Weight Loss

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

June update

I am at my lowest adult weight since the age of 18. My brain still isn't totally caught up to my body. I have bought way more clothes this year than is reasonable, because even my skinny clothes didn't fit me and also it was fun.  Truth.  I think I will still lose a little more since I am training for this half marathon but I don't feel like I really need to.  My BMI is still 28 but that's sort of misleading.  I'm wearing anywhere from XS-M everything (depending on brand) and mostly S.

My soon-to-be ex is convinced (or at least he says) that our marriage is ending/ended because of my weight loss, that I just want to be with other people now that I've lost all this weight.  It is certainly true that relationships usually don't last after weight loss surgery. (Statistically it is somewhere greater than 50% but I can't quote any sources on that number.) But that discounts a couple important facts: 1. I've lost this much weight before and did not end our marriage then, and 2. his behavior. So I'm just going to say that that is false.

There has been a crap ton of drama around here with the soon-to-be-ex (STBE?) ending in restraining orders, jail time and locks changed. Unfortunately he is too unstable for me to let Lucy visit him, which is too bad for her because she misses him terribly. I try to do what I can to help her. She's very anxious that I am going to leave her and it doesn't help that I frequently have my sitter come over so I can do things like go for a run or go out with friends on occasion. She's a smart girl, she gets that this is different.  All I think I can do is be honest with her, in an age appropriate way, and encourage her to talk about it, and reassure her frequently that I am not going away and that her daddy still loves her and she didn't do anything wrong and it has nothing to do with her.  Beyond that what do you tell an almost 4 year old?

So I'm running and trying to reconnect with friends for support. Still working a lot but I have weekends off. Planning my big Hawaii trip in August--solo with my toddler/preschooler for a week.  My diet is pretty good--about 80% good, which is what I aimed for with the band. I will say that the sleeve achieved one miracle that never happened with the band, and that is that certain trigger foods just don't do it for me anymore. I used to be able to eat a huge amount of ice cream, even banded. Now even if I could physically do it, I don't want to. I can get a tiny bowl with a tiny serving and be fine with it. And I eat way less sweet stuff and junk than I used to, not really trying just not that interested. I never thought that would happen, honestly.

While the band was always a struggle and a head game to lose weight and keep it off, the sleeve seems a lot simpler. It just works. I hear people ask about "restriction" (people who have been previously banded) and it's not even in the same ballpark. I never had a lot of "restriction" with my band. But this is just a tiny stomach. When it's full, that's it. No getting stuck, no wondering. If I eat too much, it goes up my esophagus, which is uncomfortable and causes reflux, so I have to make sure I don't do that. Reflux is always a potential issue for me, although I've been able to prevent it a lot better and worst case scenario can take some zantac to relieve it. Bottom line is I can't eat much, and so weight loss happens. It stalled a long time last year, but running has fixed that. Eat less, be active...it works.

Monday, March 3, 2014


It's been an exhausting winter, and I am looking forward to spring.  I am within a few pounds of my goal weight, and yet that seems like the least of the work I have done this winter.  Now spring is near, and I am exhausted in all ways.  I am ready for some renewal.

I am still running but I am a little burned out.  Tonight I planned to run...I planned to run last night, actually, but couldn't because I had no one to watch my daughter while I did...tonight I got home from work, planned to run, and even asked my husband to stay home when he wanted to go out because I needed to run.  But then, I just couldn't.  I was too tired, and I couldn't tell if it was physical or mental exhaustion, or if it even mattered.  

I'm not this tired every day, so I am not afraid that it is anemia, or malnutrition, or effects from my weight loss or anything like that.  I'm rarely this tired, and I don't know the exact cause, but it's acute, not chronic.  The biggest and most obvious cause is probably that we are getting divorced.

I have kept much of my marriage out of my blog, and I intend to keep it that way.  I will just say that while things have been difficult for us here, especially in the last few months, I wish nothing but the best for my husband.  He has struggled enormously with his demons for as long as I have known him, and he has worked very hard to get to the place he is in now, which is much stronger and healthier than ever before.  We will still be parenting our daughter for many years to come and so we will be connected in that way for a long time.  I think we can ultimately be good friends after all of this has settled a bit--we still are, despite the difficulties of separating and divorcing.  

Still, it's been very stressful for all of us, and seeing the stress on our young daughter just magnifies my own stress.  I'm sure that, while running has certainly been a valuable stress relief through this time, it is also impacted by this stress, and the strain of running and training can be a drain as well.  Plus weight loss...it all adds up, so I guess it's not surprising that every now and then I feel like I can't drag myself out for a run of any length after a work day.  I have to reiterate this to myself, because it's hard not to be dismayed when something that has been a source of renewal and even at times joy is now feeling like a chore.  

So, I didn't run yesterday, I'm not running today.  Tomorrow I have a day off from work, and I am planning to go to yoga.  I have missed my Saturday yoga class for 2 or 3 weekends now, so if I can get that in on Saturday too, that would be good.  If I feel like running tomorrow I will, otherwise I won't stress about it (or I'll try not to).  All the resources I looked at say that you can miss up to a week without impacting your training level, so I'm going to try to focus on sleep and cross-training this week.

But, here are the good things that have happened in the last few months with weight loss: All my sizes are back at their all-time lows again. I'm in my skinny jeans and slacks (6's) and my small scrubs.  A year ago I was in large scrubs (hospital issued, so more like an XL in normal sizes).  I can run a 9 minute mile consistently, and 8.5 or a little less if I try.  I am pretty settled in eating, although I can still overeat if I am not careful.  I'm much less likely to do so now.  I am satisfied with about 1/2-3/4 c. food, usually 1/2 but tonight a little more.  My BMI still measures 29, but I'm not terribly concerned with it. I don't think I could really stand to lose more than 15 pounds at the most and still be healthy for my build.  And I don't plan on losing 15 more pounds.  As far as quality of food goes, I think I am doing better than I did with the band.  My food choices still fluctuate with moods and hormones, but for the most part I crave less junk than I used to.  I am much more able to try something that looks good but is not a great choice, and toss it after one bite if it doesn't live up to my expectations.  I don't waste stomach space on crap as much as I could with the band.  That's not to say that I have given up chips and cookies and that sort of thing--not at all--but I would say that it's easier to either walk away or be satisfied with a few bites of it now. 

Overall, if you asked me whether I could recommend the band or the sleeve more, I would say first, you found a surgeon who still places bands?!? Most bariatric surgeons say that the vast majority of their band surgeries now are either fixing slipped bands or removing them altogether.  And second, unreservedly, yes, the sleeve is worth it.  It's not for everyone.  If you really want to, you CAN defeat the sleeve, but you kind of have to work at it.  When it's full, it's full, game over.  You have to make good choices, and make sure you aren't eating unless you are actually hungry (that isn't easy for a lot of reasons), and sure it's "a tool" like everyone will tell you over and over.  But for me, it's way more effective than the band ever was, even with my 7 month plateau last year.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Run because you have to...

Here's a quote I stumbled upon that I wanted to preserve:

There are no tricks. Run because you have to. Run because you love it. Run because you want to be fast. Run because you want to be skinny. Run to find some quiet time. Run to sweat. Run to eat. Run to hear your heart pound in your ears. Run because you're a runner. Run because you gotta keep the streak. Run because you don't know why the hell you're running. Run because you fought with your partner. Run because your job is shitty. Run because you got no money. Run for the sunrise. Run for a race. Run because it's impossible. Run because it's easy. Run instead of doing the laundry. Run instead of watching TV. Run because no one else understands. Run because the cool kids do it. Run because you're tired of talking. Run for numbers. Run for feel. Run to prove something. Run because it f***ing hurts. Or don't run. If you got something better to do. JEFF EDMONDS The Logic of Long Distance

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In the Long Run

A funny thing happened this December.  I started running every day.  There was this challenge on Facebook.  Run every day between Dec 1 and Jan 1, at least 1 mile.  I've been running again since the summer, but in a very half-assed way.  I'd run a day or two a week, feel lousy because I was slow and felt heavy and unmotivated.  I'd go back out a week later because I finally felt guilty enough to get back outside.  Rinse and repeat.  Not much happened except I cultivated a feeling of guilt and dread about working out.  My weight stayed stubbornly the same for months.

But this challenge came along.  I don't know why this was the silly little thing to kick me out of my rut.  I think it was because a work friend of mine was doing it, and she was so chipper and peppy about it, it made me want to do it too.  I started a couple days into the month because I saw a couple of her posts about it and decided to give it a go.  I figured, as slow as I feel, I can at least do a mile, right?

I gave myself 4 outs: days I could just say, nope, it's not happening today.  I took one within the first week.  Daily running felt hard at first.  I couldn't figure out which seemed worse: getting up early (earlier than 0530, my normal wakeup time) to run, or running after work.  I knew I could run on my days off, but days that I work? Sounded exhausting.  But I figured, a mile will take me 12 minutes at most.  What do I have to lose?

After the first week, I started to remember that running at night is fine: just use my dorky headlamp, and be safe and aware of my surroundings.  My neighborhood is pretty safe, so I stuck around there.  I noticed that while at first I had to start walking before I reached the end of my block, after a week I could go about twice as far.  I used my HR monitor chest strap and found that my heart rate was already improving.  And then I lost a couple pounds.

It was only a couple, but people noticed the difference immediately.  My face was different, and my posture.  My body composition was obviously changing.  My appetite decreased too: instead of stress eating, I was running my stress off.  I started to feel a sense of power in my body.

After a couple weeks, I had another out day, when I was unexpectedly on call and had to stay late at work.  I hated taking that night off.  It became much easier to fit my runs into my schedule.  If I was going to head out and my 3 year old fussed that she didn't want me to leave, I just stayed and went out after she went to bed.  It wasn't a big deal any longer.  I came to relish the time to myself to think and reflect.  Around this time I stopped listening to music during the run: now I mostly just run in silence, listening to my own thoughts or meditating.

My time improved as well as my mileage.  My ultimate guide of a successful run became how I felt during and after: strong, capable, confident, versus slow, heavy, lethargic.  I dropped a full 2 minutes off my mile, and my occasional sub-10 minute mile runs (I still walk a little, but not much anymore) feel like a real victory, even though I try not to fixate on time.

Most shockingly, I lost about 10 pounds over that time.  Maybe that isn't shocking to people I consider "normal" at weight loss, but for me I've never lost weight like that--not even when I was losing weight with the band and running regularly.  Not only did I lose the weight but my body composition clearly changed.  I've lost one size in jeans, and am wearing smaller scrubs (in fact, small scrubs).  Now, I am within reach of my first goal weight, after spending most of the last year wondering if I was going to lose any more at all.

What next? The challenge ended.  I've continued running every day.  I'm just looking to see how long I can keep the streak alive right now.  It's been 15 days since my last day off (Dec 18, the day I had to work late). I'll sign up for some races this year, but racing isn't really an important goal for me.  The biggest things I get out of running are the feeling of being strong, and the time and space to myself.  I like to feel a slight soreness in my legs, just enough to remind me that I'm alive.  I'm taking yoga classes when I can, too, mostly on Saturdays.  Moving your body feels good and natural when you make a habit of it.  Whatever my next goal is, I want to reach it with joy, not exhaustion.  In fact, maybe that joy is my next goal.