Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Postponed Again!

I can't believe how long this whole process is taking. It seems like one roadblock after another!

Today I got a call from my surgeon's office -- it seems they double booked him and he's going to be in surgery at the same time he's supposed to be doing my consult. So I had to reschedule to NEXT WEEK.

Sometimes I think I'm not going to make it... I am so ready to get this thing done and over with, but people keep putting obstacles in my way.

I keep telling myself I was planning to do it in Oct. originally anyway, but I've got everything set up at work for a Sept. date and I want to take it if I can.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Told My Boss

I told my boss today that I'm having surgery in Sept. or Oct. and he said "Okay." That was it.

I had built this up in my mind. What if he asks me what's wrong or why I'm having surgery? Do I tell him the truth or say it's private? What if we can't work out a good time to take off? Etc. Etc.

So it was kind of anti-climatic. But one less thing to worry about.

Plus he said not to worry about scheduling around our project, any time in Sept. would be fine. Wasn't that nice?

I will probably try to schedule around my patent application though. It's my first patent and I'm so excited! I'm supposed to be available to sign something on the 12th.

I have my surgical consult next week and I'm very excited. I asked Mr. Mac to come with me and he said "Okay". Hmm. Maybe this "Okay" response is just some guy thing...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I found my Captain Awesome

For those of you who don't watch Chuck on NBC -- which I'm guessing is most of you given how low the ratings were -- Captain Awesome is what Chuck calls his sister's boyfriend. He's a resident at some hospital in the LA area.

Anyway, I've picked my surgeon and I've decided to call him Dr. Awesome because a) I think he's awesome and b) he thinks he's awesome. So see... we agree already. ;)

I had heard a lot about Dr. Cirangle before I went to the seminar, some good, some bad. He's rather infamous for being "mean" which I think translates into "not coddling people" and "telling the truth" even when it's not palatable. Because while he came off as blunt and to the point at the seminar, he didn't seem truly mean. In fact, he seemed very nice. And a little full of himself, but in a good way that amused me. I had worried that if I picked him, we'd butt heads all the time, but I also had this feeling that we'd get on like a house afire.

It didn't take that long into the seminar to realize that the "house afire" hunch was dead on.

It's not that I hate bedside manner. If my surgeon has some, I'll take it. But it's not that important to me. What I really want someone who isn't going to sugar-coat things and is willing to let you know where he stands. At the same time, I want someone doesn't think they know everything -- or rather, it's okay to think that they know what they are doing -- but it's not okay to treat me like a child who has to be told what to do and what surgery to have with little to no input from me.

The first time Dr. Awesome told a prospective patient that "you're the boss, it's your decision" I knew I'd found my man. Because I am the boss and it is my decision. It's my body and my life. That doesn't mean I'm expert on bariatric surgery, but I am the expert on me.

The other thing I liked about him is that he hasn't bought into the whole "you must prove yourself worthy of surgery by losing 10% of your body weight" line of bull that so many surgeons hand out. Oh, they don't put it that way. They say things like "it's to shrink your liver" and "it's makes the surgery safer for you." And, yes, any weight you lose is going to help you. But if a 350 lb. patient can lose 35 pounds and be operated on at 315, it's ridiculous to tell a 215 lb. patient that they can't be operated on until they are 193.

The other thing I like about him is that he's obviously good at what he does. He knows his shit, so to speak. He's really into data and the program collects data on everyone who has surgery and they really know what works and what doesn't. They have excellent complication and success stats. I feel like I'm in really good hands.

The other thing that sold me is that LapSF will do surgery on patients with BMIs as "low" as 30-ish. Good for them! The attitude of the US medical profession that WLS is only for people who are so overweight that their health is directly imperiled has never sat well with me. We know that once you are obese, diet and exercise alone don't cut it. We even know the scientific reasons why this happens. Yet we tell obese people to wait until they are morbidly obese for years before insurance will pay for their surgery. It makes no sense to me. My motto is: do what works not what you are 'supposed' to do. WLS works.

Now it wasn't all good. I can see that if I'm one of the small percentage that can't lose weight even though I follow the program, that we might butt heads. Because Dr. Awesome believes that if you follow the program, you will lose the weight. I actually agree with that and think it's true 99% of the time. Some of the whiners I run into online who make excuse after excuse for why they haven't lost weight when it's clear that their problem is their own choices drive me insane. But there are some cases where it isn't and if I say I'm following the program, I want to be believed because I don't lie about stuff like that.

But hopefully that won't be an issue. After all, I know I can lose weight so it's not like I have some hidden medical condition that will stop me.

I'm so excited! Now that I've picked my surgeon, I want my surgery TOMORROW!! I think I will go mad waiting until the Fall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Hunger Monster is awakening

I supposed it had to happen sooner or later. I was doing pretty well drinking lots of water and only eating about 1500 calories a day while not feeling deprived at all. But lately I feel like I've been hanging on by my fingernails. I look at what I'm eating and drinking and it doesn't seem any different from before, but now suddenly I'm hungry much more of the time and the hunger is stronger. I've also started to get really strong head hunger when I see certain snacks. I just look at them and my brain is saying I've got to have them.

I've resisted so far. Mr. Mac brought home a Giant Size Hershey Bar with Almonds after an emergency trip to Walgreens last night and I wanted to eat the whole thing right then and there. I managed to resist, but now I can't stop thinking about that candy bar sitting up in the "grown-ups only" cupboard.

Normally I get to this point after a long period of dieting when I switch to maintenance mode. That is usually when despair sets in because I realize that if I can't live on 1500 calories a day, I'm not going to maintain my weight.

I had been really hopeful I could get under 200 lb. before my surgery but now I'm doubtful I'll get much lower and I'm worrying I might even gain some back.

You would think this time, it wouldn't be so bad because I know there is a solution in my future, but it's so easy to get into that Dieter's Mentality, no matter how much you try not to. So the same feelings of frustration, despair and even a little bit of shame are there. I keep thinking "maybe if I did something different" and "what's wrong with me that I can't stick to a healthy diet?" even though I know intellectually that I'm fighting biology.

I think the long pre-op process with all the ups and down is taking its toll. Hopefully the seminar tonight will revive me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Get rid of your Dieter's Mentality!

How many of us have been "on a diet" for most of our lives? Too many, in my opinion. Not just because it's bad for our health or because diets don't work. It's bad for our mental health too.

If you have Dieter's Mentality, you need to cut it out because it's going to sabotage your success. This is true whether or not you have had Weight Loss Surgery, are on your pre-op diet or are doing it the traditional way through diet and exercise. Diet Mentality is evil and it puts you in a bad place.

What is Diet Mentality? It has four major components:

1) Putting food into Good and Bad buckets

First of all, food is not Bad or Good -- it's just food. Some food is a better choice than others, but even then it's really just all food. If you are getting in enough of the essential nutrients and you account for your calories each day, you are doing good no matter if you have a bite of dessert once in a while or not. All food is bad food if you eat too much of it or only eat one kind. It's just as unhealthy to eat nothing but protein as it is to eat nothing but birthday cake. A healthy diet is balanced and can even include a certain amount of junk food as long as it's a small amount and it doesn't trigger you into bad behavior.

2) Judging your worth by what you eat

Making bad food choices does not make you a bad person. Your self-worth shouldn't be tied up in what you eat. Good people make bad choices all the time. Instead of beating yourself up when you make a bad choice, hating yourself, seeing yourself as a failure and otherwise engaging in destructive behavior, just figure out how to make a better choice next time.

It's not easy to be dispassionate about your own behavior, but telling yourself that you made a bad choice and next time you'll make a better one is a good start and much healthier than telling yourself you are a bad person and you'll never lose the weight and you hate yourself.

3) Judging your worth by how much you weigh/how much you've lost this week

The scale is just part of the picture. If you get too tied up in the scale, you get a distorted view of the world. Weeks where you lose are good weeks even if someone close to you died. Weeks where you don't lose are bad weeks even if you got a big promotion at work and did everything "right" in terms of diet and exercise.

One of the dangers of measuring everything by your weight on the scale is that you can convince yourself that making bad choices is okay because sometimes you can make bad choices and still lose/maintain. You can also convince yourself that making good choices is pointless because some weeks you make all good choices and the scale doesn't move. But clearly making more bad choices than good will lead to weight gain in the long run. Anything thinking that leads you to conclude otherwise is destructive thinking.

4) Waiting until you are thin to start living

Stop waiting until you get to goal to start living or loving yourself. Love yourself now. Live your life now.

Many of us have had the experience of thinking we were so fat back when we were in HS or college or a young adult and not being happy. But then we got even fatter and we look at those pictures from back then and we realize that we were actually pretty hot. In fact, we'd give anything to be "that fat" right now. Why not love yourself now while you're living your life instead of waiting until 10 years later to tell yourself how good you had it back then?

What happens when we stop "dieting"?

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to decide I was never going to diet again. It really allowed me to examine my relationship with food and to start listening to my body and figuring out why I eat what I eat. That would never have happened when I was caught up in "Dieter's Mentality".

One of the things I found is that my approach to food was that of a child. I wanted people to make me or bring me food because I associate being fed with being loved. So I got myself to a point where all my meals were either quick things that require no cooking or can be zapped in a microwave or are made by Mr. Mac -- who does all the cooking -- or were purchased. In other words, other people had complete control over what kind of food I ate and how it was prepared!

I never saw anything wrong with this until I decided to grow up about food. I realized that by approaching food this way, I was giving up tons of control over what I ate. Mr. Mac buys the groceries so it's not my fault that there aren't healthy snacks in the house. It's not my fault that I had that ice cream cone -- there was nothing else to eat and I was HUNGRY.

Once I saw this pattern, I vowed to change it and start being an adult about food. I now plan out what I'm going to eat before I go to work. If I'm going to work late, I bring extra food so I'm not eating out of the vending machine. I don't eat lunch at the Cafeteria every day so my food choices aren't limited to what they want to make for me. I have healthy snacks in my drawers at work so if I do end up working late without having planned ahead, I'm eating a protein bar instead of a Snickers bar.

This change in attitude and behavior has made a BIG difference. Which is not to say I haven't got much farther to go ... I still don't cook and I still eat way too much prepared food (because I don't cook). But I'm much better than I used to be and it's great to feel like a grown up!

You may relate to what I said about having a child's approach to food or you may not. Not everyone gets fat the same way or has the same issues to work through. But one thing I can guarantee is that once you throw off the shackles of Dieter's Mentality, you will have the brain cycles available to see your relationship with food more clearly. What you do with that insight is up to you.