Lead Me Not Into Temptation

The Gathering of Cousins. I am the one with the beard.

This weekend was a special occasion in the family: two of my cousins are hitting their 50th birthdays this year, so a party was organized to get as much of the family as possible together to celebrate. It was wonderful – family members came in from as far away as Georgia to be there, and I got to see people that I hadn’t seen in years. It was so nice to see uncles, aunts, and cousins without everyone wearing black for a change.

The problem came when it was time to eat. The aunt who organized the event was very concerned, wanting to be sure that there were items that fit into my diet. I assured her that I could eat most anything that came off of the grill. relieving her concern. No, the problem wasn’t that there was not food available for me.

The problem was that everything else looked so good.

There were huge bowls of potato salad. Tortilla chips with my mother’s family-famous salsa. A beautiful marbled birthday cake with butter cream frosting. There were 3 coolers filled with different kinds of beer!

And here I was, without Lor, who couldn’t come thanks to the effects of her pre-surgical diet. Alone and unsupervised, in a wilderness of food.

I knew I was going to fail somewhere. I am no stranger to my own nature. So, I adapted. I made sure there was always a bottle of water in my hand, so any time someone offered me a beer (which was frequently – my family has watched me in action at get-togethers for 45 years now) I could just wave my water at them to show that I was supplied. I couldn’t possibly live without some of Mom’s salsa, so when items started coming off the grill I put a healthy dose of it on my burger instead of using chips to eat it. And I did have a single serving (about 2 Tablespoons) of potato salad, which I ate as slowly as I possibly could after I had finished both a lettuce-wrapped burger and bratwurst.

 I didn’t go anywhere near the birthday cake.

All things considered, I didn’t do too badly. It worked out to only about 10 grams of Carbs (almost all from the potato salad.) This time last year it would have been a couple of fully loaded burgers, a couple of bratwursts, a pile of potato salad, and a bowl filled with chips to go with Mom’s salsa. This would have all been topped off with as big a slice of cake as I could’ve managed interspersed with half a dozen beers.

And I wonder how I got to 302 pounds?

The visits with family members were gratifying, though. Those that don’t follow Misdirected all commented on how good I looked. Several that do look in here from time to time thought I had already gone through surgery, on the basis of my appearance. I actually laughed and joked and visited, instead of hiding in a corner, hovering over a plate, hoping no one would talk to me. I even participated in family photos without trying to hide in the “back line”, behind everyone else.

Though it was nice to have everyone tell me how good I was looking, it wasn’t the 33 pounds I’ve lost so far that made the difference for me. It was knowing that I was finally making changes in my life and sticking to them. At our next family get-together, I will have been through surgery, further committing to this new lifestyle of not being shackled to obesity. I will not have regained every ounce plus some extra pounds from failing on my latest fad diet. And looking forward to success, rather than anticipating failure, is making all the difference in the world for me.

Looking Forward To The Next Family Gathering,

– Hawkwind

The Memorial Day Minefield

Photo Credit: smartvun19 via Compfight cc


Since it is the “official” kick-off for summer, we tend to spend some time with our families over Memorial Day weekend. In both of our families, get-togethers mean food – lots of carbs, lots of sugar, lots of alcohol. For Lor and I, this meant that this weekend was going to be a series of excellent chances to really screw things up. Here’s how we did.

Saturday was the combination Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/My Birthday get together at my parent’s place. Mom was out of the country on Mother’s Day, and both Father’s Day and my birthday this year will be taking place during Lor’s first week post-op. We decided to place all our early summer holidays into one giant Memorial Day basket.

Alongside the usual burgers and brats (without buns they work out perfectly for a low-carb diet), I had requested two special things – beer, and Chili Relleno Won-Tons. What the heck is that, you ask? Take a won-ton wrapper, fill it with spices, ground beef, and cheese. Add a seeded and roasted green chile to the center of the mix. Wrap and deep-fat fry. Heaven. These little bombs have been the centerpiece of the High Holy Day of my family’s religious observances (that is, the Super Bowl) for years now – my Dad usually has to make 30 – 40 of them, and we wiped them out every year. Obviously, they will be vanishing from our diet after our surgeries, so Dad made us a dozen of them. I managed to only have two and bid them a fond farewell.

We had also planned on bringing one of Lor’s homemade sheet cakes, but sanity prevailed at the last minute. We baked a dozen small cookies instead of a birthday cake. I had two and called the whole thing a win. I had been planning for this party to be my final beers ever as well, but 2 beers escaped and made their way into my fridge. Since Lor doesn’t drink beer at all, I felt I would not be sabotaging her liquid diet by having them at some point in the future. I decided to hang on to them and drink them later…maybe during the first week of Lor’s pre-surgical liquid diet. Everyone I talk to that has gone through the liquid diet phase tells me that I might need them.

Sunday was our gathering with the Lor half of the clan. Same burgers and hot dogs (just wrap ’em in lettuce and your carb levels are perfectly safe), and a metric ton of fresh fruit. Lots of forbidden foods like enchiladas and Rice Krispy treats and potato chips, but we managed to get through without injuring our diets. Well, Lor may have had a 1-inch by 1-inch Rice Krispy treat, but cut a lady some slack – she goes on a month of nothing but protein shakes starting on Wednesday.

We also got to spend LOTS of time talking about the upcoming procedures. I described the Vertical Sleeve Gastronomy so many times that I started thinking I should carry a banana around with me to demonstrate the size and shape of the remaining stomach post-surgery. We did hear quite a bit of “I could never do that!”, but we also got a few “Tell me a little more about this surgery…” conversations. I am beginning to think we should take this show on the road, trying to bring this whole “surgery to correct obesity” thing out of the shadows and into the light where it belongs. Maybe after both our surgeries – we’ll have a lot more energy then.

Nutritional visits, pre-surgical evaluations,  psychiatric appointments, and the beginning of Lor’s liquid phase are all taking place within the next 5 days. We have arrived at where the rubber meets the road!

Kinda Happy I Saved Those Last Two Beers,

– Hawkwind