Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Another Year Over...

Welcome to 2018,everyone! I hope you all have had a magical and wonderful holiday season. Mine was quite full and happy. Lovely times were had with friends and family and celebrations abounded. I loved getting to spend quality time with my family and Brian's. I love being an Aunt and personally speaking, I think my niece and nephews are the best!

The hardest part of the Holidays is the same for me as it is for everyone else.


I love me some desserts and the holidays are just jam packed with sweet treats. Not to mention most of them are free, and let's be honest who doesn't love free food? Even though I can now eat about 1/4 or less than what I used to eat, all bets were off on the what I was eating. I still focused on protein most of the time but I did eat lots of cookies, crackers with dip and various assorted other carbs. Carbs glorious carbs. I have to say that most of the things I ate went down without an issue. I did discover that bagels are no longer my friend (which is like a dagger to my Long Islander heart). Two bites and I immediately get flushed and felt sick for a few hours. In other words, a great time!

I have found, as per usual, the mental part of this whole "journey" is the hardest part. I get full on very little but I find that utterly depressing. Eating sugar and carbs releases serotonin and boy do I miss it!
It's not that I didn't know I was a food addict or have an unhealthy relationship with food, I just didn't realize how deep this would go. Eating one cookie is nice but not nearly as amazing as it feels to eat as many as you can handle. I am learning how to deal with that disappointment but it's not always easy. I am also someone who has always indulged whatever food fantasy of the day I was having. Impulse control is something I struggle with as someone with ADD. It's not easy for anyone to ignore their whims of fancy but when you throw ADD (also known as shiny object syndrome) it makes it that much harder. We all have our hurdles and these are just some of mine.
On to the better side of this whole surgery thing...the weight loss. A lot of people ask me if I feel any different but honestly, not really. Yes some things are easier, like I can easily bend over to tie my shoe, I can fit into more types of seats, I can walk up stairs a little better. Minor but not insignificant. I am pleased to say that I am not yet 3 months out from surgery and I am down 70 pounds (20 lbs before surgery and 50 after). Let's do one of my favorite things, shall we? 

                                               What Does It Look Like???

                                                                   That's a lot of balls, folks!

                                    I've lost this Darth Vader Kettle Bell (how bad ass is that thing?)

                            I've lost this angry-ass Dinosaur looking mother-fucker (the turtle not the dude)

                                                       I've lost the world's largest Atlas!

I hope you have enjoyed my latest ramblings. Until next time!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Day in the Life...

Another post so soon? Am I sick? Is something wrong? Nah..I just wanted to do a little updatin. I am down to 296 which is such a fantastic feeling. After stalling for 2 weeks at 301 it was such a great boost to see I am below 300! That's a total of 61 pounds overall and 41 pounds lost since surgery. I am 9 weeks out from surgery today so I am averaging 4.5 pounds a week. That is freaking outstanding and I am thankful to my therapist for pointing this out to me. It's hard when you don't see the scale move every time you get on it but if you look at an average, hot damn I am killing it.

Now I am going to walk you through my typical day, since I've been promising that for some time.
My body wakes me up at 7am but on weekdays I have to get up around 6:30am. The nice thing is it's not as much of a struggle these days. I am sleeping through the night which hasn't happened in years! I also fall asleep much quicker. It's been the most noticeable change for me so far.

Once I am up and ready I make myself one of these beauties...

It is a pod from our Nespresso (my all time favorite coffee device) with a premier protein shake (I can FINALLY get these babies down again) over ice. It's wonderful to have my coffee again and to be able to get my protein in at the same time. I drink it on my way to work and usually finish it by the time I get there.

Next up at around 10am is any flavor of Dannon Light and Fit Greek yogurt.

It has the lowest sugar of any yogurt out there and has some of the highest protein. It also doesn't take awful. I used to like Oikos Triple Zero but not anymore. It has such a strong aftertaste for me now.

Then comes Lunch. The timing of this depends on how busy I am at work but typically by 1pm. The food itself can vary day to day depending on what dinner we had the night before. Today's lunch was thanks to my beautiful and talented sister who made this divine Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo.

It's hard to get a size perspective from this but I would say I had about 3/4 of a cup. My sleeve can hold a whole lot more food now a days. It's still not much but it's not just a 1/4 of a cup. That's normal though, especially when it comes to a soup.

All through out the day I am also drinking water. It's still very hard for me to finish my water bottle (which holds 32oz) in a day. I also drink water and Diet Snapple at home so I am not too far off from my water goals. However, it's a big change from the fact that I would have anywhere from 64 to 92 oz of water at work alone before surgery.

Dinner time is typically between 6:30 and 7:30pm depending on what it is I have to make. This was last nights dinner. Ruben stuffed pork tenderloin (recipe from Skinnytaste) with 1/4 cup of coleslaw from Ben's Deli and a half sour pickle. Mother flippin delicious! I have to remember to eat slow but it's so hard when it's sooo good.

I have also been tracking my food. Something I never wanted to have to do again in my life. It holds very negative memories for me since I have been dieting since childhood. However, I got over myself and realized that if I wanted to see what I am eating and how it impacts my weight loss I have to track it. I am using MyFitnessPal which is great as it also connects with my Fitbit so I can track everything all in one. I am even tracking things like the cookie I had last night. A small cookie but a cookie none the less. I wrote it down and while to some it might seem trivial, it's a huge moment for me. I don't know about you but if I eat something "bad" I wouldn't write it down. I am doing my utmost best to be as honest I can be without making it a judgement on myself. I won't succeed at this if I keep telling myself I am awful and a failure every time I do something "off plan".

Exercise. Oh exercise. It is still a massive challenge for me. I am trying to get more steps in during the day but traditional working out is not happening right now. That's ok, it's still a goal of mine and not all goals get reached every single day.That's another thing I have never been good at. Goals. I don't typically set them because I don't want to fail. Failure is and has always been my greatest fear. I haven't tried many things in my life because of it. Another challenge to face thanks to this surgery.

Next time, on as the stomach churns (my own personal soap opera) I would love to take questions from you. Is there something you are dying to ask me? It doesn't have to be surgery related, maybe you just always wanted to know something about me. You can either leave it here in the comments, message me directly here or on Facebook. Until next time....

Monday, December 4, 2017

Let's talk Turkey

I would love to give you a reason for the long span between posts but honestly, I just haven't had much to say. Or perhaps I have had too much going on in my own head to really put into words. Either way, I have been hiding a bit inside of myself. However, since it's the start of the Christmas season (my absolute favorite time of year) I figured I would give of myself and let you all in on the madness. No need to thank me!

On the food front I am now back in the realm of the living...Solid Foods! 

Thanksgiving was my official first day of eating with everyone else and it was lovely. We spent the holiday with Brian's family in Connecticut. The dinner was at their country club, buffet style. I avoided the appetizers (Which was super hard given they had grilled cheese strips with a tomato soup dipping sauce) and focused my buffet choices on protein. Turkey isn't my favorite so I went for the prime rib. While delicious it was a bit fatty and went down a little heavy. I had a few bites of mashed potato and a few of stuffing. All in all I feel I got the Thanksgiving experience without feeling that I was going to explode. 

Later on we had dessert back at Brian's Aunt and Uncle's house and of course, I had to try some pies. My brother in law is an amazing pie maker so it  was out of respect(wink wink). I was worried it wouldn't end well but of course, the pie went down better than anything else that day. I now know I am in trouble. I will really have to watch myself around sweets. Not that I had a lot of pie but still, it's something to keep an eye on.

Now the real work begins. It's up to me to make the best choices I can for myself (not really my forte). I have to dedicate more time to figuring out what I should be eating instead of on what I could eat. I can pretty much have anything I want now. I can't have much of it and I can't eat too fast. I ate lunch a little to quickly the other day and let me tell you, that was zero fun. I also need to get on the exercise bandwagon. That is the hardest of all. I do have more energy now that I am able to get more protein in but it's painful. I am still over 300 pounds so while it's better than it was it's still a lot of pressure on my joints. Going to the pool to walk is really my best bet but that takes time and planning.

Reading that back to myself , I am just a big ole whiny baby. I knew this surgery was just a tool to help me to make a healthier life for myself. The trouble is being healthy is no fun. However, I am working everyday to get over myself. I am own biggest roadblock as are we all. Nothing can stop me if I put my mind to it except for that big ole whiny baby.

I am officially down 53 pounds which is nice. I think I will get excited once I get below 300. Until then I will have to push myself to do the things I don't want to do and eat the things I don't want to eat. I am an adult, damn it!

Until the next time, my friends! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Puree all day

It's time for another update from yours truly. The last time there was exciting news to share. This time it's a bit more pedestrian. I am down another 5 lbs which should make me happy but it feels kind of..meh? I certainly didn't expect 16 lbs but maybe 7lbs? It just seems like 5lbs over 2 weeks isn't that fantastic. Especially for someone like me who has so far to go. I know that I will need to step back and find some perspective.

The awful truth is that this "journey" (stealing from the Bachelor franchise on this one) is a million times harder than I ever imagined. The longing for food is so intense at times it can feel like I lost a limb. It has definitely improved with moving to Stage 3 of my diet. Purees. Get excited everyone! Haven't you wanted to relive your infancy or have a flash forward to your old age to experience food without having to chew it?? My favorite food right now is whipped cottage cheese (Friendship Cottage cheese is the only brand I can find and I got it at Stop and Shop) with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil.

I know what your thinking "But, Lynne, I like my cottage cheese with fruit".  I say expand your mind my friends because this combo will blow your mind. It's so savory and creamy and it has a great protein count. I will continue to eat this even when I am not in this stage. Next stage starts Thursday and I can add tuna with mayo to the mix and egg salad as well. I will be on that for two weeks. That means for Thanksgiving I can attempt to have solid food. I don't know how that will go and may just stick to mashed potatoes which sadly doesn't really meet the protein requirements. I will probably also bring my cottage cheese with me since it's just family.

Overall, I am doing alright. Physically I am fine but mentally I am not doing great. I am sad a lot. I have been on anti depressants for years but I am still prone to days of extreme sadness for no real reason at all. My birthday is coming up and I have no desire to celebrate. What do you do for your birthday when you can't eat? The idea of putting a candle in my yogurt is the most depressing thing I can think of. Even if we went out to do something non food related I will have tote around a cooler bag full of my provisions. I know I should be excited about a future with more mobility and a longer life span but honestly I don't care right now. I know many people think me brave or someone worth celebrating but I don't and honestly doubt I ever will. I put myself in this situation and had to resort to surgery to fix it. It's the depression talking but it's my comfort zone and when everything else is making me so uncomfortable, it's where I naturally go. I didn't want to sugar coat what I am going through because I know I am not alone. I know that many others who have spent a lifetime being told by society and individuals that they are worthless or less than. Changing that mind frame is the real battle, not the weight.

I don't want to end on sad note because I know that this phase of sadness will pass. So instead let's end with some positives.

My clothes fit better and most are huge on me already
I can walk a little faster than before
I am sleeping through the night for the first time in years
I am craving food less (physically)
I am done with my injections of blood thinners (post-surgical protocol to reduce the chance for blood clots)

Until next time my friends! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

That time I lost a toddler

It's been another week and another week of ups and downs. The downs have been a lot of trips to the bathroom which were unpleasant to say the least. Let's just say I have never been so relieved to see a McDonald's bathroom in my entire life. My brain isn't quite back to normal yet in that it has a hard time "waking up". I am not back to drinking coffee yet as it doesn't really appeal to me but it's also just lack of energy overall. I have also been emotional which they say is not surprising since we store a lot of estrogen in fat, so as you lose weight that estrogen gets released. It's been a fun roller coaster of emotions!

The ups have been finding unflavored protein powder so I don't have to suffer through drinking shakes anymore. They are just so sickeningly sweet now and I can't handle it. Now I can get my protein in with yogurt and creamed soups which is much better. I am counting down the days until 11/2 when I can move to stage three. The pureed stage where I get to pulverize the crap out various sources of protein. My food processors is about to get a workout!

The other up has been a bit of weight loss! Before surgery I lost 21 pounds, 4 of which I lost over the months and the remaining 17 I lost in the 3 weeks before surgery. At my first follow up after surgery I had lost 6 pounds which was fantastic! I had heard a lot of people don't lose anything right after surgery since you are still bloated with all the fluids and air they pump into you ( makes you feel a bit like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon). I went back in this week because I wanted to make sure my fun trips to the bathroom were normal (which they are!) and guess how much weight lost in 1 week? Go on, guess.....Close but no cigar! I lost 16 pounds. You read that right 16 pounds. I nearly fell off the scale and had to have the assistant read me the number again to make sure I wasn't seeing things. That's like Malaria level weight loss, people. The doctor said I was above average (awww doc you're so sweet!) but that I shouldn't expect to see that kind of number again, which is fine by me because slow and steady wins this race. In total, over 5 weeks I have lost 43 pounds. Ummm say what? That's actually insane to me and I have a hard time believing it to be honest. I thought to help me visualize it I would bring back an old feature of this blog, called What does it look like? So what does 43 pounds look like?

                                              I lost a toddler. Like a legit small human.

I lost a baby dolphin. I am sorry, what? That seems insane and also adorable. 
Image result for 43 pounds

I lost a microwave. I am shedding household appliances like a rock star!
Image result for microwave
I lost a drug busts worth of Marijuana. 
Image result for 43 pounds

All in all I have to say it's pretty impressive. I know as the weeks go on I will lose less but I will get to eat more kinds of food and by me that's just fine.  Until next time, when perhaps I will give you that glimpse into my average day that I keep talking about. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Dirt...Part 2

I'm going to take a moment to reflect on this past week before I dive back into the dirt as it were. It's been a week since my surgery and boy what a week it has been. I am finally starting to feel like myself again which felt impossible a few days ago. Surgery really throws you for a loop. Not that I didn't expect it but I didn't expect it ,you know what I mean? Your body isn't your own. You don't know it anymore and it is fucking angry. Things hurt, you can't sleep in your own bed (some people could after surgery, but of course, not moi), you have to eat but you can't tell if you are starving or nauseous, the list could go on. However, every day, was a little bit better, until finally, I could sleep in our bed again, I wasn't nauseous and everything doesn't hurt. It's hard in the throws of it to emotionally know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I am still tired but getting better. My biggest hurdle right now is figuring out the difference between hunger, thirst and boredom. It's not easy for someone who never really learned the difference or really cared to know. It will take time but I am sure I will get the hang of it. For now, I am counting the day until I can eat real food again.  I think I might even have a ritual burning of a protein shake when I am done. I used to love them. I have been drinking them for months now but not anymore kids, not anymore. Now on to the dirt that lead me to my current state.

So where were we? Ah yes, the info session with Dr. Ahmad. It was an evening long session, filled with people sharing their triumphant stories and then Dr. Ahmad coming in to give you the nitty gritty. Brian couldn't get enough of all the pictures of surgery (He even stood up and moved closer to the screen to get a better look). The next step is to have a one on one with Dr. Ahmad. This appointment came a few weeks later. It was there that we got to ask Dr. Ahmad any questions we had to our particular situations. He discussed the options and ultimately we decided that we would both have the Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Yes, both Brian and I were going to have the surgery. I was going first and he will have his sometime in March 2018. After meeting with Dr. Ahmad we felt confident that he was the man to do our surgery and that it was our best option at fulfilling our promise to one another to live a long life together.

Fast forward to the next appointment which is what they call a 5 in one. This place is a well oiled machine, let me tell you. They have a tight system down that is really quite impressive. This appointment you get a ultrasound (to check for gallstones or other issues), blood drawn, see the patient coordination team, have a psych evaluation and meet with Dr. Ahmad again. It was about 3 hours total but it felt like a whirlwind. Everything was moving along.

A week or two later, Brian and I both got a call that took the wind right out of our sails. Dr. Ahmad's office called to tell us that we both had Type 2 Diabetes.


It was quite the shock and yet not totally unexpected. Not everyone who is obese get's diabetes. You have to have a family history of it in order to get it which we both did. Now the good news for both of us was that we had not yet blown our insulin producers out of the water and were not insulin resistant. This meant that we could turn our ships around with diet modification, weight loss and drugs. I started taking glipizide metformin right away and within 2 months my A1C ( your blood glucose number) went from 10.5 to 6.9 which is incredible. Mind you, normal range is 5.6 or below so I started off at a very scary place. My doctor said that in a year or two I would have been insulin dependent the rest of my life. Now, it is my hope to be off drugs by the new year and no longer be a diabetic. I wish that my friends with Type 1 diabetes could be so lucky, I truly do.

So with the diabetes and my weight, it was a no brainer for me to have the surgery. It was going to save my life. The next couple of months were a blur of doctors appointments, getting clearance for surgery from a cardiologist, my primary, the hospital and my surgeon, all while going to the surgeon once a month for my mandatory weigh ins. Now I would like to say that I was really dieting and getting ready for surgery and lost a ton of weight before surgery but alas that is not the case. I did change some habits and cut back on carbs big time but I wouldn't call it a diet. The diet really began 3 weeks before surgery. That diet would consist of 2 protein shakes, 2 apples and a salad with 6oz of lean protein and 2tbs sugar free dressing.

                       Image result for ugh meme

To prepare for that hell I did have a week long "last supper" where I indulged in all of my favorite foods, culminating in an official "final meal" at Teller's in Bay Shore (Their Filet Wellington is..gahh..I can't even it's so amazing) . It was perfect. By the time the diet was getting starting I was kind of sick of all the indulging I had done. Then just 3 weeks later, there I was, in the hospital and walking into the OR to lay down on the operating table.

So there you have it, folks. The dirt, in all it's glory. Next up, a day in the life post surgery but for now, it's shake time (Yayyyyyy). Happy Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Dirt...Part 1

Let me start off by saying, wow! The amount of support I got over my first post is really spectacular. It's one of the hardest thing for me, to let in praise and support but it's hard to keep it out when it keeps pouring in. I appreciate it more than my meager words could express.

Now for what your really here for...the dirt! The dirt on why I decided to have a someone go into my body with a robot (it's called the DaVinci Robot ...super classy y'all) and shave my stomach down to a thin line and remove the rest of it through my belly button. I mean I had nothing to do on Thursday the 12th so I figured, meh, why not.

All kidding aside, this has been a long time coming. I had looked into Gastric Bypass ( a much more drastic procedure with far more potential pitfalls) about 10 years ago. I went through all the pre testing but when it came time to schedule the procedure I couldn't go through with it. At the time, they weren't going to be able to do my procedure laparoscopic (aka with a robot) and I would be cut open. As much fun as that sounds, it would also have involved them implanting a mesh filter in my veins that I would have had to live with the rest of my life. That really made me second guess everything and I never went back.

Cut to Christmas time 2016. My husband and I had been trying for a while to lose weight together. We tried but honestly we both love food sooo much that it made it so impossible for us to stay on top it. Not to mention, we both hate to be the bad guy so stopping one another from poor choices was not our strong suit. I was feeling incredibly depressed by all the weight I had gained back. I was back at almost the beginning, 357 pounds. I couldn't fit into booths, I couldn't ride the rides, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. It was feeling quite bleak. Then, as with most things in life, random things began to happen.

The first was a study had come out stating that the best way for obese people to lose weight and maintain it was through surgery. I was shocked. It wasn't by a small margin either.  (here is the article I read if you are interested ). It made me think about surgery as an option again. The second was two amazing co workers of mine had had the surgery done and they were such an incredible source of knowledge and first hand experience. They both had it done with Dr. Arif Ahmad at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY. They were so open and honest about what they were going through that it made the idea of surgery a possibility. I am forever going to be grateful to my two guardian angels, Robin and Yvette. They helped saved my life, of that I have no doubt.

After months of thinking and watching my friends go from miserable to happy and full of energy, Brian and I finally made it to one of Dr. Ahmad's seminars. The seminar is your first step. You go, get weighed in, and then listen to people who have been through the procedure tell their stories, answer your questions, and then Dr. Ahmad comes in with more specifics about the surgery itself and the various options. From there you make a follow up appointment with Dr. Ahmad and his staff to have a one on one consultation.

I will take a breather here and let you soak all of that up. I will pick up where I left off to get to the real nitty gritty of the past 6 months. For now, I am going to be good to myself, talk a little walk, then sip the hell out of some water, baller style.