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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hey You, I Am Calling You Out!!!!

 A Bully By Any Other Name.......

When I was a teenager, I expected childish, bullying behavior; however, when I grew up I assumed that adults behaved differently.  Apparently, some adults never grow out of this phase!  Instead of demanding lunch money or just physically abusing you, adult bullies have taken to cyber space!
The bariatric community is full of individuals who were bullied as children and young adults due to their weight.  We as a whole should join together to stop bullying in all forms since we were often the victims of it.  However, lately there has been an upswing in the amount of cyber bullying in our community and instead of banding together to stop it, we either follow it or stand silently by!

  Your words can cut like a sword when someone is dealing with issues of WLS and the negativity makes those issues compounded.  It is easy to sit in judgement of someone else's life from the anonymity of a keyboard.  Would you behave this way or speak so boldly if you were in the other person's presence? Or would you behave like a compassionate human being?  None of us are perfect and it is ridiculous to expect perfection.  Everyone has good days and bad; if you don't want to read about it, move on. To some it may seem like whining; however, it may be a cry for help and your harsh words may push this person over the edge.  Remember the golden rule, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!

As grown adults with families and children of our own, is it not time to stand up and say, "No, we will tolerate this behavior any further?"  To follow or stay silent is saying yes to not only bullying others in the community, but setting a precedent for the present and the future.  Following a cyber bully makes you a cyber bully too!  Who knows, you could be the next victim or it could be your child!

 Treat others as you would want to be treated yourselves and let's make this a kinder, more unified community!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Anorexia After Gastric Bypass Surgery??


A typical description of Anorexia Nervosa is as follows:

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by immoderate food restriction and irrational fear of gaining weight, as well as a distorted body self-perception. It typically involves excessive weight loss.  Due to the fear of gaining weight, people with this disorder restrict the amount of food they consume. This restriction of food intake causes metabolic and hormonal disorders.  This is a quote from Wikipedia.

If this sounds a lot like what we go through as gastric bypass patients, then I agree.  However, according to Eating Disorders Review :

Full-onset Eating Disorders
The onset of full-syndrome eating disorders—anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder—after surgery is unlikely, but possible. However, it is important to recognize that aberrant eating patterns may develop after the operation that do not meet current diagnostic criteria for eating disorders, but that nonetheless are associated with distress and impaired weight management. For example, research studies indicate that the resumption of or onset of loss of control over eating is not uncommon at longer-term follow- up, and may be associated with inadequate weight loss or weight regain.

Segal and colleagues (2004) have observed the co-occurrence of eating disorders and anxiety symptoms in this patient population. As a result, they have proposed a new diagnosis, “postsurgical eating avoidance disorder (PSEAD).” Because patients with a history of eating disorders prior to surgery may be at risk for developing full-syndrome or subthreshold disorders after operation, these individuals may benefit from close follow-up.

My question is, who of us didn't have an eating disorder before having weight loss surgery?  No offense, but we didn't get morbidly obese without having either a binging disorder or without just overeating.  My point is when you have the surgery, it puts you in a state of malnutrition (if you had an RNY) due to your small intestines being removed.  Is that not a form of anorexia?  We are gaining control by limiting our food intake and by causing malabsorbtion. Scary notion is that Anorexia has a 20% mortality rate.

Now for some of us, I am included in this, once you hit your goal weight or below, the fear of regain is so strong, you remain in "control" mode.  Now for me, I suffer from the perfect stereotype, I have struggled with body dysmorphia since the inception of the "new" me. I still walk through a crowded store, avoiding aisles like I still weigh 260 pounds.  I still drink my meals when possible and when no one is there to watch me.  My ready to drink proteins have been on backorder and I am freaking out. I have always been a perfectionist.  I over exercise to stay in control to deal with the anxiety.

It all boils down to anxiety. But, where does that anxiety come from? Stressors in my life that bring up emotions.  It isn't about the pretzels I ate that I must exercise off.  It is about why I ate the pretzels in the first place.  Was I under stress to make a dead line?  Are my adult kids driving me nuts? Do I constantly worry about my grandchildren? Am I excited and nervous about starting school?  Hell yes to all the above!  Am I making wise food choices, no.  So what do I do?  I restrict my intake to an unhealthy level. I drink my meals instead of eating real nutritious food.

For those of you who don't know me, I had adhesions that left me unable to eat real food for 7 months.  I got down to 103, my liver enzymes were climbing and by the time they operated, I almost died.  So, if it takes 3 weeks to make a habit, I am well past making liquid my food of choice.  I am 2+ years out and I still have very little hunger sensation, so if I am to eat, it is by the clock.  I am not making excuses, just stating facts. 

I give great advice, but I need to start taking my own.  I am stepping back and starting at the basics.  I am starting with a meal plan and on Sunday, I am shopping and prepping for the week.  I will be filling lunch boxes and making breakfast for myself daily, snacks included and eating by the clock.  I will hold myself accountable.

Will you join me?  Whether you have regained or you are in the same boat as I am. I could use the support.  Perhaps we could swap recipes? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bariatric Advantage Giveaway!

Bariatric Advantage Chewy Bites Giveaway!

Winner will receive 2 bags (flavor of your choice) of Calcium Citrate Bites!

To enter join The Bariatric Cafe and "like" the giveaway!

Good Luck and we look forward to seeing you in "a softer place to land"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Surviving Halloween!!!!!!

Danger Fellow WLS Patients, Halloween quickly approaches!

We are facing the worse time of year for us....................the bloody holidays!  Lots of beautiful children expecting you to hand out candy at your door and what does that mean for us?

It's in the house, people!  Candy is in the house!!!!!!   

Look, I am not one of those bloggers that will say "just go out that night" or "avoid it at all cost" because, my philosphy is that if you don't learn to control it, then it controls you.  I also believe that a sweet SMALL treat ocassionally will keep you on track and keep you from:

a) going bat shit stir crazy and/or
b) going back to your old lifestyle completely.

Now, saying that I want my readers to know that this is my personal opinion and if you disagree with me, then by all means, avoid it at all cost.  I just know that at 2.5 years, I once had a wise woman once tell me, "Then go eat a damn donut!" and she was right, eating the damn thing was far less than the mental anguish and the effect the craving was having on me. So yes, I ate the damn donut!

So, as Halloween approaches and we are racing past the aisles of Halloween candy, instead of white knuckling the cart, perhaps visit Choose This, Not That to choose what candy you do purchase a little more wisely and when Halloween is over, throw it away.

Yes, I said it.  Throw it away!  Who needs the constant reminder or temptation in the house?  If you have small children, require it to be kept in a particular place and tell yourself that location is off limits!  If you have small children, perhaps set a time limit and restriction on how much can be eaten. With childhood obesity on the rise and genetics being a major contributor, why encourage it?  My son and I now swap exercise ideas when once we were both obese.  I am so proud of him!

I know the debate rages on in this community, to have or not to have?  This is only one blogger passing on a small bit of sanity in a jungle of insanity in the holidays.  Take what you want and leave the rest.

Happy Halloween, ya all!!!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

BiPro Protein Free Giveaway!

I have spoken often and unadulterated about BiPro Protein being my absolute favorite protein on the market.  It is smooth and creamy and unflavored.  It can be added to almost anything I make, including baking without my family knowing......don't tell!  

Well today I am pleased to announce that they are allowing me to give a free giveaway!!!!!!!!!

Jello's Journey will be giving away a free shaker bottle and a To Go Pack of Bi-Pro!!!!!
To register to win, you must first subscribe to Jello's Journey, then go to: Bariatric Journeys and subscribe to become a member and provide your name, address and phone number for a free sample.

I, personally, have used this product for over 2 years and can tell you that when it comes to taste, I consider it the best in the market.

Good luck!  Winner will be announced October 26, 2012.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marriage Survival

I want to revisit a topic I discussed in March of last year.  It seems to be a common issue on the boards lately and I, myself are still having issues.  Understanding that our divorce rate is much higher than the national average, I have decided to share a little more about myself and let my members into my sacred space, so to speak.

My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for 7.  When I married my husband, I was probably 220 and loathed everything about my body at the time.  So, when the intimate relations stopped, I blamed myself.  I thought that is was the weight that repulsed him.  By the time I had my bypass (RNY) I weighed 260 and was compulsively eating to stuff my feelings of loneliness, rejection, guilt and shame.
 During the transformation, which it truly is, I lost the weight and found myself.  I hope this doesn't sound conceited, but I found a beautiful woman that cared about people and the world around her.  I had cocooned myself and had become a recluse to some degree.  I had used my disability ( those of you that don't know I have MS, it doesn't have me) as an excuse to wallow in my own self pity and self destruction.  I ate to feel better, it was my aphrodisiac and I used my MS as an excuse not to exercise.  Until I reached 260 on a 5'4" petite frame.  I used to say I was big boned, and then I lost the weight and found this tiny little woman living in all that fat and anger, boredom, anxiety, fear and pain.  I have endured multiple traumas and I am a survivor.  I have been in countless relationships that were self destructive and painful, some even brutal.  I survived breast cancer.   And I am alive!  I am alive to love, to be loved and if my relationship can not grow with me, than that is my choice what to do with it.  There are no easy answers.

I digressed slightly, but what I am trying to say is that I have nearly died 4 times in the last ninety days and I am taking inventory.  I am co-dependent as hell!  I love to rescue people!  And I set myself up on occasion to be hurt, but I would rather live life being hurt than not living at all.  So, if my husband doesn't find me attractive or is looking for an escape route, he is free to walk away and I will survive!

Getting thin didn't help, so now I am getting healthy emotionally to see where that takes our marriage.  I have been in therapy for years.  But, one thing I have learned is that I can't control this. OMG do I want to!  But, I can't and it is up to me to let go and let my higher power decide where this goes and it is time for my husband to do his work with his therapist. If we are to survive this transformation, he has to transform with me.  If he chooses not to, that is his choice and his decision. And for the first time in my adult life I won't feel like a failure, I refuse to let myself believe that.

I long for a lover, don't get me wrong.  But, unfortunately I know a lot of women, who have gone through WLS and feel the same. The intimacy of a touch feeds the human soul.  And the pain of not receiving that from your spouse can reek havic on one's self esteem.  When our self esteem is compromised, what do most of us do?  Well, for me I eat, or at least I used to.  Now I talk it out with my therapist or I blog, quite frankly. Don't get me wrong, I am not perfect and I do backslide.  But, please show me a person who doesn't.

For the longest time after the surgery, since I couldn't control my marriage, I tried to control my grown children.  Which those relationships where just as dysfunctional. I have even cut the umbilical cord there for the most part.  Is my life in upheaval? Hell yes!  This woman that everyone stomped on is saying, "No More!"  I am not a doormat or an ATM! Unfortunately, it took getting it beat into my head to realize it, literally.

The individuals in this group are special people and most of us are people pleasers. I am taking stock of my self worth and owning it for the first time in my life, without a cookie trail behind me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rebound - oh my!!!!!!

I am going to talk about a taboo subject today.  Anorexia after weight loss surgery.  I am going to talk about my own struggle over the last few months to maintain and gain weight.  I know this is a subject that may turn off a lot of WLS patients because they aren't at goal, but everyone can relate to the fear of regain.

Remember the fat girl that so wanted to be skinny.  Well, here you are and you will do ANYTHING to stay there.  I have that feeling to the extreme.  For 7 months after my surgery, I couldn't eat solid food. Which I know was my trigger, I had adhesions that weren't allowing food past my stoma and all I did was vomit.  I went from 260 pounds to 103.  I looked like a skeleton and I stopped letting family and friends take pictures of me.  I looked like a walking anorexic billboard.  But, guess what, I was a size 2 and I loved it!  Deep down inside that fat girl was happy to be a size 2.  Unhealthy as it was, with every rib showing, and my liver enzymes climbing, I had to force myself to take that first bite after surgery. 

The scale began to climb 106, then 110 and now I am 114.  And I find myself panicking!  Absolutely horrified that they will continue to climb.  My goal weight was 130, I am 5' 4".  I am in therapy for this, rest assured.  And I encourage anyone else that is battling this to find a therapist that specializes in eating disorders.

But, if you can relate to the heart stopping panic when you step on that scale, then you know the fear of regain.  Our entire community deals with it, some differently than others, but we still are dealing with it.  We have watched our idols in the community regain and hide it.  We have seen others be honest and talk about theirs.  But, if you're counting calories to the point of severe restriction or your not eating to maintain, please see a professional.  I found my personal life spiraling out of control, there were two things I could control: One was my weight and the other was my can eat off the floors!

According to this study amongst Bariatric patients conducted by:   Rosenberger PH, Henderson KE, Grilo CM. Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.:
Overall, 36.8% of the participants met criteria for at least one lifetime psychiatric disorder, with 24.1% meeting criteria for a current disorder. The most commonly observed lifetime psychiatric diagnoses were affective disorders (22.4%), anxiety disorders (15.5%), and eating disorders (13.8%). Participants with eating disorders were significantly more likely than those without eating disorders to meet criteria for psychiatric disorders overall (66.7% vs. 26.7%) and specifically for anxiety disorders (45.8% vs. 10.7%).

And according to Eating Disorder Review the risk of suicide increases in Bariatric Surgery patients:
My therapist and I are making progress.  They want me to be 125 lbs. and I told them I would be happy with that if it was in muscle, so I am resuming my exercise routine.

Truth is that I am taking this one day at a time.  I don't have the answers to this question.  I am not an expert, but I know what I feel and I feel fear.  The fear of being fat again is real.  And I can't ignore it or bury it in my subconscious.  It needs to be talked about and discussed.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

For The Love of Food!!!!!

The intimate relationship, the sneaking around to spend time with you, the lying about the time we are together, the lusting after you, the guilt for being with you........

Sounds like an affair, doesn't it?  In a way it was!  For those of us that were overweight or that struggle with an eating disorder, you know what I am referring to.  Any excuse will do: stress, depression, anxiety, anger, boredom, celebrations, they all worked as an excuse to stuff my face full of those wonderful tasting items.

Somewhere along the lines, I learned to stuff my feelings with food and let me tell you it has been the longest love affair of my life!  I always considered myself a "foodie".  I was consumed with great food from a young age. 

I grew up in Kansas, with a grandmother who was the best cook in the world.  She taught me how to bake homemade rolls, homemade candies, baked pies and jams.  I even inherited her bread board.  As I grew older, I had a job that allowed me to travel internationally, I took it upon myself to try all the dishes of the world. 

I love to cook and find great pleasure in making people happy through my food.  I know I got it from my Grandma Mary, a wonderful Irish Catholic woman, who fed everyone that entered her home, whether you were hungry or not.  She was warm and welcoming and she made you feel loved.  I wanted to repeat that feeling forever.  I still get that feeling through food.

That feeling of comfort and love that envelops me when I eat that carby goodness is better than a real affair (and sex) on the best of days.  At least I have gotten to the root of the issue.  As I stand in front of the pantry staring at it when I am not really hungry, I continually have to ask myself, "What is it that you really seeking?" 

My grandma had the famous grandma's kitchen table, you know the one.......the one where you are always welcome.  The one that the coffee pot was always ready with a fresh pot, homemade peach or black raspberry pie was ready to be served and most of all, a kind word and conversation was to be had.

I have been searching for that love and support in food since those days and I know I am not going to find it there.  No matter what I had done wrong, grandma always had a cup of coffee and a kind word for me.

My life spiraled out of control for years, by my own doing.  Codependency took over my very existence and obesity slowly took it's foothold.  Trauma after trauma compounded the issue and I fell back to the one love affair that made me feel safe and!

When I had started this journey of weight loss surgery, I had no idea that the largest hurdle was my mind.  Getting to the core of why I became obese in the first place became so important, especially if I don't want to return there.  My pouch is only a tool that can assist me, but there are ways around the weight loss surgery and regain is a real issue in this community. 

I am learning that I don't have to give up my love for food, I just have to look at it differently.  I now enjoy reworking old recipes to be more healthy, using alternative substitutes for sugar and I still cook for those I love.

This surgery has fundamentally changed me, even my marriage had to change.  We used to enjoy finding amazing eating establishments and being foodies together, difference is that my husband is "stick man".  My hubby is 5'10" and 150 pounds, with a hollow leg.  He can eat anything and not gain a pound.  I do envy him.  It was very hard in the beginning to readjust, but now we still find places to eat; however, now we enjoy finding healthy alternatives on the menu.  We love cooking together, the only thing I think he can't stand is when I start reading labels and turn a grocery store trip into a 2 hour ordeal.

I struggle with this journey and I fail some days.  But I just keep picking myself up and keep trying again and again.  The self examination can be difficult and painful, but, so worth the effort. 

Do you have a love affair with food?