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T - E - N

T aller E thanol N ature Ten months since surgery y'all!  Last month brought many deaths into my life, my ex-boyfriend re-entered my life (after a year!) and proposed, the harassing work situation from last year has re-surfaced and I've been house hunting for my first purchase!  I suppose at this point in my life, I really thought I'd be married (and that answer was NO) so house hunting alone has been a bit anti-climatic but still an interesting process (especially my first offer....and subsequent rejection! lol).  I keep wondering if when I walk into these houses, is it supposed to feel like a 'say-yes-to-the-dress' moment? Taller:  Everyone keeps saying I look taller, perhaps it's because I'm not as wide so my height becomes more noticeable.  When asked my height I actually go into panic mode because I don't really know anymore.  Waaaay back when at the start of the journey, a nurse measured me at 5'9", which caused incredulous laughter because I have always registered my height at 6'0".  This nurse was approximately 5' tall and very, very pregnant so I somewhat thought she just couldn't reach my head.  Re-measured a few months later (by a shorter gentlemen at my GP office) I was told 5'10.5", which I thought (and friends and family members thought) sounded off too.  With all of our technical advancements, is height really still measured by standing against a wall with a metal bar?  This becomes increasing important as we calculate BMI.  No matter what the number, everyone has been saying I look taller, which I really think means I'm not as wide and therefore people can notice my height!            Some photos I found online with folks (or cartoons!) getting their height measured.  You'll notice that the first three, the measurer is always taller than the measureree.  BUT look at the last one! When did you ever see that in the doctor's office??   Why is that pertinent?  Because our doctor's use the BMI to determine what level of tests we have to go through before getting bariatric surgery. Had my height been measured appropriately from the onset, it would have dropped my BMI and I would have needed only half the tests I needed prior to surgery.  There was also an incident with a scale within the doctor's office that measured incorrectly, I brought it to the staff's attention and it was like twisting arms to get them to change it!  Be an advocate for yourself, even for the silliest items.           Some alternatives to coping with alcohol:  archery, long beach walks, reading and talking to my therapist/friends/family Ethanol.  And by that I really mean alcohol because rather than coping with food, I have definitely been coping with an increased consumption of alcohol, which has dramatically stalled my program these last 2-3 months.  I am lucky in that I have no history of alcohol abuse, have a wonderful relationship with my therapist to treat my PTSD, and have developed some alternative strategies that are working thus far.  But even without any type of history, this surgery makes you vulnerable to these kinds of issues.  I feel like you need to be vigilant and don't be afraid to seek help.  In fact, even if you don't think you have a problem but have noticed your 'reward' after a hard day is a glass of wine or beer or drink, ask yourself what's going on and if that's the road you want to go down.  I do not feel safe from developing any other 'new' obsession now that food is off the table and I think because I did, I ended up sliding these past few months.  I'm trying not to feel so bad about that, to forgive myself and make better decisions for these next few months but focusing one day at a time. NATURE!!  Mother nature is taunting us like the saucy wench she is!  We'll have a gorgeous day and the next day I'll see my breath.  Last night I walked on the beach for about 2 hours and while it started out overcast but still pleasant, by the end it was frigid, foggy and positively spooky.  Fresh weather is just around the corner, which will brighten even my saddest moods and I plan to wring every last drop of the day.  This upcoming month brings a trip to the west coast to officiate my friend's wedding, the start of my diving for work (brrr!! cold water! 54*F), and a townwide yard sale.  While I have helped with family yard sales (well, I'm sure I stood there while my mom did all the work! lol), I've never hosted my own.  And, being the researcher I am, I have been reading online about haggle-free yard sales (not socially acceptable),  pricing strategies (be ready for hagglers) and not pricing anything strategies (you can make more and its less work).  Just like in my Poshmark, I want to do minimal work and make the most money.  So far PoshMark has brought in ~$250 for minimal work.  I don't think I can get that much out of my garage sale items but my plan is to donate anything that doesn't sell so something is better than nothing!  Thoughts from other yard sale junkies?   What's this vegetarian eating?  I created a recipe I am calling broccoli piccata with fresh lemon, capers, spaghetti squash, broccoli and some red pepper flakes.  By straining off the sauce, cooling it, mixing in genepro and then remixing the sauce with the cooked ingredients, I'm able to get some decent protein out of the recipe, while also getting in some important veggies.  I also created a veggie egg scramble that did not turn out quite so well.... lol!  Planning my meals for the week has been really helpful in making sure I eat appropriately through the week rather than just drinking protein. So let me put it to you all:  Is there a more accurate way to measure height?  For post-ops, did you struggle with an addiction transfer? For yard sale experts, to price or not to price?!      
 

N - I - N - E

Not an  Idiot, Not Eating This update is about 10 days late and my heart isn't in it.   I have suffered through three deaths of close family and just got back from the last funeral.  I have discovered that when the extreme stresses of life get to me, my coping mechanism of junk food (pizza, chips, etc), has zero appeal.  This is great in regards to using my tool to continue on my weight loss journey but food now has zero appeal. I am not an idiot and I know that not eating is stupid but the last thing I feel like doing is figuring out what I should/could/can eat.  I've been getting in protein through Genepro unflavored mixed with water so at least my protein and hydration is there.  Meh. In an attempt to improve my mood, below are five things that made me smile: 1.  What folks warned about during flying (having your extra skin being mistaken as something dangerous during TSA screening) is true.  I haven't been felt up this much since high school.  2. My brother is getting married!  I normally am lucky to see my brother once per year because he lives overseas but I saw him in December for the holidays and recently for the funerals.  I can tell he is so happy, and that makes me happy. 3. As an addition to above, my brother is moving near me!  After living the last 20 years on separate sides of the country or in different countries, I'm thrilled he and his wifey-to-be will be 45 minutes away from me.  4. While I haven't felt like I've lost any more noticeable weight (and haven't updated my stats in about a month, nor bought more properly fitting clothes), I apparently look quite a bit different since I saw everyone at Christmas.  I have a wonderful, supportive family and they were very lovely in their compliments. 5.  I have discovered a new hobby.  Well, I have finally started lessons on a hobby that I have wanted to learn for a long time - archery.  It's almost meditative and I'm happy to be taking some time to cultivate the interest. I need to get into the TT Forums and start getting caught up on how everyone is doing.  I feel almost estranged from my TT folks, when really this is when I should be checking in and receiving/giving support. Hugs to everyone and hugs to your families - enjoy every moment with them!    
 

Clothes Funeral

One of the side effects of weight loss surgery is the gradual funeral for potentially some of your favorite clothes and a re-introduction of shopping fun.  As I’ve said before, I am a big thrift store shopper.  This is a great way to add some new clothes into my wardrobe without breaking the bank.  Sure, I could wait until I’m at goal but I strongly believe that what you wear impacts how you feel.  This emerging body can fit into so many new fashions!
But with the clothes funeral, I knew I wanted to offset some of my purchases (even if they were thrift store) with resale and evaluated a few options.  I should note that I reserved this effort of resale only for the nicest items, not designer names, but only the items that showed no wear.  The more well loved clothes I donated.  For the nicest clothing, my local consignment store said they did not deal in enough business with plus-size fashion to make it worth my while.  ThreadUp was a negative experience - bluntly it was a complete and total ripoff.  With this program, you mail in a box of clothes and they decide what they are worth.  You are given no choice to counter and I think they use this to their advantage to lowball you. My greatest success has been with Poshmark.  Poshmark is free to sign-up and easy to post within the app and through a computer.  The basic system is that you add items to your ‘closet’ and any item that sells under $15, Poshmark takes $2.95.  Any sales of $15 or more, the fee is 20%.  In exchange, they handle the shipping label and customer service end, although people still message you with specific questions on your items.  If it has to do with shipping and payment then Poshmark should take care of it.  POSITIVE EXPERIENCES SO FAR Easy to use – both as seller and buyer, with clothing and accessories. Lots of users on the site so you’ll get plenty of views and before I had even posted all of the original items I wanted to post, I had sold an item! Simple system to claim your money (or spend it back on Poshmark) Nice options to increase sales (like ‘Bundle’ discounts where shoppers that buy more than 1 item can get a discount).  What is nice about this option is that I can control how many items are required in the bundle to get the discount and how much of a discount.  In addition, as a shopper adds things to a bundle or even ‘likes’ an item, you can offer them a private discount, which can include shipping or overall cost of the item.                         POINTS TO CONSIDER You must have your own supply of shipping boxes/bags.  I just bought some off of Amazon and also went to Dollar Tree when I sold larger items.  I sold a jacket and found a box at work.  So not really a big deal but worth mentioning.  The shipping label covers up to 5 lbs so if you sell any items that weigh more than that, you are losing a big cut of your profit (see figure below for what they charge for overweight items).  From the buyer end, you only have the option of a $6.49 expedited shipping label, which can be pricey if you buy just one item although if you buy a bundle, it would work out in your favor. Also from the buyer end, you obviously don’t get to try items on so it works best if 1) the item is a style and size you know will fit from other purchases and 2) is low priced enough that you’re willing to take a risk. I have only needed to contact the Poshmark Customer Service once (when I went to print the shipping label, the buyer’s name was absent) and unfortunately their ‘assistance’ was useless.  I was able to message the buyer directly to get her name but I am interested to see how they handle any ‘real’ problems should they arise. Who knows how long it might take to sell some items?  If you want a quick way to get rid of items, eBay might be a better option.  I have some wetsuits, winter jackets, waders that I’ll be selling because they are just too specialty for this audience.   OVERALL Overall, it has been a pretty good experience.  I’m not trying to make loads of money off of the items (most items I price in the $8-10 range) but my earnings did fund the purchase of some bras in my correct size, some new underwear and my sassy thrift dresses!  While I have not yet purchased from Poshmark, I will definitely look in more interest once I reach maintenance.  My size is changing too much right now to know what would fit so I really need to be in a dressing room.  

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

E - I - G - H - T

E - nvious I -cy G - azes H - otness T - rainer I'm at the eight month point and if I am to be totally honest, I have felt like I've fallen off the wagon of positivity and am grumpily envious of all these folks getting to goal.  I know this is a mind game and it is not helpful to compare myself to others, but there it is.  While I am so excited to see these TT rockstars posting their exciting news it has made me wonder if I shoulda coulda woulda been there already too?  So this past month I revisited the list of NSVs I had hoped to achieve through this process and I felt proud of what I had accomplished so far.  I also had started a quote sheet with insights from the wise posters on TT and came across this gem:  One of the common psychological issues people face is disappointment at losing more slowly than they would like. We all have been through so much, and so want rapid success! but we have to be kind to ourselves and not be unrealistic.     (thanks @BurgundyBoy for those words) So the me-in-the-past KNEW the me-in-the-future would feel this way and I just have to remember to keep myself in check.        So last time I posted that I had a $281.25 electric bill and my goal this month was to lower that bill, even if it meant spending more time in an icy cold state.  With some great suggestions from folks here who are also feeling the cold, I decreased my electric bill to $128.53!  Electric blankets, fleecy layers and some creativity!  I'm not sure how sustainable this icy existence is but until I reach goal, I don't want to invest in more expensive but more efficient base layers.   Being down 140lbs, my body is new to me and its been challenging but dare I say fun in dressing it.  In hitting up some thrift stores I have found quite a few very sassy dresses.  I can't wear them to work so I almost didn't buy them but for $8, I decided to splurge.  These are dresses that make me feel so good about myself, its like an instant ego boost.  Over the past month, my friends and I have been going out to hear some live music and I've had the opportunity to wear the dresses.  Okay, let's be real, I kinda went looking for events where I could actually wear the dresses!  While I have always taken pride in my style and looking good, this feel good high is like no other!  And as I've mentioned before, I am a single woman navigating the dating world at the same time as the bariatric world.  While I have always been a socially confident woman, over the years as I was at my highest weight I became used to being invisible in these social situations and focusing more on having fun than scoping out potential dates.  In going out with my friends in these sassy dresses, I apparently am no longer invisible, although now I may be oblivious to appreciative gazes of my new hotness.  My girlfriends are good wingwomen and they like to point it out to me. I know I'm in the minority here on TT when it comes to dating, but for those lurking or who can relate - did you experience an increase in attention?  Was it positive or negative for you? How cool is this graphic?  There is a muscular me hidden below the fat and I'm trying to expose her! My trainer says I've lost too much muscle.  Le sigh.  We had been focusing on weight loss because you obviously can't lose weight at the same time as build muscle but I also don't want to lose too much muscle, which is where I am at now. So we've added some more weight-bearing exercises to at least slow that decline.  Hopefully it doesn't slow my weight loss too much but I've prepared myself mentally for that....at least I think I have...  
 

Tales of Woe: My $281.25 Utilities Bill

For us folks here in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly the farther northern parts, its that time of year when you need to layer up and batten down.  When you wish for luxuries like electric blankets, remote starting cars and heated car seats - the finer things in life which have become even more valuable to myself and my fellow losers!  Winter has been particularly brutal in my neck o' the woods and after shedding over 120 lbs of excess weight (and more to go), my natural heating blanket has left with the pounds of fat.  Many here on the forum can attest to the new 'always chilly' or 'always frickin' cold' mantra that we now sing.  My song comes to the tune of a $281.25 electric bill for the past month, which would typically crest at ~$100.  OUCH!  I guess all of those times when I inched the electric baseboard heaters just a wee bit warmer have added up in a big way.  I'm going to have start wearing a hat and gloves at home...   And now for your viewing pleasure, animals in sweaters!           

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

S - E - V - E - N

S - cale E - ndgame
V - itamins
E - xtra Money
N - ew Discovery
  Scale – I am down 120lbs, 60% of my excess weight or 32% of my original body size.  I’ve lost a 1/3 of myself….weird.  So my scale crapped out a few months ago and I didn’t immediately purchase a new one.  Mostly because I hate shopping and it happened before the holidays so I thought, let me try to do without.  My review?  I did okay I guess (still lost) but I am glad to have a scale back in my life.  I need SOMETHING to help track progress and while clothing does do it somewhat, considering I am in a size 16 now and therefore still plus-size, there is a lot of give in those sizes and I don’t like the wiggle room.  I am still in my ‘honeymoon’ period for losing so to take full advantage, I have a new scale in my life and I’m okay with that.   A feature of MyFitness Pal - my commonly logged foods for 2017 (no, not real gummy bears! My protein ones) Endgame – there have been quite a few ThinnerTimes posters that were recently post-WLS when I started here at TT and have now entered maintenance OR posters that have entered that magical phase post-maintenance: Skin Removal.  It’s made me reflect on my endgame even though I am just past a potential halfway mark.  I picked 170 as my goal weight solely because it is the ‘normal’ BMI but it might not be the end goal, I remain flexible.  I don’t even know how to anticipate how long it will take me to reach that goal – end of 2018?  If I stick with 170 as my goal, that’s 80 more pounds which seems more than reasonable.  In fact, I bet I could lose another 100 this year…delirious?  I fully realize that as you start to lose weight, it becomes harder to lose more so this next 100 will be harder but dare I dream??              FLY EAGLES FLY! Vitamins – are my arch nemesis.  I hate taking them because they make me nauseous and I have even (pre-WLS) thrown up from taking them on an empty stomach.  Now, with even less in my stomach most of the time, eeeek!  I have tried the calcium chews and just chewable pills in general, tasty but there is still that mental block of fear-of-throwing-up.  My surgeon only suggests two multivitamins per day (one in AM, on in PM) and Calcium Citrate (1000mg).  My solution was remarkably easy and has been working well so far – take the pills with me to work!  Because you have to space out the multivitamins, and the calcium citrate from the vitamins, I was really struggling because I didn’t want to take them without food in my stomach.  Simple solution, and so far much more successful.  Anyone else have any tricks for getting their vitamins in?  Am I the only whiner about vitamins?   Extra Money – now that I’m saving money on food, I seem to be spending it on expensive protein bars and shakes. LOL  Okay, and maybe also cheese from the good part of the grocery store.  I was reading an article somewhere about websites such as HealthyWage or DietBet and d*mn do I wish I would have done those pre-WLS! I would have been raking in the dough! I’m not sure if there is a restriction that prevents weight loss surgery patients from participating but for those of you pre-WLS, think about it: You can guarantee that you’ll make the money!  I did the calculate bet on HealthyWage and if I bet $100/month that I would weight 80lbs less in a year, I would ‘win’ back the $1,200 plus $2,600.  This is an interesting concept to me but it totally reads like some weird pyramid scheme…I have a sure fire way to give you a 221% return on your money!  I haven’t looked at these sites in more depth so I’m sure there are things in the fine print that make this doubtful but I had fun with the idea that I could bet that I would still be losing weight and I could be CONFIDENT that I would!   New discovery – besides my vitamin ‘trick’, I have for the very first time tried a new plant based protein that is actually tasty!  When I was on the west coast visiting my gal pals, I made them take me to Grocery Outlet because I just love their deals!  On my coast, its most similar to Aldi in that you might not know what you find but it will most likely be a great deal.  In my never ending quest to find a good alternative to soy/whey/etc protein, I picked up a bag of Peanut Protein Blend (by Protein Energy Power) and decided to get really risky with the Chocolate flavor.  It. Is. Tasty!  The details are that in 2 scoops you get 17g protein when mixed with water, if you use Fairlife Milk, you can up that to 30g per serving.  There are 170 calories, 14g carbs (fiber and sugars – evaporated cane sugar, stevia, monk fruit sweeteners)  and has an enzyme and probiotic blend.  There are also ‘instructions’ on how to turn it into peanut butter (just use less water).  Nut protein sources tend to have so much fat and carbs that I am a bit leary but this is a great new option!  My second new discovery is my new bra size.  Wow, down 6 band sizes and up 3 cups.  The girls thank you TT for encouraging the new measurements and purchasing of some lovely new bras. J  And because I also like to brag about deals, these new bras were on sale for $15 each!  SCORE!         Left: Super magically delish protein; Right: Some cheap protein water also at the Grocery Outlet (99 cents!) but tasted slightly like a melted orange popsicle What's this vegetarian eating?  Protein gummy bears (will be trying a cinnamon bear recipe next), Greek yogurt, cottage cheese with different Mrs. Dash seasonings (have you checked these out lately – Mrs. Dash has diversified!!), ricotta bake (revisiting an old favorite), Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs, protein free foods:  celery and clementines What I'm not eating?  Spicy food.  I just can’t handle it now, but I’m hoping that will change at some point and I can enjoy my hot sauces and spices again. What I wish I wasn't eating?  Nothing. I’m not eating much so each thing I put in my mouth is gonna be tasty!

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

Photo Confusion & Smaller than My Bestie

I recently returned from a trip to visit one of my nearest and dearest friends on the west coast.  Due to the remote location she lives, I don't often get to see her and certainly not in the 6 months post-surgery.  Once I landed in Seattle it was a 9 hour drive to her home and I was BEAT when I got there.  We have Marco Polo'd frequently since surgery (a great video message app) so she knew generally what I looked like but she still said she was shocked at my smaller body.  Just like my mom, when she hugged me, she exclaimed about getting her arms around me.  I knew she was excited and happy for me.                                                          What followed next was five days of shenanigans just like we had together back in college.  We saw dinosaurs (1st picture on left), beautiful turquoise water with chocolate brown sands (middle picture) and every morning I was greeted with a gorgeous view of the ocean (far right picture).  When I saw the picture my friend took in the dinosaur park, it took me a hot minute to realize it was me in the photo.  I still feel dissociated from my body size at this point and am surprised/confused when I see myself in the mirror....or in photos others have taken.  Lately I've not been shying away from photos as much and I'm okay with what I see right now - as long as you can't see the arm flaps and belly rolls!   But really, my self-respect in regards to my appearance has started to come back and while I'm not a crazy selfie taker - that will just never be me - I don't shy away from being in photos with my friends and family.  It's like there is a record of me in life now.  Has anyone else been the subject of more photos now that they are losing weight?  For those that are still waiting for surgery, do you avoid the camera as much as I did? (Pretty much like you don't exist at any family and friend gatherings) My friend and I took a few mini road trips while I was in town and we always tended to do our deepest talks during these road trips - enjoying the sights, the fresh air and hikes through the redwoods.  Before we left the first time I had asked to borrow an extra sweatshirt (this weight loss means I get MUCH chillier than I expect) and she jokingly said we might be the same size now - something that had never been true for the 14 years of our friendship.  I laughed and said, most likely not so give me something that was big on her.  I put the sweatshirt on and it did indeed fit big.  And then, during a trip at the end of my visit, we spoke openly about our weights.  My 100#+ weight loss and my current weight versus her current weight and it turns out I am 12# lighter than her now.  It's an odd feeling to have that shift in the friend dynamic.  In this case, it was not at all a negative behavior towards me but my dear, sweet friend was notably down on herself after that exchange.  I have no doubt that she was/is still excited for my losses and life change but rather than be inspired to make her own, she seemed so saddened that she is at the size she is - which has been relatively stable for the entirety of time that I have known her.  I feel bitter sweet about my visit.  I love this friend and miss her most terribly.  The milestone of 'Smaller Than My Bestie" was not a milestone I had anticipated and I can't quite decide if it was a good one or a bad one.  Has the friend dynamic for anyone else changed with weight loss?  

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

S - I - X

S - ickening eating habits I - ntegrated tool X -tra room Wow have I been absent from Thinner Times for the past few months.  I have been overwhelmed with a terrible work situation and then the holidays hit.  BAM!  And here were are, at month six.  Actually past my six month-iversary.  I have no idea on my weight or measurements (haven't weighed or measured in a month but clothes fit the looser so at least there's that). I traveled and will travel more for this holiday.  The first was for my grandfather's 90th birthday.  My parents came to the airport to pick me up and they didn't even recognize me.  It's been surreal at 100+ pounds down.  I've gone from a size 28+ (because I wore stretchy cottony things and who knows their actual size) to an 18.  I recently bought a pair of jeans at the thrift store that were a size 16.  The sweatshirt I am currently wearing is an XL.  SURREAL! Sickening eating habits.  There is no other way to describe my thoughts as I watched my parents.  I spent the holiday with them and there was bread and butter with everything.  And so many, many snacks between meals.  So many, many sweets.  I'm not going to lie, I was completely revolted by it.  It's hard not to respond when I see them doing all the bad habits that I know I had pre-surgery and lead to my max weight of 370 lbs.  I am concerned for their health, obviously.  So I would make lots of salads in the hopes of filling them up before they ate the main meal.  And fruit salads in the morning.  But they love their carbs.  I'm such a midwest girl from a midwest family.  I was sickened by it all and just went for long walks around the neighborhood to distract myself. Everyone said how good I look but how do I *not* harass them about eating better.  Both of them know they have gained weight over the years and want to improve.  I feel almost like I'm part of a pyramid scheme and I'm trying to recruit others into the VSG lifestyle but I SWEAR!! this works!  But wait, there's more!  If you act now, you'll also get a set of Ginsu knives that will cut through cans! Integrated tool  During all of these family events there were a lot more dinners together where my eating habits were heavily scrutinized.  There was also the issue of me not even feeling like eating most of the time (still no appetite at 6 months out and focused only on getting to 80g protein).  Perhaps they weren't as heavily scrutinized as I felt, but I was aware that I was eating approximately a cup of food to their very full dinner sized plates.  There were also some very judgemental dinners with family where they felt the need to weigh in on my unmarried, athiest 'lifestyle' and did not want to hear about the new homeless initiative I started with my Humanist group.  Le sigh.  Family drama, eh?  But I felt like I integrated my tool well.  My VSG tool is something I am still getting used to but I shipped protein bars and protein chips to where I was staying in advance so that I could have them with me.  I did NOT eat a single Christmas cookie or bread/pasta/empty calorie food and managed to find decent offerings at quite a few restaurants.  So is my tool fully integrated into my life? Not yet but it did feel more integrated with the additional family challenges.  The dating challenges are still just that, challenges.  But I'm finding a way around those too.  Salads really are key. Xtra room!   YES!!  Allow me some leeway with that spelling - how else can I use an X and part of my fun with these posts are finding things to fit the letters.  HOWEVER, during this holiday I flew for the first time since surgery and there was XTRA room in the airplane seat belt!!  I won't say there was extra legroom because I really am too tall for these seats but there was extra seat room and I was even stuck in the middle seat for one flight!  What an amazing feeling to know my extra large body (rather than 4x body) could fit in the seat without ending up with bruises on my hips from the seat rests, without crossing my arms over my body and hoping/praying/swearing that if I could will myself or squeeze myself smaller so I didn't 'spillover' to my neighbors, I gladly would.  It was a great feeling. So as we all get ready to celebrate the end of 2017, which I have to say has been a remarkably terrible year for me in many ways but also already a new beginning, I want to say thank you to all of those who have gone before me and gave me the courage, and give a huge, squeezy hug to all of those who go after me in order to give you comfort.  There will be terrible times, there will be times when you may not regret the decision but need a break from thinking or writing about it on this forum, but to know this community is here....well, it makes me smile, gives me continued comfort and  keeps me coming back. Cheers!

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

F - I - V - E

F - orgettable? I - rritated V - ictory E - xtracurricular   ***Close your eyes and imagine for a moment going to an inspiring and invigorating week long work event (Yes! They exist! But if that’s hard for you, just imagine a big gathering of friends).  This event gathers close to 2,000 like-minded individuals in one location for a grand sharing of ideas, networking and merry making.  It happens every two years and while some attending you may have seen earlier in the year, others you only get to see every two years.  These are your people! New friends, old friends, mentors, former colleagues, those you have not seen since you started a new job and received a new and life changing promotion!  Imagine how excited and thrilled you are to be immersed in their presence.  Excited to reconnect and get talking about the topics you love.  Now imagine you are walking through the event space and you see a more recent acquaintance, you feel your face light up and you start to raise your hand to waive….when they pass right by you.  Maybe that wasn’t him?  Does he have a doppelganger?  SO embarrassing.  It’s like when you think someone is talking to you but they have a Bluetooth in their ear.  But NO! we are all wearing nametags, that can’t be.  I guess he didn’t remember the great conversation you had just a few short months ago.  You start to doubt your memory.  Your ability to have meaningful conversations with others. Your value to this wonderful group of people!! (dramatic much?) So goes the ENTIRE gathering.  I continued to walk past people that I had met at least once previously and there was no recognition.  I was starting to get a complex.  Wasn’t that such-and-such who offered to help me with a project?  Didn’t he and I work together on a project a few years ago?  Only when I was standing with a close friend as a man approached me who I had within the past year had had a few conversations with did it click.  He walked up and introduced himself, and I laughingly called him out:  “Joe, I know you.  We talked a few month ago.  You were really interested in my work and offered to send me some information!”  He stuttered and my close friend said:  “You’ve changed A LOT!  It’s the hair and everything!”  Wow!  Enough change had happen that I was unrecognizable, not forgettable!  I think that’s pretty d*mn cool. Pretty much all I got to see of Rhode Island during the trip   ***Eating irritates me.  Seriously.  No appetite, I am a faithful MyFitnessPal tracker so I know I’m getting my protein.  I am annoyed at having to intake food at all.  I am also irritated that my stressors at work have impacted me to the extent that I am having gastro-intestinal distress when I eat dairy.  Grrr….            (Left) A photo of my Thanksgiving plate:  Carmelized greek yogurt dip, herbed goat cheese on radish coins, crispy brussel sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce on a small salad plate (I need even smaller plates!). (Right) A better use of the table for game time. ***Victory = 100+ pounds and 44# inches gone. G.O.N.E.  I suppose that explains the unrecognizable bit.  I celebrated by donating 100lbs of food to the local food pantry (all proteins since I know that is what my local pantry needs the most and is a bit poetic considering that’s mainly what I eat). ***Extracurricular (Activities) Is anyone else here dating?  A month prior to my surgery, I ended a long-term relationship with a man I love.  I won’t bore you with the details, just know good decision, difficult timing.  But here I am six months later and I have been put back into the dating scene.  This is NOT easy.  I am a closeted sleever (meaning I am not open with the fact that I had bariatric surgery) and I eat no carbs or meat.  What’s this ovo-lacto vegetarian to do?  My approach has basically been to front load the date day with lots of protein so that I can ‘afford’ to not eat as much protein at the date time.  Ordering a salad is second nature to me.  But some dates are just happy hour drinks and it’s just weird if you don’t get a drink or if you nurse it.  And a 600- calorie day, plus a martini?  LOL  I am figuring out this whole dating thing all over anyway – it was a long relationship and I am out of practice! – but this certainly adds a new twist!  Trying to figure out a way to strap down my saggy skin to cute in date clothes has been challenging but I accept the challenge!  If anyone else out there in TT land has any words of wisdom for dating, please share! The holiday season doesn't start with the arrival of Santa at the end of the Macy's parade.  It starts once I see this.   What's this vegetarian eating?  Oh Yeah! Blueberry Cobbler & Maple Donut, Quest Protein Chips, egg drop soup with a scoop of Genepro unflavored protein What I'm not eating?  Premiere Protein caramel shakes - not until I shake this lacto-intolerance, although the supplements above have a mild influence on me too. What I wish I wasn't eating?  Any of it.

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

F-O-U-R

F - riends O - verwhelmed U - nderwater R - est I can't believe I'm at the four month mark and circling in on the 100 lb loss milestone!  I'm hoping to hit that in month 5 - new goal!  I tried to add some high impact cardio to my routine and my knee quickly put the kibosh on that - waaaay too much pain and I'm not risking another fracture.  I'll keep with my normal cardio and weights - which are going well and giving me a great high after every hard workout.  I'm having fun finding new ways to push myself athletically, while also not compromising my knee.  The routine will change again soon now that winter is coming! This month brought a much needed visit from my friend - with lots of misbehaving.  But really, and the reason this update is one day late (which kills my perfectionist, Type A personality!) is that I have been completely overwhelmed at work.  Not only with the normal work responsibilities but some emotionally charged situations at work, which is draining.  No one seems to know how to handle the situation as it works up the administrative chain and I feel as though I am fending for myself, which is not a great feeling.  Now that my coping mechanism of pizza is no longer an option, I found myself tempted to cope in other ways, like a glass of scotch.  This is a slippery road - not because I (or my family) has ever had a problem with alcohol, but because those are empty calories I don't really want.  Yes, part of the misbehaving with my friend was crafting a new cocktail (a Moscow mule martini!), which we enjoyed while she was here.  But she and I both are well aware of the risks of addiction transfer.  You see, both my friend and her partner had VSG 3 years ago and her partner transferred her food addiction to alcohol.  I have seen the strain this has put on their relationship, the pain they both have experienced and I am happy they have endured through the struggle and I will be officiating their wedding in May.  (Yay! )   And really, once someone such as myself who has been eating about 700 calories a day has a scotch, the propensity to 'graze' in the fridge or cupboards is real.  So, while I am not going to toss my extensively curated scotch collection, I did decide to start coping in better ways - sunrise walks on the beach, meditation, more time on the elliptical.  For those of you that may be struggling with addiction transfer to alcohol or drugs post-WLS, or even have the concern given your own personal family health history, address those issues as soon as possible.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  And for those of you who struggled to find an alternative coping mechanism, like me, please feel free to comment below with what has been working for you! What new stress/anxiety coping mechanisms have you developed post-WLS?  Let's share the resources with each other.   Sunrise at the lifeguard shack   Underwater is what I have been for the past week.  Yes, in the figurative sense like I mention above but also physically in the chilly 66 degree waters.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I tried on a wetsuit that had haunted the back of my closet for years and it fit!!  It's a 7mm thickness and the thicker the wetsuit, the more warmth you keep but the less mobility you have. I swear, suited up I felt like Randy in his snowsuit from A Christmas Story. I would rather have a few layers of thinner suits than deal with the restriction of the thicker suit, but the freezing waters and duration of time I would be exposed dictated it was finally necessary to wear the suit.  With my weight loss, the suit was infinitely easier to get on.  I like to think my reward was the amazing sunset I saw while out on the boat (note: I only wish that was my boat).  It provided a much needed mental rest, which is necessary before I charge back into the week.  This next month brings a week long trip for two conferences where I will be seeing some folks I have not seen in 2 years and "Friendsgiving" - hosting Thanksgiving for a group of friends. What's this vegetarian eating?  Trying a new Vega plant protein (not nearly as bad as previous experience), OhYeah! ONE Almond Bliss, LightLife veggie Italian sausage and chorizo, cottage cheese, eggs and cheese, soup with a scoop of GenePro unflavored protein What I'm not eating? Lot's of stuff - keeping with the high protein, low carb keto-ish diet so no breads, pastas, beans, etc. What foods I miss?  As mentioned, I craved some pizza for coping last week but vaulted over that hurdle.  Still no appetite or temptation from other foods but I am also in my final week of my Africa meds - which were very effective at killing my appetite.  

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

R.I.P.

You have been both my friend and my enemy. I have doubted your honesty yet relied on you in many ways to tell me the brutal truth. In times of failure, and there were many, I blamed you and you took the blame stoically. In times of success, and there were many more of these lately, you were there to celebrate with me. It is perhaps these most recent times that I will remember most fondly. You went from used and abused to a vital part of my everyday life. The power you had over me is not gone but you will live on in your replacement. R. I. P. Bathroom Scale  2005-2017   Anyone care to suggest  a replacement brand?  We need precision AND accuracy here folks!

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

T - H - R - E - E

T - raining H – appy Birthday! R - evel E - go E – tra Large!!   This past month brought my birthday (see this blog entry) and a ramping up of activity at work, which involved some double takes that were good for my ego (see this other blog entry).  I volunteered at an Ironman and added more weight training to my workout routine.  This training also has involved consultations with the colleague I met at work who did my body fat analysis and supplied some additional guidance on focus areas.  I broke into TWO TOWN (woot woot!) and have lost over 28” and over 70 lbs.  Today I am wearing a size XL tshirt I got at the LanternFest and Men’s size XL athletic pants.  I was on the boat today and after extending the PFD band to its widest setting, found I had plenty of room to spare.  I removed the extension on the BCD cummerbund and retired more clothes.  Let me just stop and revel in the Scale and Non-Scale Victories for a second.                        A BCD (scuba diving jacket)                                                    The finish area at the Swim with other volunteers                                                                       XL, say what?? Eating wise I have tried some cucumber-avocado sushi (meh), veggie burrito (meh) and a few more caprese salads (fresh!).  I have one more month of the Africa medication and the nausea is wearing on my soul.  I am now at Expert Level for finding and identifying all trash cans within each room I enter.  No matter where I am and what type of meeting or event I am attending, my first concern is, “If I’m going to spew, where is the least embarrassing place?”  But interestingly enough, I have yet to actually throw up.  That is probably from force of will rather than the true need – I HATE throwing up.  The other side effect is lack of sense of taste and appetite. This means that eating is a really big pain in the a**.  I NEVER thought I would ever say that about eating but I have become a slave to My Fitness Pal and the protein count.  My goal is to get to 100g every day and I find myself relying mostly on protein supplements (powders, prepared shakes, bars, my gummies).­­ Thumbs up from the Doctor (note: not actually my Dr I almost canceled my 3 month surgeon check-up appointment because of the disappointment of the last visit but the new me knew I should go no matter what.  That avoidance of doctors was a pre-surgery coping strategy and I am confident in how well I am doing to cope with what came my way.  Imagine my surprise with the nurse apologized for the incorrect weight previously and the surgeon gave me a Congrats! I asked about my frequent menstruation and he said he had never heard of that and to ask my gyno, which I had already done (she said she was not familiar with bariatric patients).  Yet another area where the literature is lacking.  Overall I’m not really worried about the frequent menstruation right now, just irritated.  What I did become worried about was my surgeon’s very excited statement when he entered the room that he had been talking about me.  I was disturbed to find out that he was talking about me to another patient that works at the same place I do.  I have to hope that he didn’t mention any defining characteristics about where specifically I work or what I do.  I was so shocked that he would say something, I didn’t reply but it is now an annoying thought in my head that my surgeon may have “outed” me.  Has anyone else had the experience of outing? I suppose this is another reason to be open about it but I want it on MY terms. This next month brings a visit from a friend who lives in Seattle and some intense, cold outdoor work in the water at the end of the month.  Thank goodness that wetsuit that has been haunting me from my closet now fits! My new obsession is running a marathon, triathlon, Ironman...  My fitness consultant doesn't advise me to run just yet because of my knee injury but some blogs I've found show I'm not alone: Fat Girl Running A Fat Girl's Ironman Journey Slow Fat Triathlete Ironfat   What's this vegetarian eating?  Decaf iced tea, pumpkin spice coffee, cottage cheese, protein gummy bears, protein powders, protein bars, Mull of Kintyre Extra Mature Cheese What I'm not eating?  Vegan protein.  The never ending tub won and I pitched the whole d*mn thing.  Best. Day. Ever. What foods I miss?  None.  I have zero appetite so no cravings.  Occasionally I will have the opportunity to eat some fresh fruit and veggies – which is LOVELY.  Most of the time, my sleeve will only allow me to get in enough protein so there is no space for zero protein foods.  If mangos or steamed broccoli had protein, I would be golden.

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

My 1st WLS Birthday - EDITED WITH LANTERN FEST PHOTOS!

Today is my birthday and I saved a very special treat to enjoy on this special day….   I ordered a sampler pack off of Groupon and have been trying out the flavors.  They are not very dense, which is a nice change from the Premiere Protein ones I have.  As a birthday present to myself I did my measurements and since surgery I have lost 28”.  Folks that is 2 1/3 foot less of me in this world!  Overall I am closing in on the 70lb loss and – even more exciting – soon to enter into two-town.  My next goal after cracking into 299 is the mythical 287.  I have miscellaneous medical records that I went through in preparation for making my weight loss spreadsheet and was able to track weights all the way back to 2003, which also corresponded to my heaviest weight at 379.  My lowest recorded weight for that entire time period was 287 and it was in 2012.  So in at least 14 years I know I have not weighed less than 287.  From there, when I hit 270 it will be my 100lb loss celebration – which I have recently celebrated with Trish (huzzah @Trish1967) and will soon celebrate with Mark (you got this @Dtrain84!).  It may be early to plan these milestones out so far in advance but I like having the mini-goals.  4.1 lbs to Two Town, 17 lbs until lowest weight and 34 lbs until the 100lb loss milestone.  I’m a happy camper.  I’ve been buying canned food for the food pantry to represent every pound lost and that pile makes me happy.   I will probably donate the 100lbs and start again otherwise it’s going to take over my living room! My celebration today is to drive up to the Poconos for a Japanese Lantern Festival.  It’s something I have wanted to do for a while and the fact that this one fell on my birthday made it an obvious choice.  We are supposed to have a gorgeous night for lighting the lanterns and letting them sail into the sky.  You can write anything you want on the lanterns and a 66lb and 28” loss is certain something that I am exciting to send up. Those inches and pounds are gone and they aren’t welcome back.         

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

Double Take

After months of not seeing some of my colleagues, last week was the week we all gathered for a meeting.  I was nervous. Would anyone notice? Could they tell? I had lost 60+lbs and at least 4 sizes so far. I was of the opinion that no one noticing would be the greatest failure thus far and therefore put even more pressure on myself.  (unrealistic much?) I **agonized** over what to wear.  I Marco Polo’d with my fashionista friend to have her critique the outfit I had come up with.  She gave me great feedback, I tweaked the outfit, and laid it out for the ‘big day’.  I had my hair dyed professionally (something I have never done before).  I could barely sleep.  Seriously, this was worse than the first day of school somehow.  Where you tried to pick the outfit that most represented you and the message you wanted to give everyone on the first day.  Hadn’t I progressed past vanity a long time ago?  My friend and I chatted and she said that I should prepare myself for no one saying anything.  This would either be due to the unfailingly polite nature of people in this region as well as the work environment or could also be due to the fact that I was still a fat person, just less fat right now.  Both really good points.  If I was some Southern belle, this would have been my coming out party.  The big reveal.  Ugh.  Stop, just stop. The day dawned and I left home feeling confident that even if no one noticed, I felt good.  My clothes were fitting better than they had in years.  I was in love with my new haircut and color.  I was ready.  Then, it happened.  From the first person I saw, those that knew me commented on my hair.  They loved it and said it really suited me.  But almost everyone followed it up with the body scan and said, you look great. One colleague who I really have only met one other time, didn’t recognize me at first.  One close colleague even did a double take.  She just kept saying I looked amazing and giving me another look.  I felt comfortable in my own skin.  It is a remarkable feeling and I am so glad I made the decision to have VSG.     Enjoy these photos, which may cause you to do a double take. I know I shouldn’t look for external validation.  That to rely on others to fill your bucket (to use one of those cliché team building books we’ve had to read), can lead to unreasonable disappointment.  But sometimes when you are feeling good, when your insides are finally matching your outsides, you look for some validation and it’s still okay.  Lately I have been feeling pretty crappy and nauseous, I try not to let it show – the whole fake-it-til-ya-make-it mentality.  And to be honest, it has been wearing on me.  Yesterday was a win and I really needed it.  So as superficial and potentially unsustainable as it may have been, I’m going to take it. 

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

T - W - O

T - iming W - onder O - ddities   TWO Months post-surgery. TIMING:  This past month brought an amazing trip to Martha’s Vineyard (see this post) and a one-ish month weigh in that was at first underwhelming (see this post) but was a great example of the pressure we put on ourselves and the scale (accurate or otherwise).. After the lovely encouraging words from the women here on Thinner Times, I prepared to join the gym and find a trainer only to have a great opportunity drop in my lap.  I was an invited panel member to a 3-day workshop this past month and was paired with a woman to be her mentor on the workshop topic.  As we sat and strategized, she mentioned she needed an accountability partner for both the work we were doing as well as some personal fitness goals.  I agreed to do both with her and one of my fellow panel members said she formerly owned a personal training company prior to starting at our employer, and that she could offer us some sessions for free as well as do a body fat assessment.  Never in my life did I think I would get excited by those words!  So with that, she and I have met twice and developed an exercise plan that evolves past my former cardio only fumblings!  What perfect timing! WONDER:  At this point I have lost 30% of my excess weight based on my goal weight.  I am left with a sense of wonder at how much this weight loss has done for my confidence.  I have always been a fairly confident individual but I think a portion of that was more of the fake-it-until-you-make-it variety.  Now my friends have been calling me sassy and I am happy to own my sassiness.  I work in a male-dominated, old boy network and it used to really weigh on me (pun, believe it or not, unintended) as I became accustomed to being marginalized because I was female and additionally marginalized because of my weight.  I don’t know when this mental shift happened but my hesitation at speaking up or doing certain things just dropped away.  I wonder where my sassiness will come out next? ODDITIES:  At 2 months out I don’t know where I expected to be but here I am.  My recovery was luckily a thing of beauty. Minimal gas pain immediately after and no complications since surgery, unlike some of the super-hero Trish’s here on TT who have endured many trials and tribulations during their post-surgery recovery time (I salute you @Trish1967 and @Trish13!).  But there are some odditites I’m getting used to.  Like I have nausea every day.  Every. Day.  Talk about an incentive not to eat.  Surgeon and PCP say this is acceptable only considering the other medical treatments I am undergoing because of the Africa situation so I suppose it is not really related to the WLS but when added to Oddity #2, it’s not great.  Oddity #2 is that apparently cold water and I are not going to have the relationship we once had. At least for right now. I was a water drinking fiend and the not-drinking-with-meals is T.O.U.G.H.  Adding more nausea from cold water to the nausea of oddity #1 means I have been avoiding water – not like me at all.  Oddity #3 – some of the things I bought pre-surgery, thinking I would be using them all the time, are getting dusty from lack of use while other items I bought at the last minute are getting constant use.  Unused:  blender, mini bento lunch boxes,   Worth their weight in gold:  food scale, snack sized Ziploc bags, gummy bear molds.  Other post-oppers – anything gathering dust or worth their weight in gold that surprised you?         A selection of items available from Etsy.com when you search 'oddity' What's this vegetarian eating?  cottage cheese, protein gummy bears, protein powders, Trader Joe’s meatless Italian sausage, egg whites with nutritional yeast, Dubliner Cheese What I'm not eating?  Jackfruit – nope, not jumping on that bandwagon. No matter what I try doing to it, not loving it enough to give up precious sleeve space. What I wish I wasn't eating?  The miraculous-never-ending-no-matter-how-many-shakes-I-make bucket of veggie protein mix.  Vitamins, I’m looking at you Calcium Citrate.  

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

Scale Demons and Powerful Clothes

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. 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.  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

CurvyMermaid

 

Vacation Protein On-The-Go

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

CurvyMermaid

 

Martha’s Vineyard & On Being Amazingly Alive

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.            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.       

CurvyMermaid

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! Sampling at Dawn (photo modified by a color filter)

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid