The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Did It!!

I reached a pretty major milestone for me - I have lost 100 pounds since starting on my journey. On August 31, 5 weeks prior to surgery, I weighed in at 336.6 pounds. This morning, much to my delight, the scale read 236.6. Exactly 100 pounds down from my highest recorded weight in 2005.

In the 21 weeks since my actual surgery, I'm down 85.2 pounds, which is an average of 4.1 pounds a week - not too shabby. My next goal is to lose 14.8 pounds to make it a loss of 100 pounds since surgery by April 5 (my six month surgiversary) and then to be at 199 by June 5. My ultimate goal is to be at 160 when I go in for my 1 year check-up on October 5 with my surgeon. That would be a total weight loss of 176.6 pounds.

Most surgeons would consider losing 70% of your excess weight a success. I am only about 23 pounds from that bench mark. And to think that there is a very distinct possibility I might surpass that - by a lot - in 1 year is pretty remarkable in my book.

To celebrate my milestone, I bought this:
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The three charms represent where I've been, where I am now and where I am going.

One of my favorite visual representations to represent the weight I've lost is to go to the gym and lift a barbell equal to what I've lost. I don't even know if I can lift 100 pounds right now. It's a great way to see how far I've come. I mean, I can't even lift what I've lost, yet I used to carry that weight around every day - walking, going up stairs, trying to play with the dogs. No wonder my joints hurt. No wonder all I could do at the end of the day was flop on the couch and, literally, take the weight off.

Now I get excited about going to the gym and seeing what my bod can do. I can actually look myself in the eye in a mirror and see the changes. And although I still have a long way to go on this journey, I feel a sense of accomplishment. That, my friends, is a great feeling.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Paging Nurse Nightengale

Jager came home from surgery on Thursday, and she's doing well. Her bandage case comes off this morning, which is a good thing since I think she's really uncomfortable with it. We have to lift her on to the furniture, take her out on a leash and try and keep her calm. Not always an easy job with a terrier!

To top it off, Don called me at work yesterday morning to let me know he popped a hernia while lifting Jager onto the couch. He's feeling better with the help of some Vicodin and frozen peas. He slept most of the night, as did Jager, although she did whimper every few hours. Don just snored.

Of course, her routine is all messed up. At 5:45 this morning, she needed to go out so we decided to make it a family affair - all four of us went out. Baja, thinking the entire pack was out to play, decided that it would be fun to butt his soccer ball into Mom's butt. Nothing I like more than getting a frozen ball in my ass at 5:45 AM!

Anyway, I am the nurse on call today. I have to ferry Jager to the vet. Don is getting around much better, but he still needs to take it easy. I do plan on running some errands this afternoon so I can spend tomorrow at the house.

The saddest news is that my friend Cesar died yesterday afternoon. It was expected as they removed the feeding tube last week, but it still made me sad. He's in a much better place - no more suffering or pain, and that's easing the loss a little.

Off to get ready for a coffee run. It's cold out, but it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thought-Provoking Question

Michele had an interesting question on her blog this afternoon - Do you have a favorite child from amongst your own children?

Don and I don't have children, so I can't really answer that. I know I don't have a favorite between my dogs - I love them both and for different reasons. Baja was our first dog, and we got him as a 3 month old puppy, so he will always have a special place in my heart. Jager totally adopted me, and we connect on a different level.

We started to discuss whether or not our parents had favorites. I think there have been times in my life when my parents liked me better than others. I know there were times when I felt closer to one parent or the other.

I always felt special. I was adopted when I was 20 days old. I love hearing the story about how Mom & Dad were supposed to get another baby but he came down with some illness so he wasn't available, but would they consider a baby girl? While the paperwork was processed, they went to a Mexican restaurant to choose a name since they had come armed with a boy's name (Gavin, which they named my brother). It was between Erin Elizabeth and Shannon Michele. My mom, the artist, was writing the names on a napkin and decided on Shannin since it had the -in like Gavin. Anyway, when they went to pick me up, the hospital had me all bundled up and a bow taped to my head (despite my thick locks now, I was actually born with hardly more than peach fuzz). I was fussy and hot, so Mom stripped me down to a diaper, and I was happy as a clam.

Anyway, from the get go they never kept my adoption a secret. They shared that my biological mother had to make a hard decision, but made the decision with my best interests at heart. She knew she couldn't care for me properly, and that giving me up was the right thing to do. I always felt special because my parents chose me. In fact, my mom designed my "birth" announcement - a flower with my face in the center with "I've Been Picked" on the inside.

I don't even think Gavin gave me too hard of a time about being adopted. There may have been a few, "Well, I'm their real son so they love me more" thrown around. I do know I used the whole "You can't tell me what to do because I'm not your real daughter" once or twice in the heat of the moment.

But as everyone who read "The Velveteen Rabbit" knows, the thing that makes you real is love, and I know that I am their real daughter.

Explain This Math

So I took my nutritionist's advice to heart. I ate more calories. I ate about 860 calories, 68 grams of protein, drank 80+ ounces of water. I also exercised. I did 55 minutes of core training and 60 minutes of cardio. According to my heart monitor and Nutridiary, I burned 1024 calories. I lost .6 pounds. Doesn't it seem like I should have lost more?

I think this is where the frustration begins for many dieters. They eat less, move more and, in the beginning lose weight. As the body stabilizes, they continue on the program and the weight loss slows. Unlike most dieters, at this point I still don't have hunger working against me. As far as eating, I can take it or leave it. Why am I not losing more?

Sometimes it's just to mind-numbing to think about. Part of me says I should just ignore the scale (GASP) and continue with my workouts and eating plans. The compulsive-obsessive side of me wants to over-analyize everything - what if I had an egg instead of cottage cheese? what if I did something different in my workout? - but I know that will get me nowhere.

I hate this. I hate doing everything right according to my doctor's office and my nutritionist and not seeing immediate results. If I had a full stomach, I'd probably say, "F@*k this" and eat like there was no tomorrow. I know I should be thankful I've lost 96.2 pounds in less than 5 months. I'm just tired of seeing 24 being the first two numbers on the scale. I am so flippin' close to losing 100 pounds, I just want to get there!

I've been trying to think on the mantra that my body is a temple. I should worship it and love it. Right now, all I want to do is kick it to the curb.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good Habits Gone Bad

I had a "come to Jesus" conversation with my nutritionist yesterday. He chewed me out but good about my eating/lack of eating. My number one priority is setting consistent eating patterns. He doesn't care if I take 1 or 2 bites, but I have to sit down to 3 meals a day. None of this, "I'm not really hungry, so I'll just grab a handful of nuts or a few crackers." I have to have actual meals - protein, veggie or fruit, starch. Without eating enough calories, my body will not produce heat which burns calories. Without eating enough calories, my muscles will not repair and I will start losing muscle mass instead of fat. He hasn't banned me from weighing daily, but I'm sure that's coming.

I have always tended to do things to the extreme. What I think is the right thing to do - eat less - is good, but not when I'm not meeting my minimum protein requirements. The body can only exist so long on fewer than 500 calories. Early in my recovery, that's all I could eat in a day. Now that I'm almost 5 months out, I need to eat more. I cannot expect my body to run efficiently on hardly any "gas" and low quality gas at that. With a tiny pouch only able to hold about 1/3 - 1/2 of a cup of food right now, what I eat is so important. That's great nuts have protein and seem to sit well, but the same amount of cottage cheese has more protein, less salt, less fat and fewer calories.

I am feeling good about other aspects of my overall health plan - I'm drinking plenty of water; I like working out and seem to be doing it more consistently. My schedule this week is cardio Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Weight training will be Friday and Saturday. If I get up enough courage, I think I might try the Water Aerobics class on Saturday. I'm restricted on the weight training until I get my foods in order because, once again, I tend to go to extremes with the exercise as well.

Jager goes in for her surgery tomorrow. It's fairly low risk, but being a "mom" I tend to worry regardless. The tough part will be the recovery. She will have to be carried upstairs and downstairs, on a leash when she needs to go out, restricted from jumping up or off anything. She'll have to wear a cone for the first 2 weeks so she doesn't lick the bandages or stitches. At least Don is working from home, so it should be easier than when Baja had the same surgery and Don was traveling almost every weekend.

The best thing about this week is that I am noticing the promise of dawn on the eastern horizon on my way to work now. I feel like it's finally getting close to spring, which improves my moods dramatically.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The mercury reads -11, but it feels like -24, although to be honest I'm not sure I could tell the difference. This is our first true cold snap of the winter. It's only supposed to last a day or two and then we're supposed to be back up to a balmy 20 degrees.

By the way, when a dentist tells you that cold beverages may irritate your new filling, he should also mean -24 degree air. I had a filling replaced on Thursday and walking into the gym on Friday evening I sucked in a big mouthful of frigid air. Ouch.

We're going to see Defending The Caveman this afternoon. That should be fun. We're going with another couple, and then out to dinner. I hope we can find parking close to the theater. The last thing I want to do is walk too far in this weather.

I trained last night, plus did 35 minutes of cardio. I felt pretty good, and I'm not too sore this morning. I figure I will just do 60 minutes of cardio today at home and go to the gym tomorrow. I'm feeling good about this training - I think I'm increasing my flexibility, strength and stamina. The cardio workout I have really makes 60 minutes fly by since I am focusing on my heart rate and counting off 3 minute intervals.

Not to bury my lede or anything, but I officially weigh less than Don. It's not so much I lost weight this week as he is up a pound or two, so it's somewhat anti-climactic. I've been stuck between 242 and 241 all week, and I don't know what the difference is between last week (down 6.2 pounds) and this week (down 1 pound). I'm trying not to stress over it, since I know my body is still adjusting, blah, blah, blah. It's still frustrating to do the exact same thing week-to-week and come up with drastically different results. I guess I should just feel lucky that I continue to see results.

I have a hair appointment this morning, and although I really need it, I am not looking forward to going out in this cold. Call me soft, but pretty much anything below zero is way too cold for this Californian girl.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mental Health Day

I'm not realluy sick - at least not tossing my cookies, running a temp, sneezing, etc. What I seem to be suffering from is a bout of sleepless nights and a good dose of melancholy. Probably not the best reason to call in sick, but I woke up at 3:00 AM this morning feeling like crap. I figured I could take the day off, wear my PJs and slippers, lie on the couch and recuperate mentally. I'm thinking a nap may be in order, as well as bad afternoon TV.

The weight seems to have stalled once again. I know I can't get frustrated but I get so excited when the scale drops daily and so disappointed when it doesn't. I do have a training session this afternoon and I'll add an hour of cardio on to that, so hopefully that will push me out of the 240s by the weekend.

Of course, eating like I did last night won't help my cause. Actually, I didn't do too bad, but yesterday was the first day at work where I really felt I had the munchies, even though I wasn't really hungry. I had one sugar cookie and two Hershey kisses, which isn't the end of the world, but haven't I been down this road before? For dinner, I had short ribs and potato puree (fancy word for mashed potatoes). I only at about 3/4 of one rib and maybe 2 tbsp. of the potatoes. Don and I split a pear rosemary crostata, of which I had about 4 bites. I did have a glass of wine and a martini. Although they tasted wonderful, I don't think I'll be whipping out the martini shaker any tine soon.

Don got me beautiful peach roses and cards from him and the dogs. We are still waiting on the delivery of our furniture - hopefully by the end of the month - that we got for our gift. I can't wait to get rid of the couch we have now. It's really broken down and it takes up so much room. The new items will make the room feel bigger. Now I just have to get up the courage to paint this room and the kitchen and then get prices on new carpet. We need something a tad darker than light beige with two dogs and Minnesota winters.

I think I may go grab a book, flip on the fireplace and snuggle down for the afternoon.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sore, But In A Good Way

Two training sessions down, and I'm still standing. I left the gym on Tuesday feeling that the workout was good but not that hard. I revised that thinking on Wednesday afternoon when my ab muscles hurt. I am really enjoying the training. It's different from what I've done before. I can't wait to see the results. Today and tomorrow will be all about cardio and maybe some of the ab work.

On the dog front, Jager has a partial tear of her right knee ligament. They don't want to do surgery right away, although we are looking at surgery in a week or two. She's getting around better, and actually putting weight on the leg. We do have a choice of two surgeries, both with pros and cons to consider. She will probably have to have surgery on both rear legs. To compound the problem, she has arthritis in all four legs, plus she has the really bad front leg from her injury before we adopted her. At least the painkillers seem to keep her calm and sleepy.

I got my camera on Thursday but haven't had a chance to get into it yet. I will play around with it this weekend and hopefully get some practice. It's really nice and my other two lenses seem to work with it. I haven't tried my new fisheye lens yet but I'm excited about that.

We have our couples massage this afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to that. My shoulders are a little tight from the working out so it's going to feel great to get those worked on. Don really deserves one as well, with as hard as he worked over the season.

My desk moved on Friday. Even though I had only been at this desk for a few weeks, I really liked it. One whole "wall" of my cube was a large window overlooking the downtown skyline. I loved watching the sky lighten as dawn broke or the snow falling. I also liked being on the 13th floor - nice and high. Now I will be in the middle of the floor (well, 1 cube away from a window) on the 5th floor. Oh, well, it's only a cube...

Better get this morning rolling...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bad News, Bad News, Good News

No matter how good things seem to be going, events happen to make me remember this is real life.

I got an e-mail from one of my former co-workers in Los Angeles letting me know that another co-worker, who has been very sick, went into a coma over the weekend. It wasn't completely unexpected - he's been suffering from AIDS for the last few years. I saw photos that were taken of him over this past Christmas and I almost didn't recognize him. The weekend I was back home, two friends were flying him back to his family in El Paso. At least he got to spend the last 3 weeks surrounded by relatives. I just pray that Cesar passes quickly and without too much suffering.

Last night, I got news that it looks like Jager tore her right rear ACL - just like Baja did in November, 2004 (3 weeks after I moved from LA). Don took her to the vet ER clinic last night, where she was diagnosed. Today, she's going to her regular vet where we'll get a more accurate assessment. Baja had TPLO surgery, and I don't know if they will recommend the same for her. She is a smaller dog, so there are other options, but she has complications because of her front leg injury from before we adopted her. Anyway, she's a tough little dog (if one could call 51 pounds of muscle little) and I know she's going to be just fine. It still breaks my heart to see her in pain, but we have great vets and we're going to do what's best for her.

On the good news front, the weight continues to fall off. I don't know why the 250s were so hard for me and the 240s have been so easy. I started off the month at 250 and I am now down to 241.8, so I could easily be in the 230s by this weekend. Still 5.2 pounds to lose before I hit the 100 mark. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that to happen next week.

My first training session went really well. We worked a lot on balance and core strength. Who knew that lifting weights on one leg could be so hard? I kind of laughed as I walked to the car Tuesday night thinking that the workout had been too easy. I didn't wake up sore on Wednesday morning but by noon yesterday my midsection was very tight. This morning was even worse. I see Doug again on Friday, where he'll put me through my paces. He also gave me a cardio workout, which I've never had before - I just got on the treadmill and walked. Now I have to do two minutes per incline, up and down, monitoring my heartrate and keeping it between 103 and 131 or 131 and 145. The incline really works your legs, and burns more calories than speed, so there are a lot of intervals at 10% (four, to be exact). It's a 35 minute workout, so I figure I can do that and then add 25 minutes of my own cardio workout to keep it an hour.

Here's to keeping things in perspective...

Monday, February 06, 2006

New Photos Posted


I actually had Don take these today. I originally was going to post yesterday but after the gym and making chili, I just wanted to shower and throw on sweats.

So the game wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. With all the hype, how can any game live up to it? Even the commercials seem to have jumped the shark. I liked the Budweiser ones with the Clydesdales. I guess I just expect too much. Even the pre-game and half time show didn't pique my interest. I like the Rolling Stones, but with them surrounded by fake fans, it just loses something for me.

I had two good workouts over the weekend. Today is a day of rest. Tomorrow and Friday are gym days with the trainer then Saturday and Sunday is cardio only. I have a support group meeting on Wednesday and then an honors dinner on Thursday. We have a program at work for recognition and I was one of the winners for 2005. They are throwing a fancy dinner at the Grand Hotel. I get to bring Don, plus my new boss and my old boss with both be there. It's actually going to be a pretty good crowd. Of course, I have nothing to wear. All of my skirts are too big, so I guess I will have to go with slacks. I did pick up 3 new pair (all on sale) on Saturday. They were all under $20, and I got them on the small side so I can shrink into them.

I spoke to my nutritionist today. He didn't seem that concerned about my eating patterns, although he did strongly suggest that I start adding protein powder to things I know I can eat since I continue to have problems with meat, which should be my main source of protein. Anyway, he's good with the trainer twice a week and cardio 4-5 times for 60 minutes. I'll continue to track my foods and talk to him in two weeks to see if adding protein powder helps. I guess I always figured that that hardest part of this surgery was going to be feeling hungry all the time. Instead, the biggest problem is getting in enough food.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Sunday

The dawn of Super Bowl Sunday and the television orgy that marks this great event. I mean, seriously, who needs six hours of pregame blather? And that's just on ESPN. ABC has it's own three and a half hour pregame show. I love NFL games. I am one of the millions that turns in to watch The Game. But I have to laugh out loud as to what a circus this day has turned into.

Anyway, hitting the gym today. Yesterday we took the dogs for a walk, despite the single degree temps, and then I did 45 minutes on the treadmill. I'm starting to see the results on the scale - down to 244.8 this morning. Today is my four month anniversary, and I am still amazed at the results. Sometimes they happen so quickly I can't even get my mind around them. When I look a clothing in catalogs, I still look to see if the items come in women's sizes. I am close to being in to normal sizes, and that's just mind-boggling.

So I am down 91.8 pounds from my highest weight on September 1. I have lost 77 pounds since the day of surgery, averaging 19.25 pounds a month. Some of the inital problems I had post-op are gone - trouble drinking water, stomach cramps when I ate, etc. I am still careful what I eat, but I am a lot more confident with eating a wider variety of food. I can still get blindsided - last night I had beef tips in Merlot sauce and it was a tad rich. I didn't get sick or anything, but I had a little discomfort while I digested it.

I don't miss food as much as I thought I would. I haven't had a soda in I don't know how long, and it's not something I feel I need. I can handle a glass of red wine on occassion and that satisfies me. I've found some good subsitutes for things like ice cream (Blue Bunny "chocolate" covered raspberry ice cream bars). I can watch people eat pretty much anything and not feel envious. I can turn down offers of treats without a second thought or any regrets.

I have really become focused on my health, especially over the last month or so. I am tracking my foods more consistently. I am going to the gym on a pretty regular basis and even got a trainer. I am working with a nutritionist to make sure I am building lean muscle mass and losing fat. I have more energy; I am taking pride in how I look.

My upcoming goals all seem to be with in reach. I am just a few pounds away from weighing less than Don. I am 8.2 pounds away from having lost 100 pounds from my highest weight. I only have 44.8 pounds to go before I am under 200 pounds. And I am only 84.8 pounds away from my goal of 160. If I continue to lose at my current rate, that's only 4 1/2 months away.

This is still the honeymoon phase. Changes are happening so quickly, I don't have time for regrets or second thoughts. I am still enjoying the visible successes - the number on the scale, the changes in my clothes, how Don looks at me, how I feel about myself.

I did do measurements, but forgot my tracking sheet at work, so I'll have to post those numbers on Monday. I'll also get some new photos up Monday night.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

AARP Here I Come!

OK, it wasn't as bad as I thought. My "physical" age is 47. I did great on the strength portion and poorly on the cardio and flexibility portions - no great surprises. Of course, the number one factor in my physical age is the weight - getting under 200 pounds would eliminate 5 years right there. Sometimes it's tests like these that, although I've made great progress, remind me I have a long way to go.

The first part of the test was 5 minutes on the treadmill at 5% incline and 3 mph. That measured my O2, which was very low. That means I need to work on increasing my cardio. For the strength portion, I had to curl a bar that measured the tension in it. I was above average in that catagory, curling 44 pounds. I then had to sit on the ground with my legs extended and reach for my toes. I was close to average on that, but still below for my age group.

I will be working with a trainer to help me with my flexibility, core strength (abs, gluts, back) and cardio. Don and the dogs got me a session for Christmas and I'll add a few more on my own. Getting healthy is so important for me right now. I know I can continue to lose weight without really exercising, but I want to develop good habits now so that after the initial weight loss stops, I will already be in a groove with my physical activity.

My goal for February is to really focus on exercise. I'd like to get to the gym 5 days a week for training. I will still need to do some activity on my non-gym days - walking the dogs, walking at work, etc. I also want to take this class at a local yoga studio. Yep, Big A$$ Yoga. I think I also have the courage to try water aerobics, although I need a new swim suit as I am literally falling out of the one I have. One of the guys at work who goes to the same gym is trying to get me to take a few of the same classes he does, but I think those are a little advanced for me right now. The bottom line is that I need to continue to move to ensure this surgery is a success.

No big plans for the weekend - gym both days, maybe a movie on Saturday, Super Bowl on Sunday (Go, Steelers!), walk the dogs (depending on weather). Next weekend I am treating both Don and me to a couples massage. I am really looking forward to that.

Off to get some work done so I'm not here too late tonight. Thursdays tend to be my crazy days, and although it's quiet now, it's only a matter of time before things begin to blow up...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Rewards on the Horizon

Now that I have reached my next major goal and I got my bonus/raise information this morning, I purchased my Canon Digital Rebel from Best Price Cameras. I was very pleased in reaching 250 and with my review. The best part was that, even with buying the camera, I still have over half of my bonus left! Now I just have to start saving for my final reward.

My next short-term goal is to be 236.6 by 2/28. That would mean 100 pounds gone forever. My ultimate goal is to be at 160 by my birthday in September, 31 weeks away. I will have to average 2.8 pounds a week to get there by then.

After talking with my nutritionist on Monday, I am going to continue to track my foods, even when I'm not eating enough. I also committed to 5 days of 1 hour of cardio. Seeing as how I had committments until today, I will have to hit the treadmill Wed. - Sun. Tonight I am going to do an age assessment test at the gym. That should be interesting. They will probably say I have a body of a 72 year old.