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The Commitments or How I changed my Slimband story

When I started this blog, it was to share my Slimband story. Well, it’s been nearly 4 years and things here at the Digital Diva Blog have evolved a bit. I do still share my Slimband stories but I find myself focusing more on how my life has changed as a former fat chick (now I’m just a bit chubby) with a greater self confidence. That means that most of my posts are frivolous and feature an assortment of topics ranging from plus size shopping/fashion to crossfit/general fitness to food choices to dating in a digital world yet still maintaining relevance to bandsters and chubby chicks. However, the frequency of my posts isn’t much to be admired.

2014 Goals

Now, I don’t often make resolutions as I believe them to be doomed from the start. So, instead I’m going to set a goal, a commitment, if you will. A commitment to keep a consistent level of communication and keep my followers better informed of my fitness and weight-loss goals (as well as my dating disasters) throughout the first quarter of 2014. I will strive to provide at least one post per week for the next three months. And since my 4 year bandiversary will be coming up shortly after said quarter ends, I’m hoping I’ll have more to say about my band than I have recently.

So, here’s to sharing too much information about my life in the most entertaining way I know how!

It Feels Good

So, I’ve been a bit busy lately and have been keeping my written rants and raves tucked neatly away in my lollipop. Although I’ve had loads to say I just haven’t really had the chance to type it all out. For my own self indulgence I feel the need to do a little brain dump so in the interests of keeping my blog brief yet informative, my musings will follow here in point form today.

  1. I had a fill chat with cheerfully friendly Jody from Slimband who at one point considered the idea that I may not actually exist in real life due to my elusive cell phone behaviour. She performed the inevitable and scheduled a chat with Nurse Nancy.
  2. I finally got the job of my dreams. I’ve been interviewing for real jobs in O-Town. Not just the kind of jobs we want when we don’t actually have a job but the kind of jobs we want to drop everything for. I interviewed with Schleich (the Germany toy company that distributes the Smurfs) and with Export Development Canada and….I got the job with EDC. Yayyyyy!!!!Something tells me I may have actually been selected for the Schleich job too but I inadvertently announced my acceptance of the EDC job on LinkedIn via Twitter thinking I was Tweeting to my chums rather than my professional contacts. Tut, tut Vickie dear. This is not the best way to start a career as the Web Marketing Manager for Canada’s crown corporation responsible for providing export assistance. But, better to make these mistakes now, eh??  I start the job on August 3rd.
  3. I got scolded by the lovely Nurse Nancy. I guess I deserved it but it sucked the wind out of my sails a bit. Since my second fill, I’ve been doing very well to ensure I’m eating less and moving more but I haven’t really felt all thatrestricted. I had one incident with a plate of Chinese food where I’m pretty sure my lap-band spoke to me in a more than stern shriek about the importance of chewing one’s food but other than that it’s been pretty smooth sailing for this bandster. So, I mentioned this very point to Nancy and expressed my disappointment that my band wasn’t shrieking more often.
    Full belly frogMuch to my dismay, she was very stern herself in explaining to me that THAT feeling isn’t the ‘soft warning’ for the ‘feeling of fullness’ I should be looking for. THAT feeling is in fact, the feeling of overeating. So, I absolutely should NOT be hoping for that feeling EVER. Hmph. This of course frustrated me to no end because if I could stop eating before I was feeling completely full, then I really wouldn’t have had to spend $16000 on a lap-band. But I gotta do what the good Nurse Nancy says and focus on food quantity before I actually put it in my mouth. That being said, she did schedule another good sized fill for me with Dr B so I ultimately got what I wanted despite the debate. I haven’t made my appointment yet though.
  4. I’m currently having some good times in The Maritimes visiting my home town of Saint John, NB. Very nice to be back in The Port City chillin’ with some friends and watching the world go by near the ocean. There’s really not too much better in the world than a day at the beach. Although the landscape and the view have changed somewhat since my departure, Mispec Beach still holds a special place in my heart. I’ll be heading to sunny Shediac to Parlee Beach for a wedding this weekend then on to Mabou, Cape Breton for another one. Lots of great stuff to do before it’s back to the grindstone!

Mispec BeachThat’s about it for now. Bit of a big blog post today but had some stuff to say so it’s good to get these things on screen. Remember back in the day when we wrote things on paper??

Stay Positive

Well, it’s high time for a turn for the better!! I’ve just weighed myself and much to my delight I’ve found that I’ve lost another 2.6 lbs. That certainly doesn’t sound like much but I’ve been stuck at the same weight for an entire month and boy does every little help!

Yippee! Happy personThings seem to be taking a turn for the better right now. I’m socialising a bit more with friends, I’ve got a few very promising job prospects and now the scales start to shift. It’s about effing time, I’ll tell ya! It just goes to show that mental health most certainly does = physical health. So, I’ve really got to stay positive.

That being said, I’m struggling to eat as frequently as I’m supposed to. Every 2-3 hours just doesn’t seem to fit with my fun and fabulous lifestyle of job applications every morning followed by afternoons of shopping and carrying my aunt’s bags and driving her around in her pretty pink Escalade. We’re running around so much we don’t have time to eat!

But I do get the calories…and nearly none of them are good ones! Shame on me, I know. What’s the point of spending all this money on surgery if I don’t eat well, right? Well, I can’t eat as much as I used to  so it’s still an improvement if only a small one.

And I do get the regular walking in every day. I’m even hoping to start light jogging in my lovely neighbourhood very soon. It’s a dream of mine to someday be one of those fit-tastic people that rises every morning and runs a couple miles. I shall henceforth be attempting to make that dream a reality.

Now, little job fairies, work your magic while I work mine and most certainly our positive vibes will send me the job of my Ottawa dreams.

Fill ‘er Up!

Needle TipWell, today’s the day. I get to have my very first fill! After bombarding Dr Bishop’s office with phone calls I finally got through to a person and scheduled my appointment for today at 2pm.

I’m super excited but I’m totally nervous. I’ve gotten pretty used to how to eat with this thing and I really don’t want to learn how to eat all over again. But I’ve gotta do it. It’s all part of the process. I’ll be one clear liquids for the first 24 hours and full liquids/mushies for the next 24 hrs.

This is certainly going to make the DMB gig a bit of a challenge. I’m off to TO tomorrow morning until Wednesday. Can’t wait!! I’m a little sad I won’t be drinking a beer in one of those shiny red plastic cups but I’m sure they’ll have SOMETHING I can eat at the Amphitheatre. I hope…

Freakum Dress

Cannes Film Festival - Rose McGowanOkay, I’m such a sucker for a beautiful ball gown! Check out this divine D&G vintage ball gown worn by one of my favourite witches Rose McGowan. She wore it back in 2008 to Cannes but it’s vintage and oh so timeless. I would most certainly say yes to this dress!!

My entire life I’ve never imagined myself in a designer dress. I’ve had to take the time to discern designers providing plus-sized options of their gorgeous gowns. There are far more plus-size vendors in Canada now than there ever were when I was a teen trying to choose my attire for the profusion of formal events in my educational career. But most have yet to include the edge that enables me to make an outfit my own. Most of the time, if I don’t buy what’s on the mannequin it’s pretty tough to fashion trendy togs from the outdated accoutrement on display in most big-girl shops.

Cannes Film Festival - Rose McGowan - Closeup

Having the band gives me hope about the shopping expeditions I’ll be able to SHARE with my friends and family in the future. And I wanna get married in a dress like one day. It’s absolutely perfect! The colours, the cut. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Who needs white to make me blend into the background. I mean, officially I’ve been out of the white dress category for more than half my life anyway. Now, for the perfect fella…

Let Me Clear My Throat

Hmph. Woke up feeling pretty tight this morning. Was difficult to get even water down at first. Not so difficult that I couldn’t swallow it and keep it down but it felt quite similar to the way I felt around Day 4 or 5.

hmph

Since I’d had some real food last night (tried BBQ’d pork tenderloin souvlaki chewed literally hundreds of times and a tiny salad), I figured it’s just all part of the process. I must admit though, that moving on to real food, although super exciting, also makes me live in fear of band slippage due to eating too much or too solid too soon. I’m feeling a lot better now but it’s still a bit more difficult to swallow today than it was two days ago.

I’ve also got that irritating port-site pain again. It’s not as strong as it has been in the past. It’s more like a niggling now but still annoying nonetheless. I guess it’s going to take some getting used to having it near my bra line.

I didn’t have near as much water or eat as often as I should have today either…It’s late in the evening and I’m only now starting to really hydrate again. On top of all that, my (ahem!) monthly visitor came nearly a week late (at 41 days and has definitely overstayed its welcome by nearly an extra week. Apparently, irregularities such as this are directly linked to hormonal imbalances caused by rapid weight loss, poor nutrition and trauma such as surgery.

In other news, I’ve decided to follow the Clean Eating meal plan in their May/June 2010 issue. I went for a shop and found pretty much everything on the list at Costco and Superstore. The only things I couldn’t find were Silken Tofu (Sobey’s carries it though) and dried figs. The whole list for Week 1 cost somewhere in the region of $225 so it really wasn’t cheap. But I’m hoping it will all pay off.

I’m Off To See The Wizard!

Well, today’s the day. I’m leaving in approximately 10 minutes for the 4.5 hour drive to TO. I’m really a bit overwhelmed with it all and am struggling to feel anything. I’ve got a twirling feeling in the pit of my stomach but I’m not entirely sure if that’s my concern of starvation due to my prohibition from food or drink (not even water) for the entire day. I’m certainly hungry but it’s the no drinking that really concerns me…well, not really. It’s not like I’ve got nothing for my body to live on! No food or drink allowed

The really shocking thing about this whole process so far is I’ve actually lost a whopping 7 lbs on the pre-op diet.

I feel a bit like a contestant on The Biggest Loser. It’s funny because most of the images I found whilst Googling “no food or drink” had images of burgers and fries in them. Not only am I not allowed to have those TODAY, I won’t be able to even consider eating them for about 3 months. Shock, horror!!

I guess what surprises me most about the image is that burgers and fries are such a part of North American culture that a strike through them  both is the clearest way to tell our people not to eat something. It’s like they’re the most recognizable food in our culture. Things that make you go hmm, eh?

Bandying About or What Lap-Band Surgery Looks Like

Since I’m going to be writing a lot about my journey I thought I’d give a bit more detail about what kind of weight-loss surgery (WLS) I’m doing, exactly. There are two major types of WLS for one to choose from: Gastric Bypass and Gastric Banding (or LAP-BAND®). I’ve opted for Gastric Band surgery.

Gastric Band - Lap Band - Surgery

WLS has been popularized in recent years by celebrities such as Carnie Wilson. She had the more invasive gastric bypass surgery back in 1999, which complete rearranged her gastrointestinal tract. There are a number of pros and cons for each surgical path but I’ve opted for the less invasive (and completely reversible) gastric band.

Gastric banding surgery is done laproscopically and the entire surgery takes a little over an hour. The picture above provides a very clear illustration of what my stomach will look like internally after the surgery is completed. The port will be hidden under the skin and a doctor will use this as the entry point to fill and de-fill the hallow band around my stomach to increase or decrease the restriction on my stomach.

What this means is I’ll no longer be able to overeat for fear of choking or being physically sick. It doesn’t affect my digestion or the absorption of nutrients in my body, it simply restricts the amount of food I can eat in one sitting. Since it’s adjustable I have control of how restricted my eating will be. It’s also possible to remove the band entirely without any permanent damage to my stomach.

Although typically bandsters (those who’ve had the surgery) lose an average of 1-2 lbs per week, it’s by no means an EASY solution to weight loss. My diet will definitely change as there are a number of things bandsters  physically can’t eat at first. But once I get used to eating with the band in place, I should be able to eat most foods again.

So, I’m still going to have to focus on a eating healthy diet for the rest of my life like I would if I didn’t have WLS. The surgery is just going to FORCE me to do it.

I did a lot of research on WLS to arrive at my decision. I checked all over Canada and the UK and even considered Mexico at one point (my uncle had his done there in January 2010). But when I spoke to the good people (thanks Niki!) at Slimband I was sure their program was exactly what I was looking for. Slimband offers not only offers a highly skilled surgical team (Dr Patrick Yau is doing mine), they offer an intensive 4-year aftercare program to help their patients along their journey.

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