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CurvyMermaid

Today I had the one month check-up, which was really 6 week check-up because of my surgeon’s vacation schedule.  The doc is happy but quasi-chastised me for not losing more.  Say whaaa?  I've lost 30 lbs since surgery!  What was I ‘supposed’ to lose? (Which he refused to answer) However, if you might recall an earlier post of mine, this is somewhat due to the scale in his office registering an additional 11 lbs less than it should have during my last appointment pre-op.  The only reason I knew this was a true discrepancy is because immediately after my pre-op visit with him, I went across the hospital campus for pre-admissions testing and that scale weighed more closely with the one at home (and unless you can gain 11 lbs in a 10 min walk, we’ve got issues).  Can you believe I am actually fighting for a weight to be recorded higher?  Ironically, the nurse at the office said that two scales were out of commission because they weren’t working so they KNOW there is a problem.  I was struck dumb and left deflated after his gentle inquisition about why I wasn’t losing more.  

The scale demons are trying to win this one and I’m telling them to S.T.F.U.  I am fitting into clothes that I haven’t felt comfortable wearing in at least 3 years! I had an awesome trip to Martha’s Vineyard! Yesterday I wore an outfit that made me feel on top of the WORLD! And the other day I tried on a dress I wore right after I graduated high school (!!), which made me both happy and sad.  Happy because = hey! more clothes to start wearing again! And sad because my poor body has been too big for too long.  I’m not all too sure how much I weighed in high school but that period of my life was the typical terror for a fat girl.  I was invisible yet the class clown to try and stay ahead of the jokes made at my expense. I was an easy target for the jerks and I have limited fond memories of my time there.  However, I do remember going with my mom to pick out this beautiful watersilk dress full of all my favorite colors.  Blues and teals and deep rich purples.  The colors of a clear night sky with a streak of the aurora borealis or of bruised purple sunsets in a deep blue and clear turquoise sky.  I remember how beautiful I felt in it and how I loved to wear it for our family’s special occasions and trips.  It’s full of both that feeling of beauty and owning something so pretty and special, but also those dark memories of being bullied that I have tried to bury. Geez louise, thinking of this dress is bringing me to tears. How can a piece of clothing evoke so much? I never realized clothing could have that power.  I guess now that it fits I need to make some new memories in it.

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In other news, I think I could amp up my exercise efforts.  I researched gyms and memberships and found one in close proximity to my work which gives a discount through my insurance so that I would theoretically only be paying $10 month.  Why is it hard to make that next step?  What am I afraid of?  And should I be doing only cardio to maximize weight loss right now?  What about these bat wings?  Can I tone without gaining muscle? But I WANT more muscle.  I want definition under this fat so I can be awesome like @athenarose and @Stephtay  ;)  Perhaps I’m afraid of making a fool out of myself.  I have been publicly embarrassed and bullied enough in my life, I try not to put myself in situations where it might happen again. 

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What I'm feeling 6 weeks out:  Normal. Like, sometimes I forget I had surgery. I'm certainly not as tired as I typically would have been at the end of the day pre-surgery but I still haven't had this great surge of consistent energy like I thought I might have.  I have the energy when I want (like my hiking) but its not always there or I must summon it (**cross arms in front of body, blink -- Genie?). I've been having some acid reflux/heartburn so the doc prescribed some meds for that during today's visit.  I also brought up the DEXA scan after reading about the dangers bariatric surgery may pose for calcium absorption issues (thanks  @cinwa!)  He actually said that his foreign colleagues only do self-pay surgeries and the DEXA scan is included in the package.  We will see if it goes through insurance.

What's this vegetarian eating?  cottage cheese, protein gummy bears, protein powders, tofu and stir fry veggies, some fruit (cantaloupe, nectarine), tempeh, paneer and spinach

What I'm not eating?  Field Roast Veggie Frankfurters - nope, way too dense no matter how much you chew.

What I wish I wasn't eating?  This d*mn container of veggie protein mix that has begun to taste like dirt and doesn't mix well but I'm too cheap to toss it so I make myself use it.  Vitamins, all of them.

CurvyMermaid

During my trip I traveled lightly during the day – only a large purse or backpack – with no access to a refrigerator and no desire to carry an insulated lunch bag during my hiking, shopping, walking, beach visits.  For that reason I wanted to have portable protein that didn’t require refrigeration.  I am also a vegetarian (so no meat) and limited on carbs (so no belowground veggies – e.g. peanuts, chickpeas).  Here’s what I brought/bought:

 

1) Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky – you got that right!  “Lightlife has been making delicious vegan meat alternatives for over 30 years, and they've created something special with their new Meatless Smart Jerky!  Dense, chewy, and full of delicious flavor, this vegan jerky is low in fat and calories, giving you a healthy way to get a "meaty" snack any time your cravings hit.”    Each 1 oz serving has 9g protein and 8g carbs.

2) Sunflower seeds  I found Superseedz’ Somewhat Spicy  version of sunflower seeds to be a tasty treat with 15% zinc and iron along with 9g protein and 5g carbs in each 0.25cup serving. They have some other lovely sounding flavors like: Tomato Italiano, Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Sugar, Maple Sugar & Sea Salt, Coco Joe.

3) Hardboiled eggs  I only eat the egg white, which as 4g protein.  Okay, that’s a lie. I will totally eat the egg yolk but it has to be deviled.  lol

4) Protein powderpacks  I bought a sampler pack off of Amazon for Syntrax and it included 26 individual packets of different flavors.  I brought only the fruity flavored ones with me (not the creamy ones) and while I was out, I would get an unsweet tea and mix in the packet (e.g. Roadside Lemonade, Peach, Fruit Punch).  23g of protein AND hydration!  I also unsuccessfully tried to add it to a bottle of water that had too narrow a neck.  I wished I had my shaker bottle but that would just be one more large item to schlep around.

5) Homemade tofu jerky  I make this in the oven after slicing extra firm tofu into thin slices and seasoning with whatever I have on hand/am craving (e.g., sriracha, jerk, garlic and smoked paprika).  3oz of tofu jerky has 9g protein.  Not to mention tofu has all 8 essential amino acids, iron, calcium and more!

6) Homemade protein gummy bears  I have various recipes for this but mainly it involves, high quality gelatin (I use Great Lakes), Unjury unflavored protein powder and sugar free jello mix. I have silicon molds and can make a batch of 150 in ~ 10 minutes plus the cooling time.  Each gummy bear has 1 g of protein and is a nice, easy way to get me to my protein goal.

7) Dried seaweed snacks  Okay, doesn’t really have protein (1g per 0.17oz package) but I love salty and savory treats and this one packs a punch as it delivers iodine, B6, potassium, iron.

8) Premier Protein bars  I use these sparingly as they have 30g carbs (yes, some are sugar alcohols) but also give me 30g protein.

9) TVP  (textured vegetable protein) – “is a highly nutritious soy product. It is incredibly wealthy in complete protein and contains no fat, so it is an excellent alternative to meat. TVP is made from defatted soy flour that has been cooked under pressure and then dried.  This is another snack trick to add to food while out (e.g., soups where it absorbs the fluid or salad where it acts as croutons).  Each 0.25cup has 12g protein.

 

Snacks that sucked:

There are some snacks I tried that absolutely sucked and those include dried edamame, dried soy nuts and dried chickpeas (which violate my low carb rule anyway).  While all are packed with protein punch, I found the texture off and they all were incredibly, incredibly dry.  No matter what seasoning I tried, they were bland and moisture sapping on my tongue.  I won’t be buying or making these again.

 

Restaurants

I found that it suited my purposes (only eating small amounts) and situation (traveling solo) better to enjoy happy hour food at the bar.  One place had deviled eggs on their HH menu (to die for!), another had a caprese tower (tomato season! squeeee!) and another had this riced cauliflower and tofu concoction.  Since I was still backpacking through the towns, I couldn’t have leftovers unless they would last without refrigeration.

 

So there you have it!  Surviving a quasi-backpacking holiday in a developed vacation destination 5 weeks post-op.  If anyone has any more ideas on protein snacks to-go, please leave them in the comments so I can check them out!

CurvyMermaid

I took a solo trip to Martha’s Vineyard this past week.  It was my first trip to MV, although I had been planning to go ever since I read a book set throughout the island over 10 years ago.  I was worried I had made MV grander in my mind than it ever could be with a visit. Haven’t we all been disappointed in that way?  Someone talks up a movie, a book, the newest and fanciest gadget?  Then we go, see, do and are left with a feeling of betrayal – it didn’t live up to the hype.  Would MV be the same?

Martha’s Vineyard wooed me.  It lured me in from the book I read and then, as I explored each of the quaint towns, made me fall in love.  It is unapologetically pretentious in some towns.  The yachties were in full force in their deck shoes, khakis, colored belts and collared shirts. Their wives in elegant shift dresses and minimal, but I have no doubt costly, jewelry.  The people watching entertained me for hours upon hours.  I went to artist markets and talked with the locals creating beautiful, original pieces.  I got to know the areas away from the major towns during my explorations and that is where I identified with MV more.  Here were the hard working men and women who kept the towns running while the summer people came and went.  I live in a community that bustles over the summer and becomes desolate during the winter.  I am a year-rounder in my community and I recognized the same grit, patient endurance of the summer folks and perseverance in these people.  I felt a kinship to them and it made me feel even more comfortable in my own skin – and apparently it is making me wax poetic a bit, lol.

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During the five days I was in MV, I walked, and walked, and walked. Miles each day on cobblestone walks and sidewalks, beaches and dirt roads.  But my biggest NSV (non-scale victory) was the hiking trail I did on Wednesday. Because I was using the bus to get around I had to time my hike to hit the bus returning on the hour, rather than miss it and have to wait on the side of the road for the next one.  I set myself a goal of two hours and off I went.  Climbing the first peak to the expansive overlook was only a small challenge and I quickly continued on.  Once I passed the first loop where the first overlook was, I never saw another soul. It was like the trail was my private adventure and test of endurance for this new, lighter body. Down through scrub oak and amidst the trees before getting a peek at the ocean from a second overlook and continuing downward to the beach via dirt ‘steps’ pockmarked from rain erosion and neglected care.  Yes, in my mind, I knew that each step downward meant that there would be steps upward – and considering I had been going down for quite some time, it was going to be BRUTAL! I made it down to a beautiful, secluded beach covered in multi-colored stones from pea to bread loaf sizes, very reminiscent of a trip I took to La Push, WA.

Enjoying a brief respite by the peaceful yet chilly water, I turned around and mounted the stairs and THAT is when my endurance started.  Up and up and up and up.  Did I really go down this many steps or steep slopes? Heart pounding and breathing heavy, I am not ashamed to say I had to give myself a pep talk a few times over the next 45 minutes.  I only let myself rest briefly twice, enough to gain my breath and not pass out! At one point, I jogged a bit down one of the few downhill areas because it was getting close to the time where I would either make it to the bus or *just* miss it.  ‘You got this. Push a little harder. Feel the burn.’  I broke free of the tree line and was at the road – did I make it? Was I too late and left sitting roadside for the next hour? Panting heavily and sweating profusely, I paused and took a moment to relish in the fact that I had just done 2 hours of almost continuous hiking on very rugged, uneven up and downhill terrain with ZERO knee pain.  ZERO. Not a twinge, not a tweak, not a sharp painful reminder of the acute, immobilizing issues I have been dealing with for the past year.  Instead I felt amazingly alive. I’m only at the start of my weight loss journey but this trip….this trip in its solitude but also sense of comradery with other year-rounders, was just what I needed.  After this sappy revelation lasting all of 30 seconds, I looked up to see the bus rounding the corner.  I flagged it down and boarded it with shaky legs. Onto the next exploration with a secret smile on my face for a NSV embedded in so many others.

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CurvyMermaid

O-N-E

O -pportunity

N - ausea

E – xciting

In my head I sometimes forget that I am only one month post-op and look down, expecting to see my new svelte body.  LOL I feel like strutting because I’ve got this secret.  I have a tool and it works, will work, is working.  It’s not some fad diet that will cause a yo-yo of regain.  While not yet svelte, I have lost a significant amount and am starting to see changes -  less knee pain, the ability to buckle my PFD while working, droopy drawered swimsuits, less lead when diving.  Mostly my emotions hover around the hope and impatient spectrum.  I am hopeful for this tool and impatient to get to the goal.

My focus this month was not really on the weight loss surgery recovery but on a continually misdiagnosed condition that was an undesired souvenir from a research trip to Africa two months ago.  Why bring home a snow globe when you can bring home an infection that robs you of the use of your dominant hand? Biopsy results came back today and this third go round of medication attempts should work – although the side effects include lovely things such as nausea, lack of appetite and sense of taste.  Perhaps rather than WLS, I should market this new pathogen and treatment? Although the possibility of liver failure may deter some…

I’m excited to see where month TWO takes me – starting with my first trip to Martha’s Vineyard next week!

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Sampling at Dawn (photo modified by a color filter)