I just put my piggies on the floor…and guess what?
No aching joints. No shooting nerve pain. No wincing.
Starting my day off with no foot pain brings a different kind of tears to my eyes.
Tears of joy. And relief.
I walked 3 times yesterday. Over 6,000 steps. Just short of 3 miles.
Just over a month ago it hurt to walk 3 steps.
Those of you who are struggling with obesity, lost in pain or an eating disorder, and suffering in silence, I’m gonna need you to listen up.
Tune out the naysayers. Follow your path. The one YOU choose for yourself. Your journey doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
Stop beating yourself up and accept the help that is available to you. And if you need guidance, just ask me. There are resources available to you.
You don’t have to spend the rest of your life binge eating and living in an unhealthy body.
There are options.
It’s going to be hard. But I have to believe that it’s going to be worth it.
Never give up.
I have to tell you that a month ago I was about as hopeless as they come. My body hurt all the time. I felt hungry constantly. I was so hard on myself that I had already decided that even weight loss surgery wouldn’t work for me.
This is ludicrous thinking, because I work in a bariatric center so I see how much this procedure helps people…every single day.
But when your mind is sick, that’s what happens.
You can tell yourself lies that no one else would ever believe.
As of today, I’ve lost 33 pounds.
When a month ago I doubted that I could even lose weight anymore.
There is hope.
Reach out and take it.
People will always be talking.
They run their mouths when you’re struggling with obesity. They run their mouths when you’re going to the gym. They run their mouths when you reach your goal weight and feel good about yourself.
That much is never, ever going to change.
So just decide right now that their opinions and ideas are really none of your concern.
Make your choice. If you know you need therapy for binge eating, seek it. If you know you need to walk more and you can physically do it, go on. Do it. You don’t need to go to the gym or lift weights. Just move your butt, if you can. If you know in your heart that you’re interested in bariatric surgery, research it. Go to a free informational seminar. There is no commitment. Just go and listen. Find out the options that are available to you. The more you know, the more informed you are, the decisions you make will be that much better.
Stop basing your decisions and your self worth on other people’s ideas and opinions. You’ve likely done it your whole life. It’s time to stop and do what is best for you. Make the choice that is going to help you live your best life.
Let me tell you what my life was like no so long ago.
I would wake up at 4am, my mind reeling and my body aching. The stress of the day ahead would start to seep in, as I wondered how I was going to accomplish the laundry list of tasks I had to do, while suffering from the ever increasing pain in my feet and legs.
I had fractured my feet 3 times over 3 years. My attempts at Weight Watchers had yielded tiny results.
I was trying to exercise. But it was causing me so much pain, I couldn’t bear it.
So I would sit. Which made me sad. And what do I do when I’m sad?
Mmmm hmmm, that’s right.
I would eat comfort foods.
And then sit some more.
All day at work. All evening at home. Most nights I was passed out in a seated position in the living room chair as the kids and dog played around me. I had no energy. I was quickly losing hope.
I felt broken.
These are things a scale won’t show me.
At this writing, it has been over a month since I had gastric bypass surgery.
And even in this short amount of time, so much has already changed.
I’m not talking about the 27 pounds I have already lost. Or the baggy clothes. Or that I look 10 years younger, even to myself.
Though yes, these things are lovely.
But the things I am mostly referring to are the immeasurable.
I sit up in bed in the morning, in zero pain. Every day at noon, I walk clear around the hospital campus with my biz and we giggle our butts off. My clothes fit me more like clothes and less like a sausage casing. My fingers touch when I wrap them around my wrist. I can put my foot on the floor and tie my shoe instead of hiking it up onto my knee.
These are things a scale won’t show me.
My bath towel reaches further around me now. I can look at myself in the mirror, and see not perfection, but progress. My daughter’s pride in my hard work shows on her face every day. My back boobies are shrinking. I can stand up out of a chair at work without grunting. I can attend a function with my girlfriends and enjoy the company and our insanely loud laughter without obsessing about what I am going to eat.
These are things a scale won’t show me.
I can say no to bread and chocolate and beer, because I know right now, those things would truly hurt me. My friends and family have given me more love and support than I ever could have imagined. My buns fit better into the chairs at work. I feel great pride in myself for facing this obstacle, so I hold my head higher. Even strangers treat me differently. And that is because of how I view myself. My feet are pain free. PAIN. FREE. I can take walks again. I CAN TAKE WALKS AGAIN!
These are things a scale won’t show me.
Scales are dumb. I hate them. For too long I defined my worth by the number on that scale, and it annihilated me mentally.
Sure, goals are important. But weighing myself every single day?
Not. Gonna. Happen.
I am strong and brave and beautiful and loved.
The number on the scale is just my gravitational pull.
I have conquered a lifelong eating disorder. And now I am slowly chipping away at the weight.
It will come off. It is already coming off.
And after all of these layers are gone and the real me is unearthed, you will still find the same strong, brave, beautiful gal.
I had some messages yesterday from folks who don’t understand how it’s physically possible that I lost a pound a day for a month.
Well, first off my surgeon turned my football sized stomach into the size of an egg.
And that’s a chicken egg, not an ostrich egg.
I am taking in less than 500 calories per day. That is going to yield enormous weight loss at first.
Or if you speak Big Bang Theory….
I eat 2 ounces of food 3 times a day. That’s about 40-50 calories each meal.
So let’s say meals are 150 calories per day total. Then drinking 2 premier proteins throughout the day, that’s another 320 calories. So my total caloric intake is less than 500 calories per day.
A 358 pound body has a BMR of 2239. With moderate activity, (ie: walking 3 times a day) that brings the metabolic rate up to 3626.
3626 calories burned per day
-470 calories consumed per day
3155 cals burned per day = weight loss
If a pound is roughly 3500 calories, and I’m burning 3155, you can see how I’m losing close to a pound per day.
Below are my total steps today by 10:30 a.m. Not too shabby for someone who did nothing but sit a month ago, due to sheer pain.
Enough nerdery for now.
I cried with a patient yesterday. She had just finished what she thought would be her last therapy appointment for food addiction.
It wasn’t. She will likely need another 3-6 months.
She was sobbing. I couldn’t hold back, I sobbed with her. I don’t always share my own journey with our patients, but this time I ripped right open.
I told her. I poured it all out that I’d had WLS surgery just a month ago. That it took 2 years of therapy to get me there.
And that some days I STILL don’t feel ready.
Do you think weight-loss surgery is “the easy way out?”
If so, then wake up. You are wrong.
It isn’t just about losing pounds. It’s about losing demons. Losing addictions. Losing self-deprecating behaviors. Losing fear of judgement.
Goliath still has to be slain. Weight-loss surgery is my slingshot.
It isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
My sweet patient left smiling. Sometimes all we need is someone to hold our hand and listen.
And as for me, some days it just helps to lose myself for a minute and focus on someone else. It makes my problems so much smaller.
And my heart so much bigger.
I know I said I wasn’t going to weigh until my 6-week appointment. But my biz and walking buddy Nicole has been after me to weigh in. Since its been a month today, I gave in.
Down 27 pounds in 1 month!
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest by searching Destination: 175.
You will likely never hear me say this again, but TGIM.
Thank God it’s Monday.
This weekend was brutal. Working through addiction is painful, no matter what form that addiction takes. It is plain to see why so many WLS patients suffer from addiction transfer.
Addiction transfer is the act of exchanging one addiction for another. The binge eater becomes an alcoholic. Or shopaholic. Whatever.
This weekend, 4 different stressors really tested me and my new pouch. I just wanted pizza. And wine. (That makes everything better, right? Ugh.)
Even I didn’t realize how often I was pacifying myself with comfort foods before surgery.
Surgery took away my pacifier. And I am grumpy. Oh yes, that is putting it lightly.
But I have to learn how to cope with the stress of my life without pouring gravy over it and eating it.
And I am getting there. One day at a time.
Which is funny, because I was never really much of a donut gal before surgery.
But today, you could put 30 of them in a large basin, cover them with cappuccino, and I would bob for them.
I don’t know if it’s that I can’t have them. Or maybe I saw something on Pinterest and it sparked the desire deep in my brain. But everything about the donut today says get in my belly.
Of course this is lunacy. It would make me so ill. Roux-en-Y patients cannot consume sugar or it will cause dumping syndrome.
Don’t know what dumping syndrome is?
Use your imagination.
One moment of sugar weakness, and about 30 minutes later you will either be praying to the porcelain god, or attempting to shoot through the bathroom ceiling, space-shuttle style, from the blast coming out of your backside.
Not exactly my idea of a good time.
And yes, you’re welcome for the visual.
Through my pre-op therapy and education, I have come to realize that I could never be a bulemic. Never, ever, ever. Honestly, I would rather stay fat. I will do just about anything to keep from vomiting. I try to position myself differently, walk slowly, breathe deeply, practically meditate so that I won’t have to throw up.
I hate it.
This is the main reason I chose the Roux-en-Y. I have forced both my body and my mind into submission. I know if I eat that donut, I am going to ralph.
That means no nibbles. No bites. No chewing it really, really well.
That means donut end game.
No. More. Donuts. Missy.
Which brings me to #2. (pun very much intended) The only thing worse than vomiting, has got to be diarrhea. This is the more common of the dumping syndromes. Now, I’m fully aware that there are bulemics who, in lieu of vomiting, will take laxatives to poo out all of their calories. Again, I would rather stay fat. What is the point of looking like Kate Moss, if you have to walk like you have a corn cob wedged in your arse?
Mmmm, that’s hot.
Now while all of this may have been some massive TMI, it is what is real. There are consequences to my choices now that force me to live and eat right.
Now instead of giving in and eating that donut, and then another, and another…I have to face the fact that I am NOT hungry, and what I am experiencing is emotional.
And emotions can be worked through.
It isn’t easy.
But it is worth it.
No donut on the planet is worth dumping syndrome.
And I am worth every ounce of this fight.
So Kate Moss, you keep doing your thang, and I’ll do mine. Put that in your toidy and flush it.
I have received so many e-mails and messages from folks struggling with obesity and binge-eating.
It is a very real issue. And more common than you’d think. But to “lose that weight” permanently, you have to be ready.
It takes focus and commitment to deal with the real issues instead of just the size 28 jeans.
No one else can tell you it’s time.
Not your doctor.
Not your friends or your family.
YOU have to be ready.
Because at the core of it all, it isn’t about being lazy or bonging Twinkies in your panties or not understanding nutrition.
Though there is that at times.
We’re not stupid. We know that kale is better for us than chocolate.
It’s about the mental demons that caused us to binge in the first place. And if we don’t deal with those first, we will not lose the weight and keep it off, no matter how much surgery we have.
Mental demons are painfully difficult to overcome. They are the monsters and the ghouls still living in your brain, born from years of feelings of inadequacy and loss. The demons of your past may stem from abuse, sexual or otherwise. They may have been born from losing a parent or close friend as a child. They may exist because you were demeaned and cut down in your youth, so you have spent your life talking to yourself that way in your head.
Negative self talk is a bitch.
But it is real.
And the weight is never going to come off, until you seek therapy and kill those demons first.
And honestly, that therapy will likely continue for years to come. And that’s okay.
You have to keep your mind healthy to keep your body as such.
Here is the thing about binge eating. You have to be ready to break up with that lifestyle for good. Forever.
Just the way you would break up with someone who is bad for you. You have to end it. For good.
There is no going back.
Years ago, after my divorce, I started seeing someone who was horrible for me. He was a gorgeous, silver-tongued bastard. A player. And I knew it. But no guy that pretty had ever even looked at me before. I was love-stoned. When we were together, I felt like the only woman in the world. I loved how I felt about me.
But that treatment was momentary. He would come to the house for the evening, we would listen to old music, laugh, maybe share a few drinks. But he was no sooner there, then he was gone again. He would go days sometimes weeks without seeing me. But the moment he called, I would see him again. And I let him treat me this way for the better part of a year.
What I finally realized is that I had to end this relationship forever. I had to tell him to get the hell out, and be done. And I did just that. But then after some time, I would miss him. And I would cave and call him again. And he would always come right back.
We would last another month or so. Until I’d had it with being treated like an option instead of a priority. And then I would tell him off and to get out…again. But guess what? He came back. Same story, different day.
We did this maybe a dozen times before I finally wised up for good, and realized I was going to have to stop calling him. And stop answering those text messages. Stop answering the phone. Stop answering the door. And just do a complete shut out of him altogether.
And you know what?
It took over a year for him to go completely away, but ending that destructive relationship cold-turkey was the only way to get my life back.
Sound familiar? I’ve had the same relationship with binge eating.
There will be no more one night rendezvous with enough Mexican take-out to feed a small village.
No more afternoon delight with a chocolate creme pie and a vat of cappuccino.
No more planning a quickie binge with Puccini’s pizza and bread when I know the kids are going to be gone.
I had to be completely ready to focus on my eating disorder, and deal with the demons that sent me to it in the first place. And before now, I just wasn’t ready.
I listened to my doctor blather on for years about “losing weight.”
Well I’m here to tell you it isn’t about losing weight. Or dieting. Or moving your ass more.
You have to break-up with binge eating. End it. Never see it or speak to it again. And until you’re ready to do that, it will always come back.
I am not going to lie, it is painful. It is a mourning process. You have used food as a comfort for so long, that you know no other way to appease those demons in your mind.
It isn’t about being lazy or ignorant. It’s about getting to the root of the problem, and eradicating it. Forever.
Let me tell you one more story and then I’ll shut it.
One week after surgery, the head hunger for me was awful. I just wanted comfort food. Big time.
I just wanted everyone to shut up and go away and stop asking me what they could do to help. I wanted to be alone.
My mom came over unannounced, and I barked some snarky thing at her, I can’t remember. It wasn’t nice. She just smiled and went outside and started weeding my hosta beds. When she came back inside, I was crying. I told her I wanted Doritos.
She just smiled.
I said, “Mom, I need Doritos. I just want to suck on them, I won’t eat them.”
She tried to hide her smirk. Then she started giggling.
I was so mad that she didn’t understand my pain. Why can’t I just suck on some Doritos??!
And this, after 2 years of behavioral therapy. Le sigh.
Anyone who has dealt with food addiction understands this ridiculousness. But it’s real. And that desire is still going to pop up from time to time. Trust me, there are days I still want to call that fool who had me on his hook. But I don’t. Because I know I deserve better than him.
And I know I deserve better than losing myself to a life of addiction to food and binge eating.
One of my favorite things to do is create recipes.
I like it even more when I can have my lazy Sunday by using some pre-made ingredients. If that is sacrilege to you, please feel free to replace the store bought ingredients with your own roasted chicken, homemade salsa, etc.
Now that I’ve had weight-loss surgery, I am going to have to be ultra-creative. This is my first post-surgery attempt at creating a recipe that is both delicious and bariatric friendly. It turned out so well that my kids ate two bowls of it.
This can be eaten in the soft/puree phase of the bariatric diet, if your new pouch can tolerate the spices and the salsa. If not, this recipe can always be saved for later when your body is more accustomed to spices and such.
You can make this for anyone in your life. Anyone. And they will never ever know that it is low-fat, high protein and high fiber. In short, it is friggin delicious.
Mama Solis White Chicken Chili
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Once the oil has heated for 5 minutes, add 2 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic. (or 1 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic.
Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes until it begins to brown. Then add 1 medium chopped onion:
Cook the onion with the garlic until the onion starts to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Then add 1 diced zucchini and 1 diced squash. Now when I say diced, I mean diced. Take the time to cut the veggies up small. This is an excellent way to mask veggies in a delicious chili. And zucchini and squash are excellent neutral veggies for this:
Yes it looks like a LOT of veggies in the stock pot.
It will cook down, no worries.
Mix the veggies together well in the stock pot, and place the lid on tight. Let the veggies cook about 5-6 minutes with the lid on, stirring once, until they are completely soft:
Once the veggies are soft, add 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper:
Stir the seasonings well into the veggie mix, replace the lid and cook for 1-2 minutes:
Now you are ready to add a 48 ounce jar (6 cups) of pre-cooked Great Northern white beans, and 1 cup of salsa verde. Yes I bought this salsa at Walmart. Sometimes I am lazy. But this salsa is actually really good, and it’s only $1.98 a jar:
Mix the beans and the salsa into the veggie mix in the stock pot, and then add 1 bag of chopped Tyson Chicken Fajita strips, and 32 ounces of chicken broth:
Once everything is mixed together, bring it to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low, and cook covered for 30 minutes to meld the flavors. Stir occasionally.
Now you are ready to add 2 cups of reduced-fat cheese, and 1 cup of light sour cream:
Whisk the cheese and the sour cream into the soup. Feel free to use a masher to mash the beans and veggies up a bit. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup a bit at this point. (Be careful not to burn yourself!) I like my soup a bit more pureed, so I use the immersion blender. This is also a great way to disguise those veggies if you or your family aren’t thrilled about veggie chunks.
The final product looks something like this:
Serve the soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and bit more shredded cheese or a teaspoon of sour cream.
I would serve this to guests. It is absolutely delicious!
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed oregano (or Mexican epazote if you have it!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 dashes of cayenne pepper
48 ounces Great Northern white beans
1 cup salsa verde
1 bag (22 ounces) Tyson Chicken Fajita strips, chopped
32 ounces chicken broth
2 cups reduced fat cheese
1 cup light sour cream
Fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges to garnish
Every night since surgery, I have dreamed that I’m eating. And it’s always something that surgery prohibits me from eating.
Well, last night I dreamed that I was in a hospital room with one of the Olsen twins, and we were both having all three of the possible bariatric procedures done.
Um, thanks subconscious, for choosing the most skeletal celebrity imaginable. Who’s next, D.J. Qualls?
Anyway, there was a large table of breads and baked goods, just sitting in the room, mocking us.
The nurses were possessed or something and since I picked up on this, I threw a fit, overturning trays and needles and carts. I beat up a few demon nurses, escaped from the room, and made it to the end of the hallway where it was pitch black outside. Suddenly the moon appeared, shining down on me like a spotlight.
I whispered to the sky, “Help me. Help me get out of here.”
And right then a figure with sword drawn, riding on a winged horse, came riding down out of the sky.
Now, two things are certain here.
One, I watch too much Supernatural.
And two, I have deep, deep issues about my weight and my relationship with food.
Food is a unique addiction. It isn’t like heroin or bourbon. Food requires a subtle balance, because survival necessitates it.
Can you imagine having to take a subtle balance of heroin to survive?
It would never happen.
So if you’re addicted to food and the comforts associated with it, cut yourself some slack.
It isn’t easy.
I gotta tell ya, since surgery 18 days ago, and getting the crap food out of my system, I am starting to feel sane again.
It’s almost like the sugar and carbs were poisoning my sanity. Making me crave them so voraciously, that I had convinced myself it was the only way to survive.
See, I’m like a vampire when it comes to comfort foods. Let’s choose double-fudge brownies, for example. If I can muster the willpower to have none, then I’m golden. But if I have one freaking bite of that brownie, you better get out-the-way, else you might lose an appendage. Because I’m hoovering that tray of brownies like it’s my job.
But now that I’ve had weight-loss surgery, it has given me a built-in willpower tool.
My own willpower can hold out for a reasonable amount of time.
Then once my willpower dam breaks, my tool is a back-up dam to make sure I succeed.
Yesterday I was looking through the cabinets for white beans, to make chili for my kids. As I pushed through the jars and the boxes, suddenly I saw it.
A rogue Little Debbie. An oatmeal cream pie.
My eyebrow raised.
My lips pursed.
I looked at that pie the way a lion looks at its’ prey before attack.
Ohhhhhh hello there, sweet little pie. You. Gonna. Dieeeeeeee.
My sanity was quickly restored by the tool in my gut. I was immediately reminded that if I ate even one bite of that pie, I could be sick for days.
And is that little crappy, chemical-laden pie worth that kind of pain?
Um, no….no it isn’t.
Moreover, a month ago, even though I wasn’t “supposed” to be eating those kinds of foods, I still would have eaten it. (It’s just one, right?)
THAT is what a surgical tool is used for. Just like calling for backup. This is an excellent procedure for the person with waning willpower, because the tool forces the willpower dam to hold strong.
You can call my tool the easy way out. Or laziness. Or weakness.
There seems to be a small camp of people who feel that I have already failed.
These folks do not agree with weight-loss surgery.
They feel it is the easy way out.
Well, guess what?
That’s okay with me. Every person is entitled to their opinion.
But I am not going away.
In fact, I am going to get louder and louder and louder about eating disorders and obesity, and the stigma that surrounds those of us who struggle with them.
Because I spent 30 years of my life hiding that eating disorder. Or trying to. There was a time when I was ashamed of myself, because I thought I was the only person dealing with this issue. No one talks about eating disorders.
So it is easy to feel completely alone.
But once I sought professional help and brought my food addiction into the light, I discovered such profound freedom. I learned that there are millions of people with eating disorders. After all, it is the most disguisable addiction.
And probably the most affordable.
Now that I have a grip on the binge eating, I have the work of getting this weight off of my body. Of course it has been challenging. After all, I have had 100+ additional pounds on my frame for most of my life. That isn’t going to come off easily.
So yes, after years of failed diet and exercise, and fractured feet, rapidly increasing co-morbidities, and slowly failing health, I chose weight-loss surgery to help remove the weight.
And now I have roughly 18 months to use this tool to get as much weight off as possible. That’s about how long the tool yields rapid weight loss.
I will still have to make healthy choices.
I will not be able to bong breadsticks in the laundry room anymore.
I will have to eat lean proteins and vegetables and reasonable amounts of fat. I will have to hydrate and sleep well and move my butt. I will have to do just as much work as I would have to without surgery, only now I will actually get some motivating weight-loss results.
Bariatrics has really fine-tuned itself in the past 10-15 years. Patients aren’t sliced open like a watermelon anymore. The procedure is done laparoscopically, through 5 small incisions in the abdominal cavity.
My brilliant surgeon did my surgery in 1 hour and 20 minutes, and that included an umbilical hernia repair.
And my recovery has been a fairytale.
Very little pain, and most of that was headaches. No nausea. No vomiting. I stopped taking pain meds just days after surgery. I fully believe that my success is due to the fact that I have done exactly what my surgeon and dietitians told me to do.
Sure, every patient is different. But I’d wager to guess that bariatric patients would feel much better those 2 weeks post-op, if they would just do what they are told.
So if you are considering weight-loss surgery, here is what I want to say to you:
If you have been 300+ pounds for more than 10 years, you should consider talking to your doctor about having this procedure.
There. I said it.
Anyone who tells you this is the easy way out, is an ass. They don’t know what they are talking about. This isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you this is easy, certainly hasn’t had this surgery.
So don’t listen to them.
Listen to you.
Listen to your heart. (And don’t make me sing it to you, because I totally will.)
This is like any other surgery, used to repair an injury. Let’s say you had blown out your knee, and your orthopedist said you needed surgery. Would you scream, “Oh HELL no, that’s the easy way out!”, and then hobble around on it for the rest of your life?
Of course not.
Same here. If you have injured your body for decades with disordered eating, it is time to seek help for those mental demons that taunt you into addiction, and then come up with a solution to lose the weight.
Plain and simple.
The title of this blog and my mission is Destination: 175.
That is simply my goal weight. Goals are good. They give us something to shoot for.
But reaching 175 on a scale isn’t when my life begins. Don’t ever subscribe to that horse shit.
My life began 42 years ago. It has been beautiful and painful and wondrous.
I don’t regret a minute of it.
I am alive NOW. And I love my life.
You will never, ever see me posting pics of a sullen, sad-faced, overweight me. Because that is not who I am.
I am happy, and full of life and love.
Losing this weight is only enabling me to live a happy life more fully, and free of a burden that has literally weighed me down for far too long.