Monday, June 14, 2010

I Won the Race!!!

On Saturday I ran my first 5K race. It was an exciting, scary and humbling experience. Statistically I didn't do as well as I'd hoped: I completed the race in 41:07 (official chip time) and came 162/166 women in the race. I think the only people I beat were the walkers, to be honest but you know what? I still won that race!

The fact that I was out there at all is a miracle in and of itself. I was not competing with anyone else but myself and that crowd cheering me on at the end made me feel like I was coming in first. I could not have run this race one year ago and I'm so proud of how far I've come and that it's allowed me to challenge myself this way.

About a month ago I told my brother that I really didn't want to run races but then I decided to sign up to see if I can do it. Well I have my answer: I CAN!!! And that's how I won the race.

So I've signed up for two more races this season. I will be running a 5K on July 11 and will be running the 5K portion of a relay triathlon on September 19.

When my brother questioned why I decided to run a race after my previous declaration, I told him it was all about the free shirt!

Here's my new favourite Quote:
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” --John “the Penguin” Bingham

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My First 5k Race

Oh my gosh it's been a long time since I've been inspired to write something. I can't explain it but after I had my surgery I think I was just so overwhelmed by the whole experience I couldn't actually lay my thoughts to paper. And this is not to say that it's been a bad experience whatsoever.... it's been an absolutely amazing experience that has completely altered my life forever. Perhaps that's it in a nutshell.

So why am I back? Well as I sit here I am less than 5 hours away from running in my first 5K race and feeling a little bit nervous! Since having my surgery I have had an urge to run but 75 lbs ago I would have crippled myself if I tried. There is no way my joints would have stood up to the task but around February at the 50 lb mark I was ready to give it a go.

I joined the Running Room Learn to Run Clinic and haven't looked back. Most weeks I run 3 times per week, anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes. I don't do this without taking walk breaks but everything I have read and heard indicates that these walk breaks are actually beneficial so I feel no guilt.

My objective today is to run the 5k in under 40 minutes since I have been averaging an 8 minute kilometer lately. If I can best that slightly I will have won the race with myself, and that's all that matters. I honestly don't care if I come in last - okay maybe I care a little - but I have no intention of trying to make the top 100 even! This is about me and nobody else. What a milestone in my journey though.

Now if only this nervous nausea would pass....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's Official!

I am having gastic bypass surgery on October 2, 2009 and I couldn't be more excited! After a life long struggle with my weight, exacerbated by a significant gain while working at McDonald's in my teenage years, I've decided that I need more help than Weight Watchers can give me.

As you can see by the log to the right, I didn't lose weight at a fast enough speed to keep me motivated. To be honest, even though I joined Weight Watchers I was still pursuing the WLS route. I figured if I could lose some weight with WW I'd be ahead of the game when and if I got approved for weight loss surgery. Unfortunately I lost my motivation to continue with WW long before I knew I was approved, so getting approved was fantastic news!

I attended a patient education program at The Weight Management Clinic in Ottawa to learn all about the procedure and what to expect before and after the surgery. I'll be honest - I did a lot of research before deciding to seriously pursue WLS so there was very little information that was new to me but it was nice to receive it all in an organized fashion. One thing that I learned that I didn't now before:

The potential rate of weight loss is astounding!
The average weight loss is as follows:
0-3 months after surgery: Up to 7 lbs per week! (holy crap!!)
3-6 months after surgery: Up to 3 1/2 lbs per week! (still impressive)
6-12 months after surgery: 1/2 to 1 lb per week.

Of course knowing this I'm finding myself looking in my closet at all my clothes and realizing that I'll miss them! I have a lot of clothes and love most of them. This will be a big change and then I remind myself that I'll be able to shop in the skinny stores! Something I haven't done since I was about 17 years old. And I think of how much fun I'll have shopping at the thrift stores to find clothes for the interim while I'm losing weight. Yes, I can take my better clothes to the consignment shop and trade the rest with the other girls going through weight loss as well. There is a great support group in Ottawa and they exchange clothing periodically.

I keep telling everyone that I'll be wearing a bikini this time next year! I'm so, so excited about this! I am prepared to make the changes and suffer the consequences of poor eating post surgery to achieve this goal. I want to take up running too.

And as much as I have had a relatively healthy body image and pretty good self esteem (great clothes and hair help!! lol) I am SO looking forward to not having to refer to myself as a BBW on the dating websites! The day I get to choose "Average" or "A few extra pounds" to describe my body type I think I may cry! And if I get my act in gear, dare I dream about being "Athletic"???

Wow! So much more to come as I embark on this journey!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What Do People Mean in their Online Dating Profiles

To help me understand better what guys mean when they say certain things in their profiles I've offered up the following multiple choice survey in my own online profile:

1) "I'm looking for a girl who takes care of herself." This means she
a. Is not fat
b. Bathes every day
c. Eats well
d. Exercises
e. Dresses well

2) "I'm looking for a girl who wants to have fun." You want a girl who
a. Wants to boink at every opportunity and doesn't need to go on dates
b. Likes to party
c. Likes sports
d. Enjoys hanging out with you and your buddies

3) "I'm attracted to all types of girls." So you like
a. All girls
b. All girls who aren't fat
c. All who are blonde
d. All girls with big knockers
e. All girls who like to boink all the time and don't need to go out on dates

4) You have an ad in the Dating section but you're married, so you mean
a. I'm too chicken to put an ad in the Intimate section
b. I cast a wide net
c. I think women in the Dating section secretly want to have an affair with a married man

5) You have an ad in all three sections (Intimate, Dating, Relationship). Does this mean
a. Your true objective is Intimate all the way
b. You'll settle for some no strings intimacy while looking for a keeper in the other sections
c. You'll take what you can get

6) "I lead a healthy lifestyle." So,
a. I work out regularly
b. I eat healthy
c. I am mentally healthy and am kind to others
d. I take vitamins
e. I occasionally stroll into the health food store

7) "I'm open, honest and caring." You mean
a. I'm a good person and will be upfront and honest if theres no click
b. I'm open, honest and caring only if I like her
c. I'm open, honest and caring when I feel like it

8) "I have a great sense of humour." You mean
a. I'll laugh at all your jokes but its your job to carry the conversation
b. I'll make you laugh till you pee
c. My mom thinks I'm funny so you will too

So....what do you think? lol

Monday, May 11, 2009


Ever since I went away on a girls' weekend just about 10 days ago I've been struggling with food and hunger.  The girls' weekend was difficult to stay on program so I allowed myself to enjoy the weekend without guilt and intended to get back on the program as soon as I got back.  I had no problem getting back on program but when I stepped on the scale last Wednesday, three days of "enjoyment" manifested itself in the form of a 3.5 lb weight gain.  SAY WHAT????  For three days of relaxed eating?  

In all fairness I did drink several cocktails and indulge in some potato chips and almonds, but to have gained 3.5 lbs in 3 days I should have been unable to walk most of the time from consuming so much food.  Disappointing to say the least but after weigh in I noticed that my ankles and hands were uncomfortable and looked to see that my ankles were quite puffy.  Now 3.5lbs of water weight I could believe.

I stayed on program until Friday when once again I was presented with an opportunity to go out and be crazy.  Okay, so the McDonald's drive through for lunch wasn't part of that opportunity - that was the first time I'd given into a craving since I started 8 weeks ago, but I digress.  It was an overnight trip so Saturday was a challenge to eat lightly but not starve, but yesterday I got back on plan and this morning I stepped on the scale.  No budging yet.  I will have to be very diligent this week and get myself back into that "no bullshit" frame of mind that got me to the 8.5 lb mark by week 7, but I'm still reeling from a 3.5lb gain in 3 days!  This is a toughie....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Drum Roll Please.....

I have made a decision!  Let's back track just a little....

On Sunday my good friend Nancy and I hit the road to Utica NY as I had a 9 am appointment to meet with Dr. Graber for a consult on the bariatric surgery.  Nancy was permitted to join me as I met with the nurses and the doctor in three separate rooms.

We met with the first nurse who reviewed my history against the questionnaire I had filled out online some time back.  She confirmed that what was true back then still holds true today.  She took my blood pressure, weighed me and measured my height.

Next we met with the nurse who does the patient education and she explained the mechanics of the surgery, the risks and the recovery process.  She was patient, kind and understanding and answered all our questions honestly and thoroughly.

The third stop was with Dr. Graber himself who also explained the procedure, compared it with other surgical options and explained why he preferred the Roux-en-Y which he performs exclusively.  Of course it's kind of like a VW salesman explaining why VW's are better than Honda, but all bias' aside both Nancy and I felt a lot less freaked out by the surgery and definitely had a positive feeling that it could be the tool I've been looking for to help me reach my life long dream.

Dr. Graber was jovial and friendly, and Nancy and I both liked him a lot.  In fact we liked everyone at the clinic.  All told they spent about two hours with us and did not pressure me into anything.  Dr. Graber said I could change my mind right up until the mask goes on face.

On the way out of the clinic we ran into a woman who was ECSTATIC, to say the least.  I discreetly leaned over and asked her if she'd had the surgery to which she emphatically responded, "Yes!!.  It was the best thing I ever did.  It was EASY!"  She even lifted her shirt and showed my her key hole scars from the laparoscopic procedure.  I noticed she had a French accent and asked if she was from Quebec but she reponded that she was from Ottawa.  I asked her if she would be interested in meeting me for coffee so I could discuss her experience and she happily gave me her phone numbers.

Now the decision.... but I suspect you may already have a sense of where this is going.....

Nancy and I chatted on the way home about the appointment and about the surgery itself.  We talked about risks, eating modifications, behaviour modifications, and of course we talked about the probability of me finally being slim.  Wow!  A weight loss rate of 5-6 lbs per week is a pretty intoxicating concept!  I could be in a bikini for my next winter vacation.

But I digress....

After much consideration I decided that I would ask the Ottawa clinic to pursue the surgical option for me in NY.  I called them Tuesday morning to set the ball in motion.  They will complete the forms to obtain approval from OHIP, and I must take 4 weekly classes to prepare for the surgery.  My classes will start on June 16 and finish July 7.   The clinic advised that OHIP would not likely approve the surgery if I didn't commit to attending the classes so based on this schedule I don't forsee a surgical date before mid to late July.

In the meanwhile I have chosen to continue with my Weight Watchers program because one of two things will happen:
  1. My success will be so great that when the surgical date is offered I will feel that I won't need it and decline; or
  2. WW is teaching me some very good habits, not the least of which is portion control, which I will need to aware of if I choose to proceed with the surgery.
It's a win/win situation.   I've not eliminated any options at this time and if I find down the line that I'm just not winning at Weight Watchers, I still have the surgical option.  If I made the decision today then it may be a long process to get it back should I decide to do so.

So that's my decision.... in a nutshell, the decision is deferred until I get a surgical date.  Sneaky eh?  lol

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Decisons, Decisions

Before I joined Weight Watchers 6 1/2 weeks ago I had asked my doctor to refer me for weight loss surgery.   I did a lot of soul searching and felt that with having been overweight my whole life and failing at my weight loss attempts so many times, surgery was my only option if I really wanted to slim down.  

Well, my number has come up and the Weight Management Clinic is ready to send me to a surgeon.  Now I'm rethinking the whole thing and am in a major mental pickle.  I am happy with the success and commitment to my journey that I'm experiencing with Weight Watchers but at the same time I know my history.  I know how I feel today but what about a month from now?  Will I still have the same drive and commitment as I do today?  I think I will but I've been down this road so many times before I really can't predict where my mindset will be.

So, if I decline the surgery now on the optimistic prediction that I will have the drive and motivation I need to reach my 80 lb weight loss goal, what if I find that I lose that drive and want to revisit the surgery?  Will it even be an option?  Will the waiting list be so long that I've lost my opportunity to realize my dream of finally being slim?

There are three different techniques available and the surgeon to whom I'm being referred only does one - Roux en Y, my least favoured option - but it's the one with the highest success rate.  I am heading down to the US tomorrow to meet with him to discuss the surgery.  I'll be honest - it's drastic and your life changes drastically afterwards with regards to what you can and cannot eat.  It doesn't become a choice anymore - your body will reject food that you aren't supposed to eat.  Very "unprettily", I might add.   And there's no guarantee of success - look at Carnie Wilson for example.  She's gained a lot back.

I like having a choice, however the secret to achieving success the old fashioned way is to exercise choice combined with a huge helping of self control.  All of that is within my control.  Do I have what it takes?  For 6 1/2 weeks I haven't faltered (well not badly if you read the last blog), and I am in total control.  I love the choices I have and enjoy a little bit of chocolate or a nice hearty steak now and then.  These may not be options after the surgery....

I prefer one of the two other procedures - Verticle Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) and Duodenal Switch (DS) - which are less drastic but have lower success rates and I'm waiting to hear if OHIP even covers them.  I've received conflicting information about it.  My other challenge is that the clinic in Ottawa ONLY seems to refer to the US doctor for the RnY procedure so if I want them to send me for the other procedure options in Montreal, I may have a battle on my hands.

So you see I am very conflicted.  I know that the surgery is a success if the lifestyle is changed as well.  I'm well on my way to the lifestyle change.  Surgery would make me lose faster.  But would I take it for granted and try to eat food that I shouldn't eat?  Do I want to be on vitamin supplements for the rest of life?  Can I handle "dumping syndrome"?  Can I be successful in my weight loss journey without the help of surgery?   AAARRRRGGGH!!!