New Goal: Happy and Healthy


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).


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.


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.

Allow for Learning

img_6175To be a rule follower, you have to know all the rules. But when you think you are a rule follower and you find out that you didn’t have the right rules — that’s a little unsettling.

So I am 8 months out from my gastric bypass and I’ve had some great successes. On Friday, I attended a Stage IV Nutrition class taught by my surgeon. The people in the class were generally pretty far along, probably ranging from a 4-5 months to a year plus out from surgery. She just started this class up and I guess it’s in high demand. It was scheduled for me for March back in December.

The doctor talked about hunger at 6 months out, and exercise, and how at this point if we aren’t losing as fast as we want to it has to be something in our diets.  She said you had to take a hard look at what you are eating. I consider myself to be rule following, so I figured I had the food part all dialed in: 60-80 grams of protein from supplement, 3 small meals and a snack. I have typically been doing a protein shake (or coffee) before Kaia, one afterwards, breakfast between 9:30-10, lunch around 1 or 2; an afternoon snack most days, and then dinner, followed by a shake  or protein bar at night.

The class was pretty interactive so I explained how since I started working out more intensely, I haven’t lost any weight. I acknowledged some of that has to be muscle, but my doctor knows my history and my sluggish metabolism.  She asked me how many calories I was eating, and I responded 900-1100. And she asked me about carbs, and I said I basically don’t eat any.  She told me to keep doing what I am doing and eventually my body will adjust.  Considering I really only have 7-9 more pounds to lose (depending on the day since I am bouncing around in a 3 pound range), I try not to let it bother me.

Another patient commented that she wasn’t losing as fast as she wanted to (which I am sure I rolled my eyes at her 2 week stall since I’ve been stalled since December). The response that I heard was overwhelmingly shocking.

My doctor recommended for people who were stuck to follow some different rules.

Protein Shake Quality

First, breakfast should be a big, dense shake. She recommended using Bariatric Advantage shakes because they have added fiber and are pretty thick. She made a comment about commercial protein not being good enough for us and asked what kind of protein everyone was using. Now—there’s a list of recommended protein in the materials that she give out.  She really recommends Unjury protein since it’s medical grade and it’s recommended especially for gastric bypass patients.  I bought some in the beginning, but when I discovered other flavors by Bariatric Eating, Cafe Bella in particular, I gave up on that plain jane stuff.  When I said Inspire, she said, that’s not that good I was surprised! I have been having monthly meetings with the nutritionist and she made it sound like that was a great choice. The doctor said that we can’t expect good results with protein from Walmart or Costco (referring to Premier protein most likely, which it seems like the majority of bariatric patients favor.  The other one I use a lot is Nectar, which she said was fine.

I was in a state of disbelief though because I have a cabinet full of Inspire protein. I even went on a monthly delivery cycle to make sure I didn’t run out of Cafe Bella — my go to protein for coffee. I kept thinking how am I going to use up all that protein!  She suggested adding unflavored Unjury to it and I’d be okay.

She also suggested adding more fiber to the first shake of the day to make it more satisfying. She recommended adding flaxseed (which I have done) or chia seeds to bulk it up, as well as using extra protein.

She brought out some samples of Bariatric Advantage chocolate which was so thick — made in almond milk.  Their protein has a weird aftertaste, which somehow I have become accustomed to, as I also have a bag of Bariatric Advantage cookies & cream which I actually really like, even though it tastes nothing like an Oreo.

So my head is turning thinking about whether I needed to buy some more protein while I was there or just wait until I used the rest of the other stuff up.

Beware of Bars

She talked about the protein bars she approves of, since they are whey protein and good for gastric bypass patients. Quest Bars, Think Thin (which I have several boxes of in the protein cabinet) and Pure Protein (the ones you can get from Costc0). She warned for those of us with slowing weight loss, that bars have a lot of other stuff in them besides the protein and are a lot more calories than the bariatric shakes, which typically have about 100-150. So since starting Kaia, I have been using bars as a protein supplement, particularly during the day because of their convenience. My takeaway from the class — stop this.

Limit to 2 Meals a Day

Next earth shattering recommendation: 2 meals a day, and only one of them should have complex carbs. And by complex carbs, she is talking low glycemic fruit and vegetables.  Not potatoes, rice, bread, etc. Which is fine, since I don’t eat any of that stuff.

Next shocker: you can have as much lettuce, spinach, or kale as we can hold. I miss big salads and I had no idea I didn’t need to count greens in my food portion sizes.  So as long as protein is going in first, I can get my fill afterwards with greens. This is helpful as I am getting hungrier, especially after working out.

So lunch and dinner should be protein focused. Got it.

End the Day with a Protein Shake

About an hour before bedtime, have another shake to keep the metabolism fed at night. I kind of knew about that, although was probably having other snacks more often at night, so this is a big deal too.

I need rules — and it’s uncomfortable when the rules aren’t cut and dry. So after hearing loud and clearly, 2 shakes, 2 meals — she added that if we’re working out we can have snacks. Like string cheese or almonds. So to me, that’s outside of 2 shakes and 2 meals. Now I am confused again.

So today was my first day trying this approach. I think I need to have 3 shakes to get enough protein to fuel my workouts, particularly since I am going from basically 3 meals and a snackish meal plus 2-3 shakes. I’m going to double up on protein in my morning shake and added chia seeds this morning.  Nice and thick. I was still a little hungry, and I didn’t have a strenuous workout today, but it was manageable.

Let’s see if this will be the thing to kick my weight loss into high gear.

Food Prepping

In an effort to get ready for this new way of life, here’s my food prep activities for the week.

  1. Cooked a few pounds of chicken thighs, portioned out into 3 oz. portions
  2. Cooked a batch of farro. I’ll be added 2 tablespoons to salads once a day to add some more bulk, protein and fiber. This is an experiment. I usually don’t do well with these types of carbs, but I want to see if adding a little will help with my workouts and hunger.
  3. Prepped a bunch of kale so it’s clean, torn into little bits, and ready to be thrown into salads or smoothies.
  4. Made some home made lemon-tahini dressing. I couldn’t find the official recipe, but did this and it came out okay. Whisk all ingredients together in a mason jar and refrigerate.
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons warm water
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 tablespoons of bragg’s liquid aminos
    • fresh ground black pepper
    • sea salt
  5. Made a salad from kale, red cabbage, sliced peppers, diced chicken, 2 tablespoons of farro, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Yum! And filling.

So we’ll see how this goes. If nothing else, I know what I will be eating all week!

But What is This Post About Really?

This will never be easy. Even though I had surgery, genetics, metabolism, and my own history with obesity are playing against me. I have to work harder than most of the weight loss surgery patients I have gotten to know. According to the doctor, my metabolism may not ever even improve, although my best bet is to continue to build muscle. And sharing this information may be helpful to someone in the same boat, which is why I started sharing my story in the first place.

I promise to report back on how well this pays off!


Educate yourself

When I was preparing for surgery, I did a ton of research using resources provided to me by my surgeon, and my friend, Google. One of the best resources I found is the Weight Loss Surgery Podcast hosted by Family Nurse Practitioner Reeger Cortell. I listened to almost every episode available before my surgery, and it gave me great foundational information about nutrition, lifestyle changes, vitamins, current research regarding obesity, and interviews with a variety of guests ranging from bariatric patients to surgeons. I continue to listen to every subsequent podcast, as I find it reassuring that my experience is normal (whatever that is).

Reeger just published the latest podcast which is her Bariatric Surgery Seminar which she gives at her practice. It’s geared for people who considering surgery and spouses of people who want to understand more about the surgery.  There is a lot of great information, presented in a straightforward manner. Science made simple about things like set point, causes of obesity and the changes that happen with bariatric surgery.  It’s long, but I highly recommend listening to it if you are pre-surgery, and even if you are post surgery.

I realized while listening that I got a lot of my ideas about transformation from Reeger.  Taking care of body, mind, and spirit. My rituals include daily gratitude log, identifying a daily affirmation, journaling all my food and exercise, and of course my social media stuff is focused on self improvement or self awareness too. Positivity is key, and removing negativity and negative people has been critical for enabling transformation. 

Listen, enjoy, and let me know what you think!



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.

Weekend Warrior

This weekend has been quite eventful! I really look forward to doing absolutely nothing on the weekends but that’s not always in the cards. 

Friday I came home to my first shipment from My Bariatric Box. As my niece said on Facebook, there’s a box for everything. This is a great way to try products that are formulated for Bariatric patients and the low carb high protein lifestyle. Have only tried the cappuccino Nectar protein so far. It was good, but not good enough to warrant a 2 pound tub. This will be a great way to experiment. 

Saturday was a little lazy in the morning but I got Mike up and around to take me to Davis to visit Fleet Feet Davis. My 140 pound goal was to get a new sports bra. I am starting back up with Kaia Fit Woodland after the first of the year and my sports bras are way to big for high impact stuff. My regular bra size has gone from 38DD to 36C which is quite exciting. Had a bra fitting and ended up with a 34D Moving Comfort Juno bra which is one of my favorite. All I can say is I am really going to need a breast lift when I hit my goal weight. 

I also wanted to go to the Gap to try on some jeans. I had ordered some size 6 jeans several weeks back, but with the holidays, everything was delayed. 

I grabbed a few pairs in size 27 and 28 (where did these new sizes come from?). 

So the 27 fit me better than the 28 and I walked out with a new pair of jeans and these size S crazy leggings. 

Got out to the car and looked up the Gap sizes. Those pants were a size 4!!!! I have to say I got a little teary right there in the Gap, which Mike encouraged me to wait until we got through checkout. I was crying when I thought they were size 6!  

I really thought the surgery was not going to work for me. A few weeks back I thought I was done losing. I was bouncing back and forth between 138-140 since Thanksgiving. As of this morning, I am 136. Still unfathomable in my brain. 

So I decided to spend Sunday in my jammies. My new striped jammies! I woke up and got all the laundry done including a bunch of hand wash sweaters (ugh). 

I got adventurous and made this recipe for cauliflower kugel bites. I was originally looking for latke recipes on Pinterest but zeroed in on this one. 

I made them in little snow leopard cupcake liners for easy cleanup. They came out pretty good! I was going to make lentil curry too but I had too much food to finish up I figured I would hold off for now. My food prep also included cutting up some strawberries. I’ve been craving fresh fruit and veggies lately and I don’t get to eat a lot. Yogurt and strawberries on the menu for breakfasts this week!

My list of blog posts I need to write is growing, but I figured summing up my amazingly productive and happiness generating weekend would give me some momentum going into the holidays. Let’s hope!

151 Days

151 Days. That’s how long it took. For what? For me to really find out how much my stomach can hold. 

I’ve definitely felt full before — got that tight feeling in the middle of my chest, then stopped eating to let it pass. Some food goes down easier but some takes time. Might be a texture thing. Might be just the mood of my bicycleta (the South Park-inspired name for my pouch). My bicycleta was feeling angry I think. 

Last night I decided to make a big batch of roasted Brussels sprouts to have with leftover crockpot chicken that Mike made. We had the chicken Friday and it was awesome. Chicken thighs with fresh rosemary and thyme. Very tender. Didn’t anticipate any issues. 

I noticed that full feeling halfway through my leftover meal. Did half of the chicken first (protein first rule), then had a few Brussels sprouts. Felt immediately full. I stopped. Waiting for it to pass. I sat at the table making pained sounds for about 15 minutes while Mike made his dinner. It was hurting more and more. Waited some more. Decided to pack the rest into a container, then I realized just how big the portion was. I figured the Brussels would be okay…maybe they were denser than I thought. (Note to self: yes, you are good at ball parking portions, but stop that now!)

I set my 30 minute timer to wait before liquids, thinking I could make some peppermint tea and that would help. Skip ahead 45 minutes. As I went to make the tea, the felt a familiar feeling. I was sure I was going to hurl. I stood over the sink and that feeling passed. I went into the living room to watch TV and another 30 minutes later, I made a mad dash to the bathroom and threw up for the first time since surgery. It was scary because I don’t actually know where my stomach is and how that would work since it’s like a straight path through to the intestines. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s pretty much what you might expect. I definitely felt better afterwards. Came back to the living room and after a little while, I took a sip of tea and made the mad dash to the bathroom again and this time barely made it. The tea I drank came out first but I think I expelled whatever was causing my distress the 2nd time around. 

Not sure what the heck happened. Could be the reheated chicken had too much of a texture change, or the volume of food. One thing I know for sure is that I do not want that to happen again.

Today’s going to be a protein-yogurt-soup kind of day, just to give my bicycleta a break. 

Again, another example of me thinking something would never happen to me. Another lesson learned. Good times. 

Tales from the NUT

It drives me nuts that all my of my weight loss surgery forums use abbreviations. I’m still a little old school that way. When texting became a thing and people were substituting 2 for “to” and 4 for “for” and U for “you” — it was a pet peeve. So of course now I start doing it. 

NUT = nutritionist

WLS = weight loss surgery

RNY = roux en y (gastric bypass)

NSV = non-scale victory

There’s a bunch of others, but I digress. Back to the NUT. 

In my last post I talked about going to see the nutritionist and going to support group. Apparently support group is cancelled for November and December, honestly the time where patients probably need it most! And that was one of the things on my mind for my visit. How the heck do you do Thanksgiving?

Here’s what I got out of my visit:

  • I talked about my new found hunger and tracking that I am more hungry on running days. Found out I could have increased my portions to 1/2 cup a while ago. And I can have snacks if I am hungry. See…rulefollower strikes again! The book says do not advance past 1/4 cup until being directed to do so. And it also says 1/4 cup should satisfy you up to six months without snacking. So I didn’t snack. 
  • Thanksgiving. It’s basically the same rules. Protein first, then vegetable. My plan is turkey and Brussels sprouts. That should be fine. And I might bring a sugar free desert (pumpkin cheesecake or crustless pumpkin pie). I am NOT a baker so I may need to call in my wonderful husband for help. Growing up with a diabetic mom pretty much guarantees not learning how to bake for realz. 
  • I talked about my goal weight. I am still shooting for 120 but I told her I want to see what that looks like. I don’t want to look sickly. And I don’t want to set something I won’t be able to maintain. It’s not that far out of reach and it blows my mind. 

So…I left there knowing I could eat more food and I could eat more often if needed. 

And you know what happened?

This did! The next chapter: 130s.

Pardon the lack of pedicure. Since I added more food, I’ve budged the scale. 

The other thing is that now that I know I can have more food, I am less hungry. There really is an off-switch with a tiny stomach. You just have to listen to it. 

We are expecting that goal for me will happen around February at this rate. I am doing about a pound or so a week most weeks. 

Next month I get my vitamin levels checked and in January I get to see the doctor again for my 6 month visit. 

So there you have it…tales from the NUT. 

Let them eat cake

So now that I have made myself an open book regarding gastric bypass, I have to say I have had nothing but positive feedback. But there are people who don’t quite understand this simple fact: this surgery is not a cure for obesity. I still have to fight that demon every day. 

“So you can’t have cake? Not even a bite? Note even once in a while?”

The super short answer is no. I cannot. 

I chose gastric bypass over gastric sleeve specifially as a deterrent for eating crap that is too sweet or too heavy. Everything in moderation does not work for me. It will not ever work for me. My metabolism is broken and I don’t expect it to get fixed. 

However, there are tons of recipes on Pinterest for various bariatric friendly versions of pretty much anything. I am debating making a crustless pumpkin pie custard thing for Thanksgiving in fact. 

This week I made a recipe called Egg Roll in a Bowl. It’s super easy…basically ground chicken cooked with a bag of coleslaw mix, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. I tend to adapt my Pinterest finds a bit. 

So I am not deprived. I put a lot of work into make by my tiny little meals tasty. I have to downsize most recipes though, or make some, portion them out and then freeze them. 

Tomorrow I go for my visit with the nutritionist and my definitely want to talk about adding more food or maybe a small snack. I am starting to get hungry. I am trying to figure out the pattern. Is it when I use certain protein that might not be holding me over between meals? Is it because I’m running now and definitely exerting more effort in my workouts? Hoping she will shed some light. 

And as a bonus: tomorrow is monthly support group night! I am sure I will have tales to tell from Mr. Lapband or the Lollipop girl. 

The cat is out of the bag…

Well, I did it. I told my story on Facebook to my 500+ friends, some of whom I actually know, some just virtual acquaintances. The response was remarkably better than I expected. I know I was looking for support, but I als felt like if someone could learn something from what I am going through, I’d want to help them. 

This is the picture I shared, which is dramatic enough to begin with. 

And here is the post. 

Thanks to everyone for the overwhelmingly supportive comments on my new profile picture. I have written this post in my head a million times, and even needed to start a blog to figure out how to start. So I’ll just do this: on July 5, I had gastric bypass surgery. There’s a growing number of my friends and family that know, and with a couple of exceptions, the support has been amazing. Weight loss surgery patients commonly hear comments like, “you took the easy way out” or “couldn’t you just do it with diet and exercise?” Well let me tell you, nothing about this has been easy, and no — my body doesn’t understand diet and exercise. It was defending a weight and would do everything to stay there.  

Those of you who have known me for a while know that I have struggled with my weight for my whole life. In 2009, I did a medically supervised weight loss program and lost 75 pounds and was able to maintain a good chunk of that weight loss for about 5 years. Various medical issues like a pituitary tumor, sluggish thyroid, medications, stress, lack of sleep, depression and anxiety, and a range of metabolic issues made it an uphill battle to maintain, let alone lose. My metabolism is shut down. I was referred for weight loss surgery in November of last year, right before Thanksgiving. I was upset, embarrassed and felt like a failure.
I did months of research, stepped through a lot of hoops with the insurance company, and talked to friends who had the procedure and decided that this was the best option for me. I’m about 2/3 of the way to my goal, and it’s very slow, but that’s okay. It’s a huge lifestyle change and there’s a lot of rules. But hey — I am a rule follower. I’ve had great support from friends (and my bosses) at work. But you can read more about that on my blog, and follow the rest of my journey. Visit
The pictures here are from a trip to Mexico in 2008, 3 days before my surgery, and then today. It’s been a long road, and there’s more to go, but I invite you all along with me.

In addition to the supportive comments, I’ve also received a few private messages of encouragement and of thanks. People who were at a crossroads in their own journeys who may have needed a push. 

I feel a sense of relief now that this is out there. Since privacy settings in Facebook and Instagram are so unpredictable, more and more people were solving the mystery of why I eat 1/4 cup of food at a time. 

Feeling supported, grateful, and a little bit teary eyed. I have some amazing people in my life. 

Mirror, mirror…in the backyard


I have spent many years avoiding mirrors. And even when I am not avoiding them, I’m not very kind to myself. So, we don’t have a full length mirror in our house.

As I get closer to my goal, I find myself doing a double take when I catch my reflection in a storefront or see myself in a full length mirror. I don’t recognize myself. That’s why I’m taking weekly pictures — it allows me to let my mind catch up with the changes that are happening with my body. So much of this journey is mental, and my mind is a trickster.

Yesterday, while out with the dogs in the backyard, I caught myself in the reflection of our woodshed and decided I needed a picture to see what I was really seeing. I still don’t think this is me.

Going mirror shopping today. I have to learn to like that person.