Why is it that us women are never happy with our bodies? My whole life, I just wanted to be ‘skinny’. It is all this pudgy, freckle-faced, dark auburn haired kid wanted as I lusted over Donny Osmond and The Bay City Rollers. As an adult, when I became “overweight” (was 216 lbs when I got pregnant with my oldest (living) child, and that really does not sound all that bad in the big scheme), then obese, then morbidly obese, my High School Senior graduating weight of 157 lbs (just over 11 stone) at 5 ft 8 in tall sounded absolutely Heaven to me! Impossible! Oh, if ever I could get even close to that! So, Jimmi, my LNP who works with Dr. Lucktong, my RNY surgeon, when we set my my goal weight, we opted for 170 lbs (12 1/7 stone). That sounded very attainable; respectable…..probably about a size 14 which I always said, “If I could just be a size 14, I would be a happy camper!” So that was it! My goal was to get there. And I did. It was kind of like the Nascar driver ‘gets’ to the 3/4 of the way to the finish before he wins. I passed it doing about 300 MPH. No, really! I did =:-O (inserts virtual race car noise).
I settled to what I now call my sweet spot about 2 years out. I had a lot of plateau’s and then sudden drops, plateau’s, drops, etc. My poor seamstress could not keep up with me. In fact this was a very frustrating time clothing wise because when I was constantly having to have things altered. The Goodwill became my friend! Even that versus buying new clothing gets costly after a while. I did not know quite what to make, but I was jazzed, to say the least. When I finally kind of settled and my weight was pretty stable, I stayed right at the 140 lb mark (10 stone). My ‘sweet spot’, as I refer to it, is/was 137-143 lbs. At about 2 years out this is where I stabilized and this is where I maintained! Now it is not a ‘walk in the park’. I let myself eat a bit at the holiday’s and usually expected about a 5 lb weight gain… and that was fine, as long as I got it back down to the ‘sweet spot’. You cannot eat crap and junk and maintain a good weight, in all fairness. However, once you get a craving for celery with Laughing Cow cheese rather than a bag of Cheetos, things generally go better. Also, I know overweight people that do not eat much at all. I highly suspect thyroid there, but that is just my little old opinion I feel, however, as though busted the secret! I figured it out! Surgery or no surgery, I finally ‘got it’. You see, by now, my taste buds had acclimated to unprocessed foods, good, wholesome nourishment; real butter, real salad dressing, real mayonnaise and even an occasional treat of 100% natural ice cream , about 1-2 reasonable scoops, but only every other weekend (unless it is a special occasion). The old saying; all things in moderation or I might change that a bit; all healthy, whole things in moderation. I eat, oh mercy me, do I eat! I enjoy pretty much anything and everything that sounds good. What I have learned along the way, however, is junk food is just that; JUNK. I cannot even eat much in he way of fast food anymore. Subway, some Taco Bell, Wendy’s Chili and salads and the baby burger at Burger King (charbroiled). Other than that, it makes me sick on my tummy!
So after my mega surgery for my intestinal perforation in July, Dr. Kessler let me know when he reconnected the pouch to the lower intestine the hole would be a bit ‘bigger’ and food would travel through a bit ‘quicker’, no one really knew if it would mean anything, really. However, I felt like it might make me lose some weight if food was traveling quicker. I did lose 15 lbs over the next few months. I catapulted to the mid 120’s which looked nice on the scale, I will concur, however, I knew in my heart of hearts was way too low for me, especially when 10 lbs of my body weight is skin.
So, here was my wake up call of all wake up calls. When I went to California in September (when my Mom passed away), one of my life long friends (ok, well we have known each other since age 3) and I had a candid and private conversation. On Monday the 12th of September when Mom passed away and Diana called me, we got all the arrangements made as to when I would be flying in to LAX so we could get all the details sorted. Mom passed on a Monday and I would fly out on a Wednesday. I tried e mailing my friend as she was very fond of my Mom and I knew she would want to be there if she could. By the time we left for the airport on Wednesday, I had heard nothing back via e mail from her and I knew if she had gotten it she would have responded. So I left it up to my husband, Paul, to try to get in touch by phone. He was successful and told me to call Sheila and gave me her cell number. On Friday she was able to come over to Mom and Tom’s house where Diana and I were spending most of our waking hours. When my dear friend arrived, we spoke outside privately, outside, for a while. Though it had been eleven years since I had seen Sheila, time had little effect on her. She was as beautiful as always, so bright and king… so caring! She told me while she is not on Facebook, she does follow my blog. She said the last several pictures I had, ‘looked so thin…. so, so painfully thin’; that coupled with my serious emergency surgery….She teared up. She said that when Paul called, and she heard the tone of his voice, she thought he was calling to tell her I had passed. What! No! She really did! She said between the recent surgery and how painfully thin she thought I had become, she was so worried about my heath. She said I looked, well, downright unhealthy. Now I have known Sheila all my life. This is the girl that gave it her all to get on to the set of “Magnum PI” when she and a bunch of girls went to Hawaii for a post High School Graduation trip. That is when Tom Selleck was so gorgeous and every girl had a crush on him. Boy did Sheila have a crush on him and gave it her all! She called and said they were delivering lunch, flowers, whatever…. if I am remembering correctly. I know she gave it her all. She is that determined. Back in our day, “The DeFranco’s” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The DeFranco_Family played at Magic Mountain, if I am remembering correctly, she was able or almost got backstage to meet Tony, her favorite. And then when George Strait came to Bakersfield some years later, she stood out front of the Civic Auditorium, not to pay a scalper, that is not Sheila’s way, nope, but “The Sheila Luck” as I call it (a very good thing!) was, she found a nice group of people that one of their party could not show and they just wanted asking price for the ticket. Shabam! “The Sheila Luck!” She got to see George and sit with a nice group of people!
Sheila is by far one of the most level-headed, sweetest and determined people I know. She is also one of the most Godly women I know right there with Ms. Robin Kingery and like Ms. Robin, her life has abundantly been blessed. So Sheila wanted to make sure I heard her loud and clear. I saw her face. Her same beautiful, sweet face that I have known my whole life. No changes. Still bouncy with that sweet smile. But tears. Yes, tears of a friend who was worried. Sheila’s husband told her when Paul called, her face went as white as a cloud. All the color drained from her face. What Sheila did not know was, while I did not have a full length mirror at home, I did have one in the room of the lady that was so graciously hosting me during my stay. In the depth of my grief, in trying to manage my pain and fatigue, in trying to keep up with my sister who had endless stamina and just trying to find a moment to really talk with my brother, not realizing until I started counseling that we all grieve differently and that is OK, what I finally saw was a person; someone I stepped outside of and saw one of those girls who had an eating disorder or worse, one of the sad souls back in the concentration camps. I had too many other things to worry about and I finally, for the first time, just saw the girl in the mirror.
The plain truth is this: I do not starve myself nor did I try to lose from my ‘sweet spot’ of 137-143 ish lbs. (9.8-10.2 stone). As long as I was in that zone, I was a happy camper. My Dr’s and Paul still wanted me up to 150 lbs (10 st 10 lb), which is still a good weight, but I like 140 ish lbs. So we all agreed on that. I said the emergency surgery and the reconnection of the lower intestine with the connection having to be a bit ‘bigger’ resulting in food traveling through ‘quicker’, from the get go, I hypothosized it would result in weight loss. My bariatric surgeon and company (who is connected to every other Doctor’s computer system and can pull my weigh ins from any and every appointment I have) said there was a graph. They said it was the iodine I was taking. I say, NO! It is the emergency surger.y. “You were right.” What!….. What! Those words came from my husband, Paul Glover….. “You were right.”. Because last payday I needed to get the iodine, but I found a really cute cardigan. He said I could get the cardigan if I bumped the order of iodine. Hmmmmm…. well, my weights holding steady and not budging from the high 120’s…. CARDIGAN! In fact the cardigan was about 1/2 the price of the iodine so we came out ahead. Weight: stayed the same…. same….. same…. same….and holding. When the next payday rolled around and I told Paul I had not taken an iodine pill in weeks and I was the same weight. To which he replied, “You were……. RIGHT!” My thyroid, however, is starting to grow slightly, verifying my research about Hashimoto’s Disease and iodine.
Surgery or not. Iodine or no iodine. Hashis, Graves, or no thyroid disease; the plain truth is this; I figured it out when I started eating healthy foods and splurged here and there. When the high sugar/high fat foods started tasting ‘icky’ and I wanted some carrots and ranch. When we switched to all natural foods including real butter. These are the things that work. Not one by itself, but all of them, like a fine tuned machine. See ‘the pouch’ knows what works and forces you to work with that. It isn’t this ‘diet’ or that…. I hate the “D” word… diet. Diets don’t work; they set you up for failure. It is as simple as this: changing the way you eat , changing your habits and getting your mindset into a place that embraces this new found way to eat.
Here is one of my favorite recipes! You can serve with some steak fries or sweet potato fries. For RNY Newbies, the meat portion of this would be PERFECT for you; for the rest of the family, they can just toast up a bun and everyone dig in!
I think that is important to mention too! When I started eating ‘real food’ again, I tried to make sure Paul and I were eating the ‘same thing’ as much as possible. It felt disconnected when I was doing my grits and jello ‘shooters’ while he feasted away on his ‘regular’ food. So with these types of recipes; even if you can just have a 1/4 cup meat, you feel ‘connected’ to the rest of the family.
Homemade Sloppy Joe’s
Early RNY: Meat Mix Only
Later RNY: Can Serve on Toasted Hamburger Bun
*Very Quick & Easy! Also Very In-expensive!!!!!!
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 chopped medium onion
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 6 oz tomato paste
2 Tbs water
1 to 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Hamburger Buns or other desired sandwich rolls
In a skillet cook ground meat, onion and pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce, water, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 mins. Serve on toasted hamburger or other split rolls of choice.