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Oh, Canada!

Well, it’s Canada Day in the nation’s capital which makes it officially the best possible day of the year to live in O-Town. I’m super excited to head up to the Hill to see Hey Rosetta! and several other Canadian treasures entertain the masses decked out in their Canadian pride.

Parliament Hill Canada DayIt’s been 3 days since my 2nd fill so I’m hoping I’ll be able to participate in all of the fantastic festivities without losing my lunch throughout the day. Haven’t had too much trouble getting down the grub since Monday. Been waking up feeling pretty tight and I can most certainly feel it when I’m stressed or anxious but other than that, it feels okay. I’m pretty pleased.

We’ll see what happens today. Looks like a fun one! Off to spend the day with some uni friends and can’t wait to see them! Then on to a big a Deadmau5 show thrown by none other than my coolest cuz. Guest list an’ all. Guess this town anit so bad sometimes! ;o)

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Stay Positive

Well, it’s high time for a turn for the better!! I’ve just weighed myself and much to my delight I’ve found that I’ve lost another 2.6 lbs. That certainly doesn’t sound like much but I’ve been stuck at the same weight for an entire month and boy does every little help!

Yippee! Happy personThings seem to be taking a turn for the better right now. I’m socialising a bit more with friends, I’ve got a few very promising job prospects and now the scales start to shift. It’s about effing time, I’ll tell ya! It just goes to show that mental health most certainly does = physical health. So, I’ve really got to stay positive.

That being said, I’m struggling to eat as frequently as I’m supposed to. Every 2-3 hours just doesn’t seem to fit with my fun and fabulous lifestyle of job applications every morning followed by afternoons of shopping and carrying my aunt’s bags and driving her around in her pretty pink Escalade. We’re running around so much we don’t have time to eat!

But I do get the calories…and nearly none of them are good ones! Shame on me, I know. What’s the point of spending all this money on surgery if I don’t eat well, right? Well, I can’t eat as much as I used to  so it’s still an improvement if only a small one.

And I do get the regular walking in every day. I’m even hoping to start light jogging in my lovely neighbourhood very soon. It’s a dream of mine to someday be one of those fit-tastic people that rises every morning and runs a couple miles. I shall henceforth be attempting to make that dream a reality.

Now, little job fairies, work your magic while I work mine and most certainly our positive vibes will send me the job of my Ottawa dreams.

It’s Oh So Quiet

It’s been a week since I went dark. I guess I haven’t really had anything I felt was worth sharing. I haven’t really been feeling all that much about my band or my weight loss or anything else for that matter… except finding a job. It’s all I can think about!

Never Say Anything Which Doesn't Improve on Silence

I also haven’t been learning all that much about myself of my band either. And since my last two major posts involved bashing my new home town I thought keeping quiet til the shit-storm passes and calm my criticisms because bitching sorta perpetuates bitching, I find.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending a lot of time with The Team and doing my best to stay busy between job apps. Unfortunately, up until yesterday that meant I wasn’t eating all that well since I’m not preparing my own food. (I literally haven’t purchased my own food products in nearly a month).

Not that I really want to eat all that well anyway. I would normally chew my way through the stress but since I’ve got a band it’s not possible to actually binge or I’ll actually barf. But it’s possible to eat small amounts of lots of things I’m not supposed to be eating. So I have been. Which is probably why I haven’t lost any weight in nearly a month. (It’s been two months and one day since my surgery and I’ve lost 15 lbs.)

But I’ve also been slacking on the posts quite a bit so perhaps I’m forgetting the therapeutic nature of this part of the process. Mental health most certainly affects physical health so I guess I better get my ass in gear – here AND at the gym. Fingers crossed I get there this week…hrough the stress but since I’ve got a band it’s not possible to actually binge or I’ll actually barf. But it’s possible to eat small amounts of lots of things I’m not supposed to be eating. So I have been. Which is probably why I haven’t lost any weight in nearly a month. (It’s been two months and one day since my surgery and I’ve lost 15 lbs.)

Can I Kick It? or What’s the Skinny of Bandster Friendly Serving Sizes

I’ve been super busy lately and I realised I hadn’t posted about my ‘Nutrition Kickstart‘ with Slimband’s resident dietician Arlene. This was an essential discussion regarding my progress from mushies to solid food.

Nutrition

Granted, it was some time ago (8 days to be exact), it’s important to me to document my journey as best as I can. I scheduled my chat with Arlene for just after mid-day in the hopes that if I was finally working again, I’d be able to chat with her over lunch.

Well, it was indeed lunch time but since I’m not yet working, I was running around town with my family (AKA The Team). Unfortunately, they decided on our way to Winner’s that a basket fried flesh from Wild Wings would be a suitable eating place for a recently-banded bambina. Imagine my shame when I saw Slimband’s number show up on my phone just after I placed my order…

The chat was scheduled for 30 minutes and since I’d been warned by members of the MySlimband community to come prepared with specific questions for Arlene, it went quite well.

I started off by telling her I was feeling quite fine. Almost back to normal, in fact. I am able to eat nearly all things I’d been able to eat before my surgery. I was slightly concerned but she was very happy to hear it. She assured me that this was okay and that I need not live in constant fear of band slippage as I’ve mentioned before. I’m simply a fast healer and my body is adjusting nicely. Well, that’s GREAT news!!

I also mentioned I’d been reading the Clean Eating Magazine as per her suggestion in MySlimband. As I mentioned before, Arlene promotes the Clean Eating*** principles and often provides bandster-friendly versions of snacks and meals including modified serving suggestions.

Since I’d been following the monthly meal plan in the magazine I was feeling good but also concerned I was eating too much. Despite the well-balanced, low calorie nature of the meal plan, I just couldn’t eat every 2-3 hours without feeling stuffed. So, I mentioned I felt the meal portion sizes were surprisingly large but the snacks were perfect. I was certainly surprised by this as it seemed I was able to eat a bit more than some of my bandster friends at the same stage as me (7 days into solid foods).

She reassured me again and suggested I try to reduce the portion sizes in the Clean Eating meal plan in preparation for my first fill in the coming weeks. As an exampled I’ll use my favourite Clean Eating breakfast:Kashi Go-Lean and Strawberries

Clean Eating breakfast serving suggestion:

1 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup skimmed, soy, or almond milk

Arlene’s bandster-friendly serving suggestion:

1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal

1/4 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup skimmed, soy, or almond milk

So, it looks like halving the servings is a good start. Simple enough, eh? Arlene also mentioned that bandsters can indeed snack on popcorn…IF they are able to without any trouble BUT we must take it SLOW to ensure we don’t choke. Woo hoo! I love popcorn and it doesn’t have to be drenched in butter for me to enjoy it. So, that’s another healthy snack (about 3 cups) I can enjoy along with all of the other snack suggestions in the Clean Eating meal plan.

I also chatted with Arlene about the prospect of revisiting my Body Doctor fitness regime in the coming weeks. She recommended that if I’m going to be working out that strenuously, I’m going to need to add another meal to the Slimband program of 3 meals and 2 snacks every 2-3 hours and ensure that if I’m exercising in the evenings, that my post-workout meal contains 30g protein and 20g of carbs.

Since Arlene knew I was out and about (but didn’t know WHERE), she sent me a reference sheet with lots of helpful information about serving sizes and tips and tricks for eating out (I did mentioned I do that A LOT in my life). This was a big help.

From what I gather though, the Nutrition Kickstart seemed to be largely a rehearsed ‘personal’ information session that if one comes unprepared, they may or may not come away with much more information than what is written in the Slimband Post-Op Binder.

That being said, I’ve also messaged Arlene several times from within the MySlimband community and she actively participates in the discussion. She’s provided some very useful advice there and here so the combination of the three support systems is really great overall. As usual with the band, they’re providing the tools and it’s really up to me how I use them.

***Loosely speaking, Clean Eating principles are based on eating foods in as natural a state as possible, EVERY 2-3 hours (no exceptions people!!!), some savvy food pairing and ensuring each meal or snack is a perfectly balanced combination of protein and carbohydrates. By following this, carbs are digested in 2-3 hours allowing us to feel fuller longer. Otherwise, carbs are digested immediately making us feel hungry early.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Had an interesting day. My (not so) little bro moved to town this weekend so I’ve been spending a fair bit of time with him. It’s interesting to see him as an adult. Since I was living abroad for so long I never really got to see him grow up. I probably spent 8 weeks worth of time with him in as many years. He managed to get engaged, break up, find the woman of his dreams, get married and now they’re pregnant. He’s all growed up.

But some things really never change. He’s always been the underdog in the family. As such, he’s got quite a few obvious defense mechanisms for keeping himself happy and healthy and he’s most certainly got something to prove.

Especially right now. He’s being bombarded with people that want to do everything they can to help him get settled but he says he doesn’t need any help, thank you.  He got where he is just fine without anyone else. Oh, if ever there were words so true in this world! Not just for him, but for me…

The number of times I’ve told the world, I’m fine…The number of times I’ve had to make my own mistakes in order to grow personally and professionally… Learning how to ask for help was certainly a challenge for a while! Sometimes I wonder how I got where I am today.

For some people, their weight is a reflection of their unhappiness and inability to admit they need help coping. For me, it’s more a reflection of all the fun I’ve been having in my life and making sure I try EVERY type of food I possibly can. I’m most certainly NOT unhappy doing that. It’s afterwards that the guilt and unhappiness sometimes sets in.

Now that I’m healing and am able to tolerate significantly more substantial sustenance, I find myself adrift in happy eating. (As I mentioned before, social situations are dominated by eating and drinking in my life.) Up until the past couple of days, I’d been doing well to say no because it wasn’t worth the 10 minute chew-a-thon required to properly consume unhealthy (yet tasty) foods.

Spaghetti and MeatballsBut when the Lil Bro invited me over for some of  I Mom’s homemade spaghetti with meatballs at a real Mac family dinner, I decided it might well be worth the effort. I followed the 1/4 cup guideline for the pasta and had about 5 meatballs. I was munching and chatting happily with the fam and suddenly found myself struggling to swallow. I simply got carried away, got distracted and didn’t chew properly. I stopped eating, sat for a few minutes a got away unscathed. But boy, oh, boy was it painful and frustrating to sit there with food stuck in my chest, unable to swallow it or spit it out!

This prompted the shocking realization of just how much I would mindlessly eat over a meal shared with friends and family simply because I wasn’t thinking.

What’s funny about this is that I’ve eaten properly at home for the better part of 5 years yet still packed on a few pounds. I’ve had the occasional indulgence but at-home eating, is relatively healthy eating for me – as long as I prepare it MYSELF!! It’s really been eating out that has been my very own undoing and to see it staring me right in the face was quite a revelation.

I guess what I learned was that I really need to THINK about everything I’m putting in my mouth. It’s really got to be worth it. Space is indeed at a premium in my new tiny tummy so I really ought to eat premium food designed for me to savour every bite. And since Bandster buddies are a wealth of information, I shall be exploiting their expertise and ceasing to making my own social eating mistakes henceforth. Life is just easier when you’ve got a little help.

It Feels Good or How Booze Brings Me Back to London Times

Well, I’m back from the CALL Conference and feelin’ pretty fine! I’ve mentioned it in passing but I’m a marketing consultant and I’m currently between contracts. What that means in layman’s terms is quite simply, I’m unemployed.

Being at the CALL annual conference which I’ve attended faithfully with Justis Publishing for the last four years made me feel alive again. I so enjoy my job (when I’m working) but the people really make it worthwhile. My Justis colleagues, although sometimes a PITA like most colleagues are on occasion, really are a fantastic bunch and equally, the clients. I’ve always looked forward to this conference and this year was no exception.

In terms of band relations, it was a bit of a nightmare. If I’d been there in a completely professional capacity I’m pretty sure there would have been nothing both clean eating and bandster friendly to eat at the conference or during the social events. I brought some of my own food so I was okay but when that ran out, it really tested my clean eating knowledge.

The first night, I started the evening with my very favourite drink – a Manhattan

Warhol Manhattan Cocktail

It really doesn’t get much better than this for me. I just LOVE them. And as alcoholic drinks go, they’re pretty much bandster friendly due to the lack of carbonation but they’re fairly high in calories and alcohol content so should be consumed in moderation.

My Justis friends…treated me to a fantastic dinner at Windsor‘s ‘most upscale’ restaurant…The Keg! Huh?? I’ve got nothing against The Keg cause the food was great and the staff were friendly and prompt but it’s The Keg and me and these mates have eaten at some pretty flash places so I was surprised to hear they’d been there the night before and were keen to go again.

I hadn’t tried steak since getting the band so erred on the side of caution and went for a very delicious chicken dish. Needless to said I ate about a quarter of the food on my plate. But it was good. That being said, EVERYTHING they served came in a HUGE portion with loads of unnecessary carbs so a lot was wasted.

Even the appetizer (crab, parmesan and spinach dip) was too cheesy and came with twice-fried tortilla chips that seemed a bit to thick for me to have more than a nibble.

Also a challenge was the not drinking a glass of wine with my dinner. I had one glass at the beginning while my dinner companions finished the appetizer but had only just a few sips through dinner. And no dessert. A definite improvement from previous conference night’s out but felt a bit deprived.

I did dare to drink a bit more throughout the evening (about an hour after dinner) but it was tough to make bandster-friendly drink selections (if there is such a thing!) and I was full for quite a while.

Most drinks come with carbonated mixer and all bottled drinks come carbonated. I ended up going with Manhattans, other martinis and a significant amount of shooters. I’m fairly certain I’ll be paying for it on the scales this week!

Movin’ On Up

Things probably look a little different ‘round these parts. Up until this morning, I’d been using iWeb to build my blog. Although iWeb produces pretty sites, Blogger provides some additional functionality I simply don’t have the experience to implement myself with iWeb. So, I decided to up-sticks and moved on over here.

Moving truck

I’ve stuck some nifty gadgets in the left-hand navigation which means I can spread the word about my Slimband journey a little bit further afield without much effort. And the good people over at Google are going to help me track my progress. I’m pleased as punch.

Sadly, I can’t export any of the comments from the previous version of the blog. So, make sure you click the ‘follow’ in Followers section and feel free to comment anytime and forward my posts to friends and family. I really appreciate all the support!

In other news, I went to my first official family dinner since my surgery.

At first I wasn’t even gonna go. I just didn’t want to sit there and watch everyone eat all of the food I wasn’t allowed to have. But my dearest Gam prepared something even I could enjoy: some Salisbury Steak with mash(ed everything).

I’m not supposed to eat the beef but I took half a pattie, mashed it up with the potatoes, turnip and carrot and armed with my newfound food confidence I sat down and took a full hour to eat it. It was delish! I kept the whole meal around 2/3 cup of food and had no trouble at all.

That being said, it’s back to mushies tomorrow for another three days. Don’t want to do any damage I’ll have to pay for later. I’m pretty hungry now though…Perhaps it’s all this moving around…

Hungry Like The Wolf

The past couple of weeks have certainly been strange. I’ve eaten less in the last two weeks than I would have eaten in a weekend in the past. With the exception of Temper Tantrum Tuesday, I haven’t really felt particularly hungry. Until today. At around 3pm, a little over three hours after my last mushy meal, I was stricken with the most intolerable hunger I may have ever felt.

All at once I had terrible hunger pains, I was lightheaded, felt panicky, got a headache and was super thirsty. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s what I imagine happens when one’s blood sugar drops (AKA hypoglycemia). Since I’ve been getting very minimal levels of both sugar and protein, it seems a likely diagnosis. But, a doctor I am not.

Chili ingredients

Thankfully I had some Peach Medley in my purse so I scoffed it down as quickly/slowly as was physically possible (ie in about 15 mins). I felt okay for another 30 minutes when the hunger returned like it never left in the first place. I managed to find the deli counter in hopes of snapping up some soup but the only choice that even remotely resembled something I’m allowed to eat was chilli. I was certainly concerned.

I’m supposed to be strictly on mushies but since I was starving and didn’t happen to have any food left in my bag, I listened to what I felt my body was telling me and started eating the chilli as slowly as possible. I followed the bandsters’ mantra of taking small bites, very slowly and remembered to chew, chew, chew and chew again. I managed to eat about 1/4-1/3 of a cup and felt MUCH better within a few minutes.

I’ve been hungry before, but never quite like this. It was such an overwhelming feeling. My entire body was swooning, I needed something and I HAD to have it. Not like a craving where it was something I’m not supposed to have, but like my body telling me I was missing something and I had to get ASAP.

On the plus side, this prompted me to finally pick up my multivitamin. I’ve been meaning to do it since I moved on to full liquids. Since I’ve still got to crush any medications, I went out in search of a chewable. I ended up settling on Quest‘s Her Daily One Chewable Multivitamin on Slimband‘s unofficial recommendation. I picked them up for $14.99 CAD at my local Superstore. I looked for them online but couldn’t find them anywhere so was pleasantly surprised to see them in the specialty food section.

SweeTarts

They taste okay. A bit earthy both in taste and texture. I was told they tasted like SweeTarts but that was a bit misleading. I mean, they’re no Flintstones Vitamins and I didn’t spit them out. But they weren’t entirely easy to swallow.

Pre-op Day 2-5

Been doing okay so far. Been following along as I should. Broke the diet on Saturday for a birthday party but didn’t really stray too far…unless you count the two cupcake tops and the copious amounts of alcohol I jammed into my system. At least I only ate the tops of the cupcakes right? Well,  I went straight back to the restriction the next day and have been following it to a tee since then. It’s definitely been a challenge.

I’m pretty much hungry ALL THE TIME. Today, was the hardest day so far. It honestly didn’t matter that I’d just eaten, I’ve been absolutely ravenous. I mean, hunger pains worthy of chewing off my own arm. I’ve also been pretty shaky and I can’t seem to concentrate so I’m pretty sure it’s the withdrawals I was expecting from all the fat, sugar and carbs I’ve been gorging on for the last six months. I remember it from when I did the Body Doctor program last year (I even had to take a day off work then).

But I’m sticking to it. It’s my health we’re talking about here so I gotta make sure I do what I’m supposed to do.

I’m even getting adventurous with the barrage of bland that I’m entitled to indulge in. I cooked a chicken breast in some chilli flakes, garlic and ginger to top off my spinach salad and it’s actually quite good.

That being said, the diet is pretty strict: pretty much greens with some kind of protein with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. BUT I’m allowed protein shakes as snacks if I get too hungry. As such, I’ve been hunting around town for a protein shake I can actually stomach and I gotta say there’s a HUGE shortage of tasty protein drinks in Canada. I’ve search all over the net but can only find American brands that come recommended for taste. The two I’m most interested in is Nature’s Best Isopure Low Carb and Whey Gourmet. Both have a variety of flavours but they don’t seem to be widely available in Canada.

I’ve done some digging and apparently the Isopure isn’t here mainly due to a change in Canadian legislation a few years back regarding the term ‘low carb’. Apparently our government took action against this term in reaction to the low carb fad diet trend of the last decade. I think it sends a pretty strong message to the public but it’s also sending a strong message to American suppliers. Either they spend the money on separate labelling for Canada or lose the market. Many have simply chosen to pull their products from the market as with Isopure.Shopping

Although I agree with the sentiment, we are living in a global marketplace these days where products are generally available across borders and this only created another barrier to be broken. In this case, it’s a shame because it really only gives Canadians another reason to run to the border to do our shopping in the US… Especially now that our dollar has been reaching parity so often! I mean, I’m all for supporting Canadian merchants in tough times but if we can’t get it here I’m happy to jump on a plane or take a road trip to get the goods I’m after.

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