Anyone reading the weigh in threads knows I and my family are going through a pretty rough patch right now. I thought I?d write a little bit about that and how it is affecting my Bariatric progress.
"Life happened". We see that over and over again in threads here. Many of us - all of us - have life happen. No one is immune. We?ve had some tough times since my surgery in Oct ?16, but they were pretty much garden variety compared to now. I had often wondered how I might react in a genuine life changing situation. I am finding out now. This isn?t going to be a soul baring post full of gory detail and lots of juicy bits. But there are some things I would like to observe.
In reading so many other posts from people on many of the boards here and elsewhere, I fully expected that I would be struggling with going off the rails of my diet. And by diet, I mean eating plan, my regular menu of options which has worked so well for me for the past 16 months. That hasn?t happened. The opportunity has presented itself over and over, but for whatever reason, it just hasn?t materialized.
For example, I stopped in at a Dunkin Donuts to get coffee yesterday afternoon. There were six cars in the drive through and none in the lot so I walked in. I ordered decaf since it was late in the day. They were just brewing a new pot and asked me to wait. Then the kid comes up and waves a free donut under my nose (figuratively speaking). This was my compensation for having to wait he said. After a little back and forth, I figured why not? I was hungry, low on calories, and it was right there. I ate half of it. It didn?t even appeal to me. And it was my Number One top choice from back in the fat old days.
I recognize I am extremely stressed out right now. I have lots of things to do and not enough time, it seems, to get them all done. I am still getting hungry at my regular times, and I am still eating, and sticking pretty close to my meal plans whenever possible. I?ve eaten more protein bars than a spaceman in a sci fi novel in the past two weeks, and enough beef jerky to keep Jeremiah Johnson going. I?m not eating enough though.
The really bad stuff has not made any inroads. My weight is dropping like a rock. I am down 7 lbs since last Sunday's weigh in. Today I am digging out some things from immediate post surgery days to boost my calories and protein. I am going to be doing some protein shakes between meals and I still have some Click hot instant coffee protein as well.
Mentally, I am doing fairly well. That is a self assessment. But feedback from family and close friends confirms that. I have an incredible support network, starting with my wife of 34 years. I fully expected to be angry at God right now, as well as angry at my father. That hasn?t happened. We are Christians, and I can truthfully say God has been bearing all of us up through this.
As for Dad, I am deeply sad. He never let his emotions show, and even the couple days before, he never let on for a second that things had gotten this bad. And we were close, spending lots of time together. But he was his own person, as we all are. He lived a long life, longer than most people get. In the end he made choices which excluded the rest of his family. I cannot know his thought process, only the results. I have some guesses based on how things happened, and how things are working out, but I will never know for sure.
In any case, I am weathering the storm, and my weight loss for which I have worked so hard is still intact. I am lower now than I want to be. Losing muscle mass is a real concern for me. It is time to bulk up with more protein, hopefully getting back to some sort of routine before long. In other news, after going round and round with the people in my Bariatric practice for the last six months, I am FINALLY scheduled for an RMR test in a week and a half. That should give me a little more info as to where I really need to be calorie wise. Knowledge is power.
Hi Bill, watching you progress has been an honor. Yeah, life's issues arise and we have to face them. Many times when family members die we walk around numb for many days. Each day the numbness is less and less...But still is there.
Please don't take offense with what I'm about to say...Just asking. Bill, just wondering about your height and frame. It seems like no one (except Andre the Giant) would have a normal weight of 300 pounds. The goal for you and your doctor was probably 300 to try and attain. Excluding excess skin (which may be 12 pounds plus), you may be in a normal range or near normal. In fact you still may be overweight!! Believe me, I am not discounting your accomplishment...It has been one great ride. To get down to 265 is a great thing. I'm sure you can move better and have more endurance. Just wondering who set that goal and where is the "normal" goal for you? It may be something you and your doctor need to decide. I know what you are talking about concerning the loss of the muscle mass. I would bench press a certain amount (it's been over 12 years so memory isn't great) pre surgery. When I got near normal weight I could only lift about 60% of what I was lifting before surgery.
One last thought. My surgeon and I decided my goal was to be 190. I hit goal and shot past it...To 187. I freaked out...Wondering if I would become skin and bones...Wasting away in a rest home somewhere!! If I had gone with my surgeon's partner, he would have set my goal at 180 (5' 11" medium frame). So when I hit 187 I freaked out...And started eating everything in sight to regain. Big mistake. I should have just added a small amount of fruit and some more plain nuts. Also a few more vegetables. Going back to the sugar was my big downfall. Over the years I started to justify my rewards for being so low. I started to think..."Hey, you're doing great...Reward yourself...Don't take this dieting thing too serious". Big mistake. I started to go back to Pepsi and chips. I regained to about 235 over the years. It took a second heart attack to wake me up to get back on track. Eyes wide open. Keep up the good work. Brian
Brian, thank you for a very thoughtful reply. You make some very good points and ask some good questions, and I do not take any offense at all. I am 6'1" and have a fairly stocky frame. I set my original goals based on numbers from the surgeon's office on body fat and other things. For example, the fancy electronic scale claimed my non fat mass was 281 when I started. In asking some pointed questions of my surgeon about those numbers and how they changed, I have since learned those scales use WAG circuitry to make their calculations. WAG, just in case anyone is not familiar with the term is Wild Ass Guess. But anyway...
I am adding two pictures, one somewhat recent, and one from long ago. The recent picture was taken on the occasion of my one year surgery anniversary. I am 285 lbs in that picture, 20 lbs heavier than I am today. The second picture is from my yute, taken in 1982. I am approximately 250 lbs in that one. My doc told me my BMI would always be high, but it is clear to anyone who sees me in person that I am not fat. Except for some loose skin, I'm not even pudgy anymore. My doc is tickled pink with my progress, as am I and my family. Probably the most negativity I encounter comes from women I know locally who got fat again after their own surgeries.
I am right there with you on the sugar thing. The good news for me is sugar will make me uncomfortable - not quite nauseous, but it upsets my stomach. That makes it easy to avoid. It is protein and fruit for me. I can take the sugar in a little bit of fruit, but even a small glass of orange juice will upset my stomach.
I am getting used to the idea of being where I am at. I've leveled out again for the past week. I am not sure I want to stay right here, but I am pretty sure I don't want to get any lower. At this point I would not want to go back above my 1 year mark of 285, and if I hit 275 again the warning lights will be flashing. It'll be interesting to see what comes with the warmer weather and the resumption of my biking. At the end of the season last year I was knocking out 12-14 miles in about an hour three times a week or more. That burns quite a bit of calories, but it also builds some muscle, muscles that have gone a little soft here in the cold of winter.
Thanks Bill...My bad!! I had no idea of your frame!! When I was 300-290 my dietician said I was a medium frame...I just laughed at him. I played high school football. I was a lineman...How could I be a medium frame?? But thinking back, I did get to a low of just under 180 with very little body fat in my days. So yeah, I was a medium frame. I am surprised you retained most of your muscle mass. But since you had the sleeve you may not lose much muscle mass. You are doing great!! A picture is worth a 1000 words. So I agree with you of trying to stay within 265-275 would be an ideal goal. Your muscles say it all concerning BMI and percent of fat on you. I have heard over the years, as long as you don't drop below 2% body fat (excluding skin) you can remain there. But the doctors (from support groups) said you should not drop below 2% because of health and reserves (flu or sicknesses). So you are at goal plus!!
Yeah, I would add more good food to your diet. Even some sugar or simple carbs can be OK. They are addicting and can cause emotional eating to arise. But adding fruits, nuts, vegetables, protein shakes, protein bars only make sense since you are very active and want to retain your muscles. Keep up the good work. Brian
No worries, Brian. I've worked very hard to keep my muscle mass. I've got a physically demanding occupation and a large property to maintain. Besides, I need to maintain my aura as a strong man. Ive got three sons-in-law I need to keep in line.
I'm pretty sure if you drop below 2% body fat you're likely to die. I wouldn't think many doctors would be ok with someone maintaining at that level. From my undertandidng, "essential body fat" is 3%-5%. I believe for most medical professionals warning bells go off if you get near 5%. I believe anything under 8% is considered "under-fat" and healthy ranges are often considered 8% - 20%.
I realize that isn't the point of this post, but I was surprised to see the 2%, so wanted to chime in! But, I'm no doctor, just my $0.02.
Bill - thanks for the update, and I hope you are doing well. It's very interesting to see how different people respond to "life happening". I know that for me, personally, I do end up eating more than I should in stressful situations. I don't know that it is so much "stress eating" as it is that I get distracted by life, and am much less mindful of what I'm doing which leads to overeating for me. Fortunately, when this happens, I am still very good at sticking to food on my plan. And since my plan consists of a lot of fruits and vegetables, it's pretty darn forgiving if you have a few extra servings a day.