Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections on the Band

A few posts over the last month have me thinking about living with the band. I think the biggest revelation was that we no longer should be thinking about "restriction" but actually limiting how much we eat.

Now I will admit, Christmas hasn't been a stellar month for me. There have been cookies and squares and sweets. But I barely baked like in previous years. And whereas I would have demolished an entire box of Turtles on Christmas Eve, I barely had any chocolate that day. The Turtles were still around for hubby and son. Christmas was quiet and relaxing. I did get an iPad and can actually see the screen without my glasses. I realized I enjoyed the company of others even more than the food. I've made a lot of mental progress since getting the band and this is just one more revelation. Food will not make me happy. Or take away stress. Or be my friend.

I guess when I first got my band, I thought that the upper pouch would fill with food, I'd feel full and then it would gradually flow into my lower stomach. I'd lose weight. For the past 20 months, I've lived through a bunch of fills-unfills-defills-refills. I've come to realize that the pouch does not "store" any food. If you chew the dickens out of what goes in the mouth, it always flows into the lower stomach. Only if the band is too tight does food get stuck in the upper pouch. It wasn't designed to be a second stomach. It was designed to slow the flow of food into the stomach. That is why we chew our food to pulp. That is why it takes so long to eat and causes the brain to register that the stomach is full. And that is also why slider foods are not good for us.

I've been told that I need to monitor and tell my clinic how long 1 cup of food keeps me satisfied. So now I limit my meals to only 1 cup of food and time how long it takes me before I'm hungry. Right now, it is about 4 hours which means, I am probably at a good fill level (even though I am still 0.5 cc below my maximum fill level of 4.5 cc). But I can still eat at any time. I haven't yet reached that point again where I "forget to eat". It will come again.

So why have I been stuck at the same weight since September 2010. My weight fluctuates between 169-175. Yesterday, I was 172. Is this my set-point? For the past few months, I was beginning to accept that this will be my goal weight. Does my body want to stay here or can I actually reach my original goal weight of 154 lbs? Statistically I've lost ~70% of my excess weight which is supposed to be what we can expect from the band.

But wait. Others have lost 100% or more of their excess weight. Others have lost nothing. So in the whole scheme of things the average lies somewhere in between. I don't want the average. I want the most I can get from the band. For me.

I have better plans. So I reflect on the past year.

When I first planned my meals post band, I could eat very little. A few bites here, a few bites there. This led to high calorie creations. No longer was I worried about slathering a piece of toast with gobs of butter or eating a chocolate bar. I could only eat one or two bites anyway. And I don't enjoy plain meat, chicken or fish. So cream sauces (made with real cream, not skim milk) were created. And garlic mashed potatoes to go with them because I couldn't eat vegetables or salads. Cheddar cheese was my go to food, full of fat and calories.

Then my year of unfills and refills. I could eat again. No more PB'ing. No more stucks. No more heartburn. In fact I could easily eat more than 1 cup of food, but I kept to that measured amount. I would almost have a panic attack when someone served me with a big plate. My little salad plates were my friend, making sure I stuck to the 1 cup portion. I could eat whatever I wanted. But I had grown accustomed to making these calorie rich foods but instead of a bite or two, I was eating the whole enchilada!

I also have a tough time getting in my protein. When I do eat about 20 g of protein at each meal, I am "full" for 3-4 hours. I need to make sure there is a bit of fat too. Cutting back on carbs is my goal, although I'd never go low-carb. Never, ever ever. I'd be in the mental hospital with severe depression if you took away my serotonin maker.

I've also been told more than once to give up alcohol. And to really exercise hard.

Funny how all these "advice" givers "know" how I should lose weight. It's not in the knowing. It's in the doing.

So as we move into 2012, I have a lot to think about. I do want to move down on the scale. Since being banded, I've always created a bunch of little lunches stacked in the freezer. Not those unappealing Lean Cuisine frozen blobs (LapBand Gal compares them to dog dishes). Real food, that I've made from scratch. Because I am a fantastic cook. I have to readjust to lower the calorie count but they are quick and easyI grab one each day for work.
My handy label maker is my friend. Sorry for any spelling mistakes!

In reflecting on what has changed with the band, I realize now that I have cut out fast food almost entirely. I have the occasional happy meal at McD's but I've almost eliminated processed junk food and meals. I take my own coffee in a thermos because it taste better than what I can buy. I will sometimes get a protein shake at Starbucks but I can also make the exact tasting one at home. Another benefit is that I have saved tons of money by not buying lunches, coffee or breakfast at work anymore. Yeah me!

There will be no resolutions this years. I will continue to lose weight. I have my gallbladder surgery on January 24th and will work to get the last 15 lbs off. My daughter is getting married in October and I have a bit of a desire to look svelte. I've ordered 3 exercise DVD's (they were on sale) and hope they keep me motivated until the winter is over. From there I can go back to Nordic walking with my great collapsible poles I got for Christmas.

I've decided I need to continue to blog, if only to check in with ME every once in a while. I get inspiration from reading how all of you are doing. I've resurrected the Superstars Blog and will post a new inspiration at least once a month. I hope a few who have taken a break from posting will reconsider and come back on line.

2012 will be a great year. I have lots of plans.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Date for Surgery

New surgery date for my cholecystectomy (getting the gallbladder out!): January 24th, 2012.

I didn't have to whine or anything. The hospital called back and my hubby told them December 23rd was not going to work. So finally the surgeon's office called and we decided on the end of January.

Why I didn't want two days before Christmas? Well first of all my band doc is off on vacation the following week and if I had a problem, I would have to drive 5 hours to Toronto. The other more important reason was if I somehow died, my family would always remember what a crappy Christmas they had this year. Soooo... no surgery until 2012.

I also want to state here, that our Stephanie is an evil person. She blogged about boots then these tempting Rollo-Pretzel-Pecan treats in a post. She sent me the recipe (ok, I was a bit evil by asking her for it) then changed a few things and made Caramilk-Square Pretzel-Pecan treats myself. The Caramilk bars were on sale for $1 (98 cents US). Hope they don't make you drool too much.

Me: 2     Hubby: 1

And Steph could never be evil. But these sure are good!

Friday, December 9, 2011

BodyFlow, Surgery Rant and a New Job

I might have mentioned that I was taking a Line Dancing Class which ended last week. The teacher was a bit of a turd. She wore a back brace and was a gazillion years old. But I went and learned that I'm not really a line dancer. One of my previous managers is a friend and she talks me into all these different things. Like Belly Dancing 2 years ago. Line Dancing this year. And then she said we should go to BodyFlow at the gym. Sort of a combo of yoga and tai chi.

OK. I went. I twisted and turned and sweated. I have no core. Yup. Me. I can't balance worth beans. And when she wanted me to bend my leg under me or do those funny leg positions and squats I wondered why oh, oh why was I doing this and not lying on the couch watching CSI.

But I'll go back. Because my core sucks. Every Thursday night at 8:30-9:30 pm. I'm usually in bed at that time watching CSI.

And as to my surgery date to have my gallbladder out. Well, they left a message today to tell me my surgery was booked for Friday, December 23rd. That basically means that some some other sod told them to F-off and turned down that day.

Having worked in the hospital at Christmas, no friggin way does someone have surgery the day before the almost 50% shutdown of a hospital for 2 weeks. If there are any complications I'm SOL for reaching anyone with any knowledge of fixing me up. The booking dept is closed until Monday morning but I left a message to say NO. They will need to reschedule me sometime in January like the surgeon said. It's all elective anyway. What if I were to die during surgery. What a nice Christmas present that would be for my family. 

You know what is really amazing. I have actually had 3 surgeries in the month of December. Because no one else wants to miss out on their turkey dinner. Not this time I say.

Just ranting here. 

And in other news, I start at a new location for work on Monday. I still work for the same employer but a different team. I've gone from a 10 minute drive last summer, to a 20 minute drive at my current location to a 40 minutes drive north of the city. Should be exciting because I have had nothing to do for the last three weeks, other than read books. At least it will be an experience. And I'll still have a job when all the others are downsized in a couple of years. 

I think ahead.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Going Nuts at Costco

I took a few hours of vacation this dreary Friday afternoon but first stopped at Costco for a few things, including nuts. I don't think I realized just how many nuts I had til I piled them on the table.
You might notice our nuts up here in Canada are bilingual!

There are Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Peanuts and Almonds. I think I'm a bit nuts. Not pictured is the humungous bag of Chocolate Chips. But I have this great Spiced Nuts recipe. If you come visit me I'll let you try them. Or you can also go nuts and make your own. Here is the recipe: Spiced Nuts

And why is it that one goes into Costco for only a few things and ends up with a bill for a few hundred dollars. Jeesh. My freezer is full. Of course with big bags of veges. And a couple of other good things.
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