Two years since surgery? It’s not all sunshine and lollipops…

The struggle is real…

I’m at the two year mark.  I’m scared and I’m worried.  I’m struggling with some weight gain.  I’ve allowed old habits to creep back into my life – Mindless snacking and making excuses to not exercise.  Up until now, I didn’t see the impact of allowing these habits to return  –  it has become real with a 17 pound weight gain.

I had to verbalize that number…17…seventeen…SEVENTEEN…when I went to the doctor this week with a suspected gallbladder problem.  I had to say that number out loud – it brought back memories of August 20, 2013 when I stepped on the doctor’s office scale and cried.  The day I decided to have weight loss surgery.  I felt defeated.  I felt  like a failure.  I knew what was going on – I was procrastinating making my two-year follow up appointment.  If I didn’t go to the doctor, that number was still just in my mind – saying it made it very real and very scary.

While I absolutely adore my doctor, I didn’t want to see her.  She’s not judgmental – I take care of that on my own – I guess I wasn’t ready to face her or my weight gain.  The gallbladder issue forced my hand.  She is so gracious and thoughtful – there was no judgment.  She asked what a typical day looks like from a food perspective – yes, I’ve been grazing a lot (my restriction is still really good, but I’ve learned that 30 minutes after I eat, I can eat again…taking in way to many calories).  She asked about exercise – I’ve been busy with work travel, I haven’t been able to exercise on a consistent basis.  In all honesty, I haven’t made it a priority for the past 3 months.  Her response…a cleverly stated, “Exercise is not an optional activity.”   We also talked about appetite suppressants…queue the doomsday music.

“I thought those days were behind me!”  Meaning, taking an appetite suppressant is what I used to do prior to surgery – one of those things I didn’t think I would ever have to do again.  It felt “diety”!  Her response was, “Maybe this is what you need to get a jumpstart.  This could just be a short-term solution to get you back on track.”  We talked about my daily meal plan (3 meals with food and 2 shakes daily) along with the appetite suppressants.  I reluctantly agreed and scheduled a follow-up appointment for six weeks.  I went home and felt sorry for myself for a few hours.

I networked with some folks on line and did some research.  Then I had an attitude adjustment with myself  –  I thought about how I’ve been eating, my excuses for not exercising, how I’ve lost my focus.  I was taking my surgery for granted.  I reminded myself that this is a lifelong commitment and that I still have responsibilities to take care of me and live the right way, I was relying way to much on my sleeve.  I got defiant – fat was not going to win!  I need to put verbs in my sentences and regain control.

So, the timing is great – a new resolution for a new year!  2016 is my reset button.  I have some lofty goals with regard to physical activity:  1008 miles (a friend of mine and are doing a “run the year” challenge, our team of two will do a total of 2016 miles in 2016), 120 yoga practices and 210 days of at least 10K steps (trying to keep up the activity level, not doing a lot miles in a couple of days).  I am also vowing to blog at least once a month in 2016 to show my progress – accountability is key.

I’m feeling energized again.  I’m feeling like I’m working towards my goals again.  In fact, I’m looking forward to 2016 – maybe this is McButterpants 2.0!



Attitude adjustment time…

I had to have an attitude adjustment with myself this morning.  I’ve been feeling down the last couple of weeks and a little unmotivated.  I have been out of sorts for the past week because I can’t do the exercise I want to do due to the stitches in my leg.  No yoga, no gym, no hiking or running only walking.  I’ve been annoyed at the bandaids I’ve had to put on the spots the dermatologist worked on now have irritated skin from the adhesive on the bandaids.  The location of the stitches if on the outside of the right leg, right by my knee, so the stitches pull all the time and it hurts and it’s annoying.  So my response to that has been to feel sorry for myself, not walk and eat a fair amount of junk food.  Yeah, not my proudest moments!

My talk with myself this morning consisted of, “Get off your ass, even if it’s just walking.  Move your body!”  “Stop eating so much junk and get back to eating foods that make you feel good.”  “Accept the fact that you have stitches and be happy that in a week, your life will be back to normal.”  That was my attitude adjustment – stop feeling sorry for yourself, there are people out there with real problems.

I’ve laid out my goals for October – I stopped making weight loss goals months ago.  I can’t control if my body releases weight or not, I can only control what I put in my mouth and what I do to move my body each day.  Here are my goals for October:

  • Move my body each and every day
  • Log 65 miles
  • 20 yoga sessions
  • Incorporate one shake per day into my diet (I believe this helps with my snacking)
  • Take my vitamins and supplements daily (I’ve been bad the past few months on this)

I felt better after I sat down and laid out my goals.  I am a taskmaster by nature, so having a to-do list helps me.  I have my plan for the rest of the week laid out in my planner on my desk so I see it throughout the day and have reminders set in my phone.

Have a great October everyone!

On my plate…Chicken Fajitas

I love Mexican food.  I love tacos, fajitas, chips and queso dip.  I love it all.  I don’t eat it very often, mostly because of the tortillas.  The other night I really wanted Mexican food, so I improvised a little.

I purchased some pre-made chicken strips – I don’t buy them often, but I knew the week was going to be hectic and I like to have them ready for busy days.  I also had some leftover grilled veggies (onions and red and orange bell peppers).  I heated up a couple of ounces of the chicken and about 1/4 cup of the grilled veggies.  I topped with some cheddar cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

I was in heaven!!!!!!  It was quick, easy and most of all delicious!  Who says you need a tortilla?

Post-op – Week 4…Protein Shake Burn-out and I think I’m getting smaller

The protein shakes are really getting to me.  I’m so sick of them!!!!!  I know it’s time to start changing it up – I have to the break the Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate barrier.  This week I found a sample pack of Health Wise soups that I forgot I purchased before surgery.  Jackpot!!!!!  The Cream of Chicken was so good – it has a little less protein (15 grams vs. 20 with a shake), but that 5 grams of protein was worth my sanity that night.   I have also had the chocolate mixed with warm 1% milk and some sugar-free peppermint syrup.  That was a nice treat on a cold, snowy night reading my book.  This morning, I mixed a chocolate with a cup of decaf coffee, a splash of 1% milk and some sugar-free salted caramel syrup – Caramel Mocha, anyone?  Yum!  I also have some products on order from – hot chocolate (high protein), oatmeal (high protein/low carb) and some Click decaf coffee.  I need to get out of this rut – getting your protein in is so important and it’s difficult to get that last shake in, mainly because I just don’t want it.

I haven’t stepped on the scale in a week – tomorrow is weigh in day and I’m a little scared.  I feel good physically – I still get tired easily, but for the most part, I feel good.  I’ve been exercising at the gym walking at least 2 miles per day and usually 2.5 miles or more.  Yesterday I did a personal best of 60 minutes and 3 miles (thanks to the hubs for saying he had a few more minutes of his workout left, so I ended up going a whole hour!).  I’m more worried about the mental aspect of weighing and not getting the result I’m looking for.  I feel like I’m getting smaller – I didn’t feel like that late-last week or early-this week, but I do now.  I don’t know if that is water retention or me just being psycho…

I am still in the same jeans I wore pre-op, which is a little depressing.  I think I was in denial about how tight those jeans really were pre-surgery!  Plus they are made out of that stretchy jean-like material, so about 10 minutes after you put them on they will stretch to your bulk – a great characteristic if your fat and lumpy.  They certainly aren’t tight now and they are a little loose in the waist.  I will probably need to get new ones in a couple of weeks.  I can’t wear my 2X Old Navy yoga pants any more – they literally fall off me.  I am keeping one pair as a reminder of how big I really got.  I should burn the rest of them.

Tomorrow I move to a “soft foods” diet.  I have been on puree foods the past two weeks, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t puree a lot.  I let my chompers do the pureeing for me.  My surgeon and my local doctor are polar opposites when it comes to food.  My surgeon said, “Introduce foods as soon as you can and no need to puree if you have teeth and saliva.”  You could almost hear my local doctor gasp when I told her that – she is much more conservative and I think if she thought she wouldn’t have a mutiny on her hands, she would make patients wait a year before trying Greek yogurt.  So, I’ve been doing a hybrid mainly for my sanity.  I chew, chew, chew and chew some more.  The Eat Slower app is also a helper – it slows you down and helps remind you to chew your food.  I purchased the Carb Balance Tortilla shells – the whole-wheat fajita size has 3 net carbs.  I have had dreams about those shells!  I want a taco (small, baby taco) and a pizza with the shell as the crust.  Mmmmm…can’t wait.

Weigh In – Week 3…The dreaded three-week stall…UGH!

Starting weight (08/20/13):                256.0
Pre-op weight (11/12/13):                 238.2
Today’s weight (12/06/13):               222.2

Total weight loss:                            33.8 pounds
Weight loss since surgery:            16.0 pounds
Last week’s loss:                              1.8 pounds

I’m in the dreaded three-week stall and it sucks.  I knew this was coming.  I knew it was going to happen.  I thought I even prepared myself for it.  I have preached to others that it’s not big deal.  That it’s your body saying, “Whoa, what the hell did you do to me?” and, “Your body needs to figure it out before it loses more weight.”  I know all that, but it doesn’t make it suck any less and it doesn’t make me any less pissed off.  There, I said it.  I’m pissed off.  I said it again.

Rationally, it makes sense.  My body is wondering if it’s a time of famine, so it’s not going to allow it’s self to lose any more weight until figures out that this is the new normal.  This may take some time – I’m in a Facebook group where some people who had their sleeve operation in November stalled for three weeks.  That’s a major blow to my already fragile psyche!  After years of yo-yo dieting, when you don’t see the scale move, that’s when you find the donuts, or bread, or cookies or (insert vice here).  That is not an option.  Eating a donut or other off-plan food will not only make me sick, even worse, it could damage my sleeve.  It’s also not an option because I must be accountable for my actions.  I need to be an adult.  I will add that accountability and being an adult sucks, too!  🙂

So, I am writing this post as much for me as for anyone that reads it.  The three-week stall will most likely happen.  Try to prepare yourself for it, but know that no matter how much you prepare for it, it’s still going to be difficult when you go through it.

What am I going to do about it?  I’m going to keep on keepin’ on.  That’s all I can do.  I am going to stick to my plan – 3 meals and 3 shakes per day with 80-90 grams of protein; just as the doctor ordered.  I’m going to continue going to the gym and walking on the treadmill.  These are the two things that are going to help me achieve my goals.  I cannot lose sight of that.  I also know that this is temporary.  My rational mind knows the arithmetic behind calories in vs. calories out.  I’m consuming 600-800 calories a day right now and I’m burning about 250 on the treadmill daily.  That formula will equal weight loss as soon as my body realizes we’re going to be OK.  I just wish my body knows what my brain does!

Post-op – Week 3…It takes me an hour to drink a cup of coffee!

Three weeks ago today I was sitting in the hospital admitting area thinking to myself, “You can walk out of here right now and you’ll only be out $500.”  I was terrified – terrified of the surgery, terrified of the recovery from the surgery, terrified of the future, terrified of my life post-op; I could go on and on.  I was outright scared.

Today, three weeks later, I’m at peace.  I haven’t second-guessed my decision to have this surgery (it wouldn’t do me any good anyway).  I’m at peace with my new tiny tummy.  I try to make sure to drink/sip slowly and take tiny bites that I chew, chew and chew some more.  I consider myself fortunate – I haven’t had any complications, I haven’t had nausea, no incision pain, etc.  I have had an uneventful recovery – I get tired easily, that’s about it.

I’m still on a pureed diet for the next week, then at weeks 5 and 6, I move to soft foods.  I am really looking forward to having a Carb Balance whole-wheat tortilla for some reason!  Only one more week!  I’ve been eating a lot of pureed chicken salad  (whiz up some canned chicken and add a little mayo and mustard in the food processor), a lot of fat free refried beans (top with melted cheddar and add some salsa and Greek yogurt), and last night I had some pureed Wendy’s chili (it’s not as bad as it sounds).  Breakfast usually consists of a scrambled egg and a Jimmy Dean turkey sausage patty (I can eat about ½ of each).  I’m eating about ¼ cup of food at a time and I have to drink three shakes.  It’s exhausting sometimes, calculating what time I have to stop drinking water in order to have a shake or meal.  I’m eating/drinking between 600 and 800 calories per day.  I am amazed at how little food I need to fill me up; sometimes I simply lose interest in eating, so I stop.  I downloaded an app for my phone called Eat Slower.  You tell it how often you want to take a bite and your phone will make a sound or vibrate when it’s time.  I set mine at 1 minute.  When it dings, you take a bite.  Pavlov’s dog, anyone?

I’m trying to walk at least two miles every day.  Now that there is about 8 inches of snow on the ground, I have to move inside to the gym.  I’m only allowed to walk on the treadmill, which is tedious, but I’m moving and that’s what counts.  I’m looking forward to the release to the elliptical and maybe even some light weight lifting.

One thing I am frustrated with is coffee – I’ve written before how much I love coffee, real coffee, not decaf.  So, I have one cup of decaf coffee per day and it takes me about an hour to drink an 8-ounce cup.  I really miss coffee with my breakfast – it was one of my vices pre-op and I really do miss it.  Let me clarify – I miss drinking coffee like I used to drink it.

Some other things I’m working on:

  • I am still trying to figure out the signals my body is sending.  Is it true hunger I’m feeling?  Am I full?
  • I am trying to figure out my meal/shake planning and how to get in 80 grams of protein.
  • I found that stopping drinking 40 minutes before eating works better for me (rather than 30 minutes before and after).
  • I am doing the December Fitness Challenge on VST – Walking 50 miles this month (I am at 9 miles right now – I may have to up my goal!).
  • I am working on some ideas for meals that are sleeve friendly and family friendly.  My husband and son aren’t particularly fussy; I would just like to keep things as “normal” as possible.  It’s hard being on puree right now, but they are doing OK.
  • I am working on keeping my emotions in check, not being so volatile…yeah, we’ll see about that.

Good Day / Bad Day
Things that happened in my day that were good:  I walked a little longer on the treadmill today and I increased the incline.  I felt good after the walk – it helped clear my head.  I did better today on my fluids and protein – sometimes that’s a struggle.
Things that happened in my day there bad:  I’m at the three week stall and that hurts my spirit (I’ll post the stats tomorrow); it put me in a funk for most of the day (I knew it was coming – it’s natural…that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow!).

On my plate…A little Mexican meal

I have really wanted Mexican food recently.  I’d love to have a tortilla, but they are forbidden for two weeks.

So, here’s what I did instead…

2 ounces rotisserie chicken breast, no skin, finely diced
2 tablespoons of fat-free refried beans
1/5 ounce shredded cheddar cheese
about 1 teaspoon salsa
about 1 teaspoon plain Greek yogurt

Layer the chicken, beans and cheese and microwave it or put it in the oven until warm and the cheese is melted (I don’t like microwaved meat, so I made mine in the oven).
Top with the salsa and Greek yogurt.

I couldn’t finish this – in fact, I only ate about 1/4 of it.  It was really good and my mind wanted more, but I just couldn’t eat any more.  I’m finding my evening meal is hard to finish.  I will make this again – it was really good!