Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Checking in

It has been awhile since I last wrote. A lot has changed in the last few months. It has been over 5 years since I had my weight loss surgery. Weight has been rapidly lost, clothes sizes rapidly changed and life was getting better. I had moved to Italy in 2008 after the surgery and begun cooking with Amore Sapore.  The cooking was the easy part. The hard part was dealing with all the personalities in the small group. But in that first year I lost about 135 pounds. I felt good and I had gone down considerably in size. I loved the ability to buy nice fitting clothes and wear them with a certain degree of pride. I had accomplished a lot and I was proud of myself. I did get some unfortunate resistance to my loss from my partner.  It was not easy for her to accept that I weighed substantially less than she did. It was just one of many problems we had. Those problems led ultimately to a divorce and we both moved on. 

I am sure that Sandi had she lived to see this weight loss would have approved and been proud of me.  She had gone through a similar process and lost almost 150 pounds, which frankly she kept off better than I have. When you lose that much weight you begin to see that you are very much different than what you were used to. The mirror is no longer an enemy, to be ignored if at all possible. It wasn’t vanity, it was more like satisfaction and success, finally.  After I left Italy I began a slow but steady increase in weight and regained about forty of the pounds I had lost.  The eating impetus was more emotional and snacking was a problem.

When I married Kathlyn she had gone though a lot of the same things as I had. Weight loss surgery, and the sudden death of her long time husband. She had also tried to date and develop relationships with men that were not as successful as she had before. All of these responses were similar in my case.  So here we are, closing in on two years of marriage. She retains a wonderful senxe of humor and makes me laugh, I cook for her and she proudly told me the other day that in the last year she had only gained three pounds.  I guess my Eight Bites philosophy is working at least for us. I have lost about eight pounds and slowly sliding down on the scale. I have started to go to the gym three to four times a week and working with a personal trainer once a week. I know I feel pretty good and have been lifting a lot of weight, treadmilling and rowing.  

In the last couple of weeks, I have been trained as a Food Champion with the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution and will be starting to teach kids and adults about making good nutritious meals simply, easly and with some fun. Hopefully they will take away the inherent stigma we attach to cooking now days. It really seems that most kids no longer go into the kitchen with their mom or dad and cook. Probably because mom and dad are wound up in just trying to make ends meet and resort to getting takeout, or microwaveable meals. So we will teach them some simple dishes, and include knife skills, kitchen equipment use and maintenance, and sanitation. It will be a fun time until the 20th of December when the Big Red truck leaves to head to its next stop. The local food champions will hopefully continue  to teach the kids in other venues including Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and schools.  

So here it is almost Thanksgiving and I am preparing to cook some dishes for the family gathering. I have made a flourless chocolate almond cake, a flourless pumpkin soufflĂ© cake, a lemon tart, and am in the process of doing a few more things tomorrow.  So this Thursday will pass. Next week I will start the Jamie Oliver program.  Have a good Thanksgiving. Stay in the moment and try everything you like, but just make those tastes rather than platefuls.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Five years out

For the last few days I have been rereading my earlier posts from this blog. Back in 2009 when I started this I was very excited after the surgery and the weight dropped dramatically and quickly. From June 4 2008 to June 4 2009 I lost 130 pounds and went from a size 56 jacket to a 42. My waist went from 45” to 34”. I was happy and somewhat arrogant about how I looked. I bought clothing that was so much smaller than I had purchased and it was fun wearing a medium shirt rather than a 3XL. I weighed less than I had weighed as a sophomore in high school. I was cooking, teaching cooking classes and was quite content. I was getting a little grief from my wife at the time about what a clotheshorse I had become and I believe she was not happy about my significant weight loss. I believe she was jealous of it. Since I did most of the cooking and she was eating what I cooked, her weight had gone up while mine had gone down so quickly. This became a source of conflict and potentially lead in part to our divorce.

Over time as my body accepted the weight I found that I started very slowly to gain again. Not anything significant but enough for me to notice. As it increased over a year or so, I started to become concerned. I was still trying to eat my eight bites each meal I found that I had started to eat little things between meals. My stomach cleared the food from the meal and I felt I could put some more into it. Easy! But as weight continued to be gained, I became more and more concerned and began looking for some simple answer. The problem was that there was no simple answer. There was only complexity. As weight was gained, my blood sugar started increasing and I was returning to a diabetic life. That was not what I wanted and was the overriding reason I had the surgery in the first place.

So here we are on June 2, 2013, 5 years out from the date of my WLS on June 4 2008. And things have changed for me. My weight is back to 220 pounds which is still 80 pounds less than I was but 50 pounds above where I had been. It has been an increase of about a pound a month since June 2009. A gradual increase but still, what am I doing?  And more importantly what am I doing wrong? I have to buy XL shirts now and my waist has increased from 34” to 38”. I am not happy about this process. But more importantly my doctor has put me back on diabetic medications in an effort to reduce my daily and long term sugar levels.

I have refocused upon the type and quantity of food at each meal and particularly focused on what I want  to eat (and must not) between meals. I have focused on riding the stationary bike each morning, eating less in each meal, and trying to stay busy during the day so I am not tempted to eat between meals.

My goals are:
1: Stop the weight gain.
2. Start to reduce the weight by about a pound or two per month.
3: Increase my activity as much as my body will tolerate.
4: Focus on eating my eight bites at the normal meal times.
5. Steel myself from the desire to eat between meals.
6. Be happy and healthy where I am.

So today I have to be confident I can accomplish what I need to do. To be a healthier person. I be a better man than I have been. So I will go on with my plans and try to accomplish my goals. Not unrealistic ones, but ones that can be achieved as long as I have the will.