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Winter Song

This is my winter song to you
The storm is coming soon
It rolls in from the sea

My voice a beacon in the night
My words will be your light
To guide you back to me

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love...

They say that things just cannot grow
Beneath the winter snow
Or so I have been told

They say we're buried far
Just like a distant star
I simply cannot hold

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love...

This is my winter song
December never felt so wrong
Because you're not where you belong
Inside my arms

I still believe in summer days
The seasons always change
And life will find a way

I'll be your harvester of light
And send it out tonight
So we can start again

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love...


The Semi-tarian.

It's been 3 months and I feel amazing.  I've been through hell in my personal life most recently.  I feel like the tide has changed and I am finally starting to find peace in the chaos that my  life has been.  So, let's hope I'm right because frankly, I could use a vacation and a few years of sleep.

In all honesty, I have just gone through a bitter and nasty breakup, which made me realize that my significant other was a bit resentful of the fact that I had WLS and that my focus was on changing my life.  It sounds so selfish when I put it down into words, but the complexity of the situation can't readily be summed up in a few sentences... so I won't try.  I need to constantly remind myself that I had this surgery for me and nobody else.  Now that I am out of the relationship I feel like I have the freedom to do it right, and not be faced with the temptations of living with someone with terribly unhealthy eating habits.  It just felt like if he was genuinely compassionate about my journey/struggle, he would have been a more positive influence.  On that note, I am glad that I'm out with the old and in with the GOOD.

So let's get to the good stuff!  I've been doing pretty well with my diet.  I actually went vegetarian a few weeks ago, which can be difficult for someone who had weight loss surgery, but I'm managing.  I'm still eating eggs and dairy.  My diet consists of plenty of veggies, beans, and tofu.  Sometimes, when I feel like I just need more, I will have seafood, which I guess technically, makes me a pescetarian.  I've been reading a lot about the different kinds of protein that our bodies need, and although I do agree that we can survive solely on plant proteins,  I also believe that at this point in my life, it is essential for me to get enough of my fatty omega-3's from fish. 

The best part about my new way of life is that I'm so enjoying eating "clean" foods.  As a means of controlling my salt and added sugar intake, I am preparing all of my own sauces and foods.  I have found so much pleasure in creating simple foods that taste good and are good for me, it's been a pleasant surprise.  Modifying desserts has also been a fun past time for me as well.  I've learned to love agave nectar and stevia.  Chocolate puddings and low-sugar protein ice creams and sorbets are also fun concoctions that feel totally sinful, but are actually GOOD for you.  It's been bliss in the kitchen!  One of my greatest fears of having WLS is that I would no longer enjoy food, which has always been my favorite past time.  The added bonus is that I enjoy it more, as I can now really take the time to savor and appreciate the foods that I create, although it is tough at times to just cook tiny portions for one person.  

I have cut bread and pasta mostly out of my diet.  If I absolutely must have bread, it's sprouted grain or a highly versatile Multigrain FlatOut Wrap with Flax.  I like to make skinny pizza with FlatOut wraps, using tons of veggies and a bit of cheese and tomato sauce.  Sometimes, I will have a bit of whole wheat pasta, but I find that I enjoy a big bowl of broccoli with homemade marinara sauce so much more.  I admit that I do on occasion eat white rice when I visit my parents, since it is a Filipino way of life.  At home, I have a bit of quinoa or brown rice with a bountiful serving of vegetable curry made with coconut milk.  I also have a new love for oatmeal/oat bran with fruit and protein powder in the morning.

My activity level has increased dramatically, too.  I take my dogs on brisk morning walks, then long walks/runs in the evening, and just recently, we have started bike riding together.   You haven't lived until you've biked with two big, strong sled dogs!  I'm sure we look really funny when doing it, but it really gets my heart racing and helps the dogs to burn off some energy.  I have also started to branch out and try some new class activities like yoga (which I have been doing already) and now Nia.  My visits to the gym aren't as often as I'd like, but sometimes, I just feel like being outside is more fun that working out in a gym.  It keeps me interested.  I have plans to start weight training next, to go along with all the great cardio that I'm getting.

So, that's it for now.  I plan on posting some progress pictures here, soon.

Sugar Overload

After a scary trip to the doctor claiming that even after my weight loss and changes to my diet, I found out that I have Type 2 Diabetes.  Note that at this point, it is reversible and I don't need treatment.  I just have to be more conscious about the sugar content of the things that I'm eating.

Since surgery, I've cut down my consumption of bread, rice, and pasta, and I'm having smarter substitutes.  I just never realized how much sugar is hiding in my cup of coffee or cup of fat-free yogurt.  I'm really floored by this!  I also have a pretty bad sweet tooth to add to the sugar woes, and I detest most artificial sweeteners.  So, I know I don't have much of an audience here, but if anyone would like to share some sugar-cutting tips, I would be ever so grateful to hear what others are doing.  I've been Googling like a fiend!

I'm learning more about the Glycemic Index right now and attempting to plan my meals with a tad more caution.  On top of that, I am having my coffee without sugar, chewing sugar-free gum, and throwing in some extra gym time.

On another note, I've gotten the boyfriend (aka, the biggest sugar addict on earth!) to be a little more conscious of his sugar intake as well.  We're going to hit the gym together tonight, too.  I'm pretty stoked about getting him to workout with me.  It's so much easier when you have the support at home, as well.  The more the merrier, right?

Now I'm off to the deli to get a salad that I'm sure won't be as good as the one I could have made at home.  I'm really having a bad spinach craving today.

Today's Inspiration

Sometimes, I like to check out Lap Band Talk for a bit of inspiration.  Today, I found it in the Success Stories section.

This is a direct quote from Katy's story, which really struck a chord with me today.  I couldn't have said it better myself:

"The band is NOT a perfect fix. It is NOT an easy fix. YOU MUST WORK THE BAND. You MUST be conscious about what you eat and the exercise you get. You must have a dialogue and consistent follow-up with your doctor. YOU MUST REMAIN POSITIVE. You will plateau. Over and over. You'll go up and down. BUT, you must remind yourself that as long as you keep doing the right things, you will have success."

Here is the link to the rest of her story.  It's a good read for anyone needing a little boost.

One Upon a Diet

I have been an avid reader of DiFo (Diet Forum) on Craigslist in the last few months. There's a man who frequents the boards who has had incredible weight loss following tips from a nutritionist. I thought this was a great breakdown of what we should be eating, since not all vegetables are created equal. My doctor asked me to cut back on starchy fruits and vegetables, so I thought it would be appropriate to post this. There's even a sample menu, which I find a little too carb-rich for me, but none the less, it's still a great kick start program, I think. It's not formulated for bariatric patients, but I find that a little common sense goes a long way. I also appreciate the fact that it lists fresh fruits and vegetables, since I'm on a movement to eat only minimally processed foods.

Non-starchy Vegetable List. All fresh or frozen. All are 1-cup servings.

Artichoke, artichoke hearts

Green onions or scallions




Water chestnuts

Beans (green, wax, Italian).



Bean sprouts







Brussels sprouts

Pea pods






Salad greens




Summer squash



Starchy Vegetable List. All fresh or frozen.

Corn -1/2 cup. Corn on the cob-1/2 large ear

Mixed vegetables with corn, peas or, pasta. 1 cup

Peas, green-1/2 cup

Potato, boiled - 1/2 cup or 1/2 medium (3 oz.)

Potato, baked with skin -1/4 large or 1/2 medium (3 oz.)

Squash, winter (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) -1/2 cup.

Yam, sweet potato, plain -1/2 cup.

Fruit - Fresh or frozen without added sugar.

Apple, fresh, small (1)

Figs, fresh -(1.5) lg or (2) med

Orange, small (1)

Apricots, fresh (4)whole

Grapefruit, large -(1/2)

Peach, medium (1)

Banana, small (1)

Grapes , small (17)

Pear, medium (1)

Blackberries - 3/4 cup

Honeydew - (1) slice or 1 cup

Pineapple, fresh - 3/4 cup

Blueberries - 3/4 cup

Kiwi - (1)

Raspberries - 1 cup

Cantaloupe, small -1/3 melon

Mango, small (1)

Strawberries 1 1/2 cup

Cherries, sweet, fresh - (12)

Nectarine, small (1)

Watermelon - 1 1/4 cup


Back to basics.

I feel wonderful since the surgery.  The decision to have lap band surgery, was by far, the best decision I have ever made for my health.  I am happy to report that the pounds are steadily melting away, and I feel great.

I do feel like I could be doing better.  I've been watching the Biggest Loser and I'm amazed by how hard those folks work.  I'm inspired by Bob and Jillian's ass burning workouts.  I wish that I could take off a few months to spend time on the Biggest Loser Ranch.  I would definitely kick some ass.  It makes me really to see how much my boyfriend enjoys the show, too.  I'm using it as something positive for us to do together.  After the last episode, I didn't even have to talk him into eating a salad- he just did it on his own.  It was a very proud moment in our home.  The next step is getting him to go to the gym with me!

I've really taken a liking to yoga.  It's done amazing things for my body so far.  All of that stretching and meditation has made me leaner and freed up a lot of stored stress in my muscles.  I like it so much, in fact, that I have decided to branch out and try pilates, too.  I've been sick at the moment, but next week, I plan on buying a month pass of classes at Your Body Center, where I plan on trying out their hot workouts and pilates, also.  I'm really excited about the great deal they have going on through the end of the month-- only $50, all the classes you can take, in a month!  Doesn't that sound like a blast?  I really did enjoy Joy, but sometimes, it was a little stuffy.  I plan on going back after they have the grand opening (which is this weekend!).

I bought a fancy new mat from Lululemon Athletica in Highland Village from Stephanie.  I haven't used it yet, I keep forgetting that it's in my closet, then I got a bad cold... but as soon as I go to my next class, it's on.

It's been pretty exciting for me to watch my body change.  My portions are much smaller now.  I have trouble with certain foods- rice, iceburg lettuce, and beef- but for the most part, it's been a great journey.  I have a new appreciation for fresh foods that pack a lot of punch in flavor and nutrition.  Sometimes, I really crave old comfort foods, but I find that there food is just as good when I "remake" the healthy version, using ingredients that I can trust. 

I have found a new love for certain foods and I can't imagine how I could have made it this far without them.  Quinoa, egg whites, fat free Greek yogurt, light soy milk, black beans, edamame, ground turkey, and organic EVERYTHING are all new additions to my kitchen.  If I have bread, it's Ezekiel.  If I have cereal, it's high fiber, sugar free.  I even still go to Starbucks-- but instead of a caramel machiatto, I have a latte with soymilk or nonfat milk with Splenda.  It took a while for me to learn how to revamp my recipes, but I've learned that even if I make something a little fattening, it's all about my portion size.  This is what keeps me on track with my diet.  There's nothing I absolutely can't have-- maybe just have in moderation.  There are some things that I skip all together, because I know I won't feel good after I eat it, like a lot of bread, greasy foods, soda, or alcohol.  This is the case with alcohol, especially.  I just don't want it anymore.  I hate the feeling of  exhaustion the next day from having just a few drinks the night before, due to my body not being used to all of the sugar.  The next day I'm so incredibly tired (not hungover, there is a difference!) and my craving are out of control.  It's totally counterproductive, and that just isn't what I'm about right now.  I'm glad I have it figured out.

The best part about the changes I've made is my energy level.  Some days, I do have problems getting in the right kind of calories, or I don't eat enough at all, which can be tought.  I've had to make some major changes by packing brown bagging it and keeping protein shakes and a blender bottle at my desk at work.  Now that I'm making sure to have small, balanced meals several times a day, my diet energy level has been through the roof.  It's nothing short of amazing being able to get through a full day of work, then a 3 hours of class, and still have the energy to hit the gym or go running with the dogs afterwards.  I feel 25 again.

Where Soul Meets Body

Today I attended my first Vinyasa yoga class at Joy Yoga Center off of Washington.  I was running late, so I missed Joy Winkler's introduction to yoga lecture, but I made it to class right on time.

I admit that it was a little awkward.  Yoga on the Wii Fit is way easier.  I never would have thought that yoga would be so challenging.  All of my preconcieved notions of what yoga is supposed to be like have been wiped away.  It was a lot of stretching and moving in ways that I have never done before.  It was very interesting.  I also learned that I have weak wrists, which made it hard to do some of the poses.  The instructor was great, and she taught us a few exercises to try to improve our wrist strength and how to evenly distribute the weight onto your palms and fingers when attempting to balance, which was a great help.  I also learned that my hips aren't as strong as I'd like them to be, and I had some trouble moving around and balancing on one leg. 

It was actually pretty intense for me. I really think that practicing yoga could be really good for me to gain back my balance (and maybe a little inner peace) and help align my body.  I have never really felt the same after my car accident.  Often times, I feel the screw that was fused into my hip bone throb in pain, since it is still foreign matter in my body, when I'm cycling hard or running.  Not so much with yoga.  I didn't feel any pain at all, just the challenge of manuvering my body in new ways. 

By the end of the class, I felt empowered.  I felt a lot more flexible (and sweaty beyond reason), but my muscles were also trembling from the exercise.  It was an entirely new feeling to me, and although I'm sure that some of you yoga pros may roll your eyes, but I'm really amazed by how awesome that was.  It was awkward, unconventional, challenging, and strangely calming.  I wasn't too embarassed in the beginner's class, either.  A good friend of mine talked me into going and took the class with me, although she's way advanced and practices Bikram (hot yoga) and Ashtanga.

I definitely look forward to taking classes in the future with Joy at her studio.  I am also looking forward to trying out Bikram and pilates, but maybe I'll try them at my gym first, so I don't feel like such a newbie.

More to come!

Back to the doctor.

I had my second fill yesterday with Dr. Ponce.  Did I mention how much I like my surgeon?  He's really funny in a kind of serious/morbid way, which makes me giggle.  This time, I was prepared.  I asked all of the questions that I had thought up in the last month, and was pretty pleased with myself for remembering to ask.

So it seems that when I had my surgery, there was 2cc's of solution in the band, which can hold a maximum of 10cc's.   For my first fill, he put me up to 4cc's, but after  a few days, I had very little restriction.  Then in the last few weeks, I had virtually no restriction-- I was actually able to eat 2 slices of pizza and drink a coke on Sunday, which I know is a big no-no, but I did it anyway.  Of course, I felt awful after the fact, and laid in bed, feeling like I had swallowed a rock.

When I went to see him yesterday, I was a bit disappointed to learn that I had gained 2lbs, but I knew it was coming.  I was sick all of last week and didn't go to the gym, and indulged in comfort foods like pizza (which always seems to make a cold melt away that much faster!). 

I'm not going to lie-- I haven't been trying as hard as I should be.  The stress of everything has been getting to me- work, school, life in general, has been a roller coaster, but I am determined to find a way to keep in line with my health and fitness goals, even when I'm stressed out.  I haven't had a lot of time to cook, and I've been eating out a lot more than usual.  The good news is that I've been eating light- a lot of salads, greens, tofu, and non-fried foods.

I'm thinking about cutting red meat out of my diet completely, since I rarely ever purchase it (except for my dogs, haha!).  Besides, chicken and fish is just as delicious and better for you, and easier for me to eat.  One thing that I must give up for sure is bread.  I am a bread addict.  I love bread.  I love carbs.  I will admit to being a carb junkie-- I love bread, rice, and pasta.  I've switched to brown rice and whole grain pasta, but the doctor says that I still need to cut bread out of my diet completely.  I don't know if I entirely agree, but I guess I will give it a shot and convert my sandwiches to wraps, or maybe jusy buy skinny bread.

Anyway, I will have to blog a lot more often, to get back in line with my diet.  Food log to come soon!

Thursday morning optimism.

I do admit that it's been rough, but all in all, I am so grateful for having lap band surgery.

There will be many more  hurdles, and complications, and challenges- but I knew it wouldn't be easy.

On my darkest days, when I am miserable and cannot deal, I take have to take a step back to recognize what a life-changing experience this has been for me, and I know that I can do it.  I know I can reach my goal weight.  I want it that bad.  All of the pain and discomfort and sacrifice is a small price to pay for feeling this good.

So, all in all, it's been one hell of a journey... but I am optimistic and giddy about the future.

Just a little Thursday morning optimism.  Take it for what it's worth.

I heart shopping!

I've always been a fan of shopping, like most women.  I have an uncanny ability to find great deals, and I have amazing shopping stamina.  I can spend hours upon hours just window shopping, and then go home, and shop online for nothing in particular.  I can say with confidence that my shopping prowess goes unmatched!  I love to shop for friends, my boyfriend, family, but mostly for myself.

That's why this whole surgery weight loss thing has been so stressful for me-- I haven't been able to really shop for myself.  I have an abundance of clothing in sizes that were too small that I purchased well in advance, before surgery, just because I thought I might need it.  If that doesn't scream addict, I don't know what does.

The smallest I've ever been was a size 8/10 when I was 17.  This was pre-car accident.  I was a fat teenager, then I slimmed down A LOT in my senior year from a lot of hard work and exercise.  I wanted to be tan and thin for prom, and I was. Prom sucked, but that's a different story in itself.  A few months before my 19th birthday, I was in a very bad car accident with a drunk driver where I broke my pelvis in 5 places and fractured my C2 (neck).  Needless to say, after all of that trauma, extensive surgeries, and being in a wheelchair really messed me up.

After that, I ballooned to a size 24 and was the most miserable I have ever been.  I tried everything in that time to get my body back, but nothing worked.  I couldn't exercise like I used to, since I now have a 7 inch titanium screw in my right hip.  The doctor said that I needed to do low impact exercises and advised against my favorite form of exercise (running!) until I lost weight and my body was stronger.  With some healthier lifestyle changes, I slimmed down a bit, but it was always a constant battle against the number on the scale.

 Pre-surgery I was a size 20.  I haven't been weighing myself obsessively, as one would expect, but I have noticed a definite change in the way my clothes fit.  I bought a pair of jeans in size 16 a few months ago that were on sale (a great deal, might I add) that I just had to have.  I was hopeful that in time, I'd be able to wear my "motivational jeans", as I call them.  Now not only can I wear them, they are a little baggy.  I've been able to purge my closet of clothing that I know couldn't possibly fit me ever again.  

It feels great.  The thought of all the fabulous new clothes I will have to buy once I reach my goal weight drives me wild.  Until then, I'll be holding out and sticking to the plan.