30 December 2005

Back on the exercise wagon

I went to my sister's gym with her this morning. We got there right as it opened, so there were thankfully no issues getting an elliptical. (It's at a university, and being that it's the week between Christmas and New Year's, they didn't open until 10am. So, no I'm not _that_ psycho!) I could definitely tell that my body wasn't thrilled it had been almost 3 weeks since I'd done any real exercise, but given that it was the elliptical and that I had The Price Is Right on the TV in front of me, I had absolutely no trouble doing 48 minutes (including a 6 minute cool-down). I don't remember how many strides I did, but it said I'd burned about 325 calories (and that's without entering things like my age & weight). And, it's weird, but I kind of liked having others around me doing the same thing ... the mob mentality, I guess. Maybe I could ask my upstairs neighbor to bring her treadmill down and we could exercise together? ;)

4x4 Meme

Taken from Holly's Zoo ...

Four jobs you've held in your life: Audio Visual/Distance Learning Consultant, Dot Com Customer Support Manager, English lab teaching assistant, McDonald's "trash castle" cleaner (one of my most favorite duties among many)

Four movies you could watch over and over: Steel Magnolias, Emma, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Somewhere in Time

Four places you've lived: Answers withheld for paranoid privacy reasons

Four TV shows you love to watch: Sex and the City, Amazing Race, What Not To Wear, Grey's Anatomy

Four places you've been on vacation: Walt Disney World (about a million times), Disneyland (a few times), The Everglades, New York City

Four websites you visit daily: Living After WLS, the blogs you see at right, CNN, New York Times

Four of your favorite foods: Just about anything from Su Hong in Menlo Park, CA (but especially their General's Chicken), edamame, chicken with string beans, cheese grits

Four places you'd rather be: San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York City, Tucson, AZ (in winter)

29 December 2005

Feelings of largeness (to put it mildly)

I suspect it's due to not being able to weigh myself for almost 2 weeks now coupled with the feelings of guilt over the poor food choices I've been making lately, but regardless of why, I've been feeling rather fat lately. I _know_ I'm no where near where I was, but I'm still not feeling so hot about myself. So, in an attempt to help quell this feeling, I asked my sister to take a picture of me with my nieces that I could compare it to a picture I found the other night while browsing digital albums I've uploaded over the past few years. The result is the photo you see here. The one on the left was taken at Jordan Winery the last time my husband and I visited California in March of 2005.

Some of the most glaring differences to me are just the breadth of my chest, the chubbiness of my cheeks, the fact that you can see my collar bone in today's picture and well, my hair looks a lot better. Oh, and why in the hell didn't anyone tell me those capris looked so horrible?! I mean, they're tapered, so all they do is successfully accentuate the widest part of my body. How could I have possibly thought they looked good?!

Unfortunately, I also think I look happier in the picture from March. I haven't felt particularly unhappy or sad today, but I just don't think I look as happy ... despite being thrilled to be with my girls. Maybe it's because I think I'm coming down with something, but I know it's more likely due to my marriage issues. I know I shouldn't dwell on it, but how can I not, right? I'm trying to do things to keep myself busy, and I've been reading a lot. But, my mind keeps returning to those thoughts of missing him at almost every turn as well as what I can do in the future to make our marriage better. And, while I'm still not sleeping soundly and I really dread returning to my empty (and very messy) house, it will be nice to return to somewhat of a routine and my sweet doggie.

27 December 2005

Therapy via shopping?

We made another trek to Birmingham today. I received a very generous gift card to Eddie Bauer from my sister's family for Christmas, so I was excited to use it on the post-Christmas sales. I happily found a pair of dress pants, a shirt, a sweater and a pair of PJ bottoms. Although, it was a bit of a set-back in that the pants are a size 16, and the shirt and sweater are an XL. But, as Jenn discovered, things at Eddie Bauer tend to run on the small side. But, wait, there was another punch in the gut ready for me: seeing my sister in the SIZE 2 cords she tried on that were TOO BIG!! Practically my entire life I've been bigger than my sister (even though she's 3 years older than I am), and I've always struggled with it. I mean, when she was 9 months pregnant with her first daughter, she borrowed clothes of mine! That's not to say she hasn't had to work at it; she runs marathons for crying out loud! But, it's still rather unfair. ;)

Back to the shopping, I found this fabulous jacket at Anthropologie at an amazing price; unfortunately, the largest size they had was a size 10, and while I can get it on and buttoned, I know it's not supposed to fit like it does. I bought it with the knowledge that I _love_ it and that I _am going_ to lose more weight (despite the setbacks I've suffered while here), but I keep telling myself that I shouldn't have bought it because, well, I shouldn't be spending any money given my current financial situation. So, I have an out; my sister and her family are leaving to go to Disney on the same day I'm set to fly out, but their flight is a ton earlier than mine. So, I can continue to think about it, and if I decide to return it, I'll have time before my flight. Good plan, huh?

And, lastly I bought a fabulous, limited-edition glass ornament from Smith & Hawken at 50% off plus an extra 15% off for being a "preferred customer". When we lived in California, I worked at Smith & Hawken for about a year, and enjoyed a 40% discount, so buying their yearly limited-edition ornaments became a tradition. It's one I've not taken part in for the past few years (as there isn't a Smith & Hawken anywhere near where I live, and the full-price of the ornament is way too much), so I was happy to find it this year at 50% off!!!

My sister posted pictures from Christmas today. This one's of me, my brother-in-law and my two nieces. Aren't they adorable? I'm having a fabulous time here with them and don't look forward to leaving, but it's got to happen. I have to get away from all of the food temptations and face the realities of my life at home.

26 December 2005

Post-Christmas Wrap-Up

Overall, the day went well. I began the day with 3 breakfast-sized apple chicken sausages and 6oz of skim milk (despite having blueberry muffins available). The girls then began their first round of present opening before we left for church. The church service was very nice, but what I enjoyed most was being at the service with my sister and her family. We got back to their apartment at about 11:45am and decided to have the girls begin their 2nd round of opening. (A lot of what they were given ended up being replacements for things they lost in the house fire, so they had _a ton_!) At about 1:30pm we decided to take another break to enjoy some crepes. I had 2 crepes at 80 calories and 2 grams of sugar each, and I put 5 slices of peaches on top (but I did choose to forego the traditional powdered sugar on top of it all!). After finishing our crepes, the girls finished opening their presents. By the end, they'd both begun to break down a little. For the 4-year-old, it seemed to be more about the process of opening than finding out what was inside. But, it was very enjoyable to watch them both as they discovered each new thing.

My sister and I then began cooking the big dinner. We'd purchased a spiral sliced ham from the local Super Target, and my sister had found recipes for three cheese scalloped potatoes, lemon-pepper green beans and a cranberry Waldorf salad. I did very well by eating the ham first, then the green beans, a few bites of potatoes and lastly a couple of bites of the cranberry salad. I'm not typically a cranberry fan, but the salad was fantastic! It had fat free vanilla yogurt mixed in with cranberries, apples, grapes, walnuts and celery; it was just the right mix of each without the cranberries being too overpowering. While after eating all of that I was without a doubt full, I wasn't stuffed to the gills either. And, I didn't feel guilty about any of it. Sure, I could have lived without the potatoes and the cranberry salad, but I didn't overindulge in either. Not too bad of a day.

24 December 2005

Happy Festivous Everyone!

May you enjoy your Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa celebrations!

Things at my sister's have been going well; although, I feel like I've been wrapping presents forever. (I volunteered to wrap their presents as well as the ones I brought from me and my parents.) It's still torturing me not to know what my weight is, but I suppose I'll survive. I know it's all about making correct choices and not grazing (which I have been doing a lot less of), but I still have this desire to know exactly what my weight is.

Oh, and I keep having dreams with my husband in them. I don't remember many details of the dreams; I just know when I wake up that he's in them. We've got an appointment for joint counseling when I return home, so I'm looking forward to that. And, of course, he's in my thoughts, so I'm not surprised he's been in my dreams. I'd just rather he was in my daily life instead. :)

22 December 2005

I bought a size L!!!!

I went with my sister and niece to Birmingham yesterday afternoon. I had a coupon for $20 off a $50 purchase from J Jill, so I decided to wander into the store. I immediately went back to the sale racks and found they didn't have much there in size XL. So, I decided to look through the L rack as well. (I know their stuff tends to run a little on the large size.) I found a couple of shirts at $9.99 and decided to keep looking around as I'm in serious need of sweater type tops as none of my old sweaters fit anymore. I grabbed an XL in a long sleeved velour top and headed to the dressing rooms. When I slipped it on, I couldn't believe it; it was too big!! I had to send my sister off looking for a Large ... completely surreal!! Woo-hoo!

20 December 2005

No weigh-in today

I typically weigh myself every Tuesday, but as I mentioned before, my sister has no scale in her house. It didn't hit me this morning, but as I sat here reading others' blogs, I realized, hey, it's Tuesday! And, I haven't weighed myself. :( I did exercise today for the first time in about a week and a half. We went to a local park where my 9 year old niece and my brother in law were meeting the rest of her soccer team to run. I had the forethought to bring my heart-rate monitor and watch with me, so I was able to monitor my heart-rate as I walked. I always kind of thought I was cheating myself out of "real" exercise by doing the elliptical (I dunno why), but I realized today that's totally crazy. I don't run, so it took me a lot longer to get my heart-rate up to a decent level. I finally got it up to about 148, but with the wind and the fading sun, it had gotten really cold (even for a New Yorker!). So, I only walked for 35 minutes. I don't know how many calories I burned, but at least I was able to get my heart-rate up. It truly makes me realize how much I love my elliptical, though!

18 December 2005

This is not going to be so easy ...

I've had probably one of my worst food days ever since surgery. My two nieces are big snackers. They don't necessarily eat bad foods, but they snack a lot. They're both so tiny and do so many activities that's not at all an issue for them, but just by being around them I found myself snacking too ... something I really haven't done since surgery. I didn't do so badly for my meals, but in between lunch and dinner, I had about 3 tbsp roasted and salted soybeans (10 grams of protein, so I didn't feel horribly about this one), probably 15-20 pieces of light popcorn (I was previously proud of myself for not running out and buying popcorn after I found out it was ok to eat occasionally), 2 original Sun chips and probably 10 Goldfish crackers. Arrrghhgh!! I have to make a conscious decision to not allow myself to snack or else this 2 week trip meant to help relax me and allow me to think other things through will end up stressing me out. And, there's no scale in the house, so I have no way of truly knowing how it's affecting me ... other than feeling defeated mentally. Yes, I have a big stressor in my life right now, but I know that if I weren't here w/ all of this snack food around, I wouldn't be doing it. So, I've just got to stop. I'll let you know how it goes.

17 December 2005

Traveling is sooo different!

Thanks to my office's Verizon wireless network card w/ unlimited service, I'm currently sitting in the middle of Philadelphia airport in a rocking chair listening to a fine Jazz quartet play the very familiar "Christmas Time Is Here". (I don't know if that's the actual title or not, but it's the song that's played in the Charlie Brown Christmas special when they're skating on the pond.) It makes for a much easier 4 hour layover.

The 37 minute flight here was thoroughly uneventful ... unless you consider easily fitting into my small airplane seat, very easily buckling the seatbelt (without having to ask for a seatbelt extender!) and being able to cross my legs while sitting in my seat eventful. Wait, I consider that _very_ eventful!! I used to travel for business and flew entirely too much; I loathed flying. (I still don't enjoy it, but because of my weight it was torture!) I have vivid memories of the looks people would have on their faces when they realized they were sitting next to me, I dreaded having to ask for the seatbelt extender and in most cases would do everything I could to get the belt secured without having to do so and hated winding up at my destination all sweaty and disheveled just from making my way across airports. I wish I were here under better circumstances, but I can't tell you enough how thrilled I am at the ease with which I was able to board the plane (I didn't hit every other seat with my hips while walking down the aisle ... damn!), sit comfortably in my seat and make my way from terminal F to the center of the airport! I've even found men being kinder to me ... doing things like allowing me to walk through a doorway before them and holding doors open for me, and I've even had two men walk by and say comments to me. They're completely innocuous ... stuff like, you're not going to get any work done with all this noise (the Jazz). But, that's never happened before! I'm not looking for it, but it's nice to know I'm no longer so repulsive to most people.

One downside, after an hour and a half in this wooden rocking chair, my butt's really hurting! See, a smaller ass isn't always so good! Here's to easier travel, though!

16 December 2005

Six Month Post-Op Follow-Up

I went to my surgeon's office this past Wednesday for my 6 month post-op follow-up. The surgeon's office has moved to a renovated location in the hospital. They've consolidated all of their offices into one location with one central waiting room. I was called back by a nurse very soon after arriving (which is _very_ different from my previous visits) and was asked to step on the scale. I approached the scale with trepidation knowing because of clothes, having had water and some food that I'd have to weigh more than what I had on my own scale. The first number that popped up was something like 155 lbs, and while I _knew_ that wasn't correct, my brain, of course, jumped at that number. As I watched it jump around, I kind of felt like I was a contestant on the biggest loser. However, in the end their scale confirmed what mine did, a total weight loss of 91 lbs!!

I was then taken into an exam room where I found a very large exam table that reminded me a lot of a massage table in form ... only larger and lower to the ground. I think it's great that when designing these new rooms they took the potential size of their patients into account. However, I found the table very hard and uncomfortable because of how it was positioned in the room relative to where the seat the Dr/Nurse would be sitting. I ended up having to straddle the corner of it in order to sit somewhat facing the nurse but not take up too much of the space she needed. Then, the this person I didn't recognize walked in. She said she was the new nurse practitioner and that the previous NP had left for another job. So, I immediately felt less comfortable than I had in the past. She first asked me how I was doing, and I answered that I felt fantastic physically but not so well emotionally. She asked for more details, and I explained that I was having some emotional difficulties at home but that I didn't feel it was at all related to my weight loss. So, she left it at that. We discussed the few questions I had about the weakness issues I've been having, the spacing of taking my meds and whether or not I could indulge in a few pieces of popcorn every now and then. Then, she talked with me about what their goals were for me. She said that based upon my height and age, my ideal body weight is 134lbs, but she said that was not their goal for me. She said that ideally, they'd like to see me lose 60-80% of my excess body weight at the time of surgery, and that with my 91 lb loss thus far, I'd already achieved 65%! So, needless to say, she was pleased with my loss. We talked about exercise and she suggested that I continue doing the elliptical every other day and do strength training on the off days. She said varying my exercise will be best to promote continued weight loss. And, unfortunately, she said that I could expect my issues with hair loss to continue for up to a year and that it probably wouldn't grow back as thickly. (Not a good thing for someone who started with fine, thin hair!)

Overall, I felt the appointment went well. She said that I'd come back in another 6 months for my 1 year follow up but that I could always call if I had any questions. She also explained that I could always call the nutritionists if I had any specific nutrition/diet questions.

After finding lunch at Panera Bread, I made my way to another hospital where I had an appointment w/ a PCOS OB/GYN specialist. We talked about my history and proposed treatment options for about 50 minutes and decided it was best to get some blood to see what levels things are at so as to determine how my meds might need to be modified. She also asked that I have a fasting blood draw to check blood glucose and insulin levels since she knew I wouldn't tolerate a glucose tolerance test. So, I'm very interested to see how that all will come out.

I've decided to fly down to my sister's in Alabama for Christmas so as to be able to hopefully somewhat take my mind off of my current relationship problems. So, I'll be leaving tomorrow and will be back on January 2nd. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. What I'm struggling with most is not knowing what's best to do so as to show my husband I'm very interested in working as hard as I need to to make this work but not wanting to seem like I'm pushing too hard.

13 December 2005

Some better news ...

First of all, a big thank you to all who posted comments, provided offers to listen to me and to those who kept me in your thoughts and your prayers. My husband and I talked (really talked) for about 4 hours yesterday morning, and it was fantastic to be able to do so. While we aren't reconciled, my hope from the conversation is that we are on that path. It will take a long time and a lot of work, but I know we can do it. I love him with all my being!!

10 December 2005

My life was shattered yesterday

My husband came to my office just a few minutes before I was scheduled to leave to tell me he was leaving me; he wanted a separation agreement and a divorce. It kills me to write this, but I have to get it out. I'm at my parents' house about an hour from where we live, and my sister is coming up from Alabama to try and help. I am beyond devastated. We didn't argue or fight, but I guess that's because he didn't tell me when I did things to upset him. I had no idea this was coming; I have no idea what I'm going to do. I don't feel strong enough for this. There's a slight chance he'll give us a chance ... to try and work things out. So, he's agreed to see me Monday morning. I'm having such a hard time eating; I try to eat and can hardly get anything down. I'm drinking a lot of water, but I'm crying so much. I couldn't sleep last night; my parents just don't know what to do with me. I know they're trying, and I know it's killing them too. Our dog, Koba, won't stop looking for him. When I made it back to our house after leaving my office, I found everything that was his gone. I miss him so much; I miss his smile, the way he hugged me, the way he laughed, the way he smelled. I'm so lost. I'm just so lost.

08 December 2005

I'm still struggling with it ...

How can I _know_ that I've lost a lot of weight but still look at myself and see myself just as, well, myself? Does that make any sense at all? I'm sure probably most people who have had WLS struggle with this issue, but it's just so bizarre for me. I sometimes look at myself in the mirror when I'm changing for bed or when I've put on something that actually fits and think, wow, I'm really looking good. I mean, how can I not realize it when I can do things like comfortably sit in the front seat of my Jetta and fasten the seat belt without having to squish myself up against the door ... not to mention the fact that I easily fit in the seats at the New Amsterdam Theater?! But, then, later, I'll look again and not see any differences; I just see the same bulging stomach, thick thighs and calves, flabby arms and big butt. Will this ever change? Dangit, I sure hope so!

06 December 2005

Back from NYC

Quick summary of the trip: NYC was good; work was ok.

Long summary: I'm an excellent navigator, and I'm not shy about making this known. Despite this fact, I was in the van that followed "the men" on the trip down. The people in my van were heading directly to our hotel in Queens, and those in the other van were heading directly to the office in Midtown. As such, they should have separated with us off of I80E prior to reaching I95S just before the George Washington Bridge. But, it was decided that we should all stop somewhere before reaching Manhattan to eat lunch together. Instead, "the men" continued their poor navigation and hopped on the I80 express lanes when given the option and thus had no opportunity to get off prior to where they had to separate from us if they wanted to be sane and not drive all the way south to Midtown from the Bronx. So, whatever, right?

We made it to our hotel, checked in and found out there was no nearby parking. So, we found a parking garage a few blocks away and made our way back through the neighborhood. We were in the middle of Chinatown, so there were authentic Chinese restaurants. But, my co-workers weren't brave enough, so it was decided we'd just eat at the restaurant in the hotel. It was a Chinese restaurant, but they had a lot of American food on the menu as well. I ordered Schezuan Beef, and when it arrived at my table, I found chunks of beef literally doused in crushed red and black pepper and swimming in a brown sauce that had separated at the edges from the grease in it. Gross! This was not authentic Chinese food! I love spicy food, but I knew I wouldn't be able to take all that pepper. So, I did my best to remove all of the sauce and pepper before taking bites; then, as soon as I got back to my hotel room, I ate a few Rolaids to try to combat the potential problems my stomach might have. (Thankfully, I didn't have any problems; it was a complete miracle!)

After lunch, we headed to the office to get started. My director and I had a meeting on the Upper East Side at 4pm, so we headed out not long after arriving. We managed to hail a cab and made it to our destination a little early, so it gave me time to buy a bottle of water (thankfully) and to check out the building. The meeting was helpful, and we left at 5pm feeling good. We had some difficulty hailing a cab (at 5pm on a Friday afternoon in NY, duh!) and getting through Midtown Manhattan was a bit of a chore, so we were late for our 5:45pm dinner reservations. The menu was a Pre-Theater 3-Course Prix Fixe, so I ordered the Pumpkin Soup, Brick-Fired Chicken Breast with Chiorzo-Cheddar Grits and Spinach and their Seasonal Sorbet Collection (despite the fact that they offered a fantastic-sounding Creme Brulee). The soup was very good, but it ended up being a bit sweet. So, I only had about 5 spoonfulls. The chicken was excellent, and the grits were even better. But, I did my best to only take about 3 bites. Then, out came the dessert. There were 4 small scoops of the sorbets, each a different flavor. With my first very small taste, the flavor just exploded on my tongue! I'd never tasted such a small amount of any dessert with such a big, but complex, flavor. It was absolutely amazing!

We left the restaurant with plenty of time to make our 8pm curtain at The Lion King which was only 4 blocks away. It's not a very good picture, but it shows the view of the stage from our seats. We were in the 2nd row on stage left!! The show was, in a word, amazing. I've seen a number of Broadway shows, and this one was, by far, the most impressive. This post is already way too long, so I won't describe it with any more detail. But, if you have a chance to go, do it!

The next morning, we left the hotel at 7am and immediately began working on the migration as soon as we arrived at the office. There were a number of problems which caused significant slow-downs in the backup, re-image and data migration process with one of them being so major that we had to completely stop what we were doing. At that point, we headed out to lunch so that those working on the problem could do it without us hovering over them. We decided to go to the Heartland Brewery in the base of the Empire State Building, and despite slow service, we had a very good lunch. I had their Chopped Chicken Salad with roasted chicken, dried cranberries, seasoned walnuts and of course lettuce. I did well with the salad by eating the chicken first and then the nuts and some of the lettuce. We finally made some progress in the afternoon and left the office at 7pm. (Sucks!) Four of us made our way up toward Rockefeller Center to see the tree and try to do a little shopping. I was able to get a few things at American Girl Place for my nieces, so I was happy. Rockefeller Center was a complete madhouse, though, so we weren't able to see and do all that we'd hoped for. We then decided to make our way 2 blocks west to Times Square to see if we could find a place for dinner along the way. (And, for those of you who aren't familiar with the East/West blocks in NY, that's not a very short distance. And, I was absolutely starved and beginning to get weak.) Two of my co-workers were only interested in "normal" food, so the Moroccan, Turkish and Indian places we passed weren't acceptable. We made it into Times Square, and one of them suggested the Olive Garden. Ugh! Not horrible, but we're in the middle of New York City. Come on?! So, we ended up compromising on a little Italian place called Trattoria Trecolori. I had the Tortelline filled with meat in my attempt to get as much protein as possible without eating chicken (I'd had a lot over the weekend already!). Again, service was slow, and the other patrons were very loud. But, overall, it was good.

We left the hotel the next morning at 7am again and arrived in Midtown shortly thereafter. With the problems of the previous day mostly resoved, I was able to get almost all of the 12 machines I was assigned to migrate finished before lunch. We all went to Macy's Cellar Bar & Grill in historic Macy's Department Store on Herald Square. The thing that impressed me the most were the wooden escalators in the store! Even the treads of the steps were wood!! I chose the Cellar Burger which had cheddar, bacon and onion frizzles. Horrible, I know, but I was really craving beef. I ate half the burger and 3 of the fries and wondered how much weight I'd gain over this weekend while doing it. I then took the rest of the burger with me to eat on the bus trip home.

I completed all of my machines with plenty of time to spare, and we left the office at 4pm to begin the 10-block treck north (with all of our luggage in tow!) to where we were picking up a bus to get home. I had a suitcase, a toiletries bag, my purse, another bag and a shopping bag from Macy's. Seven months ago there's no way I would have been able to do it, but other than some sore arms, I had no issues!! The bus trip home was uneventful, and I made it back home about 9:45pm.

Despite not being able to do as much in NY as I would have liked, it was still a good trip. The work could have been better, but it wasn't horrible. And, when I stepped on the scale on Monday morning, I'd lost 2 pounds!! I really figured I'd gain, so I was thrilled! I'll defintely go to NY during this time of year again but not for work. :)

01 December 2005

Ok, now I really see it!

I just finished packing for my trip to NY. It completely hit me how much I've changed when I put my folded pants into my small suitcase; I no longer had to fold the pants over from the sides to get them to fit! Eureka! I'm really liking this!! Have a great weekend all!