Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Between a Medical Rock and a Hard Place

It’s hard enough to follow medical instructions when you only have one set of them.  Having more than one set puts us patients between a medical rock and a hard place.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been experiencing some dizziness when I bend down or stand up suddenly, plus headaches, lack of energy, and fatigue even though I’m getting at least 7 hours of sleep using my CPAP.   People at work have been asking if I’m okay because apparently I’m very pale.  I finally decided it was enough of a concern that I should get it checked out.

Yesterday I went to the health plan and got checked out. They took 4 vials of blood to run a battery of tests including checks on levels of B-12, vitamin D, potassium, and iron.  I was asked what I eat on a typical day and how much I usually drink (60-68 oz of water).  Even without seeing the lap results, the doctor said it seems my potassium and electrolyte levels are low, as well as probably my iron.  The things I know I’m doing right are protein and calcium, but I haven’t really figured out how to eat the right kinds of foods to give me nutritional balance in much less food and with the restrictions that come with the band. There’s a lot I can’t eat.

I was told that I should be drinking Gatorade in addition to my water, to increase my electrolytes, and having a glass of OJ in the morning.  While I adore OJ, the lapband people told me to avoid all juices and fruits because of the natural levels of sugars and carbs.   They want me eating about 40 gms carbs per day, which I haven’t begun to reach.  But since my last fill in late January, I’ve been working hard to keep my carbs lower than I did before – and now that I think on it, that’s when I started to feel dizzy and tired.

So what to do:  listen to the “whole body” doctor or the “lapband and weight loss” doctor?  No matter what, I’m going to be violating someone’s medical advice.  I called the lapband office to talk with a nurse, but found them pretty dismissive of me getting advice from anyone else, which made me more upset.  She called back 10 minutes later to say the surgeon wants to see me on Monday morning at 8am. Lab results won’t be back by then but being able to talk with him and not just nurses is a Good Thing.

I’m willing to follow a limited eating program.  I knew that was part of the deal when I got the band – and let’s be honest, it’s just necessary on any food plan.  I don’t expect to be able to eat everything I see or want.  But I want to feel better, have more energy, be more balanced even if it means the weight loss is slower.   I’ve lost 85 lbs at this point in under a year; it’s going to be slower from now on anyway.

I just wish the doctors would understand that I’m a person and not just a lapband or a set of numbers on a lab report.  It’s my job to remind them and figure this out for myself if they can’t come to terms amongst themselves.

Image source:  http://allergyasthma.wordpress.com


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I Think I’m Not Eating Enough

Vegetable PeopleI’ve been having trouble lately getting all my points in, and I gained a pound this week.  I’m not at all worried about that but I do need to analyze what I’m eating to see if there are patterns that need changing.  One factor – being unbalanced in getting in all my food groups.  Another is just not eating enough – I had almost 20 flex points left over this week and for me, that’s a sign that things are out of whack and a gain is likely.

One of the WW leaders talked with me and suggested that one way to change that up is to switch from no-fat to low-fat, or from low-fat to normal foods even while WHAT I eat remains the same.  I know that the Fage 2% tastes way better to me than the 0% and the full-fat version is out of this world.  Food with a little fat is simply more satisfying to me than the watery plain stuff.  It’s also real food with less processing and fewer chemicals, and that shows up in the taste.

I’m watching Alice Waters on 60 Minutes tonight, and she was just talking about the choices we make in life and how her choice is to eat food that’s just been picked, even though it’s more expensive.  Looking at my food bills, including today’s Peapod delivery, I know I spend a fortune on food.  People who think that it’s cheaper eating healthy food instead of cookies, etc., are crazy.

But I’m making it a priority to eat fresh, healthy food and a minimum of processed foods.  It helps that I don’t really even want them.  The only snack treat I buy now are those Hostess mini chocolate cupcakes, and Tootsie roll snack size. Each package = 1 point and provides enough of a chocolate treat to satisfy the sweet tooth.  No ice cream, no cookies, no 100-calorie packs (except the cupcakes).  I don’t want to be eating miniature versions of what I used to eat; I want to be eating different things that satisfy me.

It’s like an alien Anne has invaded Fat Anne’s body and is making herself at home.  Kinda weird but good.


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So let’s see, how’s it going?

I joined WW again weekend before last, finding a new meeting on Sunday morning that I really liked. The leader is supportive but not insanely perky and the meeting members were welcoming and participated a lot. I came home inspired to do well but of course that didn’t last all that long.

I’ve been eating lunch out a lot lately, getting together with colleagues from other libraries on campus. I managed okay for the first few but by Pad Thai day, I was losing it. I don’t care what the WW book says, a portion of Pad Thai is what they bring you on the plate. I wasn’t going to leave any behind – and didn’t. Of course that didn’t stop me from eating dinner anyway, albeit less than I might have otherwise.

I didn’t go to my meeting last Sunday because I’d forgotten that it was WW day. After not going on Sunday for a year, I just grabbed breakfast and a Diet Pepsi on autopilot No way i was going to get on a scale after that. Have I gone this week to make up for it? Nope. But I am tracking my points, as awful as they are. It’s part of the accountability thing that I’ve not paid enough attention to lately. No matter what, I’ll be at my meeting on Sunday morning.

Saturday I went to a local farm and bought tons of fresh veggies and fruit. There’s a big bowl of gazpacho in the fridge that I’ve been eating on for days. Tonight I roasted peppers, onions, and beets and they taste amazing. I always forget how wonderful they are and grouse about the time to chop, even though it’s not really that much work when I just do it.

It’s clear that I need to allocate more points for lunch than for dinner. That’s when I’m more likely to eat out, and it gives me more time when I’m vertical and moving to get it digested. Dinners will be salad with a protein or veggies with a frozen dinner – portion controlled and not so tasty that I want to keep eating it. No ice cream allowed in the house; pudding yogurt with fruit is a better idea and works in another dairy.

Meanwhile I’m sitting here and watching Top Chef reruns right up until the reunion show. There’s nothing like looking at people standing up for hours cooking exotic things to make me grab another bottle of water and put my feet up.


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So How’s it Going?

“Okay, we like reading about these snippets of your life, but really, how’s the food going? What about your body? Why aren’t you posting recipes and talking about exercise and dieting the way you used to? That’s what we want to read about.” How do I know this? From my blog stats. When I post about things dealing with food, exercise, body, and diet, the numbers go up. When I write about life things, it’s pretty flat.

I’m trying to decide what I think about that. I don’t want to write about food/body stuff right now, at least not much, but I miss having people read my words and comment and make me feel part of a community. Of course, I’m not so good about reading other people’s blogs much because I’m not choosing to use my time for much of it. I started to say I wasn’t managing the time well, but that’s not true. I’m managing it just fine, I just am not using it that way.

I’m still eating, of course, though not recording faithfully on Sparkpeople or anywhere else. I’m pretty aware that some of the time I’m eating junk but in relatively moderate amounts. I even threw away half of a candy bar today because I was full and didn’t really want the rest of it. That’s pretty amazing. I have Edy’s Slow Churned in the freezer and have some every day because I want to, but so far haven’t felt compelled to eat 1/2 of the container at one sitting.

I”m making brownies every week. I know, it’s weird. I promised this guy I’ll be seeing next weekend in St Louis that I would bring him brownies with walnuts, and I’ve been experimenting with different box brands because of course I want them to be yummy so he thinks I’m wonderful. In the meantime, I’m eating the test batches – but they’re lasting 5-6 days, which is remarkable. One batch that I didn’t like at all I just dumped. And they were chocolate!

Exercise isn’t happening much but I’m adding in what I can in little ways. Yesterday I spent my lunch hour walking in the cemetery across the street from the law school. It’s on the register of national historic places and is laid out with little lanes and beautiful trees, and has stones dating back to the early 1700’s. It was restful and quiet and the walking, even slowly, felt good after mostly being chained to my desk.

I just finished reading Mistress of the Art of Death, which I highly recommend, and have some new books waiting for me:

I’m into mystical things in both fiction and non-fiction these days, and books with magick catch my attention and hook something inside. No wonder I didn’t read many of the books on the LibraryThing list.


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No Longer a Weight Watcher

Vegetable PeopleI did it. After thinking about this off and on for several weeks, I cancelled my WW membership for meetings and etools, effective mid-April when my current monthly pass runs out.

Eeeeeek. It feels really weird to have done this because I’ve been a WW member for almost six years this time. But I haven’t been working the program or staying for meetings and it was time to either DO those things or own up to what I’m actually doing. Which is not WW.

It’s a wonderful program. It’s the only thing that’s ever really worked for me long-term. It’s the reason I’ve been able to maintain at least some of my last big weight loss. I may be back. But it just was no longer a good fit for me now.

I’ve been enjoying using the SparkPeople site over this last week, seeing nutritional values of what I eat in terms of calories, fat, carbs, protein and fiber. That’s more helpful than arbitrary points, even if points are based on a formula of calories/fat/protein. Points are not created equal and the more complete nutrition shows me why.

I’m going to count Saturday morning weigh in as my daily number. I’m responsible for recording it myself, which I will do. And we’ll see how this goes.

For the last week, my food has been more balanced and I’ve been more aware of not only what I ate but how I ate it. Partly it’s the SparkPeople thing. But I’m also watching Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin programs on TLC and trying to put his simple rules into practice:

1. Don’t starve yourself.
2. Eat when you’re hungry.
3. Eat what you like.
4. Eat consciously.
Plus the usual drinking lots of water, sleeping enough, and getting in some exercise.
There’s no magic involved in this process. Just making better choices than the day before, eating good food that’s good for me, and keep on trying. Wish me luck!


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Experimenting With Breakfast

Breakfast FoodSome people find that night eating is the hardest challenge of the day. Other people want to snack all afternoon (learned from after school snacks?). Others nibble through the day and use all their points/calories/whatever in a big blowout meal for dinner.

I’ve become aware that I am none of those people. I like to eat all morning long, particularly on week days. I think it’s because I really am not a morning person and resent getting up at 5:45am when I’d rather snuggle in bed with Tessie. I eat a perfectly reasonable breakfast at home but still find myself snacking through the morning – more than just my planned snack, and usually those extra snacks have been pretty empty of any kind of nutrition. The salty ones are very tasty even if they are empty, though.

My best friend Phyllis and I were talking about our common problem of being morning eaters and decided that one approach to dealing with it is to deliberately shift our food intake. We know we’re going to eat more then, so we might as well make sure what we eat is better for us than the crap we’ve been grabbing. Muffins and chips and bagels and cookies don’t have the nutrition we need.

I’ve been in a rut with my breakfast, or rather a series of ruts. I need something easy and fast that doesn’t require me to think very hard so when I find a combo that works, I tend to eat it for weeks and months on end. My current choice is a banana with 2% Fage yogurt, a few craisins, and a squirt of honey, often with a Kim’s Light Bagel.

Unfortunately, my tummy isn’t totally happy with this. I have pills I have to take with food in the morning and I’m getting queasy which is not a good thing. So I’m rethinking back to what I’ve had in previous breakfast routines when the pills were less problematic. Those have included steelcut oatmeal and Vive cereal with a banana, and occasionally Kashi blueberry waffles with sugar free syrup. But those don’t stick with me long.

So I’m considering having cottage cheese, which I absolutely despise but which is full of protein. The fact that I despise it is a bit of a drawback but I have a little tub of Friendship 1% whipped cottage cheese that’s supposed to taste pretty good. Add some fruit with it and it should be okay, at least for an option. And I bought some real Thomas’ cranberry English muffins and had one today with the yogurt. It tasted yummy and I also didn’t get queasy, so that bodes well.

The next trick is to figure out snacks to bring with me to work to keep me from raiding the vending machines for something to fill the empty place. I know it’s not really physical hunger as much as some kind of emotional hole being filled but for right now, I need to make sure the things that I do put in my mouth are better for me than Snickers bars or Fritos.

So my project for the week is to experiment, both with breakfast food and with morning snacks, that will leave me feeling satisfied by the time I get through lunch. I’d rather use up a bunch of points in the morning on healthy, balanced food and eat less later in the day, since the crazy-making time is definitely between 6am-noon.

The things you learn about yourself.


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Watching My Mother Eat

My parents are visiting and I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the way they handle their food. My dad has always been a little plump and has battled his weight ever since I can remember. My mom, on the other hand, is a tiny size 8, down from the size 10 she wore when she got married. Dad says that in the 56 years they’ve been married, she’s only varied about 4 pounds from her current weight except during pregnancy.

I, on the other hand, can vary 4 pounds in a week if I’m not careful. So I’ve been observing how she eats and approaches her food, not to judge or complain that we’re different, but almost as an anthropologist would study a different culture. It’s been interesting.

Balanced PlateShe eats a small breakfast with dairy (usually yogurt), fruit and natural fiber. Usually Mom makes her own bran muffins and has one with a little carton of yogurt. But at my house she’s having steelcut oatmeal with half a banana and a little milk, eating slowly from a small bowl that’s full and putting her spoon down between bites. I don’t know if she’s always done this but I can see that it’s a factor that lets her eat less and spread it out until she’s really satisfied.

Lunch is usually a half a sandwich on low-cal wheat bread and about 2 oz of protein, with a sliced apple and maybe a cookie for dessert. She eats slowly, the food nicely arranged on a small plate, while seated at the table. Unlike her daughter, she eats all her meals at the table with an occasional sandwich outside on the patio. I, on the other hand, eat mine in the recliner with my feet up.

For dinner, she mostly prepares simple meals balanced with unfussy protein, vegetables, and half a potato or sweet potato. And maybe there a small ramekin of low-fat ice cream for dessert, eaten with a small spoon.

That’s it. Simple food, small portions, served on smaller dishes and eaten slowly at a table with almost no snacking. Mom drinks water and her evening glasses of wine but no soda, goes for regular short walks, and gets plenty of sleep. When she eats out for one meal, she cuts back on what she has for the next so they balance out.

She doesn’t sit around and obsess or lament about the things she cannot eat; she can eat anything she wants but makes choices that let her enjoy flavors and foods in a sensible way. And she doesn’t act or talk as though she’s deprived, she simply does the next thing.

Mom does the things that we talk about in Weight Watchers and I’ve heard about for years in behavior modification programs. She doesn’t talk or complain, she just does it and moves on. I think there is a lot for me to learn and emulate here.