Weight Loss

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

My 1-year "Surgiversary"

On this day last year was my band-to-sleeve revision surgery.  It seems so strange that it's been a year...a whole year, and yet only a year.  My revision experience has been very interesting and not exactly what I would have expected.  I knew that I would lose weight slower than first-time sleeve patients.  I didn't realize that I would have a 7 month plateau...or that losing just a few more pounds would change so much.

I am now at -50 lbs, and within 5-15 lbs of my goal weight, depending on what I want my goal to be.  I've set a short-term goal of 175 which is only 3 lbs away.  That is the BMI-30 point, which is where my surgeon says he is happy for me to stop.  He says he won't need to see me at all after that point, unless I have issues or problems.  I would be happy at 165-170, personally.  Most people who see me think I shouldn't lose anymore, which is nice to hear, but I am not quite ready to be done.

The December running challenge made a huge difference and helped me restart my weight loss.  It's funny that all the training I did over the summer changed my body shape but not my weight.  I don't think the running was all of it but I do think that it affected my appetite and my sense of well-being, which overall helped with jump-starting things again.  After December, I intend to continue running at least a mile most days--not necessarily every day, but close.  I don't love running, especially, but I enjoy it well enough once I get started, and I love how efficient an exercise it is. It also really helps with stress relief.  I've started running with a friend lately too.  I have never run with anyone else before--too self-conscious about how slow I am, mainly.  But it's been great.  I'm running with a gal I used to work with who I don't get to see much anymore.  Our pace is well-matched and we run a route on the river that I don't otherwise run.  It's been a lot of fun.

I think I have finally made peace with my sleeve.  I spent most of this year overeating by 1-2 bites nearly every meal.  Predictably, I would barf up at least a little of my meal each time, which is gross and embarrassing and always made me wonder why it was so hard to stop eating before that happened.  The last few months I have finally started to do better.  I can eat about 6 regular size bites of food, or up to 1/2 cup.  I can eat most foods, although really doughy bread can get stuck at times (not stuck like with a lap band, just not wanting to go down quickly).  With the band, it never mattered if I drank during a meal or not--I know it does for most people but it didn't for me.  With the sleeve, I can either eat or drink, but not both.  If I drink during a meal, I can be sure I will be seeing part of my meal again.  It isn't a huge deal for me--I am not super attached to drinking during meals like a lot of people are.  The only time it bothers me is when I am out for dinner with friends and I want to enjoy a glass of wine or something with my meal.  In fact, I can drink very little wine just because it sort of sits in my stomach.  I don't drink beer at all, between the volume and the fizz and the calories it just doesn't seem worth it.  I am a very occasional drinker anyway--a couple times a year at most--so this isn't a huge deal for me.  

Meals at home have been hard to get used to.  I don't have a lot of attachment to what we eat for dinner, because I know I'm only going to eat a few bites of it.  In fact, it's better if it isn't one of my favorite foods because I'm less likely to try to overeat.  I haven't gotten to the point where I view food strictly as fuel--I will probably never be at that point, and that is fine.  But it is less important than it used to be, and less of a coping mechanism for sure.  I still try to sit with my family while they are eating-which can be hard because I still tend to pick at food after I am full.  If I am mindful and I clear food away from my place, I do okay.  I want to keep meals as normal as I can for my daughter.  It's weird enough having a mother that eats less than the toddler does.  

One thing that I never had with the band that I have with the sleeve is a false hunger.  I find that I am frequently feeling hungry about an hour after I ate.  Nearly every time, if I drink some water that will go away quickly.  

Spending the night in the hospital after my surgery last year was the first, and still the only, night I've spent away from my daughter.  It was really hard to be away from her, and taking care of her without picking her up afterward was tough.  She's so much older and more mature now--a lot of fun to be with, very funny and clever.  I'm glad I am a lot healthier and in better shape now to keep up with her.  I hope we can teach her healthy habits and skills so she doesn't find herself eventually in my position, looking at surgery like this.  I would do it again--if I had it to do all over again, I would skip the band entirely and just go with the sleeve, but I did learn from both experiences.  I find it hard to believe that surgeons are still performing lap band surgery, but I keep hearing about people who are getting banded.  I think it's negligent to do this when there is so much evidence that it doesn't work and does harm to a lot of people.  But people still ask for the band, so there are still surgeons who will do it.  The sleeve isn't perfect by any means, and it's not hard to defeat it if you are motivated enough.  But I am pleased with how simple it has been once I have relearned a few simple things and become more mindful of how I eat.  I don't really think about dieting at all.  I generally eat protein first, then veggies.  I do eat treats, sweets, etc.  I try not to eat them everyday or too much.  If I was more regimented about what I eat, I would probably be at my goal by now.  But if I can get there a little slower without having to worry so much, I'm fine with that.

Clothing-wise, I am wearing mostly mediums, some smalls, and usually a size 10.  I was recently refitted for bras and am now 34DD.  I'd like to get back into my 6s and 8s--last time I wore those I was 165-170.  

There you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  If you are looking at a band to sleeve revision, don't be surprised if your weight loss looks nothing like anyone else's.  It probably won't.  I find that the sleeve works the way the band was supposed to work, without all the hassles.  I do still get heartburn if I'm not careful and I overeat or eat too close to bedtime.  Be patient with yourself in learning necessary new habits for success.  It doesn't happen overnight, at least it sure didn't for me.  Stick with it.  Try something new.  Challenge yourself.  These are the things that helped me.  Good luck!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Icy December

It looks like most of the country is experiencing this same cold snap.  It has consistently been in the 20s here in Portland, which is extremely unusual.  The bright side is that the sky has been cloudless and sunny; that is the only way we ever get such low temps here.  But I cannot stand cold weather, really anything below 45 degrees.  I'm a warm weather girl.  I am layering like crazy and avoiding being outside whenever possible.

But...I did join a December running challenge.  Run every day of December, at least 1 mile.  Given the state of my schedule, I decided to give myself 4 days as a "pass" if needed, and I took one.  But I've done 7/8 days now.  My runs are getting stronger, so it's been good.  Most of the time I can only go late at night, after Lucy is in bed, and that is less than ideal.  I wear a head lamp and lots of layers.  I'm only running a couple miles at this point.  I've been back running for at least 6 months now, but I've done it so sporadically that I can't ever make any gains in my distance or speed.  But now I am noticing quick improvements, which is very encouraging.  I love this challenge because it is so easy to not run, or exercise at all, in the chilly month of December, and I know with this cold snap I would have avoided it at all costs.

Run on a treadmill, right? No, that is an absolute last resort.

I went to see my surgeon in October.  I told him about my stall and my frustration with trying to lose any more weight. I told him I had tried calorie ranges between 800-1500 per day, protein ranges of 60-120g/day, and changing everything else I could think of.  At that point, I couldn't decide how to proceed because I was simply confused.  Nothing was working.  He told me first that I had lost a couple pounds since my previous visit, so all was not lost.  Then he told me to just stick to 1200 calories, very simple, and come back in 1 month.  My surgeon's approach to a lot of things is very simple and no-nonsense.  He's within a few years of retiring (although he is well past standard retirement age) but still operates 3 days a week and maintains a full schedule.  He told me not to worry so much about protein because my sleeve is not malabsorptive.  I know that the mantra of our time is protein, protein, protein, but I needed something simple.  So I went with it, came back in a month, and I had lost about 1.5 lbs.  He was happy and told me to come back in 3 months and continue this plan. He also told me that as far as he is concerned, I only needed to lose about 10 pounds more and then he was pretty much satisfied.  So I've adjusted my goals a little bit, but I still hope to lose a little more than that.

I do still emphasize protein foods, but I'm not trying for large amounts now.  In fact, I am not trying for large amounts of anything. I think I am getting better about keeping my portion sizes lower and stopping early enough.  And this week for some reason I've been stricken by insomnia...and I've lost 5 lbs.  I am finally at my prepregnancy weight at last... only 3 years later.  :)