LAWLS Bookstore

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Iron Chef

OK, I admit it. I love to watch Iron Chef. Tonight I watched back to back episodes of Iron Chef America and Iron Chef. I guess I like to torture myself. But tonight at the beginning of Iron Chef was a quote I'd like to pass along that made me think long and hard. Forgive the paraphrasing - I didn't have a pen handy. It said..."tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are". As I thought about this I thought about how I'd like to be described by what I eat. Would I like to be introduced as "This is Julie who eats fast food and junk when she is lonely. She indulges in sweets and garbage when she feels out of control. Although she is bright and funny, she capitalizes on self-deprecating humor to ease uncomfortable low self esteem. And last but not least Julie always finishes desserts down to the last bite." That may be how the old me could have been described. It makes the Iron Chef quote uncomfortably true. Now if I were writing a bio about myself that includes food I would say, "Julie enjoys slicing up apples to dip in low fat yogurt as an idulgant treat for herself and her kids. Before dinner Julie and her 4-year old Max always say a loud concert-like mantra "vegetables ROCK!" She is faithful in reading nutrition labels and plans for meals and snacks ahead of time. Her car never smells of fast food and she always has fresh fruit on her counter". Now you may have an idea about both of these "Julies" from reading my description about food. This has been a good exercise for me and I challenge you to give it a try. "Tell me what you eat - and I'll tell you who you are"... Thank you Iron Chef.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Note to Feedblitz Subscribers

The LivingAfterWLS newsletter “You Have Arrived” was emailed Wednesday evening to our subscriber list. I hope you enjoyed this New Year’s Issue: Fit Is It!

Please note: if you have subscribed to LivingAfterWLS through Feedblitz you automatically receive once-a-day updates when the LAWLS Blog has new posts. To receive the LivingAfterWLS Newsletter “You Have Arrived” please subscribe through the LivingAfterWLS homepage. We want to make sure you are receiving the emails that you want to receive.

Thank You & Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Dec. 26: Kaye's Message

Happy Boxing Day Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed a festive Christmas. LivingAfterWLS is fortunate to have many community members from around the globe. Some of our members in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia are celebrating Boxing Day today.

Boxing Day
Boxing Day in the United Kingdom is traditionally a day for sporting activity, originally fox hunting, but in modern times football and horseracing.

In Canada, and indeed any other county that celebrates it, Boxing Day is also observed as a public holiday, and is a day when stores sell their excess Christmas inventory at significantly reduced prices. Boxing Day has become so important for retailers that they often extend it into a "Boxing Week". This occurs similarly in Australia and New Zealand.

In Australia, the cricket Test match starting on December 26 is called the Boxing Day Test Match, and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before the largest crowd of the summer.

Warm Wishes
We have four community members having their WLS this week. Please send your warmest wishes to Micah, Dana, Joy and Audrey.

You Have Arrived
The January 2006 issue of our newsletter “You Have Arrived” will be delivered to subscriber inboxes early – December 28. This first newsletter of the New Year introduces our “Fit Is It” fitness challenge. Incorporating fitness into our LivingAfterWLS lifestyle is a key component of long-term weight maintenance. It’s also one of the most challenging things to do. This inspiring issue focuses on the importance of fitness and introduces ways to make it a part of our healthy new life. I look forward to presenting the challenge to you. To receive the “You Have Arrived” newsletter Subscribe to LivingAfterWLS – it’s free!

Self-Assessment: How are you doing?
Have you reviewed your LivingAfterWLS Personal Self-Assessment worksheet lately? This is the final week – next week we review the assessment and complete a new one focusing on our goals for the first quarter 2006. Be sure to give yours a look today and start thinking about the next assessment. It is proven that WLS patients who continue to focus on their goals are the most successful with long-term weight loss and maintenance. I’m looking forward to setting new goals for myself and refocusing on my original goal: To achieve and sustain a healthy weight and adopt an overall healthy lifestyle.

Email me if you have not received the LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet – I’ll send it to your email address.

Have a great week! Live Well. Respect yourself and your WLS.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

LAWLS Holiday Greetings from
Kaye & Diane

Joyous LivingAfterWLS Greetings from Kaye

My dear friends!

May this holiday season be filled with joy as you celebrate this special time of year in your new life. Weight Loss Surgery is truly a second chance at healthier living and improved self-worth. I wish you health, confidence and comfort this holiday season. May the best be yours in the coming year.

Joyous Holidays,

Happy Holidays from Diane

Happy Holidays to all of you.

We all come from very different backgrounds. But we all have one common goal-a healthier life. This quote says it all:

"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Go forward in your journey to a healthier you, no matter how you get there. Good luck to all of you through these joyous but stressful times and in the coming year.

Diane Shields

Thursday, December 22, 2005

LAWLS Holiday Greetings
Kim, Gale, Regina & Sandi

A Golden Christmas Wish from Kim

To all of the subscribers at LAWLS,
This is my third Christmas as a post-op and I'm the healthiest that I've ever been in my entire life. How lucky am I? As you all know, nothing is easy about being a successful post-op. This time of year we must keep exercising and avoiding the high fat appetizer table. Just because the food is small, doesn't mean that it's a smart choice!

I wish you all a Golden Christmas that is full of love and laughter, along with a super 2006!
Kim Stover

Holiday Greetings from Pre-Op Gale



Merry Christmas from Regina:

I did want to share my own thoughts on just one of the ways WLS had changed my life. I have always been overweight and what was lovingly refered to as a "healthy eater". I dove into every meal with gusto! Cleaning my plate, enjoying the food, and was never afraid to try new foods. I would roll my eyes at my other (thinner) women friends who picked at their food, or fussed that they couldn't eat this or that. Refusing desert. I felt they were being finicky and prissy when they acted like that. Why not just eat it and enjoy it I would think. Nothing wrong with digging in and trying it all. Right!? You only live once!

Well little did I know I was the unhealthy eater; eating everything in site (overeating everything I should say) . I didn't have a healthy appetite, I was a stuffer! WLS has changed all that. Now I am the careful eater. Yes...I have become a prissy eater. Taking small bites, chewing carefully, mulling over each choice of food I make. Thinking about what is healthy, safe, sugar free. I am now a dainty eater, a very lady-like nibbler. Taking small portions and regularly leaving food on my plate. I remind myself at every meal, you are NOW a healthier (and soon to be thinner) eater. I have the word "Dainty" posted beside my work computer, along with the Living After WLS big four to remind myself every day that I must change my eating habits and that.... I have arrived!

Merry Christmas to each and every member of the LAWLS family, may all your dreams come true in 2006.

Holiday Greetings from Sandi:

Sandi's RNY Journey

This is my first season post-op and I'm so excited about the year ahead. I can't believe I'm getting another chance to live the life I've always dreamed of. Yet so far, the greatest gift I've received from the surgery is the many new friends I've made online who understand what I'm feeling and what I'm going through. I gain valued insight from you. Though we may never meet in person, you have touched me and made my journey richer. I thank you and send you the warmest of holiday greetings and hopes for all good things in the year to come.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Anna Is HOME!

We have been following the story of Anna Doubblestein, our community member who three years post-op suffered some life-threatening complications due to the way her body healed from the gastric bypass surgery. Today I received word from her loving husband, Tim, that she is home from the hospital. Their Christmas prayer has been answered. Tim wrote,

"Anna was sent home yesterday (Tues. 12/20). She is doing much better but will have to be on tube feedings for a while. Her body lost so much in the way of nutrition over the course of three weeks that it is simply not possible to make up for it with what she can receive in her WLS stomach. So she gets something akin to baby formula every 4-6 hours and also whatever she can eat. The doctor hopes to be able to remove the tube in a couple of weeks.

"The latest challenge is going to be her emotional state. The surgeon finally revealed the extent of what she went through to her yesterday. Some of it I hadn't even heard. Apparently she had only been given a 1 in 3 chance of surviving following the surgery. Obviously this has left Anna feeling very vulnerable. She cries a lot. Sometimes it's over the joy of being alive, sometimes out of fear for what the future holds.

"I know God preserved her life for a purpose. The deck was definitely stacked against her. But today I have my wife at home and my children have their mother. I had not let the children know that she was coming home for fear that it may not happen. When my 7 year old walked in the door last night she burst into tears at seeing her mom. Anna and Grace had a good cry together while Grace kept saying, "I've got my mommy home. We're a family again." It nearly broke my heart. Hope, our 4 year old, just smiled from ear to ear and started straightening up (she's my helper girl)."

Anna has a long road ahead of her. She is in the hands of a devoted and caring family and a skilled surgeon and health care community.

The outpouring of interest and support from the LivingAfterWLS community has touched me deeply and I know Anna will appreciate the cards you have sent. If you would like to send her a card please EMAIL me privately and I will forward her address to you.

Please keep a prayer in your heart for her full return to health.

Jump for Joy!
But Not for Chocolates

I have heard from many of you about the chocolates this season! Chocolate is everywhere.

It seems like I'm swimming in a sea of chocolates holding onto my WLS-Lifeboat for dear life. The "Little Fat Girl" is ready to jump ship and taste some of these tempting morsels. But because I'm trying to be a good example for our community I have extra pressure to abstain (thanks everyone!) Plus - I know without doubt I will dump on chocolates. Maybe I'd get lucky and sneak one by the gastric bypass this time, but I'm not willing to roll that dice.

The chocolates pictured came with Nutrition Facts. Here's the dirty truth behind the sweet treats.

Assorted Chocolates - 2 pieces - 1 serving
160 calories, 80 from fat
16 grams sugar
2 grams protein
20 grams carbohydrates

Soft Center Chocolates - 2 pieces - 1 serving
170 calories, 80 from fat
22 grams sugar
1 gram protein
25 grams carbohydrates

Nuts & Chews - 3 pieces - 1 serving
240 calories, 140 from fat
18 grams sugar
4 grams protein
25 grams carbohydrates

Those are pricey caloric, fat and sugar numbers for a nutritionally void food.

What is worse, our WLS won't protect us from eating one, two or three pieces at once - put one chocolate in your little pouch and there will be room for a friend or two. However, by the time the pouch signals *FULL* the malabsorption will kick-in and most likely result in dumping for gastric bypass people. Lap-banders do not suffer from dumping, which actually makes avoiding high-fat tidbits even more challenging - they don't fear getting sick.

How do we avoid temptation? I think the best advice came from Gale in her holiday greeting. She wrote: "I went to the Mall the other day and got into a size 8 I felt like jumping for joy. I don't remember ever eating a piece of fudge and wanting to jump for joy."

So let's ask ourselves before taking chocolate in hand, "Is eating this going to make me jump for joy?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

LAWLS Holiday Greetings From Barbara, Maxine and Gale

Greetings of All Kinds From Barbara

Greetings of all kinds to all LivingAfterWLS readers! Whatever holiday we celebrate at this time of year, we share a global wish in common for happiness, joy, peace, and prosperity.

We are fortunate indeed to have our LivingAfterWLS community to support each of us in our personal quest for comfort and joy, especially during this season when making merry involves more food and drink than anyone "needs."

My deepest thanks to Kaye Bailey for sharing her experience and for putting this good company together for all of us.

Merry Christmas!

Barbara Tibbetts
Union, Maine
3 years and 155 pounds lighter after WLS

(A note about Barbara - She is my "go-to" expert on nutriton and medical questions. She always provides complete information for me to pass along to you - Thanks Barbara!)

Maxine's Holiday Greetings

Sending holiday greetings to my special "K" and all the people who have contributed to the newsletter and blog. This is a picture of my "baby" who had wls June 2005. As her mom I cannot begin to tell you what a joy it is to see this beautiful smile on this beautiful girl of mines' face. I have learned so much from you all and what you have shared in your stories from the heart, mind and soul.

May this holiday season be full of much love, joy and pride, and a happy, healthy New Years to all!!!

Maxine (:

Merry Christmas From Gale

Merry Christmas to all my friends on this journey of WLS. I may not know any of you personally but we have so much in common. This road we have taken is not always easy during the holidays.

I love the holidays the lights the presents the crowds and the parties. I am a strong Christian and love to express my love for Christ during this time. This is my first Christmas with WLS. I am usually a huge baker during this time and I had decided not to do as much but wouldn't you know it my husbands family decides to spend Christmas with us here this year. They will all be coming expecting the works. So I have decided to do enough to please them and not stuff them. They all know of my surgery and have been supportive. So far my pleasure from my surgery out weighs any thoughts of being left out. I went to the Mall the other day and got into a size 8 I felt like jumping for joy. I don't remember ever eating a piece of fudge and wanting to jump for joy. I love my life and look forward to many more Holidays. I wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas.

God Bless and Keep you safe
Your friend Gale

Message Board:
  • Cards for Anna
  • You Have Arrived CD
  • Hello LivingAfterWLS Friends:

    Cards for Anna
    Just a reminder, there is still time to send a card to Anna, our community member who is in the hospital with late-complications related to her gastric bypass. Drop me an email for her snail-mail address to send her a holiday card.

    Link to read her story.

    2005 You Have Arrived newsletters on CD
    The 2005 You Have Arrived newsletters are now available on CD and began shipping yesterday. This is the complete collection of 16 newsletters, 3 recipe supplements and a topical index, all in one file for your convenience. The cost is $12 and that includes shipping.

    PayPal Order Yours Today! Same day Shipping.

    Some of the articles on the CD:

    I Love Food and Refuse to Feel Guilty

    I Feel Helpless When She is Dumping (by my husband)

    Long-Term Weight Maintenance Secret

    Personal Self-Assessment Tool: Finding the Goal Again

    The Indulge/Self-Loathing Cycle

    The Skinny on Sex After WLS

    Kaye's KPD Strategy for Dining Out

    And many more topics & articles.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    LAWLS Holiday Greetings:
    Kabuki, Violet, Kerri & Julie

    With Love from Kabuki Dancer:

    Holiday greetings to all my sisters and brothers out there. The reality of life is that no one can stop you from being extraordinary. Not bad bosses, nor bad husbands, nor bad children. You have a right to live a life of significance and you matter! I am so grateful for the new beginning. Time is flying by on wings. Happiness is infectious. Live life and eat to survive. Food is not good or bad, it is not a moral issue. Food just is. Work at walking in the sparkling middle ground. Be special because you are. Your life is different because we are different. Have a wonderful holiday and keep healthy.

    Warm Wishes from ShrinkingVi:
    I want to take the time to wish everyone reading this a wonderful and joyous holiday season. This year I have so much to be thankful for -- the surgery I had two months ago has already changed my life so dramatically and for the first time in years I am full of hope and excitement and looking forward to the future (and summer for the first time ever)! I'm grateful for the wonderful people I have met in this journey and the amazing support I have found both on and off the net. I hope this holiday season fills your hearts with joy, love, laughter, and gratitude for the amazing life we've been given.

    Much love,
    Shrinking Violet

    Happy Holidays from Kerri!

    Happy Holidays to everyone in the WLS Family. I hope everyone's holiday is bright and cheerful and free of temptation.

    Kerri S.

    Merry Christmas From Julie!

    Merry Christmas everyone. I know this time of year is hard on the WLS struggle. If you find yourself falling - pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and DECIDE to keep going. In my holiday decorations there are words like "peace" and "joy". What nice reminders to treat ourselves with dignity. When we make the commitment to take care of our bodies with exercise and good nutrition, we can then truly feel "peace" and "joy". Indulging in the holiday treats will only lead to guilt and disappointment. May we all feel the peace and joy of this holiday season. – Julie

    Would you like to share a greeting with the LAWLS Community?
    Email Kaye Your Holiday Greetings

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    December 19: Kaye's Message

    Happy Holidays!

    Don’t you love it when you get a present that says “Open Early”? In this picture you can see I am thrilled to be opening an early gift from my friend and wonderful contributor, Kim Stover! She put a smile on my face! Thanks Kim!

    Community Greetings:
    Beginning Monday afternoon I’ll be posting greetings from many of our treasured LivingAfterWLS community members. I’m excited to introduce them to you, let you see their happy faces and celebrate our life after WLS. Please check back now through the New Year to meet new friends and put a face with the familiar faces you’ve become acquainted with over the last few months. Do you have a greeting for our LivingAfterWLS community? Email and we will feature you here!

    Warm Wishes!
    We have two community members who will enjoy an early Christmas this week – they are having their surgery. Please wish Ellen and Illazarbic well as they begin their new life. You already know Ellen – she is the genius behind the blog “Who Moved my Cheese?

    Speaking of blogs – there have been some great quotes this week out in blogland, and none better than Melissa “Big Grandma” who is posting again since her surgery in late November. Take a minute, read what these fine WLS folks are writing and visit their blogs. Let them know you appreciate them for sharing their stories.

    From Melissa at Big Grandma Not Big Any More:
    Regrets? None at all. Maybe I would have lived my life a little different so that I wouldn't have had to have the surgery in the first place. But I didn't and now I have a chance to correct all the wrong things I did to myself. A second chance to live a healthier life.

    From Sandi at Sandi's RNY Journey
    This has been a very good week for me, one where I'm starting to feel like the routine is mine. I can feel my body shrinking, and it makes me feel love toward myself.

    From Mayablue at Starting Over After WLS
    But even with the fear of dumping there still is that little voice in my head telling me to just take a nibble. That's where the problems come in. One of anything doesn't cause dumping....a few will. So the temptation to eat one, wait a bit, eat another, wait a bit, eat another, etc is there. Because of this I've held off on doing any type of baking. I want to make cookies soooooo badly but that temptation is there just waiting.

    From Shrinking Violet at Hot Fat for Sale:
    "So at 6:35 am, I jumped on the scale wearing undergarments, my jeans and a nice form-fitting long-sleeve T...and the scale said 238.5. TWICE.

    "Let's review...the last time I weighed this amount had to be my senior year in college in the fall. That would have been 1988. 18 years ago. My highest weight ever was 332 in 1996. I'm down almost 100 pounds from then. I'm down 79 pounds from my liquid diet start date. That's the total weight of my 7 year old and 4 year old nieces combined. It's probably what I weighed at age 4.

    I tried on my "fat pants" last week--the ones I wore just before surgery. Size 30/32. I could have fit my friend Dyan's little boy Connor in there with me.”

    Great words, don't you think? Be sure to visit these fine blogs!

    I wish you the best this last frantic week before Christmas. Live Well. Enjoy! Respect yourself and your WLS.

    Happy Holidays!

    Urgent Call for Help:
    LAWLS Community Member Needs Our Support

    Dear LivingAfterWLS Community:

    Our community member, Anna Doubblestein is in trouble. She has spent most of December hospitalized and critically ill from complications directly related to her gastric bypass surgery almost 3 years ago.

    As Christmas nears I am calling upon the compassion of our community members to let Anna know we care. She is not able to be online, so let’s rally together and send her holiday greetings the old-fashioned way and let her know we care. Please EMAIL me privately and I will send you her paper address so you can send her a Christmas Card by US Mail. Let’s let Anna know the LivingAfterWLS Community cares about her and her healthful recovery.

    Anna’s Story:

    I first met Anna in June this year. Like many of us, she was struggling with snacking and the invariable weight gain. She said, “I have to get back on track. In fact I am standing in a wedding in October and the dress I purchased for this wedding is very snug. I come from a large Italian family and dread what it would be like to see everyone with regained weight.”

    Isn’t that familiar to all of us? We do not want anyone to see us when we have regained a bit of weight after WLS. Anna met her snacking face-on and wore her beautiful dress in the wedding. I was so happy for her.

    Anna wrote to me December 1 to say she had been hospitalized for a stomach blockage but it had cleared and she would be seeing her bariatric surgeon that day. On December 4th I received a letter from her husband – Anna’s situation had become critical. Tim wrote, “The doctor took a look at the x-rays and determined that Anna had a kink in her intestine that was preventing anything from passing through. In addition he discovered a large number of lesions that had attached to the staples from her original surgery. She went in for surgery on Friday evening.”

    Anna was discharged from the hospital on December 7th but returned to the emergency room on Sunday, December 11. Tim said, “She was transferred by ambulance early Sunday morning. Once the surgeon looked at her CT scan he informed us that her residual stomach (the part that she no longer uses) was enlarged and there was an additional back-up in her intestines. He also told us that he had only about a 12-hour window to get this taken care of before it became toxic in her body.

    “Anna was on the table about 4 hours while the surgeon bypassed an additional 4 inches of small intestine and then checked the rest of the intestinal track to make sure there were no additional problems. At that point he discovered that her left ovary was also extremely enlarged. He came out of surgery to ask me what I thought Anna would want done. I told him to remove it. Anna had an additional hour and a half of surgery to remove her ovary and get her into recovery.

    “The next 36 hours turned out to be some of the most desperate for her.
    None of her fluid levels would normalize, she ran a temperature, and her heart rate soared even as cardiovascular pressure (different than blood pressure) was extremely low. She received several units of blood, had a central line (like an IV in the neck) put in so that she could receive nutrition, and the surgeon was so worried he stayed at the hospital overnight in case they had to go in again.”

    Tim told me yesterday Anna is improving daily and he hopes to have her home for Christmas. He said, ’ Anna has been improving daily since my last post. She is now receiving some nutrition by G-tube and has been able to get up and do some walking. She had a touch of pneumonia but that seems to be clearing up. The biggest problem she currently has is pain management but the doctors are trying several different things to help. It's my hope and prayer that she will be able to come home sometime this next week so that she can be home for Christmas.”

    Let’s do our best to show Anna we care – Please EMAIL me privately and I will send you her paper address so you can send her a Christmas Card by US Mail. Let’s let Anna know the LivingAfterWLS Community cares about her and her healthful recovery.

    We are all in this together.


    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Is LivingAfterWLS Sweet Without Sugar?

    Weighing the Options: What is the best sweetener for LivingAfterWLS? Artificial Sweetener? Sugar? Sugar in the Raw? Consider the facts before making your selection.

    by Kaye
    I hope you are enjoying the December Special issue of our newsletter "You Have Arrived." The issue, "Holiday Cooking" included a 20-page recipe attachment full of delicious, healthy and WLS friendly holiday recipes. Eight of the recipes are for sweet treats which seems counterintuitive to all we know about life after weight loss surgery. For gastric bypass patients sweets pose the danger of dumping. For lap-band patients sweets are easily tolerated which can lead to snacking, grazing and weight gain.

    So why would I include sweets in a WLS friendly recipe supplement? After WLS we are supposed to avoid sweets altogether, right? And what about the Splenda option in place of sugar? Here is what I know about sugar, Splenda and making it all fit together after WLS.

    The Sweet Tooth:
    According to Dr. David Katz in his book "The Way to Eat" a sweet tooth is not a matter of "will power" it's a matter of genetics. Early humans found sugar was a quick source of energy when they consumed it in the form of fruit, honey and sugar cane. So the tendency to like sweet is in our genetic code. But the difference today from then: sugar is now highly processed and in abundant supply.

    Dieters consider sugar evil and blame sweets for weight gain. According to Dr. Katz "Sugary foods are often high-fat, calorie-dense foods as well; the pleasant taste of sugar stimulates high intake while the fat does much of the damage in terms of calories, weight gain and adverse health affects."

    I like that Dr. Katz's attributes our genetic code for the sweet tooth - in my pre-WLS dieting life I considered myself a weak failure for having a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, my bariatric surgeon didn't fix my genetic code for sweets. But what did happen during the early post-op and the weight loss phases is my interest in sweets waned. I believe once I was off the carb-fat-sugar roller coaster my body adapted to the more nutritional diet without processed sweets.

    Limit Sugar For Health:
    General health guidelines indicate we should limit sugar intake, particularly processed sugar. Dr. Katz advises "Make some general commitment about the acceptable place of sweet foods in your diet." He adds, "Such a commitment is only as good as your follow-through, of course. But making decisions about tempting foods at a time other than when you are tempted is a good strategy in general."

    For WLS people with gastric bypass that commitment is firm - most patients will get sick (dumping) if they consume sugary products. Lap-band patients don't live with that fear, they need some personal resolve to limit or avoid sugar products. For all of us the desire to maintain our weight loss should be a good motivator.

    Sugar Substitutes:
    So far we have two facts: 1- We are genetically coded to desire sweets and 2- We need to limit sugar intake for our health. Could two facts be more contradictory?

    A variety of artificial sweeteners are available from the sugar alcohols (Sorbitol, Xylitol and Mannitol) that cause gas and bloating problems to the non-nutritive sweeteners such as Saccharine, Aspartame and Sucralose (Splenda). Dr. Andrew Weil, author of "The Healthy Kitchen" is concerned about the use of artificial sweeteners. In his book he says, "In the first place, there is no evidence that they help anyone lose weight, although that is why people use them…Second, most of them taste funny. And, most important, the highly popular ones may be harmful." He sites studies that link Saccharin and Aspartamine to health problems.

    Dr. Weil recommends sucralose, sold under the band name Splenda. He said, "It tastes better than aspartame and appears safer."

    Splenda, Sugar and WLS Diet:
    In general nutritionists working with WLS patients agree Splenda is an acceptable sweetener for patients when used in moderation. (Moderation - that word comes up a lot in our WLS food discussions!)

    In the recipe supplement I noted that the recipes can be adjusted to use all Splenda or a blend of Splenda and sugar. Using a blend of sugar and Splenda produces the best results for texture and moistness yet cuts half of the calories and carbohydrates. Using all Splenda eliminates all sugar calories, however, some consumers say using all Splenda results in an unpleasant after taste and unappealing texture. Using all sugar is not an acceptable option for WLS patients for reasons already noted.

    Knowledge, Moderation, Occasion
    Ultimately, the key to including sweets in the WLS lifestyle is knowledge, moderation and occasion.

    • Know what is in the sweet product you are eating. The Sweets recipes in the holiday supplement contain other nutritionally beneficial ingredients while eliminating or at least decreasing the sugar and fat.

    • Moderation: a small serving is fine. Scientific studies indicate a craving can be satiated with a modest portion eaten slowly and savored. I have found my occasional chocolate craving can be satiated with one Andes' thin mint - think about it! One mint - 26 calories and 2.6 grams of sugar, 1.6 grams of fat.

    • Plan your occasions when you know you will indulge and then indulge wisely. Know the kind of sweetener used in your treat, know your serving size and know you will stop when that serving is consumed. At first it isn't easy but with diligence planned occasional treats can be included in your WLS lifestyle.

    Love your new diet:
    Finally, rather than focusing on all the beloved lost foods spend time enjoying and loving your new way of eating. Dr. Katz said, "Even though you were born to like sugar, if your diet shifts, step-by-step to one richer in nutrient-dense, calorie-dilute, natural foods, there will simply be less place for processed sugar in your diet."

    Subscribe to the "You Have Arrived" newsletter.

    Graciously Receiving Food Gifts After WLS

    ‘Tis the season to give and receive! Cookies, cakes, candies and treats are trading hands in holiday exchange. This week I was given the cinnamon roll pictured by a woman who proudly makes and gives giant cinnamon rolls as her signature dish. You can see this cinnamon roll is nearly the size of a child’s head! It’s a beautiful cinnamon roll, but it’s also full of processed white flour and sugar and eggs and fat. Not something I’m going to put into my little WLS body.

    Because we are but acquaintances this woman does not know about my WLS or my dietary needs. She simply gave me this gift of her hands in celebration of the season. I accepted her gift with a smile and gracious words and told her I could hardly wait to share such a lovely treat with my husband. She seemed happy to have her gift well received.

    Neither my husband or I tasted the cinnamon roll but we savored the gesture. It was nice to receive an unexpected kindness during this busy season.

    There was a time, early in my WLS life, when I questioned the motive of people who offered gifts of food. My suspicions were high that others gave me food in hopes that I would not succeed at weight loss. I received a pound of my dear friend’s signature fudge not long after I zipped my first-ever size 12 jeans. And it seems like about the time I reached goal weight people were giving me food gifts all the time. I questioned them, blamed them and was angry because I thought they wanted me fat again.

    In hindsight I realize that in most cases people give food gifts out of habit, they have always given food gifts and have no idea what else to give. Food gifts during the holidays are an intrinsic part of our culture. The gifters did not have a motive they had a habit. We think the change WLS brings is all about ourselves, but truth told our WLS and weight loss is a strange oddity in our world of friends, family and peers. People simply don’t know what to do for us. It is uncomfortable for them and uncomfortable for us.

    Months after receiving my friend’s homemade fudge we talked about it. She told me how she deliberated over giving me such a gift. “I didn’t want to give you something you couldn’t enjoy, but I didn’t want you to feel left-out or that I was treating you differently because of your weight loss and surgery. I didn’t know what to do,” she said with frustration, “so I did what I’ve always done and that was give you my homemade fudge.”

    It is perfectly appropriate to accept food gifts graciously. We’ve been told since childhood “It’s not the gift, it’s the thought that counts.” It is also perfectly appropriate to privately decline consuming food gifts that do not support our health and nutritional needs after WLS. There are always other options for using the food gifts. Share with someone who will enjoy them or quietly discard them. In the case of the giant cinnamon bun I’ve carefully wrapped and stored it in the freezer. Some cold winter night when we have unexpected drop-in guests it will make a handy treat warmed and sliced into bite-sized tidbits to enjoy with coffee.

    It’s not the gift, it’s the thought that counts.


    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    Are YouLiving After WLS?

    Last week Kim Stover, my gorgeous friend and our frequent contributor here at LivingAfterWLS, wrote about how she notices her new energy when it is time to decorate for the holidays. In her article Kim spoke of her first holiday decorating after weight loss, ”I had more energy and was more able bodied to do the decorating. Since this was a once a year event, it was very obvious to me how my weight loss was now affecting my life. Yeah for me!

    I, too, enjoy a great sense of energy this time of year and it is noticeable when I reflect on the many years of morbid obesity and the exhaustion that comes with a unhealthy overweight body. Last weekend we made our annual trek to the high Rocky Mountains to cut our Christmas tree. The snow was – literally – thigh deep and I laughed my way through it enjoying the energy and spirit of the moment! What a great day to celebrate and rejoice at having a normal healthy powerful body!

    You know, before surgery many of us make “to do” lists for our lives post surgery and post weight loss. Since having surgery are you accomplishing what’s on your list? Are you enjoying your new normal healthy powerful body? Are you Living After WLS? Post your story here – I know I love to be inspired by each of you and so do the members of the LivingAfterWLS community!

    Gentle Reminder: Avoid Grieving for Food

    Hello Friends at LivingAfterWLS!

    This is a time of year when we can start to feel sorry for ourselves because we can't eat the way we used to - we can't eat in the manner that made us obese. I am pulling forward this article about grieving for food as a gentle reminder that we do not have to be victims of our WLS. WLS was a personal choice to save our own lives.

    Rejoice in the season and your new life! Happy Holidays!

    After Gastric Bypass: Some Tough Love on Grieving Food

    New gastric bypass patients say they miss food, they grieve the loss of food, they yearn for their old foods. Some describe it like the death of a beloved friend. The foods patients grieve for are sweets and baked goods, pasta with heavy sauces, and salty snacks.

    Mourning for lost foods is a natural step in the re-birth process after weight loss surgery (WLS).

    However, I submit this phase can pass quickly if we consciously remind ourselves that these very foods we have loved and lost were not our friends. These foods were killing us. These foods caused us to be morbidly obese. Prior to surgery a morbidly obese person is dying a slow death by over consumption and malnutrition. Poor nutrition and excess weight taxed the cellular structure of the body causing illness, pain and suffering. Weight loss surgery was a last-ditch effort to save a life and restore quality to living.

    Say goodbye and good riddance to those poisonous foods. They are not part of your life any more and isn’t that a blessing? Isn’t that exactly what you wanted when you elected to save your life with weight loss surgery?

    Losing these foods is not deprivation – it is liberation from the damage, pain and suffering they were causing your body. Celebrate their loss, don’t mourn it. I guarantee when you start looking at it this way the phase of grief and mourning will be brief because your mind will not allow you to simultaneously grieve and celebrate.

    Kaye Bailey © 2005 - All Rights Reserved

    Article Source:

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    The Nutty Truth About Nuts

    The photo above shows appropriate serving size, from top clockwise: 1/2 tangerine; 1 tablespoon Crasins, 1 hard-cooked egg, 12 pecan halves (1 ounce); 21 almonds (1 ounce) and center, 1 ounce mixed nuts.

    by Kaye Bailey

    For my first two holiday seasons post-op I was extremely compliant with what I ate - no snacking, protein first, lots of water. You know the drill - I was a stellar WLS patient.

    The third year, I was feeling comfortable in my new body, confident with maintenance and a bit careless. Add to that scientific news promoting the health benefits of nuts and I found myself dipping a hand into the nut bowl frequently. I work in an office where this season brings a plethora of goodies: chocolates, cookies, cakes and nuts. The light dawned on me that nuts were a healthy holiday staple I could enjoy and feel good about feeding my body.

    Imagine my surprise at the end of the holiday season when the scale bore the ugly truth - I had gained 7 pounds! Seven pounds in one month! Impossible!


    Here is the nutty truth about the holiday nuts:

    On average, one ounce of roasted mixed nuts contains 175 calories and 14 grams of fat, 5 grams protein and 8 grams carbohydrate. That's one ounce. On average one ounce of mixed nuts is 16-20 nuts. For WLS patients who tolerate nuts (and many do not) one ounce is not enough to fill the pouch. Furthermore, we all know that one taste of something salty leads to yet another taste and another taste. My holiday consumption of nuts became an ugly cycle: nibbles of nuts followed by sips of water to quench the thirst followed by more nibbles of nuts.

    So we must ask ourselves, are nuts a healthy option for holiday noshing? It is well known that almonds contain the same monounsaturated fat as olive oil, which is associated with, reduced risk of heart disease. In addition, the flavonoids in almond skin work as a powerful antioxidant. Almonds are best consumed raw and unblanched (with skins). It is unlike that kind of almond will be found on the holiday nut platter.

    If nuts are served raw without roasting (dry or oil) and without high-sodium seasoning they can be a healthy holiday snack when eaten in small portions (1 ounce). For the WLS patient extreme caution must be used to chew nuts completely to avoid a stomach blockage. In addition, there are probably lower fat, higher protein choices available to enjoy and help us stay on track with our weight goals during holiday season.

    What is your holiday experience with nuts? Post your comments here!

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Dec. 12: Monday Message From Kaye

    Greetings Everyone!

    The holiday season is full-speed ahead! While this time of year presents challenges and obstacles for the WLS community it is also a time of year to celebrate and rejoice in our new lives. I hope you all are finding time for reflection and celebration. This week at the LivingAfterWLS blog we will look at holiday challenges and find ways to celebrate AND honor our WLS lifestyle.

    Warm Wishes!
    We have five members of our community undergoing WLS this week. Please send your warmest wishes to Mara, Tina, Rhonda, Shannon and Patty.

    December Issue: You Have Arrived
    The December issue “You Have Arrived” was sent out last week. This issued addressed emotional issues WLS people may experience during the holiday season. “You Have Arrived” newsletter is available exclusively to subscribers: Link to join the LivingAfterWLS community and enjoy this free benefit.

    Coming December 15th – the recipe extravaganza – a newsletter with recipe attachment to help you live well and cook well during the holiday season.

    Subscribe to "You Have Arrived"

    You Have Arrived on CD

    The Complete 2005 You Have Arrived newsletter collection is now offered on CD! All of your favorite LivingAfterWLS newsletters in one convenient location. The CD includes:

  • 16 You Have Arrived Newsletters
  • 3 Recipe supplements (40 recipes!)
  • The LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet
  • 2005 You Have Arrived topic index (available only on CD)
  • Exclusive "Thoughts From Kaye" (available only on CD)

    The CD's will begin shipping December 19, 2005, just in time to make a great stocking stuffer for yourself or a fellow WLS friend. Pre-order your CD today!

    $12.00 - - Includes shipping.

    Reserve your copy today by clicking the PayPal Button below:

  • Have a great week, take time to stop and celebrate your spot in this WLS journey!

    Best wishes,

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Body Dysmorphia:
    "I Still Just See Myself"

    On Jenn's blog, Plow Hazard, yesterday she asked, "How can I _know_ that I've lost a lot of weight but still look at myself and see myself just as, well, myself?" Jenn seems to be experiencing some mild feelings of body dysmorphia, a common psychological phenomena people experience during different stages of obesity and healthy weight. Here is a previously posted article that addresses body dysmorphia as it occurs for some patients after weight loss surgery.

    Body Dysmorphia:
    Mind Games After Gastric Bypass Surgery

    By Kaye Bailey

    Maybe you’ve heard about body dysmorphia – it’s a mental image many victims of anorexia nervosa have that tells them they look fat, even when they are emaciated. Bariatric patients can suffer from body dysmorphia as well.

    When we were morbidly obese our emotional coping mechanisms kicked in and many of us were able to convince ourselves we really weren’t that big. It is emotionally kinder to avoid body criticism, the whole issue seems hopeless. In fact, many morbidly obese patients will say they see themselves normal sized. That is until a rude moment reminds them they are not normal sized: a skinny chair, a turnstile, a bathroom stall, a flight of stairs, a photograph. This false perception is a subconscious coping strategy to protect us from the brutal truth, the truth about how big morbidly obese really is.

    After surgery, there is a tendency for the body dysmorphia to reverse. Before surgery we denied how big we were, after surgery we judge ourselves critically – like the anorexic – and fail to see an honest reflection. One woman, down from size 24 to size 10 wrote, “I feel fat daily. I never felt this at 248 pounds – I saw a thinner person in the mirror than I see now. I look at my size 10 jeans and they look like tents. I don’t feel as attractive as I did when I was heavy. I don’t understand it,” she continued, “but I think it has to do with learning to accept yourself fat so you didn’t see all the fat. Now I just have to learn to accept myself as thinner.”

    Many patients report hyper-judging their figures after weight loss. It seems the thinner you get the more judgmental of your body you become. To this day, the first thing I see in my reflection in my pudgy tummy – I think it’s enormous. I don’t see long slender legs or a tiny waist or trim arms. I see a Buddha belly. I’ve even apologized for my chubby tummy to others when they compliment my new figure. The apology usually goes, “Yes, but I can’t get rid of this stomach.” I say this while pointing to my "flaw".

    That is wrong and brutally unfair to myself. I am working daily to keep this hyper-judgment in check, reminding myself the days of belittlement and self-loathing are over. Now is the time when I love myself.

    Patients report universal success when they do one thing in the face of body dysmorphia: dress to impress! Get rid of the flowing camouflage clothes and wear a smart, well fitted outfit. Gentlemen, tuck in your shirts in. Ladies, wear a fitted skirt with a waistband. Small sized “fat clothes” do nothing for body image – dump that style and get something that flatters your new size. Enlist the help of friends you trust to find flattering clothes. Sometimes you have to force yourself to see your body as it is, a great fitting outfit will certainly do the trick.

    Extreme cases of body dysmorphia after gastric bypass weight loss may be treated with counseling and psycho-therapy.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Wine Reductions:
    A Better Choice Than Gravy

    So we've had weight loss surgery and are happily losing weight with a restricted diet and the improved ability to exercise. But you know, we didn't have taste bud surgery! We still have taste buds that crave delicious foods - we just want the foods we eat to be satiating and good for us.

    Let me tell you a culinary secret - it's in the wine! I'm not talking about wine in the glass, I'm talking about wine in a recipe. Recently one of our regular readers, Sam, asked me to share my recipe for a red wine reduction since I previously stated how much I enjoy the flavor of a good wine reduction. Wine reductions are wonderfully simply to make, rich in flavor and can be low in fat. Most recipes for wine reductions call for added fat (butter) but should be adjusted to use about 1/3 the fat called for.

    We know that most gravies are fat laden, heavy with starch and lacking nutritional value. Simply put gravy is empty fat calories we do not need in our LivingAfterWLS diet. Anyone watching their weight is wise to avoid gravies (particularly mass-produced gravies served in restaurants).

    For a better flavor and health select or make a wine reduction. A reduction contains the wine's antioxidants, called flavonoids which are proven to reduce the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost the HDL (good) cholesterol. Scientists now believe these flavonoids may also inhibit tumor development in some cancers and may also be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases.

    Not an alcohol drinker? Not to worry, the alcohol cooks out of the reduction leaving nothing but the good stuff behind. If you are not familiar with wine ask your wine merchant to recommend a good bottle of reasonably priced cooking wine (don't buy the kind on the supermarket shelf - it has too much sodium). Your wine steward can also offer suggestions for re-corking the wine as seldom will you use a full bottle for any single recipe.

    Here are five recipes I've personally tried and adapted with lower fat - I hope you will incorporate a wine reduction recipe in your lifestyle. Also - these are all very quick to fix - you'll be surprised how much flavor you get for so little effort! Cheers!

    Chicken with White Wine and Mushrooms

    Seared Halibut with Green Beans, Scallions and White Wine Sauce

    Salmon with Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce

    Beef Medallions in Red Wine Sauce

    Cornish Game Hen with Raspberry Red Wine Sauce

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Tooting My Own Horn:
    EzineArticles Recognizes Kaye Bailey

    As many of you know, my articles are listed with, the Internet’s leading source of quality syndicated Internet articles. It was my honor, as a platinum status writer, to be recognized as one of the top EzineArticles writers. EzineArticles is home to more than 15,000 writers, of which only 250 were recognized for this honor. Christopher M. Knight, a person of high integrity who always responds personally to my email questions, manages EzineArticles. I am proud to be part of the EzineArticles team. Please link to my catalog of nearly 100 articles about WLS. (If you enjoy an article, scroll to the bottom of the page and submit a rating – it always helps!)

    Thanks Chris and the EzineArticles team! Merry Christmas!

    Kaye Bailey

    If they took the fat out,
    What did they put in?

    Have you wondered as you enjoyed your “fat-free” product what exactly was put back in the product to replace the fat? The new “fat free” products are creamy, crispy, tasty and delicious, something had to take the place of the fat, right? What is it?

    Nutritionally (and emotionally) fat gets a bad rap. Fat is a major nutrient important for proper growth and development and maintenance of good health. Fats carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and aid their absorption in the intestine. They are the only source of the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids. Fats are an important source of calories because they supply 9 calories of energy per gram versus 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates.

    On the downside there are limits on the amount we should eat because increased intake of fat is linked to heart disease, cancer and obesity. The FDA recommends an intake to no more than 30 percent of calories from fat. A weight loss surgery patient should intake even fewer fat calories because the malabsorptive system that makes digesting fats difficult.

    So are we dodging the fat bullet by replacing full-fat products with light or fat free products? What are we getting in return?

    In theory, the perfect fat replacement is one that contributes everything fat does in a food but without the calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Fat replacements can help reduce a food's fat and calories while maintaining some of the desirable qualities fat brings to food, such as "mouth feel," texture and flavor. Under FDA regulations, fat replacements fall into one of two categories: food additives or "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) substances.

    Fat replacements may be carbohydrate, protein or fat-based substances. The first to hit the market were carbohydrates disguised as fat. Avicel, for example, is a carbohydrate-based gel. Others in this category include dextrins, maltodextrins, fiber, gums, starch, and modified food starch. These carbohydrate fat replacements are used in a variety of foods, including dairy-type products, sauces, frozen desserts, salad dressings, processed meats, baked goods, spreads, chewing gum, and sweets.

    Protein-based fat substitutes came along in the early 1990s. These and fat-based replacements were designed specifically to replace fat in foods. Protein based fat replacements are often made from whey protein or milk and egg protein. These fat replacements provide 1 to 4 calories per gram, depending on their water content, and are approved for use in frozen dessert-type foods, reduced-fat versions of butter, sour cream, cheese, yogurt, salad dressing, margarine, mayonnaise, baked goods, coffee creamer, soups, and sauces.

    Finally, there are the fat-based fat replacements – most of us know the brand name Olestra. Introduced in 1996 it is used in preparing potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, and other savory snacks. Olestra has properties similar to those of naturally occurring fat, but it provides zero calories and no fat. That's because Olestra is indigestible. It passes through the digestive tract but is not absorbed into the body. This is due to its unique configuration: a center unit of sucrose (sugar) with six, seven or eight fatty acids attached. Olestra sounds promising, but it does have some drawbacks. Studies show that it may cause intestinal cramps and loose stools in some individuals. While there is no specific data, Olestra may be particularly distressful to WLS patients who have undergone the malabsorptive procedure.

    As with all things WLS, it is important to know what we are feeding our bodies, to treat them well and take all things in moderation.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Holiday Revelation: Kim Stover’s Story

    by Kim Stover
    Photo by Lisa Hermes, graphic art by Jennifer Harrity

    I’m sitting here, two years post-op, looking at my Christmas tree and my fully decorated home. I love this time of the year with all of its glitter and sparkle. There was a time when putting up all of this holiday stuff was a pain in my backside, literally.

    During the first year after WLS, I was constantly asked, “Don’t you find that you have so much more energy now that you’ve lost so much weight?” My response was, “Not so much…I’m just cold now”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I was a great super morbidly obese person and if it wasn’t for all of the diseases that I was developing, I’d still be that 373 pound gal. My energy was great and the weight never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. Key word being “wanted”. Did I want to enter a 5k race? Nope. Did I want to climb the stairs instead of take the elevator? Nope. But other than the obvious, I was a very capable person and did whatever my heart desired.

    As the weight came off after my WLS, I continued on with my daily activities. I truly didn’t notice any difference in my energy levels since the weight was coming off at a gradual and steady pace. Then the Christmas Revelation came. Last year, I pulled out all of my Christmas storage boxes that were chock full of decorations. The biggest box stored my artificial tree, which was always a pain to assemble, but was always worth the effort in the end. I started with the tree. Up it went…faster than normal and I wasn’t nearly as irritated by the entire process. Hmm. I must just be getting better at assembling this thing. Then the 500 lights had to be clipped on the branches. This took me a couple of hours in the past, as I’d usually need a break in between strings. That break would usually include some holiday cheer…hot cocoa with marshmallows and some homemade cookies. Then I’d slip into a sugar coma and wake up groggy only to be faced with the rest of the lights that still needed to go on the tree. Well, this time it was different. The lights went up lickity-split. Clearly, I missed something? No, the entire tree is covered. Hmm. The rest of the process followed suit and I was done decorating in about an hour and a half. Prior to WLS, this project was an all day thing. Then it hit me. I had more energy and was more able bodied to do the decorating. Since this was a once a year event, it was very obvious to me how my weight loss was now affecting my life. Yeah for me!

    Since that Christmas, I’ve reveled in the things that only occur once a year. These are the events when I get to notice what a difference being 228 pounds lighter is all about. The Christmas Revelation was my first and most favorite. It is what I’m reflecting on as I sit here this year enjoying my holiday home. The joy of living life after WLS.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Dec. 5: Monday Message from Kaye

    Greetings Everyone!

    The holiday season is full-speed ahead! While this time of year presents challenges and obstacles for the WLS community it is also a time of year to celebrate and rejoice in our new lives. I hope you all are finding time for reflection and celebration. This week at the LivingAfterWLS blog we will look at holiday challenges and find ways to celebrate AND honor our WLS lifestyle.

    Warm Wishes!
    We have six members of our community undergoing WLS this week. Please send your warmest wishes to Patricia, Lois, Joy, Ila, Jennifer and Judith. You can learn more about Ila by reading her Blog, Kool Quilts. To all of you best wishes & welcome to your new life.

    December Issue: You Have Arrived
    The December issue “You Have Arrived” was sent out last week. This issue addressed emotional issues WLS people may experience during the holiday season. “You Have Arrived” newsletter is available exclusively to subscribers: Link to join the LivingAfterWLS community and enjoy this free benefit.

    You Have Arrived on CD
    The Complete 2005 You Have Arrived newsletter collection is now being offered on CD! All of your favorite LivingAfterWLS newsletters in one convenient location. The CD includes:

  • 16 You Have Arrived Newsletters
  • 3 Recipe supplements (40 recipes!)
  • The LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet
  • 2005 You Have Arrived topic index (available only on CD)
  • Exclusive "Thoughts From Kaye" (available only on CD)

    The CD's will begin shipping December 19, 2005, just in time to make a great stocking stuffer for yourself or a fellow WLS friend. Pre-order your CD today!

    $12.00 - - Includes shipping.

    Reserve your copy today by clicking the PayPal Button below:

  • Have a great week, take time to stop and celebrate your spot in this WLS journey!

    Best wishes,

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    We Are All In This Together

    Today I was moved by an entry in Sandi’s Blog about the different methods people use to overcome obesity. Her post was prompted by comments made on the television show, “The Biggest Loser.” As is common in the popular media, the show’s host stated that old-fashioned weight loss (exercise & caloric reduction) is the superior way to lose weight over surgery or quick-fix gimmicks. Once again, weight loss surgery was portrayed as the easy way to lose weight.

    There is no such thing as the easy way to lose weight, yet surgical weight loss patients often hide or deny their weight loss tool for fear of criticism and judgement. I did that. Many of you have done that. We are already ashamed of being overweight, and now we are ashamed for doing something “easy” to fix it.

    I come from an obese family and both my sister, Julie Hullinger, and I have struggled with our weight for many years. In April after her beautiful daughter was born she immediately began her weight loss effort. She spent two or three weeks going to Jenny Craig but found it was not conducive to her family lifestyle. She didn’t give up. She then joined Weight Watchers and has done a phenomenal job of losing weight, helping her husband to lose weight and encouraging our mom to follow the WW program and lose weight. I am in awe of her – she is gorgeous! She has lost so much weight her wedding dress no longer fits – it is too big!

    She and I have talked about various diet methods and she brought a new perspective to me – she said Weight Watchers is the “easy way out.” “Are you sure?” I asked. She told me, “When I went to Maui for a week in September I elected to not count points – it was my vacation and I did not have to count points.” Now, she came back from Maui tan and gorgeous, so I know she didn’t go crazy on fattening food. She continued, “If you go to Maui you can’t leave your gastric bypass at home – it goes with you. That can’t be easy.”

    I was dumbfounded – I had always thought WLS was perceived by others as my “easy fix,” but she is correct, I’m stuck with my tool 24/7 – I don’t get a free-for-all food vacation. Julie was able to enjoy the banana bread on the Island, but I can never do that or I will have a dumping episode. Simple fact.

    Isn’t it interesting how my sister and I have the utmost respect for the methods we each have elected to use to control our inherited obesity?

    That’s what Sandi talked about in her post. She said, “I want to revel in anyone's success with this overwhelming battle. I don't want to feel less of a person because others took a different path than me. After watching this show last night, I thought, "who will be standing at my finish line?" Who will cheer for us? Will the world only give us a token nod, and smugly whisper that we somehow cheated our way to victory? How cruel ignorance is!”

    My dear LivingAfterWLS friends – we are here for each other – to stand at the finish line and cheer for joy over the big victories and the little victories. We are here for the good and the bad times. Who better than us to understand the pain, torment and absolute hard work it takes to overcome a medical crisis?

    Previously on this LivingAfterWLS Blog we’ve featured the story of Kelly McCamey, the brave woman who decided to give conventional dieting one more try – she was not ready to commit to gastric bypass. Today I received an inspiring email from Kelly. “I just wanted to say HEY and update you on my progress. I am now 58 pounds into my weight loss!! I am still going to Jenny Craig - and still pushing everyday. I know the holidays are so hard for us all, and I am struggling with that myself. I still managed to lose 2 pounds during the (Thanksgiving) holiday! I am still in HIGH mode, and nothing will bring me down.”

    Kelly deserves someone at her finish line too! It is my goal, my dream and the desire of my heart that as the LivingAfterWLS community evolves we show no prejudice to our own people. Obesity is a heartbreaking disease. Fighting it is a difficult life-long battle no matter the method or tool. We need cheerleaders. We need one another. Kelly said, “Thanks so much for wanting to be a part of my personal struggle with my weight. Everyone is so encouraging it just makes me work harder.”

    We are all in this together. Thanks Sandi, Julie and Kelly for the inspiration today.

    Take care,