Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am a successful fat girl(epic post...)

Often, after we turn the lights out at night and are snuggled in bed, Pete and I have the most honest, thought provoking, heart wrenching, awesome conversations.  There is something about being quiet with no electronics, no TV, no background noise.  Something about the darkness that provides anonymity to pour our hearts out to each other.  Something about the conforting snuggle that makes us feel secure enough to let it all out.

Last night Pete made a joke about his excess skin and how it jiggled.  I was instantly in tears.  My thought was, if he thinks that he's jiggly, what does he think about me now?  And what will he think of me after surgery/weight loss when I have jiggly skin?  He wasn't trying to be mean.  He wasn't suggesting anything about me, it was a response to him not feeling good about himself.  And so, in true nightime conversation style, we had an awesome talk.  So I'm sharing it with you.

I am having a hard time with body image right now.  Pete lost 130 pounds.  That's a whole human.  He's skinny enough that his pant legs are longer than his waist is around.  He's skinny enough to wear skinny jeans.  He's skinny.  And often times when I look at him I wonder if we "fit" together as a couple?  By that I mean, when you look at us, do we look like we fit together?  In my mind, no.  He is skinny and I am still overweight.  And through the silent tears and the hushed tones I told him this.  And he held me, silently.  Then he explained that he loved me no matter what I looked like.  He had every confidence that I would be successful in weight loss with the help of a new tool - the gastric band.  He told me I am powerful.

But you know what?  I don't believe him.  I don't think I am powerful for one moment.  Then I thought about what the #OSOB event and Jen from Prior Fat Girl said about the emotional part of losing weight.  I was silent for a bit, other than the slight hicups from trying to calm the tears.  I took a breath and let it all come out...

I have been so successful as the overweight girl.  I learned to eat to keep myself from being seen, to blend into the background.  I learned that I can use my weight as an excuse for why I wasn't good enough to get that job, to date that man, to have those kids, to travel the world, to reach my goals.  Dammit, I am a successful fat girl and part of me doesn't want to give that up.  It's comfortable.  It's familiar.  It's what has worked for me for years and years.  It's part of me. (It's very scary to admit this.)

Getting closer to a surgery date I am struck by how scared I am to let my fat girl go.  What if I lose the weight and I'm still not successful?  What if I can't lose the weight at all?  What if people see the REAL ME and don't like me?  What if I'm still not getting ahead at work?  What if I still can't travel the world?  What if Pete doesn't love me anymore?  All these what if's and I have no excuse to rely on...other than me.  The REAL ME. 

I need to embrase the REAL ME.  I need to know that the REAL ME is ok, no matter what she turns out to be.  I need to rely on the REAL ME.  I need to know that the REAL ME, is really who I am; is really who I have wanted to be my whole adult life.  I need to start learning the REAL ME...now.

And with all that, Pete and I settled in for sleep.  He knowing more about me and what I'm going through.  Me knowing more about his current issues and what he is going through.  Both of us feeling better together.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Can I motivationally interview myself?

I was instantly involved in this motivational interiewing training.  I have to admit that I dreaded going.  I dislike the touchy feely role playing trainings that seem to be the norm in my field lately.  It's a struggle to shift my mind from keeping distance and being authoratative to being empathetic and caring.  That sounds horrible, right?  I mean I got into probation thinking that I could make a difference and help people and the community.  But when I think about it, that wasn't what occurred.  I was authoratative and demanding.  The two ideas rarely met in the middle.  I spent a lot of time struggling to see that I helped the people I worked with.  And rarely would I feel good because progress toward becoming a more productive member of the community occurred.

So while I thought about the fact that I could really use this to feel more successful in my work life, I also wondered if I could use it in my personal life.  The answer ended up being of course. 

Did you know that every choice has some ambivalence?  Every choice we make has reasons for and against making it.  And while we want to change, just like my last blog post, do we really want to change?  When we start thinking about change and talking with other people about it, we get feedback.  And our natural inclination is that when someone tells us a reason for change, we think about the reasons against it.  Almost like "I'll show you.  I don't really need to change."  We dig our heels in about not changing.  The same is true of the reverse.  If someone tells us why we shouldn't change, we instinctively think of all the reasons why we should change.

After the first day of this training I kept thinking, "Can I motivationally Interview myself?"  Can I work though the steps and exercises that were a part of this to motivate myself to change when my motivation was lacking?  I think so.  I really think so.

My plan is to spend some time reworking the exercises she presented and posting them so everyone can learn from them.  Not just me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Am I Ready For Change?

At the recent One Step, One Breath Event, one of speakers talked about changes.  Are you ready for change?  She kept asking?  And my immediate response was "Yes, of course I am."  Yet she asked us to think about it further.  Am I REALLY ready for change or do I just like the idea of it? 

For example, she said that she wanted to quit smoking.  She would stop and everything would be good.  But...she'd go out with friends on Friday and they were smoking so she would smoke with them.  But she had quit.  But she didn't really want the change, she just liked the idea of it.  Once she was willing to stop smoking all the time, she was really ready for the change.

I thought about this while at the OBOS event, but then kind of put it out of my mind. 

Then I attended a training for work.  A training on Motivational Interviewing.  Likely most people have't heard of motivational interviewing or MI.  It's used in several areas of life as a tool to help ellicit changes from people who are resistive to change.  It's based on strategies that allow the person to come to the conclusion that change is necessary and how they can accomplish it.

The model of change looks like this:
When the trainer put this model on the screen I was once again hit with the question "Am i ready for change?"  It's interesting to me that when I'm struggling with something, I'm often times 'shown' the path in all areas of my life.  This is another example of this.  Never would I have thought that the change question would be repeated to me in my work life also.

So where am I in this model?  I'd say preparation <---> action.  I wander between these two on a regular basis.  I also think that it's interesting to note that relapse is built into the model.  Everyone relapses, falls back and needs to continue working on progress.  This was another item that the speakers all talked about at the OSOB event.  You relapse, your pick yourself up and start back on your path.

So where are you in this model?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Soup for Lunch

After not feeling good for a week I realized that soup is a pretty good lunch for me.  It fills me up and give me a chance to get in veggies and things that I may normally not eat.  So Sunday I made soup, applesauce, sugar free jello with blueberries and small cookies.

The cookies are a German recipe with dates, raisins and other dried fruit.

The applesauce I do a lot.  Pete says he will eat apples, but never does, or only eats one.  So I core, peel and cube the apples in a tall sauce pan.  I add 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla sugar per apple and 1/2 cup water per apple.  I let it simmer on medium heat and when the apples are soft I mash them against the side until they're as chunky as I want.  Usually this takes about 10-15 minutes.

The soup was this:
5 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed well
1 leek, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1 bag of baby spinach
1 package of mushrooms, chopped
1 package of fresh spinach tortellini from the dairy section
3 cloves of garlic, minced

I put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a stock pot and added the carrots and garlic to sweat a bit.  Then I added the leeks, the zucchini and the mushrooms.  After about 5 minutes I added the tomatoes and cooked it again for 5 minutes.  Then I added the stock, the beans and the spinach.  I let that cook until the spinach was wilted and added the tortelini.  I cooked that for 12 minutes until the pasta was soft.  Then I cooled it and divided it into 2 cup servings for lunch.

YUM!  Definitely a soup I can eat all week and not tire of it.

Monday, January 23, 2012


(Or is it #OSOB?  I can never get it right...)

I went to the Prior Fat Girl's One Step, One Breath event Saturday.  Wanna know what I learned?

This journey of healthiness doesn't have an end.  It's a life path.  There is no finish line, there is a new way of life forever.

In a silent room, the raised hands of EVERYONE who is struggling on their journey is LOUD!  Loud enough to make me cry.  Loud enough to encourage me to continue on my path.  Loud enough to know that I am not alone even when it feels like it.  Loud enough to let me know that people understand my struggle and know what I'm going through.  I needed that loud.

Friday, January 20, 2012

227; My husband keeps me honest

So I sit today at 227 and I've been there for the last 2 days now.  I think I'm up a couple of pounds from my monthly cycle.  And just so everyone knows:  Massive amounts of Vitamin D will cause gastrointestinal issues.  In the last week I was down to 223.  I lost a good 7 pounds will all my issues.  At one point I was thinking this was a good "diet", the next second I was cursing out the doctor who gave me the vitamin.  In the end, sanity won out and it's NOT a good diet plan.  After 8 days I think my body is adjusted...but I'm still afraid to eat much more that soup, crackers and jello.  My doctor says it will get better.

Last night Pete had a meeting for the motorcycle club.  He left before I got home.  Knowing that we were out of soup, I headed to the grocery store for soup, crackers, jello and bananas.  On the way there I decided to get cake.  You know, because I hadn't eaten any in a while and because I had 'lost' so much weight in the last week.  Also because Pete wouldn't be home to see me eat it.  No one other than the dog would see me eat my dinner.

Then I realized that Pete keeps me honest.  It's interesting that I do my worst eating and almost compulsive snacking at work, in my office, where no one can really see me.  I don't know that I ever thought of it as binge eating when I was single.  But I certainly had my share of grocery stops on the way home to get indulgent food to eat. 

So what did I buy at the store?  I bought 4 cans of soup with less than 70 calories in a serving and mainly veggie based.  I bought saltines for some added bulk to help fill me up.  I bought graham crackers for a sweet treat when I think I need one, sugar free jello, bananas and a bag of Hershey Valentine Hearts.  Not too bad, but not perfect (which I don't expect of myself).  I had my soup, but no crackers (either kind).  No jello or bananas.  But I did have 4 hearts.  It's the first sweet thing I've had in a week.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I don't want to eat (for the wrong reasons)

So Thursday was Pete's birthday.  I worked from home for a couple of hours and then was done.  Although Pete had to work, I sat in the bedroom office with him reading on my Nook while he worked.  I'm telling you, this working from home thing is awesome.  I can't wait until both of us can do it.

Thursday night Pete decided he wanted to go Dog Days At The Dome with Nico.  It was so cool!  Big dogs, tiny dogs, vendors, doggie owners and families.  Nico had been going a big stircrazy not being able to play outside a lot lately.  Of course he thinks that he is a 70 pound dog in a 15 pound body and tries to play with the big dogs.  All the dogs his size he runs by without even stopping.

About 90 minutes into it, my tummy started rumbling.  Uh oh I told Pete.  Then I told him I was sorry, but I thought we needed to head home.  By the time we got home I was in trouble.  The next 12 hours were awful.  Crackers and warm sparkling water were sparingly eaten. 

I'm better now 36 hours later.  I lost 3+ pounds and I'm down to 226. (yay)  But now I'm afraid to eat because I don't want to gain any back.  Ever have that experience?  It's going to be a struggle to eat appropriately the next few days rather than avoid eating to lose more weight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mindful Eating

I've struggled for a long time with mindful eating.  Well I've struggled for a long time, only I wasn't aware of what it really meant until the last year or so. 

Yesterday I had my second call from the insurance company to check in about my progress for the bariatric surgery.  While part of me thinks that the calls are a joke and a stalling technique to see if people will 'give up', the other half of me thinks that they provide some good information.

My trigger for bad eating seems to come at 2 times.  The first is days off work when I'm at home and don't necessarily eat 3 well spaced meals, but rather 2 bigger meals.  I'm trying to be more aware of that and change my ways.  My other trigger is afternoon snacking at work or snacking at work in general.  I've noticed that when I'm at my desk in my office I want to snack all day long.  Yet when I'm forced to be in our front office for the 2 weeks every 90 days I never feel like I need to snack.  I think the snacking is part habit and part environmental (see I really do need to convince my department to let me telework!).

The solution:  For the next 2 weeks my goal is to write down what I eat at work, when exactly I eat it and how I feel before I eat it.  Is there a pattern to how I feel before I eat?  Am I eating from stress?  Boredom?  Actual hunger?  I started this yesterday afternoon.  When I wasn't hungry I decided that I'd get up from my desk, take a mental break, drink at least 4 ounces of water and wait for 15 minutes.  If I was still craving the food I could give in.  Most often the break and the water did the trick.  But I did indulge once.  The goal isn't to stop the eating all the time, but see the pattern of eating.

My goal in the last few years has been to try new things.  I learned that I like turnips, parsnips, rutabaga and other veggies.  I've been reading a lot about people making kale chips.  Last weekend I tried it.  I took a bunch of kale that was washed and dried.  Cut it into pieces about 1.5x1.5 and placed it out on a cookie sheet.  Then I spritzed sparingly with olive oil, a small amount of salt and lots of pepper.  I baked them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they were slightly dark and crisp. 

YUM!  It's like a spicy light chip.  I put them in a large gladware container because they are to delicate for baggies.  I've eaten about 2 loosely packed cups each day in the afternoons.  For about 1 cup fresh kale there is 33 calories, 7 grams of carbs  and 1 gram of fiber.  It's got 200% DV for VitaminA, 134% DV for Vitamin C plus calcium and iron. 

I can't wait to do more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Big Sigh

My second mammogram & ultrasound revealed nothing.  The radiologist suggested a follow up mammogram in 90 days and if negative to resume my every 6 month routine.  My self fulfilling prophecy isn't full filled right now. 

In other news...

I am normal.  Really.  I have the psych evaluation to prove it.  Part of me wonders how that is.  I mean, I self diagnosed me with anxiety a week or so ago and yet my MMPI and other testing doesn't suggest any anxiety.  The psychologist says that I seem to have a healthy support system, a good reason for wanting the bariatric surgery and I'm a good candidate.  One additional thing checked off my list.

I have my second of five calls with the insurance company today. They check in to see how you're doing, go over issues and concerns and strategies with you.  Really they want to make sure that you're a good fit also before deciding to pay for the surgery.

Aside from the calls, the only other thing I have to do is lose 5-6 pounds.  I've been weighing myself daily at Pete's suggestion so that I can see how my weight fluctuates from day or day and throughout the month.  I've been at 230.6 to 229.6 with a couple of spikes to 231 during my cycle.  I had a great streak going with the gym until I got this chest cold last Wednesday.  Lately it hurts to breathe so the treadmill will have to wait.  I have plans to attack it again this week. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Self Fulfilling Prophacy?

In March 2009 I blogged about being WORRIED, MY GENETIC JOURNEY and that the test was NEGATIVE.

I can't remember if I shared the conversation I once had with my Mom.  She was talking about watching my Grandma and Great Grandma go to Mexico for treatment for breast cancer.  She talked about how my Grandparents surprised them all by taking them out to eat, only to tell them that my Grandma had breast cancer.  In the conversation she said that when my Grandma was diagnosed she was 48 and my Great Grandma about the same age.  After that my Mom just knew that she would be diagnosed around the same age also. 

My Mom turned 48 the day she had the biopsy confirming that she had breast cancer.  I look back know and feel horrible about that day.  My sister and I had planned a surprise dinner for my Mom that night and invited my Grandma over.  When my Mom got home from work I could sense that there was something wrong, but dismissed it.  I could never have known that she had just come from the biopsy.  I'll forever feel sorry for that day and yet, she's never said anything to my sister or I about it.

Often I've thought about my Mom feeling like she would have breast cancer.  How often did it enter her mind?  She she read her nursing journals searching for the newest information on breast cancer to gain knowledge for her patients, herself or both?  Did she wonder when her day would come?  Did it consume her the closer she got to 48?  Did she and my Dad talk about it or did she suffer in silence, not wanting to worry anyone? 

Since then, I've talked to Pete about this at length.  We've had many a quiet conversation laying in bed, strolling around our favorite wedding place, in the car...on the phone.  I've expressed my fears several times and he understands them as best a man can. 

In the last couple of months I've wanted to get a tattoo.  I have the image in mind and a little saying, but can't figure out where to get it.  I want someplace that won't sag, wrinkle or look horrible in 20 years.  I want to be able to see it, but not have it visible to clients who have no boundaries most of the time. 

New Years Eve Pete and I went to see one of his favorite bands play.  Somehow the conversation turned to tattoos.  Pete suggested my breast and I quickly replied, "I can't get it close to my breast."  He asked why and I stated, "I just know I'll be diagnosed with breast cancer like my Mom and I don't want to lose a tattoo."

I got a call today that my mammogram from last week was abnormal.  I am scheduled to go in later this week for another mammogram, an ultrasound and potentially other tests and then meet with a radiologist.  As I sit here I can't help but wonder if it's a self fulfilling prophecy?  And I can't help but be fearful and anxiety ridden.  Honestly, I'm pretty scared.