Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chew on this

ahhhh.  It's wonderful you know.  The world of chewing.

The good news is that I didn't chip a tooth, and the food tasted great.  The trouble is that by the time you finish chewing your miniscule blueberry size bites, well, you're so dang tired of chewing, that half wish you could go back and do really good purees.

Yes you heard me - I love cooking enough that the only way I managed to survive purees was by carbing them up a bit and adding a pile of flavour.  That meant though that while visually unappealing as they were, the taste made up for it.

So food was deeply missed over the last 3 weeks. and is being immensely enjoyed once more, but not nearly in the quantities it once was.  I often recall looking at what the recommended food servings were by the Canada Food Guides perspective, and thinking "Shyeah.  Right.  No normal human being that I know of eats that little and feels satisfied."   I wasn't wrong.  The quantity of food I ate before at any given meal wasn't abnormal or excessive.  My problem has always always always been the snacking in between.  It would be nothing for me to eat a full large bag of chips in a given day.  I'd start munching away at them in the morning while I toiled away on compiling metrics, crafting messages, and generating reports.  And then I'd have lunch, and get back into the swing of working, and if I didn't have any other meetings, and was busy working away independently, my hand would find their way back into that chip bag, and before long, it would be time to pick up my daughter and get started on pulling the family supper together.  The calories I piled in during the space between meals is what was killing me.  And worse even during peak stress times and when I was called upon to strategize a solution to a big issue.

Now, it's a guarantee that I'll be snacking.  I have to.  Because the meals I'm eating would make you cry if you saw the quantity of food they contain...well, that is, if you're normal and not already banded.  But the total quantity of food I'm going to have in a given day is going to be what a normal person would eat in just 3 hearty meals each day.  Or less even if I'm well behaved and choose wisely.  But I feel full.  And that is key.

The surgeon told me he wants his patients to feel about food, the way they feel about air.  You absolutely need it to survive, but it's so plentiful that you take it for granted, and don't think about where your next breath is going to come from.  I'm not sure the foodie in me will ever let go of some of the things food does for the human race that go beyond simple sustenance, but at the moment, I feel about as close to that as I could imagine being.  I'm craving salad.  I'm craving fish.  I'm craving non-processed food.  Because it will fill me faster.  Because it will fill me longer.  Because it won't hurt going down.  Because it's what my body needs.

I'll even tell you how I know this is all true.  I bought a bag of chips and dip when out shopping the other day, anticipating the glorious day when I could eat solid foods again, and indulge in some age old addictions. The twisted plan was to satisfy the immediate cravings, reward myself for having lost 30 lbs, reset my resolve and dig back into the regimen heading steadily towards the 60 lb mark.

I'm proud to say, that bag of chips, that container of dip are still untouched.  And I've been on solid foods now for 2 days.  There were bite size tortilla chips already open and a homemade dip in the fridge from a dinner guest we had over the weekend.  I had a slice of cheese pizza that was so disappointing, I wish I hadn't done it.  I've had a small amount of the tortillas and dip today, but yummy as it was, it's done really nothing for me.  I did enjoy my salad with deli roast turkey breast and shredded cheese.  I'm even jonesing for a fish/salad dinner tonight.  That's the stuff I'm eager to eat at the moment.

I feel loco in the cabeza for sure.  But I'll take this kind of crazy any day of the week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Big Freeze

If I could have a drum roll please:

I have lost 29 lbs.  Yes, that's right.  I have lost more than what my actual child weighs after gaining some...AND I'm pretty damn proud of myself.  I'm still jonesing for real food, but really, I'm jonesing for it because I'm eager to start eating the good stuff I always ate, and watch it actually work.

One of the drawbacks of dramatic weight loss though, is the perpetual feeling of being cold.  My body is losing so much of it's insulation, that I'm constantly cold.  So cold in fact, that I slept in two pairs of pajamas and my slippers under my down duvet and an extra down blanket on top of that.

As I write this post, I'm wearing 2 pairs of pj pants, and am bundled up in a down blanket.  I'm.  Freaking.  Cold.  And I'm freaking furiously happy that this is my current first world problem.

I'm still on a puree regiment, but with solid foods firmly in site once again, I have to admit my eagerness has already gotten the better of me.  I stole a tortilla chip and dip this morning, and it was bad, but it was sooooo good.

The price I'm paying for it is slightly more gas than I'm used to, and it was almost immediate.  I imagine that it will take a good long while for me to figure out the new messages my body is sending me.  I told my husband yesterday it's like the top of my tummy says, you're all good - not hungry, but the bottom part of my tummy is screaming "Feed Me Seymour".  And yes, as a die hard foodie, these last three weeks have been almost unbearably torturous.  There have been moments where if I had been stuck in some kind of POW camp, I would have traded all my secrets for one bite of a cucumber.  Just a nibble of a piece of chicken would have bought them at least a secret or two...and for a full sit down meal, I would have bargained off a loved one.

Well, almost.

So Wednesday still can't come fast enough, and in the meantime, I'm going to go as soft and creamy as I can, so that when I am able to eat real food again, it's at the very least, seriously enjoyable.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Popularity Contest

A fine actor once said "Life is like a box of chocolates."  The underlying message is that you never know what you're going to find inside til you bite into it.

That actor was quite right in a lot of ways...but in a lot of ways he was so, so very wrong.

Life is about the never ending popularity contest.  It's no wonder so many of us have issues with our mental health.  The hamster wheel that is this thing called popularity is pretty freaking exhausting.

When we're kids, it's all about how many friends we have.  EVERYONE we know is our BFF.  Then as we get into highschool, BFF's seem to change with the season, but it's all about having the RIGHT friends.  You know, those friends who don't necessarily impress your parents, but sure as hell command all the desired kinds of attention from your peers.  And then as we get into college, university or we start working, we all seem to delude ourselves into thinking "whew.  At least now we can be ourselves, and not worry so much about what other people think of us."  We know who we are, we know who our closest peeps are, and we're perfectly comfortable with not having to reach and manipulate our lives to fit in with the RIGHT crowd.  Bullying miraculously stops right?  And the feelings of inadequacy, well, they are a page in our history books, right?

Until we find out, that's not so much the case.  Then the profs are too judgemental of your work, or your boss just doesn't like you and well, he's in a position to make you pay for whatever off the cuff thing you must have done when you weren't even looking, for a good long time.  Yeah - at least highschool only lasted four years.  Some jobs last a lifetime.

And then there's the people you work with.  They're all seemingly on this race to be most adored by management, well because if you're the most adored and respected member of the team, well, then you get all the perks of annual raises, particularly high bonuses, and promotions.  The brass ring can be yours if the right person takes a shine to you.  And if that's not bad enough, let's look at how parents transfer that onto their children.  Reality is, there is no greater popularity contest in adulthood that is more pervasive than the one between the most perfect stay at home moms and the mom's who also work outside the home.  A working mom more often than not feels woefully inadequate because she misses so much...and it would be a cold day in hell to find a stay at home mom who doesn't relish in reminding that working mom that she didn't miss it.

Who the hell said bullying and popularity contests were for teenagers?  I so wish it were.  I think the world would need a lot less antidepressants if we let it go with our teens.

For the most part, I'm pretty good about not comparing myself to others.  I fail at this miserably sometimes, and I'm certainly not perfect, but as I'm fast approaching my 40th birthday, I'm coming to be very aware of when I do compare myself to others, or feel woefully inadequate at something.  I also notice that I'm more adamant than ever to do things without the aids of networks of people or votes, or that whole social media netting that helps people bolster their self esteem in extremely superficial ways.  I don't need 300 friends in facebook, and I really don't need a pile of work colleagues knowing what I do or say in my private life.  I also don't need to depend on my friends to socialize my writing.  I'm working hard at this to both better my sense of self, improve my mental health and earn my readership full stop on the merits of what I'm messaging.  I want people to find me organically.  I want them to share my words with absolute sincerity.  I don't want to have 300 of my closest personal friends tell their other 300 closest friends to read I can feel you know...more liked and successful.   As a result, none of them even know about this blog.  Not even my husband knows about it.  This is 100%, unedited and completely me.  If people follow along and share me with their friends, well, that's a success I can be fully proud of.

In a way, I suppose it's one of those things I'm doing to maintain my mental health.  In this space, I'm competing only against myself.  This way, it's not a popularity contest, it's about craft, thoughts, and leadership of ideas.  It's about being me, rather than finding my way in or out of some community.

How do you deal with the desire to fit in v. be yourself?  Are you on that hamster wheel, praying someone asks you to sit at the cool kids table in life's cafeteria?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mommies are Magicians. I'm sure of it.

So, the recovery thing is plodding along, and I'm trying very hard to get back to a sense of normalcy.  Regularity and routine and schedule in my life are pretty integral to my sanity.  I mean, I am a mom.  A working mom, and so chaos sort of goes with the territory somewhat, but for the most part I can keep that chaos under control by using the guardrails of our routine.

After my daughter's tonsillectomy, she's eating and eating...she can't seem to stop.  It's clear that she's making up for lost time.  As a result, she's growing.  Like whoa - is she growing!

So last night I pulled out the clothes I have been storing from last summer and we went through the exercise of trying everything on to see what no longer fits, and what will need to be bought.  The good news is that all the pants and shorts that she was once wearing over diapers and which were in most cases too big, are now finally fitting her without diapers.  It might help to remind you that she's nearly three years old now, and most of these pants & shorts are size 18-24 months.  Her shirts are mostly ok...there's only a handfull of shirts and 1 pair of shorts that are going to donation.

But she got attached to one of the summer dresses from the pile, and she refused to change back out of it.  She ponied up and suffered through trying everything else on, but that dress couldn't come back off.  I negotiated and told her she could wear it with a sweater and her slippers until bedtime.  I reasoned with her that it was a summer dress, and it's still too cold to wear it alone.  Acquiescing. she tromped downstairs to flaunt her new dress in front of Daddy, and peered out the window to our backyard still blanketed by 2 feet of snow.

She looked out, and looked back at me.  Looked out once more and sighed, whining "make it summer now":  The implication being of course that I can change the weather with a snap of my fingers and fix this situation.  I laughed and said, "if only I could, I certainly would."  After all, I'm about as finished with winter as the average Canadian is this year.  That was met with a resounding and very whiny "no, make it summer now!"  I told her I couldn't just change the weather, but she didn't seem to believe me.  We trekked up the stairs just half an hour later to get ready for bed.  She didn't want to put her pajamas on, but there are still just some battles she's too little to win.  But her disappointment was evident.

It struck me this morning, it's not the first time we've had this type of discussion.  On the rare occassions we've seen sun this winter, she's been guaranteed to be in the spot of the car where it's glaring in through the windows and blinding her.  I've heard more than one giant huff and the whine "The sun is looking at me.  Make it stop."  Again, implying that I can just reach up and with a twist of my wrist, change the sun's direction.

The absurdity of it is one thing, but this morning as I was thinking about it some more, I realized how wonderfully awesome it is to be viewed by a tiny human as being 100% in control of the universe.  For her, it must obviously feel that way, though most days when I look at my day to day, it sometimes feels like I control very little.  But how special it makes me feel to be idolized so much in her tiny eyes that I am capable of changing the weather, or redirecting the sun.

A mother will often tell her children that she would lasso the moon for them if she only could.  Maybe we need to realize more often that we actually already are.  And moreover, I'm going to make sure my child always remembers that she brought a special star from the furthest corner of the universe, straight into my heart from the very first day I found out she was coming.  The universe is here.  In our hands.  I'm so very lucky to have her for my very own.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baby Food - Bleh

So I've progressed to the pureed portion of the recovery program...and let me tell you, I remember why I made so much of my daughter's food when she was itty bitty.  YUCK.  That stuff is gross.

I know exactly how you feel buddy.

But I can promise you, even pureeing your own meals is not appetizing in the least.  I'm starting to wonder if this progression from clear fluids to whole foods isn't their way of either making food so unappealing that you lose weight by the mere fact that you'll opt for meal replacement shakes for the rest of your days, or that you'll be eager to get back in there and have them remove this contraption for good (at a cost of course)...cuz my GAWD, I want something real like yesterday.

In terms of loss, they keep saying not to focus on what losses you may or may not be seeing during the recovery phase.  I can see the logic there, but honest to goodness, with the little bit that I'm eating, and the lack of flavour, fat and calories, I'm surprised I'm still upright.  My loss seems to have stabilized at around 25 lbs from the day I began the pre-op diet.  I'm going to set myself a goal of a 40 lb loss by May 1st.  Keep your fingers crossed that I'm close - because we have Easter AND 2 birthdays to get through in April...IT WILL NOT BE EASY, that's for darn sure.

The site on my tummy where the port is placed is tender and uncomfortable and it's basically driving me bonkers.  I'm ready to get rocking and rolling around here doing things that would normally be no issue to do, and I'm being halted by the nagging weight of a foreign body literally bulging through my stomach.  I seriously think I'm one sleep away from dreaming about ripping the thing out of my stomach with my bare hands.

So all this may very simply be frustration from not eating anything with substance.  But yeah, I'm a little exhausted by the tedium of this recovery, and at the same time, thankful like you wouldn't believe that I'm not facing a longer more arduous recovery process associated with gastric bypass.  At least knowing that I'm in the home stretch is going to refuel me.  Seems like the hardest part is getting through the first three days on the new phase, and the rest of it blows by without the blink of an eye...but those first 3 or 4 days are brutal.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Home Stretch

So Friday I was whining about full fluids and thinking there was just no way I could hold out til Wednesday to start even purees.  I'm still frustrated beyond comparison, but I'm making it.  Just 2 more days of fluids and then I can at least start eating real proper food, mashed up.

I've bought a couple jars of baby food, but the reality is I never really used that many jars of baby food when my baby was eating from them.  I don't have oodles of time like I did when I was on mat leave, I'll be whizzing up whatever my portion of veggies is for each meal, and using baby food when no one else is here.  I forget how much fruit and veggies she ate back then too.  She got her protein like she needed it, but I  am just remembering now how much her diet was plant based.

I'm still looking forward to that pizza though.  I can smell it.  I've already documented how this is still all on me.  No question about it.  But not having food for a month, and having lost more than 20 lbs, I think the best way to celebrate the introduction of whole food again, is to have me a slice of pizza.  A SLICE.  Not 2. Not 3.  Not 4.  1.  ONE.  And a huge salad.  I've never wanted salad so badly in all my life.

My bandages came off this weekend.  I ended up having some fluids leak from one of the incisions.  You would normally think "aaaah...this is not good."  But it's me.  I develop something called Seroma when I have surgeries.  This weekend couldn't even hold a candle to the holy crap scare I had after my c-section.  It seemed to have cleared itself up in a could of hours.  I did over due things late last week.  Hurt quite a bit on Friday night.  But I rested up as well as I could this weekend, and am now back on track.  I'm extremely tired, and could have taken a vacation day today, but there you have it.  I'll catch 40 winks as soon as I'm able to and be fully refreshed....right?

My daughter has been incredible about being gentle with her broken mama this last week and a half.  I can't wait until I'm down far enough in my weight to actually do something incredible with her.  She deserves it and sooo much more.

Happy losing everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fits of Frustration

It's so hard when you do something dramatic to improve your life and well being when the effects of your change aren't immediate.  Worse still when you're getting opposite than desired outcomes, and when you still have so much farther to go.

I've not lost hope and am as determined as ever to not be in the same place I am, one year from today - but I'm soooo ready to just skip the next phase of this recovery process and give solid food a whirl.  I won't.  I'll be a good girl.  But today I found myself thinking Thank GAWD I'm not looking at a feeding tube or purees for the rest of my natural born life.  I think I'd have to off myself.

You hear people quip that they'd be lost without their limbs - I'm guessing for me, a limb would be easier to lose than my teeth.

My tummy keeps grumbling.  I'm not feeling ultra satisfied with the stuff I'm eating..and well, I never was a soup person so eating so much more of it is well, making me bonkers.

I thought - no problem, I can handle a couple more days of this, then I realized - it's Friday...I can't handle 5 more days of this!

Oy vey!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's all on me

So no matter the choice one makes about how they are going to approach the battle with weight loss, the rub is that it's always on the individual to make it a success.  There are a zillion reasons why diets don't work...and they are all 100% valid because the gap is this - the weight we gained wasn't entirely our choosing, but any given diet is not 100% comprehensive and doesn't address all the basic needs of weight loss.

Example, you can have a meal plan, but without recipes, YOU have to make the best possible decisions about whether or not the chicken is low fat, low carb, low sodium, or properly portioned enough to impact the number on the scale.  AND YOU are the person responsible for figuring out how much exercise you have to do to burn off the chicken * 2 in order to make sure that the net result on that scale is a decrease.

You can have a personal trainer, BUT, if you're still eating high calorie, high carb, high fructose foods, you're not going to see much more than muscle tone when it comes to the scale.

You can have recipes too - but if you're using processed foods, you're still going to have to figure out other ways to counterbalance the effects they have on the scale.

You can have an inflatable band wrapped around your stomach or your insides turned into a crashing jenga game, and still destiny is in your hands - you still have to work at weight loss - it's not automatic.

I started full fluids yesterday.  Let me tell you that first cup of coffee with 1% milk and a tsp of sweetener never tasted so good.  I enjoyed a pediasure, and cream of broccoli soup from a mix with water and 1% milk, and 0 fat 0 sugar vanilla yogurt.  Ahh - talk about living large I tell ya.  I was more than satisfied and felt energized.  I went all day long and well into the early evening busy as a bee, and felt fantastic.  I'm sure the amount of calories I took in was less than 1000.  Still.  This morning, my weight stayed flat.  Why?  How in the world is it possible?

Well of course I'm still healing.  I was busy, but never broke a sweat.  I came out of ketosis.  So immediately, I adjusted.  I had the same 0 fat 0 sugar yogurt but I added a 1/3 scoop of vanilla protein powder.  The same coffee I've always had.   I had half a meal replacement shake and another half cup of yogurt with protein powder.  My total calorie intake has to be less than 300 or thereabouts at this point.  And I've been chasing a kid and hauling her back and forth to the doctor.  My midday weigh in shows me up 2 pounds.  How in the world is this even possible.

As I'm working through the possibilities, it's the fact that I'm eating processed products.  I lost 22 lbs on the pre-op diet.  Nothing I ate was processed.  Imagine that craziness...but I'm not inclined to put a lot of effort into foods I'm ultimately going to have to blend and strain.  If I'm going to put huge effort into my food to make it taste decent, I'm going to do it when I can chew it and enjoy it thanks.

But I'm reading stuff from other people who've recently had the same procedure done, and I'm watching them talk about 1 or 2 lb losses and gains like they had no idea they'd have to do most of the work after surgery, just like they had before.  I'm perplexed by that.  In no way is it really fair - of course not.  We're not fully responsible for the weight we carry when antibiotics and growth hormone are in every fresh piece of meat, fish and fruit or vegetable we eat.  But life's never been fair has it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's all uphill from here

So surgery day was last Thursday, and everything went A-OK.

I was nervous.  Particularly because they wouldn't let my husband stay and visit afterward.  Turns out that was probably for the best anyway, but I would have felt so much more reassured knowing he was in the next room.

I lost 22 pounds on the pre-op diet...which I very much begrudged and think could have been handled entirely differently, but who can argue with a pre-surgical weight loss like that?  I did it modifying things here and there to make food actually have some degree of taste.  Apparently though, the surgeon explained that the goal is to make food seem as unimportant as air I guess if your goal is to make food taste less appealing, well, they succeeded.

Recovery wise, I'm pretty much back to the grind today.  I'm sore, but not dying.  The worst pain I had with everything was the first failed attempt to do my IV, and the resulting gas pains from the inflation they do in your abdomen.  That's been killer...and I've been as active as I could be to try and move it.

The swelling and saline they pumped into me, added 10lbs back to my frame.  I'm pleased to say, it's just about gone.

I've been doing nothing but drink clear fluids for days, and that's getting so old - I thought I could manage it without blinking an eye.  But I have to admit it's been difficult.  I haven't been hungry, but I have smelled the food my family is eating, and I want nothing more than to sink my teeth into something - anything really.  At this rate, my teeth will be so weak, the first time I eat a piece of something solid, I may chip a tooth.

But can I tell you how wonderfully strange it is to not be hungry after 4 days of fluids only?  I'm mind boggled by how little a person can get away with and survive.

I am having issues getting my daughter to eat - as I sorta feared.  For starters, she spent a few days with my mother, who, let me tell ya, when it comes to her grandchildren, has no clue what the word "no" means.  My daughter comes home spiked up on sugar and all kinds of crap she never gets and I have to re-wean her.  Then, by not eating normally, I'm losing that "role playing" example setting opportunity.  For this reason alone, I've never wanted 20 days to pass so quickly in my life.

But in the end I'm holding up and looking forward to far less burpy days, traded in for ones spent having fun instead.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Already Losing

I've lost 17 lbs!  My surgery is Thursday!

That is all!