I donate them to Dress for Success when they are too big, so I don’t feel too bad.
  • One good suit in a color other than black: cream, red, navy, gray (not a great color on me, but with a colorful scarf it works)

Dresses

I never really wore dresses before. I used to say I didn’t like them, but as I’ve gotten smaller, I’ve realized, I just didn’t like the ones in size 3x or the way I looked in them. Now I LOVE dresses!

  • Professional looking dresses for work – so easy to just pull on with heels and be ready for work in a flash
  • One great dress for going out
  • Summer dresses – I love long, linen dresses or cool, thin fabrics to beat the Atlanta heat
  • Winter layering dresses – wool or knit dresses – that I can wear over turtlenecks or under jackets
  • Completely frivolous: any long evening or cocktail dress that strikes my fancy*
  • One good dark dress is a nice to have, in case of funerals or court dates (black or navy) but I can always use my jacket and skirt if needed*

Shoes

I had planned to buy new clothes, but I was shocked when my shoes became too big. I went from a size 11 wide to an 81/2 medium. I’ve found one or two great shoe/boot finds at the goodwill, but mostly, I buy new at outlet stores

  • Black pumps, sandals and boots
  • Brown boots, sandals and walking shoes
  • Cream and Silver sandals
  • Sneakers, running shoes and tevas

Accessories

Since these are often things I can buy and keep and re-use with each wardrobe, I don’t limit myself to the Goodwill.

  • Belts – found a great black one at Chico’s that can be resized that I got at size 20W and I still have room to shrink it down now that I’m at size 14. Just got another Chico’s belt – really wide – with a beautiful silver buckle. Can be worn at the waist or hips and has a good size range as I shrink.
  • Scarves – always useful
  • Jewelry – I tend to stick with the basics/classics (my sisters might say boring!) and a few fun pieces I have picked up in my travels

Bras, Underwear and foundation garments

I refuse to buy used underwear. Not going to happen. Luckily, underwear can be worn for several dress sizes. So I’ve only had to buy all new underwear a few times

  • 8 Bras: Black, white, pink, gray and cream
  • 9 pairs Underwear: assorted colors, with lots of white and black
  • 4 girdles – they also last for several sizes, but once they get too big, they are useless (Like most WLS patients, I have a lot of lose skin to manage – ick! TMI!)

Outerwear

I was lucky with my outerwear: all my coats were too big by the time winter rolled around, but someone gave me one that I wore for most of the winter. So now I am on the lookout for next winter’s coat – and I have time to be very picky.

  • Light jacket
  • Heavy coat
  • Rain coat

Safety Nets

6:37 am Today is about support. I think that has been one of the biggest differences between this lifestyle change and past (failed) efforts. I have asked for help. I have sought out support. I have not tried to do this on my own. As if I could! What was I thinking all those years, trying to go it all alone?

Facebook I’ve been playing on Facebook instead of writing, which is appropriate, because it is one of my supports. I started posting my goals and status on Facebook before my surgery. I even posted my before and after pictures. I try to post my progress and confess to any slips. Several people have said that they started exercising because of my posts – I love that!

The First Strand in My Safety Net was my doctor’s office: Laureate Medical Group. I got a complete check up, including a heart test (the shortness of breath was a concern for everyone) and a whole panel of measurements. I went back at six months after my surgery and had significant improvement in every measurement. That’s the kind of motivation that keeps you getting up and eating oatmeal and going to the gym.

Weaving in the Rest of the Net took a while, but has been worth it. I work with the nutritionist from my doctor’s office – Alissa Winters. She runs a weight loss class that I’ve now attended twice and may go back for a third because I learn something each time and reinforce the habits I am trying to develop. I meet with her every three months to review my journal and record my new measurements.

We are Family I reached out to my sisters and friends to ask for help and to make me accountable. If I slide, I want them to kick me in the butt. Mostly they are amazing for all the positive feedback and helping me see how far I’ve come. Sometimes, really and truly, I can’t see it. Isn’t that strange? It’s like there is a photograph of obese me and I can’t see past that to the real me in the mirror.

Weight Watchers at Work I had joined Weight Watchers in the past, and I’d done the online WW for a while, but I really got serious with the Weight Watchers at Work. It was right there in the building, I knew people there and it kept happening, every single week. I wasn’t very good about following the guidelines at first. I didn’t really count points and I didn’t even read the materials. Mostly I had my weigh in book and a date every Tuesday to fess up to what my weight really was. The first day was so hard. I had already been trying to walk and to exercise for several months on my own, but when I stepped on the scale it was over 300 pounds. My first 10% goal was 30 pounds. Thank goodness they have 5% goals now – that would have been less intimidating.

Weight Watchers Today It is so different for me. I try to go to every meeting, weigh in and stay for the meeting if I can. I love our leader, Jane Brown. She is so funny and so loving and makes me feel like she really cares about my success. I follow the Simply Filling technique, because I still can’t count points. I use my extra points for stuff like bread or treats, but for most of my meals I pick from the list and eat mindfully until I’m satisfied. I try to stop before I’m full, but I’m still working on that. It is actually a huge accomplishment for me to say that I now stop eating when I’m full. Those of you without food addictions won’t understand, but – HUGE! Also, I have my necklace of WW tokens – five of them now – one for each 25 pounds I’ve lost. I wear it almost every day and count them whenever I feel like going off track, thinking to myself – is it worth it? It usually isn’t!

Weight Loss Therapy I’ve written about Rebecca before, so I won’t bore you with how WONDERFUL she is. But she is! I started seeing her the week before surgery and saw her every week after surgery. In the last few months I’ve switched to every other week, so I can make my mental health insurance last for the whole year. It helps to have someone who sees thru my BS. (Hey, of course I’m good at it – I’ve got a BA in BS from Yale for God’s sakes!)

BeforeandAfterHelp.com I don’t know what I would have done without this board. There was so much more to learn than I thought. I bought books, I researched online, I interviewed dozens of people and collected notebooks FULL of info. But still, nearly every week, there is something that comes up that I need help or advice or heck, even a recipe. I’ve made friends on this board that are so dear to me. I follow along their progress and am just so excited when they hit their goals: Having the surgery = Welcome to the Loser’s Bench; Under 200 for the first time = Onderland and losing the first 100 pounds = Century Club. And getting to maintenance? That’s the big one, the 4th of July fireworks. My friend LaDeeDa (everyone has great board names – mine is just Karen1, how dull!) just got to maintenance and I felt as if my best friend or sister had done it. Check it out if you are at all interested in the surgery. Very positive, very upbeat and seriously organized and moderated by some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve encountered on this journey.

My Surgeon’s Support Group Okay, but not such a a good fit for me. Meets in a dicey part of downtown that I don’t usually drive through, much less want to park my car. I am a spoiled white girl from the burbs now – doing the downtown thing just doesn’t work for me. Plus, I am so blessed to have a great job and good insurance. A lot of the focus for these groups was how to get insurance approval and how to afford the protein and vitamin supplements and new clothes. Worse was that so many of the people who came seemed to be struggling with regain. There was ONE great session where they brought in a chef – loved that one. But I want more focus on getting active and changing the messages in my head. I did crash the Northside Bariatric Support group a few times. It was better, but they only meet once a month and our schedules haven’t clicked very often.

My Pouch is probably the sternest and least forgiving of all my safety nets. I had surgery to re-route my intestines and create a pouch that was about 2 ounces in size. That, more than anything, gave me a road block to the overeating. Now, if I’m in a mood and the donuts are calling me, I have three things that act as safety nets: the first is that I can’t actually fit a dozen donuts in my pouch, there just isn’t enough room. Second, all that sugar will make me sick – maybe even dump. And let’s not go there – TMI! Third, no matter how much I eat of something bad, I’m not absorbing all the fat and sugar anymore because of the surgery. I’m so glad I have my pouch and I’m glad it will always be with me. I’m glad I didn’t have the band because you can have that removed. I wear a medical alert bracelet with my surgery type on it and I make myself read it every time I’m tempted to eat something I shouldn’t. It helps.

Last, but Most Important Every single minute of every single day, my husband and son are there for me. They give me praise and tell me how beautiful I am. They brag on me to their friends. They listen while I ramble on and on about my obsession with weight loss and nutrition. They wave goodbye cheerfully  (mostly) when I go off to the gym for hours on Saturdays. They humor me and go on 22 mile bike rides and hikes up mountains. My husband shops and cooks and freezes to make sure there is always a good option for me to eat that tastes FABULOUS. He doesn’t bitch and moan about the 10 new wardrobes I’ve had to build. (Though he’s glad I discovered the Goodwill and wishes I was more into tailoring…) I don’t know how people do it on their own. I don’t think I could have done so well or gotten back on track so quickly the times I’ve slid. I love you guys.

Triathlon Countdown

6:52 AM Getting a late start again today – not good. I have 24 days left to get ready for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon on June 27 at Lake Lanier.  I had great plans for how much I would crank up my workouts this last month. Then I decided to go to New Haven for the long weekend. I was still planning to exercise, but other than some walking around campus and dancing – nada! No running, no biking and no swimming.

Yesterday Was My First Day Back but I didn’t actually make it to the gym or out on the road. I procrastinated until I didn’t have enough time to  get there and work out, so I hopped on the treadmill that sits in my bedroom and makes a really good “no excuses” workout option. I did 45 minutes – a 3 mile walk at 4 mph for the first mile at 0% incline, then cranked it up to a 12% incline and walked at 3.3 mph for the last one and a half+ miles. whew! That was hard and got a sweat  going, but I know that walking outside is much better preparation.

Today I have a weight lifting session scheduled at the fitness center where I’ve been swimming. I joined just for the pool, but since my husband and son have been using it, I think I’m going to try and keep the membership. I tried to use the strength training equipment last week, but it was all unfamiliar to me so I signed up for an orientation this morning. I knew I’d be coming back from vacation and that it is typically hard for me to get going again after a “break”.

Planning for Breaks I know from past experience that if I have a week’s vacation, even an active one, it is hard for me to get going again. In the past it could actually derail me to the point where I stopped making progress for years. In February and again in March I took two weeks of vacation to ski and hike with the boys on their great west ski adventure. When I came home in February, I had signed up to do another Biggest Loser’s challenge at my kickboxing gym – Knuckle Up Fitness in Sandy Springs. So I jumped right in and did great getting back to work.

Slack In March, I still had a couple of weeks left in the challenge, so I thought I’d get right back to it after my break. Didn’t happen. I dragged and slacked and really didn’t do as well as I could have for that challenge. It was a waste. I think that was because I spent the week riding in the car and not skiing every day, the way I did in February.  Since this past weekend was also a long car trip, I wanted to have as much motivation as possible to get going. I planned for this weight lifting session for the Wednesday after I got back and on Thursday I have my last Triathlon swimming lesson with Heidi.

Biking This weekend I will take a long bike ride. I’m going to try and bike around Stone Mountain a few times to get the 18+ miles in with some hills. I love the Silver Comet Trail but it is too flat to get in the hill practice I need. I can get that in my neighborhood, but I get bored riding around the same 1 1/2 miles enough to hit 18 miles.

Running (walking) I’m not running the 5k in the Tri this month – just walking. I’m doing the Tri with my sister and we are walking it as fast as possible. The goal is 15 minute miles or better. I’ve been trying to crank up my speed, but I have a hard time pacing myself when I’m not on the treadmill or elliptical. Even with my garmin 305, I tend to have huge variations in speed from 19 minute miles to 12 minute miles (which is almost as fast as I can run right now!)

Swimming The lessons with Heidi have really paid off. I am swimming so much further and so much more efficiently. Now I’m beginning to work on my speed. So I know that I need to get into the pool every day if possible, but definitely make sure I get in a swim every other day. I’m up to 1/2 a mile now, so I want to try and crank it up to 3/4 of a mile. My goal was to be swimming a mile right before the tri, and I think I can do that. I also need to do some open water swims on the weekends between now and the end of June. I’m a little scared of that so need to make sure the Tri is not my first open water swim ever.

Weight I was also expecting that I’d be at my goal weight by now or by the triathlon date, but that has not happened. I weigh 186 this morning, which is 16 pounds from my doctor’s goal. At my current rate, I will probably hit that in about 16 weeks. A nice, slow healthy pace for losing. But dang it! I really wanted to be at goal by June 27th. My “fall back” was August 26th, which is my one year surgiversary. I keep reminding myself that I’ve been fat since I was 11 years old and that 36 years of fat does not come off in a minute. I don’t have to like that, but it is reality. Damned reality!

Another Reason to Walk Instead of Run So the weight is another reason to walk instead of run the tri. My sister’s knees are not the only ones that will benefit from the lower impact of walking instead of pounding the 5k after swimming 1/3 of a mile and biking for 18 miles. Its my first one (and probably not my last one) so I’m just going to focus on finishing. I’m not trying to win it!

Planning – Weekends

5:30 AM – May 25, 2010 I posted before about how I organize my mornings. Today I want to write about the weekends, because the prep I do then, makes it possible to survive and be successful during the week.

Weight Loss Equals Calories in minus Calories Burned As I get closer and closer to goal and further and further from my surgery date, it gets harder to lose. So I have to be careful with how many calories I burn, as well as how many I consume. Spending time planning for my exercise and nutrition is the only way I can keep that happening.

Exercise I try to get one long exercise session in Saturday or Sunday – sometimes both if I’ve missed more than one day during the week. A long morning at the gym and pool, or a long bike ride or a hike for 2-3 hours keeps my fitness level up and helps me with my weight loss goals.

Nutrition: The weekend is planning and prep time for weekday meals. My husband and I make a menu plan, then do the shopping and as much meal prep as we can. A pot of soup, stew or chili on the weekend makes a great meal for Sunday lunch. Plus we eat so much less, that we can usually freeze half for a no-cook night in a few weeks. I can freeze 1/2 cup servings and keep for emergency meals, a quick grab and go lunch for work or an alternative to a dinner that might not work as well for me as it does the boys.

Breakfast for the week starts on Saturdays or Sundays with a batch of Power Protein Oatmeal. I cook a batch of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut oats and let it sit for 15 minutes while I mix up 3 servings of Inspire Peanut Butter Cookie Protein powder. (Get yours at http://www.bariatriceating.com) I stir it into 1/2 cup of sugar free, organic applesauce (just apples and vitamin c for color) along with 3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. This makes a sort of gloppy paste that I stir into the oatmeal. I put this into a large glass bowl with a tight fitting seal. All week long I scoop out 1/2 cup servings for breakfast and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Instant, no-excuse breakfast with lots of fiber – so important for everyone but particularly for post WLS patients.

Laundry and other chores It is very easy for me to make excuses and come up with reasons why I must do this or that and not exercise.  Not having clothes is one excuse I’ve used in the past, but no longer. On the weekends we will do any laundry my husband hasn’t finished during the week to make sure I have clean workout clothes and work clothes and my son has clothes for camp.

Bag Lady I have bagitis. I love having a bag all packed with everything I need for biking, running, swimming, kickboxing or weight training. I picked up a few bags  at the Goodwill and now have the bags hanging on the hook by the front door for each sport and for getting dressed at work on days I walk or bike to work. My husband volunteered to create laminated bag tags with the contents of each bag, so I can quickly check the contents on the weekend and be ready to go every morning. (I haven’t taken him up on that yet – I am still tweaking my lists – see here for the Bag lists)

Update about Travel Weekends Last weekend we traveled to New Haven for my college reunions, so all this prep had to be done on Thursday before we left. I’m really glad we did, because Tuesday morning it was super hard to get out of bed and get moving. If I had not prepped so much, I would have been able to come up with tons of excuses why I just couldn’t get to the gym that day.

Road trip to Reunions

6:21 AM – Slept like a log! So exhausted – got back yesterday afternoon from an insane road trip: left Atlanta Thursday night to drive to New York in 16 hours. Friday we did the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island (long rant due on that later) and the Empire State Building. Then torturous 1 1/2 hours to New Haven (we were so exhausted – what were we thinking, spending a day doing NY???) for my 25th Class Reunions. Then drove back Sunday night arriving Monday afternoon. Lunacy!

Attack of the Crazies Immediately became the meanest woman in the universe. These amazing waves of inadequacy, not belonging and being a fraud just swamped me. In return, I was mean, critical and obnoxious. Fortunately, my wonderful husband called me on it (Thank you!! Sorry!!) and I talked myself down. What is it with Yale? I loved being there but I always felt as if I was there by fraud and I didn’t really belong with all those smart people.

Relaxing Once I got my head under control, I really had a good time. I saw a dozen of the greatest people I’ve ever known in my life. Becky, Cricket, Chris, Rosie, John, Bill, Sarah, Peter, Paul, Linda, Evan, Mark, Dionysus, Heidi, Peggy, Sharon, Sarah, Ellie, Jon, Valerie, and David and it was really so nice to just talk and get caught up and hear about everyone.

Frenzy of activities Saturday we went to panel discussions (Sarah, Ellie et al – LOVED the future of narrative; Jon – I think the differences between liberals and conservatives might be the best thing that ever happened to my marriage – can you do one on Libertarians??) Toured the new observatory and planetarium, wandered around campus and met up with old friends. Also saw three co-workers from my dining hall days that are still there. 30 years – that’s impressive!

Dancing the night away Have to brag: I was the first person on the  dance floor Saturday night! How’s that for a change in attitude? I took my son out for a dance and it was so fun. My husband wanted to film and take pictures, but I dragged him up there. We really had a good time until the DJ decided the party was all about him and cranked up the speakers so that my son had an anxiety attack and had to leave. Can you tell I don’t like DJs? Also got lots of compliments on how I haven’t aged, looked fabulous and beautiful. LOVED that – wish I was better at accepting compliments – instead I had to say stuff like “I’ve got great cosmetics”. Will that ever stop??? Can’t I just say, Thanks, Mark!

Eating, Drinking and Making Merry Sunday morning came much too soon. Next time I want to go Thursday so I have more time to hang out and talk to my friends. I spent so much time talking that I didn’t have any issues with overeating or thinking about eating. I got my plate and focused on eating my protein and some veggies. I did have way too much pizza – first in NY and then in New Haven and then in NY again on the way back! Total white bread attack. Also drank with my meals – big no no. AND I had more than my “just one bite” of cake/dessert stuff over the four days.  There was a mixed fruit shortcake that I probably ate WAY too much of – but it was FANTASTIC.

Special Moments Got to stop off and see my friends John and Bill. Only a couple of hours, but so perfect. I will definitely take them up on their offer to hang out for a night after reunions next time. Two hours is not enough every two years. Then into New York to see Valerie and David. That was great, except for the part where we put the address into the GPS and picked the wrong burrough. Ick! Crazy traffic, only to end up in the wrong place. I KNEW I was going the wrong way, but thought, hey, the GPS must know where it’s going and I haven’t been here in years. Gotta trust myself more.

Family Had a wonderful time with my friend’s parents. Her mom is so special to me. Heard a great quote on Oprah that applies to her: The people who love you when you need it, those are your family. Is that the truth or what?

I can still see the path. I’m doing a three day protein train to de-carb so I don’t get sucked into any craving attacks. I gained a pound which is not good, but hey – I did sit on my butt for two days in the car, so that’s not so bad and I can fix it.I might have stepped off the path a step or two with the no exercise and not eating right, but I haven’t gone far. I can still see the path and choose to step back onto it. It’s interesting to me that I know I COULD choose to use this as the beginning of the end. I could keep eating carbs and slacking off on the exercise. It would be so easy to begin that spiral. But I don’t choose to do that. Instead, I’ll de-carb and go to the gym and get back on track.

Look – I’m back on the path! Making my power protein oatmeal right now, while I sip my protein shake. At 7:00 am I’ll shut down the computer and get dressed for the gym. Need to work out the kinks.

Need to get serious about the Triathlon The Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon at Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta is at the end of the month. June 27th is now less than 1 month away – holy cow!!! More on that later, gotta get to the gym! I’m going to bike a little, walk/run a little and then swim my 1/3 of a mile.

Making Plans Made plans to see a couple of people before the next reunions. And I want to make more. I seriously suck at staying in touch and the result is that I’ve missed some major moments in my friends lives: weddings, babies, graduations and other really important events. I am so glad there is facebook now – hopefully, I will get to stay in touch more!

Talked too much Of course, I couldn’t stop talking about my surgery, and changing my life and the progress I’ve made and the goals I have. One friend was great – she kept asking all these questions. It’s amazing how someone asking a question can give me the chance to get clear in my head what might have been a jumble of facts and ideas and thoughts. I think that might be the secret to getting all this down is to do it as answers to questions.

Calling all readers! So send my your questions and I’ll answer them (if I can!)

A bag for everything and everything in its place

These are the “bags” I’ve put together to help me get out the door to the gym faster while not forgetting anything essential. (Now if I can just remember to take the bag…)

Swimming Bag

  • Swim goggles (I have prescription ones – makes a huge difference)
  • Swim cap
  • Nose clip (I hate getting water up my nose)
  • Towel
  • Swimsuit
  • Flipflops
  • Lock and key for the locker
  • Labrada Rock n Roll bar for post workout nutrition (I cut it into 4 pieces)

Weight Lifting and Kickboxing Bag

  • Hand towel
  • Workout gloves
  • kickboxing gloves
  • Hand wraps
  • Labrada Rock n Roll bar for post workout nutrition (I cut it into 4 pieces)

Running Bag

I don’t always take a bag when I run, but it is nice to have everything gathered so I don’t get 1/4 mile away and realize I forgot something:

  • Running shoes
  • Heart Rate monitor (I use a garmin 305 and keep it plugged in because it drains fast)
  • Chest strap for the heart rate monitor
  • Nathan labs water bottle (has insulation and a gripping handle)
  • MP3 player (and a spare battery)
  • Headphones
  • Headband (keeps the headphones in and the sweat out of my eyes)
  • Chapstick
  • Sunscreen stick

Biking Bag

My bike bag is attached to my bike so I leave it packed at all times:

  • Spare tire
  • CO2 cartridges
  • Sunscreen stick
  • Chapstick
  • Bike lock and chain
  • Labrada Rock n Roll bar (cut it into 4 pieces)
  • Bike water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Take look mirror (hooks on my glasses temple)
  • Helmet
  • Padded bike shorts

Then all I have to do is get dressed and refill my water bottle and I can run out the door.

Work Clothes Bag

On days when I walk or bike to work, I need to shower and change at work:

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Towel
  • Comb
  • Lotion
  • Underwear
  • Clothes
  • Work Shoes

10 Clothing Sizes in 10 Months – April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM I was sitting and enjoying my first big glass of cool, refreshing water for the day and wearing my “new” robe. A lovely soft cotton, with pastel flowers and a leaf pattern. It is light but has a toweling lining which is great for after the shower. I got it for a $1 at a moving sale in my neighborhood yesterday. Brought it home and washed it and dried it and had it warm from the dryer to slip into this morning.  At the same sale, for about $30, I got 4 beautiful linen dresses, a pair of red linen capri pants that are ADORABLE, a boiled wool jacket for fall, a couple of nice skirts and dress pants that need to be dry cleaned (but for $1 each, who cares?) and 6 dress shirts for work that are all cotton, summer weight and beautiful colors. I bought so much stuff (and of course talked the whole time about my surgery, changing my life and exercise and everything) that they kept going in and finding more great stuff to bring out for me. Also found a food dehydrator so I can make some weight loss friendly backpacking and camping food – $10; and cute little glass sundae dishes for making my Greek yogurt snacks look pretty – just $50 cents each.

Second Hand Sally I love yard sales and tag sales and estate sales and garage sales and whatever sale you want to call them. Also the Goodwill, Salvation Army and St Vincent d’Paul’s and Oxfam (when I’m in London I always go to the one on Putney High Street, near my friend’s house). I love scavenging; it’s like a treasure hunt to find a great bargain.

Essential Treasures Losing from a size 26W down to a 14R (and they are getting loose) requires a change in wardrobe, at least every few sizes. Some people wear belts, use pins or have alterations done and keep their old clothes. My plan is to have any article of clothing that is too big out of the house, because if I gain this weight back, I’m going to be naked until I lose it again. So I want all my clothes to fit- maybe even a bit tight until I get to goal. It’s a constant indicator of my progress and if I start to slack off, my clothes feel tight and it becomes impossible to lie to myself. Then I yank myself back on track.

Not There Yet I decided early on that I would not buy new clothes until I figured out what my goal size was going to be. I THOUGHT it would be a size 14, but lo and behold, here I am, a size 14 and I’m not done yet. So I’m pretty glad I didn’t go crazy at the beginning and buy a lot of new size 14’s as goal rewards.

My Weekly “Reward” Trip Every week I spend a couple of hours flipping through the racks and piling up great finds in my cart. I focus on the color, the fabric and feel, but I try not to buy anything that fits now, unless I have a specific need that is coming up (need a suit for an interview, a dress for an event, a swimsuit to start swimming, etc). When I see something in a smaller size that is fabulous, I snag it and put it on the bottom rod in my closet. The top rod has things that fit NOW.

Making them Mine Every week after my shopping spree, I come home, wash and dry everything (some things go to the dry cleaner, but for $5, sometimes I risk the W&D and see what happens.) Once a month (or when my clothes are all getting loose) I have an orgy of trying on EVERYTHING in my closet. If it is at all loose, it goes into the donation pile. Then I hang up the ones that still fit and all the bottom rack (previously too small) come out and I try everything on. Some things are so small, that I try them on, month after month and get to watch as first I can’t get them on, then I can almost get them on, then on, then buttoned and finally – they fit. It helps me see my progress because sometimes I can’t see it. (I weigh 135 pounds less than my highest recorded weight and sometimes I feel fatter than I did at 321 pounds).

Money, Money, Money Over the last  9 months, I have spent an average of $50 a week and have bought clothes in sizes 18W, 16W, 14W, 12W (rare!), 18Reg, 16R, 14R and about two months ago I started buying sizes 12 and 10. I’ve now created 7 complete wardrobes for about $1600. That includes underwear which I just can’t make myself buy that used. Ick! But it seems to last for several sizes, if I buy it really small and then wear it until it is very loose. Jockey outlets – that’s my secret.  Shoes are another story since my feet shrank from 11wide to 8 1/2 medium, and I buy about a pair a month.

The Size of Success For Easter/Passover I wore a size 12 dress. It was a bit snug, but it looked GREAT and I felt wonderful. I just had my trying on spree for the month and have a car load of clothes to donate to the Goodwill, plus two piles of suits and business clothes for Dress for Success. My accountant says I could take a larger deduction for these, based on the replacement cost of the clothes, but I’m delighted to have the Goodwill price for them. (So glad I saved all my receipts.)

The Folly of Youth When I think of the full price Jones New York suits I used to buy at Nordstrom’s for $300+, well, I feel really good about how well I’ve done. Plus, I dress better now than I ever have. Much more color and variety. Goodwill organizes all the clothes by color and I try to stay out of the black unless I need a basic piece like one great pair of black pants, or one great black jacket.

Changing My Brain I was reading in Dr. Oz’s book You – Getting Younger – that doing something like that on a regular basis creates new patterns in your brain that help to re-frame your habits. I think this must be true, because when I got to the point where I thought I had enough size 14s and quit buying, I got really sad. (I was worried that I had created a transference habit, but I stick to my budget, so I’m not so worried any more.) When I started buying the size 12’s and then the 10’s I felt more positive and hopeful about where I was going to end up. And you know what? I bought a couple of size 8 shirts at that yard sale. Who knows?