Monday, March 23, 2009

Staying Motivated

I weigh myself every day.

I've read that I shouldn't weigh myself that often because weight fluctuates from day to day, but I do it anyway. I'm a rebel.

However, I've noticed that I get frustrated when my weight loss hits a plateau. It happened to me around 45 lbs. Nothing I did seemed to make any difference, my body refused to give up more than 45 lbs for almost 2 weeks. Right now I'm at 68 lbs lost and have been for a week. I keep telling myself it's ok; I lost almost 7 lbs in one week, so maybe my body is just adjusting to that weight loss before it loses any more. No matter what I say, I still feel frustrated. Quite frankly, seeing the numbers on the scale get smaller has been my major motivation for doing what I'm suppose to be doing.

Last night, in bed, trying to go to sleep because I had to wake up a couple hours earlier than normal but unable to because my brain wouldn't shut off, I decided that I need to weigh myself less and refocus on other motivations for staying with the changes I've made since having surgery. There are several. For example:

1. Looking better. Yesterday, I had Sunday dinner at my dad's house and saw my step-grandfather for the first time since having surgery. His reaction to how I look was priceless! He kept saying how lovely I look, how much slimmer my face is, how I "glow", etc. I've wondered recently if people just say I look thinner because they know I've lost over 60 lbs, but his reaction was definitely not an act - not that other people were acting - he could obviously see I looked different. It felt nice. More than nice.

2. Hiking. I went hiking with my mom, nephew, and niece Saturday and was amazed by how easily I walked along the path compared to last year or even the year before. A few times I even speed-walked while competing with my nephew and niece to be the "leader" and didn't even feel out-of-breath! On the return trip, my nephew wanted me to carry him because his feet hurt. I politely declined then started thinking about how he probably weighs roughly how much weight I've lost. I've been carrying around an 8-year old boy! Then I started to imagine how great I'll feel when I've lost another 60 lbs! Heavens, I'll probably feel like I'm floating when I've lost all my excess weight. It'll be great!

3. "New" Clothes. I don't do fitting rooms when I buy clothes. I either buy my clothes online or at Wal-Mart, and either way, I wait 'til in the comfort of my own home before I find out whether a garment fits me or not. Most times they do, but sometimes they don't. Most times I return the item when it doesn't fit, but sometimes I don't. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I have a stock of clothes that I've bought in my size throughout the years but that didn't fit so they've sat in my closet collecting dust. Now they fit! This weekend, I wore three shirts and a pair of capris that used to be too small but now fit perfectly. Woohoo! The capris were especially motivating because for the first time in ages, I felt like my waist and hips didn't stick out as much as they used to. I felt a little more...streamlined, for lack of a better word. In addition to knowing that I fit into these smaller clothes (though the same size I've worn for years), it made my pocketbook happy to know that items for which I've spent money are finally being put to good use.

4. Feeling better. I feel better than I have in years, probably since the last time I was at this weight, which was eight or nine years ago. Exercising, eating healthy, and accomplishing weight loss goals makes me feel good. I feel happier, more able to deal with problems, and I sleep better (usually). And, I'm seriously getting addicted to the feeling I get after riding my bike. My legs ache, my heart is pumping, sweat is sliding down my neck, back, and forehead, and I feel like I can fly. Nothing seems impossible when I step off my bike. It's a great feeling.

So, I'm hiding my scale when I get home and not getting on it for two weeks. Even as I typed that sentence, my mind shouted "NO!" but I'm going to do it anyway. Numbers on the scale are important, but so are all the other benefits of losing weight and getting healthy. And, I think those other benefits will help me stay motivated when things get tough and I feel like quitting.

Deep breath.

I'm going to miss my scale, though! *blinking away mock tears*

Monday, March 16, 2009

Virtual Route 4

Happy Trails, Everyone!

It's another installment of "Where Is She Now", otherwise known as my virtual route to New York City. Here's my progress to date:

You can't tell when the picture is this small, but I'm finally in Colorado and just passed Grand Junction; accomplishing my goal for this segment! Woohoo!

Here are the stats:
Start date of this section: 2.28.09
# of days traveled: 10
Miles traveled: 68.6
Hours traveled: 5.3
Calories burned: 2296
Miles 'til NYC: 2015.7

I missed a lot of days during this two-week section, partially due to traveling for work and partially due to being crazy-sick last week. That said, I'm proud that I didn't miss a day for any other reason, like not wanting to exercise. :)

I've bumped up my bike ride from level 2 to level 3 - this has increased the number of calories I burn and increases how far I ride during a 25-minute workout. My legs really feel the difference. Not wanting to neglect my arms, I bought two 5-lb weights and do a few reps of different arm exercises while I ride. So, overall, despite the several missed days, I feel really good about how I'm doing.

'Til Next Time!

Monday, March 9, 2009

61 Pounds Lighter!

I have lost 61 lbs! Woohoo!

I actually hit 61 lbs last Thursday but didn't count it because the day before had been the hellish Red zone day and I'd abnormally lost 5 lbs. I left for Wyoming Thursday night and haven't had a chance to weigh myself until this morning. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that I have reached that goal - even after being on the road all weekend!

As promised, I bought myself flowers this morning as a reward for losing another 10 lbs. Here's a picture of the bouquet I bought:

I really wanted a vase full of white daisies, but Albertson's only had mixed flowers. They're pretty, pleasantly fragrant, and certainly liven up my office. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE getting flowers? Even when I get them for myself, I love it! They are cheery and Spring-y. Tucked away in my little office, without a window, I can fool myself into thinking it's Spring and not threatening to snow outside.

Speaking of being on the road - a BIG thank you to everyone who suggested Go-gurts! I took a couple boxes with me - in a cooler - and they were perfect! I ate them for breakfasts, for snacks, and for desserts. I especially enjoy them frozen! Mmmm. My favorite was Strawberry Milkshake.

Speaking of rewards, I've decided what I'll do as a reward when I hit 75 lbs - I'm going blond! I can't remember how long it's been since I've been blond, a couple years at least. I'm planning on going back to my current hair color in the Fall because I really like it, but it'll be fun to have a change for a few months. Once I have it done, I'll post a picture, of course, so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Red Zone

*Maybe not the best read if you have a sensitive stomach. I'm just saying.

Yesterday, I had my monthly appointment with my surgeon. I woke up in a great mood - it was sunny outside, I felt like a million bucks, and life seemed wonderful.

To add to my joy, my doctor was actually on time for the appointment - woohoo! We discussed how the previous month had gone for me, and he expressed his satisfaction with the weight I have lost so far. He asked me bunches of questions; do I get heartburn (no), do I vomit (no), how much of my diet is protein (70% or so), do I exercise (yes), what (walk/ride my bike), how often (5-7 days a week), etc.

He asked me if I wanted my band filled. In each of his rooms, there is a little chart that distinguishes the three "zones" of band filling. The first zone is Yellow. In this zone, you get hungry easily, eat "large" meals or snack constantly, and go looking for food. The second zone is Green. In this zone, satiety lasts at least 4 hours, you eat 2-3 meals a day that are 1/2 - 3/4 cup, and are able to eat solid proteins. The last zone is Red. While in this zone, you can't eat solid proteins, only liquids. You have heartburn and vomit if you eat anything. The goal is to be in the Green zone.

I decided I was in the last part of the Yellow zone and explained why - my meals are slowly getting larger than 3/4 cup. He agreed to fill my band just a little. Usually, a nurse practitioner does the fill, but they were both gone so he did it. What a difference! He found the port quickly and didn't show me the needles (thank heavens!) before sticking me with them. It was over before I knew it. He had me drink some water, and everything seemed perfectly fine, so I scheduled my April appointment and drove home.

When I got to work, I worked for a bit and at lunch time heated up my piece of chicken. I ate it while working, never a good idea, but tried to keep to the regulations - small bites, chew thoroughly, and pay attention to feelings of fullness. Before I finished, I started to feel full, so I stopped. The fullness increased to pain. A lot of pain. I couldn't breath so I left the office and went into the bathroom across the hall. I couldn't swallow my spit, the fullness in my chest was so painful. Eventually, I vomited up spit. The two other times I've overeaten, this step has reduced the fullness and I've quickly felt better. Not this time. It reduced the pain but it slowly increased again until I thought my chest would burst. Then I vomited spit again. This happened numerous times - too many to count - for a couple hours. Finally, more than spit came out. None of my lunch had made it through the band. At this point, the day was almost over but I was relieved to start feeling better.

As you might guess, I was in no hurry to eat again, so I didn't eat dinner until around 6:30. I hoped that maybe I had just eaten too much too quickly at lunch and that is what had caused the bad reaction. I made chicken breasts and cut one in half for my dinner. Not wanting a repeat of lunch, I ate very slowly, chewed my food 'til it was practically pureed, and ate tiny bites. Well, after just a few bites, I felt that same fullness from lunch. The next few hours were a repeat of my afternoon. Basically, it was hell. I called my doctor's office and left a message saying I'd be in the next day to get some of the saline out of my band, then called my office to let my coworker know I'd be in late. Fortunately, I felt much better by the time I went to bed - just after 11pm - so was able to get a decent night's sleep.

I awoke this morning feeling great. Maybe I wouldn't need to go down afterall, I hoped. I hopped on my bike and 5 minutes into it, took a sip of water. As needed, I'd take another sip. After 10 minutes, the fullness was back! I'd only had water! I stopped riding after 15 minutes because the pain was coming back, too. It was discouraging to know that even water wasn't making its way through the band. No wonder food caused me so much pain! I hurried to get ready and left for the doctor's office.

I was so hungry and thirsty by the time I arrived. And, did I mention that I'm PMSing? I am. So, I wasn't in the best emotional state when they told me that no one was there who could take some saline out of my band. I'd have to wait 30 minutes. No problem. Then they said no one would be there 'til this afternoon. I started to cry. I explained that I'm leaving for WY today for work and have lots to do to get ready and I can't go another day without eating or drinking water. Yeah, I cried. Not proud of it, but I did. The office staff was awesome! They quickly found someone who could come asap and kept comforting me. I was so embarrassed. While we waited, they weighed me again - I had lost 5 pounds in one day, no food or water will do that, I guess - and took my blood pressure, etc.

Finally, a nurse practitioner arrived and took out 75% of what my doctor had put in. We talked about it beforehand and decided to take most of it out to make sure I wouldn't have any issues while in WY but left some in to hopefully give me the help I needed to reduce my meal sizes. She admitted to being new to the process, and I could tell. It took her a long time to find the port and sometimes I felt pain despite the numbing stuff she'd injected. She'd apologize but I'd brush it off and thank her for being there. And, really, I'd suffer the pain gladly to get that saline out! She had me take a couple big gulps of water to make sure it felt better and suggested I eat something before leaving town to see if I could eat. I ate some peanuts when I got to my car and they went down fine. My lunch went fine, too, and I'm able to drink water. Also, I think the band is just tight enough to help me eat smaller meals. I think I'm finally in the Green zone. Woohoo!

Thank heavens I'm not in the Red zone anymore. That was NOT fun! According to my doctor, some people stay in the Red zone on purpose because they think it will help them lose weight faster. In reality, they start drinking high calorie liquids or eat easy-to-eat foods like ice cream and end up gaining weight instead. Honestly, I'd rather lose an ounce a week than go through another day like that. It was so miserable!

It certainly makes me hesitant to get another fill any time soon! *shudder* Hopefully, I'll stay in the Green zone for a long time!