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Friday, September 30, 2005

Pre-OPs Resource: OR-Live

One of our special community members Beth Dunn brought my attention to a terrific website. Beth writes, “My local newspaper (the New York Daily News) did an article about a wonderful website. It's called OR-Live. It contains a library of more than 200 surgeries done at hospitals throughout the US. Their archives contain 5 different examples of Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses, and I've watched nearly all of them. Each webcast takes one hour and includes a sort of "play by play" discussion that explains what's going on and answers questions. Check it out!”

This is a great resource, particularly for pre-op patients wishing to learn more about the procedure of gastric bypass or lap-banding. There are also online forums that address several questions regarding weight loss surgery.

By the way, Beth is having her surgery on Tuesday October 4th. Please join me in wishing her success and a speedy recovery as she begins her new life. Thanks Beth for sharing the OR-Live resource with us.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Community Members Review Film
"What's So Funny?"

Not long ago I reviewed the film “What’s So Funny? A transformation of epic proportions.” It is the biographical journey of Jessica Fisher who was a successful stand up comic who at the young age of 23 looked obesity square in the face and laughed on stage in New York City. She captured audiences with her self-deprecating fat humor.

I routed the film to three of our community members to watch and review and this is what they had to say:

“I enjoyed viewing her story. My favorite part was seeing how much her dad loves her. You could just see it in his face. Such a special thing!” Kim Stover, Golden State Contributor to LivingAfterWLS.

“Very insightful and a “peek” ahead.” Maxine, mother of Elizabeth who had WLS in May this year.

“OMG!!! So much of her story parallels my own. How her big dream was all she lived for. But since her surgery her goals have changed.” Diane Shields, frequent contributor to LivingAfterWLS.

You can order this DVD from Amazon. If you’ve seen it we’d love to hear what you thought! Post your comment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Community Milestone: 700 And Counting!

Good morning everyone!

I am so excited to tell you we’ve exceeded 700 subscribers here at the LivingAfterWLS community. This is a big deal because on June 1, just 4 months ago, we had only 51 subscribers. Turns out there our lots of us out there looking for support and community in this long-term living after weight loss surgery. Thanks to reader interest I am actively pursing the online private forums and other growth opportunities to improve this website and our ability for community interaction. Thank you so much for the continued interest as this site grows.

If you have a moment, please complete the Reader Survey as this is part of the data collection process in order to present a need to our sponsors for improved site features. It only takes a minute and your feedback is valuable.

For those who haven’t subscribed yet please join the fun. The quick form adds you to the list for our free exclusive monthly newsletter “You Have Arrived”. The next issue will be delivered Monday, October 3. The topic is a good one, all about living day-to-day in the exact same world that made us fat. What to eat at the movies, how to decline the food pushers, coping when sickness (dumping/vomiting) strikes at bad times, and interacting with the “normal” tummies. I think you will enjoy!

Yesterday a new subscriber wrote, “It seems to me that there are numerous web sites geared toward pre-op and newly post-op WLS patients - so nice to finally find one that recognizes that I may still need some help and support even after being over a year post-op. Thank you!”

Again, please accept my heartfelt appreciation to all of you for being here, for sending comments and emails in support of this project. It is so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one struggling to stay on track long-term after WLS. For a long time I thought I was all alone in life after WLS, but that’s not true. We are all in this together. With compassionate understanding community support we can all do a little better each day. Thank you all for being there for me.

Best Wishes,

Monday, September 26, 2005

Quick Supper: Mustard Crumb Chicken

Tonight I tried this quick chicken – it was super easy, super fast and DELICIOUS! I served it with a side of steamed green beans. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon lemon
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
Salt & pepper
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven broiler.

Combine mustard, honey and lemon in a small bowl.

Line broiler pan with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray and place chicken breasts on it. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Brush with mustard mixture. Broil for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and working carefully sprinkle ¼ cup dry bread crumbs over, gently pressing. Spray with cooking spray. Broil until cooked through (about 7 more minutes).

Pregnancy After WLS: What Do We Know?

We have some ladies here at LivingAfterWLS who have done a remarkable job with their weight loss surgery. Some of them hope to become pregnant once they've sustained their weight loss. They are facing questions about whether or not a healthy pregnancy is healthy after WLS. I've pulled this article from the archives. Write to me if you have questions or experience to share with our readers.

Is a Healthy Pregnancy Possible After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

By Kaye Bailey

When a woman in the child bearing years undergoes gastric bypass surgery to lose weight one of the first things she will hear from the nay-sayers is that after surgery she cannot have a healthy pregnancy because of presumed nutritional deficiencies. The contrary is true. Morbid obesity results in a high rate of complicated pregnancies and a high rate of miscarriage. Women who become pregnant after achieving weight loss with gastric bypass generally have lower risk pregnancies than morbidly obese women.

The United States Surgeon General lists several reproductive complications associated with pregnancy in women who are obese. Complications include an increased risk of death in both the baby and the mother and increases the risk of maternal high blood pressure by 10 times. In addition to many other complications, women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely to have gestational diabetes and problems with labor and delivery.

The Surgeon General concludes that Infants born to women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely to be high birth weight and, therefore, may face a higher rate of Cesarean section delivery and low blood sugar (which can be associated with brain damage and seizures). Obesity during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

In a study by Dr. Alan C. Wittgrove, past president of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and pioneer of the laparoscopic technique, post-gastric bypass pregnancy indicates fewer risks than commonly reported by women who are obese during pregnancy. His study was conducted with nurse-practitioner Leslie Jester who had a low-risk pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby after gastric bypass surgery.

The Wittgrove Center has an active patient list of over 2000 people. The patients are informed to contact the Center when they become pregnant. In the study 41 women in the patient population became pregnant. Using personal interview, questionnaire, and review of perinatal records, pregnancy-related risks and complications were studied.

The study found less risk of gestational diabetes, macrosomia, and cesarean section than associated with obesity. There were no patients with clinically significant anemia.

Dr. Wittgrove concluded, “Since the patients had an operation that restricts their food intake, some basic precautions should be taken when they become pregnant. With this in mind, our patients have done well with their pregnancies. The post-surgical group had fewer pregnancy-related complications than did an internally controlled group that were morbidly obese during their previous pregnancies.”

Copyright © 2005 Kaye Bailey - All Rights Reserved.

Article Source:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Kaye's Monday Message

Hello Everyone!

This is an exciting week for five of our LivingAfterWLS community members. Rachal, Cherie, Angela, Meshell and Coleen will all begin their new lives with weight loss surgery. Please send some special warm thoughts to them.

To the readers in the Pre-OP phase I’m happy to say we have the LivingAfterWLS Pre-Ops page online – I hope you find the content there useful as you begin your journey. Be sure to read Andie Jamari’s article: “Courage to Face WLS.” I know you will be as inspired by her heartfelt story as I am.

Did you happen to read the Parade magazine in your Sunday newspaper yesterday? The topic: Heart health and raising healthy children with mindfulness toward teaching healthy habits that they may carry to adult life. For more information be sure to visit “Creating a Healthier Generation” sponsored by the American Heart Association/Clinton Foundation Alliance. I know those of us who grew up overweight and have undergone WLS are particularly sensitive to helping children avoid that which we have suffered.

I hope you all have a terrific week. Take a minute and review the Four Rules. Remember following these basic principals is the best thing you can do to keep your body chemistry balanced, to sustain your weight loss or weight maintenance and ensure your overall physical and mental health. You deserve to treat your body well and keep LivingAfterWLS.

Best wishes,

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Message from Kaye

I normally don’t post a “Message from Kaye” on Friday but there are a couple of things I wanted to mention today.

First, I am asking for warm thoughts and prayers for one of our readers, Donna, who is evacuating from the Galveston, Texas area in front of Hurricane Rita. Donna is a generous beautiful lady and I’m wishing her the best at this time. And to others on the Gulf Coast as well: Godspeed.

Secondly, I would like to welcome a brand new community member, Mary, who is celebrating her 1-year anniversary today. I was so inspired by her comment I thought that everyone would enjoy meeting Mary. She wrote, “Today is my one year anniversary and I have lost 132 lbs. so far. I am far from skinny but I am now wearing a size 16 for the first time in many, many years. Life is good! However I recently had to start fighting the munchies and can use all of the "Support Info" there is out there. So I look forward to receiving your newsletters. Thank you.” Please wish Mary “Happy 1-Year Anniversary!” I think she'll enjoy the support of the LivingAfterWLS community.

These are hard times in our country. I wish you all a safe and happy weekend surrounded by the people you love. Take care and keep LivingAfterWLS.


Autumn Stews: WLS Friendly Suppers

This time of year when the air turns chilly I love to cook hearty stews. I’ve found since having WLS stews are easily tolerated and a great way to incorporate vegetables and fiber in my diet. There are so many great flavors to explore the palate is engaged and satisfied. Here are three of my favorite Autumn Stews. I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes!

Chicken & Carrot Stew
Quick Beef Burgundy
Turkey Gumbo

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Kim Has Skinny Legs!!!

Our frequent contributor and my good friend Kim Stover underwent a surgical thigh lift yesterday. She is home today recovering nicely and has found a way to use the computer laying down. For the next two weeks she must lay down or stand, she cannot be in a sitting position. I look forward to update from her soon.

Thighplasty – Reconstructive Surgery of the Thigh

A leg lift, also known as a thigh lift or “thighplasty,” is designed to rid the loose, hanging skin in the thigh and buttocks, which tends to remain on a patient’s body following significant weight loss. A leg lift is intended to tighten and firm these areas, improving overall body contour. Candidates for thighplasty are usually those who have had extreme weight gains and losses or have developed laxity due to age. The thighplasty removes lax skin and fat and places the scars in locations that can be hidden within the bikini line. Like any surgical procedure there are risks and benefits that will be discussed at your consultation.

Length: About 2 to 4 hours, depending on the extent of lift required.

Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, pain and discomfort, numbness, and soreness. Possible reaction to anesthesia.

Recovery Back to work: 1 to 2 weeks. Strenuous activity: 4 to 6 weeks.

Risks Scarring, wound healing problems, infection, blood or fluid collection, loss of sensation, asymmetry, wrinkling of skin, lumpiness, areas of depression. Nerve damage may cause weakness in foot or leg. Possibility of permanent discoloration.

Results Long-lasting, but subject to weight fluctuation.

Technology: Commonly during a leg lift, an incision is made in the upper inner thighs (possibly into the lower inner thigh), and the excess skin and fat is lifted at the surgeon’s discretion. He or she will determine how much can safely be removed. Once the excess is removed, the remaining skin is closed with sutures that can be removed in about a week. The type of incision and a patient’s resulting scar will be determined by the location and amount of excess skin and fat. It may be limited to the upper groin crease or possibly extend to the knee area if this region requires treatment.

For other reconstructive procedures after weight loss link to the LivingAfterWLS Body Reconstruction page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Vitamin Trouble? Take a Tip from Caroline

One of our community members, Caroline, passed along this great hint for taking medicine and vitamins in the early post-op phase after weight loss surgery when swallowing is so difficult. She writes, “Take a tablespoon, coat the bottom with a thin layer of applesauce. Powder your meds as needed, then place on the layer of applesauce. Put a dollop of applesauce on top. The whole thing slides down your throat like a raw shucked oyster. Slurp and it's gone. I barely get a taste of anything anymore, including my ultra-bitter vicodins.”

Caroline, who is a writer, had her surgery on September 9, 2005 and has already started writing her experience. I expect we will hear much more from her in the future. Thanks, Caroline, for sharing this great hint!

Food Police:
People Patrolling You After WLS

Are you supposed to be eating that?
Can you have that?
Is that allowed on your diet?
Boy – you sure did eat a lot – is that allowed?
Isn’t that going to make you sick?
I heard you can’t eat after WLS. Why are you eating?

Any of this sound familiar?

There is something about being public with weight loss surgery that makes others believe they have permission to become volunteer “Food Police” monitoring every move when it comes to our eating. One of our community members told me her skinny sister actually asked her, “I thought that surgery was supposed to make you stop eating and look at you with the food!” She was eating a small portion of poached chicken breast. Why the nerve! Poached chicken breast after WLS!

Another woman received a citation from the volunteer food patrol, she was eating a saltine cracker when she took her vitamins: “I thought it was against ‘The Rules’ to eat carbohydrates! You are really going to mess this thing up eating carbs.” Really now! You know I’m a rule pusher and preach “protein first” all the time. But you know, sometimes having a saltine with the vitamins is the only way to avoid stomach upset and it is not going to mess-up the surgery.

So why do outsiders feel it appropriate to become our food police?

The first thing psychologists will tell us is we give others permission to patrol our behavior. In many cases this is probably true. When I first had WLS my self-esteem was so low I had the confidence of a doormat. So my ability to defend my WLS and my eating behavior allowed others to monitor and comment. This did nothing to buoy my spirit or boost my confidence. In fact, having been a sneak eater, I continued through much of the weight loss phase to eat in private out of sight from the critiques. Today I will ignore or defend my WLS and my behavior, but six years ago, I was incapable of either ignoring or defending myself and I took every comment to heart. Rough way to go, don’t you think?

Another reason, I believe, that others feel it appropriate to police us is the fact that we chose the presumed “easy way out”. There is a certain envy, particularly from those who are obese and dieting conventionally, that compels people to judge. Sometimes it almost feels they are hopeful we will “fail” at this easy way out. By pointing out something they perceive to be a violation of the surgery they can inflict feelings of failure upon us, which does what? Makes us feel like failures. Have you experienced that? Our community member, eating the poached chicken breast said she felt “guilty” for eating! Mission accomplished by her sister, the self-appointed food police.

Finally, I do believe there are well meaning people patrolling us, offering feedback because they genuinely care about us and our success with WLS. Sometimes their patrolling may come across as criticism because we are sensitive, but also because they do not know how to offer it in a constructive manner. My husband, and you all know I adore the man to pieces and he is my biggest supporter, has sometimes watched me eat something and asked, “Are you sure you want to try that?” He is sincere and genuine with this feedback and I know this. But a little part of me resents it too and I want to scream back, “I know what I can eat and cannot eat!” But you know, he’s also been the one to get me through numerous dumping/vomiting episodes and his concern is to avoid that. He is giving feedback for a valid reason in the most sensitive manner possible and I appreciate him for that.

How to cope with Food Police:
I don’t believe there is one perfect coping skill for all of us when it comes to the food police. But here are some strategies I’ve found for dealing with self-appointed food monitors.

Identify the motive: In the case of my husband, he has seen me get sick and he hopes to help me avoid getting sick. In this case I can accept his policing with the kindness in which it is rendered. In the case of the skinny sister over the poached chicken, her motive is to hurt and belittle.

Acknowledge or Ignore the “citation”
It has taken time but these days if my husband mentions something I’m eating I am able to pause and consider his feedback. Today I can say, “You know, sweetheart, you are right. I don’t need to get sick tonight.” This wasn’t easy at first but now it seems natural. As many of us struggle on the long road after WLS it is a good idea to have a few well-intentioned police to kindly help keep us on track. Find your supporters and let them know how they can be helpful because nobody should go this route alone.

In the case of skinny sister our reader could have acknowledged the comment saying “I appreciate your concern. It seems you have a misunderstanding about WLS. Would you like me to share with you how, with the help of surgery, I’ve changed my eating and lifestyle habits to improve my health?” Chances are the sister doesn’t want to listen but it is clear the error is the sisters, not our friend eating some great lean protein.

While many will disagree, sometimes the best course of action is to ignore completely the comment or citation. I believe there are people who use policing to engage in a debate over the merits of WLS, over the personal fortitude of the WLS patient and simply want to antagonize someone who is doing the best they can to fight the disease of obesity with the best medical means available. Such people will not be persuaded to think well of WLS or the person who has it. They may be arrogant and feel it their superior right to criticize, often in front of others, the WLS patient. When I find myself pitted against this person I do anything possible to disengage from the moment. This could mean exiting the room, turning my attention away from the antagonist or deflecting it by saying, “I would love to talk about WLS with you at another time.” The antagonist will bully and push but I will not engage myself in discussion. Six years ago I could not do this, but today I can.

I don’t remember reading about the food police before WLS. But they sure have been patrolling my plate the last six years. The skills above are the best I’ve found for personally coping with this social phenomena. What skills have you developed to manage your food police?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate

To feed our nutritional needs we know that after weight loss surgery we must supplement our diet with calcium. Most bariatric centers are recommending calcium citrate as it is considered to be the best absorbed source of calcium available. Calcium is the primary mineral responsible for strong bones. Because the body can't produce calcium, a balanced diet, regular exercise, healthy lifestyle choices and adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D can play a key role in maintaining bone health.

The LivingAfterWLS vitamin affiliate, Puritan's Pride, supplies a fantastic liquid calcium supplement. It's Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate (product #8043) and has a pleasant orange flavor. Each tablespoon provides 600mg Calcium Citrate, 300mg Magnesium Citrate and 400 IU Vitamin D. Right now they are offering a 16 oz. bottle for $13.44, 50% off the regular price. If you buy 3 bottles you get 60% off for a total of $32.26. I've tried this supplement, it's easy to take and packs a lot of good nutrition in a tablespoon of flavorful liquid. If you are having a difficult time taking calcium this may be a good option for you.

Open this link and enter product #8043 in the SEARCH box.

Up to 60% off Already Low Priced Vitamins!

Best of Health,

Sunday, September 18, 2005

September 19: Kaye's Monday Message

Hello Everyone!

We have three community members undergoing weight loss surgery this week. Please send your warm thoughts and good wishes RoseAnn, Lisa and Reye. In addition, our frequent contributor Kim Stover will undergo a medical thigh lift on Wednesday. She has agreed to share with the LivingAfterWLS community her experience in this skin removal procedure. Please send warm wishes to Kim and check in later in the week for an update.

The LivingAfterWLS homepage continues to evolve. Please link-back often for updates and upgrades as the site grows to better support long-term living after WLS. On Tuesday we are adding two new pages: “WLS Pre-Ops”, and “Procedures & Calculators”.

The special issue September 15th "You Have Arrived" was delivered to inboxes Thursday, September 15. This is the "Anniversary" issue celebrating three people at different stages in the LivingAfterWLS experience. Don’t miss it: Subscribe Today!

Have a great week!

Weight Loss Stalled? Sneak In Extra Steps

I can hear the groaning, “Here she goes again nagging about the exercise!” But the facts are clear: study after study concludes sneaking in a few more steps throughout the day will facilitate weight loss. The beauty of sneaking in a few extra steps is it never has to be painful: in fact walking just 5 minutes adds 500 steps to your day. Do that four times and you’ve logged a mile!

Here are a few ideas for adding 5-minute 500-steps to your day:

Take a brisk 5-minute walk with the dog in the morning.
Park to the back of the parking lot at the office.
Find an errand you can do walking.
Vacuum the carpet for 5 minutes.
Take a 5-minute walking break in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Take an evening walk during your peak snacking/grazing time.

How do you add 5-minute, 500-steps to your busy day?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Seeking LivingAfterWLS Reader Opinions

One of the goals of "LivingAfterWLS" is to develop an online private forum platform where we can share and learn from one another. My vision is of a safe place where we support one another, never competing or comparing. LivingAfterWLS is a place of understanding and compassion, never judgement or ridicule; we have endured enough of that in our lifetimes.

In the interest of establishing a need for such a community data needs to be collected. If you are so inclined, please link to the survey on the LivingAfterWLS website and take a moment to answer a few quick questions. I appreciate your time and look forward to providing LivingAfterWLS a safe compassionate community dialog.

Yours in the journey,

Potassium Rich Recipes for LivingAfterWLS

Low on potassium? Eat a banana! We’ve heard it all of our life. But did you know there are many foods rich in potassium, which are better tolerated than the banana by most weight loss surgery patients? Foods such as apricots, butternut squash, grapefruit, salmon, halibut and chicken are all potassium powerhouses. By incorporating these foods in our meals after gastric bypass we benefit from flavor, variety and healthful nutrients and perhaps stave-off some of the food boredom we all complain about. In addition, we know WLS patients are at risk of potassium deficiency so why not get some the old fashioned way – delicious home cooked food.

Take a look at these four recipes and see if they just don’t make your mouth water. And the good news, they all take less than 1-hour to prepare. All are great served the next day, too. I hope you enjoy!

Grapefruit-Broiled Salmon
Grilled Chicken with Fresh Apricot Sauce
Mushroom Smothered Baked Halibut
Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash

LivingAfterWLS Recipe Index

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Four Stages of Growth After WLS

One of our wonderful contributors and success stories, Diane Shields, asked me to pull this article forward. It's about the growth stages after WLS that many patients report. I hope you enjoy, and thanks Diane for the suggestion. Best wishes everyone! Kaye

Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) is often viewed as a quick fix for morbid obesity. One day a person is fat, the next they are not. While it may appear to onlookers that a gastric bypass patient is losing the weight without personal struggle or effort, this really isn’t true. WLS patients must follow four rules for success and they experience four phases of growth following surgery.

The four rules for successful weight loss and long-term weight maintenance are: Eat protein first; No snacking, Drink lots of water and Exercise daily. Adherence to these rules moves the patient smoothly through the four stages of bariatric growth which I define as: Conception, Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity.

Conception begins when patients consider surgery as a treatment for morbid obesity. It could be prompted by a life threatening illness such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, asthma, heartburn or sleep apnea. Or perhaps lifestyle prompts it – a person may lack the energy to play with their children or pursue the activities they love. Maybe self-esteem is so low because of obesity that a drastic measure – surgery – is needed to restore a sense of self-worth.

Conception is followed by birth, an event left entirely to a carefully selected surgeon and staff of healthcare professionals. The surgeon partitions off most of the stomach creating a pocket or pouch that will hold one ounce of food. In most gastric bypass surgeries the digestive system is re-routed to bypass the intestine and shortcut to the bowel. This prevents too many calories from being absorbed and stored by the body in the form of fat. The patient wakes from the surgery a bariatric infant.

Infancy On the second day of my WLS infancy my surgeon stood at my hospital bedside and showed me a cup, the size in which sacramental communion is offered and he said “This is the size of your stomach now.”

Just like bringing a newborn home from the hospital the bariatric patient brings home a tiny newborn tummy that has all kinds of requirements and restrictions. This new tiny tummy is completely foreign to the behaviors and habits that caused obesity. There is not one single thing an obese person has done in the past that they can continue doing. Patients who strictly follow the four rules quickly become acquainted with their new tiny tummy. This is the time of rapid weight loss. For the first time most morbidly obese patients are consistently losing lots of weight, something they have never experienced before. Infancy for most bariatric patients lasts from nine to 18 months.

Similar to parents of a firstborn child who focus completely on their new baby, during bariatric infancy patients completely focus on their new tiny tummy. Then one day, without fanfare, they wake up and rediscover themselves. They enter adolescence.

Adolescence Adolescence is the stage when patients test the system. Many patients don’t dump, vomit, snack or eat the forbidden foods until they reach adolescence. But once they approach or reach target weight a mental bad boy shows up in a shiny black corvette saying take a ride on the wild side. So a patient jumps in the bad boy’s fast ride and speeds down a dangerous road. They break the rules! Perhaps they eat sugar which results in a blood sugar imbalance called “dumping” or they may stuff themselves with starchy carbs causing vomiting. In the worst case, a patient returns to snacking, a little treat of hard candy here and a handful of popcorn there. Mark my words, nothing stops-short weight loss or maintenance more quickly than a little bit of rule breaking. But like any teenager, we all have to learn it on our own.

The good news: the duration of adolescence is up to the patient! A patient only hurts themselves when they break the rules. Successful WLS patients commit to themselves early to be in control of their own gastric bypass growth cycle. However, some WLS patients get stuck in adolescence. I’ve heard many say, “Oh, I can eat anything I want, just not much of it.” Don’t believe it for a minute. They aren’t saying how often they vomit, or dump or how they never quite achieved their weight loss goal. Weight loss patients who eat anything they want are abusing their tool and stuck in perpetual adolescence.

Maturity At maturity a patient understands the gastric bypass system and is living the life they dreamed. They have achieved desired weight loss and are maintaining a healthy weight. A diligent patient can enjoy this phase for the rest of their life.

I believe WLS maturity is reached when patients understand one word: respect. Respect for the tiny tummy, respect for the science of the body, and respect for oneself. Sure, we all experience an occasional lapse of judgment; that old lover of ours – food - is flaunting temptations every single day. But the gastric bypass patient is a brave and powerful person.

Successful patients build on infant and teenage experiences and become an adult embracing all the good things gastric bypass has facilitated. The battle against obesity isn’t easy; patients will fight old habits for the rest of their life. Gastric bypass is a tool, a weapon in the battle against obesity, but it is the patient who wins the war.

Article Source:

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gastrogastric Fistual Following WLS:
Community Member Shares Story

We have a reader who could use some warm thoughts from our LivingAfterWLS community. Margo had surgery on July 11th. On August 18th she suffered a setback when a gastrogastric fistula was identified in the surgical area of her stomach. The fistula was identified with an upper gastrointestinal contrast studie (UGI).

A fistula is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel or intestine that results from trauma or surgery. In gastric bypass the separation of the gastric pouch from the main stomach decreases the incidence of fistula formation and stomal ulcer but does not eliminate it. Leakage of ingested food through the fistula may allow the small pouch to empty faster, leading to increased volume of meals and increased appetite. Patients stop losing weight or begin regaining weight. Surgical intervention may be necessary to correct the fistula.

In Margo's case the leakage was causing vague symptoms such as nausea a couple of hours after eating. She said after two times of trying to vomit producing nothing but bile she knew her pouch was working. Margo added, "Luckily, after that I kept myself from retching, or I might have made it worse. I felt increasing but very vague pain in my stomach, but not necessarily in the area I knew my pouch resided. I went back to liquids only, and that did not help, either. This lead to the Upper GI."

Fortunately she was early enough post-op on a limited liquid and soft food diet that she did not experience peritonitis, inflammation of the abdominal organs due to bacteria from the intestinal gastric contents.

After the fistula was identified Margo was put on IV feeding and her weight loss has stopped. She said, "I am hanging in, but just barely. Still glad I had WLS, though, and glad I discovered LivingAfterWLS."

Nearly a month after identifying the fistula Margo is still on the IV feed but is able to add a few things to her diet. "I have had a second Upper GI and the fistula has improved a bit. My doctor now has me drinking liquids: when I get up to 48 oz of liquid, and 400 calories (of protein drink) for "several days" I can abandon the IV feeding and go back to square one. I'll spend 2 weeks on a liquid diet, and then begin to add soft foods. I'll have at least one or two more UGI's."

Margo says it hasn't been easy to keep a positive spirit. "I want to add my positive spirit does not come naturally-I have been deeply depressed, but at least now I have something to aim for, and that has helped quite a bit."

Take a minute to send some warm vibes her way, and leave her a comment here. I'm sure she'd love to know how much we are pulling for her. She said, "I appreciate your prayers and interest a lot, and am determined to muddle through this setback-and any others thrown my way-because I want to continue to lose weight so I can live!"

Monday, September 12, 2005

Six Years Ago Today

September 13, 1999

Do you remember where you were six years ago today?

I do. It was the day I underwent gastric bypass surgery – a day that changed my life forever.

I don’t recall much about that day. I remember feeling embarrassed lying on the preparation table, my enormous belly exposed to be cleansed antiseptically. I remember feeling frightened, but calm with a total acceptance that gastric bypass surgery was the best decision for me. I remember the anesthesiologist, a beautiful woman, not very old and not very big.

Then I went to sleep.

I woke up puking violently, an unpleasant reaction to anesthesia. I didn’t have my glasses so things were blurry, particularly the flowers from my husband. And I can remember a push-button device that helped me sleep. Later that night I realized I was not yet smaller. In fact my stomach was bloated and sore. In my drug induced vagueness I became convinced the surgeon had mistakenly done the wrong operation because I was getting bigger, not smaller.

The day after surgery my surgeon visited me, taught me to drink tiny sips of water, patted my hand and told me I was going to do just fine. I remember walking around the hospital hallway. I remember a female nurse bathing me. I remember a very good-looking male nurse – he didn’t bathe me. Rats! I remember drinking some nasty liquid chalk and getting an x-ray to confirm my stomach had been whacked, stapled and bypassed. I remember the super-sized wheel chair and being embarrassed that it fit just fine.

I remember being discharged from the hospital to spend the next several days in a hotel room because we had traveled a great distance for my “last resort” surgery. I watched “Mame” on TBS several times. The sofa at the hotel was scratchy. My husband and I went on “outings” each day, little drives around a strange town. He emptied my surgical drain for me. I thought it was disgusting.

One week after surgery we went to Sea World where I wept in profound disbelief at the great whales circling the pool and performing flawlessly for a bite of fish. Being from out-of-town, we sat in the “Splash Zone”. Turns out those warnings are for a reason. The great swimming mammal whacked his tail and we were drenched!

On Thursday of the second week Leslie, the darling nurse and counselor herself a WLS patient, removed my drain. We could go home. She asked me the four rules and I repeated them to her. She told me, “Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Learn everything you can. If you don’t learn early to follow the rules and take care of yourself you can regain this weight.”

Starry eyed and hopeful we packed ourselves in the car and headed for home. Almost 1,500 miles later we pulled into the driveway of home sweet home. My fabulous husband said to me, “Welcome to your new life – You Have Arrived.”

Reader Question
Need Help Getting Protein in the “Blenderized” Diet Stage

One of our new community members wrote with this question:

“I am now 1 week into the Blenderized Diet (Stage 111) and I am going out of my mind on what to eat, I cannot even smell the blenderized meats, eggs and fish. Baby foods are horrible. Can anyone give me recipes to get me through this step with protein?”

Here is the general recommendation for the blenderized phase of gastric bypass:

Note: All foods must be of a consistency of thinned mashed potatoes. Add non-fat dry milk powder to all foods and beverages to increase the protein.

  • Skim or 1% milk
  • “No Sugar Added” Carnation Instant Breakfast made with skim milk
  • Blenderized soups (make with skim milk instead of water)
  • Blenderized fruit added to shakes made with skim milk and light/nonfat yogurt
  • Blenderized meat added to blenderized cream soups or mashed potatoes
  • Cooked cereal thinned with skim milk (oatmeal, grits, Cream of Wheat)
  • Thin blenderized casseroles
  • Blenderized beans (black, pintos, lima, kidney, lima, northern, butter, lentils)
  • Unsweetened applesauce with non-fat dry milk powder
  • Fat-free refried beans with melted fat-free/reduced fat cheese
  • Mashed potatoes made with skim milk
  • Blended sugar-free yogurt
  • Cottage cheese (fat-free/low fat)

  • You will start with small amounts of these liquids because you will feel full quickly. At first you will have to drink small amounts frequently (2-4 ounces at a time). After a few days your daily intake of the liquids listed above should be at least 24 ounces (3 cups). Eventually you will be able to take 3 liquid meals of 4-6 ounces each. Drink slowly. It should take 30 minutes or more to drink 4-6 ounces (1/2 to 3/4 cup).

    Now, for those of us who have survived this phase, let’s share some of the tricks we learned to help others who may be struggling with the pureed foods. Post your comments here. Thanks, Kaye

    Vitamin Sale Extended for LivingAfterWLS!!!

    Due to the overwhelming response from LivingAfterWLS readers Puritan's Pride, our vitamin affiliate, has extended the buy one get two FREE sale just for us. You can still enjoy the tremendous savings if you order through Monday September 12. Link below.

    Hurry! Buy 1, Get 2 FREE Vitamin Sale Ends 9/07/05

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    Sept. 12: Monday Message from Kaye

    Hello Everyone!

    We have six community members undergoing surgery this week to start their new lives. Please send your warm thoughts and good wishes to Dawn, Linda, Jane, Kim, Candy & Verna!

    One of these remarkable women, Dawn, has been running a weight loss surgery group. She told me, “Over a year and a half ago I wanted to meet people who have had weight loss surgery, so I e-mailed many people and before I knew it, I was running a WLS support group. We outgrew my home and now meet at my public library. I became officially trained by and am now a Chapter Leader. Ironically, I have NOT had the surgery yet.” Dawn’s surgery is today. Having spent so much time with WLS patients Dawn knows the road ahead is challenging. But armed with her WLS tool, her knowledge and a strong faith she will do just fantastic. Best wishes.

    The LivingAfterWLS homepage continues to evolve. Please link-back often for updates and upgrades as the site grows to better support long-term living after WLS.

    The special issue September 15th "You Have Arrived" will be delivered to inboxes Thursday, September 15. This is the "Anniversary" issue with lots of great ideas for understanding long-term life after WLS. Don’t miss it: SubscribeToday!

    Have a great week!

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Newbies: Eat Your Protein!

    Our Golden State Contributor, Kim Stover, recently provided this advice for our friend Malu in the Philippines. It is sensible advice for newbies and a good reminder for the old timers too.

    "My advice to you is eat your protein! Fish and chicken should be your best friends. I'm guessing that you aren't dropping weight very fast (although you are doing a tremendous job) due to the fact that you aren't getting enough nutrients. Your body is in preservation mode and it is doing its job perfectly...saving you from starving to death! You need to trick your body into thinking that it's getting more than it needs. This means taking ALL of your vitamins EVERY day, having plenty of protein and eventually some complex carbohydrates. Oh, and of course, water. Don't drink anything with calories, as that is a huge waste."

    "If you are having trouble getting fish and chicken to stay down, I'm guessing that you aren't chewing it well enough. It should become the consistency of applesauce. To start out, drain a can of chicken soup and eat the solids. Everything is super soft and you should take 30 minutes to eat. Slow is the key to not puking! If you can, buy some protein powder that has less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. You may need to order it on line. I like the chocolate flavors and stick to a whey protein. In the beginning, I couldn't stand to drink those thick shakes. I would take a scoop of the protein powder, add just enough water to make it a paste and would add a packet of Splenda. I could get 35 grams of protein in my body in just 4 bites. I'd have this "pudding" after breakfast and after lunch. "

    "Three keys to succeed at this weight loss game. Exercise every day, get your recommended daily protein in every day and take your vitamins every day. Do this every day and you'll be at a healthy weight in no time."

    Thanks Kim, as always, for sharing your fantastic wisdom. By the way, last Saturday Kim celebrated the 2-year anniversary of her WLS re-birth. She has provided a special article "Hello Little Body" for the upcoming issue of our newsletter "You Have Arrived". This special issue will be delivered to subscribers Thursday, September 15. Subscribe today - it's free!

    Hurricane Katrina & American Red Cross

    Dear Readers -

    It feels so helpless to watch the news from Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. So many lives lost, dreams shattered and hearts broken. We have some LivingAfterWLS community members in this part of the country - my thoughts and prayers are them and their families.

    I've added a link to the American Red Cross - the site is loaded with information about this disaster, including a family registry.

    My best to you all,

    Friday, September 09, 2005

    Living After WLS is Tough!
    Knowledge is Key to Success

    by Kaye Bailey
    Considering or having weight loss surgery is one of the most arduous personal decisions an obese person may ever face. Being fully informed when considering WLS is paramount when making the best decision for long term success with surgery. I've found a fantastic resource for people considering weight loss surgery: Weight Loss Surgery Options. This site presents a comprehensive study of obesity surgery including who qualifies, different procedures, and dietary considerations after WLS.

    The video links on this site are particularly informative and profesionally presented. I watched several of the clips and learned many new things. I came away with a better understanding of obesity and weight loss surgery without feeling like I had be "pitched" to as one feels with so many baritric center sponsored sites.

    Weight Loss Surgery Options is produced by Healthology, an editorial staff, which includes physicians, nurses, professional medical journalists and producers, in collaboration with the nation's leading medical experts. All content receives a comprehensive review by Healthology's medical team and a network of medical experts who serve as editorial directors.

    Weight Loss Surgery Options is worth a visit no matter the stage in the journey to control obesity. I've added their link to the LivingAfterWLS blog so you can always find them.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Why Is Gastric Bypass Perceived to be the “Easy Way Out”?

    by Kaye Bailey © 2005 - All Rights Reserved

    If you listen, even for a moment, to the talk in overweight communities you will almost always hear that gastric bypass weight loss surgery is the “easy way out” of fat-land. People with weak spirits and good insurance get a lucky break, have their stomachs whacked and stapled and lose weight the easy way. Weight Loss Surgery: seen by pious public to be surgical baptism for the guilty gluttonous slothful.

    But those of us who step in the water to be cleansed of our fatty sins know better. Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out, a simple dunking of the repentant, the sins atoned, and the price paid, the soul and body healed. We know the atonement is paid every day for the rest of our lives when we set our healthy house in order with gastric bypass.

    We understand that WLS is not easy. Why, then, does the public think it’s redemption to weight loss?

    First: all the public sees is a rapidly diminishing person recently repaired by gastric bypass. The pounds melt away seemingly in a plain sight. What hides behind the public curtain are the ugly demons. Dumping? We don’t talk about it. Vomiting? We don’t tell our regurgitating stories. Head games driving you insane? Who you going to tell? Who is listening? Exercising? Nobody wants to hear about the “E” word. So what the public sees front and center stage is a person consistently succeeding at massive weight loss; a person glowing in their own rebirth and betraying the fat and hopeless around them. How else can it be explained? WLS must be the magic pill, the easy-way-out of obesity purgatory.

    Second: the WLS grass-roots public relations machine tells the public gastric bypass is easy, thus we become our own worst enemy. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar: “I can still eat the same things, just less of them! ha ha ha!” or how about, “I lost 145 pounds and never had to do a moments exercise – WLS is fabulous that way – no exercise required.” And so the popular belief perpetuates that fat glutton slobs can lose weight just by eating less of the same foods and never exercising. Brilliant! How easy is that?

    Let me tell you what weight loss surgery is really like for me.

    I am six years post-op. Two nights ago I vomited my dinner (bacon-seared sea scallops and green beans) because it was just a bit too greasy for my sensitive stomach. A week before that I became deathly ill, it’s called dumping, from snacking mindlessly on Chinese chow mein noodles. Disorientation, hot sweats and then cold chills – dumping – a dire consequence of eating the wrong foods with the malabsorptive system. This morning, just like most mornings, I walked two brisk miles on the treadmill to begin my day. This evening I spent 25 minutes strength training to maintain my muscle tone, keep my metabolism running high and making damn sure I don’t regain one single pound.

    And this is how it will be for the rest of my life. I will vomit, dump, exercise and be vigilant day in and day out if I want this easy weight loss surgery to work for me.

    My body does not take weekends off from weight loss surgery. I don’t get chocolate cake just because it’s my birthday. I do not have a double-cheeseburger with fries and a shake just because I’ve had a stressful day and I deserve it. My body is on the gastric-bypass plan 24-7.

    Do you think that’s easy?

    Weight Loss Surgery post-ops understand what I’m talking about. Lots of us go through a phase of fighting the gastric bypass and engage in snacking or grazing. We out-eat the stomach pouch and regain weight and we become self-loathing. We vomit and dump and do it all over again thinking we can somehow trick the body. Eventually we learn and we get it: WLS is for life.

    Weight loss surgery pre-op patients want badly to understand this, but the dieting culture has taught us to be strict for X-number days and then we get a free day. The culture has taught us if we can stick to a plan for X-weeks and lose X-pounds then we can “get back to normal”. We are all expert dieters by the time we elect to have gastric bypass surgery.

    There is no back to normal after WLS – it is a lifetime lifestyle commitment.

    So we here in the LivingAfterWLS community get it – we know this is, in fact, the bittersweet game of life after WLS. How do we convince others that gastric bypass is not the “easy way out”? After all, being judged for taking the easy way out is one of the most painful things WLS patients’ face.

    First: We must accept that this is a judgement we alone cannot conquer. Misinformation and celebrity spotlights have perpetuated the belief that WLS is easy, painless and without sacrifice on behalf of the patient. The public, of which 60% are obese, will always chose to believe WLS is the easy way out. Any patient who goes public with their surgery will face criticism, scorn and judgement. This is a simple fact borne of jealousy and misunderstanding. Engaging in a defensive strategy seldom yields converts, it only distresses the person who had the surgery and who is already beaten-down from years of internal and external loathing. Accept that we are judged for having managed our personal health crisis with the best long-term option that medical science has produced.

    Second: We have to stop the internal PR monster that bolsters perception WLS is easy. One of our frequent contributors, Kim Stover did this rather successfully in her workplace. Kim said, “I didn't tell anyone except for immediate family that I was having WLS done prior to doing it. I kept it to myself because I didn't want a single ounce of negative feedback from anyone. I didn't want to walk in on a conversation about me not having the will power. About possibly dying. Once I had the surgery and there was no turning back, I had my friend at work send out an email from me that I had wrote earlier, explaining what I was doing and what I expected from everyone when I returned in six weeks. I set the boundaries for everyone and it worked out brilliantly.”

    Kim works in an office of 80 people who commonly share their exercise plans and goals. Because she shares with them Kim’s co-workers know the exact cost she pays, every single day, to lose weight, to maintain her weight loss, to be healthy. I suspect Kim has never sat at the conference room table gobbling a Krispy-Kreme doughnut and laughing, “I can eat anything I want, just less”. No! Kim sits at that table with her protein bars, her sliced apples and her vitamin pack and water bottle. She is honest and forthright about the cost of WLS. She is proud of her accomplishment and accomplishment is just that: achievement with effort, perseverance and genuine stubbornness.

    Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. Is the last resort for people who are dying slow ugly deaths from complications related to morbid obesity. Patients exchange the cost of dying for the cost of living. It is the best “cure” medical science has produced for a disease that kills more than 600,000 people in the United States each year.

    Easy way out? Not hardly.

    The best way out for many of us? Absolutely.

    Malu Fernandez: WLS In The Philippines

    Imagine living in a country where ladies size 10 is "Plus" and 150 pounds is considered obese. Imagine being 300+ pounds and living in that country. Imagine yearning to have gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and regain mobility, but the cost of surgery and travel to the United States is too much. Imagine then that a team of US trained surgeons brought weight loss surgery to your country. Then imagine feeling all alone without a support network after having WLS.

    This is the true story of Malu Fernandez, one of our beautiful community members, who writes to us from the Philippines.

    My name is Malu Fernandez. I am 39 years old and I had WLS June 8 2005. I live in the Philippines where a size 10 is considered extra large or a plus size, this I know because I am one of the first people to open a Plus size shop. I had been wanting to have the surgery for the last three years but it was never available in my country. To have it done in the USA would cost me forty to fifty thousand dollars not including the travel expenses. Bear in mind the average income in this third world country is 3000 a year. Plus being 322-lbs meant only business or first class seats another four thousand.

    At any rate a new team of doctors trained in the USA brought the surgery here for only ten thousand dollars. So I did it. The first two weeks were a living hell I puked all day without even eating I was so weak I kept telling myself you paid ten thousand dollars to puke all day what an idiot!

    Like everyone else I was instructed to eat pureed foods which I couldn't even swallow it made me puke even more it felt like I was eating regurgitated food finally I rebelled and ate a soda cracker; it was heaven and I finally stopped puking. To date I lost 40lbs but I seem to be obsessed with my scale and when my weight fluctuates I freak out. I didn't even own a scale for years simply because I just didn't care any more. Getting WLS was just because my mobility was being threatened by my obesity and my health wasn't doing any good either.I have been on diets all my life and none ever worked out I have lost a 100 lbs and gained it back simply because I couldn't control my appetite and I am an emotional eater. WLS helps me control myself because I simply cannot overeat.

    However, in a country where if you weigh 150lbs they call you fat (my sis weighs 93lbs) WLS does not have the same kind of support that the USA has in terms of visits to the nutritionists group therapy etc... There is a support group but there are not enough members to give enough feedback. For instance I can't deal with drinking my vitamins they make me puke what are the alternatives? I can tolerate regular cranberry juice (but stick to diet) I can tolerate diary,I can't tolerate meat(I used to in the beginning) I can only tolerate seafood. Rice which is a staple in Asian food I can barely swallow but I can eat pasta.

    But I don't have anyone here to tell me if what I am doing is right or wrong... my doctor is very competent but he travels all around Asia all the time to perform WLS so he is always out and he says there are no set rules because everyone is unique even in terms of weight loss but I cant help getting paranoid when I hear someone losing 75 lbs in 2 months and I am on my 3rd month only having lost 40lbs.

    This month I got myself enrolled in a gym with a personal trainer who I see 3x a week. I even count my calories and don't exceed 1000 calories a day but still I don't know if I am losing weight fast enough despite the doctor's constant reassurance that I'm fine. My paranoia still exists that I would screw this up just like all my other diets that have failed. But after reading some of the stories on your website I realize that I just need to calm down and be patient and continue to work hard but every day is a constant battle.

    Please leave your comments of support & understanding for Malu. If you would like to send her a personal message Email me and I will forward it to her.

    Thank you Malu, for sharing your brave and inspirational story with LivingAfterWLS.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Update: Kelly McCamey
    "One Last Try" Before WLS

    Remember our brave reader Kelly McCamey? She decided to give conventional dieting one last try before using weight loss surgery as her final hope. Bravely she is sharing her story with LivingAfterWLS. Recently she emailed me her progress and I'm happy to report she is doing fabulous! You will notice she is incorporating many behaviors in her life that we must practice after WLS: She is exercising almost daily, she is not eating fast food, she is taking measurements and marking her progress, and she has surrounded herself with a strong support network. These are all keys to successful weight loss and weight maintenance - with or without WLS.

    by Kelly McCamey
    "I am doing wonderful. I have reached a 3 month mile marker - 25 pounds and now 13 1/2 inches instead of 9. I put "walk away the pounds" in my Jenny Craig program. Probably the best thing I have done as well. I do this 4x a week, regardless of my schedule, it gets done. I put my personal issues aside and told myself, GO GO GO - everyone at work was checking me out as my body has really changed within the last month. My own mother started crying because she could not believe how my body has transformed.

    Kaye, it's not easy, and your writer below is right, I believe that a small percentage will be successful. The reason that I am a success story is because I have control over my MIND. My mind is what put me over the edge. I had it fooled, and I listened to it. Not anymore. I tell my MIND how I feel and look. As the end result, I beat the forces my mind has over food. Oh yes, I do die for that occasional "double cheese burger' with LARGE fries, but eventually I get over it. I have not eaten fast food now for over 3 months. It makes a big difference in my life. If I do go out to eat the only thing I have is a side salad.

    I still think about the surgery, and tell myself, "Kelly, it could be all over if you get the surgery" but then again I still say, "You can also fight this and win, do it on your own".

    My boss came to me today and said that she has the utmost respect for my determination and dedication that I have. She is proud that I did not have the surgery and proud that I have modified my eating habits. I fight the urge everyday, but I also have learned that I don't have to eat all the time to be happy, all I have to do is be active.

    With the inches sliding off, it motivates me more than you know. I have never seen myself so into a program, and my Jenny Craig representative, Sophia gives me all the support I need. I would like to become a counselor for Jenny Craig once I reach my goals. My first goal is to have 45-50 pounds off by Thanksgiving. I am pushing for this and pushing my body the same. I will definitely keep you posted along the way."

    Thanks for sharing, Kelly. We wish you the best as you take yourself to a healthier life!

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    Happy Labor Day! - Monday Message

    Hello Everyone!

    Happy Labor Day! I hope you all have the day off from work or your regular routines and find yourself enjoying your new life.

    We have two community members undergoing surgery this week to start their new lives. Please send your warm thoughts and good wishes to Caroline and Debra!

    This week the LivingAfterWLS Blog will explore some mental issues associated with massive weight loss including “Adjustment Disorder” and “Keeping Secrets”. I hope you’ll stop in and read about these important topics.

    The September issue "You Have Arrived" was delivered to inboxes Thursday, September 1. This is the "Back to School" issue with lots of great ideas for making a fresh start in our LivingAfterWLS. If you missed it please Email Kaye for your exclusive copy. If you have not yet subscribed to LivingAfterWLS link to an on-line easy form. Subscribers receive two email newsletters “You Have Arrived” each month.

    Have a great week!

    Fun Around Town This Labor Day Weekend

    By Susanne Myers

    With gas prices skyrocketing this Labor Day weekend, it may be a good idea to skip the road trip and stay in town. That doesn’t mean you can’t have just as much fun though. Here are a few ideas you can try in lieu of that road trip.

    Go for a Hike
    Go for a day hike and pack a light picnic. Take your time; let the kids play along the way and use this opportunity to teach them about fauna and flora. Without everyday interruptions like TV and radio, you’ll get to spend some quality time with your kids. Plus all of you will get some great exercise along the way.

    If you and your family feel up to it, you can even plan to spend the night either in a tent, or see if you can rent a cabin along the trail. You can turn this into a fun 2 or 3-day mini-vacation. For more information on trails in your area, including thousands of maps, visit (insert trail affiliate link). You can sign up for a free 14-day trial.

    Camping Trip
    When was the last time that you took the kids on a camping trip? This may be the perfect weekend for it. You won’t need much in this warm weather; almost any tent and some comforters or blankets will do. Check out your local state parks for some free camping spots. Plan to get out there early, preferably Friday afternoon, or make a reservation if you can. (affiliate link) not only provides info on hiking and biking maps, but also on camping spots. Join today for a 14-day trial (affiliate link again).

    Spend the weekend exploring the area around your campsite, go for little walks or hikes and roast some hotdogs and marshmallows over the campfire at night. You’ll be creating memories for a lifetime.

    Spend the day at a local amusement park
    Did you take the kids to a local amusement park or water park this season? If not, this may be your last good opportunity. Be prepared for a crowd and long waiting lines though. Your best bet is to go as early as possible and don’t forget to designate a spot to meet at if someone gets lost.

    Spend the day at the zoo
    Load the kids in the car and head down to your local zoo. The zoo is not only a very fun place to visit, but it also gives you an opportunity to teach your children not only about the different animals, but also about geography, colors and shapes etc.

    Take your time and plan for several breaks. Since consignment stand prices within the zoo can be pretty high, you may want to pack a cooler and go out to the car for a parking lot picnic before heading back to see some more animals.

    A little planning can go a long way to make the most of your day at the zoo. Check the zoo’s website for listings on feeding schedules, feature exhibits, etc are going on where and at what time, and make a list of the events you want to catch.

    Go to a different Park each day
    There are so many different parks in my city and every time I pass one, I tell myself that I should stop and check it out – one of these days. Why not take advantage of this long weekend and visit a different park that you’ve never been to each day. You may find some new favorites that you will want to come back to this fall. You never know what you’ll find – a great new playground, a fun trail along the river, some statues and sculptures hidden in the park.

    Check out some local museums
    Look for children’s or nature museums. Don’t miss any special exhibits that may be going on that may interest your kids. You never know, there may be a special dinosaur, outer space, or even old toys and dolls exhibit that your child may be interested in.

    These are just a few ideas to get you started. I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of fun stuff on your own as well. Think back about what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Tell your children about it and then relive the experience and share it with your kids. I’m sure you will have a wonderful, fun-filled Labor Day weekend.

    Susanne Myers is the owner of, a site dedicated to having fun with your kids. She published the Kinderinfo Newsletter twice a month. Sign up at to recieve craft ideas, kid-friendly recipes, articles, product reviews, recall info and even a "Just For Mom" section with a new spa recipe.

    Article Source:

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    WLS Friendly Recipes
    with Mrs. Dash Seasonings

    As we engage in healthful eating after WLS it is good to ensure our food is rich with flavor, but for our health it should be low in fat, low-carb and low-sodium. Available in most grocery stores the Mrs. Dash products bring a punch of healthy flavor to food. The Mrs. Dash website has a terrific recipe database. I've brought from there five of my favorite high-protein, low-sodium, low-carb, low-fat recipes. They are simple to make and family friendly while supporting the LivingAfterWLS way of life. I hope you enjoy!

    Mrs. Dash's Baked Chicken Siciliano

    Mrs. Dash's Southwestern Shrimp Kabobs

    Mrs. Dash's Apple Pork Chops

    Mrs. Dash's Basic Beef Burger

    Mrs. Dash's Scrambled Eggs with Red Pepper & Onion

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    LivingAfterWLS Success: Susan Acedo

    At just 8 months post-op Susan Acedo has experienced some extreme risks associated with gastric bypass surgery, but from her suffering has emerged a bright soul and a "brand new me." Click over the the LivingAfterWLS website and read her full story! Thanks, Susan, for sharing and we wish you many years of health & happiness!