What is the most important thing to know as a post-op bariatric patient?

This question comes up a lot.. It’s funny because I can’t answer with just one thing. When I think about the importance … I think it’s a JOURNEY. It’s not one thing, it’s everything. 

So, for today, I decided to sum up some of the most important things that I see as a clinician and as a patient for the post-op bariatric process. If any of this resonates, leave me a comment below.

1. Slow and steady repeat action beats one-day hustles. When you're not this journey.. it's not about doing something huge or awesome ONCE.. it's about creating little baby habits that over time create your lasting lifestyle change.

2. Back to basics is always important when you hit a stall

3. Release the judgment of yourself.. that won't change anything.. you've likely been doing that all along even before surgery and how has that worked out? Instead ask how you can be more loving, kind, supportive, etc.

4. Food is 80%, Exercise is 20% - you can't exercise away bad food choices. Just remember that you can always 'begin again' after a mistake.

5. You are totally fooling yourself if you think mistakes WON'T happen or that you WON'T cave to a poor food choice EVER.. the goal is to get better at making better choices not to live from a perfectionistic state. Reality: mistakes, missteps, and oopsies happen.. pick yourself up.. dust yourself off and redirect back to the path you want to BE on.

6. Repeat of #3.. beating yourself up doesn't help you get farther along in your journey. In fact, it may cause you to eat out of spite because you may not be able to deal with all the negative emotions thrown onto the pile.. Remember kindness, love, compassion, and patience (along with success).. is a practice.. it's not a destination..

7. Your old tribe may not get you.. and that's okay. Find your tribe.. there is a saying.. "if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together." - African Proverb In reality, if you go alone, you may get somewhere fast, but you might soon go back to your old ways due to loneliness, boredom, and a welling up of emotions.. Find your tribe, love them hard, and be involved. This is your journey.. live it fully and bring peeps along for the ride.

8. Feeling is inevitable.. if you try to continue to stuff down the feelings.. you'll end up with transfer addiction or other poor habits. Start looking deeper into what you are trying to avoid.. and when you look at it, deal with it, and release it.. you'll grow into the person you've always be longing to be..

9. Put yourself first.. if you continue to put everyone else first, you'll wonder why you aren't getting anywhere. It's not about the time, but the energy and effort you put in.. if you are too busy helping others, you'll forget about yourself and this whole process will be for nothing.

10. This journey is not about the weight but all the things you haven't been able to be, do, or have as a result of the weight.. and when you recognize that life is more than food and weight loss, you'll open yourself up to a new way of living and being.. This is why I'll ask so often, 'what do you want?' it's because once you've walked this journey and dug deep inside, the weight is only a byproduct of the work you've done, and you GET to live the life you've always wanted to live because you being to take a CHANCE on you, you begin to BELIEVE in you, your dreams, and the pure potentiality that you never saw before..

As a reminder this is a lifestyle change.

Share your thoughts below. What has this journey been like for you?

Also, if you haven’t yet, remember to join our group on Facebook.

What does freedom look like?

Last week, I shared a post all about FREEDOM.

This week, I think it’s important to discuss FREEDOM from judgment, criticism and those in our lives who persist with criticism and judgment of our choices, of who we are, of how or why we’ve decided to change our lives, etc.

Sometimes we can still feel bogged down by the pain or it might be even more present now that we’ve lost the weight. I’ve realized how much more I feel pain now that my “cushion” or “fat shield” is gone, and so dealing with painful feelings of judgment and criticism can cause me to turn my attention back to food, and this is where I stop and use my mindset tools before putting anything in my mouth!

Today I’m actually going to share a livestream I did on my Facebook page about my own struggles with this and how after surgery, I still struggle with turning to food to soothe. Although the triggers are still there, I’ve worked on my #mindset enough that I am able to stop myself before eating my feelings. 

Check out what I have to say and come on over to my group Bariatric Mindset Mavens to share your thoughts and feelings!

Watch Here!

Also, we’ll be releasing the Online Live Emotional Eating Group Program at the end of the month as well as the Emotional Eating DIY Online Digital course which you can access from anywhere. If you want to be on the waiting list for either of these, send me an email at kristin@bariatricmindset.com 

Also, remember on this journey, you are not alone and it’s through the consistent mindset shifts and breakthroughs that you gain knowledge, power, and resilience in yourself.

Let Freedom Ring

Freedom!

You are on this journey for a reason and although you may not have originally thought of FREEDOM as a word to describe your journey or your process, it is definitely part of your outcome.

I know that you started this process because you wanted more choices in your life,  FREEDOM from obesity, and all that comes with.

In my own struggle with obesity, I’ve seen my weight and obesity as a prison in which I felt trapped. I remember when it was a struggle to walk outside, to move around, and I remember feeling unable to take care of myself, let alone my family. My own issues with obesity left me feeling powerless and constantly overwhelmed. When I began on this journey through and beyond bariatric surgery, it was in an attempt to get my life back and now nearly 5 years later, it is still a process through the mindset shifts.

Today, my life is completely different, and I believe that is largely due to bariatric mindset shifts which have helped me to succeed in the long-term.

This time of year, can be tough though. Summer time is when people are going on vacation and quick eats can be problematic. Whether you are in the U.S. celebrating the 4th of July or on holiday somewhere, the celebratory get-togethers typically include food and alcohol. For the bariatric patient, both alcohol and overeating can be dangerous. Alcohol, while in moderation can be fine, however, it packs a punch with regard to calories and as a bariatric post-op , your blood alcohol levels get impacted more rapidly and for a longer period of time.

So today and for the rest of summer, consciously decide what’s best for you as you let loose for fun in the sun.

Let me also be clear….. Food is not the enemy, nor is it your friend.

Food is how we nourish ourselves and that is why food is usually at every celebration, because it is used to celebrate abundance, togetherness and joy. However, the OLD you at events might have been on a diet, or feeling the need to splurge or go overboard with foods that are not healthy and more restricting of your life than offering freedom.

As you’ve entered this new phase of your life, the FREEDOM SEEKING YOU is ready for a change.

The old mindset might tell you to indulge,  while your new bariatric mindset helps you to refocus your attention on your plan of protein first, staying hydrated, and getting in some daily movement.

The honest to goodness truth is you can have delicious food, nourish your body and have a good time as a post-op. It’s all about reframing your attention to what you WANT versus what you DON’T WANT.

Meaning, if you are choosing to make this is a lifestyle change, then it’s essential to install healthy habits even on holidays to help you stay in the game. And, if you know that eating one chip will lead to eating more, then it’s probably best to bypass the chips.

Likewise, if you can make a dish that tickles your taste buds, fulfills you and is on your plan, then you are doing great!

For today and the rest of the summer, I want to share some journal prompts for you to work through this summer. You may be tempted or triggered and I believe these will help you as you aim to stay on track through the summer and beyond.

Journal Prompts:

  • What does FREEDOM mean for me in my post-op bariatric life? What does FREEDOM from obesity feel like?
  • How can I celebrate FREEDOM in my new bariatric body?
  • When I sit down to eat, how can I honor my desire for FREEDOM? (Or.. when I eat, am I honoring my desire for FREEDOM?)
  • What is the outcome if I don’t honor my desire for FREEDOM?
  • I hope these journaling prompts help you in being more conscious and reprogramming the old autopilot thinking.

    Write them in your journal or in a notebook where you can keep further entries on your progress to success. Also, if you want to share something that you’ve gained from these prompts, head on over to the Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/bariatricmindset and tag us in your post.

Stay on track! Plan and Prep weekly meals with Food Storage containers

Hi Everyone!!

Happy #Backontrack Sunday! How are you all doing today? Are you ready for the week? 

This is my #backontrack post for today!! I got these to go boxes from Amazon that help with portions and separating food. I made rotisserie chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans with cauliflower. I made 3 for dinners this week. When I'm at the office, my husband takes my son out, or they eat together. My husband is a vegetarian and we eat VERY differently. I must have #protein as #priority, while my husband and son can eat bread, pasta, couscous, and carbs for days and be totally thin. The nerve of them, right? 

Since I know what my #sleeve and #bariatric body needs, I plan for it. This helps me stay the course, and remain successful in my journey and I wanted to share it with you. 

This is planning at its best. This helps me avoid fast food, avoid poor choices and I'm getting my protein, veggies and good carbs.

Planing and priotizing is essential for for your long term success. When we leave choices for our "tired" brains at the end of the day, we may experience regret later because we were caught In a weak moment. Set yourself up for success by planning in advance!!

These are kind of like bento boxes, but reusable, microwavable, BPA free and you can freeze and store food. They are amazing!! 

#backontrack #stayontrack #sundaysuccess

Get your own containers here on Amazon: 

foodprep.jpg

 

Get your own containers here on Amazon: 

 

**please note this is an affiliate link and I may receive compensation for sharing this with you**

H2O - does a body good. Are you getting enough?

 

11/10/2014

They tell you before WLS/bariatric surgery about the importance of water in your diet. They tell you this again after surgery when they give you fluids in post-op. They tell you in the support groups. They tell you at the doctor’s office. They tell you every time they get a chance. But, they should as this can impact overall health and hydration - not to mention weight loss. 

Water is important for everyone - not just bariatric surgery patients. However, while they tell you that you need water, what might not be said is “water helps you lose weight”. Also, due to the smaller size of the stomach or due to the size of the pouch created for Roux-en-Y patients, water is not as easy to guzzle as it was before. 

 

Yes, water - good ole H2O can help you lose the weight. WLS (weight loss surgery) patients need just as much water as before (at least 64oz a day) but the only different now is that it requires a conscious effort to fit it in your daily plan. 

After my WLS, I struggled a little with drinking plain water. So I made sure that I put a little flavoring (sugar free of course) in my water. I used powerade flavored water mix, crystal light, true lemon, true lime (with stevia) and other liquid flavored drops. I didn’t like my water too sweet so I would make it very diluted just enough to get a taste but not so much that I would gag from the sweetness. 

This helped me for the first 9 months. After that I started to drink plain water again and did not gag. That was really wonderful! I had missed plain water and the ability to drink it without flavoring. 

Everyone is different and experiences vary. I had to do what was best for me to ensure that I drank my required amount of water every day. In the beginning, I even made sure that I had a timer set every couple hours which really helped - It would say, “Are you thirsty? Time to drink some water!" 

I believe all of us (even those who have not had bariatric/WLS surgery) have trouble with drinking enough water. Therefore making it a priority and a daily habit is a good way to ensure long-term that you are getting in the H2O. 

How much water have you had to drink today?

What habits do you use to ensure you are drinking at least 64oz a day? 

Happy Sipping… 

Love and light,

Kristin 

Hair loss after bariatric surgery - not a myth!

10/31/2014

Hair loss after bariatric surgery - not a myth!

I don’t know why I ignored the possibility of this before surgery, but I did. I saw the “thin” me in my visualizations and ignored all the possible negative things that “could” happen as a result. Maybe this is because I like to think of myself as a positive person and try to avoid the negative self-talk.

Anyway, the thought of hair loss and what that would mean for me just did not enter into my decision whether to have surgery or not and I guess I figured I would take things as they came. I did not really start losing hair until at least 4-6 months after my surgery. Then it was coming out in clumps! It was awful. I contacted my surgical center/physician’s office of course and they suggested I up my protein and make sure that I took my vitamins.

Check and check!

Getting in the protein in the beginning was a process but by today (at about 1 year post-op), I am getting in about 100 grams of protein in a day. I got my labs done which showed I was right where I needed to be with my vitamins and my protein also looked good. So what was/is the issue? I saw my hair stylist next. She suggested biotin and after consulting again with my physician, it turns out I can have up to 10,000 mcg of biotin a day.

Awesome!

So I put that on my daily routine and moved along. The hair was still coming out and my pony tail was beginning to look like a rat tail, no joke! My hairstylist even joked that I might not be able to get my hair highlighted because of the damage it could potentially cause to the rest of my hair (what little left I had!!). I then ended up getting a hair, skin and nails vitamin to help with the hair loss. (Check out my next post on vitamins as well).

My hairstylist then suggested I try Nioxin which is a shampoo/conditioner product used for thinning hair. I have since switched to Bosley Medical products and will submit an update when I can effectively say whether I can tell a difference in the products. Nioxin made my hair super frizzy and I typically looked like I stuck my finger in a light socket. No bueno! I am hoping the Bosley Medical products are more about helping new hair growth instead of making the existing hair frizz (giving it more “body”).

Also, I am switching up proteins. I love my premier protein (ready made) shakes in the morning but have started using more Unjury which claims to have more benefits with regards to hair regrowth and to be a “better quality protein”. I will examine this as well and see if there is much difference since I’ve made the switch. I’m doing anything and all that I can to influence and promote new, healthy hair growth. I never thought about the psychological effects of my changing image especially the aspect of hair loss. My body is looking great and I am continuing to lose at a slow and steady pace.

However, when I see how horrible my hair looks I do get a bit sad that I am not looking a fantastic as I expected. So I have been working on this from within to be patient and gentle with myself about my own thoughts of perfectionism and how things “should” be versus how they are. Also, I recently decided to get a hair cut to chop off the rat’s tail and I welcomed a bob-cut. I have never liked myself with short hair but I welcomed the change to inspire my own self-confidence and to promote new healthy hair growth.

Since having it done, I like it much more than the rat’s tail and feel that I look much better (even with short hair) and am excited for the change. Sometimes we have to see things differently, in order for our perspective to change and to accept what is. So instead of being down and out about the rat’s tail, I cut it off and took control of a new look making myself feel better.

I hope this post inspires you to make positive changes and to see things differently as I have. Also, check out my before and after looks below. Also for those of you who would like to know more about hair loss after bariatric surgery, the causes and other remedies, please check out this article found in the Bariatric Times online magazine.

Happy Reading!

http://bariatrictimes.com/hair-loss-among-bariatric-surgery-patients/ 

With love and light!

Kristin

oh FitBit, how I love thee...

I should be a spokesperson for Fitbit. I am not but I should be. Why, you may ask? It is because I sing the praises of how using Fitbit helped me to reach my weight loss goals and continues to help me reach my weight loss goals. About a year ago I decided it as time to stop wasting time being fat. At 378lbs I was miserable. Moving was difficult. I was always tired to the point of exhaustion. My knees hurt and I despised walking or any type of exercise. Before I had VSG surgery, I had to make some changes. It started with getting a Fitbit. 
 

Following my initial visit with my doctor they notified me that my BMI was too high to have surgery as an outpatient procedure. I could have the procedure done in the hospital for an extra fee which was way over my budget. So in order to get the surgery done in the center I had to lose 35lbs fast to meet the BMI requirement.

I was scared and nervous but I was hopeful. I quickly implemented the pre-VSG diet plan which consisted of 1200 calories a day and no more than 40 grams of carbs per day. I still ate what I liked but I cut out as many carbs as I could and increased my protein intake. But more of those details I’ll save for another post. This post is about how I used my FitBit to my advantage.

My husband told me not to get it and that it would be a waste of money. Over one year later and my FitBit is still by my side and one of the most motivating tools I use to date. He has since taken back that comment and early this year he even bought one for himself and now we compete on how many steps we can do in a day. It has become a family affair!

However, back when I was trying to lose those 35lbs before surgery, I needed to move to burn those calories. My knees hurt and I was in pain, but I walked and I used the Fitbit to help me keep track of my steps. Instead of walking outside on the pavement, I walked inside. I was not ready for the gym so I literally walked in my basement back and forth, back and forth and worked my way from 5,000 steps a day to 7,500 steps a day. Also, I exceeded my goal and by the date of my surgery I had lost 38lbs!!

My point here is to start small and do what you can do for you. I walked inside on the carpet because that was the best way for me to take care of my knees while also getting the walking exercise in. I was not ready for the gym and I was not ready for the pavement. My body at that time was still too heavy and I had to do what worked for me. I had to work past the excuses of not exercising and find a way to get it done. My Fitbit helped me keep track of my daily step goals, how many flights of stairs I climbed, how many calories I burned and helped me keep track of the pounds lost.

Maybe a Fitbit is not for everyone and everyone has their favorite tools, but for me it was about starting simply and finding a way to keep myself accountable to my goals and keeping myself on track. That is what Fitbit has done for me.

Oh Fitbit, how I love thee!!

With love and light,

Kristin

When You Travel Abroad... Don't Forget Your Protein!

9/26/2014

When you travel abroad, don’t forget your protein!

I have been gone for a month. Have you missed me? I planned to write some posts before I left but sadly, I ran out of time. I wanted to make a post about this before I left. I was meaning to, but I didn’t. I just ran out of time because of all the packing. So much packing! Now I’m back, relieved from jet leg and getting pack to posting. Yay!

For me traveling with protein is critical. My family and I went on a trip overseas a few weeks ago and we had a wonderful time. However, now that I am part of the Gastric Sleeve club (and proud of it!), I need to always have protein on hand and take some powders with me to supplement my diet.

Protein for gastric sleevers and all gastric surgery patients is part of life. Some people might disagree and that is okay, but for me, protein powder is for life. I do not see how I could otherwise get in 100g of protein a day unless I chomped on chicken breast all day and that is just not appetizing. So, I choose to use the protein powders for shakes. Sometimes I choose protein bars as well but many of the bars that I have found have too many added sugars and carbohydrates. So when traveling overseas, I generally just pack the powders for easy transport.

On this trip I ended up taking 15 packets of Unjury unflavored protein (20g per packet)  which I would use to sprinkle on my food or to add into yogurt or to transform my ice coffees into a meal.

I also chose to bring along the Celebrate brand (25g of protein per packet) of vanilla cake batter, chocolate milk, and strawberry to make shakes. Of these I took about 30 packets total. I always use milk (my choice), but I have used water as well. The directions say to use water, but if I can find skim milk, I’ll use that for the extra 8g of protein it provides. Both water and milk mix with the powder well. Another point though is that I tend to not use a shaker/blender bottle unless I am in the airport or in a place where I cannot get a blender/mixer. I like the consistency of the shake better when it is well mixed (in a blender). When we were overseas I made sure that my husband found me a mixer/blender to make my shakes and I was set! Hooray!

The blender bottles are okay but do not give me the creaminess that I like and which I get from a mixer or blender. But if all I have is the shaker bottle, it does get the job done!

I chose to take the celebrate vitamins brand with me because when I am traveling, I am horrible at remembering to take my vitamins. These have a multivitamin in the powder and also supplement with calcium -which is awesome! I always take my vitamins in my bag but many times when traveling and on vacation, I just simply forget to take them. Using celebrate vitamins protein powder packets when traveling gives me the added bonus of not having to remember my vitamins because it is built into the protein powder and also ensures I get my vitamins when I do forget to take them.

When traveling, always remember to take your protein to help you stay on track with your weight loss and maintenance. I know that these packets have helped me stay on track and even lose while I was on vacation.

It is important for you to choose powders and proteins that taste good to you and that you will use. I’ve been through many powders and shakes and I frequently switch up my protein powders so I don’t get bored with them. These just happen to be two of my favorites.

For more information about these supplements, please visit:

www.unjury.com

www.celebratevitamins.com

With love and light,

Kristin 

My Super Duper Healthy Low-sugar & Good for you Yogurt Dream Treat!

 

9/26/2014

My Super Duper Healthy Low-sugar & Good for you Yogurt Dream Treat!

I love yogurt. Yogurt is good for you and has many advantages if you buy the right kind. Also, it is loaded with the good for you probiotics and Greek yogurt is loaded with protein. But, when you buy the ready made yogurt with fruit already in it, it is loaded with added sugars that most of us just do not need! Also, after having the gastric sleeve surgery, I was instructed by my surgical team to watch my carbs and increase my protein intake. So I am constantly looking for ways to eat yummy foods while also getting in the protein and also watching those pesky sugars! 

So, I have created a good for you recipe of yogurt and fruit that is high in protein without the added sugar. Fresh fruit is good for the body while processed fruits can give us the added sugars that we just don’t need. Also, finding a yogurt that is high in protein and plain gives all the benefits of a healthy food choice without the guilt. 

For this recipe, you can use almost any fruit you like. I chose fresh raspberries because #1, they were on sale, and #2 they are my fave!

Also, for added sweetness and a little kick I add Truvia and some vanilla extract.

So what is in my awesome yogurt dream treat? 

4 ingredients

Fruit of your choice (I chose raspberries) - use as little or as many as you like.

Fage 0% yogurt -(I used the 17.6 oz container this time) which is packed with 23g of protein per cup! (and only 9 grams of carbs per cup)

Truvia (sugar free/ zero calorie sweetener)

1 tsp vanilla extract

I typically will make the whole container and then scoop out what I want. This also makes it easier to scoop out servings when you want it without waiting.

For this treat, I made the batch of yogurt mixing in the Truvia and the vanilla - mixing it with a spoon and then scooped out ¾ of a cup of the yogurt mixture and topped it with the fresh berries. If you want more Truvia for sweetness on the berries, go for it. It is all about taste and what you like.

For the whole 17.6 oz container, I just used 4 packets of Truvia and this was sweet enough for me. After I made this batch, I gave some to my diabetic father who told me it tasted like whipped cream. How is that for a raving review?!?! 

I hope everyone enjoys this good for you recipe!

With love and light,

Kristin :)

Got a salty/crunchy craving but still need protein? Give these a try.

 

8/26/2014

So every once in a while - (okay, a few times a month), I get a salty/crunchy food craving. Cravings are normal but what we do with them is important. For the psychological side, I tend to ask myself the following: “Does it have protein? Does it have enough protein? Is it going to benefit my goals (protein or otherwise), and is it healthy?"  If these answers are no, I think twice before putting it in my mouth.

I sometimes will go for popcorn but feel guilty because I want to get my protein in. Protein comes first, right? So this is a way to get that crunchy snack while also getting in some protein. I am definitely not advocating this as a "go-to” food or an everyday food. I do think this can be a healthy crunchy snack for those days when you want something crunchy and salty. I would love some other feedback on those who have tried this. I just shared this in my surgery group and have heard positive reviews. Therefore, I think this can be a good supplemental “protein” snack. Also, did I mention it is gluten-free?? Check out the nutritional facts below. They also come in Sea Salt, Sour Cream and Onion, and Barbecue.

http://www.simply7snacks.com/quinoa-chips-sea-salt/?gclid=CO-vkZ6bssACFQQQ7AodumcAbA

Happy Munching!!

With love and light,

Kristin :)