Rainy Sunday & my first Size Four!

by Christine on August 22nd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good Sunday Afternoon Revolutionists!

I hope you liked my before/after photos that I posted yesterday. I have to say, when I saw them, I was astonished at how much I’ve changed! I showed them to hubby and he said, “Jeeze, I didn’t realize you were so fat! You look like a whole new person now!”

Indeed, I feel like a whole new person too!

Today I pulled on the only pair of blue jeans that I had on my closet to wear out to lunch with the Star Wars Boys.  Sadly, at a size 10, they were falling off me. In fact, I could take them off without unbuttoning them! For example (sorry for the ugly tummy..boy that port sure shows, huh? and for the *gasp* underwear!)

Case in point. So I went out to JC Penny while I was doing errands today. I grabbed a bunch of jeans in Size 6, but I saw the 4 there, and I thought, “What the heck??” I tried them on….and THEY FIT!!!

Honestly, I couldn’t even dream of the day when I could fit into a Size 4 when I started this weight loss journey. Back then I wore a size 22/24 and was confined to shopping almost exclusively at Lane Bryant (which, even though they have big sizes, do NOT cater to short women like me).  If I had to have guessed, way back when, I think I would have thought that I would stop losing weight around a Size 10. And that would have *THRILLED* me! I remember the day I got to dig out my Size 10 clothes in the basement. I was so happy as I tried all those clothes on, and I twirled around my bedroom like a ballarina.  Today I’m a Size 4?! For real?! I’ve never been a size 4 in my life, not even in high school or middle school. I’m beyond ecstatic!! Is this really me?

While I was running errands, I stopped at a book store to pick up the next two books in the Diana Gabaldon series, plus two other books: Ender’s Game and Anne of Green Gables. Our neighbors have three kids, and when we were doing our random act of kindness, we discovered that the kids are in various stages of “discovering books.”  The littlest, a girl named MacKenzie, is red haired and incredibly sweet. I wanted to buy her a copy of Anne of Green Gables because I think she could relate to it very much. I remember that book gave me wistful daydreams for years after I read it! (I want to watch the PBS mini series with her when she’s done with it!) The eldest boy is a little leary of books. He is pressured into sports a great deal, but he recently read a book and said, “Boy, that was really good.” My hubby thought he would enjoy Ender’s Game, so I bought it for him. I hope both kids like the books!

Then I went to the grocery store and got a bunch of great loot!

Then I came home and discovered THIS!

Damn cat.

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Wedding #2 Pictures

by Christine on August 21st, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I don’t ever want to be THIS person ever again. I look at these pictures and see someone so sad. (Pictures from 2008, just prior to surgery, which was February 2009)

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Saturday Excitement!

by Christine on August 21st, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Happy Saturday Morning Revolutionists!!

I am thrilled that the scale this morning is holding steady at 137.4.  It’s been awfully good to me considering I had a few slipups this week. Thank you body. I’m grateful to you (for once!)!

Last night we went over to my hubby’s game-playing friend’s house where they were having a “reunion” or sorts. All the friends were there, along with their girlfriends and fiancees. It was a really nice gathering. Do you guys watch the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” Well, first of all, I’m married to Sheldon. (Well, Sheldon, except with a very sweet outgoing personality. But the always-right, type A personality is dead on!) Imagine going to a party with the whole Big Bang Theory cast! That’s what it was like! I stepped into the bathroom at one point and had a two-minute giggle fit over it at one point.

It was going to be a late night, I could tell. (Hubby didn’t get home until 2 a.m.)  I said, “Self, you can either stay here all night long and play board games with them. **OR** you can go home now — 11 p.m. — and get a decent night’s sleep AND get up early in the morning to go to the gym.”  I decided that the gym was far more important to me. So I bid everyone adieu and went home and went to bed. (Hubby caught a ride home with a friend.)

What a great decision! I woke up at 7:30 this morning and got a great workout in, not a rushed workout or anything like that.  400 calories burned, 200 situps, good good.

Today we have a wedding and reception to attend. Then the last symphony performance. Then a late night of bar-hopping. It’s going to be a challenge to eat well and not overdo the drinking, but I’m feeling strong and confident. I’ve got this, today!

Have a great Saturday everyone! Be strong and make good choices!

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Twelve Step Program (Overeaters Anonymous)

by Christine on August 20th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Thank you everyone for your insightful comments on my post yesterday. Who would have guessed that a post about sex would bring out so many comments? Ha! I have some follow-up thoughts and comments about the sex-topic, but I think those will wait for another day.  I will say this: you are all absolutely right that talking about it with my husband is the mature thing to do! Oh, we’ve had PLENTY of talks about sex; however, now that I think about it, it’s been a while since we talked about it. I think this weekend I’ll broach the topic and see how he’s feeling, just to make sure that we’re on the same page.

Yesterday I got bad news: one of the two jobs I’m applying for sent me an email that I was not selected as a candidate. It really got me down because I was actually really excited about the possibility of that job! Immediately after receiving the email, my urge was once again to dive into a pile of chocolate and a pint of beer.  I keep telling myself that it’s “their loss” and that “this didn’t work out for some divine reason,” but I’ll be damned if I can really believe that in my heart. I have an interview with Job #2 next week, the government job. They’ve called me several times to re-arrange the interview time, and they finally asked if I would like to forgo the formal interview with an informal interview over lunch. Hell yes I would, but then I realized: holy crap! I’ve got a lapband! I can’t exactly jump up and run to the bathroom to have a puke session if something gets stuck, eh? I’ll definitely stick to a “safe” food — soup and salad. No meat or pasta for me. I’m not too stressed out about eating at the interview. This is something that I’ve already worked out over the course of time. It would have me really freaked out if it were happening a year ago!

After the bad news yesterday, I had to run after work to meet my friends for a drink at Chilis. Stacy is getting married this weekend, and she had a total meltdown this week. Poor thing! She’s a bundle of stress and nerves. Her fiance’s bachelor party was a wreck, and the bachelor took it out on Stacy, and she melted down, left the house, and didn’t come home! Yikes! They’ve talked since, worked it out (their communication really sucks) and they’re going through with the wedding, but I suspect that Stacy is so stressed out that she’s just praying for the event to be over at this point.  Yesterday my job was to listen to her, gush a lot, and try to get her excited and happy about her big day! Saturday is the wedding; I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures!

So I arrive at Chilis. I get a Blue Moon, and of course it’s 2-for-one, so they bring me two. I drink both beers, naturally. When Stacy and Danielle arrived, they wanted an appetizer. So they ordered chips & salsa, chips & queso, and fries covered in cheese. SeriouslyI dived into that Queso like it was a freaking swimming pool. Yes, I did.  Beer and queso. Really Christine?

We were then supposed to go to the orchestra in the evening, but hubby had to work late. So I went home filled with the urge to eat more crap food. Instead I threw gym clothes on and went to the gym. A SUPER easy workout. I felt disgusting and nauseous as it was; it was way more important that I just get out of the house. I sat on the stationary bike for an hour and a half and read my bike. I don’t know how many calories I burned and I don’t care. I wasn’t home; I didn’t eat. That’s what matters.

I’m disturbed that I keep having the reaction to stress to medicate with food. Oh, I’ve gotten pretty good at distracting myself (eating tunafish instead; having a chocolate protein shake that won’t break the calorie bank; going to the gym;  and so on). But I’m increasingly aware that I’m not solving the knee-jerk reaction. I’m not solving the underlying problem, only putting temporary band-aids on the wounds, if you will.

After my last emotional want-to-binge session the other day, I was telling my friend about my urge for chocolate and beer. He has a friend that recently went through Alcoholics Anonymous, and he thought the friend might be able to offer some advice. Here is what the friend-of-a-friend had to say:

On the compulsion/addiction thing, any 12-step book will work and I am sure Over-eaters anonymous has one.  I would highly recommend her going to some meetings.  The twelve steps are a means of cleaning up and letting go of all the crap we hols on to, mostly resentments, fears, anger, etc.  I guarantee that if someone works the steps seriously their life will improve immensely.  It doesn’t matter what the substance is, that is just the way we deal with the crap inside.  Step 4 is an inventory of all our resentments, just listing them is an amazing way to purge and in doing so you actually loose some of them.  Then you focus on looking at your own part of each resentmnet and owning it.  When you can do this, the resentment goes away. and you are on the road to recovery.  Find a step program for eating and listen and do what they say even if you think its bullshit.  In time she will loose that feeling as see she’s her own progress.  I wish her well and am sending love and compassion for her work ahead.  It is the best thing I ever did and my life, even with all the crap, is better than it ever was vefore.

I think I will look online to see if there are any resources out there (perhaps from Overeaters Anonymous) for someone dealing with the struggles like I am.  I may also look into attending a local OA group. I know there are MANY OA groups around here. The question is whether I think the group can really help and if I have the courage to go to a meeting.

FYI, here are the 12 OA steps:

The Twelve Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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The Band and Sex (Plus date night recap)

by Christine on August 19th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Date night

Date night was a blast! Unfortunately this is a very busy time of year for my hubby at work, and I think he was preoccupied with what was going on at the office. It took him a while to snap out of it, but eventually he did and we had a great time! For some reason we always take my car everywhere we go, even though hubby drives a very cute Honda S2000 convertible. I asked if we could take the convertible, and I went “WEEEEE!” and threw my hands up in the air! I think hubby takes the convertible for granted a lot of times, and yesterday my enjoyment of the car ride was a little fun, silly, and contageious for him! He revved his engine and ZOOOOM!!!!! The pickup on that car is awesome! It’s a stick shift, you know.  I’ve been learning how to drive stick shift in that car, but I’m uncomfortable with it (I just don’t do it often enough to develop a comfort level) so I never drive it myself. Too bad, it’s a fun car! Zoom!


We went out to eat and chatted about work and current events and the books we’re reading, etc. My hubby is extraordinarily smart — the smartest person I’ve ever known, and I’m friends with ivy league professors and rocket scientists and whatnot — and he’s keenly funny too. Having a conversation with him is always fun! I think that’s one of the reasons why I married him, because I knew that when we got old and only had ourselves, he’d always keep me company and keep me amused. We get along wonderfully, like two peas in a pod.

We went to see the Expendables at the Bow Tie theater in Schenectady. Now, Schenectady is an interesting place. In the 1800s, Schenectady was ruled by General Electric. GE employed something like 80% of the city, took extremely good care of the city. The homes and the architecture in the city is really breathtakingly gorgeous! But then GE went bust and lost three quarters of its work force (in the 1950s?), and Schenectady became a total craphole.  The buildings have falling into disuse, the crime is high, the taxes are ridiculous, the schools are some of the worst in the state, the city politicians are horribly corrupt, etc. Everywhere you turn, you can see signs of the prosperous days, but even the beautiful areas are surrounded by decay. It’s a sad sight indeed.  Recently, Schenectady is working hard to make a comeback. Its theater downtown (Proctors) is the nicest in the upstate NY area; based on Proctors as a central point, the city is revitalizing the downtown little by little. They are doing a great job, but sooooo much more needs to be done. The movie theater is one of the nice, new elements of the downtown. Hubby and I go out of our way to go to that theater as a way of promoting Schenectady’s economic development.

Despite an all-star cast, The Expendables was really not a good movie at all! It was amusing — the script was tolerable — and the action was well-choreographed.  That being said, the acting was surprisingly bad, and the script was extremely formulaic. I gave it a 5 out of 10.  It was fun to go to and had a lot of potential, but in the end it was hardly a movie that will pass the test of time.  It was worth it just to spend time with my hubby.

Food

My food yesterday left a little to be desired. I brought in some bean dip that I made the other day, which I had as a snack. Mmmm, perhaps I should have had it as a meal instead; there was enough of it. For our date night we went to a pub restaurant, and hubby recommended the hamburger, so I ordered a cheeseburger (no bun). I got a side salad instead of french fries, and I ordered a Blue Moon but only had about a quarter of it…the bubbles weren’t going down easily after eating all that burger! Burp.

At the movie theater hubby got a HUGE popcorn, and I got a diet coke that was larger than my head! Massive! I had about four handfuls of popcorn…but popcorn isn’t my downfall, so it was easy to stop eating after a little taste. Candy is my downfall, but I said no to the movie theater candy. Eating candy at the movies is especially dangerous because you can really lose track of how much you’re eating.

In all, my daily tally came to 1100 calories! oh dear, that’s much too high.  I must do much better today to make up for the splurge yesterday.

Sex and the Band

I know, this is the part that you all really wanted to talk about, right?  Dirty pervs, Revolutionists! Shame! This is only part of the my story, but forgive me for not being 100% forthcoming. I’ll share as much as I can…

When I was 225 pounds, I had a raging sex drive. The hormones were pumping, and I wanted it all the freaking time. Unfortunately my hubby has a nonexistant sex drive, so the disparity was oftentimes problematic. I  interpreted his lack of the horny-gene to mean that he was not attracted to me, no doubt because I was so fat.  I have to admit, this was a large reason why I was so desperate and intent on getting the gastric banding surgery. I wanted to lose weight, be pretty again, and have my husband find me sexy!

I had the surgery, and when I started losing weight, maybe around 175 pounds or so, something weird happened. My own sex drive came to a screeching halt.  I never really understood the stories about women that “never wanted it” because I wanted it, all the time, for as long as I could remember. This came as a very strange feeling to me, to be completely, “yeah, whatever, really, I think I’d rather sleep” when it comes to sex.

As I’ve lost weight, my hubby has been very complimentary about my weight loss. I realize that he does recognize that I’ve lost nearly 90 pounds, that I have a lot more confidence and a lot more energy. I think he does, in a way, find that confidence sexy. But, my hubby’s own sex drive hasn’t changed any.  He’s still perfectly okay to go vast periods of time with nothing. Once or twice, in the last year, he’s approached me (unheard of!) for a little nookie time, but I’ve been lackadaisical about it, and that not only shocked him but hurt his feelings too.  For once, the tables were turned and I think he got a little taste of how his refusals felt to me. I’m not justifying the two  “refusals” that I did to him — it’s not nice, I DO know how it feels, and I should have known better. But for the most part, we’ve settled into a routine that works for us and in a lot of ways, the surgery has helped to balance out a disparity between us and actually solve this problem for us.

So that’s a little background info, but all this leads me to a ton of questions:

First, I’m curious about why the “horny factor” dropped so significantly for me when I started to lose weight. Is this common for other people who have lost a lot of weight? Is the weight/hormone correlation the same for women and men?  Dr. F, perhaps you can answer this question from a strictly medical point of view?

Second, I want to bring up something that a lot of surgeons don’t address with their weight loss surgery patients. Did you know that a huge number of WLS patients end up getting divorced? The number is astoundingly high — 40-60%, I think. I think the reason for the divorce can be caused by a number of things, such as: an increase in self-confidence doesn’t work within a marriage that is based on a domination/submissive relationship. (My surgeon says this is most often the problem that he sees.) Also, if there are pre-existing problems in the marriage, then a person who has lost a lot of weight will feel more confident (and sexier) and look for a supportive person outside…and take on a lover.  Also,changes in hormones, such as what happened with me, can cause major issues when the sex life changes and both partners are not “on board” with the changes.

To me, this just shows that neither surgery nor weight loss is not a cure-all. We’ve all been saying that in order to be really effective at losing weight, you need to deal with a lot of emotional problems and baggage, and I think that’s also true in considering the marriage. If your marriage has problems currently and you somehow expect that weight loss will solve that problem, then the weight loss is not going to work. In fact, the marriage problems are most likely going to escalate.  It’s important that you work on these background problems either before or concurrently with your weight loss.

Thirdly, there’s the question of “feeling sexy.”  When I was fat, I felt extremely ugly, worthless, unworthy of being loved.  Now that I’ve lost a ton of weight, I feel much sexier, like I might almost, maybe be pretty, and I have a lot more confidence. All of that is great, but there’s still a part of me that is constantly looking for affirmation from others, especially from my hubby. If I’m being honest, I would say, “If my hubby doesn’t find me more attractive now, then I’m not sure that this whole process was really worth it in the end.” That doesn’t seem like a healthy mindset to me, but there you have it. I think that’s unfair pressure to place on your spouse (or anyone), but that’s how I feel.  I feel like I need to be validated by him, almost like I need his endorsement, “yes honey, you look good; you can feel good about yourself now.” Again, that’s not fair to place on him.

I know my hubby thinks I look better these days because he’s told me so. Even still, I find his lack of sexual attention to be upsetting and unnerving — even if I don’t necessarily want to have sex myself!  It’s like I need him to desire me sexually in order to feel sexy, which is unfair to him as well.  Where did this need even come from?

So what’s my question here? Umm…what’s “fair” to expect of your husband/wife when losing weight? Is it fair to expect them to want you more, now that you’re looking better? Is it fair to give them the power to make you feel good or feel bad about your weight loss? Is it fair to expect them to support your weight loss at all? Is it fair to want them to lose weight along with you? Is it fair to have expectations sexually of him or her that he/she may not be on board with?

I’m extremely fortunate to have a wonderful husband that is wholly supportive of me, and who I know loves me very much.  We may not be, ahem, the most active couple around, but at least for now, we’re pretty much on the same page with that.  And that’s good. I believe both of us are happy with where we are at in our relationship right now.

Do you guys discuss sex as it relates to your weight loss with your spouses? How are your relationships as you are losing weight?  Do you find that you get along better or worse now that you’ve lost weight?

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