Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fitness assessment

Today, I had to get my fitness level assessed by the clinic. This is part of the requirements to qualify for surgery. Essentially, I was put on a treadmill and had to grade my effort on a 20 point scale at certain points of the exercise. Then I had to do push-ups. Then I had to show my flexibility by sitting flat with my feet against a wall and reaching forward to touch a sliding bar.

The treadmill scale was 1-20, with 16 being the point where you wouldn't be able to talk. I never got above 13 during the cycle, and my pulse topped out at 126, and was back down in the 80s two minutes after we changed to 'cool down' mode. I managed 12 push-ups (the normal kind) and I could have done more, only I had been leaning on the handgrips on the treadmill and my arms were partially asleep. I managed to touch the bar in the flexibility assessment, which the trainer told me most men couldn't manage to do.

All in all, the trainer told me I'm in pretty good shape, and I have a great attitude. She thinks I'll do wonderfully after the surgery. She was impressed that I've already started exercising and she even approved of the Master Cleanse that we did recently. She also told me that I have a lot of good dense muscle under the fat and that bodes well for not needing to have excess skin removed later on, as well as being a good indication of how much weight I can expect to lose.

Every appointment I've had during this process has been encouraging. I'm anticipating being fit, thin, and confident by this time in 2009.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

OK, 5 days.

I got through the morning of the fifth day, and finally got an urgent message from my stomach saying "get some food in here immediately". So I broke.

Lunch was the broth from some black beans we made in the crockpot + a few beans. Dinner was onion soup (veggie broth with sauteed onions and a splash of red wine), and I had a bit of a wheat roll before bedtime.

Today's been a challenge, because I'm in the bathroom a lot. I think it's subsiding, though. Breakfast was an egg sandwich on toast, lunch was a bit of meat on that wheat roll with mayo. I'm drinking a lot of black tea, based on something I was told at the bariatric support group the other night.

I've really noticed my face is thinner, by the way.

Tomorrow, I assume I'll be back to normal, and I'll devise a diet plan so that I keep the weight trend going downward. I also have a sleep study tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Day Four

Four days on the Master Cleanse...only I can't drink the salt water flush because it makes me gag.

I'm not really in this for the cleanse anyway - this is for mental discipline purposes.

I kind of see this as a purging of the psychological need for eating. There's Mr. Eat-when-you're-bored over there, and I just had the master cleanse KGB agents throw him in the gulag. Mr. Eat-because-it's-time was executed and thrown to the dogs yesterday. We're still working on capturing Mr. Eat-because-you-smell-bojangles-and-you-just-gotta-have-it.

Anyway, it's day 4 without food. Yesterday was a real challenge. After dinner time (See how hard it is to purge the dependency on food? We define time by meals!) it was constant stomach growling and demanding food. Whenever you get that urge, you drink some of the lemonade, and it goes away. Reluctantly. The word 'satisfy' doesn't come into play here. The urge just goes away for awhile.

This morning, I noticed a difference in the mirror. My face is thinner. I can't pinch a lot of loose flesh on my face and neck. This is probably just 'water weight', but it is an encouraging sign nonetheless. I stepped on the scale and I think I've lost somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds in these four days. (Don't panic, folks. When you weigh what I do, that's not an alarming amount.)

Anyway - I find myself longing for the end of this experiment. The down side is that when you decide to quit, you still have to wean yourself back onto food slowly, so you can't just break down and get a cheeseburger. We'll see how much longer I can last.

My one goal is to last longer than Bernie. Even though she made it 7 days on the last attempt, she's having a harder time than I am this time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Second Time Around

Two weeks ago, I decided to ask Bernie if she wanted to do the Master Cleanse again with me, and we started it again yesterday.

I decided that I needed an exercise in discipline, so far as food is involved, anyway. Basically, fasting for 10 days (only drinking the lemon drink for sustenance) should break the psychological ties to eating that tend to derail my attempts to lose weight.

If you'll recall, I made it 1 day on this cleanse last time, while Bernie made it 7 days (we had a family event, so she ended it early). Today is the beginning of the second day, and so far, so good. I wasn't actually hungry at all yesterday - while I did have some mild urges to eat, they were based on habit, not hunger, and were easy to resist.

I'm intending to go all the way on this one - 10 days. I'm still deciding if I want to follow that up with a week or so of liquid diet, or just with traditional dieting. My rationale is that this will definitely shrink my stomach and break the habits of eating, so dieting should be very easy after the cleanse.

I've probably told everyone that reads my blog this in person already, but just in case you don't already know - I'm intending to have a gastric bypass at the end of the year. I've met the criteria, and have been going to various appointments to get all the prerequisites out of the way for insurance, etc. Once I've done all that homework, I can get on the schedule for surgery. The surgeon told me that the more weight I can lose before the operation, the better my chances are for having zero complications. Therefore, I'm trying to diet, exercise, and think rationally about food. I'm also practicing things like chewing my food better, so that I can be better prepared for life after a bypass.

I'll make a longer, more detailed post about gastric bypass later on.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Would Walk 5.8 miles...and I Would Walk 5.8 more...

Yesterday, on a wild suggestion from me on Friday, Bernie and I got up, put on our walking shoes, and hiked down the road to the place where I work. This is 5.8 miles, according to Google.

I was impressed. We got there in just less than 2 hours, so we averaged around 3 mph for the whole trip, and that time includes a 15 minute rest stop at the Matthews United Methodist Church where we filled water bottles and cooled off a bit.

Since this was a one-way trip, we had arranged for my parents to be standing by to pick us up, and despite not answering their cell phones, they found us and rescued us almost exactly at the end of the line.

We celebrated afterwards with lunch at Five Guys, and liberal doses of Alleve when we got home. We're a little sore today, but no real issues. I've been drinking water like crazy today.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

The July 4 Vacation

Well, we're back from our July 4 getaway! We took a long drive from Charlotte to Snead's Ferry, NC, back to Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and back to Charlotte, visiting many old friends on the way. We decided to take my new truck instead of Bernie's Elantra, despite the difference in MPG. This was primarily for our comfort, as well as to get some highway mileage on my truck.

First thing, we had a bad omen. As we departed on Thursday afternoon, while backing out of the garage, I ran over Bernie's suitcase. There was apparently some miscommunication over what "My bag is in the back of your truck" means, and some harsh words were exchanged. We only lost a little sunscreen that squeezed out of the bottles, and the suitcase was damaged badly, but deemed trip-worthy, and it will be de-commissioned following the trip. Eventually, we recovered from this episode and got on the road.

Following 6 hours of driving, one chicken and eastern NC bbq dinner, and two stops for cheap gas ($3.95 a gallon!), we arrived at Ron and Tammie's place. They live and work in Chapel Hill these days, but held on to their house at the beach when they moved. They keep a motor boat there at the neighborhood dock, which is about 100 yards from their door. Snead's Ferry is a town located at the mouth of the New River (one of the oldest rivers in North America), where it dumps into the ocean. There are three bodies of water important to this area - the river, the intercoastal waterway, and the ocean.

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We spent the day on Friday on the boat on the river. Ron and Tammie did some kneeboarding while the boat pulled them, and we stopped on a little sandbar island where we grilled hot dogs for lunch. I raked for clams and got about a dozen, which we packed in ice and took home. After treating our sunburn and washing off the salt, we had dinner - Ron and Tammie cooked fresh fish and shrimp they bought right off the fishing boat. We had grouper and flounder filets, silver queen corn, green beans, peel and eat shrimp, fried shrimp, and garlic butter shrimp.

After cleaning up dinner we all got on Ron's father's much bigger boat and went upriver to the marine base, where we dropped anchor offshore and watched the July 4 fireworks on the water. Bernie had been nervous about being on a boat for a long time right after dinner, but it turns out that Ron's father's boat actually has a little bathroom on board!

The next morning (Saturday), we all got up and went shopping for fresh seafood. Bernie and I had taken a cooler with us, planning on bringing back a bunch of shrimp, but we ended up getting shrimp, scallops, a tuna steak, as well as the clams I caught myself - all fresh off the boat and packed in ice.

After lunch, we said goodbye to Ron and Tammie and headed up the highway back to Raleigh. We stayed with my friends Phil and Selena at their new house. They've been moved in for about a month now, so we got to see all their new furniture and stuff. Their house made me really want a bonus room, because theirs is fantastic. We took them out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (really good soups there, I must say), and talked until we were exhausted and went to bed.

The next morning was Sunday, and we visited with Chris and Elizabeth and their children Athena and Marcus that morning, then drove to Chapel Hill to see my friends Michael and Emily and Rich. We had a nice long visit and saw the amazing renovations that Mike and Emily have done to their home since we were last there. We also got to see their youngest child Lucy, who was just an infant the last time I visited. After we reluctantly left Chapel Hill, we visited with my Aunt Les in Raleigh, then drove back to Charlotte in the rain and got home right at bedtime.

We really had a good time, even though that's a lot of driving. Today is Monday, but I took the day off beforehand, knowing I'd need a day to recuperate. Looking back, I think Bernie must have had a really good time. Before this trip, she was very nervous about going on a boat. She's also always a little self-conscious about visits with my old friends, because she thinks I might be homesick for Raleigh. In both cases, she did great, and I think she's happy with how well she gets along with all my friends and family. It seems like everybody loves her as much as I do, and she's just another one of the gang. I'm so proud of her, and I hope it shows.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Truck is Back

The truck has been fixed. They replaced a solenoid on an emissions canister or something like that in order to solve the "Check Engine" light. As far as the A/C goes, they can't find a problem. I know they tested it on Max, but really, the problem is when it is set to normal and the temp isn't consistent. I'm sure I'll have to take it back sometime in the future. (Sigh.)

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