It doesn’t help that I’ve eaten out for 2 weeks!

Yesterday, as we returned from a two week vacation with the entire stay in a hotel and only a small handful of home cooked meals, I commented to DH that his pants looked a little snug (In my defense, I did NOT mention that his belly was also visibly rounder than it was when we began our vacation ;)). He quickly returned with, “It doesn’t help that I’ve eaten out for two weeks!” To which my immediate reply was, “Just because we were eating out doesn’t mean you had to eat a burger and fries at each meal and clean your plate.”

Then I realized what a gastric bypass snob I was being. I bit my tongue and swallowed my next few (calorie free) comments like: You know they offer SALADS on the menus, right? You didn’t have to eat the bread and butter EVERY time. And perhaps you should have cut down on the beer… or the pie… or the fast food… or the… And I certainly didn’t mention that I had actually LOST a few pounds on that vacation.

No, I wasn’t going to be the converted zealot who was determined to force my newfound knowledge and power upon those who are weak and unfortunate. Instead, I sucked up my preaching and acknowledged that the only reason I was in a position to preach is because I have my gastric bypass as a TOOL to help me eat well, even in difficult situations. So instead, I said, “You know… I take that back. It’s easy for ME to say you should have made better choices since I have a stomach the size of a small muffin (and not even a yummy, sweet muffin :/). It’s even easier for me to say since I can’t even eat a slice of bread without getting sick, much less a burger and fries. Heck, if I hadn’t had gastric bypass, we would ALL be coming home with even bigger weight gains because I would have talked us into getting dessert at least once a day!

Yep, no preaching from me. Only compassion. I remember how difficult this experience used to be for me. Struggling with myself through the ENTIRE vacation. Debating whether to “enjoy” my meals or to “sacrifice” in order to fend off the extra vacation pounds. Beating myself up when I caved in. Calling myself weak while also justifying my gluttony (my own perspective and not necessarily reflecting my real behavior) since I was on “vacation.” Giving up about halfway through and eating everything I wanted since I would inevitably fail in my attempts to not gain weight whether I ate what I “wanted” or what I “should.” Then coming home to a hopeless weight gain and uncontrollable food cravings from the previous days of eating with abandon.

I could see my hubby was going through all of that during, and now after, our vacation. And HE is a normal guy. Not obese, but the kind of person who tends to gain a little when he eats too much and doesn’t exercise regularly. The kind who knows vacation requires a few months of “working it off” to get back to where he started. A NORMAL guy. And my poor little one is just like me. Well, like me BEFORE bypass. At twelve years old, he is just beginning to understand that. He realizes that he has drawn the genetic short straw. That he will ALWAYS have to watch what he eats and he will always have to be sure to exercise a lot… just in the hopes that he will not be too overweight.

I have so much empathy and compassion for them both. I will not preach. I will encourage them. I will help by making healthy foods so they do not have so many unhealthy options. I will be a good example by making healthy choices myself (and not even mentioning how easy it is for me to do so.) And I will be openly grateful for the strength I get from my gastric bypass while I am secretly hoping my young son will never have to be grateful in the same way. More than anything, I will be thankful—especially during this time of Thanksgiving— that I am well enough to offer this support and encouragement to my wonderful family who has supported and encouraged me during my current health issues. *sniff sniff*

Badonk-a-donk

badonkDefinition—
A rather large, round, nicely shaped buttocks that is enticing and enjoyable to the touch. (I swear I didn’t make that up!!! LOL!)

Out of the mouths of babes…

Yesterday, I attended my niece’s baby shower (she is due on Feb 14 but scheduled it while I would be in town… what a Sweetie!) There were just a cubic ton of people there, so it was quite overwhelming. But, many of my female family were there, too, so it was also a wonderful get-together— my 4 teenage nieces, my mom, and my older step sister. Niiice!

You may recall that my 17 year old niece, Honesty, spent the summer with me. She was around while I was just beginning to gain a little of the weight back from the major episode of my “mystery illness” and hospitalization, so she saw me when I was skeletal and as I was beginning to gain a bit of weight back.

Honesty is a butt girl. Well, I think most of us in my family are butt girls. It makes sense, we are from the South and most of us are blessed (or cursed) with rather bodacious booties;) I remember when I first saw my nieces after losing a significant portion of my weight, they each exclaimed that I had lost my butt, LOL. Then, this summer, as Honesty watched me put on just a little weight, she would first mention that I was starting to fill out my yoga pants (depending on the pants, haha). By the time she left several weeks later, I was getting quite a few “nice butt, Aunt Ney Ney” comments. And, if you remember how much I lamented the loss of my rear end, you will understand that I was quite happy to hear of the positive return of my ample bottom.

As a matter of fact, as I‘ve mentioned, I have been extremely conflicted about my feelings about weight loss and my recent intentional weight gain (aren’t we all at some point?) I was really sad (and shocked) to have lost my big ole butt so quickly in the weight loss process. It is something that always lent to my identity as the “voluptuous” sister and made me feel very womanly. When I reached size 6, then 4, then…. as much as I loved being “thin”, I was uncomfortable with my shape because I felt less womanly without my curves. I think it was also surprising because as many times as I had lost and gained weight in my life, I had never… I repeat, NEVER… been at risk of losing my womanly curves.

So, although, I never dreamed I would get my plump patookie back (I just figured it was a victim of the unique pattern of rapid weight loss from WLS), I enjoyed Honesty’s updates this summer;) And I kept my eye on things as I continued to gain, secretely excited about my plumping bottom– and boobs! (So did my hubby :P. You may remember that, during a particularly insecure moment, I asked DH what he thought about the new, plumper, me. He told me he was quite happy to see a little more shape. And, trust me, it is clear that he’s sincere about that. ;)) And, since I recently bought some new clothes for my trip (that fit!), and I have been getting dressed and groomed regularly, and since I have felt much healthier more often, I have been feeling much more attractive and comfortable with my new, size 8, body.

AND, when I was leaving the baby shower and Honesty announced in front of the remaining guests (most were family, of course) that she was quite impressed by the fabulous “badonk-a-donk” I managed to get in the past few months, I was quite appreciative of the “compliment”. Luckily, I’m not a shy one, so I was just fine. Even when she went on about how she didn’t know it was me when I walked by and she was “mesmerized by my fantastic badonk-a-donk” and was so shocked to see it was mine when I turned around, I was perfectly fine… maybe even a little proud, LOL! Honestly, a few weeks ago, I think I may have felt VERY uncomfortable about that conversation and may have become even more insecure about my recent weight gain, but I took it with a smile like a champ. It helps that just a few hours before, I had looked at myself in the hotel bathroom mirror before leaving for the shower and literally exclaimed out loud, “Wow! My butt looks fabulous in these jeans!” LOL!!!!

Welcome back, bodacious booty, welcome back…

Celebrating my birthday with my birthday twin!

Yesterday (the 19th) was my THIRD birthday since my gastric bypass surgery in May 2011. And, while my hair-trigger dumping doesn’t allow me to even think about celebrating with sweets, most of our family/special events still do revolve around food— yummy, but healthy (or at least not too indulgent) food!

This is the first time I have been in the same place as my birthday twin (and nephew) on our special day. Since we knew we would be together for our birthday this year, we have been planning to celebrate together. Really, there were 3 things that were important to me for this vacation: my son’s wedding, the Jags game, and our birthday. Somehow, I have made it through ALL of them in good health and good spirit and I am content. Sure, I am desperately hoping for continued energy, but I am pretty darn happy right now :D.

I started my day by sleeping in then picking up my mom (we all call her Nana) and sister for lunch at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, La Nopalera. I ordered a beef taco, enchilada, and beans. I ate a couple bites of beans, about half the enchilada, and literally a couple of bites of taco. I tried to squeeze in a few chips, but my tummy was making a fuss so I decided not to push it. Good thing, too, because the carbs had me feeling a little weird for a minute and I was DEATHLY afraid I would get sick and disoriented and not be able to drive us all home. :wacko:

Luckily it passed and, after lunch, we dropped Nana off at her doctor’s visit so we could drive around the area to get a feel for where we might be interested in moving when we decide to make the plunge… and, of course, to get in as much family gossip while we were alone :P.

I didn’t spend too long with them since I had left DH alone at the hotel and didn’t want to ditch him too long and make him feel neglected (although I could have spent HOURS chatting with my mom and sis!) Upon my arrival to the hotel, I pointed out what a wonderful wife I was then we headed to my other sister’s house to pick up our little monster and hang out until time for dinner. Did I mention how great it has been seeing my family? I really think this horrible “mystery illness” has put into perspective the value of having my family near me.

the birthday starsDinner was FABULOUS! Teppanyaki at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse. I couldn’t eat much of my meal because the shrimp and steak were soaked in a too-sweet teriyaki sauce, but I devoured the soup and salad and a couple of pieces of shrimp wipes clean of the sugary sauce. Not to mention, the boys enjoyed pilfering the good stuff from my plate and the two glasses of wine I drank eased the pain :P. Yeah, TWO glasses of wine kicked my birthday butt!

28My nephew was celebrating his 12th birthday and I convinced the chef I was celebrating my 28th! LOL! I keep joking that since it is in writing, it MUST be true, haha! We both got fabulous gifts, but my favorite is the Spiny Backed Orb Weaver spider my sis caught me (well, she made her boyfriend catch it.) Trev named it Horacio. But this morning, we discovered Horacio is a girl and laid a lovely egg sac covered in neon green silk. AWESOME!

horacio spiny backed orb weaver

Yesterday was a day of rest

November 19, 2013 (sorry, I’m running a day or two behind!)

I’m so busy I am finding it tough to blog. That’s a good thing! It means my “mystery illness” and my darn kidney stone are giving me a break.

Saturday was the wedding and it was so beautiful. I wore my pretty new dress and even wore my faux fur capelet aka. “the possum wrap” once it got dark. I was told by dozens of people how beautiful I looked. And I felt just that lovely! It was so incredible to see my son and his new wife after the past few months! I just glowed with happiness!!

The day was great but not uneventful. Just as I finished getting my make up on and was putting on my undergarments, I discovered the pantyhose I had purchased in California DID NOT HAVE FEET!! What?! No feet?!! I remember grabbing the package behind the front pack and checking that they were the right size and color. But, apparently, I didn’t check to see if it had… FEET! Duh! Really?!

Of course, I freaked out and tried to send DocDad to the nearest store. That is when he reminded me I was just as likely to get something else I could not use if I sent him to the store alone. So I finished getting dressed and bought a pair of thigh highs at Walmart, headed to the bathroom, and – of course- it was closed! So I ran to the dressing room where I had to wait what felt like an hour for the attendant to get off the phone and let me into a room. I couldn’t stay grouchy, though, because she was so genuinely happy for me and wished me well… plus she said I looked beautiful 😉 How could I stay mad?

Did I mention that, as I looked down to put on my footless pantyhose, I discovered that my legs and feet had swollen to at least twice their size?! Maybe something to do with the kidney stones or meds? I squeezed my feet into my shoes like Cinderella’s ugly step sister and limped away. The pantyhose helped them slide on more easily. But I saw cankles and tree trunks every time I looked down. Fortunately, my kidney stone pain meds allowed me to make it through much of the day as my feet continued to swell and threatened to burst out of my perfectly matching shoes. And it turned out to be such a wonderful day!

Sunday is, of course, NFL Football day. I bought tickets to the Jacksonville Jaguars game. I try to do that each time we visit and missed last season. I’ve never seen them win a game live but I just have so much fun sharing it with my mom, stepdad, niece, and my little grasshopper. This year, DocDad went along and actually looked like he had a good time!! AND, after the game, we went to see Big Grasshopper and The Butterfly once more before they went on their honeymoon. ANOTHER wonderful day!!!

Monday was a day of rest… and I mean it!! I actually woke at 8:30 in the morning so I could run (exaggeration) downstairs and swipe some milk, juice, and coffee from the continental breakfast. I also thought I would try a bit of plain instant oatmeal. Bad move! I started feeling my heart beat and my stomach cramp and my body flush hot so I took my emergency meds (Phenergan) and woke up 4 hours later, a little groggy but surprisingly well. (I feel like I am on borrowed time with this stretch of “good” days—but I will take them and enjoy the heck out of ‘em while I can!) Little Grasshopper didn’t wake up until 2:30PM! And DocDad didn’t move until 3:30PM!!! It was nice to rest. And I was so beat and my feet hurt so bad, I was just too lazy to blog.

My sis made dinner for us. So at dinner time, we drove to her side of town and had crock pot country ribs that just fell apart!!! I am TOTALLY cooking mine in the crockpot next time! There was a bit of corn on the cob and cornbread (welcome to the South) and I ate a few pieces of fruit while they had chocolate crème cake. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem fair, LOL:). Little Grasshopper had such a great time with his cousin, who is also 12, that he spent the night while DocDad and I went back to the hotel alone and promptly… fell asleep. LOL!!!

Wedding Pics:

Bride groom mommomsthe dance

The Jags Game:

nana and trevjags trio

I can’t get a break!

Written Nov. 16… sorry I took a couple of days to post:(

Today, my oldest son, Big Grasshopper, is getting married! This summer, he and his fiancé, The Butterfly, graduated from college and moved to Florida where we have LOTS and LOTS of family and where they have been setting up their new life and planning their wedding. And TODAY is the day! My little one, hubby, and I have traveled to Florida to enjoy his wonderful day with him—and to visit my family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Since I have been having so much trouble with my health, I have been really worried about this “vacation,” and have just been hoping I will be healthy enough to enjoy Big Grasshopper’s big day and at least do a little visiting with my loved ones. Well, I woke up Tuesday morning with a suddenly terrible UTI. The pelvic pain was miserable. Since I was traveling soon, I called my doc and got a prescription for antibiotics ASAP. The next day, it was worse, so I called the doc again and convinced her I needed something for the pain. She was a tough cookie, too. Stating that narcotics are “not appropriate” for UTI pain. Well… I was insistent that I needed something for my travel and, fortunately, she gave in and gave me just enough to get through the day of flying.

And, thank goodness she did! The morning of travel, my UTI decided to travel, too… into my left kidney! I didn’t have time to go to the ER before our flight and, of course, nothing is standing in the way of me getting to my son’s wedding, LOL, so my hubby wrote me a prescription for a different antibiotic and I kept my mouth shut about the kidney pain. While I was traveling, I took the meds by the clock so I could keep the pain under control but I didn’t realize exactly HOW bad my pain had become until I ran out!

Holy Cow! I could feel it getting bad when we checked into our hotel in the middle of the night, but I wanted everyone to get some rest and was hoping the new antibiotic would kick in. Not wise. I woke up the next day in uncontrollable pain! Instead of going with the bride-to-be for pedicures and participating in the rehearsal and dinner, we spent the afternoon and evening in the ER :(. I figured, better to get me fixed then than try to tough it out and end up missing the wedding. I fully expected a heavy duty course of antibiotics and some pain meds so I would be fixed right up.

Welp. That’s not what happened. It appears I have a kidney stone! I have always said my worst fear is a kidney stone. People say the pain is as close as it gets to labor pain. Apparently, my fear is well placed and, yes, the pain is THAT bad. They were regularly pumping me full of morphine and it simply took the edge off so I could rest a bit. Fortunately, it’s not so large that I won’t be able to pass it so they sent me on my way with a very small amount of pain meds and best wishes for the wedding. I am just focusing on getting through the next couple of days—the wedding today and I’ve got tickets for the Jaguars football game tomorrow;) I am hoping this darn thing doesn’t decide to “pass” until Monday so I can have some fun!

They say most people have to come back to the ER while the stone is passing in order to have help controlling the pain. I am NOT looking forward to that. Yikes!

Really, I have been so sick for several months that my hubby is actually picking on me for not being in Jax for 24 hours before “visiting” the nearest hospital. And all I can do is laugh… even though it hurts to laugh -__-. I had a feeling I would wind up in the ER during my trip just because my current illness is really aggravated by stress—and what’s more stressful than travel? Except maybe your kid getting married! LOL! But, really, a NEW health issue? I must have been a very naughty girl in another life… I hope I had a LOT of fun so it was worth it;)

At least one VERY good thing that came of the ER visit. They found a “gross abnormality” with my common bile duct. My gall bladder shows no stones or sludge (thank goodness! because we were ALL worried I would be going under the knife so I’d be Face-timing my kid’s wedding) but they included all the images and notes for me to take to my upcoming “specialist” appointment. Perhaps there is a lead in the mystery of my current health issue… or one of them;)

Ok, time to shower and get beautiful for the wedding. I hope the dress fits. They filled me so full of fluids that my pants were too tight when I left the hospital. Wish me luck and let’s hope the rain stays away for a beautiful wedding! I will let you all know how it goes!

Exhausted and hopeful

I am exhausted, I can barely keep my eyes open, my hip is killing me, and every muscle in my body aches. And I couldn’t be happier!

As many of you know, I have really been struggling with my health. I recently just realized that it was a year ago that I had my total hip replacement… and began the dramatic decline in my overall health. And since April, I have been completely disabled, in and out of the hospital, and bedridden the majority of the time. And, as I’ve mentioned, I have recently experienced some weight gain that is simply (and frustratingly) out of my control. It’s really been a tough year! Understatement.

On the bright side, just lately I’ve been able to sense some improvement in my health. My condition seems to have a major hormonal component (docs are considering the possibility of a neuroendocrine tumor which may be secreting hormones inappropriately and throwing off my whole adrenal, pituitary and thyroid system- i.e., kicking my butt :P) and there appear to be different degrees of imbalance that determine how “functional” I am at a given moment. Over the past few months, I have noticed that I am slowly gaining more “functional” days and my level of function also seems to be slowly getting better. Today was the most functional day I can remember… and it couldn’t have been better timing!

My family and I will be traveling to Florida later this week for my son’s wedding… SATURDAY! You can imagine I am not at all prepared and am super nervous about traveling in my condition. Oh, and did I mention I don’t have any clothes that fit?

Well, I promised my little one that he could have his first semi-unsupervised hang out “play date” at the mall. Yep, he’d kill me if he heard me call it that, LOL! I was really not looking forward to being at the mall for hours, but the poor kid needs a life so I figured if I didn’t feel well, I’d just lay in the car until he was ready to go home. Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary because today was a “functional” day. As a matter of fact, today was a GOOD day!

I woke up this morning and didn’t feel too bad. So, I took a shower. Still felt ok. So I got dressed in “real” clothes… still ok. So I pushed my luck and put on makeup. Usually, that routine is enough to wipe me out for several hours, but I still felt ok. When we arrived at the mall, I felt well enough to walk in with the kid so I decided to really push my luck and search Macy’s for the “mother of the groom” dress.

Well, I didn’t find a dress (really, I can’t bring myself to buy a typical “mother of the groom” dress so I am making the search more difficult than it has to be.) BUT I found all sorts of other stuff! I found jeans, pants, sweaters, and even shoes! I also found something else, much better than all those things… ENERGY! It was amazing! The more I shopped, the better I felt! Not only did I make it through a trip to the dressing room- which would normally sap every ounce of energy from my body- I kept going back for more clothes and more trips to the dressing room! And I even went to 3 more stores when I left Macy’s!

When I got home this evening, I still had the energy to make dinner for my guys AND clean the kitchen. It was amazing! It wasn’t until I sat down on the couch in front of the tv that I realized how sore and exhausted my body is. And it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a good sore and exhausted- the kind you feel after a full day of hiking or bike riding. You know… that feeling that you get when you have really pushed your body and are so proud of what it can do. Sure, it was just shopping. But, for me, it was an incredible accomplishment that brings with it the hope that I will have more and more days like this one and less of the other days.

Fingers crossed that I will be able to do a little more shopping so I can find that darn dress. And that, soon, shopping will be a breeze and I’ll be able to hike with my family again to get my exhausted and sore sense of accomplishment.

What happens when someone asks- What happens after the weight loss stops?

This afternoon, a fellow WLS friend posted an article asking, What happens after the weight loss stops? The featured woman’s emotional battle and the question were apparently very relevant to me as I have been trying my best to reason my way through my own irrational body issues. I started writing a quick answer and wound up writing a whole book, LOL. Instead of taking over his thread with my own issues, I decided to post my answer in my blog—where I do my best self-therapy, anyway;)

Thanks for posting this, my friend. It’s a very timely topic for me since, lately, I have been wondering if we are doomed to a life a negative body image forever

My first couple of years post op were a storybook. As I lost weight, I loved and appreciated each size I became. I embraced my loose skin and, while I lamented the loss of my ample behind, I loved the size 6 (then 4) jeans it fit into. I even felt good for at least a year after reaching goal. Don’t get me wrong, I struggled with self-image — it was hard to identify with my “thin” self– but it was a good struggle.

But, then I lost even more weight. As I got “model thin” I was torn between loving the sight of my bones (like models and actresses in the media) and wanting to be shapely (like swimsuit models and the women we generally find “sexy”)… AS IF I could look like ANY of them at 5’4″ and 40 years old!! Even if I had never spent a day overweight, much less a lifetime obese!

I developed a really negative body image when I was super thin. I KNEW I was too skinny (especially since I landed in the hospital and was placed on medication to help me gain.) I felt so unattractive that I could almost not look people in the eye for fear that they would think I was on drugs or dying of cancer. I KNEW I was unhealthily skinny… BUT, I secretly LOVED my bones and flat stomach. I loved the number on the scale. I loved being the thinnest person in the room. I loved wearing an extra small in Victoria’s Secret clothing (Before then, I couldn’t imagine a person that thin.)

Ok, fortunately I am a VERY rational person. So, I took the medication that helped me eat and I gained weight purposely (and it was extremely conflicting). I was happy(ish) when I started gaining to a healthy weight. And I was even quite happy when I discovered that my weight gain was generally in my boobs and butt. Amazingly, my butt was flat at 130 pounds when losing but was quite robust after gaining back to 130 pounds… what a bonus! But I was also obsessed with the tummy that came with it. And the “thigh gap” I had lost.

And as I gained ten more (stinking medicine!) pounds, I became HORRIFIED by the number on the scale. It OWNS me! It sometimes determines the outlook I will have on the day. Just like it did when I weighed a HUNDRED pounds more.

I became obsessed with my “extra” curves. I honestly see the 240 pound me when I look in the mirror. I do not see a woman with a normal BMI! I mentioned it to my facialist and my hair stylist (they have both been with me as I have lost, had health issues and as I have recently gained back some weight). They both say I look healthier than ever… and I honestly KNOW that I do.

I even asked my hubby what he thought. He DEFINITELY likes the curves more :P. I told him I would feel more comfortable at ten pounds less… he said he’d prefer I didn’t go any lower than that. Eh, at this point I’ll be lucky to lose the ten since this medicine is necessary to let me eat at all. Not to mention, I have a feeling I will continue to struggle with body image NO MATTER WHAT I EVER WEIGH!

I just have to keep telling myself my goal is to be a healthy weight and not a stinking beauty queen. Really, I never thought I would ever have to tell myself that. I am glad I AM such a rational person. I imagine this internal conflict could wreak havoc on a more emotional person… it’s kind of wreaking havoc on my psyche anyway, but probably because my current health condition allows me too much thinking time;)

Hmph! Really! I would think at forty years old and a normal BMI, I wouldn’t have these unrealistic teenage girl body image issues! Then again, until a few years ago, I never dreamed it was possible for me to have these “body image” issues instead of “high blood pressure, diabetes and painful joint” issues. Maybe I should be grateful for my emotional quirks right now ;).

Phew! THAT was cathartic! But, I have a feeling I’ll need a few more “therapy” blog sessions (and maybe a ten pound loss) to get this one figured out. Thanks for listening :wub:.

I am (not) America’s Next Top Model!

I was looking over my blog this evening and came across this entry I had written in March, shortly before getting sick with this darn illness I’ve been wrestling with. Apparently, I had written it and just not gotten around to posting. So I decided to post it today! Better late than never, right?

I’ve never been a diary kind of girl, but I really love keeping my blog! There are so many things about my WLS journey (like this fun little moment) that I would have completely forgotten if I hadn’t written them down.

I am (not) America’s Next Top Model, LOL!

I mentioned in a blog entry several days ago that I made it to my “secret” weight loss goal of 125 pounds (I actually weighed in at 124:P). I also went shopping and hit the jackpot, so I figured I would take a picture of myself in each of my new outfits as I wear them so I could see how I really look in my new outfits and maybe even show you guys if you are interested. I figured I would save them all up for one big reveal. (Clearly THIS didn’t happen because I got sick and many of those outfits are sitting in the closet with tags still on, but it sounded like a fun idea when I wrote it in March, lol.)

Well, the other night my hubby was taking me out for dinner. I decided to dress in my new Victoria’s Secret leggings and a nice new leather trimmed shirt. I did my hair, my makeup and even put on some BOLD lipstick. My usual photographer (my 11 year old son) was not home so I very shyly asked my husband if he would mind taking a pic for my blog. He grabbed my iphone and directed me to the “best light” in the house and began to snap away.

Since he always teases me about my blog, he jumped at the chance to tease a little bit more. He directed the “shots” and hollered out phrases he’s seen on America’s next top model, even making me do the “broken down doll” pose. Ridiculous fun… I felt like a teenager! We had such a blast playing in the hallway and, while I am certainly NOT America’s Next Top Model, I decided I wouldn’t wait until all my outfits have been photographed to share these shots;)

IMG_1752IMG_1753IMG_1755IMG_1754IMG_1756

Maybe I’ll feed it to the birds…

I know it’s been a while since I have posted and I’m not sure if my condition will allow me to post regularly, but I’m feeling up to it right now so I thought I would give it a go… Thanks so much for all of you who have hung in there with me.

Maybe I’ll feed it to the birds…

kashi-cereal-printableI love cereal. I have learned it’s a gateway drug for me but I was in the store the other day and it was on sale and I just couldn’t resist… Anyway, Kashi is a “healthy” cereal. Certainly not yummy enough to start a feeding frenzy. I eat a little Kashi Go Lean Original in my Greek yogurt with no trouble at all. So, I bought this other healthy Kashi cereal that looked like Cheerios. I thought maybe I would give it a go. Sure, I may dump, but I dump so often now that I may as well eat something that’s worth it. And, I’ve got all these meds so if I time them all right, perhaps I’ll even get a whole (small) bowl down without dumping. And maybe, just maybe, I will get a glimpse of the splendor that was once… Cheerios. (Gosh, you’d think it was Meth or something.) Looking back, I don’t think it was such a good idea to make that purchase ;).

Hay
Well, fortunately for me, after one bite I knew it wasn’t worth the potential dumping. Those little grainy hearts and circles looked so much like my Cheerios, but tasted so much like… hay. Like little hard dog food kibbles of… hay. It was with sadness in my heart and a tear in my eye that I dumped my bowl of healthy Kashi Hay Kibble down the sink. Really. I’ve been quite prone to dramatics during my illness.

Cereal is expensive- even on sale- so rather than throw away my $3 box of hay kibble, I figured I’d try to repurpose it. I put a little in my cockroaches’ cage (What? I’m an Entomologist!). But they didn’t seem to like it much (maybe it’s too hard. Anyway, they really prefer produce) and it’s not like they could eat a whole box! So I decided to put some in a baggy and keep it in my purse to give to the dog as occasional treats. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s Kashi, it’s gotta be healthy enough for the dog, right?

Apparently it’s TOO healthy for the dog. I took her for a short walk today, the first time in months since I have been so sick. She has gotten into the habit of pulling while my son walks her and I knew I would never make it around the block if she were pulling so I decided to grab the bag of Kashi “treats” to bribe her along.

As we rounded the first major corner complete with an array of urine soaked flowers, Sassy made a bee-line for the bushes. Really? She’s a GIRL! I didn’t think female dogs did that! Anyway, I pulled her to continue walking and she, of course, ignored me. Sooo… I pulled out the big guns and started shaking the baggie of Kashi “treats” and calling her to “walk.”

Sassy!

Sassy!

Oooh! Treats! She saw that bag of kibbly goodness and left those stinky bushes behind to trot alongside me like the sweet little girl she is. So, I gave her an encouraging “Good Girl!” and tossed her a yummy kibbly heart shaped Kashi “treat” which she eagerly scooped off the ground. THEN promptly spit out! REALLY? That’s expensive, healthy cereal! Surely it’s good enough for the dog!

Well, needless to say, the rest of the way home was a bit of a battle. Until SHE got tired and wanted to go home and get a drink. Then I couldn’t walk fast enough… BRAT!

Well, I guess I’ll have to give in and throw away the cereal. Or maybe I can feed it to the birds…

How to gain your weight back– PART ONE: OLD FAVORITES

scale
I have gained 12 pounds in the past 2 months. On purpose! I know, it sounds absolutely crazy, but after I dropped twenty pounds when I got sick in April, my team of doctors seemed really focused on getting some of that weight back on me pretty quickly— even if I had to break some bariatric lifetime rules to do it. At first, it was really hard to reverse the weight loss to become a weight gain… then it became MUCH easier… and now it is beginning to become difficult to stop the gain and simply maintain. I am learning a LOT about weight loss, weight gain, and lifetime maintenance here and I thought I would share it.

In general, my weight loss after gastric bypass has been almost effortless. I lost quickly and steadily, reaching my original weight loss goal (150lbs) at 7 months post op and continuing on to level out at a comfie 128-132lbs in a few more months. I maintained that 130ish pounds for about a year with very little effort.

Or at least I THOUGHT it was very little effort. I am a very sensitive dumper, so I have to limit my carbs and sugar dramatically or pay dearly with hours of pain and misery. Therefore, my diet is quite protein focused with almost ZERO simple sugars and very limited carbs, almost always in the form of COMPLEX carbs made from slow digesting whole grains. THIS combo seems to be ideal for making my weight loss seem easy as… well, pie;)

produceI’m sure many of you have seen me urge newbies to really work hard to replace old behaviors and food preferences with new, healthy ones. I did that! And apparently, it worked like a charm. I had no idea HOW well it worked, until now. For almost 2 years, I felt almost no appetite and almost no cravings for “off limits” foods. Sure, I had cravings… for broccoli or cucumbers. Isn’t that hysterical?! And, I NEVER stuffed myself so full that I thought I would vomit. As a matter of fact, there were only a small handful of times that I even felt restriction because I was always satisfied with a small amount of dense protein followed by a couple of bites of veggies and one or two bites of a whole grain carb. I ate by the clock, choosing healthy and satisfying foods that I really enjoyed… but not TOO much. AND, I had not allowed “forbidden” foods like fast food burgers, pizza, and fried foods to pass my lips since surgery. It was simply a matter of daily life choices. If the family ordered pizza, I made something separate for myself. If they went to a burger joint for dinner, I had a salad with grilled chicken or simply ate afterwards. I never felt left out because I no longer craved the taste of the junk food and I enjoyed meals with my family for different reasons– to spend TIME with my family, not to savor a plate full of salty fries.

Enter operation weight gain

The docs still aren’t quite sure what is wrong with me, but they have been very adamant that I needed to at least stop my weight loss quickly and even get some of those pounds back on. While I was sitting in my bariatric surgeon’s office and he recommended that I try to down some greasy fast food to pack on some of those missing pounds, I was utterly repulsed. Just the idea of eating some of those old fast food standby’s made my tummy do flip flops and made my mouth feel like I had just tasted a spoonful of Crisco. But, I am a good patient so I told him I’d give it the ole college try 😉 My docs also prescribed some medications to help keep me from experiencing dumping syndrome as easily and encouraged me to go forth and eat. As you can imagine, a dangerous thing for a girl like me 😉

???????????????????????????????????????My first try was a bacon double cheeseburger from BK. It was a real favorite of mine pre-op. Mmmmm… As I accepted the bag through the drive in window, I breathed in deeply to inhale the familiar scent of my old friend. It smelled just like I remembered… heavenly. As I proceeded through the drive thru, I moved the bun down to reveal the cheesy beef patties and bacon and took a bite before I even made it to the main road—I had been waiting for this for TWO years!

Interestingly, even after not using food as an emotional release for two years, I could feel my body anticipating that emotional stress-relieving sigh that comes with the first bite of a juicy fast food burger (you know what I mean;)) However, my mouth did not agree. BLECH! After only one chew, I spit the burger out into the bag and bunched it all up tightly to sufficiently squish the burger beyond a second attempt, and threw it into the passenger’s seat as far from me as it could get. It tasted horrific! Like I would imagine canned dog food to taste! BLECH! So much for the burger.

My next try was chicken tenders… fried chicken tenders from Jack in the Box. I used to eat four on my way to work every morning— when I was on the Atkins diet, LOL. These actually went much better. I have had no trouble with fat content after bypass and actually include plenty of healthy fats in my diet since they slow digestion, keeping me fuller and helping to prevent dumping. Despite my tolerance of fats, I had eliminated all fried foods from my diet post op because fried foods are simply not healthy foods to have in my diet. And I haven’t even missed them.

Well, the chicken tenders went over quite well. I could eat 1 ¾ tenders in a sitting without feeling sick (the dog was quite happy with the 1/4 she got, too) so that became my staple. Liquid protein drinks, nuts, cheese, and chicken tenders became my diet for a few weeks. And, let me tell you, those tenders can pack on some weight. I understand that my body probably wanted to gain some weight back so it was hoarding calories like crazy, BUT it did not actually GAIN any weight until those fast food tenders entered the picture. I know I was eating far below a thousand calories a day and somehow gaining weight as soon as I added the fast food to my diet— Calories in, calories out? NOT A CHANCE! But that is a rant for another day;).

fried-foods1AND, once I got a taste for the fried tenders, I got a craving for fried chicken, fried calamari, buffalo chicken strips, fried shrimp, fried mozzarella cheese sticks… Thank God I stopped at the buffalo strips, I think the cheese sticks would have sent me over the edge! Anyway, it was while I was incorporating fried foods (temporarily) back into my diet that I had my first “post-bypass diet epiphany”— I really LIKE fried foods. As a matter of fact, I like them sooo much that I eat MORE than my pouch can comfortably hold. At least an ounce more than my pouch is used to having when I eat my “normal” diet. Each and every time I eat fried foods, I shovel it in until I am debating whether to risk vomiting for just one more delicious bite… and I have NEVER vomited from overeating, I’m NOT happy to be flirting with that behavior at 2 years post op. My take on it is that I never overate because, while I really do like most foods I eat, they don’t trigger that JOY or FULFILLMENT or, I will say it: ADDICTION, that I used to associate with food pre-op.

This has really supported my idea that it is CRUCIAL to develop a new relationship with food during the first several months post-op, when it is easiest. It is imperative that we nurture new taste preferences during the “honeymoon” period, too. I remember introducing healthy foods for the first time after my surgery, just like you do for a baby. And being OPEN to new flavors. Before bypass, I LOVED pizza, spaghetti, all kinds of sweets and pastries, and of course, fast food burgers and fries. Now, my tastes have changed. I really enjoy lean meats and all sorts of veggies (especially Asian style), sweets are OFF THE LIST FOREVER (thanks to my sugar sensitivities) and even fruits are often too sweet to eat with abandon. I get excited by a good Greek salad while everyone else is munching on baklava, lol.

woman_eating_chickenUnfortunately, now that I have RE-introduced some of my old favorites back into my diet, I can see it is going to take some effort to keep them under control. For me, that means I am going to have to eliminate them altogether. Now that I want to slow (or even stop) my weight gain, I have tried to incorporate a little fried chicken or calamari into my diet when I go out to eat or for lunch a couple of days a week. It sounds like it should be easy, right? And why not have it every now and then since I certainly have the cushion in my daily calorie intake AND in my current weight? Well, I will tell you why not. Because fried foods give me a different “feeling.” They feed something in my soul, not in my body. And THAT isn’t something I want to get comfortable with. If I want to feed my soul, I will read a good book, take a hot bath, talk to a girlfriend, snuggle with my family, or write in my blog;) If I want to feed my body, I will give it lean protein, healthy complex carbs, and plenty of fluids— all with the best nutritional bang for the buck.

It is amazing how quickly and innocently our post op diets can get off track. I can’t imagine how much easier it would be to go astray if I hadn’t developed such a solid post-op eating program. And don’t think greasy fried foods are my only food vice at the moment. I have experienced plenty more “learning opportunities” during my short quest for weight gain that I will share with you soon. I am just grateful I have a few dependable safety nets to keep me from going down the road of WLS sabotage: 1) I DID work hard to create a new, healthy relationship with food and healthier food preferences. 2) My family is loving and supportive at ALL stages of my WLS journey so they lovingly agree to help me walk the straight and narrow. 3) I am not blind to the pitfalls that can occur after WLS and recognized my trouble spots while I STILL have wiggle room and 4) I have so much support from you guys who really get it.