November 26, 2010-present weight loss

2012 weight loss

Friday, September 30, 2011

BOOBless In Britain

So few posts today!  Not surprising considering that the entire blogging community is either in, or in transit to, Chicago.  I find it funny that I, the woman who travels on a near-weekly basis, is spending the weekend AT HOME.  Everyone enjoy Chicago and post pictures!

Valencia And The Visitor

My girlfriend and I came back from Valencia on Wednesday evening, and she returned to the States yesterday.  I am always happy when friends are willing to fly over to visit us, frequently at considerable expense, but I am equally happy (and relieved) when these visits come to an end.  Entertaining somebody for several days is a lot of work and is tiring.  I now know that adding a trip elsewhere during a visit probably doubles the stress factor.
I love Spain and expected that we would enjoy Valencia.  I knew that it was the third largest city in Spain but was still surprised by the size of the city.  It has several museums, a lovely cathedral and the largest aquarium in Europe.  I only got to see a small fraction of what I would have seen had I been traveling with Kenny though.  While I like to see a lot, hop in and out of museums, eat local food, and stay on the move, my travel companion was less interested in doing these things.  I did talk her into visiting the cathedral and aquarium, but she preferred to 'experience' the city by browsing stores and wandering aimlessly rather than mixing in a bit of culture on our adventure.  It drove me a little nuts, but she was probably exasperated with my preferences as well.  This little trip really reinforced how good I have it with Kenny.  Travel can be challenging, and he and I make it effortless.  We are perfect partners in crime!
I had a Band-Induced-Blessing on our flight to Valencia (I don't know if it is really an NSV, but tell me if I am wrong).  I took the window seat and my girlfriend took the aisle.  We had hoped that the middle seat would remain empty, but that did not happen.  A man sat down and buckled up, and I WAS THE SMALLEST person in our row.  Now that's not saying much- but still!  I. was. the. teeny. tiny. one.  I was the one whose seat belt was loose and didn't have to wrestle to fasten it.  I was the one who had to deal with my seat being encroached upon (only a little bit, the guy wasn't blubbery) rather than doing the encroaching.  It was fantastic and was a perfect start to the trip! 
I also really noticed for the first time how my energy level has increased dramatically.  I have known this to be the case for some time, but Kenny is very energetic.  Now I keep up with him easily, but it is not like he is a slovenly bum who can't keep up with me.  But with my girlfriend I saw something else.  I saw her limitations- limitations that I had just a few months ago.  I saw how she really didn't want to go for long walks and complained when I pushed her to walk a bit more.  I saw how she took the lift at the hotel while I took the stairs because she couldn't handle the stairs.  I saw how she immediately reclined on the couch upon our return to the room (why is it that as we get fatter, we favor reclining?  Is it harder for us to breathe sitting upright?).  I saw how she needed to take a nap before dinner because she was exhausted.  I saw the old me- a me I don't plan on reverting to- EVER!
Last week I mentioned that my girlfriend had been considering WLS.  I asked her about it, and she has decided against the band.  She has a lot of weight to lose, but I doubt that the band would help her.  She drinks a ton and can down beers in rapid succession, and that is something the band cannot fix.  She also loves eating desserts, and I don't think she will be giving them up anytime soon.  Given all of this, I didn't feel at all guilty about not disclosing my surgery.
 Valencia Cathedral
 Outside the City of Arts and Sciences
Cool jellyfish
I still love penguins...
...and dolphins!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Visitor

One of my closest girlfriends is arriving in London tomorrow. We met at sailing camp when she was 8 and I was 10 and have been friends ever since. We are completely different women and have diametrically opposed personalities, but we still get along very well. Because she has been to London before, we thought that staying in town might be a bit boring. London is a cool city to visit, but she's done it. So instead of bumming around town the entire time, we are going to Valencia, Spain for two nights. The hotel looks amazing and gets very good reviews. We plan to tour around in the morning and early afternoon, have a leisurely lunch around 2pm and go to the beach or pool for our afternoon siesta. Our dinners are booked for 10pm, which is not late in Spain. I am not much of a breakfast person, and not eating lunch until 2pm might present some challenges. I plan to bring little granola bars so I can munch on something if I want. And Valencia is known for its oranges, so I can always have a nice glass of fresh OJ should I need something.
My girlfriend is heavy and had mentioned that she was thinking of having WL surgery a few months back. She said that it was something newer than the Lap-Band. I assume she means the Realize band, but she made it sound like a different procedure. I don't know. Anyway, as we all know, I am in the closet when it comes to my life with the band. I feel that there are too many gossips in the world, and I don't want my choices to be scrutinized on the gossip circuit. I have not told her about my surgery. I doubt that I will tell her even if she is pursuing it-- simply because I know the information will not stay with her. It will be interesting to see if she is really considering this procedure or whether it was just a whim. She had thought about surgery a few years ago, and nothing came of it. Regardless, it will be an enjoyable visit!

The Purpose Of The Band

It is interesting to read your blogs and see the different expectations we have of the band... and, consequently, the different ways we utilize this little device.  For me, the purpose of my band is to keep me full for a longer period of time.  Yes, I eat less than I did a year ago, but I am certainly eating more than 3 oz of protein per meal.  I haven't overly relied on the band to make me eat less.  I am able to eat large quantities if I choose but make my willpower kick in and stop me from overdoing it (most of the time).  Because I know I won't be hungry in an hour or two, eating less is mentally easier to handle. 
I read that many bandsters use the band to regulate what and how much they eat much more than I do.  Some can't eat or drink until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, some can only eat a few tbsp at a time and seem to just puke all the time.  Others feel that the band is not 'working' if they are able to eat a piece of pie or other junky items (Chinese, pizza, hoagies, etc).  Some of us like the feeling of being tight and go for a fill when this feeling subsides, while others find that this tight feeling is problematic.  From what I observe, those who want the band to be instrumental in regulating what they eat and how much they eat-- in addition to keeping them full for at least 4 hours-- are the ones who really desire the feeling of being tight.  I have never really felt tight, and I am happy with that. 
The one category of person I did not address is she who overtly circumvents and challenges the band at every possible instance, the person who thinks, 'let me buy those two foot-long hot dogs and cheese fries and see if I can get all of it in AND THEN wash it down with a milkshake'.  We have all learned that we need to work with the band and be reasonable, and eating huge quantities of junk is by no means reasonable.    
So I guess my question is this:  What did you expect from the band prior to surgery, and what do you expect now that you deal with the band on a daily basis?  Do you find that your expectations were reasonable from the start, or have you modified them along the way as you have experienced life with the band?
NB- thanks to Jacquie for giving me info on a website to create side by side photos.  This makes a true comparison SO much easier.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Curbing Critical And A Comparison

I am much more critical of my body now than I was at my heaviest.  I am much more complimentary of my body as well.  I think the reality is that I am more observant of my body than I had been and more willing to critique myself than when I was 300+lbs.  I WAS probably a lot more accepting of my body last year, not because I was happy with what I had become, but due to the apathy that accompanies truly feeling that there was not even a sliver of a chance that I could do anything to improve my situation.  Now that I am closer to looking 'normal', I notice my flaws more easily.  I am a lot smaller, but I am still big.  Yes, I can actually see my jaw, but even my chin/lower face could stand to be WAY more lean.  I don't want to be complacent with my weight loss- I still have a long journey ahead of me!  I feel that being able to look at myself and realistically evaluate my body, both the positives and negatives, will continue to be important to my success.
And on that note, pictures-  
Taken on August 4
   Taken today
I seem to be the only person so technologically unsophisticated that I cannot post side by side photos.  Oh well.  Let's get started with the comparison.  In the August photo, I am definitely a bit thicker throughout the middle.  My shorts look slightly looser in today's photo.  My right arm might be hanging a bit closer to my body than it was last month.  Now for the critical, man- I am still pretty big.  How did I let this happen to myself?  The positive is that I am heading in the right direction.  The scale and these pictures prove it.  As long as I remain committed to the gym and to making healthy food choices, I will continue to move towards a healthier weight and life! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back In London-- and PBing on PB

Ladies, I landed in London this morning and have spent some of today catching up on Blogland.  I feel that I have missed so much, pathetic!
My trip back to the states was, as expected, great.  We stayed at The Palace, which is a lovely hotel.  The rooms are nicely appointed and the service is first rate.  The hotel is also conveniently situated on 50th & Madison (right behind St. Patrick's Cathedral), so we can easily get around town.  Because so much of my week revolved around food and drink, I made sure to walk just about everywhere.  I had enough time to walk, and it made sense to burn off those extra pieces of bread and bottles of wine that I refused to do without.  I also made it to the hotel gym twice.  I had hoped that I would have at least 3 proper workouts, but I was active enough that I was fine.  After eight days and nights of eating out and drinking more than usual, I weighed what I did before checking in on September 8th:) 
In reading some of your blogs, I see that many bandsters are anxiety-ridden when it comes to travel.  You are afraid of being tight after flying and of being stuck at a restaurant.  Many even go to the doctor to have an un-fill before a trip.  I don't understand the pre-travel un-fill, but maybe I am in the minority.  Given that I travel more than twenty times a year (I don't remember the exact figure, but my band had flown around 50,000 miles between December 2010 and April 2011), I could never be successful if I were constantly going for un-fills and re-fills.  I also haven't seen the need.  Even in Budapest, the land of tough meats, I was able to find band-friendly dishes.  Now that I am sated with smaller portions, I would never have fluid taken out of my band so that I could get my money's worth at a Las Vegas buffet. 
EAT ME- you know you want to!
When it comes to eating during travel, I try to make sure I consume the same things I would eat were I cooking at home.  I look for fish options for both my starter and my main course (confession time, I still love starters and just accept that I won't eat all of my main).  If I am craving beef, I order a rare filet mignon.  If the steak comes with salad and fries, I ask for more salad and no fries.  I avoid pasta and mashed potatoes.  I avoid heavy sauces.  I avoid things that are breaded and fried.  I focus on lean protein and veggies.  I only allow myself the occasional dessert.  Period.  These guidelines work for me and have given me the flexibility of eating out for approximately 25 of the last 35 nights WITHOUT fear of being stuck in public and WITHOUT fear of coming home with an extra 5-10 lbs.  Oh, and I chew the hell of absolutely anything I eat.  I'd love to hear how others handle travel and whether you do the whole un-fill/re-fill thing.  
I spent enough time in NYC to catch up with friends I haven't seen since this time last year.  It was funny to see how many people mentioned that I looked 'great' or that I looked 'fantastic' but that none would acknowledge the big (but much less fat) elephant pirouetting around the restaurant in a pink tutu!
Hi, I am an elephant in a tutu, and yes, I am dancing in a restaurant...
But seriously, DON'T LOOK AT ME!!!
With all of this going out, I really see how far I have come in 9 months.  I like how I carry myself now and love being able to walk in high heels.  It is so comforting to now know that I can squeeze into the inside chair or banquette at a restaurant without causing too much of a scene.  Even better, I know that the best is yet to come... and won't that be fine.
Kenny and I had a date night one evening followed by listening to some of our favorite jazz musicians.  I have been friendly with the guys for years, and it was just so wonderful to sit with Kenny, lean back with a drink and listen to them play.  Being in NY is just so comfortable and easy, but I digress.  One of the band members has been seriously overweight for as long as I have known him.  Like so many people, he is a really nice guy who just battles a serious issue.  During one of the set breaks, I mentioned to him that he had obviously lost weight and looked great.
**See, this is the benefit of being part of the fat/weight loss club.  I understand how important these compliments are and how discouraged we can all get when we are working hard towards a goal without receiving any recognition.**
His face lit up, and he thanked me for noticing.  He said that one of his regulars (a doctor who was out of town over the summer) had been in to see the band play the prior evening, that the regular came up to the musician with some friends, tapped him in the gut and said to my friend something along the line of "hey, weren't you supposed to lose weight this summer?".  My heart broke when I heard this!  He was still upset by the comment, so my words of encouragement came at exactly the right time.  I was upset for him and really disappointed by this doctor.  If the doctor's concern was related to health, he could have found a more productive and positive way to approach this guy.  It seemed to me that the doctor was just being a bully, especially because he brought his friends along to up the embarrassment factor significantly.  We were talking about how struggling with weight is one of the worst afflictions (for lack of a better term) to have because it is such a public battle.  Not like I'd want to be a drug addict or an alcoholic, but at least those are problems that can sometimes be kept private- employers find out you are an alcoholic after hiring you and try to send you for counseling or rehab.  They hold your position until you are well enough to return to work.  If you are fat, you probably won't even get the job to begin with, because you are fat and people don't like the appearance of fat people in their place of business, don't want fat people representing their office or brand and don't want any of the negative implications of having a fat staff.  If you become fat while in a role, you might be passed over for promotions or other career opportunities.  It is really unfortunate and very sad!  Regardless of the countless issues associated with obesity, I am happy that I felt comfortable enough with him to say something nice and encouraging.   
I saw Dr. Kurian for my monthly visit on Monday.  She was very pleased to see that I am down 90 lbs in 9 months:)  My first consultation with her was September 17, 2010, so it was just about a year ago that I made one of the most important decisions of my life!  She only gave me a 0.1cc fill, and that is fine with me.  I would rather get little fills every month or two rather than have 0.5ccs at once and risk complications.  I will fly back in November for my one year check up.
So now onto the PB issue.  I had absolutely no food in the flat this morning but thought I should eat something before going to the market.  I had peanut butter, so I mixed about a tablespoon with some raspberry jam and ate.  I am on mushies today, and I assumed this would be fine.  I was wrong.  I somehow forgot that 10am London time is a mere 5am in NJ and that my body was still on the earlier time.  Well, my body reminded me that 5am is an inappropriate time to be consuming anything other than water and that I should try again later.  Not quite the welcome home I had expected, but it could have been worse.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some Shopping

I flew back to NJ on Sunday afternoon so that I would be able to spend Labor Day on the beach with mom.  Given the el stinko weather on Monday, we wound up leaving the club after 3 or so hours.  I was still happy that we were able to beach for a bit (yes, in my world BEACH is a verb as well as a noun). 
On the way home from the airport, mom dropped me at the Off 5th (Saks Fifth Avenue) outlet.  I was in desperate need of sweaters and figured that I could take advantage of the Labor Day sales.  I was not the only one who had this idea... the outlet was completely crowded.  Mom couldn't have found a parking spot if she had tried and just drove around until I emerged- bags in hand.  I bought six cashmere sweaters, so I am a happy camper.
The outlet center is not in one of the better parts of the state (shocker) and draws a very interesting crowd.  When I got in the car after shopping, mom told me about what she had been witnessing outside.  Apparently drivers were fighting about parking spaces, and mom spent the time trying to figure out how to stay out of the line of gunfire were the fighting to escalate any further.  Then I proceeded to tell her about a fight that I saw inside.  A customer was unhappy with something that had been shipped to his home and was being hostile towards the check out guy.  The check out guy kept saying that he does not respond to threats and that threats will not get the customer anywhere (hello, police???).  I am checking out next to Mr. Hostility and spent my time trying to figure out how I would take cover when/if Mr. Hostility opened fire.  The only thing near me was a rack of clothing, and I was pretty sure it would do nothing to stop the bullets from getting me.  So at about the same time, mom and I were each trying to figure out how to escape gunfire.  Shopping online is so much safer!    
Even though I gave away much of my clothing as I gained more and more weight, I still have a lot to choose from at mom's.  I've been weeding through my closet and have found several items that fit.  I will need to lose another 20-30lbs to fit into the bulk of it, but I am making progress.  Two of my old winter coats fit.  One is casual and great for wearing on a daily basis.  The other is my floor length fur-trimmed coat, and I am just ecstatic that I will be able to wear it this winter. 

    When not risking my life for cashmere, I shop in my closet. 
About 80% of this clothing is still too small!
I am heading into the city this evening and will be there until next Friday.  My schedule is crazy with lunches and dinners with friends, the theatre with mom and a date night with Kenny.  I am bringing my gym clothes and will have to commit to working out at least 3 times.  I know I should be working out more than that, but I am more likely to meet a reasonable goal than something completely wacky. 
Happy Thursday!

Friday, September 2, 2011

When You Say You Don't Have Clothes, I Believe You...

These words were spoken by my husband, the wonderful Kenny, at around 6 this evening.  These are shocking words to hear uttered by almost any husband- and even more amazing that my husband looked at me in the eye and said them! 
In anticipation of my trip home, I have been cleaning out my closet.  My closet is now BARE!  I walked Kenny into our closet and had him look at the racks, racks with hangers but nothing to hang, empty racks, sad racks, racks just yearning to be filled up and used.  He looked, and then said 'when you say you don't have clothes, I believe you'!!!  These are the magic words for any wife to hear...
What do you see missing from this picture?  If you answered, CLOTHES, you answered correctly. 

I have always been the woman who would sigh that I have nothing to wear as I comb through the 35 dresses hanging in the 'dress' part of the closet (a few of you have received gigantic boxes full of my dresses and understand where I am coming from), so it is really something to be at the point where I have just about nothing to wear.  The good news is that everything I am clearing out is way too big (which is so much better than clearing clothing out because it is way too small).  A few years ago I came to the realization, realization at the time I suppose, that I was never going to fit into my misses size 14-16/L-XL clothes again, packed them up and shipped them to a friend.  She got just about everything that I had grown out of.  I saved some of my super high-end pieces, but she got everything else.  Now I could use many of those pieces:(  I know that I am not at a 16 yet, but it is just a matter of time.  Luckily I saved a few of my Saks cashmere sweaters, and they FIT.  They fit beautifully... no muffin top, no stretching, nada. 
I certainly miss having a full wardrobe to turn to, but I will trade the gigantic wardrobe for being a bit less gigantic (for the time being at least- I want a big wardrobe when I am at a better place). 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Watch Me Do The Humpty Hump

I woke up to a new decade this morning.  I have been in the 240s since July 1st, so it was about time to see 23_ on the scale!  Even better, today might be Thursday to you but it is hump day for me.  I am officially more than 50% of the way to goal!  It feels like such an accomplishment (and a gigantic relief) to finally see that the weight I have already lost is greater than the weight I still have to lose!!!
So now, enjoy singing the Humpty Dance for the day!