Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dealing with the heat

Today was another hot day for us down here in San Diego county.  At my house, it was 95 degrees.  Before I left for work this morning, I did adjust the thermostat so the AC would kick on for my kitties during the day.  I know, I know ... don't roll your eyes at me!  They are spoiled and I own that.  It was set to 78 degrees though so it's not like I left the house at 60 degrees all day.  Besides, I love them and want them comfy.  When they came into my life, they were at the Humane Society for fourteen months after someone had abandoned them.  They get the royal treatment.

Instead of walking during lunch, my friend and I decided to just drive to a local restaurant so that we wouldn't be dripping in sweat for the rest of the day.  I must say, I had the most delicious meal.  While it's not always easy to find healthy foods in restaurants, it is possible.  My lunch was from Rubio's, a popular place in southern California with restaurants practically in every community it seems like.  They're actually well known for their fish tacos, but they have other great choices as well as some other not so great choices.  I mean, some of their burritos have about 900 calories and nearly 2,000 mg of sodium.  Um, not for me!  My choice today was a balsamic roasted vegetable salad with chicken.  It had corn, grilled peppers, avocado, a spring mix with butter lettuce, grilled chicken and a very light balsamic vinaigrette.  All for 300 calories.  I know the picture doesn't do it justice ... trust me, you just have to try it.

I'm so thrilled that I can make wise choices that leave me feeling good about what I'm doing instead of punishing myself for picking something fried, slathered in sauce or some other selection that I will regret.  Little by little, these choices help me make a habit of living a healthier lifestyle. I felt so much better physically today as well.  I had a great workout at home in front of my fan and I have to say that I loved that.  Not only was a willing to still get my sweat on even though it was blazing outside but I took care of myself enough to know that I don't have to kill myself in the process.  I would have been absolutely miserable had I done it outside.  I'm so grateful for each new day to take good care of my body.  It deserves the TLC.

Water Challenge Day 96:  Drank 173 of 173 ounces

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The pain of excess weight

Today I'm feeling the pounding my body takes for having extra weight on my frame.  I don't like to always complain about this ache or that pain because I don't want to be that person.  I'm sure you all know them ... you ask how they are doing and they actually tell you every bad thing that is going on.  We all have our battles and I know I can vent with friends, but I also don't want to be all about the negative.  On the whole, I try to be a positive mood and I smile a lot for those that know me.  Today, though, I just feel how much damage the weight does to my body.  To be honest, I don't know how I functioned as well as I did when I was at my highest weight of 420 pounds.  I was watching an episode of My 600-Pound Life the other day and there was a man on there that weighed about 750 pounds.  I know in my heart that he must have felt physical pain with every step.

One of the reasons I have opted to pursue weight loss surgery is because I want a better quality of life.  By getting off the weight, I know that it will be such a major improvement for the constant problems I have with my back, as well as the leg and knee issues I have.  Imagine every breath you take or every step being associated with increased pain.  It can bring people to their knees with frustration and depression.  I was reading about a study that said for people with osteoarthritis, every pound they lose will feel like four pounds less stress on the knees.  My poor legs, from my hips down to my feet, have pain all the time.  To be honest, I'm surprised I can do as much cardio as I'm able to do because I do have a lot of pain.  It's such a vicious cycle.  Yet, I'm hanging in there.  I actually had to stop my walking earlier tonight because my body had simply reached its limit.  I was disappointed that I couldn't get in those 10,000 steps but I am doing the best I can.  In fact, I'm much more vocal than I used to be about that.  When I go walking with my friend at lunch and if she's walking too fast, I do ask her to take the pace down just a little bit for me.  I would have been afraid to say something before because I thought I was going to be judged, but pain wins out over ego every single time now.

I wish there was a point in my life that, as the weight and pain was creeping on, I could have stopped overeating.  That's what lets me know that there is more to it than just lack of self control or willpower.  There are many things in my life that I can handle just fine and even excel at if I try my hardest.  When I've tried to do the same thing with food, there's something that just doesn't work the same as it does with other people.  It's really strange that ice cream or a cookie can have that much of a hold over me, but somehow they do. I'll tell you one thing .. I never cared so passionately for broccoli or cabbage as I have longed for a piece of pie.  I can tell myself to just say no or stay away, but seeing those kinds of sweets still pull at me.  I'm not partaking in them today, thank you God, but they still attract me.  I know that, with the surgery, that won't just miraculously disappear.

I know I talk about the surgery a lot.  I completely recognize that.  Thanks for hanging in there through my discoveries about myself through this process.  By undergoing the surgery, there is a huge potential to change my life in ways I have only dreamed about.  In some ways, that terrifies me to the bone.  In other ways, I'm so excited about the endless possibilities.  As I get closer towards the end of my pre-op classes, the surgery becomes more of a reality.  At work today in one of my regular staff meetings, we were talking about some things that will be occurring in August.  I probably won't be there for them because I'll likely be home recovering from the surgery or just coming back to work at that time.  That makes this more real.  Gulp.  Like I said, terrifying and exciting at the same time.

Water Challenge Day 95:  Drank 178 of  173 ounces

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre-op class #15 and weekly weigh-in

It's funny how different perspective can be, isn't it?  I went to my pre-op class tonight and lost two and a half pounds at the weigh-in.  I was happy about that number, but a little disappointed as well.  I thought to myself, "Hm, only two and a half pounds after how much I killed it this week?"  I thought about everything I did wrong, at least in my head, during the course of these last seven days.  I have been trying to avoid eating bread, rice and some other carb-laden foods, as well as sweets.  For the most part I have done well, but I did have a few things throughout the week that had more carbs than I would have liked.  Yet, when I posted my weight update in MyFitnessPal, I received quite a bit of congrats from friends.  Funny how I was doing the blame-game while they were celebrating the loss.  I have so much to learn from other people.  This weigh-in makes it a loss of 75 pounds from my highest weight and 26 pounds since I started the pre-op Kaiser program.  That is definitely something to celebrate.

Our class tonight was about the post-op diet we will be dealing with after the surgery.  It was a pretty intense conversation.  Many of the things we talked about were things I already knew because of all of the research I've done on my own.  They were things like:

  • My stomach will only be able to hold just a few tablespoons of food after the surgery.
  • No mixing protein shakes in a blender unless I wait for the bubbles to disappear otherwise it'll create air pockets and gas in my system.
  • No drinking a half an hour before, during or after a meal because my tummy will need the space for protein.
The list is much longer, but these were just a few things that I got reminded of during our discussion.  I've read these things before but I guess discussing them as a group and getting a glimpse of reality after the surgery was pretty much in my face.  I shared with others in my group that it feels like a mourning of sorts.  That's hard to explain to others that are not going through this same process, but it's the death of a life that has become familiar, even if it wasn't healthy.  My go-to response for a lot of things in life is to seek comfort or familiarity with food.  Feeling bored?  Go in the kitchen and eat something.  Feeling stressed?  Food makes it better.  Feeling anxious?  Food calms you down.  For me, it will be a whole new way of reacting to life and being present in it.  I'm certainly not complaining because the flip side of that is that I will have far less pain, I will have less ailments and I'll feel overall much healthier.  

When I think about the seriousness of this surgery, it can be a bit overwhelming.  This is, after all, major surgery.  When I had cancer, I had major surgery as well.  There is a scar on my back from the bottom of  my shoulder blade almost down to my waist on the left side of my back.  There is also a scar under my left arm.  The long incision allowed the surgeon to go deep into my body and remove the cancer cells.  The area under my arm was to make sure it didn't spread to other parts of my body.  I had 30 staples in my back.  There was a lot of healing that had to take place.  In the same respect, the vertical sleeve surgery is incredibly serious.  The surgeon will be taking out most of my stomach.  For the rest of my life, I will have to eat and drink differently.  I will have to take care of my body in a way that I never have before.  It's so much more than just watching what I'm eating.  I will still have to do the work.  If I think I'm working hard now with watching what I'm eating and exercising routinely, that will probably be increased tenfold.  I have a healthy respect for this process and I'm seriously not trying to overthink it, but it felt a bit overwhelming in class tonight.  I'm so glad I have a place where I can just write about what I'm going through.  It helps me process everything and be reminded that if God brings me to it, He'll also bring me through it.

Water Challenge Day 93:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh goody, we get to go to the beach

When I got up this morning, I just wanted to be lazy.  I mean, don't leave the house, be like a vegetable lazy.  I had texted a friend last night about going walking today and she couldn't go, so it was really enticing to just stay inside today.  We can all have our off days, that's for sure.  Then I remembered that I sort of had one of those days yesterday.  It's a bad habit for me to get into because I have had times in my life where I did hole up in my house for the weekend, avoiding life and going on food binges.  I don't want to be reminded of those times, let alone relive it.

So I pushed myself and got going out to the beach.  That's my favorite place to go walking.  Every time I drive over the hill and see the beach in the horizon, I feel like a little kid inside.  "Oh goody, we get to go to the beach!!"  Walking next to the pounding surf is so relaxing and is a lifter for anyone having a down day.  I wasn't having a down day at all, but I just felt so happy to be there, along with hundreds of others doing the exact same thing.


That water looks so good, doesn't it?  I finished the day having done 15,000 steps and feel amazing.  I'm so grateful I took the time today to not be lazy, but get my body moving outdoors at my favorite place in the world.

Water Challenge Day 92:  Drank 144 of 178 ounces

Friday, April 25, 2014

The sun does a body good

I don't know about you, but I'm so glad the weekend is here.  I have had a busy week at work and it's only going to get busier as we move into May.  That's what happens when you work at in the counseling department of a big high school.  As much as the kids count down to the end of the school year, so do we!  One of the projects I'm in charge of for the end of the year is our senior awards ceremony.  Except for emceeing the event and handling the food, I take care of every other aspect.  That means sending out invitations, coordinating all the data for the awards, writing the speech and everything in between.  It's surprising how many little things go into an event.  Thankfully I have three student office assistants assigned to me so I can have them help.  I also have a lot of seniors coming in to talk about alternate plans for next fall since they didn't get into certain colleges or pulling kids in because I need to revoke their work permits due to failing grades and unexcused attendance issues.  It's a stressful time with not enough hours in the day it seems.

The weekend is a time for me when I can avoid thinking about any of that and, instead, focus on me.  I'm not saying that in a selfish way (even though it sounds like it).  What I mean is that my self-care tends to take a backseat a lot of the times.  I try to do the best I can with being healthy, but sometimes it's a real fight to do that or even want to do that.  I asked my friend to go walking with me at lunch today, even though I really didn't want to pull away from the work I was doing.  The fact of the matter was, though, that I needed to get away from my desk and get some fresh air.  So we walked down to a strip mall about a mile from the high school and had lunch outdoors in the sun.  This is the yummy deliciousness I had.

Yes, it was as good as it looks.  It's a Mediterranean chicken salad with greens, tomatoes, couscous and feta cheese.  I was good and asked for the feta cheese to come on the side.  I sprinkled just a tiny bit on it, squirted the lemon on top and it was amazing.  I couldn't eat the whole thing, though.  Trust me, I would have totally done that before but it was just so filling that it was impossible for me to do.  Afterwards, we walked back to the office and I was able to resume my work, feeling refreshed with a bit of sun, two miles walked and a full tummy.  

I don't have plans already set for this weekend, but I do plan on getting in some good exercise.  That probably includes a beach walk and avoiding my annual HOA meeting at home.  I would love to be more supportive, but there is a lot of sitting around waiting for people to show up to have the necessary quarry of owners to move forward.  The unfortunate part is that we sit around for an hour or two, adjourn the meeting when enough don't show up and then reschedule it for a later time.  This happens year after year so I decided two years ago that I wasn't going to just sit around and waste my time.  I'd rather go for a walk than sit around getting mad that more people don't care to show up.  I'm committed to getting in my hour of exercise every day, even on the weekends.  It does make a difference, not only physically but mentally.  I feel so much better when I take good care of my body.

Water Challenge Day 90:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Staring fear in the face

I had an appointment with my therapist the other day.  We talked a lot about the good things I'm incorporating now into my life that will ultimately help me be successful after I have my surgery, such as writing down all of my food and exercising at least an hour (mostly) every day.  Then she asked me what fears I have around the surgery.  I don't know why she asked that ... perhaps she sensed something.

I thought about it for a moment and knew that it wasn't about the surgery itself.  The center that will be performing the surgery has a great reputation for excellence and the surgeons are tops in their field.  They are bariatric specialists, so I have every confidence in the world that they know what they're doing.  It is a major surgery, that's for sure, and I don't take that fact lightly.  They are going in and taking about 85% of my stomach out and there's a weirdness factor to that.  Yet, I'm okay with the surgery itself.

Where my fear comes up is about failing.  I really don't want to be one of those people that has surgery and then learns to eat around it, going back up in weight to where I was before, if not worse.  That seriously would break my heart.  Having weight loss surgery is a decision most people make because they have tried everything else, so it's a last resort in many ways.  I know that is the case for me.  I have tried many, many methods to lose the weight.  My doctor has seen me go up and down like a roller coaster year after year.  I fear failing because, let's face it, I've done that before many times.

I can say that something feels different this time.  There's an internal switch that has occurred in me that I have never had before, even when I was on Optifast and was so successful in losing weight there.  I have a level of accountability I haven't had in the past.  If you are my friend over at MyFitnessPal, then you know exactly what I have to eat every single day.  I put it all in there because it keeps me honest, more with myself than with anybody else.  Even when I had too much to eat during Easter, by God I logged it all.  I have purposely not chosen certain foods to eat because I knew the calories were high and it just wasn't worth it to me.  And my fabulous little Fitbit keeps my shrinking butt moving.  Except for maybe two or three times, I am exercising at least an hour a day.  My little gadget motivates me to reach my goals.  The competitor in me (a la Kickass Kathy) strikes when friends get ahead of me in steps.  If someone is 2,000 steps ahead of me for the day, then I'll keep going until I have 2,001 so that I can be ahead of them.  It's friendly competition, but I love it.

While I do have a fear of failing at the surgery, I can clearly see that I'm not just sitting on the sidelines worrying about it.  I'm taking action and doing things to help me be successful, even while there's a part of me that wonders how I will do.  I'm choosing to focus on being in a positive place.  That makes a huge difference in life.  I'm finding that the more positive I am, the less loud the voice is that tells me I will fail.  I like that.

Water Challenge Day 89:  Drank 144 of 178 ounces 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pre-op class #14 and weekly weigh-in

This week's pre-op class was about identifying the choices I make on a daily basis and being able to accept responsibility for outcomes.  I realized how proactive I have been about making small changes since the six-month classes started to help me be as successful as possible when it comes time to have my vertical sleeve done.  Little by little I have been doing more and more very positive things, such as logging in all of my food, getting in regular exercise and starting to practice post-surgery eating behaviors like getting my protein in first.   I don't want to be in a situation where I am scrambling to start adopting certain post-surgical habits.  Instead, I would really like to just focus on healing and making healthy choices for myself.

During the class, a question was posed about some choices I regularly make that I dislike and cause me discomfort and pain.  The two things that came to mind right away for me was having to inject insulin because I am a diabetic and the pain I have in using my CPAP machine.  It really is hard to adequately explain how painful it is to be in a place where I need to inject insulin into my body to live.  It's not the physical pain of the needle so much as it is the emotional pain that surrounds it.  My body does not produce the insulin that naturally occurs in non-diabetics, so I have to put it into my system through a needle in my stomach.  If I don't do that, I could very well die.  There are so many emotions that surround that, running the gamut from frustration to fear.  In the same vain, the CPAP machine causes so many emotions as well.  Prolonged non-usage of the machine could lead to congestive heart failure, among other things.  It causes me emotional pain and physical pain.  I am having a very hard time sleeping with it on my face and the sleep medication I have been prescribed to take to help with that leaves me very groggy and unable to sleep with the machine on my face.

Those two things cause me a lot of distress and bring about a myriad of different emotions.  I pray that after the surgery, these two major issues get resolved.  Only God knows what the outcome will be.  I know things will be better with continued weight loss, it's just a matter of continuing to practice resiliency as I walk through this process.  Speaking of weight loss, I lost four and a half pounds this week.  Wooo hooo!  I am super thrilled with that loss.  That brings me to a loss of over 23 pounds since I started the pre-op program.  While I'm in this phase, the surgeon wants us to strive for a ten percent weight loss prior to surgery.  I have about 14 pounds to go to hit that goal, so that feels really good.  In fact, I'm feeling really good in general about where things are for me right now.  I'm celebrating successes and also facing challenges as they pop up.  A day at a time, that is very manageable.

Water Challenge Day 87:  Drank 178 of 174 ounces

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Very interesting Easter and cleansing my body

I am always so moved by Easter.  As a Christian, it is a day of rejoicing and feeling the Spirit alive inside.  I can't have a bad day if I am remaining focused in God's love for me.  Even after what happened today.

My mom has been with me all weekend and, when she came on Good Friday, I asked her if she would come to church with me today.  I was baptized as a Roman Catholic and practiced that faith for a while as a kid, along with other things.  After a certain age, my parents never took us to church but they always said we could go with friends if we liked.  So I went along with friends to Baptist, Catholic and Lutheran churches, as well as even a stint at a Kingdom Hall with Jehovah Witnesses.  There is also a Jewish history in the family not too far back.  If all of this is as confusing as it seems while I'm typing this, you can understand the long road I traveled to find my own faith in a non-denomination Christian church that believes in the Bible.  Asking my mother to come to church with me was a big deal.  She hasn't been inside the walls of a church since I was child.  When she said she would, I was, of course, extremely delighted.  She was incredibly nervous, convinced she wasn't wearing clothes that were appropriate or that the walls would come crumbling down, so I held her hand as we walked in.  It was actually so sweet ... here was a child holding her mother's hand for comfort.

The service was amazing and my mom was really getting into it.  My friend, who goes to church with me every week, was explaining things to her as we went along.  She even picked up a Bible afterwards and said that she would like to go again with us.  I was so happy by that and really felt God's blessing on all of us.  In the parking lot, my friend and I were parked in the same row with my car in front of hers.  She pulled out and left room for me to pull out in front of her, honking at me to let me know it was safe to proceed.  I made sure it was safe to do so since there are always a lot of people walking behind the cars with such a big church.  I was halfway out when - BAM - I got hit by another car.  I drive a SUV and the other driver was in a truck.  So we all pulled back in and got out of our cars.

The man who hit my car came over apologetically and admitted he was in the wrong.  After we all made sure everyone was okay, we started exchanging information.  The funny thing was that I was at peace with what happened.  Clearly the most important thing is that no one is injured.  Never have I experienced a car accident before where the other driver was so quick to admit fault.  I guess, if you're going to get in an accident, the parking lot of a church with people who have just been through Easter services is the place where you'll find forgiveness and peace (although, of course, I don't recommend getting in an accident!).

After I reported what happened to my insurance company, my mom and I proceeded to go out to our destination.  She wanted to go to an Easter buffet so that no one would have to cook.  I agreed to it originally, even though I wasn't too keen on going to a buffet, because she really wanted to go.  Perhaps there was a secret part of me that wanted to go as well because I knew there would be good food.  They do have a great selection with top of the line choices (think lobster, prime rib, etc.), so I knew there would be a lot of choice there.  I filled up one plate, which wasn't horrid, but I did go up for some dessert after that.  Yes, I know I shouldn't have done that.  I haven't been eating sweets, but somewhere in my head I rationalized that, hey, it's Easter and we were just in a car accident after all.  I mean, I deserve it after all of that, right?

I know ... wrong.  Very wrong.

After we left and got home, I felt sick to my stomach.  I had food that I don't normally eat, like lobster, and way too much dessert.  I had two huge cookies and a creme brullee.  I can eat those things out of my house and not have the desire to keep on eating them once I get home as long as the stuff isn't in my house, but oh my gosh did I feel bad.  I started logging everything into MyFitnessPal after my mom left.  I had to do that to keep myself accountable and really honest.  I am committed to doing that, no matter what.  After I logged in everything for my lunch, I ate 947 calories and 70 grams of carbs.  Shit!  It could have been much worse, but it wasn't great.

I beat myself up for a few minutes after I saw what I did, then I knew what I had to do - work it off.  So I burned over 1,000 calories in exercise.  I was dripping in sweat, but it felt so good to cleanse my body and take such good care of it.  As I stood in the shower afterwards, I knew that things have definitely shifted in my life.  Before, when I would have done something like that, it would have been license for me to continue eating, rationalizing that I had already messed up so I could keep on going.  This time I said, nope, work it off.  That is such a major shift in my life.  This was one meal in the course of a great week with my food. It's not the end of the world and I did take care of myself in the end.

Like I said, very interesting Easter.

Water Challenge Day 86:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Being a tourist in your own town

I have lived in San Diego for 39 years, practically all of my life.  Yet, I do know I tend to take it for granted that I live in such a gorgeous county.  I can drive to the beach, desert or mountains all in the same day.  We have so many lovely places to visit that cause tourist to flock to us all the time.  With my mom spending the weekend with me, I woke up today and said, "Let's go to Old Town.  We'll be tourists!"

Old Town San Diego is known as the birthplace of California.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of fantastic history in a city that now has over 3 million people in it.  I have been exploring in Old Town probably five times in my life and my mom has only been there once.  I knew there would be lots of great museums and great walking with fabulous weather and it just didn't disappoint.

We had a great time and got lots of walking in.  What was sad, though, was how critical I was being of myself when I was taking a look at the last picture above.  All I could focus in on was my arms and how much weight I have to lose.  Looking at these pictures now helps me remember that I am working on it and taking action towards having a healthier life.  Weight is coming off and that feels good.  I'm even wearing pants right now that are getting lose on me.  That feels amazing.  I have to remember that in the moment and not to be so mean towards myself with such horrible self-talk.  I will get there, I just need to keep doing the work.  I'm almost 70 pounds down from my highest weight so I need to remember it has been much, much worse.

Water Challenge Day 85:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces

I keep learning why it's important to log things

I am one of those people that keeps lists of lists.  I have to keep them otherwise I'll forget half my world.  It especially happens when I have too much on my mind.  That's the same reason I keep everything on my calendar.  If it doesn't tell me where to go and when, I'm in trouble.  In the same vain, writing things down keeps me honest.  If my doctor has to remind me to send her my blood sugar numbers to see if my diabetes is in check, it means that they are out of whack and I'm avoiding checking to see the truth.  If I don't get on the scale, it's because I'm afraid to see the number in between my feet.

Imagine my resistance when I was told at the beginning of the pre-op bariatric classes that I would need to keep a log of all of the food I eat and that I would need to show it to the facilitator every week.  I was resentful, but compliant.  I didn't say anything about how I felt, just did what I was told.  Secretly I hated tracking every single thing I ate.  I mean, how do you track when you make a sandwich?  Let's see.

2 pieces of whole wheat bread
1 slice of cheese
2 slices of turkey breast
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of mustard
1 piece of lettuce
2 slices of tomatoes

Are you freakin' kidding me?  All of that for one measly sandwich?  Grr, okay.  I did remember I was using MyFitnessPal before, so I could scan the food with a barcode.  It still felt cumbersome, but whatever.  In the beginning, I'd have to catch up on my days that I would have something to show when I had to produce my food log on my phone.  Over time, though, I would log things in as I had them, even after we weren't required to show our food log any longer.  After a while, it became habit and I'm even doing it together with a bunch of people who help me stay more accountable.  Accountability is a big thing for me.  I definitely have to be accountable to myself.  Yet, knowing that other people are going to see what I'm doing is something that helps me stay away from certain foods enough to the point that I'm now doing it on my own because it's what I choose, not for fear that someone else will judge me.

This weekend my mom is staying with me.  She likes taking care of me and making the meals.  It's a sweet thing because it allows her to still be a mom taking care of her child.  I do have to talk to her about making less starchy food because I don't really eat it as much as I used to.  When she came with her belongings today, she brought something I used to have as a child.  My mother is Filipino (I'm Filipino on her side and Hungarian, Norwegian and German on my dad's side for anyone who's curious), so there are certain dishes that are staples in that diet, most of which I just can't eat in any great quantity.  The thing she brought today was a food called Pan De Coco.  It's sweet white bread with a coconut sugary concoction in the middle.

I know it sounds a little weird, but it's really good.  I rationalized in my head that having one wouldn't be bad at all since they are so little.  She only brought two, so she would have one and I would have one.  After I was done with my meal, I logged that piece of bread in along with other things I had.  I realized in that moment, like a slap upside my head, the brilliance of logging in all your food.  That little piece of bread had 349 calories and 61 grams of carbs.


So, seriously, log your food.  If you don't use MyFitnessPal, then use some other method that gives you nutritional values.  It is a major eye-opener.  I remember eating several of these things in one sitting when I was a kid.  I could never do that now without my blood sugar going through the roof.  I still managed to end the day with eating 1238 calories and having burned a lot through exercise, so everything was manageable.  The issue, though, is that I don't want to travel down that road where one bad choice leads to another.  I've been doing great with my food intake and I want to continue on that positive trend.

Water Challenge Day 84:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Appreciating the little differences and understanding inspiration

Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes you work so hard for something yet never get to see any tangible results?  When it feels like a mountain stands between you and your goal, it can feel overwhelming.  When I was losing a ton of weight through Optifast, it took a loss of a good fifty pounds or so before I could really start to see a difference, at least in how my clothes were fitting me.  When I began that program, I weighed in at a devastating 420 pounds.  With the weight gain after getting off of it, it has been difficult for me to get some proper perspective.  While I didn't gain all the weight back, it was a significant portion but yet my brain had me convinced I was right back where I started.

Now, after being halfway done with the educational classes towards bariatric surgery, I am starting to see both my body and head get it.  I have been exercising every day.  I mean, every single day.  That's not something I did before.  I am tracking absolutely every morsel of food I put in my mouth in MyFitnessPal.  Not only that, but my food diary is viewable so that anyone can look to see what I'm eating.  That takes a lot of humility and a hell of a lot of honesty, but I'm doing it.  I was having an issue with my tummy touching my steering wheel again, meaning that I had gained so much weight back that I had gone back to where I was at in my 420-pound days.  Check out where I am today.

I'm not breathing on the steering wheel!  That rocks the free world.  You can even see looseness in my pants when I stand up.  I loooove that.

What's even better than the small changes happening physically is where I am emotionally with all of it.  Today when I was driving home from work, I really wanted to stop off at the store and get something to eat.  I had plenty of food at home.  I knew in my heart that had I stopped, I would not be buying broccoli or an apple.  I started wondering to myself what could be the possible source of why I wanted to deviate.  I knew that I was hungry and a bit tired.  I just told myself, "Okay, look, just go home.  If you feel the need to go to the store later, than you can make that decision later.  But, right now, you're tired and a little hungry.  So just go home and don't ruin all the good you've been doing."  

That's exactly what I did and, somehow, the feeling went away.  Hmm, so interesting how that happened. I caught myself in the moment because I've been so much more aware of what I've been doing that I could step back and deal with whatever was going on. When I got home and tried to get into my garage, the door only went up halfway so I couldn't get my car in.  However, I was able to focus on that and not on food.  Had I gone to the store and brought something home to eat with having to deal with that, I knew I would choose the food over the garage door.  Food always seems to take the priority in so many situations.  

Lately people have been saying that I inspire them.  Sometimes, in my mind, I go back to when I lost 192 pounds.  That seemed inspirational, not logging in my food, getting at least 10,000 steps a day in with my Fitbit or losing a few pounds each week.  Then I realize that it's not about that gargantuan weight loss from before ... it's about having the courage to get up again and fight.  It's having the strength to say I choose health and life.  Okay my friends, now I get it.  And thank you ;-)

Water Challenge Day 83:  Drank 178 of 176 ounces

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pre-op class #13, weekly weigh-in & lab results

This week's pre-op class about understanding the basics of gastric bypass surgery as well as some great questions to ask the surgeon when it comes time.  Right now, I am choosing to move forward with the vertical sleeve.  However, if my surgeon will only support the bypass, then I will yield to his expertise.  For diabetics, a lot of medical professionals do recommend the bypass because of how many patients come out of the surgery with their symptoms of diabetes in remission.  However, it is not guaranteed and it does happen with the sleeve as well.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not discounting the bypass at all.  I just have a preference for the sleeve due to the lack of malabsportion issues and my insides will not be rerouted.  Besides, anything with less potential complications is something I'd like to do.  The way the program through Kaiser works is that you complete the six months of pre-op classes and then begin meeting with doctors and a psychiatrist before then having the surgery.  Next month I will be going to an information session with one of the surgeons to learn more about the specific process and to receive more paperwork to complete.  It seems like things are actually happening rather than just waiting around for the next step that seems months away.

My weigh-in was good ... I lost three pounds.  I am thrilled to continue losing weight.  I have really kicked up my exercise since I got the Fitbit.  In fact, I just received an e-mail today telling me that I have passed the 50-mile mark.  So I've walked over 50 miles in the 11 days I have had it.  I know I keep going on and on about this lovely little gadget and I'm sorry if you're rolling your eyes at me (I know someone out there is!), but it has really motivated me to get moving.  When I returned to work today, I thought to myself, "I can't sit down - I have places to walk."  Being gone from the office for a week meant I had no choice but to sit and catch up on phone calls and emails but I was able to go for a walk during lunch.  Then, later in the evening, I walked in place in my living room while watching a show.

I did receive some results of blood work I had completed recently.  One of the things was that the bariatric surgery care manager wanted to have my vitamin D level looked at again.  Back in December, my level was out of the normal range so I had to take 50,000 units of vitamin D for a while and then take 2,000 units of vitamin D3 daily after that.  Now my number has moved from a 24 to a 31, with the normal range being 30-100.  While they are glad I'm now normal, the case manager states that it is much more effective if it's in the 50-60 range so now I need to take 3,000 units of vitamin D3 daily.  Of course I will do what they want.  I'm not going to sit in regret about what I "could" or "should" have done.  I'm just going to keep moving forward because that's all I can do with that, or most anything else for that matter.

Water Challenge Day 81:  Drank 187 of 187 ounces

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The beach beckons me and 33 miles

I was so excited to get going this morning because I knew that I was going to head out to the beach to get in some exercise.  I was hoping to have a friend go with me, but that didn't work out.  I absolutely love walking at the beach.  I feel so connected to God there, watching the majesty of the waves as they lap the shore.  I have lived in California since I was three years old and grew up on the beach, yet I never tire of it.

Can you blame me for being so excited to go walking?  There were even dolphins out there past the surfers, which is not something we see so close to the shore very often.  Maybe this year I'll actually get a bathing suit and go in the water.  When I was on Optifast and lost a lot of weight, I had a ton of loose skin on my thighs so I resorted to getting a tankini with a skirt.  I found a pretty short one, so it actually wasn't bad at all.  Last year, I didn't even get into a bathing suit.  I know it's because I felt so shameful about the state my body was in after gaining so much weight back.  I also have a huge scar on my back from the surgery to remove cancer (melanoma) and I'm conscious of that, too.  Yet, I really missed being in the water.

This was the last day of Spring Break for me.  As I reflect on everything I did this week, I am proud of myself for not doing what I have done in the past - sitting on my butt and isolating inside my house.  I've rationalized before that I'm on break so I deserve to just sit around and do nothing.  The truth is that I did that because I didn't really have friends to hang out with or because I chose food over everything else.  I remember times when vacation meant I could eat all I wanted all day long because I didn't have to worry about seeing anybody or doing anything I didn't want to do.  Anything to pull me away from being able to eat at my leisure can be classified as "anything I didn't want to do".  It amazes me how many times I passed up participating in life because my addiction to sugar, salt and fat was much more compelling.  That wasn't the case for me this week.  I got together with friends and did a lot of active things.  Over the course of this week, I walked and jogged 33 miles.  Okay, the jogging was just in my house when I wanted to increase my steps, but still!  I am damn proud of myself.  Not only that but my food has been really clean and healthy.  I'm not ashamed for anyone to look at my food diary on MyFitnessPal because I have absolutely nothing to hide.  That's an amazing feeling :-)

Water Challenge Day 80:  178 of 178 ounces 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My backyard, my nemesis

When I bought my house a few years ago in 2010, it was during the time when it seems like everyone was trying to buy.  If you weren't in the market to purchase a home at that time, consider yourself lucky.  I had decided the time was right for me because my rent was going to be $1,500 for a one bedroom apartment, which was absolutely ridiculous.  In California, we do pay through the nose for housing, a lovely sunshine "tax" many call it.  The government was offering $8,500 incentives for buyers so I decided to go for it.  By the way, my house payment is about half that.  Just sayin'.

Trying to buy the house was one of the most awful experiences I've ever had!  I was frequently in bidding wars with investors to a point where some places were going for thousands over the asking price.  I remember putting in an offer of $50,000 over the asking price for a house and I still didn't get it.  The sellers even had the audacity to ask me, since I had the fourth highest bid, how I would come up with the extra cash if the house appraised for under the amount they wanted.  I thought to myself, "If this house doesn't appraise, there's no way in hell I'm giving you cash to make up the difference."  People were greedy and poor little first-time homebuyers got a rude awakening to how awful the experience could be.  I looked at places that were in poor condition or the homeowners were home when we came to check out the home.  We even interrupted a birthday party going on at one home.  We had called ahead and the homeowners told my realtor it was okay to stop by.  Imagine our surprise when we walked in and the music stopped.  They just stared at us as my realtor and I found shoes in the oven, a dripping shower in the only bathroom and bed sheets in the windows.

Suffice it to say, I didn't buy that property!  I got my current place after putting in twenty-two offers.  That's right, twenty-two.  It was a good price, but it's pretty dated inside.  Both the kitchen and bathroom need to be gutted, but for now they're fine.  I've done a lot of work with painting the entire house, replacing all the windows, putting up blinds, changing out light fixtures, working on the electrical and so much more.  The backyard was pretty much dirt and a few sprigs of grass.  It's a small backyard so I was okay with that.  I learned from this experience that you can't get everything you want.  When I watch the little 25-year-old couples on HGTV looking for their first place, I roll my eyes when they want stainless steel and granite everything in their first place while wanting to pay $30,000 below the asking price.  Good luck to you sweethearts!

Today I decided that I really needed to tackle my backyard.  I have neglected it because of the tendinitis and carpel tunnel in my arms.  There are so many weeds that they actually look like plants I've put in.  In time, I'd like to put cement or bricks down over the whole area so that I won't have to deal with the upkeep.  It's not really huge and I've seen some cute ideas that would make it more than just a slab of cement.  The weeds like to come back a lot and I can only handle so much.  Here's what I faced when I went out there.

Yes, those are all weeds.  I went back into the house to arm myself with the right tools to get the job done.  I wasn't fool enough to think I'd do it all today, but at least to get a good dent going would be great.  I made sure to put suntan lotion on since it's easy to get a burn while doing this kind of work.  I did find some great music and so I was enjoying that while snipping away.  At one point, I was bent over quite a bit to get at the roots and really wasn't paying much attention to what I was looking like.  When I have a job to do, I get tunnel-visioned.  I did happen to look down at my chest when I was bent over and noticed my shirt was pretty much open and exposing the girls.  I didn't think anyone was around so it wasn't a big deal ... until I looked up.  Across the way are neighbors and there were a couple of guys looking down at me from the second floor.  That's just great!  Hope you enjoyed the show.

I always forget how much work gardening is.  I didn't even log it into MyFitnessPal today, but I definitely could have.  I don't eat my calories earned back, so it's not a big deal.  Combined with the other exercise I did, that would have brought me over a thousand calories burned.  Hell yeah Kickass Kathy!

For my food today, I had a few protein shakes and made a salad for dinner.  I tried the Premier Protein Strawberries & Cream flavor and it's definitely nowhere near as good as the chocolate.  They are still very tasty, though.  For my salad, I didn't want to do any cooking, so I decided to just use luncheon meat instead of grilling or baking chicken.  Finding a good luncheon meat that does not have an insane amount of sodium is pretty difficult.  Some of them have 600mg or more of sodium.  I've even seen some that top 1,000mg.  I love the one I found at Costco.

This stuff comes in a 2-pack.  It's a little pricey at $11.99, but they last forever and each slice is two ounces instead of the typical one ounce.  Besides, I believe in getting higher quality things that are good for my body.  The reason I titled my blog Now is Finally the Time in the first place is because I am always the last person I take care of.  Other people have always come before me, which is the case for a lot of people, especially in my profession or with family.  Yet, I know that if I don't take care of myself at some point, I won't be around any longer or I will have a poor quality of life.  So, of course I bought that $11.99 package and put it on my yummy salad and not looking back.

In so many ways, I'm learning about self-care as if I'm being introduced to the concept for the first time in my life.  It is perfectly fine to be well and live well.  In fact, it's the healthiest thing I can do for myself.

Water Challenge Day 79:  Drank 178 of 178 ounces

Been loving my vacay

Hi gang ;-)

I've been on Spring Break this week.  It's one of the absolutely lovely parts of working in education ... when the kids are off of school, I'm off of work.  I apologize for my absence the last couple of days.  I have been trying to stay active this week.  I've had the great opportunity to see some friends that I don't always get to see.  I went walking with them since we've been having such gorgeous weather, having lunch or dinner get-togethers and just enjoying our girl talk time.  I even allowed myself some alcoholic yumminess yesterday.

I don't drink that often, but like to have something once in a while.  A friend and I went to The Elephant Bar for dinner, both choosing to have two low-calorie options and splitting them with each other.  That was beyond delicious.  Then we decided to have a cocktail afterwards since they had some drinks that were all under 165 calories.  That was right down my alley.  Hers was a Skinny Snap Dragon Martini on the left and mine was the Skinny Mango Mojito on the right. So delicious!

I started switching up my food a little and been having more protein drinks.  The surgeons from Pacific Bariatric recommend patients start incorporating those into our food plan prior to surgery to aid in weight loss.  I usually drink the Premier Protein drinks from Costco.  If you're looking for a good protein drink, I highly recommend these.  The chocolate ones taste just like pudding.  Just sayin'.  The only problem for me is that they are super thick and really feel like I'm actually drinking pudding.  I love frothy drinks because I put in extra ice in a blender, but there's a difference between that and drinking pudding so I decided throwing it in the blender would be great.  I took one carton of the Premier Protein, with it's 30 grams of protein, put a splash of light vanilla soymilk, a couple of strawberries and blended it all with ice.  Look what came out.

It was amazing.  It reminded me a little bit of when I was doing Optifast and I would mix all my shakes in the blender with ice.  Of course it tastes nothing like those shakes (in a good way).  Those who are on the program or have been on it know exactly what I'm talking about.  For me, it's been a great and easy way to have my breakfast or a snack that is really satisfying.

For the rest of this weekend, I'm planning on continuing to get regular exercise in.  Since I purchased my lovely Fitbit, I have been incredibly active every day.  There was one day were I didn't reach my goal of getting 10,000 steps in but that was because my knee was hurting.  Otherwise, I have been able to meet that goal or even go past it.  Seriously, if you are on the fence about getting one or need some motivation for extra exercise, go get one.  It has been an amazing way for me to increase my exercise every day.  In fact, I find myself parking further away, walking far out of my way or not multi-tasking when it comes to doing everything in one trip (like piling all of my folded laundry in my hands and bringing it into my bedroom all at once).  You find reasons to get more steps in.  I even did 45 minutes of walking/jogging in place again at home this evening.  Sweat was actually dripping down my chest and I loved it.

Water Challenge Day 78:  Drank 120 of 178 ounces 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pre-op class #12, weekly weigh-in & seeing my therapist

Last night was class number 12 of my pre-op bariatric classes through Kaiser.  Hooray, we're halfway there!  I find myself looking forward to the classes every week, not only because of what we may be talking about but also because my fellow classmates are an amazing group of people.  We had a speaker who shared her experience of having the gastric sleeve done about a year and a half ago.  She even revealed her stomach with the excess skin.  For some people, that might have been discouraging since it seems most have a huge hope that they will be the person who does not end up with loose skin.  With the amount of weight I need to lose, I am realistic and know I will be sporting excess skin.  But I look at it this way:  would I rather have excess skin or a round body that fills up all my skin?  Besides, I lost 192 pounds before ... I know exactly what my body looked like at the time.  My tummy wasn't bad at all compared to my thighs.  I had major excess skin there.  Yet, I accept it for what it is and would gladly have that problem versus being overweight and unhealthy.  My whole thing with having the weight loss surgery has been about quality of life issues.

In terms of my weigh-in, I lost another two pounds.  Yay!  I'm happy to steadily be going down, down, down.  That's a 16 pound loss since I started the classes, which I will gladly take.  During my Spring Break this week, I have been trying to stay as active as possible.  This morning, for example, I decided that I was going to go to one of our local lakes that has a five mile course around it and get a good walk in.  It's been hot here, in the 90's, but I figured that since I was walking in the morning, it wouldn't be so bad.  I wasn't intending on walking all the way around the lake, but maybe doing about three miles or so.  How bad can exercise be when there's such a pretty view?  This is a picture of part of the lake on the right.  As I parked my car and prepared my gear for the walk, I thought to myself, "Hmm, feels a little warm."  Despite how pretty it was, I was sweating in a matter of a few minutes and decided to turn my shrinking butt around and head back to my car.  It was just way to hot for comfort (I found out later it was 95 degrees).  I did a mile there and then decided that the air conditioned comfort of my gym had my name all over it!  I ended up doing three more miles on the treadmill with the cool air surrounding me.  Ahhhh.

Prior to my class yesterday, I had a session with my therapist.  Man, that was incredibly emotional.  I'm one of those people who refuses to lie to her therapist because, really, what's the point of that?  When I get honest, especially about things that I carefully avoid talking about to other people, the emotions seem to smack me in the face and leave me feeling incredibly vulnerable.  One of the first things we talked about is something that has been bothering me for quite some time.  In the last year or two, my fear of heights has gotten to a debilitating level and it's really concerning me.  I've always had a fear of heights, ever since I was a small child.  Lately, though, it's crossed over into almost a terror feeling.  I will avoid heights, no matter if it's a few feet off the ground or several stories.  I think it's not even about the height necessarily but the fear of falling.  I was recently walking with a friend on a very small bridge and told her I had to turn around.  When you look at the bridge we were on, you would probably question my sanity because it was not that high at all.  It's just an awful feeling for me inside.  My heart starts racing, my legs become rubbery and I go into a panic attack.  It's a horrible feeling that I can't really describe well, but it is a true fear for me.  Suffice it to say that I avoid heights at all costs.  It's been bothering me a lot, though, because I feel absolutely disabled by it.  So we're going to start treatment in regards to that.  I know this means that, through the therapy, I will likely eventually have to get back on a bridge or some such thing.  I'm tired of avoiding it, though.  There are things I simply won't do because heights are involved.

The other half of the session focused in on the issue I described in my last post - feeling "less than" and body image.  Thank you to those who were so sweet to leave me a message.  We really delved into my history with men, from being raped, having a period of high promiscuity to even how things ended with my ex-boyfriend.  I was in absolute tears talking to her.  It's not as if I'm planning on looking to start a relationship right now.  With my preparation for surgery, I have a lot on my plate and getting involved with someone is not something I want to do.  Can you imagine dating and having to explain why you're only eating tiny bits of food or somehow experience "dumping" in front of them?  That would be incredibly embarrassing.  The feelings that I'm going through right now are more about loving and accepting myself now.  We definitely are our own worst critics, me included.  I don't want to look in the mirror and think of myself as an ugly, unworthy, hideous human being any longer.  That's not fair, to myself or anyone else that tells me I'm opposite of that.  I even had a man checking me out several times at the gym today.  If that's not a boost, then I don't know what is!  These are feelings I don't verbalize with other people, but I do want to be able to get to a point where I can appreciate myself in the same way others do.  I don't want to constantly stare in the mirror and tear myself down.  So I'm bringing these feelings out and talking about them with my therapist.  She told me she wants to see me more often, which I'm happy to do.  I want to move past the self-criticism into a healthier existence - body, mind and soul.

Water Challenge Day 75:  Drank 180 of 178 ounces 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Facing my stuff head-on

I'm on vacation this coming week for Spring Break since I work at a school.  So it's nice to be able to post this at whatever time I want because I know I don't have to get up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning.  Ah!  I had a really nice day here in Sunny California.  I started it out walking at the beach with one of my friends.  I knew that it was going to be hot one when I started feeling sweat on my neck within about 15 minutes.  My friend, who does photography, asked me if I would be willing to do a photo shoot with her.  She's building her portfolio and asked if I would like to do some pre-surgery pics, during the weight loss phase pics and then some after pics.  What a really cool idea!  Of course I said yes.  I saw some of the portraits she's already done and it's amazing work.  I can't wait to post them here on my blog in the future.

After running around when I finished that exercise, I met another friend for dinner.  I had my eating plan in mind when I suggested where we could meet so that I could keep things within a reasonable calorie count.  We went to a Mexican place that has a lot of grilled items, so I felt great about going there.  I didn't partake in the tortilla chips or order a margarita.  Trust me, I wanted a margarita, but I didn't go there.  When she got hers, I wasn't even salivating over it.  That's a lot of progress for me because I love me a yummy, slushy margarita.  For dinner, I ordered a jalapeno barbecue salmon with black beans and roasted veggies.  I know, sounds amazing, right?  Yes, I took a picture!

I ended up scraping about half of the barbecue sauce off the salmon because it was just too much for me.  It was also too much food in general, so I took half of it home.

My friend and I had such a great time together.  I had suggested we sit at a table because the whole booth thing makes me nervous ... I'm always afraid that I'm not going to fit.  I haven't had the experience yet of that, but I never want to have to deal with this time being the time where it happens.  She told the host that we wanted a booth in the back and I decided to just let it go.  Thankfully I was able to get in there, although it was a pretty tight fit.

As we were talking about everything under the sun, as girls tend to do, she asked me if I was currently dating anyone.  All of a sudden, every insecurity I have about myself came to the surface.  I told her no and she asked me why not.  I felt like saying, "What do you mean why not ... can't you see what I look like?"  She asked me if I was ready to date (after my breakup with my ex-boyfriend) and I told her that I think I am, but many times I just don't feel very attractive at all to men.  She looked at me with confusion.  I confessed to her that any time one of my friends has called me beautiful or pretty, I silently wonder inside why they would say something like that because I just don't feel like it's true.  She sat across from me and told me that I am pretty and I am beautiful.  I did thank her for saying that.

So often I just feel almost inhuman.  Part of me wonders if things will be better when I'm down to a more normal size and then other part of me says that I have to live the life I have now, not wait for some magical day in the future.  So we talked about that for a while.  I completely own the fact that I have low self-esteem when it comes to my body image.  She suggested that I think about putting myself out there.  In our conversation, she mentioned a dating app for my phone that has worked for others she knows and explained the concept a little.  I have dated before online, when I was younger and much more reckless.  In some ways, dating that way has changed and, in other ways, it's still the same.  But you just don't know until you try.  I did download the app, although I haven't opened it up yet.  It may take me a little while to get the courage up to move forward on it, but at least I'm willing to try.  It is a nice way to put myself out there and just see what happens.  I am seeing my therapist tomorrow and I think I need to talk about the whole body image thing.  It's really time to deal with it so that I feel better about myself as a worthwhile, deserving human being.  In many ways, I know that I am a precious child of God.  In other ways, I feel like such an unlovable "thing" that children point at in a crowd.

This is my stuff I don't like facing head-on because I have to be honest around those feelings and it's uncomfortable for me.  Part of keeping weight on, for many people, is a sense of a protective barrier.  If I don't let you in, you can't hurt me.  That all goes back to being abused and raped when I was a child.  Tack on what my ex-boyfriend did to me, and it's no wonder I'm a little afraid to move towards another relationship.  The other side of that, though, is that I want to be in a relationship again.  I don't like being alone and I never have.  So we shall see what direction I move in.  Ugh.

Water Challenge Day 74:  Drank 194 of 179 ounces
(I felt like I was going to float away!)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My efforts at jogging and mindful eating

Alright, so I didn't actually jog per se.  Yesterday on my first full day of using the Fitbit Zip, I got in 10,000 steps.  That's what I wanted so it was great.  Today I had about 2,000 steps left to reach that goal so I started walking around my house since it was already dark outside.  Then I found myself, for some unexplained reason, jogging to get my steps in.  Why?  Hell if I know.  I went from that to jogging in place to get everything in. I only have so much room indoors when I factor in furniture, bedrooms and two cats that think it's the best entertainment in the world to watch me jogging while laying in my path.  That's something I haven't done in years.  I avoid it because of the osteoarthritis in my knee but also because of my weight and boobs.  Let's just say the girls are not the type designed for jogging or running.  I got all of my steps in, though.  In fact, I did it with room to spare.  I love how this little gadget really motivates me to move more.  I think for accountability, I'll post a screen shot of how I do daily somewhere on my blog.  I'm so glad I spent the money on myself.  A lot of times in life, at least this is the case for me, I willingly give towards other people but I'm always the last one on the list.  For some reason, I think my brain has been conditioned that I don't deserve special treats or even just being healthy.

On to mindful eating.  While I am working with a different therapist now, the one right before her (that retired in January) talked to me at some point last year about looking into the idea of mindful eating.  She recommended a book, which I diligently bought, but never really gave a chance.  The idea of mindful eating is to approach food and body image from a different perspective so that you eventually change your relationship with food.  It can help those that are emotional eaters and so I knew it was something for me to consider.  I have just started to read the book again and it is actually really great.  It gives mental exercises to do each day, so it's not just about reading advice and then moving on.  I think I'll share them on here as I go through the book.  Any help I can get with changing eating patterns is something I'm definitely willing to try.  I am approaching this with an open mind, just as I am doing with the weight loss surgery.  At this point, I am not closed off to anything.  If you want the same results, then you keep doing the same thing.  Not this girl!  I want things to change.  That means I'm out of my comfort zone a lot, but that can be okay, too.  Just scary a lot of the time!

Water Challenge Day 73:  Drank 179 of 179 ounces

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A new toy just for me and being honest

I bought myself a new pretty pink toy today.  I'm now officially a part of the Fitbit world!  I decided to just go for it  because I've been jealously eyeing other people who have it.  The calorie burn that MyFitnessPal says I earn when I exercise and the one in MapMyWalk is different and I know this is definitely accurate.  Besides, I've wanted to strive to walk 10,000 steps a day and this is a great way of doing that.

So, when I got home, of course I immediately got it set up.  Once I put it on and wondered if it was working, I was so excited to see the steps starting to add up.  I walked up and down the hallway.  I walked around and around the coffee table.  I played with one of my cats where we chased each other from room to room.  I decided to go throw the trash.  Then I went out again to put recycling in the bin.  I got out the vacuum and went through every room in the house.  When I made a salad for dinner, I grabbed each item one by one so that I could get my in my steps ... spring mix, check - tomato, check - chicken, check - cheese, check.  Tee hee, it's been fun using it for the first time.  I can't wait to see how many miles I walk tomorrow.  Yeah, I'm totally a techno geek and you love me for it!!  For some reason, it isn't syncing up with MyFitnessPal (or vice versa), but I also might be impatient.  I walked for a half an hour at lunch today and that didn't transfer over, neither did my food and water.  Patience is not one of my virtues.

Okay, enough of my nerdiness (for now).  During my last post, I discussed some questions that came up in my last pre-op class that I would ponder and share on here.  They were pretty tough questions requiring me to find a level of honesty that is not always easy to talk about.  Here we go ...

What factors in my current lifestyle contribute most to my obesity?  Since I started the pre-op classes through Kaiser in preparation for the surgery, I have adopted some changes to my eating habits that have served me well.  For example, I am no longer eating sweets, which was a really huge thing to give up on my side.  I'm hardly ever drinking soda any longer.  I have been tracking all of my food to see where my calories, carbs and other numbers are at day to day.  I do know that I am not exercising as much as I would like.  For some reason, I have been avoiding the gym like the plague.  I can't even say why.  I have been doing walking, which is great for me, but I would like to incorporate more regular exercise.  That could include walking or other things that the gym can offer me.  I do know another area that has been concerning me greatly is my blood sugar levels.  I'm either too low or way too high.  I have medication and insulin, yet my numbers defy logic at times and then at other times I know it's totally my fault.  Having blood sugar out of whack I know contributes to obesity.  Because my numbers have been the way they have, I have been avoiding sending the record of them to my doctor.  She has asked me twice for them and I keep putting it off.  I keep telling myself that somehow I'll be able to pull it together and get the numbers down on my own.  Pull what together exactly is beyond me.  I suppose I think I need to come up with the right answers when all she is trying to do is to ensure I'm on track.  And, if I'm not on track, she's there to help me.  I also have been having horrible sleep patterns lately.  I cannot sleep with my CPAP machine, no matter what I do.  It's been completely frustrating and it's resulted in me being exhausted each day.  As a result, I've been skipping using it because I need to have at least some sort of sleep at night.  I do have next week off of work, so I'm hoping I can give it another try.  All of these things can definitely contribute to obesity, although I must say I definitely am putting work in to try to change my habits.

What do I need to do to commit to lifestyle changes that support my health?  I think the best thing I can do is keep doing what I have been doing in terms of incorporating changes that help me build better, healthier habits.  I need to commit on a daily basis that I will take action towards good health, whether that is in the food I eat, the sleep I get or the exercise I do.  Continuing to be honest about both my triumphs and challenges will be equally as important.

What weight do I think is my optimal healthy weight?  Have I ever maintained a weight as an adult that was comfortable and felt good to me?  What felt good about that weight and will I be satisfied to be that weight again?  This is a really tough couple of questions.  What I think is a healthy weight for me might be completely outside reality for my height.  In my mind, I think 150 pounds would be ideal.  A healthy BMI range for me is between 130 (if you can believe that!) and 175 pounds.  I'm almost 5'10" so I have to be realistic.  I know that I will never be a size 4, nor do I want to be that skinny, but I just don't know what's the right range for me.  When I was doing Optifast, I lost 192 pounds and got down to 227 pounds.  At that time, I went from a size 34 to a size 16.  That was the smallest I had ever been yet, even at that weight, I still felt like I had a long way to go to get to an ideal body size.  Oh how I wish I were that size right now!  Hindsight is always 20/20.  At that size, though, I was happy that I could fit into clothes sold at a normal store (versus a larger woman store).  I was able to comfortably fit behind a steering wheel and didn't need a seat belt extension on an airplane.  If I'm being entirely honest, I really don't feel like I would be satisfied at that weight if I were to get there again although I can say that I know I would feel a lot more comfortable compared to where I am now.  I know that body image plays a big part in feeling confident with the woman that looks back at me in the mirror.

What style of eating will fit me best?  I have no clue what will work best for me.  In many ways, I am a blank slate because doing things my way has never worked well.  Sometimes I think that I should eat meals and snacks more frequently and then, at other times, I think I should only be having three meals a day.  There is a part of me that does not want to make any decisions, that I would rather be told what to do ... eat this, don't eat that.  Taking decision-making out of the equation seems like a nice way to approach weight loss.  Yet, I do know that is not realistic at all.  I live in the world where I need to make decisions all the time about my health.  I'm not a child any longer that depends on her parents.  A big reason that I have wanted to pursue weight loss surgery is because my body will tell me when enough is enough.  This is something that I will need to reflect on as a I go through the steps before and after surgery.

Water Challenge Day 71:  Drank 179 of 179 ounces