Weighing in on my heavy decision

quandaryThere is one big reason to question whether I will have weight loss surgery. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

There were a lot of reasons to avoid weight loss surgery in the past. The safety of the procedure was unknown, the long-term effectiveness was in doubt. Those two things have been answered to my satisfaction. I could have the surgery and it would be safe and would work. My life would be better.

One of the other big reasons I had for avoiding it before, though, was the idea that since weight loss surgery requires a lifestyle change to work, why couldn’t I just change my lifestyle and get the same result? Surgery is no magic pill.

Then I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do it without surgery. I made the decision that I wanted it, that the reduced stomach size would help where will power hadn’t been helpful before. In December I went to a seminar at Swedish Medical Center to start the process. The real work began in January.

The biggest issue for me with diets in the past, though, has been the exclusion or drastic reduction in foods that I love. It creates a scarcity mindset. I get stressed and the first thing I turn to is the thing I can’t have. Even on Weight Watchers you can pretty much eat whatever you want, just in reduced portions.

That scarcity mindset attacked as I knew weight loss surgery was coming. My trips to fast food restaurants become dramatically more frequent. I ballooned, exactly the wrong result for the folks at Swedish. To their credit, they want to make sure someone will succeed with surgery. They’re not there to just take my money for their service.

So about a month ago I had another visit with them where my weight had gone up dramatically. Everything was in place for them to submit my surgery to my insurance for final approval, but they wouldn’t do it. They wanted me to show them that I could stick to a plan.

You see the irony, right? To qualify for weight loss surgery I’ve got to demonstrate an ability to do something I’ve never been able to do.

I went home determined to pull it off. Since that visit I’ve been great, for the most part. I’ll get to the exception in a bit. The post surgery diet is essentially a higher protein and lower carb regimen. Bread and rice would be a rarity. Forget soda. I started on that routine the day I left the hospital my last visit and, with a notable exception, have stuck to it.

Here is where the exception comes in. Reading the story of a friend of mine, the second weekend after I started I incorporated a “cheat day.” On Saturday, I decided, I could treat myself. Chips, soda, bread, pizza are all available to me. I tried it one week and it was almost miraculous. I ate what I wanted on Saturday and on Sunday I was perfectly content to go back to the plan. As my friend said in one of his posts, the idea of never having a certain food again is painful, but waiting until Saturday is doable. It’s almost easy. So at work I skip the chips that are so plentiful and the wonderful baked goods fellow workmates bring in. My friend who has done this has lost 78 pounds in six months. I weigh in tomorrow. I’m guessing I’ve lost close to 20 pounds this past month.

I’m day two into another week of waiting until Saturday for goodies and I am content. I feel like I’m in a space where I could live this way the rest of my life. I may have said something like that in the past, but I never felt it this strongly. This is working.

So tomorrow I go back to Swedish, I’ll get weighed in and I’m sure they’ll be pretty encouraged by the results, perhaps enough to submit me for approval. And I might say I don’t want it anymore.

Should that happen, this whole effort with them hasn’t been wasted. The lab work I had to get done revealed some things that we fixed with medication. I feel so much better.

When I first mentioned weight loss surgery in the past I received mixed responses. If you have strong feelings about this, I’d be glad to hear from you again. I make my own call here, but you might know something that is worth sharing. Feel free to tell me here, on Facebook, an email, or call me. I’m not “all” ears, but I am open to ideas.

Two local kids up for Presidential Scholar honor

For a while, anyway, I plan to post more of my day job stuff here, in part so this sight isn’t just filled with tales of losing weight. Those will be here, too, probably in more quantities in the future.

The day job stories I’ll post are those that I think merit at least a little special attention. You won’t get general school board news. This story is about two students from Kitsap County who qualified as semifinalists for the Presidential Scholar program. The county typically has two or three candidates every year, but in the decade before this year there were only two semifinalists, one of whom won the award and was a student at an art school in Michigan. To get two semifinalists in the same year is pretty noteworthy. They’re competing with nine other students for what will probably be two spots, but this is a case where it really is just an honor to be nominated.

The award means a trip to DC, with a chance to meet the president. You can read Two Kitsap students candidates for national honor where my day job stuff gets published.

The video that goes with this story held a particular challenge in that the audio device I was using didn’t have enough room to record the entire conversation that I wanted. The problem was big enough that I considered scrapping the video element of the overall project. Later that evening, though, during a North Kitsap School Board meeting, it came to me how to solve the problem I knew I had. Onarheim’s interview still isn’t as crisp in sound as I would like, but I think overall the video comes as close to telling as complete a story as the written piece as I’ve ever come.

Bad lighting, but a sweet homecoming.

The story is pretty cool, but this might be the worst video I’ve ever done. Really it was only about the lighting. Had the lights been up that shot of Ali Templeton leaping to her father would have been money.

It’s a story about another surprise military homecoming. Since 2002, probably, we’ve seen these early reunions a million times. I acknowledge as much in the story. And it doesn’t seem to get old for the ones involved.

“Children clutched their arms around the shoulders and necks of their dads, showing what eight months apart looks like when it’s over.”

They ran to show they would not stop

Run4BosAfter the bombs exploded in Boston on April 15, runners in this area did what runners do.

They ran.

At the Kitsap Sun we contacted as many local Boston Marathon runners as we could to let people know how they were. We had 20, and we verified the condition of all but a few. They were all OK.

One story I didn’t get to tell was of Eileen Glenn and her husband, Lee. Eileen stepped across the finish line minutes before the bombs exploded. Lee was over among the crowds. Kevan Moore at the Central Kitsap Reporter described it well in his story from the event the next day.

The Silverdale run was to show resolve that terror like what happened at Boston wouldn’t stop runners from doing what they love to do, putting one foot in front of the other and just going, sometimes really fast.

One reason I didn’t get Eileen and Lee Glenn’s story is because Diana and I know them, and more so Eileen’s daughter Renee Partsch. In general I don’t want to write in the newspaper about people I know are my friends. In hindsight I know I could have handled it in a way where I wasn’t directly involved and we still would have had the story. There were three bylines on the original piece. I think I have an idea for how to make it right.

This touches on me personally, too. This is a group, runners, I would love to be part of, something I have yet to accomplish because of my weight challenge. As of this moment I’m making good momentum again, so I intend to run in one of these one day, not just shoot video and write about it. Secondly, Diana is a part of this group. She would have done this run except that the kids needed rides and I was covering it. These are her friends. In fact, after I interviewed Amanda Rodgers for the story she told me she knew Diana.

These are the same people who showed up in force, not knowing me at all, to support me and cheer me on when I first went public with the weight challenge I was undertaking. I was overwhelmed generally with all the support, but especially from these guys.

Here is the video from the run the day after. I was genuinely inspired.

Under durress, I forgive the Internet trolls

Some people don’t like this story.

Some even suggest it’s a fabrication on my part. This, in spite of the fact that finding the survey is easy for anyone with chimp-level Internet skills. I didn’t make it up. We don’t do that. Sometimes we get things wrong, which if done enough or in spectacular fashion is a fireable offense. But reporters get axed quickly and without question for making stuff up. I would never make stuff up because I like A. Money, and B. Sleeping at night. I know people wearing tin-foil hats won’t believe that, but seriously? I’m making it up? That’s what the commenter wrote.

So it is another story, that is at best,
a fabrication by the writer.

I love anonymous story commenters, but only because Jesus said I have to if I don’t want to go to the same place they’re going.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

It’s another story about how religion isn’t much of a thing in the Pacific Northwest. The survey is from the Gallup organization, which I’m pretty sure would notice if a newspaper reporter made up stuff about it. In this case there was a special Kitsap County touch to the piece. In these parts we surveyed the least religious of all. Take that, Eugene, Oregon!

Here is the link to the survey for those who don’t want to bust out their inner chimp.

The beer tax debated

The craft beer industry has taken off generally and Washington has been no different. The governor and Democrats in the House wanted to add a fairly significant per gallon tax to Washington brews.

On the one hand you can see where any new tax, and this was not a small one, can cut into a brewer’s profits. The guy I feature in the video will sell you a pint for $5 and he takes care of the tax. It’s an easy price point, one that could cost him some if the tax had gone through. Market conditions on their own could cut into those profits, too, if the cost for yeast or barley went up.

On the other hand, there is validity to the argument that people who buy these are not going to switch to Budweiser because of this tax. They go to a place to buy this kind of beer specifically. They have their favorites.

If you go to a blog entry I posted on the Kitsap Caucus site, you can see video of the arguments from both sides. The governor is actually pretty funny when he talks about it, so don’t dismiss it just because he’s a government type.

UPDATE: The tax was eliminated from everyone’s budget. Your beer is safe, for now.