Archive for the ‘Weight Loss Surgery’ Category

Stopping the unwanted comments effectively

I want to continue on to the next step after figuring out that what other people think of us is not our business. (see this post)

What others think of us in none of our business

Talane Miedaner shares in her book “Coach yourself to Success” just how to protect yourself gracefully from unpleasant comments. It is a simple four step communication model that helps us build the boundaries that so many of us do not have. After we find out that it doesn’t matter what others think of us, this is a system you can use when someone actually speaks to you in a manner they should not. I believe as weight loss surgery patients that we so often have blurred boundaries because instead of correcting the offending statements, we worry instead about why they don’t like us.

Here is how to stop behavior in a graceful and effective manner.

1. Inform. “Do you realize that you are yelling? or, “Do you realize that comment hurt me?” or, “I didn’t ask for your feedback.” If they continue with the unwanted behavior, then take it up to step 2, but only after you’ve tried step 1.

2. Request. Ask them to stop. “I ask that you stop telling me now” or, “I ask that you only give me constructive feedback.” If they still don’t get it and the behavior continues, try step 3.

3. Demand or insist. “I insist that you stop yelling at me now.” If they still persist, you take it to the next level.

4.Leave. (without any snappy comebacks or remarks). “I can’t continue this conversation while you are yelling at me. I am going to leave the room.” If you are in a relationship and the other person doesn’t change his or her behavior after you’ve tried this model numerous times, you may need to leave the relationship and/or get a therapist. The people who REALLY love you will respect your boundaries.

The key to using these steps is to say them in a neutral tone of voice. Do not raise your voice up or down. Keep it calm and flat. You are informing the person…just like you would say “The sky is blue”.

Let me repeat one of the sentences! The people that really love you will respect your boundaries. If they don’t, then it is time to walk around them and continue on your quest for a better life…your ultimate goal.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve changed their thinking….it matters that you stop the behavior.

After years of being a total wuss I was surprised when I think back to how I applied this system in one area. Remember I am from the south where this happened a little more often. I particularly have a boundary regarding people using a certain derogatory word for a certain race. To me it is disgusting and cruel. Even though I let people walk all over me in every other area, I drew this line in the sand early on. Every one that knows me a little bit knows this about me and guess what? They never say it in front of me. I can’t change how they think but I can change their behavior around me. The people that love me respect my boundaries.

Those of us that have not learned how to form these boundaries will possibly find this difficult to do but why would you allow someone to continue to speak to you in an inappropriate way? We have spent years as obese people taking the abuse leveled at us. It’s time to stop the insanity.

Next time someone tells you that you took the easy way out, or you’ve lost TOO much weight, or you will fail, or whatever comments that we often hear….try it. If you don’t respect yourself, how do you expect others to respect you?

So here’s to stopping the insanity! Remember to use the calm voice so that you can stop the critical voices that you’ve listened to for so long.


Toxic Trauma Drama at the WLS Ranch

RESPECT…a very important word in life. And here’s a couple more…

Compassion, Empathy

Don’t we know what these words mean anymore? The fact that so many people simply forego any hint of the golden rule just blows me away. So many dish it out but certainly don’t want the same in return. Forums, boards, and blogs are sometimes a vast wasteland of disrespect and anonymous bullying.

The squeaky wheel so often gets the grease because so many boards don’t have a lot of structure. It sort of reminds me of the old West…Cowboys and Indians…before Marshall Dillon rode into town…… pretty much whatever you can get away with at the expense of other’s feelings just so long as you bulldoze your point through because you have to prove how right you are and how wrong someone else is. It is not a place for the weak at heart….like me.

Yup, go ahead and call me a Pollyanna. I’m just plain worn out from toxic trauma drama on forums, boards, and blogs….well wherever it is.

I’d love for the moderators to put a little icon before each of the applicable threads that says TTD.

As weight loss surgery people we are already very vulnerable and after a lifetime of negativity due to obesity, I don’t understand why we must continue to pile more anxiety upon our already stressful lives. The other problem is that it starts (usually) with a post that isn’t so bad but it’s where it goes that gets dangerous. (sorry Dad for the language but this is a bland representation of reality)

Alice: I like orange and I can’t see why anyone would like red…I mean what are you thinking?

Betty: Well I like orange too but if you like red, you’re nuts.

Cheryl: I like red, orange sucks and you can go to hell

Betty: Cheryl, you’re a freakin’ bitch!

Dawn: Betty you’re freakin’ bitch because I’ve liked red longer than anyone so you don’t know crap!

Alice: Don’t call my friend Betty a bitch and your surgery type sucks too.

Cheryl: You’re fat and I’m at goal

Betty: I can lose weight but you can’t fix ugly

Truth be told we all have a right to like orange or red. We can agree to disagree. In the meantime a newbie comes to the board looking for some real support, something that might save their life. So….newbie goes away, newbie loses out on good info OR newbie joins in the fun and never figures out how to fight the demons that are the reason for their obesity because they are too busy picking the “right” side. If you HAVE to be right, you HAVE to make someone else wrong.

The other mega fall out is just as potentially harmful. The veterans give up. Why would they want to stay? Their exit is a two fold tragedy. You lose some valuable experience and maybe I’m wrong but I’m thinking you might want someone to hang around that knows something. The other unfortunate part is the fact that veterans lose out on continued education and the all important accountability factor.

Stress causes us to trigger our food addiction (or other addictions) so what do we do?…..we jump right into ramping up the demons. Some people are perfectly unaffected and can play this game but so many are not. I have watched this first hand and I’ve seen several women sit and eat all day when the toxic trauma drama starts.

Are we our brother’s keeper? Maybe…I mean…

I know I can’t save the world but I can lead by example and do the best I can to keep my eye on the prize. Each time I take my eye off the prize, I am veering off course…and not walking toward the goal I want more than anything else….and when I participate I also help others veer off course too.

For me…the veterans are the parents in this community and when we fight it is just like the parents arguing in front of the kids. They are already coming in new and vulnerable and when we fight, we just screw them up a little more and feed the monster disease of obesity and addiction.

I’m saying the serenity prayer a little more every day.

If we really understood it, we’d get out of the business of stressing out and getting all pissed off over totally insignificant things that we cannot change. Life isn’t fair but there’s no use in wasting energy on things we can’t change when we still have so much to do to work on ourselves. Since I am no where close to doing it all just right and until I figure out a way to do that, I don’t see how I can spend time trying to tell others how to act. I certainly don’t appreciate someone telling me how to act so I’m pretty sure no one else likes me to tell them they’re doing it all wrong.

And then we have trolls….the ones that do it just to start a fight. We have aggressive trolls, passive/aggressive trolls, famous trolls and anonymous trolls. They start a fight for the fun of it and then everyone gets involved over an issue that was fake in the first place!!

I’ve been really active on the boards for almost 8 years. I have learned so much in those 8 years and the online support forums have figured out things that some of the bariatric programs haven’t even begun to cover…. but for the life of me it is almost more than I can take sometimes when my WLS brothers and sisters start butting heads over things that don’t matter.

Call me a dreamer…but I still hold out some hope that it can happen one day…

but until then I’ll continue to do my best to offer support and help to those that want it and try my best to avoid the toxic trauma drama.

So fight if you want…but for now I’ll just continue to answer to Pollyanna, Goodie Two Shoes, Naive Girl, whatever….

I’ll be the one sitting in the corner singing Kum ba yah.

p.s. Here’s the great recipe for life that I posted before.


1.Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to the God of your understanding about what is going on in your life.
3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________’
4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
17. Forgive everyone for everything.
18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
19. GOD heals everything – but you have to ask Him.
20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!
22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________.
Today I accomplished _________.
24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You’ll be smiling before you know it.

26. READ 7 AND 14 AGAIN!


Ramon Lopez – another life saved by WLS.

Many of you know Ramon…

If you don’t, allow me to introduce him through…

A post…

A video….

and a show on The Weight Loss Surgery Channel.

I have a few websites and one of them is RYD Obesity. RYD stands for Ramon, Yvonne and Debra…three lives changed forever through weight loss surgery. That might answer a lot of questions for anyone that’s confused about the people in the video.

So please take a moment to see the video below and as soon as you can, jump over to The Weight Loss Surgery Channel and see the newest episode of Weight Loss Surgery Journeys.


What others think about us is none of our business

It’s true!

What others think about us IS none of our business.

I was watching Craig Thompson’s “90 seconds to success” and he sums that up beautifully here:

90 Seconds to Success – None of Your Business

The following is an excerpt from one of my talks so it’s written more like I’m speaking than a blog but I’ll leave it as it is. Some of the key points are referenced from Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.

If having others believing in you and your dream was a requirement for success, most of us would never accomplish anything. We need to base our decisions about what we want to do on our goals and desires, not the goals, desires, opinions and judgments of your parents, friends, spouse, children and co-workers. Quit worrying what other people think about you and follow your heart. Most of the time nobody’s thinking about you at all! They are too busy worrying about their own lives and if they are thinking about you at all, they are wondering what you are thinking about them! Think about it….all the time you are wasting worrying about what other people think about your ideas, your goals, your clothes, your hair, and your home could be better spent on thinking about and doing the things that will achieve your goals.

Find someone that has what you want and ask them how they got it. Think enough of yourself to ask questions. All they can say is no…but sometimes they say yes. You never know unless you ask. I never saw anyone as good at this as my friend Ramon. Ramon doesn’t care if a door looks like it is locked. He opens the door anyway. If he goes in the wrong door, he says “I’m sorry” and turns around but you can’t imagine how many doors he’s walked through by doing just that. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking. Whenever you ask anyone for anything remember the following.

SWSWSWSW which stands for: some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting. Out there somewhere, someone is waiting for you and your ideas. It is simply a numbers game. You have to keep asking until you get a yes. The yes IS out there waiting.

Never give up on your dream. Perseverance is all important. If you don’t have the desire and the belief in yourself to keep trying after you’ve been told you should quit, you’ll never make it.

Ask, believe and step back and receive.

If I were to list some things I consider important….
Stop black and white thinking. When you have to accept each person in your life either all or not at all, you lose out on so much. You don’t have to marry them….take the good, take the useful things from people you meet in your life. Respect other’s style of life. I could be up here handing you the keys to the kingdom and you decide you don’t like one thing about me and you throw out the baby with the bath water.

Make a sincere grateful list every day. If you need help in thinking of a list, think about the most precious things in your life being yanked away right now. Then imagine getting them handed back to you. Do you think at that moment that you would be worrying about grazing?

Do you remember the hope you had the night before surgery? Some of you are in despair over 20 or 30 pounds when you’ve lost 100, 200 pounds. What is wrong with that picture?
You’re stinkin thinkin. Turn your attitude around. It is (after all) the only thing you can change.

We have been eating to fill a hole in ourselves…we have been looking for “it” and “it” has always existed inside of us. If you look for “it” in other outside things, like perfect weight, the perfect car, the perfect significant other, you are setting yourself up for failure because all of the outside things fade away as soon as you get them. If you never get them, they are always out in the future and you are never living for right now. Right now is all we have. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. You can have every one of those things but if you are not at peace within, if you don’t love and accept yourself, none of it will work to make you truly happy. Nothing outside of us can make us happy. Nothing.

You don’t always have to be right. When you have to be right, someone else has to be wrong. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Don’t put someone else down in order to make yourself feel important. In this sick way of thinking everyone has to have someone to look down at to feel positive about themselves. This is the root of all bigotry, racism, sexism and prejudice in the world. True self worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything else…it comes from awakening to our connection with everyone and everything. We are all precious souls that come from the same place. Granted some are sicker versions than others but when we come across someone who is “sick” we should feel compassion and then turn around and feel grateful that you are further down the road than they are. As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is sucking the life out of us.

The goal in recovery it not to become perfect..the goal is to make life an easier, more enjoyable experience. We need to realize that even though our experiences in childhood have caused us to think of ourselves as and feel like lowly caterpillars, we are in truth butterflies who are meant to fly.

We are all butterflies, we are all spiritual beings.

This healing is a long gradual process, the goal is progress not perfection. What we are learning about is unconditional love. Unconditional love means no judgment, no shame.

When I use the term “judge”, I am talking about making judgments about our own or other people’s beings based on behavior. In other words, I did something bad therefore I am a bad person, I made a mistake therefore I am a mistake. That is what toxic shame is all about. Feeling that something is wrong with our being…. that we are somehow defective because we have human drives, human weaknesses and human imperfections. Our behavior has been dictated by our disease, by our childhood wounds, it does not mean that we are bad or defective as beings. It means that we are human, it means that we are wounded.

You cannot try to be happy….

I call it “going straight to happy”. It means that if you start to act happy, happiness will come. It you just sit around and think “I wish I was happy, I need to be happy”, it just doesn’t work. That’s the best explanation I can give for the following phrase:

You cannot think yourself into acting right but you can act your way into right thinking.

Oh how important that is….
Have a blessed day and look inside and find the happiness that has been waiting to be released.
I think I hear Bobby McFerrin singing right now….”Don’t worry, be happy”

Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t do it.Be happy.
Put a smile on your face.
Don’t bring everybody down.
Don’t worry. It will soon pass, whatever it is.
Don’t worry, be happy.I’m not worried, I’m happy..

Sing it Bobby….


Obesity Help Los Angeles – Celebrating Ten Years

On January 16th, 2001 I joined Obesity Help. Aftercare was a little understood concept when I had weight loss surgery so I was very fortunate to have stumbled across this site. Obesity Help was started in 1998 by Eric Klein. Ten years and approximately 600,000 grateful members later, I am proud to be one of them and thankful for the education and support of friends I would never have met otherwise.

On October 31st we met in Los Angeles to celebrate those ten years….and celebrate we did! It all began with a Halloween party and the costumes were big fun.
Here’s a few!

It never hurts to be photographed next to the tallest and hottest blonde (Laura Preston) at the party!

And the Click girls!

And the winners of the costume party!
We had a cheerleader that got back into her uniform for the first time in years, a trophy wife, a devilish woman and a Sarah Palin look alike.
The next morning I kicked off the meeting and special thanks to Melting Mama for the picture.
There was an incredible woman at the event named Kim that told me she was inspired by me. I don’t remember her stats exactly but she previously weighed over 300 pounds. This is a picture of us below. Doesn’t she look incredible??

I was honored to speak at the event and as I looked out at those in the chairs before
me, I can’t help but worry who will be missing five years from now…or four..
or three. Each person is a precious soul trying to save their life and I can only hope that those chairs will be filled by the same precious souls next year. On that same note, I fully expect to be standing in front of those souls talking about my passion…and the miracle that was given to me.
So thanks Obesity Help for ten years of changing people’s lives…
one at a time…
including mine.
Here’s hoping you’ll be around another ten years.
Love and kisses,
Yvonne McCarthy
aka Bariatric Girl
I can never get the text to line up with the pictures so the bees are Debra Flores and Ramon Lopez, second row left is Melting Mama and Sarah followed by Rusty in the horns.
To see all the pictures posted from the event, please CLICK HERE!