Knock, knock–anyone home?

*blows the cobwebs away*

Helloooooooooo?

Yeah, I’m still here. Just not much to say.

So… the lowest I’ve gotten was 183, back in September. Before then I’d been hovering around 189 for about a month, so it was a good time to update my tracker, lol. Between then and now, I’ve been right around 187 so not really tracking again. But, again, the scale today was back down to 184.5

In short, the scale a year ago said 187 and it has ranged between a high of 193 and a low of 183 for that year.

I’ll call that maintenance Winking smile

Now. Do I want to be in maintenance? Well… I’m 2 1/2 years out. Let’s look at our handy-dandy ‘Averages’ chart again:

Time from Surgery

Percentage

Pounds to lose for me

Goal weight for me

Date

1 Mo.

20%

31.47

285.53

09/09/10

3 Mo.

38%

59.80

257.20

11/09/10

6 Mo.

57%

89.70

227.30

02/09/11

9 Mo.

66%

103.86

213.14

05/09/11

12 Mo.

73%

114.87

202.13

08/09/11

15 Mo.

73%

114.87

202.13

11/09/11

18 Mo.

73%

114.87

202.13

01/09/11

24 Mo.(2 Yr)

76%

119.60

197.40

08/09/12

3 Years

71%

111.73

205.27

08/09/13

5 Years

66%

103.86

213.14

08/09/15

See those rows highlighted in red? That’s what I’m between right now. It means that, on average, I would be perfectly fine and considered a surgical success between 197.4 and 205.27 pounds. I’m at 184.5 with a high this past 12 months of 193.

Again, I’ve said it before, many many many people lose MORE than the average, losing ALL their excess weight, plus some. Some lose LESS than the average. I’m pretty happy to have lost more than the average, although not all of my excess weight (as a refresher, in my case I define that as any weight that puts me over a high normal BMI of 25, which is 160 pounds for me). To reach my goal weight there’s still about 25 pounds to go. When I started this, that 25 pounds seemed like The Great Wall of China. During my journey it went down to more like a picket fence. Now, it’s The Great Wall of China again, but I’m more content to let that wall be.

I just realized that I made almost this exact same post a year ago – (Perspective) – so I guess it’s good to know I still feel the same way, lol.

Anyhoo.. I’m still here Smile

Since I’m not providing as much in the way of inspiration and recipes, let me direct your attention to two blogs I follow for MY inspiration when it comes to what to eat, etc.

The World According to Eggface
Bariatric Foodie

If you don’t already follow these lovely ladies, I highly suggest it!

Until then, if you have anything you would like me to post about, I’m happy to oblige, I just don’t have anything original to say of my own right now Open-mouthed smile

Two Year ‘Surgiversary"’

Wow. It’s been two years.

So, my thoughts…

I haven’t quite reached my final goal, BUT, I’m relatively okay with that. Today I’m at 189. A year ago I was at 197.5. The lowest I’ve been was 185.5 back in January. So I guess you could say I’m kind of in maintenance mode (although I was 185 in January, I’ve been consistently a couple pounds up or down of 190 since about March) or a reeeeaaaalllly long stall, lol.

If you look at the chart that lists the average weight lost after surgery, it says that at the 12 month, 15 month, and 18 month marks people have lost an average of 73% of their excess weight. At 24 months that number is 76%. I’ve lost 81% of my excess weight.

Are there people that have lost it all by now? Sure! Do they have some magic secret? No… Are they any better than me? Nope, just different.

Am I happier and healthier. Heck YES.

Last month I went to the mall and a ton of stores were having sales. Lane Bryant was closing so I went in. Not a lot of stock left, but there was almost NOTHING in the store I could wear anymore. I’m at the bottom of their sizes now when I used to be hovering near the top. I went into CJ Banks because they were having a sale and while there were things I could wear, again, it was almost the smallest size they carried. Fortunately, I remembered that there was a Christopher Banks in that mall as well (the non-plus size version of the same store). I found a dress in a size 16 that I loved. And it was too big! I tried the 14. It was better but I decided to go see if there was a 12. Now, there wasn’t so I’m not sure which would have been the better fit, but still, I was amazed that I even had that option.

Another store was having another sale – Size L dress. Not 4x, not even XL in this case – L. (Different cuts mean that sometimes a XL is the fit on top or bottom, but sometimes it’s L).

Health wise, it’s fun to watch the blood pressure monitor at the doctor’s office. I never had high blood pressure (except when I was giving birth to my daughter, but that’s another story) but it hasn’t been this low in FOREVER. Sometimes the alarm goes off because it’s ‘too’ low, it’s kinda funny.

My knees are permanently damaged due to the abuse I have put them through (ballet and weight), but getting 125+ pounds off of them has made them much happier. The first time we came to our zoo here in Utah 3 years ago (so a year before surgery at 300+ pounds), we parked in the upper lot which meant a hike up a hill to go home. And I was MISERABLE. This past week we wound up parking in the upper lot again. And it was soooo much easier. This fall we’re going to Disneyland as a family. For the first time ever I will likely NOT be looking for a place to sit down every few minutes while there. I won’t worry about squishing into the ride cars (which is doubly good since it’s likely my 3 year old will want to be held on a lot of the rides, something that would have been almost impossible at 300 pounds). I will have to worry a bit about what to eat, but I’m armed with KNOWLEDGE!

So, bottom line, yes, I still really would like to lose those last 30 pounds, but I’m still VERY happy with how far I’ve come.

And, yes, I know I need a new picture. I’m working on it Smile

__________________

2 years coming up!

In just over a month it will have been 2 years since I had my surgery!

Instead of answering questions I made up, I’d love to answer questions people actually have. So. ASK ANYTHING. Really. Even if you think you know the answer, ask it! I don’t guarantee that I’ll answer every question, but for the most part I’ll answer pretty much any question there is out there about my surgery and life since it.

So. Ask away!

Pinterest

Tags

,

Yes, I’m cheating. This isn’t really a blog post, more a shameless plug. Sort of.

Anyhoo… yep, I’m on Pinterest, like half the internet. I have, of course, been pinning recipes. I have now organized a bunch of them into a board just for the WLS friendly recipes. It can be found here:

WLS Friendly Foods

There is also this one, where I kept ones that are vegan / vegetarian / pescatarian during Lent. Most if not all should also be WLS friendly.

Pescatarian / Vegetarian / Vegan

As for the rest of life – holding steady basically. I gain a few I lose a few but mostly end up right where I am 190-195 and 25-30 away from goal. But, I’m below 200, feel good and don’t have to wear plus size clothes. I’ve lost well over 100 pounds and that is AWESOME. Also, I’m ahead of averages, so I’m pretty happy Smile Do I want to lose those last pounds? Absolutely. Am I stressing over it? Nah…

Cocoa Almonds

Why has no one told me about these?

20120328-182938.jpg

They have the same nutritional content as regular almonds, but with a dusting of cocoa slightly sweetened with sucralose – and they’re YUMMY. I found this large container at my local Sam’s Club for $10.

Go. Buy some.

Primal Strips Meatless (VEGAN) Jerky

I know, meatless jerky, yuck! Right?

W R O N G

This stuff is GOOD. I was wandering through Whole Foods the other day and remembered that I had seen a meatless jerky (‘jerquee’) mentioned by someone. I hadn’t been able to find the brand they had mentioned yet, so I thought I’d try Whole Foods. Seemed logical.

They still didn’t have that brand, but they had another brand. Primal Strips by Primal Spirit Foods.

The base is either soy, seitan (gluten based protein), or shiitake mushrooms for their 6 flavours – Teriyaki (seitan), Mesquite Lime (seitan), Hickory Smoke (soy), Texas BBQ (soy), Hot & Spicy (shiitake), and Thai Peanut (seitan). The seitan based ones are, of course, NOT gluten free, neither is the shitake based one, but the soy based ones ARE gluten free, for those with gluten issues.

When I asked someone about meatless jerky at Whole Foods, they not only showed me them in the store, they actually opened up a package so I could taste it right there. I was impressed, both with their customer service and with the product, lol. It was the Thai Peanut which is one of the seitan based ones. It was yummy and I was SOLD. I brought home the Thai Peanut, Hickory Smoke (tasted, yum), and Mesquite Lime and Texas BBQ, neither of which I’ve tasted yet.

They have between 6 and 11 grams of protein per serving, 74 – 108 calories in a serving, and 3 – 5 grams of sugar. Oh and between 7 and 11 grams of carbs.

One HUGE plus they have over meat jerky is that they’re SOFT. With even some of the best jerky out there I could chew and chew and chew and it wouldn’t feel chewed enough. If I got a particularly gristly piece – forget about it, I’d have to spit it out.

So. Yeah. Go check it out. They’re at Whole Foods, but at other local stores too.

Homemade (homegrown?) Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

(PLEASE NOTE: you may be seeing this twice as I cross-posted to my Homeschool / Mommy blog. My apologies but I felt it was relevant to both blogs)

So, again, this is something I first saw on Pinterest. Here is the blog link.

Yogurt is big in our house. I eat it for breakfast a lot and both kids like it. So, when I saw this, I thought “I gotta try that”.

We always have extra milk and this seems to me to be a great way to use up milk before it goes bad. We do freeze gallons all the time as well, but still… I only have so much room in my freezer Smile

So, here’s how it goes. You will need (this recipe can be doubled, halved, etc. as needed / wanted):

8 cups milk (about half a gallon)

1/2 cup plain yogurt from the store (one of those single serving sizes of plain yogurt is perfect, after your first batch, just save some for this)

Sweetener (optional)

  • 1/2 cup honey (I used sugar free imitation honey and it worked great)
  • 1/4 cup Truvia / Splenda
  • whatever the equivalent is for stevia
  • etc.

Flavouring (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp almond extract
  • etc.

 

And here’s how it’s done.

This is a process that’s a minimum of 13 hours start to finish. 5 hours cooking & cooling, another 8 hours ‘growing’. I start it at about 5:00pm or later the night before and have yogurt in the morning. Just figure when you want it to be ready (unstrained) and subtract 13 hours, lol. I use 1 cup unstrained in a smoothie in the morning and then strain the rest (more on that below).

 

Pour the 8 cups of milk into your slow cooker. I have one that is the perfect size to just fit it all.

20120123-DSC_3863

Cover and cook on LOW for about 2 1/2 hours (Some things I’ve read say that the milk should be heated to 180 degrees to kill any bad bacteria. Other things I’ve read say that’s not necessary. I was curious so I did a temp reading and it was at 145 degrees at the end of the 2 1/2 hours.)

Turn off the cooker, leave the lid on, and let it cool for 2 1/2 – 3 hours (Again, sites say to cool it to about 115 degrees, I did a temp check and it was 114 at 2 1/2 hours.)

Take out 1 – 2 cups of the heated and cooled milk and put in a bowl. To that, add the 1/2 cup of pre-made yogurt, any sweetener and any flavouring (only use FLAVOURINGS in this step like extracts, not jam, preserves, fruit, etc. If you want those add them later. You can also, of course, skip it at this point and mix extracts in later, but they may incorporate more evenly while it’s still liquid and hasn’t started to thicken). Whisk well. Then pour mixture back into the rest of the milk in the cooker and whisk. (it’s all bubbly from the whisking)

20120124-DSC_3864

Now comes the growing part. You want to keep it as close to 110-115 degrees as possible for 8+ hours. I wrapped mine in a towel and put it in the oven WITH THE OVEN OFF. This just kept it out of the way, out of drafts and in an insulated space.

20120124-DSC_3867

10 hours later, it looked like this: (yes, longer than 8 hours is fine, it just may be more sour)

20120124-DSC_3869

At this point, it’s 100% ready to eat. However, it is thinish. If you want a thicker yogurt, strain it.

This involves a piece of cheesecloth, muslin, or even a coffee filter, placed in a colander, and put over a bowl. I used a piece of cheesecloth the first time, but could see that cleaning it would be a pain over time. I had a piece of medium weight muslin in my fabric stash that I decided to use instead. Worked wonderfully.

20120124-DSC_3871

20120124-DSC_3872

Put it in the fridge to strain for a few hours, checking it until it’s the consistency you want. This was mine after about 3 hours. Just happened to be the time we were gone this morning Smile

20120124-DSC_3877

This is how much strained yogurt I wound up with, this is a 3 1/8 cup container. There was about a cup more that didn’t fit.

20120124-DSC_3878

The whey that is strained out at the bottom is USEFUL, don’t just throw it away. Put it in a jar or container and keep it.

20120124-DSC_3879

This is a quart size Mason jar, so you get about half yogurt and half whey if you strain it as much as I do.

20120124-DSC_3880

Whey is nutritious, full of protein (Know those protein powders? Most are whey based). Add it to smoothies, I’ve read it can be used in bread to replace milk / water, in pancakes in place of buttermilk, etc. I used some from the last batch in place of the water in my pancake mix for the kids and it worked GREAT. Freeze it and use it in place of ice cubes in blended smoothies (I haven’t tried that yet but will soon), Google more uses Smile

 

If it’s still not sweet enough when it’s all done, feel free to add more. You can also add jam, pureed fruit, cut up fruit, whatever. My 2 year old daughter loved it just like this. A little imitation honey (because I can’t handle full sugar) and vanilla and she was a happy camper.

Girl Scout Cookies!

As many of my friends have reminded me by posting about their girls’ upcoming sales, it’s Girl Scout Cookie time again.

*sigh*

I love Girl Scout Cookies. In some ways it’s the cookies themselves, in other ways it’s the memories of my time in Girl Scouts myself.

However, I can’t have them. A couple here and there maybe, but even that’s technically a big no-no. So. Imagine how excited I was to see this post recently:

Girl Scout Cookie Combat – 2012

It’s a list of protein shakes designed to mimic the flavour of the cookies, minus the actual cookies. It also mentions ways to support the cookie selling effort without having to actually take the cookies home and stare you in the face.

Disclaimer – I haven’t actually tried any of these recipes yet, which includes versions for Thin Mints (my favourite), Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-so-dos, and the new lemon cookie – Savannah Smiles, but you can bet I’ll be adding the ingredients I’m missing to my shopping cart when I go grocery shopping tomorrow, at least for a few. Not a lemon fan so I’ll be skipping that one likely.

As soon as I do try some, I’ll let you know my verdict.

Protein Shakes

Ugh. Right?

Well, not always.

In a few days I will be 17 month post-op. I still drink protein shakes occasionally, usually as breakfast. I have tried many different brands and prepared them many different ways. We’ll call this review and recipes Winking smile

Pretty much the only way I’m willing to mix them up is with a wire ball blender bottle. OCCASIONALLY I’ll break out the bullet blender, but only on a rare occasion (like this morning’s iced coffee vanilla mocha experiment, which was awesome and described at the bottom of this post).

Melaleuca’s Proflex – Easily my favourite, but not as available to me as they used to be. It comes in Chocolate and Vanilla. 20g of protein, 2g of sugar, and 5g of fat. It mixes up smooth and thick. $24.50 for non Preferred Customers, 16.99 for Preferred Customers, 15 servings, $1.64 / $1.13 per serving. Mixes great with just water. Only available online.

GNC Total Lean Lean Shake 25 – Second on the list. Comes in Chocolate and Vanilla. 25g of protein, 4g of sugar, 3g of fat. Smooth and thick-ish. $42.99 for non-gold card holders, $34.39 for gold card holders, 16 servings, $2.67 / $2.15 per serving. Another one that’s fine with water. Available in store and online, only at GNC.

PureProtein 100% Whey – A good easy to get option as it’s sold lots of places. Comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, & Cookies N Cream, I’ve only tried the vanilla so far. 25g protein, 2g sugar, 2.5g fat. Can be gritty, but I discovered that using a sifter (like for flour) takes care of that a lot. Not as thick as the others, but okay. I can’t remember exactly how much this is, but I’m pretty sure it’s less expensive than the other two mentioned so far. It’s available at TONS of stores including WalMart, Target, and the Kroger family stores. Mixes fine with water.

BSN Lean Dessert – Super yummy. Comes in Banana Cream Pudding, Banana Nut Bread, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Fudge Pudding, Fresh Cinnamon Roll (the only one I’ve tried), Whipped Vanilla Cream. 21g protein, 2g sugar, 3.5g fat. Smooth and thick-ish. SRP is $31.99 for 18 servings. I’ve seen in less at my local health food store, but don’t remember the exact price. ~$1.78 per serving. Fine with just water. It’s available online, @ GNC, at my local health food store, so probably a number of places.

Now the not so good:

These are ones I have to ‘alter’ to enjoy them, or just choke down.

For chocolate ones, I find adding cinnamon is yummy, vanilla ones I add root beer extract, I made one I like with fresh brewed iced coffee and that may work for some of these too. If you don’t like one, try adding a sweetener. I know for ME, that usually that helps a lot. A spoon of Truvia or Splenda, etc.

Bariatric Advantage – Yeah, not feeling the love. I’ve tried the Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Banana, and Orange Cream. Also comes in Iced Latte and Unflavoured. 27g protein, 0.5g sugar, 2g fat. Thin, grainy – haven’t tried the sifter trick with these, I hadn’t discovered that yet. $59.95 for 35 servings. $1.71 per serving. Available online and maybe at your doctor’s office. Had to add sweetener or flavour to make these palatable.

Revial Soy – While I love their soy chips, I don’t love their shakes. Comes in Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cappuccino, peach, banana, strawberry banana, blueberry, and plain. The unsweetened and sucralose versions have 20g protein, 1g sugar and 1g fat. There is a fructose sweetened version. Another thin and grainy one. $33.59 for 15 servings or $59.99 for 30, $2.24 / $2.00 per serving. Adding sweetener or flavour made these drinkable, but only barely.

So, there you have it.

Quick re-cap:

Brand Protein Sugar Fat $ per serving (lowest) My Rating
Melaleuca 20 2 5 $1.13 *****
GNC Total Lean 25 4 3 $2.15 ****
Pure Protein 100% Whey 25 2 2.5 ?? ***
BSN Lean Dessert 21 2 3.5 $1.78 or less ****
Bariatric Advantage 27 0.5 2 $1.71 *
Revival Soy 20 1 1 $2.00 *

Other tricks -

This morning I mixed up a yummy concoction that triggered this post. I brewed iced coffee, used that as the water and then blended it with vanilla and a spoon of my kids’ no sugar added chocolate milk mix. Oh, and added a little Truvia. YUM. Iced coffee with protein basically. Turned out really good.

I’ve already mentioned that adding a little sweetener can help, unless the problem is that a shake is TOO sickly sweet for you. I don’t have that problem so can’t help there. Some shakes are improved by simply mixing them with milk instead of water, so that’s something to try. Flavours are also another trick, but you almost always want to add sweetener with them, unless, of course, they’re too sweet for you to begin with.

Vanilla – root beer, orange, almond, more vanilla, maple.Chocolate – orange, raspberry, mint, or try just sprinkling some cinnamon in.

There are a LOT of other brands out there, these are ONLY the ones I have tried. A lot of people swear by the Nectar brand, I just haven’t gotten my hands on any of those yet.

If I do, I’ll post about it Smile

Perfect Protein Salad, revisited

So. I love love love this salad, but was having problems. It seemed like after eating it for a while I would get a UTI, or at least an irritation. Then I found that in certain people, soy can irritate the urinary tract. I was bummed.

Then, I found a recipe for a chickpea salad. It was just chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, lime, red onion, and cilantro, but it was YUMMY. It got me thinking.

So, I tried making the salad, but with garbanzos instead. I also wasn’t in the mood to go through the soaking and cooking process for the wheat berries, but I thought I’d try to substitute cooked quinoa instead, after having a yummy quinoa salad at a local grocery store.

In short, while it’s not exactly the same, it’s plenty yummy. Garbanzos / chickpeas do have less protein an more carbohydrates, but also have more fiber. The quinoa and red wheat berries are equal on protein, but the quinoa has less carbohydrates and less fiber.

So. There you go. A substitute for those that want it Winking smile

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