Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Milestones reached

Okay, so here it is: I've reached a few big milestones now.

Milestone 1: I'm OBESE! Ummm, yeah, nothing new there. But as I mentioned before, there's nothing in front of it. Not morbidly, not severely, just, merely, simply... obese. Never thought I could be so happy to say obese. Okay, there's a caviat there. That's simply obese based on BMI of 34.7, but that's based on a height of 6'5 which I've always maintained I've been. However, at a doctor's visit last week they measured me at 6'4. That would put me at 35.6. I'll stick with the 6'5 for now thank you very much. Don't want to face the potential that all that weight for all those years has managed to compact my frame a bit and caused me to shrink an inch, eh?

Milestone 2: I've lost 100 pounds since the start of the blog. I'm now at 292.4 pounds. No caviats there. That's a lot of weight gone. I think I said this before but it's hard to fathom constantly lugging around 100 pounds. I do have to say I'm amazed at the human body's capacity to do something like that. So, woohoo.

Milestone 3: Okay, this one's not as wonderful but it's there... if you can call it a milestone. It's a first anyway -- first time I've had any issues since the surgery. For the last week or so I've had a lot of acid reflux at night and have felt like food was getting caught up somewhere along the way. It can be a pretty miserable feeling when you just really don't want to eat. I think it got compounded by getting a bit of a bug at the same time. Honestly I don't know which it was more, a stomach related to the lapband thing or a bug thing, i think the two together make things a bit more miserable. Good news is I'm feeling better than a couple days ago and am more prone to actually eating and stomach isn't as sour now. There's still some reflux but not as much (but that's partly because I'm not eating after 6 now). I think the doctor's going to put me on some medicine and see if that takes care of things. There's a restricted feeling which could be swelling from all the irritation from the reflux, or it could be something more serious like slippage of the band or the old hiatal hernia trying to reassert itself. But, I feel like it's getting better, so I'll hold out hope it's jsut a temporary thing. Will keep you posted...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intriguing: BodyMedia Fit

I think I've mentioned some android apps before, but I found something that is quite definitely intriguing that goes beyond just a phone application.

I have a Samsung Epic for a phone, quite possibly the best phone ever made. (Okay, it's that or the Evo.) What I love about it when it comes to weight loss is that as it uses the Android operating system, there are a ton of applications that are pretty cool (and more amazing is how many of them are free). There are applications for tracking what you eat, your activities, etc. I use the Cardio Tracker app a lot to track certain activities such as walking, and that will post the activities to my facebook page. Now I'll have to admit that I'm probably at a point where I may quit posting all that stuff just because I hate seeing everyone else's Farmville posts, and my friends may get tired of seeing all the posts that say Ron walked 3.2 miles in 58 minutes and burned 479 calories. There is definitely an accountability thing there that is good but I can see the annoying factor as well.

I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, Sprint just announced a collaboration with Bodymedia that integrates a nifty little device called the BodyMedia Fit. (I probably should put little trademark thingies next to these, shouldn't I?) The device is a little armband that you wear pretty much all the time but it tracks what's going on in your body. It counts your steps, it calculates how many calories you're burning and when you are involved in moderate or more strenuous activity, etc. I'm guessing it figures those things based on heart rate combined with whatever movement it senses. It also measures how efficiently you are sleeping. All pretty interesting stuff.

Earlier versions of the device required you either connect it to a computer to download the information it tracks or you get a little display device that it communicates with. Now they've come up with an integration that allows it to communicate with your phone and let it pull the information and provide the reports.

Below is one of their Youtube video:

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month they had an intern from Sprint who wore the device through the week and tracked his activity on his phone while doing things like skydiving, running half marathons, etc. Probably a bit more than I would ever do, but it's interesting stuff considering how much I like using the apps I have already to keep track of stuff. It definitely presents an added level of accountability. I think it's pretty close to the same thing as the Bodybug marketed by the Biggest Loser show/franchise, which to my understanding is made by the same people. Anyway, like I said, intriguing stuff.... really thinking that perhaps this is a good 300 pound reward item. Okay, that or the bike.... both would be nice really but there are budget considerations.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1 Big benchmark down, some immediately ahead

Gotta say, still on cloud 9 over the breaking 300 thing. Definitely a good thing. My wife's been saying I need to do a reward of some kind, and I'm not sure yet just what that should be. Funny though, isn't it, that food always seems to come to the top of one's mind when thinking of rewards? She is thinking clothes would be a good idea, though I'm thinking clothes will be a necessity anyway so it won't feel so much like a reward. One thing that's come to mind is a new bike, but this time a road bike. I've always had to get a mountain bike type before because that was the only kind to be able to hold my weight well. But the road bikes work well for 300 pounds and under and guess what! I'm under!!!

(See picture from previous post... snoopy dance!)

So yeah, that's one big benchmark gone. There are a couple more that are very very close, and could be hit this month still.

First is the 35 BMI benchmark. At 6'5 that comes out to 295 pounds. This to me is maybe as significant as breaking 300 because of the classifications. At 352 (time of surgery) I was at 41.7 BMI, considered morbidly obese (above 40). When I started this blog at 393 I was at 46.6 (I don't think there's a term for above 45, but.... super morbid?). And I'll tell you what, if there's anything that really makes you feel good it's being classified morbidly obese. Mmm hmmm! So severe obesity (35-40 BMI) doesn't sound quite so bad now, does it? So at 295 there's going to be a bit of celebration because there's no attachment, no additional term that adds an emphatic exclamation point to my obesity. Just simply obese. I know, even obese doesn't sound great, does it? But when you've been morbid in the past, just plain obese sounds pretty good.

That's one benchmark. The other has more to do with the start of this blog. That's at 293 pounds. Starting at 393, that makes a nice, even, cool 100 pounds gone since it all started. THAT is a party in and of itself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snoopy Dance Time!

Dave Ramsey calls it the Snoopy Dance. "Feet flying, nose up in the air." Okay, it looks awkward when I try it and my kids think I'm weird, but... today I dance the Snoopy Dance.

I guess it can't look any weirder than when I try the hula hoop on the Wii fit. I try to do that when no one is around to see it, could be bad for their psyche.

Anyway, there's good reason....

No, that's not 662. My weight starts with a 2 for the first time in more than 7 years. It's pretty darn close to being the least I've weighed in nearly 19 years. I'm thinking I went over 300 probably about 1992 when I was driving a taxi in Omaha....

The cool thing is being able to actually dance the Snoopy Dance and not be totally out of breath. Yeah, clumsy and bumbling but... not out of breath. I love it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What to say to people considering surgery

One of the things that made a big impact when I attended the seminar back in March about weight loss surgery was the panel of patients that was there. Here were people who had been through the surgery and you could see the difference being made in their lives.

So now here I am on the other side and I've been asked to be on the panel at the next surgery. I know that it's a marketing thing, obviously, and as a result the people up there are going to be the ones who've done really well, not the ones who've really struggled afterwards. But then, I wonder what the numbers really are, how many have done well compared to who has struggled? And maybe they ask everyone and I'm just one of the few to say, okay. All that said, I'm honored to have been asked.

Of course I wonder what all I would say... There hasn't been any briefing or anything like that. I may be just one of those who says I lost this much, yada yada yada. So if given liberty to say anything I wanted, what would I say? Good question.

One thing I could do is point out the perils of the aftermath of surgery. It can be stressful on a marriage. What I mean is, any more I can barely keep my ring on my finger, the finger's just too skinny! I can't count the number of times it's dropped off. Another issue is clothes. There's a definite hesitance to buy clothes right now because in a matter of months they'll be too large. And the ones I have are pretty baggy. Fortunately there's been a reprieve of sorts, in that most of my slacks used to fit up under my belly around my hips. Now they fit around my belly. Of course there's a problem with that, in that now that they fit properly I'm able to wear them up where they should be, but that means that.... now I have a problem with my slacks being high water.... not to mention even now getting baggy....

Granted... these are nice problems to have.

The other approach I would take is to just give some suggestions from my own experience. What advice would the me today tell the me in March... actually I think it was February... ?

One of the things that I remember is being a little disappointed it would take so long to get an appointment. Keeping in mind all that I went through from insurance, one thing I would say is this: It may be a couple of months before you can get in for your first appointment. Don't wait. Start today. Get an appointment today with your doctor or nutritionist. Get started right now on a medically supervised diet. So many times insurance is going to require 6 months. For me that was a killer to even think of that possibility. But you could be half way along by the time you have your initial appointment, and even if your insurance does not have such a requirement, you've got momentum going.

That's the other thing I'd say is, get some momentum. I think that's something that has made a huge difference for me. Between the time of the seminar and the date of the surgery I lost at least 20 pounds. There's something about that because when the times come that say yeah, it's only because of the surgery that I'm losing this weight, I know that it's more than just that. The surgery has definitely made a difference, but it means so much to be able to say that I've worked pretty hard at this myself alongside the surgery, and I have that momentum to point to as evidence.

I know, it sounds hard when you're at a point where you're actually forced to start thinking about surgery, there's almost a hopelessness that makes any thought of momentum go in one ear and out the other. But realizing what this would be all about added a new sense of purpose for me. All of a sudden I wasn't thinking in terms of this being another short term solution but instead it became a thought that I was starting something that... I had some real hope that it could be permanent. There was a new sense of purpose in it. And by the time of surgery I was already losing weight, I was already getting more and more active, and it just made it easier to carry on the momentum.

So those are the main things I would want to communicate.

By the way.... 302.4 pounds was the latest weigh in. More than 90 pounds since starting this blog. More than 70 since considering surgery, and just under 50 since the surgery itself...

So yeah... I'd definitely be able to stand up there and mean it when I tell people that it's worth it.