November 26, 2010-present weight loss

2012 weight loss

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeward Bound

Kenny and I fly to EWR at 6 this evening!  I need to do a lot of packing between now and when my car comes, so adios for now Blogland. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do Your Pillows Fit?

I am very fussy when it comes to pillows.  I can spend over an hour at Bloomingdale's trying various pillows before making my final decision.  I place the pillow on the wall and lean into it; I hold the pillow in my hands and push it up towards my face to replicate what it will feel like to be face down in it.  It is quite a process.  Mom is frequently with me for these experiences and comes close to needing a diaper due to her laughing fits. 
I am still using the pillows that I bought way before surgery, and they no longer fit me correctly.  I am a stomach sleeper- I know it isn't good for my back, but it is really the only way I can consistently get to sleep.  My old pillows are now way too thick.  I guess because I have a lot less stuffing in me than I did last year, my head is closer to the mattress.  If I place my head towards the center of the pillow, my head is supported at a really unnatural angle.  Instead, I use the thin corner of the pillow.  I clearly need new pillows but doubt I will have time to spend sorting it out during this trip home.  
We all know that our clothes stop fitting, and many of us (I am not one of them) have had medicines that no longer fit us as we lose weight.  But how about your pillows- do your pre-surgery pillow still fit? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kenny Then & Kenny Now

It is no secret that Kenny was opposed to my decision to have WLS.  He thought that I would lose weight on my own if I tried hard enough... and consequently, not trying hard enough was the reason I was fat.  Fast forward to now.  I have one of the most supportive husbands around.  He goes on and on about how great I look and how my decision to have surgery was the right one.  Not only that, he sees that it has completely changed our lives.  I am active, and we can have so many experiences that were off limits to us only a year ago.  He is also proud of me.  Kenny is a man who is very particular and very critical.  It takes a lot for him to be proud of me or impressed by my accomplishments.  With my WLS, he is completely proud of what I have done.  He is also proud of me, as his wife, when our friends are stunned by my transformation.  We did lunch with a friend today, and our friend didn't recognize me in the beginning (I was at the table alone).  He walked over with his jaw on the ground.  At a cocktail party this past weekend, Kenny's colleague and his wife couldn't get over what I have done. 
As for whether he thinks I could have lost all of this weight without the band, we haven't specifically discussed it.  I am pretty sure that he now appreciates how instrumental the band has been and that it is a fantastic tool.  He gets that I was not just a pig- I was HUNGRY.  He gets that being healthy was almost impossible when I always felt like I was starving (and that working out was so difficult to struggle through when I knew I couldn't possibly burn off the calories that I was consuming).  Most importantly, he fully understands that the band wouldn't have helped me at all if I hadn't been willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to work with this little contraption.  I feel that this is the thing that has made him happiest.  I eat well and work out regularly.  I am not flying back to the doctor every few weeks for fills, I am not relying on an overly tight band to control my hunger, and I am not sitting on the couch while complaining that I still need to lose weight.  I have completely changed my life!  Oh, and I can still eat 'regularly' when we go out to dinner.  I might leave a decent amount of food on my plate, but nobody cares about what is or is not on my plate as much as I do:)    

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Bandiversary To Me

Wow, my life today, December 9, 2011 is so much different than my life on the morning of December 9, 2010.  
Let's go back to my surgery day... I was Dr. K's first surgery of the day, so mom and I drove into the city well before the sun rose.  Mom hates driving in the city, so I actually drove myself in.  I parked the car, and we walked into the hospital.  It was so early that security had to check my name against the records to let me in.  I was surprised by how grimy this part of the hospital looked.  It really was a city hospital- and not in a good way.  So we went upstairs to admitting, and everything became SO REAL.  I filled out my paperwork and was really concerned about what would happen if there were a problem with the surgery.  Kenny was working in London, I was undergoing surgery in NYC, and even though Kenny is my husband, the hospital would have to rely on my mother's decisions were there any  problems.  I completed the paperwork and waited to be taken back to the next area.
I was called back and put in a little room with my mom.  There I changed, folded up my clothing and waited.  The hospital clearly caters to obese patients, so my gown covered me very nicely.  It was actually so large that mom could have hopped in as well, but that would have been creepy.  A nurse finally came in to weigh me and asked how I did on my liquid diet.  I completely deflected the question.  The reality is that I skunked the rigid liquid diet after Day 1 and instead followed the nutritionist's calorie and protein guidelines without drinking those horrible shakes (for anyone who hasn't had surgery yet, don't follow my lead).  I couldn't tell the nurse this, so instead I answered with a fact- that I lost 20 lbs during the liquids phase.  She was actually really impressed that I had lost that much weight and said that many people don't lose anything.  People, if you don't lose weight on the liquid diet, you are doing something wrong.  At some point the anesthesiologist came in and reviewed my blood work.  He told me that I was pre-diabetic and showed me where my levels should be, funny that my GP hadn't mentioned this.  Then we waited some more until Dr. K came in.  She had been tied up in a meeting and was running late... and I gently suggested that she take a breather and relax before she started cutting me open.  She is so incredibly cute, and my mom liked her immediately.
Then the scariness really started.  The surgical nurse came in to get me.  I assume I gave my mom a hug but am really not sure about that.  Then the nurse walked me to the surgical suite.  For all of you who had the benefit of some sort of happy drug before going (or being wheeled, more likely) to the surgical suite, you suck!  My only complaint about NYU is that this is not their policy.  Patients walk down the hall and into the room stone cold sober.  It was frightening.  I started telling the nurse how pretty she was, and in reality she was.  She was about 6' tall and joked that her long arms were helpful in the OR.  Then she told me to put my little cap on, and we walked into the room.  I burst out in tears.  I am actually remembering how terrified I was when I walked in there last year and am starting to tear as I type this.  Of course I had this one moment where I thought that there was still time and I could get the hell out of there before it was too late, but then I decided to go through with it (they already had my credit card details and would likely bill me either way).  The people in the OR were watching me cry and telling me everything would be alright, and I immediately thought that they must think that this is my punishment for letting my life get so out of control... like, well, if you hadn't eaten yourself to 320+lbs, you wouldn't be here today.  I hopped up on the table, and the table looked like a big crucifix (with pieces sticking out for my arms).  Someone numbed my hand before inserting the IV, and someone else put pressure booties on me.  My one smart ass comment, made more for my benefit than for the benefit of the OR staff, was when I looked at myself stretched out on this table and said something like, "Isn't this what they do to people getting the death penalty?".  Everyone in there giggled, and that was just about the last thing I remember as a non-banded woman. 
The next thing I know, someone was asking me to move myself from the operating table to the wheelie bed.  I was actually alert enough that I hoisted myself onto the bed, though I have read that most of you are still in La La Land.  I bet the OR staff loves patients who come out of anesthesia quickly, as moving the bariatric surgery patients must be pretty unpleasant.  Dr. K stood over me and said everything went well, and someone wheeled me to recovery.  My recovery nurse was sweet and had been banded herself, though she had not really lost any weight.  Just what someone less than one hour out of surgery wants to hear!  My mom came back to visit me, and Dr. K came at some point as well.  She said that my liver was perfect:)
I knew that I had to walk, drink water and use the toilet before being discharged, so I was on a mission.  I was NOT spending the night in the hospital.  Once the transfer people (who were surprisingly rude) moved me to the next floor, I told mom we were going for a walk.  I covered my exposed butt, grabbed my IV pole and lapped the floor.  And yes, I made sure the nurses saw me.  We circled the floor twice, and I told mom we should do one more lap.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I guess I figured that more laps would give me extra credit.  I felt like hell after Lap #3.  I lost all color in my face and was really woozy.  Mom made me sit down and mentioned that the final lap was probably a bit too much for my system.  So we just chilled and waited.  I spoke with Kenny, who was majorly relieved that everything was OK.  For those of you who have not followed my blog from the beginning, Kenny was really opposed to this surgery (read more about that here).  He thought I could control my eating if I just tried harder and was also convinced that I was going to die having surgery.  Being 3,500 miles away made the situation even more difficult, so getting to say hi and let him know I was fine was great.  I finally received my liquid dinner and was able to get everything down.  After a trip to the bathroom, I was ready to leave.  I needed one of Dr. K's underlings to examine me before being discharged, but I wanted to have all of my ducks in a row.  The (cute) underling finally came and said I could be discharged.
My recovery was mega easy.  I didn't have discomfort from the gas and wasn't sore near my port or incisions.  I had no interest in doing crunches and was cautious lifting myself out of bed, but other than that no complaints.  The liquid painkiller did its job, and I always knew my body was feeling the effects once my hands started to tingle.  My mother was a star the entire time!  She made me soup after soup, including curried cauliflower and a spicy Mexican soup, and enough low fat Greek yogurt smoothies to ease Greece's financial woes (that place would have gone bust in 2010 were it not for my surgery). 
So what about today?  Well, I am hovering around 210 rather than pushing 325.  I wear a misses 14 or 16 rather than a 22W.  I wear really high heels and can even walk in them.  Yeah, my toes tingle at the end of the night, but that doesn't bother me.  I no longer buy wide gym sneakers, and I no longer wear the only pair of flats that would fit my feet.  For that matter, I no longer buy clothing or shoes just because the items fit.  For me to buy something it must be perfect (or a bit too small).  I am active and I am mobile.  I travel so much more easily than I did a year ago.  My seat belts fit with lots of room, and I actually choose to sit in the middle seat when traveling with Kenny.  He got the raw end of the deal with my weight issues for so long that he deserves some comfort in either the aisle or window seat.  Nobody gives me that look of dread when I walk down the aisle of the plane and stop at a row to squeeze in now.  For years people would drop their eyes and say a silent prayer that I would sit elsewhere.  I can walk quickly and am no longer exhausted after doing simple tasks.  I walk to the grocery store rather than taking the bus.  I have girlfriends who want to shop with me, go out to clubs (not sure that is ever going to happen), discuss healthy recipes, and even, gasp, go to the gym.  I actually GO to the gym.  I average 5 days a week and typically work out for 80-90 minutes. 
At last month's appointment with my OBGYN, we discussed how much more weight I should lose before trying to get pregnant.  She said that ideally my BMI should be 27 but that this might not be a realistic number for me.  She said that I have lost enough weight to start trying (not trying yet for the record- much to the dismay of my mother).  I went from never having my period to being healthy enough to try to get pregnant within 12 months.  I feel like I am a much better wife to Kenny.  I can more easily participate in life than I could last year, and I no longer feel that I am holding him back.  I have also come closer to fitting the role of the Corporate Wife.  I know it sounds silly, but his industry is very image-based.  People dress amazingly well and are always put together.  The same goes for the spouses, who are impeccably groomed.  I could not fit (pun intended) into that category last year.  I was round and, more times than not, I was sweaty.  Last night I attended a cocktail party without Kenny; he was supposed to come but wound up working until 11:30.  I went on my own and was so comfortable, even though I only knew the husband and wife hosting.  At the end of the night the wife actually told me that my dress was very sexy! 
Today also marks another milestone- I had my first gym date today.  Our date was supposed to be on Monday, but that didn't work out.  So today we met for a 10:30 aqua aerobics class at her gym.  This means I wore a bathing suit in front of a tall, slim Greek woman- on purpose.  We wound up having a fantastic time and stayed at the gym until nearly 3:00.  Remember, this is Europe.  The nicer gyms have more of a spa element to them than do American gyms.  After our aqua class we stayed for a swim.  Then we gabbed in the pool and just kicked and kicked.  We spent a few minutes in the hot tub and then changed to go lift.  We did some lifting and then lounged in the sauna.  After the sauna we lounged on the lounges, and then we showered and went off to a late sushi lunch.  I am actually considering switching to this gym so I can have more gym dates.  One year ago I was undergoing surgery for being even more obese than ‘morbidly obese’, and today I worked out with a friend, changed in front of her and am considering taking out a membership at the more posh and trendy gym to allow for even more gym dates.  WOW!    
Where do I go from here?  I am not done losing weight.  I am still obese, and I know I can continue to work towards my goal.  I’d like to hit Onederland by the end of January and know that this will be a bit of a challenge.  I am committed to making it happen though and just have to make sure that the 30+ meals I am scheduled to eat in restaurants this month don’t mess with my plan too much.  At least I am now aware of how badly dining out can derail my plans and can make better choices when I am not cooking at home. 
I have learned that the band works differently for different people.  We were all fat for different reasons, and we will all lose weight differently.  I was always a quantity person- I ate large quantities of good food.  I could get down 12+ ounces of salmon without blinking or eat a large filet mignon.  A typical sushi/sashimi dinner was never enough to make me happy.  I always ate the 'right' foods; I just couldn't get full without eating much more than I should have been eating.  Being banded was a major life change, but I didn’t require that much reprogramming when it came to WHAT to eat.  Maybe that is why weight loss has been pretty consistent.  I am rarely tempted by milkshakes or fast food.  I don’t bother with pizza, and I am unlikely to binge on cake or other sweets.  From what I read on the blogs, it looks like those of us who only have an issue with quantity might have a slightly easier time getting onboard with the band than bandsters who have to completely relearn not only HOW MUCH to eat but also WHAT to eat.  That is a lot of retraining, and I assume it is yet another hurdle to overcome.  My year hasn't been easy- I have literally worked my a$$ off to lose this much weight, but at least I am not usually tempted by high fat, high carb options.
I really enjoy this blogging community and am so thankful for the support and guidance I receive from many of you.  Thank you allJ
And now, I will leave you with my December gym picture.  It is really blurry, but I tried.                           

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fat Girl's Dream

These past two travel weekends have been a dream for my inner fat girl.    Let's start with Marrakesh.  The food is heavy and warm, and there is a TON of it.  I was very tight for the first time ever and ate next to nothing, but wow, a year ago I could have really tucked into these tagines.  On our second evening, we went to L.e.T.o.b.s.i.l., a popular restaurant in the medina that offers a set menu.  We started with an assortment of salads. 
I could only eat the eggplant, but look at all of these dishes!  
From there we had a wonderful chicken tagine.  If it weren't for the extra liquid that I asked for, I would have gotten none of the dish down.  Even with the extra lube I ate only a few bites.  Kenny finished up his serving and was stuffed.  I mentioned to him that it was odd that we weren't given couscous or vegetables, but neither of us needed more food.  We expected that dessert would follow but then noticed that more food started coming out of the kitchen.  Enter, Stage Left, Tagine #2.  It was a fabulous lamb tagine served with an enormous bowl of couscous, vegetables and some chick pea liquid/soupy thing.  The servers came over, placed all of this food in front of us and I was horrified.  Kenny looked at me and erupted in laughter when he saw my face.  It was scary.  It was so much food it was glutinous, and my expression was somewhere between fear and disgust.  And of course I could barely eat and felt terrible leaving my meal mostly untouched.  My inner fat girl looked longingly at the food- I just looked in amazement when I noticed that people at the other tables were actually eating more and cleaning their plates!
Then we travel to Vienna, and I can again say, the food is heavy and warm, and there is a TON of it.  I spent the weekend chowing down on gigantic sausages, stuffed with cheese no less, on the streets of town and eating very deeply fried meats.  I controlled myself enough to eat little portions, but this food is a far cry from the fish and veggies I typically gravitate towards.
 Eating sausage outside the Albertina
 Dinner at one of the most famous schnitzel houses in town
 Kenny ordered the schnitzel, and I had the chicken cordon bleu. 
We also shared a potato salad.
 Before and after. 
Kenny actually preferred my dish and hijacked one of my chicken breasts.  

 In case the meats weren't enough to get us through the weekend, we also had to try the famous Sachertorte (chocolate cake) at D.e.m.e.l..
 The baker making the Sachertorte
 Our cake and two wonderful cups of hot chocolate
(perhaps the best hot chocolate I have ever had)
 Isn't it pretty?
    Not impressed- we only shared one piece and left that much behind.
Again, my inner fat girl was thrilled to see so much yummy food.  I am happy to report that my less fat current self took control, with the help of the band, and didn't let my inner self lose control.  My former self would have cleared the plate, every plate, pictured above.  Even if I hadn't loved the cake, I would have eaten ALL of it.  Just because I could.  No longer my friends!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weekend Catch-Up

Our Vienna weekend was just spectacular.  I loved everything about the city and had such a wonderful and relaxing time with Kenny.  We stayed at the Hotel Bristol, which is in the heart of town and right next to the Vienna State Opera.  We were upgraded to a fantastic suite overlooking the VSO- a great way to start the weekend. 
The view from our balcony
 Our hotel 
One of the realities of traveling pretty frequently is that I don't bother planning for trips the way most people do.  Most would start researching well in advance of their departure, plan out what they are going to see, book restaurants, and so on and so on.  Not me!  I do just about ZERO planning.  I bought our travel books on Wednesday morning, and we left on Friday afternoon.  After a quick read I realized that I'd missed the boat on being able to see a lot of what Vienna had to offer- The Vienna Boys Choir books over a month in advance as do tickets to see the Lipizzan Stallions.  Whoops! 
On Saturday morning we went to St. Stephen's Cathedral and took the lift to the top of the tower.  It was on the chilly side but we saw such nice views of Vienna and of the beautiful roof of the cathedral.  We toured Christmas Markets, visited the Liechtenstein Museum and generally walked from one end of central Vienna to the other. 
On the top of St. Stephen's Cathedral
 Christmas Market
  The Christmas Markets were cute, but I was bummed that most of the items on display looked so mass-produced.  Where are the handmade and unique ornaments?
I am a Christmas light fanatic; I LOVE seeing the decorated streets and buildings.  Vienna has some of the prettiest lights I have ever seen.  I was among the many tourists constantly stopping to snap photos of another street or another decoration.  Kenny is very patient and just accepts that walking one block can take anywhere from 20 seconds to 5 minutes!
When we made it back to the hotel the Concierge told me that he was able to secure two IMPERIAL BOX seats to see the Sunday performance of the Lipizzan Stallions.  Kenny said that seeing my face light up when I was handed the tickets was one of the best things he has seen recently (isn't he cute?).
The following day we visited the Imperial Apartments and the Treasury of the Hofburg Palace before seeing the stallions.  We also made it to church for a few minutes to hear the Vienna Boys Choir perform.  It was a real treat to hear the VBC, but the highlight of Sunday was seeing the Lipizzan Stallions.  These horses and riders are just amazing.  The performance lasts about 80 minutes, and there was not a boring moment.  Photography is strictly prohibited during the show, and I was one of the few in attendance who followed the rules.  Alas, I took no pictures of the horses:( 

 The Hofburg Palace
    View from our seats

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Hundred Posts and Movement Towards Onederland

Only 8.7 lbs to ONEDERLAND.  I almost hate to post this new low, because after big losses my body boycotts and I promptly gain 3 lbs back.  But damn it, I am claiming it.  We go to Vienna this evening, so it will be interesting to see what a weekend of cake, strudel, sausage, and weiner schnitzel does to this number.
In other news, some interesting things are happening at/around the gym.  I had met an American at the pool of my gym last year- pre-surgery.  I have seen her working out upstairs recently, but she was always with a gym buddy.  And then I was concerned that maybe it was someone else and I would look like an idiot for approaching her (one of the strangest things in England is that strangers never speak to each other, so they remain strangers until they are properly introduced- odd).  She was by herself on Monday evening, so I spoke with her.  I had already completed my 60 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes on the Wave and was just planning to say hi and leave.  She was in the middle of her run, so I walked on the treadmill next to her for about 20 minutes while we caught up.  Then she said 'come do abs with me', and I thought she was nuts.  I mentioned that I had to get home to prepare dinner, but she still nudged me to come.  It was a 15 minute class, and she suggested that I just do 5 minutes to try it.  So I did.  She is in much better shape than I, and I was unable to do everything the trainer wanted (he is very strict).  Luckily he came up with alternative exercises for me when some of what he was giving her was obviously NOT going to work for me.  I stayed for the entire class and was very happy that I had someone pushing me to try something new.  Unfortunately I almost passed out when the class was over.  I hadn't planned on working out for so long (at this point I had completed my 90 minutes of cardio, the 20 minutes walking and then 15 minutes of a high intensity abs class) and was in desperate need of food, sugar, anything.  I actually felt like my head was going under my legs, I became frighteningly nauseous and just knew I needed to sit down.  Everything started to go dark, and I could barely hear.  I wound up NOT passing out, but I definitely came close.  Anyhoo, I thought it was great that this super fit woman wanted me to accompany her to a class. 
One of the guys who works for Kenny recently proposed to his girlfriend.  We hosted the couple on Wednesday evening- champagne, wine and finger foods.  They hadn't seen me since October of last year and almost tripped over themselves when they saw me.  I now know how people are going to react and almost get the giggles when they try to be polite and not address the elephant (or non-elephant for that matter) in the room.  The woman is Greek, tall, slender- think perfect body.  Well, she has invited ME to HER gym to work out with her next week.  How cool is that?  This would NEVER have happened before.  So on Monday I have my first ever gym date!  After a weekend of heavy food, I will need it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Big Ole Pain In My--- Foot

My pretty new sneakers
PS- I no longer wear WIDE!
I desperately needed new sneakers last month.  I had been wearing the same sneakers since before I had surgery last year, and they were in bad shape.  The insole had completely formed to my feet and gave almost NO support.  I was also suffering from this horrible pain on the balls of my feet that radiated out to my toes.  It would start when I was on the elliptical and would sometimes get so intense that I could not complete my routine.  Once the pain started, it even made riding the recumbent bike difficult and painful.  It was terrible. 
I assumed that the new sneakers would alleviate this pain, but no such luck.  I put them on, worked out and the pain was as bad as ever.  I did some research online, and I found that the pain was likely caused by the way I was moving on the elliptical.  I always positioned my feet towards the back of the pedals, meaning that my weight was in front of my feet and I was constantly rocking my feet back and forth/putting all of my weight on the balls of my feet.  So I tried a new approach.  I moved my feet to the front of the pedals and focused on keeping my feet planted on the pedals.  With my feet towards the front of the pedals, I no longer need to lean forward as much to move my arms.  It hasn’t completely relieved the pain, but it has reduced it significantly.  The toes still get a bit tingly- at least it is tolerable now!
On the subject of sneakers, I learned something interesting when purchasing my newest ones.  The store I go to is focused on runners, and I just love it.  Not like I do the whole running thing with any degree of frequency, but still.  I like the salespeople, who are both knowledgeable and helpful.  I planned to buy two pairs of sneakers and asked the sales guy if there is a benefit to rotating the sneakers on a daily basis rather than wearing one pair to death and then replacing them with spares.  He said that after a workout, the insoles take 30 hours to fully spring back to life and that I can prolong the life of both pairs of sneakers by rotating them.  Who’d a thunk that insoles were so finicky?