Sunday, June 29, 2008

Do Big Breakfasts REALLY Help Dieters Drop Pounds?

In life, there is one thing that many folks think is gospel. That thing? "Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day!" Why? There are all kinds of reasons, but the biggest one is that it supposedly gets your metabolism jump-started for the day. Another is that it is supposed to help keep you from being so hungry as the day goes by...

In a recent net publication, researchers argued that big breakfasts really do help folks who are dieting to drop pounds AND to keep them off longer. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University created a diet plan to help folks maintain weight loss. Their plan was to eat a protein heavy breakfast and then low calorie and low carb meals the rest of the day. Their control group was on a classic, carb-restricted diet. Did it work? Well, from the numbers they now tout, you'd think it did. Not only did the participants lose weight, they tended to keep it off better. After 4 months of dieting, the classic, carb-restricted dieters lost an average of 28 pounds. The protein heavy breakfasters lost an average of 23 pounds. BUT, after 8 months, the carb-restricted dieters had gained back about 18 pounds and the protein breakfasters had lost another 16 pounds, bringing the average weight loss to 41 pounds! Over time, they reported that the protein breakfasters shed about 21 percent of their starting body weight, while the carb-restricted dieters averaged a loss of less than 5 percent.

Now that was a research project that we WLS postops can get behind! We're ALL about the protein! And, in general we follow low calorie and low carb diets for life. Now if I could just get the hang of eating a big breakfast! LOL I am SO not a morning person! And, it is hard for this night owl to get motivated to get up and cook a big breakfast--even when it is for more than just me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Whatchya Readin??

So, I've been visiting the library pretty regularly lately and trying to use reading for a bit as a way to unwind and go to sleep each night. I've managed to avoid just laying down with a book and reading the day away though! Lately, I've been reading more James Patterson books than anything. I'm in a Fern Michaels right now. There are some new Nora Roberts (the circle trilogy) that I've not yet got to... I read a couple of newer Sandra Brown books last month. I have a handful of authors to whom I go when I hit the library. When they don't have anything new for me, I have to search for someone else to try... My list looks like this:
Nora Roberts or JD Robb (my first stop!)
Debbie Macomber
Fern Michaels
James Patterson

Then, when those fail me, I go for:
Robin Cook
Michael Palmer (Cook and Palmer are medical themed suspense)

And, just lately, I read a book by the Kellermans and will probably try some more of theirs soon. Another one I've read a book or two by is Karen Robards. Oh, and I like the FBI thrillers by Catherine Coulter...

Got any new names for me to try???

weight update--it's been a while!

So, I hit my all time low of 197 back in February I think it was. Since then, I've fluctuated anywhere from 197 to 209. It all depends on how I'm eating, whether I'm getting any exercise, and how the water retention is going. I have issues still with water retention, but I am not taking the Rx meds like before surgery. I still have to go back on them from time to time though to get things back under control and to alleviate the swelling in my feet, ankles, and calves.

Last month, prior to my visit from my beloved (not!) Aunt Flo, I started retaining water. This is normal for most every woman and I usually see it go down again after her visit is over. Not so this past month. No weight drop afterwards and the water is still there in my legs/feet. This month, I can feel the water retention again and see the increase in my legs and feet. I will probably have to go back on the Rx meds again for a while to get things running smoothly once again. The bad part (other than needing the Rx meds) is that my weight is staying in the 205 to 209 bracket these days. Now I know that a few days on the meds and I'll be peeing like a racehorse and seeing that scale slide down again. But, at the same time, I also know that I've been eating way too many carbs and salty stuff and could be working on getting the sodium intake down and getting some of that water out of me that way. Have I done so??? Well, of course not! That would be the easy way to do it, but I would have to curb that carb intake and I've not yet talked my brain into that... I've also not been getting in enough protein daily lately and really need to work on that too. I've never really seriously considered the 5 day pouch test, but I do need to have a few days of protein feasting to get past the carb cycles. Today wasn't too bad, but even it could have been better. I really need to find a new favorite protein rich snack to start munching at!

So, I've got a bowl of ricotta fluff whipped up in the fridge. I'm stocked up on cheese. I need some jerky. I have plenty of nuts. I might need peanut butter. But, I need to go back to eating it off of a spoon and not on wheat bread! I can do this!! I just lack motivation till that scale gets this close to the top end of my comfort zone (210!)... I'm there now though as the scale said 209 this morning... GOT to get going now!

4-H camp is behind me, now the garden is a jungle!

We had a blast at 4-H camp and the kids were great. It was a pain driving back and forth each day (not to mention expensive), but it was worth it for these kiddos. Now, with camp behind me, I am faced with a yard that needed mowing desperately AND a garden that was so grown up with weeds that from a distance you couldn't even tell where the rows were!

I spent Saturday mowing grass. I mowed all but the front yard and we're talking about over 3 hours pushing a mower up and down and around. No way in heck could I have done that preop! Hubby was home Sunday, so no mowing then. Monday was spent catching up on email and such plus some household chores--laundry, dishes and more... Tuesday was more catchup work but outdoors stuff. Mandy finished mowing for me (only the second time she's mowed this year!). I spent over 2 hours bent over in the garden pulling weeds... Again, no way I could have done it preop! 200 pounds ago, I couldn't even have a garden, let alone mow or pull weeds! I sat and watched everyone else do things that I'd often wish to do myself. Now, I go do them! No more spectator sport living for me!

I answered a set of poll-type questions today over on OH and one of them was something about doing something different this summer. It got me to thinking. Mandy has been hinting pretty strongly (like hitting you up side the head with a shop hammer!) that she'd like to go to 6 Flags this summer. You've probably seen their latest ad campaign--6 Flags, more flags, more fun! Well, I've been thinking about the fact that I can actually FIT in the rides now and perhaps might even enjoy it. I haven't done an amusement or theme park in at least 9 years now. I may just try to plan an overnight for the two of us or maybe even me, her and her Dad and see how it works out... I really don't think my hubby would care for it as he absolutely hates crowds, but it would be fun for me and Mandy to go off together. Hubby could hold down the fort at home and that would allow us to get a room and not have to drive right home after spending the day in the park.

If we don't do that, we will probably hop a plane to Florida for a few days of visiting family. There is one airline (Allegiant) that is offering $69 one way fares from WV to FL. We may just have to do that and let hubby take care of his own animals for a few days! LOL Either way, we'd be doing something different for a change!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

happy, healthy, and in a good place...

I am almost 22 months postop (proximal RNY). I had NO complications whatsoever from surgery and I have lost over 200 pounds. I'm just shy of 5'8" tall and I started at 410 pounds. I now range from 197 to 205 pounds on any given day and depending on water retention and all... I've gone from size 36W clothing to size 16 clothing. I am happy at this size and weight and must admit that once I saw a number starting with a ONE, I no longer cared if I lost any more weight. I finally have my vitamins down and rarely miss a dose of vitamins or calcium. I seem to have worked out a balance in my diet between fiber intake and use of Colace to where I have a pain-free BM most every day. I can eat whatever I take a notion to and don't count anything (not calories, carbs or anything) other than watching my protein intake to be sure I get no less than 80 grams a day (most days are 100+). I am healthy and have gotten off of about 8 different prescription meds since having surgery. I feel good. I can work in the garden, mow the yard (pushing it!), or shop till I drop. I am actually living life instead of sitting by as a spectator due to the pain and fatigue. THIS is why I had the surgery and I would do it ALL over again (even those first few weeks--the pain and all!) to get to this place! I thank you all for the support you have given me over these many months and for the support that I know you will continue to give! Even if I end up battling regain, this journey has been well worth the price of admission!

Friday, June 13, 2008

4-H Camp

I am now the chief glutton-for-punishment of our local 4-H club... To those of you unfamiliar with volunteering--that would be the leader of the 4-H club! It is a thankless job and you get NO pay other than the appreciation from the children who are involved. You get little to no support from many of the parents and, if lucky, you have a core group of parents whom you can count on when it really matters--like when you are doing some sort of event, such as 4-H camp! I am the secretary for our county's 4-H leaders association, so I get roped in to a bit more than some regarding the day to day running of our county's 4-H camp. This year, that includes not only teaching 2 classes to groups of kiddos, but also being the banker for the camp program... Camp starts on Monday and runs through Friday, so next week will be hectic to say the least! I have to drive to camp every day and be there for about 10 to 12 hours each day. This is 30 minutes to, 10 to 12 hours there, and 30 minutes home each and every day of next week! It is also almost $80 in gas cost! Ouch!

Vitamin D--whether you've had WLS or not!

As WLS postops, we fight various vitamin deficiency possibilities. The fat soluble vitamins are of particular concern to those who've had an RNY as we malabsorb the fats due to our rearranged intestine... Those vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It is recommended that we take those in their dry form for better absorption.

I know that I, personally, went into my surgical journey already low (almost depleted) in vitamin D stores. The "normal" level these days is anything between 32 and 100, with 100 being the preferred end of the spectrum. Mine was 24 preop. At 3 months postop, I was down to 17. At 6 mos postop, I was down even further to 11. Yes, ELEVEN! Another thing with vitamin D is its interaction with calcium and how being low in vitamin D and calcium can mess with your parathyroid levels as well. Your parathyroid levels will go up if you are low in D and/or calcium as the parathyroid overworks to try and find the calcium elsewhere (like from your teeth and bones--not good!). So, while my blood calcium level registered an "okay" number (middle of the normal range), my vitamin d level was bottoming out and my parathyroid numbers were climbing, indicating that I was not getting enough vitamin d OR calcium and that I was on my way to osteoporosis! SO, I started taking very large doses of vitamin d (about 14,000 iu daily) as well as became very diligent with taking my daily doses of my calcium supplements. Over time, my vitamin d level is climbing (though very slowly) and my parathyroid is dropping back towards the normal range. My dexascan showed that I did not have significant bone loss, but that I need to work on increasing bone density.

What prompted this blog entry on vitamin d??? Well, a dear friend was diagnosed this week with fibromyalgia. She's been dealing with some truly severe pain and thought it was just her arthritis worsening. And, part of the prescribed treatment her doctor has started includes--yep, you guessed it--daily doses of vitamin d! Vitamin d is truly drawing attention lately as being sort of a wonder-nutrient... Being deficient is capable of causing all sorts of things--including joint pain!

So, I wanted to share some links to vitamin d info with you all! If you are not already supplementing this (whether you've had WLS or not), please consider doing so!

Sam's Club sells a 400 count bottle of 1000 iu vitamin d tablets for less than $5. They are a small to medium sized tablet and are easy to swallow even as a WLS postop. I also buy my calcium citrate there (630 mgs calcium citrate plus 400 iu vitamin d). Those are just shy of $9 for like 400 tablets (200 doses). Those are a larger tablet, but they are scored in the middle and break very easily if you need a smaller tablet size.
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