Monday, May 27, 2013

Clothing Limbo

I'm in the unfortunate place known as Clothing Limbo.  It's like Purgatory, except my walls are lined with plastic storage totes instead of flaming skulls. 

I currently own two pairs of summer pants that fit.  One is a pair of jean capris that I'm pretty sure everyone is sick of seeing me in.  I know I'm sick to death of wearing them.  I also have a pair of khaki capris that have served me well for a number of years but are now about to fall into the "too big even with a belt" category.  I might be able to get a couple more weeks out of them, but they're not long for my closet.  Yesterday I dragged out the bin of too-small pants to see if I could get some more additions to my wardrobe, but came out only with three pairs that "sort of" fit.  "Sort of" as in "they fit okay in the butt, and maybe in another ten pounds they'll fit in the waist, but in the meantime I need to decide if I want to hang on to these and see if I can find a shirt that masks the muffin tops these pants create, otherwise they're essentially useless."  It's a difference of like one lousy size, and yet I'm caught in the middle, thanks to my practically negative waist:hip ratio.

And shirts?  Don't even get me started.  Shirts are a strange thing for me.  I hate my arms, so sleeveless stuff is almost always layered under something with sleeves, unless I'm having one of those "fuck 'em if they can't take bingo wings" 80-degree days when comfort trumps style and I cease to give a shit what anyone thinks.  I rarely wear anything that buttons up the front, I hate the way I look in traditional t-shirts, and fitted t-shirts are just out of the question when you're shaped like the Michelin Man.

There's a reason this guy doesn't wear clothes, you know.

So today I decided that I'd just suck it up and go shopping to see if I couldn't find one new pair of pants that fit me well.  I decided I'd rather have one new pair that fit well than three old pairs that "sort of" fit and two old pairs that fit but are about to go on strike from being forced to work overtime.  Combined with a couple of elastic-waisted summer skirts, that would set me straight for another month or two, at least.

I went to a "cheapie" department store - no sense in spending a shit ton of money on something I'm just going to shrink out of before long - and after a good half an hour or more of poking through racks I found nine potential items.  I picked out four pairs of capris in various sizes and styles, three shirts, and two dresses.  I hadn't planned on buying dresses, but these were cute and flow-y and looked like they would be useful for the whole summer.

I knew I could only take six items into the dressing room at a time, so I carefully separated the things I wanted to try on first and approached the fitting room.  Now, I understand this is not Lord & Taylor.  I know they probably have big shoplifting issues and whatnot, and I've sort of gotten used to their terrible customer service.  One of the employees is a regular customer of mine, and she's quite possibly the most miserable human being under the age of 30 that I've ever met. And so when I shop in this place, I make sure to play by the rules to avoid as much extraneous interaction as I possibly can.

So I approached the fitting room with my carefully separated items, prepared to take six in and leave the other three out to switch later.  I smiled brightly at the fitting room attendant, who GLARED at me, scowled, and said, not "hello,"  not "how many?" but growled nastily, "You can only take in six.  The other ones you have to leave over there."

I said, "Yes, I know.  This is why I have six in this hand and three in this one.  I know the rules," adding a little grin and chuckle at the end to show that I wasn't a threat.  I was a nice person.  I just wanted some new pants.  I wasn't here to cause trouble.  I was here to spend twenty bucks on a cheap new outfit.  I was a simple person, on a simple mission, and I even had a reasonable grasp on basic arithmetic.

She glared at me again and barked, "put your other ones over THERE!" and pointed to a rack outside the door.

I don't know what happened next.  Something about the way she spoke to me that last time just raised my ire and before I could stop myself I said, "Oh, fuck it.  You're too nasty.  Your attitude BLOWS."  And with that I threw - as in, hurled, hangers and all -  all nine items onto the floor and stalked off.  I could hear her protesting as I walked away, but I didn't bother trying to hear what she was saying.  I could hear that she'd dialed down from "disgruntled middle-aged employee" to "likely feigned indignation," but I wasn't sticking around to explain myself.  I was actually a little embarrassed by my behavior, but whatever.  I'm sure they've seen worse.

I was too pissed to try shopping anywhere else, so I just went on with my day after that.  Wearing my trusty jean capris.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mmmm...Ice Cream!

I have said before that I am finding ways to reward myself with stuff that is NOT food.  However, I think it's important to distinguish between a "reward" and a "treat."

A reward is something you do to reinforce or provide incentive for positive behavior.  A treat is something you indulge in sparingly - hence the term "treat."  They are often used interchangeably, but I think it's important in my situation to keep them mutually exclusive. 

So tonight, after I walked to Target to buy a few things, I stopped at Anderson's and TREATED myself to a small cone of non-fat, sugar-free ice cream.  (It should be noted that I LOVE ice cream cones in the summer time).  Now, the old me would have rewarded myself with an Anderson's visit for walking to Target.  And not only that, the old me would have ordered a large chocolate-dipped waffle cone with three scoops of regular ice cream covered in sprinkles.

But this was not a reward for walking to Target.  Why?  Because walking to Target is something I should be doing any time I need something from Target that isn't too heavy to carry a couple of blocks.  I should be walking everywhere.  I live in a neighborhood with a ton of stuff within walking distance - myriad shopping plazas (Buffalo is the Kingdom of Strip Malls), drugstores, department stores, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters, gyms, thrift name it, I can walk to it.  So unless I'm buying lots of heavy stuff or the weather is crappy or I'm making a quick stop on the way to someplace else, there is no reason for me to drive anywhere in my immediate area.

Anyway, after I left Target I thought, "I could go for an ice cream cone."  Anderson's is on the way home, and I knew from experience they had nonfat and/or sugar-free options.  So I stopped in and ordered the smallest cone they sell, and asked if they could put less than a full scoop on.  They were a bit perplexed, but they obliged, and I ended up with this:

Believe it or not, that's not even a full scoop!

It was freakin' delicious.  I haven't had ice cream in a few months, unless you count the occasional sugar-free fudgesicle.  But this was actual ice cream.  In a cone. OMG. I sat outside and savored it.  This was a real treat, in my book.

And just for the record, I looked up the nutrition info online and found out this whole thing was 97 calories, 0 fat, 4 grams of protein, and 21 grams of carbohydrates.

Not bad for an occasional treat!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Learning Curve

Since starting on solid food a week ago, I've had some major learning experiences with food - specifically, what and how much of it I can tolerate. There's been quite a bit of pain and a fair amount of vomiting.  Sometimes both at the same time.  I'm still trying to get that mind-body connection I wrote about a couple posts back, and it's not been easy.

It's not that I don't understand portion control; it's that I don't understand THIS portion control.  On a "normal" diet, you might have a few ounces of lean meat, a little scoop of rice, and some steamed veggies.  In my world, however, the portions are much smaller, and my stomach is about 1/5th the size it was before.  And while four ounces of liquid fit comfortably in my stomach during the previous stages, four ounces of solid food does not.  You know, that pesky difference between fluid ounces vs. dry measured ounces.  What I feel like I should be able to reasonably tolerate isn't always what I actually can.  And it's frustrating on more than one level.  It's frustrating because all it takes is one forkful too many to make me sick.  It's frustrating because I need to take in a gazillion grams of protein every day and even though I'm eating solid food I STILL need to drink those fucking shakes to get it all in.  And it's especially frustrating in social situations.

This past weekend I went to a baby shower.  The lunch was turkey, chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc, and was served with salad and bread for an appetizer.  I passed on the salad and the bread and when it was time to go to the buffet I took two slices of turkey, a quarter-sized dollop of mashed potatoes, one olive, and a half a slice of zucchini.  I'd had to come clean to the women at my table about why I wasn't eating the salad or the bread when they asked (it's just easiest, I've found, to simply explain to people that you've had WLS) but when I got back to the table they all marveled at how little was on my plate.

As I carefully cut my turkey into tiny little pieces, I watched as people stepped out from the buffet line with plates piled high with food.  Meat, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, all kinds of stuff, and I got a little lump in my throat that I'd never be able to eat like that again.  I know it's not a bad thing, but remember - I have struggled with emotional eating for decades.  Seeing that much comfort food actually made me wistful for the days when I'd drown my sorrows in gravy. I should have been feeling triumphant, having finally beat the demon...but have I, really?

Nevertheless, I cut my turkey up into itty-bitty pieces, ate slowly, and chewed each piece until it was practically invisible before I swallowed it.  I tried to pay extra close attention to my stomach, feeling for cues that it was getting full so that I wouldn't embarrass myself by gagging and/or running to the bathroom in the event it started backing up.  I got about four bites in, and I felt full.  I put my fork down and the woman next to me said, "You can't eat any more than that?!"  I shook my head.  It might have been the glass of punch I'd had earlier in the party, but I had made a point to leave at least a half hour between my last sip and my first bite.  But the punch had sugar in it, so maybe that was the issue. 

Later that night I went to a small gathering at a friend's house to watch the 2013 Rock Hall of Fame Inductions.  Again, there was a beverage issue.  I can't have booze, so that ruled out the Jack Punch.  I can't have carbonation, so that eliminated ginger ale from my options.  I'm technically not supposed to have sugar, but I settled on a glass of sweetened iced tea because my only other option was water, and I wanted something with flavor.  The food consisted of standard party fare; crackers, chips, dip, hummus, pretzels, et cetera.  I've made mention in the past about my love for cheese and crackers, so you know I was plenty excited for that.  I had a little bit of everything and I spaced it out throughout the evening so I didn't get sick.  This seemed to be a good strategy, as I never once felt too full nor did I feel deprived.

As I head toward my six-week post-op mark it's easy to get frustrated by all this stuff.  I'm terribly impatient with myself and I just want to be established and adjusted in this lifestyle, but it's all such trial and error.  This is only my second week on solid food, and according to my sources, this is just how it is right now.  I can't expect to be a pro at this shit until I've been doing it awhile.  It's like anything else; I'm learning a whole new lifestyle, a whole new way of eating, a whole new response to food.  Some things will agree with me now.  Some things may agree with me later.  And for now, patience seems to be the biggest virtue in all of this.

Oh, and I joined the Y.  Go me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Product Review: New Whey Liquid Protein

This evening I was doing some shopping and wandered over to the sports nutrition aisle to see what kind of protein selection was available.  I'm tired of shakes, and since I'm on solid food now I thought I'd scope out the bars.  I'm partial to Balance yogurt-honey-peanut bars, but a little variety never hurts, right?

As I scanned the shelves, my eye caught sight of these vials of liquid protein called "New Whey."  Each boasted 180 calories, zero fat, only 2 grams of carbohydrates, no sugar, and a whopping 42 grams of protein in each 3.8 ounce vial.  Hey!  That's just about what my stomach holds!  They were available in a variety of flavors and were sold by the single vial or in multi-packs, so I decided to try three different ones and see how I liked them before committing.  I bought grape, fruit punch, and - the one I tried first - acai berry.

I don't know why I opted to try acai berry.  Nothing I have ever consumed that is flavored like acai berry has ever appealed to me.  But bought it I did, and I decided to give it a go as I drove home from the store.

I smelled it first, and it smelled kind of grape-y, actually.  Then I tasted it.  It tasted like...well, I'm not even sure I can describe the taste.  Summed up in one word it was DISGUSTING.  It was like really thick, heavy, rancid cough syrup - if cough syrup could be rancid.  I'm not sure if I should blame it on the acai flavor or what, but good lord it was horrible. 

When I got home I thought maybe if I put it on ice it would be more tolerable.  It wasn't.  Then I figured out the problem beyond the taste was the viscosity.  It was just too damn thick.  I diluted it with ice water and threw another ice cube, and managed to drink a little more.  I couldn't get through the whole thing because I had turned 3.8 ounces into a full 8 with the water and the ice, but at least it didn't make me gag.

Come to find out, these things are essentially useless.  It's 42 grams of protein, but it's mostly collagen protein that doesn't get absorbed.   According to several different sources, much of this 42 grams just goes to waste.  So I'll be taking the other two back.

Two giant thumbs down for flavor, texture, viscosity, and nutritional value.  Don't waste your money.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Solid Promise: Fighting the Good Fight

The day finally arrived this past Sunday - the solid food stage!  Technically it's called "healthy solids," but my first opportunity to eat solid food happened to be at a very nice brunch buffet.  The cardinal rule of this new lifestyle is that I must get my protein in first, then my complex carbohydrates.  But everything was drenched in some kind of sauce or oil or gravy.  Since I wasn't even sure how much I'd be able to eat, I took a little of everything that looked good.  I ended up with a cracker, a cube of cheese, a sausage link, a piece of stuffed fillet of sole, a little Swedish meatball, and a slice of melon.

It's kind of a thing of beauty, no?

When I arrived back at the table, my sister got a worried look on her face.  "Are you going to be able to eat all that?"

I told her, "no, but I couldn't just hack off little pieces of this stuff at the buffet, so I'll see how far I get with this."

I think she was more worried about the richness of the foods, the spiciness of the sausage, et cetera.  Sausage is actually one of those "not recommended" foods on the list. But I didn't know that at the time.  Oops.  I took a little at a time and managed to get through the whole cracker, most of the cheese cube, most of the meatball, half the sausage, two bites of the sole, and a bite of the melon before I was full.  I ordered a decaf coffee and sipped it while everyone else continued to eat their brunches.  When my niece, who was seated next to me, decided she didn't want her bacon (something else I'm not supposed to have now that I look at the list of recommended foods for this stage), I took a small piece and took a little bite.  My sister's face showed obvious trepidation.

"I'm nervous for you," she said.

"It's just a small piece.  If it bothers me, then I'll know not to eat it again," I explained.

See, this stage is about trial and error.  This is unlike the previous stages where everything was liquid or near-liquid and just palatable enough to drink down and forget.  At this stage I'm more likely to get sick to my stomach, more likely to suffer heartburn and reflux, more likely to have reactions to certain foods, because suddenly the world is on my plate.  Well, most of it.  I'm just starting in this stage and there are many foods that are not recommended.  Not verboten, just not recommended - mostly because they are either unhealthy (like butter and donuts) or present texture issues despite being otherwise good for you (like peanut butter, nuts, and lettuce).

And here comes the real issue with this stage. I'm more likely to overeat because I haven't quite shut off that part of my brain that says, "Oooh!  Yummy food!  Eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat!!!!!" I didn't have this problem at brunch on Sunday.  I was full, but not uncomfortably so, and the food I'd chosen was sitting relatively well.  It has been the last two days that I've run into some real problems.  It's like my brain figured out sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning that I'm actually chewing food and automatically wants me to stuff as much down my throat as I can.  Except I can't.

Because I can't have bread ("gummy starches" are highly NOT recommended because of their tendency to, well, to gum up the works) I bought some pita chips.  I figured since I can have crackers, pita chips would be okay too.  Along with the pita chips I bought (of course) hummus.  This has proved to be a BIG problem.  Everything I've eaten since Sunday, while delicious, hasn't set off that trigger, but the two times I've attempted the pita chips and hummus?  Bad.  Bad bad bad bad bad.

The first problem is that they're so fucking delicious, I just want to eat a whole honkin' mess of them.  Even setting a pre-measured amount of five chips and a spoonful of hummus on a plate, I find myself wanting to gobble them down as quick as I can because they're just. so. damn. tasty.  The second problem is that they're salty.  Very, very salty.  And the hummus is spicy.  So it made me crazy thirsty, which made me want to guzzle my drink.  I'm not supposed to drink for 30 minutes on either side of a meal.  Small sips are okay, but because my stomach is so small I can't eat and drink at the same time.  However I was so absolutely parched from the salt, I grabbed my drink and chugged it.  Bad.  So this is the point at which the pita chips and the hummus and the iced tea all began fighting for the limited real estate in there, and it got pretty angry.  Then everything backed up and I was miserable.  After dealing with pain and finally digesting that mess, I got over it and went to bed, only to wake up choking two hours later.

Apparently that pain is like what some mothers claim childbirth is like - you forget easily.  And tonight, once again, I had my little plate of five pita chips.  Only this time for good measure, I had just a tiny scoop of hummus and then switched to cottage cheese thinking it would make a difference - less salty and spicy AND provide a little extra protein.  It didn't really.  I avoided drinking anything with them this time around, but I'm still too full and uncomfortable.  It must be the pita chips.  Maybe they expand when they get into my stomach?  I don't know, but I think I might have to give the rest of the bag to my rats or to the birds outside.  Oh well.  Trial and error.


But I'm worried now.  Maybe that's what drove part of my sister's worry, too.  Remember, my weight struggle comes from being a compulsive overeater and an emotional eater who has historically sought solace and comfort and companionship in food.  There's a control issue involved as well.  It's fundamentally no different than any other type of addict.  The difference, of course, is that food isn't something you can just take away.  There is a saying in Overeaters Anonymous, "when you are addicted to drugs you put the tiger in the cage to recover; when you are addicted to food you put the tiger in the cage, but take it out three times a day for a walk."

Now that my stomach only holds a half-cup of food, I'm supposed to learn better, more responsible and healthier habits.  The surgery is a tool to help me come to grips with the shit that goes on in my head, that little voice that says, "Oh, this feels good!  Do more of it!"  I need to be able to gauge proper amounts of food.  There's still a disconnect between my brain and my stomach; I'm full after two or three bites, but my brain thinks, "that's not a normal amount of food.  Come on!  More!"  It's the same part, I'm guessing, of my brain that for the past two days has said "you can eat aaaanything you want now, you know...." as I've walked past the candy aisle in the store or gazed longingly at the chocolate near the cash register.  

Brain, shut the fuck up.  Seriously.  Just knock it off.  

These battles will go on for the rest of my life.  Brain vs. Stomach.  Me vs. Food.  It's a hell of a war, but I know it's worth fighting.  Now if THAT part of my brain could just get the memo over to the part that wants to eat pita chips and hummus and chocolate...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Oh, What a Difference a Month Makes

It's been a month since my surgery.  Happy One Month Surgiversary to me!!!  I think I might have to justify buying my first Pandora charm to mark the occasion! 

Today was not without its challenges (including a slight meltdown about protein shakes and how goddamn TIRED I am of them), but I feel like I weathered them pretty well.  My youngest niece turned 4 today, and there was a party at Chuck E. Cheese.  As much as I love my nieces and nephew, I'm not a huge fan of small children or any place where large crowds of them assemble.  Then there's the fact that I couldn't eat anything (I start on the "healthy solids" stage on Sunday), so that kind of made being surrounded by pizza and cake and screaming children and giant animatronic mice that much more potentially grating.  But it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated.  I even got in a few rounds of Skee-Ball, during which I delighted my nieces by winning a whole mess of tickets for them.  That was fun. The Skee-ball lanes are off the beaten path and most tots avoid them, so it was a nice respite.


While my aversion to large numbers of little kids hasn't changed, there are already many things that have in the month since my surgery.   Obviously my weight has changed - by 36 pounds counting the 15 lost during the pre-op diet.  I've also lost a total of 20 inches all over.  But it goes way beyond that.  Even in just one short month, I've seen immense changes in my mood, my outlook, and my habits.

I expend more energy on making myself pretty.  I take time to put makeup on more often now.  I do my hair more often. I feel better about myself and feel like I deserve to look my best.  I feel good about taking care of me.

I smile more.  A lot more.

I've already packed away a few articles of "too big" clothes and have begun excavating the bins of smaller sizes out of the basement.  Not all of them fit me yet and it will be a while before they do, but I'm making a dent.

My house is cleaner.  I have more energy to put into it and, because I've not been working, I've had more time.  And like my efforts to making myself look nice, I take more pride in my home now, too.  It's no scene out of Martha Stewart Living, but I've managed to go an entire month without totally fucking it up - and I'm not kidding when I say I have the ability to go from totally clean to looking like a scene from "Hoarders" in a matter of days.  This is a breakthrough.  Will it stay like this after I go back to work?  I hope so. 

I sleep better.  Even though I'm still 80-some pounds overweight, I sleep more soundly.  I fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.  I still have bad nights when this is not the case, but more and more I find myself sleeping better.  I no longer feel hungover when I wake up.  My feet don't hurt as badly in the morning.  They still hurt, but not like they did before.  Huge improvement.

My asthma is getting better.   I still have to hit my inhaler when I'm triggered by something, but it seems the days of needing it every couple of hours are behind me.

I walk faster.  I feel lighter.  I don't gasp for air after just a few steps.  I can walk 30 minutes without feeling like I'm going to collapse.  And I can go much farther in that 30 minutes than I could a month ago.

If this is how I feel after just one month, I can't wait to see what changes await me in the coming months.  I feel amazing, and I'm loving these changes.  I am about a third of the way toward my goal.  This means I'll potentially feel three times better by the time I get there.  I can't even imagine what that's going to feel like. (But I'll probably still be tired of protein shakes).  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Stuck? Already?!

Today I am four weeks post-op, and the number on the scale this morning was kind of disappointing.  It appears I have entered a common predicament known as the "three week stall."  I'm told it starts between the third and fourth week and lasts usually a week or two.

I know I'm not supposed to weigh myself every day, but I can't help it.  My scale is RIGHT THERE every time I go to the bathroom.  I can't stop myself from stepping on it "just to see."  And every time I've done that in the past week the number has gone up and down a couple pounds on either side of last week's weigh-in number. This morning was my "semi-official" weigh-in (the "official" one will be Friday when I'm exactly one month post-op) and I'm down only one pound from last week.  In any other situation I might be satisfied with this, but I should be losing more at this stage, and this wavering a few pounds in each direction is really starting to piss me off.   I mean, come on, what the fuck did I do this for?  If I wanted shit like this I could have saved myself a lot of time and money and just gone back to Weight Watchers.  Crikey. 

I consulted one of my many online resources and found out that a number of people have this issue as well. Apparently as long as I keep doing what I'm doing, drink lots of water, and walk every day like I'm supposed to, the weight will start coming off again at a steadier rate.  I know I can never expect another 30-some pound month, but this one pound a week business this early in the game is NOT what I signed up for.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hey, Michael Jeffries - That's Not Cool.

Have you seen this yet?

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks

I'm not going to launch into a huge tirade (okay, maybe just a small one) about why this is wrong.  Even if I could fit into A&F clothes I would never shop there. Never have.  I don't wear branded clothing; that is, nothing that has the brand splashed across the front (or ass) of it.  It's just never been my style.  I also think that $40 for a t-shirt is just fucking ridiculous.  Add to that the fact that I gag on the stench of cologne every time I walk past one of their stores in the mall, and it's a sure-fire guarantee that you will never get me in there. I don't care if I lose so much weight I'm a size 2.  I don't care if they're giving shit away.  I don't care if they're paying me to shop there.  This revelation about Michael Jeffries' disdain for the double-digit-sized crowd has no effect on me personally;  it's just one more thing to add to the heap of reasons I will never set foot in the place.

There are plenty of other places for the "cool" kids - regardless of size - to shop.   And I understand that some stores AREN'T going to cater to every size on the spectrum.  That's not really the issue.  You wouldn't expect a store that caters to petites to carry big and tall sizes, nor would you expect Lane Bryant to carry size 0 clothing.  I get that.  What bothers me is Michael Jeffries' implication - nay, declaration -  that anyone who doesn't fit in his clothes is not cool.

But maybe it's time to redefine "cool."  Evidently Michael Jeffries believes "cool" means wearing overpriced, cookie-cutter clothes made by 8-year-old Sri Lankan kids and sold by a company with abhorrent business practices.  Michael Jeffries thinks it's "cool" to demand good-looking (and mainly Caucasian) staff in his stores. Michael Jeffries thinks "cool" means looking just like everyone else.  Michael Jeffries thinks it's all kinds of awesome to encourage his shoppers to be douchebags with an "I'm an elite hot/cool kid because I shop here" mindset.  But douchebags, in my book, are decidedly uncool.

I've got a news flash for Mikey.  Cool is not following the crowd.  Cool is thinking for yourself.  Cool is dressing for yourself.  Cool is dressing how you want, in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  Cool is loving who you are at any size and NOT feeling bad about yourself because you can't shop in a store that doesn't carry your size - least of all one whose CEO (aka King Douchebag) blatantly attempts to tell you that you're not "hot" enough to shop there.


And you know...I tried not to go here with this, tried not to stoop to his level, but I can't help myself.  I can't help but wonder - has this asshole looked in the mirror lately?  It appears  he's tried to remedy his unfortunate visage through some plastic procedures, but evidently his "surgeon" simply lit Michael's face on fire and put it out with a rake.  Oops.

But really - what's inside this guy is even uglier, and ain't no overpriced polo shirt in the world gonna fix that. 

Mike Jeffries.  Are you a cool kid?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Movin' On Up: EGGS! EGGS!!

Today I graduated from purees to soft solids.  This means I can now have things like scrambled eggs (!) and cottage cheese and tuna salad.  Still not a full menu, but decidedly more exciting than the options to which I've been limited thus far.  I can even have ground meat, which means I can have a burger!  No bun, of course, and no pickles, but who cares?  I went grocery shopping the other day and bought ground turkey, eggs, cottage cheese, tuna, and chicken in preparation for this stage.  No more baby food!  No more blending the living daylights out of everything!  This, my friends, is exciting shit.

I get to have EGGS!

Do you KNOW how much I love EGGS?!

I love eggs! Almost as much as the Egglady!

I actually went to bed last night dreaming of the egg I would scramble for breakfast.  An egg.  With cheese melted on it.  And when I woke up, all I could think of was, "EGGS!"

I was giddy with excitement about being able to eat something that counted as real food, something I would actually have to CHEW.  Something that would provide protein without having to mix in a scoop of powder. Something that would make me feel like I wasn't doomed to a lifetime of sipping my meals like a geriatric shut-in.  It's no gourmet meal, but hell - it might as well be, as excited as I was to have it.

I got up and fed the cats first, lest they do that we're-going-to-wind-around-your-legs-until-we-trip-you thing while I was attempting to cook my precious egg.  While they ate, I created my masterpiece: one egg, scrambled, with a generous handful of cheese melted on top (for extra protein, of course). 

I sat at the dining room table with a place setting and everything (it's recommended you do that; you want to make eating its own event and not something you just do mindlessly while doing other stuff like, you know, blogging) to enjoy my first (sort-of) solid food in over a month.

Mind you, I can't just gobble food down.  Just because it's soft solid doesn't mean I can eat it that way.  I still have to chew it 147 times before I can swallow it. So chew, chew, chew my egg I did.  And it was delicious.  It was everything I'd hoped for and then some. 

But this is as far as I got:

Two bites.  And I was done.  Full.  I tried for a third but it wasn't happening. How disappointing.  It was so beautiful and fluffy and cheesy, packed with protein and Omega-3s and everything, and I couldn't eat it.  Maybe I didn't chew it enough.  I mean, I thought I did.  But maybe my little stomach just wasn't ready.  Maybe the anticipation clouded my judgement.  Maybe I was so in love with the idea of eating an egg that I didn't stop to think that just because the calendar said I was ready for it didn't make it so. 

Well.  It tasted good anyway.  And now I have something already made for lunch.  I'll try again later.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Victories On and Off the Scale

Today I am three weeks post-op.  It seems like it's been longer in some ways, but in other ways it seems like it was just yesterday.

I had my monthly appointment with Dr. H. (my primary) this morning, and when it came time to get dressed, I stood at my closet and contemplated my current wardrobe.  There isn't much at the moment; shortly before my surgery I packed away all of my too-small clothes in nine (yes, really - I'm a clothes horse) meticulously-labeled bins.  I had, however, left a few too-small things in my closet - mainly a couple pairs of jeans and skirts that I anticipated could be worn after dropping ten or twenty pounds, a few articles that would bridge the gap until I'd have to go digging into the bins of much-smaller sizes.

I pulled out a pair of jeans that I'd worn once.  I bought them months ago without trying them on because...well, because at that point I couldn't bear to face myself in the fitting-room mirror.  They were the same brand and size as another pair of jeans I'd owned, but they were a different cut.  I didn't stop to think it might make a difference, but it did.  When I got them home and put them on, I felt like a sausage in a casing.  I had to lay down to button them, and when I stood up I could barely walk.  My gut was spilling over the top in a spectacular display of super-mega muffin-top, and the only way I could get away with it was by wearing an enormously long and baggy top over them.  But who was I kidding?  I could barely breathe.  I wore these jeans for about 30 minutes to a dinner gathering at my house in December, after which I had to excuse myself to go change into a more comfortable pair of pants.  I could barely hold a conversation in these jeans - how could I possibly expect to entertain 15 or so guests all night?  I shelved them and in the ensuing months I tried unsuccessfully a few more times to put them on, but they always ended up right back on the shelf in my closet. 

So this morning I took them out again.  I wasn't sure what would happen, and I prepared myself for possible disappointment.  After all, by the time I put them back the last time I couldn't even get them buttoned.  But I started to put them on anyway, and they eased right up over my hips and buttoned without incident.  As I zipped them up I felt a rush of pride - I've lost enough to fit into an article of clothing that I couldn't wear.   That is what is called a "Non-Scale Victory," or "NSV."  I'm considering it my first official one. 

I considered changing into something more lightweight, seeing as I was heading for the doctor and would be weighed there.  But I was so proud of myself for fitting into them, I wanted to wear my victory all day, a few extra pounds be damned.   And besides - I was probably wearing jeans the last time he weighed me.  So whatever.  When I got to the doctor and got on the scale,  I watched with absolute glee as the PA first moved the large slider to the 250 mark and the balance didn't move.  For the first time in months she had to move it down to the 200 mark.  The final number was 228 - thirty-one pounds less than I was on April 1st - exactly one month ago.  Even with jeans on. Victory #2 for the day.

As Charlie might say, I'm...