First week back at it and not too shabby, considering that I am now 18 months post-op. If I can lose this amount or more each week, I will see my goal weight by Christmas. I’m definitely learning patience right now!
I incorporated two meatless meals into my eating this week, and really enjoyed them. I am going to give the two meatless meals a week effort a little bit longer and then I am going to increase the number to 4 meals weekly. I’d like to get to where I eat more veggies on the regular because I have seen evidence that bariatric patients can lose weight successfully on a plant-based diet. Dr. Garth Davis is a bariatric surgeon out of Houston, and a vegan. I’ve followed his Facebook page for nearly a year now, and I see how successful his patients are with that lifestyle, and how he is successful with it as well. Mind you, I’m not looking to go vegan, just to back off the meat a little bit. I like vegetables and have missed being able to eat them in the quantities I could pre-op, and because my post-op eating requires that I eat protein-heavy meals, often veggies go by the wayside as they don’t pack the protein punch that meats and fish do. I’m learning though, that as long as I eat legumes (which I have no problem doing at all, I love beans!), I’m good. So my meatless meals this week included plenty of beans, but I also ate squash, corn, carrots, and greens. I had a veggie plate for lunch at Cowboy Chicken (a favorite place of mine to eat) Monday, and then at my Rotary meeting Wednesday, I had a bowl of navy bean soup and pita bread with hummus. I think that’s going to be one of my weekly meatless meals because it was so good and fiber-rich. Once I get through the pot of black bean and sausage soup I made last night, I’m going to make a second pot, except this time I’m going to swap out the meat for more beans and some carrots to boost the veggie content and to make it meatless. I realize that going meatless bumps up my carb intake significantly, but if nearly all my carbs are coming from vegetables then I don’t feel too bad about that.
I’m retaining water this week (thanks hormones), so I’m bloated and puffy and generally uncomfortable. That should ease up this week though as my cycle comes to an end for the month at the end of the week. I’m really starting to wish for menopause just so I can quit this monthly rollercoaster with my weight, even though I know that menopause isn’t much better (from what I’ve heard).
I’m headed to the gym later this week, trying to get back into routine but it’s tough to get motivated to leave the house to work out when it is freezing cold outside! My schedule this week is a little crazy, so Thursday will be the first opportunity I have to get there. I’ve got a yoga DVD that I’d like to try so I may do that just to keep from being entirely sedentary while I’m here at home in the evenings. I have tried to hit my 9000 steps each day this past week but it has been tough. My left knee is really stiff and swollen (no thanks to this cold weather) so it’s been difficult to get around as fast as I’d like.
I read an article in the Washington Post today that really hit home with me. Andie Mitchell, author of the blog Can You Stay for Dinner? has written a memoir, which I plan to buy and read soon. If you’re not familiar with her story, she too has had a significant weight loss, but did it nonsurgically. No matter how one chooses to lose weight, when you have over 100 pounds to lose, the struggle to do so is the same. The Post article talks about how after the weight loss, there were unforeseeen issues that arose, one of which was an eating disorder. I often wonder if sometimes my own eating will become disordered.
I obsess over what I eat, when I eat, where I eat, how often I eat and how much I eat. I really don’t like this about myself now. I wonder if I will ever be normal, and if I will ever get to a place in my life where food is not the center of everything. I worry that it always will be, and I hate being chained to the very thing I need to keep me alive this way. I never thought that I would have to think so hard or so much about food, but I do, and I don’t like that it takes up that much real estate in my head on a daily basis. These are things your surgeon doesn’t warn you about, because they can’t. Unless you’ve lost a large amount of weight, you simply do not understand. You worry that eating that donut, that tiny piece of candy, that single french fry, that bite of rice–that anything seen as less than healthy–might just derail the effort you have put forth to lose weight.
I had the sleeve surgery done because I was told that the hormone (ghrelin) that drives hunger would be removed and my drive to eat would be gone.
Not so. Ghrelin production gets picked up by other organs such as the intestine, brain and even ovaries (see page 2 of this paper). The fact that other organs pick up the slack for the stomach is a little frustrating, because the hormonal drive to eat doesn’t ever really go away. It’s an evolutionary survival mechanism, I suppose. Funny how biology works, isn’t it?
I won’t lie, I’m a boredom eater. I know this about myself. But there are times when I am super busy and not in the least bit bored and I get ridiculously hungry. And I hate it. It is something I fight with on a daily basis. I’ve tried all the tricks I know–keep myself busy, drink plenty of water, all that crap. And there are days when none of these tricks that all of us who have ever tried to lose weight work. I even gave thought to asking my PCP about appetite suppressants the next time I see her, because I am terrified of gaining weight back. I even thought about asking my surgeon about a DS, which is the second stage of the surgery I had. But I know that a second surgery is not the solution here.
I am *this close* to my revised goal. So close I can almost taste it. But I fear I may never get there, and worst? I fear that I may end up back over 400 pounds. My behaviors have changed, but my body isn’t cooperating and I am at a loss as to what to do at this point. I want to quit but I know right now that is not an option.
In the meantime, I suppose I can keep plugging away at this pace with the obsessing about food and how I look and feel and get to goal. But will I be happy? I just want to be at peace with my body and with the way of life I have to live now and right now I’m not completely either of those things. So I totally feel what Andie Mitchell feels when she says things got worse for her after she lost the 135 pounds she lost. In some ways, things have gotten worse. And while things have gotten mostly better, it’s tough to focus on them when the things that have gotten worse are things that stay with you each day.