Frightful Weekend

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween! Mostly it was great, but I got stuck on a work problem and spent too much of the afternoon and evening on the phone. You’d think that would mean I was able to avoid the party temptations, but instead, I ate MORE than I would than if I’d been out talking to people and not sitting on the phone. I would wander out to the party and get a plate, then go back and listen to my headset and nibble. Feeling sorry for myself and comforting with food. Classic.

But that was one afternoon. All morning I knew I was going to a party and I thought I’d be going out to a trick or treat event, so I made super  good choices for breakfast (veggie frittata) and had a protein drink before heading to the party. Then AFTER the party, I reclaimed my health and made a healthy dinner so I ended the grazing with some beautiful lamb chops, green peas and baked brown rice made with chicken broth. Now I’m sipping my hot lemon tea and when that’s done, I’ll eat my protein power oatmeal.

Routine? Yes, but routines are what will save me from the holidays and my usual weight gain.  I was trying to find statistics on weight and found this on Wikipedia:

Yanovski et al.[5] investigated the assertion that the average American gains 2.3 kg (5 lb) over the Christmas and holiday season, and found that in fact the data do not support this assertion. They found rather that average weight gain over the Christmas and holiday season is somewhat less, at around 0.48 kg (1 lb). They also found that this weight gain is not reversed over the rest of the year, and concluded that this “probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood”.
Chan et al.[8] investigated the increases in A1C and fasting plasma glucose in type 2 diabetic patients, to see whether these increases were steady throughout the year or varied seasonally. They concluded that the winter holidays did influence the glycemic control of the patients, with the largest increases being during that period, increases that “might not be reversed during the summer and autumn months”.

But the study went on to say that this is only true for the AVERAGE American. Overweight and Obese people gained more:

….overweight and obese volunteers were more likely to gain five pounds than were those who were not overweight, which suggests that the holiday season may present special risks for those who are already overweight.

So the (on average) 10 pounds a year, if you are obese, gained from Halloween to New Years can really account for 150 pounds after 15 years, if you gain too much and don’t lose all of it.

Well, duh! If we didn’t have a problem with food, dude, we wouldn’t be obese! And yes, the holidays pose a special risk. There’s more food around, more social events centered on food, it’s cold and dark outside and we are creatures who have been trained over the millennia to store fat over the winter.

The good news is that we are not mindless primitives, scrabbling for our livelihood. So don’t use that as an excuse. If you go overboard on food, go overboard on exercise. If you skip your workout to go to a party, sip some seltzer and nibble on the fruit and cheese platter. Find your balance.

And if and when you fall down, get up and dust yourself off and go back to your healthy routines.

That’s gonna save me from the holidays. Which means I get to ENJOY the holidays and not worry about the food or the weight gain. So now, off to the gym to burn off the dip, the cake, the booze and the chips. It might take a few hours…


Climbing the walls

I was literally climbing the wall yesterday. We went back to Stone Mountain and I stood on-line for over an hour for a chance at the 40 foot climbing wall next to the Skyhike we did last week. I made it almost halfway before I got stuck and couldn’t get any higher. I learned two lessons: one – I could climb the easy wall and my old fear of heights did not come into play at all. Two – my arms are still not strong enough to pull me up when there’s no toe hold.  I’ll just have to keep doing the pull up machine.

Speaking of pull up machines, I spent three hours at the gym yesterday. It wasn’t all extreme, kill myself craziness. I worked out for an hour with Cathy, the trainer who created my last workout and she put together a new workout for me. This will do a couple of things for me – keep me from getting bored and keep my body from getting used to the exercises. Now I can switch back and forth on weight lifting days. I like that.

After the workout I treated myself to 15 minutes in the jacuzzi and then 20 minutes in the sauna. Then I got dressed and went to Beth’s yoga class. It was a winner! When I walked out of the gym, passing up all the treats they had out for Halloween, I felt very virtuous, relaxed and frankly, smug.

Then we went to Stone Mountain and climbed the walls. My son made it all the way to the top of his wall, twice! I’m so proud. Then we played miniature golf and rode the Ducks. The ducks are amphibious vehicles that go from land to water. We had a good driver who was entertaining and my husband and I enjoyed it, but the speakers were too loud and my son does NOT like loud noises.  It took him a while to recover.

Then back home to enjoy the Jamaican beef and sweet potato stew I made. General consensus was “Not bad, but no cinnamon next time.” Plus, we stayed later than I thought, so the beef was a little overcooked, in my opinion.

All in all it was a great day. Only thing that was negative was the 1/5 of a funnel cake that I ate. Deep fried white bread dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and covered in whipped cream and  cooked apple topping. Can you say CARBS?

My husband ate a whole one and my son ate 1/2 of the one we shared.  My tummy was okay, but my head was beating me up. But you know what? I passed up all the Halloween treats and other temptations and we all agreed this was the best funnel cakes we’d ever tasted. Once in a while, I guess it’s okay to splurge. My blood sugar was a bit up this morning, but still under 100. Like everything else, I have to make sure it’s a once in a while thing, not a regular indulgence.

Busy day today: a work thing and a party at the same time. Need to figure that out. I really can’t be in two places at once and it is stressing me out.

The Gaintenance Quiz

I’ve never really been on maintenance before. I’ve gone right from losing to gaintenance. Okay so that’s not a word. But it should be.  It perfectly describes the act of not watching what you are eating, not exercising and therefore purposefully going right back to where you were.  But I looked it up and even Wikipedia hadn’t heard it before. I’ll have to submit an article!

So if you aren’t on maintenance and you aren’t losing weight – are you on gaintenance?

Here’s a quiz to find out:

  1. Did you weigh yourself this morning?
  2. Have you weighed yourself lately?
  3. Have you measured yourself lately?
  4. Did you exercise this morning?
  5. Will you exercise later today?
  6. Have you exercised lately?
  7. Did you plan this week’s menus?
  8. Did you go shopping with a grocery list?
  9. Are you taking your lunch and a healthy snack to work?
  10. Did you eat on plan today?
  11. Do you even have a plan?
  12. Did you track what you ate yesterday?
  13. Will you track what you ate today?
  14. Have you tracked what you ate lately?
  15. Are you  eating at the table?
  16. Are you taking small bites, putting down your fork and chewing?
  17. Are you stopping when you are full?
  18. Are you drinking enough water?
  19. Did you take your vitamins?
  20. Did you eat a variety of healthy foods?
  21. Did you get enough protein?
  22. Did you eat enough healthy carbs?
  23. Did you get enough fiber?
  24. Are the messages in your head kind or killing?
  25. Did you notice the sunrise this morning?
  26. Did you see the sunset last night?
  27. Did you spend time doing something you love this week?
  28. Did you spend time with someone you love this week?
  29. Do you have a dream?
  30. Are you working on that dream?
  31. Have you worked on that dream lately?
  32. Have you been accountable to anyone for your weight, measurements, food, exercise and attitude lately?
  33. Are you doing everything you should be to take care of your health and happiness?

For every Yes answer give yourself three points.

If you scored 99 points or more – you are on Maintenance and may even be losing weight.

If you scored 50 or higher, you are on Maintenance, but don’t expect much weight loss.

If you scored less than 50 points then you, my friend, are on gaintenance.

What are you going to do about it?

My Team

In January 2007, I started building my team to help me with weight loss. Doctor Shulman was the first person and I went in for a checkup to make sure I wouldn’t die if I started exercising. Seriously. I had a heart test and full workup because I was having chest pains and was convinced I might die if I walked. Nope. I was just monstrously out of shape.  But the checkup was good, because it gave me a starting point and confidence that I could push myself (gently) and not fall down dead. He’s happy with my progress and I see him every six months to keep a watch on any potential vitamin deficiencies.

My next stop was the nutritionist/dietitian in his office, Alyssa. She was teaching an 8 week class and I signed up – in September!  Took me that long to take advantage of her, but when I did, I started to learn a lot that I’d forgotten or just suppressed about good nutrition and healthy habits. I saw her again yesterday – first time since July. That was a good session – she’s pleased that I’m keeping up my healthy habits and that I’ve lost 6 inches off my waist since she saw me. She says my true goal should be to have my waist be half my height. So the goal is half of 64 inches = 32. I’m at 38, so that’s 6 more inches. I can do that – might take me 6 or 12 months, but I can do that.

Next was my Weight Watchers group. I joined an at work group. The leader then wasn’t someone who I really connected with and for a year or so I really didn’t get into it and follow the program. Then my friend Jane became our leader. Wow! What a difference! If you are struggling with WW, do yourself a favor and shop around the different groups.  I had to change meetings recently when my at work program folded, but followed Jane and I’m convinced that the leader makes the meeting.  Find a great one.

During that first year I saw my endocrinologist, Dr Silverman, who strongly recommended weight loss surgery. I said no,  but went to check it out anyway. I met Dr Finley and was really impressed with him.  He’s brilliant and capable and very caring. I still thought it wasn’t right for me, though. I saw my OB/GYN about a year into my effort – it was my annual physical. He’s really the person that convinced me to check out the surgery again. Then my endo retired and I got a new one, Dr Ralwani, who confirmed my blood sugar was continuing to spiral out of control. Time passed and I really was making some progress on my own, but then I had that big fall in Singapore and pushed for the surgery.  Since I’d gone for the consultation and then done the diet program and waiting period (unintentionally, I guess) the approval came through pretty quickly.

Then I saw the shrink from the insurance company who recommended Rebecca for follow-up when I asked for a weight loss therapist for continuing work. Rebecca has been amazing. She’s been my anchor. She’s taking care of some personal things right now and I really miss her. I feel as if that weekly or bi-weekly visit made all the difference between success and failure. Come back soon – I need you!

So that’s my “professional” team: three doctors, one surgeon, a nutritionist, a therapist and a Weight Watcher’s leader. Then there’s all the other critical players: my husband. His just being there means so much. But he cooks for me and keeps me on track (when I let him). My son is there, too, constantly looking at me and praising me and telling me I look beautiful and skinny. He’s noticed that I like that word! My friends and family on Facebook who read my posts and encourage me and don’t let me give up when I slip. And my blog readers.  I had over 6000 hits in the last six months – and even if it is the same 15 people over and over, it seems incredible to me and keeps me coming back every day to write and think out loud because I love hearing when something I say touches someone or gives them information that helps them.

So many people – without you I couldn’t have made it this far. I just want to say “Thank You!”

This journey doesn’t have to be a lonely one. In fact, it’s a lot more fun and a lot more successful with a team. Start building your team today!

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.

Wanted: Good Yoga

The Saturday yoga class at my fitness center is taught by  a “rotation”. I hate that. One week it could be my favorite instructor, Beth, who does an amazing job of stretching, balancing, relaxing and teaching. There are two others who are okay and their classes are fine, just don’t really take me anywhere special. But sometimes it is THE OTHER ONE, who invariable rushes through the moves (because she is sitting and talking to us, not doing them with us) and often I leave early, in pain, from some contortion she is talking us through that does not flow and I can’t see that anyone in the class can actually move from the first position to the next. ARGH!

So what do I do? I can’t afford ANOTHER fitness center – I’ve got two memberships already. I can’t afford to pay for yoga classes in addition to what I’m already paying. I’ve spoken to the management about at least posting who is going to teach each Saturday so I can plan. Because when I show up, I feel like I have to stay, even if it is the bad yoga teacher.

Today I’m getting ready for a healthy week – making my oatmeal for quick, fast and no-excuse breakfasts. Set up a batch of Greek yogurt to cook all day and packed my vitamins for the next two weeks. Now I need to clean my bedroom and put away all the nice clean clothes my husband washed and dried and folded for me. Then I should do some laundry.

After that, we are going to do something fun and go to Stone Mountain Park for the day. We’ll visit all the attractions and ride all the rides. Later tonight is Jacob’s end of baseball season team party. He had a great season and finished up by pitching one inning where he struck out the best hitter in the league, much to the joy of the coaches. (The kid came to bat with bases loaded, they were anticipating a very different outcome!) Tonight I’ll crash and finish making the mummy costume for my son.

Oh – before I forget – I should mention how nice yesterday was in terms of family time – starting with breakfast together, then my son’s baseball game and going to the farmer’s market together for shopping and dinner.

That was the good part. The bad part was that I ate stupidly ate a pastry at the farmer’s market. It was a small apple tart and I thought – apples – healthy. WRONG! I have no idea how much sugar was in there, but I barely made it home before my pouch took revenge. Today I’m focusing on lean protein to clear out the carb cravings and balance out yesterday.

Tomorrow, I can start work again with the satisfaction of having an entire weekend off for the first time in a month. Feels good.

Have a great day and enjoy your Sunday doing something special.

Run With Me

Lately my husband and son have been getting up earlier, so those early mornings alone, focused on writing and exercising have turned into early mornings spent talking and planning and catching up on our lives. On Thursday morning I really needed to get in a workout, but I just didn’t want to leave them. We’ve been talking for weeks about the boys starting the Couch to 5k program, so I decided this was the perfect time to make that happen.

First, the boys are not morning people. There was kind of a blank look and then a bit of resistance, but they both agreed. Then there was the drama of finding their MP3 players and downloading the first week “Wheezing your way from Couch to 5k” – Chubby Jones, aka Mia – love it. That took MUCH longer than it should have but I kept my cool and kept reminding myself that I had to work late, then I had a Women in Technology seminar so I wouldn’t really see them that evening.

FINALLY – we were all dressed, fitted out with our mp3 players, the podcast and out the door. Then we struggled to get everyone synched up so we could start at the same time. That did not work. My son hated the headphones while he was running and my husband’s was always 2 minutes behind me. So we ended up following my lead and I called out the time and passed on Mia’s encouragements.

And – we did it! Towards the end my son was definitely flagging, and he cried a little when we were finished – it was definitely harder than he thought. But on the other hand, he did it! Then we started talking about running a 5k together next year and how this was all good practice for ski season. Immediately he was excited and talking about skiing black diamonds again and taking snow boarding lessons. My husband did well, he said because of the interval training program I created for him on the treadmill.

And though it wasn’t hard for me, since I’ve been running longer, I really enjoyed running together. I think it will be good for all of us and yet another way to spend time together and maintain the new level of overall health we’ve achieved.

Speaking of maintenance, found a great new blog for my blogroll this morning called Debra’s Just Maintaining.

I loved all the links to medical studies and she’s a good writer. I’m going to check out the link to Dr. Berkely

who is a doctor that focuses on maintaining weight loss and has written a book. I’m going to check out the website first, then maybe I’ll check out the book.  But for the first time in my life, I’d rather get active than get a book! I really have to get going because we’re going on a bike ride this morning, followed by a picnic. Then we’ve got baseball practice and at some point I’ve got to fit in some housework, laundry, paperwork and cooking!

Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy this gorgeous fall day with someone you love.