Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stat Update and New Job

Stat update is a couple days late this week. I was a little distracted because I got a job this week and was waiting to hear back about my start date. I completely forgot about posting.

But! Good news. I've lost 1.6 pounds. Not fantastic, but I've been really stressed these past couple of weeks.

I start my new job on Monday. I think it will be a lot easier to control my food intake since I won't be home the majority of the day (with easy access to the kitchen). Not only that, I'll be kept busy so snacking won't even enter my mind. My coffee intake will likely be the same though.

I still haven't started back up with my weight training... I think at this point, I'm going to have to start all over again. I am still keeping up with walking a lot, and I'm going to have to walk part of my journey to and from work every day. I'm hoping within the next month or so I'll be able to afford a membership at the gym down the road. I really miss going to a gym.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stat Update and Making Excuses

I've lost a little under a pound this week. Considering the only real exercise I got was walking to and from a job interview (granted, it was the same place I had my assessment last week, so I walked just under 5 miles total again), that's actually not too bad.

I've been struggling a lot lately. I've been making excuses, partially because I started taking an SSRI again just a few weeks ago. My mood was all over the map for a while. I didn't exercise as much, though I tried to keep myself moving around a lot.*

My eating habits haven't been great either. I've forgotten to eat breakfast on many days. But (save one take out meal from KFC), I've actually eaten mostly healthy things. I also haven't been eating much in between meals. There have been a few biscuits (cookies) here and there, but only once did I eat more than two. And that was three. Which seems really excessive now! I used to be a person that ate between five and ten cookies in one sitting. There's also been instances of buttered toast, but even those have been kept to a minimum. So it hasn't been a disaster, and hey! It looks like I'm actually learning things!

You know, through all this I have found myself coveting chocolate only a few times, but I haven't had that much of it. And to be honest, I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

I also haven't been drinking enough water, and I have had a bit too much coffee some days. So I'm starting today with a glass of water, which will get refilled whenever it's empty. Only when I finish my current glass will I allow myself some coffee.

In short: I've done okay considering how I used to be, but I had the potential this week to do a lot better. So I'll work on that for next week.

*I remembered hearing about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT, of you like fancy acronyms) on the Two Fit Chicks podcast (Episode 07 Getting STARTed in 2010), and how you could burn up to 400 calories a day just by fidgeting. So I've been working that in. I've been working on a project that involves a lot of sitting at the desk in our office, so I've been keeping my legs moving around and generally not keeping still.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stat Update, Walking, and a Confession

I lost a kilo this week! YEEEEEAAAAH! Stats on the sidebar have been updated. I'm getting close to a mini goal, which is to lose a stone (14 pounds, for the American folk). The next one after that is to get below 100 kg, and after that? My nemesis, the 200 pound mark.

That seems to be an enemy of many a loser. I've butted up against it several times myself, but have never gone under it after going over it when I was in my late teens. This time, though, I will succeed. I'm older and wiser and have a hell of a lot more support.

* * *

I had an assessment yesterday, which may end up landing me an interview for a media researcher/analyst job. The location was 2.4 miles away, with no direct bus route. It was, however, a nearly straight shot from where I live on one road. So I decided to walk.

I packed my nice shoes in my bag, rocked the skirt and trainers look, and set off. I listened to a couple of podcasts about making comics. Half of the way wasn't paved, so I had to walk over grass areas where the earth was really soft. It took me about an hour.

I did my assessment with six others (some from crazy far away: Wigan and Liverpool). And then I started the trek back. I'd packed half a pita with some peanut butter in it, as I knew I'd need the protein and I didn't get lunch (I'd eaten a large snack before I left at 11:30). I got home, exhausted and in pain, but proud of myself.

I walked nearly five miles yesterday! Granted, it was split up into two sections, but still. That was the most walking I'd done in one day in a long time. And now I know for sure that I'll be able to walk the 5k just fine... but hopefully I'll lose enough weight by then that my knee will be able to take the impact of jogging. I know I used to do some jogging/running in short bursts when I was about 210 pounds or so.

* * *

I have a confession to make. I haven't lifted weights in a week. I made excuses, because I'd gotten my period (after it decided to skip a month back in February) and it was the worst one I've had in a long time. Since the doctor made me stop taking it, I'm no longer on birth control that makes the experience milder. In short (and without gross detail), I felt AWFUL.

I didn't lift weights, but I did make myself get outside and walk as much as I could. So at least I did SOMETHING. Now it's all over, though, and I'm eyeing my weights. I think I'll pick up where I left off today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stat (non)Update and Dragon Fruit

First off, check out the spiffy new title graphic! Yay!

Stats aren't being updated this week because I weighed in at the same number this week. I was a bit worried about it, so I'm actually glad I didn't gain. More exercise (that won't flare up my arthritic knee) and less food next week.

*   *   *
I finally got around to cutting open one of the dragon fruit we bought during our last online shop. I got them on a whim, as they were on sale and I'd never had one before. I'd had dragon fruit flavored drinks before, like Vitamin Water and Snapple Elements (from years ago, that... anyone remember them?) but I'd never even seen the actual fruit before. I actually had to google how to eat it. You cut it in half and scoop it out, like an avocado.

So I did just that. I've got to say... It didn't taste how I was expecting it to. I'm not even sure what that expectation was, really. What I got was an odd fleshy fruit that was mostly water, and was oddly savory in addition to being a bit sweet. It made me think of some weird hybrid between a watermelon and a tomato. I'm not sure if I actually liked the taste of it, but I didn't automatically reject it either. It's something I could see myself acquiring a taste for, though, especially since the texture was quite pleasing. I am a complete nut for texture when it comes to food (as mentioned in a previous post regarding porridge).

It was kind of nice to have a bit of a food adventure, though, as I haven't really had one in a while. I love trying new things. How else would I have learned that I love spaghetti squash? Speaking of, if anyone knows where to get one in the UK, please please PLEASE let me know. I haven't found one since I moved here.

Next up to try: figs maybe? I've only ever experienced them in fig newton form, and had no idea what they looked like either until recently.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Beef With Bariatric Surgery

First off, a disclaimer: Let me make it clear that I do believe that there ARE cases in which bariatric surgery can be beneficial and even necessary, as a last resort. I would also like to say that I don't hold anything against people who do opt for any of the various procedures, as it was their choice, and it does work out well for many people. This is simply how I feel about the subject, after first hand experience with my mother, who underwent a gastric bypass shortly after I started at San Diego State.

My mom had been heavyset all her life, like me. At one point she weighed ofer 400 pounds. She lost a little bit of that suddenly, before she was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes, but remained in the high 300s. It seemed like she'd tried everything: Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons, Jenny Craig, and dozens of other programs I can't remember. Nothing seemed to stick, which I now realize was because my mom had a few road blocks in her way. She didn't know how to change the way she looked at food, she didn't know how to stick to exercise, she didn't have enough support from my dad and me, and because she had some more deeply rooted psychological issues that didn't become apparent until she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about six months before she died in a car accident in 2005.

Bariatric surgery must have sounded like a miracle to her. She felt like she was at the end of her rope. Personally, I doubted the whole procedure. I went along with her to orientations and support group meetings where I heard about how you could lose crazy amounts of weight fairly quickly, as well as horror stories: inscisions that didn't heal fully and became infected, internal bleeding, bowel leak where the intestine is re-attached to the stomach, food getting lodged and causing an internal traffic jam. There was also the fact that the stomach could stretch out over time and become the size of a normal stomach again and you could gain all the weight BACK, undoing the whole traumatic procedure. Then there's the fact that the surgery was purely physical, so you still have to change the way you view food and work through everything that caused you to overeat in the first place.

This is what happened to my mom:
She had a full gastric bypass; she was too large to have the procedure done laparoscopically (that option was relatively new back then), so she had a giant scar running down her stomach. For a long time, she followed the program dilligently, going to both regional and local support meetings. She'd had a few blockage scares and gone to the emergency room a couple of times, but other than that she was fine. She lost about 100 pounds, and got into the high 200s. But then she hit a plateau. She stopped going to the meetings. She began to eat the things she wasn't supposed to (you're given a list of foods that you can and can't eat at various stages), and her stomach stretched. She probably experienced "dumping," which is what happens when you eat sugary things (you feel sick and faint because of a fall in blood sugar). She wasn't really exercising. She didn't gain much more weight, but she didn't lose any more either.

All of the issues she had before she had the surgery were still there. The support groups are supposed to cover that bit, but it doesn't work if you stop going. There is nothing in place to stop someone from playing along up until they have the surgery and then suddenly falling off the radar. The special diet you're supposed to follow can easily go out of the window. Handing someone a piece of paper with the right foods on it doesn't magically make someone stick to it, no matter how ill they feel if they don't.

The bottom line: there's not enough education and support for everyone who has bariatric surgery. There ARE many people who are successful, and learn about food and exercise. But there are also those who need a little extra guidance, and who are lacking in some familial support. And it's THOSE people I worry about.

To those who have had a gastric bypass or a gastric band and have kept their weight off: well done! I know it's hard, even with the surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is not a quick fix. It is a life altering major surgery. It was intended for people who are too large to move around, and those who have immediate health risks. After looking up the qualifications, I myself qualify for gastric bypass surgery. I weigh less than 250 pounds (granted, that's large for my 5' 2" frame, but still), and am perfectly capable of moving around and exercising. I don't think I should qualify, but I do.

Most people I've run across online and in person, from lay people to medical professionals, seem to be in agreement that the best way to lose weight is slowly, over a period of time, through healthy eating and plenty of exercise. Calories in, calories out. This breadth of time also allows you to learn new habits, how to make healthier choices, and that it's okay to splurge a little now and again and still stay on track. I'm still working on all that, after gaining and losing and gaining for the entirety of my adult life, but this is the way I want to do it. Baby steps.

And if I can show just one person that it's not necessary for them to have surgery to lose weight, I will be an extremely happy camper.