Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Years, New Beginnings

This the final week of 2008 finds me sitting down to think about goals I made for the year. Some I accomplished and others are on-going. Some, sad to say fell by the wayside along the way. Setting goals doesn’t just happen at the end of the year, but continuous goal setting is essential for growth. That is what I have done this year and what I plan to do for 2009. As one goal is reached, I have discovered over the year that another goal or a further step must be put in place. It is imperative to forging on in life’s journey.

2008 was a year of growth and shrinkage; growth in areas of faith and health; shrinkage in areas of weight and inches. God was strongly by my side in decisions, provisions and many blessings. As I have walked this journey of weight loss I have discovered how important friends’ and family’s support is to the success. Ultimately the work that leads to success is mine to bear, but without my family and friends behind me I would be struggling beyond my abilities. Just a spoken word of encouragement, a compliment, an urging, a dropped note, a smile or a pat on the back lends so much to the journey. So I take this moment to say thank you to each one of you! It feels great to be 78 pounds lighter and many inches smaller. The clothing is often times frustrating, but it is a small price to pay for being healthier.

2009 is a year of anticipation for me. I’m excited to continue to cement my new lifestyle with new eating habits surrounding kinds of food, amount of food and proper diet. I look forward to getting my exercise routines down to increase the toning of the “problem” areas. Most importantly is growing in my faith which is the center of all growth.

I thank my YMCA trainer, Hope for her dedication in keeping me inspired and eager to perform. She has the enthusiasm that spurs me on to do more and work harder. She is truly Hope!

I thank my pastor Dave for the inspiration of faith. His messages every week and his encouragements are beyond description. My faith has grown in the year and ½ I have been attending New Community Christian Church. Along that vein is the group of individuals I have grown the most with. That would be my cell group at church. It is a group of single women that challenge me every week to dig deeper, walk straighter and love purer. We have grown closer over the year and I continue to find strength in each of them. Their friendships are a ray of sunshine in my daily walk.

I can’t pass the opportunity to thank the staff at Innovative Weight Loss Solutions. Their support through encouragement, information and friendship is immeasurable. They truly care about the people!

So as 2009 knocks on my door, I wish my family and friends many blessings and the strength to continue to stretch and grow.

“I am grateful for new years and new beginnings.
It is a great human need to be periodically reborn.”
~Richard Paul Evans~ in “Finding Noel”

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Changing Old Tapes

Two weeks ago I talked about fear. I found this saying in one of my email newsletters. “feel the fear and do it anyway”. The writer was finding her fears and self hate were holding her back. She decided, “I am choosing to change -- despite my fear, despite my doubt.” She talked about self hate being part of our "fat mind." Or to be more politically correct, part of our obesity mindset. We have to address it and face it in order to make “headway” and conquer it. Many times when we make headway we fail to admit it to our self. Or we fail to give ourselves credit and acknowledgment of the progress. Both are steps to facing the fear, overcoming the fear and building our self confidence which in turn eliminates the self hate. I believe most obese people are rooted in a sense of self hate and therefore we have the corrupt tapes in our mindset that we are not worth the time or effort it takes to be healthy. This is why we tend not to make time for exercise and healthy eating.

I also was talking to a gal about my weight loss and surgery. She said she didn’t think she could ever be successful dieting the way she needed to because she was too much in love with carbs (bread, pasta, etc). I thought about what she said and I remember when I was told 2+ years ago to have this surgery that I couldn’t do it. I had several reasons why I couldn’t do it. Some I’ve shared publicly. One I think I have shared with only one other person until just recently. I did not want to have the surgery because of my own self-perceived opinion of the surgery. I saw it as a failure of the person. Well, after much thought and research, etc. I know this not to be true. Once I got the facts it became clear it is much more a failure to not admit the problem(s) of the obese. As I researched I had to face another fear. Could I give up certain eating habits, foods, routines and addictions? All I could think about was 1 oz of food or one cup of food wasn’t much. There is no way I could stop at that and be happy. Well, as time passed and knowledge through research increased, I realized I would learn to adapt to the small portions. I have certainly found that has not been a factor in my journey. Once again, changing the old tapes.

Today (December 21st) marks 5 months since surgery. It has been 6 months since I started the eating portion of this journey. I started the Optifast semi-liquid diet on June 21st. At that time I weighed and measured. I have Hope, my trainer at the YMCA measure me every couple of months. In 6 months I have lost 2 ¾” on the arms, 6 ¾” in the chest, 9 ¼” in the waist, 8” in the hips, 3 ¼” in the thighs and 76 pounds. I am down 2-3 sizes in all articles of clothing. I’ve come a long way baby!!! I still have a long way to go, but changing the old tapes allows me to face the challenge and continue to build a new lifestyle.

My local YMCA had a city wide pound plunge. You did not have to be a member to participate. It was teams of 4 people competing with each other within the team and competing with the other individuals and teams within the competition. There were 871 people who completed the competition losing 9,580 pounds. Wow what an accomplishment. I just pray they all continue the new lifestyle they developed over the 12 week competition! It feels so good to be healthier!

Changing old tapes is not easy. It is much more comfortable to stay in the “rut” of our thinking. They bring us consolation when sad, warmth when hurt, fulfillment when bored, and “support” when we fell unworthy. Those are old tapes of lies. Food can not give us any of those feelings. Only God can give us happiness. We choose to be positive. Of course it is much easier if we rely on God for the will and ability to find that happiness.

As the New Year approaches, make a commitment to yourself to change those old tapes that keep playing in your head telling you you are not worth it. Believe me, you are worth it. IT'S OKAY TO PUT YOUR WEIGHT LOSS NEEDS FIRST!!! Don’t be swayed by friends and family to go against what you need to take care of you. Weight loss surgery (WLS) is not the easy way out. It is not a sign of failure. It is a tool to a healthy lifestyle which you will have to use correctly, just like any tool you would use to build something important and lasting.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Each Individual Makes A Whole

This week I went to my WLS support meeting. As I drove to the meeting (40 minutes away) I thought about how far I have come in this journey of 5 ½ months. I was so proud of myself having lost 75 pounds in that time, reached numerous goals; one being getting off the C-PAP machine, exercising, no back pain/little stiffness, no joint pain, etc. As I drove I thanked God for the financial ability to have the surgery, the blessings the surgery has afforded and the positive attitude that has developed since surgery. My depression is less and less every day. I have been told over and over that I have a renewed sparkle in my eyes and joy on my face. I sent picture Christmas cards this year and numerous people have commented on this. Well, as I sat in the support meeting and listened to others who have been post-op for shorter periods than I and have lost more than I, I began to get discouraged and started thinking I needed to work harder, eat less, eat wiser, etc. I got a little bummed out. Then as the meeting went on and I began talking to other people and got some ideas of different things, I realized I am doing the best I can. I am making wise decisions, doing healthy activities and eating small portions. As I drove home I rethought my mood, my flooding thoughts during the meeting and remembered, “Everyone loses at a different rate. Everyone has a different amount to lose which makes them lose at a different rate.” I lightly chastised myself for chastising myself during the meeting. I felt much better about the situation and myself. I am back on track and more determined to work the lifestyle and stop comparing myself to others. This is the reason I go to meetings. It helps keep me in line. It gives me more ideas or new ideas or ideas of different ways to do something.

I want to thank **IWLS staff (Ronda, Pam and Jennifer) for the “Christmas gift” of the sample foods and the print outs of the recipes. It gives me some variety in my meals. The food was delicious. As always, you did a wonderful job of supporting us!

As the title of this update says—“each individual makes a whole”. In some way we can inspire someone else with our experiences, insights, positive or negative attitude (including ourselves) and our whole being. How we think, how we treat others and how we perceive ourselves and others will determine the long term success of our journey.

This week I lost 3 more pounds, so I feel I am right on track. I am now ½ way to my own personal weight goal. I went to the doctor for my monthly B-12 shot. I always weigh and the visits are a month between, give or take a day. I lost 12 pounds between November and December. I don’t know that I will hit my goal for my appointment at Dr. Hachem’s, but I’m sure I will meet his goal. I haven’t given up on mine though. I will keep plugging along and hope you will too. Remember, “any loss is a gain”. Also remember, “each individual makes a whole” -- whether it is a person, a goal or a success.

"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

**IWLS (Innovative Weight Loss Solutions) Under Services and scroll to Surgical Weight Loss

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"We all have fears"

“We all have fears”. My “fear” this last week was another gain. The week before I talked about having a cold and not getting to the “Y” and gaining a pound. Well, this week I felt better, but still struggled with energy. It has been a slow recovery from this cold. I still have the sniffles and a few coughs and a sneeze or two. I’m not ready to give up my Kleenex and hand sanitizer gel. The most prominent symptom was what I call my “sexy radio voice”. It is actually improving and people are able to hear all the words in a sentence. Anyway, I was able to get to the “Y” 3 times this week. I did a full workout on those days and I lost 4 ½ pounds. The week before was probably just water gain. I guess I needed the gain in order to get my butt in gear and get back to the “Y”.

Another common “fear” is gearing up for the Christmas “feasts”. I doubt it will affect me much. I still don’t eat as often as I should. I get some hunger urges, but no real hunger pains. I still end up going some days on one meal, especially if I am busy. When I do eat it is an appropriate portion and I always get my protein in first. Even when I do splurge and have some crackers I put cheese sticks with them. It is a small snack and I get some protein to supplement the cracker urge.

I have to tackle the “fear” of giving into favorites. I have been faced this last week with things I would normally give into the want for. I was sitting in the computer room and a very familiar smell came drifting in. I instantly thought, “Oh man!!” A thought hit me I hadn’t even thought about. You see, my dad makes the world’s BEST peanut brittle. People from all over the world scamper for it. Okay, maybe not all over the world, but a lot of people anticipate his peanut brittle and he only makes it at Christmas. It melts in your mouth. Well, it dawned on me I would never be able to taste it again. Sure, I could try a small sliver and see if my body would accept it. I know I am high sugar tolerant. But once again I have to think about if I can tolerate it, can I stay away from it. I don’t choose to find out. I once again look at the situation as I don’t need it. This way I do not ever feel deprived like I would if I thought “I can’t have it”. I had the same “temptation” with ginger cookies (my favorite is the large soft ones). I was able to acknowledge they were my favorite cookie. But I also was able to acknowledge the fact I didn’t need them. Therefore I went merrily on my way and didn’t even consider eating one. I’ve heard it said it is in the attitude. I hope I always keep this attitude.

I have set a new goal for myself. Starting in January I will once again work the power shift. This means getting off work at 2:30am and having permanent Sunday/Monday off. I had the option of accepting the schedule or not accepting it and staying with my current hours and rotating days off. I had to seriously look at how it would affect my time at the “Y”. The “Y” is a high priority in my life. I will have to give up the organized water aerobics that meets at 8am. I just don’t see me getting in bed at 3am and getting up to be at the “Y” at 8am. So I had to figure out how that would affect my health seeking regimen. Well, I have decided I will go to the aerobics class on Mondays only instead of 3 times a week. The other 4 days I will divide up my already established routine with the cardio and weight machines. The difference is I will increase the variety of machines and do just them on Tuesday and Thursday. I will do just the cardio on Wednesday and Friday. I will get with Hope my “Y” trainer so we can work out a new regimen for both segments. I want to really focus on the trouble areas that have developed since surgery/weight loss. I want to intensify my workout on the abs, upper arm wings and the jelly thighs (upper legs). God always provides for what we need.

Setting goals is one of the most important aspects of this new lifestyle. I feel if I get stagnant in my routines and progress I fear I will become complacent and back step. Once again the attitude comes in. If I have realistic baby step goals that lead to the large overall goal I can see the progress and keep the positive attitude. I know I will have the negative minutes, hours and some times days, but overall the picture will be a beautiful painting. I already see some of the beauty of the surgery. I feel so much better and have hit so many goals and eliminated so many frustrations, ailments and fears. One of these days very soon I will sit down and write my grateful list and post it. Maybe that will be my 1st 2009 goal. I can write the grateful list and look at the things that I haven’t made it to yet and figure out how I am going to attain them in 2009. It sure will be a better new year’s resolution than the one I have made for the last 25+ years and failed to carry out---loose weight! This year it will be continue the healthy lifestyle and healthy eating to continue that lifestyle. As I said, God is good!

I have lost 73 pounds in 5 months. I am almost halfway to my final goal. I have lost 1/2 of a person! I can't imagine how I carried it all around for so long! I have 20 pounds to go to reach my goal that I set for myself before I see Dr. Hachem January 15th. That works out to just over 3 pounds a week. I think it is do-able.

I pray as you gear up for Christmas and all it entails you will stop and think about what is important. You will stop and remember who provides your strength and blessings. I know who provides mine and I am proud to say he is my savior Jesus Christ. He gives me the will power and the insights to attain my goals. He allows me to meet my “fears” head on and overcome them, because “we all have fears”.

It is not about what life gives me that makes a difference,
it is what I DO with what life gives me that makes a difference.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Staying on track - requires discipline

This week was a challenge for me. I made it through my 12 days of vacation healthy. I woke up Monday for my 1st day back to work with a cold. I went to my hour water aerobics class and then my 30 minutes of self water exercising. I was worn out. On Tuesday I was so drained from the cold I didn’t go to the “Y”. The rest of the week went down hill. By Wednesday my voice was pretty rough. By Thursday the officers were able to hear about every 3rd word. They had to read between the words to figure out what I was saying. Friday was a little better, but I still sounded rough. I never had a sore throat, but sounded terrible. Anyway, this process of “deteriorating” health made it impossible to exercise. I’m ready to get back in the swing of it all on Monday.

I gained a pound this week. I’m not real sure how. I know it was Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have one. I worked Thursday and Friday from 10:30a-10:30p. I didn’t have a shred of turkey. I did have homemade chicken and noodles. I guess this next week I need to write down what I eat so I can track what might be causing the gain. This is the 2nd time I have gained since surgery. I know 1 pound isn’t much, but it is still a gain. I haven’t ever felt like I overate, but obviously I have been eating something(s) I shouldn’t be or at least not as much of it. Now that I am starting to feel hunger I must stay focused and continue to be intense in my goal seeking. If I am going to make my goal by my next appointment with Dr. Hachem I will need to loose almost 4 pounds a week. I will give it my best! I can’t live by the “what ifs” so I will just make the best choices. There is no perfect choice, but there are best choices and I will leave the rest to God.

Staying on track with weight loss and health goals requires discipline.
~Melissa McCreey~

I read a letter written by a potential WLS patient who lives with a post-op patient of 5 years. He said some have found the post-surgery restrictions of the WLS lifestyle to be frustrating. "Why did I do all this if I still have to diet and watch everything I eat?" is the way the question is often put. His answer came to him in a bagel ad slogan. "Eating smart isn't dieting."

This is a motto I need to focus on. I have tried every diet and weight loss trick imaginable. I have to focus on eating healthy and allow the rest to fall in place. If I focus on it being a diet I will only get frustrated. I hated that lifestyle and got discouraged by that lifestyle. So I need to step back, take a deep breath and use the tools this surgery provided me. I guess I need to just relax in the process yet be diligent in the process.

“Commitment and accountability are two great secrets of WLS success.”

"The difference between 'not enough' and 'more than enough' is your attitude,"
~Bishop T.D. Jakes~
We can get so wrapped up in trying to get what we don't have that we don't take time to appreciate what we do have.
~Valerie Burton~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting Back to "Normal"

This week some things have seemed to be getting back to “normal”. It has been like the email they send out where all the letters are jumbled up but the 1st and last letter. You can breeze through and read the message. We get so used to reading by memory that we don’t look at the individual parts to see the complete picture. Life gets in the way of experiencing it sometimes. I have had the last 12 days off work. It has been a very relaxing productive vacation. Those seem like contradictions, but really they aren’t. I had things I wanted to get done, but if they didn’t, they didn’t. Well, I got them all done without feeling rushed. I got my Christmas shopping and wrapping finished. From here on out it is a busy time at work, so it is important to get this done early. This way I don’t get stressed and eat just to eat. I also can look at the jumbled up word and know what it is without looking at each individual letter. I can relax in my post-op state of thinking and not fall back on my pre-op habits. As I said, life gets in the way sometimes.

Back to the “normal”. In the last 3-4 days I have begun to feel hunger urges. My body has always told me I was getting full and I have been able to stop at satisfied. My difficulty was in eating often enough because I rarely got hungry to tell me to eat. Well, this last week I began to feel the urge or rumble of hunger. Now the difficulty is trying to figure out what to eat. Now is the time I have to lay the foundation for healthy eating (food as well as patterns). I have been trying to do that since day one of post-op. It is more difficult now because I find I want to eat certain things sometimes. I have been successful staying away from the unhealthy, non-essential foods (carbs, sugar, etc.). I have kept my portion sizes appropriate. I have kept my snacking so limited it almost doesn’t exist. So now that I am getting the hunger urges I have to pay close attention to my patterns. I have always been an emotional eater. I ate when I was bored, happy, angry, sad, excited, stressed, etc. See the pattern? Whenever I wanted to and whatever I wanted to! Now I have to plan for those times when the hunger urge is evident. I have to recognize if it is really hunger or if it is emotional. I have in the past (B.S.) eaten a snack (chips, crackers, candy, pastries, etc.) in order to “hold me over until supper time.”. Now I will have to make sure I really need to eat and determine what I will eat. I know I tend to “need” something around 4-5p at work to “hold me over” until 7-8p when I eat. I will have to make sure I take cottage cheese or peppers or something along that line.

The last 2-3 weeks I’ve talked to several people about the want or need to eat. There is a difference! I also talked about the thought process of “can’t” and “don’t need”. I had a friend say she tells herself she can’t have that. I told her to tell herself she doesn’t need it. Saying you can’t have it leaves the sour taste of being denied in your mouth. By saying you don’t need it your perspective is on the healthy side of taking care of yourself. I have found this works really well. Today was our church’s Thanksgiving dinner. There were so many wonderfully delicious looking desserts; chocolate peanut butter balls, chocolate chip cookies, cakes, breads of all kinds, candy/nut trail mix, etc. I thought so many things would be so good just to taste. My determination for success won out. I kept the focus on “I don’t need it” and was able to pass it all by. I took an orange cheese cake with mandarin oranges on top. It is a recipe I found in my bariatric cookbook. I wanted to make sure I had something I was able to eat and that would take the temptation away for the other things. It worked. I also took a bean salad from that cookbook to give me a known safe option of salads (berry/marshmallow/whipped topping salad, heavy fat-laden saucy salads, etc.). Of course the protein was found in the beans as well as my turkey. I could in good conscious eat mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. Another hazard of a community dinner is not knowing how the food was prepared and what “additives” are in the dish. So I tried to stick to the basics and be safe. I stuck to my pouch rules and found the dinner was very satisfying in taste and fulfillment. It can be done. I can live a normal healthy eating life after bariatric bypass surgery. People perceive it so hard to not be able to eat certain things and eat such small portions.

I have talked to several people lately that don’t understand how and can’t fathom eating such small amounts. They ask, “Will you ever be able to eat that again?” They were referring to the sugar desserts and the high fat foods. I tell them, I think I am high tolerant towards sugar, but I don’t need it and I don’t really miss it, so why tempt it by trying it? Also when I tell them I have a Happy Meal from McDonalds and can’t eat it all, they can’t imagine that. I tell them I could have eaten it all and been miserable, like I used to do B.S., but being satisfied is so much healthier and satisfying to my overall feelings that I am able to stop when my body tells me. It just takes some listening to do it. “Slow and steady wins the race.” I know my race is at 70 pounds lost now!

With this week being Thanksgiving and all the traditions that go along with it I am glad I have to work 12 hours on Thanksgiving. Last year I played it smart. I took what I normally would eat at Thanksgiving and then split it in half. I ate half at dinner and took the other half to work for supper. This year there would have been things I would have eaten last year that I am not able to eat this year (like chocolate peanut butter balls). I did excellent at the church dinner today so I think I would have the same ability on Thanksgiving. God does provide the will if you rely on him for it.

I pray you center your Thanksgiving on those you are with, recalling the many blessings you have been granted in the lat year and thanking God for them. My hope is this Thanksgiving will be a start to a year of many blessings and you will count a new lifestyle as one of them. I know I will! “Thank you God for giving me the means to have the surgery and the dedication to use the tools I gained from that surgery to take care of myself in a healthy manner.”

God bless,

DeAnn :0)

"The difference between 'not enough' and 'more than enough' is your attitude,"
~Bishop T.D. Jakes~
We can get so wrapped up in trying to get what we don't have that we don't take time to appreciate what we do have.
~Valerie Burton~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Walk towards the goals

This week I had my regular 3 month checkup with my regular doctor. He was very happy with me. He asked how much weight I've lost, I grinned and I told him 63 pounds. He said, "Look at that grin." He said he was very impressed with me. He asked me about my exercising and I told him what I've been doing. He figured I am exercising an average of 10 hours a week. He said he is very proud of me. I told him I quit using my C-Pap on Oct 31st. He asked why. I told him because I don’t think I need it anymore. I asked if he thought I needed to be retested. He said actually several months ago the insurance companies started covering an in home overnight oximetry testing. It measures the level of oxygen you are expending over a certain period of time. So he wrote a prescription for me to get one from my respiratory provider. I went and they "equipped" me with an oxygen monitor. I had to place a "clip" on my finger attached to a small monitor not much bigger than a small audio cassette recorder. I wore that all night and took it back the next morning and they analyze it and send the results to my doctor. I also took the computer chip from my C-Pap machine that has monitored my sleeping patterns for the life of the machine (about a year). So I will definitely know if I am safe to not use my C-Pap.

Also at this appointment my doctor told me he believes in a short time we will probably be able to take me off most of my medications. It is dependant on weight loss. He talked about doing testing at 50 more pounds. Maybe by my next appointment with him (May) I can get off my medications!! That is a huge goal for me. It gives me a lot of incentive to work hard with the exercising and watch my food choices wisely! One goal at a time through small steady steps!

This weekend was my trip to Oklahoma City for the Women of Faith conference. Shawna and I go every year. I had a goal that I was able to check off this weekend. On my list of things I wish I could do that skinny people take for granted is a goal of going through a turnstile by walking straight instead of sideways standing on my tippy-toes to get my big belly over the top. Well, I was able to do that!! I was also able to walk all the way around the arena without stopping. Last year I barely made it around halfway. So many things that seem like small things but are actually triumphs that need to be acknowledged. Shawna gave me the idea to keep a grateful list. So I will get started on that. I can think of several off the top of my head. I want to hang it so it can be used as an incentive in the tough times. This trip this year was so much easier in many ways because of my weight loss.

This weekend was also a true test of my ability to eat right and keep my portion sizes appropriate. From Thursday noon until Sunday noon we ate out. That is a real challenge for a gastric bypass surgery post-opter. Although a couple places gave serving sizes far too big I was able to eat and stop when I was satisfied. I never felt overly full. I was very comfortable and satisfied. I ate my protein 1st and a little of the “extras” (no desserts). I also was able to supplement a less than idea portion of protein with some lunch meat and cheese sticks I took along. I also added some peppers for vegetables. I felt good about my choices and the outcome. A couple of places allowed me to order smaller servings (senior menu) when I explained why I didn’t want a full serving.

Shawna and I talked about an event that happened last year at this conference. I told her it was probably the catalyst to my surgery decision. Last year we were sitting in our seats and talking and suddenly I felt someone sit on me. I looked over and it was a woman that had the seat next to me. She was so heavy she couldn’t fit in her chair. She lapped over not only into mine, but into the chair on the other side as well. I’m not talking about just touching me, but actually sitting partially on me. Well, the group she came with was perceptive enough to rearrange the seating. They put her between 2 of them and that way they were partially sat upon. I felt so bad for her, but at the same time I got a case of the giggles. As I sat there with her on me I thought, “I don’t think I have ever felt so thin since I was a child.” At that point I think the seed was planted that I had to do something! I knew Weight Watchers was not working for me and there had to be another solution.

This week I weighed a day later than normal because I wasn’t home Saturday. So my “trip eating” was included in on this weigh-in. I lost just over 3 pounds this week. So now I am up to 67 pounds lost since June 21st, 52 of that since surgery! I feel good about that since I had the 4 day “outing” included and a week of no organized exercising due to the busyness of the week. Shawna and I tried to do some walking.

Each day brings something new to my journey. Sometimes it is subtle and I don’t see it immediately as it creeps into my life. Other times it is clearly visible and I thank God for it. Sometimes it is a positive aspect and sometimes it is a less positive aspect. All are appreciated and measured for a lesson learned. Many times the outcome is in the attitude. Luci Swindoll was telling us in one of her presentations this weekend that she had to lose weight. After the 1st week on a diet, or as she calls it after rearranging the letter, an edit, she lost 2 pounds. She said she looked in the mirror and saw something different. She thought about what it was and it came to her that is was that she was thinner. She now has lost 40 pounds and it all started with the 2 pounds the 1st week. As she said, “It is in the attitude”.

Keep your attitude positive and the rest will fall in place through diligent steady steps. Keep your goals in focus and walk towards them.

Life is preparation for eternity.
~Rick Warren~

Saturday, November 8, 2008

2 Dates

June 1, 2000. October 31, 2008. Two dates that play in my head. The 1st is the day I started using a C-Pap. It was devastating to realize I would probably have to use a sleep breathing machine for the rest of my life. I had suspected I had sleep apnea for some time. I told the doctor I thought I had it. He asked me why I thought that. I told him because I was waking up by the sound of the gravel on the side of the road at 70 MPH; waking up to the sound of the horn from the car behind me because I fell asleep at the stop light; waking up several times in the middle of the night gasping for air and my heart racing. He said he thought I should have a sleep test done. Well, on June 1, 2000 I had my 1st night with my new bed companion. It was an affair that was not filled with love, but with resignation that it was a way of life for me. Since that night I have not gone but 3 nights without my C-Pap machine. The 1st two nights were last year during the ice storm and we were without electricity. The 3rd time was the night of my gastric by-pass surgery. So in 8+ years I’ve only gone 3 nights without it, until October 31st, 2008.

Yes the 2nd date in my head is the night I stopped using my C-Pap machine. I decided it was time to test the waters (or in this case, the air). I was very leery, hesitant and filled with a lot of fear. What if I wasn’t ready and I stopped breathing again. I thought, “Well, I’ve been there before and did okay. God will be with me and pull me through whatever happens.” So I crawled in bed, laid down, and waited. I actually fell asleep fairly quickly. I woke up a few times during the night, but not gasping. As the week went on I slept longer through the night. I found I was sleeping just fine. So I have not used my C-Pap since. Today, (8th) I cleaned my C-Pap equipment for the last time. I packed it up and stored it away. Now I don’t have the crease over my nose or the indentions in my forehead from the C-Pap mask. All this courtesy of weight loss!

I guess you could say there are a few “down” sides. I no longer know when the electricity goes out. See, with the C-Pap if the electricity goes out, the C-Pap stops and you have no forced air. Means you sleep with your mouth shut, it is impossible to breathe. I used to know exactly when the electricity went off in the night because you wake up gasping for air. I have a back up battery for my alarm clock so I don’t have to worry about sleeping through the electricity outage. I was also used to a constant hum of noise. Now I have to adjust to the silence. I’ve handled that perfectly. The machine always gave a dim ray of light. It would have been brighter, but I put paper over the buttons to block out as much as I could. I prefer total darkness in the room when I sleep. I had to adjust to the dim light the C-Pap machine emitted. It didn’t take but one night to adjust back!

Sleep Apnea - one co-morbidity from my list crossed off!

I have pretty much eliminated my back pain as well. I still have some stiffness and pain occasionally. It used to be all the time, but since the weight loss it is almost unnoted. I seriously believe this is due to the weight loss. My back has already been damaged because of the weight so I don’t expect it never to hurt again. It doesn’t stop me from doing what I want anymore. I also am able to get down on the floor with relative ease. B.S. (before surgery) I basically wasn’t able to get down on the floor at all. Today I got on the floor and unplugged my C-Pap and lingered around to untangle cords, re-plug in appliances and get back up with no difficulty. Another co-morbidity knocked down.

I can exercise, walk and take the steps without becoming instantly breathless. I used to not be able to take the steps because the weight made it very difficult on my joints and of course on my breathing. Exercising is without explanation much easier! As my friend Laura said last month, “I must say you move much easier.” Another set of co-morbidities eliminated.

Thank you God for Innovative Weight Loss Solutions. Through Dr. Hachem’s talent for performing gastric bypass Roux-en-Y surgery, IWLS staff’s support and a steady walk towards a healthier lifestyle I have lost 63 pounds since June 21st. Yes, this week I lost 3 more pounds. I am down 2 pant sizes and 2 shirt sizes.

My niece stopped by today and said I am getting smaller every time she sees me. It sure felt good. I am trying to be very conscious of what I eat. I am watching my portions closely. I am trying to make good food choices with proteins first. I continue to exercise and enjoy it. I am 29 pounds away from my goal for January 22, 2009. That would be just under 3 pounds a week. I want to be less than 200 pounds by my next appointment with Dr. Hachem. With dedication, focus and God’s blessing, I will make it!

I think the secret to a happy life is a selective memory.
Remember what you're most grateful for and quickly forget what you're not.
~"Grace" by Richard Paul Evans~

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mind Over Matter

Many believe weight loss is a mind over matter issue. “Just do it”! Well……

The “head struggle” still remains an issue for me. I want to eat healthy, but I find food at this point is not appealing to me. When I do think there is something I want to eat, it never tastes as good as I anticipated. The other day I decided I would splurge and have a toasted peanut butter and sugar free jelly sandwich. Something I always enjoyed. Well, it didn’t taste as good as I remember. So now I need to rethink my wants. Is the “dreaded” carbs of the bread worth it? Usually not. I guess I need to just stick to the protein stance. Instead of the bread, just eat some rolled up meats. Thanks to my friend who understands this process, she replanted the knowledge of eating meats as a “snack” when I need something. Because I don’t get hungry I toil with the dilemma of “do I want to eat because of emotional issues or boredom or do I want to eat because I need the nutrients?” Protein first! Surgery has provided, almost too well, the tool to handle the physical aspect of eating and now I must master the taming of the emotional and boredom aspects. That my friend is a tough one!

I knew going in to this the mental and emotional issues would be a big obstacle. I’ve done very well with both so far. As my pouch gets healthier and my variety of food increases I have found my choices must be more closely monitored. Having a high tolerance to sugar is another obstacle. I want to eat more dessert type foods (sugar free Jell-o, sugar free pudding, sugar free cookies, cakes, etc.) This is something I will have to reel in and eliminate. I need to get back to the basics.

I am 3 months post-opt and have lost 60 pounds. I do not want to lose the momentum I have had or the success I have obtained. So it is time to sit down, reassess, get back to the basics, look at the ultimate goal (healthier) and pat myself on the back for the strides I have made so far. Work is very stressful right now and it has added to the distraction of my primary goal. I know I need to get focused and stop taking things for granted. I know my body has the ability to function without the non-essentials. I know I have the ability to get my mind focused in the right direction. This is a life long quest and it has to be sought day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Each situation has to be weighed and actions have to be determined. I have to make myself accountable for my decisions and the actions those decisions lead to. I am a “working” success in progress. I must accept where I am now and work towards where I want to be in time. The journey is not finished.

Everybody stumbles.
It's what you do then that makes or breaks your life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Steps to Commitment

Thursday was my 3 month post-opt doctor’s appointment in Junction City. It has been 6 weeks since my last appointment. Everything went well. From the time the nurse took me into the office until I walked out was 15 minutes. Dr Hachem wanted me to lose 15-20 pounds in the 6 weeks. I weighed myself at home as I walked out the door and then I weighed at the doctor’s office. My scale at home weighs .1 less than the doctor’s office. That has always been the case. It is good to know it is so accurate. Now when I go to the doctor I don’t have to fret about not being where I should be weight wise. I did lose 15 pounds in the last 6 weeks. My BMI decreased by 9. I have lost 58 lbs since June 21st and 43 of that has been since surgery July 21st. He was very happy with my weight and BMI progress. He was very happy with my exercise progress. I have increased my time on the bike, treadmill and ARC by 5 minutes this week. I biked 7.5 miles in 30 minutes. I walked 1.50 miles in 30 minutes and I went ¾ mile in 30 minutes on the ARC trainer.

He said he wants me to weigh 29 pounds less in 3 months when I see him again. I personally want to weigh 35 pounds less. Looks like I have a goal set for myself and exercise, food choices, stress level and sleeping time will be the catalyst. I would love to lose 35 and surprise him. I think it is do-able. I have 13 weeks. I am really happy about the BMI decrease! I have lost 38.5% of my excess weight. Once I get the other 62% I will reassess my goal. I will see if I feel like I need to lose more. I know the standard norm for my height is less than I think I should be, but we will see! I am a 1/3 of the way there! And in only 3 months. I know I have to grab onto the momentum. The optimal time is 7-10 months after surgery and up to 12-18 months; maybe 24 months. I would love to get to goal by 12 months, but I won’t place myself in such a rigid goal. I’m trying to learn to be a little flexible. Anyone who knows me well knows that is a feat in itself!

I am feeling good about it all. I have my new goal set and am excited to get started working towards it. As I was leaving, Dr. Hachem said, “Take it easy.” I turned around and “punched” him on the arm and said, “I can’t. I have weight to lose and exercising to do!” He grinned.

Losing weight requires a commitment to a new lifestyle. Actually not just a new lifestyle but also a reexamination of priorities. What do I value most? As I get farther out in my post op and I get more comfortable with my pouch and I am allowed via the doctor and my body to eat more variety of foods, I find I have to reexamine my priorities. I have to stay on top of the want to "try just a bite" of something I don't need (bread, sweets, crackers, potatoes, sauces, etc.) I have mentioned before that I believe I have a high tolerance for sugars. I also believe I will have a high tolerance and ability to digest breads. Therefore I need to stay on top of my priorities. I need to keep foremost in my brain and my thoughts that if I don't need it, don't eat it. One bite that turns into a "successful tolerance" may very well be the downfall of my success.

The success will balance on the use of my tools. Some of those tools include proper nutrition, adequate exercising, and focused determination and behavior changes. As I read in an article--practice, practice, practice! I have to practice the right behavior through consistent exercising, consistent healthy eating, consistent positive thinking, and consistent positive decisions just to mention a few. Much like a little child learns to tie his shoes or make brushing his teeth a daily habit; he has to practice the act to be successful in the task. I didn't learn to tie my shoe on the first try. I'm not going to make the right choices on the first attempt sometimes. Keeping a positive attitude and keeping my goals in sight allows me to make the right decisions. I also need to remember that being too focused can lead to failure as well. It takes a nice balance between being relaxed in this new lifestyle and being on top of the needs of my body.

I found in the last couple of weeks, and I spoke of it in the last week’s blog, that I don’t have the desire to eat (no hunger pains). I also found due to some stress my stomach was “nauseated”. Not from food, but from the stress. I wanted to just eat some saltine crackers or cheese peanut butter crackers. But by reexamining my priorities when I felt that way, I did not eat them. I said to myself, “DeAnn, you want to go to the vending machine and get some crackers, but your body does not need them. Your body needs the protein and nutrient you have in the food you brought for supper.” So I ate what I brought and passed on the desire for the crackers. In the past this would have not been the outcome.

Decision: First I made a decision about the importance of this surgery and a new lifestyle. I made a decision to change. I had to decide I was going to change. It can't be just a hope or wish or fantasy. It was a decision that I had to change. Then, I made a list of goals. I made a list of steps to reach those goals. As I reach each goal I set new goals. I don't want to ever feel like I've reached the end of my journey. Even if that goal is maintaining, I must stay committed for a life time.

Am I preoccupied with my weight? It takes some concentration at times. It has to be foremost in my mind in order to stay on top. I know as time passes so will my preoccupation with perfection. Being a perfectionist is my nature. I will have to find a balance over time. I can let down my anticipation, but not my dedication.

I got some great advice from Jennifer, the dietician at IWLS*. At this stage in the process I have to focus on eating for health and not for enjoyment. Means my appetite is almost nil; if I focus on eating for health then when my appetite returns I will be able to enjoy food within the parameters of my new healthy habits. Also if I am focusing on listening to my pouch I will learn to listen to the natural cues for hunger and fullness. As I said, great advise! Thanks Jennifer!

I read this somewhere: Good health is a gift you have chosen for yourself and you deserve it.

Go out this week and remember, you deserve the best, so grab that gift of good health through examining and reexamining your priorities, listening to your body, setting those goals and venturing down the path of working towards them. Give yourself a pat on the back for the small steps because they lead to the big leaps!

DeAnn :0)

Hold a true friend with both hands.
~African proverb~

*IWLS = Innovative Weight Loss Solutions ( This will take you to the Geary Community Hospital Website. Click on Services and scroll down to Surgical Weight Loss.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Success ----- Attitude

This has been a really tough week for me. Actually the last 2 weeks have been difficult. It just seems like I am out of sync some how. I haven’t been hungry and I don’t care to eat. When I do eat it isn’t satisfying. So I find something else to eat, which basically is grazing. I want to get my protein, but not with a drink. I have found Atkins Carmel Café and milk chocolate is tolerable for me. I don’t mind the taste. I don’t know if it is psychological or if I just don’t like protein drinks. I still try to drink one a day because it is an easy way to get my protein in. As I said the last 2 weeks have been tough. I haven’t been able to exercise most days because they are too busy. Maybe that is why I haven’t had the right attitude. Means I’m not hungry and nothing is satisfying I don’t want to eat. It is easier not to. Therefore it becomes a vicious cycle. I guess you might say this is the 1st real bump in the road for me. I am 3 months post-op so maybe this is normal. I am still losing weight. My clothes are getting bigger, but not necessarily in the area I want to lose the most. Frustrations at work may also be playing a part in the attitude I have taken on the last 2 weeks.

This week every time I ate I thought, “Boy that was boring.” There was no pizzazz in it. It didn’t have the flavor I had hoped for. It didn’t satisfy the way I thought it would. I guess I need to fix some new dishes. I’ll have to get my cookbooks out and see what I can do. It is just tough to cook when you eat so little at a time. I have found I eat probably at least 2 times more at the evening meal than I do the noon meal. That seems strange means I usually don’t eat breakfast so it is twice as long between the evening meal and the noon meal than it is between the noon meal and the evening meal. I wonder why I am able to eat more in the evening. Maybe I will need to ask Jennifer the dietician at IWLS.

I have a 3 month checkup on Oct 23rd. I hope my progress is good. Dr. Hachem wanted me to loose 15-20 pounds in the 6 weeks. At this point it looks like I have lost 11 pounds and I have 3 days to go. I wonder if I can convince him I have added muscle therefore the weight total is short the 15-20 pounds. I feel great! I have more energy than I have had in years. People used to ask me how I felt and I would say, “Like an 80 year old.” Now I tell them I feel like I am 46.

I didn’t reach my goal at the “Y” this week. Of course I only made it to water aerobics once and the gym once. So I will try for my goal next week. It is another busy week. I won’t be able to go Monday because of 4 hours of training Monday morning and work in the afternoon. Friday I start with a meeting at 7am and go until about noon with appointments. I know sleep is important to weight loss and I sometimes feel like it gets put on the back burner in order to exercise. I hope things slow down soon!

I fear I am not getting enough protein. I keep waiting for my hair to begin falling out. I guess I need to get back on the horse and start counting with dedication to make sure I am taking in enough protein. I also know I am not drinking 64ozs of water a day. It’s tough to drink when you aren’t thirsty. It is tough to get in the 64ozs when you have so many restrictions; no drinking 15 mins before meals, during meals or an hour after meals. I understand the rules. I agree I must follow them. It is by following them that I am struggling with the 64oz goal. I get busy and forget to drink just like I forget to eat. Also since surgery I can not guzzle the water. Before surgery I was drinking over 100 ozs a day, but I was able to guzzle 20 ozs at a time. I have got to get back on track.

That is the key to success you know -- try and try again!

I bought some yogurt this weekend. I figure means I don’t like to eat breakfast I can have 8ozs of yogurt while I am looking at email before I go to the “Y”. The yogurt will give me 6-12g of protein and some dairy. It won’t fill me up like cereal or eggs will. I hate to eat and then go workout. When I drink a protein shake I have to go to the bathroom before I am really ready to get out of the water or get finished in the gym. So I will try this for this week and see if it will help with the total protein I need. I am finding most days I am only eating 2 meals a day so this might help to fill in the 3rd meal. I just don’t seem to be a “day eater”.

So far since June 21st I have lost 57 pounds. 42 of that is since surgery July 21st (3 months).

The direct link to success is attitude. I think after the last 2 weeks I need a new attitude adjustment. So I will look at this week as a new start. Just like an old worn out battery needs a jump start, so do I. So here I go!! Goals to pursue and accomplishments to attain. I’ll set my sights on God and ask for his strength to keep me focused!

Have a productive week!

DeAnn :0)

"Few choices are either absolutely perfect or completely flawed.”
~Jan Silvious~

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Angle

This week wasn’t a good exercise week. It seems like my schedule was so full. I didn’t get off work until 2:30am on Monday so being back up at 7am to go to water aerobics was out of the question, especially since I had to be to work at 12pm. Then I got off work on Wednesday morning at 2:30am and that eliminated water aerobics again. I did get to the “Y” for my gym side on Tuesday and it was a very good workout. I increased my bike time to 30 minutes. I did the ARC 20 minutes and my goal next week is to increase that by at least 5 minutes. I did not walk because I ran out of time before I had to go to a doctor’s appointment. I increased the sets by 1 on all my weight machines and floor exercises. I felt very good about the workout. It did not seem to make me sorer. I will stick with the number of sets for about 2-3 weeks and then increase again. I got up Thursday and got dressed to go to the “Y”. As usual I sat down in front of the computer to go through email before I went. I fell asleep sitting at the computer. I guess all the overtime had worn me out and I didn’t realize it. I decided I had a full day ahead of me so I crawled back in bed and slept for 2 more hours; therefore no exercise for Thursday. Friday I had my car serviced in Manhattan, so I walked around the car lot a few times. That helped, but not like the water or gym would have. So on Monday it is right back to the exercise schedule!!

As winter approaches we have to think about bad weather and the ability to make it to the store. In this thought pattern I think of storing food. I used to have the mentality of “eat one more so you won’t be hungry later”. I still catch myself thinking in that vein. Just the other day I had breakfast at 6:45am and as I was driving home from another town I thought do I stop and eat? Well, it was only 10:30, but if I waited until I got home it would be noon. So I again thought, do I stop and eat or wait until I get home. The deciding factor was the fact I was not hungry at the time, so I drove home and ate at home, which was the healthier choice. It was amazing the topic at my support group was eating out. So I used the information given to me by Jennifer my dietician at IWLS. I made the wiser decision because of that information and because of listening to my body instead of my “head hunger”. Sometimes our thoughts are our worst enemy. Sometimes they are our best guidance.

I read in one of my WLS newsletters this week “You will still have emotional highs and lows, days of self-doubt and days of celebration. There will be food pushers, saboteurs and cheerleaders along the way, but the burden is on you to use the tool." Some times this translates “Be creative”. You have to be creative in your approach with food, such as how to eat, when to eat, what to eat and why you eat. Some times you have to be creative in what you do to “curb” those desires brought on by the old tapes in your memory bank. I know I find I have to think twice as hard about some things. I have to justify why I don’t want to eat instead of why I want to eat. It is looking at it from another angle. Yes, I want that peanut butter cookie, but no I don’t need it. My body doesn’t need it. It has no nutritional value. It does have an emotional fulfillment value. Can I get that fulfillment by another means? Yes, by patting myself on the back for the small step of not eating the cookie, instead of beating myself up with guilt by eating the cookie. That is my way of defeating the self-doubt. This is taking responsibility for my life and blaming no one for my decisions. This leads to one of the emotional highs of “A job well done!”

In my support meeting this month a post-er (post-op patient) brought 2 pumpkins. Each weighed over 50 pounds. Now think of how much you have lost and imagine a pumpkin weighing that. Then imagine picking that pumpkin up. Would you be able to? Probably not, yet you carried that weight around with you daily for how long? Now here is another way to measure your weight loss. If 4 sticks of butter equals 1 pound, how many sticks have you lost?? Sometimes I think it is hard to imagine the weight you have lost. We tend to look at ourselves in the mirror and still see a “fat person”. We need to stop and look at the picture from another angle. Something we can visualize. Something we deal with on a daily basis. Give yourself a pat on the back for losing what you have. Give yourself an “atta boy” for working at it on a daily basis. Always remember you didn’t gain all this weight overnight and it won’t come off over night. Use the pattern we were designed with and that is the ability to take one step at a time. Think of a small toddler learning to walk for the 1st time. They stumble and fall, but they don’t let that deter them. They pick themselves up and try again-one step at a time. Sometimes when they hit the floor they sniffle and cry, but they always try again. Soon they are walking a distance and get better and faster and learn to run. Weight loss is the same. We have to accept the stumbling and fall as part of the process to get to the steps that become easier. Soon we are running. We try to improve our choices and actions. Soon the decisions become 2nd nature. We are on the road to sustained success and can take pride in our accomplishments, just like a toddler does when they “master” the process of walking from point A to point B. They can’t make it to point C without going through each step. Just take the next step and watch your progress.

I read this on one of my daily encouragement sites this week. I think it fits with the daily life post-ers must live. “You are not expected to do what you cannot do – you are only responsible for doing what you can. Do everything you can to make it happen. Live with passion and purpose.” Use the tool you have gained through surgery and work hard at it every day. Commit yourself to doing whatever is necessary to get there. The progress will be your reward! Now I will take my own advice and get busy this week.

My mind is like a steel

Monday, October 6, 2008

Week of Struggles & Progress

This week was my week to extend my water exercise time. I had planned to workout 45 minutes after my hour water aerobics class. After 25 minutes the spirit was willing, but the bladder was weak. I think there is a rule about no peeing in the pool. I don’t know if they have a meter or some warning system that announces someone has just violated that rule. It is kind of like when I was little and was in the bathtub. My sister, if we were taking a bath together would know when I passed gas by the bubbles in the water. At that age I couldn’t say I was just in a hot tub. So at the “Y” I got out and went to the bathroom and then to the shower. I guess my time in the pool will be dictated by the whims of the bladder.

I have been doing the strength training/cardio exercising for 3 weeks now. Three weeks ago I was able to withstand 5 minutes on the bike. This week I biked 20 minutes and went 2.5 miles. Three weeks ago I was able to huff my way through 3 minutes of the ARC trainer. This week I went 20 minutes and was breathing just a little labored. Three weeks ago I wasn’t even walking. I started out at a 1/3 of a mile. Three weeks later my goal was for a mile. I reached that goal this week and did it in 25 minutes. I have increased my weights some more on my strength training/muscle toning exercises. I think I will increase the sets now and leave the weight where it is. I don’t want to risk a hernia. I don’t want to push myself too hard and have a relapse by being too sore, but I also don’t want to get lax. It has always been a struggle for me to find a balance in anything. I will have to be careful and listen to my body.

As I was returning from the movies this week I drove by McDonald’s. I thought to myself, there was a time I would have had to struggle to drive past McDonald’s and not stop for a burger or some fries, even if I weren’t hungry. Or to drive by Sonic and not want cheese tater tots (Sonic size it). Or Burger King and have to get an order of onion rings. Of course you also have to have the cheese dipping sauce with those. I had no urge to stop. I then began to think about B.S. (before surgery). My thoughts were often times consumed with what I was going to eat next, when I was going to eat next, if I would take enough food to work, if I had extra cash so I could get something to eat. Now, I don’t think about it at all. Yeah, I think about what I am going to eat in terms of nourishing myself. I have to consciously think about it because if I went by the urge to eat I would probably go all day without eating. It is so liberating to know I don’t have to plan my daily activities around food.

This week I received an email from a very dear ‘ole friend of mine. We have known each other for 28 years. She has seen me through relatively normal weight to very heavy weight. She has not seen me at my biggest except in pictures. She said, “Hope you know you have always been special to me, no matter what size. Love sees beyond that. . . . “. It is funny she wrote that. When I was thinking about this surgery I thought about all the people who are so special to me and how I view them. I never notice weight, hair, etc. when I look at them. I never think about their size. I just love them. So I wondered why it was so important to me that I worried about how they thought of me when they looked at me. I really appreciate this friend making that statement to reassure me I am accepted for me. Why are we so much harder on ourselves?

Today (Thursday) I was on the ARC trainer and had gone 10 minutes and had 10 more to go. I had already biked for 20 minutes. I still had the treadmill and weights and floor exercises to do. I thought; I really don’t want to complete these last 10 minutes on the ARC. I was plugged into the entertainment center of the ARC and was listening to/watching CBS Early Morning show. At that very moment a segment came on about a gastric bypass surgery celebration reunion at a hospital in some other state. I decided I would watch it; therefore I had to continue on the ARC. You see the listening device only works as your machine is in motion. Well, by the time the segment was over I was so inspired to continue on, I easily completed my 20 minute workout on the ARC. Other surgery successes are inspiring! I have to remember to “use” my fellow survivors.

This week I have had to fight the “head hunger”. I am not physically hungry, but when I get stressed or bored my head tells me to eat. This has been the 1st time I have really had to be very conscious of the “want” to eat. So far I have done fairly well. When I have given in I have had cheese strips or ostrich jerky. I have tried to stay away from the whole grain crackers and the sugar free candy. Although both are good, they still have calories and carbs. I try to eat something that has the protein in it too. I ate a boiled egg one day and that was a nice change for a “salty” taste with protein. I will overcome!!! Because of this struggle I feel my loss this week was compromised. I only lost a little over a pound. Next week I will have to work harder.

I made my crustless pizza again for one meal. This time I made a taco pizza. I used ground turkey for the crust. I put refried beans, salsa, green onions and cheese as the topping to be baked. Then I put salad, tomatoes, cucumbers and salsa on top. It was very good!! I didn’t have any black olives to top it with, but that would have been good too.

In church this week I looked down and without leaning over I was actually able to see the ends of my shoes. Guess one of the items on my list is close to being accomplished.

I also decided to try eating my cheeseburger on a bun. This is the 1st time I have had bread. I just ate the bottom bun. I was at Bible study and told the girls it was the 1st time with bread. I have a gal in the group that had the LapBand earlier this year. She knew what my apprehension was. She has problems with buns. She asked if I wanted her to bring a bucket or did I just want to dash to the bathroom. I told her I would chance and dash if I needed to. It is fun, but scary to try new foods. I did just great! I have not found any food I have had problems with. I know some people do. I'm thankful for the blessing of being able to tolerate everything. I have found some things I used to like and crave I have very little taste for or interest in now. Sweet things are one of them. I am especially thankful for that!!

Well, this next week will be a week I am challenging myself to step up my exercising and step down my eating. I am going to try to be more mindful of calories. I only lost a pound this week and that worries me in a small way. I think by being very conscious of the foods I eat, the portion sizes and when I eat I will make better progress. I still have no hunger urges to speak of. I know one day I ate at 12:30pm and then not again until 9pm (I worked until 2:30am) and I was just beginning to think I might need to eat. I didn't really have hunger urges as I remember them B.S., but just a feeling that I should probably eat. It's hard to decide when to eat because of no hunger. Then there is always how much, what, etc. This new lifestyle is a venture that is never ending and I am loving every minute of it! I'm not saying it is always easy, but it sure feels healthier, lighter, more productive and more vibrant; most days.

I hope your life is as full and blessed as mine right now.

My mind is like a steel

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Keep the momentum going

Shopping! It is something I thoroughly HATE to do, especially when I do not know exactly what I want. I have to try on clothes because I am unsure what size I can really fit into. I have shopped on internet and shopped in stores for the past 2 weeks. I have gotten some good buys on clothes, which is a good thing considering I will only be able to wear them about 2-3 weeks. I also received clothes from a friend of mine at church. I think I am well supplied for the next size down.

I decided I really needed to work hard on toning. I noticed earlier this week while sitting here my upper arm wings are getting noticeable. I have specific exercises for them that I can sit and do. So I need to get things together and take the “equipment” to work and I can be doing them while I am sitting there working.

I have a notebook set up for my extended “workout” time in the water. I waterproofed all the pages. It is ready to go. I also set up a notebook with different exercises focusing on the abs and arms and thighs for my exercise ball, resistance bands and hand weights for here at home. This is for Saturday when I hate to go to the “Y” and when the weather gets bad and I don’t want to or can’t get out in the winter. I also have my walking videos to fall back on.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about small steps and big leaps. Well, I have been seriously setting small goals for myself for the last 2 weeks of exercising. My goal 2 weeks ago was to walk ½ a mile at the “Y”. I made that goal. This week it was to walk ¾ a mile. I made that goal on the treadmill! Next week I’ve set my sights on a mile. I also set some goals for working longer on the bike and ARC trainer. I am now up to 15 mins on the bike and 10 minutes on the ARC. Next week we will try for a few minutes longer on each. I have also increased the weight on some of the weight machines and have increased the repetitions on my floor exercises with the exercise ball. I have added some weight exercises for my arms and floor exercises for my abs. So all in all, the progress is progressing and I have seen some results.

I need to measure and take pictures. I haven’t done that since the day before surgery. I intended to do it once a month, but life got in the way. I do make sure I weigh every Saturday so I can keep track of that progress. It is a big incentive to keep going. Even when I gained the one week, it spurred me on, even knowing it was probably water retention gain and it would go away by the next week’s weigh-in.

Another spur is the clothing size. It is encouraging to see my sizes go down. In shirts I was 4x and now I am at 3x/2x. In pants I was 4x and I am now 3x and 2x depending on the material and style. Of course my bra size is down by one. All of it is encouraging! When you think I had surgery 9 weeks ago and I have seen that dramatic of a change. Also as I exercise and focus on the problem areas the sizes should decrease.

God has provided for all this resizing. He has dropped overtime at work here and there. I have been able to use that overtime money to cover most of the new clothing. He is truly a God that cares and provides.

This weekend I went to my church’s 2nd annual woman’s retreat. It was so inspiring. It centered on the thyme of because of God’s love I am worthy of feeling special. It is in that special-ness that He provides my ability to live this new lifestyle. Surgery allows me the tool to eat healthy, exercise to remain healthy, etc. God gives me the “tools” to live that healthy lifestyle to glorify him! He provides the positive outlook, the support of family and friends, the confidence to do what needs to be done and the strength in all areas (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) of my life to hopefully inspire others to live a new lifestyle-the lifestyle they deserve.

I have reached 50!!! This week’s weigh-in topped 50 pounds lost since June 21st, 35 of that since surgery July 21st.

I find it easier to do a lot of things I used to struggle to do. Here is a list I wrote pre-opt in May 2008. I use it as a goal setter and to measure my blessings to acknowledge. Some I have accomplished and some I am close to accomplishing. Some I have a ways to go to accomplish, but all are a portrait of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, how far I’ve come and what I still need to shoot for. I hope it will help someone with their thoughts and decisions.

I want to be able to do what skinny people take for granted.


Bending over to tie my shoe without the knot being cocked to one side or the other.
Never having to worry about sitting in a folding chair.
Picking up loose change off the floor without having to bend my whole body in half

with my leg in the air like a golfer.
Going through a turnstile by walking straight instead of sideways standing on my

tippy-toes to get my big belly over the top.
Crossing my legs.
Riding a roller coaster without the fear of not being able to get the safety bar latched.
Sitting in a booth in a restaurant instead of a table.
Being able to look straight down and see my toes.
Walking for more than five minutes without being out of breath.
Standing without my back aching.
Having a lengthy conversation without being out of breath.
Sitting close enough to the table to be able and eat without spilling on my shirt.
Being able to reach over the stove to get something out of the cabinet without my

belly crushing the oven handle.
Reaching up without being conscious of my belly being exposed.
Being able to walk through a restaurant or meeting room without strategically

planning my route. (in order to fit between the tables and chairs)
Not having to plan my seating arrangement to make sure I will have enough room to

sit comfortably.
Sitting down and having a lap.
Clipping my toe nails without being in a million contortions.
Driving without having to suck in my belly to turn the corner.
Not having a “ledge” to rest my arms, plate, glass, papers, book, etc.

As I said this is a list I made pre-opt. Some day I will return to this thought and make a new list as I feel I have wishes and wants beyond the ones I have listed. I thank God for the tool of surgery, the support of family and the will power through a positive thought process and positive attitude as I accomplish each entry on this list – one step at a time!

All too often the difference between success and failure,
progress and regress, happiness and depression—
and, yes, balance and imbalance--is simply a matter of perspective.

~Paul Wilson~ Business executive and author

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Planning, Plotting and Anticipating

For a few weeks now I have been planning and anticipating my birthday celebration meal. Food used to be a life line for me. It was a life line for boredom, loneliness, excitement, happiness, and so many other emotions and feelings. Well, I have found that food isn’t all that important these days. Part of that may be because I have no hunger urges to speak of. The saying, “I’m hungry for….” is a past phrase at this point in my life. I’m not hungry for anything usually. Last week I wanted hamburger gravy and mom made it for me with mashed potatoes. The only thing missing was the corn, but I can’t eat it yet. The meal was wonderful! I added a scoop of UnJury protein powder to it and that raised the protein by 20g. I put powdered milk in the mashed potatoes and raised it some more. So I felt confident I ate a high protein meal. And I enjoyed it!!

Well, today was the birthday celebration with my parents and my sister. I made a pizza. I found a recipe in my bariatric cookbook. It was wonderful. All diners liked it. Dad thinks it is as good if not better than regular pizza. You take ¾ lb of lean hamburger (I used 1 lb) and add a beaten large egg and ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese. Mix well and put in a pizza pan (I used a 9” pie plate). Pat it in the bottom of the pan as thin as possible and still have a nice layer. Put it in the oven at 450 for 10 minutes (watch it so it doesn’t get overly done). Drain any grease. Top with anything you desire. I used Classico pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, turkey pastrami, honey ham, olives and cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to 350 and put it back in the oven until the cheese is melted (5-10 mins). It will make 8 slices. Believe me when I say I am satisfied with 1 slice! Next time (once I am released to eat lettuce) I am going to make a Mexican pizza. I can use refried beans and up the protein content. You bypass the carbs from the crust with this and don’t miss the crust! It’s great warmed up and I hate warmed up pizza.

For my birthday cake I have been having a mouth watering anticipation of orange sponge cake. I found a recipe for it in one of my bariatric books. At Coyote Canyon (buffet steak restaurant) they have an orange cake that I love, but know I can never eat again. Anyway, I found this recipe. Mom made it for me. Well, I’d like to say it was out of this world, but I really don’t know. See, the baking powder we used, unbeknownst to mom, was grossly out of date. She ended up with an orange tile square instead of a cake. I guess we just don’t bake enough in this house means we have such out of date ingredients. So, once I get some more baking powder I will try the cake and let you know how it tastes. This recipe takes almond flour. The only place I found almond flour was at the health food store, in the refrigerator section. Do you hear expensive sneaking up on you? Well, for 10 oz I paid $9.99. Therefore we need new baking powder to try this cake recipe again; which I will.

I have been plotting my plans for exercising for several weeks now. I got released back to the YMCA to lift weights. I started and have seen results. Pants I couldn’t get into last week because of the lower abs, I got into this week. Anyway, I want to stir up the water exercising too. I have been doing 1 hour of organized water aerobics 2-3 times a week. Then I stay after and do about 15 minutes of solo exercising in the water. This last week I went to the library and got several books on water exercising (known as aqua-cising). I found numerous upper arms, abdominal and thigh exercises to do. I am excited about getting to the water to plunge into the routine. I even moved my Monday & Friday chiropractor appointment back 30 minutes so I can exercise 30 minutes more. I also found some exercises focused on those areas for land exercising that I can do at home on Saturday when I don’t go to the “Y”. I don’t like to go and “fight” all the weekend warriors and family fitness fanatics that show up on Saturdays. I know it is tough getting into a habit of exercising, but I have found in the last 2 weeks I don’t dread exercise like I used to. I always feel better after. I think I have more energy now than I have in years. The results are fun too. The more I do the easier it is to do more. I have raised the amount of weight on a couple of my machines. Slow and steady wins the race, so the turtle bragged!

Means my orange sponge cake was a flop dad made a pumpkin cream cheese cake today. I ate a small sliver of it. I fear I have discovered through this and a couple of other non-conscious discoveries that I am probably fairly high sugar tolerant. I have made a promise to myself and actually exercised this promise several times. I promised myself I would not test how much I can eat. I won’t return to the sugar desserts, Wendy’s shakes, candy bars, etc. that I so much loved B.S. (Before Surgery). I will NOT eat it just because I think I might be able to. I know myself well enough to know if I test it and I “pass” (or fail depending on how you look at it) I will continue to test the limits. Therefore, I WILL stick with my sugar-free foods over the sugar variety. As I said I have already exercised that promise to myself. There has been some of my favorite candy at work, some peanut butter cookies at work and chocolate foods at work. I have looked at them and had little inkling of desire. The peanut butter cookies were the hardest. I looked at them and said, “Man those look good! No, I don’t need it and I am not even hungry.” I turned around and walked off. I thank God for that will power and reasoning skills. I will rely on him to continue to give me that strength.

If you will remember my parents started this journey with me from the beginning. When I told them Feb 14th what I planned to do they cleared the house of any foods I did not need to be eating. When I had to go on the Optifast semi-liquid meals 1 month before surgery they did the same thing with protein shakes, protein bars and 1 frozen entrée; just like me. Since surgery they eat a good breakfast (cereal and fruit), a well rounded lunch with appropriate portions and a meal/protein bar for supper. Sometimes in the evening they will have popcorn, fruit, sherbet or low fat ice cream. Mom has lost 19 pounds in 3 months. Dad has lost 14. Both have goals for their weight. Mom has 1 to go and then she thinks she will set a new goal to lose a few more. She is looking slimmer and getting into clothes she hasn’t been able to wear for several years. Dad says he wants to lose 7 more pounds. So this experience has been good for all of us. We get to support each other and watch the results! I am very proud of them for sticking to it even though they don’t have too. They didn‘t have to do it in the 1st place and they certainly don’t have to keep it up for my sake; especially since I have to eat 3 meals a day. Of course my 3 meals probably don’t equal their 2, but the thought is still there.

This week’s weigh-in showered me with a 2 pound blessing. I figured I would gain, but was glad I didn’t. I am now 48 pounds lighter than I was June 21st when this journey began; 33 of those pounds have been in the last 2 months. I am down at least one size in every article of clothing except my socks and shoes. Today I said I celebrated my birthday. Well, I also celebrated my 2 month mark today for post-op . We also celebrated my 2nd great niece being 9 months old today! Too bad that orange cake didn’t rise, huh? I am proud of my progress and determination. A friend I met a couple of months ago gave me a compliment that meant a lot to me. She said my positive attitude was inspiring. That meant so much to me that my positive attitude affects someone else. Some days it is the only thing that keeps me going. It is what keeps me on track and eating healthy.

I hope you will latch onto your positive attitude and pursue whatever goals you may have envisioned for yourself. If you are goal-less, get on the ball and bounce a few ideas off a friend and set up some goals. You will certainly gain more than you bargained for just in the good feelings of attempting and eventually the accomplishment.

Until next time.

DeAnn :0)

Sow a thought; reap an act.
Sow an act; reap a habit.
Sow a habit; reap a character.
Sow a character; reap a destiny.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Steps & Leaps

This last week I “celebrated” my 46th year of life. I didn’t really have a big ‘ole party. I haven’t had a big ‘ole party in many many years. I went to eat with some friends. I ordered a meal that took me 3 meals to eat! Talk about a cheap date. I had some broiled chicken and baked potato (with dry milk to add protein). Someone at work asked me if I felt a year older. I said, “Actually, I feel younger than I have in years.”

I have a problem that is nice. I am having a hard time finding clothes to fit. I have exhausted my reserve sizes. The pants I began to wear last week will probably be too big in another week. My shirts are already too big. My big event for tomorrow is to go through my closet and clear out all the BIG shirts and see what I have to choose from. I have a friend that gave me some smaller sizes, but I probably won’t be able to wear them for another week or two. So I got on line and ordered some clothes. I found some clearance items for good prices. I ordered for my current size and the next size down. Pants that I am satisfied with are the tough thing to find. It is also hard because I’m not sure what size I really am. I guess I need to go to the store and pick a few sizes, styles, types of material, etc. And see what fits. I just hate to shop. I also hate to spend full price for clothes I will only wear for 2 weeks or so. I went to the Goodwill store today and tried on 37 pieces of clothing and bought 3. For someone who hates shopping that was like the torture chambers! The only consolation was one of the shirts I bought has a Mickey Mouse on it and I got it for $3.69.

Today my chiropractor teased me and said he was taking up a donation to buy me suspenders. The pants I had on were a “little” big! I laughed and asked what he was going to do for my shirts. My pants are big in the butt-end and legs because they have to be so large for the waist size. I hope for that to resolve as I exercise and my waist decreases. He asked if I had a certain amount of weight I had to lose in a certain time period. I said there are no hard set rules, but my surgeon would like me to lose 15-20 pounds in the next 6 weeks. I lost 10 last month, so I feel 15-20 is do-able. That is 3 a week. As I continue to increase my exercising, it will help.

I have been going to the “Y” and exercising. Today I implemented some “bar bell weight resistance” exercises in my water exercising. I am hoping it will help tone the sagging belly muscles and decrease my waist. Tomorrow I will go to the gym side at the “Y”. I have a routine with the bike, ARC, weight resistance and exercise ball. I also walk around the track. Last week I made it 1/3 of a mile. Before surgery I could walk about 1/26th of a mile. I want to work up to ½ a mile by week’s end. My feet and back are what used to keep me from walking. This last week they did real well with the 1/3 mile.

Today I had difficulty with eating. Not that it upset my stomach. I just couldn’t find anything that “tasted good”. It seemed like everything I thought I wanted wasn’t “tasty” to me. I settled for about 3 ounces of chicken and ½ a cup of cottage cheese for lunch. For supper I had a can of tuna with dill weed and lite mayo and 1 ounce of cheese with a few multi-grain crackers. I told mom I didn’t know what I was hungry for. I said, “It is hard to be hungry for anything when you are never hungry.” I eat just because I know I need to for my body, healing and health. I could probably go all day and never eat anything. I try to make what I eat high in protein. I asked mom tonight if we could have hamburger gravy tomorrow. She asked if I thought I should. I said I didn’t know why not. We could use my milk (½ 1% & ½ skim) and we could put a scoop of my UnJury unflavored protein powder in it. We could put protein powder in the mashed potatoes. I think maybe that would taste good to me.

At work last week I saw a co-worker that only works part-time. She hadn’t seen me since before surgery. She emailed me about 2 weeks ago and said she wasn’t sure she wanted to see me yet. She wanted to be amazed and surprised when she saw me. Well, she walked in and I was on the opposite side of the room so she couldn’t see me. She got settled in. One of the employees of the police department brought 2 pieces of cake. He felt bad because there were 3 of us and he only brought 2 pieces. I said not to worry I didn’t eat that anymore. Anyway, my co-worker said, “I haven’t seen you yet.” I asked if she was going to keep her eyes closed all shift. I said, “I doubt you are going to be amazed.” I got up and walked over to her. She was amazed! She made me feel so good! Her reaction was one of amazement, thrill and huge support. I told her last week was the 1st I had actually started to feel like I had lost weight. My face, hands, wrists, knees and ankles have shown the weight loss, but it wasn’t until last week I really felt like my waist was smaller. She said she noticed it in the waist and legs. She thought I looked smaller even height wise. I told her we were measuring the pounds not the height. It sure made me feel good! I know I look different because I used my credit card 2 weeks ago and the clerk asked to see some ID. I gave her my driver’s license. She looked at it, then at me, then at it, then at me and I said, “I know it doesn’t look the same. I’ve lost 41 pounds.” She said, “You are right. It doesn’t look like you. Congratulations!” That felt good! It as been this last week I have also felt like I have more energy. I can remember when I dreaded getting up to exercise because after I did I was dragging. Now it seems like the exercising gives me energy. I still hate getting up at 7am to be at water aerobics at 8am and 8am to be at the gym by 9am. Once I am there, it feels good! I never thought I would say that!

As of Saturday (weigh-in day) I have lost 46 pounds total with 31 of them being since surgery 8 weeks ago today! I went to the doctor for my monthly B-12 shot last Friday. I always weigh myself there so my medical records show my weight. I have been waiting an eternity (okay maybe not quite that long, but it’s felt like it) to be able to get on that scale and not have to put the bottom weight on 250. It felt so good to leave it on 200. Now to watch the top one go down from 246. Only 47 more pounds and I can put the bottom weight on 150!!! I know I am getting ahead of myself, but as the quotation at the bottom of this entry says; “small steps”. It is a goal! It is a realistic one to shoot for. If I can do 20 pounds in 6 weeks I will be half way there. That makes it a “small steps to big leaps” attainable goal!

I hope you map out your goals and take those small steps towards the big leaps.

Small steps are one of the most powerful ways
to make big leaps.
~Melissa McCreery, PhD~

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reminiscing and Progressing

This week I started back at the YMCA with my weights and cardio program. It has been since before surgery that I have done any of this. I got back with my trainer and told her I wanted to tone the abs and get rid of the sagging. She was excited and as her name is legacy to (Hope) that is what she instilled. She got me back into a regime with 5 of the weight resistance machines to focus on the abs and arms. She started me on some ab exercises using an exercise balance ball. Of course I will begin again with the bike and ARC machine for the cardio. She has started me slow and with less weight than I was doing. I will work my way back up. As I was doing my sets and regime I started to think about this journey I began 2 years ago.

In 2006 when my neurologist said I had to have gastric bypass surgery I weighed my heaviest, 297 pounds. I was humiliated, felt hopeless and in great pain both physically and now emotionally. I remember crying thinking; he doesn’t care and just wants me to feel bad. I thought; He can’t be serious. I can’t be that overweight. I surely have some other options. I can’t do surgery. There has to be another way! I remember reading my medical records I had obtained for an appointment with a specialist and seeing “Morbid Obesity”. I thought; What?! Are they serious? How can they be so cold? In that feeling of shame, I made a commitment to myself to do whatever it took to lose weight. I was determined that gastric bypass was not the road for me and I was going to show him and everyone. I knew I needed to face my problems with food, change my behavior and the long lived habit of relying on food for comfort and as my dear friend. I believed that I had choices available to me. Within the week I joined Weight Watchers. I stuck with Weight Watchers for over a year and never reached my 10%. It was extremely frustrating. Once again the feeling of humiliation and shame overcame me. I thought; why isn’t this successful? I know people have been successful on Weight Watchers, why can’t I be? It was at that time I realized I had to face the facts, bite the bullet and be honest with myself. I took a long look in the mirror and at several pictures. I literally looked myself in the eye and said, “DeAnn, you are morbidly obese. You have to do something about it or you are going to die.” It was at that very second I knew I had exhausted all my options and had been unsuccessful. That was unacceptable for me. So I began talking to my best friend, seriously thinking about what I was willing to do and what I was willing to give up or modify. I began my many hours of research on the internet, reading many books, magazine articles, watching actual surgeries on the internet, etc. I sat myself down and took an honest evaluation of myself, my life, and my surmounting health issues and admitted I had exhausted every other option. In order to save myself and live life to the fullest I would have to have the surgery. It was at that moment, for the 1st time in many years I truly felt hopeful about resolving my health issues. I honestly believed this route would be the tool I needed to love myself in the way I deserved. This was the lifestyle option I needed to live fully and not just exist in a state of exhaustion and routine.

I think movement is going to be very important to my weight loss. I plan to work out in the gym 2-3 times a week, mixing cardio and resistance, to help tighten and firm loose skin. I plan to do water aerobics 2-3 times a week. I have to schedule it and make it a priority like I would a doctor’s appointment or a lunch date. It will be important to form the habit now while it is “easy” to lose the weight. They call it the “honeymoon period”. It is as important as getting my eating habits established. These habits not only include how I eat (slow, thorough chewing, small bites with appropriate portions), but also why I eat, the type of foods I eat and the times I eat; eliminating the snacking.

It is also important to surround myself with supporters. This not only includes family and friends, but professionals. I have 2 chiropractors that are very interested in my progress. I think they are enjoying watching the transformation and the learning process. My primary doctor is the same. They are so enthusiastic about this journey. My trainer at the YMCA is as I said earlier, very inspiring and excited about my loss. Of course some of the biggest supporters are the staff at IWLS. They are jewels and worth more than a million bucks. They are positive, enthusiastic, uplifting, inspiring and present for every step. So far I have been lucky enough not to have opposition from any family or friends who would rather I stay heavy. I pray that will continue through this journey. I know it is a possibility and I will cross that bridge when it presents itself.

I also know it is very important to be realistic. Part of that realism is allowing my supporters to be open and honest with me. This will include times when they point out a stumble, refresh my memory of a goal, bring my vision and expectations into the boundaries of reality and sometimes even bring up a character trait that may hinder my progress. Thank God for my supporters. I pray I can help another obese person find success. Together we can accomplish much.

Small actions lead to big results.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Random Thoughts

I have a friend who says she is starving. She had the Lap Band surgery done. I asked her to stop and analyze something. When she thinks she is hungry is it her stomach that is talking or her head? We are so used to eating and looking at our food as a friend. We are familiar with food and are very comfortable with food. I know my head tells me sometimes I am hungry, but when I stop and listen to my body I find I really am not hungry. I am usually bored. The psyche is very strong. Our emotions and food have been tied together for a long time and the emotions and mental areas will put up a tough fight. Listen to your body. I told her not to be shy about using IWLS (Innovative Weight Loss Solutions) staff (Ronda Jennifer, Pam and Tera). They are more than happy to talk with us. They are there for us!

She was also concerned about not getting any nutrition, but just clear liquids the 1st week following surgery. I thought the same thing. I thought protein is so important, why am I not taking in any. I e-mailed my friend who went through the surgery in April. He said he didn’t get protein either. I think we figured out it is because the new pouch is very raw and needs the week to heal. It is not processing anything the 1st week; therefore just the clear liquids. It is like a sprained wrist. You may be able to feel it there and know it hurts, but you don’t use it 100% because it needs time to heal. Therefore, you ease into using it a little at a time; same concept with the pouch. You have to give it time to heal and ease into the full usage of it. It is tough. I remember! I was never hungry, but I sure was tired of tasting clear liquids.

I don’t know if it is the type of surgery or what, but I rarely have any type of hunger signs. Means she is “starving” I wonder if it is because her “old” stomach is still used as before, just less food at a time, so it gives hunger signals. Whereas my “old” stomach will never see food again and it has resigned to such and isn’t cranky. My pouch rarely signals hunger, but does signal fullness. I don’t have all the answers I know.

Yes it does get better. I went through 2-3 rounds of “frustration”. One was with the clear liquids and wanting something, anything more. Means I had the week of being in excruciating pain from the overuse of the muscles with the sporometer, I didn’t feel well enough to really care for a few days. I just drank. Then as I neared the end of the liquid phase and waiting to go into the puree stage I got frustrated again. Now my frustration is with the need to drink the protein. I want to be able to eat my protein and get off the protein drinks. Part of that is because I have not found one I am more than tolerable with. I think I can eat the right stuff to get my proteins in w/out the drink. I will see how that goes next Thursday when I should advance to phase 3 “soft foods”. I am going to celebrate my birthday with a friend on Thursday by going to Panera’s in Manhattan and having the chicken & noodle soup. So much for the soft menu, huh? Oh well, on Friday I have a friend that is going to go to Spangles and get a hamburger for me for my birthday. I just have to hang in there and realize each goal can only be gained with baby steps. But once you get to the goal the reward will be worth it! I also realize I will have to rely on protein drinks at times and maybe daily for the rest of my life. I just want to try to get the protein in my food!

I know I made the right decision. I sometimes wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. I just have to remember I didn’t gain the weight in just a matter of a little time and it won’t take just a little time to loose it and feel better. It will feel better each day with a frustrating day here and there. I never doubted having the surgery, but I sure felt frustrated at times. I look at the positive progress I make. Even something as small as passing up that certain something I want because I know I don’t need it to live. It may be something I want to eat or that 1-2 more bites that I know my body is telling me I don’t need. For me it might be the extra scoop of whatever. It is the small triumphs I have to acknowledge and pat myself on the back for. Right now I try to pat myself on the back for having the surgery. It takes a LOT of courage to do it.

I am still doing well. I find out things every day. Today I figured if I am going to eat deli meat it better be cut thicker than paper thin. I didn’t chew it as much as I should have-or I should say I didn’t chew it as well as I thought I had. So I thought back to the support meeting and what they serve. The meat is thicker. I think I understand why now. I have been trying to ease into the soft foods this week. I have done well with chewing things well. I just think the lunch meat was too thin. I lost another 2 pounds this week so I am up to 44 lost since June 21st and 29 of those since surgery July 21st. I packed up my “big girl pants” and am wearing some pants I haven’t fit into for over 3 years. I am still between sizes in my shirts though. They aren’t as roomy as I would like them. Like I said in my last blog- why is the belly the last place to go…? Once I get back to the YMCA full time I hope the belly will reduce. We’ll see!

Well, until the next inspiration hits, I pray this has given you some insights to the daily process that takes place in a weight loss surgery patient. It is a day by day, step by step, inch by inch, pound by pound journey. You can’t walk it any faster and sometimes it feels like the escalator is at a stand still, but the scenery does eventually change and the days get better and the body gets stronger. The mental and emotional urges get easier to analyze and direct. Positive thinking and assessment makes the journey much more bearable at the tough moments. I’ll just keep trucking. I hope you do the same in your life’s journey.

When we get tangled up in our problems, be still.
God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.