Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I Ate: 4/30/2009

  • 2 oz. curried egg salad (made with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayo)
  • 2 oz. pesto cannellini bean puree
  • 2 oz. cream cheese dessert (fat-free cream cheese, a little nonfat Greek yogurt, fat-free Cool Whip, and lots of Splenda) with a few drops of sugar-free chocolate syrup...yummm, tastes like marble cheesecake
  • 1 oz. sugar-free gelatin (I had Jell-o strawberry acai)
  • 2 broth concentrate packets

First Day Back at the Gym!

Today was my first day back at the gym. I'm a member of Washington Sports Club (WSC), which I love because I can go to any WSC in the DC metro area, so it's really convenient. It's not the ritziest gym, but it's nice and much cheaper than a Gold's or Bally's.

My surgeon says I can now do any exercise I want. I'm going to stick with the elliptical for now and probably for the next few months, but I might try out something more vigorous in the future. Maybe dance or running.

I used the elliptical for about 37 minutes. Because I wanted to be careful, I used it at level 5 and went a tad slower than normal. (Usually I use level 9 or 10.) According to the machine's untrustworthy calorie counter, I burned 373 calories.

I think it went well. I felt really tired afterward, so I'm not 100% yet, but it was a good first effort. Onward and upward from there!

Old Op-Ed: Charter Schools for Obese Kids

This commentary was written by yours truly and published in Education Week in February. I wasn't blogging then, so I couldn't share it. Enjoy!

Facing Up to the Obesity Problem
How Charter Schooling Might Help

My middle school guidance counselor always seemed to have good intentions. So I expected only more lovely conversation when she called me into her office one afternoon. Instead, she offered an unsolicited bit of financial advice: "Monica, you have a single mom. You need to stop gaining weight so she can stop buying you so many new clothes. It's expensive."

This guilt trip was a miserable flop. It earned the counselor a spot on my now-discarded list of "People Who Get No Part of My Eventual Millions." And it failed to deter me from gaining at least 50 pounds during the rest of middle school. (Unbeknownst to her, my mother enjoyed shopping for me.)

I was fortunate to have self-confidence, familial support, and academic capacity, which together insulated me at least partially from this and other embarrassing encounters. For many obese kids, however, stigma makes it hard to thrive academically or to adopt healthier habits. Schools often make obese kids feel worse about themselves, and their unhappiness undermines their success. For that reason, we should consider establishing charter schools that target children who struggle against obesity.

Read the rest of the piece here.

What I Ate: 4/29/2009

P.S. Many thanks to The World According to Eggface for introducing me to Rachel's incredibly delicious products. I also got the cannellini/pesto idea from Shelly's pureed food page, though hers was made with real pesto sauce. That blog rocks. This was a lifesaver because I had not had a chance to go grocery shopping, but picked these up really quickly before I got on the road.

P.P.S. I know this is not nearly enough protein. Yesterday was my first full day on soft foods, and for now my instructions are to eat 6 oz. or less of soft foods each day. I will start on protein drinks in a couple of days and will work on building to 50-60 grams/day. I promise :-)

Last Time I Was This Weight...

I know it's probably excessive to weigh myself every morning, but since surgery that's what I've been doing. I will probably move to 2-3 times/week at some point.

But anyway, I got on the scale this morning and was 278.4. I was super-excited.

The last time I was this weight was in mid-2007, when I'd just left my summer associateship at a law firm to work on the ill-fated John Edwards for President campaign.

The time before that I'd weighed around 278 was in early 2003, when I was on my way back from a Furman foreign study in Southern Africa. We spent most of our time traveling around South Africa, but we also spent a glorious week in Namibia, and short amounts of time in Botswana and Swaziland. I had started losing weight from 338 in June 2002. By January 2003 when we departed from Atlanta for Windhoek, I was at 289 and super-proud of myself. I continued my exercise regimen and tried to watch my food on the trip, and 6 weeks later, when we departed Johannesburg for Atlanta, I was around 275.

That was the first time I'd gotten on an airplane and didn't need a seatbelt extender.

So, the last time I was this weight, I was working on a presidential campaign. But - more exciting - the last time before the last time, I was experiencing my first sweet taste of normalcy in travel. Pretty exciting.

Also: This is less than I weighed when I started my senior year of high school. Imagine that!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Update: Weeks 1 & 2

The first two weeks post-op have been very smooth. I've been out and about since I left the hospital - in fact, my mother and I went to the mall on the way home from the hospital. It's been gorgeous out, so I've been going on 1-2 mile strolls in the sun. That isn't much in terms of exercise, but it's decent considering that the exercise instructions require only walking 100 feet 4-5 times a day.

By way of background, my surgeon, unlike many other RNY surgeons, did not require any sort of preliminary diet. I tried to do Weight Watchers for a few months before my surgery, but it was a disaster. I only lost 3.6 pounds overall in 4 months! It was particularly upsetting because I would often lose when I'd been bad, and gain when I followed it to a tee. The night before my surgery I went out to Olive Garden and had TONS of food. It was disgusting I guess, but... anyway.

For the first two weeks after surgery, I was on a full liquid diet. That meant I could have all I wanted of clear, calorie-free or virtually calorie-free liquids like water, low-sodium/fat-free broth, decaf coffee, decaf tee, Crystal Light, Propel, Fruit2O, etc. Additionally, three times a day I had 2 oz. of "full liquids," which for my surgeon were either Slim Fast shakes, Ensure, Atkins Advantage shakes, or AdvantEdge Carb Control shakes.

I thought this would be difficult, especially since I was living it up eating everything in sight in the few weeks before my surgery. It wasn't hard at all. In fact, the full liquids kind of became a chore. I wasn't hungry, and they didn't taste that good. Broth and decaf coffee were total lifesavers.

Start weight: 304.0
Day of surgery: 298.6
Week 1: 282.3 (-16.3) :-D
Week 2: 282.0 (-0.3) >:-(
Total results thus far: -22.0

Welcome to My Blog!

Hey folks,

This is how I'm going to be logging my food intake and weight loss results over the next I'm-not-sure-how-long. I will also include random thoughts about life and fatness.

I had RNY gastric bypass on April 13, 2009, performed by Dr. Robert Bell at Yale-New Haven Hospital. What I'm calling my "official starting weight" is 304.0. That is down from my highest measured weight in 2002 of 338 - I lost about 130 pounds, but then gained about 100 or so of it back during law school. (Alas - just one of many terrible things about law school...kidding, sort of.)

Anyway: Start weight - 304.0. Day of surgery (after a stomach virus) - 298.6.

I look forward to communicating with y'all!