Category Archives: bariatric surgery

The Scale Says What…More Musings, Insights and a photo update


Wow! where does the time go?  I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted in a while and a LOT has happened since my last post.  So where do I start…accountability? new look (you are dying to see the pictures – don’t peek)? insights? new discoveries?

Recently, at the Journey’s Support Group, the surgeons came to our session – amazing how caring these guys are – and the time they put into helping us be successful.  They reminded us of how we have to do the work – they simply operated on our body  –  the work is ours to do to create real success.

Let’s start with accountability (that is the most painful sometimes in this journey)…I strive to keep exercise at the forefront of my schedule…and it is difficult when it was never a priority before.  However, I see the results when I do make it so it is becoming more and more important.  So I am not making it to Zumba every week like I want to.  But I have recently tried a yoga class and signed up for six weeks.  I am convinced more and more that exercising must be, like many things in our lives, convenient and easily accessible.  So I found a yoga class that is 5 minutes from my office, is designed for baby boomers and beyond, the instructor works with bariatric patients regularly and I can do it over lunch!

As I approach my six month anniversary (13 June), I look back with amazement with some of the “walls” that I have climbed over, through or walked around.  I was having issues keeping solid food down and I constantly felt as though my system was irritated.  The doctors suggested and did an endoscopy to check for scar tissue from the surgery (this is commonplace) and no scar tissue.  They discovered a slight irritation that was caused, most likely, when I transitioned from mushy foods to solid foods.  This caused some acid reflux – they put me on Nexium and the symptoms have been erased and I am able to keep solid foods down.  This was probably a wall that I broke through once  the issue was resolved – it was aggravating not being able to eat solid foods.

Guess what happens when you lose a lot of weight?  Your shoes get too big – can you believe?  Now what shoe size do I wear?  Not sure but I know it is a pain in the tush (oh yeah that gets smaller also LOL)!  Recently, I wore a blister on my heel as a result of my shoes rubbing from walking.  Dressy Birkenstocks out there anyone?

So the update is 80#…and counting.  Wearing dresses (yep!  dresses!) and looking at clothes in the regular sections of the store.  Daunting for sure.  I’m not used to looking at the clothes of “normal” people (whatever normal is) – other people wear those clothes.  I know you are dying to see it — my new photo!

2012 May photo

I’m still amazed when I look at this photo!

In my recent discussion with my wellness coach, the subject of fear arose.  I was describing how I am having a difficult time letting go of my plus-size clothes.  They are my friends. They are comfortable. I know them.  They are gone on many trips with me.  I know it sounds crazy.  So there are several questions that I ask – does letting go mean letting go of a part of me?  What if I need them sometime down the road?  Is my holding on to them setting myself up for failure?  I have so many clothes and they are beginning to pile up and bug me – part of my vision for 2012 and beyond is less and less clutter (more on that later).  So my coach and I agreed to a goal of me removing three piles of clothes and donating them over Memorial Day weekend.  Wish me luck and help hold me accountable!

I am participating in Kathleen Ronald’s deClutter U for the next 12 months.  In addition to decluttering my weight, I am learning that clutter can be in any part of our lives…it is not all about piles of papers, collections and stuff – it is also people, environment, schedules, experiences, etc.  As part of this bootcamp, I am discovering the “stuff” that is cluttering my mind, my vision and ultimately blocking my dreams.  If you haven’t thought about clutter in this way, I encourage you to do so.  It is very enlightening!

I could spend the next few hours rambling on about all the new-found energy I am discovering or the way I am able to focus a better but I must also sleep.  So I close with this thought – borrowed from my Mary Kay Director, Kellie Hammett – “I did the thing I feared the most, excuse me while I cheer! Now here I stand a braver soul and all I lost was fear” (EENSD Arlene Lenarz) … so the next time I post, I will have lost some fear (and clutter) plus a few more #!

What is it that you fear the most?

Until next time – stay healthy, believe in you and above all remember…it is a journey!

Happy Memorial Day and blessings to all our men and women who have given and are giving their lives for us to live in America!


The Scale Says What! March Musings


Surprises can be nice…and fun…recently I went back to Columbus to see friends, many of whom, were not aware that I had began this journey to have a healthier lifestyle…at Gregg Dodd’s Ugly Sweater Party.  I had purposely not posted pictures of the “new” me on Facebook so there would be the element of surprise.  Or was it that I wanted to hear them praise and congratulate me?  Probably a bit of both.

When I started this journey, I thought I would not enjoy friends commenting, congratulating, asking questions or even acknowledging the physical changes that they could see.  However, 2+ months post surgery and I am finding that this is one area that I can be encouraged.  While still not great at accepting compliments, I do have a sense of “wow, I am doing this journey successfully” when people acknowledge the work I am doing for myself.  I do have to be careful not to get on a soapbox about nutrition and labels when people ask questions about surgery or the how much I am eating – it is exciting for a couple of minutes but not 30 minutes.

I am of the opinion that humans crave (and I am sure there is science out there to back up my humble opinion), consciously or unconsciously, praise and acknowledgement.  I think back to my childhood and when I wanted attention – I acted out by being a brat, doing something I knew I wasn’t supposed to do, etc. – that resulted mostly in negative attention but nonetheless it was attention.  As adults, we still want attention, approval and acknowledgement.  And when we don’t get it we find other ways to get/give ourselves attention

Let me give you an example from my own life…I have found through this process that outwardly I displayed a lot of confidence.  However, inwardly, I was not as confident as I acted.  Results:  I second guessed myself, I made snap decisions, I “took control” and “fixed” things [whether they needed to be fixed or not – I “always” knew a better way].  Consequences:  I got attention – most times not positive attention, I have been passed over for promotions, I haven’t advanced as far in my career as I would like, I had to buy bigger clothes to cover up the weight, health issues developed, I was exhausted all the time – this created other results:  This negative attention “confirmed” my fears and thoughts – I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or pretty enough to succeed…that then created a different set of consequences – I ate in an unhealthy manner, probably (well matter of fact) drank too much at certain times and basically didn’t care.  As you can see, it is a very vicious circle! On December 13, I broke my circle!

So, today, I acknowledge that I haven’t been so good to myself for several years.  I am proud that I am taking control of my life and going on a journey that will forever change my emotional, physical and spiritual mindset.  I care about me.

As I was sharing with a friend recently about some of my struggles to ‘get it right’ [my schedule, eating, etc].  He gave me an excellent (a big “A Ha” moment for me) suggestion…think of this as an event and create a daily ‘run of show’ for myself. How brilliant!  Thank you MA!  You are the best!

See it is about having a supportive circle of friends and family that will get you through…so if you are reading this and thinking about changing your destiny by having bariatric surgery or changing your lifestyle to be more healthy…go for it!  Surround yourself with supportive people – chose your support group carefully and engage them in your journey.  By the way, your support group does not have to include your blood relatives – it is nice if they are on board – but do this for yourself and you alone! 

Here is the new look of one proud girl…

Me, Lori, Megan, Gregg and Diana - we all ditched our ugly sweaters...thank goodness mine didn't come home with me - donated for a good cause.

The Scale Says What?!?…2 Month Anniversary!


Healing is a journey.  Learning is a journey. Creating a new lifestyle is a journey. All of these journeys take time and do not happen overnight.  I am beginning to understand that more each day.

As I learn and create this new lifestyle that involves caring about myself, I find that I am healing so many other issues in my life.  Friends who read this blog will find some of what they read as surprising.

Fear of success has been an enemy of mine for a long time.  I would back down when it appeared that I was losing the discussion so as not to cause a confrontation. I would set aside my wants and needs to ensure that the needs of others were taken care of.  I hid behind my weight and allowed it to be my mask.  I made sure that I was always kind, caring and generous to a fault…why is the next logical question you are asking – I didn’t want the ‘fat’ girl to feel any more pain than she was already covering up.

Over the past six months, (remember my journey started in September with Dr. Moazzez), my journey has been about learning and healing.  The first big “A Ha” I had was that I have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Yes, I know the intellectual side of this but I am learning the emotional side for the first time.  It is okay to feel pretty, laugh and have fun without being judged. To care for others while caring for myself, to be kind to others while being kind to myself and to be generous while being generous to myself.  It is okay to be the center of attention when necessary while letting others be on center stage when appropriate. For my career, that means, I am learning to lead by letting others lead.  For my personal life, it means that I speak up and protect my “me” time.  It means that I put myself first when it comes to taking care of my health, well-being and energy.

For the past two months, I have learned that eating does not mean that I am hungry – it means that I need certain amounts of good nutrients to sustain my energy and muscles.  Making sure that I get 50 grams of protein and 64 ounces of water are my two main priorities every day.  I never thought I would see myself sitting at a meeting with Isopure instead of coffee and cookies. Or going to dinner and eating eight (8) tiny bites of meat over 20 minutes and thinking – wow! that was really good.  Then taking the rest home with me for two or three more meals.  (It sure helps with the grocery bill!) But most importantly, it is part of the journey that is giving me improved health, increased energy and a new attitude!

I celebrate the close this post with a total of 55 pounds and 27.5  inches gone and celebrating my success 2 months post surgery! And in clothes that do not have a W after the size!

Until next time…

The Scale Says What … Photo Comparison…


I spent Labor Day weekend in Ohio and this photo was taken of my brother Kenny, sister Janell and me. Who is the person in pink? Who let her go out looking like this?



Gregg Dodd was in DC for the weekend and we went to The Front Page for brunch. A quick picture before we went our separate ways for the day.


Surgery Day - December 13 - ready for life changing action!



Jan 1 2012 - Just 3 weeks post surgery - FOUR sizes smaller for slacks and THREE sizes smaller for tops! Starting to enjoy the benefits.



The Scale Says What!?! – 90 Days and Counting


How does one prepare to change their lifestyle and more importantly their behavioral lifestyle?  One day at a time…one meal at a time…one moment at a time…and one sip at a time – in other words…ONE (insert topic) at a time. That is the first thing that hit me when I started having meetings with the dietician and exercise physiologist (who knew there was a career in such a field).  That I would not be able to “eat” the entire elephant at once nor would I run a 5K the first day on the track and most importantly, I wouldn’t instantly learn new habits overnight.

WHAT!?! To my shock and horror – LOL – that is what I had been doing wrong all these years?   As you know, I am a person who takes the “bull by the horns” and goes with it.  Most of the time succeeding pretty well.  For the first time, I faced my biggest fear in the mirror by realizing that I have not been succeeding in taking care of me.

Give me a meeting, a client, a trade show, exhibitors, vendors and I will lay my life down to make sure everything is in order -executed to perfection and with the utmost professionalism. Get a call from a friend who needs something and I will drop everything to make sure they are taken care of them – make sure they have food, a bed to sleep in, money to take care of their bills and the list goes on – don’t misunderstand me, I would do it again today if I got a call from a friend – but with some thought of where I am in the picture – does it have to be right now, is there a resource that can help them get what they need that I can connect them to or better yet – is what they really need is a listening ear and no real “fix it” action from me?

Hmmmm…had I really put myself second or third or fourth for all these years?  To what sacrifice and consequences?  Yep…high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high BMI, degeneration in my spine, constant pain from pressure on my sciatic nerve (ever try to spend 12 hours on your feet with a pain shooting down your leg? – not the best thing to do to have a successful career in meetings and trade shows)

As I sit here today, having two tablespoons of tuna salad, two tablespoons of fruit and no beverage for lunch and not thinking beyond these 30 minutes, I am amazed how far I have come and yet how far I have to go. I am getting ahead of myself….back to my timeline.

In September, I met Jennifer McKinley on Facebook.  She friended me because of my Mary Kay business and she is a direct marketer and herbnologist – creating natural oils, soaps, etc. – from Mississippi.  Through a course of conversations, she introduced me to Body by Visalus protein shakes.  Since I needed to lose up to 20 pounds before surgery, the worst I thought was if I don’t like it, I can try something else – besides, I had an entire history of diets to go back to – and much to my surprise, I loved the shakes.  They come in one flavor and I can create all kinds of flavors myself.

In classes with Blue Point, I was learning that I would need to drink protein shakes on a regular basis to get in 50 grams of protein everyday.  So I knew I would need to find a way to do that and be happy with it.  I started with one shake a day combined with healthy meals. I then stepped it up to two shakes a day.  I started noticing changes in how my clothes were fitting and how I was feeling.  The doctor was impressed as well.

Watch for the next post…