Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My "first" fill - day one

Alright. So I went to see the PA at my surgeon's office that does my fills. They weighed me at 245.5 (whereas my work scale weighs me at 247.5). We talked a little and I told her what was going on (hungry after an hour, struggling with carbs, all that working out with no weight loss). She agreed a small fill might help with portion sizes but only thought I needed a little bit even though I had been gone a year. She opted to give me 0.5 cc. I was a little miffed but I didn't argue.

Thankfully, she knows her stuff because I felt just right amount of funneling when I did the water sip test. We also talked about eventually getting a panniculectomy. She agreed that those 4 points ALL had to be met in order for my insurance to cover it. She told me to go to t he doctor ANY time I had any rashes or issues with my pannis. I don't have many now, but I suppose after I lose some more weight I could. If I get this done I would love to do it before the end of year (for insurance deductible reasons). Although I question my ability to lose 50 lbs by then. I suppose time will tell! After seeing the PA and getting my fill we went to see the nutritionist. Nothing new there. She said I was doing all the right things and to just keep it up. Focus on good carbs instead of bad ones. Eat more veggies. Drink more water. Increase probiotics.

We left my appointment and went to McAlister's so I could get some soup because I was starving. I had the chicken tortilla soup with some sour cream in it. It was pretty thick soup. I ate it slowly. I didn't eat the chips that came with it. I had sips of lemonade to drink. I resisted stealing a bite of my husbands amazingly delicious-looking club sandwich. I had a few bites of his potato salad even though I was full. At dinnertime I had an 8 oz protein shake around 6 pm and I had to eat some chicken noodle soup around 10:30 pm because I was again starving. I was getting a little worried this fill wouldn't do anything, but I reminded myself this is just what liquids do (and for good reason right now). 

This morning I've eaten greek yogurt (my usual) for breakfast and cottage cheese for lunch. An hour after my cottage cheese I felt hungry again (still not sure if it was REAL hunger or head hunger) so I ate some (8) crackers and a tuna pouch...then I was STUFFED. Like so full. I'm kicking myself for not stopping half way through that tuna pouch.

It's hard to stop eating after such a small amount when you've been eating 'regular' portions for so long. Now I'm paying for it by being super full. On the plus side, I now know that my fill may very well be what I needed to stay in check AND solid foods should be just fine. I didn't get stuck at all, I just got full. I do still need to work on bite sizes when I start eating more normal foods though.

So here I am. Re-learning how to use my band properly. Re-learning how to think like a banded person. Re-learning how to control that stupid voice in my head that just wants another bite.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fill tomorrow

I have my first fill in almost a year tomorrow. I'm a little nervous, a little excited, a lot hopeful. I know this is going to be a struggle - I KNOW. But I have to prove to myself and my husband that I can do this (again) and show some damn self control.

I haven't had time to work out consistently and I won't for a while (ever?) so I know I need to get my diet under control if I want to get these 50 lbs off (again). As a bit of motivation I got the requirements of a medically necessary panniculectomy per my insurance. I was worried it wouldn't be covered at all - but it is!

Medically Necessary:
A.  Panniculectomy is considered medically necessary for the individual who meets the following criteria:
  1. The panniculus hangs below the level of the pubis (which is documented in photographs); and
  2. One of the following:
    1. there are documented recurrent or chronic rashes, infections, cellulitis, or non-healing ulcers, that do not respond to conventional treatment (for example, dressing changes; topical, oral or systemic antibiotics, corticosteroids or antifungals) for a period of 3 months; or
    2. there is documented difficulty with ambulation and interference with the activities of daily living;
  3. Symptoms or functional impairment persists despite significant* weight loss which has been stable for at least 3 months or well-documented attempts at weight loss (medically supervised diet or bariatric surgery) have been unsuccessful; and
  4. If the individual has had bariatric surgery, he/she is at least 18 months post-operative or has documented stable weight for at least 3 months
*Significant weight loss varies based on the individual clinical circumstances and may be documented when the individual:
  1. Reaches a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 30 kg/m2; or
  2. Has documented at least a 100 pound weight loss; or
  3. Has achieved a weight loss which is 40% or greater of the excess body weight that was present prior to the individual's weight loss program or surgical intervention.
B.  Panniculectomy is considered medically necessary as an adjunct to a medically necessary surgery when needed for exposure in extraordinary circumstances.


So according to this, if you take my original surgery weight into account, I need to lose these 50 lbs (or more), maintain for 3 months, and maybe have some type of rash with it (which I already have occasionally). The only clarification I need is if those numbers (1-4) ALL have to be met or just one of them? Things to think about while I do this. 

As usual, I have some doubts in the back of my mind but I'm trying to think positively. I did this once and my life was stressful, I can do it again. I am stronger than I was before in so many ways, there is no reason I shouldn't be able to do this. I just need to think about myself for a change and make a better effort to THINK when I eat instead of eating mindlessly to avoid getting stuck and being miserable. 

I'm not even worried about all the food I won't be able/shouldn't eat. I've been to the point where I can't and don't want carbs or chocolate or whatever else I shove in my face even if I'm surrounded by it, so I know I can handle it. Here's hoping this one little push of a fill will be what I need to finally need to get back in control. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

I tried...and failed.

Sneaking back in after a year long hiatus. Why you ask? I'm at my wits end.

Last January I decided I would try to do this damn thing on my own. Counting macros, working out - weightlifting to be precise, drinking water, eating better, etc. I did it....I thought I was doing it. But now at 6 months in with little muscle mass gained and NO weight loss whatsoever, and spotty ability to workout regularly now, I'm a little frustrated. What am I doing wrong? Is my body just not mean to eat more than 1200-1500 calories? How many carbs do I have to cut to make a difference? Do I need to add more cardio? What am I do wrong?!?!

Super frustrating. I gave in. I saw my lap band nutritionist and got some great ideas to help lower some carbs and increase protein. Not focusing on total calories as much as total carbs. I won't lie... I still struggle with it. I can generally keep it below 100, but keeping it below 80 (like she wanted) is HARD to do. Really hard. Dinner always screws me....or before bed when I get hungry and want to eat everything in sight.

Cue my next reason for writing. I'm getting a fill next week. I've been a little hesitant about it but I realized I got my lap band for this specific reason. To HELP me gain control of my eating habits so I can lose weight and not stay the same weight I've been since I gave birth roughly 18 months ago.

No more talk about babies or family or classes. This is strictly health and diet.


1. Workout: 3x a week, including 20-30 mins of cardio + 20-30 mins of weightlifting
2. Diet: Keep carbs around 80g a day; protein 80-100g a day; healthy fats only plz; drink all the water
3. Weight loss: 1-2 lbs a week per lap band surgeon suggestions
4. First short-term goal: 225 lbs. (Current weight 250 lbs)
5. Current measurements: (inches) (as of 5/7/17)
Bicep: L16; R16
Bust: 47.5
Band: 43
Waist: 44
Hips: 59.5
Thighs - 30.5
Calves: 16

Monday, July 18, 2016

Challenge Update!

So, I'm 2 weeks into my challenge. I had to start after the holiday because I had family in town and there was too much food to avoid. Firstly, my little accountability group has 24 people in it! It's a mixture of real life friends and mommy group Facebook friends. It's quieter on there than I had hoped, but recipes are still being shared and support is still given!

How have I been doing with it? Well... My chocolate intake is definitely LOWER than what it was. I've only had chips twice since I officially started. I have had a few snack cakes over the weekend in a moment of weakness. Other than that, I've been doing pretty good! No white bread, fried food, fast food...nothing!

I've noticed if I keep up on my water intake, I don't have time to eat junk and I don't get hungry as often (duh)... but this means up my water by A LOT (for me). I try to drink 24 oz of water between breakfast and lunch at work. Some days are great and I get in 70 oz of water before 4 pm...other days I only get 24-48 a day. There were even a couple days last week I only drank 8 oz of water ALL DAY. I know, I know! So terrible. It's better than it was I guess, but not where I need to be.

So, even as good as I've been doing, I still haven't lost any weight. I did lose 1.5 lbs in the beginning of last week but it's back already. I've realized the flaw in my challenge - just cutting out certain things doesn't really work if you are replacing them with other bad things that are not on the list.

Chris and I are struggling to work out on a regular basis. Something is always coming up that doesn't allow us to go together. We are going to have to come up with another way to do this I think. Maybe some at home, body weight workouts from or something.

I have my first fill after having the baby in about 5 weeks. I wish it was sooner but I made a promise to Chris that I would get my eating habits/lap band rules under control first. I've been so lax in following my rules that it's like I've forgotten HOW to be a good bandster. My bites are too big. I don't chew my food enough. I eat too fast. I don't measure my portions well enough. I drink more than I should when I'm eating. Basically doing everything I KNOW is wrong. This is called 'eating around the band'. I've been getting a little better at some things, but others I really am struggling with. I'm hoping to get a food scale in a couple weeks however, and looking forward to re-learning what an actual cup of food looks like.

I have a physical appointment scheduled with my primary doctor in a couple weeks as well. I told her I wanted to do some bloodwork for my vitamin levels so I can take those into my lap band doctor when I see them. I haven't had any blood drawn since I found out I was pregnant in February of 2015 so it will be interesting to see how they've changed! At that time, my vitamin D was low, as was my B12. 

I have some stressful things going on in my life right now that are probably hindering my progress a little as well. Pretty soon school will be starting and that will add to my everyday stress as well, so I can't really use that as an excuse for long.

Life, I've noticed, is always stressful and it will never be easy or calm or 'normal'.

Until next time! 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Challenge time!

Well, I got motivated from someone in my lap band Facebook group and decided to do a challenge.

This is going to be very hard for me because I have a weakness for chocolate. I literally eat it almost every day. It's everywhere at work. I crave it. It's a serious addiction for me. I really want to take my lifestyle change seriously though so I thought this would be a good kick-start of getting some of the bad stuff out of my life!

I am including crackers in with chips. Potatoes are going to be WHITE potatoes only. Healthy versions of these foods are okay. Juice from a juicer is also okay. Otherwise, I'm sticking to this list.

I've created a Facebook group that some of my friends joined and we are all going to do this together! I'm really excited for the motivation and accountability of having a group of people doing this with me. It's not just my regular Facebook friends either; I also invited the girls in my "get healthy" mom group as well! I have a whopping 15 people in my group as of now. We are going to post before and after pics, pics of food, recipe and snack ideas... So exciting!

I am allowing a 'free day' for the 4th of July and some people aren't even going to start until July 5 and that's cool too. I'm hoping to make it through the weekend and maybe the 4th without cheating at all. It's going to be hard though because I've also just started my first period after having the baby almost 9 months ago.

Time to go weigh-in for day 1!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Back in the saddle

I think I'm ready for this.

After a baby, big move, a job change, having my second (!!!) son, and signing back up for school I'm finally ready to get back into banded life and get healthier. 4 years ago I was weighing in at 197 lbs after 2 years being banded. Now, I'm back up to 250 lbs after having babies (whoever said breastfeeding made you lose weight was a LIAR) and falling back into old, bad habits. Bad habits suck. Cravings are awful. Head hunger is my worst enemy. Finding the time and motivation to work out with kids is laughable...but I have to try.

My husband wants to try too, so we are going to attempt (again) to do it together. We worked out yesterday. This was the first workout I've done in over 2 years. I felt lost and nervous, but it felt good. I felt like I was accomplishing something. I haven't felt accomplished in a long time. I'm walking like a zombie because of it but no pain, no gain I suppose. (Maybe not as many squats next time though.)

I'm ready to do this.

I am scheduled for a fill at the end of next month. I have 4 weeks to start getting my eating habits in check and to get back into following the rules of the lap band. I've been eating too much, too fast and it shows. Not only am I not losing weight, I get stuck daily because I'm not paying attention to how small my bites are and how quickly I'm eating. I'm keeping track of that now to hold myself accountable and show my husband I have the control to NOT get stuck all the time.

The countdown to July 25th has begun! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life happens.

Hello world, Erin here. Life happened...sorry! Lots of things have gone on since my last post. We moved back to Muncie in April and Xander had his first birthday just last month! And I got my first fill under fluoroscopy just yesterday.  Let's recap all those things now, shall we?

Xander is officially a toddler! He just had his first birthday on May 13th and I really cannot believe how fast this year has gone. My life seemed to go by pretty quickly anyway, but now that I have a child it seems even faster! (Of course, there are some days when I think that one day will never end.) Xander had lots of fun at his party and LOVED his cake. It was also adorable and I will have pics down here somewhere. 

My little man is pretty awesome. He has 4 teeth on top and 4 on bottom now, he walks, runs, hobbles like a zombie, but thankfully does not climb on furniture yet (although he does enjoy climbing on his daddy when Chris is laying/sitting on the floor). He says mum and dada, duh (I think he is trying to say dog), and gee (for our dog Gizmo). He also has started trying to sing with us, but he's really just making noise. He gives kisses (open-mouthed of course), clicks his tongue, and claps and waves (at inappropriate times). He also will do "so big" and raise his arms up as far as he can...all the time! It's pretty adorable.

We are currently dealing with stereotypical toddler issues... learning what "no" means but not caring, testing boundaries, throwing toys and smacking things, oh and throwing food instead of eating it (which is kind of the most annoying thing ever). He just got over his second cold ever and this one lasted a full week and ruined all the progress we had made with Xander eating new things and just eating at all. He has lived off of formula (which we are phasing out when we run out of this last can), toast and bananas, and cheese and crackers for the last week. I cannot explain the frustration I feel knowing my child isn't eating what I know he needs to eat when he was doing so well before. Now that Xander is finally feeling better though, Chris and I are going to bite the bullet, throw a towel on the floor, and just let him go nuts on any food we give him so he will at least put something edible in his mouth that is not cheese or crackers. Also, babies with colds is the worst thing ever. They don't understand why they feel this way, they don't understand why you keep attacking them with that scary thing you stick up their nose, and for the love of dog STOP WIPING MY NOSE. And they don't know that you don't want to do it and feel terrible and crying just makes your stuffy nose worse kid!!! Ugh. So glad last week is over.

Our recent triumph is Xander has started to drink out of his transition sippy cup! It's more like a bottle at this point, but the nipple changes to something more sippy cup-like. I cannot tell you how glad I will be when this is complete. I will probably be a little sad too, but it's a good step that means NO MORE WASHING BOTTLES. Hallelujah! 

Chris is still watching him while I work and then he works (also in Indy) on the weekends and I am home. Yes, it sucks as much as it sounds. I'm still working my Indy job and driving an hour to and from work every day is WHOA getting old and such a major waste of gas. Yes, I am looking for a local job but I have salary requirements that are not always easy to meet in Muncie's job market. Until then, I will continue my commute and continue being grumpy about it. 

Here are some recent pics of Xander...the ones with cake are from his birthday (obviously)
Birthday Blues Brother's suit!

Memorial Day cookout

Oooo cake!


My mini James Dean

Baby-wearing at the bookstore
Daddy and Xander people-watching at DD

Other than my adorable baby and awesome SAHD of a Husband, my life has been really...stressful. We found a house we loved in Muncie and started the buying process shortly after my last post. The closing date for our house was pushed back about 3 times and the last time it was pushed back it was ONE DAY before closing. A form wasn't turned in or signed like it was supposed to be but somehow it got all the way to the top before they threw it back at the bank. This meant all the planning for a rental truck, manual labor help, days off work...worthless. Thankfully, the bank realized how much they screwed me and paid for a moving company to help us (best idea ever, btw) and gave us a little extra for groceries! We didn't end up closing until April 7th. My birthday was April 8, and we moved on April 9. I do not recommend this. It worked out in the end though. The movers were amazing and fast and got a good tip from us for being so awesome, and I didn't have to burden any friends of family with moving all my crap.

Our house is exactly what we needed. Three bedrooms, one bath, living room, eat-in kitchen, washer and dryer, central air, big yard, garage. It's older and needs some repairs that we couldn't get the sellers to do (roof, update electrical) but it's nothing we can't handle with some planning and saving up and none of it is a dire need to fix right away situation. I won't lie, I'm stressed and worried about money and making ends meet...but I kind of always am so...whatever. (This is also another big reason I want to find a job locally...we are currently spending around $100/month for gas and I could pay bills with that money!) Xander also loves having carpet in the house and started walking as soon as he was free to wander around the floors!

Band land is...confusing. After my unfill, I got a very small fill in the beginning of April (did I mention that was a busy time for me?). It was 0.25cc. It really made no change in my eating or satiety. I haven't been paying attention to portion sizes or what I eat. It's mostly from stress. Taking care of a baby, working an hour away, and moving really has sucked all motivation from me. I'm struggling to think properly when it comes to band rules, my health, and my needs. I had this problem before too, but having a baby just adds someone else I devote my energy too and avoid taking care of myself. (This is also part of the issue I've been having with keeping up with my body love revolution...which is also kind of frozen in time because I am spread so thin already.)

Anyway, back to that appointment with the small fill. I mentioned to the nutritionist that I wasn't feeling full/satisfied but I was getting stuck regularly. She seemed a little concerned and suggested I ask to get my next fill under fluoroscopy to make sure everything is working properly. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, fluoroscopy is a gastric procedure where they do a fill while looking at my band and stomach with an x-ray machine while I drink a barium liquid that allows the doctor to see the fluid going into my stomach and through my band to make sure its all moving properly. I was a bit concerned that maybe my band had slipped a little or had a leak maybe which is why everything seemed to feel so different from the last time I remember this process. If something was wrong that would mean a whole new set of issues and decisions to make. On the other hand, if nothing was wrong then I really was just a really terrible bandster and needed a major wake-up call. 

Fast forward to yesterday...Turns out I'm a terrible bandster who needs a wake-up call. My mom watched Xander and Chris and I went to my doctor appointment. Chris got to watch everything on the screen as well and said he could see the (3-inch) needle get put into my port. Dr. Diaz gave me 1 cc of fluid and then they turned the bed thing I was laying on upright and I drank the barium solution and saw it go down my esophagus, get to my band, and the slowly ooze through about the size of a pinhole at a time. It also would reflux up a little into my esophagus (which I didn't feel). This means it was too he took out 0.5 cc and I took another drink. We watched the fluid go back down my esophagus and this time is pooled in my pouch (stomach) and slowly, but steadily went through my band. There was a bit of residual back flow of fluid but it went through shortly after. I knew how this worked but it was pretty cool to see it and feel it at the same time. Chris said it helped give him an idea of what was going on in there with me as well, so I think that was really helpful. 

This was also helpful for me because it really did show me that I am just blatantly not using the band the way it's supposed to be used, as a tool. You can't use a tool if you aren't even TRYING to do whatever it is you need that tool for, right? So, I am wiping the slate and following my rules like I'm a brand new bandster and Chris is committed to helping me stick by those rules. I had soup for lunch and yogurt for dinner last night. (I was really not prepared for my fill!) Today I've had yogurt, instant soup (instantly gross), and a protein shake. After a fill, its 48 hours of liquids, then I can move on to more substantial things. Thanks to the fill with fluoroscopy, I know that I should be in the green/optimum zone for my lap band and I really cannot push my boundaries now or I know I will pay dearly (stuck, slimming, puking, oh my!) So, I'm just going to pretend that I'm in the green for the first time ever, be appreciative and excited about this journey and try my best to not eat like crap because I have a million other things to do and worry about in my life. Wish me luck!