My entire life, I've been overweight. In October of 2009, at 31 years old, I had enough and decided to take control. Gastric Band is helping me, but it's up to me to make it work. This is my story.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I need to get on the ball- I am a BAD, BAD, BAD blogger.  I am staying so busy.  We put our house on the market, so there's work to do there and I have been very good about going to jazzersize 3 nights a week  (until this week when I have extreme pain anytime I move my knee side to side- a result not of jazzercise but of cleaning and prepping the house to go on the market, go figure). 

I have been frustrated lately with the scale.  Despite going to jazzercise 3 nights a week and keeping busy it just wasn't moving- so I turned to my nutritionist and  I started to track my activity and my food.  I wanted to be sure I was accounting properly for activity, so I got one of those heart rate monitors where you enter in your height, weight, age and sex and you wear it when you work out and it calculates how many calories that you're burning and HOLY MOLY- in an hour of jazzercise, I am burning 1000-1200 calories.  That should be about a pound a week loss on exercise alone- but that's not happening.  So I look at the food.

Turns out most days, esp when  jazzersize I was only eating 1000-1200 calories- if I really splurged then maybe 1500-1600--- net calories here are SUPER low, that's good, right?

Not according to my nutritionist.  When you are netting fewer than 800-1000 calories a day your body can react in a very opposite way and try to avoid burning fat, it thinks that you are starving yourself and it can hold on.  At the same time with jazzersize I'm also building muscle - good, yes?  Well yes, but muscle had weight too- so I'm negating what little loss I am experiencing.

Her advise?  Eat more.  SERIOUSLY.  Never heard that before.  With the lapband that can be a challenge so she suggest ways to pack a punch in healthy foods that don't take up space.  I am adding in a glass or 2 of milk on days when I workout hard.  I'm making sure I eat before and after the workout- protein foods like dairy or nuts. 

I started to see some results last week when I started to add food back in and then this week I'm sidelined with this darn knee (seriously, it's getting better, but with knees you just have to give them time).  So I'm being extra careful with the food to make sure I get my protein, limit my carbs and keep in my target total calorie count since I can't work any of it off.

So far so good, the scale has moved down every morning this week!  Oh and I made my first ever purchase from Banana Republic- this may not sound like a big deal but I have NEVER been able to shop there- and to make it even better, it was on clearance and then marked down and I got this cute very light lilac sweater with a chiffon collar for $8.99!!! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I deserve a cookie!

I had Monday off for the President's Day holiday and I actually got up and went to Jazzercise in the morning- surely that deserves a cookie, right?  I'm anything but a morning person when it comes to mornings that I don't have to work (or tailgate) so getting up at 8:00am (I know poor me, but I don't have kids so there's really no need to be up at early hours unless someone is paying me- I digress) is a bit of an accomplishment here.  It was actually nice to start my day with exercise.

Too bad that can't become a habit.  I start my workday at 7:30am most days, so squeezing in exercise prior to that just isn't going to happen (see notes above).  I felt great the whole day- tons of energy.  My typical work day involves me leaving for work by 7, work at 7:30, try to leave by 4:30, jazzercise at 5:45 and home at 7:00 to fix dinner and do whatever else needs doing.  The jazzercise center I go to offers morning classes 6 days a week and evening classes 3, so I try to make all 3 evenings when I don't have conflicts (basketball games, hockey games, flights to Florida- the usual).  It had been a few weeks since I could make all 3, but this week is looking good and I feel good about it.

So about that cookie- in honor of Girl Scout cookie time I think I'll have a Samoa (or as our local baker calls is "Caramel Delight"- it's still a Samoa)- just one, thank you.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Basketball, Hockey, Football food and the BAND

So, despite not having graduate school to contend with- I’m busy. 

It’s college basketball season, which means I spend at least one night a week some time every weekend watching my beloved NC State Wolfpack play- often in person from my seats in the RBC Center.  I’m going to jazzercise 3 nights a week (so long as I don’t have a home basketball game to go to) and I manage to fill our weekends up most of the time.  I thought I’d have all this time- but now I just seem to be building a larger “want to do” list.  Like I “want to” read more, scrapbook the last 3 years of our lives, actually load pictures on the digital picture frame my husband got me LAST year for Christmas. 

I’m working hard at being more organized when it comes to food.  We are definitely eating in more.  (I haven’t been to my favorite local Mexican restaurant since before Christmas- it just hit me today, and even I am shocked, I go through stretches where I can eat here a few times a week).  I’ve found some great products that are helping me to cook quick and healthy meals at home, which is important, because I don’t get home from jazzercise until 7:00.  We’re eating more fish (Trader Joe’s has some really good quality frozen versions, and I try and pick up stuff at my local fish market as well). 

I have finally accepted that dinner does not have to include a starch.  It doesn’t.  I know, this shocks me as well.  Spinach appears to have become my go to- I have tried a variety of fresh spinach salads (2 tablespoons of dressing can fully dress a salad for 2 if you toss the salad in it). Oh and don’t be afraid to add blueberries, sliced strawberries, bing cherries, pears or apples or dried cherries or cranberries and your favorite cheese (I’m going between crumbled blue, feta and goat, again 2 tablespoons goes a long way).  This combo pairs nicely with a moderately creamy dressing like poppy seed or Vidalia onion- just enough to dampen the spinach. And found that I really enjoy cooked baby spinach -not steamed and nasty and mushy- but wilted, in a  sauté pan with a little bit of olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper- just tossed around enough to get it to start to wilt- YUMMY. 

Enjoying life though doesn’t mean I always have time to cook and spending time at basketball games or out with friends means venturing off the fish and spinach menu plans several times a week- which is fine.  My band helps me to control those portions even when the foods aren’t the healthiest. I had back to back dinners this week at the RBC Center for basketball and hockey games- pulled pork BBQ nachos to be exact- and the band helped me from devouring all of it and going back for ice cream.  The band also prohibited me from getting the second (or third) beer since I can’t drink when I eat or an hour after I eat- so my pre-game, pre-dinner $9 large draft was the only beer I drank at the hockey game.  I don’t do a lot of beer drinking with the band (the carbonation and calories and all) but everything in moderation so long as it doesn’t bother my band seems to work fine for me.

The Superbowl is Sunday... fish and spinach don't pair well with football, so it looks like I'll be looking for another option- It wouldn't be the Superbowl unless something was slathered in hot sauce and dipped in blue cheese, but I can make this work too, with a little help from the band.

Oh and the weight loss drought is finally OVER- 3 pounds in 2 weeks- BBQ nachos and all.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stressing over Nothing

I don't know why I was so nervous.  Today I had my 15 month appointment with Advanced Laproscopic (Dr. Moran's office- I was seeing the PA, Julie).  Everyone there is always so nice so I don't know what I was stressing- well I do know and here's why I was being silly.

15 month appointment- This was sort of new to me because for the first 12 months I went every month.  As of October I was released to wait for 3 months to come back in- so I was a little out of practice.  I worried about what their scale would say- the dreaded doctor's office scale.  I knew I needed a slight band adjustment, a little tightening if you will.

The band adjustment- These really are NO big deal and I know this, I've been through 8 of them.  But every time I need one I build it up in my head.  It takes less than a minute and it doesn't even hurt, but I get so nervous. I HATE needles- but I have to say, in all the visits and fills, no one has made me look at the needle.  It's over before I know it.

Insurance changes- Recent government legislation determined that the AWESOME plan my husband's employer provided was just that TOO AWESOME and if they wanted to continue to offer it then there would be financial penalties, making it unfeasible to maintain.  THANKS for that by the way healthcare bill- penalize employers who take care of employees, BRILLIANT.  Anyways, so our plan changed from a simple copay to a HSA managed plan.  It's still not a bad plan, it just requires me to have to understand what I have to pay in the office and when my deductible is met and managing yet ANOTHER account at ANOTHER bank.  Well the staff at Dr. Moran's office had already called my new insurance and knew exactly what I would need to be charged on my new little HSA mastercard.  It was simple. 

So in other words despite all my stress and anxiety, today was easy.  I got my little band adjustment, came home to "enjoy" my liquid diet for the rest of the day and will go about my merry way to blog another day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I am so excited to see so many people checking out my blog!

In year 2 of life with the band, I have a lot of hope to have additional weight loss success with the help of the band, and with the help of fellow bandsters.  I learned so much about my health and healthy living with the band- but I know there's more. 

I have also learned a lot about myself- and I know there is more there too.  I think I want to take a little time to reflect on that.  Now that things are calming back down for me with the completion of my master's- there's an opportunity to actually think and plan for what's next.

But first things first- I need to get my house in order and all of this Christmas stuff put away!  I love Christmas and hate packing it up- but now it's time to move forward with a new year- so farewell 10 foot frazier fir, with your 4700 twinkling lights and hundreds of ornaments- you have been a good tree.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not a resolution

I came home tonight from Jazzercise, and there I was on the TV in the commercial I did for Rex Healthcare back in March just 5 months after having my gastric banding surgery. My husband had stopped what he was doing to watch- and he rewound- and he looked at me- and he looked at the TV- and we both said WOW.  I look really different now.  This was a great feeling because I have to admit, since August my weight loss has been stagnate.  My life literally got in the way of the effort needed to keep up with a weight loss mission.

I work full time and this past fall I decided to try and wrap up grad school by taking a full course load of graduate level history courses.  To complete my degree requirements, one of those classes had to be taken at the University of North Carolina Greensboro- so Monday, after working 7-4 in Raleigh, I'd drive to Greensboro, go to class from 6:30 to 9:30, then drive home 2 hours to Clayton.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I was in another class at NC State.  The rest of the time- I was reading and researching and trying to stay on top of things.  There was no time to commit to exercise- there was barely any time to grocery shop.  My husband was also taking a full graduate course load while working full time- so we became takeout eaters.  I, much to my disappointment, became a drive-thru diva. 

In my past battles with food and weight this was a slippery slope that ALWAYS lead to weight gain.  But with the band, I had learned how to make better decisions, even in the drive thru lane.  I didn't need to super size- the band wouldn't let me eat all that anyways.  Drinking while you eat defeats the band- so no more chugging empty calories to wash down french fries.  I learned that I could eat less than half of the kids portion of french fries and throw the rest away- oh and that I didn't need to eat french fries every meal- or every day.  I had learned to look at labels to maximize protein per portion- so I was more aware of everything I ate.

So through the past semester and even the holidays, I didn't gain any weight.  The scale says I didn't lose any either, but that's OK.  Because I graduated and now I have the time back to recommit.  Recommit to eating healthy and get back to the exercise that I was surprised to find I loved doing.

So this isn't a resolution to eat right and exercise, it's just picking up where things left off before life got in the way of this weight loss journey.