Monday, February 28, 2011

a weekend away...(a bit off topic)

My weekend away was not all I hoped for but it didn't suck either.
The heated indoor pool did indeed exist; however even though it is in a hotel, it is a PUBLIC pool. It was full of screaming children--and I mean full, there was no place I could have stood and worked out--when we got there. During the week it opens at 7 a.m. but on weekends not until 9 a.m. The hotel manager said I could not go at 7 a.m. on Sat. or Sun. because I would make too much noise and people were sleeping.
Except that, in the same atrium, at 7:30 a.m., a contest started for the convention that involved a loudspeaker. The small splashes I make aren't audible from 10 feet away and are not louder than someone screaming into a mic. Go figure.
I did go to the pool at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the intent of running 10 miles (usually I don't have the luxury of 100 minutes straight in the local pool before the classes start) but I only got 75 minutes in (7.5 miles) before the children were flooding the pool. Including a 2 year old with no diaper and a baby who was NAKED. NAKED in the pool, no doubt spewing feces and urine--that was the last straw, when I saw the guy carrying the naked infant I was outta there, I was so grossed out. Sunday it snowed and my husband just wanted to leave so I had no time to go.
I never found the gym but it was open to the public too so I'm sure more of the same, kids probably using the equipment as jungle gyms.
But I'll say this, although it sounds horrible: I was no where near the fattest person there. I think it's a girl thing, to look around at other women and see who is fatter. In fact I think I was among the skinnier. I saw one girl smaller than me (she was really skinny) and everyone else was much larger.
In fact a gaming convention is pretty much a convention of fatties, honestly. Papa Gino's delivery guys were bringing in STACKS of pizzas--multiple guys per delivery, empty pizza boxes everywhere. (I love Papa Gino's and there isn't one within an hour's drive of home, so I did eat there, once--but I ate in the restaurant, not from a greasy box.)
My hope had been to work out a lot, work on my book, and maybe see my friend who lives in Boston.  However she had the flu and some very bad news, that her son's brain tumor is aggressively growing and not responding to treatment and he's probably going to be gone in the next few weeks.  He's a sweet, wonderful guy (around 30) and it is going to destroy her to lose him.  She's had a pretty horrible life and I hate it that more pain is coming her way.
I got in 1 swim workout, 0 gym workouts and only a phone visit with my buddy.  I worked on my book for about 2 hours.  But I did have some quality time with my husband, we were in 2 role-playing games together and we also bought a couple of new games and played them in the hotel room.  I even won a prize at the second game for best roleplaying!  (I traded the prize ticket for a book I'd been eyeing.)  Some friends were there, we had dinner with them on Friday and hung out with them a bit on Saturday too.
Although it wasn't what I expected, I did have more fun than not, and plans are to go back there next year, stay for the whole thing, and sign up earlier so we can be in more events.  I should be skinny as a rail by then (well, I can hope...) and maybe even be the skinniest female there!  Who knows, it can happen.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

a rosy update

As of yesterday, I'm off one of the prescriptions I've been on for 2 years.  I really feel like it was interfering with my weight loss.  If I go off it for a few days, I lose weight even if I don't work out. When I'm on it and work out like a fiend I lose nothing.   Two of my doctors agree that after losing almost 100 lbs, I probably don't need it anymore.  So I'm going to have to get blood work again for a while and make sure I'm okay without.  And even if I'm not, I'm going to have until June to be off it.  If I lose more than 20 lbs during that time, then I'm going to push to stay off it.   I think a large volume of weight loss is more beneficial than what the drug does.
I'm not sure how long it will take for all of it to completely work itself out of my body, how quick I metabolize it.  I don't really know what that's called to look it up.  Like, everyone knows the active ingredient in marijuana is in your blood for 30 days, even if you were only high once for a couple of hours. The only drugs I can find that kind of info on are illegal ones or ones that get abused.  I know that blood thinners are also 30 days because that is one of the things that led to my dad's brain damage and eventual death. I guess I could email the doctor but that's way too easy isn't it?
Although the longest I've been OFF the drug has been a week or so and I've lost weight.  Probably the metabolic thing is only a couple of days, so maybe I'm already free?
On a side note, my husband is a gamer (Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, etc) and he's dragging me to a gaming convention in Massachusetts this weekend.  I'm going to be in 1 game with him each night and have the rest of the day free while he's with some other friends who will be there.  The hotel has a heated indoor pool (of course) and a nice-looking gym so I'm looking forward to getting in some good workouts.

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600 lb Mom (tv show)

I DVRd "600 Lb Mom" last night. I've had it on my calendar for a long time. I hope it's a happy story, unlike "Half Ton Mom" (she had WLS, then died anyway, and she was young, I think 29).
This mom is named Dominique Lanoise (that's how the captions spell it).   Apparently she sits around in bed completely naked.  She has boobs that make me look flat.  I can't stand to be sitting up and braless and having them flop around like two dead whales hanging from my chest--I always wear a sports or leisure bra if I'm upright for that reason.  I can't tell if she has wicked bad lymphedema in her legs or if it's all just fat.  Probably some of both.  And her upper arms, again, she makes my giant bingo wings look like finch wings.
She has 6 kids (none of them obese).  She's the same height as me and about the same age.  Those poor kids have to wash their mom in bed, between all the horrible folds--and I know, because although I was never close to her in weight, I had some folds going.  The kids miss school and are up all night caring for her because Dominique can't breathe due to the weight on her neck and chest.
Supposedly she ate 4,000 calories a day to get there.  That's a lot, yeah, more than twice as much as a lady should eat, but I don't know how long it took to get there.  She says she's 600-700 lbs, doesn't really know, but she says it's not what she eats, that she has a "gland growing" (whatever that means).  Her daughters find a hospital to care for her, but Dominique's quest is for liposuction ("a tube" to "suck out" her fat, she says).
The hospital sends 3 ambulances with 6 crew and a giant gurney for her, but it doesn't fit in the house, and so there's the humiliation of being dragged outside on a frigging tarp, except that she doesn't even fit in her own hallway--neighbors staring to see how big this hidden woman is. All this for a simple WEIGH-IN to see if she's over or under 500 lbs.  Under 500, she can get what the show says is "aggressive weight loss surgery."
(As an aside, I can't tell if she has a pierced lower lip or she has a weird and horrible wart on her chin, but it's very distracting.  There's another thing on her nose that could be a growth/zit or another stud and on the area between her nose and upper lip.)
Of course, she is over 500 and she has to go onto a diet to lose the extra weight, and she says that she can't do it, and basically gives up.   A home-visiting bariatric doctor visits her and she gives up a food diary saying she eats once a day, soup and crackers and lemon juice.  Except that they SHOW her eating fried seafood and talking about how great seafood tastes, with piles of what looks like some kind of "dirty rice".  (The show  ignores the dicotomy.) The doctor says she will be on 750 calories a day, delivered pre-cooked to the house--a new bed that will weigh her is part of the program.
Tests show she has pulmonary edema and her BMI is 101. I feel fat at less than HALF that BMI.
When the diet food comes, she refuses to eat it. One meal looks like soup, steamed veggies, and a quiche or omelet.  She squeezes the omelet and complains that "water" is coming out of it. "It's not grease, it's water, I can't eat it." So she only eats food that is dripping with grease?  And she says "I don't know where this food come from."  (The service the doctor set up, maybe?)  On top of that, she takes 5 prescription diet pills per day rather than 2.  She doesn't want to do the upper body exercises he shows her either.
She lies to the doctor about what she eats, and she ends up gaining weight on her diet (even after she throws out her daughters for not giving her non-diet food).
Wow.  Totally NOT inspiring.  Except as a form of "don't do that."

(image source)

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Gastric band approved for lower BMI--but why?

To get weight loss surgery, the criteria used to be 35 BMI (body mass index) with co-morbidities (like diabetes, severe sleep apnea, etc) or 40 without, and also you had to be 100 lbs overweight.
The FDA has just changed the guidelines, for gastric bands at least, to 5 points lower.
That means someone my height could get a lap band at 186 lbs (30 BMI) with co-morbidities, or 217 (35 BMI) without.
That seems a little extreme to me, as 30 BMI is the lowest BMI considered obese. 25-30 is overweight, 18-25 is acceptable. I'm going for a BMI of 25 (about 150 lbs). Hardly seems worth it when just a few pounds higher than that, I'm still qualified for WLS!
It really seems like a lobbying effort by the makers of the bands.  With this new criteria,  26 million MORE people qualify.  That means, right now, 26 million people have a BMI between 30 and 35.   Over 35, it's about 15 million.  So they have almost TRIPLED their potential client base.
All you have to do is look at my case in particular.  I could still get a gastric band when I only need to lose 36 lbs to be at a "healthy" weight.  That is ridiculous.  It used to be that a doctor wouldn't even consider it if you weren't 100 lbs overweight.  36?  Please, people on Biggest Loser can do that in a couple of weeks--one guy this year lost 41 lbs on week one.
Honestly, I'd say that under these new guidelines, almost every person I know, except maybe my personal trainer, is eligible for a gastric band.  They used to be for extreme cases, people who couldn't lose weight any other way.  Are they going to start handing them out like candy now? 
I know they help a lot of people and constant readers know I've considered WLS more than once.  But it doesn't fix your mind, and my mind is the problem.  It's not the size of my stomach that causes me to make poor food choices and not put the fork down when I should (although I am a lot better than I used to be).  A rubber donut around my stomach won't fix my brain's miswiring.
What do you think?  Is this a good or bad decision on the part of the FDA?
(I didn't post a pic of the article because the info is generic; image source)

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

back to Yale (again)

Made the trek to Yale today. I lost 19lbs since my last appointment, which is the most ever since I've been going there, so my doctor was very happy.  She said my hair looks thicker and like it's growing back. She was really amazed that I lost that weight with a minimum of working out--sprained ankle and various closings due to snow and now having the growth removed.
She has some patients who aren't losing weight and she asked for the Gastric Mind Band info. It would be great if she sent some clients to Deb, who is truly wonderful.
I talked to her about going off the birth control pill because the week I'm on the placebo every month is the week I lose weight. I'm hoping that being off it entirely will facilitate/expedite my continued weight loss.  But she is funny--imagine this little Pakistani fertility doctor waving her finger in my face and telling me I better not get pregnant! I don't think she gets to say that too often. Not when she works at a place where the artwork is of sperm meeting the egg (I can't make this stuff up).
But I'm not allowed to go more than 35 days without a period. I doubt that will be a problem; the whole thing that clued me into PCOS was 2 periods a month.  But I have "get your period" pills just in case.  I am making a face in case you can't tell.  Periods and pool workouts don't mix very well.
I have to get bloodwork done before my next visit.  Hopefully no big deal now that the Wellbutrin has ramped down my anxiety levels.  My tests have been getting steadily better and the one count that's still a bit iffy she said should normalize if I stop the Pill. 
I've lost 8-10 sizes, 12 points of BMI, and 25% of my starting body weight. Now I need to do it again, and I'll almost be at my goal.

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Monday, February 07, 2011


Too much information/Didn't read...
Not that this is gross, or maybe it is.  But this is supposed to be a truthful and revealing look at being obese and this is part of it...
This morning while looking in the mirror, I realized that my stomach has gotten small enough and pulled up enough that I could see my, um, personal area. And it is naked. My husband's calves are smooth in the back where his jeans rub off the hair. And that's what I look like down there. I guess having a big ol' belly rubbing on it all this time stripped it bare. I wonder if it will grown back?  I wonder if I care?
It's funny, I was talking to a friend once about grey pubic hair (after a man with quite a thatch of it flashed me) and I said when mine turned grey I'd cut it off.  She is much older than me and she told me hers all fell out.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Well now I have.

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