Archive for February, 2013

Opting for the Gastric Sleeve… no, it’s not a cop out – it’s reality hitting the fan

gsleeveBefore I met my husband, I had successfully shed over 50 lbs. from good old fashioned diet and exercise. I am not poo-pooing that in the slightest. I felt better and I was disciplined. My whole routine went bonkerdoodles once we got married. I moved from my house in paved suburbia to our little cozy shack (or as I refer to it – our ‘estate’) in the woods where the roads are unpaved, uneven and the roads can have a variety of creatures ranging from wild boar to Jurassic-era coyotes, half-wild dogs to bobcats, and rattlesnakes to mountain lions. No, I am not kidding you. About 6 months after we got married, my then 12 year old terrier got bitten by a copperhead in our yard. I’m happy to say he survived and is nearly 15 now. I nearly had a stroke from the shock – but he was fine after a visit to the vet. Whew.

I started adding on the weight about 8 months into our courtship. We talked on the phone when he got off work – usually about the time I was leaving the gym… then his schedule got changed and he got off from work 2 hours earlier. I decided to stop going to the gym so we could keep talking on the phone – we lived 80+ miles apart and only visited with each other every other Sunday or so. Then we get hitched and there is no room (per the spousal unit) for my treadmill. I knew I had to ‘make time’ or lose it if I was going to try to get back into shape. Well, 3 years later, all the weight is back and it brought friends. I cannot walk down our road without twisting my ankle on the caliche rock, or without packing a gun to ward off wild beasts. We commute over 100 miles per day round trip, so by the time we get home, the last thing I want to do is hop back into the car and drive 30 minutes to a place I can work out – since I no longer live down the block from the cute little park & gym in my former suburbia.

Not only am I bigger, I’m older. I don’t have the muscle mass to carry this weight and in addition to looking in the mirror and being disgusted with the way my body is now shaped, it’s harder to sleep, walk and even wipe. Yes, I said it. If I gain 5 more lbs, I don’t think I’ll be able to get to everything – if you know what I’m sayin’.

So – with all the weight loss procedures, why did I pick the gastric sleeve? I’d heard mixed reviews about the lapband – and I didn’t like the notion of having a foreign body inside my body – especially since it needs to be fiddled with a lot. The gastric bypass seems a bit like voodoo to me. It’s been performed literally for over 100 years – but it seems to be more for people who lack discipline and a more complex surgery that reroutes your pipes in a way that God never intended to ‘cheat the system.’

So – here’s how I talked myself into this business:

  1. My insurance pays for most of it (woot woot!)
  2. The gastric sleeve removes a portion (albeit large) of your stomach, but does no re-routing. It actually should reduce my acid reflux and the part that gets removed contains the hormone ghrelin – and ghrelin is the stuff that tells your brain that you’re hungry. I can do this if I’m not hungry! YES!
  3. The part of the stomach that remains is akin to a tube – so you get full faster and you get the sensation of being full a lot sooner.
  4. I have one friend that had this done 6 years ago – and she’s kept it off – she looks great and she’s completely healthy and properly nourished
  5. I have gotten to the weight and age where I need the help. Seriously. I have zero pep and the one thing that works for me, walking, isn’t an option where I live.

Is this for everyone? No. I can’t believe I’m actually facing this the way I am. If you had asked me a year ago if I was interested in this, I would have said “heck no!” I had a pre-op EGD yesterday (fancy term for a camera down your throat) and it was the first time I’ve ever been under general anesthesia in my life. It was a non-event, but I was apprehensive a few minutes before it all went down (so to speak). There are risks with all surgery, but the risks are minor and easy to manage. The biggest risk is blood clots since the body completely relaxes when under anesthesia – including all the valves in the veins and arteries… so they’ll have me on blood thinner for a month just to be on the safe side.

So – my plan is that with minimal to zero hunger the first 6 months will be my peak time to get back into shape. I’ll need a few weeks to recover, but I’m hoping after shedding at least 20 lbs., I’ll have a bit more energy to get on the treadmill I finally made room for and help to shed the extra 80 lbs. I need to lose after that. I started my 2 week, pre-op diet yesterday. The goal for the pre-op diet is to lose 5% of my weight, but more importantly, to shrink the liver so that it’s ‘not in the way’ when they make their 4-5 small incisions to do my surgery in less than 2 weeks. This is really happening. I’m doing this thing. Yeah, baby! Let’s roll!

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Now featuring… composite beef from Lean Cuisine… *sigh*

I got a bunch of these frozen dinners at the same time and didn’t know I needed to read the meat ingredients with such scrutiny. The front says “Beef & Broccoli” but the ingredients give the “beef” a different name: SEASONED COOKED BEEF PRODUCT. Nothing says YUM like that, right? Here’s what this sucker has got inside its fake beef-looking self:

  • Beef
  • Water
  • Dextrose
  • Modified Cornstarch
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Salt
  • Sodium & Potassium Phosphates
  • Caramel Color (guess it would be flesh-toned without some help!)
  • Natural flavors (eh? Polonium is ‘natural’ – what flavors?)

Not as horrifying as the fake chicken… but ewwww. Technically, “beef” could be any part of the cow’s flesh. This could be made from cow butt holes for all I know. That’s probably it. Cow rectums, cow uvulas, cow lips and cow eyelids. The stuff on a cow that no one wants. Yeah, buddy. That’s what’s for dinner! Ok – that’s was what I had for lunch. God help me. The food was adequate. The beef tasted fake – like hydrolyzed protein composite fake jerky treats for dogs – but was flavorful. They’ve definitely got a handle on making the fake particle board beef – it’s the chicken that’s a disaster. So sad that any animal had to die so they could do this leatherizing to the poor creature’s flesh. It’s barbaric. But oh well… 270 calories and are you sitting down? Two whole grams of fiber. HA!

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Another day, another composite chicken

That is my new term that I just coined for this crap that these companies are allowed to claim as ‘chicken’ in the packaging that only contains parts of chickens. My lunch yesterday was Lean Cuisine’s Chile Lime Chicken. The front of the package says “white meat chicken in a red chile lime sauce with a medley of roasted corn, peppers and rice.” Unlike the faux chicken lips I had a few days ago, this composite chicken didn’t taste as fake. Probably because it had fewer ingredients in the “chicken” :

  • chicken tenderloins
  • water
  • seasoning
  • modified corn starch
  • sugar
  • potassium chloride
  • yeast extract
  • dextrose
  • spice
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • soybean oil
  • isolated soy protein
  • salt
  • sodium phosphates

Ok – not ‘fewer’ but fewer creepy ingredients. I’m not keen on “sodium phosphates” or “potassium chloride” being in there, but have no issue with salt, paprika and onion powder. I really think most people have no idea that this is not bona fide chicken, but a composite. In the way particle board is indeed ‘wood’ – it is chopped up wood and glue mushed together with extreme pressure and the right amount of heat to make a board. Termites still love it, it’s still ‘wood’ – but it does not occur in nature. Likewise, this ‘chicken’ does not occur naturally out of a chicken’s body. It is bombarded with these crazy chemicals to make particle board composite chicken so that it looks like chicken and tastes vaguely similar. What a load of crap. The rice was good – the chile lime sauce was – eh. A bit too spicy, but not very impressive. I detected no lime flavor at all. The label says “Chef’s pick” and I’m going to tell you, they’re not talking about Chef Gordon Ramsay!

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