Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Best Christmas Gift

I have given myself the best Christmas gift imaginable this year.

In April when I started with Dr. Hendrick he ran all of my blood work. There were some not so good numbers in there, but the one that concerned me the most was my A1C. It came back at 5.7%, which is pre-diabetic. Just barely, but it was official. I was disappointed, frustrated, and not surprised.

Other issues were
  • borderline high blood pressure
  • fasting blood sugar at 99
  • my vitamin D was incredibly low.
I had my annual physical this week. The nurse practitioner was really happy with the progress I have made and told me to keep doing what I was doing. Yesterday I had my blood work done. By early afternoon all of my results were available through the online portal. Except my A1C. The doctor's office said it would be today or Friday. This has driven me nuts all damn day.

About 15 minutes ago I got an email saying the online portal had been updated with new test results.

My A1C results were in.

I took a deep breath and logged in. It was the moment of truth.

Have the last 8 months of hard work paid off? Truly paid off? This is the valuable stuff. Not the scale, not the clothes, but my health.

Here's the rundown.

Blood Pressure

April: 150/96
December: 112/70

Fasting Blood Sugar

April: 99
December: 87

Vitamin D

April: 13.7
December: 44


April: 5.7%

*drum roll*

December: 5.2%!!!!!!

I dropped my A1C 0.5% in 8 months!

I have no idea how this stacks up with others and what is normally expected, but I am ecstatic. The diagnosis isn't official yet, but I am no longer in the pre-diabetic range.

I cheered. I bawled. My husband hugged me tight.

More than anything it has made all of the struggles and the moments of "I don't wanna" worth it. It's also making me more determined to get back on track as soon as possible. I'm even rearranging some of what I was going to make for Christmas dinner to make a small start.

There's times I have trouble seeing my progress, and other times it is so clear. One of those times is from my Christmas last year vs. this year. These are photo booth pics and aren't the best. You can see it easier in other pictures, but I'll upload those some other time.

With that, I'm going to go relax and read. If I don't post before, may your holidays be blessed with love, laughter, and joy.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Progress Beyond the Scale & Medical Updates

After I got back from Ireland I had a very small gain that was around 3 pounds. Not bad all in all. I think most of it was water retention from the long plane ride home. I did a lot of walking on my trip. My "low" day for steps according to my fitbit was around 10,000 steps. I was also able to control what I ate and when. Yes, I indulged a fair amount. Rich food, decadent desserts, and lots of Guinness. I drank more in that 10 days than I have in probably the last 6 months. At least. Aside from the indulgences, I had the weight off within a couple days.

The week after I got home I went to DC for a work conference. That trip was harder. Most of the meals were catered or were networking functions at a restaurant others chose. It left me having to make the best choice out of a lot of bad ones. I came home with about a 7 pound gain! I was only gone 3 days! Luckily I had most of it off by the time I had my Thursday weigh in for TOPS and turtled (turtle = stayed the same).

The Monday after I returned from DC I had a follow-up with Dr. Hendrick. I was dreading going in because I had a gain. I didn't know what he'd say and I thought for certain I was in for a lecture. It turns out my gain wasn't as bad as I thought, about 0.5 pounds. He only mentioned it briefly during the appointment though.

We had a fantastic discussion! Successes I had on my trips and struggles. We went over strategies for getting back on track. He talked about the gains I had on my trips, but told me to look at the broader picture. It had been 6 weeks since I had seen him. I had a total of a half pound gain. He said when I'm at home and doing things right, I'm losing. The trips were just trips. I have ideas on how to handle business trips in the future. And I was within my rights to enjoy Ireland to the fullest. He told me I am on track and doing really well and to be proud.

The last thing we talked about was tracking my food. The way he put it blew my mind. I have my reasons why I eat the foods I eat. It  could be a meal that fuels my weight loss or it could be a comfort meal, but I need to track it. Why? Because I need the data. All MyFitnessPal, or any food journal does, is measure the nutrition value of a meal. Yes there are multiple meals a day, but it measures that one meal to the standards and needs I have. If a  meal is "off" I can look at the data and see where I can improve. It's a tool to measure my fuel intake. Nothing more or less. It isn't judging me or my behaviors, just the content of my food.

When I said I had never looked at it that way and to just treat it as data he grinned and then got the scientist in me going. He told me to treat each meal as an experiment. My hypothesis is to see if the meal I built fuels my weight loss or not. The data will tell me and tell me where I can tweak. Silly doctors and knowing their patients! Looking at it that way has helped though.


Yesterday I had my 6 month follow up with my pulmonologist since starting my CPAP. It went well. I was commended for taking it with me on my business trips and to Ireland. Dr. J wanted to know if I filled the reservoir with Guinness. I told him no and that I used Jameson instead. He laughed.

I got some grief because I have missed some nights here and there for usage. Some nights I fall dead asleep the moment my head hits the pillow and before I get a chance to put the mask on. Other nights, I haven't wanted to wear the damned thing. So I need to get better about that. I also was lectured a bit on my usage each night. I am supposed to use it for at least 6, but 7 is preferred for optimal sleep. My average use was about 6 hours 45 minutes. Part of that is due to a bit of a crazy schedule right now with Marshall filling in on some night shifts and I don't get to bed until 11:30-midnight. Ugh.

As the appointment was winding down he asked if I had anything else to discuss. I told him I had taken his advice and started seeing Dr. Hendrick. Dr. J recommended him after my 1 month appointment and I was frustrated that there was no change in the scale.

Dr. J lit up and said he had been getting updates. He wanted to know how I was doing and was very congratulatory when I said I was down 35 pounds from my highest, but I didn't know what my chart said there. According to their office I'm down 25 pounds. He apologized for not even looking at that part of my chart. He was excited that I am getting so close to being 10% down. He wanted to know about my Dexa scans and if I had a second one done yet. I told him no, but the first one was cool. I told him that according to the scans I have 140 pounds of bone and lean muscle. Dr. J and his nurse stared at me in surprise.

Dr. J came over to me looking very serious then, but with a bit of pride too. He wanted to know if we had set a goal weight yet. I told him I hadn't, but given my muscle and bone mass, that I think I am looking at 180-190 pounds at the lowest. Provided I don't lose too much muscle mass. He freaking beamed at me. He said that should be my absolute lowest and right at 200 pounds might be good for me. 200 POUNDS. I never thought I would hear a doctor say that would be a healthy weight for me. I'm so used to hearing that I need to be under 150! Anyways, Dr. J said that I am not due for another year and if I keep up like I am he has no problem scheduling another sleep test to get me off of it! Then he said if I get another 50-60 pounds off before my visit next year to give him a call. He will do the sleep test then! I almost hugged him.

His nurse was walking me out and talking to me about everything. We had talked a bit in the exam room about my energy and sleep quality. She said she was wanting to get more active but that it was hard. I bit down on my initial reply of she didn't need to lose weight. Body image issues are so rough, and if she wants to get healthier, good for her. I told her that if she really wants it, she'll find a way. She asked what I was doing for workouts and how I fit them in. I told her I go on my lunch breaks a couple days a week. She looked kind of surprised and asked why that time. I was blunt and said I won't get up early, and once I get home I'm done. It's what works for me. She agreed with that thought and said she would try it. I told her, quite honestly, if I can get my butt in gear and do this she can too.

She looked me dead in the eye and whispered, "You're my new hero." I had no idea what to say other than thank you.

I wanted to deny it. I'm still so close to the beginning of the journey and haven't done much. At least it feels that way. But I have done a lot. I have been hearing from quite a few friends that I inspire them, and it warms my heart. I see Marshall making small changes because of my examples. I wasn't expecting someone, who is pretty much a stranger, to say that to me.

I think that doctor's visit was a success. :)

Oh, one last note for this post. The fall rally for the TOPS chapters of the Front Range was while I was in Ireland. When I got back I was given an award I had been awarded. Between the 1st of January and end of July I had lost 20.25#!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Getting back on track

I am finally home and feel like my schedule is getting back to normal. October was a whirlwind month to put it mildly. It was fantastic and wonderful and I am so glad I went on my trip to Ireland. I am so so happy to be home though.

Ireland was amazing. I didn't know how many shades of green there were. I wasn't expecting flowers to still be blooming in October. Fuchsia, dahlias, hydrangeas, and so many more were in bloom. It was gorgeous. I was also surprised by the size of the plants. It's amazing what great soil and plenty of water can do. Dahlias as tall as me. Hydrangea bushes that came up to me chin and twice my arm span. Giant fuchsia bushes and not the little ones I see in hanging pots around here.

Our tour was fantastic. Driftwood tours did a great job and I can't say enough about it. From accommodations, restaurant recommendations, lodging, activities, and how they set our group up I couldn't be more pleased. All 16 of us got along and had a great time. No one was ever late to the bus, and by the last day were all 10 minutes early to the surprise of our guide.

I took so many pictures and I am working through them all slowly. I did get some through Lightroom so I could enter the monthly contest for Vagabond. They narrow down photo submissions to the top 5 and the one with the most votes wins a prize. This month it's a hamper of chocolates from Skellig Chocolates. Of course I have to enter that!

Of course I keep getting asked about my favorite thing about the trip.

There were so many places we went that it's hard to narrow down in some ways what may favorite places were. The top ones that come to mind were not the major places like Blarney Castle or the Cliffs of Moher. Don't get me wrong they were fantastic and I would go back in a heartbeat, but the off the beaten track places were where I really fell in love with the country.

Meeting an old druid at Poulnabrone Dolmen who was making jewelry. I bought necklaces with Marshall's and my names in Ogham on them.

A surprise stop at St. Brigid's well and seeing all the memorials people have left behind with prayers for their sick loved ones and those who have passed.

Seeing cemeteries that will have a headstone from the 16th century feet away from one from 2017. They don't stop using the old cemeteries there.

The town of Dingle will always hold a special place in my heart.

Facing my fear of heights to climb castles. Especially Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone.

And I could go on and on.

There is only one real negative from the whole trip I can think of. Dublin was surprisingly dirty and had a lot of graffiti. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that. The city was nice, I felt relatively safe, and I had no issues. Aside from some things in Dublin that I didn't get to see this time, it won't be where I want to spend my time though.

My absolute favorite thing though? Without a doubt hand's down?

I was able to do, physically, everything I wanted to do.

Climbing castles, walking all day, short hikes, wandering after we got to our hotels at night, and so much more. I couldn't have done it a year ago. Even six months ago would have been a real struggle for me. That more than anything made me realize how bad off I was. But I have no regrets or guilt about how I treated my body. I am grateful for NOW. I'm fixing the issues. I was able to fully appreciate being fully mobile and full of energy. It's hard to comprehend how much mobility you have lost until you have it back.

I am still so proud of myself and I am still riding the high I have from all of that and thinking about all I accomplished personally on the trip.

There was only one day I said no to doing anything. We were going to Bantry House and there is a beautiful garden and overlook of the house and Bantry Bay. But the overlook is a steep stairway that is made of slate. The slate is slick as hell when it gets wet, and of course it was raining that day. I knew going up would be ok, but my knee was giving me fits going down stairs. There weren't any handrails. I took one look and said "Nope!" and headed inside. Laura went on her merry way up.

I do think that some of our tour mates thought we were mad at each other sometimes because we weren't always attached at the hip. It wasn't the case at all. We just knew when the other needed alone time and went our separate ways. We knew the other would find the bus or hotel or whatever when the time came.

Here's a few photos. I'm sure I'll post more here and there as I get them done.

Fountain at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel 
St. Brigid's Well

Dingle Bay


Heavenly Port at Dingle Bay

Rainbow over Killary Fjord

Slea Head drive, Dingle Peninsula

Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Learning self-love and forgiveness

I'm down 30 pounds. I actually hit it a few weeks back. I'm being so cautious about losing weight this time. It is so easy to dismiss 5, 10, and even 15 pounds lost. 5-10 can easily be gained or lost in a week depending on what you eat and, for us ladies, the time of the month it is. There was something in me about hitting 30 pounds lost. I am finally starting to feel the smallest bit of hope that I am doing it this time. Hope that I will get there, eventually. It's such a fragile bit of hope. I feel like I'm trying to get a wilted plant to grow and baby it along.

Marshall wanted a pic the other day to prove how tired I looked. We were both able to see my weight loss in my face.

It's a long, slow process this time. But it is so worth it. I'm doing it the right way. More importantly I'm doing it for the right reasons. Yes I want to wear clothes from "normal" stores. Yes I want to wear cute clothes. Yes I want to feel like a "normal" part of society and not deal with being fat-shamed anymore. Yes I want to feel good in my skin again. And hell yes, my health is at the top of this list. But my reason? I'm learning to love myself again. I was doing good years ago, and I am not sure what happened or when. I don't think it was one thing. However, I am back there now.

Some of it is being down 30 pounds. I won't lie. It feels great. More than that, it's the things I'm doing day to day that are making me feel amazing that are helping the most. I am noticing with my strength training, I'm walking taller. I'm not hunched over or looking at my feet as I walk. I'm holding my head up high again. I'm feeling better with the foods I am eating, and learning how to eat again.

I had a follow up with Dr. Hendrick a week and a half ago. It was a fantastic visit. I don't know if I had caught him on bad days previously or what, but he was laughing and joking with me. Part of me wonders if he had been reserved until he knew I was truly taking this seriously and after being 25 pounds down since starting with him he sees that I am serious. I don't know. We had an incredibly positive discussion about the eating habits I'm developing. We talked about how I am eating when I'm full. What eating to satisfaction means. And whether it is a healthy piece of fish or a decadent cupcake of just eating 80% of it to see if that satisfies me. Does it satisfy my hunger? Does it satisfy my cravings? He acknowledges that there are times we emotionally eat, it will happen. What we need to do is recognize when the food is no longer tasting good and allowing ourselves to stop and be ok.

I also find it funny that Marshall knows when I'm done before I do. I'll start looking at the food on my plate, usually unconsciously, and stare at the food. Mentally I'm just staring at it. Sometimes I wonder what I want next. Sometimes there's no thought there at all. Sometimes I know I'm within one or two bites to "done" and wondering what I want to finish with. Every single time Marshall looks at me and tells me I'm done. It's ok to to put the fork down and leave food on my plate. That's hard for me sometimes. I was raised in a household where you clear your plate. There's such an odd sense of freedom in being able to eat until I'm done and leaving it. Case in point, dinner tonight. We ordered calzones. I left just under half of my calzone. I was done. This never would have happened a year ago. I would have eaten until I was painfully full, and regretting it.

The other thing we talked about is learning my signals better. I haven't talked about it a whole lot to anyone, but I am taking a prescription med to help me. It is called Contrave. It is two different drugs combined into one. They were originally meant to help with addiction (smoking/drugs and alcoholism respectively). How they act is by one dulling the cravings and hunger signals, and the other making my satisfied and full signal louder. I still control what I put in my mouth, but it helps me battle the cravings for chocolate or just the urge to eat for no reason. Sadly insurance doesn't cover it, and I could rant on that for a while. However, for me it's working. It has helped with my cravings. It does help me recognize when I'm full. It's been a fantastic tool to help me learn my body again. When I do get hungry, I'm truly hungry. Well, most of the time. The cravings aren't gone completely.

I surprised Dr. Hendrick when I told him my reason for letting myself get to true hunger (belly growling LOUDLY). I need to know what true hunger actually feels like. I need to know it's ok to be hungry, and it's a natural signal. I know he is concerned with keeping me on track and not letting it start a binge. I respect that. However, he agreed with my reasoning and somewhat agrees. I also told him I want to go off the Contrave at some point soon, as an experiment. I need to see if I can start learning the signals my body naturally has. I don't want to be on the med forever. He agreed and reiterated I can go on and off the meds at any time. It's my journey and he is there to help me however. Dr. Hendrick also said what I have been experimenting with mindful eating, and he was impressed with what I have been doing on my own. The hospital here does some mindful eating classes, but I will miss a good portion of this session. I did get some links and book recommendations from the good doctor though.

When I mentioned this to Marshall, he had a surprising take on it. Marshall said he doesn't want to see me derail over the holidays. There are so many temptations around, and it's a stressful time at work. He doesn't want me to undo the hard work I have done. His opinion is to try after the first of the year. After much discussion, I agree with him. I will wait to try going off the meds until after the first of the year. When I first discussed it with Dr. Hendrick I hadn't even considered the upcoming holidays.

I will say the last couple of weeks, I've been glad to be on the Contrave though. We're coming up on a hard time of year for me. October is when my best friend growing up died. It's always rough on me. On Saturday I fly to Ireland with my best friend from college for a 10 day trip. Part of the trip is to finally say goodbye to her and hopefully get some closure. Grief is a funny thing, and I thought I was doing pretty good and pretty healed. I lied to myself. Big time. I've been on the verge of tears for weeks now. I've also been wanting nothing more than to binge. To eat like I used to. Because eating the point of over full, almost sickly full, numbs you. For a little bit. It's the same as drinking to forget in some ways. It's to numb you. I've given in some days, and others I haven't. I have recognized it for what is though, and it's been a surprisingly good thing.

Sometimes I give in and get a treat at lunch. Other times I can bargain with myself and wait until I get home to go to the sweets shop a block over and get something actually worth spending the calories on. Sometimes I eat peanut butter out of the jar stashed in my desk at work. But no matter what I have eaten to fulfill the emotional rawness right now, I've been trying so hard to be forgiving and gentle with myself. I've been trying to treat myself like I would anyone I love. It's helped a lot. It hasn't been easy, not by any means. Allowing myself to say that I want to emotionally eat because I am grieving and it's ok to eat a little is ok. As a result it hasn't resulted in any out right binges.

With that, I'm going to go work on more packing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Belated DCC recap and updates

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. For over a month to be honest. I just got busy with life and being a bit lazy.

TL/DR: Comic Con was awesome. I rocked my cosplay with confidence. I am under 300 pounds and down about 27 pounds. I am awesome and life is good.

Denver Comic Con was great. We had a ton of fun. I was able to walk over 15,000 steps on Friday with only a couple of rest breaks, which made me very happy. Even better my feet weren't super swollen or sore! I don't know how many steps I got in on Saturday as my fitbit didn't work with my costume!

My costume was a success. The skirt was light and airy. I didn't really overheat too badly. Although the vendor area is hot no matter what because of the people. I bought a cheap fan to use the rest of the day. Best $5 spent! First thing Saturday morning was a photo shoot for anyone dressed as characters from Sailor Moon. I happened to run into a gal who was doing a Steampunk Sailor Moon! We nerded out over each other's costumes and had fun posing together. Her friend Amber kindly took pictures for me. My favorite is us showing off our butt bows.

Some other highlights:

  • Running into friends and coworkers who I hoped to see, but didn't think I would given the crowds.
  • Having a woman come running up to me dressed as one of the Dark Moon ladies (bad guys in one of the seasons of Sailor Moon) chattering at me excitedly. She had heard there was a badass Steampuk Sailor Jupiter around and she had to find me and get a picture. 
  • Seeing some of the folks from the Cheyenne Umbrella Corp again in Denver
  • Having a professional photographer stop both Marshall and I to take our picture
  • Seeing Marshall get a fair amount of attention for his costume too
The BIGGEST highlight of all though. A couple friends of ours run the Sci-Fi Speed Dating, and Serafina wanted me to stop by and get a picture with me before the end of the day. I was talking with her and another friend for a bit, when another friend of hers came up and wanted to take my picture. She thanked me and said she was sending it to her aunt. Her Aunt voices Sailor Neptune! It made the con for me. I was seriously walking on cloud 9 the rest of the afternoon. Hell I still am, who am I kidding?
We went to some great cosplay panels and got some fantastic ideas for costumes next year. There were so many great costumes. I was surprised at how many Drag Queens were at DCC. Some of them had really elaborate outfits, even for Drag Queens. There was one I saw dressed entirely in white with white fairy wings, and their makeup was incredible. It occurred to me later I should have gone up to her and asked for makeup tips. I really need to wear more makeup and practice with it.

Fantastic Saruman cosplay
Looking for trouble

The couple that cosplays together, stays together
Steampunk Sailor Scouts!

Showing off the butt bows 
Steampunked up!

Marshall wanted me to do some poses. I'm *attempting* to do Jupiter's attack. I feel I look ridiculous and have resting bitch face.

It's all in the Eye of the Beholder

A superb Mary Poppins Cosplay!

Before going to down to DCC I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Hendrick (my obesity doctor). I was really worried about staying on plan during the weekend. I told him the plans I had. We were going out for a belated birthday dinner for me. I was taking snacks with me so I wouldn't be tempted by food at the convention center. I was also taking a water bottle with me (a good idea no matter what!). He told me to stop and said to go and have fun. It was more important that I enjoy the weekend and make memories than worry constantly about food. It wouldn't help me any. I would be focused on where I could eat than being in the moment. It meant more than words can say that he said that. And you know what? It worked. It took an incredible load off of my shoulders.

I had some major food related victories over the entire weekend. We went to the Rein Haus in LoDo for dinner. It was 4 blocks from the hotel and we had a pleasant walk down there. It is a German restaurant that serves incredible homemade sausages. In fact the only thing they don't make in-house are the french fries. They even make their sauerkraut in house. I am normally not a big fan of kraut, but this stuff was amazing. The food was delicious. Marshall and I shared a sampler platter of their sausages. I don't remember what all was on there now, but there were 2 types of duck sausage. There was also a habanero sausage that was surprisingly good. Their house made brats were excellent. In the past I would have eaten as much as I could of everything. This time I tried a bit of each and went back for a bite or two of my favorites. Then I stopped. I set down my fork and was done. I wasn't full. I was just satisfied. It was an incredible moment.

Saturday after we had staggered back to our room and ordered dinner, Marshall was in the mood for something sweet. He was just going to go down to the lobby and buy a couple candy bars for us. I told him if I was going to go off my eating plan this weekend, I wanted to indulge. I wanted something awesome. Not just a snickers. So we walked down to the 16th Street Mall. 

When I was last at the 16th Street Mall, it was nice. It was high class with high end shops and restaurants and tres chic. Now it seems run down, kinda creepy, and full of low end stores. Ross, Pay Less, and the like. It was disappointing to say the least. We ended up back at our hotel and going into the restaurant. We each had a drink and split some chocolate filled beignets topped with powdered sugar and a chocolate orange sauce. They were 3 mini beignets, and one would barely fill my palm. I ate one and a bit of a second. Then I stopped! I had my decadent sweet treat and stopped. It was an amazing weekend for me. It may be silly, but these are huge things for a person who has consistently overeaten most of her life. 

The morning after we got home I stepped on the scale simply because I was curious, but I wasn't dreading it. I knew I had enjoyed the weekend thoroughly and felt no guilt at all about the foods I had enjoyed. 

I lost 2.2  pounds! 

Yes, a lot of that was due to a lot of walking. But I think focusing on the weekend, and not the food played a huge part in it. By giving myself permission to indulge and enjoy whatever I wanted took away the power food has over me. It was pretty incredible to me.

Since DCC I have had another follow up with Dr. Hendrick. I am down 19 pounds since starting with him and about 27 pounds from my highest weight. Also, a few weeks ago I weighed in under 300 pounds!!! I was so shocked on the day it happened. I was not expecting it at all. 

The proof!

I haven't said anything on here, or on my facebook page because I haven't wanted to jinx it. In fact I have only told a handful of people. I am finally starting to feel a tender delicate bit of hope blossoming that I just might be successful this time. The changes are good, but scary too. 

I am feeling better. My skin is clearer. My hair is shinier and growing in thicker again. I am stronger and have more stamina. There's a lot happening with me. And while I haven't gotten under 297 yet, I know I will. I stopped strength training for a couple weeks and have started hitting it hard again. I always retain a bit of water for a few weeks and then I'll drop.You can see it in my weight report on MyFitnessPal.

September 2016

January 30, 2017

July 2017

August 8, 2017

Sorry for the super long update. I hope you guys enjoyed the pictures of everything.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Colorado 2017 State Recognition Days

It has been a very busy and long weekend. I had Friday off of work to head to Colorado Springs with my TOPS group for State Recognition Days. I had to pick up one of the ladies and we were on the road shortly after 7am. Thankfully I was able to avoid the worst of morning rush-hour traffic by taking E-470 instead of going through Denver. It is not secret that I absolutely hate driving in Denver. Anyways, we made it down there and let the festivities begin.

SRD is a time to celebrate. We celebrate how much the state lost as whole. We give awards to the division winners. For those unfamiliar with TOPS you are placed in a division based on your weight. There are also divisions for teens and those who have had weight loss surgery. Those who have lost the most weight each year are recognized as is the runner up. Then there is the graduation for those at goal and now Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly (KOPS) and the crowning of royalty. The state King and Queen are TOPS who have met their goal and are now KOPS and lost the most of anyone in the state to goal that year.

Here are this year's highlights:

  • Two members of my chapter graduating to KOPS
  • One of our new KOPS was the state Queen! We are so proud of her! She lost 83 pounds!
  • Another member of our group was a state division winner with a 31 pound loss! We are very proud of her too.
  • The before and after parade where people hold up their old too big clothes then show their current size. One gentleman has gone from a 7X to an XL! He has lost about 295 pounds so far and was a division winner this year too.
  • Speeches from Barbara Cady, the President of TOPS. She is a funny and dynamic speaker to catches your attention and holds it firmly. You can't help but laugh hard at her stories, nod thoughtfully, loudly yell back when needed, and scramble to take notes.
  • Speeches from KOPS and others about their weight loss journeys
  • Workshops on engaging members of the chapter and keeping the chapter active.
  • In 2016 the State of Colorado lost 6411.75 POUNDS!
  • The men's division winners lost a total of 302.85 pounds in 2016.
  • The women's division winners lost a total of 486.00 pounds in 2016.
  • The newest KOPS had just reached goal 2 weeks before SRD
  • The longest KOPS has been maintaining her weight for 46 consecutive years.

The very last thing before SRD ends is the graduation of the new KOPS, honoring of the current KOPS, and the Circle of Lights. After every current KOPS is recognized for the time they have been a KOPS the lights in the ballroom are turned off and they light little flashlights (they used to do candles) and some inspirational music is played. It is a moment to recognize the hard work it takes to maintain a weight loss and to inspire those working to get to goal. When the lights are brought back up each KOPS is to present a yellow rose to a TOPS. The rose represents the KOPS is a mentor, a friend, and someone who believes in the TOPS member when they don't believe in themselves. Carolyn, the leader of my chapter and newly graduated KOPS gave me her rose. I hope to be worthy of it.

It is amazing how TOPS recognizes those who have maintained their weight loss and the support they provide. It isn't a case of "you made goal and now you're done." From anything I have seen, maintaining is much harder than losing. But it is so worth it.

There are a lot of things about TOPS that are very outdated to me given the nature of the organization. Some things could be modernized to really help bring in more younger people. This is most clear when we get together for SRD. For all of that though, it's a fantastic group of people and a very inspiring weekend. I am so happy to be a part of the chapter I am in now.

Below are a few pictures of the weekend. Some pictures are mine, some were taken by other members of my chapter.

My yellow rose. Thank you Carolyn! I won't let you down!

Our new KOPS and Queen with our area captain who is also in our chapter. Three amazing ladies.

Colorado Queen runner up, King, and Queen

Past state royalty

Carol being crowned by former State King John. A very sweet moment as John is in my chapter too.
Kama receiving her award from Barb Cady

Kama as her story is being read.

KOPS graduation

Those in our chapter who went with Barb Cady and Regional Director.

And a quick update about me. I am down 10 pounds so far with the new doctor I am working with. I am down 16 pounds from my TOPS starting weight, and 23 pounds from the highest weight I have seen on the scale. My clothes are fitting a lot better, and I spent all day Friday pulling my jeans up. I am feeling better and sleeping better. It is a challenge some days. I was good almost all weekend being out of town, which was hard in more ways than one. I really wanted a crepe with my breakfast-for-dinner Friday night, but I stayed with my omelette, bacon, cottage cheese and fruit cup.

I had a big non-scale victory today. Our elevator was down when we went to breakfast. When we came home I didn't have to stop while climbing 4 flights of stairs. I was winded when we got up, but I didn't need to use my inhaler or feel like I was dying. I ended up doing the stairs again when I let a friend in for our gaming session this afternoon.

I'm off to meditate and bed. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What's up Doc?

About a month ago I had a follow up appointment with my pulmonologist to see how my sleep apnea is doing. Thankfully it's doing really well and he is really pleased with my progress. Because it is so mild the benefits and changes are subtle. I am sleeping deeper, I'm not tossing and turning, and I am having more vivid dreams. The dreams are really screwy sometimes, and I wake up scratching my head as a result. Holy cow they are vivid.

In the conversation with him I mentioned that my weight hasn't really been going down and I am getting frustrated. I have cut my calories down, kept exercising and changed some of what I am eating. I am stuck in the same 5 pound range. He asked if I had heard of the bariatric specialist in town. They have worked with him quite a bit and he has a good success rate. He focuses on lifestyle changes, and he does not do surgery. The one thing he said that really grabbed my attention: "Dr. Hendrick is an actual MD. They bill to your insurance. It's not fad diets and woo woo bullshit."

So I made an appointment.

My first appointment was about 2 1/2 weeks ago. The first appointment is getting all of the baseline stuff done. Height, weight, percent body fat, percent muscle, and measurements. They use a body fat scale that has handles on it to get a more accurate picture of percent body fat. The ones for your bathroom that you stand on only send an electrical impulse up to the hips. The one with the handles actually goes up to the neck. They also do a DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray) scan. This is normally used for detecting bone loss and osteoporosis. However, with the right software it can be used to determine bone mass and lean muscle mass. I also had to get a full blood panel to see where I am at right now.

I found out I have 140 pounds lean muscle mass. On the print out from the fancy scale they have what my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is and how much I should aim to loose. It didn't put me automatically in the healthy BMI range. The weight it said I should lose would put me at about 180 pounds. They take into account lean muscle mass and don't want me to lose muscle to get to a healthy weight.

**MIND BLOWN** Never had a doctor think like that.

After I read that, the nurse crossed out the BMR and weight loss goal. Cue a very confused face from me and I was thinking they wanted me to go lower. Nope. They aren't setting a weight loss goal for me yet, if at all. There are more important things to work on at the moment than just the weight. It also depends on where I am happy, where my body is happy, and what is maintainable.

**MIND BLOWN AGAIN** might be ok if I only lose to 210 pounds? Yes. Yes it is. Because it is still healthier than where I am at right now. But I was told to not worry about that for now. I was also asked to track my food, but not to worry too much about calories right now. I'm not counting calories right now. Wait, what?!?

This is different from anything I have done before. Very different.

He looks at treating obesity as the complex disease that it is. He sees 4 facets to treating obesity. Nutritional, Physical, Metabolic, and Emotional. Per our conversation today:

"Weight loss won't make you happy. You have to be happy with your life and what you are doing, weight loss is a by product of that."

I also got my blood results back today. Everything is fine except my Vitamin D and my A1C (the marker for diabetes). The Vitamin D is easy enough to fix. However, I am officially pre-diabetic. My A1C is at 5.7% and the top end of "normal" is 5.6%. So I am just barely pre-diabetic, but we can reverse this. Given family history and my best friend's death, diabetes scares the shit out of me. Things just got real. Really real.

Dr. Hendrick is not above using fear as a motivator he said. It can be a great tool when used appropriately. I believe him. He wasn't mean about it, but he was honest.

We talked a lot about eating and emotions today, and I learned a lot. I guess I shouldn't say that. I saw a new way of looking at things.

- We eat to meet different needs. Sadness, stress, anger, joy, health, fuel, and more. No one need is better than the other emotionally. They are what they are. I just need to sit back and look at my meal and ask why am I eating. Is what I am eating now fulfill my health needs or is it fulfilling an emotional need?

- The reason we emotionally eat certain foods is to fulfill and emotional need we aren't meeting otherwise. So when we take out a food that is "bad" we have to replace that food with something that fulfills the emotional need in it's absence. Meditation, yoga, walking, doing hobbies. Anything at all that makes you happy and fulfills your emotional needs.

- If I am fighting a certain change or emotion I need to ask myself why and dive deeper into the why it is bothering me and how to handle it.

He is focusing much more on the mental aspects than anything else right now with me. I feel drained and overwhelmed.

I am to start working on changing the following things:

- 3 meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No snacks and no skipping meals.
- Track food, but don't worry about calories for now. I'm to eat and feel satisfied.
- No sweets or grains (breads, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, potatoes of any kind, and corn to name a few). Since we are trying to reverse pre-diabetes this is key.
- try for a fruit and veggie at every meal.

He is pleased with how much I am working out and to up my workouts if I can without injuring myself.

I am not expected to be perfect. They want me to make baby steps. As long as I am making progress they will be happy. If I have any problems or frustrations I am to call them. They are there to help me.

Overall, I like the doctor as his staff. They are friendly and supportive. He lays no blame and doesn't shame. He genuinely wants to help.

Right now I am just nervous, scared, hopeful, and trying to be optimistic.

Ok, that's enough for tonight. I am going to post about the costume for Steampunk Sailor Jupiter tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Start of 2017 Denver Cosplay

I have gotten a few questions about why I changed the name of my blog from "The Key Geek" to "CosPlaying With My Food." Well, it was for a couple reasons. The Key Geek was the best I could come up with at the time, literally. Also, I was never really happy with it, but I could never figure out a title that fit me. I think this one will. I enjoy sewing and being creative. I am loving getting into Cosplay. I get to let out the kid that didn't get to dress up enough (or nerdy enough) for her tastes.

It is also pushing me to let me be myself, free of judgement. Oh not from the world. This is a blog. Someone, somewhere out there is going to point and laugh at a 30-something overweight woman wanting to dress up. You know what, good for them. And remind me I said that whenever snide comments come in, because it will happen. Stupid trolls. I need to be free of judging myself.

As I have said before I have lost myself somewhere along the way, and this is an effort to show myself some love and care and fun again. I need to love myself as I am right now and right in this moment. And maybe, just maybe, with loving myself a little bit more I can get healthier along the way and to a healthier weight.

So to start this I need a cosplay. I have wanted to do this for YEARS. In college I didn't know there was such a thing as cosplay beyond what kids do in Japan. And then starting to find other cosplayers the last 8 years or so of all shapes and sizes really opened my eyes. Between my husband and a dear friend/roommate from college I got the courage to start designing this cosplay.

This breaks some boundaries for me. I don't like being embarrassed or being seen as silly. I really don't like being the center of attention. I have a hard time accepting that the things I like aren't always the most mainstream and that's ok. So this is a first step in truly embracing my awesome nerdy self and letting my hair down.

Enough with the philosophy! Cosplay!

For your viewing pleasure, I present: Steampunk Sailor Jupiter!!!


I got a lot of inspiration from fanart and other cosplays on deviant art. It's been an interesting design process to make the character my own, but still recognizeable.

I love the style of tiara and skirts for this

So many possibilities....

Progress so far:

I have so absolutely horrid sketches that I am not sharing here. Maybe once my artistic skills are better. I have almost all of the fabric purchased. I just need to get the rest of the material for the bodysuit.

Piles of fabric, patterns, beads, and The Shopping List!

 A close of the greens in the costume. The green corset will have pink lacing, the green shimmery fabric is the skirt, and the brighter green will be the top of the gloves. The white fabric is for the gloves and I need to buy the rest for the bodysuit.

 I will be wrapping the green pearls similar to the white for part of the tiara/headpiece. I still need to figure out a lightning rod.

 8 yards of fabric ironed and ready to be cut! I have 7 more in reserve for bows and trim.

 The choker and bracelet set I found on Amazon. I'm not sure which is more evil right now. Amazon or JoAnns.

 The many patterns:
 I am using the skirt pattern on the left. The skirt will be green with pink edging. I am just doing one shade of green instead of two.

 The bodysuit I will be modifying. I don't need the short skirt as I have the longer pattern. The edge of the sleeves will be in the green of the skirt.

 Pattern for elbow length gloves.

Using the sailor collar off of the green outfit. I will need to modify the heck out of it so it sits right on the bodysuit instead of being tied.

 Water bottle holder in faux leather. Have to stay hydrated at cons!

That's enough for today, but it was more than enough. I look forward to keeping everyone updated. And yes, McCall's, Simplicity, JoAnn Fabrics, and Cosplay Fabrics love me right now.

Oh, I guess I should put a blurb on the health side of things. It's been a long week of being sick and coughing. I am on the mend and feeling better. I have stopped and picked up a bunch of healthier snacks for work and home to get back on track. I haven't worked out since last Wednesday and I won't until I stop wheezing. My asthma is bad enough without me being intentionally stupid with my health.