Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let's Talk Sauce

I once read a little ditty that went something like "You can put ranch dressing on dirt and a kid will eat it"...or something like that. I almost have to agree with that to a point. My boy loves some ketchup and ranch dressing. When I go grocery shopping, I automatically buy another ketchup bottle that will go to the top shelf in the pantry. I discovered a package of two incredibly huge bottles of Ranch Dressing at Sam's months ago. I didn't hesitate, my friends. I picked that two pack up and felt so superior as I walked away knowing I wouldn't have to buy ranch for a month.  I kid you not, that kid goes through some condiments. 

Here comes the bad part. He's so wasteful. See, my boy makes his very own Special Sauce. I'm going to share the recipe with you. It's ketchup and ranch mixed together. Large amounts. He has to get the ratio perfect (God bless his OCD heart) because if it isn't, he will keep pouring them separately until the mixture is right in his mind. I can't tell you how many times I have sat across from him at the dinner table and bit my tongue because he honestly doesn't care if he's wasting. The ratio has to be just right. I got to hand it to the kid, he does his level best to eat as much as he can, but more often than not, the supply beats demand hands down. 

Last week I was at Sam's doing my bi-weekly trip. My coffee K-cup supply was low. That can't happen in my world. Therefore, a trip was needed. As I was walking around planning meals in my head for the upcoming week and trying to remember if I had enough toaster strudels for The Boy for another week of breakfasts, I saw the  most incredible sight.

A six pack of squeeze bottles. Lovely, plastic, restaurant quality squeeze bottles. My mind jumped to the possibilities those bottles could provide my kitchen, my sanity, and my grocery bill.  When I saw these six bottles were under $5.00, why, I just couldn't put them in the cart fast enough. 

Such a simple plastic container. Oh, the possibilities.

When I got home, I had to do some thinking. What exactly was I going to put in these six lovely containers. When I started looking in the fridge, I realized there were way too many bottles of condiments to be legal. Makenna loves the barbecue sauce like The Boy loves the ketchup and ranch. There were, no lie, 4 bottles of BBQ sauce in the door. It was time to get busy.

I explained to my son what I was planning. You have to fully explain and give him all details. I wish I had gotten pictures, but he mixed up his own Special Sauce. I was not allowed to touch the process except to pour it in the bottle. He made two bowls and mixed and tasted and added more of this and a little of that until it was perfection upon his taste buds. 

The Man also has a special sauce he likes on fries. I'm pretty sure the fast food golden arches has a similar sauce they use on some burgers. I mixed it up, poured it in the bottle and made more room in my fridge. 

I put the standard plain ranch in one, and ketchup in another. I still have one bottle left to fill. Contemplating some Duke's mayo to simplify the sandwich making process in the future.

Voila! My life is made simpler, there's more room in the fridge, and hopefully the waste will not be as bad. 

Some of you are probably thinking why on earth would I blog about plastic bottles. Because it was so simple a solution and not expensive. 

Now if I could just get some of that white sauce from the Japanese restaurant........

Oh! Can I just put this out there? Are my children the only people on this planet that when it's time to clean the kitchen after supper, the condiments blend into the table cloth and disappear and never make it back to the refrigerator? Literally every time I walk back in the kitchen after they've "cleaned" it, there sits the condiments on the table, looking forlorn and forgotten. Drives me insane. Yeah, venting that didn't make me feel any better. Just reminds me that until they all move out, I will have to go behind them and put the stuff back in the fridge. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's Been a While

Hi. Yeah, it's me. I know it's been a while. I can point the finger of blame to a few things that have prevented me from blogging. The Man bought me an iPad and my daughter kind of took over my laptop. Typing on an iPad can be on the hard side. Life got busy. I had nothing to say.

I would be lying. It's all on me. I think I had too much to say. So much, in fact, that my brain was a whirling  hot mess of thoughts that I just couldn't form a coherent sentence to put here. 

My therapist has told me many times that it was time to start blogging again. My friends kept asking when was I going to post again? My family is mad that I've missed important milestones and birthdays that I would have never missed before. I would always reply, "I know! I know! I really need to!" And I never would come to the computer and follow through.

In the past week, posts started forming in my head again. To the point that I knew it was time to start again and put it down in black and white. The urge to write was there again. Thoughts were coherent. 

Here I am. 

Hi! I've missed you. Lots.

Yesterday was my third anniversary of having gastric bypass surgery. Three years. Has it been that long? I think my jump back into blogging needs to address that aspect of my life so I can move on to the "Sometimes My Life is a Reality Show" posts to share with you. 

Where do I start? 

No one wants to be obese. No one wants to be morbidly obese in this world. Yet, it happens. I swear to you, you literally wake up one day, look in the mirror and think, "How in the world did this happen to me???" I did that. I looked, really looked, in the mirror one day and was just blown away by what I saw. Who was that woman? The puffy face. Eyes lost in a face due to full cheeks. I was just devastated.  

My mother had suffered many health problems by that point. I had to look at that woman in the mirror and make her realize she was heading down a fast dangerous highway to bad health. It was a numbing moment. 

Fast forward and let's skip the whole process of getting my family doc (who was just amazing and I love her to this day) getting the ball rolling. Finding the perfect doctor to perform this operation to maybe a year out from surgery.

The weight came off pretty quickly. The plus side of the surgery. You're so focused on healing and figuring out what you can eat without getting sick the first six months that it's a full time job. You're in a honeymoon phase of losing clothing sizes and getting compliments left and right. Pretty heady stuff there.

Then reality kicks in. If you're smart? You'll want to find out the root cause of that weight gain. What made you get to that size. Hello, Miss Therapist! 

You find out that maybe you really don't want to know. Maybe it's too painful or just to complicated to give that mental energy required to get to that root cause. You might even find that you avoid therapy a few months because DANG, you just can't take the emotional turmoil it causes after a session has ended. 

What many people don't realize is that you can regain after having gastric bypass/RNY.  Some of you may know someone who has, indeed, had massive regain after the procedure. The body is a complex and phenomenal machine. You can go inside and rearrange the inside, but it will eventually figure out what's going on and fix itself to a certain degree. It is up to you to learn new eating habits and implement a lifestyle change before that happens so when it does? You can handle it and go into what we post-op people call "maintenance mode".  

Sister here has had some major therapy during this time so I can hopefully handle this maintenance phase for the rest of my life. I'm not going into all the complex issues that have come up during my sessions. HIPPA and all that good stuff. I'm sure you understand. An addict is an addict is an addict. Once an addict, always an addict. Doesn't mean you are doomed forever. Heavens no. But, the "drug" is always there calling your name. Some days it's louder than others. Ahhhh, the siren's lure. My take on all of this? We self medicate. Addicts take it to a higher level. I self medicated with food. Food was my BFF. Food was always available in massive quantities and I took it that dangerous level. And let me tell you, when that BFF was taken away after surgery? I mourned. Lawd, did I mourn. In fact, I would be lying if I said I don't still miss it with a burning passions at times to this day. 

People comment all the time that I have amazing willpower. Uh...no, I don't. I really don't have any at all. I am terrified. I am paralyzed with the fear of regain. Of being that woman I saw in the mirror that morning all over again. I still see glimpses of her from time to time. When I was going through some old pictures for my Before and Now collage, Makenna asked me if I felt like her. I said I know that woman well and I know how she felt. I can't forget. I don't think I ever could. Back to willpower. What exactly is that? I mean, I do have a strong will. Where I come from we call it being stubborn as a mule. I am extremely mule headed at times (my husband can testify to this). I am also weak. So very weak. I have those days where I eat like someone is going to take it away from me forever in the next minute. Now, I can't eat massive quantities anymore. My pouch/stomach can hold around a cup of food. But I graze all day like nobody's bidness. If I eat too many carbs, I dump. (My husband got a Mac and I'm still learning how to use it so linking to sites is still something I'm learning. Look up dumping syndrome with gastric bypass if you want to know the details.) I can dump like a Queen. My sugar will bottom out. I'll get shakes like you wouldn't believe. I'll get all light headed and clammy. I'll have cold sweats that soak a shirt in a minute. Some of you might wonder why on earth would I do that to myself? I have no answer other than the drug was stronger than me in that moment and I HAD to have that extra taste of a sweet or fresh baked bread. Every once in a while I'll dump from something totally unexpected and it will catch me out of left field. I carry a protein bar in my purse at all times just in case that happens. I've walked around shopping while eating a protein bar to keep from passing out. I may or may not have nibbled on one in church during the service when this happens. That's the plus side of RNY. If you're lucky, you'll will dump the rest of your life. Yes, lucky. It helps keep you accountable. It keeps you mindful of what you're doing. Break the rule, ,pay the price. Trust me, that price is not fun and can be scary. Maybe I have some willpower. Maybe the willpower mixed in with good therapy, support from those around me, and lots and lots of prayers have me where I am today. 

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me. I thought of where I was three years ago and where I am today. And I felt pretty okay with it all. I still go to the gym on a regular basis. I will always stand by the fact that I will never love it, but I know it's necessary. I am into weight training more and toning what I have left. My brain still has serious issues with all the loose skin I still have. I know it's time to address it and get it taken care of once and for all. I think I put it off because it all has felt like a dream and that I was going to wake up and regain all that weight and I would need that skin to fill back up. Whoa. My therapist totally needs to read that. I bet that would be an epic session in just that realization. I still worry and obsess over  stupid things like "Will I be this size when my children get married? Will I be able to take a picture with them on their day and be a decent size and not embarrass them?" See? The brain is a fickle thing. 

I am open and honest about my whole experience. I put my three year surgiversary (an affectionate term we post-op peeps give our surgery dates) picture on the book of faces yesterday. I admit I was nervous. Why? It's like trusting your baby with strangers. Will you be judged for how you looked before? (sure, that's human nature) Will someone make a remark that will hurt you to the core. It's very nerve wracking. All I got was support. So many comments and all were positive. Thank you all. So much.

Am I proud of myself? Proud is a strong word for me. I am content at the moment. I know there is still work to be done, but I'm doing it. I know I will never reach that magical goal weight I have in my head. It's kind of unrealistic, to be honest. I am healthy. That's what is most important. I am healthy. I have a good grip on my recovery from obesity at the moment. I understand that there are things I have to do every single day to keep my health and grip. I will have to do them every day for the rest of my life. Some days I find that fact very daunting and I don't know if I can do it. One day at a time. One hour at a time. 

I received many messages on my picture from yesterday. How much weight did you lose? I deliberately didn't put that on the picture because it can't be about a number. When it becomes about a number, then the picture gets skewed and the true reason behind the whole process gets whacked up. I will tell you, though. I've lost 168 lbs. I've regained 4 and I believe that is due to the weight training and building muscle. Those four pounds have really done a number on my brain and I keep slipping into panic mode wondering if that's the beginning of the end. Aaaaaaannnnnndddd this is why therapy is key to me. 

There ya have it, folks. The main reason Miss Hope hasn't been able to blog much the past year and a half. I had to go inside myself and work on me. Truthfully, that is also a constant work in progress that I don't foresee ending and that's okay. I'm in a much better place now and things are starting to find a sense of normalcy and contentment that I've been searching for for a long time. I can't promise I won't blog about this from time to time. It is part of who I am now. It is my normal. I can promise to blog about my life because The Boy? Ya'll have no idea. Makenna? Wait til you hear what that kid has been up to lately. Paige? That sweet baby of mine will be 21 in April of next year. Whaat??? 

Here's the picture I posted on the book of faces yesterday and a bonus one! I contemplated putting it on my page there, but changed my mind. I thought I would save it for here. Kind of a welcome back present for you. 

The picture on the left is a month before surgery. This woman here is the one I saw with the puffy cheeks that convinced me it was time. 

Please take note that it just hurts my heart so badly that in the left picture, I was almost as wide at the door. This was before we left for the hospital that morning and I can tell you....Miss Hope was smoooooth. Nerve pills are awesome, I tell ya. Also note that in the right picture, I am sporting some seriously awesome heels. 

*** If you want to know more about Recovery from Obesity, my therapist is on the book of faces under "A Post-Op & a Doc". Look it up. Dr. Connie Stapleton is her name and she knows all about addiction and the recovery process. She has published books and I highly encourage anyone fighting addiction to check it out.