Saturday, February 27, 2010

My vitamin regime

People ask me about my vitamins so I thought I'd document what I take and how I take them.

First, here's everything I take every day including medicine and the containers I use to hold a week's supply:

Going from left to right, we have:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Exercise trumps genes

I found this article today and it made me happy and it made me think ...
Body weight is one of the most highly regulated genetic traits.
This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that it is almost impossible to find genetically identical individuals (or monozygotic twins) with marked differences in body weight.
In contrast, it is much easier to find non-identical twins (who only share some of their genes but the same environment) with great differences in body weight.
Despite this strong influence of genes on body weight, lifestyle can very much make a difference.
This was now demonstrated by Tuija Leskinen and colleagues from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, who after combing through thousands of twin pairs from the Finnish Twin Cohort, identified seven genetically identical (monozygotic) and nine non-identical (dizygotic) middle-aged (50-74 years) same-sex twin pairs who reported a long-term discordance for physical activity (International Journal of Obesity).
Irrespective of the genetic make up, the physically inactive co-twins had a 50% greater visceral fat area, a 170% higher liver fat score, and 54% more intramuscular fat.
This study clearly demonstrates that even in individuals who share the same genes and/or similar childhood environments, regular physical exercise can prevent the accumulation of high-risk fat over time.
Thus, whatever your genetic background or early childhood environment, it is better to be regularly physically active than sedentary (who would have guessed?).


Sometimes I get upset with how people talk about themselves on the weight loss message boards. They call themselves names, beat themselves up over every transgression, no matter how small, and just aren't very nice to themselves. I can't decide if I want to smack some sense into them or give them a big hug. I definitely want to say: Don't talk to yourself like that!

Our self-talk can be so powerful. I really think being mean to yourself puts you into a cycle of failure. Maybe people do this because they think it will motivate them to clean-up their act. But I don't see that happening, at least not in the long run. Sometimes I see people letting themselves off the hook after their self-scolding. (I was mean to myself so now I deserve to treat myself with food?) Other times they get so down on themselves so often that they come to think of themselves as not being worthy of reaching their goals, which leads to self-sabotage and giving up.

In her article "50 TIPS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED AT “NORMAL” EATING", Karen Koenig gives a number of tips about self-talk. Some of them struck me as too "psycho babble-ish" but there are a couple that really speak to me. Such as:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My long-term goals

It's been a while since I re-visited my long-term goals. I could see that they are very out-of-date and in need of being updated. Here's my latest list:
  1. (completed)Get off my BP meds
  2. (completed)Get rid of my plantar fasciitis once and for all
  3. (completed)Get rid of my GERD
  4. (completed)Go swimming with my daughter and stop making excuses every time she asks because I don't want to deal with appearing in a bathing suit in public
  5. (completed)Be at least a size 10, maybe smaller, and to shop in regular stores and not just the fat old lady department at Macys
  6. (completed)Get down to 175
  7. (completed)No longer be clinically obese
  8. (completed)Get down to 155
  9. (completed)Have a normal BMI
  10. (completed)Get down to 125 (possible goal weight?)
  11. (completed)Be in a true size 6
  12. (completed)Have a body fat percentage in the 18 - 22% range
  13. Get my resting pulse rate into the low 50s (still in high 50s)
  14. (completed)Walk 10,000 steps a day at least 4 days a week
  15. (completed)Complete a 5K
  16. (completed)Complete a Sprint Triathlon
  17. (completed)Complete a Sprint Triathlon in under 2:30
  18. (completed)Complete a Century Ride
  19. (completed)Complete a Half marathon
  20. Complete a Sprint Triathlon in under 1:30
  21. Get on the podium at a triathlon
  22. Complete a Half-ironman
  23. Complete an Ironman
  24. Qualify for Age Grouper Nationals
  25. Qualify for the Boston Marathon
  26. Qualify for Kona
  27. Give my inner "skinny bitch" the body she deserves (going to need PS for this one)
  28. Have a "normal" relationship with food
  29. Get my personal life in order (yeah, that's kind of vague)
  30. Live into my 90s as one of those cantakerous little old ladies with 10x as much energy as the youngsters I run circles around (so far so good)
I also have goals for the season:
  1. Run a stand-alone mile in 7:30 minutes
  2. Swim 1.2 miles in 45 minutes
  3. Be able to average 16-17 mph on the bike when the course is flat/fast
  4. Be able to run for two hours at a time without a lot of drama (gastro-intestinal issues, aches & pains)
  5. Be able to bike for four hours without getting exhausted
  6. Swim an average of 2 times a week

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Rules of "Normal" Eating

I've decided that 2010 is my year to work on my relationship with food. Okay, this is something I am always working on. I did a lot of work in the last few years leading up to my surgery and I thought that I was pretty much there. But now that I have my ghrelin under control, I can see I still have more work to do.

So I did what I do whatever I want to learn something new. I bought a book!

It's called "The Rules of 'Normal' Eating by Karen Koenig, a pyschotherapist who specializes in eating issues. (Her web sites are and

I'm only about half way done, but I really like this book. Unlike "The Food and Feelings Book", also by Karen Koenig, which bored me to tears. I never got past the first two chapters in that one! It's not that it wasn't a good book. It's just that it became very clear to me that I'm not really an emotional eater. I just couldn't relate to most of what she wrote about. On the other hand, an exercise in this book about head hunger vs. real hunger made it worth the entire price.

In the beginning, of The Rules of Normal Eating, Dr. Koenig describes learning to be a "normal" eater (and, yes, the quote are on purpose) is like learning a second language. You may get very good at it, even fluent, but you'll probably always have to work a little harder (compared to your first language) and you  may always speak with a slight accent.

I can live with that.

Because this book is so good, I'm going to write a series of entries about it as I work my way through it. Hopefully this will reinforce some of the concepts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ran 4 miles!

Okay, I didn't run it all at once. But I also did three 1000m and one 1200 m runs. Up until now, the best I have been able to do was 800 m at a time and 3 miles total.

My friend Medicine Boy was right ... I had plateaued because I stopped running more than one time a week. This week I ran two times and I'm back to making progress. I also figured out that I can go farther if I slow down. The Track workout today was at R and I pace but I held it to T pace and had much better results. It was tempting to do the 3 x 200 at a faster pace but I stopped myself and that turned out to be smart as I'm much better shape after this week's Track workout than I have been in a long time.

I'm also icing my leg, which  I've been lazy about, especially after I broke all the ice packs, one by one. I guess ice packs designed to keep food cold aren't really designed to ice legs.

I'm going to wear my RockIt tape tomorrow and see if that helps. It seems to help when I first put it on but I'm not 100% convinced it does anything long term. But, hey, I won a roll at the SVTC Open House so I might as well experiment with it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm famous, thanks to Tamera

I had heard rumors that I was featured in the Nov/Dec '09 Obesity Help magazine as an "inspiring" person but I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of the mag until today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

18 Month Check-up

After staying up until 1:00 am printing out spreadsheets and lab results for my appointment this morning, I got up this morning and forgot to bring them!! Argh.

It was okay though. I called my daughter and she read me the important numbers. (Remember when cell phones didn't exist? what would we do without them now?)

Dr. Awesome wasn't upset that I was up a few pounds from our last appointment and said that, at this point, he considers my weight to be stable and going up or down a few pounds is nothing to stress over. We did talk about my lack of exercise due to the injury and how I did go up, but got control of myself and started eating less. He was happy I figured that out for myself. He was also happy to hear my "this is why I log my food" story. I told him to tell it to the next patient he has who is having trouble with a stall or weight gain. (Seriously. I want to tell EVERYONE.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is why I log my food and exercise

I see Dr. Awesome in two days so I've been getting my charts together. I was going to talk to him about why I'm not losing weight even though I'm operating at a calorie deficit.

Except I realized that the way I was tracking my food and exercise was not giving me enough information. I have one spreadsheet per month with food and one for exercise. But the exercise one is just about mileage put in and hours put in. It has nothing about calories burned through exercise. Neither does my food chart.

So how do I know if my calories per day average is good, if I don't know what I burned off with exercise? Obviously, I don't! When I was losing and maintaining easily, it didn't matter. But right now I'm frustrated, so it does matter.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I know I've promised a scar picture for ages. I finally got around to it. So here they are, in all their glory... my scars!

I'm holding my stomach flat so you can see the scars without my loose skin covering them. I don't think you could find them without the arrows at this point because my open cholecystectomy and some moles I've had forever are a lot more noticeable. Only the biggest one still can be felt. The other three are completely flat and couldn't be found with my eyes closed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My first Century ride

I've done it - a full Century ride. Not a metric century, but a real one -- 100 miles! Here's the proof:

It's a good thing I took this picture, too, because I forgot to turn off my Garmin afterwards and ended adding another 19.5 miles of car travel to the record. Argh! Now I can't figure out my average miles per hour or cadence or anything like that.

But let's start at the beginning.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Okay, I am seriously freaking out over here.

For the past four weeks, I have been operating at a calorie deficit. This past week, in particular, I haven't been very hungry and I've stepped up my workouts to get back to the ten hours a week I was doing before I got injured.

So how come my weight is going UP?!

Yes, today I weighed myself and I'm 119! Up from the 118 I was on Monday. I haven't been that weight in about six months.

But I supposedly I have gained four pounds this week and I just can't believe that. For one thing, you can't really gain that much in that short a time unless you are binge eating every night. On the other hand, based on how my clothes fit, I haven't lost anything either. Even though I should be losing .5-1 pound a week given what I'm eating and even though I was 115 last Monday.

My scale says my body fat % hasn't gone up and my muscle mass has, but:

(a) you aren't supposed to be able to create muscle when you operate at a calorie deficit
(b) I don't believe I've gained 4 pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. Women don't bulk up like that

I have an appointment with Dr. Awesome next week and I now understand the people who say they've gained weight and are afraid to go see their doctors. I keep having these thoughts that maybe I should cancel and reschedule when I lose this extra weight. I won't do it, but it's very tempting.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My new sponsors

Way back when I first joined Loopd (now, I applied for a sponsorship with The Sock Guy. This was a no brainer for me because I love socks. Whenever I do an event, if there is a commemorative sock,  I buy it. I do the same thing on vacations and special occasions. My sock drawer is stuffed and that doesn't include my workout and racing socks, which are in another drawer.

Today, I got the notice that I'd been accepted onto the "Silver" team and my discount code to buy some socks. Woot, woot!

I love Sock Guy socks and I can't wait to get me some new ones. They make custom socks too and I was thinking it might be fun to have a Team MacMadame sock that my friend and family could wear when they go to my races. I'll have to think about that because I had been thinking "t-shirt". Maybe I could do both.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature

When asked why they get a restrictive surgery, such as the sleeve, over a malabsorptive surgery such as RnY or a DS, many people point to the need to take vitamins and possible issues with malnutrition. Definitely, if you don't absorb everything you consume due to an intestinal bypass, your risks of problems caused by malnutrition go up. But that doesn't mean someone with a restrictive-only surgery has no chance of experiencing a problem brought on by not getting enough of certain nutrients.

In my own case, my issues have all been with protein.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forgetting where you came from

When I named my blog, I wanted a name that would work for where I was at, but would also work later, when I had (hopefully) changed. So nothing with "Getting Skinny" in the title because some day I would BE skinny and not "getting" there. At the same time, I didn't want something that reflected what I planned to become, because it would be embarrassing if, five years later, I was battling regain and no longer there. (Or, worse, never got there.) And nothing about how bad off I was at the start. Who wants a blog called "The Fat Couch Potato" when you are wearing a size 2 and run 3x a week?

So I thought long and hard about having "Fatty" in the name. Would would it still fit when I was oh-so-skinny? And, would I still be fighting back?