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Fireside Chat with The Bariatric Girl
Remember, if you are severely obese, bariatric surgery remains a legitimate option for you in your weight loss journey.
I’ve posted here about my online pal, The Bariatric Girl. Today I’m going to post the little fireside chat we had about weight loss surgery recently. Enjoy!
1. Yvonne, you have been fighting obesity your entire life; tell us something about the transformation of your mind that happened during the transformation of your body?My mind lagged well behind my body and that still hasn’t gone away entirely. Old habits die hard and so did the memories of my body. The strange one was when I was in the grocery store and felt like people walking by were literally on top of me. I was so used to people going around me and since I don’t require as much room, they walk closer and it was almost claustrophobic at first but I’ve adjusted.

2. One thing that we’ve discussed via email is how our “no cheat rule” has contributed to success. A lot of people think that having the bariatric surgery is the “easy way out” in a sense, because you’ll never have to worry about wanting to cheat ; ie, no self control needed after you get the surgery, it just “happens.” Further reading into this topic though, and you will find that some people that have had the surgery actually cheat and get fat again. I’m sure having a tiny pouch that you can’t fit a lot of food into helps tremendously, but if some people are still getting fat, then it seems to me that yes, a transformation of mind in also necessary. Talk to us a little bit about why you feel a no cheat rule works for you and why some people gain back all that weight even after surgery.
ABSOLUTELY. We did not get brain surgery. We just got a smaller stomach but if we don’t change what we were doing before, you can go back to obesity or switch to something new to abuse or another method to self medicate. Now you’re pretty safe the first year because your metabolism is still being tricked so you can eat pretty much what you want and still lose weight. We call that the honeymoon period. Approximately after a year that’s over with so it’s just like being put magically into this thinner body but your metabolism has smartened up. You must start the lifestyle change immediately after surgery because if you wait until the honeymoon period is over, it is much MUCH more difficult because you’re days of losing no matter what are pretty much done. For me that was a good trade. Take me back to normal and I promise to eat right and get some exercise….like getting a do over. If you start right after surgery, you’ve had a year of forming good habits.
With certain kinds of weight loss surgery it is designed to make you ill if you eat certain things like too much sugar. The truth is you will lose your cravings if you stop eating something completely. The no cheat rule makes it black and white. I look at sugar as poison so it’s very simple. I tried to stop drinking Coke for years and the funny thing is…now I don’t even remember what a Coke tastes like. The reason some people gain weight back is because they didn’t deal with the issues in their head that causes them to use food to self medicate. There’s another group of people that gain back 20-40 pounds and end up being more miserable than when they weighed 300 pounds. You must fight to keep that goal weight when you reach it or a whole bunch of head games start telling you that you’ve failed again. It may seem impossible to most that a woman that has lost over 100 pounds can feel like a failure because she’s gained back 20 pounds but it happens every day. We must learn what really makes us happy in life and what we want will follow. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS! Don’t expect the bad or that’s what you’ll get.
 

 

 
3. Let’s talk about shakes. I know that people that have had bariatric surgery often live on these things for the first few months. I haven’t had the surgery, but I enjoy the unrefined, low sugar shakes I prepare myself as meal replacements. Have any good suggestions or recipes for the kind of highly nutritious shakes bariatric people use?
I actually still drink a shake every morning. It’s super important to put something in your body for breakfast so you won’t throw your body into starvation mode. When you do eat, the body hangs on to those calories like crazy because after sleeping for 8 hours and then waiting hours to eat after waking makes your body think it’s starving. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. I actually drink MetRX extreme chocolate. I put a lot of ice in it and blend it so it comes out like a chocolate shake…at least as much as I can remember a chocolate shake. There is a great blog called “the world according to Eggface” that has some of the best recipes for weight loss people. Great recipes and a great blog!
4. Talk to us about exercise. I hate exercise. I have a rebounder and that’s the only thing I do; it is excellent. Do you love/hate exercise? What exercise has been the most entertaining for you? What is the most useful for health?
I always hated exercise but I am asked often if I “work out”. I found yoga. Many people automatically assume that yoga is only for people that can bend like a pretzel. For me yoga is like slow dancing by yourself but at the same time you are increasing your range of motion and burning calories. It is said that ten minutes of yoga is as good as an hour on the treadmill. There are great videos online for beginner yoga and there’s a great DVD called “Heavyweight Yoga” that you can get at www.heartfeltyoga.com. I think it’s super important that you find something you like and something that is easy to do. I can do yoga anywhere, anytime. If you absolutely cannot find an exercise you like, then dance! Walk your dog. It has been proven that exercise can be a huge benefit to people that are depressed. Whatever you do, it’s just really important not to “hate” it. If you believe it’s a drag, it will be!

5. What is a typical day of meals and drinks for you?
Well you might be surprised. I have completely changed the way I feel about food. I look at it as fuel. For me I had to not look at food as a sexual experience anymore. If every time we went to fill up with gas there was an ocean breeze (in Texas), dancing naked men (or women), hot music etc…. well you’d be wanting to go get gas again sooner than necessary. I eat as boring as possible because it works for me. I look forward to that shake in the morning and the rest of the day is mostly protein. I try to eat vegetables and fruit in the right amounts. The more water you can drink the better. I actually hate water so I have to put something in it to make it possible for me to drink. There are so many things on the market that you’ll find one you like if you keep looking. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this answer about boring food but too much food and the wrong food is the substance that makes me an unhappy person. I will not go back to the obese person I was and food can no longer be the end all/be all for me. It is fuel and I cannot afford for it to be the thing I look to for self medication of my anxiety in life. Food is fuel now…no longer a drug.
 

 

 
6. Do you have a favorite “appetite busting” food or drink?
I love these meat sticks called “Ostrim”. You can put them in your car or purse or pocket and it doesn’t matter what temperature they are. When you are out somewhere and you allowed yourself to get so hungry that you’ll eat anything you will certainly mess up. Ostrim meat sticks keep me from going through that drive through when I shouldn’t. They come in 4 flavors and taste great. Being prepared for what you’ll eat each day will keep you out of a lot of trouble in the long run.

7. I gotta ask… when you were fat, did you have really wide feet and a hard time finding shoes to wear? If so, after you lost the weight, did your feet return to a normal width? This is a crisis issue with some fatties I know, including myself. When I got fat I could no longer wear pretty shoes.
I was asked this just the other day. I lost a shoe size but some have reported as much as a size and a half. And yes you can wear those pretty shoes again. I know when I was obese, it was so painful and I really didn’t feel like putting those pretty shoes on my big body. I’ve made up for a lot of lost time now.

8. If someone is considering bariatric surgery, give us a spiel on your best advice for them.
My best advice would be to go online and research people that have succeeded and ask them how. Ask them what they did that make the difference between success and failure. You can find a ton of things for and against anything you research. Some people have lost loved ones due to surgery and they are just as upset as you would expect them to be. You will find blogs telling you that you are an idiot to consider it. For various reasons you will find blogs that say it’s the easy way out.
I also know people who have lost their lives because they were obese…one was a friend of mine. If you have tried and I mean sincerely tried and failed tons of diets, and if you are ready to sincerely put the effort into the lifestyle change, you could be a candidate. Even though it is difficult to believe, you also cannot buy into the belief that when you lose all the weight that your life will be perfect. You must be willing to educate yourself on what’s going on in your head and how you got obese in the first place. Choosing to have weight loss surgery is an extremely personal decision that no one should ever push on someone else. All I can do is live my life as an example and show others what a successful weight loss surgery journey looks like. You are the person that lives in your body so it’s your decision. Just like anything you do in your life that is a major undertaking, talk to those that have been in the trenches. My blog in particular will tell you a lot about what to expect.


9. In your layman’s opinion, what do you think is the best surgery, that is the safest and with the best outcomes?
The best surgery is the one you decide to have. It is important to go to a surgeon that offers all of them. Some want lapband because you can reverse it. Some want something else because they don’t want a foreign body inside them and have to go back for fills. Some don’t want their guts rearranged. That’s why it is so important to talk to your bariatric doctor because he or she is trained to ask those questions so that you can pick what is best for you.
I have known people that have succeeded and failed with every kind of surgery and even though you will see a lot of fighting online about which surgery is the best, that’s between you and your doctor and whether your insurance will cover it or not. Some people do not have insurance and self pay. The thing that is important is believing in the one you pick. Treat it as the miracle it is and show your surgery some respect. If you go in expecting failure, that’s what you’ll get. Don’t let naysayers rent space in your head. There’s always someone that will have something nasty or critical to say. Surround yourself with successful, happy people and you’ll find it easier to be that way.

10. What do you look for in a doctor?
Experience and the way you feel when you talk to him/her. Get feedback from his other patients. I am a member of Obesity Help.com and each member has their doctor’s name under their user name. The doctor’s page has feedback from his patients. Check out how extensive the aftercare program is BUT it is far more important to go to a good doc first. A doc with good marketing could make his program look like a million dollars but that doesn’t tell you how good he is. The proof is talking to other patients and asking a lot of questions.

 

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)

Example-
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.

A GREAT RECIPE FOR LIFE…

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….

JUST 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….

 
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