Pure Vanity

So, it’s Monday.  Always the day for starting a new regime.  But I don’t need to start over, I’ve actually been adhering to my plan for the last few days.  Curious as to what motivated that?  Pure vanity.

I may have mentioned that I’m not really in the flush of my youth, somewhere in my late 40’s.  I used to be really pretty, even though I was hefty.  And I had smooth skin, energy, strength, and to some people, sex appeal.  Now….none of those things.  The skin around my eyes has started to wrinkle, there is a saggy double chin, my silhouette is not curvaceous, my skin has no youthful glow, and believe me when I say, there is not much anyone might find sexy about me these days.  My strength has disappeared with my lazy lifestyle.  Now I just look like some fat, old woman who needs help from the strong, handsome young men that might once have had a flirtatious gleam in their eyes.  Sad.

Some of that is the reality of aging.  But certainly not all of that.  I think of Sophia Loren, and that is what I want to be like at this age.  Mature, but sexy, beautiful – vibrant and alive.

I had a conversation with a handsome young man last week, and immediately started to feel vibrant, but then started to realize what I looked like on the outside.  That put a big damper on my confidence.  Actually made me feel sad.  The sadness started to pass once a feeling of resolve starting to kick in.

I don’t need to be this way.  I can make changes.  I can control myself.  It is not easy, but it is important.

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As I said, that was last week.  For the last 5 days or so, I have been walking or being outside being active.  Nothing major, no big production.  No changing into special cloths, packing a water bottle, going to a special spot and taking 2 hours out of my day to get a bit of movement into my body.  I just put on my boots and coat, got the dog and walked a mile.  I’ve done that 3 times now.  I also took my daughter outside and helped her build a snowman, then we went to hill to go tobogganing.  It was all I could do to walk up the hill without panting and huffing and puffing.  I didn’t want to embarrass her with that.  Needless to say I was not going down the hill on the toboggan.  I did what I do most times she is involved with some kind of physical activity, I stayed on the sidelines.  I absolutely cannot imagine getting my butt onto that little toboggan and bouncing down the hill.  Tonight, her Brownie troupe are going tubing and I will not be attending.  Her dad will go with her.  I always feign distaste at snow activities, but the honest truth is that I am too fat to find warm winter clothes that I can wear that don’t make it more impossible or more uncomfortable for me to move.  So she looses out on some fun activity time together, and I stay sedentary.  This can’t go on.

There are a couple of apps I love to use on my phone.  One is the S Health that is part of my Samsung.  It has a widget that shows the number of steps I take each day.  And it can translate into kms or miles.   There are a ton of other things it will do as well, however, with the tracking widget, I just have to glance at the screen to see where I am.

The other app I love is the My Fitness Pal.  This app is an amazing tracking app for food, weight, measurements, discussion forums.  It makes it incredibly easy to track your food by typing in the name of what you are eating, or, better yet, it scans the bar code and finds the info for you.  Almost every fast food restaurant has been included, and practically every food you could think of has been entered.  Ignorance used to be bliss, but knowledge is power.  Now, if I choose to eat Ruby Thai (never heard of them?  my fit pal has), I can still track my consumption.

The other great thing about this app is that it lets me track the macros I eat.  This way, I can keep to my balance of fat/carbs/protein along with the amount of calories.  Tracking the macros make choosing foods a lot easier.  Once I understand what the food is made of, I can decide if I should eat it.  Of course, this is only helpful is I actually track my food.

For the last few days, I have managed to cut out the high fat, high calorie, late night snacks.  I heard someone say that the late night snacks are a reward for getting through the day, and that really clicked with me.  My days are often difficult and long.  My daughter has high functioning autism, my husband commutes to work a full time job and has his own business on the side, my mother lives nearby and requires a lot of care that needs me to get groceries and run her to numerous doctor’s appointments.  I also run my own business.  It gets exhausting.  The last thing I want to add to my to-do list is take care of myself.  But I need to.

Check back in a couple of days and we’ll see if I have still kept up the walks and better eating.

Self Loathing

In general, I am a rather confident person.  I believe in my abilities, I know I have self worth, I’m important to my friends and family, and I am reasonably successful in my work.  And most of the time, I am o.k. with who I am.

But every once in a while, I start to feel really discontent with myself.  I feel my belly bulge out or my thighs rub together, and there is an actual rush of repulsion.  I wonder how could I be confident when I am this big?  Who could take me seriously, as a professional, when I look like this?  Do I embarrass my daughter in front of her friends yet?

I feel the tug of my pyjama top around my upper arms, and feel it ride up my back.  The legs of my jeans get snug.  A new roll tips out of the back of my bra.  I find myself doing a funny bend when I drop something – the kind of bend where you spread your legs first then bend over….I guess this allows my belly to have freedom to hang down and not get caught in between.  Pretty image, isn’t it?!

And here’s something new – my lap seems to be getting shorter.  My laptop doesn’t seem to come up as close to me as it used.  Something seems to be forcing it further down my lap.  Ugh!  It’s that belly again.

As much as I try to joke about things, I really do feel a blast of self loathing every once in a while.  Today is one of those days.

I keep thinking about how I might be after the surgery, in another 9 months maybe.  I’m hesitant to think too much, because there are still so many assessments to get through before a determination is made to do the surgery.  I dream of seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while and feeling so free.  I wonder if I’ll dye my dark hair blonde, as I have always wanted to do.  Will I have a lot of saggy skin?  Will I have more energy?  Will I start to jog, then start to run?

So many possibilities.  In all the self loathing, there is still some optimism…..fingers crossed!

Dr’s Appointment

So, on one of the most winter-y days of the winter, I had a doctors appointment.  I made the long, dangerous trek in the slippery storm, witnessed 3 cars facing improper directions while others tried to move past them, and got myself to the office.  I was worried about cancelling the appointment in case I was charged or the doc wouldn’t fill out the paperwork.

There is a LOT of paperwork with this process.  After getting 4 handouts at the information session, as well as filling out a 5 page questionnaire, my family doctor also had to fill out a 3 page questionnaire making sure my medical history was all included plus to be sure I understood the procedure and the long-term requirements of the surgery.  One stumbling block was the statement required for him to sign saying that he would be responsible for all future issues with my health – not a reasonable request if he is no longer my doctor at some point in the future.

Regarding the long-term commitments, these include taking multi-vitamins for the rest of my life, as well as calcium, as a body can become malnourished from the process.  That’s a bit of disconcerting thought…..  No carbonated drinks, nothing with high sugar or fat content.  I’m a bit sad to think I may never gulp down a big glass of ice cold water.  There is also the possibility of hair loss.  I went through that after my daughter was born, and did not enjoy that process!

The literature says my stomach will start out holding 2 ounces of food, then eventually settle at 4-6 ounces of food.  Wow!  What a difference that will be.  I always thought a stomach was the size of a fist, however, the info session described it more as the size of a football.  I can easily fill a football with food.  

For now, I have yet to make any changes to my diet or life.  This probably shows badly for my commitment to my health.  I guess I better think pretty seriously about doing this.  I have never made myself a priority in my life, everything else always came first.  After all these years, maybe it’s time to start taking care of me.

Everything in Sight

So, after Friday’s information session, I some how had it in my head that I am on my way to a life of skinny bliss.  It would seem my mental outlook resembled a death row inmate pardoned and released to live free.  Meaning, I felt I could eat whatever I wanted!!

Friday evening was Chinese buffet.  Saturday chocolate covered raisins, Big Mac and fries, and later at night Smartfood popcorn.  Sunday was chips in the afternoon, a big bowl of pasta with garlic, wine and feta over scallops.  Then for a snack later in the night, rice crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon.  Wow!!!  I don’t even want to figure the calories, fat, salt, etc on this weekend!

But, this is Monday…..every dieter knows that Monday is always the first day of a new chance.  So, it was healthy (so far), 1/3 cup of granola and blueberries and a boiled egg.  We’ll see how long this lasts.

Those small changes that I told myself, while sitting in the information session, I would start, walking 3 times a week, have not yet materialized.  But, hey, it’s cold out there!

I’ll let you know how today goes 🙂

The Beginning

 

Friday was the day for the first session in the process of having gastric bypass surgery, also know as bariatric surgery.  I was to arrive at 8:30 am to fill out the paperwork and be ready to attend the group information session starting at 9:00 am.

I left extra early, because I did not want to be late.  It was made expressly clear in the preliminary info package to be on time and to not miss appointments!  Given that this is something I would love to have done years ago, you can bet I will not be late or wait a minute longer than needed.

After navigating the parking garage, I found my way to the Bariatric Clinic on Level 1 of the Humber River Regional Health Centre.  The hospital was large, bright, open and modern.  I checked in with the receptionist and took a seat.  Here’s a really nice thing I found – they had double wide seats!!  For once, I didn’t have to wedge my butt into a tight seat with metal arms digging into my flesh.  Thank you to whomever was thoughtful enough to order those chairs!  The waiting room was quite full, I would estimate about 40 people.

At 9:00, those of us there for the information session were guided up to the 3rd floor and instructed on to a conference room.  We signed in, gathered up more papers and information packets, and found a seat.  The session was lead by a dietitian, with no condescending mannerism towards fat people.  The session lasted about 3 hours with a quick 15 minute break for a coffee.

During that time, we learned about the actual procedure, the process of eating before the procedure as well as reintroducing food after the procedure.  We touched on ways to prepare ourselves for the change in eating.  It was suggested to start making small changes now to be sure that you have those well integrated into your life by surgery time.

Our homework, prior to the next visit/assessment, is to familiarize ourselves with the procedure, know the stages of food after the surgery, and keep a journal of our eating to help recognize our habits and weaknesses.  We are also encouraged to commit to a small change and record our progress.  I’m thinking I should start walking 3 times a week.  I guess it needs to go beyond thinking and just put my damn feet on the pavement and move!

I’ll let you know how it goes!