Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

It is done.

The actual SmartLipo procedure, that is.

The healing process is just starting, and it hurts. And itches. And is generally pretty swollen, bruised, lumpy, and gross.

But it will get better, and I will be better for it.

I was planning on detailing the days immediately leading up to the procedure, but they didn’t really include anything special, aside from avoiding alcohol (which I’m pretty good at anyway), drinking a quart of water a day (which I’m decidedly not very good at, though I’m committed now), and picking up my prescriptions (which turned out to be the only part of this whole process I’d classify as “affordable”).

I picked up my prescriptions on Monday:

All these bad boys cost me a whopping $12.76. Thanks, insurance!

On Tuesday, I went to all my classes like normal, and then boyfriend and I headed up to Coeur d’Alene, which is roughly a two hour drive. We got into town about 8pm, and headed to dinner at a roadhouse type joint I’d been wanting to try for a while. I had some delicious pulled pork and grilled shrimp, and a sweet potato, which sadly I did not photograph. Sad, because it was epically delicious. I’ll snap a picture on a return visit. Promise. Then we checked into the hotel, which was a little dated, but contained a lovely, suite-sized bathroom and comfy king sized bed:

All this, and a view…

We spent the evening watching bad reality TV, and I took my first dose of antibiotics, and first shower with the requisite Hibiclens anti-bacterial wash as instructed. Hibiclens basically smells like rubbing alcohol/hospital hallways, is red, does not foam, and leaves your skin feeling dry and tight. Which was kind of a bummer, since no lotion is allowed in the 24 hours before surgery. But if it prevents infections, I’m all for it:

And yes, I politely wiped off the tub after staging this photo.

The hotel also provided this center-less soap, which at first I thought was kind of ridiculous, but ended up actually really enjoying:

In the morning, I got up about 6:30, called for room service, and took my second Hibiclens-required shower. I picked the hotel because it was the best deal, but mostly because it came with room service. Because I do not do mornings (willingly) and getting up to drive somewhere sounded like a lot of work. I had some delicious French toast crusted with almond flakes and drizzled with a huckleberry compote:

This cost half as much as the room. Seriously. So either the room was a *really* good deal…

After breakfast, which was counter-intuitive to have before a surgical procedure, I dried my hair and gulped down my handful of pills about 45 minutes before I was supposed to be at the surgeon’s office:

Two painkillers, two anti-anxiety/muscle relaxers, and one anti-nausea pill. Done.

Then I had some free time to kill, which I used to pace around nervously and take pictures of my old tummy in the mirror. Because while it is (finally) going away, it will always have been a part of me:

Sweatpants are sexy.

We finally headed out to the doctor’s office and got there promptly at 9:15. At that point, I was still marveling at how I didn’t quite yet feel the effects of the medication, and wondering what it was going to do to me, since taking 2 substantial doses of Ativan is essentially what I presume crack would be like. My awesome nurse, who rotates between calling me “sunshine,” “girlfriend,” and “sweet pea,” settled me into a cushy chair to wait. About five minutes later, I informed her I was going to vomit. My French toast had turned a marvelous blue color (no pictures of that). That was the point where I realized the drugs had kicked in and I no longer cared what was going on around me.

Somewhere in all of this, I donned on my extra-sexy disposable panties and robe they gave me (I assume the nurse was involved in the process, but honestly, I remember very little), took some pre-op pictures, and walked down the hall to the surgery room. The nurse put some little covers over my eyes, and for the next three or so hours, I recalled vague snippits of conversation, saying “Ow” a few times when asked if I needed more local anesthetic on my tummy, and at one point the surgeon noting they’d taken out a liter of fat.

SmartLipo didn’t really hurt too much while it was happening. I could vaguely feel the instrument under the skin moving around, but by that point, the Ativan had done it’s work and I could have cared less. It took me a full 24 hours to realize that two of the incisions are about an inch up from my lady-parts. Do no remember the surgeon being down there…

Eventually, they stood me up, assessed, laid me back down, took off some more fat, and called it good. Then the nurse had me stand and balance against a counter while she zipped me into my compression garment. Which, I might add, is crotchless and has simultaneously become my best friend/worst enemy. My bra was very bloody and gross from things running up my back (this is normal, apparently), so we took that off, and she took me to the recovery room to hang out for a little while until I was coherent. Boyfriend had apparently been at the grocery store for most of this time, and him and the nurse chatted about the medical benefits of orange juice and saltines while I munched on some of my own saltines, apple sauce, and apple juice. When I was mostly back on the same planet as everyone else, the nurse helped pour me back into my clothes and the doctor wheeled me out to my truck in a wheelchair. I remember thinking at the time that it was odd for the actual doctor to do that, so bonus points for him.

Back at the hotel all of 5 minutes later, I curled up into bed and promptly slept for the next six hours.

I woke up long enough to direct boyfriend to purchase me a mushroom-swiss burger and salad (they said to eat whatever I wanted…) and went back to sleep until he got back from picking up dinner. By that point it was about 8pm. I ate about half my burger (which was delicious, and everything I was hoping for), took one painkiller, and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I got out of bed (which hurt a lot), and we checked out of the hotel before heading to the surgeon’s office for a post-op check up. We pulled into the parking lot at the same time as the doctor, headed up to the exam room, and I got to change into another fashion-forward pair of disposable panties for round two of picture taking. This time, I got a sweet print out of before and after shots. The doctor said everything looked good, the nurse changed my bandages and dressed my incisions (I have four of them, one below each side of my ribs and two about an inch above my ladyparts), gave me instructions for my first post-op shower (which couldn’t happen for 48 hours), and boyfriend and I headed home.

Somewhere along the way, he decided it was necessary to go to Harbor Freight, so we drove back through Washington, which was a terrible idea, because Washington’s idea of road maintenance is to not do it. Bumps were not my idea of fun, but I survived. We swung into Target for a few minutes so I could buy some boyshorts (these, I’ve learned, are the post-op undergarment of choice, because they fit nicely over the compression garment, which is crotchless). Limping around was actually a nice change after not moving for 24 hours. We swung through Hu Hot Mongolian grill for lunch (win, as I could get mostly veggies and a giant 7-up zero with cherry!) and then drove the rest of the way home. Where I promptly went back to bed for the rest of the day.

On Friday, I waited for boyfriend to get home from work so I could shower and wash my compression garment. By hand. It took forever to dry, which sucked, because while I was ecstatic to get it off for a while, by the time it was dry three hours later, I was achy and ready to put it back on. They recommend you buy two for this reason, but at $100 a pop, I couldn’t justify it for something I’ll only wear for two weeks of my life. The nurse said that was okay…

I was only allowed in the shower for 15 minutes (I’m not good at short showers…sue me…I had enough 2 minute dirty-water ones when I was a kid to make up for it) and boyfriend had to stand there the whole time to make sure I didn’t pass out, as per the doctor’s orders. I was really sore and limpy the next day (turning over in bed, standing up, and bending over are decidedly not fun), and I have a strange sore/numb sensation on my stomach that I’m not a fan of, but it’s supposed to go away in 6-8 weeks. All in all, the experience has been pretty manageable, and I’m able to get around the house now without too much discomfort. I’m applying cold for an hour or two each day to help with swelling and taking it easy. And hanging out with my cat.

Pictures of the results, coming up…


The Best Chicken I Have Ever Made

Posted: January 26, 2012 in weight loss

I experimented with a new recipe tonight.

I loved it.

Boyfriend loved it.

I’m pretty sure you will love it.

And it’s mostly made in the slow cooker, which makes it super easy and perfect for busy work days. Besides the slow cooker, the whole thing is made in one skillet. If it means less dishes for me, I’m in.

It’s a spin on one of my favorite Mexican dishes, Pollo a la Crema. Healthy style.

Pollo a la Crema


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cans fat free reduced sodium chicken broth

1 tsp each chili powder, paprika, red pepper, celery seeds, dried cilantro, garlic salt, onion powder, and hot sauce

24 mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 tomato, finely diced

2 cups fat free sour cream

1/4 cup Philadelphia Cooking Cream

3 tablespoons Smart Balance Light

1 tablespoon olive oil


Place chicken breasts in a 4 quart slow cooker, add half the spices, and pour in chicken broth. Set to high and allow to cook for 5-6 hours, until chicken is tender and flakes apart. Remove chicken and flake by pulling apart with forks. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Slice mushrooms and saute over medium heat with Smart Balance and olive oil until tender. Add tomato, 1 cup of reserved chicken broth, and the remaining spices. Stir in cooking cream and sour cream and cook until well blended, about three minutes. Stir in flaked chicken and an additional 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes.

Makes 6 delicious servings.


Use the remaining cooking liquid as part of the water for a side of rice.

Okay, so maybe in the future, this plate needs more veggies on it. But tonight, I just wanted to revel in this delicious, creamy, sauced-up, tender, amazing chicken with sides the way it comes at my favorite Mexican restaurant. It was everything I hoped it would be.

And at 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points per serving, it’s a no guilt dinner that leaves me with plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.



2012 is going to be a great year.

I can feel it.

It’s starting off on the right track.

A few weeks ago, I auditioned for the music program at my university. This raised some eyebrows, because I’m a) not a music major b) have essentially no music background and c) am almost done with an advanced degree in something else entirely.

I was terrified of this audition, because to be told no at this audition would have felt like being told “Sorry…you just can’t sing. We don’t see potential here.”

Waiting was a big test of patience. It was almost a month before I got the final word that I had passed, been assigned to a voice studio and choir, and could register for classes.

That’s right. 3 semesters out from finishing my PhD, I’m enrolled in all undergraduate music classes.

It’s going to be strange going to classes again. But I’m excited.

I’m also doing something a little out there, and investing in me this year: I’m having SmartLipo, which is essentially the newest format for liposuction, performed with lasers.

It’s expensive.

It’s costing me, all said and done, half of what I make in a year. (I pulled this off with some extreme budgeting…bye bye iPhone…and a payment plan).

I’ve been self-conscious about my weight and my stomach for a long time. As long as I can remember. A few years ago I got tired of people asking if I was pregnant, so I started doing Weight Watchers and exercising like a fiend.

I lost over 25 pounds.

I’m only 5 feet tall, so that was significant. I’m currently only about 20 pounds from my super-pinnacle of achievement goal weight of 105 pounds, and I’d be happy with making it to 110. I’m not overweight, and in general I’m pretty happy with my size. I’ve cut out soda, candy, butter, white bread, full-fat everything, and anything fast food, besides the occasional Whopper (plain, with cheese, add barbeque sauce) from Burger King that I generally get twice a year, at Fourth of July and Christmas when boyfriend and I head over the mountains to visit his family. I’ve reduced portion sizes, taken to measuring everything, and acquired a Bowflex Treadclimber (second hand). On top of classes at the gym.

After a couple of years of that, I got discouraged and gave up. Because my stomach wasn’t getting any smaller or less-pregnant looking, despite the fact that I’d lost a lot of weight and developed abs of steel beneath it all.

Why exercise and give up all the foods I love if I wasn’t feeling any better about the one part of my body I’m self conscious about?

I binged and gave up exercise for a while. But I realized that I didn’t miss huge portions, or regular soda, or fast food. I did sort of miss exercising. I just needed an added boost.

I got a doctor’s opinion, and a second opinion. It turned out, I wasn’t failing in my diet and exercise routine. I’m just built this way, and genetically, my extra weight wants to go straight to my stomach. The bottom line was, there isn’t much I can do about it short of a) going hardcore-all-out-bodybuilding or b) having surgery.

I don’t particularly want to be a body builder. And I have a friend who does it, and it’s expensive when you add up all that goes into it. So I picked surgery. And a good combination of yoga, pilates, tabata, and recommitment to my Weight Watchers plan.

I don’t expect surgery to give me a six-pack or fix all my body issues.

I do expect it to give me the boost I need to continue moving forward with my weight loss goals, and an added dose of confidence that I believe I deserve after all the hard work I’ve put in on changing my attitude and response to life in the last few years.

I’ve done a lot of work on me.

It’s time for the outside to match the inside.

So there we have it…two major major steps I’ve taken toward building something amazing in 2012. It’s a new beginning that has been in the works for a long time.

I love when a plan comes together.

Part I. So here’s the thing: I know I’m not technically *that* overweight, but I am a bit heavier than I should be for my height and build. I’m 5 feet tall (at least that’s what I’m going to continue telling everyone, and myself) and as of right now, I weigh about 135 pounds. The recommended healthy weight for someone my height is between 105 and 115 pounds. As of right now, my body mass index (BMI) is just high enough to put me in the “overweight” category, at about 26.36. Recommended healthy BMI for females is between 18.5 and 24.99. You can check your BMI and read more helpful information here.

Ideally, for my height, I would like to get down to the 105-110 pound range. That should put my BMI at about 20, which is well within the healthy range for my body. I imagine that my reasons for wanting to get down to a healthy weight are much the same as most people’s. I want to feel better about myself, and look better overall, as well as feel better about the way I’m taking care of my body. I haven’t always been very kind to it, and I know that I need to pay more attention to what I put into it. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, because making changes can seem so overwhelming.

Also, I really like food. I love cooking and baking, and I also love eating out. Growing up, healthy eating was never really emphasized, and we were pretty much allowed to have whatever we wanted when there was money for it. There wasn’t always, of course, and so there was a lot of cheap, unhealthy food thrown into the mix as well…SPAM and lots of Macaroni and Cheese come to mind (sometimes together). My dad and grandfather were pretty dramatically overweight, and my mom gained a lot of weight after her pregnancies, so I was exposed to that early on. On the other hand, I also knew a lot of other girls with eating disorders who went the extreme other direction, so especially as a teenager I often felt conflicted between wanting to eat whatever I wanted, and on the other hand wanting to starve to be skinny because my friends were doing it. I don’t advocate either.

I packed on a lot of weight after I finished college because I became less active. One thing about living in Seattle was that I walked everywhere, and that kept my weight at a pretty stable 115 – 120 pounds for most of college. When I moved to Eastern Washington, I hit the double whammy of being depressed, driving everywhere, and on top of that working in a little diner with delicious but greasy food. By the time I got serious about doing something about my weight two years ago, I was up to the heaviest I had ever been, almost 150 pounds. I started Weight Watchers in January of 2009 and lost a decent amount of weight. At one point, the combination of being very strict about what I was eating and working out up to 4 hours a day doing yoga, pilates, kick boxing, ballet and spinning helped me get down to 120 pounds.

Then life intervened. School got more difficult, I didn’t have very much time for exercise, and after more than a year of depriving myself of the foods I loved, I was headed for a meltdown. Things got more intense with my family, my grandmother died, and I hit a low point where food was a big source of comfort. I packed 15 pounds back on, and that’s where I’m at right now. The only thing more frustrating than trying to lose weight is having to lose weight you’ve already lost once.

But I have added motivation now. The band is a major source of that. I want to look good on stage, and of course that will be a major source of confidence. I also want to feel better for me, after spending so many years being anxious and depressed and down on myself. Instead of major dramatic extremes, I’m trying to make better, more balanced decisions about what I eat and work in short bouts of exercise. A couple of months ago I bought a Bowflex Treadclimber TC3000, and I love the workout I get from using it. It’s low impact on my joints, but very effective.

I’m trying to make it easier on myself to eat healthy by preparing on the weekends for the week ahead. Today I prepped salad fixings for the week: lettuce, peas, kidney beans, baby corn, mushrooms, beets, hard boiled eggs, and imitation crab. I have no problem eating the same thing several days in a row, so this system works out pretty well for me. This is what roughly 4 lunches or dinners will look like this week:

Salad with lettuce, beets, peas, tomato, baby corn, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, kidney beans, and imitation crab, topped with low-fat ranch dressing.

In other news, I figured it would be good to have a starting point for my weight loss this time. I wish I had taken before and after pictures as I made progress two years ago when I was losing weight regularly, because I think it can be great motivation for keeping up with the healthy decision making. So here you have it – me at this starting point:

Day 1 of the Quest to Not be Fat Anymore...

5’0, 135 pounds, and ready to make some healthy changes…