Monday, December 14, 2009

What Makes Me Successful?

By request, I thought I would answer this question: What is your secret?

Every so often, someone suffering from SAFW (pronounced Saf-wuh), also known as slow and frustrating weight loss...asks me how or why my weight loss has been on the high side. I have been thinking about my answer. What I have decided on is that half of my weight loss is due to determination. The other half? Luck.

But, that is not a helpful we will try this....

What I Think Has Contributed to My Weight Loss With the Band

-I have a fantastic doctor who let me decided how often I wanted to be filled. My first fill was six weeks post op. After reporting I could eat a sandwich, bread and all, with no problem, he gave me 4ccs. Two weeks later I called back and said I need more restriction...and I got right in. ONE week after that, still with no restriction, he let me come in again...and finally I felt something. If Dr. Friedman had been slow with his fills, or made me wait until my official appointments, I would not have gotten restriction so early in the game, and while I can't be certain of this, I do not think I would have lost as much weight without it.

-I drink lots of water. I strive for 100 ounces a day. Sometimes I get more. I find when I am head hungry, or even physically hungry, that I can fend off snacking if I drink 20 ounces of water.

-I try to avoid grazing. When I do snack, I try to stay away from salty snacks.

-I have a great support system in Tracey and from this blog. Tracey doesn't bring tempting foods into the house. He works out with me. He encourages me. That makes a difference! I can't imagine how hard it is for those of you who have kids or hubbies that require tempting, junky food. And this blog...I have said it before but you guys keep me going. I want to have good things to report and this blog helps me be accountable.

-When I am eating, I try to do protein first. I don't drink with my meals. I rarely eat fast food.

-One of the lessons the band has taught me is that there is a difference between real hunger and head hunger. When I want to eat, I can now stop and ask myself "Amy...are you really hungry?" And if the answer is no, I try not to eat.

-I set mini-goals and I meet them. I don't set unattainable goals, but I don't set low bar goals either. I am a procrastinator...and without mini-goals, I lose focus.

-I do not track or record my calories. But I do try to keep a rough, running estimate in my head. I like to stick to around 1100-1200 calories a day.

-Exercise I know this is not a good thing to say, but I don't do it on a regular basis. I just don't. Right after surgery we started walking. I decided I would do a 5k a few months after banding and so I was motivated. I started walking one mile a week, added half a mile every week until we got to 3 miles. We walked at least 3 times a week. Sometimes Tracey and I go to bootcamp here at work. When we are on that kick, we go twice a week. But we haven't been since Corey got sick. Exercise is the one thing that I have not truly embraced yet.

As any regular reader of my blog knows, I have weeks where I am the model bandster, and weeks where I am the model do-not-do-this-bandster. The weeks where I don't lose, here are the behaviors that cause me to maintain or gain (sometimes up to 5-7 pounds in one week!). I drink a lot of soda/pop. I eat candy. I eat lots of salty chips and peanuts. I graze. I don't drink as much water. I sneak food and resort to old habits. I go shopping and buy whatever I think will slide through my band. I lose sight of my goal. I just don't care.

And that brings me to attitude. Sometimes I think it is natural to wallow in the "I just don't care" place. You can vacation there, but you CANNOT live there. To get out of my funks I ask myself what I want. I look in the mirror. I take one day at a time. I choose water instead of Sunkist. I hide the peanuts. I look at before pictures. I read my blog. I think of you guys and those of you rocking the band! I think of those of you sooo close to goal, those of you shattering that stupid "40% of your excess body weight statistic". And I also count my blessings and remember how lucky I am and how I can do this. I know that if I do what I am supposed to the majority of the time, the scale will move. My pants will get looser. My fat will start to pack up and leave. It will. And it has.

I think so many variables can determine how quickly we lose weight. I started at 327 pounds. I think that those of us who started bigger can potential lose faster (at the beginning) then those who started lighter. Genetics, environments, doctors...all play a part. That is why comparing can be so dangerous. The real important part is are you doing what you need to (most of the time anyways). If you are...then that is all you can ask for! And if not...I bet you know what you need to do to reach your next goal. And if you need to refocus, you don't have to be "perfect". Set one mini goal for the week. And accomplish it!

For example, I have had 3 weeks of "good girl" behavior. Typically, I would go wonkey this week. But my goal is to stay the course. Make more good choices, then bad. Drink my water. Don't eat salty peanuts all day. Keep my January 27th goal of 120 pounds lost in sight. And I know that this week will be full of "good girl" behavior!


  1. You're a rockstar because you stay on course much of the time, but still love yourself when you don't. I think that's why you can be so successful - you can just keep going after a blip, not spend a week feeling awful about a gain.

  2. As always, amazing post! I am going for one whole week of girl girl behavior! Great job on your 3 weeks, and you will make that goal in no time... fow shure!

  3. Yep, I agree-- you are a total rockstar like Angie says. This is REAL LIFE with the band and you are rocking it. I am inspired by your progress and your continued work towards your goals. It sounds like you're truly working on developing permanent lifestyle change. That don't come easy, girlfriend!! I hope I can work as well as you are along the way-- I love how you are accepting of your ups and downs and see them as part of a natural process.
    All of these things make you a success story right now.

  4. I'm with Colleen - she said it all. You rock girl, really, you do! And you are right about everything there... you can only vacation at "i just don't care" on an occasional basis!!!

  5. Thank you for this post! I am definitely suffering from SAFW, but this post gave me some nice reminders of habits that I started out doing well but lately.... haven't. Like drinking water, for instance.

    Too often do I get in that "all or nothing" mindset and I think that does me in! I need to work on those mini-goals.

    Thanks again, you rock! : )

  6. thanks for posting this. my doctor seems liberal with the fills and i have been debating to go back in after one week with my first fill and not feeling enough restriction to help me get control. seeing how you did it in the beginning tells me i need to get in and get my second fill!

  7. Hi Amy,

    As always everyone else has already said it, you ROCK!! I love to read your blog because you tell it all, the good & the bad!! LOL

    In answer to your question on my blog:

    You said Tracey's son has a sore on the top of the nose? The information that I received with my machine says that you can use a barrier on the skin, such as Microspore Tape, Duoderm or RoEzit Dermal Care Cream.

    The area that I occasionally have problems of soreness/wearing issues, is at the base of my nose, right between the two nostrils. If this is where you meant, what I do when it starts hurting/chafing is to take one of those small round bandages, I cut it in half & place it right in that area so that it keeps the mask from rubbing.

    However, I'm assuming he uses a standard mask. Because of my allergic reactions to the standard masks (which I show pictures of in my November 3rd post), I have to use an all cloth mask. The website for it is:, if you would like to see it (it is strange looking. In fact, my DH laughed & made sounds like an elephant putting his hand up to his nose when he first saw it!!). But he loves it since it keeps me from snoring now!!!! :)

    So in answer to your question, when I start to get the rubbing, I use a small bandage. But if he uses a standard mask, he may want to try some of the other options that I mentioned above. I hope this helps!!

  8. You jus have to put out a lapband support book.. You have a fantastic way with words..
    And, you have motivated me into gear to pick up my act and behave myself.. (foodwise)... I really have fallen off the wagon, and its time to get back on and shed some more lard..
    Thanks for the inspiration you beautiful girl.
    xx Nene

  9. I love, love, love the idea of vacationing in "I don't care" land vs. living there. I am very much an all or nothing person, and I think this thought process could really help me with that!

    Great post - thanks for sharing and you certainly do ROCK!


  10. Stay the course this week ~ you can do it!! When I stay the course it equals a weight loss....when I eat with my head it equals a weight gain ~ pretty simple huh?! Must take out brain and play with it and put it back in right.........

  11. You hit the nail on the head, Amy. It's ok to go on vacation with the eating, but not living there is the key. Wise, wise words.

    I think you put out some really sound advice. By now we know you are a successful 'bandit' but you haven't completely been an angel (and who the hell has) but that in itself is what makes you successful. I mean who can go on and on for months at a time with no snags? Not possible unless you're a wonder woman and it's those little blips that make up more determined than ever to get back on track and succeed with a vengeance. Great post.
    Cara xxxx

  12. I agree with Angie that a large part of your success is that you love yourself even when you are having a salty soda week. I have been having a bad week and have been down on myself...attitude is everything and yours is the best I have ever seen. Love ya girl!

  13. Great post and great point! This is a fantastic post for a new bandster to read and keep them going strong. I'm glad you're here in our blog world and I'm thankful for knowing someone like you. You and Mary remind me of how possible it is to be 100 down in such a short period!

  14. Oh no! I didn't see this until today and this is such a wonderful post- sometimes my blog roll doesn't tell me when you've updated and that's a shame since, well, you always have good posts!

    Loved this one and I think Angie is right, you don't "hold on" to what you ate during your vacation. You don't use it as fuel to beat yourself up.

    I have learned sooo much from you and lately I find myself looking at my own vacations and saying, well a lot of the other gals who are successful and especially you and saying, "what would they do?" And it does help.

    Now I am inspired to up my water intake, too. I could use more hydration :-)