Weight Loss

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Under the knife

It's looking like I'm having more surgery, but nothing weight related.  I've had this big ovarian cyst that was first noted when I was pregnant.  After Lucy was born, with one thing or another always going on, I didn't follow up on it until last month.  Long story short, it's pretty big now, quite big actually, and it will need to come out.  I haven't spoken to the gyn guy yet since my follow up ultrasound earlier this week, but the thing is starting to hurt more often now, and I'm afraid if it gets much bigger I'll end up with a torsion (the cyst gets so heavy it falls down, twisting the ovary, cutting off its circulation and requiring immediate surgery).  It isn't a cancer risk, but the gyn did say that they do need to be removed (I can't remember exactly what he said the concern is other than torsion, gyn isn't exactly my area of expertise).  So anyway, will need that sometime in the next few months I am guessing.

I still haven't gotten the bill for my sleeve yet...

My weight is doing its annoying bounce-around thing.  I've finally realized that when my body fat % goes up while my weight goes down, it's water weight, and vice versa.  Today the scale finally went down along with the body fat %...fat loss! Yeah baby.  I mean, I knew if I lose 3 pounds in 24 hours, it's not fat (or if I gain it, it's also not fat).  But it's always good to be sure.

I'm running when I can and working on my incidental activity a la Fit Bit.  I don't always get 10,000 steps a day but usually pretty close.  My eating is okay, 800 cal and 60g protein on most days.  Slow weight loss continues...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gone Forever

I cringe when I read the party lines about weight loss surgery: weight loss is portrayed as "forever". These 20 pounds are "gone forever!"  Get rid of your big clothes, you will never need them again!  Guess what: at some point, most of us regain.  If we follow our new plan closely, and are a bit lucky, we will just bounce up a little bit from our lowest weight (goal or below, hopefully).  That is the most common pattern.  But stuff happens--pregnancy, injuries, your lap band breaks--you know, stuff.  It's so easy for us to pile on the shame and guilt.  That's part of how we got here to begin with.  And it doesn't help any with weight loss.

I cringe at this complacency.  Obesity is a chronic illness.  If we are not diligent, we will relapse.  I have all kinds of eating issues.  I overeat in response to emotions.  I eat too fast.  I eat too much despite my small stomach--it still isn't much, but two bites too many means those two bites are coming back up, and that is both uncomfortable and not healthy for my esophagus.  I am working on getting ahead of these issues, but I know this is how I have behaved for most of my life, and if I don't stay diligent, I can easily sabotage this surgery and regain.  So I don't talk about pounds being "gone forever" and I don't get rid of big clothes anymore.  Getting rid of clothes hasn't prevented me from gaining in the past--it just emptied my closet and my wallet.

I just broke down my weight loss week by week, and I can't say I'm thrilled about it.  I lost 17 lbs in the first 2 weeks and I have lost about .75-1.0 lb per week since then.  It is a little faster than with the band, but not much (except that there was no initial quick loss with the band, so that's nice).  I have some other victories: several inches lost, one size smaller pants, one size smaller scrubs, and I'm down about 3% body fat.  But I eat an average of 800 calories a day, and always get at least 60g protein, usually more.  My carbs aren't super low, but they aren't high either.  I'm more active than before.  My Fitness Pal always tells me that if I keep my calories where they are, in 5 weeks I'll be some much smaller weight.  I actually marked this in my calendar 5 weeks ago.  Yesterday I was "supposed" to weigh 15 lbs less than I do.  Yeah, right.

So, maybe a few more calories will spur weight loss, maybe fewer calories...or maybe this is just how I am going to lose, and as long as I keep losing, it's okay.  I don't know.  But I won't say the weight is "gone forever."  I know better than to get that comfortable.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A few more pounds

Down a couple today, finally...let's hope I don't see them again tomorrow!  I did some measurements, though, compared them to January, and I've lost inches everywhere, so there are definitely changes happening even if they don't show on the scale.  And I'm solidly down one size.

I do still browse the forums fairly often, but now I am trying to watch the "veterans" or those in maintenance more than those at my point post op.  When I read posts from people at my point, I mostly see people who are losing weight better than I am.  Of course, more people post who are losing like crazy than those who are slower like me.  And those who are losing less dramatically do post that they must be doing something wrong.  On the other hand, those who have been doing this a year or more and are successful mostly seem to recall long stalls or at least times when they doubted whether things were going the way they were supposed to go, and yet when they look back it is easy for them, and anyone else, to see that they lost plenty of weight over the expected time period.  So, in other words, I take that to mean that it is very easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are in the trenches of early post-op days.  It might seem like not much is happening but I'm sure that a year from now I will be where I want to be.

No one who doesn't know I had surgery has yet commented that I have lost weight.  But that's not too surprising.  I've only lost about 25% of my excess weight.  And I think people who know me know that I am a fairly private person, so they might not comment to me for that reason.  To be honest, with most people I prefer not to talk about it anyway.

I ran a bit yesterday and felt pretty good.  Not a lot of running, but I'm trying to listen to my body and not push it too much.  I did injure my left Achilles tendon last November, so I want to be careful not to overdo it.  I try to walk as much as I can, and gradually work my activity up to a higher level.

I still work on eating slowly and stopping soon enough.  I didn't do great this morning at brunch, ate a couple bites too many.  But I am slowly learning.  I'm not concerned about what I eat (my diet is pretty good) or how many calories I am eating.  I think I am on track as far as what I eat, but at any given meal I just need to learn when to stop a tad earlier.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

7 weeks...

Up, down, up, down...same few pounds. I saw 200 for a very brief moment, then back up to this range.  So weird. I am patiently waiting.  There's no way to eat this way without losing weight.

I'm starting to get better about eating the right amount and not overeating.  It's hard to eat slowly enough and not eat those 2 extra bites, which end up coming back up if I eat them.  But I'm getting better at it.

Not much to update right now.  I think the weight loss is showing in my face.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Protein Roundup 2.0

I am back in the protein shake game for the first time since I was first banded 6 years ago.  Things have changed!  I'm happy to report that they are generally better than they used to be.  I got a lot of samples and tried some things out.  Here are some of my opinions about some shakes:

  • Lean Dessert--way too thick and sweet.  Halfway between a shake and pudding, yuck.
  • Syntrax Nectar--so far have only found one that was good and that was Nectar Sweet in Vanilla Whipped Cream.  The fruit flavored ones sound good, but I haven't found a good one yet.
  • Unjury--a lot better now than it was 6 years ago.  I really liked Vanilla and Chocolate Splendor.  Excellent.  The Chocolate Splendor tastes exactly like hot cocoa, and when I heat it up I treat it like that.  It's a nice snack for evening.  Vanilla tastes just like vanilla ice cream, quite good.  Strawberry Sorbet is okay, would probably be good in the summer, especially added to lemonade.  Okay, that sounds really good. I was NOT a fan of Chicken Soup flavor.  Something about a warm, salty protein drink just messed with my head too much.  I couldn't get over expecting it to be sweet and instead tasting salt.  Especially since you can't get it hotter than 140 degrees or the protein clumps (this is true of all protein drinks)...no thank you.
  • People rave about Premier RTD (that's ready to drink), sold at Costco and Sam's Club.  I bought chocolate and vanilla, and they are okay, but definitely not the best I have tried. They are better mixed with something else, even just some milk.
  • Atkins RTD--do not like the Cafe Caramel, really like the Strawberry.  I have a couple more flavors I haven't tried yet.
  • Trutein--this is very good.  The only downside is the texture; it is a little bit gritty, but not too thick.  I have learned that I like thin protein drinks, not the thicker "shake" ones.  Milk Chocolate and Vanilla are excellent, Banana Creme was pretty good.
  • Oh Yeah! makes RTD drinks that are pretty good.  I think all the RTD drinks (all the brands I have tried anyway) have an extra chemical taste to them versus the powder versions, and they generally are better mixed into something else, but these are fairly good.
  • I got SF Torani syrups to add some variety, and some PB2 powdered peanut butter.  I haven't gotten a lot of use out of the PB2 yet, but SF peppermint and almond are very good in lots of the shakes.

I got samples from Trunutrition (Trutein), Unjury, and VitaLady.com.  There are lots of other companies that offer samples...BJ's Bariatrics, for one, and I think Netrition might (I've ordered a bunch of stuff from them).  This was plenty for me to try and find some that I can use daily.  I'm drinking at least one shake a day, and treating solid food as "training" right now, since I'm still not great at figuring out how much to eat.  I usually drink two shakes, and sometimes another half in the evening, which is a very tempting time to snack or graze for me.  Protein shakes are filling for me and keep me from grazing, so I feel safe with them so far.  I know this is an evolving process, but it is working for now.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of the above companies and have not been compensated for any of these opinions.  These are just my thoughts about the research I did.  I would have been happy to get free samples and review them, but you know those blogs that are kind of a big deal?  This isn't one of them.

I do still use Click, but its nutrition profile isn't that fantastic...not quite enough protein for my morning shake for the calories.  I do add it to other shakes though, and it's pretty good and I get my coffee fix.  I am out now, but might get some more.  My next experiment is adding Starbucks Via to morning shakes.  I'll let you know how that goes.


I had a 2 week stall, around which there were some hormonal fluctuations...I weigh every day because it is an easy habit for me to stay in and it generally doesn't make me crazy.  So after two weeks of the same weight, today it dropped 8 lbs.  So weird!  I'm about 5 weeks out now and have a 28 lb loss, which is better than I ever did with my band.  The weight loss pattern does fit what I did with the band, just at a different rate: about 2 1/2 weeks out of 4, I lose normally, a bit slower than many others, then it stalls for 1 1/2 weeks, then drops again.  It's disconcerting but easier to see the pattern over the long term.  This is why I find daily weighing to be helpful, to see these trends.

And speaking of making me crazy.  This adventure can definitely make you feel crazy sometimes.  I have found myself being bitchy when I normally am almost never like that.  Not all the time, just on occasion and when I am back to normal I marvel that I ever behaved like that.  I suppose between the low calorie intake, hormonal swings with weight loss, and loss of food as a mood regulator, it's bound to happen to everyone.  I was spending some time on a gastric sleeve-specific forum, mainly because there aren't a whole lot of people to get support from in real life.  One day I just up and called out a poster's story as BS when I really didn't know if it was...and normally would never post something so inflammatory to people I don't know.  I honestly don't know what got into me.  Well, the "s" hit the fan, so to speak.  The thread blew up the internets on that forum.  It's sort of interesting how crazy we all can be.  I came back the next day, realized what an a-hole thing that was to do, and issued apologies, which were accepted by some people and others just assumed I am....I don't know what, dramatic or a rabble-rouser, or whatever.  It was embarrassing.  But in hindsight, not terribly surprising, everyone does something dumb sometimes, and this kind of life change can bring about some big personality changes, permanent or temporary.  I spend a lot less time on there now.  It's so dramatic, and I don't have time for that.  Plus, I feel much more normal now than I did even a few weeks ago, and less like I am having this totally foreign experience.

I now look at certain foods and just know that I can't eat them... not that I "shouldn't" eat them, but I just know they would not go down my stomach well, if at all.  Bread doesn't tempt me because I just can't physically eat it.  A big steak or a hamburger might look good but I know I can't eat it right now.  I probably will be able to eventually, but it doesn't really enter my mind as good or bad, just not an option.  Not so with the usual slider foods....chocolate goes down fine, I could do some damage if I'm not careful about that.  Chips too.  So it's certainly no magic bullet, but unlike the band, my behavior is really changed by what I know to be my physical limitations with certain foods.  What hasn't changed is my perception of what I can eat.  I still am having a hard time eating slowly and stopping before I am over-full.  Not once, several times.  It comes back.  That is a regular thing for a lot of banded people, but it never was for me, so it is strange to experience it now.  I'm trying to figure out a way to force myself to slow down.  I don't really pay attention when I am eating.  I'm either focusing on feeding my daughter or talking to someone, or doing something to distract myself if I am by myself eating.  I think I am going to try entering my food on My Fitness Pal while I am eating...to slow myself down before the next bite.  I still only eat about 7 or 8 bites before I am full.

I also noticed some changes with the "full" feeling vs. the "hungry" feeling.  I have noticed that I often feel MORE hungry right after I have eaten, but that in about 30 min it goes away and I feel full.  I don't know if that is the concept that they are referring to when experts say that it takes 30 min for the brain to register that your stomach is full.  It's oddly specific.  I really feel more hungry...and now I know when I feel that, not to eat more but to wait a little while.  If I still feel hungry after 30 min, I can eat something more.  I never do, though.  I never felt this either banded or before surgery.  In fact, I can feel very hungry after eating, and then after 30 min feel full enough that I am overfull.  It is odd.

I'm not doing more exercise than walking yet.  But I do want to start running again soon.  Just a little, start easy, don't injure myself.  I signed up for Bloomsday this year, in early May, but I think I am going to walk it with my hubby and Lucy in the stroller.  It's too soon to be ready to run it, even only partly, and it would be nice to do it all together.  Maybe Bloomsday this soon is crazy...I don't know.