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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Boundaries After WLS

Last evening I attended a support group meeting, the first face-to-face support group I've been to in years because of the miles that separate me from my surgeon's office. I was the guest of my friend Lori who you've met here before.

What a refreshing experience.

An effervescent slender woman named Jo welcomed me at the door with a smile and handshake - she is the group leader and 5-year successful RNY post-op. She began the meeting reviewing the courtesy rules of the group and then we each introduced ourselves. This is a graduate support group, members are 1+ years post-op and they all seemed to know and enjoy one another. I appreciated that Jo asked us not to give our weight stats. She said "Once you are one year out you are all success stories." It made me feel warm and welcomed.

I liked Jo the minute I met her - she conveys compassion and celebration at the same time. But what made me fall in love with her is that she opened with the announcement that she'd had a horrible day - "The day from H**L!" And, in response to what she described as feelings of lost self-worth and stress, she ate not one, but two cookies! My goodness - this ray of sunshine is a real person!

Jo is a 5-year post-op success story. And she had a bad day and she did what any of us have done on occasion: she self-medicated with food. Her candor elevated her in my eyes. It was so important for her to share this, that even the strongest struggle with WLS. We talk about it all the time here at LAWLS, that WLS isn't an easy answer and lot's of times it's hard work and even a menace to be compliant with the WLS way of life. I sometimes struggle and stress gets the best of me resulting in poor food or fitness choices. It was so comforting to learn that I am not alone.

The topic of the night was boundaries. She explained that as morbidly obese people (in recovery) we need to set boundaries. Several group members gave examples of boundaries they have set to help use their WLS successfully.

In my own life initially after surgery I set the boundary that I would not eat at the computer. As a writer it was my habit to eat while writing which contributed to my morbid obesity. For years I honored that boundary. However, early this year when I was working under intense deadline I excused this boundary and began eating at the computer. What happened? Weight gain. In my personal self-assessment in April I identified that I had let this boundary slip and set the goal to restore it. No more eating at the computer. It feels good to be in control of the boundary again.

The discussion was enlightening and engaging, fun and serious both. Jo concluded the meeting with the challenge that we identify and set boundaries in respect for the WLS lifestyle. She then encouraged us to include positive affirmations in our day so that we can see ourselves positively. She said, "If you could only see yourselves through my eyes you would all know that you are success stories."

What a great experience for me. I hope I'm invited back.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Healthy Snack Trap

Are you caught in the "healthy snack trap?" Are you lured in by foods with a healthy wholesome image? Foods like nuts, yogurt and gronola?

Many a WLS post-op has fallen under the spell of healthy snacks thinking the nuts, yogurt and granola can be consumed with abandon. But what really happens is a sabbotage of weight loss results from indulging in these "healthy snacks". Many brands of granola, for example, can be packed with up to 600 high-fat calories per one cup serving, something a WLS patient can easily eat during the course of a day without disrupting the fuction of the pouch.

Nuts are protein, right? So we think we are compliant with the *Rules" when we snack on nuts. Consider this: one ounce of roasted mixed nuts contains 175 calories and 14 grams of fat, 5 grams protein and 8 grams carbohydrate.

Not exactly protein first.

Don't be lured by the marketing claims or urban legends that certain foods are diet or health foods.

Read labels.

Ask your bariatric dietician.

Research.

Don't let the cloak of "health food" spoil your WLS success!

Read more in the LivingAfterWLS Library: The Nutty Truth About Nuts

For daily support in your LivingAfterWLS lifestyle visit the Neighborhood, a safe have circle of friends who are LivingAfterWLS.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aloha Sweet Meliss
Travel Safely My Friend

Once in a while a special person comes into our lives who has the wisdom of the ages, the wit of a joker and the heart of queen. I met this person through her blog, Big Grandma. Meliss. Sweet Meliss. Aloha Meliss.


She started blogging prior to her weight loss surgery last winter. She shared her ups and downs, some pretty funny moments and keen observations in life. A native Hawaiian Meliss speaks Hawaiian Pidgeon and she writes in the same dialect.


When the LivingAfterWLS introduced the Neighborhood Forums in March Meliss became an instant super-star, the first to welcome neighbors, lend encouragement and sometimes deliver a swift kick. To one newcomer she wrote, "Aloha, Welcome Braddah to the neighborhood. No can go wrong with us here to give you support and lots of hugs and kick ass when you need it." She embodies the true spirit of neighborliness and loyal friendship. She told another new neighbor, "We all have the same goals...........a healthier and longer life."


Meliss is both powerful and fragile. We've shared some breakdowns and celebrated her rise above life's bumps. After a recent bout with injury and discouragement she rose like the sun tell us, "I woke up this morning, feeling so good inside, deep in the core of me. I am ready to face the world again with a smile." On the same day she was feeling emotionally low she unselfishly reached out to another with words of encouragement, "This is another rainbow after the rain moment in your life."


If you've been reading Big Grandma you know she has packed her bags to leave her native Hawaii and move with her husband to San Antonio. She'll be off line for a few weeks and we will miss her terribly.


Godspeed Meliss - Travel safe.


And to borrow your personal phrase, "A suppppppaaaaaaaaaaah duuupaaaaaaaaaaaah happy happy hug!" You are loved.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

LAWLS Cookbook Project
Recipes Wanted!

Are you ready to contribute to the first ever LivingAfterWLS cookbook written by WLS patients for WLS patients?

Who among us in the weight loss surgery community isn't constantly looking for a fast, economical, protein rich recipe that meets our nutritional requirements and satisifies our love of food? I know I'm always looking for something yummy and healthy to cook.

Now is your chance to share with the LivingAfterWLS community your best recipes for long-term weight maintenance and health after bariatric surgery.

Link to the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood: Cookbook Project to learn more.

Hurry - we are accepting recipes for a limited time. Submit yours today!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Meeting Lori:
Super Person, Super Foods


Earlier this year I introduced you to Lori Rosendahl who took the Fit Is It Challenge of 180 minutes exercise per week and doubled her activity time to over 400 minutes per week. When I introduced her on February 1 she was 8 months post-up and down about 130 pounds.

Saturday it was my privilege to meet Lori in person! She is dynamic and captivating and she literally sparkles with a love of life and wellness. We met in a parking lot in Salt Lake City and I recognized her immediately. She had enjoyed a four mile walk earlier that morning and was glowing with good health. Julie Hullinger, the LAWLS Public Relations Director, joined us for lunch and we ate from the guilt-free menu at Chili's. We talked about weight loss surgery, the emotions associated with obesity and the need to constantly strive for good health through nutrition and exercise aided by our WLS tool.

Lori is a believer in Super Foods. As a breast cancer survivor she embraces nutrition as an opportunity to keep her body healthy. She continues to lose weight and is zooming in on her goal. And though she is doing very well, like many of us during weight loss, she worries she won't reach goal weight. It is natural for all of us to have fears of not making goal weight. But the thing that will get Lori to goal weight is her personal accountability for her own success. She is not simply letting the "WLS Tool" do the work and hoping for the best. She is taking charge and embracing a new healthy lifestyle.

Welcome to your new life, Lori! You Have Arrived!
Read & Download the Fit Is It Challenge

12 Super Foods to add to your Diet

The Secrets of Eating Right and Living Longer

-- By Antigone Arthur, Health Writer

Yes, it's possible to eat certain foods and boost your longevity. Often labeled "super foods," these foods have the ability to not only strengthen the immune system, but to also fight disease, and lower body fat and cholesterol.

All of these health benefits can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Some super foods contain substances called antioxidants and phytochemicals, which work together to fight disease and promote a long life.

A majority of these foods work best when they're combined with a well-balanced diet.

Common Super Foods For Boosting Longevity

Certain types of fish, particularly fatty cuts of fish, contain healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. These foods may also reduce depression. Salmon, trout, and mackerel are among the top choices. These fish contain valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

Tomatoes are valuable because they contain lycopene, which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin and vital organs. Lycopene also helps stimulate the immune system; some studies show it might prevent the progression of certain degenerative diseases, and protect against prostate cancer.

When it comes to broccoli, your mother had it right. Broccoli could be considered the number one super food; many experts agree that if you can eat just one vegetable, these green guys are your best bet. Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber, and can help prevent bone loss, fight disease, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even boost your immune system.

Garlic is a wonderful supplement that acts as a powerful anti-viral which can reduce your chances for catching colds and common infections. Garlic also has many natural anti-oxidant properties. Fresh garlic contains the most nutrients, although it's also available in capsule form. Spice up your favorite dish with some dried garlic for an extra boost.

Oats, like many other types of grain, are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which help protect the body from colon cancer. This high-fiber cereal keeps you fuller longer, aiding in your weight loss efforts. Oats also help build strong bones.

Green tea helps stimulate your metabolism (a bonus for anyone trying to lose weight) but also helps prevent the oxidation of cells in the body. Green tea is also thought to be an immune system booster. It's rich in antioxidants and certain vitamins, including A, C and E. Replace your after-dinner coffee with this brew, and your body will thank you.

Yogurt contains "friendly" bacteria, which help maintain the intestines and keep the bowels regulated. It can also suppress yeast overgrowth in both men and women. High in calcium, yogurt is also believed to act as a natural appetite suppressant. Soy yogurts contain these same live cultures, so don’t let a dairy-free diet stop you from getting these essential nutrients.

Nuts scare most people away because of their high fat content, but they're actually very good for you. They contain healthy fats, part of a well balanced diet. Some nuts, particularly brazil nuts, contain selenium, which helps prevent certain types of cancer.

Beans (kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and more) are rich in folate, an important nutrient— particularly for women. Eating an adequate amount of folate helps prevent birth defects in newborns. Beans are also a cholesterol-free protein source, and high in fiber.

Popeye has it right when it comes to spinach. This super food is rich in vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium. All of these work together to help reduce the likelihood of cancer and even help decrease the risk for heart disease.

Most mushrooms contain a substance that stimulates the immune system. Mushrooms are often used in natural therapy to help fight off illness. Some mushrooms (shitake, enoki and reishi varieties) also have anti-cancer effects.

Bananas are a great super food for athletes. They're rich in two essential nutrients (potassium and magnesium) that aid in proper hydration, and they help reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps. They also provide a good source of soluble fiber.