Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tiny Everything!

I  bought myself a fun little gift today! We went to Bed Bath & Beyond today to pick up some more cocktail flatware and I found these wonderful little plates and bowls! I couldn't resist. To give you an idea of just how small these puppies are, I posted some pictures below of the new plates and bowls compared to my current sandwich plates. Can you believe that?! The dish on the left is an average sized sandwich plate!  
Each small plate was $1.99. The little bowls were an even better deal. Each bowl came with a spoon for $1.67. The most expensive piece was the box of cocktail forks that had 12 forks for $14.99.
My old sandwich plate vs. My new tiny dessert/appetizer plates!
Bed Bath and Beyond lets you use as many coupons as you'd like as long as you meet the requirements of the coupon. I was able to use 1 $5 off coupon along with 2-20% off coupons. What a steal!

According to our paperwork from the nutritionist one year after the surgery, we will be able to eat about 8 oz of food volume per meal. That is so crazy to me, but I don't care! I'm so happy to be losing weight and to have help controlling my portions with the band!

Getting Skinny & Rich!

Wow. I knew we spent a lot of money on food, but didn't think much of it. I am definitely seeing the savings now and I'm blown away. Let me just do a quick calculation and see how this all pans out.

I used to spend at least $100 a week on groceries for the house. Sometimes more if I didn't plan right.
MS and I would go out to dinner a minimum of 2 nights a week, and out to lunch on the weekends more times than not. Let's just guess that to be $100 for the 2 dinners and $50 for the two lunches. On top of that I would almost always grab lunch out just to get out of the office. That could be anywhere from $5 to $15. So let's just average it out to $10 a weekday so $50 a week. MS also said that once or twice a week he would stop at the gas station close to work to get a snack, a soft drink and peanuts or a slim jim. He said that would average about $4 making that $8 a week.

oh goodness... let's see the results:

We were spending a whopping $308.00 a week on food!!! HOLY CRAP! Holy crap. $1232 a month!

That's just on average. That doesn't include holidays, special occasions, or parties that I would go all out for!

Well, the great news is that it will never happen again! I would imagine we probably won't spend more than $100 a month on food for quite some time. I can't wait to see that money start piling up!

Soft Food Phase 1

Like I mentioned, we met with our nutritionist on Friday. She was very pleased with our progress and mentioned that we were doing so well because of our protein intake. She said people really struggle with that.  I have to say, if we would have followed the protein instructions they gave us to the tee pre-op, we would have spent a lot more money and probably wouldn't have gotten all of our protein in either. MS told her that adding protein powder to already pre-mixed shakes was what made us successful.

For this soft food phase, we will still have a protein shake for breakfast. It's the easiest thing for us, and honestly, we drank those EASAdvantEdge shakes for breakfast during the week for a couple of years prior to this surgery. Although we'll be drinking the shakes, the nutritionist wants us to try to keep gettting more and more protein from actual food.

So over the next two weeks we are still aiming to get 50-70 grams of protein. All of the following foods are recommended:

Shredded  or Soft Cheese
Flakey Whitefish or Tuna
Tender cooked Beef, pork or poultry
Canned Lentils or Beans
Fat Free Refried Beans
Low Fat Deli Meat
Low fat yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta
Imitation Crab Meat

We'll start by eating 2-4 oz of protein per meal. After we try proteins one at a time, then we can start adding soft veggies and soft canned fruits. For example I'll have 2 oz of protein and 2 oz of soft veggies. When we start eating veggies, it is imperative that we eat our protein first.

To give you an idea of what 2 ounces looks like:
2 oz. Translucent Plastic Souffle Cups, Pack of 250

Yep, a salad dressing cup! I used to ask for like 3 of those things full of ranch dressing for salads I ate in restaurants!

Great Deal at Planet Fitness

We joined Planet Fitness today because they have an amazing deal going on right now - $99 for a whole year. We shopped around for a bit and that was the absolute best deal anywhere around. I know they have quite a few locations across the country, so hopefully some of you can take advantage of it as well.

We walked for a little over 30 minutes on the treadmills. We don't go back to see our surgeon until Jan 17, so we're not going to do anything but walk until then. Once he gives us the ok to start working out a little harder we both plan on doing more strength training.

Since I've been yo-yo dieting my whole life, I'm used to seeing my body lose weight. Unfortunately I'm noticing my skin seems a little looser this time around, so I want to do anything I can to prevent extra skin. I've read that strength training helps with the look of loose skin and I'm also going to use lots of moisturizer with Vitamin E and/or coco butter. If anyone out there has tips, please share!

Happy losing, my friends!

Before and After Picture Bust

We took some photos of each other the night before our surgery. Now that MS has lost just over 29 lbs and I have lost 22 lbs I thought it would be fun to post some after photos. To me we both have shown quite a bit of weight loss in our faces, necks and bellies.

We took progress photos today and I spent 20 minutes trying to get them in a good format. When I looked at them I was disappointed. I don't think the photos represent how much we've really lost. Could be that we are wearing different clothes or they were taken in different ways.

When I look at MS he looks a lot thinner than what it seems in the photo and I feel the same about how I look. So for the sake of motivation, I'm going to skip posting the after photos until a week or two more.

I feel like we've worked too hard to post pics that make me feel like we haven't come that far because we have!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mushies - Smooth Lasagna

I made this last night along with the mexican mush! I can't believe that 1 hamburger patty was enough ground beef for MS and I to have 2 meals plus left overs! My mom is Italian, so this is a feel good mushie meal for me.

This makes a little more than three servings.

2 oz of ground beef, turkey or chicken, browned and drained
1 clove Garlic grated
1/2 cup Wolfgang Puck Creamy Vodka Sauce (or your favorite)
1 tablespoon of cottage cheese (only if you have it, you can skip this if you don't have it)
Salt and Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Dash of Splenda
3 tablespoons Kraft Simply Ricotta Cheese

(I having a food scale to make this, but you can measure it out by the tablespoon if you need to)

In a small skillet brown the meat season with salt and pepper and drain. Do Not over cook. Wipe out excess grease from the pan

return the meat to the pan and grate garlic over the meat and season it with as a lot of italian seasoning

Stir in the sauce and 1 tablespoon of cottage cheese let simmer on low heat for a bit so the flavors can meld. Add two small dashes of splenda (not even half of 1 packet)

When sauce has simmered for a few minutes remove from heat and blend in food processer or blender until it as smooth as possible.

Add 1 tablespoon of Kraft Simply Ricotta cheese to a small bowl and cover with 1/3 of the sauce and enjoy.

I must say Kraft Simply Ricotta Cheese is the absolute best packaged Ricotta cheese I have ever tasted. It is incredibly close to a fresh made batch. I highly reccomend it.

Listening to My Body - Tip!

Since the surgery I have been tuning into my body and paying close attention to everything from my chewing to the new feelings that come along with my band.

We didn't really have to start chewing until we entered the mushies stage last Sunday. The food tasted so good both MS and I found ourselves savoring every last bite. (I'm sorry if this grosses you out) I've even noticed myself moving the food around my whole mouth while I chew so I can enjoy the taste while it's in my mouth. That made me notice something.

I noticed that when I chew for a bit my mouth starts producing a lot more saliva. It's almost like a rush of saliva that just turns on. It seemed like it was almost on queue. So I started counting my chews to see if something triggered it. Just as I thought, when I put food in my mouth and chew it 14 times, my mouth seems to turn on the hose.

I googled it of course and read up on the advantages of chewing longer and actually learned how important saliva is in the digestion process. Here's the article if you're interested: 

Now  as we are continue to eat 2 - 4 ounce portions, I'm going to challenge myself to chew my food 14 times or more until it just becomes a habit! I'm guessing that the more solid our food becomes the chewing will increase.

I'll leave you with an appropriate quote that I hear people at work say a lot. The use of "gotten" really gets on my nerves but it's a fun quote:

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

Cheers to changing our lives for the better!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mushies - Mexican Mush

Alright, friends. This is a recipe that you absolutely cannot pass up during the mushie stage. I wish I would have taken pictures of this process. This recipe will make 2 servings that are about 2.5 oz each.

2 ounces of lean ground beef
1/4 cup of fat free re fried black beans
Taco seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Sharp Cheddar (just a tiny amount)
Sour cream  (also a tiny amount

-In a small non stick frying pan brown the hamburger. Season with a small amount of salt and pepper while browning. Don't overcook the hamburger

- Drain the ground beef and wipe out any extra grease from the pan. Return the drained beef to the pan and lower the heat to medium low.

- Season the beef with taco seasoning and add about an 1/8 of a cup of water to the pan and let it simmer and mix with taco seasoning.

- Add re fried beans to the pan and mix well with the beef as they heat up. Add more taco seasoning if you like.

- Once the beans and beef are mixed together nicely, put the mixture in a blender or food processor until as smooth as possible.

- In small bowls measure out 2 oz of beef/bean mix. Top with small amount of cheese and heat in microwave for 30 seconds or less. Top with a small dollop of sour cream and enjoy.

When we eat softer foods, I am going to throw a tamed jalapeno slice on the top of this. To die for.

Since I don't have pics here's are some consellation product photos:

So Much to Talk About!

First and foremost, today was wonderful. My face feels skinnier, I had some serious wins at work today, and I walked 2 miles at lunch, then I came home to the most wonderful comments on this blog!

The walking really felt amazing today. I broke a great sweat and was out of breath when I got back. I have always loved working out and have been very athletic, but sadly over the past few years I  became so overweight that I was just plain embarrassed at how little I could actually do. I felt embarrassed getting winded on light walks with even my closest friends.

That's behind me and I'm never going back that far. I will struggle with my weight my whole life even with this band. But I will never allow myself to ever get so close to 300 pounds again. (there, I said it. ugh. My pre-op weight was 298. sick.)

Anyway, yesterday my struggle was being extra hungry all night. I nipped that in the butt today by changing my lunch choice up. Yesterday I had soup that only had 2 grams of protein for lunch. Today I packed Greek Yogurt (some more of that fab Fage plain) I mixed in peanut butter, splenda and a sprinkle of Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein powder. Oh man. Talk about amazing. I was ready for dinner when I got home but I didn't feel like I could gnaw my arm off, which I think we can all agree, is not a safe place for a fat person. ;)

Remember how I said I love cooking? Well I really do love it. If I were skinny, I would refer to myself as a foodie.  I love all things food. I can watch tv shows about it, spend hours looking at food blogs, and spend even more hours grocery shopping and cooking. I have made the promise to myself that I will continue to do that. I will just cook smaller portions and take much longer to eat and enjoy my work. It is therapeutic to me to be open and honest about this. I want to lose weight, I don't want to lose a passion.

That being said, I got my cook on tonight and did not overeat and did not over taste test. Is that a Non-Scale Victory? Well I'll be damned.

I've had a few recipe ideas in my head for the past few days and I've been craving beef for some reason. I went to the grocery store and spent $4.00 on ground beef, sour cream, and re fried black beans. Can you believe that it was enough food for our dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow and possibly dinner again tomorrow! With plenty of left over ingredients to prepare more food later. HA!

I couldn't buy ground beef in a small enough amount so the butcher just gave me 1 premade hamburger patty. I knew that was going to be tough not to pop ground beef in my mouth while cooking so my sweet husband helped me cook. I asked him to keep me from tasting anything :) We make a good team.

Dinner turned out amazing. MS and I just sat and savored our little tiny dinner with our tiny forks. So, check out the links for Mexican Mush, and Smooth Lasagna! I'll probably continue to make these recipes as we move onto soft foods.

Thank you so much for following my journey, reading about my drama and cheering me on. I can't even explain how great it feels!

If There is No Struggle, There is No Progress ~ Frederick Douglass

The scale did reward me today with a 1 lb loss! YAY! So I went on a 2 mile walk at lunch to celebrate. Onward Bound!

Work Tip - Fresh Breath

I keep forgetting to post this. I'm not sure if this is just a personal thing, but I needed to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to work with me this week. It could be the protein or maybe a bi-product of burning fat (Please, God?) But I have had a nasty taste in my mouth all week, which probably means I have bad breath. So, just be safe an pack it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Small Struggle

I'm struggling a bit tonight. I've definitely been a lot hungrier today. I think my issue is that I drank all of my protein in the morning and didn't have as much with my lunch or dinner and added in some work outs.

After we ate our soup tonight for dinner, I wanted more to eat. So I asked MS if we could just go on a walk. I was hoping that would help!! After the walk, I drank a bottle of water and that didn't help either. Ha! So I think I'm going to turn in for the night.

The GREAT news about today is that with the addition of our walk tonight, I have walked 2.62 miles today all around 3 mph!

Let's hope that I get a little reward for  tomorrow when I step on the scale!

Went on an Awesome Walk Today!

It was a beautiful 60 degree day today and the sun was shining. I had to turn down an invitation to go out to lunch with some girlfriends today, but I don't feel bad about it at all. I used to go out to grab something for lunch almost every day. Hopefully the money I save will fund a fab new wardrobe!

Yesterday I downloaded this rad app on my phone to help track my workouts. This version is free, but the pro version is only 2.99 and might be a fun tool to have later.

You have to register for an account or you can log in via Facebook. To give you an accurate calorie count you have to enter your weight.

The pic on the left is what the screen looks like when you start. You pick your workout type and just hit the start button.

My Workout 12/28/11
As you work out the GPS will track your progress. You can save your workouts and track  your history. In the pro version you can even set goals to beat your previous times or speeds.

I felt really good walking today. I was pushing myself but also taking care that I didn't over do it. I never felt bad throughout the walk at all.

I was a little hungrier today than I've been since the band. I ate my 2 oz of soup at around 2:00 and I had 2 oz of applesauce around 4:00

Onto other great news ... my husband (MS) told me today that he has lost 27 lbs!!!!! Holy crap!

I'm still at the 20 lb mark, so I'm hoping my workouts will help me with pushing through onto the 30 lb mark. I would really like to hit -30 by the time we go in for our 21 day check up with our doctor. Wish me Luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Protein Pudding - Cheesecake? Maybe.

I think I might like Fage Total 2% Plain Greek Yogurt the best so far. I'm still not crazy about just eating it plain. But I've been avoiding the containers that have a fruity addition on the side because of the amount of sugar and that I can't eat a whole container just yet. I love adding powders and mixing it with flavors and honestly it's excellent with just a packet of splenda.

When I add splenda it makes me feel like I'm having a little cheesecake. But who knows, it is possible that I'm delusional from the tiny amounts of food I have consumed this week :)

I'll just go ahead and make it a mission to taste test the brands and I'll report back on that when I can!
Meanwhile, if you go to the Fage website, it looks like they occasionally offer coupons.

Protein Pudding - Peanut Butter Pudding

1.5 oz of plain or vanilla Greek Yogurt
.5 oz of low sugar peanut butter
1 packet of splenda

Mix  until smooth. Heaven

*you can add a little protein powder to this if you need to

Back in The Saddle - Some Work Tips!

Today has really been great. I figured it would be nice to give you an idea of what I
brought to work to make my day easier. I work for a great company that puts employee satisfaction and comfort first and I understand that is pretty rare. My husband (MS) on the other hand, works in a place where he barely has a place to rinse out his water bottles. I'll also include what has helped him at work this week a little later.

I packed a large reusable grocery bag today with the following:

- GE single serve blender - $18 at Walmart - Super easy to use and very easy to keep clean. Open it before you take it to work. It comes with 18 pieces and I put them all in my drawer in my office, but it's a lot to store. I would also recommend checking out the Oster MyBlend it's $10 more and it has some nice features along with being way cuter :)

- A glass measuring cup for measuring cups or ounces

- Enough protein powder for the week. I'll eventually just go grab a container to keep in my desk drawer.

- 1/2 Gallon of Milk

- 4 pack of Slim Fast Lower Carb Shakes (They have turned out to be my favorite tasting so far, with Atkins Shakes in a close 2nd.)

- A 64 ounce water bottle so I can track my water

- 2 oz of Greek Yogurt so I can make protein pudding for lunch and 1 small container of applesauce just in case I need something.

I always have a can or two of soup in my drawer in case I forget lunch. Now that I have the blender here I can blend a can of soup for the mushie stage if needed.

I brought the milk to work because I decided to try making my own shakes with my blender. Right now (and every January) Wal Mart and Target normally get Atkins Shakes in 6 packs and sell them for just under $6. It's a great deal,bringing the cost down to less than $1 per shake. If I don't add protein to an Atkins shake, I have to drink 3 shakes, plus get 5 more grams of protein from somewhere. Obviously that's why we've been adding the powders to our readymade shakes.  The protein adds up to be about 56 cents a scoop so that brings the cost up to about $2.00 a pop.

A1/2 gallon of milk will make 8 - 8oz shakes for $2.25 and if you add the cost of the protein each shake ends up costing 84 cents. Not bad for 50 grams of protein!!

I'm finding it a lot easier to drink throughout the day while I'm sitting at my desk which is a huge bonus. I even went for a 30 minute walk around the lake on my lunch break. The weather was a nasty 65 degrees and rainy but I did it anyway! I hope everyone is having a fab day. I'm just so grateful for a surgery with no complications and fast recovery. I can't wait to start really working out hard!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to Work in the Morning!

It's been a great 10 days off of work. I'm feeling good. I have plenty of energy. I still have a little bit of tenderness in a couple of my incisions, but that's about it. I'm hoping for a great day.

I wish I could stay home, blog, paint and shop all day, but back to reality it is :) I'm taking a lot of stuff with me to work to keep up with my fluids and protein. Over the next few days I'll give you an idea of what works for me and what has worked for my husband!

Stay tuned!

Italian Cottage Cheese

1/4 cup Cottage Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Grated Parm Cheese
Basil/Oregano (or Italian seasoning)

Season the Cottage Cheese and mix up. You can add unflavored protein powder to it if you need it!

Protein Pudding - Pumpkin Pudding

1.5 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt
.5 oz Pumpkin
Teaspoon unflavored or vanilla protein powder
1 packet Splenda Essentials
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Season to your liking and mix until smooth.

My whole life is changing.

This is definitely a life changing surgery. I mean that in the absolute best possible way. I've always struggled with weight, even when I was young and skinny. It seems like every day this week I've noticed little things in my head that are changing.

My whole life has been a series of yo-yo diets. To give you an idea. In the 6th grade I remember having a conversation with a teacher where I said, "yep we go on a diet before vacation and then we gain it all back while we're in Florida". That's one of those moments I've never forgotten because right after I said it, he looked at his "assistant" and busted out laughing at me. Asshole.

Then in college I remember my mom wanting me to go on a prescription diet pill that keeps you from feeling hungry. I got the pills, but I didn't see the point in taking them because feeling hungry wasn't a problem for me. I was never hungry, I just always wanted to eat. When it's lunch time I want to eat, when it's dinner time i want to eat, when I go to the mall I want to get something to eat. It's after dinner and I .... you get the idea. It never mattered to me about feeling hungry, I was and have always been addicted to food.

5 years ago I changed careers. I went from standing up all day, walking, carrying boxes and getting up and down to sitting all day long. I used to eat fast food for lunch everyday and maintain my weight. I was overweight, but I was burning a lot more calories everyday.

In the first few months on the job I gained 17 pounds. Went back to Atkins, lost 40, and met my husband. I've been packing it back on ever since.

I'll have to say this week has been pretty cool. All these changes are effecting me for the good. This band is forcing me to look to food more for nutrition instead entertainment. For instance, I need to get 50+ grams of protein in every day because it is the only thing that is giving me energy and helping me heal. If I slack on protein, it could slow my healing, or even worse, make my hair fall out. Wait. My hair? Nope. not happening. I have a damn lion's mane for hair and it's not going anywhere.

This morning I got up and went shopping so I just grabbed a slim fast shake and didn't add any protein powder. I made MS hummus for lunch and was going to have some, but just made the choice to go with greek yogurt instead for the protein. It sounds stupid as I tell the story back, but that is a huge change for me.

When I used to cook, food was going in my mouth throughout the entire process. Slice of cheese on a sandwich, and a slice of cheese in my mouth while i make it. Cut 1 piece of chicken, put one piece in my mouth.  I would put money on the fact that I ate more calories while cooking dinner than i even needed in a day.

Now that I'm weighing out my food and I can only eat 2 ounces of mushy food 3 times a day ... I can see that 1 heaping spoonful of something is about 1 oz. YIKES! I can't imagine how many ounces of food I've eaten just taste testing my recipes. I can't afford to haphazardly put things in my mouth like that any more. When I was done making hummus today, I coated the back of a spoon and took a little taste. Huge change.

I read a post on today and saw that a woman has lost 90+ pounds in 6 months. She said she works out every day and eats 1000 -1200 calories a day. When she really craves something she doesn't deprive herself. She's my inspiration. I really look forward to more of these little changes every day. Hopefully all of the little changes will add up to a huge weight loss.

High Protein Mushie Food - Buffalo Chicken Hummus

Yay for day 2 of mushies. We can incorporate some more good tastes in our day and feel a little more normal! MS and I love Buffalo wings so when I saw a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Hummus on Pinterest I knew I was going to make my own version of it this week.

Here is my recipe:

3-6 cloves of garlic depending on your taste
1 cup of canned chick peas with some of the juice from the can, reserve the rest of the juice
4 oz of cooked chopped chicken
1 tablespoon Tahini (sesame seed paste, found in the ethnic food aisle)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Olive Oil
Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
Salt & Pepper
Buffalo Dry Rub Seasoning from Buffalo Wild Wings (2 T. of bottled wing sauce if you can't find this)
Small Pinch of splenda

Add Chicken, Garlic and a small amount of olive oil to a food processor and let it run for a while until everything is completely smooth. Scrape the sides of any remaining chunks

Add Chick peas with some juice from the can and reserve the rest of the can juice, you'll add more later to bring the hummus to the desired consistency, Turn the food processor back on and let it run until the chick peas are completely smooth.

While the processor is running you can add lemon juice, a little more olive oil, tahini. Let the processor keep running.

When it's finally looks nice and smooth you can take the top off and add the seasonings. You have to add these according to your own tastes. The Buffalo Wild Wings Rub is pretty spicy - so take your time with it. To give you an idea, I probably used about 1/2 teaspoon of buffalo seasoning, 1 tablespoon of Ranch Mix, 1 tablespoon of parsley, a couple of pinches of salt and pepper and a tiny sprinkle of splenda.

Turn the processor back on to incorporate the spices and then slowly add can juice or olive oil until the hummus is smooth and light consistency. If you accidentally add too much juice, just throw some more chick peas in.

It's good right away, but it's waaayy better if you cover and refrigerate for a few hours!

2 oz of this hummus has approximately 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup.

A couple of other options -  I think this hummus would taste amazing if it were made with white beans. I haven't tried it that way yet though, I also think it would taste amazing with just a few crumbles of real bleu cheese thrown in the food processor. Try it out and let me know what you come up with!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Protein Pudding - Cookies & Cream

Merry Christmas to us! We were able to start our mushies phase today and let me tell you it was great.

I have always loved yogurt and sour cream is seriously my favorite condiment. But for some reason I'm having a hard time jumping on the Greek yogurt train. However, I plan on including it in my diet for the long haul because of how much protein it has. I made this little snack today and I think it was delicious! Try it and let me know what you think.

2 oz of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 packet of Splenda Essentials
1 teaspoon of Cookies and Cream Protein powder

mix it with a spoon for a minute or two to smooth the protein powder into the yogurt and enjoy. I didn't figure out the exact protein count on this, but I promise you it has a lot more than a sugar free pudding cup!

P.S. I noticed that Kroger started selling their own brand of greek yogurt for 30 cents cheaper than the name brands. It's as good as any of the name brands!

Protein Shake - Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! We are for sure. I woke up this morning and I hit the wall. The thought of a chocolate protein shake this morning made me ill and I'm not really even hungry.

I haven't perfected this recipe yet so improvise according to your own tastes. Once I get it down good I'll redo this post.

1 EAS Myoplex French Vanilla Shake
1/4 cup of canned pumpkin
3 packets Splenda essentials or other sweetener
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (or vanilla or cinnamon bun if you have it)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Blend it up and enjoy a chocolate free day! With the protein powder I used this shake packs 55 grams of protein which is all i need for the day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Non Scale Victories !

I've seen a lot of other lap band bloggers post great stories about Non Scale Victories. These victories to me, are even more important than a number. I have a goal weight that lies somewhere in between 150 and 170. Quite frankly I'll probably pee my pants when i get under 200. I will decide a goal weight one of these days, probably at my next doctor appointment. But honestly it's not about that for me. I want to be healthy. I want to shop with my girlfriends .... at the same stores. Focusing on just 1 number doesn't matter as much to me as these NSV's.  So I'm going to start a nice long list. One for me, one for my husband! I reserve the right to celebrate and go bananas when we hit these! I hope you'll celebrate with me! In fact, I hope you share yours with me in the comments!


- Breeze through the smaller sized clothes in my closet. I have about 20 pairs of size 22 jeans. Even a hot pair of sevens that I've never worn. Can't wait to wear them all once and throw them out. (just kidding I won't throw them out, our hospital has a support group where people exchange clothes as they lose weight)

- Throw every pair of huge granny panties in the trash. Sorry tree-huggers, those aren't going to the support group. Every time I hold up my underwear, I look at them in disbelief. How did I get here? You know how mom always says wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident? Well, I always picture EMTs somehow getting a hold of my drawers, holding them up and gawking in disbelief at the the size. True story, HA!

- Fitting into a normal sized bra - Oh the agony. The only small part of my body are my little boobies. God blessed me with B cups that just won't get any bigger. Problem is that the people who make bras don't believe that is possible. So when i find a bras in the  high 40s they either only start with C cups, or they have b cups that are 4 times the size of any other b cup ever made. WTF people? I often find my self saying in dressing rooms, "Am I the ONLY FAT PERSON IN THE WORLD WITH B CUPS??!!" I can't wait to spend my first 60 bucks on a cute little 38 B bra at Victoria's Secret ... that'll be a Victorious Secret alright.

-This is a big one - Get Pregnant. I'll admit it. For the first time in my life, I'm ready to have kids. With PCOS it will be very very hard to conceive. The thought of going through all of those appointments with some asshole doctor or skinny nurse saying "You know if you would lose the weight this would be easier" all matter of fact, like I haven't been trying my whole life, really stresses me out. And you know what I would probably do every time someone said that to me? Dart to the nearest drive-thru, shove a cheeseburger in my mouth and wash it down with a value meal.

- Shop in normal clothing stores. This is something both my husband and I really look forward to doing. Plus size clothing is overpriced, and for  women, it's just plain ugly.

- Walk up hills with out panting like a fatso. MS and I went to a UNC basketball game a few weeks ago. The skinniest person that was with us directed us to a parking lot that felt like it was 2 miles away, up and down hills. When we got to the game I was so out of breath and felt really embarrassed. The game was a blow out and MS was cool with leaving a little early. I was so glad he wanted to  because I knew the HUGE hill we walked down to get into the dome had to be tackled and it wasn't going to be pretty. As soon as started walking up the hill, we were both completely out of breath. Right in front of us was a family of three. Just as I was feeling pretty ashamed of myself, and audibly panting, I heard the dad in front of us say to his little kid, "RACE YOU TO THE TOP!" and they ran the rest of the way after each other.  Yikes that was a blow to my ribs. I kept thinking that we're only 30 years old!  I'm look forward to the day when we can both race our kids up hills.

Here are some of my husband's:

- Ride Roller Coasters. He's been talking about roller coasters for a year, by far this is his #1 NSV. I grew up withing driving distance of Cedar Pointe and he keeps talking about Busch Gardens! Either way we'll hit them all!

- Get Rid of Type 2 Diabetes for Good and lower blood pressure. No explanation needed.

- Sit At a Sporting Event or on an Airplane Comfortably. We love going to sporting events and traveling. Constantly worrying about touching the person next to you. Or worse, having an airline employee in a bad mood pick you as the 1 overweight person in the whole airport that has to get off the plane or buy two seats.

These are just a few, but it's a good start :)

Protein - Southwestern Corn Soup

This is soup for a fat person's soul, let me tell you. Be very careful with this recipe - everyone we have worked with has told us that our tastes may change after surgery and that we may develop sensitivities to temperature and spice. This soup has a little spice, but it's not over the top. My husband and I didn't have an issue with it at all. We did, however, moan and groan and talk about how wonderful it tasted while we ate our 2 oz servings for dinner :)

I've read a lot of interpretations about what the liquid diet phase is on Just so I am clear this is what we were taught. Everything I post on my blog will follow these rules. Right now, we can eat/ drink a "full liquid diet" which means, anything that can pass through a wire mesh strainer and is low in fat and has little to no sugar.

Campbell's makes some rockin soups that are almost completely smooth, which you can strain ... or even better... throw them in the blender.This is the one you will need for this recipe:

1 Box of V8 Southwestern Corn Soup
1/4 of water
2 scoops of unflavored protein powder

Blend until completely smooth and pour into 2 oz servings. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds or less and eat at a temperature you can tolerate

Depending on your protein powder you can get 4-5 grams of protein per 2 oz serving from this soup.

Watch out for an upcoming blog about using freezing the left overs in portion controlled sizes, so all you have to do is defrost what you'll eat!

Protein - High Protein Cream Soup

1/2 cup of hot chicken broth
1/3 Cup nonfat dry milk powder
3 tablespoons unflavored protein powder
a very small amount of salt and pepper (be careful with spices - they may irritate your stomach)

blend until smooth, add more or less chicken broth to suit your tastes. Eat while lukewarm if you are sensitive to hot and cold right after surgery

Protein Shake - High Protein Fruit Punch

Our nutritionist gave us some recipes to help break up the monotony. Here's one of them:

1 single serve packet of sugar free fruit punch mix
6 oz of water
2 scoops of unflavored, vanilla, or fruit punch protein powder
4 ice cubes

blend until smooth

110 calories, 20 grams of protein, 4 carbs, 2 grams fat

Protein Shake - Chocolate Almond

I'm going to list the brands I use, but there are tons of options out there. Use what you like!

1 Slim Fast Lower Carb Creamy Chocolate Shake
1 Scoop of Body Fortress Chocolate Whey Protein
A couple of ice cubes or a splash of water
1-2 drops of Pure Almond Extract
Tiniest pinch of salt

Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth. To keep from overdoing the extract, just use a measuring spoon and let 1 or 2 drops fall into that first. If you spill some, you won't ruin your shake!

This Shake has 320 Calories, 10 Grams of Fat, 7 Carbs, 3 Grams of Fiber, <3 Grams of Sugar, 50 Grams of Protein, 51% of daily Calcium

Protein Shakes - Recipes for the Hard Part

I love to cook and honestly I don't really want to change that. What I will change, however, is what I cook and how much. I also love a lot of variety and let's face it, it is very easy to get tired of the same chocolate-y protein shakes day in and day out. Over the next few months protein shakes are going to be a huge part of our diets.  So I'm going to make it fun for myself by concocting delicious mixes and sharing them.

Here's my first recipe!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Changing Old Habits - Tiny Silverware Tip

Have you ever noticed that the skinniest people you know eat incredibly slow? I have this co-worker who is full of energy and hilarious. When we go out to lunch as a group everyone digs in, finishes up and gets ready to leave. Normally around that time said co-worker will take one or two last bites, leave his food and get back to work with the rest of us. Wouldn't it be nice to have that type of self control?

I actually just read this article about the Benefits of Eating Slow. The author explains that people who eat slow have more of a chance to enjoy food instead of just inhaling it. You may feel full sooner, and you are also able to be more social. Well imagine that!

My husband and I inhale our food. He eats twice as fast as I do, and I know that makes me speed up my eating while with him. I've been paying attention to this habit for about a year now and I've noticed that when I sit down to eat, I face my food and as soon as I fill my mouth with a bite I'm not thinking about what's in my mouth, I chew it 4 or 5 times while reloading my fork, and swallow just in time for another bite. Ugh. I sound like such a lady.

Since this whole banding process is about changing our lives. I know this is one of the first habits we have to break. You see, with a band, if you don't chew your food to a pulp things can get stuck. Worst case scenario, the food could even come back up. Now THAT'S disgusting.

Change isn't isn't easy, but why not do everything we can to help ourselves? Which brings us to today's tip. Instead of using our beautiful oversized silverware, we started using tiny cocktail silverware. When we start to eat more solid food, we'll us small bowls and sandwich plates as well. Even if we load these babies up, we'll be putting a fraction of the food we used to put in our mouths!

We found these at Bed Bath and Beyond, but you can find them just about any where. So far they have helped a bunch.

Here's an example of what they look like next to regular silverware:

I made MS 2 little ounces of Potato Leak Soup last night and he was just savoring it with his little spoon!

These aren't the exact forks we bought, but they are even cheaper. Don't forget your 20% off coupon too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hydration Tip!

Although I've been able to drink all of my protein with no issues, I've really been struggling with sipping on water and  have yet to drink enough fluid in a day. This whole drinking 2 oz over a span of 15 minutes pretty much ties me to a water bottle all day. So I called my nutritionist and asked her if she had any advice. She told me to take a slightly bigger sips and get some sugar free Popsicles.

What a life saver! The Popsicles help so much with slowing down the drinking process. I'm thinking I might go grab something tomorrow to make Popsicles with. I think I'll even try making 2 oz protein Popsicles as well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What To Do to Prepare for Lap Band Surgery

I'm a planner. I like to be prepared and I did a lot of research before the surgery. One thing I wished I had was a check list of tips... so now that I've been through it, I'll put one out there. First throw out anything you can't eat if you can.

Stock your shelves with:

-Chicken Broth
-Chicken Stock (it has more protein than broth)
-Slim Fast Low Carb Shakes
-EAS Advantage Carb Control Shakes
-Atkins Advantage Shakes
-EAS Myoplex Shakes
-Body Fortress Protein Powder or whatever brand you like.
-Sugar Free Popsicles - see my previous post on this
- 2 oz measuring cup, or a few extra 1/4 cup measuring cups (by the way 2oz =1/4 cup if only i knew that 2 days ago)
I love this measuring cup!

-Bottled Water or a good reusable bottle so you can measure your progress

-Dried milk (when you're sick of sweet protein powder you can add it to chicken broth to make a cream soup with protein)

- ice cube tray for freezing soups when you open them (only eating 2 ounces at a time will add up to a lot of waste, might as well freeze the rest in portion sized cubes for another day)

-Chewable Gas X or Gas X Strips
- Campbells V8 soup


Non Kitchen Items:

Really take a minute to think about what you use on a daily basis. It's really hard to bend for the first few days after surgery so put those things where you can reach them. Unless of course you have someone who can get them for you ;)

- Thermometer

-Any Prescriptions you were given at the pre-op appointment

- A small stiff pillow. Our surgeon gave us stint pillows at the hospital to hold against our stomachs as needed. We used them while getting up and down from bed or from chairs. They really feel good the first few days after surgery

- Baby Wipes (no showering for 2 days)

-  A stack of comfortable pants and t-shirts that you don't have to bend over to get to. Changing into clean clothes every day really made me feel better.

- Something to do. I bought some craft supplies, borrowed a few dvd's. Cooking used to be my hobby, that's on hold for the next few months!

3 Days Post Op - Feeling Good

Well we are still doing great. We both slept very good last night and felt improvement when we woke up.  Today is the first day that both of us were able to drink all of our protein. I'm still sipping on my water and I just can't seem to get all of my hydration fluid in, but i still have some time tonight.

There are still some gas pains that we are both experiencing, but walking and changing positions while sitting or laying really helps move it out. We were told to sleep with our heads elevated but I really have a hard time sleeping like that. My shoulders tense up and I get a stiff neck. To stave that off, I've been changing my pillows througout the night and I use a heated neck and upper back pad every morning to keep everything loose. For me, having  stiff neck intensifies every other ache and pain I have.  The good news is that I didn't take any pain medicine today at all. I think MS took a half a pill.

To give you an idea of what our days have looked like so far. Our goal set by the surgeon and nutritionist is that we drink 1-2 oz (2 being the ultimate goal) of a nutritionally complete protein drink at the top of every hour. It should take us 15 minutes to sip those 2 oz. WOAH, right? I actually thought it would be a lot harder than it is. But I still tend to drink too fast. To slow myself down I start by pouring 2 oz of protein and leave it on the kitchen counter. I then walk around the entire downstairs of my house. At my current speed, my path takes about 1 minute. As I pass by the protein I take a sip. I try my absolute best to stretch that out for 15 minutes.  As I gain back strength, my walking speeds up, so I have to adjust for that, maybe two laps in 1 minute, or smaller sips.

Today my protein was 1 chocolate flavored Slim Fast Low Carb Shake with 2 scoops of Body Fortress chocolate peanut butter protein powder. I added water to thin it out. It tasted great and it packed 72 grams of protein. According to my nutritionist, women need to aim for 50+ grams of protein each day and men need 70+.

MS and I have both lost a weight, but I'm really waiting to post the numbers after our 21 day appointment.  We will be on this "full" liquid diet for 21 days. I read on a lot of forums that people start with mushy food pretty quickly, but I trust that Duke is a leading healthcare facility for a reason, so I will follow exactly what they lay out for me! I'm really looking for a double digit weight loss!

Monday, December 19, 2011


We are both home and in our bed. I feel so glad that today is over. Onto the future slowly but surely!

We arrived at the hospital at 5:45 am and even though Duke was remodeling the wait area, they were incredibly efficient. There were already a lot of people there. They checked us both in together and gave my mother in law and brother in law a pamphlet with 2 unique ID numbers. They could use those numbers to track the progress of our surgery on a screen in the lobby. It just so happened that my unique number happened to end in the numbers that I use on all of my screen/usernames for everything I do! WINK! I knew it was going to be a good day.

We were also given a buzzer just like you would get at a restaurant. We got buzzed to go back and our family kept it. Every time there was an update for us, they received a buzz.

MS went back with me and a wonderful nurse named Sonya got me ready. Every nurse in the place made me feel so comfortable. Plus we're in the south so everyone called me sugar and baby which made me feel more like my mama was with me.

I spoke with our surgeon, Dr. Yoo and he was just great. He is very sincere and I felt so great that he is our dr.

I was knocked out quickly, and 30 mins later they were waking me back up. Surgery went very smooth. Apparently I had a hernia that they fixed as well.

In recovery Dr Yoo gave me great news about MS. He did fantastic and apparently had a hernia in the same place they fixed that too. Dr Yoo said that both of our livers were tiny! Great news I hope that shows him how serious we are about this whole process!

My mother in law went home with me and my brother in law brought MS home 2 hours later almost on the dot. I love efficiency.

The worst pain I had today was my throat from the scope, on a scale of 1 to 10 that was probably a 4. The 2nd worst was gas pain. I walked a ton of laps around my house today and it helped move that around a lot.

MS had a lot worse pain in his incisions today. Dr Yoo said men have a little more pain than women because of how we hold our weight differently.

We're both tucked into bed and I am feeling great. The pain I have is tolerable and I'm ready for a full night's sleep. Praying tonight that we both feel great in the morning.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1 More Sleep!

Well, this is it. Everything that could possibly need to be done in our house is done. We're just hanging out with family tonight and drinking lots of clear liquids.

We're both lucky enough to take the entire week off and have Monday off for Christmas. We'll need to walk quite a bit after the surgery but in between walks I plan on working on some paintings for my office. I'm a huge pinterest fan so I've pinned lots of inspiration on my boards.

I feel good. We are as prepared as we possibly can be and I really look forward to losing weight. I think the next few weeks are going to be tough but i can't explain how good it feels to think that I'll never be this weight again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bring It, Liquid Diet!

It's Liquid Diet Eve in our household!! The pantry is clean, the fridge is stocked with tons of clear liquids and protein shakes (i know the protein will be room temp at first. We have those too)

MS and I went out for our last meal tonight. It'll be about 3 weeks until we eat semi-solid food again, so we went out and had a nice low carb dinner. Sadly, we drank the last Diet Cokes we may ever drink. The carbonation is too much for the little pouch above the lap band so that's one thing we have to give up. But we'll get over it! In fact with all of the recent findings about Diet Coke - I wonder if drinking it my whole life played a part in my metabolic "issues".

For the past week we have been on the atkin's diet in order to lose a little weight before the surgery. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lap Band surgery, the doctor will be placing a band around the top of our stomachs. Our surgeon asked that we do anything we can to lose even the slightest amount of weight prior to the surgery because we lose weight in our liver first. If the liver is as small as it can be, the doctor will have an easier time conducting a faster, safer surgery. Here's a visual:

Tomorrow (day before surgery) we can only drink clear liquids. I stocked the fridge with propel, bottled water, iced tea, apple juice, sugar free fruit punch and lemonade. We have broth in the pantry and coffee as well. We're expecting my mother in law and brother in law tomorrow as well. They'll be taking care of us the day of and day after the surgery.
After the surgery, we'll sip on 64 ounces of decaf, non carbonated clear liquids and we'll have to get 50-70 grams of protein from nutritionally complete shakes. We bought a variety of shakes and additional protein powder. We found protein powders by Body Fortress that pack close to 30 grams of protein in 1 scoop. I thought all the flavors sounded great, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter, and regular chocolate. We're planning on adding a scoop of the powder to a pre-packaged Low Carb/High protein shake.  We bought Atkins Shakes because we love them and they are hands down the best tasting shakes out there. We also stocked up on EAS Myoplex and AdvantEdge Shakes as well as 1 4-pack of the Slim Fast Low Carb Pre-mixed shakes.

Our Nutritionist approved vitamins are Flintones Complete (chewable so it goes down) Cal-trate chocolate calcium and vitamin D chews, and I have a little extra liquid vitamin D. Must be my daily sunscreen ;) We read somewhere that Gas X helps with gas pains from the surgery. We added that to our list of questions for the doctor.

I know this liquid phase is going to be extemely hard, but the reward will be a double digit weight loss so I'll keep my eye on the prize. Bring it liquid diet! Bring it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle"

In preparation for this surgery, there are so many things to think about. One of the biggest things for me is who to tell. I made up my mind pretty quickly that I would only tell a few friends and anyone else that asks will get a standard "weight loss program at Duke" response.  I purposely scheduled the surgery right around the holidays so I can slip this right into my vacation, have 7 days of recovery and go back to work feeling great. I just didn't want to have to explain myself to everyone I work with. I know I don't have to explain, but that's what I do. I'm an explain-er. If someone asks I know I'll go into detail about the fact that this is my battle. That this is the one thing i can't control.  I just didn't feel like putting my issue out there for the peanut gallery.

Well about a week ago I read a WLS forum that talked this same topic. One particular comment really resonated with me. I don't remember the exact words, but the person asked something like, "why would you lie? How can you keep that big of secret? You need support through this."

I couldn't seem to shake that one. Meanwhile, my husband's situation is much different. He works with more than a handful of people who have had all types of WLS. He literally has a support group at work. One of his co-workers even told him this week she was going to help keep him on top of drinking all of his protein. I thought that was the sweetest thing.

All week I've questioned myself. What if i decide in 2 months I want to tell people? Wouldn't that seem more embarrassing? Wouldn't it seem like more of a lie? I sat in my office yesterday and really started to have a little panic attack in my head about it. I summoned my b.f.f. and we talked it out. I made the decision to sleep on it and talk about it to my close friends at work in the morning.

First thing today, I barged into my friend's office and laid it out there.  For the first time through this process, I actually cried a little. My sweet friend cried right along with me. I'm not sure where my tears came from. Maybe it was fear of just laying it out there. Could have been tears of embarrassment. I'm not sure, but I got them out and I'm so glad I did. She gave me nothing but support and love. I made the right decision.

I told a few more people throughout the day and every time it got easier.  I have a team behind me now that will help me along the way. I don't have to worry about keeping secrets or adding stress to the situation and I love that.

I know some people will say bad things about WLS like it's an easy way out or a cop out. But I don't care. What those people don't understand is that we all have our own battles. I'm at peace with the fact that this is mine.

2 more days. It'll be here before we know it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Journey Starts Here.

On September 25th 2010, my husband and I exchanged wedding bands. On December 19, 2011 we'll be getting bands of a much different kind.  After over a year of preparations, we're scheduled for Lap Band Surgery at Duke Raleigh Hospital 3 days from now.

We were at the hospital last week for our pre-op testing and all of the nurses were a buzz. They thought it was so cool that we were taking on this new step together. One of them even told us we should write a book. Well, let's start with a blog and go from there ......

I met my husband (MS)on St. Patrick's Day in 2008. I was on the Atkin's Diet for the 5th or 6th time and at that point had lost over 40 lbs. Right now at this very moment, I'm 50 pounds heavier than I was that day. piss. In my adult life there has never been a time that I haven't been overweight. I gain, I lose, i gain it all back, the cycle repeats itself over and over and over. Weight is the only thing in my life that I feel like I can't control. Failed diet after diet has me feeling defeated and like a failure. Why can't I do this? What is wrong with me?

To add fuel to the fire, I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years back and until now have only had to deal with a few annoying symptoms that go with it. But when MS and I started talking about kids and trying to get pregnant, I knew I'd have a problem. We decided that we'd start trying right after the wedding, because it was definitely going to take some time.

I'm a very spiritual person. I pray a lot and keep my heart and mind open to signs and arrows that God places along my path. I like to call those winks.

One day, a week after we got married, I sat in the oral surgeon's office at Duke while MS had his wisdom teeth removed.  I was going to do work from the waiting room but I couldn't get on the wi-fi. How annoying. Wink. Thanks, God. So I picked up a magazine and flipped right to an article about the dangers of being obese while pregnant. It also talked about how much danger it actually puts the fetus in. Shit. The article mentioned PCOS and how lap band surgery has completely helped women lose weight and have healthy babies. Hmm.

Up until that point, I wouldn't have even considered weight loss surgery (WLS). I like food too much to mess around with that. I figured I was just going to have to struggle with myself for the rest of my life.

I thought about it for a month or so. Read about it, and started getting comfortable with the fact that this might be an option for me. Then one day I mustered up the courage to tell MS and we talked about it for quite a long time. In fact, before we met, he was already in the process of having the surgery himself.

We went to two informational meetings and the Duke meeting was hands down our choice. We both felt so comfortable with the surgeon and his presentation and we decided to move forward.
We went through all of our appointments between November and December of 2010 and planned for a spring surgery. The insurance company had other plans, so here we are today. Surgery is 3 days out. I have to say I'm more scared of the 3 week post op liquid diet than the actual surgery itself.
I'm confident and calm and I feel good about this decision. I have prayed my heart out and researched this procedure up and down. This is our path.  I feel obligated to start this blog because there are so many banded-bloggers out there that have inspired me and taught me a lot about this process, I want to pay it forward. Hopefully one day, someone who has gone through the same struggles will read this and find inspiration. So whoever you are, God brought you here,  here's your wink ;)

Over the next year I plan to post pictures, keep track of weight loss and reveal the good and the bad. I hope you'll pray for us, and cheer us on.