Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween..."Before" / "After"

Well, the one in the all black is me in my fat suit Halloween costume. OK, not really, but I seriously couldn't resist. (I have a weird sense of humor.) This is me at 234 lbs.

The other one is me in my Halloween costume from last year (2008). Yep, still camera shy people. I want to keep my anonymity. I am 145 lbs. in this picture. What a difference 89lbs. makes.

I need to take a pic of my 'before' jeans and my 'after' jeans. Now that I think about it, I haven't even put them on since I *had* to wear them. That's kinda weird in a way too.

I'm in a reflection mode at the moment. I can't believe that I am nearly 4 years out. I currently stay within a goal range of 138 - 142 lbs. (Less than even this picture AND the outfit is much looser in the waist and hips.)

So, I'm going to answer my yearly questions. Any questions? Please let me know. Nothing is off limits.

Official weigh in stats:
Height: 5'8"
Starting weight: 234 lbs
Current weight: 138 lbs
Overall loss: 96 lbs
Lbs to goal: 0
Current goal: Maintain between 138 lbs - 142 lbs

BMI: 21.0 - (Normal weight = 18.5-24.9)
Clothing size: 6. Sometimes even a bit loose and end up in a 4.
Shirt: S

How many fills have you had?
  • 1st fill – 1.2cc
  • 2nd fill – 1.8cc
  • 3rd unfill - was just too tight - went to 1.4cc
  • 4th unfill - dilated pouch - complete unfill
  • 5th fill - .6cc
  • I think I went up some from here to about .8cc; then unfill to about .4 cc; then another to .2 cc - that's where I remain. There is .2 cc in my band. It's pretty much empty.

Are you going to stay at your current fill level?

What are you going to do next?
Work on my "mojo". I need to set some new goals and figure out how to maintain my motivation.

What size clothes are you wearing?
6 pants/dress (sometimes a 4).
Shirt - Small

What do you eat in a typical day?
I always start with weight control quaker instant oatmeal with 1/2 oz of dried blueberries or cherries for breakfast. (Good source of fiber. Keeps me full without being too substantial to feel uncomfortable.) For lunch, pretty much whatever. If I'm tight - which you can tell over time - I'll have something soft. For dinner, I'm loosest then and eat pretty much anything. I pretty much stay away from pasta and bread entirely. When I do eat some, it might be a bit of pasta or crackers---pasta always has a lot of sauce. Dry meat has to have sauce. Chicken breast is tricky some days. Dry meat of any kind is a problem, but as long as what I eat is chewed well and within the amount I am supposed to have - I don't have any issues. (Update: Same answer as last year, but I have added more fruit to my diet.)

Was it worth it?
Yes, it was. I stress though that I would only recommend it as a last resort. I felt I was there. I could get the weight off, but just couldn't keep it out without exercising and watching what I ate ALL the time. Now, I live a life of moderation on everything and the weight stays off. Other than the gain of 15lbs that was totally MY FAULT and choice (via bad choices and not working out) I have remained the same weight or lost a bit. It was worth every penny and I was self-pay. (Update: Keeping this one the same as well. I need to go back and read that post about the 15 lbs.)

Have you had any problems?
Yes. You'll see in the beginning of my blog that shortly after my surgery I swore my stitches in my port popped. Everybody told me no way and not to worry about it. When I went in for my fill, it had. So it is on it's side. I still have not had it fixed, but you can now see a lump from it when my shirt is off and FEEL it. Feeling it is the grossest. I am considering getting it fixed. I have also had some problems with pouch dilation. People being too tight is BAD. The other thing is that your portion size is also very important. It can also lead to stretching of your pouch. Signs? Eating more than you used to and getting heartburn (aka - reflux). (Update: I haven't gotten my port fixed. I might, but I'd rather have some new boobs - lol!)

Have you pb'd?
Yep. When I was too tight, a lot. Now, I pretty much know how and what to eat depending on the tightness of my band. When/if I have problems, it is around my period. I have learned sometimes it is best not to fight it and let it happen. This seems to work for me and then does not lead to repeated pb's or irritation. Be sure to follow your surgeon's instructions for when this occurs. I find that I get very tight (swollen and irritated) and need to follow the instructions. I'll stay on fluids for a number of hours and then depending on how bad it is (believe me you get to where you know) I'll put myself on self-imposed soft foods for a day or two. Usually within a day I am totally back to normal. (Update: I'm not sure, but I'd guess that I've have 2 episodes in the past year.)

What rules do you follow?
Eat slowly. Take small bites. Don't eat first thing in the morning. When I feel full - stop. Don't drink with meals. No soda. That pretty much sums it up. There aren't a lot of them. These are pretty much the standard bandster rules. The latest addition is the first bite rule. I am sure to chew well and make sure it is small. There is some suspicion that not doing this may have contributed to the dilation. Again, no one knows for sure. (See the side.) (Update: Since my band is essentially empty, I focus on good choices and eating the *right* amount. If I eat hard foods like I am supposed to, guess what - full. If not, I have a little snack.)

Do you have loose skin?
Surprisingly, I'd have to say no. I wear a bikini and look pretty damn good for my age. Over time since I hit goal and continued to workout, I'd say that I even look better. Now, that being said, I'd like to have a boob lift. I don't think that has anything to do with the band though. Just age and gravity. Believe it or not, my boobs are THE SAME size they were before banding. (Update: my boobs are smaller. Seriously. I'm essentially the same weight, but I'm smaller - less fat I figure. So, my boobs don't fill the bra cups like they were. Me wanting new boobs is getting higher on the list.)

Do you 'diet'?
I guess most people would say yes. I'd say no. The bottom line whether you have a lapband or not is you have to make good food choices. I roughly follow Weight Watchers that my friend gave me all the scoop on. The daily points with the flex keeps everything in check. I have journaled my food and exercise since I was banded - except for the time that I put on the 15lbs. This is very successful for me. Conscious eating is critical. (No Update)

So what is all this about this 15lbs you gained?
Well, for about 5 or 6 months, I didn't work out, log my food, or make good choices. The good news is that I only gained 15 lbs. In the past, this would have been much worse. I also avoided the scale, so it was my clothes screaming at me that they were tight that woke me up. There were a whole lot of factors that contributed to my not caring - work stress, break up, just not caring - in fact, I think I was in a bit of a depression. Well, I kicked myself in the ass and got things under control. That is what you see referenced in the past 12 weeks or so. In those 12 weeks, with dedication and effort - and following all the rules - I lost 15.5 lbs. (Update - huh, guess this is what happened. It's funny how you forget things and how a blog can help you remember.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lack of Payoff?

Thanks for the comment Julie:

"I was just talking to a friend last night about maintaining weight loss. She said the same thing - that it's harder to maintain than to lose. However, she couldn't explain why. What you said about lack of payoff makes a lot of sense. Is there a way to still get that payoff while maintaining?"

I have friends that 'do' Weight Watchers and it seems to be a feeling that many people have at goal. You know how you are losing weight and you are looking at the scale and going, "OMG, I have worked so hard there better be a loss" and then there is? Payoff. The compliments you receive on your journey? Payoff. The milestones you receive? Payoff. The clothes that now fit? Payoff. The smaller sizes? Payoff. The NSVs? Payoff. Etc. etc.

Well, almost 4 years out and over 2 years since I hit (and surpassed) my goal, it's different. You are just 'you'. People are now used to you. You are at goal weight. Your goal is to maintain your current weight and remain in your current clothes. Compliments are few and far between. Heaven forbid you put on weight, cause look out! Then, "Did you notice? So and so is gaining weight."

All of this really is kinda stupid (I recognize that), but it's also the reality. I give myself a pat on the back for staying within my range (138-142) for all this time, but sometimes I just get plain old worn out. And, I am sure people are thinking, "Well, get over yourself, I'd pay money to get where you are." Well, first of all I did pay money to get where I am! OK, I couldn't resist that 'banded humor' as I am self-pay. : )

As we all know - or are learning - the band is not magic. It's work. The band is a tool and nothing more. You can eat around it and do all sorts of things that are going to lead to weight gain (what I refer to as self-sabotage - cause hello? you put a frickin' band around your belly - there has to be some self sabotage there!). I *should* be proud that I have avoided that and I am....well, kinda - ha!

But banded or not, staying at a healthy weight and fit at almost 41 years old is work. Will I continue? Sure I will. But I will have my ups and downs and general bitchiness about what it takes to stay in my range.

Thanks for your post as well "Dinnerland", but it's not so much about having a goal as I have one - to stay within my range - it's just hard to explain. I do think it's feedback and something outside of 'me' that made losing 'easier' vs. maintaining.

How exciting is it to come back to my blog each week to find out that I stayed within my range? To me, not much. I'd much rather read about the people that are losing and making progress (and I do - way to go all of you!!!). I know that sounds stupid as there is this 'you need to do it for you' mantra. I agree 100%. I did this for me. I got to my goal for me. I stay in my range for me. But bottom line - it's hard.

I'll have to think more about it. Like I said, I do think it's a funk, but it's also a valid 'feeling' that I just can't adequately describe and is there, but not really talked about. Counseling anyone? (ha) I think I just need a swift kick in the butt, a 'get over yourself', and keep on keepin' on. But this is what my blog is for, right? To *talk* about the 'stuff' that is really going on inside of me. So that's what I'm doing.

Thanks again to Julie and Dinnerland. I appreciate your feedback and duly noted. I need to figure out how to get the 'payoff'. Overall, I do think I am OK, but thought I'd share a bit about this inner struggle? challenge? whatever you want to term it that is somewhere deep inside of me.

Oh wait, here's the exciting news: I'm within my range as it is weekly weigh-in. And, go figure, low end: 138 lbs. See, not so exciting, huh? : )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Work, work, and wait - more work...

Last week sucked. I wasn't able to workout and I can prove it wasn't 'just an excuse' this time as well. I ended up practically working around the clock Monday - Friday. I slept about 12 hours between Monday night until Friday night (when I got a whopping 6 hours). It couldn't be avoided, but was a stress on me and also my poor hubby.

Not sleeping, stress, not exercising, and not the best eating is likely going to reflect itself on the scale this week. I must focus on it being out of my control and something that doesn't occur very often....*sigh* - I have to tell you that maintaining SUCKS! I've said it before and I'm saying it again. As weird as it sounds, there is this lack of 'payoff' or 'something'. It's hard to explain. If someone out there can relate and explain it better, please do so! (Then again, maybe I am in a big ol' funk from not sleeping, stress, not exercising, and unscheduled weird eating - it's not that I'm eating crap, just that everything is off.)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Testing, testing, 1-2-3?

I have noticed that I have a bad habit. Every now and then I 'test' my band. I think this is a bad practice and something I need to stop doing. It's not good overall as it can lead to PB'ing and/or pouch stretching (dilation) - both bad things overall. Therefore, going forward I will not test my band anymore. I will remember:
  • The band is in there and it is doing it's job.
  • There are days that I have more tightness (restriction) than others. My personal experience and opinion is that this has to do with 'lovely' woman hormones.
  • I need to eat what I am supposed to and also the amount that I am supposed to period. If I do, then I'm done. I will and can (giving myself permission) to eat more later if needed.
  • Eating too slow is as bad as eating too fast. I can't remember the 'eating time' that I was given, but I think it was 20 mins max.
  • Am I really hungry or am I emotional? Do my test - do I want something good for me or crap? If crap, not hungry period.
  • If I HAVE to have crap. Then make it a portion-controlled conscious decision.
What brought this up? I've just been reflecting on my journey and what I can do to further my long-term success since I am almost FOUR years out. Wow! I can't believe it has been that long. Some people may say, "Well, maybe you need a fill?" My response to that is no. (See this post.) When I have gained weight, the honest answer is cause I have been eating CRAP and a lot of times compounding that by not exercising. Getting a fill, in my opinion, is not an appropriate response. The behavior needs to be corrected. Am I hungry sometimes? Sure, but sometimes it is head hunger and other times it is 'real' hunger. When it's real, I have a small snack and it passes. Good enough I say. : )

The scale is whacko right now. I am still within my range, but yesterday (official weigh in) it said 141lbs and today it said 138lbs???? Nope, I'm not weighing every day, but I was just curious this morning as I have been diligent for the past couple of weeks on both eating and exercising and expected that I would see a lower weight. (Oh wait, don't we all??? (ha))

The increased diligence has been greatly caused by my hubby going around saying he was 'fat' (which he's not) and his decision to exercise more and eat better. Nothing but a good thing for me! BTW - boys SUCK! He has lost SEVEN pounds. That's right people, 7 frickin' pounds by a few dietary changes and exercise in two weeks. Venting now: and my results? Uh, nothing!!!!! : )

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Emotions - OMG, I am UP 2.5 LBS from YESTERDAY morning????? WTF?????

Emotions - OK, get off and try again. Scale has to be WRONG!!!

Emotions - OMG!!!!! Still the same - f-ing 142 lbs. That is HIGHER than last week. WTF? WTF? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Brain - OK, CALM down! There is NO way I gained 2.5 lbs in one day when I have been making good eating choices and exercising since the last weigh in a week ago.

Emotions - Well, you remember what Jillian on Biggest Loser says - something to the effect of the scales don't lie. You weigh what you weigh. It's all excuses.

Brain - True. You weigh 142 lbs (which by the way is technically within your range), but at least 'some' if not 'most' of that weight is likely water retention from the salt gorge (soup at lunch very high salt content and dinner was a packaged meal also with very high salt content) which you normally monitor so the body is reacting. To gain 2.5 lbs, you would have had to eaten an EXTRA 8,750 calories!!!!

Emotions - Well, I don't like it!

Brain - Well, too bad! Get over it!

Emotions - Well, I'm not gonna! Cause the scale RULES me! I don't wanna weigh 142 lbs. I'm fat.

Brain - That's just stupid. The scale is only one measurement. How are your clothes? How has your eating been? How has the exercising been?

Emotions - Fine, fine, fine. Don't care, still don't like it.

Brain - Well just keep doing what you are doing. It will be fine.

Emotions - Don't like it. And, ya know what? Now I just wanna not exercise and not make good food choices? Where's the ice cream?????!!!! Candy????!!!! (MmMMM, candy corn)

Brain - You are going to exercise and you are going to make good choices. No ice cream and no candy. HA! This is why there isn't any in the house and HELLO? it's just you EMOTIONS!!!! Quit being a big whiny baby and get over yourself. Just move on and keep on doing what you are doing.

Emotions / Brain - I will eat as planned today. I will drink extra water. Exercise is done for the day, but I will go again tomorrow. The scale while not "lying" will go back down in a couple days.....uh, and try to quit sneak weighing which you keep doing when you are on the high end of your range. Then again, it does keep me focused on staying to the low end.

To Emotions AND Brain - Shut the hell up and focus on something else!!!

: - )