Saturday, August 28, 2010

And Slim Just Left the Building

You know, slim and none.... though I wasn't really thinking about the double meaning until after I typed the headline....

Well at least under this insurance it's not looking real positive. There's still a shot at a last minute verdict coming through from insurance but it's not looking too good. What it's coming down to is my insurance covers the procedure but it also requires a six month medically monitored diet, which I've been doing, but when it comes right down to it, between my doctor's office and myself we just didn't get a total grasp of what all that means. Now this is all according to the surgeon's office but from their experience there's not a real good chance the insurance company will accept this as a qualified plan....

so in some regards it's back to square one. With my insurance change it will also require a change of doctors since it's an HMO I'm going to, so.... just what they will expect and recommend and require, I don't really know yet. They may pick up where the others left off, or they may be more inclined to say diet and exercise are needed, or they may see all the tests and the sleep apnea and diabetes and all and say let's move forward. Who knows?

In some ways I'm a bit intimidated by an HMO, but there's an advantage to one in that all sides tend to work together more? At least I hope so. What I mean is, if they have a requirement for a period of dieting I have to think they have a better idea of just what that entails and there won't be the miscommunication.

And hey, the other insurance hasn't said no yet, right?

But while it's been a frustrating period, I'm not worried. Mostly because the positive stuff from walking more and eating less and all that is playing together well. I got down to 352 -- first time I've been there in 4-5 years, so that's really positive and I'm holding fairly steady. It's just slowly inching downwards, and that's good.

So yeah, clock still ticks a wee bit... but... that's okay.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The clock is ticking.

Ticking ever so slowly for one thing, considering it's taken more than a year to get back down to where I was before. FINALLY back to the 353 I was at before I stalled out spring of last year. That took long enough.

Ticking not quite as slowly at least when you look at progress the past few months -- about 20 pounds lost going back to what... March? Not quite a pound a week, though for the most part that's not from any kind of real diet, more like having been more active and restricting my access to junk. But hey, it's 20 pounds and I'll gladly leave that off.

Ever carry a 20 pound backpack?

I guess that explains why walking gets easier all the time. Dang... if I ever lose all this weight I'm thinking I could start to jump pretty high, considering these poor legs have been used to lugging around so much weight... they won't know what to do without it all, except party.

Though when and how long... depends. Another clock ticking thing.

September 1 my insurance changes. My new insurance is with Kaiser, an HMO. The Doctor I'm doing the surgery with isn't with Kaiser, so if I"m doing the surgery with him it has to happen in 8 days. At this point it's not even scheduled.




I guess in some ways you could call it a lost sale for their office though if it doesn't happen. This coming from a guy who spent too many years in sales, so that kind of messes up perspective huh? There's more than a little frustration with Dr. Snyder's back office. I've tried contacting them several times and said okay, where are we, is there any information you still need? If there is ever any response to communication, it takes close to a week.




So then finally, the beginning of August I contact them and say hey, we need to get this scheduled in August if at all possible. My insurance runs out and we've already paid out so much in deductibles and for other expenses in the family that at this point my out of pocket maximum on insurance is met, so this needs to happen. A week later I have to contact them again to say hey, I haven't heard back yet.




Finally, I get an email that everything is in dictation and being sent to insurance.




And now, on the 23rd, I have yet to hear anything.




Is it safe to say I'm ticked? This guy is among the best in the country at this procedure and I like him personally, but the responsiveness of his office leaves much to be desired.

But... the month's not over yet.







Friday, August 13, 2010

3 Days of the Fullbar - or is it the Snickers diet?

Wow. I got my first commercial comment. Does this mean I'm hitting the big time? Of course it's gone now. Trusty little trash can icon!!! If you want to advertise on my site please check with me first or send me some money.

Okay, so I've done the Full Bar 3 days. This morning I weighed in at 355. Four pounds in 3 days. And I'm not really doing the all out routine for this thing because from what I remember it was recommended for using before two meals a day, and I'm only using it before my lunch.

My daily routine has been, breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal, usually about 8 AM. Then off to work, which starts at 10. At about noon I get my break, and I'll have a snack, usually either a granola bar or some peanuts or almonds. Then at lunch at about 2, I eat my fullbar and drink a glass of water. Then I'll typically go for a walk for about 10-15 minutes, wander back, get my lunch, and then go to the lunch room. Lunch these past 3 days has been really small portions, usually a leftover from the night's supper before. A single piece of chicken one day. A small serving of casserole, something like that. And that's it. The serving size is half of what I'd normally have, if not less, and there's nothing else, where typically in the past I'd have some yogurt and a salad and a piece of fruit to go with it. In fact I've been asked if that's all I'm eating by my co-workers and i give them the big sad puppy dog eye look and nod my head like a martyr.

Okay, I don't do the martyr routine. I just nonchalantly say yep, that's it. Granted, I don't think that I've demonstrated at work any of the eating habits that have gotten me to where I need to lose the weight in the first place. After all, in the first 4 weeks there I've lost about 12 pounds. That success is due to a number of things -- the biggest being not carrying cash. That means no stopping for fast food along the way, no raiding the vending machines. I'm forced to eat what I bring for lunch. It's been a reasonable meal, never anything lavish but never anything spartan (until this week of course). So I'm eating decently, not starving myself but the key is not overeating. And the fact I'm usually walking 2 miles a day just getting to and from bus and train stops plays a hand as well.

Okay, so back to routine and all. What I've found so far is the Full bar does what's advertised so far. I do not feel hungry after such a small meal. And the part that's actually kind of surprised me a little is that I don't feel really starved in a couple hours. At break at 5 I'll have another snack similar to my 12 oclock break and I feel just fine. Then I get home usually after 8 and, this is the part where I depart from Fullbar advice as I don't have a bar before supper. But here's the amazing thing.... I'm not super hungry. In fact for supper I find myself full much more easily than before. That's been a pleasant surprise.

As to what I'm eating, the classes I've been to for weight loss surgery have stressed making sure there's enough protein. A lot of things can be taken care of by multivitamins but when portions are low you do want to make sure you're getting enough protein. This isn't like what people tend to relate to protein diets where you eat far more protein than you normally would without any carbs, but it's more like, since your overall food quantities are really low you do want to make sure that you're getting enough protein, and then take enough vitamins to keep healthy. But as it is I'm still not eating as little as I would with surgery, but still...

So should this be a replacement for the idea of surgery? Probably not, just because I know myself. This will work for awhile.... the day will come when the full bar will get really old and when it's really easy to fall back into old habits. I have many years of yo yo life to back that up.

But in wrapping it up... I wonder if I should call it the Snickers diet. The last couple days I've had a snickers bar as an extra snack. So, is it the Fullbar? Or the Snickers?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Has anyone had any experience with the Fullbar? Or even heard of it?

I saw an article not that long ago in the paper about it because it was developed by someone locally. So I read a bit into it. Turns out the one who developed it is the surgeon who will be performing my lap band surgery. Well, maybe, insurance depending of course. That's a whole nother post.

Anyway, I guess this thing is distributed all over the place now. It's billed as the only solution based on the principles of weight loss surgery. The concept is a lot like how weight loss surgery works in that the reason the lap band and others are successful is they eliminate the cravings. It's not so much about limiting the quantity of food you can eat as it is limiting the desires for food. The reason the band on the stomach is placed where it is in a lapband surgery is that the sensors in your stomach that tell you you're full are, naturally, towards the top, and what the lapband does is keep the food at the top for a little while before it drops into the rest of the stomach. So, you're feeling full and satisfied with a lot less food.

So anyway, the way the Fullbar works is that you eat this bar about 20 minutes before you eat. It's made up of foods that expand inside your stomach, thus filling a lot of your stomach. This allows you to eat a much, much smaller portion of food than you normally would, and feel quite satisfied.

I'm going to try it out today for lunch. I have a simple piece of chicken with me. Okay, I also have a cup of yogurt and some almonds for snack times. But that's not a heck of a lot of food.

I think the thing that's an interesting question to me is, yeah, it may head off the physical cravings. What about the psychological cravings? You know, the ones that look at that little piece of chicken and say, no way in heck that's going to be enough. And even if it really IS a satisfying amount, which really it would be.... will there still be cravings that say I still want more, if for no other reason than habit?

I'll let you know how it goes...

What if I Stumble?

Great song many years ago by DC Talk: What if I stumble, what if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue when the walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble, what if I fall?

I loved that album.

Okay, so this isn't totally what they were thinking about with this song, but... it is a question that comes up a lot with dieting. What if I stumble? What if I really blow it? Is there a point of no return?

What brings this whole question up is the dreaded Pot Luck dinner. Our team at work had a pot luck Saturday, and ohhhhhh was the food good! I worked forever on making lasagna for it and oh did it taste great! Someone brought some egg rolls to die for. There was some killer spaghetti, some amazing enchiladas, fried chicken and some great deserts, fruit salad... for a team of 17 people we had food for 50, easily.

I had joked that I'd lost 12 pounds since starting work there 5 weeks ago and I probably gained them all back in one day. Okay, I ate enough that I'm not totally sure I was joking, at least in my mind. On top of that I didn't walk nearly as much because when you're taking a piping hot pan of lasagna to work, walking to the bus, riding the light rail and walking in to work just doesn't work.
I think the interesting thing is that the two days since the pot luck, I didn't go overboard trying to make up for it all. I didn't go try to walk 10 miles. I didn't starve myself crazy. I just got back to normal, walked my normal amounts (if not a bit less?) and this morning? 359 pounds. I didn't lose any weight this past week, but I didn't gain.

So... stumbling isn't the end of the world I guess, eh?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

34 or 54?

August started on a happy note. My morning weigh in had a 5 in it, and it wasn't the last digit. I broke out of the 360's and am sitting nicely at 359. 359 point zero I should add, since it does weigh in tenths of a pound. This is the first time in the 350's since a year ago maybe?

So depending on how you look at it, I've now lost 34 pounds, or I've lost 54. I'm sure 34 is the appropriate one to state since I'm 34 pounds lighter than when I started this whole blog last year. But having lost 40 originally, then gaining 20 back, and then losing 14 of that again... it's pretty much like losing 54.

Though if I wanted to go that route, I've probably lost a total of 300 - 400 pounds in the past decade.

Okay, that's just depressing to think in those terms.

The key to my latest success? Probably pretty simply not carrying cash (or a check card). I pack a lunch to take in to work with me, usually have a couple miles a day walking to bus stops etc, and if I don't have cash I can't break down and buy junk food. I don't know that I'd say my diet itself is anything too structured lately.

So, as to a surgery update, I'm asking the bariatric center to submit for preapproval to see if I can get scheduled for August. I'm not sure if I've met all the requirements with insurance as far as the 6 month medically supervised structured diet goes, but considering that my current insurance expires the end of August and new insurance kicks in then, I've already met all my deductibles and such for the year under the current insurance, so it will save a ton of money if it can be done under the existing insurance. So, we'll see how that goes.

Maybe I can be to the 340's by the time it happens?