Goodbye to 2010

It’s harder to wish in the new year tonight than it was last year. Last year was all about the progress that I was going to make and looking ahead. This year is more introspective. Looking at the progress and success from 2010. I can’t help wondering what 2011 will bring that can possibly top reaching a healthy weight for the first time in my life? Completing a triathlon? Running a 5k?

Here are some things from 2010 that I say goodbye to tonight, with the pledge that I will never experience them again:

– Weighing over 200 pounds

– Wearing a size that starts with X

– Dumping because I don’t know what my limits are after WLS surgery

And that’s it. I can’t think of another thing about 2010 that I’d change.  It was a pretty amazing year. So goodbye to one of the best years of my life. It gets to live there with these big years:

– 1981 – Graduated from High School – went off to Yale

– 1984 – Study Abroad in London

– 1986 – Graduation from Yale (really Dec 1985, but ceremony in 1986)

– 1995 – Met Fred

– 1998 – Married the love of my life

– 2002 – Our Son Jacob was born

– 2006 – Goodbye to PCOS forever

– 2009 – WLS Surgery

– 2010 – Healthy weight reached (and long list of athletic accomplishments)

So whatever 2011 has to offer, I’m ready for it. Bring it on!

New Support Group

Finally! An in person, real live support group that I can attend! Dr. Rick Finley’s patients meet once a month on Mondays at Emory University Midtown (aka Crawford Long if you are an old-time resident of Atlanta) at 6pm.  I’ve volunteered to help them set up an online presence so they can share info and help all Dr. Finley’s patients – even those who live hours away from Atlanta.  I’m excited!

Last night I met another Karen – the surgical nurse who helped with both my surgeries. She runs the group. We had an impressive presentation from a high school senior’s project. Interesting survey results. Then there was Stacey, who works with Dr. Finley to provide nutritional counseling, talked about basic nutrition and vitamins. She’s also a personal trainer and works extensively with the bariatric community in Lake Oconee.

I initially thought, hey, I know all that. (Ha – such a know-it-all!) But it was well put together and I DID learn something. Several things, really:

One, I have not recalculated my protein requirements since before my surgery. I am now getting almost double the protein that I really need.  Her recommendation was 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. I had to get help with the math, but 172 pounds times 2.2 conversion rate = 78 grams of protein required – NOT 128. Ooops!

Another thing she was very helpful about was the whole net carbs, absorbed carbs marketing lingo. That’s all it is – the companies invent that stuff and then lure us in with whatever they want to put on the label. Here’s her guidelines:

Count half the sugar alcohols as carbs/sugar. Some people, (moi!) must count them all, because they really have an impact on our blood sugar and cause severe digestive upsets. Translation: eat them and pay! The sugar alcohols are sorbitol, manitol, etc – all those things you find in sweets designed for diabetics. Sigh.

The other thing that got me was that I’ve always counted all the fiber in a serving and subtracted it from the carb count. Her recommendation is to only count it IF it is 5 grams or more of fiber. Dang it! No wonder my weight loss has stalled for so long. I’m DEFINITELY getting too many carbs if I change the way I’m counting them. But it’s good to know this stuff. This is a life long change – I’m not going to get it perfect right off the bat. Might take me another 50 or 60 years!

Also got to taste test the celebrate vitamins. I loved the multi-vitamin, but the calcium was big and thin, versus medium and thick like my Bariatric Advantage calcium. Plus, didn’t really like the flavor. Got a few more, including Purity, to try. Also a reminder that I’m not supposed to take my calcium at the same time as my multivitamin because of the iron in there. Dang it! I had forgotten that over the last year and I always take them in the same half hour time frame. Drat! More change! But it is so important because osteoporosis is not pretty and it could be years before I notice that I have a problem. Must be proactive on that front.

Well, gotta get some of my spiced pumpkin oatmeal going and then get on the treadmill. I feel a bit sore from yesterday, but not as much as I expected. I suspect the soreness is from trying to go too fast on my warmup. I’m going to stick to the 2.5 mile an hour warmup and crank up the speed to 4.2 as soon as I can and keep it there for the rest of the walk. That should still get me to 4 miles in 60 minutes.

It is cold today. Just want to say a big thank you to my father in law who gave me my treadmill before my surgery last year. It would not be fun to have to go outside and get in my frozen car and drive to the gym this morning. It really is the no-excuse workout!

Status Update

I started the Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus program last Friday. Friday was my first weigh in – and guess what? I lost 1.8 pounds! That’s my biggest loss in MONTHS and I wasn’t really trying to lose – I was eating on “maintenance”.

I ate all my extra weekly allowance points, as well as all my activity points. I was never hungry, I ate way more than I thought I should, but still, I lost. There must be some strong magic in that program.

I’m excited about week two because I’m down to 172.4 pounds (naked, at home, before breakfast). In 1.4 pounds, I will have lost 150 pounds and be at my endo’s goal weight for me. That could happen NEXT FRIDAY. How exciting is that?

In 2.5 pounds, I’ll be at 169.9 and below 170 for the first time since 1981. That’s turning the clock back by thirty years. And that could happen in a couple of weeks (theoretically). It’s a theory I’d like to consider, target and embrace with hopefulness.

I’m ready to be at goal. Not just physically, but mentally.

Bring it on!

Hanukkah

Hanukkah started on Wednesday night. We have a tiny little fir tree that is our Hanukkah bush and we put up some lights and a few decorations and we set out lots of candles. All the bright lights, plus spending each night focused on family have really been wonderful. Each night my husband has made a wonderful meal for us and we light the menorah and say the prayers and eat together. Then we open our gift for the evening. Little things, simple things. Books, movies, games. My son got one big present – a new galaxy tab which he loves. Last night he got the movie How to Train your Dragon. Awesome movie. Can’t believe we missed it in the theaters, but it is just as well, because we have HAD to buy it, because I want to see it again immediately!

It was nice to feel so happy last night. It has been a hard week. A long desired job became available, only to find that the salary offered is too low. It is not enough to allow me to support our family and let my husband continue to stay home and homeschool our son.  Worse is that if I don’t take that, there is a chance they won’t be able to renew my contract at my current rate at the end of the month. I can’t afford a rate cut, so all in all, this has been a pretty stressful couple of days.

I’ve started doing a bit of networking, just to see what is available. Hopefully I’ll be able to stay where I am, but I can’t count on that. My husband pointed out that I actually really love getting a new contract. A new project, new people, new skills. I like how quickly I can get up to speed and contribute. How soon the praise starts rolling in. A new whole new audience for collecting the “atta girls” I love so much.

So today, I’m looking on the bright side and focusing on what is going well. Today I am grateful for so many things:

– My best friend sent me FOUR boxes of my favorite tea from London

– I am getting new running shoes today

– I have graduated to the Weight Watchers level 5 walking plan and can easily walk 4 miles per hour.  Ready to start working on 5 mph this week.

– I started the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program and really enjoyed the first day – love learning new stuff, trying new recipes and shaking up my weight loss

– I was down another .6 yesterday, putting me back to 176 so I am still maintaining since October 1st

All things considered, life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am sitting with my family in the living room. My son is playing quietly, talking himself through some game that he’s made up to go with the Lego pieces he is playing with. My husband is puttering around on the computer. We started out day with hugs and kisses and then sat talking over a great cup of coffee. Now we’ve just finished a wonderful breakfast that my husband made for us.

My heart is so full of gratitude for my life. So many things that I have to be grateful for. The whole list is too long, but here’s the top few:

  • My husband and the fact that our relationship has just gotten stronger through all the challenges of the last year and a half
  • My son and the joy that being his mom brings to my life
  • Our beautiful dogs – my two old girls who have been with us for over 12 years and the new puppy who has brought a lot of energy back to their lives
  • Our home – warm and safe – and messy! I’m starting to realize the mess is the living part
  • Our life – with Fred homeschooling and taking care of us, we are so much less stressed. Broke maybe, but happy!
  • My job – so grateful to have one and be working for nice people in a nice environment on an interesting project. Thankful for the fact that the hours suit my health and lifestyle and I can work and be healthy
  • My friends without whom life would be so dull
  • My family and knowing that I have the chance to keep working on those relationships
  • The people who have helped me get healthy this past year: my therapist, Rebecca More; my doctor, Rick Finley; my Weight Watcher’s leader, Jane Brown; my trainers, Stephen, Cathy, Phillip, Moe and Andre; my nutritionist, Alyssa Winters; my support group, beforeandafterhelp.com; my team at Laurette Medical group.
  • My health – and the chance to start 2011 as a NORMAL person. I’ve never had a whole year of being physically normal – mentally normal might have to wait for 2012 or might just be an unrealistic goal!
  • My writing voice – being able to sit down and put words to paper (computer) and not feel blocked and stifled like I did for so long
  • My dreams – and the chance to keep chasing them

Thank you.

After the Rain

Yesterday really turned out beautiful in Atlanta. About three o’clock I managed to get outside and discovered blue sky, sunshine and beautiful fall foliage.  It’s good to remember that the sun really is still there, especially on those days when it is hiding!

Yesterday I had the chance to talk with someone at work who said he has been inspired by me and has lost 24 pounds already! His goal is to lose 71, so he is going to write down his food journal for a few days and bring it to me so I can give him some pointers. I can’t wait! I’ll also point him in the direction of the Daily Plate, Fit Tracker and the other tools that I used when I was getting started. And that I should still be using…

Yep. Haven’t tracked for a few days. It is just astonishing to me how dedicated I feel and then the actual result is that I rarely track more than 3 days. Oh well, back on the tracking track! I’ll try to write down what I ate yesterday but there’s usually something you forget if you don’t do it right away.

This morning I popped awake before 6 and got up and going. I have my hot water with lemon, as soon as I’m finished I’ll warm up my protein power oatmeal and then after breakfast I’ll get my vitamins packed for the next two weeks.  When I don’t do that, which I didn’t do Monday or Tuesday, I end up only getting my B12, Vitamin D, multivite and calcium.  It is too much trouble to dig out 17 different pills and take them. So I just need to stick to my goals and pack them up. I now pack them up every two weeks and make 15 packets so that if I don’t get to it, I have an extra. Maybe I would have done it on Sunday if I hadn’t had the extra? Something to think about.

Couldn’t connect to the internet yesterday morning when I first woke up, so I worked on my fiction writing yesterday.  Didn’t write much creative new stuff, but I did make some good edits and flush out the outline of what I already wrote. I read it to my son, who is my target age group and he liked it, plus he had some really good suggestions for things to change. We’ll collaborate on this and I’ll write and read to him, then he’ll help me make it more interesting. He’s already asked for more excitement, so I’ve got to think up something that “is exciting, but not dangerous and not too scary”. You got it, kiddo!

I’m really looking forward to next week. I get Thursday and Friday off, plus no weekend work for a change. Four days to socialize, cook, sleep late and get in some kick-ass exercise.  Ha! Didn’t think that’s where I was going with that, did you?  I want to go on the long-delayed bike ride we’ve been planning. Thursday won’t work, that’s the holiday. Saturday we might can squeeze it in, then there’s a potluck at 5pm. Sunday is belly dancing. Right now, only Friday doesn’t have any commitments. But I was thinking that we might drive up to the Tennessee Aquarium on Friday. We have a season’s pass there and it would be fun to spend the day there.

Today is my weight training day – and I want to do another power walk. I think I’ll crank that up to 20 minutes, since I’m not running. Plus, I need to start working up to being able to do a 13.2 mile power walk for next May’s Walk the Walk Moonwalk event in London.  My best friend from college and I have formed a team called the “Boola Boolas”. We are going to wear blue bras with bulldog heads on the front and bulldog butts on the back. The whole idea of the walk is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, so all the participants wear a bra for the walk. Just a bra. But they decorate them and it looks like they have a blast.  Here’s a picture:

It is an evening walk, and you can choose to do the full or half marathon. We went for the half this year. We can always try the full next year.

So have a fabulous day and where ever you are, remember that the sun is still shining.

Maintenance – Week Five & Six

I guess even I’m tired of hearing about maintenance, because I didn’t blog about it last week. I did lose a trifling .4 lbs from the week before.  I tried to get excited, but hell, I could fluctuate 5 pounds in a day in the old MO days, so .4 is just NOTHING. Over time, though, it does appear that I’m losing, ever so slightly on maintenance. And I’m eating a bit more and adding in some treats. Plus I’m exercising more gently and for less time. So the fact that I continue to lose is good. Even .4 lbs.

Why is it that, even though this is my one true goal, it is very hard to get excited about maintenance? Every week I step on the scale and Hurrah! I haven’t gained. I haven’t lost. Whoopee!

That means NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

I get bored if things don’t change. I can see how people, some people, not me, of course, would eat their way back to obesity so that they could have the challenge and the rush of losing it again.

But not me.

Nope. Not me.

Today is Friday and time for my weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers. I put the scale back in my bathroom yesterday, so I think that I am either on target or may have lost a bit more. I measured my stomach and I am the same all over. Which is really hard to believe, since I FEEL much flabbier and fatter. I’m trying to realize that is just the mean girl in my head talking and it isn’t reality. I think there is something about not losing that makes me feel less respectful of the bulge that is left. When I was really pushing it, I took pictures in my bathing suit – bigger than I am today. I took pictures in my workout gear – much, much bigger than I am right now.  But now? Bring on the girdle!

By George, I think she’s got it! Maintenance, Week Four

This past week has definitely been the best so far and I’m not just saying that because I was down 1.2 pounds at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. Well, maybe a little! It is nice to be getting back to where I was last month.

Plus, I’m starting to really feel the balance that I have to apply to stay on track. Once again it all comes down to course correction. I’ve got a goal and I keep looking at where I want to go and if I’m not on track, then I have to analyze the course and make small changes until I get back on track. Big changes will just be overcompensation and I’ll veer off course in the other direction. So small changes – tweaks to the system.

That system is the one that I have been building, one brick at a time, for over three years. Healthy habits, good routines or mindless rut? Call it what you will, it is the foundation that my current health is built on and that foundation is strong!

Here’s what I “mindlessly” did every day this week:

Got up, drank water, ate oatmeal, blogged and worked out. Got dressed, packed up my lunch and vitamins, went to work, had vitamins, water, light therapy, morning snack, water, lunch, water, vitamins, water, walked, afternoon snack, water, went home. Drank water, had dinner with my family, watched tv, evening snack, read, went to bed.

Yes, there were off track moments: I had two afternoon snack attacks this week: 1 bag of Sun Chips (original) and 1/2 a bag Frito corn chips. I had one evening of mindless snacking where I went through a lot of healthy snacks and ate more than I should have because I was eating in front of the television. NO EATING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION.

Still something I have to work on but it wasn’t every night AND I was aware of it because I’ve been journaling and tracking my food this week.  I saw my Nutritionist this week and I committed to daily tracking for three months. Me, three months? I haven’t had very many WEEKS where I tracked every day, so this will be challenging.

But I’ve read the studies, the books and the blogs. EVERYONE agrees on this one point: people who track what they eat are more successful than those who don’t. Period. That one criteria keeps coming up again and again in the research. Track and win. Track and win. Track and win.

I want to win. So I’m going to track. Simply, huh? Well, that and I lost 1.2 pounds. A couple more weeks of maintenance like that and I’ll be back to my lowest weight from last month. Not that I’m doing this expecting to lose. But to me, this is adjustment weight, not weight loss. Does that make sense? I had already lost this weight when I was on plan to lose. But I got off track and gained it back and now I’m back on track, so that re-gain is coming off. Once that is gone, I don’t think I’ll lose any more until I crank up the exercise and cut back on the calories starting January 9th.

Of course, I’ve been thinking about my first goal for 2011. I’ve already decided that I’ll follow the Weight Watcher recommendations and focus on the next 5%.  5% of my current weight of 174 is 8.7 pounds. Which makes me want to round that up to 10, but maybe I should just resist that urge and lose the 5%? Over-achieving, perfectionist tendencies are some of the things that got me to 321 pounds in the first place.  So on January 9th I’m going to weigh myself and whatever that weight is, I’ll set a goal of losing exactly 5%. Then I’ll go on maintenance again for a month. Then I’ll set another 5% goal.

This will keep me from getting too thin, which is unbelievably, a concern once you’ve had gastric bypass. Because you have not only reduced capacity for eating, you also have reduced absorption. So no matter what I eat, I absorb fewer calories, fat and sugar, but also fewer vitamins, minerals, fiber and the calories I need for energy.  I’ve seen and heard too many stories about what can happen.  I don’t think I’m in any danger there, but staging the remaining weight loss over time will make sure my body adjusts and that I’m not pushing myself to some unreasonable, chart-based goal. My nutritionist’s recommendation that I shoot for a waist size of 1/2 my height for a measurement of health sounds like a good goal to me.

Well, I’ve got a workout with the trainer this morning, then a reward of jacuzzi and steam before I take my favorite instructor’s yoga class. I’m so excited about that – can’t wait!

Think about what you are doing mindlessly that is good for you. And watch out for the mindless behavior that is not good for you. Have a great Saturday!

Lose for Good

Lose for Good

Happy October 26th! Today is my 14 month surg-aversary since gastric bypass. In the last three years I have lost 146 pounds and yesterday I celebrated by taking 144 pounds of food to the Weight Watcher’s Lose for Good Campaign. That’s a lot of food! It filled my trunk. It took two of us four trips to haul it all in. It made a stack almost as tall as me. Do you know how good that feels? To know that I LOST that much weight? To be able to give to a great cause and celebrate my victory over obesity.

Today I am indulging myself with my favorite past time: measurements! I started out by comparing the measurements from last month and there was some slight gain there:

Compare: 26-Sep 26-Oct
Weight: 171.5 174.7
Waist: 32.5 33
Hips: 38 39
Arms: 13 12.5
Thighs: 23 23
Calf: 17 16
Bust: “35/40” “35/40”

So that wasn’t making me very happy. But then I decided that was not very positive, so I decided to take a friends advice and look at where I am today, with where I started in August last year:

Compare: Oct-10 Aug-09 May-07
Weight: 175 279 321
Waist: 33 50 59
Hips: 38 58 64
Arms: 13 17 18
Thighs: 23 33 34
Calf: 17 20 21
Bust: “35/40” “44/50” “48/54”

So that’s what I’m going to focus on – those changes and improvements. I can run a mile, I can swim a mile, I can lift weights and kickbox and do yoga and ride my bike for 23 miles.

For next month, and until January 9, 2011, my goal is to maintain where I am. Once I’ve mastered the art of maintenance, I can set a new goal to lose another 5% – which is less than 10 pounds. Then another 5% and another until I get to my ultimate goal. I will get there. I just have to get the fear of maintaining that goal out of my head first, so I don’t keep sabotaging myself with negative thoughts like: “What’s the point? I’m just going to regain it all.”

Because I’m not. I’m losing for good.