Friday, March 18, 2016

Flashback Friday

So I felt all emo yesterday, but we got some sunshine and my lady woes are almost done, so I'm in a better mood and figured I'd bring some cheer this Friday afternoon to the blog.  I realized yesterday that I've barely been posting any progress pictures of me.  I post selfies and that kind of thing, but haven't really posted any full length shots, but I'm going to remedy that today!

I really have to dig for older full length pictures of me since I hated how I looked and pretty much forbade pictures unless it was just of my face (which was just as fat, so, logical right).  I found one from 2010 that was pretty representative and compared it to a one that I took earlier this week.

Left picture was in 2010 at 230ish pounds, the right is this past Monday at 194ish pounds

I can't tell you how happy I am that my chest is smaller and getting smaller all of the time, it makes such a huge difference in how I look, plus my back doesn't hurt all of the time!  Legs and hips are definitely smaller.  My middle is a work in progress and its shrink rate is maddeningly slow, but it's getting there.

Speaking of faces...

This is a shot from 2009 when I was at my absolute heaviest of 250 pounds.  I absolutely hated everything about how I looked.

This is me just from last weekend torturing and embarrassing Molly with selfies, because that's what passes for entertainment for me on the weekends these days.

I am just shocked at how much I let myself go back then, and it's painful and upsetting to look at those pictures.  I just don't like remembering the misery and seeing how sad my face was.  I mean sure, my life was good overall, but I lived every day feeling so self conscious and so unhappy about my body, and I hate remembering that.  I still have moments where I'm self conscious about random things, but I feel so much more confident and happy about where I'm at now, and I definitely think that shows on my face.  Maybe not on Molly's though.  :)

Anyway, happy Friday and hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thinner Thursday

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  I usually do a big traditional corned beef, potato and cabbage meal for St. Pat's but since all I can eat lately are air, kale and flowers, no dice for me.  :(  Have a green beer for me folks!

Weigh In

My weigh in this week was depressing but expected.

Previous Weight:  193.2
Today's Weight:  194.8
Difference:  +1.6 pounds

This week has been a struggle, and a few things are factoring in.  The main factor is that I've been having major lady woes this week, like worse than I've ever had, and I have felt incredibly weak and tired.  I can't bring myself to do more than our work walks, and even those feel like a huge effort.  The minute I wake up I feel exhausted and I've struggled to stay awake past 7 pm every night this week.  I've also had the typical hunger urges that come with it all and have snacked more than I should.

The weather here is also starting to get to me and make me feel depressed.  I've never ever experienced traditional seasonal disorder, in fact usually it's heat and summer that causes that depression, but this year has been the opposite.  We've had nonstop rain 90 something out of 100 something days, and I have to admit it's starting to get to me.  I feel cold all of the time (again, never happened before), and I just feel kind of depressed.  I want to be outside working in my yard and taking walks, but the rain makes it a miserable experience.  We are supposed to get a couple of nice days starting today, but it's almost more depressing because after that we're heading right back into a rainy streak.

That's all a very long winded way of saying that I expected a gain this week since I've snacked too much and haven't been exercising the way I should.  


Things are basically going well, I still feel a bit thrown for a loop and like I eat the same 5 things every day, but physically I'm feeling good.  I had a blip where my positive symptoms kind of regressed, which made me incredibly depressed since the nutrition part is so hard, and it would suck to have to change so much for nothing.  But things got "moving" again, so I calmed the eff down about it.  It's sad how excited I get about it, but you have no idea how good it is to feel normal and like I'm not damaging my body.

I do think the diet is leading to my age old resentments over restriction, which causes binge tendencies in me.  I hardcore reason with myself every day that this is a temporary situation and that I need to deal with these feelings as best I can and not go overboard.

Vega One

Just to end on a funny note, a really long time ago I wrote about this horrible reaction that I had to Vega One protein powder, this was literally back in 2013.  I guess what perversely amuses me is that post after all this time continues to be the thing that drives a significant amount of traffic to my blog, and searches about Vega One poisoning continue to result in my blog popping up in the number one spot in a Google search.

I still get comments on that post, a couple this week in fact which is what prompted my musing about this, and it's from 2013!  It's amazing to me that they still sell that protein powder when it makes people so sick, and if you're one of the aforementioned people who found my blog because of Vega One, sorry about your vomshits.  I can't even look at cans of that powder in the store without my stomach cramping at the memory of that horror.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Updates


Our Arizona trip was a whirlwind but very nice.  The Bruce Springsteen show was fantastic, our seats were very close to the stage to the point that we could make eye contact with the band which was a combo of amazing and awkward.

The weather in Phoenix was crazy, it's been in the 40's and raining here (I think the weather people said the other day we've had 90 consecutive days of rain), so going to sunny with temps in the 90's was definitely an adjustment.  We took a stroll around the block where our hotel was just to stretch our legs, and we were both ready to get back inside afterwards.  Dry heat my ass.  (I've never understood that statement.  Dry heat, wet heat, it's all flipping hot!) I was very happy that my Lovely Ladies kept on me about being hydrated the week before because I was parched in Arizona!  I did really well and still drank 70 to 80 ounces of water on Thursday and Friday, but even felt dehydrated between sips.

I did do a barre exercise video in our hotel room on Friday, though it was pretty gentle and not exactly a huge calorie burner.  Better than nothing though.  I really need to get my butt into gear because I'm super behind on the March to May challenge my LLL group is doing.  I just realized I probably forgot to mention it, but we're doing a challenge similar to the one in the winter where we each make a goal for how many minutes of activity we will strive for that month.  My goal is 1500 minutes and I am so behind!

Meal and Diet Update

Things are still going pretty well on my diet and I am definitely noticing positive changes.  It's all very gradual, but I definitely think my digestive system is getting better.  That's the good news.

I did as well as I could in Arizona, I packed a lot of food for the plane and ate a good breakfast before we left, so that was all fine, it's trying to eat out that's the issue.  It is very hard and stressful to find things that work with the whole FODMAP thing, and I hate having to be THAT person who is all "um is this gluten free, etc".  And honestly the gluten free thing isn't the problem, onion and garlic is my downfall.  It's in EVERYTHING.  I ordered fish tacos for dinner on Thursday and am pretty certain that not only was the fish seasoned with garlic powder, but the girl accidentally left onions in the tacos.  I was able to pick out the onions but I think I accidentally left one or two in there.  I felt a bit miserable afterwards, and was even more miserable to have further confirmation on my suspicions that onion and garlic do indeed affect me.  The same thing happened at Panera on Satuday.  Amazingly enough their menu is incredibly limited for me, as in there was exactly ONE thing I could have, some kind of quinoa salad.  I stupidly zoned on asking them to put the dressing on the side, and realized two bites in that the dressing clearly had some kind of garlic and who knows what else in it.  I was so hungry that I just decided to say screw it, and immediately regretted it after eating.  I was incredibly nauseated afterwards, experienced some bloating and  bad stomach pains that lasted for hours.  I checked the ingredients of that salad later online and it was full of dehydrated garlic and onion.  I mean you live and learn I guess, but I despise feeling stressed out when it comes to eating out.  I definitely learned my lesson, I can't just spontaneously go somewhere without checking the menu, plus I should probably eat a decent snack beforehand just in case.

Ironically we went to Powell's bookstore after lunch as I was feeling like I was going to die, which inspired me to pick up this book:

The first part of it is a lot of scientific information, which I actually found very interesting and helpful, and also a detailed plan on how to start adding foods into your diet once the elimination phase is over.  The second half of the book is a cookbook which is mainly what I was after.  I just feel a bit lost in the kitchen and needed some inspiration since I'll be doing this thing for awhile.  I feel a little more confident and will probably start testing out some of the recipes next week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Weigh In

Previous Weight:  194.4
Current Weight:  193.2
Difference:  -1.2 pounds

I am bumping up my weigh in post this week because we are actually traveling tomorrow and I'll be out of commission for a few days.  I am pleased with my weigh in this week, I'm back to my lowest weight.  The one good thing about FODMAPing is that it's really not possible for me to mindlessly snack, so that clearly made a difference this week.

On the exercise front I am also really starting to fall in love with HIIT workouts and have only been doing the ones from Fitness Blender 3-4 times a week.  If you're looking for free internet workouts, I can't recommend these enough.  They are well taught, there is NO music in them and there is such a huge variety of videos to choose from that it's impossible to be bored.  I've been doing the HIITs that are 20-25 minutes long and while challenging, they go by so fast that you're not hating your life.  Most importantly, I've been sore and feel like I'm actually doing something to change my body.  I've noticed small differences already in my arms and legs, so I'm definitely happy.  I imagine I'll keep up with them even after the March challenge part is over.  I am also still doing my plank/wall sit and hand weight challenges on top of it.

So we are leaving tomorrow and meeting our friend Steve in Arizona to attend a Bruce Springteen show in Phoenix.  It should be a lot of fun, and it will be nice to go somewhere sunny!  It has been so rainy and gross here that I am ready for a bit of sun.  We are literally only there for like 24 hours, but any sun is better than none at this point!

I've already planned out some emergency snacks I can have and have scoped out the hotel restaurants' menus to plan out what I can have from a dinner and breakfast standpoint.  Thankfully they have options I can have!  I'm also bringing some workout clothes so that I can sneak in a HIIT workout on Friday morning.

I'll leave you guys with something from The River album (Bruce is playing the whole album on this tour).


Monday, March 7, 2016

FODMAP Overview

So I thought I'd do a little overview of this whole FODMAP thing that my doctor has me doing just for transparency's sake, because I love sciency stuff and also just to hang my head and laugh that I am a walking, talking South Park episode now.  I know, part of me realizes that this is God smiting me for laughing at the GF craze.  I promise I won't speak ad nauseam of the diet because there is nothing worse than someone who blathers on about that nonsense, though I will be giving updates here and there on how things are going.

What is a FODMAP?

FODMAP is short for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols, and essentially it's a type of carbohydrate that is found in certain foods:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)

When eaten in excess, high FODMAP foods can cause issues in the gut, and specifically they cannot be digested and cause fermentation.  It can cause lovely symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and severe constipation.  Mind you, a majority of people can tolerate these foods just fine, this compound seems to mostly affect those with IBS, celiac or colitis.

So what's the deal with the diet?

Essentially you eat a low FODMAP diet for 6-8 weeks to clear your system, give it a chance to heal and start out with a clean slate.  Once you do that, you slowly reintroduce the higher FODMAP food items (one at a time) to monitor symptoms and pinpoint what foods are causing an issue for you.

I hate calling this a diet because the purpose isn't to lose weight, it is purely a diagnosing tool for these chronic digestive issues and helps clear your system to do proper symptom monitoring.  You own't eat this way forever, it is temporary.  Ideally you would be able to add most of the foods on the "no" list back in and only eliminate whatever is causing you issues.  That can be different for everyone, so if you find that your doctor wants you to try this out, don't despair that you will have to eat like this the rest of your life.  Giving up things should be temporary, depending on what your triggers are.  And honestly if a food is triggering you to the point of causing disease, would you really be that bummed to give it up?

So how is it going for YOU?

My emotions are mixed, but physically I do feel really great.  I haven't seen improvement in the potty department, BUT my stomach is feeling so much better and I'm in awe of how much the bloating in my stomach has gone down.  After 3 days on this diet, I was down a half inch in my waist.  All of my pants fit normally now, and I was also able to buy a couple of items in a medium (!!!) yesterday, which I would not have been able to do last week.  

The most difficult part of the diet is getting organized and informed, and figuring out what you can and can't have.  And people, the list is weird.  There are certain things I totally get, like high fructose corn syrup which I generally try to stay away from anyway, and of course evil gluten.  But we are raised with basic principles of what foods are healthy for you, so it is VERY difficult at first to be in the mindset that some of these very healthy things are high FODMAP and off limits.  Apples, mushrooms, honey, celery, beans, peaches....the list goes on.  And white table sugar, which we're told is the absolute devil is okay to have.  It is all very strange indeed, so the figuring out stage has been interesting.  The diet definitely isn't vegetarian or vegan, and if anything I feel horrible for any vegan that has to be on this diet since you cannot have things like beans or honey.  

Eating whole foods is not the issue on this diet, it's quite easy to eat a piece of grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and rice, or roasted salmon with a salad and quinoa.  That's stuff I generally eat anyway, and I love all vegetables/fruits (other than Satan in a can water chestnuts), so no matter what I eat of those I'm happy.  And I love all meats, so having that is not a problem.  The issue comes with buying convenience foods, and let me tell you THAT part is a total bitch.

Going gluten free isn't an issue either.  I can kind of sort of bake GF and there are a lot of GF products on the market to choose from.  BUT, you can't have soy on this diet.  I challenge you to start picking up packages and reading labels of any random thing in the store and see what you can find without soy.  It's nearly impossible, and the first time shopping I got so pissed I just about had to walk out of the store.  And if it doesn't contain soy, it contains HFCS or other artificial sweeteners.  A majority of the GF cereals contain honey, so that's out.  It was incredibly difficult to find any convenience foods that met all of the low FODMAP criteria.  Obviously we all should be eating mostly whole, fresh foods, but sometimes a convenience food is needed and appreciated.  I finally gave up and started experimenting with some GF baking this weekend that I modified to be FODMAP friendly, and thankfully I have some delicious cornmeal waffles to take to work next week.  Eating out is also a challenge, and I've really had to do my homework before we go to Arizona this week.  Anyway, this diet has me reading labels like I'm translating Greek prose, and that's something I really hate having to do.

The other painful part of this diet is that onions and garlic are completely off limits.  Onions I can live without, especially since I suspect they may be a trigger for me, but not having garlic blows.  I absolutely love garlic.  I put outrageous amounts of it in everything, I love roasting it and spreading it on toast, I can't get enough of it.  I made soup the other night and it was just totally lame without garlic in it.  Thankfully you can have garlic infused oil, since the fructans in garlic are water soluble but not oil soluble.  I picked up some garlic oil yesterday and it's been a lifesaver!

But...I've survived

A lot of it is knowing that I won't be doing this forever, and I've also discovered that approaching something from a medical standpoint makes it a LOT easier to stick with.  At the end of the day, my doctor and I are doing this to try to diagnose me and rule out IBS.  Any annoyances or giving up of things is acceptable since this may make me feel better, provide answers and ultimately maybe end this hell I've been in for the last year.

And I've already discovered some little tricks and tasty food due to having to think outside of the box.  My polenta with eggs baked right in the polenta is delicious.  I made the most stellar "quesadilla" yesterday with turkey, cheese and FODMAP friendly rhubarb jam.  Last night we had delicious stuffed peppers with rice and ground turkey.  I'm still eating good and am getting in a rhythm of enjoying my meals, which is ultimately all that matters to me.  I am still strictly counting calories since eating gluten free doesn't give you a pass to eat with abandon.  My eyes just about bugged out of my head with the calorie counts on a couple of the GF recipes I made, so trust me, GF or vegan doesn't immediately mean healthy!

It will be interesting once all is said and done.  If I find this diet works and get to the adding things back in phase, I am curious and anxious what will trigger me and what won't.  I mentioned this earlier, but I do think onions may be something that triggers me.  I've had bad reactions (horrible stomach pains and heartburn that lasts for hours) the last few months when eating them.  Anyway, it's all very interesting.  I hope you guys didn't get too bored with me blathering on about this stuff, but also hope if someone out there is experiencing horrible stomach issues, perhaps they can reach out to their doctor and discuss doing a low FODMAP trial as well!  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Week of Eats

So I fully admit to being inspired to do this post because of a post that Katie from Runs For Cookies did a bit ago, and also because of a handful of situations I've experienced lately with people around me who deprive themselves of food they like because of the dreaded "I'm on a diet."  I can't tell you how much it bums me out when people say that to me, especially when I can tell that they are miserable and truly want to eat whatever the food it is they are denying themselves.  I guess I've just been there and know how it feels, so I want to help bust the myth that you have to eat a certain way to lose weight.

In general I eat what I want and don't pay attention to a bunch of bullshit nonsense like "don't eat rice or bread, too much fruit is horrible for you, you should avoid sugar" etc.  I do try to watch sodium due to my blood pressure.  I currently have my calorie limit set to 1500 a day, which seems about right during this lighter activity period of my life.

A few things to note about my pictures.  One, this has been a particularly good week since having internet eyes on me kept me honest.  Also this was the week that the FODMAP drama hit, so I have shifted my diet a bit to try to correct my GI nonsense and I kind of quit taking pictures until I sorted out my new way of eating.  I'm trying to be pretty on point and commit to that 100%.  In general, my diet has gotten "healthier" by most standards and I do tend to eat a lot of salads, fruits and vegetables, so you'll see my pictures reflect that.  Those are things I've always loved and ate even when I was heavier so it's not really any type of punishment or deprivation to me to eat those things, but I do acknowledge that a lot of people don't like "rabbit food".  I guess what I'm saying is don't look at my pictures and be like "oh, all she eats is salad and I'm not doing that."  My splurges tend to be dessert or alcohol related, so that's where you'll see my delightful naughtiness emerge.

Since I loved the way that Katie broke per post up by meal, I am going to follow her lead and do the same.  I didn't take pictures of every single meal since I eat a lot of the same things so it would be repetitive, and also because I didn't want to clog the post with a million pics!  I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch, so the variety is mainly in my dinners.  One thing you will notice is that I really don't eat many snacks since I prefer to be hungry (but not hangry) for each meal.  Everyone is different so if you feel better having a little something between meals, go on with your bad self!


My Ride or Die Breakfast:  Tillamook Vanilla yogurt, Kashi Cocoa Coconut granola & a banana (380 calories)

Toasted English muffin with 2 TB peanut butter and apple (415 calories)

1 cup cooked polenta with 2 eggs (277 calories)


Tuna salad wrap (1/2 can of tuna), 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, 1 c pineapple (502 calories)
The BIG salad w/ veggies,chickpeas and balsamic dressing. Also a not pictured orange (467 calories)


Grilled chicken breast, broccoli/rice/cheese casserole, side salad and glass of sparkling wine (609 calories)

2 pieces of homemade veggie pizza on thin crust Boboli (350 calories)
A slice (that fell apart) of turkey lasagna and 5 oz of pinot noir (695 calories)

Sweets and Treats

Mini angel food cake with 1/4 c each strawberries/raspberries and 1 TB melted Nutella (243 calories)
Big mug of English Breakfast tea with sugar and half and half, two Samoas (200 calories)

I hope this gives you a glimpse into my typical day to day, and shows you don't have to eat rice cakes all day to lose weight.  Sorry there was no truly naughty stuff in here, but it happened to be a week where I didn't eat that stuff!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thinner Thursday and Living on Planet FODMAP

Previous Weight:  195.8
Current Weight:  194.4
Difference:  -1.4 pounds

After last week's disappointing gain, today I found myself almost back to my low 193 weight, so I'm pretty happy.  I've been really on point with food, exercise and tracking, so I have no complaints about myself.

So, the rest of this post may be TMI for some, but there's going to be a bit of an eating and health update that I wanted to share!  If you get the icks about poop talk, (though I promise I'm not going to be descriptive because I'm an f'ing lady) you may want to turn back now.

I've mentioned it on and off again, but I have suffered with pretty awful GI issues for the last year or so, and these issues kind of cropped up out of nowhere.  I am constipated all of the time, as in things may happen every week and a half to two weeks.  It's miserable, uncomfortable and stressful to say the least, and I have been terrified that I'm going to wake up one day and suddenly have some horrible cancer or something.  It has ruled my life for almost a year and I generally feel unwell on a daily basis.  It's manageable in the way any kind of chronic thing is manageable, you learn to live with it but I causes a lot of misery in the process.  I'm leaving out a lot of details, which you're probably thanking me for, but it's definitely not good.  I think the worst thing is when I've had a good food/exercise week but my weight is stalled or just down by a tiny amount because of constipation.

I have been to doctors to try to address the problem, several of them, and basically no one will help me and every single one has just told me to take laxatives and stool softeners.  That's it.  No one will so much run a test to see if there is a bigger issue.  It's the kind of thing that really tests my faith in medicine.  I am very pro-science.  I believe in science and really respect doctors, but I have been incredibly disappointed and angry at the ones I've seen, even my GP who I actually really like.  He's normally great and we get along famously, but during my last visit to him (after a disastrous visit to a GI specialist who I waited 3 weeks and paid $50 to see, only to be told to take Colace) we had a bit of words.  He was blathering on (and bless his heart, he thinks Goji berries will fix my issues) and I finally snapped at him.  I was feeling particularly unwell that week and was angry at the useless GI visit, and I'm not proud for snapping at him but I was at a breaking point.  I told him that my greatest fear I lived every day was that I had something serious like colon cancer, and it wasn't going to get caught because my doctors were too busy dicking around and not listening to me, and that I was going to end up dying.  He looked like I'd slapped him, which in retrospect makes me feel bad, he gave me a prescription for some lactulose nonsense that also ended up not helping and sent me on my way.  My life since then has been managing this as best I know how.  I take harsh laxatives 3 times a week, which has me going once a week, and I live with the painful discomfort and bloating that rules my life.  And yes, I know that taking laxatives that much is horrible for you.  It scares the shit out of me in fact (actually, it would be nice if it literally did scare the shit out of me), but all I can say is if you're faced with taking laxatives weekly or not crapping for 2 weeks, you will pick the laxatives every time.

This week though I had some escalation in symptoms that had me freaking out, just a lot of pain and bloating after every meal, so I decided to reach out to my doctor.  After some back and forth, he told me he wanted me to start eating on a low FODMAP diet plan for a few weeks, which if you are like me and don't know what the hell a FODMAP is, you can read more in detail here.  (Shockingly, FODMAP is not an evil alien overlord in a scifi movie, which is where my brain went when I first heard the term).  In a nutshell it's a type of carbohydrate in certain foods that causes issues for some people, mostly in people who suffer with IBS, celiac and colitis.  I have long suspected that my issue is IBS, so I almost cried from relief when he sent me the link about FODMAPs.  I'd honestly never heard about this stuff, but all I can say is, I'm down.

That Stanford thing I linked to above has a list of foods to avoid that I'm going to have to cut out, and unfortunately some of my go to favorite things are on it.  Apples, beans, cottage cheese, mushrooms, garlic and gluten, since God apparently does have a sense of humor.  The one thing that I'm most proud of myself about is that my relationship with food has changed so much that honestly, I am okay with it.  I'm especially okay that it's a 6 week approach and then my GP and I can go from there.  I'm not saying it won't be difficult at times and that I won't miss certain things, but no food is worth feeling sick and I do, I feel sick and miserable all of the time.  I have to schedule when to go to the bathroom, I have to take harsh laxatives that I am scared to take long term, and I am self conscious of my body due to the constant bloating I have.  Some days my clothes fit fine, then the next day I practically look pregnant and my pants are cutting into me from the bloating.  So I'm going into this eagerly and with an open heart, hoping that it helps and that if it does maybe I can be officially diagnosed.  And look, I don't WANT to have IBS, but I do want to have something specific I can treat.

The main reason I'm telling you is because my food choices will be changing for a bit, but I am still doing CICO and tracking my food!  I am still going to post my week of meals post on Sunday or Monday, but some things are going to look pretty healthy and seem contrary to my "eat whatever you want" logic since I've had to course correct mid-week with the FODMAP thing.  The diet isn't drastic, it will really be more about taking away certain things and upping the amounts of other things I already eat on a daily basis.  The hardest thing will be the no gluten thing, but even that is pretty manageable.  I'm already plotting going out and getting a new waffle iron so I can make corn waffles, because a turkey sandwich on a corn waffle sounds pretty legit to me.  :)

Once I have a handle on the diet and follow it several days to see how it affects me, I will probably do a bigger post in the future about FODMAPs and an update with 1) what I'm eating and 2) is it actually helping my stomach issues.  Again, I'm going into it with a positive attitude and the hopes that it will help.  I'm a good cook and have a handle on my healthy habits, so I'm excited to tackle this and hope it helps me!