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 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 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 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'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…
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