My Baltic Sea Vacation!

by Christine on June 21st, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

Hi everyone! I’m back from my vacation, and wow! What a vacation it was! I’ll give you the lowdown, but because this is I suppose technically a weight loss-ish blog, I’ll let you know what the food situation was at each place.

I took a mother/daughter cruise through the Baltics. It was me and my mom, my mom’s best friend, and her daughter. Four of us total. We started the cruise in Copenhagen and went to Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden. I also got to check out a little bit of Iceland on my return trip home. It was a fantastic vacation, and I’d highly recommend it!!!  Because it was a cruise, we mostly ate on the ship (Norwegian cruise lines, and the “free food” — not the pay restaurants — was just mediocre). However, we ate lunch at the ports when we could.

My band was exceptionally tight throughout the whole trip. I had called my surgeon to get it loosened before I left, but he couldn’t get me in for a whole month, so I just had to suffer. I barfed a LOT of my food up due to band tightness. However, the ship had soups on the menu often, and I discovered that the pastries went down pretty well, so I didn’t starve!

Weight & Exercise:
Started at 128.0 pounds.
Returned home at 126.5 pounds.
Lots and Lots and Lots of walking in each port! I took a yoga class on the ship one day, too.


Food:  Day 1:  Lunch was a salad with smelly prawns, hard boiled egg, avocado, and some creamy dill dressing (not my favorite). Lots of “Danishes” — the little pastries, which were fantastic!  My friend and I stopped at Wagamamas (one of my favorite restaurants) for dinner, and I had some Beef Miso Ramen soup.

Day 2: Breakfast included a Danish and some apple juice.  Late lunch/dinner on Day 2 was at a pub and included some nachos with cheese/guac/sour cream and a beer.


Food: Breakfast: 2 pieces of bacon, 1 scrambled egg, and some yogurt. We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant, and I had Tuborg beer, tomato soup, and a warm apple streudel. I had a cappucino that was so strong I had to put 4 packets of sugar in it! Yikes! The soup was a little odd tasting, but the desert was great! Back on the ship I had a steak and some cauliflower soup, and vanilla ice cream for desert. I had 2 cosmos during the kick-off of the ship’s sailing!


Food: Breakfast involved some yogurt and orange juice. We did so much walking that we kind of forgot to eat. We stopped for a quite bite of some pastry that looks like a croissant but was filled with goat cheese. Warmed up, it was delicious! And I had a Fanta.  Back on the boat I had grilled chicken and fried mushrooms which were delicious! I had a espresso martini for dessert.




Food: Day 1 breakfast included some fresh watermelon, 2 slices of bacon, 1 scrambled egg. Lunch involved chicken stroganoff, a side salad, a jelly roll, and some red wine for lunch. Dinner involved Chicken Kiev and soup.

Food on Day 2: Breakfast was yogurt and orange juice. Lunch involved beef stroganoff, cabbage soup (which was amazing!!), a baked apple, and white wine for lunch. Dinner was teriyaki chicken and rice, with soup and some lime sorbet.


Food: Breakfast included a danish pastry and orange juice. We were walking so much we kind of accidentally skipped lunch. We stopped for a danish in the afternoon. In the evening I had some orange roughy and mushroom risotto, soup, and lemon sorbet.


Food:  Again, we walked so much we forgot about lunch! But this wasn’t good because we were very crabby about missing lunch.  Dinner was some chicken dish, tomato soup, and sorbet. This was a rather stressful day due to everyone being incredibly cranky, and it involved into the only drink-a-thon of the drip: 2 Blue Moon beers and about 4 shots of tequila.


Food: We had breakfast before we got off the ship: watermelon and yogurt and orange juice for me. I stopped at a grocery store in Copenhagen in the morning and had tabouleh salad, cheese and crackers, Fanta, and some cookies. When I got to Copenhagen I stopped at Quiznos for a turkey sub for dinner and another Fanta.

The next day, on my way home I had some nuts at the airport, 2 beers on the plane. Stopped for lunch on the 2 hour drive to my home and had 2 chicken fingers and some tomato soup.  Hubby cooked dinner: steak, rice, and skim milk.


4 Year Wedding Anniversary!

by Christine on May 7th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise

In celebration of four years of wedding bliss together, hubby and I decided to head down to the New Jersey shore for the weekend.

I’ve been living in Upstate New York for 10 years now, and although I’ve been to Atlantic City before, I’ve never explored the shoreline. In fact, I’ve always had a very poor opinion of New Jersey, since my first experience there was finding myself in Elizabeth and Newark. I realize this makes me sound a little bit ignorant, but my opinion was surely reversed after this weekend.

First we drove way down south to Cape May. I LOVED CAPE MAY! It’s fantastically beautiful and laid back and relaxing. I would love to stay there sometime during the summer and use the beaches. We passed about 6 couples getting married on the beach there….just perfect!  I had the most delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder I’ve ever had!

Beautiful Victorian houses all throughout the town. So much to see and admire!

This is the Inn of Cape May. We randomly chose this spot for lunch. The dining room overlooks the ocean, and they had the best Manhattan Clam Chowder! Yum!

After we were done exploring Cape May, we drove slowly up the coast and stopped to look at all the cute towns. We stopped in Wildwoods, which has a huge boardwalk with lots of carnival rides, tshirt shops, etc. A fun place for kids and a fun place to visit (but I personally wouldn’t want to stay there).

They deep fry EVERYTHING there! Every 2 feet you ran into a little shop that will deep fry anything you can think of. I had never had a deep fried Oreo, and hubby loves Oreos so we had to give that a try…

MEH.  Disappointing.  Maybe a triple-stuffed oreo would be good, but I just found it lacking in flavor overall. Very dry. Fun to try, but I definitely won’t be doing that again.

We stayed the night at Bally’s in Atlantic City.  We got an upgrade to our room since they screwed up our reservation, and our room was very spacious. The best part by far was the use of the pool facilities ($10 per room, per day). Sunday we spent all morning swimming, sitting in the hot tub, using the saunas, etc. It was fantastic!

Dinner on Saturday was at Rainforest Cafe. I got fish tacos, but for some reason my gastric band wouldn’t allow me to keep a single bite down. It’s frustrating to waste money like that.

Lunch on Sunday we found a real gem — the Red Square, a Russian restaurant. It has walls (well, columns) made of ice! They have a bajillion types of vodkas, and a freezer where you can put on a bunch of russian furs and wrap up and go into the freezer to do a shot of your choice of vodka. Very swanky and fun! I ordered the shrimp cocktail, and it was divine! HUGE shrimps and a delicious mango salsa. So yummy. The Caesar salad was amazing too. Yummy all around.

I drank my face off, got lots of walking in (and climbing on rocks on the beach), gambled a little (and came home with money in my wallet!) and had a brilliant time!

Happy Anniversary Honey!

Weight-wise, I’m hanging in there constantly at 130 pounds. I shouldn’t be annoyed at that, but to be honest I’d be a lot more happy at 125.  All my clothes fit, but I feel like my body shape is kind of changing somehow. My butt and legs just feel bigger to me, and I feel like my pants are tighter in those areas. It could very well be all in my head, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m gaining weight. I get really panicky about it, but when I step on the scale it’s still within the maintenance zone. I’m finding it hard to rectify how I feel and the number on the scale. Since I know I have disordered eating issues and self-perception problems, it’s safer to rely on the number on the scale rather than how I feel, but it’s hard to ignore the feelings entirely.


A blip in “maintenance mode…”

by Christine on February 23rd, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

Well, I’ve been driving this “maintenance mode” gravy train for a little over a year, and I’ve noticed that my weight has gone up and down a little bit (say, 5 pounds) but it has stayed well within range.

However, I can feel the weight creeping up right now. I’m at about 8 pounds higher than my Goal Weight. Although I have actually kicked up my exercise a little bit (which isn’t really saying a lot…I was doing NOTHING before…now I’m squeezing in 2 days a week worth of exercise) I have noticed that my portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger. I’m hungry all the time. I’m eating too much. And I’m not feeling the restriction that my band gives me when it’s just right.

I’m going to give myself 2 weeks to try to get this under control on my own. That is to say, I’m going to crack down on my portion sizes, cut out the sweets that keep creeping into my diet, and eat 6 small mini-meals a day. When I was actively and successfully losing weight, my diet consisted of something like this:

8 a.m. Yogurt & coffee (150 calories worth approx.)
10 a.m.: cheese & crackers (150 calories worth approx.)
Noon: canned soup (150 calories worth approx.)
2 p.m.: fresh fruit  (100 calories worth approx.)
4 p.m.: Almonds (100 cals worth), skim milk
6 p.m.: 3 oz of meat (chicken, fish, or steak) with some fresh veggies (150 calories worth approx.)
8 p.m.: 100 calories worth of chocolate for a treat.

That’s what worked for me in the past, so that’s what I’m going to try to stick to this time. 2 weeks…and if it’s not working for me, then I’ll schedule a little fill with my bariatric surgeon.

I know that the gastric band leaks very very very slowly over time, so it’s not unusual to find it more “roomy” as time goes on. Lots of gastric banders get fills once a year or so to keep it tweaked just right. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t want to rely 100% in the band and get lazy with my food. I realize that I need to put out some effort into this as well. Now is that time! Rawr!


11 Plateau Buster Ideas!

by Christine on February 7th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Are you stuck in a weight-loss plateau? Were you experiencing some kind of regular weight loss, and now you’ve stalled out? You’re doing everything the same, you’re being consistent, but the weight just isn’t coming off anymore? (If you’re curious about what causes a plateau, including all the hormone changes, read this article from the Mayo Clinic.)

You need a plateau buster!  Here are a few plateau-busting tips that will get you into your skinny jeans by summertime!:

  1. Incorporate high intensity interval training. Read more about that here.
  2. Drink more water. (And no, caffeinated beverages don’t count!)
  3. Be sure that you are eating protein at each meal. Looks for choices like egg whites, turkey meat, and whey protein.
  4. Trade your starchy carbs in for veggies.  Replace your servings of bread, rice, pasta, and potato in for dark green veggies.
  5. Pump some iron! Lifting weights builds muscle, and muscle burns fat more efficiently. So build your muscles up!
  6. Double-check your portion sizes. Maybe you’ve stalled out because your portions are getting bigger. Remember to measure and weigh everything you eat! You may want to consider  recording all your food intake. I personally find this very helpful.
  7. Mix it up. If it’s not working for you, change it up. Switch up your exercise program and your food regiment. Sometimes your body just needs a kick in the butt when you change life on it.
  8. Get more sleep!
  9. Try “calorie cycling.”  Let’s say your average calorie intake is 1200 calories. Try consuming 1000 calories one day, 1200 the next, and 1400 the third day, then repeat the cycle.
  10. Eat slower. You might find you eat a lot less if you just slow down a bit.
  11. Recharge your motivation. Write down all the reasons why you want to lose weight, buy yourself a dream pair of pants to wear, take photos of yourself, measure yourself, etc. Do whatever you need to do to reinvigorate your commitment to lose weight!

Wino weekend

by Christine on December 12th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

This weekend I went with a friend on a wine tour in the Mid-Hudson River valley area.  We were sort-of, kind-of following the Shawangunk Wine Trail, but with a few additions thrown in. A few wineries are not on the official Shawngunk Wine Trail, but are worth visiting nonetheless, such as Robibero Winery & Demorest Hill Vineyards. This weekend was the Wreath Fineries wine tour — which means for a big whopping lump sum you get free tastings at all the Shawangunk Wine Trail wineries, plus a little food at each place. Plus they give you a little wreath at the start of the tour, and each winery has a little ornament to put on your wreath. And oh yeah, you get to keep a souvenir glass too.  Well, we had intended on signing up for the tour this Saturday, but tickets were sold out. No big deal–we would still do the tour, except pass on the wreath and pay for tastings at each winery, like normal.

Well, we were at our first winery (Adair Winery) when we chatted with a very nice couple. Turns out his brother-in-law and wife couldn’t make the tour, so they gave us their wine tour ticket. Furthermore, it was a 2-day ticket, which was even more expensive!  THANK YOU VITO! It was a really unexpected, lovely gift! (They wouldn’t take any money for the tickets, either.) What nice people you run into on the wine trail!

My favorite winery is Demorest Hill, which is not on the official route. The cutest little old Italian man runs the place, and he makes something ridiculous like 60 or 70 types of wines, spirits, vinegars, etc.  Delicious! I love that place.

We stayed at the Thayer Hotel at West Point Military Academy, which is a wonderful hotel that looks a little bit like a midevil castle. Very pretty location.

I did a great job packing snacks for the trail. In addition to the little snacks they had at each place (I do believe Applewood Winery would win the award for best snack…a spicy cheesecake that was really fantastic!) I had packed some cheese, pepperoni and crackers, some carrots and grapes, bottles of water, packages of almonds, etc.  I didn’t overdo it during the trail or afterwards at dinner….I was holding steady at my maintenance range of 126.0 this morning.

Showing off my new hands-free wine cozy! hahahaha! So tacky but so much fun! (And holy crap when did I get SKINNY, people?? That’s a padded ski jacket I’m wearing there….and I don’t look like that kid from A Christmas Carol. Freaky!!!)


Chickens!! Omg, one winery had chickens. I hopped out of the car and tried to chase one down to pet him, but he wouldn’t let me get close. What a chicken chicken! Bawk bawk!  See, you might find exercise at the oddest times when you’re on a wine trail. You better be prepared!

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