It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canadia which is always a challenging time for this luscious lapband patient. It’s a weekend of alcohol overindulgence and too much turkey.
For the past 3+ years since I had my surgery, any kind of turkey day has always been the source of some dismay. I can never quite get through a Thanksgiving (or Christmas) dinner featuring the famous foul without finding myself sharing half my harvest-celebration dinner with the porcelain gods.
Well, I’m happy to report that not one bite of my fancy feast with fabulous friends yesterday, or my family today, was sacrificed in the satisfying of this appetite. What was the source of my success in holding down the dinner I hold so dear? Chewing. Lots of chewing. Very, very slowly. I was also very conservative in the quantity of turkey that was piled on my plate.
The secret for me this year really is that I kept my limits in mind and stopped when I felt even slightly full. Granted, I’m a touch on the hungry side right now but I’d much rather be hungry before bed than suffering from the dreaded gastric reflux! Score one PB-Free feast for this lapbandster!
First off, I just need to take some time to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to watch my first video blog post! To those who sent me their words of encouragement, advice and support, I can’t tell you how much it means to me!
On that note, I had a few questions come out of the last post so I’ve addressed them in my second video blog! Yep, I did it. I went and posted another one. I suspect it helps that I’m already wearing makeup and have my hair done so I really didn’t have an excuse to hide…Anyway, here it is!
There’s a bit about the Disappearing American, a bit about mortgages and my attention span and a little bit about courage, as inspired by Dr Brene Brown’s TedTalk on Vulnerability. I encourage all of you to watch it, she’s a very engaging speaker with some strong messages that just might inspire you to do something that scares you, show others your vulnerable side and become a stronger more courageous person in your own life.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Thanks for watching!
This great post called An Open Letter to People Who Judge My Single, Post-College Lifestyle from Timothy McSweeney’s Open Letter website expresses exactly the way I feel about living life in Ottawa. Living in this city is uber frustrating for a single gal still living a super social life.
Unless you’ve got kids, a house and mountains of responsibility, those that do tend to look down their noses a bit or worse, they express their joy at your ability to be so ‘frivolous’ and they ‘live vicariously’ through you.
I work hard and I play hard and I’m entitled to live my life the way I want to, thanks. Just sayin’.
Well, for someone that complains about not having enough to do, I sure know how to neglect the things I do like to do. It’s been a couple of months since the last time I told some tales and it’s high time I checked in. So here goes…
I feel like I’ve spent the last year of my life waiting for my life to start. I’ve been on a short-term contract with a crown corp working on a website redesign/migration project involving SharePoint 2010 since August of last year. For someone like me, being on a contract means I’ve always got to be looking for the next-best-thing. I’m never quite committed to what’s right in front of me because I’m always thinking about what’s next.
So, I’ve been openly on the prowl for the perfect position. Since I live in a city I find mediocre at best, it does nothing but reinforce my gigantic ego when I get attention from what I consider to be some of the hottest private-sector ass in this tiny town. However, when every dalliance ends with a handshake rather than a proposal it does get rather discouraging.
I’ve tried to embrace my Ottawa life, but every time I did, I found myself looking over it’s proverbial shoulder at what maybe, possibly, might be my very own next-best-thing. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
And, instead of continuing to look for the best job in this mediocre town, I’ve been toying with the idea of leaving our oh-so-socially conservative capital to go swim with the sharks in the ocean of marketing opportunity that is TO.
But it’s a big step. When I left London, I left for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest was that something was missing from my relationship with that town. I had a great career, a spectacular social life, and some incredible friends that I have great affection for. But I still wanted more. Despite all London had to offer, it just wasn’t enough. I realised what was missing was sharing my joy and my experiences with the people I love most in the world – my family. So, I left London behind.
But being in Canada hasn’t quite worked out the way I wanted it. In some ways, it’s better: I’m currently closer to my family than I’ve ever been in my life (geographically and emotionally), I got a lap-band and am slowly but surely shedding the pounds I’ve been carrying with me around the world for two decades, and I’ve got some pretty fantastic peeps that keep me entertained (a little less frequently than I would like but it’s probably better for my bank account anyway!).
I guess the point is, despite my previous protests and a very obvious opportunity to indeed ride off into the sunset, I’m not quite ready to break up with my Ottawa life just yet. I think I might just need to focus on what’s important and really commit to it. So, this is my commitment to myself to have an open mind, focus on the best things and start planning some things to look forward to that I couldn’t do living in London or swimming with the sharks in TO.
Got a phone call from Jody at Slimband yesterday to arrange my ‘next appointment’. I’ve had some food and fill related chats but other than that, it’s the first time I’ve heard from them regarding healing and surgical followup since Day 5 post-op. Haven’t had a chance to ring them back yet but suspect it’s going to be a 3-month followup appointment at their offices in TO.
Normally I’d be super excited at the thought of returning to Slimband’s clinic and spending some fun time in TO but I’m more than a little busy in the next couple of weeks what with potential job ops (YAY!) and family fun time.
To top it all off, it’s Bluesfest here in the Capital and I’d rather spend my time tearin’ it up there than driving to Canada’s Big Smoke. It is indeed a rare occasion for THAT occurrence!
In other news, if there’s one thing for sure about my journey from the fatness to the fitness, it’s that there’s a lot to think about. Sometimes it feels like the one thing I know for sure is that having a lap-band is going to get me to my goal this time and I will indeed be healthier within 12 months. And other times it feels like that’s the escapist fantasy of convicted food offender.
Sometimes this blog reflects that very sentiment but most times, I try to focus on the positive parts to keep me motivated. When that happens I mostly think about what my life will be like when I get to my goal. I keep hearing about all the wonderful things in store for me and all the endless possibilities for my future. So, I dare to dream more often than not. But it certainly is a challenge to keep my head in the clouds.
This is especially true when I accompany my aunt (henceforth referred to as The Wallet) on her shopping expeditions on an almost daily basis. Not only does the woman have a whopper of a wallet, she also wears a size 10. She’s not a trendster but she’s glamourous and fairly fashionable so I frequently envy her purchasing power. But I wouldn’t buy what she buys even if I could…she’s 58!
Although this is yet another example of how my London life has spoiled me, I dream of one day dropping my dough on my very own perfect pair of designer jeans. I can certainly find them here in a smaller size because Ottawa’s skinny shopping is pretty sweet. But I couldn’t find a fabulous pair of plus size jeans in this town if my life depended on it! Let alone something suitably glunge for me to kick it in da’ club.
Even plus size retailers here in the Capital can’t believe I would ever disagree that their duds are just that. Some of them actually believe in the stereotype that plus size women want to hide their hides. I’m not a big chick that likes to regularly rock the bodycon (I’d certainly wear the sexiness pictured here though!) but I do like my clothes to cling to my curves and they just don’t do it in Canadian plus-size fashions. Seriously, if I could draw I’d design the best damn denim for babes with a booty this country’s ever seen.
In the meantime, I found a pair of skinny/straight leg jeans while with The Wallet at Winner’s this week. They’re from Boom Boom Jeans! and I just love them! They’re actually tight on my calves and they hug my bum just so. I love them so much I’m thinking I might get another pair! Gotta go back to Winner’s though cause I can’t get ’em anywhere else in Canada right now. Figures!
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.
It’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)
I had a conversation with my aunt today about a boy I knew in high school. She said something that really struck a nerve and I have to get it off my chest.
We’d had a somewhat special relationship and I was filling her in. She was curious about why we’d never dated and she asked me how I thought he felt about my weight. It never seemed to be an issue. Then she said the one thing I always fear when it comes to guys I care about:
“Well, he would care if you were dating. It doesn’t matter how big you are when you’re friends but when you’re dating it always matters,” she said.
Ouch. Straight to the jugular. I sat in stunned silence thinking about what she’d just said. It’s quite possibly my biggest insecurity knowing that there’s plenty of potential partners in my world who fancy the pants of me but wish I was a more socially acceptable size…the Curse of Curves I call it.
See, this friend and I were great friends when we were young, quite close and spent a whole lot of time together. We’d go to parties and sporting events and hang out on school nights ‘watching movies’. We were pretty great at ‘watching movies’ together and frequently did so until he moved away. We never officially dated and our real relationship wasn’t public. (Although I was the victim of the odd cougar joke since we spent so much time together at school.)
At the time, I would have said the secrecy was down to the fact that I was a senior and he was a freshman and I didn’t want anyone to know I was a cradle robber. He was my ‘fun friend’ and it was just between us.
But, I’m not entirely sure he would have wanted many people to know either. I mean, I wasn’t special, he had movie nights with other girls (and I hasten to add that it certainly never seemed to bother him what size any of his other girls were). I knew about them and it never bothered me. I had other ‘movie nights’ myself. So, I never drew any boundaries or put any pressure on him for anything other than fun. Neither did he. We were young. We never even talked about it.
I’d like to say that if I’d wanted more I would have asked for it but sadly, that’s not entirely true. I’d recently been burned by a boyfriend that seemed to be ashamed to date me in public so I really would never have pushed it if I’d thought it meant I wouldn’t get to spend time with him anymore. But I also had an issue with his age that I couldn’t get over. Then he moved away. Thinking about it now, I know our relationship was never any more or less than either of us wanted but that doesn’t mean it was all that healthy.
I still see him occasionally. We’re still great friends and I feel safe and happy when we’re together. I wish I had the courage to talk to him about it but since he’d never intentionally hurt me, I couldn’t be sure he’d tell me the truth anyway.
So, the curse remains intact. For now…
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!
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.)
A little off-topic (OT) but…
So, I’ve been getting some shi-I mean, feedback from my friends about my (harsh) comments about my life in O-Town. To summarize:
It has been suggested that perhaps I should try not to surround myself with families so much and that I need some single friends in the city. This is true. I only have 2 single friends here. Literally every other friend I have here is either in a relationship, married, flipping a house, having babies or all of the above. Ottawa is absolutely fabulous for that kind of thing! I’d love it in a second if that’s where I was in my life. But I’m not. Yet.
It’s been suggested that I should move to TO or some other larger city in Canada. This is the truest of the true. Ultimately, this is my goal. However, I need to find a job to fund the journey elsewhere. I’m also not too keen on moving away from every single member of my family to somewhere across the country. After all, I did move back to Canada to be closer to my family.
It’s also been suggested that each city is what one makes of it. This is also true. Since I don’t have much money I haven’t really been able to make my experience here my own. I am now vowing that this shall change when I get a job.
In fact, I found this super awesome exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada that I definitely have to hit when I’ve got some dosh. It even came all the way from LONDON!! Yayyyyy!! It’s called Pop Life: Art in a Material World and I positively pumped to see it.
So, I’m hoping I’m wrong about living in capital and when I get a job I will test that theory. Until then, I’m a grumpy girl missing my city life.
So, I pondered my little predicament over the last couple of days and I really am truely tired of this city. At first I thought it might be simply my lack of employment and general purpose in this imperfect society or perhaps my inability to chew away the pain, but the more I think about living my life in this small town city, the more I realise that ultimately, it’s not what I want.
Even if by some stroke of good fortune I find myself in the job of my Ottawa dreams I’m not sure it will be enough. A lack of consistent income has meant a steady increase in my debt-load which, quite frankly, I’m already struggling to cart around. So, any money I might make certainly won’t be the solution to my sorrows.
I’ve already got my family here and I’ve got some lovely friends. It’s just that I’m so BORED I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. And my priorities are simply NOT the same as most of O-town’s residents. It’s a LOVELY city if you want to own a house or you’ve got a family and plan to raise kiddies. But as everyone knows, little Baby Mac’s are NOT in my future.
Consider me the Carrie of my friends only a little less promiscuous and considerably less fashionable (and currently Mr Big-less). Speaking of which, I saw SATC2 and despite the critics’ condemnation, I quite loved it. It was a pretty simple story and a lot of the attire was ridiculous at best but it was a fun film nonetheless. And it made me miss London. A lot.
I don’t want to go backwards so I’m not going back to The Big Smoke (unless I’m visiting) but I really gotta get the hells outta Dodge. Where’s a bad man with a horse and a big sack of bills when you need one?
Okay, it’s really been one hell of a week. In the past 7 days I’ve driven back and forth from Lindsay to Ottawa in 24 hours to move my brother and sister-in-law to town, had my first fill, realised I’m not at all restricted, drove to Toronto and back in 24 hours to see DMB, and now I’ve just found out that I’ve no longer got the financial safety net I’ve enjoyed since my surgery.
To say I’m stressed would be an understatement. I’m overwhelmed with a frustration I haven’t felt since Tantrum Tuesday. I was discussing my dismay with my Aunt this evening and her suggestion was to get drunk. Oh, how I’d love to be drowning my sorrows sipping on a super sized glass of my favourite vino rosa. But since I’ve got no money, I can’t drink.
And since I’ve got this effing band, I can’t resort to what I’d normally do when I find myself in a stressful situation such as this: stuff my face til I’m so full, the only pain I feel is my waistband digging into my big fat belly!
Well, I could go for the binge and test another boundary but only if I want to end up barfing which will neither solve my financial problems (food wastage is not smart when you don’t know where you’re next dime is coming from…and what if my band slipped??) nor numb the heartache and suffering my endless job hunting is causing. It’s just pointless to even try. But I want to, and bad.
And to be completely honest, I actually HATE living in Ottawa so that really doesn’t help the situation. Yeah, it’s a pretty city and my family lives here but it’s boring as EFF for a single woman such as myself that happens to be used to living life to the fullest in one of the world’s greatest cities. There’s really NOTHING cool about living here when you’re a chic city girl like moi. I’ve tried to keep an open mind but it just doesn’t measure up to what I’ve seen and done and the tradeoffs are starting to lose their lustre.
I don’t care if it makes me sound like a snob but I don’t actually know how people LIVE like this. I honestly feel like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama only I’m absolutely certain I’m not going to experience the awakening she feels where she remembers where she came from and decides Hicktown, USA ain’t so bad. Ottawa certainly isn’t a hick town but I want way too much more for myself, my life and my career than what Ottawa currently has to offer.
And the worst part is, I can’t get out of here until I get a job. I just feel so trapped!! I can see where I want to go but I just can’t get there. I want out of this box.
Well, a lot sometimes. It’s been a pretty busy couple days for me and it’s absolutely sweltering. Of all the times in my life that I feel fat, hot days are the worst. There are few things more unattractive to me on a hot day than my sweating self in the sunshine. My hair gets all frizzy, my face gets shiny and my makeup starts melting. Not a pretty picture.
Yesterday I decided to embrace the scorcher and went out in the evening to enjoy the weather with my cuz. After visiting his trio of tiny terrors (whom I love dearly!), we decided to hit the Royal Oak at Bank and McLaren and met up with a couple of old friends from my youth. One of these was a person, the other was a tall glass of very cold Boddington’s bitter. Cue ominous music here.
I know, we’re not supposed to drink beer. I’ve heard it many times. I’ve even felt the affects of why we shouldn’t drink beer. But like every bandster I’m testing my boundaries. I haven’t had a fill yet so I should technically be able to handle a brew or two until then anyway. And besides, Boddington’s is a bitter so there’s a heck of a lot less fizz to bother the band.
It was so great to catch up! It’s hard getting back in touch with old friends sometimes. The continuity isn’t there so it’s easy to lose the familiarity and intimacy of the friendship perviously shared and things can get awkward. But both of these friends were as charming and enjoyable as ever so I had no trouble catching up with the boy or enjoying the the beer (slowly!).
Old friends, great weather and a cold bitter in the pub are three great reasons to be living back in Canada.
I recently got an email from a Random Reader that struck a chord with me. She was asking my advice on how to cope with a food-focused family event no more than two, count ’em, two days after surgery without actually spilling the beans on getting the band.
Naturally, I was surprised that one wouldn’t tell one’s family about their lap-band journey especially since I find it so easy to dish all the dirty details for the public to see. I actually received an email from an old university friend complimenting me on that very thing that makes blogging about my band work for me – my openness. But there are people who simply don’t want anyone else involved in their journey and this Random Reader is one of them.
I can totally understand why she wouldn’t want to tell the whole tale to her family members…
I didn’t dare tell anyone other than my family (but only because they helped me pay for it) that I was getting a band until the night before my surgery. I announced this blog on my Facebook page and let the whole world know hours before the main event. I kept it quiet for the very same reasons as my random reader: I didn’t want to hear all the reasons why I shouldn’t do it.
Sadly, I’ve heard too many tales of loved ones lecturing overweight family members about losing weight but only doing so on their terms and when it’s convenient for them, not when it’s convenient for the overweight person. OR they only want them to lose the weight in a way they approve of. It’s usually covert and unconscious sabotage but it’s sabotage nonetheless.
And everyone seems to become an expert on these things. All of a sudden, they think they know the best way for you to do it. I have friends that are doctors, lawyers, med students, nurses etc and they all would have had something to say about my choice. It may not have been negative but I couldn’t take the risk because some people even consider it an easy way out. It AIN’T easy let me tell you!!!!
But I AM glad they know. It helps in a lot of ways. In my family, if they didn’t know, everyone around me would be overeating or eating unhealthy foods and the temptation would be raging right in front of me.
The band doesn’t make it impossible to eat unhealthy foods, it makes it impossible to overeat unhealthy foods. There are ways around eating with the band and if I don’t address the issues, I could end up overeating again. And if you’re a pleaser, one might try to eat unhealthy foods or over eat simply because it’s easier than listening to the comments from the peanut gallery.
If everyone knows, they won’t question my small portions either. Otherwise, they’d notice my all of a sudden eating portions that are far smaller than my smaller family members’ and also what they’re used to seeing me chow down on a regular basis. When the overweight family member eats less than the average weight family member, the average weight family member will most certainly have something to say about it.
This is as much about families making a change as it is about us. What Bandsters need is support, not criticism. Positive influence around as often as possible. One doesn’t need food triggers to make them want to eat poorly.
So, to me, it’s not really about whether or not you’re open about these things. I can sort of understand how Random Reader feels. I don’t want ANYONE to comment on what I’m eating EVER – good or bad. They have no right to get involved. It’s my body, my process, my results. And that’s how I felt when Dr Yau told me I would need my family’s support. I thought, I can handle this myself. I got here, I’ll get myself out of here. But it’s not really about that. It’s about realizing that my friends and family love me and they’re there to support me – whether I want it or not.
Personally, I sat them down and told them what I needed from them and asked if they could it. In my case, they’re all full of opinions and believe themselves to be better than doctors but it’s better having them know. That way, when I say I can’t eat somewhere or eat something, they understand I’m not just being snobby or picky (which I kind of am sometimes). It’s that I actually can’t eat food from the establishment they wish to frequent.
The things is, our minds will change because they have to adapt to what’s happening to our bodies. Their (ie family, friends) minds will take longer to adjust to the new us: The one that doesn’t eat all the goodies. The one that’s not always up for a tasty snack or a drink or whatever got us to where we are. We’ve lived our lives the same way for years and the change will be sudden and obvious to others because they haven’t had the chance to adjust and to think it over like we have.
But basically, they’ll figure it out eventually. Postponing the inevitable may lead to some hurt feelings from friends and family but we’ve got to do what works best for our recovery. If that means keeping things under our hats, then so be it. But my experience has been full of love and support and very little criticism and I’m grateful for that. I wish the same to any potential bandster.
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.
But 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.