Friday, December 26, 2008

The Cookie Monster

Merry Christmas ALL!!! I was a cooking machine for Christmas dinner yesterday. I made some great dishes and even substituted some of the things I am forced to eat in place of the traditional ingredients like egg beaters for eggs. I didnt eat much during dinner and stuck to my protein first and veggies second, potatoes last program. BUT........later that day, I had to have some chocolate chip cookies. Not just one people, I had to have 6 maybe 7 wiith whole milk. I really just fell off the truck. So why???? Its because I was home alone. My honey went home to his family and my kids were off with their friends and I was home alone watching television. I have to add that I did get up before opening presents yesterday morning and worked out to Biggest Losers Cardio Max, which I love, love, love. But, I digress. Back to the cookies.

Hi my name is Stephanie and I am an emotional eater. I knew I was doing it and I did it anyway. Oh why?! I woke up this morning thinking about those darn cookies and why I had to have them. When all of the family gathered for dinner, I had such great comments on how good I looked and how much smaller I looked (I wore some jeans that I couldnt fit before on purpose :-)). I STILL ate those darn cookies!!!! Gheesh.

What bothers me is that I CAN do it. That I have the ability to eat what I want really. I have hardly any restriction and for the most part people, I have stuck to the plan and controlled myself but I swear, this is so hard when there are things I crave and can eat and can eat in great quantity. My fill is on January 12th and I am afraid that they wont give me enough to help me take control.

This doesnt make me feel better, blabbing about this weakness of mine. But the cookies are done and over with.

I will try harder!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

WEIGH-IN (-22 pounds) Week 4

Well folks....No big changes this week. Had a great time at my company holiday party....see left. I must say that I am struggling in bandster hell but I am keeping to the diet even though I can eat quite a bit more than I could before. I have to say I have limits but I have plenty of room in that little ol' belly. I did manage to get a fill scheduled for Janaury 12 th so two weeks sooner than before. Thank god for cancellations.

This week I have eaten quite a bit of fish. All kinds. Mahi-Mahi, Salmon, trout and snapper. Needless to say, I am sooo tired of fish. It seems to be easy going down though and good for me. I eat like (protein first), veggies then carbs. If I eat carbs at lunch, I skip the carbs (potatoes) at dinner. Still eating a protein shake or egg beater omelet though. I have had more sugar than I was before which might be slowing the whole weight loss process but I have eaten them in moderation.

I am increasing my exercise from 45 minutes to 60 minutes at least 4 times a week and I feel like I am really ready to start jogging. I am going to wait one more week though because I dont want to do any harm. My schedule is crazy though and I am really exercising 3 times a week solid. I do at least 60 and if I feel good, I do 15-30 minutes more.

I am so ready to lose more weight. My goodness. I can not wait for my next fill. I have goals to reach and I want to get below 250 in the next month. Not very lofty ideas. exactly 18 pounds away.

Anyway, that is my report this week. I feel good, I feel healthy, lets move on to the next stage!
(11/21/08) 290
(12/1/08) 273
(12/7/08) 268
(12/14/08) 270
12/21/08) 268

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WEIGH-IN (-20 pounds) Week 3

Well, you read it right. I GAINED three pounds. I guess its because I don't feel as much restriction as I I have been. I actually feel like I can eat anything I want. My first fill is on January 21 and I wish it vwere tomorrow. I feel something like panic at having the ability to eat what I want and gaining 3 pounds. I am sticking to the plan however but had a minor slip up and ate some chocolate. I am still eating protein first, vegetables second and keeping my carbs down. I am also exercising 45 minutes at least 3 times a week. I am increasing that this week to 4 or 5 times since I now have a treadmill at home.

Since I travel alot, I found a fill doctor in Dallas Texas. He charges 200 a visit and each visit he uses flouro. Very happy about that. Will post his link later.

Not much to report. I will try very hard in the next few weeks to limit my food intake despite if I feel full or not and exercise more.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Picture minus 23 pounds.

Adding a picture of my progress. Down 23 pounds!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Folks. I was referred to Memorial Hospital Weight Loss Centers in Chattanooga Tennessee because they were good and affordable. I live in Nashville Tennessee. I had my surgery done in Mexico, like thousands of other people around the globe and I kept calling for three days straight to get in touch with them to schedule my first fill. Today, I got through. They require a $2,000.00 flat fee to transfer to Dr. Rose. I asked what the transfer fee is for and they said "Because you had your surgery done in Mexico, you have to pay a flat fee."I am livid.

I had one of the best surgeons who is also a surgeon at Baylor Hospital state side to perform my surgery. I am more than happy to pay a fee especially since I paid out of pocket for my surgery (DEDICATION), to get my fills. I am very disappointed that there seems to be no rhyme or reason for this. I have my surgical notes, records and x-rays and have in fact lost 23 pounds since 11/21/08. I can not beleive this! If anyone knows anyone else in Tennessee who are not donkeys, please send them my way.

I am not sure if I am just learning about this new "racism". I feel like I received the very best care from some of the very best people with hospital and surgical facilities that surpass some of our own in the states. I feel like I spent the time, money and effort to help myself and that some of these surgeons here are taking advantage. Dont they know how large our network is. I received the referral from a fellow bander. Wouldn't they expect news like this to spread like wildfire. The reason I went to Mexico is because the cost of healthcare here is atrocious and expensive.

I am so disappointed right now. I will continue my search but I feel helpless and at the whims of these people.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

WEIGH-IN (-22 pounds)

So today is my weekly weigh-in and I am down 22 pounds since my surgery on 11/21/08. I am so washed today because it has been a busy busy weekend. Yesterday I was running around so much that I didnt eat or drink much. I feel like I don't drink enough water throughout the day at all. I fill up fast when I drink or eat and the rule is to not drink 45 minutes before you eat and 30 minute after. It seems that since I try to eat throughout the day I am in some vicious cycle. I am on my mushy stage so I am a little hestitant to try anything new. I did do fine this morning with an egg white omelet with ham and salmon last night. I am trying to take it slow so I don't have any horror stories to report. I am fascinated by how much more effort I put into thinking about what I put in my body these days. My thinking is that I don't get much so I try to make it count.

I have gotten some great recipe ideas from I am going to try this ricotta bake soon. I did buy some deviled ham and chickent and tuna in a can. I just haven't concocted anything with it yet. I love chicken salad, so I might try that tonight and use my lonely food processor.

I also put on a dress that I bought a size smaller a few months ago and it fit perfectly. I am so pleased with my progress. It really does keep me going.

I feel good but need more calories. I get tired so fast. so I will work on that this week. I am keeping a staple to my morning breakfast and that is my protein drink. Only because I can get out of the door with it pretty quickly.

Til next week!
Start (11/21/08) 290
(12/1/08) 273
(12/7/08) 268

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

To Jennifer, my only bloger follower


I am trying to email you but can't find an email linked to your account. Email me and I will certainly answer any questions that you may have.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

WEIGH-IN ( -17 pounds) Day 9

It has a been a rollercoaster. I won't lie and tell you that I felt great from day 1-8 post-op but I can say that the hell you go through for the first 8 days gets better. Day 9 is when I started to feel myself and get used to the diet and the way it makes you feel. I felt very weak, hungry sometimes and bored with my choices. My body is going through changes and healing and I had to get used to it.

I had feelings of anxiety which struck me as odd at first but it makes sense. I feel restricted and that caused a certain amount of panic in me the first couple of days. I also experienced serious buyers remorse afterwards as well. I wondered what in the world I was thinking restricting myself from the joy of food. I also realized that where I thought I did not have an eating problem before, I might have because even though I am not hungry, I still desired to taste and eat certain foods anyway. That was a big shock to me as I always thought that I did not overeat. Well folks, maybe I do and have and thats how I ended up 290 pounds.

I can say that following the diet and getting the protein to add to what you eat has probably contributed to the success I am having so far. And success makes you want more of it. I have substituted ice cream for frozen yogurt and eat primarily no fat, no sugar foods. I am compiling some recipes that I will post at a later date. Definitely getting past the liquid phase is the worst part of this. But days come and go and all I can say is, stick to it and know that you will feel better soon. I am also keeping track of everything I eat via an application called found on my iphone but usable via internet or iphone. It has access to eveything. Even the Wendy's chili I pureed yesterday. I figured that I would track what I eat and if I had a problem afterwards, I would already see what I have consumed. I also have learned that I consume about 300-500 calories a day and that could contribute to my weakness. My research says that it is very common during the fluid phase. Since I paid for my surgery, I vowed to find a nutritionist to help me keep everything balanced. I will update you on that when I find one.

I have located a couple of fill doctors too. One in Chattanooga at the Chattanooga Memorial Hospital's Weight Management Center. There numbers are: 423-495-2244, toll free 1-866-313-2244. They charge $300 the first visit and $250 after that. It is done under flouoroscopy every time and it is easy for me to travel to.

Today I did my first 45 minute walk. I was active before the surgery so I am just getting back into what I am allowed to do. I highly recommend exercising when its time. Don't overdo it!

Start (11/21/08) 290
Today (12/1/08) 273

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Place Like Home...2 days AFTER

Well, I am back at home. I am so happy to be here. My experience with this doctor, the country and the hospital staff was great but there is no place like home. I am back at home finally and it has been a long day. I had to travel from Nashville to Dallas then to Monterrey and back. After such a long trip, I am very sore, very gassy and very tired.

The day after the surgery, I was so hungry I could scream. M y body and mind had to wrap around not eating the things I wanted to eat. I did not know that once you realize you cant have something you crave it even more! While travelling home, I automatically steered towards the starbucks before I realized that I couldnt have that for quite some time and that it probably isnt the best choice anyway. I realized too that I wasnt really hungry. I am on a liquid diet now and it seems crazy. I was tired of jello, broth and water immediately but I have decided to stick to it and commit before I got here. There is no going back. I look forward to a couple of months down the road when I can eat better tasting food that is healthier and still great. So, for two weeks I have bought broths and actual soups which I will strain, Special K protein water and powder, crystal light, pudding and fudgesicles all zero fat, zero sugar.

One of the biggest problems I feel now is expelling all the gas I have built up in my abdomen. It is so uncomfortable. I wish I could stick a hole in me and let it all out. Hopefully the feeling will subside soon. It is the worst the day of your surgery and gets better after that. Other than that, I feel pretty good. I think that the pain pills in Mexico dont come close to the pain pills we have here in the states so I cheated and took pain pills from a previous surgery and that helped out a lot.

If you plan on going to Monterrey, learn some passable Spanish. Most of the residents there don't speak English but Dr. Zapata's people take excellent care of you. They have a driver for you the whole time and make sure you understand every little detail of your treatment. The hotel they book you at is very nice and I still can not speak enough of the hospital. It felt more like a resort than an hospital facility. Everyone was also very nice even if the English-Spanish was a challenge. Dr. Zapata is a surgeon for the Mexican version of Extreme Makeover and after speaking to the COO of the hospital, I found that I was very lucky to get him.

So Thanksgiving is coming up and I am trying not to feel bad about not eating any of the delicious food BUT I will be able to enjoy some things at Christmas. I will report back each week with an update. See you next Sunday 11/30/2008.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twas the night before.....and after...

I am here in Monterrey. My surgery is tomorrow at 11 a.m. I arrived at 12 and as promised my driver Santos was there to meet me and take me to eat and see my doctor. Dr. Zapata was an extremely nice and generous man and explained everything to me and allowed me to ask any questions I had to ask.

My patient coordinator Alma arrived at my hotel and explained what I should expect the next morning. It is now 8 a.m. and I am preparing to go to sleep and get some rest before the big day.

Today I weighed in at 287.

Its 10:30 p.m. and I am out of surgery safely. The hospital itself here in Monterrey is absolutely beautiful and I will include a shot from my hospital window when I get back home. The nurses doctors and staff are all great and treat me like a queen.

I have had to walk all day to get rid of the C02 that they pump into your stomach and even now, I am slightly uncomfortable. I had surgery at 11 and have been in my room since 2pm . The gas is the bigest pain and walking is supposed to disseminate the gas quicker. I have been going up and down these lavish halls all day to get a burp. They have taken great care of me here and I cant wait to put some pictures up of the trip.

My journey began when I walked in here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2 Days and I'm heading to Monterrey

My nerves have kicked in today. I can't really express the feeling exactly. It's half happiness, part worry and part nervousness. I think that what I really need to do is to stop watching lap band success videos on youtube and to stop reading peoples experiences in their blogs. Not to say that blogs and videos havent given me helpful information. On the contrary. That information has been invaluable...but I have to stop looking, reading and listening. I think that I am now equipped with the help of all of that information to forge ahead and write my own story. I hope that it will be helpful to someone someday.

Yesterday I came across a few stories about people who didnt lose as much because they didnt stick to the diet they were supposed to. This made me worry a little, but it also instilled in me the importanct of committment. Committment to diet and exercise in order to achieve the results that you want. This saying hangs in my office and until I wrote this, it has been a while since I actually read it.

"Commitment is not wishing for something, but a decision deep within yourself to do whatever it takes." -Unknown author

I know a thing or two about commitment. I don't believe in "can't" or even in "no". Those words just make me want what I want even more and spark in me a feeling of sheer determination and defiance. I don't think I have ever not gotten what I really put forth an effort to acheive and there is no reason to look at weight loss any differently.

I tried phentermine pills for a while to lose weight. They worked. I lost 50 pounds while taking the pill and exercising but you can't take a pill forever. The difference to me is that the band is my permanent pill and I have to be extra careful with it and how I use it. It will aid in my ultimate success to permanently get the pounds off.

This will probably be my last post until after the surgery. I will write later with my progress and experiences.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

4 more days to surgery......Still researching!

I have luckily been very very busy the last few days but still anxious and anticipating my surgery on Friday (11/21/08). This also has not stopped me from watching plenty of myspace videos on other peoples weight loss results and problems.

I decided to list some things here that I found out that I didnt necessarily know in the beginning.

-POST OP. Two weeks of fluids and a graduation to solids. Need I say more!

-FILLS. Lap bands must be filled. The fills are saline that gets pumpted into your port that travel to the band around your stomach. Not enough saline makes it easier to eat freely. Too much saline restricts your eating too much. Apparently, you will know when to get this fill based largely on how freely you can eat etc. I did encounter a lady who ate too soon after a fill and had some problems. You are supposed to be on fluids after a fill for a few days. Since my lap band is being performed in Mexico, I called a doctor who would see me in my city to have my fills done. They are expensive. I am paying for my surgery and not going through insurance. Fills for my local doctor are 500.00 the first time and 400.00 every time thereafter.

-EXERCISE. Since I have a very active lifestyle and exercised despite my weight, I inquired about how soon you can exercise. You can exercise freely AFTER your stomach and incisions heal but walking is the best thing to do right now.

-NUTRITION Although you receive the surgery, what you eat is still very important. Comfort foods are out. Low sugar, low fat. Good protein and vegetables.

-WEIGHT LOSS. You can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week for a year. Overall, you should expect 50-65 percent loss of your body weight. This astonishes me.! I weigh 290 now. I have to add that this is if you follow the exercise and food suggestions recommended by your doctor. At this rate, I would expect my first year to look close to 100 pounds, which I can't possible fathom right now.

-EXCESS SKIN. I had a lot of questions regarding loose skin when losing weight with lap band. I did not find a lot of information on this or what the average person experiences. My case worker said that gradual loss has more chance of elasticity to the skin depending on weight and age.

My personal expectations for myself is to be healthy and strong and I will be exercising and weight training to try and get myself in tip-top condition. I figure that I have invested or going to invest quite a bit of money on myself to get it together. I plan on making the best of it.

When I played college ball, I weighed 203 and had to run 2 miles before practice everyday. I would consider getting to 190 a huge success.
My role models are the strong athletic women of the world. A woman I was once and will be again. Women like Gabriella Reece, Serena, Venus and many others are my role models for this journey.

This is really for me, for my children for my grandchildren and hopefully for my great granchildren if I am blessed to live that long.
4 more days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Barely Sleeping....

So, I am preparing to be banded in 9 days. 9 days!!! I am so excited and nervous all at once. I am looking forward to losing weight and keeping it off and changing my eating habits. I have struggled with this decision for several reasons. I feel like as a plus size girl, I might be "selling out" by having surgical intervention to make me smaller. Heck, look at what happened to Starr Jones! On the other hand, a history of obesity runs rampant in the women on both sides of my family and I frankly don't want to look like my aunts and mom one day (even though I have them by several inches in height). What finally did it for me was the issues I have with my blood pressure that seems to be getting worse instead of better. I don't feel like I am in control anymore even though I am very active physically and wouldnt call my eating habits "bad". I have a healthy self-esteem but I feel so uncomfortable at my current weight. I also had someone comment on my weight at work. THAT was so unexpected and suprising that it was almost a slap in my face. Heck. It WAS a slap in the face. I consider myself beautiful and was taken Waaaay back by any comments made to my person!

I researched the lap band through others experiences for two years. I even looked for horror stories so I could weigh my options. I quite literally couldnt find too much of a down side. The worst think I saw was infection and acid reflux, both of which I am willing to chance. I looked for information on loose skin after surgery but couldn't find much there. I will be sure to document that as I write in my own blog.

So here are my statistics.

Age: 38


Height: 5'8

Lap Band Date: 11/21/08

Lap Band Surgeon: Dr. Miquel Zapata

Lap Band Location: Monterrey Mexico

Lap Band Cost: $6600.00

Stay tuned for more.