Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fancy Was My Name

I talked to my mom last night, and she wants to get me a Shake Weight:
The weight that makes you better at giving hand jobs.
She says to me, she says, "No, Laura...this woman I work with - she's probably 3 times bigger than you - she's been using it and it WORKS!"
Mom always talks about this 3xLaura coworker.  I think she made her up to always have an example:
"This woman I work with - she's 3 times your size - she's been eating Slim Fast bars..."
"This woman I work with - she's like, 3 of you - she lost weight on shakes..."
"This woman I work with - she's a total land yacht - she's gonna die soon."
I think before surgery, mom told me this woman had surgery and failed.  She was mom's cautionary tale.  "If you do this, you better not fail it like 3XL did."  Who knows?  I just don't listen to her.
I told Mom that though I'm sure the shake weight does something useful, it's a total handjob trainer.  Still, she offered to pick one up for me if she saw at Wal-Mart.  I think she's trying to turn me out.
So there's that,

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Last Friday night I was lookin' fine.

I had on some black leggings, a zebra print dress with pockets, a short blazer, and red peep-toe flats. I was going on a date with myself - gonna see Avenue Q and follow that up with a Mediterranean dance party at a downtown club.

I was celebrating the point where I could really see and feel my weight loss. I ran out of all the skinny clothes I'd saved over the last 5 years, and I was gonna have to start building a temporary wardrobe. I found that zebra dress at Marshall's for a cool twenty bucks, and it was a size 18. I haven't been in a size 18 dress for 5 years, and that was a size enjoyed only briefly.

I'm starting to like the shape of my legs for the first time, ever. I still got some jelly curd thighs, but there's shape there, muscle tone. I don't feel thunder-thighed. I like my ass. I like my small waist and how my ass just BOOMS out from it. I feel attractive. Most importantly, I feel attracted to my own body. Girl Power! Zig-a-zig-ah!

So I'm lookin' fine, sitting on the bus on the way downtown to Avenue Q. I'm crossing my legs the way I couldn't 5 months ago. There are plenty of open seats, not many people on board. Which is why I was surprised when a guy sat next to me. He could have had a bench to himself, but he sat next to me. Even though my legs were crossed and my ankle was dangling over into his leg space.

Whatever. Free country and all that. I uncross my legs and skootch closer to the window. Look outside at the lake swimming by me. Avoid eye contact. Standard procedure.

My ass doesn't crossover into the other seat anymore, so I was a little disappointed when I felt the guy's thigh against mine. I thought that life was behind me - wait a minute! He's sitting on the outside seat; according to procedure, he should sit closer to the edge so we don't touch. Damn this guy. He's just trying to prove a point and take up all of the seat allotted to him.

I continue staring out the window. I feel a strange sensation on my thigh. Is he just sitting really close to me? I wait a few moments more, trying to determine - without looking - if I'm feeling movement down there. I'm tingling...there's definitely some movement going on.

I glance down, and see the guy's hand on the side of my thigh. I look back out the window and think, "Maybe he's just getting something out of his pocket. Don't overreact until you have visual confirmation!"

I look down again and it's confirmed: motherfucker's palm is turned out and he's not so subtly palming and massaging my thigh. I glance over at him, and he's looking straight ahead. I glance down and he's still going at it. It can't be denied; this chulo is outright molesting me.

Throughout this whole thing, my face is hot, my heart is racing, and I'm trying not to melt down. Once it's confirmed, I weigh my options: Get up and move to a new seat; call this motherfucker out, quietly; or call this motherfucker out by making a scene.

A few years ago, an old guy tried to feel me up on the bus. I lost my words and got up, crying, and moved to the back of the bus. I felt people looking at me like I was the freak. The old guy stared and smiled at me for the rest of the ride.

I wasn't gonna do that shit again. I got there first. This motherfucker was gonna get served.

I tightened my grip on the umbrella that was lying across my lap. In one quick movement, I snatched it up, aimed the handle at his crotch and said, "Get. Your hands. Off me."

His hand went straight to his mouth. He pretended to stroke his goatee. People turned and stared. I made eye contact with them as if to say, "Yeah, fuck this guy. If something happens now, you bitches better have my back."

He didn't change seats, and I refused to let this asshole eject me from mine. He kept his hands to himself for the rest of the ride, which seemed like an eternity. He got off at the first stop on Michigan. I was relieved and pissed and scared and shaken....so many feelings.

I didn't let this spoil the show for me. I enjoyed myself. But even though I started out the evening feeling and lookin' fine, I just felt insecure and exposed after that. I skipped the dance party (where I was hoping to dance with some hot Mediterranean men) because I didn't feel like being attractive to anyone anymore that night.

It sucked. But I feel like I won in this round, if only for bringing attention to that asshole. Next time it happens, I'll call the fucker out, and continue with my sexy-ass plans. But for now, baby steps.

So there's that,


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Girl with the Big Hips

There's a rather loud, boisterous gentleman that works in our mailroom at work.

If you've met me in person, you'll know that this is a pot-calling-the-kettle statement, but bear with me.

But this guy, whom I'll call Martin Lawrence or ML for short, has been pulling me aside recently to tell me how good I look. Today he cornered me by the fax machine and told me again how good I look. He tried to make it look like he was taking me aside and talking to me in a hushed tone, but this guy's hushed tone is like...like...my metaphors suck now...well it's fucking loud. Everyone on my side of the floor heard what he was saying, and I couldn't stop it.

ML: "Laura, I just want to say that you are look-ing GOOOOOD! You change every time I see you. And you know what, girl? People are noticing! You're the talk of the College! They say, 'You know that girl with the big hips that works in education?' - That's how they know you - 'She's really losing weight!' There's one woman who says she wants to get down to your size. Do you know Jane Doe?"

Me: "No, I don't think so." (I actually did, but didn't feel comfortable talking about her.)

ML: "Well she says she would love to look like you. You could be the poster child for these big women here. They're talkin! They say, 'You know Laura?' and I say, 'Yeah what she do?' and they say you're lookin good! Now don't go making no videos..."

Me: "....?....!.....?"

ML: "You just keep doin' what you doin'."

It's flattering but pretty embarrassing to have coworkers talk to me about my weight. It's not that I don't appreciate it; but it's just uncomfortable knowing that people are talking about me and judging how I look. Right now it feels nice, since I look good, but to know that I was (and still am) seen as "The Girl with the Big Hips" is a little...saddening?

I know people make opinions and references about a person based on appearance. Hell, there's a girl on my floor I call Sour Boots because she's always scowling and wearing knee-high boots. There's a woman I internally refer to as Trudy Weigle because she looks like that chick from Reno 911.

I know I'm all bottom. I'm okay with that because I have to be. But somehow having other people think of me - and openly discuss me - as the big-hipped one does not make me feel better or spectacular.

If this were an after-school special, I should probably take away from this conversation a lesson on gossip. That you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or discuss the size of its ass, the sourness of its countenance, or its uncanny likeness to a desperate cat lady on a fake police show.

I won't. I'll just be reminded that just because you don't talk to people, doesn't mean they're not talking about you.

So there's that,


The Emperor's New Clothes

These last few months have been quite...uneventful.  I know my body is changing, but I feel as if other people can see it more than me.  That's understandable; they see me less often than I see me in the mirror, so they're gonna notice the changes better than I do.
The scale doesn't move as quickly as I expected it to.  I'm not complaining!  The scale will do what it does, and the only thing that matters is how I feel.  I weigh 85 pounds less than I did when I started on the path to surgery 2 years ago this month.  I've lost 60 lbs since surgery.  The benefit of a steady loss is that my body isn't covered in sharpei flesh.  I've been exercising regularly to keep up that muscle tone.  It's my hope that I won't have to resort to plastic surgery to remove arm and thigh flab.  I would ONLY do that if there was an issue with chafing or discomfort, not because of appearance.
It's only now - in my 5th month post-op - that I've run out of the "skinny clothes" that I kept in my closet.  I shouldn't say I've run out of them - they fit perfectly (=snugly), but I realize the styles are completely outdated.  Right now I prefer ultra-dark denim, and my old skinny jeans are a little pale for my liking.  Plus the cut is so 5 years ago, so "I'm 23 and livin' life!"
I have to be cautious in my purchase of new pants.  As Sir Mix-a-Lot would say, my waist is small and my curves are kickin' - as a result, most pants fit me perfectly on the hips, but I got about 6 inches of excess fabric around the waist.  (I'll post a tasteful pic of this phenomenon later to demonstrate.)  So, I either need to get a belt or a good tailor.  Problem is, last time I took pants to a tailor, it ran me $50/piece to take in and hem, etc.  That's a lot of cash, girl!
I could just wear dresses and leggings for the rest of the summer, but leggings don't always look professional.  Last time I wore them to work, I felt underdressed even though the women I work with wear them all the time.  Maybe I just feel underdressed because something fits.  In that case, I'll have to get over that and wurq my look.
I'm also small up top.  Not boobwise, thank God, but rather I'm a 16 up top and a 20-22 on bottom.  Lane Bryant shirts are starting to look too big on me, which is bittersweet; I love their shirts, and I find that other stores' shirts are too small/tight/short on me. 
In short, I'm reaching the frustrating size phase of weight loss.  It's not a bad place to be in, but still a nuisance.
In two weeks I'm going to go on a little shopping spree.  I will shop at places other than Lane Bryant and see how their clothes fit.  I will get pants that fit.  Maybe some dresses.  A belt.  Get my haircut and colored.  I'm going to do something positive to make this weight loss feel real(er) to me. 
So there's that,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Answer to "Can I have coffee after surgery?"

I think every doc is different.

Just an hour before I left the hospital, I lifted my doleful eyes to my surgeon and asked, "Doc, will I ever be able to drink coffee again?"

He looked at me like I was crazy, that out of all the questions I could ask during his final visit, this is what I posed.

"You can drink coffee today."

I wept openly. "Thank you! Thank you for saving my life."

He peeled his hand out of the tight husk of my own, and with shifting eyes excused himself. As I yelled after him - "I am forever in your debt! Thus are we inextricably linked through all time!" - he quickened his pace and broke into a jog down the hallway, out of my life.

I wiped the black streaks of mascara off my face and applied bright red lipstick thickly and forcefully around my lips, not caring about missing my lips entirely in some places.

So yeah, I can drink coffee.

So there's that,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Losing It

I'm in a bad place.
I apologize in advance for the tone of this post, and in retrograde for the tone of recent posts.
I'm in a bad place.
The 3-month post-op mark is fast approaching, and I cannot avoid the "normal" era of depression that arrives with this anniversary.  Other post-ops say this has happened to them.  I thought I could avoid it by being positive about my surgery, positive about my loss, and remaining physically active.  I've done all those things.  I am still very VERY happy to have had this surgery, very proud of my 45 lb loss so far, and have been active since day two.
And still...there's a dark cloud around me.  For the past two weeks I've felt sooooo tired and sluggish, I could have stayed in bed every day.  I wanted to walk a few miles outside on Saturday, and I almost didn't go.  I was up at 9:00 am, but I didn't get out the door until 2:00 pm.  I told myself, "You've got to live today," and spent an hour putting my gear on piece by piece, during commercial breaks.  I kept telling myself, "Put your pants on, put your pants on...then we'll deal with what's next."  "Put your bra on...then we'll deal with what's next."
Once I got everything on, the next step was getting out of the house.  I ended up walking around my apartment with my shoes on for about an hour, then took them off, thinking I would just stay in.  I hung around for another hour and decided to put the shoes on again and get the eff out.  I brought my phone with me; catching up on calls was a good excuse to keep me occupied outside.
I called my Aunt Paula to make plans to see my cousin in a play on Sunday.  The wheels were turning in the back of my mind as to how I could finesse my way out of this commitment.  Ultimately, I went.  My cousin Cam is a special needs kid, and was doing an all special needs production of High School Musical.  What kind of heartless person could pass that up?  I had fun being with my family.  As usual, it was worth it.
Back to the walk.  I called my sister afterward and told her how I was feeling.  She asked if maybe we got this kind of thing from Mom, who vascillates wildly between being overly social and anti-social, who spent many an afternoon, evening and weekend holed up in bed.  We talked about how this feeling overcomes both of us sometimes and how it can be difficult to put ourselves out there.  Manda, sorry if I'm speaking on your behalf - feel free to rip me in the comments.  I think both of us are conscious of this and try to get around it, to not be like Mom.
I stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday.  I was feeling sick, but mostly I took it as an opportunity to get this funk out of my system.  There's only so much daytime television I can withstand before craving fresh air and human contact again.
I slept for hours, ate lots of sugar free popsicles, took lots of baths, and let my hair build up 2.5 days worth of grease (which, with my thin hair, is like 5 days of grease in people days).  Speaking of which, I'm losing hair - frequently.  It's a result of surgery that I expected, and now's about the time for it to happen.  I don't know whether to comb my hair or my sink, since most days it's hard to tell which is more hairy.  Each week I can add another twist of the elastic to my shrinking ponytails.  It'll grow back, but until it does, I might have to get a mom haircut.
I've taken to making lists to get through my day.  Here's my after-work to-do list from the other day, seriously:  take vitamin, do dishes, pack lunch, crossword, dinner, brush teeth, change, make bed, go to shelter, go see the show.  What's funnier is that I actually made one list, started inserting things I forgot, then crossed it all out and started a new list.  This was a special evening, since I was going to volunteer at the shelter, then see my friend's show.  It was going to be a long night, and I had to list the little steps to get me out the door.  Proudly, I made it to the shelter for my 8-10 pm shift, but I flaked on my friend's 10:30 pm show.  I want to make the excuse that it was on a weeknight, and the show was too late.  But dang it, I made the list so I could COMMIT.  I guess I should be happy I made it as far as I did, but I was trying so hard to use that momentum to finish what I planned to do.
Well, this is another week, and I need to live it.  Tonight, I promised I would scrub my floors - my hairy, hairy floors.  Let's see if I can do this one right.
So there's that,


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Run It

I'm really thinking about doing the Soldier Field Ten Mile at the end of May.  The only thing keeping me from signing up at this point is the probability that I might not finish within the 2:45 time limit.  That's roughly a fifteen-minute mile.  I'm a little slower than that when I'm walking, but I think I could work my way up to it.

I went to the gym yesterday and completed 5 miles in 1:25.  Next week I'll add another mile, then another the following week, and so on.  When the weather gets better, I'll take it to the streets.

What's notable is that I actually ran for 8 minutes!  I plodded that shit nonstop for 8 whole minutes.  I've never done that before.  Maybe I can add more running minutes on to each week, too.

I think I could really do this, and I have two months to make it happen.  Should I put cash on it and sign up for the race?

So there's that,


Friday, February 26, 2010

Hard Facts

I've learned some hard facts about my diet and behavior since surgery.
  • Baked potato chips, while approved by my dietician, do not make me feel good.  They feel sludgy in my stomach, I can feel the pulp gurgling around down there.  It's nasty.  I can't even look at chips ever again.
  • Packaged tuna and salmon are hit-or-miss with me.  A month ago, I got some tuna stuck in my pouch, which caused much pain and dry heaving.  Last week I decided to revisit packaged fish - the salmon salad went down really well for 3 days.  It was the 4th day that destroyed me.  I'm putting that shit back on the shelf for another time.
  • I love cheese.  I fucking love cheese.  I want cheese to get me pregnant.  Thankfully, cheese is a high-protein essential in my post-op life.  Praise cheese!
  • It's weird to go grocery shopping now.  I want to make lots of different things for the week, but I won't be able to eat lots of things for the week.  Case in point:  I made meatballs 3 weeks ago.  Last weekend I had to throw the final 3 out.  I just couldn't eat them often enough.  I've decided to really focus on the things I need (sugar-free popsicles and Activia Light yogurt), and buy other staples as needed.  I don't want to be a hoarder.
  • I can't look at the scale between weigh ins.  That shit fucks with your mind.  Example:  I looked at the scale today and am apparently up 5 lbs since Tuesday.  No way.  There's no possible way on this diet.  Will see what the scale says next week.  Bet it will be awesome.  Bet it will be awesome.
  • I need a schedule at night to keep from going crazy.  I'm a hermit.  I live alone.  I don't like going out on weekday nights.  I could easily graze on cheese and sugar-free popsicles if I allowed it.  Unfortunately, I'm bad about keeping schedules.  This week's evening schedule was successful:
    • Go home.
    • Take multi-vitamin.
    • Turn on music.
    • Put on lounge-y clothes. 
    • Make bed, clean apartment.
    • Do dishes.
    • Complete the L.A. Times crossword puzzle for the day.
    • Check on the interwebs.
    • Watch my stories.
    • Take a bath and read.
    • Go to bed.
  • From the list above, it's clear that I need a hobby/enriching activity.  To that end, I began volunteering at a homeless shelter.  Last night was the orientation, and next week I begin volunteering at their clinic on Tuesdays and their kitchen on Thursdays.  I'm pretty pumped.(!)
  • I'm losing patience with people.  It's not because I'm more confident and tired of being rolled over all the time; it's because I'm cranky...and tired of being rolled over all the time.  I'm trying to keep my tact and manners in check.
  • I need to reach out to people more often.  I'm a really shy person, and it's become so much worse after so many months in seclusion.  I make a point to go to one social commitment per week, and try to call friends and family more often.  It's difficult, but I just have to grit my teeth and get out there.
Have a good weekend, everyone!  I'm going to try and make the best of it!
So there's that,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lordy Lordy, Look Who Lost 40!

That would be me.

I've lost 40 pounds since my surgery 9 weeks ago, 67 pounds since my highest weight at the end of 2008.

That's pretty fucking awesome.

It's weird, but I keep thinking I'm not losing enough WHICH IS CRAZYTALK AND I'LL NOT HAVE IT.  Forty pounds in two months is nothing to pee on.  That's an average of 4.5 pounds per week.  

However, if I'd actually lost at that rate, I'd probably be more satisfied with it.  Instead, I lost 20 pounds in the first 3 weeks, went through a stall, lost 10 more pounds, then went through another long stall during which my weight fluctuated.  Suddenly I dropped 7 pounds over the weekend.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take it; it's just so suspenseful.

The odds are in my favor that I'm gonna lose weight.  Nevertheless, weekly weigh-ins are still nailbiters.  I can tell I lost bunches of inches (though I haven't measured), but it's that number on the scale that means so much.  That's always been the bottom line.  

But then again, who the eff sees your scale, knows your weight?  No one!  That's why I'm going to focus on my body shape and clothing sizes when gauging my weight loss.  That's the stuff that's out there in the world, not my number on the scale.  I need to take satisfaction in how I look and feel.

So there's that,


Re: "How the G.O.P. Can Fix Health Care" (Op-Ed, 2/22/10)

To the Editor:

James Pinkerton obviously isn't familiar with households like mine – those rural homes several miles off Main Street where the middle class dollars come from jobs in manufacturing, service and agriculture. On my State Road, when Americans think about health care, they think first of finance, not health.

At the age of 32, my mother discovered she had large - yet benign - breast tumors. After the biopsy, my father's 3-man plumbing company could no longer afford to offer insurance coverage to my family. Fortunately my mother was able to insure us through her factory, but we rationed health care in fear that too many visits to the doctor would result in loss of coverage or worse, the loss of her job. We suffered the opposite of hypochondria. Twenty years later, my parents still refuse to see the doctor for stitches and sprains, let alone preventative care such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

My parents put their faith in Republicans. Unfortunately, Republicans are doing nothing to help people like them.

So there's that,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've been talking to a guy for the past few weeks, and it was getting to the point that we were going to meet up for a date.  I was g-chatting him this morning, and he said that he didn't want to mislead me; he started seeing someone that he was talking to before he met me, and he wanted to see where it would go.  He likes talking to me, could we still be friends.
A big part of me wanted to say, "I got enough friends."  But I didn't.  I just said I don't know how we can be friends when the whole reason we started talking was to begin dating.  I can't divide my feelings that easily.  But...I could always use friends.  We decided to keep the line of communication open.
Why did I do this?  I don't want to invest myself emotionally in someone that I might never date.  I don't want to be on the bench for this guy if it doesn't work out with this other chick.  I will continue talking to other guys, don't get me wrong.  It's just not my style to talk to more than one person at a time.  I don't have the attention span, can't keep them straight.  And I don't think it's fair.
Well, who said dating was fair?
So there's that,

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Presh.

Recently I've been feeling very down.
Lots of people report feeling depressed in the weeks following surgery, and now it seems that mine has finally hit.  I hoped to keep it at bay with excercise, but apparently that's not enough.
I went off my depression meds after surgery, so I guess that didn't help either.  I've started taking them again in the past two weeks, and they've really helped me focus through the day.
But beyond pills and endorphins lies a deep sadness/rage/cynicism/hopelessness.  I just haven't felt proper.
Right now I just want to cry.  Maybe this is the aftereffect of yet another lonely Valentine's Day, but I just feel that I'll never have a successful romantic relationship.  I don't want to spend my life without a good man.  I know I shouldn't put so much pressure on myself, but I can't help it.  I don't understand how it's so much easier for other people to meet their partners.  What is there about me that's so unlovable?
Do I find myself unlovable?  Is that it?  I feel as successful as ever, with weight loss, work, mind.  But do I love myself?  Does anyone really love themselves?  I think we develop self-love through the eyes of those who love us.  I have a great family and a great group of friends; I feel loved and appreciated by them.  But as far as intimate, personal love, there is nothing.  There is no person that thinks of me first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  Those who did are long gone, and I'm long forgotten.
It's bleak, and I try not to think about it.  Am I doing myself a disservice by ignoring it?  By trudging along?  Some days it's hard to ignore.
I shouldn't say this, but it's true:  I do find myself unlovable.  I will until it's proven otherwise...or until I change.
So there's that,

Biding Time

The habit of eating when bored is coming back to me.  Fortunately, I've gotten through the rough patches by chowing on sugar-free popsicles.  Unfortunately, I'm addicted to sugar-free popsicles.


I need to find ways to keep busy at home.  It's too cold to walk at night after dinner, and too dark to walk right after work.  I'm getting tired of taking baths, if that's even possible.  For my benefit only, below is a list of ideas to keep myself busy at night:


  • Dance Dance Revolution.  I got the PS2 for a reason...
  • Serious Housekeeping.  I could spend an hour per night on some serious spot cleaning in my apartment.  My bathroom and bookshelf could use some serious attention.
  • Drawing.  I like doing it, and I'm pretty good at it when I focus.  I bought a pad, some charcoal and pastels last week.  Now I have to use them.
  • Blog.  I could do it more, but I hate being on the computer when I'm home.
  • Write.  See above.
  • Get a Life.  Easier said than done.  I hate going out on weeknights.  Admittedly, this should be easier since I don't drink anymore, but still.  I need to decompress after work, and I don't want to be around people or at a bar to do it.


The next step is managing the time I watch television.  I never thought it would come to this, but I'm addicted to certain television shows:  RuPaul's Drag Race, No Reservations, Lost, and Project Runway, to name the most important.  When I'm not watching these shows, I'm watching stuff I've seen before.  I'm wasting time.  I need to cut back my television time to only include these shows.  When I'm not watching TV I could be focusing on those other enriching activities.


Now I need to put the plan into action!  I will report at the end of the week!


So there's that,



Friday, February 12, 2010

Set it and forget it.

In the days after surgery, I told my sister that I was looking forward to the surgically imposed limits and losing the need to obsess over my weight loss because there's no possible chance I'll gain weight on such a tiny diet.  I told her I didn't want to look at the scale anymore.  At least, I didn't want to look at it every day.
I was at peace with the limitations.  I didn't want to think about food anymore.  As far as my stomach goes, I wanted to set it and forget it.
I'm learning that it's not that easy.  I'm losing weight again after a 3-week stall.  My body was shrinking, but the scale was staying the same.  After losing 30 lbs in just a matter of weeks, my body was all, "Hey!  Don't take these pounds off of me!  I need to catch up!  You're starving; I'mma hang on to this for as long as I can!"
And I was all, "It's okay, body, you'll get fed."
And my body was all, "I don't believe you."
But while I was going through the stall, I couldn't help but check that scale every day just to be able to slide the counterweight to the left.  I don't want to obsess over how much weight I'm losing each day; I'm not that fucked up.  I was just curious.
My appetite and cravings are coming back.  It might have something to do with PMS, or it could just be in my nature.  What's good is that I can't eat as much as I used to.  What's bad - or at least inconvenient - is that I can't order out for a quick bite, or go out to eat alone without doing some serious thinking about how pointless it is.
I wanted pad Thai the other night, and I was thisclose to ordering when I finally said "fuck it" and scrambled an egg.  It's not worth it.  I can eat the chicken and the tofu, but I'd only be able to slurp down maybe two noodles.  They'd probably get stuck or make me sleepy....it just wasn't worth the effort or the waste. 
I can't go out of my way for carbs.  Pasta, rice, potatoes just blow up in my stomach and take up room for vital protein.  I love them, but they do nothing for me.  I have to keep conscious of my limitations, as much as I love them.
The other day at lunch I had some lentil soup and splurged for some gluten free tortilla chips as a side.  After my soup, I could only eat 2 chips before I started to get that sludgy stomach feeling.  I told my friend Lyzz to food-check me if she ever saw me buying chips again.  I normally don't abide food-checkers, but in this case it's good to have someone be like, "Hey, you don't like those, remember?"
So now comes the time to make conscious food boundaries, to know my limits and enforce them.  Sure, the surgery helps me understand that bad food sucks, but I still have to be the policeman.
So there's that,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Herb of the Week!

I'm only one person.

That's why I hate it when I buy a bunch of herbs in one shopping trip - basil, parsley, cilantro - but can't use them all before they start to slime up.

So Friday I decided to buy basil and do as much shit as I can to it before it goes bad and takes my fridge hostage, shooting the dijon mustard and raping the eggs.

Here's what I'll be making this week:

Prosciutto Bites: A strip of prosciutto topped with a basil leaf and wrapped around 1/2 of a ciliegine mozzarella ball and 1/2 a grape tomato.

Chicken Meatballs in Vodka Sauce: Trader Joe's chicken meatballs tossed in a slow cooker with a jar of vodka sauce and simmered for a few hours on low. I topped them with fresh ribbons of basil and shredded mozzarella and cranked it up to high for 15 minutes before eating.

Shrimp Salad: Chopped shrimp tossed with chopped banana peppers, basil, mayo, salt and pepper. Served on a rice cake.

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad: Halved tomatoes and ciliegine mozzarella balls tossed with basil, salt, pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Basil Scrambled Eggs: Scrambled eggs with basil and red bell pepper. I guess these are the basil-raped eggs.

Basil Cottage Cheese

I'm pretty sure I'll be sick of basil by the time I'm through with it.

So there's that,


Clean Closet

Do you ever get the feeling that your stuff is taking over you life? Well I do.

Every few months I get a wild hair to purge my apartment of the things that I don't use or wear anymore. Since I've noticed a bunch of my pants are sagging, I decided to pull all the unnecessary things out of my closet - pants, shirts I can't or won't wear anymore, things I've only worn once because clearly they were bad purchases, mistakes.

Here's a look at the first closet raid:

Check out the yellow layer. That's a hideous sweater my mom got me for Christmas. I think it was meant for my grandma, but she mislabled it. I haven't even removed the tags:

Here are the orphaned hangers:

And the bags I took to the Brown Elephant:

It was a very productive day...and I still have a full closet. How can one person have so much stuff in such a tiny apartment? Further, how can one person need so much stuff?

One doesn't. This activity was a good exercise in understanding how much I can waste. To be fair, I haven't worn many of these pieces in years, or I've worn them so much that it became time to give up on them. I hope that I can manage my closet better in the future. Only buy things I need and not stupid, outrageous pieces that I won't have the confidence to wear outside the store.

Tim Gunn says a woman needs 10 essential wardrobe pieces. I'm going to keep that in mind when I'm rebuilding my wardrobe. And in general, keep essentials in mind when I'm rebuilding my life.

So there's that,


Friday, February 5, 2010

Bittersweet Wow Moment

As you know, I've been losing my buttshelf over the past few weeks, allowing me to fit easily into auditorium seating and dining chairs.

Well...shit just got real.

Thanks to my missing buttshelf, I'm sitting farther back in my office chair. This means that I'm farther from my computer screen. That means I can't read good and stuff. I've taken to hunching over and resting my elbows on my desk, my face inches from the screen.

I don't think that's in my best interest. I'm really starting to regret this whole surgery thing...

PSYCHENAW! I'm just kidding!

Either I need to get a bolster for my chair, go see the eye doctor again for the first time since aught six, or adjust the view setting on my monitor to "geriatric." After much consideration, I've decided adjusting the screen is cheaper. And maybe I should see the doctor.

So there's that,


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Re: How is it possible to be invisible at 300 lbs?

I honestly don't see how I can get any more cynical. I lost 100 lbs a few years ago, and I remember well how much better people treated me. I was still positive and social during my regain, but it was difficult not to notice the positive attention - and any attention - toward me drift away. I know how the world chooses to ignore people; it drives you to becoming a caricature, a jester, a nursemaid - anything that would make you more likable than your outward appearance. I'm sick of fronting. I'm looking forward to finding out who I am going to be when I'm not fat.
So there's that,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deep Seated

I went to see Baby Wants Candy on Friday night, and barely noticed my new "wow" moment.  I could sit in the auditorium seats without the arms crushing my thigh fat.  I didn't have to "commit to a thigh" and sit with an unnatural leg cross all night.  I fit in the seat!  And I could use the arm rests!  I didn't have to hold my arms across my chest to keep them from flopping onto the person next to me!

I would think there aren't many readers who know what this feels like.  Just imagine if everything you currently do feels completely awkward, uncomfortable, painful...pretty much contrary to the way things should feel.  Then imagine that you start gaining comfort one step at a time.  The chair in your doctor's waiting room doesn't buckle beneath you.  The elastic on your underwear doesn't dig into your thigh.  You can cross your legs without going numb within a minute.  It's pretty awesome, the freedom.  You'd blog about it, too.

So there's that,


Sunday, January 24, 2010

To the Hesitant Pre-Op

I'm 28 years old, no comorbidities besides hypothyroidism, 47 BMI, family history of diabetes, and about 150 to lose. I'm six weeks out, and it's probably been the best 6 weeks of my life. No major pain after surgery that wasn't managed by good meds in the hospital. The day after surgery I felt sore, as if I'd done a bunch of sit-ups. I walked 2 miles worth of laps around my hospital floor that day, and I've been moving ever since.

I went back to work after 3 weeks, and had a hypoglycemic episode on the bus on the way to work. Totally my fault - I thought I could wait to eat until I got to work. Lesson learned - eat first thing in the morning! I've been fine ever since. I started hitting the gym again at 3 weeks, taking it easy on my upper body and core. Tomorrow I start working out full force. I haven't been tired or depressed since surgery.

Obviously not everybody can say their recovery was as good as mine. Everybody's different. My advice is start working out now; I credit my quick recovery to a regular workout regimen for the past 2 years. I work for surgeons, and that is always their advice. Do right by your body now. Also, don't be too "strong" for pain medication. They give it to you so that you can feel comfortable enough to live your life without the pain in the foreground. I took my meds regularly and was off them after 1.5 weeks. Haven't taken a pill since.

Most importantly, be positive. There's a good possibility that your recovery is gonna suck for at least a hot minute, but it will get better. Manage your expectations. I truly feel that this has been a gift for me, and I'm so happy to have done this now than to waste any more of my precious life worrying about my diet. This surgery has given me everything I need to move on and enjoy the things in my life that don't involve food!

So there's that,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Has Beans

Today was bagel day at work, so I brought in a gluten free frozen waffle to give myself some normalcy. I can only eat half of the waffle with some peanut butter, but it's something.

For lunch I made a date with an old high school pal who just started a job near my office. He'd been in Chicago for a year and a half, and until now I hadn't made any effort to hang out with him. I was too much of a hermit.

Anyway, I knew he loved Popeye's chicken, so I suggested we eat there. I had a side of red beans and rice. It went down really well, but daaamn Gina! I could have slept for 5 hours when I got back to work. Carbs make me sleepy!

This brings me to another topic - smell. This sense is getting stronger.

I used to eat beans all the time. Now the smell of refried beans makes me want to hurl. The other night, I made a mini tortilla pizza with refried beans, chicken, cheese, and salsa, and I could barely stand it. Now there's 4/5 of a can of refried beans in my fridge, and even though it's sealed in Tupperware, I can smell it as soon as I open the door. I have to throw them out. It's so bad that I don't even want to open the Tupperware; I just want to throw it down the garbage chute and never deal with it again.

I used to love this herbed turkey breast from Trader Joe's, but now the smell of rosemary and sage makes me gag. It's too fragrant!

I can smell people's breath on the bus. I can smell their hair. I hated the smell of cologne before? Now I want to put anyone who wears too much cologne into "work" camps. Give them a "haircut" and a "shower." Is it so much to ask for a nation of olfactory purity?

So there's that,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That '70s Show

I had a delightful weigh-in today, clocking in at 279. I probably haven't seen this number since 2006 when I was on the climb after my last big weight loss.

So far I've lost 29 lbs since my pre-op weigh-in, and 56 lbs since I began this process in May 2008. I feel awesome.

So there's that,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Wow Moment #2

When I sit in a forward-facing bus seat, my knees aren't wedged against the back of the seat in front of me. I took a picture:

I've lost my butt shelf. I can now feel the entire length of my spine resting comfortably on the back of a chair, or against the back of the bathtub. It's a strange feeling, not having that gap between my butt and the center of my back when I sit down. I don't think the small of my back has had contact with anything other than my bed in a LONG time. My back feels better too!

So there's that,


Sunday, January 17, 2010

The $25 Bite

I was out window shopping yesterday afternoon, and it had been about 4 hours since I drank my morning protein shake. I needed a protein rich meal, stat.

I decided to stop by The Counter for their burger in a bowl. From what I remembered, the portion size wouldn't be too difficult to handle - you get just over 5 ounces of meat served over spring mix greens and your choice of garnishes. I figured I could get a serving of their fried pickles, too; in my pre-op days, the pickles were positively paltry.

You can see where I'm going with this. What arrived was an insurmountable obstacle of food. There were probably 20 thickly sliced fried pickles in front of me, and I could only deal with one before digging into my main course. I went for the monthly special - an easily digestible crab cake with bacon cole slaw. I should've asked the server to bring me the crab cake by itself; I couldn't even contemplate the lettuce and attendant condiments. I asked for a little plate so that I could dose out my crab cake, which was beautiful and full of lumpy crab and very little filler. I'm sure the server took one look at my untouched plates and thought I was some kind of freak.

It took me 90 minutes to eat the 5-ounce crab cake plus one more fried pickle. I passed the time enjoying this guy's book. With tip, my meal came out to $25.

I learned a few things. Don't go to a sit-down restaurant when I'm starving and by myself. Go someplace with soup. Go to the grocery store and get something at the deli. Get the right portions for a better price. If I do go somewhere, it's gotta be the best of the best; I don't mind shelling out cash for a once-in-a-lifetime meal. But a crab cake? Bitch you high.

Most importantly is that I was confronted with how I saw food portions before surgery. I used to think those fried pickles were a rip-off because I could still see the bottom of the plate when they arrived. Now they look Brobdingnagian, as if I could use one of them to slide down a snowy hill. I had to break down that crab cake and move it section by section to a smaller plate so it didn't look so bestial. Eating? Not as easy as it used to be. And that is good.

So there's that,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wow Moment #1

I was in the dentist's chair today, and noticed that my arms fit inside the arm rests!  They rested comfortably on my waist and thighs, my elbows not buoyed by my FUPA and hip fat.

This is a pretty big event, as I normally have to hold my arms hoisted on top of my belly while I'm lying back in the chair.  Otherwise, they would just flop out over the sides of the chair, knocking the drill out of my dentist's hands and into my eyes.  Then I would be blind.

I was not blinded today.  This is good.

So there's that,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby's First Dump

Guh.  I had my first episode of dumping syndrome today. 
I went out to lunch with friends and chose the protein-rich chili at Potbelly Sandwiches.  The chili went down quite well, but my mistake was to follow that up with a couple of Zapp's Creole Onion potato chips.  Pretty soon, the flakes of potato swelled and queued up in my esophagus like Netflix.
I spent the rest of my lunch time trying to comfortably wait out the push through my Mini Fridge.  After the walk back to work, the Fridge started to defrost: I spent the next half hour hovering over the toilet, sweating, dry heaving and spitting up foam.  Blech.
It's not pretty, but it passes.  This was yet another lesson - ease up on the carbs, stop eating when you feel the pressure.  You can't ride a bike without having training wheels first, and even then you're bound to get some scraped knees.
Tonight's my first RNY Support Group meeting at the hospital.  I'm pretty pumped to meet all the other people who've had the procedure, and I'll be sure to submit a full report in my next post.
So there's that,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stuck in the Middle

When food gets stuck on the way to or from my Mini-Fridge, it feels like a heart attack.  The only thing that makes it better than a heart attack is that I know stuck food will pass.
Yesterday rice was the culprit.  I had a cup of jambalaya soup from Whole Foods, and the combination of swelling rice, chicken and broth made my stomach say "fuck you" to my body.  When it happens, I have to take a few laps around the office or find a quiet corner of the handicapped bathroom stall and have a silent freak-out session against the wall, my arms stretched overhead.  Last week it was tuna that made me re-enact my own version of The Crying Game.  No matter how moist tuna, rice or chicken is, it's never moist enough.  That's what she said.
Lesson learned.  I'm watching for the signs of stuck food so I can stop it before it starts.  The signs:  pressure underneath the left ribcage, lower back pain, tightness in the chest as a morsel of food raises its middle finger to me.  Well joke's on you, stuck food - I can't see your middle fnger.
But I can feel it.
So there's that,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thoughts on Why

I think there are a few reasons behind my obesity. I've always been overweight - as a kid I had an adorable layer of dimples and baby fat, and that turned into cellulite and stretch marks in my teens. I had a great childhood, but there was trauma. I think what's most influential is that food has always been associated with love and family. Every one of our big family events were centered around food and the kitchen. I spent time in my grandma's kitchen every day, and I remember watching her cook and helping her, eating little dough balls that she'd give me from the dumpling tray, helping her whip egg whites for cream pies and make bear-shaped pancakes. She always had treats for us - gum, sugar cereal, ice cream.

At home my mom was diet crazy, for my sake. She was thin, my sister was thin, my dad was big and muscular, but I was chubby. I associated her lame corn flakes with punishment and my grandma's Lucky Charms with reward. My grandma died when I was 9, so the food shackles went on full force after that. When I got my first job at 15, I used the first paycheck to buy Cookie Crisp cereal and Fruit Roll-Ups...all my long lost treats.

I guess I started to feel entitled, too. When I kicked ass, I would reward myself with food. Unfortunately, I kicked ass all the time. So what do you do?

So there's that,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wurq It!

I started my day off with a cool glass of skim milk and a few tablespoons of thick Greek yogurt.

(Hey 'Mantha, doesn't "skim milk" and "thick Greek" make you laugh like the old Boardman days?)

I scored a seat on the bus, and I didn't sweat my makeup off during a Shelby attack, strangers hovering over me yelling for juice. Cooperate please!

Today was my first day back to the gym after 3.5 weeks! I fell back into the routine with no problems, taking it easy on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. I felt good afterward, and I hope regular aerobic exercise will help me have more energy. Lots of post-ops report feeling fatigued after the first month, some saying it lasts until the 6th month. Someone said she started feeling more energy in her 6th month only because she started exercising. I figured it wouldn't hurt me to start early.

Of course, I don't plan to over-exert myself until I'm fully cleared for exercise at the end of the month. The doc and nutritionist told me that elliptical machines are fine for now, as long as I don't do too much with my arms.

I truly believe my physical fitness played a huge part in my easy recovery. It's a blessing that I adopted healthy habits years ago; I can't imagine going through this surgery without some idea of what good nutrition and physical fitness is. I'm not repulsed by the protein drinks and high-protein foods I have to eat. The only thing I don't like so much is that all my fruits and veggies have to be cooked until they're soft. You better believe that when I'm cleared for all foods, I'mma head out for a salad, first thing.

I get to be creative with food, and Lord knows how much I love that! I must include protein-rich foods at every meal, with a goal of 60-80 grams per day. Tomorrow's menu excites me:

Breakfast/mid-morning Snack (This is my office bagel day splurge):
1 gluten-free apple-cinnamon waffle, toasted
1 pack Justin's Cinnamon Peanut Butter, spread on waffle
1 c skim milk

Lunch/mid-afternoon snack:
2 chicken/bean burritos - refried beans and cheese rolled up in deli-sliced chipotle chicken breast and topped with salsa verde and cheese
1 applesauce cup

Salmon croquettes (recipe later)
2 oz canned peaches, baked with Splenda, cinnamon and cracker crust

As the post-ops say, I'm "working my tool," and having a fun time doing it. I'm packing the "Mini-Fridge" with good treats, and I be up in the gym wurqin' on my fitness!

So there's that,


Monday, January 4, 2010

Passed Out

Today was my first day back to work in 3 weeks. I thought it would be difficult to get up in the morning after 21 days of sweatpants and unscheduled sleep. Instead, I popped out of bed like it was the first day of school.

Against my better judgment, I left the house with barely a cup of water and some essential meds in my belly. I hadn't had anything in my stomach (henceforth, the "Mini-Fridge") in 12 hours. That's not good.

I figured I could make it to work before needing a protein shake. Hell, I'd lounged around for over an hour before eating on other mornings. Surely this wouldn't affect me.

Oh, it did.

I got on a crowded bus this morning, even though an empty one was right behind it. I wanted to get to work early on my first day, packed bus be damned. I was doing all right for awhile, standing in the aisle, bothered only by the unnecessary closeness of the guy behind me.

Then I got that spotty sparkly feeling that I get just before I pass out. I remember thinking, "Okay, I should probably ask someone for a seat. Nah, I'll just concentrate really hard on not passing out." Instead of concentrating, I ended up having a pleasant dream about singing the song Breathe from the hit musical In the Heights.

I came to, a blurry vision of my purple coat lapels splayed before me, a woman's voice, hands unbuttoning my coat and untying my scarf. A guy said, very sweetly, that I could have his seat. People in the front of the bus told the driver I was awake; the bus had been stopped on the shoulder of Lake Shore Drive, and once my safety was confirmed, he slowly merged back into traffic. "Are you diabetic?" No - just low blood sugar. "Are you okay?" Yeah, I just need to breathe. I breathed, shallow panting. I realized a woman's foot was stuck under my ass, and she was kind enough not to say anything about it or attempt to move it out from under me. After some breathing, I crawled into a seat.

We reached my stop a few minutes later, and the same nice lady that helped me asked me again if I was all right. I told her I was, thanks so much. I was still too shaky to feel embarrassed yet. I hustled the block to my office, and thankfully an empty elevator was open to rocket me to the 25th floor. I went straight to the bathroom and continued to shiver, sweat and shake. By this point, my shirt and sweater was drenched with sweat, and my long hair was soaked through.

It took all my strength to get my phone and call my friend/coworker Lyzz. She saw me come in, and asked me where I was. I told her, and asked if she could bring me some milk. She did, and she brought KH, one of the nurses who works in our office. KH was very nice, asked Lyzz to bring some sugar packets dissolved in a little water. I slowly downed the milk and sugar and began to feel better. KH took my pulse and blood pressure, and after a half hour or so, I felt good enough to get to my desk and deal with emails.

I learned my first post-op lesson: Always eat something FIRST thing in the morning! It's not worth spending the day wondering how many fellow commuters you crashed into on the way down to a dirty bus floor.

So there's that,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

I'm breaking up with my boyfriend of 7 months today. Give me strength.

I drafted a pansy-ass email to him, but I don't really want to be the kind of person that breaks up over email. I've decided to call him tonight.

I'm not hurt or upset; I'm just very ready to end this. There's no passion there, and I feel like we're both holding out for the BBD - the bigger better deal. Neither of us deserve to be placeholders. I think we'll both be relieved at the end of the day, honestly.

This ends the civil tone of this transmission. Begin the bitchy tone: Two subs do not make a dom. He's too shy to make any moves, and so the hell am I. We even talked about this, THREE MONTHS AGO. Nothing. I'm just done with him. The guy's 36, and I completely understand why he's still single. He's not unattractive; he just has no MOVES. In that HE DOESN'T MAKE THEM. I never thought I would dislike someone who was so nonthreatening. Gah!

I know what it feels like to be desired, and to desire in return. I deserve to be desired. There's nothing - nothing - I crave about this man. Plus, he puts up this front all the time, that he's so blase about everything that nothing affects him. He acts like he's the authority on every subject. I've had very few real and frank conversations with him. I like him when he's honestly himself, but that's only 5-10% of the time. He's honest, but not genuine.

So, I guess it's time to break up.

So there's that,


UPDATE: He hasn't responded to the email yet. I take that to mean he's amenable to the terms...but he's not getting his book back.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year

Well hello!

These last few months have been a whirlwind of activity. I've worked, eaten, slept, watched endless hours of TV, slept some more, avoided people, and worked. I've been a sad little crab, content only in the shell she'd been living in for 3 years.

Oh...and I had gastric bypass surgery.

This was a fairly recent event. I went in on the morning of December 14th, awoke from the anesthesia in pain, slept until the next morning, and woke up feeling pretty ducky. It just felt like I'd come out of a three-hour ab class, sore from too many sit-ups.

My dad stayed with me that week, and my recovery went perfectly. The surgeon said I was the first patient he considered releasing on the day after surgery. The only issue was that I couldn't pee on my own after they removed the catheter. I didn't pee for 24 hours - until the morning of the 16th - then they said I was free to go.

The day after surgery, my dad and I walked laps around my hospital floor. This was so easy, we worked out 2 full miles throughout the day, and I went FAST! The only thing that held me back was the IV cart I had to drag around with me. The nurses were pretty stunned by my progress. The next day I did 2 more miles before I peed and was released, then dad and I walked around Michigan Avenue and the Apple Store before getting a bus home. It was pretty punk rock. That is, they didn't make me leave in a wheelchair, and we didn't go straight home to rest. I guess that's about as punk rock as you can get after surgery.

Dad and I did 3+ miles of walking and browsing the next day. After he left on Friday I did more of the same. My sister and nephew came up on Sunday, and we spent a few days together before driving home to Indiana on the 22nd. I had a follow up appointment that day - I dropped 7 lbs since surgery, and I was moved from liquid diet to soft foods. Lunchmeat, bitches!

I got back to Chicago on the 28th, and since then I've been experimenting with new ways to get protein into my diet. I have to eat 60-80 grams of protein everyday, and drink at least 64 oz of water. I've had no pain, no stuck food; I haven't overeaten. I can drink water like a mofo. I don't miss food; what I eat is limited to what I need. My whole day is an uncomplicated equation. I love it.

The last few nights I haven't been able to fall asleep until 1 or 2 am, only to wake up at 8 the next morning. That kind of sucks. And I've been grinding my teeth - that's not new, I hold stress in my jaw. I'll be sure to address that at my next dentist appointment in a couple weeks. I'm tired, but still active.

As of 12/28, I'm down 20 lbs since before surgery. I haven't seen "288" on the scale in probably 3.5 years. What's amazing is that I'll never have to see it again.

To say that I'm looking forward to what's ahead is an understatement. Never in my life have I been normal, and I know I never will be. It'll be interesting to see how I'm both looked at - and overlooked - as a thinner person. As usual, I'm not going to have high expectations about it. I just want to take it one day at a time and chew through this new life as slowly and completely as I have to with every bite of food.

So there's that,