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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do You Suffer from POPC?

I didn't before but I do now.

After questioning a fitness trainer about how much water one should consume on a daily basis, he replied with "you know you are drinking enough when you suffer from POPC". I threw him a "whatchu talkin' 'bout Willis" look and he said, "If you pee often and pee clear, you know you are well hydrated". Good to know...but that does not answer my question.

I think we all grew up with an understanding that you should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (8, 8oz. glasses). Those words "at least" are not very telling are they? I am not a big fan of plain water and until I had my surgery, I did not drink a whole lot of it.

According to Lance Armstrong’s, drinking water helps increase your metabolism. When you drink much more water, you increase your blood flow. When your blood flow increases, the quantity of oxygen delivered to your muscles, cells and organs increases. The more oxygen delivered to your muscles, cells and organs, the far more energy your entire body has to metabolize consumed vitamins.

So, how much water should you drink each day? It is a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water intake depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and the climate you live in.

Although no one formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. Check out this calculator to help you determine how much you should be consuming. You may be shocked with the answer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just 'cause you got the monkey... your back doesn't mean the circus has left town. George Carlin

I read this quote on another blogger's site and thought to myself "this is so true". When you own up to and admit aloud "Houston, we have a problem", you have to deal with everything that comes along with that confession.

For anyone considering weight loss surgery, you have to understand the big picture. I am only four months into my own journey and I have learned a great deal but I have a long way to go before I feel I have mastered the art of healthy living (if there is such a thing). I talk a lot about "I choose to do this" and "I chose to do that" but I am not going to sit here and pretend that it is "that" easy. Some days are easier but some days I have to wrestle with old habits to keep them pinned to the ground and I imagine this will be a match that will last my entire life. Addiction is addiction and nothing will ever change that. All I can do is choose to continue making the best choices I can for my future based on the reality of what my past decisions have done to me.

Which brings me to my point today - Mr. Whoever who brought in the fresh baked donuts this morning...I say this to you (as I stick my tongue out) "pfffffffffffft".

I may have gotten the monkey off my back (addiction) but the circus (temptation) is still in town. So, if I have to blow razzberries in order to walk past temptation I will. I just hope that I do not do this in public too often. An unknowing person watching a woman going around sticking her tongue out and blowing razzberries at food might leave the impression that I was recently released from a mental hospital.

Onward and upward...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Frapp or Not to Frapp?

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been learning balance over the past month or so. I have been doing a great deal of research on new recipes that I can incorporate into my diet. I prefer high protein, low carb, and low fat recipes so occasionally I have to modify the ingredients. A little sacrifice in calories and fat does not mean we have to sacrifice flavor or texture. Not gonna lie - there are times when my experiments don't work so well.

I chose to give up nearly all of my old eating habits and with the exception of the required Tim Horton's while traveling in Canada and the few Starbucks drinks I have had in the past two months, I been avoiding coffee since February. Prior to surgery, I had to have my coffee made in a particular way and I had to have it with Heavy Cream and sugar. Knowing these habits would not make for a successful diet, I chose to give it all up. Considering I grew up in the Seattle area, where there is a Starbucks on every corner, this was very hard.

Lately, since I have been playing with balance, I realized it was time to try and incorporate a little coffee back into my life. I came across a recipe (that I have modified a bit) that mocks a Starbucks Frappuccino but is high in protein, and low in carbs and fat.

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 scoop GNC Gold Standard Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Starbucks Sugar-Free Caramel Syrup
  • 1 packet Starbucks Via Ready Brew (I used Columbia blend)
Put all ingredients into blender and blend for 1 minute until thick and frothy. Based on the ingredients listed above, this makes 1 serving and contains:

  • 195 calories
  • 29 grams protein
  • 10 grams net carbs (regular carbs minus fiber equals net carbs)
  • 3.5 grams fat
  • 8 grams sugar
I was not hungry for breakfast this morning so I made this instead. I was able to get in my protein requirements while keeping the calories, fat, and carbs low. If I went to Starbucks to have a Caramel Frappuccino there, I would have consumed 290 calories, only 3 grams protein, 45 carbs, 11 grams fat, and 44 grams sugar (and that is for a Tall - most people get a Grande or a Venti). I choose to take in less than 30 grams of carbs per day because carbs are NOT my friend. They are evil and only make me want more carbs so I keep them low.

In the words of Julia Child - Bon App├ętit!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Whole New World

I spent most of Father's Day weekend at Disneyland with the Hubs and I have to say that since I have had surgery, Disneyland is a whole new world to me.

Before surgery, going to the "Happiest Place on Earth" for me was all about the food. Sure, catching a ride on Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean was always a priority for me but after that, it was all about what kind of delicious goodness I could find.

For me, this past weekend was all about the rides and attractions. I went on the swings for the first time (would have tossed my cookies if we swung around one more time) and was able to experience rides without discomfort. I even enjoyed all the walking we did. Before surgery, I would have been slow poking behind and complaining about my knees but for the first time, I enjoyed walking from one side of the park to the other.

With the exception of water, I wasn't focused on food. I didn't cave into the temptations of Disney's luring scents of buttery popcorn, that heavenly fragrance of fresh churros, the call of the ice cream parlor, or the smell of the corn dog stand that I love so much and I my legs didn't buckle when I walked past the funnel cakes in Frontierland. However, I did indulge in a gingerbread cookie on the way out of the park BUT that was after we had spent the entire day walking and it was a little reward for our two-hour drive home.

It was almost as if I experienced Disneyland for the first time all over again. These little “discoveries” are what remind me of how far I have come in my journey and what I have to look forward to in the future.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Witness Relocation Program

Somewhere between 2004 and 2006, my hipbones went into hiding. I searched high and low (even put out an A.P.B.) but they were nowhere to be found. They just disappeared. I figured, since they had been witness to so many unhealthy eating crimes during that time, they must have joined the witness relocation program and I would never see them again.

Well...last night, as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I discovered that my hipbones came out of hiding and whispered hello. I no longer have to pretend where my hips are because I can feel their shape when I place my hands upon them.

I am still waiting for my butt to make its grand reappearance but I think my thighs are still holding it hostage. It will not be long until they are forced to set it free so for the time being I will enjoy building a new relationship with the rest of my body.

On a side note - I saw my surgeon today for my three-month follow-up appointment and he said that he could not ask for a better patient. I have lost 26 pounds of body fat since my last appointment and I continue to gain muscle. While I still suffer from anemia (and probably always will), the rest of my labs look great. The doctor said to keep doing what I am doing because it is working beautifully. I am on track to reach my first goal at the end of September and I cannot wait to celebrate.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Answers to Your Questions

I received many questions via email and I am pleased to provide you with my responses. After reading them and you still have more questions, please send me an email and I will elaborate further.

How do you physically feel since you have had surgery?
I feel AWESOME. I have more energy, my knee does not hurt, my feet do not hurt (unless I wear the wrong shoes), and my scars from surgery healed very well.

How much weight do you want to lose all together?
I would like to lose at least 130 pounds. I am nearly half way there. When I hit that goal, I will review my overall health and see if I need to adjust that number. For now, I want to be realistic.

How is this surgery different from Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass and having gone through this particular one would you select it again if you had to do it all over?
The Lap-Band is a plastic and adjustable silicone ring that is placed around the upper portion of the stomach creating a small pouch just above the ring. Its purpose is to restrict the amount of food you can take in at one time. The ring is connected to a tube with a port on the end that is attached to the muscle wall of the abdomen. The port allows the doctor access to fill the silicone ring to tighten (or loosen) the band. Side effects of the band can include:

  • Band slippage
  • Band erosion
  • Food getting stuck either in the new pouch or where the band sits
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Feeling of tightness in chest
  • The stomach can actually grow over top of the band and cause it to embed itself into the stomach itself.
Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y) is when the stomach is stapled across the top, sealing it off from the rest of the stomach. The resulting pouch is about the size of a walnut and can hold about an ounce of food. The pouch is physically separated from the rest of the stomach. Then, the surgeon cuts the small intestine and sews part of it directly onto the pouch. This redirects food, bypassing most of the stomach and the first section of the small intestine. Food enters directly into the second section of the small intestine limiting the ability to absorb calories. Even though food never enters the lower part of the stomach, the stomach stays healthy and continues to release digestive juices to mix with food in the small intestine. Side effects of gastric bypass can include:

  • Gallstones or gall bladder infections
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia caused by iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies
  • Early osteoporosis cause by calcium deficiency
  • Dumping syndrome
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy generates weight loss by restricting the amount of food (and therefore calories) that can be eaten by removing 85% or more of the stomach without bypassing the intestines or causing any gastrointestinal malabsorption. It is a purely restrictive operation. The stomach is restricted by stapling, dividing it vertically, and removing more than 85% of it. This part of the procedure is not reversible. Side effects of this procedure can include:

  • Leakage from staple lining
  • Vitamin deficiency if you don't eat a balanced diet (taking a multi-vitamin every day can prevent this)
  • Acid reflux
Would I make the same choice if I had to do this all over again? Absolutely. Of the three choices, I think I made the best choice and I have not had any of the side effects listed.

How does your family feel about you doing this?
No one has come out and said they were against it and so far they have supported my decision. They know how long I have struggled with my weight and how long I have wanted to have the surgery. Unfortunately, my side of the family lives in another state so they have not been able to see my progress in person.

I know people who have had gastric bypass can have "dumping syndrome" and people with Lap-Band can have constant heartburn. Are you having any side effects?
Per my response above, I have not suffered any side effects from this surgery. Quite a few "sleevers" have acid reflux but I have not.

What do you say to people who don't know you've had weight loss surgery and they have commented on how much smaller you look? Do you tell them you have had surgery?
I have been pretty open and honest about my surgery with most people. If they ask me how I have lost the weight, I tell them. I know there are people out there who have had weight loss surgery and are (or were) embarrassed to admit it because they feel like people will think less of them or that they took the lazy route. I have read many blogs from people who have felt this way and I feel sad for them. I have chosen to be very open about it.

How much did the surgery cost? Does insurance cover it?
My type of procedure costs nearly $14,000. Most insurance policies cover this procedure but it can take quite a long time to get it approved. I have met people who got it approved right away and some who had to go through several months of supervised weight loss attempts, psychological evaluations, and numerous tests before they got it approved. Some will get denied and will have to self-pay if they want it done. Each company/policy is different.

Do you have any restrictions on what you can do or eat?
So far, I have not had any restrictions. My nutritionist recommended I stay away from red meat for one year because it can take a while to digest. I do not eat much red meat anyway so this has not been a problem for me. I chew my food really well so it does not just sit in my stomach and I choose to eat meats that are softer (fish, chicken, or ground turkey). I can eat what I want but I choose to eat healthy. Each day, I take in 80-100 grams of protein, try to take in less than 30 grams of carbohydrates, less than 20 grams of fat, and I eat between 700-800 calories per day.

I read an article somewhere that said if you increase your water intake by 16 ounces above the recommended 64 (total of 80), you can increase your metabolism by 30%. Since I read that, I drink between 80-96 ounces a day (which makes for many trips to the restroom).

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I have been getting many questions about my weight loss surgery/journey over the past few months so I thought I would open the floodgate and let you ask me any questions you might have.

I will respond to all questions in one posting. Out of courtesy, I will keep the source of all questions private in case there is something you want to know but don't want others knowing that you want to know. I know this disclaimer applies to at least one of you...

You can ask through this blog in the comments section, through Facebook either under this posting or via message, or to remain completely private, you can send an email to

Don't be shy! Ask me anything.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

There's Always One...

I am in a little bit of a bitter mood right now and I feel the need to vent.

No matter how hard you try to avoid them, there is always one person in your "inner circle" who will try to bring you down. They may not know they are doing it (then again...they just might) but their words can wipe a smile off your face and replace it with an "I can't believe you just said that out loud" glare.

I have to say that going through the weight loss process can be just as exciting for your friends and family as it is to you but there are people in our lives who cannot seem to see past their own nose and be happy for you. For example, if I share my excitement for losing nearly 60 pounds in four months do not tell me that when I lose the next 50 I will be much happier. I know I have more weight to lose but I am enjoying my progress and I celebrate every pound lost.

Everyone has this one person in his or her circle but the people in our lives (either in or out of the circle) who think that weight loss surgery is the easy way out are the worst. They have no idea how much work is involved in having a successful outcome. Sure, I could sit back and let my sleeved stomach do all the work but I have chosen to discipline myself and follow a strict plan for lifelong success (thus the reason for my previous post about finding balance).

Stop telling me when I will be happy because I am happy now.
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