The Good Life


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. 

Setting intentions

Visualization is one of those concepts that seems very hokey to me. Visualizing yourself in a certain job, at a certain size or fitness level, or achieving other goals is widely recommended in the self-help world. I remember in a training class for work having to create a vision board using cut out clips from magazines I wouldn’t be caught dead reading in the bathroom. I’ve always kept my cynicism alive when it comes to things like that.

Until now.

I have written here about all of the steps I have made towards making permanent lifestyle changes over the past year or so. And I have discovered that keeping my eye on the prize — thinking positively and setting a series of goals — has gotten me closer to where I want to be than ever before.

I sat down a few weeks back to look at all of the things I have changed in my life as part of this journey.

  • Took a pay cut to move to a much less stressful, non-management job 
  • Have achieved my goal of getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Have focused on a number of stress reduction techniques, including daily gratitude journaling, declaration of a daily affirmation, and focused breathing moments interspersed throughout the day
  • Crowding out negativity, or as I call it, crowding out the crazy. This includes people, and at times, family.
  • Focusing on the positive
  • Journaling to help process the emotional side of things
  • Being authentic. Telling my story in hopes it may help inspire someone else to make changes.
  • Reading and researching everything and anything I can about bariatric surgery and strategies to achieve long term success
  • Tracking everything and anything from food journaling and fitness. Embracing my Apple Watch as a tool for success.
  • Consistency with exercise and food
  • Focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and how they make me feel
  • Finding other ways to measure success besides the scale, meaning setting non-weight goals
  • Identifying non-food rewards for achieving goals
  • Learning that self care is not selfish
  • Finding that the more I practice Yoga, the more I like it. Really, I love it when it’s over. Such an amazing and powerful feeling of both strength and relaxation.
  • Moving every day, no matter what

That’s a lot of things to change in such a short period of time. But it’s real change. The biggest thing I noticed is that by focusing on the positive, more good things happen around me.  Is that the law of attraction? Something like that.

    Anyhow, recently, I’ve been feeling like I have a lot to share and would love to move in a direction where I could help other people going through the bariatric surgery journey too. It’s amazing how many people don’t have the resources through their programs, or get the support they need. I have been lucky to have an amazing surgeon and program, but I also did a lot of work myself. Not everyone will take that kind of initiative.

    So I have made the decision to become a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Starting May 15, I officially begin my program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. How I came to this decision is through a series of events where everything just lined up and suddenly it all made sense.  So I am setting my intentions. My goal is to work with other people to help support their own journey and goals as they go through the process of life after weight loss surgery.  So there it is. I’m setting my intentions and throwing all right out there to the universe.

    Now…I wrote this post a few weeks ago and when I went to publish, I lost it.  And I felt like it was the absolutely perfect post. It was impossible to recreate something where the words just flowed out. So let me know what you think. For my other WLS followers, I’m curious to know if you think this would be something of value. 

    Welcoming the New Year

    Welcome 2017.

    Welcome to the year where I will meet my weight loss goal.

    Welcome to the year where I will work towards being more positive, judgement free, and kinder to myself and others.

    Welcome to a year where I can continue the great habits I have put into play since my surgery.

    Welcome to a year where I don’t need a resolution because I’m just living my life and working towards making every day better than the one before; making myself a better me than I was the day before.

    Welcome to a year that I’m starting off with Kaia Fit, not because I was “bad” during the holidays, or because I ate cookies or other crap.  It’s just that the next session starts January 2.

    I will challenge myself, be brave, and power on.

    And last but not least, this will be the year I will teach myself to sew! Can you say alterations?

    Happy New Year!

    Thoughts about goal weight

    I am 15 pounds from my goal. It may take me a while, but I am so sure I will get there. 

    I have been thinking a lot about what getting to goal means. I’m really not going to change how I eat. I will never be able to go back to eating the way I did, and that doesn’t make me sad. It’s just a fact. 

    In talking to my nutritionist about my goal weight last week, I told her I was thinking about making it higher because I wasn’t sure whether 15 more pounds would be too much. 120 is still at the top of the normal range for my height at 4’11”. She said that your body finds it’s equilibrium when you continue to eat following the program. 

    I am definitely eating more. I can eat a cup of food now, although I try to keep my servings to 1/2 cup unless the extra is a salad or some other kind of raw vegetables.  I am experiencing various levels of hunger and trying to find the foods that keep my satisfied longer. 

    Basically I am not going to worry about my goal weight. I am buying clothes one size down thinking by the time I am at goal, that’s where I will be. 

    I am starting Kaia Fit on January 2 and expect that I will have good results in reducing my body fat some more. I am around 31% right now. I think 25% would be a reasonable goal. I am continuing to do my weekly measurements and seeing slow progress there too. 

    I think the key now is patience and perseverance. 

    I will continue to journal. It’s been great to go back and look at some of the things I said. Like when I ordered size 6 jeans and said they won’t fit for a while, and when they arrived in 2 weeks, they fit perfectly. 

    I will not allow myself to be driven by clothes sizes. I have a range of things from 4-8 that I am wearing. I just want t feel comfortable in my skin.

    Skin is a whole other issue. I have plenty of it. Hoping Kaia will tighten it up a bit, but I am thinking a breast lift may be in my future. Mike is saving his pennies. 

    Wishing my readers a very happy holiday season, however you celebrate. Enjoy these cute pix of me and my pups. 

    We are too cool for school. 😎
    Me and the Nugget bug.


    I’m taking a bit of a Facebook break to give myself a rest from the fallout of the election. Too many emotions are starting to stress me out. In just a day, I realize how much extra time I have when I am not constantly staring and scrolling at my phone.

    I’ve decided to branch out the blog a bit. My various incarnations of the Hello Happy Pit Bulls blog were always about much more than the Happy Pit Bulls, and this blog needs to be about more than the unraveling of my intestines.

    So let’s talk about mindfulness. The months leading up to my surgery were stressful for a lot of reasons. Still dealing with depression after losing my dad, struggling with some tough decisions at work, and feeling physically broken, I started looking for some ways to reduce my stress.  I actually took a training class at work about Stress Management and got some ideas about keeping a wellness journal to track things like sleep, moods, and physical symptoms and keeping a gratitude journal. I also started seeking some resources to help me better manage my anxiety and found a couple of podcasts I thought were helpful. One was 10% Happier with Dan Harris which talks a lot about mindfulness and meditation as the key to a happier, healthier life in interviews with famous people who practice meditation regularly. Check out the interview with the Dalai Lama. It’s awesome.

    So enter the thoughts about mindfulness.

    I started researching journaling techniques and discovered bullet journaling. Now, I am not going to be posting pictures of these beautiful habit trackers or spreads. I am not an expert doodler or hand drawn font superstar. But I did more or less follow the principles of bullet journaling. I’m using the Panda Planner.

    This planner has spots for gratitude and goal setting and planning and weekly/monthly review and daily affirmations and more. It’s really forcing me to think about things in my life, the blessings I need to acknowledge, and ways to stay positive during troubling times. I keep most work stuff separate from this because quite honestly I would be horrified if anyone from work came upon some of the crap I have written in there.

    So back to my Facebook blackout. I’ve spent my time away doing positive things like writing in my journal, searching for sources of inspiration on Pinterest and administering some self-care. It’s a wonderful feeling to be honest.

    Now we aren’t going to discuss my planner/office supply fetish. That’s for another time. But I did buy a new Panda Planner that comes with coloring book pages! Therapeutic!

    You are Fabulous!

    I was going through my Pinterest account for some inspiration for daily affirmations and gratitude and found this photo I took at the Sacramento Pride Parade. I was taking photos for the animal shelter I volunteered with, and the support of the community was overwhelming. Even tear-inducing.

    Looking at this out of context I realized this is something everyone needs to hear and remind themselves daily. I mean look at those expressions.

    We need to remember to be kind to ourselves. It’s so easy for me to doubt myself and that negative self talk sneaks in. Yesterday’s dressing room victory even had this underlying doubt. We don’t have a full length mirror at home. Not sure why. Even though I was pulling on normal sized clothes, I looked at myself in the dressing room mirror and said to my husband, “I don’t look as good as I thought I did. I have so much more to go.”

    When I came across this picture this morning, it was a message to myself.

    Part of this process is stalls. I have been floating between 142 and 143 pounds since mid October. I know it will come at some point, but that self doubt hit me this morning when the scale showed 144.2. WTF? I even ran yesterday! I know it will get harder as I get closer to my goal, but this is frustrating. What do I do? Gonna change my protein sources to lower calorie and lower fat content, add more water, and back off the intensity of my exercise and see what happens. Clearly my metabolism isn’t revved up since I am still eating 700 calories or less.

    My progress looks like this:

    I’ll just bounce around until my body or the scale decides to do something. So, thought for the day is that I am fabulous. It’s a process.