Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bariatric Betty; an ice cube with NSVs

NSVs?  That's short-hand for Non-scale victories.  Something that shows you are doing well on your weight loss other than watching the number on the scales go down.  They are important, because sometimes the number on the scale stops changing, sometimes for weeks at a time, and you need to have something telling you that what you are doing is working. 

My first NSV is that I have become a human ice cube.  Morbidly obese people who lose a lot of weight (through bariatric surgery or otherwise) tend to become cold.  Permanently.  That's OK, really, because as a morbidly obese person, we used to be permanently hot.  And sweaty.  At least when you are cold you can bundle up.  When you're hot, there are only so many layers you can take off and still be legal in public, and even less layers you can take off and feel comfortable about how you're dressed - so you just end up sweating a lot, which is embarassing.  So it's day 16 and three days ago I started to realized not only am I not feeling hot anymore, I'm cold.  Especially after walking my dog outside (well bundled up) in 35 - 40 degree weather.  I have to come home, take a hot shower, get dressed warmly and then bundle up with blankets to get warmer.  Woo-hoo!  I feel like I've crossed a border into a different country.  After surgery I was still at least constantly warm, and was wondering when I would get my chill on - and it finally happened!

Second NSV:  my raincoat.  I have a beautiful magenta trenchcoat and it has been raining a lot this week.  We haven't had a lot of snow this winter, and now the rain is setting in.  The neat thing was that I hadn't worn my raincoat for a couple months, and when I put it on I realized how loose it was!   Loose like, after I buttoned it I realized I had about 6 extra inches of fabric that I used to fill.  Even greater comparison - last spring it was TIGHT. 

Third NSV:  my (perceived) mood.  My husband is thrilled, because he says I'm in such a great mood every time he comes home now.  He said it's wonderful, that he can't believe how even-keeled I am.  I laughed the first time he said it, because it's not how I've been feeling.  I explained that I'm still feeling emotional and easily irritated, but I've been trying to make sure I don't bite anyone's head off because they won't stop making that knocking sound, etc.  So I guess my NSV is that I'm better at controlling my reactions, and my husband appreciates it.

My biggest challenge this week has probably been the idea of being with people other than my family.  I went to my son's school for the first time in a couple months yesterday and really had to take a moment before I went in to prepare myself.  I expected people would notice a difference in how I looked, and they did.  I got several complements, which was nice.  But I was preparing myself for the potential negatives: the reaction that some people have when they hear someone had bariatric surgery.  The "Oh, you cheated" look or comments.  I do not have a problem with confrontation, and I anticipate that I will be educating a LOT of people over the next years about how hard it is, not just committing yourself to the surgery but the how you have to live for the rest of your life after the surgery.  My goal is to do this nicely (i.e. without telling people they are ignorant and cruel for making negative comments) and without going on for a half an hour ;)  But now that I'm starting to see people other than my neighbors and immediate family I know that it will happen.  Luckily, it didn't happen yesterday :)   I also had a very strong reaction because my husband's extended family wanted to invite us over for lunch this weekend.  Lunch?  As in eating?  I can't DO that.  I don't eat real food yet.  And even if I brought my own food, I don't know how I would react to the smell of everyone else's cooked food (let us not forget my sudden nausea at the smell of edamame cooking with soy sauce, ewwww).  And then the definite possibility of getting the "foamies" (a pre-curser to vomitting that happens to WLS patients when their pouch decided not to respond positively to whatever they're trying to consume and they start to salivate quickly).  I don't want them to see that.  I'm not ready for people to watch me eat (other than my immediate family, that is).  Getting a sense of the anxiety that started to build up?  I'm sure I sounded like a babbling fool as I tried to deal with an invite politely over the phone, and eventually said "I don't know if that would work, maybe we could stop by after lunch".    Yeah, that's it.  Now if I could get rid of all the stuff before that, it sounds perfectly fine, right?

So I go in to my surgeon's office for my 3 week post-op appointment next week, and I'm excited.  I think I'm doing pretty well sticking to the plan, and my weight loss is now about 15 pounds since surgery, about 45 pounds since the beginning.  I'm hoping I can get permission/ blessings to start using my elliptical a little, and maybe do some lightweight free-weight training for my upper body.  I still get some pulling from my stitches, but it's a lot better and less frequent now.  I'm not supposed to be doing real exercising until 6 weeks post-op, but I feel like I'm wasting an opportunity, and I'm watching my arms starting to shrink and droop skin and I know that toning would help.  This next week I will also be switching to more puree/ less protein shake supplements.  The rule is that if I can get down 50 grams of protein or more from my purees I should stop drinking the shakes.  I'm planning on making that happen by adding unflavored whey protein to some of the purees to boost the protein levels.  I will also be beginning the rule that will apply for the rest of my life:  no drinking with meals.  I will not be drinking liquid 15 minutes before and 60 minutes after meals so that when my 1/4-to-1/2 cup of meals are in my stomach they are not washed through, thus making me hungry again sooner.  Other than helping us feel "full" it also gives our body the chance to start to absorb the nutrients better.  Since we can only sip (not gulp) liquids now, we need to consciously try to sip frequently in all of our allowed time slots to prevent dehydration.  Whew - big week ahead! 

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