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Posts Tagged ‘Kaiser’

I’m so excited to let you know that when I got on the scale this morning, it showed that I’ve lost 50.2 lbs so far!  Here are some fast facts about this weight loss:

  • My highest weight of 315 was recorded in September 2012 at Jenny Craig.
  • I accomplished this weight loss while staying smoke free since August 2010.  This was my biggest hurdle, because I used to smoke when I was stressed, upset, angry, etc, and once I quit smoking, I replaced food with smoking, and turned to emotional eating.  It took a LONG time to work past this. This was the main reason it took me 2 years and 9 months to meet the weight loss requirement.
  • I developed plantar fasciitis in the fall of 2012, which hurt my progress because it really limited my workouts.
  • I lost 15 lbs while on Jenny Craig (from September – December 2012).  This was a very expensive 15 lbs, and while it set me on a losing path, I wish I hadn’t spent that much money.
  • It wasn’t until January 2013, when Tinkerbell and I really started supporting each other, that my weight loss really took off.
  • I’ve lost 35 lbs since January 2013, 12 lbs since surgery 2.5 weeks ago.
  • The eating plan that worked?  Following Kaiser’s pre-op plan.

After trying everything under the sun for two years and 4 months, I finally went back to where I began, following Kaiser’s pre-op weight loss plan.  I’m not into regrets, and I really do believe that everything happens for a reason.  So I was meant to follow a long and very challenging path to this weight loss.  Those many, many months of trying this and that, having so many weight loss stalls, losses, and gains led to incredible frustration, but they also showed me how strong I am. How determined I was.  How much I persevere in times of trial.  It taught me how STRONG I am.

But really, if I was advising someone else, I’d say to just follow the plan that Kaiser outlined.  1200 calories a day, high protein, good carbs.  Well balanced meals – protein, fruit, veggies, complex carbs.  3 meals a day, no snacks so that pre-op patients can get used to the lifestyle they’ll be living post-op, when grazing leads to weight gain.  I veered from the strict “3 meals a day” plan with the nutritionist’s blessing because of how early my day begins. I rearranged the 1200 calories so that I could include two snacks – one between breakfast and lunch and the second between lunch and dinner. Exercise 30 minutes, 6 days a week.  My own exercise averaged more like 4-5 days a week, 45-60 minute sessions.  But Kaiser’s overall point is to make exercise a daily part of life.

You guys know that I crave variety in my life, and especially in my workouts.  So I made a point throughout this journey to keep my exercise creative and fun.  I’ve done all sorts of activities to get my calorie burn in:

  • walking (most of the time with Sofi!)
  • elliptical machine (I adore this machine, because it’s easy on the joints, and makes me feel like I’m running on clouds)
  • recumbent bike (this was a godsend when I developed plantar fasciitis)
  • Zumba
  • On-Demand workouts – I love Jill Coleman’s kick boxing workouts
  • Yoga (Bikram is a fave, but I really enjoy the free classes at my local Lululemon, too)
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Swimming (all summer long!)
  • Hot Hula

I am excited to get back to the gym and to all of these activities.  Of course, some of them have to wait until I’ve recuperated a bit more.  I’m even more excited to get to the point where I can start working on some of the things on my Fitness Bucket List. Long after I’ve made my weight loss goals, fitness is going to be the thing that keeps me engaged.  It’s what will drive my strong competitive side.  I love seeing what I can do, and I know that fitness will bring me tons of NSVs for the rest of my life.   I may never become a marathoner (no desire), but I will become as fit and active as I can possibly be.

Another huge factor in my weight loss was logging what I was eating on MyFitnessPal. I have tried so many different online tools for tracking calories, and none of them can compare to MFP.  I love the sense of community and support that I find on there.  Many of my friends on MFP are also WLS patients, so they understand exactly where I’m coming from. I like the ability to see my friends’ food logs so that I can get good ideas for my own meals.  When I see friends logging exercise it spurs me on to get my steps in before the end of the day, too.  I can’t recommend the tool highly enough!  You can click here to friend me on MFP, just make sure to write a note and let me know how you found me.

When the scale doesn’t register a loss no matter how hard I’m working, the thing that keeps me sane is support.  My family and friends are tireless supporters, who put up with every calorie I count, every miniscule weight loss brag, every crying jag when I had a down turn. The support I get from writing this blog amazes me on a daily basis; I’ve made true friendships with people I’ve never even met in real life. Watching YouTube videos of other WLS people, as well as those who are losing weight without surgery, have inspired me immensely.  I even started making videos myself.   When I started to go to the WLS support group at Kaiser in January, it lit a spark in me that continues today. There’s nothing like the freedom of discussing all the changes we’re going through in a forum that feels comfortable and safe.  Even FB has given me support in the form of the Sassy Sleevers group I’m a member of.  I’ve learned lots of tips (like the GasX that saved me post-op), and I’ve been incredibly motivated by the successes shared in that group.

These first 50 pounds lost were incredibly challenging, but they led me to the steps that will take me all the way to my ultimate goal. And looking at them from the other side, I can say that each hard-earned pound was worth the effort.

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There are days when everything seems to align properly and everything that crosses your path just goes perfectly.  Today was one of those days for me.  Today I got an email from my surgeon:

Congratulations on getting to goal weight. Everything appears to be good to go. I will let the scheduler know she can get you scheduled.”

And of course I didn’t wait to hear from the scheduler; I called her right away. When she returned my call (it’s a voicemail line and she always returns it), she let me know that

my surgery is scheduled for May 20th!!!!

Again, I say, BEST NEWS EVER!!!! The news I’ve been waiting for during these long 2 years, 8 months, and especially in the last month, is finally here. I have a surgery date.

I have a surgery date!!!!

I am so excited!!!! It means that my “summer vacation”/surgery recovery begins 3 weeks before school gets out. Which means I get 11 weeks to transition into my new life. I am so thankful that I have the sick leave, as well as the summer vacation to really get used to all the coming changes.

One of the best parts about today is that when I shared my news with my family, friends, and select co-workers, they were genuinely as excited for me as I am for myself. I have amazing people in my life. The support, encouragement, and love I’ve received is phenomenal.

Someone asked me earlier today if I was nervous, and I answered honestly that I’m not one bit nervous.  I think I’ve been preparing for this for so long, done so much research, and heard so many first-hand experiences  that I know exactly what to expect.  I’m so very ready to get on with my new life.

The next step is my pre-op appointment with my surgeon on May 6th, at which time he’ll go over the details of the surgery with me, as well as give me my actual surgery time.

I have 3 1/2 weeks before my last day of work, and I have a ton of things to do to get everything ready to leave. I have lots of grading that I want to finish well before my final work day. Plus, I want to organize everything for my substitute so that taking over my classes is easier for her. Luckily my sub is a former student of mine who is pursuing her credential to teach English. She’s subbed for me several times this year, and she is wonderful. My students will be in good hands, and I’m feeling so lucky that she’s available for the long-term sub job.

My head is swimming with everything I have to do, but for tonight, I just want to relish in this accomplishment. It’s been a long time in coming, and the time has finally arrived.

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bilbl_mainLast night I went to a Kaiser WLS support group, and it was the best 2 hours I’ve spent on a Wednesday evening all year.  I walked out of the meeting completely inspired, totally pumped up, and willing myself to get to my “within 5 lbs” phone call by the next meeting (next month).

My other experience with the Kaiser WLS support group was the completely opposite of this one.  The only good thing about that meeting was that I met BeautyJunkie824 for the first time, and our friendship grew from there.  Most of the people in the meeting that time had been post-op for months, all of them having RNY.  The leader spent the meeting knitting and making less than useful comments.  It was so underwhelming that I never went back.

Until last night.  Tinkerbell and I had been chatting about how we’re really supposed to go to the support group meetings and that neither of us had gone to one.  So, we decided to go to this one last night, which was at a different location than the other one I’d gone to.  It had the same leader that I wasn’t impressed with, but this time the big difference was in the support group members.

There were about 10 people who were pre-op, 7 of whom, including me, where getting the VSG.  Two other members were 1-week post-op, and doing great.  The fact that both of them were feeling well enough to get out of the house and attend a meeting was really encouraging.  There were also a few “old timers” who’d had surgeries 1-2 years ago who were giving sage advice to a few people who’d reached plateaus or were experiencing other struggles.  And there were three others who were scheduled for surgeries within the next two weeks.  So exciting!  The combination of new and old really lent itself to lively discussions, advice, and inspiration.

One of the things that really helped me was hearing from a few people who had similar tales as I did.  Two of them had been within 5 pounds of their pre-op goal weight and then gained it all back and had to re-lose the weight, which they did, and were now post-op.  That motivated me more than anything else, because I know that story.  I’ve never been that close only to have it taken away, but I have been striving for this pre-op goal for longer than most.  But as one of the OGs said to me, “you’re on your own journey, going at your own pace.  You were meant to be at this place now so that you could learn more about yourself.”  And that’s exactly it!

Yes, I’ve been enrolled in this WLS program for 2 1/2 years, and it’s been frustrating and challenging.  But it’s also been a way to learn so much about myself and how I handle adversity, food issues, etc.  At one point last night Tinkerbell leaned over to me and said, “Bella, you were meant to be at this place right now so that we could go through this experience together.  To support each other, and to push each other to get to our goals.”  And she’s so right!

Both Tinkerbell and I are within about 10 lbs of calling for our “5 lbs left to go” notification.  At that point, I can call into the bariatric department and start the ball rolling with getting a surgery date.  I have 11 pounds to lose before I make that call, and I am feeling incredibly inspired to make that goal by February 20th, the date of the next support group meeting.

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

I am really thankful that I have amazing health coverage.  I’ve chosen Kaiser Permanente for years, and I love their approach to health care.  If you don’t live in an area where Kaiser is available, you may not have heard their fun ads on the radio or tv:

Kaiser is all about preventative medicine and treating the whole person.  They even have farmers’ markets at their campuses.

Today I visited the most amazing podiatrist who treated me for my plantar fasciitis.  He recommended that I continue the treatment that I’ve been following: stretches, ice therapy, supportive shoes, using insoles to support my heel, and using swimming and biking as my main exercise. But then he also said he wanted me to get a steroid shot in my heel to alleviate the pain for the next 6 weeks so that I could work on all of those things.  He also said that 95% of the people who follow all of the guidelines he suggests are cured within 6 months, which is promising.  Especially knowing that in 6 weeks when the steroid wears off I can get another shot to manage the pain.  After the podiatrist visit, I headed upstairs to get my free flu shot, which I get every year to ward off the nasty bugs those kids bring to class.

Today’s visit is just a small example.  I’m also really grateful that through Kaiser my entire weight loss surgery, including all pre-surgery appointments, the 2-day hospital visit, and all follow-up visits are completely covered.  Not even a co-pay.  100% covered! Which makes jumping through the hoops of losing the weight for the surgeon’s weight loss requirement worth it.

I feel so grateful to have such great health care with Kaiser Permanente, and I’m grateful that through President Obama’s plan every American will be able to have access to affordable health care.

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Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! (Or was that just me?! :))

As part of this new lifestyle, I’m back on the vitamin bandwagon.  I’m going to be taking these supplements for the rest of my life, so I might as well get used to them, right?  Kaiser Bariatrics put together a list of vitamins that could be purchased at Costco, which really helps to cut down the cost.  So yesterday my wonderful dad took me along for his Costco run so I could get “a few things”:

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Back L-R: sublingual b12, multivitamin, calcium citrate
Front L-R: Iron w/ Vitamin C, D3, B1, and Biotin

(The Biotin is supposed to promote healthy hair, nails, and skin.  This isn’t on the Kaiser list, but in all of the weight loss surgery forums and blogs, Biotin is recommended to prevent/diminish hair loss.  Losing that much weight so quickly seems to do a number on most people’s hair.  I’ve said many times that I have enough hair for 3 people, but even so, I want to do everything I can to make sure it stays that way!!)

The nice thing about buying these vitamins at Costco is that I won’t need to repurchase most of them for 3-6 months.  So while the initial output of cash is fairly high, the overall cost per month is really very low.

But with all these different vitamins that I take a different times, I needed a way to keep it all organized, especially when school is in.  I went on Amazon (where I find EVERYTHING!) and found this great pill organizer.  I really liked that it had room for lots of pills and that it had the separation of AM/PM as well as days of the week.  Plus, I can pull out each day’s compartment and slip it into my purse or lunchbag.

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And just to give you an idea of exactly how many pills I have to swallow, here are today’s supplements all laid out.  Sixteen pills!  The small pink pill near the bottom of the photo is the sublingual B12, which I take twice a week, so on the days I don’t have that I “only” have to take 15 pills.

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But if these pills keep me healthy, I’ll take them.  Once my diet consists of only consuming between 600-900 calories a day, it’s going to be vital that I take these in order to maintain healthy levels. It’s a lot better than the alternative of being on lots of different medications, right?

What’s your take on vitamins?  Do you take them?

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This little saying goes directly with a couple of the updates I have to share with you in today’s mish-mosh post.

Yesterday I was determined to put my words from Sunday’s post into action.  I checked in on my personal FB page and wrote,

Every damn day until I reach my mini goal. Keep me honest!”

Then, on my personal FB page, the one for this page, and also in a tweet, I showed this “proof”:

One reason I chose the bike instead of the elliptical was because I was inspired by Kenlie’s post where she said she’s striving to reach 12 miles in an hour next time she rides her bike.  Now of course, riding your bike outside is a lot harder than at the gym, but to make up for it, I increased my resistance to 7.  There were times during my workout where I was riding well over 12 mph, but then others where I was going slower, so I averaged 10.91 mph, which is a start.  MyFitnessPal said I’d burned 830 calories in my 35 minutes, and while I may not have burned quite that many, I was a sweaty mess when I left the gym.  #sweat pink, right?  (BTW – you’ll notice that this photo was taken at a much more flattering angle than the one I posted on my FB page the other day.  I never said I wasn’t vain :)).

I meant what I typed on FB yesterday – I plan on getting a hard workout in every single day from here on out.  I won’t hit the gym everyday (I’m guessing), but I will post a “sweatyface” pic and some sort of “proof” on my FB page everyday.  You can like my page if you want to follow along and keep me honest.

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Yesterday evening I attended a Stress Reduction class offered through Kaiser’s Mind Body program, as suggested by my therapist.  One of the main reasons I overeat/binge eat is stress, so she figured it might have some good coping skills for me to learn. The class was fine, but I really didn’t get anything new out of it.  I guess it was a good reminder of a few techniques.  One thing that I found interesting was the way that the teacher defined stress:

Stress = Demands > Resources

And it’s in finding the resources when those demands come up that is essential in managing stress.

A question that came up in the self-evaluation that we took asked about how much free time we have.  I’m sure that’s a source of stress for so many people – not having time for themselves.  If I’m honest, which I was when I answered the questionnaire, I have plenty of free time, it’s just how I choose to use it that I need to work on.  Attending the class last night from 6pm-7:45pm or so fit in nicely with my schedule.  It “used up” some of my evening, which left less idle time when I might be tempted to eat mindlessly.  And Sofi was just fine with me leaving her – I’d gotten home from the gym in plenty of time to play with her and get some of her energy out.  Which just leads me to the conclusion that I can easily go to the gym for a class on the B Days when I get out of school later or have other obligations after school.  I just need to look at attending the workout class the same way I looked at attending the Stress Reduction class – as a commitment I’ve made.

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I’m nothing if not someone who strives on competition.  Most of the time the competition is within myself to push past my previous personal best.  But I also believe that a bit of competition with other people is not a bad thing, either. It’s not about jealousy; seeing how well someone else is doing spurs me on to do my best.

Case in point, yesterday a colleague of mine told me that her daughter had finally met the weight loss requirement for Kaiser and that she’d be getting WLS within about 6 weeks.  To give you some background, this girl was totally unmotivated, using every excuse possible to avoid losing the weight.  She was also really depressed, had a back injury, and was just really negative about everything.  It’s been almost 3 years that she’s been in the bariatric program, trying to lose the weight.  When I heard that she’d finally done it, I was pleasantly surprised and happy for her.  But I was also inspired and determined to get there myself.  If she could do it, with all of the things that she had going against her – injury, depression, a bad attitude – then surely I could do it, too. Competition will keep me committed.

Because of her injury, she lost all of the weight with diet alone.  She followed a high protein diet, and just kept at it.  Now I am perfectly healthy and able to workout, so if I keep up my current pace, that will help me tremendously.  But I also need to get back to a more protein-based diet.  Lately I’ve been letting carbs creep back in.  I’m fine with the carbs that come from veggies and fruit, because I think those are important to keep my nutrition balanced.  What I need to cut back on are the carbs that come from crackers, Pop Chips, rice, etc.  I don’t want to eliminate them altogether, but I do want to avoid them, especially at dinner.

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So, after writing all of that, I’ll  leave you with this…

Tuesday sounds like a great day to me!

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This morning I took a huge step toward making sure that this statement is true for me.  I made a therapy appointment.

This is big news for me for a few reasons.  First because for the longest time I viewed therapy as something that helped other people but just “wasn’t for me.”  And then I took the groundbreaking step of meeting  with a therapist late last summer and got a few insights into my disordered eating.  But I didn’t keep up the appointments because I really didn’t like the therapist that much after I met with him a couple of times.  He seemed to focus more on the way he thought I should eat (he didn’t like the 1200 calorie Kaiser diet), rather than the reasons why I overate.  Plus, he related everything to himself, which seemed more than slightly narcissistic, but what do I know.

And since that time, I’ve been struggling quite a bit with disordered eating.  I’d hold it together during the day and then come home in the afternoon and eat way too much.  Or I’d leave work on a Friday afternoon and hit the grocery store like an addict hits the corner looking for her drug of choice.  It’s been anything but healthy, even if the food I am eating during these binges is.  For every pound or two I’d lose, I’d gain another 4 in one weekend, then work those off, only to gain them back again.  It’s been an ugly cycle for a while now, and if I hope to make my Birthday Goals, I need it to stop.

Even this week I’ve been off, when I’ve had all the time in the world to workout, has left me feeling really blah and lazy.  I’ve worked out a bit, but nothing compared to what I could or should be.  And while I haven’t had any really bad episodes, I have found myself eating out of boredom several times.

When I went to that Healthy Eating class the other week at Kaiser, they had us fill out a self-evaluation to determine which of their many weight-related resources would be best suited for us.  And my results said that I should take the Food for Thought class (all about binge eating) before attempting to lose weight.  Which really hit home for me.

After all, I’ve been trying to meet the surgeon’s weight requirement for the WLS since August 2010 a goal (45 lbs) that I should have easily reached by now.  I know how to eat right, I know how to keep exercise fun so that I do it on a regular basis.  But the fact that I am an emotional eater pushes that goal further out of reach each time.  Which is frustrating, and the endless cycle drags me down and makes me feel lousy.

So, it’s time to delve into those scary recesses of my mind to figure out other ways of coping with stress, boredom and whatever else causes me to eat my troubles away.  Taking such an inward journey is never easy, but if I can learn how to stop disordered eating, it will be well worth it.  Because the WLS is a tool to help me with portions of food that I eat, but it’s not a surgery that will work on my mind.  Only I can do that.

It’s a relief to begin this work, and I’m so grateful that they had an opening for me tomorrow afternoon.  Because turning to food when I feel out of control and stressed is just a symptom of a greater problem that I am going to need help figuring out.  I’m tired of feeling like I’m living two lives.  Like I’m keeping up some sort of facade.  I feel ashamed of myself too often, and I’m worth more than the way that I’ve been treating myself.  I’m really ready and open to work with a new therapist.  I know I want to meet with her one-on-one, but maybe taking the Food For Thought group session/class would be worthwhile, as well.  I’ll definitely make sure to update you with what we decide.

Writing this post was really difficult for me, because it’s admitting a major weakness.  But I finally realized that in order to get stronger, to become whole, I have to admit to these behaviors and seek help to correct them. It’s the next step.  For now, I’d appreciate your positive thoughts that I’m able to get a grip on this so that I can reach my full potential in all areas of my life.

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Can it really be Sunday already?  What happened to the week?  This update was supposed to happen on Wednesday, but one thing led to another, and here we are.  I guess it’s appropriate that today is Palm Sunday.

This past week was a “fake it ’till you make it” sort of week.  What I mean by that is, I wasn’t really “feeling it” last week, but I went through the motions anyway.  I whipped up my smoothies, packed my lunches, planned my dinners.  I went on walks with Sofi, went to the gym, and followed a few DVDs at home.  Nothing necessarily inspired, but I still got it done.  And some weeks, that’s really all I can ask of myself.  It helps me stay consistent, which I know is the biggest problem I have.  So, could I have had a better week?  Sure.  But am I proud of what I DID do?  Absolutely!

Wednesday evening I attended a health education class called Managing Your Weight offered by Kaiser.  It was a prerequisite to the series I was planning on attending, the Healthy Weight Program.  Long story short, I’m really glad I attended the class because it let me know that the Healthy Weight Program wasn’t going to be something that I needed.  So I saved myself $75 and 10 weeks.  The program has different topics each week – nutrition, motivation, exercise, etc. but I feel like I could lead the class on any of those topics.  Kaiser did give a list of lots of other resources that they offer, and I do think I’m going to take advantage of a few of them, including the online version of the Healthy Weight Program, which is free.  That way, I can get the information, but I don’t have to be anywhere at any certain time.

They also offer a support group/class for eating disorders, binge disorders specifically, and but after I thought about it, I decided that my time would be better served meeting with a therapist one-on-one about those same issues, among others.  That way, I can be really open and honest, and the focus of the entire session will be on me, so hopefully the breakthroughs will come sooner and a course of action can be recommended more accurately.

I’ve also decided that these next 14 weeks are going to be a big push for me to qualify for the surgery. My birthday is July 2nd, 14 weeks away, and what better gift could I give to myself that to reach this goal that’s nearing two years in the making?  So from now on, I’ll be giving Sunday updates/weekend wrap-ups on my progress called Birthday Gift Goal Updates.

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I saw this on Alyssa’s blog and I just knew I had to steal it.  It encapsulates so many different things that I’ve been going through:

  • Frustration over slow (or no) weight loss.
  • Feelings of failure around the fact that I’m STILL not where I want to (or should) be.
  • Lack of willpower when it comes to food.
  • Trying this thing and that thing, all resulting in the same thing – nothing. 

But it also speaks to the main thing that I needed to read today – just RELAX and realize that I will succeed, eventually.  But only if I truly believe in myself.

It came out again last night when I was with my family and my mom asked me why I thought it had taken me so long.  She didn’t mean it in a mean way, she was sincerely trying to understand.  But tears rushed to my eyes, and I said in a very small voice, “because somewhere deep inside, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to do this.”  (I get teary-eyed now as I type that sentence).  I explained that consciously I have a lot of confidence in myself.  I’m proud of myself for my perseverance, my positive attitude, and my ability to never give up.  But subconsciously there’s that voice in my head (that evil bitch, Fat Girl) that tells me I’ll never really get what I want most.  I even mentioned that as thrilled and excited and happy as I am for my friends who have (and are) losing weight, I am also really envious of them, too.  I mean, naturally, right?  But then again, they worked for what they got, and I need to do that too.  The evening was cathartic, but emotionally draining.

And really, for the past several days I’ve been feeling lousy, mentally and physically.  I took a couple days off of work, and it helped.  One thing that’s become abundantly clear to me is that I need a support group to air out a lot of the feelings and emotional issues I have around food.  Don’t get me wrong, you guys, my friends, and my family are all great support systems, but I need the paradox of camaraderie and anonymity that comes with a support group.  People that don’t know all about me yet can share my struggle.  A place to talk about the issues that are coming up and maybe get some advice as to how to deal with them.  And maybe a bit of education, too.  I know more than I ever need to about food and nutrition, but I could definitely use some skills around coping with stress.  It’s getting so bad that I’m getting persistent headaches, stomach problems, and my face is breaking out.

So I decided to look into what Kaiser could offer.  In Southern California, Kaiser requires WLS patients to enroll in an Options class, which is a weekly 12-week class that meets for two hours each time.  Education about nutrition, emotional eating, preparation for WLS, and support.  The thinking is that by the end of the class, the participants have everything they need to lose the required weight.  In fact, many of them finish the series and have lost the required weight.  Sounds fantastic, right?  I know!  The problem?  They don’t offer it here in Northern California.

But I didn’t let that stop me.  Because if there’s one thing you can say about Kaiser it’s that they are excellent about the education classes/support groups that they offer.  And I knew there had to be something available to me.

The first thing is obvious – there’s a bariatric support group meeting once a month in my area.  In fact, it meets at two different locations, two different times of the month, so it’s really available twice a month.  I went to one group and felt like they spent all the time talking about food (just like in many WW meetings), and I didn’t find it helpful.  Plus, most of the attendees were post-op, so there wasn’t as much for a pre-op person like me to glean.  But then again, I’m sure that if nothing else, it will keep me on my game and recharge my commitment. And I shouldn’t judge it based on only going to one meeting.

Then I also found out that Kaiser offers a Healthy Weight Program which “is designed to help you adopt healthier lifestyle habits. Share ideas, discuss challenges, and get support from others. Discussion topics include physical activity, nutrition, and stress management.”  It’s a weekly series that runs for 10 weeks, each session lasting two hours long, and the fee is $75 ($7.50/week).  The education staffer I spoke with said that they even provide a diet coach who works with each participant personally.  The program isn’t just for people who are having WLS, in fact, I’m guessing that many of them are just people who want to lose weight, or have to lose weight for some sort of surgery, etc.  In any case, I think it will be a great step for me.  There’s a pre-class to explain more about what the Healthy Weight Program entails, which I’m enrolled in for March 28th. The classes begin on April 18th through June 20th.  It’s going to be my goal that by the end of those classes, I’ve met my weigh loss requirement.

But I’m not going to wait for April 18th to get started.  I’m continuing on the path that I’ve started.  Going back to where it all began in August 2010:

  1. Following Kaiser’s 1200 calorie/day meal plan.  Protein first, healthy carbs, whole grains, and lots of water.
  2. Exercising.  30 minutes every single day, and 60 minutes of more intense activity 4 times a week, minimum.  450 minutes/week.
  3. Taking my vitamins. I’ve gotten way off track with this.
  4. Tracking my food in MyFitnessPal. I’ve tracked for over 90 days: good, bad, and ugly, which I’m really proud of.
  5. Blogging at least 4 times a week to connect, support, and encourage.

Chill, Bella, you GOT this!

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As you know too well (because I mention it on here almost every day), my surgeon gave me a goal weight that I had to get to in order to qualify for surgery waiting list.  266 is the magic number.  Last September when he gave me that number, it was only 25 pounds from what I weighed in at the time.

Flash to today.  I’ve since gained 20 additional pounds from quitting smoking and the holidays, making it 45 pounds to reach the 266 pound goal.  And because of some indulging and poor choices most recently over my birthday/4th of July weekend, I’ve got 30 pounds to go to reach the goal.  And that feels really insurmountable, given my history of back & forth, yo-yo, roller coaster dieting.  I can sustain something for a couple of months, then I go off, and by “off” I mean OFF, and I put myself 10 paces back.  So frustrating.

(As to the reason why I do that to myself – it’s because I’m thinking short term, plain and simple.  The instant gratification of eating this snack or that treat or not going to workout  versus the long term goals that I am really striving toward.  Giving in too easily to temptation.  Getting out of control and having disordered eating.  I believe AA calls this “stinkin’ thinkin’ “).

Scale Warfare knows my frustration and feels my pain.  It may not cost me a penny to have WLS through Kaiser, but they do put a lot of added stress by creating the extra requirement of losing a certain number of pounds before I can even begin to meet all the pre-op requirements of psych eval, surgeon meeting, other testing, etc.  So she suggested that I talk to the folks at Kaiser and see if they would budge at all in the weight goal.  With her encouragement, I decided to give it a try, because the worst they can say is no.

I started by calling the bariatric office and without meaning to, I got really emotional (cried) on the phone when I was explaining the situation.  I apologized and the woman was really sympathetic to me.  She suggested that I contact my surgeon, but that I also contact the nutritionist/dietician.

So I emailed the surgeon and recounted the facts and asked him if we could re-evaluate the goal weight.  I’m hoping that he comes back and says that he’ll meet me in the middle and allow me to lose 15 more pounds.  But I’m also preparing for the worst case scenario of him telling me no, I have to lose all of it.

Then I left a message with the nutritionist/dietician office, which was quickly returned.  Basically, the dietician told me that when I was following the program, I was doing it perfectly.  Maybe a bit too perfectly.  And then when I would hit a stall or when I had had enough of all of this over-restriction, I went completely off plan and my weight skyrocketed.  Instead she said that I should allow myself that treat or glass of wine now and then and make up for the additional calories by working out a little more.  She said that the more consistent I could be with my food and exercise, the better I would do.  She also mentioned that plans like Medifast or even SBD are just too restrictive and when you reintroduce a food group that you’ve been denying yourself, the body naturally reacts and gains weight.  It makes perfect sense.  She said that the psychologist in her makes her think that I’m an all or nothing type of person (Bingo!!) and that if I can try to use more moderation I’d end up doing so much better. She said that changing plans or modifying my eating and/or exercise program isn’t what is going to work long term.  Quick fixes aren’t the answer (she must’ve read my mind because I’ve been contemplating going on my own version of Medifast by buying protein shakes from GNC and just drinking those to lose the weight).

She said:

You CAN do this.  You have the knowledge, you have the skills, you just have to put your mind to it.  Nothing is preventing you from losing weight but you.  If you really put your mind and actions to this, you WILL do it.  In THREE months, you’ll have the weight off.  I guarantee you that.  You just have to want it and follow through that wanting with action.  Just think, if you stay strong and talk yourself down from temptations or completely falling off the wagon and gaining weight, you can have the surgery by November or December and start the new year with a new you.”

And that’s really all I needed to hear.  I know in my heart that I can do it, but I keep preventing myself because I give in to stupid cravings and don’t look at the bigger picture.  And another month or two go by.  Enough with this!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written that same phrase on this blog, but if the nutritionist is saying, buckle down and go for it, I think it’s time to listen.

So no matter what the surgeon tells me about how much more weight I have to lose, I’m going to do it.  Because I can.  Because I should.  Because it’s time.

Today has been filled with motivation from every direction – my weight gain, the great presents from SW, going to the pool and working out even though it was hot and I wasn’t feeling 100%.  These are all signs that are pointing in the same direction – do what I need to do to get where I want to go.  And this time, this time, I’m going to FINALLY listen.

I’ll never know what I’m truly capable of until I ask myself to do it.

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