One snail

One snail

Friday, August 31, 2012

Official Start Date!

Here it is, my official start date for my 6-month-lose-5%-for-my-insurance time period!  I spoke to the insurance company's case manager on TUESDAY AUGUST 28th, so that's the day they will count from.  She referred me to the Accomplish program (the mandatory nutrition coaching), and I actually got their welcome packet today.  Now I have only to send them my $$ and verification of my official start weight from my doctor's office and I can set up my first phone consultation.  Woohoo!  Another step along the hoops set up by my insurance.

I have been tracking my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal ( which has been very helpful.  I'm looking forward to some guidance about the amount of carbs/fats/protein I should shoot for daily.

I am also taking a multi-vitamin, iron, biotin, and D.  I set up my phone to remind me. :-)  My blood test results came back and, no surprise, my iron is low, so guess it's a good thing I started the iron.  I need to set up an appointment with my regular primary care doc to go over the results when she is back from vacation.

One thing that will be important to me on this weight loss journey is sticking to a vegetarian diet.  I found a wonderful series about this on the blog Bariatric Foodie!  It is in several parts, and the first one can be found here:  Veggie Tales part 1.  The author of the series is a 4-year post-op vegetarian, which is great.  I will look for more by her in the future.

I did finally lose ONE pound this week.  Kinda discouraging start, but I have been exercising and will do my measurements today.  I'm also quitting diet soda (but not coffee/caffeine).  I have always had good water intake, but that should help me up it even more.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, if you get one!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Starting point

Why did I start on this journey now?  I have severe arthritis in my hips and at least one knee (they have  never x-rayed the left knee).  Even thought it's the summer, I have been in increasing pain, so I went to see my orthopedic doctor.  After reviewing my latest x-rays, he told me that I basically have no cartilage in my left hip--it's bone-on-bone. Clearly I will need a new hip...however, it is much harder (and riskier) to have a hip replacement with my weight so high.  He didn't say he wouldn't do it--just that he'd rather me lose weight first.

There was one more thing to try--injections.  He gave me an injection in my right knee, and I went to a different office to have my hip done (they need special equipment for that).  The success of this type of treatment is variable--for some people it might work 3 or 6 months, or even longer!  For me, it turned out...the relief is very short.  In fact, one week later, my pain was back with a vengeance.

As soon as the pain returned, I determined to explore weight loss surgery.  I started with my insurance company, and discovered they do cover 2 types of surgery (lapband and gastric bypass), but there are a whole series of hoops to jump through first.  I filled out a brief application online, and received a letter back in about 10 days telling me I might qualify based on my answers.  I had until August 31st to do these things:

  1. Call my insurance company to speak to a case manager about the program requirements.
  2. Get a referral form from my primary care physician faxed to my insurance company.
  3. Get an official start weight and height from my doctor. 
I've done all three as of Tuesday, August 21st, and am waiting to hear from my case manager when they receive the documents from my primary care doc.  My official start weight in the doctor's office was 335 pounds.  (At home it was 333, so I will add two pounds to what I weigh here in updating my stats until I have another official weight taken.)

The next hurdle:  I have to work with a nutrition program (called Accomplish) to lose 5% of my body weight within a 6 month period.  For me, that's 17 pounds.  I assume I will get the referral to Accomplish when I hear from the case manager.  At that time I have to pay $1450 to them--totally on my own, not covered on my insurance nor does it count toward my out-of-pocket maximum.  I get phone consultations (monthly I think) from this phase through the surgery (if I qualify) and into aftercare. It seems to be a show of dedication.  It probably also has some research behind it.  I have read that those who lose some weight before their surgery do better in the long run, so I'm fine with doing it.  And 17 is such a drop in the bucket from all I need to lose!  :-)

I am starting to revise my diet now, though, in anticipation of the Accomplish program.  I'm trying hard not to do the "last-meal" syndrome!

The tortoise or the hare?

Many, many times in my life I have vowed to lose weight (and keep it off).  Sometimes I lost a lot, and kept it off for a while, but it never stuck.  Other times I started out at a great pace (like the hare), but couldn't keep it up.  Every time (as is common), I gained back even more than I lost.  My health has suffered, and now that I'm about to turn 50 years old (in about 4 months), I have to do something serious.  After months/years of consideration, I am going to go down the path to weight loss surgery.

One of the things that is always a challenge for me when losing weight is my unrealistic goal for the speed of seeing those pounds drop.  Of course I want it to happen quickly!  We are an instant-fix society, and want immediate success.  I think I've been a little like the hare in the old story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Quick success leading to great enthusiasm, and then boredom--or stress or just the typical physical process of losing weight--kicks in and it gets more difficult, and I drift away from my plan.  So, I want to be more like the tortoise this time!  Or, like my favorite creatures, the garden snails.

I have a bunch of snails that live at the bottom of my carport stairs, in the plants and shrubs there.  (I have put up some pictures of them on this blog.)  I bring them a few lettuce or kale leaves at night, and sit and watch them for a few minutes.  Slowly, s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y, they come out and move toward the leaves.  They move at, well, a snail's pace!  I'm tempted at times to give them a lift, but they are very delicate and I would probably hurt them.  Besides, they don't need my help!  At their super-slow pace, they make it to their "dinner" and start munching away.

Now, you may say that going for weight loss surgery is like a quick-fix.  However, after quite a bit of research, I have discovered it is not.  It isn't like a switch that you turn on, get skinny, and stay that way forever without any effort.  Everyone seems to call it a "tool" to get you started on a life time of eating differently.  Yes, most people lose a fair amount of weight quickly at first, but unfortunately, without continuing to follow the eating plan, some gain it back.  It's not forever.  It's still work.  There's the second year, and the third, and the fourth.  But if I remember the snails, and their slow-but-steady pace, I will have a chance  to overcome the obstacles and get to a healthier weight.

Wish me luck!