Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1 week with Spark People; 4 lbs down

I've lost 20 lbs so far this year.  Shoulda been more, coulda been more.  I still don't feel "right" inside and I hope the docs at the Yale clinic can help with that.
I gave myself about 2 years on Spark People to lose 200 lbs (until July 2011).  The magical elves inside the Spark People site then set my daily calorie range at 1,820 - 2,170 per day and 120 minutes of cardio (or at least 1,520 calories burned) per week (which is really easy for me, because most of my workouts are at least an hour and I'm there 3-4 times a week).
Last Wednesday (5/20) I ate way too much.   Usually I eat 1 real meal a day and just little snack-like meals the rest of the day.  But Wednesday my mom took me out to lunch and then I went out with a friend for dinner.  Instead of getting my usual entree that night, I got something different, that I hadn't gotten in years, and when I got home and plugged it into Spark People I almost fell over.  It was a 2,100 calorie meal.  The meal I shunned is about 700 calories.  Oops.  But it was a good learning experience.  And even with that pigout of a day I still lost 4 lbs.
As you can see from my chart, I am not very good at staying inside the grey line (target calories).  Except for that 1 day, I tend to be below.  I guess I could re-do my goal to finish the 200 lbs earlier and keep my calories where they are (which would then probably be inside the grey line).
I've been taking the massive calcium and vitamin D pills every night (I think I forgot once).  I don't feel any different.  My doctor sent me another lab request to get the vitamin D level checked again in June rather than in August.   She wanted me to take at least 1000 mg a day and I'm taking 1200.
Today those awful pains started in my back again.  So far only twice.   What the hell are they and what is causing them?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gastric "mind band" therapy helps woman lose 56 lbs

If this really works, I would totally start begging online for donations to get the $1500.  But apparently this woman is the only one it's been tried on (as far as I can tell).  
Instead of getting a lapband or other stomach-shrinking band put on, Marion Corns had intensive hypnotherapy to make her believe she had the band put on.
She KNOWS she was hypnotized and doesn't really have the band.  She lost 56 lbs in 4 months.
The treatment involved her being 'put under' and talked through every step of the medical procedure as if she were in a real operating theatre.
The Elite Clinic in Marbella, Spain offers the revolutionary 'gastric mind band' therapy. Corn says, "Bizarrely, I can remember every part of the 'procedure' - including being wheeled into theatre, the clink of the surgeon's knife and even the smell of the anaesthetic."
...They began with preparation sessions without hypnosis, using a real model of a stomach and a real surgical gastric band to familiarise Marion with the forthcoming 'op'. In the hypnosis sessions she was told to touch the same tummy model and band as her mind was tricked into thinking she was undergoing the procedure. Computer-driven equipment pumped a range of aromas into the room to mimic the smells of a hospital ward, operating theatre and even the recovery room. There was also a recording of surgical tools being picked up and put down playing in the background.
Marion started losing weight after the fourth session — the first with full hypnosis — and after the fifth she began to feel a tightening sensation in her stomach.
I have been hynotised for weight at least 3 different people that I can think of offhand.   One of them caused me to stop eating entirely for a few days (the hynpotherapist was in training and didn't really know what she was doing) and the others didn't really work at all.   I am highly suggestible and extremely easy to put under and should be a great candidate for it.     But $1500...when I'm not working (plus a trip to Spain, apparently)...sheesh.  I guess I'll wait until it gets to NYC or Boston or somewhere close.

(image source; screenprint of original article)

Friday, May 22, 2009

750 lb corpse dragged in front of family

Someone alerted me to this horrible story via Twitter and then I found another article about the same thing through another social media network.
A 750 lb 48 year old woman named Teresa Smith died Tuesday in Indianapolis.
Since we have all seen all the "half ton" and related shows on TLC, we can make a pretty good guess at what she looked like and what her life was like.  She weighed two of me and then some, and some days I feel so fat I can't move.
  Her boyfriend and son called in her death.  A "deputy coroner" decided the best way to remove this poor woman's body was not with available equipment that could move a person weighing up to 1,000 lbs, but to call in a flatbed wrecker (like they use to take away a 4WD vehicle that needs towing).
They used the wrecker's hoist to drag the mattress with her body across the yard in front of her son, boyfriend and neighbors, and once it was on the back of the flatbed they covered it with a dirty carpet.
Sweet Jesus.  Like the woman's life wasn't bad enough, she gets dragged out of her home and thrown on the back of a truck like roadkill with a filthy rug on top of her.  Her 13 year old son is going to need therapy from watching that happen to his mother.
Neither story says what she died of or if an autopsy was being done.
(wrecker image source)
This is certainly an incentive not to weigh 750 lbs.  But it should be a cry for help too.  People who weigh that much can't leave the house, probably can't walk, and need help.  Whether it is Richard Simmons or Dr. Phil or getting them to Andover, no one should have to live like that.
I watched the Half Ton Mom show the other night (the 900 lb lady that had WLS and died shortly after).  Her whole message, even as she was begging for help for herself, was that others like her had to come forward because no one knows they are there--you could have a half ton neighbor AND NOT KNOW IT.  I think one of the people in Half Ton Mom said she knew of over 100 people like that just in Texas and that wasn't all of them, only the ones who weren't hidden.
If you are reading this and you fit this description, please don't stay hidden in a back room.  Come out into the light and let someone help you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spark People mistake

I joined SparkPeople a few days ago to track my food intake.  This morning I was invited to take a quiz.  I got one of the answers wrong...except that their explanation of the answer was the answer I chose.
The question was, "Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression are unrelated to the amount and quality of a person's sleep."
I chose FALSE.  Health problems ARE related to sleep issues.
They said the answer was TRUE, and then went on to say "interrupted sleep can adversely affect this normal decline (in blood pressure) leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.  Research has also shown that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin which can lead to the onset of diabetes. Plus a lot more (see screen print) that clearly says sleep DOES affect those diseases.
It's only for stupid worthless points, but careless mistakes like that make me want to scream.  This site represents itself as an authority and then gets its own quiz wrong.

Monday, May 18, 2009

exercise insanity & blood test results

A few weeks ago I changed my exercise routine. I added some really loud, fast music to my MP3 Player
(Static X, Gravity Kills, Rammstein) and I ramped up the speed that I work out at. I am going so fast that sometimes I can't breathe. I figure that I will either have a heart attack or lose weight.
My edema leg is in great shape. Most days it hardly looks like it's any larger than my regular leg.
I've been walking more easily. I only limp if I'm really tired or if my knee hurts. I can walk up or down curbs without hesitating. I can sometimes climb stairs with both legs and not holding the handrail.
And best of all, my glucose level has dropped 23 points, from borderline insulin resistance to just fine.
My cholesterol is okay (155), my blood pressure is okay, everything the doctor tested for is okay....except my vitamin D level. It was so low -- less than 4--that it didn't even register on the test.
I go outside, I eat cheese, I drink milk. But if you look at the NIH graphic, it also comes from fortified cereal (which I don't eat) and fish. Damn fish. I already have to take huge black oil capsules of 3-6-9 every day because of my lack of fish consumption, and now I've got this problem too?
Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) which can be overdosed on because your body stores them in fat. Apparently I have the opposite going on.
From the Merck Manual: Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle aches, weakness, and bone pain in people of all ages. Muscle spasms...are caused by a low calcium level. (Like what I suffered in January when I thought I was dying?) Vitamin D also enhances immune function and improves muscle strength. Doesn't affect the metabolism, though, or weight gain/loss, apparently.
(image source)

Survival of the Half-Ton Teen

A few months ago I posted about the Half-Ton Teen (two of them, actually). Last night a follow-up was on TLC.
I didn't realize it was going to be on and missed the first few minutes.  (check the TLC schedule)
My main thought, over and over, was that I wanted to slap Billy Robbins' mother. My husband was asleep or I would have been screaming at the TV: "YOU did this to him!" That kid needs to go somewhere his mother isn't and only then will he be able to get better.
His mom bought him a DVD player and brought all his games and game systems to the hospital.  So he laid there in bed and played video games instead of walking while he waited to be approved for the first half of his gastric bypass.
The kid's mother is so controlling and manipulating and he's so whiny and baby-like in his relationship with her that I honestly want to smack both of them repeatedly.  He's TWENTY and his mom does everything for him as if he's two.
The black kid, John Wayne Debose, who weighed 573, is a wise-ass but I feel kind of sorry for him because he has no support from his family.  When he gets his bypass surgery, no one from his family, no friend, no one comes to visit him.  He's had major surgery and he's all alone in his hospital bed.  There's something so very sad about that.  His mother says to the doctor that her other kids like sweets and junk food and she won't deprive them just because John Wayne can't have them.  Way to go, Mom.  Seems like both kids have major mom issues--one is overprotective and one is completely dismissive.
It's worth watching just to be astonished at Billy's insane and controlling mother.
(image source)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PCOS program at Yale

I just found out that Yale has a PCOS program and I called and made an appointment. It's not until July so I have plenty of time to collect my various records.   Until then, I will continue on with my current two apathetic doctors.
Here's how it went. 

  • Gyno #1: You have PCOS but we don't want to treat you.  Go to a GP.
  • GP who is also a gyno (and who treats my friend for PCOS): I don't want to treat you, go to a Gyno.  Here's a name.
  • Gyno #2: I'll give you birth control pills but you need to find an endocrinologist to treat you.
I am guessing that the Yale place has everything and everyone needed--"highly trained practitioners help women manage PCOS-related conditions, offer nutrition assessment and psychological counseling....and help you address the health risks of PCOS."   I am hoping that they will not pass the buck or drop the ball or play hot potato with me anymore.  Because I am tired of it, tired of being treated this way, for whatever reason.
Yale isn't around the corner from me but I'm willing to drive there.  I can't imagine I would need daily visits or anything.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

alternative to gastric bypass

Since I was soundly and roundly rejected for gastric bypass, and since starving myself and exercising like a fiend has little or no effect on my weight, I'm always looking for something else.  I found another one, on a natural medicine message board. This "gastric bypass alternative" is also surgery, and it's a very strange surgery.  I understand making the stomach smaller by whatever means, and I kind of understand the shortening and rerouting of the intestines.  The gastric balloon and intestine sleeve are ways of doing those things without cutting your belly open (and they are also not permanent, although one hopes the weight loss is).
This is another surgical procedure which is not reversible.  It is cutting a major nerve.  Ouch, I know.  I'm wincing.  And it appears the nerve is in the least in the picture it is....cutting my neck....eww.

It seems to me that I heard about something similar a while ago but the nerve cut was in the belly area but attached to a different organ, not the stomach, but I could be confused.
It is called a laparoscopic vagotomy and its point is to obviate the "severe hunger that many obese patients report".
I don't have that.  I'm not hungry all the time. Even when I am hungry, I am rarely ravenous, even if I haven't eaten for a day.  (I know that's bad, please spare me the lectures.)
An early study shows the 20 minute procedure led to an average 18 percent excess weight lost.  It costs $5,000-$10,000 (WLS is $20,000+ depending on procedure) but is still in testing.
I assume that because you are no longer ravenously hungry, you eat less, and thereby lose weight? 
I wonder if this would work on Prader-Willi kids, who eat constantly and usually weigh an outrageous amount?


Another one of my pets died over the weekend.  That makes 4 since September.  Some days I just want to die.  I don't even care anymore if there is an afterlife or if I get to see all my deceased and beloved pets and family again.  I just don't want to be here anymore.

Monday, May 11, 2009

mystery of the missing bacon...but was it chocolate-covered?

I'm not sure I have to even comment on this. I mean, after you've read it, what more is there to say?

First off, who calls the police to report missing food? Who tracks their food that closely? I mean, I suppose that if I had just returned from the grocery store and then all my new groceries were gone, I'd think that was weird, but not that someone broke in. Simply bizarre.
And secondly, who eats five pounds of bacon as a SNACK? I love bacon as much as any bacon-loving person. I can eat five or six slices of bacon at a sitting (especially if I'm on Atkins and bacon's all I can eat!). But FIVE pounds? That's a bacon enema; at least that's what it would do to my digestive system.
I guess I can understand the guy's wife not wanting to admit she ate 5 pounds of bacon as a snack, but once he showed he had the intent to call the police into it, why didn't she fess up? If a whole package of Oreos went missing, my husband wouldn't call the cops. He'd say, "Did you eat all the Oreos already?" and I'd say "Yes, I'm a fat pig" and he'd go back to playing video games.
But since I am on the subject of bacon, I was at a friend's house a few weeks ago; it was her birthday and I stopped by for cake. She told me a friend of hers from out of state sent her, as a gift, some chocolate-covered bacon. She didn't have it to show me, but I googled it and apparently it's quite a phenonemon.
I picked this place at random: Marini's Chocolate Covered Bacon.
I love chocolate. And I am very fond of bacon. But they are not two great tastes that taste great together. Grease and salt and sweet and chocolate? Eww.
But chocolate covered bacon does seem like it's designed specifically to have maximum caloric density.
The company offers, on the same page, the humorously named Vegan's Nightmare Ice Cream. Delectable chunks of our crispy chocolate covered bacon in maple syrup ice cream.
Mix-ins in one's ice cream are all well and good, but chocolate covered bacon mixed in? I get the maple syrup part because I have been known to put it on my bacon. Maybe do I get the sweet part of chocolate covered bacon after all. But I still don't understand the chocolate part.

Friday, May 08, 2009

sleep apnea exercises?

I was browsing the health blog Healthy Fellow (yeah, I read other people's blogs!) and I found something about exercises to help sleep apnea.  From the article:

(S)pecific tongue, soft palate (top of the mouth) and pharyngeal exercises minimized the symptoms of OSAS (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome) in a group of 16 patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. (PMID: 19234106 for original study)
I never use my CPAP anymore (hate it, my husband hated it even more) but I'm sure I still have sleep apnea. I haven't lost enough weight to have impacted it.   But if I could learn these exercises, I'd try them.  My face isn't doing anything when I'm in the water working from the neck down; I could add in face exercises easily.
But even better, if I learn to play the didgeridoo, it would have the same effect.  Have you ever heard a didgeridoo? It's a unique sound, I think you love it or hate it.  I like it a lot and even have a didgeridoo CD somewhere.
There is a whole section on diet and exercise on Healthy Fellow and I'll have to fully investigate it soon and see if there are any other nuggets of wisdom to share.
(Image source)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

the Biggest Loser ranch = fat camp

I was doing my new get-thin-or-die-trying workout today and thinking about The Biggest Loser, since it was on last night, and my mind wandered in various directions (I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I'm going to have a heart attack, that woman better not back into me, don't take my noodle, I can't breathe, when is this song going to end so I can slow down) and eventually I came to the realization that the Biggest Loser is, no more and no less, a fat camp.  Remember fat camp?  Well, having never BEEN to a fat camp, I can't exactly REMEMBER one, but I remember the concept.  My mom always wanted to send me to one.
At a fat camp, people force you to exercise and diet.  You can't leave (unless they throw you out).  What is the difference between that and the Biggest Loser campus?  The campus is a lot nicer, true.   But it's still bootcamp-style weight loss.  Instead of chubby kids screaming "don't send me to fat camp!"  people are BEGGING to get to the campus.  
Is it because they get to be on TV?   If the Biggest Loser wasn't a TV show, if it was just a ranch where you went to lose weight, with no prizes and you wouldn't be famous, would you go?
Let's say it was free, you just had to pass an application process.  W ould you go?  Same rules as the show--you can't leave, you can't talk to your family, you can't quit--only you don't get sent home for poor weight loss--you have to stay for the whole program.
What if it cost money?  Would you go?  How much would you pay for this all-inclusive--food, lodging, gym, and personal trainer?  $1000 a week?   (That's about what a cruise costs when you factor in shore excursion, after all, and that's a nasty cabin, not a nice one.)
If your insurance paid all or part would you go?  How much would you co-pay?  What if the process of getting insurance approval was similar to getting approval for weight loss surgery?
You can post comments with answers to these questions if you want...I am just trying to make people think.