Post Op Day 449 (week 64 stats)

Sixty-four weeks. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever done anything in my entire life so successfully for 64 weeks in a row. 

I weighed 169 this morning. Essentially the same as two weeks ago (I weighed 170 on my last weigh in). A tiny little loss. I’ll take it. 🙂

I haven’t felt great this week. I’m learning that I have quite a delayed physical response to running a race. Immediately following, I feel fine but 2 or 3 days later I feel completely wiped out. I felt super yucky Monday – sick to my stomach, seeing stars if I stood too quickly, lethargic – and felt moderately better Tuesday but still tired, and almost back to normal today. It’s definitely impacted my desire to workout the past few days!

Other Misc Updates: 

For once in my life I’m experiencing what it’s like to review vacation photos and not feel the need to groan when I see myself in pictures. I actually am pretty happy with how I look in nearly every picture. My clothes look like they fit (always a prob when I was heavier, I’d look at a photo and see how my top bunched or strained or my too-tight waistband created a tummy roll), I look strong and healthy. Who knew?! 🙂


Yesterday I took a stroll on one of Tennessee’s many cedar glades to see what remained of this season’s cone flowers. You can see I definitely missed them at their peak but I love them even in their decay.

Random fun fact for you: middle Tennessee has the largest concentration of ‘cedar glades’ in the country. Cone flowers thrive on these glades. 

And since it’s the summer and summer in this area equates to incredible heat and stifling humidity, I’m trying to pay a lot of attention to hydration and electrolytes. I picked up some of these SaltStick chews to try out.

The recommended dose is one chew every 15-30 minutes of strenuous activity. I’ve been including these on days when I’m running or hiking. I try to stay on top of hydration, because as many of you know, we can’t just swig 60oz of water or Gatorade at one time during a workout. Instead, it’s sip, sip, sip, sip throughout. And if you forget to sip, it’s hard to get caught up again. 

Speaking of running, I tried to take one of those super posed but awesome running photos on Monday on a trail. Didn’t quite nail it, but I tried:

And to continue speaking of running, I signed up for a 10 Mile trail run at the end of July. I’m trying to determine if I could survive a 17.5 Mile trail run that takes place in September and figured that 10 is the next jump up from the 6 miler I have in a few weeks. I think I want to do it. It scares me, but in a good way. 

And in other news, my vein surgery has been approved by insurance but not scheduled yet. I hope they do soon. It’s all black and bruised and yucky looking:

Recap:

Highest Weight Pre-Op: 331
Surgery Day: 322
One Year (Week 52): 168
Week 53: 167 (-1)
Week 54: 168 (+1)
Week 55: 166 (-2)
Week 56: 167 (+1)
Week 57: 167 (-0)
Week 58: 170 (+3)
Week 59: 168 (-2)
Week 60: 170 (+2)
Week 61: 168 (-2)

Week 62: 170 (+2)

Week 63: (no weigh in)

Week 64: 169 (-1)

Post Op Day 448

So I’ve tried some new food stuff lately and thought I’d share. I also had to get creative in Seattle with meals and wanted to post about that too. My first trip sans microwave!

I’m still 100% enamored with the Dymatize brand protein bars. The texture of these is great – chewy, but not tough like a quest bar. More like a warm tootsie roll. Which sounds kinda gross but is delish. I found a PB flavor at the GNC in Seattle and wound up ordering myself a whole box. Highly recommend the birthday cake flavor too.

I happened across a new flavor of Power Crunch bars at Wal-Mart this week too. Red Velvet which is superb. Vanilla remains my favorite flavor of these bars but the cookies & cream, mocha, and peanut butter fudge are yummy too. I like that these bars are relatively low carb.

I also tried one of the premade “protein mug cakes” since I screw up every single recipe I try on my own. This one, by “Flap Jacked”, is perfectly delicious and warm and gooey. The nutritional stats are pretty decent too. At $3 each, though, not something I’ll be eating on the regular. 

And while I was in Seattle, I didn’t have a fridge or microwave (ugh!), which I normally rely heavily on when I travel so here are some of the simple things I picked up to eat or snack on:

Though I ate most dinners from the hot bar at Whole Foods (tofu!), B and I did venture to a korean restaurant one night for bibimbap and it was amazing. I only ate about a third of it, but it was oh so good!

Finding hot food that I can eat, that is ideally gluten free and definitely meat free and dairy free is a challenge! Especially when you figure in the cost, knowing you’re going to trash 2/3 of the order at a restaurant! Which is why I wind up relying on protein shakes or bars or pouches of tuna, but those things get old fast! 

But, like everything else: It’s a decision. I try to make the best food choices I can, protecting my stomach from what I know will make me sick and opting for things that will give me the fuel I need to accomplish whatever it is I’m doing. 

Have you tried anything new lately? Any easy grab-and-go go-to snacks? 

Post Op Day 446

I have been a long-time fan of Roxane Gay. Her novel, An Untamed State, is a story that is so raw and brutal – I read it a few years ago and could still tell you all about it in detail. My sister-in-law and I rarely read the same types of books but she read it too and will still occasionally text me and say “so I’m stilllllll thinking about that book….”. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. So when I heard that her newest book, Hunger, would be a memoir about her body, I knew I had to read it.

Roxane has a story that is entirely different from mine, and yet, in some ways so, so very similar. Although my weight gain wasn’t triggered in quite the same way her’s was as a pre-teen, it was around that same time that I, too, wanted to build up a barrier of flesh to protect me from getting hurt. Particularly when it came to hurt from boys and then men. During 25 years of failed relationships, struggles, hurt, a divorce, depression, anxiety and grief, and I built a barrier so sound that even I couldn’t find a way to break through it, just as Roxane describes in the book.

She sums up her experience by saying:

When I read that sentence I had to turn off my kindle and sit with it. Hunger is about wanting what you cannot have, or wanting what you can’t even dare to allow yourself to think about having.

Think about that. Hunger – all that hunger that oreos and McDonalds and pints of ice cream and chinese take out can’t begin to fill – is simply wanting what you can’t allow yourself to have. It’s like a shudder passes through me when I think about it in that way.

As far back as elementary school I was the girl who “settled for” the best friend of my best friend’s boyfriend. I never liked whichever boy it was and most of the time was miserable because what I truly wanted was my best friend’s boyfriend… not his best friend. I remember so strongly the longing for what I couldn’t admit I wanted. The security in telling myself “well, I didn’t really like him anyway” when the boy would eventually break things off with me (via a note, most likely, ha). The thrill of having this secret crush on someone I knew I couldn’t have. It protected me. It allowed me to participate in the rush of love and playground kisses and notes passing furtively under desks without really genuinely putting myself or my heart on the line.

I kept this pattern up for years. Settling for someone while pining away for someone else whom I’d never admit to liking out loud. I liked the most unavailable boy possible. Every time.

I’ve searched and searched through all of my memories to try to figure it out – why did I find it so hard to say what I wanted, allow myself to want it, to allow other people to know I want it, and to be okay if I didn’t get it. But I can’t find anything that set this pattern in motion. I don’t know. But I sure continued it.

For years during my twenties my experiences with men were fraught with hurt and deceit – on both parts. I accepted far, far less than I know I deserved because I was happy to have anyone who paid any attention to me. I went for the most unavailable men possible – frequently falling for someone who lived in a different country or state, or even once: who spoke an entirely different language. Similarly, I withheld and offered only parts of myself up to others and kept the “real me” or the “best of me” to myself. I told half truths and lied and, especially when it came to internet dating, I was able to win men over with my personality and a flattering small photo before they met me and saw all 300 unhappy pounds of me. I remember the anxiety and stress of that. Of knowing that as soon as they saw me they’d run the other direction. And most of the time they did. But often not before hurting me in some way. And I’d comfort myself by saying that they didn’t really know me anyway. That I’d kept the best things about me safe and far out of reach, hidden underneath rolls of fat.

Hell – to be honest, I did this exact same thing when I was 13 or 14 years old: I’d “meet” boys over the phone who went to different schools and were friends of friends of friends and I’d do everything in my power to hide what I looked like from them. I’d have elaborate drawn-own, emotional relationships with them, spending hours on the phone together every day often to have them never speak to me again once we met in person. Once, upon meeting a boy who I’d only spoken with I heard him say to a friend, so so disappointingly: “I can’t believe she’s chubby.” Another time, the boy came up to me at an amusement park where we’d arranged for our parents to drop us off for the day, confirmed who I was and then simply walked back away. I never spoke to him again. I spent that day alone and then made up a story about how much fun I’d had when my mom picked me up. I acted like everything was ok. I acted like I didn’t need or want attention from this boy.

But I was hungry – starved – for affection and attention. And I couldn’t admit it, or allow myself to want it.

Roxane’s remark above that the person she was/is physically was not the same as the internal person she was/is, struck a chord with me too. When you’re overweight, they rarely are. And, to be honest, even much thinner now – the two are still rarely the same. Who I am inside is not at all what my physical being looks like. It’s weird. I wonder if anyone is.

In the book, she describes too the experience of binge eating and the unsatisfactory hollowness that follows:

It’s true for me too: no matter how much I eat I can never escape whatever it is I’m feeling. It’s infuriating and frustrating and, for two – almost three – decades, didn’t stop me from trying. She goes on, throughout the book, to describe what it’s like to live in a body that is “unruly” that is “undisciplined” and that society either scorns or pities. She talks of the too small airplane seats, the ritual of checking the stability of chairs before sitting in them, and the anxiety around doing anything remotely physical in front of other people. I recall living with those feelings the majority of my life – the stress of the weight and how it affected my daily life but being unable to make necessary changes to remedy it.

Another sentence that stopped me in my tracks: “I know that hunger is in the mind and the body and the heart and soul”. YES. I spent a lot of time yesterday during and after my race thinking about that statement. The terminology we use to describe food hunger (starving, hungry, ravenous, empty, famished) is the exact same as the terminology we use to describe hunger for love, for attention, for affection, for comfort, for peace, for calm…. for all those things that reside outside of the physical.

When I think back to being that little girl who settled for the best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend, I also see a hunger for stabiilty or constancy at home. I see a girl whose body developed far faster than her emotions did. I see a girl who was “the third wheel” in the trio of mother, brother, and self. I see a girl who didn’t believe that she fit in; who was too smart and needed to hide it, disguise it, shift the attention away from it. I see a girl who was ashamed of how she looked and who, even at 10 or 11 was wearing “juniors” clothing in the largest size any store carried while her mom was thin and energetic and sexy and wore much smaller sizes. I see a girl who escaped her life into books and into writing in journals; who had a 4-year college guidebook in elementary school and dreamed of going far, far away. I also see a girl who ate constantly – who hid candy and Little Debbie snack cakes in her room, who would demand separate dinnertime meals that satisfied some hunger: both physical and also for attention. I see a girl who was sad and didn’t know why.

This final excerpt reminds me of two things. One, it reminds me of a newspaper clipping my mom used to have taped to our refrigerator of a thin woman stepping out from an unzipped fat person’s body. The idea that there was a thin version of me inside of the fat version of me was something that was so firmly planted in my mind that it was hard to shake it.

Two, this quote reminds me of a type of meditation where the mantra that you repeat is “I am not the body, I am not even the mind”. When I was first introduced to this message something clicked into place inside of me. Who I am – my being, my heart, my passion, my fears, ME – does not reside in my mind nor does it reside in my body. I’m not either of those things. I reside in them, but I am not them. It brings me so much comfort to remind myself of that. I often find myself repeating those statements to myself when I can’t sleep or when I’m anxious. It reminds me that my body is a vehicle for who I am – that if the scale is up or down, it doesn’t change who I am. It simply changes how heavy my physical being is. It reminds me that the voice in my head, who is negative and chatty and who tells me I can’t achieve things, is not me either. It’s just a loop of messages I’ve told myself, or other people have told me, over time.

It’s something to think about.

Clearly, I think this book is well worth a read. I related to everything in it and continue to think that Roxane Gay writes with honesty and respect about herself and her body. About all women’s bodies who have ever struggled with weight and depression and trauma and grief. It’s a book that, like others she’s written before it, will stay with me.

Post Op Day 445 

So today was the 10-miler that I have been simultaneously excited about and dreading since I signed up for it. It’s a race that’s known around these parts as notoriously difficult, hot, hilly, and is one of those races where a lot of people turn around after the first mile or two. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who ran it and I never was the running condition or physical shape to do it.

Until this year!

I completed the race in just under one hour and forty-five minutes – which is a 10:25/mile. A smidge slower than my ideal but it was HOT and HILLY, just like they said it would be!

I have to say, though, that whoever chose the course – 22 years ago! – chose well. In the first half of the race, you climb hill after hill before reaching the worst hill right around 5 miles. That’s the only one I walked – you can see on the elevation chart below that it is a STEEP hill! So I walked it and used that as a chance to shove a couple of gatorade chews in my mouth for salt & electrolytes. The second half of the race is a slow downhill – though there are still some rolling hills – before encountering the last challenging hill right at the 9 mile mark. I was proud of myself for not walking that hill – nearly everyone else was but I powered on through and wound up running the final mile the fastest!

I was pleased to have pretty even splits – each mile being between 10:11 and 10:36, which the exception of the Mile Five Monster Hill and the last mile. It’s always hard to not run too hard/too fast too soon so I’m proud of myself for keeping it nice and steady!

I dug out this old picture of me and had to put it side-by-side with a picture B took this morning. The picture of the left was taken in the summer of 2007 – TEN years ago! – at my very first 5K. I’d trained for that race and lost about 25-30 pounds doing so. I ran the 5k in about 37 minutes. I weighed about 225 pounds here.

Today, on the right, TEN years later – sigh, I’m old! – and I ran 10 miles at a faster pace than I could run three back then and I’m 60 pounds lighter. And B, because he knows the correct answer, said I barely look like I’ve aged at all in the face. Here’s to hoping that ten years from now I’ll add a third picture the two below and I’ll be saying how much faster and lighter I am compared to the first two! 🙂

 

Post Op Day 442 (week 63 stats)

No weigh in this week as I’m still on my trip. 

We are hike, hike, hiking. 

Here yesterday:

And here today:

Two very pretty 10 miles hikes to two very different, very stunning lakes. 

Recap:

Highest Weight Pre-Op: 331
Surgery Day: 322
One Year (Week 52): 168
Week 53: 167 (-1)
Week 54: 168 (+1)
Week 55: 166 (-2)
Week 56: 167 (+1)
Week 57: 167 (-0)
Week 58: 170 (+3)
Week 59: 168 (-2)
Week 60: 170 (+2)
Week 61: 168 (-2)

Week 62: 170 (+2)

Week 63: (no weigh in)

Post Op Day 441

Things I have *not* done in Seattle:

  • My scheduled runs
  • Eaten like a crazy person
  • Rested

Things I’ve done instead: 

  • Hiked and hiked some more (which the real hikes still to come!)
  • Walked. Like crazy walked. 
  • Made myself sit and chill out today because I am super sore. 
  • Went to a concert. 
  • Ate delicious korean food. 

Some details:

I, for real, have been walking:

Check out that 45,000 step day yesterday!!! I will say though that this level of go, go, go has me very hungry. I’ve been having an extra protein shake and tofu and lots of electrolyte water to stay full and satisfied. 

I have seem some unbelievably gorgeous things: 

Friday –

Saturday –

Sunday – 

And today (so far) –

For a city that I’ve visited so often, I’m so pleased with all the things I’m still exploring and discovering. It’s also been fun to take B to some spots that I’m most fond of. 

Tomorrow morning we venture off into the North Cascades to do our “real” hiking and to stay at the coolest airbnb that we’ve seen. Looking forward to it. Also looking forward to a fridge and microwave. Omg, I miss EGGS!! Can’t wait to cook me some for dinner tomorrow night!! 

Post Op Day 437

Five years ago I had a total melt down on Mount Si. Considered the most classic of all of the Seattle area hikes, a friend chose it as the place to celebrate my birthday. The hike up and down Mt. Si is no joke — it’s 3.7 miles uphill and you gain 3000ft in elevation in those miles and the footing, at times, is very rocky which makes going down those 3.7 miles an adventure as well. Needless to say, it isn’t an “easy” hike.

Five years ago, I made it about a half of a mile up before falling apart and walking back down. I haven’t been back to that trail since.

I honestly considered not even doing it on this trip – there’s something about it that has hung over me all of these years. The aching hurt. The despair. The frustration at my inability that day to push past it. It’s kind of become this epic failure in my mind.

But this morning I talked myself into it. I drove the 45 minutes east to the trailhead and did it.

It took me one hour and forty minutes to make my way up. They say if you can do it under two hours then you’re capable of hiking Mt. Rainer, so go me! And it only took an hour to come back down as I hopped, skipped, jumped, and jogged my way back down.

I’m SO glad I went and proved to myself that it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a mountain. It’s seen WAY WORSE things than me crying on it five years ago. I’m capable and I’m strong and several people said “wow, I wish I could do that” as I whizzed by them on my way down jogging just about effortlessly.

As a side note – if you ever watched Twin Peaks, most of the outdoor shots were filmed in North Bend, where Mt Si is located. It towered over the cafe in the series (below). The town itself is one of those charming one-red-light towns where the main attraction is a dairy dip. 🙂

My biggest decision now is which hike to do tomorrow………