Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE One Year Post-Please Pull Up A Chair

In the name of reflecting on a year gone by, I have been working on this Bandiversary post. It is a mumble jumble of some of my thoughts, tips, rules (non-rules), and lessons learned since Tina the Wonderband took up residence in my body. This year has flown by and brought me so many wonderful presents, people, and experiences. I don't have all the answers...and our journeys, while on parallel paths in the same direction, can look very different. So here you go! Happy Reading!

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 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 attitude.
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 finances.
My job.
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 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 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.




  1. So funny I just put some of my ramblings up for my 6 month bandiversary :-)

    great post!!

  2. thank you for being so open and good blog-friend. here's to the next year of band life you with! ~cheers~


  3. Amy - I feel like somewhere I lost this post... but it is great - amazing - inspiring - chuckle-inducing - just like you!!! I am SO GRATEFUL for your honesty and blogging friendship... it has gotten me thru many a tough day! Here's to another great year!!!

  4. Love the post!! Thanks for your open honest words!! Congrats on the year!! ;-)

  5. Congratulations on a wonderful year and continued success. Your "joie de vivre" inspires me to focus on the positive and enjoy the journey.

    All the best for the upcoming year.

  6. Happy Bandiversary, Amy! <3

    Thanks for all the great blogging...

  7. You *are* inspiring--not just your success but also your attitude and your honesty.

    Happy Banidversary!!!

  8. Amy, I'm so proud of you. It's amazing to feel such a connection to someone you've never met. But I do. You inspire me. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for you and for me. I hope to have a year like yours.

    "Band me Baby!"

  9. This is a great post. And THANK YOU for mentioning the chicken nugget poops. I've been a wreck thinking I have colon cancer because there's no 's' curve to be found! As someone who is three weeks post-surgery, this is tremendously helpful, uplifting and funny as hell. Your personality really comes through. Congratulations on a great year.

  10. I liked the kibble part. I never thought of that.

    Congrats on your great year of being banded!!!


  11. Amy AMAZING post as always!
    You are a rock star and so very inspiring!
    Happy ONE YEAR Bandiversary!

  12. Aww.. anothe great post! Happy one year! Here's to many more great bandiversaries!

  13. *You*, my friend, ARE an inspiration. Not just your weight loss, or your journey, or any of that. It's *you* who is the inspiration.

    Congrats on a great job this past year, and I look forward to sharing this journey with you over the next year. And the next. And the next. :)


  14. Happy one year bandiversariy, you've done phernomenal this year! I relate to your post in so many ways whether it be hiding my food, being scared someone will take my food, and having 'chicken nugget poops' worrying something is wrong with me. It so comforting to know there are some rules you live hard core by, and others that you don't always, that is what makes you such a model bandster. xxoo

  15. Amy,
    You are such an inspiratio. You have a heart of gold. You deserve all the happiness that you have achieved for yourself. You are a wonderful example of a Lap Bander. You have made the Band work for you. You are such a great person who's blogs make me laugh untll I almost pee and also cry, like sobbing cry.....You are the best.
    I wish you all the happiness and joy life has to offer you.

  16. Happy one year Amy!! You have been such an inspiration to me, so thank you! You are awesome!

  17. Happy Bandaversary!
    *I really do have bones in my body....That cracked me up!
    Thank you!
    Your site was the first one I started following...with good reason. Always worth the read!

  18. Wow - you are amazing! Well done on your incredible weight loss!

    And thanks for your thoughts about the band - I'm getting banded on Monday and is really helpful :-)

  19. Happy Bandiversary Amy!

    I found your blog through google on my third day out from surgery. I have no idea what I was looking for but I am so grateful that I landed on your blog.

    You are an amazing inspiration and I am so glad that this first year post-band has gone so wonderfully for you.

    I often wonder when I will stop thinking about food. I too realized just recently that not everyone fixates on it like I do. I hope that day comes when we no longer think about it all the time...

  20. I am rendered speechless. One of the best posts I've read, thanks !

  21. Congrats Congrats Congrats Amy! You are an inspirations. I'm amazed at how similar our journeys have been. I've lost 126 pounds and have reached my goal and am now in maintenance, which I take as seriously as the weight loss phase. Congrats again.

  22. Happy Bandiversary* Amy!!! Thank you for being so open and honest with us. Your journey has helped all of us in so many different ways. I can't thank you enough for how you have helped me.

    *(We need to let Mr. Ole' Webster know that he needs to add the word "Bandiversary" to his dictionary.)

  23. Awesomeness thy name is Amy Workman!!!

    Great post. I feel the same way re: the rules. There are some I follow to the letter 100% of the time and there are some I break on special occasions and there are some that just don't apply to me at all.

    And sadly, I share the chicken nugget poops dilemma.

    Your blog has been a huge part of my journey and I love your openness and candor and your genuineness. Coming to your blog is always like a much needed oasis in the day!

    (I have a major girl crush on you too!!!!)

    Luv B

  24. Oh and my word verification was "Cully".

    That's what we should name our yacht.

  25. Happy Anniversary beautiful girl.You are so amazing and even with your whiskers and nugget poops, you smile and that's so contagious. I love you girl, without you this journey for me would not have been successful. HUGS

  26. woot woot I got a shout out in the Bandiversary Blog!!! LOL

    Happy Bandiversary Amykins! you are a rockstar! 120lbs is amazing I know because Im right there with you! Its so crazy how much alike we are when we went into this we were bound and determined to be the star paitent and you have been you are doing amazing! everyone has their weak moments even I do "frostys from wendys" bad mary...But we will get through this all togeather thats why our blogs are so important!! you are an amazing person and Im glad I met you on here and IN REAL LIFE lol.

  27. Wonderful post, my dear. You are a success! I hope I can post something similar at my one year!

  28. wow! awesome post! congrats on the first year and your tremendous success so far!
    PS I think about food all the time too...!

  29. Awesome post - I'm glad I found you! I can't wait to read from the beginning in my spare time at work!

    Nice to meet you, by the way...

  30. Amy HAPPY BANDIVERSARY! I loved the one year blog and your honesty. You approach life and this journey with integrity and humor. I am so happy to be a witness to your sucess. **HUGS**

  31. Happy Bandiversary Amy!!!!

    Great post, every bit of it...taking all the advice to heart!!

    I laughed, I cried, I wanted to hug you!! 120 pounds is amazing!!! Live it up GF!

  32. Happy Bandiversary! When I grow up to be a 1 year old band-baby I wanna be JUST LIKE YOU! lol :-)

  33. Holla! Happy One Year! Woot, woot! So much motivation and inspiration for me to hit that 120 pound mark on my 1 year (only 4 months away...eek!).

    This was such a great post and what a great way for you to reflect on the amazing year you've had.

    Cheers my friend!

  34. Really enjoyed reading your post.. great perspective and it has all paid off.. Hope you have a great Happy Bandiversary..

  35. Happy Bandiversary! Can't say it are truly an inspiration to me and any prebander that reads this. You've made such great progress this year. You may have want to be Dr. Friendman's star patient but I want to be Amy-worthy. Congratulations - I'm sure this next year will bring you even more success!

  36. Wow - what a great post. Happy one year! :)

    I've been contemplating a blog post myself and a few things you said in this post made me think that I'm overdue in saying what I want to say. Thanks for that.

  37. congrats! Thanks for the helpful of today 2 weeks till B day. Its nice to see someone who has been through it all and made it alive lol I hope I have as much success!

  38. I was just hoping that ALL of your followers wouldn't get here before me! Congrats on the first year of the rest of your wonderful life! Keep up the great work and keep the Sunkist and reeses pumpkins away from each other! :) hugs!

  39. Happy bandiversary, Amy! I love, love, love you and your blog. Thank you for being open and honest about your surgery to others, I promise it has helped more than one person. I also tell anyone and everyone. I am not ashamed, it is not the easy way out, we have worked our butts, well at least some of it, off. You, though, have obviously worked harder than me. :) Congratulations on your success, you deserve it.

  40. You're a rawk star Amy, congrats :)!

  41. I will never get over weighing every day. When I don't, I tend to overindulge and not hold myself accountable for the damages which could occur.

    I eat at the couch more, especially with derby season starting up and Craig gone more. I eat my portion during a half hour time slot, which is how I know exactly how long it took me to eat something. And some days, the only time I can fit in reading is during lunch, so what... am I not supposed to read?

    I am beginning to see how many differences are between the banded as there are similarities. This is really helping me to keep perspective on ME and not compare myself to others. I might be the only one, as I know competitiveness happens amongst most people, but the only person that I can be the most productively competitive with is MYSELF. I started reading your blog (and now consequently some others) so that I didn't feel so alone. I want to watch someone's progress and cheer them on, not figure out a way to be jealous of them or a person to measure my successes or failures against. It's awesome how great this community is.

  42. I can't wait to sit down at work tomorrow moring with a cup of coffee and relax and read this article, I mean post!! And I plan on enjoying every word of it! HAPPY BANDIVERSARY AMY! You keep us going and are the glue that holds us together. Love, Linda O

  43. Thank you!! Yes, you ARE an inspiration.

  44. I have to agree with everyone. I am hoping to be banded in March and your personal journey is inspiring and so positive. Thank you so much.

  45. I'll add another "You are an inspiration!" to your list.

    You inspire me every day. I know, through all the blog reading, that I can do this. I may not meet all the bloggers in real life, but I know that you all will be right here beside me on this journey!

  46. HOLY COW!!! So I'm coming at comment no. 49 and I have to say - I'm having a blubber!!!

    This is the most beautiful, heartfelt honest post. I LOVE it.. and love you for all you've done for us too. You are truly a star and here's to the next 70 you have to go. There is NO doubt in my mind that we will be reading soon about you reaching your goal. Congrats Amy - it's been a whirlwind first year for you. xxx

  47. I meant to say HAPPY BANDIVERSARY - but I couldn't see through my sooky, watery eyes. Oh, I I nabbed spot no: 50 too!! x

  48. Congratulations Amy - awesome post - you are so honest and inspiring. I really want to meet you someday!

  49. You are so wonderful Amy. I enjoy your enthusiasm about life and your ability to always see the sunshine! Congratulations on your weight loss - you've earned it girl!

    May you have many more NSV's and keep your eye on your goal. I am printing out your post to bring to our next support group meeting, #1 because we can all relate to many of the things you point out and #2 - you are just so enjoyable to read.

    Keep it up - enjoy the ride!

  50. Yes, I enjoyed every word of it! Thanks Amy XOXO

  51. I didn't ever think I would get to the end of the comments section!!! You are an inspiration and a delight. Thank you for all of your wisdom, humor and good sense that shows through in all of your posts. This year will be even more amazing for all of us, I am so glad that we are all in this together! Jennifer

  52. Happy bandiversery and great great post! Had a chuckle at the poop comment you made (because it's the same for me) - what is that all about? My tiny little dog does bigger poop than me! Oh well! Congrats on your achievement and your honesty over the year. You're amazing!

    Em :)

  53. Thank you for your blog and your henesty. It truly inspires me and I know you will reach your goal