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About this blog

I want to use this blog as more of a journal to record my journey from Pre-Op to Post-Op.  I'm sure that's how the majority of them are used.  I'm not sure how detailed it will be, but I intend to pack as much information in here as I can.  :)

Entries in this blog

Obsidian

Well, the weekend has come and gone and progress has been made in several areas.  Today I am 1 month, 2 weeks, 2 hours and 10 minutes smoke free (as of 10:30 AM). :)  According to my app, I've been smoke free for 961.11 hours, I've saved $200.25 and I've not smoked 1,001 Pall Mall Light 100's (or 5 cartons-worth).  I would reward myself with some type of treat, a movie, some electronics, etc., but unfortunately(?) my wife's budget has cannibalized the 'Cigarette Budget' and added it to the 'New Car Fund'.  Fair enough.  I'd just waste it on crap anyway.

This weekend was a very productive one, though it almost turned out to be a bust.  Friday evening I let myself go and ate half of a large Pizza Hut pizza.  Maybe you've been there before, and maybe you haven't, but it's a weird experience in retrospect.  I had one slice of pizza, then another, then another and another.  I went to bed with my stomach aching and feeling like a slob and a loser.  I wasn't even that hungry.  It just felt good to eat.  I felt dejected and sad; worse than if I had smoked a cigarette, or even a pack of cigarettes.  Saturday I couldn't do much of anything because we had family over, one of which who has had Bariatric Surgery recently.  We ate pretty sensible on Saturday.  One weird thing I tried that I hadn't tried before was a lettuce wrapped sandwich from Jimmy Johns.  Everyone wanted Jimmy Johns for some reason.  I just ended up pulling the lettuce off and eating the meet and cheese.  The lettuce wrap did not work as intended, in my personal opinion.  It was well done, but too much.

Sunday, I knew I had to atone.  Luckily it was a very sunny day out, even though it was only in the mid-30's.  I had to run to the office to take care of something I had forgotten about on Friday, and since my office is right on the Ohio River, I figured I'd go for a stroll, and considering I'm not under the constraints of work, I could stroll as long as I wanted.  I sat my Samsung Fit2 for an hour's walk and set out fully intending to walk a lot more than that.  And boy did I walk.  I just kept walking and walking and did a circuit through three cities!  I started in Covington, crossed over into Cincinnati, walked around the newly developed Smale Riverfront Park and passed my beloved Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds.  I did some exploring then crossed a bridge over into Newport, KY and then walked back through to Covington, KY where I started.  My results were as follows:

Time Spent Walking: 01:36:03 (stopped and started a lot to take pictures)
Distance: 4.04 mi
Total Calories Burned: 722 Cal (According to Samsung SHealth)
Average Speed: 3 MPH
Max Speed: 5.5 MPH (Damned techno)
Total Ascent: .59 mi
Avg. Heart Rate: 119 bpm
Max. Heart Rate: 146 bpm

I don't care too much for all of the 'Total Ascent' and some of the other measurements.  I care most for the distance and the time spent.  I know that it's a lot of up and down hill stuff, it's not all flat walking, and I know my average heart rate would be higher but I stopped a lot to take pictures (in the span of 90 minutes I took a total of 75 unique pictures, two movies, and 5 panoramic pictures for reference.  Next time I walk I intend on doing so without the camera.

At any rate, Sunday I did well on my food log.  I ate ~800 calories and burned about 722 according to Samsung.  If you read this far, can you tell me if you think that is healthy?  I know asking health questions to anyone outside of my doctor is frowned upon, but I'm curious and I feel okay, don't want to bug the physicians unless I'm really feeling funky. 

Sorry, wanted to get this blog finished before I have to leave for my kid's doctor's appointment.  She's 15 months old today, and I've got a feeling that it's immunization city for her.  Pray that we have a nurse that doesn't drag the process out.  Most nurses can give 3 or 4 jabs in the blink of an eye and I can distract her from them.  The last one put about half a minute or more between each shot and poor baby girl did not appreciate that at all.  Neither did mommy or daddy.

Obsidian

I feel obnoxiously motivated yesterday and today and I'm not quite sure why.  I've wanted this type of motivation for years.  Motivation to do things I used to do; things I used to enjoy.  Motivation to lose weight, to not smoke, to be active and to be careful about what I eat.  All of these things always seemed like challenges I would never complete, singly, let alone at the same time.  I feel like I've bit off quite a bit and that I should be choking on it, but instead I'm excited for it, looking forward to the next bite.  Food analogy about losing weight.  Fat kid Inception.

Yesterday I walked for a total of 50 minutes and 2.67 miles.  I work in downtown Covington, Kentucky which is on the Ohio River, directly across from Cincinnati, Ohio.  When I go for my walks I usually two blocks to the Ohio River landing and walk down the river and look at the old architecture lining 'River Row'.  Old, beautiful houses in that area.  Yesterday, I tackled a three-story stair from Ohio River landing to the Roebling Bridge, a suspension bridge between Kentucky and Ohio.  I walked across the suspension bridge into Cincinnati, then walked back, taking pictures along the way.  I've saved a couple but am on my work computer so unknown if they will actually upload.  I haven't exercised on purpose for more than a half hour in a decade or more.  I'm hesitant in celebration because I'm unsure of whether this new found motivation is fleeting or here to stay.  But I'm hopeful.

I did not stick to my meal menus yesterday, but I feel like I could have done much worse.  I know that's dangerous thinking.  I followed my menu until I got home.  My wife is a social worker and some days she may receive a report just before the end of her day.  Yesterday was one of those days.  She's usually home before I am, but yesterday she didn't get home until closer to 6:30 PM.  I was starving so I ate two servings of mixed greens salad with two servings of light Asian Sesame Vinaigrette dressing.  I'm not sure whether I would classify this as giving into a craving or giving into hunger.  Giving into hunger, I'm cool with.  I'm hungry, I need to eat.  But I was craving that salad.  But on the same token, I could think of much worse things to crave and fold over. 

Speaking of successfully resisted cravings, I've been absolutely dying for regular Coke and a Hershey Bar with almonds.  Even before I got serious about this journey or even considered it, I would have a Hershey Bar with almonds maybe once a month and a can of regular Coke on a similar rotation.  But every day I go into the break room to get ice and the vending machines are sitting there with that candy bar and Coke.  Or baked BBQ lays.  Or pizzeria Combos.  I'm sorry if I'm triggering anyone here, but I've had the worst cravings for these foods.  I mean, I know I feel like they're bad cravings because I'm actually resisting them.  Previously when I had a craving it was no big deal.  I'd just buy them and eat them. Self control has never been my strong suit, but I'm learning.  Substitute the craving with water, a black coffee, a walk.  Just like smoking.  Concentrate on getting through the next 15 minutes without eating and you'll be alright.

I'm going to try and surpass my time, distance and steps walked today.  That's my goal for the day.  Even if it's one extra step.  For the record, my steps were 13,000 when I took my counter off at 5:00 PM.  First time I've counted steps past 10,000.  :)

This evening we are going to my folks and it's going to be interesting eating right on someone else's 'menu'.  I'm interested in what you've learned on your own personal journeys here.  If I'm presented with crap that I can't eat tonight, do I just try and eat a healthy portion of it, or do I decline and wait until afterward to eat?  What if I'm starving by that point?  What if I'm starving when I get there?  Everything in moderation or strict adherence?  Thanks in advance!

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Obsidian

For those who may have not read the monolith of text that made up my first post, I have turned over a few leaves lately.  I'd like to give a quick rundown of those before I get started with the meat of this post.

  • Today marks an entire month of being smoke free.

This is the first time since I started smoking that I've been cigarette/nicotine free for more than two days.  My doctor prescribed Welbutrin XL to assist in quitting but I would say the assistance from the medication has been marginal at best.  It's really hard to say honestly.  I'm not sure if knowing that I can't have the Gastric Sleeve surgery if I'm a smokier is what is helping me quit, or if it is the medicine.  For the first three and a half weeks I craved cigarettes constantly and I was so miserable I'd come straight home from work, eat and go to bed.  I figured I couldn't crave them if I'm sleeping.  Now, a month out, and I barely even notice it anymore.  I've stopped taking my Welbutrin and for the first day I noticed the cravings did come back a little, but now, three days gone, I feel absolutely fine.  I went outside and talked with my smoker friends for 15 minutes earlier and it did not affect me at all.  So I'm officially labeling myself a non-smoker.  :)

  • I have nearly stopped drinking all forms of soda.

This was another difficult one for me.  I quit drinking full-fat Coke a few years ago but I still drank Diet Coke like it was water.  As a matter of fact, I probably hadn't drank any actual tap/bottled water since I was in high school.  I just drank Diet Coke, solely, for years.  Now I will have usually one with my lunch every other day, but for the most part it's water or crystal lite.  Another big accomplishment for me.  I never thought I'd quit Coke!

  • I have started walking every weekday.

I have two daily breaks at work and one lunch break.  I'm currently writing this on my lunch break, but I intend to go walk for atleast half of it.  I usually eat while I work and then walk on my break.  At any rate, I went from zero activity at ALL to walking a mile on my 15 minute breaks and as close to two miles as I can get on my 30.  I'm just walking right now, but once my weight falls off I'm SO looking forward to my knees not hurting so I can jog.  As I stated on my original post, one of my goals is to join the Cincinnati Adult Hockey League.  I want to learn to play hockey so bad.  It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid.  I have already purchased skates, some pads, a stick and a helmet.  I'm ready to learn.  I'm also interested in learning to play goalie, but I figure, baby steps.

  • I'm being mindful about what I eat.

Again, this is something I never did before.  Now I'm keeping an electronic and a paper log of my meals, water and activities.  I've purchased a Galaxy Fit2 watch and have been using my Samsung phone's S Health App to help me keep track of my water, meals  and activities.  I transpose to paper so I can turn these in as required by my weight management center.  I've been doing a really great job, here.  I follow the 'Portioned Plate' guidelines that my first diet trial requires.  They say not to worry about portion sizes right now, but I'm trying to stick by what the book says.  I'm having one protein, two non-starchy vegetables and either a grain, fat, fruit or starchy vegetable at all meals.  I have three snacks a day and I try to make all of my snacks either protein, fruit, dairy or a mixture thereof.  My wife and I are making weekly menus which as helped a lot, and we are going into the store and trying to stay at the perimeter when buying.  So far, so good! 

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Today has been a good day.  This morning I woke up and my wife had cooked two eggs over easy with boiled spinach and two pieces of toasted whole wheat bread.  I'm slowly explaining the portioned plate ideas and what my weight management appointments have taught me.  My wife also intends to have gastric surgery in the future, so watching me go through this is giving her an idea of what she'll have to look forward to.  She wants to start now, but we made the decision to have our next child prior to her having surgery.  I promised her that I would go through all stages of this with her again once the time comes for her to start this journey.  Including the liquid diets that she'll have to follow after surgery, and whatever diets she has to do prior.  She has been such a great wife and partner since we met and she's pulled me out of some very difficult situations.  I owe it to her to go through this with her.  I told her that I would wait for her but she insisted I do this now.

At any rate, I ate my breakfast except for one slice of whole wheat bread.  I had a cup of coffee on my way out the door and took my daughter to daycare.  I got to work and took care of some things.  I'm currently managing a clerical team.  I've never done management before and this is a detail job.  I like it but it is very stressful and the employees are very immature.  But I'm making it through.

Before I started the diet, my wife and I had started cooking Wildtree Meals.  We pre-made about two weeks worth of dinners, so we are currently finishing those off.  Don't want to waste the money and they aren't THAT unhealthy.  For instance, I'm eating leftovers from last night for lunch: Grilled Chicken Orzo w/ spinach, cucumber, squash and feta cheese.  I'm not sure what the portions are, nor the calories, so I measured the entire meal according to the size of my fist.  It's about half grilled chicken and half orzo w/ veggies and a single serving of feta cheese.  See, before, I wouldn't have given a *&^% how much it was or what it was.  Big steps, to me!

I believe tonight we are having Wildtree Spaghetti and Meatballs, but we subbed regular spaghetti for whole wheat spaghetti.  This won't be the most 'high protein, low carb' meal I've eaten since starting the diet, but I understand this is an oddity and that I should enjoy it because it won't happen often.  Please let me know if you think this is a cop-out.  Part of me feels like it is and part of me doesn't. 

At any rate, I'm so looking forward to reading comments and suggestions and support from you guys.  Even if I don't get much or any I'll still try to update a couple of times a week, if anything to give someone else something to read who may be going through the same issues either now or in the future.  And it'll be cool for Future-Me to read this.  Hi Future-Me!  How is hockey treating you?!

Obsidian

FYI, this is a cross-post from the 'Introduce Yourself' forum.  I'll be adding another update afterward.

Good Morning from Kentucky.

I'm a 32 year old male from the Greater Cincinnati area and have taken the first few steps towards Gastric Sleeve surgery.  I've done a lot of homework and studying on this and for years I have said, "No, this is the easy way out.  No, if your family found out they would laugh about it (specifically my dad's side).  No, I've lost 100+ on my own before, I can do it again."  A recent new patient visit to my now PCP resulted in a discussion regarding weight loss.  I told him of my previous achievements and all of my failures, and he suggested Gastric Sleeve surgery.  I still was not considering this type of surgery and had primarily wanted to request medical anorexants.  Doc insisted that I at least start down the path of Gastric Sleeve and that if I wanted to turn back I could at any time.  Since then I've achieved a few milestones and am well on my way.

A little backstory: I was always a chubby kid.  My heart bled for years because I was teased about my weight from around the first grade on.  Still, I played sports and was a generally happy kid.  I was able to make friends, but, as young kids do, friends could become mean in the flick of the switch when presented with an opportunity to climb the social ladder by stepping on the fat kid's back.  By sixth grade I had made a few life-long friends which really stabilized me, and though I was fat my friends weren't.  I blossomed socially and, though very obnoxious (third generation class clown, and earned it), I had friends across all high school political strata.  I still received my share of hazing but I embraced it and owned it and would self-deprecate in order to shield myself from the stigma.

I played sports my whole life.  I played baseball for 16 years, football for 10, soccer for 2.  I was co-captain of my football team and I was the first person in 20 years to reach the 1,200 lbs. club in three lifts (bench, squat and powerclean).  I jogged a mile a day and had practices weekly through the summer and fall, and weighttraining through the winter and spring, with conditioning in the summer.  Still, I was heavy.  Through high school I weighed around 270 - 280 lbs.  My parents only filled the house with garbage and I had no understanding of nutrition at all.  I didn't realize the calories from Coke had an impact on my weight until I was a Sophomore in college.  I ate for comfort, but all of my conditioning managed to keep me maintained at the above stated weight.

Then the sports ended.  And I ballooned up.  I never weighed myself through this time of my life, but looking at pictures and comparing myself then to myself now, I'd imagine I gained about 100 - 120 lbs.  I figure I had to be around 400 lbs before I graduated high school.  Football season ended in the winter and before the summer I had gained a large amount of weight.  I wore 4X shirts and wore between 44-46 waist (around my hips, not actually around my waist).  I had maintained a relationship through high school and by my sophomore year it had ended.  I was now living 2 hours away from home and my friends, going to school at a college in Greater Cincinnati.  I managed to make new friends in college, but I was big and getting bigger.  My roommate advised me one evening, after observing, that I was drinking about 1,000 - 1,500 calories a day in regular coke.  I cut the regular coke out and the weight fell off.  I went from around 400 lbs to around 225, which was the lightest I had been since middle school. 

Finally, I was able to shop at normal clothing stores and buy stylish clothes that would fit me.  I always HATED shopping for clothes.  I wore the same clothes in college that I was wearing in high school, if they would fit.  One of my female friends had given me an XL Tool band tshirt.  I still remember the day I put it on.  I was so happy.  I couldn't remember the last time I had worn anything below a XXL.  I was HAPPY with XXL, but ecstatic with XL.

Then I got married and got comfortable, and I regained most of my weight back.  The marriage went south because of my weight gain and we ended up getting a divorce.  It wasn't long after my divorced I met the woman who would eventually become my wife and best friend and the mother of my only child.  She has patched so many emotional holes in my soul and with the birth of our daughter, I have become determined to change myself and my life. 

Since my visit with my PCP in late January, I have successfully quit smoking.  This was something I never thought I would do, but my doctor told me that he wouldn't be able to help me with surgery if I didn't stop smoking.  I vowed, for my wife and daughter, that I would quit.  I have met with my surgeon and began going to appointments at St. Elizabeth's Weight Management Center in Florence, KY.  Last week, I lost an uncle to what we are almost certain is an obesity related heart attack.  My uncle and I were so alike.  He was a chain smoking, morbidly obese truck driver with a heart of absolute gold.  After being a Pallbearer at his funeral, have again redoubled my efforts and my commitment to follow through with this.

I'd like to say that I'm doing this for myself, and that I'm excited about being able to wear normal clothes and be excited to be in pictures again, and to play sports again (I have bought a pair of ice skates and hockey equipment, but I can't skate because my legs and feet ache from how much weight and strain they're under).  But honestly, I'm doing it as much for my daughter and wife as anything.

At any rate, that's my current story.  Right now I'm monitoring what I eat and trying to learn that I don't resort to food when I have a cigarette craving.  I'm very scared but very excited about the Gastric Sleeve Surgery and I can't wait to see where I am a year from now.  My insurance stated that I could have surgery in 3 months, but I had to be 6 months smoke free, so I'm not sure if my doctors will fudge the numbers on my smoking or if I'll actually be waiting until July for the surgery, but either way, I'm focused!  :) 

Also, on top of the new clothes reward, we are currently saving for my dream car, and upon reaching my goal weight, I'll be buying it!  So I have all the incentive.  I just wish I could have surgery tomorrow.

Sorry for the lengthy post.  I look forward to sharing my journey with you all.  Today makes a month smoke free for me.  :)