All doctors, clinics, bandsters, and rules, are different. They just are. And I am not a slave to any of the rules. I see them more as guidelines and helpful tips. For example, I eat soup...a lot. Soup is a liquid and therefore, slides right down the old shoot. But I honestly feel rather satisfied with 2 cups of wonderful soup. I also now almost always choose soup if we go out to eat. I noticed this when we went to Lambert's for my mom's birthday. Lamberts did not have one soup option. I think I started ordering soup out as a rule after my October fill. It just became too risky to try solid food and a waste of money. And even though I can bring leftovers home, leftovers usually go to waste in our house. I just couldn't see spending $10 on something that I could only nibble at. It does not bother me, this soup fetish of mine. I can have a couple of bites of whatever Tracey gets and I am a cheap date.
Drinking with meals. This was not that hard for me to give up. At home, I just make sure that I don't have my water near me when I eat dinner. When we go out to eat, I drink about 4 cups of water before the meal comes. I drink right up to that point. I do not personally believe that water primes the band. Water goes right down people. It doesn't just sit there. For me, when I do try and be naughty (cookies and milk anyone?) drinking with my food either hurts OR gets me stuck.
Some bandsters measure, weigh, or journal their food. All the time. I do not. I do measure snacks though. For example, if I am going to have some nuts, I measure whatever one serving size is and put it in a little baggy. This way I know what my calorie intake is for that snack. I do not do food journals, count carbs, or watch my fat intake. Those things, for me, are all part of DIETING. They give me horrible flashbacks and I find myself rocking in the corner with sounds of helicopters and gunfire in my head. They send me to a bad place. However, from time to time I have recommended online food journals to struggling bandsters who feel lost or out of control. Sometimes when we estimate our calories we forget things, round DOWN, or just lie! So it can be a useful tool. And whatever works for you is the way to go.
The scale. Another rule I do not care for is the "scale rule". Even my wonderful Dr. Friedman told me not to weigh daily. I weigh myself every day, but only record the weight on Mondays. Mondays keep me motivated through the weekends. I do not freak out if my weight fluctuates during the week...I try to reserve such freakouts for Mondays alone. Your weight will go up and down. But weighing myself every day does keep me accountable for my actions.
I eat better when I bring my lunch to work. While for dinner I can usually eat grilled chicken breast, some pork chop etc., leftover meat is a no-go for me anymore. It just gets too dry when I heat it in the microwave. This is one of the reasons I make soup and freeze it. But whatever you choose, make it something you can just grab...so you don't use the excuse "I didn't have anything". It is a rare, rare day when I eat fast food for lunch. And the only fast food I do eat is either chili from Wendy's or nuggets from Chick-fil-a.
I am thankful for an amazing doctor, who surrounds himself with amazing staff. I think that having the right doctor is so crucial to success. Dr. Friedman let me decide when I needed a fill. I could come in week after week until I got restriction. I see him every time I go for an appointment and he is right beside me when I get my fill. I am honest with him. I tell him when I have been drinking Sunkist or snacking. I tell him what I can and cannot eat. He listens.
I was a trooper through bandster hell. I stayed the course and did not go hog wild (pun intended) when I realized I could eat anything and everything. I was on my high from my preop diet weight loss. I knew what I had to do. Dr. Friedman told me upfront that the band does not work for everyone...that his biggest fear is that his patients won't lose weight. By God I was
going to lose weight.
I listen for the real hunger. One of the most important lessons I have learned is when I really need to eat. How many times do we say "OH I am starving"? A lot. And are we really? No. So I took this phrase out of my vocabulary. I might say "I am hungry"....but that is different than starving. When you are fighting headhunger, try and stop and say "Am I really hungry?" If the answer is no, try to resist munching! Drink water instead! Do something. Of course I still snack sometimes whenI am not hungry, but at least when I DO, I am tsk tsking myself! LOL
I tell everyone about my surgery, if they ask. This will be a debate until the end of time...on Lapband Talk and on these blogs. There are just so many factors that go into making this decision, and I know that for everyone...their choice is their own. I don't think it ever occurred to me to hide it. For me, I tell because it can help others, because their is no shame in having weight loss surgery, because it can educate the ignorant, and because the truth shall set your free. I think about some of the ladies who have been banded because they have seen my progress. What if I had just told them I did it through watching what I eat and exercising (which is not a lie, but not the complete truth either). Would they feel like failures because "Amy did it the old fashioned way...why can't I?" Would they still be putting off the idea of surgery? I am proud of my choice and where I am today. You know ironically, I get the most negative comments about choosing WLS from fat people. Maybe bc the skinny people don't want to be politically incorrect? But as I think about it...yep...mostly my heavy "friends" are the ones who turn up their noses when I tell them about the band. But that's okay...I'll give them time.
A year later, I still think of food all.the.time. This by no way means that I am hungry. In fact, the only time I feel real hunger anymore is in the morning before breakfast. I have read about those people who after being banded, food just became something they "had to do". I used to really hope for that day to come. Eh, it just might never happen for me. I did learn this year that there are actually people who do not think of food all the time. This was mind boggling to me...and still kinda is! Funny, but it seems that those people who do NOT think of food all the time are thin. Who would have thunk?
There are foods I do miss...and they all involve bread. I miss peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches, hamburgers with buns, hot dogs with buns, cinnamon rolls, oh cinnamon rolls, Stuffing my face with cookies and chugging milk , pizza, Big Macs...It's a good thing I have the band huh? lol
I set goals. Mini goals, about every 3 months along. I made these goals preband (for the first 6 months out at least). I have met every goal. Don't be afraid to set these mini-goals. Right them on your calendar, a post it note, on the fridge, or on the wall above the scale.
Exercise. I have yet to become an exercise fanatic. Right after surgery I started walking to get ready for my first 5k. Then we did bootcamp/interval training for awhile. Now we just do what sounds good. I play WiiFit once in awhile, we go walking, we are going back to bootcamp, Bandita and I did Zumba. Exercise is an area that I could improve on.
Another rule that does not work for me: Not eating in front of the t.v., computer, while reading...etc. They say that when you eat you should be focused solely on your food. No distractions. They say this well help you eat slower and take smaller bites. This is not true for me. For example, when Tracey and I eat at the table, or with family...I tend to eat MUCH quicker. For several reasons. First, I feel a need to keep up. Second, have you ever adopted a dog or puppy that comes from living with lots of other dogs? They eat so quick bc they are afraid that someone else is going to get their kibble. Somewhere deep down I am still afraid of not enough kibble to go around. So, when Tracey and I sit on the couch with our tv trays...I eat much slower. When I am reading a magazine or surfing the net...I eat much slower. It gives me something to do, something to put my fork down and entertain myself with.
Things that have changed:
Where I shop.
What I eat.
How much I eat.
I cook more.
I try new and different foods (but that doesn't mean I like them all).
My love for Tracey. I love him even more. He is so proud and supportive.
I can cross my legs.
My lower back pain, my pee sneezes, and shin splints...they are all gone.
The amount of people who read my blog.
The amount of blogs I read.
The amount of friends this blog has blessed me with.
My pant size.
My shoe size.
Things that haven't changed:
My self confidence.
My facial hair (still the same amount...I was hoping for less).
My complexion. I thought it would clear up a lot.
The way I see life.
My obsession with food.
My thirst for Sunkist.
The way I act with, towards, and around other people.
How many pictures I take.
How I wear my clothes.
My dislike of a the majority of vegetables.
Things I have learned:
Peanut butter cups and sunkist do not mix. Well, they do...but then they erupt out of your nose.
Eating a muffin in shame in a bathroom stall is not a high point of anyone's journey...but your blogger friends will love you even when you share the shameful moments.
You can walk a 5k at any weight. And most likely you will not be the last person to finish.
It is better to set a goal and not reach it then not set a goal at all.
Tweezers may come and go, but apparently whiskers are forever.
Life's journey is long. You better take snacks. (okay, I stole this one from a calendar).
I really do have bones in my body.
I cry happy tears in dressing rooms, and am also known to cry tears of frustration.
I always want more.
Poopies will never be the same. Good bye big girl poop. Hello chicken nugget poop.
I have no boundaries.
Just when you think it can't get any better....it does.
And finally, the biggie. Why was I able to lose 120 pounds in 12 months? Why Amy and not everybody? I have given a lot of thought to this question and I am not sure I have the answer.
If you think about it...I could have lost more. There are certainly bandsters out there who have done it (Mary for example) and others who are well on there way. I could have lost more by making the right choices, working out harder, etc. I did not have the perfect year. But that's okay! I personally think that for those of us who start at a higher weight, we can lose a little faster at the beginning....so you could say I had that going for me. There are the things I think are out of our control: Genetics, history, body shape. Even though I was 327, I was solid as an ox under all that fat. Perhaps my muscle mass helped in the beginning as well? There are two things that I think really made a difference in my weight loss. The first is this blog. This blog and all of you who have become part of my life helped to keep me accountable. When someone tells you that you are an "inspiration", it makes you want to keep inspiring! I didn't want to let anyone down. I knew that I would be honest with you guys. I shared the ups and downs. And seeing others make it into a new pant size, or run a 5k...inspires me. The second reason I have lost this weight is...Because I knew I could and I would. When Dr. Friedman told me that the band does not work for everyone, I made a choice that I would not be one of those people. I was not going to have a surgery just to "eat around the band". I wanted to be his star patient. I wanted to be the person on the commercials. I wanted to be a success story. And I wanted to be more than a statistic. Of course, all you have to do is read through my blog to know at times I had a few doubts and questions, but overall...I knew big things (and a smaller body) were possible. And you have to believe. I was at a great place in my life. I had support from Tracey and my family. I was at a good place mentally. It was just the right time.
So that's it! That's all that I could think of! I hope you made it through and I can't wait to see what this next year brings!
Thank you for everything.