Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fabulous 40

That's what I'm calling it. The age where I no longer care if my opinions, thoughts and feelings are satisfactory to someone else...they are mine and mine alone.

My body size is about half what it was when I started this journey. And here are a couple of pictures taken yesterday on my birthday


Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Rough Week

I will be 40 in oh, about 52 minutes at the time I start this post. Yes, my 40th birthday is May 30th. And I have myself convinced that 40 will be my age of self-confidence and self-assuredness. I can think what I want, say what I want, feel what I want and really, if someone doesn't like it, that's just too bad. I don't need to make excuses for who I am. At least, this is what I'm telling myself.

Last weekend we had company from out of town and so eating out happened a few times. I don't do very well at controlling my portion size when I eat out and have super duper yummy stuff. I always eat good stuff, yummy stuff...but super duper yummy stuff, well, that's another level. I think it helps make it super duper yummy stuff when someone else makes it...someone who isn't necessarily trying to keep it healthy low fat and high protein. So, I ate more than I should, and bloated up. After 2 days back on track, all is right with the world again. I feel like, at least at this moment, I handle my setbacks a little better...I treat them more as minor transgressions as long as I don't allow them to continue more than a day or so. Admittedly, it scares me to even go an entire day without everything being weighed and measured before I consume it.

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from a very close friend. One of my best friends was in a serious motorcycle accident on 128 South on Sunday evening and her husband called to let me know. My heart sank when I saw his name/number on my cell phone caller ID because it's not typical for him to call me. My first question was "what's wrong???" And he filled me in on what happened. Tammy has a quite a few broken bones, they've operated on her ankle to put some plates in there, and she has a few internal injuries, but no head injuries and nothing she won't eventually recover from. She was moved out of from ICU today, which is wonderful, wonderful news. I saw her last night and despite the medicated loopiness, she was all Tammy...heart, soul and sense of humor. I'm so relieved she's going to be ok...and I miss her like crazy. I'll be glad to see her again and talk to her tomorrow night. I may bring some cupcakes or something to celebrate my birthday with them. I'm really, really glad she's still around for it. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Off Limits

That's it. Some places just need to be off limits for me. And I'm just so mad at myself and trying to let it go today and move on. We (me, my son, my brother and sister-in-law) went to a local Italian restaurant that I love for dinner last my request because I haven't been there in over a year. Yeah, well there's a damn good reason I haven't been there in a year. I have no self-control there.

They have baskets of focaccia they bring out along with whole heads of roasted garlic in olive oil. I ate (no joke) most of the garlic from two HEADS of garlic. My son ate the rest. Spread it on bread? Nah...just eat it straight. But, I did have some 2-cubic inch sized piece. Then, it was on to dinner. I had the warm tomato salad (yummy baby spinach, plum tomatoes sautéed briefly and then served with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar and olive oil, along with three grilled crustini--yes, more bread). I also ordered one meatball for my protein, and I ate that first. Oh, aren't I a good girl??? Then, I ate the whole salad. Including the three pieces of crustini. OMG...the bloat, the gas, the absolutely wretchedness of knowing I blew my calories refined carbs way out of the water yesterday in that one meal...the amount I could actually eat...WHY DID I DO THIS????

I'm still killing myself with roasted garlic farts today. Yes, the farts smell just like the garlic that went in (sorry, I know it's gross, but I have a date later this morning and I've taken Mylanta Gas twice now, to no avail). And tomorrow is weigh day. Damn restaurant is obviously off limits for me now. I had glimpses last night though of never reaching my goal...of regaining all of my weight. And it scared me absolutely silly. :(

Friday, May 16, 2008

Joyful Friday

Or as one OH'er put it, happy dump day for me! Don't laugh (too hard)...and not to be gross but...I am so friggin happy right now because I just had THE MOST JOYFUL POOP that I have had in many, many years. I swear. It was plentiful, easy to come out, and caused no pain. How much better than that can you get?? I'm hoping it's actually possible that I've finally found the right combination of things that works for me! I really am easy to please. :)

It's Friday...and it's been a really, really long week. I'm breaking slightly from "tradition" in talking about my work, but it's been a heck of a week. Lots of stop and go, hurry up and wait, and let's do this whole thing over again. I'm grateful that I have what I consider to be really good working relationships with my coworkers, and we all have good senses of humor. Otherwise, we'd all seriously be hurting each other in knock-down, drag-out brawls. I dreamed about work stuff last night, which is always an indication to me that it's getting to me. That all just means it's a very, very good thing that it is Friday.

I also dreamed last night about messing up my tires on my car...needing to replace one of them because I ruptured the sidewall by hitting a curb. And the closest place I could find basically would not replace just one tire, but only would sell me all four, at a cost of $500 each. And in my dream, I was fairly freaked out about spending $2K just to be able to drive my car. Gee, do you think that money stuff is weighing on me too?

My dreaming tends to be cyclical. I have these periods where I have all kinds of very vivid dreams and I remember them quite clearly. It will last for a few weeks. And then, it stops. And in a month or two, it will cycle back again. Usually, they are nightmares and such. I've had issues with nightmares since I was a small child. At the age of 4, I started having a recurrent nightmare that I still remember quite clearly to this day. It actually makes me really sad to think about it and what it means, because it's pretty clear to me as an adult what it was about.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, Monday

I'm not ready for the weekend to be over. I want a do-over so I can have two more days off. Is that possible? *sigh*

As for my date Friday, it went well. I'm not going to say too much more than that. Yes, I'm still afraid of jinxing it. He reads my blog from time to time, and well, I have to keep some mystery going on some things, don't I? Yes, another date is planned.

My very long-time friend Susan had her 40th birthday yesterday. I have mine the end of this month. We were talking about how much we've kind of been dreading it until the past few weeks. It seems we've both adopted the attitude of "hey, I'm 40, I'll do what I want, say what I want, feel what I want, like it or lump it." She's waiting to see how much trouble that gets her into...I personally just don't much care at this point. Trouble, here I come.

Mother's Day was nice. We went up to my brother and sister-in-law's and had an afternoon dinner with them. Zachary made me a lovely "MOM" banner of paper in my favorite color, decorated and cut out by him. It is now affixed to my door and looks awesome. And I had the loveliest card from him as well. He even made cards for me from the cats and from all of our Webkinz. He told me he loved me at least 10 times yesterday, assuring me each and every time that it was mother's day you know. I asked him if he wouldn't be telling me as much if it wasn't, and he said "well, I usually only tell you once a day." Not entirely true, but no matter...he can tell me he loves me any time he wants. It comes with wonderful hugs and kisses and that makes me happy.

Back to the dating thing...ok, so it's a good thing that I am direct and blunt with people in my life as well as in my blog or else this could get sticky. But because I'm direct and honest, there are no surprises to folks in my day to day life. I feel scared of caring too much...of opening up my heart and being hurt. I'm doing my best to go with the flow and enjoy every moment, but I gotta admit, the anxiety is not something I enjoy. I'm tired of thinking "better to have loved and lost than to have never loved" is a way of life. It's possible to love and NOT lose, isn't it???

Friday, May 9, 2008

10 Months Out

As of today, May 9th, I am 10 months out from my surgery last July. It's been a really wild ride this past year. My emotions have been all over the board, particularly the first 6 or 7 months. The last 3 or 4 months have really settled down (as my weight loss slowed). I'm glad for that. It was like being on a constant PMS cycle.

I've upped my iron as Melinda and I talked about now that my bum is healing. I hope that will help resolve some of the fatigue I've been feeling. It's 9:40 a.m. and I'm already in need of a nap. Pitiful.

I also have a date tonight. Yes, a date. It's actually a second date. The first was last Sunday and it went well. I didn't want to write about it for fear I'd jinx it...but he still wants to see me tonight, so I figured I'd mention it...just casually. :) He knows about my weight loss surgery and he cares enough to want to understand how it has effected me, what this year of change has been like for me. He also knows about my blog, and he's read it. And he STILL wants to see me tonight. Am I lucky or what?

Zachary has started baseball season and he's loving it. He's so attentive to the coach, follows his directions, listens to everything he says, he just wants to do it all right. It makes me very, very proud because not all of the other 7 and 8 year olds are giving it their full attention. I had my moments where I felt really angry that he hasn't had a guy to work with him on this stuff until now...he should have had that years ago with his father, but hasn't. I'm glad he's getting that time and attention now at least.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Lots of folks are celebrating today as Cinco de Mayo. In our household, this is the anniversary of my mom's death. She died two years ago today, at about 6:50 p.m. We scattered her ashes in the Atlantic Ocean on the one year anniversary of her death. I've thought of her quite a bit's really hard to believe it's already been two years. So much has changed in that time.

Zachary started school full time. He's playing baseball for the first time. Opening day was Saturday and he looked so darn cute in his uniform. Isn't he just the cutest?

I've made huge changes in my lifestyle and shed well over 100 lbs. I am venturing forth into the dating world, even if somewhat cautiously at times. She'd be proud of us both and how we've handled our lives and the changes in it.

Yesterday, my friend Tammy came over and led a guided meditation with me with the hopes of making a connection with my mom's spirit. And I think we were somewhat successful as I could very vividly hear in my mind a song my mom used to play on the piano from Paint Your Wagon called "I Talk To The Trees." There is no other reason that this song would have started sounding in my head and so that was kind of cool. The bag of scarves that was my mom's no longer smells like her. It did for a very long time...but yesterday, when I took one of the scarves out to have with me during our meditation, the smell was gone, and that made me feel a bit sad.

I wonder if some of the changes I have made that have affected my attitudes and moods and self-confidence would have improved our relationship at all. And it's really a pointless train of thought to go on, but nonetheless my brain goes there from time to time.

Yesterday when Tammy and I were out on my balcony, we noticed that a dove had built a nest and laid an egg in an ashtray that is out on the balcony. Today, there were two eggs. I guess we'll watch and wait to see if they hatch in time. Spring really is trying to spring around here...even if the weather has been cold and damp. No matter what the anniversary is, the cycle of life always just continues on. And as hard as that is sometimes, I know it's a good and necessary thing. Time heals and fades pain.

Friday, May 2, 2008

How I Do It

The below is the program I work, customized for and by me with the guidance of Melinda (my nutritionist) and Ellen (RN at Heart and Wellness). It's working for me, I feel great, and I'm still losing (though slowly, that's expected at this point). As part of my program, I have up to 1200 calories daily that I may consume, more if I exercise regularly (which I do). I still tend to stick to the 1200 calories daily, though on occasion I go a little higher. I have basic guidelines to follow with regards to where those 1200 calories come from. My daily goals are:
  1. Always, always, always, eat protein first
  2. No drinking of any fluids half an hour before or after meals; no drinking with meals
  3. Eat frequently...preferably 5 to 6 times daily; I have 3 "meals" and 2 to 3 "snacks" daily; every snack has protein; I eat approximately every 2.5 to 4 hours
  4. Minimum of 60 g of protein daily; I have set my personal goal to be a minimum of 75 g, and I usually get in between 80 g and 110 g daily
  5. Minimum of 64 oz. of water; my personal goal is 100 oz. or more
  6. Minimum of 25 g of fat, maximum 40 g of fat
  7. 3 to 4 servings (a serving is typically 1/2 cup cooked) of vegetables daily
  8. 1 to 2 servings of fruit daily
  9. 1 to 2 servings of dairy daily
  10. Minimum 25 g of fiber daily, maximum of 45 g
  11. Whole grains to balance out the rest of the day and to get in fiber
I exercise for 35 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week, on the elliptical at a level 11, getting my heart rate up to about 85% to 90% of my maximum heart rate. Then, I stretch out for about 5 to 10 minutes. I also do about 15 minutes of strength training 2 to 3 times per week.

I do my best to select foods/snacks that have single digits (less than 10) for grams of sugar per serving. I personally don't typically eat white flour, white sugar, white rice, white potatoes, etc. anymore. I won't say I never eat them because I do have the occasional treat that may have these items in them. Typically though, I choose whole wheat or whole grain items. I don't eat much bread at all, and very, very seldom eat pasta, even whole or multi-grain. The more refined carbs I eat, the more I seem to crave them. I try to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index.

Most of my "meals" consist of 3 to 4 oz. of lean protein (chicken, fish, seafood, lean red meat or pork), and 1 cup of veggies. At breakfast I don't do meat and veggies, but I do select other foods high in protein along with whole grains. Meals take between 20 and 30 minutes for me to eat if I'm taking the time I should, and putting my fork down between bites so I'm waiting at least 30 seconds between swallows. Most of my meals are between 150 and 300 calories. Snacks are typically between 100 and 200 calories. I also have my regular vitamins and minerals that I take daily.

Given the fact that my pouch can only hold so much, every single item I put into my body needs to satisfy both my nutritional needs as well as my "soul" needs for food. I won't eat anything I don't like...but that doesn't mean I will choose to eat crap just because it tastes good.

I think that a balanced diet that focuses on lean proteins and whole foods like fruits and vegetables and whole grains first, limits or eliminates refined carbs, embraces plenty of non-carbonated (no more soda for me, ever, not even diet) and non-sugared fluids and regular exercise is good for anyone.

I know I've said a whole lot in the above...but it is basically the program I follow. Any food is ok in moderation. ANY food. Choose carefully. Daily, I actually end up consuming anywhere between 100 probably 175 g of carbs. Some folks freak out when they see my carb counts...but the source of those carbs is more important (to me and to Melinda). My carbs are primarily coming from milk, fruit, veggies, and whole grains. Balance is so important.