Had a “huh” moment.

by Christine on August 23rd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday hubby and I went out for drinks & dinner with my friend Billi and her soon-to-be husband Michael. Billi mentioned something about my weight loss and that someone mentioned & noticed how much weight I had lost. (Yay, that’s so nice to hear! Thank you!)

But then she mentioned something about me needing to be done now, and I just kind of blurted out, I’d like to lose another 20 pounds. She looked at me like I was growing horns out of my ears or something.

“WHAT?” she asked me. “No way!”

What do you mean no way? I’m about 7 pounds up from my goal weight, so that is nearly half the weight right there.  And at 5’2 and 132 pounds I have a BMI of 24 pounds. Which is, yes, in that ideal healthy range, but only a  mere 2 BMI points away from being in the “Overweight” category. I’m on the cusp. It seems to me that a more reasonable place to be is right in the middle of “healthy,” which is a BMI of 21.5, which means I need to weigh…that’s right….117 pounds.  That’s about 15 pounds away from where I am right now.

Okay, so I modify my statement from yesterday. I guess I want to lose 15 pounds.

But does that make me a freak? Like, does that deserve a reaction like I’m growing horns? I don’t think so, but maybe it’s my eating disorderly past speaking up in my ear.

Or maybe it’s because I was so recently Obese…perhaps if a healthy woman who has been at a healthy 130 pounds all her life said that she wanted to lose a few pounds, maybe that would be acceptable, but for someone to have recently lost 100 pounds…now THAT is unreasonable to want a little more?

I’m not really sure. There seems to be a dichotomy about expectations floating around there, and I find it really weird.

Not that it really matters all that much. All that really matters is what I want; everyone else’s opinions are really kind of pointless in this matter. Except maybe my doctor, who gets to decide if I get a fill or not. His opinion matters, I suppose.

I’m leaving for a little trip tomorrow. I’m going to see my parents for the first time all year! I’m packing 3 pairs of workout clothes. Either I will go to their beautiful fitness club, I’ll play tennis, I’ll swim, I’ll go for a bike ride…no matter what, I want to stay active! I’m really looking forward to it!

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Celebrating my GW in Las Vegas!

by Christine on June 2nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

My goal for reaching my Goal Weight (GW) was to go to Las Vegas, and last weekend I finally made it happen!

Our reasons for going to Vegas were two-fold. While I was celebrating reaching my GW, my husband was attending a bachelor party for a friend of his. “A bachelor party in Las Vegas?” you might comment. “Oh my, that sounds like The Hangover, doesn’t it?”

Indeed it does, and while all the boys in the group enjoyed themselves with four days of carousing in the City of Sin, I didn’t have to bail anyone out of jail. I think they had a pretty fun and successful party.

The first night in Vegas was really the only night that my hubby was going to be around, so I got dressed up in my “holy smokes this dress is far too tight and short for what I am used to!” special occasion dress. Wearing the dress was more about actually having the courage to break out of my comfort zone than it did about wanting to look like a hottie. Hells bells, I’m 34 years old and am in no way going to compete with the droves of 18 year old girls wearing next to nothing on the sidewalks and near the pool. No, it wasn’t about trying to catch attention or to try to compete. It was all about celebrating, getting out of my comfort zone, and wrapping my head around my own weight-loss.

Mostly we just walked around. I gambled away about $100 in the slot machines, but boy that money went really fast!! The machines weren’t even trying to tease me or throw me a bone. Nope, they just sucked my wallet dry. After 2 days of that, I said, “Screw this!” and decided to spend my money on clothes, alcohol, and show tickets.

Hubby soon left me for his own parties, so I was on my own. The second night in Vegas I saw “Love,” the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show. I have been wanting to see that show for years now! While I’m glad I went, and the soundtrack to the show it brilliant, the performance itself really didn’t live up to my expectations. It was enjoyable (I particularly enjoyed the rollerbladers. Hello Starlight Express anyone?) and I had a fun time!

I spent a lot of time at the hotel (Paris) pool. It was actually a lovely pool! 3.5 feet deep throughout the whole thing, and really big. No worries about getting splashed by rambunctious children (who brings their kid to Vegas anyway???) and plenty of chairs for sun-tanning. Best part? it was free with the price of the room! Woohoo!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Cesar’s one night. I sat in a lounge reading a book and people-watching for about 3 hours. What a riot to watch the people go by! I saw 4 weddings pass by. You’d think that being a single woman sitting by herself in a lounge in Las Vegas would be akin to walking around with a target on your back.  But surprisingly, no! I was utterly invisible and went days without having a conversation with anyone. It was a bit lonely and quiet, but it was also incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating!

One night I went over to the Bellagio to the Craps tables to try to learn how to play the game. That was the only real time I chatted with anyone. The pit boss spent lots of time explaining the game to me, and I chatted up an older gentleman that was a former DOT employee in Wisconsin–lots to chat about! I like to think I was a lucky charm for him, because when I finally walked away he was up several thousand dollars. Go Bob from Milwaukee!

Now what was my husband up to this whole time, you might ask? Well, his friend that was getting married is a TV show producer in Hollywood, so he and his friend called in some favors. The first night they went to some real new and trendy dance club. Hubby isn’t a drinker, but that night he decided he was going to get himself good and trashed. He said that he saw one of the Kardashians (Kim or Kourtney?) hanging out, so he went up to her and asked her to dance, and she agreed! They saw Nelly (or was it Usher?) there, too, and hubby chatted him up too.

The second night one of the main actors in the tv show called in a favor and got the boys into the VIP section of a strip club. How I think they got the tickets–one of the lead actresses in the tv show is one of those mostly-naked girls posing on the wallet-sized hand-outs they pass out on the street. She’s one of the poster-children for the strip club, so I think that’s where the favor came from ultimately. (She’s not a stripper herself, just the face of the strip club apparently.) Man, what an expensive place that was! Hubby said a bottle of Grey Goose was $1100, and they had several bottles of alcohol flowing. Girlsgirlsgirls all night long.  Must have been fun, but I didn’t really ask too many questions. I didn’t really want to know.

As for food, I barely ate at all, all weekend long! In fact, when hubby went off to do his thing, I think I went two days without eating more than a bowl of soup. That wasn’t my intention and wasn’t really smart, but I didn’t want to sit down for a fancy meal on my own, and all the reasonably-priced eating establishments were crowded nonstop. The crowds were really bad, actually, and I found myself seeking the comfort of the hotel pool instead of facing the crowds on the street. I did get a LOT of walking in–miles and miles every day! I took the stairs everywhere (except at the hotel) instead of the escalators. I came home weighing 3 pounds less than when I went.

Other than a little snafu with traveling on the way home (oops, I booked our tickets for the wrong day!) it was a smooth and easy vacation. It might take a while to recover from the expense of the weekend, but it was worth it to celebrate my GW Victory in style! Woohoo!!

After all, losing 102 pounds is nothing to scoff at! In fact, had I been on Biggest Loser this season, I would have come in 2nd place when it comes to body fat % lost! Not bad!

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What to do with my dislocated port? More options!

by Christine on March 5th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Yesterday I had a meeting with my gastric banding surgeon, Doctor P. It was a great meeting!

First, I gave him that Thank You card that I made, and I think he liked it. (I think it flustered him a bit!) I am extremely grateful for Doctor P’s help in getting me to a healthy weight for the first time in my life. I tried so hard to lose weight the normal way (aka: eat right, eat less, exercise more) with continual non-success. I really believe I could not have lost the weight if not for the surgery and thus Doctor P’s help. I am very grateful. Very.

Doctor P

Me with Doctor P!

Then I asked Doctor P for a little fill…just a tiny little one. He obliged my request but not without a long lecture about “Maintenance Mode” and the danger of following a number on the scale too closely. Doctor P recommended using the number on the scale as a general guideline: if the number increases, rather than running for a fill every time, I should ask myself, “Why did that number go up?” and then reverse whatever it is that I did.  Still, he gave me less than 0.25 ccs in my band (I apparently have something like 8.5 ccs in my band, for those that care) but man, I sure can feel it! It’s very tight, but it feels good. I will have to remember to chew my food really well for the next few weeks.

Doctor P asked me if I would mind getting in touch with their patient manager, perhaps to be used as a “successful patient” case to show off. I was flattered!  Then his assistant Kim, who is awesome and totally sweet, asked if I would mind coming to a few support group meetings to answer questions and talk a bit about my own experience. I can’t wait to do this!  Again, I was flattered that they would want me to participate.

Lastly, Doctor P and I had a little conversation about my protruding, dislocated port site. (My original post about my port site, from May 2010, is here, with photos.)  For those unfamiliar with the components of the surgery, a description + photos of the port can be found here. The last time we met, Doctor P seemed to recommend taking the port off entirely and putting a plug into the end of the hose. (read about that post here.)  That means that anytime I wanted a fill or unfill, they would actually have to make an incision into my skin in order to find the end of the hose, which would understandably be a big to-do. However, I’m very uncomfortable with that scenario; after all, I went in yesterday for a small fill. I had this HUGE surgery because I liked the idea of having a way to keep my weight in check, forever. I fully intend to use the gastric band in order to maintain my weight, and if you take the port off, that takes away my control over my body, my band’s control over my weight. No, I don’t like that option at all.

Well, Doctor P threw three more options at me. Before I get into it, here are a few photos of the abdominal muscles.

Option 1: Re-attach the port site to the outside of the abdominal wall, as it was supposed to be originally. The good side of this is that it’s the least invasive and probably the easiest surgery to achieve.  The downside is: (1) if the port came off once, it might come off again, and (2) even though the Realize Band has the thinnest port of all the gastric banding brands (it’s nearly twice as thin as the Lap Band port!), it will still be seen under the skin. Doctor P was still concerned about it eroding through my skin, since I don’t have a huge layer of fat under my skin to protect it from popping through.

Option2: Attach the port UNDER my abs. He said that has performed this version four times in the past: all four times have been with male patients. He said that men typically carry their fat UNDER their abs, whereas women typically carry it between the abs and skin. Therefore, he put the port under the abdominal wall because it would be less likely to be noticed and wouldn’t erode through the skin. However, he said in two of those four cases he ended up having to do another surgery and move the port to above the abdomen. The reason for that is because (1) the abominal tissue is extremely tough and tends to clog up the needle used to inject saline into the port, and (2) the abs scar pretty badly, making it really tough to poke through. I have to imagine that finding the port would also be hard, so it would end up being a lot of poking & jabbing with the needle until you found the right spot. That sounds hugely painful, doesn’t it?  I am not sure that I like Option 2 at all. It freaks me out!

Option 3: Doctor P thinks it would be possible to cut a small hole into the abdominal muscle and actually EMBED the port into my abs. That way it would still be easily accessible from the outside, but it would be more flush with the skin and not noticeable. It would not cause erosion through the skin this way. My surgeon has never personally done this before, and he said he would call around to other surgeons to see if they have heard of doing such a thing. I like this option a lot, but I have concerns about whether this will limit my range of movement & muscle capability in my abs (Doctor P says it wouldn’t but how could it NOT?) plus I’m concerned about how painful that surgery must me and the healing time to go with it. Still, I think I like Option 3 best, in addition with Option 1 (which I agree is perhaps not the best long-term solution).

So I have three options on the table. Which one makes the most sense to you? Which would you choose?

I have another appointment with another surgeon next week, so I’ll get someone else’s opinion at that time.  It seems like a big enough decision and a big enough surgery that I wouldn’t mind getting another opinion about my options. This is by no means a reflection of Doctor P, though.  He’s been nothing but totally awesome through this whole process, and I really appreciated him giving me more options yesterday.  He has given me personal attention and personal care through the whole process (he even does my fills himself, rather than having an assistant do it), which is definitely something unique to my gastric banding experience.

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More VICTORY pictures!!!

by Christine on December 18th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

I woke up and weighed myself first thing. I saw 124.6 on the scale. I’ve lost 100.4 pounds (I’ll round up and say 101 pounds.)

I promptly took a shower and had a nice long cry. Lots of emotions floating around in there….

I decided I would actually do my hair and makeup and try to look decent for the big day.

I went out to run some errands.I wanted a cup of coffee, so I stopped at McDonalds and got myself a free Mocha with a coupon.

I wanted to try on some dresses, so I played dress-up at JC Penny. (I bought a pair of blue jeans, on sale. They were a size 4 because apparently JC Penny doesn’t sell sizes lower than 4. I think a size 2 would have fit better.) These dresses were size 2s.

It was after lunch, and I was hungry. I decided to go to Wendy’s for a cheeseburger. I hadn’t had a cheeseburger since August!  I ended up eating about 1/3 of it.

I came home and put together that snazzy, silly video I posted the other day. Scroll down to watch it!

Then I went out to pub trivia with hubby & friends. Up to this point I hadn’t told anyone that I had met my goal weight. So, for our trivia name I chose “I lost 101 pounds today!”  When the Trivia DJ announced our team name at halftime, Hubby said, “Hey, congrats!” but then immediately went back to his conversation about computers or whatever.

I felt very dejected. Unimportant. Like my achievement meant nothing to my friends or family. I was very upset. I still am.

I had dinner at the pub and had a small cup of creamy mushroom soup, very very salty. And a diet coke.

When we came home hubby and I went into our hot tub and I told him that I was feeling sad and dejected. He was sad for me, and since then he’s made a better attempt to say “congrats” to me.

And that was pretty much it. My big Victory day.  Having such supportive messages to my post the other day meant A LOT to me. It’s really weird and horrible that my friends and family have been like “whatever” to my victory. I think I was expecting a reception akin to The Biggest Loser finale…you know, the contestants come home, and all their friends and family are there to pat them on the back and say “wow” and “we’re so proud of you.” Yeah, none of that for me. I shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of reaction, but it still hurts my feelings. It reinforces that I’m doing this for ME, not for anyone else.

My goal for reaching my ultimate goal was a trip to Vegas, which I will do, but later when I start my job and have more money. So, as a consolation prize, yesterday I went to the local casino (there’s one up in Saratoga) and I pissed away $20, then went out for some drinks with a new girlfriend. It was fun to go out, and I felt a little better about my victory.

It just didn’t play out the way I wanted it to or expected it to, you know?

This morning I weighed in at 124.0.

I’m going to have to wrap my head around this idea of “maintenance,” now.  That is going to be quite a challenge for me; I’ve been trying to lose weight for so many years, it’s all I know how to approach my self-image and relationship with food.

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A little confession + Half marathon training day

by Christine on November 30th, 2010

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

Okay I have a tiny little confession to make.

This morning I found the scale (that hubby hid on me) and weighed myself. I was at 127.2, which was disappointing because I thought perhaps I was at my goal weight already (125). DANG!

But this is not the end of the world. I have two pounds to lose in two weeks. I KNOW I can do this.

So what has prevented me from being at my goal weight already? I think it can all be boiled down to one major thing: Sugar.  I’ve been on a chocolate kick lately, and I have been eating a little chocolate every night before going to bed. Don’t get  me wrong, I only eat a TINY little bit, so I’m not doing any major damage to my lifestyle. That being said, I think the extra calories aren’t doing me any favors. Plus, there is no reason why I have a “treat” every day. Every 2-3 days would be perfectly sufficient.

December 12th is my OFFICIAL weigh-in, when I am hoping to be at my final goal weight. That gives me about two weeks to really buckle down and pay attention. My plan is this:

(1) Count calories every day. I do this already–I’ve been doing it for so long I’m not sure that I could actually stop doing it at this point. But I know that I haven’t been entirely honest with my calorie-counting either, such as the little chocolate nibbles at night (approx. 50 calories worth) and a little sugar in my coffee (30 calories or thereabouts). Those little cheats throughout the day really add up. So for the next two weeks I’m going to count it all and be very strict with myself.

(2) Stop all the excess sugar already. No more chocolate at night. No more sugar in my coffee. No more nibbles here-and-there. I’m stopping it all for the next two weeks. Oh, I’m going to go through some major sugar withdrawl. Hell, I know I’m a sugar junkie; I’m not going to lie to you or to myself. But I’m going to do my best to stop it.  Instead, if I get a chocolate or sugar craving, I’m going to eat some protein: almonds and tuna fish, primarily.  I will also feel free to consume fatty foods (cheese, cream, butter, etc) but in moderation of course; I have a calorie limit to maintain, after all, and high-fat foods will make me reach my maximum calorie limit early. No, I mean to limit those high-fat foods, but I’m still going to eat them. They are, after all, very good for you in limited quantities.

That’s it. Two steps. I know that if I can stop with the sugar, then I will be able to meet my goal weight easily. Today I have already begun, and it’s been a good day!

This morning I went to the gym for my Last Chance Workout before THIS SUNDAY’S HALF MARATHON DAY!  I am very excited about this! I already have a list put together of items I don’t want to forget to bring with me (extra water bottle, extra pair of socks, pen and pencil, etc.).  Today’s gym day was heavy on weights, and I really wrecked myself on a few machines! It felt great, and I expect that I will be very sore tomorrow. I finished up with 2 miles on the treadmill, a very light cardio day considering I’m going to be going 13.1 miles on Sunday!  I am going to be supported by:

Thank you, all four, who are helping to motivate, inspire, and encourage me! I am going to tape a notecard with your names on my treadmill so when my brain wants to quit on me on Sunday, I will look at that card and remember you four who are going to be working out the same day as me! WE CAN DO THIS! If anyone else is interested in participating by jogging a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon, let me know!!  The goal is to push yourself to the next level, so do whatever works best for you.

I have two people who are going to be at the gym with me to help support me in-person, too: my hubby and my friend Peter. They have offered to come by for an hour or so and jog along with me, so I won’t be alone for the duration of my half-marathon. That’s so nice of them!! I need all the support I can get.

Allan, from Almost Gastric Bypass, is also helping me out. I’ve been searching everywhere for the gatorade gel stuff that helps fuel you during your workout. I’m concerned that I might get dizzy during the half-marathon (because I eat so little), so I’ve been trying to find those gels to keep my body fueled up. I can’t find them anywhere, but Allan is a sweetheart and agreed to send me a few. THANK YOU!!!

I also hope that getting this half-marathon behind me will help push my body over the edge so that I am at my goal weight on the 12th! Now, remember that exercise will not magically burn those “bad calories” you are munching on, but every little bit of exercise helps you be fit and healthy!

Okay I’m going to wrap up this up with a few pictures our Christmas Tree Decorating this past weekend!

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