Weigh-Ins are on MONDAYS - Updated July 3, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Special Post Holiday Weigh-In...

I am back from seven fun-filled days in the land of Mickey Mouse.

I had a BLAST!

My food choices weren't the best...

There were cookies, lots of cookies...

There were DELICIOUS cheese blintzes for breakfast: YUMMY!
There were Dunkin' Donuts, croissants, and an ice cream sundae at McDonald's.

BUT, there was also Zumba, Just Dance 3, and a 3+ mile walk mixed in...and don't forget all that walking around the theme parks.

I also drank water like it was my job.  I was up to 100+ oz each day.  I now know where each and every bathroom is located on Disney Property.

Therefore, here's today's weight: 141.1 lbs.

That's up 2.3 lbs since last weigh-in.  Not too bad at all.  I was honestly expecting something much higher.

I'm off to Jazzercise this morning.  Back on track.

I'll be doing a vacation recap tomorrow for you.  There are lots of pics to share!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Can You Guess What Happened at My Lap Band Support Group Meeting?

First of all, there is no weigh-in today because I am HERE.

Now, let's talk about my recent support group meeting this past week. 

I think it's pretty funny that for the last three months of meetings, there has been a food gauntlet to get to our meeting room.  Yep, to get to our room, we have to pass by this amazing-smelling hot food buffet (macaroni and cheese, hot bread rolls, etc).   It seems that whatever group meets in the room next door to ours always enjoys a yummy buffet before their meeting.  Sounds like my kind of meeting. Here's what it looked like last week:
Anyways, to me, exercising is a lot like going to my surgeon's support group meeting. I don't always want to, but once I do go, I am so glad that I did.

I have to make going to the meetings a priority for me.  I have to put them on the calendar months in advance or I will come up with a really convincing excuses reasons why I can't go.

But going to group meetings is a non-negotiable for me.  I tell myself  "If you were a newbie, wouldn't you want to have a chance to talk with a veteran bandster who's at goal?"  Yeah, I would.  So I go.  My chance to give back and provide support.

This past week's group meeting was pretty small, just three bandsters all together, a support person (a husband), and our group leader.  I like the smaller attended meetings as we all seem to talk more.  And this time there was no disappointing! We even talked about constipation and PB'ing.  Good times.

I usually get one really good take away from each meeting.  This time was no different.  I learned that I am doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing to maintain my weight.

Now you may be thinking, "Duh! of course your are rocking maintenance."

But nobody ever told me how to maintain my weight.  I've just sort of figured it out in the past year.  I still don't know all the answers.  It's a lot of trial and error.

Our group leader said that his past experience with medically supervised weight loss patients, the most successful weight loss patients follow this process:
  1. During the weight loss phase: Very structured, organized, planning of food choices and exercise. Everything gets written down and discussed.
  2. During maintenance: Some (not all) of the structured-ness is slowly phased out and the patient learns the "give and take" of balancing exercise and food choices.
I told our leader that he should put those nuggets of wisdom in the informational binder that they give out to all their pre-ops. It would have saved me a lot of headaches on trying to figure out this beast that is called "maintenance" this past year.

But would I have learned as much if someone had just provided me with an easy to follow list of what to do in maintenance?  Probably not.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Would You Like Alpo or Kibbles N' Bits?

Before I was banded, my freezer looked somewhat like this:

During one of my last attempts at Weight Watchers, a leader one day told the group something that I have never forgotten.

She said: "Your food has to look good and appetizing, otherwise you won't really enjoy it.  That's why I stay away from those dog dishes."  Yep, she was referring to her employers' (WW) frozen food choices that come in those convenient little boxes with the black dishes inside.

She was right, they totally look like dog dishes.  Right?

She was also right that food has to look good and taste good, or it's just not worth it.

When I used to eat from those dog dishes, they were very convenient and cheap.  It was an easy decision to grab one out of the freezer on my way out the door in the morning.  Easy cheesy. 

Then lunch time would roll around and I would nuke that dish up in the office microwave, peel back the plastic film, and take a look. It wasn't always very attractive or appetizing. Now that I think about it, it never always smelled the best either.

But I would eat it anyway, and do you know what?  It was just "ok."  Not very appetizing.  However, I knew that I was being "good" and eating what I was supposed to.  I was on plan.  Gold stars for me.

But what I now realize is that I wasn't creating a lifestyle that I could stick to.  There's no way that I could eat those dog dishes forever.  Bleh.  Just not my style.  That's why after about losing the usual 30 lbs on Weight Watchers, I would start eating regular foods (not those dog dishes) and all the weight would come back, plus a few more pounds for good measure.

Therefore, I made a very conscious decision before my surgery that I would never EVER eat anything out of a dog dish again.  This decision wasn't based on the nutritional value of the dog dishes (which in reality are pretty questionable), but rather the appearance of the food and whether it satisfied me.

I haven't eaten from a dog dish in about two and half years.

Are your food choices satisfying?  Are you enjoying them? Or are they just "OK"?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Banded Blogger Alert!

Please stop by and say "hi" to Lisa over at La Band Doll.

She's already started the liquid diet and will be banded on January 11th!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Power of Words...

Now that Christmas has come and gone, have you thought about what your word for the upcoming 2012 year will be?

For 2010, I chose the word: Choice: The band does not make CHOICES - I make the CHOICE to do what I have to do to be a success.

For 2011, I chose the word: Prudence: being careful about one’s choices, not taking undue risks, and not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

For 2012, I have chosen the word: Persevere: to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement.

What word will you choose for 2012 to help you stay dedicated to your journey?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weigh-in Day...

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 138.8 lbs

Did you know that when I get back into old habits and poor food choices, I usually gain about one pound a day.  Therefore, I purposefully lost a bit more weight this past week in preparation for all the yummy and tempting foods that I will be enjoying this coming holiday week. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I am Guilty of the Overshare

Who me?

Yes, me.


The idea of being "out" with one's Lap Band is a personal choice.  I get that.  Some bandsters only tell their spouse...and that's it.  To each their own.

Me on the other hand, if someone asks how I lost the weight I will always tell them about my band.  Not a big deal or a super secret for me.  Wanna pet my port?  ha ha ha.

But lately, I've been doing a new experiment with my own self control.  I have entitled this experiment, "How long can I go without telling a person about my band?"

The reason for this experiment? From what I can tell, people honestly could care less and with most casual conversations, it usually just ends up being TMI for them.

I good friend of mine recently used this analogy with me, "I got a breast reduction ten years ago, but I don't go around telling people about it."   Hmmmm....   What do you think of this analogy?

PS: Thank you NOT SO Secret Santa for the Bed & Body Works gift card! I love to shop and can't wait to get my shopping on at their after Christmas sale.  Bargains here I come! :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Banded Bloggers Alert!

Please stop by and say "hi" to these lovely ladies:

PS: Here's your completely random funny for the day:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Opportunity Knocks Quietly Sometimes...

I was cleaning out an old purse the other day and came across a Panda Express receipt and a fortune from a fortune cookie tucked neatly inside. 

The date on the receipt? Saturday, August 29, 2009.

The fortune?
I wonder why I would save this fortune?  I'm not someone to save things like this.
Who knew that the opportunity that would soon be presented to me was the Lap Band? 

I attended my surgeon's informational seminar three days after getting that fortune.

The rest is history.

"If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade." 
~Thomas J. Peters

Saturday, December 17, 2011

1 Year of Maintenance...Done!

12 months.

52 weeks.

365 days.

8,760 hours.

I have officially maintained my goal weight for one year.  Whew!

I've maintained my weight between 135 lbs and 145 lbs.

I originally posted my accountability goal HERE back in January.

My goal?

To sign up and join the The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), having maintained my 111 lb loss for 1 year.  I'll be signing up this weekend.

By the way, did you see the Band Superstars Blog today?

It's my chance to tell my band story and for me shout as loud as I can, just like Mary Katherine Gallagher: "SOOPAH-STAH!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weigh-in Day & Some Craftiness

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 140.6 lbs

I am starting to notice that if I keep my self busy and not sit mindlessly in front of the TV that I am less likely to eat the entire contents of my refrigerator.  It's only taken me about two years to realize this. Sigh.

So I got my craftiness on last night and made a sleeve for my new iPad 2.  Are you crafty too? I wanna know.

PS: on a completely separate note, go read this post from our wonderful Amy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That's Spendy.

When I first moved to Oregon, I noticed that there were a few words that they use here that us Californians just don't use.

One of those words is 'spendy.'

It means expensive. 

Thank you, Captain Obvious.  You're welcome.

I say 'spendy' all the time now.  It's funny how certain words creep into my vocabulary.  Those Californians always seem to give me a funny look when I say 'spendy' now.

So, what is the most spendy thing that I've purchased in my 32 year life span?  My band.

As I've mentioned before, I was a self-pay patient.  It's kinda funny...I would NEVER spend that much money on a car, yet I paid A BUCKET-LOAD of $$ for something that I have never seen in real life.

I burned a ginormous hole in my Capital One credit card the day that I forked over that piece of plastic to the nice cashier lady at the hospital.  I had NEVER signed a credit card receipt for that much money before.  FIVE FIGURES.  Ouch.  That was about two weeks prior to my surgery.

It was scary.

There was no turning back.

But do you know what?  It was worth it.

If you're a penny-pinching, spreadsheet-making, and cost-conscious gal like me who is thinking of banding, you may be wondering:

What’ll Lap Band surgery cost me?

Perhaps a better question is “What’ll it cost you if you don’t?”

With today’s crazy economy and rising health care costs, it’s only natural to wonder if now is the time to consider banding.

Extra weight on a person often goes hand in hand with extra financial burden.

Obesity can have significant medical costs over time. Weight loss surgery can help reduce the cumulative cost of living with obesity: like weight loss programs, prescription medicine and hospital visits.

Knowing this, you may want to consider these questions:
  • What are your current out-of-pocket health care expenses? Are they due to go up?
  • What are your current prescription and over-the-counter medication costs? Are they due to go up?
  • How many times a year do you see a doctor or specialist? Has that gone up over time?
  • How many days have you missed work over the past few years? Has that gone up?
  • How much have you spent on non-surgical weight loss programs? (WeightWatchers®, Jenny Craig®, etc.) Did that work?
  • How much have your costs for groceries and dining out gone up?
  • How much have you spent on additional clothes due to your weight gain?
For those of you who are already sitting on the losers bench (whether banded, sleeved, RNY'd, or other weight loss methods), how are you saving money now that you've lost some weight?  I want to know.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A New Way To Piss Me Off...

Uh oh...

Rant alert!
I rarely yell and raise my voice.

I'd say that I'm usually a pretty easy going gal.

It takes a lot to get me angry.

But if you really want to torque my Twinkies, then all you have to say is "I can't believe that you ever used to be heavy...I just can't picture it.  There's no way."

And if you want to really to push me to the ledge, say the above sentences every two or three weeks.  Like I don't remember you said it already...last week.

I get a comment like this about once a week from various people.  Of course, these are people that never knew the fatty that I was.

When this comment first started happening about a year ago, it was great.  I would feel great. I would smile, thank them, and be proud of my weight loss.  I would feel pride in my amazing accomplishment in losing 115+ lbs.

What happens now when you or someone says those sentences?  Oh my.  Heaven help you, because I have a phone filled with my fatty photos.  I will make you look at EVERY SINGLE one of them until you wish you hadn't said anything to begin with.  I realize that you are just stating your opinion or trying to be complimentary, but I am going to prove you wrong.  I was a fatty.

The "I can't believe it" comment is similar to another statement that happens occasionally, especially from family members or close friends: "I can't even remember what you looked like when you were heavy."  If you say that one, I will just roll my eyes at you.  I can remember what I looked like, more specifically, what it felt like.  If I close my eyes, I am instantly the fatty again.

Don't get me wrong, I am very, very happy with my weight loss success.

I just can't help wondering why these comments bug me so much now?

Welcome to Crazy Town.  Population: 1.  (Me)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Weigh The Same As...

When I turned on the TV this morning, HBO was still on from the previous night.

I saw that a boxing show or some kind of manly type event was just starting.  I went to grab the remote to change the channel to a much more interesting channel like HGTV or Food Network.  But just then, the announcer introduced the boxers and said how much each of them weigh = 140 lbs.

Yep, I weigh the same as these two guys:
Amir on the left is 5'10"

Lamont on the right is 5'9"

Therefore, I weigh the same as a Super Lightweight Champion boxer.

At least the word "light" is in there.  Right?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weigh-in Day...

Did you know that this is the 122nd weekly weigh-in since I began my journey with the band? 

Goal weight: 145 lbs

Today's weight: 139.7 lbs.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Pits.


Come over here....a little closer....OK....good.

Can we talk about my armpits for a minute?

When I was a fatty, the pits were nice and flat and easily shaved.  No problem what so ever.


The pits are actually PITS.  They go in now and are very cavernous.  Try shaving shaving those bad boys.  It's practically impossible.  I lift that skin, I bend it, I stretch it, and I can't seem to get all that hair.

So, any tips? Any secrets to share on how to clear cut these bad boys so that I don't scare the cute little old ladies at Jazzercise with my hairy pits?

I guess I could always braid 'em and bead 'em....ooooh or make one tiny ponytail under each arm?  Fashion trends of the future!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Results Are You Expecting From Your Band?

With a gastric band, the expected and average weight loss according to the band manufacturers is a loss of approximately 50% of excess body weight by the end of the third year post-op.

Want to see a very spiffy spreadsheet? (Source):

If I was to accept what is 'average' and 'expected' of me, then with a 50% excess body weight loss, I should weigh about 201 lbs right now.

But did I accept average for myself?  NOPE. 

Was I ready to do just was expected of me?  No freaking way.  I was ready to do MORE.

Before I was banded, I knew that I could work this band to the "results not typical" extreme.

And I did.

Did you know that I was still on my high-blood pressure medications when I weighed 201 lbs?

Here's what I looked like at 201 lbs:

Here's what I look like now (140 lbs):
What results are you expecting from YOU?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

600th Post!

I just realized that I've rambled on endlessly to you about 600 random Lap Band and non-Lap Band related things. 

I've told you what it's like to live life with a Lap Band...every...single...day.

I've learned that blogging, for me, brings my life into focus.

I remember when I first started talking with friends about the idea of starting a blog, they warned me about how I will have to make a Commitment to keeping my blog updated and how much work that would be. As much as that "C" word usually makes me run for the hills, I knew that it was the only way that I would be successful. The online accountability that you all offer is what makes it "click" for me.

Now that I'm in maintenance for almost a year, I wonder what else there is tell you?

Therefore, are there any burning questions or anything that YOU would like to know?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mr. Dependable...

Meet Mr. Dependable: my scale

He's been with me through two house moves, many attempts of Weight Watchers, Atkins, and every other diet ever invented and of course he was there for my official pre-op weigh-in of 256 lbs.  

That's over five years of weigh-ins.  I've never used my surgeon's scale for my official Friday weigh-ins, only Mr. Dependable.

He's always been consistent and accurate in the past.

But lately, I think Mr. Dependable is getting tired.  Or cranky.

Even though I've replaced his batteries, the weigh-ins can vary by 5+ lbs within seconds (I know that I'm not the only one who weighs in and then steps off and then steps right back on just to make sure the first weight was "accurate"....right?)  

And don't forget that crazy low weigh-in the day after Thanksgiving was a bit too good to be true: 137.9 lbs.  That was nice though.

So it's time to get a new scale.  

What scale do you have? 

Brand? Type? What do you recommend? Please let me know. I have a special preference for scales that tell me that I'm clever and pretty.  Wait...scales that do that? I think I've just come up with my next idea to be patented.

PS: I have a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weigh-in Day...and the Results Are...

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 140.1 lbs

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are You Having Your Lap Band Surgery Soon?

It seems that there's been a recent flurry of posts and activity on the blogosphere with upcoming band surgeries.  Is this because of year-end insurance deductibles or something?

I am reading your pre-op posts about FEAR.

I am reading your posts about ANXIETY of what will happen at the hospital.

I am reading between the lines that you absolutely understand that surgery is a HUGE deal.  I agree, it is a big freaking deal.  Seriously.  I get it.

In my opinion, the surgery itself and the recovery time are the most painful, yet the EASIEST parts of this entire journey.

Would you like to know what the most DIFFICULT part of the journey is for me?  Having to make good food choices each and every moment/hour/day and to make exercise a priority.  There is no "done" on this journey.  There is no finish line.  It's never-ending.

Just a few examples:
  • When at business/work lunches: I order the chicken salad while everyone else orders fettuccine Alfredo or lasagna with garlic bread....oh, and don't forget the cocktails and wine everyone's enjoying.
  • When I have to decline friend invites to hang out after work because I have to go workout.
When I had surgery, I had NO IDEA the amount of work and effort would be involved to be successful with the Lap Band. 

But do you know what else?  It's WORTH IT.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guess What? It's Finally Happened.

I'm starting to forget.

Yep, I'm starting to forget that I have a Lap Band. 

I remember when I used to hear bandsters say that they "forget" that they have a band.  I would immediately think to myself: "Are you CRAZY?!  How can you forget that you have a band?"

I remember discussing this idea of forgetting with Banded Wendy in San Francisco this past Spring.  We both couldn't believe that anyone would ever forget that they have a band.

Well, it's finally happening to me.

Could this be because all the healthy habits that go along with my band lifestyle are now just second nature and I don't have to think about it as much?

I do get all kinds of reminders daily that there really is a band inside of me:
  • When I swallow my first sips of water in the morning.
  • When I walk outside on a really cold day.  Bam! Hello restriction!
  • When I eat too fast or don't chew well enough.
After two years, the band almost feels like a body part that I've always had.

However, I can promise you that I will never forget what it felt like to be fat, sick, and tired for almost 20 years:
“It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do You Still Have Leftovers From Thanksgiving?

Yeah, me too.

One of the major ways that I stay on track with my eating choices is to keep what's in my refrigerator and kitchen cabinets very boring with healthy food choices. 

I make sure that there are no tempting foods lurking in my kitchen.  That way, if I am having a moment of weakness, there is nothing hanging around in the kitchen calling my name.  I drive over to Dairy Queen or Taco Bell for those special moments.

But seriously, in the past two years I have finally taught myself to throw away food (or pawn it off onto friends).

Yes, I chuck that food out. 

With no regrets.

Of course, I know that there are starving and hungry people around the world who could use that food.

It can be confusing sometimes to live in a culture of so much abundance of food while others are suffering of malnutrition and starvation.

I have learned that me cramming my pie hole with bad food choices because "I don't want it to go bad" or "waste it" does not help ANYONE, not even the world's hungry.  It's not like I'm going to FedEx my turkey and stuffing to the starving people of Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Seriously.

Therefore, I like to think of this little nugget of wisdom that Stephanie, Electric Lady Band told me in Chicago: "You can put it in the garbage now; or eat it and put it in the toilet later." 

Enough said.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Need Your Help

If you remember, I never really rewarded myself when I arrived at my goal weight.  Because for me, the real test has been maintenance.

I will be celebrating maintaining my goal weight for one year with a new sparkly.  A ring.  I'm not much a jewelry wearer so this is a big step for me.

An alcoholic gets one year chip, so I'm getting a ring.

I will always be an obese person in recovery.  Always.  This ring will be a physical reminder for me.

So this brings me to YOU.  I need your help thinking of a 3-5 word saying/quote/etc that I can engrave inside the ring.  You are so creative with your ideas, I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Ideas so far that I've received from you on the Facebook page:

  • "12-17-2011"   (1 goaliversary)
  • "Never Forget"
  • "Never Look Back"
  • "Baby Steps"

Some initial sketches of the ring...

I hope to have the ring on my finger by the end of December, but as they say "Something worth having is something worth waiting for."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weigh-in Day...and Eloise.

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 137.9 lbs

Here's a quick pic of me getting the turkey (A.K.A. "Eloise") ready for the oven yesterday.  Do you name your Thanksgiving turkey?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

It's Thanksgiving day here in the U.S.A.  

A time for me to remind myself of how thankful I am to have such good friends and family in my life.

But of course, there are also many, many weight loss related things to give thanks for:

I am thankful that I have learned:
  • My food choices are never, ever going to fix my deeper problems.
  • Food is not going to make me blissfully happy.
  • Food is not my friend.
  • Food is not going to make me feel less stressed about the business that is life.
  • Food is not going to give me the courage to change things in my life.
  • Food is not meant to be an escape from reality.
I am thankful that I am no longer sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I am thankful that I don't feel like I am dieting just because I am eating less.
I am thankful for my improved sleep quality at night -- no more naps during the day! I am no longer sleeping my life away.
I am thankful that food no longer has as much power over me.
Lastly, I couldn't end this post without a Thanksgiving funny...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm the Type of Girl...

...that used to fall down flat on my face.  Literally.  All...the..time.

There's a joke in my family about always packing enough band aids when heading out on vacations, 'cuz I would need them.  Lots of them.

The other inside joke is that there isn't a country that I haven't fallen down in. 

I can think of so many embarrassing examples, here are just two:
  • Inside the British Museum in London in front of a crowd of tourists? Yep, it happened...just next to the Rosetta Stone.
  • At the top of some waterfalls in South Africa? Of course it happened.
It's a good thing that I know how to roll once I hit the ground.  It's an acquired skill set.  I should put that on my resume.

Anyways, I just read this recent article about how obese people are 73% more likely to have an accident than the non-obese.

This made me realize: I don't fall down anymore.  I wonder if the extra weight threw my balance off?  Who knows.

I'm just glad that I don't have to buy so many Hello Kitty band aids anymore.

Time to add another Non-Scale Victory (NSV) to the list!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

“Friends are like bras: close to your heart and there for support.”

Why have I never heard any of you ladies talk about the Brassiere Removal Approach (B.R.A.) of getting food unstuck?  Yeah, I just made that acronym up.  It's an official bandster word now.  You're welcome.
I have now used the B.R.A. method on three or four occasions (luckily I'm usually at home!) to get a stuck vitamin or piece of food to go down.  

Here's how it usually goes down (literally):
  1. I swallow the food/vitamin.
  2. It gets stuck.
  3. I slime, slime, slime, then slime some more.
  4. I walk around for a few minutes with my arms/hands above my head stupidly thinking this will help.
  5. Then I undo the clasp on my bra, I swallow a few times and down the vitamin/food goes down.
Crazy, indeed!

I did some searches on the interwebs about this B.R.A. method and I did find THIS forum post.

Let me assure you, my bras are not too tight.  I am technically a 34D and I'm still wearing my 36Ds 'cuz they're more comfy.  And I almost never wear underwires...those b*tches are painful torture devices.  Just sayin'.

So, has anyone else used the B.R.A. technique? I want to know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Time to Place Your Bets!

I'm looking forward to making a big Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday.  Family will be staying for the long weekend too.  It will be fun!

So I've made my spreadsheet with my shopping list and have just returned home from grocery shopping.

Now there are foods in my kitchen that are NEVER EVER there.  Yikes.

What foods?  All trigger foods for me:
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Ice cream
  • Pie
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Butter
  • Whipped cream
  • Half & half
  • Bread
  • The list could go on and on.

How many days until Thursday?  Sigh.

This will be a good test for me to see if this food stays OUT of my mouth until then.  

Do you think I can last until Thursday?  Place your bets...

Here are all the yummies....I think I can even hear their thoughts if I listen closely...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How Maintenance is Different than Losing

I would like to send a big shout and thank you to Dawnya who inspired me to do this post. 

If you haven't visited Dawnya's blog, please stop by and say "hi."


Maintenance is NOT losing.

Losing is NOT maintenance.

No one ever told me about what maintaining my weight would be like. 

This is uncharted territory for me.

I never knew what it would take to maintain my weight because in the past I would lose about 25 lbs and then gain it all back.  Repeatedly.  A very viscous and frustrating cycle.

What I ate and my exercise choices when I was losing is different than what I currently eat and my exercise choices in maintenance.

However, what I learned when I was losing has helped me to better understand what I need to do to be successful at maintaining my weight. 

Confusing, right?

Well, since I love a fancy color-coded spreadsheet, I created this one to explain it: (Click on the picture to make it BIG):

My summary of the above:  I eat more carb-type foods now (and more of them) but I exercise more to make up for it.

Sure, there are many different ways to achieve weight maintenance, but for me, this seems to be working pretty well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weigh-in Day...and What I'm Thankful For

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 140 lbs

Onwards to giving some long overdue thanks...

So, you've heard me go on and on about Zumba...Yeah, I've Zumba'd in Los Angeles, CA.  I've Zumba'd in Orlando, FL.  I've Zumba'd in Monterey, CA.  I've Zumba'd in Napa, CA.

All different instructors.  All different styles and moves.  I guess you could say I'm a promiscuous Zumba-er.  I get around.

What have I learned?

The instructor can make the class FABULOUS or just ho-hum and not too exciting.

I am thankful for having one of the most motivating and FUN Zumba instructors...EVER.

Last night was my Zumba instructor, Anne's, last class teaching for awhile.

As you can see, she's 8+ months pregnant:
When we hugged good-bye last night, I reminded her that she has transformed me from a big T-shirt, baggy sweats wearing 230+ lbs to a now tight tank-top, spandex wearing 140 lbs.

She then reminded me that, no, it wasn't her doing, it was me who did it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can You Help A Sister Out?

I received an email a few days ago from a woman named Amanda. 

Amanda's a trained couples therapist completing her PhD in clinical psychology at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

Amanda needs your help.

For her dissertation, she's developed an anonymous, online survey that asks questions related to:

Do you ever feel that your romantic partner gets in the way of your weight loss?

This is an important study that could help health care professionals better understand their patients' barriers to weight loss.

Here's the link to the ANONYMOUS online survey

Before you begin the survey, you'll want to ensure that you can answer "YES" to the following questions:
*Have you been participating in a weight loss program for the past consecutive 5 weeks?
*Have you been in a committed, cohabitating relationship for the past two years?

Please feel free to repost this on your blog too.

Details from Amanda's email:

Participation in this survey should take approximately 30-45 minutes (there are open-ended questions which sometimes take participants longer to fill out depending on their particular experiences with the phenomenon of partner undermining. We appreciate your thoughtful responses about how you feel your weight loss program is undermined by your romantic partner and how this affects you).

The responses to this survey are anonymous and cannot be traced back to participants. Any question may be left unanswered. Participation is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time. If eligible to take this survey, you will be provided with an email address to enter a lottery for $100.

This study is being conducted by Amanda G. Harp, M.A., who is a graduate student in the Psychology Department at Clark University under the supervision of James V. Cordova, Ph.D. If you have any questions about this study, please contact Amanda Harp (aharp@clarku.edu) or Dr. James Cordova (jcordova@clarku.edu)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Confession Time...

Is it the Maltodextrin?

Perhaps it's the sugar?

Or maybe it's the cocoa powder? 

Yep, it MUST be the cocoa powder.  As you know, chocolate makes everything better.

Who knew that all of these things are in Taco Bell Meat Filling.   Yum.

Here's the ingredient label as proof:
So, ummmmm....about that confession...

Are you ready for it?  Can you handle it?

Here goes:

I eat a Nachos Bell Grande from Taco Bell about two to three times a week. Seriously.  I eat the whole thing each and every time.

Sshhhh...it's our little secret.

I know that the nachos are about 800 calories (depending if Paco working behind the counter gets too eager with the heaping servings sour cream and fake fluorescent orange cheese sauce).

Good thing I workout like crazy to cancel out all those extra calories.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shut Your Mouth Already

Oh Em Gee.

Did you read this article: "Want to lose weight? Shut your mouth"?

The woman in the article, Anita, lost 242 lbs.  Pretty amazing, right?  Congrats Anita! That's a lot of hard work.
Here's how Anita did it:
1. Eat 8 ounces of food every 3 hours
2. No sugary drinks
3. Do not skip meals
4. Do not tell anyone what you're doing

What?  Huh?  Seriously?  This sounds like "secret dieting" to me.

For me, secret dieting always led to thoughts and behaviors like:
  • "No one knows that I'm dieting, therefore I can eat this donut.  Who will care? No one will ever know."
  • "No one knows that I'm trying to lose weight, therefore I don't have to exercise.  No biggie.  My own little secret if I don't go to the gym today."
Ultimately, secret dieting for me means that there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

Yes, I lost 115+ lbs for me. I did it to improve my health. I did not lose the weight for anyone else. However, I do get a lot of accountability and support from others.

Anita must have some fabulous internal accountability.  I wish that I some of that internal accountability, but I don't.

I've read many posts from weight loss bloggers (banded or not) that they notice that their weight loss stalls or they're seeing gains on the scale when they stop blogging.  Blogging is support for a lot of us.
I can remember when I used to be a Weight Watcher.  If I just weighed-in and didn't stay for the meeting, I was usually not as successful with my weight loss that following week. Why? For me, the support that I would get and give during the meeting was crucial for me.
I'm going to my surgeon's support group tonight because I will never shut my mouth about my weight loss journey (even though some people in my every day life probably wish that I would).

What do you think about secret dieting? Were/are you successful with this method of weight loss?

Monday, November 14, 2011

If You Don't Want a Sarcastic Answer, Don't Ask a Rhetorical Question...

Two separate women (who don't know each other) both asked me the same question this past week.

Are you ready for the question?

Here goes:

"Do you find it easy to maintain your weight loss?"



I tried not to laugh at these ladies when they asked this question.

I tried to keep a straight face.  I tried really, really, hard.  But I couldn't.  I cracked a smile both times.

I'm sure that you can guess what my response to this question was...


It's not easy.

Actually, it's a lot of work.   But of course, I follow it up with a "it's worth it."  'Cuz it is.

How would you respond to that lovely question?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weigh-in Day...and the Results Are...

Goal Weight: 145 lbs

Today's Weight: 139.6 lbs (EXACTLY the same as last week's weigh-in).

I've just stopped in at Starbucks for my usual skinny caramel latte.  Of course they had those tempting little free samples of coffee cake.  Yeah, I just had to have one.  Seriously, they are barely a bite-sized taste.  Tiny.

And guess what? 

Yep, it got stuck.

Then I started sliming...

Good times.

Luckily, after some walking around and sipping my hot coffee a little it finally went down.  Whew! 

I guess I have taken my band restriction to a new level which I have officially entitled:

"No more bread/cake type foods first thing in the morning" or more commonly known as: "Stop eating cake for breakfast you big Fatty."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Have Arrived...At the Sweet Spot

I'm kinda scared about putting this in writing because as you know, our bands can hear us and they can READ.  Yeah, just ask Island Bandit.  Her band is especially smart and clever it seems.

So here goes...

I puffy sparkly heart this latest fill. 

My restriction is at it's bestest level EVER. 

I am officially in the sweet spot. 

I took my big scary Omega 3 vitamin last night with no PB or stuck problems. 

But shhhh...it's our little secret, mmmkkkkaayyy?

And for no specific or rational reason, here's your Oompa Loompa song for the day:

Oompa loompa doopadee doo
I've got a perfect puzzle for you.
Oompa loompa doopadee dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me
What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?
Eating as much as an elephant eats?
What are you at getting terribly fat?
What do you think will come of that?
I don't like the look of it.
Oompa loompa doopadee dah.
If you're not greedy, you will go far.
You will live in happiness too.
Like the Oompa Loompa doopadee doo.
Doopadee doo!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Step Into the Museum My Friends...

Two posts in one day...a miracle indeed. 

This is not band related at all.

Ronnie over at Ronnie's Bandumentary has announced that the writing prompt for the day is: "When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people's homes?"

I think that I realized that my childhood home was not like my classmates and friends when I was about six years old.

Let me tell you why.

It's the decor.  It's been decorated pretty much the same way now for over 35 years.

What makes the decor so different?

Well, let's start with the zebra and springbok skins on the walls and hanging over chairs.

...and there's those African baskets.

....and the African wood drums.

...the giraffe tail hanging on the wall. 

Oh and don't forget the carved wooden masks...

Here are examples of what I am talking about that I found on the interwebs:

With half of my immediate family coming from and still living in South Africa, I guess it's to be expected?

Yeah, it kinda looks like a museum.  If you've ever visited the now closed Adventurer's Club at Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World, it kinda looks like that.  But unfortunately, we don't have any of those crazy costumed characters running around shouting "Conga Loosh!" (that would be fun though)

All this stuff is older than me.  Oh, and older than my older sister.   I've become very used to it.  I don't even notice it anymore.

I can remember coming home from playing at a friends house one Saturday afternoon when I was probably eight years old and asking my Mom:  why can't we have a normal house like everyone else?  I don't think I ever really got a good answer to that question.

So, as you can guess, my choice of decor in my own home has always been pretty traditional or as like to call it: "normal".

OK, your turn.  When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people's homes?

Reminders....10 Tips For Unlocking the Keys To Band Success

As I promised yesterday, here are some great reminders/tips from my surgeon's office:
  1. The band is not primarily about restriction
  2. The band is first about reduced appetite (hunger) and eating less.
  3. Always stop eating when you no longer feel physically hungry.  This may be long before you actually feel full.
  4. Measure foods, eat only the amount you measure, and then walk away.
  5. Do not rely on your stomach "feeling full" as your signal to stop eating.  This can easily lead to chronic overeating because the stomach "tells" the brain it's full about 20 minutes after it actually is.
  6. Never eat until you are "stuffed."
  7. Never eat more simply because you can.
  8. The key to successful weight loss is not how much you can eat, but how little you can eat to suppress appetite.
  9. Pay close attention to your bodies signals that you are done eating.  For some people this can be hiccups, a runny nose, watery eyes, a sigh, or a slight pain in the left shoulder.  What does you body tell you?
  10. The band is a tool, you are the user, the controller, of the tool.  Like any tool, it is only as effective as the person using it.  You can use is effectively (like hitting the hammer on the head of the nail) or ineffectively (hit the hammer all around the nail).  You control the tool, not the other way around  By being careful and attentive you too will become a Band master.

Source: Southern Oregon Bariatric Center

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Does a Lap Band Adjustment Hurt?

This shout-out post is for the newbies.  I get emails from you guys all the time asking about whether a band adjustment (A.K.A "a fill") hurts.  Well, since I had a fill yesterday, I thought that I'd tell you all about it.

Here's how a fill usually goes down:
  1. I lay on the table and lift up my shirt to just below my bra line. I fold my pants waistband down. I put my hands/arms above my head.
  2. My belly area is cleansed with Betodine.
  3. The medical professional feels for the port (I am very lucky that my port is pretty easy to find).  It helps to push your tummy out a bit, like you're doing a sit-up.
  4. The area is numbed with Lidocane (this hurts more than the actual fill, in my opinion)
  5. The port is accessed with a special needle as shown below.  Fluid is added or removed and then the needle is taken out.  Here's a photo of the needle inside my port yesterday:
      6.  They clean up my belly to remove the Betodine and then put a band-aid on.

My nurse practitioner ended up putting in 0.3 ccs which takes it to a grand total of 7.6 ccs in my 10 cc Lap Band.

Here's what it looks like when the needle is removed:

Overall: it hurts less than a flu shot or a vaccine in your arm.

By the way, the sensation of when they remove fluid is really an odd feeling.  I cannot explain it very well.  You have to experience it to know it.  I feel like I can't quite catch my breath. It's super weird. But it tells me that yes, indeed, there's a band in there.

Tomorrow's post: 10 Tips For Unlocking the Keys To Success With the Lap Band.  (Ummm...yeah, I stole borrowed some informational sheets from the surgeon's office yesterday and I will be sharing them with you.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Long Lost Chicago Shopping Story

"I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet." ~Carrie Bradshaw; Sex and the City.

Let's talk about the shopping that occurred at BOOBs in Chicago.

Took me long enough to get around to this post, right?  Grab that cup of coffee a settle in.  This is going to be a long post.

Since I live in middle-of-nowhere podunk Oregon, I've become quite skilled at online shopping. 

But let me tell ya, a girl really can't get the full-on shopping retail therapy experience unless she tries the clothes on and then prances around and poses in the dressing room.

The prancing is important. That's how I can tell if a cute top or a sexy dress speaks to me. 

Wait, your clothes don't speak to you?  Ummm, yeah, me either.

By the way, you know those magical mirrors in the dressing rooms that seem to make one look ten pounds lighter?  I want one of those mirrors in my house.  I'm taking donations towards the cause....just sayin'.

Anyways, onwards to the fun and amazing shopping adventure that I had on that fateful breezy Monday morning in Chicago.  It seems like it was just yesterday...

I first stopped in at Forever 21 which was just around the corner from the hotel.

Yes, I do realize that their clothes are pretty much made out of paper and after a few washings they will disintegrate.  But they have cute stuff hangin' up in that store I wanted to check it out.

Unfortunately, there's nothing like trying on junior size clothes to make a gal feel like a fat cow.  I am a size X-LARGE at Forever 21.  Seriously. Sigh.  But I never forget to remind myself that I couldn't have ever shopped in junior sizes when I was a fatty.  I ended up buying a boring navy blue button-down sweater cardigan.  Yep. A work outfit staple.  Way to step out of my comfort zone, right?  NOT.

I then headed north on Michigan Ave.  My destination was the Water Tower Place Mall.

Eight levels of shopping extravaganza and enlightenment.  Supposedly, Oprah has an apartment in the building.  I should have texted her so we could grab a coffee and catch up.  But I forgot and honestly, I had exactly two hours to get all my shopping done before I had to meet my roomie, Stephanie, for our official last supper in Chicago (deep dish pizza of course).

I arrived at the mall right when it opened at 10am.  Where was everyone?  It seemed like a ghost town.  I walked into White House - Black Market.
The overly eager sales ladies greeted me immediately and asked what they could help me find.  I said I was just looking around.  Then the especially commission-focused sales lady who I nick-named in my head as "scary eyebrows" asked if I wanted to see their fall collection.


In five minutes flat, Scary Eyebrows had me trapped in a dressing room trying on all kinds cute skirts and tops.  In the end, I bought...betcha can't guess....yep, a white sweater cardigan.  Uh oh, I just may be a one trick pony after all.

I then ventured into Victoria Secret.  Pretty much no man's land for me when I was a fatty.  I never ever was able to fit into ANYTHING in Vicky's when I was a fatty.

I always feel that when I now walk into a Vicky's that the sales ladies will give me one look and laugh because I must be in the wrong place.  But there were no laughs to be heard.

Here is your OFFICIAL WARNING:  Never walk into a Vicky's on a Monday morning at 10am.

They are eager.

The sales ladies will pretty much start measuring you and force you things to try on.

After trying on what seemed like every version of bra ever invented, the middle-aged sales lady somehow convinced me to try on this bra/thong combo:

Wow. Me likey.  At that exact moment when I looked at my reflection in the magical dressing room mirror, I knew it.

I knew that ALL of that hard work of counting calories/protein and exercising was abso-freaking-lutely worth it.

Of course the sales lady asked to see how it looked.  I slowly opened the curtain and stood there embarrassed.

She nodded approvingly with a smile on her face.  Then as if modesty wasn't a concern, she calls over TWO MORE of her sales lady cronies for them to get a look too. Or as she said it, for "training purposes." WTF.

I ended up buying way too much at Vicky's that day.  Damn those overly eager sales ladies.

But honestly, it was fun experience and validated all that hard work that I've done to get my body to look like it does.  It made me realize that, yes,  IT'S WORTH IT.