Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three-Month 'Anniversary'

It's been three months today since my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Gregory Walton of WeightWise in Edmond, Okla., and I'm feeling great. I've lost 55.2 pounds since last summer's all-time high weight of 273 pounds, and 38.2 pounds since my surgery weight of 256 (right.) I weighed in at 217.8 this morning.

I need to get hubby to snap a pic of my progress, so I can post that too.

There have been several "NSVs" or "Non-Sleeve Victories."
• I'm off one of two blood-pressure meds (HCTZ)
• I'm off my anti-inflammatory med (Meloxicam,) which is also hard on the stomach so good riddance.
• My feet aren't swelling every day
• I have lots more energy
• My knees and feet aren't hurting all the time
• I'm down from a Size 22 or 1x to a Size 16-18

It hasn't been bump-free, but it's getting better all the time.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Bariatric Surgery Effective for Type 2 Diabetes Control

Just ran across this interesting Wall Street Journal article about how bariatric surgery is more effective than medication at controlling blood sugar for obese Type 2 diabetics:

I'm not diabetic, but I figured that was next if I hadn't done something to get my weight under control.


Yummy Homemade Breakfast Sausage

I'm aghast I haven't made breakfast sausage before. So easy and it tastes so much more fresh than the stuff you buy in the grocery store -- plus it got the "hubby taste-test seal of approval," so you know it was good. Takes five minutes to mix it up and you have sausage sans all those additives, fillers, preservatives and nitrates, plus all the stuff you can't pronounce.

I used ground pork this time, but next time I'll lighten it up using ground turkey. If you have leftover sausage mixture, I'd recommend making it into patties and freezing it.

Here's my recipe, which made four good-sized sausage patties:

One pound of ground pork or turkey
1 T. fresh sage, diced
1/2 T. each kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, ground cumin, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes
1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix all ingredients using your hands. Shape into patties and pan fry until cooked throughout.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crunchy, Tasty Kale Chips -- and Fast!

I mentioned my "head hunger" for a snack in my last post and my wonderful friend Cheri almost instantly came to my aid with an idea about low-cal, super-good-for-you kale chips.

I just happend to have organic kale on hand. Found a recipe that turned out great in a regular oven and didn't take hours like an (expensive) dehydrator would take -- and of course, changed it up. Chips were bright green and would have worked to dip -- but not scoop -- into a nice, hummus, baba ghanoush or another slightly thin dip. Nothing too thick or heavy as a dip or you'll leave the whole kale chip in the dip. Cooks in only 20 minutes.

Here's how I made them:

First, heat your oven to 275 degrees.

Several leaves of kale
Sea or kosher salt
Olive oil cooking spray like PAM®

Wash and dry the kale. Tear the leaf part away from the stems and into smallish pieces. Put them in one layer on a baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray, then salt lightly. Turn over each chip and repeat.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp.

I found them very satisfying.


Smoky Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Cooling Creamy Salsa

Love to recommend good recipes when I find them and this one came from VerticalSleeveTalk.com's recipe forum.

I made this and although the looks of it are a little offputting, it's a tasty, moist take on turkey burgers. I don't know that I'd call the sauce a salsa, but it's good anyway and a nice accompaniment.

It's from the blog savorysweetie.com. It's shared by permission, since she doesn't mind if people link to her blog -- fact, she's hopeful that it might get her some more readers.

Her philosophy is pretty close to mind after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve, and her's on Jan. 20, 2012.

"One of my challenges is that I really want to make this a lifestyle, and not make it feel like a diet. So I am trying to eat small portions of sensible food, but not deprive myself. This fits in really well with the fact that I LOVE to cook and also that I cook for my fiancee, who loves to eat!," she writes in the forum.

I was down to 217.4 yesterday.


My Weight Chart:
Weight Chart

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Weigh Day Down

Woke up to find that -- dry and unpainted as hubby would say -- I was down to 218. Go figure after the crazy, up-and-down weight week I've had.

The math shows I'm down about 55 pounds total since my highest weight of 273 last summer, and about 37 since my gastric sleeve surgery Dec. 27. Just for my friends who worry, the largest portion of that came in the first month and then my loss settled down to 1-2 pounds per week.

Have been having some minor issues with nausea when I haven't expected them. My nausea medicine is a lotion you rub on the inside of your wrist and usually, it makes those nasty feelings go away. I had gotten cocky and forgotten to carry it, but I got it renewed and I'll be keeping it in my purse. Prevention will make those feelings go away methinks.

Having some "head hunger" while down at our "cabin in the woods" in Texas where I fed many of the bad habits that made me gain weight. Lusting after hubby's Fritos and French onion dip, and fortunately there are no Fritos in the house because I threw them out. When I looked in the frig and opened up the French onion dip, it was covered with mold. Ick and hallelujah!!!! Can't even attack it with celery. Saved me from myself.

I'm thinking it would be good to come up with something that could satisfy my snacking desire on a low-calorie basis. Will have to think about that and when I come up with something -- I'll definitely share it.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Eyes are Smilin'

For this Irish lass, St. Paddy's Day has always been special.

I'm 3/8ths Irish, 1/8 German from my mother's side and who knows about my father's side. I do know my father's name Cole is Scotch-Irish, and my paternal grandmother was part Cherokee. Other than that I'm still learning about it.

So I'm close to half Irish. And I've always liked celebrating all parts of my heritage. It's what makes me up what I am.

Today is probably one of the first times I haven't had at least one festive green beer and maybe a scone or some Corned Beef and Cabbage. I don't even have a desire to have a beer, but I did miss the fun, social aspects of St. Patrick's Day.

I did make myself some faux bangers and mash and that was pretty satisfying. I made my new-favorite mashed cauliflower and garlic for the mash and hit the griddle with some sausages. Bangers and mash!!!

Had a rough last couple of days stomach-wise ... it's pretty tender after losing my lunch yesterday, which was sort of traumatic because I didn't have the nausea medicine I'd been prescribed for emergencies (which I 've not had many.) I may have been at fault for that because of the salsa I'd left out and then used in my omelette yesterday morning. I made myself some ground buffalo (bison) patties with sauteed onions for lunch yesterday and they came out just perfect. I have two patties left and am hoping those aren't the culprit, since they tasted so good and they are really high-quality protein. Plus, they go to my Cherokee part of my heritage. Will find out when I eat the leftovers I guess.

And to add insult to injury, for some crazy reason I weighed in at 223 this morning, when I was 219 a few days ago. Go figure. When you're geting less than 1,000 calories a day, there is absolutely no reason for that. I don't feel puffy or any different than I did at 219, so I just don't get it.

I did read on VerticalSleeveTalk that eating too few calories could cause a stall from your body trying to horde the food. I'd never heard it might make you gain weight. Can't figure out what might have caused that -- maybe sodium? Still not going to stop weighing in every day though -- reminds me of how I was when I was truly thin in my 20s.

It will all come out in the wash, if you'll forgive the cliché, my dear friends.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Sprouting Up Some Great Nutrition

Wonderful article in The Atlantic about how great nutritionally it is to eat sprouts: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/sprouted-foods-are-everywhere-heres-why-you-should-try-them/253772/


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dieting is Hard Work -- Period!!

Several friends have recently implied lately that having been [gastric] sleeved Dec 27, that I've taken the easy way out on losing weight.


I love you guys who are following my progress, but you need to know one thing.

Getting sleeved doesn't eliminate the work to lose weight. What it helps is reducing the hunger. Also, because your "pouch" is so much smaller, you have to stop eating or it's just not pretty.

I'm in a master gardener program right now and the feisty woman I love to sit next to in class offered me red-hot candies several times today. I decided early-on that I was going to be completely "out" about my weight loss surgery, and I told her I couldn't do sugar yet because of the WLS. She was SO supportive, which has been mostly my experience since Dec. 27 (A huge date for me, and one of the more important dates of my life. Just a note. Doesn't even remotely eclipse my wedding to Bob or giving birth to Kat, if either one of you are looking at my blog.)

My post today is to tell any of my friends/family, who are thinking of gastric surgery, that IT'S NOT THE EASY WAY TO WEIGHT LOSS.

That said, it's a fabulous TOOL to help you get a grip on your weight loss. But you still HAVE TO DO THE HARD WORK and discipline of losing weight yourself. You have to follow the program of weight loss or even having surgery will fail.

There are down sides, not a lot, but some fairly significant ones. It takes a while for your innards to figure out regularity. Mine haven't quite yet, but I'm OK with it. I understand things are going to heal. I do miss eating like I used to and some people get depressed with missing "eating."

I have a couple of friends who are having great success working traditional diet programs , i.e. through Weight Watchers or another good, balanced diet program. I AM YOUR BIGGEST CHAMPION! I tried those many multiples of times and just couldn't pull it through. I really, REALLY wish I could have made it work. But that doesn't mean your efforts or my ongoing effort are diminished. ALL efforts to get healthier will be rewarded with better health! You and I deserve it. And we're getting it!

I hate exclamation marks and I find myself using them repeatedly. Really, if you say it right, you shouldn't need exclamation marks. That said, sometimes I don't feel that I've adequately expressed the profound change that I'm going through. I even have resorted to using caps, which of course is like YELLING!!!!!

I'm not sorry about that. I want anybody who is reading my blog to "get it." That's really the whole point of sharing how my life is changing because of my sleeve.

I'm happy to respond to any comments or if you want to e-mail me directly, please contact me at carol.colefrowe@gmail.com.

Love you guys and thanks for reading my blog. CAPS. Exclamation point.



Monday, March 12, 2012

InStyle March Cover Features 'My Weight Loss Goal'

Well, I was grocery shopping, shopping, shopping in the store formerly known as Albertson's (Homeland,) and there what before my eyes did appear was the All-American girl Jennifer Aniston on the cover of Instyle's March issue.

Now, a disclaimer. At 273, I was probably lugging around an extra "more than Jennifer Aniston weighs," since my goal is 140 and that would bring her in at 133 pounds. But when I was starting my weight loss blog years ago, there she was front and center and I thought -- wow, I'm walking around carrying the equivalent of Jennifer Aniston.

When I was less heavy, I would joke that I was carrying around a fourth grader or a toddler or whatever. Doesn't matter, it's still too much. I stopped carrying my own beautiful daughter Kat when she hit about third grade, and more practically, it was years earlier.

Now Jennifer's probably a size 0 or a size 2, so maybe I picked someone who is too small. I'd be happy to be a size 6, 8 or 10, and I was about 135 pounds the last time I wore a size 6 (but I confess that although it was a lovely, tunic-fitted cocktail dress, so it may have been a large size 6.) I'd like to be that size again. But Jennifer also has an incredible physique, so she's an inspiration in several ways. My hubby would say she's too thin, but he likes "guns" on women i.e. toned biceps. He's never complained about her legs or flat abs, etc.

I'm more than a third of the way there, with about 52 pounds and change lost and 36 since surgery Dec. 27. Will see what I weigh on my Tuesday Weigh Day.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Comfort Food -- A New, Improved Shepherd's Pie

Last weekend, I was craving some kind of comfort food. And my dietician buddy Steph at WeightWise had given me a recipe for a Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie.

The key is replacing the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower mixed with ricotta cheese.

Of course, I can't ever leave well enough alone and I worked on elevating the humble Shepherd's Pie a bit. I added onion, garlic and carrot for color. And I infused some more flavor with fresh rosemary from my garden and some dried thyme. I halved the recipe because I was just cooking for me.

I also cooked the cauliflower a little differently than the recipe called for to get some more flavor into the cauliflower. So here 'tis:

Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie
Meat Mixture
1 lb. ground beef, preferably organic
2 oz. fresh green beans, cut in about 1/4" pieces
1/2 zucchini, diced in about 1/4" pieces
1/2 c. carrots, diced in about 1/4" pieces
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 T. fresh rosemary, diced finely
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried basil
1/2 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten

1/2 head cauliflower
1 c. chicken broth, preferably homemade
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T. butter
1/3 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground beef the beef is no longer pink. Drain the cooked meat in a colander and return to pan.

Chop vegetables and start with carrots. Cook carrots for about 2 minutes, then add zucchini, onion and garlic. Add ground beef mixture, herbs and tomato paste. Mix in egg. Pat mixture into a quart baking dish.

Chop cauliflower and put in deep pan with chicken broth and smashed garlic cloves. Bring broth to boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Either mash with a potato masher or use a food processor or immersion blender to pureé. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in ricotta cheese. Spread evenly over meat mixture.

Cook for about 30 minutes.

And apologies for the pictures going up all katy-wampus. I'm still learning when it comes to figuring out the finer points of blogging.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

50 Pounds Gone!!!

Hooray! Hooray!!

Saturday, I notched 50 pounds gone forever since my highest weight of 273 last summer and it feels great. And I've lost 33 pounds since my gastric sleeve surgery weight of 256 on Dec. 27, 2011, with Dr. Gregory Walton of WeightWise.

There are already so many NSVs or Non-Sleeve Victories:
• I've gone from a size 22 to an 18 in jeans and to a size 16 in my stalwart, standard black pants.
• I can do a whole lot more yoga stretches than I could before. In fact, my yoga teacher Thomas said I'm doing the best I've ever done.
• I'm off one of my two blood pressure meds.
• I have a whole lot more energy already and am back to doing cardio and strength training.

I was going to post a my revised recipe for a pretty darn good Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie I made Friday, but I think I'll do that tomorrow.

I guess I'm going to have to break down and post some pictures. Sigh. I hate pictures.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Measuring Up ... or Down

One of the lovely things about losing weight is that the change doesn't always come on the scale. Sometimes it comes with a measuring tape. Weight is still moving off like Methuselah (sp?) and I'm a tad frustrated with it.

And because today is March 1, it also means it's my day to measure.

Since Jan. 20, here's my progress:
Bust: - 0.5"
Waist: -1.5"
Hips: -1.5"
Upper Right Arm: -0.5"
Neck: -0.75"
Thigh: -o.25"
Right Calf: -0.25"

The biggest progress was off my hips this time with a half-inch gone.

I think I'll set a sub-goal of 215 for Easter, on April 8 this year, which would be 10 pounds gone by then. It may be tough because Bob's home in the middle of that, but I'll give it a shot.