Weight loss tracker

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Half full or half empty - achieving my weight goal

I don't want to inundate you with entries after such a hiatus, but I believe this is important and might provide some insight into the workings of a fat girl's mind and prove useful to someone else.

So here is my honest confession to the Blog-world about my "maintenance" since March 30 (I just checked my weight log and it showed that I reached 170.8 on 30 March... so the situation is worse than I originally thought....)

When I reached 170 lbs, something clicked inside me. I felt that I arrived. I knew that my original target was 150, but as soon as the much maligned BMI chart turned green on my tracker, showing that I'm considered normal when it comes to my bodyweight, I gave up on losing. Gave up without a conscientious  decision to give up. It just happened. I didn't start to gain. I'm at the same weight ever since apart from minor changes depending on how much water I'm holding at the time of the month. It does feel easy. I eat anything and everything. I bake. I make ice cream. I cook Mexican dinners. And I eat them too. I buy the occasional doughnut from Krispy Kreme. And I become a card carrying member of the Chocolat Tasting Club (not kidding). Yesterday I ate a whole tub of Haagen Dazs... (spank me - I was bad).
I'm still at 170. Nearly 6 months. My exercise level fall somewhat (as opposed to Jan-Feb this year), but I'm a gym member again and I started doing 10k training. I do Zumba once a week and I'm immersing myself in my yoga practice occasionally. I did a 5 day yoga retreat in August. I probably exercise 2-3 hours a week. I meditate a lot (not like that helps losing weight... it helps me stay sane.) On the other hand, I do measure my food every time I eat. And I log my food every day on MFP. These are now habits. They used to be activities I HAD to do, now these are habits I'm doing without thinking. More on this later.

So, is this maintenance? I believe so. I could go on living my life like this for ever (well, for a long time).

My new doc told me my weight loss chart shows the poster-girl curve for lap band surgery (oh yesssss, I presented all my charts, logs, reports, comparison pictures, etc. at my first appointment with him. I believe I impressed him. Or he just put me in the "loony" pile straight away... I'm not sure.).

Now all this sounds good and well. That number (150) still bugs me. Can I do it? Could I do it? Should I do it? Would I do it? All these questions................................ What's the real answer?

That I am totally happy with my size right now?
That I feel sexy for D and he tells me how beautiful I am every singe day?
That I fit into all those dresses I couldn't dream of a year ago?
That I now buy size 12(UK) clothes, which is below the average UK size for women?
That at my new workplace no-one can imagine me 65lbs bigger? They think I'm "normal size" - full stop. No questions asked.
That I'm extremely happy that I can  get away with bad food choices occasionally because I know I can "atone" for them in a day or two? Or just run like a maniac on the treadmill until I work off whatever I ate?
That I look into the mirror and I don't know how the f**k did I get so awesome? (that's from Pinterest, my dearests - I printed and posted it on the fridge. I love it!)

But all the above still leaves my wondering: can I be 150? Ever? CAN I DO IT? I would like to try. It's not like I haven't been bothered about the fact that I haven't lost a pound since March. Because I have been. Every Saturday morning I step on the scale and I hoping for 160something... Hasn't happened yet. And I think "bummer", but that's it. My train of thought stops there, because I'm content with 170.
And the reason for this is that I lost something important - I do not have the drive any more. I do not have the CRAVING for losing more (for the reasons listed above). I do know what I would need to do and how could I (possibly) lose some more weight if I really wanted to. But "really wanting" something requires a craving for that thing. Getting from 235lbs to 170 and size 20 to 12 satisfied my craving. From that point of view 150 is just a random number, picked out of thin air when I had no understanding of what it means or how would I feel when I get there.
Well, that's not exactly true... I did have some vague idea about how I'd like to feel and look - but I've achieved those at 170. So what extra benefits does 150 hold? Why shall I push so hard to achieve it?

Example no1: I walk into Tesco to get something for dinner (healthy and tasty cooking I still do). The scent of freshly baked maple and pecan plait is wafting towards me from the bakery section. My "old" reaction: oh, let's get one! My "WLS" reaction: it smells great, but we are focused on losing. My "new" reaction: well, you are 170 and happy with it, so why not - let's get one.
Example no2: Haagen Dazs Praline&Cream is the devil's food - if I get one, I will eat the whole tub in a very short time. A tub is 430ml here in the UK. I can easily eat a tub in one sitting. "Old" reaction: well, there was none and I just bought the stuff whenever I wanted to. "WLS" reaction: I avoided even thinking about it because seeing a loss every week on the scale was my main driving force; and I was successful for well over 10 months not having any at all what so ever. "New" reaction: "and what if you eat it? You can work it down" - but I only buy it if it's on sale; then I proceed to eat it within 3 days...

Enter the book I'm  reading right now: The Power of Habit from Charles Duhigg.
It gave me an interesting insight into what I've lost and why have I've given up on my fantastically effective eating and exercising WLS habits since March (they are fantastically effective, as they made me lose 65 lbs in total).
I lost the CRAVING.

Yep. Apparently, it is now proven scientifically that for a habit to stay and be used by the individual it has to have a trigger, a routine and a reward - and the reward must be craved by the individual. You can teach yourself new habits - the trinity of habits (trigger-routine-reward) are applicable still. However, they only stick with you as long as you CRAVE the reward. This actually involves some deep thinking and serious de-tangling of what are our triggers and rewards - the routine is apparently the easiest to change. But if you do not crave the reward, you're not going to stick with the habit. 
So there it was plain and simple: as I know most of my triggers (even you can identify them if you read through my old posts: they are fairly obvious and come during shopping or sitting at home bored) and the rewards (not that clear, as  they include general terms like "feeling accomplished and satisfied" and "having a rush of well being"). But pre-March these rewards were connected with seeing a lower number each week on the scale and fitting into smaller and smaller clothes. And I genuinely, really, deeply wanted those. Now the rewards are connected with feeling content, accomplished (still) and feeling the elation (due to sugar rush) within. Seeing a lower number on the scale ceased to be important.

So my task is generating a genuine craving for losing more weight. But how can you do that when you already feel ok?

I think this is where my earlier fears about being 150 rear their ugly heads: I've been 170 before (when I was 14-18) so this is still "charted territory" I'm familiar with. However, I haven't been 150 since puberty - and before that doesn't count in this game. It is "uncharted territory". I don't know what to expect. I don't know how I will feel. I don't know how hard it might be to stay there (when I  get there). I do not know anything about it. So how can I want it? How can you want something you don't have a picture of in your mind? 

The only way I can see is "fake it until you make it": I just have to condition myself and make myself crave seeing 150 on the scale for whatever clever reason I can come up with. And that's what I'm going to do.

Yesterday I announced to D that we are doing a big weight loss push until Christmas (I do not want to sacrifice completely our Christmas eating traditions) and then another one until we go on holiday in February. (To Mauritius- yippeee!!!!) 
So, it is Discipline, Discipline and more Discipline from now on. Cold turkey on pecan plaits and Haagen Dazs. Focussing on protein again. Eating Atkins bars for treats. And Just The Cheese. Getting on with my 10k program more seriously.

And who knows, if I manage to get nearer 150 by February, I might go on that holiday without contraception... What a lovely story to tell your kid the she was conceived in a 5* hotel in Mauritius... 

Here is the thing...

Ok, I've been absent from Blog-world. Well, at least the contributor side of it - I've been reading all your entries whenever I caught a break. Like this afternoon. I left work early as I'm sick as a dog: awful head-cold,  high temperature... grrrrr......

Never mind, that's not what I wanted to say.

I feel I have to give some explanations to all my lovely followers on why I've been a non-contributor since May/June (?).

It's my new job.
Yeah, lame excuse I know, but... previously I could do my work-tasks very well, I could arrange my schedule all right and still I had time to read your entries and make some of mine (at least a draft) in lunchtime at the office.That's not an option any more - at my new job web is strictly limited and monitored. I do not have the chance, neither the time to read/write. And when I come home - well, let me put it this way: I hardly switch on my laptop at all. Maybe once or  twice a month... Seriously. I only get online when I have to shop for something or a pay a bill online. That's it. I live on my iPhone (anyone knows an app I can use to blog with? Let me know please.) - MFP, weight log, emails: I only access them from the phone.

But let me tell you something else: exactly since the same time (May/June) I'm maintaining between 170-172 lbs. This means I haven't reached my ultimate target of 150 lbs at my target date of 29 May 2012. Nope. I'm a failure. Hahh, not really - at least not according to my new doc. He told me I'm a model patient. And I'm so proud of that. (I will write another entry about my experiences about finding after care in a different country from where I had my surgery - might help someone.)

I've been also reading. A lot. All kinds. Well, not as much as I'd like to read as my main reading time was my  two hours daily commute to work and back. Now I'm driving to work in under 20 minutes one way... So God bless the podcasts! But this change in my daily routine severely cut down on my reading time. I'd like to read every evening and mostly all weekends, but still: my pile of unread books are growing as my compulsion to buy every book I'm interested in hasn't stopped or slowed down according to the decrease in my reading time. So I'm perpetually behind with my reading. None the less, I read a few really interesting books and I've been keeping a running log of topics I'd like to share with you. The first one is going to an "essay" about why I haven't lost since May and what is my plan to change that.

Essay - that reminds me: I started English language courses (Improve Your English and Business English) as my standard of writing is below par, according to my new employer. Well, as long as they pay for I don't mind: I'm all up for learning.

Here is a recent picci of my and Archie enjoying the rare English sunshine some weeks ago:

Wish me luck to find the time to deliver on my promises I made about future entries - I will certainly do my best.

Hugs all,

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My first year with the Band - and going public

Without further ado - here is my first and very basic video. Just the thing to commemorate my 1 year surgiversary.

Beware: Cheese alert!!!! (not the foody kind, but the drippy-sloppy kind...)

For those of you couldn't read fast enough:
Starting weight: 235 lbs (106kg, 16st 11lb)
Current weight: 170 lbs (77kg, 12st 2lb)
Ultimate target: 150 lbs (20 lbs to go) (68kg, 10st 9lb)

Starting clothes size: 20(UK) - 18(US)
Current clothes size: 12(UK) - 10(US)

Also, I'm going public on Facebook. So far I haven't "advertised" my surgery with my wide range of friends and acquittance, but I have nothing to hide any longer. I'm proud of my achievement. So look out for me on FB - you are cordially invited to be my friend. :)

Will be back with more news on aftercare-front (good news; expensive but good news...).

Good night world!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

One year surgery anniversary

I'm spending the day in quite contemplation... It feels good to look back on my journey so far and wonder how far I've got already.

I'm not at my target yet (20 lbs to go), but I now have normal BMI and my size 12(UK) skirt I bought in May are getting a bit baggy... (Size 10? Me? That sounds so alien...)

My gift to myself for all the achievements will be to sign up to a gym again: it's all singing, all dancing, with swimming pools and spa and all - I will give myself the luxury of this membership and use it to its best advantage to get me to my goal.

I'm also happy to report that not reaching your ultimate goal but getting very close to it is rather normal:
See: in the coming months I have rather high probability to get to 150 lbs. Watch me!

I planning to post a photo-diary kind of entry to commemorate the past 12 months and to show you the physical changes in more detail. Maybe even a video? I'll think about it.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dog tired by home working

Well, not me - D took this picture of Archie but I had to share it with all of you.
We have the dog with the biggest sense of humour and tolerance towards us, humans. (Extra credit if you spotted the glasses on the poor dog...)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ask yourself the question... (about commitment)

When we embark on undertaking a task/any project/dream/goal there is one thing which can determine the success of the venture: how committed are we?

I'm not at my target weight yet, but getting there surely; and I did not have a particularly challenging journey so far. However, I wish I would have had this spin on planning process a year ago. Not because I would have made a different decision, but because I could have prepared myself more/better for the unavoidable obstacles along the way.

Have you heard about the Commitment Screen? (Google it, if you haven't) This is a process to help you assess your commitment to any task you want to accomplish. It basically breaks down the task/commitment into two aspects: - What is needed to do the job? - What are the challenges you might face along the way?
I think it is really interesting what falls under these two aspects for each and every one of us. And it is quite different person by person. So I suggest, if the following bit stirs you on any level, please go and find out more about the Commitment Screen.

For me the most catching aspect of applying the Commitment Screen is the set of questions they suggest you ask yourself before embarking on your journey. Please don't just skim over these questions! Spend some time contemplating them and coming up with TRUE, REAL and GENUINE answers. Answering them in fully conscious way can ensure that you are fully prepared to take on your dream:

Is it really a dream?
- How important is this to your and your "Chimp"? (see: The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters - in very basic words your logical and your emotional self)
- Do you and your Chimp really want to achieve it?
- What are the benefits of achieving your dream?
- Are the benefits worth having, compared to the cost of getting there?
The plans and requirements to fulfil the dream:
- What plans have you made to achieve this?
- What have you tried in the past?
- If it failed in the past, why was this?
- What are you going to do that is different this time?
- What new strategies have you got for the future?
- What worked in the past?
- Have you made sure that your plans are watertight by letting someone else check them with you?
- What are the essential, significant and desirable requirements for both Human and Chimp for this plan to work? (These are different for each of us. For example I might think a good pair of running shoes are essential for my jogging routine, while you might only deem them as desirable)
- Have you got the essentials in place BEFORE you start?
Hurdles, barriers and pitfalls
(Hurdles= obstacles that must be overcome and cannot be avoided; barriers= obstacles can be worked around but still existent; pitfalls= obstacles you can avoid with planning and discipline)
- Have you made a list of the hurdles you have to jump?
- Have you got a strategy to jump EACH hurdle?
- What will you have to sacrifice?
- What are your plans for dealing with the downsides?
- What stress will you face in trying to achieve this dream?
- What barriers do you think you will have to get round or negotiate on?
- What are your plans to avoid or get round each barrier?
- What pitfalls might you need to avoid?
- How will you recognise the pitfalls as you approach them?
- If you failed to reach your dream how would you feel and how will you deal with this?
What will keep you going when you face problems?
- How will you deal with failing to meet a goal or target?
- Can you change anything before you give up?
- Can you find a different approach?
- Who have you talked it through with?
- What are the advantages to giving up your dream?
- What are the disadvantages to giving up the dream?
- What plans have you got for when you stop working towards the dream?

And now go back and ask yourself the Million Pound Question.

There. I finished with you. No more digging in your soul. (For now.)
And good luck! :) Let me know how you get on.
I will do my best to post my answers to all these questions shortly - we can see were I did/do go wrong on my journey towards my dream. That might be a looooooong post - but worthy for my upcoming bandiversary.

Namaste all!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Drumroll please:::::::::

This morning weigh-in: 170.2lbs.

(as far as the much berated BMI chart goes:25)

(and not in any reference to my occasional mental state - according to D.)

But I have NEVER been in the "green zone" of the BMI chart. Hell, I haven't been 170lbs since I was... what? 14?

So let celebrate this fabulous Saturday morning by looking back on what I've achieved so far: from 234.6 to 170.2 in under 12 months. Thank you very much!

I'm not denying that there is still work to be done. But right now I'm celebrating. And not by baking something or eating ice cream. No. I'm celebrating by sharing my accomplishment with you all.

Can I have a T-shirt please???

Friday, 15 June 2012

I'm shocked!

I just had an email from my doc: the hospital at Hungary closed down the gastric band program and forced my doc to retire...
I have some serious investigating to do tomorrow! There must be some alternative: this was the ONLY band-program in the country. My doc has been running it for over 10 years. There is no way they can leave thousands of banded patient without any care at all!!!

Wish me luck!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Million Pound Question

For all my lovely followers: here is a  true golden nugget of thought. And it's free - just for you. Take it away, try to process it, digest it, apply it - and let me know what you learn and how you feel.

But don't blame me if you uncover some rather uncomfortable truths...

You know when we set out to achieve something (anything) and we have dreams and goals and plans? Do you know what I think is the most crucial detail where we trip ourselves up and fail to achieve our goals? Self-discipline. Don't hate me for saying that. That's just what I feel, what I found out about myself and what I believe is applicable for many-many of us. And I don't just include WLS patients here, but anyone with a goal. Especially if achieving that goal involves some level of inconvenience. Like daily exercise. Or choosing healthy food. Or eating slowly. Or eating just a certain amount. Or going jogging. Or anything along these lines. 
And why I am so convinced that self-discipline (or lack of it thereof...) is our biggest enemy?

Think about the last time you wanted to do something which suppose to take you closer to your goal/dream but you really had a hard time doing it. Promised yourself an hour workout last night? Told yourself not to eat that cookie in the lunch-room? Planned to have a protein filled, healthy dinner on Sunday? How did it end? Did you do it? Did you not? Have you got the mental image of that mental struggle? All set?

Ok, then ask yourself this question:

If you were given a million pounds (or dollars) to do the task before the end of the day could you do it?

If your answer is "yes, I would definitely have it completed", then this means that it is possible to do it.

(For example, if you promised yourself to go jogging that's the task to be completed. If you are a bit stressed and tried by the time you got home and thinking about not going jogging - that's when you ask the million pound question. I bet you would put on your sneakers and shoot out of  the door if someone offers you a million pound - in that case it is possible to do it. However, if you break you leg on your way home and that's why you cannot do the task you set out, no matter how much I try to offer you, it is still impossible to do it.)

It also means that if you don't do it by the end of the day, then any reason you offer for not doing it is just an excuse for not being disciplined. It's on you! It is possible to do the task before the end of the day - you said that you could do it (if you were given truckful of cash) - but at the end of the day, you chose not to do it.
You know what this also means? It means that you are not so serious after all in wanting to fulfil your dream... Just sayin'...

Don't shoot me. I'm just the messenger. 
(Read Dr Steve Peters: The Mind Management. Seriously: READ IT.)

On a much lighter note and because you haven't seen me in months, I leave you with some piccies I took: today and on my first day at work in May: these are some of work attire - Today I look like I was channelling the Stepford Wives... 

But don't you think I've finished digging my pinky into your fragile little soul: wait until I educate you about the Commitment Screen - this will be a treat for anyone but especially for pre-op patients still in the process of making their minds up. So if you know any send them my way: Nearly one year out of surgery and a bit lagging behind my original goal of reaching 150lbs by 23 June, I'd like to help as much as I possibly can.

See you all shortly!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Ho-humm... (but some of it WLS related)

Seriously, for the life of me I couldn't figure a better title for this entry.
I do not have consecutive thoughts - just random ramblings. It's nearly 11pm and well passed my bedtime...

...however, I just fixed a playdate with my BFF Kata for July and it will include a  glorious day spent on the beach. Well, Hungary being land-locked country that's a bit of an over statement, but we have faboulous open air pool-facilities we call them "strand": all kinds and sizes of pools for all tastes, a lot of grassy area where you supposed to soak up the sun and get great tan. A year or so ago this summary of mine would have included "and funky food joints", but instead of  that, this year it includes  this:
I ordered it from Nordstrom and paying a fortune in shipping and customs, but I just fall in love... (Must not tell David!) And I needed a bikini as all the old ones look like I'm wearing my Gran's undies and I've been hunting for ages without much luck. But this one did it: it was love at first sight. Because I'm a bikini kind of girl. I always was, so when last September I was told not to expose my surgery scars to any sunlight while on holiday in Egypt I had to buy two swimsuits and a tankini. They will be passed on to sis or a friend, because I cannot suffer to wear them any more. But look at this one: doesn't it melt your heart??? It did mine. I can't wait to expose my pasty skin to some mid-July Hungarian sunshine and trot this beauty around the pools. 
Have I  told you I'm an introvert? No? Well, I am. A fact, hard to reconcile with the above lines or the fact that I used to be a belly dancer... Every night, every performance was a massive inner struggle for me: a big part of me hated going out every night, being watched and judged by all-and-sundry. But I LOOOOVED dancing and wearing those fab costumes. So I never failed to convince myself to give in to my tiny little extrovert-self and go out in skimpy dancing outfits. I actually stumbled upon a couple of old negative rolls from my old dancing days - I should have them developed into digital and entertain you with a few. Let me think about this. .... and I'm completely off on a tangent... typical late night blogging.

On the topic of being introvert and having a funny mindset on how I think people think about me, here is an interesting snippet - WLS related:
I unearthed a really unhealthy subconscious attitude/behaviour within my fragile little soul: I will forever think about myself as a fatty. And I believe everyone else in the whole wide world  thinks the same. Even people who never knew me when I was 240lbs, like my new colleagues or random strangers passing by. For example, during our weekend 5k runs around the Lido - which I'm happy to report are becoming somewhat of a habit for sis and me - there are strangers we keep meeting every Saturday. And every single time they pass us by my first thought is: "they must be thinking why is this fatty trying so hard?" and "they must have been laughing inside looking at me spitting blood while attempting a decent pace - as I'm so fat  and they are so fit." Do I need to continue? At work, I'm wearing these tailored dresses and suits D gifted me with when I got the new job, and every time I have a meeting I feel like a side of bacon squeezed into a sausage skin. Not because my clothes are too tight - they are perfect - but because they are only size 12 (in UK size... I believe that's a US 10) and in my heart of hearts I'm still a size 20. Welcome in crazyville! Population:1.

By the way, I beat the heartburn and continuous PBing:  I stuck to the 5 day poach test  and it worked like a charm again. Today I could eat my middle eastern casserole at lunch (strictly one cup) slowly but without any uncomfortable feeling, I managed a tiny amounts of nuts in the afternoon and I could drink all right all day, nothing backing up in my throat. This is miracle territory for me right now. This time last week I was desperate enough and in enough pain daily to log into Lap Band Talk and try to find answers to my questions (my doc is in non-communicado mode at the moment) and all I've learnt is that I most likely have a slip.... Not cool. Last Wednesday I had to meditate and relax that way so the tiny amount of food I tried for dinner would go down.It was crazy and awful. But sticking to liquids and mushies in the last couple of days and going back to basics - that is: measuring food amount EVERY TIME, maximum 1 cup per meal, PROTEIN based meals, chewing properly, taking tiny bites - seemed to be the answer to all my questions.
And this gave me a lot to think of - and I will let you know what I thought of in the next entry.

Until then, have a happy week!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Giving my pouch a rest

I'll do a 5 day pouch test to give some much needed relief to my agitated stoma. It did help me before to ease swelling and irritation due to an allergic reaction. It might do some good again - no loss in trying.

First two days: liquids only.
I'll keep you updated.

If you are interested in the details check out Kaye Bailey's site.

Dreams and wishes - in retrospective

12 months ago, when I was preparing for my surgery I kept my diary fairly up to date. I noted my thoughts, wishes and hopes about the coming 12 months. Now the year passed and it's fun to look back and take stock.

First off: I did not get to my weight goal. I planned to reach 150lbs by now. That did not happen... I was well on track until end of February, but ever since then - for various reasons I will detail in upcoming posts - I've been "stuck" between 175 and 170. A major part of me is disappointed: I could have done it if I would not let all things ruled by my circumstances and emotions... I suppose no matter how much more weight I'll lose and how long I keep on maintaining, I always going to be in risk for emotional eating. I try to control it better, but still have got a lot to learn.
On the other hand, the last two months I've been maintaining my weight without much effort and - I'm sad to admit - much control over food choices. That must be good news. So there: I've got my silver lining.

Secondly - or second off? - how much do you believe you're creating your future? Like it or not? Gather around for a cautionary tale...
There was one point in my list of 12 month plans, which I kept ignoring: I told myself a year ago that by now (i.e.: 12 months after my list was jotted down) I have to have a new job. I had been having that niggling need for a change of scenery for ever. My job was very nice and cosy and easy, nothing challenging or out of the ordinary, and - first and foremost - it paid fairly well. Just one example: I always had time to do my due blogging every week... It was also a great location: my gym was in my way coming and going every day.
And then 24th February came - I was suddenly out of my cosy job. That of course initiated a massive effort in finding a new job. It did happen eventually: I started in my new position on 1st May. It's much more interesting, challenging, a huge step up on the carrier ladder (I have 5 direct reports now who call me boss... strange sensation) and it's only 30 minutes commute door to door - and I'm taking a train! Yeyy!
And then, I suddenly remembered: I had this planned a year ago! I wanted to have a new and more rewarding job by June 2012! This did not happen by chance - I made this happen. Although I didn't do so consciously. I planted the seed of this change - and now it's reality. Do you dig what I'm getting at?
I create my own future. Full stop. 
And this was not the first time I experienced this mighty great sensation. I have written proof of watching my dance teacher performing at a venue and that I felt this strong emotion that I want to be exactly there and performing too - and I inherited her contract within a year from that. I only noticed that during a re-read of my diary (I like to do that every now and then) much later on. That used to be my favourite example story of how creating our own future works. Now getting my new job is right up with it.

So there: I'm important and busy now, people take me and my decisions very seriously. Between you, me and the fencepost: I sometimes struggle taking myself seriously, so this is quite an experience... 

And the best thing is: I no longer have to hide in the "cupboard" about my surgery! I can tell people. And I do. I'm still very selective about who I let know, but in the last couple of weeks I did tell one or two people. It did not come back to me yet, so I suppose not everyone is a total gossip. Or they just don't mind. I did have to put it on my medical form - and I did not mind it. Just like I did not mind putting 173lbs as my weight... It felt sooooo good!!!

There are, of course, downsides too: I'm no longer a gym member and there is no gym on my commute. I will have to figure a new habit for putting in my exercise. And I definitely do not have the time to do my blogging at work. I have to establish a new habit about that too. And for some reason I cannot seem to eat at work - mind you I'm spending most of my lunch-breaks at my desk.
So there is a lot of new habit to get into, new ways to figure things out. But I know I can do it. It might take some time, but I will get there. 
And then I will really and truly back on track to get to my goal. Mind you... I might need to revise that... but that's for the next entry.

Good night all!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

I've got a lot on my mind - and on my plate

...literally and in non-literal way too.

Some of you might know that I've been made redundant in February. That was a huge reality check.
I thought I fought through that rather valiantly, but now -in retrospective- I was hugely depressed by the experience. I was just never going to admit to the fact. Depression and me - we are not buddies. We don't even live on the same planet. At least that's what I used to believe. Not any more.

So there: I let my guards down, and Depression crept in disguised as my new daily routine. And that involved not giving priority to the things used to keep me going and kept me on track in my banded life. Like exercise or making good food choices.... when you drag yourself out of bed, cannot face the world and survive on a pot of Muller Rice and some Pringles a day, going out for a run and putting something healthy in your mouth is not high on the daily to-do list...

But you know what: IT'S ALL OVER!

Can I remind everyone here for the old cliché of "when one door closes another one opens"? Or my favourite one: "everything happens for a reason"? Well, them - and a reinforced effort in practising the teaching of The Secret (I'm a believer, and I was even before I knew about the concept - that's how I always lived my life) - proved their worth again: the day after I signed the final documents on my redundancy case I have been offered a much better job. And of course I took it. From 1st of May I'm the Facilities Manger of a prestigious and fairly large law firm in our area. Thankyouverymuch!

I cannot discuss the details of my redundancy case, so I'm not gonna, but let me just say this much: sometimes the biggest blessings come to us disguised as major crisis. On every aspect of life: work, personal, financial.
I've been blessed again, and Me right now would love to get into the Tardis (Dr Who's time travelling machine for my State side readers) and get back  to 3 months ago to reassure my scared, depressed, resigned self that all's going to be all right... Oh, but life IS wonderful after all!

So here is the plan: today I caught up with all my reading duties (My gosh! The things have happened in your lives I missed! Mind boggling that Life did not stop when I shut the door behind me in February...!) and putting in my comments along the way. I still have two days for collecting my still-scattered thoughts (thank you, Your Majesty, for the extended bank holiday to your 60th anniversary as Queen) and I will getting back here with them shortly.
I cannot - and will not - suggest that I put all of them in one blog entry: you would be reading that for a day or so... But I will do my best to break them down into cohesive chunks about the various areas they relate to. I will probably write them all up as drafts and can just post them one at time - will keep me going and my blog rolling until Christmas (just kidding... I meant Halloween)

Did I ever tell you that I finally went to Rome? Nooooo???
In the midst of all my depression (but in the very tail end of it, when things started looking up again) Dave and I had a lovely trip to the Eternal City. It was one of my childhood dreams, and it lived up to all my expectations! (nearly... as Dave was there, and wherever he goes... Well, what I mean is the song "Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you" was written about him. And, my darling readers, we are talking about English weather here... So it was chugging down with rain in Rome in end of April for 3 days. Never got so soaked so many times in my life!)
I will do a whole post about that trip, sprinkled with photos! It was wonderful.

Here, just a little taster for all of you, as my parting shot of the day:
O, that wasn't the general mood of the trip, I was just making a point...

Monday, 28 May 2012

Before I well and truly get back on track...

Tomorrow is our third wedding anniversary with Dave. This is for him...

I love you babe! Thank you for the wonderful life we are living!

(make sure you watch it with music on)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Danger, Danger! - gain, food and zombies

According to my nearest and dearest I should "stop losing" shortly...
Well, I'm still 20lbs over my target weight. (Why do they want to stop me now? I need to figure out their ulterior motives. But I might find some rather unsavoury facts if I keep digging.)
Like the look on my sister's face when I recently suggested I could "inherit" some of her clothes don't fit her any more... Before my surgery that could only ever be a bad joke. Now, it's fact. We are mutually not used to that. I need some major adjustments, she needs some major adjustments. I might be imagining this, but it's possible. (forgive me, sis, if this issue only exists in my head - I will do my best to work on it)
And David, bless his heart. He's so enthusiastic about having a hot wife - but now when my weight comes up in our conversations he always adds tentatively: "but you should slow down now...". Should I really?
At least I understand - I believe - where he's concerns are coming from: in the last two months he saw me in the grips of depression and was forced to witness me surviving on my pot of Muller Rice a day. Also, most of the time I did try to eat something more substantial I ended up with major stucks. All these made him worried. Once or twice he even told me that he's concerned about me turning "anorexic"- it means underweight in his books. I don't think he ever would believe I can have a really unhealthy relationship with food in the real sense of the sad disorder. He just uses to word to refer to the other end of the weight spectrum - but I understand what he means. However, it is highly unlikely I will end up with my ribcage sticking out... I just gained 3 pounds last week...

And that neatly leads me into my second point: my food choices lately.
Sad, sad, sad, sad!!! That's in a nutshell.
Following the bottom of the depression pit where I was physically unable to eat anything worth while, it seems I ended up completely off the track: no protein, no fruit, no veg, no vitamins, no nothing healthy!
Seriously: Pringles, ice cream, occasional chips... that's it. Not a lot of it, but REALLY??? After nearly a year of being so principled and meticulous with my food choices??? I'm ashamed!
Sitting at home, spending my time without much structure, attending to everything as they come up does not help me to stick to the principals of healthy eating. I hardly have breakfast. I never have lunch. I always grab something mid afternoon (usually that's my Pringles time) and then I make an effort on some healthy dinner to share with D, but most of the time I cannot manage to eat more than a spoonful or two, so after that I always allow myself some ice cream to "make up for lost calories" all day. Crazy, really.
So, as last night I finished off the pots of Ben&Jerry's I so wrongly bought last week, I promise myself to really get back on the band-wagon and to my better habits. (right now I'm sipping a protein shake, good start). That 3lbs I put on last week scared the bejesus out of me! I have to get my control back! I was 0.5lb away from being "normal" as far as my BMI goes.... I was so happy! I was going to Rome first time in my life and I will be NORMAL WEIGHT! Well, that's now very unlikely... as we are leaving next Thursday. I will do my best, tough. I promised myself something really nice and expensive in way of clothing as a reward if I can be under 25BMI for the Rome trip... So it is protein shakes and daily exercises again from now on!

And that is neatly leads my into my third point - Zombies!
Ok, I can understand the confusion on your face: how do exercise and zombies can possibly connect?
Let me let you in on my latest -and fledgeling - obsession: Zombies, run!
Anyone heard about it? It's neat little App for you iPhone aimed to make running fun. Fun, as far as you find it funny zombies chasing you down the streets...
All right, I explain: One of the first cuts I had to make during this whole redundancy nightmare is to cancel my gym membership. However, all my running experience so far happened on a treadmill. I am NOT an outside runner. I can run for an hour on the machine, but the two times I tried running on the street I ended up with both injuries and disappointment in my actual capacity in running for real. So cancelling my gym membership was a tall order: I have to find a way to re-train myself for street running. I need to start from scratch, and I need to find something to motivate me. Clue the Zombies, run! app.
It feeds into your music playlist you like to run to. The world is ran over by zombies, people struggling for surviving (The Walking Dead, anyone?). You are a lone runner and you get some random radio broadcasts about getting near Abel Township where you might be allowed into safety if you can give them supplies you pick up during your runs. There are various missions you need to complete, you are rewarded with supplies which - following your run- you can use to improve the town. While you are listening to your music and run/jog/walk the various inhabitants of the township are getting messages to you via radio casts. You can also enable zombie chases (optional) when you are notified that a swarm of zombies are right behind you (you can hear them making awful zombie noises over your music) and you need to run/jog/walk faster for a minute to evade  them. If they catch you, you lose some of the supplies you've collected so far.
I did mission one today. I was allowed into the township. Yey! However, just around the corner from my house I was overrun by zombies and lost half of my supplies... It was sad and rather scary: the zombie noises really make you run for your life! However, I bumped into my neighbour walking her puppy and I had to stop in the middle of a zombie chase... What other option did I have? Shout out  that "I cannot stop! I'm being chased by zombies!", ignore her confused expression and keep running? Hmm... imagine you are my neighbour... How concerned on the scale of 1 to 5 would you be about my mental well-being? So I stopped, dutifully petted the cute puppy while the zombies were munching on me in my ear... How fun!
But seriously: it is fun! Go and check them out on the App Store - it is a fairly pricey app, but this weekend they have a half price sale!
It has a built in GPS tracker, so it knows when you are nearing your starting point and adjust the ongoing mission according to that. When I run up our driveway a group of armed men came to rescue me and escorted me into safety... Honestly, it was a fun run! This was my first run since early March, the first outside run in over 4 months and I completed 3.5km in 30 min and I feel great! I also improved the township somewhat with the supplies I managed to collect. I'm hooked! Zombies, here I come!

Friday, 23 March 2012

I've done it!

What I meant is catching up with all the blog entries in my reader.
There were 117 of them.
I've done it. I caught up.

(And I also ordered JM Dvd box set - so I can fill my breaks while job hunting. :)

Good night all!

A quick message from the gutter (9 months surgiversary)

Today is my nine month surgiversary.

As every month on the 23rd, D. took the customary pictures  this morning.
See and rejoice:
Upper row: just before my op, bottom row: today

And some number crunching:
Starting weight: 234.6 lbs
Current weight: 172 lbs
Target weight: 150 lbs
Lost: 62.6 lbs; to go: 22 lbs
Starting BMI: 34.5 (obese)
Current BMI: 25.2 (overweight)
Starting waist: 38"
Current waist: 30"
Starting hip: 47"
Current hip: 40"

Well, talking about getting some healthy perspective on life... Hmm. Makes me think. Come, think with me:
- Let's say a year ago Fairy Godmother appeared in front of me and told me that in the next 12 months I can sell my flat, clear some of my debts, get laser eye surgery and - MOST importantly - I can have a gastric band. BUT the price I will have to pay is to lose my job. Would I have still chose all the above?

And the answer is a reassuring and loud YES, PLEASE!

I know I'm in a tricky situation with all this losing my job, having to find a new one in the current economy while keeping up with my financial obligations. That is hard and can overshadow everything else in life.
But then I look at these pictures above, I remember how awful I felt being so fat and that I would have given (nearly) everything to lose those cushions around my body. And although I know the two issues (losing weight and losing my job) have nothing to do with each other, I would still take FGM's deal.
This is "gutter thinking" I know, but at least now I can get some emotional respite and soul-warming thinking that "I'm unemployed, but at least I look good". Yeah, I know, I'm being really shallow here. But please cut me some slack: I desperately need to find pick-me-up thoughts, so I'm even prepared to go for the cheap shots. Like this one above. Because, (even deeper gutter thinking) if I try to imagine the same work-problem happening while I was still so big, then I could just throw up from the awfulness of it.

Now, on a different tangent entirely: looking at the pictures today, it's time for Yours Truly to start putting in some serious muscle exercises... Definition is sourly lacking from my bits - stomach and tights in particular. Unfortunately depression is not conducive to exercising... You just want to sit huddled up in the corner of the sofa staring out of the window for endless hours. At least that's what I do these days. I must find a way to change this. I'm thinking of a Jillian Michaels DVD... or two... Will see, I cannot be flimsy with money at the mo.

Anyway, I now go and catch up with all of your lovely blogs... (still over a 100 to read - again, depression can throw a spanner in my machine in a major way...)

'Till next time!
Have a great weekend! x 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Alive and kicking - or I'm the duck with the silver lining

Does this equation make sense to anyone but me?


I'm on different planet.

At least that's how I feel.
I'm feeling completely disconnected from my "old" life-meaning getting up, going to work, dealing with the world as it comes.
I'm fighting depression with all my might! Although I always tried to understand those who are in the grips of depression, for me it always also came down to "just shake it off". So now I even refuse to take the sleeping pills my doc subscribed. That might not be so clever - you supposed to sleep: it aids recovery.

But I cannot stop trying. I'm like the proverbial duck: looking very serene floating on the smooth surface of the water, but underneath she's paddling like crazy to keep the illusion going. That's the duck.

Every day I look at my Google reader and see all the un-read blog entries piling up. As of today, I have over 80 entries from all of you I need to catch up on. I'm so sorry - I just cannot summon the mental strength. But I intend to do so over the weekend. It is down to me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not succumb to all the negativity. I'm pretty sure there is something great and new waiting for me at the end of all this personal and emotional struggle. I just have to make sure I make it.
(no, don't worry. I'm not contemplating checking out. I'm just soooo down.)
But you know what: when you are at the very bottom of a hole, the only way is up.

Through all this I'm - inwardly - collecting a couple of good topics I intend to write about soon. About how stress affected my band, how I can beat it with exercise, and how do I survive on Muller Rice and Pringles on bad days (as nothing else is going down when I'm really down).
All that probably contributed to the silver lining: last Friday weigh-in I was 172.8lbs.... That is the weight I was when I was 16. Happy 16-again to me! :)

On that positive note: I hope all of you are doing great! Please send some positive vibes in my way, if you remember. They will be much appreciated.

Onwards and downwards bunnies!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

I'm not MIA...

...but I'm facing redundancy at work.
It's fair to say it's shocking and I need to dig into details.
And find a new job - that's my finest focus.
The biggest challenge in this is not to revert back to all the comfort eating I used to do in stressful situations. I cannot afford to slide back on my weight loss and give myself more reasons to be miserable and depressed. I'M NOT DOING THAT!

Wish me luck in all these adventures - I need all the positivity the Universe can possibly send my way.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 17 February 2012

Fluke? or luck?

Ok, I know that I said in my Tuesday post that I'd like to get into the 170s this week. As I was 180.8 on Tuesday morning I expected - hoped for - to see something around 179.8-ish this morning. Just enough to give me a buzz about the first two digits and help me clamp down on WFG (Weekend Fat Girl) for the upcoming lazy/booky/cooky weekend with D.

Guess what?
179.8 did not happen....
177.4 happened.

I fall of the scale. David was waking up asking - as he always do, bless him: "Are we cheering?" If I say yes, then ensues a big cuddle-and-cheer in our messed up morning bed. If I say "no" then ensues a supportive pep-talk about how well I've done so far and this is just a blip.

But today I was so stumped, that I answered: "I don't know. It might be a fluke." 3.4lbs in 3 days? Seriously?

Don't get me wrong, I'm far from complaining. I'm shocked. I don't know what to think.
I ate normal, I did yoga twice, I run 5k once. I drank my water and took my vitamins. So all seemed normal. Well, I just chalk it up for one of those unexpected little surprises Life presents us with - but many times we don't even remember them when in a dark mood or struggling. I shall come back here and read how I felt this morning next time I feel like a weight loss failure.

But boy, isn't it wonderful being in the 170s?? Ahhhh.....

Tonight is movie night with sis: The Lady in Black. We do love our scary movies, D cannot stand them. So we kept this habit of going off and watch scare/gore/etc. just the two of us. I love it. I suspect there's going to some candy or ice cream involved... But I will keep it real - there is not even 10lbs to go to reach "normal" BMI. Oh, how wonderful that will be!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Yoga weekend

I used to do yoga when I was living in Albania, and – thanks to the teacher there – I’ve got both really hooked on the idea and left very disappointed ever since when I tried any yoga courses here in the UK.

Well, let me pre-empt: not this time! Round about 4.30pm on Saturday, in the middle of my right triangle pose the realisation of how good this is and how much I missed the “proper” way of doing yoga hit me so hard that I had to swallow my tears back. It was rather poignant and enlightening. I fell in love with yoga again. I'm still so blissed out following the weekend retreat that you could make me catch butterflies!

The venue was a massive surprise. I know they are a well-known and worldwide charitable organisation, but I did not expect the standard of the place to be so high. It was immaculate, huge, very well furnished and most of all welcoming and lovely! And all this bang in the middle of Putney, London. Here is their link, if you are interested (they have both urban yoga centres and yoga ashrams all around the globe): Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

It started at 10.30 on Saturday morning. And it was so thorough and enjoyable: we had 90 minutes yoga first thing, then relaxation, then lunch (protein shake for moi, vegetarian meal for everyone else), then an hour walk by the Thames, then we got acquainted with the principals of yogic life, then another 90 minutes yoga. The day ended with a satsang (30 minutes of silent meditation, meditative chanting of mantras and an easy-to-follow lecture on yoga philosophy or psychology). The same again on Sunday.

What really got me is that everyone, teachers, guest speakers, kitchen staff, shop attendant, everyone is working there on complete voluntary basis and they still manage to run a really swanky and effective operation! That might be an odd statement, but I myself work for a charity in a paid position and I know how much more we can achieve if we could rely more on voluntary work. However, volunteers – as far as our operation manager is concerned and convinced – are inherently unreliable when it comes to scheduling work. Hmm, my experience over the weekend was completely contrary to that. Something we might learn from...

Much more exciting: I did the Crow pose. This one:
I didn't look this cool and collected
I know!!! How you wonder! I couldn't believe it myself. I’m not telling you it wasn’t a struggle, because it was. Huuuuge struggle, and it was mostly in my mind. You know that “I definitely, most positively, 1000% cannot do this, EVER”-feeling. Well, I couldn't. Until our wonderful instructor, Shiva Pria put her finger in front of me, told me focus on it and forget all else, just keep focusing and putting my weight on my hand.... and ta-dah::: there I was in the crow for two seconds. Now that’s what I call a real life NSV!!!

We also learned various breathing techniques, basic meditation practices, chants. It was just a wonderful, wonderful thing to get immersed in right in the middle of normal daily life without having to leave hubby behind for a week. I'm definitely will be going to their Alps ashram as soon as I can for a week or so, and it’s down to David to make up his mind to come with me. He actually mentioned – completely out of the blue – that he’d like to learn yoga. I think I know what we are going to be doing a Saturday afternoon soon: I’m taking him for a free open beginners class. Mark my words!

David, stop reading!
(However, I’m not sure if it’s a such a good idea introducing your other half to yoga... I did this while in Albania, with my ex. I practically pulled him to a yoga class in 2004. Last time I heard, he was resident in an ashram in India. I kid you not!!)

All right, enough of my ravings about yoga – you go and try it! You might be surprised.

Peace for all! 

Oh, I nearly forgot: I signed up for a level 2 retreat weekend in two weeks time – no stopping me!

Sure-fire way to stop WFG (Weekend Fat Girl)

I didn’t cook dinner of Friday. David was picking up his ‘boys’ (sorry, I had to put that in apostrophes as they are both over 6 feet tall now and sprouting all kinds of facial hair, so not really boys any more, right?) So on his way home he picked up a proper British fish-and-chips from the corner. I wasn’t too hungry, but he offered me some and I took a chip from his plate and a tiny bit of fish (not the batter, just the fish meat). Then I took another bite – then another... He even made a snide little comment of me eating all his fish... I wish he said instead “slow down”. That I would have gotten. But snide comments make me even more furious with eating (yeah, still a lot to work on my head-band). So I took a couple of more bites.

And that’s when it happened: a Stuck from Hell!!!

I’ve never felt anything like this before. I was very near to panicking.

I was cool to start with – I took myself off to the loo to let the offending piece of food come up, which it did (aka. Step 1)
But the sliming just kept going on. So I repeated step 1.
Then again.
Then again.
And again.
And I kept doing this all evening, from 8 until 11.

Halfway through I thought I try the papaya enzyme trick, which I used successfully several times before. Nope, not this time. Just more slime.
So I went to bed, hoping that I don’t go to sleep still stuck.

The scary thing was that normally, when something needs to come back up due to fast eating or non-chewing or bad food choice, it comes up (nearly) by itself and it never leaves a throw-up feeling or taste in my mouth/gut. Not this time. Round about 10pm I was still frequently visiting our lovely en-suite (also thanks to my beloved’s remodelling efforts in 2010, it looks like a 5* hotel’s) and puking up bits of fish&chips, but now it felt like they come from “behind”: that they passed the band and they are coming up from underneath, as it tasted and felt like proper “old style” throwing up. On that point I panicked.
Let me tell you why:
I don’t have a doctor here. My doc is at Hungary. I cannot just run to him to ask if everything is all right. And I’m scared to death that I will do something stupid and “cause” a slippage or some such issue. If he was here I’d be sitting in his office right now, demanding a fluoro to make sure my band is still fine and in the correct position. But I can’t. So I had to meditate some on my experience, and then pray that I didn’t cause lasting damage.

Around midnight the pain – did I mention that I was in constant pain? All the way through I felt like an alien is hatching behind my chest – eased some, I chew two antacids and went to bed: it was early wake up on Saturday due to the non-residential yoga retreat... I was still in some pain in the morning, so I ruled out solids for the whole weekend. I existed on protein shakes, milk, herbal tea and water.
... BUT it was all fine, as I was busy doing yoga all weekend, from sunup to sundown. It was actually so good, that I’m doing it again in two weeks time on a level 2 weekend retreat. Yey!

By Sunday evening, I was fine again.

Yesterday I binge eat all kind of nasty staff (like half a bag of tortilla chips, Magnum Mini, Kitkat chunky white choc...) and I had oven baked (but fairly dry) chicken for dinner.
But Scale God did reward me 180 this morning – holy cow! I haven’t been 180 (82kg, 12st12lb) since I was 20 years old! I definitely had a spring in my step coming to work this morning.

Have a great week all of ya’!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I do have a band! (or email blogging s**ks)

I did try to do a post last night using email blogging... did not really work: half of my message was ignored, which made the post completely redundant... Sorry for all who wondered. This is the full version of what I meant to say:
These are my first ever cookies.
Yes, I'm 36 and never baked cookies before - growing up we didn't know about them behind the Iron Curtain, and here in England they are just not such big a deal as biscuits.
But David loves them and I blame Pinterest for giving me the idea of trying...
So, tonight I baked my first ever chocolate chip cookies:

As you can see, one of them is missing from the corner... Guess what happened to it?
It ended up in the loo... well, after a flying visit in my pouch... I tried the my historical first ever cookie, and it did not go down... But it was DELICIOUS! Thank you Band! 

Added for the edited version: but the 3 more after dinner DID go down... at 221kcal each (calculated on MFP by adding up the whole recipe) they perked up my daily intake quite a lot. Thank heavens for the 5k run earlier that afternoon! 
And Scale monster was gracious this morning too: 181.2! 
Next week's challenge: breaking into the 170s! (Oh, how I lovvvve the sound of that!)

Tomorrow and Sunday is yoga weekend. I will report back on that experience on Monday.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 
And try not to ruin your great weekly work by letting the weekend fatty out - that's what I will focus on doing this weekend.

Monday, 6 February 2012


(Totally Random Monday Post)

I do not like chocolate, but today I'm on my third Nestle Aero Biscuits, and it's not even 4pm.
I had only left around a 100kcal for dinner... Mind you, I'm going running after work and I'm hardly ever hungry after that. So it MIGHT work out, only if I could stop munching on these choccies. Ahhh.... I don't know what the hell is going on. Hand on heart, Nestle (and companions) could easily shut down as much as I care about their products, but today I cannot seems to stop. I'm inhaling it. Ohh, never mind - there is another day tomorrow.

This weekend is my urban yoga retreat weekend. I haven't done yoga in the last two years, and I really miss it. My doc gave me the all clear for all the funny poses which will inevitably stretch my midsection where my port is located, so it must be fine. I opted for non-residential weekend, but it means at least 3 hours of travel on Saturday and Sunday (there is no parking at the yoga place and London transport sucks at weekends). None the less, I'm really looking forward to it! Two day non-stop yoga between 10.30 and 6pm, followed by a 90 minutes guided meditation. I might just get enlightened by next Monday, if not it will be a great workout. We'll see.

This one is for our precious and much loved Trisha - she will know:
I nicked it from my latest obsession - Pinterest
I know!!! It's really addictive! There should be a maximum time they allow you to spend on the site... Then you should be locked out for 24 hours. It's like  a black hole for time... If you don't know what I'm on about, do go and check it out. But be warned...!

Lately I'm having mental/emotional issues with the fact that I'm nearly at my sister's weight. And she used to be the "thin" one in the family. (we are not a family of skinny people, so this is fairly relative) I just have no concept of how I and mine will feel when that changes. It's frankly scary. I do hope she will not start to resent me for taking over her laurels. I do contemplate a lot on this, but I swore to myself I will not build up a subconscious mental block against losing more just because of this. It could easily happen, but this time I'm aware of it and countering it with compassionate thoughts. It's hard work none the less.

Work got really busy lately. Which is a double edge sword, as on one hand I always love being busy and meeting deadlines, on the other I miss my days in the office when I could catch up on Biggest Loser and do great deal of meaningful blog- and forum writing. I still find time in my lunch break to read all your blogs daily. It seems many of us are currently suffering from writers' block - must be the time of year.

Tomorrow Archie is going to be unmanned (neutered). He's over 4 years old, but lately he was getting really out of hand with his territorial behaviours. So after many years of contemplating, agreeing, then changing his mind, David finally booked him in for the procedure. What is it with man not wanting their dogs to be done? Honestly, it comes across as their bits getting snipped, not the dogs'... Weird. Anyway, I hope it does not change his personality (not David's, the dog's) - he is such a funny little creature.

I think that's all I can manage today. I hope my braincells will light up again soon.
Have a lovely week all!

Monday, 30 January 2012

I endulged my inner hampster

...as far as running on the spot goes:
I completed my first 5k run of 2012!

You're saying it's nearly February? Well spotted! I've been having major issues getting back on my running plan after the burnout before Christmas. Lesson learned: no point pushing extreme boundaries- that might lead to delays in long term achievements.

Happy Monday!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 23 January 2012

I've never been there (Skinny-Land)

I wish you could see into my head. There are meaningful and important thoughts and thought chains in there (sometimes) which I'd so love to share, but somehow they never come out as pretty and concise as they look while I'm thinking about them. None the less, I try:

I had a lot of quite time over the weekend (I'm soooo grateful for that!) and I had a chance to dig a bit deeper into a mind-issue which I think might be (and previously always has been) hindering my weight-loss:
the unknown territory of Skinny-Land. 

At the moment I'm at 188lbs, and - apart from the freak incident just before Christmas (186) - this is my lowest adult weight. I've been here before when I was actively performing and training as a belly dancer, and I still remember those years as the best I felt and looked and the most I enjoyed my life (minus David, of course - a dancing carrier is not conducive with stable relationships, but that's a different topic and I do not want to digress). Back then I very occasionally thought about my weight, but I was VERY happy where I was and how I looked, so dieting or losing weight weren't at all on my mind.

But I've never been lighter/skinnier/"normaler" than this. I do not know how that might feel. I do not know what to expect. I do not know if I can get there... and all these unknown factors are freaking me out BIG WAY.
Let me give you some more example: back in 2007-2008 I've been doing Slimming World with considerable success to start with. I've lost over 2 stones (28lbs) between August and December 2007. I was over the moon! I practically maxed out my finances buying nice size 14-12 clothes (in UK size... I think they are 10-12 in US sizes). I was revived and I enjoyed all the compliments came my way. But that was it: after reaching the exact same weight as my "race weight" I stopped. And - in retrospective - I cannot blame the diet system: it was all me. Somehow, when I reached that point something clicked in my head saying: well done, girl - you ARRIVED! And from that point onwards I become so lax with my diet that there was no chance in hell I could lose any more. Even though I wanted to. I wanted very much! I had motivation: our wedding was coming up. Nope. Nothing helped. Eventually it lead me to abandoning Slimming World and slowly gaining back all the weight I lost. Then I tried again with Weight Watchers. And the same thing happened - all the way to me gaining back every ounce I lost.

So now, being here in the higher end of 180s, I cannot help but wonder - and freak out: what if this is going to happen again? What if I stall again? (I have: this is the first month since my surgery when I did not register any net loss. I actually gained net 2lbs in the last 30 days) What if I cannot push through this, just as I couldn't so many times before? What if this is my "bottom weight"?

I have a goal of 150lbs in my mind. That's my target. The question is: how can I believe in it?
I do not have the crutch of relying on past experience lower than my current weight. So far I could always conjure up those dancing images, the clothes I used to wear (not just the costumes, but my everyday clothes) and how it felt being at that weight. And that helped a lot, as I knew from experience that I can be that weight. I used that past experience to help me get here.

Now I'm here (again) - but where to now? I do not have the real life image of me at 150... I do not know what kind of clothes will fit me when I get there. I do not know how will it feel being 150... And I feel this "blank" in my mind is stopping me from breaking under this weight. I don't know how to put this so I can make you understand more how I feel... It is bloody awful! A so far unknown fear is gripping me when I think about this. The fear of not being successful in regards of  reaching my target weight. Sometimes it's so bad that I feel paralysed in my mind: when it gets into my focus I cannot "look away" and cheer myself up.
I don't know if I can do it - as I've never done it before. That's basically what it boils down to - as silly as it sounds. Like I'm facing a brick wall and I have no idea if I'll be able to break through it. I find myself staring at the wall, immobilized by the uncertainty regarding my capability for dealing with it.
I'm not sure if I at all suppose to break through it. All this talk about losing over 50% of your excess weight is great result, and BMI numbers are ambiguous at best... dah-dah-dah - all this talk starts up a little voice in my head (as it did before) telling me that I'm actually fine where I am and that's it anyway. But I do not think I'm fine where I am. I want to get rid of that final 38lbs. I want to see 150 on the scale. I want to be "skinny" (relatively) and "normal" (according to BMI and my own views) for once! I want all that!

But the fear of not knowing what awaits me there, the fear of not knowing if I can or should go there and the fear of failure from previous attempts make me look and feel like a deer in the headlights: just staring there wide eyed, frozen to the road, unmoving.

Do I make any sense? I so hope that I do!
Anyone can relate? Anyone have any advice how to tackle this? I'm desperate for input so I can collect myself and focus on moving on... Currently I feel I'm stuck to this point. But I SOOOOO want to move on!


Thursday, 19 January 2012

I'm sad and disappointed - but I know why

I'm back from Budapest and meeting with my Doc.
It was an interesting experience again sitting in his waiting room. This time I wasn't overhearing unsuccessful weight-loss stories, but the pro's and con's of various Christian churches and their interpretation of the Bible... Don't ask.  I was grateful to be called in first...
Doc started again telling me I'm getting pretty "slim"... I don't like when he's telling me that. Working with so many overweight and obese people day in-day out, I believe he's point of view got slightly screwed throughout the years, and now he thinks me being 5'9.25" and 190lbs is actually a good place to be. I don't agree. I still want to lose this last 40lbs. I'm determined, even if he doesn't encourage it.
Credit where credit's due: he still doesn't want to stop me having fills if needed. After establishing that all my insides look fine, no scratches or dilation of oesophagus, everything looks just as it should, he said he could actually give me a very tiny fill if I want it. My response was: "Well, you are the expert - I take what you give me and do as I'm told." So taking into account my recent experience in tightness, and the fact that if the smudge of a fill pushes me over to the "too tight" side I will need to organise another round trip to Hungary, we decided that I'm just fine where I am. And I'm happy with that decision. And I'll do my best to work it - or I fly back for that "tiny fill" any time I want (and can afford the tickets).
Funny though, my appointment was first thing in the morning, and all day after this I could not keep proper food down. Even my pain killers come flying up in the middle of the street. It felt like Life is giving me a presentation of why the decision of not getting a fill was the right one. I've got the message, thanks!

Painkillers.... My best friends currently. I've done my back in really badly Monday morning while doing my bed. Serves me right: if I stay at a hotel instead of my mum's, it would have been taken care of by the lovely housekeepers and my back would still be fine. As it stands I'm currently laying on my yoga mat in the middle of the living room, trying to crane my neck to see the screen - I'm still in absolute agony. Against all odds, I did get ready for work this morning - and made it half way in. I then had to admit defeat, turn around, get home and collapse on the floor. I don't like to miss work, but I could barely walk.
The sad thing is this pain now puts a halt on my exercises. I was going to do Zumba and a weight training tonight. Forget that! And my long run tomorrow. Unless I'm willing to crawl the 5k...
If you top it with my 6lbs gain (probably caused by flying water retention) you can see why my mood is slightly jaded.

Oh, and this just hit me: because of this "gain" I will now lose $10 to David when I check in for my weekly report on Stickk...

I hope all of you are having a lovely day - send some smiley thoughts if you would, I really need them right now!

(afterthought: Am I PMSing? Or what the hell is this doom&gloom???)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Making a commitment - and staking money on it

Hello all! What a lovely Friday we are having here in London! And it's nearly weekend time, too! 

Can you tell yet that I'm a bit hyper? Never mind...

So, to cut the chase: some of you might be receiving emails/notifications with the following text:

I created a Commitment Contract on stickK.com to reach a personal goal.
If you want to keep tabs on my progress and offer me encouragement along the way, please join my Commitment as a Supporter by clicking on the following link: http://bit.ly/zBvMqX

It is not a scam.
I'm reading Freakonomics blog and stumbled upon a commitment project designed and run by the lovely people of Yale University's economic department.

If I haven't got your email address but you'd be interested in cheering me on and witnessing how my commitment is going please drop me an email and I send you an invite.

I have no idea how this will work out, but it definitely sounds like something worth trying.

Are you in?

Here is the site address, if you say "yes": www.stickk.com/

P.s.: you do not have to stake money on your commitment, but I thought I can do with the added incentive.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Water shortage

Drinking - that's like a swear word for me. And I'm not even thinking of alcoholic beverages. Just plain ol' water. I'm not really into booze.

Apart from the odd occasion after working out followed by going to the sauna and sweating a lot I do not feel thirst. Ever. I lived and worked in the desert (Sinai) and even there, in the middle of the summer I did not feel thirsty.

Consequently I do not drink. A couple of years ago I actually noticed that I can go all day NOT drinking a glass of water. Back then I found it funny. Now it just annoys the hell out of me.
I suppose it also explains my chronic constipation since I was a toddler. I’ve been carrying that particular monkey on my back ALL MY LIFE.

And I know, thank you very much, that I should take in at least 2 litres (64 oz) of water/liquid every day. But I cannot.

It’s not the lack of knowledge, nor lack of willingness. I would if I could...

I used to go on “binge drinking” sessions every time I noticed I haven’t drunk again for a day: I just stood at the kitchen sink and forcing down glasses of water one after the other. (Yep, binging on water – that’s precious!) But these spurs of watering were always one offs, so I cannot count them as habit. More like a punishment. Not to mention that is not an option any more, as I cannot take more than a little tiny sip at a time – my gulping days are gone!

Later on I learned that drinking sufficient amount of water helps with weight loss. Hurray – let’s drink to that! I actually got a hold on it (and a trusty 0.75l plastic bottle) during my pre-op diet, and during those 10 days I always met the 2l target. I was actually getting used to it. And it got even better: my surgery was in the middle of a hot Hungarian summer, so I kept my trusty bottle (it become like a juju for me) and kept sipping all day and all night for weeks. I felt great! For first time in my life I did drink enough AND it helped my constant poo-problem. Wow – I was in awe of the magic of water.

Then the gas pains started... every day, around 5pm (I was through about 3-4 bottles by then) they came like clockwork. And the damn things hurt like hell!!! I was so newly banded that I never made the connection between sipping my water and these god-awful gas pains. But then my eye were kindly opened in our support group: lose the sippy bottle as sipping makes you swallow a lot of air with your water – and as it cannot come upwards any more (in the form of burp) because of the band, it MUST go downwards and that, Ladies and Gentlemen, HURTS. So I invested in a 16oz plastic travel cup/glass which has a different opening (no sipping involved) than most but still drip proof – and low and behold: the gas pains disappeared completely! Another WOW!
My bottle...

 (I'm getting to my point here, but slowly.. bear with me. Thursday is my hump day and my brain doesn't operate as well.)

Another issue is that water for me is just not good enough. I don’t enjoy it. But I don’t enjoy it so much, that I just cannot make myself drink it. I was told to flavour my water with lemon. No, thank you – I’m acidy enough without that. Enter the revelation of the little sachets called Crystal Lights. Now that’s a nifty little invention I’m honestly grateful for: they make my water drinkable. So ever since my surgery I’m dependent on Crystal Light. BUT I live in the UK. There is no Crystal Light here in the stores. I need to get my fix from an online retailer: a monthly supply I usually buy is about £50  (about $75). Yes, that’s how much I spend on Crystal Light. Crazy, I know but I’m hooked and I cannot find a UK alternative for that invention. What a bummer. (Anyone reading from the UK: do you know an alternative for Crystal Light I can get from a supermarket here?)

But lately even my trusty Crystal Lights doesn’t make drinking water any easy. I actually had days lately when I was cruising along with one 16oz glass a day. That’s blumfuff, not water intake. I have my travel cup sitting on my desk. My first thing to do in the office – after starting up my PC – is to fill this bad boy with fresh, filtered water, toss a CL in it. I know by lunch time I need to get through 2. Ideally. Then another 2 before I leave the office. That would give me the required 2l, and any extra I drink after that is a bonus. However in the last 10 days I never had a day when I completed this circle. I’ve been left with more than the half of the first glass by lunchtime... And of course I’m not supposed to drink 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after my meals... that also cuts down on possible drinking time.

I felt that I actually don't have enough time to sip 2l of water in a day. So I have charted my waking hours, and surprisingly, after discounting all those times I cannot drink, there is still over 8hrs left when I can. That would average 0.25l per hour. That doesn’t seem much. (yes, I’m probably over analysing this, but it gave me great satisfaction to create a Gnatt chart in Excel while doing this) However, my bottle is still standing in front of me, untouched, and it’s 11.30...)

I know that I need to have at least 2l of water per day in me. I have the knowledge.
I am willing to drink as much as I should. I have willingness.
I know how much better my WL is when I drink enough and what good this does to my insides. I have the motivation.
I've got my glass and my CL and unlimited supply of freshly filtered water. I have the tools.
So why cannot I drink enough????? End result: crapaty-crap drinking.

So please do help me with the maths:
Knowledge + willingness + motivation + tools = required outcome. Khmmm... WRONG!
If knowledge, willingness, motivation and tools are all present, why doesn’t this happen for me?? What am I missing from this equation? Anyone? Please enlighten me!

OK, it just hit me (right at this very moment typing all this up) that this can be translated to all my weight loss efforts in the past.... ssshhh... we are getting into deep, psycho-analysis territory here... Would worth the trip, though. Maybe one day...