Friday, December 14, 2012

Stress = Comfort Foot

What do you do when you're dealing with holiday stress that's ratcheted up with a family member's critical illness in another state (which means jumping on airplanes and living out of suitcases.)

Why eat, of course.

Making good choices after having my gastric sleeve is the best revenge, even when you want to revert to old urges. And having the sleeve as a tool to limit my good choices is such a good thing. I so could have gone completely off the rails earlier this week.

I was in New York City, trying to deal/help with a sibling's illness and hospitalization. His illness is scary and definitely life-threatening if he's not a good patient (and that's a concern.) He has wonderful friends in NYC, but no family there. It's a complex problem and one of the most incredible stress magnets I've been around since my surgery almost a year ago. 

So far, so good. Going for the protein and secondarily veggies first when eating out. Have had some adult beverages, but won't let that get out of hand.

I'm darn happy if I just stay even through this crisis. Losing more weight would be a bonus.

Stay posted. This is a gigantic challenge and probably the first test of my long-term sleeve weight-loss maintenance.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Strength in Numbers

At the first of the month, I went back to measuring up or measuring down, depending on how you look at it.

Well, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS, because the weight is still stalled at 197 (a giant aaaarrgh.) I started back strength training twice a week with my new trainer Shannon on Sept. 10, and that plus increasingly turning into a pretzel with my awesome yoga trainer Thomas Thompson twice a week ... drum roll ... my waist went down 3.5 INCHES in the past three months, without losing a pound. In fact, when I started strength training, my weight shot up several pounds and it was pretty upsetting.

Hubby Bob had been telling me my body was reshaping and liking it, but to tell the truth I didn't believe him. He's never complained about my weight, no matter how high it was and hasn't complained while I've been losing weight.

So here is the current tally, friends:

Dec. 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41", -2"
Waist: 35.5", -7.5"
Hips: 44", -6.5"
Upper Right Arm: 14", -2" 
Right Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf:  16", -1.75"

Aug. 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41", -2"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 45", -5.5"
Neck: 15", -1.5"
Upper right arm: 15", -1"
Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf: 17", -.75"

Jan. 20, 2012 (The first time I measured after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery.)
Bust w/bra: 43"
Waist: 43" (makes me wonder if I'm a tree trunk ... I think getting a waist back will be sublime!)
Hips: 50.5"
Neck: 16.25"
Upper right arm: 16"
Thigh: 30.25"
Right Calf: 17.75"

Steph's note still adorns my frig.
One side note, I'm so concerned and my heart and prayers go out to my friend and dietician at WeightWise, Steph Moore. Anyone who thinks you don't get attached to the folks who help you through this transformation would be wrong.

Steph was in a terrible crash on the Turner Turnpike en route from Tulsa back to Oklahoma City the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She and her fiancé were both hurt, but according to the WeightWise Facebook page, she broke numerous bones, had lots of internal injuries and apparently spent several days in ICU. I understand she's improving -- walking and now off her ventilator.

Steph, know that I'm thinking about you. And heck, I know you. At some point, you'll have your laptop or whatever and you'll be checking up on me and my little blog.

Your last note to me continues to be on my frig and will probably stay there for awhile -- until you're better. Not that it says anything profound, but it just makes me send good thoughts your way every time I see it.

Hang in there girl. Can't wait to hear you're home and doing better.

Love ya Steph,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Funniest Food Talk Ever

Posing with my daughter Kat, left, and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is one funny guy.

My daughter Kat and I had a fantastic time hearing him when he was in town last Sunday night, Nov. 11, on his "Guts and Glory" tour.

And the most hilarious yet saddest part of his talk was when he elaborated on his calling another celebrity chef Paula Deen out for some of the dishes served in her Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Ga.

The irreverent and a bit profane Bourdain originally called Deen "the worst, most dangerous person to America," for creating dishes like her outrageous double cheeseburger served in between two doughnuts instead of a regular hamburger bun. The hamburger patties are topped with a fried egg and bacon. It tops out at nearly 1,400 calories per serving and 73 grams of fat.

And there's another Deen dish that's almost as bad: meatloaf topped with a cheese sauce that comes in at almost 1,000 calories per serving.

But the best was Deen's fried stuffing on a stick. How can you do that to stuffing?

He called her out again when she came out with the fact that she has Type 2 diabetes and announced she's going to be endorsing a diabetes drug. 

What does this have to do with my gastric sleeve surgery? Nothing except that no wonder so many Americans are obese when they're eating stuff like that. I'm sure eating something that rich would now make me sick.

I appreciate that Bourdain now crusades for much healthier food choices and isn't afraid to call out some of these chefs who create dishes with no regard to people's health. More power to him.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All 'Eyes' on Halloween

Garlic chives make up the eyelashes on these Deviled Eggy Eyes.
Last Saturday night, I had a dilemma — bring a side dish to our homeowner's association traditional Halloween soirée that typically features a roast pig, pulled beef brisket, ribs and every kind of fattening pot luck side dish you can imagine from an expansive Halloween-themed cupcake display to dozens of salads, mac-and-cheese, baked beans, potato salads and au gratins.

I wanted to bring something I could eat that would be festive, so I decorated some Deviled Eggs with thin slices of pimento-stuffed olives and gave them eyelashes from the garlic chives growing in a pot on our back porch. Not exactly completely original to use the olives to make eyes, but I haven't seen anyone else do the chive eyelashes.

My most-used appliance — the Cuisinart egg cooker.
I hard-boiled a dozen plus eggs in my favorite appliance — the super-cute Cuisinart egg cooker (yes, it trumps my Cuisinart food processor, although it's a close race.) The reason I like my Cuisinart egg cooker, besides looking like it could be a Star Trek pod person, is because the eggs cook perfectly with none of that nasty gray exterior you get on overcooked yolks. The eggshells peel off easily, no matter how fresh your eggs are.

I mashed up the egg yolks in another bowl, mixed them with light mayonnaise to the right consistency, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, about a teaspoon of Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic seasoning and then made them smooth and creamy by hitting them with just a touch of an immersion blender. Then I folded in about three tablespoons of capers for some savory texture. 

Filling eggs with a quart-size plastic bag filled with the creamy caper and egg yolk mixture. Roll the sides of the plastic bag down to make it easier to fill, then squeeze the mixture down to a corner and cut it off.
I put my creamy egg yolk mixture in a quart-size plastic bag, cut off one of the corners and piped the yolks back into my egg yolk whites. I gave the eggs a light sprinkling of some smoked paprika, cut a pimento-stuffed green olive about 1/16-inch thick and my garlic chives. I arranged them so no matter how you approached the platter, they were looking at you.

They were flying off the buffet table and onto partygoers plates when we left to go watch the University of Oklahoma football team lose terribly to our long-time nemesis Notre Dame. Oh well — at least the eggs were good.

I'm in the middle of a diet "reboot," which seems to have gotten me moving downward on the scales again. For most weekday meals, I've been substituting protein shakes or drinks and snacking in between meals on a protein bar or snack. On weekends, I commute to meet my hubby who is working back in the States, and I let my sleeve limit my eating and just try to make good choices.

I'm down to 196, a 77-pound loss. Finally moving again. I'm looking forward to my first-of-the-month Measure Down Day on Thursday.

For Halloween, I plan to buy some puckery Skittles (or another candy I don't like) to give to my spooks and goblins, so I won't have any trouble staying away from it. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Editing My Life -- Buh-Bye Bread and other Resolutions

OK, confession time. 

I'd been playing with three or four pounds for several months now, flirting with Onederland (often in the 100s, but continuing to not be totally rid of the 200s which kept popping up on my scale.) It was discouraging to say the least. You don't go get half your stomach cut out not to keep losing weight and get to goal.

Blame it on traveling during the summer to a travel bloggers conference in Keystone, Colo., for about four days in June; 17 days in late June and July in Lagos, Nigeria, to help my husband repatriate (hooray he's back working in the States and really most of what there was to do there was just eat); Barcelona, Spain, for about 9-10 days in late July to visit darlin' daughter who was studying abroad — yes, more eating and drinking; and San Franscisco over the long Labor Day weekend  for hubby's and my fifth anniversary — loved the seafood and drinks in the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel. Fun times, but watch out — they'll kill you.

We ate too much (well, maybe not too much, but not the right things.) We drank too much, which is something we gastric sleevers must watch like the majestic red-tailed hawks that are so prevalent in Oklahoma and Texas. Gotta swoop down and especially purge that.

When I got back from San Franscisco, I decided something needed to change. On the advice of my weight-loss physician, I'd stopped strength training about 15 months ago. And I'd never done quite as much as the recommended cardio.

So I found a new personal trainer and started working out a few weeks ago. And instead of my weight going down, it's been creeping up and about a week ago was back up to 203.4 pounds, which was still 70 pounds lost, but down from 78 pounds lost at my lowest point. I know some is muscle, but this has gotta stop and now.

I decided about a week ago to examine where I could make improvements and here they are:

Cut out the alcohol, unless it's a really, really, REALLY special occasion. And then limit it and count it in my online tracker.

Portion control on everything. If I bite it, write it; if I drink it, ink it. That's not an original saying by the way, but unfortunately I don't know where it came from or I'd attribute it. Let me know if you know.

Buh-bye bread. I'd let bread and some other starches creep back up on my a little. Complex carbs have gotta go until I make goal.

Move more, whether it's 30 minutes of walking the dog (dog likes that!) to hitting the stationary bike at the gym. Today's it's an hour of yoga, and doing a whole bunch of gardening tonight (which will make me happy when I drive up.) And I'm resolved to find more ways to move more in ways that make me happy and feel good. Maybe next week I'll buy one of those old Schwinn bicycles and a bike rack I've been coveting.

I decided kitchen clutter and grime was a metaphor for sloppy eating. Looked up Flylady for inspiration and I scrubbed every inch of my kitchen this morning, throwing numerous out-of-date items out of the frig and washed all my frig shelves and crispers. I washed the fronts of cabinet doors and the tops of the countertops, relocating most of the clutter that had found it's way there. 

This morning, I edged back into Onederland thankfully. Now the goal is to hang onto it and keep making progress. I figure sometimes you just have to hit yourself in the head and say I'm not going back to the bad ol' days.

So that's it for now. I feel unstuck and moving again.

All encouragement is appreciated. You and I can do this and be healthier. 


P.S. Here's my new ticker, with my back to Onederland weight on it:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Comparing Visits to Two Island Prisons, Two Years Later

At Alcatraz Island with San Francisco in the background, September 2012.
Two years ago in September 2010, almost to the day, hubby and I visited Robben Island in Table Bay off Cape Town, South Africa, where legendary SA President and Nobel Peace laureate Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years (of his total 27-year imprisonment) along with many other political prisoners.

In spite of the shape I was in, I remember it as a fabulous vacation — one of the best ever — and thankfully, I didn't have to walk much. That was a good thing because of my much higher weight at the time. I'm guessing I was probably in the 250s and now I'm in the 190s.

At Robben Island, South Africa, September 2010
My husband snapped lots of pics of me in South Africa and one is to the right. I have no idea how much I weighed at the time, but believe it or not, I thought I was looking pretty good even if I was somewhat self-conscious and wanting him to shoot from the waist up only. I remember how bad my body felt at the time: sluggish, painful knees, painful feet, out-of-breath constantly. Not good. On two blood-pressure meds, one anti-inflammatory, one anti-depressant, size 24 jeans.

Last weekend, hubby and celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in San Francisco. We did lots of walking, but what struck me was when I saw the picture taken from our tour of Alcatraz Island, where the country's worst criminals were kept.

When the Alcatraz pic was snapped, above, my muscles were sore from having walked up and down about 20 blocks of San Francisco's super steep hills the day before en route from the hotel to Fisherman's Wharf, but it was a different kind of sore. It was soreness from using my muscles in a new way going up and down the hills. A good kind of soreness.

I'm now off all my meds except for one blood pressure med and in size 14 jeans. I wasn't huffing and puffing up the walkways at Alcatraz, and didn't have to take the tram for elderly and/or disabled people to get to the top or down from "The Rock."

What a difference two years make. My journey toward better health has slowed down since my gastric sleeve surgery Dec. 27, 2011, but the progress continues.

Another notch in my belt, so to speak.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Hairy Dilemma

Bald is beautiful. On Jean-Luc Picard — yes. On Shaquille O'Neal — yes. On LL Cool J — most definitely yes.

Baby hairs growing back now that the hair loss is slowing down.
But usually not on women, although I think my "sisters" battling cancer are all beautiful. I don't have cancer, so that's a whole 'nother deal.

One of the things they don't tell you about before you get weight loss surgery is that many people have trouble with excessive hair loss three or four months after surgery.

My hair loss hit at four months almost to the day and with a vengeance. Every time I brushed it, blow-dried it, touched it, ran my hands through it — out it came. Usually in a handful of four or five long strands. Or more.

Fortunately, I have or had a thick mane of prematurely silver hair and a lot to lose. And I've always shed a lot and gotten teased about it.

This was different. It was coming out fast. It was all over my car, my house, everywhere.

I did a lot of reading on my favorite gastric sleeve surgery website, Apparently it's not uncommon to lose hair after having any kind of anesthesia or major surgery. I don't remember having hair loss after I had a C-Section with my now 26-year-old daughter, but I've slept since then and she was one heckuva distraction. I probably wouldn't have noticed anyway.

Mine is starting to grow back out and I have little baby hairs like crazy around my part. Hubby and I were in San Francisco celebrating our fifth anniversary over the long weekend and those baby hairs frizzed up and I was actually happy about it. Hubby says I'm "regenerating." I understand this is pretty common.

Here are some of the suggestions I've read. Of course, I'm not endorsing any of the products, obviously, because I haven't tried them all. Just throwing them out there:

Cut your hair shorter. I didn't, because darlin' hubby likes it shoulder length and I like it too. Hasn't made a lot of difference to have it longer. Suit yourself on that one.

Don't put it in ponytails. I do this a lot when I work out or just around the house or gardening. I hear that if you pull it tight, it can be tough on the roots. I've cut back on pulling it back except for working out or gardening in 100-degree Oklahoma or Texas weather. But I don't pull it back hard.

Take Biotin. It turns out there is 600 mcg or 200 percent of your daily needs in the Bariatric Advantage multivitamins I take like religion daily, so I don't take any additional Biotin. Read your labels.

Nioxin shampoo. I haven't tried this and I understand it's expensive. I'm just throwing it out there. I personally use Kiehl's shampoo (also not cheap) and love it. Now if I lost more hair, I might do some experimenting.

Aveda Invati Scalp Revitalization System shampoo, conditioner and spray. I just learned about this and it has some great reviews online.

Nutri-ox from Sally's Beauty Supply. I also haven't tried this, but ditto on the good reviews.

Stay hydrated. I understand that being dehydrated can aggravate hair loss. Who needs aggravated hair loss? Nope. Not me. And staying hydrated has so many other benefits, like making your skin look good, systems function right, etc. My doc recommends no less than 64 ounces a day, which I usually take in via PowerAde Zero, Fuze Slenderize or Sobe Life-energy drinks, which have less than 15 calories per eight-ounce serving.

Massage your scalp. Hey, that's going to feel good anyway. Or better yet, get your significant other to do that.

Start early. Make sure your locks are good and healthy before surgery or the dreaded three or four-month hair loss. The more you have, the more you can lose.

Hope that helps if that's an issue you're having.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank You, My Friend

A few months ago, I commented that I didn't know if anyone was really reading my TALO blog. My philosophy was mostly that I wanted to hold myself accountable and if anybody else got something from it, that would be gratifying.

I got a Facebook message yesterday from a dear friend and former colleague who moved out-of-state a couple of years ago. She's also married to a tall, lanky drink-of-water kind of guy, whom I suspect has the same kind of hollow legs as my 6'2" hubby.

"I know as a writer you don't always know that you have been an inspiration or help to someone. You even commented you didn't know if anyone was reading one of your blogs. Well, I'm writing to say thank you and let you know you've been a big inspiration to me for the last several months," she wrote.

With a couple of 'Alien' street performers in Barcelona in late July 2012.
She dieted for about six months for insurance reasons before Roux N-Y surgery mid-summer. And she has many of the same co-morbidities that I've struggled with — sleep apnea, high blood pressure, bad knees, etc. 

My friend is probably a little younger than I am, but we're both in about the same place lifestyle-wise. And I have a feeling we're both lucky women in that our hubbies love us no matter whether we're lean and mean or maybe not so much.

Here's a bit more of what she wrote:

"In January, I was looking for a blog from someone who had been through it. Imagine how excited I was to find one from a person I know and respect!! (I need you to write more, by the way.) So, I've been following it and you!

"It was great because we also do the wine on the patio thing and travel and just flat love to eat. ... I lost 15 pounds before and 16 so far since. So thank you for the times I wasn't sure I would be able to go through with it. And for lately. I've been looking back through to see how you handled what and when. This is crazy stuff but I think it's all going to be well worth it. (Oh, I had the Roux-N-Y). I so want a glass of wine! We are going on a cruise in September ... maybe then."

I was so touched and her message made me all teary and it's still having that effect. I'm not going to use her name for privacy reasons, but I know she'll be reading this and I wanted her to know how much her message meant to me. Thank you for that, dear friend.

I wrote back what a great tool that my gastric sleeve has been, and one thing I know for sure is that a person still has to do the hard work of staying on the weight-loss program. There's nothing like making a permanent lifestyle change and not giving yourself an out on it.

I've had some challenges: extended weight-loss stalls, hair loss, occasional nausea when I eat out with friends and sometimes slip into old habits of eating too fast.

The most obvious victory is my about 75-pound weight loss and how much better I feel, especially my knees, feet and back. 

And I've had lots of NSVs, also known as non-sleeve victories. I'm off all meds except for one — a blood-pressure med. My sleep apnea is lots better, and I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to go without the Hannibal Lecter look-a-like CPAP mask. And forgive the indelicacy of it, but even my stress incontinence is much better. My new size 14 jeans purchased for the Barcelona trip are already getting loose. I think just by looking at the look on my face in the picture above, you can tell how much happier I am.

My hubby is amazed at how much better I'm feeling.  He tried hard to talk me out of having the surgery, but now is enjoying my increased energy and general improvement in my healthy well-being and comments on it frequently. I think he's come around.

Probably my biggest complaint is my whine about wine, or the lack thereof, to get off the weight. Can't have it often and lose weight. Plus, I just don't enjoy it as much. It kind of bothers my stomach some. I'm also finding the times I've had what I'd call a Carol Cosmo — vodka mixed with some Fuze low-cal fruit drink — I can't metabolize the alcohol very well and it hits me like the proverbial ton-of-bricks. Pretty much knocks me off my rocker. Not a good thing.

There are bumps, but they are getting smaller and the NSVs are getting more and larger. I'm going to stay after it.

Thanks, my friend, for the encouragement. Sometimes you get it when you least expect it. I'll be rooting for you and stay in touch!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting a Grip on the Roller Coaster

OK, I have no more excuses.

I need to get back to blogging and back to holding myself accountable, now that I'm healthy again and have no excuses.

For those who didn't follow my TALO blog, I had a series of health issues. First an abscessed molar while in Africa. Rambo antibiotics to get me home to the U.S. so I could get it addressed. And a day after getting the bad molar pulled, I had a couple of days of high temps, flu-like symptoms and Montezuma's like you wouldn't believe. The temps and flu-stuff went away, but the explosive "Monte" stayed around — for three weeks, including a long-planned trip to visit my daughter in Barcelona. I went anyway, but it was tough.

Many (negative) tests ensued, included a negative malaria test. My doc said I just had a virus. OK, virus begone — please.

My weight see-sawed during this time down to 193 pounds and back up to 203. I even threw up in some big-time places on my trip, including during turbulence on the way to Barcelona and in a two-Michelin-star restaurant and after eating my first goat ever, which I think was just too rich for my sleeve.

My system finally settled down and I got back to normal at about 199-200. I wasn't complaining.

I was just trying to string together some healthy days, and now I have.

During my sick three weeks, I tried to blog on our travel blog,, and was informed by my lovely and protective daughter that, "it's not up to your usual writing standards. Don't blog, Mom, until you feel better."

Now I'm back on that horse and riding it. I've started edging down again and was at 197 this morning. And I'm blogging.  



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sizes and Pounds and Measurements -- Oh My!

I don't get it.

I'd pinned up my second set of jeans -- Size 18s -- for a couple of months now, and finally decided to buy smaller jeans before my July 22 10-day, trip to beautiful, exotic Barcelona, Spain, to visit darlin' daughter who had been in the study abroad program. 

Hooray, I slid comfortably right into Size 14s!!!!

En route to Montjuic on the Teleferic with Barcelona in the background.
OK, here's the confusing part. I took my measurements this morning and they're virtually the same as they were three months ago.  I don't get it. I know I'm a smaller size and a lighter weight. And I look better and my cheekbones are emerging. Lots of NSVs or non-sleeve victories too.

In this picture on the Teleferic (gondola) en route to the top of Montjuic in Barcelona (that's why a pole is sticking out of my head,) I'm wearing a blouse I formerly couldn't get into. My favorite NSV was that my knees and feet didn't hurt on the about 2-mile walk weaving down through all the gorgeous gardens and the Joan Miro' museum.

And I even went to the Sitges (pronounced sea-CHAISE) beach the day before and spent time in a SWIMSUIT on the fine, sand beach at the sparkling, clear Mediterranean.

So here's the offending measurements:

Aug. 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41", -2"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 45", -5.5"
Neck: 15", -1.5"
Upper right arm: 15", -1"
Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf: 17", -.75"

April 1, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 42", -1"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 45", -5.5"
Neck: 15", -1.5"
Upper right arm: 15", -1"
Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf: 17", -.75"

Jan. 20, 2012 (The first time I measured after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery.)
Bust w/bra: 43"
Waist: 43" (makes me wonder if I'm a tree trunk ... I think getting a waist back will be sublime!)
Hips: 50.5"
Neck: 16.25"
Upper right arm: 16"
Thigh: 30.25"
Right Calf: 17.75"

Those measurements will be better next month. That's it. No discussion. They just will be.

My internal system has been malfunctioning for more than two weeks straight now, since returning from our West Africa trip July 14. I know this is too much information, but still can't seem to solve the problem, no matter what I eat or don't eat. Still hoping it was the antibiotics for my now-extracted tooth. I was as a bit better this morning, but then the problem came roaring back after breakfast. Hoping my innards will settle down in the next day or two. Looking forward to seeing how my weight settles out after I'm not dehydrated anymore.

All my tests taken between West Africa and Barcelona came back negative, so if it doesn't stop soon, it's more tests for me. Sigh.

Other than that, it really wasn't that hard to travel with my sleeved stomach. More on some of that famous Barcelona food especially the tapas and coping with that soon. I even had some molecular gastronomy, which was blow-your-mind-kinds of food.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Not the Way I Wanted to Make it to Onederland, But Happy to be Losing

At Can Majo', a wonderful seafood restaurant on the Barcelona waterfront.
I made it to Onederland last week, although not the way I planned. For those who don't know, Onederland is when you get to the 100s from the 200s. I'm at 195 pounds and down 78 pounds at the last check before I hit the road again July 22 to Spain.

I got back from 16 days in West Africa on July 14, and immediately became very ill. Had my abscessed molar extracted Monday, July 16, then became ill from something we still haven't figured out. High fever, chills, sweats, aches -- 102, 103 for a couple of days, the 17th and 18th, also raging diarrhea which has continued and not slowing down. Fever broke early Thursday morning. Can't remember being that sick for about 10-15 years.

Figuring I brought home some varmint (parasite) from West Africa, I went to my physician on Thursday, July 19, and they did a bunch of tests. Blood tests, stool tests (yicky.) Gave me some Lomotil (actually the generic.) Worked a little. The good news is that I didn't pick up malaria in West Africa, although I didn't think so because I was taking the preventative med Malarone, you never know. Malarone has flu-like symptoms btw.

Complicate it by my getting a flu shot each year like clockwork, so I didn't think it was the flu.

Had a long-planned trip to Spain July 22, to visit my daughter who has been studying abroad in Barcelona. Took it anyway, even with system somewhat dodgy. A little turbulence and I lost my dinner in a plastic cup though. The Delta flight crew was extremely understanding and helpful.

We're having a good time, planning my bathroom breaks often and I'm hanging in there. Drinking LOTS of water, trying to stay hydrated, but it just runs right through. Sigh.

More soon!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Traveling and Losing Weight

Pit cooking kabobs at Indigo Indian restaurant in Lagos
 It's our last day in Lagos, Nigeria, for the foreseeable future, and for the first time traveling, I managed to lose weight during my visit thanks to my sleeve. I'm now down 70 pounds to 203 and getting closer to Onederland (being in the 100s vs. the 200s.)

There are so many wonderful restaurants here. The international community is strong and many of our favorite restaurants are various ethnic restaurants — Indian, Chinese, Thai, even Tex-Mex.

Hubby has been working in Lagos for four years and we repatriate together today. 

In our last few days here, we had some wonderful times with old and new friends, often around a great meal.

The biggest thing that was a challenge is that many Lagos restaurants use lard in their cooking and lots of salt. But I figure anything in moderation. My favorite dietician Steph at WeightWise told me when we first started this journey that I could eat a bite of anything and that's kept me from going a little batty watching everyone else eat things I can't.

One friend was determined we would try his favorite Thai restaurant Bangkok and we had possibly the best prawns I've ever had for an appetizer. One member of our party also ordered them with red curry sauce for an entreé. I limited myself to one prawn appetizer and it was worth it. I'm not sure what they did coating or cooking it, but it was magical with just the right crunchiness and not greasy at all.
The prawn appetizer at Bangkok Thai restaurant in Lagos

Hubby and I ordered a duck dish to split with the best name ever — Angry Duck. I think it came by its name because it came out of the kitchen making a huge sizzling sound, sort of like fajitas do in a Tex-Mex restaurant. It was fragrant with spices and so tender. Again, just a couple of bites and I was happy — it was a splurge on my diet, but a modest one.

Other great dishes were Pineapple Rice full of cashews, various veggies, of course, pineapple and served in a half of a carved pineapple. I passed on eating it because of the carbs. But hubby sure liked it, and I mostly posted the picture because it was so pretty and unusual.

And that brings up something else. Many of the dishes at Bangkok had carved edible vegetables adorning them or were served in other beautiful ways. I swear it makes food taste better when it looks incredible.

Pineapple rice at Bangkok
At Indigo Indian restaurant, one of the dishes we ordered was "cottage cheese," prepared in a Tandoor oven. It was not like any cottage cheese I've ever had. It was more like a firm tofu, with miniature potatoes and chunks of corn accompanying it, all in the colorful tandoori style. I ate the cheese only, but with the tandoori method of cooking, it was cooked in a low-fat style I appreciate.

Some other favorites were Bottles, a Tex-Mex restaurant that serves up some excellent salsa and guacamole, fajitas, hubby's oozy, cheesy enchiladas and bean burritos for our vegetarian friend. We also love to go to Pearl Garden Chinese restaurant and Café Royal for an English breakfast or a hearty burger or main-dish salad for lunch. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Whine About Wine for Gastric Sleevers

Probably the hardest thing after my Dec. 27 gastric sleeve surgery was not drinking wine. And I've had the occasional glass, usually with hubby, but sometimes in a solitary way just reading a book and kicking back.

My wine-drinking philosophy when my sleeve started feeling healed was to count the calories I'd had that day and see if my calorie count would allow a glass of wine or two.

This is not a terribly good idea, I'm sad to say. There are several reasons why, but the most resounding one came out a couple of weeks ago. Check out this new report:

- Weight Loss Surgery Increases Risk of Alcohol Addiction in Some from ABC News

- For another thing, I don't lose weight if I drink wine. That was the whole goal of the surgery — to give myself this marvelous tool to lose weight — and drinking wine screws that up.

- When you drink wine or alcohol, it hits gastric sleevers hard and you get tipsy right away. And it passes through and almost immediately that wine glow wears off. Instead of feeling mellow, like I felt drinking wine before having the surgery, my body feels differently and the wine is somehow more aggressive towards my body. Having the sleeve definitely changed how I enjoy wine.

- The other thing the psychologist at WeightWise warned about is transfer addiction — that is, transferring a food addiction to an alcohol addiction. 

Plus there has been alcoholism in my family, so I'm going to have to be especially careful about that.

To drink or not to drink? That's the question, if you'll forgive the paraphase. Do I really want it? Yes. Do I really need it? No.

Oh, and by the way, I'm more than halfway toward my weight goal now. 


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tips from the Road: Traveling When You've Had Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The Indian Taco at Tocabe American Indian Eatery in Denver.
In the past few weeks, I've been going, going, going, and haven't been doing a lot of posting, posting, posting.

All that traveling has meant a whole lotta eating out and challenges to stay on track with my six-month-old gastric sleeve surgery. But I did pretty well and managed to get a few more pounds off.

I was in Houston and Galveston Island, Texas in late May, visiting friends and family with hubby; Keystone, Colo., at TBEX12, a travel blogger conference in mid-June; Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country at a family memorial service a couple of weeks ago; and am writing this from Lagos, Nigeria, where I'm helping hubby move back to the States (He worked there the past four years.)

And I confess that while I tried a few things that weren't strictly on the program, I found I could find something workable on just about any restaurant menu even Italian restaurants. Several of the hotels where I/we stayed, particularly Keystone Lodge, had nice kitchens with refrigerators great for stashing the leftovers.

Hubby's Texas waffle. Yikes, I didn't eat this.
Here's a few tips from the road:

Make good choices: Driving to Keystone, I stopped in Denver at Tocabe American Indian Eatery, an Osage Indian-themed restaurant I'd heard about on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. The pic above was actually my neighbor's Indian Taco she kindly allowed me to photograph.

I ordered the equivalent only without the fry bread, a Melting Pot Salad with pulled bison brisket flavored with pungent herbs and spices, black beans, salad, cheese and roasted house-made salsa, romaine lettuce with a squirt of sour cream and chipotle sauce. I should probably mention that I'm not a big believer in fry bread as a Native American food because it came about from the rations of flour and lard Native American tribes received from the U.S. Government on their forced relocations from the East Coast in the 1800s.

I'm a big fan of main-dish salads, grilled proteins and veggies when eating out. I've mentioned before that the grilled chicken at KFC is one of the few fast foods I'll eat.

Assorted Sashimi Plate at Full Moon Café in Norman, Okla.
Stay away from the white food: Eat around the rice, potatoes, grits, pasta — or better yet, tell the wait staff you'd rather have more veggies or fruit instead. As much as I love sushi, I stuck with the beautifully presented Assorted Sashimi Plate (sushi seafood without the rice) recently at the Full Moon Café in Norman, Okla. High quality protein, no fat, no carbs.

Start with the protein: Because I fill up so quickly, I eat my protein first, veggies second and fruit third if I have room.

Hubby and I ate at the wonderful Pearl Garden restaurant on Victoria Island on my birthday a few days ago and I ordered Prawns and Cashews in a Crispy Basket. The prawns didn't have any sauce on them, but were perfectly cooked, tender and succulent. I loved the presentation in the crispy potato basket, but didn't eat that. I snapped a pic, just because the dish was so beautiful. I did have some wine, which brings me to my next point. 

Prawns and Cashews in a Crispy Basket at Pearl Garden

Watch out for the alcohol: I've found if I have wine, I don't lose. And hard liquor knocks me on my butt promptly; I just can't metabolize it very well. More on that in a soon-to-come post. It also breaks the rule about not having liquids with more that 15 calories per 8 ounce serving. Hmmmmm — makes me thirsty just thinking about it.

Stay hydrated: Bring your low-cal sports drinks in a cooler. I like the Fuze Slenderize, PowerAde Zero, Sobe Lifewater. Unfortunately, PowerAde doesn't fit in my drink holder in the car though, which is inconvenient.

On a related note, drink lots of water while waiting for your entreé: Because I can't drink liquids while I'm eating, I drink my water first. Steph, my fantastic WeightWise nutritionist/dietician, says we're supposed to wait an hour before drinking anything after eating — so get your water while you can.

This morning, dry and unpainted, I was down to 204 pounds, which is 69 pounds lost from my all-time high of 273. Weight loss has been slow and I'm still losing hair, so I know my body is still adjusting to changes.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Not So Ugly

I've been having some issues with my sleeve playing bad head games on me. The psychologist at my surgeon's office suggested that I don't go off my daily 30 mg dose of Cymbalta and I'm glad I didn't. I've been stalled for about six weeks now, going back and forth from 207 to 210. The stall is getting SO DISCOURAGING. My highest weight was 273 and I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still so far away from my goal of 135-140 pounds. I'm about five-and-a-half months out.

The NSVs are definitely a tradeoff with the negatives.

NSVs (Non-Sleeve Victories) include going off one of two blood pressure meds, going off an anti-inflammatory med, knees and feet feel a lot better. I'm about out of another pair of too-big jeans. My stress incontinence is about over, and my cheekbones are starting to emerge. My husband says my sleep apnea is waning and I'm not snoring nearly so much if I nap or fall asleep without my CPAP.

On the negative side, I am definitely grieving food, although I believe you can still eat beautiful, fabulous food prepared well -- just not as much of it and definitely not some things. My face looks like a red-dotted road map with zits and I've been having hair loss, although I think I may be turning the corner on that. The nausea that hits if I eat too quickly is a little disconcerting, but I'm dealing with it.

But all in all, I'm glad I did it. I feel much better and have lots more energy.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Goodness

Basil, lemon and regular thyme, curly and flat parsley, yellow cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Want to take your culinary offerings up a whole bunch? Amp them up with herbs, Herb.

My two square-foot gardens debuted this year with herbs and veggies. They're about two-feet high, three- wide-by-eight feet long and built with cedar posts and chicken wire on the bottom that I'm hoping to keep the moles from coming up and dining on the roots.

I used discarded mini-blinds to make my squares and just cut them to length and hammered them into the cedar posts with nails.

I used about a bag of compost added to the top soil in each garden, but that's all the soil amendments I did for this year.

And now I have several kinds of garlic I'm about to harvest, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes and Beefeater tomatoes. Plus there's lemon basil, radishes (although they're almost gone,) chives, marigolds, several kinds of lettuce still, arugula, rainbow Swiss chard, quinoa, red okra, celosia and marigolds for color, and other stuff I've forgotten.

Radishes -- adds punch to salads or a fun side dish sauteéd.
You can add fresh herbs to just about anything and it helps the flavor. I added fresh thyme and oregano to my Lemon Baked Chicken last night and freshly picked parsley, arugula, lettuce and radishes to my tossed salad. Fresh herbs went into my vinaigrette too.

As far as my weight loss goes, I'm just stuck, stuck, stuck between 207 and 210 -- 66 pounds off. When hubby goes back out-of-country for work tomorrow, I'm going to clamp down and see if I can't get to Onederland in the next couple of weeks (getting below 200.) No glasses of vino. No giving into a cracker craving occasionally. I've gone to too much trouble not to continue to get and keep the weight off.

I'm still losing hair, but that's slowing down thankfully. I've always had quite a thick mane so it hasn't been noticeable. From everything I've read, it's just the body adjusting to lower calorie intake -- not a big deal and it stops and grows back after awhile.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunset and Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon plate 
These are the good ol' days. 

Hubby is home for a couple of weeks from working overseas as a geoscientist, and one of our favorite things is sitting on the back porch sipping something cool and watching the sun go down just past our little urban forest of post oaks.

Nice to have something to nosh on and I've found that using cucumbers as my chips works really well. This is smoked salmon with the appropriate accoutrements of low-fat cream cheese, purple onions, capers, sliced cukes and water crackers for hubby.

My favorite dietician Steph at WeightWise would probably not be overjoyed with me having a bit of cream cheese on my cuke slices to snag a few pieces of onion and capers, but I didn't have much. Then I plop a small piece of salmon on top and voila, I have a lovely bite.

Only key is that I have to sip and then sample. Can't really do both at the same time. 

Some of my other appetizer favorites are homemade hummus and baba ghanoush (recipe is back a couple of months ago,) using dippers of cuke slices or celery sticks.

Imprinting this beautiful summer days on my mind. Lovely! We are lucky people and I'm feeling beautiful!

Still slow, slow, slow weight loss. Frustrating, but I tend to forget about it when hubby is home distracting me. Hooray!!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Huevos -- or the Perfect Food I Can't Live Without

If I could only have one food forever, the one I'd probably choose is the super versatile egg. And not just any egg -- tasty local eggs from Ivy Acres Farm in Shawnee, Okla., about 40 miles from our home in Norman, Okla. I buy them at Norman's Native Roots Market.  The egg carton label notes they were packed May 20, and I purchased them on May 23. Another favorite egg source from Native Roots is the Chicken Shanty, which even has the most beautiful light turquoise eggs.

I'm big on using the best quality ingredients. If you can't eat a lot of food like I can't after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery, you sure want to eat the good stuff.  
Huevos Rancheros - salsa, cheese and eggy goodness without beans or tortilla
And local eggs taste infinitely better than the ones you buy in the grocery store and cost $4 a dozen -- about the same as a brand like Eggland's Omega 3 eggs. That may sound like a lot, but if you think about it, it's about 33 cents an egg. 

One of the ways I like to fix them is my version of Huevos Rancheros without the tortilla underneath -- breaking a couple of eggs into my about 4-inch round metal ring to keep them from running all over my griddle. When they start to set, I flip them over and cover them with about 1/4 c. of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese and Salsa with Roasted Chilies from Cocina San Pasqual, which says on the label that it's from Perkins, Okla., but is really from the tiny nearby town of Tryon. I purchased the salsa at Native Roots Market also. About the time the cheese melts and gets gooey, the eggs are perfect. I don't even add any salt or pepper -- the salsa gives more than enough kick. 

Cocina San Pasqual's salsa is home-style canned, made with fire-roasted chilies, vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon/lime juice, sea salt and garlic. The texture is just right to go on your eggs, but not fight them or upstage them. 

It's a simple, sumptuous dish I often eat for breakfast, but I've been known to eat it for lunch or supper too. 


'Mild' Salsa with Roasted Chilies
from Cocina San Pasqual in Tryon, Okla.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Onederland In Sight -- It's Not a Mirage

Lately my weight loss has slowed down to a crawl. I've been trading around two or three pounds since late April, one day I'm 210, another I'm 208, yesterday 211 for no apparent reason, and then this morning was 207.2. Also, no apparent reason. Halfway is coming soon, down from my high of 273 pounds and surgical weight of 256 with Dr. Greg Walton of WeightWise in Edmond. Almost 66 pounds gone.

And it also means I can sorta see Onederland coming soon. Onederland, you see, is when you get down into the 100s vs. the 200s. That will be fantastic. Haven't seen that in a bunch of years, maybe 12 or 13 years?

I know my body is still adjusting to my gastric sleeve, because at four months out, I hit the dreaded hair loss syndrome. I'll hit five months out May 27, also known as Sunday. I've read enough on the Vertical Sleeve Talk forum to know that the hair loss is temporary and I think the popular thought is because your body says, hey wait a minute. You're not going to starve me so I'm going to hold onto whatever resources I can and let go of things that aren't so important. And when it realizes, no you're not going to starve it, it calms down and your hair goes back to normal. Fortunately I had a lot of hair to start with, so it's not noticeable.

It's also common for weight loss to slow down at this time, and that's been frustrating, because I'm careful about making sure good stuff goes into my mouth. Protein and veggies mostly.

The other day I got a "Protein Bistro Box" from Starbucks when I was on the road and paid too much for not that much protein but I was past due on lunch and it seemed like the healthiest option. It was a hard-boiled egg, two small pieces of white cheddar, some apple slices and grapes and a small multigrain roll. I have no clue why they called it a protein box, except for the egg, because it had lots more carb grams than protein grams. On the other hand, it's probably lots better than having the more typical Starbucks fat-loaded scone or piece of coffeecake.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Desperately Seeking Savory ... Kale Chips

I'm still in search of some kind of crunchy, maybe salty or spicy chip type of thing.

I've made homemade kale chips using a vegetable spray and kosher salt. It was sorta OK, and the calorie count was right on mine (low.)

I was in the organic food store today and spotted these versions of kale chips, so I decided to do a taste test.

The Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips, Bombay Curry flavor, had a little bit of kick, a sweet curry taste and some good crunch. But they just didn't quite offer what I was hoping for. The other issue is that they have a surprisingly high number of calories. One 2-oz. bag of chips has two servings and each serving has a whopping 210 calories, 9 g fat, 16 g carbs, with it's biggest redeeming quality of 5 g of dietary fiber. The bag says instead of being fried, they're "air-crisped" at a low temperature. My take is that they're too many calories for what you get.

The Kale Chips from Kaia Foods on the right with sesame seeds had sort of a bitter taste to them, and didn't have enough body to stand up to any kind of topping, which would probably be one of the main reasons to try them.

The best of the three was the Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips, Kool Ranch flavor. It's the only one of the three that I want to try again. No bitterness. Good crunch. Nice flavor. But again, high calories for only half of the 2-oz. bag. I was looking for more.

Not enough bang -- or taste -- for the calories in any of these chips. My pursuit continues.

And today, still on the stall at 211.2 pounds. Sigh.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cornish Hens with Garlic and Sweet Vermouth

Cornish Hens with Garlic and Sweet Vermouth
I made this super healthy Cornish Hen with Garlic and Sweet Vermouth recipe and my darlin' daughter dropped in and shared it with me a few nights ago (I was so lucky to have halved the recipe, but still had enough for two.)

I'd love to take full credit for it, but I found this yumminess on, one of my favorite recipe sources. I'll probably up the garlic when I make it again, because I love poached garlic and that's a lot of the flavor in this dish.

I have been stuck, stuck, stuck, at about 210, 211, 210, 212, 210 pounds, etc. for a couple of weeks now. Just driving me nuts when I get on the scales in the morning. Tuesday was Weigh Day and wasn't eventful.

I've been having a terrible week on a completely unrelated business front that I unfortunately can't discuss with more than a tiny handful of people. Formerly I would have reacted with some bad behavior, probably drinking alcohol and grazing. Then you have guilt. Then you have more stress. Rinse and repeat. Not going there this time.

Bountiful Blue Blueberry, vaccinium corymbosum
This morning I realized was a huge bundle of nerves. So I went to the gym and blasted 30 minutes of intervals on the stationary bicycle, then another 30 minutes of leg strength training. Felt SO GOOD when I was done.

My blueberry bushes have a ton of berries on them and I'm just about to harvest the first one. Will be looking at concocting some blueberry recipes.

I also harvested my first yellow cherry tomato today and it was like a veggie explosion in my mouth. I rarely eat tomatoes until the real ones start coming in during spring and summer, because those darn weird, sawdust-tasting tomatoes they sell in the grocery stores in the wintertime are the poorest excuse for any kind of decent vegetables. Occasionally you can find decent ones in the organic stores.

I also had a revelation at the gym. This is a total lifestyle change, not a race. I'm saving my life, day by day, as I lose weight and get in better shape.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Before and Almost Half-Way

I was looking at the website of the Oklahoma City Gridiron Show today and was amazed that I was in three of the four flash photos from the February 2011 show on the home page, I was probably close to or at my highest weight ever -- 273 pounds. If you check it out, I'm on the far right in the first group shot, far left in the following two group shots.

Gridiron is sort of like Capitol Steps, and I adore singing and dancing badly while poking some good-natured fun at newsmakers and especially local, state and federal politicians. I've authored a handful of songs over the years and that's a lot of the fun. A couple of years ago, it was, "You're So Vain, You Probably Thought That Tweet Was About You," and I got to play Fox News' Greta Van Sustern singing out of the side of my mouth to the character playing President Barack Obama (which really wasn't all that easy, let me tell you.)

Posing after the show with House Speaker Kris Steele.

Here I am at this year's Saturday show Feb 25, 2012, posing after the show with Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele, whom I used to cover when I worked for the Shawnee News-Star.

In that pic, I'm about two months out from my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery. I'm down to about 226 pounds at that point, which is 30 pounds down from surgery weight of 256, and 46 total, and I felt so much better already.

The show was at the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City and backstage has been tricky in previous years, because to get to the dressing rooms you have to negotiate the Spiral Staircase of Death. My knees hated it. My feet hated it. I huffed and puffed down those awful circular stairs, but I did it.

This year, I wouldn't go so far as to say I was bounding down the stairs. But let's just say I could hustle up and down those stairs in a fine fashion.

Weight loss has slowed in the last couple of months, which I'm concerned about but not worried. I'm down to 210 and wish it was more, but am glad my skin is getting every chance to remember where it used to be.

I believe my eating choices have changed permanently, even though in a few months technically I can eat whatever, albeit a smaller portion of whatever. At least that's what Steph, my favorite dietician, promised me. I am NEVER going back to where I was in those February 2011 pics.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big NSV or Non-Sleeve Victory: Getting 'Belted'

Seat belt fastened April 26, 2012, en route to New York City.
Little things can be big victories. For those of us who have had gastric sleeve surgery, we call those NSVs or non-sleeve victories.

One of those happened last Thursday, April 26, when I flew to New York City for a conference. The last time I'd flown was in October 2011 to Las Vegas, also for a conference, likely at 273 pounds and with my airline seat belt let all the way out.

At right is how my seat belt looked Thursday on Delta 6015, 63 pounds down. And I can't tell you how much more comfortable I was in my seat. No comparison. I had to wonder if my seatmate thought I was nuts taking pictures of my lap.

I held my own while eating out for a week, making good protein-focused, veggie-focused choices. I confess to having a couple of glasses of wine at the cocktail parties Friday and Saturday evenings, which are not on plan.

The second night I was there, I ate at the lovely new restaurant Vitae on 46th Street around the corner from the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan and had probably the best diver scallops I've ever eaten. It was just an appetizer and all I really needed that night.  Although I thought I'd found a restaurant on apps Yelp or Urbanspoon, I started out looking for a restaurant that turned out to be closed. It was a serendipitous thing to happen. Vitae was next door to the closed restaurant.

Vitae's Seared Diver Scallops with Cashews and Raisins
The scallops were sweet and perfectly seared, with cashews, golden raisins, Thai curry sauce and a light lime foam.

My whole philosophy of eating since surgery is that you can still eat wonderful things -- just a whole lot less of them. This was the perfect meal for me.

I didn't lose any more weight last week, but considering I ate out all week, I don't feel too badly about it.

I also took my monthly measurements today, which were about the same as last month.

I've decided that I need to ratchet my efforts up a bit and work harder on portion control, weighing my food, journaling on LiveStrong MyPlate and I also need to increase my cardio, strength training and I'll be doing yoga Friday.

Here's my measurements as of today:

May 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41.5", -1.5"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 46", -4.5"
Neck: 15.5, -1.25"
Upper right arm: 14.25", -1.75"
Right Thigh: 28", -2.25"
Right Calf: 17.5", -.25"

April 1, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 42", -1"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 45", -5.5"
Neck: 15", -1.5"
Upper right arm: 15", -1"
Right Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf: 17", -.75"

Jan. 20, 2012 (The first time I measured after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery.)
Bust w/bra: 43"
Waist: 43" (makes me wonder if I'm a tree trunk ... I think getting a waist back will be sublime!)
Hips: 50.5"
Neck: 16.25"
Upper right arm: 16"
Right Thigh: 30.25"
Right Calf: 17.75"


Unmasking Black Pepper's Secrets as a Fat Fighter

Black pepper you say. Eating more black pepper could have blocked formation of new fat cells? Go figure.

Unmasking black pepper's secrets as a fat fighter

That's what I was doing wrong. Darn.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weigh Day Tuesday

Weighed in today and was down another of couple pounds, thankfully, to 210. It sure does seem to be peeling off slowly. That makes it 62+ pounds from my all-time high of 273, and 46 pounds since my surgery Dec. 27.

I'm not complaining. Slow but sure is good. And every time I think I'm stalled FOREVER, then I drop a couple of pounds.

Feels like I'm moving in slow motion sometimes. S'OK. Hope my skin is keeping up. 

An electrical wire on a pole by my next-door neighbor's house exploded with a cascade of sparks a couple of hours ago and apparently knocked a bunch of the neighborhood including darlin' daughter, but not me, out of power. Left a live wire out in the street for awhile. OG+E guys are still out there working. Love those guys. Everybody in the neighborhood reacted by gathering on one of the popular porches and drinking wine after we were sure things were taken care of. Was worried that the stuff would catch my neighbor's house on fire.

Must run off to cross the river aka hitting the rack.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making It Manageable: Eating Out

Three weeks after my Dec. 27 gastric sleeve surgery, my mother had her 87th birthday and we usually take her to dinner at someplace nice like Legend's Restaurant in Norman, Okla.

But I was just off my two-week liquid diet and on to the next stage, affectionately called "mushies."Those are things like scrambled eggs, cottage cheese and tuna fish salad without veggies.

I never told my mother I was having surgery, just that I had been dieting. I made sure I didn't sit next to her and played with my grilled salmon throughout the meal. It worked.

It took me awhile to get the hang of eating out in restaurants, but it was something I really wanted to get to, partly because I like the social, communal aspect of eating out in good restaurants with people I love. I also have done a bit of food writing, which I really enjoy. Dietician Steph Moore at WeightWise told me eventually I'd be able to take bites of everything and anything, although at three and a half months out, I'm not there yet.

Seared Tuna Salad from Full Moon Sushi, Norman, Okla.
The phase of eating I'm on now is mostly protein and veggies, with occasional fruit. I avoid bread, rice, pasta, etc., although occasionally I've had a bite. And I make sure I always get my oil in, because I know it's so important for my skin, cell walls, hair, regularity, etc.

One of the first times I ate out, I didn't order anything to drink and everybody at the table and the wait staff were puzzled by that. And the more I refused anything to drink, the more my well-meaning family pressed, which I found odd. I learned to order water or whatever and drink it up until the meal comes. I haven't had that problem since.

My favorite thing to order is probably main-dish salads. Today at lunch, I met my daughter Kat and her boyfriend at Full Moon Sushi in Norman, Okla., one of my favorite restaurants -- not just because the food is darn good, but the wait staff and ownership is so warm and welcoming. Trouble is, that I'm not eating my beloved sushi because I'm not eating rice and I'm not up to eating sashimi yet. Sashimi is the raw fish served by itself without rice. I turned to their bistro items they offer usually for people who don't like sushi. Turns out their bistro lunch and dinner menu was a quietly tasty secret hiding on the front of their menu.

I ordered Full Moon's Seared Tuna Salad -- sushi-grade tuna crusted with white-and-black sesame seeds, about a tablespoon of lime créme fraîche which is sort of similar to sour cream, asparagus and the cutest little crunchy wonton nest in the middle. All for $8.99.

My other favorite off the bistro menu is their seared scallops, served with creme fraiche and balsalmic drizzles, veggies and risotto, (which I didn't get), for $12.99. I've also had their beef tenderloin ($12.99,) the best buy on a tender beef dish in town. 

I think if you order carefully, you can eat almost anywhere. Restaurants are generally happy to accommodate your request to not have potatoes or risotto on your plate, and put salad dressing or sauces on the side so you can control how much you get. 

One safe thing to order has been grilled or baked salmon. I've tolerated shrimp including ceviché well, except for a too-buttery scampi that kind of made me gag one time.

I always was a fast eater that I attribute to growing up with two hungry younger brothers. Eat it or you might not get to. My dad used to say, "Eat, eat, eat," loudly at the table urging us not to piddle with our food. He was a dentist who came home for my then-stay-at-home mother's wonderful, hearty lunches and we'd walk home and back from grade school to have lunch together as a family. People don't do that anymore.

But echoes of those great lunches and dinners and my family's cooking (we all turned into pretty decent cooks) can get me in trouble now. I carry nausea medicine, Promethazine, in my purse just in case of emergencies.

Yesterday, I was having lunch on an outdoor patio restaurant in lovely weather with my little mom and think I ate my grilled salmon wedge salad too fast because I was stressing. And the nausea came rushing over me. I stifled it, but was concerned I might get sick in front of my mother and she'd be upset. I went digging through my purse and put the nausea medicine on my wrist under the table and started rubbing my wrists together quickly. My mother just looked at me like I was nuts. But it passed and she let it go. I have to remember -- I had major surgery. I'm still healing.

Go-to items as far as fast food are KFC's grilled chicken and taco salads without sour cream at most restaurants. Main-dish salads are available at most fast-food and sit-down restaurants and they're lifesavers. Like I mentioned before, order the dressing on the side. I should probably note I really try hard not to eat fast food, but sometimes it's tough to avoid it when you're on the road, which I am a lot.

It's all doable if we make good choices.

Hooray, 60 pounds total gone, from my formerly 273-pound frame. Forty-four pounds since Dec. 27 surgery.