How Weight Loss Surgery Saved My Life

by sandi on October 26, 2010

My friend Gloria and I in my old pants. Can you believe it?

 

I have been fighting the fat war since I was 4 years old. I finally won the war, leaving only small skirmishes that crop up regularly. My friends tell me these little battles are what a “normal” person always deals with. 

 Just five years ago, I was 424 pounds, had arthritis in my right knee, and had trouble walking across a parking lot. My asthma forced me to stop and catch my breath several times across those parking lots. I rented a scooter to be able to take my grandkids to Disneyland. I let my husband go into the market while I waited in the truck. People looked fearfully at me when I was getting on a plane, hoping I wasn’t sitting next to them.  In March 2004 I had a hypertension crisis that got my attention. To this point, my arthritis, asthma, reflux, and sleep apnea had not yet been enough to make me take notice. 

I have succeeded at most everything I have tried in life — I have a wonderful marriage of more than 40 years to my soul mate, a great daughter, four awesome grandchildren, and a successful business I built from scratch over 20 years ago. But I could NEVER get a handle on my weight for longer than five minutes. 

On 5/28/2004, at 55 years old, I had life-changing, and life-saving, Lap-Band® surgery. Within 28 months I had lost 250 pounds. Now, more than five years after surgery, I am holding at 175 pounds and loving it. I am off all my medications and move freely and vigorously through my new life. 

 With the help of this tool and a great support team I have reached a place where it is fun to go anywhere and try new things, and I actually enjoy looking at pictures of myself (well, most of the time). 

 If you are struggling with your weight, you may find some useful information and solutions here. I have created this blog because something like it would have made a big difference to me when I was going through the decisions and the process myself. 

 As the old saying goes, information is power. If you are struggling with your weight, I want you to have the information you need to answer the questions you have so that you can make the best decision possible for you to have a richer life. 

 I hope you find this useful. I look forward to hearing from you.  

Take a look at some of our Gastric Banding Tips —  Here

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Our New Book – Is Lap Band Surgery For Me?

by sandi on October 26, 2010

Our new book is now shipping on amazon!  Read an excerpt here.

Visit us at www.bandedliving.com

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Facing My Fears This past month has been quite significant for me on many fronts.  I realized that if I was going to live my dream any time soon there were some fears I needed to confront and get through.  Most of them dealt with physical issues because avoidance and denial had not been working well.  Here’s a brief of what happened:

Since my Lap Band and Plication “re-surgery” in November 2014, I had been having some heartburn when I was swimming early in the morning.  This was a little annoying, but nothing I couldn’t tolerate.  This past month the heartburn became worse, occurring more frequently and at odd moments in time.  I just lived with it and ate and drank around it.  I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for 1/28 and figured we would discuss it then.  I spent the week before my appointment coming up with reasons to cancel and re-schedule – the primary being I didn’t want to get on the scale in my doc’s office because my weight was up a few pounds.  DUH!!!  Was it my choice of cookies and chips to “stuff” the stress I was under from other sources that was causing the rise of the heartburn?  I could kill two birds with one stone if I took control and tried to figure that out.  On Sunday I removed all processed junk from my house and my food plan, and committed to dealing with my stressors by changing what was in my control to change, and letting go of what I couldn’t control.  Hmmm, Monday not so many heartburn incidents.  Was I on to something here?

I continued eating clean and on Thursday at the appointment with my Bariatric Surgeon all of my body bloat was gone, the scale had moved down (still up 4 from my lowest), and the heartburn had receded to when swimming and when taking my supplements, and sometimes when drinking water or tea. 

Facing My Fears I had convinced myself that my band had slipped, and that Dr. Billy would want to do a complete unfill and at least a swallow test, if not another endoscopy.  WRONG!!!  When I spoke my fear of a slip he reminded me that my stomach was plicated (folded and stitched), and it would be mighty hard for it to slip above the band placement, and he had NEVER had a slip with his band/plication patients.  I breathed a sigh of release and then immediately went to the place of what if I am his first?  He said he could take two routes – the first was to do nothing and have me return in 4-6 weeks, and see if the heartburn is still there while I am choosing foods that I know serve my journey. The second was to begin unnecessary testing that would most likely prove to him that nothing was happening.  And, if I had any concern in between appointments I was to call him immediately.  Again, deep sigh of relief and I have chosen the first route – pay attention, wait, and see.  I am pleased to say that the heartburn continues to diminish.

My point is that I faced my fear (the fear of a slip or at least something being wrong, went to see the doctor and together we have a plan of action that takes the worry out of the equation….DUH!!  Again, remove the worry, reduce the stress and heartburn resolves…..Hmmmmmm.

Second situation:

I will need knee replacement surgery at some point in my life.  I am able to deal with the pain now, my activities are somewhat limited but not so much that my quality of life is truly affected – so I have been putting it off.  THAT is only 1 of the reasons I have been putting it off.  The other is I need the surgery in the same leg that had a blood clot many years ago – the same leg that is always swollen, carries several pounds of fluid more than the other leg, and my veins in both legs are shot…. 

Both the surface and the deep venous system valves are faulty.  I know that nothing can be done to “repair the veins” however the last time I was at the orthopedic surgeon for my semi-annual shot of “joint juice” (synthetic synovial fluid which helps keep me mobile) I spoke to this fear – the one of actually losing my leg because of circulation problems after he did the surgery.  He immediately made a referral to a vascular specialist.  I saw him, had ultrasounds of my veins and arteries done, spent a month between appointments worrying about having a blood clot in my hip or thigh because he didn’t “like” that swelling. 

Another stressor that I was stuffing by “eating” and perhaps a contributor to my heartburn.  The net result of my appointment with him is that there is nothing that can be done for my venous system (in other words he can’t fix them surgically) BUT he may be able to address the swelling in my leg – he is sending me for PT for 6 weeks for lymphatic massage and he expects there will be a considerable reduction in the swelling.  NOBODY ever suggested anything like this before.  I am excited and hopeful.  Once we see the net results of the PT, I then have to get a compression stocking and wear it as often as I can tolerate it…..  That part I don’t like but will try to do my best with since it may mean that I can easily find pants or jeans “off the rack” that will fit both thighs and also that I will be more physically comfortable (Tightness, heaviness and aching in my leg will be minimized). 

Once again I faced my worst fear – that of another blood clot, and came through it with some sort of resolution to my problem.  Wow, no heartburn at all last night….. Could I truly be on to something?

Facing My Fears These are two of my issues, my fears, my problems, my stressors.  There are others in my life.  There are others in your life as well if you are reading this.

The ONLY solution to FEAR is to Face Everything And Rise no matter what it is.  Our heads always make matters worse when we allow a concern to stew, become a fear, and not deal with it.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a personal medical concern, a relationship issue, a professional issue.  In the end, it’s all the same.  Worry and fear will wind up causing stress – and stress causes other symptoms and illness.

As in every other area of our lives WE get to choose how we deal.  What’s your choice?

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It’s been a long two weeks.  Lots of crazy things going on in my life, just like in yours.  My stress level has been through the roof, and I found myself grabbing for a cookie, some chips, or whatever presented itself to me.  My heartburn increased, my stress level kept climbing, and my sleep patterns were awful.  The only things in place were my prepared meals and my fitness.

Sandi - Before and After Weight Loss SurgeryDo you see a pattern here?  Sunday morning I took the time to review my week and came up with the following conclusions:

  • I eat when I’m stressed UNLESS I find another outlet for the stress; yes even at 11+ years post-op I am still falling back into that habit if I don’t stay mindful and in the moment;
  • When I eat processed crap like cookies, chips etc., I feel physically bad.  I have too much food on board and my heartburn kicks in especially if I eat at night;
  • When I eat at night to “soothe the savage beast within” I am bloated, uncomfortable and do not sleep well;

Let’s not even talk about the scale….Let’s just talk about my health.

There’s a vicious cycle and once I allow myself entry – it is difficult to get out of it.  It’s the same cycle that created the obese, 424 lb woman that chose weight loss surgery, specifically Lap Band, to save her life.  I lived for 54 years in that cycle where I allowed mindlessness to come between me and my health.

Add winter, short days, limited sunlight, and my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to the mix and it spells trouble with a capital T.

How do I cut the cycle short?  Reviewing my week helps.  Talking with a friend, or in this case my husband, since he has some of the same stresses in his life, helps me get focus on what I can control and what I cannot control.  I look at my stressors, and if I can’t control it, there is nothing I can do about it.  I can feel worried, angry, upset, and unhappy or any number of emotions, but it is not in my power to change it.  So I feel the emotion; cry, scream at the universe, breathe through it and then let it go.  It doesn’t necessarily go away forever, but staying in the moment with it, deciding that there is nothing I can do about it (whatever the it may be), and then moving forward with things I can do and control allows me to remove the “charge” from the stressor, even if it is only for today.  Tomorrow I can repeat the same process.

The cookies, the chips, the second martini may help me “feel better” in the moment with their soothing qualities; however dollars to donuts I will be reliving that same emotion in a few hours, or tomorrow and using food or calories from any source to stuff the feeling away will not help me be in control of my destiny.

Beating stress with my own deviceI am the boss of my life.  What someone else does, or is, does not dictate who, or what I am, and allowing anger, hurt, worry, or any other emotion serves no positive purpose in my life.  To rule my choices is giving away my control.  I choose to be CEO of my own life, create my destiny and do the best I can every day.

Those days include:

  • Scheduled fitness at least 5 days a week;
  • Eating firm protein first and low carb veggies, then adding other foods if hunger or the desire still exists;
  • Drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily;
  • Taking my vitamins and supplements;
  • Not permitting outside influences to negatively influence my behavior;
  • Shooting for 5-7 hours of sleep per night;
  • Living my best life for ME and not trying to be a martyr in family matters;
  • Limit my contact with those who create negativity in my life;
  • Surround myself with like minded loving people.

Reporting in after 3 days of clean eating – heartburn is 90% gone; the desire to scream at the universe has left the building; and I am not as physically “weak” as I was feeling after feeding my body crap.

Oh, and my clothes are fitting looser and I don’t feel bloated.

That’s how I do it.  Thank goodness I have my Lap Band to keep me in check the majority of the time, as long as I am not reaching for slider foods.

I am NEVER going back.  I choose life, health, physical fitness, oh, and happiness… because happiness is a personal choice too.

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I remember, back in March of 2004 listening to my doc’s informational seminar and hearing him say that after surgery “You will learn to enjoy dining.” Now I had no trouble eating then, as a matter of fact eating was my problem.  Just what could this man mean by those words – learning to enjoy dining?

As time went on after surgery I learned day after day what he meant and I still hold those words close.  Initially, I thought he meant that if I didn’t like the food, I shouldn’t eat it.  Well, this is a part of what he meant, and so, very soon – immediately after being allowed solid foods, I removed those nasty tasting premade, canned, bottled, and packaged protein drinks from my presence…FOREVER.  I never enjoyed eating them so why bother.  This helped me learn to find high protein foods that I could enjoy, that would fit into my calorie and protein goals for the day.  My acceptable food list began to expand.  I tried new foods, new methods of preparation, and some were a huge success while others were dismal failures. 

Mindfully Eating My Way To Long Term Lap Band Success
Mindfully Eating My Way To Long Term Lap Band Success
Mindfully Eating My Way To Long Term Lap Band Success
Mindfully Eating My Way To Long Term Lap Band Success
Mindfully Eating My Way To Long Term Lap Band Success

Well nothing could be worse than the first time I made stuffed peppers for me and my husband soon after we were married.  Being cash strapped, I bought the cheapest ground beef I could find and stuffed the peppers with the beef, some rice, some seasonings, and topped with some tomato sauce.  They looked lovely but were floating in so much grease that we both kind of got ill…  Nothing I have prepared since my 2004 Lap Band surgery was that bad.  Forty seven years later we still laugh about the stuffed pepper fiasco.

Failures were not the end, they became my beginning – they are opportunities to improve, and improve I did.  I became adept at taking comfort food recipes and remaking them – low calorie, high protein, versions that satisfied me as well as my family.  Now my challenge is to get creative with taste, texture, and color to make a visually attractive plate that looks, smells, and tastes wonderful.  I’m getting pretty good at this if I do say so myself.  You can find many of my recipes at Banded Living Recipes.

In the process of learning how to cook healthy, learning what foods my surgery approved of, as well as 11+ years of restaurant eating, I have learned what it means to enjoy dining.

It’s quite simple actually.  It is about seeing and smelling the food first, enjoy it with those senses, and then slowly tasting it in small bites, savoring the textures and the flavors as I chew it 20 – 30 times before I swallow it or even think about lifting the fork up for another bite.  Yes, it’s also about putting the fork down between each bite and not lifting it again for 15-30 seconds (or longer) after swallowing.  Notice the flavors that remain on your tongue and in your mouth between each bite. 

Now let’s go backwards a bit.  It’s about having the food served on a small plate so that it appears to be a large portion and arranged attractively on the plate….Then begins the looking and the smelling……and then the biting and the chewing and the tasting and the savoring… Can this be done while you’re watching your favorite soap opera?  Or posting on Facebook?  Or working at your desk?  Or even reading the newspaper?  The answer is a resounding NO! 

This pleasurable act of enjoying everything about the food in front of you needs to be done without distraction.  The focus is on the food, not the book, or the TV, or the phone, or the computer.  Just focus on the food.  Enjoy the experience by being totally present in it.  As I got better at the cooking healthy and eating mindfully, the weight came off, and yes I learned how to enjoy dining.  I no longer shoveled food into my mouth while doing 3 other tasks with no care on how much or what was going in.  Guess what?  Even when portion controlled, multi-tasking doesn’t provide the same satisfaction that dining mindfully does.  You may actually find yourself done sooner, eating a bit less, making better choices because that precious space you have to fill with fuel/food is so small that only “good stuff” is allowed in.

I challenge each and every one of you to turn off the TV, put away the book, shut down the phone, and eat one meal each day for a week mindfully, and let me know what happens.

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I had a super busy day ahead of me.  It was Christmas Eve Day.  My plan was to go to the gym, go to my hair appointment, come home and finish wrapping gifts, spend a few hours working, make some telephone calls around the world to friends and family, and then curl up with my hubby for an evening together.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Just another day in the life of…..

That’s not how it turned out at all.  I got to the gym, ready to get my swim on at 7 am.  They were CLOSED.  Holiday hours, they didn’t open until 8 am.  So I had several options.  I could have gone to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, just a few hundred yards away and have myself something warm and yummy and blown off my workout, and just go to my 9 am appointment then continue the day from there.  NOPE, not me, I live in the land of no excuses when it comes to fitness. 

What I Learned From Falling Off My Bicycle I dashed home, changed into bicycle riding clothes, grabbed my bike out of the garage, and took off like a bat out of hell because it was COLD – around 45 degrees – so I was moving fast to get my blood circulating.  I pedaled down the street and then hit an area that had sand across the road.  I picked what I thought was a safe spot to get through; it looked like a thin, well packed down coating and headed for it.  Guess what?  It was packed, but it was a heavy layer of sand and my bike wheel got caught in it and down I went.

Yup, there I lay in the sand in full view of the cars pulling out of driveways and heading on their way.  I sort of did a body inventory and nothing felt damaged – except, of course, my pride so I got up, brushed the sand off, told the nice gentleman who stopped and asked if I needed help, that I had it handled, thank you very much, and stood there for a moment.  I had some choices to make right then.  First, could I re-bend my wire basket so it fit back on the handlebars of my bike?  Second, do I call home and ask for hubby to come get me in the car with the bike rack – I was only 1 mile from home?  Third, do I just start walking home, walking my bike alongside me?  My final choice was to bend the basket into something that would fit on the bike, then get on the bike and ride it home.  I pulled up my big girl panties and did just that.  I found my elbow was a little sore, I had a bruise starting on my knee, and my wire basket needed some more help.

Who is this woman, who in previous lives, even a year ago would have picked up the phone, cried and told her husband to come get her and probably avoid the bicycle for weeks or months or maybe forever? 

There’s more to the story.  A week or two prior to my wreck I had finally made it up a hill on one of our favorite bike trails in Goleta at the beach for the first time in years.  Previously I had walked the bike because the hill was too intimidating and just too dang difficult.  That was a HUGE NSV (non-scale victory) for me, and I believe the memory of that moment pushed me forward, up and out of the sand and back on to my bicycle.

What I Learned From Falling Off My Bicycle Last weekend we took my bike out again, headed to Goleta and hubby and I did the trail that has me finishing the ride with that now “almost impossible” hill.  I was a little shaky heading out, worried that I didn’t have control of my bike, ridden with anxiety every time someone heading in the opposite direction crossed my path, but on the return, when I saw that hill, I drew on my confidence, on the memory of beating that hill the last time.  I pushed the thought of falling off my bike way into the background of my thoughts and headed up that hill with the intention of completing it.

I DID IT!  It felt marvelous.  I had control again.  I could take my bike anywhere, and so what if I did fall.  All I really hurt was my pride.

What does this have to do with Weigh Loss Surgery?  EVERYTHING.  We have a tool, sometimes we don’t use it properly and then “it” doesn’t work – let’s call this what it truly is- when we make choices that don’t move us forward we fall in the sand.  WE are not working our tools.  We can just do what I did, get up, brush ourselves off, and get back on the bicycle.  We can remember how far we have come, how many hills we have climbed successfully and how many more we will climb on our journeys.  As we approach each of these hills we can remember what it’s like to reach the top and celebrate.  Don’t quit, don’t use a bad day, week, month or even year to keep you from your vision of a healthy active person.

GO GET 2016

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Here we are, almost at the end of December 2015.  The crazy holiday season is in full swing and I was visiting my brother last weekend and we went out to dinner.  It was my brother, myself, my husband and my adult niece.  As we sat around the table, ordered our food and ate I came to some realizations about food, family gatherings, competition among siblings/relatives and human behavior (mine) in general.

We were at a Chinese restaurant.  Growing up in Brooklyn we went out to Chinese food often.  This is what we typically ordered:

Chinese In Brooklyn

  • Wor Won Ton soup
  • Egg rolls
  • Spare Ribs
  • Fried Rice
  • Shrimp with Lobster sauce
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan (chicken with vegetables)
  • Beef with broccoli
  • Egg Foo Young
  • Almond cookies and ice cream for dessert

This was for 5 people – 3 kids and my parents.  We never had leftovers.  We cleaned our plates and if my memory serves me we probably argued over the last shrimp or the last spare rib.  We always left with our tummies “Thanksgiving Day full”.  This is my memory of many meals out with my family.

This time for 4 adults we ordered the following:

  • Wor Won Ton soup
  • Egg rolls
  • Shrimp in Two sauces
  • Pork and vegetables
  • Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce
  • Moo Shu chicken
Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery
Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery Enjoying Life After Lap Band Surgery

It was served with lots of white rice and crispy noodles. 

When the soup was brought to the table I was thrilled that the soup “bowls” were tiny cups- I had a little broth, a shrimp and a bamboo shoot and a water chestnut slice.  My niece (who is about a size 2 and works HARD to stay there) had a single bowl as well.  The guys finished the soup.

The egg rolls were served.  They were spring rolls – you can’t get “real” egg rolls in LA.  I didn’t want them, but decided to try them anyway.  One bite- not worth the rest of the calories.  My niece did the same.  The guys finished all of the egg rolls.

Now comes the 4 dishes we ordered with bowls of rice alongside each one.

I put 4 shrimp and some veggies on my plate.  My niece made one “burrito” of moo shu chicken.  The guys first covered their plates with rice about ½ inch thick and then proceeded to scoop their dish and some of everyone else’s on their plates.  As we sat their chatting and eating I decided to taste a bite of the pork and one shrimp in black bean sauce.  My niece had a little of the pork as she doesn’t eat seafood.

She and I were done.  The guys filled their plates with rice, and then loaded them up again.  My husband was then done.  My brother filled his plate one more time with rice and loaded it with everything on the table. 

At this point I had to get up and leave the table.  Watching my brother eat was kind of turning my stomach.  We had been sitting at the table for way too long anyway.

I thought about my reaction to the overloaded multiple plates of food and came to some conclusions about me, family and food:

  • My mind immediately was triggered into being nine years old again and wanting to have more of everything even though I was no longer hungry – didn’t want my brother to get more – it was some sort of sibling rivalry thing.
  • Eating with abandon is no longer a pastime that provides any pleasure for me.  The good tasting food in small quantities provides all the pleasure I require.
  • Sitting at the table when done eating is dangerous – THAT is where grazing can occur.  If I wait long enough then my small tummy can have another bite of this and another bite of that – that rule of being finished in 20 -30 minutes is important to remember.  We were at that table for at least 90 minutes.  I had to cover my plate with my napkin to keep myself from reaching for more.
  • We had a great time catching up on what’s been happening in all of our lives, and the dinner was about enjoying our time together

As the holiday meals are near, my suggestions are for all of you who have had Weight Loss Surgery to remember:

  • Don’t sit at the table for too long.  When you’re done eating get up and help clear, serve the next course, or if there are kids you can probably help them or engage them in some way so others can sit and eat to their hearts content
  • Don’t judge – while my brother who has had a heart attack might be choosing to kill himself with food all I can do is answer any questions he might have and lead by example no matter how much it hurts to watch.
  • Come to the gathering with a story of something that happened that is funny, or exciting, or just ask questions of the others at the table and focus on what is being said so that food is not your main focus.
  • We can control what we bring to the table to eat, our portion size, the amount of water we have in the day, the exercise we choose to do, or not do, and that is what we should focus on.

Too much energy is used worrying about things we cannot control.  I declare 2016 the year of letting it go!

 

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Maintain your WLS SuccessSo I woke up Tuesday morning, cold and tired at 4am.  It was 35 degrees at the beach here in Oxnard CA.  I began a discussion in my head that went something like this:

“ Poor you.  You haven’t had enough sleep, it’s really cold outside.  Your bones ached.  You have a headache from the heater.  You will probably freeze if you head to the swimming pool at the gym as planned.  Maybe you should skip it today so you don’t get sick.”

I listened to myself.  As I walked around the house listening to this my posture got curved, I started shivering, my headache got worse, my knees and elbows and ankles and hands started aching worse.  I made my tea, laid out my vitamins, sat down with my Kindle and before I could begin reading I decided that I was not happy being that old, cranky, achy complaining lady living in the I can’t world.  I wrapped my hands around the tea to warm them up and thought about how I wanted to approach my day.

Hmmm, how would I feel at 2Pm, at 5Pm, at 7PM if I stayed home from the gym and wallowed in self pity (and self loathing) all day?  Not good, pretty rotten.  I would probably go out and buy a party size bag of Cheetos or at least a box of dark chocolate covered Peppermint Jo Jo’s and consume the entire thing.  THAT is what wallowing in my aches and pains brings to me….A total sabotage of my work, an excuse to comfort myself with food, an excuse to not get my daily fitness in.  Hmm, what would happen the next day if I did all that?  I would probably continue the self destruction, all in the name of I CAN’T.

I thought about this and sipped my tea, took my vitamins and got my achy self to the gym.  I gave myself permission to swim for only 15 minutes if I got too cold or too anything.  End result, I swam laps for 45 minutes, celebrated with 10 minutes in the hot tub, a shower and then 5 minutes in the dry sauna.  I wound up exercised, warm, and a whole lot less achy.

Maintain your WLS SuccessBest part- I was no longer feeling sorry for myself.  I was ready to make the rest of my day happen and be the BEST ME I could be.

I have negative voices talking in my head frequently.  I also have positive voices to balance them.  The more positive I can be (even if I am faking it until I am making it) the softer those negative voices become until I just don’t listen to them anymore.

Winning with myself, one conversation at a time.

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We humans are somewhat predictable.  If we aren’t at the exact number on the scale that we choose we are unhappy, disappointed, and sometimes angry with ourselves.  This journey is so much more than just a number on the scale, although I like my number now – a lot.  I have worked hard for it for years and celebrate ME every day by living my Best Life possible each day.  Enough said there.

What if once a month, once a year, once every few years you were to take some time and reflect on where you started this journey and where you are today.  The universe randomly presented me with this opportunity when I was on the island of Kauai Thanksgiving week.

Looking Back At Where I Came From
Looking Back At Where I Came From
Looking Back At Where I Came From
Looking Back At Where I Came From

I had just power walked to the lookout point on the top of Waimea Canyon.  Hubby caught up with me and then he smiled, and then he laughed.  I of course wanted to know what was going on.  He brought to my attention that each time we had been up to the lookout point he wore the same ragged T-shirt and we had pictures to prove it.  We immediately had someone take a pic of us- so here’s 2015.  I am maintaining my 270 pound weight loss and I actually wore board shorts all day and felt great in them.

When we got home he began the search for the earlier pics and here is September 2006… I am 232 pounds down and have not had reconstructive surgery yet; and there is hubby in that ratty T shirt… I walked slowly up to the lookout point and was out of breath when I got there.

Then he found the 2005 pic and low and behold I am wearing the same top I wore in 2006 and he has the same ratty T shirt on.  I was probably around 150 pounds down by then.  I walked quickly up to the lookout and was out of breath when I got there.

For those of you who would like real comparison – here is the first picture at the Waimea Canyon lookout from 2001, before weight loss surgery.  I did make it to the lookout, and that was ALL I did for the entire day.

It is hard for me to remember that woman who could barely walk and had to stop to catch her breath and let the pain subside in her knees and back.  It is important for me to remember that woman for many reasons:

  • I don’t want to be her ever again
  • I want to celebrate my victories
  • I want to continue to refine and define my body so I am strong and remain strong as the years continue to fly by
  • I don’t want to forget the pain of being her and the work I put into becoming me
  • I want to use my weight loss surgery tool and all of the knowledge I have gained for the rest of my life, and to share it with others whenever I can.

These pictures remind me to celebrate my life every day and to be grateful for all I have, all I have been able to become and my Lap Band tool which helped me every day and continues to do so.

My Lap Band saved my life.  I wonder what year would have been my last one had I not shed this weight?

Remember – It just keeps getting better!

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Long Term Lap Band Success – What Vacation Packing Looks Like To Me

December 2, 2015

I will probably be heading to the airport, leaving the garden island of Kauai when you all are reading this.  I am most fortunate to have spent Thanksgiving Week with friends in Kapa’a doing what I love the most – swimming, hiking, snorkeling, exploring, and living each day as my best.  Someone suggested to me […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Moving Through The Cold Months Is Key

November 18, 2015

My exercise schedule is pretty routine on Monday- Friday.  I swim for 30 minutes to an hour on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Then spend 100 minutes on the elliptical and weight training on Mondays and Wednesdays.  On Saturdays I have been taking a bicycle ride with my hubby that is anywhere from 5-7 miles and […]

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I am not ruled by my dna

November 10, 2015

The time changed, my body still is getting up at 4:30 am which is now 3:30 am and at 5 pm, as the sun sets, so does my energy.  This occurs for me every year and then, as the days get shorter and shorter building to the winter solstice on December 21st – the shortest […]

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Making Time In Your Day For What Matters – Long Term Lap Band Success

November 4, 2015

I found myself sitting and thinking about everything that had to get done.  I was going over to the dark side with the thought that I will never be able to make this all happen in the time I have available.  And then I caught myself, stopped, took a few calming breaths and restructured my […]

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Keeping My Eyes On The Prize – Long Term Lap Band Success

October 28, 2015

The question I get asked most often these days is “How do you keep motivated?” My answer is to keep thinking positively and look at the accomplishments you have had and the things that you are able to do today that you couldn’t do a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. It takes […]

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My Why For Success After Lap Band Surgery

October 21, 2015

Yesterday was my annual wellness check-up with my Primary Care Physician.  I really like her because she is real, she listens to me, she offers assistance when I ask, and often when I don’t ask with a cute little grin on her face, and she understands me.  Because I am over 65 she gives a […]

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Tricks To Change The Halloween Treats Around You

October 14, 2015

It’s the middle of October and Halloween candy displays are in just about every store I walk into.  It makes my inner child want candy corn and black and orange jelly beans, and licorice mustaches and chocolate treats, lots of chocolate treats.  Not going to work for me if I want to stay where I […]

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Why I Exercise And Look Forward To It – Celebrating Life After Lap Band Surgery

September 30, 2015

It’s Monday morning again.  Oh, no, time to face another week of ______.  You fill in the blank.  Is this how you face Monday mornings?  It’s definitely how Monday mornings looked to me before I began my current routine. Now I get up on Monday mornings and am excited to get to the gym to […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Living Life One Day At A Time

September 23, 2015

I am sitting here in front of my computer wondering what I want to chat with you all about.  Here I am, 67 years young, 11+ years post-op Lap Band Surgery, 270 pounds lighter than when I started this journey in 2004.  So what now?  What’s my next?  What’s my vision for me for 2016 […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – What Is My “Normal”?

September 16, 2015

My newsletter is emailed to you all on Thursday, so it is typically Tuesday when I write my blogs.  Today, Tuesday, September 15, 2015 is a day of significance, at least for me.  It is my birthday, the start of my 67th year on this earth (at least this time around anyway).  That used to […]

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