Saturday, December 17, 2011

Getting Back on Track

It's nearly 3 years since my VSG and 2011 hasn't been such a great year up until three weeks ago. After last Christmas I guess things started going down hill. I could eat a little more and lost that feeling of restriction , although my meal sizes were still quite small. I started gaining weight and with the weight came depression. It was a vicious cycle. I gained 6kg (about 12lbs) in 6 months. The lightest I had been was 89kg (196lb) and then had gone up from there.

I went back to the surgeon and he ordered a barium swallow which showed there was some dilation. He talked about resleeving but the cost is so great I don't want to go there. I felt that the money I spent on the original op was completely wasted. I had a session with the surgeon's psychologist which I felt was a complete waste of time - I did vent a bit, but came away thinking that my responses were completely normal even though my feelings of frustration and despair were very on the surface. Thats pretty healthy IMHO.

I was enraged that I seemed to be eating so little and yet gaining weight!!! So in my anger and frustration I got hold of an app which would track my calories so I could demonstrate what I was eating. It was a motive of "I'll show them!" more than anything else. After trying a couple and finding them wanting I stumbled across with a huge database of foods already analysed. So joined up - after all it was free. I was reading through the FAQs (I'm a good Netizen I always do that on joining a site that I intend to hang out at) and came across an article "I eat 700-800 calories a day why am I still gaining weight?" Well the light went on BIG TIME. I realised that I had a habitual starve/binge pattern that I had been unaware of simply because there weren't 1000's of calories involved in the binging bit. I had not realised that chronic undereating is completely defeating the body's natural metabolic rate. I also thought that my metabolism was broken beyond repair. I was wrong.

I started on the MFP guidelines and ate my necessary calories for the day every day - and gained a little to start with, but have been steadily losing ever since! I am so stoked. Anyway I feel as if I am back on track. The operation gave me a kick start and now it's basically up to me. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catching up after a bit of an absence

I went a bit quiet there because at first I wasn't losing any weight and felt a bit despondant about it, then I started gaining and felt even worse. I'm seeing my NUT (nutritionist) on a regular basis and she has been very supportive and has been monitoring my food pretty closely. I'm not perfect at sticking to my eating plan, but then again I'm not out of control either. My portions are pretty small because I physically cannot eat more than a cup, and sometimes less if its dense protein. I am particular about my protein levels and eat fresh unprocessed food wherever possible and complex carbs as opposed to simple ones. Very aware of low GI versus high GI etc etc etc.

So utter was my misery at the gaining of the weight I did not want to talk to anyone, particularly as everyone has helpful suggestions on what I should be eating. I get the feeling they think I'm stuff my face with cake and biscuits and lying about it.

We (my NUT and I) paid particular attention to my blood sugar testing and I reported back to her 2 weeks ago that if anything my blood sugars were low - especially in the evenings after dinner. I discussed with her the things I had read on the obesity Help forum regarding high insulin levels (huge thanks to TeriJ for her persistance in posting about this fairly uncommon condition). My NUT wrote a list of tests that she wanted the doctor to organise and so off I went. I had fasting glucose, Hba1c, thyroid function, iron studies, liver function, B12 and folate, and fasted insulin. All of which were normal except the insulin!

The symptoms I have had for years and which have persisted even after the VSG and normal blood sugars are: dizziness, tiredness (all of a sudden extreme fatigue), carb cravings, and the ability to put weight on extremely fast (like 1/2 kilo overnight if I eat chips or biscuits). I can put on more weight than the actual food I eat which is not only bizarre but something no-one actually believes. I read that TeriJ has the same weight gaining effect too.

Anyway my insulin level was sufficiently high (20) for the doctor to put me on metformin again, and the effect has been instantaneous in that I have started losing weight again, even though its only been 4 days.

I only gained 2 kilos in my weight gain phase over the last 2 months, but it was like a nightmare starting up, and I was losing the will to even try. I slacked off with my walking and wasn't drinking the water, and depression was lurking, waiting to engulf me.

Now I feel a renewed hope and am ready to press forward, doing the walking, drinking the water, and keeping the right sorts of food available, not the bad sorts. I have signed up to do the Real Women's duathlon, well 2 of them, next year and... well that's it really. No new pics as I am the same as I was last time I posted. Next month I will be smaller.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I did it!

I completed the duathlon! I can hardly believe that I managed to do it! 6 months ago it was a struggle to the letterbox and back. My foot injuries have left me with pain in my left foot all the time, although its not as intense as it used to be. I don't think my foot will ever fully recover, it doesn't have the flexibility of the other less injured foot (fancy breaking both feet - I don't do things by halves!). So walking has not been easy for me. The bike riding, however, once I got used to it on my new bike, has been a lot easier to cope with. (I love my new bike BTW - I've called her Audrey).

I had a lot of people passing me in the event and I began to think I would be last, but I made up a bit of time in the cycling section. I don't have the official times yet, but my trusty pal and best buddy timed me and said it was about 45 mins for the 10km bike ride. The last stretch of walking (1 and a half km) was hard as my feet were protesting that they had done enough. But getting across that finish line with everyone cheering me on was just awesome. I felt like blubbering. The happiness was exhilarating. There were a lot of other biggish women and I didn't feel so self conscious. I also had 2 very lovely friends who were competing and that was great. They finished and then doubled back to keep me company on that last arduous stretch to the finish line.

It was a very supportive and 'feel good' event, not so much a competition but more the joy of completing the course being the main motivation. Big ups to the organisers and I'll put a link to the website in case anyone is interested in the events. Real Duathlon website. This was the last one for this season, and I want to do next year so I will work towards that over winter. (Yes winter is coming to the lower hemisphere all you northerners!)

Gotta go and rest now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Major NSV!

NSV = Non Scale Victory or Non Surgical Victory.

I am still stunned at my achievement. I have never walked 10k before in my life, but here I am at the goal of the Soda Springs, which is the first leg of the Tongariro Crossing. The Crossing is a famous hike in New Zealand which stretches between two mountains, Mt Ngaurahoe and Mt Tongariro in the Tongariro National Park. (Look it up on Google!)

I knew I wouldn't be fit enough to get up the Devils Staircase - a nearly vertical climb - but wanted to reach the goal I'd set myself of getting to Soda Springs, almost 5 K into the trek. I did expect to be able to rest up before the return trip, but the weather was pretty dismal and if we had sat around in the wet we would have become very chilled, so we made the return trip straight away.

I couldn't keep up the pace of the rest of our party, but took my time and completed it with aching legs and a soaring spirit at my achievement. I must say that without the encouragement of my Best Buddy in the World I don't think I could have made it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2 Month Anniversary

Its a little over 2 months now since my surgery.  I can't update my weight statistics because I'm not at home near my scale, and I don't have a reliable scale nearby.  I will post an update when I get home in a few days.  I have noticed a few changes though, during this trip to Melbourne.  The plane ride was so much more comfortable, relaxed and not the embarrassment it usually is. The seat belt fitted easily and after tightening had several inches to spare. I did not get stuck in my seat when I got up.  I dropped the pillow on the floor and instead of being a major embarrassing drama as I couldn't retrieve a dropped item, I simply bent down and picked it up!  Also the food tray was nice and horizontal instead of the food leaning dangerously as the tray balanced on my stomach.  

My luggage at check in was almost equivalent to the weight I have lost so far.  That to me is mind boggling as I still have so much weight to lose.  And my suitcase feels so heavy to lift!  When I came to buckle my seat belt in the back of my parent's car - it did up instead of me pretending and holding it across myself.

Another major event occurred which I almost didn't notice.  I was sitting on the couch chatting and I suddenly realised something very odd. I said to my mother "Do you notice anything strange?"  I was sitting with my legs crossed! I have not been able to do that for years.  I had managed to cross my legs about a month ago, ie get them crossed, but not sit comfortably.

I have bought a pair of leather tramping boots and it is my intention to go on some walks, the first of which will be a trip next weekend to Mt Tongariro, to do part of the famous Tongariro Crossing.  I don't feel up to climbing the mountain, but feel very proud that I am making a start.

I had set a goal of doing the Duathlon in May, and then thought it may be a bit ambitious. However my exercise regime, walking and doing the exercycle, has brought my fitness level up very quickly and without the extra weight on my feet its a real pleasure to walk.  I am still aware of my foot injury, but the feeling is not pain any more.  

My weight loss is by no means rapid, but with my increased fitness has come a positive attitude and a feeling of strength returning.  I feel great.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mind Games

I have come to the conclusion that I am not normal where food is concerned. Again. I am eating much much smaller portions of food than I ever have before, even the Health Dept Diet. And yet I get this strange guilty feeling that I am eating too much when I feel full! Its wierd. As I have shared previously the 'full' feeling is a pretty novel thing for me. I think after gorging myself at Christmas dinner time and being unable to move off the couch would have given me a similar "full" feeling and that under those circumstances (of complete overeating) the guilty feeling is pretty congruent. But that feeling of fullness today is reached after eating very little. And I feel guilty. For so long negative feelings around food and eating have been a part of my life it will be a challenge to move past that into freedom.

While I was pondering on this, I thought back to my childhood experiences around food. Dinner time was chaotic - with my dad, who often would come home from work and then do the cooking, barking commands at us in the strange pidgin English that he picked up during his life in the Merchant Navy. "Chop chop jildy!" he would shout - which meant hurry up. Dinner was mainly chips (jockeys whips as he called them), and fried meat. Sausages, hamburger meat, or steak. Peas were our staple vege and gravy. We didn't like gravy on our chips and he would roar "Gravy? Yes? No?" as he poured the gravy non stop across our plates. Our little hands would shoot out to try and protect the chips and keep them gravyless, and we would get the backs of our hands burnt in the process. The main objective would be to eat as quickly as possible and get the ordeal of dinner over and be away from the shouting. If we tarried we would be "wasting british thermal units!" - another crime. So we learned to gobble our meals. It also seemed that there was never enough and my brothers and I sometimes silently fought over food. A worse nightmare was having to eat the things we didn't like. I learned to swallow broadbeans whole rather than chew the horrible taste.

How can a person grow up sane around food with that kind of chaos? Funnily, and by funnily I mean tragically, I married a man who was a dinner table tyrant. Even though I worked until 5 pm every day I still had to have dinner on the table by 6pm. Thankfully he's very much an ex now.

So my task is it be able to leave all that behind, and start to build new a new relationship with food. One that doesn't involve fear, panic, and guilt. Most of all not guilt.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Real Food At Last!

Well, within reason... Gradually moving from pureed foods to more solid stuff. Chewing really comes into play here as I now can feel the limitations of my new stomach. I have to make sure things are well masticated before they get down there. With protein consumption as my main goal, my first 'proper' meal in nearly 2 months was mince (ground beef) on toast. It was like a 5 star gourmet meal to me! The toast was Molenburg bread which is low GI and is full of wholegrains. It was toasted to within an inch of its life - so it was really crumbly - because bread can turn into a gooey paste which is not good in the new tummy. All went well, and even though the portion was pretty small it took a while to eat and I felt satisfied.

The feeling of satisfaction after food is very new. I can't actually recall a time when I did feel that. Maybe I've had this gnawing hunger all my life. As I've mentioned before, I do feel hunger now, but it seems to be appropriate hunger. It stops when I start eating and doesn't pop up again until the next mealtime. How novel! I have to make an effort to get my liquid requirements in for the day, as I just 'forget'.

Another thing I have noticed, nearly 6 weeks post op, is that I feel well. For the past few years I have felt pretty horrible every day. Not only lethargic and exhausted, but at times on waking I have felt like I've been clawing my way back from death. Not a pleasant feelingto start the day with. This has been how diabetes has affected me. I have continued to stay off the meds since the op and my Blood Glucose readings have been very stable and very normal. That doesn't mean I can go out eat tons of sugar (well this is how I see it anyway). In order for the Sleeve to work I need to eat a sensible diet and get regular exercise. I'm very happy to do that! Its a do-able thing for me now. Before, I just could not stick to it, with the gnawing hunger and the seeming bottomless pit that my stomach was.

I see my surgeon and Monday and if all goes well I will be cleared to exercise! Yeehaw! The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak where exercise is concerned. We shall see. Body - prepare yourself for th shock of your life!!