Category Archives: Attitude Adjustment

The First Diet I Ever Went On

I was thinking about all the diets and supplements and programs I’ve been on the other day…sort of a sadistic trip down Bad Memory Lane. I was listing them all in my head. Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser challenge at work, Fen Phen (or however the hell you spell it), Meridia, Metabolife…you name it.

But, just like a sweaty tryst on prom night, you never forget your first – and my first was the Scarsdale Diet. Even now, just the name sends images of lean hamburger patties and cottage cheese dancing through my head. But I was fat and I needed to be on a diet. In fact, by the time I went on the Scarsdale Diet I had been hounded about being a big fat fatty for 3 years already.

I was 13 years old.

What a fatty...
What a fatty…

I’m not sure which is fatter…the pointy elbows…the collar bone…the single chin…the flat tummy…it’s really kind of a toss up, isn’t it? What a porker. Obviously, I needed to be put on a diet before things spiraled out of control. I think we can all agree on that, right?

If only I had been successful in losing all the weight when I was 13, I’d never have been such a huge fatty in high school.

Hot Mess Prom
Hot Mess Prom

It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Look at this girl and call her fat. I dare you.

Okay, maybe I could have lost 5 pounds if I’d tweezed those caterpillar eyebrows – but other than that, there’s no weight to be lost here. By the time this picture was taken, I was a seasoned dieter with years of experience. If you have a daughter, granddaughter, niece, aunt, or second cousin twice removed who’s a teenager would you do me a favor? Walk away from the computer, put down the smart phone, and go give her a hug right now. Tell her she’s beautiful just the way she is. Inside and out. Right. Now.

It’s taken me a lifetime to not look back at these pictures with anger. A little sad maybe, sure. I think that’s normal. But it doesn’t own me. It doesn’t control me. And, most importantly, there isn’t a smidge of my brain, my heart, or my soul that believes for a second now that I was fat or that I deserved to be treated that way. God gives us obstacles. This was mine.

When I hear someone lamenting the loss of their youth, I just smile and think to myself “Why on Earth would I ever want to go back and be that frightened, intimidated kid again?” ¬†No, thank you. Much of my youth was spent dieting for no reason.

Today, I actually am as fat as I felt I was back then…and I wouldn’t trade the me I am today for 1,000 scared little Diannes. I wouldn’t. I’m grateful for me. All of me. Warts, cellulite, moles and all.

But I am glad I learned how to trim my fucking eyebrows. ūüôā

The Consultation

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog lately, you know that I had a consultation with a bariatric surgeon yesterday…something I never thought I would do if you’d asked me ten years ago.

True to my word, I intend to write about the entire experience today – so this is quite a long post. I also asked my readers on Facebook whether you wanted me to talk about anything in particular, and many of you spoke up with questions, so you’ll see me bring those up along the way as well. Let’s get started…

I actually met with this same surgeon two years ago to discuss Lap Band surgery. Although I was approved for it, I never got it done. The main reasons were because I learned that ice cream (my major downfall) slips right past the band…and also because I had an epiphany of sorts that made me want to try and sort this out on my own. As a result, I lost 45 pounds.

Then I gained it back. Then I lost some of it. Then I gained that back. Then I lost some…you get the picture.¬†I’ve been perpetually dieting, losing, and gaining it back (plus more) since I was 13 years old and the Evil Dance Teacher told my Mom to put me on the Scarsdale Diet.

Back to the consultation…

The office is run in a way that makes patients feel like people, not numbers, right down to the extra large chairs in the waiting room. I’ve never been comfortable cramming my four asses in most waiting room chairs, but here they acknowledge the reason their patients are here and they make an effort to make them comfortable. The office staff was friendly and kind and the only thing I can even think to complain about was the fact that they were playing one of those daytime “baby mama” talk shows on the waiting room tv.

When I booked the appointment last week, I received an email confirmation and a bunch of documents with tons of information and instructions. I was to visit their online patient portal to complete my paperwork and then follow all the new patient instructions.

As a result, by the time I opened their front door yesterday afternoon, I’d already taken an online webinar about the dietary requirements before, during, and after surgery, taken a quiz about dietary requirements after surgery, and read the entire patient education handbook that explained everything that would happen from the consultation to fulfilling my insurance requirements to pre-op tests, the surgery, and after care – including what I would be required to eat and do before and after surgery. It also listed the online support groups they offer. (Crystal M. from Facebook asked whether there would be classes or consultations about the major changes after the surgery…and I had all that information before I even set foot in their office, with the opportunity for support groups if I want it.)

Phew!!! These guys are thorough, I’ll give them that. Their mission is to educate and inform about every detail of the surgery experience and that was obvious from the moment I scheduled my appointment.


Within a few minutes, I was taken to an exam room and the nurse took my blood pressure (high…I was excited and nervous all day leading up to this). She also took my picture to help document my progress for my patient file. Then she had me start on paperwork for my psych evaluation while I waited for the doctor to come in.

On Facebook, Kelly G. asked me to talk about the moment before the doctor walked in. I had a notebook on the exam table, flipped open to a page titled “Questions for Doctor”. The other pages behind it contained “Questions for Nutritionist” and “Questions for Finance Chick”. As I sat there waiting, I read over my questions and pulled a pen out of my handbag to write the answers down. I was very focused and very much on a mission to get the information I needed to make an informed decision about my next steps. I felt equally apprehensive about wanting to have surgery and not wanting to have surgery…and I just prayed that my choice would become clear to me before all of this was through. The right path usually opens for me if I just shut up and pay attention.

Before I knew it, the doc comes knocking at the door. He is a tall, gentle mannered man with a kind smile and a good sense of humor…just like I remembered from two years ago. He sits facing me and looks me in the eyes as I speak. He seems to have no schedule or concern that I’m rambling on a little nervously. He smiles at my stupid jokes. He lets me ask questions. He asks me questions. When I tell him I saw him 2 years ago for lap band but decided against it, he says “I’m glad.”

What? I asked him what he meant.

He says that he usually recommends gastric sleeve surgery for patients my age in my weight range who have no other physical/medical problems. He usually recommends gastric bypass for diabetics and other medically compromised patients…but I’m healthy other than my weight. He told me that fewer and fewer patients are asking for lap band surgery now since they don’t lose that much weight with it and it’s much easier to manipulate than a sleeve or a bypass.

He cautions me that I must follow the guidelines in the patient handbook to the letter or I’ll cause myself serious harm. I explain that I’m fairly anal about following doctor’s orders – especially if it involves vomiting or internal bleeding. He tells me of a 24 year old female patient he had who ate a ham sandwich the first week she was allowed solid food and ruptured part of her new stomach. (The patient handbook clearly and emphatically explains what’s allowed during every stage of recovery…ham sandwich is nowhere on the list, peeps.) Then he tells me of a male patient who ate a brisket sandwich 2 days after leaving the hospital and blew his stomach out.

Jesus…I’m grateful for my own flaws after hearing about these poor souls.


As we discuss things further, I feel good about turning this corner. Not because he’s giving me a sales pitch, but because he seems naturally kind. When he asks me questions, he looks at me when I speak and pays attention only to me. He doesn’t fidget with my chart or stare at the floor and nod condescendingly. When he asks me how much I want to weigh and I say “I don’t care what the scale says. I want to be healthy, feel confident in my appearance, and go rollerblading”…he smiles with understanding.

I ask him how many gastric sleeve surgeries he’s performed. This is important to me because I want someone who’s experienced. The answer is over 1,200 gastric sleeve surgeries and I feel good about that number. He explains something I already know: the surgery will not lose all my weight for me. I have about 220 pounds to lose, depending on what day I get on the scale. The charts all say that the average weight for a woman my height is 155-170. He says that the surgery will get me to about 200 pounds. (Not a guarantee, just a ballpark idea.)

200 pounds. I can barely even remember the day that the scale hit 201 for the first time, it was that long ago. If I had to guess, I’d say 1990. I remember holding at 195 forever and fighting like hell to get that number down because I knew I would just die of horror if the scale ever read 200. Then it hit 201 and in the blink of an eye I was looking at 295 and praying to God I never hit 300.

200 pounds sounds fucking awesome to me. And it doesn’t happen with just surgery. I still have to eat right. I still have to work out – in fact, my patient handbook tells me to start working out immediately if I’m not already. (More on that later.) All the surgery does is remove the opportunity for over-indulging. That’s the biggest advantage. If I want ice cream, I can’t eat a pint of it. Not even close.

I’ve gone on and on in this post and I’m over a thousand words already – and although none of you seems to mind when I get long winded, I do apologize for being such a wordy bitch today. These words are necessary, though, and I don’t plan to pare much of it down.

After the doctor, I met with the patient coordinator (insurance/financial stuff) and the nutritionist (diet stuff). Here’s the scoop on the pre and post surgery diet, especially for Marcia S. who asked on Facebook:

First, to answer one of Marcia’s questions, there is no medication that I have to take for life because of this surgery. I do have to take a bunch of vitamins…some are recommended for life and some are for the first 6 months. I’ll list those out in another post I plan to write very soon, I promise.

carrots - blog

Second, the only “problem” I’ll have absorbing nutrients with a gastric sleeve is due to the fact that my new stomach will only hold about 1/8 of a cup of food. My body will absorb all the nutrients in the food I’m able to eat, unlike gastric bypass patients who’s bodies no longer absorb many nutrients in the food they eat. Gastric bypass patients have their intestines re-routed. Gastric sleeve patients only have their stomach operated on. No one’s touching my intestines or re-routing my digestive system. Now on to the food plan:

Two weeks before surgery I need to be on a 1,200 calorie a day high protein, low carb diet of my choosing (but they offered a butt load of suggestions). This is to help me adjust to a lower calorie life so that life after surgery won’t be so shocking.

One week before surgery, I’ll be on liquids only. Protein shakes, broth, sugar free jello, sugar free popsicles. Clear soups and juices. Vitamin water zero. This is to reduce the amount of fat in my liver. The liver sits on top of the stomach…and it’s easier to lift my liver off my stomach if it’s not loaded with crap.

I can expect to be in the hospital for 1 – 2 days. In the hospital, I’ll be on clear liquids only and that will continue after I’m discharged for a week after surgery.

The second week after surgery I’ll be on a liquid diet. Back to protein shakes, etc.

The third week after surgery, I’ll be on a soft diet. Baked fish, dark meat chicken, cottage cheese, etc.

If I tolerate all that well, I can switch to solid food on week four.

And right now? I’m to workout as much as I can handle right now. They want me to be able to do 30 minutes of cardio every day by the time I have surgery. The patient handbook goes on in detail about how important it is to get that going immediately – and how much it helps with recovery after surgery, as well as with the continuation of exercise as I lose weight.

They want me on all the vitamins now. They want me eliminating unhealthy fats and carbs now. Basically, I’m to continue fighting like I have…and take some extra vitamins.

road small

As you can probably surmise by now, I’ve decided to move forward with the surgery. There could be something that happens between now and the actual surgery that changes my mind, but as of right now I am sure that this is the right decision for me.

It hasn’t been easy. Someone very close to me has told me that they disagree with my decision and that they don’t think I’m being honest with myself. This is more a reflection on the fact that this person doesn’t know me as well as they think they do. Regardless, it still hurt a little to hear. It didn’t change my mind.

Many others are encouraging and supporting me. My boss and co-workers are amazing. HMH sat me down and said “You know you don’t have to do this…right?”

Yes, I know. But the fact is…I want to. In my heart, I feel this is the right thing to do for me.

Do you know that epic battle scene at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King? The good guys are surrounded by thousands of screaming orcs and goblins and trolls and they’re fighting like hell to keep them back. I feel like I’ve been in that battle for 20 years – but instead of a big, badass sword I have a tiny little spoon as my only weapon. That’s fucked up, yo.

I have so much more to say on this and you probably have many questions – but I’m going over 2,000 words now and this is just ridonkulous. Once you get done with the novel I’ve just written here, let me know if you have questions and I’ll answer them. I promise.

I want to thank you all for the positive, encouraging messages you’ve posted and sent. They mean the world to me. This decision is mine to make alone and I feel that I’m making the best decision for me. I hope you understand that and continue to support me. I will continue to write about it and answer any questions I can. If you’re not comfortable commenting “in public” feel free to email me or contact me on Facebook. I’m happy to help.

I imagine that it will always be part of my life’s work to help lead the charge in helping obese and overweight people feel that there is hope…that not all is lost…that there are solutions out there that will work for all of us. The war on obesity should not be a war against the obese – and whether you choose a more natural method, surgery, or something in between, you have to find what works for you.

For the first time in a long time, I feel hope in my heart. Real, true hope. I drove home with a huge smile on my face, not fearing surgery but feeling the most uplifting joy at the thought of buying smaller clothes…fitting into an airplane seat without worry…dancing with my husband…and rollerblading down the concrete path through the woods behind our house.

The last thing I did before I went to sleep last night wasn’t to think about all the foods I was going to miss or planning one last dinner at Razzoo’s. I window shopped online. For rollerblades.

Got questions? I’m an open book. Let’s hear ’em.

The Path: Someone Else’s Legs

This morning I got up and sat around the house for a while, not really motivated to do anything in particular. Do you ever get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things on your “to do” list that you end up just sitting in the living room and staring at the wall? ¬†That’s what happens to me…and I hate it.

The 5K training schedule I’m following says I need to do 35 – 60 minutes of walking today. Wasn’t motivated to do that either. Knew I would regret it if I flaked. Still didn’t want to do it. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch “Friends” reruns with the dogs. Instead, I decided to ask all the Hot Mess fans on Facebook to vote if I should turn right or left when I got to the path behind our house. The results? ¬†Right.

I really wasn’t motivated in any way to walk today. The only thing that made me even think about it was knowing that I’m committed to walking the Buffalo Boogie 5K in May and that some of you will be there.

I don’t want to let you down.

Still, I sat here. Staring. And then my legs made me stand up…and they walked me out the door. My brain was still saying no, yet out the door I went…like I was propelled by someone else’s legs.

Storm clouds brewing over the path
Storm clouds brewing over the path















The sky was gray and angry like my mood. I do this to myself every time I make myself exercise, but if I don’t make myself do it…I never will. I get angry. I get bitchy. I curse myself for not being born waifish and perfect like Keira Knightly or Gwyneth Paltrow – even though I know no one is actually perfect. I wish I could hide my imperfections from the world whenever I step out the door but my giant body screams for all the wrong kind of attention. And I’m angry at it. And I’m angry at myself for letting it happen.

It started raining. Immediately, I told myself that I should turn back and go home before it got worse. I love convenient excuses. Instead, I checked the weather app on my phone and saw that it was just an ugly sky and the rain would be fleeting.

Just like my crappy attitude. It’s only fleeting.

I feel like a floundering fitness noob with a pissy attitude…but I know in my heart that by the end of the year I’ll be a total badass. So as long as I realize the negativity is only temporary, the important thing is to keep pushing forward.

And so down the path I go…

The Path

Sometimes I forget to be grateful for what I have. There are days when it feels like I‚Äôm in constant battle against ‚Äúthe grass is always greener syndrome‚ÄĚ. Someone‚Äôs always luckier than me, prettier than me, has more money than me. Thinner than me. ¬†Hell, that’s most of the world.

I’m ashamed of how often I forget to be grateful. I’m luckier than so many others.

Remember back in the day when Oprah had her ‚ÄúAh-hah!‚ÄĚ moment and finally lost all her weight? ¬†I remember sitting in a restaurant with one of my girlfriends talk‚Äôin shit about poor Oprah. While we chomped on what was easily a day‚Äôs worth of calories, we lamented about how easy it would be lose our weight if we had Oprah‚Äôs enormous wealth.

‚ÄúYeah, if I could afford to hire someone to follow me around all day I‚Äôd hit my goal weight too,‚ÄĚ my friend said. ‚ÄúShe has a personal chef, a personal trainer, a personal assistant‚Ķshe doesn‚Äôt have to do shit for herself.‚ÄĚ

Our solution to the problem? ¬†Order dessert…because we poor girls, who had to work for a living and struggled so unfairly to lose weight, deserved it. ¬†We weren’t really struggling though. ¬†Well, I can only speak for me. ¬†I started all my diets on Monday back then, after a “last night on earth” eating binge on Sunday night. ¬†By Thursday night I was usually so starved and bored that I was calling for pizza delivery. ¬†For years, I did the same thing over and over again, failing every time and then whined to myself about it over a pint of mint chip while I watched The Biggest Loser.

It wasn’t until just over a year ago, when I was on the verge of lap band surgery, that I realized the bulk of my struggle was a bunch of bullshit that I was feeding myself. ¬†Well, the diet industry was feeding it to me as well – but I was the one swallowing it. ¬†Just weeks before my planned lap band surgery, I decided to experiment with a sort of imaginary lap band…and I found something unexpected: ¬†gratitude.

My imaginary lap band experiment opened my eyes. I didn’t miss all the processed crap I had been eating when I went without it. ¬†Instead, I missed the healthy foods that I enjoy cooking for myself. ¬†It surprised me quite a bit…and was the catalyst that caused me to cancel my surgery and do this on my own.

Here we are again, just over a year later, with my food demons in check…and now I’m going after exercise. ¬†Just a few weeks into the process of making exercise a consistent habit, I’m putting an enormous amount of thought into every aspect of it. Why do I hate it? ¬†What do I hate about it? ¬†How can I change that? ¬†What roadblocks are in my way? ¬†How do I get rid of them? ¬†This may seem like a lot of over thinking to some of you, but this is exactly what I did with health eating last year and it worked like a charm. ¬†Examine every rock, every stone, every pebble.

This year it’s not my healthy, delicious recipes I’m grateful for. ¬†Well, I’m still grateful for all that. ¬†With my focus on exercise this year, my relentless over thinking is making me grateful for the fact that I already have everything I need in order to move more. ¬†I hate gyms – but I’m grateful for the treadmill in my bedroom that makes gym memberships unnecessary. ¬†I’ve always had foot problems that can create issues for me, even when I was thin…but I have strong legs and no serious handicaps that keep me from exercising consistently.

And then there’s the path…

The path to victory
The path to victory















This is the entrance to a 6.10 mile long bike/walking trail in my neighborhood. I only have to walk two neighborhood streets behind my house to get here. The trail connects to other parks with other walking trails as well, providing just over 20 miles of room for me to stretch my legs. ¬†If I turn right, I’ll hit the dog park and a few other parks and trails. ¬†The bulk of the trail lies to my left. ¬†I have no idea what’s down there…but I plan to find out.

This post is the beginning of a series of blog posts I’ll be making as I discover what waits for me on the path ahead…on this trail and in my head as I try to fight some pretty serious mental demons about exercise. ¬†Four weeks into my new challenge of making exercise a consistent habit and I’m still resisting myself at every turn.

That’s fine. ¬†If that’s how my subconscious wants to play it, I can’t control it – but I can control what I do about it. ¬†So I will use the legs that I’m so grateful for to propel me down the path ahead whether my subconscious likes it or not…just like I made myself stand in the kitchen last year and actually cook¬†instead of hitting the drive-thru. ¬†At first it was hard, but I avoided fad diets and absolute thinking. ¬†Gentle persistence turned into willingness…which turned into habit…and before I knew it my whole way of thinking about food was changed for good.

As I write this and I think about the fact that I’m going to go down this path whether I want to or not, I’m afraid. ¬†I know it isn’t real fear. ¬†There’s nothing to be afraid of down this path. ¬†(Well, at least not until spring when the bugs come back.) But, as I’ll explain in more detail later, there are mental demons at the heart of this that I haven’t confronted in over 20 years. ¬†When I think about the crap I’m going to have to claw through this year in order to change my life, last year seems like a total breeze.

It doesn’t matter in the end. ¬†It has to be done…because I want it done. ¬†I may not be particularly courageous, but I am stubborn.

And so down the path I go…

Ready or not, here I come...
Ready or not, here I come…



No, no, no. Yes.

Something’s happening soon and I’m not going to tell you what it is until it’s over. Frankly, I’ll be so busy zinging between feeling thrilled and feeling absolutely horrified that I just can’t handle anyone else watching me go through it until it’s done. ¬†And maybe not even then.

I’m going to be on tv.










Before you get all excited, it’s not for anything to do with my blog. ¬†That would rock, but I would still be just as freaked. ¬†Maybe someday I’ll be on tv because my awesome blog has inspired so many people across the land that the governor declares it National Hot Mess Princess Day…but that’s not what this is. ¬†This is because I’m an idiot fan of our local news show who posts too much on Facebook and got voted “Facebook Friend of the Week” – so they invited me down to the studio to meet the news anchors and get a tour.

That part’s cool, right? ¬†At least I¬†think so. ¬†Many of you who have liked my Facebook fan page helped me win this invitation when I posted my frantic plea for people to vote for me. ¬†(Y’all totally blew my competition out of the water, too…you rock!) ¬†What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that they don’t just invite you to the studio for a meet & greet. ¬†Nope. ¬†They also put you on the air.


As smooth, charming, and witty as I seem here in my little Hot Mess kingdom (chuckle) I’m really just a big twit. ¬†Especially when I’m feeling nervous. ¬†Or self-conscious. ¬†Seriously, when I’m nervous I could trip on a damn hair. ¬†I go from normal to blithering idiot in 2.2 seconds.

Don’t believe me? ¬†Let me take you back to 1984…when I was on tv the last time. ¬†Me and my BFF were camped out for “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” at the big swanky movie theater in our town. ¬†I’m a geek, ok? ¬†Shut up.

Every newspaper and local news station was coming out to report on us.  It was very exciting.  And then one reporter decided to interview us on camera.  My BFF, a sun-shiny blonde with a big smile and nerves of steel did an awesome job being interviewed.  Then it was my turn.

Reporter: ¬†“So do you think you’ll ever do this again?”

Me: ¬†(laughing nervously) ¬†“Oh, I don’t think I’ll be doing this again in the recent future!”

What. The. Hell???

…in the recent future.

Yes, I said that on tv.  Yes, everyone I know was watching.  Yes, it took a hundred thousand years for me to live that down.  And I was cute back then!  I had one ass, one chin, and no gray hair.

Cute me. No, I wasn’t a cast member from Twilight…I was just pale from living in a dance studio and never seeing the sun.

I am no longer that cute, oblivious young movie fan.  I am a monstrously overweight chick who, in spite of her seemingly cool exterior, is really a nightmarish bundle of self-conscious bullshit balled up into a pair of plus sized pants.  I do not want to be on camera.

I was on a work retreat in New York once and we did the NBC Studio Tour…and guess who was voted by her co-workers to be the weather girl on the NBC Nightly News set? ¬†Yours truly, of course. ¬†I got up on camera with that map of the U.S. behind me and the first thing out of my mouth was “Holy crap, my ass just eclipsed Texas!!!” ¬†(It’s true, it did…)

Yeah. ¬†And that was just in front of work people and not on the air. ¬†Imagine the damage I’ll do on live tv when I’m nervous. ¬†Holy shit biscuits.

Why can’t I just cancel? ¬†Well, I sort of had to cancel already because of a meeting at work on the day they originally invited me to the studio. ¬†I sent an email explaining my predicament and extended my heartfelt apologies…and they did the unthinkable: ¬†they sent a very gracious invitation to reschedule. ¬†So there’s that. ¬†Not to mention the fact that I beat out other viewers who would have had the opportunity to go. ¬†If I cancel again, I’m a Hot Mess Asshole. ¬†And why? ¬†Because I’m self-conscious? ¬†In the immortal scheme of things, who cares? ¬†No one knows who I am and no one cares. ¬†My last name isn’t Kardashian. ¬†(Thank God!!!)

I know in my head that none of this matters, but deep down in my heart lives that same 10 year old little girl who learned to get all her self-worth from her outer shell. ¬†That little girl will probably always be with me, but my 2013 goal of making exercise a consistent habit is going to do a lot to get her under control. ¬†Unfortunately we’re only 10 days into 2013 and I haven’t quite gotten around to shutting her up.

Here’s what I’m going to do: ¬†I’m going to go…and I’m going to have a great time. ¬†I’m going to enjoy the tour and face my fears and muscle through it – because nothing good happens from hiding in a corner. ¬†And nobody puts Baby in a corner!¬† Okay, seriously, I can’t be serious.

Hopefully when this is done, I’ll be able to smile and say I had a great time. ¬†I’ll realize how stupid I was to put so much importance on so small a thing. ¬†And, yes, I’ll be back to tell you how it went. ¬†And no, I’m not telling you when and what channel. ¬†I’m not that big of a badass yet.

But I will be.

I will be.

There’s no rest for a fat girl with a plan.