Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
02/16/2017 by Yvonne McCarthy • 2 Comments | Leave a Comment »
After asking the members on my Bariatric Girl Facebook page for suggestions it is amazing how many patients have heard the same comments. While I am sure there are many other common comments, I created this graphic from their suggestions. While the majority are serious I had to laugh out loud at a couple of them. Enjoy!
04/03/2016 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
From: Bariatric Girl 2016 (exactly 15 years ago)
Dear Bariatric Girl 2001,
How I wish we could have had a letter like this when we began our journey because there was almost no one who knew anything in 2001.
Guess what??? WE MADE IT! We actually made it 15 years BUT don’t get overconfident because this could change at any moment.
This is what I know so far.
So many thought I’d fail….
So many more hoped I would.
And even sadder, some were disappointed I didn’t regain my weight and worse, I let them make me feel guilty for it.
These are the things I’d like to share with you.
1. Just because you lose the weight DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL BE AUTOMATICALLY HAPPY!!! Life is life. Same problems…you just weigh less.
2. Some people will do their best to sabotage your journey. REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THOSE PEOPLE! PERIOD…. (I SAID PERIOD) Life is like an elevator. Sometimes on the way up you have to stop and let some people off.
3. Move towards the people who look to you for…. basically….anything. A word of support or kindness for someone who comes to you for advice may mean mountains to them and they actually want you in their lives! Instead we often find ourselves looking to people who don’t care about us or we spend wasteful time wanting what they have that we don’t. Don’t spoil what you have by desiring what you have not… but remember that what you have now was once among the things that you had only hoped for!
4. Don’t eat crap food, get it ALL out of your house. If it isn’t in your house, don’t start bringing it in. You could never “eat just one”. Trust me, that hasn’t changed so don’t even test it out. Quit trying to force a square peg in a round hole. You tried for 30 years to “eat just one” and it NEVER worked so consider not eating any. IT’S SO MUCH EASIER TO DO!
5. Get help for your addiction to food because everything else you do will just be putting a Band-Aid on the problem. If you don’t get help for the root problem, you won’t overcome it. Don’t get caught up on whether it’s called addiction, emotional eating… it’s whatever you want to call it. At least call it something, identify the problem, and move towards a solution because you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Um DUHHHHH.
6. Support. Get some. Give some. Refer back to #2. Do not stay in a support group where people become energy vampires that suck the blood from your body. YOU WILL LOSE YOUR BATTLE IF YOU CAUSE MORE STRESS AND CHAOS TO YOUR JOURNEY.
7. Here’s my post where an organization has gathered data from thousands of people who have lost and maintained their weight. Doesn’t it make sense to take the tips reported and try them? These simple tips worked for the majority of people. If what you are doing isn’t working, why not mimic what worked for thousands? What do you have to lose? And if you can’t or are unwilling to try those methods, you must make peace with what you are doing. Get on and live your life instead of beating your head up against a wall. You’ll look up one day and your life will be gone.
I’m pretty sure if you follow these suggestions and keep it simple that you can continue to do this thing. Perhaps most importantly don’t let the phrase “one day at a time” become cliché. It is one of your simplest rules to apply…..to stay in the now. Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. SO STOP IT!
Lastly….always remember to pick your hard.
Bariatric Girl 2016
03/17/2015 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
No matter how hard I work on processing pain, I have a difficult time with this part of learning to heal. I forced myself to look for pictures that represent something painful to me…. pictures that I pass over quickly every time I come across them. I found two that certainly qualify.
When we avoid pain we are absolutely handing over the keys to the trigger monster who will take us on a new adventure seeking food…. or whatever our coping mechanism is. This kind of pain never goes away on its own and WILL ALWAYS show up somewhere else because it does not magically float away.
My heart tells me if I feel this I will die! My head tells me this is not true…that I won’t die…. but I still don’t want to feel it so why can’t I think about something else? In the past I ate. As soon as the “food high” wore off I ate again. The problem is that pain doesn’t go away until you deal with it and worse….it can manifest in other ways like physical pain.
Skinny Minnie died several months ago and I lost Boo Radley in November. This post isn’t about my wanting sympathy since I tend to be extremely private about this kind of thing. It’s embarrassing because some people don’t understand my animals are my children. I haven’t really dealt with the pain properly so I’m forcing myself to face it and feel these feelings.
This quote by Gary Zukav perfectly illustrates my point.
“The compulsive activities in your life are those activities that are your way of avoiding the experience of painful emotions. That is why you must experience the painful emotions because if you don’t experience your pain you remain locked in your compulsive behaviors which are creating difficult and painful consequences in your life. Otherwise you won’t fulfill your greatest potential and that’s important because that’s where your deep meaning and sense of purpose resides.”
Sooooo….that means that if we don’t process our emotional pain we are doomed to continue our compulsive behaviors (like reaching for food). Is it easier to eat and avoid the pain? You bet it is! That’s why we do it.
I would like to invite you to try something different next time you want to eat away the pain. Sit in it….cry and scream if you have to. Stare at a photograph every day until the pain starts to subside. Talk about your pain to someone who cares. It won’t happen overnight but know you are moving closer to healing by facing your pain and working through it.
And better yet? Try to live your life in such a way that you avoid unnecessary pain….you know the kind….the kind where you get twisted off over something that’s said online or by a co-worker. Deep down you know it’s NOT about you and all about them. There is a reason for the saying “misery loves company”. If you expose yourself to drama or try to control situations you cannot change, you are handing a formal invitation to Mr. Trigger.
In the meantime I’ve got some pain I need to sit in. Boo Radley and Skinnie Minnie will be forever missed and eventually I will be able to look at their pictures without experiencing as much grief. Instead I will do my best to remember all the joy and love they gave me. I should mostly remember how they were rescued and given a life free of hunger, pain, never being too hot or too cold, and Boo never even knew one day of being afraid.
02/05/2014 by Yvonne McCarthy • 2 Comments | Leave a Comment »
Ever since this story aired on the evening news I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. For years the National Weight Control Registry has been keeping records and documentation of those who have lost weight and kept it off for years. The term “Super Dieters” tends to turn me off a bit because we all know diets don’t work and no one should be called “Super” as if figuring out how to manage your weight somehow gives you magic powers. I’ve been a member for several years. The questions are extensive… they ask everything you eat, your activity, how much you weigh, did you gain, did you lose, etc.
Ok…. so they gave us six tips these people seem to have in common and I’m thinking most people won’t get past the first one. Just like knowing the sky is blue, this first tip will be just like being told it isn’t….but what if this nugget is really spot-on? Truth is it won’t apply to everyone but I’m going to attempt to explain why it might apply to way more than you think.
Let’s get the next part over with (the posting of the list) so we can go ahead and get done with the screaming after reading the first rule.
Rule No. 1. Don’t ever cheat. They never give themselves a break, not even on holidays or weekends.
Rule No. 2. Eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry shows that’s one of the most common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off once and for all.
Rule No. 3. Get on a scale every day.
Rule No. 4. Put in the equivalent of a four-mile walk seven days a week.
Rule No. 5. Watch less than half as much TV as the overall population.
Rule No. 6. Eat 50 to 300 calories less than most people.
So rule 4,5, and 6 deal with the “stuff” we’ve heard forever….calories in/calories out. For years I never ate breakfast because every day for over three decades I woke up with the idea that I would go as long as possible without eating. Too bad no one was around to tell me in the 4th grade that I was destroying my metabolism. So check…Rule 2 is a given. Since finding out there are about approximately 2,000 steps in a mile, most days…Rule 4, check!
Rule 5 done. Sometimes I watch TV while I’m walking so I’m not sure exactly how that fits in.
Rule 3 is an absolute for me. “Hello scale” every morning…it just gives me feedback and it has no special monster powers. I’ll do a “part two” in order to cover this in another post because this one is for everyone still laying on the floor from a cold faint after reading Rule 1.
My surgery was nearly 13 years ago and I’ve learned many, many things. Some beliefs that were absolutes changed and Rule 1 was one of them. I’ve told this before and I’m telling it again. Early on I would allow myself my one guilty pleasure ONLY IF I was able to get 5 pounds below goal. (It was a Quarter Pounder with cheese – insert my self induced shame). I was somehow able to stick to that but what I noticed was on the days I couldn’t have it, I wanted it! Eventually it became harder and nearly impossible to get 5 pounds below goal and after some period of time I also realized that I was beginning to forget how my “crack” meal tasted. Then I totally forgot and I didn’t even crave it anymore. Because I stopped eating it I had successfully rewired my brain to lose the cravings. I was also acutely aware the cravings would come right back if I ate another one…even one bite. Um….duh. That’s sort of like quitting cigarettes and having one just for fun after 3 years. I’ll say this again too. For me, the idea of taking a bite of something to get past the craving equates to giving an alcoholic a sip of beer to stop the craving. SOME of us can take these bites but so many cannot.
If I had a quarter for every post-op that told me the M&M story, I could take a trip to Mexico. The M&M story you might ask? Maybe it’s because they are tiny…but the story always starts the same. “I was doing great for 2 years, 4 years, (sometimes even longer) and I ate one M&M. Really what could that hurt? Next it was two then three…then a small bag, a bigger bag.” Some call it testing the waters. They went such a long time without one single M&M and nobody died, they certainly didn’t miss out on anything of nutritional value and they were doing great until they decided they could try just one. In other words they never cheated during that time and most were at the weight they wanted to be or at least smaller than after they started the M&M’s. You CAN be abstinent from sugar and junk food and it is far easier if you have none instead of a little for those that struggle with not being able to stop.
Again let me repeat….IF you can “eat just one”, go for it. I’m beyond thrilled for you!!! If you find you are not losing or you are in the process of regain, you could always try stopping any food you don’t wish to crave. Try it for a month but approach it one day at a time. When I’m somewhere and there’s a bowl of M&M’s, I look at it as if it’s a bowl of cyanide. Sugar put me in the prison of an obese body and at the end I would have rather died than spend another day at my heaviest weight. And really….if you were a drug addict would you allow yourself a cheat snort once a week?
This is a great quote that applies. 100% is easy, 99% is a bitch. Not eating processed sugar and junk food 100% is so easy but 99% leaves a ton of wiggle room. It has became totally effortless for me to avoid these foods but please don’t misunderstand…..my journey is still something I work on every….single…day.
If you still think this is utterly ridiculous, file it away for later. My favorite quote:
- There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
It means don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
And just in case you might have missed this before… I’ll leave you with an oldie but goodie.. .
05/26/2012 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
I have just returned from an incredibly motivating event in Las Vegas for WLSFA.org. We had over 500 people in attendance and when I have time to gather my thoughts I will share about the event and include links to pictures.
In the meantime I want to share with you about a book that is a MUST read! If you’ve ever felt alone regarding how it felt to be obese….. you will no longer feel that way. Incredible stories written by weight loss surgery patients!
Dr. Connie Stapleton, PhD wrote the book and compiled the stories and included some WLS bloggers as well. She helps you understand more about our disease and how to work a journey that moves you toward the optimum outcome. My wish is for bariatric professionals everywhere to read about us and our disease.
Hard copy version is available here: (no longer available on the WLSFA.org site)
Please go to Amazon: http://goo.gl/3EmwEQ
If you buy the book, part of the proceeds go to WLSFA.org. For those who no longer read paper books you can purchase it on Amazon for your Kindle. It helps WLSFA if you purchase the actual book. For those that are unfamiliar with WLSFA.org it is a non-profit organization that helps cover weight loss surgery for many who have been denied. The 7th grant recipient was just announced. No other organization has granted seven surgeries!
The excitement I feel about this book is impossible to explain. This is the world I have lived in for the last ten years and as much as I try to share these experiences with our bariatric professionals….I feel like I have failed miserably. Sometimes I feel like I can’t possibly share how “not alone” many people are that write me. Now I have a way to easily share. This book is for the WLS pre-op, WLS post-op, family of the obese, anyone that truly wants to understand obesity and the professionals that treat us. Thank you Connie Stapleton and thank you WLSFA.org for making this possible!!
Who is Bariatric Girl?
Musician, Artist, Photographer,computer geek and weight loss surgery aficionado. On March 30th, 2001, I had weight loss surgery weighing in at 260 pounds. Since that day I have lost and maintained a 130 pound loss. Yoga and walking my dog were the only exercise I was getting until I started with an instructor and creator of "Body Juggling". Click on the picture on the bottom of this page and it will take you to the site. Read More »