Reaching Maintenance Goals

Jun 27, 2011

Its been three months since I made a blog post. Not much of a blogger because I dont do much of anything that is all that interesting. But I am happy to report that I am maintaining my weight loss without too much difficulty. I reached my surgeon's goal in September of 2010 but wanted to lose a couple more pounds which he approved. Then I found it was harder to stop losing than I thought and lost about 10 more than I planned to. Still it puts me at a bmi of 20.5 or so which is normal and which my surgeon says is fine. Seems to work for me even though my husband thinks I am too thin. I probably would look better with a few more pounds just to fill out some of the wrinkles but I suspect a few pounds will return soon enough and I am not going to try to do it on purpose except in the unlikely event I drop more weight unexpectedly.

  So I got to my final weight in December of 2010.  I decided to be able to maintain I needed to keep tracking to make sure I got the protein in that doctor says I will need forever. I am afraid to stop tracking as I fear I will just slide into bad habits. I see nothing wrong with doing this indefinatey if needed. My surgeon at one time thought this was kind of obsessive but last support group he said he thought tracking long term was a good idea for a variety of reasons. Told you so, Dr. C.

I also decided I needed to set maintenance goals just like weight loss goals. So they are basically every six months i will not weigh more than 125. I met the first six month goal in May. I have it set up in my goals on my health tracker or start page or somewhere. So I have another one coming up for December. I plan to keep doing this indefinitely. Maintenance is just like being on the weight loss program except you eat twice as many calories. Still keep the protein at 70 g, carbs might be 50 or 50 instead of 20 and calories are about 1200 and not 600. This sounds pretty meager but its what it takes for me - an oldish person who has always had a slow metabolism confirmed by tests. But with the sleeve on my side and the ghrelin mostly out the window, I can manage it. I really don't eat carbs - no bread, rice, potatoes, crackers or pasta. None. its just the way it has to be. Maybe a low carb flatbread or low carb tortilla once in a while. The good news is I can eat a glob of peanut butter and that is very satisfying and makes me feel full. The right kind of fats such as nuts seem to do that.

Haven't done much with exercise. Had to defer the Aikibojitsu do to injury to my hands which was miserable and is still in recovery. Made it really hard to do art for awhile. Also thwarted my other plan which was to get really serious in the garden. I just cant grasp things well with my right hand and it hurts at times so I save it for art work. Still hoping for full recovery in a few more weeks so I can finish that up.

Then there is the Great Dog Chippie and his shows. He only needs one major win to finish his championship but his grooming must be perfect and the hand injury makes that rough. Doing a little at a time as I can.  Thats about it. Later.  D.

Cinnamon Almonds

May 03, 2011

Have had some requests for this recipe so i will post it here and refer you to it. Was a hit at los gatos and a good thing to get through christmas when you want a holiday goodie. kept me out of the cookies.    The brown sugar splenda adds some calories but the amount is pretty low in the whole scheme.  Diane

Cinnamon Almonds

3-4 cups raw almonds
one egg white
2 or more heaping tsp cinnamon
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar Splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients except almonds together. I use a big pyrex 8 cup thing. stir in almonds until well coated. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Spread the sticky almonds on the cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir the almonds around with a spatula and bake for another 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and stir almonds again. They will seem still sticky but will crisp up as they cool. They can cool on the cookie sheet. Store in an air tight jar when cool.

This could probably be adjusted for savory or hot spices or used with cardamom or other interesting spices. the egg white binds the spices to the almonds and adds no calories. The brown sugar splenda does have part real sugar so someone might try making this with a lesser amount of regular splenda or another sweetener that takes heat. cinammon coco might be good too.


Another Three Months Gone By

Mar 27, 2011

Three months have passed since I wrote on this blog. I am still down at the weight I was in December which is below doctor's goal. However, my bmi is 20.8 and my surgeon thinks my weight is fine as it is even though its below when he told me I was done. I think he just thought that was as far as I would get because I was a slow loser. Anyway, I feel good at this weight and while I am definately trying not to lose any more, I am also not trying to gain. I probably would look a little less wrinkly with a couple more pounds and my husband thinks I am too skinny, but I just have this block about intentionally trying to gain weight. Plus, so many have posted that at two or three years out they regained 10 pounds or so and I am fully expecting that to happen.

So these days things seem pretty normal. I can go to a restaurant and find something to eat even if there are only a few choices I am happy with that. I really don't mind that others are eating a lot more than me. I know if I overdo it I can still get the slimies and will feel uncomfortable and eating slowly and in moderate amounts has become second nature. I go around throughout my day with no awareness that I have had surgery except boy the lack of back and joint pain is wonderful!! Really love that part. Used to have to plan all physical chores before 3 pm as after that I hurt too much.

I still journal my food - calories, carbs and protein. Mainly I am trying to make sure I get the protein in as doc says 70 g a day is for the rest of my life. Ok with that. And I also want to make sure the calories stay in line but its not too much of a problem. The carbs seem to take care of themselves. Ideally I should be learning to do all this without journaling but have seen so many posts from people who have stopped and gotten off track that I am going to just keep it up. Maybe forever.

I have started a martial arts program - Aikibojitsu; the Art of the Staff. It involves some Aikido but uses a long stick and is very Zen and artsy. Fun.

Last fall I started the vsg maintenance group as so many of us were reaching goal and trying to figure out what to do next. I liken it to getting off the tour bus in a foreign country and having to find your way with a dictionary and your wits. The group has been very helpful and is open to all. Its really a lifeline so that those of us who have reached goal are not adrift and therefore prone to regain. I lived in terror of regain and still fear it but every week that goes by that I maintain my weight I feel a little better about it. I am using my OH goals section to set maintenance goals of not weighing above a certain amount at various numbers of months after reaching goal. I think maintaining needs goals, encouragement, victories and things similar to the losing phase.

Still need to work on exercising regularly. Spotty about this. The story of my life. There is a ton of gardening to do when the rains stop and I will sure be doing that.

Well thats about it. Hope in a few more months I can report that I am maintaining.     Diane

Three months after reaching goal

Dec 16, 2010

Haven't added to this blog for awhile and its about time. The journey continues and the past three months have been interesting. Dr. told me in September I was done and could stop losing and to slowly increase calories. Well I have been trying to do that and surprised to find its easier said than done. I am down acutally 12 more pounds from where he said to stop. A few people have commented. I haven't been too concerned as I figure it will all straighten out, but my cool new jeans are kinda baggy so i gotta address this. Interestingly, while i have tasted a few sweets, I really don't want to dive head first into them both because I think it would be a bad habit that I worked hard to get rid of and because I am really not that interested. Trying to increase the calories but I find I am just not that hungry earlier in the day and later in the day I just don't have the room to make up the difference. So I really gotta eat a little more earlier in the day. Talked to the dietician and she said add back an extra protein drink each day (blech but I guess I can do a warm coco as I have figured out how to make it taste decent) and to change milk from skim to 1 percent. Love cheese and just bought a big hunk of my favorite - Dubliner White Irish Cheddar. Will do more of that. And I think I am going to turn into an almond I eat so many. The thing is, when I try to eat some extra calories with lowcarb flat bread and almond butter or oatmeal and blueberries, what gets left out is the protein. So I gotta find both protein and a few calories but keep it healthy and not suggary and carby. Thats a no no in my opinion. So here I am for the first time in my entire life being told to eat more and maybe get a pound or two back. Very strange indeed for someone who was fat in the third grade and can't remember not being fat. Gotta admit I really LOVE not being fat. It rocks.

Well, off to the art studio to do a million things that used to hurt my back to do. Gotta remember to pack a lunch. But I repeat, being at goal rocks. Anyone reading this keep at it. Its so worth it.   Skinny D

My Surgeon Says I am done!

Sep 30, 2010

I already posted on the forum about my recent follow up with the revered Dr. Cirangle on Monday, but it was so important to me I thought it was worth a blog item. I weighed 137 at home naked on a syntech scale (same as at doc office) but weighed 140 at office with clothes and 2 cups coffee in me. I was aprehensive because though I felt I had done well, i thought Dr. C might want me to lose a few more pounds. He is a perfectionist and likes people to get a few extra pounds off since he says a little regain is normal. Well, the first thing he said was "you look great" Wow, what an upper!. He told me i didn't need to lose any more as i had bmi of 24. Actually its 23.3 since i am now down another pound and I have regained a quarter inch of lost height due to not being compressed by extra weight. I don't think he believes that as he says i am just walking taller and prouder but I got measured professionally at the pcp and I KNOW  I have that extra quarter inch. So I was thrilled beyond measure to be told i was at normal goal weight. We talked about maintenance and he said increase 100 calories per day gradually until i get to where i am maintaining. May end up at 1200 t0 1500. Sounds like a major pig out to me after 10 months of less than 800. And I am not sure what I am going to be able to eat as i fill up on the protein and not room for much else. He says the 70 g protein rule is for the rest of my life. fine with me. Guess i could go eat some sweets but i am not going to as that could be the road to hell. Guess I will talk to the dietician for guidance. Lapsf gives years of follow up so thats really nice.

This has been my project for the last year. Now I gotta find a new one since I always need goals and challenges. Maybe getting some muscle tone for my  saggy a$$ or some aerobic fitness. Or getting the garden into shape and making some super art work. I gave dr. C a piece of barriatric art work which i will post on the forum if I can figure out how to get it on there.

Anyway, life is good for this former fatty. Feel so good it ought to be illegal. Now on to enjoying the rest of my skinny life! Diane


Birthday Blog

Sep 16, 2010

Well today's my birthday and OMG I am 59 years old! How can this be? Funny, a year ago I felt every year of my age and then some. Tired, sore, creaky and cranky. Now, a year later and 100 lbs lighter (can't remember what I weighed one year ago as I had done some preop weight loss but was two months away from surgery) life is so great. Can't believe how much better I feel. No more daily use of advil for backache that showed up every day at about 4 o'clock. Ironically, I sort of have a back ache right now but only because I ran around and  did a lot of gardening and lifted a bunch of heavy trash cans because I thought I was super woman. Well, got a birthday card from the chiropractor so I guess I will be calling her up. But nice to have this minor issue as a result of renewed energy and activity than a stroke from high bp and sitting on my formerly large a$$ for so long.

So this birthday finds me a very happy vsg camper. Weighed and my birthday gift from my body is being one pound below goal at 139. Don't think I weighed this since college and even then weighed more much of it. Know I once reached 140 at about age 30 after months of major dieting but I think that lasted about 5 minutes. Had a really cute fitted size 10 suit that I wore then before I outgrew it. Wonder what happened to that? I did find one really nice wool business suit in the back of the closet the other day. Dont know why I kept that one. Size 18 so I am sure its too big. Think I kept it for the color - cobalt blue.

So I celebrate the day with no bp meds, no antidepressants (do take an anti-anxiety drug which beats the hell out of eating m and m's for anxiety) , no ppi meds, no nuthin' except vitamins, calcium and fish oil. Finally got a cholesterol test and while its 30 points lower, the LDL is still a little high. Oh well, way better than the nearly 300 it was some years ago.

Can't say enough good stuff about Dr. Cirangle and Dr. Jossart and Lapsf. Dr. C can be annoying with his tardiness and occasional "attitude" but he gets an A+ for results with this former fat girl. They say your surgeon operates on your body but not on your brain but he actually sort of did fix my brain. I may have reported this before, but in our consult I was bemoaning the fact that while I am an educated and accomplished person (ok, a bit of brag) and can usually do anything I put my mind to, the one thing I could never have was weight control. He looked me right in the eye and said "You can". It really convinced me that this could work and gave me the confidence to put aside self doubt and just do it. Now that I am at my goal (maybe - dr. C could well change it) I still feel like that "yes I can" person. I suspect that the maintenance journey is going to be just as interesting and difficult as the weight loss phase and while it was a  little discouraging to come to this realization, I remember the "You can"  remark and know that its up to me, I have the tools and skills now and I plan to spend the rest of my hopefully extended life span as a person of normal weight. Don't know what other health issues are in store for me as my friends of similar age and I are only now beginning to discover some of the joys of aging, but I am doing better than many of my friends now that that 100 lbs of blubber has left the building.

So here I sit, blogging in my nightgown and drinking my beloved coffee with half and half, looking out on my deck and backyard with beautiful blooming roses, lictus, hydrangea, chinese chives, petunias, pansies, scotch moss, creeping thyme, rosemary, ornamental grasses, fuschia, heathers, blueberry bushes and other stuff I don't know what it is.  Had given up caring for the garden a few years ago due to back pain and overall tubbieness. It still needs a lot of work but have done much this summer and will get it where i want it in the next couple of years, because, after all, "I can".

If anyone reading this is on the fence about vsg, suck it up and go for it. Its about the third best thing ever did (first being marrying DH and second being dumping my corporate career to be a full time artist). By the way, I have an artist web site now and address is Guess I just exposed my identity. oh well.  Have even  done a few pieces of "barriatric art".

In a couple of weeks I am doing an arts festival in another city and it will be the first one I have done out of town. It means I will be schlepping my tent, art work, display materials and all manner of junk all by myself and setting it all up. A year ago I couldn't have done this. Now I know I can. Hey, there's that "I can" phrase again. But thats what the journey away from morbid obesity is about really. As our President says "Yes We Can". And now I say  "Hell yeah I did!"

Gonna celebrate birthday at my favorite restaurant. Will order the crab cakes appetizer and probably won't be able to eat it all. And maybe a glass of wine and really enjoy it. Fortunately this nice restaurant doesn't get snooty if you can only order a small item so we tip like we ordered bigger. I really am beginning to judge restaurants on how well they treat me on this issue and accomodate the barriatric issues. Think its important to tip the waiter well since its just as much work for them.

So this is the view at age 59 and 108 lbs lighter. Even got my greyish hair touched up with highlights back to its natural blonde. Never thought I would bother to color my hair again now that I am a hippie artist but gotta admit I like the look so will keep it awhile - until I get totally grey and then think I will do some outlandish purple hair which will distract everyone from the sags and wrinkles i have. Fortunately, living in a continuously cool climate means long pants and mostly long sleeves and no bare belly or hip huggers so all the bad stuff is covered. Jury is still out on plastics. Would love to have someof that sag stuff off but don't feel like going through a surgery that I know will be more painful and tough than the super easy vsg was. So guess I will see how I feel at age 60. Whatever.

Thats about it. I am sure I will be blathering all over the forum today as its my favorite way to start the day. Have a good one!

8 months and having a ball

Jul 23, 2010

Time to update this. It seems my substitute addiction is blathering on OH. but it beats eating bad foods and I sure get a kick out of what i read on this site. And of course I have an opinion on practically everything.

Saw Dr. Jossart yesterday. Such a good doc. I am at bmi 25.9. He thinks i should be transitioning to maintenance (WTF!) but i wanna lose 10 more so he say oh, ok. Had a nice chat. And support group was good too. Bragged about having recently gone horseback riding for the first time in 20 years. It was so great. But after an hour and a half my rear was objecting. Amazingly the horse was not objecting to this person of almost (not quite) normal weight on her back. Others in the group were heavier than me and it was thrilling to not be embarrassed to tell my weight to the stable manager so she could assign me the correct horse. I had set my goal as riding a horse on the beach but the rental stables aren't allowed to do this though private owned horses can. I am going to have to make friends with someone with a horse so i can get that beach ride. Where there is a will, there is a way.

STomach is wrinkly and arms and inner thighs are flabby. need plastics. may or may not do that. probably should do some weight training first.

Thats about it for now. Still losing about 6 lbs per month. Works for me.
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6 months out

May 21, 2010

Well a couple of days ago was my six month suriversary and I could not be happier with where I am. Saw Dr. Jossart yesterday (he and my surgeon dr. Cirangle trade off on follow up when they travel to our area). Jossart is such a nice guy and a pleasure to work with. He seemed to think i was doing great and to just keep it up. He thought my goal should be revised to about 145 which would put me at bmi just below 25. Originally we had a range of 130 to 150 but he thought having extra skin would make 145 reasonable. I weighed 140 for a short time in adult life after one of many diets and it was a good weight.  we shall see. he said it was ok to lose only 5 lbs a month and in 4 months i would be at the new goal. well i wanna lose more and faster (cirangle wants that too) but we shall see. But meanwhile i am down 82 lbs from peak, 65 from surgery date and feel a zillion times better. I am so glad i did this. Can't say enough good stuff about LapSF and am really glad i chose them. they get A + from me for results. Since I am in a rural area, we have started a little support group to trade protein drinks and just talk. one meeting so far. its fun and i hope we can keep it going. I really depend on OH and it has become part of my daily routine to check in and see whats up and to blather about anything i have an opinion which is pretty much everything. but it helps remind me that dealing with weight is an everyday thing and gets me started in the right frame of mind. A good thing.

My birthday is in four months and I would love to celebrate it by having a bmi of under 25 making me officially not overweight. gotta lose 20 lbs to do it. wish me luck. D
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Back from a 12 day trip

May 12, 2010

This trip was a big adventure in many ways. There was the challenge of spending time with a mostly overweight family, seeing old friends and waiting to see if they noticed weight loss, traveling and eating in restaurants and airports, and attending a very fancy wedding and dinner with gourmet food. It all worked out great!. I took my protein powder and some protein bars and had one shake per day. I ate eggs when i could for breakfast at family home and shake for breakfast elsewhere. Managed to eat an egg McMuffin and toss the muffin, get grilled chicken and toss the bread , low carb burger at Carl's Jr. which comes wrapped in lettuce, and things like that. Had a couple of bites of most things at the wedding and rehersal dinner. There were little rack of lamb hors d'oevres and i was in heaven. Tasted the wedding cake and a little of the candies served. This wedding was at a very fancy famous hotel. We had a normal double room reserved and checked in late. They had some problem with the room (I though we were going to get put in some super crummy room) but lo and behold, they gave us the Presidential Suite at no extra charge. It was fabulous and everyone was envious. We let the bride and attendants come dress there and had a great time. Even ate about a third of a piece of pizza for one meal. didn't have any trouble staying within reason on all things. Everyone was super complementary about my weight loss. Was able to help losts with the rehersal dinner and other preparations that I know I could not have done a year ago - especially at higher altittude. Danced and had a super time.

My family seemed pleased and accepting of my procedure even though i had not told my mother ahead of time due to some dementia she has. She accepted it well and seems ok with it. Has probably forgotten by now. The only sad note is I was hoping to get my very overweight brother interested in doing this but he just could not have been less interested. NOt sure why.

Found out one of my long time friends has a lap band she got a few years ago. we were always the two fat girls in our crowd in school. It doesn't appear to me that she has lost any weight with it. She says it feels fine and it keeps her from getting worse. I am so glad I didn't do that and did what I did.

Airplane travel was uneventful (3 flights each way). Just kept getting plenty of water, got lowfat milk when i could and ate protein bar as needed. worked out but I am glad to be home with my normal routine.

And the best part is I weigh 4 lbs less than when i left. hot dog!!!

time for another blog entry

Apr 18, 2010

Time for another update to the story of the incredible shrinking woman. Can't believe I am getting into this blogging as I used to think it was nuts! Another side effect of wls is that you want to blab your story to everyone.

As posted on the VSG board, I am thrilled that I am now merely overweight and no longer clinically obese. Yesterday I lost a half pound putting my BMI to 29.5. Boy did it feel great to brag about that. Still have 30 pounds to go to get to a normal BMI and more than that to get to where my doctor thinks I should be, but progress really feels good. Health benefits are adding up. No BP meds or potassium supplement. Dying to check cholesterol but my PCP says to wait. More energy, better mood and hornier husband.

I was previously a little discouraged about the slow rate of my weight loss. It was only about a pound a week and thats not so good for a person only 4 months out. I saw my surgeon, the infamous Dr. Cirangle and he said to step up the exercise (no surprise) and to increase protein to 80 g per week. That was a surprise as I don't understand why that works as it does result in some calorie increase. I really don't eat inappropriate stuff. I grumbled and moaned at him but decided to take the advice and try it. A month later my rate of weight loss has increased to 1.5 to 2 lbs per week. Still a mystery but I'll go along with it. Also helped to find better tasting protein drinks since I was really sick of what I had.

Anyway, being merely overweight is an important milestone. I think its been 15 years or more since I was this low. While I go to Curves, I am not doing much other formal exercise as recommended, but I am much more active and just do more things as far as house work, gardening, art work and bla bla bla. Feels good to be able to move around without that extra 73 lbs. OMG, don't think I could lift 73 pounds on a bet!

Taking a trip back to the midwest to see friends and family. Most of them do not know about surgery and haven't seen me in two years. I can hardly wait for the reactions! Have purchased some black very slimming clothing to get maximum impact. Can't believe I am so vain to to that as I never even wear make up and dress mostly in clothes suitable for the art studio. I will add a blog report when I get back from that trip as it should have some great stories.

I can't express my praise enough to Dr. Cirangle and Laproscopic Associates of SF. surgery was so easy and this whole process has been very doable. I'm not sure if this is the best thing I ever did, but its sure in the top 5.

Overweight Diane

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