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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 10Wisdom
What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I feel as if I’ve made many wise decisions in 2010 – moving to an amazing duplex, encouraging my sister to move back to our hometown, getting Lulu, switching from WW to counting calories (not that I have anything against WW, it just didn’t work for me, personally), deciding to get Lap Band surgery, etc.   But one of the best decisions that I made came in the middle of the year.

I quit smoking!!!

I’d been wanting to quit for some time, in fact, I tried to quit on Jan. 1, but that attempt failed miserably.  It wasn’t until the head of bariatric surgery at Kaiser said that the would not, under any circumstances, perform any weight loss surgery unless we had quit smoking that I actually knew I HAD to quit.  And so I did.

Other than a bit of a struggle on the 3rd day, it really wasn’t that difficult.  Granted, I have gained about 10 pounds since I quit, but that weight is coming off and when I compare that to the boost I gave my health by quitting, it’s a small price to pay.

It’s been 4 months (122 days!!) now, and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it, most of the time.  There are twinges now and then when I know a cig would be ideal, but those are few and far between.  The other day my mom commented about how happy she was that I’d quit, and I can say with all honesty that I hadn’t even thought about smoking for at least 2 weeks until she mentioned it.  It’s actually surreal how quickly I’ve let that part of my life go.

For so long I thought I’d always be a smoker.  Even though I knew it was bad for me, I felt so tied to it that I seriously didn’t think I’d have the will to stop.  And yet I did.  Just like that.  So it gives me the pride and the confidence in myself to know that if I can do that, I can do anything – including lose the required 30+ pounds to qualify for Lap Band surgery.  So I KNOW it will happen in the first quarter of 2011.

A while ago Carina asked me at what point would I consider myself a non smoker vs. someone who had just been smoke free a certain amount of time.  And I can say that as of today I completely consider myself a non-smoker.  I know I’ll never go back, and it feels fantastic to be able to say that I’m over my dependence on nicotine.

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Wow, do I have a lot to tell you. So much so that I decided to make my life easier and make a YouTube video to get all of the information I learned today out. (And I only recorded a fraction of what I was told during the 2 1/2 hour meeting). The thing is, I’m verbose, as you know, and my videos are no exception. I ended up recording over 30 minutes worth of video, so I broke them down into 4 different sections so that YouTube would accept them. I also think I have different topics that I cover, so you can feel free to watch all or some of them, as you wish.

Overall, the meeting was really great. It was held by Dr. Larry Dennen of the Kaiser bariatric center that I’ll be attending for all of my appointments and surgery.  He was the nicest, funniest, most down-to-earth surgeon I think I’ll ever meet.  I really hope that he’s the one that will be doing my surgery, although my next appointment is with Dr. Eric Hahn.  (I’m sure he’s nice, too).

This first video goes over my overall reaction to the day, as well as outlining the Process that Kaiser will have me go through to get the surgery.

Process:

Step 1: Referral of Primary Care Physician (DONE!)
Step 2: Orientation (DONE!)
Step 3: Multi-Disciplinary Consult Appt. (Next!)
Step 4: Pre-Op Psychiatric Evaluation
Step 5: Pre-Op Appointment and Schedule Surgery
Step 6: Surgery!
Step 7: Follow-Up Appt. (2weeks, 6weeks, 12weeks, 6months, 1/year for life)

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The second video goes into Kaiser’s Program Requirements, one of which is going to be CHALLENGING, and I’m going to need your support to be able to reach it.

Program Requirements:

  • Quit Smoking!
  • Avoid Pregnancy for 2 Years After Surgery
  • Regular Exercise Program (30-45 minutes, 3-4 times a week)
  • Attend a Support Group for Bariatric Surgery
  • Attain Pre-Op Weight Loss Goal
    • 5% – 10% of highest recorded total weight (15-30 lbs for me)
    • For an improved state of health
    • To remove fat from around the organs, especially the liver
    • Not about “qualifying”

“People who stay engaged with a program are 25% more successful in keeping the weight off and sustaining it long term.”

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The third video is all about the Nutritional Plan that Kaiser wants me to follow in order to lose weight.  It’s eventually the way I’ll be eating for life, so it’s good to start practicing these principles now.  I didn’t mention in the video (although I mention EVERYTHING else) that they really stressed Protein first.  The nutritionist was so adamant about it that she said she wanted us to eat in stages: protein, then veggies, then starch.  I’m not sure I’ll do exactly that, because I like having a bite from each category, but the bottom line is, once the surgery hits, you get fuller fast, and you need to make sure you get your protein in first, so that point is well taken.

Pre-Op Meal Plan

1200 calories a day

  • 70-80 grams of protein
  • 130 grams of Carbs
  • 30 grams of fat
  • at least 64 oz of water (non-caffeinated fluid)

Broken down by meal, this means:

Breakfast: 2 protein, 1 fruit, 0-1 starch, 1 milk, 1 fat
Lunch: 2-3 protein, 2 veggie, 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat
Dinner: 3 protein, 2 veggie, 1 starch, 1 milk, 1 fat

Not too difficult.  They offer several sample meal plans that look healthy, satisfying and very achievable.  Granted, in my “summer off” of counting and measuring I’ve been eating more than this everyday, but I really don’t think it will be too difficult for me to get used to this meal plan.

The thing that might be a bit tricky at first is the fact that they don’t want you to drink water with your meals.  After surgery, the water might help push the food down, making it easier to eat too much and negate the Lab Band.  So it’s good to get into this habit now.  I’m not allowed to drink anything 15 minutes before eating or 30 minutes after eating.  I always drink water (or coffee) along with my meals, so this is going to be tough!  But again, I’m going to need to be able to do it after the surgery, so I’d better get used to it, right?

I’m going to use the BodyBugg program to log my exercise (calories burned), my goal for which is 2700 calories burned per day.  I’m thinking I should probably go ahead and use the BB program to log my calories as well, so that it will be all in one system.  The last time I tried using it, it was very clunky, and had very few name brand foods that I was eating, which was annoying, because then I had to input them all by hand.  I suppose that’s how any online system is, though.  Once you take the time to put the food in, then it’s there and you won’t have to do it again.  Do any of you log your calories with the BB program?  What are your thoughts? The one thing I don’t like is that there isn’t an iPhone app (that I’ve found) for the BB, so I’ll need to log all of my calories in on the computer.  It’s not that big a deal, because I’m around a computer all day at work, and I obviously have a computer at home, too.  It would just be even that much more convenient if I could do it on the phone, too.  If I hate the BB program, I may use something like LoseIt or the equivalent, which does have an iPhone app.

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Finally, the fourth video is all about the vitamin that I have to take now.  And I mean, I have to take a whole lotta vitamins!

I go into detail about each, but there are so many of them that I had to buy a pill organizer.  (No, I don’t feel geriatric, AT ALL).

I also wrap up about my thoughts, my excitement, and the fact that this Wednesday is going to be my first “official” at-home weigh in towards losing the 20 or so pounds (and more once I have the surgery).  Today when they weighed me I was at my highest recorded weight ever – 295.  Yikes!   But, there are a few caveats – I had on jeans (which I would never do if I were really weighing in, because they’re too heavy) and also I really had to pee.  I had just finished a large coffee and didn’t have time to get to the bathroom.  So, I think my weight is really lower than that, and since I’ll be weighing in at home for the majority of this while I’m trying to lose weight, I might as well start weighing on Wednesday, so you can look for that.

I’m really excited about the process continuing, but I’m also excited to get back to really being on a weight loss plan.  This summer has been nice in that I wasn’t obsessed at all with what I was eating since I wasn’t counting anything.  (I overindulged, but I never binged, which is saying something). I feel like now that I’ll be back to preparing my food at home and measuring everything, counting and tracking calories, working out and logging it with the BodyBugg, I’ll finally be back in the fight with all of you, and that will be nice.  I’ve definitely felt a bit like I’ve been on the outside looking in these past 2 months, and I’m definitely ready to get back in the ring.

See you all Tuesday, with an update on my eating.

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I actually wasn’t going to post about this at all because I was worried that if I said something on this blog and then didn’t follow through, I would feel like a failure. And then I realized that I was assuming off the bat that I was going to fail, and that is just not me at all. I’m way stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes, and I have decided that I’m going to be able to add one more challenge into the mix to start off 2010:

I’ve quit smoking!

Some of you may remember that I posted about quitting in the summer; I even started taking Wellbutrin (which then caused weight gain). As soon as I stopped the Wellbutrin, I started smoking again. I never posted about it because I didn’t want to read a bunch of “you can do it” comments when I knew I wasn’t in the right mindset to really make the commitment to quit smoking.

This time it’s different. I’ve already gone 27 hours without a cigarette, and I’m doing ok. I’m surprised at how easy this is right now. There are times that I feel a really strong urge, but in those moments I’ve been drinking water or playing the Wii, or finding something else to distract myself. I’m trying my best not to snack, but if I do feel the urge to eat, I’ve been having carrots or fruit or something of that nature. I think I’m also going to chew more gum.

I’ve basically used that same thing my mom said the other night about being stronger than whatever the bad habit is, and I keep repeating that to myself:

I am stronger than my need to smoke. I don’t need the cigarette, and I can prove it be not having one. ETC, ETC.

So not only am I losing weight (notice that I didn’t say “trying to,” because I’m not just trying it, I’m DOING it), but I’m also quitting smoking. Actually, my reason for really wanting to quit this time was because of the other challenge I have going on with Scale Warfare, RLR. I have amazing stamina for someone of my size who smokes about half a pack a day (or, I should say “used to” smoke half a pack a day), but I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to work up to a half hour of running if I was still smoking. And I want to run a 5K more than I want to keep smoking.

Besides the health benefits that I know will be many, I am going to save about $1200 now that I’ve quit. I decided to put $100/month away in a savings account and use it for something spectacular at the end of the year. Can you believe that I spend $100 a month on cigarettes?!! The prices and taxes in CA have really increased in the last year as a way to discourage people from smoking. I’m hoping that whatever I spend the money on is something that my new, healthier body can do now that I’ve quit smoking. Any suggestions?

I’m glad I “came clean” with you guys and told you about quitting. Not only does it show me that I’m extremely confident in my ability to “stay quit,” but it also allows you to offer me some support, which I’m sure I’ll need. In about a week, if I’m not mentioning how the quitting is going, I’d love you guys to ask me about it and make sure I’m still on track.

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