Thursday, February 28, 2013

Place Your Bets!

Have you ever heard of DietBet? It's a website where you can join a group of people in betting that you'll be able to lose 4% of your weight in 28 days. If you succeed, you win the money in the pot. If multiple people in your group succeed, you all split the pot evenly.

I had never heard of this until Jen at Prior Fat Girl mentioned that she and a couple other women were hosting a DietBet. I was skeptical of joining for a couple of reasons. 1) Four percent for me is 9.8 pounds. In 28 days. Not impossible, but not easy peasy mac n' cheesy, either. and 2) I didn't know if I was eligible since I have had weight loss surgery.

I messaged Jen on Facebook to ask about the Lap Band thing, and she was very supportive. She encouraged me to go for it and join the DietBet. After all, it's not a direct competition with other girls, I'm only "competing" against myself to lose the 4% and my share of the pot.

So, I joined. And as of right now, there are 267 other "betters" in this particular game, with the pot up to $5,340. Now, of course, DietBet gets a percentage of that money, and the organizers get another percentage (which they are graciously donating to charity), but after that, the pot is split between everyone who manages to lose 4% of their body weight.

And you know what? Even if I only get back the $20 I put in, I'll say it was worth it to kick my butt in gear and lose 10 pounds in 28 days. Because if $20 is what it takes to get me that much closer to goal, it's well worth it.

Wednesday Weigh-In, A Day Late

Last Week: 246.2 lb
This Week: 245.0 lb
Loss: 1.2 lb


And that's really all I have to say about that. I had a fill scheduled for Saturday, but I cancelled it. I think I'm doing pretty well now and we don't really have the $75 to spend. If I were chowing down and not losing any weight, I would have done it, but everything seems to be moving along slowly but surely.

Yesterday's weight marked 36.0 pounds lost from my HNPR weight. And it also marks a spot firmly in new territory for me! All the way back in 2k9, when I was trying to do c25k and ended up doing (not running, doing) five frickin' 5ks, I recorded my lowest weight. 246.4. And yes, technically, I was in new territory with my last weigh in at 246.2, but 0.2 pounds wasn't really a comfortable enough distance for me to celebrate it. Now, I'm a full 1.4 pounds away from my lowest weight and I. AM. CELEBRATING.

It is so amazing to me when I stop and think about where I really am, weight wise. I mean, I know that I still weigh over 240 pounds, and that I'm still obese, yadda yadda yadda. BUT. I weigh more than 15 pounds less than I did on my wedding day in 2008. I weigh more than 15 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with Logan in 2010. I weigh 36 pounds less than I did last March. I believe I am right at or close to the weight I was when I met my husband seven years ago. (Although I'm not officially sure how much I weighed back then, but I believe it was in the low 240s.)

I feel like I'm turning back the clock. Soon I'll be partying like it's 1999! (When I weighed around 182 pounds as a senior in high school...)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In

Last Week: 247.8 lb
This Week: 246.2 lb
Loss: 1.6 lb

Loving that loss! I think I'm close to "sweet spot" territory with Tim Gunn. I'm not getting stuck if I follow the rules, and I'm eating very small amounts of food at meals. I think the most I've eaten at once lately has been one slice of thin crust large pizza, or one good-sized bowl of cereal, which was way more than one cup. But cereal is such a slider food that I could probably just sit down for an hour and continually eat it and never feel full.

But for the most part, I'm eating very small amounts and feeling satisfied. Last night I had one and a half small chicken tenderloins (marinated and cooked in the crock pot), a couple of spoons of creamed corn, and a couple rolls with butter. After the past couple of fills, I haven't been eating much bread because it just doesn't sound good. (Who the hell am I anymore?!) But last night, the hubby made some brown and serve rolls and I just couldn't resist. They were SO good, and I chewed the hell out of them and didn't get stuck. And I don't regret them one tiny little bit.

The numbers part of this whole process is such a mind game, and it's driving me crazy! On one hand, I feel awesome that I'm losing weight, and I love waking up and seeing that I'm in the 240's, which just seemed so unattainable a year ago. But on the other hand, when I sit down and actually think about the numbers, I'm totally bummed that I've only lost 11 pounds since surgery - 15 weeks ago! I like to focus on the "big" number, which is when I look at how much I've lost from my HNPR weight of 281.0, because telling myself I've lost 34.8 pounds makes me feel awesome. But when I think about it in terms of what I've done since the surgery, I feel like I haven't really accomplished anything. It equates to something like .73 lb per week, which just doesn't impress me one bit.

And the other mental block I'm having? I keep transposing the numbers in my head and thinking I weigh 264.2 instead of 246.2. Obviously, it's because my mind accepts 264 as a more plausible weight than 246. And I keep having to remind myself that it's the other way around. The four comes first, dummy! This whole thing is so much more mental than physical! My brain totally needs to catch up!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bad Pictures of a Recent Project

But before we get to that -

I have a slight obsession with these:

And I will usually have two or three (five is 200 calories, so 40 calories each) after lunch at work. And y'all know that Dove is famous for their little affirmations or sayings that are printed on the inside of the wrapper. You know, they usually say things that aim at getting you to slow down and indulge in a "moment" or whatever.

However, I have noticed two recently that really kind of irk me. One that says "Chocolate Loves Unconditionally", and this one that I just unwrapped today:

Really, the "Chocolate Loves Unconditionally" one is the one I have a major problem with. I could totally be a Debbie Downer who thinks too much about this stuff, but when obesity is such a problem in this country, and when eating disorders so often center around emotional needs, it seems so irresponsible for a chocolate company to feed into that with these "comforting" messages of love by chocolate. Chocolate does NOT love unconditionally. Chocolate doesn't love at all. And an overweight person who is dealing with their emotions by way of comfort food is probably going to read that and go, 'Aww....chocolate loves me. I should eat more of it because it makes me feel good!" While they're not addressing their emotional issues at all.

I don't know. It just bugs me.

But on to my project that has been taking up all my time for the past couple of months. My friend Tonja is pregnant with her second baby (another girl!) and The BFF threw her a shower this weekend. I decided a couple months ago, because I apparently didn't learn my Christmas Dish Cloths lesson and I'm an idiot who is a glutton for punishment, that I would crochet her a baby blanket.

Unlike dish cloths, I was not up until 3 am the morning of the shower working on the blanket, amazingly enough. I finished it at 11:30 pm the night before, thankyouverymuch. I wanted to make a ripple/chevron afghan, so I scoured the interwebs to find a simple pattern, and totally scored with an amazing Youtube tutorial for a pattern called "Lazy Waves". If you're a crocheter, the whole thing is nothing but Double Crochet (DC) and Double Crochet Together (DCTog or DC Decrease) stitches. SUPER simple, even I could do it!

Anyway, as I began working on it, I slowly started falling in love with it, even though it was a huge PITA (Pain In The Ass). Even though it was simple, I was using very fine/soft baby yarn, so the stitches were super small and slippery. One row, at the beginning, took me more than 30 minutes to do. There are 82 rows in this blanket. So even when I got a little faster, and each row was taking me about 20 minutes, you're looking at at least 1,640 minutes of work on this afghan. Not to mention all the weaving in of ends I had to do after changing between colors. And if you're curious, like I was, 1,640 minutes is more than 27 hours. Tonja's lucky I like her.

So by the time I was finished and had invested 27 hours of my sweat and tears into this thing, I was kind of sad to see it go. Before I wrapped it up, I took a bunch of pictures of it. But the lighting in my apartment is horrible, so they don't really show how pretty it really was. If you're interested, I used Bernat BabySoft and Softees yarn for this project. I used one whole large skein of hot pink and less than one large skein each of the Burl Gray and White. The final size was probably 2.5 feet by 4 feet-ish. I forgot to measure.

Without any further ado, the bad pictures:

It was a huge hit! Tonja loved it, and the little girls at the shower all wanted to be wrapped up in it at once. It was so worth all the time I put into it, and I hope her baby girl enjoys it! 

For now, though, I have to force myself to not start any more crochet projects because I have so much else going on. And I know that if I did start one, I would totally use it to procrastinate from doing any of the things I really need to be doing...*cough*SCHOOL*cough*. 

What about you guys? What is your go-to procrastination method? Crafts? Books? Hiding under the covers and pretending everything outside the bed doesn't exist? Tell me! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lap Band is Tax Deductible...With a Catch

Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? 

Way back in the days of my original Lap Band research, I discovered that the cost of the surgery is tax deductible. And because I'm not a tax law expert or a numbers person in general, I asked you smart Bloggie McBlogerton's about it. Lap Band Gal answered the call, and several subsequent questions about it, to the best of her knowledge, and I'm grateful for the help. But it had been several years since she went through the process and she couldn't quite remember all the details. (Totally understandable.)

What I knew was this: all out-of-pocket medical costs not related to your Health Savings Account could be itemized and deducted from your taxes. And the amount that can be deducted has to be more than 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income.

So by all accounts, The Hubs and I went into our tax prep appointment thinking we were in for a large chunk of a refund by the IRS. Pay up, sucka!

Not so much.

What we DIDN'T know was this: in order for you to be able to use your medical expenses as a deduction (and for it to actually HELP you, instead of hurting you), your medical expenses have to be in excess of the standard deductions that the government already gives you. For us, our standard deduction was $11,900, so in order for my surgery and medical expenses to help, it would have to be more than $11,900, and we would basically get back the difference.

All of my out-of-pocket medical expenses for the last year ended up being about $11,700. In my case, my surgery IS tax deductible, yes, but it is less than the standard deduction I already get, so it's useless.

To add insult to injury, we actually OWE the Federal Government this year. So I went from thinking we were going to get thousands of dollars back, to realizing that we owe hundreds of dollars, in a matter of minutes. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. 

I'm totally bummed out about this, but it being tax deductible was not one of the major selling points of my decision to get the band. I don't regret my decision one bit, I just wish I had done a little more research before getting my tax refund hopes up. So I thought I would post my drama and heartbreak here, so that any other self-pay bandsters might learn from my mistakes and have a little more information than I had.

The bottom line? Taxes suck. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Finally Noticing Things

Over the past year, I've lost more than 33 pounds, which at times seems like a huge number, and at other times seems like a minuscule drop in the bucket. But it is what it is, which is 30 pounds of fat - gone. But also, over the past year, as I was losing this weight, I never really had a moment where I looked in the mirror and thought, "Oh, yeah! I can totally see it!" (Or, not see it as the case may be.) I have noticed pants fitting differently. I am conscious of the fact that I had to "retire" a pair of work pants because they literally won't stay up. I noticed that the t-shirts I wear to bed (usually my husband's) aren't as tight.

I've seen these little things over the past year, but nothing monumental. No "oh wow!" moments.

I think they're starting, though. I'm normally a mirror avoider. I mean, I glance in the morning to make sure that all my bits are covered, my hair is somewhat orderly, and that I don't have anything in my teeth. But other than that, I tend to run in the opposite direction of them. But lately, after putting on an outfit, I'll glance in the mirror and something will catch my eye to make me linger a bit longer. I can actually see now that I look different. That my top belly tire (I'm lucky enough to have a spare set, woo!) is less pronounced. It doesn't stick out quite so far anymore.

I'm looking in the mirror and actually stopping to see that...I look better! I haven't gone so far as to say that I look "good", but I'm definitely better. Things fit differently. The jeans I bought back in October fit me much better. There are real changes going on up in here. And even if it's hard for me or anyone else to recognize, it's really there. It's really happening. And it's only going to get better from here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In

Last Week: 247.8
This Week: 247.8
No change

And I'm all, "eh, whatever" about that right now. It's not a gain, and it would have been nice to see the numbers I was seeing on Monday after a weekend of being so sick that I didn't eat anything for almost 48 hours. But that is the chance you take with being a daily weigher, and I also knew that once I was feeling better and started eating again, some of that weight would come back. It is what it is - I have too many other things on my mind right now to be disappointed in a wash week.

Would you like to step inside my head? Draz did something similar recently, and I found it fascinating. But really, I just have way too much crap going on and can't focus on any one thing, so I'm gonna write them all down to try to make sense of them. Here's the shit storm that is my mind, in no particular order:

  1. Work. I'm not particularly happy in my job and I also don't work as hard as I could. Guilt plus general apathy does not equal the most productive Anna, which creates more guilt. Also, February has been and will continue to be a whirlwind of training events that I just don't have the energy to organize and host. 
  2. School. I have seriously hit zero hour with school. My term ends on March 31st, but I have to have all of my "tasks" (19 - yes, you read that right, 19 - papers and one science experiment) finished about a week before that to give them time to get graded. How many of my 19 papers and one science experiment do I have finished? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. None. And it's all my fault. 
  3. Moving. I haven't really talked about this at all because I have a really hard time forming words around it. After MANY protests and tears, I have finally agreed for our family to move in with my husband's parents. For an unspecified amount of time, but probably at least a year. There is so much emotion surrounding this for me that I could probably write a year's worth of blog posts about it. I'm grateful that they're willing to take us in, but apprehensive and anxious about the change. Suffice it to say, I just don't want to do it.
  4. Moving Logistics. In addition to the fact that moving in with my in-laws is not high up on my bucket list, there is A LOT  of work that has to be done in order for it to be possible. All by April 30th. The in-laws and The Hubs have to strip out a storage area down to the bare insulation and completely renovate the room. They have to add heat to one side of the house. They have to run wiring for internet. They have to go through three large rooms of accumulated gark and sort/store it all. Then we have to pack up our entire apartment and either move it to what storage area they have left or to a storage unit. I am paralyzed by the weight of it all and can't really see how it is all going to work out right now. 
  5. Valentine's Day. Probably the least of my worries right now, but something that keeps nagging my brain like a gnat on speed. I completely forgot about the holiday until I started hearing all the commercials on the radio. And now it's the day before and I will have to brave the Hallmark store with all the last-minute husbands. 
  6. Over-Estimating Time Constraints. Again. Sometime in January, I decided to make a gift for a person who may or may not currently be reading this blog. The time to deliver the gift is rapidly approaching and said gift is nowhere near complete. I had time, then I still had time, and now I have no time. I have been stressed out about it and working on it like a mad woman every day at lunch and after work. Mom guilt is killing me right now because my eyes are plastered on this project all night instead of on my kid. The Hubs has been super helpful, though, with trying to keep Logan Man occupied so I can make some progress. As of right now, I believe I will be able to finish it in time, but it is going to be very close. Probably something like crocheting the last of the Christmas dish cloths at 3 am Christmas morning. Something like that. 
  7. A Rapidly Approaching 5k. It's coming and I'm not ready for it. I have been so lazy/preoccupied with other things that I haven't given much time or thought to training. I am sad to say that I haven't been back to the fitness center since those two days in a row sometime back in January. I need to suck it up and take five minutes at night to put my lunch and workout clothes together so that I can get some training done. However, if I train during lunch, I can't work on my gift project during lunch. So right now, because the gift deadline is much closer than the 5k deadline, gift is winning. 
  8. Crappy Sleep and Vivid Dreams. I haven't been sleeping well lately, and it seems like when I finally get to sleep, all I'm doing is having very vivid dreams about things that I don't want to think about. So even when I'm sleeping, I'm stressed out. I am exhausted and feel like I just can't win. 

I can't think of anything else right now, but this almost qualified for a Ten Things Thursday...maybe I should have saved it for tomorrow. Oh well. It's here now, so it stays. 

This is just one of those oh so joyous times in life where it just seems like everything is being piled on top of me so fast that I can't dig out and can't breathe. I know that it will all work out, and I keep trying to remind myself that once the gift is finished, I can work on the school and the 5k. And once The Hubs' parents get rooms cleared out, I can start packing and moving our crap ton of stuff. And once May 1st comes around, everything on that list except for work and my crazy dreams will have come and gone. Nothing is permanent. These things are temporary. 

It's all temporary. Right?

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Food Find

Strapped for cash and time yesterday, I ran to Kroger to find something for lunch. And maybe these little babies have been out for years, but I just discovered them yesterday, and I'm in love.

Lunchables Snack Duos - and before we go any further, nope. This isn't a sponsored post. I just ran into these and wanted to share.

Anyhoo...they come in packs of two, but I had already ripped into one in the above picture, and at my Kroger, the two pack was $1.99 on sale. I believe the tag said $2.49 regularly priced.

What I love:
  • Small portion. Perfect for a quick lunch.
  • Small pieces. No dicing required, and less risk taking too big bites. 
  • Assembly required. My favorite thing about Lunchable-type meals. Makes a little food take a long time, so you feel like you're eating more. 
  • 150 calories and 8 grams of protein. 
What I don't love:
  • Processed, processed, processed. Ham with water and "smoke flavor" added, "Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product". Blech. (But boy do all those chemicals taste good...)
  • Ran out of mini Ritz crackers well before I ran out of meat or cheese. Come on, guys! 

All in all, I know that there are healthier, more natural options available, but for quick, convenient, and low-cal, this will do. I also bought the turkey and  mozzarella variety, but have yet to give it a try. 

What have you guys found as a great quick meal/snack option? Share, please! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In and an Embarrassing Story

Two Weeks Ago: 249.6 lb (I forgot to weigh in last week, oops!)
This Week: 247.8 lb
Loss: 1.8 lb

Inching closer and closer to new territory! Can't wait to get around 245 and start hitting new weight loss ground. My total loss now from my highest weight is 33.2 pounds down, and I'm exactly 16 pounds down from my pre-op diet weight. Wooty doo! It's been a slow, but sure, process.

And I know you really clicked on the link to hear my embarrassing story, didn't you? Don't lie...

So, I'm adjusting to my recent fill, plus it's TOM, and I think that's all adding up to me being REALLY tight. I've been getting stuck a lot and PBed a couple times since Saturday. This morning, I was heading to one of our stores to do some training, and stopped at a drive thru to get some breakfast. I made sure to park and eat so I wasn't rushed. I took small bites. I chew, chew, chewed. And I thought I was okay. A little uncomfortable in the chest, but I thought I was going to be fine. Plus, I needed to get on the road since I was about 30 miles away from the store.

I got on the highway and all of a sudden, the pressure in my chest started to get worse. And worse. And worse. And of course, I was on a stretch without any exits or rest areas. And this whole time, I'm thinking, "Please don't throw up. Please don't throw up. Please just go down. OH MY GOD, GO DOWN!!!"

All of a sudden, I knew that there was no alternative. I was just going to have to stop on the side of a VERY busy, VERY major highway, and get out. Even if I just walked around, maybe that would help a little bit. So I pulled over, put my flashers on, and got out. No sooner had I gotten to the grass, when up it all came. Slime and all. In plain view of many, many passing cars and semis.

Oh how I wish I had someone there to hold my hair and keep it from flying back in my face as I PBed. And also, puking into the wind = not fun. Just so you know. I don't recommend it.

And of course, after all was said and done, I had no choice but to get back into my car, get to the store, and train a bunch of new associates like nothing had happened.

This morning was a bad morning. Bad, bad morning.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Lots of things going on right now which are all adding up to a general feeling of unease and yuckiness.

I went in for my third fill on Saturday. My first two fills were easy peasy mac n' cheesy. I would go in, tell Kim about my experiences, she'd put me up on the table, find my port, stick me once, and the whole experience would be over in less than five minutes.

For some reason, things didn't go so smoothly this time. She could feel my port, and when she went to stick me, I could feel her hit the hard plastic side of it. So she kept moving the needle a bit and trying to get it in, but couldn't. This process repeated three times before she was finally able to get the needle in the port.

Not a pleasant experience. But I'm not bruised at all like I thought I was going to be, so there's that.

Then, I had asked her to pull all the liquid out to measure it because I wanted to see where it was at. Ever since my first fill, I've had a nagging feeling in the back of my head that my band is leaking. It could TOTALLY be paranoia (and that's what I'm hoping you all will tell me), but when she first measured the liquid in my band, she told me there was 0.9 cc in it from surgery. That seemed a little odd to me, that the doctor wouldn't put a round number in. But I'm guessing that it's possible for 0.1 cc to stay in the band/tubing and not come out?

And then, it has been my experience that I feel some sort of restriction for a bit, but it eventually wanes. Now, again, that could just be the saline settling in the band and everything getting used to being in there or whatnot.

So anyway, I asked her to pull the saline out and measure it. According to my past fills, I should have had 8.4 cc in my band, plus the 1.0 cc she was adding at the time, for a total of 9.4 cc. When she took all the fluid out to measure it (including the additional 1.0 cc), I was only at 8.2 cc.

What the eff?!

Now, I don't know if she was just trying to keep me from panicking, or what, but Kim didn't seem to be too worried. She said that sometimes they get the numbers mixed up, or add wrong, or whatever. But I didn't get my numbers mixed up. I went with what you told me you were putting in there. So unless there's a big number of saline stuck in my band/tubing that didn't come out, or you didn't put in what you said you were putting in, it looks to me like I have a leak.

What do you do if you have a leak?!

Naturally, I'm freaking out. Even though Kim isn't. I went ahead and made an appointment for another fill on March 2nd, and she said we would measure it again then to see how it is doing.

Somebody please tell me I have nothing to worry about.