Not The Biggest Loser

I just want to be…

Browsing in Breakthroughs

Finally…I had a fill a couple of weeks ago. Nearly 4 weeks ago actually. She put in another 1ml giving me about 10ml total. I was surprised as I thought they only took 10ml but she said she has a girl with 14ml in hers. Interesting. Anyway I noticed the effect immediately. Eating is hard work. My portion sizes shrank immediately and I take a long, long time to eat now. I lost 1kg the first week without even trying. Yay! I got a bit excited and hoped that the 1kg a week loss would continue. Why do I always think that it’s going to work without me making an effort? The following week I put on the 1kg I lost and last week I stayed the same. The thing is that if there is a loophole I will find it! If I’m at home and have lots of time then although initially I can’t eat as much I can eventually finish the plate over a matter of hours. For instance I was still serving myself my usual serve of breakfast – not as much as it would’ve once been but more than I should be eating with a lapband in! I’d eat an initial amount – put the plate on the bench and come back over the following hours and finish it bit by bit.  Admittedly before the fill I would’ve eaten that breakfast and probably snacked on extra things but still…why do I cheat myself like that?

So this week I got strict again and have been using my lapband plate to serve my food so I don’t have the opportunity to come back and ‘finish’ leftover food. That’s beenworking well. Will be interesting to see whether that’s made a difference weight wise. I even managed to fit in one Jillian Michaels workout dvd.

However I have a new tactic…I can’t believe I’m about to write this…I got sucked in by the Bodytrim ads on foxtel! Can you believe 2 years and thousands of dollars later I’m buying diet products again? Sigh…anyway I’ve watched 2 of the dvds and read some literature and I’m actually quite impressed. It’s actually not a diet and sounds like a really reasonable way to eat for the rest of my life…It is low carb (not no carb but low) and I’ve never really been sure about this approach before but this guy really makes sense.  He says that if your diet is high in carbs that the carbs are the first thing your body will burn and it will never get to burn the fat stores if there’s lots of carb stores there. Which kind of explains why I keep putting on so much weight. My diet has always been really high in carbs. He also believes that food is 70% of the success of weight loss and just plain old walking is 20% and strenuous exercise is 10%. I like this concept. It explains why the weeks I’ve killed myself exercising 6 or 7 times a week at high intensity that I don’t lose weight! I like the fact that despite the fact he owns one of the most successful personal training companies in Australia he is not advocating strenuous exercise for weight loss. He just wants you to walk 10,000 steps and follow the food plan. Of course walking 10,000 steps is still a challenge for me but I hope to work my way up to it.

It’s funny because I really fight the structure of a ‘diet’ usually. I hate being told what to eat. But clearly just eating what I want isn’t working and I’ve been really feeling the need for some structure. On the bodytrim weight loss plan (there’s also a weight maintenance plan) you basically eat 6 small meals a day of which 3 are protein snacks.  The rest of the meals are primarly protein and veg however for breakfast you can have one serve of  starchy carb or fruit. You also have one protein only day a week and one ‘free’ day a week where you can eat what you want but they recommend you still eat your protein snacks. It seems like a good balance to me.  From what I’ve researched people seem to be having a lot of success with it.

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I used to be quite anti protein diets but for some reason this one appeals. Maybe I’m desperate!

Anyway it kind of fits in with what I’ve been thinking about doing for awhile. Now that Carys is on solids I’ve been wanting to change the way we eat. I’m following the Baby Led Weaning method which means no purees, mushy baby food etc. The principle is she should be able to eat appropriate food off our plates.  And of course anything with added salt or preservatives is not recommended. We eat lots of canned and packet sauces etc. So I can’t feed her what we’re eating! I’ve been steaming veg etc for her separately which is not ideal.  So I’ve been slowly going through all the sauces we have in the cupboard and have been planning to get back to more ‘real’ foods and this is a great opportunity.

Instead of the usual self hate that goes on in my head. After being away for so long, I have so much that I need to do. I keep giving myself a hard time about not doing enough, about not eating right, about not exercising.  I thought I’d try to praise myself each day instead for the things I did manage to get through and do right…

Today I ticked several things of my to do list.

  1. I issued invoices for last week
  2. I paid all opened bills
  3. I gathered all September receipts and documents for the accountant and put in an express post envelope to send
  4. I unpacked the dishwasher and packed it again and cleaned the kitchen
  5. I contacted the architect about our renovations
  6. I made an appointment at the beautician
  7. I chose a chicken pesto panini roll instead of the Oporto Bondi burger and chips I really wanted.
  8. I booked a car for our weekend in Nowra for my cousin’s wedding
  9. I met my wonderful banded buddy Jen for shoe shopping instead of sitting down at a cafe and choosing a naughty lunch!

I am trying not to focus on all the things I didn’t do and all the wrong choices I made…I think I did pretty well today.

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I took the day off to see Tess Law and Dr James Read at Dr Layani’s rooms on Thursday.  My first appointment was with Tess who is a psychologist. Felicity had suggested I see Tess as aside from working with Dr Layani’s patients, she also is an IVF counsellor. I liked Tess from the moment I walked into the room and met her. She’s definitely the best psychologist I’ve ever met. I really loved her style and she made me feel comfortable immediately. We spoke about my experiences in the last few months in regards to IVF and the pregnancy and also spoke a bit about what’s been happening since surgery. We talked a little about my past and how I’ve survived the many tough situations I’ve been in since I was a child. I had a couple of realisations in the short time we were together, which was pretty good for an 1.5 hour session. One thing she pointed out was that  I stopped breathing when I was talking about painful situations. I also swallowed a lot while I was talking, which indicated I was trying to hold back emotions.  I’d never noticed that before, but when she pointed it out, I became aware of it and found that making myself breath more deeply really helped me let out my emotions. In the first 10 minutes I had a big realisation that the main reason that I have learnt to supress my emotions over the years was because it was a survival and coping mechanism to ensure I don’t completely break down and become non functional. I saw my Mum in and out of hospital with many nervous breakdowns and saw her collapse into a totally non functioning state so many times, that I clearly decided to take a completely opposite approach. Even in my darkest moments I’ve kept going…kept getting up every morning and going to work… I refused to let anything stop me from living my life.

Tess made me feel completely comfortable and made me realise I’ve done pretty well considering everything I’ve been through. We spoke about my future plans for a baby. When she asked me whether I was prepared to wait till I was in a better place physically to have a baby, I flat out told I wasn’t and wouldn’t wait despite what anyone said to me. She supported my views and agreed with me that as long as I was working on my weight issues at the same time, then she didn’t see a problem. She felt I could work on both IVF and my weight at the same time, particularly since this time I won’t have all the hormones affecting my weight.  One of things she said I will have to work on though is my comfort eating, as IVF/pregnancy is a hard time for me emotionally and turning to food to comfort myself doesn’t really help my weight situation. So she suggested this is something I should work on if I’m going to continue with IVF straight away. Though she did make it clear that I shouldn’t be making myself feel guilty when I do comfort eat.

I came out of Tess’s appointment feeling so much lighter. My chest, in fact my whole body felt lighter and clearer. I felt a sense of relief at having shared some of my grief and fears and emotions. I had some lunch and then went back up to the clinic to see Dr Read.

Dr Read was lovely as always. He really is a great doctor and I will always be indebted to him for completely changing my life with his nutrition advice. We spoke about what has been happening the last few months  and his advice was that I should wait at least 6 months before I try to fall pregnant again. I totally respect his advice and I understand all the reasons he recommended that. I am already aware of all the risks of pregnancy when you’re obese and I don’t take these lightly. He went over these complications which include higher chance of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, increased risk of cesarean and then complications after cesarean etc. He also went back to my zinc blood tests which were taken before I started taking all the supplementation and pointed out that zinc plays a big part in the healthy production of DNA and suggested that low zinc could’ve been the cause of Turners Syndrome in the baby, though said of course it might not have been. He kept saying he wanted me to be holding a baby in my arms at the end, not just getting pregnant and not getting any further. He said he felt I was rushing into it all just to get pregnant and not considering what is best for me to actually complete the pregnancy. I had to fight back the tears for most of this session. I know he is coming from a good place and really does want the best outcome for me. But it was hard to be told about all the risks my weight was causing and it was hard being told I may have indirectly caused the baby to die (something that I hadn’t been told up to this point, it has constantly been reiterated to me that it was a freak accident of nature). I’m just so tired of my weight stopping me from doing things. I didn’t want to hear that I shouldn’t have a baby because of my weight.  My weight has caused me so much pain and agony that the worst thing someone could tell me that is that my weight is now not only something that could kill me, but could kill my unborn children. Not pleasant at all.

I do believe that there is a chance of all those things happening. But I cannot delay it any longer. I have wanted to be a Mother my whole life. It took me 30 years to find the right man to do that with and then 3 years trying to have one naturally. Going back to my last post, I’m tired of WAITING to be thinner. I’m not going to let my weight stop me from achieving the most important thing in my life. Weight loss has always been the most important goal in my life, but right now, having a child has overtaken that and I will not give up on it. In fact I won’t give up on either. I feel I’m in a place at the moment where I can work on both. I’m going to work really hard on not putting on weight this IVF cycle and if I am lucky enough to get pregnant. I believe this will be easier with all the exercise I’m undertaking and also since I won’t be taking any hormones. I do believe these played a major role in my weight gain.

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is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. And so after several really down days about the lack of movement on the scales and after some 2nd hand advice from my surgeon, I’m approaching my life from a completely different angle.

The girl from my office who I’ve been going to the gym with and who has also been operated on  my Dr Layani went to see him last week and he told her to throw out her scales. He told her they will hinder her more than help her and that she has the best tool in the world and does not need the scales. When she told me about that, I put up the argument that I really can’t tell how I am going without them and that sometimes I think I am doing so well and then get on the scales and see no loss (like the past 3 weeks) and so I can’t trust my judgement etc.

But after spending 3 days feeling sorry for myself and not doing exercise and eating things I know aren’t helping my progress, I have decided he is right. Huh, fancy the surgeon who put this thing in me being right?

I’m so tired of living my whole life focused on what the scales say. I have literally lived the past 20+ years focused on my weight and wishing my life away until I can be thin. I rarely live for now, I am always so focused on the day that I become thin and I’m sick to death of it.  I’ve been overweight my whole life and I’ve spent every day wishing I was different. I’ve spent every day feeling guilty for not being different, feeling guilty for eating something I know is ‘bad’ for me, for not exercising enough.

The fact is the last few weeks have made me feel SO much better. I am walking faster and further with less pain than I have in a long time. Today we did  a very similar route that I did back in July 2007 for the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital Fundraising walk and I completed it in 1.5 hours and could’ve walked further. I had very little heel or leg pain and felt great afterwards. Back in 2007 when I did it, I remember being really exhausted and was in a lot of pain.  And besides that, I actually chose to get out into the sunshine and the beautiful weather and WALK instead of sitting in front of the tv or computer. Now that is a very big change in itself!  And so the scales are going into the other bathroom where I can hopefully forget about them and I’m continuing my exercise and ‘mostly’ (I’m becoming an all or mostly kind of girl bit by bit) healthy eating as training for our upcoming trip. If I lose weight before I go, great. If not, then at least I will be more physically prepared for all the walking we will be doing and I can enjoy the sights without complaining about my sore feet and legs the whole time.

The thing is I really do feel like I’ve lost weight and I really do think I can see the change in my body. So I’m going to start believing in myself and  trusting myself and this amazing tool that I have inside my stomach!

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So I just came back from my best friend’s wedding in Cairns. As usual, I got nervous before my flight due to many traumatic experiences while flying. I had nothing to be concerned about, as I was flying with my husband who would sit next to me, but still I automatically get nervous. We ended up having 2 perfect flights there and back. Firstly we had no-one sitting next to us, so we were able to spread out and relax. And then I had the biggest smile cross my face as I was able to do up the seatbelt without an extension. Admittedly it was tight and I had to hold in my stomach to do it up, but I didn’t care. That is something I have been waiting to do for years and I’m finally there. I felt so happy to not have to go through the embarrasment of asking for an extension, I cannot even begin to explain.  The seat still felt small and if I had a stranger next to me, I would’ve still felt uncomfortable, but the seatbelt fitting was a huge relief for me. What I find interesting is the difference a couple of kilos makes. Only 2-3 kilos ago I travelled to Sydney and still had to ask for an extension, but a few kilos later, I’m extension free.  Admittedly they were different airlines, so possibly different seat/belt sizes, but I’m hoping I’ll never have to ask for one again!

The wedding was wonderful and I had comments from a couple of friends I haven’t seen for years that I had lost a lot of weight and was looking good. I also forgot to blog that a few weeks ago while Christmas shopping, I ran in to an Aunty and cousin I haven’t seen in a couple of years (we are a slack family) and my Aunty immediately commented that I’d lost weight. It’s nice to be receiving some positive feedback.

It’s time to get losing again though. I’ve been really slack over the past few weeks, especially while on holidays in Cairns and over Christmas. I haven’t put on any weight, but haven’t lost any, so look forward to getting back on track. I’m booked in for an adjustment with Dr Read on the 4th Jan, so I’m hoping that will be a good starting point for me.

Oh in other news, I had a small problem with my largest port scar while I was away in Cairns. A few days earlier it had been a bit sore in part of the scar, and the next day it came up with a boil like lump that was filled with purple and black gunk. While on the plane, it burst and left a hole which looked very weepy and not nice at all. When we landed, I decided to find a chemist and got their opinion on it. They advised I should really go see a doctor in case it was infected. I called Dr Layani’s office and the girls there said the same thing. So courtesy of our new Navman (which I love), we headed straight to a medical centre, waited 5 minutes and saw a doctor. He gave me antibiotics and some ointment for the scar. I started on them both immediately and within a few days it was completely better. I’m not sure what caused it, but I’m certainly glad I got onto it straight away. It wouldn’t have been fun suffering through an infection during both the wedding and Christmas.

Speaking of Dr Read, his recommendation of FemBalance tablets removed my PMS almost completely, but unfortunatey I still got my standard stomach cramps on Christmas Day of all days. Will be interesting to talk to him on the 4th Jan to see if he expects that to improve with time or if I will always have to suffer that pain.

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Had a great day again today. Went to see a counsellor that I first saw about 12 months ago and then never went back again till last week. I feel like our session really gave me a lot to think about and helped put some puzzle pieces together in my head.

Warning…this is pretty heavy stuff…

While I have been talking a lot about the fact that I’ve been feeling depressed since surgery because I can’t eat to cover my feelings, we came to a few other conclusions today. The truth is that over the years I’ve actually become more and more depressed and I’ve never been able to work out what has been causing it. Food tended to relieve the symptoms temporarily, but it would often rear it’s ugly head, particulary during the last 6 months or so. One thing I have never really been able to put my finger on is why I am depressed, or why I have had to use food to cover up my feelings. I actually think my whole life I’ve always been too scared to be myself. I’ve always worried about other people’s feelings and happiness over my own in all relationships (not just romantic ones) and this has caused me to be very unhappy. I often will not tell people if I don’t like something about the relationship or if they do something to upset me. Instead I’ve supressed it and then eaten to make the uncomfortable feeling go away. Of course it doesn’t, it’s just a temporary band-aid and all those feelings have just built up over the years. I’ve done it since I was a little girl, not wanting to upset my Dad or my Mum about things they may have done or not done that made me unhappy. Why? Because I didn’t want them to be mad at me, or I didn’t want to upset or hurt them or because I was scared they wouldn’t love me anymore? I’ve pretty much run away from confrontation my whole life for this reason. Now my husband will disagree with this wholeheartedly but the truth is I’m happy to have conflict over the small things, but when it comes to serious, big, relationship changing things, I’d rather pretend that everything is ok. I’ll often completely disregard my own unhappiness to save hurting someone…what does that do to a person over a lifetime? It slowly kills them, it causes them to eat themselves to death to avoid the pain of ignoring their own feelings over a lifetime. And the last 6 weeks, without the ability to use food to cover that pain, so many feelings have come to the surface and I’ve had to (and am still) deal with them…it’s not easy. I’ve been hiding my true self, my true opinions almost my whole life so that people will like me, so that I won’t hurt people. Of course that’s not to say I haven’t hurt people, but in my head if something I am thinking or doing is going to hurt someone, then I should not tell them or do that thing which will hurt them…often that’s not the case though…

This may seem like common sense, but this was a huge revelation for me today. I’ve never really felt safe to be who I am, to think what I think, to say what I think. I’m still discovering who I really am and I’m slowly learning that in order to have healthy relationships I need to be completely honest with myself and open with those I’m relating to about my feelings. Times they are a’changin…Interestingly I have slowly been making some small changes in this area even before my surgery, but it really clicked with me today that I need to start looking out for me. I need to start expressing myself and my feelings. I need to start speaking up when I’m not happy or when I’m hurt.

Part of this depression I think is a long suffering feeling of loneliness which is probably brought on mostly by myself. When I lost my Mum, I lost the one person who I felt closest to emotionally. When I’m sad now, even 13 years later, the one thing I always think first and which always leads to tears is “I just want my Mum”. The ironic thing is that there were many times that my Mum couldn’t be there for me in the way a Mum usually is because of her own problems. So I think I grieve for the loss of the person emotionally closest to me, but also for the times she couldn’t be the Mum I wanted her to be. Growing up with Mum I pretty much learnt that I had to take care of myself. Don’t get me wrong…I wasn’t neglected, but times were sometimes tough and being pretty much an only child from a broken marriage and having my Mum go through what she did, I had to be self sufficient. I had my Dad and my step-Mum and my step-brother and step-sister, but there were problems there too and I wasn’t always able to embrace the supportive environment that should’ve been for me. There were times when I did a lot of looking after my Mum too, from an early age. So I’ve pretty much lived most of my life feeling lonely, like I had to cope with what life throws at me on my own and even when offers of help came, I never quite believed I could count on anyone but myself. So even in long term relationships, I’ve kept a tight rein on things that had to be done, I’ve been in control of things, because I never quite trusted anyone else to take care of me. This just fuelled the loneliness I felt. I’ve been at a point over the last 6-12 months where I have just been exhausted and overwhelmed by everything I’ve taken on myself to ‘take care of’. And it’s no wonder…I’ve been taking care of things and others my whole life, but not really taking care of myself. And again, eating gave me respite from these responsibilities. Not real respite of course, only imagined, but it worked temporarily.

Phew…so I’ve certainly been given some food for thought (haha) and I fully intend to voice my feelings much more often now, rather than supressing them. I don’t imagine it will be easy. The few times I have done this, has been extremely scary and confronting for me, but I’ve realised it’s time I really thought about what makes me happy and letting others know about it too….

Right now I’m actually quite hungry. I ate dinner about 3 hours ago, but instead of eating anything else, I’m going to do a bit of bookwork and then go to bed!

Food for today:

Breakfast: 1 sachet of Porridge with trim milk

SnacK: skim cap

Lunch: 1/2 cup of Spaghetti Bolognaise with veg sauce with tiny amount of spaghetti

Snack: small skim cap, Nestle diet rice custard

Dinner: 1/2 cup of Spaghetti Bolognaise with veg sauce with tiny amount of spaghetti (I know…you think I’d be sick of it now, what can I say I get A LOT of meals out of one saucepan of Spaghetti Bolognaise!)

Snack: 140ml weight watchers ice-cream

Calories: Approx 973 calories

Exericse: 20 minutes on the exercise bike – Calories: 153 calories (50% fat) Max HR: 144 Avg HR: 131

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Hit an all time low today and just cried for no apparent reason most of the day. Spent most of the day on the computer and then went and laid down and started Khaliah Ali’s book which is really compelling reading. I’m loving it. I just felt so sad and couldn’t stop crying. Leni’s comment really got me thinking. I keep saying that I must be feeling sad because I can’t eat to make myself feel better and I’ve really been thinking a lot about that. The problem is that I can’t distract myself the way I used to with food. I realised that my whole life was about food, what I was going to eat and when. That meant that instead of thinking about the other things in my life that were making me unhappy, I could just fill my mind (and body) with food and not have to deal with any of those thoughts. Now everything is exposed and raw and there’s no distracting myself away from those feelings with food. In the past if I was sad like this I would go out and buy a whole lot of takeaway and chocolate and ice-cream and drown my sorrows. It would give me something else to think about! Not only did I get to make myself temporarily happy with the food, but afterwards I could just get stuck in the guilty feelings of eating bad food and that would totally distract me from what was really making me sad in my life. So I’m adjusting to having to deal with those things that I don’t like in my life or the things that are making me sad…and it’s hard. But I know in the long run it will be worth it and it just has to be done.

Food for today:

1 sachet porridge with skim milk

1/2 cup baked beans

1/2 cup of blended moroccan lamb with rice (courtesy of the in-laws, brought home by my husband)

140ml weight watchers ice-cream

150ml Rush Wicked Latte 99% fat free milk

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I was reading someone else’s blog the other day about how they were trying to get out the ‘all or nothing’ mind-space in relation to weight loss and it really resonated with me. I wrote the following:

I’m definitely an all or nothing girl and have been thinking a lot about my aim for perfection over the past few weeks.

I signed up for Z’s Platinum dietician package and it’s made me realise how much I love having something to aim towards. I love having someone write a plan to tell me what I should be eating and then trying to follow it. The great thing about Z’s plan is that it was pretty similar to what I was aiming to eat anyway (because I keep maintaining as you have already said that I DO know what to do, I just CHOOSE not to!). The only difference is that she’s made it a little more nutritionally sound with lots more fruit and veg. For some reason having an ‘expert’ tell me what I should be aiming to eat makes me more motivated than listening to myself. I guess I don’t trust myself much these days.

Anyway I digress. I realised once I started following Z’s plan that it’s impossible for me to follow this plan to the letter 7 days a week. IMPOSSIBLE. Well no, I guess it is possible if I really wanted to be miserable and bored and totally nazi about my food. But I don’t want to feel like that. I’ve been there and done that and I know it doesn’t work for me. While I enjoy having a plan to follow, I also enjoy feeling like I’m in control and that I have choices. So I’ve started to coach myself into understanding that I don’t have to follow that plan perfectly every single day of the week. That as long as I have that plan as a guideline to what I should be eating MOSTLY, and as long as I MOSTLY follow that guideline then those 2 or 3 days where I don’t follow it exactly are ok. PHEW….sitll struggling with that. You mean I really don’t have to be perfect? Strange concept for me. I beat myself up almost 24/7 about not doing things well enough, not doing what I SHOULD be doing, not eating the right way, not exercising the right way, not doing enough cleaning, not being organised enough, not being a good enough friend, not being a good enough wife, not being a good enough daughter, not being a good enough employee…just not being good enough period. Get’s kind of tiring after awhile you know?

Wednesday’s Food diary:

Breakfast: Protein shake with skim milk and raw oats

Snack: 1 piece doorstop toast with margarine and vegemite

Details: Was so hungry all morning, nothing could satisfy me.

Snack: Watermelon, skim cap, trail mix and goji berries

Lunch: Salad with chicken breast, avocado, cashews, olives 

Dinner: 5 large slices of silverside, mashed potato and pumpkin, brussel sprouts, beans, peas

Snack: Apple danish and low fat ice-cream

Details: went to dinner at Dad’s house. Should’ve really requested a smaller meal size, as ate way too much and ate dessert. Why? Because I wanted to. Sucks huh?

Exercise: 35 minutes kickboxing

Thursday’s food diary:

Breakfast:  Protein shake with skim milk and raw oats

Snack: skim cap, 1 party size sausage roll, 1 party size pie, 1 dreamy donut (glazed), 2 squares dairy milk chocolate

Details: morning tea at work with team. Would normally have eaten a lot more, but still ate more than I should have

Lunch: Usual salad with lean beef (150g max)

Snack: skim cap, 1/2 choc chip cookie

Dinner: Lean cuisine with extra vegies

Snack: Nestle diet choc mousse

Exercise: 40 minutes kickboxing

I spent the whole day starving again and feeling really sick. The sickness felt like hunger sickness, but I had eaten a fair bit, so not sure if it was. I’m sitting here starving again tonight, but I’m going to bed in 45 minutes and refuse to eat anything else, even though I have been fantasising about turkish bread toast all night. Luckily there is none in the house!

I’m quite happy with the switch from ice-cream to Nestle diet desserts. They work much better, as although I do enjoy them, I’m not tempted to eat more than one.