Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm a hot mess. *groan*

Well, kiddies, I haven't been here in a while. Did I tell you about my staph infection?

It all started in my finger, with this little blister that I scratched:

and the next morning (no lie!) it looked like this:

Well, ya know, you think, "Hey, that's not so bad?" but it was pretty awful.  Not only did I have to wear a cast-like thing and sling on my arm, for the first week I was not really allowed to move, so I pretty much sat in bed all day with my arm elevated.  Try doing that and taking care of your family.  I was put on two rounds of very strong antibiotics and the next step--if the second round didn't work--was hospitalization.  Nice.

What made it all worse was the drugs I had to take interfered with my Synthroid, so I was unable to take it for almost an entire month--20 days, anyway.  By the end of my treatment, I was completely WORTHLESS--I had no energy and was absolutely miserable.

That was my August.

My September consisted of comforting myself in every way possible.  I stayed away from the gym, got out of my groove with my eating, and shoved every bit of sugar I could in my mouth, working around my band.  I found a way to get past it--all I had to do was drink during my meal and VOILA!  I could really get some serious Macaroni-and-Cheese in my belly.  Drink a little more and I could eat not just one enchilada but TWO--and some chips and queso to boot.

Everything has gone down the toilet for the past two months.  Thankfully I have not gained any weight, but I certainly have not lost, and I've wasted 60 days of my life trying to recapture the eating habits I gave up 7 months ago.  WHY??  I do not know.  Fear?  Of what?  Failure?  Success?  I wish I knew.  I know I need to call my surgeon's office.  I'm scared of that, too, to be perfectly honest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Pics on Saturday...and I'm PMSing. Awesome!

Do I even need to post any more than that? LOL.

I'll write a recap when the weekend is over.   Did I say WEEKEND!?!? woohoo!  Just three more days!!

Off to do laundry.  Hope everyone has a marvelous day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Linguine With Clam Sauce

This is how my Dad made it, and how we make it today in the McDonald household:

1 package Barilla linguine
3/4 c. white wine of your choice (I use Beringer Chenin Blanc)
2 small cans chopped or minced clams, with juice
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
1-2 T. parsley, chopped fresh (dried is okay, too)
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter
salt, to taste, and finishing salt at the end if you have it (the big flake kind)
fresh grated parmesan

In a saute pan, melt the butter and add olive oil.

butter melting bliss :-)

Bring a large stockpot (3-5 quarts) full of water to a boil.  Add 1-2 T of salt to the water.  Yes, 1-2 TABLESPOONS.  Do not be afraid of the salted water!  Your pasta will barely pick up even a teaspoon of it when all is said and done.  It is only to season the pasta and believe me, it needs it.

Now, for the fun part:

Add the wine. I typed 3/4 c because, frankly, I have no idea what I put in.  I know it's more than a half a cup, though.  Probably closer to a full cup...but you decide what you want.  The alcohol burns off quickly so you can determine if you wish to add more.  Slug back the rest.

When your water in your stockpot is at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook according to directions.

While the pasta is cooking, keep the butter, olive oil, and wine at a simmer.  Add minced garlic.  Add clam JUICE ONLY.  Best way to do that is open the cans slightly and use the lid as a strainer.

Drain pasta.  Do not rinse.

Add clams and chopped parsley.  Cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Stir well.  Spoon over individual servings of cooked linguine.  Sprinkle with finishing salt and fresh grated parmesan.  Serve with garlic bread.

Don't plan on going on any first dates for about a week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Little Post About....Transgressions... *blush*

Well, I had a great time in Florida.  No, scratch that.  A fabulous time.  Unfortunately, so did my appetite for sweets.  Needless to say, I was up two pounds at the gym when I got back on Tuesday--though I suspect it was mostly water as I have since lost it.  But, let's take a look back at what I ate, and how MUCH I ate.  I chowed down probably too much fast food on the way down there, then too much fried shrimp, then too many desserts (Orange Crunch Cake at the Bubble Room, anyone?). Clearly I am eating more than I should be able to, so...I think it is time for a fill.  I am working off of willpower currently, and that's great, but at some point I've got to make sure my tool is working for me, so I've made the decision to do this.  Matt says I'm probably not eating what I think I am, but I know that isn't true.  My hunger is definitely catching up in between meals and I need to do something.  My doctor said I should be eating meals the size of a Happy Meal--that's the equivalent of 4 Chicken McNuggets, and a small fry.  Well, I'm able to eat more along the lines of 6 McNuggets and a small fry.  And a cookie.  Or two.  *groan*

Anyway, I will keep you all updated as to when I get my fill.  I am calling Dr. C tomorrow. In the meantime, since I've been home, I've been staying away from sweets, drinking only water (no Crystal Light), and trying to avoid "trigger foods".  I have also gone back to my regular workout routine with my trainer, though today was far from "regular" LOL--we've upped my exercise for sure!  I love being able to reach a heartrate of 140 without feeling like I am totally dying.  It's great!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Watch Out, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue!

Here I come!  This is my new, size 2X (22) swimsuit from Land's End that came today, right in time for my trip to Captiva Island this week!  Hurray!  Don't ever need to see a 24 again in my life, and I can't wait to say bye-bye to this 22 in return for a 20 or an 18...then a 16...and a 14....and then finally, my goal of 12!

It is hard for me to believe that I am actually posting a photo of me in a swimsuit (and with my new cut and color!--though not styled lol).  But honestly, I can SO tell I've lost 30 lbs!!  I need to go find a pic of me when I first started.

So, without further ado...warts and all...and no makeup too!

I can't wait to leave for FL tomorrow!  I can't help but think that I might be close to or at my goal this time next

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Met First Goal!

I am down to 262 :-D  I met my first goal of 30 lbs!  I got my hair cut and colored to celebrate.  I will have to post a pic!
Next goal is 12 lbs to 250.  I am giving myself a charm from James Avery to go on my bracelet that Matt bought me.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tamale Pie...olé!

Well, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I love when I take a standard recipe and amplify it with a small change or two that just blows my tiny little mind.  It doesn't always happen; in fact, sometimes my changes backfire (blame it on a lack of interest in my high school chemistry class).  But sometimes....every once in a while....the stars align...and I'm rewarded for my experimentation.

Observe...the Tamale Pie.

What you see here is oodles of deliciousness, and a staple in many Texas Housewives' recipe box.  Generally, Tamale Pie is served at picnics or family get-togethers, and I have to tell you, I've never been too impressed with what I've been served.  However, the IDEA of Tamale Pie has sucked me into the vortex for many years now, and after trying a few lackluster (or downright awful) choice recipes from various Eastern Star, Garden Club, and other such community cookbooks, I finally turned to the person I consider THE expert in Texas cuisine: Robb Walsh.  I went through his Tex-Mex Cookbook and found a recipe with which I knew I could work.  The first change I made in order to make it my own was I used more beef, about a quarter of a pound more (and chuck at that, not lean). The second change was that I seeded the serrano pepper.  Serranos are too hot, hotter than jalapenos, so if you take the seeds and membrane out, you get the flavor without the heat.  The third, and probably most significant change I made was using bacon fat.  "Bacon fat?" you shudder.  Yes, bacon fat.  Really, if I had pure lard, it would actually be better.  I only use 2-3 T. bacon fat rather than the 1/4 c. of vegetable oil.  It gives a MUCH better flavor to the meat, and not only that, when you save all your drippings and use them back in the cornbread mix, you just have no idea what a tender, flavorful crumb it creates.  No dry cornbread here, folks.

So here is my modified Tamale Pie recipe...definitely a keeper.  I'd be proud to take this to any picnic or event.

3 T bacon fat or pure backfat lard
2.25 lbs ground chuck or sirloin
2 c. chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 serrano pepper, minced (I do not use seeds, just fyi)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 small can of corn
1/4 c. chili powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. dried Mexican oregano
2 packages of cornbread or muffin mix (I use Pioneer)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat over med-to med-high heat. Stir in the onions, pepper and serrano pepper and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until veggies are limp. Add tomato sauce, corn, chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic, and oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain fat, reserving 1/3 cup.  Set aside.

Prepare cornbread mix according to the package, except subsititute the reserved drippings for 1/3 of the milk in the recipe.  Once stirred, add just a bit of milk extra to thin it to the consistency of pancake batter (add a tablespoon at a time). Spread about half of the batter in the bottom of a greased 9" x 12" glass pan. Gently spoon the meat pix evenly over the top, then spoon the remaining cornbread batter over that (it won't cover completely, and that's okay). 

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool 10-15 minutes (important!) and then slice and eat!

The best part is, this works well with my band.  You don't eat a whole lot, so it's not super caloric.  I served it with Bush's Black Beans that I heated up on the stove with salt, onion powder, cumin, and garlic powder.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Looky What I Got!

I bet you didn't know I had an adorable blog!  Well, my fellow bandster Ronnie at Ronnie's Bandumentary sure thinks so.  And I really appreciate it!  Thanks, Ronnie--and everyone else that has been a supporter of me through the beginnings of my journey.

Part of this award is nominating someone else for it, but also to offer up 10 things about myself.  What a great way to get to know your fellow blogger.  I enjoyed reading Ronnie's list, and doubt I can come up with anything nearly that interesting!  BUT--in the spirit of things, here goes:

1.  I curse like a sailor.  As a Christian, this is my biggest challenge.   I try not to do it around my little ones, but if I hurt myself, holy moley I go off.  I have been trying to insert silly words in for the bad ones, but what I really need to do is figure out a different way to express pain/anger/frustration.

2.  My 6 year old daughter, Phoebe, has diagnosed "moderate autism".  She is such a sweetheart and the joy of my life, along with her younger sister.  I never knew I would love being a mom so much. If I could have 2 more I would.

3. I love my husband.   He is my best friend and my biggest champion.  He is my sweetheart and there is no one else that understands me better.  I love that he still holds my hand, opens doors for me, and stands up from a table when I do, even after almost 10 years of being together.

4.  I think my minivan is quite possibly the most kickass car I have ever driven.  It does everything except wipe your butt.  It's freaking fabulous and I can't believe I used to say, "I will NEVER drive a minivan!".

5. I hate my toes.  I have my mother's toenails which have a slight curve to them.  My sister's toes are fabulous and I'm jealous as hell of them. LOL.

6. When I was at my heaviest, I refused to attempt to make any friends or socialize on any level other than facebook.  If you know me, then you know how CRAZY that is.  I used to be a very social person.

7.  I have been accepted into the Culinary Program at St. Philip's College here in San Antonio.  My passion is cooking and I have been a home baker for several years now, selling baked goods to local folks.  My specialty is Texas Sheet Cake.

8.  Although I have owned a condominium, the home we bought here in San Antonio is our first official "home" as in "house".  We love it and are very happy here.

9.  I'm a Texan, but not a native.  *gasp* I moved to Houston with my parents when I was 18 months old.  I was born in Wilmington, Delaware.  Neither of my parents are from DE, either!  It was a job transfer, and a short one at that.  My dad was from PA and my mom from NJ.  My older sister was born in CT.  They all considered themselves Texans in the end and so do I!  (and yes, I have an accent!)

10. I spent lots of my summers and Christmases in south Florida because in the 60s my grandparents, aunts, and uncles migrated down from Connecticut.  I consider FL my second home and adore it (Ft Myers, Naples, Captiva/Sanibel, and the Keys).  We hope to someday have property there.

So there you go!  I told you it was kinda dull!!

By the way, my nomination for this award goes to.... my pal Jes and her blog

Jes, steal the badge, and write 10 things about yourself on your blog!  Congrats!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 Aunt is visiting...

...and I haven't gained a single pound!

That's right, my hormonal Aunt Flo is visiting, and miraculously, I have managed to actually stay the same weight I was which is now 263.4 lbs.!  Niiiiice!  I'm diggin' that.  I almost don't mind all the other baggage she brings with her because hopefully she'll take it all when she goes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weigh-In Time...

Well, as you all know, I had a rough April, but I had an even rougher start to May.  However, I went to a new endo, pumped up my exercise, and am now in the weight loss zone.  I am officially...

265 pounds...

27 lbs down and feeling good. 

My new endo has me taking my Synthroid at night, removed the Cytomel, and has me drinking only protein shakes in the morning, and one after dinner. I think it has helped a LOT. After about a week of that, I started losing.  My trainer has me doing some sweet exercises now and my heart rate is very tolerable of them LOL.

I will post my weight before I go to FL at the end of June.  I am hoping to be in the 250s by then.  We'll see!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weigh In Today! WOOHOO!

The scale is moving!  I was 273.2 here at home, which makes me 20 pounds down!   I can't believe it.  I am so excited!  5 more pounds and I get to cut my hair.  20 more pounds and I get to highlight it!  Ah, it's the little things... :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Can See Already This is Going to Be the Biggest Battle of My Life.

I realize it's been a while since I posted last, and part of my accountability is posting in my blog.  So here I am.

I've had a lot of trouble this month.  I have not been able to keep much down, and for a while there, I couldn't keep anything down.  I am still having some trouble with certain foods, and I suppose I always will.  I thought I would need to get an unfill, but to be perfectly honest, I am not sure that is what I need.  I think what I need is a course entitled "Cutting 101" as in cutting my food into teeny tiny bits.  Then I have to learn to chew them properly.  If I don't, I get into big trouble.  I did have a couple of PBs this weekend, but on the whole, I've done better this weekend than I have any day since I got my fill.

The frustrating thing about all of this is that even though I was working out, and virtually not eating, I actually gained water weight from my workouts.  It really put me in a funk last week.  However, I am now back down to what I was April 8--275.  It was insane that I gained 5 lbs in water, but I did.  So hopefully, my body has gotten the message that the workouts are a regular thing and it won't go into "survival mode".  Old habits die hard, even for fat cells. :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Omelette in Photos...Step by Step

I thought I'd put together a step-by-step with photos of how I make omelettes.

This is a ham, gruyere, and broccoli omelette btw.  Good stuff.  Of course, you can add your own fillings in any way you like!
Start with an 8" fry pan, adding 1 T. oil and turn heat up to just under medium.

Get your ingredients ready.  We have cooked broccoli, ham (warmed in microwave and cut), and grated gruyere cheese.

Here's a tip: If you are using ham from a pre-sliced container (I'm using Oscar Mayer) then take the whole chunks out and use the shreds in the bottom of the container.

Now prepare your eggs.  I use 3 extra large eggs and 1 T. half-and-half.  I whisk it all for about 30-45 seconds.  I like to get it good and blended and incorporate some air.

Now, pour your eggs directly into the hot pan, pushing the oil out to the edges.  This will actually prevent the eggs from sticking to the sides. You will see that if your edges begin to bubble, your temp is just right.

Using a spatula, sort of push, or lift, an edge of the omelette, and tilt the pan to allow the uncooked liquid to roll down underneath. Continue to do this around the pan until most of the egg is cooked.  It should take no longer than 1 minute.

Now it's time to flip the omelette.  Yes, you can.  Do not shake your head at me.  There is a trick to it that you should know.  The egg should be almost set on top so that when you lift the omelette, nothing runs down underneath anymore.  It will still look "wet", but that's okay.  Pick up the pan in one hand, gather up your confidence, and in one motion, push the pan straight out in front of you while lifting it up. FLIP IT!  :-D (okay, okay, if you can't flip it, you can use a spatula.)

Now for the stuffing:  move your omelette to the edge of the pan.  Put in filling on the side closest to the edge. 

Ever so gently, slide the omelette out of the pan and have the other end come over on top, creating the "lid".  I use the bottom of the pan to sort of push down on top of it while the cheese melts inside, creating a seal.

And there you have it!  I added some more shredded gruyere on top to make it even cheesier.
Add a bit of salt, pepper, and bring your appetite.  I usually split this with Matt for a meal.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Productive Burps and Small Bites

I found Dr. Terry Simpson's website, and love his podcasts!  So it's not chewing that's getting me in trouble as much as the bite size.  He says a bite should be no larger than a pinky fingernail.  Hopefully that will stop some of my PBs!

Weigh-In Drumroll...

Eh, I'm actually up a pound.  275. Oh well!  I guess will be better next week, I know it!

I'm having trouble with eating...lots of PBs.  I am going to have to look into this further.  It is very annoying, and I know it can't be good for me.  I think I am chewing and eating slowly enough, but maybe not.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Weigh In!

Whoopsie!  I will weigh in tomorrow AM.  Promise!! :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Omelette Queen Reigns Supreme

I am telling you--two years ago I could barely make a fried egg, let alone an omelette.  The best I could do was scrambled eggs, and I won't lie--I can make seriously kick-butt scrambled eggs.  Cheese and green onions added to eggs cooked so soft and tender (but not wet!!) they are clouds of poofy cheesy goodness.

Omelettes, though--well, the thought of them just intimidated the hell out of me.

I started practicing my omelette making skills (? for lack of a better word, LOL) a little over a year ago.  Initially, it was an exercise in futility, because reading about how to make an omelette just doesn't work. I ended up watching several different videos on how to do it properly, and I began experimenting.  All those eggs, burned cheese, dark brown edges (a big no-no), and missteps on fillings...they have paid off, finally.  I've been able to make a pretty sweet omelette now for several months.  I mean, it looks really good.  I can flip it in the pan and everything, just like that wretched Julia Child (okay, I actually love her.). I'm sorry for the brag, but I can't help it.  There are so few things I am actually GREAT at, that I just have to shout this one loud and proud. :-D Tonight, I made a 3-egg fluffy omelette filled with Virginia ham, broccoli, and gruyere.  Matt and I split it.  It was heavenly!  Absolutely heavenly.

Went up to Lifetime tonight and did 30 minutes on the treadmill at a 6 incline and 3.0 mph.  Not a lot, but I'm meeting my trainer Curtis at 10AM tomorrow and I know he is going to kick my ass so I took it easy.  He wants me to register for the 90-day weight loss challenge.  He is totally convinced we will win! LOL.  Should be interesting...

Weigh in tomorrow!  Yay!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homemade French Onion Soup, or: I'm Pretty Sure Salt is the Devil.

I get this brilliant idea to make French Onion Soup, thanks to Matt's "subtle" hint that the Campbell's in the pantry is not fit for human consumption ("it's got a bad aftertaste!", I believe, is what he said).

I bought beautiful, sweet, yellow onions, cooked them gently in a stick of butter over low heat, added spices and a bay leaf, cooked a looooong time, then added broth, wine, and....more salt.

Well, you know, it was damned delicious.  Matt was enthralled with it, so I know it had to at least be decent.  However, because he liked it, it also had to be loaded with sodium, because that's just how Matt is.  If it's overdone in any way on sugar, fat, or salt, he's all over it like white on rice.  I know some of you out there with husbands/SOs understand that one all too well.

Needless to say, I was up almost three pounds this morning, all of which is water.  I could tell when I woke up and my fingers were puffy.  I am off to the gym as soon as I drop Paige at Mother's Day Out.  Hopefully 30 minutes on the treadmill will work this fluid out!!

(did I mention we're having leftovers tonight?  *sigh* Oh well!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Learning What Restriction Really Means

I'm officially 18 pounds down since my surgery 6 weeks ago.  I'm 274 now!

Tomorrow marks my first week after my first fill, and I've learned a few things I'd like to share.

#1:  Just because you think you are ready to move on to doesn't mean you are.

#2: Chew, chew, chew.  When you think you've chewed enough, chew some more. 

#3:  Your eyes are STILL bigger than your stomach (almost literally!). 

#4: Throwing up food that either gets stuck or as a result of eating too much really, really, REALLY sucks.

So take it from me:  the faster you realize this is an experiment on yourself, the better off you'll be.  You are the guinea pig, but you are also the scientist.  Your body will tell you when enough is enough, but I can't stress enough that IT TAKES TIME for your STOMACH to tell YOUR BRAIN this information.  You will be oh-so-sorry if you allow your eyes to dictate how much goes in your mouth.  Your eyes DO NOT COMMUNICATE with your brain in any way other than "HOLY COW THAT STEAK LOOKS GREAT!"  Give your tummy time to absorb what's coming and tell your brain.  If you don' will be sorry!  Trust me! :-)

Off topic: Matt and I have been doing some geneaology investigations through  I cannot tell you how much joy (and some frustration LOL) this has brought us.  We both have been able to get back quite far; Matt has roots as a billionth (ha) grand nephew to William the Conqueror, and I have roots back to a man that fought with him, from Normandy.  I also found out that I am a descendant to two (so far) direct relations that fought in the Revolutionary War.   I am trying to validate information given to me by my Grandmother that we are somehow related, distantly, to President James Buchanan. There have been some surprises and disappointments along the way: I found out on my Dad's side, his grandmother was Irish Catholic, but the Scotch that gave me my surname of Gregory, that brought about such family pride and identity, is nowhere to be found.  I've hit a dead end with Charles Gregory, who was my Dad's grandfather. It's been quite an adventure, needless to say.  Well, a few months ago, Matt and I took the girls to the Boat and RV show here in San Antonio.  We went to look for a pontoon boat, but ended up falling in love with a Sprint trailer made by Keystone, it's a 35 foot with three slides and a "bunkhouse" for the girls.  It was a great price, and we were very tempted, but we have one problem: we have to have a truck or larger SUV than what we have to pull it.  Since we just bought the minivan last year, we will have to wait for another two years before we can do it, however (and you're wondering how this all ties to genealogy, probably) we both agreed that it would be WONDERFUL to take a geneaology trip once we get it.  We'd go to as many places as we can in a 3 week time span.  When I brought it up, Matt said, "I was TOTALLY thinking that!"

How fun would that be?

Friday, April 1, 2011


I am sorry about the blog comment problems!  I changed the diet blog design to this funky pink one until I find something better.  :-D

Down 16 lbs...and my 4X shirts are TOO BIG!

Wow, what a difference 16 pounds makes.  I'm in 3X Hanes Just My Size t-shirts.  The 4X are entirely too big.  That's awesome!

Hoping to lose 10 more pounds by the end of the month.  We'll see!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Do You Like the New Look?

I changed the blog template.  I thought it was very fitting!  Get it...?  Fitting??  lol I kill myself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Got My First Fill!

Well, it wasn't so bad really, but because I was so sore from the overstraining yesterday, she numbed me up pretty good.  I was pretty anxious about it though, beforehand. It was a seriously weird feeling but not unpleasant and not painful (just "sore"--not sure how else to describe it).  She added 2 ccs for a total of 5 ccs.   I then went to work out for a little while, then came home where my anxiety culminated itself into a lovely bout with IBS.  Hurray.  Like I need that.

Anyway, I will have to let you know tomorrow how it affects my eating.  Small bites, small portions...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tomorrow is the big day...

The question is, will I get a fill? I sure hope so. I pulled or overextended the muscle attached to the port. It is really sore. I hope I didn't do anything wrong...anyway, I'm going to bed. I will write more tomorrow after my dr appt and gym.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bandster Hell, Stagnant Weight, and a Light at the End of the Tunnel

The title says it all.  The last two weeks have not been fun.  I have mostly felt like I don't even have a band on, but I have gotten two reminders that, oh yes, I do have something wrapped around part of my tummy.  I've had food get stuck twice: once at home, where it wasn't so painful--and once at a restaurant, where it was painful and awkward for at least 5 minutes before the food finally went down.  It's frustrating because my hunger has definitely INCREASED since surgery and so my mouth is not as careful to chew well, but also when you are distracted by two little ones, you're REALLY not thinking "Is the bite I just put in my mouth small enough, and did I masticate it 33 times??"  *eyeroll*  So I learned the hard way.

I've been stuck at the same weight for the past two weeks.  I guess that's okay, but my doc probably won't think so on Tuesday.   I go for HOPEFULLY my first fill.  I say "hopefully" because I have gotten the impression that I might not get one just yet.  I can't imagine that though, because I am going in a week after everyone else (scheduling conflct for me).  Anyway, if I feel the same restriction I did that first week after surgery, I am in like Flynn.  No problemo.  It's funny how even though I am not restricted currently, I am still not eating nearly what I ate before surgery.  I could easily put away 2000-3000 cals before.  Now it's about 1500-1800, max.  We went to Bobby J's for a burger this week and I could only eat half of it and only half my fries.  Compared to what I used to be able to eat, that's pretty awesome, so I know I am well on my way.

The other thing that has changed is, we joined Lifetime Fitness.  I am really excited about this. The girls enjoy the childcare center and Matt and I have two hours without them to pretty much do whatever we want!  It's fabulous. I am going to work with Carlos as my personal trainer for 6 weeks to get a jump start on my new routine. 

So that's what is going on right now.  I'm sorry I haven't had a whole lot to say lately.  I will definitely write about my doc's appt on Tuesday, though!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Solution for Hunger


Had terrible gnawings today, good grief it was quite uncomfortable.  So, I came home and made a big cup of Broccoli Cheese soup.  When I say "made" I mean I threw a can of Campbell's in a pan and added 1% milk.  LOL.

It fills you up, and at worst, it's 180 cals.  Not bad for lunch!

Tomato soup is the same way.  Most of their soups are 230 calories or less for the whole can, and they will fill you up.

So far today, I've had a Chobani Kids Yogurt (100 cals), a banana (90 cals), a granola nut bar (170 cals) (yes I chewed the crap out of it, LOL) and this soup (180 cals).   I'm trying to stay around 1000 for the day.  That means I have 460 calories left to consume before I go to bed.  Looks like I'll be having soup for dinner too! LOL!  And I need to walk tonight, so there ya go!   I bet I will have a happy weigh in on Thursday. :-)  I'm not expecting a lot, but I'll be happy with even a POUND!

I should mention that I almost NEVER eat granola bars--I just think they are so bad for you (except for the ones that Quaker makes that are low cal/low sugar).  Lots of calories and sugar packed into a tiny bar.  However, my stomach was growling soooo badly at the dealership, and of course they have TONS of junk food, FREE, out for you to eat, with all sorts of soda and coffee and whatnot.  On top of all the junk, there were three Nature Valley Salty Nut Granola Bars, so that's what I chose. Next time I will bring a piece of string cheese with me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

9th Circle of Bandster Hell

My apologies to Dante Alighieri for the title of this post. 

And really, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. More like Purgatorio. Yep, I can eat more right now; yet I am fully aware that I am still not eating nearly what I was pre-band.  Such an odd feeling.  I am sure I will be more than ready for a fill when the time comes.  I can see why most people do not like this stage--you do have to be seriously careful to stay within the range needed to lose weight.  Tonight, I had spaghetti (quelle horror!  Pasta!) and green beans.  I could have eaten the whole can of green beans and I probably could have had more spaghetti.  But I didn't.  I stuck with 1 small bowl (like a small cereal bowl).  Pre-surgery I would have been able to have at least one BIG bowl of spaghetti with 2-3 meatballs.  I still stay full pretty well--I can go 3-4 hours between meals without even really thinking about food, so that's good.  I am aware of my choices and thankfully, most everything in the pantry is geared toward my banded existence.

Still...I'm looking forward to Bandster Paradiso.   Restriction, and perhaps a smaller swimsuit size. :-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weigh-In and eats at BJ's Brewhouse

My official weigh in was this morning-- 279 lbs. --that means I lost 4.5 lbs this past week.  I am down 13.5 lbs!  Not bad for two weeks!  However, now begins the "Bandster Hell" that I keep hearing about--where the inflammation from the surgery decreases, and since the band isn't restricted, basically you can get anything down that will fit through the stoma which because of no restriction isn't a big deal.  Thankfully, I do tend to get full, though not as quickly as last week.  The other good thing is, I tend to stay full longer.  I can go for several hours without a meal so that's worked out quite nicely--no snacking. :-)  I'm not looking for food at 10am.

Speaking of food, we went to BJ's Brewhouse last night.  I found a great choice for anyone who is in the soft-food stage: spinach stuffed mushrooms on the Appetizer menu.  8 nicely sized mushrooms and 320 calories.  I did get a bowl of Broccoli Cheese soup, but didn't eat even half of it.  Thank goodness, because it was very high in calories, I found out later.  Too much cheese and it was wayyy too thick.  It was more like Broccoli Cheese casserole.  Ick.  Anyway, if you have a BJ's, there you have it.  Mushrooms. :-)  You're welcome. LOL

I bought some Asics through Zappo's and they don't fit, width-wise.  I am tempted to keep them as I know they will eventually fit me.  They are really comfortable, just too snug I'm afraid.  I need to order a new pair, because I haven't been able to do any walking, and that really has been the only thing standing in my way.  When I get to Onederland (for those who do not know, that means under 200 lbs),  I am going to attempt Couch to 5K.  That should be interesting!

We are supposed to go to Houston this weekend, but Phoebe has a fever.  She's laid up on the sofa right now....we'll see what happens tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A couple more pounds gone...

I think I am going to start reporting my weigh-ins once a week on Thursdays, since that is really when I started weighing in.  I have lost a couple more but I will wait until 3/3 to post a final weigh-in for the week.  That's also my daughter's 3rd bithday, so it will be even more of a celebration LOL!

Tomorrow I officially move on to thinly sliced lunchmeat, cheeses, and well-cooked veggies, along with my soups and broths.  I'm dying to have some Boar's Head shaved Black Forest Ham.  mmmmm!  I'm going to make some lovely roll ups with provolone.  I've had such a hankering for pickles that I've basically scooped out the pulp and eaten it, leaving the skin behind.  It's actually quite lovely if you're dealing with Claussen, not so much with Vlasic, so there ya go. :-)

I'm having a hard time remembering to take my vitamins.  It's making me crazy.  If anyone has any tips about reminders, let me know.  I have them all sorted out in my AM/PM pill container but that's it.

I've only been slightly hungry--I find when I haven't eaten for 3 hours, I hear about it.  The gurgling is just completely ridiculous.  LIKE MY BURPS.  Wow...longest burps in history.  It's hilarious!  Matt says, "What was that?!?"  LOL! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fresh Peas & Spinach Soup

My sister gave me a recipe for fresh pea soup with spinach, and I changed it just a bit to punch it up.  I thought I would share the recipe here for anyone that would like it, along with photos (sorry, I haven't bought a flip yet so no video, for now).  It really ended up quite good and I am sure that it will even better tomorrow.

The recipe is as follows:

1-2 ham hocks
1 16 oz package of diced ham (optional if you are not ready for meats yet)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
24 oz fresh or frozen green peas
1 10 oz package fresh baby spinach
3 cups of chicken broth
3 cups of water
1/4 tsp salt (optional if you are using low-sodium broth)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 T. bacon fat (optional)

In a large dutch oven, brown the ham hocks (on medium) in 2 T. olive oil.  I used two ham hocks but one is sufficient.

When browned on all sides, remove and set aside.  Add onion and 1 T bacon fat to pot.  Cook until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.

 Add chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Now add the peas.  You can add them frozen if you wish.  Cook until peas are thawed--it won't take very long--about 5 minutes.  After peas are thawed and broth is bubbly, add spinach. You want to cook until the spinach is wilted but still bright green:

Strain the soup, keeping the liquid aside.  Take the pea/spinach mixture and puree in a blender or food processor. 

Add puree back into dutch oven.  Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne.  You may now add as much of the saved liquid as you like back in to bring the soup to a texture you like.  Add the ham hocks back at this time.

You may also add the diced ham.  Simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

DELICIOUS!  A very good, smoky flavor--excellent texture....and great if you've been put on full liquids or purees.  If you've been moved on to small meats, you can use the diced ham, you'll love it!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Clearance, Clarence.

I was so excited about my weight loss yesterday that I forgot to mention that I've been cleared for some new foods and am so happy about it.  I can cook again!  So, tonight I am making a recipe, slightly modified, from my sister Robin.  It's a fresh pea soup made with onions, spinach, and ham, and pureed.  I am going to make a how-to video to show how easy (and inexpensive) this is.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Results Are In...Week ONE...(drumroll....)

Just came back from my day at the doctor's office (and I do mean "day"...since 10AM!) and I've lost...



Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today is my one week Banderversary!

Boy, last week at this time I was sacked out.  I feel pretty good about my week, even though I have not been 100% faithful to the clear liquids/no coffee mantra.  It's certainly frustrating to watch others chow down because their doctors are more liberal in regard to their diet, but overall I am happy that my doctor has limits because I know I need them.  I just hope that he lifts some of those limits for me tomorrow.  I really didn't realize I would be so famished, yet all I have to do is have a little something and I am totally full.  I have been told that when I go for a fill my famished feeling will most likely go away, and it should also ease up the more I lose.
I get scared that because of my Hashimoto's I actually will not lose very much.  I have kind of accepted that.  I'd be happy if I could lose 50 lbs. Matt seems to think I will be able to make goal.  I just want to be realistic, that's all. I expect no miracles, despite hard work.  I hope I don't seem too negative, but I have experience in this category.  I knew going into this that it might not work as well as with other people.  If it does, then that is just a bonus.
I have my first support group meeting tomorrow at 10:00AM.  I am excited about it.  My doctor's appointment is at 1.  I will update y'all when I get back. 

Night night! :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Welp...I think a wheel came off my wagon. But I didn't fall off!

I woke up this morning and my stomach was GROWLING.  It growled in a way I have never heard it.  Wow.  Needless to say, I've had problems all day with the gnawing--and chicken broth did NOT take it away. Neither did Jello.  So, I decided to take the bull by the horns and make tomato soup for lunch.

THAT WORKED!   I am actually still full.  Believe it!  We're going on 4 hours now...

I am dying for a pickle though.  I do not understand why, but there it is.  Maybe if I drink pickle juice.  Is that wrong? LOL!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting kind of sick of broth, gotta tell ya.

We were out all day looking for a TV cabinet. Well, not all day--but 3-4 hours. I got what I guess is hungry for me now; kind of a rumbling but more of a dull, hollow feeling in my upper stomach. So, we stopped at Sonic, because I knew Matt and Paige would be happy (Phoebe was at school today) and I could get a small or kid-sized grape slush or limeade. Well, they ended up having real non-fat yogurt smoothies, so I got a small one. It took me well over an hour to finish it. LOL!! I like that a lot. :-) Matt had a double Sonic jalapeno burger (we have to work on Matt...). Unfortunately, it made me realize how much I am missing real food. I can't wait until my doctor's appointment on Thursday. I hope he lets me begin to experiment a bit. I am dying for some scrambled eggs!

We got two fish for Phoebe today. She is so happy about it! They're just two little comet goldfish, but they're all hers. :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nephew's Birthday Party

Today is day 4 post-op and we all went over to my sister-in-law's house to celebrate our nephew's 2nd birthday--with a fabulous looking cake and everything! I didn't even lick a fork. I feel great! I am really trying to stay on track so that when I go for my appointment on Thursday, my doctor will give me clearance for mushies. That means I will be able to start eating REAL food. I have several recipes for some delicious soups and purees, and I'll be able to eat them along with eggs, cheese, yogurt...mmmmm. Good stuff. Can't wait!

Short post as I am super tired, but I just wanted to pop in and update.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day Three: The Same, I Think...

Wow, I really think the hernia correction (did I mention I had one?) is what is bugging me the most. Was up at 4:30 waiting for the magic number of 5 on the clock so I could take pain meds. Helped Matt get Phoebe ready for school. I am at home with Paige today, but I do not anticipate any major problems. I am about to take a nap and I have Paige in here watching one of her favorite Baby Einsteins. I also have Stacy on speed dial if I can't handle it. I think I will be okay though!
Not hungry at all. Just drinking some chicken broth right now. Then off to la-la land.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day Two, or "Don't Forget to Take Pain Meds"

The word of the day is: SORE :o)

Very tender today. Mainly from center to left side of abdomen. LorTab is my friend.

I woke up at 6:30 to help Matt with Phoebe and Paige. When they were all gone I took a dose of pain meds and went back to bed. I just woke up about an hour ago....very sore. So, I took some again and am feeling better. I think my window is 5 hours (the bottle says 4-6). Tastes bloody awful. Bitter! Ick. Though not like that iodine contrast from THAT was bitter! Whew.

Here is what I've eaten today:

3/4 c. chicken broth
2 popsicles (sugar-free)
2 lifesavers to suck on
some water (how am I going to get 64 oz a day down me when I am supposed to "sip"?)

isn't that fabulous? And I'm not really hungry at all. I think what I thought were stomach rumblings were really just intestinal sounds. It's hard to say.
Matt will be picking Paige up from Mother's Day out in about an hour and then he heads back to work. I will be helping Phoebe off the bus since he has to go right back to work.

I am excited that tomorrow I will be even more "on the mend" and back to myself. I can't wait to see how I feel in a week. I am not looking for any big losses, but it will be interesting to see if I've lost any weight. I ordered my Tanita scale last night off of Amazon so hopefully that will be here around my 1 week Banderversary!! <---is that how you spell it? LOL

Back to bed for me. Just wanted to update!


^^^Reminds me of Skippyjon Jones. lol

Well...I was banded at 8AM this morning.

It was all rather uneventful, actually. My sister-in-law Stacy came to the house at 5AM (I owe her BIG time) to make sure Phoebe got on the bus and that Paige was looked after while Matt and I were at the hospital. We arrived at the hospital a little after 6 and because I was already pre-admitted, I just had to get ready. They took me back to pre-op while Matt went to the waiting room. I changed into a gown, laid down in a bed/stretcher, and the nurses hooked me up to a heart rate/BP monitor. My IV was put in with no problems, and I had a shot of anticoagulant in my arm. Matt was allowed to come back in and wait with me. The anesthesiologist came in to talk with me. He was very nice. I told him about my kinda rough experience with intubation during my first cerclage (and I never woke up when it was removed so he remembered!). Then Dr. Cavazos came in, I introduced him to Matt as "my son, Dr. Cavazos" lol, because he is so young (or I am just so old...)! LOL. After that it was on. Matt and I kissed and hugged and he went to the waiting room. The anesthesiologist gave me a sedative in my IV and I was wheeled into the OR. I remember making some kind of joke on the way but I was starting to get loopy. I remember laying there for about two seconds and then I was DONE. Out like a light. I don't even remember the oxygen mask on me or anything.

When I woke up, I was in the PACU and the nurse came over to me and asked me how I felt. I was very groggy. Kind of sore, but not really. Just tired. She let me sleep but I kept going in and out of sleep, which I guess is pretty normal. After I was more alert, she gave me some ice chips (thank goodness!!) and then after a few minutes asked me how I was doing with them. I said, "Fine." I think in hindsight she was wondering if I was getting nauseated. I was in a recliner for recovery and have no idea when I actually was put in it. Weird.

I closed my eyes for what seemed just a moment and when I opened them Matt was there. He was lightly touching my arm, and smiling. He said, "Hi sweetie." :o) Things just improved from there. I was able to get up to go to the bathroom, and had a popsicle. I did have to swallow iodine contrast to make sure everything went through my band okay. That was cool to watch on the monitor. At 1:30pm, I was dressed and ready to leave.

We got home and I basically hit the sack after chatting a bit with Stacy and saying hi to Liam. I was sooo tired. I woke up at 6pm and had some meds, some chicken broth and chatted with the girls a bit. It was so great to see them. I fell asleep after a while and woke up at 12:30am and I have been awake ever since, though I have to say I am getting groggy again.

I did not expect to hear my stomach rumble, but it is growling. I imagine it's because even though I am banded, I have no restriction yet. So, I will have to just drink my liquids and eat jello when I am hungry. The good news is, I get full very quickly. That is a good sign as when it is time for solids, they will stay with me longer. I am not allowed any type of solids for two weeks, and only very soft foods at that point until about 5 weeks, when I can start re-introducing regular foods. I am to walk 30 minutes every day and be up and moving as much as I can when I am awake.

So, that's it for now. I will give another update tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Surgery is Tomorrow Morning

How do I feel? Well, slightly anxious, but overall...I've just been too busy to think about it much. Trying to get as much stuff done as possible to make it easy on Matt since neither one of us really knows how I am going to feel after this.

I have also been sick, so that has taken my mind off of things. The girls gave me their cold--how generous of them. lol. Fortunately, the doc's office says as long as I don't have a fever--and I don't--things should go off just as they should.

So, what is in store for me for the first two weeks? Apparently, protein drinks, skim milk, clear broth, and jello. Now that is what I call variety. Hopefully the two weeks will go by quickly and I will move on to phase 2--the "mushies". Sounds lovely, don't it? *wink* I can have anything that can be mushed up, basically. Sweet potatoes, creamed soups, yogurts, fruits, veggies. After four weeks total, I will be ready to go back to good ol' regular food. I am going to try--try try try--to stay as close to clean foods as possible...foods as close to their pure form as they can get, with little to no processing. I don't know how that is going to work with the girls and their favorite American cheese slices, but I will have to work on it. For me, that is going to mean that I will be cooking fairly healthy meals. This is where the band will help me the most. If I do my part, the band will do its part. My calorie consumption is going to be somewhere around 700-1000 calories a day. If I walk 30 minutes every day, I should see at least a 2-4 lb a week loss, which will put me at a 40 lb loss, at 2 lbs a week, in June when we go to FL. That would be really nice! I wouldn't feel quite so self-conscious about my weight. The doctor said I will see the largest weight loss in the first few months. That should be interesting.

The procedure will take 45 minutes, approximately. I have to be at the surgery center at 6AM. Surgery is at 8AM. I am not really "nervous"--just anxious to get to the next phase, because I want to see how difficult it is going to be for me to lose with my thyroid issues and PCOS.

Well, I better go...Paige is crying. I will check back, if I can, tomorrow.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Got My Surgery Date!

February 16 is the date! Hurray!

I am apprehensive, excited, hesitant, nervous, overjoyed...and in amazement that this is all starting to really happen. I've waited a very long time. We wanted to wait until after we had our kids to decide if this was the right step. Once we did that, we had to jump through insurance hoops, only to find we were moving to San Antonio due to Matt's new job, so we had new insurance...and guess what? WLS is an exclusion--meaning, they don't cover lap-band or any other type of weight loss surgery.

So we had to do a bit of saving, and here we are, a little over a year after our move to SA, and I am ready to take on this new life.

My surgeon is Dr. Sonny Cavazos. He is absolutely wonderful!