Friday, September 4, 2009

It's been a while..

But here I am, minus 54 pounds since March. About 110 pounds to go. I've been fighting a cough for about 10 days, and it's now on the wane. It's been tough to get my 65 grams of proteins in as I've tired of protein drinks. At my doctor's appointment yesterday, though, I was reminded that not getting enough protein can cause my hair to fall out. Luckily, now that I can eat more foods, there are more options. Smoothies with protein powder on high on my list to try.

As you may recall, I lost 24 pounds between March and surgery at the end of July. So, since surgery I've lost 30 pounds. My main preoccupation lately has been figuring out which foods agree with me and which do not. Eggs have not been a success, whether scrambled or hard-boiled. When foods don't go down well, there's a heaviness or sometimes a bit of pain in the area of my new stomach pouch. Sometimes it can trigger vomiting. This happened when I first ate tilapia. I realized that I had to slow down my eating pace. That seems to do the trick. I will try eggs again, eating slower. Each meal is supposed to take at least 30 minutes to complete, which can be a challenge when you only have about half of cup of food to finish! Still, it's a must for painless eating, so I am getting used to it.

Otherwise, I've been enjoying tuna, tilapia, even tofu! Baked potatoes are great, of course, but not very valuable in terms of the nutrients I need. Whole wheat toast, whole grain wheat thins, Yoplait fat-free yogurt. I had lentil soup at a restaurant that went down pretty smooth.

Here are some recipes that I came up with and am enjoying:

HOLLY'S BAKED TILAPIA -- 3 ounces have 22 grams of protein!

Saute about 1 tsp of minced or chopped garlic in 1/4 cup white wine, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice for about 3-4 minutes

Place 2 tilapia filets in a baking dish (spray with Pam beforehand). Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pour saute mixture over filets. Add a dash of black pepper to filets.

Mix 1/4 cup bread crumbs with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Spread over filets evenly.

Place filets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and let filets stay in over for a few more minutes. Remove from oven.



Depending on your preference, use firm or extra firm tofu.

Chop tofu into in small blocks.

Prepare marinating mixture: 1 cup beef or chicken broth, 1 tsp curry powder, a dash of black pepper, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp minced or chopped garlic. Toss in tofu blocks. Marinate in fridge for about 2 hours.

Remove tofu and marinate from fridge. Place blocks on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Eat! Serve with toast or anything you want!


For best results, use solid white albacore in water!

Mix tuna with lite Miracle Whip, to taste.

Add Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning and dill to taste. Toss in a dash of black pepper.

If you like, stir in a tsp of relish and/or finely minced onion.

Eat! Great on wheat thins ;)

August 10, 2009

No More Naps?

Before my surgery, I built my days around naps. Since I work evenings and get home at about 11 p.m. and get to bed around 1 a.m., I would get up around 9 or 10 a.m. and start my day. Not that I got much accomplished. Breakfast was coffee and a muffin or bagel (although after I started planning for surgery I cut out muffins and cut that bagel in half). I would watch the news, Will & Grace reruns, and HGTV while I answered emails and did work on my laptop. Sometimes I would do an errand or two, always keeping my eyes on the time so that I could be sure to fit in lunch AND a two-hour nap.

Granted, this recovery period is pretty much stress-free, and no work. So, I may get back into the napping habit once I get back to work next week. I suspect there will be some days when I'll want a nap and others when I won't. We'll see.

Back to the muffin... It's not the only thing I gave up starting back in March. Just cutting out certain items and replacing them with more healthful foods helped me lose 13 lbs by June. I also stopped grazing at work, on whatever the students or my colleagues would bring in -- stuff like cookies, chips, pretzels, etc.

Fast food & other restaurant food had to go. My faves were the burgers and spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy's with fries, Culver's fish and chips and concrete (custardy ice cream with chunks of peanut butter cups), Big Mac, General Tso's chicken, shrimp fried rice, cheese cake, avocados, nachos, pizza -- you get the idea! I started cooking more, avoiding carbs as much as I could stand. If I did eat out, I would pick up a Greek Salad with chicken from Panera or a Chipotle salad (no rice, of course). Ice cream and other fatty deserts I replaced with Edy's fruit bars (lime and lemonade are my favorites) and the mango smoothie at Panera. Also Yoplait yogurt. Looking back, it wasn't that hard to do. Of course, I slipped up from time to time -- mainly after work, when I would get hungry on my way home around 11 p.m., having eaten dinner at work about four hours earlier. I worry about this still. Will my dinner at work keep me full until bedtime?

Today I went walked at the park, just about 15 minutes -- not much, but a start. I definitely got my heart rate up, but did not really sweat much as it was cool, overcast and breezy. I sat for a while afterward and let the delicious breeze flow over me, listening to kids playing and a fountain splashing. I reflected on how good it feels to be DOING something about my weight, rather than sitting around THINKING I should be doing something about my weight.

August 10, 2009

Today was my first day completely alone since my surgery on July 27. My mother stayed with me through yesterday, and my brother came to visit a couple of times. He's a doctor, so it's been good to have him around for some of my appointments.

I cried last night, that's how much I missed my mother. I am 40 years old! We talked on the phone and she promised to check in with me today. This morning I got up and got out the door (after a Slim Fast and my first round of vitamins), picked up a coffee at Starbucks (I can't stand the smell of coffee in my own apartment) and listened to This American Life on NPR sitting in the park. Then, I hit the road and drove around my area. There are some very scenic towns and countryside, so I took photos (tramping around was good exercise) and nipped in and out of antique stores. I drank a delicious iced tea at a little general store/cafe, then came back to town to do some shopping at Target.

As I drove around, I found tears streaming down my cheeks from time to time. It was a sense of profound relief, gratitude, and accomplishment. I did it. These are the times when I truly believe there is a good, that's how profound the feelings were. I know I'm just at the beginning of the rest of my life, but now I feel there's something to look forward to. I was so tired of feeling like the elephant in the room -- literally! No one said anything (my family avoided the subject after many years of trying to get me to lose weight), but "it" was always there.

On another note, I don't know how other surgeons do it, but the team I am working with seems extremely thorough. They don't beat around the bush when it comes to the dire things that could happen if you don't properly follow the post-surgery diet progression, take your vitamins, and otherwise decide to do your own thing.