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Post WLS move to Oman

Jen581791

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Well, it’s been more than a week, and I’m surviving so far!

My in-flight meals were a WLS post-op’s nightmare: giant heaps of carbs. We always sign up to get the vegetarian option, which is great on some airlines and not so great on others. KLM and Delta seem to have a carnivore with a chip on his shoulder designing the veg menu. We were actually served a hamburger bun with some kind of gloopy rice thing as the filling for one meal. Seriously? Everyone else gets eggs and cheese? Which is vegetarian (but not vegan, but we didn’t specify vegan, just veg)? But we get bread with rice? And was that any better than the previous meal, which was pasta with bread? OK, finished complaining. Luckily I had bars, bars, and more bars with me. That’s about all I ate for two days. 

Warning: non-WLS-related details ahead! Skip ahead if you are only here for the WLS stuff.

Our new place is an apartment in a building with another new person (that’s a plus). It’s only about a 15 minute drive from the university, if traffic isn’t bad, and about a 10 minute drive to the sea, which is nice. It’s in an area with big fancy houses, and is the only apartment building, which means it’s quiet - and the local mosque is even fairly quiet, which is not a given in this part of the world. The apartment itself is big, but not very nice - three bedrooms and four bathrooms all to ourselves (I guess our cat gets her own room). It’s sparsely furnished, which makes me long for all of my nice stuff that is, sadly, sitting in a storage unit in the US for the year. The walls are freshly painted an ungodly shade of pepto bismal pink. 

The university seems nice so far - the campus is big enough that in the hot months you pretty much have to drive to class, but the grounds are pretty. Our department seems full of friendly, well-organized people. The classrooms and offices are nicer and better set up than I had imagined. All seems good so far. We spent the first week just doing paperwork: visas, driver’s licenses, utilities, phones, internet, bank account, etc, etc, etc. That stuff is a pain whenever you move, but at least there were people here to help with it. 

The weather has been pretty hot, but not as bad as we were expecting. It’s been in the 90s (low 30s C), but not in the 110s (44+C), like Dubai is getting at this time of year. Humid, though.

Back to the WLS stuff.

My food intake is going to be different here. Some of my staples are not easy to find or cheap here. Examples: cottage cheese is available, but it’s the British kind - it is not at all the same thing. Greek yogurt is available at a grocery store a fair drive from my house, but it’s Fage, so it’s imported, so it’s like $10 for a small tub, $4 for an individual pot - this means I will be hanging my yogurt to make my own Greek yogurt (hanging it in a cloth and letting the whey drip out turns it into Greek yogurt). Fake vegetarian meat is available! Quorn chik’n roast! Morningstar patties! Hooray! I was not expecting this here! Protein shake mixes are readily available. On the more positive side concerning food, I’m back to where I can get great Middle Eastern and Indian food, which I really enjoy. The spicy flavors appeal to my messed up post-WLS palate: if it’s really spicy, I can’t taste that it tastes weird. 

Some food challenges: lunch at school will probably have to be brought from home, even though I think most people eat in the dining room, so it’s a social thing. I will have to be that weird one with a Tupperware full of strange stuff instead of having what everyone else is having. I’ll deal. Another challenge: other faculty bringing nice things to eat. This is a very food-as-social-gesture culture, so saying no is hard. I’ve already had to say no to several lovely looking cakes. I hope I’m doing it gracefully. I worry about that. 

I managed to go out with a big group and not make a big deal of not drinking at a pub quiz - I kept getting soda water and limes, and I think it looked enough like a G&T to not be suspicious. I also managed to kick @$$ at the pub quiz, which I’m sure helped people overlook my suspicious not-drinking behavior. 

As a new hire, I have to undergo a health screening, the first part of which is over - it was just taking all the vitals plus getting a chest x-ray (for TB). It is a HUGE RELIEF to go to the doctor and not be afraid (I mean petrified!) of getting weighed and measured and stuff. I was like, lah-di-dah, sure you can weigh me with another person in the room. Whatevs. My pee test came back with ketones in it (I posted about that and others were kind enough to assure me that the doctor probably won’t suspect I’m dying or anything once I explain how I’m eating), and also I came up slightly hypoglycemic, but that was after hours and hours and hours of no food. It was a tough day. I get the real exam in a week or so, during which I’m sure I’ll be asked about my pee and also the giant nest of titanium staples that are very apparent, I’m sure, in my x-ray.

So, it’s time to join a gym. Fortunately, there is a faculty club on campus that has all the gym sort of stuff (weights, cardio machines, pool, tennis, etc.) and is very reasonably priced. How convenient is that? We looked around today, and it looks like a pretty good setup, so we’re going to hit the gym tomorrow! We’ve really just been mall walking since we’ve been here - it’s pretty hot out, and muggy besides, so a gym will be just the thing. I’m actually looking forward to it.

So far, my favorite part about this move is that I feel way more confident in meeting new people. It feels so great to just not have that 30% of my mind busy running myself down, and second guessing everything, and worrying about what I look like, and stressing about things like getting winded walking up stairs or feeling really hot and sweaty if I have to walk out in the hot weather, or trying to figure out what my next (punishment) diet is going to consist of. It’s just very freeing to not have all of those worries in my head. I can think about other things. I can focus on being more positive (I tend to be a teensy bit negative, or perhaps cynical). 

My weight loss doesn’t look like it’s slowing down much - in the past 30 days I’ve lost about 13 pounds. I’m still eating around 700 calories per day, I’m getting just shy of 10,000 steps per day, but I’m not really “exercising” at the moment, just walking when I can during the day. That all changes tomorrow: Gym Day. So, we’ll see how things go in the first few weeks here, but it looks as if all is well on the WL front. I currently have about 35 pounds to lose to get to goal, which sounds pretty good to me. I feel like I’m in a very good place at the moment, so I’m not in a huge rush to lose those 35 pounds. Getting closer…



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Jen,

Ah, airline meals. They are often so hot and miss when it comes to veg meals. I had the most delicious meal of my air travels on Kenya Airways. I ordered an Indian veg meal and it did not disappoint. When fellow passengers found out we were vegan (I'm not anymore), they were delighted to give us snacks. Mmmm. I'm sorry to hear that you were essentially given gruel on a bun. Glad you planned ahead and brought your bars. 

As you know, food is love in various cultures. I've managed to dive and weave through different food situations but I know that I stick out. You'll probably learn tricks over the next coming months that will help you gracefully turn down those invites. Let us know how you manage to do so and still be polite. I'm eager to learn your tips, Professor Jen. 

Giant hugs from this side of the planet! More later, gator. ;)

 

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Thx for the update Jen

I'm glad you're finally settled in and tested the waters around you.

Really, pink walls? I love pink but not on my walls.... A big apartment is more housework, but I'm sure it'll be easy to have a cleaning lady come over if you're too busy at university.

My mom used to make Greek yogurt. But you don't have to. Look in the supermarket for something called labneh. It should be cheap. It's strained unflavored yogurt. There are fat free, light and full fat versions. They exist in many brands. Laban is yogurt and labneh is what I just said. 

Good luck finding balance in new surroundings. It's a good thing you're not alone and hubby is with you.

Congratulations on the weight loss. You're rocking your WLS. Shopping for clothes is going to be a whole new experience!!!

Hugs from not so far away :)

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9 hours ago, NerdyLady said:

food is love in various cultures.

Absolutely. I think I'm going to spread the word that I'm just one of those annoying low-carb people. Clusie L's video on how to make people quit asking you about your diet is hilarious: just keep giving too much (nonsensical, if you have to) information - no one wants to hear all about the details, so pretty sooon they'll leave you alone! :D 

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8 hours ago, Sleevalicious said:

Look in the supermarket for something called labneh.

My husband loves labneh and Laban, but all the kinds I've tried are a little salty. I like labneh when it has zaatar, but I prefer my yogurt with fruit for breakfast, so not sure labneh would be ok like that. I made hung yogurt last night and it's just about exactly like Greek yogurt (maybe a little thicker) and it was pretty easy :) 

Yes, pink walls. Who on earth made that decision? Yuk. With sandy beige floor tiles :wacko: 

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6 hours ago, Gretta said:

Four bathrooms?!

We had a place in Dubai with five!!! So this is a step down in the world :D 

Yes, great veg options in this part of the world due to the many Indian residents. Nice to find British and American veg stuff, too. Makes life easier!

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Great update Jen! And the NSV of increased confidence in social situations with new people! You probably never realized how much of your mind was occupied on those thoughts and negative feelings until they were no longer there. I never realized how much my weight was a factor in decision making until I decided to have WLS and saw those doors of opportunity opening. I'm eager to hear if you sense any difference in the students treatment of yoy. While there may be cultural differences to account for as well, I oftentines wonder how my students perceive me based on my physical appearance (the option of chili peppers on ratemyprofessor as an example!).

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@CurvyMermaid, yes, it's such a relief to have a less cluttered mind. 

About 15 years ago, I dieted my way down to 145 lbs, which was hard freaking work and I was starving/exercising all the time, but in those few years of being thin, I really noticed how differently everyone treated me - it was very enlightening and made the regain even more heartbreaking. When I was thin, students were nicer. Bosses were nicer. Random people in the street were nicer. It's a real eye opener to how society treats people based on weight (I assume there are many other ways this code varies, based on things like abilities, race, gender, etc, but I haven't had the experience of seeing the world through a change in my status in those identities). 

Ah, the (secretly) coveted chili pepper rating on ratemyprofessor... One wonders how much that website has directly affected the lives of teachers and students <_<

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12 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

My husband loves labneh and Laban, but all the kinds I've tried are a little salty. I like labneh when it has zaatar, but I prefer my yogurt with fruit for breakfast, so not sure labneh would be ok like that. I made hung yogurt last night and it's just about exactly like Greek yogurt (maybe a little thicker) and it was pretty easy :) 

Yes, pink walls. Who on earth made that decision? Yuk. With sandy beige floor tiles :wacko: 

I'm glad you're familiar with both dairies. I personally love labneh and I usually have it for breakfast. Or I'll have yogurt with cucumbers.

I'm also glad your hung yogurt turned out to be OK. For a wetter consistency remove it earlier from the cloth. It should be just fine. 

I really love interior design. Maybe I should consider hiring your designer??:P

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I looked up Laban and was delighted to see that it is my beloved Ayran (Bulgarian). I could drink it day and night. When I go to Bulgaria I have it more often than I should admit. 

I haven't been able to find a fat free version in the USA. I'm afraid to even have a sip of my favorite brand which is made with whole milk. I can make it myself but it isn't the same. That said, I'm totally making myself a glass of Laban for breakfast. Mmm. Salt. Mmm. 

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@Sleevalicious @Jen581791 Would you mind describing the taste of labneh? Boston has large Eastern European and Middle Eastern communities. As a result we have several Greek, Armenian and Turkish stores with extensive dairy products. I'd love to know more about labneh. 

If it's dairy, I will always love it. I'm also bored with my current food selection, so something new is an exciting possibility. 

Edited by NerdyLady

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Hi @NerdyLady

Ayran is basically watered down and salted yogurt. My family drinks it a lot in summer. It comes in full fat or fat free versions.

Laban is yogurt as everyone knows it. There are fat free, low fat and full fat versions.

Labneh is drained yogurt. Traditionally, housewives will let the yogurt drain in a bag that they sew. Today it's much easier to buy it in the supermarket.  Jen is right though it is lightly salted so that it doesn't turn sour. It has a thicker consistency than Greek yogurt and it is usually eaten with olive oil, olives and....bread or crackers. We also add fresh mint and tomatoes. Delicious. But you can skip the carbs and eat it like a dip with cucumbers or green peppers. It's rich in protein and calcium. It also comes in full fat low fat and fat free versions. It usually comes in 500g plastic containers. Some like Jen eat it with zaatar which is a powdered mix made with dried thyme flowers, sumac and sesame seeds. Also yum.

So consistency progression goes from Ayran to yogurt to Greek yogurt,to labneh.

Labneh is not common in all of the middle east. It is a staple for people in the near east. So when you go to a store try to find Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian specialties. I'm not sure but I think Israeli stores have it as well.

Obviously you'll find it in the refrigerated section.

Bon Appétit!!!!:)

Edited by Sleevalicious

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On 9/4/2017 at 10:33 AM, Jen581791 said:

@CurvyMermaid, yes, it's such a relief to have a less cluttered mind. 

About 15 years ago, I dieted my way down to 145 lbs, which was hard freaking work and I was starving/exercising all the time, but in those few years of being thin, I really noticed how differently everyone treated me - it was very enlightening and made the regain even more heartbreaking. When I was thin, students were nicer. Bosses were nicer. Random people in the street were nicer. It's a real eye opener to how society treats people based on weight (I assume there are many other ways this code varies, based on things like abilities, race, gender, etc, but I haven't had the experience of seeing the world through a change in my status in those identities). 

Ah, the (secretly) coveted chili pepper rating on ratemyprofessor... One wonders how much that website has directly affected the lives of teachers and students <_<

I had this experience as a teenager when I lost weight .... so I thought to always look for the inner person, not always successfully; but I discounted personal beauty and often have found the Beauty in the Beast. And, alas, the Beast in the Beauty. :unsure:

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