How do you feel now?

I am loving how the IIN Integrative Nutrition Health Coach program aligns perfectly with my own personal journey. I would imagine that’s the case for a lot of people. So many of the exercises and assignments are introspective and focused around personal goals and intentions, as you’ve heard. 

This week, there was a section called Simple Ways to Optimize Your Life. So many of them have become ingrained in my life already since I started making changes around this time last year in anticipation of my gastric bypass surgery. My gratitude practice is likely the one that has made the most impact. For this program, I have increased my daily gratitude acknowledgments from 3 to 5. And I’ve begun to articulate them to others, as well as in my journal. I have been particularly grateful to the coaches at Kaia Fit for helping me stay active and making modifications to workouts for my current knee situation. Just spent 20 minutes in a magnetic tube today and hope to have some answers soon about next steps for my knee. I am so fortunate to have people who look out for me. 

Another part of this section has to do with being in tune to how your body feels after eating a certain way or specific foods. This is something that came up in our weight loss surgery support group a few months back, aiming to help people connect with their emotional attachments to food. 

I feel like I have worked through my emotional eating issues since my primary cause of emotional eating was triggered by my dad. I have come to terms with so much of that since he passed, coming up on 2 years as of June 9. Heavy sigh. The fact that my appetite and cravings have been well controlled with gastric bypass is a big part of having this urge under control. But I have also practiced mindfulness in this area too. I took to heart the instructions about focusing on the taste and texture of food and listening to fullness signals after my surgery. I really do try to focus when I am eating. I enjoy my food and don’t pick anything that is just okay since I get so little of it. 

This week I have two things going on. One, I am experimenting with going more plant based in my diet. I have met some very passionate vegans who have been very helpful in identifying plant based sources of protein. I need to find a way to ensure I am absorbing sufficient nutrients because of my altered digestive system. I even asked my surgeon about it. I’m curious in general because there’s very little literature about vegan RNY patients and if I plan to be a health coach for WLS patients, I feel like I need more data. My surgeon said there is a medical grade plant based protein made by Unjury, but since the vegan diet is missing several essential amino acids, supplementation is also required in addition. 

I have been doing research about the inflammation caused by dairy and animal products and am seriously thinking I need to make some changes to see if they help with my arthritis and digestion in general.

So I signed up for Peel’d this week at Kaia, and will get soups, salads, juices, smoothies and quinoa bowls for next week. I will need to add whey protein shakes on top of that to get my recommended supplementation in, but otherwise will be trying to stick to plant based all week. I’ll be journaling throughout the process to document how I am feeling, whether inflammation and bloat are decreased, and my overall energy levels. It’s a great experiment and it ties in with my school assignments. I’ll be adding tempeh, fruits and veggies if I get too hungry. 

I am really starting to believe in the body’s capacity to heal itself if given the chance and using food as medicine. What better way to learn than through your own experience. 

So stay tuned for my food and mood report. 

The Good Life

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I just completed the first module of my first week as a student in the Health Coach Training Program through Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have to confess the whole thing is quite intimidating. There are people from all over the world, many of whom already have their own businesses up and running with perfect blogs and Instagram accounts, and clever names, and videos of them cooking perfect food in their perfect kitchen. Quite honestly, our 1974 Harvest Gold electric stove top has one working burner (yes, getting a new stove is on a really long list of things we need to do). Frequently heard in the kitchen, “Are you going to be using the burner, or can I?” Makes for some fun collaborative dinners.

This week’s assignments included working on a mind map for our big goal and an intention statement. The good thing is that I know that this program will help me refine my intention paragraph to be a bit more concise and focused, but I already know my niche – to work with other bariatric surgery patients to help support them on their journeys by sharing my experiences and knowledge. I hope to one day be able to articulately talk about so many of the concepts we’re learning.  It’s week one. I am cutting myself some slack.

One of the exercises was to find a creative outlet to document the school journey and to help process the new information we’re learning.  Hence, blog. I also have my journal, planner, and a variety of notebooks for my lists and notes and random finds.

I’ve found one person who is also interested in working with bariatric patients, and one who had a gastric bypass as well, so it’s great to be among people who know and understand and don’t judge.

Side note: I am ruminating on the power of intention this week and the law of attraction.

  1. Create daily affirmations for what you desire.
  2. Feel the emotion of having already received it.
  3. Let go and trust the universe will deliver.

There it is. Right there. I’m digging in and the universe will deliver its abundance.

I know that I am starting to say things like this and people are looking at me like I am some kind of hippy freak. But really, positivity attracts positivity. It’s true. My life has improved so dramatically with the changes I am making.

Another exercise was to think of words and feelings associated with my intentions.

The last one was to great a Good Life Jar. This entails making a list of the things that I think make a good life. So far my list includes loving, learning, relaxing, connecting, moving, and listening. Each week I will create an activity associated with each of these words so I can actively experience each one. I think this will be a fun thing to do on a weekly basis, just to stay connected to how good this life really is.

The goal is to coach myself this year. Make myself the best Marilyn, no matter how unraveled I become. The more I put into it, the more rewarding it will be.

I have embraced

The next time someone in my weight loss surgery support groups mentions how much they hate their loose skin, or their bat wings, or deflated boobs, I am going to tell them to watch the documentary Embrace

Watch the trailer here:

We have to learn to be more forgiving of our imperfections. Yes, embrace them. 

New Goal: Happy and Healthy

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I have been overweight for a long, long time. Actually since I was 11, I have been aware of my weight, on some kind of diet, with various results, only to gain it back. Bariatric surgery has changed that. I’ve been spending the last five months frustrated with being in a stall, holding fast at 135-138 since January. This week following a visit with my surgeon, we decided I’ve arrived.  I’m a good healthy weight, and with all of the exercise I have done with Kaia Fit and weight lifting, I’ve put on a good amount of muscle.  So, while my BMI of 27 still says I am overweight, I’m comfortable enough in my skin to say Fuck You, BMI!

So, I have declared my goal weight 136 and will work to maintain within a 2 pound range of that for now.

So the mindset of not trying to lose weight is completely different than how I have spent the last 40 years. Logically in my head, I know that being at goal for a bariatric patient doesn’t really mean that much. I am pretty much going to eat the same way the rest of my life. My target calories are 1000-1100, 50 grams of carbs, and 80-120 gm of protein with plenty of healthy fats. But now it’s going to get interesting. Let the games begin.

I am starting my program at Institute for Integrative Nutrition next Monday, so I have been immersing myself in learning more about how important nutrition is to overall health and about eliminating (or crowding out) toxins from my life.

This weekend I was also lucky enough to go on a tour of Nugget Market in Woodland with my Kaia Fit group. Nugget has an amazing selection of organic produce and specialty foods, so they walked us through the store pointing out where all of the ingredients for most of our cookbook recipes are.  It was awesome! We got a lot of samples and gifty type stuff to take away.

So I am learning about superfoods (and there’s so much more to learn).

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This morning I made a chia pudding with the Spectrum Warrior Vitality mix of chia seeds, maca, and cacao nibs. I mixed some pumpkin pie spice protein powder with almond milk and 2 tablespoons of this amazing stuff.  It was way more filling than my normal breakfasts and full of fiber and protein too.

I also decided to more or less follow the Kaia detox week plan of having smoothies, soups and salads this week.  I’ve been having a bit of stomach pain the past few weeks, which may be gastritis, so I’m taking carafate and omeprazole to get this under control, but also backing off on the crunchy raw vegetables for a while.  I had been adding raw red cabbage and shredded carrots to my kale salads and I think that may have been a bit much for my tiny tummy to handle. So I will be doing my green smoothies before Kaia (supergreens, almond milk, maca to replace flax I was using, frozen blueberries and protein powder), soup for lunch, and salads for dinner.  Kaia’s recipes are pretty much vegan so I will be supplementing my protein with protein powder or eggs, chicken, and string cheese. I also got some sauerkraut, which while raw, is a probiotic and should be good for gut health. I am pairing those with chicken sausages for dinners too. I’m not quite ready to go vegan, mostly because I worry about getting the protein I need from food sources and keeping my carbs low, but I am adding in some vegan foods like tempeh for some variety.

I made this Curried Cauliflower Stew out of the Kaia cookbook, which should serve 4, but for me will be 12 servings. I used all organic ingredients, and it was vegan until I added some chicken stock to thin it out a bit. I actually decided to hit it with the immersion blender which made it like a chunky puree (not photogenic, but very tasty). The carb content on this is pretty high, so the serving size is 1/2 cup, but that’s perfect for my pouch. I’m going to pair with eggs and chicken this week. I will probably end up freezing half of this since I don’t think there’s any way I can get through all of it.

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So I’m looking forward to this new life of maintenances and wrapping my head around that whole concept.  In the meantime, working towards happy and healthy, getting my stomach pain under control, and eating some nutritious and delicious detox food this week.