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Friday, August 19, 2011

my fat free mass

So.  Let's talk about something.

FFM.  That's fat free mass.  When I agreed to be a research participant before having surgery, they measured me with all kinds of fancy gadgets.  Here were my stats, taken September 2010.
Height: 5 ft 2 (actually no one can seem to agree if I'm 5 ft 2 or 3).  
Weight: 207 lbs 
FFM: 110 lbs
Fat mass: 97 lbs (***k!)

The lady explained that FFM (fat free mass) is what your bones, organs, and muscles weigh.  

Then at the bottom of my printout it says:
Desirable Range: 21-33% body fat
Desirable Fat Mass: 29-54 pounds

So I asked the lady that day, "Does that mean I should weigh 139-164 lbs?"  (That's my FFM of 110 lbs plus my recommended "desirable" fat mass).

She looked at my paper and said, "Yep, you're very solid.  That's good.  You're less likely to get osteoporosis as you age."  She said some people have heavier and more dense bones, especially kids who were chunky (who you talkin' bout?).  She explained that my body frame is still "medium," it's just that I have a dense skeleton......which makes me think of Cartman on Southpark---"I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!"

So it turns out Cartman is right, but it's more like dense bones, not big bones.  At least for me.  I'm sure there are some people out there that are big-boned AND dense-boned.

Here's the kicker----according to the BMI chart, I'm "overweight" as soon as I pass 136 pounds (at 5 ft 2).  ANDDDDD,  I'm "obese" at 163 lbs.  But according to the fancy measures these research docs took, I'm actually not even overweight at ALL until I weigh 165.  At 5 ft 2!

When I was a kid, my mom told me women should weigh 100 pounds if they are 5 ft tall.  Then, for every inch over 5 feet, they can weigh five more pounds.  I'm not sure where she heard this little formula, but it's obviously not for every body.  According to her (or that) I should weigh 110.  And noooow I see that I can't EVER weigh that little.  It's not possible.

The funniest part is that when I got down to what I now consider my "skinny weight" (142 pounds thanks to Weight Watchers), I considered myself a failure (for years) because I thought losing more weight was necessary (at least 6 pounds so I could have a "normal" BMI).  In fact, I had joined WW on-line (I started at 171 lbs) and was working super hard to get down to 136 pounds so I could nominate myself to be one of their featured "success stories."  For some reason, I couldn't see (or didn't care) that you could see veins rippling from my ankles to my knees, from my hands to my biceps, etc.  But, if only I'd known then what I know now......

I was already a "success story," but I got too caught up in the stupid in numbers, particularyly the ****-ing BMI chart, to see it.

HOWEVER, if these doctors are right, I was only 3 pounds over the minimum weight recommended for me (and my boobs alone weigh more than that).  And I did maintain 142 lbs for over two years.....the problem is I had to work out 1-2 hours a day, 5 days a week, and then on weekends I typically went skiing or hiking for 4-8 hours just because I enjoyed it.  Not only that, but I had to feel like I was starving 24/7 AND it was also necessary to avoid outings (of a non-fitness nature) with friends.  It required avoiding parties to prevent myself from overindulging.  It required refusing dinner invitations.  If I hadn't been so strict I could have never achieved that weight or maintained it for as long as I did......

Another thing, recently, that helped me see that 142 was a perfectly acceptable weight for 5 ft 2 (or 3, whatever I am!) is that Stephanie from Electric LadyBand, posted about her friend Bitchcakes, a Weight Watchers success story.  Like me, she is 5 ft 2.  She achieved her goal weight of 138 pounds.  And she looks fabulous.  I'm glad she was wise enough to ignore those blasted BMI charts.

I'm really thankful she's brave enough to post her height and weight so morons like me can see that it's not necessary to weigh 115 lbs to have a fit & fabulous body.

So I get it now.

142 lbs at 5 ft 2 was good.

Can I have it back now?  Please God?

I will appreciate it this time.  I promise.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

officially not "obese"

Thanks for all of your encouragement after my last post.  Five days ago, I swore off the scale because it was pissing me off.  This morning, when I hopped back on, it was so happy to see me again that it told me I lost two pounds.  Not as much as I'd like......but....Yay!  We're friends again.

I'm not sure if I'm 5 ft 2 or 3 and since being 5 ft 2 no longer benefits me (ala BMI calculations), I will hereby go with the taller of the two measurements---so, ahem, I'm 5 ft 3.  Aaaaand, at 168 pounds that makes me OVERWEIGHT.  Not obese (good Lawd how I hated that word).  Woo hoo!

The nutritionist from my surgeon's office called yesterday to see how I was doing & feeling after progressing my diet to the second phase (mushies).  I feel great!  I hadn't thought about it until she asked, but I feel back to myself.  The first 2-3 weeks after surgery I felt rundown and had nooo energy but yesterday was the 4 week mark and I feel great (and have for over a week).

She asked if I was getting all my water in.  Check.  All my protein?  Check.  All my vitamins?  Check.  She said "great" and was juuuust about to hang up before I blurted out, "But I've only lost 10 pounds.  Shouldn't I be losing more than that?"

She said YES.  I should be losing more than that.


So she sent me some food logs to fill out and email back to her in a week.  I've been tracking everything with that app "MyFitnessPal," and I'm very good about being honest.  And my calories have been anywhere from 600-900 for the past two weeks (less calories before that!).

So I'm still perplexed but actually I've lost 12 pounds total as of this morning--not 10, like I told her.

I can't help but wonder if my body is hanging on tighter because I'm still breastfeeding my 15 month old.


A doctor that I saw back in March remarked that breastfeeding helps moms lose weight at first but the low estrogen of breastfeeding is similar to menopause.... ?  Something like that.

Perhaps that is to blame for the slow weight loss?

Perhaps it's that I only had about 40 to lose to begin with?

Oh well, we're down to 28 now!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

NSV yet frustrated.

Just got from a family camping trip in West Virginia so I'm behind in blog reading.  First, I'll report an NSV (non-scale victory).

I've actually worn a bathing suit out in public (gasp).  For me that's pretty huge.  Honestly I don't like the way I look right now (30 lbs overweight) but I don't hate the way I look either.  So that's progress!

However, I'm totally frustrated with the scale.

I'm over 3 weeks out from surgery and have only lost 10 pounds.  The scale hasn't moved in 12 days.  TWELVE days people!!

I'm eating less than 1000 calories, usually around 600-800, still eating mushies, etc.  So WTF?  I mean seriously!!!  WTF.  

Not once have I gone over 1000 calories.  What gives??

I kind of regret telling any friends about having this surgery because in my imagination they are wondering what the hell is wrong with me, that I have surgery and still can't get my weight under control.

I mean, how is this even possible?

I even started going back to the gym!  I'm not doing classes yet but I went 4 times and did the elliptical for an hour before going on vacation.  During vacation I didn't even "splurge" because all I could really eat were protein shakes and water because I couldn't eat any of the food my husband grilled, like chicken and vegetables.  The only food I ate was a scrambled egg every morning for breakfast.  And greek yogurt in small quantitities.

Also, during vacation, we stayed at a KOA campground and did a ton of swimming in the lake and bike riding.  I also walked a TON and played frisbee with my 3 year old, which means I spent an inordinate amount of time fetching his wild throws.  

And.....nothing.  No weight loss. 

12 days, my friends.  This sucks.  

Here's my 3 year old roasting marshmallows.  Then the bottom photo is me (in pajamas) with my 1 year old, the only picture of me on the entire trip (my 3 year old took the picture).  Not sure why we are glowing heavenly white.....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Survey Says!

Did you imagine me saying that title in my best Richard Dawson voice?  Because I totally was.
Okay, everyone is doing it.  Why not?

1.            What is your occupation right now? 
SAHM.  (stay at home mom!) but I'm an occupational therapist when I do work, most of my experience is in hand therapy, acute trauma, and pediatrics (like kids with developmental delays like autism).  I've taken the last year off since my second son was born.  The key to being a happy SAHM is to never actually stay home.  That is the key.  We go places almost every day.  Anywhere from the gym, children's museum, to the grocery store, to playdates in our backyard or in the park---seeing other adults during the day is the only way to stay sane.  
2.            What color are your socks right now?

3.            What are you listening to right now?
I'm listening to the other night's episode of Big Brother.  It's playing on my computer while I read and write.  
4.            What was the last thing that you ate?
Greek yogurt with splenda & Crystal Light mixed in for flavor.

5.            Can you drive a stick shift?
No.  My BFF tried to teach me in highschool.  She chose the cemetery (of all places!) to try and coach me through it.  She was a great teacher but I suck when eye-hand-feet coordination is required.  Which is funny b/c my dad is a helicopter pilot.  Did you know helicopter pilots have to use both feet and hands to fly?  All at the same time!  I obviously was not blessed with any of his coordination.
6.            Last person you spoke to on the phone?
I had to call about a bill saying I owe $1,598 for the anesthesia during my surgery.  Umm, no I don't!  It was $800 and I paid it a month ago.  I even checked with the bank to make sure the check cleared.  WTH?
7.            Do you like the person you stole this blog from?
8.            How old are you today?
9.            What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
College football is the ONLY sport I watch. Go Longhorns!  Texas fight!
10.          What is your favorite drink?
Coffee.  Especially the "bold" flavors made by Keurig.
11.          Have you ever dyed your hair?
Highlights mostly.  I was blonde as a child and it became dark blonde after puberty but I put highlights to make it more blonde.  Once, I got tired of the expense (in college) and dyed it brown.  I did not recognize the girl in the mirror.  Never again.
12.          Favorite food?
13.          What is the last movie you watched?
I honestly can't remember, it's been so long.  We have Netflix but the only thing we watch are TV shows.  Right now my husband and I are watching the 3rd season of True Blood and Friday Night Lights.
14.          Favorite day of the year?
Christmas (because of my boys).
15.          How do you vent anger?
I bitch and moan to anyone who will listen.
16.          What was your favorite toy as a child?
My Cabbage Patch dolls.  Grace Maricela, Mara Cherry, and Gerard Stu (hey!  I didn't name them!)
17.          What is your favorite season?
When I'm in Pittsburgh, it's summer and fall.  If I'm in Texas, I'll take fall/spring.  Summer is too damn hot and humid there.
18.          Cherries or Blueberries?
Rainier cherries.  
19.          Do you want your friends to blog this survey?
20.          Where is you favorite place to escape?
Camping anywhere.  But I don't do tents.  Mama needs a cabin with AC and a bed.
21.          Favorite TV Show(s)?
Of all time?  Six Feet Under.  I liked the series Rome on HBO.  And Spartacus!  
22.          Living arrangements?
We own a beautiful place in Colorado with a view of the mountains but right now we are renting an ugly house in a very urban neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  Can you really expect much from a neighborhood named "Squirrel Hill"?  But it's cool!  Lots of restaurants, shops, etc within an easy walk from our house.  I just miss my beautiful brand new house.....the one I'm living is over 100 years old.  It's somewhat charming but I'm not a fan of the awful 1960's kitchen remodel.
23.          When was the last time you cried?
I have no idea.  I don't cry very easily but if I do it's because I'm super pissed off.
24.          What is on the floor of your closet?
Shoes, shoes, shoes! 
25.          Who is the friend you have had the longest?
I'd say it's my BFFs Jennifer & Lara.  We met in sixth grade (so, 23 years ago).
26.          What did you do last night?
Snuggled with the hubs after the kids went to bed and watched Friday Night Lights.  The episode where the coach caught his daughter in bed with the quarterback.  
27.          What are you most afraid of?
Disability (perhaps because of my career).  All it takes is one second .....  From a head injury to getting your leg ripped off in an accident...working with these patients is rewarding and it reminds you every day that your life could change in an instant.  It makes me appreciate everything I have, every day.  Well, most days.
28.          Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
29.          Favorite dog breed?
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.  Yes, I spelled Wheaten (the breed is spelled with an "e", the color is spelled with an "o.")  We have a 3 year old named Dolly.

30.          Favorite day of the week?
31.          How many states have you lived in?
Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania
32.          Diamonds or pearls?
33.          What is your favorite flower?
I love the smell of verbena. 

more on cheating

So a few days ago I confessed to "cheating" by not adhering strictly to my 3 week diet of liquids only.

So now I need to explain myself a little better.  

Before I decided to chow down on applesauce, Malt O Meal, yogurt, and the like, I came across this post-op diet put out by Cornell University.  Check it out here:  Cornell VSG Guidelines.  

Honestly, I have no idea how surgeons come up with the diet they tell people to follow.  Some say liquids for "X amount of time," while others start VSG patients on mushies right away.  Even the flaky fish I ate was considered a mushy, so I didn't go totally rogue y'all.  I have no idea how much (if any) academic research is out there regarding the most appropriate post-op diet for people with the gastric sleeve.

When I came across Cornell's protocol (prior to my surgery), I bookmarked it in case I found myself hungry in the weeks following surgery.  

I certainly don't encourage anyone to follow this Cornell diet without discussing it with their doctor or anything, but I'm just saying that there seems to be no real consensus on what the "best practice" is for post-op diet with this particular surgery.

In my surgeon's case, he gives all patients a binder that's full of information for gastric sleeve, gastric band, and gastric bypass patients.  He gives us all the SAME diet.  Which I find strange.....

Anyhow, I've had no adverse effects from advancing my diet a wee bit soon, and I'm basically following this Cornell timeline.  But with that said, please know that I'm chewing everything for a LONG time and my 15 month old son eats FAR more in one sitting than I do.  This diet recommends 1/4-1/2C of mushies at any given meal but I can only have about 1/4C at a time right now.  It's amazing how little food it takes to satisfy me for hours on end.