The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

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

Monday, May 29, 2006

Manadated Three-Day Weekends

I think we should have mandatory 3-day weekends always. It's the only way I can get everything done!

Seriously, I've had a great couple of days. First of all, I decided I cannot "live and die" by the number on the scale. What I really need to do is stop weighing myself every day so I weighed today and will (try) not to until Wednesday. I did get back into the gym yesterday, although I only lifted weights and did not do cardio. I did, however, took the dogs for a 1 mile walk with the dogs so it's not like I didn't do any, just not the 1 hour I've been trying to get in. My foods have improved a bit, but I still have a craving for kettle corn. The net result is that I am down 1 pound this morning.

The weekend has been wonderful. On Saturday, my friend Jen took me on a field trip around Minneapolis. We drove around three mid-town lakes, went through Uptown, stopped at the Farmer's Market, shopped at The Wedge (a co-op) and Patina (funky gift store) and Precious Moments (herb & book store). It was a really fun time and now I have a better idea where things are and how to get there. I came home and barbequed some rib eyes and corn. Yesterday Don and I went to the gym, I picked up my new RX glasses (2 pairs) and we sat on the deck and absorbed some sunlight and read. Nothing too big on the radar today - I think I'm going to invest in a mister fan for the deck, we'll probably hit the gym again and maybe take the dogs for an early walk before it gets too hot, go to a movie (X-Men 3 I think).

I am going to make a concious effort to get out and do more culteral things - visit museums, see exhibits, go to concerts, try new restaurants. Two things that are coming up is Al Franken speaking and the Secret Garden exhibition at the Arboretum. Oh, and Wicked is coming to town in July. I also want to do more photography which I just seem to have abandoned suddenly. There are a lot of things to photograph here - the architecture, Summit Avenue in St. Paul, the lakes, the open prairie spaces, the Sculpture Gardens.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend. Here's to those who have served and are currently serving our country. Thank you for your sacrafices.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Going Crazy or Just Losing My Mind?

Sorry for the lack of updates. I hate to say it, but I used to be able to update from work without any problems. Now, not only am I busier, but I have more people surrounding me, looking over my shoulder. What I find is that this department seems a lot more on edge and suspicious than my previous department. There is a ton of covert whispering and speculating on who's doing what and who knows what. I really don't have time for these petty office politics, which is one of the reasons I'm hesitant to get too excited over any possibility of advancement within this department. It's not the people above me who worry me; it's all the "mature adult" employees. One of the crabby, back-stabbing moves I've seen is when one employee complains loudly about people leaving early (granted, he did but I don't watch his schedule and he could have very well stayed late or come in early another day - not my business) but has no qualms about skipping out early on Friday. We're all salaried employees. This job is easily a 45-50 hour a week job. For me, that means I stay late a few days in order to get out early on Friday, but I get the work done. What kills me is when they gripe about not being able to get everything done but come in late/leave early. Whatever...

In other news, I'm in a very weird place in my head right now with the weight loss/foods/exercise/clothing. It's hard to explain, but I've started to have mini-panic attacks. I freak when I don't lose weight and I freak when I continue to lose weight. Part of me wants to lose faster and part of me thinks I need to stay right where I am for awhile. I need new clothes but have a bit of dressing room anxiety. I continue to buy clothes that are too big because I know in my head I cannot be in a size 14. When I thumb through magazines, I automatically skip over "normal" size clothes - and sometimes have to stop and remind myself that I can buy items from Land's End or J. Jill or (gasp) Victoria's Secret. One of my eye-opening moments this weekend was going through a catalog from Junonia, seeing something I liked and finding that it doesn't come in my size - and not the "not coming in my size" I'm used to. It didn't come in a small enough size.

I don't know how to explain it to people who haven't gone through this kind of change. It's like someone who has to go to a certain type of store, who really want to go to a different store but isn't "allowed," and suddenly find themselves permitted to enter the magic store. In other words, you used to have to shop at K-Mart but now have the ability to shop at Neiman Marcus. It's a bit of an adjustment, to say the least.

Food is a whole other issue. I still don't have a normal appetite or normal pangs of hunger telling me when to eat, which means I have to rely on my sense of wanting to eat. Needing and wanting used to mean way different things in my past, and I continue to confuse them now. Before, needing to eat meant it was mealtime and I'd eat a normal meal - protein, carb, veggie. Wanting to eat meant I was "treating" myself to something I normally wouldn't have - chips, cookies, candy, basic crap. Now, since I have to depend on my feeling of wanting to eat, my mind is geared up for eating something special. It's like my mind is saying, "Hey, I'm not hungry right now, but I want to eat something. Where are the chips?" I need chicken, but I don't want chicken and yet want is all I have. Hell, I know I'm not explaining this well at all, which is why my mind is so fucked up right now.

This must be the hard part of weight loss surgery. My head and body are moving in different directions, and my need to control things is quickly driving me insane. Right now I should be enjoying the weight loss, the sense of well-being (at least physically, not so much mentally/emotionally) and the nice comments from those wishing me well and telling me I'm looking great. I'm suddenly center stage when all I've wanted is to be backstage, and the spotlight is very bright. If I fail (and in my self-sabatoging mind I will fail because I am not built to succeed) everyone is going to see me go down in flames.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Life Interfering With Life

When did I become so busy? It seems like I am going, going, going from the time I get up until I go to bed. Even when I'm home and "relaxing" I'm trying to catch up on reading my mail, blogging, e-mails, bill paying, TV shows, etc. Even my days off are scheduled to the hilt. For instance, I have Monday off. I have appointments with my doctor and nutritionists, a yoga class, a pedicure/manicure appointment plus I'd like to go to the gym and get the cars washed.

Don't even get me started on work. I mean, it's all good, but there are some major changes happening that will affect me - giving me much more to do, more responsibility, and hopefully more money. It's great that my boss and other management believe in my capability in taking on these new tasks, but I was just getting comfortable with my current job and was looking forward to coasting for a bit.

One of the by-products of the surgery is the fact I have the energy to deal with all of this. Prior to surgery, I was a lump. Yes, I went to work and did errands, but now I've added social aspects into it - gym, yoga, support groups, weekend coffees. I feel like I always have something after work, something on the weekends. The funny thing is that my priority used to be going home and sitting on the couch because I was so tired from life in general (easy to be tired when you're carrying around and extra 122 pounds!). Now my priorities are getting to support groups or going to the gym.

I am starting to count down the days until we go to Santa Barbara (43 for anyone else counting...). We have decided to drive, leaving July 1 and hopefully getting in by the night of July 2 or the morning of July 3. It will be a push, but I'd like to get to the foothills of the Rockies our first day and Santa Barbara the second. The idea of trying to find two hotels to stay at on the road with two big dogs isn't that appealing. Plus, I know Denver has a pit bull ban, so I don't even think I can overnight there with Jager. The plan is to cover about 1000 miles a day. It won't be easy with the dogs but I think we should be OK. I know the Motel 6 chain accepts dogs, although we'd have to get two rooms (1 dog per room rule). I plan on taking a cooler with food and drinks and I'm OK with eating at fast food places, now that I know what I can eat.

It's all good, though. It may be crazy, and there may be days when I really think I'm losing my mind, but I am loving life right now.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Photo Update

Here are the 7 month update photos. The outfit is from Target - skirt is size 18 (too big) and sweater is an XL (too big). Not too shabby, seeing how 7 months ago I was barely fitting into Lane Bryant's largest size.

Yesterday was all movement - I trained at 7:00 AM, had water aerobics at 8:00 AM, went to Target and CostCo and finally Home Depot to get my dogwoods I want to plant. When I went a few weeks ago to check out the trees, they were about 6 feet tall and I could easily put them in my car (Honda CRV). When I went yesterday, the ones they had in stock were closer to 10 feet, so this is what my car looked like:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Good thing Home Depot is only a few miles from my house. The branches totally surrounded me and I couldn't see out the back window. Trees are also heavy! It's still icky weather (a Minnesota technical term) so I don't know if I'll plant them later today or during the week. They aren't in bloom yet, so I hope I'll see some beautiful pink and white blossoms soon.

I'm off to wish one of my surgery friends well - she and her husband are moving to Florida next week. I met Farrah at a summer pool party - we were both pre-op and lived in the same suburb. She had surgery 3 weeks before I did with the same surgeon so she totally filled me in on what to expect. I'm sorry to see her go but I know she will continue to have great success...

The rest of the weekend is going to be spent relaxing. My errands are done for the week, and I have my last load of laundry in the dryer. I just have to put those away and pack up my yoga bag for Monday. Hope all the mothers (and mothers-to-be!) are enjoying their day!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Seven Month Update

Photos will be posted by tomorrow morning. Don took some last night - I was wearing an XL sweater and a size 18 skirt (regular section, not even an 18W!) from Target and both are a little big. I thought I looked cute, and I did get a lot of compliments on my outfit yesterday, even though it wasn't really weather-appropriate. I say, screw it, it's spring and I'm wearing normal clothes.

Anyway, using my weight from today, which actually makes it a 7 months, 1 week update, I am down 120.8 pounds from my highest weight on August 1. I am down 106 pounds since surgery on October 5. Even though the weight loss has slowed, I still have lost every week. I have lost a total of 78 inches - 14 inches from my hips, 11.5 inches from my waist and 10 inches from each thigh. My BMI has gone from 52.6 (super morbidly obese) to 33.7 (obese). Even though it's still in the obese category, I would not qualify for WLS today. I'm also only 25 pounds from being classified as overweight on the BMI scale. I should be getting my body fat tested this weekend, but when I started this, I was at 49% body fat. When I tested last time, it was down to 35% so I'm interested where I'll be now.

Life has changed for the better - even though there are still bills to pay, rough patches, crap to deal with, etc., it seems much easier without an extra 120 pounds weighing me down. I am more active, although I do occasional opt to hang out on the couch rather than go to the gym. I don't beat myself up for it, though. The fact that I am purposely working out 3-4 times a week more than enough makes up for missing one session. I do still obsess about food, calories in, calories out, carbs, protein, sugar. I do still weigh myself every day. I try not to drive myself too crazy with the numbers, and sometimes I have to talk myself down if the scale isn't agreeing with what I think it should say. But for someone who has thought about her weight every single day for years, it's all normal.

I am still on track with some mini-goals: 205 by June 7 and 195 by July 5. I still haven't really decided on a final weight goal. Part of me thinks that reaching the doctor's goal of 185 should suffice, but I tend to be a very competitive person (gee, ya think?) so I am keeping my goal at 160 for now. At some point my body will probably tell me what it's comfortable maintaining. I also know it's not just the number on the scale but body fat/lean body mass measurements as well.

Luckily, I haven't had any complications. The only bump has been my iron levels, but I think I'm addressing that issue and will see an improvement soon. I am able to eat pretty much anything I want; although I try to make sure I am eating what's best for my body. I'm getting better about feeling guilty when I don't clean my plate or when I throw food away. When I eat out, I try not to let my old ways take over and order 3 courses knowing full well an appetizer and a taste of Don's dessert will suffice. I still snack, but instead of a bag of chips, it's 6 crackers or soy crisps or pretzels or nuts.

Since surgery, I've become more active. I go to the gym, I take yoga, I do a water aerobics class. I like feeling my body - I can now feel biceps, my collarbone, my rib cage, my obliques. I'm not happy about the saggy skin, especially my arms and around my knees, but I'll deal with that later because the surgery was about getting healthy not about getting beautiful, although that is a side benefit.

At support group meetings, people who are thinking about the surgery often ask, "Is it worth it? Would you do it again?" I would have to say yes. I feel like I'm getting my life back, and my healthy life is far more important than a full-sized stomach.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hanging Steady

We got back safely, but it's been so crazy the last few days that I haven't had time to so much more than the basics of life...

The trip was great - we had a very nice time. We saw almost everyone, had some really good meals, took two beautiful walks along the Rocky River, I took lots of photos on the walks as well as of some really neat churches. Everything from the flight to the rental car to the hotel went smoothly, so you can't ask for much more than that.

Despite eating far more than I'm used to, I am hanging right at 217.2 - 217.6. I'm glad we got two long walks in (3.5 and 4.5 miles) to counterbalance all the food. I figure between the flights and "that time" arriving on Monday, I'm doing pretty well. Plus, in a weird way, it's almost comforting knowing that I can eat a lot more and maintain my weight rather than gain.

Now that I'm back, however, I'm trying to be better. I still find myself mindlessly snacking on crackers (only 6, but that's 210 extra calories I don't need). I had a great yoga workout on Monday, but because of other obligations I can't get back into the gym until tomorrow after work. Granted, I could have gone last night but we went to see "Mission Impossible." I really enjoy caper movies, and this one had a lot of action. It even made me forget how crazy TC really is.

It's going to be a crazy weekend, but the weather is supposed to be nice so I am hoping to catch a few hours outside. I'm right in the middle of a great book, "Under the Banner of Heaven" about Mormon fundamentalists. It's pretty intense, but I am having a hard time putting it down.

I do promise to do my 7 month update with photos this weekend - I just need Don to snap a few new ones!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cleveland Rocks!

Yes, I am off to Cleveland - home of Drew Carey, Chief Wahoo, the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, the Dog Pound, Playhouse Square, fried baloney platters and a river that occassionally catches fire.

Y'all be good for the next few days.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Not Enough Irons In The Fire?

I got my labs back from my 6 month post-op check-up. Although I will need to review in depth with my primary care doc, the one area raising a red flag is my iron levels. For the serum iron tests, normal levels are between 50 - 165. Mine is at 24. For the iron saturation test, normal levels are between 20 - 55. Mine is at 7. The easy answer is that my thyroid, which is treated with meds, needs to be tested to make sure I'm not getting too high of a dose because Synthroid interferes with iron absorption. The harder answer is that because of the rearranging of my intestines, I cannot get the iron I need.

The solution for the thyroid is to adjust my Synthroid dosage, which I will discuss with my doctor on Monday. If it's the second issue, I can look at trying to ingest more iron (double my iron supplement) as well as adding more iron-rich foods to my diet (tough, because I have a hard time with leafy, green veggies at this stage). The other, more drastic, option is to get iron injections and/or blood transfusions.

I've been pretty good, but obviously not good enough, about taking my vitamins and supplements. Iron is a tough one, because it can take several weeks of increased therapy to see a difference in iron levels, so even if I start taking more iron I'll have to wait another 3-4 weeks to get re-tested.

I'm bummed about the test results. I would have been happier if something like B-12 or calcium levels had been off, since those are easier to fix. Because of the thyroid, it's going to take that much more work to get the levels back into a normal range.

I had a long conversation with my nutritionist yesterday and we'll wait and see what the doctor says on Monday before we make any changes to my current food plan. He's a little concerned about the weight loss speeding up (8 pounds in two weeks) but doesn't want to do anything differently so if I have more blood tests on Monday they will be under the same dietary conditions as the last batch of tests.

Anyway, on a more positive note, I'm excited about going to Cleveland to see Don's side of the family. I did have an "oh, shit" moment when I realized I would be without a scale for a few days. Yes, I am still weighing myself every morning, despite several suggestions to do otherwise. Even when I was in Los Angeles in January I had access to scales - at my mom's, at the chiropractor - so I still felt like I had a security blanket. It's probably not a bad thing that I won't be able to weigh for a few days.

Even if it does drive me crazy...