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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dark Chocolate May Lower Blood Pressure

Good news for chocolate lovers: a small German study reports that a daily nibble of dark chocolate containing 50% or more cocoa may modestly lower your blood pressure without causing weight gain or raising cholesterol or glucose levels.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association monitored participants who ate a 6 gram square of dark chocolate each day for 18 weeks. Dark chocolate is a good source of flavonoids – the antioxidant that is believed to improve the function of blood vessels.

At the end of the study the dark chocolate eaters saw a drop in their top (systolic) blood pressure number of 3 millimeters and the bottom (diastolic) number drop 2mm. The control group eating an equal amount of white chocolate saw no reduction in blood pressure.

Mayo clinic doctors praise the growing body of research identifying the health benefits of chocolate. However they say that it’s still too early to recommend eating chocolate for controlling hypertension.

Source: Mayo Clinic Health Letter: November 2007

Learn more: Chocolate After Weight Loss Surgery

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cream of Turkey Soup

From Low Carb Recipes this is a quick and healthy way to use some of your left over Thanksgiving Turkey. Use for Days 1 & 2 of the 5 Day Pouch Test.

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
10 ounces cooked turkey, finely shredded (discard skin)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon
1/2 cup heavy cream
Croutons (optional)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottom pan, then add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the turkey to the pan with 1 1/2 cups of the stock.

Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool, then transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Add the remainder of the stock and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the tarragon, then pour the soup into a tureen or individual bowls and add a swirl of cream.

Garnish with croutons if desired.

Serves 4. Per serving: 420 calories, 24 grams protein, 33 grams fat (20 saturated) and 6 grams carbohydrate.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spicy Cranberry Sauce in Pinot Noir

Did you receive our LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week on Sunday? (If not, subscribe by entering your email address in the Free WLS Newsletters box on the left.) It was all about cranberries. Well, Elise over at Simply Recipes presents a great cranberry sauce using a Pinot Noir as the simmering base. Her food blog is one of my favorites, though not weight loss surgery oriented. She is all about good food with family and friends and you will often find her father and children included in the meal preparation. And, her photography is gorgeous, as you can see in this picture.

Recipe: Spicy Cranberry Sauce in Pinot Noir

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Large pinch of Chinese five-spice powder

1 Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and fresh ginger; stir until cranberries begin to burst, 3-5 minutes.

2 Add wine and sugar; boil until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

3 Add crystallized ginger, curry powder and five-spice powder.

Serve sauce cold or warm. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Cranberries are a nutritional powerhouse - no longer jellied in sugar and shoved to the back of the dark pantry. Cranberries in all their glory are believed to be a potent cancer fighter, effective in slowing aging, contribute to dental health, reduce the risk of some heart disease and helpful in the prevention of peptic ulcers.

For more cranberry recipes visit Simply Recipes Cranberries.

Word of Thanks

Dear LivingAfterWLS Friends:

Just a word of thanks for all your support, prayers and kindness over the last few weeks. As many of you know my father has been critically ill and on Monday underwent open heart surgery to replace an artificial aortic heart valve which has given him life since 1969. Yes, 1969. Remarkable. He now has a new artificial valve and is responding well. Your thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated.

To read more: Kaye's Prayer Request to the Neighborhood

My best to each of you in this season of giving thanks,
Kaye Bailey

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hunger is NOT an Emergency

Just this week I had a breakthrough moment when I read that naturally slender people do not treat hunger as an emergency. “Most of us who struggle with extra pounds tend to view hunger as a condition that needs to be cured – and fast,” writes Judith S. Beck, PhD, author of the Beck Diet Solution. “If you fear hunger, you might routinely overeat and avoid it,” she says adding, “Thin people tolerate hunger because they know hunger pangs always come and go, buying them some time.”

Hunger defined: the painful sensation caused by a lack of food that initiates food-seeking behavior.

Learn More: Understanding Hunger, Appetite and Satiety

Hunger is not an emergency. Interesting, don’t you think? Since publishing the 5 Day Pouch Test I’ve received tremendous feedback. Some people are amazed to not feel hungry, even on those difficult first two days. Others report “climbing the walls” hunger. I believe each of us responds differently to the 5DPT and there are certainly extremes between lack of hunger and ravenous hunger.

Here are some tricks for learning to treat hunger the way slender people do – a condition that comes and goes.

- Drink water or flavored water to curb hunger pangs.
- Ignore the hunger and acknowledge that you will survive.
- Establish a predictable and consistent eating schedule so your body becomes accustomed to when you will eat.
- Eat protein first thing in the morning and again at lunch and dinner.
- Minimize visual cues that trigger hunger pangs (avoid/ignore media advertising, place snack foods in closed cupboards, avoid the office break room, etc.)
- Take a brisk walk before giving in to hunger (this will rev your metabolism).

Finally, just as hunger is not an emergency, it is also not a failure. If you feel hunger during the 5 Day Pouch Test then take one of the steps above to ignore it. And if you are still hungry then eat something from the approved list of foods for the day. Associating hunger with feelings of failure often leads to destructive eating and inappropriate food choices. The 5DPT is a powerful tool and a great step toward building a better relationship with food and your weight loss surgery.

Learn more about the 5 Day Pouch Test and get back your surgical weight loss tool.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Feed the Carb Monster Soup

New on the 5 Day Pouch Test - Feed the Carb Monster soup recipes. Learn why these recipes work to help break carb cravings and facilitate weight loss.

Black Bean Soup
Beans and Barley Soup
Lentil and Barley Soup

Soups for the 5 Day Pouch Test: Days 1 & 2

Thanksgiving Desserts for Surgical Weight Loss

Have you started planning your Thanksgiving menu? In just two short weeks we'll be carving the great American turkey and giving thanks for life's bounty.

Desserts always present a special challenge as we try to follow our weight loss surgery dietary guidelines, but also desire to participate in family rituals and traditions of Thanksgiving. Today I opened my treasured Neighborhood Cookbook and found this great recipe for pumpkin pie that works just fine for all those who will be seated at my table. I hope it will find a spot on your holiday menu. The Neighborhood Cookbook is a collection of recipes from our Neighborhood - Real cooks living real lives and doing their best with weight loss surgery.

Kabuki's Sugarless Pumpkin Pie
Page 155 - Neighborhood Cookbook

This is a fine substitute for traditional pumpkin pie. If you truly want to go low carb omit the crust and serve as pudding.

1 pre-baked pie shell
2 small boxes sugar free vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
2 cups plain canned pumpkin
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Blend all ingredients using a wire whisk until smooth. Pour into baked pie shell and chill until serving. May serve with a dollop of lite whipped topping or freshly whipped heavy cream.

Serves 8. Per serving: 178 calories, 4 grams protein,8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 23 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams dietary fiber.

If you have the Neighborhood Cookbook consider these Sensible Dessert recipes this holiday season:

Chocolate-Almond Macaroons (page 150)
Gingerbread Cake (page 152)
Macadamia White Chocolate Dessert (page 158)
Pumpkin Mousse (page 161)

To order you cookbook Click Here. It's on sale now for $18.00 and comes with your choice of a free gift!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When Surgery Does Not Work

Published in the October 2, 2007 You Have Arrived Newsletter

Thoughts From Kaye
When the surgery doesn't work

When someone is frustrated with their surgical weight loss, perhaps by a plateau, complications or even weight gain, I often hear the words of despair, "I guess I'm just one of those who the surgery is not going to work for." Early in my weight loss surgery work I thought this was a false statement, perhaps even a cop-out. But lately I have come to understand that it is, collectively, a true statement: Weight loss surgery does not work for the patient, any patient. What? How can so many patients thrive with weight loss surgery and so many others struggle? Consider this:

The surgery does not work for the patient; the patient works for the surgery.

The surgery does not make our food choices.
The surgery does not drink our water.
The surgery does not do our exercise.
The surgery does not chose to follow or break the rules.

The patient makes the choices; the patient works for the surgery.

In our pre-op counseling we nod our heads and agree to the weight loss surgery incantation, "surgery is only a tool." I don't know about you, but I secretly hoped that surgery was going to be, after all, the easy way out. Turns out, it was just a tool.

A tool is a device used to accomplish a task. Consider a carpenter at his workbench with his tools. Before him is a saw, a hammer, wood, a measuring stick and nails. All tools of his trade. The carpenter could stand before his tools and yearn for the tools to craft a magnificent treasure box. But the tools will not work on yearning alone. The carpenter must select the correct tool for the task and then work for that tool using it to the best of his capability to craft the magnificent treasure box. The carpenter works for the tools, the tools do not work for the carpenter.

And so it goes with our weight loss surgery tool. Yearning and desire will not cause the tool to craft the treasure of a new healthy body. The tool will not work on hope alone. As owners of this powerful weight loss surgery tool we become stewards to work for it, to pursue our greatest potential through knowledge, practice and personal responsibility. We must use the tool as a device to accomplish a task. When we start taking responsibility for working the tool our chances for success increase tenfold.

It is true, the surgery does not work for me. I work for the surgery.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Riding the Train of Thought to Pleasantville

Previously Published Friday, July 13, You Have Arrived Postcard Club

Do you ever catch yourself panic thinking? Like today - Friday the 13th? Something like, "It's friday the 13th and what if I get in a car accident on the way to work and what if I'm unconscious and what if they can't find my wallet and what if they don't know my blood type and what if... what if... what if?" Oh yes, I've been a victim of my own out-of-control imagination and I bet you have as well. What confuses me is unless I'm playing "What if I win the lottery?" my "what if" thinking is almost always catastrophic, seldom favorable.

So today I'm turning a new leaf. I'm walking in the path of the black cat and I'm opening my umbrella indoors. Ok, maybe not indoors but perhaps under the awning! My what if thinking today will be positive with nary a trace of catastrophe. Here I go:

- What if I make it to work safely five minutes early?
- What if my boss notices I'm at work early?
- What if I follow my food plan and feel good about myself for doing so?
- What if my boss says I can leave early because of my timely arrival?
- What if I use that time for an extra push at my workout and feel good about myself?
- What if I go clothes shopping and everything fits the first try?
- What if I say "Thank you" when someone offers me a compliment instead of declining the compliment.

You get the idea! So I'm offering this Friday the 13th challenge to you. Turn those "What if" statements around and put that train of thought on the rails to Pleasantville! Don't get off the train at Catastrophe Station - Keep on riding till the sun sets on the best "What if Friday the 13th" ride you've ever had the good luck to enjoy!


Monday, October 29, 2007

If Your Pouch IS Broken: New Procedure

As reported at

Incisionless Treatment for Patients With Inadequate Weight Loss Following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

This study is currently recruiting participants.

It is estimated that up to 20% of patients who have Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) surgery will not meet their weight loss goal, or may even regain some of the weight they initially lost. One possible explanation is that the opening between the stomach pouch and the intestine becomes stretched. If this opening becomes too wide, food may be able to pass from the stomach to the intestine too quickly - causing patients to feel less full after eating.

For some patients, doctors may recommend additional invasive surgery to tighten the opening between the stomach pouch and the small intestine. Although this may help patients resume their weight loss, the risk of complications during a second surgical procedure is significantly higher than the risk during the original gastric bypass.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate an incisionless procedure for patients who have either had inadequate weight loss or have regained weight following gastric bypass. The procedure is designed to tighten the opening between the stomach pouch and the small intestine, which may slow down the passage of food to help patients feel full longer after eating.

Locations: Denver, Colorado; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Lebanon, New Hampshire; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dallas, Texas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Read more and get contact information

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Winner's Edge and Weight Loss Surgery

Hello Everyone!

First let me say that I'm not a sports enthusiast and have only a vague understanding of professional sport strategy and politics. Even so, I enjoy the World Series of Baseball: have enjoyed it since I was a kid when we attended the LA Dodgers games in the early hay-day of record making manager Tommy Lasorda.

So it has been with enthusiasm and wonderment that I've watched the first three games of the 2007 World Series as the Boston Red Sox have literally kicked the wind out of Colorado's Rocky Mountain High. Pre-series it seemed Colorado, who had won 21 of their 22 previous games, appeared unstoppable.

What went wrong in this young team's first run for the world championship? An Associated Press report said, "One reason the Rockies have gone from winning to their tough position now might well be the eight-day wait they had between the National League playoffs and the start of the World Series. They simply haven't rediscovered the ingredients that got them here."

An eight-day delay between winning the National League pennant and stepping up to bat for Game 1 stalled the Rockies, even put them in slump. The Associated Press reports a World Series comeback is unlikely.

Observing the psychology of "winner's edge" I cannot help but link it to long-term management of a healthy weight by way of weight loss surgery. (You knew this was coming, right?) At LivingAfterWLS and in the Neighborhood we speak often of grit determination, the storm of enthusiasm and being hell-bent to work our weight loss surgery tool. We want to keep the winner's edge because when we lose control of the tool we feel like losers (not weight losers, life losers) and feelings of failure perpetuate a hopeless slump.

Here are some quotes from the Neighbors in a thread titled Storm of Enthusiasm:

"For me (although far from perfect) what creates that feeling of enthusiasm is "BEING IN CONTROL" and watching the pounds come off! . . . But all in all....I know that losing and doing what we KNOW is right for us....leads to the weight going down and feeling better!"
-- Julie S aka Sunshine

"I am still in the weight loss phase and am seeing all the benefits that come with it! The rapidly changing body, the new clothing sizes, shopping! Reeling over the health benefits, the attention, the high of it all! It will be good to look back at the responses here once the high wears off!"
--Buffy CT

"I MAKE my storm of enthusiasm. Turning the weaknesses that caused self-destructive behavior into strengths that encourage self-empowering behavior creates a storm of enthusiasm. If I sense the winds starting to drop, I am moved to fan them! I just don't want the adventure to end. I'm not perfect by any means! But I've looked at life from both sides now, as the song says. This side is better. I shall not be moved!"
--Judy Petite

"You know, just coming to the Neighborhood storms up my enthusiasm. Reading what the Newbies have to say always takes me back to that initial "thrill". It is why I am here so much!"

The Rockies only have one more chance to recapture their winner’s edge. But a person with weight loss surgery receives the gift of a new chance every day. It is highly possible to rediscover the ingredients that made your weight loss surgery storm of enthusiasm in the first place. If you are in a slump muster all the enthusiasm and brew a storm of enthusiasm, the same storm you enjoyed in the early stages of your weight loss surgery experience.

Seek support. Pursue knowledge. Make a plan. Grow desire. Empower yourself.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ham and Veggie Casserole

Many gastric bypass weight loss surgery patients include eggs as part of their regular diet. In fact, the egg may well be the perfect bariatric food. An egg contains the highest quality of food protein known, each Grade A large egg contains 6 grams of protein. It is so nearly perfect that egg protein is the standard by which other protein is measured. The egg is second, only to mother’s milk, for human nutrition.

Given these benefits having eggs for dinner seems a healthy protein rich choice for the gastric bypass patient and their family. This Ham and Vegetable Torta is a delicious dinner casserole that sneaks in some extra veggies but still very high in protein. This recipe packages well and is very good reheated the following day.

Day 3: 5 Day Pouch Test

Ham and Vegetable Casserole
1 pound zucchini, sliced (about 4 medium)
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 eggs
1 cup (8 oz.) low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces cooked lean ham or turkey ham, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese


In large skillet over high heat, cover and cook zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and garlic, until spinach starts to thaw, about 3 or 4 minutes. With fork, break spinach apart. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well. In large bowl, beat together eggs, cottage cheese, and seasonings until well blended. Stir in ham and cooked vegetables.

Lightly spray 12 x 7 1/2 x 2-inch baking dish. Pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Choice of 3 Free Gifts - WLS Cookbook Sale!

Our Neighborhood Cookbook is back in stock! To celebrate we are offering you the choice of one three free gifts with your purchase:

  • 2006 Best of You Have Arrived Newsletters on CD

  • 5 Day Pouch Test Wallet Card

  • Recipe of the Week CD (30 Recipes)

  • In addition, we are pleased to offer you a $2.00 savings off the cover price.

    Order your cookbook and free gift today!
    Just $18.00 + $3.75 S&H
    A $26.00 Value

    Click to Order

    This is the first ever weight loss surgery cookbook written by surgical weight loss patients for patients. 300+ recipes created by real life home cooks who are living well with their weight loss surgery. Focus is on the high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet while paying attention to flavor and fresh, nutritious ingredients. Recipes are uncomplicated and accessible while respecting the needs and lives of busy weight loss surgery patients. The cookbook for every weight loss surgery success story!

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    What are weight loss surgery "slider foods"?

    Good Morning Neighbors!

    Since we have been talking about the 5 Day Pouch Test so much the word "slider foods" has become a regular part of our vocabulary. Slider Foods is a commonly used term in the bariatric community to describe foods that simply slide through the pouch without providing the sensation of fullness.

    In a malabsorptive procedure the pouch is made and the stoma or outlet is attached to the lower part of the middle intestine called the jejunum. The majority of caloric absorption takes place in the jejunum, so depending upon where your surgeon created the outlet the level of absorption can vary. Skilled surgeons will adjust the length of intestine bypassed according to their patient's projected needs based on dieting history and pre-op psychological screening.

    Helpful Video: Eating After Weight Loss Surgery

    Slider foods slide right through the stoma into the jejunum. My first test of the slider foods was graham crackers and coffee for my after work snack. Now imagine, I could eat a stack of graham crackers and wash it right through the pouch with the coffee and never feel any satiation. What resulted was an easily absorbed slurry that my jejunum sucked up like a sponge - it didn't have to do any work to absorb this simple carbohydrate slurry. Of course, weight gain resulted and I had to give up this little indulgence. Another popular slider food is pretzels. I speak with post-ops all the time who are addicted to pretzels - again, this is a simple carb that your jejunum is very happy to receive and convert to fat. Traditionally dieters are encouraged to eat pretzels or popcorn - fat free and fiber, right? But that doesn't work so well for us. Giving our re-routed bodies these simple carbs is dangerous because our bodies have spent years perfect the art of fat storage - slider foods are to the body a great big lotery win.

    Read more about the carb cycle

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Boost Potassium Intake with Salmon and Grapefruit

    Potassium is one of the nutrients gastric bypass patients tend to be deficient. In fact many weight loss surgery patients (WLS) supplement their diet with potassium. By including certain foods in the diet weight loss surgery patients can increase their potassium intake.

    Read more: Potassium Rich Food

    Of course we have heard all our lives to eat a banana when low on potassium. 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.

    One of my favorite potassium rich recipes includes salmon and grapefruit, ingredients that are available year round and easily digested by the weight loss surgery patient.

    Grapefruit-Broiled Salmon

    Prep: 20 minutes/ Cook: 10 minutes

    This WLS friendly recipe tastes great and is nutrient dense with vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber from the grapefruit and heat-friendly Omega 3 fatty acids in the salmon. A normal serving of Grapefruit-Broiled Salmon contains about 40% daily value potassium. The salad is good served cold the next day.


    3 grapefruits (or one jar canned grapefruit)
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 celery stalk cut into ¼-inch dice
    ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    ½ teaspoon salt

    4 boneless salmon fillets, with skin (6 ounces each)
    ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper


    1. With a small paring knife, peel the grapefruits. Working over a bowl to catch the juice separate the grapefruit sections from the membranes; reserve any juice that collects in the bowl. Halve the grapefruit sections crosswise and transfer to a salad bowl. Add the bell pepper, celery, oinon, oil, mustard, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Toss to combine and refrigerate until serving.
    (to save time I have used the bottled pre-sectioned grapefruit from the produce section.)

    2. Preheat the broiler. Place the salmon, skin-side down, on a broiler rack. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit juice, the oregano, black pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt over the salmon. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 8 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve the salmon with the grapefruit salad. Serves 4 (normal)

    Per serving: Calories 402; Fiber 2g; Protein 35g; Total Fat 21g; Saturated Fat 4g; Cholesterol 100mg; Sodium 430 mg.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Kaye's Huggy-Touchy Empowerment Talk (again)

    Previously Published 8/30/2007 in the You Have Arrived Postcard.

    Hello Neighbors!

    Today's postcard is about the personal empowerment that group support brings us. I know, you probably roll your eyes and think, "Here Kaye goes again pushing all that huggy-touchy empowerment talk." Perhaps some days I do get a little sentimental-corny about it, but trust me, when we travel together we become an empowered force to be reckoned with. Morbid obesity and the world that thinks we took an easy route to good health will NOT get the best of us. Not when we band together.

    With that in mind I present empowerment from the LivingAfterWLS Neighbors, the very people who lift my spirits and make me believe that everything is possible. You will see that empowerment is not just a word I toss about lightly - it is a belief and a creed practiced by many people who want to do the best they can on any given day, for themselves and for their Neighbors.

    a very positive site
    truly a safe haven...

    "This is a very positive site with LOADS and LOADS of helpful information - I do wish that I had found this site sooner as it has lots of information for pre-oppers that is just not available on this side of the pond. What it has helped me with is to confirm that I made the right choice for me in having Berty the Band fitted and also to gee me up and making me feel that this time I WILL be successful with my weight loss. Why this time? Becasue most of the neighbours here have already shown that it is possible to lose the weight and keep it off."
    --Xandra (Cheshire, UK)

    In the Neighborhood: What Brought you here?

    "I am enjoying this community! It's the first place that I have found that puts a focus on self empowerment and I really like that."
    --thn1inside (Missouri)

    After I looked through the amazing list of topics that asked and answered so many questions that I had, I just had to come and see if the neighborhood was too good to be true. The very fact that the approach is that of a neighborhood made me feel that this site was going to be different. I was so right on that one! From the first post I made I was not only welcomed, but people actually answered my questions candidly and from their own experience and encouraged me to continue asking questions. I learned more in a week here than I ever have or will anywhere else. It truly is a safe haven where we can all meet and discuss any issue that we fancy. True, it is WLS based, but that is the best part. Most of us not only don't have a family member that has had surgery, we don't even know anyone that has. Now, we all have an entire new neighborhood that we can 'live' in any time we choose with countless experts on the subject.
    --Celadon (Florida)

    at first reluctant to join
    coming here has been a life saver

    "I was very reluctant to join after viewing other sites. I had encountered very negative members of other groups. Some who I think joined to simple tell people who have chosen to take their lives back by WLS that they are quitters. So coming here has been a life saver. I feel better and more confident the more I read here. Everyone is welcoming and friendly. The help everyone offers is great. I have alot to learn, but now I feel I have a sounding board I can visit to have all my questions answered. With the support of my family and this board I fell much more sure of my decision. In the beginning you can second guess your decision to have this life altering surgery, but hearing everyone else's stories I feel so much better."
    --antoue (Connecticut)

    "You are all awesome. I feel very blessed to have wandered into this neighborhood. I have been on a very lonely journey!!! I haven't been this excited about a support group and where to find answers since i had surgery on 9/7/05."
    --debrasuzanne (Ohio)

    Read Deb's Introduction: Good Morning ev1, deb from ohio here

    "Welcome everyone, new or not, we need each other and the positive reinforcement and helpful tips. I thank you all. I'm soooo happy. I'm on my way to loosing the next 20. When I get down to my goal weight I'm gonna do something big. Maybe have a huge party or something!!! Te amo!! If I can do it so can you!!!"
    --lovelivinnoregon (Oregon)

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    After the 5 Day Pouch Test

    What happens after the 5 days?

    After the 5 Day Pouch Test is when things get exciting. Having successfully broken a carb-cycle, regained a feeling of control over the surgical gastric pouch and possibly losing a few pounds one is ready for re-entry into a compliant way of eating. This means focusing on protein rich meals, observing the liquid restrictions and avoiding starches, particularly processed carbohydrates and slider foods. Three meals a day should be two-thirds protein, one third healthy carbohydrate in the form of low-glycemic vegetables and fruits. Consumption of whole grains is not forbidden, but should be limited to one serving a day.

    5 Day Pouch Test Plan

    If necessary, due to hunger, between meal snacks should be protein dense. Natural food protein is great including hard-cooked eggs, lean low-sodium deli meats, and limited servings of nuts or low-fat cheese. In addition, protein bars or beverages may be used for between meal supplementation. Liquid restrictions should be observed.

    5 Day Pouch Test Recipes

    Patients should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and take their prescribed supplemental vitamins. Caffeinated beverages should be limited to one or two a day and carbonated drinks are discouraged. Alcoholic beverages should be limited to one per day or less.

    Patients should commit to this way of eating for their lifetime.

    For more Q&A's visit: 5 Day Pouch Test FAQs

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Lifetime Weight Control

    Published today in the You Have Arrived Newsletter.

    This is the bullet list of guidelines provided by my center. Again, I realize they may differ from other programs and present them here as an example of one center's counsel for LIFETIME weight control. I know personally that when I follow these rules I feel terrific, my weight is stable and I feel confident and proud of my tool ownership.

    Chose foods high in protein, moderate in carbohydrates and low to moderate in fat
    Eat slowly in a relaxed setting. Chew all food well.
    Eat no more than three small meals per day. The first 1/2 of each meal is protein.
    Stop eating when you first notice the sensation of fullness!
    Do not snack. A snack is any food consumed between meals or eaten in a hurried fashion.
    Drink at least 64 ounces (2 quarts) of water every day.
    Do not drink liquids 30 to 60 minutes before or after meals.
    Avoid/limit sugar. Sugar will only sabotage your success.
    Avoid/limit milk and milk products. Think of milk as a liquid form of sugar.
    Avoid greasy, spicy and fast foods.
    Avoid carbonated beverages and alcohol.
    Take the nutritional supplements as prescribed.
    Exercise for 20 minutes, aerobically, every day.

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Gastric Bypass Dumping Syndrome

    Hello Everyone - Welcome to Monday!

    Lately I've received several letters from people who are suffering from dumping syndrome or constant feelings of a low-grade dump. It's hard to pinpoint the symptoms but can be described as simply feeling "off". A return to the high protein diet that worked for weight loss will often diminsh the symptoms of dumping. Several people have successfully returned back to basics of WLS eating by following our 5 Day Pouch Test. It concentrates on the elimination of processed carb snacking, focuses on high protein and quickly advances through the post-op eating stages to help one feel a tightening of the stomach pouch.

    Below is a previously published article the describes the feelings and causes of weigth loss surgery dumping syndrome:

    By Kaye Bailey

    Weight loss surgery patients who have gastric bypass can suffer from what is called dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is described as a shock-like state when small, easily absorbed food particles rapidly dump into the digestive system. This results in a very unpleasant feeling with symptoms such as a cold clammy sweat, pallor, butterflies in the stomach and a pounding pulse. These symptoms may be followed by cramps and diarrhea. This state can last for 30-60 minutes and is quite uncomfortable.

    A small percentage of long-term post-operative patients build a tolerance and do not dump on foods that would normally cause dumping syndrome with the malabsorptive gastrointestinal system. However, most patients learn to avoid the foods that cause dumping because it is so unpleasant.

    Foods that typically cause dumping are sweets, fats and processed carbohydrates. If a person is dehydrated the symptoms of dumping will be exaggerated.

    The most efficient way to avoid dumping is to maintain the strict regimen practiced during bariatric infancy: follow the four rules. Eat protein first making sure it comprises one-half of every meal. Avoid snacking. Avoid all sources of simple sugar; and yes, this includes cookies, cakes, candy, sodas, ice cream and sorbet. Sip water throughout the day. When you practice this eating behavior your blood sugar will not fluctuate and you will not dump. Most patients, who crave a taste of something sweet, have learned they can tolerate a bite of fruit at the end of the meal. Each person must proceed with caution and discover what works for their body.

    It is important to note that the dumping experience is different for every person. Some will always have extreme dumps and others more mild episodes. Individuals will notice dumping episodes will vary by incident. No two people experience dumping syndrome the and no two dumping episodes are the same.

    Dumping is a bittersweet result of the malabsorptive gastric bypass surgery. Because patients are challenged daily to retrain their eating habits an occasional dumping episode is likely to occur. Adherence to the four rules will prevent dumping in most cases. However, every now and again we will be blindsided by a dump caused by a food never suspected. Keeping a list of poorly tolerated foods will help you avoid them. The acutely dramatic event of dumping is a convincing motivator to follow the rules and avoid the foods that have trigged a dumping episode.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Delicious Autumnal Menu

    Hello Everyone!

    This is one of the most requested menus from LivingAfterWLS. The menu was originally published on October 1, 2006 in the LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week newsletter. When the newsletter was published a grassroots butternut squash fan club emerged. People left the farmer's markets and produce stands with freshly harvested squash. They prepared the recipe and rejoiced - We love the Creamy Butternut Squash Bake.


    If you are doing the 5 Day Pouch Test use the salisbury steak recipe for Day 4 of the plan. Enjoy the sauce sparingly. Save the squash and apple recipes for another day.

    Salisbury Steak
    1 pound ground meat of your choice
    1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 egg
    1 large onion, sliced
    1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
    1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
    2 tablespoons cold water
    2 teaspoons cornstarch

    Mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and egg: shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick. Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally until brown, about 10 minutes. Drain excess fat from skillet. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling: reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.

    Remove patties to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. In a small bowl whisk together water and cornstarch. Stir into onion mixture whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and continue whisking for 1 minute as mixture thickens. Serve sauce over meat patties.

    Per serving using extra lean ground beef: 321 calories, 27 grams protein, 21 grams fat (8 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

    Per serving using lean ground pork: 354 calories, 24 grams protein, 25 grams fat (9 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

    Per serving using ground turkey: 225 calories, 25 grams protein, 11 grams fat (3 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

    Creamy Butternut Squash Bake
    1 large butternut squash
    1/2 cup sour cream, light
    2 Tablespoons margarine/butter blend
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    Wash and dry butternut squash. Leave whole. Pierce skin with a carving fork in 4 or 5 places. Place squash on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in a 350F degree oven for 40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    When squash is cool enough to handle cut lengthwise in two pieces. Remove and discard seeds. Spoon out squash into a casserole dish. Add sour cream and 1 tablespoon of the margarine/butter blend. Mash all ingredients together with a potato masher. Smooth mixture in casserole dish.

    In a small bowl melt the remaining tablespoon of margarine/butter blend. Stir in breadcrumbs and Parmesan mixing to moisten. Sprinkle crumb mixture atop squash and sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Bake in 350F degree oven for 25 minutes.

    Serves 4. Per serving: 199 calories, 7 grams protein, 10 grams fat (5 saturated), 22 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams dietary fiber.

    Classic Baked Apples
    4 large granny Smith apples
    juice of 1 lemon
    2 teaspoons margarine/butter blend
    4 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    pinch of salt

    1 cup sour cream
    2 Tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
    1 teaspoon almond extract

    Directions: Wash and dry apples. Slice each apple in two vertically, remove core. Spinkle cut side of apples with lemon juice. In a small bowl combine margarine/butter blend, Splenda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle each apple half with the mixture. Bake in 350F degree oven for 30 minutes. While apples bake combine sour cream, Splenda and almond extract in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill until serving.

    Serve 2 apple halves topped with 2 tablespoons sour cream topping. Per serving: 211 calories, 3 grams protein, 14 grams fat (8 saturated), 20 grams carbohydrate and 3 grams dietary fiber.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    New! 5 Day Pouch Test Website.

    For You: The 5 Day Pouch Test Website

    The response to Kaye's 5 Day Pouch Test has been amazing! Around the world people are taking control of their weight loss surgery tool to lose regained weight, to take control of their eating habits to succeed with weight loss surgery. The test works.

    Now you have a one-stop destination for all things related to the 5 Day Pouch Test.


    --Learn the Plan
    --Get the Recipes
    --Be inspired
    --Take Control!

    You can succeed with surgical weight loss, no matter what.

    "During the past five days my pouch and I renewed our friendship. My body rewarded us with a 10 lb weight loss."
    --Kressy, LivingAfterWLS Neighbor

    5 Day Pouch Test

    Another quality product from LivingAfterWLS, Ltd. Liability Co.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Neighborhood News

    Hello Everyone!

    Here is an update of some of the good things happening in our LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood: our safe haven circle of friends.

    We have rolled-out a new section: The Global Neighborhood. In the interest of our growing population here in the Neighborhood we have added a new message board for Neighbors to connect geographically. At the bottom of your main screen you will find The Global Neighborhood featuring three forums that represent our current geographical demographics. The sub-forums are: North America, Europe and Southern Hemisphere. The North American Forum is broken into time zones for the United States. Canada and Mexico each have their own forum.

    Use these forums to:
    -- Connect with those in your geographical proximity
    -- Seek live support groups and friendships
    -- Discuss Neighborhood Hugfests
    -- General chit-chat indigenous to your location

    As our Neighborhood continues to grow throughout the world we will further customize this area of the Neighborhood for ease in usability and interactive alliance.

    In Other News
    Our good friend and IPB Guru Larry has been working long hours so that we now may custom select our skins (page graphics) to suit our personal tastes. Thanks Larry - You ROCK!
    Learn more: Choose the Skin You're In

    Join the Neighborhood Coffee Cup Swap and exchange a coffee cup with your LAWLS Neighbor.

    Play Fun Friday for a chance to win a Free 3-Month Premier Subscription.

    Premier Subscription Sale Continues!

    To celebrate our growing community we are pleased to offer you extended packages on our premier Neighborhood subscriptions so you can fully benefit from all that the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood has to offer. Upgrade to Citizen membership now and create your own blog, upload your pictures to the gallery and enjoy access to all of the forums including the password-protected boards.

    REGISTERED MEMBERS Login and go to:

    My Controls >> Options >> Purchase Paid Subscription

    Become a Neighbor - Register Now!

    In keeping with our safe haven environment your blogs and pictures will be private from the crawling eyes of search engines and the voyeurs who lurk on the web with unsavory intentions. Yet at the same time you will be comforted, accepted and embraced by those who understand the path you travel with weight loss surgery. You can be confident that your time spent in the Neighborhood will be free of advertising assaults that fatigue your eyes and distract your thoughts. This is a safe haven, a place of peace and security. You have made a difficult choice to have weight loss surgery, you deserve an online environment that will nurture and empower you to achieve your very best expectations.

    Upgrade your membership today and enjoy an extended period on your Premier Subscription:

    1 Month Subscription: $10 - Receive an extra week free! (.29 cents/day - 5 weeks)

    3 Month Subscription: $24 - Receive an extra month free! (.20 cents/day - 4 months)

    1 Year Subscription: $60 - Receive 2 extra months free!! (.14 cents/day - 14 months)

    Benefits of Registration

    For pennies a day give yourself the gift of a safe haven community where you can come, 24 hours a day, for inspiration, compassion and understanding in this, your very unique way of life.

    Best Wishes,
    Kaye Bailey

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Snacking vs. No Snacking after Surgical Weight Loss

    Question from LivingAfterWLS Reader:
    Am not a full (LAWLS) member yet, but think it's on the horizon for me..........I do get your recipe of the week and I have the Neighborhood Cookbook and I use it!

    After reading and re-reading the 5 day pouch test, and the 4 Rules of living after WLS.................I am confused. I was at a "Back on Track" program in North Carolina and one locally and they both spoke often about snacks............the 4 Rules say NO SNACKS.........both of the other programs quoted and used Gallop's Glycemic Index and they talk snacks!

    Answer from Kaye:
    Thank you for writing.

    I love it when someone tells me they are using the Neighborhood Cookbook - it does my heart good, thank you!

    As for the No Snacking vs. Snacking philosophies in the WLS think tank: Just think of it as the Mason-Dixon line of the bariatric community. The American Society for Bariatric Surgeons has endorsed the Four Rules, including "No Snacking." However, there is now a rift in that professional community between snacking vs. no snacking. One side suggests 5 or 6 small MEALS a day with a focus on protein, and the glycemic index as you mention. The other group says absolutely no snacking because patients take liberties and snacking becomes grazing on non-nutritional foods and weight gain results (think pretzels, popcorn, crackers etc.) I think the reason the one group says "5 Meals" is because in this country the word "snack" is a euphemism for JUNK! Authentically, the mini meals (snacks) should be equal to one-half of the grams protein taken in a regular meal. This helps to balance and regulate the metabolic hormones: insulin and glucagon. White carbs are forbidden by both camps.

    My standard reply is that one should always follow the exact advice from their specific bariatric surgeon and nutritionist.

    My personal inclination is that we should listen to our bodies and use good sense. There are days when I go forever without eating and do not experience weakness, faintness or even hunger. So if I'm not hungry or uncomfortable I don't always eat all my meals. However, there are days when hunger gets me and yes, I'll take a snack, something with protein and fat like an egg, some cheese or even jerky. I just play it on the day and do the best I can to respect my body.

    Response from reader:

    I just want you to know how pleased and impressed I am that I heard back SOOOOOOOOO fast!

    Weight Gain & Snacking

    I can even see both sides, the big thing is the quality of the snack(s) and that's where many of us already have our issues! Thank goodness for people and sites like WLS, who knew?

    YOUR TURN! Snacking or No Snacking? Comments welcome.

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Kaye's Fat Bottom Girl Playlist

    Last week I did the 5 Day Pouch Test with many friends from the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood. As part of my get back to basics plan I decided to pump-up my cardio workouts. Now, this little play list is going to age me, but I think it is a pretty good 46 minute workout. I call it "Fat Bottom Girl Workout" because I love the Queen classic of the same title and unfortunately, my regained weight landed on my bottom. The pace is quick - I average 3.8 and 4.2 miles per hour on the treadmill - and the time flies. I hope you'll enjoy! What's on your playlist?

    PS-- I lost 3 pounds on the 5DPT!!! 7 more to go.

    White carbs are non-nutritional slider foods

    Hello Everyone!

    We have been talking about getting back on track after a setback with weight loss surgery. Today I'm bringing forward a previously published article about avoiding foods that have no nutritional value. When we turn to these foods, namely processed carbs, we tend to get off track and gain weight. It seems we turn to these foods, often called "slider" foods because they are more comfortable in our pouch than protein is. They are called slider foods because they slip easily through the pouch and outlet without causing fullness or discomfort.

    It is best to disallow these foods from the diet after surgical weight loss. If they have slipped into your diet I strongly suggest following the 5 Day Pouch Test to come off processed carbs and recommit to the high protein diet advised by bariatric centers. Carbohydrate withdrawal can cause headaches, dizziness or cramping and mood swings. This can be managed by consuming a small portion of fruit (orange, peach or melon), staying well hydrated and taking a dose of Emergen-C water supplement.

    Avoiding Nutritionally Deficient Foods After Gastric Bypass

    After WLS we must concentrate on eating nutrient rich food. Nutritionally void foods cannot be part of the regular diet after surgery because they can cause dumping, vomiting and/or weight gain. In addition, the body is taxed by the bypassed system and to put foods into it which are difficult to process and digest only taxes the body further keeping us from feeling optimum health.

    In traditional dieting we learn to avoid “unhealthy” foods – those that tend to least resemble their original natural ingredients and have the most added refined and artificial additives. After gastric bypass we MUST avoid these foods, it’s not a suggestion – it is a way of life.

    Top of the list of foods that must be avoided are “white foods” – white sugar, white flour and white fat. There are many foods that include all three items as primary ingredients including soft drinks, most breads, crackers, pasta, pastries and pastry fillings, cakes, frostings, margarine and bread spreads, jellies, sweets and candies, frozen dinners, hamburger and hotdog buns, snacks, doughnuts, pizzas, pies, candy bars, and cookies—all of which are common snacks and convenience foods. Indeed, many of these combine all three whites together—white sugar, flour, and trans-fat. Furthermore, these foods frequently contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, texturizing and processing agents, and other additives that further detract from their nutritional stature and your health.

    “White sugar” includes refined sugar cane or sugar beets having virtually all B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential nutrients removed. Corn syrup is also a “white sugar,” made from processed cornstarch and essentially devoid of other nutrients.

    “White flour,” analogously, is whole wheat flour minus its nutrient-packed wheat germ and fibrous bran. Nutritionally speaking, white flour a ghost-like shadow of its original whole grain.

    “White fat” can include rendered animal lard, vegetable oils “hydrogenated” to make them hard at room temperature, and refined tropical fats such as cottonseed oil. Hydrogenation is a chemical process that transforms natural fats into more saturated “trans”-fatty acids that do not occur naturally and are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease.

    For a collection of gastric bypass friendly recipes visit LivingAfterWLS Recipes

    Kaye Bailey © 2005 - All Rights Reserved

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Eight Years: Eight Lessons

    This is an article from the You Have Arrived Newsletter (September 13, 2007) which marks my 8 year Arrivalversary. I am sharing it here for those who may not receive the Newsletter.

    1. The tool requires maintenance. Just like a saw blade that needs sharpening, so does the weight loss surgery tool require maintenance. For me that means daily feedings of vitamins, copious water consumption, eating appropriate foods and a healthy dose of daily exercise. In addition, my maintenance plan includes an occasional 5 Day Pouch Test to give the tummy a break and remind me (and it) how it is supposed to work. Without maintenance the tool becomes worn down by use and occasional abuse. Maintenance keeps it in tip-top shape so that it may function in the way it was intended.

    2. Even though my weight is fairly consistent I occasionally measure some of my personal self-worth by the size of my clothes or the number on the scale. I counsel others not to do this and speak of positive affirmations that celebrate each of us as whole beings. Yet occasionally I find my spirit lifted or diminished based solely on the size of my body. And I have decided this is OK because the ebb and flow of personal perception is what makes us, each of us, beautiful and unique individuals.

    3. The same eating plan that helped me lose weight is most effective for weight maintenance. In the course of 8 years I've gone through phases of tweaking the post-WLS diet: adding grains or extra veggies or "healthy" sweets. Nothing works as well for weight maintenance as the basic weight loss surgery diet of lean-clean protein, light sauces, minimal veggies and fruits and no starches. I accept this and finally understand that the Four Rules are indeed for life. Finally accepting this is like the moment when Dorothy, wearing her ruby slippers, realizes she has had the power to go home all along.

    Kaye's Regular Eating Plan

    4. It is far easier to fall off-track than it is to get back on track. I have said it before: Nobody wakes up to say, "Today is the day I will fall off track." It happens quickly and often without notice for a variety of reasons. Getting back on track requires a deliberate plan and firm commitment. A support network is useful when trying to regain control of a the WLS tool and way of life.

    5. There are some people in my life who I prefer do not know that I was once morbidly obese. To me this feels hypocritical and is reminiscent of the shame I felt when I was fat. As an overweight child I recall believing that being fat made me a bad and undesirable person. Perhaps it is this insecurity that makes me want to keep secret my obese past because I do not want to be judged bad or undesirable. I am working to accept this insecurity because I believe it allows me to have deep empathy and compassion for others. However, I'm still not quite comfortable whipping out a before picture and saying, "Do you want to see how huge I used to be?"

    6. Though I consider myself fiercely independent I need support in life and in the weight loss surgery experience. For the first several years of my journey I traveled alone, save it for the kindness and support of my husband. The evolution of the LAWLS Neighborhood has given me the strength and power of many. I never need to feel alone and lost again. My dream is that no one will ever feel lost and alone with weight loss surgery.

    7. There are days when I resent the hell out of my tool. I get tired of being concerned about what I need to eat and bored with eating the safe foods. I get hungry for old favorites that now do not agree with me. And once in a while I simply miss gluttony. These days pass, but they do exist. On most days I am forever grateful for my tool and my healthy life, but once in a while I'd like to shut-off the tool and go crazy with a hot fudge brownie sundae. Fortunately, fear keeps me in check.

    8. If I had it to do over again I would take the same path I have traveled the last eight years. Surgical weight loss is not the easy way out and I expect in the next eight years I will face more challenges and learn more lessons as I continue to learn my tool. I wouldn't trade this last eight years for anything. I've learned to be healthy and learned to be confident. The struggles have been many but are far outnumbered by the successes and celebrations. I am grateful for this new life; I am grateful that I have arrived.

    Thank you for celebrating this special day with me.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    After Weight Loss Surgery:
    What is a Regular Eating Plan?

    Yesterday at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood we engaged in a conversation about a normal eating day following weight loss surgery. You can read it here: An Idea of What You Eat in a Normal Day.

    I was reminded of an article I wrote about my regular eating plan, back in 2005. Upon re-reading it I see I still follow the same pattern (except for this week while I am doing the 5 Day Pouch Test). No doubt to some my plan seems boring and unappealing. That is why we all need to find what works for us and follow that plan consistently. It was when I wavered from this plan last winter and allowed snacking into my day that I gained weight. Today I share with you this old article and plan that still works for me today, and I encourage you to find your own regular eating plan to make the most of your surgical weight loss experience.

    If you have suggestions or ideas about your ideal eating plan please post a comment, or hop on over to the Neighborhood and add your 2-cents there! The more we know about how others are working a plan the better chance we have to create workable and effective plans for ourselves.

    After WLS: What is a Regular Eating Plan?

    By Kaye Bailey

    After six years of living with gastric bypass I’ve finally come into a regular eating routine where I no longer fight against the gastric bypass nor do I battle the head games associated with eating restriction. I don’t believe what I do day-to-day is perfect but I know it works for me giving me optimum energy and good health.

    Over time I’ve found if I strictly control my food choices for breakfast and lunch I can allow a bit more freedom and adventure in my evening meal. In fact, I enjoy wonderful variety and flavor in my evening meals. I seldom snack which I believe is the key to having maintained my weight loss.

    For breakfast and lunch I eat the same things almost every day. Breakfast is most often 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of Kashi Go-Lean High Protein cereal or cottage cheese with 1/2 cup sugar free jell-o or cottage cheese with 1 hard-cooked egg. I also have a cup of coffee about an hour after breakfast. (Coffee is not recommended during the phase of weight loss.) ((Sept. 2007 - I'm on the cottage cheese-hard boiled egg phase of my boring rotation.))

    For lunch I enjoy tuna mixed with a little miracle whip, or canned chicken fixed the same. Sometimes I'll have shrimp (6-8 peeled) or those imitation seafood flakes. Usually I add a piece of low-fat mozzarella cheese and then some fruit, whatever is in season. If have lunch out I'll order a salad with the chicken and eat the chicken and taste the salad. I may order a sandwich and eat the insides, not the bread. I may taste the bread, but not eat much of it. ((This summer I've been big on left-over grilled chicken: thighs & breasts for my staple lunch.))

    Now for dinner: that is when I get my variety. I cook at home almost every night of the week. I enjoy learning new recipes and often experiment with finding "safe" foods that both my husband, a normal eater, and I will enjoy. We eat fish twice a week, chicken and pork frequently and red meat once a week. We have essentially eliminated starch such as potatoes, pasta and rice from our regular diet. Remarkably, neither of us miss it or the heavy feeling it brings. Side dishes are generally steamed in-season vegetables or baked vegetables such as winter squash.

    I imagine this all sounds very blah and basic. It took a long time to accept that if I eat my safe foods for breakfast and lunch I will feel good and chemically balanced all day. Dinners seem like such a treat because of the variety, so it is working for me (finally!). It takes a long time to resolve and accept a regular eating plan, but once established it feels like a comfortable place to be.

    Kaye Bailey © 2005 - All Rights Reserved

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Carbs and Guilt: The Wicked Vicious Cycle

    I think that most weight loss surgery post-ops will tell you that processed carbohydrates led to their obesity. After surgery during weight loss we live by the four rules or guidelines from our bariatric centers concentrating on a high-protein diet. Then somewhere along the line the snack monster attacks and we return to processed carbs. A little nibble here, a taste there. At first it doesn't slow down our weight loss so we test the water and more carbs come back into our diet.

    Then the cycle is set and suddenly the scale reverses directions and we regain. This happened to me and it all started with an innocent graham cracker. Pretty soon it was stacks of graham crackers, then popcorn and then Nutter-Butter cookies. The snack monster had me firmly in its wicked grasp.

    Not only did I gain weight from the carbs, I felt shame and guilt because I knew better and I promised my surgeon that I would comply with the rules. I committed for life to be a good bariatric patient and here I was doing the same thing that made me obese in the first place: mindlessly eating nutritionally void foods.

    My cycle became predictable: a moment of lost willpower lead to a carb binge followed by a guilt binge and resolve to do better. I repeated the cycle often, sometimes more than once a day.

    What I have since learned is that the carb monster is not necessarily a mental demon. The carb monster is the body's biological roller coaster that results with a blood chemistry imbalance. More often than not it has nothing to do with willpower or personal integrity. According to Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller in Carbohydrate Addicts, blood sugar swings are the leading physical trigger for carb cravings. They write, "High-sugar, refined starch, convenience and comfort foods feed the (carb) addiction like a drug. They produce correspondingly high blood sugar and insulin levels, which leads to more cravings. They also produce higher levels of the brain chemical serotonin. In sensitive people, particularly those who may have low serotonin levels to begin with, a carbohydrate binge is the equivalent of self-medicating, just to get the sugar high.”

    I realized that not only am I a recovering morbidly obese person, I am a carbohydrate addict. That’s why I was spinning out of control when I broke from the high protein weight loss surgery way of life.

    Read Bamagal's: The Protein Dilemma

    According to The Merck Manual of Medical Information, “The theory behind high protein, low carbohydrate diets is that slower-burning energy sources – protein and fat – provide a steady supply of energy and thus are less likely to lead to weight gain. In addition, people tend to feel full longer after eating protein than after eating carbohydrates, because carbohydrates empty from the stomach quickly and are digested quickly. Carbohydrates also strongly stimulate insulin production, which promotes fat deposition and increases appetite.”

    Clearly if I was going to return to the same addictive carb cycle as before weight loss surgery I would also return to rapid weight gain and ultimately morbid obesity. My only choice if I elected to keep the weight off was to follow the four rules and eat a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet for the rest of my life.

    Is this easy? Heavens no. We live in a world full of temptations where it’s easy to be obese. I, like many of the LivingAfterWLS Neighbors, have recommitted myself many times again to following the protein first rule. When I succeed I enjoy more energy, fewer mood or blood sugar swings and overall better health. And I don’t gain weight. The easiest way for me to follow the protein first rule is start the day with protein and have my meals planned. If I start the day with carbs, even something presumably healthy like whole-wheat toast and peanut butter, the carb-cycle begins.

    Understanding the role that carbohydrates play in my nutrition has been helpful in sticking to the high protein, low carbohydrate way of life. It releases me from the self-loathing and guilt that I associated with a lack of willpower. The carb binge is not necessarily about being out of control mentally or emotionally. A carb binge is the body’s attempt to regulate blood sugar, which escalates into a recurring need or drive for starches, snack foods, junk foods or sweets.

    The easiest way to avoid this vicious cycle that feeds on itself, over and over, is to follow the guidelines we committed to when we promised our surgeons we would be good weight loss surgery post-ops. They gave us the tool and the rules; now it’s our turn to prove ourselves!

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Pouch Test: One Neighbor's Story

    Hello Everyone! I hope you had a nice long weekend full of LIVING and wellness. It was a busy weekend in my world and more than once I was grateful for my health and physical fitness as we engaged in numerous activities without respite. I realize that as a morbidly obese person I would have sat on the sidelines on such a busy weekend - but as a healthy weight fit person I played first team and loved every minute of it.

    By now you know that I believe in the 5 Day Pouch Test. We first published it here on August 13, 2007 and since that time numerous LivingAfterWLS Neighbors have taken the challenge to reclaim their pouch and get back to the basics that support surgical weight loss. Today I present to you (with permission) the posted notes of one woman who completed the test last week. Backtracker, AKA Lisa, joined our Neighborhood on August 22. She started the pouch test on August 28 and five days later was celebrating a tight pouch, a sense of accomplishment -- and she had lost 6 pounds. I think you will be inspired by her story - I know that I am.

    Forum Link: Have I broken my pouch?

    On August 22, 2007 Backtracker introduced herself, "I'm new to this site, but not to Kaye's newsletters. I'm a little over 2 years post-op and her newsletter asking if the pouch is broken caught my eye. I've been guilty of the slider foods, and yes they do go down more easily than protein. I've decided to backtrack and get back to basics and that's why I've joined." The following are Backtracker's posts chronicling her 5 Day Pouch Test:

    August 25, 2007
    Grazing has been my downfall, but all that is changing. I have resolved to get back on track and Monday I'm starting the 5 Day Pouch Test. I've also grown lax in exercising, so I'm getting back into that as well. It's back to basics for me. I've changed my mental attitude and have stopped feeling sorry for myself. Getting active in the Neighborhood is another tool for me.

    Reading about JudyPetite's experiences has truly been inspirational for me. The tool will always be there. It also brought home the importance of sharing our experiences with others because you never know what will help someone else. After all we are in this together!

    August 28, 2007
    I need to check in and give a report on my progress, but first I want to say something to Robin. I have gotten nauseated before from protein drinks too. What helps me is to drink some hot tea. Yesterday I drank green tea if I felt that little rumble starting to happen and it worked great. I bet chicken or beef broth would have been acceptable too. (Am I right, Kaye?) ((Yes – broth is a good liquid, and sugar-free Jell-o is also good at this stage of the test.))

    Read more about dizziness and dehydration after weight loss surgery

    I just finished my 30 minutes of exercise that I committed to do as part of my plan. I must confess I did have a mental conversation with myself to convince me to do it, but I'm a Gemini, so I can get away with it. Anyway I did it, and I felt great afterward. I discovered a need for a second exercise: not to watch real-time television these first two days as there are so many food ads. I just don't want head hunger to enter into the equation.

    Easy Walking Program

    I didn't feel physically hungry at all. I swapped tea for coffee as I find tea to be soothing to my pouch. I drank lots of water, pretty much sipping it all day. I had three protein drinks.

    For those of you thinking about doing this, it helps having a buddy. If you don't know someone, post to the list and I bet you'll have a taker. Deb asked me if I'd be her buddy and I was thrilled. It really does help because you don't want to let your buddy down.

    Support: Another LivingAfterWLS Power Tool

    August 29, 2007
    My buddy and I are on day 3. I'll let Deb share her progress with you. I got confused and bought salmon for dinner only to discover (thankfully in time) that it will be for tomorrow's dinner. Back to the store in a bit to find a softer fish.

    I got my exercise in, which came easier today than yesterday. I have a recumbent bike that I'm riding so I don't have to deal with the hot Texas weather.

    This has been a good experience for me. This program works on the mind every bit as much, if not more, as it does on the pouch.

    August 30, 2007
    This is day 4. My pouch literally has tightened up! I hadn't expected it. I guess I expected more of an awareness that the pouch still worked. I can never eat as much in the morning anyway, but right now I really don't want to eat. I'm sipping hot green tea to coax my pouch a bit, because I know how important it is to get in my protein.

    This has been a very important Aha Moment because now I realize how I slipped into the carb pattern. As I found to be true with near death experiences, it's one thing to read about them and comprehend, but it's so much more to gain the perspective from having had the experience. I'm so glad I'm doing the Five Day Pouch Test.

    September 1, 2007
    I was so focused on working the plan that when some pretty heavy duty obstacles came my way this past week, I didn't let them affect my food. I think the length of the plan had a large part to play in my ability to overcome the obstacles. So now I have to think about what I can do for the long term so I don't cave when obstacles come my way.

    One of the things I'm tossing around in my head: Is there a way of working the program for five days at a time and then renewing on an ongoing basis? Maybe changing up the program a little from week to week would be involved. Any input would be appreciated.

    ((Kaye's Note: Back to Basics will be the topic of discussion throughout September here at the LivingAfterWLS Blog, the Newsletters and the Neighborhood.))

    I neglected to mention that I lost 6 pounds while I was on the 5 Day Pouch test. Felt like the good old honeymoon days! If that's not incentive, I don't know what is.

    September 2, 2007
    In encouragement to another LivingAfterWLS Neighbor Lisa wrote, "I just finished the pouch test. How much of your hunger is head hunger? Are you drinking as much water as you should? Try sipping it throughout the day. Something else I found helpful was drinking hot green tea. It was very soothing to my pouch. Activity is the other thing that can get your mind off of food, be it exercise, housework, gardening, or perhaps a hobby you enjoy."

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    The Next Step:
    Normalizing Life with Surgical Weight Loss

    (This is me and my husband, January 2007)

    by Kaye Bailey
    For three years of my life my thoughts, actions and focus were on one thing only: weight loss surgery. Nothing but weight loss surgery. This full-throttle-focus began the year I researched and scheduled my gastric bypass and continued for the next two years post-op as I morphed through the biggest change of my life.

    And then one day I yelled "STOP!" and declared that I am not just a recovering morbidly obese person - I am a person of many dimensions beyond gastric bypass and living the weight loss surgery life. I declared a moratorium on all things weight loss surgery.

    No doubt, my husband was greatly relieved for me to put that chapter to rest. Lord knows the man is patient, but he had been my one and only sounding board for three years. He was exhausted of the topic too.

    Goodbye weight loss surgery person. Hello new me. I Had Arrived.

    What a relief to get back to "normal". Pretend "IT" was no longer there. Not worry about the rules, the protein counts, the exercise minutes and those minor complications (dumping & vomiting). Just living. Wow! It was liberating to be about more than weight loss, surgery, four rules and curious transformation.

    So for several months, almost half a year, we lived around that pink elephant (WLS) pretending it was not there and I was normal.

    And guess where that *normal* got me? Yes, you know. Back to the old habits that caused my obesity in the first place. Poor food choices, dismissal of physical activity and a "devil be damned I will live how I want attitude." This was my first weight gain after surgery and my first lesson: I am not, nor will I ever be "normal". For the rest of my life, every single day, I will have to be concerned and vigilant about weight control. I will never be a person who can eat all she wants, never exercise and not gain weight. That is not my normal. Harsh reality.

    So, the next task was to find balance. I certainly didn't want to go back to 24-7 all-consuming weight loss surgery living. But I couldn't forsake the my health and weight simply living in denial.

    As so many of us learn, going back to "normal" is like playing with fire. While we cannot let our surgical solution tyrannize our lives, we cannot become complacent about the lifestyle we signed up for - for life.

    During this last month at LivingAfterWLS we have been discussing the 5 Day Pouch Test - an opportunity to rediscover "The Tool" and a method of detoxifying from a carbohydrate cycle or poor snacking behavior. The response to this plan has been phenomenal as our WLS friends are discovering that they are not failures, the tool is not broken and with a little maintenance we can rev-up the engine and work it again, just like it was brand new.

    In the days and weeks to come we will discuss methods to find balance between that ALL-WLS mentality and a NO-WLS mentality. We will look at ways to thrive in our "new normal" so that long-term weight maintenance is ours for the taking. Watch for your You Have Arrived Newsletters, the Recipe of the Week, the LivingAfterWLS Blog and the Neighborhood Community for the information you need to find balance and success with your surgical weight loss. Together we can make this work.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    Live Chat is Back

    The Neighborhood Live Chat is back and better than ever!

    More secure.
    More user friendly.
    More fun!

    The live chat is open to three Neighborhood registered user groups: Foundation Members, Premier Citizens and Members. It is closed to guests and search engines: this is part of our "safe haven" policy.

    To become a registered member in the Neighborhood and connect with others who understand you please link here: Neighborhood Registration

    Beginning next week we will resume our weekly scheduled Live Chat (Thursday's 8-10 pm Eastern time). In the meantime jump in and chat it up with people just like you, doing the best they can to live life and make the most of their surgical weight loss options.

    5 Day Pouch Test Journal: Useful Tool


    Yesterday in the You Have Arrived Newsletter we presented a new LivingAfterWLS Tool: The 5 Day Pouch Test Journal. This is a downloadable worksheet for use during your pouch test. Our servers were overwhelmed with requests for this tool - if you were unable to get it please click the link below and download your free form:

    Download the 5 Day Pouch Test Journal

    Using the Pouch Test Journal:

    This simple two-page form is divided by days and asks you to record your weight, your energy level throughout the day, food intake, activity and motivation. For your convenience the daily food recommendations are included on the journal sheet. Record keeping should be honest, but brief. You don't need another burden in your day, just a visual record of your progress.

    Energy level should be ranked 1 to 10: 1 is low energy, 10 is extreme energy and 5-6 is neutral. We will talk more about energy level and food intake as we continue this discussion in the newsletters, blog and Neighborhood, so please keep track while doing the Pouch Test.

    With the Pouch Test we are not focused on losing weight, but we ask you to record your weight as an observation. In most cases it will go down, but if it does not please remember the scale is not our focus here. The focus is on quickly moving through the post-op diet, rediscovering our pouch and breaking a snack or processed carbohydrate cycle.

    Use the margins to note water intake, vitamin intake, monitored steps or anything else you use in your individual program to optimize your health. This is your worksheet and we hope it is a meaningful tool on which you can build a strong case for getting back on track.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Kaye Answers Questions About Pouch Test

    Here are some questions about the 5 Day Pouch Test that I answered in today's You Have Arrived Newsletter:

    Kaye, Is this something you came up with yourself or did you get it from your doc?
    This is a plan I developed based on the post-op stages given me by my center. Over the years I've done it 3 or 4 times to get back on track. When I first did this plan it was for 7 days, but it seems like 5 days works better for me. After all, we can do anything for five days, right?

    Is the idea behind this that we "allow" our stomachs to shrink down a little and thus get that full-feeling sooner again?
    The plan is first intended to allow your pouch to rest, just like right after surgery, to break the slider food habit and gradually work up to firm proteins that worked in the beginning to help us feel full and lose weight. It will work to help your pouch feel tighter.

    I don't like protein shakes - What can I do for days 1 and 2 of liquids?
    I know many of us became sick and tired of shakes early after surgery. If you wish to omit the liquid phase skip days 1 and 2; do day 3 twice, day 4 twice and day 5 once (or twice for 6 days). This program should not feel like a punishment, so work it for your personal taste.

    Recipe Suggestions

    Eggs don't sit well with me. Can I use cottage cheese on day 3?
    Cottage cheese is a good soft protein, but we did not include it on the list for Day 3 because many consider it a slider food. If you use cottage cheese measure your portion (1 cup volume) and do not exceed that. Practice mindful eating to know when you are full.

    Is there a time a day I should be eating each meal?
    Again, this is your program. Work it to your schedule. The program allows that you can eat protein whenever you are hungry so try your best to respond to your body's signals.

    The program is working so well, can I just stay with it?
    If you are enjoying the program then we recommend you stay with days 4 and 5 alternating between the two. Day five is actually the plan that most centers recommend during the phase of rapid weight loss.

    Read the ongoing discussion in the Neighborhood

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Going Green Beans

    This time of year is one of my favorite “eating seasons”. The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables brings variety and wholesome goodness to the table. Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. They are a nutritious source of vitamin C, folate, iron, beta carotene and rich in fiber. One cup of cooked fresh beans contains 44 calories, 4 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams protein and just a trace of fat. Most surgical weight loss patients report a high tolerance for cooked green beans.

    When shopping for fresh green beans they should be firm and snap crisply when you bend them. Chose slender, straight beans with a “peach fuzz” feel, free of nicks or rusty brown spots. For uniform cooking choose beans that are of similar size.

    When I was a young girl I thought my Grandma Rhoda cooked green beans perfectly. She would boil them in salted water until they were very tender, drain the water and add fat from the bacon grease can she kept on the stove. Sometimes she included sliced onions or crumbled bacon. I loved these so much I could eat myself silly on them.

    Times have changed and I think I have found an equally delicious way to prepare the seasons best green beans: Oven Roasting. Adjust the quantities of ingredients allowing 1/4 pound of beans and 1/4 onion per serving.

    Oven Roasted Green Beans

    Green beans
    Sliced onion
    Minced garlic (optional)
    Olive oil
    Salt and Pepper

    Preheat oven to 425F.

    Snap ends off green beans. Rinse under cold running water and drain. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Top beans with sliced onion and minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in preheated oven 15 minutes. Using tongs, toss beans to mix. Continue roasting 10-15 minutes to desired doneness. Serve warm.

    I usually buy several pounds of fresh beans at the Farmer’s Market and then prepare them this, seal in vacuum pack bags and freeze to enjoy during the winter. Simply thaw and reheat in a microwave oven.


    More Green Bean Recipes:

    Green Bean Casserole
    Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
    Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
    Green Beans with Dijon Mustard Sauce
    Green Beans with Glazed Pearl Onions

    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Fixing Broken Windows

    I am posting this essay from the July 10, 2007 You Have Arrived Newsletter. We have so many new members who may have missed this - and it talks about some key steps to attacking a stall or weight gain. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts.

    Fixing Broken Windows

    by Kaye Bailey

    There is a popular theory in urban renewal that suggests fixing broken windows as they happen is the key to reducing crime and preventing urban decay. The theory is based on a 1982 Atlantic Monthly article by George L. Kelling. He writes, "Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside."

    Perhaps it's a stretch but I believe it is possible to apply the "Broken Window" theory to our post-weight loss surgery health and wellness. The broken window, of course, would be a lapse in compliance with our program: eating unhealthy foods, the absence of exercise and so forth. If we break a window one day and do not fix it the next then we risk breaking another window. But if we practice self-renewal and fix that broken window promptly we can avoid the intrusion of vandals and squatters who would break more windows pollute our healthy new body.

    The challenge herein is that if we allow the broken window to go without repair we then become the vandals to our own building (body). At times it is far easier to give permission to the squatters than it is to kick them out. One day of missed exercise leads to another and another and pretty soon the sloth-squatter has set-up camp in our building. I know for me all it takes is three missed workout sessions and my sloth-squatter is quite at home enjoying the broken windows. But when I saw the pattern I came to understand that one broken window (missed workout) could be repaired without struggle. Repairing three broken windows demands a forceful and determined self-renewal to fix my building.

    In cities and in life there will always be broken windows. A broken window is not a sign of failure or neglect. Windows are made of fragile glass that sometimes breaks. And though we may pretend to be tough as steel we are more like glass: fragile and prone to occasional breakage. Windows can be fixed. Fix your broken windows promptly and forbid the squatter's entry. You've worked hard for your new life; give yourself the gift of self-renewal.

    More essays by Kaye Bailey