The best (and most important) project you'll ever work on...

Quite often, I hear people struggle with comparing themselves with others, struggling with...

When will I get there?
Why haven't I lost as much as that other person has lost?
Why am I not there yet?
Why can't I stick with anything?
What's wrong with me?
Why can't I just.... ???

The truth is, this journey is a process more than it is anything else.

And.... if you continue to focus on where you're NOT yet, or why you CAN'T, you'll continue to feel and be stuck, because your focus will be on what you DON'T want, instead of what you DO want.

Working on you is part of your WLS journey. Working on yourself, is the best gift you'll give to yourself, and to those who love you, EVER!! This is because not only do you get YOU back again, they get ALL of you as well. You are able to do all of the things that you weren't able to do before surgery. And, you'll rediscover the magic of life, because you'll learn to rediscover the MAGIC of YOU!

There are many reasons why you may get frustrated with various parts of the journey, (stalls being one area I see many people feel frustrated). When you recognize that these things are temporary, you'll have the courage and insight to keep moving forward.

Getting down on yourself just tends to keep you immobile instead of zooming right alone.

Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam and wondered, What the hell is going on up there? - OR - What is taking them so long to clear the road??

You are doing this to yourself on your own journey by playing the "stop/start" game, and by not recognizing that you learn as you grow.

Sometimes the "stuckness" may be emotional and it may be anxiety, depression, or a clinical mental health issue. If this comes up, it is very important you find a counselor in your area to help you process these emotions, so you can work through them and keep going.

Mental health issues come up frequently in our community, and having a therapist can be essential to gain the therapeutic tools to deal with depression, anxiety, grief & loss issues, etc.

As you move through this journey, you'll recognize that the things you once thought were road blocks, were just speed bumps, and you breeze right through once you deal with the issue that comes up.

Sometimes, I will see people's own issues with unworthiness, or feeling they are not deserving of good things, or not good enough themes come up which is why they stop working the process. You chose this journey for a reason. Despite what your past looks like, or even your present, you are worthy 100% in the here and now, regardless of what you've been through, regardless of anything.

You are worthy right now!

Believing this is a different story.. Working on you, however, helps you bust through these limiting beliefs, so you can live the life you've always wanted, and feel worthy of having it to boot!

Here are some journaling prompts to help you work through this so you can REFOCUS your attention on working on YOU!

  • What keeps you stuck NOT working on yourself though?

  • What emotions/feelings come up when you think of working on yourself in this post-op journey?

  • Besides the "effort" that goes into maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors, what else frustrates you?

  • What would your life be like if you could zoom past these issues?


I hope you have a amazing week and these prompts serve you well..

Has summer thrown you off?

Summer is definitely here. Last month I wrote an article about summer and it seems that so many people resonated with it, that I wanted to discuss it again.

Summer is the time everyone goes on vacations, school is out, teachers are resting, barbecues and family reunions happen most often, etc.

This is also when things slow down in a lot of places, and while life seems to be ALWAYS busy, this is when many people tend to get thrown off by life.

And, then because they are overwhelmed, they think they need to WAIT until life slows down. Remember that email a few weeks ago where I suggested that you "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." - You can find that message again here.

This week, it's important that you pause, reflect, and initiate a restart for what you want the summer to bring.

Would you like to get back on track, or stay on track? Would you like to move into the Fall season with confidence and ease?

Would you like to master your habits, and feel better in your body?

What is it that you can work through this summer that would create a better life for you moving forward?

All of these questions can be answered when you slow down and get in touch with yourself, and focus on what you want or need to be working on.

See, more than anything, I see bariatric patients freaking out because:

they aren't "there" yet...
they don't know "what" to focus on...
they fear they are falling behind...
they don't know where to begin...
and/or they are just generally overwhelmed with the process

So instead of staying stagnant, take a step back, breathe a little, and work on something that is doable just for this week. Get in a flow of taking action on something that you know you CAN follow through with..

Then, move onto another area next week.

Maybe this week you focus on moving your body, and next week you focus on meal prep.
Or maybe this week you focus on setting boundaries, and next week, you focus on feeling good in your body.

Each person's journey is different, which is why it's so important to recognize what is coming up for you, and working at your own pace.

This isn't a competition, it isn't a race, and you're going at the pace you need to go, receiving knowledge and learning as you go. Even if you think you are messing up, there's a lesson to be learned in this process.

As we move into this first week of July, and the second half of 2019, it is important that you look at what you want to achieve the second half of this year, and start to put a mini action plan in place.

What can you start with?
Where do you want to grow?
What is happening in your life that may be preventing you from achieving this? -OR-
What is happening in your life that is allowing growth to unfold, even if you feel the timing is off?
What can you do now to help you grow?
What is one small step you can take toward the life you desire?

Feel free to share this in the Bariatric Mindset Mavens group as you expand your horizons into the second half of this year.

Or reply and let me know what you're working on.

And, if you need additional guidance - the Bariatric Mindset Mastery Membership is opening soon! Keep your eyes peeled for more details!!

In search of the new you

So often I see so much more than weight loss happen on this journey. I see lives changed and transformed.

The weight loss, while the main focus of WHY everyone started this process, ultimately is not the big WHY for the end of everyone's journey.

There are so many twists and turns, and changes that take place in the weight loss process that a new understanding of who you are, and who you want to become is one of the things I don't hear a lot of people talking about.

Sure, we will see where people talk about divorce and dating on the message boards, yet I know many go into this process hoping it will save their marriage; while others may have a strong marriage before, and a strong marriage after.

The individual journey is different for everyone; and in saying that, I'm going to share some examples of things I see day-to-day from people going through the post-op process of lifestyle change.

Career changes are a big thing I see in the post-op journey that many don't discuss often except in private forums. Not being heard at work, or feeling confident enough to FINALLY put yourself up for promotion, asking for the raise, recognizing your worth to say "enough is enough" and looking for new positions.

Feeling dismissed or unheard or taken advantage of by family and friends (or even in your career) can create boundary issues that you may not have realized could come up on your post-op journey.

Recognizing the steps that you need to take in order to fully and completely take care of yourself in the post-op process and learning how to make yourself a priority.

What does that even mean? How might you make YOU a priority in your own life?

So often, I see bariatric patients putting EVERYONE else first. In this process, one of the keys to success is the ability to put yourself first so that you can stay healthy. Giving and being of service of others can still be done, but creating healthy boundaries will help you be a better steward of your health, and will help prevent others from taking advantage of your kindness.

Overall, I see growth in confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, and individuals recognizing how they might have doubted themselves, all due to their struggle with obesity.

So, in letting go of that old self, those old habits of "not good enough" in any area of your life, start to think of WHO you want to become.

Here are some questions to consider:

What needs to change for you?
What already has changed for you?
What do you see changing as you continue to lose the weight?
What might change when you get to goal?
What will change regardless of your weight loss?


Journal prompts for growth:

Who do you want to become?

What steps do you need to take to become that person - that version of you?

What smaller goals need to be set and achieved for you to start working towards that larger goal?

What other life changes may be in your path? Would it be in your personal life? Professional/work life? Home life? Family life?

WLS goes beyond the weight loss. There is so much more that happens when you gain your life back. You start to realize all the things you've missed out on, and all the things you desire to do.

Don't wait for things to unfold. You are the creator of your identity. You are in charge of the change you seek to create.

Start living. Start Doing. Start becoming the person you desire to be.

Be better than you were

I've paid attention to the twinges of perfectionism in our community - and how it impacts our ability to succeed. The all-or-nothing mentality is one that keeps us stuck, more than it helps us to grow.

Perfectionism is actually the antithesis of growth because it keeps us stuck in "not good enough" thinking. This makes people (over time) think, "why bother" and then they give up.

I want to encourage you and empower you to think DIFFERENTLY.

This isn't a race. This isn't a competition. It's a life-long journey.

Even in taking a quote from the ASMBS (American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), in how they define obesity -"in terms of individual and societal health, longevity and psychological well-being," and then they go on to state that "obesity, due to its progressive nature" is a LIFE-LONG process, requiring "life-long treatment and control". So, this is a huge insight that this surgery, this pre-op and post-op process - is NOT a one-and-done event. This is a life-long process. We will all be continuing to battle this - for as long as we live.

This is not to scare you at all, this is meant to teach you that there is no "THERE", or end point. This is a life-long process of growth, change, self-love, self-reflection, and self-care. This is a life-long process of monitoring our food intake, moving our bodies, and making sure we set healthy boundaries.

So my words of wisdom for you today is....

BE BETTER THAN YOU WERE YESTERDAY

Instead of focusing on being perfect, or doing everything right...

Focus on changing one thing.
Focus on starting on one new thing.
Focus on being BETTER in ONE area.
Focus on being better than you were yesterday.

The smallest steps over time create big results.

This isn't about getting to some imaginary finish line. This is about you living your life to the fullest!!This is about doing things that you couldn't do before surgery, and becoming the best you that you can be.

What does that look like for you?
What might changing one thing to be better look like for you?
What's the one thing you're excited to work on?

How might you shift perfectionistic "all or nothing" thinking to "being better" in one area today and moving forward?

I hope this message serves you well today!

Sending you tons of love and light!

Moving Past Disappointment

I want to share another idea here that is essential for post-op patients to recognize and learn.

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY. - Theodore Roosevelt

So often there is a comparison of "this person lost this much" and "why am I not where they are".

it reminds me of kids on a playground.. "he has more than me!"

With that type of attitude, do you feel love and warmth, or do you feel envy, judgement, and criticism??

The truth is, your body is different from that person's body. Where one person might lose 30lbs in a month, another might lose 16lbs.

While there is the law of averages, most often people still tend to move mentally toward the number they desire, not the average itself, or recognizing that the lower 16lbs I mentioned before, might still be in the "average" range for what post-op patients will lose in their first month.

It all depends on, the starting weight, how much weight that person needs to lose, the type of surgery, hormones, age, and so much more.

I've seen people hold onto weight energetically and emotionally because they haven't worked through trauma from their past. Clearly, this is NOT the norm, but I have seen it.

In looking at your journey, you MUST look at all the holistic factors that make up YOUR personalized journey, and with that... RELEASE the force that your journey HAS to look like someone else's.

Also, instead of getting upset or angry that Susie Q lost more weight than you this month, get excited for how much she has lost, and refocus your efforts on feeling good in your body.

When you feel good in your body, and focus on your OWN journey, you'll see how much you ARE doing, and won't have time for the drama of all the other stuff...

And..... when you envy others it impacts your mental, emotional, and physical health; it's potentially destructive and you get angry at your body for NO reason. Envious people tend to feel hostile, resentful, angry and irritable. ... Envy is also related to depression, anxiety, the development of prejudice, and personal unhappiness. Not surprisingly, these negative mental states can impact physical health.

It also leads you to turn inward and begin to think, "what's wrong with me?"

And, the truth is... THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.

Your body takes time to release the weight. And, even with WLS, your body needs time, and patience. Your body has gone through a traumatic surgical process, even as a minimally invasive procedure - your body is healing.

For those farther out, loving on your body using affirmations can do far more good than getting angry and hostile towards your body that you perceive as "holding on" to weight when you are doing all the right things.

So for today, I want to teach you about moving through and moving past the disappointment of "not there yet" mentality.

This is because you ARE getting there. This journey is a process, and it's not over yet. Even if you are past the perceived "honeymoon" phase, you CAN get back on the plan and keep going.

I see people gain and lose their regained weight - ALL THE TIME.

Don't limit your thinking based on other's perspectives. You can achieve your desired goals, as long as you believe you can.

Just like my email from last week - Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. - Arthur Ashe

Let go of the disappointment, the anger, and the force that you are placing on your body. Instead, ALLOW your body to do its thing. Be patient with the growth that your body is undergoing. Weight loss is growth because your body may have been at the same weight for a long-time and it's been comfortable there.

Give your body time to heal. Give your body time to lose.
Keep going with your plan. Don't give up. And, love your body for shedding the weight on its own timeline.

When you are more KIND to your body (using affirmations, practicing gratitude), you'll see that you're more grateful of the weight you lose.

And, if you don't know what I mean here, I actually mean THANKING your body for keeping YOU healthy; thanking your body for functioning properly, thanking your body for carrying you, pumping your blood, etc.

For some this may seem silly, yet, I've seen the magic it works when you are GRATEFUL instead of demanding that your body "do something".

Also, using affirmations help you emotionally rather than the negative judgments you may place on yourself or your body.

Replace "what's wrong with me?" with... "all in my body's time. I trust my body's timing"

Replace: "why won't the scale move?" with "I know the scale will move and my body is adjusting to this new process.

Make your own MANTRAS and AFFIRMATIONS to help you trust your body's weight release process.

I let go of the force that things need to be on a specific time line.
I no longer need to compare myself to others, my journey is my own.
My body is releasing weight and I'm grateful.
I am grateful for my body's health and functionality.
I trust my body to do it's thing and release the weight in the best time possible.
I allow my body to release the weight freely.
I know I am doing my part to release the weight, and trust my body's process.
Thank you body for keeping me healthy and letting go of the weight I no longer need.

A few changes in TRUSTING your body may make a big difference.

Keep in mind, you also need to stay on track with your doctor's advice and your bariatric basics:

Protein First - track what you eat
Fluids - At least 64oz of water per day
Fitness -Move Your Body
Sleep well - (at least 6hours per night)
Stress Less - breathe more
Take Your Supplements


I hope this helps you refocus on YOUR part, and letting your body adjust and do the rest. If you still don't see the fruits of your labor after a few weeks, make sure to meet with your physician to ensure there isn't anything else going on.

What affirmations will you create as you learn to trust your body to lose?

What gratitudes can you write down or share to recognize your body is working for you, not against you?

The trauma of obesity

I wanted to talk about something a little deeper today that is near and dear to my heart.

Obesity is a complex disease as many of you may already know. It's not as simple as food in and food out like many "diets" make you believe. There are genetic factors, biochemical factors, gut bacterial factors, and so many other things that can affect weight gain to create obesity, not to mention all of the other correlating issues like cancer and heart disease. To sum up, obesity is the result of complex issues. And, trauma can occur prior to obesity or as a result of obesity.

I see people all the time plagued with self-doubt, fear, anxiety, depression, and a lack of self-belief. Sure, self-doubt is something that EVERYONE struggles with, even the skinny minnies... but when it comes to more paralyzing fear of being seen, being judged, being vulnerable, and asking themselves "can I really do this?" to just about anything, those who are fighting the fight of obesity have the pressure of constant negativity, unworthiness, and of course social pressures breathing down their backs.

Not to mention the double messages sent by society that fast food is acceptable, and at the same time so is extreme thinness. These mixed messages create even more complexities in terms of what is acceptable and what is not for an obese person, leaving them stuck in shame spirals and self-loathing.

A few years ago, I had a client tell me that someone off the street told her mother that she needed to put her on a diet. She was mortified. This was part of the trauma she endured as an obese person. The assumption is from the outside world is that similar to what is seen on My 600lb life, that overweight people eat too much, are bed ridden and unable to care for themselves.

The sad part in this is that no one thinks to ask what's going on psychologically with someone who has a complex medical disorder, that someone would people think it's okay to shame and blame them without a second thought.

Another client told me that growing up her mother and father would focus in on her eating habits and shame her when she talked about food that the other kids were eating at lunch because "it wasn't on her plan".

Although I tend to talk a lot about food and eating behaviors, I want to make sure that we also talk about the other complex social issues that surround obesity too.

Relationship issues and 'settling' in relationships because as humans we are in need of acceptance and connection. Why else are the divorce statistics so high?

Self-esteem and self-worth issues, because WORTHINESS & ENOUGHNESS is a huge factor in the mental and emotional response to obesity. The lack of self-confidence also goes in this bag!

The loss of one's voice - meaning the ability to speak one's mind. Isolation and fearing judgment and criticism create a place where people feel unable to share their perspective, especially if they are minimized and constantly beat down because of their size.

Struggle with creating healthy boundaries & incessant people pleasing, potentially from what was taught in childhood, or because the obese person wants so badly to be liked, loved, accepted that they will sacrifice themselves or overdo it to try to gain love in any way they can.

The inability to commit to a plan because of the consistent self-doubt that plagues the mind. "Am I doing it right?" or "There's got to be something wrong with me" - which creates constant negative self-talk and the need to hop, skip, and jump to everything else to try to find something that works. (P.S. - consistency with ONE thing works!)

There's so many other things that I could go on and talk about that leave people feeling "not enough", and it's important that we realize on this bariatric journey that lifestyle change is key..

And when I say lifestyle change, I don't just mean a meal plan and an exercise routine, but all the other things that make you feel bad, judged, criticized, or to get down on yourself.

This is why the MINDSET portion of your lifestyle change is so important. Mindset incorporates your emotions, your cognitions (the way you think), the way you process all that is going on around you, to help you develop a perspective that is encouraging and focused on helping you grow..

A self-defeatist attitude is part of the old mindset, the new mindset is all about growth and learning.

With obesity, there are many other factors that impact your behavior. Don't think that it's all about food and exercise. There is so much more.

For today's message, I just want you to start thinking about all the things that you are affected by when it comes to obesity. How have you stopped living as a result of living with obesity? How has obesity really affected your life, your mindset, and your emotions?

And, what needs to change internally so that you can not only feel better, but also do better?

What insights have you gained from this email, and if you have any insights you'd like to share with me, hit reply and let me know. I always love hearing from my tribe.

Why you STILL haven't started yet...

Today I want to talk about other reasons you don't get started.

The big A-ha: Certainty vs uncertainty and how it impacts your thinking and your WLS journey.

More specifically, certainty in an outcome. We all need it. We thrive on being certain that we have a roof over our head, a job to go to, money coming in, food on the table, and an established routine, etc.

Yet there are a ton of different variables when it comes to your weight loss process.

So many people tout calories in, calories out yet, for some it’s not that simple. There’s gut bacteria, age, hormones, inflammation responses, % of lean muscle mass vs. % of fat composition, autoimmune disorders, water retention, issues of sleep and stress, and so much more.

When it comes to the weight loss process, for some its cut and dry; for others, not so much.

Therein lies the struggle with certainty.

Psychologically speaking, if we aren’t absolutely certain we will get a specific outcome, we may not actually follow through.

So then what happens is someone starts something they THINK will work and they get excited. Their mindset is primed for certainty because they’ve bought into the 'diet' or protocol or workout or whatever plan it is they are trying on or working.

Then if, within 2-3 weeks they haven’t started to see a change or move toward their desired results, they freak out, doubt themselves, and doubt the certainty that they originally bought into.

Then.. they start to reject the plan because their new thought is "this plan/program/diet/workout is not working".

The real problem is this...

  1. Most people don’t give the process enough time to see results

  2. They try to be super strict for a short time and get frustrated with the restrictions (pain vs. pleasure principle)

  3. Expect results from their body super quickly (when there may be other factors)

  4. People are impatient


Most recently, I’ve been diving into new trainings on behaviors, habits, and the psychology behind them. What I discovered was amazing!! See, most people think that if something is not working in 2-3 (or even 4 weeks) that something is wrong with them. No!! There is nothing wrong with you. In fact, the research suggests you haven’t worked the plan long enough for your body to adjust, and there are other factors at play that we might not be factoring into the process.

Similarly, if you are working a plan for a short-term (like a diet), rather than a long-term plan (like lifestyle change); then you will start to twitch and itch, because you’ll likely have high expectations with the sense that you’re making this HUGE sacrifice.

When you have the belief that you are sacrificing something, you EXPECT a bigger payout or payoff. In this case, if you feel you’re denying yourself pleasure, you’ll hold out for a short while and then cave because the pain of the sacrifice overrides the pleasure of the potential outcome - all because of your mindset when you set up the plan or program.

So, this is why I'm a BIG BELIEVER in lifestyle change over diets because diets are short-term, short-lived, and cause the yo-yo effect with your body and your mind. You try to sacrifice for the short-term and end up on this roller-coaster of doubt, shame, blame, and deprivation.

Lifestyle change allows you the variety of foods without the sacrifice. Additionally, while it make take LONGER for you to see results, it's actually better for your body and your brain.

So here's some mindset shifts to help you gain certainty while working your plan, and refocusing on lifestyle change.

  1. All the research suggests that it takes time for your body to adjust to anything - give it time. Give your body time. In other words, be patient with the process. Don't give up too soon!

  2. Similarly, consistency is key. When you switch things up or change your plan, instead of achieving a positive result, you actually start ALL over, taking it even LONGER for you to see results. So essentially - KEEP GOING and stick with your original plan.

  3. Carry the conviction that you'll get there, and TRUST in your process. This is how you lean into the certainty when it may not be visible, yet.


Les Brown has an infamous talk about the bamboo tree, and how the bamboo tree takes 5 years to grow, yet it shoots up over night and people see it as an overnight success. The chinese bamboo tree needs to be watered everyday, like your goals. Check out that video here (it's only 2min 40seconds) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASAU1KJcp6I

When it comes to CERTAINTY, you have to keep WATERING your goals through taking action every day. This comes with CONSISTENCY.

Any farmer will tell you that he/she has CERTAINTY that their plants will grow as long as they keep watering/feeding them and they have sunlight. Are you as sure about your goals? When your doubt creeps in because you don't see results fast enough, your change may be sabotaging all you have achieved so far.

So instead of doubting yourself, or giving up, or finding yet ANOTHER plan that promises great results in 2 weeks, start to carry the conviction that you MUST keep going with the lifestyle change approach, because your results WILL show up... they just don't show up when you expect them to. Instead of changing your goals, you may need to be more flexible in your approach, and trusting that you'll get there.

Remember that too much restriction can create deprivation which is why in this bariatric lifestyle, there are modifications so that you can enjoy living HEALTHY for the long-term. The scale will move. The pants will get bigger (as you get smaller). Trust your body to do it's thing, and keep moving toward your goals, NO MATTER WHAT.

Your lifestyle is a practice, implement it.

The excuses of daily life.. "I’m going to wait until..."

There’s never a good time to begin, ... Anything!

I see this all the time in the post-op journey. People who SAY they are ready for change, and then Life happens.. well because LIFE always HAPPENS!!

I was recently speaking at a support group meeting and as I was preparing for my talk, it was strongly put on my heart to talk about what happens when LIFE HAPPENS..

So often with my clients, in support groups, and in my work, I hear ALL the excuses, the troubles, the obstacles that keep people from reaching their goals, and it's usually because LIFE is outside of their control.

And, if you don't know what I mean.. let me explain a little deeper.

Kids and grandkids are graduating this time of year from pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, high school, and college. Summer has officially started and this may seem like an AWFUL time to start focusing on your journey. Not just that though.. I see where life takes people on different twists and turns in their journey.. again, because that's part of life. Sometimes, it's good. Sometimes, it's not.

Similarly, I see people say, I can't because.... grandma just went to hospice, or I have to see my mom, or we are moving, or we are putting the house up for sale, or we are moving across the country or, I just got a new job and my work is just SOOOO busy, or I just got a new health diagnosis, or I don't have time, or I am so overwhelmed, or a friend of ours just moved in, or it's not a good time right now... or ....."LIFE" ...... or .... FILL IN THE BLANK..

What I observe them saying is.... "I can't because (situation + belief about the situation)" which then equals justification of current behaviors due to those old beliefs, which becomes a settled outcome that they are unhappy about.

In truth they are saying .... EVERYTHING ELSE IS A PRIORITY and I AM NOT AT THE TOP OF THAT LIST.. I AM NOT THE PRIORITY.

The truth is.. it doesn't matter WHAT you are going through or what is happening in your life, YOU CAN choose to change, or you can choose NOT to change.

You don't need to wait until the storm passes because there will always be another storm. There will always be SOMETHING that comes up to distract you or take you off course.

That's the problem! That's life! That's part of the issue.

if you don't recognize how to deal with life during the most stressful times, when everything seems to go haywire, how can you ever deal with life at all?

NEWSFLASH!! Most of life is outside of our control.. and the idea that we CAN control things is a myth. Furthermore the goal is not to CONTROL life, but to take the twists and turns with ease and grace so that you can stay ON the raft instead of ending up in the water..

One of my favorite quotes that sums this up is...

"START WHERE YOU ARE, USE WHAT YOU HAVE, DO WHAT YOU CAN." - Arthur Ashe

Procrastination brain tells you that there is a better time, when things will slow down, when things will get easier, when you have more money, when the kids go back to school...

When....
When....
When...
.

When are you going to stop WHEN-ing yourself?

When are you going to recognize that LIFE doesn't stop for twists, turns, blessings, or struggles?

How long is it going to take you to realize that you are worth it now?

How long is it going to take for you to recognize that if you don't work on making your life better today, it won't get better by change.. in truth, it gets better by choice.

When you choose to put yourself on the back burner, you are in essence choosing to live a life for others and not yourself, and at some point down the road you're going to wonder "what happened' or "how did I let it get this far" or "why didn't I ever make it to goal", or ... something else.

So while there is a part of you that is likely telling yourself.. I'll start next week, or next month, or at the end of summer....

The truth is when you STOP yourself before you ever START, you're denying yourself the journey and the destination.

So before you stop yourself... ask yourself what you'll be missing out on? Ask yourself, what you are settling for... Ask yourself what you REALLY TRULY want.. and see if that makes a difference...

Also, if there's a part of you that is still not ready to give up soda, or ice cream, or sugar, or whatever it is... because of summer or because you're uncomfortable, or because of whatever reason.. ask yourself if that item, if that uncomfortable emotion is willing giving up your goal or desired outcome.. Are you willing to trade soda, ice cream, sugar, or a summer of eating for the rest of your life? Are you willing to trade putting things off because you're uncomfortable now for something that could give you so much more meaning, happiness or satisfaction or pleasure in your life??

This is why I write these emails.. to force you to go deeper because nothing happens when you stay on the surface.. In order for you to truly change, you've got to grasp your desires at the CORE and feel them. Your core desires for your life don't lay around, they are buried deep within you and I call upon you to seek them out so you can recognize what you TRULY want, so that you can FULLY live a life you are in love with.

So... just for today, ask yourself if these OLD habits are worth the price you'll pay if you keep going with them.

Ask yourself if you're willing to start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can...regardless of the busyness, of the kids/grandkids being home, vacation starting, etc...

There will be more cake, there will more soda, there will be more chips, there will be more (fill in the blank here).. those food items aren't going anywhere, and if you have the mindset that you'll be missing out or they will go away or be depleted, you're essentially training your brain to want them more (instead of less) and recognizing you don't need them to have a great summer or great life, or great whatever right now... is part of the perspective that needs shifting.

Right now, the only thing keeping you away from your goals is the mindset that you're missing out on these things. The truth is, when you live FULLY authentically and turn down the things that COST you your goals, you're moving in the direction you desire..

But when you continue to remain in your old behaviors, continuing to buy into the excuses, and you allow those foods or those limiting beliefs to have power over you, you are only cheating yourself.

Take one step today to move closer to the life you want...

BE YOUR OWN PRIORITY, regardless of what life throws at you.

Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

I'm challenging you to do ONE thing.

What step will you take today?

Summer is here.. and what that means for your WLS journey

I wish I could say that I'm typing this from my pool floaty, sipping on some zero calorie lemon/lime water, with my sunglasses on, listening to Will Smith's jam Summertime on my outdoor bluetooth speaker, but that would be a complete farce...because while I am sipping on some delicious lemon water (yes, still zero calorie), but no pool for me today... but for the sake of all of us visualizing floating out on a pool, and how awesome that would be.... can we just imagine that together?? Ahh....

Okay - back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Summer is just about here, tribe, and I hope you are planning to have some fun in the sun wherever you are, and I'm going to do my best to keep you ON TRACK wherever your travels take you this summer... keep reading!

See, for many, this is the time of year when I see people get off track the most. YES! Even more than the holidays!! Let me tell you why!!

The holidays.. really go from about Thanksgiving to New Years .. which is about a total of 6 weeks.. whereas SUMMER goes from Memorial Day to Labor Day (which is approximately 13 weeks!!!). YIKES!!

The kids are out of school (or your grandkids), vacations take a front seat and routines and rituals that are formed during the rest of the year are typically forgotten or cast aside when friends come in town, you go out of town, when you buy treats for the kids (or grandkids), or when they buy treats for you, or when you are just saying "to heck with it" because you're on vacation either in your mind or in actuality.

And, don't try to tell me this doesn't happen, because I'm human too, and I know what goes on in various households in the summer...

Also, while summer barbecues can be much healthier than other foods because of the grilling and the salads, etc.. I also see where grazing can pick up and eating more rather than less also becomes problematic.

Having a vacation mindset to help you stay on track might be necessary for these 13 weeks (are you as surprised as me that it's sooo long?!?!) So instead of throwing your habits to the side, let's build some that will keep you on track throughout the summer time.

Here are some hacks for keeping your summer healthy, happy, and headache free....

1. Keep an eye out for calorie filled beverages (including the alcoholic kind) and make sure you're getting your WATER in... 64oz at least!

This is the time of year beverages become even more important. It's hot, you're thirsty, and you tend to drink more; and for some that means more alcohol. I'm not going to make this a speech about transfer behaviors after WLS, although that can happen.. Instead, I'm going to ask you to be conscious, cautious, and mindful of what you are drinking because calories add up quickly. Use some watermelon, cucumber, lemon, lime, and/or strawberry to infuse your water so you stay hydrated and refreshed all summer long.

2. Don't let your planning and prepping fall by the wayside.. keep up the basics.
Many people might decide to let things FLY in the summer, and the only problem with that is that you can get back to old habits of chips and dip (slider foods), or ordering out/eating out often where you may not be cognizant of what you're eating. You may not want to plan EVERY meal, but at least stick with the basics for a foundation of protein first, and easy eats so you don't go crazy.

3. Eat on a smaller plate - like Livliga brand just for bariatric patients.
Using a smaller plate will help keep your head in check, and will help you avoid FOMO (fear of missing out). Put different bites on your plate, so you can get a bit of everything at the BBQ, or have a spoonful of different things so you have a taste of it all. Remember that your tiny tummy works best when you're mindful of your meals, and staying steadfast in maintaining your portions. Eating too much becomes uncomfortable and makes you feel worse in the long-run. Use this tool to help you stay focused this summer. (www.livliga.com)

3. Track what you eat at the very least 1-2x per week.
In the summer, many get lazy with tracking and forget to track. To see where you are, focus on tracking AT LEAST 1-2x per week to at least recognize where you are on the spectrum. If you think you've fallen off the wagon with your eating, then pick yourself back up and refocus your attention on tracking, prepping, and planning ahead.

4. Move your body and make your fitness FUN (there's that word again!)
Play volleyball, swim in the pool, or go for a walk outside with the fam. At the very least get the garden hose and start spraying people.. they will run, you will run, and it will be fun. And.. if you haven't be cleared to run around, check in with your supervising physician first.


5. Be a LEADER not a Follower with bari-friendly FOOD options.
So many bariatric patients fear others condemnation by bringing a "healthy" dish to a cookout or barbecue (**shudder**).. but instead of being a follower and letting others decide for you - YOU take charge and be a leader by focusing on HEALTH first. You don't have to announce that your bari-friendly dish is "healthy" instead focus on the deliciousness of it. You can tell them it's healthy after they eat it, or keep it a secret. Most often, they'll never know the difference especially if it's keto, you use stevia, or if it's a protein option.

6. Do your best to choose, live, and eat SUGAR-FREE (and read the labels!)
While I recommend we eat a colorful diet, staying away from added sugars, processed foods (with sugar), and anything full of sugar is truly wise. Sometimes, sugar is added to things we don't even realize (like barbecue sauce, canned baked beans, and ketchup), and these can wreck havoc on our otherwise very thoughtful eating plan adding tons of unnecessary calories and making us scream "WHAT HAPPENED ?!?" when we look at the scale a few weeks down the road. Be mindful. Read the labels, and reduce your sugar where/when possible.

Everything else I'll say here is that staying on track doesn't have to be hard; you just need to stay mindful and present. Have protein first at the barbecue, focus on your bariatric basics, and REMEMBER: self care is just as important now as it is at any time.

Don't throw caution to the wind, and stay mindful this summer so that this fall you don't feel that you have to struggle to lose regain, right before the holidays. Use this summer to stay on track, stay fulfilled, and enjoy yourself - using your bariatric mindset lifestyle change habits.

Here's to an awesome healthy summer for all of us... xoxo

Managing Mental Health - establishing your self-development...

Today's email might seem a little more somber and serious, but I think it's a topic we need to address: managing mental health. So many individuals on this journey struggle with mental health issues and I wanted to talk about it on a deeper level. While of course working with a local therapist is my first suggestion, there are others too, like:

1. self-care is a necessity not a luxury
2. don't let your mental health struggles define you
3. remember that there are always good days and bad days
4. optimize your good days
5. be kind and compassionate to yourself on your bad days

And within this.. I want to share more in depth details on HOW-TO prepare for your bad days, and to ensure you are taking care of yourself while continuing to lose your weight on this journey - reprioritizing your needs both mentally and physically. Learning self-development is a life-long process, and continuity over time is necessary. Being a priority in your own life may seem silly at first glance, but for those struggling with mental health issues, it is crucial for long-term wellness and post-op weight loss success.

What you may or may not know: Obesity can wreck havoc on your mental health and they are correlates, meaning one doesn't necessarily cause the other, but they are both co-existing together and can affect one another. Often times, obesity is linked with anxiety and depression, more than other mental health struggles.

Additionally, individuals who have a less-than-positive emotional health are at greater risk for obesity in general. While increasing your mental health overall may not necessarily mean you'll lose weight, having a stronger mental/emotional health overall helps you to take the necessary steps to focus on your health/wellness and weight loss journey.

Many individuals struggle most when crises hit, or when things seem out of their control, and/or when they are at their most vulnerable emotionally. This is why staying prepared and doing your best to be emotionally resilient can help you in the long-run.

Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health - and some might even consider it to be more important because if you aren't able to take care of yourself emotionally, this may mean not moving your body as much, staying in bed more because that's all you CAN do that day, and eating convenience foods which may be higher in calories and lower in nutrition.

Unfortunately, this is how so many struggle in a cycle of eating poorly and then beating themselves up because just TRYING is hard, and things to happen all at once, or become emotionally overwhelming.

This is why individuals who struggle with mental health issues also tend to struggle with obesity longer. This is also why I strongly recommend people have a crisis management plan in advance because I know things are that much HARDER to do when your mood is low, when you're struggling emotionally, and taking a shower that day was a total win.

Instead of beating ourselves up when this happens, we need to optimize our GOOD MOMENTS, and our higher moods to help us out when lower moods, anxious moods, or other crises issues if life arise. Take your time, slow down, and do one thing at a time.

Planning and preparation may not be second nature, but when your plan ahead for yourself, creating better habits, and having strategies in place for your own personal health and wellness, this is another level of or layer to personalized self-care.

For today's email, I want to share some tips on EMOTIONAL resilience, and SELF-CARE that anyone can do IN ADVANCE.. so that you have some things handy and ready for you when struggles arise, your mood is low, and all you can do for yourself and your family might be the very basics..

1. Write a list of encouraging quotes, phrases, statements or things you can say to yourself when struggling through a bout of depression or anxiety. Go deeper than "you can do it" and try to show some understanding - and make it personal so you know it's for you. For example, write something like:

"Don't believe everything you think" - Unknown

"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person." — Fred Rogers


"A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you." — Joyce Meyer

Or something that is more personalized of something you would say to yourself...

"Self, I know you are so tired right now, but getting up and getting a shower will make you feel so much better. Get up and do it! I promise you, it works" or "Get up off the couch and walk around the living room 5 times. I know this is tough, and I also know once you do it you will feel accomplished and so much better about yourself emotionally." -OR- "Your anxiety does not define you, you are loved, you are important, and you mean so much to those who love you - just remember that!" or "whatever you do, go to bed on time. You'll want to stay up, but you know that will make you feel worse. You deserve a good nights rest. Turn the lights out."

These don't have to be challenging statements either. They can be loving, supportive, encouraging, or offer suggestions to help you move through the funk. We all have tough days. Write something that will help you work through it and beyond it. Be compassionate, be kind, be loving, and be honest!

2. Make a list of "essentials" posted for you to find when the BLUES hit.
This list might include such essentials like...
1. Do some deep breathing
2. dance it out
3. stay hydrated (drink your water)
4. take a nap
5. stay out of all-or-nothing thinking - those negative thoughts are not true, don't believe everything you think. Get a sounding board (call mom, your best friend, or someone you trust)


3. Make a non-negotiables list for yourself of things that are so BASIC you can do it when the doldrums are in full-effect.

For example, so you can help to avoid poor eating, make a list of all the local food places and create a list of approved food items, so that you're not tempted to eat things that will make you feel worse. You may not have the headspace to choose chicken and veggies when you are struggling, but if you have a non-negotiable order ready, you'll already know without thinking about it what you'll get.

Also create other non-negotiables like avoiding movies or programs that make you super sad, or make your depression/anxiety worse. Also, if you have that ONE friend who always turns it around and makes it about him/her, they might not be the person who you call when you're struggling. Call someone supportive instead. Similarly, avoid interacting with individuals who tend to push your boundaries or take advantage of you when you're at your most vulnerable.

Do this when you are at your best to help you get through the days that are your worst. You may not have the headspace to handle thinking about non-negotiables when you're struggling so having these done in advance will help you greatly, so you don't have to think about it or make difficult decisions.


4. Create healthy habits ahead of time. Have a cup of water by your bed, sofa, or wherever you are at all times to stay hydrated. Creating this habit now will help you so that you always have some hydration when you're struggling emotionally. Start creating these habits now to help you later no matter what is going on.


5. Prepare some FREEZER food in advance, so you can HEAT & EAT with ease
Prep and plan once a month or once a quarter so you'll have some healthy eats in your freezer. This will help you eat healthy and helps you take the thinking out of it so you're not a risk to make poor choices.


6. Know who your support team is - and have their information accessible.
Who are the people you can turn to when you're struggling? Do you have a mental health counselor or therapist you can schedule a session with? Do you have a friend or family member you can call? Who's on your trusted team that will help you when your depression, anxiety or other emotional issue strikes.

7. Establish your version of BALANCE or the middle-way or middle-path for when your reasoning may be unreasonable or for when negative cyclical thinking strikes. Challenging the negative self-talk and practicing this over time can help you over time and especially during the low-points.

8. Move your body often for improved mental health. So many people have an aversion of working out because either it's associated with pain or something they "must" do. However, I've seen that if you focus on moving your body to improve your mood, you'll likely find you'll feel better and the extra calorie burn is a bonus not the premise. Of course check with your doctor first to ensure you are safe/approved for physical activity.

More than anything, ready yourself for positive change. Positive thinking is more than just quotes or 'thinking positive', it's about putting a shift in thinking into action for your life, and having tools and resources for long-term behavioral change, and overall mental wellness.

Use these tools to help you stay a few steps ahead of emotional struggles and hopefully to guide you through them when they pop-up. As a reminder, find a therapist in your area if you feel like you are really struggling or if the issues resurface regularly.