Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tomorrow's the Big Day!

So This Is It!

Tomorrow, after a year and a half of effort and waiting, I'm finally going to get my band. My journey has been longer than most; I had a hysterectomy and half of my thyroid out this year and that prolonged my wait time. I also had some problems with insurance, and a couple with the doctor's office. But I really don't care. I'm so glad to get to this point, all of that is a dim memory. My surgery won't be until 4 pm tomorrow, and by then I ought to be good and ready. My husband is off from work to come with me, and my mom is taking my daughter for the day. So my worries are few and I should be able to concentrate on myself for a change.

I will only be able to drink liquids for two days following surgery, then I'll be back to soup pudding (blended soup.) If I don't feel too bad, I'll try to write something tomorrow to let you know how it went, etc. I've been drinking and drinking water, since most times I've had surgery they haven't been able to get a vein due to dehydration. We'll see if it works.

Waiting for this surgery has been trying, and I'm not really good at waiting for things. I've had to keep my goals in mind and not get defeated. I suppose this whole journey to a new (or old) me will be that way. It's not going to happen quickly, but I'm hoping for success. Wish me luck!
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Pre Operative Diet: Not So Bad! But I Want A Hamburger

Crystal Light. Lots and lots of Crystal Light!

So I'm on Day 3 of the Pre Operative Diet for the Realize Lap Band. Sounds so official! So far, I've eaten blended soups (sort of like soup pudding), Cream of Wheat, pudding pudding, gallons of water with Crystal Light (can you eat water?), yogurt, and some protein supplements. Here's a report:

  • Blended soup isn't all that bad if you just dive in and try not to think too much about it.
  • Cream of Wheat keeps me satisfied longer than anything.
  • Now we come to protein supplements... yuck. I don't like what I bought, which is a chocolate shake kind of thing. Don't like it, not at all. So I made it up and then added some chocolate milk, which made it better.
Oh My God, I'll Never Have Dinner With My Family Again!

Then I jumped on the computer and found a GREAT site. Bariatric Eating. This site is fabulous and made me feel infinitely better about my future as a wife and mother with a lap band. There's a large section of yummy looking recipes for your stage 5 eating pleasure. It thrilled me to think that I might be able to continue to cook for and eat with my family, and as I said, lots of the food looks delicious. I've been sitting around mourning the loss of the family meals, but this site makes me hopeful that we'll all be sitting down to eat together in a short time. So that was a great relief. Check out the site, and be sure to look at the products they have for sale, most of which aren't easily available. Then look at the recipes, and advice. Very encouraging!

I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was telling a friend about all my pregnancy woes. She said, "Being pregnant is a blip on the radar of your marriage. It goes so fast, you'll hardly remember it." Well, I DO remember it, but I know what she meant. I'm hoping the lap band experience will be similar, in that when I look back on these six or eight weeks of extreme dieting the memory will be fuzzy. Very fuzzy, I hope. Cause I'm hungry right now. Time for more soup pudding!
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Friday, May 22, 2009

4 Days Pre-Op Diet of Liquids Only? If I thought I could do that, I wouldn't need a band!

Last Supper

Tomorrow I start the preop diet. I looked at the list of "foods," which includes water, Crystal Light, jello, broth and not much more. It made me nervous. The last time I fasted it was the great Optifast debacle. I got engaged during that fast and practically threw the ring in my fiancee's face. Probably part of what doomed the union.

Thinking about the fast has me, of course, thinking more about eating than not eating. I've always loved to eat, and think about eating, write about eating, just about anything about eating. Oh yeah, I forgot -- dream about eating. I've had some of my absolute best meals in my dreams. I'm a meat and potatoes girl, always liked to eat a big dinner and don't spare the gravy. Don't get me wrong, I love cake and sweets too, just not as much as the main course.

Caged Heat

I think I was doomed to weight gain, since I liked dinner and my mom liked to make it. I mentioned the great pork chop battle I had with my dad in high school, but that wasn't the only time in my life I saw red over leftovers. In a strange twist of events, my New Orleans (Metairie) public high school was non-coeducational. That's right, I went to, at the time, the biggest all girl high school in the country. Hundreds of over-hormoned, boy crazy, teenage girls jammed into an undersized school and some portable buildings. With a 15 foot fence around the whole mess. We were victims of the Baby Boom, so we not only were non-coeducational, we were "on platoon." This meant we went to school from either six a.m. in the morning to noon, or noon until six p.m. This schedule meant NO LUNCH.

Never Enough Food

Oh my God, I was hungry. I could hardly pay attention in class. If I had the early shift, I never got up in time to eat (I actually slept in the next day's school clothes to save time getting ready for the bus.) If I was on the afternoon shift, I would stay up late at night, figuring I could sleep late and catch up, so I was always late for the bus and skipped lunch and breakfast. Because of this, I was so hungry on the way home from school I could hardly think of anything but whatever food I'd hidden in the fridge to eat upon arriving home. If someone ate my stash, I became livid, panicked, absolutely freaked out.

Food became very, very important to me. (One time, my sister, as a joke, ran into my room at 2 a.m. and yelled, "You overslept! You'll miss the bus!" I jumped up and ran for the bus stop. Since it was always dark when I went to the bus, I didn't think anything of it being pitch black outside. I stood at the bus stop for about 15 minutes and then decided I'd missed the bus, and trudged home. When I saw it was 2:15 a.m. I began crying hysterically and went to the kitchen for something to eat. At that moment, food seemed like my only friend, and for once, I was up early enough to eat some.)

The "Perfect" Job

Four long years of this craziness set me up to obsess on food constantly. My senior year in high school, I got a job at a PoBoy shop, and finally, I got enough to eat. Working at the sandwich shop was absolutely the wrong job for a food obsessed teen. I realized quickly that I could spend the year trying to perfect the best, most delicious sandwiches, tweaked specifically to my tastes, that I could construct.

I grilled ham and cheese on French bread with dijon and mayo... Ate roast beef with chopped raw cabbage, gravy and mayo... Tossed fried oysters into my mouth while I mixed up my famous "green" potato salad (parsley is the secret ingredient)... And on and on. At this point I was still thin. I gained some weight, but amazingly, not very much. But working at the sandwich shop, with an abundance of ingredients at hand, I became habituated to idiosyncratic eating. Eating exactly what I wanted, made the way I wanted, exactly when I wanted (and often with mayonnaise.) This habit has followed me throughout my life, and has complicated every diet I've ever tried. My sweet husband, after living with me for a while said,"I know the secret to staying thin. Don't eat anything that tastes too good. Your food is always too good." I know it is, Babe. I've been working on it for years.

Why the Lap Band?

It's a risk, I guess, for me to be getting the lap band. I mean, I obsess over food now. How will I be when I can't eat what I want, when I want, made exactly the way I want (often with mayonnaise)? I don't know. Stick around and we'll find out. More about why I chose the lapband later, and I'll share my famous "vegetarian" spaghetti recipe, too. (Secret ingredient, beef broth. Don't tell.)
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here Comes the Band! My Lapband Journey

Six Days Before Lap Band Surgery for the Realize Band

I feel like I'm getting ready to jump off of a cliff... Tomorrow, I will go to the store to shop for the liquids that I am allowed to "eat" after my lap band surgery on Wednesday. Saturday I start my all liquid diet, meant to shrink my liver for the surgery. Four days of all liquids. If I could fast on liquids for four days, would I be letting someone put a lasso around my stomach so I can lose weight? I'm beyond nervous... can't sleep... I keep thinking about how much I love to eat, to plan meals, to cook and serve food. In a few days I'll be entering a whole new phase of my life, and I don't expect things ever to be the same.

From Tab to Lap Band, My Diet History

I was a skinny kid. There's a picture of me standing in front of my house, skinny legs sticking out of my Brownie uniform, look woebegone and pitiful. I remember feeling like my bathing suit would slip off when I dove into the pool at summer camp.

Hungry, So Hungry!

I stayed slender through high school, but the groundwork for my weight problem was being laid. Our family LOVES to eat. Food marked every celebration and holiday. My mom cooked our favorite meals on our birthdays. (Mine was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits. I rest my case).

We lived in New Orleans and I learned to cook and it was all southern style. Fried, smothered, gravy, butter, these were all words we flung about with abandon. Salad could be a canned pear half with a dollop of mayonnaise and some grated cheese. Yummy! A "snack" after school could be last night's leftovers.

I remember becoming irate with my father one afternoon after school when I discovered he had found and eaten the fried pork chop I'd hidden in the back of the refrigerator, discreetly wrapped in tin foil. I was so mad my face got hot, my vision blurred. That was MY pork chop. No matter how many pork chops I've had since, none of them has been as good as that one was going to be. Not one.

Getting Down to the Real Nitty Gritty

High school came, and all the social events that go along with it. During this time I began to flirt with anorexia. Got pretty skinny (96 pounds) by stopping eating all together. I felt light and powerful when I was skinny, but I missed food. Then I tried bulimia. Didn't like throwing up, so that was out.

Can't Starve, Can't Throw Up, What Now?

Thus began my dieting adventure that has lasted for 33 years. Thirty three years where I made New Year's resolutions, bets, bought clothing that was too small so I'd want to lose weight and get into it, and bought clothing too big so I could gain a little and still have something cute to wear. Thirty three years where I dreaded summer and swimsuit weather. Thirty three years of moving from the "regular sized stores" to the "big girl shops" and back again. Thirty three years of being afraid to get rid of any size clothing because I might gain into it or lose into it. Of having closet bursting to the seams with nothing that fits.

I Was Skinny, Baby!

After high school I had a summer job at a theme park and appeared in the magic show. I was super thin and my legs were tanned. I got a lot of attention. I looked so cute in my costume with the moons and stars sewn on it. It was hot and the thought of food was sickening, so I got thinner and more popular. By the end of the summer I was a waif and I could have had any man in a mile radius of the park. But winter came and it was time to hibernate and eat chilli. In a few months I was back to normal size, and not nearly as popular.

Getting Serious about Dieting

So, I decided to diet. My first diets were low tech. I didn't eat for a week and I lost weight. I was young, and it worked. Usually took off five pounds. Not too hard, and I had Tab. Then, when I went away to college a new wrinkle sprang up, I was one of the very few people at school who knew how to cook. I had a little house, decorated bohemian style, and a persona to match. I wore gauze skirts and jingle jewelry and I cooked giant meals for all of my friends. It made me feel famous to serve "the world's best vegetarian spaghetti" to all the cute guys from my classes. (My secret? Beef broth! Makes it taste just like meat, tee hee!)

I cooked all the time and we ate a lot of pasta and bread.

My first "Man Weight"

After three years I had gained a few. Then I moved to Austin, Texas, with a boyfriend and ate my way through an ill-fated nine months with no job and a failing relationship. (I packed on twenty pounds of depression weight, though I did enjoy the food I ate while I was depressed, and even though it was 27 years ago I can remember whole meals perfectly. Sour cream was my main ingredient during that period.)

Trying "The Easy Way Out"

When Austin was a bust, i was back at home with my parents and looking for a job, I got skinny again. Dexatrim. That was my method. Oh, and a friend sent me to a "doctor feelgood" where I got amphetamines so easily and cheaply that I was afraid to go back, sure that the place would be raided while I was there. But that speed worked great! I was so not hungry and I cleaned up my room and then the rest of the house and lost 25 pounds. Go drugs!

A friend and I decided to move to the city and we took our Dexatrim with us. Our regime was this: Wake up in fleabag motel. Shower and get dressed. Go out, avoiding street people and pimps to look for jobs. Meet back at home. Go to the corner (avoiding hookers and pimps) for one small McDonald's hamburger each. Eat burgers. Take more Dexatrim and a nap. Go out to clubs where we drink ice water due to brokeness. Go to bed, setting alarm for the next morning. I was super skinny, baby.

So skinny, in fact that I was wearing size three jeans from the Gap. I looked and felt great, and my photos from that time are perfect from any angle. My boyfriend worked for a band, was super cute and super confident. He was cool, and he was hot, and so was I! But even at size three a jerk in the band told my guy I had a big butt and my guy told me. How could the jerk tell my butt was big in those tiny jeans? I was sad that even at 108 pounds I was still, technically, a fat girl. My boyfriend didn't think so, but I never forgot what his friend said. If I ever see that jerk again I'm going to let him have it. He ruined one of my best skinny periods. Bastard. And he was BALD!

Getting Organized About It

Finally, though, my roommate and I got jobs and an apartment, and real life settled in, and as they usually do in real life, so did the bad habits. We did even more cooking in this phase, and I must say my spaghetti with mystery ingredient did even better in this setting. We knew lots of scruffy boys always ready for a meal, and we would eat and sing and talk about serious things and size up the guys as possible mates and eat. Lots of bread. Goes with "vegetarian" spaghetti quite well.

My job was a hip one that required slender hips, so I realized it might be time for a grown up diet. My roommates and I were given to getting up on Sundays and going to Po Folks, where we gorged on friend chicken and popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes and corn, biscuits with honey and lots of sweet tea. This was not helping with my hips. I decided to try Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers works. It does. I've done it, like, five or six times and I have all the cookbooks and the food in them is great. You go to the grocery and get the stuff in the recipe and cook it and if you eat what they say you lose weight steadily until you reach your goal.

In my numerous times of participating in Weight Watchers I have lost a lot of weight, but I always know while I'm doing it that I am going to gain it back. The way I know I know is that I always would buy cheap clothes when I was skinny. Nothing I'd feel bad about throwing away or selling.

During this period, I sold a lot of my skinny clothes once in a garage sale on my front porch. Two sistahs, one small, one bigger, came up and started pawing through the clothes. The small girl spotted my size three, barely worn, Gap jeans and grabbed them. Then she dug deeper and started piling tons of my outgrown cothes in her arms, squealing with glee. Her larger friend pointed at me and said, "You look my size. Where're your clothes?" I pointed at her friend's hefty pile of size threes. Both girls looked at me with pity. "Ooh girl, I'm sorry," said the big girl. The skinny girl bought everything I had out for about twenty bucks. And it was a lot of stuff. She hit the skinny size bonanza of all time. It was the only time I let my skinny clothes go like that. I still want those Gap jeans back. They were cool, and I might fit them again one day. Dang!

Socializing Big Time

Real life went on and even got realer. I got a new boyfriend. A super scruffy, malnourished guy who was playing in bands and working at a record store. Ok, not really that real of life. I liked to cook for him. He was from Alabama and I trotted out all my Southern tricks. I breaded, I fried, I stewed. Everyone came over and we barbequed. I put 25 pounds on and got engaged. I was so nervous about getting married, (I should have been since he dumped me a couple of months before our 10th anniversary for a ding dong in a band he was in who more than once in a conversation told me she was, "just tryin' to keep up,") I started to eat compulsively. I thought about food a lot. I planned meals a lot. I shopped for food a lot.


I got bigger and then I figured I was too big to go down the aisle. I was afraid I'd look like a Mardi Gras float and be expected to throw beads. I decided it was time for more than Weight Watchers. I'd seen Oprah on TV using Optifast, and I told my mother I wanted to do it. My poor mother, caught between being supportive and being aghast at my weight gain, was so guilty she offered to pay. I started the diet, which was basically drinking three shakes a day, and I started to lose big time. Only problem was that I started to gag on the shakes, and I was craving tuna fish and crackers. And I hate tuna. I told the "doctor" and he said, "Well, try Slimfast. Maybe that won't make you sick."

Ok. I was paying for Optifast and drinking Slimfast, and eating tuna and crackers in the car where no one could see me and I lost down to 135. I had a fancy gown made and I kept having it taken in to fit me. I walked down the aisle looking great. For me, I was skinny, baby. We went on a honeymoon to the Poconos and I was skinny, man. But we ate lobster dipped in butter every night for ten days and by the time I got home I'd gained five pounds and it went up from there. And to be honest, I've never been what I could term skinny again.

Time for Something Drastic

In this blog I plan to chronicle my road from where I am now to where I end up, or, my lap band experience. I have no idea if I'll be successful, but I'll share my journey honestly, and I'm taking questions, so feel free to ask anything. Tomorrow: What do you eat before the operation, and more about my diet history. Lots more!
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