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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Protect Your Self-Care When Others Tempt You To Stray

One of the challenges we face as we evolve with our weight loss is protecting our boundaries and efforts for self-care. At times we may feel derailed by others who do not understand the changes taking place with our bodies and our lifestyles. The following article by Linda Dessau has some great hints for protecting our self-care and boundaries without feeling guilty.

Protect Your Self-Care When Others Tempt You To Stray
By Linda Dessau

So, you've set your self-care goals and you're all set. You've even considered the ways you'll sabotage yourself - but wait! What about those well-meaning friends and relatives who:

~ With all good intention pass along clutter from their house to yours – "this would look great on you", or "I can't use this but maybe you can". (Surroundings & Structures)

~ Seem to dwell on the negative or tell stories about how unfair life is. (Emotions & Thoughts)

~ Invite you to have "just a bite", or encourage you to stay out "just a little longer". (Lifestyle Habits)

~ Shy away from your new found honesty and assertiveness. (Friends, Family & Peers)

They probably don't mean any harm but they may DO you harm if they steer you away from the self-care goals you've set for yourself. So how do your put yourself first and get selfish when others are tempting you to stray?

1. Be very clear yourself. If you're unsteady in your commitment that will show through.

2. Ask for what you need. No one can read your mind or know what would make things easiest for you. What request do you want to make?

3. Live by example – don't preach. Just like you weren't ready to take on healthy goals at other times in your life, those you love may not be ready now.

4. Plan ahead. Think of how you will say no, prepare alternatives or plan an "escape route". Do what you have to do to take care of yourself.

5. Be honest. Talk about your goals and what they mean to you. AND if you're going to throw out or give-away that clutter or leftover birthday cake as soon as you leave, you don't have to mention it.

6. Choose who to spend time with. You may choose to spend less time with someone who has unhealthy habits. Think about who it is you'd like to spend more time with - who makes you feel good about yourself, champions your efforts, or is a model of healthy habits and self-care? Focus on spending more time with those people.

As time goes by and your daily practices become more of a habit, you'll protect your self-care without even thinking about it. Until then, hang on for your life!

(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of “The Everyday Self-Care Workbook”. To find out more about the book, or to receive one of her free monthly newsletters, visit

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Photoshopping Thin

Much has been said lately about the media's mis-representation of female bodies. I think many of us who are recovering from morbid obesity can say we have been intimidated or frustrated with unrealistic images of women in the media. Common sense tells us that yes indeed, these photos have been altered. But still, seeing perfection on the glossy pages can be intimidating. I found this post over at "Back in Skinny Jeans" and WOW! What an eye opener this photoshopping demonstration is. Take a minute to view the video link - I think you will be amazed at what can be done digitally. As Skinny Jeans writes, "Photo retouching software is a powerful tool for reality distortion." Read her full post: Photodropping away 100 pounds from this model.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Strawberry Season

It is always good to see strawberries in the market - for me this means summer is close. As a WLS-post op I find strawberries to be well tolerated and an enjoyable seasonal addition to my diet. Here's what World's Healthiest Foods has to say about strawberries:

Strawberries are in the peak of their season this week.

This week we celebrate the fragrantly sweet taste of strawberries. They are the most popular berries in the United States and for good reason. Strawberries are a great addition to a summer salad or your favorite morning cereal, plus hundreds of dessert recipes feature strawberries. Because conventionally grown strawberries are listed among those foods highest in pesticide residues, we recommend you select organically grown strawberries whenever possible. Although strawberries are now available throughout the year, in many areas, this is the time of year (April through July) that they have the best flavor and are the least expensive.

Nutritional Value
One cup of strawberries provides 136% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, the primary water soluble antioxidant in the body, 25% DV for vitamin K, 21% DV for manganese and 13% DV for dietary fiber. They are also a rich source of a variety of phytonutrients, which help provide antioxidant protection against cellular damage.

I love strawberries just as they are, but also enjoy including them in salads or dipped in a small amount of chocolate for a special dessert. Try these recipes:

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Chocolate covered Strawberries

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maintenance Rocks! Changing Seasons

Ok - I'm going to take a moment and toot my own horn..... (forgive me 'o ye gods of humility)

Today was *change-over* day for me. Seasonal change-over, that is, where I bin-up my Autumn & Winter clothes and shake out my stowed Spring & Summer clothes. I cranked up my "Tropical Vacation" play list and got busy folding sweaters and shaking the winter-woogies out of the shorts and tank tops. I welcomed back some old friends from my first goal weight summer. Little shorts, tank dresses and sassy shorts-'n-top sets. Many of these were from my original (and costly) shopping freenzy late summer 2000 and early spring sale 2001. Today my *MOMENT* came when I realized that these ancient things still fit. WLS Maintenance is possible. That for many years I've been the same friggin' size (save it for the occasional 10+ or 10- fluctuation). Whoooo-hooooo!!!!

The bad news??? I really don't need to buy another piece of clothing - - I've got a closet a'plenty. But what about all those darling Spring fashions calling my name? Ahhhh... that be the dark side of maintenance.

I cannot believe how profound the "little clothes" memories are for me. As I unfolded each item and organized my dressing area it was a living scrapbook in fiber, buttons and thread. No doubt a freakish waste of gray brain matter, but I remember my first "normal" girl shorts, my first bra-top tank dress and my first ever Guess Jeans. And here they all are ---- ready for another good Summer run.

Yes --- I struggle --- last fall my weight was well above my appropriate weight. But today I'm in my game, I'm living my life and my little clothes are ready for fun fun fun in the sun.

now where'd I put that sunless tanner.......

May is National Fitness Month

May is National Fitness Month - lead by the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness. I was doing some research on their site and found some interesting bullets that support what so many of us have come to learn --- take a look. And take some time this month to give your body the gift of a little extra movement. You deserve the benefits you will glean from it!

Adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health.

Significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity (e.g., 30 minutes of brisk walking or raking leaves, 15 minutes of running, 45 minutes of playing volleyball). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity.

Thirty to sixty minutes of activity broken into smaller segments of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day has significant health benefits.

Moderate daily physical activity can reduce substantially the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Daily physical activity helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps prevent or retard osteoporosis, and helps reduce obesity, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and symptoms of arthritis.

Poor diet and inactivity can lead to overweight/obesity. Persons who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and some types of cancer.

Obesity continues to climb among American adults. Nearly 60 million Americans are obese. More than 108 million adults are either obese or overweight. That means roughly 3 out of 5 Americans carry an unhealthy amount of excess weight.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Too Young for WLS?

We hear a lot about the obesity crisis in children. The media calls it an epidemic and the government calls it a grave social problem. I often receive letters from parents asking for advice on when children should be able to have WLS.

I don't have a definitive answer. The argument psychologists make is that children are not emotionally old enough to handle WLS. The medical community argues that you should not alter the organs in a body that is still maturing.

It seems to me that children and teens are too young physically and mentally for the surgery. But you know, looking back, if I could have undergone WLS and the following transformation at age 18 or 19 it would have spared me years of physical pain and emotional torment. Of course we can all play the "what might have been" game. But one cannot help but wonder what different paths our life would have taken. Was I emotionally ready at 18 or 19 to be the fat girl in a skinny world?

CNN reports on a new government study being conducted on teens who undergo WLS. An excerpt from the article reads:

"Surgery has been effective in treating extreme obesity in adults. Researchers want to find out whether adults and adolescents who have the surgery have significantly different health problems and whether there is any benefit to having the operation earlier in life.

"The researchers are responding to the growing problem of extreme obesity among the young.

"We know bariatric surgery is effective for weight-loss. We just need to carefully document how teenagers respond," said Dr. Thomas Inge, associate professor of pediatrics and surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, which is leading the study.
Read the full Article: Researchers study benefits, risks of teen weight-loss surgery

Just about a year ago we discussed this topic in the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood: Too Young for WLS. With this new study announced I feel it is time to revisit this topic. Are you in favor or against WLS for teens? Has your view changed due to your own experience with WLS? What are your current views? Do you know a teen who has had or wants to have WLS?

It is important to evaluate the effect of obesity vs. surgery when considering surgery as a tool to treat obesity. We have two informative webisodes that address the toll obesity takes on the body and lifestyle of those suffering from this illness:

The Hidden Costs of Obesity and
Obesity and Your Health: How WLS Can Help