Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Very Tragic Situation For My Family

Hello, everyone who has been following my blog. I've been mia and am taking a moment to let you all know why. My husband, who is a pilot for Quest Diagnostics, has been involved in a major plane accident. He was flying Thursday night, moving medical specimens for the company, and the plane he was in crashed at Teterboro airport. He was not flying the plane. We are not sure what happened exactly, to cause the crash. My husband is in critical condition with burns over 40% of his body. He is sedated and can't hear me an will be undergoing operations several times a week for the next 6 weeks or so. Many of you have written that you enjoy my blog, and I hope to be back blogging as soon as he is on his way to recovery. For more information on the accident you can google George Maddox plane crash and you will see many stories on it. 
Thanks to all of you who have been reading my posts, and remember that you can follow your lap band diet if you stay focused and follow your doc's advice. Lisa Maddox View blog reactions

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On a Diet? Take a Page from Lap Band-ers and Don't Drink While You Eat!

May I Get You a Drink?

Saw my lap band surgeon today, and we got into an interesting discussion. I was telling him how difficult it is for me to eat without drinking, and he floored me with some really interesting video that will make you simultaneously want to barf and never want to drink while eating again.

If you're not a lap bander, then you may not know that we're told to stop drinking about 15 minutes before we eat, and then to abstain from drinking for 45 minutes after we eat. It's hard. I'm one of those people who has always drunk a lot while I'm eating. A large soda with free refills, you say? Bring it on! Now, a couple of months after banding, I struggle at every meal to limit my liquid intake. I've got it down to little sips whenever I really, really need to drink while I eat. But I have to concentrate or I pick up the glass and swig away, totally unaware.

I told my doc about this hoping he might say it wasn't a very big deal, and instead he responded by referring me to one of his guilty pleasures... watching eating contests. Yes, my surgeon watches these things on YouTube with his kids, and he knows the names of the two best competitive eating "athletes" there are: a Japanese guy named Takeru Kobayashi, (who looks like an Olympian, no lie) and an American name Joey Chestnut, (who doesn't.)

The videos are strange, weird, and fascinating. Also kind of funny and disgusting. They have hilarious commentary, and the participants in the contests put away an astounding amount of food. 
But the reason he told me to watch was not to freak me out (I don't think so, anyway.) He wanted me to watch them is because these guys are constantly drinking while they compete. They use the drinks to wash the food through their esophagus, through their system. This allows them to put away an astounding amount of food. Sometimes they take the food and actually dip it in the water. Using liquid must work, because these guys are really eating fast, and it has to be going somewhere.

Brace yourself, because I've included a video here of the Nathan's Hot Dogs Eating Contest. You'll see what I mean. Both of the champion eaters are on this video:

Yikes, right? But it really got me thinking. If you are on a diet they always tell you to drink profusely. I remember Weight Watchers said to drink 6-8 8oz. glasses of water a day. When I was on WW, (several times), I always used meal times to take in a lot of that water requirement, because my thirst always kicked in then. No one ever mentioned that there might be a drawback to drinking while eating, in fact, we all talked about it during the meetings and it was never discouraged. I wonder how much all that drinking at meals affected my weight loss?

The lap band guidelines are simple to follow, and very effective. I think all dieters can benefit from following them:

  • Don't drink while eating. Stop drinking 15 minutes before meals, and don't drink until 45 minutes after.
  • In between meals drink 8, yes 8, 8oz. glasses of water.
  • Cut your food in small bites. Very small bites.
  • Eat very, very slowly, and chew everything completely. (I try to chew 25 times for each bite.)
  • Start with protein, it fills you up and keeps you from hitting the bread basket and dessert tray.
  • Stay away from sugar, bread and other carbs, except for vegetables.
  • Eat in this order: Protein, veggies, fruit (keep the fruit to a minimum), bread.
  • If you do eat bread, eat it last, so that your appetite is sated quickly after you get to it.
If you follow these guidelines you'll find your diet goes more easily and you won't be as hungry. And for goodness sakes, remember the eating contest and lay off the guzzling during meals. Unless you're in training to eat competitively... or just like to eat like you are.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Technical Difficulties

If you are having trouble with the blog, specifically posts showing up on top of each other, it helps to close the browser and try again, or to reload the page a couple of times. I'm working with blogger to fix this. Sorry!
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Food Traditions After Lap Band: Get Over It!

Eating Buddies Part II: The Hershey Park Edition

Hershey Park. Just the name spells danger for a lap bander and (former) chocoholic. It's summer, I have a kid, and so that means that I am in constantly tempting situations. Food, glorious food, is everywhere, and on top of that, on this particular trip I was traveling with my original eating buddy, my friend from college. She is often dieting, but she isn't just now, so she was eating what she wanted and that made things even more dicey for me.

Welcome To Hershey Park! Here's Your Candy Bar

When you walk in the front door of the Hershey Park visitor's center, there is a very nice lady (sent from the devil) waiting for you who will hand you a free Hershey Bar. Jeez. I knew about this particular ritual, so I avoided the visitor's center. I suggested we go right into the park, and save the free candy for later. 

Lily IS a Hershey Bar!

So we joined the unbelievably huge crowd headed for the front gates and entered the park, where we learned that Lily was a Hershey Bar. This refers to her height and the types of rides she is allowed to ride. Once Lily found out she was a Hershey Bar, she never missed a chance to mention it. She sang about it, she told people in line about it, she checked every sign and commented on it. Let me tell you, she was a Hershey Bar, a Hershey Bar, a Hershey Bar. Oh yeah, she was a Hershey Bar... (You get my point.)

We hadn't gone far into the park when the food mania started. Lily wanted cotton candy. Now, I don't even like cotton candy. I think its gross. However, on Saturday, all of a sudden, I wanted some. So I told Lily no, that she couldn't get any cotton candy. She was okay with this, but only because there were so many other options. "What about ice cream?" she asked. I do like ice cream. A lot. So I said no. A lot. On and on we went through the park, with her asking for food, and me mostly saying no. She did have cotton candy later, and also about five giant cups of lemonade, a hot dog, gum, a candy apple (yuck!), a candy bar, popcorn, doughnuts on the way to the park, chocolate milk and two bags of chips. And that was after I put the kabosh on most everything she wanted. The day ended with her having breakfast for dinner, which included eggs, bacon and croissants. 

I Did My Best

I mostly resisted the food. I had a few breakdowns, however, which I will now confess: 
  • On the way to the park I had low fat latte (okay-ish, they discourage caffeine with the band), and a flat bread sandwich with ham and cheese (awful, I'm sure.) I also had a couple of bites of my eating buddy's sour cream doughnut (bad, very bad!)
  • At the park I had several handfuls of popcorn, 
  • some lemonade, 
  • the actual dog from my hot dog with half the bun, some mustard and ketchup, 
  • gum, gum and more gum.
I got out without the candy bar. Lily insisted on buying herself a souvenir of a silver necklace with a Hershey's Kiss and her birthstone on it (more chocolate reminders), and practically freaked out on the way out when my eating buddy's family stopped at the chocolate shop and got all manner of Hershey's candy, some fudge, a big pretzel and a few other things they kindly shielded from my view. Whew! I'm glad that's over.

I think I did fairly well, considering the situation. When we got home I had the bacon and eggs, arguably okay, because they are high in protein. (Bacon, not so good.) While my friends were at my house I also cooked steaks, which were pretty ok, and a salad. 

The Lap Band Vs. Vacation Eating

All I can say is all of this is hard. Even with the band, you want to eat what you want to eat. You get hungry. (Not as hungry, but hungry.) You envy people who are eating what you can't, even, I'm ashamed to say, your seven year old daughter. 

You still have all your old cravings, your emotional attachments to foods, to eating certain foods at certain places, and to the sharing special foods with the people you've eaten with so many times. The lap band is, unfortunately, not tied over you eyes so you can't see the candy bars, and its not worn like earmuffs so that you won't hear people thrilling over what they are eating. It does not go around your wrists so that you can't reach into your purse to pay for unnecessary treats, and it also lacks an alarm that goes off when you step into the doughnut shop. It's too bad it doesn't have some of the features, because I think a lot of people would pay extra for them. I know I would!

The band makes it harder to stuff food down quickly. It reminds you that you are trying to lose weight when you get large bites of food hung on it from eating too much, too quickly. It helps you fill up quicker, but it can't tell if you are eating a protein bar or a candy bar. You have to police yourself, and you'd better be prepared for it. 

Special Occasion Eating: It Will Make You Fat!

Your friends and family will often tell you, "It's okay if you eat today, its a special occasion." They love you, they know you love food, they want you to be happy. You can't fault them for that. 
Your mind will tell you the same thing. But I've learned that modern life is chock full of special occasions and the foods that go along with them. For those of us cursed with the slow metabolism, the lack of control, the bad genes, the belief that if it is on a buffet it is calorie free, the tendency to black out while eating, the enabling families, the generous food friends, life is just going to be a little harder. The band helps a lot. But most of the work is still up to us. Dang!

 It's Just Not Fair

No, its not fair. But its the way it is. And if you have the band or are considering getting one, you will need to meditate on increasing your self control and eliminating the concept of "food traditions" from your life. Just because you're at Hershey Park, you don't have to have a Hershey Bar. No matter how many times the nice lady offers you one, or how many times your daughter says Hershey Bar... You can resist. Really.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lap Band Blog: House Keeping

A Few Things About My Blog
After a lot of trial and error, I've added a few new features to the blog. I thought I'd point them out so that all my boo-boos might actually pay off with more readers.
  •  First off, I've made a "blidget" for the blog. This is a blog widget. I didn't even know such a thing existed, but I found this site,, and I think this is so cool. You can click on the "promo badge," (black, in left sidebar), and it will take you to a page where you can download the blog widget. Then you can post my blog, in the form of a sidebar widget, on any web page. If you have a band related site, or would like to tell people about my blog, this is a great way to do it. Its pretty easy, and they offer instructions on how to use it as well.
  • Second, I've learned about some new ways to get more people to read the blog, and you can help me out here. One important way is to subscribe to the blog. There are buttons to do this on the left sidebar. One will let you subscribe to posts, one to comments. This somehow helps me in the search pages, so if you do follow me, this would be great to do.
  • Another thing you can do is share any posts that you think are helpful. The is a share button at the bottom of each post, and it allows you to share on other sites. The sites important to me are,,, and of course, If you share on even one of these sites it will help me get more readers. You do have to join the site you share on, but they generally don't bother you and all of them are really cool sites. This will get me higher placement in search engines, and therefore, more readers.
  • Next is my Shelfari bookshelf. This is so cool! You can click through the various shelves and link to books I've read and recommend. I have some great books about lap band, and also some great lap band and low fat cooking cookbooks on my shelves. I also review some of them and link you to to order them.
  • This brings me to my last enhancement. I've tried to "monetize" my blog. (This means I'm trying to make money from it.) I put a lot of time into the blog and I would like to be able to make a little extra cash from it. So I've added some links that allow me to make a small commission if you buy something through them. One is my cafepress shop link, which features my t-shirt shop. I've got lots of cool designs on many, many subjects. Another is a link to that will take you to Amazon to order anything you like. If you shop at Amazon, and you get there through my link, I get a little commission. I also have "Google Adsense" ads on the blog. Those also pay me a little commission if you are interested in the information there and click on them. I also link you to amazon whenever I review or mention a product in the blog. If you buy them by clicking the link, again, I get a little commission. We are talking very small amounts of money for each of these things, but if I get enough clicks it can add up to a little extra income for me. So I thought I'd mention it, and hope you will consider using these links. 
  • I've also added a Technocrati button. Technocrati is a site that tells people about blogs. If you click that link then Technocrati will make note that you are reading the blog and move me up in their list of blogs. Again, this will get me more readers.
  • Finally, and yes, this is shameless promotion of my child, but I had to do it... I put a link to YouTube where you can see my daughter in her rabbit care video. It's just cute and I'm proud of her, so if you want a little sweetness in your life you can watch here. 
Hope some of these things are of interest to you, and thanks to everyone for their encouragement and good wishes on the blog. I really do appreciate it, and enjoy writing the posts.
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Feel Good Movies to Watch While Losing Weight With the Lap Band

Are You Feeling Blue? Need a Pick-Me-Up?
Just back from out of town I'm having a low moment as I have nothing to look forward to, and I'm a bit stressed about Lily starting school and all that I need to do in preparation. I need to keep my spirits up, its essential to my lap band success. Whenever I feel blue, I like to watch a feel good movie. I thought I'd break from my usual topic, me, and suggest some great movies for people who are struggling with a diet, new habits, or anything else that stresses you out. This list is just my own personal favorites. It's not official or anything. But I do guarantee effectiveness!

  1. Oh, how I love this miniseries! Fabulous Mr. Darcy! Wonderful Elizabeth Bennett! If you want to feel like everything can work out, even for the disadvantaged, this is the film for you. I'd have to say this is my all time favorite feel good movie, and I do own it. I watch it regularly. And I also recommend the book! Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics)

  2. Here's another one I've watched a million times. See Diane Lane go to Italy, find a wonderful villa, and find herself. And boy, the men are fabulous, too!

  3. This one will make you laugh out loud. I don't know why, but a lot of people don't know how good this gem of a movie is. A romance, a comedy, but not a romantic comedy. I guess you'd call it a comedic fairytale. Fun, fun, fun!

  4. If you somehow haven't seen this screamingly satisfying movie, you have missed a really fulfilling experience. I won't give it away, but when "It's Raining Men" starts, you'll be the happiest girl in the world!

  5. I know, I know... Robby Benson (too much spit in his mouth to talk correctly in my opinion.) This is a little nothin' of a film, with a leading lady I never saw again, and yes, Robby Benson, who annoys a lot of folks. But there's something about this movie that just lifts you up!

  6. Yes, more Austen. (I could list all the movies and books, really.) This is a slower paced film, but again, fabulously satisfying. Everyone figures everything out, finally, and you just sigh with happiness. Too good to miss!

  7. Lots of people missed this one, and its just wonderful. Combine a modern woman stuck in a little Irish town who finds friends and adventure. So unexpectedly good you'll be thrilled.

  8. I suppose everyone's seen this one more than once, but if you haven't indulged in a while, this is one that will have you smiling all day. Whoopie Goldberg is great, and I love the nun who smiles all the time, (Kathy Najimi)

  9. Here's a less seen Whoopie movie that will break your heart before putting it back together. Ray Liotta is wonderful as a widower who turns to maid Whoopie Goldberg to help him put his life back together. Also, you'll love the touching performance by the little girl in the movie. She perfectly portrays the desolation of a child who has lost her mother... and misses her terribly. Ahhhh, think I'll watch it right now.

  10. Cinderella for big girls. When Drew Barrymore arrives at the ball in her gown with angel wings, and murmurs, "Just breathe," you'll take a big breath along with her. This movie celebrates womanhood in a charming and unexpected way, using one of the all time "women as victim" stories ever written. Yay!
I could go on and on, and maybe I will do this again soon. I'm planning on watching Pride and Prejudice with my husband this weekend, and I can guarantee we'll have a wonderful time. Just making this list up has cheered me considerably, and it makes me marvel at the power of films. Keep this list and break out the DVDs when you have a bad week. You won't be sorry, and I find if I'm happy, I'm much more likely to adhere to my lap banding routine. Cheers!
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Lapbanders: We're Regular People Video Playlist | Embedr

Videos About the Lap Band

Here is a great compilation video I made of real people talking about different aspects of the lap band experience. See fills, before and after pictures, doctor visits, pre and post op surgery vlogs and more. There's a woman who talks specifically about the realize band (the one I have.)

Lots of things here to learn. Click on the link below to see the video.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back From Atlanta!

Old Habits Die Hard!

Well, I made it through the trip. Yes, it was hot. Yes, I was hungry. Yes, I obsessed over what to eat.

The food obsession started at the airport before our flight left. We had a flight delay, and I immediately went into my "travel" mode... Got time at the airport? Buy magazine -- check! Buy drink -- check! (I did buy water.) Buy gum -- check! Still got time? Buy food!

There wasn't much around, and it came down to a couple of fast food joints, a salad place and an Italian place. I started out looking at the salads, but they were enormous, and sort of intimidating. So I wandered over to the Italian place. Bingo!
  • Trip Tip #1: Look for protein. The Italian place had a chicken parmesan meal that included salad and a piece of breaded chicken. I got that. I used low fat dressing and started with the chicken first. Then I slowly ate the salad until I was full. The rest I gave to my husband.

Next hurdle: The actual plane ride. They gave out nuts and cookies. I ate the peanuts. I had a cup of ice water. My daughter and husband oohed and ahhed about the cookies, but I didn't mind too much.
When we got to Atlanta we were tired and hungry, of course. We stopped at McDonald's and I got a small cheeseburger and removed the top piece of bread. 
  • Trip Tip #2: Eat wherever and make it work.

On to our friend's house. They had graciously offered to make us dinner, and I was a bit worried about what it was going to be... But it worked out. They made Talapia, corn, salad and a zucchini casserole. I ate most of what was on my plate.  We sat at the table so long I ended up eating more than I normally would.
  • Trip Tip #3: Clear your plate when you've eaten enough. Don't sit at the table until your pouch empties and you eat more.

The next day we went exploring and showed my daughter where she was born. We tried to go to two favorite restaurants and failed. (Too busy.) So we ended up at Chic-Fil-A where I ate some chicken nuggets and a cup of fresh fruit.

Dinner time came and we had planned to meet 8 friends at a Thai restaurant. I tried a new tactic. I ordered everything I loved: spring roll, coconut soup with chicken, and curried catfish. I ate just one fourth of the spring roll. Then I ate about 5 spoonfuls of the soup. Finally, I have to admit, I ate most of the fish. But it is the best entree I've ever found at any restaurant.

Saturday was the day of the film screenings. We had very little time to eat before the film showed, so I just had one piece of French toast, courtesy our host. I ate sugar free syrup. I was hungry afterward.
After the 4 pm showing, we ran over to another favorite restaurant where I again ordered what I wanted, and again gave much of what I'd ordered away. This was working pretty well.

The last day we were invited to a brunch at a friend's house. This was pretty easy. I ate the eggs and a couple of pieces of bacon, sticking to the protein as much as possible. I did drink some OJ, but I just couldn't resist. I then drank tons of water and avoided the buffet.
  • Trip Tip #4: Stay away from the buffet.

On the way to the airport we stopped at at country cookin' type of place and I ate some smoked chicken and some veggies. I skipped the bread.
All in all, I thought I did pretty well. I overate a couple of times, but it was not too bad, and I jumped back on the horse as soon as I got home. One thing I did notice is that I need more restriction on my band. I'm more hungry than I was before, and I'm thinking about food more. 

The other thing was that my nerves about the screening probably added to my desire to eat. So I tried not to think too much about getting up in front of people to talk.

I'm back to my regular routine today, trying to clean my house for guests this weekend, when we'll go to Hershey Park on Saturday. Another hurdle in my journey toward a normal size!
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Going to Atlanta for My Film Screening!

I'll be gone until Monday, and won't be posting. I'm attending the screening of a documentary I directed. If you've been reading my posts you know I've been worrying about what to wear, and what to eat, etc. I'll report on how I did when I get back on Monday. Wish me luck! View blog reactions

Such A Pretty Fat:: Fun Read for Anyone Who Needs a Laugh... and a Good Push

Book Review For You

Everybody needs to laugh at themselves now and then, and lap band people are no exception. Such a Pretty Fat is funny. Jen Lancaster is a riot, even if sometimes you are wincing with shock at what comes out of her mouth (pen?) She can be mean. And get ready, because she can talk a little blue. But if you've been struggling and feel alone in your struggle to lose weight, this book will put a smile on your face.

"To whom the fat rolls…I'm tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life. And I hate the message that women can't possibly be happy until we all fit into our skinny jeans. I don't find these stories uplifting; they make me want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don't matter. Unfortunately, being overweight isn't simply a societal issue that can be fixed with a dose healthy of positive self-esteem. It’s a health matter, and here on the eve of my fortieth year, I've learned I have to make changes so I don't, you know, die. Because what good if finally being able to afford a pedicure if I lose a foot to adult onset diabetes?"

Another warning, Lancaster is a conservative. If that's not your cup of tea (and its not mine), you might not like the book as much. But hey, I'm a live and let live gal, and Lancaster says things in this book that are amazingly on target about weight. And since that's what I'm concentrating on, I found this book to be a nice relief from the "serious" talks I've had with others about my weight. Just because we are working on our weight, it doesn't mean we have to be miserable. Here are a couple of other fun reads to try out while you work your way down the scale.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Video: How To Make Low Fat Mahi Mahi

This Looks Like a Great Recipe
Another thing people are asking for is band friendly recipes. This is a recipe for Mahi Mahi, which will provide protein for you.

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Looking at my Blog Stats

Fills, Fills, Fills

When I took a look today at who has been coming to read my blog, and it seems like everyone wants to know about fills. I've put a video on before about this, but it doesn't seem like it has addressed the issue. I found this video that is really aimed at doctors, but it does give a lot of information on fills. Remember, the audience is doctors, but people can't seem to get enough info on this.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Still Fat. Damn.

I've Had a Hard Couple of Days

If you've been wondering where I've been, its because we had some unexpected things happen this past week. My husband was on his way out for errand and noticed a little white bunny in our yard. After a moment's pause, he decided to go on and do his errands and ignore the bunny. He figured it was a neighbor's. 

He came home a few hours later and the bunny was still in our yard. He told me, I went out to investigate, and the bunny hopped over to me and sat on my foot. Obviously, a lost bunny. I brought her inside and once my daughter saw her, all heck broke loose. She was so excited I thought she was going to rocket off of the planet. While she oohed and ahhed over the rabbit, I got on the net and did some research. We started by riding around the neighborhood hoping to see posters about a lost rabbit. No luck. Then we decided to feed her. My husband went to the store for carrots. Then, after I read more about rabbit's eating habits, he went back for romaine lettuce. We put the bunny in a basket with towels and my daughter sat next to the basket and sang her songs and read her all of her princess books. She was getting attached, to say the least.

We made it through the night (the bunny slept in Lily's room), and again, we looked for posters. Nothing. So it was time for a trip to Pet Smart. We spent $93 dollars getting stuff for the bunny, now named Savannah. We went to my mom's and got an old pack and play to put her in. My daughter, sensing that no one was ever going to claim the bunny, was getting really confident that she had a new pet. 

Bunny Drama

My husband is a pilot and works nights, so after he left for the evening we settled down to watch some tv and hang out with the bunny. My daughter was so excited about all the bunny care info we learned she asked if we could make a video, and we did. Around 10 pm I told her to put the bunny in the play pen and leave her alone. I had noticed the rabbit was not eating or pooping, and that was worrying me. I looked on the net and found out that a rabbit that is not eating or pooping is a sick rabbit. I called the vet... They referred me to an emergency clinic 25 miles away. It was $90 for a visit. I talked to the vet and he said, "Oh, she'll be okay until tomorrow." I decided to chance waiting.

An hour or so later I could see the rabbit was really sick. Lily, who was on a two day high at this point, was still up and still reading to the rabbit. She had pulled a little stool up to the play pen. I asked her to leave the rabbit alone again, and made her come sit on the couch to watch tv. A few minutes later she checked on the rabbit and... she was dead. 

Oh. My. God. You cannot imagine how upset Lily got. I was pretty upset too, but Lily was sure it was her fault. She figured she had read too much to her, fussed too much over her. I tried to reassure her, but she was beside herself. She said, "I'll never be the same again. She was my favorite thing ever."

It Broke My Heart

I got on the net AGAIN and started looking for rabbits for sale in our area. I found one about 20 minutes away and emailed her. All that was left was to convince daddy. He was less than enthused, but after witnessing Lily's heartbreak, he relented. So today we went to get a replacement bunny for the bunny we found and never meant to have as a pet in the first place. Yes, we realize that this is fairly nuts, but I felt terrible for Lily and we couldn't say no.

Get to the Point!

So what does this have to do with my still being fat? Well, we took our video camera to document Lily picking out her new bunny. My husband held the camera so I couldn't do my usual hiding. I was all over the video, and true to my usual form, when I saw the video I was shocked at how fat I still am. I've been losing weight and my clothes are loose and I've been thinking I look pretty good. I probably do look a lot better. But I'm not thin, or medium, or medium large. I am still firmly extra large. Shoot. 

So I'm going to Atlanta this weekend and will be seeing friends I haven't seen in 5 years and I'm still fat. I'm really bummed. It would be so cool to look good. I wish for once I knew what I looked like! This body dysmorphia thing is so insidious. If I could get a handle on what I look like, I know I would have an easier time dieting, exercising, and dealing with my weight problem. Even though I'm acutely aware that I don't know what I look like, I am still shocked that I don't know what I look like. Or something like that.

So, tomorow I'm going out to try to find a couple of outfits to make me look a little better while in Atlanta. I'm sure I'll think I look good in them until I see the pictures from the trip. Then I'll realize I'm still fat. Damn.

If you want to see the video Lily made about the rabbit, it's right here on youtube.

I'm also posting a video of the new bunny.
You'll be able to hear me talking, but since I edited it myself, you won't see me. I can't stand to see myself on video.

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A New Hurdle: Vacation... Favorite Restaurants!

Oh Boy!

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know that I am food obsessed. I hail from New Orleans, where they breed the food love right into you. I also lived in Atlanta for 22 years. Atlanta is no New Orleans, but it has a lot of great restaurants. I'm going to Atlanta this weekend, and my husband and I are planning a lot of our trip around our favorite restaurants. Pray for me!

I Miss the Food!

We live in Reading, Pennsylvania now, where they are "food backward" and the selection of  "good" restaurants is slim. And when I say "good" in reference to Reading, I mean places we will go to more than once. They love steak here, and they love to burn it. If you order it medium rare you either get it well done (as in "Medium rare meat is gross and you aren't gonna eat it here,") or practically raw ("You want medium rare? I am going to show you how disgusting under-cooked meat can be.")  It really stinks. Other than steak, its the whole frozen breaded seafood thing, Italian (not great Italian, though) and pizza. Is pizza Italian? Not sure, but you get the picture of food in Reading, PA.

In Atlanta we had many restaurants we loved. Ethnic food, yum. (Reading has no good ethnic food that I can find.) We'll be visiting Thai Chili (OMG Curry Catfish!), Mexico City Gourmet (Steak Tacos to die for),  The Havana Sandwich Shop (Cuban sandwich with black beans and rice... fantastic!), and The Sundown Cafe (specialty tacos like fried chicken with tomatoes and lime mayonnaise, help me Lord.) We might also make a stop at the Bar B Que Kitchen (Southern fried goodness like smothered steak with every veggie known to man and biscuits... unlimited refills on the vegetables which include fried green tomatoes, fried okra, mashed potatoes, well, you get the idea.)

Making It Work 

I have to figure out the eight best bites I can eat at each place. Maybe I can stretch it to twelve if I am lucky. Oh God, the pressure. Living in Reading has actually been good for me diet-wise, so few meals to lust over at the local eateries. This will be my first real test since getting banded and I'm nervous. What if I can't control myself?

I'm just kidding, of course, but this sort of situation is one I really didn't envision when I got the band. I was so focused on the daily eating I would do, I never thought too much what it would be like when I went on vacations, where invariably for us, food plays a major role. I figure I'll do what they tell you to do, take tiny bites, eat slowly and chew forever. At least I'll be chewing something I like!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eating Buddies -- Maintaining Your Relationship After the Lap Band

Hey, Let's Go Get Some Ice Cream!

If you have had a weight problem for any length of time then you probably have a few eating buddies. My first eating buddy was in college. Up until then, I was a solitary eater. But in college, I met a girl who liked me, she liked to talk, she liked to hang out, and she liked to eat. We had a relationship made in (hog) heaven. It didn't help that a lot of our eating sessions were preceded by drinking sessions. Nothing will make you want to eat like drinking a bunch of beer.

Our Little Club

We were so happy together. Got a problem? Let's go eat! Got something to celebrate? Let's go eat. Bored, tired, angry, lonely? Let's eat!!! We knew every diner, greasy spoon, joint and cafe in town. We'd lounge over our omelettes, linger over our fried catfish platter, loiter over our po-boy sandwiches. It didn't help that we were from New Orleans, where mayonnaise runs through the veins of the locals, the home of the french fries and gravy Po-Boy.

At this time I really didn't have a weight problem, so there seemed to be no reason not to enjoy the deep South's bounty of delectable food offerings. There was an endless list of places to try. Everything was good. At that time in New Orleans and the surrounding area, if a restaurant wasn't good, it didn't survive. We patronized lots of them and I can tell you, they were great.

Uh-Oh, Spaghetti O's

Toward the end of college, I started to gain weight. It was a real shock! After years of eating what I wanted and then dieting off the excess in a week, I found myself putting on pounds that grew more resistant by the year. What a bummer! I hadn't really examined my eating habits. Most of my food choices were decided by committee, as in, "Who wants to go get ice cream?" My question was, who didn't? It was time to start curbing my eating, but I was ill-prepared and in denial about what a normal meal consisted of. No dessert? I'd had dessert my entire life after every dinner. Cut back on fried foods? No fried shrimp? Are you kidding?

But the big stumbling block were my eating buddies. I had acquired a few more by then. And they were full of ideas of what to eat, where to eat, and when to eat, and they weren't proposing salads. Eating had turned into my hobby, and without it I was going to be short a few friends and a lot of socializing. Let me be clear -- nobody made me eat, and I didn't make them eat. But we encouraged and enabled each other constantly. If one of us decided to try to cut back for a while, invariably the other would start to crave a certain meal and arrange an outing. I always find it very hard to order diet food in a place where I've had some of my best, most fattening meals. Grilled chicken at the fried chicken place? Heresy! A salad at the family style Italian place? Blasphemy! So I'd go along and invariably end up ordering one of my favorites... and so it went, through college and my early professional career.

They're My Kind of People!

I found I just liked people who were big eaters better. They seemed more generous, happier, more inclined to try new things and be adventurous. I liked them! They liked me! We ate Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Dim Sum, Sushi. We scouted out the best bar-b-que. I learned to cook steak like a pro. We had pot luck dinners. We checked out the Morrocan restaurant and watched the belly dancer. We had crawfish boils and pig roasts, chili cookoffs and picnics. We went to our favorite taco joint every Friday and even had our own table there with a rotating group of about 20 people, all hungry and ready to eat. We had people over to eat and they had us to their house, and through it all we ate and ate. By the time I was 30 I had a weight problem and I knew it was time to turn things around, but I was in pretty deep with the eaters. I just couldn't stand the idea of breaking up with my eating buddies. Our outings comprised so much of what was interesting and fun in my life. It seemed so unfair that I would have to stop participating in something I loved so much and was so very good at.

Going Halvsies

I decided to try going along to the dinners and not eating. That never worked, everyone was uncomfortable that I was abstaining. (Eaters like eaters.) I tried ordering something small and picking away, but people would ask if I was sick, if I was broke, if I was depressed. They offered to buy. They couldn't understand me not eating and they didn't like it.

Spouses and the Band

My first husband was something of an eating buddy, too. My current husband is great about the band, he supports me and encourages me, and he has pretty good eating habits. But husband number one could sit down and eat a whole cake one day and then eat nothing the next. He knew where the oatmeal cakes were kept in convenience stores within a 5 mile radius of our home. He was food obsessed and he liked to share his obession.

I feel for all of you banders out there who are married to an eater. They are not going to want the party to end. They will sabotage, they will enable, they will cook stuff you can't have, and bring home "treats" you don't want. They will deliberately misunderstand the boundaries of your diet, and purposely encourage you to "take a break." And these are the ones that really love you! Eating buddies like to eat and it hurts their feelings when you stop. It makes them feel guilty about eating themselves, and that's no fun. All in all, if you have an important eating buddy in your life, you are going to have to redefine the parameters of your relationship.

Setting Boundaries
  • First off, you have to have a long, heart to heart talk with your buddy. Explain to them why you have to lose weight, and keep it specific to you and you alone.Try not to wander over into you eating buddy's issues.
  • Explain what the lap band is, how it works, and how you will be eating once you have it.
  • Reassure your buddy that you will still hang out, will still be around and will still be fun. You just won't be chewing the entire time.
  • Start making other activities the focus of your get togethers.
  • Ask your buddy to understand and respect your eating limitations, and set up some sort of signal to give them if they start leading you astray, like "you're doing it again!"
  • Buy low fat and bariatric eating cookbooks and start cooking interesting and varied meals. Cook a larger portion for your buddy, and supply them with bread and dessert even though you can't indulge. Think of this as an act of love.
  • Find restaurants where you can order food that works with the band, and stay away from old favorites until your new eating habits are established.
  • Remember, while you adjust your relationship to your new lap banding life, that though your eating buddy may be overweight and in denial, it is not your job to recruit them to your way of doing things. Even if they are your spouse.
Take care of you. Cook good meals. Follow your banding diet. Have a sense of humor about your food limitations. Don't comment on your buddy's meal. Try not to constantly complain about the food you're missing. That just gives them to opportunity to offer you things you shouldn't have.

Don't Give Up

If none of this works and they are still sabotaging you in your efforts, its time for another sit down. Explain that you are not going to give up on making yourself healthier and happier. Be direct. Don't talk around the issue, address it. If you are direct, assertive and sensitive, you should be able to make your buddy understand that though the days of excess are over, you still want a relationship with them. Then prove it by spending time with them doing things that don't involve food.

Above are tons of cool cookbooks to try out. Take a deep breath, check them out, and see if one might work for you and your buddy!
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Interesting Information on the Benefits of Eating Protien

This is a short YouTube video I found about how the band works, and the benefits of eating protein.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some Interesting Articles About Weight Loss

If you feel like doing a little reading, these are some interesting articles I found today that relate in some way to our situation as lap banders.

What's the Best Diet? Eating Less Food I always suspected this was true lol.

Eat Less and Live Longer:
An unexpected benefit of banding?

Eating Disorders in Middle Age : I included this one because I thought it was interesting. Soon, everyone in America is going to be Anorexic or Bulemic! Notice the guy who says women are totally freaked out about their bodies. Americans really are reaching crisis proportions when it comes to our concern about our appearances.

Tara Stiles: What's In the Fridge? Three Reasons To Cook Your Own Meals A little encouragement to eat at home when the fast food is singing its siren song!

'Superfoods' Everyone Needs Good for you, and yummy too! 
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Squishy or Sharp: The Lap Band and Your Family

She Didn't Get It From Me!

My 7 year old daughter has weighed 40 pounds for about a year. She's slender and sleek with long legs and thighs that are already almost as long as mine, has a beautiful face on a perfect head set atop a long elegant neck and if I didn't love her so much I'd hate her. That's how beautiful she is. She doesn't care about food, except for steak and sweets, and she can still wear some of her shorts from when she was 2.

She can use her toes to scratch her face like a cat, can cross her legs and twist the top leg around her calf and basically doesn't know the limitations of being chubby. She loves to dress up in costumes (and she looks great in them,) wants to be a pop star, and is waiting for her "hourglass" (as she calls her grown-up figure) to arrive. She fully expects to be flexible and supple all of her life, and I hope for her sake that she will be. She is about as close to perfect as one can be and is pretty unaffected by it, though people stop her to tell her how pretty she is all the time.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Cut to her mama, recently banded, eating protein for all she's worth and weighing herself daily while praying out loud to see a drop in weight. I'm wearing clothes that either are too big or way too little (been shopping in the closet where every size is available.) I'm having trouble looking put together, and some days I look positively wan if I let me food supplies run low and eat too little. We're quite a pair. She, who has yet to face a lump, bulge or crease -- and I, who spends time every day making sure my bra bulge isn't showing. She loves me, truly loves me, just like I am. in a way that no one in my life ever has. If I ask her how I look, no matter how I look, she always answers, "beautiful." (Well, sometimes she says, "Very beautiful.") She thinks I look great just like I am, and I love her for her starry eyed devotion.

A Big Mama is Better Than No Mama!

When I decided I wanted to investigate the Lap Band two years ago, she really didn't understand why I wanted one. As these two years have passed, and our society being what it is, she understands that I want to lose weight and I think she mostly understands why. We've had a lot of talks about losing weight, and she has been super concerned. "I don't want you to change," she says. "Can it hurt you?" she asks. "You're my only mama, please don't have an operation," was the one that really got to me. She was worried about the surgery itself hurting me, and I don't blame her. I showed her the videos on the Realize Band web page and that helped her understand the procedure better and calmed her fears.

Change is Hard

We cuddle every night while we watch tv, and  she and the dog always choose me over my husband because, let's face it, I'm more comfortable to lay on. Good and squishy. She puts her head on my chest and pats my tummy, and says, " I love you, Mom," and it really does go straight to the heart. Several times, she tried to talk me out of the surgery, and I had to talk to her an explain the health ramifications if I don't lose weight. I also told her if I lost 50 pounds I'd go swimming with her. I asked her if she wouldn't love to climb up mountains together when we visit her grandma in Asheville, NC. Of course, all of this sounds great to her... but she still had reservations.  Before I went into the operating room she told me to tell the surgeon she still wanted me to be squishy, not sharp, when she hugs me.

Two months post-op she still doesn't want me to change. I think this is common, and I think a lot of family members feel this way, not just the kids. Expect your kids to miss things about how you were before. Don't be surprised if you husband suddenly starts to get jealous. And don't be surprised if you meet with resistance and sabotage. Change is scary and it makes moms who have lost a lot of weight do unpredictable things. They jump up off the couch and make everyone clean the garage. They decide yard work isn't so bad. They stop cooking that gooey hamburger casserole that kids love because they say no human should eat so much fat at one sitting. In short, they get more responsible and that can be a drag for the family.

Keep Connected and Reassure Your Family

So I think its good to talk to your children and spouse about the benefits of the surgery to your health. Emphasize the physical capabilities you'll regain. Paint a mental picture of your family sharing activities that weren't possible before weight loss. And have a little mercy when it comes to changing things everyone likes. Rework the hamburger casserole recipe so its safe to eat and keep serving it. Act happy. Be happy. Help your loved ones embrace the change you're going through, because their support is crucial, and their happiness magnifies yours.  If you get too sharp to cuddle your kids, get a pillow off your bed, put it on your tummy and let them lay on that. There are lots of things your family liked about your before lap band self, and with a little sensitivity and a sense of humor, you can keep everyone happy while you transition from squishy to sharp.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Myths About Lap Bands: Expect People to Discourage You!

You're Getting a Lap Band? It's Not Gonna Work!

Ever since I started considering the band, I've been pretty open about it. I've talked about it to friends and family, and anyone else who I thought might have a point of view.

I must say, during those conversations I've heard some of the same comments over and over again. I've noticed them as comments on blog entries, too. These ideas are  ill-informed and fairly innocent, but some of them are downright judgemental and cruel. Why do people feel the need to discourage us when we are trying to become better, more in control, healthier people?  I'm not sure of the answer, but this post tries to identify some of the things you're bound to hear from friends and family if you've had or are considering the band.

What is a Lap Band? It's pretty simple: a Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band procedure is a purely restrictive surgical procedure. A silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. This small stomach pouch holds only a small amount of food, which is then passed through a small outlet created by the band into the lower part of the stomach. Because food is regulated, most patients feel full faster.

When you think about it, this is really just about the best way a person could seek to lose weight. Excessive hunger is one of the biggest reasons people overeat and gain weight. People do lots of crazy things to quell hunger. Things that work, like diet pills and ephedrine, that just aren't good for you. Then there are the jillions of things that are out there that don't work. You know, the stuff they sell in the checkout line at Walmart that "melts belly fat." That kind of thing. There aren't many people who haven't tried some sort of weight loss product. And just about everyone has at least been on a diet in the past. After all, Americans are really overweight. Why then, do people feel the need to judge people who get a lap band? Not sure, but be prepared. Now here are some of the things you can expect to hear.

  • You are taking the easy way out.  Not! This one really chaps me. I spent  two years getting approved, dieting, seeing doctors and getting ready for surgery. I had an operation, for Pete's Sake! I drank liquids for a few weeks. I'm getting fills, which really don't hurt, but they're scary looking. Plus, I'm having to listen to crap like, "You're taking the easy way out." Geez. Bite me!!

  • You are going to be malnourished. Nope. Your doctor will give you information on how to get proper nutrition. You'll also have to take supplents. But the lap band will not make you malnourished. Good grief! First, I have to hear that I'm self-indulgent. Now, I'm denying myself in a dangerous way. Make up your mind!
  • After lose the weight, you'll probably gain it back. This is one I hear all the time, and from just about everyone I mention the band to. It has assumed the level of an urban legend. I can't tell you how often I see comments on blogs that someone knows someone who knows someone who lost a bunch of weight and gained it all back and now they're fatter than ever. Not sure why people love this one so much. The fact is, if you get a band you'll still have to deal with your weight and eating issues for the rest of your life. But if you keep up with your fills you'll lose weight. Some people gain some of their weight back, but statistically, the great percentage of banders stay much leaner than they were before banding.

  • You're gonna lose weight too fast, and its not good for you! The same people who tell you you need to lose weight will turn around and tell you this one. In fact, you lose about 2 to 3 pounds a week.

  • You're going to have to drink your meals for the rest of your life. Of course not. After the initial period of healing you eat three small portioned meals a day.

  • If you get the band you'll never be able to get pregnant. Not true. Most docs want you to wait until your weight loss stabalizes. And if you need extra calories during your pregnancy, your doc can loosen the band. 

  •  Lap Band surgery is dangerous. You could die on the table! The lap band is placed with minimal cutting. You'll heal quickly and be back to your life in a couple of weeks. Lots of people confuse the band with gastric bypass, which is a very serious operation. I think that's why so many people believe this. 
You'll probably hear more nutty stuff, but this is a list you're sure to hear. If you have one to add, please comment. The main thing is, don't let other people's ignorance, jealousy and all around mean spiritedness get you down. The band has changed my life for the better, and its also helping me learn that it doesn't really matter what other people think about me. I'm doing this for myself, and for my health, and that's really all that's important when you think about it.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Love My New Widget!

 Shelfari Rocks!
When I take on a new challenge, I like to do research. I've been an Amazon fan since the place opened, and if I would have followed my instincts I would have bought stock with them at the beginning. Amazon is my first stop when I'm trying to learn about something, and its where I've spent several hundred dollars on cookbooks and weight loss books lately. Amazon had kept me up at night, drained my bank account, caused my husband to shoot me the hairy eyeball when the mailman arrives, and yet, I love it still. When I love someone or something, I am loyal to a fault. It's how I am about everything, even food.

Amazon is also a great source for cooking equipment, makeup, gadgets,pretty much anything you could need on your journey to self improvement. I've written about some of these things, and I've been wishing there was a way to keep that information in front of you all the time, so its there when you need it. After all, once you read a post, it's out of your mind the next day. Several of the books I've recommended have really helped me through the pre-operative and post-operative period in ways I hadn't expected. I'm glad I had something to reference when I was feeling shaky, which was pretty often. No matter what the doctor told me to expect at each stage, I always started questioning what was going on when I actually experienced it. 

So today, when I saw Shelfari on someone else's blog, I immediately went on there and added books I've read, books I'm reading, and books I want to read (and some I suggest you consider reading as part of your lap band journey). I'm sure I'll be adding more. If you look on the left side of my blog you'll see the shelf of books I'm starting with. Several of them are cook books I'm checking out for ideas on better banded eating. Several others are about how to succeed with the lap band, and a few are on body dysmorphic disorder, since several people wrote to me that they, too are struggling with that.

I also threw on a couple of non-fiction memoirs and novels I've read recently. They are linked to my Amazon store, so if you buy one through my link I'll get a little bit of commission, and that would be wonderful. I keep trying to figure out a way to spend more time blogging, and making a bit of money for it would certainly help!  I'll try to keep the shelf updated as I read more. Hope you find something there that will help you on your journey to a new you.

Seeing that cute wooden virtual bookshelf reminded me that I'll never have enough shelf space here in the real world, and what I want to do it about it. Having finally decided that I'll never have enough shelves, I am lusting over the second edition Kendle at the oh, so cool reduced price. I have tried it, and it is wonderful. Easy to see, light, it reads to you in the car, just the greatest invention ever. Well, the coolest invention except for the Kindle DX, which costs more but is worth it because of its increased size and other new features. Oh, I want one!

The idea of being able to carry all my books, blogs, newpapers and magazines around with me, to be able to read in bed without waking up hubby, and well, basically having something so cool just thrills me. (I know, get a life!) If you're like me, and you love to read for fun, for education, for solace when your situation is confusing, and to keep your sanity when all else is going crazy, you too will probably want a Kindle. Oh, I want one.

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