Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My "fatbrain" is still working

I found a great article on bariactric eating. Called Post Op Myths. If you have had surgery, or are considering surgery I recommend reading it. From the article I picked up a new term that I will be using moving forward.

The term they used to talk about eating before surgery is fatbrain. Fatbrain tells you to eat when you are not hungry, fatbrain tells you it is ok to eat the food you know you shouldn't, fatbrain wants to kill you. Ok the kill you part was not in the article, but it is true.

After I lost weight on the VLCD diet my fatbrain really worked a number on me. It convinced me that I could eat foods between meals because my meals where so healthy, and I was exercising so much. My fatbrain made me hungry, hungry at all times.

After surgery it turns out my fatbrain is still around. I guess that is not too surprising, the doctor did surgery on my stomach, not my brain. The tool that surgery gave me is powerful though, I know easily that the cravings that I am having are fatbrain cravings. They come from smelling certain foods, and doing certain activities.

Fatbrain started working on me hard yesterday. I would normally get snack food for long car rides. Gummy worms, combos, diet Mt. Dew, chocolates, really anything. None of it good, and none of it needed. So while driving yesterday fatbrain told me it was ok to stop and get something. I've lost almost 40 pounds, a small treat wouldn't mess my weight up. Sure eating it would be hard, but I could figure it out. Just small bites, lost of chewing... no one would know. It would be ok.

I didn't have the term for it yesterday but it helps me now to call that inner voice Fatbrain. I don't care if I am ever skinny, I just want to be healthy. However I know I never want to be fat again.

I made an appointment with a counselor that I hope works out well for me. I think I will be seeing a counselor for awhile to figure out good ways to deal with fatbrain. I wonder do healthy people have a fatbrain that they just know how to not listen to? Will fatbrain ever go away, or at least get quieter in my head?

Feel free to comment about your experiences with fatbrain if you have ever dealt with it.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fear of Failure

I can not shake a feeling today. I have been thinking about failure. Part of it was triggered from being part of an online facebook support group for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. There is everything from big success stories to pre-op patients, and of note for this post failures.

I knew the success rate for the surgery was not 100%. I think in the medical world there is no such thing as 100% effective. It is just previous to joining these support groups I had never heard of anyone not being successful.

So I'll break down the reasons for failure from what I have gathered from posts. First off the failures are far far far outnumbered by the successes. At nearly 10 to 1. So it seems the failures come from people giving up on the diets assigned to us "sleevers." I guess maybe that is what scares me the most because keeping to the diet for the long term has always been my biggest issue.

The sleeve as we where told in class and in appointments is only a tool. It is a powerful tool, but one that we have to use properly. If I choose to start grazing and eating junk food again, I can make the tool not work. The trouble is I crave the junky food, all the time, and have always been able to eat all day long.

So what I am doing to deal with this fear? Well first of all I am working on finding a counselor to talk to. I think finding comfort in food is something that I will need to replace. Second the surgery at least for now is really helping me deal with being able to eat all the time. If I am drinking my water like I have to to keep hydrated eating is almost a chore because I have no room. Third- and almost the most important part is dedication.

I am going to be dedicated to this. I had my body permanently altered in order to be healthy. I am told to focus on protein first, so I am going to do that. I am told to limit my carbs, and I am going to do that. I have found a good app on my phone for tracking my food. I have set my daily goals to not be a calorie goal, but instead a macronutriant goal. I am going to stay dedicated to entering every bit of food I put in my mouth and make sure I am meeting my goals and not exceeding them. This of course means setting achievable goals, which I plan to work with the dietitian on.

I know this is a long road and I am barely on the first step. Right now the road looks like it goes straight up a mountain and I really have no idea if the road ever levels out. However I started on this path and I am committed to walking it. I am sure there will be days that I stray off the path. There will be time I fall down and go backwards... but I am going to walk this path.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Food Dreams

I find that the most common dream for me now involves food. Always over eating, and always eating things I really should not be eating. I have had 3 very vivid food dreams. The first one was while I was still in the hospital and I can not recall what it was I was eating. The second one was a dream involving people I knew in high school and since no one knew I have had surgery I ordered and eat a large pizza by myself. The last one was at work and I sneaked in 3 doughnuts, even hiding in the bathroom so I could eat it without being caught.

Outside of my dreams I have had cravings to eat. While putting away the cheese from my wife and daughters lunch I had a huge urge to eat a piece of cheese. I even in my mind worked out how it would be perfectly fine for me to do this. When I am around food that smells good I can almost taste it in my mouth.

How do I deal with this?  The dreams I assume with be a part of me for awhile as my mind gets used to not being able to have what ever I want whenever I want. The eating any food around me part will be harder. Certainly I will not be able to fit as much in as before but I still will need to keep this in check somehow.

I plan to make an appointment to talk to the psychiatrist that I talked to pre-surgery. I think I really have much to work through with gratification, and eating my feelings. I will need to find a new way to relieve stress, a new way to think about food, and a new way to be happy or sad without food. Food is ever present, and I cannot stop eating.

On an ironic note right now while writing this I am watching Chopped on the Food Network and filling completely stuffed after eating a sugar free Jello Cup. Maybe I am going to need to find new things to watch on TV also.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

My wife- My Rock

I have to write this blog post but I honestly don't know where to start. I guess the beginning is a good place.

Before I did VLCD I wanted to do surgery. My wife was not on board with surgery. She wanted me to try everything before I surgically altered my body. I think she worried about a regimented life of eating, as she had to endure that herself because of her Type 1 Diabetes.

After doing the VLCD diet and being very successful in losing weight I quickly gained weight. My wife fought for me to keep the weight off and tried very hard to make me successful. It just wasn't enough. In some ways during this time we started to despise each other.

She rightfully thought I was not doing enough to ensure my health for the sake of myself and my family. And I was bitter that she had kept me from doing the one thing I thought would help me.

I eventually decided I needed to make the change and move forward with surgery. In a way I decided I was going to do this with or without her help. I honestly thought it would be without her help. I never took the time to try and understand why she wasn't on the same page as me. I never tried to see it from her point of view.

In ways I can't explain we did get onto the same page. Not without some fighting and hurt feelings on both sides, but we got there. And that brings me really to the point of this post-I could not have done this without her.

I could and will talk about all of the tracking and schedule making she has done for me, but honestly those things I could have done. I could talk about how she drove me to the hospital and was at my side, while also taking care of our kids. But those things are not what it is.

It is the little things. She keeps encouraging me to do the right things. She makes sure all of my needs are taken care of. When I am hit by a wave of nausea she knows to just let that pass. When I need sleep she lets me sleep. When I need to walk she lets me walk. At times I have to leave her 100% in charge of the children and focus only on me, and she understands that and allows it to happen when it needs to. I promise to never abuse this privilege.

It was a long and strange journey as a couple for us to get to this point, but often times in our lives together that is just how we work. I think from all of this we will be a stronger couple. I know it has made me reevaluate how much I need and trust her.


Long-Term Consistency Trumps Short Term Intensity

The quote from Bruce Lee "Long-Term Consistency Trumps Short Term Intensity" played a part in my day today.

I was having a really good day. I had heard about post surgical patients gaining a bunch of energy and today I really experienced it. And I used that energy. I used it with some good old short term intensity. Then I payed for it.

My first walk of the day was a nice 1.8 mile lap around my neighborhood. I took around 30 minutes and while I was never pushing myself, I tried to keep my pace good and not stop to look at things. When I got home I felt great, and was really proud of myself. I felt I could do at least twice that much still today if I wanted. So I tried.

My son and I went for a big 2-mile walk. We didn't walk fast; we stopped to look at things. We in general had a good time on the walk. When I got back I was spent though (so was my son). I had officially over done it. In no time my stomach was twitching and giving me strong waves of nausea. Side pain kicked in. So I had to take pain killers and the stronger set of anti-nausea medicine.

Will this carry over into tomorrow? I don't think so, but I do worry it will. Since I had to take pain medicine that is another 24 hours before I can drive again.  I learned today that hard lesson told by Bruce Lee...


Sunday, March 27, 2016

A new chapter in my weight loss journey

It has been a long time since I wrote on this blog. After the VLCD diet and journey, I regained all of my weight and possibly a little more. I learned again that I am a rock star at losing weight but suck at keeping weight off. So I decided a new path was needed.

Today I am over 7 months into the journey of bariatric surgery. While it has been nearly 7 months for the journey I am nearing what feels like day 1. On Thursday, March 31, I will be undergoing vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

Hang with me and I'll try to answer the 5 W's.

Well me of course.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is a form of bariatric surgery that removes a large portion of the stomach. The portion removed helps to restrict how much food can be eaten at one time, plus it helps re-balance the hormone levels in the body. After surgery many patients no longer require medicine for high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes-two conditions I am affected by.  Here is a good video you can watch to see the basic parts of it.

As said before I will be having surgery on March 31, 2016.

Unity Point Weight Loss in Des Moines Iowa. It is a certified Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery.

Well I guess this is the most important part isn't it? As I have written about in the past I have been overweight my entire life. As I have written about before I can lose weight. I am good at that. What I have learned from years of trying to keep weight off is that I am not good at keeping weight off. The more I have looked into this, the more I have found out that I am really quite normal. Over 90% of people who lose significant weight gain it back. This changes with surgery.

In ways that are not fully understood people who have weight loss surgery keep the weight off at a much higher rate than those who do not have surgery. In fact at the 10 year mark the large majority of people keep off 50% of the excess weight.

I know that my weight is going to limit my life span, and the quality of life. I need to make a change, a permanent lasting change, if I want a different outcome. A permanent change is needed. Read this blog, all 110+ posts of it; I've reached the end of non-surgical methods.

I'll post more as time goes on and try to keep this updated. Thank you for reading.