Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I had a pretty rough Thanksgiving this year. My grandfather passed away on Thanksgiving day. However, he was always thankful for his life and the blessings in it and always reminded us that we needed to be thankful too. With that in mind, my list is about him and his contributions to my life:

1. I am thankful that I had three decades with him.
2. I am thankful that I was able to experience his silly songs and drawings when I was a kid (he would create these songs and drawings just to get a rise out of us grandkids or to make us smile).
3. I am thankful that I lived close to or with him for most of those years.
4. I am thankful that he helped instill in me the importance of giving thanks.
5. I am thankful for all the other memories I have of my grandfather and the time I had with him...and the knowledge that he is in a better place.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's the first Thursday after Veteran's Day, so I thought I'd do a Veteran's Day edition. I am thankful for

1. the ability to freely speak and worship, to vote, and to own land;
2. those people, past, present, and future, who have served to protect those freedoms;
3. the blessing of living in America with all of its many opportunities;
4. my family members and friends who have served; and
5. especially, those men and women who were injured or died protecting our freedoms.

Thank you, Veterans.

If you aren't able to watch the video above, which is a very touching memorial to those who fought and died, in it, President Reagan said, “Most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives--the one they were living and the one they would have lived.” There were other poignant things he offered too, but I just wanted to share that for the busy folks that aren't able to watch since I believe it really captures the essence of the sacrifice that was made for our freedoms. I am so very thankful to our servicemen and servicewomen. I hope everyone was able to tell a Veteran, "Thank you," last Friday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



Desperate to qualify for weight loss surgery, some pile on the pounds

By JoNel Aleccia

At 202 pounds, Steffany Sears knew she was fat, but not fat enough to qualify for traditional weight-loss surgery.

Desperate for help, the Gold Bar, Wash., woman did what seemed the only logical thing: She gorged herself on chips and cookies, pizza and fried chicken so she’d gain at least eight pounds more.

Courtesy Steffany Sears

Steffany Sears, 34, of Gold Bar, Wash., lost nearly 70 pounds after receiving the Lap-Band stomach-shrinking device as part of a clinical trial in 2008. The trial led the Food and Drug Administration to lower the limit for obese patients eligible for the device last spring.

“I would have eaten myself stupid,” recalled Sears, 34, who was turned down by her insurance company for the $20,000 procedure. “I know friends who would have done that, too.”

In the end, she actually qualified to participate in a clinical trial that led the federal Food and Drug Administration this spring to lower the bar for obesity in people eligible for one form of weight-loss surgery, Allergan’s Lap-Band stomach-shrinking device. Because she had a body mass index, or BMI, of between 30 and 35, the target range of the new rule, she even got the treatment for free, instead of having to take out a second mortgage on her house.

Today, at 5-foot-6, she weighs 143 pounds. "I felt like I'd won the lottery, really, with my life," said Sears, a native of England.

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But Sears’ experience highlights what dieters and doctors alike say is a growing dilemma. Spurred by strict insurance policies that limit surgery to high BMIs of 35 or 40, some obese people are actually striving to gain weight -- in order to lose it.

Web sites devoted to weight-loss surgery are full of advice and anecdotes from would-be losers who claim they ate piles of bananas, chowed down on burgers and curly fries or swilled gallons of water to nudge the scale to the correct heights.

“That happens all the time,” said Dr. Robert Michaelson of Northwest Weight Loss Surgery in Everett, Wash., who was a clinical investigator for the FDA trial. “I’ve seen people come in with ankle weights on.”

Sometimes, it works. Elizabeth Marks, 32, of San Diego, Calif., was turned down for surgery once by her insurance company for being less than 100 pounds overweight, but accepted after she gained more.

“I just had two weeks of eating all the junk I could,” Mark said.

In general, a person who is 5-foot-6 and weighs 220 pounds has a BMI of 35. At 250, the BMI climbs to 40.

Weight-loss doctors definitely discourage patients from gaining more and instead urge them to pursue non-surgical options, or to find other ways to pay for the surgery. One good reason? Some insurers regard the practice as fraud.

“I tell them go home. You don’t qualify,” said Dr. Namir Katkhouda, a bariatric surgeon at the University of Southern California who has performed 2,000 procedures. “They come back six months later and their problems are much worse.”

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The dilemma has been exacerbated by the recent FDA decision, which approved the use of Lap-Band in patients with BMIs as low as 30 with at least one weight-related disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The agency left the BMI level at 40 for heavy but otherwise healthy people.

The move opened the door to an additional 27 million people eligible to access surgery and prompted experts to predict a sudden rush toward lower BMI procedures. So far, despite great interest, that hasn’t happened, said Dr. Robin Blackstone, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

“The insurance hasn’t expanded to embrace that indication,” she said, noting that less than 1 percent of those eligible for bariatric surgery actually get it. In 2009, nearly 63,000 Lap-Band devices were implanted in the U.S., according to estimates from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Insurers prefer that people try other less-drastic weight-loss options, including medically supervised programs, said Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“Many, if not most, insurers look to less invasive, less-risky approaches before they move on to the more invasive, more life-threatening approaches,” Pisano said.

As far as Sears is concerned, the January 2008 surgery changed her life; she says she doesn’t regret gaining a little to lose a lot.

“I would do it again, now that I’ve tasted what it feels like to be normal and not overweight,” said Sears.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What do you think?

I haven't ever watched an episode of New Jersey housewives, but I was wondering what you all thought of the housewife who was donning the 'fat suit' in the video below. Does that help her and other non-obese people open their eyes, or do you think that they still have the biases (like obese people are still lazy, etc. and should do something about it before it gets to that point)?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I had a couple ideas that began in 'F' initially, so I just continued with that theme. I guess I'm feeling Sesame Streetish today. :)

1. My family
2. My friends
3. My free time
4. Freebies
5. Fridays (coming soon!)

We Don't Deserve To Lose Weight

Yes, here's another annoying article (see Lapband Gal's blog for a couple others from the last week). Evidently, we don't deserve to lose weight. What do you all think about this?

By the way, I have posted the whole article below so that you don't have to give the Miami NewTimes any more hits than they already have; however, the link is below the posted article if you want to check out the reader comments there.

Weight Loss Surgery Is the Easy Way Out
By Ily Goyanes Wed., Aug. 10 2011 at 10:26 AM

US News & World Report recently noted that gastric bypass surgery not only cuts your appetite but also might reduce your desire for high-fat foods. Over the years, I've had friends who have suffered through gastric bypass or lap band procedures. They've all shed weight as if they had made a pact with Satan -- quickly and what appears to be easily.

People applaud their weight loss and congratulate them on how thin they've become and how good they look.

Not I.

I don't like cheating and I don't like short cuts, especially (at least) when it comes to such a big thing (pun totally intended).

My weight has yo-yoed during the years. I've been normal weight, thick, chubby, and obese. When I was at my heaviest, 250 pounds, I did the unthinkable. I cut my calories to less than 500 per day and began exercising two hours daily. Guess what? I also lost weight as if I had a pact with "he who must not be named." (Oh, wait, that's Lord Voldemoort; I mean the other guy.)

It was difficult, especially at first. But every day I -- and my will -- grew stronger. And after three months (in which I lost 80 pounds), I was very, very proud of myself.

How can I be proud of someone who takes the easy route? Someone who decides that having a surgeon cut them open and rearrange or modify their insides is easier than eating less and exercising more? It's just lazy.

And if you're too lazy to cut calories and exercise, you don't deserve to be skinny.

Before I get a ton of comments about how some people are so obese they don't have a choice -- chill, please. You're the type of person who enables drug addicts and criminals. I have the Learning Channel. I've seen those shows about the heaviest people on the planet, including Manuel Uribe from Mexico, who weighed more than 1,000 pounds and was dubbed "the Fattest Man on Earth." He began losing weight by exercising and cutting down on eating. Sure, his exercise consisted of doing arm circles while lying in bed, but it burned more calories than lying there eating tacos.

And if the fattest man on Earth can say no to food and yes to exercise, so can all of the self-indulgent, overweight, spineless jellyfish who take the easy way out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Adorable Blog Award

Lacey at gave me The Adorable Blog award.

Rules of the Award
*Thank the person who gave you this award, and link back to them in your post.
*Tell us 10 things about yourself.
*Nominate your bloggers.
*Contact these bloggers, and let them know they received this award.

Just as a preface, I will probably not be detailing too much of my personal life since I am always worried about people finding out about my blog and my WLS. But it will all be a good recap of what I have posted in the past (plus some) for those folks who are newer followers.

1. I was banded on December 18, 2008.

2. I have been blogging since the summer after being banded.

3. I live in the same neck of the woods as Amy W. at, Mary at, and Melly at Lacey at used to live near us too. I have had the opportunity to meet three of these lovely ladies (Amy W., Mary, and Lacey).

4. My husband and I had a formal wedding last year but were legally married the year before due to my lack of health insurance and kidney stone issues (we were already engaged, so it wasn't a completely mercenary act on my part--LOL! :) ).

5. I have been having problems with my band since January, which resulted in a complete unfill in early February.

6. I am still having heartburn. It's annoying.

7. I have a lot of skinny family members.

8. This week, I mentioned to a CLOSE family member that a girl we both knew was getting gastric bypass. My family member didn't even want to talk about it because a doctor fairly close to the family had expressed that "Getting weight loss surgeries was one of the worst things a person could do." My family member also said that people always gain the weight back. When I tried to explain that there were different kinds of surgeries and different results, the family member stopped me from talking about the subject entirely. This is yet another reason I keep my band to myself.

9. Speaking of which, I have only told two other real-life folks about my band--a friend and my husband. In fact, sometimes I wish I'd have only told my husband just for more peace of mind.

10. On a more positive note, even though the band has been causing me frustrations, I am optimistic about weight loss surgery in general (and the band itself has been great for many people--the proof is in the Blogosphere Pudding). I hope that if things don't work out with my band (I'm giving it my best efforts in remaining unfilled as long as possible and trying to eat things that won't aggravate my condition), I will have the opportunity to undergo another type of WLS in the future.

And again, I nominate all those who want to participate!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things We Should Have Never Stopped Doing (Weight-Related Version)

Cosmo recently published an article about 50 Things You Should Have Never Stopped Doing. I thought I'd do my own weight-related edition...although I will just get the list started with ten of my own thoughts (which may or may not apply to your own childhood experiences...but might help you remember some fun you had). Feel free to add on as many things as you like so that we can try and reach 50 things!

1. We should have never stopped spinning around in circles as children. I remember I always loved to spin and watch my 'poofy dresses' float up in the air :) .
2. We should have never stopped playing kickball. This was on the Cosmo list, I think, but it is such a great game for adults too! My group of friends had a kickball party in law school. It was so much fun! I wondered why I hadn't done it earlier (and, now, why I haven't done it since) in my adult life.

3. We should have never stopped swimming when we went to the beach, pool, river, or creek. I know that many of us even avoid places where we have to don anything resembling a bathing suit. But if you can muster up the courage to go, have fun. Get in the water and splash around some!

4. We should have never stopped playing hopscotch.

5. We should have never stopped jumping rope.

6. We should have never stopped occupying our time with hand-clap games and other activities that kept us busy thinking about something other than food.
7. We should have never stopped choreographing routines for ourselves and our friends. I think that something like this was on the Cosmo list too, but dancing is a great way to be active. Add a creativity component, and BAM! What an awesome rush of energy from all directions!

8. We should have never stopped NOT finishing our meals at fast-food chains so that we could go and play in the at-restaurant playlands as soon as possible. It's such a different perspective to think of activity as the much-anticipated end goal itself and not as the routine necessity to attain a different goal.

9. We should have never stopped going to and using the equipment at the park. I personally love swings (when I fit comfortably in them)! They are the best!
10. We should have never stopped imagining that our goals could take us wherever we want to go in life (and ideal weight attainment is just one of these goals!).

Don't forget to add to the list of things we should have never stopped doing!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good Riddance, Bad Day!

Wow! Yesterday...ending a few minutes ago...was not my day. Everything I touched or looked at turned to cee-rap!

  • I woke up at my highest weight yet since surgery (although I've bounced up and down to it for a while now, so it didn't make me cry this time).
  • My computer caught a virus that took me half the day to diagnose and fix.
  • I had a personal issue that consumed the latter half of the day...and that will continue to frustrate me for years to come (not exaggerating).
  • I accidentally changed my Blogger settings to Arabic and then to an Indian dialect as I was starting this post. This language problem didn't take too long to fix (especially compared to that virus nonsense), but dealing with that ended my day on the same note that it started.
  • Oh, and I have a major sunburn, which has served as background fun all day.
But I'm looking ahead!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone out in the blogosphere....and a special thank you to all of our service men and women, veterans of the armed forces, their families, and the families of fallen soldiers. Thank you all for your sacrifices.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why I Write?

I was tagged to discuss my reasons for writing a blog. Please see the instructions and my reasons below.

Why You Write?

*Please also tag 5 others and offer them 3 pearls of wisdom for other writers/bloggers.)

1. I write to give and receive support from this community.
2. I write to release my thoughts.
3. I write to share my life (although I do withhold some elements of it :) ) and to participate in others' lives.
4. I write to give and receive information.
5. I write to motivate myself and others.

Three Pearls Of Wisdom:
-Be appreciative for the things you have.
-Take life by the horns.
-Don't let anyone make you feel not good enough.

I tag everyone who wants to participate. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week, I decided to go with a theme: Modern Conveniences. When I was a little girl, I used to wish that I lived in an era with big poofy gowns and balls galore. Nowadays, I'm thankful I don't. I wouldn't want my world to be without

1. indoor plumbing,
2. central heating and air,
3. electricity,
4. modern transportation, and
5. WLS.

What is your favorite modern convenience?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why I Am A Non-Discloser

I haven't talked much lately about the reasons why I don't discuss my weight loss surgery with anyone (minus two) in the real world. I know that many post-ops do. My reasons for keeping my WLS to myself include the following.

1. Many folks seem to want to hear that weight loss is a result of the traditional, non-surgical approaches. They're a part of The Biggest Loser culture where they are enraptured by contestants who set all else aside and focus only on weight loss. It is somehow gratifying to watch the Blue Team eat Subway and work out until they are forced to go to the doctor for overexertion-induced injuries. (I myself have watched many seasons of TBL--see what I mean!).

2. I don't feel any compulsion to debate/butt heads with or even worry about what others think about the merits of WLS if they already have their minds set. Lots of people state that they would never choose WLS for themselves. I don't have the time or energy to deflect criticism such as that I have chosen an easier method of weight loss.

3. Moreover, I don't want to be associated (especially professionally) with any unneccesarily negative thoughts. I am not defined by my WLS and don't need others to agree with me about it. According to one social science theory, when someone disagrees with us, we like the item of disagreement more and the person less (and if they agree with something we like, we like them more). I know that this gives more fuel to my already fully fired problem of people pleasing, but in my professional life, I have a need to be liked and don't need most concepts and opinions irrelevant to my work to jeopardize that.

4. I don't want the constant scrutiny of others paying attention to my weight fluctuations, exercise, and food types and portions. My family does this enough without my help.

5. While I know we say things like our weight is 'gone forever,' bounce backs unfortunately happen. People have complications. Prioritizing weight loss can become difficult. We rekindle some bad cravings. And the list goes on and on (or, to be grammatically correct, "On and on goes the list." :) ). I have observed others through their own accounts who've had regain struggles, and I can personally attest to my own issues since I've had my unfill and have had to prioritize things other than weight. I feel like my audience of three (including myself) is enough to watch me regain without purposefully inviting more to my weight-gain freak show.

6. Similarly, some people seem to WANT people to fail and to regain. I don't like satisfying that sort of crowd moreso than I'll already be doing if I gain.

7. My health and my body are my business. I can't keep people from commenting about my weight gains, bulges, and the like, but I can choose not to contribute to their attacks with a background story.

8. I'm not ashamed of WLS and definitely would try to steer others toward it if I felt that they could benefit. I just wouldn't be their picture of a success (or unsuccessful) story. I would have to be a bit more creative in how I approached recommendations, but my not laying it all out there doesn't completely prohibit me from sharing wonderful things and results with WLS.

9. I haven't shared my deep thoughts, feelings, or actions about gaining weight to many people in my life, so I don't feel I need to do the same with how I've lost the weight.

Of course, the decision to go public or to tell anyone at all is completely your own. I am not trying to advise any newbies or to speak from any sort of superior pedestal. I understand that different people might have a different dynamic in their lives and require a larger support system. Some people might need financial support for surgery or after care. There might be any number of other reasons TO tell. The decision is one's own. However, I would say to give it a little thought before you decide to confide in people. Once you tell, you can't ever un-tell.

Has anyone told anyone and regretted it? Does anyone have positive comments about their decision to go completely public? Is anyone a non-teller like me?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strange Sex: Feederism

I watched a TLC Strange Sex episode tonight. I can't remember watching this show previously, but it came on right after Sister Wives and had me hooked from the beginning (hate it when that happens!).

The first part of the program was about a couple in a feederism relationship. Call me ignorant, but I didn't really know that this type of relationship existed. In case you haven't heard of it either (???), feederism is "deriving sexual pleasure from encouraging another to eat, being served large quantities of food, and/or gaining weight."

The couple on the show met online in a forum for overweight females. The woman in the relationship is the feedee. She weighs around 600 pounds. To her significant other, she is perfection. He likes curves, cellulite, and a bigger body. He likes to feed her to anticipate where the weight will go. The woman likes to be fed and to feel like the man's Perfect 10.

The narrative briefly discussed health consequences, but the woman said that she hasn't had any blood pressure or other issues and is 'smart about it' ('it' referring to what she eats). She said that she tries to control sodium intake (although it showed her eating a BIG bowl of chips, soy sauce, and lots of other high salt content food). While she stated that she doesn't believe that she is doing anything unhealthy, bacon and chocolate cake were also a part of what she ingested during the show. And her portions were enormous.

I know that I shouldn't be one to judge particular eating patterns as I have my own problems with resisting certain types of food (chocolate cake being one of them)...and I really hate judging people in general, but this woman's scary weight goals made me more closely scrutinize her food choices out of complete concern for her health. She has a goal weight of 1000 pounds although it doesn't sound as if she wants to stop there. Both she and the man also have an ultimate goal of her immobility! The narrator discussed how this is typical in extreme feederism relationships for power reasons--the feedee wants to become completely reliant on the feeder and the feeder wants to have complete control over the feedee. The woman said her dream was to do less and have fewer responsibilities.

Did anyone else see this episode? Had you heard of feederism previously? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Lacey, a fellow bandit and blogger who I've been fortunate enough to meet in person, does a Grateful Friday post that recurs most every week. I have always thought that this was such a great idea (one of her many great ideas!). I thought I would start my own Thankful Thursday (I hope Lacey follows the line of thought that repetition is the sincerest form of flattery?!).

I may not contribute to my Thankful Thursday every week, but I would like to do so as much as possible since recounting those things for which I am grateful always helps remind me how much God has blessed me. So I guess there's nothing left to mention other than to share my first week of things for which I am thankful.

1. My wonderful family
2. My supportive online friends
3. My health
4. My abilities
5. Lacey for reminding me that we should remember to be thankful even when life throws us some major challenges (for those who don't know, Lacey is a cancer survivor and military spouse in addition to a bandster--she has definitely faced her share of obstacles but does so with a grateful heart).

Check out Lacey's blog at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Get Up!

Maria at posted this about the dangers of sitting. I wanted to repost it just in case anyone missed it.

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Monday, May 16, 2011

Roasted Marshmallows, Anyone?

It's been a while since I had one, but a couple of nights ago, I had another dream about our blogger group. We were having a group camping trip. Somehow it turned into a lock-in at a church gymnasium. I remember many of us exchanging numbers and information.

Our online community is never far from my thoughts.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

True or False?

What do you think? Does less money equal less weight?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Black Swan Diving Into Scary Skinniness

I watched Black Swan last night. It's really not my type of flick. Very disturbing.

I was in ballet as a child--from the age of five up through my teens. I had aspirations of achieving pointe (toe shoe-level) from early on in my endeavors. The year after I made pointe, I stopped. Pointe is pretty from an outsiders' perspective, but it can be pretty painful for the participant. I developed all sorts of feet issues (painful--and sometimes gross--stuff...although it's all gone now).

Anyhow, while watching the movie, I remembered an interview a few months back with Natalie Portman about the hours and hours of exercise she had to put in for the role.

I also remember in footage surrounding the interview that there were brought to light real life accounts of the severe eating disorders of professional ballerinas (bulimia was shown in the movie...and anorexia was at least alluded to). It's sad that in a lot of the 'pretty professions'--ballet, modeling, acting, etc.--there are so many sad accounts of women partaking in illegal substances or developing eating disorders...not very pretty when you look really closely at them. :(

Did you see the movie? Did you like it?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Skinny Family Members All Around

Does anyone else have them? The folks in your life who have never had to worry about weight issues? My family is stacked, and I'm certainly not one of the lucky ones.

I spent some time with my sister today, and I probably shouldn't say this, but I was just wracked with jealousy over her size at several points during the day. She drinks two to five Starbucks frappuccinos a day and has somehow lost about 10 pounds (from a HEFTY--to her--125 to a NORMAL--to 5'7) in the last couple of months (still drinking the same amount of Starbucks and not really exercising). And don't even get me started on the food she eats (but I will say that there is lots of candy and BAD carbs in the mix). Ugh! And she was trying to give me weight-loss advice. So frustrating (although I didn't tell her that)! Please don't get me wrong: I love my sister, and we have loads of fun together...but I just wish I could quash the envy-inspired thoughts because I know that jealousy doesn't help either of us or our relationship.

I really think I could handle the situation quite well if we were not related and did not see one another a lot. Does anyone else have 'that skinny family member' or 'that thin friend' that you are around all of the time or very frequently? What do you do about the situation, or what is your self talk to handle it?

I hope I'm not the only jerkfish out there who thinks this way. :(

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eating Vegetarian

What do you think? Could we achieve bodies like this if we ate vegetarian only? LOL!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Khloe Kardashian's Weight Struggles

In case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty much a sucker for reality TV. I recently watched an episode of Khloe and Lamar (a Kardashian spinoff on E!), which focused on Khloe's impression of her weight. While she initially said that she was okay with her weight in spite of the criticism she faced (in fact, she believed it was a testament to her self confidence and desire to be a good role model that she hadn't engaged in extreme efforts to lose weight), she later changed her tune somewhat and admitted to insecurities.

In some ways, I can relate with Khloe. I've mentioned how I have some VERY skinny and beautiful family members who don't seem to 'get' the weight battle. Khloe seems to be similarly situated in that she has four slim and beautiful sisters and a mother, all of whom don't really seem to 'get' it either. However, she is probably more painfully encumbered by a sense of deep insecurity being surrounded by Hollywood types as well.

The episode also reminded me how glad I am not to be in the public spotlight with my weight issues. While publicity MIGHT serve to get me in the gym more frequently, it would be so frustrating that every gain or loss would be so closely scrutinized. I can't imagine. My family is bad enough, I think. And since I choose to keep my surgery to myself, it would be even more frustrating. Now, saying that, Khloe does live a glamorous life...great house and furnishings, great clothes (and beautiful engagement ring!), great connections, money at her disposal, etc., etc. If forced to choose, would you rather have the privacy or the fabulous lifestyle?

Above are a couple of pictures of Khloe. She has yo-yoed a bit with her weight in the last few years as the pictures show.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Amy W's Chicken Divan Soup

So I FINALLY made the Chicken Divan Soup that Amy W. mentioned on her site several months back. I'd been hoarding a lot of the ingredients for a while and needed to make it before things started to go bad. Yummy (although my husband and I agreed that it would be better in the cooler months)!!! I'll re-post Amy W.'s recipe below.

Oh, and I pulled the largest of the wishbone pieces from the chicken. Maybe that means my wish of getting my big paper done will come true one day...that or getting a windfall of cash!

Chicken Divan Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 (48-oz.) container chicken broth
2 (12-oz.) packages fresh broccoli florets (about 12 cups)
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and red pepper, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and broccoli. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Stir in cream cheese.

2. Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth. Add chicken and shredded cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with almonds, if desired.

Note: If you don't have a handheld immersion blender, let mixture cool slightly; process mixture, in batches, in a regular blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Return mixture to Dutch oven, and proceed as directed.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How does Kate Middleton--err, the Duchess of Cambridge--do it?

If you've seen any pictures of the new Duchess of Cambridge (or any pre-wedding Kate shots), you might have wondered how Kate Middleton has been able to attain such a super svelte figure. I'm sure that good genes definitely help. She also has a love for sports, which certainly can't hurt either. Her mother was rumored to be on the Dukan Diet, a new 2011 fad diet in Europe; stories have surfaced that Kate and her sister Pippa (her bridesmaid in the picture) might have used this diet plan as well. And according to, her weight is believed to be primarily managed by regular exercise and extreme discipline in eating--without denying herself. I wonder what that means? See below for the article.

Kate Middleton's fitness regime revealed ahead of royal wedding

AT 5ft 10ins tall and weighing just 8st 8lbs, Kate Middleton's slim and athletic figure was always going to draw comparisons with Princess Diana.

On a recent outing, the 29-year-old princess-in-waiting laughed off suggestions she was getting too thin by claiming: "It's all part of the wedding plan."

Such an offhand comment has made royal watchers fear for the health of the bride-to-be and sparked yet more media interest in the diet and fitness regime of Prince William's fiancée.

There are rumours she is taking diet tips from her mother, who swears by a controversial French eating plan, the Dukan diet, and that stress is playing a huge part in her recent weight loss.

But despite intense scrutiny, the future princess insists she is keeping a handle on the situation and is sticking to the most tried and trusted methods of maintaining a healthy weight - balancing an active lifestyle with sensible eating.

We examine Kate's diet and fitness regime, and look at how her lifestyle with William promises a healthy future for the royal couple.


Despite the gossip surrounding her eating habits, Kate sticks to a low GI diet of lean meats, fish and vegetables to stay healthy.

She loves "summer foods," She loves "summer foods," including beans, salads and salmon, and although she doesn't deny herself, she is believed to be extremely disciplined in what she eats.

Kate has also been linked to Dukan diet, originated by Pierre Dukan, to fit into her wedding gown on April 29.

Her mother, Carole, has been a Dukan devotee since using the diet to shed weight last year and it is rumoured she has turned her daughter on to the regime.

A variation on the hugely popular Atkins diet - high protein and low carb - the Dukan diet already has several famous fans, including Hollywood A-listers Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman.

The four-stage diet consists of a series of phases - attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilisation - whereby foods are withdrawn and then slowly re-introduced.

According to the Dukan diet website, the phases enable the dieter to lose then maintain the correct level of weight for body type.



Brief and headlong phase with immediate results. During this phase, the diet is made up of 72 high-protein foods enabling quick weight loss.

Cruise During this phase, the diet alternates pure protein days (PP phases) with 28 recommended vegetables (PV phases). CONSOLIDATION Phase of 10 days which prepares for the return to a balanced diet.

Monitored freedom with a target of establishing this freshly conquered and still vulnerable ideal weight. This phase brings the gradual return of fun foods.


Definitive phase based on three simple, concrete, easy but non-negotiable measures. This phase is both the easiest and most essential in the slimming method because 95 per cent of people who follow a diet put the weight they have lost back on.


Because Kate leads such an active lifestyle, her diet of low GI carbs only serve to help maintain her slim frame while muscle definition is down to her choice of exercise.

She is a keen gym bunny and does at least one hour every day, using the private facilities installed at Clarence House.

Her favourite high-energy workout includes rowing, running and weight lifting. She also cycles regularly, balancing her cardio workouts with yoga sessions to improve flexibility.

A typical workout routine for Kate would include short 20-minute bursts of high intensity training to keep things fresh and interesting.

Kate's workout


To really burn fat and ensure a body fit for a princess, vary the speed of your workout. Running at a high intensity for three minutes and a moderate intensity for five will ensure all of your muscles are working hard and help tone your abdomen.


For super-toned arms, rowing is the best thing to banish bingo wings and impress the future king. An intense 30-minute rowing session can burn 300 calories.

A session on the rowing machine will provide great strength, flexibility and posture in your upper body.


Adding weights to a cardio routine will help with muscle definition and sculpting body shape. As weights are essentially the same as resistance training, it will help improve co-ordination and increase bone density as well as improving performance during cardio routines.

Doing step-ups and push-ups alongside squats and lunges using an exercise band will also give the same effect. For best results, do repeat each move 10 to 12 times, breaking just long enough to catch your breath in between. Repeat for two to three sets.


Lactic acid build-up in the muscles from vigorous cardio exercising contributes to muscle fatigue so it's vital to use yoga stretches in between regular workouts to release any lactic acid build-up.

Forward bends stretch the lower back and hamstrings. This helps you let go of tension in the back, neck and shoulders, increasing the flexibility of the spine.

Backward bends open the chest, hips and rib cage and hips, building strength in the arms and shoulders. They also add to flexibility in the shoulders, while helping ease the tension from the front of the body and hips.

Seated asanas - or poses - increase suppleness in the hips and lower back. Strengthening the whole back, they increase the flexibility of the spine and elasticity of the hips, knees, ankle and groin.

Balancing asanas are essential for cultivating muscle tone and physical harmony as well as strength and agility. Great for overall posture.


Holiday activities with Prince William include skiing, which uses both upper and lower body to get the heart rate soaring and can burn up to 1400 calories an hour.

On their trip to Kenya last year, they had an active holiday, including horse and camel riding.

Tennis-mad Kate, who plays at Princess Diana's old haunt, the Harbour Club in Chelsea, is all set for Wimbledon this year when she will be the Royal representative.

She also loves swimming, which helps tone up her body.


Kate has a notoriously sweet tooth,. Haribo Starmix and Tangfastics are her favourites. She stocks up from local stores when she is with her family in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

Shopkeeper Hash Shingadia and his wife Chan said: "Kate loves them. She came in with her mother and bought some Haribos.

"She also bought French bread, ham, salami, cream and eggs and her favourite magazines, Hello!, Tatler and Elle. She's a normal girl."

Disturbing PostSecret Postcards

This postcard was disturbing:

This postcard was even more disturbing:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Would You Do?

Have any of you seen the show 'What Would You Do?' where fake encounters are set up to examine the surrounding public's reactions? The first part of this particular episode below deals with a public encounter between a mother and daughter over WLS and the responses from real restaurant patrons. Dr. Oz is on-hand to discuss what happens.

What would you have done?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bunny Cake Update

Well, I was able to ration out every part of the bunny cake except the face. I'm going to work on finding someone to take some of it.

How did everyone else celebrate Easter this year?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

I have made a bunny cake for a family get-together tomorrow. It is pink on the inside and white ice-inged and coconut-ted on the outside. As a novice baker, my culinary productions probably aren't at all spectacular to most, but I have been wanting to make a bunny cake for years (we had them at church Easter functions (several each year for some reason???) when I was a kid, so thinking of them--and making one today--brings back neat memories). I hope the fam will eat it ALL because I certainly don't need leftover bunny cake!!!

I get to see my niece and nephew tomorrow at the get together too. :) I love spending time with them!

I also plan to go to church in the AM and remember the reason for the holiday! It fills me with love and is very humbling that such a great sacrifice was made for me.

I will leave you with a picture of a house on our local beach. The owners built it to survive hurricanes and other disasters. But it appears they are also in the Easter spirit this year. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling Portly

I'm feeling rather rotund lately without a fill and proper exercise plan. I'm reminding myself of Lady Cluck, the chicken in Disney's Robin Hood. Does anyone remember her? Actually, she's exercising in the clip below, so she's got that on me! Ugh!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Delilah and WLS

Does anyone else listen to Delilah? If not, just so you know, she's a syndicated talk show host who discusses relationship issues with callers. I love her radio show and listen if it's ever on when I'm driving. Yes, I'm a sucker for romance. :)

Well, on April 12th, Delilah had a pre-gastric bypass caller on the show. The caller had a boyfriend whose family was telling him to marry the WLS candidate quickly because she would lose weight and lose him post surgery. Delilah then said that she should laugh it off because this type of scenario is what sitcoms are made from because a) the family was basically saying that she was so shallow that she would become a hottie and ditch him and b) he did not have the qualities which would make a hottie want to stick around.

Of course, we have all read and heard that there actually is an increased chance for relationships to retire themselves post WLS...but, as Amy W. put it a couple weeks ago, the relationship, for whatever reason, may have needed to end anyway. (Of course, I don't blame Delilah for overlooking this because she probably wouldn't know of the increased likelihood herself--doubtful from the pictures of her that she would ever need to research WLS for herself).

What do you think about the whole post-WLS-commitment situation? And does anyone else listen to Delilah, or am I a lone ranger there?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Extra Dessert Delights

The Extra Dessert Delights Mint Chocolate Chip-flavored gum is yummy. I tried it a few months ago but forgot to post about it until I saw a commercial for the gum this past week. While some folks claim gum helps satisfy cravings, I don't know if it really makes me less hungry. But it might occupy my mouth for a bit....that could be beneficial in helping to not stuff my face with food. But my one problem with gum is that I often accidentally bite my mouth causing painful, lasting sores. :(

Have you tried the Extra Dessert Delights? If so, what is your favorite flavor? Does gum satisfy your cravings? Does anyone else out there have the biting/sore issue?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Man Living in Glass House

Evidently there is another way to lose weight--live in a glass house.

What do you think about this form of weight loss?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Itchy Tummy?

For the past several months, I've been noticing that I have an itchy stomach around the port area. It's not constant. And it's not putting a major damper on my life. But I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this? Does anyone know why it's itchy?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Sad Week

This week has been fairly difficult for me. I have gone to two funerals and two viewings.

One person who passed away was a very young (43 years old) former co-worker and friend who was always super sweet. She had breast cancer, which went into remission but then reared its ugly head again within the last year.

A friend's father also passed away. He was deaf, and the eulogy, probably the most beautiful I've ever heard, covered many aspects of his life that dealt with his not being able to hear. It was very touching. The reason he passed stemmed from some digestive issues he was having where food was sitting on his stomach and not passing through the system correctly. While he was, otherwise, in great health (he was in his early 50's by the way), he received some type of scope procedure (EGD/Upper GI/Upper endoscopy perhaps) and vomited, which aspirated into his lungs. From there, he developed pneumonia, and things went downhill.

I'm sure that this is not common for the scope procedure, but it reminded me to a whole new degree how we are taking our health into our hands whenever we get even routine procedures done. This is why it is important to do our own part to try to avoid any issues. Doing our part includes eating right, not taking NSAID's (or other off-limits medication), following doctor orders, and otherwise working with our bands. Obviously, I'm not perfect here, so I'm not preaching. But this has been another reminder of how we all should function with the band.

I hope everyone out there is having a healthy and happy weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More on My Exercise Situation

I posted yesterday about exercise versus project completion. Thank you for the comments. I'm glad I'm not alone. The good news is that I am not a sedentary person either. Every few months, I usually start to get hungry for exercise. And even over the past month (while I've had my paper looming largely), I've gone hiking and walking a few times. It's not as vigorous as routine (by any stretch) as my jogging/gymming days, but it's something. As mentioned though, I am trying NOT to get into a routine odd as that sounds...for fear of getting obsessive about it.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Losing Weight Due to Exercise

I lost some weight when I was in my early 20's by regularly exercising. I was gymming it up every day. Cardio was my companion. Consistency was key. This is how I helped lose weight in the first year of banding too.

But I feel like sometimes life gets in the way with this approach. Yes, I know that many people have continued with their fitness regimens for a few years after banding, and I also know that life is all about choices. I do completely understand and appreciate this method and line of thinking. And, to be honest, I kind of like exercising...well, depending on what it is.

But I am in a different place right now. When I have a major project, I am a one-track mind sort of person. For instance, while working on my paper like I am right now (a project which is very important to me...and takes a LOOOONNNNGGG time), I find it easy for my motivations to become overtaken by something more desirable (most anything right now). If I start another endeavor even with my paper looming, I want to either see that new whatever it is through to completion or try to improve myself as much as possible in that new vein. Exercise would fall into the latter category. I would be constantly striving to work out more and longer if I started back at all. I know this because I have been on this path before with exercise. I can't stop at 30 minutes a day. And I will want to log time, food, and pay attention and concentrate on all things exercise and nutrition. These efforts would derail me from my one-track focus on completing my paper.

It's strange that I can't do both, but I am just the type that must concentrate my efforts when I have a big project. I have to be obsessive about my one big goal. What scares me about this approach is that I don't even have children yet!!

Is anyone else of the one-track-mind sort when it comes to big projects and endeavors?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Losing Weight Because of Guys

Another means of my shedding weight has resulted from the acquisition of new boyfriends. When I start to get involved with a new guy, I tend to lose weight because of the nervousness factor. I am slightly nauseous for a while and really don't think about food at all. I certainly can't eat in front of them on dates--not from fear of eating too much, just because I am so anxious about the dating situation in general.

Still, I feel unhealthy all the while because I know my appetite will inevitably return. At least with getting out of the country, I've been exercising. With this, my habits haven't changed whatsoever (too bad :( ).

But I guess I don't have to worry about this these days anyhow since I'm an old married lady. :)

Have any of you lost weight as a result of dating? What was/is your experience?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weight Loss: What Has Worked For Me

So yesterday I talked about what did not work for me. And I got some great responses (even that the Ab Belt has worked for some! :) ). But what has worked for me (even if short-term) aside from the lapband?

I did lose some weight a couple years after the Ab Belt adventure when I went on an extended trip out of the country. I did a lot of walking during my long stay. But unfortunately the weight came back on in full force when I returned home.

In the area I reside, especially in the summer (but overall really), the masses always drive to get to wherever they are heading. With the car parked in the garage or driveway and with most parking garages, lots, and spaces being at least fairly close to accessed buildings, there really isn't a lot of walking that HAS to be done round these parts.

I sometimes wonder whether I would lose more weight if I lived in another least one where I was forced to walk more. I know a couple of other folks who also provide good examples of how getting out of the country is good for the weight-loss situation. A friend's mom has lived in Europe for about ten years now and is pretty tiny--compared to being overweight (and maybe obese) for several years before moving. Another one of my friends recently got back from a trip to Africa and has lost what looks to be about forty or so pounds. She is wanting to go back but will be studying here for a couple years before permanently moving. I will be, I'm sort of ashamed to say, watching her weight progression here and there in order to better speculate about my own potential to keep weight down in another country (although I have no imminent moves planned).

Has anyone else been out of the country (or even out of your hometown) and lost significant weight? Was it because of the siteseeing legwork, increased mobility for other reasons, or difference in cuisine?

Have you found success with other weight loss methods--even if not permanently? Tell me about them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Doesn't Work For Weight Loss

After posting yesterday about the Full Bars (which I'd never actually tried), I was reminded of some things I have done to attempt to achieve a better bod. Besides the requisite weight-loss pills, exercise, and dieting, the most zany thing I attempted was using the Ab Belt. I mentioned this in an earlier blog on Wild and Wacky Weight Loss methods at

My main problem area has always been my stomach. It's good in one way because you can help to cover it up with certain shirts (coats in the winter are the best!), but since I was an early teen (when I wasn't really allowed to wear them), I haven't been able to pull off a two-piece bathing suit figure no matter what I've done.

Not for any lack of want or trying on my part, the Ab Belt (and other efforts) didn't work to give me the bikini-ready dream abs. And the belt was pretty painful. With an Ab Belt, you are pretty much shocking yourself in the stomach. It's essentially self-inflicted electrocution (from what I experienced anyway). So I traded it for some books...they weren't as painful :).

What are some of the diets and quick-fix solutions that you all had tried prior to banding? Were there any that were helpful? In what ways? What were the problems with any that you tried?

***The gal in the picture below is sporting an Ab Belt.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Full Bars

Before I was banded, I was exploring a product called the Full Bar. I chose the band instead of pursuing yet another diet product or seeming quick-fix solution. Anyhow, I was reminded of the bars while watching an infomerical last night. The doctor/creator purports that he has done over 1500 WLS's and that the same concept used for WLS is that used for the Full Bar--namely, making your stomach feel full.

I went online to read some reviews. Some were good, and some were not so good. One was written by a bandster even!

I was just curious if anyone else out in Bandland has tried them since I never did?

Oh, and has anyone ever heard of (or was anyone banded by) the creator Dr. Michael A. Snyder?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sister Wives: The Weight of Four Wives

I (very shamefully) admit that I watch Sister Wives on TLC. I don't know if anyone else does? Anyhow, I have wondered something for a while now about the gals in that 'marriage': do they get jealous of one another as far as appearance goes?

I am really not much of the jealous type anymore. I used to be moreso in my younger days. But I would think that if my husband had three other wives that I might do a lot of comparing and that sort of thing.

The wives on this show range from very thin to average to overweight/obese. Now, I know that people can be totally blissful about their bodies in each of those groups, but I personally wasn't overjoyed about my size when I was obese. Adding other body issues to that mix (wrinkles, flaws, etc.) would seem to make a situation of multiple wives unbearable as far as continued comparison goes. If I were married to a guy who was also married to a twig ten years my junior (not that I ever could or would be in that situation!), it might strike the jealousy nerve (and perhaps even send me reeling down the path of Body Dysmorphic Disorder)....regularly. I wonder how these women cope with thoughts that they might not be the pretty one, the thin one, etc. in their marriage? Or have I just been raised in an environment that puts too much importance on these things? I, of course, realize that there are other redeeming qualities (intellect, wit, kindness, and so on), but to think that my husband, of all people, might be comparing my physical attributes to other wives is a little disturbing. Any thoughts?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wanted: All Longterm Bandsters

I have recently mentioned to others in private messages that I wish there were more bandsters posting who were five, ten, or more years out from surgery. I think it might give some of us hope in the face of statistics about removal and weight regain. They might also have great eating tips to share. They might have some great advice for longterm weight and band maintenance. If any of you have friends out there, please have them set up a blog...and send me a link!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Do I Have Restriction Now?

As I have posted, I have no fill whatsoever in my band now. None. Zilch. Nada. Every drop of fluid was completely removed over two months ago at the onset of my issues.

The reason for this particular post is that a couple of people who have messaged me privately have asked me if I have any restriction now since I have no fill. So, since it's been asked more than once, I thought others might want to know too????

To preface this, I was not one of those bandsters who had restriction before getting my first adjustment. In fact, I actually GAINED weight post surgery (two pounds, to be exact, from December '08 to about February of '09) before I received any fluid. I've not heard of any others gaining, but I guess there is always an outlier. Lucky me!

As you know, I did start losing after the first fill...albeit, slowly. I incorporated better eating habits and jogging (and all sorts of other exercise) into my daily life. I could feel restriction at that point, but I never was the type who didn't have to snack, was full for hours after eating, or could eat a pre-set amount of food in one sitting (in fact, I sometimes noticed that I could eat loads at a time--I posted about this probably around Summer or Fall of '09). While this was the case, I would still PB on occasion if I ate too fast or if something didn't agree with me (dry meat and vegetable skin are on the short list of things that don't work for me...I don't really like either, so it's not been an issue avoiding them).

When all of my recent issues started in the second half of January, before the unfill, I had the most horrendous pain ever when eating and even when I wasn't. Although I would still get hungry (same as usual), I was advised to try a liquid-only diet before everything was removed. As you know, that didn't work. Pain was my constant companion until the unfill (in early February). At that point, the pain began decreasing. It didn't instantly go the experiences of others have been...but it did decrease to the point I'm at now where my symptoms are essentially some heartburn and tingling in my limbs. I've been at this point for about a month--although I was recently sick (which brought back the sore throat symptoms) for over two weeks.

So to answer the question I have been asked, I have experienced something akin to restriction a COUPLE of times since all of this annoyance started. But it's not really restriction. It's been more of a heartburny-type sensation, which seems to be common with GERD when people eat too fast. I need to have some fill before I can really feel restriction. Since all this started, I am eating more than ever...and hungry all the time. :(

I hope that gives the information that you all were seeking.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing...and Food Issues

So I saw one of the TLC extreme couponing shows last night (and a part of another one too). While the whole concept of couponing is actually pretty interesting to me, a thought struck me: as a person who has proclivities toward eating a lot, is stockpiling food like the couponers do a good thing...even if it's free food?

In one case, I know the answer is a definite, "NO!" One lady was able to secure 150 free Butterfingers and other chocolate candy. What a great deal...except for its impact on your health!

But there were also some other types of snack foods the couponers bought that might not be so blatantly bad as the Butterfinger train wreck (Nutrigrain bars, granola bars, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.....I could keep these etc.'s going, but I'll stop there). These folks had some MASSIVE STOCKPILED quantities of each of their snacks. They pretty much have mini-grocery stores in their homes. For instance, one husband's man cave was being heavily invaded (despite his understandable disgruntlement with the situation) as the third stockpile center (with two other large centers) in the home. Another lady had stockpiles in her bedroom closet, under her baby's bed, and in every other possible nook and cranny. Just FYI, garages seem to be the usual desired locales for the initial stockpiles...before they take over the rest of the home.

But back to the subject, everything I know about snacking points to the notion of keeping bad snacks out of the house as the best tact. It seems to be a good first line of defense when combatting cravings. Only some of the time will you actually propel yourself out of your layabout state to go out and get a snack. This typically relegates you to eating what's lying around the abode (unless your significant other is really needing to secure some literal brownie-getting points :) ).

My personal concern, since my own eating 'Off' switch has oft seemed broken over the years, is what happens when you have mounds of food...even relatively healthy food...lying around? Could having a stockpile with some fairly healthy options help? Could it make things better because your famine mentality (or squirrel mentality as my sister and I call it) is not in as high a gear? In other words, are you not irrationally worried about starving to death if you have your own Publix extending from the back porch to the spare bathroom? Or do you more easily ignore your satiation senses since you have a bigger supply (does the bigger plate equalling more in the mouth also translate to the greater stockpile of food causing the same result)? Do you perhaps even treat your body like the garbage can and eat more so as to not waste food that will soon expire (expiration of items was an issue the couponers discussed)?

What do you think about stockpiling and food issues?

Has anyone else caught the series? The pictures below are of the Butterfinger broad herself and another couponer who went dumpster diving for coupons with her son and pregnant friend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Do You Say, "No"?

I have been working on my paper at the university campus in order to focus. But I always eat lunch before going there...or pick something up to eat while working on my paper. If I don't eat at home, I usually go to Subway. It's on the way. Good place to go, right? No. It's not so healthy for me because I LOVE their cookies and just can't resist. Today I was in the Subway drive-in lane repeating to myself over and over that I would not get cookies this time...and two seconds later, you guessed it, I was ordering two chocolate chip cookies. You can substitute them as a side, and I just can't seem to stop myself from doing that (it also doesn't help that I'm not wild about apples as a side...they are not among my favorite fruits). Any tips or tricks to avoid the evil cookies of Subway...or other temptations, for that matter?

Monday, April 4, 2011

More Moaning and Complaining

Well, after more than two weeks, I *think* I'm finally over my cold or whatever illness was wracking my body.....but, lucky me, I started my period, complete with killer cramps, today. And I have had pretty bad heartburn from the esophagitis for the last few hours too. Ugh! Can't a gal catch a break?

(I said *think* up there because I know a couple of folks who've had similar illnesses recently who had something like an 'eye of the storm' before their illness took hold again. I'm trying to be optimistic and assume it's passed completely.)

Anyhow, I guess it could always be worse, but I certainly don't want to test it.

I hope everyone's Monday went well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Current Symptoms

I haven't written about the GERD or esophagitis in a bit but wanted to get some input about others' symptoms. I was wondering if anyone else has had tingling sensations or numbness of limbs associated with their GERD or esophagitis?

I noticed these symptoms about a week after my first GERD episode and was pretty scared because it seemed strange that they would be related to the GERD. I also never saw these symptoms listed in the usual line-up of GERD symptoms. I thought that the tingling and numbness HAD to be something else (a bigger problem) until I came across a discussion board online revealing many others' experiences with GERD, these symptoms, the individuals' reports of how they have ruled out everything but GERD, and their discussions of doctors' attributions of their symtpoms to the GERD. I will post a link to the discussion board below in case you ever need to review it (hopefully not).

While I did find much comfort in reading these posts from others, I have not yet seen any bandster posts discussing these symptoms (have I missed them?). Still, even if no one else in our bandster universe has experienced this, I wanted to put this information out there in case someone else has similar symptoms in the future...I hope that it will help alleviate some fears of others' at the onset (it's nerve-wracking enough to know that you have GERD/esophagitis without adding extra stress to the mix).

Also, just so you are aware (in case you experience these along with other GERD symptoms), another issue that some folks with GERD suffer is panic attacks. Fortunately, I've not had any panic attacks at this point. But my tingling and numbness along with some mild heartburn are still persisting. (Just FYI as far as a full status report on me--the tingling and numbness are the biggest issues I have right now, and I have them even when I take medication; Band Groupie had mentioned that some people have break-through medication issues, and I guess I'm one of the lucky ones (sarcasm there)...but I'm still optimistic that my issues might end soon).

Anyhow, I hope this helps someone else now or in the future. But, let me do a little disclaimer here that I had a brain MRI done recently for some migraine came back clean, so that also helped rule out neurological issues that might be related to tingling and numbness for me. I would recommend that, should you develop any of these symptoms (or any others that concern you), you still see your doctor and get tested for everything you (and your doctor, of course) might normally try...but just know all the while that there is a good little group of folks that find the tingling and numbness related to the GERD. That will, hopefully, put your mind at ease during the testing rigamarole.

If you have any experience with tingling or numbness associated with GERD/esophagitis, please let me know. Like I said, I may have missed some posts from somewhere out in Bandster Land. I'd be interested in reading any you recommend.

***The site I mentioned is

Further Tales of the Trail Mix

Okay, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to hear my latest daily update on the the trail mix progression :)...and since there is a new development on that front, I wanted to make sure I didn't keep you in suspense any longer. Beautiful, sweet, and very wise Linda commented that I should supplement my trail mix with Cheerios. I actually had chocolate Cheerios on hand. So I am eating the mix right now (altogether, that's walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cherries, and Cherrios). YUM!!! The Cheerios are 100 calories for 3/4 cup without milk (the calories for the rest of the mix are in my last post). And since there are less walnuts (and everything else), it isn't so calorie dense. Plus I get my chocolate fix met. :) I still need to measure everything precisely, I know, but I just wanted to share this breaking news (I don't think it could get more updated since I've been eating it for the first time as I'm writing this :) ).

Anyhow, I hope everyone is having a great weeekend!!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Trail Mix in Calories

So I did the math on my trail mix:

1 ounce of walnuts = 185 calories
1/4 cup (or 1.4 ounces) of dried cherries = 134 calories
30 pieces of semi-sweet chocolate chips = 70 calories

In total, that is 389 calories for a serving (not sure exactly how close I am to a serving though--I know, I know...I should be measuring that sort of thing). If I am close, that is a LOT of calories for a snack. But as others have mentioned, it is pretty filling and does help with fiber intake, thus really helping the ole system work more efficiently (due to the walnuts and cherries). The verdict is still out for whether I will continue with the same snack. I might try subbing some less caloric nuts and/or fruit. If I do decide to stick with the cherry taste, I will move to raisins, primarily because they are cheaper--as far as weight-loss benefits, they only save me 4 calories (1/4 cup of raisins = 130 calories).

On another note, I am a sucker for this whole royal wedding media blitz. I love the pomp and circumstance that goes with a royal wedding. Has anyone else been following the goings on online or on TV? Will anyone else watch it? I think I will record it so that I won't have to wake up super early, but I am excited to see the event...and her dress! Any guesses on what style she'll wear?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Calling All April Fools' Ideas

April Fool's is fast approaching. Does anyone have any good April Fools' ideas?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Recent Snack

Although I'm not sure of the overall healthfulness of it, another thing that I have been consuming lately (because it is fairly esophagitis friendly) is a mixture of walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and dried cherries. I read about combining dried fruit (bananas and mangos were mentioned) with the chocolate chips on a blog as a go-to snack, but I embellished on that. I don't know that I'd ever had dried cherries before now, but I think you could easily substitute them with raisins (the cherries taste very similar except have a more powerful kick). Before I buy the components needed to restock my supply of this take on trail mix, I will look up all of the health info about eating this combination as a snack. I'm skeptical since I added the nuts and since I know that chocolate-covered raisins, one of my faves ever, are packed with calories. I REALLY like walnuts, and while I know protein is surely there, I also know that some nuts are not so good for people trying to work on their weight. What do you know about walnuts? Or the other ingredients?

While I don't know if this trail mix is calorie friendly, I do seem to go to the bathroom more frequently (I know--TMI!). I'm not really sure why. I haven't researched that yet, but maybe someone out there can offer up some it the walnuts, the dried cherries, me off my rocker about any association between the too?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Banana Popsicles

Any Facebook friends carefully following my 'Likes' (I'm so sure that MUST be everyone! :) ) will note that I recently added banana popsicles to the list.

If there is anything good about this esophagitis adventure, it has been my exposure to the wonderful world of banana popsicles. Now, it's not that I've never eaten a banana popsicle. It's just that I've been pretty much forced into limited food type selections over the last couple of months and had to experience alternative variations in certain go-to items.

The cool thing about banana popsicles, aside from their yummy taste (and their being on the 'safe list' for me to eat right now), is the fact that they only have 45 calories (at least the ones I eat). I often crave something sweet after a meal and don't feel so guilty indulging in a banana popsicle.

Does anyone have a favorite low-cal sweet snack to share? I'd love to hear about it!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tipping Servers Post WLS

I read a piece today that articulated something that has careened through my bean at several points since banding. That topic is tipping post WLS. As a former server, I know the sinking feeling of a tip slipping away when restaurant patrons indicate that they want to share a meal, order only a cup of soup or side salad, have waters all around, or otherwise spend less on dining than the norm. Because of the restaurant rotations, it was very disheartening when a large party would get seated in my section with only one or two people ordering regular meals. Usually (at least in my time as a server), the service requirement is the same for someone ordering a large plate and someone ordering something less expensive...taking orders and answering questions, entering in orders, bringing out the drinks and courses, coming back to check on at least one person at the table (typically more than once), refilling drinks, bringing the bill, cashing out the patrons, etc., etc. As a result of the similar (if not identical) task involvement, tipping the same as one would pre-banding was advocated by the piece I read today.

As for myself, I usually still get a full meal...and box the leftovers (I've always been a leftover eater) if any. Of course, unlike some of the bandster posts I've read, my meals have never been capped (by my restriction) in ounces or cups--or half cups--of food. I really don't understand my restriction (when I have it--of course, I'm on empty right now as you all know) and have never been able to completely relate with anyone posting about how they could only eat a half cup or cup, aren't able to snack (which would be lovely!), or that sort of thing.

But if I were to find satisfaction in a small appetizer or a cup of soup, I believe that I would follow suit in tipping above the recommended 15-20%, all other things being equal. What do you think about tipping post WLS?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weight Loss Shows

Have we all been suckered into some weight-loss show, or is it just me? Around the time I had my WLS in '08, I was watching about three shows at all the specials that I hadn't yet seen. Things have calmed down in that department, but I'm still occasionally drawn to some of the shows. There's The Biggest Loser, MTV's I Used To Be Fat, Ruby, Big Medicine, Kirstie Alley's Fat Actress, and tons of specials on TLC, Discovery, and other channels. There are also plenty of shows that I've not included here. On top of that, there are LOADS and LOADS of weight loss products on the market with tons of infomercials (as I embarrassingly admitted early on here, I bought an ab belt based on one of these advertisements).

Do you watch any of these? What types of programs are you most drawn to in the world of weight loss?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

PostSecret Weight-Related Posts

These are the latest PostSecret weight-related secrets. I can't (fortunately) relate to the first one....although I know others who can (unfotunately). But I can relate with the second one (well, not about the choice of food...I can pretty much consume ANYTHING at the moment and ALWAYS seem to berate myself for it).

Do these secrets resonate with anyone else? You don't have to answer, of course, if it's not something you are comfortable sharing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Life as a Druggie

Morning, noon, and night, I am taking some form of drug. I caught a cold--or some type of not-so-pleasant ailment--last week. At first, because it started with a terribly horrible sore throat, I thought it was connected with the esophagitis because one of the symptoms is a sore throat, which I have already experienced (albeit a much milder version than now). I also thought it might be esophagitis since the other esophagitis issues are still not gone (heartburn and all that fun stuff). I was envisioning a fun hospital visit and an emergency band-removal surgery in my near future. But I was thankful (uncanny as it is to be thankful) when other issues started developing and when I found that others I had hung out with recently had similar cold symptoms too (hence, exposure).

Anyhow, I'm taking my regimen of four acid neutralizers and one antacid plus cough syrup (prescription strength and OTC), nasal spray, headache meds, cough drops, and throat spray. Before I started getting the additional cold symptoms (runny nose, mucusy, etc.), I went online to find esophagitis home remedies (I was desperate) and was sucking back honey (went through a whole bottle) and apple cider vinegar (which is disgusting!) like it was going out of style. There isn't any remaining honey, and I can't stomach (literally) the ACV, so those forays into the alternative medicine arena are now over. Still, I am on enough drugs and have enough issues to keep me well occupied with administering them (despite being loathe to take drugs after the 'January Incident' with the acne meds), blowing my nose, or coughing about 95% of the time. By some miracle, I was able to manage a post. :)

At any rate, I hope everyone else is doing well and keeping away from the disease spreaders of the world! :) Have a great weekend (it is GORGEOUS outside here)!