Until You Ask, the Answer is No

Until You Ask, the Answer is No is one of my favorite expressions. I’ve always believed in this and it has had a powerful impact on my life. It works for small, everyday things as well as big ones. For example, I was at a team building event once. It was cold and we’d been outside all morning. We came in to lunch but it was cold food – sandwiches and fruit. Everyone was bitching and moaning, but I asked the waiter if there was any soup. He brought out a steaming tray of soup for our whole table. Because I asked instead of complaining.

Here are some of the big ones:

I may have mentioned that I grew up at the dead-end of a dirt road in West Georgia. I got into Yale because I applied. Granted, I had great grades, test scores, extra curricula activities, etc – but if I hadn’t applied, I wouldn’t have gotten accepted.

In college, I wanted to go and study abroad – I had never been out of the country. So I went to the British Studies department and asked. I got to change majors (mid Junior year!) and live in London for 4 months. It’s my favorite city now and I’ve been back dozens of times in the last 28 years.

I was working for Coke back in the 90’s when I asked if I could trade jobs with someone in the Africa division. I got to live in Windsor, England and traveled all around Africa for three months.

Three years ago I was getting laid off due to budget cuts from the technology department, but asked one of the managers I’d worked with in the operations group if she knew of any openings. She ended up hiring me and I got to travel around the world: London, Dubai, Singapore and all over the US for two years.

Now I’m starting to work on my book – The Melting Point. It’s early days yet, but when I get enough done, I AM going to submit it. Because if I don’t, the answer will always be no. But who knows? It could be YES!

Planning for Success and the Exercise Train

Happy Monday everyone!
I always feel an amazing sense of relief when I get back to my weekday routine. Weekends are HARD! The schedule is always changing and I know I do better with a rut. I mean, routine!

One of my best support routines is to go onto the beforeandafterhelp.com board and post on the Planning for Success thread for the day. I put down what I’m planning to eat today. Then I find the Exercise Train thread for the day and put down what I’m planning to do for exercise. Sometimes I post the whole week’s schedule/menus if I haven’t made them yet (this weekend was nuts, did I mention that?) so that my plan for the week is written down and I can look at it, think about how to improve it and if necessary, figure out the points/calories on either Livestrong/DailyPlate or Weight Watchers online tools.

Planning For Success:

B: 1/2 cup of steel-cut oatmeal recipe with protein powder, applesauce, cinnamon, Splenda brown sugar, peanut butter
S: Coffee with inspire ice-cream sandwich protein powder (I know – sounds strange but is GOOD)
L: Emergency freezer rations – we didn’t do ANY cooking this weekend – how weird is THAT?
S: Nectar Peach protein drink in unsweetened ice tea
D: Smoked pork, broccoli and quinoa
Optional snack: greek yogurt with brown sugar Splenda and apple slices (I will keep this at work all week and if I get the munchies, I have it available)

Exercise Train

Today I have less than 2 weeks until the Iron Girl Triathlon. I’m a little nervous – I haven’t done nearly as much in the last two weeks as I planned because I hurt my shoulder a bit and I’ve been spending way, way too much time sitting on my butt and writing about exercise instead of doing it. That doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think – LOL!

So today – I’m planning to:
1. Swim 1/3 of a mile
2. Walk 3 miles at lunch
3. Ride my bike for 45 minutes tonight after dinner with my son

We’ll see if I do all that – and can keep it up this week! I’m going to come back and update this just for some accountability!

What’s Your Sign?

What's your sign?

What's your sign?

The Young Man Who Was Not a Beggar There was a young man at the begging corner at our intersection on Friday afternoon. He looked as if he was new to the streets – still had clean clothes and his shoes were in good shape. He looked clean, if a bit sweaty. I couldn’t read his sign from where I sat in my big, air-conditioned SUV with the leather seats and moon roof.  I scrambled to find some money, but I never have actual cash money on me – just a random quarter or two for the toll and credit cards.

I thought:  I’m leaving my great job to go home to my nice house with my beautiful family. There will be a roast chicken on the table for Shabbos dinner – and he’s stuck out here in the heat, begging for money.  So I drove to the Burger King and bought him some dinner and a soda. Okay, not healthy, which bothered me, but I didn’t think about that until I was driving away from the window! I drove back and gave it to him and wished him luck.

I still didn’t get to read his sign so for some reason he continues to stick in my mind. Was he traveling and broke down? Does he need a job? Food? A place to sleep? I kept thinking about him at odd moments all weekend. He wasn’t there when I went past on Saturday or Sunday, so I hope his problem has been solved and he’s moved on to journey’s end.

Think how much easier life would be if, when we encountered people, they had a sign so we knew immediately what they needed. As I continue to travel on my journey towards health, I think mine would be: “Please don’t give me food. I really need love, attention and respect.”

Maybe we should all be wearing a sign. What would yours be?

I Came To Live Out Loud

Ren Fest 2010

Ren Fest 2010

I Came To Live Out Loud is a quote from Emile Zola that I’ve always loved. My best friend sent me a postcard with that on it, and for years I kept it over my desk, but didn’t always live by it. Most people who know me probably consider me as outspoken. I’m usually not afraid to say what I think, particularly at work. But I don’t think that’s what M. Zola had in mind. I think that there are periods in my life when I traveled and got out of myself and into the world and those are what are important. They are the times you remember.

High School is probably when living really started. I had a job and I bought a car: $350 for a 1960 Ford Mercury Comet which could easily sleep 6. And I know this because there was this one camping trip where it poured and…more about that sometime! But suddenly I got to be in the band (tall flag!) and competition color guard and the senior play and working on the homecoming floats. My senior year, I raised money and went to Washington, DC for Close-Up – my first time on a plane!

Yale Talk about explosions! Imagine the culture shock: going from the dead end of a dirt road outside of Villa Rica, Georgia to New Haven, Connecticut and YALE. My life just EXPLODED (in a good way). I was exposed to people and ideas and art and culture. About the second semester I was so overloaded,  I actually stopped sleeping, except for naps. I had insomnia, so I would let myself into the Film Study center at night and watch movies all night. The only movies I’d ever seen were Elvis Presley movies that my mom liked and whatever made it to the $1 theater in Villa Rica (think Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit…). I had missed an entire life of movies from Hitchcock and Capra and DeMille and boy did I make up for it. I could squeeze in three or four movies a night, go back to my room for a nap and shower and then off to my morning shift, then classes.

Traveling Towards the end of my sophomore year, I found out that my scholarship could cover a year abroad if I was an international studies major. Since English was the only foreign language I spoke (Southern American is my mother tongue) I went to talk to the head of the department. I was so fortunate that it was someone I’d encountered on another one of my part time jobs as a bartender. He remembered my face, thought my passionate plea about never having been anywhere was a good reason to let me into the department. I had a lot of catch up, but that semester of living in London was the beginning of a love affair with foreign travel.

Africa, Asia and India Unlike a lot of obese people, I never just stayed at home and hid out. In the last 20 years, I’ve taken jobs anytime I could that would get me out of the country and onto a plane. I’ve sold possessions, ran up credit cards and borrowed money to travel. Even when I weighed over 300 pounds, I still squeezed myself into a seat and went to live in England and travel to Africa and India when I worked at Coke.  I worked for InterContinental Hotels for three years and went to Dubai, Singapore, London and all over the US. I survived the disbelief and disgust that foreigners have for obese Americans by just ignoring it and moving ahead and doing my best to correct the impression my body made, with the insight and intelligence that was hidden by all that.

Then there were the other times. The months or years that would go by when I got up and went to work and came home and went to bed. Day after day of endless monotony. Days I spent stuffing my face and sitting on my butt with a book or television remote in my hand. Those were the times when my weight would creep up, up and up until I wasn’t able to move or ended up with something terrifying that would get me moving or eating right again.

I’m living out loud now. In the last year, I have started to fit so much into my everyday life. I’m not waiting for the big trip to Singapore or a vacation in London. I’m going to New York for the weekend and the Ren Fest for a day. I’m going to the movies with my husband and the park or pool with my son. Starting today, I’m going to be posting pictures whenever I do something that is living out loud.  Here’s one from the Ren Fest and the road trip to New York to get started.

Yale Reunions Road Trip 2010

Yale Reunions Road Trip 2010

Melting Point Model

started work on the Melting Point Model tonight. Let me know what you think!

Finding Your Melting Point is all about moving from where you are now, to where you want to be. You may be familiar with the Capability Maturity Model, or CMM, used to assess the level at which a project, program or organization operates. Similarly, the Melting Point Model or MPM, can help you assess where you are in your development of key skills needed to lose weight and keep it off. Once you know where you are, then you can make some decisions about what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

It’s all about choice. Organizations decide at what CMM level they need or desire to operate and you need to decide if your goal is to advance your MPM level or stay where you are. Do you need to move from MPM Level 0 to MPM Level 1 because you aren’t making progress? Or have you reached your goals and want to move to MPM Level 3 to increase your chances of sustaining that success?

There is no time line associated with moving from one level to the next. It’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about the journey. If you are successful at Level 0, congratulations! If not, then your first goal should be to move to MPM Level 1. Stay at MPM Level 1 until you master it and want to move on to MPM Level 2 to speed up your progress. If you stop being successful, then you may need to increase your MPM level to continue your weight loss journey. Personally, I am at MPM Level 2 now, and my ultimate goal is MPM Level 3 so that when I reach my goals, I will have learned the skills I need to stay at my goal weight. I’m not there yet, but that’s my plan.

Assessing Your MPM Level

Let’s start with where you are now:

MPM Level Characterized By: Description
Zero (0) Chaos May be unaware of need for a plan or process. Exercise and nutrition are not planned. Probably not losing; possibly gaining.
One (1) Change May be exercising or eating well, but neither is consistent and success is not always repeatable. Losing, but weight fluctuates up and down.
Two (2) Control You have a plan for incorporating exercise and nutrition into your life. You work your plan. Weight loss and improvements in fitness level are consistent and success is repeatable. Weight loss occurs at a healthy rate.
Three (3) Mastery In the maintenance phase, you monitor, assess and refine your processes and plan to maintain your fitness level and keep your weight within a five pound range.

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

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!)

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?

100 Reasons to Celebrate – November 12, 2009

Had a session with my therapist yesterday and discussed the fact that I am not focusing enough on what I’ve done, but on what I still need to do. So here is the list that made for her –100 of the things I should celebrate – dating back since I REALLY started on this path in July 2009. Some of these I’ve shared, some I haven’t.

What are YOUR 100 things to celebrate??

100 things for Karen to celebrate since July 17, 2009
1. Started doing Wii Fit balance games
2. Began doing Wii Fit yoga
3. Began doing Wii Fit aerobics
4. Began doing Wii Fit strength training
5. Doing 30 minutes on the Wii fit every day
6. Doing 45 minutes on the Wii Fit everyday
7. Doing 60 minutes every day on the Wii FIT!
8. Had a very successful gastric bypass
9. Began walking the day of the surgery
10. Two days after surgery, I was lapping the nurses station every 2 hours
11. 5 days after the surgery I was using my treadmill
12. Was walking the day after the hernia surgery
13. Back to treadmill 3 days after the hernia surgery
14. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 1 mile an hour
15. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 2 miles an hour
16. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 3 miles an hour
17. Doing treadmill 30 minutes at 3 miles an hour
18. Doing treadmill 45 minutes at 3.5 miles an hour
19. Doing treadmill 45 minutes – got up to 4mph for part of the time
20. Doing treadmill 45 minutes – cranking up to 6% incline
21. Hiked up Stone Mountain (to rail section) 1. Mile up, 1 mile down – 60 minutes
22. Hiked up Stone Mountain to pavilion and back 45 minutes
23. Wearing size 3x tops; 28 pants
24. Down to size 2x tops; 26 pants
25. Down to size 2x tops; 24 pants
26. Down to size 1x tops; 24 pants
27. Down to size 1x tops; 22 pants
28. Down to size large tops (18); size 22 pants
29. Down to size 16 tops; size 20 pants
30. Down to size 16 tops; wearing some size 18 pants
31. Wearing size 11 panties
32. Wearing size 8 panties
33. Wearing 48D bras
34. Wearing 46D bras
35. Wearing 44D bras
36. Wearing 42D bras
37. Started kickboxing classes – made it thru 50% of the class
38. Kickboxing classes – 3 times a week
39. Kickboxing classes – making it through 75% of the class
40. Kickboxing classes – making it through 90% of the class
41. Can do one sit-up
42. Can do 6 sit-ups
43. Can do 10 situps
44. Can do 20 situps
45. Doing 60 crunches and 20 sit-ups
46. Can do wall pushups x 10
47. Can do 1 pushup/plank on the floor
48. Can do 5 pushup/planks on floor
49. Can do 10 pushups/planks on floor
50. Fit into my wedding dress – it is too big!
51. Gave away all my size 3x clothes
52. Gave away all my size 2x clothes
53. Started weight loss class at Laurette Way
54. Attending Weight Watchers meetings at work
55. Started psychological counseling for weight loss before surgery
56. Going to psych once a week
57. Going to psych every other week
58. Can touch the floor with my fingertips
59. Can touch the floor with my hands
60. Can put my hands flat on the floor with knees straight
61. Can bend over and tie my shoes
62. My rings are too loose – had to tape them
63. My shoes are too loose – from size 10w+ to 8 ½ wide
64. Taking walks at work – around the Ravinia Gardesn
65. Taking 2 walks a day at work – around the gardens
66. Taking the stairs at work – parking on the 3rd floor and not taking the elevator!
67. Getting my multivitamin, calcium and iron supplements
68. Having a protein shake for breakfast
69. Fit into the scream machine at six flags
70. Rode the mind bender at six flags (3 times)
71. Taking walks with Jacob after work (until day light savings – too dark)
72. I see muscles in my upper arms and shoulders
73. I can feel muscles in my butt
74. My legs are smaller
75. I lost 9 inches off my stomach – from 58 inches to 49 inches
76. My morning blood sugar is under 200 without meds
77. My morning blood sugar is hovering around 110 without meds
78. My morning blood sugar is 98! Without meds
79. I discovered that I’m a petite in jackets/shirts
80. I’m getting my daily protein
81. I lost 30 pounds before the surgery
82. I lost 40 pounds after the surgery
83. I am down 70 pounds
84. I am obesity category III – morbidly obese
85. I am obesity category II – extremely obese
86. I am obesity category I – obese
87. – I rode bikes with my husband and son for the very first time – almost 5 miles around Stone Mountain
88. – I wore a red, fitted top and got compliments on how great I looked
89. – I’ve exercised 90 out of the last 116 days
90. – I was late to a job interview because my suit pants fell off me and I had to wash another pair! (I got the job, though!!!)
91. – The belt I bought for my “goal” outfit that didn’t even meet, now notches on the first loop. I thought it would be MONTHS.
92. – The clothes at the Talbot’s women’s store were all too big except for some petite size x camisoles
93. I bought a gorgeous JJill sweater in a large. Not at a specialty store. Not an xlarge, 2x, 3x or 4x. A large.
94. – I sat in a chair in our dining room with arms that I’ve never been able to fit in!
95. – My son and I are taking walks together after I get home from work and I’m not avoiding the hilly routes
96. – I went to a makeover and have started doing my hair and makeup everyday. I feel like a real girl, maybe for the first time ever.
97. I can go out to eat and eat less than ½ my food (even after ordering from the child or senior menu)
98. I can lie on my back without choking
99. My sex drive is starting to flicker back into life.
100. I am sleeping well almost every night – no morning headaches from the sleep apnea

101: I had to add this one – was able to run next to my son and he FINALLY learned to ride without training wheels.

Midnight of the Soul – August 25, 2009

It is 32 hours until my surgery. I have researched and planned and am coming to the end of my pre-op to do list. I think I’ve read every post on the bariatriceating.com board and six full length books on the subject. I’ve watched Youtube videos of the surgery, read countless websites and medical journals. I’ve bought and tested protein and chewable vitamins. I ordered a treadmill so I can walk after the surgery (no excuses about it’s too hot, it’s raining, it’s dark, etc, etc). I cleaned and organized my whole house. I wrapped up my job and I’m out for two weeks to focus on the surgery and recovery. I’ve lined up family to come and stay to help out with my son and even a “babysitter” for my husband during the surgery. I’ve gassed the car, stocked up on everything we might need for the next two weeks.  I even started seeing a therapist today so I can try and deal with the mental aspects of losing all this insulation I’ve been hoarding for so long.

I know that I should be in bed, sleeping. I don’t want to be overly tired going into the surgery. But I’ve been on clear liquids for over 24 hours and I’m a little hungry, I slosh when I walk and I have to pee every five minutes. But…I am second guessing all my decisions, which seems to be normal from the posts I’ve read. I guess my biggest concern is that there aren’t any NEGATIVE posts on this board. Are they all deleted? I find it hard to believe that no one ever felt like this was the worst thing they ever did to themselves. Right now, I want to read THOSE posts and try to feel as if I’ve given equal research time to positive and negative opinions.

Second thoughts I’ve lost 9 inches off my stomach in the last year; I’ve lost over 33 pounds; I’ve exercised 30 out of the last 36 days. So why do I need WLS? Why can’t I just keep doing this? If I can imagine success with the surgery, why can’t I imagine it without the surgery? Am I doing it to look good? Or am I really doing it for my health? What right do I have to risk my life when I have a 7 year old child and a husband who need me in their lives? If I do this, should I have the sleeve instead, even though my insurance won’t pay for it? Should I go with the band so I can have it reversed someday?

Deep breath in. Slow breath out. I’m going to go back to bed and listen to my guided imagery for surgery. Maybe Bella Ruth can put me to sleep! Good night and thanks for listening to me whine.

Originally published on bariatriceating.com