Sunday, August 29, 2010

There is No Finish Line

Today I plagiarize a post that I have been thinking about since Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit posted it way back in March. At that time, I had just started to lose weight and I wondered how it would be when I reached my goal. But a funny thing happened on the way down. I realized that there is no end. There is no Finish Line. His post had such an impact on me at the time that I couldn’t say it any better. Thus the cut and paste from his blog.
  • This journey is not about a number. It’s bigger than that. More important than that. The changes I’ve made since I began this trek… eating less, eating healthier, exercising more… have changed my life for the better, regardless of whether that number is 191, 199 or 210. There’s nothing magical about any one number… the real magic is in reclaiming your body and your health.
  • “Losing weight” and “getting fit” aren’t necessarily the same thing. Maybe the two are interconnected early in the game, but “losing weight” is a Point A to Point B kind of deal; “getting fit” has no finish line. It’s the pursuit of a lifetime.
  • The end is just the beginning. That’s what has tripped me up in the past. Being done. Being finished. Slipping back into my old bad habits as if they were a pair of flannel pajama pants. You see, I’ve lost weight before only to forget what got me there, forget that chips and beer pack a high-calorie punch, basically just forget myself.
As I get closer and closer to that magic number that we call a “goal”, I see it doesn’t really matter if I get there by Christmas or next summer. There is no award, no trophy, no crown, no ribbon proclaiming I have lost XX pounds. My body will decide the weight I stabilize at and the band will keep me at that weight and not yo-yo up as in the past. This whole process is about gaining my health and living a longer active life because…

“The End is Just the Beginning”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

I have been reading tons of blogs and trying to comment, but the ones that draw my attention are the ones with pictures. I love pictures. I love before, during and after pictures. I love when they show the real you, not the person hidden in the back. How many times have we avoided the camera. How many times have we volunteered to be the photographer so we don't need to be in the picture. I confess, in the past, I have used photoshop to fix my pictures (none that I have posted in this blog!). I've reduced a double chin, trimmed off some inches. But no more. I try to take nice pictures and I realize I am a work in progress, but I don't shun the camera anymore. 

Yesterday I balanced the camera on the BBQ and set the timer to take some new "now" photos. I wore a shirt which is too big for me to work. The last picture I have of me in that top was during a trip to Europe in 2006. It was a bit snug then. It is now way too big.
Left: Me with DH, 2006 (25th Wedding Anniversary) Right: Me August 2010

As I saved the new pictures on my computer, I started looking through some of my older pictures like the ones from a trip to Sydney, Australia and the South Island of New Zealand in February 2009. I have tons of scenery pictures. In fact I even finished a digital scrapebook with 50 pages. But I did find some of me which aren't too bad, although, I cringe because all I see is "fat". Whatever possessed me to buy this blue and white top with the jalepeno pepper on it is beyond me.
Enjoying a glass of wine near Christchurch, N.Z.
West Coast, N.Z.
Mount Cook, N.Z.
Sydney Opera House-don't you just love the hiking boots!

Now the purpose of this post is to tell everyone to TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES. Please. I just loves them. And guess what, you will thank me.

In fact, since Drazil is away this week, lets all post pictures on our blogs one day this week. It can be any picture but give us a story that goes with it. Game on!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pain in the @ss

Something rather strange is happening. I have lost my seat cushion. Since I carry most of my weight in my stomach, I never really had a fat butt. But since losing 37 pounds (to date) my butt has grown smaller to the extent that it's uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time. Not sure if that is an NSV or not. I now find I have to get up out of my chair at work at least every 30 minutes to walk around or my butt starts to go numb. Maybe I should buy one of those inflatable rings like we sat on after having a baby. Oy!

Enough about my numb bum. Last night I met up with a bunch of people I used to work with at Milestones in downtown Ottawa. We had a freak rain storm pass through just before I left work and traffic was a mess on the highway. What should have taken me 15 minutes took over an hour. But we ended up eating and drinking and talking for over 3 hours. They didn't rush us out of the restaurant as is usually the problem. The meal was delish. I wasn't sure what to order because none of them know about my band. They did give me lots of compliments about my weight loss, although I had to bring it up. Not too shabby, instigating compliments myself.
I finally decided to order Miso Glazed Black Cod on a medley of roasted potatoes, Shitake mushrooms and edamame beans in a lemon coconut cream reduction. It was yummy. Although the portion was very small, it suited me just fine. The picture on the menu looked much bigger. I love fish and the surprising thing about eating fish is that I always lose weight the day after which should clue me in to eating a lot more fish!

I think my Wellbutrin is kicking in although I still haven't been back at the gym. We are still working on finishing a section of our basement to put all the weights and the weight machine. My DH is a fanatic about working out. He also loves his bike, running and karate. If only I could get enthusiastic about exercise. My daughter is also going regularly to the gym and working with a trainer and my son is lifting weights and eating healthy. They are putting me to shame so I just have to make them all examples and try to emulate their enthusiasm.

Good luck to all those Go-Chica-Go contestants. I'll be cheering you on so get off your butts and start walking.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Got some Mojo back. I've been on the Wellbutrin for almost a week and although I know it isn't working full out, I have some energy. The one problem I have with this drug is that I wake up really early (like 4:00 am), so by 5:00 am I was up and reading the paper, then read a bunch of blogs, then decided to go for my 5k walk.

I'm getting there. Now I just have to get back to the gym. We're doing some renovations in our basement and lifting all the old junk out of the way is a pretty good workout. We're actually finishing an area for our home gym. Both my DH and son use the weights regularly and I thought they should have a bigger area.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

26 Weeks Ago...

Today marks my 6 month bandiversary. 26 weeks ago, I wondered if I was doing the right thing by having WLS. Today, I can emphatically say being banded was one of the best decisions of my life. I may not be a fast loser but I am a consistant loser averaging about 1 pound a week since surgery. If I can keep that up, by New Years I will have reached my goal.

Which means new clothes. Lots and lots of new clothes. Stylish clothes that don't make me look like an old lady. Last night I tried on a bunch of clothes that have been hanging in my closet way too long. I found a lovely sparkly top that I wore to the Millennium celebration on December 31st, 1999. It fits again although it is a tad loose. I might just wear it once more for old time sake in Chicago. I also discovered a few old gems which will get me through to the fall. Many others were hanging off me. It made me realize just how much weight I had put on over the last 10 years (over 55 pounds!). I am still trying to get into pants with a waistband—my next goal. I have been wearing elastic waist pants for years, baggy bum and all. Maybe I should rejoice that leggings are coming back into vogue. But I oh so want a great fitting pair of jeans. A pair that I can tuck a shirt in and not have a huge muffin top. And maybe, just maybe I'll try wearing shoes with heels instead of runners and Birkenstocks!

So how did me and Buddy (my band) celebrate? Well we shared a lovely bran muffin this morning which took over an hour to eat. Buddy has been on his best behaviour the last couple of weeks and has only shown his stubbornness a few times. But he has the best intentions and lets me know when I shouldn't take that one more bite. We have developed a love/hate relationship but I would never leave him, although at times I can get terribly pissed at him. When I don't pay enough attention to him or I treat him badly, he sulks and lets me know he is still around. When I treat him nicely, he showers me with gifts, like lost pounds and looser fitting clothes. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven—til death do us part.

I feel like the struggles of the past are over and my new life has begun. To the next 6 months.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Losing My MoJo

I have been doing some heavy thinking these last few weeks and want to start this post about some of the drugs we use to control or cure problems in our bodies, like:

   Insulin for Diabetes
   Antibiotics for Infections
   Thyroid hormone for Hypothyroidism
   Anti-depressants for Depression

Why do I bring these up? Because tonight I start to take Wellbutrin again for depression.

Yup. Me. On Drugs. Again.

Please don't tell Tom Cruise! I’m not sure if I ever posted about my life with depression but here goes. In the early 90’s my life was ok but something was missing. One day as I drove along a highway there was a big curve ahead. I remember thinking, if I kept the wheel straight, I would plunge into the gully and die. I can see it now, such a clear picture in my head. At the last second, I turned the steering wheel. I can’t tell you why but something made me stay on the highway. When I got home that morning, I immediately called my doctor and by afternoon had started taking that lovely Prozac happy pill. A month later I had gained 10 pounds and then the next month another 10 pounds. But my brain was healing. It was winter here in Ottawa so we put it down to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). By May I was feeling pretty good, although now 25 pounds heavier and I decided I could stop my happy pills.

When I stopped, I'd lose about 20 pounds and then by Hallowe’en I was the bitchiest witch you could ever imagine, so back on the pills. And another 25 pound gain. This went on for years until I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder), a severe form of Premenstrual syndrome. A bit funny now since I am in menopause and still have some of the symptoms. My main concern was the horrible yelling and screaming I would inflict on any and all who came near me, including my kids, my DH, my MIL, my friends… Everyone was an idiot. The doc told me to give up caffeine (which I did, but now drink coffee again), take huge doses of Vitamin B6 (which I still take) and prescribed another anti-depressant. My mood stabilized but the pounds piled on. Of course everyone told me that the drug didn’t make me gain weight, it was just that I had out of control eating. This entire on again off again with the anti-depressants went on for years until it was decided I should stay on them all year round. Which scared the crap out of me since all I could see was gaining 10-20 pounds each year. It was then that we discovered Wellbutrin which is a weight neutral drug for me. Some lose a bit of weight, others gain, but for me it at least kept my fat body at the same weight. The other good thing that happened was it controlled my OCD. My sisters have a hoarding/collecting problem but I am now the opposite and throw out tons of stuff. It was interesting to read a couple of weeks ago that de-cluttering can actually be good for weight loss.

I think I was on Wellbutrin for 10 years until September 2007 when my mom died. For many, losing a mother would be a tragedy but for me it was a relief. My mom had MS from her early forties and was wheelchair bound in a nursing home for 21 years before she died. I saw it as a blessing that my entire family could move on with life. Two weeks after her funeral, I needed a refill of Wellbutrin but decided to stop taking it. It’s been almost 3 years without drugs. Until a few months ago when I started to see the apathy again. I’m not sad or crying or thinking about dying. But I can’t get my ass off the couch and work is beginning to wear me down.

I seem to be losing my MoJo.

For the past few months, I have been losing weight with the band and was happy, but my motivation seemed to be draining out of me. I could feel the witchiness appearing again so in early July asked for a new prescription from my doctor. I told him that I wasn’t quite sure if I needed to start taking the anti-depressants again but would "know" if I needed them.

It is a bit funny, but this last week making the decision has been one of my strangest. I had just come off a lovely vacation with my BFF and probably with all the talking, it helped me cement my decision. What I wasn’t prepared for is the eating binge which happened. Here is one day with my band. Breakfast—WW Egg Quesadilla, 100g chocolate bar (about 3 oz) from IKEA (remember I work beside a big IKEA and their milk chocolate bars are only a dollar (or 97 cents US). Lunch was a KFC snacker, although I could only eat the chicken leg and half the fries. I took the chicken strip wrap home and ate it for supper. Then I whipped up a batch of Peanut Butter cookies and ate 10 of them (two were burnt so I threw them out). Before bed, I had a bowl of Goldfish crackers. And stuck and hurt! OMG. I felt like my mind was possessed. The next day I filled the prescription and will start taking them tonight (I can’t swallow pills in the morning so have decided to take it before bed). And don't hate me, but even with all this out of control eating I am down a bit this week to 174.6. The band is still doing its job.

So that is my story and confession. I know a bunch of you have or do take anti-depressants and I applaud you. Depression isn’t something to ignore. It is there and has to be dealt with. I am missing a chemical—my MoJo chemical—and I want it back.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Before & During Photos

I am almost at my 6 month Bandiversary (August 10th) and took some progress photos. The before photos were taken in early January 2010 just before my pre-op diet started at 209 pounds. When I published them on my blog I had cut off my head but decided to include my heads (sort of a BG thing). The progress photos were taken last week and show 34 pounds lost. I also took my measurements and am extremely happy that my "beer gut" has deflated 6". My measurements are in a chart at the bottom of my blog. I am still at high risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke but each pound lost gets me closer to a healthy future. And, I feel so damn good. The biggest change I've noticed is losing back fat. Plus, I am standing straighter than before and you can see my eyes in pictures. They no longer disappear behind my fat cheeks. Onward to the last 21 pounds. The first pics are my clothing shots. OMG, my face was so fat! The first picture is July 2010 and the second is July 2009. What a difference a year makes. 


Before & Durings:
Now for the bathing suit shots, for your viewing pleasure, I used the same bathing suit but since it now gives me severe baggy butt syndrome, I gave it to a friend.

          January 2010--------------July 2010
        January 2010--------------July 2010
         January 2010------------July 2010

       Another frontal shot in my other bathing suit:


Monday, August 2, 2010

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Vacation is over and now it is back to work on Tuesday. Last week I visited my BFF, Linda, in Hamilton and had a great time. We started with a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see all the quaint shops and taste a little wine. Another day we drove to St. Jacob’s, a small Mennonite community in Southern Ontario and again more quaint little shops. The rest of the time we just floated in her pool and got a bit of Vitamin D. Oh, and we found time for a pedicure too. The weather was glorious. Hot and sunny except for a thunderstorm mid-week.

What a relaxing time. I’ve known Linda since our University days in the 70’s and we have been close ever since. Since I started losing weight with the band she has been working hard at losing weight sans band and as of this week is down almost 65 pounds from a high of 225. With me down almost 35 pounds, we are proclaiming a 100 pound loss together. Woo Hoo! She is determined not to let me get skinnier than she is so kept to her eating plan even when I strayed into the chocolate aisle a few times. But we did enjoy a few glasses of wine together and talked and talked and talked. I also discovered I can drink beer again but mainly the German beers like Lowenbrau as they aren 't as fizzy as some of the others. I love beer and it is nice to be able to have a cold one again. Must be the purity law that only allows German beer to contain barley, hops and water. Back on track for me this week. My great achievement was not gaining any weight while on vacation. The band kept me from overeating but I was still able to enjoy my food and I am no longer stuck all the time.
Here are the two of us leaving for a day trip. Together we’ve lost 100 pounds.!
Stuck at the Welland Canal on our way home. We got to the crossing just as the bridge started to go up.
It took 30 minutes for the ship to go through into the lock. As the ship passed the seagulls screamed and flew madly around until it passed. Guess it disturbed their sunbathing.
This is me waiting for lunch to arrive in St. Jacob’s. The barkeep kept trying to get us to order beer but I was a bit stuck and couldn’t get a lot down.

Linda waiting for lunch.

Something rather interesting happened. I have never been a big clothes shopper. But as we cruised the little clothing shops and made a visit to the mall, I started to see things I liked and some of those things fit. It was a very eerie feeling to try on regular clothes and see a real person standing there. It was also nice to have someone else tell me what looked good and what was a no-no. The two of us have such different body shapes—Linda a pear and me an apple. She has been investing in some new pieces as she is close to her goal weight. Me, I've decided to wait for another 10 pounds and buy some new clothes in the fall. I have enough in-between clothes to tide me over for the rest of the summer. Linda also gave me a couple of shirts which I’ll be able to wear for awhile (see black striped shirt above).

But then, beware. I’ll be out in force trying on all those nifty new clothes. In regular stores. In regular sizes. And I will look good.
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