Pasta* with Pesto

According to the camera time stamps I made this in May but the photos are sitting in my media library and I should probably do something with them at some point, so here we are.

20180512_174159.jpgI love pasta.  I just adore it in all its forms so not being able to really eat the stuff post-surgery has been tough.  Consequently, I have been trying a plethora of not quite substitutes, by which I mean pasta made out of things that are not wheat.  This time around, I went for Banza, which is made with chickpeas and has a whole lot more protein and fiber than the standard stuff.  The texture is pretty good and it tastes just fine.  The elbow shape is good for a pasta salad although I like mini shells too when they are an option.  Anyway, Banza costs like three times as much as a box of standard pasta and is only half as big (8 oz) but that is to be expected when you get into specialty foods.  Because we were feeding a small crowd (six people) we made two boxes of it.

It is weird how much the water foamed when boiling the pasta but I don’t think it was an actual problem since I stopped it from boiling over.  That sort of thing makes a big mess on those flat top stoves like my grandma has when that happens.

20180512_174318 20180512_174826

20180512_174207.jpgMy mom loves making pasta with pesto as a quick and easy dinner that does not require too much work or thought but I am not great at that, overthinker that I am and I baked tofu and sautéed mushrooms to add to the dish.  I seasoned them both with pesto, partially to be lazy and partially because I had a big jar of the stuff that I got at Costco.  I do love making my own pesto but this was (a) on sale and (b) in my fridge so it won out.

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As per my mother’s usual “recipe” I also cut up a few tomatoes and grabbed a handful of pine nuts.  Since we had the already toasted kind from Trader Joe’s, I did not have to do anything to the latter but if I get the raw ones, I usually toast them for a bit in a dry pan on the stove.  They are super easy to burn though so the pre-toasted ones are a great idea if you have an attention span like mine, by which I mean almost non-existent.

While I was in charge of the pasta dish, my mother made her classic five bean salad to accompany it.  I love the stuff but rarely make it because I cannot handle such a big dish but do not want to give up any of the types of beans in order to make it smaller.  The bean salad consists of:

  • 1 can lima beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can yellow wax beans
  • 1 can lima beans
  • 1 small bottle zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 small handful of parsley, chopped

The ingredients are all mixed together, allowed to sit, then eaten.  It is both easy and delicious.  I actually like the garbanzo beans least, which is weird because I like them so much in other things but I think it is that they are firmer than the other beans so it makes the texture a little weird in my mouth.  I still would not give them up though!  My mom usually buys a little half-size can of lima beans because they tend to be unpopular no matter how many times I tell her they are my favorite bean in the salad.  I think maybe she just doesn’t like them!

Anyway, I grated some parmesan cheese over the completed pasta salad and we had a pretty decent and low-ish carb dinner!


Pasta with Pesto Recipe


  • 2 boxes Banza (pasta made from chickpeas)
  • pot of salted water
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 8 oz package cremini mushrooms
  • 14 oz package extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving, if desired)


  1. Slice the tofu into slabs ~3/4″ thick and place on slightly angled cutting board (I put a small book under one end) with paper towels and a baking sheet on top.  Place something heavy on the baking sheet and wander off for about half an hour to let the tofu drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F at some point during the waiting period.
  3. Remove everything on top of the tofu slabs and cut them into cubes.
  4. Mix together 2 T of the pesto and 1 T of the olive oil in a large-ish bowl then add the tofu cubes and toss them until they are all evenly coated.
  5. Spread the tofu cubes onto the baking sheet (wipe the bottom off first if it is the same one you used in step one) and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. While the tofu is baking, wash the mushrooms (in whatever way best calms your anxiety about eating fungus that lives in dirt) then slice them sort of thinly.
  7. Heat the remaining 1 T of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. nce the it is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and 1 T of the pesto.
  8. Sauté until the mushrooms are done – first they will get wet then dry again as they release their water and it evaporates.  They are done with they start to brown after that.
  9. When the timer goes off for the tofu, stir the cubes gently, turning as many as possible, then return it to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  10. Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil then add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  11. While pasta is cooking (and tofu is baking) chop up the tomatoes and set them aside.
  12. If your pine nuts are not toasted – toast them.
  13. Drain the cooked pasta and mix it together with the remaining pesto in a bowl you don’t mind serving in.
  14. Add the rest of the ingredients, folding gently so as not to break the tofu up too much, it is sort of fragile.
  15. Put more parmesan cheese on the top if you like that sort of thing.
  16. Eat!

I don’t really know how many people this serves.  We had leftovers but we also had  crackers / bread for the non-carb-conscious and the aforementioned bean salad.




23 Weeks Post Surgery

My weight has definitely plateaued overall but during this week, it did dip as low as it has gone so far.  I will need to work my way back under 190 lbs now/

23 weeksWeight:

2/22/18 – 191 lbs

2/23/18 – 190 lbs

2/24/18 – 190 lbs

2/25/18 – 190.8 lbs

2/26/18 – 189.6 lbs

I am pretty sure it was not this week that I made mini quiches.  Aside from being too salty, they turned out okay although I don’t think that they froze too well.  They heated up just fine from the fridge though.

mini quiche 2-10I started with tiny hash brown crusts.  I shredded potatoes on a box grater and added salt to help draw out the water.  This was probably my first mistake, salt-wise.  Anyway, I wrung out the potato shreds then lined my mini muffin tray with a tiny amount of potato and baked them for a couple of minutes.

mini quiche 2For the filling, I went with a scrambled egg-style base: beaten eggs, milk, salt & pepper.  I cut thin asparagus into pretty small pieces and added it to some of the cups ( I did not have a lot of asparagus).  I also cooked up a few strips of MorningStar Farms Veggie Bacon.  I don’t really know why I had this in my freezer.  I don’t even care for regular bacon so I am not sure why I needed to obtain a replacement for it but either way, I think it worked out okay in this dish.  The veggie bacon crumbles well and adds a layer of flavor that would have been more welcome if the quiches were not too salty to begin with.  I also folded in cheese for obvious reasons – cheese is delicious on everything!  I also sprinkled a little extra cheese on top.

mini quiche 3Anyway, I baked them until they looked done and ate a couple fresh.  They were kind of chewy but not in a bad way.  My only real complaint was the excess salt.  Next time, I might try them without any sort of crust at all, or at least without salting the potato.

Creepy but Sweet

SU-bellybuttonSU-posterI like to make things.  I especially like to make unique things when it involves a certain amount of math.  At some point, I decided that a nice gift for my Steven Universe-loving boyfriend would be a stuffed toy of the main character.  So, I bought a pink button and some flesh-colored cotton yarn (I had all the other colors already) and set to work.  Steven Universe is a short chubby child with a rose quartz in his belly button.  Unfortunately, due to my lack of planning and/or knowing what I was really doing, the toy ended up looking more creepy than cute, partially because it was too tall and thin.

Because I wanted my stuffed Steven to have a 3-D belly gem (hence the button purchase) I knew that his shirt would have to be able to be lifted.  Of course, that would be weird if his legs were just pants colored (or so I thought) so I ended up doing more work than necessary, crocheting a sort of naked doll then adding clothes in a way that they cannot actually be removed.

SU-legSU-legsI started with a foot, which I decreased into a leg then made a second, identical one.  On each foot, I sewed a red flip-flop, which was not as easy as I thought it would be, so that came out kind of weird looking – the first of many weirdnesses I would have on this project.  Also, this was the start of my shape problem, I made the legs too long and tried to do everything else to scale.  Then, I stuffed both legs, joined them together, and crocheted around the belly for a bit.  This made Steven’s lower half almost complete.

SU-pantsstartSU-skirtIn order to make the pants in a way that would never fall down, I started them at the waist by chain stitching around with blue yarn then working downward off of that waistband.  Until I got to the point where the legs split, it looked like a pair of legs in a miniskirt, which I admit was pretty odd.  Anyway, it was pretty much the opposite of the process I used to make the legs.  A little before the feet, I switched to lighter color blue in order to represent cuffs.  Also, I sewed the pink button onto the midsection to act as Steven’s gem.

20180205_000935.jpgI continued crocheting around to make the torso, turning the work to go back and forth in order to leave holes at each arm socket, then I picked up stitches around each armhole and worked from there to create limbs which ended in little balls for hands – I was not going to even try fingers!

SU-filledstarI made the shirt separately using a similar process as for the torso but a little bigger so that it would fit over what I had already made.  Then, I stitched a yellow star freehand and filled it in with an awkwardly executed satin stitch. The shirt had to be put on the doll before the head was crocheted because I did not allow for stretch in the neckline.  I forced the arms and neck stub through the shirt holes then started work on the head.

SU-baldThe head was another place I went wrong, I think.  I did the ears and nose as part of the same piece as the head then embroidered on the eyes and mouth.  I tried to make the pupils stars, like Steven gets when he is excited.  I was not able to execute that particularly well.  It was the hair, though, which was the hardest thing to tackle.

SU-hairLike with the pants, I attached the black yarn for hair by using a chain stitch along the edges of the head then I did some varying cluster stitches for Steven’s curls.  That was the real problem with the hair.  There are a couple of big lumps and some other parts that sort of dip in.  At the end of the exercise though, the head was totally covered in hair, which was the main goal.  So, in the end, my crocheted Steven Universe may have turned out more creepy than cute, but I am still reasonable pleased – I think I learned something from the whole process.




22 Weeks Post Surgery

valentines day 1Obviously, this (and the next several posts) will be published way after the events took place.  I have a day off and am trying to cram in some catch-up work.  I don’t know how successful I will actually be, this is only post two so far today.

valentines day 2Week 22 included Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, even though I am dating somebody, I did nothing romantic that day because (a) it occurred mid-week and (b) the weekend after it, I went to visit some family out of town.  Anyway, that is beside the point, I dressed kind of nicely for work that day and like how the photos came out which is the real reason I bring it up, I wanted to post the pictures.22 weeks


2/14/18 – 192 lbs

2/15/18 – 192 lbs

2/19/18 – 192 lbs

2/20/18 – 192 lbs

It might have been last week that I made cauliflower grilled cheese, but either way, I will talk about it now.

cauliflower cheese 2-7Basically, I love grilled cheese (who doesn’t?) but bread does not sit great with me anymore.  I could probably do something thin or small but I decided to try making bread out of cauliflower because I keep hearing about it online.  Also, I love cauliflower.  So, I cut half of a head into florets to roast into my favorite garlic delivery device and put the other half into my food processor to make into “bread”.

cauliflower 5

I put the riced cauliflower into a bowl and microwaved it although I think I might have done it for too long.  Anyway, I then folded in spices, parmesan cheese, and an egg.  The mixture ended up smaller than I had expected but it was enough to make a sandwich so I formed it into two equal rectangles on a greased baking sheet.

cauliflower 6

cauliflower 7I don’t recall how long I baked them for but I did flip them halfway through.  They were delicate but I managed to do it without breaking anything.

cauliflower 9After the “bread” was baked, I put cheese in between them and put the sandwich back in the oven just long enough to melt it.  Of course, I ate it with tomato soup.  Overall, the sandwich was pretty good although, of course, not as great as a traditional grilled cheese with real bread but substitutes rarely are.  Although I liked it, it was a lot of work, especially if I include the cleanup, which is always a big job when I have been cutting up cauliflower.  So, while I may make this again, it probably will not be a common occurrence.

21 Weeks Post Surgery (another catch-up post)

So, it’s actually May now and I have not lost any weight in months.  Still, I feel good and my test results show that my cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar are trending downward so I am still calling this surgery a success.  Also, I can wear XL tops from the regular section instead of plus sizes, so that is progress!  Actually, I had to switch to size L leggings, the XL ones are too baggy (yay).

So, I have various pictures of food I have made and/or eaten in the last months.  I will try to organize it in a reasonable manner.21 weeks

Weight (when I remembered to record it):

2/7/18 – 193.8 lbs

2/8/18 – 193.8 lbs

2/10/18 – 192.8 lbs

2/13/18 – 193.8 lbs

beyond burger 2-11When I was at Seva, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant, for my grandma’s birthday, I tried a Beyond Burger which was good (and weird) so when I saw a package on sale at the grocery store, I picked it up and made dinner for two.  I admit that I am not totally sold on the Beyond Burger; if I want something with saturated fat that looks like it is bleeding, I might as well just have a real burger, but it was interesting to try and I would eat it again.

beyond burger 2

beyond burger 4The burgers sizzled pretty well in the skillet although they never really brown like meat does.  I think the pink color comes from beet juice so the patty obviously does not act like beef when it cooks.  I followed the recommended instructions though and I think it turned out fine.  I don’t think that vegetarian protein replacements actually need to imitate meat.  I think my favorite veggie burger is still the MorningStar Farms Grillers but the Beyond Burger seems like a good option for carnivores who are afraid of trying something plant-based.

beyond burger 5The outside of the cooked burger was a light color, a little more reminiscent of breaded chicken than a beef patty.  The texture is softer than that of a traditional hamburger, more like bison, I think.  I served the burgers with sandwich thins and a few fixings – lettuce, tomato, mayo, pesto, and cheese (for me – none for my more health-conscious grandmother).

beyond burger 6The inside remains pinkish, even when fully cooked which is a little weird.  Overall, I realize it kind of sounds like I am saying mostly critical things but I would recommend trying the Beyond Burger to most people, even if I don’t think it is something I would eat much of in the future, myself.  I would definitely order it again at Seva, too; they do everything well!

12 Weeks Post Surgery

I hit a milestone this week by getting under 200 pounds!  I do not recall that I have weighed under that mark since high school so I am pretty excited about it and hope that I don’t go up again over that marker.

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Weight: 202 lbs


  • Tea (8 oz)
  • Protein shake (8 oz)
  • Cheeseburger (no bun)
  • Chicken sandwich (no bun)
  • Tea (12 oz)
  • String cheese
  • Milk (8 oz)

I wore some more new clothes today.  I got a couple of tunics I ordered from Amazon last night and paired one with a pair of new leggings.  It is a little shorter than I would prefer, but it covers what I think is necessary.

I really should know better by now but I was feeling quite hungry at lunch time so I got both a a cheeseburger and a chicken sandwich from McDonald’s (I know, bad planning, really) then I ate most of both of them minus the buns (at least I made that good choice).  I felt fine at first but then I had that “need to burp” feeling that turned into spitting up a bit.  I know, that is gross, but I am trying to record facts here.  Anyway, after removing a little bit of the food from my esophagus, I felt much better!

Blood sugar: 108 (6 am)

Fluid intake: (36 oz)

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Weight: 201.4 lbs


  • Drinkable yogurt (10 oz)
  • Tea (8 oz)
  • Protein shake (8 oz)
  • Milk (8 oz)
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Cheese

Huh, I did not really plan to have all liquids today before dinnertime, it just kind of happened that way.

I had totally planned to have the other half of my salmon fillet for dinner tonight but apparently when I wrapped it back up on Tuesday, I failed to put it back in the fridge.  It has been cold in my apartment but not cold enough for me to be willing to eat that fish!  While pawing through my freezer for other options, I found the Morningstar Farms crumbles that I bought years ago then didn’t know what to do with so I threw them into my Instant Pot with some beans, tomatoes, garlic & onion, and seasonings and called it chili.  I like beef chili and I am kind of disappointed in how this turned out.  My mom warned me about the texture but I found that a bigger problem is the taste.  Of course it isn’t really beef so I wouldn’t expect it to be just like that but I have always enjoyed veggie burgers and I am not sure I really care for the crumbles, it’s like they are too sweet or something.  Anyway, it isn’t so bad that I won’t keep eating it, at least for a couple of meals, but I also won’t buy the crumbles again.

Blood sugar: 115 (6 am)

Blood pressure (at the dentist’s office): 122/72 (4 pm)

Fluid intake: 34 oz

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Weight: 201 lbs

  • Food:
  • Yogurt
  • Tea (12 oz)
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Water (8 oz)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Gyro meat with onions & sauce
  • Milk (8 oz)
  • Lemonade (6 oz)

The jeans I have been wearing on Casual Friday have gotten increasingly baggy.  While looking through some boxes, I found the size 16 jeans (NOT 16W – there is a difference!) that I bought when I lost some weight like ten years ago.  They were a little tight then but today I was able to zip them up with no problem, so that is good!

Blood sugar: 103 (6 am)

Fluid intake: 34 oz

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

Weight: 199.6 lbs


  • Milk (8 oz)
  • Protein bar
  • Juice (8 oz)
  • Chicken chili
  • Cheese
  • Water (8 oz)
  • Orange chicken
  • Spring roll
  • Fried rice
  • Tea (16 oz)

This is the first time since high school I have been under 200 lbs! I hope it lasts and I don’t go up again.

Like always, the quantity of fried rice I ate was less than I would normally have (or, than I used to have, I guess, this is normal-ish for me now) compared to the meat I was eating it with.  Also, I thought ahead enough to cut my egg roll in half because even though it was delicious, I regretted eating the whole thing last time I got one.  I am learning!

Blood sugar: 108 (8 am)

Fluid intake: 40 oz

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Weight: 200.4 lbs

I did not record what I ate at all today (yesterday, really, I am writing this on Monday).  I did weigh in above 200 but I decided not to get worked up about it, there are always some variations and at least I did not go up too high

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Weight: 199.6 lbs


  • Juice (8 oz)
  • Yogurt
  • Tea (12 oz)
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Oyster crackers
  • Milk (8 oz)
  • Orange chicken
  • Fried rice
  • Milk (8 oz)

I knew my weight would not go back up!  (Okay, maybe it is too early to get excited but I’m okay with that – I am excited about this milestone.)

Fluid intake: 36 oz

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Weight: 199.6 lbs12 weeks


  • Pudding
  • Tea (12 oz)
  • Chicken chili
  • Cheese
  • Oyster crackers
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Milk (8 oz)
  • Orange chicken
  • Fried rice
  • Milk (8 oz)

Some of the things I am eating are kind of liquid and so should be able to count (pudding, chili, applesauce, etc) but I don’t know how to do the math to get the real fluid amounts so I am going to let it go.

Huh, I do not look happy in the photos I am taking these days.  That is not because I am unhappy, it is probably just because it is quite cold in my apartment and I am not very dressed.  I am actually pretty happy to be ending this week having lost almost thirty pounds (from my surgery date – closer to forty since I started tracking).

Blood sugar: 116 (6 am)

6 Weeks Post Surgery

The six-week mark for me fell on Halloween.  I like dressing up in theory but did not plan well this year.  I had high hopes that an old dress would fit and owned a witch hat already but I neglected to look for my fishnets and so had to make do.  The dress did not fit like it was supposed to – it bunched up under my bust instead of falling smoothly but it did make my [already shrinking / sagging] bosom look pretty good.  Consequently, I got plenty of compliments!

Also this week, my brother came to visit from California.  It wasn’t just to see us although I am pretty sure that seeing us was a factor in his decision to attend this particular work-related conference.

Wednesday, October 25th. 2017

Weight 212.2 lbs


  • Vanilla protein shake
  • Hummus
  • Wheat thins
  • Applesauce
  • milk
  • & other things I forgot about

Wow, my blood pressure shot up today!  I need to add a pill (or half of one at least) to my pill caddy to take tomorrow, since it is a morning drug for me.


  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Pressure: 122/100 (6 am)
  • Blood Sugar: 115 (6 am)

Thursday, October 26th. 2017

Weight 212.2 lbs



  • Chicken tortilla soup
  • Saltines
  • Meatballs
  • Egg whites
  • Egg
  • String cheese
  • Juice
  • Milk

Today, I made 284 meatballs.  I used half lean beef and half turkey along with egg, milk, and probably too many breadcrumbs. I would say too much garlic as well, but I don’t believe that such a line exists.  Anyway, I like my meatballs tiny, which is why there were so many of them.  Based on the math I did, there are about 8 grams of protein in ten meatballs, which is a small-ish serving size.  I did kind of burn my last tray of them but it wasn’t so bad except for the smoke alarm going off when I pulled them out of the oven.  I tasted one though and it was fine, if a little blackened.

I forgot to take my pills tonight.  So, I stiffed myself on both Metformin and my allergy pill.  I hope I don’t get all itchy tomorrow.  The Metformin result will be harder to judge.  Also, I realized I forgot to add the blood pressure med to my pill caddy but my diastolic is back under 100 so I will avoid doing it for now.


  • 500 mg Metformin x ½


  • Blood Pressure: 122/92 (6 pm)
  • Blood Sugar: 158 (6 pm)

Friday, October 27th. 2017

Weight 212.2 lbs


  • Roast turkey
  • Muenster cheese
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Meatballs
  • Marinara sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • & other things I forgot about

I took my meatballs over to my grandma’s house today because my brother is visiting and we had a family dinner with him and my uncle and cousin.  Unfortunately, his adorable children were not present but that’s okay, we were glad to see him anyway!

I spent the night at my grandma’s house but I did prepare for it – I brought my medications, oral appliance, and yogurt for breakfast on Saturday!



  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Pressure: 129/93 (6 am)
  • Blood Sugar: 101 (6 am)

Saturday, October 28th. 2017

Weight 213 lbs (on my grandma’s dial scale)


  • Kroger carbmaster yogurt
  • French onion soup
  • Chili
  • Cauliflower mash
  • Applesauce

I did not bring my blood pressure machine with me to my grandma’s house so I did not take it today, maybe I don’t want to know anyway.  My grandma’s scale is not as precise as mine is plus, since I was walking through her house, I was wearing more than just my underwear (which is all I usually have on for weighing myself) so I do not consider this weigh-in as an increase.  I shall see what the scale says tomorrow though, I did eat out twice today.

I spent the night at my grandma’s house again and we watched a movie as a family.  Even though she rarely does things like this, she brought out some lemon drops to pass around, which I used to like but obviously contain way too much sugar for me now.  My fourteen year-old cousin was a little bit of a jerk about it though, he was waving the dish under my nose and saying things like “you know you want one . . . or more” but I managed to ignore him pretty well.  It is just his age that makes him act like that, I am pretty sure.  I am very fond of him in general.


  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Sugar: 101 (9 am)

Sunday, October 29th. 2017

Weight 209.8 lbs


  • Cashews
  • ½ % milk
  • Muenster cheese
  • Roast turkey
  • Steak burrito
  • Refried beans

Ah, home again.  I got some groceries, including some nuts, which I wasn’t specifically told not to eat but seem kind of iffy as a choice during the “soft foods” stage.  I decided to go for it but pay extra attention to chewing them until they are basically nut butter in my mouth.


  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Pressure: 131/86 (10 am)
  • Blood Sugar: 106 (9 am)

Monday, October 30th. 2017

Weight 209.8 lbs


  • Melba toast
  • Cream cheese
  • Beef stew
  • Wheat thins
  • Muenster cheese
  • Roast turkey
  • Beef bologna

I probably had too many carbs today but I had protein too.  I chewed my crackers super thoroughly, so they should be okay (I hope). I have not felt any stomach problems lately.


  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Pressure: 125/89 (6 am)
  • Blood Sugar: 121 (6 am)

Tuesday, October 31st. 2017

Weight 209.8 lbs6 weeks post surgery


  • Kroger carbmaster yogurt
  • Beef stew
  • Wheat thins
  • Meatballs
  • Marinara sauce
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sugar free fruit punch

witch closeupI took some pretty terrible photos today, partially because I was hurrying to get dressed for work and partially because I was wearing a camisole which is loose at my waist.  It doesn’t really show off my figure but I haven’t lost weight in days anyway.  It does kind of look like I don’t have bottoms on but I do – really, I swear.

Today is Halloween!  I have a costume in my closet which I have not worn in about a decade (when I managed to drop more than a few pounds on Weight Watchers for a short time).  My mom made the dress years ago, probably in the eighties.  She was never as big as I am but she probably did not mean to wear it the way I do either.  I did break a button off when I wore it last time and I had forgotten to sew a new one on at any point over the years.  Anyway, I stuffed myself into it like a sausage then put on a witch hat and called it a costume.  I did get a lot of compliments at work.  The button wasn’t even really noticeable because instead of fitting along my stomach like I think the band is supposed to, it bunched up under my bust, hiding the fault.

witch costume


  • 500 mg Metformin x 1 ½
  • 28 mg Iron x 1


  • Blood Pressure: 127/93 (8 pm)
  • Blood Sugar: 150 (8 pm)

Deciding to Go Ahead (& first diary entry)

This whole surgery thing started at least a year ago, actually even more although it is hard to pinpoint the exact commencement of the idea forming in my head.  I live very near a bariatric surgery center (for the past two years) and I see it all the time.  A co-worker got a sleeve gastrectomy around a year ago and looks really great.  My doctor has mentioned this sort of procedure in the past, although I don’t recall exactly when.

Anyway, although I have been overweight most of my life, the idea of weight loss surgery as a real option is relatively new to me.  I used to think a lot about losing weight and I tried various things, from Weight Watchers to a weight loss “boot camp” and while I would sometimes look better for a little while, none of my results were long lasting and I would plateau before gaining all of the weight back again.

I am actually glad that I did not consider this surgery in my twenties.  I mean, sort of.  Obviously if I had lost weight earlier, I would have prevented damage to my body as well as “bounced back” more easily with the increased skin elasticity that comes with youth.  On the other hand, I would have been doing it for the wrong reasons, at least as far as I am concerned now.

I have a long history of low self-esteem.  My body image is, unsurprisingly, negative.  I have not liked how I look for too long to remember now and have even had the thought that if I like myself, the fat wins.  This was not an emotionally healthy way to live my life.  I am not saying that I became pleased with my body or anything but I did learn to accept myself.  The whole body positivity thing that seems to be spreading around the internet (unfortunately not as fast as meanness spreads but assholes are notoriously quick and plentiful) has helped me.  I learned to like my curves or at least appreciate them.  Sure, I’m not a waif or anything but I have a damn hourglass figure (well, maybe a two hourglass).  I have a prominent bosom and hips of comparable width with a waist which is only about 3/4 the circumference.  Sure, I have fat rolls but they aren’t so horrible as they could be and overall, I actually carry my weight pretty well although I do know that I could never pass for anything but plus-sized.  It’s all relative, I guess.June2015


So, what I mean by “the wrong reasons” is that if I had done something like this in my twenties, it would have been for aesthetic reasons.  It doesn’t matter how much I theoretically understand about the long term consequences of excess weight or how much my father lectured me about my health, I was a normal twenty-something in the way that I felt a certain amount invincible.  What I didn’t feel was pretty.

Now, however, despite growing to accept my body for what it is and even like myself a little, I realize that my weight is a real detriment to my health in both the long and short term.  At 34 years old, I should not be on so many drugs.  While surgery carries inherent risks, they are easily dwarfed by the risks of continuing for years with my various obesity-related conditions.  So now, I am actually considering this surgery despite the physical ramifications, not because of them.  I am worried about loose skin and drooping breasts.  I am worried about thinning hair due to nutrient deficiency and weird elephant thighs.  I know that my thighs and skin and whatnot aren’t great now but sometimes the devil you know is better (so to speak).  I have no idea what shape I might become after this procedure (and the ensuing weight loss – right after the procedure I should be about the same from the outside).

I first went to an informational session about the surgery in December of 2016.  I planned to discuss the idea of surgery with my [retired doctor] father while visiting my parents over Christmas but I chickened out.  In fact, I did not even mention it to him until after I had been to my first diet documentation (more on that later) appointment.  It’s not that I thought he wouldn’t approve, it’s that I knew he would and I was afraid that he would be so encouraging of it that I would feel pressure to go ahead with the surgery and I really wanted to make my own decisions.  I was pleasantly surprised that he really held back with his opinion.  He did some research and appreciated that which I had done as well and was very supportive while not being specifically encouraging.  I think that must have been kind of hard for him because he often does know what is best for my health and just wants to help but I chafe at direction and needed to do this on my own.  I can’t say that his opinions had nothing to do with my decision to go ahead with the surgery but I did not feel pressured in any way to proceed and I think that is one reason that I was able to do as much as I could to set myself up for success.  Otherwise, I am kind of afraid my self-sabotaging instincts might have taken over.

So, in order for my insurance to cover the surgery, I had to have a psych evaluation (no problem, I’ve been seeing psychologists for decades), a note from my primary care physician (which she was happy to write) and six months of medically supervised dieting documented by a doctor.  Because Barix Clinics is kind of a factory for this sort of thing, they provide doctors for that very purpose, so I started seeing one on a monthly basis.  She met with me very briefly and reviewed my food diary which I kept (and printed out when I remembered) using the app MyFitnessPal.  Every month she would tell me something to work on and we would see if that helped with weight loss: no chips or crackers, increased protein, no snacks; that kind of thing.  Despite being [mostly] compliant, I lost only a few pounds over the course of six months but that wasn’t really the point, it was just a hoop to jump through for the insurance company.

Finally, that was done and I was ready to schedule my procedure.  I picked a date that my parents would be visiting from Georgia and bit the proverbial bullet.  Fortunately, they were coming at the end of a week-long audit that I had scheduled at work and could absolutely not miss, so I was able to pick a date just after that.  Then there was nothing left to do but wait and fret.

I started my diary on Monday, August 21st, 2017 here is the first entry:

I scheduled my surgery weeks ago but now it actually feels real.  This is probably because today I (a) paid the 20% deposit or whatever and (b) spent like $70 on protein powder which will become a major part of my diet.

I am terrified both of failure and success but I do think that the gastric sleeve procedure will be good for my health.  I have read a ton of pro/con lists and testimonials and the pros heavily outweigh (pun intended) the cons.  I will be fighting against not only my love of food but also my desire not to be wasteful.  It can be really hard not to clean my plate, especially when I am close to being done.

My scale is stuck on stones as a unit of weight, which is weird but at least is relatively easy to convert into pounds (multiply by 14).  I will round [slightly] down to a height of 5’6” in order to calculate my BMI.

My theoretical goal weight is 150 lbs which is on the heavy side of healthy.  It translates to a BMI of 24.2 (A “normal” weight for my height is 115 – 154 lbs).  A shorter term goal I have is to get my BMI in the “overweight” range instead of obese.  My target there is 180 lbs (BMI 29.1) which is still no small amount of weight to lose.

I am not at my highest weight ever (~250 lbs) but at 240-ish, I am pretty darn close.

I have talked to three women at my work who have had this surgery with varied results.  Well, not too varied, they have all lost weight although it has been several years to a few months since their respective surgeries but the levels of weight loss have not been the same.  The one thing they have in common though is that they are all happy that they had the procedure, even with a BMI still in the obese range, it has worked wonders for co-morbidities and an overall feeling of health.

I did receive a piece of advice today that I had not heard before – start working my muscles!  Obviously, diet and exercise are both important parts of any weight loss program but the specific advice was to ward off muscle loss which one co-worker experienced after her surgery.  I have always been relatively strong – and proud of my strength so it will be important for me to maintain it.  I wonder where I could fit a weight set in my tiny apartment though.

Diet Goals (per day) for the next two weeks:

1200 – 1500 calories

Less than 150g carbohydrates

At least 25g fiber

Less than 20g sugar

At least 70g protein

After two weeks, I will have my pre-surgical appointment and will probably be given a more specific diet to follow for the final weeks.

Drugs I am currently taking (per day):

Levothyroxine (112 mcg 1x) – Hypothyroidism

Sertraline (150 mg 1x) – Depression

Atorvastatin (40 mg 1x) – Hypercholesterolemia

Losartin-Hydrochlorothyazide (50-12.5 mg 1x) – Hypertension

Metformin (1000 mg 2x) – Diabetes

Glyburide (10 mg 2x) – Diabetes

Cetirizine (10 mg 1x) – Allergies (OTC)

Shades of Gray


I am aging and not going about it gracefully.  I have long since mocked people who dye their hair excessively.  Well, maybe not mocked but at least judged less than silently.  Anyway, I think it looks silly when you see someone who is obviously in her sixties or seventies and has jet-black hair.  Yes, I used the feminine pronoun there, it wasn’t a random choice.  Women seem more likely to do this sort of thing than men.  Not that men aren’t subject to a certain amount of vanity as well, especially these days.

I am hardly the first person in my family to begin to gray, not even in my generation.  I have always worried about premature color loss if not actual hair loss.  My paternal grandfather’s hair was completely white by the time he was twenty although he kept a thick head of that snow white hair until he died at around 80 years old.  I have a cousin older than me who have been sporting salt and pepper temples since before he was thirty and another whose loses about ten years in appearance when he shaves because of the gray in his beard.  Somehow my brother (four years my senior) has managed to avoid this particular sign of age so far and he reminds me of it once in a while. (To be fair, only really when I complain about gray but still – uncool!)20170221_164857

My father is one of eight siblings, all of whom are currently in their fifties or sixties and he is the only one of them with gray hair; this is not a decision made by nature.  I think he looks better that way.  There is something comical about seeing three men with jet black hair standing around, their kurtas open at the neck so that their gray chest hair is evident in contrast.  At least this problem does not affect the ladies.  Their oldest sister used to have reddish hair, since she dyed the gray with henna but now it is dark again.  I suspect when there was more red than black, she decided it was time for a change.  Anyway, I decided to take her lead because at this point, I don’t have a lot of colorless strands and it seems less like giving in to my age.

I have dyed my hair before but never out of “necessity” only for funsies.  I have never really had a problem with my hair color.  It is dark brown (not black) and has red highlights in the sun.  Since my hair is dark and I don’t want to bleach it, I am limited in the colors I can try.  I also fear decisions to an extent and have only used temporary color (Clairol Natural Instincts) except for the one other time I used henna.  I have tried to go more red and I have tried to go black.  Neither of these changes were particularly evident when indoors in my regular clothes.  The sun helped show the change and the black ensemble I had to wear when working at Macy’s provided the contrast needed to display my dye job but only when my hair was down around my shoulders.

I have been at work for two days now with my newly henna dyed hair and nobody has yet said anything about it.  I suppose that is good, since I mostly wanted to hide the gray (which I was also told people didn’t notice but I sure did).

Anyway, I’m not sure I really did the henna thing right but it seems to have worked.  By this I mean that when I comb through the strands, I find orangey-red where white ones used to be.  There is not much of a change to the rest of my hair.  There is a change to my bathtub though – there are some weird gunky spots that weren’t there before.  I need to work on cleaning that!

When I decided to do this, I had not washed my hair in several days (I usually do so twice a week but since I was late for work on Friday, I skipped it) and I don’t know if dirty hair is a good or bad thing for dying but it was kind of greasy when I started.

dirty hair

I bought my henna at the local Indian Grocery (well, the local Indian Chain Store, Patel Brothers) and it sat on a shelf in my apartment for nearly a year, so I wasn’t off to a great start.  Finally, on Saturday, I dumped it into a bowl.  The powder is fine and came up in a little cloud which made me cough, I hope it doesn’t give me lung cancer.

henna box  henna powder

I added lemon juice and olive oil per the internet / my vague memory of doing this once before.  I added some water too but I didn’t want to dilute the lemon juice too much since I read that acidity is what activates the pigment but it was not at all wet enough.  I am also a miser who didn’t want to use too much fancy lemon juice topically so I added some vinegar, figuring that’s acidic and I have a huge jug of it.  I don’t know if it made a real difference chemically but it did make the smell far less pleasant.

lemon juice  olive oil  mixed  mixed with vinegar

I covered the bowl and let it sit for a couple of hours (also per the internet) then added an egg.  The egg thing seemed weird to me but several internet people (I know, why would they steer me wrong?) insisted that topical egg application strengthens hair.  I had a partial carton of eggs rapidly approaching their sell by date, so I figured, what the hell, I’d give it a shot.   I cracked an egg into my henna paste that smelled of vinegar and beat it in like I was making cookies.  It actually looked kind of like delicious brownie batter but due to the aforementioned smell, I had no problem not tasting it!

add egg  mixed with egg

I then slathered the goop on my hair, trying hard to both work it into my roots and not get it everywhere.  I sort of succeeded on both counts.  I held sections up with clips as I went, which worked well for the application but when I put on a shower cap so I could let it sit without getting henna all over my apartment, I found that they are not really made to sit on top of all of that.  There were inches of uncovered goopy hair at the back of my head.

side clips  shower cap

I sat around for a couple of hours, watching TV while I tried valiantly to keep my head from touching my recliner.  I seem to have done a decent job since I did not detect any horrible spots on the fortunately dark colored furniture.  I did lose some hardened bits into the cushion, however, when they dried out and dislodged from the hair at the nape of my neck.

Other than the hardened bits around the edges where the cap did not cover and the fog / steam that built up inside the shower cap, there was not much difference when the [more or less arbitrary] time came to rinse my head.  I removed the clips and found that mostly, my hair stayed in place, glued as it was by egg and other nonsense.

shower cap  2 hours later  clips removed

When I got in the shower however, it started coming out.  There was a ton of brownish water running around my feet with a slight greenish tinge that I did not expect.  It’s okay though, my hair wasn’t green at all, even the gray bits.  I rinsed my hair a bunch of times, especially where the dried bits were, until the water ran clear.  I have heard that you are not supposed to shampoo your hair for a couple of days after dying with henna so I “washed” it with conditioner instead, going through the motions of shampooing with a different bottle.  A little more color did run out at that point, but not too much.  When I got out of the shower and dried off, I don’t think I stained my towel at all!

fluffy hair

So, my hair doesn’t look very different (except that it is clean).  The curls happen naturally and as soon as I brushed it, they went away.  I try to keep the curly hair some days but it just turns into a giant fuzzy tangleball before too long, so I rarely do so.

Overall, I am calling this process a success, if slightly unnecessary.

Things I have made