Great News All Around

I HAVE THE MOST AMAZING NEWS.

A piece that I wrote is going to be featured on a blog during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! I wrote about being overweight and a minority who was diagnosed with binge eating disorder. I will definitely post the link when it comes out!

!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!

I have also lost 10 lbs! That means I got my reward, a MantraBand:

love love love.

love love love.

I love Finding Nemo, and I love Dory, so I figured this was a great mantra to have! And really, when I get down, all I need to do is just keep swimming. My next reward for 15 lbs lost is new charms from Origami Owl and I’ve already picked them out, so hopefully I lose 5 lbs fast!

I saw the nutritionist on Friday and she told me that they are likely to submit my letter of approval to the insurance company next month! I have about 15 lbs to go to meet my pre-surgery goal weight. I am sure I could lose faster if I exercised. So now that I have gotten the eating part under control, I will be working on that. I plan on going to the gym this week. Maybe even tomorrow between church and sorority activities! Although I do have homework to do :/

School continues to go well. From my calculations, I have a 95 in the class right now. Then again, I hate math and am terrible at it, so who knows what my actual grade is…

This upcoming week starts the Bible Study groups at church. I have signed up to do a study in Genesis with some other lovely women so I am pretty pumped about it. Super excited for fun and fellowship and reading Scripture! I am getting ready to discharge a client at work too, so I won’t have 2 late nights in a row.

The biggest thing related to WLS is getting my body ready with vitamins and supplements. This is what I need to take:

IMG_0815

so many things…

 

And this is what it actually looks like:

so many supplements!

so many supplements!

So many! I had to buy a pill organizer for both AM and PM since I have to take divided doses and stuff. I would never remember to take things without it, so I am glad I found it at Target earlier.

My therapist and I are also working through a CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) workbook to help me get ready for surgery. Can I just say how amazing and awesome my therapist is? Because if she wasn’t amazing I don’t think I would be as far through recovery and actually ready to go through surgery. I mean yes, I am going to give myself credit for putting in the hard work, but I definitely had help!

Stay tuned for more posts as I get closer to surgery!

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini-Ricotta Bake Recipe

tastytuesday

I know it’s been forever since I posted a recipe, but hubby and I made this Sunday and it was SO good. I can’t have too many carbs in this meal plan (a few healthy, complex ones are fine) so we had to come up with another way to make lasagna. I love love love Italian food, but it doesn’t necessarily love me! So, without further ado, here’s our Zucchini-Ricotta Bake!

Zucchini Ricotta Bake
Serves 6
A dish that's healthier than lasagna!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
175 calories
14 g
56 g
8 g
12 g
4 g
214 g
396 g
8 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
214g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 175
Calories from Fat 74
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 4g
22%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 56mg
19%
Sodium 396mg
16%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
10%
Sugars 8g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
15%
Vitamin C
19%
Calcium
22%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise (you can also use 2 large)
  2. 15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  3. 16 oz pasta sauce (we used Simply Balanced tomato basil)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tsp. basil
  6. 1 tsp. parsley
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. 2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into several thin slices. You'll end up with a lot, that's ok!
  3. 3. In a medium sized bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, and herbs together.
  4. 4. In a baking dish, layer as follows: sauce, zucchini, cheese mixture, sauce.
  5. 5. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.
  6. 6. Bake for about 45 minutes.
Nutrition Information per Serving
  1. 177 calories
  2. 10 g fat
  3. 434 mg sodium
  4. 15 g carbs
  5. 3 g fiber
  6. 12 g protein
beta
calories
175
fat
8g
protein
12g
carbs
14g
more
Shrink That, Girl! http://www.shrinkthatgirl.info/

Progress?

Whew! It has been a busy couple of weeks! Mostly, I have been doing this:

#gradschoolround2

#gradschoolround2

School is going pretty well. Nothing too crazy in terms of assignments and the workload is doable. I am pretty much already done with this week’s work (it’s due every Wednesday) and have almost finished reading for NEXT week. Amazing! Grad school round 2, I will own you.

Work has been kicking my butt. We have one person out on maternity leave and two people recently resigned, so trying to reassign clients and get charts audited is a huge headache. I have been trying to stay positive and I think overall it is working. No stress eating (unless you count the salad I think I stress ate) and no tears! A win-win situation.

Also, we got a new bed. That has helped. You can’t really tell from the pic, but hubby and I are the proud owners of this KING-SIZED (finally) beauty:

My precious.

My precious.

It was weird to roll over and not pretty much whack my husband in the face with my elbow. Weird, but good.

So some progress is being made in terms of weight loss (I think). I don’t actually own a scale so I really can’t tell, but I go back to the nutritionist on January 30 so I will find out then how much I have lost, if anything. I have had a few slip-ups but I am trying not to beat myself up about it. That’s the hard part, the not beating yourself up. I did that for SO long that trying to change my way of thinking is really difficult. I have been trying to look at the “big picture” though, and I would say overall I am doing well. I had to drop a little CBT on myself (which is so hard, and the reason I see a therapist!) and give myself a reality check about how well I’ve been doing.

The only thing I am truly struggling with is exercise. I don’t particularly like exercising, so trying to psych myself up for a workout is like…I don’t know, pouring salt in an open wound. I know that I NEED to do it, but I don’t want to…haha. I think I will start slow on the elliptical or something and work my way up. I may also try swimming at the pool. Apparently I can take an Aqua class (which is like light resistance and stuff in the pool) so I may try that, it sounds kinda fun :)

My goal is to make it to the gym twice this week, so let’s see what happens…

What are your best tips to make sure you ACTUALLY go to the gym?

 

Also, this. One of my faves:

Love love love.

Love love love.

A Bit of Random

Hello friends!

So far, things are going good with the new meal plan. I am slowly weaning myself off of caffeine, sugar, and (overly) processed foods. I am not quite at the half-caf point yet, but soon! We have cut down our eating out habits and continue to try new recipes at home. I think planning out meals has been really helpful too. I just really want to be successful at this. I have a psychology appoitnment at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday so I am sure that they’ll take my weight simply as a measure of progress. Also, I want to hit 5 lbs lost so that I can buy some new songs from iTunes!

So over the weekend I got yet another tattoo! It was inspired by the book Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus, which is an amazing story about life and hope told from the point of view of two caterpillars. This is my favorite quote from the book:

image1 (2)

So here is my tattoo. Not only does it represent hope for me, but it represents transformation and change. Without change, there would be no butterflies. I changed a lot in 2014 and I plan on changing even more in 2015. It’s been a challenge to change my mindset regarding some things, but I can only continue to grow; I have no choice. And yes, I want to fly.

image2 (1)

I’ve started journaling again (yes, I even have a separate journal from this blog!) and I think that has really helped. My journal is a mix of everything: Scripture verses, thoughts, feelings, saying, song lyrics, doodles – whatever helps me to relax and get my thoughts out. Some day I will need to take a picture to share with everyone!

It is obvious that this post really had no direction ;) My brain is a little fried from work today. So, I will leave you what is currently on repeat on my Worship playlist:

Holy” – Nichole Nordeman

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong United

Lay ‘Em Down” – NEEDTOBREATHE

When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor)” – Phillips, Craig and Dean

Your Grace is Enough” – Matt Maher

This is Amazing Grace” – Phil Wickham

No Man is an Island” – Tenth Avenue North

We Fall Down” – Kutlass

Give You Glory” – Jeremy Camp

Hello, 2015.

I have decided to stop setting New Year’s resolutions. We discussed this in my BED after care group the other day, and we all decided that resolutions tend to come from a place of guilt and motivate you in the wrong way. That way, when the end of the year rolls around and you haven’t completed them, well…you feel kinda crappy! No thanks!

Instead, I’m setting goals. Not goals that are like “Ok guys, I’m gonna change the world!” but goals that are realistic. If you have heard of the SMART goal setting method (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), this is what I tend to use. There are a few goals that I am going to set this year:

  • Pay off my credit card debt by the time I am 30 in August
  • Track food eat at least 5 out of 7 days per week, including at least one weekend day
  • Call, text, or email a friend at least once per week
  • Complete my Roux-N-Y gastric bypass by the time I am 30 and continue to grow in my new life
  • Grow in my relationship with the Lord by spending at least one uninterrupted hour per week in some type of religious study (outside of church and church activities)

I don’t have anything besides that. I think that’s enough, and I think these are SMART goals. Will I freak out if I don’t meet them? No. These are goals, not resolutions, and I think that these all come from a place of positivity.

image1 (1)

I made this!

 

 

Speaking of positivity, I think that day one of my new eating plan is going well. I have tracked everything I have eaten today and while I am feeling the urge to eat, I don’t think it’s out of hunger. I have only had some fruit as my “sweets” today so I think my body is just wanting sugar. I am planning on a square of dark chocolate in a little bit to kill that craving. Again, if you use MyFitnessPal, find me as shrinkthatgirl! I’d love to have you on my journey! :)

So, as a motivator to lose these 25 lbs before surgery, I have given myself permission to get rewards (yay). Every 5 lbs, I will get a different reward. I plan on some newer, more awesome rewards once I have surgery. So, here goes:

  • 5 lbs lost: 5 new songs from iTunes
  • 10 lbs lost: bracelet from mantrabands.com
  • 15 lbs lost: 5 new charms from Origami Owl
  • 20 lbs lost: new art print
  • 25 lbs lost: new phone case

I will leave you with this. This is what I am going to tell myself every day for the rest of the year. Because if I say it enough times, I’ll start to believe it!

 

dreams-into-plans

Continuance

Finally back to the land of the living! I just spent a few days with my husband at my parents’ house. It was filled with good times and good food. According to the scale at the doctor’s office, I only gained 4 lbs though (and I ate a LOT. No binges though!). I think a lot of it also had to do with lack of water…OOPS. I have been like a camel today though!

Today I had a whole bunch of appointments for surgery. I saw a nutritionist, the surgeon, and had an EKG, chest x-ray, and lab work done. The EKG and chest x-ray were fine minus awkwardly being half-dressed in a hospital gown in the middle of the hospital. My boob fell out. OOPS.

Hospital gowns are hot.

Hospital gowns are hot.

I am going to assume that everything was fine with the chest x-ray and EKG because no bells or alarms went off and no one went running for a doctor. I should have results within a few weeks, I am assuming.

The surgeon was late to his appointment (surprise) but he took plenty of time to answer my questions. Mine were mostly related to after care and how long I would be out of work, if I could continue to take my psychiatric medications, pregnancy, etc. I liked him – all business but still cordial. I will see him two more times (once I am assuming for just a check in to see my progress, and once before surgery for a pre-op appointment).

I have chosen the Roux-N-Y procedure. He recommended it based on my age and my BMI and told me that this would likely have the best results for long-term weight loss and being able to keep it off. I had originally gone in thinking that I wanted the gastric sleeve, but I guess that if you have reflux (of which I have a little bit – not too bad, but it’s been bad enough to send me to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack in the past!), the sleeve can make it a bit worse. Plus, I obviously want to have the best possible long-term results. I will definitely be doing more research in the coming weeks about the procedure and making a list of questions that I have. I was given a pre-op surgery book as well, and I have been reading it off and on all afternoon.

My “big” appointment of the day was nutrition. I really, really liked the woman I saw and I scheduled my follow-up appointments with her. She was personable and above all, not condescending. She gave me a pre-goal surgery weight – I need to lose about 25 lbs by March. However, she also said that even if I don’t meet that goal, if I have been compliant with the recommendations, insurance should still approve me for surgery. She also stated that insurance approval should be submitted in February!

So, here are my nutrition goals:

  • 64 oz of calorie-free, caffeine-free, carbonation free beverages a day. She told me I could switch to half-calf and still use a straw. I am happy as a clam about this.
  • 3 meals and 1-2 snacks per day.
  • Find a protein shake that I like.
  • Eat protein first at every meal, my goal is 72-99 g protein a day. Calorie goal of about 1800.
  • Following the “plate method” at every meal:
    • ½ plate non-starchy vegetables
    • ¼ plate whole grains, starchy vegetables, or fruit
    • ¼ plate protein
  • Chew foods 20-30 times per bite, making meals last 30 minutes and stop drinking within 30 minutes before and after a meal; no drinking during meals
  • Limit dining out to 1-2 times per week
  • Start using MyFitnessPal (I made a NEW one: shrinkthatgirl)
  • Aim to exercise 2x/week for at least 20 minutes

Totally doable, I think. It sounds like a lot but I think with baby steps, I should be okay. To help with the plating, I am planning on buying those little plastic toddler plates that are divided (because, in all honesty, that’s what will be helpful to use after surgery as well…and they’re cute). I will certain practice drinking out of a bottle that doesn’t contain a straw but after I recover from surgery I will probably go back to one.

I plan on starting all of this on (you guessed it) January 1, 2015. Might as well go into the new year with a bang, right?

I also want to time it to start coinciding with my church’s Daniel Fast that begins on January 4 and ends January 25. One of my goals for 2015 is to grow in my relationship with Christ and I think that fasting (to a certain extent – I NEED to include protein, so my “fast” will be free of processed foods and caffeine, any indulgences, etc – basically clean eating). The point of fasting is to simplify my life and to remember that the Lord satisfies me. I found a great 21 day Bible reading plan to go along with this too. Also, I am excited for the support of the church during this time period.

As I do this, I will, as always, be sure to update you! I am hoping to do weekly recaps of what I ate, what worked, what didn’t, etc. As always, I welcome feedback!

Oh, and my mom and I got matching tattoos :) They are the Celtic “mother-child” knots.

 

Love!

Love!

Food and Religion, Part 2

Some of ya’ll may have seen this on my personal Facebook account (if you’re cool enough to be my friend ;) ), but I thought I would share with the world. On November 9, 2014, I was baptized at church. While I was christened as an infant, I chose to be baptized through immersion as a symbol of my acceptance of Jesus Christ as an adult.

Part of this process at church was sharing my testimony, and I would like to share what I wrote with you all:

It is not often that something which sustains your life is also your enemy. For me, that was food. I have spent the last 5 years of my life struggling with an eating disorder. Before I came to Jesus Christ I was miserable – depressed, lonely, and anxious. I rarely smiled. There were a few times I even considered taking my own life. I went through the motions of the day, just hoping to get by. By night, I ate my feelings. I feel empty inside, like something was missing. Looking back, I think I ate to try to fill that void, but nothing ever worked.

Even though I had been raised a Christian, I drifted away from the church in high school and college. I didn’t prioritize my relationship with Jesus, and looking back, I realize that was the part that was missing.

My life changed one day when I was in a bookstore, poring over self-help books claiming to teach me the skills I needed to overcome my eating disorder. One in particular caught my eye – it didn’t make those claims. It claimed that in order to overcome my eating disorder, I needed to let Jesus Christ into my heart. And as I read the first chapter in the bookstore, I realized that the author was right. I wouldn’t recover unless I put my faith in God and let Him choose my path to recovery.

Since I have come back to Christ, I am much happier. I smile again. I am no longer afraid to experience feelings, because I put my faith in the fact that He will take care of me. I have been in treatment for my eating disorder since June and am slowly on the mend, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I no longer run to food when my emotions become overwhelming, and instead turn to Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Today, I am getting baptized in order to not only show my obedience to Jesus Christ but to celebrate my new life in Him and the plans He has laid for me.

That pretty much sums it up. I know that while I cannot expect Jesus to lead me to freedom from my eating disorder alone, he can guide me along the right path. I cannot sum up my thoughts and feelings better than the classic poem, “Footprints in the Sand”:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

This song also sums it up. Currently my recovery anthem!

The Announcement!

Phew! I’ve had this update planned for a few days, but with lots of doctor appointments and the Thanksgiving holiday, I simply haven’t had the chance to sit down and write it!

So, I’ve got big news (no, I’m not pregnant!): I AM MOVING AHEAD WITH SURGERY! I apparently passed my psych testing with no issues so I was given the go-ahead to schedule what feels like almost everything but the surgery itself!

I am going back to the Cleveland Clinic after Christmas for a nutrition appointment, blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray, an appointment with an internist, and an appointment with the surgeon. All of these appointments are happening in just 2 days. I have one more appointment with the psychologist in January to make plans for medication management after surgery. I guess I should remember to bring a book with me…

I was really pleased with the treatment I received at the Clinic. The chairs were made for larger people (I even had extra room in the one I was sitting in!) and I got great customer service. Even the housekeeping staff was wonderful. My only complaint was the jerk on his cell phone loudly talking about his auto insurance claim, but he started to wise up once I started commenting on the parts of the conversation I could hear… ;) Also, I didn’t have to wait forever which was a plus. Hubby came with me and I was so worried about parking and walking to the building that I think we LITERALLY got there an hour and a half before my appointment so we sort of just people watched in the hospital. I am so thankful that I have his support throughout this process. He told me he will do his best to come to my future appointments, especially the nutritionist one, since he does a lot of the cooking.

The only thing I am a little bit fuzzy on is the “weight history” and “doctor supervised diet”. I am not sure if they will count my protein-sparing modified fast as a doctor supervised diet or if they’d put on me on a different one. Either one is ok with me, because I am obviously going to need to eat after surgery. I am already scouring the internet for recipes I’ll be able to eat. I need to start weaning myself off of sugar and caffeine as well – caffeine because it dehydrates you (I will need to switch to decaf) I have a realistic goal for surgery in mind: before I turn 30 in August.

In the meantime, I will continue to update you, fearless readers, on…well, everything. I may attempt a vlog at some point to share the ridiculousness of some of the questions on the psych test…

Being Thankful

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I realized that I am so incredibly lucky, in so many ways. I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally, through my good days and bad. I have a mother who has never left my side and would probably give me her left arm if I asked for it. I have a father who is trying so hard to heal our broken relationship. My siblings are supportive and fabulous. My aunts and uncles and cousins are more of a rock to me than I think they know. My in-laws and my husband’s family, though miles away, are still ever-present. My best friends, even though we are separated by hundreds of miles, are just a phone call away at 3 am if I need them. I attend an amazing, God-loving, supportive church whose members never fail to surprise me with their love and generosity.

I am so lucky.

Last week, I did an assessment for a young girl whose mother is an undocumented immigrant. Even though I had to work through a translator, the pain of this mother was palpable. She had escaped severe physical, emotional, and mental abuse in her home country only to face the same here. But yet, it was her daughter she was most concerned about. As we were leaving, I asked her if there was anything she needed. In broken English, she asked me to please help me find her children some boots. I cried in my car afterward, and it’s been a long time since I did that.

I posted a simple question on Facebook: “does anyone know anywhere on the west side that offers free boots for kids?” and minutes later, I had several replies offering to buy these kids boots. People who had never even met these children. I was so shocked and humbled. When I called the mom to ask her the kids’ sizes and let her know we would be able to get boots, she got quiet. When she spoke again, her voiced cracked and she thanked me, telling me she would now be able to give her kids some gifts for Christmas.

I vaguely remember being there. I’ve never been “poor” as an adult. I’ve always been able to pay rent, buy food, pay bills, etc. However, when my mom was raising me alone, I remember being poor. I remember using paper food stamps and the WIC man delivering our Cheerios and milk and peanut butter. I always had hand-me-downs. Christmas and birthdays were days that I was spoiled with new clothes or toys.

One thing that was never short in my house was love. I cannot honestly say that there was ever a time where I felt that I was not loved by someone. And, unfortunately, there are too many people out there who don’t feel that way. So many people who feel that the world has given up on them. People who struggle to find work, food, clothes, shelter.

I think that’s one reason I went into social work. I have been given so much, so I too must give. I’ve been hearing about “finding one’s calling” – and I think I found mine. I mean, honestly, my dream job is taking puppies around to sick kids at hospitals (my mom ever-so-gently points out that they are called “volunteers”) – but for now, this type of helping will do. Bonus points for the paycheck, too.

So guys, if there is one thing that I would ask of you as we move into the holiday season, it’s this: be thankful. Be thankful for what you have, because even if you think it’s not enough, it may be more than someone else has.

I don’t think anyone could have summed up what I was trying to say here better than my friend, LeeAnn. Check out her blog post here.

I am reminded of one of my favorite parts of the Bible, The Beatitudes (Matthew 5, 3:10 NIV):

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 

This is a pretty good video that sums it up, too :)

 

The Other Side

I used to be that person that thought things like gastric bypass surgery was for those looking for a quick fix. That they sought the surgery because they didn’t have enough self-discipline to change their eating and exercise habits. I tried and failed. And tried again, and failed again. And again, and again.

Now I’m on the other side. I’m seeking gastric bypass surgery.

And look, it’s even real. My packet came in the mail the other day.

IMG_0265

After doing a lot of research, I have pretty much decided that I can’t live like this anymore. I’m tired all the time and I have no energy. My body hurts. I get winded easily. My self-esteem is so far down the toilet that I think it may actually be in the sewer. I hate going out in public simply because I hate the way I look. My clothes fit poorly. I want to be healthy and have kids and live to see them grow up.

I’ve done a lot lot LOT of research in the past few days. Weeks. More difficult than I thought it might be. Evaluations, tests, consults. Lab work, interviews. Something that will take months rather than weeks. One the plus side, I was told that my insurance covers the surgery at 90%. They cover most stuff at 60-80% so that was a perk to hear.

Here’s a handy little wallet card (? – I have no idea wtf this is. Winning there, Cleveland Clinic.) showing everything that I need to do in order to be considered as a candidate. First step: psych eval.

IMG_0264

I am a little worried about this part to be honest. It’s not like I have the best track run with mental health history. However, I don’t have anything that is an “automatic” rule out which appears to be pyschosis, borderline personality disorder, or a substance abuse addiction. I plan to be open and honest with the tests and evaluations and during the clinical interview and take the recommendations and work them. Hopefully completing Binge Eating IOP counts for something, though. I haven’t binged since I started the program – overate, absolutely. But I never had the feeling that I was out of control while eating.

From what I gathered, life after gastric bypass isn’t peachy either. Always counting volume, calories, protein, etc. Taking vitamins for the rest of your life. Possible side effects during and after surgery. Behavioral changes.

I don’t expect a surgery to change my life without some type of intrinsic motivation, either. Weight loss surgery is a tool, not a solution. I will still have to stick with the aforementioned restrictions after the surgery if I want to be successful, which I do.

Obviously I will update everyone on my appointments, progress, etc. Today in group someone told me to start a vlog (although I seriously hate that term…sounds like something that would come out of your mouth when you have a cold). I may look into that!

Anyways, stay tuned…