Anger after WLS

I responded to a post on BariatricEating.com yesterday about the anger she felt after weight loss surgery and thought I’d share it here:

Hello!

I can see that you had surgery recently and have already lost over almost 40 pounds. Have you EVER in your LIFE lost that much weight in 2 months? And you will lose MORE in the next few months, whether you are following those good, new habits or you let your old, bad habits sneak back in. But if you do that, eventually, you will gain most, if not all of the weight back.

I think you should be very aware of your anger. For me it was always an indication – kind of an x marks the spot – for areas that I needed to work on with my weight loss therapist.

I felt ANGRY that I couldn’t eat what I wanted to eat after the surgery and I learned….
that I had been eating what I wanted before the surgery, but it didn’t make me happy. So it won’t make me happy now. Happiness isn’t about eating what we want. It’s about doing what we want, living how we want and feeling good about ourselves.

I felt ANGRY that other people could sit around eating junk food in front of me and I learned…
I could set a good example and the people around me would follow my example instead of the other way around. Now many of the people in my office are like me and bring their lunch and often take nuts or fruit or just a drink into meetings, instead of chips or donuts or pizza – and a lot of people have lost weight in my office. Be the example you want to see.

I felt ANGRY when I thought that I have to eat like this for the rest of my life and I learned…
That I don’t have to eat this way, it is pretty easy to go back to the old ways after only a year. But – I WANT to eat this way and I CHOOSE to live this way so that I can continue to lose weight and stay healthy.

Those feelings were real and hard at the beginning, but with time and a lot of work, all this has become easier for me and the anger has faded. When it flares up again, I hope I can continue to be gentle with myself and listen to what my heart is telling me so I can keep learning and growing and changing.

This isn’t easy and I’m sorry if you expected it to be. That’s why the statistics for re-gain are so high. It’s good that you are aware, good that you are posting and good that you are working so hard to change NOW when you have your new pouch – a strong tool to help you change.

Good luck!

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Weekend Warrior

I finally got off my duff and exercised yesterday. Went to yoga class but was so crazy I couldn’t relax and had to leave. Went shopping at the Goodwill in an attempt to distract myself while waiting for the zumba class to start. MISSED the start of the zumba class so went in late and then couldn’t keep up.  But I stayed for 40 minutes until my knee started to hurt. I will try again next week, but be on time so I can try and keep up. I liked the music and the feeling of just having fun.

Then I swam for ONE MILE. I keep writing that down and thinking really? I swam 70 lengths of the pool. 35 laps. That’s 1750 meters. (I had to use a calculator for that.) I’m not sure why that makes a mile, but all the signs at the pool supported the idea. I used my zoomies for all but 3 laps, so my next goal is to try and do half the mile without zoomies and then work up to doing the whole thing without zoomies. If you don’t know, these are zoomers but I call them zoomies because I can’t remember zoomers 😉

So AFTER the one mile swim, I went home, had some lunch and then went out and hiked up and down Stone Mountain in 100 degree heat. In case you aren’t from Atlanta, Stone Mountain is a big rock that has a park around it and a trail up it that crazy people walk or run. I actually RAN down part of it. But I was afraid I would break an ankle on the rocks, so mostly walked. But I did it round trip, including a break for bathroom and water at the top in 51 minutes. A PB – personal best – for me!

Of course, all that was to make up for the two days before when I did NOT work out and for the 5 pounds I gained on vacation. I was worried that I seriously overdid it, but amazingly, I’m not even sore.  So I guess it just shows that my body is strong, stronger than I think.

But wanted to say thank you for the supportive comments – it is nice to know that if I give up, someone will come and kick my butt in a sweet and loving way.

I’m going to go running now and run to the bank and run to the grocery store for carrots. Because I can. I think I read a poem like this before, but this is my version:

The day may come when I cannot run

But this is not that day.

The day may come when I cannot swim

But this is not that day.

The day may come when I cannot climb a mountain

But this is not that day.

There are days when I push myself to see how far I can go.

There are days that belong to the warrior inside me.

Today is that day.

Update: Found the quote – Tolkien:

Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!

Spa Day

We drove over and spent the day in Lake Placid today. What a beautiful day! After a lovely drive through the mountains, we arrived in town and found the Mirror Lake Spa. We’ve been there before, and were delighted to find that it was just as good as our memory of previous visits. Our day started with a little time in the jacuzzi and then we tried the eucalyptus scented steam room.  For our treatments, I had a seaweed wrap which was just fantastic and my friend had the hot stone massage. We finished up with pedicures and had our legs scrubbed and rubbed and our toes painted blue while we chatted away for an hour. After a lovely time flipping through magazines and letting our minds wander while our nails dried, we drifted down into the village to have lunch at the Cottage, which is right on the Lake. Afterwards we strolled along the main street and did a little shopping before driving back to Westport.

I’d like to say we should do this every month, but I know that doing it every couple of years is probably as close as we’ll get. But next time I have a  massage or a pedicure, I’ll be thinking of today and what a lovely time I had with my friend.

Backup Plans

This morning is all about backup plans and how important they are. The holiday weekend was great – bike rides, swimming, picnic and my first yoga class. I did have to work a few hours because we’ve got a software release coming up, but I live close to work and it wasn’t a big deal – going in now, as a matter of fact, even though it is a holiday. I’ll take my break on the 15th when the boys and I go up to Vermont/New York and spend a few days on Lake Champlain with my friend Meredith and her family.

But because this weekend was a holiday weekend, I didn’t stick to my usual rut, I mean routine! Not a lot of cooking because we just weren’t home that much. So I don’t have a menu plan for this week and there are no leftovers for my lunch at work. Plus, I haven’t packed up my vitamins for the week. Here’s where the backup plan comes in!

We save all our menu plans and shopping lists on our family Wiki page. So I can open up a few and copy/paste some selections and voila! A menu plan in about five minutes, complete with shopping list for the items we need. I have backup vitamins at work and will pack up the week’s supply tonight when I have more time.

For lunch, instead of leftovers, I have frozen soup, stew and other weight loss surgery friendly meals stored in the freezer in 1/2 cup portions. I can grab one of those for my lunch for today and throw it into the bag with my protein powder and still race out the door in the next 30 minutes. To do this yourself, you don’t have to cook a special meal that you freeze, just start carving out a cup or half cup of your leftovers – whatever your portions sizes are – for each person who may need a backup meal. Label it and put it in the freezer. They keep for months as long as they are sealed well. For a backup family meal, just cook double of one of your family favorites that freeze well – like roast chicken, pot roast, spaghetti sauce or meatballs. While the water boils for pasta, you can defrost sauce or meatballs and have the whole thing on the table in 30 minutes or less. Or defrost the chicken and some whole wheat tortillas while you chop up lettuce and tomatoes for some fast tortillas. This is perfect for those nights when you get home and you thought it was his turn to cook and he thought it was your turn to cook.

What do you want to order from take out is just not a healthy option most of the time. I feel so guilty sometimes about how much fast food and prepared food my family ate in the last 6 years. When I was doing the stay-at-home Mom thing, I learned to cook. It wasn’t always healthy cooking (Loved Paula Dean recipes which always seem to start with one stick of butter!) Once I went back to work after my son was born, I really cut back on cooking and started to rely on prepared foods, takeout and delivery menus that piled up by the phone. I thought I was being super organized and efficient, but I was feeding my family crap. I gained weight. My husband gained weight. Even my eight year old gained weight. As I watch it come off now, I’m so grateful that my husband has decided to be the stay at home Dad and has learned to cook and cook HEALTHY! We save so much money, it really makes up for the lost income. Plus our quality of life is improved because we eat together. We sit down at a table and we talk and catch up on our day and that is the best part of all. A meal isn’t just about what we eat. It is about how we eat it and I’m so grateful I get to eat mine with the two best boys in the whole world. I love you guys.

Goodwill Therapy

Happy Independence Day! I am feeling a lot more independent myself these days. Not so dependent on other people or medication or modern conveniences. Good example from yesterday: I had to go pick up my car before my first yoga class and the timing for getting a ride wasn’t great, so I said – don’t worry, I’ll just run over and get it after class. It is only a mile. I wouldn’t have said or done those things when I was morbidly obese. Hell, I don’t believe I ever THOUGHT them. But they are starting to come out.

It is actually harder than I thought to get the mind to keep up with the body. I posted earlier this week about being sad because I had dropped another size. I wasn’t SAD, exactly. Just sort of uncomfortable. I did a lot of mind work the last few days, working on the realization that I was eating more than I needed to keep myself from dropping any more weight. The subconscious is so strong. But using my power for good, instead of evil is has such a positive impact. And this week I’ve dropped almost 4 pounds – between the triathlon, kicking up my exercise and focusing on what I’m eating. That’s very exciting, because I had really convinced myself that I was past the point where I could lose more than a pound a week. I just had to redo all my numbers – BMR, THR, BMI, etc and come up with a new plan to increase my Melting Point. It is amazing to me that I can help my friends with this, but not see it when it is happening to me.

Yesterday after yoga class I had a “therapy” session at the Goodwill. I’ve posted before about how I keep up with the size changes and the financial demand of building 11 complete wardrobes. (Is that right? I had W28/26, 24 and some 22s – I bought w22, w20, w18, w16, w14, w12, R18, r16, r14, r12  and I’m now buying r10 and r8 (I guess I can stop saying R for regular – I”m regular!) So oh yeah – make that 14 wardrobe changes before I’m done.

At the Goodwill I started flipping through racks and pulling out things that looked good. Then I went to try them on. I haven’t really done that in the past, since I was often buying very far ahead. But too many of the things I’ve bought lately were too big, so I’ve decided to start trying them on. And good thing, because most of the ones I picked out were too big! I started over, looking at cute stuff I thought was too small and tried those on. Some were a bit snug – but they all FIT. So I kept a few fabulous pieces that fit, but went out one more time to fill my cart with things that I was SURE were way too small. Nope. All the size 10’s and 8’s I can get on – but are snug. So I know I’m going to shrink into them.

How wild is that? I had gotten to the point where the 28’s were too big and now I’m putting on size 8’s and thinking – another 20 pounds and they will fit. Or heck – they might be lose. I got a couple of great Tahari, Alfoni and Jones New York jackets (planning for fall/winter) and some beautiful blouses. Got one more dress to add to my collection (I swear – I THOUGHT I hated dresses, but boy am I loving them now!) and a gorgeous pair of pale blue silk Talbots pants and one Liz Claiborne skirt. I’ll go back every weekend and keep looking for more size 10’s and 8’s until I fill up my “wardrobe checklist” for those sizes.

When I got home treated myself to a bubble bath and soak for all my aching muscles. Have really kicked the exercise up again this week with the running, kickboxing and yoga. Tomorrow I’m going to go to the “Mo Explodes” class at the kickboxing gym. Mo Travis is Monique and she is beautiful but a little scary. I’m excited to try the class and see how I do. Gotta keep pushing myself, within reason! I certainly don’t want to derail this close to goal with an injury. I’m feeling very happy about how I started slowly and worked my way up over the last year. The two years before that, I was moving a bit more, but I was never pushing myself very hard. I was afraid that I would hurt myself and I was probably right! I was so heavy at 321 pounds that I’m amazed now that I could move. I’m going to have to strap on the backpack again with the 140 pounds in it now and see if I can still walk!

Everyone have a safe, happy and independent 4th!

The Melting Point Diet – Week Two

My friends sent back their Week One materials last night and I stayed up late creating their Week Two plan. I’m having fun with this and constantly learning new stuff. Plus – one friend lost 6 pounds in a week and a half! It’s great to see her make progress, since she’s working hard and doing the right things.  Sometimes people work hard, but they aren’t doing what works for them. It took me a long time to figure out what works for me and even longer to actually do it. Then even longer to keep doing it consistently, long enough to lose 130+ pounds. It seems like I’m a slow learner in that area!

This week’s Melting Point is about learning to Move in a way that is most efficient for YOU. There are tons of studies about ways to customize your available workout time. Working at a lower intensity for a slightly longer time burns more fat, for instance. A higher intensity workout, for a shorter time, has significant muscle building and cardio vascular benefits – you just need to be in decent shape when you start that.

Here is a sample of the week two plan I created for my friends. If you are interested in starting, download the week one materials, follow the instructions for a week and then send it back. I’ll create a plan for you. And don’t forget to send me feedback – I want to keep improving the plan.

Week Two Theme: MOVE

Welcome to Week Two!  If you are new to The Melting Point, please check out the e-book and Week One materials at https://getsmartgetstrong.com/the-melting-point. As always, follow your doctor’s advice when making changes to your diet and exercise program. Remember that small changes are safer, easier to stick with and have less chance of injury.

Every week I’ll ask you to record your weight. Once a month, I’ll ask you to also take new measurements.

This week we’re going take a closer look at how much you need to move to reach your desired goal. Your goal was <insert goal from Week One here>.

I have used the info you collected last week to calculate some important numbers for you to use in creating the first part of your Melting Point Plan.

MOVE
Plan: Based on your goal of losing N pounds a week, you need to create a calorie deficit of <N x 3500> calories a week. This is not as overwhelming as it may sound! Since we need to feed your body a minimum of 1200(women) or 1800 (men) calories to give you the energy you need, it does mean that you need to burn <insert calculation here> calories per day for six days. To do this, you may need to increase the number of days you are exercising, but it is highly recommended that you take one day of rest as your body needs time to heal and build muscle. If you aren’t exercising at all, you need to start slowly, and pay attention to your body. Hiring a personal trainer is a good investment in getting started, but most gyms/fitness centers should walk you through the machines at no extra charge, so you know how to use them properly.

A word about Intensity

Your THR or Target Heart Rate is xxx BPM or beats per minute. This is a range based on your age and resting heart rate. To maximize fat burning, you should be working at an intensity level around 60% of your maximum, which is a heart rate of at least yyy BPM, but not more than zzz BPM.

To improve your cardio vascular system, you need to work out at a minimum intensity of 80%, which is a heart rate of yyy BPM, but never more than zzz BPM.

As you can see, you actually need to work EASIER to burn fat, rather than HARDER. If you have one, use a heart rate monitor. If not, stop periodically and count your heart rate until you become familiar with what it feels like at 60%. Always do some fat burning work and some cardio work in your workouts.

Your maximum heart rate is xxx BPM. For your safety, you should never exceed this. Also, if you feel breathless or dizzy at a lower heart rate, stop immediately and check your heart rate. Use that new number for at least a week as your max and work at 60-80% of that number. Make small increases! Remember, this is not a race, this is your life and the goal is to keep improving. If you hurt yourself the first week, you will have an excellent excuse to stop, if that is what you are really trying to do.

Based on the exercise you did last week, here is how long it takes to burn NNN calories doing those activities:

<insert exercise notes and time calculations from week one materials>

If you are not doing any weight lifting, then this week I want you to add in at least one day of weight bearing exercise in addition to the cardio. Next week, add another one. By week four, you should be doing three days of weight bearing exercise per week. For maximum weight loss and body toning, ideally you should increase your exercise gradually until you can: warm up on the elliptical for 1 mile in 10 minutes or less, then always stretch for 15 minutes, then do weight lifting for 30 minutes. If you can, do this every other day, three days a week. On alternate days, just do cardio – preferably non-impact like the elliptical, bike or swimming if you have not been doing much exercise in the past. I know they start running on the Biggest Loser, but they have trainers plus an EMT off camera, just waiting to ice, bandage and treat all those injuries that can occur.

If you were not already working out 6 days a week, then this week, also add walking every day to your plan. If you have a pedometer, start to track how many steps you get in a day. 10,000 steps a day is 5 miles. On days when you don’t have a chance to get to the gym, park further away, take the stairs, go for a quick walk whenever you get 10 minutes free. Keeps your energy level high and helps stave off snacking.

More Choices

Here is an additional list of things you can do to burn 800 calories each day and how many minutes that you would need to do it, based on your age and weight. Find one you can do, that you enjoy and it won’t feel like exercise. This list is based on a specific age and weight. For a custom sheet, go to http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calories_burned.htm

Exercise Minutes Exercise Minutes
Aerobics: low impact 78 Aerobics: high impact 61
Aerobics, Step: low impact 61 Aerobics, Step: high impact 43
Aerobics: water 107 Bicycling, Stationary: moderate 61
Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous 41 Circuit Training: general 53
Rowing, Stationary: moderate 61 Rowing, Stationary: vigorous 50
Ski Machine: general 45 Stair Step Machine: general 71
Weight Lifting: general 142 Weight Lifting: vigorous 71
Basketball: playing a game 53 Basketball: wheelchair 66
Bicycling: BMX or mountain 50 Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph 53
Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph 43 Boxing: sparring 47
Football: competitive 47 Football: touch, flag, general 53
Frisbee 142 Golf: carrying clubs 78
Golf: using cart 122 Gymnastics: general 107
Handball: general 36 Hiking: cross-country 71
Horseback Riding: general 107 Ice Skating: general 61
Martial Arts: general 43 Racquetball: competitive 43
Racquetball: casual, general 61 Rock Climbing: ascending 39
Rock Climbing: rapelling 53 Rollerblade (inline) Skating 61
Rope Jumping 43 Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) 53
Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) 47 Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) 43
Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile) 39 Running: 7.5 mph (8 min/mile) 34
Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile) 29 Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile) 26
Running: pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling 53 Running: cross-country 47
Skiing: cross-country 53 Skiing: downhill 71
Snow Shoeing 53 Softball: general play 85
Swimming: general 71 Tennis: general 61
Volleyball: beach 53 Walk: 3.5 mph (17 min/mile) 107
Walk: 4 mph (15 min/mile) 95 Walk: 4.5 mph (13 min/mile) 85
Walk/Jog: jog <10 min. 71 Whitewater: rafting, kayaking 61

EAT

Next week we’ll work more on eating, but for now:

Whenever you eat: pay attention to eating, slow down. Practice mindful eating by looking at the food, smelling each bite, savoring it on your tongue and chewing it many times, very slowly. This will not only satisfy you, but make your brain realize you are full and avoid overeating. Even when you are alone, put on some music, light some candles, set the table and create an appetizing plate for yourself.

Your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is how many calories you burn just by being alive. It can vary based on your current health and muscle composition, but in general, you burn xxx calories at rest.  Using the Harris Benedict Equation to calculate the number of calories needed to maintain your weight and give you the energy you need to work out 6 days a week, we find that you would have to eat yyy calories to maintain your weight. You need to eat at least 1200/1800 calories each day, which creates a maximum deficit of zzz calories a day. That, combined with the calorie deficit from exercise, will get you to your target for the week.

This week I want you to start tracking what you are eating using the Daily Plate at http://www.livestrong.com. I’ve also added a few comments from your notes from last week. Your goal is to properly feed your body the nutrition it needs so you have the energy you need to exercise. Eating is not bad, it is essential. Make it taste good, look good and you’ll FEEL good. Don’t ever feel guilty about eating – if you go off target, just track it and make a note about why you ate it. You will start to see patterns.

<Insert customized meal notes>

Live

When life is good, there are lots of activities and opportunities to see friends. But of course, those are also opportunities to eat or drink off plan. Try to keep a no or low calorie drink in your hands at all times, even if you have to bring it with you. One I love is Kellogg’s H20 pink lemonade protein drink. It comes in single serve packets you can keep in your bag and pour into a glass of ice water and stir or into a bottle of water and shake.

Think

Losing weight has a lot of stress associated with it and you already have more than enough! While you are pushing yourself to meet this goal, try to be kind to yourself and forgiving. The extra stress from your own head is just going to hurt, not help your progress. Pretend you are talking to one of your friends and tell yourself some of the same supportive, loving things you tell them. You deserve it!

I calculated your BMI or Body Measurement index at xxx.  We’re simply recording this so you can track it as it goes down. A good long term goal is to shoot for a BMI <30, which would mean losing yy pounds. A reasonable amount of time to do that is about nnn weeks with a proper nutrition and exercise plan. If that is more than a month, pick shorter goals to keep you motivated. The first 10 pounds. The first 20 pounds. Getting below 300 or 200 pounds. Losing the first 50. Losing the first 75. Losing half your body weight. Losing 100 pounds. Losing the last 25, 15 or 10. Set realistic goals based on progress, not TIME. Your body may respond slower or faster to change, so don’t set yourself up for dissapointment by saying “I’ll be at my goal weight by New Year’s”. Losing 1/2 to 2 pounds a week is healthy and allows you to make the lifestyle changes to keep it off.

One more note: I highly recommend finding a Weight Watchers or other weight loss support group. Visit several and if you can’t find one, see if you can start one at work or church or your neighborhood. I go to WW at Work every week and really like the convenience. You can go online to look for groups: http://www.weightwatchers.com The weekly accountability and support will have a huge impact on you. If you are super morbidly obese, like I was, I also highly recommend finding a weight loss therapist or counselor to work on the issues that are making you fat. More about that in Week Five when we make our second pass to THINK about why we struggle with our weight.

Click here to download The Melting Point Plan – Week Two in PDF format.