Ending up in tears on Halloween

So I went to work today and was fully prepared for the crap that was going to be surrounding me. What I wasn’t prepared for were the emotions I was going to deal with at the end of the day. I drove my friend and I into work and we stopped by at Starbucks on the way in, I just ordered a Shaken Black tea, unsweetened for me and a Vanilla Mocha Latte for her. That’s all I had until around 12pm…I got really busy with work and I started getting really shaky. I had forgotten to pack anything of substance but I did bring one of those god awful Atkins Advantage shakes, so I had that. Then I ran downstairs to the vending machine in desperation to find something I could eat. They had a protein pack that had 10 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein. High high sodium though, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t able to eat until after 2pm. Once I ate, I felt better. I came home and had a protein shake with Almond milk and Whey Protein Powder, and that is all I have had since 4:30pm…it’s now 8:30pm and I haven’t made dinner yet…boyfriend is working late.

So of course there were treats everywhere. I looked for protein sources and of course, there were none. Just brownies, cake, jello, cupcakes, candy, chocolate. Shit I can’t eat. Very frustrating to say the least. Later on I went to my friend’s house to pass out candy to the kids in her neighborhood. It was a blast, but then I got crabby when I returned home, mostly because while I am happy I didn’t eat anything bad, I am pissed I couldn’t. This is not an easy task, and like my boyfriend says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

 
I ended up in tears, feeling frustrated and feeling like I don’t know what I can or can’t eat. I don’t even want to eat but I know I have to. This aggressive weight loss program can go to hell. I know I need to do it and am ready to do it, but when I realized that I had less carbs to work with, the challenge was for real. If I eat my dinner tonight and all that I have imputed into MFP, I will only have consumed 1,000 calories today, which includes physical activity which burned calories today (lots of walking around, running down stairs, etc). That’s not normal. Even MFP says it’s too low. Duh.

I think I need to throw the holidays out the window and say screw it. There isn’t any way in hell I can keep to this carb crap when I have the holidays. I’m not saying the entire season, but saying I will allow “cheat days” on Thanksgiving, the day after T-Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve. Why not???

What the hell. I am trying here. I just want to cry…again.

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If everyday were like today…

I will lose 25 lbs in 5 weeks. That is a bit extreme, don’t you think? However, I just received word from my bariatric nurse that I am supposed to be eating 15 grams of carbs per meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), or a total of 45 grams of carbs a day. That is tremendously lower than I thought. I was doing no more than 150 grams a day. Oops. She said for aggressive weight loss I need to do no more than 45-60 grams of carbs a day. This kind of sunk my mood today as I realized I had been doing it wrong all along, and I have been feeling rather fat and bloated since I those Atkins products really took a toll on me a few days ago. I am still dealing with the repercussions of this – acid reflux and TMI alert – diarrhea being the worst. I already have GERD (acid reflux disease) due to my obesity and take 1 prevacid daily, and haven’t had acid reflux this bad in years. Now I have no clue what to do but it’s making me nauseous and like I don’t even want to eat. I have no appetite.

Today’s meals:

Breakfast:

1 cup of liquid egg whites mixed with 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese

Snack:

couldn’t eat due to severe acid reflux

Dinner:

I can’t eat but am forcing myself to eat. And a lot. Which sucks.

16 oz of ground turkey

2 cups of romaine lettuce

1 tbsp sour cream

1/3 cup of shredded cheese

1/3 cup of black beans

Snack/dessert:

1 scoop Whey Protein Powder

2 cups Almond Breeze Milk

Total protein today will be: 170 grams. Carbs? 43.

I hate my life.

Review: Atkins Advantages protein products (multiple) & sucralose issues

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I picked up several of the Atkins Advantages ready to drink protein shakes in Milk Chocolate and French Vanilla as Target had a special running. I also picked up these protein bars as well. What is one of the ingredients besides all of the chemicals in these products? Sucralose. What does sucralose do? It’s like Splenda and too much of it can wreck havoc on one’s digestive system. If you’re anything like me and have a very sensitive stomach, I would recommend that you limit your usage of these products. Last night I learned the hard way as I consumed a shake, one of the chocolate pb bars and then one of the chocolate coconut bars. Not very smart.

So I started doing some research on Whey Protein Powder and found out that most, if not all, of them contain sucralose. What a bummer. This forces me to rethink what I need to be putting in my body to obtain my goal of at least 135 grams of protein a day. To be quite honest, I wasn’t very thrilled with the thought of just drinking a lot of shakes to get my protein, when it boils down to it, there are a lot of chemicals and fillers and nothing natural about most of these whey protein powders, and that is a huge concern for me. Back to the drawing board for me…

First weekend on the plan

This is my first weekend on the nutrition plan and it has been a bit tough. We ended up at a car dealership yesterday due to more trouble with my truck and locking in a good rate with Costco’s Auto Program. We walked away with a 2013 Nissan Altima, certified pre-owned, for a very very good price, a good interest rate and very good warranty. This is our first new car ever, both as a couple and ever. We are very excited and happy with our purchase. Very low mileage too (under 25k miles). 

Anyway, we spent several hours at the dealership waiting on financing as it was a Saturday and there was only one finance person and quite a few people waiting ahead of us. I had only drank a protein shake before we left not anticipating a long day at the dealership, so by around 5:30 I was getting hungry and a bit shaky. I drank some water, but didn’t want to eat anything from their little vending candy machines. After we signed our papers and walked out with our new vehicle we went out to dinner. My first time out on this nutrition plan. We chose a local bar inside of a hotel that has upscale food, and I ended up choosing some chicken wings (just the deep fried ones, no sauce, I had 4) for an appetizer, and then for dinner I had about maybe 1/5th or 1/6th of my fries (unloaded the rest on my boyfriend), and about 3/4rd of my bun and all of my burger, lettuce, tomato and most of my onions. We also ordered dessert, and I ended up eating about maybe 1/3rd of that…a dark chocolate cake covered in dark chocolate ganache, with peanuts (which I chose not to eat, it just didn’t go with the cake), three strawberry halves (I had two – a full strawberry) and some whip cream (i had a little bit). I came home and later on was hungry so I had a small quesadilla with cheese and a protein shake to tide me over til the morning. In the end, I was higher on carbs than protein, but being that it was my first weekend on this nutrition plan and that we were out most of the day, I am trying to cut myself some slack. Trying being the operative word. I was unable to stick to my planned out meals for the day because of how long it took at the dealership.

In the end I should come up with a plan for if I am ever stuck somewhere and need to eat. Maybe pack a protein bar in my purse or bring a protein shake wherever I am. I think this was a good lesson on how to cope with being out and being stuck in unforeseen situations. Packing some protein bars or food might help.

This first week on the plan has been very successful, but I would like to see my sodium intake decrease. It seems like even if I eat foods in whole form, there is a LOT of sodium in everything. I can’t escape it. I already have problems with Lymphedema and don’t want to add to it, I have always tried to be mindful of my salt intake, but it wasn’t until I started using MFP that I realized just how high my sodium intake was. I’m open to any and all suggestions!

Since yesterday I have been craving eggs, bacon and sausage. Today I woke up hungry for the first time in a VERY long time (which, according to my nurse is a GOOD sign that my metabolism is kicking in), and wanting eggs, bacon, sausage and an English Muffin. That ended up turning into pancakes. I find it strange because typically I crave potatoes. We ended up going out for breakfast as we didn’t have everything we needed for that, and I ended up ordering the Blueberry Pancake plate which had 2 eggs (I had scrambled), 2 bacon, 2 sausage links (ick, I ate 1.5), and 2 extremely large blueberry pancakes (well we are in America where our portion sizes are absolutely ridiculous. I ate about 1/4th of one pancake, and took the rest home for my daughter. I have already mapped out my day and we are going nowhere so I should be sticking to my plan.

Weekend is almost over (boo), but I would say mostly a success.

Nutrition plan and goals

Sorry for my absence, it has been quite the busy week here. Between work and dealing with some vehicle issues to deciding whether we can buy a new vehicle, my brain is swamped. The thought of taking on yet another debt/bill is scary. Next year I will be paying for my medical weight loss management out of my own pocket since my insurer won’t cover it. It’ll be costly. However, we need a new vehicle, as I am tired of putting money into my 16 year old vehicle. I’ve never had a newer vehicle and am hopeful we can get the financing necessary to buy one. We shall see.

Anyway, onto my appointment. I lost another 2 pounds (almost 3!), and am excited about it. My blood work came back normal, with the exception of my protein levels and my progesterone. My new doctor is putting me on a compounded natural hormone to help me deal with my post-menopausal symptoms. Long story short, four years ago I had to have a total hysterectomy at age 30 due to potential endometrial cancer as well as potential ovarian cancer. 

I met with my nutritionist who gave me a run down of our bodies use protein, carbohydrates, sugars and fat and store them. I was also told how much weight I should and shouldn’t lose, citing that the biggest concern is losing lean muscle mass, which I don’t want to lose. We discussed what pre-op and post-op will be like after a LapSleeve surgery and what a bariatric surgeon’s expectations are. Due to the extreme nature of weight loss without taking the lean muscle mass into consideration, I am unsure I want to go the weight loss surgery route and am considering just trying to do this on my own.  Time will tell. She told me in order to maximize the weight loss, I needed to consume no less than 135 grams of protein a day, which is a high amount, with a low carbohydrate intake (45-65 grams per meal). I’m supposed to be eating 30 grams per meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and 15 grams per snacks (mid morning, mid afternoon and dessert). It’s a lot to do and get used to. Yesterday I started and it was a challenge but I did well. If I stay on track with my goals for today I will make it. 

So how does one get this high amount of protein into their diet without consuming large amounts of meat? Protein shakes are my best option. I went and bought protein shake mix, some ready to drink Atkins Advantage protein shakes for work and mornings when I don’t feel like cooking or fixing something to eat. I also picked up non-hypoglycemic veggies which I can have as much as I want, such as cucumbers and snap peas. I did pick up carrots for carbs. I will likely pick up some protein bars for dessert. At first I refused to as the carb-protein ratio was too high for my likings. So I will attempt it this way first. I also will be eating egg whites, which are pretty high in protein (from MFP it stated 10 grams of protein per egg). Something else I am concerned about is the amount of sodium in my foods, so I am going to try my hardest to keep on track with this and hope the weight continues to fall off. I’ve been a bit more active as well.

It was strange yesterday, I had a lot of soreness and muscle aches (cramping?) in my thighs, calves, inner thighs despite staying well hydrated. I am wondering if it had to do with the high amount of protein intake and less carbohydrates.

You are an obsession…

Last night I woke up several times with thoughts of how much fat, how many calories I was putting in my body as yesterday I had a high ratio of fat percentage per MFP. Oops. Yesterday was a tough day, but usually weekends are. Trying to make more conscientious decisions about what I put in my mouth (giggity) during the weekend, or when I am out, is a tough thing. Why I laid awake last night computing these numbers didn’t solve what was already done. What I need to do is be more tough in my resolve about what I need to do to keep myself on track. It’s also hard to not beat myself up as well.

Another thing that was in my head last night was what types of snacks and foods I can use to boost my protein intake without busting my wallet. Until next payday things are a bit tight, so I have to be mindful of that. So far I have stuff like walnuts (still in their shell, which yes is a bitch, but let’s face it, that’s a good way to ensure I won’t overeat them), boiled eggs, beans (hmmm kind of meh on), string cheese, cashews, and yet I know I am missing other lean sources of protein or other protein sources that I could add to the repertoire. Suggestions are most definitely welcome. 

Trying to break old habits and get into healthier habits seems to be a hard thing to do, especially when you’re used to being out and oh hey! There’s a Burger King! Let’s order the – Oh wait!!! CALORIES! FAT CONTENT! SATURATED FAT! CHOLESTEROL! SODIUM! CARBS! Arghhh! The choices are limited, so there are other ways of trying to ensure proper nutrition choices. Keeping that in mind and trying to just say NO is tough! Hopefully with my knowledge of this and admitting that, it will help me keep it in mind.

So is this an obsession or am I completely in the right mindset? Tomorrow I meet up with my nurse who will be administering my nutrition plan and advising on what I need to do. I will be meeting up with the exercise doctor as well to determine what I can do to safely maximize my fitness and weight loss. 

The journey continues…

Calorie counting, change, and feeling defeat

I have been using the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone and it works very well. I was using the Lose It! app prior to MFP, but I like MFP better, and it seems much more user friendly. That being said, so far my caloric intake has been on target. Today that will definitely not be the case…it’s Friday…and I’m allowing a little bit of leeway in my diet tonight. Prior to medical weight loss management, I had only been advised once by another doctor to watch my caloric intake. That was the only successful “diet” I had ever gone on. It’s amazing how much we put in our bodies and amazing that we don’t realize just how many calories we are consuming ever day. Having something like MFP keeps you accountable on just how many calories you are putting into your body. It’s quite simple and there’s an awesome bar code scanning option that will scan any bar code on a food package to add to your list.

Getting to change. Change can be good, change can be challenging. Change with my insurance for next year is going to be a very hard thing to deal with. My weight loss program is going away, but they are still covering weight loss surgery, just not the program anymore. It truly makes me sad, but right now there are so many changes in the insurance industry due to the Affordable Health Care Act. I knew change would happen, but I didn’t realize it would change my weight loss program.

Which leads right into feeling defeat. I feel defeat because I will lose my resources for my weight loss program, and it was free. I’m not going to join a program like Weight Watchers or something when I’m already investing in a program being overseen by a bariatric physician and I am also getting nutrition counseling as well. I have plenty of support at home, but to lose the extra benefits of the weight loss programs, like the personal coach/counseling, as well as having four visits covered, is going to hurt. However, that doesn’t stop me from what needs to be done.

When I spoke with my coach today, something we discussed was the amount of skin that eventually will need to be surgically removed. Earlier this week I had my first visit with my physician and had a Body Composition done, and that showed that I am retaining a LOT of water, more than I could have ever imagined. My physician even mentioned how swollen my abdomen was, I laughed and told him I always thought it was just my fat. Apparently I am retaining a lot of water there, as well. With the water weight loss and the fat weight loss will come a ton of loose skin. Loose skin that simply will need to be removed. I’m trying to get myself mentally prepared for the fact that even past the weight loss through this program, and the potential LapSleeve, I will endure many more surgeries to remove this excess skin. Is it scary? Yes, absolutely. But at the same time, the thought of “shedding the excess skin” sounds like it could be therapeutic and freeing at the same time.

I am excited for what my journey holds ahead of me. I get my nutrition plan next week and will determine what type of foods I should be eat, how often, what my calories should really look like, and how to stay on track. My biggest culprit right now is no appetite (believe it or not). I typically do not eat breakfast or lunch, but that is something I need to change. I can’t eat only one large meal a day. That is not conducive to weight loss, nor is it healthy.

Despite the changes and sometimes feeling defeat, I still have my head held high and ready to tackle this monumental task of losing over 100 pounds of fat. I know I can do it, with the right tools and counseling/advice, I know it is possible.

Homesick

I’m originally from Monterey, CA…one of the most beautiful places ever. Being stuck up in Bellingham, WA does not make me happy. I have voiced my disdain and my hatred for being stuck in a situation where I feel trapped and unhappy. In late March/early April 2012, we took a short trip down to Monterey for my sister’s wedding and to visit the family. When I left there, I left a piece of my heart behind. I nearly cried when I first got into Monterey and saw all of the familiar sights and smelled the ocean. I had taken for granted this beautiful place I grew up in when I lived there. When I left my heart sunk. Ever since then I have battled a crippling depression that also led to my weight gain, my body aches, and a sense of doom and gloom.

I’ve decided to stay here in Bellingham until my daughter graduates high school, as her father is here and I refuse to take her away from him. It’s a very tough sacrifice I have decided to make as it is best for her. My boyfriend also has made the sacrifice as well, as he is from Wisconsin. He loved Monterey and both of us would love to move there, however, it is a pipe dream, and I must come to terms with the fact that I will never live there again. The cost of living is way too high and unobtainable. Not to mention, my current job will not allow me to relocate there.

My homesickness stemmed from my casual viewing of Yelp and restaurants all over Monterey Bay, from Marina to Seaside to Monterey to Pacific Grove…places I am very familiar with. As I viewed each restaurant that was so familiar to me, it invoked this sense of home, but also this sense of anxiety-inducing panic. It was an odd feeling and I began to psychoanalyze the meaning behind this. I almost couldn’t breathe while looking at these restaurants. Could food be a causation of my anxiety? Could the mere viewing of familiar restaurants I knew of or visited as a child or young adult send me into a panic, one where I feel I will never see home again? I am not sure. Every picture I saw invoked some memory, both good and bad. There is a lot of history there that brings me back to all kinds of different places in my life, from the good to the bad.

Perhaps I am over-analyzing what caused me to panic. Perhaps it’s just that I am missing my family and my home so much that it makes it hard to breathe. I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, wishing and longing to be with those I miss so dearly, even if they drive me nuts at times.

I think another reason I became a bit panic-induced was from the memories of growing up as a teenager in a low-income, single parent household. Things have changed so much from that time to now. I am not a single parent as my boyfriend lives with me, but I am no longer married to my daughter’s father. I have had my struggles since I left him and filed for divorce, but somehow I made it. We had issues growing up with running out of food quickly and basically believing that we needed to hurry up and eat our food NOW before it disappeared. I think a lot of that lead to this weight gain on top of the comfort eating when I could. I find myself starting to panic on the inside when I notice that food supplies are running low, but I have NEVER encountered what I did as a teenager as a single mother or after that. I never want my daughter to go without, and it is and has always been my goal to make sure we have everything we need. I admit that sometimes we live beyond our means, but in the end, we do better than my mom did alone. There was a point during my senior year of high school where my mom was dead broke and we had barely anything left in the house for a couple of days. It was so bad that while I was working my after-school job, my mom scrounged up what change she had to buy me a then-49 cent hamburger from McDonald’s. To this day, that memory alone makes me want to cry.

Food has played such a huge role in my life…from the time I was young til now. I’m starting to realize that a lot of this emotional burden I have is due to the memories surrounding food and poverty and going without and worrying my family will go without as well. Layoffs and job loss are always on my mind. It’s something I have dealt with before, and it’s something that is always inevitable. It scares me but I can’t allow that fear to take over my life. For now all I can do is make sure we have all we need, and work on not allowing that fear to consume me.

The journey ahead

I have said I wanted to start blogging again but haven’t had much time to do so. Now that I am on my journey to better health and weight loss, I wanted to start chronicling everything I am doing to lose the weight and my progress.

So far the weight loss is at 4 pounds…and I am looking forward to seeing more progress with medical intervention and the correct nutrition plan.

More to come…