Never Give Up, Never Say Die

In May of 2010 I started writing about my road to weight loss surgery and getting healthy. I’ve been on that road for almost 40 years. It’s been an up and down journey. I’m not particularly proud of where I am right now, but I’ve been in worse shape. This week I started AGAIN. I know that no matter how long and how far I slide, I will start over. And over and over. I will never give up, because that means giving up on not just myself, but my family and friends who supported me.

So I went back to that first post and read it all the way through. Not too shabby. The words that resonate the most with me today are these;

Writing my way out of the drive-thru: one of the tools I’ve used to keep myself focused has been writing. I write down my dreams, goals, plans, problems, solutions, ideas and things that inspire and motivate me. A lot of what I write about will be my road to weight loss surgery and my life long battle with maintaining that loss.

Weight Loss Surgery: WLS scared the hell out of me. It scared me before I did it and the fear of gaining back the weight I’ve lost continues to scare me everyday. I didn’t have my intestines rerouted just to temporarily lose the weight. I will not gain it back. But fear is good – as Nancy Kress said “Fear is the ancient word for respect”. I have to respect the fat girl inside me. She’s strong and she’s had 47 years to learn a lot of good tricks. The thin woman on the outside is a piker – a relative newcomer to the battle. So I need a good plan.

That fat girl has been feeling pretty smug lately.  “Go ahead, re-route your intestines. I’m ALWAYS going to win.”

Maybe. Maybe not. The fight isn’t over. Many battles have been lost but many have been won. Here’s where we stand today:

The Fat Girl:  Weighs 234 pounds and has joint pain and some mild sleep apnea symptoms. A1C (marker for diabetes status) is back in the glucose intolerant state (pre-diabetes). She broke her promise and bought bigger clothes.

The Thin Woman: Has a wonderful family, fantastic friends, a great house and a good job. She’s STILL down 87 pounds from her highest weight ever. Exercised every single day all week – including a major push of 2 hours yesterday. (walking and jogging for 1 hour and biking for 1 hour). She’s eating smaller portions and focusing on protein and fiber again. She’s meditating again. She’s taking all her vitamins and trying to drink more water. (What IS that? I live in the freaking desert and I just don’t want to drink water. Wierd.) And she’s blogging again. Uh oh, girl friend! Not so smug now, are we?

So what’s the plan, Stan? Exercise. Eating better. Writing. Meditation.

I know how to do this. What has been done, can be done again. Because I will not give up. I may slip and stumble, struggle along the way, but I will not give up. Never give up; never say die!

 

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Falling into Fall Again

Charles Muench Enveloped in Aspens

Charles Muench Enveloped in Aspens

I have been having the blahs for the last few weeks. Odd, because the weather is stunning – bright blue skies and lots of sunshine during the day. Blazing orange and yellow and red leaves. Getting to wear my sweaters and jackets and boots. All good stuff – really my favorite time of year. Yet here I am again, slowing down and eating too much and sleeping oddly.

I went back over my posts from the fall last year and some scribbles from the year before that. It happens every year and every year it’s a big dang surprise. Obviously, even those of us who learn our history, are doomed to repeat it.

Fall is a great time of year for me. I make plans and get started on things that during the spring and summer I actually have the energy to finish. But October is the time of year that I make myself start thinking and planning and getting started because otherwise, months pass and I find myself in March looking at about a 30 pound weight gain, an empty bank account and the whole winter is just a blur.

Started up my light therapy treatments again yesterday.  Probably should have started in September as I normally do, but I was kind of hoping that all this sunshine and being outside would do the trick for me. And it would, but apparently I’m not getting outside enough. S0….I’m doing a challenge!

It’s a work health thing called Falling into Shape or something like that. I’ve been invited to be on a very competitive team and for six weeks we are going to log our steps. The team with most steps wins prizes, fame and fortune. Well, maybe an iPod or an xBox – that works, too.

One of my new team mates walked almost 3/4 of a million steps last year in the challenge. Another one was on the winning team where everyone walked more than 10k steps a day on average. Wow.

This is right up my alley! 10,000 steps is about 5 miles (@ 2000 steps per mile on average of 2.5 feet per step) and takes me about 75 minutes to walk. I can probably walk a little faster than that, but that’s the goal. Of course, since we are all super competitive, we’ve decided we’re going to try and walk 15k steps a day – or more! Wow. We could potentially hit 1,000,000 steps in 6 weeks.

That’s a lot of sunshine. Or treadmill. Either way, it will be really good for me to get my lazy butt off the sofa and my nose out of the books and get MOVING.

So – what’s up with everyone else?

Savor this moment

It’s Saturday morning. The sun is up and shining on fresh snow on the mountains. Down here in the valley it is clear and cold. I’ve got the fire burning and my dogs are sleeping after their early morning run. I’ve got a hot cup of coffee, a blanket and my laptop. Damn I’m lucky!

Hard to feel that way last night when I went to bed exhausted. That seems to be the norm now. Work until I can’t stand up anymore and then collapse. Sleep and recover, then get up and do it all over again. Not taking enough down time to just enjoy life. Rush, rush, rush.

I would like to go to the lake or up to enjoy the snow in the mountains but I have to do my taxes today so I can get them filed by the Oct 15 deadline. Guess it would be a good goal to finish by Sunday afternoon so we can do that.

In the meantime, I’m taking an hour to just enjoy the peace and quiet. That will shortly be shattered when my son’s friend arrives. I feel sure they will play video games most of the day, until I make them go out and ride their bikes or play ball or something for a little while.

I am going to make carrot and ginger soup today. That and a pan of the rye quick bread I’ve been making will be lunch. Dinner is grilled shrimp with some gluten-free pasta.

Did I mention that my husband has discovered he has celiac disease? Yup. He’s been suffering from horrible breakouts for the last couple of years and when we got out here, someone noticed and suggested he try gluten-free. Amazing response in only a few weeks so that’s our new lifestyle – Gluten-Free! Glad as hell it’s now and not 10 years ago. There are so many wonderful resources and products out there. We particularly like the Pamela’s baking mix, though it’s not great for me – too carby. But there are tons of great, healthy, non-gluten good carb things to eat and we’re going to find them all. Quinoa is still a staple and of course, meat, veggies and fruit are all gluten-free. For some people rye causes them to react, but my husband seems to be good with rye so I’ve learned to make this bread. It takes about 10 minutes to get everything out,  mix it up and then clean up the mess. That’s also about how long it takes to pre-heat my oven, so I’ve been making a batch every other day. The boys love it and so do I!

Quicker Rye Quick Bread (with my modifications!)

  • 2.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill dark rye flour 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp natural grey seat salt
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk – I like the tang of the buttermilk)
  • 1/4 cup honey

Pre-heat oven to 400° f and spray a 9×9 baking dish with canola. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together wet ingredients in another bowl, then stir quickly into the dry until combined. Don’t over mix! Spread into the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400° f. Turn down the oven to 350° f and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until the bread has pulled away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted comes clean. Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks. This bread will stay good for several days if wrapped in plastic.

Rye Quick Bread (original recipe)

Compliments of: Bluebird Customer & Professional Baker Lynda Oosterhuis

This Swedish bread is traditionally made with cumin seeds but I find it covers up the lightly sweet rye and honey flavors.

  • 5 cups Rye Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Yogurt
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Honey

Pre-heat oven to 400° f and butter 2 8 X 4 inch loaf pans. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together wet ingredients and stir into dry. Continue to beat with a wooden spoon for several minutes. Divide among the loaf pans and bake for 20 minutes at 400° f. Turn down the oven to 350° f and continue to bake for 30 minutes or until the bread has pulled away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted comes clean. Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks.

This bread will stay good for several days if wrapped in plastic.

 

As I cook this morning, I’m going to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have a great job, in a beautiful location with my healthy family all around me.  Have a great day!

Is it October already?

Just looking at my calendar and realizing that September is almost over.  Where did the summer go?? Still a ton going on here. 90 days into the new job and still think it was the best decision we ever made though it isn’t getting any easier. The move was hard on all of us and there are days we look at each other and say “remind me why we did this?”

Those are the days we pack up a picnic and some towels and go to the lake. Something about seeing that lake, that huge expanse of water framed by gorgeous mountains soothes our souls and gets us back on track. This weekend I took my son camping and that was nice, though the park we went to was a bit too close to the highway and all the noise from the motorcycle rally going on in town.

But waking up to the sunrise, making hot chocolate for my son and scrambling eggs for the early risers was a great start to the day and the week.

I’m still struggling to get in enough exercise. Riding my bike to work a few times a week is not enough.

I’m also struggling with eating too much. I know that is a response to all the stress, but it’s not a good response. I thought I’d done the work I needed to do to change that.

I guess I can call it a success that at least I am aware of what I’m doing. Nothing mindless about it.

Heading to my 30 year high school reunion this weekend back in Atlanta. It will be fun to see my family and friends. I kept thinking it would motivate me to exercise more or eat better, but apparently not. Well, its not about my waistline, is it? (I’ll keep telling myself that as I climb into a girdle on Saturday night!)

Hope everyone is doing well and know that even if I don’t get around to calling anyone, I think about you all the time. Call me or email me so I remember to take time out of my crazy schedule for the important things.

The Dragon’s Tail

My Weight Watcher leader, Jane Brown, has a great way to describe what just happened to me: I was prepared for the dragon that I had to fight with all the travel and the training and the vacationing. But then I came home and collapsed and the dragon’s tail got me.

Yup. Home and getting back into my routine, but three weeks of making good choices and this weekend I went off the rails big time. Ate fried ham and hashbrowns. Ate barbecue and french fries. Drank a lot of wine. The wine is probably the scariest, since I am for damnsure not going to follow the path that leads to: transference of addictions.

I had a random glass of wine while I was traveling and just loved it. I’d forgotten how much I like wine. And I drank a nightly hot chocolate with schnapps while I was vacationing at the ski resort and I really enjoyed that. But it’s been a long time since I drank to the point where I was toasted. Well, I got toasted Saturday night. Sitting at home, drinking wine, by myself.  I was drinking the Muscodo – very sweet, and goes right to my head. Also, makes me want to eat snacky, munchy stuff. Not good. Sounds like the beginning of a story that, frankly, I don’t want to know the ending, so I’m going to skip the item on my to do list that says “Buy more wine.”

So, yay! I’ve identified another land mine and I can safely remove it from my perimeter.

Also a yay! I walked almost 7 miles yesterday in under 2 hours. I think that is my best time yet. And I didn’t feel destroyed when I got home, so good progress. Next weekend I need to go for 8 miles so I can keep up with my half marathon training plan for Walk the Walk in May. I’m not making it to kickboxing class, though. I guess I just feel really worn down and walking is all I want to do. And I’ve kind of sabotaged myself by setting up early meetings all week to work with my offshore team.

Hmm. Maybe another dragon’s tail?

I’m finishing up my morning tea and my pumpkin spiced peanut butter oatmeal now. As soon as I’m done I’m going to hop on the  treadmill and finish my movie and get in a few miles before I head for work.
Have a great day everyone!

No Excuse Day

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On behalf of the President, who I’m sure would approve, I hearby declare this “No Excuse Day”. Today all people everywhere will do their chores, eat healthy, get some exercise and obey the traffic laws.

But…

Nope. No excuses. Like Monday, when I had the makeup appointment with my nutritionist (should have gotten up earlier) and yesterday, when I went upstairs to jump on my treadmill and realized I had about 5 minutes to get out of the house if I was going to make my crack o’ dawn dentist appointment. So – no treadmill. So I took my shoes so I could get a walk in at lunchtime, but it was cold and raining and though I did walk for 10 minutes, it could hardly be called a workout. And after work I went to dinner with an old friend, which was fun, but the tour of his new house was also, not exercise.

Came home at 9 and crashed, never even considered the idea of working out. Woke up at 2am, wide awake – should have done it then, but my excuse was that I would have woken up the whole house and been tired all day. So I went back to sleep.

So what’s my excuse now? Oh, the boys are asleep and I’m not quite awake yet and I need time to wake up and I want to get my blog done and blah blah blah blah.

Does it never end?

Yes. It does. It ends today, because it’s “No Excuse Day” and I won’t blog again until I’ve done 45 minutes on my treadmill.

Hope to be back soon.

My Very First Blog Post

I read a book when I was 12 called Julie of the Wolves. Something the author said always stuck with me “When you are afraid, turn around and go back to the beginning”. So, I went back to the beginning of my blogging and found a couple of posts to try and think myself back into that mind frame:

August 2009 – First post on beforeandeatinghelp.com:

I have been “lurking” a little this past week, but hadn’t really introduced myself. I’m almost 47, married to Fred who is wonderful and we have one son, Jacob who is 7. I live and work in Atlanta, Georgia (in the Perimeter area for those who are local) and am approved and scheduled for RNY surgery on August 26th. I’m getting prepared by researching and planning which is how I found BE. I’ve been really impressed with not only the volume of information, but the quality and tone. Everyone has been really upbeat and postive and it makes me feel more hopeful for a positive outcome. I’ve had two other major surgeries in the last few years and had complications with both, so I’m a little anxious and planning makes me feel more in control! I’m lucky that Fred is supporting me in this, since he’s even more freaked out at the idea than I am. I’m following others who are having surgery this month so let me know if you are also an “August-09 RNY-er”! My life story in a nutshell is born at the dead end of a dirt road in Georgia; scholarship to Yale, traveled around the world working for Coca-Cola, retired and began doing technical project consulting in 1998 when I got married. I still get in a few international trips a year – because traveling and cooking and reading are my three passions (after Fred and Jacob!) I just got back from a trip to Singapore which was one of my reasons for finally having the surgery: my balance and strength was so poor that I fell down and ended up in the hospital there. So now I’m doing Wii fit for exercise to get in better shape before the surgery and have been drastically reducing the volume of food I’m eating, while focusing on protein, veggies and fruit. I also have to learn to drink more liquids and take daily vitamins – something I”m really bad at. I’ve ordered the sample pack, the ice cream sandwich protein drink and some Sangria from the shop, as well as the Bariatric Advantage vitamins and some protein bars. I’m looking forward to trying some of the clear liquids with protein as soon as the Isopure is available again. I love all the recipes and have already started working my way through some of them. Karen

 

May 2010 – First blog post on getsmartgetstrong.com:

Two years ago I weighed 321 pounds. For an intelligent person, that wasn’t very smart. So I made the decision to change my life and get strong.

I am “The Project Manager”: I have worked in technology related roles for over 25 years. As a PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP) I have a lot of skills that I like to think of as my super powers.

My super powers: I know how to research, organize information, put together teams to build solutions, and then plan and implement those solutions. I’ve been doing that for over twenty years for others, now I’m finally using my powers for good for myself.

Writing my way out of the drive-thru: one of the tools I’ve used to keep myself focused has been writing. I write down my dreams, goals, plans, problems, solutions, ideas and things that inspire and motivate me. A lot of what I write about will be my road to weight loss surgery and my life long battle with maintaining that loss.

Weight Loss Surgery: WLS scared the hell out of me. It scared me before I did it and the fear of gaining back the weight I’ve lost continues to scare me everyday. I didn’t have my intestines rerouted just to temporarily lose the weight. I will not gain it back. But fear is good – as Nancy Kress said “Fear is the ancient word for respect”. I have to respect the fat girl inside me. She’s strong and she’s had 47 years to learn a lot of good tricks. The thin woman on the outside is a piker – a relative newcomer to the battle. So I need a good plan.

My Battle Plan: I’ve been overweight since I was 11 years old. I’ve tried diets. There will likely be some posts here on the various diets I’ve tried, because frankly, I think I’ve tried them all. As soon as I stopped (or sooner on some of them!) I gained it all back and then some. I’ve tried exercising and that works – until you stop. I’ve tried hypnosis and therapy and weight watchers and support groups and I’ve even gone to a fat farm. But what I never really tried was all of them at once, with the conscious decision that whatever I’m doing, I’m doing forever.

BariatricEating.com: I bought a few books and one of them was Susan Maria’s Before and After Weight Loss Surgery. She really spoke to me – her love of food and life and how she incorporated that into her new post-WLS lifestyle. I visited the board and have become a regular visitor and poster. Some of what I post here were thoughts that started at BE. I need that support and the knowledge that I can go there anytime of the day and read, write and learn.

Weight Watchers: I joined WW because my doctor suggested it. I’m glad he did. I’ve learned so much at WW and when I feel scared about gaining my weight back, I know that one of the tools in my arsenal is WW and the accountability that the weekly meetings brings to my struggle. I think that Weight Watchers and Weight Loss Surgery belong together for super morbidly obese people. We didn’t get to be MO because we had great habits and knew how to do everything. So having WLS is just one of many steps.

Exercise: I know that you can lose weight after WLS without exercising. But I know from experience that you can’t keep losing and you can’t get to your goal without it. Plus, there is no way in hell you’re going to keep it off without exercising. (And did I mention the flabbiness – I’ll get to that later!) So suck it up and do it. It doesn’t have to be boot camp with the big boys. It can be a walk or a swim or ski jumping on Wii fit. Lots of posts on going from the couch to my first triathlon – coming up in June.

My Family: my husband is wonderful. He loves, respects and supports me so much and makes it possible for me to do all that I do. He is also capable of annoying the crap out of me, so I suspect that some of my blogs will be venting about the most wonderful, patient, intelligent and caring man I’ve ever met. My son is terrific. I’m so lucky and so proud. He’s home-schooled by my husband and together they have great adventures in learning that my husband journals and I’ll probably steal so I can share them here as well.

 

7:10 AM – just read a personal message on the BE board that made me cry like a baby. Now I’m going to go upstairs and do my treadmill for half an hour. Baby steps.