In 14 months I've been doing a lot of stuff. What kind of stuff, you ask? Well. I'll tell you! Since I've been on sabbatical from my part-time job (Starbucks is pretty awesome like that), I've managed to fill in the blanks. My favorite blank to fill in has been that 4:30 am to 8:00 am blank on the weekends when I can sleep like normal people. Also that 10:00 to 11:30 blank in the evening when I can go to bed early. But trust me, I've been doing more than just getting a few extra hours of shut-eye. Here's what I've been doing:
I've been doing a lot of ice skating. I started taking lessons on a whim about a year and a half ago, and once I learned how to remain upright on a pair of skates I started getting into the sport aspect of it. Eventually I'd like to compete, even on a low level, because it's something to work toward. It'll be a long time before that happens, but in the meantime I take weekly lessons and fit in a practice here and there when I can find convenient ice time. If I could find the time to do it more, I would. I've got some ideas on how to make that happen, but that's a little down the road.
I've been doing a lot of yoga. HTG* so generously offered to pay for a monthly pass to my favorite yoga studio, on the stipulation that I actually use it. So I go at least twice a week to make it worth his expenditure. Yoga also helps with skating in terms of balance and flexibility, and has replaced my regular gym workouts (which I may or may not pick up again at some point - more on that later).
I've been doing a lot of singing. It's been a pretty hefty year chorus-wise. We didn't really get to take the summer off last year because we were invited to sing "Carmina Burana" at Chautauqua, which was a complete thrill. The second time we did it, HTG and I went down there for the whole weekend and made a little mini-vacation out of it, complete with countryside wandering and farm-stand browsing. We're thrill-seekers like that.
I've been doing a lot of thinking. About life, love, my future, my career, the absolutely tragic state of the world...you know, the normal stuff.
I've been doing a lot of bad eating. NOTHING has changed since my last update - you know, the one where I'd poured my heart out about how unhappy I was with my weight re-gain, how I vowed to change it THEN AND THERE? Yeah. I didn't do any of that. And I gained another couple of pounds. I stopped working out as much. And then I actually stopped working out altogether. There was a period of about three or four months when the only exercise I got was my once-weekly skating lesson and an occasional walk. I didn't even get out to ski but twice, thanks to one of the tamest winters on record.
I love to cook. I love to bake. HTG loves to eat. And HTG loves me. So the natural progression has been for me to gravitate toward eating what I've cooked and baked for him. I'm not making excuses - I know that I'm doing the wrong thing. It's really so much easier to eat what he's having (and so obviously enjoying while singing the praises of my culinary prowess), versus watching him eat a giant plate of pasta with homemade sauce and a big honking slice of blueberry pie while I sip a protein shake. But I need to figure out a workaround, I know this.
I've stretched my sleeve a bit - I can definitely hold more food than I could before. But I did a re-set recently and realized that all is not lost - I'm still only able to hold a little more than a cup of solid food. Any more than that, or food mixed with any liquid, and my stomach lets me know in the most unpleasant way that it disagrees with my decision. I've thrown up in my office garbage can more times than I can count, to be honest. Seriously gross.
But it's not only the volume of food that I can't seem to get a handle on (big surprise there, as someone with a history of compulsive overeating), but it's the quality (another big surprise, as someone who does not have a history of compulsively overeating broccoli). Unlike bypass patients, sleeve patients can tolerate sugar - not at first, but it's easy enough to build up a tolerance, something I've managed to do with relative ease. The aftermath isn't always pleasant, but not unpleasant enough to completely deter me from eating that piece of cake, that bowl of ice cream, or that luscious caramel chocolate bar. I eat bad stuff, I feel like garbage, and I find myself right where I was pre-sleeve; on the couch in a cloud of indigestion and self-loathing. With pants that don't fit. And then a week before I go to the doctor I step up my game and lose a few pounds in an effort to fake him out. But who am I really faking out? Who's the one who truly suffers? Not him. It's all me. This sucks.
There have been markers along the way, signs pointing to the error of my ways. Little blips on the radar that make me pay more attention and realize I've got to get a handle on this. Remember my fat wrists? They're back. That's usually the first indication that I'm above a healthy weight. Those have been going on now for at least the last year. My ankles are swelling again - an indication that I'm consuming far too much sugar and salt and not nearly enough water. None of my pants from last year fit me. Even the ones that fit me as I wrote last April's entry are now in the "Will fit if I lose 10 pounds" bin. I now have at least five 18-gallon bins full of clothes that don't fit. I talked about all of this 14 months ago, but did I do anything to fix it? Nope. And that, I think, is the most disheartening part of it all.
I realized back in December when my doctor (my regular PCP who I see every month) gave me a literal finger-wagging that I was in trouble. I lost three pounds over the holidays, but it was the same three pounds I put back on the next month. I have been hovering at this weight, this 35-ish pounds too much weight, for too long. Yoga and skating are helping keep the hover from a launch to the next notch on the scale, but the number needs to not hover; it needs to descend. Soon. Now. Because if it doesn't, and I end up feeling like all of this was a wasted effort...nope. Can't deal.
A friend of mine is getting ready to be sleeved in a couple of days and it has served as an inspiration. She cited me as an inspiration long ago, and I feel like I've failed her. Here she is about to go under the knife in hopes of bettering her health, and here I am, three years out, complaining that I'm 35 pounds overweight and can't fit into my pants. So now it's her turn to inspire me.
I've also decided that it's time to start blogging about stuff other than the sleeve stuff because all of it affects me and is all part of the bigger picture. I used to have several blogs that were designated for different purposes, but ain't nobody got time for that. I mean, seriously, I can barely maintain one blog, let alone three. So look for more subjects beyond food and weight coming soon.
With that, I'm going to go fix myself a protein shake for lunch and stare longingly at the bin full of cute shorts and sundresses that don't fit right now.
*for those who don't know, HTG is my boyfriend. His initials are actually WNK, but that's no matter. To the Internets at Large, he is and always will be HTG. Long story. If you don't know it, I'll tell you some day. :-)