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I'm on a new journey to pay-it-forward & with the support of my Groupies/friends...

I'm writing a LAP BAND BOOK!!!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Third Bandiversary!!!

Hello my lovelies!

This week is my 'Celebration Week', so drink up you groupies, and keep the party going all week!

- My Birthday (I'll be 53).

- Our 30th Wedding Anniversary (we'll be leaving for London in about two weeks…Cheers!).

- and…drum roll please…My Third Bandiversary!!!

I've been in my closet figuring out what to take for our trip and I ran across a second old pair of pants. These did NOT fit me the year (or more) before I was banded. They were my only pair of dress pants though, so I remember wearing them unbuttoned a few times with a big shirt covering them…I refused to buy any more pants in a bigger size (they're a 22W, and I was at least in a 24W). They drop to the floor when I let go…and 'scuse the pre-shower/no makeup scary face.














I was hoping to roll out the intro. of the book this week, but that will have to wait until I get back, as I've still have a few things to figure out. So I'll just share what I'm thinking instead (sorry, if this is a ramble, no time to edit...)
Reflections on the past year.

- Life.

     - I really have nothing to complain about as we're all healthy and happy and the kids are all great. I've certainly still been counting every blessing as we have so much to be thankful for. All the really important things in our life are wonderful.

     - That said, it's been one of, if not the most stressful years we've ever had (no worries, mostly job crapolla, but of the kind we could write a movie about). There will always be ups and downs and nothing stays the same long. We've all been there, and you can't really appreciate the good…(insert Charlie Brown's teacher here 'blah, blah, blah").
    
     - Anyway, I've been busy, and stress has given me new excuse to lose my hair...wonderful.

-My Lap-Band.

     - The Book

          - I've found it harder to find time to do everything. To live my crazy life, to write, to blog.

          - As my sister would point out…I've been 'doing the lonely work', and sometimes it isn't fun.  I really miss keeping up with friends and just having fun writing my blog and helping newbies. I feel like everyone will have moved on and forgotten about me by the time it's all done. Sometimes I feel like I'm chasing windmills. 

          - Just about the time I'm feeling down about it all and want to quit, I always get a note from a new Bander telling me how much my little blog has helped them. It keeps me going.

- My Band Journey this year

     - Band History

          - 1st year was losing weight and learning about my Band.
 
          - 2nd year was getting to goal, soon after that was my unfill and then losing weight again to get to goal a second time (just a few weeks after my 2nd Bandiversary)

          - 3rd year has really been about getting back to goal and maintenance.  

     - Goal Maintenance
    
          - My expectations when I got the Band were that I would lose about ½ my excess weight. I had confidence that I could do that, since I'd done close to that many times with diets. I was just hoping that I could keep ½ the weight off with less hunger.  My number one grateful moment was the second half of my excess weight coming off with virtually no hunger…it amazes me still.

          - My second most grateful moment (that's almost a tie with losing so much weight), happened this year…that I've been able to KEEP the weight off. You've always heard me say that I got the Band to keep the weight off, not to lose it. I'm amazed every day that I'm still in maintenance…and I've learned so very much this year.

          - Maybe it was having the unfill and having that awful hunger back that made still doubt that I'd be able to keep this off. I was worried that the weight would slowly creep back on like it has for so many others. I'm not stupid enough to say that it won't ever happen (you know I have to try everything once…OK three or four times LOL), I'm just here to say that for this first year of maintenance, I'm still maintaining. 

          - I actually think my body kinda' wants to stay at goal now…shocking (it's just like when you're in a plateau and not much you do will make the weight budge…except this time it's a good thing). I've had weeks of crappy eating this year (Can you say Easter chocolate? No, I mean it…whole piles of foil wrappers…but more about my perfection in a moment). Even when I've gained a few pounds, once I get things back in check (and no, don't read 'easy' in there anywhere...there's a method to the madness and 'easy' isn't part of any of it) it evens out again…amazing.

          - So I've had a wonderful, surprising, and thankful year with my Band.

     - Stats: For those of you that are 'almost OCD' numbers people, like me, here's a few stats for you. 

          - It's been almost a year since I got back down to goal for the second time. Over 48 weeks to be exact.

          - I weigh daily, but record it weekly, I've been over my goal weight of 148 exactly 4 weeks during that time and two of those four were the very first two weeks after reaching goal. 

          - I'll also tell you that I've only ever been over my goal by a half a pound…half a pound! So this year I've been between 141.5 and 148.5. Over half the weeks have stayed within two pounds (145.5-147.5). 

     - Imperfection

          - OK, now before you just start thinking…good for her, but that will never be me, let me tell you again, it CAN be.

          - Let me preface this next part by reminding you that I'm a firm believer in the fact that our journeys are all a little different, but each one of us has something to learn from the other. The trick is in finding what you can learn that will work for you. It's important to find those Banders that have the same approach to their Band that you do, but remember, no one way is right or wrong, it's just a different way to get there…take what you can from everyone and learn. 

          - I'll admit I don't like vague or simple explanations for things…back to basics, exercise more, eat less…I was hungry for details as a newbie (and just hungry)….and especially 'follow the rules' (OK, I'm nothing, if not a rule tester). The truth is nothing is that simple…especially not our Bands, and certainly not this journey. You know I'm a details person and I always want the truth…even if it's ugly…I think that's why I share so much. I only get inspired when I can really relate and if I feel like that person is enough like me…flawed like me.  I found inspiration...and there's plenty of of it for us all out there. 

          - So again, I am NOT the perfect Bander…but you know what…I think sharing that can inspire others not to give up the good fight. You don't have to be a perfect Bander to find success, you just have to be ready to do the real work…for me, that was as much in my head as with food/my body.

          - I've got lots more I've learned from getting back to goal and maintenance this year, but I'll just share one last thing here…and this one is for you not-so-newbies as well. No, I'm not going to tell you this journey never ends, you already know that, but know there's no expiration date on our Bands...so if, when, you want more, you CAN do it.  I'm going to tell you that your weight loss success is just like food, you can set amounts and track and measure it as much as you want, but it's only inside you where you can decide when you're satisfied.  Just like hunger and food...you have to really pay attention and only then will you be able to make the changes you need to be successful.  It's only when you start believing that you can reach your goals that you'll be able to.

Ta-ta!  See you when I'm back from over the pond (you have to let go of the shore to get to the other side...yes, I'm in deep LOL)! -LGB

Friday, April 13, 2012

Obesity- Is It A Disability?

Yes, two posts in one day (go HERE if you want to help me plan my trip to London, or if you just want to learn to speak like a Brit...I'm sure I'll be fluent soon).  I'm finally finishing up my re-write (d*mn computers) and my latest article is approved and posted.

I'm sure this article will spark some controversy, but let it not be said that I don't share ALL my thoughts, honestly (OK, so the TMI incontinence posts you could have lived without, I hear ya).  I'm interested to hear your views.  My latest article for "Bariatric Surgery Source" HERE

Some teaser pics to peak your interest (FYI, First pic; I'm the flat-chested one on the right). 
 

4/13/12 London Anniversary






















Yes, we're celebrating our anniversary in London, Elizabeth and I. OK, Elizabeth for 60 years on the throne (Diamond Jubilee, I'll be a little early for the party) and me (and DH) for our 30th wedding anniversary.

I'm off to London in about three weeks and I'm just starting the planning (so once again, I'll be on hiatus here).  Again, the 'almost OCD' planner in me is having an anxiety attack, but I know it will all work out.  DH booked the airline (freq. flyer) and the hotel (freq. stay + every Amex point he had) long ago...have I mentioned we're at a FIVE STAR hotel (Doubletree Hilton- Regent Street)?!!  I've been joking we'll not be able to afford even pub grub for all the tipping we'll have to do at the hotel LOL.  OK, the hotel isn't that important to us as we're out and about when we travel, but it's in a great location, just above Trafalgar Square.








OK, you Londoners and globe trekkers, give me your best tips (both of our first trip there)!  Just so you know us;  We're going for 10 nights (9 full days) there (based at one hotel only).  I've got books and won't miss any of the main museums/sites.  I'm looking at probably two day-trips outside London (probably Cambridge, and Bath or York, or?).  We like to live/eat with the locals and prefer small family run places (I use the Rick Steves books to plan and love the walks that get you away from all the tourists).  We tour during the day and relax at small, local non-touristy restaurants for leisurely dinners. 

I would love some tips on any non-main touristy things you'd recommend, places to eat (sorry, no Indian/Caribbean as DH is allergic to all peppers, even non-spicy ones) and great, local pubs.  DH bought a 'Great Pubs In London' book...he's looking forward to great beer every day (after hardly being able to find one on our Paris trip...I tried to win him over to the wine, to no avail...he loves a hoppy IPA and craft beers).  And what to wear...we don't dress down when traveling, comfortable, but decent, so, will things like black tights, black riding boots and a rain coat still be in, or is it more Spring attire now? 

I was reading my London book on the way home from Disney and the young, handsome (Caribbean looking) gentleman next to me on the plane turned out to be a Brit (here on a basketball scholarship, looking to get into the NBA)...he was so excited to see me looking over the Tube map and then to tell me everything, but I was shocked at how hard of a time I had understanding him...I had to ask him to write out a few of the places he was recommending (I thought we spoke their language LOL!).  I loved learning some French before our last trip for the Frogs, so now I'm brushing up on my British for our holiday.

I plan to knock up early and ride the Tube every day if I can suss it out, using my Oyster card and faf about until elevenses (something I thought the Hobbits made up), or until we're knackered.  I'll be on my bum at a chippie for first (or are they both just 'dinner) dinner most days finding craic with some mates...getting a cuppa late afternoon and later some bangers and mash or a pasty, of course with a pint, not a fizzy, and maybe even some afters, but I don't like floss or jelly.  We love a good car boot sale so tell us where they are (and I'm planning the Portebello, Spitafields and the three East End Markets).  I only hope the loo's aren't as few and hard to figure out as the ones in Paris or I'll need new knickers (or maybe a nappy LOL)...(and I hope the PB's aren't a problem).  Don't want to look tatty (will I need a jumper now?)!  Speaking of which, what do you LB'ed Brits order, just starters, or something like a faggot, or is it expected to always order a main?

Did I just offend a whole country?  Has my passport been revoked yet?  Please LET ME IN!

If any of you Londoners want to meet up for a pint in the evening for a top hole mental time, just send me a note!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11/12 Making Memories

Well, Schnits! I finally had a moment to sit down and write and spent the last three afternoons writing two blogs, with lots of pics, my Disney Trip Report for the sites I used, and an article for BSS…saved (but not on the internet yet)…then came the computer sudden shut-down/crash…poof…gone. Where the bleep does that stuff go?! Sometimes I miss my old electric typewriter…or my handwritten journal…d*mnit!  I'll blame it on the whacky weather...it SNOWED here today (it was 80 degrees here before our trip in March)!

OK, this won't be the same, and sorry, but I don't have the energy to edit it again (so sorry in advance for the typo'$,…so here's the gist again…
First, I've missed you all!

To say life has been crazy is an understatement right now. I'm not going to get into the really crappy stuff (lets just say stress has reached a whole new level here, and DH is not the only one losing his hair from it) but some fun things I can share are that DS1 was home for his Spring Break and we got him prepped and new-suited up for an interview for a Summer internship…his interview was this past Friday out in Philly, and he's waiting to hear (said it went well, so we're scoping out short term car leasing this week). We had a great mini trip with just DS2 to Walt Disney World (more below), and he's still on his official Spring Break now. Easter was fun (we missed DS1 as he was traveling back to school from his interview to get ready for Finals) and DD and BF made it up for the day.

Some of the 'OK' that I can share is that Mom was in for hand surgery yesterday, and all went well. My youngest Sis finally decided to pull the trigger on finishing her basement and told me less than a week before our trip. I came home and seriously worked non-stop morning until late nights for over a week on nothing else but her plans (ask DH). I seriously didn't shower for days…and why does skipping meals always makes me gain weight…OK, I was eating crap whenever I could grab a bite. I did over 20 (she liked parts of all of them) architectural plans on my computer and a huge spec sheet. I love you Sis, but you're more indecisive than my DD (and that's saying a lot). I finally gave up and surprised her with an 'I know you said you wanted something else, but this is what I would do if I were you plan' and she loved it (next time I'll just start there). So then I was on to creating the electric, plumbing, HVAC, etc. plans and now she's waiting for bids from her contractors. I fell down half my stairs (a bi-decade event…I'm a klutz…at least this time wasn't before the trip) and I'm in bed on a heating pad now…I pulled the same 'trap/pap' or some such back muscle group, as I had before).

OK, on to Disney, and another trip announcement…

It was a great, and almost relaxing trip (as relaxing as Disney gets), which I wasn't expecting at all. I don't do well with big crowds, so Disney and 'Spring Break/Peak Season' are something we've never done. We also had to change hotels twice in four nights because of the Conference/Trade Show that DH had to work, but it went surprisingly smoothly with my planning (and thank-you SO much Linda for your help!). I'd forgotten how easy it can be to travel with only one kid (last time was with our oldest when she was a four-year-old), and he's almost an adult.

For you Disney-Lovers, some details/trip report, and for you others, just enjoy the pics.

First, my two biggest tips from this trip. If you have an iPhone (or other compatible), get yourself the Disney app (it's now free) that gives you their posted wait and Fast Pass times while you're in the parks/stuff they put on that main 'wait times' board (it uses your GPS to upload when you arrive). It isn't available for the Blackberry/we have, so we bought the 'Rides' app and another free one. The (Rides/Under Cover Tourist) Trip Planner/predicted wait times portion I used was NOT very accurate at all (actually never got the MK one to even work), but the actual info from other live users in the park was always accurate as far as wait times and was super helpful not to have to walk across a park or back to the board postings.

Secondly, they are enforcing Fast Pass expiration times now (I didn't know they weren't always doing this, so we were already following the rules), so 'PASS IT ON' the Fast Passes you can't use. Here's the deal…we ALWAYS have at least one Fast Pass in-hand, and since we like to park-hop, we often decide not to stay to wait to use a Fast Pass (or we got one to something good even if we knew we weren't staying)…in the past, we usually just tossed these on the way out. This time, I would hand our three FP's to DS2 and tell him to look for a family of three and give them our Fast Passes. He had such fun doing this 'random act of kindness'…although he made the mistake of going up to the about-10 year old daughter once and she promptly shut him down (as she should…never accept things from strangers), but her Mom and I quickly stepped in and I explained what the Fast Passes were and she took them thankfully as they'd just arrived at the park (DS2 said with a smile 'Just wait until they get over to Peter Pan and find out that the Stand By line is now over 2 hours long and they'll get to walk right on!!). I lost our old camera (we had a new one with us too) our first day at the parks, and it was found and I got it back…I swear it was because of our 'Pass It On' policy (I think we did it 4-5x).

We arrived in the afternoon and checked-in at Disney's Pop Century.






















Went to Downtown Disney



















and ate dinner outside at Raglan Road, and started our 'Drinks Around The World' quest (that I've been training for) in Ireland (actually, this turned out to be a multi-trip quest as we didn't check that box in even half of them...we had to be functional parents on this trip after all...it's a reason to return). 
It was a PERFECT evening (say what you will about the peak season crowds, but the weather was spectacular the whole time).

















Did some shopping (DH's mentor),






















and our usual hat modeling (I need some Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo glitter!).






































Up early the next morning (DS2 still enjoyed the 'Mickey Gift' that magically appeared each morning for him to unwrap) and I sent DH & DS2 off to the rope drop for Extra Magic Morning at the Studios, while I took a cab with our luggage just around the corner (reason I booked the Pop) to the Hilton Bonnet Inn. Fun Fact; while Disney was buying up land and overseas investor bought the property that this Hilton, it's sister, the Waldorf, and the Convention Center between them (and the golf course) are now built on…they are actually within the Disney gates!

I met the boys a moment too late (the Hilton bus) to use the planned Fast Pass on Toy Story Mania (never did get to ride it…next trip!). They actually talked me into riding Rock 'N Rollercoaster for my second time ever. This was my first trip to an amusement park post-Band and I was a little nervous about my always-have-had weak stomach as well as my delicate protruding port (didn't know where those harnesses would hit me). It went fine.





















We rode until lunchtime and as the park got busy we park hopped over to EPCOT and stayed all evening through IllumiNations. The Flower and Garden Festival had started, and I always love the flowers.





































Ate dinner at Teppan Edo (one of our favorites).

















Waited almost an hour for the Hilton bus to get home (the reason we always stay on-site).

The next day, DH was working so DS2 and I were off to the MK and were at the rope for regular opening.





















I rode both sides of Space Mountain with DS2 (and he did a few more) and we got on all the fun rides. We had a quick lunch and as the park got busy we headed back to the Hilton. DS2 needed a nap…I'll have to say that even he, a teenager who enjoys sleeping in, commented on how many rides we got on in the first few hours at the parks and how worth it it is to get there early (I was saying how I just read the average person gets on 9 rides in a day at Disney (probably less during peak season) and he lost count around 17. I sat by the pool and when he woke up we rode their lazy river and did the water slide for a while.

Back to the Studios for a beautiful evening and I got to ride one of my favs 'Tower of Terror' (although my stomach only allows it once in a day). We stayed for DS2's favorite 'Fantasmic'…it was wonderful having some one-on-one time that we never get.  I was surprised how little he really remembered from his first trip, but he was in Kindergarten then.

The next morning we were all up early to grab a cab back to the Pop so we could check in and get over to AK for EMHour. The boys rode Expedition Everest 4x in a row (I've done it…once).  I figured out how to do rapid fire photos on the new camera while I was waiting (takes about 20 pics in a row and here are a few in the series I caught of them.  DH is 'Waldo' (DS2 next to him)...check out that face...I'm naming it Munch's 'The Scream'. 



















Check out the couple in the front seats...



















...and check out what happens at the bottom of the big hill...





















...wait for it...



















...yep, that's my man...






















...a little late, but worth it... (nice arms Honey).



















Then we caught the Safari and other rides before early lunch at Anandapur (Asian take-out part of Yak & Yeti…good). I even got to my favorite 'show', Bug's Life!



















I tried to warn them, but the boys insisted we at least 'take a look' at the Magic Kingdom since it was DH's only chance, so off we went. It was as packed as I've ever seen a park. There was no EMH, but the park was open until 1am and it was a Monday (always a busy day at the MK). We grabbed a Fast Pass for Peter Pan (something DS2 and I didn't do yet) and found a few things without hour-two hour waits to ride (I embarrassed them with my arms up on WedWay!). 















About two hours later DS2 had had it with navigating the crowds and asked us if we'd mind going back to EPCOT and finishing the countries we hadn't done? Are you kidding me?! EPCOT is DH's and my favorite, but this trip was all about him (and it's not my other two kids favorite). We all breathed a sigh of relief as we stepped into EPCOT…the wide paths and spread out park make even a crowded day seem light. We grabbed a FPass for Test Track (DS2's favorite), rode some rides, 
and made a return visit to 'Ice Station Cool'





















before looping around the entire lake to finish the countries. 















A pint
and the rock-band concert in the garden at the UK was nice
















and I was even able to book us some last-minute reservations for dinner outside on the lake there…ordered my first 'Fish 'N Chips' from a lovely Brit…which brings me to my next trip announcement…we're going to London for our 30th Anniversary in a few weeks!!!! More later…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3/14/12 Mini BOOBs...and "The Best Laid Plans Of Mice..."

Yes, I have them.  Mini boobs.But that's not what I'm talking about...

I met with some local Banders/Sleever yesterday for lunch.  It was a historic one, worthy of some celebrating (and note the soup all around)! 












From left:
- Me.
- Judi- one of my role models and favorite banders.
Chris- Just Banded and celebrating her first day of MUSHIES!  YAY Chris (we all remember that day!).  So sweet, and she's doing great!!
Lee Ann- Moving to Texas TODAY with her family *sniff, sniff*!  We'll miss you Lee Ann (and Texas, you got a good one)!


In other news...

(L)BG, you just announced putting the book online.  What are you going to do next?

I'm going to Disney World!!! 
DH is attending a conference in Orlando and the sales guy who was supposed to go with him just quit/left for another job.  He just decided to take us and make it a mini-vaca/long weekend (the conference is over a weekend).  We're taking DS2 (his only trip there was in Kindergarten) and he's SO excited. 

Here's the rub (no, there's no downside to going to see the mouse)...we leave in 10 days...we have to change hotels...twice...in a four night stay (I'm bookending Disney on-site hotels, and off-site for the weekend).

OK, I've been there a number of times, but 10 days to plan a trip like this???!!

Excuse me while I hit the Disney Forums (they have one of those on LBT, right?  LOL)... *hi ho, hi ho, it's off to plan I go*...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Facebook For Super-Dummies...or Blondes

I'm having a blonde moment...make that a blonde day.  Can someone please help me because I feel like a moron?!  And yes, I tried 'Facebook For Dummies'...I'm apparently dumber than that.
I need help with Facebook interacting ('friending/liking'), basically getting started, and I need so much help that I don't even know what to ask...so here's me trying...

I set up a Facebook account (Lap Band Groupie) in Feb.  I created a lovely profile pic (long vertical)and today I even switched to the new Facebook layout they just announced (now long horizontal) and changed my 'cover' pic (thought I was clever).  I've posted a few Facebook updates along the way and I added a Facebook 'like' and 'share' button here on my blog.  I also read a ton of stuff today and made sure I've 'verified' my page by my phone number today.  I added a 'username' today ('LapBandGroupie' no spaces were allowed), although I'm not sure how that's different than the account I'd set up weeks ago.  Facebook told me I could now 'tell all my friends they can find me at https://www.facebook.com/LapBandGroupie '  (I'm hoping you'll see what I see when you go there...it doesn't say anything like 'wall' if that helps).

Here's my questions/issues:

- There's no 'search' area at the top of my page (OK, not even sure page is the right word as my DS thinks I still need to create some sort of Fan Page...whatever that is) to look up people for me to 'friend'.  Everything I've read in 'Help' says every page in Facebook has a search box...so where the heck am I if I'm not on Facebook then?  My kids couldn't figure out what I did.

- When my kids try to look me up in Facebook with their searchbox...that they have on their Facebook ('LapBandGroupie' or 'Lap Band Groupie'), I'm not there. 

- It looks like people are 'liking' and 'sharing' with the buttons I put on here (I see there are numbers now), but what does that mean?  Should something be showing up on my Facebook page? 

- There's nothing on my page, but what I've created/added...when/how does this become interactive?  What am I missing here to start connecting with others?  Do I need to create something else?  Is there something else to verify, or change in security?

Thanks for holding my hand...will you be my 'friend' or 'like' me still (now that you know how blonde I am)...*sigh*

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Announcement! A 'Leap' Forward...

Sorry, it's a long one...
 

 
If you've been following for awhile, then you've heard that I've been trying to write a LB Book. I'm certainly not an expert, a doctor, or a 'better' Bander…there are a LOT of wonderful, successful, banded bloggers and vloggers out there. I took this project on after more than a year of urgings of my followers, and because I did some research and knew that there wasn't a book out there like the one that would have helped me the most through my journey…one that represents all the choices, and all of us (Banders). I decided it would be a great way to 'pay-it-forward' and felt I owed it to everyone who helped me along the way.

I delved into the world of publishing with gusto. It was like learning a new language, but I was up for the task. Let me tell you that the publishing world has it's own very strict set of old-school rules that included learning how to create Queries that have to be company specific and researched like a resume, as well as long Proposals that are like thesis papers and each company can ask for different sections. That was all fine with me…I may be blonde, but I'm not dumb…my last job was leading process improvement in a Fortune 500 and I've got mad skills at mapping out the best course of action. I'm a hard worker, and most importantly, I was on a mission to help others and I wasn't going to give up. I created spreadsheet of publishers and each companies specific rules, I researched who at each Co. to send things to (they don't make it easy), as you're not allowed to send to more than one person (or they hit the 'delete'/shredder). I'm not complaining, I'm just telling you I did it. I hit most of the top publishers.

Here's the rub…about the time I started all this, the publishing houses had the rug pulled out from under them. The economy hit them, but more importantly, the world of books and the changes in how we read things hit them at the same time. EReaders and technology are changing things quickly. The Publishing Houses are scrambling to try to reinvent themselves at a time where they're downsizing and not taking any chances (on new authors). I'm sure you've noticed the Bookstores around you closing. These days authors can self-publish more easily than ever or setup their own eBook online (I think using a publisher still offers a lot though).

I'm giving you the history because I need you to understand that I really worked hard at this and it took a LOT of time…I have stacks of files to prove it. I've had so much support from all of you and I don't want you to feel like I let you down. I looked into self-publishing and I even had my DH's support in funding that.

OK, here's my one real moment of whining…the book was becoming a monkey on my back…I seriously couldn't sleep at night over this because I felt like I was letting everyone down. I sorely missed just writing my fun and sometimes deep daily blog. I missed the time I could devote toward supporting others and keeping up friendships…I missed all of you. I can't tell you how many blogs I have in 'Drafts' because I started something and then told myself I had to spend the time instead on the book and publishing. I seriously wish I could get back every hour I spent working on this and have used that to help someone else, but as someone recently told me, there's a reason for everything, even if I don't know it yet.. OK, whine over (you can't really be doing something selfless if you complain...done).

I read a few articles recently that finally lead me to my decision. The easy thing to do, would be to self-publish (I know how now), and/or publish an eBook, but I've decided not to, at least for now. I've decided to do something more 'out of the box', which is exactly who I am. I'm hoping that I've figured out the 'best course of action' to use. I thought long and hard about this and I'm excited about where I'm headed, and I hope you will be too.

I took my process improvement approach and looked at what I was trying to achieve. First, I looked at what I didn't want. The purpose of the book is not to just restate all the good medical information that's out there about the Band…there's plenty of books/sites that do that well. It's not to state 'my way or the highway', and 'follow these rules'…there are plenty of books that do that…I certainly didn't want to write just a glossed over version that's a fun read, but left me wondering at the end what I learned, if anything. Most of the LB out there are just that, with a dose of the medical side…I'm not knocking other books, I just needed to get specific about what I would bring to the table that would be any different from what's already available.  I also know I don't want people to have to read my whole blog or spend a million hours on a forum looking for answers...not many people have that time.

So I thought about the feedback I've gotten from you all along and here's what my objective is. I'm a detail person (editing out for the book wasn't easy and it lost a lot of the fun and humor on the cutting room floor). I want to be able to share detail (things that aren't easily found online now) for those that want it…I've gotten lots of feedback from some of the detail I've shared that helped someone else. Being an art teacher in my young life, I'm a visual learner, and I love sharing pics, and spreadsheets (can be impossible or cost-prohibitive with self-publishing). I'm skilled at process improvement and seeing all the choices and forks in the road…I used that to my advantage in my own success and I want the book to have a basis in my story, but represent all our points of views and really focus on all the choices we each have to make along the way. You can't figure out what works best for you if you don't know what the choices are (it doesn't take long in our journey to start figuring out that there's no one owners manual to success).

So here's where I am. I'm not taking the easy self-publishing route. Instead, I've bought a website and I'm setting it up now. I'm starting to place what I'm calling a 'Living Book' on it. It's going to be a cross between a book and a condensed blog (no one will have to read my whole blog ever again!), hopefully merging the two and including your input for others to read and learn from. It's going to read like a book with chapters and sections, but it will also allow for 'comments' and other viewpoints from all of you. Since it won't be static, I can update it whenever I want. I'm looking forward to adding other media and pics to it that I couldn't have afforded with a book (I've already done the 'cover art' and a 'music slideshow' and I'm looking into a spreadsheet doc). I'm trying to use as much technology as I can figure out. I've started  right now a format that looks like my blog so the transition between the two is seamless and just a click away (I'll probably update the layout eventually). I may put some form of it in eReader format (like a Kindle book) eventually for those that want the information that way. I've decided to make this all public/give it away, at least for now.

The downside of all this is that I've got more work ahead of me still. My biggest worry is that I won't have an agent or a publishing house to advertise it, so I'll be begging all of you to help me get the word out. And as with everything that's free, I know there's a perception that it can't be good information if I didn't pay her $24.99 for it…that's just something I'll have to prove in the product.

I'm trying to decide right now if I want to roll this out in sections, or wait to do it all at once. I could have the first section done in a month or so (I have a big vacation coming up that I've made no plans for yet), but the entirety would realistically take until maybe late summer. I want the newbies to have the pre-op info. ASAP, but I'm worried that it will be confusing not to have the whole thing at once. Thoughts?

Anyway, that's what I'm up to, and thank you all again for your support!  Now, back to work!

P.S.   Happy Leap Day!  I formally declare that whatever number of pounds you lose today will instantly quadruple (down, not up silly)...you're welcome. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

2-17-12 You Are Cordially Invited To My Coronation

Me and My Valentine after dinner (and fluffy Beau got in the pic).

Jeez, I've been SO busy (READ last post...I'm 'Social' and almost 'Plugged In' now...whatever that means) that I forgot (sorry) to say Happy Valentine's Day to you this week! 

I spent that morning at my Dr.'s for a bad UTI (haven't had one in maybe 10 years).  UTI uggh. Happy VD to me!  No, I don't have V.D.!  I'm talking Valentines Day people LOL.  She gave me two different meds so I could make it through my dinner out DH had planned a month ago...I survived....Note the skirt and tights (and my cute lace up high heeled booties) for easy bathroom setup.  TMI Alert...I seriously peed down my legs twice that morning...yes, even after the double operations for incontinence (thanks kids).  Haven't done that in years now...thong and no pad with a UTI...NOT good (I revived the granny panties and pad for dinner).  Good to know, right?

and....I'm getting Coronated!  That's right!

I spent yesterday at an emergency dental visit.  Broke a corner of a molar off.  It had a large filling in it already...no clue when/how I did it...and just WHERE did that piece go?!!...Hey, does that count toward my Fiber for the day?).  Many hours of drilling and grinding (isn't the smell the worst?) and an emergency temporary crown, and I was drooling on myself the rest of the day (that 'fat lip' Novocaine feeling lasted forever this time).  My mouth is so sore today...good thing I can 'talk' here.  I'm back on mushies today...good thing I've had practice at that! 

So I've got a temporary crown and the real thing soon (I think that makes me almost royalty or something, right)?  Send in your RSVP's quickly for the big event (yes, d*mnit! I'll wear a pad in case I get too excited)...I get my real crown in two weeks.  Gifts appreciated (I'm registered at LBT, OH, TT, FB, and Twitter).  Just  don't mention my name at Google+...they didn't want my gift registry there...no worries...they'll have to call me 'Your Majesty' soon (and I'm going to make them all curtsey too!).

YAY...a crown!  It better have lots of bling!










P.S. Reminder: Check out my Tweet or FB for details.  Cell phone #'s go public this month and you need to get on the DO NOT CALL LIST (I swear it took 30 sec.), and yes, it's a legit number (came through my DH's CEO office...and I verified it online).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16/12 Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

I DO!!! 
If you need a laugh (AT me) read on...

I'm getting all techie (OK more like 'keeping up with the times'). Thank you Yvonne/the other BG, and the 'other' LBG for helping me with this (one more week of this and I should be dangerous)!

I'm now blacklisted on several sites and on others the 'Help Admin' peeps know me by name...and they have their finger hovered over their 'Delete Account' button in case I ask 'even one more question'.
  • gmail: Yes, I have a GMail account I announced a few weeks ago...the first step in my insanity lapbandgroupie@gmail.com  WHY didn't you stop me then?!!!  I thought you were all my 'virtual' friends?!!
  • A drumrollllllllllllllllllllllllll please....Facebook: I am officially on Facebook (I know...I know....H*ll hath frozen over!) 
    • Apparently I need 25 'fans' before I can be official or something.  I hear that I can get rid of all the numbers in my URL them (I have no clue what it is to tell you) and pick a more 'suitable page name' (I thought I already signed up as Lap Band Groupie)?
    • Go take a gander (if you can find me) at my pretty profile composite...no, I mean it...GO!  It took me half a day to figure out where to place my face so my thumbnail didn't just come out showing only my nose and mouth.
    • OK, I'll be back when I figure out 'where you can be a fan' (and what I need to bribe you with this time...Dear Lord help me...what can I do to top unveiling my fat faces?....Naked vlog?!....yeah, I just gagged too.).
    • I have a FB Share Button (don't ask me what it's for).
    • I have a FB Like Button (don't ask me what it's for)...I DO know (unlike 'many uninformed people'...they said that, not me) they're not for the same thing though.  Oh, and I wasn't sure what URL to attach to my like button, so I put this blog...but perhaps it was supposed to be my Facebook page?  I Googled 'Facebook for Dummies' and I still didn't get a clear answer...'Enter your URL'...what the heck does THAT mean I ask you?!!  If I'm sending you in circles...it's your initiation into my dizzy blonde club.
  • Twitter: Yes, I'm now a TWIT (Ok, you knew that)! 
    • SEE...over there...yep, my first Tweet...just what you needed...more mindless thoughts...and look...it doesn't have to even be a whole thought. 
    • Just one problem...yep...you guessed it...I used every last character (140)...yeah, editing is not my forte...upside for you...Twitter has a character limit...downside...you'll be reading lots of half thoughts...that might be an upside.
    • Ummm...I instantly had 8 Twitter followers...How COOL...aren't I popular!  But what's THIS?  They're almost all p*rn stars (OK, that's being polite...'ladies of the internet')!  Block, Block, Block, Block, Block.  I was going to Twit about it, but I'm skeeeerd (you should have seen the names of their websites...not even high class gals!)!  What if using the word 'p*rn' in a tweet tags me for every 'p*rn' tweeter out there?!!  Ummm...you're telling me to look over my shoulder aren't you?.....Whew....fixed the spelling to 'p*rn...that was a close one!
  • RSS Feed: I now have one here that you can add.  I'm not promising, but I think it sends things to your (see below...).
  • Feed Reader: I am now using one myself, yes, I'm iGoogling (whatever that means).
  • Widgets:  
    • I'm now the Widget Queen and I can't wait to add a few more (and condense some of these).   Did you see that floating 'social media' tab over there to the left?  After a day of Blogfoolery, that one prompted a call to my IST Major.  But yep, I'm social now...you can invite me over. No...really.
    • Enjoy the Google+ Button (don't ask me what it's for) while it lasts.  Google+ will be here any minute to collect it.  I tried to sign up as 'Lap Band Groupie' and apparently pseudonyms are NOT allowed...unless you're 50 Cent, or Snoop Dog.  I may have been banned for life...so when you're 'circling up', or going over to 'hangout'...toast a marshmallow and put in a good word for me (and no, I don't have a problem giving YOU my real name...see 'Twitter' above).
  • Mobile Template: If you're reading on the go...I made it pretty (in pink) and easier to read.
  • Template code: 
    • Most impressively of all...you know your main blog page HTML template (or maybe, like me, you didn't know you have one)? 
      • That they tell you not too touch 'unless you're an advanced user'? 
      • That they give you a 'hundred other suggestions to do' before you touch it? 
      • That they 'strongly suggest you download the old one and save it' before you touch it? 
      • That they ask you one thousand times 'Are you sure you want to proceed, because there's no going back and we can see that you're an idiot and will blow up your whole site?' 
      • That they make you 'Pinky-swear that you won't blame them because they tried to warn you'? 
      • That they now take all your personal information to add to their 'Possible Blogger Terrorist' list in case you add a Trojan virus to Blogger and they want to sue you?
      • Yeah, that one.
    • Well, I've been looking at all these 'suggestions' that answer my many questions (you know I always have them) online.  From complete strangers...OK, they're mostly hackers...but I swear I checked them out (if they had three friends that said the code worked, then I figured they were legit, right?).
    • So, you know me, I'm a 'change agent', a 'risk taker', a 'rule breaker' (let's not go there right now...you know how many I've broken).  I rewrote some of my code...OK, so it was more like cutting and pasting in new code (DS1, my IST junior in college would still be impressed).
      • I've changed how links open in one new page. 
      • I also found a nifty 'pretty up your blog' with an enormously huge first letter...yeah that one in my first word here.  Well, I added their code and mine just came out with a plain black letter...the example they showed had colored font.  Mine was just a black font letter.  I WANT A PRETTY COLORED FONT!!!  So here's when I totally lost my mind...I found the word 'none' in the middle of all the XYZ!!!...123@@XYZ***gibberish> code...and...wait for it...*idea*...I'm feeling pretty confident that I'm an 'advanced user' now...but do I dare....OK...I changed 'none' to 'pink'...all by myself...I decided that I knew better than the Hacker and wrote my own code...yep, I'm a risk taker...it was like jumping off a bridge with only a bungee cord to save me...it was exhilarating as I pushed 'SAVE'.  OK, so it's a pink box with the still black font, but I swear I couldn't be prouder that I birthed that new baby up there!
OK, that should have been ten different posts, but my head was going to explode.  There, that was like pulling a band-aid off!

P.S.  Don't ask me how I did any of these things...I seriously don't have a clue.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2/9/12 Dear LBG...Waiting For The Sweet Spot

Next question...


I was banded on Fall, 2011. Pre-surgery I lost 25 lbs. Post surgery 14. Unfortunately, I haven’t lost anything since the first two weeks post surgery. I’ve had two fills, the first Jan 4th (hoped this would help with the hunger and start the New Year off right) and a second on Jan 23rd. I haven’t felt restriction after either fill. The doctor said after the second fill that it may take a while to get there because I had a lower BMI and may need more fluid to find that ‘sweet spot’. That being said, he is very cautious (not sure if that is the right word) about fills. He does about .5 cc at a time. I feel like I’m going to be back and forth with him forever to get there.

When there isn’t restriction, how to you keep on track with portion size? I find myself falling back to ingrained habits, ie: don’t leave food on your plate, don’t throw anything away, we don’t eat left overs so finish it tonight, etc. I also find myself taking bigger bites and hurrying to look for the next item. It is so frustrating. Even as I eat I’m scolding myself for doing it. It seems so stupid to know I’m screwing up but to continue to do it.

Should I be pushing the doctor for another fill or do I have to buckle down and fight through this time? I have seen progress, I’m just afraid that waiting for the next fill, March 7th, leaves me too much time to mess things up. I started attending Zumba classes twice a week and love them. I haven’t figured out how to fit more exercise time in and still be a good mom. My son is 5 and I hate taking time away from him to attend classes. Guilt is a lovely thing.

Sorry, this got to be a lot longer than anticipated. Thanks for the advise. It is appreciated.
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First things first…you need to hear this…you have a Band, BUT…it's NOT working…YET. I know you know this, but I need you to really GET this and understand that what you're going through/feeling is a completely normal part of the journey.

You've done something huge in getting WLS, you did your part in losing weight before surgery, you felt the restriction just post-op and got a taste of what the Band can do, you made it through Bandster Hell and followed the rules for the most part (while starving to death). Now you want results, you're ready and want to do your part, BUT the Band isn't helping you yet and sheer willpower and your resolve are starting to wane…things suddenly feel like they always did before, we get discouraged and we start to return to our old ways.

We're told that we get the Band and as we start to get fills that we'll have more and more restriction. Something no one prepares us for is how long that might take (and what should we be doing in the mean time), how different each Doc's 'fill schedule' is, and how different each person is with restriction/fills…not to mention that we actually have a choice on how tight to keep our Bands! Yep, even with all my 'almost OCD' research pre-op, I had no clue how variable and important all this would be to success. The only thing that I did expect is that I had put my expectations low so I wouldn't get discouraged…my goal was to have good restriction 'before the holidays' (7 mo. post-op).

Many Banders gain weight during this period. Some get so discouraged waiting (some more than a year) for restriction and get so ashamed of their weight gain or slow loss, that they stop going for fills. Some even have Docs that make them feel ashamed that they aren't losing more weight, and some have Docs who tell them they should be feeling restriction when they don't…it's no wonder some Banders throw in the towel before they even get the Band working for them.

After my first fill and no restriction (I had no fill at surgery), I thought that (after our post-op healing period) that the long wait between fills and the differences between Doc's in their schedules was ridiculous. Let me say here that I didn't know then that some Banders have delayed restriction after fills that takes up to a month before restriction shows up, so some wait between fills is necessary. I've seen some Docs who are too aggressive and others that are way too conservative…some treat every patient with the same schedule and others it seems like they only respond if you're not losing…those of us that are keeping our weight in check on our own have to convince the Doc that the Band isn't helping. I had a plan for how to approach my Doc about where I was and what I needed…convincing your Doc that he can trust your input will help you to work like a team and hopefully get you to the right fill quickly (I was lucky to have good Doc's along the way).

I called and got a second fill sooner than I was originally scheduled and 'thought' I felt a tiny bit of restriction (not). I went in for my third fill as soon as they'd let me and I had some restriction after the third fill. Once again, this journey is all about the choices we can make along the way, and the results or consequences. Before great restriction…You can diet. You can work out more. You can do both. You can do neither. You have to figure out what works for you.

Personally, I was trying hard just to not gain weight and to stay optimistic. I was a seasoned pro at dieting, and although I didn't diet (I'm telling you I was sorely tempted to start Atkins again, but for me, I needed to be doing what I would for a lifetime…that's what works for ME), I was able to at least not gain by white knuckling through the hunger…I had a full 5 week plateau where I didn't lose an ounce. I kept telling myself that I would continue on this way, even if I gained, and keep the faith that the Band would be there soon to help me. I can't swear what I would have actually done at that point if I started gaining a lot (but I can tell you a year later I was gaining after my unfill and I still stuck to my plan). The biggest thing to focus on is to keep working on what you CAN do and to not get discouraged. I soon found myself putting my efforts into 'building my headband' (much more important than I ever expected…we all need to stop 'scolding' ourselves). I also was working on making the changes I knew I'd need to for the long haul (like making habits out of getting enough protein, water, etc.). You need to work on packing up leftovers and throwing food out (it's a big change I had to make too). Maybe you need to measure portions until you have that down (I still have a digital scale on the counter and still measure meat sometimes), work on chewing more, add healthy snacks that will help with the hunger if needed. It was my fourth fill that finally gave me the real help I needed, at 4.5 mo. Post-op, and I seriously considered myself lucky that I reached it that soon…being patient was SO hard.

Now, you're 2.5 mo. post-op and you've had two fills…exactly where I was, but I'm wondering if you had any fill at surgery? I had no fill at surgery, but after my second fill I had 4.5cc's in my Band. If you only have 1cc or so, and your Doc only gives .5cc's per fill, it may take you quite awhile to get to good restriction (we're all different though, the next one could do it, but not likely…I think the average Bander needs 5 fills and a little more than ½ the Band full). The good news is that your two fills were less than two weeks apart, which is faster than the average Doc lets you come back…and I was going to say 'so that should speed things up', but your next fill is over six weeks from now…I'd certainly call and ask for a sooner one.

I'd also ask you HOW your Doc determines how much fill he gives you? If you don't know, it's a fair question to ask your Doc if you ask it in the right way and don't put him/her on the defensive. I knew that there were certain questions my Doc would ask me (i.e. List of foods I could/couldn't eat, what/how much I was eating, etc.), he would listen to how I felt things were going and what efforts I was making, and he also would put the fill in until he 'felt pressure' or 'bounce back' in the syringe (I asked him). Some Doc's have questionnaires each time, some Docs always do fills under flouro to watch the restriction. You may have to gain your Doc's respect and trust and then ask for a bigger fill if you need it (sometimes it's as simple as pushing a little for what you know you need). As you leave from a fill you could also ask to come back faster if the fill still isn't doing anything…my Doc would say 6 weeks and the scheduling nurse said 4-6 and she'd let me schedule for 4 weeks.

On a separate note, as an older mom of three I'll tell you one thing I've learned……whether you're working crazy hours and traveling the country or are home to do everything with them (I've been on all sides of this)…there will always be things that you'll feel guilty about when it comes to your kids…your kids will be happy when you're happy and are taking care of yourself…it's not about the quantity of time, it's about the quality. As women, many of us are givers and we get into the habit of putting ourselves last on the list (after I stopped working I put everyone before me). It was hard for me to change that, and I certainly had moments where I felt really guilty, but I made a commitment to put ME first when it came to getting my health back (and yes, you'll have to start reminding yourself of that when your son cries one day when you leave for Zumba). My kids are now in their teens/twenties, they've never been so proud of me, and they see how happy all this has made me and that makes them happy.

Hope some of that helps, and hang in there and don't lose focus on the goal. Keep asking! -LBG

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2/8/12 Dear LBG...Regains, and Waiting For Fill?

Don't worry about me...I've had my nose to the grindstone (OK, more like trying to swim as I'm in over my head) working hard on learning some techy things for the site here (O.M.G.), but more about that when I've got more to show for it...just know that I'm working night and day again to get more info. out to those that need it (I just realized it's 1:30pm and I haven't stopped to eat all day...wow, gotta love that Band...yes, I know it's not good to not eat, trust me, this wasn't a normal day...I'm eating plenty)...we all need to find a way to pay-it-forward if we can. 

Anyway, I've had a rash of good questions about regains and fill levels lately, so I'm going to address two of them here.  I've been working on a longer answer to someone that needed more detail, but for today I'll share a short one... 

I see that you are able to eat most anything. I have been banded for 2 years now and am filled to 7.+ cc's. I am struggling and have gained about 15 pounds because I don't feel the restriction so much as I believe I should. I feel like I can eat anything and find myself trying to eat things I know I shouldn't and too much of them. Any suggestions? I feel I should go get another fill, but want to take off 15 before I go back in.

Two words...DON'T WAIT...go get that fill now. If, when you are following the rules, you're hungry between meals, then you need a fill...PERIOD.

I know first hand how hard it is to have a regain (I gained back 19 pounds after a partial unfill then losing both Docs). I certainly didn't throw it all out the window, but old habits slowly crept back and it's so much harder to control things when your hungry all the time (and the lower you get in weight the easier it is to regain quickly).  I was embarressed, ashamed, and felt like I should be able to control it...but you know what I decided...if I could have done that, I would have...in the 30+ years I yo-yo dieted. I had to remind myself that one of the reasons I chose the Band over other procedures was because it would force me into having more follow ups with my Doc...and that meant, especially when I was struggling.  I had made a promise to myself pre-op NOT to be one of those Bander's who gets too embarressed by struggles not to continue to go to the Doc (too many of us disappear and stop going just when we need to the most).  At least needing a fill gives us a reason to go to the Doc...with other WLS how hard would it be to call up and schedule a visit just to talk to the Doc because we're gaining?!  What's the worst that can happen?...you'll be embarrassed in front of Doctor's and Nurse's that have seen obese WL patient's who've reagained weight many times before you?  Trust me, any good practice wants you to come in when you're struggling.

You got the Band to help you, so that's what you need right now...not more will power...not another diet. Think of it like any other medical 'tool' people have to help them...if you were out of meds you needed, would you wait to get them? OK, so food is an addiction, we've accepted that, but that doesn't mean we should be ashamed to get the help we need now that we have a tool that can help us. Would a drug addict wait to get meds to help with withdrawl?  Would a smoker, trying to quit, wait to ask for more nicotine patches?  You already did the hardest part...you got the Band...now get it to work properly for you.

OK, 'nuff said...call that Doc for a fill please. 

Two more things...have a logical and well planned talk ready for the Doc that shows him/her clearly why you need a fill...remember that they get Banders begging for fills every day who they know don't need one, or really need unfills...You need to assure them you're not asking the Band to restrict your eating (head hunger is a whole other issue the Band can't address), your asking it to reduce your hunger.

Last item...stay tuned as I'll address my ability to 'eat anything', etc. soon.

Best wishes, and keep me posted!

Yep, you all know me well...that was the short one LOL...I can't just say 'go get a fill'...because I know if someone had given me just that, I wouldn't have gone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

1/27/12 Dear (l) BG...The Sweet Spot?

Hi peeps!  We all got the flu shot, but of course Bronchitis found us instead (I'm just happy it was after the holidays).  Poor DS2 missed almost a week of school and is still having issues...has asthma so he's still coughing his lungs up (the Allergist turned him away from his allergy shots yesterday for the second week in a row as he's still having wheezing issues). 

Anyway, since I haven't had time to post, I've decided to occasionally start sharing some of the recent email questions I've had...the ones I think may help others (don't worry, no personal info. from you will be revealed).  So here's my little 'Dear BG' (or now that I'm Lap Band Groupie, I guess there's a small 'l' there...I know, I'll always be BG to you!) advice column (OK, who am I, the self-proclaimed non-perfect Bander to give advice...maybe it's more like an 'opinion' column LOL). 

Oh, and I switched to a new email/GMail account (in sidebar, or HERE)
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Hi there,

Love your blog! I know you have pretty much found your sweet spot and have managed your FAB weight loss for some time now. I received a fill about two weeks ago and am having a difficult time determining if I’m too full or still adjusting to my new fill.

I can now only consume approximately ½ to 1 cup of food and it takes me about 45 minutes to eat. I also find that I have to sip my water now – before I was able to sometimes chug it. I find that if I’m not paying attention I can get stuck pretty quickly.

You thoughts and time are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Hi, and thanks!

As long as you're not PBing/vomiting, or have any other red flags of being too tight (bad uncontrolled reflux, eating only sliders, etc.) I would give it another two weeks and assess things then. It can take up to four weeks or so for a fill to 'settle' in for some, meaning some don't get the full effect of their fill until then (some get tighter, some loosen up, mine was pretty much the same as the fill day). Between now and then, really focus on meeting nutrition needs and eating without getting stuck (after each fill I've had to 'relearn' how to eat...chew, chew, chew...and you're already taking it slow, which is good, like you said 'adjusting to your fill'...don't worry, I've gotten faster at it over time). Every time you get stuck you're inflaming your Band area/new stoma and this will increase your restriction...you need to end the stuck episodes so that you can get a true assessment of your restriction (it takes up to a few days for the swelling to go down). At the four week point the questions to ask yourself is simple; am I able to get in all my nutrition needs (count your protein and water, and calories if you need to) and follow the eating rules without getting stuck or PBing, and am I hungry between meals? And let me point out that means the ability to eat solid proteins, not sliders.

I'm tightest in the mornings and I can only sip my coffee in the morning for a few hours (gurgling following a fill is my signal that restriction is there). Breakfast is a very thick slider (oatmeal w/protein powder), which I have to eat slowly (I think a slider for breakfast, even a protein shake is fine as long as you're not starving by lunch). By lunch I'm able to get in the 1/2-1C meal with solid protein, but some days I really have to take it slowly and pay attention to my chewing. By dinner, like most Banders, I'm looser and can get in about 1C (of solids) pretty easily, but I have days I can still get stuck if I'm not paying attention or going too fast. Most days I couldn't chug water, even by dinner (although I can drink pretty normally by then). All that sounds like a huge pain, but it's now just about second nature to me...my new 'normal' (and when I say 'pay attention', I'll tell you that I really don't have to think about it much anymore).

The Sweet Spot/Green Zone can be a tightrope and the advice I'd give is to really take this restriction you have and treat it like a fragile gift...appreciate it (work on that 'head hunger' so you can tell and appreciate if the real hunger is gone), and really try to work things the way you're supposed to so that you don't get stuck (take your time, relearn to eat). Not paying enough attention got me stuck, and not taking the right actions after a PB got me a major unfill and a long wait for a refill (and weight gain). Also, how tight you want to keep your Band is totally a matter of choice...something they don't tell us...there's some 'wiggle room' in that Green Zone, and sometimes the tiniest fill or unfill can make all the difference (.1cc even).

Keep asking questions and let me know how you're doing (and most importantly, how the Weight Loss is going LOL)!

-BG

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

1/17/12 Food Addiction

If you didn't see 'Dr. Oz' the other day, the topic was 'Can you really have an addiction to food?'  I know, you're all screaming 'YES!' right along with me.  It was interesting as the polls of people were pretty split as were the expert's opinions.  The Nutritionist's view was that over-eating is behavioral...driven by emotions, learned behavior, and will power.  OK, umm, as a yo-yo dieter now skinny b*tch, I can personally tell you that anyone who has ever lost big weight dieting has WAY more will power than the average skinny b*tch...When did they ever white knuckle off 50 pounds, let alone 5, while starving and shaking waiting for the next meal (I still wonder why I don't get the shakes now on this teeny amount of food).  Anyway, the Doctor's view was that there are certain foods (four of them...at least at this point) that trigger the release of natural opiates in our brain that make us feel good and want to come back for more.  I think it's a combination of both addiction and emotions.


One study used a medicine that is used to help heroin addicts from overdosing by blocking receptors in the brain that the heroin attaches to.  They gave it to chocolate addicts and found that 'chocolate hijacks your brain chemistry, triggering the same receptors that heroin affects'.  Great...I'm officially an addict.  Apparently those around me knew this before I did...Here's a present I got from my SIL for Christmas this year:










You can read the Doctor's article and see the three other foods that are addictive on the Oz site HERE.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1/13/12 Blogger/Comment Issues? It's Your Lucky Day!

Today, Friday the 13th...it's your lucky day!

If you are having issues with Blogger (embedded comments), I'm solving it for you. 

Pick your chin up off the floor.  Hell hath not frozen over.  Lil' Ole Me is giving techy advice.

I haven't been able to access my comments (or leave them for lots of you) for several days now and it was driving me crazy (I needed to know if anyone else ever had an addiction to Ho-Ho's?!).  I decided to take matters into my own hands and found a solution online.

It seems that the problem stems from a Blogger update (threading comments; now we can leave comments to comments on posts, or just general comments...woo...and I think this is only if they're embedded).  When they updated things, it 'messed it up'...yes, that's 'techy' language there...I'm an instant expert.

If you have embedded comments on your Blogger page (you can leave/read comments on the same page as your post), then you may be having the same problem.  When I'd try to look at my comments it would open the screen and then it would immediately go blank.  It does the same thing when I try to leave comments on anyone's sites that have embedded comments (so fix it, so I can comment!).  Here's how:

Dashboard>Name of your blog>Settings (on left)>Posts & Comments>(Comment Location-Change from Embedded to:) Pop Up Window (or Full Page)> Save Settings (Upper Rt)

Notes: I tried changing it back to 'embedded' and the problem came back immediately. I also switched from 'pop up window' to 'full page' and back again and now the 'pop up window' won't work. Went back to 'full page' and it's fine.

Another blogger on Blogger Help suggested I try deleting history/cookies, and I tried this first, it  didn't work (but it may for you). 

Alrighty then, I'm off to read my comments:)

- BG, Blogger Technical Expert Extraordinaire

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/12/12 Headline News!

Did you watch the Today Show today?

No, I'm going to gloss right over the fact that Hostess has filed for bankruptcy.

OK, Yes, I know what just flashed in your mind…How quickly can I get to my local grocery store before the run on the Hostess section leaves the shelves completely bare? Quickly followed by…What did they say the shelf-life of a Twinkie is?  OK, My third thought was...I haven't even experience the Deep Fried Twinkie yet!!!

Personally, in my early obesity years, I had a decade of addiction to these:
















Followed by these:


















Which one is your fav?

OK, I know…Enough of the food porn! There are hungry people out here!

All right, let me fix this…

I'm not even sure Hostess makes food, do they?  It doesn't look like food, does it?  Would your great-grandma think so?























Does a Twinkie even have a real food products in the ingredients?

I once saw a science museum experiment where they placed a piece of homemade cake under a sealed glass dome, and under a second dome was a Twinkie. You could barely see the slimy remains of the cake through the mold covering the inside of the first glass dome. The Twinkie? Looked as good as the day it was born. Hey, I wonder if all those preservatives I ate will keep me 'well preserved'.

Don't believe it? Here's an NPR story about a teacher who has a 30 year old Twinkie: "The Shelf Life of a Vintage Twinkie"
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4780900

And if you still don't believe that calorie restriction is the best way to control your weight, have you heard of the Twinkie Diet? A (not obese) nutrition professor lost 27 pounds in two months by eating a Hostess treat every three hours instead of meals and restricting his caloric intake from 2,600 to 1,800. He (and I) are not recommending this (you know how I feel about diets)!
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

*shhh…and I didn't tell you this…Hostess promises that no matter who acquires the company, the Twinkie will live on*

Now, back to the REAL headline segment.

Today Show; Today's Consumer Segment, Elizabeth Mayhew, Editor-In-Chief, "Woman's Day Magazine"

My overview:

Due to consumer confidence last year was at an all time low, many items are coming down in price this year. 3D TV's, Tablet Computers, E-Readers, GPS Units, Sports Tickets, Cameras, Furniture, and one more item…

Wine experts are calling this 'The year of the buyer.' People were not spending money on the $30+ last year bottles, so those prices are coming down. You'll see sales at merchants everywhere here. Look for Rhone wines/France, Tuscan wines/Italy, and Rioja wines/Spain. The only exception is Bordeaux (because there haven't been good vintages lately). In general, European wines (because of the Euro), and S. American wines as well.

You can watch the segment here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/45970790#null
Reminder...Everything in moderation.

Stock up girls (no, not on Twinkies!)! 























Unless they're these...



















You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1/11/12 It's All How You Look At It

First I'm Replying to Krisz's question from yesterday (and if you're not following her yet, get thee over there and give my new friend some support!):

Can I have "stupid" question?
If you do exercise a lot while losing weight, is it certain that later on if you stop/slow down exercising it will affect your further loss/maintenance? I know it's a silly question, but being bang in the middle of my WL I'd like to establish some long term way of life, but also not want to sacrifice on the weight loss. Do I make any sense here? I hope...

Let me say my last post was NOT to encourage anyone to stop/not start exercising…it's SO very important for your health (and that's why I'm now doing it). We should all be exercising.

- It's only 'certain' that stopping/slowing down exercise will effect your weight if you keep everything else the same. It's still calories in/calories out for us and if there are less calories out, then it effects your weight. It's fairly easy to calculate approximate calories you're burning from exercise (lots of calculators online) and you can do that for a week and average it…that will give you an idea how many calories you'd have to eliminate from your diet or burn through another form of exercise (maybe you can't do spinning anymore, but you can walk).

Krisz, I'm going to email you my working copy of my chapter on exercise and you'll see that it mainly speaks to the benefits of exercise, but also focuses on (like all my other topics) awareness, choices and having an exercise plan that encompasses both exercising and what to do if you have to/want to slow down/stop (whether you're in WL mode or maintenance). If you've got the time/effort now to be a gym rat and lose weight faster with it, go for it (it works, I've done it!)! That doesn't mean that your plan can't easily include a change in the level of your exercise program in your future that won't include weight regain (that plan was the part that was always missing from my exercise/diet programs so I got derailed…oh and my LB was the other part)…it's all about being prepared and making sure you're looking at both the exercise AND the calories in/LB part. My main point was that we can't use exercise/lack of it as an excuse for why we're not losing weight…I've already proved that for you…so no more 'testers' needed…keep moving and get that plan together!
-------------------------------

Now, onto today…

I was updating my WL/Maintenance spreadsheet/chart and not for the first time noticed that it looks like the Himalayas…it might scare more than a few people about maintenance, not to mention unfills. I was thinking about how regular slow and steady beginners ski jump my WL phase chart looks compared to it (well, not the 6 mo. Pre-op, but the post-surgery). Then I got curious as to how many weeks both of these spanned? How many weeks has it been since the first time I reached goal (my Maintenance Chart starts there)? I was surprised to see that my WL Chart covered 81 weeks, and My Maintenance Chart covered 83...interesting! I wonder what the Maintenance Chart would look like if I gave it the same horizontal/vertical axis range as my WL Chart?




















So, to compare them equally, I chopped the last two weeks off my Maintenance Chart and both horizontal axis are now 81 weeks. I then expanded the Maintenance vertical axis to cover a 105 pounds range, with gridline intervals every 5 pounds (the same as my WL Chart). Wow…now Maintenance isn't anything to fear!

You can clearly see that I had a partial unfill just a few weeks after reaching goal…but after the long awaited refill and making my way back down…well, things are pretty darn steady! Maintenance is nothing to be afraid of!

Losing the Band…yep, we can all be afraid of that, because it means not having the help we all desperately need to finally get/keep the weight off (just look at my instant march upward and then white knuckling the wait)…but another thing this shows me is that unfills are nothing to be totally afraid of either. Yeah, gaining and losing it again isn't any fun, but as long as a refill is coming and I'll have the help of the Band again, I'll now know I'll be fine (remind me I said that at the next unfill)!

I wish that I'd expected to have unfills along the way…maybe it wouldn't have seemed so traumatic. I think the Doc's should actually tell us to expect them! Unfills are a result of our personal learning process with the Band/operator error (dry meat and not enough chewing in my case), the complicated process of getting to just the right level of restriction at the same time we're losing internal fat, our Doc's approach to fill levels, and let’s face it…a little luck, and a dose of 'fickle' factor thrown in.


Maintenance, unfills,…it's all how you look at it!

 
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