Status Update #10

Today is the one-year anniversary of my LAP-Band surgery. Yesterday I had my tenth post-op visit with my surgeon. As usual, I will start this entry with some numbers

Weight on day of surgery: 239.2 lbs
Weight last month: 170.0
Weight today: 175.0
Total lost: 70.8 lbs

I’ve put on about ten pounds since November thanks to the holidays utterly obliterating most of the good habits I’d spent months building up. I thought I had been doing better than I evidently was. This year, I shall have to be more careful.

But even despite that, the fact that the scale at my doctor’s office read “175” gives me hope. My scale at home read that this past Saturday, on my weekly weigh-in day, and there’s always a few pounds’ discrepancy between home and the doctor’s office thanks to things like clothes and the fact that I’ve usually had at least one meal by the time I weigh in at the doctor’s. So if I was 175 pounds there yesterday, then that means that when I climb onto the scale again this Saturday, I might be headed back in the right direction. So yes, I am hopeful.

This week I have been trying to keep myself to a 1200 calorie daily diet. I have gone over by a hundred or three a couple of days, but I am doing my best to at least track everything and get it written down. That part has been pretty successful. And I’m trying not to think of going over 1200 calories a day as any kind of failure–for one, I’m just starting to rebuild my habits, and for two, one of the reasons I’ve eaten more than that is because I’m just hungry. I am legitimately wanting to eat more, because my body still wants more food, rather than my head wanting more food. I’m going to give it another week and then ask for an adjustment if I’m still having issues with hunger. (I was already planning to do this anyway, but the staff at my doctor’s office firmly encouraged this idea because it can be difficult to tell what your hunger levels are really like when you’ve failed to exercise good habits for as long as I have.)

I will tell you that in the meantime, though, I wish I’d just asked for one yesterday when I was at the bloody office. I’ve only just had breakfast, and I am still hungry. There will be many glasses of water in my future today to act as filler, methinks (and it’s not a good idea to drink lots of water, anyway).

So, one year ago today is the day my world was reset. How am I going to celebrate? I am going to celebrate by going to a fancy restaurant with my husband and a good friend of ours, and consuming a pre-portioned dessert for which I have already researched the nutritional information. If I am as good as I intend to be today, it will fit into my daily limit. And I will not have anything else at this restaurant, unless that “something else” is dinner, and is a thing that fits within my daily calorie limit. (It’s wonderful that so many restaurants have their menu’s nutritional info online these days, and that portable food scales are things that exist.) Of course the “exciting” part of this is that there are practically no items on this menu apart from desserts that are within the calorie range I’d need them to be in order to be able to eat them. But the nutritional guide I’m looking at assures me that the chef’s can accommodate me.

I could also, of course, just eat dinner at home before going out for dessert, which, given both my nutritional needs and how hungry I’m likely to be around five or six o’clock, is probably what will happen.

I should not be celebrating this milestone in this manner. But I wanted to do something with people, and since my husband would be the one footing the bill either way, I wanted him to get some enjoyment out of it, also. The fact that I am not saying to myself, “This occasion is a celebration, and so I will have however much of whatever I want” is very important. The fact that I looked up the nutritional information for my dessert, and that I’m working to budget it into my daily calorie allotment, is very important. I am working toward that whole “vigilance” thing, rather than using this as an excuse to go hog wild. …and I had sort of been beating myself up for using this as an “excuse” at all, but the more I think about it, the fact that I’m taking into account the calories and working to be aware of that and so forth is a good sign. It’s one of the habits I need to work back up.

So yes, I am celebrating my one-year bariatric surgery anniversary with a dessert. But I am doing so in a moderated fashion–and I’m sort of proud of myself for that, given how much difficulty I’ve had in the past with moderation.

There will be no picture this month, as I haven’t changed much. We’ll see what’s happened by my next appointment in April.

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Serendipity, You’re Weird

So apparently February 24th to March 2nd is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Which means that I had my bariatric surgery right in the middle of it. …huh.

If you suspect you may have an eating disorder, or that you know someone who might be struggling with one, you or they can take a screening conducted by the National Eating Disorder Association and Screening For Mental Health, Inc. There are lots of resources out there for those affected by eating disorders to get help. And sometimes something as simple as letting them know they aren’t alone can be a major balm.

If you’d like to learn more about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, or get involved, you can do so by visiting the NEDA website.

Chasing the Wagon

I generally hate the phrase, “falling off the wagon”, but what the hell, we’ll use it this once.

I’m not exactly sure when the fall happened. The way most people talk about it makes it seem like there should have been a definitive moment to which I could point and say, “There–there is where I lost my footing, there is where the positive habits I’d built up were erased”. But I’m finding that it’s not so cut-and-dry. …and yes, it’s entirely possible that that is due to my own denial. Even writing this, I don’t want to admit that I’m as far outside of the scope of what I should be doing as I am. But I am forced to, and, despite not wanting to admit it, I’m happy that I am.

I weigh myself every Saturday. In November–so, three-ish months ago, at this point–I weighed around 164 pounds. This morning, I awoke and climbed on the scale, and discovered I am now back up to 175 pounds. I’ve been trying to be gentle with myself–I’m high-strung to begin with, and am currently working on a project that’s just a little stressful, so I’ve been trying to coach myself to not stress out too much about anything, including things that are weight- and food-related.

But that ends now, at least for anything food-related, anxiety issues be damned. I have not come this far only to backslide. Vigilance is the price I pay for feeling better, both in general, and about myself. I need to not only be aware of my food intake, but I also need to be aware that “vigilance” and “guilt” are not synonymous–it is possible for me to be vigilant without beating myself up for making bad choices.

So now it is time to try and find my way back to those good habits. I (literally, it’s been so long) dusted off my food journal this morning, which I haven’t been using in part due to laziness, and in part because, for some foods, it’s difficult to know how many calories I’m actually ingesting. So, for that latter reason, keeping a food journal seems somewhat pointless. But there is a point to it, I must remind myself, and that point is awareness, conscientiousness, and vigilance.

So no, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I (once again) started caring more about my next fix than my own health. But I can say that as of this morning, I am tired of the excuses and the willful ignorance, and I am no longer going to accept either. There are better ways to deal with stress than food, and there will always be a stressor in my life that makes me want to eat. I accept that fact. But I rebel against the urge to succumb.

My one-year anniversary is this coming Thursday.

Familiar Territory

It’s not the same. My addiction doesn’t cause me to enter dangerous parts of the city late at night, looking for someone from whom I can purchase an illegal substance. It doesn’t involve needles or fire. It doesn’t make me dangerous to be out in public. It’s highly unlikely to cause me to steal from someone I love.

So it really is not the same. And yet I can relate.

This article is some very powerful stuff. It’s written by Russell Brand, whom I only know peripherally as some kind of celebrity, talking about addiction and addicts. In the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, I think there are a lot of people out there with this sort of thing on their minds. I’m sure a fair portion of them are addicts or recovering addicts, thinking to themselves, “There but for the grace go I…”

Drug addiction may draw its victims out for years—but it kills comparatively quickly to my addiction. If I thought of cookies the same way I think of things like heroin…well, I might not have ever had cause to start this blog in the first place. So no, it is not the same. …but the effects, while subtler, more difficult to notice, and easier to pass off as nothing to worry about, are pretty damn similar.

I am still trying to find my way to any path that has a name in any way similar to “recovery”. I must check daily that I am still reaching for it, still searching for it in the dark.

The contents of that article are familiar territory. They are a good reminder of just how important it is that I’m trying to widen the map.