Weight loss tracker

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...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Books that helped me

Ok, I had a much longer entry with my reading list pre- and post-op in this entry.

However, at my last support group meeting two tomes were added to it and - if you like to expand your horizon about food related literature (NOT cookbooks) I'd like you to consider them:

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
subtitle: Why we eat more than we think - do you need any more info to get interested straight away??
Honestly, read it! This is one of the most entertaining and informative NON-diet books about how and what we eat I've ever read. You will be amazed! It's funny, it makes you think and it provides countless moments of "duhhh..." followed by vigorous forehead slapping.

The other gem is a bit more "hard core":
The Compassionate Mind Approach to Beating Overeating by Ken Goss
I'm still working my way through this slightly bulkier item (at Chapter 5 at time of writing), but I've already learned so much about the deeper motives and issues about overeating that even if the book ends now, I'll be a lot richer and enlightened. Can't wait to get even deeper into it - will report on any significant findings later.

Just a short quote here from the latter - not really weight-loss related. More "hubby related" - Dave, if you read this, please take head:
"The more we ease back from charging in and criticizing, which can sometimes be our immediate reaction to a problem or perceived failing, the greater the chances we have for reflection and thinking about how best to deal with it."

Have a lovely week all!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Passing on - the scale issue

I've just responded to a forum entry on MFP (if you are on and we're not connected yet, come and look me up: Kriszti29). It is about weighing yourself. Because it's Friday afternoon, and I'm feeling a bit lazy, I'll copy here the original question and then my response. I wonder how many of you could agree or argue with my sentiment about this particular topic:

The original question:
I need to stop weighing myself multiple times a day, it's not the healthiest thing to do, I need to get to where I weigh myself one time a Week. 

But here is my problem: In my mind when I stop weighing myself I feel as though I'm "giving" up on my weight loss, that weighing myself equates trying to lose weight. Even if I eat good, and exercise an hour or so most days, I still feel that way. 

Any Ideas how to cut myself off from the scale for a week?

My answer:
I completely understand the sentiment of trying to cut down on weigh ins... It is so much more reasonable to weigh yourself just once a week on the same day, every week. That is a very grown up and sensible approach. BUT... 

When I was on various weight management programmes/clubs and I had to report my weight once a week I used to put myself under terrible stress and worry every time the weigh-in day came around. How did a do all week? Did I do enough? Did I go to the loo? Shall I do something about that, so my weigh-in will show a better result? And so on and so forth... It was really killing me every Tuesday and Wednesday (Wednesday was my weigh in date, around midday) to the extent when I got hooked on laxatives and severely restricting my water intake just before the weigh-in... That was the cautionary tale. 

Now, I weigh myself every day. Sometimes twice (morning and evening). I'm a card carrying member of the Scale Whores Association. glasses 

I know that it does not make sense, as my weigh fluctuates very severely all week and all day. And I still only record my "official" weight once a week. 

However, what daily weighing did to me is make me familiar and friendly with the scale. It took away the scariness and high expectations once a week. As I know that my daily weight will depend on so many things (water intake, potty issues, food I've eaten, etc.) now if I see a gain or a higher figure than expected I do not get shattered or freaked out any longer. It made me accept the fact that losing weight is a long term challenge and commitment. I'm not scared of the scale any more. I've befriended the Scale Monster. It's ok that tomorrow I'll be 0.5lb more than I was today, because I ate half a chicken (just an example, I didn't - if you go checking on my food diary) but didn't do #2... 
Not to mention that it serves as a daily and constant reminder of what I'm supposed to do and why I'm doing it. 

It was just as scary for me getting used to the daily weigh ins as it is for you to try to get rid of the scale. 

Sorry about the long rant, I just feel really strongly about this as it helped me a very big anxiety problem. So if you think you might be prone to the same kind of behaviour - just keep in mind that getting rid of your scale might not help you that much.

But check out the forum, if you wish - here.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Dealing with restriction and reflux

OK, so a little recap on this “sudden restriction increase” business.
As I wrote earlier, it started sometime around mid December – def. before 15th, because that was the date of my first entry here about it. It hasn't changed since then and kept me on the edge all Christmas and New Year.

On Monday night, however I woke up for choking on some light reflux. It scared the hell out of me! I was actually dreaming that I’m drowning, and when that woke me up I WAS (well, not quite as dramatic, but you get my hint). It was scary! And made me spiral into a slight panic and not being able to fall back asleep all night. I know I have an appointment soon with Doc, but I just couldn’t not try to find some answers myself. I had to know what’s going on.
And that’s when the angel of LB made me get in touch with Lap Band Groupie. Her blog is full of advice, and she went through a scary night spew experience herself. As she’s now writing a book about LB much of the original material has been taken off the blog, so I pleaded my case in email. And low and behold: Band Groupie replied very quickly and was full of great ideas and advice. And also very reasonable, which made me stop panicking. I think that alone helped my situation a great deal. (Thank you again!)

Looking into and eliminating all the obvious culprits for increased restriction (TOM, flying, stress, etc.) she suggested that I might have eaten something which made my stomach/lining/pouch swell and/or getting inflamed – which is really a very straightforward cause-effect relationship, but never occurred to me (duhh... blonde moment(s)...). So I went through my food diary starting on 14th December and  TA-DA: there it was, staring me in the face!
On 12th  December:
  • I had lunch in the Dorchester, and Michelin star chef here or there, I have no idea of the details of the menu they served.
  • AND we had our company Christmas dinner in a Persian restaurant – a lots of strange, foreign but VERY tasty food. Although I liked it, there might have included some ingredients I've never tried before.
  • ALSO around those days I splashed out on cheese, quite a lot. Now, I know for a fact that if I eat a lot of lovely French cheese (with all the fungi bits) my face puffs up and I start to shred my skin... That did not happen this time, I did not eat THAT much cheese, but the amount I consumed might have caused the swelling in my stomach.
  • AND as the Christmas feeding frenzy started right after all these, my stomach never really had a chance to recover as I kept stuffing my face with food I don't normally eat.

So there, thanks a lot MyFitnessPal! I would have never remembered all this without the meticulous daily logging.

And for the reflux, which I’ve never had before: on Monday I’ve tried Banded Wendy’s 24hrs Holiday Detox, which included a lot of lemon juice and other juices (but nothing else) which might have upset my insides by being too acidic (and/or alkali).

For now I concluded the investigation. And learnt a heck of a lot from it.
As for the fix: I’m on liquids for a day or two to help the swelling subside, then start PROPERLY chewing my food. I don’t do that. Still. Slow learner. But trying.

On a different note: one of my colleagues lost 5lbs over the holidays. I believe I’ve found all of them... And that with the crazy restriction... I guess that’s the silver lining.

This morning I started to use my funky new scale – it even tells me how many calories I’m supposed to consume (no way I’m going to eat 2630kcal!). Clever thing, really. AND it comes with a software which is spreadsheet HEAVEN! Can’t wait to use it for a week so I can start doing all the shiny reports. (Geek, I know.) AND it told me the my visceral fat (that’s the fat layer in between your organs, not on the surface) is actually low-ish: it rates you between 1 and 59, normal being between 0-12, and I’m 6. I’ve never been in the normal range regarding my body, ever. AND my right arm is has much more fat% then my left. I’m a leftie, so that makes sense. Both of my legs are roughly at the same level. Gosh, I’m going to have a ball analysing all these magic data!
Now I know my:
  • Weight
  • Body fat % (full body, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, torso)
  • Muscle mass (full body, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, torso)
  • Bone mass
  • BMI
  • DCI (daily calorie intake)
  • Metabolic age (shock horror: 49, people, 49!!!! – there is room for improvement)
  • Total body water %
  • Visceral fat level

Oh, how I love my gadgets!!!!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My pressie

Oh, I forgot to mention:

Guess what I've got from David for Christmas??
Bless his listening skills: a Laxman Meditation Machine!

I wanted this baby for sooooo long now, but I never could justify the pricetag...
Now I can drift away in meditation any time I please. Cannot be happier!

Thanks Love! xoxoxoxox

P.s: I also "springified" my blog... I hope you like it fresh lemony feel of it. I know I do. x

Fessin’ up... (Holiday recap)

I decided to go incommunicado for the Christmas period. My whole family and David’s sons being around all the time from 23rd until 31st of December made it impossible to sit down and come up with any constructive thoughts what so ever. I must admit: it was just too much. I mean I LOVED having my family around for Christmas – but maybe a week of it full-time was a tad bit ambitious. Anywho... it’s over now. And I survived. However... there were a lot of things I haven’t done in this period. Here is my confession:
  • I haven’t logged any food/calorie intake since 23rd 
  • I haven’t weighed/measured myself since 23rd
  • I haven’t restricted/edited (in a health-conscious way) what I put in my mouth since 23rd (note: more on this later)
  • I haven’t exercised since 23rd (apart from occasional dog walking)
  • I haven’t been drinking nearly enough H2O since 23rd  

I’m not hankering for absolution, I’m being honest.

Today, however, is a new day, a new year, etc. so I’m back on my abandoned track (and at work, huhhh) and started logging my food on MFP from this morning.
I’m buying a new scale on amazon, which will arrive very shortly so I can start weighing myself for the new year on the new scale – it’s all singing, all dancing body composition monitor (report on that as soon as I figure out if it’s worth the £160 price tag...). I’m also getting back to my exercising routine – however, as I drained myself to the last inch of life before Christmas, I believe I must implement some changes on that front. The 8-8.5K three times a week proved to be a step too far for long term sustainability... I’ve got Hot Bod in a Box from Jillian and I also got new Zumba Wii 2 – I will be doing more of those and max 2 long runs a week.

But here is something I haven’t expected to happen: My Band!
I’ve been going on about it feeling a bit tighter well before Christmas (here) but eventually I chalked it up to TOM and stress and general water retention. Well, it wasn’t. It’s been going on far too long to be TOM, stress is well over, and looking at my ankles and finger my water “level” is fine. However, the tightness remained. And what a difference it made to my usual eating habits at Christmas!
You see, when I put food logging and good food choices on the side for the festive period, that was a well thought through action on my side. I knew I will not be able to avoid all my trigger foods (as that’s what my family eats) and that I did not want to feel deprived in any way, I also didn't want the additional stress and loathing I experience when I fell off track with an eating plan. So I had a good heart-to-heart with Me in the sauna after my last workout, and we agreed that we are going to call off the food police and let me run “wild” for a week. I also knew that it definitely will result in weight gain, but I told myself that I’m in this for the long term, so even putting on 5-10lbs will make little difference in the long run (by end of May, I mean). You see: I was prepared both mentally and emotionally for the influx of “bad food” during Christmas and New Year.
And then my Band said “No”.
And said it with such elementary force, that – after I've got over the initial shock – it actually made me marvel over the beauty of it. So this is how it feels relying on your restriction! Ahha! I’ve got it now! I made mental apologies for all those forum users and bloggers who said that they actually relying on their restriction AND get results... That just didn't work/compute with me before. I was doing the hard work; I was doing the food choices; I was limiting my food portions, etc, etc – Yes, I had a band, but 90% of the time I felt I might as well not have it, as unless I create conscious boundaries around food, I can pretty much eat whatever I want, as much as I want. So I made a mental apologies for all those entries I dismissed because their authors swore that they can rely solely on their restrictions.

Well, a little disclaimer here: I still think it’s hugely the hard work of the banded person, and exercise is one of the most important thing in the whole strategy! That did not change. Neither the fact that I am still resolved to make good food choices and measure my food according to band rules. But now I have a new found understanding/compassion for those who let “their band rule” their eating. Might not be the wisest choice, but I can see it working – at least in the short term.

So the Force have been with my Band all the way since before Christmas. I was baking and cooking and serving all the Christmas goodies you can imagine – and it felt great to feed the family – but I just couldn’t get a plateful and eat them myself... I tried, God knows: I did try. Every day. Twice. At least. Nope. Band said “No”. The morning of Christmas day I even sat down with my plate alone in the dining room – everyone else was still sleeping – with all the creamy salads and deep fired goodies we have on our Christmas Eve table at home, I was ready for it, I wanted it – and it didn’t happen. I actually PB’d for half an hour after like 4 small bites of breaded cauliflower and breaded cheese. So I gave up on main dishes. That’s when I turned to Pringles... But still couldn’t work it... Neither any of the baked goodies I made: not even cheesecake or tiramisu went down without complaining and massive pain in the chest, so I could forget about all the proper baked goods, like Finnish walnut crown... I must admit, I was getting slightly worried at the point where I had issues with mashed potato. I still am worried, but I'm seeing my doc on 16th Jan, and he will see everything under the x-ray and will be able to adjust my band accordingly. 
Because let me tell you: I was way – WAY – more comfortable with making my own decisions about my food choices than my band being in the driving seat. I know, it’s some convoluted thinking, because why did I have the band if I'm comfortable with good food choices and portions... but then again, I wasn't until I’ve got my band. But now that my band is “forcing” some food decisions on me I don’t like it that much.
However, on the up side: I’m definitely not hungry for a very long time after eating very little. I can still eat – I do not PB with every meal (just that one time during Chrismtas), it’s only that every bite goes down REALLY SLOW, and most meal feels uncomfortable on my pouch. And because I cannot chug my water down, I always end up not drinking nearly 2L a day, as I just simply cannot manage to sip 24/7.
But if we look at all these factually, here is what I've got:
  • Being able to eat only small amounts – check 
  • Not feeling hungry for 3-4 hours after meals – check 
  • Not feeling the need for snacking – check 

Am I at my “sweet spot” then?
Shall I just get comfortable about the extra help I’ve got from the band lately, start chewing my food a little more consciously, taking smaller bites each time and eat slower? If I can do all that it might turn out that I’m really at my sweet spot. The weird thing is: it happened all by itself! My second and last fill was on 5th September... and all this restriction business kicked in mid December... Can that be? Shouldn’t you lose restriction when losing weight?

I have a tiny bit of me who’s a little scared too: what if something “bad” happened, and that’s causing the sudden increase in restriction... I don’t want to think about that option. That’s not an option.
I will definitely ask Doc if he thinks he need to remove some fluid from my band. Or if he thinks we “arrived”. In which case I must work on my bite sizes and chewing skills. And to be fair, I do not know how my weight changed during this period, as I stopped stepping on the scale.

So here it is for a exciting and happy 2012! 
Wishing you all the best and that all your dreams to come true!