Friends & Fun!

by Christine on February 7th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Well, my Steelers didn’t win, but that didn’t keep our group from having a good time.  People started trickling over around 4 pm to play some board games, then more came over when the game was supposed to begin. All in all we had close to 30 people at the house. I had some food put out, and some other people brought food, too. We had enough food to feed an army, and today I brought my leftover bean dip into work to give away. I did extremely well with my eating–I had a few scoops of bean dip on potato chips, 2 beers, and a couple (1 handful) of peanuts. All in all, not bad at all!

Despite my restraint, the scale is still up a teensy bit.  The top end of my “maintenance range” is 125 pounds, but I’ve been holding steady at 126 for over a week now. It’s one pound; it’s NOT a big deal. But it’s also time to cut a little something out to shave two pounds off. That’s what maintenance is all about, right? Keep your perspective, keep an eye on the weight, and just tweak your diet here and there so that the weight stays within range, right?

Hubby wants to start P90X sometime in the next few weeks. I fully support him doing this, but I told him that I haven’t the need, time, or energy to adhere to the diet and daily exercise plan. I will, however, support him any way that I can, including periodic exercises and cooking him whatever healthy meals that he needs.

Today starts a new, busy week for me! We are hosting another get-together at our house on Tuesday, three work-related luncheons, skiing on Saturday, and perhaps a spa (swimming & relaxing) on Sunday if I can make the reservations.  With these work luncheons, it is very important that I plan ahead and make smart choices! Salad (dressing on the side), soup, and fish dishes are my healthy fall-back plans.

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It’s colder than a…. (plus another fun weekend in Boston!)

by Christine on January 24th, 2011

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

I offer you my apologies, Revolutionists. It’s been a hectic 2 weeks in my life, with the new job, conference, MIT mystery hunt, and last weekend’s subsequent trip to Boston. Life isn’t likely to slow down anytime in the immediate future, but I will try to do better this week about updating my blog and keeping you all appraised of my goings-ons!

First things first: my weight. I rang in at 126.0, slightly higher than my wish-list. It could be post-partying bloat, could be real weight gain, could be period-bloat, I’m not sure. What I do know is that while I’m mostly in my maintenance range, I’m keeping a close eye on that number to see what’s going on with it. For the most part…so far so good.

This last weekend I went with some friends to Boston. A friend-of-a-friend was having a birthday party, and they wanted to celebrate by drinking like fishes, enjoying an expensive hotel, amazingly wonderful food, and dancing. I admit, I party-poopered out on the dancing. Although the exercise sounded like fun, the wall-to-wall crowds did not, so I bailed.

We stayed at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, which is an adaptive re-use of an historic jail. It’s truly a landmark building, and the preservation work on it was extraordinary! The rooms were comfortable, the view from the window was fantastic. However, at $450 a night (our rooms were paid for, a present from our friends) some of the services and attention to detail could have been better.

There’s a restaurant at the hotel called Scampo that is really top-notch! They make fresh mozarella cheese that was really divine, and you know I indulged just a little bit in that!  For dinner I ordered the duck, and it was positively melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. I’m normally not a fan of sweet potatoes, but my side dish was truly stupendous…I guess I need to stop saying that I don’t like sweet potatoes and instead say, “I only like really, really, REALLY good sweet potatoes.”

For lunch we went to a tiny little restaurant on Charles Street called “Figs.” They are famous for their pizza, which of course I don’t really eat. Instead I had some of the apple salad (delicious) and the tomato and spinach soup. The soup was really tasty, but it’s thickened with polenta or something, and it was a little too chunky/carby/thick at the bottom of the bowl. Tasty though! I was told that their fig pizza was truly a mouth-watering treat!

Yesterday we had breakfast at the hotel (at “Clink,” which was yummy! They had a 20-course bloody mary bar!) and then headed over to the Museum of Fine Arts. Man, that place is really big! It’s well worth the visit, although it was packed yesterday, and maneuvering through crowds really isn’t my ideal way to visit a museum of fine arts. They even had furniture and fashion, which I thought was a wonderful addition to looking at paintings on the wall.

Last night hubby and I watched the Steelers spank the Jets! Wahoo! Now I have to plan a superbowl party with our friends….

Today it was -9 degrees while I was driving into work. That’s really, really freaking cold. My low-gas light came on, but there was no way in hell I was going to pump gas in -9 degree temperature. I’ll run out at lunchtime, and hopefully the weather is in the positive digits at that time.

Tonight we are doing dinner with some friends. I can’t wait! I feel like I haven’t seen them in ages.

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Maintaining while on the go!

by Christine on January 11th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

It’s my second week of work, and all is well so far, if you don’t count me being exhausted all the time. I’m tired ALL the time!  Last night I was in bed and asleep by 9 pm. Waking up at such an early time is going to take some getting used to, I think!

My weight is holding constant at 123.5 or so. While this is good and I’m thrilled that this whole “maintenance” thing is working out for me, I know that I could do a better job with my eating. I need to fit in more snacks throughout the day, even if it’s something small.  I’ve gotten into the habit of going to a local restaurant on my own and ordering either soup or a small salad (a few times, like today, I’ve just had a can of soup here at my desk).  This is all good, but if I eat at restaurants often I will need to watch that my portion sizes stay in check. Even if I order the small, lunch-sized portions, it’s still way more food than anyone should eat, so I will need to keep an eye on my portion sizes. The gastric band will help me regulate that, I think.

On a downside, the anxiety and stress of starting a new job is getting to me physically.  I have had a hard time keeping any food down this last week….I’ve been barfing a lot of stuff up.  I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I feel like my band is somehow tighter with my anxiety levels increased. Is that possible, or just in my head? It’s probably a simple case of not chewing well enough. I’ve also been really constipated, and sleepy/tired all the time, so I know that the stress is messing with me a little bit.

If there’s any readers out there that enjoy really, super-duper hard puzzles, this week is the annual MIT Mystery Hunt!  I will be out in Boston helping Team Codex try to win for the first time! Our team is comprised of my husband’s gaming-geek friends, some Harvard professors, some Microsoft and Google employees, and some Wikipedia employees and Board of Directors members. It’s an interesting mix of people, and I enjoy trying to help out with the hunt. You can check out some of past years’ puzzles on this website if you’re interested in learning more.  Note: These puzzles are not for the weak of heart or for the easily frustrated.

Here’s a fun video of a past hunt! The theme was ACME, and a puzzle asked for each team to create a song. Here is our team’s song that year (and yes, that’s my husband in the video, SINGING, heavens help us all):

One of my husband’s good friends is the producer of G4’s “Attack of the Show.” Two years ago G4 attended our team on the hunt and gave an overview about the event. And yes, my hubby is interviewed and is in this video, too!  (For astute viewers, you can see Jeffrey in

Yeah it’s a serious geek fest, but it’s fun and a good time! And…it’s free!

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Weight Maintenance, Part 1

by Christine on December 29th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I have been thinking about weight maintenance, and I’ve been mulling over the following questions in my head. I have few answers to these questions at this point, and hopefully I can start to develop answers in the weeks to come.

1. What prompted me to lose weight in the first place?

2. Why did this version of weight loss work for  me when other diets failed?

3. Why was I fat in the first place? What self-destructive or bad habits did I partake in that got me to 225 pounds?

4. What’s my gameplan for keeping the weight off? Will I need to journal my food intake every day, as I have been doing for years? What will be my calorie limits, fat limits, carb limits, exercise plan?

5. What is my weight maintenance range? What will I be happy at, in terms of a weight range?

6. What kind of support system or a checks and balances system will I put into place in order to ensure that I don’t gain the weight back?

7. Will I/should I continue to obsess over food, calories, exercise, weight? Or can I allow myself to focus on other interests, passions, hobbies, etc?

8.  How often can or should I weigh in?

9. How has my weight loss affected my relationships and friendships, and how will (or should) those relationships and friendships change as I progress into weight maintenance mode?

There’s an organization called the National Weight Control Registry that studies people who have lost a significant amount of weight and have kept it off for a year or more. According to their studies, they have discovered that people who are successful with weight maintenance:

  • Exercise an average of an hour a day.
  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Weight themselves at least once a week.
  • Watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

In non-weight maintenance related news…it appears that I gained about 1.5 or 2.0 pounds while visiting my parents in Illinois. The scale this morning read at 125.2. I am perfectly happy with that number, especially considering that I’m probably bloated from the airline travel. My gameplan today was to eat plenty of salads (ordered a grilled chicken salad for lunch and had half the leftovers for dinner. I still have enough for a third meal!) and lots of liquids. Overall, I think 1.5 pounds is not too bad considering how many M&Ms I allowed myself to have while I was out of town. I feel much better having control over my own kitchen and own meals.

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Met a Gastric Bypasser Yesterday…

by Christine on December 3rd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Yesterday while I was getting my hair done, I met a woman that had the gastric bypass surgery. I never would have known that she had the surgery because she was so thin, fit, no sign of extra skin….she just looked normal and beautiful, you know? It was a pleasure to  meet her!  She told me that she had the surgery done 7 years before, and she lost all 125 pounds of her weight loss within nine months. SO FAST!  Since that period of time, she’s maintained her weight loss within a range of 7 pounds. Isn’t that remarkable?

I told her that I am very anxious about the “maintenance phase” of weight loss, so I wanted to know what her secret to success is. I especially wanted to know because gastric bypass patients have a really high statistic of gaining all their weight back. She told me that the secret is all in following the strict dietary guidelines set out for gastric bypass patients. She said that there’s no cheating, no re-teaching your body to process sugar, nothing. She strictly adheres to the diet, and therefore keeping the weight off hasn’t been a problem. She said she has met many people that re-teach their bodies to consume sugar again. She said she refuses to even go there, that the weight gain wouldn’t be worth the momentary taste of sugar.

This reminded me of Allan over at “Almost Gastric Bypass.” You all probably already know him, but he has lost 150 pounds so far just by following the gastric bypass diet alone; he has not actually had the surgery. 150 pounds is amazing, and I’m so proud of Allan for what he’s achieved so far on this journey of his!  I’m telling you…that diet works. There’s a lot of bloggers that are taking Allan up on his challenge to follow the diet to see where it gets them. What’s amazing is that it really works for the people that are willing to give it 100%.  I’m watching the results of the challenge, and the participants are losing 5 pounds a week on average, just like an actual gastric bypass patient would. It’s fast, drastic weight loss, and *gasp* it has less to do with the fact that the surgeons re-arrange your intestines than it does with making a huge dietary change. Part of me cringes though, because I know that 90% of those dieters are going to lose weight, feel great, then go back to eating sugar again. Then WHAMMO all that weight is just going to come right back on. Like the woman I met (let’s call her Julie for shits and giggles), like Julie told me, the secret to keeping the weight off is strictly adhering to your diet forevermore. You just can’t go back to the eating practices that got you fat in the first place.  If you do, you’ll gain all the weight back.

I know that gastric bypass surgery is fundamentally different from  the lap band surgery. In fact, one major reason why I chose the banding surgery is because I could still have sugar. I like my sugar, and I didn’t want to give up the periodic candy bars and more-than-periodic alcoholic beverage.  Hell no. I’m a sugar whore, and I know it. So far, the fact that the band has severely limited my portion sizes has worked for me. But part of me wonders if portion sizes are going to be enough for sustain long-term weight loss. I wonder if I’m going to need to, eventually, start eating like a bypass patient in order to really maintain my weight loss.  I know rationally that eating the same crappy, sugary foods that got me fat in the first place, even if the portion sizes are much smaller, is not the smartest plan. I know I need to do better with my eating, overall.

I’m telling you, there’s no greater feeling than losing all the weight you need to lose. You have so much more energy. People respect you more. You respect yourself more. You feel proud of your accomplishments. You feel pretty, probably for the first time in your whole life. You have confidence. You start taking on challenges that are bigger than anything else you’ve ever done. In so many ways, losing weight changes your whole life because it changes how you think about yourself and how other people perceives you. It’s kind of like getting to go through life with a 2nd chance, with a body double that still thinks like you but is hotter and cooler than your old, fat, dorky, self-depricating self. The new you GETS SHIT DONE. The new you takes life by the horns and makes that animal her bitch. Ya feel me?

I don’t want to give all that awesome shit up for a few Mr. Goodbars or a Snickers. It’s just not worth it. I think I need to mentally become more like a bypasser if I’m really going to make this a long-term change.

If you want to learn how to lose weight like a rockstar without the complication of a messy surgery, go check out Allan’s challenge. He’ll supply you with all the resources and information you need if you want to make weight loss a reality in your life.

(Interesting sidenote: “Julie” said that there’s an incredibly high number of gastric bypass patients that become alcoholics. I think she quoted a number of like 60% or more, although I personally can’t find any documentation to that affect. After doing a little quick research I’ve discovered this: the reason for the alcoholism is twofold. Firstly, for those that got obese because they were self-medicating with enormous portions of food: those people just replace food addiction with alcohol addition. Secondly, the surgery allows the alcohol to be absorbed in the intestines more quickly and easily, so you get drunk faster. For those people that are more physiologically susceptible to alcoholism (like, you a genetic predisposition for it), gastric bypass may increase your chances of being an alcoholic tenfold. There’s a little information about gastric bypass surgery and alcoholism here. )

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