Nutrition Check-in

I mentioned all the areas I need to assess, and now that I’ve got vitamins squared away for the time being*, I’m trying to figure out what in the heck to do about food.

Why do I feel so lost about what I am eating versus what I “should be” eating?

Why do I feel like there’s no plan?

Well, I’m almost a year and a half out, I can eat ANYTHING (and I do mean anything), and there’s a whole world of food out there to be had. It was a lot easier when I had a list of “approved” foods for the stage I was in and I was too afraid to veer off the list. Things aren’t so simple now. I’ve got to actually figure out how to eat a healthy, balanced diet and friends–this is new territory for me.

Because let’s be honest. The post-surgical diet is no way to live long-term. 1/4 cup here, 1/4 cup there, all protein-all the time isn’t normal. Yes, our bodies obviously can survive. But now that I can eat more (a LOT more, sadly), I’d like to make sure that MORE FOOD = MORE NUTRITION. Like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all that jazz. Not just more simple carbs.

Because while I say I can eat anything, let me be clear: anything except simple carbs compounded one after the other. Like rice followed by banana = carb coma following by sweats followed by fainting. Or, in other works, hypoglycemia. Not on my wellness plan.

But when I think about well-balanced eating, I always come back to the food pyramid and I have no idea what to do with that. What’s a protein bar? 1 protein, 1 carb, huh? Why is a potato a grain and not a vegetable? Why is low-fat sour cream a fat and not a dairy? WTF??

Melting Mama posted this info today, and it has been pretty helpful because it’s  food pyramid guideline tailored for post-op bariatric patients. Here are the links:

So here’s my action plan. I’m going to:

  1. Use these guidelines to meal plan June 1-5
  2. I’ll also food journal on livestrong to try and get calorie equivalents, but this is less important than balance
  3. Once I have a week of journaling, I’m going to send it to my University’s dietician (who I met with last week) for her review. She thinks I’m already eating pretty close to the food pyramid, so this will just be for some feedback and additional ideas.

And I have to admit, I’m going to amend some of the rules as listed on the plans. I’m currently drinking probably 30 oz per day of caffeinated beverages (*hangs head in shame*) so I’ll need to cut back more slowly. Going to 6oz cold turkey might very well kill me.

In other news, I’m going in for my 1-month follow-up with Dr. Hartog Tuesday. I’m nervous about it because I’m not so thrilled with how my arms are shaping up, and I worry that he’ll be like “oh well, they look good to me, thanks and goodbye” when what I’d really like is “yes, I see what you mean, and I can fix it!” We’ll see what happens.

I know you need before/afters, and I’m working on it. I’m going to try and get Lee to take some this afternoon, and I’ll upload tomorrow. I’ll probably make it a password-protected post since I don’t want any creeps checking it out. 🙂

* Apparently, I have no stoma and can easily swallow ginormous horse-pills. The B-50 complex pills are huge, but they go down without a fight. No wonder I never feel full!


A Few of My Favorite Things

I love working for a University. I love that we close between Christmas and New Year’s. I love this break!

I’ve been spending time with friends and family while Lee works. Today I’ve been all alone and it has been simply divine! And as I’ve relaxed, I’ve identified a few things I adore:

  • Torani sugar-free syrups. Yeah, I’ve had them before but I haven’t spent any time figuring out what to do with them. But now? I’ve got sugar-free raspberry (fav!), coconut, caramel, vanilla, and irish creme. It’s flavorful in my world, I tell you! (I buy them at my local World Market)
  • Gift certificates. To anywhere. I mean really. How fun is it to go shopping and not worry about how much it’s costing you? I love gift cards!
  • Coupons. Don’t you love it when you feel like you’ve cheated the system and gotten a totally rad deal? I know, I know–we’re all paying for it eventually, but seriously! Coupons make shopping exciting.
  • Crystal Light slurpees from 7-11. I know, it’s December. But it’s also 80 degrees in Florida today.
  • Also, The Daily Plate, which revealed that these crystal light slurpees, while sugar free, do have 120 calories and 20g of carbs for a 28oz. cup. Totally worth it.
  • Bike rides. Fast or slow, long or short, sweaty or not.
  • Brace yourself. I love Talbots. Yes, I do. I know I’m not a senior citizen, but I love that store! I can’t afford much there, but today I scored a great white button-down and a denim pencil skirt for a grand total of $26. I don’t even care of that makes me uncool.
  • I love wearing regular sizes. I’m firmly a 12 right now. Every 12 I try on fits. Sometimes I need a 10, but it’s very rare. I think sizes are more uniform in “regular” stores. Remember how plus sizes were all jacked up from store to store?
  • I love shoes! Because no matter how much my body changes, the shoes will still fit. My feet aren’t going to get any fatter or skinnier within the next 30 pounds. I love buying shoes! I’m building like a permanent shoe wardrobe! A permanent wardrobe! That’s exciting!
  • I still love New York & Company. Their pants are weird (cheap fabric and very strange notions of waistlines–hello, that’s more like my bra line!) but tops and dresses–watch out. I got a pair of purple pants, some black capris, and a cute black wrap dress for $3.99 each this weekend. I’m not even kidding.
  • I still love Ross. I know it doesn’t scream “classy lady!” but I don’t mind digging through racks of crap to find the rare gem. I just got a pair of zebra-striped pumps (YES I DID!), nine west shorts (ME! IN SHORTS!), a gray Worthington skirt, and a cute black turtleneck for about $50. That’s a deal no matter how you slice it.
  • I love Shelly/Eggface. I love her protein ice cream recipes. I love my sister for buying me an ice cream maker for Christmas. So far I’ve only made chocolate peanut butter ice cream, but YUM!
  • I love organizing things. I’ve cleaned out my office at home, my closet, the spare bedroom closet/storage, and I’m dying to get rid of a bunch of Lee’s clothes, but I know he’d hate that. I love organizing our stuff! Better yet, I love having time to organize our stuff!
  • I really really love my JOYS Household Organization System. I use my action center every single day, and it totally rocks. You should buy this when it’s no longer out of stock. Seriously. Ask for it for your next birthday. It’s a functional system that actually makes sense.
  • I love the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It works. Easily. My shower sparkles.
  • I love aprons. Fancy ones, simple ones, funky ones. I need more aprons in my life.
  • I love my husband. He’s so generous and honest and easy to be with. He’s a good, good man and I’m happy I snatched him up. 🙂
  • I love Gerbera daises. I especially loved the ones I carried at our wedding, but I also love the ones Lee brought home for me yesterday! Yellow and orange brightens up the house.
  • I love doing laundry. I really do. I love washing everything according to it’s instructions, making everything fluffy and soft, and having everything folded, put away, and ready for wearing. Laundry is one of my favorite things!
  • I love my church. My pastor is a genius. I love the impact our church has in the community.
  • I love my job. I get to do what I like to do all day long! I get to work with Christians whom I genuinely like! I get paid a fair wage. I have a lovely office where I can think.
  • I love the beach. I love it during the summer when it’s hotter than hades, but I really love it in the off-season when it’s cooler and you can wear real clothes and it’s not crowded. The beach is instant relaxation.

I could go on and on (I already have!) but these pleasures are filling my time off of work and helping me give thanks for the year I’ve had. I’ve made good decisions this year, and I’ve had help, and I’m happy with the outcome. I’m far from perfect and could have done better in so many areas, but I like what 2008 brought. All good things. All better than before.

Weekly Schedule

Since I’m starting the PhD program in 24 days, I’m freaking out a little bit about what kind of schedule I’ll have to keep. I’ve spent the summer using my work hours to read blogs, research a billion things, and generally shoot the breeze (after completing my daily tasks, of course). I’m going to lose that freedom pretty quickly.

And there’s so much more to say. On top of working full-time and being an full-time doctoral student, I also need to devise some way to earn extra money to pay for the plastic surgery I so desperately need. It can’t come out of my fellowship funds: that’s for paying down student loans. It can’t come out of our regular household budget for two reasons: (1) we’re using all extra funds to pay off Lee’s motorcycle, and (2) it doesn’t seem fair for Lee to have to sacrifice because of MY fat and MY excess skin. I really want to save up plastic surgery money on my own.

So, I have a plan. There’s an online tutoring company that I won’t name here for fear of linkage, but I’ve secured a job as an online writing tutor. I completed training last week and I’m good to go. No, I’m not insane… I realize I’m already over-burdened, but there’s a way to make this work. I think. If it doesn’t, I’ll let it go with the wave of one giant batwing. (“Batwing,” by the way, is a term Lee finds hilarious. He now refers to my “Batman wing” arms.)

So you can see why I have some anticipatory anxiety over my upcoming schedule. Plus I’ve got a professor who thinks it’s fun to email students constantly with assignments that aren’t due for 4 months. I mean seriously? WHO WANTS THAT CRAP OVER THE SUMMER?

Anyway. After talking this through with my awesome therapist, she suggested that I make an actual flow chart. I’m partial to the one in ink and markers and bright colors that I drafted, but this version portrays the general picture. (click below)


The good:

  • There are enough hours in the week to do what I need to do.
  • The flexibility at work is going to SAVE MY LIFE.
  • If the online tutoring thing doesn’t work, I can dump it.
  • Thank God I have one online class.

Other things to remember:

  • Friday includes tasks like meal planning, grocery shopping, and laundry
  • Every day tasks including whatever reading/writing I need to do for school
  • I’ll probably need to make weekly and daily schedules to deal with specific tasks and assignments
  • Before I leave for work each morning, I’m going to have to be careful about bringing everything I need for the day: 3 meals, gym clothes, toiletries to shower, school clothes, books, etc. I’ll be that lady you see with a gym bag, bookbag, briefcase, and ginormous purse.

The one bad thing: there’s no room in this schedule for hours upon hours of blog reading at work. I may have to save blog reading for Sundays only IF I have all my schoolwork done. Hey, something’s gotta give.

But it’s going to work!


I took a good, long look in the mirror this morning. Naked.

Friends, this is getting a little scary. I’ve lost 116 pounds, and I could stand to lose 108 more. I’m halfway there, and I already see skin issues. The next 100 pounds may be frightening.

I always knew I’d need my arms done.

Now I know I’ll also need my belly, boobs, and thighs as well. It’s a remote possibility that insurance could cover the tummy. Everything else is all me.

So what’s a girl to do? Start researching nearby teaching hospitals, that’s what. Or, you know, Mexico.


Today I joined and in order to track my health. FitDay has already proved a valuable resource, though I apparently went over my allotted calories by more than 200 today. Tomorrow is a new day! The goal is to get below 350 before the doctor’s appointment next Friday. I know I can do it!

Also, I’ve been trying like hell to find a water aerobics class to join. Unfortunately, the only one available runs from 8:30-10:00 am, which would keep me from getting to work until 11:30 or so. No can do.

Running Vitamin List

Running list fmi (for my information):


  • Prenatal
  • GNC Ultra Mega vitamin
  • Flintstones Vitamins
  • Advance formula “Centrum”… one a day chewable
  • Women’s formula generic Multi-vitamin once per day
  • Optisource. It has calcium, iron and B12 included. They are citrus flavored
  • Bariatric Advantage Chewable Multi-Vitamin (tropical flavor) – these are designed to have more bioavailability and to be more easily absorbed by bariatric patients
  • Bariatric Advantage Chewable Iron – 29 mg with Vit. C (passion fruit flavor) – these are non-constipating and designed to be absorbed more easily by bariatric patients


  • Viactiv calcium chews.( These are carbonate calcium chews. We should take citrate for proper absorption)
  • Cal citrate Chews
  • Caltrate calcium chew
  • 600 mg of Calcium Citrate twice per day (to maximize absorption I take these at least an hour before I take any other vitamins – this is two tablets two times a day for a total of 1,200 mg


  • Please note: You should take a stool softener or fiber supplement to keep you from becoming constipated. If you take iron, do not take it with calcium, they will cancel each other out.
  • Iron (ferrous fumerate) in the form of Ferro Sequels once per day
  • Tender Irons (vitalady)

Vitamin B:

  • B-12
  • Sublingual B complex…Under the tongue. Liquid form
  • B-100 (Complex B)


  • Vitamin C once per day (taken with the iron to aid in absorption)
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin A & D (dry form)
  • Folic acid
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin E (dry form)
  • Zinc or Zinc lozenges
  • Niacin
  • Magnesium
  • Beta Carotene

Fiber supplements and stool softeners:

Post-op Must-Haves

Another running list:

  • Batteries in remote controls
  • Cordless phone near the couch
  • Sugar-free peppermints or peppermint tea to soothe the pouch
  • Small dishes
  • Small freezable tupperware
  • Small utensils
  • Extra measuring cups and spoons
  • Vitamin E oil for dry stomach skin (??)
  • Post-op foods: water, dole baby apple juice, instant breakfast, sf popsicles, sf pudding, protein powder, chicken broth, gatorade, instant mashed potatoes, strainer, protein shakes and shakers, bags of ice
  • Mederma for incisions
  • Blender/food processor ready and waiting
  • Shower seat
  • Grabber-thingy to get things off the floor
  • Vitamins and supplements