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Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's in a Name?

Yesterday I was doing a media interview about life after WLS and the reporter asked me, "What should I call this surgery?" I didn't understand the question at first but he clarified, "Do I call it gastric bypass, lap-bad, weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery, obesity surgery, fat-loss surgery, stomach stapling or what?"

Now, personally, I prefer to lump all of the procedures together under Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) because it is a general term that is widely recognize and it leads people via search engines to our site, LivingAfterWLS. Bariatric's is not a well-recognized word and obesity surgery just sounds belittling to me. Then the other terms are more procedure specific.

So I'm putting it out to the Neighbors - what term do you prefer and/or use to describe your surgery? What terms do you like and what terms do not set well with you? What other terms have you heard that I didn't mention here?.......

If you are only now considering surgery for weight loss here are some helpful videos that explain the different procedures and expected results:

Getting Read for Weight-loss Sugery: The Process

The Hidden Costs of Obesity

The Pros & Cons of Gastric Banding Surgery

Talking to Your Primary Care Physician about WLS

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Administrative Professionals' Day: Managing Energy

Today is the secular holiday celebrating the work of clerical employees such as administrative assistants, receptionists, paralegals and all office workers. I am one of those office workers and to that end spend much of my time at a desk. While I do enjoy my work the sedentary nature of it does not contribute to my healthy LAWLS lifestyle. So I'm always looking for ways to improve my energy and movement during the workday. I know many of you are in the same boat, or shall I say same chair, as me. I found this great article by Nicola Carr that includes some helpful tips for managing energy in the workplace.

Happy Administrative Professionals Day and best wishes to all you desk jockeys in managing your energy.

Helpful Video:
Can you Really Regain Weight After WLS?

Managing Energy In The Workplace

By Nicola Carr

Managing energy is not just about food. It's about managing working conditions that affect how your body releases energy. This includes managing stress, oxygen levels, exercise levels and food breaks. Work demands can zap energy very quickly so you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to boost your energy supply to help you both physically and mentally.

The Brain Protein Continuum
The neurons in your brain are largely made of fat. The brain cells communicate with each other using neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are made up from amino acids; protein building blocks. Another important amino acid is tyrosine.

Eating protein increase levels of tyrosine in the brain, helping the brain generate nor-epinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals promote alertness. The absorption of protein is assisted by carbohydrates. So eating a balanced supply of carbs and protein throughout the day will keep that brain network humming and avoid that 3pm black hole.

Top 10 Work Day Energy Guidelines

  1. Start the day well rested - Treat your bed as an important energy re-supply station and ensure you book in long enough for the process to be completed. That means 7 to 9 hours a night.
  2. Try a workout first thing - even 20 minutes will boost your bodies oxygen supply and keep your head thinking straight longer during the day. It's often much harder to feel inspired at the end of the day. If morning isn't your thing - the evening can still work. Try tricking yourself. Change into workout gear as soon as you get home. Switch on the television or put on a DVD, and instead of heading for the couch, sit on a workout bike or yoga mat with some weights. A few seconds later the brain starts connecting the visual messages and before you know it an hour has gone by.
  3. Keep the body supplied with fuel - Eat a small, healthy snack every few hour of lean protein and whole grain carbs. The carbs provide a rapid energy release, while the protein provides longer-lasting energy.
  4. Keep the body well hydrated - air conditioning is extremely drying on your system, and that includes the brain.
  5. Take an oxygen break - if you don't have time for a full lunch break, take at least a 10 minute walk around the block or anywhere where there is more oxygen than car fumes. I use walking catch-ups. If a staff member wants to chat about something briefly I get us both out for a walk.
  6. Try boosting energy during the day - some deep breathing [preferably not whilst on the phone to the CEO]; taking the stairs instead of the elevator or just standing up doing some leg raises all help to move oxygen around the body and boost the cells energy producing processes. I keep a small hand weight on my desk and it's amazing what you can do during a phone call!
  7. Keep good energy nutrition snacks at work - protein balls are my favourite. I make them on Sunday and they last the whole week in the refrigerator. [that is if I don't eat them all by Thursday]. I use them for my 3pm low zone snack and as a mental pick-me-up before entering a long meeting.
  8. Reduce the alcohol during the week - try getting it down to one glass a night - you will be amazed how much easier it is to get out of bed in the morning and you will be more likely to feel like doing that early morning workout. And your skin will look fantastic!
  9. Go easy on the coffee - caffeine is not a good long term solution for energy throughout the day. It's addictive and better left to one cup first thing in the morning. You will sleep better also.
  10. Reduce the size of your evening meal and avoid carbs after 6pm - you will find you will sleep better and that translates into more energy during the day.
And if you want to contribute to the worlds renewable energy supply - take a leaf from enterprising gym enthusiasts like Doug Woodwring who are harnessing energy created from everyday workouts and converting it into usable power.

Nicola is a fitness and life advocate for Learn how to avoid tiredness and maintain muscle mass using antiaging bodybuilding She has also been a management performance consultant for many years.

Article Source:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday and I’m getting to be the age when it’s girlishly uncomfortable to mention my years, the age when I need glasses to read and the age when my doctor utters those painful words during my annual exam, “Well, at your age you can expect to have aches and pains.” Ugh!! But – it’s a good day! I am happy in love, healthy and engaged in the pursuit of post-WLS living at its best. At LivingAfterWLS we have a tool called the Personal Self-Assessment. It is a worksheet that we try to use quarterly to assess our goals, our progress and identify areas for improvement. Because it’s my birthday I’m going to take time today to use this self-assessment tool and start the next chapter of my life with a plan. As so many of us are learning (over and over again) WLS is not a quick fix or an easy method of losing weight. We truly must pursue the art of living with the surgery for the rest of our lives.

I am profoundly grateful for the surgery and the health that I now enjoy. When I look back at myself ten years ago I see a woman suffering from the co-morbidities of obesity with not much hope or motivation to change my lifestyle. It just seemed hopeless and that obesity was the hand I’d drawn. Had I not taken the path of WLS I’m sure I’d be 100 pounds heavier than I was in 1997. Those aches and pains the doctor tells me are “normal” for my age would no doubt be crippling. And most sad of all, I would have missed the last 8 years of healthy living and joyful evolution as a person. I am grateful for WLS.

Happy Birthday to Me! I hope you all have a great day and if the moment is right take some private time and work on your LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment. Make a plan, revisit your goals and enable your enduring success with WLS.

What is a WLS success? Watch this quick video:
Beyond the Numbers: Defining Success After WLS

Friday, April 20, 2007

Going Green: April 22 is Earth Day

"May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life."

--United Nations Secretary-General U Thant
March 21, 1971.

Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day - a multi-national holiday to celebrate planet earth. The first Earth day was in 1970. Today over 20 million people participate in observances and it is recognized by governments in 175 countries. From wikipedia: "The story goes that Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson after a trip he took to Santa Barbara right after that horrific oil spill off our coast in 1969. He was so outraged by what he saw that he went back to Washington and passed a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth."

For a list of Earth Day events visit Earthday Network.

Focus of many Earth Day activities this year is on "Going Gree" - making small changes to protect Mother Earth from global warming. I found a list of 101 Ways to get started and was pleased to see that many things we do in our new LAWLS lifestyle are on the Go Green list. Here are a few of my favorites:

-Weather permitting, take your exercise outdoors
-Skip the elevator and take the stairs
-Find new uses for old things
-Ride your bike
-Reuse your Ziplock bags (think vitamin baggies!)
-Unload your trunk; the lighter the load, the less gas your car consumes (think weight loss!)
-Bring your own bags to the grocery store
-Eat more veggies
-Eat what's in season
-Support recycling by buying products made from recycled materials
-Plant a garden
-Fill up your freezer, since the fuller it is, the less energy it uses to keep food frozen
-Spend more time outdoors

What are some of things you are doing to "Go Green"?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Back Across the Line

Hello Neighbors!!

I know that many of you in the LAWLS world are acquainted with Bamagal aka Diane. She contributed extensively to our Neighborhood Cookbook and is a strong leading presence in our Neighborhood community. It pleases me to introduce you to her new blog: Back Across the Line. Take a look.

She started it at the end of March and it is a fantastic resource of information, knowledge, common sense and wit -- it is Bamagal at her very best! I am so thrilled she has taken public her story because, like a prized diamond, her story is multifaceted. I don't know anyone who seeks knowledge more voraciously than Diane - she gets her facts in order and then she gets her opinions in order. I love this woman. She created a side-blog titled Helpful Links to share her vast collection of internet resources. Be sure to check it out as well (and thanks for including LAWLS on your list. )

Today she writes about "Fatblogging(TM)" --- a grassroots cyber movement for people to blog their diet experiences. "We are on a mission to spread the word of health, happiness, and humor, forgive all diet transgressions, overcome temptations, and to help you reach your goals! Remember it's health that matters, not size. Hallelujah!" Read the Full Post

Thanks for sharing, Bamagal - You make the cyber world a much better place.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Unsoliticted comments: Where do they lurk in your life?

Over at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood we have been talking about body image pre and post weight loss. Many of us carry battle wounds from childhood when we were called unkind names by children on the playground and sometimes by insensitive adults. I found this article by Laura Lallone about the wounds we carry from childhood to adulthood. If you are like me her story is all too familiar. I wonder how much of my life I've spent replaying those hurtful unsolicited comments? As she says, "This is not healthy."

She offers hope in the conclusion of the article: Awareness. I'm going to police my negative thought cycle with more awareness, and I hope you will too.


Carrot Legs, Oh Carrot Legs - Why Do You plague me?
By Laura Lallone

When I was 10 years old, a little girl friend turned to me at day camp and said, "Your legs are shaped like carrots. They are skinny at the bottom and fat at the top. Mine are shaped more like string beans."


When I was 14 years old, a girl named Danni on my swim team informed me and my friends that, "If you can see a roll of skin on your stomach when you sit on the toilet, then you are fat and need to lose weight."


I don't know about you, but when I sit on the toilet (maybe it's my posture) I see two things - a roll around my middle and my thighs smashed to their widest possible girth. I figure in the past 20 years I've sat on the toilet about 32,000 times. I'd say that at least half of those times the little stories from my youth have passed through my mind. Hmmm... that is 16,000 times I've had those thoughts. That is just not healthy!

Unsoliticted comments. We've all received them. Where do they lurk in your life? Why do they stick?

In this case, they stuck probably because I was at a really impressionable age. It's probably because of some nature/nurture, self-esteem, self-worth issue. My rational mind can see that the girls probably said what they said because THEY were feeling insecure in some way. Wait. Does that make insecurity contagious? Can we literally pass on insecurity like a hot potato? That's silly.

There's so much to talk about here. Somewhere inside of each of us, there is a little kid who is still whiplashed from these unsolicited attacks. I guess the issue comes when she (the little girl me) shows up when I'm sitting on the toilet - or otherwise feeling "less than". She doesn't have any more skills or savvy to deal with the comments than she did back then. The adult me has an arsenal though: ways to get grounded, an ability to control my thinking and be more rational, compassion for myself and those other little kids, gratitude for my body and all of its working parts, a sense of humor and a sense of "who gives a flying monkey wrench".

Most of all, when it comes to dealing with emotions rising from old unsolicited zingers, awareness is key. Awareness of what "part" of us is responding inside and out.

P.S. These carrot legs can really kick some stringbean butt.