The content of this blog is strictly my opinion and comes from personal experience and individual research. I am not a medical professional so please contact your physician before drastically changing your diet and caloric intake.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Starting Over... Day 2

Monday was a good day. I wish all Mondays were like this one. It was Memorial Day and we had the day off. We started the morning with our daily turkey, egg, and four cheese Mexican blend scramble.

Turkey, Egg, 4 Cheese Scramble for One
           You can save calories by using Pam instead of butter. If you have a digital kitchen scale, use it for this until you can recognize an ounce of each on sight.

1 small pat unsalted butter (less than ¼” thick)
1 oz lean thin sliced deli turkey breast (I use Hillshire Farm oven baked), roughly chopped
1 oz shredded 4 cheese Mexican blend
1 large egg

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toss in the turkey breast and cook, stirring occasionally just until the edges start to turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Crack the egg directly in the pan and begin stirring immediately. Stir constantly until the egg is cooked through but not dry. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Allow scramble to sit in the pan, off the heat, until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately or pack to stay warm. (I increase the eggs to 3 and the turkey to 2 oz during the week and we split it between us. We pack this every morning and eat them when we get to work.)

Calories:  240
Total Fat:  16.3 g
Saturated Fat:  8.6 g
Cholesterol:  241 mg
Carbohydrates: 3.1 g
Sodium:  840 mg
Sugars:  1.4 g
Protein: 19.8 g

I know it’s a lot of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. I’m looking for a good quality reduced sodium turkey and cheese but I can only find reduced fat. We’ve been eating 2 eggs every morning for several years and our cholesterol hovers around 140. I’m ok with the nutritional information here.

After breakfast we went outside, worked in one of the flower/herb beds, mowed the yard, and grilled enough meat for a few days.  This stupor that I’ve been stuck in has kept us inside the past couple of summers.  It felt great to be in the sun, digging in the dirt, and working together to actually accomplish a goal. It was a really good day.

We finally grilled for the first time this season. We grilled (4) Hebrew National Jumbo Beef Franks, (2) Hamburgers made out fresh ground chuck from a local butcher, Guinness Extra Stout, and Low Sodium Worcestershire, (4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and (4) boneless pork loin chops, both marinated in Lowry’s Tuscan Sundried Tomato 30 minute marinade, over night of course, and both also from our local butcher. Throw in a pound of asparagus tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a head of garlic, and white onion wedges. I go into that much detail because quality has become a major factor in our food choices. One of the early post op habits that we continue today is chewing each bite until it’s mush. You become very aware of and develop an appreciation for texture. If food has random crunchy or rubbery bits, you know like bone, cartilage, silver skin, fibrous tissue, egg shells, unidentifiable debris, we notice it immediately and it completely ruins the meal.  After trying multiple brands we found that higher quality, fresher foods have little if any grit to destroy a beautiful dish. I admit it is more expensive but we don’t throw away near as much food as we did on lesser quality products. Watch for sales, coupons, and The Choppin Block, our local butcher who only sells All Natural meats in Choice grade or higher, runs specials on Tuesdays. The final price ends up being close to that of cheaper quality meats at the grocery.

(Disclaimer: I notice I’m using “we” a lot when this blog is supposed to be about me. My husband is my best friend.  And even though I am the only one experiencing excessive weight gain, our surgeries were only 14 months apart and we still share every aspect of our lives, including this adventure.)

We snacked on hot dogs (1 for each of us) while the other meat cooked and we continued to clean out the flower/herb bed. Dinner was a burger, 1/2 cup asparagus, a few cloves of garlic, and a TBSP of roasted onions.  Throw in a couple of South Beach Meal Replacement Bars throughout the day and a handful of berries and I was 83 calories over where WebMD wants me to be. That’s when the day went downhill.

A few weeks ago we discovered mini cupcakes made with Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix. My darling husband has been asking me for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for months so I made them tonight. It was really simple;   just add a small packet of Sugar Free Lemon Instant Pudding and 1/4 cup poppy seeds to the cake mix before adding the ingredients on the box. Even though it’s sugar free, each mini muffin is 62.5 calories. Before I was done, I had popped 3 in my mouth, along with a handful of blueberries and blackberries tossed with Splenda and Sumner Crest Tennessee Blackberry wine. I overestimated the amount of berries to account for the tablespoon of wine but WebMD now has my calories for the day at 1625, 324 calories above their goal of 1301 and a whopping 425 calories above my personal goal of 1200. That’s 128 calories more than I ate yesterday. The goal was to reduce my calories while maintaining the protein, not the other way around. I’m only 2 days into this but that 1200 calories is being elusive.

So here are my stats for today:

Open RNY Gastric Bypass: 10/22/2002
Highest Weight: 356
Weight at Surgery: 306
Lowest Weight: 156
Highest Recorded Weight Gain: 238
Weight on 05/29/2011: 224
Weight on 05/30/2011: 221.8
Weight on 05/31/2011: 221.4 (Total loss since 05/29/11 - 2.6 lbs)

WebMD                     Personal                   Actual
Calories:         1301                          1200                        1625 (Are you kidding me?)
Protein:           46 grams                  100 grams                95.2 grams (Less than Sunday)
Total Carbs:    130 grams                 50 grams                 111.3 grams (A little less than Sunday)
Sugars:           25 grams                   20 grams                  27 grams (Almost the same as Sunday)

So with less protein and less carbs, where are the calories coming from? I still lost .4 lb which is good for one day but it also tells me that 1625 is too high. The Hebrew National Beef Frank is 275 calories and the hamburger is 345 calories. Those two items also account for 43 grams of protein. The South Beach bars add 12 grams of protein and 180 calories each. With protein comes additional calories. Interesting…

So what have I learned so far after day 2?

-      Protein = calories. If I’m going to watch my calories, I need to find alternative, lower calorie sources of protein.
-        I now understand what the disclaimer “not a reduced calorie food” really means.
-       Making a treat for the husband is not always the best idea
-      Be conscious of the food on my plate, concentrate on what I’m eating, and chew gum while cooking. Grazing is always a bad idea.

I’m really getting excited about what the week has in store. “Information is the mortar that builds and destroys empires” (Tobsha Learner, The Witch of Cologne) The same could be said about any aspect of our lives. The information I am gathering about what I eat and how food alone affects my weight can either help me succeed or give me an excuse to give up. I am reaching for success.

Until tomorrow...


Monday, May 30, 2011

Starting Over.. Again

I apologize for being MIA the past several months. I lost sight of the purpose of this blog and almost abandoned it but as is typical, life caught up to me. It’s been a very stressful year and a half with the worst of it being the last 8 or 9 months. It was easy to fall back to old eating habits. I was eating what I wanted, when I wanted, dumping and vomiting be damned. I was on food and lifestyle autopilot. Then a series of events in April woke me from my stupor. A personal situation came to a head and had to be confronted and I’m not sure which was worse but over the course of two days, a coworker snapped some pictures of me. I cried. To be honest, I saw some pictures of myself from my high school reunion last July and even though I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained, autopilot was too well engaged and it wasn’t enough to snap me out of it. The timing on these pictures was perfect because the fog was already starting to lift. Moral: Don’t stop taking pictures. They keep you honest and give you a visual confirmation of how you’re really doing.

The first clue that something was amiss was my hair started falling out in late Winter. I admit I have been letting it grow out and haven’t gotten it cut in way too long.  I wanted the hair loss to be normal seasonal shedding but it just kept falling out. Thankfully I have really thick curly hair and losing it just makes it behave better but I have honestly gotten scared. Then when the pictures came out, it was the punch in the gut that I needed. I immediately came home and threw away anything that I thought was derailing me. What I love about having this surgery is that it only takes a few diet and lifestyle changes to get the weight loss going again. In a matter of 30 days I lost 22 lbs and even more hair. (I honestly let my guard down last week and found that I gained back 6 of the 22 lbs. Another eye-opener)

Side Bar: I have to say that probably the most important catalyst of clearing the fog was confronting my personal demons, both physically and psychologically. I know that the original weight gain the first 30 years of my life was in response to an abusive childhood and the regain was my brain’s way of dealing with similar situation with a coworker. When an unrelated situation came to head and I had to actually deal with it, it finally clicked that I am now strong enough to deal with anything that comes my way and my health doesn’t need to be the casualty. I couldn’t say the same thing just 5 years ago. I also had 10 years of therapy as a foundation. If your brain is keeping you from success, please seek professional help. You deserve to be the healthiest person possible, both physically and emotionally.

So I started doing research on the hair loss. I was able to control the hair loss the first time around and while I remembered it had something to do with protein, I couldn’t remember all the details. I also started looking for other WLS patients that are more than 5 years post op. I’m almost 9 years post op and while support groups for new patients are fabulous, they helped me through my first year, they don’t answer some of the questions I have now about long term effects. This is when I found the WebMD Healthy Eating and Diet Section, the WebMD Diet Community, and the WebMD Food and Fitness Planner. I know there are other communities and food trackers out there but this one is easy to use and it tracks the nutritional information I need like Calories, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Sugars. The Diet Community is not very active but there is good information there if you take the time to look for it. I’m still searching for a more active community so if anyone has any suggestions please post them in the comments.

So my brain is in the right place and I’m motivated. Motivation is really hard for me to maintain; if it weren’t, I wouldn’t be suffering from morbid obesity… again…. As embarrassing as they are, here are my stats:

Open RNY Gastric Bypass: 10/22/2002
Highest Weight: 356
Weight at Surgery: 306
Lowest Weight: 156
Highest Recorded Weight Gain: 238
Weight on 05/29/2011: 224
Weight on 05/30/2011: 221.8

Based on a suggestion from the WebMD Diet Community expert, I logged every bite I took yesterday. I can never stick to a food log so I’m only obligating myself to 1 week. The goal is to see just how healthy my current eating habits are and where I can make changes. I also read a suggestion that said to weigh yourself every day so you can see how eating and activity the day before effects your weight and how you feel. I deal with a lot of water retention and don’t know if it’s diet or medication. I hope to find a pattern. It’s hard to find nutritional guidelines online for those of us this far post op so here is what WebMD says I should be eating, what my personal goals are based on a combination of first year post op diets and familiarity with my own body, and how I did after day 1 of logging my food.

WebMD                      Personal                    Actual
Calories:          1301                           1200                         1497 (YIKES)
Protein:            46 grams                    100 grams               108.7 grams (WOOHOO)
Total Carbs:    130 grams                  50 grams                 115.2 grams (HOLY CRAP)
Sugars:             25 grams                    20 grams                 26.3 grams (Could be better)

So as you can see, I have some things to work on. Since this blog is supposed to be my journey living with Weight Loss Surgery, what better way to use this space than to document my struggle and eventual success?  I plan to come in every day for at least the next week and talk about this learning experience I am embarking on. I am tired of feeling “fat”, of having little or no energy, of living with the pain of fibromyalgia (another post for another time), and of this “autopilot” that has taken over. I made the decision 10 years ago to completely change my life and it’s time to let this tool do its job. I hope you decide to join me on this journey and I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Here we go! Are you coming along?