2 Year Maintenance Anniversary

by Christine on December 28th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Hello Revolutionists! Is everyone enjoying this holiday season?

I realize that it has been a while since I’ve posted! The reason for this is mainly because I haven’t really had a lot to talk about with regards to my gastric band and weight loss. In fact, I seem to be holding steady with my weight loss and doing pretty well overall, which is great!

A few months ago (October/November) I started to notice a change in my eating patterns. First, I was eating a lot more quantity than I normally would, and the food wasn’t making me feel “full.” Secondly, I stopped snacking throughout the day and was relying only on 3 larger meals per day.  Thirdly, I was having less barfing episodes and blockage.

And…the scale was going up. Just a little bit, but enough to make me start to panic a little. (My “goal weight” is 125 pounds, and I was at about 133 pounds at this point.) So I made an appointment with my surgeon’s office and had a fill. It had been a year since my last fill, so he gave me about 1.0 ccs — a big fill!!

Although it’s not my “sweet spot” and where I want to be — I think I need another medium-sized adjustment to get there — it has made a big difference. I’m eating less, feeling fuller for longer.  And my weight has crept back down. I was at 127.0 this morning: right within my maintenance zone!

I still haven’t picked up my exercise the way that I should, but that’s not to say that I’ve been entirely sedentary. I’ve been doing a vigorous yoga class every Sunday morning. When I say “vigorous,” I mean, it’s a class designed for INSTRUCTORS of yoga, who know what they’re doing. We do crazy arm balances and contortions of the type that you see on magazine covers. It’s really hard, but really fun!

Other than yoga, I am not doing anything on a regular basis, but I keep busy with miscellaneous activities. This fall I was rollerblading and hiking a bit. This weekend I am going to start downhill skiing on a regular basis through the winter.

My weight has adjusted on my body; that is to say, my body shape is changing. My Size 4 pants are fitting a little tight on me…it seems that my hips and butt have taken on some weight. So it’s a Size 6 for me. I’m trying not to stress out about this because it’s not like the scale has dramatically gone up. I keep telling myself that it’s normal for my weight to re-position itself on my body after losing so much weight, like it needed a “settling in” period.  That being said, I feel like this is a less than optimal change.

And I’ve been busy with some trips this fall, too! I ran away to Jamaica for an overnight trip with a friend, I spent a weekend in San Antonio, I took the hubby to a relaxing weekend in Lake Placid, and we spent Thanksgiving in Atlantic City. We have a lot of exciting trips planned in the next few months as well: a ski trip, a weekend in Boston, a few weeks in the UK, etc. I can’t wait!

Here are some pictures of the last few months, to show that I’m still in my maintenance zone!

Last but not least…a friend of mine had the gastric sleeve surgery just a few days before Christmas! Good luck with your journey, Karen! I can’t wait to see your progress!

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Leaving for Europe!

by Christine on June 5th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Good morning Revolutionists!

Weight check-in: 128 pounds. Right where I want to be.
Band status: A little problematic
Exercise status: Doing well! Picking it up a bit!

Exciting news! Tomorrow I leave for a 10-day trip in Europe! Well, factoring in travel time, it will be a 14 day trip. I’m very excited and can’t wait to embark on this adventure! My itinerary is as follows:

* Fly to Copenhagen and spend 2 days with a friend there.
* Board a cruise ship. Head to Berlin, Germany.
* Tallinn, Estonia
* 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia
* Helsinki, Finland
* Stockholm, Sweden
* Back to Copenhagen
* 1 day layover in Iceland on the way home

I’ve been to Europe many times (I lived over there for a year, actually) and have been fortunate to do a lot of traveling, but I have never been to any of these countries before! I am very excited to explore new places and to see my dear friend in Copenhagen!

Even more importantly, I get to see where my family comes from. I am half Danish and half Russian (I’m actually first-generation American on my mother’s side), and getting to see where my people come from will be pretty awesome. Actually, getting to experience Russia with my mother will be a really momentous occasion. (Read more about why by reading this old post.) I’m looking for to it, for sure.

On the other hand, there are some things I’m really nervous about. For starters, I think any mother/daughter trip can be nervewracking. Why is it that mothers and daughters have the most complex relationships, involving so much baggage and competitiveness?  It’s very odd. I think any woman would be stressed to spend 10 days stuck on a ship with her mom, but considering that my mother and I don’t have a history of getting along well, it’s particularly anxiety-producing for me. I’m working hard at not dwelling on this negative associated with the trip (after all, where would dwelling on it get me, except to be over-sensitive?) but I feel my nerves tightening with each impending hour.

I’m also nervous for lots of gastric-band related reasons: What if I can’t find any food that I eat? What if I have to barf and I can’t find a bathroom? Will I overeat on the cruise and gain weight?

At any rate, it will be an interesting, epic trip! I can’t wait to start it!

As for my band, not all is well in paradise. For starters, it is way, way too tight. I can’t keep going at this rate, even though it’s been this tight for about 6 months now.  If I retain even a little bit of water, it’s so tight that even milk won’t go down.  No bueno.  I called my doctor’s office to get an un-fill, but the soonest they can get me in is a month from now (holy shit!) so I am stuck with a too-tight band for this vacation. I’m disheartened that my doctor’s office was not more flexible for me.

Secondly: I’ve been coughing at night a lot. Every night, actually. I wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling that something is caught in my throat. Cough-cough-cough. And, it sometimes escalates until (eeek, sorry this really TMI) I accidentally barf on myself in bed.

I don’t know what’s going on exactly–I haven’t talked to my surgeon about this. But I have a theory. I believe my upper stomach has either expanded or my band has slipped.  So my upper stomach has a bulge or a pooch…and food gets stuck in the bulge and irritates me at night. I don’t know what the fix for this would be. I’m hoping that merely loosening my band will solve this problem, but I’m worried that the solution will be a surgery to fix the placement of the band. That’s why I have been too chicken to make an appointment with my doctor. I’m not up for another surgery. I’m worried about what he says the problem is, and I’m worried about his solution for fixing the problem. Not to mention I don’t want to go through all the testing, the awful barium drink, the x-rays, etc. No, I’ll just get an un-fill and see if that fixes the problem first.

I’ll keep you posted, of course, about what’s happening in my band-land.

Thanks for reading, and check back in 2 weeks for pics of my vacation!

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Gastric Band and Belly Button Piercings (Navel Rings)

by Christine on April 9th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise, Gastric Banding Surgery

It turns out that getting a belly button ring affects the gastric band. I wouldn’t have guessed that, so it has been a bit of a learning experience for me.

Here are some pictures. Please note that I think my belly button ring is infected. It’s a little red, and it hurts pretty solidly when I bend over and whatnot. I believe this is affecting my band even more than normal.

The main difference is that my band is HELLA TIGHT since getting pierced. This is because the band is absorptive, and I’m most likely retaining water due to a small infection in the band. (Read more about the band being absorptive here.)  I can barely keep any food down…been barfing up nearly every meal I try to eat. Fortunately I can still sip liquids, so I’m holding out on getting an un-fill to see if this will pass.

The second way the piercing affects the band is because the piercing is located very close to my gastric banding port! I’m fortunate that my piercer didn’t actually puncture the port hose or anything like that (note to you: if you’re going to get a piercing, you may want to mention the port and hose to your piercer so you don’t get punctured!) but I realize now that it could have happened pretty easily. The hose comes very close to my belly button, and so when I bend over or move in a certain way, I can feel the hose rub against the piercing. No bueno, and I may have to lose the piercing because of it. I need to talk to my doctor about it.

Of course, none of this means that YOU will be so affected by your belly button ring, but you may want to give it another thought before rewarding yourself for your weight loss, like me!

Here are some pictures. I know, my belly is hideous, especially with those stretch marks. I don’t intend on SHOWING OFF the belly button ring–I got it more for myself, so I know it’s there, as a reward for losing 100 pounds. That being said, you can see a few things from this picture (ignore the stretch marks, please!):

  • You can see my stomach area since my port re-attachment surgery. You can see a little bump off to the side of my tummy where the port is, but it’s not TOO noticeable.
  • Surgery scars: you can see two or three of my surgery scars on my tummy. These don’t bother me at all, but they are there.

In other news, I’m finally getting some exercise again, now that the weather is turning warmer. This weekend I went hiking in the Berkshires. It’s a path that I’ve done before, and I previously deemed the trail to be “easy” but this time I declared it to be “moderate.” In fact, the hike kicked my ass and I was sore for a day afterwards! OY! Must exercise more!!

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Murder Mystery Weekend!

by Christine on October 31st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! I hope you all had a great weekend!

Before I launch into my adventures over the weekend, I thought I’d share a little bit about the gastric band. I’m constantly surprised at how quickly it can change from “just right” to “too tight.” Almost all week I have been doing fine eating; few “stuck” episodes, could eat my normal fare of food. In fact, on Friday I even had 2 bites of a sandwich (a real sandwich! with bread!) and not only was it utterly divine, but it went down with no problems at all.

Then WHAMMO, Sunday happened and I was choking on a glass of milk. I could barely get a thing down. Go figure.  Some days it’s good, and some days it’s a challenge. I don’t know what to expect today, but I almost always start my day off with some yogurt, so I can see how that goes…

But such is my everyday living with the band.  Even with its challenges, I still think that the band is completely worth it. I would choose these difficulties any day versus the alternative–being overweight and the challenges that brings. Skinny is worth it, trust me.

This past week I went away to a conference for work. There I ran into my former boss. He had the gastric banding surgery a year before me, and he’s really what motivated me to get my own surgery done. (Also, it helped, knowing that our company health insurance plan would cover the costs!)  My former boss was a really big guy…like 350 pounds perhaps, and he’s not particularly tall. I want to say he lost about 150 pounds with the gastric banding surgery.

Well, he’s gaining weight back, and it’s really noticeable. In fact, when we went out to dinner, I was watching him eat, and he was indulging in pastas, breads, and just his quantity of food was clearly more than he should be able to eat. When I spoke to him, his conversation completely centered around food…around the food his son’s restaurant serves, about food at a wedding he went to this past weekend, about a great new restaurant he and his wife found last week. Food food food.  I felt really sad talking to him. I hope that I don’t gain weight back like he has.

Fortunately, I’m solidly in my weight-maintenance range, and have been for the past 10 months. This morning I weighed myself, as I do every morning. I was 127.0, right on target for me.

This weekend was full of festivities! On Friday night I went out drinking with a friend. Boy, I really needed to cut loose a bit. I drank beyond “moderation” (and ate too little–a bad calorie swap, really) but I was astonished at how little it took to get me drunk. 3 years ago I would have had 5 cosmos and a few mixed drinks before getting tipsy. Nowadays it takes me 3 beers.  We bar-hopped around town (and I had a bite of his delicious sandwich, omg soooo good) and had a fun time getting out and about!

On Saturday our friend Art was celebrating his 40th birthday in style–he and his fiancee hosted a murder mystery party at Beardsley Castle. It was a fantastic time! It was a 1980’s high school reunion theme. We were given roles and scripts ahead of time, and I was supposed to play Cindy Crawfish (aka: Cindy Crawford), and I was told to dress sexy and flirt. Yikes! Sexy is out of my comfort zone. Librarian or nun, sure, I’ve got that covered, but sexy?  I did my best, and I guess I did well because I won the award for best actress for the day! I had fun playing the sexkitten, and I threw a couple of our guy friends off their kilter, which was absolutely hilarious!

I even had one guy tell Art afterwards that he thought I was hot! That’s a compliment I sure don’t hear every day!

After the party (which was a lunch party) we went over to a friend’s house to chill out, and then in the evening I joined two girlfriends for karaoke.

Yesterday I visited with my in-laws, and I bought a new ski jacket! My old ski jacket was a size XL and no longer really kept me warm because too much air got inside the jacket. The new ski jacket is a size small! (Actually, the sweater I wore for the murder mystery party was a size EXTRA SMALL, from NY&Co!) Non-scale victories that feel awesome!!

Have a happy Halloween everyone!

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Microbrew weekend

by Christine on October 17th, 2011

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

Good morning Revolutionists! Did everyone have a good weekend? I hope so! Mine was great, but not long enough. I could have used a lazy day to relax a bit! Friday night I did a little clothes shopping (apparently I’m still a Size 4, hooray!) and then I went to the “Racino” in Saratoga, which is a combination harness track and electronic slot machine facility. I love people-watching there! I lost about $10 over the course of about 3 hours (not bad), and I hit a really fun 50-free-spin game!  Everyone kept staring at me though; I felt really self-conscious. Did I have a booger hanging out of my nose? Toilet paper on my shoes? Weird. So I left and went home.

Tuesday I went to Peekskill, NY with a friend for a small brew festival. It was at the Peekskill Brewery, and they had several different breweries’ beer, some craft vendors, and some live music. We went to hear the Folkadelics play–what a great band! The beer was good, the price was good, the weather held out, and we made a few friends…a successful outing!

   

Beforehand we stopped for lunch at 12 Grapes.  I had a glass of Austrian wine (not good) and a crab cake (delicious). Unfortunately my band was giving me problems, so I ended up barfing up all the food.  Some days are good, some days are bad. Go figure.  On the way home we hit up a new brew pub in Catskill, NY call the Crossroads Brewery. Again…good beer, great venue, and a fun live band!  I would definitely stop by this brewery if I was going through the area again!

By the time I got home it was late, so I went to bed. I think we missed dinner….

Yesterday I went over to a friend’s house for a homemade card-making class, put on by a Stampin’ Up consultant. We made 20 homemade Christmas cards, and they turned out so cute! My friend had a great spread of food, and oh! The quiche! I had two slices! Piggy me! I was super hungry, which is no surprise after the day I had previously. I had lots of water, a few fresh veggies & dip, and a few crackers and cheese.  Super fun!

 

Scale today was 128.0. It’s a much-needed coffee kind of morning!

What did you guys all do this weekend?

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