Tummy like a Banana

Me and my vertical sleeve

by susanne

I Love my Bike – Giant Avail 3 FTW

So on Wednesday I went to the Ride with the Girls event, and it was fun. Man, there are some amazing bikes to be had. Admitted, they also cost over $3,000 but they are nice. I test rode a Giant Dash 1 and it was a very nice bike. Seems like a lot of the new bikes are sporting a matte satin finish and it is very purdy and it was a great ride.

But guess what? I rode my own bike for the group ride and I love it, the Giant Avail 3 is an amazing bike and I paid less than $700 for it. Plus I ride it well and love the baby blue :-)

Anyway, the group ride was a bit of a bummer – there were some people in the group who had never been on a road bike or who hadn’t been on a bike since 1983. They were dragging the speed down majorly and we ended up with an average speed of about 12mph. Jill and I both were feeling like we got cheated out of a good workout.

So yesterday after work, I told my husband to do the cooking while I’ll be riding my bike for an hour or so. The ride was great, 15mph average and when I came home Chuck was in the middle of cooking a nice mushroom shrimp risotto.

On a different note, I bought some Chobani Champions yesterday and I really like them. It is a smaller container, 100 calories vs. the usual bigger flavored containers that are also higher in calories. I still like to make my own mandarin or peach yogurt but often enough it is nice to just grab one in the morning to take to work.

by susanne

Race for the Cure

Today was my annual mammography and I took advantage of the bus. Let me tell you – when you lose this much weight, getting a mammogram is much easier. The poor boobies have been a little deflated – not good for the look but really good for the rare occasions where you have to slap them onto a glass plate. The signup sheet actually had a question asking if your weight had changed and I proudly checked  [X] Lost weight: 73 pounds .
I’ll get the results in a week, the technician told me not to be scared if they ask for another set of pictures – it is just because my boobs have changed a lot.

Susan G Komen shirt, bib and D-Tag

Coincidence: I also just picked up my shirt and bib for the Susan G Komen “Race for the Cure” to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. I put the shirt right on – it is a size L and I believe if I had the choice, I would have picked a Medium because the L is already big on me. Yeah, let me repeat that. The size L is already quite big on me.

On a different note, I am looking forward to tonight!!! I signed up for a Meetup group called “Ride with the Girls” months ago, which is a social bike group of women to get together and ride the bike. Now, I am usually not one that needs to get together “just with the girls” and I am just as comfortable in male company, but for most exercise activities, there is just a big difference between men and women. Anyway, the group meets every Wednesday at 6pm to ride the bike together and I hadn’t made it yet because I had my running group on Wednesday nights. Tonight, they have a special event showing off new Giant Bikes for Women and while I just got a new bike, I’ll see if they can get me a tune-up for my bike and then join in for a fun ride about 16 miles! Best thing – my running buddy Jill will be there too – she too bought a bike and we’ll ride together for the first time!

by susanne

Really, I am still sore?

So, I feel I have been doing a lot of sports, most of them leg workouts like walking, running and biking. I thought my legs were in really good shape and it showed during our vacation. Being in Europe, we walked…we walked a lot – to the store, downtown, across the bridge, to see sights. It’s just what you do. Actually, not doing it when I moved to the US was a major contributor to my weight gain.

Now, after vacation I had a hard time getting into my running routine again. We came back Monday night, and actually went camping for the Labor Day weekend. I had not officially worked out since over a month. The first run was a short 25 minutes/2.27 miles and I was happy that I was able to run it all through. The next was better, 3.38 miles in 37 minutes and then on Saturday, I thought I should push it a little further. I am signed up for the Susan G. Komen 5k run on September 24 and since I signed up through work, there will be colleagues and co-workers which adds a little more pressure to performing well.

Anyway, on Saturday we were getting together in the evening with friends so I thought this would be a good time to kick it up a little and bank some exercise calories which I knew I’d use in the evening. I went for a long route: 4.91 miles – almost the furthest I have gone – in 54 minutes. I was feeling great, it was an early morning run and the weather was beautiful. When I got back, we had breakfast and then we tackled the garden.

If you leave your garden unattended for 3 to 4 weeks in the summer, it’s a mess. I started to weed my herb garden and moved on to the tomatoes and potatoes. Several hours later, we had a good chunk done, and decided to dip in the cold/hot tub and then got ready to go out.

Now, the next morning, I got up and I was sore. My legs, my lower back, my calves, my thighes!! Apparently, just because I can run 5 miles and bike 30+ miles doesn’t mean my legs are trained for everything. Weed and tending to a garden is apparently a whole different range of motion that is not trained when running/biking. It’s now Tuesday and guess what? I can still feel my legs – still sore! I didn’t exercise Sunday or Monday, but I am dedicating myself to a run tonight, maybe even the same 4.91 mile round…or make it an even 5, shall we? I need to get my pace up a little more for the Race for the Cure



by susanne

Back from Vacation

I am still alive and well, no worries. I have received a couple of messages and it touched me that people were missing me a little.

I have been a little more busy at work, but also my running and exercise picked up through the summer – and so have my other outdoor activities (cold hot tub and cocktail, anyone?). And last but not least, I spent a couple of weeks in Europe, Germany and the Czech Republic. As you may remember, my I am from Germany and my family and friends still live there, so we went to see them and travel a little. I have received rave reviews in Germany, and people were amazed at how I looked and at my athletic successes! Everyone was positive — in all honesty, I have yet to hear anyone say anything negative about surgery or even pick up a bad vibe from people. I still don’t tell everyone but I also don’t keep it a secret either.

But beside being busy, there is one more reason why I have been a little more quiet. This is a blog about Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy – but in the last few months I really haven’t had much going on that was VSG specific. My life seems to be just going normal and not to different from anyone else who is watching their food a little (which is what most people do) and who are trying to exercise a little (which is also what most people do). I felt I kept boring people with my running and biking and people didn’t come to read about these things but more about post-VSG life.

As for weightloss, I had stalled for an amazing 2 months right before vacation during which I actually went more up than down. At the same time, I didn’t care. I really did not care and I was happy I had reached the point where I thought that I am doing the right thing and that I will continue to lose weight as soon as my body is ready. We returned from Europe on 8/29 (we left 8/14) and returning I had lost 0.6 pounds. This is after 2 weeks (and the end of a stall that had started on 6/30) of more or less not caring much for what I ate – usually being under on protein, over on carbs and of course enjoy the company of friends with wine and beer – but at the same time walking a lot just to get to places. Since then, I have lost another 2.5 pounds and I am now less than 10 pounds away from being overweight (and no longer obese).

So, don’t give up on me and my blog – I do believe come winter in Michigan, I will spend a little more of my spare time at my computer and write a little more so don’t just unsubscribe, ok now?

by susanne

The Tri I tried — and accomplished!

So, this is now over a week after, and I simply haven’t gotten around to it. I wanted to make a pretty post with lots of pictures, but somehow I seem to be so busy these days, and I don’t like it. I like my life easy, and I like to make plans quickly and spontaneously instead of having to plan around other things.

The date: July 2nd, 2011.
The location: Rockford, Michigan.
The event: Bostwick Lake Triathlon.

Yeah, I did it. I did a triathlon! I had three goals for this event, which I all met:

  • don’t die
  • don’t be last
  • finish under 2 hours

This was the most amazing thing. I was pumped from start to finish. I had a wonderful cheering team consisting of Chuck, my sisters in law – one of which lives by the lake, nieces and nephews and random other people who were just in great spirit and ready to have a great day!

It started out with a 0.4 mile swim. Not much, right? I know but I can really only do a decent breast stroke, and when everyone else is swimming freestyle, the breast stroke leaves you far in the back. We swam in two heats, first the men and 1 minute later the women. Good thing: I wasn’t last, but in all fairness, out of 103 participants there were only three finishing the swim after me. I knew swimming would be the suck. I love the water, I love to be in the water but I never really go out and swim. When we go out to the lake, I dive, I do flips, I am just having a good time in the water but I certainly don’t do laps. And this was equal to 13 laps in an Olympic size pool. OK, swimming done in about 18 minutes, now to my next discipline, the bike ride.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I like to ride the bike. All my life (well, mostly my German life) riding the bike was my transportation. It got me to school from when I was very little, it took me shopping and doesn’t require a parking space, and it takes you to bars where even though you could get a DUI, you really have to be drop dead drunk to get caught. So, this was where I had gotten my hopes up. You may have read my previous post and seen my old Schwinn cruiser and the bike I borrowed from my sister in law. But it got better. Much better. MUCH MUCH better. My father, who is a passionate, avid cyclist decided I should really have my own bike. He asked how much a decent bike is, and then told me to get the money and buy myself a bike. And I did! And my bike and I lived happily ever after. The END. No, just kidding, but I am madly in love with my bike.

Back to the Tri. The transition from swim to bike was slow. I was doing the whole triathlon in the same clothes. A tank top, my triathlon shorts (part bike shorts, part running shorts) and my running bra. All I had to do is dry off my feet, have my GU Energy Gel, put on socks, shoes, bike helmet and race belt (with my starting number) – it still took me around 5 minutes I guess. For the 14 mile bike leg of the triathlon, I managed to pick up a lot of speed. Once I came from the swim, the road was empty. There was nobody there and I was getting really bummed out. I did not expect to be that far behind, but nevertheless I started to kick and kick and kick! After a while I saw another bike at the far horizon – finally. It is so much easier to speed up if you have a visible goal, and so my race began. I passed that guy, next I passed a couple, then I passed a group of three, then another couple, then a kid. I was on a role, average speed was almost 18mph! The ride was 7 miles out and then back, and once I came around, I knew why I was so fast…I had full wind in the back. Now it was blowing right at me and my speed dropped tremendously – boohoo! First I was frustrated thinking that everyone will pass me again, until I realized that everyone else would struggle with the same. I just kept kicking hard and more people started to appear on the horizon, and I passed and passed and passed! If I am doing the math right, I must have passed 12 to 15 people on the bike and it took me about 50-55 minutes. BOOYA!

Once I rolled my bike into the transition area to go to the run, I knew this would be a bitch! So hard, so very hard. Seems like bike legs and running legs are not the same at all. I started to run the 2.88 miles, but I felt like Pinocchio stumbling around on wooden pegs.

I tried to stay focused thinking “Just run, even if you are slow”. This transition is the one most athletes have problems with and it is what every triathlete practices the most. Anyway, I just got started and sure enough, after a while it was OK. Don’t get me wrong, my legs just wanted to crash by the side of the road, after all they had just swum 0.4 miles and biked 14 miles. I tried to focus on the fact that it’ll be all over soon and on the fact that I can have all the food I want after this since this should burn a huge amount of calories. Around the lake, a lot of people were just sitting in their drive way watching the runners and cheering us on, kids were handing out water cups, people had set up sprinklers to run through – it was wonderful. It took me a little over 30 minutes.

I finished the whole event in 1 hour and 49 minutes. I made it and I am here to tell the story.
Yes, I can do it. And yes, you can do it. So do it! It will be the most exhilarating thing in your whole life!


by susanne

After the Race is Before the Race… (backdated)

* I forgot to post this, I only saved it as a draft – this is from last week *

This is similar to what a famous German soccer coach once said, after the game is before the game…so after you finish one game – win or lose – you are basically in preparation for the next game. Same for me! It also means to not dwell too much on mistakes made because the next game is a new chance to win. It also means to not rest too much on ones laurels, because the next game is another chance to totally blow it. At least that’s how I always interpreted it.

Bostwick Lake Triathlon

So, just when you think I couldn’t get any more crazy, I decide to top it off. You think a 5k is great – so do I! You know what is better? To swim 0.4 miles and bike 14 miles before the 5k! Yeah baby, that’s right! I signed up for a sprint distance triathlon, the Bostwick Lake Triathlon. I kinda got talked into this. It started when my sister in law, who hurt her heal running asked me if I would do the running leg for her – she would do the swim and the bike and I can do her run. Sure, I said. Once I inquired about this later on, she said she wouldn’t do either and didn’t sign up. Hmm, now I had actually been looking forward to this – what now?

Well, I can swim since I am 5 years old, and I love to be in the water. Admitted, I usually don’t swim, but splash around, dive, and generally goof off, but I CAN swim!
I am also able to ride a bike, I actually really like to ride a bike and I enjoy weekend trips down the bike path with Chuck. It’s around 14 miles and takes about 75 minutes which is a great workout.

My Dad is really really REALLY into riding his bike and at his proud age of 72 is still taking bike rides that would lay me flat for a few days. As a child I rode a lot with him, as a teenager I started to resent it – how lame, riding a bike with your father. Riding a bike was a means of transportation for me, a good one because usually they are not enforcing DUIs/DWIs so taking my bike to a party or a bar at night was always a great option.

Schwinn Super Seven

Once I got to the US, Chuck and I took it up again, and I bought myself a wonderful Schwinn Super Seven. I always wanted a Schwinn cruiser – if I am using a bike for recreation, I want it to be fun! That was probably 10 years ago, and I have been really happy with my cruiser. Now, unfortunately, a cruiser is not a triathlon-suitable vehicle. It would give me an excuse should it come to an epic fail, but I’d rather have a chance to start with than an excuse for an almost certain fail.

Felt F90

Knowing that my sister in law wanted to do the bike part initially, I asked her if I can borrow her bike and she gladly offered me her Felt F90. Oh my Lord, now THAT is a bike. I’m in love love love! The first time I took it for a spin was amazing. I took the same route we always take – going to the end of Kent Trail in Byron Center – and what usually takes me 42 minutes now took me exactly 30 minutes. I didn’t try harder, simply the more efficient bike was allowing me to fly down the path — “on your left”.

I was so proud of myself, I was fast – I was flying! Now I felt it didn’t matter that I haven’t practiced swimming for a very long time, if I can ride a bike like this, I am ready to do this. I did some math in my head, the bike ride would take me 60 minutes, the run would take between 30 and 40 minutes depending on how tired I was. I checked a few other sprint distance triathlons and realized that if I could do it in under 2 hours, I would be fine — and in this case, fine means “not last”. So I signed up. I am doing a triathlon, my first triathlon with my friend and colleague Kellie (who did the Boston Marathon this year)! And I am thinking I finally lost my marbles, LOL!

by susanne

Reeds Lake 5k in Hindsight (backdated)

Reeds Lake 5k, Final Stretch! You just never look cute while running :-)

So, last Saturday I finished my second 5k, the Reeds Lake Run It was said to be easier – but I think they overstated that, because the fastest runners improved about 15 seconds compared to the River Bank Run. I improved my time by 2:36 minutes which is an awesome improvement I was told, and I finished in 30:42 minutes. Now, I have to admit, I did a lot wrong – especially nutrition.

Like most people, I work out to lose weight and burn calories, so I am usually not trying to eat too much extra and chugging down a 100 calorie energy drink and munching a 200 calorie power snack before a work out makes very little sense to me.

On the other hand, this is a race, and different rules apply and I have to learn to wrap my head around it. So, when we left the house at 6.30am, I sipped on my coffee and munched on an Eggo multigrain toaster waffle – think higher quality carbs or so. I also had a bottle of water in my pack and two pouches of GU energy gel – I like the GU, it doesn’t taste good (though the warm chocolate tastes a little bit like chocolate spread) but I have noticed that whenever I had one, I was doing pretty good, even in the evening. They have plenty of easily accessible sugar and some caffeine and vitamins.

After I picked up my race pack, we were early, and I was at the meeting point, chatting with people from the running group. Chuck was there carrying my crap (yeah, I know – he’s the best), my friend Jill and her girlfriend Jen were with us and we had a good time in the sun. At one point, someone said we should get moving, we said “Bye” and walked to the starting line…and away from Chuck, my water and my GU. Only during the national anthem did I realize that not only did I NOT take my GU, I also did not have ANY water…nothing but two cups of coffee.

At that point, I was freaking out a little, I was now about to run a 5k on nothing but an Eggo waffle and two cups of coffee. I knew there would be water stations but that was at least 10 minutes into the race. Of course, the more I thought about it, the more I felt parched and thirsty. Oh my!

Jill and I started running, we passed people right and left, got slightly mad at people who were in the way, walking slow or moving from right to left without any reason. About a good mile in, there was the water station so I grabbed the tiny cup, spilled half of it over myself, managed to get a few sips in and that was it. After 2 miles, I started to feel sluggish, and I had a hard time pushing myself. I got another cup at the next station but really – drinking while running is difficult. They tell you to squeeze the top of the paper cup so you have a smaller opening for drinking, but with that you already lose half of the water.

Getting closer to 3 miles, I could feel Jill pulling away from me…and there was nothing I could do. I was just not having it in me. It is so damn frustrating, you can see her running, moving away 1 step, 2 steps, 3 steps…you are helpless. I kept yelling at her, telling her “Great job, run Jill run!”. She tried to wave me up but there was nothing I could do. I had no more energy, I was dehydrated and ‘not walking” was all I could hang on to…just don’t walk, just keep running.

In the end, what seemed like a long distance between me and Jill turned out to be 12 seconds, lol! It also means that Jill improved her time by 2:51, from 3 seconds behind me to 12 seconds ahead of me! What keeps bugging me is that if I had had my GU and if I had had my water, I am almost certain both - Jill and I – could have been under 30 minutes! If I was faster, I would have been able to pull her with me! This way, she pulled me along but I was running on fumes and had nothing left to give. Too bad, but lesson learned. Just because you ran one race, you don’t have it all down and you still need to make sure you have everything in order and focus on your pre race reparation.

I will back date this post, because I have some more things to say :-)

by susanne

Next 5k

I think I forgot to mention that I am actually signed up for another run. Tomorrow will be my second 5k, and I am thrilled. Maybe not as exited as I was in May, but still. 5k or a little over 3 miles has been a distance that I have been doing on a more regular basis, and last Sunday I kicked it up to 4.5 miles…my longest distance so far. So, I am not that scared anymore.
This run is at the same location I did a lot of my training runs, so I know it i’d a bit hilly. I am running with my buddy Jill again, which is always fun.
So, wish me luck, i’ll be up early and probably done by 9am.

by susanne

At the Dentist (NSV)

So, I had my semi-annual appointment at the dentist for cleaning and the like. I really like my dental hygienist. I am not a flosser, and we enjoy the little game we have of “So, are you flossing?” – “Nnnnno” – “Well, you should” – “Yeah, I know”….and then we both are. I also keep telling her that I am making sure I have a little tartar build-up so I can spend more quality time with her. She is just the sweetest woman, and I love to make her laugh. I am pretty sure she has to deal with a lot of people all day long who hate to be there and are grumpy so I like to make her laugh. The pleasant side effect is that I usually get the biggest goody bag afterwards — Chuck just asked me in the evening if they just dump their drawers into a bag for me cause I get so much swag. I have 3 toothpaste samples, 1 toothbrush, 2 packs of Oral-B floss, 1 small bottle of the new Listerine Total Care, 5+ flossers for kids and a Biotene sampler pack (mouthwash, toothpaste and some other stuff). Anyway, I digress. Just wanted to establish that my hygienist and I have a friendly relationship.

So, I climb into the chair and she’s looking at me. She has that look on her face and then says “Something’s different about you. What changed? New glasses?”. I told her that I had lost 68 pounds, and she was floored. She’s a skinny one, so I probably lost half her body weight or so. Anyway, she said how great that is and how awesome I look and then she asked how I did it. I told her I had surgery and she asked if everything went alright and I said “Yes”, and she went back to how awesome I look and that it looks like it was a great decision I made etc.

I don’t believe that surgery should be a secret. I know, a lot of people consider it a medical procedure which in general is of private nature. That is of course true, but I think if we treat it like a shameful secret, how can we expect everyone else to consider it a medical necessity that was NOT just optional and lazy? Only if we stand up for ourselves can we expect society to not think it is the easy way out. I think we have to educate people. I like to compare it to “coming out of the closet”, the more people stand up for it and say “I am one of them”, the more accepted it will become. Only when celebrities fess up to it (Yeah Al Roker, Randy Jackson, John Popper etc. — boo Star Jones for trying to keep it a secret and boo Aretha Franklin, don’t tell me you didn’t), will people consider it OK.

Now, I am aware that weight loss surgery and being gay is not the same at all, but I think you’ll get my thought process behind it.

Now the bad part – I need two crowns which will be a pain in the a$$ and in the mouth and in the wallet ($860 out of pocket).

by susanne

Falafel my love


Phew, seems like this is the first weekend in many weeks that is not booked with events and busy work to prepare for said events.
It’s not like blogging a lot of time but whenever I am so busy I feel overwhelmed and not in a creative writing mood.
After the absence, the first thing to share would be the pita, stuffed with falafel, roasted orange peppers and my lovely tahini yogurt sauce. On the side, we have a fresh tabbouleh salad. This is a slightly different tabbouleh, with mostly herbs and tomatoes…perfect summer salad. But that was last wednesday…
Today we went to the farmer’s market, and we are returning with lots of fresh goodies like potted herbs, potatoes, tomatoes. We still have a bunch of asparagus, and I am planning on having asparagus with potatoes and nice buttery Hollandaise. Very low in protein and high in fat, but sometimes that just where it’s at, right?

denim dress

by susanne
1 Comment

Dress Rehearsal (NSV)

So, yesterday was my dress rehearsal – and it was really a dress rehearsal. Together with the dress for the wedding, I had bought another dress. It’s a simple black denim dress with a little striped cardigan and I wore it to work yesterday. I was very comfortable, I got compliments and a few double-turns where people probably couldn’t believe I was wearing a dress. On the other hand, I am surrounded by firmware programmers and hardware engineers who probably wouldn’t have noticed if I shaved my head.

On the other hand, I am still undecided about the “main dress” and I’ll probably stop by a store on my way home from work and see if I can find something a little younger, less conservative and more colorful.

But all in all, I was so happy because I was comfortable walking around all day in a dress. I would have been so much more uncomfortable — or better, I would have never done it – before the surgery. It was a mix of increased self-confidence and a thinner waist and butt. Also, I always hated the feeling of my big legs together, I always preferred pants for that reason. Weirdly, I think a lot of overweight women prefer skirts and dresses.


by susanne

OMG! This Banana Looks Different

Wow, look at this!

Well, here is the change I have been planning for a long time. The initial template was never meant to stick around that long, and I always wanted to change it toward a “banana look” to go with the name of my blog, so now here it is. Same blog, same content – now featuring a real banana!

What say you? Are you digging the banana? I sure hope so, cause it’s gonna stay around for a while :-)

by susanne
1 Comment

Playing Dress Up

So, if you know me, you’ll know that I am about as tom-boy as they get. I haven’t worn a dress since I was maybe 5 years old. I went to confirmation in a suit, and for my wedding the best thing I could come up with was a black skirt, which hasn’t been worn since either.

Now, this year we are having two weddings coming up. My two nieces, sisters, are getting married in June and July this year, and I was really looking forward to being able to show off the “new me”. When I mentioned that we have to shop for Chuck and me both for clothes, my niece jokingly said “Why don’t you get a dress, LOL”. Well, puh you — I’ll gonna get myself a dress.

I first did a “dry run” just dropping into Sears after work and trying on some dresses just to see if I feel OK, how they look and what style I want. A dress is a whole different world, and it requires a different way of walking, sitting, different shoes etc. I generally liked what I saw so I asked a friend to go dress shopping with me. Not being a dress girl, I also have very few “dress girl friends”, but my running friend Jill seemed like she’d know what to wear.

So, on Saturday we met at the mall at noon and went through the stores. We started at Younkers, moved on to Macy’s, Kohl’s, and last but not least, JC Penney. I am not a JCP fan, but I was actually impressed with their selection.

Now, guess what? They almost all looked great. I easily fit into most regular size 16 and on some even a 14 (and one slightly tight 12). On the other hand, som 16s were way way too tight — women’s sizing is a real guessing game, that’s for sure. I bought a dress that looked really nice, black and white with a little vest with elbow length sleeves.

I think it looks great on me but at the same time I am a little unsure because I feel it is more conservative than I usually dress. I googled it and on most pages it is in the “mother of the bride” category. At 41, I certainly could be the mother of a 20 year old daughter but I definitely don’t see myself in the “mother of the bride” section of a store. Hell, when I showed the dress to my husband, he said “Wow, you look all grown up”. I am also not sure about black, but I still have all the tags on and I should be able to return it. I think part of why I am a little unsure is because it is a dress. Period. LOL!


by susanne

Losing while Camping

I guess y’all have seen my last post where I broke into Onederland! Sorry for the crooked picture, I had to send it from my phone in a rush because we were on our way out.

Of course, I broke into the 100s the morning of our Memorial Day Camping Trip. If you have been camping before, you’ll probably know that it is not the healthiest of living — at least not the way we do it. Camping means it’s always 5 o’clock. Camping means donuts and cookies and chips. But then, camping also means lean grilled meats, so I am at least partially covered on the protein.

Anyway, I was dreading breaking into the 100s before camping because I always pack on a pound or two when on vacation. Well, this time was different. I am not sure why, but I actually managed to lose 1.6 pounds over Memorial Day which confirms to me again, that I have very little influence on my weight loss. I blogged about this in February and it still seems to be true.

I could probably over-analyse the weekend – factoring in fresh air, campfire smoke inhalation, having a cold, bike trips to the bathroom and being always slightly chilly. I could calculate a weight loss formula from those but I think it is easier to just keep doing what I am doing and keeping my fingers crossed. Slow but steady will I lose my weight

Otherwise, the camping trip was largely uneventful. It was the first post-op camping trip. The last trip was on my birthday and was actually the weekend after I decided to have weight loss surgery. I am battling said cold which left me almost without voice for one day and which has now turned into a nice and hearty cough. Due to that, I wasn’t as active as I usually like to be on our camping trips, I couldn’t run and we barely rode the bikes but I did enjoy lots of fresh air. I also enjoyed the awesome donuts from Potter’s Bakery. With all the carbs I had, maybe I need to be on a high carb diet to lose? Wouldn’t that be something?

LATE EDIT: Here are a few pictures of the trip

by susanne

Official Race Picture

So finally, the official race pictures have been posted. They are OK, you really can’t expect too much when taking pictures of a (still) chunky woman, right? Half a year ago, I would not have posted pictures of me running if my life depended on it, but today I am fine!

by susanne

Greek Yogurt: Follow-up to the Mandarin Yogurt

I was prepping the mandarin yogurt for Chuck and me this morning, and I remembered to take a picture. Here is my favorite sweet Greek yogurt, and all the ingredients necessary! Each container has half a serving of Greek yogurt, half a snack container of mandarin oranges (including juice), and one small pack of stevia (or your sweetener of choice).

Here is the full nutritional breakdown:

Dannon Light & Fit
(any flavor)
Homemade Greek
Mandarin Yogurt
Size 6 oz. 6 oz.
Calories 80 105
Fat 0 g 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg 0 mg
Sodium 75 mg 48 mg
Potassium 240 mg 28 mg
Total carbs 16 g 14 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g 1 g
Sugars 12 g 14 g
Protein 5 g 12 g
Vitamin A 15% 4%
Vitamin C 0% 23%
Calcium 20% 15%
Iron 0% 0%

Let’s look at the ingredients:

Dannon Light & Fit (Strawberry):
Nonfat Yogurt, (Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3), Strawberries and Water, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (to maintain freshness) and Red 40.

Homemade Yogurt:
Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus) (Yogurt)
Inulin Fiber, Stevia Leaf Extract (Sweetener)
Mandarin Oranges, White Grape and Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Vitamin C and Citric Acid (Fruit)

So, even the homemade version has a lot of ingredients, but if you look at it, there are so many things in the Dannon yogurt that don’t really seem to belong in a fruit yogurt – corn starch twice (once as part of the yogurt and once as part of the whole concoction), gelatin, flavorings and colorants.

And of course the Greek yogurt has 240% the protein and a little less carbs (even though it has “real” fruit) compared to the Dannon. Give it a try!

by susanne

Oh that hurts…

So, since I am jonesing for exercise, I thought I’d give it a little variety so I went to a spinning class with my friend Jill M. She goes to a gym that allows you to pay for these classes by visit – the Walker Ice and Fitness Center. It costs $5 per visit while most gyms charge $40 a month, so only if I go more than 8 times in a month would this be more expensive. They offer a lot of different cardio classes like spinning, boot camp, zumba, yoga and whatever else is hit right now in the cardio circus.

I never understood the hype about spinning. In the end, it’s like riding a bike, right? Well, it kinda is but then it isn’t. It’s like riding a bike uphill for 45 minutes without the ability to coast and rest your legs even for a second. It’s hard. And then you have the instructor yelling at you what to do and how to turn up the resistance, when to stand and sprint and when to climb up an even steeper hill.

But the most brutal thing was happening right behind me…my a$$. Oh my God, how my a$$ started to hurt after a while. Crazy, considering I still have a very significant amount of cushioning on my rear.

Time went by real fast, I couldn’t believe the 45 minutes were over. Sweat was dripping down my nose, I almost finished the bottle of water that Jill so wisely brought for me, and I was a little shaky. I wasn’t able to follow everything the instructor said, but I was able to keep kicking for 45 minutes and mostly adjusted the resistance as instructed.

This was definitely a cool thing to do, and I will try and give this a go once a week! I still prefer running right now, and today is the next day of the “Aldridge running club”, where we’ll do 5 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. I am not sure Chuck is really thrilled, but just like on Monday, he’ll get through it and come out fitter and stronger!

by susanne

After the Race

Now, since the race I trained for is done, I really have to find a way to stay with it. I cannot let this slide, and I really want to expand on the level of fitness I have come to. Right now, this is what I have to stick to right now. Losing weight is a tedious process for me even with surgery and the slow progress makes me a little unhappy at times. On the other hand, my physical fitness is doing great. I started the running group on March 21st and in about 8 weeks, I have come from running a couple of minutes at 4mph on the treadmill to running a full 5k in 33:18 minutes. Unfortunately, I believe this is like a diet and you have to stay with it. How to do that?

First up, I have decided that I have to work toward a new goal, and that will be a 10k. I finished my 5k in 33 minutes, great! I usually work out 40 to 60 minutes and while I am logging more miles in 33 minutes than I usually did in my 40 to 60, I need more workout and training for a 10k seems to fit the bill.

Now, this is where it is getting a little bit complicated…I have to work out, but I want my husband to workout too. I know, I am turning into the dreaded partner – just because I found a new passion shouldn’t mean that he has to follow my example. On the other hand, Chuck knows he needs to work out. He has been slowly but surly gaining a little weight. Part of the problem is that we are often still cooking for two, but I only eat half a portion so he eats 1.5 portions – but the other problem is that he has not been working out at all. Life has been very “Susanne-centric” since my surgery.

My idea now was to get Chuck started on the running schedule I had just gone through. It worked amazing for me, so I think it should work just as well for Chuck, possibly a little easier. He has not been on the treadmill as much recently, but after all he is a guy. His first week was my last group week which ended with the race, and he did go out and follow the schedule and cross trained one night on the recumbent bike in the basement. My wonderful little soldier!

This week was different because now I am running with him! Monday started with 4 minutes running, 2 minutes walking – he did it and he did great. He was huffing and puffing because it was after a long day at work and it was quite warm outside but he was pulling through it like a champ. I am so incredibly proud of him because I can recall very well just how hard it was for me the first weeks. And it is good for me, because I have to admit he looks really hot in his black ninja running clothes!

But the best is still to come – I am so fit now, that I actually ran 2 miles in 22 minutes on my own before I picked him up, and then we ran 1.75 miles in 25 minutes together! This will be amazing for me if I can keep it up like that. I am getting in my fast run, and a slower run with Chuck – and as we progress I will be up to running 5 miles in our combined workout PLUS spending quality time outdoors together!

So, while the scale is still trying to drive me crazy, other things post-surgery just fall into place and I am just hoping that the scale will sooner or later follow suit!

For anyone who is interested, here is the schedule we are running. I know there is the “Couch to 5k” (C25K) program that seems to work for a lot of people, but you can try this – it worked amazingly for me: running schedule