Saturday, December 1, 2012

Just ridiculous.

I'm up to 286.6 pounds as of this morning.  2012 has been an absolute waste of my life, as far as my weight loss is concerned, since I've gained roughly 70 pounds in the last eleven months.  I remember back to the beginning of 2012 - I had just purchased a gym membership and was using it.  I was eating healthy.  I was accountable.  At this point, my weight is only 51.6 pounds less than when I started on my LapBand journey back in December 2011.  I'm happy I've kept 50 pounds off, don't get me wrong, but I know that 2012 has been entirely my fault in the bad choices I've made every day.

Yes, my LapBand is broken.  Funny, though, that I only regurgitate these days when I've eaten too much (i.e. last night's 4 pieces of pizza).  Hell, I'm glad my body got mad at me for eating 4 pieces of pizza.

This stops.  Now.  I know...I've said that a million times to myself, especially throughout 2012 (my blog reflects that!).  But there's no sense in this.  I wanted to be healthy and fit as I entered my 30's...and now I'm 32 and haven't made nearly as much progress as I could/should have.

What is it that clicks for people?  I've got many friends and "liked" pages on my Facebook that tells me, daily, of others' motivation and successes - it's not that I'm not reminded every day of what others are accomplishing.  Why don't I care?

Whatever.  It's time for my weekly trip to the grocery store - I foresee very different items in my cart this morning.  This stops.  Now.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

5.8 pounds gone in 4 days!

It's always interesting to jump back into healthy eating after not paying attention and stuffing your face with horrible things for so long...I've lost 5.8 pounds in the past 4 days!  Of course, my broken LapBand is the cause of part of that - I felt so sick the last two days that I barely ate anything (although, I will say that I didn't wimp out and grab a high-calorie frappuccino in spite of it, as I am typically known to do!).

I'm planning out my meals again, choosing lower calories options and meals that include wonderful things to do with vegetables (thanks Pinterest!).  I just made a "Lightened Up Baked Potato Salad" that comes in at 235 calories for 3/4c...and it's yummy!  I didn't have enough Greek Yogurt that the recipe called for and had to sub in some Reduced-Fat Olive Oil mayonnaise, so I'm sure the calorie count will be lower when I make it in the future and am better prepared...but heck, it's great to eat something so wonderfully delicious, in an adequate portion, and not feel guilty about it!

I think I've given up on a "timeline" for my goal, though.  My brain has been trying to comprehend how I can possible hit onederland by's just not a healthy goal given how much weight I've put back on.  I like having specific targets for specific dates of meaning...but it's just not going to work out that way.  I feel like I've finally come to terms with the fact that losing weight, in general, is doesn't need to be time-bound to a holiday, milestone, etc. (although, it IS entirely possible to hit my goal weight of 169 by my 33rd birthday on August 28, 2013!).

The shift in focus comes from following other people here and on Facebook, talking to family members, etc. who finally got it into my head that I need to do this for the rest of my life...the "fat genes" are in me, and there's nothing I can do to escape them other than by changing my food habits.  I'm not a sedentary person, but I honestly don't work out either.  Losing and maintaining weight is 80% food choice anyway - some claim 90% - so it's easy to see how the work really needs to be done, for me, in better food choices that I can live with...for the rest of my life.

So, yay for the first 5.8 pounds gone in what seems like my millionth weight loss journey - I'm hoping this will be the last "restart" as I continue to learn how to use food as nutrition and not for coping with self-pity.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's been a long time...

I'm not happy about the 56 pounds I've gained over the last year since I hit my low of 216 last fall (and then again in early 2012).  To be honest, I'm not quite sure how it happened given that my LapBand is still broken and I throw up more often than I'd like.  Admittedly, the foods I've chosen to eat have high caloric values (frappuccinos, ice cream, chips, etc. - all foods that go down well) and have stuffed my face on more than one occasion...even the part that I "throw up" doesn't seem to counteract the amount of calories that make it through.

Couple that with the fact that I haven't been to the gym I pay monthly membership fees for...and the fact that I've been lazy, sedentary, lacking motivation while feeling sorry for myself, etc. - well, I guess it's easy to see where those 56 pounds came from.

Enough.  I've said that countless times in my life as I've dieted, regained focus on losing weight...but I'm done.  I had donated all of my "fat clothes" awhile back and was disgusted to have to buy new clothes about a week and a half ago in a much larger size than I had been attempting to squeeze into just so that I'd have appropriate clothes for work.  I'm saddened that I had made so much headway, had a goal within realization (onederland), and simply threw it away for cheap dates with cheap food.

I can make up a million and one excuses as to why I've lost focus, took my eye off of the proverbial prize...none of it matters.  Excuses are as rampant and as easy to come by as torrential rain on the East Coast, and both of them mean nothing but frustration.

I started a "3 day diet" yesterday to kickstart my renewed weight loss effort, determined to get back to what I know to be a healthier and life-saving way of life.  The 3 day diet isn't anything more than a regimented script of what to eat for three days - the hype around the foods they suggest being magical combinations of ingredients designed to promote weight loss is just that...hype.  What it is for me, though, is a very strict approach to retraining my stomach to eat only what I need.  Taking the guesswork out of counting my calories, surviving on the nominal calories the diet provides...that's what I needed to help refocus more than just my stomach (even if the weight I'm losing in these three days is just water weight!).

Don't worry...the bodybugg is currently on the charger, ready to be put back on at the end of this three days.  Enough is enough.  Self sabotage isn't getting me anywhere near where I wanted to be on October 3, 2012 when I initially set out on this weight loss journey...and reveling in excuses only begets more excuses.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who wants some chicken!?

Years ago I was on a dangerous diet called "Kimkins" - this variation of Atkins, essentially, let you eat as much protein as you wanted - bacon, ham, you name it.  I spent most Sundays baking up chicken breasts, then slicing/portioning them down into baggies that were easy to take on the go as snacks.  Although I saw progress on that diet, it was one of many failed, unhealthy attempts to learn how to do this for the long haul.  On top of that, I got sick of chicken.  Like, really sick of chicken.  As such, I haven't been a fan of chicken in a long, long time.

As a flashback to that, though, I decided to bake up some chicken breasts that were leftover from the week's menus at Casa de Joia - I had two, ginormous breasts leftover that I seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic salt, then stuck them in the freezer at the time (didn't need them for the recipe I was making).  Baked them up today, sliced 'em up, then portioned them out into Ziploc snack bags after carefully weighing out 4oz. of chicken into each bag - great, filling snack for roughly 200 calories!  Now that I've been back to tracking my food, watching calories, etc., I recognized a need for a filling snack with minimal calories and mucho protein - duh, chicken's great for that!

Although...once I finish getting through all these tiny bags o' chicken I have in my fridge, I'll probably be sick of chicken again.  C'est la vie - it'll be a protein-full, healthful week of snacks for me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Remember me?

I haven't blogged in awhile, nor have I been good about reading your blogs.  I've been very much in a state of apathy.  To update from the last blog post, my insurance has denied my appeal to have revision/removal surgery of my band.  So, I continue to live life either monitoring quality/quantity of food or throwing up.  Life is grand, eh?  At some point (maybe this week, since today is the only day I have to go in to work this week), I'll write an appeal letter to the state's Insurance Commission, claiming the pre-existing condition of a slipped band that just needs to be fixed or removed!  Heck, I'd take either at this point, even though the thought of not having a band at all kinda scares me.

In other news, my boyfriend moved in with me at the end of February!  It's been wonderful having him here, and I'm so glad we're forging ahead in our life together!  I've let him being here serve as an excuse not to work out (hate leaving him here all day when I have to work, then taking more time for me to work out), and then I threw my back out...ugh.  I'm done gaining weight, though, so now that I've been off pain meds for a couple of days, it's back to the gym I go!  Being in the 220's is completely frustrating, as I feel as though I've been there forever.  I'm still proud of that weight related to where I started, but it's freakin' time for onederland!!!  I haven't lost any significant amount of weight in the last year, and I'm done with it.  I know it's up to me - my daily choice to work out, my many-times-a-day choice of what to eat (or not to eat!) motivation, though, has been sorely lacking.  I feel good when I step on the scale and see a lower weight than the last time I weighed, but that has not been triggering the motivation to continue lately.

Reminds me of that commercial..."Where did it go?  Have you seen it?  Did I leave it at home?  Where is my motivation?"  Hell if I know, but I gotta get it back!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Take that, bishes.

Finally composed the appeal letter to my insurance company...they've denied the removal/replacement of my LapBand.  What do you think?

To whom it may concern:

On November 30, 2011, I received a letter from Anthem denying a necessary surgery based on the fact that my “health care plan does not include benefits for services and supplies related to obesity or services related to weight loss or dietary control, including complications that directly result from such surgeries and/or procedures.”  While I recognize that such services are exempt from the insurance I carry, I am appealing the decision not to cover the treatment below based on two factors:

Member: Joia D Jones (ID #xxx)
Health Plan: Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield
Case Number: xxx
Servicing/Ordering Provider: Pinnar Robert L MD
Treatment Code: xxx
Treatment Description: Surgical Laparoscopy – Remove & Replace Gastric Band

Primarily, I am appealing this decision on the basis of the complication being a pre-existing condition.  I originally had my Gastric Band implanted in the State of California, covered by the Anthem insurance I had at my previous job.  Plagued by medical issues from a complication with the Band that my California doctor refused to treat correctly, I immediately saw Dr. Pinnar upon moving to Virginia and starting a new job with a new company.  Dr. Pinnar’s records will show that the complication necessitating the treatment above existed when I arrived in Virginia.  While I worked with Dr. Pinnar from August through December of 2011 to “fix” the situation without surgical methods, his documentation shows the complication was unable to be fixed.  At this point, the treatment listed above is medically necessary to correct the complication that pre-existed when I began membership under this insurance plan.

Furthermore, this surgery is medically necessary in order to improve my quality of life.  Having a permanently slipped Gastric Band means that my stomach has permanently herniated above the slipped Band.  I am only able to eat a limited quantity of very specific foods in order not to upset the herniated stomach, and typically end each “meal” by regurgitating the food I’ve attempted to eat – witnesses both at home and work can attest to this fact.  This constant regurgitation leads to popped blood vessels around my eyes and cheekbones, and severe discomfort for hours on end.  However, these side effects are minimal compared to the danger that living with this pre-existing complication could present.

In early October 2011, while I still had a small amount of fluid inside the Gastric Band, a regurgitation episode led to blockage in the herniated stomach.  I became severely dehydrated, regurgitating every sip of liquid I attempted to keep down.  Dr. Pinnar drained the remaining fluid from the band and I spent three days at home, away from work, unable to sip even water until the end of the third day when the swelling and irritation had subsided.  While I survived that bout of dehydration and blockage, the saving grace was that I still had fluid in the Gastric Band that could be drained to alleviate the situation.  Since that time, the Band has been completely empty – a single piece of food could cause an equitable blockage, with no remedy left other than emergency surgery to remove the Gastric Band.  Dr. Pinnar has made it very clear that I am a “ticking time bomb.”
Dr. Pinnar did a “peer to peer” appeal with you on my behalf in December 2011, explaining the same surgical necessity.  We were informed that not only would the surgery not be covered due to exclusions in the policy, but that if an emergency surgery were needed as described in the previous paragraph, that surgery would not be covered either.

In light of the facts that this surgery is medically necessary and corrects a pre-existing condition, I urge you to reconsider your denial of coverage.  Further denial of coverage will only serve to prolong the inevitable.  I am ready to take this case to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Bureau of Insurance if I cannot get a satisfactory response from you. 

Joia D. Jones

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Thoughts.

So it's February 12 and I'm down 15 pounds since returning from Christmas vacation.  I'm glad!  I gained 25 pounds in late 2011 due to self pity and gorging, and there are only 10 pounds of that left to lose!  I can't "weight" to be back down to where my lowest was, then moving forward on to the coveted "onederland."  I know it's within reach, and if I continue to lose approximately 2 pounds a week, I'll be hitting my goal weight of 169 (exactly half of my starting weight) right around my 32nd birthday on August 28.  I've never been as motivated in my journey as I have been in 2012, and the work is paying off!

I've spent much of 2012 traveling for work, and I'm proud of my ability to generally stay on track with my caloric intake plan (no more than 1,600 calories in each day), my daily burn goal (at least 2,600 calories per day), taking my daily vitamin and getting my water intake (at least 8 glasses a day).  The "no excuses" theme of this season's "Biggest Loser" reminds me each week that traveling, a busy schedule, daily stresses, etc. are no reason to make an excuse.  I go to the gym, even if/when I don't want to.  I travel with my workout clothes, tennis shoes and MP3 player...because every hotel has a gym.  I choose healthy foods, even though restaurants offer a variety of unhealthy choices.  Overall, I'm proud of what I've done so far in 2012.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to make healthy choices and exercise a habit in my daily life...I think I'm on the road to being there!  I'm reminded that although some of my former food choices may be delicious, the temporary "mmmm, yummy" isn't worth the weight gain or former/current state of my body.  I'm in this for ME, and it's about damn time I take responsibility for my own journey.

My boyfriend says he's never seen me so motivated in my diet and exercise (he's know me since right around the time I got my initial consultation for my LapBand surgery), and I'd have to agree with him!  I don't know what exactly has kicked it into high gear and focus for me, but I'm determined to keep it!  I can and will reach goal weight in 2012.

I can't even IMAGINE being in onederland, let alone hitting my goal!  I honestly don't remember when I was last under 200 pounds...but I'm going to guess it was sometime in high school...I'm pretty sure I hit 200 then.  Wow.  I'm going to look BETTER than I did in high school!  Completely.  Insane.  Not only will the size be smaller, but the cardio and strength training will mean that I'll have a better and healthier body than I did in high's so within reach!  And?  It's still absolutely staggering for me to think about.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Help me win a contest!!!

Help me win a contest! If you're a Facebooker, go to the following link and "like" the picture of my kitty Kane! Her cuteness, and your likes, will help me win some awesome multivitamins!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Feeling good!

I'll start by saying that my weight loss hasn't been what I'd hoped for January, but it's a pretty good average for a month (down about 10 pounds so far)!  2012 is definitely looking a lot better for weight loss than 2011, although I need to continue to get my calories under control.  I am proud of myself, though, for doing so good at keeping my caloric burn and workout routine!  I've never had a "routine," nor have I ever focused much on the whole "exercise" portion of this journey.  Since joining a women's gym a few weeks ago, though, I'm proud to say that I've been making exercise a real part of my life.  I'm enjoying group classes, have enjoyed my free one-on-one training sessions and actually enjoy some solitary cardio with my mp3 player in my ears!  Although building muscle, which I'm sure I've been doing this month, doesn't help with weight loss initially, I know that building that muscle will help my body burn more calories overall.  Essentially, I can't complain...I'm proud of the 2012 me and can only hope (well, "hope" is really the wrong word since it's up to me) that I can continue 2012 in the same manner it's goal weight and body are bound to hit me in 2012 if I keep this up!

Life really is starting to feel like it's controllable.  Despite a slipped LapBand, I'm not making excuses.  I'm focusing on protein and calories in my food, keeping up with laundry and housework, working on my financial health, getting my daily/weekly recommended amounts of water (new focus for me!), actually taking my multivitamins every day (another new one for me!) and incorporating exercise and "me time" into my life.  I've always been a workaholic, but I know that giving 100% of myself to my work doesn't leave any percentage left for me.  While I feel slight anxiety for leaving things at work unfinished for another day, I know this investment I'm making into me (putting gym classes into my calendar, for instance, forcing me to actually leave the office) is worth it's weight in gold.  What are YOU doing to improve YOU in 2012?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Health Month

In my continued effort to stay on the bandwagon (trying to reach my goal weight by my 32nd birthday, which means I need to lose 2 pounds a week until it happens on August 28, 2012), I've tried to find new ways to motivate myself:

1. Health Month (talked about it in my last post, but I'm doing it again!) - This is a little online game I play daily that allows you to set rules for yourself to follow.  You can create a maximum of three rules to play for free, so I did!  For the month of January (you play a new game each month), my goals were to exercise 5x a week for a minimum of 30 minutes, drink 60 glasses of water a week and stay under my recommended calories (for me, a minimum of a 1,000 calorie deficit vs. what I burn - thanks bodybugg!) 5x a week.  I log in each morning to check in on the previous day's results, and I'm absolutely honest!  If you're on track, you earn points and fruit.  If you're not, you lose life points (you start with 10 each month) - fruit can heal you (and others!) if you've lost life points.  You can also communicate with people, heal others, get healed, seek advice, etc. on the game wall.  It's fairly simple to understand once you play with it, and it really is working to motivate me on those three things!  It's somewhat silly that a trivial game on the internet actually forces me to do the things I want to be doing...but whatever works, eh?  If you try out Health Month and decide to play (or are already playing), let me know so I can add you to my list of friends!

2. Ongoing Exercise - In an effort to USE the gym membership I'm paying for (a first for me!) and keep up with Health Month, I'm actually putting gym classes into my busy calendar so that I can be reminded of when to hit the classes I want to go to!  I try to put something in my calendar every day - whether it's a class at the gym, workout time or Personal Training sessions with my trainer.  I met with my trainer for the first time yesterday and enjoyed learning about the weight machines and exercises I could do to help strengthen my target areas - I've never done much on my own because I didn't know what to do and didn't know how to operate those machines effectively.  She's got me on a plan for the week and I see her again on Friday!  I can't afford PT sessions once these free sessions that I got for joining the gym expire, but I'm hoping to work some group PT sessions into my budget!

3. Smoking - Yes, after 34 days of not having a single puff of smoke, I've picked it back up.  Why?  Well, I found that those 34 days were wrought with frequent snacking, mourning the habit and general unhappiness.  Isn't quitting smoking supposed to make you proud of yourself and happy in the new lifestyle?  It wasn't.  Not for me.  While I realize smoking is horrible for me, being able to go out and have a cigarette is part of what has kept me calm and away from snacking since beginning my weight loss journey.  I recognize the pile of excuses I'm making here, but it's the decision I've made for myself.  I'm not smoking as much as I used to, and I'm trying to stick to that, but it really is helping me to keep my mind and fingers off of the food that was killing my weight loss plan.  I fell into a deep food depression in Nov/Dec of 2011 after getting the news of my slipped LapBand and the denied surgery from my insurance company - it's funny how I can snack on little things that are horrible for me all day (candy, chips, etc.), but I can't eat anything in large portions without regurgitation.  It's a horrible way to live, but that's what I did to myself...and 25 pounds came back on in the process.  I refuse to let it get the best of me, and smoking seems to be my coping mechanism to help with that (yes, an excuse).  I don't know...maybe if Nick were to finally move in with me, I'd have something else to occupy my brain and hands!!  Someday...for now, this is my decision...for better or worse.

Ta da!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Year, Another Readjusted Attitude!

So it's 2012.  I've had a LapBand for two years now, but it's been slipped for 3 months and impacting both my ability to eat a majority of foods and my attitude.  I remember being down to a low of 216 pounds, but coming home from Winter Break found me back up to 241 pounds.  I put on 25 pounds?!  How is that even possible with all of the regurgitation I do on a daily basis?  I'll tell ya how - beverages and crunchy foods (read: chips, cheeseballs, etc.) go down fairly well!  Funny that I can't stomach real foods (lettuce, bread, tomato, etc.), but I can handle the crap!

A 25 pound gain was the result of that bad attitude, and I refuse to let it continue to get the best of me.  I joined a gym last weekend - the apartment's mini-gym wasn't cutting it for me anymore and I knew I needed help learning how to tone up as I lost these last pounds in my journey.  Since joining Saturday I've already met with a trainer to get measured and establish my goals, and I've participated in a "Cardio Fusion" class (alternating strength training and cardio exercises for an hour) which literally kicked my ass (no, really, we did hamstring kicks and kicked our own ass)...I'm still sore all over, in muscle groups I didn't know I had, from that class on Sunday.

I'm also playing Health Month - a little online game where  you establish rules for yourself to follow.  You've got to check in every day to verify which rules you're following, and you either lose or gain points in the game for holding yourself accountable.  My three rules include working out for at least 30 minutes five times a week, drinking at least 60 glasses of water per week and staying within my recommended calories at least five times a week.  So far I've kicked ass on the workout one (I've worked out every day of 2012 except for two, one of them being the day I traveled home from break) and the water, which is quite a feat for someone who hardly EVER drank water prior to this little game!  I'm having trouble with the calories, but that's more mental than anything else.  Regardless, I'm already down 7.8 pounds in I'll take it!

I'm part of a Facebook group (Healthy in 2012 with The Bariatric Guru!) that is full of weight loss wannabe's (surgical and non) who work together to address stumbling blocks, motivation, etc.  Our first "project" was to create our own Vision Board, helping us to visualize what we wanted 2012 to be for us.  I'll admit, it was a neat endeavor...and mine is bee-yoo-tee-ful:


I also put it as the desktop picture on both my home and work computers and on my cell phone - so I'm motivated by my own visualizations everywhere I go!

Soooo...Happy New Year to EVERYONE!  Hope you've made some changes in the first ten days of 2012 that you intend to stick with - whether it be mental, physical or food related.  Remember, you're only as strong as you choose to be :).

(P.S. It SNOWED here yesterday and actually stuck to the ground - my first time since being a resident of the East Coast!  Didn't see this in Southern California!!)