Bari-Educational TV: Videos To Teach You About You And Your Options

  • 1. The Stages of Digestion
  • 2. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  • 3. Gastric Banding
  • 4. Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • 5. Duodenal Switch
"Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway."

~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weight Loss Saboteurs

It's no secret that I'm a big tv addict. It has contributed to my obesity and there's no question about that. I was never a fan of The Biggest Loser because I always thought, "how can they exploit these people by having them standing in front of America in their sports bras or bare chests with all of their fat out to be judged and criticized? And I won't even mention watching them get yelled and sworn at by the trainers. How humiliating!" But, I found myself flipping through the channels last season and something on the show caught my eye so I decided to watch it.

I watched the tail end of last season and have started to watch this season from the beginning 3 weeks ago. I can see that some of the yelling during the training sessions really does have to do with challenging the contestants to go beyond what they think their own capabilities are, but I can see that in some ways it also helps them to release the frustrations of their emotional issues too.

I was watching tonight's episode where the theme for the challenges was "Would You Rather?". Basically, would you rather stick to your plan of losing weight and use all of your resources here, or would you rather advance yourself in the game by other means, including at the peril of your fellow contestants. While it is a competition, at this stage of the game it is, or should be, more of a support group because everyone is just starting out and trying to lose the bulk of their excess weight.

Tonight, there was a contestant, Tracey, that opted for the advancement of herself in the game during each of the challenges, even at the chagrin of her partner who she never consulted in her decision making. She basically took the fate of the other contestants in her hands and made some decisions about who she thought should be able to stay or go....a pretty gutsy move for someone who spent the first entire week in the hospital because of her exertion during the very first challenge!!

Luckily by the end of the night, the person who most needed to stay got to stay, but two other people were still sacrificed because of Tracey's actions. It made me think of the people in my life who have tried to sabotage my efforts at losing weight over time, or simply contributed heavily to my gaining. No, of course I didn't have to put the food into my mouth, but you don't set a pile of cocaine in front of a drug addict as a gift and think that they won't use. It's tough enough trying to resist temptation on my own, but when you buy me 10 pints of Ben & Jerry's Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream, you might as well stick a needle in my arm and shoot me up with it!

Only time will really tell how much support I have from my family and friends following my surgery. I will admit that outside of my support group, I feel pretty alone in this. I'm thankful for my support group and all that I've learned from them and I hope that I've built some lifelong friendships there. I know that many people say that their friendships and sometimes family relationships change post-surgery and it will be interesting to see if anything does change. I have a unique situation with my job where I actually move every few months so I have no friends that I see on a regular basis. Most of our communication is through Facebook or emails. I guess the biggest change then would be in relationships with my family. Who knows, maybe I can be an inspiration or a motivation for them. One can only hope.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Things To Do...

I'm watching Dancing With The Stars and every season that I watch this show, I dream of being one of those beautiful dancers. I imagine myself being lifted high by some hunky macho dancer and wearing one of those slinky, glittery, dresses that has more skin out of it than in. It made me start to think....what are the things that I want to be able to do when I'm no longer on the fat list. Here's a few things that come to mind:

1. Wear a 2 piece bathing suit (I've never worn one before and will probably have to have plastics before I can, but it will be worth it.)

2. Buy underwear that don't come in plastic packages of 6 and unfold 3 times before you can wear them.

3. Be able to shop for clothes anywhere and have the option to wear something that's in style.

4. Sit comfortably on an airplane without worrying if I'm spilling over into the next seat and be able to comfortably and easily lower the tray table.

5. Sad to say, but hopefully be shown more respect at work. Amazing that everyone raves about my technical abilities, but seems to have a difficult time respecting me otherwise.

6. Run a 7-minute mile! 

7. Run a marathon in less than 5 hours. (During one of my successful attempts at losing weight in the past, I ran 4 marathons but my fastest time was still over 5 1/2 hours. I want to run like the wind!!)

8. Start dating....maybe? I know it's not a guarantee but a girl can hope can't she?

9. Become more outgoing. People who know me think that I'm outgoing but they don't know how much time I really spend "hiding" at home.

10. Wear high heels! (If the mood to dress up ever strikes. I'm typically a "lounge wear" type of girl.)

I'm sure that there are many more things that I will think of but that's all for now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Foolish Games

Not that I don't already have enough weight issues to tackle, I'm dangerously flirting with becoming a slave to the scale. I have a cheap bathroom scale that I know is typically about 3 lbs. lower than the scale at the doctor's offices that I go to, so I weigh myself everyday just to get an idea of if my weight is changing or not. I'm ashamed to admit that there are days when I weigh myself 3 times a day just to see how much the time of day affects my numbers. Of course there's also the weighing myself before and after exercise too to see if I really have burned off the calories that the treadmill says that I have. If that's the case though I would probably need a scale that rounded off with about 10 decimal places!

My insurance company required a 6 month medically supervised diet so I've been making changes in my diet over these last months which is great, but there's something about seeing the numbers on the scale go down that is just fantastic!

Last month, I hit some peak moments of stress at work and was mortified with myself that I reverted back to my old fashioned binging behavior to deal with my emotions. Then, I stepped on the scale and saw a 3 lb. gain from where I had been a week earlier and was emotionally destroyed. Will I ever get a handle on this whole emotional eating thing? How will I ever maintain my weight if it's just that easy and that fast to gain 3 lbs.!! I weighed myself a few days later at the doctor's office though and found that not only were those 3 lbs. gone but they took an additional pound and a half with them. All was well with the world.

This last week, I saw my weight go up again about 3 lbs. again in just a week. I admit that I'd eaten some things that I shouldn't have and hadn't been doing very well at fighting my cravings for french fries and hot fudge sundaes. My initial thought was here we go again....I'm a failure. I'll never get a handle on this. Then, like a bolt of lightening, I had an Oprah Ah-ha moment and realized that duhhh....I'm simply pms-ing!! I forget that I have a very unusual cycle and it's often difficult to tell if I'm even having a period or not! Before starting this newest attempt to lose weight, I always craved sugar, salt, and chocolate during the appointed time and always from separate sources. Have you ever garnished a hot fudge sundae with potato chips? Mmmm, it will take you from bitch to gentle lamb in 60 seconds.

I realized that the 3 lb. change that I was seeing on the scale has always been there but I just hadn't been weighing myself over the years to see the difference. When I stepped onto the scale this morning, poof, my 3 lbs. had disappeared once again and again life remains worth living.

I've been learning things about my body and how my weight works over the last several months, but I do have to be careful of the lure of the scale and the foolish games that it plays. The scary part is that I can indulge in my pms cravings and see the scale go up, but just as easily see it go back down in just a few days. It's as if the calories I took in didn't even have an effect on my weight. I initially thought that those indulgences were causing the 3 lb. gain but knowing that they don't account for the difference is a dangerous game because the mind wants to say, sure, you can get away with eating this junk because it really doesn't make a difference. Unfortunately it's that type of thinking that has brought me to the point in my overall weight gain of where I am now. I'll have to focus on fooling myself into realizing that those calories do count even if I don't see a real change on the scale immediately.

I know that the pms cravings will most likely NOT go away after surgery, but I hope that I can find some simple alternatives to meet them and beat them. In the meantime, the cravings are gone and my stomach felt so awful after eating the junk food that I wanted to shoot myself for even going there! I can't say that I will lose my obsession with the scale anytime soon because I know that after I'm rearranged from the rooter to the tooter I'll be fascinated with watching the numbers fall, but....keeping in mind that plateaus do happen, it might be a good thing to surrender to the scale on some sort of a regular basis just to keep myself on track. Three times a day is way too much, but once or twice a week may not be too bad. From now on, I will know that "fat week" exists, but I'll use it as a reminder of what I know to be true.....if I continue to eat garbage, I will see garbage on the scale. That once a month reminder will hopefully be a reminder enough of where I've come from and I can hopefully focus on where I'm going to.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Decision To Become A Vixen

Okay, so my life on the fat list started as soon as puberty hit. I remember being in sixth grade and realizing that I now had fried eggs on my chest so stuffing my training bra with cotton balls was no longer necessary. That was a good thing because trying to keep those damn things clustered together was a feat as I'd look down after recess and realize that one of my "nipples" was floating in my sweater somewhere near my waist.

I remember trying different sports in school usually because a friend convinced me to, but never really found my niche until finally my friend Melissa invited me to come with her to become A CHEERLEADER and finally....I'd found a sport that even I could do. The angels in heaven sang a lovely tune, strummed their harps, and covered their ears when they realized that I was a great cheerleader because I had a BIG MOUTH!! I was blessed with strength though, so I could hold all of those cute little blondes in the palm of my hand as we chanted out cheers for "OFFENSE" and "DEFENSE" (whatever those were).

Yes, the gifts for sports and athleticism were totally lost on me. I struck out in tee ball and sat the bench in basketball, volleyball, and yes, even in track. I tried to run a few races but decided to quit when I realized that the next set of runners were out of the starting blocks, and I hadn't even finished the previous race yet. The whole exercise thing was not my forte and I was glad to put it behind me when I went to college.

I got to the university with a nice normal 130 lbs on my 5' 2" frame. I'd been warned of the Freshman 15, but figured it was just a myth. I was walking all over campus everyday so there's no waaay that I could actually gain weight!! The cafeteria was open from 7am to 7pm, an unending buffet of carb-o-liciousness. Life went from 3 meals a day to eating and grazing when each and every friend got out of class. Instead of 3 meals a day, it was now 3 dinners a day, with a full breakfast, and probably 2 lunches in between. My summers were filled popping popcorn at the local movie theatre often working double shifts and realizing that there was no better nutrition than movie popcorn with tons of butter, chocolate candy, and Cherry Coke....well that was if I didn't have time to run down to the local Chinese joint for my favorite dish.

By my 4th year, I sauntered onto the stage of the fat list at a mere 190 lbs. I hadn't weighed myself in four years and couldn't believe my eyes until I saw pictures of myself and realized that I'd been buying larger and larger sizes of clothes as the years passed by. My mother often nagged me about my weight but I knew that nagging was a part of motherhood and I indeed have a very fine mother.

Over the years my weight ebbed and flowed with much less ebbing, and much more flowing. I now fast forward to today in my mid-thirties and my awakening to what seems to have become my permanent seat on the fat list.

I feel fatigued and slow with my achy back, hips and knees. I'm tired of going to the grocery store and pretending that all of this food is for a family of six and not just for me. I'm tired of being embarassed working in hospitals and having to ask for scrubs that have to be found in the men's locker rooms, because the ladies' rooms aren't stocked with sizes large enough to fit me, and...the shame of getting out of the car one day and watching my jeans split open at the seam on my thigh. It's time for a change, and that time is NOW.

Sure, many people joke that they'd love to have weight loss surgery (WLS) as an "easy" way to take off a few pounds. I once knew someone who'd had gastric bypass but she was 382 lbs. I never seriously thought that it would be something for "me"....that is until I realized that I too had over 100 lbs. to lose.

I'm embarking on this journey to find a new life, a new confidence, and a new me. I know deep down under all of this fat is that sexy, strong, confident, spicy, Vixen that I've always wanted to be.

*Funny note* After I'd already written the word "vixen" above, I found out that although not well known, DC Comics created a character known as Vixen as its first African-American superhero over 20 years ago!!