Day 216

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What do I do the day after I share the rawest post of my journey?
I get up and do 20 minutes on the elliptical, drink 32 ounces of water, and make a protein shake.
With a whopping 42 grams of protein:
1 cup fresh mixed berries
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1- 11 oz container of vanilla Premier Protein
Handful of romaine lettuce leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 pumps sugar free raspberry syrup
Purée on high in the Vitamix for 60 seconds. Voila!
You may think I’m a freak for putting cottage cheese in a smoothie, but it is GOOD. It gives it a milkshake quality, and kicks up the protein. Just be sure to blend it SMOOTH.
This is also a great way to sneak in greens! Take it easy though, you don’t want a smoothie that tastes like soaked lawn clippings…
Happy Monday! Cheers!

Day 215

Writing is hard.

Not the actual writing per se, that part is actually pretty easy for me.

Writing brings clarity, healing, self-acceptance.

But sharing?

It’s the sharing that hurts.

Oye.

That brings scrutiny, judgement, and a raw vulnerability that I can’t always handle.

When something is happening to me, especially when it is painful, I try my damnedest to find the lesson. I enjoy sharing my lessons, humorously if possible, so that others may learn from my hard-knocks. Sometimes these lessons involve other people. And unfortunately, other people do not always appreciate having the details of their lives thrust into the public eye.

I have pretty much always been an open book. Not everyone agrees with it. In fact, it brought incredible chagrin to my paternal grandmother. She was constantly telling me, “The whole world doesn’t need to know your business!”

Well, I’m sure they don’t. And moreover, they likely don’t care nearly as much as I think they do.

But for me there’s freedom in being okay with the “whole world” knowing my business.

Because then it’s more about being authentic and less about being impressive.

If I’m going to rally support for my autistic son or… bust my butt to lose 150 pounds or… pour myself into reconciling my children with their long-estranged father…I’m not only going to do those things. I’m going to write about them.

Because that’s how I figure things out.

The tricky part comes when said writing causes pain or embarrassment to the people involved in my journey. Just because I’m an open book doesn’t mean everyone is.

So I have to learn to write what heals me, filter it through that person-specific sieve, and then share the strained remnants with you.

Consequently, there are things that get caught in that sieve that I really would rather have openly shared.

Today you are going to get the contents of the sieve.

Within the past couple of weeks I have learned a hard and painful lesson that I am trying to work through: After decades and decades of yo-yo dieting, self-deprecation, and unbelievable amounts of frustration, I discovered (or possibly re-discovered) two things:

  1. I am an addict, by nature.
  2. And I am actually much more comfortable being fat. (It’s a turtle shell of sorts. A place to retreat when there is fear or pain or danger.)

I am currently near the weight that I always reach when dieting, and then just stop losing. I thought I could remedy that by staying off the scale, and just not seeing those numbers.

But that’s not working either. Because duh, I have mirrors.

I can plainly see myself shrinking.

So recently when I started experiencing the fear and anxiety of a thinner body, since it is now physically impossible to binge-eat, I picked up a bottle of wine to deal with my mounting emotions.

And my stomach pouch tolerated it just fine.

So I drank a larger glass. Then soon, two glasses.

And before I knew it, almost a month had passed… and I had a problem.

This is common with bariatric patients.

It’s called addiction transfer.

Am I supposed to be drinking? Hell no. Bariatric surgeons and psychologists recommend not drinking any alcohol at all for at least a year after surgery. But when you are an addict, all the advice in the world just falls softly on some seriously deaf ears….

and you do what you have to do to drown the pain and the fear and the anxiety.

Think you’re above it? So did I. Hell, I worked in bariatrics for 3 years.

Once I recognized it though, I had a choice.

Wallow in it. Or solve it.

The new Angie chooses to solve it.

I didn’t have this surgical procedure just to become a friggin alcoholic.

So the solution here is this:

  • Bring the addiction into the light.
  • Surround myself with community to be held accountable.
  • Stop the addiction cold in it’s tracks.

Period.

Point blank.

The end.

Everybody makes mistakes. I am no exception. And neither are you.

It’s human nature to hide our flaws. We all want to be the hero.

Of course I want to be the glowing, perfect, unicorn-riding goddess with all the solutions and answers. I want to inspire you. And impress you. And post pictures of my perfect, veggie-laden plate on Instagram while I’m wearing a black bikini in my perfectly sculpted bod.

But my friends, that ain’t reality.

Reality is that I’m broken and fucked up and just trying to find my way like everyone else.

Yes, I lost my way for a moment. But I’ve grown because this time I caught myself.

So let that inspire you. Be encouraged that we are all broken in our own ways, and we will continue to stumble and fall down 1,001 times.

The victory is in getting up 1,002.

I will do this. And so can you.

Regardless of what you are attempting to master, remember any progress is improvement. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just do better.

Remember what I always say:

collage

 

Day 208

sis

I love this photo. It makes me happy.
My sister and I have always been besties, (well, almost always) and the past 7 months have been no exception.
She has been my best support since surgery, and my toughest accountability partner.
She checks in on me, encourages me, challenges me.
She calls to see if I’m drinking. She texts to make sure I’m moving my butt and staying hydrated.
Everyone needs a Carrie. And you can’t have mine! Get your own. 😂
In other news…I’m happy to report that my BMI is finally under 40!
Translation: I am no longer classified as morbidly obese.
Translation: I would not qualify for weight-loss surgery if I applied for it at this weight. (Let that sink in!)
Translation: I can purchase life insurance.
Translation: Health and happiness truly is found in the journey and not at a magical perfect number on the scale.
Goals are good. Obsession is not!

Day 205

meijer

I have some really challenging mental battles going on right now. (And this, after two years of therapy.)
I am not ready to open this can of worms up fully and publicly….but I will share this:
I went to the store this morning with cruel intentions.
Peanut M&M’s.
Wine.
Chili cheese Fritos.
Luckily, the voice of my friend and dietitian Stephanie Yeadon took over, and I left with the items in this photo instead.
I am more sure every day that morbid obesity is merely a symptom of a mental disorder.
There I said it.
What you see on the outside is merely an outward consequence of what’s going on in my head.
Fear.
Anxiety.
Self-deprecation.
But I changed the size of my stomach, and hence my ability to binge eat last July when I had weight-loss surgery.
But no surgery in the world can remove the demons in my head.
I can still make poor choices. I can drink alcohol. I can eat small amounts of crap food instead of food that is nutritious.
Switching from food to alcohol has a name. It’s called addiction transfer.
I admit it. I was going to purchase that wine for my Friday night after work.
But as I passed the heirloom tomatoes I thought of my friend Stephanie and how many times she brought me those tiny tomatoes from her garden during the summer months.
And right then I stopped myself. And made a better choice.
Still think weight-loss surgery is going to cure all your problems and make you skinny forever?
Think again.

shoes

Unexpected weight-loss bonus:
My feet have shrunk 1 full size. What the? I have no explanation but with already canoe-like feet, I’ll take it.
New $24 pleather slip-ons?
Yes please!

Day 191

change

Yep. I’m still here.
I had a colleague snap a few shots of me yesterday because, well…inquiring minds want to know.
How am I doing?
Truth be told…I’m struggling.
But not with eating right. Or moving.
This battle is with my mind. My emotions.
Living in an obese body can be like hiding from the world…in plain sight.
The world treats overweight people differently. There is an unspoken racism against fat.
Moreover, you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it.
Some people just aren’t as friendly. Some look down at the ground and refuse to make eye contact. Others tend to be condescending. Strangers aren’t as likely to say ‘good morning’ or hold open the door.
So what happens when the weight comes off and there’s no where to hide anymore?
Attention. Warmth. Openness.
And for me that is causing unexpected anxiety. And honestly…some hurt as well.
It’s a wonderful thing to make eye contact with a handsome stranger, have him say hello, hold the door, and engage in conversation.
But it’s also painful to realize that this never once happened 100 pounds ago.
It’s painful to realize that the world wasn’t engaging with me…and I was okay with that.
It’s painful to realize that the human condition is to love what is lovely. I’m guilty of it, too. We gravitate to what pleases the eye.
Now I have a choice. I can get ragey and emotional and start blame-casting, and hole up with a vat of chips and cheese again until I’m sick.
Or I can accept the flawed world for what it is. Forgive them. Forgive ME. And keep going.
I choose the latter.
You have a choice, too. You can look away, look down, or drop the door on that seemingly unlovely or portly individual.
Or you can treat that person with the same enthusiasm you would have for Channing Tatum.
With less screaming and panty throwing, of course.
Here’s to making goals and reaching them. Onward and downward. xoxo

Day 183

greek

I love to make food from other cultures. Today I created a new spin on my one of my faves….Lebanese.
Homemade tabouli salad made with quinoa instead of bulghur, Lebanese meatballs, lemon zest hummus and cucumbers.
Healthy, fresh, delicious.
This is my version of Tabouli salad:
1 cup tri-colored quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh curly parsley
1 bunch fresh mint
1 head lacinato kale
1 box grape tomatoes, diced
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of chicken broth. (You can use water instead, but I like the flavor the broth gives to the salad.) Reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and place in refrigerator.
Wash all greens. Remove stems from the kale, and process the parsley, mint and kale in a food processor until minced. Dice grape tomatoes. Zest 1 lemon. Juice your remaining lemons, and toss all ingredients together with salt and pepper. I really like lemon, so I zest a little extra and then serve with a lemon wedge to drench the meal in yummy tartness.
This is high in protein, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. You gotta love food that tastes great AND makes you glow!
xo
Angie

Day 175

woman

Just finished up my morning yoga.
Yep. You read that right.
Yoga is about strength. And flexibility. And taking the time to focus and meditate and breathe.
It’s not about being skinny. Or having a peach-toosh. Or even being bendy.
I do what I can, and guess what?
Each day I can do a bit more.
And I will not quit this time. I don’t have to be perfect. Or weigh a certain number.
I just have to keep moving.
So get up today. If you took zero steps yesterday, take 5 today. If you haven’t stretched in a while, start with a few bends.
All together now….progress not perfection! Keep it moving, lovey.
P.S. LOVING that Facebook tagged my sister here because face recognition thinks this pic is of her and not me. Tee hee!

yoga

Day 174

progress

Sometimes you can do everything right, and the scale still doesn’t move.
When your cheerleaders sound a million miles away….
When last month’s pants still technically fit but are very baggy….
When all the kale, chicken breast and ice water in the world can’t fix your eyes….and help you see your transformation, you take photos. And see this.
Progress.
I am stronger than I was 6 months ago.
I can do 10 minutes of The Beach Body workout now instead of 12 seconds.
I can walk 5 miles with zero foot pain.
I can do sit-ups! (Whaaaaa?)
My body works again. After years of pain and immobility….I feel free!
And that feels better than any stupid number looks.
Thanks to my peeps at Community Bariatrics for helping me regain control. I love you dearly!

Day 172

z

I discovered something yesterday….
It is possible to make a completely delicious lasagna, without the noodles.
Here is what I did.
I sliced 2 zucchini in long, thin slices. Then I browned them on both sides in some olive oil, and drained on paper towel.
I made a sugar-free marinara sauce from scratch with spicy turkey sausage.
I made the cheese layer with full-fat cottage cheese, egg, parsley, garlic, and a bit of fresh Parmesan.
I used shredded Mozzarella for the 4th layer.
I served it with a salad, and it was SO good! Learning to reduce unnecessary carb intake while increasing veggie intake is a beautiful thing.
Yes this takes some effort. My recipes are rarely simple. But I’m worth it.
And so are you.
___________________
Zucchini Lasagna
Layer 1:
2 large zucchini, cut into long, thin slices and then browned on both sides in some olive oil
Layer 2:
2-28 ounce cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1 pound turkey sausage
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Layer 3:
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley (or 2 tbsp dried)
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
Layer 4:
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the marinara sauce first. Heat the oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add the garlic and cook until slightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Reduce to medium low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
Brown the sausage and drain. Add the cayenne pepper. Add to the marinara sauce.
Now prepare the cheese mixture. Add all ingredients for layer 3 to a mixing bowl and stir well.
Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
Ladle in some marinara to cover bottom of dish.
Place half of your sliced, browned zucchini as your first layer, like you would lasagna noodles.
Scoop in half of your cottage cheese mixture, and spread evenly over the zucchini.
Add enough marinara to cover.
Scatter with half the shredded mozzarella.
Repeat with other half of ingredients.
Bake for 45 minutes, covered with aluminum foil. Then uncover your lasagna and bake for 15 minutes more so the cheese will brown.
Whew! You’re done.
This makes 12 big servings. Or 472 bariatric sevings.

Day 171

This morning my hair stylist called to cancel my appointment because he has the flu.
So I’m opting for a day of self-beauty instead.
Winter is hellacious on the hair and skin. (As is weight-loss surgery.)
So here are my recipes to keep myself glowing and looking healthy:

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1. Sugar Lip Scrub:
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 drops almond or vanilla extract
Scrub gently on lips and then rinse. The sugar scrubs off the cracked skin, and the olive oil moisturizes.

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2. Coconut oil/Lavender Conditioning Wrap:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp lavender oil
Mix oils together and pull through your hair. Comb through and wrap into a bun. Let sit for an hour, then shampoo well, twice. No need to use your regular conditioner. Air dry.

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3. Salt Body Scrub:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
5-10 drops of essential oil, your choice
Great for exfoliating. Concentrate on upper arms, elbows, knees and lower legs. Rinse and pat dry. No need to apply lotion after. Note: do NOT do this after shaving. O.U.C.H.

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4. Avocado Face Mask:
1/2 ripe avocado
2 tsp raw honey
1 drop eucalyptus oil
I drop mint oil
Put the avocado and raw honey in a food processor. Blend smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add oils. Stir. Apply to face in a thin layer and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Super moisturizing. Plus you can eat the other half of the unused avocado. Win win.

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5. ACV Foot Softening Bath:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 gallon hot water
15-20 drops of essential oil (I like mint)
Soak your piggies in this concoction for 15-20 minutes. Use a pumice stone to remove excess skin, if you have one. If not, just pat your feet dry, cover them in coconut oil, and put on some heavy socks. Your feet will feel like you had an expensive pedicure.
You’re welcome. xoxo

lips

ALL DONE!:

gow

The scale isn’t moving much but I sure am. And I can still look and feel great at any weight, dammit. We must take care of ourselves, my loves!

Get your glow on today.

Thanks for reading.:)