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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Special Christmas With Friends

I once lived in the Orlando, Florida area for nearly 7 years.  I have only a few contacts left here but one of them is a true friend that is more like a sister to me.  We don't always keep in touch as much as we should, but nevertheless, we know that the other is always there if we need them.  Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and I wasn't looking forward to spending it alone.  I've done it before but it's just not the same as spending the day with friends and family.  I was so excited that my friend invited me to share Christmas with her and her family.

When we talked a few days ago, she told me all of the things that she was cooking for Christmas dinner and even offered to make some special items for me.  I told her not to worry about me.  I made a meal on my own and took it with me and was just happy to spend the day with friends.  I can remember years ago when we were both single and going out living the single life and looking for dating opportunities.  We both have stories to share that we laugh about today.  A few years ago, she met the man of her dreams and I came back down for the wedding.  I'm so happy for them now as they are expecting their first child within the next few weeks.  I even got to feel the baby move!

Our lives have gone in different directions but yet in many ways we are both having dreams come true.  I couldn't be happier for her, and in seeing my weight loss and how I feel about myself, she couldn't be happier for me.  She was there for the times when I really felt the most insecure about my body and shied away from opportunities for fun because of my self-image.  There's much to be said about having great support along this journey.  I have to say that I've been extremely blessed in having support from nearly everyone around me.  It really makes a difference!

My Christmas gift this year is the gift of connecting with family and friends, seeing positive changes in myself physically and mentally, and knowing that I am loved.  These gifts far outweigh any material gifts that I could receive.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Little Natural Vitamin D

I've finally moved into my apartment in Florida.  Thank you God!!  I left on Saturday for what was a 10 1/2 hour drive from North Carolina so I did it in 2 days.  I never like to drive longer than 8 hours in one day because it's just too tiring for me and stressful for my pets.  As I drove further down into South Carolina, an amazing thing happened....I started to see the sun and almost instantly felt more energized and alive!

Yesterday I was back to work so up bright and early at 4am.  After working a full day, I had to move everything from a hotel into my apartment.  I'm on the 3rd floor and it took me about 10 trips to bring everything from my car upstairs (mind you that's 10 trips up and 10 trips down!).  Of course, once moved in I had to go to the grocery store and get stocked up on everything so there was another full trip!  I'm feeling the burn in my thighs and calves today, that's for sure!!  It was a great workout and I realized that when I want to spice up my workouts,  I can simply run the stairs of all of the buildings in the complex.  This complex is huge so that just might be a great strength training routine.

I finally finished up for the night and landed in bed at 3am.  To my surprise and amazement, my eyes opened on their own around 8:30am, the time I normally begin to stir during the summer.  I have to admit that I took a nice long nap later but wow, it's so nice to feel the warmth of the sun beat down on my face and the natural pick-me-up that it brings.  I've already taken some nice long walks around the complex and feel increasingly motivated to get up and get moving.

I'm down a grand total of about 40 lbs. so far and I'm noticing amazing differences in my clothes.  I've lost weight before but the change in my clothes has never been this drastic so quickly.  Over the last couple of years, I've always worn sizes 2X or 3X scrubs at work.  At times, I've been embarassed as I've had to ask someone to go into the men's locker room to get the larger sizes as the women's locker room wasn't stocked with them.  The worst has been when people have looked at me and sized me up on their own and thought that I only needed and XL and I couldn't even get the pants up to my hips. 

I've been wearing a pair of sweatpants that are a size 16W or 1X but that's still from the plus-sized department.  When I went to work yesterday, I decided to grab an XL and a 2X just to see how the XL would fit.  I expected to be able to get them over my hips this time but just knew that they would feel tight in the thighs and that I'd have to wear the 2X.  To my amazement and glee, not only was I able to fit into the XL, I had room to spare!!!  Not only that.....the only over-the-shoulder boulder holder that I can still fit is the sports bra!  God I love my RNY!!  The big question, is...can the fast change in my clothes be attributed to wearing my Skechers Shape-Ups during my workouts?  Who knows, there may be truth in advertising!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Eeyore Syndrome

The last couple of weeks have flown by and while I've successfully progressed to my soft diet and am feeling even stronger during my workouts, I feel like I've been suffering from what I'm calling "My Eeyore Syndrome".  Eeyore is probably my favorite Winnie the Pooh character because he reminds me so much of myself.

Lately, I've been feeling really exhausted and I'm not sure if it's from my surgery, my normal seasonal depression, a vitamin deficiency, or just being lazy.  I do think that I'm hard on myself because I feel guilty if I'm not working out 5-6 days a week even this early out. There are days when I feel strong and can get in over 12,000 steps on my pedometer, then there are other days when I don't want to get out of bed.  The great news is this...I'm back to work next week and I just received word yesterday that my next assignment is in southwest Florida.  Hallelujah!!  I am definitely a solar powered girl and I know that the sunshine and warmer temperatures will do wonders for me, not to mention the peace of the white sandy beaches.  I look forward to taking long walks with the sun beating down on my face.

Even without working out everyday though, I do feel good in that I am feeling stronger and pushing myself more during the workouts that I have been doing.  I love to do what I call my treadmill aerobics where I add arm exercises to my walking.  Add just the right mix of dance music and I remind myself of my old spinning instructor, full of energy and pep.  Hmm....maybe someday I could create some sort of class utilizing the treadmill with the arm movements.  Walking is great for you and doesn't leave you with "bike butt". 

Overall, I am recovering well and learning through trial and error what foods I can handle and which ones I cannot.  I haven't attempted milk in quite some time.  My initial intolerance even with the light soymilk was enough to give me a healthy fear that I'm not sure that I want to get over.  My high protein staple meal for both the protein and the fiber is fat free refried beans with melted reduced fat cheese and plain greek yogurt on top in place of sour cream.  Four ounces of beans with 2 ounces each of the cheese and yogurt packs a whopping 20g of protein and satisfies my cravings for Mexican food.  I went out for dinner last night and did well with baby back ribs and broccoli.  Barbecue sauce gave me the moisture that I needed for the pork and the steamed broccoli was smooth sailing.

Although tired, I feel good.  I miss being able to eat and drink at the same time and do have some food mourning when I pass what used to be some of my favorite restaurants or when I think of certain foods, but I still have not had one day where I've regretted my decision to have surgery and change my life.  So far I'm down about 39 lbs. from my highest weight, 22 lbs. since surgery.  The weight is coming off somewhat slowly in comparison to others, but I consider that a good thing, and I just keep reassuring myself that the weight is indeed coming off.  I can see it in the mirror and in the smile on my face when I look in the mirror.

I just realized last night that I've already taken all of my summer clothes to Goodwill and bought simple sweats with drawstring waists to get me through the winter.  I thought to myself, "...I shoud have held onto those a little longer since I'm now going to Florida!", but the truth is that they were all too big now anyway!!  So, I'll just have to visit Goodwill again to see if I can find some "new" clothes for the warm weather.  That feels so great to say!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hitting My First Milestone

Just a quick post to document hitting my first weight loss milestone...  Each morning I step onto the scale for my daily weigh-in.  Over this last week, I've been consistently working out and still on my pureed diet but was being teased by my scale as each day it read 201.8...201.6....201.4....201.4 lbs.  I knew that hitting "ONEderland" was only a matter of a couple of days away yet it was kind of funny watching the scale play games with me.  It's as if it has a mind of its own. 

Well, yesterday morning, my waiting game came to an end.  I stepped onto the scale to find a very pleasing 198.8 lbs.  I jumped up and down with excitement and called my mom.  Here's a little of how the conversation went...(ring, ring) "Hello?"


"What, huh?"

"198.8!  Girl, are you playing a game or something?"

"No!!  198.8 POUNDS!!!"

"Ohhh, now I get it (laughing).  That's great! I knew you would get there."

As you can tell, when I get excited I don't necessarily speak in full sentences.  I feel great and I can see some changes as I look in the mirror.  As with most people, the biggest change I see is in my clothes.  I have all of my summer clothes and jeans ready to go over to Goodwill.  I recently bought a few pairs of sweatpants, all with drawstring waists, but even some of those I'm having to pull and tie really tight.  My mom teases me that my butt is no longer a shelf that I can balance things on, but just a ramp now.

Now of course that's not quite the end of the story.....when I got up and got on the scale this morning, in its joking fashion it read 200.0 lbs.  I chuckled at it because I was already mentally prepared for the fact that small fluctuations on the scale are common so I'm not worried.  I had a long workout planned ahead for me today anyway. So, off to the treadmill I went for two full hours! 

I'm training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon in Florida on January 9th so I want to make sure that I get some longer walks in to make sure that I'm ready for the distance.  There is a time limit and I have to finish in 3 1/2 hours which is definitely possible because that's a pace of about 16 1/2 minutes per mile.  I know that if not today, and even if not tomorrow, the scale will read in the 100's again and once it does, I will keep working to make sure that it never makes it into the 200's again!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Random Thoughts and Reflections

Before having my surgery, I was counting down the days.  I was excited about starting a new experience, a new life, but also excited to have some extended time away from work so that I can focus on myself both inside and out.  I've taken a full six weeks off and I'm so very glad that I did.  Physically, my body is still adjusting to the surgical changes and my lower digestive system is being very slow to awaken from its hibernation, and mentally, I'm having the opportunity to establish good habits and see what works for me as far as getting in all of my protein, hydration, and exercise for each day. 

Generally when I'm working, my work days begin very early in the day, sometimes getting me out of bed as early as 4:30am which is tough for me because I'm much more of a night person. I tend to be somewhat sluggish in the mornings sometimes because of not having gone to bed early enough the night before.  One good habit that I've always had (thanks Mom) is eating breakfast.  I make time in my mornings to eat breakfast almost every single day without fail.  Having breakfast gets my metabolism and blood sugar started for the day so I tend to eat the majority of my calories during the day.  I'm not usually a huge late night snacker, but I've always loved having dessert with dinner. 

While I've been off from work, I'm noticing that while I have the luxury of going to bed late and sleeping in, I still maintain the same habits as far as my food consumption.  If I don't get nearly all of my protein and fluids in early in the day, I have a really difficult time trying to finish them in the evening.  I've tried to spread my meals and protein drinks out throughout the day but it just doesn't really work well for me.  I'm also finding that the more I workout, the easier it is to get my 64 ounces of fluids in.  During the evening, I'm just not very hungry and find it hard to drink much at that time too.

Here is what I ate and drank today, along with the supplements that I take:

Breakfast (or shall I just say 1st meal):  HealthWise Protein Drink (obtained from my doctor's office).  It was 30g of protein in 12 ounces of water.  Supplements: 1 multivitamin, 1 calcium, and 1 probiotic

During my treadmill workout:  Synthrax Nectar Fuzzy Navel protein powder (1 scoop = 23g of protein) in 12 ounces of Diet V-8 Splash, then 32 ounces of ice water.  After my workout I was still finishing the water but was able to finish it before the evening started.  

Dinner:  4 ounces of fat free refried beans with 2 ounces of reduced fat cheddar cheese mmmm...  That's 14g of protein altogether.  Supplements:  1 calcium and 1 biotin

At this point, I've now gotten in 67 of my total 70g of protein for the day, and 56 of my 64 ounces of hydration!!  I'll have one small drink before bed but I'm thankful that I don't feel the pressure of not having gotten everything in.  I'll also take my final calcium and multivitamin too.

For exercise, I've set the goal of 5,000-10,000 or more steps per day on my pedometer or 5 miles on the treadmill.  I'm preparing for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon next month and while I know that I won't be the fastest walker out there, I just want to finish and feel good.  I find that each week I'm able to walk a little longer and still feel great afterward.  The 5 miles on the treadmill takes me just under an hour and a half and that's just about the pace that I will need to maintain during the race to keep from getting picked up by the "you're going too slow and we're closing down the finish line" paddywagon.

I must say that I haven't had one thought of regret for having this surgery so far.  Instead, even on the days that I physically feel like crap, I think about the big picture and the fact that I'm doing something really good for myself.  So often, I, like so many others, try to please everyone around me, even at my own expense sometimes.  I've taken the fall for others before simply because it was easier to bring whatever the conflict was to a close.  I feel so good right now just allowing myself to be renewed.  It's possible that the person who returns to my job will not be the same person that left.  I think that I will be happier because I will have more balance in my life, and I also think that I will be able to let stressful situations roll off my back a little easier because I have to focus on my food and drink consumption and exercise and I can't hide away with junk food to get through the stress.

I know that things will by far not be perfect, but I truly believe that how I handle and react to diferent situations will improve as I am a happier me!