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Week 60 – Amsterdam – 62 kilos AT GOAL – December 9, 2012

No such thing exists here that I can find. Maybe there’s a business opportunity here!

This has been a weird week for me on many levels. My husband left for Hawaii to organize our move here to Amsterdam and I’ve been on my own for the first time since surgery. I’ve learned that eating for one (or less than one person really) isn’t easy. Especially in a place where they don’t have things like Lean Cuisine or any other frozen meals for one person. I’ve been having an egg and 2 pieces of bacon almost every day because it’s the one meal I can be sure to get some protein. For years (even pre-sleeve) we would have a salad every day at lunch, but now, I’m often not home around lunch time so I end up just having an apple or some coffee and a cookie somewhere. I usually just have some soup or a salad and a cookie for dinner. One night I just ate a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner (that I had brought from the US; no such thing exists here). So all in all, my nutrition, especially from a protein standpoint, has been really bad. I need to look for some cookies with protein I guess!

I’ve only made it to the gym twice this week and have gotten very little exercise when I’ve been out because of the weather. I ended up catching a cold, and both of my eyes got infected with conjunctivitis so that put me out of commission for the rest of the week. I even spent one day just laying on the sofa, blowing my nose and watching movies… I didn’t even work on my computer because of my eyes. Very unlike me!

My new bike is very ‘girlie’ looking, complete with leopard prints! I probably should have bought something that wasn’t so loud….

I finally bought a bike but my timing sucked. The day after I bought it, it started snowing. Now I know that’s not earth-shattering news to most people but for me, it was a big deal. Snow is a whole new ball game for this California-born person who’s lived in Hawaii for the last 11 years… looking outside, I didn’t want to leave the house. I did walk the 2 blocks to the store to buy some tissue and cough drops, but I walked like a 90-year old I was so nervous.

Week 59 – Amsterdam – 62 kilos – AT GOAL – December 2, 2012

There were some tough times in the beginning… but the payoff was worth it all.

“WHAT WERE THE WORST PARTS OF THE FIRST YEAR FOR YOU?” What a great question someone on the forum asked me last week. Most of us get so caught up in the excitement of finally being successful at weight loss that we forget about the hard parts.

Thinking back over the past year, here were the hard parts for me:

Week 58 – Berlin, Germany – 62 Kilos AT GOAL – November 25, 2012

Standing in front Schloss Charlottenburg, one of the royal palaces in Berlin.

BERLIN: After leaving Prague, we took the train to Berlin, the capital city of Germany. One of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities with 3.5 million people, interesting architecture, palaces, lots of culture, and of course a fascinating recent history with the demise of the Berlin wall. It’s almost hard to conceive that East and West Berlin were divided by a wall until 1990. You can still see the difference if you look closely, but for the most part both areas are vibrant parts of the city and people move seamlessly between the two now, happy they are no longer divided by a stone wall or political, social and lifestyle differences.

These brass plates are called Stolpersteines and are placed near the homes to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.

Another item of interest that you see all over Berlin is a sad reminder of the Jews that lived there before the Holocaust. As you walk through the neighborhoods you will often see little brass plaques embedded into the sidewalks in front of their former homes with the names and dates as a memorial to them. Germany is very open about the mistakes it made toward mankind; the impacts of the Nazi era are kept very visible with the goal that they never happen again.

Week 57 – Frankfurt, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic, 63 Kilos – AT GOAL – November 18, 2012

On the train again; just like last year….but between less luggage and less weight I am over 100 lbs lighter!

Back on the road again… we are practically retracing our steps from last year… Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Prague, and we just arrived in Berlin. Part of it is coincidence that exactly a year later we’re traveling to the same places. This year, though, is a huge difference as now I can walk without my hip and knee hurting, I have a lot more energy, and I can eat almost anything! So this trip I just need to be sure I don’t gain a few pounds, like people tend to do when they go on a holiday!

This sculpture is the symbol of Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, the place where I had my surgery done late October 2011

I’ll start with our trip to Frankfurt. Our first stop was Krankenhaus Sachsenhausen, the place of my surgery and 8-day recovery in late October of 2011. I had my one-year checkup with Dr. Chandra, who was very pleased with my 83-lb loss, my blood work, and the results of my ultrasound. It was so interesting walking into the hospital where I began one of the most fascinating years of my life. I looked around at all the obese

Dr. Chandra said I passed my one year exam with flying colors! I appreciated the time he spent with me in their new center (with beautiful artwork!).

people in the waiting room and I wanted to look each one of them in the eye, congratulate them on making the decision to do this, and tell them that this time next year they will feel healthy and so much more confident and in control of their lives than they do now. I wanted to tell them not to be scared; it’s a little weird at first, but like so many things, you’ll get used to the changes. I want to inspire them, to let them know they are about to transform into a healthier person without the constant pressure of dieting, and that it all happens so fast that every day has a new surprise waiting for them!

Week 56 – Amsterdam – 63 Kilos AT GOAL – November 11, 2012


What side of the bridge are you on?

For 58 years of my life I lived on one side of the bridge… I was a chubby child, an overweight teen, a fat bride (twice), and then rarely ever stepping onto the bridge of good health, I morphed into a morbidly obese middle aged woman! Actually, I was on the bridge twice in my life… when I was 18 years old I contracted mononucleosis and lost so much weight that I looked like a hollowed-out refugee — not exactly a positive reminder of weighing 120 something — then when I was in my 20’s I went on some extreme diet and weighed somewhere in the 140’s… that lasted all of 5 minutes….

I hated this photo and originally ‘cropped’ me out… but it’s a humble reminder of how heavy I was compared to those I love.

Of course there were lots of reasons (some valid) and lots of excuses (some lame) for not crossing that bridge before now. Not that I didn’t try, and like most of you, couldn’t get very far without turning around and going back a few lbs fatter including a heavier heart because once again we failed. From our side of the bridge we could see other people crossing (wondering and sometimes asking… how are you doing it? will it work for me? is there a magic pill? maybe this is the answer!!!). But we knew this was one tough bridge to cross, and an even tougher challenge to stay on the ‘other side’ of it!

Crossing over seemed hopeless to me for so many years…

Sometimes that bridge seemed miles long… sometimes you couldn’t even see the other side, and most of the time it was just easier to stay right where you had been for so many years. Especially for those of us who (although not perfect) didn’t feel that we ate that much more than thin people. Getting across seemed overwhelming but I never completely lost hope that someday it would happen for me.