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

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Living My Life Out Loud
Living My Life Out Loud
Living My Life Out Loud
Living My Life Out Loud
Living My Life Out Loud ;

As many of you already know I turned 69 years young last week.  I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate my birthday on the Island of Kauai with my husband of 49+ years.  I wake up 2 hours before him, even in Hawaii on vacation.  He knows this so my birthday card was set surreptitiously on the coffee pot by him during the night.  I awoke to it blocking my access for my first cup of tea.  Right after I got the tea brewing I opened it and read it by smartphone flashlight and the tears started rolling down my cheeks and the smile on my face was huge.  I realized he knew me, really knew me and I was getting to know myself as well through his eyes.  It was an amazing realization.

The birthday card was simple, and in its simplicity it defined me, and him as well.  It said the following:

                It’s your birthday

                Live out loud

                Sing your song

That’s it and it had me laughing and crying and incredibly grateful for being alive.  Since I had my weight loss surgery in 2004 that is exactly what I am doing.  I am living my life out loud, doing things I tried to do before, but couldn’t; doing things I would never have tried before; chasing waterfalls, chasing rainbows just for the JOY of the doing.  I sing my song on line daily to some of you who want to hear me, and others who may be tired of it.  That is just who I am, no apologies, so happy to be able to wake up each day and continue to work on ME for ME and become the best ME I can be whether it’s in the gym, in the kitchen, or outside hiking, biking, swimming, on line, or just taking pleasure from the day in whatever it has to offer.

I share my journey and what I have learned with you all in the hope that you will find a nugget of truth, inspiration, motivation, knowledge from what I share that will enable you to enjoy the life you choose.  I spent my 8 glorious days on Kauai totally comfortable in my own skin whether it was showing in a bathing suit or covered by clothing.  I was free to just LIVE.  I think I got bit several times by the Aloha spirit and will not let it go in my life ever again.  This freedom to be is priceless.

I am sharing a few of my pictures from this vacation with you, my on line Ohana (family) in hopes that the Spirit of Aloha invades you as well.

Till next time I will continue Living Out Loud and Singing My Song!

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Packing My Suitcase Then And Now
Packing My Suitcase Then And Now

I am currently getting ready to leave on a vacation to celebrate my 69th birthday, and as I reflect on previous vacations and the horror around packing I am once again thrilled with my life as it is today, vs as it was prior to weight loss surgery.

I am dreaming of getting showered and dressed for dinner after a day spent lounging and swimming on the beach and this is how it was for me prior to 2004, and how it is for me today:

THEN:  Oh my gosh do I have a bathing suit that still fits me.  I better go look and try them all on and see which one will work.  And then prayers said to myself that one still fits

NOW:  My two piece is in the top drawer of the armoire.  I will grab it and a tankini and toss them in the suitcase

THEN:  What do I have that looks halfway decent that I can wear out to dinner in a nice restaurant?  Time to drag everything out of the closet in the largest size and try it all on and decide what works and doesn’t make me look like a cow.

NOW:  I’ll pack a few pair of leggings, a few tops, a sundress or two and I’m good to go.  Oh, better not forget to pack my work out attire, my bathing cap, and swim goggles.

THEN:  I’ll get some chocolate dipped almonds and some pretzels for the flight and pack them in my carry-on.  I can get some chips and a Coke at the airport to bring on the plane.

NOW:  I’ll pack a protein bar in my carry on and grab a salad or a wrap to share with hubby for dinner at the airport, along with my liter of water after I get through security.

THEN:  I’ll buy everything I need once I get there.  We’re going to eat every meal out anyway and I can get lots of snacks for the room if there is no mini bar.

Packing My Suitcase Then And Now
Packing My Suitcase Then And Now

NOW:  I’ll pack some protein bars and some almonds in my checked bag along with protein powder, shaker bottle, and all my vitamins and supplements and my tea for the room.  I know I can throw these in my backpack when we go hiking.  We’ll pick up a case of water, some yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and lunch meat for a quick breakfast or lunch in the room.  I won’t overdo the calories the entire week.  I hate eating breakfast out – it’s a waste… lunch is ok as long as there is shrimp cocktail, raw ahi tuna or fresh mahi-mahi, but I prefer either a turkey and cheese roll up or some ahi poke (available at the supermarket in paradise), and save the gourmet stuff for dinners.

It’s different now.  It’s wonderful.  I make sure that my needs are accommodated with the planned food for breakfast and lunch in the room if we want that or are hanging at the pool or local beach.  I am not planning high calorie, junk food snacks and meals for the airport or the hotel.  I continue to live mindfully, planning for high protein foods, water, fitness and supplements rather than a week of unlimited food and drink and doing nothing.

Packing My Suitcase Then And Now
Packing My Suitcase Then And Now

Oh, I still do a lot of relaxing like sitting in the sunshine reading a book, swimming laps for a while and then drying off in the warmth of the sun, enjoying a nice dinner, and yes, a cocktail or a glass of wine.  I go hiking, snorkeling, fishing, and will try stand up paddle boarding again.  I LIVE my life and am grateful for all that I am physically able to do now that was not possible for me at 424 pounds and over 13 years ago.

In addition to that I can dress up and feel good about how I look and how I feel or dress down and feel good in a bathing suit and cover up.  I can just FEEL GOOD.

I am neither focusing on food nor worried that my clothes will not fit.

The NSV’s (Non Scale Victories) that my weight loss surgery has provided me include stress free packing, stress free vacationing, and truly enjoying just being ME.

Have a wonderful week everyone.  I am off to paradise…  Happy Birthday To Me!

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Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day
Make Time For YOU Every Day

We all lead busy lives.  Whether we are in school, working, or both.  Whether we have significant others who require our time, kids, moms and dads and other relatives.  Bosses who are less than understanding.  There ALWAYS seems to be a reason to put ourselves, our needs and our priorities at the end of that very long list.

I don’t have time to________________________.  YOU fill in the blank.  Is it cooking, exercising, drinking your water, taking your vitamins, making a doctor’s appointment, making your lunch, eating breakfast, preparing dinner, relaxing – or is it all or most of the above? 

Has this been what is keeping you from reaching your goals, your vision of success and getting healthy in mind, body and spirit?  Did I hear a yes?

Guess what?  Those are all the excuses we use to NOT do something for ourselves.  Let’s chat about the difference between reasons and excuses…  I’ll go to Webster’s first:

Reason:  a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event

Excuse:  an explanation or a reason for an action

So you see reasons and excuses are the same thing.

What is happening inside my brain when I say I don’t have the time to prepare my lunch is that I am justifying why I don’t do it.  I wonder how much time I have spent justifying it, or reading the morning paper, or catching up on Facebook, or reading my work emails, or sitting and watching the news and weather.  What might happen if I just spent a few minutes and put my lunch together to bring to work/school with me?  Hmmm might I avoid the fast food and/or vending machine trap?  Perhaps after I ate my lunch I would have a few minutes left to walk around the building, or up and down the stairs instead of waiting in line at the drive through, cafeteria, or wherever else lunch might be happening if I don’t bring it with me?

How about your vitamins?  That’s another one – I don’t have time throughout the day to take them as I should so I just don’t take them.  Another story I have heard many times.  What if one day a week you put all your vitamins together for the week in a pill case, separated by day and then spent another few minutes setting alarms on your smart phone.  Hmm, might that be a time saver, life saver, and reminder all in one sitting?  Or, do you prefer to have to go to the doctor’s for that Vitamin B12 shot or worse yet, the hospital for those iron infusions.  What’s the least amount of time and energy output for the best result?  We all want that BANG for the BUCK, right?

Those are two examples of not having enough time for the “have tos” – the basic rules after weight loss surgery that all of our docs have given us.  There is much more to this though.

Yes, when we figure out how to time manage our lives to fit in all of the rules, that is great.  We are doing wonderful things to and for our bodies, and our long term health.

There is more though, much more to this journey to health than just following the rules.  It is important to acknowledge and take care of yourself DAILY so that you are feeding your body, mind and spirit.  How do you do that?  Create a space just for YOU in every day.  Just like with everything else you are learning to create as new habits, doing this consistently is important to the process.  It’s your time to LOVE, HONOR and RESPECT yourself.  How you do it is up to you and it may vary each day.  You are all wonderful employees, great moms and dads, super sisters and brothers, outstanding grandparents and aunts and uncles, the best friends ever.  Your awesomeness shines daily in all of these areas.  How about as just you?  What have you done just for YOU today?

Don’t have the time to take care of YOU?  I beg to differ.  I bet if you spent a moment thinking about it, or maybe even 5 minutes thinking about it with your mind cleared of everything else you might just figure out when and how you could carve out that little bit of time – begin with 15 minutes if that’s all you can find, but find it, carve it out and repeat it each day.  Is it just when you wake up?  Is it just before you go to bed?  Is it when you get home from work or school?  Is it just after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet?  Is it after lunch, before you get back to the next conference call?  I know, and you know, the time is there.  I promise you the benefits to taking the time are there as well.

What are you going to do with this time – this 15 minutes, this half hour or however long you can just be YOU – uninterrupted?  That is your decision.  Make it something that has you feeling good about yourself.  Here are a few suggestions, the sky and your imagination are the only limits:

  • A cup of tea and a chapter in a book you’ve wanted to read;
  • A walk in the park or around your block to stop and smell the flowers, see the sky and listen to the birds;
  • A short meditation, either guided, with music, or just the quiet
  • A hot bath, perhaps with candles and music
  • A few minutes of stretching and breathing
  • Dancing to your favorite song
  • Singing out loud
  • Shopping for a new _______
  • Getting a manicure or pedicure or both
  • Getting a facial
  • Getting a massage
  • Buying or picking flowers and arranging them in a vase
  • A walk on the beach

I could go on and on.  The one sure thing is that you get to be YOU and relax, and not be responsible for anyone but YOU for a few minutes every day.

What might happen then?  Think about it.  You are worth the self love and the self care.

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How I Get Back On Course After A Wrong Turn Here I am over 13 years post-op, a bariatric coach and educator for others and once again, life happened and even with my meal plan in place sugary and salty carbs won.  My excuse is that I had a couple of bad nights…  REALLY bad nights.  THIS IS AN EXCUSE, not a reason.  While my body chemistry may have been asking for the carbs because of the sleep deprivation, I made the choices and put the food in my mouth.  One night I slept a total of 2 hours, and the other a total of 2 ½ hours.  And then it was Friday, my date night for the movies.  So we ordered a large popcorn, no butter and hubby had a coupon for some free chocolate candy.  He didn’t say no, and I didn’t say no either.

I ate my share of the popcorn, my share of the chocolates and felt like a stuffed pig.  As if that wasn’t enough we then went out to dinner.  Thank heavens it was to a sushi restaurant so the worst damage I did there was to have my spicy tuna on toasted rice cakes.  It was heavenly.  This was still not enough so we picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and some ridiculous flavor of Oreos, and yes, with a cup of tea I indulged in both.  How many thousands of calories do you suppose I ate?  I stopped counting before I walked into the movie theater.

Spent the night tossing and turning – again- this time from the discomfort of too much food, too late and woke up hungry in the morning, not typical for me.  Gee I wonder why?  Could it have been from my sugary indulgences the day before?  YOU BET!

How I Get Back On Course After A Wrong Turn

How I Get Back On Course After A Wrong Turn That was Sunday morning and I vowed to eat protein all day as I prepared my breakfasts and lunches for the next few days, AND planned my dinners then did my Farmer’s Market shopping.  I succeeded until we went to the movies again Sunday evening and the popcorn called my name – LOUDLY…  This time we came home and made a Caprese Cauliflower crust pizza and had a glass of wine with it…  Much better than ice cream and cookies, but, oh wait, there were cookies and ice cream left – 2 cookies and a few tablespoons of ice cream.  Couldn’t have that now could we?  I finished those up and proceeded to pass out (probably in a carb coma) watching TV.  I slept reasonably well Sunday night and woke up a little hungry again.

Monday was here and with it came a long workout – 45 minutes elliptical and 60 minutes weight training.  I vowed to eat only protein and produce and succeeded.  I hate the bloated feeling I get from carbs and I wanted it to be gone.  I also knew that if I waited too long to eat I would be searching for and finding something (which typically means going to the store and suddenly having it jump into my shopping cart) with carbs to satisfy my hunger.  Fortunately, on my heavy gym days I have some of my shake before my workout and the rest when I am done for recovery protein.  That is what I did and I continued to eat any time I thought I might be a little bit hungry all day long…  Protein and produce ONLY.  My house is always filled with healthy foods and that is what I reached for.  I vowed I would not log my calories or my protein, my goal was to simply get through the day satisfied and flush my body with lots of water, get rid of the bloat, and get myself back into my typical eating pattern.

How I Get Back On Course After A Wrong Turn It felt like I was eating and drinking all day long… I was, but it worked.  I had no hunger, no emotional craving for crap and went to bed Monday night and slept well, waking up Tuesday morning feeling refreshed and lighter, with the bloat gone and was able to eat my planned foods and enjoy them.

So that you understand that I REALLY was eating all day long here’s how it went (I tracked it after the fact, not during):

  • Shake 230 calories/30 grams protein
  • Egg frittata 132.5/24.75
  • SF decaf mocha 50/0
  • Chicken salad 158/18.1
  • Hard boiled jumbo egg 90/8
  • Spinach, cucumber, tomato salad 73/5
  • Salmon with apricot/habanero and asparagus 256/27.7

How I Get Back On Course After A Wrong Turn That adds up to 1144 calories/122.55 grams of protein.  Along with this I drank 105 oz of water.

I’m a bit behind on water today but I will not quit until I reach 80 oz minimum before dinner, and it’s 5PM now so I better start sipping… I have fed my hunger today as well with 2 meals and 1 snack and have a great dinner planned for about 7PM.

I am neither headachy or grumpy.  I feel great.

After 13 years I know how to turn the switch from OFF to back ON and act like a WLS patient so I continue to go through life with ease, Living My Best Life.  

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How I Streamline Meal PlanningMost of you know I had Lap Band Surgery in 2004.  I lost 270 pounds and am maintaining that loss.  Did the Lap Band – or any weight loss surgery for that matter, do it for me?  NO… As you all know, we have to do the work as well.  I admit it – I LOVE food and I will only eat delicious food.  I am NOT on a Diet.  I am, 13 years later, living a life I never could have imagined when I hobbled along, in constant pain, at 424 lbs.

I have a busy life.  You have a busy life.  We all have obligations that require our time and effort and yet we all still need to eat.  Right?  I have found a way that works for me to streamline some of my meal planning and prep.  Here’s what it looks like for me. 

  • How I Streamline Meal PlanningI begin on Sunday morning.  You can begin on whatever day works best for your schedule.  After having my leisurely cups of herbal tea, and then my 1 allowable cup of coffee as I read my book or the Sunday paper I make breakfasts for the week – well really for about 4 days..  I use a 13 x9 x2 pan and after spraying it with non stick spray, I fill it with a 32 ounce container of egg substitute and whatever else tickles my fancy – from lite mozzarella cheese and bacon bits, to salsa and chopped chiles and light cheddar cheese, to chopped spinach, olives, and feta cheese.  I write down everything I put in my frittata, bake it, and then figure out if I divide that by 8 (4 for hubby, 4 for me) for what am I eating in terms of calories/protein.
  • Then I look in my refrigerator, freezer, cupboards and counter and try to figure out what I want to make for a few lunches this week.  Typically I’ll have some leftover chicken or tuna in the cupboard, or lite salami and fresh mozzarella cheese, or turkey deli meat.  Then I may put together chicken salad, tuna salad,  a turkey salad, crab salad, or salmon salad.  You get the picture.  Again I am weighing and measuring as I go so I can put these lunches up in individual size containers for grab and eat.
  • How I Streamline Meal PlanningIt’s off to The Sunday Farmer’s Market with me next (after breakfast because by this time I have typically been up for 2-3 hours.  This week I knew I had fresh salmon, shrimp and some ground turkey that I wanted to use.  I decided to make a Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Vegetables so I knew I needed carrots, onion, eggplant, squash, and basil at the Farmer’s Market.  I also got some Italian green beans to have with the salmon, and I will brown and season the ground turkey and add it to the leftover squash I have in my frig along with some fresh chopped heirloom tomatoes and top this all with some cheese for another dinner.

The Farmer’s market is only 5 minutes from my house so my score of purple carrots, eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, basil, baby spinach radishes and green beans and a deliciously ripe cantaloupe – ALL organic – ALL from a farm about 20 minutes from my door, took only 15 minutes.

  • Next up is what can I prep before hand so that in the evening, when I am tired and want to make dinner then relax, it can be quick and easy. 
  • How I Streamline Meal PlanningI chopped all of the veggies (and weighed them all) for tonight’s curry.  I am thawing the shrimp so it will be 1-2-3 for cooking dinner tonight.  I have the coconut milk and the green curry paste sitting on my counter ready to go.
  • Next I cubed up the cantaloupe and put it in a container so we could reach for it, pop some in a bowl and weigh – or in a measuring cup and add it to some cottage cheese for another lunch or snack.
  • My next step was cleaning up the kitchen.  I washed the dishes and wiped the counters and put the veggies and fruit in the frig and now I have time to do whatever I choose in my day.

How I Streamline Meal PlanningI began the process this week at about 9am, and including breakfast and prepping the frittata and some chicken salad, going to the Farmer’s Market, coming home and putting things away, chopping veggies and cleaning up, the entire process was done by noon.  Had I needed to I could have made some hard boiled eggs during this time also.  And then I sat down with my water bottle and began to type.

It’s not hard, it doesn’t really take much time (remember breakfast was in there as well – Sunday, leisurely breakfast with my hubby); and it assures that I always have something tasty to grab for when I am hungry.

How I Streamline Meal Planning

The real benefit is the time, money, and calories I save throughout the week.

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Is It Really Hunger OR Am I Tired?

by sandi on August 9, 2017

Is It Really Hunger Here it is, a few years later and I find myself hungry today.  I stop, apply HALTS and realize I am tired.  I had a bad night of insomnia last night.  Good thing I am following a Kick Start eating plan this week – super low carbs, lots of firm protein, and low carb veggies.  I can add an extra snack of lunch meat, cheese or jerky to get me through.

The first thing I do when this happens is try to figure out what is going on with me.  Because I keep a daily food journal I can review the days before to see if I ate too many carbs, or too much artificial sweetener, or didn’t have enough protein.  Checked this out and my eating was near perfect for the past 4 days, with firm protein at every meal and low carb veggies as well.  So scratched that as a cause off my list- not food choices!

Is It Really Hunger Next I get to review my feelings – Am I stressed, angry, lonely, sad so that I am reaching for food instead of feeling my emotions and just dealing with them?  Hmmm, let me think a moment or two on those.  No more so than any day last week when I wasn’t hungry between meals.

One more to look at- water.  How much water have I been drinking?  Have I been getting in at least 64 ounces.  Went back to my food journal for that info and not only had I got in my 64 ounces of water every day for the past several days, most days over 80 ounces and one day 110 ounces.  It wasn’t thirst disguising itself as hunger, that’s for sure.

So what’s been different?  Has my schedule changed, am I getting in my exercise, what could it be?  Why am I suddenly hungry a couple of hours after eating?

Is It Really Hunger How do you feel?  What’s going on?  I kept asking myself that question repeatedly and finally the light went off and I had my aha moment.  I felt tired.  Why?  The reason was simple.  I had not been sleeping well for the past several days.  I intermittently have periods of time like this for a few days where my sleep is interrupted more than it usually is by the results of 100 ounces of water through the day.  This was one of them. 

Lack of sleep is a known contributor to both increased hunger and obesity.

Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite.

“Ghrelin stimulates hungerand leptin signals satiety to the brainand suppresses appetite” says Siebern.  “Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.”

Here it is as stated by another doctor A lack of sleep has also been shown to directly increase appetite and weight gain.”  As researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec found; if you aren’t getting enough sleep you have a 30 percent higher risk of becoming obese and can expect an average weight gain of five pounds.

Is It Really Hunger Deep sleep regulates growth hormone (the “fountain of youth hormone”), and controls the production of leptin and ghrelin.  Together, these three hormones regulate appetite.  This means if you don’t get enough sleep you’ll want to eat more, especially sugar!  Growth hormone also helps turn fat into muscle.  Increased muscle mass helps you burn calories more efficiently and improves insulin sensitivity-in other words, it stops sugar cravings and makes you thinner.

Lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance.  This means you cannot get sugar out of the bloodstream and into your cells where it is needed for fuel, so your body cries out for sugar but can’t burn the sugar you eat.  You’re left endlessly craving sugar, overweight, exhausted, and even diabetic.”

Stated by another researcher :  “Studies have shown that when people don’t get enough sleep they:

• Have increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.

• Consume about 300 calories a day more than when they are well-rested.  Overall, most of the extra calories came from high-fat foods.

• Snack more and do less physical activity.

• Eat more than what is needed to cover the energy cost of staying awake longer, especially at night, which can lead to significant weight gain.

Research has showed that when study participants didn’t get enough sleep for five days, they consumed more carbohydrates and gained nearly 2 pounds in that time.  “When people are sleepy, they make poor food choices and are more likely to eat more than they need, ” says Kenneth Wright, director of sleep and chronobiology laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Is It Really Hunger Ok, ok – I get it.  I need more sleep.  I try, believe me I do.  I will just have to try harder.  I’ll go up to bed ½ hour earlier and see if that allows me to drift off and stay asleep better.  I am not having trouble getting to sleep.  My issue most of the time is that of staying asleep for longer than 2-3 hours without waking up.

At least I know there is nothing wrong with my food choices, my water intake, my exercise program (which doesn’t change even when I have a bad night).  I am doing everything by the book.  Now just tell that to my pituitary gland and my tummy so that ghrelin, leptin, and other hormone balance can be what it should be.

I am writing this as I consume a few slices of deli turkey wrapped around pickle spears to try to deal with my 4PM hunger.  I am physically satisfied now and also aware that there are “chemical” changes in my body contributing to my hunger.  I will just have to deal with them and NOT reach for the tortilla chips and guacamole which sound so dang good right now.

Before you reach for that high carb snack do you stop and ask yourself the following – AM I:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • Stressed or Sad

Asking these questions has helped me avoid out of control snacking most of the time.  I am using the tool between my ears to solve the mysteries of hunger and satiety in those areas that my surgery doesn’t, and can’t directly, help me.

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A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarI was thinking about what I was going to share with you all today and my head went to the place of “I can’t come up with anything new”.  While that may be true, when I look at what I have done to lose my weight, regain my health and life, and be an active 68 years young – it’s about the “rules” for sure – food, fitness, hydration, vitamins, etc.; it doesn’t begin to touch on how I get through my days.

The biggest change that I created for myself back in 2004 when I first had surgery was the attitude change from “I can’t” to “How do I know unless I try?”  Yup, that’s what happened first – I certainly didn’t wake up after surgery with a 100% I CAN attitude.  It was about taking steps, one little one at a time and seeing that there was so much more that I could actually do to help improve my health both physically and mentally.

A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarI guess it all began when I had to haul 400+ pounds out of bed when I needed to use the restroom while still in the hospital after surgery.  It hurt, I was frightened, I was under the influence of medication and the anesthesia was still in my system.  Sitting up took at least 10 minutes, then those 15-20 steps from my bed to the restroom seemed like miles and miles.  Then back to bed, sitting down, lying back and trying to find a comfortable spot.  I did it!!!  I wasn’t sure I could, but I did it, and later I even walked around the hospital corridor a bit.  My mind was starting to grasp the concept that there was so more I can’s to be had and pushing through and persevering, even if it hurt a bit physically or emotionally would move me to the next phase.

A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarOh for those first two weeks on liquids I so wanted to chew something, anything, a hand, a fist, a turkey leg – I didn’t care.  I just wanted to chew.  Somehow I survived this “I can not make it through” two weeks and stayed on point and progressed to soft and then solid foods.  I was doing it!  I really could!!  When I weighed myself I was rewarded with the scale moving down, and I was realizing that the hunger I was feeling most often was not in my belly, but rather in my head.  I ranted and raved and stomped my feet and cried and made it through the understanding that if I fed my head hunger (which screamed for processed carbs and junk – delicious junk though, right) my physical hunger increased.  Being a logical Virgo I worked on stopping and thinking before acting.

A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarSo now I had the food, the water and the vitamins worked out – I knew that I CAN was my mantra and I was able, with the help of my tool to leave the garbage out of my grocery cart, my cupboards, refrigerator and mouth 98% of the time.  I am human, I have never been perfect.  Ok, what’s next you say?  It was exercise.  I was a year out, one hundred plus pounds down and wanting to keep this miracle going.  I knew that “formal” exercise was the next piece of my personal wellness puzzle.  Out came the negative brain…..well, your back hurts, your knee is bone on bone, walking around the grocery store, the mall and the big box stores is all you can do.  You CAN’T do anything more.  So that is what I did while I let this process in my brain.  OK, so no running, no long walks outside, no treadmill for me… enough with the negative!  What COULD I do?  Hmmm, I have always loved the water so let’s find a pool I can use and try swimming again.  I searched the local gyms, the YMCA and felt really uncomfortable and out of place there.  I found a local tennis club, with an indoor Junior Olympic length pool that didn’t appear to be a “meat market” set up like the local gyms.  No, I did not feel comfortable there, only less fearful and less uncomfortable.  It worked.  I CAN swim – one lap at a time until I got up to swimming non stop for an hour at a time and the weight kept coming off which made both my knee and my back feel better.  And, low and behold, I was actually developing muscles.

A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarI did this for quite a while and my surgeon and my GP were thrilled with my progress.  I no longer caught every cold going around and didn’t suffer from bronchitis multiple times through the year.  I felt better, I looked better and had more confidence in what I could do.  Dare I try something new?  YOU BET!  My vacations were filled with scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing (catching and cooking), and I was waking up each morning excited to be alive!  Time to try something new in the gym….My next was the treadmill and then the pool.  I soon found that I couldn’t raise my heart rate enough on the treadmill (because incline and speed both hurt my knee) to do a lot of benefit.  Dare I try that weird looking thing they call an elliptical?  YES!  Two minutes almost killed me.  Today it is 45 minutes and at least a 5k each time I hop on it.  The movement doesn’t hurt my knee and I can do some mighty fast short intervals on it.  How do I know?  Because I tried it!

A Positive Attitude Brought Me This FarI had my plastics, my lower body lift, my brachioplasty (arms), my breast lift, and was all healed.  It was time to start trying to further my fitness level.  Zumba, step class, spinning (although I could do some distance at a reasonable pace outside), aerobics were all not in the cards.  I found I did not enjoy group classes of any type.  That’s me, so I hired a personal trainer and started working on weight lifting.  Each time my trainer tried to give me a larger weight or asked me to do something I had never done before I started by saying “I don’t think so”.  I still occasionally find myself looking at my current trainer and saying that.  When my trainers would just stare back at me I began saying, well I guess I’ll never know unless I try.  And that is what I did – I tried.  Sometimes I was successful, other times not, but still I tried.  And today, in the gym, when my trainer asked me to do some things I had never done before – all with weights attached to them, I looked her in the eye and said – “I’ll give it a try”.  And, I did, and today I was successful at all of it.

The moral of this dialogue is simple – You will never know the limits of your abilities unless you push through fear and uncertainty and – GIVE IT A TRY!

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