Weighty Matters

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Portion Ponderings

Nineteen weeks post-op today.  Wow.  It feels like so much of my life has changed in less than five months.  I don’t mean just the weight loss, although losing over 80 pounds in this time is a major change to be sure.  I feel so much healthier mentally and emotionally, too.  The changes there have not come as easily as the physical, and they are definitely ongoing.  Most likely, I’ll always need to work on them so that I don’t backslide or relapse.

I’ve blogged about eating out before, but I’m really feeling the topic tonight again.  It’s Wednesday and I’ve eaten out three nights out of the last four.  Sunday evening I had dinner with friends who got married earlier in the day.  Last night and tonight I was out with my visiting nephew and his girlfriend.  Restauranteurs, if you’re reading this, I’m flat out serious about that need for petite plate versions of your entrees.  I learned from a friend of mine who has experience in restaurants that this would probably never work in a smallish market like the Keys, unfortunately.  There wouldn’t be enough demand to make the venture financially feasible.  New York City, maybe.  Something to do with the cost basis of an entree, how many have to be sold for profit, etc.  From my perspective, this is a real shame.

Sunday night, I ordered a filet mignon which was served with a baked potato and haricots vert.  A salad was served first, of which I ate a couple of bites.  Had I not, I would have eaten more of the filet, which was very tasty in a shallot-peppercorn demi-glace.  Suffice it to say that I boxed what I didn’t eat.  That filet lasted me for three meals, the last being today’s lunch.  Even three times weren’t enough for me to finish the green beans and potato.

Last night, the restaurant had an extensive list of appetizers, but most of them were seafood-based or deep-fat fried something — including fried cheese risotto.  I really didn’t want to order a full size meal, but ended up not having any choice.  I went with a Cobb salad, topped with two big pieces of tender grilled chicken.  I took my time and ate a few bites of the chicken with some of the very crisp bacon and blue cheese for variety — dipping lettuce and chicken in a balsalmic vinaigrette.  It didn’t take much to satisfy me and I loaded the vast majority of the meal into a to-go box.

Tonight we went to a family favorite restaurant in town to satisfy barbeque cravings.  Folks, when baby back ribs are on the menu, it’s time to offer full racks, half racks and quarter racks, please.  The half rack, which pre-surgery I would have had no problem polishing off, looked to my eyes like it had come from a mammoth.  Three or four of the ribs, a quarter of the steamed corn and a couple of eggplant fingers and I was full.

If restaurants ever don’t have To-Go boxes, I’m in trouble.

To be honest, I still enjoy going out for dinner.  Everything I order tastes really good, and that’s important.  I eat too little to torture my taste buds with boring, unsatisfying food.  Instead of complaining about the huge portions that make up a typical entree, perhaps I should just rejoice that I can really make the most out of a dining-out budget and flavor-fest since I end up getting three to four meals out of every one that I order and buy.

In other ponderings, I never received anything more than an auto-response form email from Food Network acknowledging that I’d written.   That said, if at any time Food Network premiers a show called Small Bite Wonders, remember you heard it from me first.  I talked about it with my nephew.  He suggested that I could host one.  I’m not a knowledgeable enough cook to sustain a show, but if they had picked out another chef to create the dishes, I could definitely talk to him/her about the food, the needs of the bariatric surgery eater, and other relevant things.  Then, of course, I could be the designated taster — as long as we stayed away from seafood.

I’m still trying to teach myself to like seafood, but early results are not promising.  While away in Boston, I sampled a small bite of my brother’s shrimp.  It was okay.  Last night, my nephew and his girlfriend shared grilled hogfish snapper over Caesar salad and a dish called Volcano snapper — grilled yellowtail snapper topped with a scallop and crab cream sauce.  I first tried a small bite of the yellowtail.  The first instant of chew wasn’t bad, but as soon as the flesh really hit my taste buds, I experienced the typical, shuddering, “eww yuck” reaction.  After a drink of water,  I moved onto the hogfish.  I have friends who claim that hogfish is their  favorite of all of the snapper varieties.  Truthfully, it was mild, not “fishy”, and a little firmer in texture.  This time I didn’t physically shudder or feel my stomach clench in pre-nausea.  Progress?   Umm, ehh, well — let me get back to you on that, okay?

I have to admit that this is more than a little frustrating.   I was sure that I could retrain my palate if I just opened up my willingness and tried.  I would like nothing more than to one day take a bite of deliciously prepared, fresh fish and light up at the flavor the way that I do with foods that I love.  I’m not quite willing to give up the experiment, but it’s discouraging that my tests so far have not yielded promising results.

Maybe I should try lobster again, or something like scallops that I’ve never tried before.   Any suggestions?

Have any of you successfully taught yourselves to eat and enjoy something that you previously didn’t like?  If so, how did you do it?

 

 

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Hormoans

I misspelled hormones on purpose because, just to warn you, I’m going to whine a little in this post.  🙂

I’m over 54 years old and have been what my doctor calls perimenopausal for a couple of years.  I am so ready to be done with getting my period.  Seriously.  If they had a pill I could take right now, I would.  I decided years ago that it’s like the Mafia.  Just when you think you’re done, you get pulled back in.

I’d been on a pattern.  Two months, no period, then get it one month.  Skip two months.  Get it.  There have also been changes in the intensity and the duration each time — definitely different from the “like clockwork” schedule and details I experienced ever month.

The doctor told me that I cannot consider myself menopausal until I’ve gone without my period for an entire twelve months.  Last year, I went six months without it and was on the verge of doing the happy dance of joy.  I was positive that I was on my way to a period-free life.  Then, last October, with only the slightest of warning signs – BAM – the period returned with a vengence.  I was away at a conference, pretty much unprepared.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Since then, I’ve been completely irregular.  I never know from month to month now whether or not I can expect my period to start or when during a month.

In the old, pre-peri-menopausal days, I didn’t even need to keep a calendar.  That’s how regular my cycle ran.  If, for some reason, it was tempted to slip my mind, I got certain signs.  Ten days before the start of my period, without fail, I’d get hit with intense cravings for chocolate.  On that day, I wanted chocolate like I wanted air to breathe into my lungs.  When I started going irregular, I couldn’t rely on chocolate cravings as an indicator because I was also so into food and overeating that I craved everything all of the time.

Since the surgery, I’ve been pretty much craving free, which led me to believe that when they removed the part of the stomach that secretes most of the hunger hormone, that took care of the cravings too.

Apparently I was wrong.  All day long, I’ve been thinking about and wanting chocolate in any and all forms.  It’s horrible.  Sadly, someone brought in brownies to work today and I caved and had a small square.  I don’t even particularly like these brownies, but chocolate is chocolate.  FYI, I have a recipe for home made brownies that produces the absolute best you’ve ever had, so I have a pretty high standard when it comes to these treats.  On an ordinary, non-hormone-induced day, I wouldn’t even have been tempted.

Ever since this afternoon, I’ve been successful at battling off the urge to run to the store and purchase something – anything – to feed the chocobeast begging for relief in my belly.  As soon as I finish this post, I’m going to have one of my sugar-free ices instead, banking that the lemony tartness will negate the lusting for chocolate.

I have to say that I’m just a little bit annoyed with my own body and hormones.  I know this isn’t logical, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s bad enough to have to fight the cravings today.  I’m pre-aggravated that ten days from now I’ll have to deal with my period, too.  Then to add insult to injury, I need to start fresh on my 12-count again.

Grrrrrr.

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Fun Times Become Even Moreso

Yesterday several friends and co-workers and I took a day trip to the Dry Tortugas and Ft. Jefferson.  The fort is located on a small, remote island about 70 miles away from Key West.  It doesn’t get much more remote while still remaining part of the United States.  The fort has an incredible history, including being the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere (16 million bricks).  It was held by the Union forces during the Civil War and Dr. Samuel Mudd was incarcerated at the  fort’s prison.

There’s no running water or air conditioning.  The only power comes from generators.  No Internet, cell phone or television service.   Very isolated and primitive.  It’s also absolutely beautiful with the most pristine water I’ve ever seen.  You can only access the island by boat or sea plane.  We went out on a giant catamaran that can hold around 200 people.  It’s a great trip from Key West that takes about 2 1/2 hours.

Once at the island you can tour the fort, hang out on one of the two beaches, wander around taking pictures of birds or, my personal favorite, walk off either beach and snorkel.

I’m a water girl.  Being on, in or around the ocean is where I’m happiest.  I love to snorkel around looking at the corals, plants and fish that live under the sea.

The last time I snorkeled was at the Dry Tortugas two years ago.  I managed, but I have to say that I tired really easily and just walking around to the beach while hauling my bag made me tired.  Once  I was in the water, I was okay (except for the getting tired part), but struggling into my fins and keeping my balance while walking off the beach into the cool water was definitely challenging.

This time was so different!  I easily walked around the island with my bag.  Getting into the fins and then into the water wasn’t nearly as awkward.  Once in, I could really tell how the weight loss and exercise have improved my overall physical fitness, particularly my leg strength.  I moved easily through the ocean, enjoying the underwater world with far greater ease than ever previously experienced and had a lot more energy and endurance to keep going for a longer period of time.

My aerobic tolerance must be better too because I didn’t get winded even once, or ever feel like I was straining myself.  All in all, a really fun day was made even more fun by my improved abilities.

On the ride home I was pleasantly tired, but so was everybody else after a long, full day.  (We got up at 5 a.m. to make it to Key West to catch the boat.)  A few years ago, even a few months ago, after this much exertion on a single day, I’d feel stiff, sore and in need of pain relievers.  Last night, by the time I got home showered, I was simply happy and ready for bed but not in pain.  Color me joyful!

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I didn’t forget that I promised a picture of me with the new haircut.  This was the first that I’ve styled my hair myself, so it isn’t quite as pretty as when the stylist works her magic, but I’m happy.

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Clothes Encounters

I’ve resisted buying a lot of new clothes since I’m rapidly losing weight.  (Down 83 pounds this morning!)  I’ve had some cropped pants and capris taken in a couple of times.  There were other clothes in smaller sizes in closets and storage bins so to great extent I’ve been able to “shop my closets” and find enough outfits to get me through a couple of conferences.  When a garment gets too big and isn’t something that I want to pay to have altered, I immediately place it in the “To Be Donated” bag.  So far, I’ve dropped off at least four big bags of clothes over the last four months.

I finally reached the point where I had to buy some new shorts.  I wear shorts pretty much every day at work, so they really are a necessity.  The ones that I have are so big that I have to roll over the waistband a couple of times and they still bag quite unattractively.  Luckily, a store I’ve shopped online before just happened to run a sale the other week on shorts.  I took a guess at my current clothing size and decided to go two sizes smaller than the ones I’m currently using.  The prices were so low that I opted to be proactive and also ordered the next smaller size.  At the rate I’m going, I’ll need them before in a few months.

The package arrived today and I quickly tried on the larger ones.  After weeks and weeks of pulling up my shorts and rolling the waistband, it felt great to put on shorts in a much smaller size and have them fit!  Woot!

I think it’s about time that I went through my closet and did another serious purge of blouses and tops.  I know that there are several hanging there that I’ll float in if I put them on so I might as well pack them up, donate them and let them have a home with someone who needs them right now.  Once I accomplish the task, I’ll give myself permission to buy a few in my current size.

Panties aren’t a problem at the moment, but I’m between sizes in bras.  The ones I had were gapping in the cup and generally not flattering me beneath my tops.  I tried buying a smaller size but that didn’t help.  Thankfully, I’ve discovered that I can now use the tightest row of fasteners without being uncomfortable.  Doing that pulls in the cups and smooths the overall line.  Bras are expensive, so I hope employing this solution will help me stretch (no pun intended) my current supply for another couple of months.

I’m also between sizes in T-shirts, which is a real problem since I wear work-related T-shirts almost every day during the week.  For years, I’ve worn a men’s 2x and there was a time before surgery when they were a little snug around the extra tire of my midriff.  Now some of them are so loose that they’re almost sloppy .  However, I don’t think that I’ve made it down to regular XL.  I saw some teenagers use a scrunchy to pull the loose material of their shirts tighter and am considering trying that as a transitional solution.

Even as I type that, I want to call bull-pucky on myself.  I say that I don’t think I’m down to a regular XL, but to be totally honest, I don’t know.  I might be.  For some reason I’m resisting trying on a shirt that size to find out for sure.  I almost did it yesterday in our Gift Shop, but chickened out.  It’s been niggling at me, making me consider the situation and process what’s going on.

At heart, I think it’s another form of fear.  I’m on the verge of a big milestone with my weight loss.  Even this past week has been terrific, with me losing over six pounds, the progress is stirring up some apprehension.  Oddly, I’m a little afraid that any moment some switch in my psyche will toggle down and turn off my motivation. It’s happened that way so many times before.

In OA years ago, I learned several sayings that turned fear into an acronym.  One of them defines it as False Evidence Appearing Real.  Just because I’m at a point where I have, in the past, lost motivation and started to backslide does not mean that I’m going to repeat that destructive behavior now.  I need to repeat that as many times as necessary and reassure myself as needed.

Each day of success reassures me, but the memories are strong so it’s a bit of a battle.  I’m regrouping and surrounding myself with the defense of those sparkly rainbows as well as all of the positive evidence I have around me that shows me I am, and will continue to succeed.

I think what I need to do is bite the bullet next week and buy the damn T-shirt in XL.  The worse that can happen is that it will be too snug.  If that’s the case, then fine.  I can fold the shirt and put it into a drawer for another month or two.  Maybe I’ll put it alongside the next-smaller-size shorts that I bought for the future.  I’ll be that much more ahead of the game!

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