Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful and Blessed. #NHBPM

I am so woefully behind so I'm just picking and choosing in the spirit of NHBPM.  Real life has a way of changing the best laid plans but this time I can say this life event made me realize how blessed and highly favored my family is.

My niece was hit by a school bus on Friday, November 16.  She lost her left foot as a result but we didn't lose HER.  She is only four but she has become the center of so many people's lives.  Her resilience and the bouncing back she has done shows us that no situation should define us and we have to face life head on.  She is smiling and laughing and playing and it really makes you wonder if the trivial things we worry about are really important.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make you understand your priorities.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seven Thanksgiving Diet Disasters to Avoid - ABC News

It's almost Thanksgiving, foodie holiday of the U.S.  For those of us who had WLS, it's a virtual landmine of foods that have been deemed off limits.  For some, it's a matter of their bodies can't handle it any more but for some like me, it's a choice.  I'll be sticking to turkey and veggies...OK, maybe a spoon of of my mom's dressing!  Enjoy the article and Happy Thanksgiving!

Seven Thanksgiving Diet Disasters to Avoid - ABC News

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hiding the people I love. #NHBPM

I have a tendency to not mention people by name in my blog.  As I said in an earlier post, this is a forum for all of my issues and I know everyone does not want to be thrust into the web spotlight.  Sometimes I'll mention someone (first name only) when something great has happened but as a rule, I don't expose anyone who doesn't not want to be put out there.  It's just a respectful thing to do. 

Designer Doctor's Office. #NHBPM

I must saw, first of all, this is not my doctor's off.  Personally, I love my doctor's office.  Since I think it's designed wonderfully, I just describe it.

  • It has comfortable and size appropriate chairs.  As a plus sized person, this is a must!
  • Warm colors.  The offices are done in shades of yellow, greens and browns.  It's so comforting and relaxing. 
  • Awesome staff.  They remember your name and always seem glad to see you.  
I don't know what else I would want.  Everyone has their things that are a yes or no for their own doctor so the important key is finding the office and doctor that best fits you.  Never be afraid to change doctors if the one you are seeing doesn't have your best interests in mind.  Go with your gut!


Doing the right thing, even when you feel like going THERE! #NHBPM

There are times when you have to imagine yourself in a better place to be a better person.  It's not easy to ignore the ignorance of others but it still hurts.  I won't go into details but there was an issue with a co-worker and ugly lies being said.  It hurt to have these words to come back to me, especially because, up until this point, I thought this was a fairly trustworthy person.  We weren't friends but I thought we were in a better place.  Apparently, I was mistaken.

It took me a few weeks to get my feet back under me and a lot of prayer.  There were so many things I wanted to say but remembering this was my place of work, I refrained and now I'm glad I did.  So many of my co-workers came to my defense and that heartened me to know others cared so much.  I think the best thing I was told was by a co-worker in a unexpected conversation.  She told me she was proud of the way I carried myself and that I didn't stoop to the other lady's level.  As a result, it made me look good in the eyes of my coworkers and my bosses while my coworker looked petty.  She and I still work together but it's definitely a professional relationship with as little contact as possible.  It's safe to say, I don't trust her and in spite of her overtures, I know I never will.

Activist? Who Me? #NHBPM

Today's post is about being a health advocate.  Believe me, if you go back and read my very first post, this blog started as a way to work through my feelings about my decision to have WLS surgery and what happened along the way.  Some how the mission changed.  I believe in being honest about what is really going on.  WLS is not a walk in the park, contary to popular belief.  It is a totally committed lifestyle change.  It's not for everyone but it was the choice for me!

I'm also seeing the importance of advocating health and clean food choices, positive body image and being a positive and inspirational person.  I have made an incredible journey and by sharing this journey, I have became a spokesperson of sorts for making health care choices that best suit you.  I know there are some who would not chose to have surgery and that's ok.  It was the best decision for me and I don't regret it. 


Sharing is caring, right? #NHBPM

Today's post is about disclosure or what have I chosen to share on this blog.  It stands to reason that when I chose to write a blog and make it public, I was opening myself up in ways I hadn't previously thought about.  With that in mind, I had to make a series of personal decisions on what I would and would not share.  So here is my list.
  • My starting weight.  I'm just not ready.
  • Too much of my personal family.  This is my blog and they didn't ask to be revealed to the world. 
  • My job.  I teach and that's all you need to know.
I think this is my list in a nutshell.  I'm sure there is more but I can't think of it right now or it hasn't really come up as an issue yet.   This means, this list will be amended at will and whim! LOL


The Hardest Conversation Ever. #NHBPM

First of all, I am woefully behind, but in my defense, I have been sick and with the holidays coming up, school has also been super busy.  The prompt today is about a conversation with your doctor.  Several come to mind but the biggest one is the "Lose weight or die" conversation.  Hearing your options laid out in black and white makes the whole thing crystal clear.  I know she wasn't doing it to scare me (maybe she was) but I needed to hear it like that.  I was in total denial about how much I weighed and how much of an effect it was having on my physical and mental life.  That no nonsense conversation saved my life because, even through the tears, I knew she was absolutely right.  Now down 185 pounds, I see what I was missing and even though I haven't hit goal yet, my life is better because I feel better.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Worthy Words #NHBPM

Today's challenge was to pick and inspirational quote.  This is my current favorite. It's even the screen saver on my IPhone!  It reminds me the power of being well dressed, no matter how I am feeling and putting effort in to looking good makes me feel good. (especially when I get complements!) 

As a teacher, I know that education is always important and you never should stop learning.  Read a book, talk to someone new.  You never know what you'll learn if you get off the phone or Internet and just notice what's going on around you.  There is no such thing as too much education.  Oscar knew what he was talking about!

Why I write about my health #NHBPM

I was invited to join the National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) and the challenge is to write 30 posts in 30 days.  I'm behind because I just joined today so I'm playing catch up.  My question today was the title of this post: Why I write about my health.

I started this blog to keep track of how I was feeling about the whole process of WLS and to just wrap my brain around the whole idea of what I was doing and my reasons why. I also have some fabulous online friends who want to keep track of how I was doing and what was going on through this whole process.

 To say this has be life altering would be a total understatement.  Having the surgery and losing the weight has given me a new lease on life, literally.  I never knew how much I hid myself away until I could no longer hide behind the fat.  There are times when this is terrifying because as I shrink, I;m faced with new situations but at the same time, I'm growing into a better version of me.

I felt the need to share my story with everyone because I wanted them to understand this wasn't an easy decision and it is a life long commitment.  Contrary to popular belief, WLS is not the "easy" way out.  It's a lifestyle change that you can't walk away from.  I will be altered FOREVER!  Instead, I'm learning how to live with a new me and sharing that journey with the world and that, my dear readers, is why I write about my health!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Swag Win and Big Train Product Review

First of all, a big thanks to Faith Walker a.k.a. Atlanta WLS Diva for sponsoring the contest!  I was thrilled to win, especially because:

  1. I NEVER win anything
  2. I've wanted to try this product but it's pricey and I was afraid I wasn't going to like it! 
The prize was a sample pack of Big Train's Fit Frappe protein products (espresso, mocha, chocolate, vanilla, and vanilla latte), a shaker bottle for on the go and a HUGE bottle of Torani sugar-free caramel syrup.  It was an awesome prize and it was swag-tacular!! 


One thing I first noted about the product was the fact that it could be served hot, blended or cold!  Most protein drinks are cold or blended only so this made it a big plus in my book, esprcially with winter comeing this way.  The idea of having a hot protein drink seems delightful!

My first try was the mocha.  It was fixed on the way out of the door to church.  I used half a packet with hot water from my Keurig and drank it on the way to church.  It was the most awesome thing ever!!  It was the mocha flavored with a wonderful coffee background and no yucky protein aftertaste.  I totally enjoyed it!

My second try was the vanilla latte.  I also tried it hot, prepared the same way I prepared the mocha.  Again, it was wonderful and coffeehouse good.  The vanilla and coffee flavors balanced perfectly and again, no yucky protein aftertaste.

The espresso was next flavor.  It was great and because I am not a black coffee fan, I added sugar free vanilla creamer to one cup and the next cup, sugar free hazelnut creamer.  Both were great and this is one flavor I will keep on had at school.  All I need is hot water and I'm ready to roll.

I haven't tried the choclate and vanilla yet.  I'm trying to decide how creative I'm going to be with them.  I highly recommend the Big Train products for all of your protein needs and just beccause3 they taste soooo good!  Thanks again, Faith, for introducing me to this wonderful product!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fish For When Fried Is No Longer An Option.

I'm a Southern girl and in the South, when you are offered fish, that means fried fish.  Don't get me wrong, I love fried catfish and I have indulged on a piece since the surgery but in my quest to eat healthier, I had to learn how to change my mindset.  After living my whole life on fried fish and hearing how awful baked fish was, it wasn't easy!  I had to make this work for me because I love fish and I wanted it to be a part of my diet.  I figured if I could get a flavor that I would love, the cooking method wouldn't matter.  I'm glad to say that I was right!

The picture above is my lunch.  It's oven baked tilapia with a side of tomato.  The tomato is a small one, sliced super thin and topped with a sprinkling of salt and a pinch or two of dried basil.  Brag moment, I grew the tomato and the basil myself! :)

The tilapia is just as simple.  Here's the recipe:

1 tilapia filet, thawed
Seasonings (your choice and in the amounts you chose.  I used garlic and herb, rosemary and garlic, house seasoning, basil and black pepper. 
2 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the seasonings together in a bowl and add one tablespoon of the olive oil and mix to make a paste.  Take a baking pan and add the other tablespoon of oil and make sure to coat the entire bottom.  (I used a small cast iron skillet.) Place the pan in the oven and allow it to heat up.  Coat the fish on both sides with the oil/seasoning mixture and place in the hot pan.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or longer depending on the thickness of your fish. The fish should be flaky with a fork but not dried out.  (Keep an eye on it because it's easy to overcook!) 

Note:  I'm not being paid by Tone's seasonings or  These are products that I have discovered and love because they taste great and are salt free. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reflections #WLS

I'll admit to being a HUGE Diana Ross and the Supremes fan.  They were such divas and at times, I imagine myself to be a diva too! :D  The title of this particular blog posts comes from one of my favorites songs by the group and while they sing of love lost and longing, I'm using it as a moment to look back on where I started and where I am today.

It will be a year on June 27.  A year for what?  My RNY surgery.  It has been the most epic and life-changing event to ever happen to me.  Has it been easy?  Not at all but I have not one moment of regret.  I have learned so many life lessons and I'll share a few.

  1. I am so much stronger that I ever thought I could be.
    Strength comes from with in.  It comes from being able to ask for help when you need it. It also comes from recognizing your own weaknesses and doing what needs to be done to correct them or finding someone to work with you on them.  I really thought I could handle everything but I quickly learned that I needed help.   Realizing this fact and actually asking for help made me a better person.

  2. I have learned the meaning of true friendship and love.Believe it or not, I have actually had some people who no longer really socialize with me since the weight loss has started.  I have never been the type to rub it in anyone's face about losing weight because I know how hard it is and frankly, the attention I've been getting sometimes terrifies me but some of the people who were supportive before the surgery have just 'disappeared'.  No ugly falling out or anything like that.  Too busy to talk or visit or have visits.  The dreaded "we have nothing in common any more" or "you don't understand how I feel".  It's true, our relationship can't be centered around food any more because I have changed in that aspect but I'm still your friend, I still love to shop and talk and goof off.  I still want to be there for you.  I really do understand.  The surgery was a kick start, not the magic wand!  I still have work to do and a long road to hoe! (Thanks, grandma, for that one! LOL)

    What I have discovered is that I have my own personal cheerleaders.  They support, commensurate and kick my butt when needed! Some are family, some are friends and coworkers, all are wonderful!!  DH is the best thing ever.  He is my rock and my strength.  He lets me bitch, moan and cry.  He also helps me celebrate and buy new, pretty things.  He makes me feel beautiful, regardless of size.  I love him!!

  3. I have learned that without support, I wouldn't have made it this far. (Thanks, BBGC!!)  One of the first things we were told, even before surgery, was to find a good support group.  I have gone to face to face groups and they were OK but the best group I have found was online.  The Bariatric Bad Girls Club is the most awesome group of ladies (and a few gents) ever!!  They support and love on you but they also keep it real and I appreciate that.  They don't sugarcoat the ups and down of living life after surgery and everyone's journey is different but they respect that.  They celebrate with you, cry with you and pick you up when you need someone to hold your hand.  I love those wild girls and one day, I hope to meet many of them in person.
My next doctor visit won't be until July 11th so I can't report an official weight yer. (no, I still don't own a scale!!) I just wanted to share what has been going on and where my thoughts are!  Be blessed and have a wonderful Saturday!! 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Learning To Balance Expectations in the Real World


[ èk spek táysh'n ]

Anticipation of something happening: a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will happen
(Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.)

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having major expectations after WLS. Weight loss, of course, is the major one but in my mind’s eye there are others as well. I want to be able to participate in life more. I’ve started back going to movies and I’m getting out more. My focus on weight loss has always been from a life standpoint. What I mean is I had this procedure to be able to live the life I want to live and not be a skinny girl. I want to live a full, participatory life! I want to be able to travel and see the world. I want to love on my hubby and my family. I want to live life!!!

What I failed to anticipate was OTHER people’s expectations. As we are coming to the close of school, one of the main comments I keep hearing is “When we come back from summer, we won’t hardly recognize you!”


I realize these people mean well but I’m beyond frustrated with their projecting their expectations on me. Of course, I will be still working on weight loss this summer and I know that some of the commenters mean well but I am also aware there are some who are waiting to see me fail.  Talk about pressure I don't need! 

When I saw the above image, I realized I had to focus on my own expectations and my own motivations.  In the past, Big Beautiful Diva would have internalized it all and ate those feeling.  For a while, it did bother me but I've come to realize several important facts.

  1. This is my life and I'm going to live it in the way the makes ME happy and my family proud! 
  2. I can accept the fact there will be those who want to see me stumble.  It's their issue and not mine.  I can't take it personally! 
  3. There will be time that I will stumble.  I'll get back up and keep going.
  4. I will continue to surround myself with positive, inspirational people.  
  5. Needing support does not make you weak.  It only means you are strong enough to admit you need help.
I hope everyone is having a great day.  Much love and as always, SMOOCHES!! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday in the park!

It has been an interesting 10 months.  So many changes have come about and with them, changes in perception and attitude, both mine and others.  But first things first.  My Saturday has started out great.  I have a load of clothes in the washer, breakfast on the table for DH and I gathered my first harvest from my basil plants!
This is a big bowl and I'm thrilled they are growing so well!  I wish I could do scratch and sniff because the basil smells wonderful!  These will be dried (low heat, 200 degrees) and stored in an airtight jar.  It so wonderful in so many dishes and when you compare store basil that is mostly stems, this is so worth the effort of drying your own.  My other plants are doing well and I can't wait to see what bounty they will bring.

I was saddened by the news of the death of Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys.  The first song I remember hearing from them was Brass Monkey.  It was my senior year of high school and for a bunch of African-american kids, it was a pivotal moment.  It was the first time we had heard white guys rap and it was so different from what we had heard before.  It was mind blowing and we loved it!  RIP, MCA - You changed us all so much!

I guess it's also time to post a picture of myself to just let my few readers see my progress.  I was blown away when I saw the difference but here goes nothing:

It's just wow to me.  I have no words so I'll move on.  We have plans to go to the Swinging Bridge Festival.  It's a local thing but it sounds like fun and it's a beautiful Saturday to be out and about.  Have a good weekend, my friends and until next time,


Monday, April 2, 2012

Non-Scale Victories or "Does this mean I get to go shopping?"

For the uninitiated, non-scale victories are just that – things that happen in the course of weight loss that aren’t defined by the weight on the scale.  For a better understanding, this is an excellent article on the topic.  Non-scale victories or NSV’s are those little things that show you the progress you are making.  It could be something as simple as walking up a flight of stairs and realizing you aren’t huffing and puffing when you reach the top or something major like fitting into the seat at the movie theater.  NSV are different for everyone but are no less important.
It’s the little things that keep you going on the days when you feel stressed or just having a bad day.  Here’s my current list of non-scale victories.  I want them written out so on days when I wonder “Why me?” and I’m en-route to my pity party, I can be reminded of the good things that have  happened so far.

Ø  Going into my closet and wearing the cute, pre-obese clothes that I had been holding on to with the fantasy of being able to wear them again one day. 

Ø  Date night with hubby and we went to the movies.  I fit in the stadium seats comfortably and realized how much I missed going to the movies because I feared not fitting in the seats!

Ø  Going the huge garden center and walking around for almost an hour without realizing it!  Before, I would have been exhausted after 10 minutes and would have spent most of the time sitting around.

Ø  Turning into this weekend “domestic goddess”!  On Saturdays, I get up early, cook breakfast and clean the house while rocking out to my ‘housecleaning list’ on my IPod.  I can remember spending many Saturdays sleeping all day because I was so tired all the time.  My energy has come up and I just feel fantastic!

Ø  Looking in the mirror and starting to see the girl I used to be in college.  I’m not at college weight (yet!) but she is on her way back!

There are so many other small yet meaningful things that happen every day that make my choice worthwhile.  I know there will be rough days but just see this list reminds me that victory come in big burst or in small rays of sunshine.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Whole Person – A Scale Victory in Progress

I was going to write one giant post but I’m going to write two separate ones because they two so totally different topics.  Today is dedicated to the scale victories and what it means to me.  The next post will be on the Non-Scale Victories (NSV) and how those can mean so much more.

On Wednesday, I had my 9-month check up.  I’ve been feeling pretty good about my loss up to this point, just based on my clothes.  No, I still don’t own a scale and I’m not sure at what point I will get one, if ever.  I can see myself becoming neurotic and causing that OCDness in me to flare!  

So back to the visit.  I love the folks at Transformations.  They are so wonderful and encouraging.  One of the first things that happens when you go in the back is the walk to the scale.  Now, before surgery, it was the walk of doom but now I can honestly say it’s becoming alright.  I was down 28 pounds and I was pretty hyped about that.  When the doctor came in to look at my chart, she said something that took my breath away and almost caused me to bawl my eyes out.  What was it?

“Do you realize you’ve lost a whole person?”


My total loss since the surgery is 166 pounds and that, my friends, is a whole person.  She stepped out of the room for a moment and I had to fight the tears.  I texted everyone I knew and used up all the Kleenex in the tiny box on the shelf.  How did I feel?





I know you’re wondering how depressed made the list.  Depressed comes in because I can’t believe I let myself get to the point where I had to lose a whole person.  What a lot of people who have never had to fight with their weight don’t understand is how easy it is to let it get out of control.  It’s not like you go to sleep one day and wake up overweight.  It’s a gradual process and before you know it, you are there.  It’s easy to ignore, at least at first.  That’s when you start going up to the next size.  You ignore the aches and pains caused by the excess weight on your knees and feet.  Before you realize it or even recognize it, you are more than just overweight, you are obese. 

Being the control freak I am, the very realization that I had actually let myself get that far gone hit me in the core of my being.  I understand now how close to dead I had allowed myself to come.  How could I do that to my family, my friends, to myself?

In the midst of all this, there is a beacon of hope.

  Hope because I took the first steps to take back control of my life.

  Hope because I feel better that I have in a very long time.

  Hope because I am conscious of what I do to my body and the effect it has on it, long-term.  

Hope because I lost a whole person and they are not allowed to come back.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Personal Space

I was going to title this post “Attention Whore” but I realized that people would immediately get the wrong idea about what I am trying to say, so a title change was definitely in order!  Personal space is more appropriate because I ultimately realized that is my issue.

I know when anyone loses a significant amount of weight, people notice.  Some people say nothing about it but there are some who say too much.  Before it is misunderstood, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the positive comments and acknowledgments.  I am glad so many people are positively supporting my journey and offering encouragement.  Some days I really need it even if I don’t express that need.  A lot of my personal space issue is well…personal so let me explain.

I am an intensely private person, always have been.  Writing is a way to express what I feel but in person, I tend to keep it close to the chest.  People who have become my friends have been friends for a long time and it took a while to build up that level of trust.  I think that part of the weight gain was an effort to keep people at arm’s length.  After all, most people overlook fat people.  Don’t believe me?  Just read this article or this one that discusses fat discrimination.  

Being invisible suited me.  I’m still working on what I was hiding from but at the time, I didn’t care.  This is why the attention the weight loss has bought me is disturbing.   I’m used to being invisible or just ignored.  My very public and noticeable change has bought on very public commentary.  Like I said before, most of it is positive but some of it is very intrusive.  While I don’t have a problem with discussion the fact I had surgery, there are details that, unless you are a close, personal friend, you have no business knowing or asking.

 I realize that some people feel that since you are undergoing such a very noticeable change in the eyes of the world, they feel that they have license to ask questions.  There have been some very respectful questions and I’ve been asked how to go about the process of qualifying for WLS.  However, there have been those other questions like:

“How much weight have you lost?”

“How much do you need to lose?”

“How much did you weight before?”

“What size clothes are you wearing and/or used to wear?”

“What does your husband say about you getting ‘fine’?”

“Did you REALLY need surgery?  Couldn’t you just dieted/exercise/had self control?”

I’m just amazed that people have no concept of personal space, physical or personal.  I know we are living in a more open society, especially with the web making everything accessible, but some things should remain…personal.  Hopefully, anyone who is reading this will understand I love the love but there are things that I won’t discuss.  Everyone is entitled to their personal space and even when we are doing public things, we deserve our private time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cooking Again: Spring Veggies with Shrimp

 New Recipe: Spring Veggies with Shrimp

One of my standbys has been keeping frozen veggies in the house at all times.  They are quick and easy to cook plus my doctor wants me to make sure I’m getting them in .  She says the vitamins and nutrients are important along with the fiber my rewired systems needs.  There are now so many varieties to choose from so I have a nice stock of veggies just waiting for me to do something to them!  

Today, I decided to play with the spring mix.  The brand I bought labels their spring mix as carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and cauliflower.  It’s so awesome!  The recipe was super easy and it turned out super tasty.  I’ll definitely be eating this one again!

Spring Veggies with Shrimp

2 teaspoons minced onion (I used dried and re-hydrated it)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 half cup of frozen veggies (your choice)
1 cup of water
Pinch of basil
Pinch of oregano
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes
6 shrimp (I used the cleaned shrimp with the shells still on.  Tons of flavor!)
Greek Yogurt (I used Oikos) (Optional)

Spray the pan with non stick spray and heat until hot.  Sauté the onion and garlic until soft and lightly brown.  Add the veggies and water alone with the seasonings.  Allow to cook until the veggies are the desired tenderness for you. (I like mine really soft) .  In the last few minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and tomatoes and allow to cook until the shrimp are pink.  

Ladle into a bowl and include some of the lovely broth.  Top with a spoon of Greek yogurt to help cut the heat.  Enjoy!

*Note – If you aren’t watching carbs, this can be served over rice or pasta. You can use any combination of veggies and protein.  Chicken, beef, pork or even tofu can be incorporated!