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Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays! Lots to be happy for!

This year has been quite a change for me and I thought I would share it with everyone. I have made some major discoveries about myself, my needs, my wants and my desires.  I have had two major surgeries and my family is closer than ever.

It started 14 months ago with the loss of my job, I loved my job!  My weight was interfering with my ability to perform my job correctly and do it well.  When you travel up to 70% and your behind can't fit into the airline seats, it is going to have an impact.  I remember boarding flights, with a bead of sweat rolling down my forehead, and the shear look of terror on fellow passengers faces that would form.  You know that look!  It's the, "Oh god, please tell me your in another isle!" look!  The worst is when you are seated with two large men and they where hoping for some small petite tiny woman to sit with.......NOT!

The catalyst for me was when I had an allergic reaction to a medication the doctor put me on for high cholesterol that caused fluid retention and edema.  The fluid appeared to not only give me the worst case of cankles I had ever had, but it also caused fluid to retain on my lungs and I couldn't walk for any amount of distance without feeling like I was in cardiac arrest. Work had sent me to one of the most beautiful  places I had ever visited in Vancouver, BC and my supervisor and I went whale watching.  It was breathtaking in more ways than one!  I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything.

I was laid off shortly after the trip, so I quickly sprang into action.  I had been considering a gastric bypass for 10 years and had previously seen my doctors office give a informational speech 10 years ago.  I quickly reserved myself a seat for the next round of detailed informational segments on the how the procedure(s) is performed and how to get the ball rolling.

Within weeks we had gotten permission from the insurance company to proceed and authorization was obtained for an Roux-en-Y Procedure (  The stomach is reduced to handling the capacity of a golf ball and approximately 18 inches of small intestine is removed to interfere with absorption of food and calories during regular calorie consumption.   I was very excited and thought that this was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

I was a smoker since I was 15.  Not just a smoker, a Marlboro smoker, Reds to be exact.  I was getting chest colds every winter that made me sound like I was dying.  I kept talking about wanting to quit, but never did it.  But, the day the doctor said, "Oh, you have to quit or I won't perform the surgery!"  A little piece in me died.  I thought, "How am I ever gonna do this?"  I cut down each week, but confessions are good for the soul.... right???? I smoked up to the day of the surgery.  And I have never smoked again!  Smoking and RNY is serious business.  Everything I read says that it leads to ulcers and we have enough tummy issues without this too.  I am almost 10 months without a cigarette and I still crave them sometimes, but I like not smelling!  My husband still smokes and he stinks!  Flat out smells!  And I can't stand the smell!  How do you go 15+ years of smoking and not realize how bad you smell, I don't know, but I did. 

My tummy is super sensitive to this day.  In the months following the surgery, they recommend you get 100 grams of protein in your diet a day.  I am 10 months out and I get 60 grams a day now.  I have also become a vegetarian.  I drink my protein and eat my meals in the form of mostly organic vegetables. I have a terrible time digesting meat and have chosen to leave it out of my meals for that reason.

After losing 100 pounds, I had a bout with my gallbladder and had to have it removed.  It is my understanding that with large weight loss, it is fairly common to have to have your gallbladder removed.  That was a mild setback.  I took me about 1.5 months to get back on my feet.

One thing I didn't count on was to have so much time out, now one year later, I am beginning my job search vigorously.  One thing that this new lifestyle has given me is a new perspective on life, I look at the positives now and not the negatives.

I have been on an adventure for the last year.  An adventure of self discovery, when you have the surgery and start to lose the weight, you go through stages, well I did.  The biggest hurdle for me was realizing that my perceptions of myself where not always real.  When I was obese I never saw how big I really was when I looked in the mirror and now that I have lost the weight, I don't see my real size in the mirror still.  I struggle with my perception of myself and work on this everyday. It is an internal struggle that I have heard other weight loss gastric bypass patients speak of, as well.

The most profound realization for me was the day it dawned on my that I had a food addiction.  The day I realized that they had taken my ability to stuff my feelings away and I no longer could eat my way through my emotions.  What an awakening!  The compounding of such rapid weight loss, the inability to use my old coping mechanisms and the rapid changes in my life, left me with no choice but to seek professional help. It was the best choice, I had ever made.  I have made positive steps in the right direction to have a more positive mindset and have a more spiritual mind frame.

But, through it all, I have to say that my family has been wonderful.  I must of drove them nuts.  In the beginning with the pre-op diet, when everything in the house had to be removed or I would of eaten it!  During the surgery, when I later found out that they we're sneaking out to McDonald's and not telling me and now when they just eat their snacks in front of me with glee.....LOL  I do love them and appreciate all the support they gave me!  My hubby brags that I am "half of the woman he married"!  And he means that literally! I love them with all my healthy heart!

Here is to a new me, a new healthy start and to a new lease on life in more than one sense of the word!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Leek and Asparagus Souffles

This recipe is WLS friendly, vegetarian and low-fat. This is perfect for breakfast or for brunch and absolutely yummy!  One of the hardest things for me as a WLS post-op is finding things to eat for breakfast and this just hits the spot. These come out of the oven, silky and velvety and go down quite easy on that first morning pouch.

You will need:

3 Leeks
10 spears of Asparagus
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Rosemary
2 Eggs, seperated
1 tbsp. Plain Yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. Goat Cheese

1) Clean asparagus and finely chop.  Chop white section of leeks and wash carefully to remove any dirt that is in the vegetable.  Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add leeks and asparagus, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.

2) Add the vegetable stock and herbs to the skillet and lower the heat.  Season and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3) Remove from heat and puree in a mixing bowl.  I prefer to use my Cuisinart Smart Stick for quick and easy assembly.  Add yogurt and goat cheese and give it a quick blend again.

4) Blend the egg yolks to the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

5) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form.

6) Fold the egg whites into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into lightly greased ramekins (I used one cup ramekins) on a warmed baking sheet. Cook in a preheated oven at 350 for 40 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.  This recipe will make 3 servings. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Indulgent Hot Cocoa with Protein

For those of you who are on a weight loss journey, this drink can be used as a meal replacement alternative.

You will need:

1 scoop of BiPro Unflavored Protein
2 tbsp of  Whey Low Granular
1/2 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tbsp. of instant coffee (optional; however it will bring out the flavor in the cocoa)
2 tbsp. of dry non-fat milk
Hot water
Whipped Cream (if desired)

1) Place all ingredients in a fairly large coffee mug and add 1/4 cup of cool water and whip with whisk or fork to temper the protein before you add the hot water or it will burn.

2) Slowly add hot water and mix with whisk to temper ingredients and incorporate protein, dry milk and cocoa.

3) Top with whip cream and serve.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chickpea Soup with Beet Greens

Chickpeas deliver 8.86 grams of protein for every 3.5 ounces of legumes.  Recent studies also show the chickpea to lower cholesterol in the blood stream.  Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc and folate. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with  insulin sensitivity or diabetes.

You will need:
  • 1 - 14 oz. bag of Chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 - small Yellow Onion
  • 3 - Leeks (only use the white sections of the leeks)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 bunch of beet greens (beets are typically sold in sets of 3 or 4, use the greens from the bunch for soup - this is a great use for these greens and the beets can be roasted with an entree)
  • 2 fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • 1 - 26 ounce carton of Pomi chopped tomatoes (feel free to substitute another product if you choose)
  • 1 - 4 cup container of vegetable stock ( I recommend Kitchen Basics)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Drain the chickpeas and put in a large pot. Cover with vegetable stock and bring to a boil, remove any foam that forms with a slotted spoon.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the chickpeas become tender.  Add more stock if necessary.

2) Drain the chickpeas; however, save the cooking liquid. If you used an unsalted stock, be sure to season your chickpeas with salt and pepper well.  Put 2/3 of your chickpeas in a blender with some of the cooking liquid and puree.  Return to the cooking pot.

3) Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan.  Add onion, leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat stirring often until leeks and onions become translucent. This should take approximately 4-5 minutes.  While this is cooking, prepare beet greens by cutting the purple core out of them and slicing into bite size strips.  Add the beet greens and whole rosemary sprigs to saute pan and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down to an almost smooth sauce.  Remove the rosemary sprigs.

4) Add the beet greens and tomato mixture to the chickpea puree and simmer.  Add additional vegetable stock to reach the appropriate consistency.  Be sure to taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

5) Serve in warmed bowls. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mushroom Quinoa

Mushroom Quinoa - The Healthier Risotto!

1 - 8 oz. container portobello mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 cup of quinoa
3 - 4 cups of vegetable stock
1 leek
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese - freshly grated
salt and pepper to taste

1) Place the olive oil, leeks and mushrooms in medium pan and saute for 5 minutes until the leeks become translucent.  The mushrooms will absorb the oil, but do not add additional oil, it will eventually release once the mushrooms begin to cook.

2) While leeks and mushrooms are cooking, drain and rinse quinoa thoroughly.

3) Add 2 cups of vegetable stock to mushrooms and leeks and continue to cook mushrooms down to make a mushroom stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, leaving lid off to allow stock to reduce. This will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

4) Once mushroom stock is complete, add quinoa and one more cup of vegetable stock.  Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Quinoa will first open it's "tail" and then when cooked completely the center will become translucent.  This process will take at least 20 minutes.  You may need to add more stock to get to the right consistency.  This is very similar to making risotto.  Quinoa is a complete protein and much healthier for us.

5) Once cooked completely, add parmesan cheese and sprinkle additional cheese over top for desired effect.

6) Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scrumptious Pumpkin Pudding

1/2 cup of Xylitol or Whey Low, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 3/4 cup of low-fat milk
1 large egg
1 15 oz. can of unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
Pinch of salt
1 cup of whipping cream

Mix 6 tablespoons Xylitol and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a pan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stir well with a whisk. Gradually add milk and egg mixture to the sugar in pan, stirring constantly, and bring to a slight boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Combine pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the milk mixture to temper it first, whisk constantly. Place pan over low heat and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, do not boil. Pour evenly into 4 dessert bowls and cover each pudding with plastic wrap as to not have a film form on the surface. Chill.

In a non-stick pan, spray with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of Xylitol, dash of salt and walnuts. Cook until sugar dissolves and coats walnuts. Place candied walnuts on a piece of parchment paper or a baking sheet to cool and harden.

Place heavy whipping cream in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed or whisk until stiff peaks form. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of "candied" walnuts.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hate Ruffles.....

When I was obese, I never understood why the designers wanted to wrap my round body in animal print. Why not just wrap yourself in yellow hazard tape and scream, while running down the street naked? Same effect! I personally thought that leopard print looked much better on the asses of the animals they belonged on than on mine. Nothing personal to the women who enjoy wearing it, but, I was not comfortable in my own skin, let alone another animals.

Now that I have lost 115 pounds, you would think I would enjoy buying everything that my skinny body can fit into. At first, while shrinking, I loved it, every new size drop brought an feeling of triumph. Each new outfit brought me great joy and overwhelming satisfaction that I was achieving my goals. Me vs. the monster of weight I had battled for so long, I was finally winning and shedding every pound with each new size.

Now as I near the end of my wager on the monster, I find the designers have lost their freaking mind and I am finally slim when the clothes out this season are absolutely hideous!!! What forty year old mother of three grown children wants ruffles on everything? Really? The consumers are wondering if you have lost your minds. I am finally at a size 8, the perfect shopping size and you (the designers) have decided to put metal embellishments on my shoulders. Are you crazy? I can even handle the military style jackets and blue seems to be the new "it" color. I can really show my curves and honey I have them and what happens to the fashion industry, they go for the over-sized and flouncy look.

Now, if any designers are reading this.....please take note, this is one formally fluffy woman who would like you to get your act together quickly. I hate ruffles, bows and metallic shoulder embellishments and damn it, I deserve a decent wardrobe.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shrimp LoMein with Wheat Udon Noodles

Please note that this recipe is not for bariatric patients in their early stages or who are under strict carbohydrate control.

One bag of de-veined and de-tailed shrimp
one bag of bean sprouts
one red pepper
one container of fresh mushrooms
one tablespoon of ginger
two tablespoons of chinese chili paste
two teaspoons of chinese five spice
one teaspoon of red chili (I use the tube kind and you may omit this if you don't want it really spicy)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
two tablespoons of cornstarch
One package of wheat udon noodles (most health food stores carry them - Whole Foods has them in the Ethnic section)
Peanut or sesame oil
Frying pan or Wok

Start by thawing and rinsing the shrimp, putting in a bowl and marinating with ginger (crushed), chili paste, five spice, red chili, soy sauce and cornstarch. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes.

Put on a pot of boiling water for the noodles. You will need to precook the udon noodles according the directions, just slightly under the recommended time. Strain them and put them aside, but sprinkle them with sesame oil if not putting in the lo-mein immediately to keep them from sticking together.

Cut all veggies and prep the wok with oil. Cook the mushrooms and peppers first and set to the side.

Re-oil the wok and cook the marinated shrimp next. Include all marinade, it will make the sauce for this dish. If it becomes too thick, add more soy sauce. Do not over cook the shrimp or it will become chewy.

After shrimp begins to turn pink, put cooked vegetables into shrimp. Once mixed, add bean sprouts.

Lastly, add Udon noodles to mixture. Once everything is warmed together, this dish is ready to serve. This should serve at least 4 people.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


For those of you who read my last post, you know that I was starting to log the negative thoughts in my head and attempt to put them on paper. I challenged you all to join me. How did you do? What did you discover about yourself?

I figured out that I suffer from road rage in a major I scream at random strangers instead at the people in my life that really anger me. It is much easier for me tell a perfect stranger that crawls up my bumper to go "F themselves" than it is to tell a love one that they have made me angry. Wow! Note to self....need to work on that.

I discovered, as I was standing in front of a full length mirror singing the theme song to Jello, "see it jiggle, see it wiggle" while playing with my extra skin, that I am having difficulty with accepting my extra skin from the weight loss.

But, what I found out the most is that I love myself so much more than I used to. When I was a teenager, that voice in my head used to scream at me saying the most degrading and hateful things. It no longer does that. I now feel worthy of good things. I now feel worthy of happiness. I now feel worthy of love and respect. The negativity has subsided, the battle no longer rages in my head. This was an amazing realization for me.

I will be the first to admit that I didn't get serious about getting "healthy" until my thirties. After years of abuse and self neglect, I believe I finally got sick and tired of being treated like garbage. There came a point in my life where the woman inside me decided that I deserved better. That spark of self esteem lit on fire. There was a time when I was tired of the bruises on my body and my heart. I was tired of allowing myself to be the victim.

I will tell you that the hardest lesson for me is forgiving myself. Forgiving the women I was then to allow people to treat me like that, for allowing people in my life that hurt me and exposing my children to people like that. But, we are healing and we love each other.

I look at the pictures before my weight loss surgery and I realize what I had done to myself. I had built a protective shell, a "please keep away" shell. It was my "I'm not worthy" costume. That was the old me, this is me now. And I love her.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Got Negativity?

I am what most would consider a newbie in the weight loss community, being that I am still within my first year of the surgery. I have experienced more life experiences than most 80 year old's I know and I have been on a path of self discovery for quite sometime prior to the surgery.

A low self esteem can have such a crippling factor in your life. I have been working on stopping the negative thinking that happens in this brain of mine for a while. I won't lie, when you have trained yourself to talk poorly to yourself for years, it is tough to break. How many times have you said, "I hate my thighs!" or "My ass is huge."? Sometimes, my medicine makes me forget things and I am worse at beating myself up than anyone else. Really? Every woman I know does it. And your lucky if it is only in your head.... I verbalize them all the time.

So I am keeping a journal, a log so to speak. I am writing everything I think or say that is negative this week to see what patterns I see and to see if I can make a conscience effort to taper the negativity (yes, that includes yelling obscenities at old drivers in Florida) .

I want to make more than a physical change in my life. I want to experience joy and freedom from the insanity. I want boundaries and the self love that comes from this experience, this journey. I am taking time for myself. I am meditating and watching the sun come up. I am getting back to nature. I am coloring with pastels and taking time at the beach with good friends.

I am truly blessed with great friends and a loving family and I feel it is time for me to radiate that love and affection to myself and the world. If anyone would like to join me, I challenge you to create a log of your own. What patterns do you think you will find?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

Part of the journey of weight loss, whether that be through surgical or conventional methods, is self discovery. Now, I must admit that losing 105 pounds in 6 months is a radical change and probably has made me and others in my position take this path whether we are ready for it or not. When you shed such a large amount of weight, you find that your old self may have been "going through the motions" of life. You find new excitement in wanting to live that life.

With all the excitement and thrill of accomplishment, comes fear. Fear of the unknown. Who is this new person I see in the mirror? Who is this person who can cross her legs? Who is this person that people won't stare at when she boards an airplane because they are thinking, "Please don't have the seat next to me."? Who is this active, vital individual? What does my "new" future hold?

I believe that food was my comfort, my friend. I and many others I have spoken to, go through a stage of almost mourning. When a surgical intervention takes place to lose the weight, you are forced to be stripped of that security blanket that shielded your emotions from pain, fear, boredom and guilt. I can no longer eat to stuff those feelings of inadequacy. I am forced on a journey of self discovery.

There are many avenues you could choose to take to alleviate these emotions. You could cross over to a "transfer" addiction, which is very common, like liquor or pills. I really hate the taste of booze, so that leaves that out for me and addiction is a major problem in my family (which I have discussed), so I choose to deal with this head on.

I am finding that there is a large spiritual component to my self discovery. Now, I am not talking religion or church, but spiritual enlightenment. My higher power is helping me to heal from the inside out. We as humans can't control everything and sometimes must relinquish control. There is great healing properties in this for me.

One the largest parts of this journey in self discovery is learning to heal and forgive myself. I carry tremendous guilt and burdens from my past that weigh heavily upon my soul. Shedding those feelings can only be healthy and make me a better person. We often speak about "random acts of kindness" and how we should "pass it on"; however, do we practice this on ourselves? Do we practice random acts of kindness to oneself? Or do we constantly hold ourselves responsible for the sins of the past? Does it literally weigh us down?

I encourage anyone reading this to practice a random act of kindness on one's self everyday. Begin to care for yourself, whether that be emotionally or physically. Say a prayer, take a bath, take a walk in the woods or at the beach, read yourself an affirmation. Let yourself go for just a little while and release that guilt, boredom, anger or whatever emotion you may be feeling.

Practice a random act of kindness!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Weighty Goals

Since the beginning of my weight loss journey, my physician has set a goal of 130 lbs. for my obtainable weight loss goal. From the beginning, I thought this was too low and unobtainable. Even in high school I didn't weigh that little. In my twenties, I reached 155 and was a size 7 and expressed this to my surgeon when the goal was set and was told, "We will see."

I am now down to 159, a size 10/12 and feeling confident about my weight loss. However, in the back of my head there is this little voice that keeps telling me that I haven't reached goal. I am down to 28% BMI, down from 44%, which is a huge accomplishment and I know I should be so proud of myself.

I read all of the other successful bloggers about their WLS and how they made it to goal and I doubt myself and my journey. Is it possible to not meet goal and still succeed? Is it possible to be proud of yourself with just being healthy? I think somewhere along the line I have become obsessed.

Here is my concern..... I had to have my gallbladder removed over a week ago and am having complications. I am living off of saltines and water still and guess what???? It doesn't bother me. And that bothers me more! Has my need to lose become an eating disorder? Please don't get me wrong, I am working with my physician and seeking treatment. It is the mental aspect of it that concerns me.

I know that many WLS patients deal with the same issue. They get towards goal and are not sure when to stop and maintain their weight loss. I know I can tolerate to lose more; however, I wish not to look like a hollow skeleton or anorexic. Even thin, I am a woman with hips and enjoy my curves.

I have seen other WLS patients elude to this struggle and I thought it best to bring it out in the open to chat about it. When you go from food being your best friend to the enemy, it leaves a huge void in your life I am learning to live with. It is a difficult journey and everyday is a struggle.

I have family that struggle with alcohol and drug abuse issues. I try to explain that it is the same, except they can leave the alcohol and drugs behind and never have to touch it again, we must eat to live. We have to face our addiction daily.

I have begun to despise addiction in life and wish to leave it behind. However, to leave it behind, would mean to never eat again and that is not feasible to stay alive. I believe the over eating switch in my brain is changing; however, I don't want it to change so much that I prefer to leave food out entirely. How does one go from an obese person to an anorexic?

I know that I am not the only one who is or has struggled with this and would love to hear from others.......

Jello xxx

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wish Upon A Star.....

I think I am coming to terms with several things in my life weight loss surgery and losing 90 pounds and the body changes that come with it, the wonderful new friends, old friends that have been wonderful to me and stuck by my side, my husband who is adjusting to the new me and for myself who is finding the "slim" me in a "thinner" and healthier body!

I grew up in Kansas, in the country, in a small town, very sheltered where everyone knew your business. I miss laying in the backyard in the grass, watching and wishing upon the stars. The stars shined so bright due to the fact that their was no city to compete with the lights in the night sky. You could contemplate the universe and your higher power and how you came to be on this planet and sort out everything in your life. I truly miss those days. I think it is time for a visit!

I have also found this cathartic. While shedding the weight, I have been able to build a self esteem to establish myself as a strong independent woman. I am starting my own business and have decided that the bariatric business is my passion. Experts say that your calling will come to you and I believe that now. I truly believe this business will succeed. I believe we all can succeed! If we believe in ourselves and strive to push ourselves forward, we can succeed in whatever we do.

Do you believe in yourselves? What is your dreams? Do you look at the stars and wish upon them?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you talking to me?

A good friend of mine and I recently spent the weekend at a hotel on the beach, girls weekend away, that kind of thing..... Well, I was astounded at how things have changed between women and men in the last 10 years. Yes, I am getting old and yes I apparently am not up to date with what crawls out from under rocks on Friday nights in Florida, but I was never expecting what I saw....

Now the lovely establishment we stayed at was definitely not a four star hotel. It was clean and boasted the largest tiki bar in South Florida, that was all I needed to know. The staff was friendly and made us feel safe, which is very important.

As a recent Roux-en-Y patient with a loss of 80 pounds, I am still a little uncomfortable with my body. When you go from a size 26/24 to a 12 and the opposite sex starts to say things to you, it is embarrassing and a shock to your system, but some of what I heard was just plain rude.

I heard, "Your boobs are like pillows of joy." "I've had a vasectomy. You'll be safe with me, baby!" and the biggest shocker was the 22 year old who swam up to me in the pool, grabbed my foot and sucked my toe. Yes, I promptly got out of the pool.

I have read many posts from fellow post-ops about feeling awkward about getting attention once they begin to lose the weight and near their target. How can we feel comfortable with others affection when we aren't completely comfortable with giving ourselves affection? I feel that if I am attracted to people who talk to me as if I am a piece of meat, then I am only doing myself a disservice. In the world of online dating, texting, sexting, immediate gratification and outward bluntness, we have lost that finesse for personal connectivity.

I know it is wonderful new world where I feel attractive for the first time in a long time, but at the same time, I look in the mirror sometimes and still see a obese person. My point is that after going through all we have been through, perhaps it is best to sort out how we feel about ourselves before we let someone in our lives and have to figure out how we feel about them.......

Just food for

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hope isn't just a word...

A few years back, I remember hearing those words, "You have Multiple Sclerosis." I was actually relieved. I had been "ill" for many years and it took six years to finally get the proper diagnosis. I finally knew what I had and I could move on, right? Not! The first year was awful. I wallowed in my own misery.

I went to the support groups and all I saw was the wheelchairs and disability. I didn't see the wonderful people sitting in them. I constantly saw the "what if" in my life, the never knowing if my disability was going to cripple me.

My disease over the next few years was very active, it paralyzed my right side, it took my sight for brief periods of time, and ended up making me bedridden for 3 years. With MS, when you have an exacerbation (attack), they treat you with high dose (1000 mg) of IV steroids twice a day, for 7 - 10 days, to try to stop the attack. So to say I got huge, is an

The spasms got so severe that my hips were dislocating and I couldn't walk and I had just ordered my scooter. The pain and the burden I was putting my family under was too much for me to bare. The emotional pain of being ill had taken it's toll. With MS, it can effect you cognitively and I felt like my intelligence was slipping away, as well. Then the speech difficulties became obvious, and my children started to make fun of me, who sounded like James T Kirk from the Star...Ship...Enter...Prise!

I wanted to die. Literally! I was giving up! I kept thinking, "Is this existing?" "Is this living?" I sat down with my neurologist and had a long talk with him about my existence and how unhappy I was. My treatments were not working and we needed something more aggressive, more radical. He agreed! We devised a treatment plan that included Novantrone, a form of chemo therapy used for MS patients and botox injections along my spine to control the spasms. I finally had hope again, even though nothing else had worked.

By my second batch of chemo and my botox treatments from the neck to my tailbone, I was walking without my crutch canes. My neuro cried.... I just smiled from ear to ear! I had hope again. Real hope!

I had lost sight of hope in my loss and sorrow. But, I promise you that I don't now. I can no longer do the chemo, it has a lifetime limitation on it, but I know that I am a different person. I had the RNY to reduce the "load" so to speak on my body and to live a healthier lifestyle, so that I can stay out of a chair. I am determined! I live by my rules. I don't involve myself in stressful situations, if at all possible. But, most of all, I will never give up. I have MS, but it doesn't have me.

I realized that if I could live through all the things that have happened to me in my life, I could do anything I wanted. We are all strong women. We have done what is best for us, to lose the weight and live healthier lives. We have chosen the right paths and taken a proactive step into our futures. If we hold onto that knowledge, we can achieve our biggest accomplishments. No matter what we have come from or what disorder we have, we are a force to be reckoned with! Strong, vibrate, liberated women with hearts of gold, who know what it is like to be the underdog and push through our strife's to succeed! Please don't let anyone or anything ever take your hope away!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Do Your Thing!

As I stand in front of the pantry, staring at the items inside, I ask myself questions that I never used to ask myself.....Are you really hungry or are you upset, bored, overwhelmed, stressed? I shut the door and walk away, empty handed. YES! I am doing it!

I am beginning to not crave as much as I once did, but those old habits run deep. I didn't eat because I was hungry, I ate to stuff. I ate to suppress. Can anyone else relate? Anxiety was my biggest enemy, I got anxious, so I shoved something in my mouth. I found eating soothing. Now I am having to find a new way of life. Eating this way is really quite passive aggressive. You upset me, I eat my way through a bag of cookies instead of telling you that you hurt me. What is up with that????

I recently read an article about the divorce rate among post-ops. Now this particular article struck a cord with me. It was about how we should compromise and give reassurance to our partners, so that they can survive our weight loss and their own insecurities. It stressed how we become "selfish" after surgery. No offense, but shut up!

This time is a time of self exploration and is difficult. I personally don't find anything "selfish" about making time for yourself. Most weight loss surgery patients that I have met have never done that for themselves previously. Some of us need to seek professional help to deal with areas that we may feel need to be addressed after the weight goes away. And to say that any of those things are "selfish" is ridiculous. Do things you have never done before and love it. Yes, try to include your partner, but if they won't do it with you....does it that mean you still need to share a blood supply with the couch? No! Get out there and love life! Find friends who will do it with you, expand your circle and network, you will be amazed at the amount of smiles it puts on your face.

I know our families are important, so is mine! My youngest is 17 and I still drag her out of that cave she calls a bedroom and make her go do things with me every once in a If you have teenagers, then you will understand! But, I need time for me. I don't find that selfish. Don't let anyone tell you or make you feel that you are being that way for needing time to do your thing.

Really? There is balance with everything, but I think as mothers, sisters and daughters, we do plenty for others. Make sure you are doing plenty for yourself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Following your dreams.....

Following my dreams is a frightening event! For the first time in my life I am taking the bull by the horns, taking a chance, believing in myself, taking a risk, going for the gusto and I am freaking scared shitless!

On the outside, I am cool, collected and confident and on the inside, I am filled with anxiety and self doubt! That fat girl is screaming at me still, "You can't do this!" But, I know I can! Working through this is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Self doubt and low self esteem filled my life when I was obese. I am having the hardest time breaking free from those ties that bind. I didn't just wake up thinner and poof, magically that issue was magically transformed. It is a daily battle for me, to believe in myself and love myself.

I know many others struggle with this issue, just like me, and I am not afraid to share my faults with others. We only get stronger by admitting our problems and making a conscience effort to change them. I feel that life is an never-ending journey in which I continue to try and grow.

So, right now....I am making a big step into an unknown future and you know what???? I am frightened! But, excited all at the same time. My life is full of surprises and what if's right now. I keep telling myself, "It is all going to be ok, trust yourself" and I know I can.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stress Overload

Ever feel like you just want to runaway? Ever feel like people need to just stop leaning on you? That is me this week. After the fourth thing I have given up out of my schedule to care for someone else and their drama, I am done!

When do we as women, stop caring for the world and take care of ourselves? When do we take off the wife, mother, sister, daughter hat and just be ourselves? When do we say no? When do we put ourselves first?

I am resentful, angry, and spewing it everywhere this week and that isn't fair to those around me. And who do I have to blame, only myself. Why, because I can't say no? It is time to say no. I think that is why I am ranting this week. I have had enough and I am letting everyone know that I am no longer tolerating their drama.

Anyone want to runaway with me???? lol


Monday, July 12, 2010

Family Ties That Bind

Yes, I am a food addict, addicted to love too much and I am the only one who can keep all of it in check (well me and my higher power)!!!!! I can't just have one cookie, just like an alcoholic can't just have one beer...... For me, it leads to binges and it throws me completely off my new way of life. This is a constant mind battle for myself and for others like me. More power to the ones that can.

But, I want to talk about our families..... I want to talk about breaking the cycle. I am sure that if you look into your own families, you will see bad relationships, addiction issues, mental health disorders, etc. It is our choice to break the cycle and not hand it down (well, hopefully not as bad) to our own children. The only way to do that is to reach out for help ourselves. Find a 12 step group, a trained professional, or even a great self help book and work on what ails you. You have to want to help yourself before you can help the ones around you.

I used to be a case manager working with families who had children with mental illness, my specialty was families who had experienced sexual abuse. Nine out of ten times, the parents had experienced some kind of sexual abuse in their childhood and then their children where offended upon in their childhood. This type of abuse was the last thing the parents ever wanted to happen to their children, but because of the abuse that happened to them, they let people into their lives that in turn hurt their children. Of course, this isn't intentionally, it just happens.... Breaking the cycle of abuse, violence, eating disorders, low self esteem, obesity, and mental illness is sooo important! We need to do it for our children, before we pass it on to the next generation.

Surround yourself with positive people. Stand tall and be proud! Don't let someone look down on you because of your life's lessons. I recently had someone say not so nice things about my previous issues in life while all the while living in a glass house. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses??? These type of people aren't the type of people I want to surround myself with.

Seek professional help, if necessary. My ex-husband was in treatment for his drug addiction and bi-polar disorder. His doctor, he and I had just worked his treatment plan out when his doctor turned to me and said, "Great, now what about you?" I replied, "He is the one that is sick, not me!" He simply stated, "Really, then why did you stay?" That was a turning point for me. I couldn't think of a good answer. He was right, why did I stay? That was fifteen years ago and different me.

Be active, exercise physically to exercise the mind. Ever notice that you feel so much better emotionally and physically about yourself after a good workout. Get those endorphins flowing. Get the little ones to workout with you, start a trend. Ingrain a lifestyle in them while they are young. Exercise has been proven to help with depression as well. I recently started karate. The positive reinforcement of the dojo and the people around me just drew me to it. To me, the gym was too cold and impersonal. Find what charges your batteries!

The first step to breaking the cycle is to heal thyself! Like I said in my previous blog post, I never really feel "grown up" because I feel like I am constantly evolving into a better person and a better mom. But, at least I am trying!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jello Growing Up....

Growing up is such a relative term.....

Are we ever really "grown up"? I am 40 and I just now feel like I am getting the hang of my life. Like most individuals whom have had weight loss surgery, it has been a life journey for me to get to this point.

As a toddler, my aunt nicknamed me "Jello", if that doesn't tell you something I don't know what does??? Even as a small child, I was getting nicknames as offensive as something jiggly and squishy as a child's dessert. All my life that name stuck as I battled abusive relationships, addiction to food and one bad relationship after another.

I longed for someone to love me and didn't know how to look within myself for love and acceptance. It wasn't until years later, years of therapy and hitting the bottom of my own barrel that I decided to get healthy within. This wasn't an overnight event and it is a constant battle to break the cycle of codependency that goes on in my head on a daily basis. There were years of "stages" to my development and it has been a long and painful journey. However, I can tell you that I no longer allow people to treat me like garbage and I feel good about myself.

In 1998, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). For years, I battled this disease that for three years left me bedridden, due to the advanced form I have. The pain with this disease can be immense. It causes, vision difficulties, severe muscle spasms, difficulty walking, bowel and bladder issues, just to name a few symptoms. I searched the best doctors out and began a new treatment and today you wouldn't know that there is anything wrong with me. But, from battling my weight prior and years of immobility, I was left with a "huge" problem, to say the least.

My weight loss surgery was another evolution in my development. After two years of feeling well from the MS, I decided it was time to take control of my weight, as well! My decision to have the Roux-N-Y was the best decision I have ever made. I am 4 months post-op and my MS is quite calm (knock on wood). I am on half the medication I was on prior to the surgery and I have lost almost 80 pounds.

When I talk about loving myself or learning to love myself, I am learning a new meaning to that now. I learned to love the inside me before and now I am learning to love the outside me, as well. As a weight loss surgery patient, as the pounds shed, you start to get more in touch with your body. When you go from a size 26 to a 12 in 4 months, you have no choice. I am able to exercise now and that is new, especially with the MS. I am taking it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. My new motto is that, "I have MS, it doesn't have me!"

Learning to live a new lifestyle, not a diet. I am learning to let that little girl heal inside me. And the best of it is that Jello (sugar free) is still allowed.....

Jill xxx