Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finally moving the scales again

Wow...cannot believe it is already February, 2010! Sorry I have been away for so long. My first 30 pounds flew off with little effort (no exercise) and I have been frustrated to be stuck since Thanksgiving until this past week.

Several factors have contributed to the unmovable scales..
*My age (53)
*Band not tight enough (have had 3 fills since Thanksgiving)
*Lack of will power-Christmas, baking, company, Thanksgiving, too many parties, in other words eating too much (need I say more)
*Not exercising at all
*Not writing down my calorie consumption each day to insure that I consume less than I burn

Since my last fill on January 19 (2.5 weeks), I have lost 5 pounds. YAY! When I had the surgery, the doctor said I should expect 1 to 2 lbs a week weight loss and I am within that zone (23 weeks since surgery and 40 lbs lost=1.73 lbs lost a week). I just get worried when I see others have lost much more than me.

So, I have finally started exercising...SHOCKING I know. The secret was getting an exercise buddy. I walk with my good friend every Tuesday and Thursday and with another friend every Monday and will start weight training with another friend this Wednesday. We have all pledged to commit to this and that accountability has made all the difference.

During my last fill, they added .5cc rather than the .25 cc because I was having so much break through hunger and not losing weight for 6 weeks. It was too much because I could not swallow the water at all after I sat up. So they removed .25 cc and I think I may finally be almost there. Have had tons of "stuck" issues and PB's and am learning what I can and cannot eat now. Will have the flouroscope in a few weeks to see if I am at the sweet spot yet and to make sure all is well.

Things that have really helped me recently...

*I write down everything I consume down to the last calorie and make sure it is 200 calories less than the calories I burn at rest

*Sugar free strawberry jello...I make 2 6 oz packages at a time and put one less cup of water in so the flavor is more intense

*Sugar free hot chocolate mixed with coffee and sugar free flavored creamer

*Walking at least 3 to 4 times a week for 45 minutes

So, my hope is that I will reach my goal of 140 lbs by Valentine's Day 2011. Already I feel so much better and so happy. I can walk without pain and have energy I have not had in so many years. God is good and thank God for the lap band!! Good luck to you all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I think I may be there.....

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had our kids home from LA and it was just wonderful. I have more energy than I have had in 20 years and had the time to prepare everything in advance so I was not stressed. My family was awesome pitching in on eveything...baking pies, basting the turkey and so much more. I feel like I have changed so much in the last three months. No longer feel that I have to do everything and that is an awesome feeling.

It has been three weeks since my last fill. Since the last fill I have definitely felt a difference in what I can and cannot eat and I feel more satisfied. I cannot eat dry chicken, bread or dry snacks (pretzels) without getting the stuck feeling (used to be able to do so). Turkey was a challenge. I have had tons of stuck feelings (scary, painful moments) in the last three weeks and am having no break through hunger now. So, I talked with the doctor and they postponed my next fill to December 21. If I am still losing weight and feel as I do now, I may be at the sweet spot and need no more fills. Can't believe that a little over 5cc in a 10 cc band might be enough, but it may be. Apparently we all are different...some are good at 5cc and others need 7cc.

The good news is that I did not gain any weight over the holidays. Woohoo! That is a first. And I did not feel deprived at all. Had a little of everything and that was just fine. Still struggling to exercise regulary. I am such a dance nut (I studied and performed for 10 years), so I broke down and ordered the "Dancing with the Stars Cardio Video". My goal is to start ball room lessons with my hubby soon (makes me laugh thinking about us doing that). So maybe this will get me started.

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season. Will post some pictures soon of the ever changing me :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

3rd Fill and still feeling great!

I went in today for my 3rd fill and I am now at 5cc.

The fills have been a piece of cake (so to speak....mmmm...I miss cake). No pain or problems with them and feeling very little restriction so far. Despite that little restriction and no real exericise so far, I have officially lost 35 lbs by the doctor's scales. WOOO HOOO!

Everyone says they can really see the weight loss especially in my face. All of my clothes are hanging and I have no jeans that fit now. Can I hear another WOOOOO HOOOOO?!

I feel soooooooooooo blessed to have had this surgery. AND I am so happy and feeling so different in every way. A lot of that has to do with the huge decrease in stress in my life (resigning my full time volunteer job with the opera). What a blessing it is to be so relaxed and focusing on me and my new consulting and grant writing work and finally getting paid well to do it! WOOO HOOO!

And I have learned so much about my old eating habits.

So those of you reading this with or without lap band surgery, listen up for these helpful hints! Wish I had followed these rules all my life.

1. Chew, chew and chew again your food to the consistency of apple sauce. I never knew how fast I gulped food before. Now I eat slowly and get full much faster.

2. Do not drink 30 min before or 1 hour after meals. My grandfather "Dandy" who was one of America's first Osteopaths (Doctor of Osteopathy) used to hassle us all the time at family dinners to not ever drink with our meals. We thought he was an old coot, but he wasn't...he was ahead of his time! Why? Drinking rushes the digestive process and washes food down keeping you from chewing properly. With lap band, it washes our food through our new pouch too fast and makes us hungrier faster. I thought this was going to be so hard to give up but turns out that I am adjusting!

3. Don't eat between meals, ever. Just walk away from the kitchen (I go upstairs).

4. Drink a ton of water (at least 64 oz a day)

5. Consume at least 50 to 70 grams of protein a day. I thought I was getting enough protein in my diet, but I really wasn't and most of us women don't. I feel so much better and my nails are hard as well....nails (the metal kind)!

So I am due for another fill in 3 weeks...they think that a few more fills should get me to my "sweet spot". I had my fitness appointment today (10 visits with a specialized trainer are included with my surgery). I have orders to do aerobic exercise and weight training 3 to 5 days a week. THAT will be my biggest challenge. I hate exercise. I love dancing, swimming, hiking etc so I just have to commit and do it. Tips will be appreciated.

Good luck to you all and Happy Thanksgiving. Our kids are coming home (from LA) and we cannot wait. It is snowing today and I just love this time of year. Blessings to you all!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

9 weeks down and 2nd fill

It has been 9 weeks since my surgery and I am still doing great. Weight loss has slowed down considerably, though I have lost 33 lbs since surgery. Not bad...I'll take it!

Had my first fill five weeks ago and could not feel any change at all. Had my second fill yesterday and .5 cc was added (have 4.5 cc filled in my 10 cc band). On a liquid diet until tomorrow so don't know if anything has changed. Going back in a little under 3 weeks for my next fill. Doctor said it could take up to 8 more fills to get to my sweet spot ("typical fill level is 7cc's or more). The fills do not hurt at all fortunately. I have been able to eat anything with no problem so I know I am not anywhere near my target yet.

Went on my first trip since surgery this past weekend. Flew to LA and spent four days there. What a wonderful feeling to have the seatbelt a little loose on me. Victory!!!

Found a Trader Joes and bought my favorite ready made protein shakes and ate several meals out with no problems. Took home a doggie bag and had two more meals from one dinner. Portion size in restaurants is so amazing. Met our children and went to the USC vs OSU game and walked my butt off and did great. Have not had such energy in many, many years. All of my clothes are hanging on me so I need to get them altered soon.

I feel soooooooooo blessed that I had this surgery. I have a long way to go to get to my goal of 140 lbs but I really feel confident that I can get there. Good luck out there to everyone!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm feeling terrific!

Sorry I have not been blogging. Verrrry busy with work stuff, but that is over and done and I am free! Yipeeee!! I am focusing now on me, exercise and my consulting business.

It's been six weeks since my surgery and all is well. I have lost 28 lbs (by my scales and 30 lbs by the Dr's scales) and most of my clothes are hanging on me or I am wearing stuff I have not worn in many, many years. What a great feeling!! My energy is super high and my joint pain is so much better.

I had my first fill on September 29...they added 1cc to the residual 3cc in my band. The fill was super simple, no pain at all and no big deal. Stayed on liquids for 2 days but have not had any feeling of tightness. I am not supposed to get another fill for 3 weeks, but I think I will call the doctor to see if we can move that earlier because I just don't feel any different.

I am enjoying eating lots of salads, soups and every now and then one flattened, crustless piece of wheat bread with liverwurst and mayo folded in half. Sounds gross, but a regular sandwich will not work I am sure. Plus I love liverwurst! I had one "PB" incident a few weeks ago when I mindlessly ate and swallowed a corner of a piece of dried out banana bread. OH MAN! I always wondered what "stuck" and "PB" I know and I will never mindlessly eat again.

When I eat, my husband finishes 10 minutes before I do but hangs with me while I chew and chew. I have to say that I do feel hunger a lot still, but I just refuse to give into it. Hopefully the next few fills will change that.

Now my big challenge is to exercise. Got to get into the habit of that asap. Good luck to you all out there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

3 weeks post op and my birthday...

Well it has been 3 weeks since my surgery and I'm not where I hoped I would be dang it. My weight is still dropping although at a slower pace now that I am off liquids. After my doctor visit I was so excited and energized that I worked Wed-Fri at least half days and felt so stimulated physically and mentally. That all ended on Saturday unfortunately.

I spent Saturday afternoon through Sunday night basically immobile due to stomach, back, abdomen pain. When I visited my doctor last Tuesday they basically said you can eat what you want. I was very careful...ate small salads with soft veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives), tuna salad and other semi-soft food. Then on Friday we went out to dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant (I Love Sushi by Winco) and I ate miso soup, salad and 3 pieces of a shrimp tempura roll. Felt ok afterwards so on Sat am I had 1/2 a piece of toast (crusts cut off) in the morning and worked in the kitchen for 3 hours roasting tomatoes from our garden and making salsa. Guess I over did it and it was downhill from there. Had to go back on liquids on Sunday and resorted to taking pain medicine last night. Got rid of the pain but had to get in bed and turn off the lights to keep from being sick from the medicine (pain meds do not agree with me). I am hoping that the problem was a simple stomach irritation due to new foods and physically over doing it and nothing else. I am so fearful of band slippage or something worse so it was a rough weekend. Had my first big cry yesterday from being frustrated and couldn't even cry very well for fear of hurting my stomach :((

Today is a new day and my 53 birthday. I feel better today...not in as much pain but really wrung energy and definitely down in the dumps. I am waiting for that energy surge that I read about on blogs. I had it for a few days so I was unprepared for the big let down and misery of this weekend. My husband reminds me that it has only been 3 weeks since surgery afterall and there are bound to ups and downs. I am praying that it was the rice and bread and over activity that started this otherwise I am clueless.

Anyone else have this experience?
Is it an up and down kind of thing until you figure out what foods agree with you and which ones don't?

I did not have any of the stuck feelings...just generalized bad abdomen and referred back pain. Fortunately I have not thrown up yet or had an urge to eat bad stuff or over eat (I'm too scared to do that). Comments and opinions welcome. Hoping for a better week! Take care all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2 weeks post op and I am feeling good :)

First Doctor Visit-It's been 2 weeks since my surgery and I am really feeling good! Went to the doctor today for the first time and they are thrilled with everything. My incisions are healing well (no visible stiches or staples...just little red lines), I have lost 14 lbs according to one of their scales and close to 20 lbs according to the other scale in the 3 weeks since I started the liquid diet. I like the latter scale the best :). I can really feel the weight loss and it is just wonderful. I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks for my first fill. They told me that I have about 4 cc residual fill in the band already which explains why I have been eating so little. This is better than the opposite. I feel so blessed that I have not had one incident or nausea or vomiting. YAY. I will do anything to avoid that. I did have a really scary incident on Saturday when I had crushing left chest, left arm and neck and jaw pain....had to sit completely still for hours and take the heavy duty pain meds (which I hate cause they make me loopy). It finally resolved after 4 hours and must have been gas pain (from left over surgical gas when they blow up your abdomen). That is the first real pain I have had thankfully. I really thought I was having a heart attack at first.

Diet-They gave me the green light today to eat normal food which I did reluctantly since I have been on liquids for 3 weeks. So I made a turkey, lettuce and tomato wrap with a small soft wheat tortilla and it was pretty icky. I was shocked at how things I normally love just don't taste the same...lunch meats are too salty, mayo is weird, the little liverwurst (my fav) I tried was disgusting. The best thing I have eaten today was a fresh cucumber and tomato salad (from our garden) with rice vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. It will be an adventure to create new healthy meals. Fortunately I have had no cravings for sweets or anything (sugar free jello and puddings are terrific)...I just want to chew healthy stuff .

Energy-still don't have much's appt. grocery store and bank pooped me out today. Need to be walking 30 min a day (in 5-10 min shifts) but I have a hard time doing that, so tried our recumbent life cycle today and it was great. I can now swim but our pool is getting cold with the cold nights.

Singing-my big fear was that the intubation tube would damage my chords and affect my voice. Dr. Traul said they used the smallest tube thankfully. So I tested my voice today (which I have not done because of my diaphragm tenderness) and I sang fine. woohoo. Bodes well for an upcoming opera role. I knew it was going to be ok when Hanna (our maltipoo) started singing along with me. She is so talented :)

Good luck everyone and thanks for reading!