Yes, this song is a couple years old but Grubhub has been using this song in its ads and it is stuck in my head now. But that's cool -- every time I hear it I dance!
I don't know why I think my jeans won't fit when I put them on, even though they fit a couple weeks ago.
I don't know why I thought all those extra-large tankini tops would fit me when I brought them in the dressing room when I just got rid of a bunch of swimsuits in that size.
It doesn't work that way anymore.
But my brain still works that way, and it's going to take time to remold it to my new normal. That's the cool thing about brains -- you can rewire them but it takes time.
It's not really body dysmorphia because I DO see the changes when I look in the mirror. It's more like my brain having to play catch-up with my body. When I'm folding laundry I'll hold up a pair of my jeans and think "How do these possibly fit me???"
But they do.
This post has been sponsored by SheSpeaks, Inc., General Mills and Cheerios. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We're a 4-box family, as in I buy four boxes of cereal every week. Yes, there is only three of us, but cereal is a frequent breakfast, snack and dessert food.
There's always some variety of Cheerios in the pantry, so I jumped at the chance to try the new Cheerios Oat Crunch cereal, which I purchased at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market. It has all the grocery bargains of a regular Walmart in a more streamlined place to shop just for food.
The nice thing about the cereal is that it comes in family-size boxes, since we're such a bunch of cereal hounds. And yes, even I, of the tiny stomach, can pour out a toddler bowl of Cheerios Oat Crunch for a nighttime snack. I'm at the stage in my eating where I can add in more whole grains.
Cheerios Oat Crunch is made with Multi Grain Cheerios and topped with whole-grain oats and real cinnamon. Here's a closeup shot so you can see all the tasty bits.
That is some big-time hearty fun in a bowl there. The "multi" in the Multi Grain Cheerios is oats, corn, rice, millet, and sorghum.
The husband likes to end his day with a bowl of it mixed with yogurt and frozen berries. The kid will eat it with milk for breakfast and a late-night snack, and I have my toddler bowl.
Mom tip: Don't get rid of your toddler plates and bowls, even if your kid is in college. They're great for portion control!
I was waiting until this morning to step on the scale because I thought "Why not have the entire nation shoot off fireworks for this?"
And that was after eating restaurant food last night! Granted, all I had was half an appetizer eggroll, one nacho and the insides of a blackened shrimp taco, but still.
So now we come to the part of the show where Gail tries to figure out her "goal weight" because for YEARS I used to just say "Oh, I'd be happy just to get below 200!"
Which I am now.
We all know BMI is a joke, especially if you have a large frame and a lot of muscle, which I thankfully do, so I'm not going to base my target weight on that random number. The scale at the hospital spits out a target weight every time I step on it, and it takes a lot of parameters into account, like age, height, body fat, muscle, bone, water, etc. The last time I stepped on, I got a "predicted weight" of 169.4 pounds, so I'll go with that for now.
And since it's the Fourth of July, we shall celebrate with a vegan hotdog and my favorite Sousa march!
Hey! Quickly popping in with a tale o' the tape -- more precisely a printout from the hospital dietitian's fancy Tanita scale today.
I meet with the dietitian every couple months to go over my eating, make any adjustments to my plan, and step on the high-tech scale. I have a pretty high-tech home scale in my Withings/Nokia/Withings Again Body Cardio scale, but this one is hospital grade, so I tend to trust it a bit more.
I've been kicking butt in fat loss -- my April reading showed that out of the 17 total pounds I lost from February to April, 11.4 pounds was pure fat, 1 pound was total body water, and only 1 pound was fat-free mass. I know that doesn't completely add up, but I'm going by what the printout says. Apparently the more fat you lose, the more accurate the scale readings get.
Today's reading -- from April 10 to June 13 -- showed that out of the 17.8 total pounds I lost, 17 pounds was fat with just under a pound of fat-free mass lost.
All this to say ...
I am burnin' the butter, which is a phrase Denise Austin used to say in her exercise videos. I used to cringe when she said it, but now that I am burning actual human butter, I'm kinda digging it.
I have been exercising more (but am totally behind on it this week), but I'm not going nuts or anything. I make sure my meals are protein-forward, but not every meal is stellar.
I mention this because THIS is exactly why I had weight-loss surgery. The times when I could pound off a few pounds I was making myself absolutely NUTS, doing workouts I hated, obsessively and neurotically tracking my food and watching the scale slowly creep down, bounce back up or flatline. Now I can exercise and eat without making myself crazy, and the scale moves down.
My waistline is moving down, too. That's the only measurement I'm taking. At the beginning of the year my waist was around 42 inches. Today it was right around 35, a number that I've kept in my head ever since Dr. Oz used 35 inches as a marker for increased chronic diseases. So you can say I passed a big milestone this week.
Other notes from today
- She's really happy with my weight loss, even though I intentionally slowed it in May to try out new foods and calorie levels. According to her scale I'm at 203.8, which is tantalizingly close to Onederland.
- She wants me to increase my daily protein from 60 grams a day to 80 grams, so I'll be throwing protein powder in everything and chugging protein shakes until I can tolerate more solid proteins (STILL having an issue with chicken!).
- She'd like me to keep my total calories to around 900 a day. I wasn't really sure how much to increase it from the initial 600-ish but I knew I had to once I started exercising.
- And I really need to do better with water. According to my Tanita printout, I'm on the low end of the hydration scale, so I'm breaking out the big Hydro Flask again and making sure I drink two of those a day. When you can't eat and drink at the same time it can get frustrating to get both your water and your protein in when your stomach is the size of an egg.
Y'know all those motivational platitudes about moving out of your comfort zone, or living life outside of your comfort zone?
FIND YOUR COMFORT ZONE - THEN LEAVE IT!
LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
GREAT THINGS NEVER CAME FROM COMFORT ZONES!
Lemme give you a different way to look at the phrase.
Pretty much all my life I have felt uncomfortable.
Chosen last at kickball, made to wear the matronly ballet costume because it was bigger than all the other ones, being the youngest kid in the "teen" Weight Watchers meeting.
Being called Gail the Whale.
That's a pretty uncomfortable childhood.
The discomfort shifted as an adult.
Having the armrests dig into your hips at a theater, having a theme park employee shove the safety bar into your gut until it clicked, getting stupid "atta girls" from people at the gym because they thought I had never worked out before ("I'm a regular and I can squat you under the table, old man!").
Postponing routine bloodwork because if I give it a couple more months I can turn it all around with extra fish oil and walking and kale.
So I've been out of my comfort zone for quite awhile now, always feeling bigger or slower or lumpier or somehow "less than" while being "more than."
* * *
A couple weeks ago we went to a baseball game and I realized that I could stick my purse next to me on the set.
Next to me on the seat!
I wasn't hip-checking my neighbor or having the armrests nudge into my sides. I was comfortably sitting in the seat, bumping into nothing and no one.
I didn't feel the dread of intruding on someone else's space. My space was my own.
Comfortable in my comfort zone.
And now, some updates!
I deliberately added in more calories and carbs in May because I had been walking around lightheaded all the time, and I didn't like the feeling that I was going to fall over at the gym. I also have been trying and retrying foods to test my tolerance, and chicken and tomatoes are still on the naughty list. I just can't stomach them - literally. But some prepackaged protein shakes are back on the nice list, which is great because I have a lot of them. I had read that your tastes will evolve, and they really have. Stevia-sweetened things are still WAY too "aftertasty," but monkfruit sweetener is kinda nice. Overall, though, I do better with unsweetened stuff or just a touch of the real thing, like honey or agave.
Here's my progression from Feb. 1 of this year to June 1. The front view doesn't really show a lot of change in my eyes, but the side view really has me stoked. I'm a lot flatter in the midsection, and my upper arms have deflated a lot (but holy jiggles, Batman! Those things are wobbly!). Total weight dropped from the beginning of the year is 59 pounds. I am around 6 pounds away from Onederland.
And now, a song for the weekend!
This is not a sponsored post. I just really think this is a great app and want you to know about it.
When I first had my weight-loss surgery back in February, and for weeks afterward, I averaged around 600 calories a day, which is TEENY-TINY, but believe it or not, that's the average.
Now that I am 3 months out and exercising more regularly, 600 calories simply does not work. I discovered that when I started my stint with a personal trainer. I was wobbly, weak and lightheaded, and I knew that I had to get in more calories.
Over the past couple months I've been working my way up in calories, and now I average around 900 to 1,000 calories a day and my weight loss is still plenty speedy.
(Did I mention I'm 10 POUNDS AWAY FROM ONEDERLAND??????)
But planning a protein-heavy 1,000-calorie meal plan can be time consuming, and often I just wing it and end up not hitting my protein target.
Another problem I face is that in logging my food in My Fitness Pal, the app freaks out when I attempt to complete my food for the day. It throws up a red-lettered warning if my calorie is too low for its algorithm.
So I don't know where I found this, but clicking around the web yesterday I discovered Eat This Much, which is an automatic meal planner app, which you can use on your phone or on your desktop.
I can tell it to make me a 1,000-calorie day and it doesn't scold me! I also can tell it what foods to exclude, whether I want to try paleo, Mediterranean, or vegetarian, how much protein I want to get in my day, what size meals I want and how many of them I want. It's really customizable.
It'll generate a day's worth of meals, and if you aren't fond of a meal or a meal component, you can replace it with another one. If you're dining out, you can choose a restaurant meal from its database that'll fit in with your macros. And if you're thrifty, you can direct the app to give you dinner leftovers to eat for lunch or dinner the next day.
Now, I'm only a day into using this app but it looks like it'll help a lot with my meal planning and won't have me lunging for the protein bars and cottage cheese all day. And as you can probably tell, this app is great for anyone on any type of eating plan.
The plan is free, but there is a premium version that allows you to plan a week in advance and make more modifications. The first two weeks of premium are free.
Here's a super cute video that explains the program:
And here's a deal!
Any time someone clicks on my link (https://www.eatthismuch.com/a/gogogail) and signs up for a subscription, you AND I will automatically receive $9 in credit.
If you are a friend or family member of mine, you know I'm a bit of a neat freak. My favorite word is "tidy." I dash around the house from room to room, shouting "TIDY!" when a room is up to snuff. I pretty much do this every morning.
But even a neat freak can slack from time to time, and I felt myself sliding late last year. Everything was stagnant or going in the wrong direction: Water drinking, exercising, housecleaning, spending, going to bed at a decent hour, and -- yes -- weight.
I felt stuck in every area of my life.
Fast-forward to this year. I'm down a little more than 50 pounds since New Year's Day (which still BLOWS MY MIND), and that momentum has spilled over into nearly every facet of my life.
- The laundry not only gets done, but folded and put away in the same day.
- The sink (usually) isn't full of dirty dishes.
- I run the dishwasher and the clean dishes get put away.
- Tabletops are free of clutter.
- My magazine pile is down to a short stack instead of unwieldy mountains all over the house.
- My closet is culled (mostly because I got rid of a bunch of too-big clothes).
It's something about not being stuck in my weight loss that has jostled loose all sorts of stagnation.
I've got some other things I'm working on that I hope to update y'all on soon, fingers crossed.
There are around eleventy-billion purveyors of bariatric supplements and foods on the Internet. But as someone who has spent her lifetime eating "diet foods," I don't plan on stocking my pantry with "cookies," and "puddings" and "soups" and other prefab "foods."
Why are these freak-show foods so prevalent?
Is it because bariatric surgery patients are jonesing for cheesecake and caramel macchiatos?
I am determined to make my post-op food as clean as I possibly can, and I know that runs counter to some people's reliance on boxed and canned and bottled bariatric foods. So here's my list of clean favorites. First stop:
Premade protein shakes
Before I even had my surgery in February, I had a couple weeks of a pre-op diet that relied increasingly on protein shakes. We'll get into protein powders in a bit, but the easiest way to down a bunch of protein is to grab a premade protein shake in a cardboard carton. And there are loads of gross ones out there (OK, gross to me). I tried a few varieties of one super popular brand (Premier), and quickly found them way too sweet. I know some people absolutely love them, but after surgery my disdain for sweet stuff got even stronger. It's kinda crazy -- before surgery I didn't really have a sweet tooth per se; it was more of a "food tooth." But after surgery? EVERYTHING is too sweet, especially foods that have artificial sweeteners or stevia. So now I either go without any sweetening or add a little honey, agave or sugar (usually just a teaspoon in my tea).
Anyway -- the only premade protein shakes I can put up right now (I say that because my tastes are in a constant state of flux) with are Orgain Clean Protein. They have 20 grams of protein and are much cleaner than a lot of brands. There is some stevia, but it's not overkill.
Protein powders: Whey and vegan
I'm narrowing this list to whey and plant-based because I want to keep things simple. I don't mess with soy, and my dietitian told me that whey is the best absorbed protein source. I'm throwing in vegan protein because there are times my pouch is cranky and doesn't want the foamy texture that whey produces.
Man, I have been on a visionquest with protein powders! I made a lot of smoothies before surgery and already had a big collection of protein powders, but all bets were off after surgery. Protein powders that I used to like I now despised. Once again -- too sweet, too much aftertaste. So I was on the hunt for naturally sweetened protein powders that didn't contain stevia.
Chocolate: Whey to Go! Who knew! One of my old, old favorites fit the bill perfectly. I hadn't bought Whey to Go in years, but I checked the label and BINGO! no stevia. It's sweetened with beet sugar and has 9 grams of sugar per serving. It's a little higher in added sugar than my dietitian recommends, but I hadn't been drinking ANY protein shakes, so I'm not sweating the extra few grams of sugar. There's 20 grams of protein and a relatively short list of ingredients. And it's fairly low cost -- some proteins are ridiculously overpriced (I'm looking at you, Shakeology). The chocolate flavor has a nice depth of flavor, so I haven't had to hit the bag of cocoa powder to amp it up.
Vanilla: Garden of Life Organic Whey Protein was the first stevia-free whey protein powder I found, probably because it says "no stevia" right on the front label. This protein has 21 grams of organic whey concentrate and 11 grams of sugar, 9 of them added, which is a little high, but again, I'm not sweating it since my overall calorie level is so low for the day. It's really clean tasting, and while it isn't labeled vanilla, there is vanilla in it, so it's like a light vanilla. It's really good mixed with frozen fruit as it lets the fruit really shine through. I made a great smoothie with frozen mango, chilled green tea and a serving of this.
Chocolate: Apparently Aloha protein powder has reformulated its recipe since the first time I tried it because I really like it now! Sometimes plant-based protein works better for me when my pouch needs something simple. It doesn't tend to foam up as much as whey-based protein powder. Aloha has a nice dark chocolate flavor while only having 4 grams of sugar from coconut sugar. It also uses monkfruit, which doesn't seem as "aftertasty" as stevia. There's 18 grams of protein that comes from pea, pumpkin seed and hemp, and you can buy it online or at Target.
I don't have any favorite plant-based vanilla protein powders yet, but if I do find one, I'll update this list.
Other proteins: Collagen and Genepro
Collagen is a little controversial because a lot of dietitians don't think collagen peptides are a good protein source, but I use it pretty regularly because it disappears into any liquid hot or cold, and doesn't add any flavor. Many mornings my breakfast will be a cup of tea with a little honey and two scoops of collagen peptides. Hey, even if it isn't the highest quality protein, my cup of tea gives me 18 grams of protein from collagen, which is supposed to be great for your hair, skin, nails and joints, and all of those can use a little help. I haven't tried a lot of collagen brands, so I just stick with Vital Proteins collagen peptides, which you can find nearly all over. It also comes in single-serve packets, which are great for traveling. On our last road trip, I brought a bunch of packets with me and stirred them into coffee, tea and soup. Are there better brands you like? Lemme know in the comments.
Even more controversial is Genepro protein powder. A tiny little scoop -- 1 tablespoon -- purports to give you the equivalent of 30 grams of protein. But many people refuse to believe the claims made by the manufacturer because the serving size is so tiny. It's unflavored, mixes really well into hot or cold liquids and is great if you're low on protein for the day. I just don't know whether I'm getting 30 grams of protein or 15 or what!
I was going to go into vitamins and other things but I'll save those for another day -- this is plenty of food for thought.