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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Where I Go For Motivation  
Where I Go For Motivation
Where I Go For Motivation
Where I Go For Motivation

So it’s Monday morning, my sinuses are congested, my knee is screaming at me, my hip aches from my hike yesterday and it’s time to get ready for the gym.  The way I see it, I have only two choices – to go to the gym or stay home.  So let’s look at both of them for a minute or two:

  • I choose to stay home – I get to spend the day feeling sorry for myself, for my sinus headache, my stuffed up nose, and oh yes, my achy hip and knee.  I can acknowledge that I am old and do and act like an old person.  I can be crotchety and whiny and angry at the world.  I can eat all of these negative emotions in the form of some processed carbohydrate like cookies or chips and feel even worse than I did when I got out of bed.  Tomorrow will probably be the same since those processed foods add to my aches and pains and general grumpiness.  I can start a downward cycle of negative thinking, negative self talk and making choices that do not serve my goals of leading a long and healthy life.  This is what might happen if I chose to stay home from the gym.
  • I choose to go to the gym – I get to limp in and hop on the elliptical and start moving slowly and carefully, warming up my muscles, getting the blood flowing through my legs and my hips and most importantly to my brain.  I can modify everything I do based on how my body feels.  I can stop any time I choose or continue for my regular routine.  I can start thinking about how good it feels to get my body moving and the blood flowing, especially to my brain, put a smile on my face and chat with the folks I see daily starting their days out as I do.  When I leave the gym I can feel better than when I walked in (it ALWAYS works) and head home to my computer and a day’s work.  I can smile and chat with my husband, make any phone calls, and plan for my next outing.  I can eat what I have prepped and planned and the carb monster will not be yelling at me all day since I will be happy with myself, satisfied with my workout and genuinely ready to plan some sort of next adventure.  This is what might happen, and does happen when I choose to go to the gym.

It’s not rocket science.  Getting regular exercise, whatever your body, your doctor and your physical abilities allows is good for you.  It’s good for me.  I found my sweet spot with swimming, elliptical and weight lifting.  It’s allowed me to add hiking and biking and beach walking to my life and not be the crotchety old hen who is always complaining or whining.  I can maintain a positive attitude the majority of the time and partake of the most magnificent vistas that life has to offer to me whether they be right outside my front door, 50 miles away or thousands of miles away.  By choosing ME, by just taking myself to the gym each day and doing the best that I can the entire world has become my amusement park – and guess what – I fit on ALL the rides.

So where do I go for motivation?  That’s right, I go to ME to my why for doing what I do and the joy that the freedom and flexibility of getting fit and staying fit has brought me.  It all started with 1 single lap in the pool.

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Success - How Do I measure thee?
Success - How Do I measure thee?
Success - How Do I measure thee?

Success after any weight loss surgery begins as a number on the scale for sure; and it is important to weigh ourselves regularly so we stay in touch with the number we declare as our goal and maintain our weight in a reasonable range.  The scale does have a place in our lives.  Rest assured it is NOT the only way to measure our success.

Here are some other ways that will help you to stay motivated along your journey which, by the way, is a lifetime journey.  Once you commit to weight loss surgery you are a weight loss surgery patient for the rest of your life and making daily choices that support you as a weight loss surgery patient is certainly another way of measuring success.  Here are some others:

  • Take your measurements about once a month.  This can continue for as long as you choose and is especially helpful when you hit a short plateau as your body readjusts to its new weight.  Seeing a change in your measurements can be all you need to walk past those adorable Girl Scouts selling that crack cocaine they call cookies wherever you are on your journey.
  • Take pictures throughout your journey, whether losing or at goal.  Progress can be seen along the way.  I may weigh exactly the same today but look smaller than 6 months ago, as I compact myself into muscle.  Fat and muscle weigh the same; muscle is in a tighter, smaller package.  When your motivation level drops take out a pic of where you started and look in the mirror and you’ll see the difference.  Remember how far you have come.  Phototherapy is a great way to actually SEE your success.
  • See how your clothing feels and fits.  If a shirt that was tight last week or month is now fitting nicely, or even better fitting loosely you know that you have made progress and are moving in the right direction.  You may even have a goal dress or pants that you are working to fit into.  Try them on and note how much closer you are to zipping them up comfortably.
  • You’ve reached your goal weight, now what?  Do you stop measuring your success?  I think not.  Figure out what areas you want to improve in, learn what it will take to keep you at goal weight and start working on those areas.
  • You can measure your success on a daily or weekly basis.  I like to review each day and begin with what I did right that day; then look at what I could have done better and how to achieve it tomorrow.  That helps me keep my daily action plan for food, fitness, hydration and vitamins in place and going strong.  My goal is to be 100% compliant on all however being human this not my reality.  That end of day assessment really has me thinking how I can repeat a great day or improve one that could be better.  I live in the world of good, better, best and do not beat myself up for BAD days….I have none, just not my best day.  I let go of guilt a long time ago, that’s how I lost 270 pounds.
  • Now comes one final way of measuring success that few of us really think about.  Our moods are cyclical, the weather is cyclical, the tides are cyclical, life pretty much happens in cycles.  What if our success and failure thoughts were also cyclical.  As the weight comes off shortly after surgery we are riding that success high, we can do no wrong, we just keep plugging on doing what we need to, watching the pounds melt off and feeling good about that.  Then, life happens, we make a choice or choices that are not in the best interest of a weight loss surgery patient.  We begin to feel that diet failure cycle happening again like it’s happened with almost every diet we’ve ever been on before.  Then the I can’t do this starts talking loudly in our ears and we begin living into our own thoughts of self-sabotage.  What if we were to look at this choice or choices as only a temporary setback and we had faith in our own strength and ability to hop on that success wagon again and keep right on plugging through, winning, if not 100% of the time, a good portion of it.  Then our next choice could more easily (notice I did not say it was easy) be one that served our journey to weight loss and health.
Success - How Do I measure thee?
Success - How Do I measure thee?
Success - How Do I measure thee?

Now I am going to ask each of you to think about the first time you went “off program” from your doctor’s instructions while you were riding that success high…..was it pretty easy to have that _____________ (you fill in the blank) and then go back to following the weight loss surgery rules?  It was for me because it seemed that no matter what I did I was still losing weight…notice the words- it seemed….  What I was doing was following the rules about 90-95% of the time, in compliance with food, portion sizes, protein, water, fitness and vitamins and stepping over the line to have a bite of someone’s dessert or a spoonful of ice-cream or yes, even a glass of wine.  (the alcohol was with my doc’s permission).  I wanted success so badly, I wanted my health back, I wanted my life back so I was able to take that bite or taste and go back to following my rules.  I was riding the high of success.

Then life intervened with something out of my control and chose to stuff my feelings with food once again.  How long would I let this continue?  My thoughts are that each time I stepped out of my WLS patient box it would depend on my belief in myself and my ability to succeed as to how long I would stay out of the box….The longer I stayed out, the harder it got to step back in.

My self-esteem was and is still tied to success.

If life or my choices start to get in the way of my continued maintenance I have another measure of success – how long does it take me to realize that I am making choices that do not serve my health and then how long to change my pattern back to better choices? 

This is a way of looking at success from a slightly different perspective.  We are all human and will NOT be perfect 100% of the time, guilt at this lack of perfection does not serve success, it serves self-sabotage.  I choose success and the feelings of accomplishment, self-esteem and most of all health that go along with it.  For this reason, when I forget that I am a weight loss surgery patient first, I remember it quickly, regroup and continue my successful journey.

Remember, SUCCESS is a personal perception, it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  What is your purpose?  Only you can answer that question.

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Good Night's SleepI have a problem with sleep.  I don’t get enough.  I get to sleep with ease most nights, but wake up after a few hours and often can not get back to sleep.  I have tried all the known remedies from melatonin, calcium and magnesium to chamomile tea, sleep masks, warm baths and everything in between.  With a combination of all of these I manage to catch as much as 4 hours of sleep in one uninterrupted session.  Occasionally I can get back to sleep for another hour or so..Woo Hoo!  I love those days.

Before you all try to fix me there is no medication that does not leave me in a hangover state so I will not medicate myself to sleep.  I take the meds and wake up drugged after the same 4 hours.  This isn’t about fixing my sleep problems, but rather about looking at how relationships change after weight loss surgery.

What do relationships and sleep have in common?  Well, for me it became crystal clear this morning while I was driving home from the gym.  It comes back to the same few words I have heard over and over again on my almost 9 years on this weight loss surgery journey.  Those words are accountability, choices and mindfulness.  Let’s apply them to my sleep issues and how I allow them to effect my relationships.

OK, first comes the obvious one- I have had a sleepless night so I am a grumpy person, difficult to get along with and snap at anyone who gets in my way.  What does that get me?  Hmm, let’s see.  It makes me grumpier, more difficult to get along with and surges more adrenaline into my system as I get angry with the world which causes me to snap more at everyone in proximity to me.  By this time I am probably no longer snapping, but actually biting.  Who gets to be on the receiving end of all that nasty behavior and how can they duck?  Well, it is those that I love that usually bear the brunt.  I work SO VERY HARD at somehow making my lack of sleep not only their problem, but their fault as well.  Sound familiar?  It can go with many other issues as well.  I did it for years with food.  My obesity was always the result of someone else…because if I took responsibility for it then I would have to own it and that meant that I had the ultimate control over it…oops, can’t let that happen now can we? 

Now let’s look at the sleep and the food together for a moment.  I had weight loss surgery and decided to take control of my obesity, to be responsible and accountable for all of my choices around food, to change my relationship with food.  I am still, and will always be, a work in progress on this issue, but at almost 9 years post-op and 250 pounds down I have the upper hand.  What if I looked at my relationships with those who I love the same way?

Tempting Potato ChipsBut it’s food you say- if you don’t want potato chips in the house you just don’t buy them right?  And further, you ask the others in your house to please eat their potato chips somewhere else, right?  You make a conscious, mindful decision on how to act with your “potato chip” right?  Why can’t we do the same thing with relationships?  Am I oversimplifying?  You bet, but sometimes simple = workable.  I can get rid of the potato chips in my life – those people who clearly don’t do good things for me.  I can be mindful of those relationships and move as far away from them as I need to for my health and well being, just like potato chips. 

Now comes the really difficult part.  Just like we chose potato chips and ice cream over chicken and fish for years and years and possibly even had more potato chip like items in our cupboards until we “cleaned house” we can choose to rid our house of the potato chips and treat the fish and chicken with more care.  How, you ask?  Simple – be mindful of your choices.  I found myself yelling at my husband for no good reason last night because I was angry about possibly not sleeping because it was 11PM and suddenly I was wide awake and somehow it was his fault.  Wow, I was becoming the potato chip?  Why would he want a toxic person in his life?  Why would he not try to clean house of all of this toxicity?  He has, he’s been asking me not to raise my voice to him, and yet my frustration with insufficient sleep was somehow his fault.  Much like my obesity was “caused” by everyone else but me.  While there may be a tiny shred of truth in both statements the POWER in both situations was with ME.  I had the power and the ability to make the choices necessary to win the potato chip battle, just as I have the power and ability to accept that not sleeping has nothing to do with my husband, or daughter, or best friend, or mother and I can CHOOSE to be kind and nice with them, rather than short, snappy, angry, complaining or……….  (feel free to fill in the blank).

Sandi N Chuck 1968So thanks to all of my friends and family, but especially to my husband (we will be married 45 years next week) who have tolerated my potato chip behavior.  I am throwing it in the trash with all of the other things I have cleaned out of my cupboards during the last 9 years of my journey from 424 pounds.  I am choosing to not act like processed food and “poison” our relationships, but to act more like fish or chicken or …….  (again feel free to fill in the blank) and nourish our relationships.

I do this because just like I choose life by having weight loss surgery and being accountable and responsible for my behaviors around food, I choose YOU because you matter to me and are important to my life.

So yes, relationships change after weight loss surgery.  They change because of choices made along the journey.

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I Love Food!

by sandi on February 15, 2017

Eat Your Way To SuccessI love food, I love to eat, and I love to write.  My love of food has transitioned into a way of being since I had my Lap Band surgery in 2004.  That love has resulted in our newly published cookbook, Eat Your Way to Success And Learn How To Control Hunger – A Weight Loss Surgery Friendly Cookbook. 

Do you want your own copy?  Here’s the link to purchase :  EAT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS…….

  • Do you find yourself bored with eating the same thing over and over again? 
  • Would you like to learn how to eat delicious food and steer away from protein bars and shakes and continue to lose weight or maintain?
  • Would you like to be able to prepare one meal for your entire household, and not have all of your food be “different” from those who haven’t had surgery?
  • Would you just like some new, fresh, ideas to stimulate your own imagination to create more interesting and delicious foods in your kitchen?
  • Are you just learning how to cook and need some simple step by step recipes that meet your needs?

You will find all of this in our book, and as I skim the pages I am so excited to be able to share this with all of you.

Eat Your Way To SuccessHow did this happen?  At first, for about 2 years, I kept myself eating the same foods over and over and over for breakfast, lunch and often dinner.  The weight was falling off, I was feeling great and I was afraid to step outside the box that was working so well.  I was eating very simple foods like yogurt with berries, or eggs/egg beaters and cheese or cottage cheese, or tuna and crackers, and lots of chicken and turkey for dinners since ground meat or poultry didn’t work.

I ate this over and over and over until I realized that this was my life.  I still loved food but was a little bit afraid of it loving me back too much.  I soon concluded that I needed to expand my food sources, try new recipes, create weight loss surgery friendly recipes from old tried and true high calorie/high carb/high fat recipes, and then it all began.  My love of cooking returned with a vengeance.  I was experimenting, first with dinners and then with breakfasts and lunches, and soon I was creating new recipes, putting together ingredients that I never thought to put together before.  I had some tasty ideas and tried them on my husband first and then would share with my daughter and grandkids.  I was mashing cauliflower long before it became a favorite of all social media.  I was eating lots of shrimp because I liked the calorie to protein ratio and I love shrimp.  Crab legs were my go to restaurant food, followed by shrimp, and then chicken if I had to.

Eat Your Way To SuccessI self-discovered before I was 2 years post op that if a protein source had at least 1 gram of protein for every 10 calories I could put together a healthy meal easily.  Since most chicken, fish, turkey, beef and pork that I ate had nutritional stats better than 10:1, it allowed me to play with the other ingredients and make new and delicious meals.

My library of recipes was growing exponentially and I began sharing them on my website www.bandedliving.com while adding a new one weekly to my newsletter.  I am still doing this and probably have a year’s backlog of new recipes to share.

Then, in 2012 I went into partnership with another amazingly successful Lap Band Patient, Wendy Campbell, and together we created WLS Success Matters, LLC.  We began a business of providing education, coaching and support to the weight loss surgery community, regardless of the type of surgery the person had.  Wendy too had discovered, on her own, the “secret” of the 10:1 ratio and created and planned her food around that base.  She too loved food and ate only delicious food.

Together we coached, educated and supported hundreds of weight loss surgery patients.  I would say 90% of them asked us time and again what we ate.  We told them, we both shared pictures and recipes, and our protein to calorie ratio example.  We both were eating protein and low carb produce to lose and maintain our weight loss and to fuel our new lives.  Still people continued to ask, and so in 2016 we began the labor of writing our first book together.  It was truly a labor of love and the details flowed with ease.

Eat Your Way To SuccessWhat recipes to include?  How to arrange it?  What to share with the community?  It all fell into place and the result is our newly published cookbook, Eat Your Way to Success And Learn How To Control Hunger – A Weight Loss Surgery Friendly Cookbook.  It was an exciting process, as the months went by our book came together and finally, on February 9, 2017 it was born, and we began offering it to the community.

Get your own copy!  Again – here’s the link to purchase :  EAT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS…….

I hope you enjoy our cookbook as much as we enjoyed creating the recipes and writing the book for you.

 

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Folks often ask me what I eat and when I tell them they then ask for the recipe.  Today I will share a recipe with you step by step for an amazing breakfast.  Try it and let me know what you think and remember, soon you will be able to purchase a copy of WLS Success Matter’s cookbook – Eat Your Way To Success And Learn How To Control Hunger.  This is a compilation of some of Wendy Campbell’s and my favorite recipes.  Look for the announcement before Spring.

Protein Packed Flourless Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Syrup
Protein Packed Flourless Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Syrup
Protein Packed Flourless Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Syrup
Protein Packed Flourless Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Syrup
Protein Packed Flourless Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Syrup

This morning I decided to try another take on the flourless pancakes and share my step by step with you.  This recipe will easily feed 2, I chose to serve it with some Trader Joe’s Maple Brown Sugar chicken Sausage which are delicious and come in at 50 calories and 5 grams of protein each.  I had one, I gave my husband 2 of them.  He is not a weight loss surgery patient and he is totally satisfied with his food quantity, and he mentioned the delicate flavor of the pancakes so all is good with my world.

Start by assembling all of your ingredients for the pancakes:

  • ¾ of a cup of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 5 ounces of egg substitute (again I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla protein powder (I use Isoflex)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon Splenda
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Nonstick spray (I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)
  • 2 small frying pans or 1 large one (I use 2 nonstick small ones)

Now assemble the ingredients for the blueberry syrup by placing in a large microwaveable receptacle (I use a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup and cover it when I am zapping the contents):

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Splenda (or to taste)

Directions (pancakes):

  1. To a medium bowl add the egg substitute, the ricotta cheese, the vanilla protein powder, the vanilla extract, the Splenda, the lemon zest and the dash of cinnamon.  Mix well with a fork and then whip a little by hand with a whisk.
  2. Meanwhile, spray the bottoms of the frying pans with the nonstick spray and heat to medium
  3. When the pans are ready, add the baking powder to the pancake batter and whish again to thoroughly blend and put a little air in the mixture
  4. Using about ¼ of a soup ladle for each, pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. When the edge of the pancakes are dry and the centers are all bubbly flip over and cook for another minute on the other side.
  6. Remove pancakes to oven safe plate and keep warm in your oven at about 175 degrees (this does not dry out the pancakes as the rest of the batch cooks)
  7. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter, stirring the mix each time.

Directions (syrup):

  1. Mix all ingredients with a fork, cover and microwave on 50% power for about 2 minutes.  Remove and stir – repeat, reducing time in the microwave each repeat until syrup is just bubbly hot.  Mix again

Now assemble each plate with half the pancakes and pour the syrup or serve on the side.  Add breakfast meat as desired.

Nutrition:  Makes 2 servings, each with approximately

  • 135 calories and
  • 23.6 grams protein

Enjoy!  This fuels my body for 4 hours easily and is a series of taste explosions in my mouth.  No diet food for me!

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I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life
I Have Pizza Back In My Life

This has been a very positive couple of weeks.  First of all I had my annual endoscopy on Friday and my bariatric doctor gave me a green light – my stomach is free of erosion, my band is in a perfect place, and all is right with my weight loss surgery world.  THAT is always good news for a WLS patient 12+ years post op.

Then! I discovered that I can have pizza back in my life.  What could be better than that?  So how does this pizza thing work?  Do I need to prep food for hours to make the crust and then bake it and then add the toppings?  NOPE – I’ve done that and while it is delicious, I am far too lazy to do that too often.  I saw an ad on, yes you guessed it – Facebook, for a premade cauliflower crust for pizza so I had to check it out.  Oh my goodness.  The stats were great, the ingredients were simple and real and I just HAD TO TRY IT.  I waited anxiously for my box to arrive and when it did I opened it, read the labels again, and proceeded to pop my 4 crusts into the freezer.

I had 2 of the “regular Italian crusts” which were made of cauliflower, cheese, eggs, basil and garlic.  One third of the 9 inch pie provides 70 calories and 5 grams of protein and then you top it as you choose.  One 9 inch pie is perfect for a dinner for 2 at my house – I get 1/3, hubby gets the rest.  I also ordered two of the red pepper crusts which are cauliflower, cheese, eggs, roasted garlic and red pepper seasoning.  One third of one of these is 60 calories and 5 grams of protein.

My order arrived in a priority mail box, wrapped in a foil packet that had an ice pack in it, with the crusts double packaged in plastic so that they didn’t get wet.  The instructions on the website tell you that the pizza crusts will probably arrive thawed and they can be refrigerated for 5-7 days or put back in the freezer for up to 9 months.  I popped mine in the freezer and then planned my dinner.

My pizza was to include sliced cremini mushrooms, sliced black olives, pizza sauce (Trader Joe’s 40 calories/2 grams protein per ¼ cup), Lite shredded Mozzarella cheese (also Trader Joe’s), Quattro Formaggio blend (asiago, parmesan, fontina, and provolone cheese shreds (also Trader Joe’s) and either Chicken Sausage (Hot Italian) or Turkey Pepperoni.  We wound up with a third party at dinner so I made both varieties.  Loaded with sauce, cheese, mushrooms, olives and either sausage or pepperoni 1/3 of the pie was 186 calories with the sausage – and 18 grams of protein, and 178 calories with 17 grams of protein for the pepperoni.

They were both fantastic.  Here’s the prep work – place the crust on parchment on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.  Meantime slice up the goodies to put on it then measure out the cheese and sauce.  Top the pizza, pop it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and edges are golden brown.  Set the table while it cooks.  You will NOT need to call your family to the dinner table because the aromas escaping the oven will do it for you.

My 1/3 of the pie was filling, tasty and brought back memories of my teenage years in Brooklyn NY hanging out at the pizza place down the street.

If you miss pizza, you must try this.  It’s not New York pizza, but then nothing is that good except the original, but it is worth trying as you expand those meals that are both weight loss surgery friendly AND delicious.  Here’s a link to order direct from Cali’flour Foods:  Cauliflower Pizza Crusts.  Tell them Sandi sent you.  😉

So I am a Weight Loss Surgery patient, I eat burgers (black and blue burgers are my fave) and pizza, and maintain my 270 pound weight loss, my tool is in perfect working order and my new cookbook, co-authored with Wendy Campbell is at the publisher.  More to come soon on Eat Your Way To Success And Learn How To Control Hunger.  Meantime, have some great pizza!

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A Morning At The Gym In January Mornings at the gym in January are frustrating.  First of all, the parking lot is full of all of those New Year’s Resolutions people.  I look around and wonder who will still be here in March and April.  I know, after 12 years, that it will be less than half of the folks currently trying to meet their New Year’s resolutions of losing XXXX pounds, or getting healthy or, if you look carefully at the women, trying to hook up with someone new and hard bodied! 

Once I get past all of the above it’s really okay – sometimes.  Example, today in the pool someone was singing out loud as they swam laps.  That was way too annoying.  She might have been in a good mood today, good for her, but what if her voice and choice of songs didn’t resonate with me?  Kind of rude I thought. 

A Morning At The Gym In January Then there was the woman who has been getting swimming lessons 2x weekly since the beginning of January, and who tried to swim on her own after her instructor left.  Her coughing and sputtering at the 1/3 way across the pool let me know that she had ingested a bit of water.  Yet she kept right on going for about another 10 minutes, and she had already been in the pool for an hour with her instructor.  Good for her!!!  Trying to learn and grow – a woman after my own heart.  I watched this from the hot tub which is my reward after swimming for 45+ minutes.  She too joined me in the hot tub and I looked her in the eyes, smiled, and told her she was doing a good job.  You would have thought I told her she won a million dollars.  Her face lit up, her smile bright as the sun, and her eyes sparkling with accomplishment.  Then the negative self talk began for her.  She explained how she was so bad at the breathing, and how hard it was, and she’d never get it right, and on, and on with what she couldn’t yet do.

A Morning At The Gym In January Dang, a coaching client in the hot tub.  I asked her to tell me what she had been able to do since day 1 of getting in the water.  She told me how she hated the snorkel at first but now loved it, and how her brother in-law will not let her use it anymore because she has to learn how to breathe.  How she is no longer afraid of the water, how she enjoys it, and looks forward to her days at the pool.  Then she started telling me about her brother in-law.  He is 64 years old and still competes in Ironman!  Wow, I was impressed, and told her a little of my story, of going from 424 pounds to today, using swimming as my first form of exercise – since I couldn’t support my weight for any real physical activity, the water was great for not hurting my joints.  I told her how I began by swimming 1 lap, and how that hurt and was so hard, and then worked it up to an hour 6 days a week.

A Morning At The Gym In January She was encouraged, she smiled a lot, and asked me if I thought she’d ever be able to master the breathing.  I assured her that if I was able to, she could too.  She was about 30 pounds overweight and had joint issues so the water was a great place for her to get her exercise.  She also shared part of her why – her 8 month old grandchild would need to learn how to swim and she planned to be the one to teach him.

All of my frustrations turned into smiles as she thanked me for encouraging her.  Reminder to self:  It’s a great feeling to share positive messages with strangers.  Good things happen.

Make it a great day folks.  You’ll only have today one time.

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