Signs you are not in control

Here’s my sign:At 10:30 last night, I got out of bed, went to my computer, searched on recipes and then deliberately went downstairs and made almond shortbread. Then I proceeded to eat it until I wanted to die. Fortunately, that doesn’t take long with a gastric bypass. Four pieces and I was in the bathroom, huddled over the toilet, waiting to puke or die. Then a few minutes later all that crap made it to my intestines (thanks to my tiny little pouch) and I was BACK in the bathroom.

I thought about eating something else. Drinking a glass of water. I thought about blogging. I thought about putting on some music and dancing. I thought about just going back to sleep. I thought about calling for help.

I did none of those things.

I ate until I puked.

I ate until I dumped.

There, I said it. I dumped. Part of me is jubilant – I DUMP! Really, I’ve been pushing the limit and pushing the limit and other than a sweaty, heart racing kind of experience, not so bad.

Last night – hideous. My heart was pounding so hard that I was in pain. My whole body was shaking and sweating. My stomach and intestines were bloated, and so painful it stole my breath. It took about three hours for the pain and symptoms to subside. Three hours while I drifted in and out of sleep, shaking and sweating under the covers.

This morning I woke up, pain and sweat free, trying to figure out what the hell is going on in my head. It is clear to me that the shopping was doing something for me – distraction, reward, pleasure center – whatever, that I’m not getting now and that I haven’t taught myself not to need.

Here I am, entering the danger zone: close to gaol, a year from surgery. This is when people start to slip and slide or in my case, run screaming back to where they were.

I will not do that.

But – I have over eaten every night this week. I have been eating crap. I have been drinking with my meals. I have broken every rule I’ve learned, except the exercise. I have gained four pounds.  All my pants are tight, because all that four pounds is in my poor, bloated belly.

Is it just boredom? Flirting with danger so I can have a little drama back in my new peaceful, yoga breathing, meditative life? Is it that I know how to lose weight and have still not mastered the mindset for maintaining it, so I want to gain so I can go back to losing? Is it because I am so close to goal? I got to within 1 pound of my goal this week. Did that scare me too much? Is this a reaction to getting what I wanted? What I worked so hard to earn? Do I think, somewhere, deep down inside that I don’t deserve it? That I can’t ever be a normal, healthy person?

I have to stop.

I have to gain a measure of control. No one else can do this for me. I can’t blame it on my husband, my best friend, my sister or my mother who told me I was fat when I was eleven. It’s just me. Right now.  This minute. Making a choice.

In an effort to do that, every day this week I’ve gone to the site and posted my intentions about what I would eat and when I would eat it. Every day I’ve made it until  mid-afternoon and then gone on a wild Mr Toad’s ride with carbs instead.

Today must be different.

I am going to start over at the beginning. Today: clear liquids with unflavored protein added. All day. 24 hours from now, I will have made a good start at de-carbing my system. Tomorrow I will start a three-day liquid protein training session. I will make protein shakes and sip them all day. For three days. That should bring me to Monday and back to sanity. Back in control.

Send me some power, my friends. I need it. Call, write, email, send up smoke signals or let fly with a carrier pigeon. Tell me that I am not alone. That I am heard and loved and supported. That I deserve to succeed.

Or not.

If I am truly alone, then I can still be okay. I am strong. I can do this, alone if I must. After all, I’m the one with the hand, cutting the almond shortbread. I have to be the one to pour the protein drink instead.

Hello, My Name is Karen. It’s been 3 days since I shopped

On Friday, I went out to the board and posted about my compulsive shopping. I didn’t really wait for any replies, just kind of posted and bolted and haven’t had the courage to go online and look at the responses. I should have known better. Those guys are the best.
The answers I got were supportive and loving and not the harsh, what the heck are you doing things I was thinking to myself. So here’s what I’ve done:
I added up the damage. (Still working on just exactly what I bought)
I figured out how long it will be before I can pay it all off again. (A couple of years)
And finally, I confessed to my husband.

Boy was that hard. The first thing he said was, well, if I have to go back to work, I have to go back to work.
That still makes me cry.

I know how much it means to him to be homeschooling our son. To help him overcome the dyslexia and get his confidence back.
Plus he had the most stressful job – and a mean, nasty boss that made him nuts.

So for the last few days, every time I’ve felt the shopping urge, (and it was a lot more often than I thought it would be) I’ve imagined my husband going back to that and my son going back to school and feeling stupid (his words).
Other great suggestions were to take some of the clothes to a consignment shop and to have a yard sale – all great ideas.

I’m also going to keep any eye out for any other cross addictions, because I noticed that several times yesterday I considered having a drink, a beer or a glass of wine. And I am always scared of that, as alcoholism runs rampant in my family.

Heck – I even had thoughts of gambling yesterday – trying to win it all back. And I can do math – I KNOW that’s a sucker’s dream.

So, no compulsive anything: eating, shopping, drinking, gambling or exercise. (I felt bad after I realized what I was saying, wishing I had an exercise addiction. I know that’s a problem and I was making loose with the jokes – not cool.)

So, one day at a time.
Hello, my name is Karen and I haven’t shopped for 3 days.

Losing Weight While Traveling

I’m getting ready for a trip next week. We’re going to Upstate New York to visit with my friend and her family. We’ll laze by the pool, go out on the lake, take walks in the woods, sit on the porch and talk or curl up on the sofa and read. In past years there was also the fun of making cookies, cakes and other yummy desserts. I have fond memories of learning the Toll House Cookie recipe and laughing about the tea towel version that says yield one cookie – because we ate all the dough! That memory is decades old, but still makes me smile.

I still want to bake cookies; it’s part of our history together. But now we’ll share more! There will be two men and three small boys to help us gobble them up. I probably won’t make the decadent chocolate cake I made one year – but perhaps we can pick or buy berries and I can make a beautiful fruit crisp – substituting a little splenda for sugar will make it weight loss surgery friendly. I know there are GBS friendly pie recipes on the board. I just need to find one and be prepared.

Being prepared – planning – is how I’ve been successful and lost 142 pounds. I make plans and backup plans so that when Plan A falls, I’ve got Plan B ready to go. Continuing to be prepared is how I’m going to lose the last 30 pounds and keep them off. Some might accuse me of being a control freak, but I’m okay with that because I’ve also been in control of my weight for the longest period of my whole life. So here is my plan for my upcoming trip:

The small lake town where we’ll be staying doesn’t have a wide selection for groceries, so we’ll stop in Burlington and do a week’s worth of shopping to fit the “Lake Trip Menu Plan”  I’ll create tomorrow. Once I have the menu plan, I can send it to my friend and we can tweak it so that everyone will be happy with it. I love to cook when I’m on vacation and her husband and mine are both great cooks, so we’ll figure out who will cook what.  Since she’s a vegetarian who eats fish, then we can focus on lots of fresh, local produce and add fish, chicken and beef or bison if I can get it! If I recall, there’s a nice bakery selection at the store near the house and a kitchen garden that we can raid for vegetables, plus fresh eggs from the farm. If we pick up meat and fish to grill, plus the grocery items I can’t live without, we’ll do great.

Planning for exercise should be easy – there’s a pool, a lake and lots of lawn space for activities with the boys. I’m going to take my running clothes and sneakers, my garmin 305 and heart rate monitor, plus the Couch to 5k podcasts I’ve been following. For 5 days I can run in the mornings along beautiful farm lanes and through the woods. I used to do that when I was a runner (briefly) in high school. I’m looking forward to doing it again. Will make a great change from running around my neighbourhood. I can take my resistance bands and with very little space in my bag, get a great workout while I’m there. Add in a few situps and some tricep curls with anything handy that weighs 5 pounds and I can not only maintain while I’m gone, I can continue to make progress.

This is my packing list so far:

Food List:
Pack food items from home in a cooler bag for the airport/plane
  • Protein powder for 6 days – 3 servings a day
  • Protein powder for my oatmeal that I’ll make at the Lake
  • Shaker ball cup for making protein shakes
  • Bottled water (will have to buy this after I go through security check point)
  • Labrada Rock n Roll protein bars – cut into 4-5 pieces
  • Almonds – measured out in single servings ~24 almonds
Exercise List:
  • Resistance bands
  • Running shoes
  • Garmin 305 heart rate monitor with footpad and chest strap and charger
  • Running shorts and jog bra and a couple of teeshirts
  • Running socks
  • Swimsuit
Shopping List for Burlington:
  • Fage 0% yogurt
  • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
  • Splenda with fiber
  • Splenda brown sugar
  • Splenda granular
  • Sugar free jam/jelly
  • Kraft 2% Cheddar cheese slices
  • Kellogg H20 pink lemonade packets
  • Lactaid milk – 2% for the boys and FF for me
  • Cereal for the boys
  • Whole wheat flour

I’ll keep adding to this list once the menu is finished.

Planning: More Non-Meat Meals

Met with my nutritionist yesterday. She’s pleased with my long-term progress and thinks I should keep doing what I’m doing for the most part. We recalculated my BMR and protein requirements based on my new weight.

With a weight of 179, my BMR is 1517.

If I apply the Harris Benedict equation (I just love writing that – it sounds so scientific!) for a moderate activity level, I see that I need to eat 2351 calories a day to maintain my current weight.  That assumes I am working out 3-5 times a week at a moderate pace. (I do more than that, but I’ve gotten a little resistant to weight loss after 3 years of losing, so I use the lower formula to be sure I hit my goals.) So I should be losing 2 pounds a week if I keep my calories to under 1400 calories per day.

While that is not very different from what I have been eating, we are going to try changing the balance of carbs to protein to fat. Instead of doing 40% Protein and 35% Fat and 25% Carbs, I’m going to begin increasing my carbs and shift to a 40% Carbs, 30% Protein and 30% Fat ratio. I’ll do this by using more non-meat sources of protein, such as beans and quinoa. That should give me a lot more energy for the increased workouts that I’m doing and help me reduce some of the belly fat that I still have hanging around.

So I need to revisit my meal planning and come up with some sample meals that fit the new criteria. is a great tool for that. I just go to an unused day and start adding different foods/amounts and looking at the resulting numbers for the day, including the percentages. Here is a one day menu plan that would work on my new plan:

Meals Item Name Calories Sugars Carbs Fats Protein Sodium Dietary Fiber
breakfast Applesauce  (unsweetened) 6.5 1.4 1.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Oatmeal 40.0 0.3 6.8 0.8 1.8 0.0 1.0
Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter 52.5 0.3 1.5 4.0 2.0 30.0 0.5
Whey Matrix Vanilla Protein Powder 65.0 1.5 3.0 1.0 11.0 30.0 0.0
lunch Avocados 58.8 0.3 2.7 5.5 0.8 3.5 1.8
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 60.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 13.0 20.0 0.0
Ezekeil Whole Grain 80.0 0.0 15.0 0.5 4.0 75.0 3.0
Peach, Small 31.0 6.6 7.5 0.2 0.7 0.0 1.2
afternoon snack Fage 0% Yogurt 60.0 4.5 4.5 0.0 10.0 42.5 0.0
Blueberries, Raw 42.0 7.5 10.5 0.0 0.5 0.5 2.0
Honey 18.0 4.8 5.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Smokehouse Almonds 85.0 0.5 2.5 8.0 3.0 75.0 1.5
dinner Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts 37.0 3.0 4.0 2.0 0.5 0.0 0.5
Goya Black Beans 90.0 1.0 19.0 0.5 7.0 460.0 6.0
Organic Free Range Chicken Broth 2.5 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.3 142.5 0.0
Quinoa Cooked 127.0 0.0 23.4 2.0 4.5 10.0 2.0
Shredded Cheddar Cheese 57.0 0.0 0.2 4.7 3.5 88.0 0.0
post-workout Banana – Small 19.8 4.8 5.0 0.1 0.4 0.4 1.0
Ice 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Natural Peanut Butter, Creamy 100.0 0.5 3.0 8.0 3.5 45.0 1.0
Organic Cocoa Powder 10.0 0.0 0.6 0.5 1.0 0.0 1.0
Peanut Butter Cookie Protein Powder 132.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 25.0 94.0 0.0
Skim Milk 55.0 6.0 6.5 1.3 4.0 62.5 0.0
Totals: 1229.1 42.9 123.5 40.5 96.4 1178.9 22.7

I just need to lose this last 10 pounds

I was looking at my blog stats and just wanted to thank all my friends for visiting my blog. It makes me really happy to know that so many people are reading about my journey and cheering me on towards the finish line.

As of today,  11 more pounds to my doctor’s goal weight. Triathlon this weekend should put me in the “I just need to lose 10 pounds” category. Never been there before and I now have to apologize to all those “thin” people who used to say that. I was mentally rolling my eyes and thinking – jeez, how hard could that be, I need to lose 150?

But it is hard. It might be as hard as it was to lose the last 100, maybe as hard as losing the first 20. I have to get super precise with my calorie intake and calorie burn, and as we all know, I really struggle with tracking. (As seen by the many empty gaps on my Accountability page…sigh.)

And dang it, now I need to crank up my exercise again. Obviously, if I can anticipate finishing a sprint triathlon, then I am at the point where I should add something more to my swimming, biking and walking/running routine.

I’m thinking about yoga. My friend, Cricket, has these amazing muscles and she is completely toned and says it is all yoga. I asked for some advice and this is what she said:

I like vinyasa – you move with your breath. But there’s a hatha class that I like too – more of an isometric workout. Try some classes at your gym, but if you don’t finish the class feeling more balanced and peaceful, find a yoga studio (google is how I found my 2 favorite ones – check out Thrive Yoga and Sacred Space (both in Rockville, MD) to get a feel for what you’ll want to look for).

Fwiw, Dave Romanelli does a wonderful “wine and yoga” and “wine and chocolate” tour. He came to Sacred Space and I really liked him. He also is going to Atlanta in December, so check out Balance Yoga in Atlanta. Also, Jai Shanti looks interesting – a bit on the edge – but how can you not love a studio that has nude male yoga?

ISHTA is “Integrated Science Hatha Tantric & Ashtanga” and one of my Vinyasa yoga teachers follows that. I have this awesome book called “Breathing Space” that is inspired/features Alan Finger who is kinda the “founding father” of ISHTA (at least in the US, I think). Anyway – that book is a GREAT read, so enjoy that and think about what you want to get out of yoga.

I also did the Baron Baptiste “40 Day Revolution” – don’t think I could’ve done it on my own, but Thrive did it as a program that included support group meetings and unlimited yoga. It really was incredible – got you to think about *why* you eat and *how* you eat and how mindfulness about how/why you’re eating can make a difference. In week 3 or 4, they include a 3-day fruit fast (just fruits and fruit juice). It was incredible. I realized how many different kinds of feelings I was translating into “I’m hungry, I *need* to eat”. My appetite shrank. I acquired a love of better foods and honestly don’t like really rich, creamy, cheesy sauces, which is one of my healthy downfalls. After 3 days, I also found that – no joke – I could *see* better – I noticed the clarity and completeness of things. I can’t describe it, but it was really, really cool. And my appetite shrank. So, highly recommend that book too 🙂

I’m so psyched you’re going to try yoga – let me know how it goes

cb xoxo 🙂

Is that awesome or what? It’s nice to have friends. So that’s the plan: I’m going to try the yoga classes at my gym a couple of times a week – might as well get them for free if I like them. If not, I may have to mosey on over to the yoga studio or buy a dvd. Because I want those biceps!

Well, I’ve finished my water and my power protein oatmeal – gotta get moving to the gym for a 75 minute body sculpting class. 

Triathlon Thoughts

Didn’t really stick to my goal of getting out and exercising before writing today. Instead, I woke up early – too early to exercise, and wrote for an hour before getting out on the bike.

This morning I rode 9 miles, mostly hills in 57 minutes. This included 3 stops to repair my chain. Have to get that into the shop today. I also need to by a CPSC approved helmet as neither of mine are. Never knew I was riding around with an unapproved helmet. Also want to get both tubes changed, buy a race belt and some body glide, which is supposed to help my socks/shoes go on faster and cut down on chafing.

I was watching videos of transitions last night and reviewing various check lists. I found a few web sites that I liked:

Well – gotta run to drop off the boy and make it to work!

Getting Started – Week One

I’ve had such great feedback and lots of questions – which I love! The most frequent question asked is, “How do I get started?” I decided to put together a 10 week plan for getting started to use in my weight loss support group. I’m posting it here for anyone who wants to follow along.

Check out the Melting Point menu above or click here to get to the link:

The Melting Point – Week One Theme: THINK

First – congratulations on wanting to make a change! That’s the hardest part, deciding to get started.

For this first week, we are going to start at the end that we want to achieve, which is to THINK about what we are doing. If you are already excising and eating healthy – great – keep going. But if you are not, don’t stress about it this week because we aren’t going to make any huge changes. No racing out and buying a lot of special food, no joining a gym and killing ourselves. This week, we learn to pay attention to where we are and what we are doing, the first step to where we want to go.

Click here to download the PDF for: The Melting Point Diet – Week One and take the first steps towards your new life!

Check back for Week Two, due next Thursday.

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 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?