September

Wow, it's already September. Where has the year gone? Well, life over the past couple of weeks has been great. I found the perfect workout...Swimming...33 laps equals one half mile and I get a huge thrill when I complete that final lap. My goal is a full mile, a whopping 66 laps. Not quite there but I will be soon. Loving the gym as the weight steadily comes off. Finally in the 240's and it feels great! Hopeful, I will zip through the 40's as fast as I did 50's.

During a recent conversation with a friend he reminded me, "it doesn't matter how many times you fall it's all about what you do afterwards." Then he said "Christiann, you have gotten up more times than most, You've experienced things people couldn't even imagine." Weight has held me back for so long that I started missing out on life. I recently realized that I have a so much to offer the world, So watch out world, because here comes the new and improved version. So for all you folks who allow my weight to be an barrier, allow me to introduce myself!

I know I am still overweight, but losing the last 20 lbs has lifted my spirits and my attitude has started to change. I walk with my shoulders back and my head high. I'm less inclined to look towards the ground and avoid eye contact. You guess it, I love to command attention, but inside I second guess myself and insecurity rears its ugly head, but not anymore!

Life feels great my outlook changes daily. I'm feeling renew and can't wait to experience what the future holds. Grateful I am!

The First Year

Over the last couple of months I received questions regarding how my lap band works, what it looks like, what can I eat, and other questions regarding my surgery. This blog is hopefully going to answer some of those questions. Also, if you have any questions that you would like me to answer please just add a comment and I will be happy to answer your questions.

Good Food Choices:

Fruits and Vegetables
• 1-2 servings of fresh fruit daily
• 2-3 servings of fresh vegetables daily

Breads and cereals (Carbohydrates)
• One small portion of low-sugar cold or hot cereal
• Half to one slice of toasted whole wheat or rye bread each day.
-- Note: Some patients have difficulty eating bread

Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs (Protein)
• 1-2 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry or one egg each day.
• Remove all visible fat from the meat.
• Remove the skin from poultry.
• Prepare the meat by: grilling, steaming, microwaving, or boiling.
-- Note: Some patients have difficulty eating meat.

Dairy products
• 2 cups (maximum) of skimmed milk or low fat yogurt daily.
• 1 ounce (maximum) of cheese daily.
-- Milk and Yogurt are calories in liquid form. However, these types of food have calcium, which makes them an important part of a healthy daily diet.

Fats
• Restrict the use of fat to 3 to 4 teaspoons of margarine, butter, or oil per day. You can have low-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise in moderation.

Drinks
• 8 – 8 ounces glass of water daily
• Unlimited calorie-free liquids such as: tea or coffee (black) with low calorie sweetener, non – carbonated drinks.
-- Note: Carbonated drinks are off limited because researchers have reported that carbonated beverages may contribute to enlargement of the small pouch and recommend they be avoided.

Foods to Avoid:
Some foods deliver a concentrated supply of calories but little nutritional value. These foods should be avoided whenever possible. Also, patients have to watch the intake of calories by liquids. (Alcoholic Drinks, Juices, & Sports Drinks)

Common Food Problems:
Some foods have difficulty passing through the stomach opening created by the LAP-BAND® System and may cause blockage. To help reduce problems with eating patients have to remember to chew their food properly which means
• taking bites the size of a pencil eraser
• chewing each bite at least 15 times or until the food becomes applesauce in your mouth.
Introduce these foods slowly and individually to see if you can tolerate them.

Exercise Guidelines:
Exercise is still a very important part of weight loss even after LAP-BAND® surgery. The same guidelines apply (30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week) but just like with every new adventure you have to take things slow and see what your body can physically hand. After LAP-BAND® surgery, aerobic activities particularly walking and swimming are generally the easiest for you to handle.

Stay in the Green Zone:
By keeping this card with me and following the above guidelines I stay within the green zone between my adjustment appointments.


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Back on Track

It’s Official, I’m back!

The emotional journey has started. Before I had my surgery I went through what I like to call the six month waiting period. In those six months I had to see my dietitian every month and also had to be evaluated by a psychologist. I learned a lot from my dietitian and the psychologist said; your ready for surgery. The one thing that I never heard was that it may get emotional and that there will be good days and bad days.

For the all of my twenty four years I have been over weight. I have struggled with everything from depression, anxiety, boyfriends, and friend trouble. Now you may be thinking isn’t that what every normal child goes through. The answer is yes but when you are talking to a normal child about these things their weight is never the factor. In my life I was always told “If you loose weight things will get easier.” So I walked through life thinking that I was inadequate and would never be good enough unless I was skinny. This caused a lot of very emotional days but when I look back I was happy most of the time and if I wasn’t I would try and keep it to myself. I love to surround myself with people and as long as I wasn’t alone I wouldn’t have to deal with the fact that I was miserable inside. One of the things that I have come to realize in the past couple of months is that I use to hide behind my weight. As the pounds start to come off I have to deal with things that I have buried deep inside of me. Which is why the last couple of months have been very emotional but also eye opening experience.

It’s hard for me to admit that I fell off the wagon after surgery. My surgery was in February, which was a good month. I had my first doctor’s appointment the first week of March. I had lost weight and my hopes were high but shortly after that appointment things started to go south. I started eating more, and noticed that I was eating the same as pre surgery. I felt like a complete failure. I stopped getting on the scale and for the next three months slipped into a depression that I didn’t think I was going to get out of. I even stopped going to my fill appointments. I felt lost, very lost. Then my incredibly determined mother swooped in and well gave me the lecture of my life. After about a week of talking we came up with a plan. Two weeks later she was at my house helping me pack things into storage once again and I was moving to Houston. It was definitely not what I wanted to do but it was what I needed to do.

She told me that this wasn’t going to be easy but she wasn’t going to just let me quit. The first week was hard. I called my doctor’s office with much regret an schedule my appointment. Remember, I had already missed three months of appointments and didn’t think there was much hope. I was scared out of my mind about what they were going to say. The time finally came and there I sat in the dreaded doctor’s office. Shannon my nurse called me back and the first thing I had to do was get on the scale. I was devastated; I had gained all of my weight back. The one thing I do remember was how thoughtful Shannon was by saying “sweetheart, all you have to do it keep trying. It’s not over and we can help you get through this.” That was all I needed to hear. She then took me into see Dr. Slicho to have my adjustment\fill. Again the nerves got the best of me and I was scared to hear what I had messed up. This time I got some relieving news. He said that everything was fine and that he couldn’t wait to see my progress next time. Have I mention how much I love my Fort Worth Lap Band Team. It doesn’t matter what’s going on they're always encouraging me to do better. So I left my June appointment in better spirits. I was going to do better and I was going to show them that I was someone they could be proud of.

The month of June was emotional but I got through it. I remember Mom saying “Wow, you really are eating less!” but I also remember her saying “I hate eating with you because it makes me hurt!”

** She was saying this because almost every meal I was getting sick. Not because of the lap band but because I was trying to eat the same. The key to my surgery is how you eat. I have to chew all of my food until it’s applesauce. Try it sometime, it’s not easy. If I don't the food gets stuck. It’s very painful! **

As the month went on I got better and better about eating and choosing the right type of foods to eat. I also learned that if I would eat before I really got hungry I tended to eat slower and wouldn’t get sick. Four weeks later I was driving back to Fort Worth to have my July adjustment. I was extremely excited about this appointment because it was suppose to be the magic fill.

** The magic fill is usually between the third and sixth fill where a patient can go more than four weeks between each adjustment.**

I went in for my appointment and I was so excited but also nervous because I had set my expectation very high. I didn’t meet my fifteen pound goal but I did loose six pounds. I was proud for the first time at myself since making the choice to have this surgery. I had my adjustment and Dr. Slicho said “Great Job, six pounds!” I was happy and left there with a huge smile on my face & realized that I was going to do this but not before making my appointments for August and September.

It’s August 9th and my next appointment is Saturday, August 15th. I am not getting on the scale until then. I know that I have already lost weight since my last appointment but I also know that I have completely changed the way that I am eating. I no longer eat out of boredom, I eat for energy. Yes, I still enjoy how food taste and sometimes I don’t make the best decisions but I have cut down on eating. Plus, I have started going back to the gym. I love going to the gym. Right now I am exhausted afterwards but I know the more that I go the more energy that I will have.

So with that said, I am off to the gym for cardio and a couple of laps in the pool. I will keep you posted on my August adjustment and continued weight loss. I may even upload a picture.

To whom ever is reading this I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me in this very emotional journey. I can say now that this is the best decision that I have ever made because I am sick of being "JUST ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL FACE!"

LoveLoveLove,
Christiann

“Because in my darkest hour my light from within will guide me!”

Dealing

Well, things have been at a stand still since my last entry. I don't know when, what, where, why, and how right now. I don't have a plan for the first time in my life. It's baby steps. I think I am going to take a hiatius for right now. It's a really good thing...so if your thinking what wrong? The answer is nothing is wrong. I am great and just changing things up. I promise you'll see me around.

Remember I will always Love You,
Christiann

It's been awhile

Well, life has been different. Things change each and every day. I started this blog to let everyone know how post surgery life is and my weight loss. So here goes nothing. Life has definitely been a roller coaster the last two weeks. John and I moved out of our town home in Colleyville into another apartment...let just say that I hate moving and the animal sure don't like it either. We are all adjusting. I was laid off yet another job as a nanny that I only worked at for two weeks. It just feels like life couldn't get any worst but on the bright side when you have reached the bottom there is no where else to go except up.

A lot of people don't understand what I had to go through to get my surgery, I had to have extensive 6 months worth of pre surgery counseling with my nutritionist and psychologist. I though oh well this is crazy but I knew that I needed to do this to be able to get the surgery that was almost at my finger tips. So I did what was necessary to be able to get what I needed and wanted so badly. It's been 6 weeks since my surgery and I feel wonderful people are starting to notice that I look different but can't exactly figure out what is different. (Little know fact, not everyone that knows me knows that I had lap band surgery.) I think the most noticeable thing that has happened is what is happening inside myself.

Today was a tough day for me, now I am going to spare you all of the details of what happened but I will let you in on how and why I am changing the way that I write my blog. I realized today that things that I have done in my past effect the way that people treat me but I also did things a certain way to feel accepted, needed, and wanted...but most of all loved. One things true for everyone, you are not the same person you were 10 years ago or even 24 hours ago. Life is about creating yourself and each breathe that you take you are one step closer to create the person you were put on this earth to be.

After the event of today I realized that instead of needing to feel all these things from other people I need to start feeling them within myself. I need to love myself, be proud of myself, and know that I good enough. Yeah Yeah I know what your saying that is so easy but honestly it's different for everyone. Everyone has their own struggles and everyone deals with them differently. Some can just close their eyes and breathe and others have to take some time maybe minutes, days, weeks, months, or even years but all in all everyone deals with and finds the happiness they have been yearning to find in themselves.

Have I found that? No, but I will!

Quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world!" "Love is to distance as wind is to fire"

Love Yourself because in the end that is all that you have. If you don't take care of the one thing you are responsible then you can never have the life that you have imagined.

Two Weeks Later

Hello again...sorry that it's been more than a week since I last posted. Let me catch you up on everything post surgery. The first week was the hardest. I thought I had made the biggest mistake because I had horrible gas in my chest and couldn't keep any food down. My Mom stayed with me for an entire week and thank heavens for that because I wouldn't have made it through that week if she wasn't here. The 5th day/night was the worst...I know it's weird that it was that far after surgery but it was also the first day that I was able to eat something other than broth or bland liquids. We were out shopping and I started to have gas pains (a horrible pain in my chest that felt like I had swallowed 5 softballs) I started saying to myself "just walk, the gas will go away like the Doctor said" but no, the pain just got worse. I said "MOM, WE HAVE TO GO HOME...NOW" and boy I wasn't joking. Not more than 3 minutes after we were in the car and I said "I feel like I am going to get sick" mom asked if I could wait and as she was pulling the car over I opened the door before she came to a complete stop and got sick. Sorry for being so detailed but before you get grossed out when I say that I got sick it's more of being able to release the gas in my chest aka: Burp. That week was the only time in my life that I heard my mother say "just burp if you need to." She didn't care how loud or when it happened, I was shocked!

I had my first post op Doctors appointment on Tuesday the 10th and it went wonderfully. It was the first official time I had weighed myself after surgery and my weight had dropped 8.2 pounds to 255.8! I started to cry. I couldn't believe that this was actually working. After I meet with the Doctor, we had a meeting with 4 other post op patients to discuss eating and any problems that we had encounted. I did find out that the pain I was feeling was uncommon and was actually my esophagus spasming and I should have called the Doctor. It meant there was too much fluid in my band. Trust me, I won't be making that mistake again.

Now it's been exactly two weeks since my surgery and I feel wonderful. My current weight is 246 pounds...do the math people that is 19 pounds, add in my pre surgery weight loss and that gives me a total of 29 pounds lost and it's never coming back. It's weird because I haven't really been feeling different until this morning when I went to put on my jeans and they just fell to the floor. I started to cry...I was like holy crap did that just happen? I feel wonderful and can already see a change in my attitude towards everyone. I smile a lot more!

Best of all everyone is starting to notice the change in my weight. I have always been heavy and over the past couple of months my mom and I have been preparing me for when people don't notice the 20 pound drop. So it shocked me when I walked into class this morning and everyone noticed. Then at work my boss Monique said "Girl you look good! How much weight have you lost?" I feel like everyone is finally starting to see the person that I really am instead of the angry, emotional, big girl with just the pretty face. It's nice that people look at me now and see the entire Christiann instead of just my face.

I want to say Thank You to my very supportive family and also my friends who have given me wonderful words of encouragement. It helps me get through those not so good moments (which are becoming less and less).

As for getting sick, I haven't been sick since the 5th day post surgery. I am finally on regular foods and can each about a cup of food eat meal with small snacks in between. I love my coffee and protein in the morning. I have never looked forward to drinking my protein drink until I realized that Vanilla Protein makes coffee taste wonderful and gives it more flavor.



The medicine that got me through the last two weeks!

Day After Surgery

Well Everyone the surgery went wonderful. I was surprisingly calm before the surgery which help out tremendously, the anesthesiologist gave me my "LOVE MEDICINE" (as Steve calls it) and I was out before I even knew it. When I woke up I thought "oh no, why am I waking up so soon - it didn't click in my head that they had placed the lap band in until the nurses took a 3d live ex-ray of my chest and I watch as the liquid went through the band..."The nurses and doctors said that everything was routine and I did an excellent job on my pre-surgery diet. (Which I was worried about) 

My starting weight as of yesterday 2 hours before surgery is 264, I have already dropped 10 pounds pre-surgery. I am very excited to see what the future holds. My long term goals are to be very toned, fit, & healthy by my 25th Birthday Day 05/10/2010 about 18 months from now. 

My promise to everyone who reads this:
A. I am going to write weekly blogs about my progress and what I am doing
B. Also publish weekly pictures & weight info
C. I just wanted to say Thank You for supporting me in my NEW life...it's a big change but I am keeping my chin up, a smile on my face, and doing everything by the book. 

Here are some pictures from Surgery Day: 
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Before Surgery

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with Mom - Before Surgery

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Waking Up - After Surgery

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"Hello, Best Friend I Love You" HAHA

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with Mom - After Surgery