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 CafĂ© 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