Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lifestyle Overhaul

So I've been posting all those recipes last week and then decided to change my eating habits....go figure! LOL Obviously since the surgery my eating habits have already changed drastically. Gone were the days of fast food, junk food, etc. I've lost 143 pounds since my surgery and that is amazing. But honestly I am stuck - I still would like to loose another 20-25lbs. But even that wouldn't be enough to put me in a normal BMI. Realistically I'd have to loose another 60lbs. Everyone who is close to me says that is crazy because right now I am looking fairly good that 60lbs more seems like this crazy amount. Will I ever loose that 60? I don't know. Will I loose that 20-25? Hell yeah. Will my BMI ever be in the normal range? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I am so much healthier than I was 143lbs ago!!! I know there is a lot of controversy over BMI, so I am trying not to let that play too big a role in my life. Instead I want to concentrate on building more muscle, keeping my blood sugar levels normal, my cholesterol normal, etc. Personally I think those are better indicators of overall health then the BMI %.

So like I said I've been stuck at 143lbs lost for quite a while now. The biggest road block I've had is that I've had four surgeries since my initial gastric bypass surgery. First I had to have two surgeries (unrelated to the gastric bypass - totally different body area) for some personal issues. Then I had a hernia - tear in my intestine. Then I had knee surgery. After each surgery I was faced with a good 6 weeks of no working out. Well you do the math - 4 surgeries x 6 weeks of laying low = 24 weeks of nothing all together. That's a long time. So needless to say that has played a big role in my weight stalling. And while I kept my good eating habits during this time, my body just hasn't budged really. One thing I did stop doing though was logging my food intake - I think that is key for me to have success. I am the type of person who needs to see my numbers - calories, fat, carbs, protein, to keep me on track - to see where I need to make improvements. See while I was still eating well I wasn't tracking my intake so I didn't see my protein levels, which has always been a major thing for me after gastric bypass. For all I know I wasn't getting adequate amount of protein which can also stall the weight loss. 

I did a lot of thinking this past weekend and decided that I really need to kick this into gear. And for me that meant making several changes. 

1.) Upping my water intake - I now am consuming 11 (8oz) cups of water on average. Sometimes it a lil more but at the very least it's a total of 88oz for the day. Not only am I flushing out my body and keeping hydrated, I am also running to the bathroom ALL.THE.TIME, lol, which means more exercise up and down the stairs since the bathroom is upstairs. LOL 

2.) Thanks to reading a blog my friend Jennifer posted regarding the benefits of lemon water (you can read for yourself here on her blog, Loving Me Holistically), I started drinking a cup of warm lemon water every morning. At first I admit I kinda balked at the idea - just warm water with lemon - boring! But then I tried it and I was like, this isn't really all that bad and guess what? I actually like it now! Who knew?! LOL

3.) I have given up all caffeine with the exception of one cup of coffee each morning. I used to drink on average 3-4 or so cups of coffee or other caffeinated drinks. No more.  So I have my lemon water to start the day, then my coffee, and then after that I drink water all day or tea - green tea or a recent favorite is Tazo Zen - a harmonious blend of green tea with lemongrass & spearmint. Yum! 

4.) I've gone back to drinking protein shakes for breakfast and lunch. I get sick of the taste easily so trying to find one that I actually enjoy is key. Ultimately I prefer Chike , but it's a bit expensive for me while I am out of work. So I got this one last week - Six Star Pro Nutrition Fit Rich Chocolate Lean Protein. I got it for about $15 at Walmart. When I make my protein shake I use a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part skim milk. I use to make my protein shakes with straight up skim milk and found them too rich...when I made the switch I found I liked them better. I get a lil bit of protein from the skim milk still but I can tolerate it better. Usually at one of my shakes (breakfast or lunch), I'll also add in an envelope of Carnation Instant Sugar-Free Breakfast. This is one of the things that was approved by my dietitian and surgical team. I don't rely on it simply cause it's not enough protein in my opinion, but when added to my shake, it adds protein and I like the tastes of the two combined. 

5.) Snacks are now things like: Greek yogurt, 2 Halo oranges, 24 seedless grapes, 1 piece of good quality dark chocolate (1 square - not one whole row of chocolate), 1 banana, 1/4 cup of soynuts, a mug of diet hot cocoa with a 1 tablespoon fat free whipped cream in it. 

6.) Dinner is my "big" meal - well as big as one can have after having gastric bypass surgery! LOL 

7.) I have started towards a more vegetarian lifestyle. I've never been a big meat eater, so this isn't that big of a leap for me by any stretch. I have always loved most fruits and veggies and eating a whole meal that consists of nothing but plant based foods is so good. I do not miss meat at all. I am finding so many creative ways to prepare veggies, grains, nuts, etc. that who needs meat? Not I! Karl and the kids aren't going full on vegetarian (at least not yet lol) but they have drastically reduced their meat intake as well. Karl is actually leaning more towards a pescetarian lifestyle, and honestly I'd be ok with the kids doing that as well. I'd much rather see them eating healthy fish/seafood then gobs of fatty, greasy ground beef, etc. I think by starting at their ages now, 7 and 11, we are opening them up to a lifetime of healthier eating. Vicky loves, loves, loves veggies and she loves things like salmon, tilalpia, haddock, etc. Trevor is a harder sell as he's picky esp with the sensory issues, but everything I've been reading about kids on the spectrum and gut issues, I am interested in seeing how a more plant based diet could benefit him. I used to think that I had to eat so much meat though after the surgery to get my protein in. I've discovered I can get adequate protein from a plant-based diet but also that the idea that we need tons of protein isn't true either. 

8.) So I also started exercising again. I have to be super careful because of my knee but I have some workout dvd's and I have started using those. If I come across an exercise that is too taxing for my knee, I just do something else and then continue on. My goal is to exercise 5 days a week for at least an hour a day. So far I've exceeded that every day this week. I am sore as hell right now but it feels kinda good in a strange way! LOL! As I said I am determined to get those 20-25lbs off. I have loose, sagging skin from the extreme weight loss and while I know I'll never get rid of it totally, short of having plastic surgery, I do want to firm up as much as I can and build muscle. 

So what have all these changes started doing for me? 

A.) I am sleeping like a rock. Prior to this I would be awake several times a night, tossing and turning, or just wide awake and unable to get back to sleep. Now when I turn the light off and close my eyes, I am out in no time and I don't wake up till the alarm clock goes off the next morning. I am sleeping so sound. Getting out of bed in the morning isn't quite as hard and my hope is that as time goes on that will get even easier. 

B.) Overall I feel like I have more energy. I don't want to just sit around 24/7 now. I want to be up and active and doing things. 

C.) The scale is moving again and while I am not ready to say how much because honestly I am sure most of it is water weight at this point, it is moving again. I have taken my measurements again and will keep track that way - I think it can be a better indication of the changes in my body. 

D.) My skin feels better - I get very dry skin in the winter but it's starting to look better. 

I am sure as time goes on there will be more changes and more I can talk about. The biggest thing for me is that I do not want to return to the person I was. I do not want to be one of those people who is given this gift/tool (and by that I mean the gastric bypass surgery) and gain all of it back. I wasn't living back then - I was just existing. And despite the knee pain/issues, I am finally living again. I refuse to give that up! I am no longer on the sidelines...I am participating now!!! 

The picture on the left from January 2011 isn't even at my highest weight - I had gained about another 25lbs on top of that. 

The picture on the left is from two weeks pre surgery - when I started the 2 week liquid diet. 

I don't even recognize that person ...I've come so far.I can do this!!! 

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