302.8!

I am down to 302.8 today! I am less than 3 lbs away from the 200s! That’s amazing.

So that is a total of 211 lbs lost from my heaviest. 😀

For you that have chosen to go through gastric bypass or are in the early stages after surgery, you will hit plateaus! People don’t really talk about this. I have hit 2 major plateaus. Otherwise, it falls off.

I hit a plateau at 380 and one at 320. I seem to be through and back to losing now, but those sticky points are tough. Don’t lose faith. Always go back to the basics and you’ll come through it okay. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary.

I feel great today except for some unrelated jaw pain. I feel energized and alive. My activity level is getting higher and higher. My stamina is back and I can walk, work and even ride my bike.

I used to have to take short naps during the day or limit my chores/work/exercise. But no more! I’m awake all day, working, walking, riding, enjoying life again. 🙂 I hit the hay pretty hard at the end of it all, but that’s what you’re supposed to do!

Good luck to anyone contemplating surgery. It is totally worth it. And in some cases, the only cure.

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Twisted, Sister

I am eating healthy. I am exercising (stairs/cleaning/non-stop unpacking/moving boxes/cooking/laundry/beach walking/shell hunting–does that count?). I am doing all the right things. And I’m not losing weight.

We just moved from KC to Florida. It’s been hectic and my eating hasn’t always been what it should be, but! I am not eating too much. I can’t. I get very full at the drop of a sandwich and I just can’t physically put much food in my stomach. My stomach is still so tiny after surgery. So, why no weight loss?

I ran out of my furosemide. Generic Lasix. Water pill.

We lost our insurance at the end of May. My husband left his job and we just don’t have insurance yet. I was too busy to call the doctor or see someone before I left Missouri. So, I’m out. I know, I know! But. I had good reasoning for this decision. Let me explain.

I went on furosemide almost 5 years ago. It was a miracle drug. It helped me drop massive chunks of weight. The first week I lost over 30 lbs. I was full of juice. I was at 513 pounds and I dropped like a rock as soon as they gave it to me.

I was in the ER, diagnosed within hours, “Ms. Maggio, we think you have congestive heart failure.” They immediately gave me an IV. Pumped Lasix in and the juice came out! Immediately! I almost did not make it to the bathroom it was so fast. I lost over 10 lbs. of liquid (probably more) the first 3 days in the hospital. I felt like I could fly!

So I was released with a dose of generic Lasix that I have taken steadily since 2012. I was even put on two pills in 2014. After weight loss surgery last December, my surgeon took me off furosemide. No dose. Not sure of his reasoning, other than he knew I wouldn’t be getting the water intake I needed, at first. But I wasn’t losing like I should. So his partner put me back on one dose. That seemed to do the trick.

I can usually tell if I’m retaining water. My feet swell. I’ve learned to keep an eye on my feet. That’s typically the first sign. Obvs. It’s the lowest point in your body. That’s where liquid is going to go. Thanks, Gravity. Plus, with poor circulation (Thanks, Heart Failure!) that’s where most of the liquid is going to stay. I usually have cold hands and feet, too.

So, since I’ve run out of my furosemide, I’m retaining more water. It’s nothing like ER Martha at 513 lbs. My feet had ballooned to 3 times their normal size. Scary! That’s one reason why I headed to the ER. Nothing like that. I can just tell, I’m a little squishy.

So, I’m going to call one of my Missouri doctors today and see if they can help me out until I can find a primary care physician here. Without insurance yet, that could be tricky.

Thankfully! I am doing okay. Still have great energy. More than ever. I still have all my other meds. I was trying to get off the furosemide anyway and my doctors agreed. Plus, I have not gained any weight! That’s the great part. I’ve just stalled. I thought I was losing, but no. Every day I wake up and it’s the same.

True, I could be in a plateau. I hit one before. It happens. But I am doing everything I can to break it. Eating even less than what I’m hungry for (usually never hungry, but I am lately more hungry at night due to more activity during the day). I want to break this plateau, if that’s what it is. I want to only drink water. Working on it. I mostly do, but I like an occasional low- or no-calorie soft drink. Like half a mini Coke or Crystal Light.

I also feel my carb addiction creeping back in. I love carbs. Pasta, flour, cereal. I don’t really eat these, but I have a weakness for bread. I take little bites of a roll and I only have one, especially if we are eating out and they have free bread or something. But it’s so tempting to eat the whole friggin’ basket. I couldn’t even if I said, “Yes, more bread please!” as I wiped the crumbs from my very-full cheeks. I would totally throw it up or have to find the nearest bathroom and be miserable for hours. No, thank you. Plus, it would just stop up the whole works for days! So, I can limit, but I shouldn’t have it at all! AT! ALL! NEVER!

I am back on the straight and narrow. Mainly because I want to see that scale keep moving. I have a finite window here to lose most of it and I am very aware of that clock. It’s 12-18 months. It’s different for everyone. I went through hell to get that surgery and I’m not going to waste it.

Over the past few days, I’ve been back to salads, eating lean and limiting portions. It’s not hard, I just had to get my head back in the game and really focus. Moving just spun my head around like a Twister dial and my brain landed on all four colors.

This morning I am right back where I was when I left KC, 338.2 lbs. THAT is nothing to sneeze at! It used to be, my weight fluctuated drastically from day to day. 10 lbs. or more. So THIS is good. Not great, but okay! 🙂

Back on the very strict wagon! But glad to be here.

346.0

Finally. I was stuck for a week. No matter! I am at 346.0 lbs today. So that’s awesome. That’s a total loss of 167+ lbs. I’m sure my ex-endocrinologist would correct me on that number, but I would cat-fight-scratch her eyes out if she dared to curl her lip or clear her throat to say a word! I have records, Dr. Lady!

I feel pretty good today. I have my ups and downs, but I think that’s living without a thyroid or gallbladder. The gastric bypass scars have healed nicely and are fading. My stomach is evening out a bit.

My energy is through the roof sometimes! That’s the most awesome-est thing so far. I want to actually do things and go places. I have to take it easy or take breaks sometimes, but for the most part, I’m doing good. I volunteered at my daughter’s school the other day and I couldn’t have done that just one year ago.

I feel like a human again. I can mom and housewife like I used to. I have goals again. I have my life back.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday! I sure am. 🙂

Only Dogs Like to Eat Alone

My mom told me not to pet the cat or dog when they were eating.

“Why?”

“They don’t like it,” she summed up. “They’re territorial.”

Whatever that meant. I was only 5 or so. Just don’t do it. Got it.

I never really had a pet that I took care of. Our family had dogs and cats of the outside variety. No perfectly-quaffed poodles or sofa Shih Tzus. We had one indoor cat and one indoor dog before I turned 7. But Tiger ran away and Kelly the Collie up and died. The other animals?

We had a stray named Frisky. He was a tan, lean mutt from our country neighborhood. He stayed outside and my parents fed him scraps. He stuck around, occasionally let us pet him and hooked up with another pup. She was a mutt as well with doberman coloring. Black with brown brows and tips. She gave birth to over 27 puppies during her short life and we had an unintentional puppy mill under our porch.

The dogs got sick, some came down with Parvo (or that’s what I was told), some were shot because they teased our horses (One was caught nibbling at a run-down horse, meaning-some dog(s) or coyote had run the horse to death and then one of our dogs gnawed at its carcass. True!), some ran off. And at some point, we no longer had any dogs. I don’t know what happened to all of them. I really don’t.

We lived on a small farm. Dogs were expendable and unconsidered. Just a fact of life. I didn’t start caring for animals until I met my husband’s cats for the first time. I don’t mean to write so callously about these dogs, but I was a child and nobody asked my opinion as to the condition, well-being or healthcare of said animals. I can see now, it was a problem.

However, for their brief life, they ate well. Mom and Dad threw leftovers, scraps, meat, bones, gravy, dog food in their bowl on the hill. Also, there was an all-you-can-eat mouse buffet under the house for our cats; the occasional rabbit for the dogs. I didn’t understand or research the eating habits of domesticated beasts. That was above my paygrade. And in the 80s? No interwebs. Even if there had been, my parents wouldn’t have sprung for the luxury of computer connectivity.


Do you like to eat alone?


When it comes to eating, I get it, dogs and cats are in it to win it. The biggest mouth gets most of the food. And everybody knows it. You better be cool with that or risk a fight over vittles. Big dog on the porch always wins.

But thankfully, people are not territorial. We don’t push each other away from the bowl. We don’t have to eat shoulder-to-shoulder in a trough of slop. We all get our own individual portion of the beautifully-baked pie. But after weight loss surgery, my pie’s a little different.

Fixing dinner for your family after weight loss surgery kinda sucks. Knowing that you can’t enjoy what you’re preparing because you’re nervous about the outcome makes eating not as enjoyable as it once was. Whipping up a dinner or meal for others isn’t much fun if you can’t really taste it.

I try to make healthy meals, but it’s difficult. The flavor can suffer sometimes from a lack of salt or sugar or calories. That’s okay, but it is an unsatisfying task to cook for others and only provide a hot meal, not a delicious one.

I’m learning to accept it, but it’s so ingrained in my sex and culture. I am learning to eat on my own. Not share in indulgences. Eat my own menu. Savor my healthy cooking. Walk away in the middle of dinner. Allow others to prepare their own choices. Find recipes that satisfy taste and health. But it’s a lonely road to walk sometimes. I miss shared meals and food experiences. I miss connecting over food. It was a large part of my life. The biggest. Sad, but true.

Cooking and eating have been my favorite things. Food and taste and savory meals, those are my bedrock of love. My husband agreed to marry me mainly for my ability to bake an authentic Italian lasagna. Ricotta, not cottage cheese. LOL

My meatloaf was once described as crack. Highly addictive. But I can’t make meatloaf like I used to. Secret ingredient: Dale’s Seasoning. Which has twice the amount of sodium found in regular table salt. Two times more sodium than SALT, which is sodium!

Bad, Meatloaf! Bad!

Salt is toxic. Salt lead to my first round of heart failure. Salt is consumed at 2 to 3 times the amount we should have daily. With my surgery, I am eating significantly less of everything, including salt. So I’m able to put back in some of the sodium I reduced over the years. But I don’t want my family to have it either.

How do I love my family without food?

I have to release the burden/blessing of providing food and find my worth as a mother or wife by providing other things. What are those things though?? LOL I am trying to allow my daughter to have some control over food choice and prep. That’s hard, but she’s ready and able. I have to let go of her apron strings because she long ago dropped mine. I can provide her with self-sufficiency and independence. Those things are much more valuable than meatloaf.

My worth is found in another bowl. A water dish of my own. The one with my name on it. And I don’t have to share it with anyone.

I know there’s a balance to strike. I know that. I’m learning. I’m finding that balance. It’s just hard to change your whole lifestyle on a dime. But I am learning to eat like a dog. By myself. From my own special dish of value and worth.

Baked Corn Tortillas

I accidentally ordered white corn tortillas from the store. (We have store delivery here in KC from Hy-Vee. Thank God!) So, I looked online for ways to use corn tortillas. They don’t taste good unless you cook them in some way.

I found a simple recipe to bake them and I made the recipe even easier. Take a stack of corn tortillas and cut them into quarters. Two cuts and you’re done. Use a sharp knife. Throw them on a sprayed shallow pan. Spray the tops with the same cooking spray and throw them in a preheated oven at 350°. Bake for 10-15 minutes. That’s it. I took mine out, spread them out on a plate with paper towels in between each layer. You probably don’t even have to. And you don’t have to brown them like I did, above. Super easy!

Enjoy warm or cool. They are better than bagged and healthier, IMO!

No-pasta Pasta Salad (Ranch & Bacon)

Y’all! This is so good. Do you like Ranch & Bacon Suddenly Salad? Well-hold on to your cowboy hats.

I need protein and veg and this salad has both!

1 small sweet yellow onion
3 medium cucumbers
1 container of small grape tomatoes
1 small bag of frozen peas
Fresh or dried dill weed
1 cup mayo
Black pepper, optional
1/2 lb. crumbled bacon
1 tbsp. of whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Cut up one sweet yellow onion. Dice cucumbers. Cut the grape tomatoes in half. Wash and throw all the veggies in a big mixing bowl. Add the frozen peas. Mix with mayo and cream cheese. If you like more mayo, add more! Dill weed to taste. Pepper if you like. Add bacon and cheddar. Mix well.

You may want to add tomatoes as a garnish, so leave out until the end, if you prefer. Or leave them out altogether (if you’re like my husband). Washing the cut tomatoes helps get rid of the jelly and seeds inside if you don’t like those. Or you can dice a whole tomato if you prefer a different type of variety/flavor.

I recommend buying bacon by the pound, not bacon bits. Fry it up in a pan!! Drain well. The flavor is better. You can also sub in green onion if you prefer, for the yellow onion. Or scallions, or leeks. Whatev. Uber fresh!

The salad tastes impossibly fresh and the frozen peas help bring the salad to a cold fridge temp almost immediately. Enjoy! Let me know if you make it and what you think. It’s pasta salad without the pasta. Lower carb and you don’t miss the noodles, the cucumbers act as the vehicle for the other ingredients. IMO! I think it tastes a lot like Ranch & Bacon Suddenly Salad (which I love)! But this is fresh and more natural without the carbs of pasta shells. Plus! You can add diced hard-boiled egg if you like for even more protein. Yum!!

Eat, eat, eat! Without guilt. It’s mostly veg. Why not?! I can’t eat much, but I want to eat it all night long. lol

Current weight=381 lbs. Almost to goal. 😀

Veggie Pizzagna

Since I went through weight loss surgery, I developed this recipe from some I’ve seen online. It was important to up my protein intake and still have soft foods. I wanted to eliminate the pasta and this is what I came up with. It’s a cross between pizza and lasagna. It’s not too hard to put together and my family seems to love it! It’s pretty yummy.

4 bags of frozen broccoli and cauliflower
1 jar of pizza or alfredo sauce
1 bag of Italian cheese blend
Parmesan cheese
1 tub of low-fat ricotta
1 package of diced or sliced pepperoni

Basically, you boil or steam the veggies. Make sure they are thoroughly cooked, if you need the softness. If you like your veggies a bit firmer, that’s fine. But remember, you’re going to mash these up like potatoes, so don’t leave them too firm for that.

Next, drain the veggies if you boiled them. Now mash! I use my potato masher to smash the veggies to a very soft consistency. Then drain using cheese cloth or clean, dry cloth towel. Either will work. I tried cheese cloth and a towel works just the same. Make sure the towel is lint-free! The veggies are enough fiber for anyone. 🙂 You should squeeze almost a cup of liquid off the cooked veggies. Gather up your veggies in your towel or cheese cloth and wring them out. Just twist. You might have to wait until they are cooler if they’re steaming hot.

Drop your veggies into a bowl or back in the pan you just boiled or steamed them in (make sure the container is dry). Mix the veggies with your sauce. Make sure you don’t over-sauce the veggies, they should be flavored, not drowning in sauce. Unless you like that. 😉 Scoop half of the mixture into your baking dish. I used my two-handled skillet to bake in. Whatever works! Spread half of the mixture in your dish to cover the entire bottom surface. Make sure the dish isn’t too big, the layer should be at least 1/2 inch. You shouldn’t see any part of the dish.

Then, spread 1/2 of the ricotta on top of your veggie layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the Italian cheese. Repeat the layer! But this time, before you add the last of the shredded cheese, add a good sprinkling of parmesan. Don’t have to, but I like it.

The top should be covered with the other 1/2 of the Italian cheese and peppered with the pepperoni! Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes. Then broil for 5-10 minutes at 400° to really brown the top and crisp up those pepperoni. Looks like a deep dish pizza when you take it out.

So good!

Look, it’s not lasagna. It’s not pizza. But it is a lot healthier without the noodles. Bread is the devil. Lots of protein and veg. It does have sodium, but portion-control is key. Cut into 6 equal portions. I cut mine like a dessert pie. My husband eats probably two portions (1 portion and whatever we can’t finish), but my daughter and I can only eat about 1/2 of 1 serving. So cut it up however you like or just plain scoop it out with a spoon. It’s all ending up in the same place. LOL

Hope you like it. Let me know if you make it and what you think.

We love it! Mangia!

Enough for leftovers. Two nights of Veggie Pizzagna. MMMM!