Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mr. Mac is a trooper

I have been thinking about getting plastic surgery. I go back and forth on it and Mr. Mac isn't too thrilled about the idea either -- mostly because of the money.

But I realized the other day -- when some women on OH were bitching about their husbands bitching about their shrinking boobage -- that I had never actually told him that I am looking into getting a breast reduction.

Last night I sprang the news -- hey, I waited until after Christmas so as not to spoil it -- and asked him if he'd be upset. His immediate, uncontrolable reaction, was this sad pout. But he manned up and said "No, of course I won't be upset."

Liar! But, believe me, I appreciated the effort.

I also showed him what I was thinking in terms of size and he agreed that it wasn't THAT small. Plus, they should be much perkier. So maybe he won't be too disappointed with the actual results.

The thing is, I really need to do this. My back is killing me from being so top heavy and that part of the body shows no signs of leaving me any time soon. As attached to them as he is, Mr. Mac understands that. He really is a sweetheart.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Barney Stinson and Food Choices

I'm a big fan of the TV show "How I met your Mother" and I think Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson is one of the best characterizations on tv. What does this have to do with weight loss surgery? Well, aside from the fact that (I assume) Barney doesn't "do" fat chicks, a lot.

But first, some background. The other day I was reading a post online somewhere where a person said something to the effect of "I used to be one of those people who lied to themselves -- I'd have a Diet Coke and a Cheeseburger."

Perhaps this isn't how she meant it, but the implication I got is that if you have a cheeseburger, you should have a regular Coke and anything else is just "fooling yourself" about your food choices.

I've seen this attitude a lot and, quite frankly, it gets on my nerves. It's based on the premise that food is either Good or Bad and so are people.

So Diet Coke is Good and if you drink one, you are Good. But Cheeseburgers are Bad and if you eat one, you are Bad. So if you are going to be Bad, you need to be 100% Bad or you are just lying to yourself.

See how ridiculous that is?

The reality is that food is just fuel. Some choices are better than others and some days we make better choices than others. It has nothing to do with Good or Bad and it's definitely not all or nothing.

Which gets me back to Barney.

Next week on HIMYM is a repeat of the Crazy Girl episode where Barney unveils his Crazy Girl scale of deciding if a woman is "worth it" to date. Seeing the Crazy Girl scale was an 'aha' moment for me, because it articulates an approach to food that I have been working into my life for some time. Only now it has a name and cool graphics - whee!

The Crazy Girl scale works something like this: Plot how crazy the woman you are dating is against the X axis. Then move up the Y axis based on how good-looking she is. The crazier she is, the better looking she has to be in order for dating her to be "worth it."

I imagine Barney's scale looks something like this:

With possibly a little shoutout to The Bro Code worked in there somehow.

So now let's apply this to food. Okay, food isn't exactly the same as a dating partner. It won't slash your tires when you dump it, for example. But it does have a calories/nutritional value and it does have an enjoyment factor (usually measured by taste) and you can plot one against the other.

So how do you decide if a particular food is worth eating?

Plot the calories against the X axis and taste against the Y axis. The higher in calories a food is, the better it has to taste to be worth it. Take a lesson from Barney and never date eat women food, that isn't "worth it".

My own personal Tasty Food scale looks something like this:

Since I've adopted this approach to food, I enjoy it more. I'm not beating myself up about eating "bad" food because there is no such thing. I also don't eat junk that I don't really enjoy that much just because the rest of the world thinks of it as a big "treat." When I do have a "treat", it's something I really enjoy and when I stop enjoying it (usually after a bite or two), I stop eating it because it's fallen below the line.

But the best thing about this approach is that food has less power over me because I'm not casting it in the role of moral arbitrator. It's no longer a measure of my own worth, but just something I put in my body to fuel it in an enjoyable way.

Or at least that's goal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Neither High Nor Low

and it's a good thing!

I just had some labs done. I was supposed to have my three month follow-up visit about now, but it got postponed until January and the labs were for that. After my last set of labs in the ER with their little Ls and Hs everywhere, I was worried. But my labs were actually great, with one or two exceptions.

My potassium, which I've been struggling with since I went on the blood pressure meds two years ago is now completely normal, right in the middle of the range. Yeah!

My Vitamin D, which I began serious supplementation of when I got my pre-op labs done and saw how low it was, is right up where I want it to be, higher than I was aiming for, in fact.

A lot of stuff that has been L for a while, but my doctor said is often L and not to worry about it, is no longer L. (It's all this stuff that starts with MC and I can't figure out what half of it is. But it's normal, whatever it is.)

All the stuff that was H when I was in the ER is now normal. All the stuff that was L is now normal too, except my protein levels, which are still slightly low. Darn. I am so sick of pushing protein. I never did get up to 100 g a day, but I was up to 90 g. So now I'm going to try harder to get in those extra 10 grams.

I would like both my magnesium and iron to be higher, though. They are within normal range, but at the bottom of it. I was taking a chewable multi-vitamin before and it was low in magnesium. I am now able to swallow a regular multivitamin and it has about 10x the magnesium in it that the chewable has. So I'm hopeful that will be enough.

For the iron, I am going to switch around and take my calcium first thing in the morning with my protein shake and my multi at lunch when I'm not consuming gobs of calcium. I have a feeling the iron in my multivitamin was being clobbered by the calcium in my shakes. I may also start supplementing the iron, but I'd really rather not do that since you can get too much iron and supplementing it does tend to constipate you.

So overall, I'm happy. I figured my labs would be much better, but I didn't expect them to be this much better.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why am I hungry?

This week I have been so hungry. I don't understand it. I thought I wouldn't feel hunger again until at least a year out. Now it's not horrible, crippling hunger like before. But it's still annoying.

I hope it's because it's *that* time of the month. I like to blame things on hormones anyway, so why not?

There is also the theory that it's because I'm working out so much more ... longer and more intensely and back to 4-5 times a week instead of three. But, still, that goes against the "you won't be hungry until around 14-18 months" that I was told originally.

I guess I can talk to Dr. Awesome about it, but if he says "it's head hunger," I might have to kill him. And that would be very awkward, what with having to go to prison and all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just call me a Triathlete

Last night I signed up to do a triathlon. It's in April at Folsom Lake. I'm not 100% sure where Folsom Lake is, but it appears to be local. I think that should be plenty of time to get ready. I'm already done with Week III of "Couch-to-5k" and should be able to run a 5K by the end of January. I'm up to about 6 miles on the bike in just 30 minutes so that's going well too.

The only snag is that I have nowhere to swim. There is no pool at the free gym at work and gyms with pools cost lots of money. Not to mention the gym I want to join cost even more money. But it's awesome (she whines).

The place has EVERYTHING. They have a lap pool and an "activity" pool and a wading pool and a jacuzzi. And that's just outside. The woman's locker room has a jacuzzi too. Plus some saunas. There are 4 studios, one for spin classes, one for "Pilates Reformer" and 3 for free-form stuff. They have over 100 classes of various kinds a week. The upstairs has an entire room of cardio machines -- ellipitals, stairmasters, treadmills, bikes and all sorts of other things I've never heard of. There is another room with weight machines and another with free weights. They also have a kids section where they will babysit your kids and let them do fitness things. You get three free hours of babysitting a day.

There are also gyms and racquetball courts and tennis courts and all sorts of other courts with tournaments and classes and leagues. There are trainers available too. You get a certain number of training sessions and nutritional consults with your membership and then you can choose to purchase more, if you want.

Oops, I think I'm drooling. Again.

Not only is the equipment awesome, but the place is friendly and family-oriented with lots of social activities going on too. I really, really, really, really want to join. But Mr. Mac says we can't afford it. It's true that 24 Hour Fitness is slightly cheaper but only slightly and they SUCK. Plus our local Y hasn't even got a pool! (I thought all Ys had to have pools, but apparently not.) But, he's right that we can't afford it, or even 24 Hour Fitness. So I will have to find another way.

Oh I also haven't got a bike yet. I had a bike, but it's a mountain bike, not a road bike, and, anyway, MacBoy was using it and someone stole it from the local BART station. But I'm going to buy a bike for Christmas. Once I figure out what kind to buy.

I'll need a wet suit too but I want to wait until right before the race so the thing still fits me on race day.

Part of me thinks I'm crazy and is scared to death that I did this. But part of me is super excited. I've always thought triathlons looked like a lot of fun (until you got to the running part). I love to bike and swim. Running is just okay, but there was a time when I absolutely hated it so "just okay" is a major attitude shift for me.

Happy Holidays

With the holidays upon us, I've been going to parties like crazy. I'm going to another one tomorrow. The first big one was for work. It was at SF City Hall and was, as usual, quite the extravaganza. There was food everywhere and an open bar. I had decided beforehand that I was going to have one or two bites of everything that looked good, even dessert, with no regard for carbs or calories. And I did.

It was great. I had one small appetizer beforehand (waiters were running around with plates of food offering them to us all night), a small plate of food as "dinner" and 5 bites of dessert. Every time I ate something that wasn't as good as I thought it looked, I stopped eating it after one bite. If it was really good, I had two. I didn't feel different from anyone else -- my plate had just as much food as theirs -- and I was completely satisfied with what I ate. I thought about eating more, but didn't want to.

Then, when I logged my food for that night, I hadn't gone over my carb allowance or my calorie allowance for the day! All of this made me much happier about life and much more secure that I can do this and keep the weight I lose off without being "on a diet" for the rest of my life.

Then we had a small potluck at work and again I felt like I was eating normally. I had less choices of food -- there were a lot of carb-based entrees -- but I had what I wanted and did well on the calorie and carb front. Plus my Banana Protein muffins were a BIG hit.

Tomorrow I'm going to make "bites" for the potluck I'm going to on Sunday. I am working on perfecting my "Italian Garden Delight" bite recipe. Yes, I'm cooking these days. It's fun and -- cross your fingers -- I haven't had to go the ER due to a cooking episode yet. (Yes, I have sent myself to the ER while cooking in the past.) I had to throw out an entire batch of White Chocolate Fruit Dip because it sucked big time, but no injuries or cooking fires to date. I may get the hang of this cooking thing yet!

If I can get my Italian Bites to come out this time (too much oregano last time), I'll post the recipe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where my head is at

My head is in a weird place. I haven't been blogging about it because I can't even figure out what to say.

One second I'm so happy I had my sleeve. Maybe I can put on a pair of pants that didn't used to fit. Or someone at work complements me on my weight loss. Or I realize that I haven't felt hungry all day except at meal times in an appropriate amount.

The next second I am annoyed with myself. Maybe I only lost one pound this week. Or I look at a picture of myself and realize I'm a lot bigger than I think I am. Or I skip going to the gym and suffer the consequences on the scale.

Then, a second later, I'm wondering what the f*** did I do to myself? This usually happens after I eat too fast or too much. But the other day I felt hungry all day. WTF? I'm not supposed to feel hungry like that. I didn't have this surgery so I could feel hungry all the time! Oh wait, I forgot to take my PPI again, didn't I? Oops.

Then, whatever it is passes, and I'm happy again. For now.

Am I going nuts? Supposedly as we lose fat we release estrogen into our system and that can cause mood swings. But I've lost weight before without getting on such an emotional roller coaster.

Maybe I'm just impatient. I do know that part of me wants to be done with weight loss and on to maintenance. So anything that reminds me I'm not done, that I'm only a little over two months out and have a ways to go, does tend to piss me off.

The other thing that I'm sure is a factor is that I really like to be normal. Not boring normal, but not someone who had a childhood that could be made into a Movie-of-the-Week. Now this is the silliest of them all because the average middle-aged woman doesn't dye her hair blue or listen to The Killers or breastfeed her kids past letsjustsayitwasalongtime or do half the things I do and wouldn't change for the world.

So first of all, I will never be normal and, secondly, I'd be horrified if by some miracle I could manage it. But that doesn't stop me from being unhappy every time my sleeve asserts itself and reminds me that I have medicalized myself in my quest to control my weight.

And I think that may be the bottom line. I tried to pick the surgery that medicalized me the least while still being effective, but I did have surgery. There is no getting around that. I had surgery and I wouldn't change that because having surgery is the only effective treatment we've got for morbid obesity. I had to do something and I just couldn't go on one more diet knowing that it wouldn't work in the long run.

But I that doesn't stop me from wanting to live as normal a life as I can and not be a freak of nature.

I guess I need to learn to embrace my freakiness just like I embraced my blue hair and all the other things I do that are right for me, but make other people scratch their heads. So I will try. But I think it might take a while.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Dec. Edition

The Good; my size 14s are getting loose, I wore a size Medium jacket this week, and this feels like a big pounder week vs. yet another one pounder week.

The Bad: I had 75 g of carbs today without even realizing it. Plus I missed two doses of calcium.

The Ugly: Another really stupid article trashing WLS. Luckily for my sanity, I have lost the link to it so I can't post it here. The ironic thing is that the author's blog is supposedly about exposing fraud in science. Too bad she doesn't expose her own fraud.

I have always thought that if you have to lie make your point, you don't have one. And this article as full of lies, rumors and faulty logic.

One particular lie:

In the more than forty years that bariatric surgeries have been performed, there have been no randomized, controlled clinical trials that have shown any long-term improvements to actual health or that lives are saved or extended by these surgeries — not any of the dozens of types and variations being performed, and certainly none of the new procedures claiming to be better and safer.

Really? So I guess all the randomized studies I've read that showed long-term improvements in health were just a figment of my imagination.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

OH in San Ramon

Yesterday I went to San Ramon for a WLS conference put on by ObesityHelp. I had a blast!

I got my RMR tested -- as suspected, my metabolism is slightly lower than average for my age, weight, height and gender. But not by a lot.

I sampled a lot of food, both yummy (protein bars) and bizarre (some weird "health" drinks). Oh and the organizers always had WLS friendly food available so I never had to dip into my beef jerky stash. I even got hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Yum.

I met a lot of people, both new to me and somewhat known to me from the OH forums.

I came home with lots of samples including a new protein powder that I really liked and a lot of vitamin samples.

The talks were great, too. Ramon gave an inspirational talk and made me cry. Damn you, Ramon. The OH fitness expert Jeremy Gentles gave a talk about exercise and its place in your weight loss program, with a big plug for strength training. I'm going a lot of cardio now because I'm training for a Triathlon, but I really need to start the strength training and this was a good reminder of why.

They also had a Plastic Surgeon talk and then afterwards I had a consult. It was mostly good news. He thinks I'll need a bi-directinal tummy tuck which will get rid of my yucky gallbladder scar and replace it with a nicer one and it will get rid of my c-section scars too. Then, if I need a breast reduction, which he seemed to think I would, insurance might pay for it. Which would make the cost much more affordable. The only bad news is that I have underarm fat that will look bad if I get the breast reduction/lift and so should be removed too.

I am more hopeful about the whole thing though now. It's good to know I'll be able to afford it, which was a big fear for me. Now I just need to start researching Plastic Surgeons.

The event ended with a dynamic presentation by Eggface and Melting Momma. They made all sorts of food for us and we got to sample it and learn some techniques. One of the items was a protein shake that had been put into an ice cream maker to turn it into ice cream. Since I have trouble with the protein shakes, I thought a new way to make them was good to know. I particularly liked the Pizza Bites. "Bites" are these things that Eggface invented that are like a crustless mini-quiche. The rest of the stuff was more of the sweet stuff that doesn't appeal to me these days. Not that I let this stopped me from trying it all; after all, if you don't try, how do you know?

After the event, I went home and ran over to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought an ice cream maker! Then today I made some more Chocolate Pumpkin Protein brownies and my = own attempt at Italian Garden Veggie Bites. The Bites weren't bad but I put in too much Italian Seasonings. I also used cheddar cheese and I'm thinking maybe mozzarella would be better. I'm going to try again tomorrow.

I think I might be turning into a ... GASP ... cook!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Month Pix - 1 week late

Finally got around to posting my 2 month pictures. I think part of why I put it off is that I feel thinner than these pictures show.

Guess it's time to hit the gym again!