Friday, July 31, 2009

13 lbs Gone in 11 Days!

So I had a nice boost this morning when I saw that I'm down 13 pounds in 11 days!

I'm really getting a hang of this pre-op diet. I definitely would've given up on it had it not been for the surgery however. The best thing is that I have a pretty even energy level throughout the day if I eat on schedule.

I had gone mostly without solid food (ie: vegetables) this week given all the meetings, but today I was lucky enough to get a salad for both lunch and dinner. Below is today's food journal...

Shake & Coffee
250 calories

Salad & carrots
Diet Dr. Pepper
345 calories

Diet Dr. Pepper
300 calories

895 Calories

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good to know, Lap-bands are affected in air travel!

Just read an interesting post over at the Broken Bay Writers blog. Lap-bands get tighter and can cause problems with restriction, tightness, eating and possible vomiting while in flight!

So I guess I should pretty much try and avoid eating while flying and having that air pressure cause extra tightness (and thus embarrassment)...

Especially useful considering I have two upcoming flights, post surgery.

This is what I like to hear!

I love reading other "bandster's" blogs. It's not only insightful but often motivated. Look in the right-hand column for links to other lap-band and weight loss surgery (WLS) blogs.

Just got a much-needed lift for the day after reading about The Violinist with a Band's total 38 pound weight loss in just two months!

Given our wedding is in three months, I'd be very happy with a weight loss like that.

Congrats to her on a major success!

Pre-op doctors appointments are finally a thing of the past

I can officially now say I've completed all of my pre-op requirements in regards to doctors appointments! Hallelujah!

As I mentioned in my last post, I squeezed in two appointments today between sales mtg meetings -- a serious trick in itself. The esophagram was first thing in the morning, and then a standard Rx refill at lunch to make sure I'm covered while I'm out of commission post surgery.

A highlight of my day however was being grouped with other bariatric patients when I went to have my esophagram. All three were in various stages of post-op. Two lap-bands and one gastric bypass. It was interesting to sit and chat with them about their experiences. The woman who'd had the gastric bypass was maybe a year out and was thin! Always a big motivator.

She said she chose the bypass, which is less popular these days, because there is less intensive follow-up (no fill every month) and because her mom had done it and been successful. People with the bypass do statistically lose more weight.

Otherwise, a few general impressions from our conversation...

First, it was very supportive as it was an open group of people willing to talk about their experiences.

I was surprised that they all mentioned that the 5-year requirement was a challenge. Most if not all of the insurance plans require that you have been a certain amount overweight for five years. So that this is a major, ongoing problem and not just something new someone is looking for a quick fix for.

I guess I just take for granted that the people having this surgery are mostly people who have been overweight most of their lives. Since there are so many of us! But for this group, I don't think that was the case...

They all also talked about being happy with their decisions, although the other two band patients were less than a month post-op.

One had trouble throwing up post surgery, the other didn't. They both had trouble with the gas they pump into your stomach during the surgery. It's supposed to cause quite tremendous shoulder pain. Fingers crossed I dont have such a bad time with that...

Overall, I'm still optimistic about the surgery itself and counting down until Tuesday! 5 days left...

Stress and Anxiety

I'm definitely an emotional eater, and I've heard that a major issue that some lap-band patients have to deal with is finding an alternative way to deal with stress.

One of the major challenges of this liquid diet has been dealing with the crankies (poor Alex!) It's one thing if I'm legitimately hungry because then I can just have a shake and be fine. And since I'm doing the Glucerna shakes and they are low sugar, I'm not having mood swings from my sugar/carb highs and lows. In the past, I could often blame my moods on that.

However, some days since I've been on the liquid diet, or more often some evenings, I'm just a big 'ol crankpot. That of course colors my perception about everything.

The sales mtg at work this week has been stressful, but adding in running around today for doctor's appointments that were literally squeezed in between breaks in the sales mtg didn't help my cause at all. Getting up super early and dragging my butt in the sticky humidity, transfering 3x and then having a LONG walk to the radiology dept at NYU in shoes that gave me blisters, and wearing a suit, didn't help either.

So at the end of the day, I ended up just backing out of the sales mtg dinner entirely. There wasn't anything I could eat anyway given the restaurant, and I wasn't easily able to hide my mood from my coworkers, so I decided to avoid the situation entirely. Of course that won't always be an option!

I went for a group dinner yesterday and decided that it was just too tricky for me to try and eat just plain lettuce while everyone around me was eating bread and butter and lavish meals, and drinking, and then awesome desserts. Other meals haven't bothered me in my mtgs last week and this week, but yesterday and today I just didn't want to watch people eat foods I want to be eating!

The difference between just being in a mood though and this is that I have a short fuse in general now and I find that I'm anxious. Not always, but more than usual. I may be cranky and moody often enough, but anxiety isn't always the norm for me. And I'm not anxious about anything in particular. I can't say I'm even stressed about the sales mtg. This year's was waaay easier than usual. It's just my general state of being right now given that I don't have that food outlet.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What I ate today...

In case anyone out there is curious about the realities of the pre-op diet, here's a breakdown of what I ate today...

8:00 a.m.
1/2 Chocolate Ensure Shake
100 calories

9:00 a.m.
Coffee with creamer, a splash of skim milk, and Splenda
25 calories

10:30 a.m.
1 Chocolate Ensure Shake
200 calories

12:30 p.m.
1 Chocolate Ensure Shake
1 packet Lipton vegetable broth
245 calories

2:30 p.m.
1 Chocolate Ensure Shake
1 packet Lipton vegetable broth
245 calories

4:30 p.m.
1 Chocolate Ensure Shake
1 packet Lipton soup
245 calories

7:00 p.m.
1/2 chocolate Ensure shake
Steamed green beans and grilled veggies
(mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini)
175 calories

1235 calories

I wouldn't usually have to have as much soup broth (3 servings), but because I didn't have any vegetables at lunch, I was pretty starving most of the day.

By the way

Can I just say, that I am pretty much despising celery at the moment. Plain, stringy, hateful celery.

The crunch is fine, the flavor barely there but good enough. However, that damn stringy texture.

Have I mentioned this diet is making me cranky? More to come on that.

Whew! Just scheduled my esophagram

I almost friggin forgot my esophogram! Oh no!

The surgeon requires an x-ray of my esophogus to make sure there are no obstructions before surgery. But they've been so low-key about it the whole time--it was never required in advance of any appointments or approvals--that I kept putting it off. Until of course last minute.

So this morning I got all nervous that it would be hard to get an appointment, especially since I'll be wicked busy all week with our sales mtg. But NYU's radiology dept was very cool about it, and they squeezed me into the appointment I wanted! AND it's only a couple of days before the results are in and they just fax them to my surgeon. Easy peasy.

Dealing with NYU has been surprisingly pleasant. I'm not talking about the bariatric surgery team, they've been great minus one iffy staff member. But being sent back and forth around the hospital has been clear and easy. All the various departments quite nice, easy-going and friendly.

I can't say the same when I had a lot of back and forth at Mass General in Boston a number of years back.

My GP was a bit surprised they'd leave the esophogram until so late however. Because if there is a random blockage, then the whole thing is off (I'm guessing?!) I think that's quite rare however, so I'm not really worried about it...

UPDATE: Just totally cracked myself up! I've replaced the x-ray image as it seems as though the first one was from some sort of animal, not a human! oops! I was wondering why the esophagram was sideways, but I just figured the person was laying down. I didn't figure the person was actually a dog or a horse or something.... ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Got my insurance approval!

Yay! I just got a call confirming that I am officially approved for insurance coverage!

I had my surgery scheduled knowing I had everything I needed for the surgery, but on occasion people get denied, so I'm super excited to finally be approved.

NYU called and confirmed I'll only have a $100 copay for the surgery which is phenomenal. All in all, I'll end up spending more than $1000 based on various expenses such as the nutritionist, psychologist, supplements, shakes, and hospital copay, but $1000 out of what probably costs $20,000 at the end of the day is pretty impressive!

On a side note, I'm watching What Not to Wear while I'm writing this. I just have to put this out there to all my friends and family watching, I'd really like to be nominated post weight loss!

My Amazon order arrived!

I now have a fridge overflowing with Glucerna weight loss shakes, and my entire order hasn't even arrived! The case of strawberry flavor is still on its way.

Plus a bit of veg on the top shelf. I also got the chewable vitamins and low sodium soup I ordered.

I'm really into the Mix1 drinks though. Variety is a good thing when it comes to the shakes. I'll probably do another review of the shakes soon, particularly the Mix1.

Eating Out on the Pre-Op Diet

This week at work has been crazy, and I think that's good in terms of distracting me from being hungry or eating out of habit; however, we had a week-long workshop which meant lots of work lunches and a dinner out.

For the lunches during the workshop I ordered a dry salad and then stepped away and had a protein shake. Someone did comment on that I hadn't really eaten anything, but I said I didn't like my salad, which one day I really didn't, and said I'd gone downstairs and had something, which I did, a protein shake.

Luckily vegetables are allowed on this diet otherwise I'd have no "cover." If you recall, this is the list of what I can eat.

And for our business dinner, I made an effort to choose the restaurant (did the same thing for the lunches too). For dinner we went to a New American restaurant called Beacon here in New York City. I often try and go with the Critics Picks on New York Magazine's website.

Being a foodie, one of the perks I've always loved about my job is all the high end restaurants we get to go to. My boss is a foodie too, so in my time with the company, I've been to many of the city's best restaurants. Luckily, I'm big on ambiance and decor in addition to the food, so with this dinner at Beacon there was still something to look forward to.

I had a shake beforehand and then ordered things but just had a few bites of each. Tomato soup (a few sips), grilled asparagus they ordered for the table (just a little because of the oil) and then my salad with my fork just dipped in the dressing, not poured over the salad. Then a decaf coffee for dessert. It was a fun evening, good company and good food (I'm appreciating small details like the fantastic salad dressing even more than usual). Not awkward at all.

Someone did comment privately about the fact that I must be on a diet for the wedding, so that's another explanation when people ask about all this weight I'm losing.

I don't mind talking about the surgery with close friends, but I really don't want to talk openly about it at work. Next week is our sales meeting, so there will be even more lunches and dinners and this time I can't control where we go. So this should be interesting!

10 pounds lost!

First of all, super crappy picture. However, despite not being dressed up, I am still 10 pounds down!

I decided to go ahead and keep this pic to remind myself what I look like when I'm all scuzzed out not bothering to get done up. (Perhaps this will be a make-over in more ways than just weight loss!)

I have never lost weight as fast as on this liquid protein shake diet. 10 pounds in 5 days is completely absurd. I was a little sick yesterday, so some of that weight loss might be dehydration. I'm working to make sure I'm hydrated.

Plus, it's the first week and you always get the biggest numbers then.

Finally, I'll be doing a side by side before and after every week. As I begin to lose more weight, I'll get fancier with the before and after comparisons...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fridge Purge

After being inspired by this previous post about completely clearing out the fridge, I decided to do just that tonight before I start my liquid diet. It really is symbolic of clearing all the crap out of my diet and life.

Since Alex won't be on a liquid diet, I did leave him his eggs and a few other things! And for guests, I've left some alcohol and sodas we never drink anyway. As for the condiments, for now they stay. We'll see what happens to them.

However, once all of my protein shakes from amazon arrive and once I go vegetable shopping, it'll be a lot less bare. For now, I'll get to keep trying some of the new protein shakes we got at GNC and at the neighborhood drug stores. Supposedly the myoplex is terrible according to Alex. I haven't tried it myself yet. But there are lots of other brands here too, just to provide some variety.

I'm quite happy that I don't have to ditch my morning coffee either.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My liquid diet starts tomorrow!

My liquid diet starts tomorrow, and I'm actually excited about it!

I definitely overdid it this weekend which actually just made me feel kind've gross and ready for the liquid fast. There are a few things I can have however, beyond the protein shakes. I'm listing them here. I'm sure I'll be reviewing this list when I'm starving and scrambling for what I can eat!

  • Sugar free drinks
  • Diet, caffiene-free soda
  • Sugar free ices (up to 30 calories/day)
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Low sodium broth
  • Up to 2 caffeinated drinks/day with skim milk and artificial sweetner
  • Up to 2 cups of vegetables (no corn, peas, potatoes, or beans)

Flickr Inspiration

I love to look at before and after pics. It's great motivation!

Check out these inspiring shots I found on Flickr! I especially like this one of her in the pool below. I'm dreaming of having my own "after" pic like that.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Got Paid Today!

That means I was able to cross off a ton of things from my to-do list, like a couple of hundred dollars worth of protein shakes for the next month! Plus tons of supplements including the Juice Plus shown above, to help with the fact that I won't be eating fresh fruits and veggies for a month...

This weekend is also my final weekend of normal food. While I'm not going to utterly pig out, I do plan on a "final meal" out. I'm thinking Italian food. Plus I'm sure I'll order a pizza for dinner tomorrow and have a big 'ol NY bagel for breakfast one morning.

This is it. I'm up to the final countdown!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lap Band Support Group

So one of the recommendations before surgery is that we attend a Lap-Band support meeting at NYU. I've done a lot of research, but it was interesting and insightful to see and hear people talk.

I'm all for therapy, but I spent my time in the session half interested and half annoyed at the few people that just wouldn't stop talking. One of which didn't even have a band!

I did learn something new about fills though. For those friends and family who aren't familiar with that term, basically, the lap-band can be filled with fluid so that it's adjustable to accommodate appetite and help people feel fuller. Some of the bands go up to 10cc's. One person asked a question about how much the band can be filled. For example, if he filled the band to 4cc's and it was too much, does that mean he can never go higher than 4cc's. I would've thought yes, but i guess as you lose weight your stomach changes and so later on, as you adjust, yes, you may then want to go higher than 4cc's. When your body is ready.

Other people talked about being frustrated about emotional eating, which is my biggest concern -- learning to deal with stress and boredom in other ways.

However, the most significant impression was that many people hadn't lost as much weight as I expected. The average might have been 40 to 60 pounds. A couple had lost more. I guess I was thinking I'd lose 40 just at the beginning, in the first few months!

Again and again people said that they were so glad they'd had it done, but it's a pretty major step just to lose 40lbs!

Four more days of normal eating...

I just realized today that I only have four more days of being "normal!" Not that being at my weight is normal but four more days of eating like a real person anyhow.

Went to lunch with colleagues today. Trying to enjoy my food without getting crazy up until Monday.

Monday is when I begin my liquid diet. I've come to learn that this 6 weeks I'm about to enter without solid food is referred to as "Bandster Hell." Lovely.

Surprisingly, there's a part of me that's looking forward to it. It feels like a challenge. The surgery itself makes me nervous, but the liquid fast beforehand feels like something imposed (in a good way) that I can still control.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Woot! Just scheduled my surgery!

I'm super excited. I got such a rush surprisingly when I actually booked my surgery today.

I'm scheduled for Tuesday August 4th!

More details to come later...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Engagement photos

I'm getting excited about the surgery again. I was so bogged down in all the research I was doing about it, obsessing I'm sure, that I was caught up in all the logistics and details.

In wedding planning, I've come across lots of really fun, creative engagement photos. My mom also suggested engagement pics recently too.

However, Alex and I were just talking and have decided to postpone our engagement pics, and instead do them when we've lost weight. I guess we'll have to decide what the "marker" number will be. I think for me, 75lbs lost... Though of course I have more to lose (or else I wouldn't be having surgery!)

I've shared some of the engagement photos I like. Definitely not traditional, but more modern-meets-vintage that seems to be the style right now. Love them! Especially the shot in the grass above. And we'll have to include our dogs in the pics too!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Energy?

So I'm hoping post surgery that I'll have a lot more energy! I definitely did the first time I lost a ton of weight. In fact, at times, it was hard for me to sit still.

I was admiring a friend's adventuresome pics on Facebook. She's recently moved to Europe and looks like she's living the life and traveling.

I've been feeling really bored lately. At home, at work. A bit shocking considering all the major changes going on in my life these days, getting married, having the surgery and all.

I guess now, I have to consider what exactly I'll do with all this new energy I hope to have. It'll probably involve at least a bit of travel post-wedding.