Food Diary 2-2-12 and “Before” Measurements

Today. Was. Hard.

Definitely my hardest day since I started the pre-surgery diet. I could blame the Groundhog for seeing his shadow, but it was my own darn fault. I started panicking about all these things I was craving and couldn’t have. Like nacho cheese – why on earth was I craving it? I wish I could say that I had another day on track…but I just kinda lost it.

The day started out great – fresh fruits and veggies. But as the day went on, I started craving carbs. I wasn’t feeling satisfied by what I was eating. I had a really bad headache. I was having computer problems at work, which made it so I was sitting around more than usual. I started looking around online about what other people were saying about pre-surgery diets, and got into my head how some surgeons allow a big binge the morning before surgery, then fasting till the procedure. I was weak, and I succumbed to temptation.

I decided to go to Costa Vida, and ordered a small sweet pork salad. I barely touched the dressing, but I devoured the meat, beans, rice, pico de gallo, and guacamole. And I ate the better part of the fresh flour tortilla. And because the pork salad was the special of the day,  it included a free drink. I filled the cup with pebble ice, and only had a little of horchata. Had I not been on a calorie restricted diet, it would have been a perfectly fine meal. I checked the website for nutritional information, but I couldn’t find the correct facts. I had to estimate what I actually ate, and the total may be WAY off.

  • Laughing cow light cheese – 2 wedges – 70 cal
  • Fresh fruit – 70 cal
  • Fresh veggies – 30 cal
  • Can of green beans – 75 cal
  • Muscle Milk light – 100 cal
  • sugar-free Jell-o – 10 cal
  • Costa Vida salad – 680 cal?
  • Horchata -100 cal
  • Chicken apple sausage – 170 cal
  • TOTAL – 1305 cal
At midnight, I need to begin fasting for my lab work in the morning. I’ll be meeting with the pre-admit nurse at St. Mark’s, and then have my pre-surgery class at the surgeon’s office. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go into work after my appointments yet, I may work from home. I’m going on FMLA, but I don’t have any sick time. Whatever time I take off will be unpaid, so I can’t slack too much.
Also, I decided to take my “before” measurements today.
  • Neck – 16.75
  • Bust 52
  • Chest 46
  • Upper bulge 53 (fat roll above my waistline)
  • Waist 49
  • Hip/butt 62
  • Thigh 34
  • Calf 23
  • Ankle 12.5
  • Bicep 20
  • Lower arm 14.5
  • Wrist 9



Unsolicited Advice

One of the most difficult things I’ve encountered in the week since I’ve been telling people that I’m having surgery is the overwhelming amount of unsolicited advice. I feel like every sentence starts with “If I were you…” or “Wait, why don’t you try ____ first?” It feels good to know that there are so many well-meaning people who want me to be healthy, but sometimes I wish people would bite their tongue.

Even though I outlined the nitty gritty details of my weight loss struggles in my post about why I’m having gastric bypass surgery, people are suggesting weight loss methods that have already been unsuccessful for me. Yes, I’ve worked with a personal trainer. Yes, I’ve tried that weight loss supplement. Yes, I understand that I’ll have to completely change the way I eat after surgery.

And then, there are all of the people who are involved in multi-level marketing companies with nutritional products. I’m aware that these shakes and supplements are top-quality and will give me great results…but I DON’T want to sign up for an MLM. For instance, I’m really interested to try the MonaVie RVL shakes, but I can’t just pick them up at a retail store. I’ve reached out to people who are involved with MonaVie, and they want me to just sign up. And then they tell me that if I start the “RVLution,” I won’t even need to have surgery. Maybe I would have been interested 2 years ago, but not now. I’m having surgery, and I’m not going to give that opportunity up after all that I’ve been through to get approved. I have had too many unsuccessful weight loss attempts, and I am confident with my decision.

And for those who are still trying to talk me out of going under the knife:

  • I’ve been to surgery classes and am well informed about the procedure that I’m about to undergo. I am fully educated on the risks and benefits.
  • I have the backing of my primary care physician, pulmonologist, endocrinologist, therapist, and other people who have been professionally involved in my health care. And now, my insurance company has determined medical necessity for surgery.
  • My husband, daughter, and other family members are supportive, and understand the risks and life changes that will have to be made. And they’re excited to see me healthy again after all my illnesses over the past few years.
  • Most of all, it’s my decision. Not yours.

Food Diary 1-31-12

sipping waterToday has been much harder to stick with the low-calorie plan. Yesterday I felt like I was hungry all day, but the hunger level was manageable. I can’t say the same for today. I decided to try starting my day with scrambled eggs and sausage to get in some protein. Halfway to work, I was so hungry, I stopped for a smoothie, which got my calorie counts up even higher. I allowed myself a few *small* splurges…like 4 Cheetos.

Today I’ve been trying to make up for my hunger by drinking LOTS of water. I’d logged 60oz of water by 11am, and by 8 pm I was at over 130oz. I’ve been using Mio water enhancer drops to make it a little more interesting. And I’ve got bags of pebble ice from Sonic both at home and work so it’s nice and chilly.

  • 2 scrambled eggs and 2 links of sausage – 260 cal
  • 24oz fresh peach smoothie – 330 cal (half in morning, half in afternoon)
  • string cheese – 80 cal
  • dried apple rings – 70 cal
  • 5 Quaker multigrain fiber crisps – 40 cal
  • 10 pickles – 10 cal
  • 4 Cheetos – 32 cal
  • Can of light chicken veggie soup – 160 cal
  • Sugar-free strawberry Jell-o – 10 cal
  • TOTAL – 992

Despair and Euphoria

nicole bullockMelancholy. Indulgent. Narcissistic. Overly-critical. Impatient. Unrealistic. Moody. Contrary. Impulsive. Unforgiving. Wistful. Confused. Irreverent.

Recently I’ve had a difficult time figuring out who I am. I feel like my life is a constant state of change, and so many elements are beyond my control. When I am in a depressive episode (nearly a year now), I have a hard time focusing on the positive traits I possess. I know I have many attributes that are admirable…it just seems like I can’t admire them in myself. Despite my greatest efforts, I find myself drowning in despair nearly every day.

I have felt so unattractive for so long. While focusing on improving my mental health and self image this year, my eternal quest for weight loss has fallen by the wayside. Other than a brief few months in high school while on Phen-Fen, I’ve always been overweight or obese. I now weigh the most I ever have, well surpassing the “Not in a million years!” weight I set for myself. I actually have no idea of my exact weight at the moment…my digital scale now reads the “ERR” error message. I have very few clothing items in which I feel confident, and little money to buy something new. It takes me so long to find ANYTHING that fits correctly, and I never seem to have the money to purchase something I finally find that works.

I have only found a few things that have made me feel happy…supportive words and good conversation, affection, the beauty of the outdoors, and time with my loved ones.  But when I wallow in the depths for so much time, I find myself seeking things that not only make me happy…I want things to make me feel euphoric. The things that make me feel euphoric…food, sex, travel and concerts. Travel and concerts find themselves into my budget more than most people, but I can’t tell you how happy I feel after I’ve gotten home. Sex…well, when you’re married to a man who is gone 2/3 of the month…you get the idea. So I’ve heavily relied on food to feel euphoric. And in the end, I weigh 50 pounds more than I did last April.

A few days ago, I took the above cell phone picture of myself for Taylor. I sent it off to him via text, and forgot about it till last night. I kept looking and looking at it…not believing it was me. After so many months of being on the edge of hating myself, it was an incredible ego boost to see a picture of me where I looked attractive and beautiful. It was a glimpse of the innate Nicole that I feel so rarely that her image was almost an enigma. After cropping out the scandalous lingerie I was wearing in the photo, I’m sharing this Nicole with you.

I am Nicole. I am talented. I am passionate. I am strong. I am a survivor. I am ambitious. I am tolerant. I am devoted. I am unique. I am sexy. I am conscientious. I am spiritual. I am considerate. I am wise. I am empathetic. I am intelligent. I am a loyal. I am silly. I am intuitive. I am enthusiastic. I am accomplished. I am compassionate. I am generous. I am witty. I am creative. I am flexible. I am skilled. I am assertive. I am hard-working. I am grateful. I am eclectic. I am artistic. I am diligent. I am resourceful. I am resilient.

But most of all….I am honest. Thank you for caring enough to share my struggles and offer support.

Doing My Best

The last few months have really put me through the wringer, emotionally and physically. It has been incredibly difficult to go from an able-bodied, overzealous DO-er, to someone who has to accept help from others, and be satisfied with myself when I accomplish less than my usual best.

My mother has dealt with chronic pain for nearly 17 years, over half of my life. When she wasn’t able to do all that she needed to, I stepped in. I spent most of my teenage years being a nurturer, a teacher, a chauffeur, a cook, and serving my family whenever necessary. It was frustrating and overwhelming at times, but I was happy that I was able to serve. Although I never really understood my mother’s physical pain, I trusted that she was doing the best she could. I knew I had the ability to help…and I did. And still do.

Since I injured my back in December, my life has been like a parallel universe. I have little endurance and mobility. I am dependent on several medications to function AT ALL. I keep ice packs, heating pads, and “granny pillows” at hand. I go to physical therapy 3 times a week. The entire office staff at my doctor’s office know me by name. I’m on the phone sorting out bills with my insurance, hospitals, urgent care clinics, imaging centers, and medical supply companies nearly every day. I deal with symptoms that sometimes cripple my mobility, such as limb numbness from hip to toe, for hours at a time. I got my first bedsore this week. Sometimes I lose bladder/bowel function. Sometimes the cerebrospinal fluid pressure changes from the cysts in my back cause mindblowing headaches. Some days, I barely make it out of bed at all.

And this life does not suit me. At all.

I pray daily for the patience to endure my pain. I pray for the patience of my friends and family members, who are affected by my illnesses. I pray for the understanding of others, that although they may not know the particulars…they don’t judge me harshly for the things I’m not able to do. I pray that my husband doesn’t give up on me, and understands that I’m truly doing my best.

Did you hear that, world? I’M DOING MY BEST.

Please don’t give up on me. Please be patient with me. Please do not judge me for the things you don’t understand. And I’ll do the same for you.

Depressed Bloggers Anonymous

depression flow chartOver the last few weeks, I have been catching up on my Google Reader. As I’ve skimmed and soaked in 1000+ blog posts over the last 3 months, I’ve found a common theme: depression. I read posts on Mormon Women ProjectBlog SegullahMormon Mommy Blogs,FMH,  Melancholy Smile, and other sites I love. I felt like these authors were speaking my language.

Depression is my disease.

According to the DSM-IV, the following symptoms may occur with depression:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (In children and adolescents, this may be characterized as an irritable mood.)
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5 of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with feelings of worthlessness, sadness, inadequacy, and poor self image. I had an extremely hard time making friends as a child, preferring to spend time alone rather than try to fit in.

In 1992, the song “Creep” by Radiohead was released. The lyrics described what felt the so passionately:

I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
when I’m not around
You’re so very* special
I wish I was special
But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doin’ here?
I don’t belong here

I have struggled with diagnosed clinical depression since I was 16.  I have always been an emotional and empathetic person. I am a moral perfectionist, always wanting to the right thing and to singlehandedly solve the world’s problems. I feel others’ pain and sadness. Even when my circumstances aren’t dire, I tend to feel so deeply of others’ struggles that I felt drained of my sense of happiness.

Sometimes my depressive episodes are are more cataclysmic than others, but usually I am able to function.

My first depressive episode spawned from qualifying for the state drama meet my sophomore year of HS, but having my drama teacher tell me that I couldn’t go. The principal wanted to limit attendees to one bus. It made me cry uncontrollably to the point I had to go home from school. And then I cried for the better part of a month, feeling so out of control. I met with my doctor, who said that my emotional state was more than an “episodic depression,” it was clinical depression.

Then throw in the times that I was depressed while pregnant, depressed post-partum, depressed when my ex-husband abused me for 4 years, depressed after my divorce, etc. Last summer the depression was so bad that I lost my job because I couldn’t function at work. I spent two months in bed, trying to overcome the dark void that I perceived my life to be. Then I got a new counselor, got on the right meds, made small attainable goals, and pulled myself out slowly. I still struggle everyday, but I’ve learned some wonderful coping mechanisms for getting by on a day-to-day basis.

Other than pills and counseling, my greatest relief comes from spending time with friends and loved ones. When I’m alone, I get down on myself. When I’m with others, I feel like I’ve got the whole world to give away to others. I treat myself to “happy-cations” where I plan out activities for myself where bad thoughts are not allowed. Whether it be time with a BFF,  snuggling up with a good book in a quiet house, or treating myself to a cupcake with a neighbor, my “happy-cations”  make such a big difference.

I’m grateful that others are willing to put out their depression struggles and stories in their blogs. It seems like blogging about depression is like a 12-step meeting…even through depression is not an addictive choice. Would anyone like to join my chapter of Depressed Bloggers Anonymous?

Originally posted at