Where Bariatic Weight Loss meets a "Die-Hard Foodie" and chaos ensues.

What Now?

StressI have always prided myself on being self aware.  Recently, I learned that I was not as self aware as I thought.

I have been under tremendous stress.  I have had stressors in my life that have caused me to lose sleep and spend a lot of time crying.  My temper is short.  I’m tired.  Panic attacks have started and overall I am a hot emotional mess.  It is in the midst of this mess that I realized for years I have been self medicating.

When people asked me about my eating habits a year ago I would tell them the wonderfulness of my diet.  I eat organic.  I eat lean, fresh, non-antibiotic meats and eggs.  I eat seafood.  I eat fresh greens and steamed veggies.  Sure I would indulge in sweets and boy could I hold my liquor, but overall I ate healthy.  What I did not realize is that I was also a HUGE stress eater/drinker.  I can see it so clearly now because in the midst of everything life is throwing at me the very things I used to cope with this kind of pressure are the same things I cannot have.

I haven’t had a panic attack in years.  You know why?  Because pre surgery when life went to hell I would go to the Royal Oaks order a double of Jameson neat and a order of garlic wings and work on that until I either felt better or was buzzed enough to sleep.  Or I would go to the store buy blackberries, vanilla ice cream, and proceed to make drunken blackberry cobbler with a whisky sauce that would make a 5 star chef wish they had my recipe.  That’s how I slowly went from a size 14 (when I got married) to a size 28 (just before surgery).

So what does a girl do now?  The upside is I can still eat bacon!

Total weight loss:  103lbs

Noncompliant and Happy

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When you have weight loss surgery of any kind there is a certain amount of change you must embrace.  When you have the Roux en Y in specific there is a drastic change in pretty much everything food related in your life.  You have to embrace that refined sugars are a thing of the past.  You have to embrace that your alcohol consumption has to decrease to teetotaler.  You have to embrace that that love affair you had with all things carb is pretty much a done deal.  You learn quickly that portion size is a static concept and you are no longer able to eat a “cup” or “bowl” of anything.  Everything is measured in ounces and takes forever to eat.

I knew all of this going in.  I got it.  I understood it.  I embraced it.  Until…

That’s right, until I realized that the regimen they put you on after surgery is extremely cookie cutter.  It is as if somehow the doctors and dieticians believe your taste buds died when they sectioned off your stomach and intestines.  Well it is this cookie cutter approach that has sent me off the reservation.  Yup, I have gone rogue.  I thought long and hard about this and to my way of thinking what can they do — take the surgery back?  Yeah, that’s not an option.  So I have set myself free!

What does that mean?  It means that at 3 1/2 months post surgery I am going to eat fresh fruits.  They keep me regular and taste better than that no sugar fruit cocktail they want me to eat.  That crap is disgusting!  I am going to eat raw spinach for the exact same reason.  I am going to eat steak (well tenderized) in addition to the approved meats like chicken, turkey, and seafood.  And when I feel like it I am going have bacon!  Not that fake cardboard turkey bacon crap, but real from the pig bacon.

However, I am still going to work out for at least an hour 5 days a week.  I am still going to avoid refined/processed sugar.  I will maintain my portion control and NOT over eat.  I will not stress eat.  I will take my vitamins.  I will eat fast food as a last resort only.  And lastly, I will continue to look for healthier ways to cook and prepare the things I love.

I believe there is a disconnect between the reality of why a person chose to have this surgery and what life is really like afterwards.  I recognize that unlike some folks, I will now have to be very diligent about how I eat; however, that in no way means that food should be my enemy or any less enjoyable because I can only eat a few ounces.

I refuse to go through the rest of my life with some cookie cutter notion that I can only have what’s on this approved list.  To hell with the list.  The list sucks and the food on it is nasty.  So, I am back.  I’m back to cooking, and eventually I may even return to baking.  You can eat well and healthy without sacrificing taste and enjoyment!

I am now down 93lbs.  YAY!

Changes

Good morning folks!  I had a really candid conversation with a friend about weight loss, weight loss surgery, and being healthy.  I have been extremely blessed in that everyone in my life either close or on the periphery has been extremely supportive during my process.

I remember this person preparing me for the negativity when I told her I was going to have “the surgery”  and I thought “who is going to be mean about that?”  I mean really its a personal health choice and while I get people not necessarily understanding my reasons or my needs I had a hard time imagining people being hostile about it.  Then I had to bully my primary care physician into giving me the referral.  And of course during the counseling sessions you go through the counselor said  I should prepare for people to treat me differently and negative reactions to this choice.  THEN the dietician said the same to me and I began to wonder what it was about losing weight that made people behave so horribly to a person.  Who wouldn’t celebrate someone taking their life back and becoming healthy.  So, I prepared myself for this.  and lo and behold it was a wasted exercise.  This NEVER happened to me.

I have had people question my choice. It has always been done with respect and curiosity rather than disdain.  I had one guy tell me I would finally be dateable (I no longer talk to him).  I have had the side eye when I go out with friends and eat less than 1/2 of a child sized portion of food.  We all laugh about it and they joke I’ll be eating my entrée for 3 days.  I learned early in life some things are just not worth feeling bad about especially when teasing comes from love and not malice.  And rather than be mean about my weight loss my friends and family cheer me on.  They are genuinely happy for me.

I think this process shines a spotlight on the kind of person you are.  I am a firm believer that who you were fat is just exemplified as you shed the pounds.  If you were a fat bitch you just shrink into a skinny bitch.  If you were miserable fat you are still miserable skinny.  If you were mean spirited and elitist fat then you are that same mean spirited elitist person skinny.  You have to work on you at its root.  Health benefits of losing weight aside if you do not work on who you are at your core losing weight will not fix it.

Oftentimes fat folks are excused because it is assumed we all suffer from poor self image.  After all at a certain size we are so far from what society deems beautiful or handsome that people will excuse a sour attitude and blame it on our weight.  However, people are less forgiving the closer you get to what society deems acceptable.  The truth is many people may very well be reacting to you as a person rather than the weight you loss.

Now I’m sure this is not the case 100% of the time, and in those cases of true spitefulness I say brush your shoulders off.  You can’t expect everyone to be in your corner and as long as you love yourself others opinions are just like assholes and sometimes just as nasty.  However, if its everyone maybe you should look at who you surround yourself with and take a longer look at yourself.

 

**Down to 219 — Yay Me!!!!!

 

It has been pointed out that my posting is too infrequent. So, what’s new you ask? Several things…

The first is an observation. I don’t like the “bariatric” diet. I cheat regularly. Daily even. *gasp*. Yup, I an having secret meetings with fresh fruit, raw spinach, steak, and my dietary version of crack — BACON. Now, I know that doesn’t strike you as too horrible, but my body does not like all this roughage. Nor is said roughage, red meat, and bacony goodness on the approved list of foods.   My system does pretty good with steak as long as it’s tender and I only eat a couple ounces. I stick to no more than one or two thin slices of bacon and life is good. But the fruit and spinach. The new gastric system is no quite as happy. It’s not painful, but I am gaseous. So I have developed a strategy that includes Gas-X by the case and so far that seems to be helping. Score 1 for me.

This segues into my next “dietary” experiment. Whisky. Now for those who know me, you understand I enjoyed a double of Jameson neat. So, it is no surprise that I would test this theory of “no alcohol consumption” put forth by my weight loss team. I was informed that drinking is no longer an option for me. I chuckled at that concept and nodded politely knowing full well I was going to test that limit. So, today I did, and dammit if the doctor wasn’t right! 1 shot. 1 shot and I was lit like a Christmas tree and in need of DD to get me home. There was a time in the recent past when I could toss back several doubles and still be the most sober person in the room. Those days are long gone. I will not be testing the alcohol limits again. I enjoyed the calming effects of Jameson, but now it is closer to comatose after 1 ounce. It’s just not a good feeling. So, score 1 for the Doc…

Lastly, my clothes keep falling off of me. Yeah, I know. It’s a great problem to have. Except, I have to leave the house everyday, and I can’t go 2 weeks without needing new clothes. This week I realized the size 18s I was so thrilled to fit now require a little help to stay up. The 2x sweaters I was sure would last the winter now fall off my shoulders. And the F cup I prayed the Lord would let me keep has collapsed into a 36DDD. I feel awkward and deflated. You never realize how much of your identity is tied up in your appearance until it changes dramatically. For me it was the twins. Babies rested easy on them. They got me out of speeding tickets. Occasionally they got me free stuff and upgrades. I put them with a pretty smile and some charm last year and got a very nice buy back price on my old iPhone. Men were mesmerized by them. They had an almost hypnotic effect. Now, not so much.

People compliment my appearance and it’s good to hear. I appreciate it. I’m not sure I deserve the “proud of you” statements. My stomach is the size of a golf ball. It’s not like I didn’t have drastic help. I am still working out. But, I am feeling a weird mix of pretty, but not myself. Almost like I don’t fit in my skin anymore. I feel out of sorts. It’s odd that at 303lbs I knew who and what I was. I had embraced me even if that me was in horrible health. Now at 228lbs it’s a struggle to get comfy in my skin. I don’t recognize my face in the mirror. Today I actually thought to myself maybe you’ve lost enough. I know that’s not rational. I’m still overweight. But the prospect of losing 75 more pounds is a little scary. Not because it seems unachievable, but because I don’t think I know how to be that Ingrid.

Adjustments…

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Down 61lbs!

My weight loss has reached the place where folks are noticing something drastic has happened.  I was told that men would notice first and to be honest with the exception of my father, uncle and a man who I’ve known for years that has not been my experience.  Women have been noticing like no one’s business.  And I am lucky to be surrounded by people who are supportive and caring.  What has been the biggest adjustment with my shrinking form has been how many compliments I receive.  I’m not really used to it.  It’s nice to have people notice and acknowledge my weight loss.  The surgery is doing its share of the work, but I am putting in real effort to make sure I never go back to the old me.  I never want to be that girl again.  I was miserable.  Not because of my looks, but because everything hurt and I just felt unhealthy.  For the first time in years I feel like I am healthy.  I feel like I can participate in life.  That in itself is worth the stress and strain of the actual surgery.  I am truly in love with how good I feel.

I know that’s a strong title isn’t it.  But, let’s be honest for a second folks only the dark lord or one of his minions would come up with something as disgusting as protein shakes.  They are chalky, they have that disgusting smell no matter what you mix it with, and they have an aftertaste that just lingers in the back of your throat for hours.  Now, maybe if I wasn’t such an adventurous eater with a pretty refined palate it wouldn’t bother me as much, but this part of my weight loss journey is worse than feeling hungry all the time but only eating 1400 calories. 

I’m NEVER hungry anymore.  I eat on a schedule.  Mon-Fri I eat “breakfast” by 8am when I get in the office from the gym, lunch at 1 and dinner by 6.  Sat-Sun I eat an hour after I wake up and then I fit in 2 more meals as the day progresses.  But eating is not fun right now.  Everything is a protein load.  No variety.  No variation.  Just chicken, turkey, cheese and the dreaded protein shake.  My meals are so bland I thought I’d have a *ahem*… I was way to excited for my first bite of fat free Babybel cheese yesterday.  The ladies in the lunch room looked at me like I had lost my mind, but it was different and my palate was like “YEA!!!!!!”

So yes, I am not, nor will I ever be, a fan of “diet food”  It sucks and one thing this process has taught me is that I can eat healthy without resorting to this food of the devil.  I know I am locked into and stuck with this crap for a while longer, but I cannot wait until I can get back in the kitchen and try new healthy recipes with real food.  When I am finally advanced to the place where my diet is normalized my calorie intake should be at 1100 calories a day (currently at 400-500).  I believe those calories should count!

Wide Eyed Optimism

No one has ever accused me of being Suzy Sunshine. I have recently been informed that my resting bitch face is intimidating and its not until I open my mouth that you are pleasantly surprised by the fact that I am actually a nice person.  However, the last 5 days has showed me that I do have a certain optimism about me. I very seldom see the life as beating me down — I don’t keep pity parties going indefinitely.  I cry, I pout and then I move on.  Even when I am going through something major I try to see the good.  I have experienced so much “major shit” in my life that when little things happen I just roll with it. I recognize that God has carried me through some of the worst moments in my life and to allow self pity, doubt or fear to grab hold over minor things disrespects all the great things that happen to me every day.

So, what does that have to do with my weight loss, exercise plan, diet, or surgery? Nothing. I just thought that today I’d be grateful. I’m alive. I am healthy (even if I’m still chunky). I have a beautiful daughter, wonderful parents and cool (and sometimes bat shit crazy) family. Truly crazy but fun and supportive friends. A good job. And most importantly LOVE. I am loved by some of the best folks in the world. When you look at all that you realize minor setbacks in life are not worth the time and effort of wallowing and complaining. Life happens. Its how we deal with it that defines who we are and what kind of life we will have. I prefer to be happy! Have a great day!

PS… I’m down 55 pounds (you knew I’d sneak it in!) 

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