Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I'm coming back, in more ways than one!

So, I'm coming back to let you guys know that I made it all the way down to 230lbs, and bounced back up to 250lbs.

The reality hit me that just because I had surgery 2 years ago, doesn't mean that I can't be fat again. Calories still add up. Whether you graze throughout the day or have just a couple of big meals, the amount of daily calories is the same.

So, sure, I can eat less in one sitting, but if I get a full meal, and eat it over the course of 3 hours, it's the same difference. This is something that I failing to realize until I started logging my calories. That red bull that I was drinking in the morning was 320 calories. I switched to Kickstart (because I'm not letting go of my caffeine) That saved me 240 calories. I also switched from sausage egg and cheese croissants to a powerbar. I have lost 5 lbs in about two weeks.

I bought a fitbit charge hr, and it is really helping me to stay active and aware of daily actions. My goal is to get down to 215 lbs, and I'll be doing it the old fashioned way.

So I will post here with updates.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Farewell! It's time to move on.

It is with a heavy heart, and a bright future that I come to tell my readers that is my final post on this blog. I have been with you guys since 2011, and this chapter of my life is over.

Now that my physical health is mostly under control, it's time to take control over other aspects of my life. My children, my new family, my stability, etc.

As such I have decided to systematically eliminate negative influences in my life.

With that being said, I have deactivated my facebook account, and I have abandoned Crotchety Critic (my latest endeavor).

I will be keeping Google+ and Twitter (at least for now). So feel free to follow on twitter @bflblog.

I wish you all the very best of luck, but it's simply time to turn the proverbial page.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Until we meet again!

-RJ

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Expanding Horizons. Introducing The Crotchety Critic!

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of movies. I am also a huge fan of being grumpy.

Why not combine the two!

I have expressed interest in getting back to video blogging, but I don't feel there is enough content in my daily life to warrant a video blog about every day life.

So I decided to put a different spin on movie reviews. Sure, there are plenty of movie critics out there, but there aren't quite enough video critics/reviewers. Furthermore, there aren't many novelty movie critics. Sure, you have Honest Trailers, and things like that, but I am planning on something a little different.

I will be running a Facebook page and YouTube channel.

I'll be reviewing both new and old movies from my standpoint. I will also take requests from my watchers. No matter now great the movie, there will always be things that bother me about the movie.

So, if you will, like my facebook page, and start making requests!

Click here for my Facebook Page!
Click here for my YouTube Channel!
Follow me on Twitter!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Survivors Guide to the Gastric Sleeve

It has been a full year, and I was told by the nurse at the surgeons office that I could be considered a "Success" at this point. I went from a 54 to a 36 BMI, and lost about half of my body weight in just over a year.

I'll be honest, I haven't exactly been the poster child for EXACTLY how you should behave post op for the best results. However, I feel I probably represent the majority because nobody is perfect. I doubt that anyone follows the Dr. instructions perfectly.

I do have a few things to tell you if you are planning on having the surgery, or you are a recent recipient.

So here are some Do's and Don'ts before and after surgery.

DON'T google things like "How much weight will I lose after surgery."
Everyone is different some people have overwhelming success, while others will tell you they had no luck. If you read all success stories, about people losing 200-300lbs, you will get discouraged very quickly. All you need to know is that if you want it to work, it will work. You will have the results you choose to have. You might have to work harder than others to get it. Remember this surgery is just a tool!

DON'T google anything about what to expect at the hospital in terms of pain, drain tubes, or surgery.
Every Doctor is different. Every hospital is different. I googled EVERYTHING before my surgery, and I thought I knew what to expect. Some doctors use drains, some don't. Some use catheters, some don't. If you have questions, call your surgeon. You will see posts about pain everywhere from painless to the most excruciating pain ever endured. People are different. You simply don't know how you will react. However, if you go in expecting the worst, your brain will mess you up.

DO stop drinking carbonation RIGHT NOW. DON'T WAIT! Also, stop that smoking! 
I double dog dare you to try to fool your doctor on this. Most surgeons that perform this surgery will say NO SODAS and NO SMOKING! Some doctors will even surprise you with a saliva swab before surgery. If they detect that you have been smoking, they can cancel your surgery on the spot. That means, you did all that work for nothing. What's worse, you've lost the trust of your surgeon. Your whole life is about to change. You can sacrifice.

DO follow your pre-op diet plan! NO CHEATING!
To answer your question....YES. The pre-op diet BLOWS. It's miserable. Your brain will try to trick you by thinking things like "This could be my last chance to eat this huge meal" or "Just one night out won't hurt". Any other number of hurtful things. Again, you can't fool your doctor. These diets are for a very specific reason. It's a crash diet to help give the surgeon a bit more room in your abdomen during surgery. They also help with that fatty liver that you most definitely have. It essentially shrinks your liver so that the doc doesn't cut part of it out on accident. OK, that may have been a slight exaggeration. However, the belly and liver are snuggled up next to each other in there. The smaller the liver, the easier it is to work on the belly.

Here is where I am going to say something that my Drs and Nurses will likely strangle me if they saw it.  It's called "The Last Supper". DON'T do it the night before surgery. If you do, you are a dumbass, it's true. A couple of days before the surgery AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN CLEARED. Enjoy a nice responsible meal out with family. Take your time, and enjoy the food. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact, that this is the last time you will be able to throw back appetizers, dinner, and dessert. I think everyone deserves this. In my case, my Dad's birthday was the day before my surgery, and we went out for dinner that weekend.

So, now you have had the surgery. What should you expect? What should you do? 

Well, this is where I will say "Results may Vary".

However, there are some things that aren't talked about much in the Weight Loss Surgery Community when it comes to certain things unless you specifically research them.

DO Expect a flare up if you suffer from gout. 
Rapid weight loss and Fasting can trigger a gout attack because of the ketones released in the body, and Ketones compete with Uric Acid for excretion. You can no longer take those anti-inflammatory drugs that you have learned to depend on. You are stuck with Colchicine for inflammation. If you are on something like allopurinol currently, you will likely be OK, However, if not, the ONLY hope you have is pain medication, colchicine and rest. They will NOT give you steroids after the surgery as it will slow the healing process of your new sleeve. If you have gout Let your surgeon know beforehand.

DO Prepare for 2-6 weeks of blandness, and learn to embrace it.
The next month or so of your life will be BORING. We are talking Jello and broth and water. If you like to eat, this will likely be the worst stage in your journey. The good news is that you won't really be hungry.

DO Sip water.
We aren't talking like you have the flu, and you are dabbling with liquids. We are talking having a cup in your hand all day and sipping on it. I didn't do this, and I regretted it. You should literally be taking a sip of water every 10-20 minutes.

DO Follow the diet plan.
Once you get out of the liquid stage, and move into the soft foods stage, you will notice that you have an appetite again. You will want to move away from soft foods quickly. You will try to justify eating something softish like tuna fish, etc. DONT. Stick to the plan. I decided to eat some tuna....It hurt so damn bad. Follow the plan exactly as they give it to you.

DON'T step on a scale.
So you got your surgery, and you can't wait to see results. Stay off the scale. Seriously. Your body weight does very strange things after the surgery. Water retention, and a bunch of other medical stuff. If you are a Scale Stalker you will get discouraged and depressed. Just don't do it! If you want to see progress, feel free to take measurements.

You will have stalls. You will have times when you think that you just aren't losing weight like you should. You will also begin to get hungry, and you will try to eat to much, and you will vomit. These are things you can expect. It will take you a while before you get use to that new pouch that use to be your stomach.

Don't snack too much, and avoid sweet tea and other sweetened non-carbonated drinks. Most of the time, when you are hungry, you are really just thirsty.

The 20 minute rule is my holy grail.
Are you feeling hungry or snacky? Drink 8-16 oz of water and wait 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, have a healthy snack. However 9 times out of 10, you will find that after that water you aren't hungry any more.

So, one year later, I am healthy and had great results. This is in spite of a terrible accident that put me on my ass for 3 months. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Stay away from google, and just listen to and talk to your doctor.



Monday, June 29, 2015

RJ Goes to Washington...

This past week, work afforded me a unique opportunity to fly to Seattle, Washington to do a user group presentation on our newest software version release.

Me being a former 400 lbs, you can understand if I say I have never flown. I would just rather avoid the anxiety of being fat on a plane. 

Let me teach you a few incredibly valuable lessons that I have learned from my travels. I flew Southwest because a coworker mentioned that they don't have assigned seats. So you just kinda file into the plane and sit wherever. As a first time flyer, this was quite intriguing to me because I knew I would want a window seat. 

In lieu of assigned seats, you can "check in" 24 hours before your flight. This will net you a boarding number based on how quickly you check in. Southwest boards in groups of like 30... SO. You can be in one of several groups. (A1-30, A31-60, B1-30, etc)

So, I had GREAT boarding numbers for the first flights. (we flew from MEM-HOU, HOU-SEA) I was in the first group of passengers. I sat in a window seat with my coworker in the center. He mentioned that he typically liked window seats, and would like one on the next flight because it was a 4 hour flight. I was like, "no biggie, we don't have to ride together." 

This is where is a valuable lesson comes into play. As we filed onto the plan in Houston, there was no shortage of empty rows of seats. I quickly got a nice window seat directly behind the wing. Now, your first instinct when confronted by this number of strangers, is to be polite and sit in an empty row if you can, instead rubbing your ass/crotch in someones face to get a window seat. MISTAKE. 

If you are filing on, you have a unique advantage of choosing who you sit next to...oh look, an attractive lady, or a clean looking businessman. I don't want to bug them...NOPE. BUG THEM. You are in control at this point. The MOMENT you plant your ass in that empty row, you are at the mercy of the flight gods. 

I realized this at the exact moment that a father and son sat next to me. I put my earbuds in and turned on my binaural beats looking forward to a nap. As I was getting comfortable and enjoying the music, suddenly...ONIONS,

Not the smell where you perk your head up and have to ask someone else "Do you smell onions??" More like, ok, "WHO THE HELL JUST SMACKED ME IN THE FACE WITH AN ONION" type of smell.

I sat up and looked to my right, and the father/son onion duo were chomping down on their subway sandwiches. "Can I get a roast beef with toppings that are bound to offend everyone on the plane please." 

I legitimately stared at him eating like a starving dog for 3 minutes. Long enough until I was confident that I was making him feel uncomfortable. I'll be DAMNED if I'm letting him enjoy this sandwich in a confined space. 

Something else. REAL PLANES....aren't big. It's like a bus with wings. So, unless you are a complete douche, it doesn't feel right to lean back in your chairs. Maybe if I had a dwarf behind me...but alas. It was a large black man that I had no intention of offending on a 4 hour flight. I laid back and drifted off to an onion filled dreamland for about an hour. Suddenly my teenage neighbor realized that he needed more elbow room on the arm rest for playing his Nintendo DS. I was awoken when I almost face planted on my table tray as he "accidentally" removed my elbow from the arm rest. The flight was long, but it quickly became beautiful as we passed over the Rockies. Here are a few of the pictures I snagged.






As I said, the site was pretty breathtaking. It's hard to realize just how high up you are until you see mountains look that small. These pictures alone, almost made the onions worth it. 

Once we landed in Seattle, we were handed the keys to are shiny new Canadian Rental. Complete with KmPH and Celsius. We took off to the hotel in the next town over, and got some great pics of Mt. Ranier.


I'm sure the locals just overlook this thing at this point, but I was trying my best to get some good shots, and probably looked like quite the idiot laying in the dash trying to get pics.

Wednesday rolled around. I was suppose to "check in" to my flight that morning at like 4:30 AM. The numbers they give you are based on how early you check in. I got to the user group meeting and my coworker asked if I remembered to check in. NO. No I did not remember to F-ING check in. I scrambled to my phone and managed to get checked in. Late in the B group, which means like at least 90 people deep into boarding. 

The user group went incredibly well, and I got the chance to meet some of my customers. All great people. I crashed early that night, and had to leave the hotel at 4:30AM the next morning to start boarding. There was a very odd looking man at my gate. Like Samuel L Jackson and Morgan Freeman had a very unfortunate looking child with bug eyes and sinus problem. He had a large afro with white spots throughout it. Not salt/pepper. I mean like actual White Spots. The kind of guy you kinda can't help staring at.

Well, the super onion wonder twins taught me nothing apparently because I found myself instinctively searching for an empty row. Found one towards the back of the plane, and the moment I buckled in, the dread kicked in. I watched helplessly over the seats at the people filing on, knowing that I was at the mercy of the universe. I watched as the attractive women and professionals passed. The last of the boarders started getting on. The people that never checked in...they just showed up for whatever unknown reason. The flight attendant announced that it would be a full flight so please scoot to your left or stand up so people can file in beside you. I look up and a nicely dressed Mexican fellow plopped down next to me in the aisle seat, and I said hello, and made some feeble attempt at airport humor and he stared at me for a solid 10 seconds before I realized that he did not speak English. I smile and look up and suddenly....Samuel Freeman was bumbling down the aisle. Coughing, snorting, sniffing...eyes shifting back and forth across the plane looking for a seat. (no, no, no) YEP. He stops, and clumsily stows his bags and plops into the middle seat of the row while simultaneously splaying out across all arm rests. I shifted over to my left and stared out the window. I put my earbuds in, but no amount of binaural beats could drown out the coughing, sniffing, and within minutes, snoring. I flipped my music player over to electro rock in hopes of drowning out the sounds he was producing. This was a 4 hour flight. He slept, and snored throughout the entire flight to Chicago.

On an upnote,my flight attendant looked astoundingly like Rufus Wainwright.

Once I told him, he looked a little shocked and said "I've never heard of him, but he must be handsome if we look alike." At this moment, my very large Morgan Jackson friend woke up and laughed and mumbled something to me as he pointed in my direction, I still don't know what he said.



For the final leg of the trip home was a short hour and a half. I had learned my lesson from the last two trips, and decided to take a middle seat on a row with my coworker. I sat and watched the plane fill up and an 80 yr old man sat next to me. He was dressed nice, and have expensive jewelry on, and greeted me. I was happy with this one, finally. I once again plugged in my headphones, and went into my own head for a while in an attempt to unwind. The elderly gentleman quickly fell asleep. a few minutes I smelled what can only be described as a dirty sock that had been a dog toy, soaked in sweat, baked in the sun, then reworn by a runner. Now, I didn't have a shower that morning, and it was hot in Chicago. So, naturally, if you remember my old post, I started doing the sniff check on myself. The smell quickly went away and I thought nothing more of it. Suddenly there it was again. WTF is that smell. At this point I took my headphones out because Rufus was on his way over and I wanted a ginger ale. About that time...I heard it. It sounded like a weird grunting meow like someone accidentally sat on a cat. The old man was....flatulent. Thank god for the ginger ale. Otherwise, I might have vomited. I found myself "accidentally" waking him up by shifting thinking that if he was concious, he would stop farting. No matter what I did, he fell back into a gaseous slumber within 3 minutes of being roused. 

So, while the flight was quite nice. It is the equivalent of a flying bus. The novelty quickly wears off.

The trip was a rousing success, and I enjoyed seeing WA. However, I learned a lot from this trip that I am sure will come in handy on future travels.

Honorable mentions:

Airport Immodium is $11 for a tiny box.
TSA is no joke, and I think they enjoy yelling at people that aren't paying attention.
Do not gamble with Thai Food when you have no Gall Bladder
You never get use to the smell of pot on public transit in WA.
WA weather is beautiful.
There is a lot of walking involved when using airports, and my ankle hates me right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You aren't as weird as you think...

So...you know that really weird thing that you do? Maybe it's a few things that you find strange. You are sure that you are the only one that does it. You'll never know if it's true or not, because you are WAY too embarrassed to mention it to anyone for fear of looking like a disgusting freak.

Well, let me take one for the team. I'm going to take a gamble and put my reputation on the line and talk about some of the most embarrassing, disgusting, and/or funny things that I do. Hopefully you do them too, and you will laugh about it. Otherwise, I am most likely going regret this entire entry.

Some of these things will be specific to guys, because, well....I'm a guy. I'll try to be as tasteful as possible, but let's be honest. We know I'm not very tactful.

Let's start off light, and kind of obvious.

Adults pick our noses. ALL of us do it. Even the cutesy and proper ladies. We tell our kids to stop picking their noses all the time. Then we all feel that twinge of guilt because we know that we were just doing it 2 minutes ago. We just know how to hide it. We know how to hide it because our parent yelled at us for doing it and we learned to hide it better. So really....when you think about it. We aren't teaching our kids not to pick their noses. We're teaching them to hide it better. Think about it.

I still make faces in the mirror. I'm not just talking about occasionally. Like any time I pass a mirror and I'm not in a hurry. I'll ham it up. Sometimes I even make myself laugh. I like to pucker my lips as hard as I can because they get super super tiny, and I end up looking like a caricature of myself.

I not only talk to myself, I ARGUE with myself. As if there are literally two of me. One is usually telling the other either to not do something, or telling him how stupid he is for doing it. The other actually defends himself for his actions. This seems confusing, but it's literally like having a conversation, argument, and trial at the same time. I'm the prosecutor and the defendant in my own little courtroom in my mind.

Guys....it doesn't matter how much you shake it after you pee. You always end up with that little tiny dot of piss on the front of your underwear. You just pray that it doesn't show through to your pants. It's embarrassing, i know. I'm OK with talking about it though. As a side note, if this doesn't happen to you, I need you to message me and tell me your secret. I have tried everything.

While we're on the subject. You pee in the shower. Don't deny it. It's ok. It's earth friendly. You are saving water by multi-tasking. Just try not to pee on the walls or the shower curtain, because then you are just acting like a neanderthal.

You know what sucks? You just made yourself a nice meal. You sit down on the couch, and you are starving, but you can't eat until you find the perfect thing on TV to watch while eating your meal. I have literally let my food get cold because I couldn't find the show that would perfectly match my culinary decisions.

Sometimes, I'll be reading a book....I can be super into the book, but then I realize that I quit paying attention like 2 pages ago, and have been mindlessly pretending to read while thinking about something completely unrelated to the book. Then I have to go back to the last thing I remember and ACTUALLY read it.

Something else that people do...even though it's gross. You know when you get that itch in a weird place. Maybe your belly button, inside your ear, butt crack, armpit. You aren't the only one that sniffs your hand. Everyone does it. OH NO! NOT ME! (that's what you just thought). Liar. It feels good when you just smell skin or soap. Makes you feel like you are as clean as a saint. We won't talk about the other times.

Speaking of which. Ever notice how when you catch a whiff of something stinky, you immediately sniff yourself. You get that gut wrenching feeling for a split second that you stink. You could literally have JUST stepped out of the shower. It doesn't matter. You will do the sniff check.

Sometimes I will be sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or maybe in the shower, and suddenly I will get this overwhelmingly embarrassed feeling about something stupid I did like 8 years ago. Like, I wonder if someone from that party 8 years ago, is thinking about me breaking my nose trying to do a one handed push-up while I was drunk. The answer is no. They probably forgot it. Your brain won't let you forget it though. EVER.

EVERY SINGLE TIME I send an email, I immediately go to my sent folder and look at it. I don't care if I read it 100 times while drafting it. Like somehow, the ether will swallow my message and jumble it up into a indiscernible mess. If don't check it from the sent folder, I just can't be sure that it doesn't look like it was sent by a psychiatric patient.

Ever call someone only to realize you forgot who you were calling when the phone started to ring? It's not nearly as big of a deal now with cell phones, because you can just look at the dialer. However, there was no worse feeling on the house phone than praying to god you recognize the voice on the other end when they pick up, or else you just have to hang up on them.

Having to re-wipe. Enough said. The Itchy Butt struggle is real. It doesn't always occur, but sometimes...no matter how thorough you are you can't avoid the re-wipe. That awkward walk back to the restroom 20 min later because your butt itches. It's OK. Really. It happens to everyone. I  mean, except me of course. A friend just told me about this.

I have this bad habit of listening to music in the car and imagining I'm on stage performing for a live audience. It's so bad that when I mess up, I apologize to the audience in my head and I just have to restart the song. If I don't get it right, I have to listen to that part of the song 740 times until I get the lyrics right. Then suddenly, I'm at home, and I have no clue how I got there. I literally just drove from work all the way home, and have NO RECOLLECTION of the drive. It's terrifying, but my audience loved me.

Why is it so hard to throw our empty shampoo bottles away? We just put them in the corner of the shower until they pile up into a monument of shampoo bottles of days past. It's like a memorial in my shower. Maybe if we spent less time cupping our arms to our chest to see how much water we can hold in our body bowl, and more time cleaning the shower, it wouldn't be an issue.

I could go on like this for days. When you find yourself being "weird" just remember one thing. There are 7 BILLION people on this planet. These things above are a universal language of sorts. The odds are in your favor that no matter how disgusting or strange it is, someone out there can probably relate to it. A quick google search will help you figure out exactly how normal you are.

It's OK to have those quirks. They make you who you are, and there is nothing wrong with that.