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Chewable Calcium on December 27, 2009 9:21 am
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I see this request from folks all the time. "How do I find chewable calcium citrate?" Unfortnately there are not many options available at local retail stores, so it's something you need to order online. Some places, like The Vitamin Shoppe, has a few options, but not many. So I compiled a list in response to a question on the forums with sources for finding chewable calcium. I'm sure I missed some.... but this should get you started.
Bariatric Advantage Lozenges
(like big sweettarts) - I like cherry or cinnamon. Also comes in mint and chocolate.
- cream bites! Yum Yum Yum -- expensive and has calories, so might be good as a once in a while treat.
Soloray Calcium Citrate
Doesn't include Vit D - add it in another pill
Carlson Kids Chewable Calcium Citrate
(doesn't include Vitamin D, so you'll need to add that separate)
Bariatric Advantage Crystals
(pills, but can be dissolved in water, then drink the water)
Dang! on December 18, 2009 1:48 pm
I found this picture today. It was taken 2 months before my surgery .... over 2 years ago. I look at it and honestly don't remember being this size. My friend at work saw it today too and she was amazed and said the same thing: "I don't remember you like that."
Pictures like this remind me of how far I've come on this journey.
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Weight Loss Averages on December 16, 2009 6:21 am
I see so many people fretting about not losing fast enough. When normally they are losing faster than the averages or are exactly where they need to be. Sometimes we might have unrealistic expectations about how fast we should lose.... or compare ourselves to others who are losing faster than us. But comparing is dangerous because each BODY is different and you can't compare to someone else because they are on a different journey than you are. Someone who weighs 100 pounds more than you do is obviously going to lose faster and vice versa. So no comparing folks!
And just to give you a VERY GENERAL rule of thumb on what to expect for averages, here's some guidelines. But remember that AVERAGE means nobody hits these numbers exactly, half of the people will be below the average and half will be above the average - this is only for reference:
Month 1 --- 20-ish pounds lost
Months 2-6 --- 7-10ish pounds lost
After Month 6 --- 5-7ish pounds lost -- or whatever the heck your body feels like doing
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Hour by Hour Schedule on October 7, 2009 9:35 am
I have this posted a couple different places in this blog... but thought it'd be worth posting it again -- and combine the original schedule with my current routine.
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I refer to this often, but don't think it's posted here on my blog. (It's on my OH Profile though.) Just before surgery, in my nutrition training class, we were given an hour-by-hour schedule of when to eat and when to drink and when to have snacks. I started following this schedule and tweaked it a bit as I developed my own routines and habits... but essentially it's the same basic outline that I use today, 2 years later.
Right after surgery we don't feel hunger and it's very difficult to schedule food and water and get everything in that we need to. It can be overwhelming to watch the clock to calculate the 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a meal... and only eat for 30 minutes. Then to figure out when to take vitamins and blah, blah, blah. So this type of schedule helps us get into a routine with food.
8:00 - 8:30 -- Breakfast (meals take no more than 30 minutes to eat)
9:00 - 10:00 -- Water - 8oz.
10:00 - 11:00 -- Snack (protein shake)
11:30 - 12:30 -- Water - 8oz
1:00 - 1:30 -- Lunch
2:00 - 2:30 -- Water 8oz.
3:00 - 4:00 -- Snack (protein shake)
4:30 - 5:30 -- Water - 8oz
6:00 - 6:30 -- Dinner
7:00 - 8:00 -- Water - 8oz
8:30 - 9:00 -- Snack (protein shake)
9:30 - 10:30 -- Water 8oz.
Eventually I added my vitamins into the routine. So if everything is scheduled and needs to happen at a specific time... it's easier to remember. This is the schedule I follow today:
7:00 a.m. --- Breakfast #1 (usually a protein drink) -- Calcium +D
8:30 a.m. --- Water
10:00 a.m. -- Breakfast #2 -- Morning dose of vitamins
11:00 a.m. -- Water
1:00 p.m. --- Lunch -- Calcium +D
2:30 p.m. --- Water
4:30 p.m. --- Snack -- Calcium +D
5:00 p.m. --- Water
7:30 p.m. --- Dinner -- Calcium +D
8:30 p.m. --- Water
11:00 p.m. -- Bedtime (no food) -- Evening dose of vitamins
Let's Talk About Poop on September 11, 2009 4:42 pm
I have never talked about poop as much in my life as I have since having WLS. OMG! It's so true, isn't it? It's like the favorite topic of all WLS patients. Constipation plagues us. Is there a solution?
I've battled chronic constipation for 20 years. It got worse with WLS. Here's what worked for me:
25-35g fiber (sometimes as high as 40g - I count fiber as religiously as I count protein)
25% of calories from fat
2 fish oil capsules
1 tablespoon cod liver oil every other day or so
NOTE: Magnesium helps calcium absorption when taken as a dose of 2:1. So 2000mg calcium needs 1000mg magnesium. BUT - don't start that high. Start very low, like 100mg (check your multi-vit and include that in the calculation). Then slowly add more magnesium until you find the right dose. Too much and you end up with diarreha so be careful.
PROBIOTICS -- once you get the above routine down and things are working fairly well. Probiotics might be that last boost over the hump. It was for me. It will help with the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in your digestive tract and help digest food more properly. Study shows it also helps early post-op patients lose more weight on average. For some people the relief of constipation is almost immediate (1-2 weeks) -- for others it takes longer (took me 5 weeks). But now that I'm on a routine, I have a happy bathroom visit every morning like clockwork.
Ok, poop talk is over for now...
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Goal Weight Clothing Fund on July 29, 2009 6:50 am
Just before surgery I started a Goal Weight Clothing Fund.
Basically just an envelope that I added a few dollars to every week or so. At the end of every pay period, whatever money was left in my wallet got added to the envelope - even if it was only a dollar or two. Or if unexpected money came in or someone paid me back on a loan or I received a gift card for a holiday ... it all got added to the envelope. Little by little it grew. I never counted the money, just added to it over time.
The intention of the fund was to have a large stash of money to use on a shopping spree for new clothes once I hit my goal weight. How fun would it be to have a few hundred dollars to spend, guilt-free, on myself?!
Well.... it doesn't look like I'm going to hit my goal weight anytime soon (it'll happen eventually, but it might take a lot longer than I originally thought it would). I've been in the same clothing size for a year now. So I've started spending it. First I counted it. Just over $400!! Holy Moly!
Honestly, I can't imagine spending $400 on clothes at a normal retail store, paying full price. Right after surgery when I was losing weight (and sizes) so rapidly, I became a Goodwill-Addict and bought all my clothes at thrift stores. I was amazed to find out that Goodwill sells so many brand new, with tags, clothes that are obtained for normal retailers (Target, Meijer). And of course, every week Goodwill has a sale on a certain color tag - which means 1/2 price clothes. Almost everything in my closet has been purchased for either $3.49 (full price) or $1.75 (half price). And about 60% of everything I buy at Goodwill is new with tags -- the other 40% is clothing in such good condition that it looks like new.
So with bargains to be had at thrift stores, it's hard for me to pay $20-$40 for a blouse I know I could get for $1.75 if I looked hard enough. In the past 20 months I can count on one hand how many items of clothing I've bought at full retail price (2 pair jeans, a sweater, a blouse).
But I took the plunge and bought some clothes at retail. Yes, they were on clearance and super great bargains... but it was a departure for me to do it. Kmart is having their annual clearance event (actually most retailers have huge clearance events in July). I bought 2 pair of sandals, 1 sweater, 1 blouse, 1 swimsuit = all for $45. Not a bad haul, huh? And that $45 came out of my Goal Weight Clothing Fund. How fun
I don't know if I'll spend the entire $400 on clothes though. I'm seriously contemplating buying a bicycle with part of the funds - but we'll see.
So if you're just starting out in your WLS journey, I highly recommend starting a clothing fund. It's fun to watch it grow and even more fun to start spending it. Keeping yourself in clothes that fit after losing weight can get very expensive -- so you have to plan for it
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A Bout of Rebellion on July 28, 2009 11:06 am
Rebellion - (re⋅bel⋅lion)
1) a refusal of obedience
2) resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition
3) defiance: intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude, insubordination
Sometimes I just get tired of being good, tired of following the rules and having to be perfect all the time. Sometimes I get tired of thinking about WLS, about what I eat and how much I exercise. I get tired of counting everything that passes my lips, following rules with protein first and moderate carbs, exercising religiously, taking two or three handfuls of vitamins, drinking enough water and just in general having to be perfect every day. I literally get tired of listening to myself think about WLS and all that goes with it.
For much of July I've been in the mindset of rebellion.
I'm sure you noticed that my eating hasn't been the greatest -- the discovery of having reactive hypoglycemia is a direct result of eating wrong. If I'd continued eating protein-forward meals like I should have been, I never would have known that my blood sugar bottoms out when I eat a carb-forward meal. I guess it's good that I know the diagnosis since it forces me to eat properly. I'm just pissed at myself for being so bad with my eating that it ever became an issue for me.
I've also been slacking on exercise. I had one race scheduled for July and it got rained out, but I've put no effort into registering for any other races to hit my goal of 2 per month. And now it's July 28th and I have no hope of meeting that goal. I've also skipped out on a couple Tuesday night training sessions with my group. Once because I wanted to go to my photography group meeting instead and once because I just didn't feel like going so I went home and wallowed in my self-pity. I've also been neglecting my mid-week training workouts. Tonight we're scheduled for 8.75 miles and I'm not sure I'm really ready for that since I haven't been keeping up with my training these past few weeks.
I continue to wear my GoWear Fit (and I'll do another review of this in the next day or two). So I know how many calories I'm burning and I almost always (95% of the time) hit my daily targets for calories burned, activity and steps. Although I'm not religiously tracking my food intake, I've never eaten more calories than I've burned - so I know I'm still in a calorie deficit every day.
You've heard me preach about vitamins until I'm blue in the face. I know how essential they are to our post-op life. Vitamins are not an optional thing for us. I know this. My head knows it. So why do I let my rebellion get in the way and skip vitamins sometimes? Not often - maybe once a week or so - but it's enough that it bothers me. There's no excuse for this. It's stupid and dangerous. It might be an every-once-in-a-while thing right now, but it's too easy to let it become a bad habit and I need to nip this in the bud immediately.
Confession is good for the soul, right?
It's hard to say all this stuff out loud. Especially to you all. It's hard to realize that I'm not perfect (yeah right, like I ever believed that anyway!) and that it is very easy to fall off the wagon just like anyone else. Folks often come to me with questions or asking for advice about their own journey - which is fine, I'm happy to help. But sometimes it's hard to give support to others when I'm dragging my butt on my own journey.
The diagnosis of reactive hypoglycemia was a wake up call for me. And the issues I'm having with ferritin and prealbumin is a concern too. Although none of these is serious at the moment, if I don't stay on top of stuff they can become serious.
Thankfully my bout of rebellion hasn't lasted long and it's mostly been in my head and not too serious with the rest of my routines. Yes, eating and exercise has suffered, but it's not as bad as it could have been if I'd gone totally off the deep end. It's good that I'm recognizing my behavior now and correcting it before it really got out of hand.
I'm still working to get my head on straight today. I'm a lot closer than I was a week ago and it might take a bit more time to "find my religion" again. But I'm determined to get myself fully back on track. I never really strayed that far away from the straight and narrow -- but knowing how easy it is to let rebellion take over is sobering and scares me a bit. And it makes me all the more aware that I need to be vigilant at all times to keep myself on track. When I had WLS I signed up for life - it's not something I can turn on and off on a whim, it's a 24/7 operation and I can't let my guard down.
Most of what I've written here is for my own benefit - saying it out loud to make it real and to set the goal of "being-hav." But I also want to make sure newbies and pre-ops understand how difficult this journey is and that it takes constant attention to the rules we all must follow forever. This thing is hard! But the rewards are great.
Thanks for listening.
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Shopping Wow on July 23, 2009 6:48 am
When you get further out after WLS, the WOW moments don't come as often. So when you have one, you get really excited. At least I do!
Today on my lunch hour I went shopping at DOTS -- a bargain clothing store. I was on a quest for a blouse or two, but didn't have much hope. I got there and the style wasn't really for me, but I looked around anyway. After some digging I found several blouses, a skirt and a dress to try on.
All four blouses, the skirt and the dress all fit and were all super cute. All of them!? When does that ever happen?
So here I was in the fitting room faced with a huge problem. I didn't want to spend that much money or buy that many things, so I had to decide which ones I liked best and put the rest back. Normally my choices are much more limited -- maybe one item fits or if I'm lucky, maybe two. But all six! LOL!
So I picked a blouse and the super cute skirt and headed for the register. WooHoo! New clothes. (And not thrift store clothes either!)
Shopping is fun now!
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Tired of Protein on July 17, 2009 5:45 am
After WLS one of the biggest pushes in our diets is protein, protein, protein. A typical recommendation for intake is around 80-100g per day. Because we have the gastric bypass issue, we tend to malabsorb some nutrients, so we need more protein than a normal person. That's all fine and dandy. 80-100g of protein a day is a doable amount for most WLS folks who are several months post-op. (It takes a little while to work your way up to this amount when your pouch is tiny and you have trouble eating, of course.)
So as ya'll know I've had some issues with my lab results showing low prealbumin numbers. Which means my body isn't absorbing the protein and my body needs a boost. I've been instructed to shoot for 150g protein per day. For someone with a small stomach, that's a LOT of protein. And I really can't do it all from just food so I've had to supplement with protein shakes.
Now, remember that I've already done a protein shake every morning already. It's just habit now to start my morning with a protein drink of some sort. Either a fruit smoothie shake, a protein hot chai tea or some other form of drink with the base of a scoop of protein powder. But to get up to 150g of protein I've had to do at least two protein drinks per day plus be super conscious of how much protein I'm getting from food.
Let's look at the breakdown of what I need to achieve to hit 150g.
Morning Shake -- 30g
Breakfast -- 25g
Lunch -- 25g
Dinner -- 25g
Snack -- 15g
Evening Shake -- 30g
That break down looks pretty easy on paper, right? But what if breakfast is only 15g? That means I need to make up an extra 10g somewhere else in the day. Or what if I don't have a snack in the afternoon - that's another 15g I need to figure out how to get in somewhere else. Or what about last night when I had fish for dinner and it was only 20g and I ate late so my tummy didn't want a protein shake before bed - that puts me 35g short at the end of the day.
It's a huge balancing act and after nearly two months of focusing so heavily on protein, I'm really getting tired of the whole routine. I am getting tired of the taste of protein drinks.... so tired that I'm skipping that second scheduled shake at night in favor of something I enjoy the taste of more which doesn't necessarily give me that 30g protein boost.
I get a redraw on labs on August 1st (which will probably not happen until Aug 3rd due to scheduling). I just need to hold out on the protein push for another 2 weeks to see if it's working. But what will I do if I find out my labs still suck and I need to continue on the 150g routine? That thought bothers me a lot. I don't want to be rebellious or be a rule breaker but I feel myself going in that direction. I'm trying really hard to keep a positive attitude.
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2009 Goals -- half-year update on July 14, 2009 1:54 pm
So we're halfway through 2009. How are you doing on your goals (or resolutions) for the year? I thought I'd do an update on how I'm doing with my 9 Goals for 2009.
I go in spurts on this. I'll go several weeks in a row with dedicated "thinking time" and feel great about my mental attitude. But then something disrupts the schedule and I'm back to mental fuzziness again. So I renew this committment often.
I have 8 boxes of clothes and stuff packed up right now and will be dropped off at Goodwill this weekend. This goal also goes in spurts and I have weeks of extreme decluttering and then nothing for a long time. I do feel like I'm making progress though.
3. Buy less stuff
I'm failing miserably on this one! I've made some major purchases in the past 6 months - GoWearFit, Palm Pre, freezer, purse camera, stereo for my car, etc. And I'm about to buy a new lens for my SLR camera. But I still have 6 months to try and get this one accomplished, right?
4. Take more photos
I'm doing great on this one! Only problem is that I'm now running out of hard drive space on my computer because of all the photos (need to do some backups and deletions). I am super excited about the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk that I'm signed up for next weekend.
5. Go to school
This one is definitely happening. It's going to be a long road before I get my degree, but I'm committed to finishing this time around. I'm excited to be starting my actual graphics classes in the fall - getting a bit bored with the business and marketing classes and want to get into the creative side of the degree.
7. Spend more time with friends
This is difficult, but I'm doing my best. I've had to scale back on my MeetUp.com group events, but I've ramped up my involvement with the WLS community. I can only do so many things with the hours I'm given, so unfortunately my social life is often the thing that suffers when life gets busy.
8. Renew love of scrapbooking
I've tried. Really I have. But I am afraid I'm beyond this phase in my life. I'm working on a scrapbook for my grandmother right now and it's a struggle to get it done. I still have a whole room filled with scrapbooking supplies and plan to keep them for now. When I get more into the graphics classes with school and learn to use Photoshop a bit better, I anticipate moving into the digital scrapbooking arena - but that's a little ways off yet.
9. Continue Holistic Wellness Plan Goals
I haven't worked on this specifically very much at all. I do have some goals that I still want to accomplish with this plan and will revisit them again. I don't feel a sense of urgency about these goals right now though, so it's not at the top of my list. I'm working on other goals - big ones are Travel Race Mania and school - so this might need to be put off for a while. We'll see.
6. Knit this afghan
Well... I bought the yarn and I tried starting a couple times. But I have determined that I need some help on this one. I'd like to take a knitting class or something. But with school taking up a huge chunk of my time, I don't know how to squeeze this into my schedule. It might have to be put off for now - but I still want to accomplish it. We'll see.
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