Category Archives: Weightloss

Further WLS Changes

I got caught in a conundrum on Saturday when I was trying to get dressed and couldn’t find anything that fit the way I wanted it to.  The shirts were too short or too snug; my pants were too baggy.  My mood tanked quickly after trying to find something to wear in all that stuff.

My problem?  I have gone from a 5XL shirt and a very snug 26/28 pant down to a (I kid you not because we picked the shirt up yesterday) a 14/16 top and a 18R pant.  Ray has down the same and since I’ve been gone for 4 months, Ray bought clothes that fit and we got rid of most of our baggy stuff the night I got back from California, like a dumb@$$.

See, Ray, my lovely wife, doesn’t wear clothes the same way I do.  I have always been fat so baggy, long, and loose have been my go to things.  She has not, so form fitting things work.  I didn’t try things on before I packed up most of the really baggy things in a bag for Goodwill.  Saturday, I couldn’t find any of my long, loose shirts and the ones I kept back… In the laundry bin and I didn’t have time to wash clothes.

I was perturbed before my Amazon Flex shift because I couldn’t find anything that made me comfortable.

So here’s the reason for me talking about this:  Body dysmorphia is a real thing for me.  It gets worse with anxiety.  “[People with body dysmorphia] can’t control their negative thoughts and don’t believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.” – Anxiety and Depression Association of America

I feel awkward and I still “dress fat” because that is how I have always dressed.  Walking into a Forever 21 still scares the crap out of me because I have never in my life been able to wear those clothes.  I can, but do I really want to?  Not really, but we can’t shop at Torrid or Lane Bryant much longer either.

So what do you do?  Try to change the way you think about yourself (which is really freaking hard after three decades of habitual training).  Find positive social situations that reinforce positive thoughts (another really hard thing to do based off of past experiences).  Or… stay inside, find a job that makes working almost nonexistent, and become a hermit.  If I could, I’m pretty sure it would be option three.

Listening to:  The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Reading:  Night Shift by Charlene Harris and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Quote of the Day: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama

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Experimenting

This week, I decided to torture myself.  Maybe torture isn’t the right word.  Maybe experiment would be a better one for it.  Let’s go with experimenting.

I’ve been eating like crap lately, especially on the weekends while I’m home alone.  Chex Mix, candy, crackers, junk food, carb heavy things… You get the picture.  I’m not going to lose the last 50 or so pounds I wanted to doing that.

While looking for healthy recipes, keto things kept popping up. I figured why not try it. I’ve seen one of our kids do and he had a lot of success with it.  So… hello Pinterest and Reddit.  /r/keto had a lot of great recipe ideas, questions with tested answers from other members, support. There were success stories and everything.  It’s pretty cool.

My concern:  How does keto work with hypoglycemia and diabetes?  It wasn’t recommended but a few people who had diabetes and sugar issues suggested glucose tablets.

Kind of said screw it and just went for it.  That’s what experimenting is about, right?  It may not be a good thing but I’m willing to try it for a while.

I’m on day three and thankfully haven’t been having issues with sugar yet.  On the first day, I didn’t get cravings, especially for sugar like I had been getting.  Yesterday, I got a small one but found out why this morning.  Other than that, though, so far it hasn’t been bad.

This weekend will be the true test though.  I’m going on a road trip to Seattle, WA, and the Washington Coast.  I have a couple gallon water bottles that I’m going to fill up and take with me.  Water on this lifestyle change is a must.  I’ve gone through more water in the last three days than I had all of last week.  Also am going to need to stop and get snacks so I have them.  I normally do chips and candy and coffee…lots of coffee.  I can’t on this one so lots of water.  It should be fun though.

Already have my list of things to do Seattle and the surrounding area while I’m up that way.  Should be an interesting weekend and I’ll finally have something to actually say when I get back.

Listening to:  Shinedown and more playlist on Amazon

Reading:  Grave Peril by Jim Butcher and Just One Damn Thing after Another by Jodi Taylor.

Quote of the Day: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ― Steve Jobs

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Reading the Signs

In the last two weeks, I’ve dropped symptoms of what happens to me when I eat sugar and cake-like things to people.  My mother-in-law askThe most recent was pecan pie.  It looked really good and when asked if I wanted a piece, I explained that my hands and nose get numb when I eat things like that.

This coming after I had a cookie for breakfast (OMG was it good) and then got told, at work, that I looked blank faced.  I don’t know if that part goes hand-in-hand with each other but it was weird to have someone say that to me while I’m at work.

Same person asked if I was diabetic or hypoglycemic.  I know the stuff runs in my family, but I was not diabetic before I had surgery and most people say that post-gastric bypass, their diabetes goes away.  What if it doesn’t?  It just shows up as something else, or manifests as something else after surgery.

My symptoms:

  • Passing out about 30 minutes after eating cake, pie, etc. I’ve been very lucky with cookies although after yesterday morning, they are now regulated to afternoon/night time.  Also, paleo cookies didn’t cause issues from what I remember.  I bounced off the walls with those.
  • Cold fingers and nose.
  • Brain fog. I know brain fog; post-surgery, it bugged me.  Felt like I couldn’t care about anything or anyone.  I guess I would compare it to being mentally numb.
  • Mood Swings. These happen a little more than normal and I have been attributing them to other things like weather changes and S.A.D.

I haven’t gotten tested though and the last time my panels were drawn, I was fine.  What if I’m not?  Two people ask you the same question for the same symptoms…

Research time!

Symptoms of hypoglycemia (which normally shows up two to three years post-op):

  • Fast heartbeat.Many things in addition to hypoglycemia can cause a fast heartbeat, including excitement, stress, exercise, or ketones associated with high blood glucose. This can make it harder to notice fast heartbeat as a potential sign of hypoglycemia, but if you are having a fast heartbeat when there is no apparent reason for this to occur, you should check your blood glucose level.
  • Looking pale.You or those around you may notice that you are paler than usual during hypoglycemia.
  • Hunger is a useful symptom of hypoglycemia since it usually leads a person to eat and consequently raise his blood glucose level. However, you may be in the habit of ignoring the initial symptoms of hunger at work or school if you’re in a meeting, engrossed in studying, or attending a lecture. This is a dangerous habit to have, because the longer you ignore hunger, the hungrier you get and the more likely you are to overeat when you finally eat. In addition, if you wait until you have moderate hypoglycemia, your judgment may be affected such that you eat the first thing you find, whether or not it will quickly raise your blood glucose level.
  • Weakness and fatigue.These symptoms are directly related to your body not having enough energy (glucose) for both physical and mental needs. It may be tempting to take a nap when you feel weak and tired, but it’s important to monitor your blood glucose level if you feel this way at a time of day when you are not usually tired. If hypoglycemia is causing your feeling of fatigue, your blood glucose level may go even lower during your nap, and you are unlikely to be able to detect other symptoms of hypoglycemia while asleep.
  • Having a headache often signals that you had hypoglycemia earlier in the day or have had it for some time. For example, if you wake up with a headache or leave a movie theater with a headache, you may have been hypoglycemic for some time. If the headache is severe enough, you may have nausea. You should treat yourself with carbohydrate and plan to monitor more frequently for the rest of the day. If the hypoglycemia has lasted a long time, the body’s stored sugar may have been used up, and you are more prone to repeat episodes of hypoglycemia that day.
  • Impaired vision.Double vision and tunnel vision are two types of visual disturbances that may occur with hypoglycemia. Like headache, impaired vision also often signals that your blood glucose has been low for quite some time. Your brain routinely takes two pictures from two eyes and formulates the pictures into a single image. When your brain does not have enough glucose, the brain loses the ability to coordinate vision. You may see fine with one eye closed, but quick action is needed to prevent the confused state that will follow if you don’t raise your blood glucose level.  Enlarged pupils can also be a symptom of hypoglycemia, but you are unlikely to notice them unless you’re looking in a mirror or someone else takes a close look at your eyes. If you are becoming hypoglycemic while reading, you may notice that you cannot find the correct line or that you see fewer words with each glance.
  • Difficulty communicating.Difficulties with communication can range from not being able to remember a word, to speaking in a monotone, to only responding in simple words such as “yes” or “no.” Some people describe feeling that the words they want to use are just out of their reach.
  • Difficulty absorbing new information.Without adequate glucose, your brain has trouble taking in new information. If you find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over or listening to someone speak then realizing you missed what was said, perhaps because you were daydreaming, you may have hypoglycemia.
  • Dizziness is another symptom that occurs after a person has been hypoglycemic for some time. You may have trouble walking a straight line or changing body positions. This is one of many symptoms of hypoglycemia that may be misinterpreted as drunkenness. If strangers or the police find you swerving while walking, medical identification in the form of a bracelet, necklace, or wallet card may save you from a misunderstanding and get you the treatment needed to stave off severe hypoglycemia.
  • Numbness or tingling.Numbness or tingling in the face or hands may be symptoms of hypoglycemia. Sometimes the numbness is first noticed in one spot, such as the upper lip, then it spreads across the face.
  • Unusual behavior.Anxious, giddy, confused, and irritable behaviors are important symptoms for friends, coworkers, and family members to learn about. These symptoms may occur when you can no longer judge that you are in danger. Your blood glucose may be so low that you no longer recognize family members or authority figures such as the police. You may argue, cry, yell, or fight.

Reading these after I copied them into my “working document” scared me a little bit.  Hello doctor’s appointment and panel work-up when I get back to Maryland.  And I guess new recipe board on Pinterest.

Shaking my head, but definitely not regretting surgery.

Listening to:  2007 Hits Playlist on Amazon

Reading:  Dear Martin by Nic Stone and The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Quote of the Day:  “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ― Shirley Chisholm

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Traveling Solo

So I did end up going up to Portland this weekend.  One thing I hadn’t considered was that this weekend started Spring Break.  Everywhere I went, there were college age young people, and lines to get into some of the more popular spot.

One thing I hadn’t counted on that was very new to me is that my social anxiety has gotten much worst.  I knew I was socially awkward but being surround by people in that sort of environment made me happy to get back to where I’m on detail too.

From that statement along, there are a couple things I want to say:

  1. Social anxiety: Freaking sucks.  So here I am in a city I love and have wanted to move to for a very long time and I feel like I’m drowning, floundering even, because of the sheer volume of people.  I’m already socially awkward as it is, especially lately (several months of people looking at you like what you say and do isn’t valuable doesn’t help).  I’m in a bookstore where I’m saying excuse me every few seconds because I’m looking for a book they don’t have and I’m terrified someone is going to not hear me, then get pissed off when I walk in front of them.  I didn’t used to be this way, or maybe at least I didn’t notice it as much.
  2. Touristy things: Are not for the faint of heart.  Sure, there are great things that everyone has discovered and is doing.  Don’t do them unless you don’t have any other options.  There is almost always another location that is just as cool as the one where people are standing in line.  Or has better food, like Georgetown Cupcakes vs Curbside (R.I.P).
  3. Weightloss surgery: This is where I’m drawing in a big breathe and remembering to breathe out slowly.  I’m not the same person I was when I went to Portland years ago.  I can’t eat how I used to, I certainly can’t drink like I used to, and the walking around was a lot easier now vs then.  So what’s the problem with this picture?  The problem is my mentality.  I still see myself as this big person who is taking up more space than she should, but when I was that big, I never thought I was that big.  I knew I could lose some weight, and I still could, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me back then.  Now, and this a complaint, I have to think about food differently.  I have to think about my alcoholic nature differently.  I even have to sit at the bar differently than I used people.  I could start a conversation with people and not feel like I was being judged.  I don’t now because I’ve had several months of people’s eyes glazing over that’s trained me to not bother.  And that makes me feel like I’m not good enough anymore except to the people who I know love me, even though sometimes even then I wonder.  This is where the social anxiety aspect kicks in too, although there are a few other underlying things that I’m not going to voice until I have a long, hard conversation with a therapist when I get back.
  4. Travel with a partner!: I would probably have had more fun walking around, doing the scavenger hunt, enough the warm day, had I been with someone.  Not just any someone, but someone I wanted to share the city with, who knows that I’m crazy, and would have shared the food with me along with the experience.  Traveling by myself is great, but there is nothing like seeing the city with someone who actually wants to be there with you.

So my trip to Downtown Portland…

Lackluster?  Yes.  I still love the city.

Worth it?  Meh.  Eugene was slightly better and I only stopped there for food.

Short?  Most definitively!  I spent more time driving to and from than I actually did in the city itself, mostly because I couldn’t enjoy it the way I had before, which really freaking sucked.

Got sixteen new books out of that trip though.

Happy Monday.

Listening to:  White noise.

Reading:  The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Quote of the Day:  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ― Napoleon Hill

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Filed under Books/Classes, Driving, Vacations/Travel, Weightloss

Serious Conversation

I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of weight loss surgery on the 12th.  I’ll do a blog post about the stats with that on the 11th.

Today’s post is about a side effect, or a cause, or a redirection maybe, of addiction.  It’s about alcohol.

Last night, I got slurred stupid off of two cups of wine.  I’m not going to lie—they were not small cups either.  The apples didn’t help much, except as maybe a food source.  I don’t have an excuse or a reason for drinking last night other than it felt good and I wanted it.

Before surgery, I might have gone through a six pack of beer in a few days.  It tasted good and I enjoyed the relaxed feeling that came from it and stayed with me.  I wasn’t chasing demons or anything like that, not like what I was doing when I was in my earlier 20’s.  There were days I still wanted to get smashed to the point of being sick, but that wasn’t for any of the reasons that I’ve heard people say before.  I also wasn’t one who thought drinking before noon was cool, although I spent much of my 23rd and 24th years of life showing up for work hungover.  Fun, right?  Not really, but it happened.  Moving on.

After surgery…  I’m not even sure where to start.  One drink can either hit you like a ton of bricks within minutes or several hours later, but you feel it in different way than before.

Food and eating it can be an addiction.  Please don’t tell me it can’t be; a recovering foodie here, so I know.  It’s one of the few used substances that is completely accessible in so many different forms and companies make billions of dollars to create food that makes us want to eat it—constantly.  All because without food, we don’t survive very long.

For me, food was a comfort.  I didn’t know how to work through feelings growing up.  I didn’t care a lot of the times, and we moved around so much as kids that keeping friends wasn’t the easiest thing to do.  Every year, new school, new people to meet, etc., until 6th grade, and then I was the weird kid.  Not really going to get into that too much; I’ll save that for therapy.  But, hey, excuses right?

I’ve always been fat and have always turned to not-so-great food choices.  When I left home a month before my 18th birthday, I started drinking.  It didn’t replace food, but it become something that went with food and made me feel good.  Sometimes, it was the only thing that helped me get from day to day, just numb enough that I could over look problems but not so numb I couldn’t function.

After surgery, I took a shot for New Year’s Eve.  I was fine.  I made it most of the way through January without drinking; had a sip at dinner and almost didn’t eat anything because I was full.  Tiny stomach equals not much room for things.  Went another month and some change and had a beer with a friend.  Started drinking beers once every few weeks and gradually increased the intake, until Thanksgiving this past week, with a beer before noon and then three glasses of wine in about three hours.  I was floating and happy and I was pushing my limits.  I’d been pushing my limits all year long actually.

Why so much (Because…reasons)?

Didn’t I eat (Yes, and Ray had to take my plate from me because I’m used to eating a lot at Thanksgiving; some habits never stop being habits)?

Am I depressed (With work, yes; life in general, no.  I just completed a first draft of my next book; who would be upset with that)?

Demons finally catching up to me (Maybe)?

News flash:  Alcohol, like food, is addictive.  When you have surgery, what they tell you is that you should avoid alcohol, at least for the first year.  Well, there’s a good reason for that:  You just had surgery to help curb one addiction, they didn’t want you needing to cope with another!

It’s damn hard getting past one addiction when all I really want right now is to take a bite out of a Red Robin cheeseburger without being full off that one bite, or to have a slice of cheesecake without getting the sugar shakes and needing to fall asleep as soon as possible because my body can’t deal with the sugar content.  That last happened with a slice of apple pie last week; wasn’t expecting it, but boy was I happy I was at home.

This surgery thing is not easy, and there are plenty of ways to still screw up.  But I wouldn’t make a different decision because losing what I have has let me do so much more with my life and with my wife.

So, I just admitted I have a problem.  Now what?

Listening to:  My writing mix

Reading:  Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs and Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Quote of the Day:  Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” ― Henry Ward Beecher 

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Weightloss and Comments

Yesterday I got hit with the whole “Are you losing weight because you look like you’re weight” comment.  My response was to look down, mutter “yes,” and walk back to my desk.

This morning, I was going through my e-mails before I got ready for work and saw something one of the vloggers I follow had posted about a woman who had flagged her down and wanted to talk to her about the Overeaters Anonymous group at the flagger’s church.  I shook my head; maybe the woman had had great success there, but to flag someone you don’t know down and interrupt them getting their groove on is a little much.  Unsolicited advice is a no-go.  Just don’t, please.

Over on Facebook, I’m in a couple gastric bypass groups.  Someone in one of them posted about their daughter who was going through the same struggles the person had before coming to terms with having weightloss surgery.  As a parent, she doesn’t want her child going through the same situation she did.  However, her daughter is over the age of 18; there’s not much a parent can do about their offspring’s choices after that.

Something about all of these things brought me to write this particular post this morning.  Here it goes.

PLEASE STOP GIVING ADVICE OR COMMENTING SO MUCH!

Sure, I’ve lost weight.  Yes, I work around people and people are going to notice changes.  No, I don’t constantly want to talk about my weightloss journey and I definitely don’t want to talk about how you’re having surgery because I look like I’m having amazing success with it.  If I’m out here walking or exercising, I’m in my groove; please don’t comment about it.  Or how about asking yourself before saying anything, “Would I say what I’m about to say if this person was a [insert descriptors… for this, it’s ‘smaller person.’  For others, it may be ‘male,’ ‘female,’ etc.]?”  How about that?

In my monthly goal posts, yes, I put up how much I lost the month before and how much I want to lose over the next month.  That’s pretty much it.  I’m not constantly posting pictures for Transformation Tuesday, Weightloss Wednesday, etc., because I am over talking about my weightloss journey.  It’s been seven months!  The only thing I really want to talk about is how to mentally be the smaller person.  Can you talk to me how to mentally not respond to things the way I would have when I was bigger?

*Holds temples*

For people with kids, harping on their weight is just going to make them more self-conscious and insecure in themselves.  If you’re really worried about it, start cooking differently for the whole family.  Go for walks as a family; do activities as a family!  Make it look like you are trying something different as a family.  Don’t make weight the focus.  Why is weight even a focus at that point?

WHY ARE WE SO PREOCCUPIED WITH WEIGHT AND NOT SUPPORT?

Support is different for each person.  Why can’t we say something nice to people regardless of size, race, gender, cultural aspects, etc.?  For my co-worker, just say something nice about my outfit or my hair.  For people we see out on the streets, if you have a moment to say something nice, do so but don’t interrupt them while they are in their groove.  For the parent, encourage your kids to do things with you like game night; communicate with them.  Actually have a conversation with each other where you are supportive and not destructive towards them or yourselves.

Food for thought today.

Listening to:  My Amazon Playlist

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “Each of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm. When we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou

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Race Day #2

I did it!

Saturday, I completed my second major race, the Baltimore 10-Miler.  It was a beautiful course through Druid Hill Park and then through JHU out to Lake Montebello and back.  Ten miles of officers and people being supportive and plenty of Gatorade and water.  It was awesome… until it wasn’t anymore.  I got to the finish with a broken blister on my right heel again, two rolled ankles, and cramps so bad in both legs.  Oh and my mid-upper back on fire.  Reasons?  I didn’t really train for this one.

Bmore 10 Miler

I finished though… in under the time limit with almost a minute faster pace than the Frederick Half.

Bmore 10 Miler medal

There would have been no way I would have done either of these last year.

So what’s the difference?

Surgery.

In December 2016, I had weight loss surgery.  I was sitting at 396 at this time last year (right picture).  Right now, I’m at 280/281 (left pic).

Comparison

This was not the easy way out.  There is a lot of work that went into getting the surgery.  I started the process a year ago this month in fact.  Every day is a struggle to get through all the fluids and all the protein that I need to intake just to keep going.  Hence the walking more, the getting out more, the doing more things, etc.

Last year, Maryland’s King Crab Challenge was just a thought on a piece of paper of things I wanted to do.  Now, thanks to the surgery and the support I have, it’s a reality this year.  My feet aren’t thanking me for it yet, but my esteem is.

Now to get my legs elevated so my ankle and heel can heal.  19 weeks and 5 days until Baltimore Run Fest!

Have a great week everyone.

Listening to:  Hamilton

Reading:  The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

Quote of the Day:  “Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” ― Thomas Carlyle

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals, Weightloss