The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Raining, It's Pouring

It has been raining since Friday morning. Nothing really heavy, but just constant rain - sometimes just sporadic sprinkles, sometimes heavier. Even the ducks who hang out in our front yard are starting to look waterlogged. I know we need it, but can't it rain during the week?

I have a few errands to run today. I'm just hoping the weather is inspiring people to stay inside instead of hitting the malls. I need Mother's Day gifts, 2 birthday gifts for my nephews, shorts for me. Despite the rain, I may go to Home Depot to pick up the trees I want to plant and some grass seed. Since we are kenneling the dogs while we're in Cleveland, I figure I can toss some seeds on the bare spots and let them take without the dogs tromping through them.

On the weight front, I had another fairly big drop down to 217.4, so only 2.4 pounds away from my mini-goal, which I still hope to reach by May 5. I may hit the gym this afternoon - the jury is still out on that mostly because it seems like such a perfect read-by-the-fire day, but I may be guilted into taking a spin on the treadmill to at least get some movement in. I have yoga on Monday and will go to the gym either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on what needs to be done before we leave Thursday morning. I know the hotel has a pool but no gym facility and our gym here doesn't have a location in Cleveland, so my workout opprotunities are going to be fairly limited for a few days. The funny thing is, that's not something I used to worry about. Now I obssess about not being able to workout for 3 days.

I did make some pretty wonderful spicy peanut shrimp noodle wraps last night - the sauce is peanut butter, ginger, garlic, honey and jalepenos. That goes on top of udon noodles and shrimp and that goes in napa cabbage leaves and then topped with carrot, cucumber, green onion and red bell pepper. Healthy, low fat, high protein and light. The best part is that it can be served warm or cold, so it will make a few good lunches for the week. I'm really trying to make delicious food that I want to eat since I am still struggling with my lack of appetite. I know most people wouldn't consider not wanting to eat a bad thing, and I should take advantage of the desire not to eat outside of mealtimes, but it makes it a challenge to get all of my nutrition consumed every day.

There is a very good chance that I will hit my surgeon's goal weight by my 9 month check-up in July - 185 pounds. It's only 32 pounds away. Usually they look for the loss of 85% of your excess weight by your 12 month check-up, so I am way ahead of the curve. It is somewhat troubling that I am losing weight so fast, and I'm starting to worry that once I hit my goal weight, whether it's 185, 175 or 160, I won't be able to stop losing. Maybe by then I will have my appetite back and I'll be able to eat to maintain. Who knew I would ever be writing about having to eat to maintain weight? My nurse isn't that concerned, but we did talk about me slowing down a little and actually "forcing" a plateau, which we will discuss more in depth if I am at 185 in July. It's funny - when I write about being on a plateau, that usually means I haven't lost weight in a few days. When people at support groups talk about being on a plateau, it's because they haven't lost in 2-3 months. Even though some of my monthly losses have been little - 8 or 10 pounds - they are still losses.

Off to run my errands so I can get back and do some reading. I might even brew up some tea - it's a perfect day for that.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Out of Synch

I don't know if being out on Monday threw a kink into my routine or what, but I've been feeling very out of sorts, especially on the work front. Work is beginning to carry some serious stress to where my stomach is in knots and I'm not sleeping. That's not what this job is supposed to be. There is a lot of change going on, and I'm not often looped into the changes until the majority of my work is done, meaning major rework on my part - on deadline, no less.

My job is like a puzzle builder - I have all these pieces to put together into a cohesive block which has some hard parameters. If one of the pieces changes, I often have to tear it down and start over. Each week, I need to predict the percentage of calls we will answer within 20 seconds, the average handle time of each call, staffing levels, etc. (all by 30 minute intervals, starting at 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM). I have to factor in things like average unplanned work/absences, vacations, training, project work, meetings, etc. I need to be within 8% of my forecasts each day and within 4% for the week. I also have to have the agents' schedules posted by 10:00 AM every Friday. I schedule for three sites, 250 employees and two large call groups (which, in turn, have 4 sub-groups). I also need to keep all new hire classes and cross-training classes straight since I currently have 4 going on, all in different stages of readiness. When one of the leaders throws in a wrench at the last minute, it can be cause for panic. Unfortunately, my 6 domestic leaders and 10 overseas leaders tend to throw multiple wrenches at the same time, usually on Thursday at 3:00 PM, which often means I need to go back Thursday night to rework several schedules that took me three days to create - and they need to be done by Friday morning.

Anyway, I think part of my funkiness is that I haven't been into the gym in a few days and I really need a good workout. I have my bag packed and in the car, so I'm going after work for sure. I think some good sweat will help get my head back on straight. I have a training session set for tomorrow, water aerobics on Saturday and I think I'll be meeting up with a few people for a mall walk on Sunday.

Don will be off at the Vikings' facility covering the ever-exciting NFL draft this weekend. I don't get the appeal of watching the picks, outside of the first round. He'll be pulling fairly long days on Saturday and Sunday, leaving me to my own devices {insert evil laugh}. OK, I don't have much planned other than the gym, coffee on Saturday, yard work (I'm planting 3 dogwoods in the backyard), playing with the dogs, the mall walk.

At least next week is a short week for me. We're leaving Thursday to fly to Cleveland to see Don's side of the family, which should be fun. They know about the surgery, but haven't seen me since last spring. Even though I feel self-conscious about being the center of attention, I know they'll have lots of questions, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that. They've only ever known me as obese, so it will be interesting to see their reaction to the new me.

Just as a mini-challenge for myself, I have eliminated alcohol from my diet and, starting today, eliminated sugar and flour. I've been doing really well on the food aspect, but I'd love to be down to 215 by the time I fly to Cleveland so I want to push for 4 pounds this week. Plus, May 5 is my 7 month anniversary since my surgery, and 215 would mean over 120 pounds lost. There is something about being 15 pounds away from weighing less than 200 pounds (known as ONE-derland in the surgery world) that is very motivational.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Very Long Weekend

The last few days have been wonderful - and I still have today off!! It's been nice to spend some relaxing time with Don, do a few things I haven't done before and take care of stuff around the house.

The one worrisome item is my mom is going in for a pacemaker on Tuesday. Although I know it's a minor surgery, and it's going to make her feel a lot better, it is my mom and I am 1500 miles away. She sounds good, though, and this is only going to make her stronger, so I have to have faith... Regardless, keep her in your prayers for me...

The Angels/Twins game was great, although it was weird watching baseball indoors. Maybe if more than 5000 people were there it would feel different, but what can you expect for a mid-week afternoon game? There were a lot of school groups and it was senior citizen day. There was a guy behind me who whistled the entire time, which drove me nuts. It was just a low, steady whistle but it was constant. The other two guys behind us discussed the French Revolution, European history, how he was ditching work to be at the game... The best line from the game was, "Your paid to be a designated hitter not a designated looker!!"

On Friday, I went to the gym and trained. I'm feeling pretty good with my workouts lately. There are still some of the balancing exercises I have trouble with, but I do my best and know it will come in time. I'm fine with the strength and endurance exercises, but as my body continues to change I have to make adjustments.

We did our clothing swap on Saturday. I got rid of 6 boxes of clothes and a box of shoes. I picked up a few items, some for now and some for later. Mostly it was a lot of socializing with both pre-ops and post-ops which was nice. Although we talk at support groups, it's usually such a short time we can't really get to know one another. I also went bowling for the first time in my life. Who knew it was that fun? It was a work function and there were about 40 of us. Some people were really good (like bowling 220+ games). I rolled an 86, 72 and 94. I wanted to break 100 but I think I did OK for my first time. Heck, the shoes weren't even that horrid.

Yesterday I went to the mall and walked 3.5 miles before shopping for a few spring outfits. I summoned up the courage to go into Old Navy and actually fit into some of their normal clothes. I ended up at my old stand-by, Lane Bryant. It is more of a chore to shop now - I used to grab the largest size they had and I was good to go. Now I actually have to try things on since I can wear anything from a 14 to a 18, depending on what it is. I ended up with new undies (desperately needed), a few tank tops, 2 pairs of work slacks, 2 skirts and a few tops. I'm thinking about exchanging one of the skirts for a smaller size and picking up more underwear. I then spent the afternoon on the deck reading.

One of the misconceptions I've found from some pre-ops is that they won't ever be able to eat normally after surgery. That's not true. It took me awhile, but I'm back to cooking and really loving it. Last night I made braised chicken thighs in wine with lemon and a side of orzo with sauteed asparagus and peas. Yum! I roasted a chicken on Friday with a lime, ginger, chile butter and served gingered sugar snap peas and chicken pilaf. Pre-surgery, I would probably eat 2 chicken thighs and at least 2 cups of the orzo/veggie mix. Now, 1 thigh (no skin) and 1/2 c. of the orzo fills me right up.

Another busy day today - gym, mani/pedi (it is sandal season!), exchange the skirt and yoga. I'm down to 219.2 as of this morning (down 3.8 pounds from last Monday) and would love to enter May at 215. I'm still dealing with a lot of head issues right now with the weight loss, smaller clothing, attention, etc. I'm going to Cleveland to see Don's side of the family the first weekend in May and I'm a little nervous - they have only known me as fat and I know I will be a main topic of conversation. Just a wee bit intimidating, don't ya know?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Becoming A Shoe Whore

So now that I have re-discovered heels, I can't seem to get enough of them. I got a great pair of brown, high-heeled sandals from Target and wore them yesterday. These aren't as high as the wedges, but high enough at about 3 inches.

I think part of my new obsession is that I know size 8 1/2 fits and I don't think I'm going to lose another shoe size so I feel comfortable buying shoes. Clothes are another matter completely. I still can't get over the fact I can fit into a size 18 pant and 16 skirt and a 14 top. Don hit the nail on the head the other day when he asked if part of my wonkiness about clothes is that I won't be able to go to my old standbys soon. I think that's the case. Of course, why is it when I was a size 28, it seemed that the only sizes I could find were 18s and now that I'm an 18 the only sizes I can find is 20 or higher?

The good news is that the support group clothing swap is Saturday so I can hopefully pick up a few new items for spring/summer. I have a ton of stuff I'll be taking in - mostly winter stuff, but I hope someone can get some use out of the items. It's not sweater weather anymore, and most of the winter clothes I have will not fit next winter. Even a lot of what wonderful Danelle sent no longer fits. I do have several pairs of jeans from her that are in my "futures" closet and I should be in those shortly.

I do mourn some of my old clothes. I know there is no reason for me to keep clothes that won't fit, but part of me still isn't 100% sure that I'm not going to balloon up again. I don't want to get comfy in a smaller size only to have to invest more money in larger clothes.

I have the next few days off. Don and I are going to the Twins/Angels game (go Halos!) this afternoon. Normally I would balk at watching a ballgame in a dome, but it's supposed to rain today so I'm not complaining too much. Don's been getting a lot of the upkeep done around here - quote for painting a few rooms, getting the fence repaired, sweeping the garage & basement, hiring lawn care, etc. I still haven't really gotten into Spring Cleaning, although I have been decluttering a bit. I really need to use one of these days for putting photos in frames, going through old magazines, cleaning the office, etc. Rain is in the forecast through Saturday, but Sunday should be nice so that will be dedicated to outdoor activities.

Yesterday was my 6 month check in with my bariatric nurse. I won't know the results of my blood tests for a few days, but overall she is very pleased with my weight loss, inches lost, exercise program, diet, etc. I did ask what their office thought my weight goal should be, and they consider losing 85% of my excess weight successful, so they would be fine with 185. That's 25 pounds more than what my personal goal is, but I figure I don't want to get too hung up on the exact numbers. It would be great if I hit 160, but if I get somewhere between 160 and 185, I would be pleased. Not sure what that means for my ultimate reward of Lake Austin Spa - I don't want to set myself up to fail - so having a range will make it a little easier.

Off to shower so we can get going to the game. I think Don's up there now and maybe I'll join him. To save water, of course...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Drumroll, Please

Here are the 4 inch heels I wore on Friday:

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I haven't posted any photos of the kids recently, so here are some artistic ones of Jager & Baja:

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But, HERE is what you all have been waiting for - my six month post-op photos.

Friday, April 14, 2006

End of Hell Week

Not only has it been a busy week for me, but it's about the temp in hell, too. I mean, 83 degrees in Minneapolis in APRIL? Where am I?

Next week is still going to be crazy because no one is sure how the volumes are going to come in. I work in the financial industry and Monday is technically the last tax day, but with the market closed today for Good Friday, we're not sure how exactly that's going to impact phone volumes for next week. My job is to predict call patterns, our average handle time for calls and staffing levels. We're supposed to answer 70% of our calls in 20 seconds or less, but with the volumes and lack of staff, we're not meeting that goal during tax season. The director of the phone queues I schedule for was trying to get me to guarantee him we'd meet goal next week, so I've been massaging numbers like crazy. There is still no way we're going to meet goal until the following week. The good news is that he's fine with how I've handled it so far, and as long as we get staffed properly over the next few weeks, we'll be fine.

I've been in a bit of a funky place - trying to get comfortable with being on a plateau and rationalizing that maybe holding steady will help my skin catch up with the weight loss, and then losing more weight. My head and body are not on the same page right now. I don't want to make it seem like I'm not grateful for how much better my life is right now, but you lose all this weight and then have ugly, sagging skin that may or may not shrink. Part of me is thinking what's the point of losing all this weight if I can't wear shorts or tank tops this summer?

Plus, I'm in between sizes - most of my clothes are too big, which hardly makes me feel good, but the next size down is a little tight. I think part of it is not really ready to accept buying clothes that start with a "1" instead of a "2" as in size 18 pants. I mean, last August, size 28 was tight and now a size 18 is a bit clingy and I'm freaking out? Sometimes I think I just need a vacation from myself.

For some good news, I took my first yoga class on Monday and had a blast. It's a small class - only 5 of us - so I think I'll get some good one-on-one instruction. Besides the yogi, I might be the smallest person in the class, which is something else I have to get used to. For the longest time I was always the biggest person in the room, and sometimes I still think I am. In my department of 18, I was at least the second heaviest. Now, I'm probably in the bottom half of the group. Anyway, back to good news - I'm wearing heels today. Yep, 4-honkin'-inches of wedge heel. Of course, every time I stand up I think I'm going to tip over, but I've made a few trips around the floor and no accidents yet.

For those waiting for 6 month photos - those will be posted this weekend. I haven't been feeling very comfortable in my clothes - everything is just hanging on me. I was down to one skirt and two pairs of pants that actually didn't fall to my knees every time I stood (yes, Don, I know - buy pants with belt loops and wear a belt. See how helpful he is...). Anyway, I went shopping yesterday and found a cute skirt and light sweater that I'm wearing today and I feel pretty in it so I will have Don take pictures.

I think a lot of people believe that once the weight is gone (or is going) life is suddenly going to get better. And, in a lot of ways, my life has gotten better. I'm healthier. I have more self-confidence. I walk taller. I'm trying new things. I like moving my body. But some of the old issues remain - I worry about money. I have major body image issues. I can still feel fat on some days. I'm insecure at times. I wonder if people like me. I get stressed and want to eat everything in sight. As they say, it's not surgery on your life...

Ending on a positive note, according to my Body Mass Index (BMI), as of this morning, I would not qualify for surgery. For my program it has to be 35-40 with co-morbidities (sleep apnea diabetes, debilitating joint pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.) or 40 or more. I'm at a 34.9. Granted, it's still in the obese cateory, but not by much - and not for very much longer.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Following The Rules, Getting Kicked In The A$$

This week I tried very hard to follow the program - eat, drink water, exercise. I did it all - most days I ate my three meals, I drank 90+ ounces of water, I did cardio and weights and core training and took a water aerobics class. And I'm up a pound.

I am getting in between 800 - 1000 calories a day, and that's pretty much my limit. My meals are protein focused. My breakdown is pretty close to 20% fat, 40% protein and 40% carbs - well within my guidelines. When I workout I burn between 600 and 1200 calories, so my intake + output = a net of about 200 calories. By my math, I should be dropping pounds like crazy. Instead, they are hanging on like rats on a sinking ship.

I know I shouldn't stress out about these plateaus, especially because they are common around the 6 month mark, and can last 1-2 months as my body adjusts. It's just when you taste great success, you want more. It's such great motivation to see the scale go down and it makes me want to eat better and exercise more. When it stalls like this, I tend to shut down and think I'm a failure for not continuing to lose.

Despite this, I took my water aerobics class yesterday - after 30 minutes of cardio and 60 minutes of weight and core training. It's a lot hard than it looks, that's for sure. I was a little worried it wouldn't be too challenging, but it really worked some muscles I didn't even know I had. I'm going to try and get Don to join me for a class. I also start my Big A$$ yoga class tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to that. I will also up the intensity of my cardio workout to see if that makes a difference.

I spent a good portion of yesterday cleaning out my closets and getting my clothes ready for the big clothing swap on the 22nd. I have work clothes, jeans, workout clothes, shoes, jackets. My closet is pretty empty right now. I'm hoping to pick up a few spring items, but I know I'll have to purchase some as well. I also need some spring shoes. I also did some light spring cleaning/decluttering. I still have a lot to do in that area. I need to look at taking a few days off soon so I can get the cleaning and the painting (kitchen, family room) done. Assuming those two rooms go well, I'll do the living room/dining room and downstairs hallway & entry.

As soon as the sun hits the deck, I plan on spending some quality time outside. Even though it's not warm (upper 50s) it will just be nice to get in the sun and some natural vitamin D.

We did have a wonderful time at the Celtic Women concert. We had dinner at Solera which is a tapas restaurant. They have an extensive Spanish wine list, and I had a nice white and a really good red. The tapas are between $5 - $9 and we tasted 5. I'm sure we could have tried more if we had the time, or if we had more people. We had a golden beet salad with bleu cheese and toasted walnuts, Serrano ham wrapped around thin breadsticks drizzled with rosemary honey and topped with shaved Manchengo cheese, calamari with hot peppers, grilled beef tenderloin and baby shrimp in a cream herb sauce. They are also known for their desserts but we did not partake this go round. The rooftop dining area wll be open soon, so we plan on going back and eating al fresco.

Off to finish laundry, put dishes away and generally get ready for what's sure to be a hectic week. It's Tax Week for us, and between what I have planned after work (yoga, training, support group) and the craziness that's guaranteed to happen, I may not be able to update until next weekend. Be good, and know that I am keeping up with your blogs, even if I don't always have time to comment. Be good!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Defining Success

As the weight loss continues to slow down, as expected, I need to redefine how I measure my success. Hopping on the scale every day has been a good inspiration, plus it's so easy - if the number is less than the day before, that means SUCCESS! Now that the number is often the same - or even up slightly - I need to find motivation elsewhere.

Being the OCD/Virgo that I am, I have made myself a Success Checklist. I call it "What Am I Going To Do This Week To Succeed?" Not all of it is around eating/exercising since being successful isn't centered around just that. I have some goals outside of eating right and exercising more. Throughout the day I list what I am doing right and what I'm not doing right, according to my definition of success. For instance, on my good side today, I remembered to take all of my morning supplements. On my bad side, I substituted breakfast with coffee. It helps keep me on track and seeing where I took a step back. Anyway, it's good motivation for me to stay on the straight and narrow. It forces me to be honest with my assessment of how my day went.

I'm still a little sore from my weight-lifting workout on Sunday, but it feels good. I was going to do some cardio yesterday but a WLS friend needed to get out of the house and we treated ourselves to a pedicure. Tonight I am going to a support group meeting and tomorrow, Don and I are seeing Celtic Women. I have their album and I've watched them on PBS, so I'm really excited about seeing them in concert. Thursday is weights at the gym, Friday and Saturday are Core, Sunday will be weights again and Monday I start my yoga class.

Work is still keeping me very busy but it makes the days go by quickly. I have my weekly meeting with my boss on Thursday so I think I will ask him then about a flex schedule. I hope he agrees with it. Monday/Friday I would do a 6.5 hour shift and Tuesday - Thursday I would do a 9 hour shift. I'd still get all of my work done, but it's using my capacity to maximum effectiveness on the days I need it most (how's that for corporate speak?). No one else in the group has a flex shift so I don't know if that isn't allowed or just no one has asked. I figure it can't hurt...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring Rain

It has warmed up, but now it's raining. For some reason, this doesn't bother me as much as the cold. I guess I see it as a precursor to actual spring. I have been buying bunches of tulips to make the inside seem like spring is coming, even if it is April and we still have the fireplace going (more for the benefit of Jager than actual heat).

We did get our two recliners delivered, and took a trip to IKEA this morning to get an end table, so now it would seem that our furniture acquisition is now complete (I still want a new bookshelf for the family room, but I don't want to push my financial luck). I now need to choose a paint color for the family room and then hopefully pick out some new carpeting. As I've said before, light cream color carpeting is not the wisest choice with two dogs that like to romp in the snow and mud.

Quiet weekend around here - haircut, dog walk, vet, gym, grocery shopping, laundry. I can tell you that there is nothing good on television on the weekends. Just one more reason not to be lazing about! Next weekend will be the first round of spring cleaning. Don will be off at the Vikings' first mini camp and that will keep me busy. The main objective will be to declutter. I can't believe in a year's time how much crap we've accumulated. I'll be able to box a ton of stuff up and get it out of here, thus making more room for more crap.

I am making my first real meal in months - cream of tomato soup and turkey sausages in puff pastry. A perfect meal for this kind of weather.