Sunday, December 2, 2012


Hi Everyone,

I have noticed that as more weight comes off, it comes off slower. That can be very discouraging to many of us. Exercise must be incorporated into our new lives if we want to continue to succeed. Even if all you are doing is walking every day, at least you are getting out and moving your new body around.

Having served in the United States Navy, I used to run every day. That was something that I definitely missed about being able to do with my body. I had gotten so big that I could barely walk from the couch to the door...much less to the park to go for a run. But now, with my new body and attitude, I was ready to get back to running. I started off slowly at the gym on the treadmill doing the Couch25K program. Then I realized that the weather outside was so nice that I decided to take my running outside.

I go to my local park and there is a path that all the way around is approximately 1.5K. I downloaded a pedometer on my iPod, turned on my music and away I went. I find that as the days go on I am able to run a little more each time. My schedule nowadays is to run around it one time and then sit for about 2 minutes and then run around it again. I am slowly working on the stamina to not have to stop during my time around. I am slowly building myself up to run a 5K at the end of March 2013.

However, one thing I have discovered, running is not enough. Our bodies tend to get used to the same treatment that we put them through every day and that is also where the plateaus find us. I decided to go back to my gym and take advantage of the free 1 hour meeting with a personal trainer. She went over all my measurements and what my heart rate should be at as well as what kind of schedule I should put my body through.

When I completed the meeting with her I set up a meeting with another employee from the club who took me through a one-hour orientation of how to use the strength-training equipment. Some of the equipment I knew how to use, but there were quite a few machines that I did not know how to use. It was also a very enlightening meeting!

So for now, my schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I do strength training and then a run; Tuesdays and Thursdays I only do running. Turns out your body needs 48 hours in between strength training so that you have less injury and soreness. I also found out that strength training burns the same amount of calories (and sometimes more) as cardio does. The trainer said that approximately an hour of strength training burns between 800 and 1000 calories!! WOW!! One of the reasons is because your body continues to burn calories even after you leave the gym.

I can attest to one thing...when I don't work out for a few days, I do NOT lose any weight. My body has definitely decided that it wants me to be healthy and active...and really, that's A-O-K! ;)

Cheers and Much Love!

Four Months (24 weeks) Post-Op

Hi Everyone,

I am feeling so guilty for not keeping up with the blog so that many of you will know how our daily lives change post-op. My last blog was in July just about a month after my surgery and so much has happened since then.

I can tell you that it has been a series of ups and downs. There was a period post-op from about 4-8 weeks where I suffered from some depression. From what I understand, that is normal. Our bodies are going through so many different changes and this can also mess with our minds! The first few weeks of eating nothing but soft foods is also very difficult because even though we had surgery to curb our way of eating, it's hard to change the mind to thinking of things differently. My mind was still saying it wanted pizza or hamburgers, but I knew that my tummy would reject all junk!

I followed the diet almost exactly to what the doctor and nutritionist said to do. The only problems I had then (and still have now) are getting any enough proteins because I am not crazy about the protein drinks. I was allowed to drink the Boost with no sugar added or the Premier Protein shakes that are found at Costco. I did not like the flavor of any of them so I learned how to make my own and that has helped some. I am still tweaking the receipe, but I am determined to get it right. I will post a different blog with some recipes on making your own shakes later.
Tomorrow will mark 24 weeks since my surgery date. I have had my 3 month post-op to the nutrionist and all went well! He would like me to get in more protein, but was happy with my results. All of my bloodwork came back great so I guess the vitamins are working their magic.

The last four months have definitely been a rollercoaster ride, but so worth it! I am still learning what I can and cannot eat. There are days that chicken agrees with me and days that it does not. I am also still learning when I am full. Some days I will stop eating thinking I am full and then within a half-hour to hour I am hungry. I try to stay away from the bad carbs and things I should not eat. I have no tried steak since my surgery. I am too scared! I have tried a little pulled brisket bbq and it did not bother me at all. I am trying to learn that I must chew the food to death before swallowing or I suffer from dumping syndrome. That for me most days is where it feels like the food is stuck. I know that some people will make themselves throw-up in order to get rid of that feeling, but I have been unable to do that. I usually just try to drink a lot of water and belch up the feeling.

I cannot think of any bad side effects that make me regret having this surgery. So far I am still completely happy with my decision. I have lost a total of 87 lbs; having gone from 268 lbs to 181 lbs. I would do this again because it has made such a huge improvement to my life and health. I no longer have blood pressure is under control and I can run and exercise nowadays! The health benefits alone have been worth it! :)

Cheers and Much Love!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Been Awhile

Hi Everyone!

I know it has been a couple of months since my last blog! It was really busy leading up to my surgery. I had a teacher certification exam I needed to take June 9th and then my surgery was June 18th! It has been a busy and very eventful start to my sit back and enjoy the following post :)

So my last blog indicated that I had no idea when my surgery would be. The people in the bariatric office made it seem like it would be months and months away. But in May I got a call that my surgery would be in June and I was so excited! But there was so much to prepare for. I had been studying for a couple of months for an examination that was coming up and now I also had to prepare myself to start my Optifast diet before my surgery. There were also the little things like cleaning out my house and doing some things I felt were necessary to ready my home and family for all the changes that would be occuring.

So skipping along to the surgery goes! I'll admit, I was hungry. It was a gruelling process of that Optifast shake. I don't think I can ever drink any kind of chocolate shake again. My surgery was scheduled for 2 o'clock in the afternoon on Monday, June 18th, 2012. That morning I got up, saw my kids off to school and at noon my husband walked me into the surgery center. I was so nervous. I didn't know what to expect. The nurses were pretty nice. They got me all prepped and then allowed my husband to come to the back while we waited for the surgery to happen.

When it was time they wheeled me down to the operating room. It was so big and bright. I remember thinking how modern everything was...there were huge flat screens for the doctors to see every aspect of the surgery. I had been nervous about the going under the anesthesia. I am very clausterphobic and was actually panicking about them putting the mask on my face. I told the nurses about this in advance and they were really gentle about the whole process. I remember having such a heavy feeling in my head...a heavy pounding just before I went to sleep.

The next thing I know, I'm awake and I'm in pain! Let's not kid ourselves here...I had just had a major surgery. I believe my surgery started between 2:30 and 3:00 in the afternoon and I was in my room by 6 pm. My husband and three children came in shortly after, but I remember telling him to get the kids out of the room...I did NOT want them to see me in such pain. I found out later that it really scared my middle child...he was crying and upset. I felt horrible.

The next 24 hours are a daze. I was in so much pain and did not want to move. I was also very sick. I began throwing up in the evening...violently throwing up. It hurt so much...more than words can ever describe! We don't know if it was the anesthesia or the morphine that was making me sick. However, after they took me off the morphine and put me on another medication I did not throw up anymore. I felt really bad for my roommate. She had the surgery a couple of hours before me and was not having complications and I felt like I was keeping her from resting.

I threw up about 1/2 dozen times the first two days and leaked out of one of my incisions the first time I tried to get up. I could not sit up or turn on my side. It was miserable. I know that at some point I said something to my husband about "why did I do this to myself?" Although looking back, I would still do it again.

I stayed in the hospital until Thursday night. I should have gone home Wednesday, but given the complications I had, they made me stay an extra day. Please stick around for he next blog when I discuss coming home and coping with daily life right after this major surgery.

Stay tuned!

Cheers and Much Love,


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Living In The Gutter

Hello My Peeps,

I hope that the last few days since I have written last find you all well? I have had one heck of a week! I find myself becoming more antsy with the approaching surgery. I left the surgeon office on Tuesday morning and was told that the secretary would be calling me with my surgery's Sunday and I'm still awaiting the call...tick tock...tick tock. Don't they know how we are on pins and needles and nervous and anxious enough? So I continue to wait...

While I'm waiting, I have delved deeper into my studies. I still need to take number 3 of 3 teacher certification exams. I got my Master's in Adolescent Education a couple of years ago but then there are a series of tests that the State of NY requires before putting us in a classrooom full of children waiting to hear our knowledge. Since this is something I have coming up in June, I figure if I spend my days studying to my heart's desire, time will go by faster. Now if only that theory worked! I find myself waiting for the phone to ring...wanting to call the office to see if they called and I missed it...something!

On a good note, my husband and I decided to go on a date last night. It was wonderful! We have three children but we always do things with our kids. Alone time for us is rare. However, they have now reached the ages of 14, 12 and 7 and I figured if I hired a babysitter, she'd be as old or younger than my older son! So we went on a short date last night to 'test the waters' and see how they would do.

The first thing we did was ensure they had something to keep them busy. So we got them a new movie to watch which kept them busy for about and hour and a half. When the movie was over we allowed them to pull out their Nintendo Gamecube if they felt they could get along and play nice with each other! Sometimes our 7 year old daughter gets a little rambunctious and that's where the majority of my worry came in ;)

Now with this in order, my husband and I took peeling out of the driveway! What would it be like to sit down to dinner at a restaurant and not have three kids constantly listening or interrupting our conversation? What would it be like to not have to order the kids food first and cut up their meat and make sure they are happy? We were finally going to be able to have grown-up conversation! I couldn't wait!

So we get to the restaurant and are seated at a nice corner booth kind of away from everyone. We sat across from each other and just enjoyed the company and conversation that we have always had to offer one another but are rarely able to engage in. We shared an appetizer and I enjoyed a small steak and shrimp with an order of twice baked potatoes. I figure this is not something I will be able to enjoy after my surgery so I really enjoyed every bite! Now the question is...did we call the kids during dinner? That is a big fat NO! ;) The only phone call made during dinner was to the bowling alley to reserve a lane for our next adventure!

After we finished our dinner we jumped in the car and headed to the local bowling alley! It was during this time that the kids called us to say the movie was over and they were doing well and about to play their video games. Whew! House was still standing and nothing major had happened to them! God is good!

So on to bowling! Now this is a sport that I have always enjoyed...since I was a kid. However, since we've had kids we generally go to a place that is 5-pin bowling. But I wanted to do a more grown-up version and hit the 10-pins! What a mistake! Who knew that being this overweight would put such a damper on my night. I had been having so much fun up till then. All was good during the first game and then we decided to do a second game. I should have stopped while I was ahead.

Now we had been bowling for about a half hour already and I was starting to get sweaty and irritated. This means that my clothes were starting to stick to me...including my very uncomfortable underwire bra. As this is begining to happen, every time my arm goes to follow through to throw the ball, the fat on my underarm would stick right to the sweaty underwire area of the bra causing it to poke me hard in the fat flesh of my skin :( I was not impressed and was starting to get very upset. I went from being able to throw a strike or at least get a good spare to the majority of my 2nd game balls hitting the gutter!

I still smiled for my husband and acted like gutter balls were no big deal but deep inside I was upset with myself for letting my weight get to this point where I couldn't have any fun at all anymore. I was almost in tears because I couldn't even follow through with the ball and it felt like it was getting heavier and heavier as I got hotter and hotter.

So I found yet another fun thing in my life that I am no longer able to do with ease. I eagerly await this surgery and can't wait to hear the words that I can start walking and exercising. I have so many goals in my future. I'm ready to get my life back. I want to enjoy all the physical and fun things in my life again as well as enjoy my family! I'm tired of feeling like I'm "Living In The Gutter."  

 Cheers and Much Love!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Date With The Surgeon!

Well today was the day! I got to meet with one of the surgeons regarding all my paperwork and appointments up to this point. Turns out I have a few things wrong but they have cleared me to have the Roux en y! YAH!
So some of the bad news I discovered was that I have a kidney stone and a belly button hernia. Who knew?! They also said that my endoscopy came back with gastritis and some inflamation but nothing that was too worrisome to them and that we can go ahead with the surgery as planned. She gave me my prescriptions for the blood thinner shots, some liquid codeine, an antacid and the wonderful Optifast. But wait! There is good news! My liver is not too enlarged and I only have to do two weeks of Optifast! YAH! I was so glad to hear that. I was afraid that I was going to have be on that stuff for weeks and I'd be doing a lot of sleeping! HAAA!

So now I'm actually a little excited that when I turn 40 in May I can have a little celebration with some cake and maybe a little drink before the fasting starts for my June date. I'm told that the office will call me with my date very soon and I cannot wait for that phone to ring!

Now to get prepared with all the goodies I would like to have in order before I go in for the surgery. They say plan to be in the hospital two nights. I am going to order myself a new LSU blanket :) GEAUX TIGERS! I also need something comfortable to wear home from the I'm hoping to find some LSU pajama pants to wear home. I definitely want to get some new slippers with a good sole as well. I have already bought some smaller plates and bowls to make life easier on the portion sizes after the surgery. I'm sure I will think of more things to pack.

Not much else to report on today. I will update more on the goings on very soon :)
Cheers and Much Love!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Let's Talk About Food :)

Oh I love thee...let me count the weighs...
I am a true blue Southern Gal and I love food! As I mentioned in previous posts, I was a small child and never struggled with my weight. I was also not given the proper tools to a proper diet and exercise. So I grew up eating and eating anything and everything I wanted. Once I hit 30 years old, my body decided it was no longer "young" and the pounds started packing on. Now I have many reasons for putting on weight; late night eating, too many sauces, no exercise...the list could go on and on. But it is MY fault for being so stubborn and not watching what I eat or exercising. So now I've grown to a whopping 260 lbs...270 lbs at my highest weight. What's a girl to do?!

I love rich, spicy, fried, sweet, sauce-filled food. These are just a few adjectives to describe the kinds of food I love. Foods were rich and full and flavor. Lots of salt, pepper, garlic, hot sauce and special seasonings. We can fry anything where I come from. Fried foods used to be my best friend; fried eggs and bacon, fried catfish (fried any fish), fried chicken, fried steaks, fried cornbread (hush puppies), fried shrimp, fried alligator, fried apple name, we fry it!

Before I moved to Canada years ago I used to eat three full meals a day that were filled with grease and oil, fat, butter, salt...all kinds of BAD stuff! I guess that was what my body was used to. Then I married my wonderful Portuguese/Canadian husband who was not used to that kind of food at all. He ate healthy foods! WHAT?! It was definitely a shock to my system to not consistently eat junk everyday.

So he did most of the cooking when I first arrived! Haaa I had never had so many vegetables in my life; broccoli, asparagus, peppers and none of them were drenched in oil or soaked in melted butter. Really?! This is a possibility? I had only eaten broccoli drenched in cheese and peppers soaked and fried (saute') in butter...and really, who eats aparagus?! Where was the bacon grease? Where was the fried chicken? How was I going to live? I love Southern food way too much to leave it all behind. So my meals became somewhat more healthy. But then I just started eating more almost as if it were a way to replace what I was missing? I'm not sure. But I knew that I missed the food I had lived on for 30 or so years!

The first time I went back home to Louisiana after about 6 months in Canada it was glorious! I was back in the land of fried, processed and greasy food. I couldn't have been happier! I was going to eat and eat until I could eat no more. I was determined. I hit up every single restaurant for three meals a day! IHOP or Waffle House for breakfast, Cracker Barrel for lunch and anywhere I could get fried catfish for supper! I was in Heaven! My sister owns a barbeque restaurant so I ate a lot of BBQ in between meals and late at night! However, my stomach was not happy! By the time my trip was coming to an end I could feel it in my system. What had happened?! My body was getting used to eating healthy? NOOO! This could not happen because my taste buds wanted more, more, more.

What would I do now? My brain was telling me that I was going to have to just cook more  Southern food for my family if I wanted to continue to eat it. But my husband did not like a lot of fried foods. Whenever I visit home nowadays I stop in at my local grocery stores and pick up a few things that I am unable to buy this side of the border. One of my favorite things is purple hull peas. Now there's something that's healthy that I love to eat but is not availabe in Canada. So I buy lots of them! I also pick up special spices and hot sauce and cornmeal mixes so that I can fry up some catfish myself when the mood strikes.

In general, I always thought food was my friend and was sad to see that it was not. Food is something that needs to be fuel for my body and exercise should be my friend.
This surgery is going to be a life-changing experience for me. Over the last couple of years I have learned to eat better and choose wisely. I may not alway like it but I love my kids and want to stick around for a while longer to enjoy them. I also know that I can still have certain foods in MODERATION. It is not something that should be done 3 or 4 times a day everyday...instead maybe I should replace all that eating with exercise :)
In the's always about choices :)

Cheers and Much Love!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting Closer

Hi Everyone!
Well it's getting closer to time! I meet with the surgeon in 6 days and I cannot wait! It's been such a long process and now that I am getting closer I am getting more antsy. This has definitely been a long journey to get here. But then again, I didn't put all the weight on in one's not going to come off that quickly either.

So I've been doing pretty good with going forth in advance taking my vitamins and Calcium Citrate.
I am hoping that it is just helping to get me used to doing this on a daily basis. I am taking the big horse-size pills right now but am considering changing to the liquid or chewables after my surgery. My nurse has me on the Prenatal pills right now. I am going to ask if it is possible to change over to the Flintstones chewables or if there is another type of vitamin that will be approved after the surgery. I know that we can cut the pills in half....but even after that, it is still a large half!

Another part of the procedure was to cut out caffeine 3 months before and 3 months after the surgery. So I have not had any caffeine since January 18. I started drinking decaf coffee and tea and it's not too bad. I may even stick with it after I'm allowed to have caffeine again.

I have also managed to cut my sugar intake WAY back. Being from the deep South, we make our tea with lots of sugar in it. But amazingly I have found that I don't need as much sugar in my coffee or tea anymore and I also replace it with Sweet-n-Low. I actually find that my favorite local coffee place makes my coffee too sweet!

So as mentioned in my previous posts that when they did my endoscopy, it appears that my stomach is shaped funny? So that set me back a few more weeks and I had to go in for a barium x-ray to have it looked into further. I'm hoping the doctor has some good news and a surgery date next week! I am also praying that I will not have to drink the Optifast for too long :( I can't imagine how hard that diet is going to be. But I think they said we could still have clear broth and water with Crystal Light. So that should make it tolerable.

I don't have much else to report on now. This weekend is Easter weekend. It's also my older son's 14th birthday on Sunday and Monday is my wonderful hubby's birthday :) My daughter turned 7 last week...I have what I refer to as "three Easter babies" ;) So it's also a difficult time with all the cake there is to be eaten! Might as well enjoy it now as the dumping syndrome will keep me from it next time around!

So Happy Easter everyone. I know it will be difficult for many of us as we watch everyone around us eating their chocolate Easter goodies...but just remember how fabulous we are beginning to look and how healthy our bodies are going to be! I truly hope everyone has a great holiday!
Cheers and Much Love!