Mental Illness Awareness Week

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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.

 

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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.

An Update From Me

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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!

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Guest Post: Connie From BariatricHELP & Fitness

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Guest Post: It’s All About Balance

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Our next post is from Kim from Weight Loss Journey-Taking The Surgery Route . She’s 58 and had RNY on June 17, 2014 and has lost 44 lbs to date.  She lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, is a teacher and has 4 beautiful grandchildren.


It’s All About Balance 

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School started this week for the kids, so my job started to settle somewhat. The part I’m having the most trouble with is time management….when my time does not seem to be my own.  Friday we had a meeting that lasted longer than it should, then had to rush to help a teacher with orienting kindergartners to the computer lab, I was missing an Educational Services quarterly birthday luncheon to do this, but my eating choices would have been extremely limited so I had already planned on stopping at Chik-fil-a on my way back. The kids meal with grilled nuggets, then a diet lemon aide for later is a great fast food for me….well as luck has it, the drive through line was around the building and I just didn’t have time for all that…I had another meeting/training starting at 2.  So I was ill prepared, I should always have a P3 or a protein bar on hand in case I don’t get to eat.  I found a package of peanuts, so I survived. (But just barely ;-))

Exercise is going pretty good, I’ve been going after dinner on Monday and Wednesday…get a good workout plus my 10,000 steps…then Friday rolls around and I’m whooped.  So today I’m going to try to go later this afternoon ….depending how the day goes…today is Bill’s birthday and we are going to some some of warbird/car show….I have no idea what that is….and how long it will last.  Water and vitamins are OK….not where they are suppose to be; but better than I was before surgery so I’m counting that as good.  I would like to find time for more support, there are plenty of support groups locally, but if I go to a support group I miss my gym time (plus I pay $37 per session for a personal trainer).  Finding balance between family time and what I need to do for me is a struggle, as women I think we tend to put everyone else first…I’m working on this, and doing better…I just feel guilty sometimes.
I’m finding on line support somewhat lacking.  One FB group of local people is pretty good, the other that spinned off Bariatric Pal…I’m having some issues….there are some people who post nothing but personal drama…talk about eating pizza, then complain when they don’t lose, post weight loss on My Fitness Pal…then get on FB and say they are in a stall…haven’t lost a lbs in a month…..so I’m checking in there less and less…don’t need all that drama!  There are tons of face to face support group meetings in the area…I would love to go to more, but feel I’m taking time away from my husband.  I don’t want this surgery to take away from our relationship…like I said before: trying the find the balance.
I’m continuing to lose at a rate of about .5 lb per day, it seems like a continual process of trying on clothes that are going into the too big pile…and finding items that used to be too small and now fits….there has been a whole lot of shopping in my closet. I was noticing this morning I now have a waist, and my last roll is almost gone.
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Guest Post: Satisfied versus Full – How do you know?

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My first guest post is from the lovely dietitians at Nutrition For Weight Loss Surgery. Sally Johnston and Justine Hawke are Accredited Practising Dietitians and Accredited Nutritionists with a combined experience in weight management of over 20 years. Sally & Justine have worked with hundreds of people undergoing weight loss surgery and have not only the theory to share with you, but the valuable, practical tips they have learned from their clients. You can read more about Nutrition for Weight Loss Surgery at www.nutritionforweightlosssurgery.com. Sally’s book, Your Complete Guide to Nutrition for Weight Loss Surgery is a must have for anyone considering, undergoing or who has had weight loss surgery. Available as both hard copy and ebook, more details are available here: www.nutritionforweightlosssurgery.com/Online-Shop For all the latest recipes, hints, tips, tricks & product review, sign up for Sally & Justine’s free ebook and monthly newsletter here atwww.nutritionforweightlosssurgery.com. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NutritionForWLS

Satisfied versus Full – How do you know?

Many of our weight loss surgery clients talk to us about ‘feeling full’. It is common for many clients who we meet prior to having surgery to speak about ‘feeling full on a smaller amount of food’ being one motivation to have surgery. Following surgery, those with a gastric band may often seek further adjustments of their band hoping it will help them feel ‘full’.Feeling satisfied and feeling full after eating are not the same and it is important to understand the difference.

To eat until satisfied means to eat until you are no longer hungry. You feel you have definitely eaten something, but may not need to eat for a few hours. You could eat more.

Eating until full is like when prior to surgery, you dined out on a delicious three course meal, so tasty you could not bare to leave any on the plate. It may be the feeling after trying to make sure you got your value for money at a buffet, or the feeling after lunch on Christmas Day.

Eating until full after weight loss surgery can cause some discomfort, indicating you have eaten too much. Continuing to eat too much over a long period of time will compromise your weight loss and it can cause surgical complications.

Eating until satisfied will guide the amount of food you should be eating. Whilst serving sizes may have been recommended to you, everyone is different and you need to listen to your internal cues to judge how much is right for you to eat.

People who have dieted for many years may have lost touch with the signals they get when eating. It is important to re-learn how to listen to your body’s signals to judge how much to eat.

The following scale can be useful to help you understand your internal signals and when is the right time to eat and to stop eating. Keep this scale near where you eat. Before you start eating a meal, stop and rate how hungry or full you are. Once you are part way through your meal, pause and consider where you would be on the scale. Do you need to continue, even if you haven’t finished the plate? If you are still hungry, continue eating. Pause again later in the meal and repeat. If you do finish the plate, rate yourself again.

Try this at different meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. It may take some practice, but is an exercise well worth doing.

Your goal is to start to recognize the point where you reach a 6 – this is the goal.

  1. Starving, ravenous. All you can think about is how hungry you are. This is a ‘danger time’ for overeating.
  2. You may have a headache or feel weak or grumpy.
  3. You feel like it’s time to eat.
  4. Your hunger is just starting, but you could wait to eat. Your stomach is starting to feel empty.
  5. Not hungry, not full.
  6. Satisfied or “just right”. You are no longer hungry, but probably will be in about three or four hours.
  7. You had a few bites too many. You are a little uncomfortable.
  8. You definitely don’t need more food.
  9. Your stomach feels stuffed, uncomfortably full.
  10. So full you feel like you could vomit.

For some more reading on this topic we highly recommend the work of Dr Rick Kausman and his book, If Not Dieting, Then What? Find out more here: http://www.ifnotdieting.com.au

Let us know how you go finding your number 6 by joining the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NutritionforWLS

For more great info, please download our free ebook, Top Ten Tips for Success with Weight Loss Surgery, available on our website: www.nutritionforweightlosssurgery.com

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I’m Back!

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I feel terrible that I haven’t posted in about three weeks, but it was for good reason! Two weeks ago my husband and I moved into our first house! We also got our new kittens who we are absolutely in love with! We’ve been super busy!

My husband and I in front of our new house (June 2)

My husband and I in front of our new house!

Linnea and Elena, our new kittens!

Linnea and Elena, our new kittens!

I also started a new position at my job. I transferred to the home care department at the retirement community I’ve been working at. I’ve been in the new job a week and really like it a lot! It’s far less stressful which is good for me in many ways! I’m so glad I made the switch.

I finally went to a neurologist about my headaches and was officially diagnosed with chronic migraines which I suspected all along. I need to get help after my allergic reaction at the beginning of the year to Topamax which I was taking for the daily headaches. We started me on a medication called Pristiq which will also help with my anxiety problems. I also spent two full days at the Cleveland Clinic having infusions done. I got a slow drip of different things one at a time. I had anti-nausea medication, a muscle relaxer,  magnesium, something for my blood vessels and a migraine medicine.Since then my migraines have gone from being constant to episodic so that’s an improvement for me. The infusions should help for up to 3-4 weeks. I am also waiting on approval for Botox injections.

I am officially of the steroid medication that I have been all year for my allergic reaction! I spent 5 months on it and only gained 6 lbs. I’ve okay with that. Steroids are not friendly to the body and considering the medication saved my life and kept me from dying I am just fine with a little weight gain.

I also turned 31 a few weeks back! Now that life is starting to calm down for me (knock on wood) I am going to start planning my health education consulting business that I am aiming to start next year! I have a Master’s degree in Health Education and it would be nice to finally utilize it!

I have a blog post stirring inside me just need to find the time to write it…I am hoping maybe tomorrow. I have a lot I need to get out!

 

New Update!

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Another update on my life! I’ve been so busy with our upcoming move that I haven’t had much time to blog, I’m hoping to change that, I have so much I want to say. My husband and I are closing on our first house this Monday and then we are moving in on the Saturday the 7th. We are also getting two kittens that we’ve agreed to adopt on the 7th! My 31st birthday is also coming up on the 9th! I’m so excited!

Relief may be ahead for my constant headaches, I have a neurologist appointment on Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic. What I was taking for my headaches, Topamax, was what I had a rare life threatening allergic reaction to at the beginning of the year. I have been on nothing for my headaches since and I’m miserable most days. I’ve been suffering for a few years now.

My weight has been at a stand still since my allergic reaction and hospitalizations and I’m okay with it. I have had a rough year with 13 days in the hospital, 11 blood transfusions, and going into kidney failure from the allergic reaction. I have been on steroids all year and the fact that I’ve pretty much maintained my weight through all that makes me happy. My last dose of steroids is June 16, I’m looking forward to it!

Below is a new facial side by side, I’ve certainly changed!

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“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
~J. Sidlow Baxter

New Giveaway!

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I’m running a new giveaway for my followers since I love you all so much!  

I’ll giving away a $20 gift card to GNC and 4 Quest Bars (2 chocolate chip cookie dough and 2 cookies and cream!)

You can enter here: http://bit.ly/10lOPQt 

The giveaway ends Monday, May 26 at 11:59pm (EST) and I will announce the winner on the morning of Tuesday the 27th. Good luck!

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An Update!

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Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, we are closing on the house in two weeks and moving in three so we’ve been busy. A couple updates, I had my last nephrology check up on May 7. Kidneys are good now and we can say with certainty that what I suffered from at the beginning of year was an allergic reaction to Topamax (migraine medication). I finally get to come off my Prednisone! I will be tapering off the last 10 mgs over the next several weeks and then finally be free of it after June 16. I will have blood work ran in September. Now if I could just get back to feeling like my old self all around life would be good, maybe the move and new family additions will help. 

We found out from my sister on May 9 that she had to have the adult cat, Nicky, we were planning to adopt put to sleep due to a sudden decline in her health. However, she did put us in contact with someone who was fostering two female kittens who were in need of their forever home. We met the kittens and have agreed to adopt them both. The foster mom is keeping them until we have moved our furniture and boxes to our new house. They are estimated to be about 10 weeks old as of last Sunday. The gray one is blind but gets around wonderfully. They are believed to be from the same litter as they were dumped outside a vet’s office together. We have named the gray one Linnea and the orange one Elena. We can’t wait to have them join us, we really miss the companionship that a pet offers since Rowan’s passing almost three months ago. I miss him every single day. 

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Anniversary

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Today was my 7th wedding anniversary. Below is a picture of us on our wedding day and then a picture of us back this last December. We’ve both certainly changed since our wedding day! 

We've both certainly changed since our wedding 7 years ago today!

We’ve both certainly changed since our wedding 7 years ago today!

Patrick has been with me through so much, we have been together over 10 years now. He has been both of my surgeries and my all of my years of depression and hospitalizations for depression. He’s never left my side despite how bad I got. I love you!

Anniversary dinner- homemade veggie stir fry with red peppers, carrots, snow peas, green onions, broccoli, and asparagus with Kung Pao sauce.

Anniversary dinner- homemade veggie stir fry with red peppers, carrots, snow peas, green onions, broccoli, and asparagus with Kung Pao sauce.