Pondering on Thanksgiving Eve

November is a hard month. November 12 is the anniversary of my mom’s passing in 2000. Last year was my first Thanksgiving without my dad. It was really rough. Not to mention I was in a serious depressed state this time last year until I had some magical adjustments of the meds. I honestly had a family member recently tell me this was all in my head. Uh, yeah, exactly. I sat out Family Thanksgiving last year. Mike and I went out alone out at the casino and I am sure I was acting psycho. We just talked about that today. 

Thanksgiving comes with baggage from childhood and from my complicated relationship with my dad. I think being a holiday totally entrenched with food customs, it’s a tough one. 

Tomorrow I have a plan. And not everyone in the family is along for the ride but I plan on ignoring them and their unintended efforts at sabotage. The plan: turkey with gravy and Brussels sprouts for dinner. 

For dessert I made this:


It’s a sugar free crust free pie! I’m so not a baker but I made this so I could join in the festivities. Here’s the yummy recipe

Starting the day off freezing my butt off doing the Run to Feed the Hungry with my niece and 15,000 other people. I’m going to get my Apple activity turkey badge! See it up there? Just waiting for me!


I’ve been warming up for this days for sometime now with my attitude of gratitude. I take time every morning to capture at least 3 things I am thankful for that day. It gives me some perspective. Life is good. Tonight I am feeling particularly grateful that I am in a much better place than I was last year. 

Wishing everyone a very happy thanksgiving. Stay safe. Designate a driver. And for heaven’s sake — no political discussions at dinner!

Tales from the NUT

It drives me nuts that all my of my weight loss surgery forums use abbreviations. I’m still a little old school that way. When texting became a thing and people were substituting 2 for “to” and 4 for “for” and U for “you” — it was a pet peeve. So of course now I start doing it. 

NUT = nutritionist

WLS = weight loss surgery

RNY = roux en y (gastric bypass)

NSV = non-scale victory

There’s a bunch of others, but I digress. Back to the NUT. 

In my last post I talked about going to see the nutritionist and going to support group. Apparently support group is cancelled for November and December, honestly the time where patients probably need it most! And that was one of the things on my mind for my visit. How the heck do you do Thanksgiving?

Here’s what I got out of my visit:

  • I talked about my new found hunger and tracking that I am more hungry on running days. Found out I could have increased my portions to 1/2 cup a while ago. And I can have snacks if I am hungry. See…rulefollower strikes again! The book says do not advance past 1/4 cup until being directed to do so. And it also says 1/4 cup should satisfy you up to six months without snacking. So I didn’t snack. 
  • Thanksgiving. It’s basically the same rules. Protein first, then vegetable. My plan is turkey and Brussels sprouts. That should be fine. And I might bring a sugar free desert (pumpkin cheesecake or crustless pumpkin pie). I am NOT a baker so I may need to call in my wonderful husband for help. Growing up with a diabetic mom pretty much guarantees not learning how to bake for realz. 
  • I talked about my goal weight. I am still shooting for 120 but I told her I want to see what that looks like. I don’t want to look sickly. And I don’t want to set something I won’t be able to maintain. It’s not that far out of reach and it blows my mind. 

So…I left there knowing I could eat more food and I could eat more often if needed. 

And you know what happened?

This did! The next chapter: 130s.

Pardon the lack of pedicure. Since I added more food, I’ve budged the scale. 

The other thing is that now that I know I can have more food, I am less hungry. There really is an off-switch with a tiny stomach. You just have to listen to it. 

We are expecting that goal for me will happen around February at this rate. I am doing about a pound or so a week most weeks. 

Next month I get my vitamin levels checked and in January I get to see the doctor again for my 6 month visit. 

So there you have it…tales from the NUT. 

Let them eat cake

So now that I have made myself an open book regarding gastric bypass, I have to say I have had nothing but positive feedback. But there are people who don’t quite understand this simple fact: this surgery is not a cure for obesity. I still have to fight that demon every day. 

“So you can’t have cake? Not even a bite? Note even once in a while?”

The super short answer is no. I cannot. 

I chose gastric bypass over gastric sleeve specifially as a deterrent for eating crap that is too sweet or too heavy. Everything in moderation does not work for me. It will not ever work for me. My metabolism is broken and I don’t expect it to get fixed. 

However, there are tons of recipes on Pinterest for various bariatric friendly versions of pretty much anything. I am debating making a crustless pumpkin pie custard thing for Thanksgiving in fact. 

This week I made a recipe called Egg Roll in a Bowl. It’s super easy…basically ground chicken cooked with a bag of coleslaw mix, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. I tend to adapt my Pinterest finds a bit. 

So I am not deprived. I put a lot of work into make by my tiny little meals tasty. I have to downsize most recipes though, or make some, portion them out and then freeze them. 

Tomorrow I go for my visit with the nutritionist and my definitely want to talk about adding more food or maybe a small snack. I am starting to get hungry. I am trying to figure out the pattern. Is it when I use certain protein that might not be holding me over between meals? Is it because I’m running now and definitely exerting more effort in my workouts? Hoping she will shed some light. 

And as a bonus: tomorrow is monthly support group night! I am sure I will have tales to tell from Mr. Lapband or the Lollipop girl. 

The cat is out of the bag…

Well, I did it. I told my story on Facebook to my 500+ friends, some of whom I actually know, some just virtual acquaintances. The response was remarkably better than I expected. I know I was looking for support, but I als felt like if someone could learn something from what I am going through, I’d want to help them. 

This is the picture I shared, which is dramatic enough to begin with. 


And here is the post. 

Thanks to everyone for the overwhelmingly supportive comments on my new profile picture. I have written this post in my head a million times, and even needed to start a blog to figure out how to start. So I’ll just do this: on July 5, I had gastric bypass surgery. There’s a growing number of my friends and family that know, and with a couple of exceptions, the support has been amazing. Weight loss surgery patients commonly hear comments like, “you took the easy way out” or “couldn’t you just do it with diet and exercise?” Well let me tell you, nothing about this has been easy, and no — my body doesn’t understand diet and exercise. It was defending a weight and would do everything to stay there.  

Those of you who have known me for a while know that I have struggled with my weight for my whole life. In 2009, I did a medically supervised weight loss program and lost 75 pounds and was able to maintain a good chunk of that weight loss for about 5 years. Various medical issues like a pituitary tumor, sluggish thyroid, medications, stress, lack of sleep, depression and anxiety, and a range of metabolic issues made it an uphill battle to maintain, let alone lose. My metabolism is shut down. I was referred for weight loss surgery in November of last year, right before Thanksgiving. I was upset, embarrassed and felt like a failure.
I did months of research, stepped through a lot of hoops with the insurance company, and talked to friends who had the procedure and decided that this was the best option for me. I’m about 2/3 of the way to my goal, and it’s very slow, but that’s okay. It’s a huge lifestyle change and there’s a lot of rules. But hey — I am a rule follower. I’ve had great support from friends (and my bosses) at work. But you can read more about that on my blog, and follow the rest of my journey. Visit marilynunraveled.com.
The pictures here are from a trip to Mexico in 2008, 3 days before my surgery, and then today. It’s been a long road, and there’s more to go, but I invite you all along with me.

In addition to the supportive comments, I’ve also received a few private messages of encouragement and of thanks. People who were at a crossroads in their own journeys who may have needed a push. 

I feel a sense of relief now that this is out there. Since privacy settings in Facebook and Instagram are so unpredictable, more and more people were solving the mystery of why I eat 1/4 cup of food at a time. 

Feeling supported, grateful, and a little bit teary eyed. I have some amazing people in my life. 

Mirror, mirror…in the backyard

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I have spent many years avoiding mirrors. And even when I am not avoiding them, I’m not very kind to myself. So, we don’t have a full length mirror in our house.

As I get closer to my goal, I find myself doing a double take when I catch my reflection in a storefront or see myself in a full length mirror. I don’t recognize myself. That’s why I’m taking weekly pictures — it allows me to let my mind catch up with the changes that are happening with my body. So much of this journey is mental, and my mind is a trickster.

Yesterday, while out with the dogs in the backyard, I caught myself in the reflection of our woodshed and decided I needed a picture to see what I was really seeing. I still don’t think this is me.

Going mirror shopping today. I have to learn to like that person.

Mindfulness 

I’m taking a bit of a Facebook break to give myself a rest from the fallout of the election. Too many emotions are starting to stress me out. In just a day, I realize how much extra time I have when I am not constantly staring and scrolling at my phone.

I’ve decided to branch out the blog a bit. My various incarnations of the Hello Happy Pit Bulls blog were always about much more than the Happy Pit Bulls, and this blog needs to be about more than the unraveling of my intestines.

So let’s talk about mindfulness. The months leading up to my surgery were stressful for a lot of reasons. Still dealing with depression after losing my dad, struggling with some tough decisions at work, and feeling physically broken, I started looking for some ways to reduce my stress.  I actually took a training class at work about Stress Management and got some ideas about keeping a wellness journal to track things like sleep, moods, and physical symptoms and keeping a gratitude journal. I also started seeking some resources to help me better manage my anxiety and found a couple of podcasts I thought were helpful. One was 10% Happier with Dan Harris which talks a lot about mindfulness and meditation as the key to a happier, healthier life in interviews with famous people who practice meditation regularly. Check out the interview with the Dalai Lama. It’s awesome.

So enter the thoughts about mindfulness.

I started researching journaling techniques and discovered bullet journaling. Now, I am not going to be posting pictures of these beautiful habit trackers or spreads. I am not an expert doodler or hand drawn font superstar. But I did more or less follow the principles of bullet journaling. I’m using the Panda Planner.


This planner has spots for gratitude and goal setting and planning and weekly/monthly review and daily affirmations and more. It’s really forcing me to think about things in my life, the blessings I need to acknowledge, and ways to stay positive during troubling times. I keep most work stuff separate from this because quite honestly I would be horrified if anyone from work came upon some of the crap I have written in there.

So back to my Facebook blackout. I’ve spent my time away doing positive things like writing in my journal, searching for sources of inspiration on Pinterest and administering some self-care. It’s a wonderful feeling to be honest.

Now we aren’t going to discuss my planner/office supply fetish. That’s for another time. But I did buy a new Panda Planner that comes with coloring book pages! Therapeutic!

Badass runner gear

Just scored these awesome headbands from Hippie Runner and now I look forward to hitting the treadmill with tamed bedhead each morning. They come in all kinds of patterns and colors and they are definitely unique. 


If you want to get your own, here’s a coupon for 10% off their already affordable price. I got my grab bag for $20 and it included 10 headbands. Glad I found them on Instagram through one of my favorite IGers and huge inspiration, @phitnessprincess. Thanks, Beckah!  

You are Fabulous!

I was going through my Pinterest account for some inspiration for daily affirmations and gratitude and found this photo I took at the Sacramento Pride Parade. I was taking photos for the animal shelter I volunteered with, and the support of the community was overwhelming. Even tear-inducing.

Looking at this out of context I realized this is something everyone needs to hear and remind themselves daily. I mean look at those expressions.


We need to remember to be kind to ourselves. It’s so easy for me to doubt myself and that negative self talk sneaks in. Yesterday’s dressing room victory even had this underlying doubt. We don’t have a full length mirror at home. Not sure why. Even though I was pulling on normal sized clothes, I looked at myself in the dressing room mirror and said to my husband, “I don’t look as good as I thought I did. I have so much more to go.”

When I came across this picture this morning, it was a message to myself.

Part of this process is stalls. I have been floating between 142 and 143 pounds since mid October. I know it will come at some point, but that self doubt hit me this morning when the scale showed 144.2. WTF? I even ran yesterday! I know it will get harder as I get closer to my goal, but this is frustrating. What do I do? Gonna change my protein sources to lower calorie and lower fat content, add more water, and back off the intensity of my exercise and see what happens. Clearly my metabolism isn’t revved up since I am still eating 700 calories or less.

My progress looks like this:


I’ll just bounce around until my body or the scale decides to do something. So, thought for the day is that I am fabulous. It’s a process.

Dressing Room Drama

The last time I went shopping with my husband I cried in the dressing room because I had to go back to Plus sizes after being a size 14 for many years. It was heartbreaking and I felt like a failure.

I think that may have been the last time I tried on clothes as I resumed shopping plus sizes from Old Navy online.

Fast forward 2 years. Today, I went to the Gap for their Friends & Family 50% sale (code FFSALE if you are interest, through tomorrow).

I don’t know what kind of clothes I should wear. The don’t know how to shop. The whole thing stresses me out.

I picked up a couple of size S sweaters, waiting for some salesperson to give me the evil eye, then picked up a few pairs of size 10 pants. Anxiously in the dressing room, those pants just went right on. No crying at all!

Again, the sizes are a trip. I can wear anything across multiple sizes depending on who makes them. The LOFT makes me feel good with their vanity sizing.

Today, I felt like a normal person.

I asked Mike if I look like a normal sized person and he rolled his eyes and said “yes baby.”  Seriously. It’s a trip.

Now I have 3 pairs of pants I can wear to work without them falling down. Progress.

“It’s too much…it’s not good…”

So, I’m in the break room at work and this woman walks in and says just that to me. She said I am losing weight too fast and it doesn’t look good. I told her that it’s between me and my doctor, which she should have interpreted as it’s a medical issue so mind your own damn business, but no…she kept at it. And then she said she doesn’t understand how I am doing it because she is doing diet and exercise and it doesn’t work. I ended up telling her I had gastric bypass and am under the care of a doctor but I appreciated her concern. She shut up. 

I have to say most people have told me how great I look and how happy I look. Which is how I like to project myself even when I am not having a good day. 

I have told some of my closer work friends and most of my family but not all. I assume that people will tell other people but I have found that people are pretty good about keeping medical information private. It surprises me really, but we deal with a lot of confidential information at work, so perhaps that’s why. 

When I first decided to have the surgery, I was embarrassed and concerned about what people would think. I’ve found that as I get closer to my goal, I am way more open. I don’t care what people think. I have yet to have anyone say I took the easy way out, but I have a good comeback for that one.