A new me!

by Christine on April 14th, 2010

filed under Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

So the last few posts have been about the gastric banding surgery. If you want to read about the surgery, read backwards in chronological order. I don’t think I ever mentioned it, but I had the Realize band put in. (Not “Lap-Band,” which is a trademarked brand, like Kleenex is.)

I had the surgery a little over a year ago, February 28, 2009. It is now April 14, 2010 and I have lost 71 pounds to date. Here are some before and after photos for you!

The picture on the left is me, 225 pounds. To the right is me, 154 pounds. (It’s pretty fun to look at photos over the last year. Watching my chin evolve from my mass of my neck is pretty amusing.) I’m only 5’2, so I’m a shorty, which means that I have even more weight that I should lose. But that brings to me to a few questions that I have been mulling over. How much can I lose? If this is all my body can do, is that okay?

My goal is to lose 100 pounds exactly, which would put me at 125 and at a healthy weight according to the BMI charts. However, I’ve never been less than 150 pounds, not since 8th grade or so. I’m not sure what my body is even capable of doing.  I’ve been losing weight, even recently, at a steady pace so I think I have a ways to go.  My dilemma is that if I get my heart and head stuck on a number that may-or-may-not be achievable, then I will end up being disappointed.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the whole concept of “weight acceptance.” I found a good website called Second Helping that deals with the question, “I’ve lost a bunch of weight…now what?”  If you know of other resources that I should look into, please hook me up.

In the meantime, I’ve been diligent about watching what I eat and keeping a daily food journal.  I exercise regularly: I am currently taking a bootcamp class that meets at 5 a.m. three times a week. Plus I walk during my lunch hour, bicycle on weekends, and do other outdoor activities.  I’m looking into possibly taking a Zumba or kickboxing class next month in place of bootcamp, just for some variety.

So what’s different in my eating now versus before surgery? How and why is the weight actually coming off?

Foodwise, I eat approximately 800 calories per day. (Sometimes less, sometimes more.) I don’t necessarily watch what I eat and try to hit that 800-calorie target. Rather, I eat pretty much what I want, when I want. The food journaling is just to try to observe trends, look for ways to improve my diet, etc.  I eat all freaking day long these days. I eat probably six times a day, but I only eat about 150-or-so calories at any given sitting. Basically, I graze all day long.

I eat far more dairy than I ever did before. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it’s just an observation. I eat cheese and pepperoni as a mid-morning snack. I drink skim milk (with ice) every other day or so.  I probably have a little more ice cream and yogurt than I did before.  I don’t shy away from dairy because it’s fattening. If I want it, I eat it.  Just remember, I don’t eat very much of it, so I don’t “overdo it.”

I eat less “bad” carbs, too. I never eat bread. I very rarely eat pasta. I will do rice, but only maybe once per month. The reason is solely because the carbs get stuck in my band, forcing me to puke, which is unpleasant. I just avoid it at all costs.

I eat tons of protein and meat. Probably more than I need to or should. I don’t eat enough veggies. This is too bad because I LOVE veggies, but they often get stuck and give me issues. (For example, last night I had steamed green beans, and boy…they got stuck pretty good. Stupid things!) I keep trying to find out which veggies are okay, and which give me issues. This is still a learning process. I’m trying to blend and cream things as much as I can to get the veggies in. I made HUGE pots of veggie soup (veggies chopped up really fine) to eat at lunchtime.  I make fruit smoothies when I remember to. (Add a dash of protein shake for good measure.) If you have any recipes for good mushy vegetable dishes, hook me up!

Other than those eating tips, I have to say — I’ve been working LESS HARD at losing weight than I ever did before surgery. Comparatively, this is easy stuff!  Like I said, I eat what I want, when I want. I work out because I’m feeling fit and healthy, so that’s easy, too and less like a chore.

All in all, considering the results that I have had, I would say that this surgery has been a blessing. I would do it all over again, in a heartbeat. Plus, it’s extremely reassuring to me to know that, if the weight ever starts to creep back on, I can always go back to the doctor and get another fill.  I shouldn’t ever need to go through horrible weight fluctuations ever again! Yay!

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