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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Long Term Lap Band Success About 6 weeks ago my right shoulder began kind of hurting, a dull ache every once in a while, and occasionally I would feel a “catch”.  Oh well, just getting old I thought – keep right on pushing through is what I told myself.  I did, and low and behold, the dull ache turned into a chronic, nagging dull ache and from there grew to a full blown pain on moving my right arm in certain ways.  I could no longer ignore this.  I began paying attention by modifying my swimming to exclude freestyle since that hurt; modifying my weight lifting/strength training to exclude anything that hurt.  I thought this would give me time to heal and all would be good in a week or two.

Long Term Lap Band Success A week or two came and went, and the pain, and now some weakness persisted.  Okay, I give up!  Time to do something more about it.  I made an appointment with my orthopedist who took x-rays, couldn’t see anything so he sent me for an MRI.  Now THAT was an experience.  The technician turned me on my right side (the side that hurt) so they could get the images the doctor wanted and then told me to stay perfectly still for the duration.  I did, but since the shoulder that had issues was getting some of the pressure and weight from the rest of my body my right arm had a mind of its own and was doing some involuntary shaking.  I tried controlled breathing, etc. and I guess they got their images.  My arm hurt for 2 days afterward…. was this a test to determine what was wrong, or was it a way of creating a problem?

Long Term Lap Band Success Back to the orthopedist who told me my rotator cuff was not torn completely through, but frayed.  He suggested a round of PT, not doing anything that hurt (that was my only exercise restriction- if it hurts, stop), and a shot of cortisone into my left shoulder.  Okay then;  got the shot, set up the PT appointment and went on my way, which was a 2 hour drive to the airport.  The orthopedist apparently “forgot” to tell me that initially the cortisone shot could cause more pain, and then as it helped with the inflammation it would improve.  Well by the time we got to LAX I was squirming in my seat, and by the time we got back home, about 4 hours later after dinner I was crying REAL TEARS.  It hurt.  I have a high pain tolerance so this was nothing to mess around with.

I made it through the night and woke up Saturday morning with the pain barely noticeable- I guess the cortisone kicked in.  Saturday and Sunday were great.  I shopped for a cross body bag that was smaller and lighter than my current purse, and avoided using my right arm as much as possible.

Monday morning came and it was off to the gym.  I did my 45 minutes on the elliptical and modified that to use my arms low instead of high so I was not engaging my shoulders.  Then came my time with the trainer….I can row, I can do legs, I can do core and some other limited upper body stuff so we got it done.  Then I came home, realized my shoulder was doing okay and made the call to physical therapy.

Tuesday morning I swam, modifying my workout to no freestyle, and doing a modified backstroke that kept my shoulders in the water along with the breast stroke that was fine.  Oops, even that modified backstroke caused me some low level aching.  Spent 10 minutes in the hot tub and that didn’t help my shoulder, but always helps my general attitude.

Long Term Lap Band Success Spent 1 ½ hours with PT being massaged, ultra sounded and iced.  I learned that icing for 10 minutes after exercise is key.  I will try to keep that up once I return from the Your Weight Matters Convention on Monday.

I see my trainer and the physical therapist again tomorrow before I leave.  My attitude has gone from fear of not being able to work out hard again, to understanding that I could modify most of what I do and continuing doing while my shoulder healed.

Long Term Lap Band Success I may still contact an acupuncturist for that therapy next week since so many folks swear by it for pain relief and to assist with healing.

Right now I am getting by without pain meds, following both my doc’s and my therapists instructions and look forward to being 100% again soon.

The moral of the story is NEVER GIVE UP!  There is always a way to get it done.

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Taking Some Time Off For Me
Taking Some Time Off For Me
Taking Some Time Off For Me

Last week my husband and I escaped for a few days up the coast to Cambria and San Simeon.  We stayed in a really lovely little Inn right in downtown Cambria and did our first ever tour of Hearst Castle.  The Inn had no fitness facilities and they frown on visitors using the pool at Hearst Castle, no matter how inviting it looks so I was without my typical gym or swimming pool from Thursday through Monday morning.

I found out some interesting things about myself during this slight respite from “regular” or formal exercise.

The first I already knew, and lived on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with regularity.  That is, I do not get hungry for hours after waking up.  When I wake up weekdays between 4 and 5 am and head to the gym between 6 and 7 am I fuel myself with ½ of a shake on the way, and refuel myself for recovery purposes with the other half on the way home.  Not so if I am not working out first thing.  I can have several cups of herbal tea, my 1 allowable cup of coffee, and sip at water, or more herbal tea from 4 until 9 or 10, and be perfectly content.  Typically sometime between 9 and 10 I actually experience physical hunger and it’s time to get some protein in my body.  I can’t go wrong if I listen to my body and feed it when it’s physically hungry.

The second was that climbing stairs and walking a couple of miles at the castle was not enough exercise for me.  My body was craving more so we did some more walking/hiking from Ragged Point, down through where the elephant seals live, and then back to our lovely suite to get ready for dinner.  We then walked several blocks to dinner and back.  All of this with my 67 year young body, my knee which needs replacement, my current shoulder issue which is in the process of being diagnosed…..I’ll take it!  My hubby was along as well and his daily bicycle rides are keeping his 71 year old body in shape enough to join in all of these activities.  I think back to my parents, and then my grandparents at our ages and they were severely slowing down.  I am NOT ready for the rocking chair yet.  My Lap Band has provided me with a second chance at life after losing 270 pounds and I plan on LIVING IT!

As we packed to leave I was up and down the 150 year old steep staircase of the Inn at least 6 times with no effort.  A good way to start the day with some exercise I thought.  Take that staircase!  Although we stopped along the way I was certainly ready to stretch my muscles when I got home Friday evening, so I unpacked immediately (which required up and down on my staircase a few times) and got things in order at the house.  Saturday and Sunday was groceries, meal prep, and domestic goddess duties as per normal routine. 

Taking Some Time Off For Me
Taking Some Time Off For Me

Along came Monday morning and a text from my trainer that she was not feeling well.  Uh oh, I was tired, hadn’t slept well, my knee hurt, my shoulder hurt, my head hurt and I would sure like to go back to bed IF I could sleep.  I sucked it up, got dressed, headed for the gym and did 45 minutes and 3.46 miles straight on the elliptical.  I felt almost human by the time I was done and was able to make Monday a productive day, until I had the MRI of my shoulder which left me in a lot of pain since for the entire time I was lying on the side that hurt so they could get the images my doc had ordered.

Tuesday happened and I realized it had been 1 week since I was in the pool.  Off I went with my shoulder still aching and charged into the pool.  The doc had told me I could do anything as long as it didn’t hurt.  If it hurts, stop.  That meant no freestyle swimming because THAT HURT!  I could still breast stroke and back stroke with little to no pain which is exactly what I did for 45 minutes, then 10 minutes in the hot tub and then shower and headed home.  As I walked to my car I realized how much I enjoyed the swimming, how much I enjoyed the elliptical the day before even though I was tired and cranky and how fitness has become a regular part of my life.  I feel better, I am more productive, I have more energy, I know I am keeping my health optimum and I miss it when I don’t have it.

This food addict has become a fitness addict; however not to extremes that cause problems, just the right amount to fuel my metabolism, my mood and have me living my best life.  Who would have ever imagined that 12+ years ago?

 

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Food, Fitness, Water Here I am, 67 years young, working through my 13th year after Lap Band Surgery and my only real complaint is that I wish I had done it 20 years earlier.  Was it easy to lose 270 pounds? NO! Is it easy to maintain that weight loss? NO! The one certainty here is that it is worth the effort. I am worth the effort.

I’m getting ready to take a drive up the coast of California, do some hiking along the bluffs, take a tour of Hearst Castle, and visit a few wineries on the Highway 46 wine trail. All of this will be done in 2 ½ days. I could not have accomplished this 12+ years ago. At 424 pounds I could have driven up the coast, squeezed into my full size car (I now drive a Mini Cooper) and stood outside the car looking at the ocean below. My walking would have been very limited and I would have had to check every place we went beforehand to make sure they had chairs without arms so I had a place to sit down. The car would have been packed with chips and sodas and other snacks on the off chance that I would get hungry after lunch, before dinner, or while we were driving, and those snacks do not include any treats we might have picked up on the way. There would be NO Hearst Castle tour because I couldn’t manage the walking or the steps. There really would not be any major reason to take a car trip at all since it would give me little more than a slight change in scenery.

This week’s car trip will happen with a cooler in the car filled with water, perhaps a yogurt or two, and maybe a bottle of wine for after dinner. I’ll take jerky and protein bars as emergency food and will probably return home with them untouched. I am looking forward to Hearst Castle as I have never been and I am also looking forward to some nice weather with mild winds for hiking the bluffs. I fit easily into any size chair now and should I think I am getting hungry between lunch and dinner I’ll down some water first before I hit the “911” protein first food.

I did make reservations for two restaurants, one a steak house in Nipomo CA (Jocko’s) and the other a dinner house in Cambria (Indigo Moon) not because they had chairs without arms, but because they are where we chose to have dinner on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and with reservations we should not have to wait too long.

My travels are not about food now, they are about being active, seeing sights and doing things I have not seen or done before. The couch is not my friend any longer, it’s the gym that’s my friend. Diet soda doesn’t serve me, neither does fast food. These days it’s water, lots of it and good quality healthy protein first meals with veggies.

Here’s an example of my typical day:

Up at 5 am, 2 cups of herbal tea, 1 cup of coffee and off to the gym for 45 minutes on the elliptical and 60 minutes of strength training. Today it was planks for 45 seconds and one arm rows with 25 pound weights that were the most challenging part of my training. I complete at least a 5k on the elliptical in my 45 minutes, today it was 3.5 miles. I have met my fitness goal for 2016 which was to complete a 5k in my 45 minutes consistently. Yay me. The second part of my goal is to be able to do TREE position in yoga on each leg for 60 seconds. I’m still working on that one.

Food, Fitness, Water

After my workouts which occur Monday through Friday without fail it is on to the rest of my day which includes tracking food which typically has been planned and tracking water to make sure I get enough. Starting my day with fitness gives my 67 year young body a chance to wake up, warm up and get my metabolism rolling for the day. Whether it is elliptical and weight training for 105 minutes or swimming laps for 45 minutes I leave the gym feeling not only awake but alive and happy with who I am and where I am in life. Is it worth the struggle? YOU BET.

I’m 270 pounds lighter, 5000% happier, more self confident and enjoying the 60’s of my life more than I enjoyed the 1960’s. All as a result of a decision to change my life for the better and the commitment and perseverance to make it happen each and every day.

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Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar
Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar

I decided to ask folks on Facebook what the most challenging part of their journey has been.  The #1 answer was sugar or carb addiction. 

So is sugar addiction real?  It is for me.  This is how it works in my body.  I eat a cookie or a cupcake or some ice cream, and within less than 30 minutes I am wanting more.  If I stop and ask myself, the way I have taught myself and others – Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Thirsty or Stressed (HALTTS), the answer is HUNGRY!  Every single time the answer is hungry.  It is a true physical hunger that goes along with the psychological or emotional hunger.  Can I walk away from this hunger and control it by doing something else until it’s mealtime again?  Sometimes I can, and other times I cannot.  This holds true for most breads, crackers, popcorn, cereals, and the like, as well.

Do you ever find yourself on the sugar merry go round?  Obviously, I do, yet at 12 years post-op I do indulge in a glass of wine, a mixed drink, a cookie, some ice-cream, popcorn and the like.  How do I keep from derailing my healthy eating and still allow the occasional processed sugar/carb into my life?  Good question.

On reflection of how I have dealt with it over the past 12 years this is what I find:

  • Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar
    Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar
    Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar
    Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar

    First – NONE of the items were allowed to be anywhere in my house.  This meant keeping them out of my grocery cart and keeping an eye on what my husband put in my grocery cart as well.  During this first year or so, I did use tons of artificial sweeteners and processed “bariatric foods”.  This soon grew very old as I wanted good tasting food.

  • Next – I found myself gravitating towards fewer packaged products and moving towards fish, poultry, eggs, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits etc…….real foods.  I still found myself using sugar free desserts and yogurts and these worked okay for a while with the occasional protein bar thrown in for good measure.  I began to get creative and cook dinners that were typically better than what I chose in restaurants.  My journey was progressing and sugar free options were not as frequent.  I would work on having protein if I chose fruit to balance the natural sugar with something that would sustain me longer.  – FACT – the body reacts to sugar whether it’s in a donut or a piece of fruit the same way….and 20-30 minutes after eating the donut, and often the fruit – the hunger – the real physical hunger created by the chemical processes in our body returns.  Adding the protein – maybe a cheese stick, or even a piece of chicken or turkey to the fruit, along with the natural fiber in the fruit helps me stay satisfied longer.
  • Fast forward to today.  Frequently the only sugar substitute I have is that in my protein powder that powers my morning shake.  I eat mostly protein and produce.  I occasionally have sweets and have to be very careful for days afterwards and still can’t have much in my house because they call to me out of the cupboards.  I have actually binged on tortilla chips or cookies – what is a “binge” to me today does not resemble at all what a binge was prior to surgery.  I am typically feeding an emotion not any physical hunger and once I recognize that I can toss out the “crap”, allow myself to feel the emotion, get through it rather than be controlled by it and go on with my life. 
  • Cookies or chips don’t make me any less angry or sad or stressed, they only add to it and start a cycle I can’t get off easily.  It typically takes me about 3 days to get rid of a carb cycle.  I don’t do detoxes, I don’t do 5 day pouch tests, I don’t follow any 21 day programs for…… I simply eat REAL FOOD, no artificial sweeteners, no grains, no nuts, no legumes, nothing that comes in box for a few days, and I eat often – every 2 to 4 hours.  I make sure I am getting all of my water in since thirst often masquerades as hunger.  I leave out some of my favorite veggies that are high in carbs like peas, sweet potatoes and I don’t eat any fruit.  I do a high protein, low carbohydrate food plan for those few days and my body kicks itself in the butt, gets off the sugar/hunger/more sugar/more hunger merry go round and balances itself out again.

Dealing With The Challenges Of Sugar

If you need help doing this to get yourself back to where you’d like to be feel free to email me or message me on Facebook.  I’ll be happy to help coach you through your challenge.  Food does not have power.  We have the POWER.

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Planning to be a SuccessAs you read this for the first time I will be 12 years and 2 months post-op from my Lap Band surgery.  Oh, and did I mention 270 pounds lighter?  I thought about the progression of everything it took to get me to where I am today, a fit, healthy, 67 year young woman enjoying life.  It all started with that trip to the seminar about weight loss surgery, then the appointment with the bariatric surgeon, then all the tests and then surgery day.  I thought that was hard work, little did I know what I was in store for.

  • Planning to be a SuccessHome from the hospital after surgery and planning my ounce of liquid and my walk around the house (inside) and then
  • Progressing from my liquids to soft foods and trying to be creative and wishing my progression to solid foods would hurry up
  • Taking that first bite of solids (well- semi solid it was a scrambled egg) and chewing it until it was liquid in my mouth
  • Now the REALLY hard work began- Planning 3 meals a day, 7 days a week that were protein first, tiny portions, and met all my needs nutritionally.  Wait – an egg bake(frittata) in the morning, a 3 oz can of tuna, 5 soda crackers, and 1 tablespoon of mayo worked for lunch, so whew I had 14 of my 21 meals done.  Now it was protein for dinner – chicken, chicken, fish, chicken, ooh crab works too, and a dab of very soft veggies.  This worked for months, and months, and months.  Tried ground chicken, nope; ground turkey, nope; ground beef; nope.  No ground meat was going down.
  • Planning to be a SuccessAt this point I was about 18 months into my journey and over 150 pounds lighter and really wanted to begin making some tasty dinners and so the experiments began, the food was good, some bordering on great and the weight was still coming off.  Breakfasts and lunches and protein snacks were still all planned with dinners having a little variety.  I was still Uber-careful and counting every morsel that went into my mouth.  Oh wait, I still do!
  • Planning to be a SuccessFast forward to 2009 when I started my web site and blog site and released my book.  I was 5 years post op 232 pounds lighter, having the time of my life and having fun taking traditional recipes and remaking them to fit my weight loss surgery lifestyle.  I was swimming 6-7 days a week and developing muscles for the first time in years.  Life was great, right?  Guess what?  I was still tracking all my food, planning all my meals and success was right there at my fingertips.  I began sharing some of my favorite recipes.
  • Now fast forward through that continued meal planning that continued regular exercise and the tracking of my food and come to 2012.  Wendy Campbell and I joined forces, took a lot of classes, were super educated by all of the folks at BSCI becoming bariatric coaches, licensed educators and certified support group leaders, as well as remaining successful weight loss surgery patients.  Kicking it up a notch on January 1, 2013 I was now sharing the wealth of knowledge at my fingertips with some amazing folks from all over the world via The Original WLS Success Matters Weekly Weigh-In Group™ – a secret Facebook group where folks weighed themselves once a week, shared it on line (for only the group to see), learned and practiced the Success Habits, shared with each other, knew they were not alone and could ask any question in this safe space and actually receive an answer.  Folks were able to track their progress visually with our personalized charts and reset weekly after reviewing what they did well and celebrating that, and what they could do better and creating an action plan to make that so.  All who were successful with us planned their meals, planned their exercise, planned their personal time – they PLANNED their success and then acted on those plans.  In 2014 I had my Lap Band replaced with another Lap Band and through more planning brought my total weight loss to 272 pounds.
  • Planning to be a SuccessHere we are in 2016 still advocating meal planning, exercise planning, having a daily action plan for life with a plan B just in case and facilitating weight loss surgery patients just like you and I through their challenges, as they discover that THEY are the most powerful force on their personal journeys to health.

We do all of this for you, for less than $1.25 per day! – Starbucks would turn you away if you walked in and tried to get your cup of whatever for that $1.25.  Why not plan to drink some water instead and join us for our group that begins Tuesday, August 2nd and continues through Halloween.

Here’s the link for more information on our group The Original WLS Success Matters Weekly Weigh-In Group™

If you choose to do it on your own I wish you success and be sure to take the time to PLAN IT! 

You deserve to be healthy.

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Come with us to the beachI wondered what I was going to share with you, all of this week.  Food, portions, supplements, exercise, water, personal accountability.  It all matters, that’s for sure.  My opinion is that it all begins with personal accountability which has so many pieces to it.  It is being accountable that has us being mindful of our food choices, our portion sizes, our water, exercise and supplements; however – personal accountability has a deeper meaning and impact in my life.  Personal accountability means that I have to know, acknowledge, and share the fact that I must take care of ME FIRST.  I have to value myself and my health; love myself enough to make changes in my day to day life that may impact others as they benefit me.

Others may not like that I go to the gym every morning and am not available to take them here or there, watch their children, or be on that conference call.  My gym time is sacred to me.  It is when I not only wake up my metabolism, but I set the tone for my day.  Let’s take today for example.  Come with us to the beachI had a terrible night; sleep was not in the cards.  I managed a total of about 1 ½ hours from 3 am to 4:30 am.  How do I feel you ask?  Well at 4:30 I just wanted to cry, to go back to sleep and not have to face the day sleep deprived and achy and crabby.  Instead I went through my normal morning routine and took my tired body to the gym and did the best I could there.  I got in 35 minutes on the elliptical- and, much to my surprise it was NOT my slowest time ever.  I also did strength training for 60 minutes.  It was hard, but it cleared some of the cobwebs out of my head, woke me up a bit, and has allowed me to be semi-coherent all day, instead of being a basket case.

Come with us to the beachAm I at my prime today?  Probably not.  I AM however being the best that I can be today and I can ask no more than that of myself.  You see I have learned to love and respect myself and with that has come my knowledge that if I start the day in the gym I can get more accomplished than if I start the day doing for others.

I LOVE doing for others, I am a nurturing soul and giving back to my friends and family and this community has been a life force for me since my surgery in 2004.  If I can do even 1 human kindness each day I am happy.  I must however make that 2 human kindnesses each day because the first one must be to myself.  I start in the gym and continue it with proper food and hydration throughout the day.  Some days I am called upon by family, some days by friends, some days by the community, and some days just by myself.

Come with us to the beachWhatever the call is, however long the day might be, however stressful the requests, I can approach them with the clarity of a person who knows her strengths and weaknesses, who knows where she is in time at this moment, and who knows where she wants to be and who she wants to be as the years continue to progress.

This process is a constant evolution, and this journey of transformation the past 12+ years has certainly been a roller coaster.  Some days I just know who I don’t want to be, as I continue to discover the new, improved version of who I do want to be.

Confusing?  You betcha, but nobody ever said life was easy, or that the path was always clear.

I invite all of you to join WLS Success Matters, October 14th-16th, in Manhattan Beach CA and spend some time working just on YOU.  Self discovery is a powerful ally in life.  Here’s the link, Fall Into YOU Weekend, and be sure to use FALL16 in the promo code to save $50.

Come with us to the beach

Show yourself some LOVE.  Wake up and WIN with us as you create the roadmap for the next stops on your journey to health.  

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Since I love eating and I love cooking and creating bariatric friendly dishes it is no surprise that my business discussion with the other half of WLS SUCCESS MATTERS centered on food, hunger, satiety, understanding that food equals fuel, and that even the “worst” of cooks can create a delicious meal in minutes.

Food, Glorious Food When I began my journey I ate the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch – an egg frittata for breakfast and tuna for lunch.  Pretty boring, right?  Yes it was, but as I started on my journey from 424 lbs to 154 lbs I needed to take the emphasis off of food.  This worked.  I knew the calories and protein content of what I was eating.  It kept me satisfied (not full, just not physically hungry) for 3- 4 hours and the weight was falling off.  Dinners varied.  There were about 10 go tos that I used for the first year and then I added many more and keep adding as my creative mood strikes.

What’s my point here?  Is it eat boring food?  No, it’s eat real food and it’s fine to repeat it so that you don’t have to think about it.  I didn’t eat breakfast at home.  I ate it at work between 9 and 10am, when I was hungry. Food, Glorious Food  It’s okay to have a schedule of meals that work for you, especially with our busy lives and families.  Who remembers Meat Loaf Mondays or Taco Tuesdays or Pasta Sundays growing up?  What’s wrong with doing that again, right now, to feed yourself delicious food and keep your family happy as well?  On Sunday, make one or two (or 5) meat loaves and freeze the extras for future weeks, serve on Monday with the veggie of your choice, and your family’s…. your main course can be the same – The sides will change.  Take those Taco innards and put them over some salad greens for you, and have tortillas for the rest of the bunch.  Pasta?  Take that sauce, or those meatballs, and eat them in a bowl, or how about over some cauliflower rice, or spaghetti squash, or Zoodles while the rest of the crew has pasta – if they must.  All it takes is stopping a moment, changing those I cant’s into well maybe’s, and trying it.  You may find that you can make a huge batch of pasta sauce, or taco meat and freeze it right alongside your meat loaves. 

Food, Glorious Food Wow, cook once for many many meals.  Sounds like a plan to me.  I have been doing it for a long time now – 12 years to be exact.  I feed my family, I feed myself, I fuel my body with healthy real food, and I have achieved and maintained a 270 pound weight loss.

It works.  You may want to try it.  The other alternative is the one pan, throw together meal – there are so many of them that can be on the table in 20 minutes from start to finish and still hit all of your needs and all of your tastes and please your family at the same time.

Food, Glorious Food Just be sure you put the right size portion on your plate – the right size plate as well.  Using a small plate allows you visually to see lots of food.  If you put a bariatric portion on a big plate you might feel deprived, or want to go back for seconds.

As you develop your new eating and cooking skills, share with others.  Are you having trouble getting in the groove of making healthy food?  The solution is to give one month of WLS SUCCESS MATTERS MEAL PLANNING a try. 

You’ll find breakfasts, lunches and suppers for the month that are bariatric and family friendly with easy to follow directions, pictures, recipes, a shopping list and your nutrition statistics all worked out for you.

Whatever you choose to do, plan to be a success.

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Marigold Bars Giveaway – Win A Chance To Try 12 of My New Favorite Protein Bars

July 6, 2016

You all hear me say time and time again that I eat ONLY delicious tasting food.  This goes for all my meals, snacks and even the “emergency” foods I keep on hand or that I travel with.  You know I was intrigued when I saw protein bars with names like Chunky Choco Walnut, Macarooned, Cinnabahn […]

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Calories – To Count Or Not To Count – Long Term Lap Band Success

June 29, 2016

Which of these have you heard? — Eat between 800-1200 calories per day.  Get 60-80 grams of protein per day.  Use a small plate.  Eat protein first, then veggies, then if you have room eat your carbs.  Fifty percent of your calories should be protein.  Seventy percent of your calories should be protein.  You need […]

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Taking Care of Me First – Long Term Success After Lap Band Surgery

June 22, 2016

I had a revelation yesterday while I was at the orthopedic doctor’s office.  I meal plan, I weigh and measure most of my food, I get in at least 200 minutes of fit living each week, I see my bariatric surgeon on a regular basis, I take my vitamins and supplements, I drink my water.  […]

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Claiming Bragging Rights and Celebrating For Long Term Success After Weight Loss Surgery

June 15, 2016

There seems to be two schools of thought within the Facebook Weight Loss Surgery Community.  The first think that celebrating success, sharing meals, sharing fitness, and “selfies” is a statement of lack of self-esteem. The second believes that sharing all of this on Facebook is just that- a celebration of how far we have come, […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Five Pounds May Not Sound like Much, But…!

June 8, 2016

So there I was in the pool, swimming my laps, on another June Gloom day at the beach in Southern California.  I had not seen the sun for several days and it was really starting to affect my mood.  I got in my 45 minutes and headed for the hot tub to soothe my achy […]

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Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best Life

May 25, 2016

On May 28th 2004 I never expected that when I woke up on the other side of my bariatric surgery that THIS is the life I could have. My reasons for having surgery were to stay alive, get off some of my medications and be able to just “live”. I was slowly dying, getting heavier […]

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On The Road With My Lap Band And How I Get It Done – Long Term Success After Lap Band Surgery

May 18, 2016

I was at the WLSFA annual Meet & Greet in Nashville this past weekend, and then meeting with friends we haven’t seen in 16 years.  It was a fabulous weekend all around and I hope you all join me in Portland Oregon next May for the 2017 WLSFA Meet & Greet. That all being said, […]

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Regain After Weight Loss Surgery – It Doesn’t Have To Be Forever

May 11, 2016

I am getting ready to head to Nashville for the WLSFA (Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America) annual fundraiser which we know as the Meet & Greet.  I have been selected to facilitate a panel of weight loss surgery folks who have successfully dealt with regain.  This is both an honor and a challenge to […]

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Still Learning To Keep That Post-Op Lap Band Weight In Check

May 4, 2016

Here I am, approaching my 12th “surgiversary” and I continue to learn new things about myself, and what I need to do to keep the consistency in my journey and my weight stable.  Some days it’s a breeze and others not so much. I don’t know about you, but when I am busy – eating […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Some of Why I Exercise Besides Losing Weight

April 27, 2016

For the last few days I have been wondering what I was going to blog about.  This morning, it hit me when I was searching the internet for some information around exercise to share with our Weekly Weigh-In Groups.  Lifehacker has a great article, with links to other articles talking about the Top Ten Reasons […]

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