August 17, 2010

Some recent meals

Yesterday we had some Thai chili marinated salmon with garlic-parmesan sweet potato slices and arugula salad with avocado and tomato. I basted the salmon with a bit of Thai sweet chili sauce, and that was pretty tasty!

Sweet Potato Slices with Garlic and Parmesan

1 Sweet potato, unpeeled, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
2 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F
Toss sweet potato slices with other ingredients, mixing thoroughly to coat well

Arrange slices on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray
Bake until browned and tender

Note: I was able to finish all of my salmon, one slice of sweet potato and about half of the salad pictured above - served on a salad-sized plate

Tonight the menu was sauteed pork loin chops, leftover corn, cut off of the cob, roasted potatoes and a fennel and orange slaw.
 My serving

Fennel and Orange Slaw

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and sliced very thinly
1 navel orange, sectioned and excess juice reserved and squeezed into bowl
chopped fronds from the fennel bulb
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp Splenda (optional)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Add oil, vinegar and seasonings to reserved oragne juice and mix briefly with a fork or a whisk
Add orange segments and fennel slices, along with chopped fronds
Mix and let sit for a half hour or so before serving

  My leftovers

August 16, 2010

Excess Skin

I've been asked to elaborate a bit about  my experience with excess skin - this is something that anyone who loses a lot of weight needs to consider, although some folks end up looking pretty good due to a combination of youth, good genetics and/or good luck. Although exercise can provide some muscle definition to fill out the excess skin somewhat, this skin, particularly if it has stretch marks etc., doesn't really go away, though it may tighten up somewhat. I still have close to 50 pounds to lose before I get to goal, so the degree to which this bothers me may change a lot before I am done with this process; here is what I am thinking now, with just under 65% of my excess weight lost...

Overall: I think I look very good in clothing - although there is some loose skin under my arms and some wrinkles where my double chin used to be, neither of these is horrible and I feel confident wearing sleeveless tops and dresses. I'm not the mini-skirt type anyway, so knee-length dresses and skirts are as short as I want to wear and I think I look fine in them. I might even get daring and wear slightly shorter skirts in fall and winter - when I am also wearing opaque tights.

Stomach: My stomach has shrunk a lot, but there is still a very fatty flap that hangs low down and seems to be pretty persistent. It has a lot of stretch marks and damaged skin from pregnancy and weight gain over the years. Supportive undergarments (i.e. Spanx) do a good job of pulling this in a bit so that clothes fit better and look more flattering, but I have to say, I don't think it very likely that I'll be donning a bikini any time soon. This pannus does not overhang enough to cause problems, such as rashes, skin infections, etc., which are an issue for some folks post-op. I am very wary of undergoing the risk and expense of any surgery that doesn't make a very big difference to my health or quality of life, so I probably won't pursue a tummy tuck, although I'm not completely opposed to the concept.

Thighs: I do really dislike the appearance of my upper thighs - very saggy, baggy, and wrinkly, although the overall size/circumference of my thighs is shrinking a lot due to my workouts. I still feel a little uncomfortable in shorts and tend to wear crop or capri - length workout pants, and to wear full length or crop length trousers for everyday wear if I am not wearing a skirt or dress. The picture of me in a bathing suit yesterday happened to be particularly flattering; here is a more true-to-life photo of my upper thighs:

There are surgical procedures to tighten up the skin on the inner/upper thighs, but they sound pretty horrible to me, so I think I'll just live with what I end up with. (and continue to worship at the altar of supportive undergarments!)

Breasts: I think I have lost some volume, but in a good bra they're fine. (I do need a "Sheepdog Bra" - rounds 'em up and points 'em in the right direction!!)

Back: Still have some sagging of back fat, but I think this will continue to reduce a bit as I keep up with my workouts. I was dismayed to see "side boobs" when I first started losing weight, but these are shrinking and I just don't look at 'em, so they don't bother me much! The previously mentioned good bra does a great job of camouflaging a lot of the back and side flab.

I know that this really isn't all that bad ... I mean, I'd rather have the sagging than the fat ...  but it's not all that pretty either. I think what I have come to terms with is this:  Even if I do achieve a normal or even a thin body size, this is a 45 year old body that just is not going to look like it would at the same weight if I were 25 (and if I had never been overweight). I'm just grateful that I am able to feel attractive and reasonably well-proportioned in clothes and, most of all, that I feel so much healthier and stronger.

I actually wasn't all that distressed at my appearance when I was heavy, and I think I have usually had a realistic mental picture of my size and my appearance - so even though I can't say I love all of the changes to my skin texture etc., I really am not all that bothered either, although obviously it bugs me a bit because I keep mentioning it! I think I am mourning, a bit, for that young woman I used to be who didn't get to enjoy a strong, fit, beautiful body in her 20's and early 30's. I also have been reading fashion magazines more frequently as I approach normal sizes, and I suppose I am as susceptible as anyone else to the implicit messages in these magazines regarding a very narrow definition of beauty, the need to be thinner, more youthful, more athletic, better groomed, better dressed etc etc etc... It really is an impossible standard, especially without a personal airbrusher and photoshop wizard!

I'll update here as things change with my appearance and/or my feelings about it!

August 15, 2010

6 Month Report

So, today it has been six months since I had my surgery. Still at 75 pounds lost - same as my last post a couple days ago. That's 6 pounds down over the last month - which isn't too bad considering I was on vacation, and not really eating or exercising according to my usual routine for most of the month. One thing that was exciting today is that I looked at the difference in my measurements from my pre-op high weight:

Neck Before: 17.25"  Now:14" (-3.25 inches)
Wrist Before: 7" Now 6.5 " (-.5  inch)
Forearm Before: 11" Now 10" (-1 inch)
Upper arm Before 14" Now 14" (No change)
Bust Before 54" Now 45" (-9 inches)
Waist Before 49" Now 36.5" (-12.5 inches)
Hips Before 60" Now 47" (- 13 inches)
Thighs Before 34.5" Now 24" (- 10.5 inches)
Calf Before 20" Now 16.5 (-3.5 inches)
Ankle Before 10" Now 9.5" (-.5 inch)
Ribcage Before 49" Now 37" (-12 inches)

That's a lotta inches!

Second, we went to the beach today and my husband took some snapshots, including one of me in a bathing suit, and none of them make me cringe or feel ashamed. Although I am still very much on the large size of normal, I do feel normal and healthy and attractive, even with the lumps and bumps and saggy bits (hello thighs! how ya hanging tummy?!) that remain. This is a great feeling! I am seeing a more shapely form with a lot of curves emerge from my previously beach-ball shaped figure and I am liking it a lot.

 Honestly, I believe that I will continue to lose weight for some time, but even if I didn't lose another pound, this surgery would be worth the money and effort that it has cost. Prior to surgery I was starting to feel, due to my weight, that my life and the activities and experiences available to me were getting smaller and smaller. Now I can hike, swim, canoe, kayak, camp, etc with my husband and daughter - (not to mention shop in SO many more stores!) - without fatigue or pain. I figure I have bought myself at least ten additional years before the need for more surgery on my arthritic knees, and that I have certainly delayed or limited the likelihood of heart surgery and other cardio-vascular complications and procedures.

The other weird thing (for me, anyway)? I am finding that I actually enjoy and look forward to exercise and physical activity. At 282 pounds it just isn't all that fun to move around - my joints hurt a lot, I was short of breath, my heart pounded - and not in a good way either. Now I still get out of breath sometimes, but that is because I am exerting myself -and it feels good - and I don't feel like I might drop dead on the side of a hiking trail because my heart has pounded its way out of my chest. I am really enjoying working hard with my personal trainer - who knew that I had biceps lurking under those flabby arms?!

August 11, 2010

75 Pounds Down!

(Note - for OH members, this is a copy of my most recent post - apologies for the repeat!)

Have just returned from 17 days of holiday with friends and family in Oregon. I decided to not to worry much about my eating whilst away and although I had big plans in terms of exercise, other than some swimming and hiking and one 5K walk, I didn't actually work out at all. So, there was some grazing, and consumption of foods, like um, tortilla chips, that I do not usually eat at all.

Still, I lost 4 pounds during vacation and another pound since I got back - for a grand total of 75 pounds lost! This was my next mini goal and I am just 8 pounds away from seeing 199 on my bathroom scale. My six month stats next week probably won't be stellar, since I have been on vacation most of the month, and not as on track with eating and exercise when I am away. Even so, I should be 6-8 pounds down from last month.

Even better, when I went on those hikes, I was CHARGING up those hills - leader of the pack in fact! It felt so good to be exerting myself, getting my heart rate up for sure, but not feeling like I was going to expire on the side of the trail - I used to feel like I would never catch my breath and like my heart was going to beat itself right out of my chest - this time I just felt healthy and fit and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air.

It was good that we went, because even though I have been working out a lot, I still had a fear of hills - and now I know I can do them, no problem!

Had a great time shopping at Value Village and Goodwill, and at the Fred Meyer clearance racks, and am set for my return to campus this fall in regular, rather than plus, sizes! Also bought a couple pair of Levis in size 14 to shrink into - my fave jeans and it has been decades since I could wear 'em!

Back home now and back on track with protein etc as well as back at the gym - feeling fantastic and fit - yeah for my VSG!

6 month update will be posted next week!