Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reflections after One Month

Hello, Blogland.

Yesterday was one month since my surgery. I meant to take some progress pics but it didn't happen. Mayhaps (I love saying that) it will happen today. I don't think I look any different, and maybe that's why I'm not super excited to take the pictures; I'm scared I won't see any difference. Also, I had my first gain yesterday of .4kg (just under a pound). I know it's not a lot, and Aunt Flo should be coming for a visit this week, but instantly I started telling myself how I'm already failing and this won't work and I can't do it. I've had a really bad cold this week and didn't walk Monday or Tuesday and then I made guacamole Monday night and I'm sure I've eaten way too much of it--although I used cut up veggies as dippers instead of tortilla chips.

I still just feel like such a fatass. Probably because I am. But even though I've only got one pair of pants that actually fit (as in I'm not self-conscious of how baggy they are) and my feet aren't swollen anymore and I sit more comfortably on the train and I weigh less now than I have in 3 years, I don't feel any different. It's like I'm just waiting to find out that my scale battery has been dying and I haven't actually lost that much weight, or that my doctor's scale is rigged to make the patients feel like they're actually losing weight.

I've been on a perpetual diet for what feels like my whole life. I've failed so many times at losing weight that I just can't accept that I might actually be able to do it this time. When does this change? When do I actually start believing that I am doing this and I am losing weight and it's not all some big illusion?

I'm going to go for my walk now. Hopefully that will help me feel better. I can't believe it's supposed to be 66 degrees today; last year by this time I couldn't leave without my heavy winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves. Crazy!

Oh, and because it's been a while since I posted pictures...
My little 100ml and 200ml containers to eat from

My teeny-tiny spoons and forks

My adorable elephant lunch box

Dr. Kwon and I at the clinic
Au revoir, mes amies.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I need to say this because it really bothers me when my writing isn't fantastic. I realized that the timing was a little off in my last post. I had copied and pasted the bulk of the post from my other blog (which I had posted on Thursday), and then continued talking about today. I've fixed it, so now it should read a little more fluidly.

That's all. Thanks for not making fun of me to my face. :)

A Thanksgiving "Feast" in Korea and 20lbs GONE!

Thanksgiving has come and gone here in the Land of the Morning Calm. Marc and I are thrilled that this was the last one on this side of the planet! We hadn't intended on cooking any special food, but at the last minute I decided to make a little something special. I made pecan-crusted chicken breasts, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans. That's about as close to Thanksgiving cooking as I can get without having an oven.

Oh, something I learned while making my pecan-crusted chicken: dried parsley can get worms if it gets too old. I learned this AFTER I added it to the pecans. Luckily, I had plenty of pecans so I just threw out that first mixture, and you know what? The chicken turned out just fine without the totally useless herb known as parsley!

Today we went downtown and enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted root veggies, and pumpkin and apple pie. Well, I managed to eat about a third of my plate, and I had just a sliver of the pumpkin pie. The woman who made it omitted the cream and milk and used soymilk--oh my God, it was the BEST pumpkin pie I've ever had! 

Now we're back home and I'm making chili for dinner. It's my dad's secret recipe, and this is the first time I'm making it myself so cross your fingers that it turns out okay. The apartment smells divine already, so I have high hopes that it will be delicious. The only thing I'm sad about is that I can't have the 2 FULL bowls of it that I used to eat in one sitting! Oh well, I guess this way it will just last longer.

OH! I almost forgot to mention--I'm officially down 20lbs since surgery! Wahooo!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving and whatnot

Reading all of your posts about Thanksgiving is really making me feel a little bit homesick! Luckily, there's a Canadian-owned cafe downtown that's planning on making some American Thanksgiving foods this weekend... turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Hopefully we'll make it down there. My poor husband has missed out on that last 3 Thanksgivings, and I've missed out on the last 2! I would totally try to make Thanksgiving dinner for us and our friends, but considering that I only have a toaster oven, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work. Most Korean apartments don't have ovens; it's just not a part of the Korean traditional food culture.

Now, what am I thankful for (not in any particular order)?

1. I'm thankful for my wonderful, loving, supportive husband who's been my rock through every crisis, who tells me I'm beautiful even when I haven't showered in 2 days, and who's becoming better every day at that whole mind-reading thing.

2. I'm thankful that we had to opportunity to come to Korea; we've been able to dig ourselves out of debt, grow stronger as a couple, and I'm *finally* getting skinny.

3. I'm thankful that my father met a woman who loves him and takes good care of him :)

4. I'm thankful for my lapband. It's been a life-changer, even in the few short weeks that I've had it.

5. I'm thankful for my incredible in-laws; they've been so supportive in every crazy (and not-so-crazy) decision Marc and I have made. I really couldn't ask for better in-laws.

6. I'm thankful for Rachel, my best friend/girlfriend/sister. I'm so glad we met 10.5 years ago! If not for you, darling, I'm pretty sure I would have gone completely nutso a long time ago.

7. I'm thankful for my friends in Korea who I'm pretty sure God put in my path just when I needed them most. Really, that kind of timing isn't coincidence!

8. I'm thankful for all of YOU who comment on my blog and uplift and encourage me everyday! Thank you, Blogland!

9. I'm thankful for my Korean adjumma (old married woman) who cleans my apartment every other Tuesday at 10am. She's really a lifesaver. Marc and I would be lost in our own filth if not for her!

10. I'm thankful for ondol (under-floor heating) that keeps my feet toasty warm and gives the cats a new place to sleep.
He found a warm spot

11. I'm thankful that my fingers aren't quite so sausagey; I like the way my fingers look in this picture--you can see knuckles! And my rings aren't cutting off circulation.

I think that's all. Goodnight--and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little bit about the North Korean incident

In case you haven't heard, North Korea fired shots at South Korea yesterday, killing 2 soldiers and injuring about 20 others (including civilians). Oddly enough, people here don't seem overly concerned about it. I do hope that something actually gets done to the Norks this time though... they keep doing crazy shit, killing South Koreans, and they just get a slap on the wrist. I know President Lee (of S. Korea) wants to fight back in a big way, but apparently the rest of the world wants him to chill out. As far as I'm concerned, let me get on a plane outta here and then he can blow the shit out of the N. Korean dictatorship.

Did you know that during the 1970's, North Korean soldiers dug several tunnels under the DMZ as a means to one day attack the South? Four of the tunnels were discovered, but it's believed that there could be more out there. Some of them were wide enough to move tanks through them! They all started about 1-2km from the DMZ, and extend pretty close to Seoul. Anyway, I decided today that it could be a little scary if there ARE still some tunnels out there. Crossing my fingers that Kim Jeong-Il has forgotten about them!

Anyway, I'm not really that worried. Hopefully, if this thing escalates then the US Embassy will send me a nice little e-mail alert. Besides, look how tough these South Korean soldiers look:

The line between the 2 Koreas goes right down the center of this table
The US soldier was our personal guard
We may or may not have gotten a picture of a North Korean soldier (my camera may or may not have incredible zoom), however I'm pretty sure that I'm not allowed to post such an alleged picture.

Alright, I'm going to end this here because I don't want to mix weight loss with North Korea talk, so check ya laterz.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, sweet relief has come at last!

Well, I made the trip to Seoul again today before work--got up at 7, got to Seoul at 10, left Seoul at 1, arrived in Daegu at 2:45, and went to work at 3:30. Totally worth it though; my doc removed another .5cc from my band, and I feel FANTASTIC. I can eat again! Even more amazing, I lost 4.5lbs since Saturday; Dr. Kwon said, "Wow, you lost the same in 2 days as what you lost in 2 weeks!" Yeah yeah, I know.

Time for sleep. Goodnight, y'all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

8 hours

Just 8 more hours until I'm on my way to get that blasted unfill. I think I just threw up my own spit.

PSA: When going for your fills, make sure the water goes down easily and comfortably! Do not leave the office thinking it will get better! Arrrghalhg;lahglskjs.

It's the little things

I managed to drink some hot tea and it stayed down, and I couldn't feel it going down. Wahooo!

Also, today I weigh 257.5--another Wahooo! Almost 20 pounds in 3 weeks, 5 of which came off in the last 2 days (hopefully those won't be making a reappearance). 

My band is always tight in the mornings, but I'm pretty sure I should still be able to drink my breakfast pain-free. Even if I'm able to eat/drink dinner tonight, I'm still going tomorrow to get some more saline taken out. I was in pain all morning! 

I finally caught up on reading 2 days' worth of blogs--you people write a lot! :) I didn't comment though, sorry. I may go back later and leave a few... we'll see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Too much fill :(

Well, I went for my second fill yesterday, and so far it's been disastrous. The doctor added 1.5cc's (for 3cc's  total) and I threw up my water. She took out .5cc's, and the water went down much easier. So I left, proceeded to have lunch and hang out in Seoul. I had broccoli soup for lunch and ended up throwing that up, but I blamed it on already having thrown up once and possibly eating too fast. Then I decided to get a coffee drink, and that stayed down--but I didn't finish because I could feel it slooooowly going down. By this time the doctor's office was closed so I couldn't go for another unfill even if I wanted to.

While I was waiting for my train back to Daegu, I got a hot tea and that went down fine. I got home, had some broccoli soup, and that went down. I even had an ice cream bar, and that stayed down, too, as well as my chewable vitamins.

Well, this morning I got up around 9:30 and made my protein shake around 11am. I took two sips, and could feel it just sitting there in my pouch. I really didn't want to throw up again, so I tried to wait it out. I made some hot tea and drank a little, thinking it would relax things and the protein shake would get moving. Alas, it merely resulted in me running to the bathroom and throwing up protein shake and tea.

I'm guessing this is what it's like to be overfilled? It's hard for me to believe that I'm this tight with only 2.5cc's in my 10cc band. I think I'll be making another trip to Seoul tomorrow to get another small unfill. At least I don't feel hungry :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday!

I don't really have anything of substance to write today. However, I just feel like I need to write something so I don't make a habit of not blogging just because I have anything interesting to say.

I'm so jealous of all you that have easy access to bandster-friendly foods. Whether it's because you can find it in the supermarket, or it's just easy to get it shipped to you. (However, I recently found http://www.iherb.com which offers flat $4 international shipping.) Daegu is the 4th largest city in South Korea, so I feel lucky just being able to find fat-free milk and fat-free yogurt. If it's not TOO cold in Seoul tomorrow I'm going to try to check out some "foreign food" markets and see if there's anything worthwhile.

I increased my walking today AND took a different route (I even took my inhaler, haha). I walked for about 40 minutes and the route I took had a lot of inclines. I wouldn't say "hills" exactly, but I could definitely feel it going up the inclines :) This past summer I climbed my share of HILLS and I know I need to get in shape! Marc and I went to the Great Wall (yes, in China) in June and I nearly died walking on that thing.
That's me up ahead (you can see my bag), heading for the giant hill
That's me, climbing the Great Stairs of Death

There was also an incident when we decided to go to Palgong Mountain with Marc's brother and his wife. All the old people are always hiking there and there's a big Buddha at the top so we thought it must not be so bad. WRONG. I gave up probably around the halfway point. Then my best friend came to visit in September and there were a few hills where we had to uh... stop and enjoy the scenery on the way up.

Anyway. I'm really excited about the prospect of not getting so winded SO easily. It's so embarrassing breathing so heavily and sometimes sweating when other people hardly feel a thing.

Enough rambling. Enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I almost died today.

I went for my walk today, usually about 30 minutes. At my usual turn-around place, there's a subway entrance so to mix it up a little I decided to run down the 47 steps and back up the 47 steps. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; I was surprised I actually made it without stopping!

Well, about 30 seconds after I started walking again, it hits me--I CAN'T BREATHE! I've got mild asthma (had it since I was a kid) and it's been a little worse lately because I've been sick. Well, it was all I could do just to take little shallow breaths. I took off my scarf so people would be able to find my pulse after I keeled over, and then I walked about a block to a place I could sit down. Since I didn't have my inhaler with me I just had to focus on my breathing and basically "talk" myself down (remember what's-her-face from LOST season 1 when she lost her inhaler?).

After a couple of minutes I thought I was good enough to finish walking home, but alas I had to stop again at the end of the block. That's when I realized my $10 was missing from my pocket (I was going to stop at the mart on my way home). Grrr, it must have fallen out when I blew my nose after the stairs. So I walked aaaaalllll the way back to the stairs (maybe 2 blocks) but my money was in the wind.

So I learned two things today: One, don't forget my inhaler next time I want to run up and down lots of stairs and Two, don't put money in my pocket and forget about it.

P.S. Thanks for all of your encouraging comments about my last post; I was feeling a little down in the dumps and you picked me right back up :)

PCOS vent

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate having PCOS?

Well, just in case I haven’t… I HATE having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome!

I suppose I’m “lucky” though because it’s not too bad… I don’t have hair growing in places it shouldn’t, and my period doesn’t last for weeks or months on end. However, my periods are pretty unpredictable (was that a period? Did I even ovulate? How many days has it been?) and I have that damn belly fat that doesn’t go away!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot today because 2 people I know had babies today; one planned (was pregnant the month they decided to start trying), and the other completely and utterly unplanned. Let’s not even talk about all of the other pregnant people I see on my Facebook wall everyday!

We wanted to have a baby so desperately this year; I guess this just wasn’t our time. I suppose there were a couple of good things to come of it though:
  1. I probably wouldn’t have found out about the PCOS if we hadn’t been trying
  2. I wouldn’t have gotten the lapband if I hadn’t found out about the PCOS
Now that I’ve gotten my lapband, I’m a little terrified of getting pregnant before I have a chance to really lose weight. I mean, I’d be happy of course to get pregnant, but a little sad too that I have to put off the weight loss for a while. I’m not going back on birth control, so we just have to be extra careful.

Hmmph. I guess I just shouldn’t have let myself get so fat to begin with.

Alright, just had to get that out. Thanks for “letting” me vent :) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Hump Day!

I love Hump Day (aka Wednesday) because I get to leave work 25 minutes early (9:35 as opposed to 10pm). It's the little things, ya know?

I'm going to Seoul this weekend to get another fill. I don't think I really need it badly, but I do feel like I can eat a lot more at night and having realized this, I've started snacking a little more at night. Not a lot, mind you, but more than I'd like. Oh well, I'll see how it goes. My doctor needs to check out my incisions anyway because one of them still hasn't completely healed. Besides, it's an excuse to go shopping again :)

I've been waking up fairly early (for me, at least) since I had my surgery. I really like it because I feel like I get so much more accomplished before going to work. However, Monday night I went to bed a little later than usual (around 2am) and ended up waking up earlier than usual at 7:30 am. I was pretty exhausted by the time I had to go to work. I went to sleep at 1am last night, woke up at 7 with a stuffy nose and coughing, and finally went and laid down on the couch (I can lay on my side easier on the couch because the back supports me better; still a little uncomfortable on my side from the surgery) and slept until 10:30. Anyway, long boring story short, I didn't get my walk in today because waking up later totally threw me off my schedule--I'm such a creature of habit sometimes!

Hooray for pointless posts! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taco Night x 3

So the longer I have this band, the more I realize what ridiculous portions I used to eat. Take Taco Night, for example. I would make about 1.25 pounds of fajita chicken for me and my husband, and we'd have 3 tortillas each and complain that there wasn't enough chicken.

Now I make about 10oz of fajita chicken for the 2 of us; my husband now makes 2 tacos and I use 1 tortilla (quartered) to make 4 "mini" tacos. Yesterday Marc ate 1 of his tacos at lunch and ate the other for dinner, and I ate 2 of my "mini" tacos at lunch and ate the other 2 for dinner (we both work nights). There's also a pretty hefty portion of chicken left in the fridge, which Marc is going to use for lunch again today.

How is it possible that I used to think that over a pound of chicken wasn't enough for our tacos? That's kind of embarrassing to admit. When I make tuna salad now, it lasts for 5-6 meals rather than just lunch and a snack later on.

This little contraption in my body is pretty neat! Speaking of the little contraption, I feel like I should name it. So many of you have named your bands, I feel like I need to jump on this bandwagon (haha, I said "band"wagon... I just crack myself up) (not really).

Hope you have a swell day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Food Diary

I found this website with several different printable food diaries, and they're all FREE! I've never done well  when I just try to use a notebook, so I thought I'd try something more "official". Just thought I'd share :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

And the angels rejoiced...

Because Christina's scale finally moved!

It moved down a whole pound! Unfortunately, it doesn't really feel like it since I weigh myself in kilograms and the number on the scale only moved from 119.6kg to 119.1kg and visually my eyes do not register that as very much. Thank goodness for my handy-dandy weight converter on my MacBook!

I have to keep reminding myself that I probably will still be a slow loser due to the PCOS. However slowly I lose the weight, it's still faster than I was going before. I don't track my food (yet); I think I'm going to start though. What do you recommend, especially for a n00b like me?

I have to tell you about this conversation with one my middle school classes yesterday. It's my last class of the night, so it's from 9:05 - 10pm, and there are 7 boys, 3 girls. The only rule I have for them is to only speak English. They can talk and have fun and do whatever, so long as it's in English. I gave the class a fancy box of pepero (that another student had given me) and as they were eating, a couple of the boys whispered something to each other and started laughing uncontrollably. *Almost all of them use English nicknames*

Me: Aw, what's the joke? We want to know the joke!
Vincent: Teacher, there's no joke.
Ji Won: Really teacher, it's nothing.
Me: I think you're lying. Are you lying? You know you shouldn't lie.
*They look at each other conspiringly*
Vincent: Okay Teacher. No Jaeshi ["Jaeshi" is basically detention]?
Me: Uh oh. Does the joke talk about teacher being fat?
Ji Won, Vincent, Hyun: Teacher NO! Really!
Me: Is it about bad words?
Vincent: No, Teacher.
Me: Okay. No Jaeshi.
Vincent: Okay. When Ji Won was eating the pepero, he was... um... eating... something else. (His eyes got really big, and nodded his head, like he was willing me to understand.

And the whole class proceeds to burst into hysterical laughter. Because a lot of times they seem younger than they are, I forget sometimes that they're 13 and 14-year-old boys. I just shook my head; although I'm still wondering if they were referring to poop or penises (kids here are obsessed with their poop. They especially love drawing it on their papers.). The pepero I gave them was bigger than average, and I can see how they'd think it looked like a turd. There's still a lot of stigma attached to being gay (like it may as well be illegal), so I'm leaning toward the poop theory.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Pepero Day!

November 11th in Korea is kind of a national holiday. While everyone else is celebrating their veterans, Koreans are busy giving each other Pepero (배배로). Pepero is basically just a cookie stick dipped in chocolate. It's a completely made-up holiday; I think the story of its creation involves middle-school girls giving each other these long, skinny cookies in hopes that they would stay thin forever (I know, it seems just a bit counter-productive). November 11th was chosen as Pepero Day because it is 11/11, and the 1's look like Pepero. Here's the stack of Pepero I received yesterday:

Each box contains about 12 sticks
I ended up re-gifting all of them to my middle school students. I only ate 1 stick, and that's because one student gave me one from the box I gave him; he's so adorable, I couldn't say no.

I revamped my blog; I found this template over at Yummy Lolly. Oh, and I also checked out another gym near my house. It's about $65/month, or $150 for 3 months. That's the cheapest I've ever seen in Korea, so we'll see. Maybe I'll join, or maybe I'll just settle for braving the cold :)

Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Land of Platinum Gyms

My weight still hasn't budged this morning--grrrr! I want the scale to MOVE, damn it! I think I probably ate more than I should last night, so I'm just going to blame it on that.

I've been trying to find a relatively cheap gym around here to use when it gets really frigid cold outside, but not so much luck as of late. For some reason, gyms in Korea are ridiculously expensive. One popular gym by my work charges about $225 per month, and that makes for one expensive treadmill. The gym I went to back in the US was only $10/month! I got on Google last night and found 2 gyms within walking distance of my apartment (no car, remember). My husband checked one out for me--$360/month!!! And these gyms aren't anything special, they're just like your typical Gold's Gym. Apparently we live in the "most affluent part of Daegu" (our school pays our rent) and probably won't find any cheaper gyms around this area. Awesome. I guess I'll be bundling up to go on walks in the winter (not looking forward to it).

I think I'm going to actually make some goals for myself. Sure, I've got the BIG goal at the end, but I think I need some mini-goals as well to keep me going. I'll work on that today and post it later.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cats and Weight and Oatmeal, oh my!

Okay, so I have 2 cats that I love dearly. I swear, if I wasn't married, I'd be a scary cat lady by now. Anyway, their names are Mewster and Elliot. Mewster is a 15 pound 9-year-old tuxedo, and Elliot is a 10-pound almost 3-year-old gray tabby.

Elliot tends to keep to himself more, but Mewster likes to be very... involved... in what we're doing. For example, he adores strawberry yogurt. It's like he has a radar that announces when I'm about to eat strawberry yogurt and he will literally steal it off the spoon while I'm trying to eat. If I set the cup on a table, he will stick his face in and go to town. Another example: I'm sitting here trying to type, and Mewster just came laid across my arm. Basically, his butt's on the table and his front half is being held up mid-air by my arm.

My weight is kind of at a stand-still, as the scale hasn't moved since Sunday. I know, I know, only a couple of days, but I liked seeing it go down every day! Probably has to do with eating solid foods again. I increased my walking a little bit, and today I'm going to try to incorporate some Jillian Michaels (maybe No More Trouble Zones, as 30 Day Shred may be a bit too much).

Today I decided would be a good day to try something besides a protein drink for breakfast, so I made some instant oatmeal (Apples and Cinnamon). Oh God, I think I had two bites off my baby spoon and now I'm stuck. I even chewed the mush! I wonder if this means I'm going to be one of those super-tight-in-the-morning people. I'm trying to just wait it out and not PB, but it's really painful and I may end up giving in.

Yesterday I made chicken fajitas for lunch. I took a tortilla and cut it into quarters and put little spoonfuls of chicken and veggies on each one, then topped with salsa and cheese. I microwaved it so it'd be all gooey. Of course, after not even two quarters I was done so I had the rest for dinner--didn't get stuck at all! Now this morning I can't even do oatmeal???! Grrrr. Oh well. Learning experience, I keep telling myself.

Have a good day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Today's been a good day so far. Breakfast was a protein shake, and half of a small acorn squash. Now lunch is soybean paste soup (Korean soup - lots of protein) and brown rice. So far, so good! I've eaten about 1.5 tablespoons of the rice, and small bit of soup and I feel pretty good.

Yesterday we saw "Red"--it was really good! I haven't been to a movie in sooooo long, it was nice to go again.

I also walked a few extra blocks today; I'm just about feeling like my normal self! I'm so happy I haven't had a difficult recovery; although I am sorry for those that did. My incision sites still feel a little tender, but it's not too bad.

Have a good day!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Yesterday I travelled to Seoul for my fill. It's 4 hours one-way by car, but luckily Korea has the KTX (high-speed train) so I can make it in 1 hour 45 minutes. I weight 267.6 at the clinic (wahoo!), which I haven't seen in about 3 years. It makes me a little dizzy to think about that; how easy it's been to lose the weight right now--why wasn't it this easy for the last few years? Anyway.

I got my first fill--1.5cc's in my 10cc band. I drank a little water, didn't choke on anything, so that was that. He also gave me the green light to eat normal foods--but chew chew chew (which I already knew, thank you blogland!). He gave me some tips, and told me to come back in 2 weeks. 

After the appointment I met up with the girl who was my translator on surgery day--let's call her K. Turns out we've become fast friends. She took me onto the US Army base (her husband's retired military) and went to lunch there at a Mexican buffet of sorts. I got little spoonfuls of little things to see what I could eat, and well... yikes. Since I haven't had the experience yet of chewing food with the band, it was definitely a learning experience for me. I did get stuck--I think I didn't chew something quite well enough. It was awful, I didn't want to, but ended nearly running to the bathroom to PB. After that, I just had about a tablespoon full of refried beans and mashed potatoes. Then K got a dessert plate--and man, desserts really do slide down! I didn't over-stuff myself, I stopped when I thought I should be full. 

Afterwards, we went shopping in Itaewon, which is the big foreigner area in Seoul, and the only place in Korea where you can buy plus-size clothing. K used to work at one of the stores, so she knew all the good places. I was actually quite impressed, as there were a lot of Macy's brands, and some Lane Bryant--and they were all reasonably priced! I bought 3 sweaters, 3 tops, and a jacket and pants for winter walking. I also found my shoe size, 11! However my feet are still wide and none of them were really comfortable. I have hope though that one day I will fit into a regular 11--I doubt I'll ever go down to a 10, as I've worn an 11 since I was 13 years old.

We went for a coffee, and it was delicious. Then we went for dinner with K's husband, who's really nice. We went to a place that has Philly Cheesesteaks, and I had maybe 3 tiny pieces of meat, which took me about 20 minutes to chew until I was comfortable with swallowing it. I also picked off a few of the peppers, and of course much of the cheese :) Of course, when I was done, it looked like I'd hardly touched the thing, but I just took it to go and gave it my husband for dinner when I got home. I didn't feel rushed though because K knows what I'm going through, and her husband's aware of my surgery. Hooray for no stuck episodes at dinner! 

I FINALLY made it home around 11:30pm (I left the apartment at 6:45am) and just before I went to bed I drank some water. Well, I tried to drink some water - I guess I drank either too much or too fast and it totally took its time going down. Uggggggh. Learned another lesson about dealing with the band. 

So, at 1.5cc's I feel like I already have restriction and with the little bit that I ate I wasn't hungry for several hours afterward. Despite the lunch episode, I feel like it was a pretty good day and I learned a lot about my band. I realize I didn't eat the healthiest, most balanced foods, but I'd kind of planned on it going in so I'm okay with that. 

Since I was gone all day yesterday, I'm now catching up on your blogs. Also, I stepped on scale after I woke up and it said 263.6! Assah! (Think of Hiro from Heroes, and "Assah" is the Korean version.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why I'm fat

I didn't really mean to publicly blog about my lap-band. I started this blog last January really just to help myself after starting Weight Watchers again (for the third time). Then when I started the lap-band process I returned to this blog just to have a place to write down my thoughts. I made everything super-private so I couldn't be found. As I became more involved with the LBT forums, I started finding more and more blogs, and that's when I made the decision to become "public" as far as blogland is concerned. I was amazed at the vast network of bandster blogs and had to get involved. Now that I have 22 followers (thanks guys!) and have been feeling the comment love, I thought I would give you a real intro to my story. It's quite long, sorry about that.

My family loves to eat. We're Italian, and everything is a reason to celebrate. Of course, when you celebrate, you have to eat ridiculous amounts of food. That, along with the following story I'm going to share, is why I'm fat.

I've always been bigger than average. I was born a week late (apparently I was already a lazy baby) at 9.5lbs, 21.5in. Growing up I was always the tallest kid in class, but I wasn't really a fat kid. I do remember my mom being fat pretty much my entire childhood. She had thyroid problems after I was born and it caused her to balloon up to 400 pounds. My dad retired from the army after 20 years in 1986, and after that he also packed on the pounds. 

My first memory of being "overweight" was 3rd grade. I was already 5 feet tall by then, and I remember going to the doctor and I weight 115lbs. I remember the doctor told my mom I needed to lose some weight. I joined the basketball team that year, and the next time I went to the doctor I weighed 104lbs. The doctor told my mom I was on the right track. 

When I was 10, these twin girls were getting a limo on their birthday and all the girls in the class were going to ride in it. They told me I couldn't go because I was too fat and wouldn't fit in the limo (mind you, they were about 50 pounds each).   

I pretty much stayed a size 14 throughout my teenage years. I finally maxed out my growth spurt at 5'9", and I really managed to fill out my size 14 ;) I always carried my weight well; I recall one particular shopping experience when I was 14. I asked for something in a 14, and the sales girl swore I couldn't be more than an 8; I had to show her my clothing tag to prove it.

In college, I didn't really too bad at first.  I was aware that I was bigger than many of my friends, and knew to stay away from bikinis. I longed to look like my friend "L" who was my height but a size 10. However, I wouldn't say that my weight defined me yet. I was aware of it, but I wasn't a slave to it.

I think it was my junior year that my weight crept up to about 199--I was wearing maybe a 16/18. I went to the doctor and he prescribed Phentermine (Adipex); holy smokes, that was a miracle drug. I didn't even realize I was losing weight until several random people (classmates, coworkers) started commenting on how great I looked. I stepped on the scale and I weighed about 175! I felt quite comfortable with myself and rather enjoyed the attention I was getting from the male population.

I was making googly eyes at my best friend
Well, after a few months I decided that Phentermine really wasn't healthy and I didn't like the way it made me feel, so I stopped taking it thinking I would at least maintain on what I was eating. WRONG! I stayed at 175 from about August - December 2004 (junior year), and as soon as I stopped taking the pills I started gaining. 

I met my husband in May 2005, and probably weighed about 190. By December, I was 215 pounds (I'd finally broken the dreaded 200-pound barrier). I joined LA Weight Loss, which was a disaster. We got engaged in June 2006 and I promptly joined Weight Watchers Online @ 245lbs. Lost a little, but ultimately gained and by the time we were married in August 2007, I was about 265lbs. Suffice it to say, I was feeling fat now, and I think this is when my weight started taking a toll on who I was as a person. 

December 2007, I joined Weight Watchers again but this time going to meetings. I went the week before Christmas, and after the new year my mom started going with me. Lost a little, but then on January 21st mom didn't go to the meeting with me because she didn't feel well. Later that night, around midnight, my dad called to tell me they were at the hospital because mom was having a heart attack. 

Long, depressing story short, my mother died on January 31st, 2008. During the 10 days I spent in the hospital hoping and praying for her survival, I gorged myself on everything I could find. My emotions had always dictated how I ate (a family tradition) and it didn't fail me now. In the months following, I continued to gorge. In March 2008, my dad was in a terrible car accident and since there was no one at home to take care of him, he had to spend 3 months in a "rehabilitation facility" (a glorified nursing home). I took on the most of his care, and continued to eat to feel good. I teetered around 295-298 for a long time, then finally in November 2008 I weighed in at 301 pounds. 

Now, at this time my husband was having problems finding a job and money was tight and our poor new marriage was not all that we'd hoped for. We finally made the decision to move to Korea and teach English. We needed to get away from all the drama that was beginning to define our marriage and we were able to make money doing it. Marc came to Korea in November 2008, and I followed in February 2009 (I had to put in a proper notice at my job and find and train a replacement). 

Last September I learned I have PCOS and together my husband and I decided that it was time for weight loss surgery. I felt like I was in the right place, emotionally--I no longer turned to food every time something went wrong--and I obviously wasn't going to lose all the weight by myself. You can read more about the decision here

Anyway. This is why I'm fat. I tried really hard to cut out a lot of "fluff", but this still ended up really long. If you made it this far, congratulations! I should give you an award or something :) 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Take a walk

Whew, just came back from another walk. This crisp fall air is FANTASTIC for walking outdoors. I'm trying not to think about what I'll do when it turns bitter cold :( 

I thought I would post another picture from yesterday, of myself fully clothed :) Also, on my walk today I took some photos so you can see what my neighborhood here in Daegu is like. 

It's me! With clothes on!

Rooftop garden

Some actual houses (instead of apartments)

Main road, and subway stop

Brand new apartment buildings; I hear they're ridiculously expensive

More apartment buildings in the distance


My apartment building! The middle window on the bottom is mine.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour :) I weighed myself again today... almost down another 2 pounds. I kind of like this whole liquid diet thing... although if I had to do it longer than a week (like nearly everyone else) I'd probably go crazy.

Is it Saturday yet?

Alright, work was pretty awful. Well, it was okay for the first couple of hours, but I was really feeling the gas pain the last 3-4 hours. We're not supposed to ever sit down in the classes, but I just didn't care by the last class and sat down. Of course, sitting didn't help much either but at least there wasn't any danger of me falling over.

Sadly I have to do this again tomorrow and Friday. I'm a little nervous now, but I'm sure I'll be fine. Then Saturday I get to make the trip up to Seoul again for my first fill (am I really ready for a fill? We'll have to see about that).

I guess the good news is that since I came home an hour and a half ago, I've been farting almost nonstop (I considered saying "tooting", but decided that these are much more than toots!). Unfortunately, it's not relieving any of the pain I'm feeling. Has anyone seen "The Last King of Scotland"? Remember the scene where the doctor uses a baseball bat to push out the dictator's gas? I'm seriously contemplating taking that course of action.

Who's no longer on death's door?

MEEEE!!! I weighed myself today and I am no longer classified as morbidly obese--now I'm just Obese (Class 2)! Wahooooo!

In celebration of my new obesity classification, I thought I would finally post some official "before" pics (although they're the present, but whatever).

Oh lord, I'm really doing this

My belly is still a little swollen, but it really does stick out like that.

Alright, hopefully you weren't blinded by those. One day I'll learn how to make side-by-side pics, but I don't think it's necessary yet.

Also, thanks so much for all your comments! You're all so encouraging. I'm happy to have 8 followers already--now I feel like I'm actually writing to someone :)

Well, off to work I go. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I'm feeling a bit better than I was yesterday. I just came back from a good walk--a full 30 minutes! I'm still wearing my compression band because I feel like things are all jiggly... well, jigglier than usual... when I'm walking. I took it fairly slow I think, but I still felt the cardio-ness of it all. (I'm a tad out of shape.)

Being fairly new to blogland (mostly family and real-life friends read the other blog), I've been spending waaaay too much time going blog-to-blog and following and commenting. It's really exhausting! I also love that there's such a tight-knit community of bandsters; I'm excited that I get to be a part of it.

There've been so many posts regarding Halloween and Halloween candy lately; having been banded the day before Halloween, I'm really glad that Korea doesn't really celebrate it. It's slowly becoming more popular with the little kids, but adults don't really do anything so the candy temptation has kind of been a non-issue for me, as there hasn't been any. Either way, I believe it's okay to indulge once in a while--if you never let yourself have those treats, it just leads to binging. Of course, if you're anything like me, then you'll just end up "indulging" everyday, totally sabatoging any progress you've made.

It's bittersweet, but I'm also kind of glad that I won't be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. I just don't trust myself to handle that kind of temptation yet; I really need some time to focus on myself and really do this. The best way for me to do that is just to avoid situations where I am tempted to eat things I shouldn't, in quantities I shouldn't.

I find that it's much easier to stay on track when I'm active in forums and blogging. When I did Weight Watchers in the past, I was most successful when I actively participated in the forums; it's the accountability I suppose. So take note--if I go a long time without blogging, it's probably because I'm eating things I shouldn't.

Uggggh, gotta go to work today. I'm so not ready for this!

Going back to work tomorrow!

Seriously, this gas pain is for the birds. It's really all in my chest, and I'm not happy about it. Every so often I get what feels like a bubble moving up from my stomach and I feel like I'm going to burp but never do, so then I'm left just feeling slightly nauseous like I'm going to puke. The whole episode only lasts maybe 20 seconds, but it's awful. I've been taking Gas-x, trying to walk around... I get an occasional fart, but nothing groundbreaking.

I went to E-Mart earlier (I even took the bus instead of a taxi) in search of measuring tape so I could take my measurements, but all I could find were the auto-tape measures. Oh well. I did end up buy little spoons, little forks, and small containers for my food. I was pretty sore by the time I got home so I just sat on the couch for a while. Later I took a walk around the neighborhood; again, I was pretty uncomfortable by the time I got home. I just want to feel normal again! Uggggh, it's only been a couple of days, I know, I'm just ready for this part to be over with.

I go back to work tomorrow; I teach English in the evenings, 4-10pm. I don't think it will be too bad though as I only really sit down for about a half hour total. I have to stand the rest of the time, so hopefully I'll be okay. I just hope I don't have to use the toilet; we only have Eastern-style squat toilets at work, and it's hard enough to use them on a good day. (Don't worry, there are plenty of normal toilets throughout Korea, I just happen to work in an old building.)

So, I haven't really posted many pictures of myself. Here you go! (The second one is one of maybe 3 full-body shots in existence.)

2 years ago, ~300#. Not sure what I'm doing here.

June,  about 280lbs

Maybe tonight I'll take some pictures of my tummy and bandages. I've never posted any pictures of my stomach. I might need a drink for that one. Oh wait...


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