Not Hiding

So I come to you all a little vulnerable tonight. Whatever my reasons, which are in no way shape or form good ones, my eating habits lately have fallen off a cliff. 

As I write I am curled into a ball on the floor of my sanctuary, writhing in pain from what must be over-indulgence today. I have received the clear message from my pouch that it is NOT happy and that I did it to her.  So I have spent some time really thinking about what I’ve eaten today and then taken a backwards looks at the last few weeks. In all honestly I would have to guess that 20% of the time I ate like I should; 80% not the best choices have been made.  I need to take back control, yesterday. 

Ive been reading bariatric forums on doing a “reset” on your pouch. One is 5 days and one is 10 days. Both resemble my post-op plan just reduced down to days rather than weeks. I think I’m going to do this starting right in the morning. Clear, full, mushy, bland solids shredded. Then back to the correct SOP. I really feel that this will reset my pouch and detox me of all of the sugars and carbs. I am pretty sure I’m going to do the 10. Better now than do more damage to my precious pouch. 

So send little prayers my way to keep me strong as I know the next 10 days will test me to the fullest. But it must be done.  

Anyone else had to do something similar to keep yourself on track or just make sure your pouch doesn’t get stretched? How’d it go?

10 Things I’ve Learned So Far

Taking a page from a friend and fellow blogger, I wanted to reflect on the top-10 things I’ve learned since having my surgery in September. 

  1. Every journey is unique. It’s so easy, and c’mon, so natural for us to compare our losses and successes to others like us-those who have had the surgery or are going though the process. Just like every single doctor that each of us have, the plans are not the same. Our bodies and medical conditions and personal battles with food are not the same. We will each go through this uniquely. 
  2. I am not a patient person. I know this about myself, so maybe this really doesn’t count as things I’ve learned. But patience is key. You cannot just wake-up one day without a food addiction.  This has been such an eye-opener. Look I didn’t expect that I would, truth is I never hyper-focused on my very real addiction until after my surgery when it really showed itself in true colors. But now I want it gone. Like, yesterday. I fight every day and will keep fighting, but I can’t wait until the fight doesn’t feel like a scene from Spartacus. 
  3. My confidence will be restored. Whether it’s all of the endorphins from working out, the healthier food, or the clothes that no longer fit, I feel good. My husband and friends have noticed a huge difference in my interactions with them and in public -I am more myself again. Light, funny and not apart. I didn’t really realize that I had effectively made myself a bit of a recluse. More somber, quiet, no longer life of the party, no spiritually enlightening conversations, or brainstorming the possibilities of life and the hilarity that comes from doing that with friends you’ve had in your life for over 12 years. So I see a little more of myself every day in the mirror.  The face, eyes and smiles that have crept back into my psychie. I am starting to like me again. 
  4. Future clothes shopping (without buying) is fun. I have an Amazon addiction. More importantly, I have ‘Wish List’ addiction. Exploring the possibilities of wearing very different colors, patterns, and rocking a new style is fun.  And all I have to do is click ‘save to wish list’. It’s like personal vision board for clothes. It’s cathartic to me.
  5. Meal planning is the only thing that works. Whether your planning you family’s menu for the week or planning you own (you should do both) it is seriously the only ritual that must be done in order to keep you on track. You might get to a point as far into the journey where you can wing it-you’ve got it down pat-I’d still recommend advanced meal planning. When you walk out of your office hungry and are faced with your favorite chips as the first thing you see, if you already have a meal prepared in the fridge or lunchbox-already you’re 10x less likely to nibble on those chips. Let’s not forget you’re ensuring adequate nutrition for the day by having a plan. 
  6. Progress moves. Whether it’s a scale loss, stall or up a couple of pounds you’re still moving forward. Measurements, exercise, good food choices, proper water intake, NSVs- you’re moving. And it’s progress. It moves all around you like water in the ocean, swirling from all different directions but ultimately pushing you to its destination – the wave making it to the glorious sand – where you’ll finally sink in your feet and raise your eyes to the brighter sky. 
  7. NSVs are 10x more potent than SVs. When you finally break through that which was impossible, or holding you back, or situations that plagued you, those are the ones that make you squeal with delight and make you feel like “Yes!”  Bet you dont quite get that from just a pound or two loss on the scale this morning. 
  8. There is no reason to mourn food. You are not depriving yourself-this isn’t a diet. It’s a way of life, a way to health. Relish the idea that one day, if you keep it up, you won’t want to choose the crap you once craved. Emotional eating may still be your battle but instead of pastries and alcohol you’ll feed it with fuel food and herbal tea. Kale will be your candy! Well, maybe not, but either way you’ll want to eat the good stuff. White bean chicken chili is my new comfort food, especially in this cold weather. 
  9. Daily meditation and self-reflection is critical. Getting right with yourself everyday is as essential to your spirit as prayer and worship of our Lord. You have to get in touch with yourself to understand where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going to keep yourself-not just focused, sure-but that you’re still you and that you love you. You must find that love, even if you don’t think you’ve ever had it before. All the more reason to do this. I have a wall heater in my bathroom, and carpet in the main area. I sit in my spot in front of that heater every night, turn on my relaxation sounds, and reflect. Very effective for learning to love myself again. 
  10. I am not alone and I CAN do it! Whether it’s support from the people around me or from those who read and comment on my blog (thank you) and inviting me into their own journeys to share and celebrate their triumphs and success, this community is everything. We can’t, nor should we, do this alone.  I know I can do it, because I am doing it, and have an awesome support system that’s got my back even when I trip. You all rock!

While I’ve learned so much more than these ten things, these are those that reflect what’s top of mind for me right now. My motivational quote for this week: 

Look in the mirror. The only competition you have is you.

This is specifically speaking to my workout goals for this week, BUT I can see the appropriateness of this  quote for our journeys as well. Either way, you win. Embrace that!

Off to my heater and meditation time! See you soon,

Amanda 😘

    Hunger Pains

     I’m not sure what happened with my body, but it did not get the memo about not being very hungry and having to ‘make sure’ to eat. It may have to do with the meds I take-one of them has been proven to increase appetite-but man-o-man I get like raging hungry all of the time. Seriously if I don’t eat every 3-4 hours my stomach is literally eating itself! I’m sad about that. I have to admit, it’s been cause to put me in situations where I make a bad choice in food items because the alternative is going several more hours without. Tonight, thank heavens there was a GNC nearby and I ran in and bought one of their cold protein shakes from the cooler.  Crisis averted whew!  But as I sipped (gulped like a fish) my shake on the sidewalk and looked around… Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Bojangles…

    I counted my lucky stars for the GNC. 

    But it got me thinking. I really need to keep my car or purse stocked with go to items for these occasions which are occurring often because of my busy schedule. I hate protein bars, have not found one yet I don’t need to spit out upon first bite.  Wait, I take that back-none that I’ve purchased. I made a batch of oatmeal protein bars a bit ago and they were pretty good. Just have to cut that recipe in half because it made SO many. And putting that on the grocery list…

    Any other sleevers suffer with raging hunger like I do, post-op? Any advice or good on the go food ideas?

    All things being equal…

     

    A very personal post tonight, a glimpse into my family life…

    Today was a day full of challenges, for sure. And they weigh heavy on my heart tonight and for a long time to come, I’m sure. 

    Parenting is not a cake walk, never thought it would be or should be.  But there are times, many times when you wonder if you’re doing everything right by your kids.  Ever feel like your feet are dangling, and then you don’t know that when you put your feet on the ground what direction to you’re to take?

    I have three amazing little people I brought into this world. Each one is so very different, and in many ways we parent each to their own individual personality. Yes there are standard principals and rules and consequences and morals we apply evenly through the home, but each child is guided based on their individual needs. Not all things are equal in this house. And right now, I’m struggling with that with regard to the challenges we currently face. 

    I had a parent teacher conference with ALL of my son’s teachers today. I was mortified by the fact that I actually started crying. Yes, during the conference.  Dammit! Now, it’s not like what they were saying was incredibly horrible, at all.  It’s because he has a problem and I, as a parent, was not sure in those moments in front of these people, how I was going to help him.  Hence, the waterworks. 

    Now I understand this is a controversial subject. I’m not here to debate it, I was a cynic myself until I had children.  I see value and shortcomings in ALL of the arguments on this subject-even my own take on it.  Be that as it may…

    All three of my kids-each one with very very different learning abilities-have their father’s genetics of having ADD.  Behavior has never been an issue for any of them.  My son might be a bit hyperactive, but it’s more related to his self control abilities and not disciplinary behavior issues.  He’s a good kid and the teachers reaffirmed that to me today.  He’s respectful, polite, compassionate… and brilliant. I don’t say that beilliant part because I’m his mom, trust me-but my daughters, me, my husband-all of us are in a totally different ball field than him when it comes to his brain.

    The reason for my heavy heart tonight is not because of his problem, per se, but because of the measures my husband and I are taking to hopefully alleviate some of the contributors to his problem in an effort to help him take control (sans medication). Special diet, chiropractic care, and quite possibly home school so he can control the environment he so desperately needs to control…(that’s him – not us or the teachers, it is actually his number one issue). I’ll save you the details because it would take a page or 5 to describe my sons personality and inner workings. That’s not the point tonight really. 

    The point is however, that we (my husband and I) have been thinking in a tunnel I think. We’re only focusing on one child right now, when all three battle with the same affliction. Homeschool is not an option for my oldest – would not be beneficial to her at all. My youngest, that remains to be seen as of yet. We’ll have to cross that bridge soon though I’m pretty sure. She needs the live, hands on approach. But that’s not here or there for this post.  But…

    What about the diet changes and chiropractic care? We didn’t even talk about that for my daughters. Why? Why are we not talking about those things for them too?! They each require very different ‘treatment’ options- they are not the same and this cannot be equal. But drastically changing their diet and taking them to a chiropractor renowned for improving the afflictions of ADD-those are just basic home-grown medicines we can give to all three of them to help, right?  To minimize the battle they fight every day in school as much as we can-so they can learn better in school. We can make these changes throughout the household easily, expense ignored.  And see if it actually does help one or all three of them. It can’t hurt to try for all of their sakes, surely… This one can be created equal in this house.  Will it help, I don’t know. My son will/does give 100% honing in on himself to take ADD by the balls without medication, which he vehemently opposes and we respect that (he is 13 and has a mind to determine that for himself). But what about my girls? My oldest has tried the no-medication route and it is not for her. My youngest is in the midst of evaluation so we dont know if that’s a tool for her yet. 

    So I think that this has to be equal in this house- the diet and chiropractic care. Maybe the girls can be medication-free too, who knows. That would be like diamonds falling from the sky if that were the case. I don’t like medication for my children. But suffering from my own affliction (bi-polar) and seeing the positive change in my life because of medication, I can’t discard the value in that for my kids own afflictions either. It’s a very tight rope we walk on the subject. And one we take very seriously. 
    All things in life are not created equal. Parenting is no different. 

    But this one, this one might help all of them. 

    Advise is welcomed, especially with regard to homeschooling in which I have just begun researching. Bashing is not, so I thank you for not doing it here. 

    And thanks for the ear tonight…

    Happy Thanksgiving 

    There are so many things I am thankful for right now, I’m not even sure I could list them all here.  It all sums up to God Is Good and I am humbled by His love!

    I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who get me through the ups and downs of my journey and who care enough to cheer me on and keep me accountable.  And who’s journeys inspire me on a daily basis.  

    You. Are. Amazing!

    Im so glad I started this blog and thank each of you for being my friend in this place! 

    So Happy Thanksgiving, may your day be filled with love and laughter (and maybe a bite or two of indulgence)! 

    With love,

    Amanda

    Sappy Thursday

     

    So I feel compelled to give my husband a shout out. He doesn’t even read my blog, so I’m not looking to score brownie points with my man. 

    My husband an I have been through the rigors in our 15+ years. I mean serious shit. But somehow we manage to prevail and have a better marriage today than ever before. 

    Yay me right? But see, this surgery was kind of a big deal…

    My husband likes my size. Seriously. He is not super excited personally for me to get ‘skinny’. But he knows, knew, my weight was killing me. Potentially, quite literally.  He watched me and cheered me as I rode the diet and excersize yo-yo hell.  Watched helplessly as my self esteem went to the shitter with every pound I didn’t lose and gained +.  And he stood by me when I finally broke down and said I have to have this surgery. 

    I didn’t go through health insurance folks, mine specifically excludes coverage for gastric procedures. I paid cash.  That was a big deal. As he tries to build up our cattle herd so that we can have a lucrative retirement, I essentially went out and bought a new car, when we could have bought 20 cows with that money. But he didn’t even bat an eye. Because he knows this was my last straw, my last weapon in the arsenal to finally conquer my weight problem and my relationship with food problem. And hopefully regain me in the process. He can’t wait to see me again…  

    So yeah, shout out to the hubs. He deserves it.  

    Mind Food

    I have been thinking and dreaming about food. I’m not hungry, but I want FOOD.  Cooking for the family today has been a struggle for my mind. I started reading articles about bariatric eating galore after I cooked dinner. I’ve read these all before but they seem to be soothing my mind hunger tonight. 

    Man, I didn’t realize my relationship with food was THIS bad. Clearly this is going to be an even bigger up-hill battle for me as I re-learn how to eat after this surgery. I am going to have to be even more aware of my addiction and make good decisions. I’ll be hunting really good books on the subject and cookbooks specific to bariatric and WLS eating. I did find a great website with recipes using protein powders, it’s called Cheatclean. It’s the Quest brand recipe site, but some of those recipes look awesome. 

    I’m only down 3 lbs from the day before surgery. I have to say I’m a bit surprised at that number considering I’ve been on liquids for a full week now. I don’t know, I just thought the number would be a little higher. One of my VSG friends I met that had surgery the same day as me is down 12 and is already driving!  My other friend (same day sleever) is like me, scale hasn’t moved much either. 

    I’ve been following all the rules to the letter since day one and plan to continue that…hopefully this isn’t the status quo for me as I move into solid  foods stage in a few weeks. To be fair, I’m down 7 lbs total from the start of the 2-week diet date. 

    I’d love to hear what some fellow sleevers first few weeks losses were post-op… And did you struggle with head-hunger immediately after surgery too?

    Post-op day 3, much better

    Still quite swollen but overall looks good

    Day three is much better. I managed to go the full night without pain medication, but I definitely needed it when I got up this morning before heading out to the doctor.  Getting in and out of bed is still painfully difficult.

    I’m hungrier than I thought I would be. I’ve been drinking broth and eating Popsicles, but I salivated over the oatmeal my mom and grandma ate earlier today.  I had to look it up when I can have oatmeal.  Week 4, damn.  I tried decaf coffee and it feels good to have a pretend cup lol. 

    The last 2 days I’ve slept a lot. If I wasn’t walking or drinking I was sleeping. Today I think I’ll watch a movie. 

    Besides the boo-boos I honestly don’t feel like I had surgery. I don’t know what I expected my stomach to feel like but it just feels normal. I’m really trying tap into that “full” feeling, but so far I don’t have it. Likely because it’s just liquids for right now.  I certainly hope so. 

    In the mean time, while away from work, I had some pretty awesome news. My first client gave me a perfect 10 rating and some pretty awesome comments.  It’s a big deal for my company. It was escalated to my boss’s boss’s boss and the emails have just been so amazing.  I’ve got all the feels! 

    My husband and kids are making a “surprise” visit to me tonight. I say “surprise”  because that was his intention, but when I said “why don’t you come see me tonight?” I ruined it. Lol! Can’t wait to see them though! 

    It’s been great staying with my mom. I’m taking us to get mani-pedis on my way home  tomorrow to say thank you. 

    Until tomorrow…

    Recovering

    First, I am really glad I decided to stay at my moms! Not only does she have an adjustable bed where you raise your head up and down, but it’s just been really nice to be separated from that which I would feel like I’m supposed to be doing something-my house. But I do miss my hubby and the kiddies quite a bit…

    Today my pain is either really bad or manageable. My right side especially hurts.  When I walk (which I have been doing lots of) I have to hold my belly so it doesn’t jiggle. And I have a massive headache that just will not quit. 

    You all said getting all your fluids after surgery was hard, I believed you but boy, it is hard! Broth feels better on my tummy than anything else today. My gas pain has not been too bad at all, oddly.  

    I’m hoping I feel much better tomorrow and don’t have to take pain meds. Going to the dr in the morning. Kind of irritated I have to drive all the way to Atlanta for them to change my dressing. I don’t have any drains or anything.  

    That’s my check-in for today. More later…