A New Resource From UPMC


I am honored that I was asked to be a part of this awesome project by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You can search through and find recipes by me and other awesome bariatric bloggers. It includes foods for all stages of the bariatric food plan. Great resource for bariatric patients both recent post-op and old timers. Check it out!


A Ramble From Me


This is just a ramble of words I need to get off my chest, bear with me. I know my blog has been pretty quiet this year. My whole life got knocked off track in January and I have been struggling to get back to where I was and I don’t even mean physically. Right now my main goal is to get my head back on straight. I do so much better in the physical health department when I have my head clear. I’m sitting here trying to think of something to write about but my heart and head are just not into it. I don’t know what to say. Anything I have to say is depressing and that’s not the message that I want my blog to convey. I wanted to post something to let you know that I am still alive and kicking. I have finally gone back to working after taking a few months off for my health. I have started a new job with a new company, I am going to be working a much easier job for my fibromyalgia and less hours than I had previously at the suggestion of my rheumatologist. I had my first day last Friday and it was so much easier that what I was doing before and did not exhaust me. Mentally I am slowly getting better from where I was in September when my depression was so bad that it landed me in the hospital. I’m still struggling with depression but it slowly gets better with each passing week. My weight loss has been at a stand still, I’ve attempted to lose so weight this Fall but was unsuccessful. Tons of medications make this task hard too. Also I am reading that fibromyalgia screws with your hormones and can slow your metabolism way down and people with fibromyalgia sometimes have a harder time losing weight. Come January I will try again. But in the end if I love myself and keep from gaining anymore that I already have this year then I will be content. The journey has been a wild one for sure, I just can’t seem to ever catch a break. Last Fall I was on top of the world, losing weight, happy, able to do my job and then boom one day it’s all gone and you are happy to even still be alive. You spend months trying to get your kidneys better and you do but the trauma of everything leaves you will a incurable chronic pain condition that has effected your life more then the acute kidney failure, because the fibromyalgia will never go away and there’s only treatments that sort of help. It changes you and not for the better. Now you can see why it so hard for me to think of positive things to write. This ended up being depressing but I’m sharing because I know that there are people out there that can relate and I want them to know they’re not alone. Just hang tight with me, I will try my hardest to get this blog back on track and sharing information and happy stories. Thank you to those of you who have followed me through all the ups and downs that last three and a half years. I promise an up soon.

Survey Alert!


Survey Alert!

Erin is working on her doctorate at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and needs our input. Her dissertation research is about the relationship between stress and eating behaviors among bariatric patients. She is seeking participants to complete her survey, so let’s help her out!




Most of you know I came close to almost dying at the beginning of the year due to acute kidney failure and severe anemia due to an allergic reaction to a medication. If I had waited much longer to do to the hospital I might not have made it they told. I spent 5 months on steroids to get my kidneys back to normal. Over this time period I stopped losing weight and gained about 25-30 lbs back, I go back and forth between the two…Prednisone is an jerk!. Anyway I’m starting a goal to lose that 25 lbs if not a little more by January 14, which is exactly a year from the nightmare that almost did me in and interestingly 2 years since my bypass surgery. So I’ll be sharing about my progress on Facebook and here…if anyone wants to do the challenge with me that would be awesome!


Mental Illness Awareness Week


This week is mental illness awareness week, running from October 5-October 11. Mental health will always be important to me. Depression been a struggle in my life for about 14 years now and I had anxiety attacks since I was a child. In my mid-20s I was misdiagnosed and received the wrong treatment, that had a huge effect on my life. Getting the proper help and the right medication saved my life. Mental health counseling has also saved my life. I’ve had the same psychologist for 4+ years now and I couldn’t image myself where I am now without her. But there are plenty of people out there lacking the treatment they so desperately need. There is a huge stigma attached to mental health. We need to break that barrier down. The stigma can keep those who need help away from getting that help.



Today is specifically National Depression Screening day, please take some time to complete an online and anonymous self-assessment or pass it on to others. It’s time to help yourself and help others. http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/

Take time to properly educate yourself and others on mental health/illness. Sometimes the life you save might be your own.

It’s Never Okay To Give Up


Lately I’ve been feeling like giving up, on everything. I know it’s the depression talking but I also know that it’s never okay to give up. What is okay to me if taking a break to regroup and figure out what you want to do with your life. It’s also okay to take time to get better mentally which includes remembering to take them every morning even if you don’t want to because it’s made you gain 10 lbs in a month. This year for my weight loss journey has been terrible. I have to remember these medicines have saved my life. Without the steroid medicine my kidney would have never recovered and I could have been on dialysis for the rest of my days. To me that’s worth spending 5 months on Prednisone and gaining about 15 lbs. Now I’m on two antidepressants, one of which has caused me to gain 10 lbs in the past month, but it keeps from seriously harming myself, also worth the weight gain to me. I have made no other big changes in my life except the meds and activity wise I don’t do hardcore workouts any more because of my fibromyalgia, walking is my exercise now. So bariatric weight wise I am sure I am a failure to others and that’s fine. I do believe that if this allergic reaction hadn’t happened in January I would be at my surgeon’s goal. I was only about 40 lbs away now I’m 65 lbs away. Like always it’s not about the numbers to me. If you choose to only look at that aspect when reading a bariatric blog then this blog is not for you. My roller coaster of a year has made me realize how precious life is, some numbers on a box aren’t going to take wind out of my sails, because it’s not okay to give up but it is okay for me to try to regroup and get back on that magical path I was on last year. In my four years in the WLS community I have learn that the journey is about so much more than numbers. It’s about friends made, dreams achieved, and finding yourself. I’m remembering this as I continue on in my journey, you should too.


Guest Post: BariBatch.com


Today’s guest post is from Tracey Thompson of BariBatch.com, an up and coming subscription box service for bariatric patients, how cool does that sound! Please consider helping them with their launch by supporting their Kickstarter project. Make sure to follow them through their social media outlets to stay updated!

Tracey of BariBatch.com

Tracey of BariBatch.com

We love subscription boxes at our house. Our experience with them started last year when I purchased a three month subscription to Loot Crate for my husband. Each month we eagerly anticipate the day our box of geeky goodies arrives.

It occurred to me that a subscription box service for people who have undergone bariatric surgery would be a great idea. In March of this year my life was forever changed when I had gastric bypass surgery. In the early stages of my weight loss journey, I would spend crazy amounts of time in the protein bar aisle reading labels and debating about which to try. A subscription box filled with a variety of protein bars, powders, animal proteins, sugar free drink mixes and other items to help with bariatric nutrition and weight loss would have been a welcome tool in my new lifestyle.

The first thing we did was come up with a name. BariBatch seemed like a perfect choice. I started contacting companies, and the result was overwhelmingly positive. In just a few days, I already had enough interested companies to fill the first box. Now to get subscribers.

My husband and I decided to put up a Kickstarter project so we could get an idea of how much product and supplies to order for our first box. Although the Kickstarter hasn’t seen the activity we had hoped, we’re starting to get some great feedback from our website and Twitter account. We hope to launch our first box in a couple of months, and I think that subscribers will be thrilled with this service.

Our plans are also to feature the products from our boxes in our online store each month. That way subscribers can get their favorite products from their monthly box in larger amounts to assist them with their goals.

Having high protein, low fat, low sugar products in my home has made a huge difference in the results I’ve seen since my gastric bypass surgery in March. I would likely have lost weight anyway because of the restriction the surgery provided, but concentrating on my nutrition needs has enabled me to feel great during this process as well.

I hope that word continues to spread about BariBatch so we can assist as many people as possible in achieving a new, healthy life.


Guest Post: The Best Thing you can do to Stay Motivated in your Workouts (Nope, It’s not about Weight Loss!)


Today’s guest post is brought to you by Cat Smiley, a professional health and fitness writer based out of Whistler, Canada. She’s been nationally syndicated in over 300 newspapers for over 5 years, and is an award-winning personal trainer and nutritionist. She has been named Canada’s top trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. She is the owner of Canada’s leading fitness vacations for women, located in beautiful scenic nature of Whistler, B.C. You also follow her on Facebook.


The Best Thing you can do to Stay Motivated in your Workouts (Nope, It’s not about Weight Loss!)


Icy wind howled through the trees as I sheltered from the storm in my car. I had been contemplating a jog around the lake when my interest faded about as fast as the rain falling on my windscreen. Excuses started to mount; bad sleep last night, still sore from yesterdays workout…..and was that a cold coming on? So I flagged it, and you know what? I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. An extra day off this week might even be good for me.

And as I confirmed my decision, a beginner exerciser trudged through the trees. “Honestly, if I stick to this #!** program for three weeks it will be a damn miracle!!!” Despite being soaked to the bone, she was enthusiastic to chat about how she was trying really hard to lose some weight in time for her daughter’s wedding, but hating every minute of it. I ushered a few encouraging words, but at the back of my mind I knew she would likely fall off the program in a couple of weeks if she didn’t tweak her motivational factors.

For starters, workouts are not meant to be a chore. Nor are they meant as a ‘quick fix’ to erase years of inactivity. Exercise is a way of healthy life, and even if you’ve heard it all before, you may not fully believe the wealth of this statement until you have been exercising for at least six months.

Some fitness buffs have no desire to run up Grouse Mountain, will never turn heads in a swimsuit and are yet to find a sport they can stick to. But they feel great in the morning and can tackle anything their day may bring, with energy in reserve to chop firewood or walk into town. They can take an extra workout off sometimes, because chances are they will accumulate at least thirty minutes of activity in their day anyway – raking leaves, cleaning the house, biking to the store.

Efficient training cycles allow for changing lifestyles and seasons, adding variety to your workouts so you will never feel like letting it go completely. Because once you’re out of shape, it can be extremely difficult on the self-esteem and moral to face the whole process of the ‘jogging four minutes, walking four minutes’ style of training. It’s easier to be blissfully unaware of the other side!

Functional fitness includes balance, postural alignment, free gait, flexibility, core strength, strength through varied movements, balanced nutritional intake, strong aerobic/anaerobic capacities and emotional stability. In translation: you need a training program that works your entire body through complete range of motion, working strong cross-training techniques in an environment that is ever changing. This could include consistent explosive leg power, hamstring stabilization, swimming, yoga, trail jogging, weight training, sprinting on the treadmill. Regular healthy meals and a happy personal life will complete the picture of overall fitness, without feeling too time-consumed with the whole fitness thing


An Update From Me


It’s been a long time since I posted an update. The last few months I spent in a depressive state. Last week I finally had my nervous breakdown, I got help and got on two medications to help. I also have started an intensive therapy problem, I did it back in 2011 and it really helped. I knew it was the right thing to do. I also quit my job, I was miserable there. It’s time for something better. Quitting my job also opened up time for me to attend this intensive therapy for the next few weeks. Weight wise I am maintaining and frankly I’m okay with that. It’s been a hell of year…all year. Right now I’m working on getting my head back on straight. And it’s also not the end of my world if I don’t lose anymore. 130lbs+ is a good achievement especially considering all the crap I have got through in the last 4 years.Click here to read my back story. Really there’s not much more to update right now so there you have it for now. Here’s some current pictures. Love to all of you!

                       z2061                                                 z2060

Guest Post: Connie From BariatricHELP & Fitness


Today’s guest post is from Connie from the Facebook page BariatricHELP & Fitness. Today she shares her journey with us. 


My name is Connie, from BariatricHELP & Fitness.

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You can also visit my facebook group: “BariatricHELP Forum.” This group is for pre-op and post-op followers. This page is designed for those wanting/needing support, advice, tips, motivation and inspiration.  It is a “closed” group. “Closed” – means only the people in the group can see your posts.

Sometimes just knowing what others have done and knowing you are not alone is important and that is why I am sharing my experience with you.

I have been over weight since I can remember. As a baby my mom tells me that people would stop her in the store because they had to touch me.  I was a cute chuncky baby, haha.

my pic 1my pic 2my pic 3

Well, it was not cute anymore once I started kindergarten. I remember going to school and being made fun of because I was overweight. My Tata (grandfather) use to drive me to school, he knew I did not like going to school because of kids making fun of me. One day we drove up to the school and he seen the kids that were making fun of me. He got out of the car and stood straight up-my Tata was a huge/tall  man (over 6 feet tall), he did not even have to say anything (he just showed his presence) but I remember no one made fun of me anymore. Then, later I switched schools for other reasons.   When I switched schools the picking and bullying began once again. I had to ride the bus to school. My Nana (grandmother) had to walk me to the bus every. I would attempt to wait at the bus stop without her but I hated the feeling of getting made fun of. Although I was bigger in size, I felt belittled – I felt small and ashamed.

At a young age my doctor placed me on a diet. He had me complete food logs and I had to show him my logs and progress at each visit.  I remember starting off good by trying to eat better and walking, then I would slack off and by the time of by next visit to the doctor,  I had not do so well. I would take “water-pills” the night before my appointment just so that I could lose a few pounds and not be scolded by the doctor.

The following are screen shots of my food logs from back in 1987, I was born in 1977, therefore, I was 10 years old, struggling with my weight and already logging my foods.


My weight was something I thought about every single day of my life and still do. In junior high school I had lost weight and participated in volleyball and track/ I enjoyed running-I loved the feeling.  It was a yo-yo affect with my weight all through high school and college. I have always tried to diet and exercise but eventually would fall off the wagon and gain my weight back plus more.

In 1998, I married my best friend and after 2 children (and dieting in between) I finally said enough of this and began focusing on eating better and working out. Fortunately, my employer offers us a free full sized gym and classes onsite. I took full advantage and used the gym, each morning before work. My heaviest weight was 309 lbs. I got down to 242 lbs and it seemed like no matter what I did the scale would not budge.  Of course, I would get frustrate and eventually gained some of the weight back.

I admit, I would get frustrated and start to give up. I was at a point where I told myself, this is me, I have always been overweight –this is who I am and realized I may not get to the weight that I wished and wanted to be at.

After several discussions with my husband, he told me that he wanted to look into the gastric bypass for himself. He knew I was against it as I had my feelings about it. I had heard of all the risks and heard of stories in which others had put their weight back on. To support him, I went to classes with him. I wanted to get educated and learn about what changes were coming his way, I wanted to know how I could help him through his journey and learn about the foods that he was going to be able to eat.

After several classes, I realized I could do this, this is for me too. We went to classes together and we went through the process of getting educated and approved for this surgery. My husband decided at this time it was not for him, but he continued to cheer me on and he is my #1 supporter. On August 20, 2012, I had my surgery-the RNY gastric bypass. I told myself and continue to tell myself that, if I was going to have this procedure there was no way I was going to go backwards or back to my old ways. This was a time to change – not only the outside (physical appearance) but most importantly –the inner me (mentally and emotionally).

Luckily, I have been successful  on my new journey. This does not mean that it is not hard or difficult.  I have had to overcome a lot mentally and emotionally. I have learned a lot about myself. After approximately  5-6 months post-op I joined a challenge group on facebook in which I met people from all over-through this group we supported and motivated each other and my coach kept me on track with this group. I decided to change up my workout, I was doing Tae-bo, using the stability ball, squats, planks, walking, etc.  I ordered Insanity (a Beachbody workout) -I was nervous because its known to be “insane” but I told myself I can do it and I will do it. I immediately fell in love with it. I was excited each morning to get up and dig deep. I could feel my body toning. I lost lots of inches. While being a part of the challenge group my coach suggested being a coach as I love supporting and motivating people -I wanted to help others. After, taking some time to think about it, I jumped all in. I was so excited about what Beachbody had to offer not only me, but everyone who wants to get healthy.

After coaching for several months I decided to stop coaching as I was focusing on everyone else’s goal and not mine.  I absolutely love helping others but it was my time in my life to put focus on me.  I did not go through all this to lose focus on me and therefore I made my health a priority. The RNY gastric bypass was a “tool” in my journey to becoming healthy . The rest is up to me.

Now that I have shared information about me, I want to share information that I have come across during my journey with you.

I was very fortunate that my Bariatric Team at the Mayo Clinic of Arizona offered bariatric patients a jump start program. I was scheduled for a full day of appointments-all in 1 day. I met with my surgeon, the nutritionist, endocrinologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and bariatric nurse. I then began taking classes which was a  8 week program.  We discussed preparing for surgery, reading food labels, documenting food logs, identifying hunger signals, mindful eating, etc…  I followed up with my bariatric team throughout the process with follow up appointments. I was required to attend a support group and reading the book “mindful eating” by Jan Chozen Bays, M.D.

If you are going the process of preparing or learning about weight loss surgery here are my suggestions:

Do not rush the process, learn as much as possible. Sometimes what you learn or what you are told sounds like common sense or sound redundant but IT WILL HELP YOU, especially post-op.  Take all required classes that your Bariatric Team suggest/recommend.  Attend support groups. Talk to your bariatric team/doctors. Most  importantly, ask questions!

I hope you join me on my journey and/or follow me by liking my Facebook  page/group!