Thursday, November 7, 2013

In a holding pattern

I finally got in to see my neurologist yesterday. We talked about The Incident and I counted back and figured it that it's been six weeks!

It doesn't seem that long.

At first, my head bothered me a lot and I gained five pounds like that. But these past two weeks, my head has been a lot better. I haven't been doing any working out except swimming and not much of that either.

I'm going to continue in this vein until Wizard of Oz is over and through the winter, mostly just swimming with some light biking thrown in and maybe some strength training and we are going to see what happens.

I'm supposed to go back in a 3-4 months.

He thinks that now that a major stressor has left my life that I could probably go back up to 100 mg of Topamax if necessary but right now it doesn't seem necessary.

So we're just going to wait and see.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just don’t come in last

Winning back my race entry by Bottom Podium-ing!
Most beginners training for their first triathlon will tell you that their goal is just to finish. “As long as I don’t come in last.” More experienced triathletes will tell them that coming in last doesn’t matter and in some races they even make a big fuss over the person who comes in last.

What do they call the person who came in last in a triathlon, you'll be asked? A triathlete!

And when (including me) say this, we are right. You can’t control your placement because it depends on who else shows up so it's not worth worrying about being last. The way I think of it is:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kona Trip Report - The Race!

On Friday we moved from Waimea to a place south of Captain Cook called the Dragaonfly Ranch. I never did figure out the town’s official name. (It started with an H and had a lot of vowels. Verses all the other places whose names started with a K and had a lot of vowels.) But the mailing address is Captain Cook so that’s how I thought of it the entire time we were there.

It was this funky bed and breakfast that was kind of like a hostel crossed with a tree house. Breakfast every morning was homemade bread and island fruit, much of it grown on the property. Plus organic Kona coffee for those inclined and oatmeal with lots of seeds and other things to put in it if you wanted.

There were no locks on the doors and our room had its own bathroom with a tub, but the shower was outdoors. I was dubious but it had hot water and that’s all I require in a shower.

The Manager has led quite a varied life and told us some great stories including being a child actor in Chicago with his friend Bruce Boxleighter. (They shared an agent.) We also talked quite a bit about Waldorf schools and triathlons (he used to do the swim and bike portions on relay teams when he was younger).

Friday we not only switched hotels, but we finally got to go to the Expo officially and pick up our volunteer t-shirts and check out the logistics of the race. There were signs everywhere saying “No Bags on the Pier” and we were also told that bags in the post-race area had to be smaller than 8.5x11 and no more than 3” deep.

I had nothing that qualified so, in addition to everything else, I had to buy a new purse just for race day. We were also very worried about parking and, during dinner at the famous Annie’s Burgers, I plotted out our early morning strategy.

I was supposed to also swim part of the official swim course and bike part of the bike course. But it was way too hot and I was exhausted so that never happened. I was starting to think that I had schlepped this bike all the way from California for nothing, but not even that thought was getting me on the Queen K in that heat when I had to get up the next morning at 4:15 am.

Saturday we got into town and I missed the turn off to our secret parking street. As I went to turn around, I found a spot right there in town. Parking, after all our fretting and plotting, turned out to be a breeze!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Kona Trip Report - USAT Coaching Clinic

First thing I see in Kona
I’ve just come back from my USAT Level One Coaching Clinic and the Ironman World Championship and I am so glad I went.

The coaching clinic was very helpful in several ways. Mostly it really built up my confidence that I actually do know what I’m doing when it comes to coaching. This is because most of what they went over is information I already knew.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything. I learned a ton. But what was most helpful about it was to see everything in one place and condensed. It gave me a big picture of all the little tidbits that I had been picking up here and there.

Another plus is that there are many areas where I had kind of stumbled onto solutions that worked for me but didn't know why. Now I have some science to back up my instincts. Finally, I got some gaps in my knowledge filled in and that's always good.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Has it been five years?

On September 24th, it was five years since I had surgery. I made a note of it at the time but since I was in the middle of having a nervous breakdown, I didn’t get a chance to write about it.

Also, there really isn’t much to say.

I’d take some measurements but I just took a bunch the month prior. I don’t think anything has really changed. Not enough to bother taking more.

I’d go to the doctor for a check-up but my medical group won’t take me until January (I was late last year with my testing and now they say it hasn’t been 12 months and so I'm not eligible for my annual physical) and I’ve been to the doctors so much lately that I really don’t want to do any more tests anyway.

Same for labs. They claim they missed the B6 last time and I’m “overdue” for it, but they won’t do anything else until January unless I give them a reason. So I think I’ll wait and do them all together.

Mentally, setting aside my Topamax issues – assuming you can and it’s not all inter-related – I’m finding it harder and harder to relate to the WLS community.

At the OH conference the weekend before last, the keynote speaker said obesity is forever and you are never cured. A lot of people nodded their heads. I made a face.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My season ends with a whimper and descent into madness

In order to finish off the triathlon season and to celebrate my five year anniversary from my surgery, I decided to do the Santa Cruz Triathlon but as an AquaBike.

When I signed up for it, I was swimming and biking every week and had done some Sprint length AquaBikes and it was over two months away so an Olympic level AquaBike seemed well within my grasp.

Little did I know.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Leaf Mrs. Tree Alone! Follow up on the Willingboro School Lunch Program

After I posted my first story about the change in school lunch policy at Willingboro School District, a lot has happened. Yes in just two days time!

First, my friend who first brought the issue to my attention was interviewed anonymously by her local news station, Fox Philly News. Since she fears retribution by the school district (they have a history of taking it out on the kids when their parents speak out -- how sad is that?), she got interviewed behind a tree. So we call her Mrs. Tree now.

You can see the story with her interview here:

Monday, September 2, 2013

No lunch money? Let's throw your lunch in the trash!

A friend of mine got the following letter from her school district this weekend:

To sum it up:

If you let the balance on your kid's school lunch account fall below $5.00, they will send you a notice. If you don't put more money in the account before the balance then falls to $0, when your kids get to the front of the lunch line, their lunch will be taken away, they will not be given the "humanitarian meal" option instead and a perfectly good hot lunch will be thrown in the garbage.

Let's set aside the whole issue of calling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a "humanitarian meal" for now and examine exactly that this policy is supposed to accomplish.

<puts thinking cap on>
<thinks really hard>
<thinks harder>

I honestly have no idea.

Friday, August 30, 2013

My audition was freaking awesome!

What a difference 35 years makes! I don't remember auditions being either so scary or so much fun when I was in High School.

I was very annoyed when my first one got postponed but it turned out to be a good thing. The extra two days really helped me solidify my Sondheim piece. I couldn't have taken having to wait another 1.5 weeks though, so I'm glad Mr. Mac let me skip his birthday dinner. (Don't worry -- we're going out to eat tomorrow.)

This time I left work an hour earlier and traffic wasn't nearly as bad. It still took me two hours to get there. But no panic. No forgotten sheet music. I even remembered my make-up and hair brush. I got there with 30 minutes to spare so I had time to warm-up, calm down, and otherwise collect myself.

I was super nervous though. I did recognize a few of the kids milling around when I arrived but they were finishing up or checking people in. The only one I recognized who was auditioning with me was Dr. Joe who came to PPF from the Oakland Children's Hospital (our designated charity). He's on the PPF board and has been in many productions. He was trying out to be the Wizard -- whom he looks just like -- or the Cowardly Lion -- who he kind of sounds like -- and I bet he gets at least one of those parts.

At 7:00 pm, they gave us a spiel about how it would work and shuffled us into a room for the auditions. The panel had SO MANY people on it. A million! Okay, maybe only six or seven. I was expecting four though.

We all sat in chairs and waited our turn.

Leslie, the Director, gave another shorter spiel and asked who wanted to go first. <crickets>

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tim Gunn challenges the Fashion Industry

Tim Gunn has challenged the Fashion Industry to design for Plus Size women (and shorties). Of course they won't. But I love him for telling them they should.

As Tim says:
"When I'm working in the real world with real women and we're shopping, we find that fashion seems to end when you get any larger than a size 12," Gunn told The Huffington Post. "How ridiculous is that?"
Pretty freaking ridiculous, Tim. Pretty freaking ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I may be crazy, but my heart is normal

Pretend this is my heart and not some random heart
That's what my stress echo tests says anyway. Not even "normal for an old broad" but normal in general.

So that's good. I guess I can get back to exercising. Just in time because the Santa Cruz Triathlon is coming up in a month and I need to get from biking 15 miles to 26 miles in that time!

I'm actually not sure I can do it, but I'm going to give it the "old college try" whatever that means.

In the meantime, I'm still working on becoming a Flying Monkey. The only problem is, after all my prep work, the lessons, downloading tunes, karaoke and sheet music, and practicing like crazy, they cancelled the auditions scheduled for today!

The day started out pretty well. I had an image to print for my head shot and I packed everything I needed and went to work. At work I performed my audition piece for some colleagues and I nailed it. Seriously. I have never sang so well in my life.

It was all downhill from there.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

STOP! In the Name of Love - My Total Immersion Weekend

I have finally gotten to do a Total Immersion clinic! I even got $100 off because I'm an SVTC member (score)!

I have been wanting to do one of these for a while. I've heard that the TI method can really help you take a lot of seconds off your time. And what I'd seen of the approach seemed good. But it is expensive and it takes an entire weekend. So I've been putting it off.

When I first started swimming, I had so many things wrong with my stroke. So corrected them was easy. But after a while I had fixed the easy things and plateaued. Then, the drills that coaches had me do in order to "fix" minor issues started to introduce problems that I didn't have before -- like a severe "crossover" in my stroke.

I was worried that TI wouldn't be able to help me because they seemed to market towards people not comfortable in the water or with really horrible strokes and mine was mostly okay especially when I was concentrating and not tired. At least that's what people who looked at my stroke told me.

But I was wrong!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Your Weight Matters Convention: You can be there even if you aren't there

In case it's not obvious, I'm not at the Your Weight Matters convention. But they are live streaming some of the sessions! I'm at work and my kid is in a play this weekend (she's Babette in Beauty and the Beast Jr.) and my tri club is putting on our annual summer BBQ which I'm organizing and I'm working on my own audition so I don't know how many I'll attend but that doesn't mean YOU have to miss out.

Here's the schedule of what's left

Friday, August 16

Rise to the Challenge: Your Health Matters
Speakers: Pam Davis, RN, BSN, CBN, OAC Chairman and Amber D. Huett, BS, MPA
Featured Motivational Speaker: Heidi Hanna, PhD
9:30 am – 10:20 am PST
To view this live stream event, CLICK HERE.
The Rollercoaster of Life: Major Events that Impact a Woman’s Weight
Speaker: Robert Kushner, MD
10:30 am – 11:15 am PST
To view this live stream event, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, August 17

Understanding and Managing Food Addiction
Speaker: Nicole Avena, PhD
9:00 am – 9:40 am PST
To view this live stream event, CLICK HERE.
Weighing Success beyond the Scale: Identifying and Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Speaker: Gary Foster, PhD
11:00 am – 11:45 am PST
To view this live stream event, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Update on my Tylenol PM attack

Friday night I had this weird reaction to Tylenol PM. I had had a similar reaction a while back but it wasn't clear it was the Tylenol PM that caused it and I forgot about it. But it's happened again and this time it was clear that it couldn't be anything else.

I thought I was do for my yearly check-ups so I figured I'd just talk to my doctor about it then. But it turns out I was late on them last year so now they won't give them to me because it hasn't been a year since I had them. Well, poop!

I just made an appointment to talk about my issue directly instead.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On being a role model

This post is sparked by a comment I read today on Facebook. Someone was asking if we thought she could lose 15-20 pounds in two months. Her impetus was that she was going to some WLS-oriented event and "as a role model" she felt pressure to be at her optimal weight.

I found that interesting because, as a role model, I find it important not to engage in extreme dieting behaviors. Because, when you lose a lot of weight and, better yet, keep it off, people want to know how you did it and then they try to do what you did.

So I do feel pressure to not mention when I eat crap. Or don't drink enough water. Or slack off on exercise. But I definitely don't feel a lot of pressure to try to shed pounds as fast as possible because of some special event where I want to look good.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two more weeks to YWM2013 - still time to sign up and donate!

So I won't be going to the Your Weight Matters convention this Aug 15-18 since I have to save all my pennies to go to Kona in October. (Boo Hoo, poor me, I have to go to Hawaii. Don't you pity me?!) But you can still sign up. And I'm still fundraising for the Walk from Obesity.
Here's my Fundraising Page. I know it's kind of boring, but it's not as boring as it was two hours ago. Progress!

I'd like to raise $1000, if not by the Phoenix walk, which is only two weeks from now, then at least by years' end.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My birthday present to myself

My birthday isn't for two weeks but I've been thinking this year I want to do something EPIC. I've also been talking about getting my USA Triathlon coaching certificate for a while. So for my birthday, I decided to finally sign up for the class. But to make it epic, I decided not to wait for next year's class happening in my home town but sign up for the class that is taking place this October in Kona. During the World Ironman Championships.

Yep, I'm going to Hawaii. To learn to be a triathlon coach.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I've been up to .... come watch my video!

It's been almost two weeks since I've posted anything and I feel bad. But I've been busy. I've been racing again which is great. At first I was really slow and I actually managed to come in last in something which was an interesting experience. But triathlon can be a crazy sport so even though I was last, I also made the podium. So, yeah me?

I am now behind by two race reports at this point but work has been crazy and I've been making a video (also for work).

For our annual meeting at my new job, we had a video contest as some sort of bonding exercise (or something). I have been wanting to make a parody video of Macklemore's Thrift Shop for a while now but I couldn't find anyone who would do it with me. So I volunteered to be a Lead for one of the Video Teams and I talked my group into making ... Rhythm Shop.

We had a blast too. And here's our end result:

Hope you like it!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Updating my measurements

This is what Bounce Back
looks like!
First of all, I just realized that I never did a three year update with measurements and stuff. This probably because I was recovering from Ironman Canada and then had my accident and it just got lost in the shuffle. I thought I had lab work done and went to see Dr. Awesome, but I sure didn't write about it, if I did.

Anyway, I've been doing my measurements in order to order racing kit online and every time I do them, they are smaller than the last time even though my scale weight isn't changing much. So I went back to find the last time I did my measurements and it was at the beginning of the year. (This is when Dr. Awesome told me to go down to 800 calories a day and lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks and I laughed in his face.)

I told you my plan. I would concentrate on limiting the damage while I was healing and any time my head was in "weight loss mode," I would push it. Doing that I did put on three more pounds, but I fought further weight gain every step of the way and was able to limit the damages to three pounds in four months. Then, I got put on Topamax and all the urges to mindlessly eat disappeared and my head got way better.

So I went with it and I lost everything I had gained and even more. On the scale, I'm lower than I was when I went on that fatal bike ride twenty-one months ago.

What's the verdict in terms of measurements? Here they are:

Battling the Food Industry

Today I read that the WHO was prepared to take on the food industry in order to do something about the growing health and obesity crisis that is happening all over the world. Good for them!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I went a little crazy

I went a little crazy last night.

After my race last week where I was able to swim and bike in the same day and recovered just fine and then this week I biked and recovered just fine, I realized that I had been working out and recovering just fine for a few weeks now. So I decided that it was time to start working out three times a week. And bike twice a week.

Then, I started thinking, if I'm biking twice a week, I figure I can build up to the Olympic distance and do the Olympic AquaBike at Folsom -- I'd earned a free entry by volunteering. But I didn't have my second volunteer code so I signed up for a different Olympic AquaBike a month later instead.

And it's always hard to find people to do Open Water Swims so I signed up for more swim races while I was at it. I signed up for every race in July and every race in August - one on Thurs. night and one on Sunday each month.

Yes, I signed up for five races in the next three months! And I have two more to go -- that other AquaBike once I get my discount code and another open water swim race that I'm waiting on to make sure it doesn't conflict with a possible SVTC event that hasn't had its date nailed down yet.

Of course today I had a headache and it made me doubt the whole thing. However, as soon as I drank something, the headache went away. (The heat can trigger them too.)

I'm still kind of nervous about the whole thing.

I'm also amused that this morning when I got up, I found a text, an email and a voice mail from my bank. Did I make all those charges to my credit card signing up for all those charges or where they fraudulent, they wanted to know. I now have this picture in my head of some super-buff credit card scammer stealing my card and using it to sign up for endurance events, protein bars and Fluid Recovery Drink instead of the normal computers and cell phones.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

We define our own success

Today I biked 12.5 miles. Flat miles. In an hour.

Fist bump!

Yeah, before my accident I was averaging more like 14-15 mph, not 12.5 mph. And I could do hills. And 80 miles minimum. But, guess what? I don't care! Because 12.5 miles in an hour is not only the farthest I've biked since then, it's the fastest.

So that's my new standard. I feel good. And successful.

Friday, June 14, 2013

CNN to attend this year's Your Weight Matter's Convention

YWM2013 Convention badge I love a good pun. Maybe that's why I like the Your Weight Matter's campaign. You can read the phrase in any number of weighs. (Get it: weighs. ways. heh.)

You can read at as your weight MATTERS. And your weight does matter. If it's too low, you can suffer from certain health problems. Likewise, if it's too high. But it matters because it's something very visible about you and people judge you on it and treat you a certain way because of it.

But in other ways, it doesn't matter. On other hand, you can read it has Your Matters of Weight. As in your weight subjects.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Are you going to the Your Weight Matters National Convention?

Last year the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) hosted a ground-breaking educational convention on weight and health, the Inaugural "Your Weight Matters National Convention." I had to miss it because of my job, but I'm really hoping I can go this year.

It's being held in Phoenix, AZ, August 15-18. Unlike a lot of the weight loss-oriented conventions I go to, this one is a lot more educational -- including a day on how to be an obesity advocate and also some sessions for CE credit -- and is not just for people who have had weight loss surgery but for all people interested in matters of weight and health. But don't worry -- there is a lot of socializing and connecting with people, too!

Here's some more information about the conference:
If you do decide to sign up, be sure to put "Marie Hughes" as your referred by. There's a contest and I might actually have a shot to win!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

At least some part of me is working

About a month ago, my tri club put on a little 5k called the Chick Chaser. It was fun! I volunteered, but didn't run. Except I challenged my friend to a little race to the finish line. I had been feeling pretty good and feisty and my head wasn't really bothering me very much, not as much as it had in the past at such an event. So I yelled "I'll only give you your wig back if you beat me to the finish line."

Um, I was wearing a blue wig. Long story.

I didn't think she would because she had run most of a 5k, but she smoked me.

On the other hand, I didn't have a headache after and I was so excited. I started planing out the rest of my life and how I was going to train for this and that. I was BACK, BABY!

The headache didn't hit until later. Ugh.

However, the silver lining? No calf issues at all.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In which Carnie Wilson, the supposed WLS Failure, schools MacMadame, the supposed WLS success

The Keynote speaker at this year’s WLSFA’s Mother of All Meet and Greets was Carnie Wilson. Carnie is probably the first WLS celebrity. She had her first WLS back in 2000 or so and, unlike other celebrities such as Star Jones who initially denied that they even had WLS, was very public about it from Day One. She even had her actual surgery broadcast over the internet!

As is normal when you are pretty public about your private life, this invited a lot of scrutiny and criticism which intensified when she had problems with regain after the birth of her children. I’ve written about Carnie before and how I didn’t think 100% of those criticism were fair or accurate.

A few weeks before the convention, a question was posed in my Facebook feed: Would you go to see someone talk (at WLS Conference) about WLS success who had regain and a revision. Pretty much EVERYONE was saying NO WAY. And: what would such a person ever have to say to me?

I found that rather interesting given my new feed was also full of people excited to be going to Vegas to hear and meet Carnie Wilson. Who is a WLS patient who is struggling with regain and who had recently had a revision.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Diet Fix - why everything we know about dieting is wrong

Let's take a break from controversy and talk about the one talk at the WLSFA that I wanted to attend -- one of the things that made it worth the price of attending.

I went to the Dr. Yoni Freedhoff talk expecting a very scientific talk with a lot of references to studies and the like showing how much of the dieting advice we get has been debunked by science. Things like “don’t eat after 7 pm” and “eating fat makes you fat.” His talk was more along the lines of a post I made way, way back when (before surgery even) all about The Dieting Mentality. Only better.

The title of his talk was “The Diet Fix” and it’s also the title of a book that he wrote that was supposed to be published by now but will be published next year instead.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WTF? - My 2013 WLSFA Meet 'n Greet Experience - The Aftermath

MacMadame's patented guide to conflict resolution.
This is a difficult post for me to write. It's difficult for a number of reasons one of which includes my childhood.

I grew up in a family that was full of secrets, dysfunction and feuding. It was too much drama for me and I reacted by becoming pretty much allergic to drama. People start feuding and choosing sides and publicly pointing fingers and I'm outta there.

I am the one who is friends with everyone even people who hate each other's guts to the point of where people are afraid to be in the same room with them. I am the one who invites who I want to be there to my college graduation or my wedding and if this one isn't talking to that one, I shrug and say Not my problem.

The other reason writing this is hard for me is that I'm going to not only choose sides publicly -- not only am I making it my problem -- but I'm also going to criticize an organization that goes good things. This is something I have been trying very hard for the past two years not to do.

But I need to, I think. It's time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flying with and without planes - My 2013 WLSFA Meet 'n Greet Experience - Day Three

Arriving at Bootleg Canyong
On the third day, I rose again... too early. This time I had no shopping to do or anything really so I wandered around trying to hook up. With friends, people. With friends. Get your minds out of the gutter!

I finally ran into some of them at Starbucks. We chatted and gathered and all went back over to the convention together. Where there was plenty of food. I got very excited until I realized there was plenty of food because they hadn't opened the food lines yet. When they did open them, I jumped right in though having learned my lesson from Friday. There were signs everywhere "Take 1 piece of quiche". Hmm.

Prom Day - My 2013 WLSFA Meet 'n Greet Experience - Day Two

They gave us a good table because it was our anniversary.
After going to bed way too late, I had this plan to sleep in. I wasn't intending to do anything before Dr. Yoni Freedhoff's talk at 10:00 am anyway. But wouldn't you know it, I woke up at the crack of dawn and could not go back to sleep. I finally gave up about 7:30 am and got up.

I was dressed and at the convention by 8:30 am. I met some new people, visited the vendors and picked up some more swag. Then, at 9:00 am, I decided to hit the shops on more time trying to find a necklace for the evening's event. And maybe a new purse. I didn't manage it before I had to run back to see Dr. Yoni.

I deliberately got there early so I could meet him and chat with him beforehand. We had a nice chat and I met his wife too. I teased him about being a doctor with fans. Because I am a fan. He took it pretty well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This is why I hate Vegas - My WLSFA 2013 Meet 'n Greet Story - Day One

The best meal I had all day
I was in Vegas for a convention put on by the WLSFA, an organization that raises money so that people who can’t afford it can have Weight Loss Surgery (and sometimes Plastic Surgery after massive weight loss). This was the fourth of their annual Meet and Greets. I had gone to their second (What? There was nothing about it on the blog. Um, yeah, I know. More on that later.)

Mr. Mac had absolutely no interest in the convention but he wanted to go to Vegas (why?) so he was with me. We left the kids home. First time we left Mini-Mac without parental supervision for an entire weekend, too. It was less stressful than I expected.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The best race report ever - Wildflower Olympic Relay

I raced! First time in over a year. Even longer since I raced when I should have and was healthy! (vs. racing when I shouldn't have and wasn't healthy.)

Since I'm basically only swimming, I formed a relay team and I did the swim leg. This seemed reasonable to me but I should have known the whole experience was going to be bizarre when I had so much trouble forming a team to start with. I got a biker almost right away but I had a heck of a time getting a runner. I was about to give up when I said we could do the Olympic distance (6.2 mile run) instead of the Long (13.1 mile run). My biker really wanted to do the Long course (56 miles) but the difference in the swim is only .3 miles and I figured shorter was probably better for me anyway.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fake cool vs. real cool - The Story of Mike Jeffries

My face scares small children. Buy my clothes.
A firestorm of controversy erupted today when an article appeared in the Business Insider claiming that Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, didn't want fat people wearing his clothes. Now, the article didn't actually quote Jeffries on this. But his attitude towards who he wants in his clothes is hardly a secret. In a 2006 interview on, Jeffries was quoted as saying:
In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
Not to mention, the store does not carry any clothing in a size larger than a 10 except for a few XL and XXL in Mens, presumably for beefy body-builder type guys. So, whether they said so in an official document or used offensive language to do or not, selling clothes only to smaller people is clearly their business model.

If you are bracing yourself for a big tirade about fatty-hate, you can relax. I'm not planning to do that. For one thing, no clothing store can be all things to all people. It's cost prohibitive. Chico's doesn't carry my size and neither does Lane Bryant. That's life. They all pick who they want to sell clothes to.

But the real reason I'm not going to rant is that I think Mike Jeffries is kind of sad and pathetic.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brain doc gives me some perspective

Yesterday I saw Brain Doc for an official follow up. We had an unofficial one via email when I was raised from 25 mg to 50 mg of Topamax.

For this one, I was of mixed feelings about going up to a higher dose. When I first went up to 50 mg, I had some scary side-effects and was adamant I wouldn't go up any more. But then they wore off. Unfortunately so did the medicine. Well, not "wore off" but it didn't seem to be as effective the past couple of weeks.

So we talked about it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Did the Boston Bombing make you think about starting to run?

A friend of mine postulated that the recent events in Boston would spike an interest in running. I'm not so sure that's true. I do think it might motivate some people who are already running to run more or maybe renew their resolve to qualify for Boston.

There was an article saying that there was a big spike in interest in qualifying for Boston. They showed a graph based on Google searching. However, I searched for "Boston Qualifying Times" right after the bombing and my main motivation was to check a fact for my blog post. So I'm not 100% sure those Google searches necessarily translate into direct interest on the part of runners. It would be nice if it did though.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Quest for the Perfect Protein Bar

I'll give you the short version of this review:

Quest Protein Bars = Monkey's Ass

Oh, you want more details?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Great Scott - That was fun!

A while back I heard about this one day triathlon clinic being put on in the area by Dave Scott. Yes, that Dave Scott! Not only is he a great triathlete, but he coached my all-time favorite, Chrissie Wellington, and also, unlike a lot of great triathletes (that's right, Mark Allen, I'm looking at you), I actually agree with a lot of his training methods.

Dave Scott and his new triathlon minions
Of course, I wanted to sign up right away but, with my head issues and not actually working out at the time, it seemed kind of silly to spend all that money and not be able to do most of the workouts. But I kept my eye on the announcements and a few weeks before the seminar, they announced a 'seminar-only' option. I was in! Of course, when it came down to it, I talked myself into signing up for the whole thing. After all, I was swimming again so I figured I'd just feel my way through the non-swimming, non-seminar parts.

The first session was "running" and strength training. We didn't actual doing any running -- which is good because I can't do that without major head issues -- but we did talk about form quite a bit including learning about something called the transverse abdominis (TA) muscle. I swear I had never heard of it before (even if I probably have), but knowing about it is going to change my (triathlon) life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

You are more/less beautiful than you think

There are two videos making the rounds of the web today and I am having an atypical reaction to both of them.

The first is the Dove campaign video and it shows an "experiment" where some women describe themselves to forensic article and then another woman who doesn't know them but has spent some time with them does the same. The two pictures are hung up side-by-side and the women are brought to view them. They choke up because the one drawn from the stranger's description is supposedly prettier than theirs. 

The video ends with "You are more beautiful than you think."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This is what a "normal" BMI looks like

112 - Sept 2009
Before I had my surgery, I used to get an argument with a certain someone on the web with a screen name of Jachut. She would constantly declare that a BMI of 24.9 was healthy and any BMI above that was not. Period.

I liked Jachut a lot and I loved her no-nonsense attitude about exercise and eating and how she didn't sugar-coat things or fool herself. But, on this one, she was full of shit. Period.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yesterday was the worst day

I had a great weekend and was having a good time at work when I got a text message... did I know if a friend had gone to Boston to run the marathon?


I jumped onto Facebook and my email and that's how I found out that someone had set a bomb off at the Boston Marathon, killing three people (though it was two at that point) and injuring hundreds (only 20+ had made it to the hospitals by then though).

I was in shock. I still am somewhat, but it's finally starting to wear off a bit to the point where I can take stock.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My brain is made of swiss cheese

Okay, it isn't really. But a few weeks ago, when I first upped my dose of topamax (aka dopamax), it sure felt like it was. It was kind of scary, actually. I decided then and there that even if the new dose wasn't enough to cure my brain that I wasn't going to up it again. It just wasn't worth it.

However, as has been the case with this drug all along, this side-effect also wore off. So my brain doesn't seem remotely swiss cheese-y now. Then again, it also doesn't seem to be working as well either. I'm not sure what to make of that.

I guess it's time to see the neurologist again. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if our COBRA is turned on. We did get the forms but I'm not sure if Mr. Mac turned them in and we haven't gotten our new ID cards.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Raining on your Easter parade

It was supposed to rain today and maybe thunder. I've lived in California long enough to ignore that and schedule an open water swim anyway. I leave in 45 minutes and the sun is shining. In the meantime, I am watching Les Mis. Because it's Easter and at our house the Easter Bunny doesn't bring candy but MOVIES!

When I was a kid, we were Catholic and Easter was one of the big holidays. I have to admit, it didn't really resonate with me, not like Christmas which even today remains my favorite holiday. But it was still a big deal. I remember hunting for our Easter candy all over the house. And finding some in July.

I remember getting a new outfit every year and going to church all dressed up in our Easter finery including a new dress, new shoes, new hat and purse and sometimes even a jacket. I've seen picture of myself and my two sisters with our matching outfits. We were cute, but in a sort of scary Children in a Horror Movie way.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yes, Mr. Mac, triathletes do pee in their wetsuits

Last night I was "watching" the news with Mr. Mac when something on there caused him to say "Triathletes don't pee in their wetsuits!"

After I stopped laughing, I explained that we certainly do. He didn't realize that liquid passed through them, apparently.

Today I went swimming. In my wetsuit.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Proof that it's all exercise

Today I did not officially "work out." I did go down to USA Production's South Bay Duathlon and volunteer. I was on my feet from 5:45 am to about 12:15 am. I was handing out packets, running around looking for people who had answers to my questions, and later on I was bending down taking off timing chips and picking up water bottles out of a kiddie pool full of ice to hand out. Earlier in the day, it was cold, cold, cold, so I was bouncing and dancing to the music and waving my hands trying to keep warm. I was also screaming (Go, SVTC!) and cheering and chatting with friends.

I had a blast and when I came home my BodyMedia FIT showed the following:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Regrets and rewriting history

I have always believed that, since you can't change the past, you should avoid getting caught up in what you should have done and just figure out how to do better in the future. However, sometimes you can't really avoid what I call the "shoulda, coulda, wouldas".

I've been that way about weight loss surgery. I feel like I've gotten my life back so I keep thinking "why didn't I do this sooner?" I'm in my fifties so I'm already at the point where most people are slowing down and I want to be speeding up. I keep thinking about what could have been if I had done this sooner.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hating exercise

I'm working on my memoirs and I'm up to 2009. I just wrote about the first time I experienced a Runner's High. Therefore, it's ironic that I came across this article about how humans are supposedly hard-wired to hate exercise.

Actually, the article doesn't say that all humans are hard-wired to hate exercise. That's just the catchy headline designed to make you read the article which is about something completely different.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Debunking the Diet - A new series by Luna

I got a present in my email today. It was a link to this video:

I love it for a number of reasons including the fact that there is lots of science showing that it doesn't matter what time you eat your calories but how many you eat. That means that this series might not be as full of stupid and mediocre dieting advice as a lot of them are.

Plus I thought it was entertaining.

As for myself, I have found times when I was snacking uncontrollably at night. Sometimes it was because I wasn't eating enough during the day. But mostly it was because I was mistaking other feelings for hunger.

That said, I generally find myself slightly hungry right before bedtime and, if I don't eat, I can't sleep because it's distracting. So now I just plan for it.

Usually I have protein hot chocolate. 60 calories, 15 g of protein and, hey, it's hot chocolate! It always fills me up and helps me sleep. I'm drinking some now.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is there a cure for obesity?

In a recent article, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff writes "There is no cure for obesity". The article makes many great points. My favorite is when he says:
Your best weight is whatever weight you reach, when you're living the healthiest life you actually enjoy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Every time I see you, you're smaller

Someone said that to me today. It's been YEARS since anyone has said that to me.

Of course, early pre-op easily I heard that ten times a week. This time I had more trouble accepting it. Probably because my scale says I haven't lost that much weight. I'm at 126 which is down from my absolute highest of 134 which I saw for one day before the number scared me into going back to logging my food. But I'm pretty sure I was more around 130 the last time this dude saw me.

And it's not like I've been working out and gaining lots of muscles either to make me smaller without the scale moving all that much.

However, I look in the mirror and it looks like I'm a lot smaller than four pounds would account for. So, as usual, the scale can suck it. Ha!

Anyway, I'm thinking about doing some sort of workout this weekend. It's probably too cold to go Open Water Swimming again but I don't belong to a gym any more so I can't swim in a pool. I haven't been walking at work at all lately as my head has been bothering me too much so I supposed I could just go for a walk.

I did just point out to someone else that running errands can burn more calories than an official workout. But it's not the same. I want to really workout because of the mental aspects of it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Aftermath of the swim

My tri club is starting up this seasons New to the Sport program and I was hoping to be a regular participant as a way of getting back into training. But I'm not really ready. I did attend the first Open Water Swim yesterday.


Air Temp: 33 F
Water Temp: 51 F

I have never in my life swum in water that cold.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The war against diet soda

I well remember a time when diet soda didn't exist. It's not that women weren't always on diets because they were. Or at least it seemed that way to my ten year old self with my yo-yo dieting mom. But artificial sweeteners hadn't been invented yet, I guess.

One of the first diet drinks I remember was Tab. It was sweetened with saccharine and it tasted kind of bitter. But we forced down the Tab because we were told that if we replaced our regular Coke with Tab that we'd save so many calories a week and that would lead to losing 10 pounds a year!

After a while we got used to it, too. I came to enjoy the bubbles and the crispness, in fact. I didn't lose 10 pound a year though. It didn't impact my weight at all. I wasn't the only one whose weight wasn't impacted, either.

But now, apparently, the same experts who told us to drink diet ida are telling us that it's evil. It causes obesity! It causes Type II diabetes!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My team lost, so now I must cry

I'm a lot sadder about the 49ers losing the Super Bowl than I expected to be given that I kind of had a feeling they would lose. I also expected them to start off a little slow as every game I've watched this season has been like that. (Maybe it's me -- I don't think they are like that when I'm not watching.) But they sure took a very long time to find their groove. To the point where I almost gave up on them. Then again, the entire game was very strange -- full of weird mistakes, questionable calls, and a power outage. At the Super Bowl. Crazy.

What does this have to do with weight loss and health and all that stuff that I normally write about? Well, football is definitely exercise, but really what I say has more to do with food. Namely:

Super Bowl Parties!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mini-Mac's Weight - An Update

It's been not quite two years since our PCP had "the talk" with Mini-Mac about her weight. What happened?

She's got taller. She didn't go on a diet. She didn't gain more weight and even lost about 20 pounds. She's back to being fairly tiny but now with adult curves.

Basically, what I've seen happen with other girls, happened with her. We didn't harp on her weight. She didn't go on a diet. Her weight just took care of itself once she got through puberty and started her menses.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dopamax please start working

Right before I went on the Topamax, my head went through a bad period where it hurt, actually hurt, not just had discomfort or itchiness, pretty much every day for long periods of time. So it's been hard to know if the Topamax is going to do anything especially as it supposedly takes as much as six weeks to work and it's only been a week and two days.

Yes, I've been counting.

The first couple of days it did make me a bit sleepy and I was reminded that they don't call it "dopamax" for nothing. But that effect was gone pretty quickly.

The famed "loss of appetite" hasn't emerged at all of course and I really should have known. No medicine with loss of appetite as a possible side-effect has ever given me loss of appetite. Then again, the head hurting thing does tend put me into a carb frenzy so maybe it will still happen. I can dream anyway.

I did actually get quite sad the other day and over absolutely nothing. Some dude at work insulted my cake pops. Moron. I will cut you. But first I moped around all day like a big baby. So I need to keep more of an eye on that than I expected to have to.

Today I feel okay in the head. A little itchy at times. Maybe some discomfort for a few seconds here and there. But no outright pain, at least not yet.

If it's going to happen, it generally does around 5-7pm and it's only 4 so there's still time. But compared to the past two weeks where it was bad by noon or sometimes even earlier, getting to four with little pain is a bloody miracle of sorts. I will take it, that's for sure.

This is going to be a long six weeks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ac1 is "great"

My Ac1 test came back: 5.2

Normal is 4.8 to 5.6. So, as my doctor's PA says. "Your glycolated hemoglobin was 5.2. This is GREAT"

Told you so! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm a topamax baby now

Had my big appointment with the Brain Doc this morning on the way into work. It was pretty uneventful. He asked me some questions about what I could and couldn't do and how I was feeling compared to both six months ago and a year ago.

I told him I was definitely better than a year ago and not really better than six months ago.

I'm not sure this is 100% accurate because my progression has been very up and down. But it's close enough.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fasting Glucose Results Back

My glucose levels are fine. Big surprise. Only not really.

I got 79 and the range is 70-99. I think that's pretty good, but I'll find out what my doctor thinks soon enough.

The Ac1 test result hasn't come back yet but I bet it's fine too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Four year stats only four months late

Finally got my lab work and other yearly tests done. I didn't get the full complement of labs done this time because I've never had any problems with most of them and there isn't any history of problems with those things with my surgery.

I had the "bone density" ones done and the "anemia" ones and the standard ones. Everything looked pretty good with the calcium. My calcium levels are normal but serum calcium almost always is. But my Vitamin D levels were okay and my PTH was good. So all of that together means, supposedly, that I'm not leaching calcium out of my bones.

Except I also had a DEXA scan done and, while everything was in the normal range for my age, on every measure I was lower than the last time, three years ago. So that's worrisome.

Not to my doctor who just said "your DEXA scan is normal." This why you have to stay on top of your own labs, in my opinion. Doctors don't see things the way I do. I look for trends, not just that my numbers are within range.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

No riboflavin gives me a bad head

I'm getting lab work done tomorrow and my surgeon recommends we don't take any supplements for three days before. This means stopping my B2 supplements and my magnesium ones too. That turned out to be a majorly bad idea. It didn't take 24 hours before my head was hurting much worse than usual and for longer and more often.

I decided lab work be damned and I started taking the B2s again. However, I didn't start up the magnesium right away and I didn't take any today as I am getting my magnesium levels checked so I did want to at least sort of follow my instructions.

I can't wait to get back on these things and to see the neurologist again. I'm also wondering, if it's clear the B12 is doing something, if I should take more or possibly something stronger. I'm going to push more for something stronger now that I know drugs can help. (Okay, I say that, but we'll see what happens.)

I'm also getting a DEXA scan tomorrow and they also recommend no calcium the day of the test. I wonder why.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ohmigod, do I really look like that?

I just saw a picture of myself from the Holiday Party and I can't believe how heavy I look. My hair looked horrible too but I'm kind of used to that. I'm way overdue for a haircut though so I really need to get on it.

It's kind of lowering to think that I've been fooling myself about my weight but I looked way bigger in those pictures that I think I am and I've been down that path before.

I keep telling myself that all I have to do is start working out again the fat will fall off replaced by lovely muscle. This is even probably true. But what if I can't workout for another year? Do I really want to put on another 10 pounds of fat and lose even more muscle?

I also believe that my head injury makes me hungry. This is also probably true but again what if it's like that for another year?

So I'm going to start tracking my food again. That's it. No Weight Watchers, no Jenny Craig, as tempting as it is to join those programs. I know I can lose 10 pounds of fat on them in a month or two. But I need to learn how to eat and manage my weight forever and I worry that going on a real diet will get me back in the yo-yo dieting thing.

Therefore, it's food tracking for me. I'm going to do it just like I did last time, five years ago in Jan. of 2008. I'm going to track it at first and then I'll look for things to improve and start working on improving them one by one.

You heard it here first!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ninja Disappointment

I bought myself a Ninja blender for Christmas. I had heard a lot about them and they have a cool name, but some of what I heard made me pause. In particular, I was worried about the fact that it supposedly "pulverized" the ice down to liquid. I like my protein shakes to have the consistency of a smoothie and not to be completely liquid. But I've gone through two regular blenders, one immersion blender and two Magic Bullets in the past four years and I needed yet another blender.

I figured an expensive "professional" blender was worth trying. If it lasted four years, I'd be making money as the blenders I've bought in the past four years cost way more than even the top-of-the-line Ninja.