Category Archives: Weight Loss

Dieting isn’t that different from Astrology

Dieting isn’t that different from Astrology

As of this morning, I am on a diet.

Well, no, not really.  It’s more like I’m resetting my eating.  But I’m using the South Beach model to get me going,  because good food decisions just feel so overwhelming these days.  It’s probably appropriate that I’m starting this of all weeks, as it was a year ago this week that I went completely off the rails in a combination of stress and anxiety eating.  But it has to stop.  None of my clothes fit, and I’m back to not liking how I look in pictures.  This weekend I did all my shopping, this morning I got on the scales for my starting weight, and off we go.

As I was looking over all the lists and plans and menus for this system, though, I started to realize something.  Really, the SB diet is just the diet they gave me once I was released back to real food after my surgery.  Lean protein, lots of veggies, low carbs and sugar.  It wasn’t anything I didn’t know, I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.  By stepping out of my head, all the mental clutter that was getting in my way, I was able to see that I knew what I needed to do and put away all that extra stuff.

Which of course made me think of astrology.

No, don’t leave.  I’m not one of those people who reads their horoscope every morning (mostly because those are too general to be of any use whatsoever). But I did study astrology, and tarot, and in the end, I realized the value of both those tools isn’t that they tell us truth, but they take use out of the clutter of our minds to look in different ways at whatever the issue is we are trying to address.  A reader will give you all their thoughts on the symbols and patterns they see in the cards, and then you try to make sense of them given your own knowledge of the situation.  And maybe you realize soemthing that you hadn’t been allowing yourself to consider before.  Or maybe it brings you around to an entirely new angle on your problem to give you an a-ha moment.  That didn’t come from the cards.  That came from you narrowing your focus, blocking out the extraneous for those few moments it takes to think “How does that piece of symbolism actually reflect in this situation?”  It comes from you.  You were just in your own way.

I think diets are the same way.  “Diets” don’t work.  Everyone knows that (or I hope they do).  Fad diets especially don’t work.  I get into this with my mother occassionally.  BUT.  The change in thinking that starting a diet brings, the analysis of “what am I doing now and what do I need to change” that comes with a new diet, THAT insight does work.  It resets your brain, as long as you understand that the diet, like the stars or the cards, are not telling you truth, they are changing your perception.

So here I go.  Starting Phase 1 today with some modifications and exceptions.  I have to eat protein first and not the high volume of veggies that this plan requires, and I have one meal coming up that is totally out of my control (plus Thanksgiving.  Oof.), so I’m going to do Phase 1 the whole month of November with those exceptions and see where I’m at from there.

 

Zombies Don’t Like Fast Food

Zombies Don’t Like Fast Food

Which doesn’t mean they won’t still eat me.  But it won’t be as easy!

I’ve made it through the whole of the Zombies, Run! 5k training app.  This is a great app, and I totally credit it for getting this non-runner within spitting distance of being able to run a full 5k.  I’m not quite there.  I still need to stop 3 or 4 times during a 30 minute run for longer than I’d like.  Honestly, I think the last week of the training should have been two weeks, one with 20 minute runs and drills, then one with 2 days of 10 minute/3 minute run walk drills and the final 5k day.  The last day also kind of peters out, by necessity, as they need to allow for different people’s different paces.  But the story ends 10 minutes before the run time ends, and I wasn’t sure when to stop.  Fortunately I’d seen some people complain about this, so I knew to keep going.  I was close by the end of the story, about 2.8 miles, but I was totally out of steam at that point.  So I’m redoing week 8 over two weeks to build up my endurance.  I know there’s nothing wrong with run/walks, but I want to at least be able to run half an hour without stopping.  I think I’m close.  I went out with Hero on Sunday to see how she’s doing, so I did most of her 45 minute training (she was finishing Week 6) and a 20 minute free run on my own where I only stopped to walk once, so yeah, I’m really close.

Looking ahead, I’m running my first official 5k on the 24th, so I’ll have a little time to lock in my endurance.  I told Hero I’d wait for her before I start the regular ZR app, so one way or another, I’ll start that after the 24th.  From there I want to start building to an hour run.  That will take me to the end of August and should hopefully have me running 5 miles.  Then I’ll go into maintenance for the fall and winter, and we’ll see where spring finds me.  Hopefully ready to be training for and running 10ks.  I’m also going to do some more 5k runs this summer, mostly just for the fun (and the swag!)  I would love to do a color run, and I’d like to do a mud run, but I don’t think that’s happening this year.  Next year, though, definitely!  We’re going to be down in Blacksburg for Christmas this year, and they have a 5k on Christmas Eve, so I told my sister the triathlete that Hero and I want to run it.  Don’t know if Rachel will run it with us, but that would be fun if she did, even though we’d be holding her waaaaay back!  I’ve also been looking at virtual races, which could suck down a lot of cash really fast.  But if I limit myself to one a month, that should help get me through the winter.

Confidence in Insecurity

Confidence in Insecurity

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I’m entering a phase of my weight loss process that I somehow thought I’d skipped but which is making it’s presence felt forcefully now.

I don’t know who I am anymore.

This is pretty common among folks who have gone through weight loss surgery. A lot changes when you lose that much weight.  It can be dumb, simple things like suddenly having too many options on what to wear.  When there are only two stores you can buy clothes in, your fashion options are limited.  Getting under a size 16 is kind of overwhelming (and I’m down to a 10!).  Some people lose friendships and relationships because of the weight loss. Our identities have evolved around us being heavy.  Most of us have been heavy from a fairly young age (I was overweight by 19, obese by 25), so all we know of ourselves is filtered through that lens.  I know I still think like a fat girl in a lot of ways.  Wehn I go out running, I have my headphones on and my music loud so I don’t hear the jeers and catcalls that I would get every time I exercised out in public while heavy. I used to get them all the time, whenever I was out on a bike or trying (and failing) to run, some complete stranger would feel entitled to make a comment about my fitness and my right to work out where someone might see me.  Except now they don’t come.  Cars don’t slow.  People I pass smile at me.  I’m tense and defensive for no reason.  At least no current reason.  Just 20 years of experience that doesn’t apply anymore, apparently.

My interests and activities have changed.  Not all of that is entirely on me.  I’ve had to give up a lot of evenings in the last few months to help the kids slog through their backlog of homework.  That will go away in a few weeks (hallelujah), but even then, things have changed.  I don’t write anymore.  I’d like to, I miss it quite a lot, but I just don’t have the fire to do it anymore.  This from the woman who was writing scenes while waiting to get wheeled in for cancer surgery 3 years ago.  I don’t knit as much.  I’m still spinning, but not regularly, and I’ve finished 2 knitting projects in the past six months.  I still like to knit, I just…I don’t know.  Don’t make the time for it?

I’m a runner now.  Like, a little bit obsessively.  I run 3-4 times a week, every other day religiously.  When I have down time, I’m reading running websites.  Thursday I will finish my Couch to 5K training.  Finish it, where when I tried it two years ago, I couldn’t get off day 1 despite running it every other day for a month.  I can run almost 15 minutes without stopping.  When I’m on a rest day, I often find myself disappointed as I WANT to go out and run.  Which is madness. I know a lot of it is the shiny newness of it.  Whenever I take anything new on, I throw myself in headfirst, learn as much as I can, practice as much as I can.  But this is *running*.  Exercise.  My eternal nemesis even in high school.  I just don’t even know.

One of my coworkers told me the other day that I look tiny.  Which I know she meant as a compliment, and I took it as such at the time.  But thinking about it made me feel…small.  Like I wasn’t big enough physically to back up the badass personality I’ve kind of cultivated for myself.  My brain, which still thinks like a fat chick, remember, is trying to understand what being thin means.  Assumptions I’d always had about how people would respond to me and what expectations I would have to work against aren’t true any more, and I don’t know what the new expectations are.

The thought of dating again is truly terrifying.  Not that I’m ready for that, but…

I know this sounds like a lot of whining, and a little bit it is.  But it’s also the process of WLS, letting go of the past and trying to define a new self.  I don’t even know where I’m going with this.  I like who I am physically now.  Well, the boobs could be a little perkier and the belly a little flatter.  But I can run. Actually, flat out run.  For fun.  Because it feels good.  The last time running felt good to me was in the 5th grade when we did the President’s Physical Fitness challenge and I beat the fastest girl in the grade in the mile.  That was a loooooong time ago.  I’m glad to have these new things, but I miss some of the old things, too.  Maybe I’ll write again, when there isn’t so much pressure on me.  It’s happened before.  And slowly bits and pieces of me will get reintegrated in new ways, or new things will come up to take the place of the old.  I’ll find my new normal.

But right now, I feel more than a little adrift, and it’s tempting to go back to where it was comfortable instead of forward into something new.

Move it!

Move it!

The other thing I’m getting under control is my exercise.  As in, since Thanksgiving, there’s been a decided lack of it.  There’s been plenty of cleaning and schlepping and snow shovelling, but not anything focused.  I almost scared myself at Writers Weekend when the first night I WANTED to do calisthenics.  And did them.  So good sign: my body WANTS to be active.  Time to get moving.

Started easy with getting back to daily walking.  Well, when I say daily… Between appointments and illness and having to make up time, it’s been more like 3 times a week, but still, that’s better than it was.  The cemetary next to work has finally dried out enough for my co-worker and I to be able to get to the road through it without too much squishing through the dirt, so as many lunch times as we can manage, we get out there and do half an hour.  It’s pretty hilly, so it’s a good work out.  The building also has a half mile walking path, but they have it covered in this mulch that’s cut too big, so it gives under your feet like beach sand when you try to walk on it.  I’m hoping when they resurface it for the year (that’s the other problem with it, it all washes away) that they’ll get a finer, more compact mulch so we can mix up our walking routes.

In addition to that, I’m making another attempt at Couch to 5K.  I still don’t like running, but it’s still the easiest excercise for me to do, as I don’t need to go anywhere special to do it safely like I would for swimming or biking, and I don’t need any special equipment.  So hopefully this will be my gateway activity to those others.  I still want to start randoneurring, but I’m no where near there yet.  For now, running.  I got a different app this time, and I think it’s a good one.  I’m trying the Zombies, Run! 5k trainer, and I really like it.  First off, the training cycle isn’t as punishing as the standard C25K app that I tried.  The first week is 15 second sprints rather than 1 minute, so I can actually get through them.  I think the second week is as well, along with some added stretching.  Granted being 120 pounds lighter than last time helps, too, but I’m two days into it and feel pretty good.  I even actually ran during the free run/walk cool down period both days!  I also like the gamification a lot.  It’s a British-based company that makes it, so most of the voices are British or Brits doing American (not badly, but recognizably), so I described it to Nikki as being like taking part in a Doctor Who radio play episode.  The story is engaging, and I honestly think it helps having a real-sounding person encouraging me over a flat, automatic reminder.  Not too many zombies yet, but enough to get the heart racing once in a while!  So yeah, if you’re looking to start running, I recommend this app.

The other thing really helping me is my playlist.  It’s not big, but it’s almost all girl power, attitude songs with a strong, steady beat.

That Man by Caro Emerald
Shake the Room by Gamu
I’m the One That’s Cool by The Guild
Back to Me by Kathleen Edwards
Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
Box of Secrets by Zarif
I Want You Back by the Jackson Five
Cherry Bomb by the Runaways

I need to add some ELO to this mix as well.  And if you know anything that fits these styles, let me know!  Music is not my thing, so I’ll always take recommendations!

Last time I tried this, I never got off Day One after six weeks of working at it.  Again, I was 120 pounds heavier, but nevertheless, I feel a lot more optimistic that I can get through the whole thing this time!  If I don’t have to repeat any days, I’ll finish the 8 week training on June 2.  Not sure what my reward will be for completing, but it will be something good!  Aside from the regular Zombies, Run app, so I can keep going!

 

Happy Surgiversary!

Happy Surgiversary!

One year ago today, I was waking up from my bariatric surgery.  And no one could bring me my damn glasses.

A lot can change in a year.  I’ve lost 75 pounds postsurgery (115 since I started the whole process), and my BMI has gone from 42 to 27.5.  My pulse and blood pressure were always pretty good and haven’t changed much.  I’m still waiting on all my lab results.  But some things you don’t need a test for.

Pre-surgery me Me 1 year post

Yeah, I’m different.  When he called me for my birthday, Ben asked if I felt any different at 48 than 47.  Um, YEAH.  When we were at the cabin, Mom said she can definitely tell I have more energy.  And it’s true, even though there are times I still don’t feel it.  But when you consider that in the last three months I replaced a kitchen floor and painted the woodwork, stripped and painted the dining room, deep cleaned the whole first floor of the house, laid a new sidewalk, purged over 1200 gallons of stuff out of the basement and, oh yeah, raised 3 kids on my own, yeah, I think there’s energy going on there.

My one year appointment was yesterday, and they told me I’ll probably lose for about 6 more months.  Which I’m fine with.  I really only want to lose about 15 more pounds.  That will leave me a little room for the inevitable bounceback everyone experiences when they start maintaining.  But I’m eating now about the way I will during maintenance, and I’m happy with it.  The nutritionist said if I wanted to lose more, I’d need to reduce the number of calories I’m taking in, but I think that would lead to a bad mental state of deprivation and number chasing.  If I didn’t lose another pound, I’d be satisfied.  Honestly, I *think* I weigh less than my mother right now, and I’m almost 50.  Just how skinny do I need to be, and will that make my life better?  I don’t think so.  So if it happens, it does, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.

The one piece I haven’t got in place is the exercise.  Both the nutritionist and the nurse practitioner reinforced to me that exercise won’t help with the weight loss, but it will help with maintenance, and honestly I just WANT to be able to do it.  Finding the time is hard, though, with the kids doing so many activities, so I have to figure out how to carve out the time.  Running is easier, but I like it less.  I want to get the bike going again, but that means getting to the Y and learning how to ride the damn spin bike without killing myself until it’s warm enough to get outside again.  No resolutions.  Again, resolutions are bad mental juju, but plans.  I’m getting good at plans.

This me even accomplishes them!

 

These Boots Were Made For Walking

These Boots Were Made For Walking

When I was a kid, my mother had the most amazing pair of boots.  They were knee high chocolate brown suede with a 2″ stacked heel and brass rings all up the front to lace them with. They were Victorian hippy, which was (and honestly still pretty much is) my style. I loved these boots more than anything.  My brother and I would use them to play pirates, but I dreamed of the day when I was big enough to wear them for real.  Then when I was 13 or 14, something happened to them.  They got ruined or donated or something, I don’t remember now.  But they were gone, and I was heartbroken.  But they lived on in my heart, and ever since I’ve been looking for a version of them for myself.

Mom knew how much I wanted a pair of tall boots, so for Christmas my junior year in college, she got me a pair, and a trenchcoat to go with them.  I was so excited until I tried them on.  None of them fit.  I was too big for them, my calf too fat to close the zipper, and the trenchcoat wouldn’t close around my middle.  I think that was about the lowest I have ever felt about my size.  I had a good, self-pitying cry about how my own family didn’t know me anymore and how I was too fat to have any of the things I loved.  I got over it, but that feeling has stayed with me ever since.

When I decided to do what needed to be done to finally lose my extra weight, one of the things I promised myself was that when I was small enough I WOULD get a pair of brilliant knee high boots.  That’s not as straightforward as it sounds.  You don’t lose weight evenly over your whole body.  It comes off from where it’s easiest, and then what’s left kind of redistributes itself.  That’s what diet plateaus are, in case you were wondering.  It’s your body saying, “Okay, that’s good for now, let’s reconfigure and see where else we can take from.”  For me, it always came off my chest and almost never off my legs.  I’d asked my trainer about the calf thing years ago, if there were any exercises that would help.  She just shrugged.  “Just do what you were doing for your legs.”  Sigh.  I wanted a magic exercise that would pinpoint my calves the same way sit-ups help my waist.  But no such joy.  So I just kept on.

This morning I went to get dressed.  Grabbed the last pair of slacks off the shelf (it’s definitely laundry day) and pulled them on.  Wait, these are huge!  Checked the tag.  Oops, a pair of 18s, I thought I’d gotten rid of all those.  Oh well.  Into the donate pile with those.  But now what?  All I have clean are a pair of jeans and the size 12s I’d gotten for my hope chest.  What the hell.  I grabbed the 12 slacks and braced myself for a struggle.  Only there wasn’t one.  Really?  Really.  Maybe the teenyest of wedgies, but nothing uncomfortable.  Hooray!  I hadn’t expected to be here for another 20 pounds!  I just kind of leapt over size 14 (so it’s probably a good thing I hadn’t been able to find anything that size this past weekend when I was looking!)  I don’t know what motivated me, but on impulse I grabbed the tape measure out of my knitting jar and measured my calf.  At the thickest part, it was 17 inches.  That’s down FIVE INCHES.  I just about burst into tears.

Now, 17 inches is still not easy to fit for boots.  But there are extra wide circumference shafts that go up to 18, so there are some out there.  And I need some new shoes for fall.  Most of my current ones are over five years old and showing their wear.  So I decided I would at least try some boots.  Nikki, generous soul that she is, saw my tweet about the size change and gave me a gift certificate, so I had no excuse not to.  After some angst and agita, I settled on these:

Madden Girl Galeriaa

Madden Girl Galeriaa

I could wish for a slightly higher heel, but that may have to wait for a thinner calf.  And I’m not a fan of the zipper, but ah well.  It’s a start.

And if anyone sees a pair of knee-high lace up chocolate-brown suede boots with brass rings and a 2″ heel, or know someone who can custom make them, let me know.  My childhood will thank you!

Six Months

Six Months

It’s been a little more than six months since my gastric bypass surgery.  It seems to have made a little difference…

Pre-surgery meJuly 21, 2014 174 pounds

That’s 90 pounds down since I started on this path last August, 60 since the surgery.  It’s slowed down to about a pound a week, but it is still going, which is all I can ask.  I want to lose another 40 pounds, but even if I stopped tomorrow, I would be pretty happy with how it’s gone.

I’ve also started to realize that, as far as content went, I usually ate pretty healthy pre-surgery.  Not the soda, obviously, and when I’d have a treat, I’d really overdo it, but we rarely had dessert, and I’m not a big chip/snack eater.  I’ve been putting a lot of my old stand-by recipes through the food calculator, and they actually come out within a reasonable calorie range per serving.  My problem was always that I would eat 3-4 servings.  I used to joke that the best diet in the world would be to only eat the serving sizes on the food labels.  Which was patently ridiculous.  Those amounts weren’t reasonable.  A person would starve to death doing that.  5 ravioli?  Really?  Well, guess what?  The serving sizes were right, and it’s my head that was wrong, with my stomach eager to help out.  Now the serving size indication is spot on, and I’m learning to live with it.

My clinic is pleased with my progress.  There’s a new dietician on staff, and I really like her.  She’s very pragmatic and honest with me.  She gave me some useful information about why some rules are set, which made it easier to know when and how to break them (my life philosophy).  Like I don’t have to get 65+ grams of protein.  45 is enough, but the higher amounts are better UP TO A POINT.  After that she said the body will encapsulate it and store it, which we don’t want.  So I don’t stress the days I don’t quite make 65.  I’m always close, and usually I hit 80 or higher.  That will balance out the days I go low.  My biggest concern was hydration and eating while exercising, especially on longer bike rides.  the rule is no drinking half an hour on either side of eating, but if I’m riding, I need to stay hydrated and still keep my energy up.  She said 5 minutes before (to give it time to move out of my pouch) and 20 minutes after (to let the food move through) is fine.  so again, I’m sticking to the rules, but now I have a better sense of how to bend them when I need to.  I go back to see them in January for my one year follow-up.  Scary/exciting to see where I’ll be then!

The other thing I did was I finally purged my entire wardrobe.  That was painful.  Five(?) years ago, I dragged Nikki with me to Lane Bryant to help me get some new clothes that looked good on me.  At the time I’d just gotten laid off thanks to the banking collapse, so I was job hunting in a brutal economy.  Because of that, and because I was collecting a very nice severance, I was home a lot, and watched a LOT of What Not to Wear while knitting and waiting for the kids to come home.  I don’t consider that time wasted, as I learned a lot and was much better prepared to dress myself.  Between us we picked out some really nice pieces, including a silk print skirt that I never would have tried but which Nikki insisted on.  These clothes had a lot of memories.  My power red dress shirt I wore like armor whenever I had to face down the psycho-boss.  The striped shirts with gold thread woven through it to bling it up.  The stretchy kimono dress that was so dressy and yet so comfortable.

It all went.

Before the purgeAfter the purge

I was ruthless.  If it wasn’t a size 16 or below, it went in the trashbag.  The comfy shorts went.  The brand new bathing suit went.  All those beautiful dress shirts went.  I’d forgotten about the denim skirt with the ruffle.  Into the bag.  I got rid of all the pajamas except the two cotton sleep shirts (because those are supposed to be big).  I kept a couple of fleeces just because they’re good for winter cabinning since I need to have layers underneath.  The fandom t-shirts stayed, but I can alter those.  The other t-shirts, all gone.  See those baskets?  All but the bottom two are pretty much empty.  Ready to start over.

Which I did in a big way.  What kicked this off was that I tried on a pair of size 14 jeans from my hope chest, and they fit easily.  Okay then, thought I, I’ll need another pair, and a pair of slacks, if I can find them in petites.  Time to go to the thrift store.  And maybe I’ll pick up one or two tops that fit at the same time.  Famous last words.  I came home with a pair of jeans, a pair of slacks, a pair of shorts, two pairs of pajama bottoms (one for now, one for later), and SIXTEEN tops.  Plus three outfits for Hero and a pair of Heelys.  All for $150.  We’re encouraged not to buy a lot of clothes during the weight loss phase, because we won’t be able to wear them for long.  But honestly, I’m only likely to go down two more sizes, and everything I’ve got fits pretty closely now, so I think these will get me through the next six months before I start looking at my likely final sizes.  And since I ditched everything else, I need SOMETHING to wear.

The best thing about this is that I’m actually finally getting to reassert my own style.  When you’re a plus size, unless you sew for yourself, you’re limited to what the big girl stores think you should be wearing.  Well, as is the strikhedonista way, I didn’t WANT to be wearing what they told me to.  I have a lot more choices now.  there’s definitely a trend developing, though.  Lots of ethnic prints, a hint of sparkle, surprisingly close fitting.  I did get a couple of khaki/beige sweaters, but that’s just so I can  wear them with shmancy skirts without going overboard.  A lot of cotton and silk, a little bit of lace and spandex, and surprisingly a LOT of red.  About a third of what I got was some shade of red or another, although I did hit the full spectrum except for green.  So that’s all good.  And I just realized I can go into any store and find a belt that fits me.  A women’s sized belt.  That’s…wow.

Now I really need to talk with Mom about sewing me a vest out of my weaving pieces, though.  It would go perfectly with this wardrobe.

 

Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here

It wasn’t a very exciting day.  Those are the hard ones to blog about.  Bullet points to the rescue!

1.  It was the kids’ last day of school.  Such as it is.  They only had to go in for about two and a half hours.  But it still meant I had to get them up and out the door.  On the plus side, they decided they wanted to ride their bikes in.  Since they didn’t have to carry their monster backpacks, I said sure and spent an extra 15 minutes watering the garden.

2.  I think the 5 gallon self-waterers aren’t working well.  They don’t seem to be getting enough water up to the plants.  When I refill the reservoir, it’s still full on all of them.  I’m wondering if the cups I used to make the wick aren’t letting enough water in.  Of course, now that the plants are in and up, I can’t do anything to fix it.  More watering.  But they’re getting their third leaves finally, so they don’t seem to mind it.

3.  Spent some quality time editing today.  And by editing, I mean programming macros to show me all the things I’m doing wrong in bright glaring neon.  Too many adverbs, repetitive words, passive voice.  All of it.  I did get some actual revision done as well.  But not much.  Tomorrow.  Maybe.

4.  My joy with the pushups was short lived.  I went to do today’s and nearly fell on my face when the muscles along my stomach hurt so much when I flexed them.  So a) the pushups are doing what they’re supposed to and b) my core strength is pathetic.  I did my pushups, but I did the wimpy kind.  I’m going to try to alternate the good ones versus the wimp ones to start building it up.  Did my situps fine, and I did the test to add lunges.  Baby steps.

5.  The vacuum cleaner died.  Not that we use it that often, but we use it enough, especially with the animals.  So I have to add that to the shopping list, along with the new air conditioner.

So not an exciting day, but it’s a day.  Tomorrow I can sleep a little later and I don’t have to get kids up, so my morning will be a little calmer.

No Small Victories

No Small Victories

People are always asking me if I feel different now that I’ve lost all this weight.  And the honest answer is no, not really.  The me in my head has always been about 135 pounds.  I’m just shrinking back into that self-image that I have always carried around with me.  Which doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally have surprises.

When I first started visiting the WLS forums, I often saw people using the abbreviation NSV when talking about their post-surgical successes.  I found out later that this stands for Non-Scale Victories, but at the time and without a guidebook to the lingo, I somehow thought it meant No Small Victories, and I still hear that in my head whenever I see that abbreviation.  And I think it’s apt, because it’s those little things that make you more aware of the impact your weight loss is having on your life.  The big ones, losing 80 pounds or dropping 4 pants sizes, those are harder to comprehend.  But the little ones, yeah, I can get my head around those.

My first one was the parking brake.

I drive a Grand Caravan.  Yes, I am a suburban mom, how could you tell?  Shut up, the wayback is still full of straw, I won’t be pigeonholed.  The parking brake in this car is under the dashboard on the left hand side.  If I’ve buckled in, I can’t reach it, so for years I have pulled it out with my toe.  All my shoes are worn funny on top from doing this.  But sometime in March, I realized I’d stopped doing that.  I wasn’t even aware of it, I had just started reaching down for it while belted and could do it.  I must have done this 3-4 times before I realized.  It was ridiculous how pleased I was with myself.

Last month I realized I had legs.

Again, ridiculous, right?  But I have always considered my legs my worst feature, and have dealt with them by basically ignoring their presence.  I wore loose jeans or plain black or brown slacks and thought nothing more about them.  I’d shave once or twice a year, if they were lucky.  I wanted nothing to do with them, and it showed.  But now that I’m wearing smaller sized pants, they’re tighter, fitting along my leg more.  And I like how they look.  Not long, because all my short is in my legs, but longer, more proportioned.  Nicer.  And yes, I’ve started dressing them like that.

This week, I had two more.

I had an echocardiogram Thursday.  I signed on to participate in a study on chemotherapy meds and their effect on heart function when I was going through my cancer treatment, and as part of it I get an echo every year.  This year’s was scheduled for yesterday in conjunction with my 6 month oncology follow-up.  I’m up on the table, laying on my side while the tech works her magic, when I realized:  I was balancing comfortably on my side, no wobble, no difficulty breathing from being at a funny angle, no discomfort.  Weird.  But cool.

Friday, I did a fitness level test to start doing the 100 Push-Ups training program.  I did 7 push-ups.  Not impressive, I know.  But I did them on my toes.  Honest to god, real life push-ups, and not the weakling, on my knees pretend ones that I have done probably every time I have done them since college.  That felt stupidly good, and I was puffed up about it all day.

So yes, there is no such thing as a small victory.  And you’ll probably be seeing more of them here.

Recipe the First

Recipe the First

An off-shoot of yesterday’s post.  One of the things I’ve had to learn post-surgery is a different way of eating.  Which isn’t surprising.  But I’m not always sure what is going to sit right in my tiny new stomach.  Just for comparison, my pouch (the remains of my stomach) can now hold a half a cup of food.  Go ahead, get out your measuring cups.  Now compare that to how much you eat.  Yeah, I don’t get to eat a whole lot.  What does surprise me is how quickly I came to change how I viewed that amount of food.  Before my surgery, I’d look at the contents of a frozen dinner and think, “Well, I’ll need three of those.”  Now it’s “I hope I can finish all this!”  You know those estimated serving sizes on the labels of food?  Yeah, they’re actually right on the money.  If you could eat to the labels, you’d be in good shape weight-wise.

But some foods have been really hard to give up.  First and foremost among those is pasta.  I love pasta.  I don’t care what shape, what kind, it’s all good.  But now when I eat even the quarter cup sized portion I’m allowed, I get very uncomfortable and a bit nauseous.  So no more spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, mac and cheese, pasta Caesar salad… Oh, god, I just realized I can’t eat my go to summer dinner of tuna pasta salad!!  So I’ve had to come up with other ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I was coming home from my brother’s and needed to get something to eat on the road.  I stopped at his local grocery store looking for anything ready-made that I could eat on the road.  I found this interesting turkey club salad that had chopped up turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.  I was hungry and probably not making the best choices, so I got it.  It was pretty good, and the essence of the elements were well within my diet requirements, so I decided to try to pump it up myself.  This is what I came up with.

Turkey Club Bean Salad

1/4 pound deli turkey (get it in one slab at the deli counter)
1/4 pound medium to mild hard cheese (I used Colby)
3 strips thick cut bacon
1 tomato (you can use more.  I’m not crazy about raw tomato in my salads)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1 can cannellini or white beans, well drained
Mayo (I used light.  No fat isn’t worth it.  Go for full fat if you like.  I won’t judge.)

Dice up the turkey, cheese, bacon and tomato fairly small.  They should all be about the same size.  Dump it in a bowl (yes, that’s a technical term) and add the lettuce and beans.  Then add mayo to taste.  I used about 3 tablespoons, but that was a little dry.  Add a pinch of salt or so to taste.  I didn’t my first time around, but might the second time.

All in all, it was pretty good.  A bit bland, so it might have benefited from a little salt.  Made to this recipe, it makes 4 servings at 266 calories, 27 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat and 23 carbs, depending on what you’re tracking.  You could do it without the beans, but they do a nice job of pumping up the protein, and since I need to eat protein-forward, it works great for me!

I’ll add pictures the next time I make it!