Monday, June 3, 2013

Recent progress pics

I already updated the Photos page but here are the most recent ones in case anyone's interested.  Still need to take one for this week--I forgot to do that yesterday

Week 9

Week 10

Fill #2

I had my second fill on Friday afternoon (1 CC), and I'm now up to 4 CCs in my band.  I can't tell if I notice a difference or not!  I felt hungrier than ever over the weekend for some reason.  I'm getting a little nervous I think.  I haven't lost in 2 weeks, and in the past (when doing it on my own) I've always hit a wall at right around this point.  No matter what I did, I could never seem to get moving again once the weight loss stopped.  And I'm afraid that's going to happen again.  I was hoping that my band would come and meet me halfway, but I still don't feel any restriction.  Send me some patience!

I wasn't great with my water intake last week so I'm really dedicating myself to that today.  I've gotten about 36 ounces so far, which is helping a bit with my growling tummy.  Lunch is over an hour away still...

I did this cute newspaper-print transfer with my nails last night and I love them!  

You just paint your nails a light color, then one by one, soak each nail in rubbing alcohol for about 5 seconds and press a little scrap of newspaper over it for 15 seconds.  When you pull it away, the ink is left behind.  Seal with top coat, or the ink will smear.

Hope everyone has a great week!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm back! (Lots of pics!)

I feel like I haven't posted in months!  We're finally back from our trip to Philadelphia, which was SO MUCH FUN.  The main reason for the trip was my boyfriend's cousin's wedding.  She's always been more like a sister to him; she lived with his family for a long period of time in their teens.  So the wedding was a really big deal to Charles, who also officiated the ceremony.  It had also been 9 years since he'd been back to Philly, which is where he grew up.  When we weren't busy with wedding stuff, we drove around his old neighborhood & took pictures, ate at the diner his grandma used to take him to when he was little, and walked around at a local nature reserve.  Oh, and I ate terribly the entire time I was gone!  Cheese steaks, pizza, pancakes, booze, all the stuff I shouldn't eat.  Luckily I only gained a must have been all that dancing I did at the wedding.  Joking around with Charles, I said "well, I learned something from this trip: all I have to do is stuff my face with cheese steaks every time I get the urge and I can maintain my weight!"

The drive was rough, but not nearly as bad as I feared it would be.  On our way there, we drove about 10 hours the first day, then stopped at a hotel for the night (in Wheeling, WV) because it was raining so hard we couldn't see the road.  There were only 2 rooms left, and we got the next to last one.  The guy who walked in behind us got the other one, and it was crazy because we found out he also drove from St. Louis that morning, and he only lives like 2 miles from us!  Uh, small world I guess.  Oh, and he was also on his way to Philly.  We were like, "are you sure you're not going to Shannon's wedding???"  All they had left were suites so we wound up spending way more than we wanted to, but that's the price you pay for just driving until you can't anymore...oh well.

The next day we got up and did the last 6 hours of the journey, which were the worst.  Pennsylvania is LONG, and once you get through the mountains, the turnpike is pretty boring.  For the last 2 hours of the trip I was squirming in my seat constantly.  On the plus side, our rental car was nice and I like it a lot--it was a Nissan Rogue, which is nice and roomy without feeling huge.  I hated to drop it off this morning!  

The ride back was better.  We did the whole 950 miles in one day, leaving Philly at 9am and getting home at midnight (luckily we gained an hour on the way back!).  We wound up stopping a little more often than we did on the way there so as to not push ourselves too far.  We also occupied ourselves by listening to The Shining on audiobook, which I admit scared the CRAP out of me in the middle of Illinois in the dark.  It was late late late when we got home, but we decided for some odd reason that we wanted to watch Arrested Development and have some drinks.  We actually made it through 2 episodes, but we were drunk after a few sips of our drinks!  I guess that's what a long road trip will do.

Here are some pics...

On the way there--western Pennsylvania is so beautiful!!!  I loved the mountain tunnels  :)

Cheeks bulging with delicious cheese steak!
Post-shower after the long ride--a very happy girl

Charles' boyhood home!!!!

While Charles was in the shower, I looked up how to tie a tie on the internet and practiced on myself  :)

Charles' youngest brother Luke, Charles, me, cousin Mike & his girlfriend Heather

Photo bombed by brother in law Lucas

With the bride
My sweetie performing the service

Hanging out at Churchville Nature Center (beautiful!!)

After the 16-hour drive home (and a beer & a half)

And some from the photo booth  :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013


My name is Monica and I love Unjury protein powder.

(hi, Monica...)

I know, I about being late to the party.  I've been hearing most of you talk about how great Unjury is for months now and thinking to myself "I should try some of that..." and then just never did.  And now I feel like some lame-o who interrupts someone's conversation with "Oh my god, have you seen that show Friends!?!  Now THAT is a good show!!!"

But oh well...I'm just glad I finally found a protein shake that I not only tolerate, but actually really like.  Unjury Chocolate Splendor:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2 months

Well I realized in the middle of emailing my boss this morning that today is my 2-month bandiversary!  And since it's a special occasion, I guess I'll post an updated weigh-in:

Starting weight:  342.0
Day of surgery:  329.6
Current weight:  309.4

Total loss:  32.6 pounds

Things I've noticed:

My pants are looser.  I've been wearing skirts more often because all of my pants (which didn't fit well to begin with...snug at the waist, too loose in the thighs) are hanging off me even worse than usual.  For work dress, it's just not very professional.  I figure I'll wait a bit longer, then buy like 2 pairs of pants that are a little tight...eventually they'll fit right, then be too loose, then the whole thing over again  :)  Shirts are easier to wear when loose, so I'm okay in that department for a bit.

I'm feeling more flexible...I can reach further and bend more.  This is particularly noticeable in the shower and when painting my toenails  :)

I have more stamina...I'm no longer exhausted when I get home to the point of only wanting to collapse on the couch and turn on the TV.  These days I totally have the energy to make dinner, do the dishes, then prep for the next night's meal.

I'm less grouchy...I'm normally the kind of person who gets easily irritated with things.  People annoy the crap out of me on a regular basis.  Not that I'm suddenly Mary Poppins or anything, but I notice myself feeling a bit more tolerant.  And actually, more positive in general.  I even procrastinate less...some, of course...but not as much.  I think that says that I'm working on not shying away from facing things.

Confidence...little by little, I notice myself paying less attention to whether or not people are staring at me, and I find that I don't really care as much.  Normally I would always be on alert and trying to make myself as unnoticeable as possible.  And lately I'm feeling a little more pride in the way I carry myself.  A pretty alien concept!!

I sometimes wonder what it would take for me to completely screw things up, go off plan for "just a day" which turns into a week, which turns into me giving up completely.  I've decided it's not worth thinking about.  At this point, the 32 pounds I've lost are proving to be great motivators.  And it helps me when I think about it this way: I'm not perfect...but I don't have to be.  I'm not doing this for anyone other than ME.  Also just taking it one day at a time keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.  Today I did great, I plan to do great tomorrow too...can't wait for tomorrow!!!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Cute lunches

We all know "you eat with your eyes first."  Even if my food is tasty, I don't enjoy it as much as I do when it looks nice, or is presented in a fun or interesting way, such as a bento box or really cute plate/bowl.  

So I found this on while browsing through old posts, and although these ideas are actually geared toward kids, I think they'd be fun for adults too--especially WLS patients with their smaller portions. So cute!!!



Here's a link to the original post if you wanna read it...and definitely check out her blog if you haven't heard of it.  It's one of my favorites!  Tons and tons of awesome ideas for healthy recipes, and everything I've tried has been DELICIOUS.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I was just looking back through some old posts and found my "before" pic, taken the night before surgery.  Take a look, compared to the one from this past Sunday.  I can't believe the difference!  :-D

March 14, 2013

May 5, 2013


1.  I am so proud of myself---11 out of the last 12 days I have cooked a healthy dinner and (on work nights) packed my lunch the night before.  The other 1 day was the Pizza Hut night which we shall not speak of.  Even though I just spoke of it.

2.  I'm still REALLY trying to love cottage cheese.  I put hot sauce, salsa, black beans, fruit, applesauce, PB2, everything I can think of in that stuff trying to make it more palatable to me.  I normally wouldn't really care of there was something I didn't like, but it has so much of all the good stuff and so little of the bad stuff!  

3.  Speaking of cottage cheese, I'm working on a noodle-less lasagna recipe.  Long, thin strips of zucchini instead of noodles, cottage cheese in place of part of the ricotta, spinach, ground turkey and homemade marinara.  I can't wait to try it out!  

4.  I could probably talk about cooking, and all the things I want to cook, in every single one of my posts.  Sorry if that makes ya'll hungry, or bored, or whatever.  

5.  I keep wanting to post pics of the thing I made my mom for Mother's Day and then I remember she reads my blog!  I actually did post it at first and then realized...took it down like 10 seconds later.  I'll show you on May 19th (the day after we get together for MD)  :)

6.  Speaking of pics...although they still all look pretty much the same to me, I updated the Photos section of the blog with my most recent progress pics.

7.  It's my sister's birthday today---Happy Birthday Tori!!!!  :-D

8.  Eight, eight, I forgot what eight was for (name that song!!!)

9.  I saw this the other day and couldn't stop laughing:

10.  Okay, I promise not to do TTT anymore...this is the kind of content you get from me when I try to think of 10 separate things to write about.  As soon as I hit 'publish' I know I'll probably remember something really important, like "oh, I forgot--my band slipped and I'm writing all of this from the ER, lol!!!"  (P.S. that did NOT happen!)


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NSV, recipe and some other a pretty typical post from me

I thought it was Saturday this morning.  UGH.  I have REALLY got to get my oversleeping under control.  The alarm goes off and I just keep hitting snooze like I don't have a job in the world...which I do.  I've never been a morning person so I've had a really difficult time getting out of bed for pretty much my entire life, but it seems to have gotten worse over the last year or so.  Self-discipline CAN'T be the only solution...can it?  Cause I don't have that.

Well, I guess I do a little, because I'm definitely making progress.  Despite what we'll refer to as "the Pizza Hut Incident."  Yesterday I was eating lunch with a few people I don't normally sit with, and woman says "you look like you've really dropped some pounds."  To which I replied, "31, baby!  PA-POW!" and accidentally spit out a piece of lettuce.  Oops.  But it's been really nice to have people notice.  One of my friends actually told me that, not only am I looking a little smaller, but I have a "healthy glow" about me.  That was a first, and completely unexpected.  I mentioned it to BF and he was like "Oh my god!  You do!!"  And the pants I'm wearing today are pretty loose.  I kept having to hitch them up on the way inside from the car.  

We leave for Philadelphia on Tuesday 5/21 and I am sooo excited!  That's where Charles grew up and his cousin is getting married there on Friday 5/24.  I get to be away from St. Louis (and work) for a week, which should be glorious.  And I love weddings!!

I made a bunch of curry chicken salad last night and it turned out so great I just had to share:

  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked (I cut mine into 1-inch chunks and boiled them in water, then drained and shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup (approximately) plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp of light mayo or miracle whip
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
If you make this, you might wanna go a little at a time with the curry powder, since that's what I did and I have no clue how much that wound up being!  I'm estimating at 1/2 tsp but honestly it might have been more.  The crunch from the walnuts/celery and the sweet, chewy raisins & cranberries are perfect in this.


Oh yeah, one last thing...I don't know if I can trust my scale!  Yesterday it randomly said I weighed 302, which I KNOW can't be true, since I just weighed in Sunday at 311.  It's an EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat scale...does anyone else have one of these, and have you had issues with it??  It also sometimes gives 2 very different consecutive weights, and it's done this since I first got it.  It'll say 311, I'll step off and get right back on and it'll say 322.  ????????

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cheating is a dirty business

First, the good news:  I'm down another pound and sitting at 311 currently!  That's 31 lbs down overall (since March 12).  The best part about this is knowing that, even though I have 3 CCs in my band, I don't feel any restriction yet, so the loss is all due to my hard work.  I've been SUPER careful about what I eat, and diligent about getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days/week.  I've been drinking close to 80 ounces of water a day, and making sure I get 70-ish grams of protein.  I've been working hard, and seeing that reflected on the scale is pretty damn rewarding.  YAY!!!

Now for the bad news.  In a moment of Sunday laziness yesterday, I decided I didn't feel like cooking.  So instead we did the worst thing we could have done: ordered Pizza Hut.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  I mean, I guess I knew it wasn't actually a good idea, but I was all "I've been so good!  I can't deprive myself of things I love completely, because then I'll go nuts.  At least it's just one meal, then the pizza will be gone and out of my life."  Well I wasn't thinking about the fact that it's been a while since I've eaten anything greasy/fatty/etc. and how that might affect me.  It made me feel like I had just poured toxic sludge into my body.  I felt bloated, lethargic, a little queasy and way too full.  And I still kinda feel that way!  I'm cranky and uncomfortable and I feel disappointed in myself for mistreating my body/mind this way.

So I learned something important: if I decide to cheat and have a splurge meal, I'm going to make sure it's QUALITY STUFF, not crap from Pizza Hut.  Oh's a new week and I'm back in the saddle!  I'm working on our weekly meal plan so I can go shopping tonight, and I vow to make good choices that won't make me feel terrible.  

P.S. I just found out Pizza Hut made a perfume.  Seriously.  WTF???  The name...Eau de Pizza Hut, of course.  This is disturbing.

pizza hut perfume

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Like a BOSS

Okaaaaay, so maybe it's been almost a week since I've paid any attention to any blogs.  I can at least say (proudly) that the reason I've been absent for the past week is that every second of the day that I'm not really busy with work I've been walking my ass off.  Every time I clear out my inbox, I get up to stretch my legs, even if it's just to walk to the other side of the building and back.  I'm aiming for at least 30 minutes a day, but it's been more like an hour, even though a lot of that is walking back and forth to the bathroom from all the water I drink  :)  I swear I'm in there 10 times/day.

Yesterday I achieved a new record for steps taken/miles traveled in one day = 10,090!  Which is right around 4.5 miles.  The proof, thanks to my lovely fitbit:

I was in bed and it was dark  :)

This week has been a really good food week too...I've been cooking up a storm and staying well below my goal amounts of fat/calories/carbs/sugars.  Monday was turkey kielbasa with peppers & squash.  Look at all these beautiful veggies!!

Tuesday was chicken piccata with a summer vegetable gratin.  I really meant to take a picture of that one because it was so purdy, ate it.  Last night was chicken cacciatore, and tonight is eggplant parmesan with steamed green beans.  And because I could SMELL these babies while walking through the produce section of the store, I grabbed some strawberries too

...and now I'm starving.  

One last teensy tiny little detail...I've lost 30 pounds  :)  I stepped on the scale this morning and saw 312.0 staring back at me.  So I got off and back on again...and again.  Three times in a row, and that's good enough for me!  

Okay, I guess technically I'm 0.2 lbs away from the full 30 pounds, but myfitnesspal is rounding in my favor, so I am too.

Good evening, all!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Random shtuff!

1.  I had my first fill on Wednesday!!  I found out I have a 14cc band, and my surgeon gave me 3ccs, for a total of 3 (he left it empty at the time of surgery).  I wasn’t nervous AT ALL until he said “okay, hop on up here” and patted the patient table.  Then suddenly I was lying there feeling completely vulnerable and scared.  Luckily, that didn’t last very long.   He gave me a shot of lidocaine to numb the area and then was able to find my port in one stick.  I think.  I wasn't watching and I couldn't feel anything.  So I’m assuming one stick because he was all “got it in one stick!”  So, yeah.  I was feeling fine & dandy on the way home, then had a Muscle Milk Light and threw up every drop of it.  Huh???  I didn't expect that.  I felt sick to my stomach for a while after that, but later that evening I was able to get another protein shake down and keep it down.  Since then I haven’t had any issues whatsoever.  But I don’t feel like I have any more restriction now than I did a few days ago.  If there’s a difference, it’s small enough that I can’t tell.  We’ll see…

2.  I LOVE my fitbit One.  It’s so great to have a constant motivator to move more, go that extra lap, beat yesterday’s numbers!  And the sleep tracking is an added benefit; it’s really cool!  It tells me how long it took me to fall asleep, how many times I was woken up during the night and my overall sleep efficiency.  I used it to compare my quality of sleep without my CPAP mask vs. with…I went from 72% Wednesday night to 98% last night!  That mask is doin’ its job.

This was after my morning walk; I'm now up to 7609  :)

3.  I need your input on whether or not this is weird (I think it is!).  I was heating up my Lean Cuisine in one of our break room microwaves earlier (it’s a very large company with a giant break room and 6 microwaves)…it had to cook for 9 minutes so I was sitting at a nearby table playing a game on my phone.  I heard the timer go off and stood up to collect my lunch.  On my way there, this girl walks in & opens the door to the microwave my lunch is still sitting it.  Now, there are FIVE empty microwaves at this point, because I go to lunch kinda late and pretty much everyone has already eaten.  So anyway, she sees my lunch sitting in there and takes it out.  She put it on the counter and put her lunch in, closed the door and hit start.  Since when is it okay for you to just take someone's food out of the microwave when there are others available???  You never know, it could have been one of those that you had to stir and then keep cooking, or maybe it needed more time because it was still frozen in the middle.  I didn’t even know what to say!  I just laughed a little and said “uh, is my stuff done?”  She just looked at me and said, “sorry, this is my favorite microwave,” in a way that let me know that she wasn’t sorry…saying that was more like her letting me know that I caused this to happen by not taking my food out the SECOND the timer went off.  Dude, I understand having a microwave that you think cooks more evenly or whatever, but wait in line if you want to use that one.  Keep your grubby paws off my food!

4.  I don’t know why I chose to make today’s post into a numbered list.  But I did.  This has been #4.

5.  Have a great weekend, everyone!!!  Here's an unrelated picture


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mmmm dinner

Had to share tonight's dinner because it was a keeper. Ground turkey tacos with pintos, a little tomato paste, my own (waaaaay lower sodium) taco seasoning, weight watchers shredded cheese and low carb while wheat tortilla. Boyfriend would not stop saying how delicious it was. Yayyyy! A high protein, low cal meal I can make that we both love  :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My new favorite room

Today, for no reason in particular except I'm excited about it, I'm giving you a tour of my new craft room.  I've NEVER had a space to set everything up before, which means I've always had to drag everything to the kitchen or coffee table and have it scattered around everywhere and then drag it back to the closet when I'm done.  Which basically means that I didn't spend a whole lot of time messing with it because it wasn't worth the effort.  Last week I said "enough" and bought a desk off craigslist and spent 2 days getting everything organized the way I like it.  Here's how it looks now that it's all set up (even though I know it will continue to evolve):

On the left side of the desk I have card stock and patterned papers.  Designated drawers for full sheets and scraps (on the wall behind it is my Sunday painting project--I wound up liking it a lot!)

Over on the right I have my Cricut (die cutting machine) and paper trimmer (and a framed pic of Charles and me).  Never mind the hammer, nails & cuticle oil on the corner...those haven't made it back to their homes yet

In the right-hand cabinet I have some magazines, a box full of paint/paintbrushes, and a clear bin with a bunch of odds and ends...stickers, rhinestones, yarn, twine, chipboard, etc.

On the pull-out shelf above it, I have this 3-drawer organizer

Top drawer: ribbon

Middle drawer: mini paper pads

Bottom drawer: stamps

Under the desk on the right, there's an extra little shelf, where I keep pre-folded blank cards and all of my ink pads

On the left side of the desk are 3 drawer are the Cricut cutting mats and tools, scissors, glues, spool of thread and needles

Middle drawer: Cricut cartridges and software, canvases

Bottom drawer: More odds and ends...fabric & paper flowers, brads, eyelets, decorative punches, buttons and more scissors

It seems like a lot now that I've gone through it all, but my collection is actually pretty small, comparatively.  

So there ya go...not that anyone asked, which they definitely didn't, but that's my craft room.  Does anyone else have an area in their house where they can write, paint, sew, scrapbook, or whatever your poison is?  If so, I'd love to see your space!!