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.


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!


Poker, Steelers, Pennsylvania, Engagements…

by Christine on November 7th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

What a busy weekend for me!

I took a half a day off work on Friday, and we drove 5 hours down into the heart of Amish Country in Pennsylvania to visit a family friend, Doug, (who is really like a little brother to me) who was having a wedding engagement party. I was totally looking forward to getting out of town for a little mini-vacation!

Friday we were unable to hook up with Doug and his fiancee for dinner, so hubby and I were on our own for our evening. First we went to the Lancaster Brewing Company for 2 pints of beer. The Strawberry Wheat was really delicious! Light on the berry flavors, but a really nice hint under the wheat flavor. Very nice.  Afterwards hubby and I went to the Texas Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner. I had some grilled shrimp and mashed potatoes. OMG, the mashed potatoes were incredibly delicious! No doubt because they were swimming in butter, but they were divine. It was a super nice treat to have something so rich and tasty!

Afterwards we were finally able to hook up with Doug and Julia. We went back to Doug’s apartment and played a board game (Settlers of Catan) and met his roommates. It was great to see where Doug lives and get a little taste of his every day life! Doug is the best, and Julia is the sweetest, prettiest, most gracious person ever!

We were finally able to check into our Bed and Breakfast around 1:30 a.m. What a long day! We stayed at the Historic Smithton Inn in Ephrata, and what a fantastic place! I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the general Lancaster area. Our room was enormous and quite cozy, and our B&B mistress Rebecca is the best breakfast cook I’ve ever met! And she’s so sweet and outgoing too.  She was incredibly accommodating with our weird schedule and hubby’s strange eating requirements.  The Smithton Inn is that kind of place that gives B&Bs the reputation of being a warm, charming, wonderful way to travel.

On Saturday morning Rebecca made us a delicious breakfast. I had some fresh fruit, apple cider, and some fresh blueberry french toast with homemade whipped cream on top. So yummy! Of course I couldn’t eat it all, but I savored every bite!

Rebecca recommended that we check out the little town Lititz if we were looking for something to do.  First we twisted pretzels at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory (tour costs $3). We walked and shopped for a while and bought some chocolate at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory. I picked up a few Xmas presents too! I attempted to have some chili for lunch, but it wasn’t going down very well, so I gave up after 2 or 3 bites.

Then we got a flat tire! Oh no! So the rest of our afternoon was consumed with calling AAA, getting a new tire, and killing time at the mall.

We rushed back to our B&B, showered, and hit the road to Harrisburg for the engagement party. It was wonderful! Catering, bartender with full bar (and a good wine selection too!), etc. It was fun representing Doug’s family for the evening!I nibbled on some of the catered treats, but I’m afraid all the salt from the Longhorn dinner had me restricted, so I confined myself to the wine for the night.

Sunday was another delicious breakfast at the B&B! This time it was a sausage, cheese, and onion fritata with more fresh fruit. Absolutely delicious!

We drove around for a while, checked out the river, and had a beer at the Bube Brewery, then hit the road for home.

But then the real fun began!

First, the damn Jets won. Seriously! What a tragedy!

But then the Steelers lost! We were ahead with 0:23 seconds to go and we LOST! How the hell does that happen? GET IT TOGETHER STEELERS! What a collosal failure.

But the real awesomeness was that my hubby’s friend Matt Giannetti was playing in the final event of the World Series of Poker.  We stayed up entirely too late to watch Matt G take home 4th place, which is some $3 million. He had a series of bad luck at the very end, but he played a really good, solid game throughout the tournament. It was fun to see our close friends in the crowd, along with Mr. & Mrs. G. (Mrs. G is the best home cook EVER, I swear!)  Congrats to Matt for a great run!

Weight this morning was 125.4, right on target, exactly on the goal weight. That’s great because it felt like I did nothing but eat and drink all weekend long, but it didn’t affect my weight. Hooray!


Pictures of my Caribbean Cruise!

by Christine on April 27th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Eating beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans! Yummy!!

On the cruise ship. That’s my cutie husband!

Chaccoben, Mayan ruins. Pretty awesome! My favorite part of the vacation!

The beach in Honduras


Emily’s trip to France

by Christine on April 26th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

If you’ve been following along, I have been showing some videos of my friend Emily’s weight loss journey via V-blog! Yesterday she shared this video show of her recent trip to France.

As for me, I just returned from a one-week cruise vacation. We left from New Orleans and our ports of call included Costa Maya, Belize City (Belize), Roatan (Honduras), and Cozumel (Mexico). I had a great time and will share pictures with you soon!

Eating healthfully on a cruise ship is a real challenge because you cannot custom-order your food anywhere. They make food en masse so you either get what they make or not.  I kept a careful eye on my portion control and tried my best to eat healthfully when possible, even though I indulged in quite a few beers. The outcome: my weight remained the same over vacation. Woohoo! I was at 127.0 when I returned, which is the same weight as when I left.

Getting a workout in while on vacation was much easier than I would have though. I did a lot of hiking on a Mayan ruins tour, did a lot of swimming on a snorkeling tour. I got a few workouts in at the gym on the ship. Plus, we took the stairs on the ship as often as possible. Our room was on the 4th floor, and most of the pools/restaurants/hangout spots were on the 11th and 12th floors. If you take the stairs several times a day, that adds up. Consequently, exercise = complete!

Photos to come!

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