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.

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?


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