Staying Down

Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, August 31, 2010 Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vacation is one of those words that, for most people, conjures up images of beaches, palm trees, relaxing book reading in sandy lounge chairs with men named Raul bringing you fruity drinks with umbrellas and double shots of liquor.

Which is why I honestly cannot call what I went on this past week, a vacation. Because when you add a child to the mix, the fruity drink is usually apple juice, the little umbrella is a choking hazard and Raul and his supermodel wife Margarita are staring at you rudely because your child is touching their Ralph Lauren beach towels with her mint chocolate chip fingers.

The double shots of liquor however, still make an appearance.

As I like to call 'vacation' with a toddler: “Same Shit Different Location”.

A Banded vacation, however, is a tad different than it used to be. I won't bore you with the details of what I ate or drank or how little I exercised, but I will tell you that the quantities of whatever made it into my gaping maw were WAY less than they used to be. Coffee with lots of milk has replaced a breakfast of donut topped donuts. Deli-meat roll ups have replaced pool-side pizza for lunch, and although I can't say I didn't pop a few Golden Oreos while enjoying my trashy novel, there were over 2/3 of them left in the carton when we got home.

The best part of this isn't necessarily the food choices themselves, its that I'm SATISFIED with them. I'm not lusting after something I 'shouldn't' have or eating that last piece of key-lime pie just because its there. I'm full. In the uplifting words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Thank God Almighty, I'm FULL AT LAST.

Another strange thing Leona suggested I do on this vacation was bring my scale with me. And get this, I ACTUALLY GOT ON IT. EVERY DAY. As of this morning, I've not lost or gained a pound. Success? Not really. Acceptable? Definitely.

Being banded has forced me (in a good way) to start examining my relationship with food, my appearance, my clothing size, my emotions and the number on the scale. I haven't really 'gotten there' yet with any of these relationships but the one that really chaps my hide is the one with the scale itself.

I want to love my scale. I want to shower it with love and affection. I want to adorn it with jewels and squeeze it and call it George. But I just can't. I hate the damn thing. I even hate it when it gives me a 'good number'. Why? Because I hate that I'm letting a freakin' number on a scale DEFINE me and my mood of the day. Normally that is Matt Lauer's job.

In a perfect world, I would throw the scale away. But I can't. I've always kind of known that throwing away the scale wasn't possible for me. Even when the number was creeping up every week and I cried when I stepped on it, and cried harder when it started CREAKING, I still never stopped getting on it.

Since about age 13, I could have told you how much I weighed, any day of the week, down to the ½ pound. I could also tell you the middle names of every NKOTB member and say the entire 50 United States in alphabetical order.

When my surgeon's P.A. told me early on that I should just go by clothing size and not worry about the number on the scale I didn't just laugh out loud, I got as hysterical as an unhinged villain. Then I punched him.

I'd love to be one of those people who could just be all pretentious-like, cross my designer jean clad legs, bat my LATISSE eyelashes and say “I don't need a scale, as soon as my jeans start to feel tight, I start watching what I eat”. But we all know that the only people who can really do that are Heidi Klum and GOD. The last time I read Cosmo and followed the 'throw your scale away' advice I ended up in maternity shorts. Not pregnant.

Body By Pizza – one of the most inspiring and inspired weight loss bloggers I've ever read, followed the advice of some of her followers and tossed the scale for a couple of months.

She decided to use how her clothes fit to guide her in healthy eating and moving. Get this, she gained FIFTEEN POUNDS over the last 60 days. Moreover, she was doing P90X THE WHOLE TIME.

I've heard the Nazis used this P90X program to weed out fatties from the elite race. Unfortunately Hitler didn't account for the invention of Frutopia, Whoppers and moving sidewalks so we still roam the Earth, looking for RingDings and plus-sized capri pants. How do ya like them apples Adolf?!

Like me, it sounds like Body by Pizza needs the scale to keep her honest *Sigh*.

It sucks for both of us and its not fair but my scale took the 7 hour trip with us to the beach anyway. He sat between the cooler full of Greek yogurt and string cheese and the bag full of bathing suits that are almost too big. Yes, my scale is a 'He'. Who else but a man would have invented such a torturous device?

And although most of my exercise came in the form of mortar & pestling guacamole or getting up to pour myself another glass of pinot grigio, he (my scale) recognized my eating efforts and rewarded me with an 'acceptable' number that I then picture-messaged, somewhat proudly, to my personal trainer.

I've always hated having “the man” keep me down' but now I kinda like it.

Letting you know

Posted by Sherry , Sunday, August 29, 2010 Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lots to say an catch you all up on but unfortunately I am too covered in Golden Oreo dust, sand and SPF 50 to type out anything halfway decent.

If anyone sees Leona or my tan lines, please email me immediately.

Healthy Competition - Finally

Posted by Sherry , Monday, August 16, 2010 Monday, August 16, 2010

I enjoy a little healthy competition from time to time. I mean, there's nothing like challenging your husband to a little game of “who can do the dishes faster?” Good job, honey! Boy, he ALWAYS beats me. Guess I should leave that chore to the master, right?

But competition doesn't really come naturally to me. And it doesn't always help me rise to the occasion to accomplish a goal or get something done.

In the back of my head is always a voice telling me that there's always going to be someone out there who does “it”(whatever 'it' may be) better, faster, more competently, more often.

I never played competitive sports as a kid – and not just because I was the overweight kid who couldn't throw a ball and was picked last – but because it was more in my nature to know that, when I realized I or my team were not going to win, whatever the final score, whoever the winner, we were still getting ice cream! I mean, it isn't whether you win or lose, it's the after-game pizza party that counts!

In the world of child-rearing, competition is everywhere. Now, it wears a smile, the smell of spit-up and comes prepared with a snack-cup of gluten-free goldfish crackers, but don't be fooled.

You breastfed your baby for 6 months? That's great! But Natural Parenting mommy is still breastfeeding her 9th grader. Your 2 year old can count to 6? Wonderful! But Over Achiever mommy is already teaching her 2 year old statistics!

I'm pretty sure that any high school football coach would rip me a new one because when it comes right down to it, I am not inspired by the thought of winning. Unless, of course, it is winning an argument or Madonna tickets, in which case, IT IS ON.

I think my lack of competitive drive is what compelled me to take a hard look at how exercise and my weight loss journey fit together.

Like many of the banded out there, I believe that exercise plays a key role in my weight loss. If you have been a reader of my blog from the start, you will note that is has actually only been three weeks since I have felt any band restriction.

I firmly believe that until three weeks ago, virtually all of my weight loss could be contributed to exercise. I figured out what kind of exercise I like – weight training/muscle building – I got a trainer and I built exercise back into my weekly routine.

Until I had a child, exercise was ALWAYS a part of my life. Since I was 15 years old I have never gone more than a couple of weeks without doing some form of purposeful exercise. I went to the gym, to various exercise classes and did “Abs of Steel”. I tried my hand at long distance running (10 milers and 5 Ks ) but got to disliking the chafing in the booby region. I had trainers and programs and special running gear and headphones. I always did SOMETHING that would qualify as exercise. I never even fell into the 'obese' BMI category until after I had my daughter and exercise came to a giant stand-still.

So when I decided to take this WLS journey, I knew that exercise HAD to be a part of it for me to succeed.

But see, I'm not even competitive with MYSELF so it is hard to get excited about waking myself out of a sexy dream with George Clooney to go get yelled at by Miss Hard Body in an aerobics class every morning. Or missing out on family time so I can look stupid on an elliptical. Or running when there is no one chasing me.

So what I did was make a commitment that I knew I could keep forever. I know myself well enough to know that I will never work-out every day. I just won't. I prioritize Mommy's Night Out over working out. I put watching an episode of TrueBlood over going on a nightly walk. I get distracted by shiny things.

I know that I CAN commit to working out 2 times a week, come hell, high water or a Friends rerun marathon.

Right now I work out usually 3 or 4 days a week because I can. Its summer. I have a regular babysitter. I have the time. And most of my TV shows are on hiatus. But in February when its cold and ugly out and Big Love is in its 5th season? I don't know if I can guarantee I'll be in the gym 4 days a week.

I feel confident, however, that I can find 2 hours a week in the gym with my trainer. And maybe time to dust off the Abs of Steel VHS.

I wanted to make this final weight loss journey a positive one. I'm finally able to eat in a healthy way (and be satisfied) that, thanks to my band, I know I can maintain for the rest of my life. I wanted my exercise to be the same way. I wanted to do something that I knew I could keep up for the rest of my life.

So, I guess I'm in a competition. It's just easier to compete when you know you're going to win.

There's A Fire In The Rabbit Hole

Posted by Sherry , Sunday, August 8, 2010 Sunday, August 08, 2010

Reading blogs can be very much like entering the “rabbit hole”. You're sitting there, reading a blog you read every week and the blogger mentions another blog that inspired their post. So you click on that link and read the post that inspired them. The next thing you know you've taken the elixir, you're seeing giant bunnies and you're wishing you could go back to the days of telegraphs and morse code. The days when knowledge wasn't necessarily power, it was just a pain in the butt and all you had to gossip about was that time Cousin Mae was caught in the barn with the boy who picks peaches.

At least, this is what happens to me. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

In any case, today I saw a giant bunny. It started off kind of small, just hopping around looking cute and fluffy – it appeared when I read this post by Dinnerland (she's pretty freakin' brilliant by the by so you should FOLLOW HER).

Naturally, I had to click on her link to Allan's blog at Almost Gastric Bypass and that is when the bunny suddenly became one of those gigantic jackrabbits that you really only see in Arizona and when you see them you're pretty sure it was a baby deer and not an animal that has a cute, pink, twitchy nose.

At this point I'd downed tequila-type shots of the elixir and figured that I had nothing to lose by going whole hog and just diving straight into the rabbit hole, head first – so I read Dr. Fatty's blog.

And that is when the 6 foot tall, buck-toothed, horror-film style bunny jumped out from behind the bushes and just SWALLOWED ME WHOLE. Seriously, I was bunny food.

So. By now you've probably read these particular posts. If not, go ahead and I'll wait for you.

Ok. You're finished? How did the elixir taste? You're seeing bunnies too?! I KNEW IT!

Where does one begin to address Allan's and Dr. Fatty's respective posts? I've been forewarned in one of Allan's comments on Dr. Fatty's post that anyone who spoke out in disagreement with them would be verbally 'ass-kicked' but I'm not afraid. I've dealt with hostility before. I mean, I HAVE A MOTHER-IN-LAW.

The thing is, I don't even WANT to address each of their comments suggesting that weight loss surgery is an easy way out or that too many lap-band patients abuse their band and should be beating themselves up when they don't follow the doctor's 'rules'.

Dinnerland said it all before me. She said it eloquently and with grace. She did it nicely. I'm not as nice, unfortunately. I'm kinda bitchy when I want to be. I've been known to let the passion take over and turn well-meaning ''discussions' into authoritative speeches. That tends to turn people off. So I'm not going to do it.

Here is what I AM going to say – I agree. I agree with Allan that surgery is not a magic bullet. I'm case in point. I'm doing all the right things (no blizzards for dinner for me Dr. Fatty!) and exercising. That doesn't mean the weight is coming off any faster than it would have if I'd just done Weight Watchers again.

I agree that weight loss doesn't equal happiness. I probably have about the same number of 'happy' moments as I did 27 pounds ago.

And I agree that if every patient who decided to go through weight loss surgery committed to the post-op eating requirements for a month or two and were told that they could never ever stray from the diet after surgery or they would die that yes, many people would opt to NOT get surgery. And guess what? Many of them would STILL DIE! Horrible, but true.

I agree that every thing we put in our mouth is a choice. Maybe a poorly thought out one, but it is a choice.

I agree that to get healthy and thin the only thing in my way is me. I mean, there is not a truer statement.

Here's where I stray from Dr. Fatty and Allan: I believe that WLS allowed me to FINALLY get out of the way of myself.

By getting the Lap-Band I was finally able to focus on losing the weight and not just on being fat. To Dr. Fatty and to Allan, this probably doesn't make much sense but to those of you who have had WLS, I'm guessing it does.

Getting the Lap-Band has allowed me to finally focus on losing the weight. I now know that if I DO follow the 'rules' and work WITH my band, that the weight will come off and stay off. I know that I have a tool that I can use, that I didn't have before, that controls my hunger, controls my portions and thus, allows me to focus on losing the weight and not worry that 6 months from now I won't be able to 'keep it up' which, for me, often led to me saying “well, I can't do it” and giving up entirely.

Maybe Allan's tool is eating perfect foods in perfect portions and never ever going astray. Maybe Dr. Fatty's tool is getting in her 30 minutes of exercise, every day, come hell, high-water or sickness.

Maybe my tool is the Lap Band.

See, none of us can say for sure that our current weight loss attempt isn't in vain. We can't see the future we just do the best we can with what we have. We're all traveling the same road, we're just doing it with different vehicles. Shouldn't we be applauding each others efforts and successes instead of highlighting the flaws?

I think I said it best (of course!) in my first ever blog post pre-surgery: Weight Loss Surgery is like giving someone a lighter instead of two sticks to rub together.

Let's each start our fire the best way we know how.

If Today Be Sweet

Posted by Sherry , Wednesday, August 4, 2010 Wednesday, August 04, 2010

This summer is moving by in a flash. It's speediness could be attributed to all the trips we've taken and visitors we've had or it could be the constant movement that my toddler requires of her parents.

Either way, I'm afraid I'm going to blink and the summer of my daughter's 2nd year will have passed me right by.

Luckily we have photographs to capture the moments that were sweet as summer blueberries – both sentimentally and literally:

And luckily, mommy knows how to make a mean fruit crisp with fresh whipped cream!