Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Monday

Happy Monday!
Here's this week's menu and BONUS RECIPE!

Grilled Chicken Legs
Sauteed Onions and Peppers

Smoked Sausage
Macaroni and Cheese (Homemade)
Green Beans

Barbecue Pork Ribs
Baked Beans

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Taco Night

TBD - Celebrating my dad's birthday!

Snack Plates (fruit, cheese, and crackers!)

Macaroni and Cheese
8-10 servings (side dish - 1/4 cup)
4-6 servings (main dish - 1 cup)

1 lb low-carb or whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other shape you like), cooked according to package directions

2 T butter
2 T soy or whole wheat flour
2 C Warm Low-Fat Milk
1/2 Lb shredded cheese (I use cheddar, but you can use a combination of cheeses if you like!)
2 T grated Parmesan
1 tsp ground mustard

2 tsp garlic powder
2 T Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir with wooden spoon to combine. Continuing stirring, cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat then change to a whisk and whisk in the milk slowly.
Once well combined, return to the wooden spoon and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until thick (will coat the back of your spoon). Turn off heat and add cheeses and seasonings, stirring with a whisk until melted and combined. Pour over pasta and stir gently to combine.

*make it even better!*
Turn out into a casserole prepped with cooking spray and bake at 425 degrees until hot and bubbly!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekly Update: My Scale Sucks!

Seriously, I need a new scale.
Or I need to make friends with a doctor that will let me come weigh every week.

My scale SUCKS.
One day I weigh in at 220, the next 227, the next 220, the next 228 . . .
And let's not get started on when I step off and step on again.
Did you know it's entirely possible to gain 15 pounds in under a minute?

So here's this week's update:

(by the way, my laptop is a bit out of commission so vlogs are on hold until I can A) figure out why it's being a butt and fix it or B) I get enough money for the really cool gaming laptop I've got my eye on. I'll keep you posted)

Starting Weight: 295
Surgery Weight: 285
Highest Weight: 310
Current Weight: 220

How's my eating? 
Pretty good - I am now where I can pretty well eat whatever I want, within reason. I don't have any more issues with meat or eggs (thank God!). I do not do well with high-sugar items however - remember the discussion we had on dumping syndrome? As it turns out it DOES, in fact, affect a lot of sleevers. I happen to be one of them. Part of me is glad for this, but part of me (the whiny kid that is still addicted to chocolate donuts and pasta) really hates it. But I'll get over it. I need to focus on the GOOD rather than the BAD - both emotionally and food-wise. Making good choices means I don't get sick, I feel better, I keep losing, and, eventually, I reach goal. 

I still have issues with carbs. My husband and I went on a road trip this weekend and brought with us "naughty foods" with the sole purpose of eating as much crap as we could on this trip (this is how our vacations go, for some reason). The unfortunate thing is that we still have some of this crap left over. Guess what I ate a lot of yesterday. Yeah . . . There's a reason why I have to stick to a low-carb lifestyle. I never realized how much my food addiction focused on carbohydrates until now. I had always been taught that carbs were okay - especially whole grain ones. Apparently in MY case, that's not true. I can't resist them and apparently my sleeve really likes them because I can eat a LOT of them.

Now for some NSV's (non-scale victories):

First off, this weekend's trip was centered around a renaissance festival near Houston, TX (yes - we are the nerdy ones that show up in costume). I have, as part of my garb, a bodice that I bought a few years ago for around $250 (I swear I spend more money on clothes for faire than I do for clothes IRL {in real life}) - this bodice has lacings in front and in back. When I bought it, we had to add a second lacing to the back and the front lacing was open about 6 inches. This is what it looked like:

Before: Around 300 lbs

Okay . . . So maybe the bodice is MORE than six inches apart. Yeah. Pretty bad. And I actually thought I looked GOOD. *eye rolling*.
So, HERE'S what I looked like this weekend:

After: Around 220
The lacing in front is tightened all the way, and the back is almost to the point of removing the second lacing.

So, does the sleeve work? 
^^^^^You be the judge^^^^^

And a second NSV: I was HIT ON yesterday at Wal Mart! 
I told him thanks for the complement, but I am VERY happily married!

So I have 20 pounds until my next goal of 200. This is the weight I was when I graduated high school.
My goal is to reach that by sometime before Christmas. Pretty sure I can get there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What You Need To Know About Glycemic Index

I have been hearing a lot lately about the importance of the glycemic index of foods. Me, being the research-hoarder I am, began researching everything I could on the subject. And I found out some interesting information for sure - in fact, there are things about GI that I had no idea about - things that were REALLY surprising.

First of all, let me take a second to explain exactly what the term "glycemic index" means.

When you eat, glucose is digested and enters the blood stream. The glycemic index of a food is, basically, how slow or fast it raises your blood sugar. Foods with a lower GI raise your blood sugar slowly and steadily while higher GI foods raise it quicker. With that in mind, you might think that only high carb, high sugar foods would have a high GI and lower carb/sugar foods would have a low GI, right? WRONG! It was a shock at some of the GI counts of many foods!

For example, a snickers bar has a higher lower GI than rice! And pasta has a lower GI than pumpkin!
Why is this surprising? Well, obviously a snicker's bar is full of sugar and carbs. And pumpkin is a low-carb staple for many (including me!).

Other surprising facts, low-GI does NOT mean low carb - pasta, some breads, and vegetables such as peas and corn are all low GI, but notorious for being BIG no-no's for the low-carb crowd. Also, GI has NOTHING to do with the amount of fat or sodium in a food, and does't even really have much to do with the amount of sugar in an item.

So what does this mean?

If you are a diabetic, low GI foods are exactly what you need - they don't spike your blood sugar and will help you regulate your insulin levels.

If you are NOT a diabetic, sticking to a low GI diet won't hurt you either. That being said, it's not necessarily the way to go for weight loss either, since many of the "allowed" foods on a low GI diet include starchy fruits and vegetables and foods like white pasta (which has a lower GI than whole wheat pasta!!). Something else to consider is that a low-GI diet is NOT beneficial for someone that is eating gluten free as many of the gluten free staples (corn flour, rice, rice flour, etc) are high GI foods.

Of course, ANY diet can be modified to fit your individual needs. If need to eat gluten free and GI it AN be done. If you need to eat low carb and GI, it can be done too - quite easily in fact.

So, what do I plan to do with this information?
I plan on staying on my current low-carb plan until I get to my goal weight (140-150-ish), then I will move on to a low-GI diet while I'm in maintenance. I feel that, for me, it is a great way to go.

If you want more information on the glycemic index you can visit the following web sites:
The GI Diet
University of Sydney's Glycemic Index Site 
The Mayo Clinic's Glycemic Index Page

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Monday . . . Er . . . Maybe . . .

Let's just say that sticking with menus is NOT my forte.
Not at all.
Last week I had plans to do the 5 Day Pouch Test.
That didn't happen.
For one thing, I didn't have the grocery money to spend on my and my family 3-5 different meals a night.
(that one's a long story ...)
For another thing, for some reason I can't tolerate ANY protein shake - none of them.
(that's insanely frustrating)
In fact, last week didn't go as well food wise as I'd hoped.
But I did discover something.
Despite what I had told myself for years, I don't do well with carbs.
So I am going to be returning to a low-carb diet and STAYING with it. At least for the next 70 lbs or so.

Now as far as the menu thing goes:
While I love the idea of being accountable, I am not one to hold myself accountable very well. So I think that Menu Monday will be reduced down to Monday-Friday and dinner only - after all, dinner is usually the main meal for most families!

So here's this weeks Dinner Menu:

Monday: Cheesy Chicken Skillet, salad (recipe below!)
Tuesday: Crock Pot Pintos with Sausage
Wednesday: Chili
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Cheesy Chicken Skillet
4 Normal Servings
Per Serving (about 1 cup of food):
Calories: 200 

carbs: 16 
fat: 4 
protein: 24

Cooking Spray

1-9 oz or 2-4 oz chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes
1/2 large onion (any color will work - whatever is your favorite)
1/2 bell pepper (again, whatever color is your favorite!)

1/4 c frozen peas
1 can low fat/low sodium cheddar cheese soup (I use Campbell's Healthy Request)
1/2 above can of low-fat milk (you can also use soy or almond milk - unflavored of course!)
1/4 c shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1 package Tofu Shirataki Noodles - Spaghetti Style, drained, rinsed, cooked according to package directions (hint - add some chicken base or a low sodium bullion cube to the water!), and cut up into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp salt free herb blend (I like Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning)
couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Spray a non stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper then cook in the pan until browned, turning pieces frequently. Remove chicken from pan and add peppers and onions (you may add more cooking spray if needed).  Cook peppers and onions until soft and translucent. Return chicken to the pan. Add cheese soup and milk and stir well to combine. Add cheese and peas, mix well, and allow to return to temperature (it will get bubbly). Add seasonings and noodles and mix gently to combine. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes (this allows the sauce to set up a little bit and also allows the flavors to meld together). Serve hot with a green salad!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu Monday!

Happy Monday everyone!! So, how did I do on my menu from last week? Some days better than others to be honest.

Monday I stuck with it pretty well - I did not eat the snacks though because I just wasn't hungry.
Tuesday was kind of a bust day - I found out the true meaning of the term "slider foods" - popcorn, goldfish, crackers . . . Not good for me.
Wednesday I went to the hospital to be with my mom as she underwent surgery to switch from the lap-band to the vertical sleeve, and hubby and I were baaaaaaad. We went to Long John Silver's (now to our credit - we NEVER, EVER eat fast food. EVER. This was a one-time-only treat and one that we won't be doing again for a while!)
Thursday I did a little better - I ended up eating lunch with my friends (it was healthy!) which was a lot of fun!
Friday the hubbs and I visited my sister and went to eat chinese food. I had won ton soup and a couple of egg rolls (and a mushroom. oh, and a bite of my husband's crab rangoon). I was actually pretty surprised that I could eat that much to tell you the truth!
Saturday ended up being a snack day - lots of cheese and grapes from Central Market (OMG - the BEST grapes on the PLANET!!)
Sunday was also a snacky kind of day - again lots of cheese, nuts and grapes (I kinda like days like that!!)

This week's menu is actually really simple. I will be doing a technique called the pouch test. The basics are this:
Days 1&2 Liquid Protein (full liquid diet)
Day 3 Soft Protein (mushies/pureed foods)
Day 4 Firm Protein (soft foods)
Day 5 Solid Protein (regular diet)

So this weeks menu will look like this:

Monday: Protein Shakes, water, crystal light/mio, pureed bean soups, pureed chili, etc.
Tuesday: Same as Monday
Wednesday: soft eggs, tuna, yogurt, cottage cheese
Thursday: hard boiled eggs, baked/grilled fish/shrimp, cheese, ground beef patties
Friday: Eggs, chicken (gonna try it!), steak, cheese, etc.

The reason I am doing this is because here lately I kind of feel like I'm eating too much. I know for sure I've discovered slider foods, and I don't want to get in the habit of eating these things on a regular basis. I think I may do this technique once every three months or so just to keep myself on track!

I will do an update on my You Tube page, so don't forget to visit me there!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu Monday - Bonus Recipe for Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole!

Alright! We're going to give this Menu Monday thing another go - hopefully it'll stick this week!
As always, the goal is for me to keep track of everything I eat through the week and post NEXT Monday how I did, along with the new menu for the week.

Legend: BFst = Breakfast, AMS = AM Snack, PMS = PM Snack, DIN = Dinner, BTS = Bedtime Snack

BFst - Berries w/yogurt and granola

AMS - Handful of nuts
Lunch - Butternut Squash Ravioli

PMS - Graham cracker w/ peanut butter
DIN - Chicken Tikka Masala w/ Tabbouli
BTS - S/F Ice Cream

BFst - yogurt w/ grape nuts
AMS - 1/2 protein bar

Lunch - Soup
PMS - Grapes and Cheese
DIN - Fajita Veggies w/ Black Bean Quinoa
BTS - popcorn

BFst : Scrambled Eggs
AMS : yogurt
Lunch: TBD (out day)
PMS : Nuts
DIN : Leftover Chili
BTS - S/F Ice Cream

BFst: Berries w/ yogurt and granola
AMS - Cheese and Nuts
Lunch: Butternut Squash Ravioli
PMS - 1/2 Protein Bar
DIN - Leftover Beans and Sausage
BTS - Popcorn

BFst: Waffle w/Peanut butter
AMS: Nuts
Lunch: TBD (out day)
PMS: Cheese and Crackers
DIN: Spaghetti Squash, Sausage and Peppers w/ Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
BTS: yogurt

BFst: Cereal
AMS: Yogurt
Lunch: Soup
PMS: grapes and cheese
DIN: Sandwiches/Salads

BFst: Breakfast Casserole (recipe below)
AMS: Yogurt
Lunch: Soup
PMS: Nuts
DIN: Leftovers
BTS: Popcorn

Here's the recipe for breakfast casserole! It's an oldie but goodie, modified for a healthier lifestyle :-) I serve it with a side of fruit. For a different twist, you can also add sauteed veggies before adding the cheese. My husband and I like it like this, but the kids don't like the veggies so for the whole family I omit them. Enjoy!

Breakfast Casserole
6 regular servings (regular serving means for a person who has not had WLS. For WLS patients, this makes about 8-12 servings)

1 lb lean breakfast sausage

1/4 lb 75% low fat cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs, beaten

3 T Fat Free half & half
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350
Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray
Press the sausage down into the pan, coming up the sides a bit (about 1/4 in). This will be your "crust".
Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sausage.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, half & half, and salt and pepper. Pour over sausage mixture.
Place baking dish on a sheet ban or cookie sheet to prevent spillage.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until no longer jiggly in the middle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What To Do With All That Hair?!

First of all, I want to thank all of my wonderful SITStah's for making yesterday such a wonderful, fun and special day! I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful community dedicated to encouraging, uplifting  and supporting each other in the blogger world.

Alright, now that the mushy stuff is over . . .
I have a very interesting subject for today.

It's inevitable.
If you've had WLS, you're probably GOING to experience hair loss.
Mine has begun.
I wash my hair and come back with handfuls.
I brush my hair and my empty brush becomes full.
I continually find hair on my shoulders, back, chair, pillow . . .
It's a good thing I had more than enough to spare!

While it doesn't really BOTHER me so much, I do think it's been expedited a bit because of my almost-vegetarianism as of late. But I'm not overly worried. As I said, I have MORE than enough hair to go around. In fact, I've come up with some ideas of what to actually DO with some of this hair that has decided to make a mass prison break from my scalp!

What To Do With Lost Hair . . .

Make a doll wig.
Spin into yarn and make a hat.
Stuff a pillow.
Make a fake mustache and beard for Halloween.
Weave it into jewelry.
Glue it to your feet and dress up like a Halfling (Hobbit).
Spread it around your garden to deter pests.
Give it to Stewie Griffin so he can have "peuuuuubes . . ."

(That last one was courtesy my apparently twelve year old husband . . .)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome SITStahs!!

Welcome Welcome WELCOME!!
I am SO excited you're here!
Here, let me show you around a bit . . .

I started this blog AAAAaaaall the way back in 2008 - you can read that first train wreck of a blog post here.

Before I continue, let me tell you about myself.

I have been overweight - okay, OBESE - almost my entire life. Food was my BFF - it was there when times were tough, when times were good, and when times were mediocre. When I got teased at school for being the fat girl, my favorite cookies were right there to hug and comfort me. THEY never teased me. By the time I graduated high school I was a whopping 210 lbs (give or take). But that's nothing . . .

Over the years I continued my unhealthy journey. By the time I had my first child I was 250. On my wedding day I was 270. And after the birth of my second child I was 310 lbs. That's when I made the decision that things were going to have to change and I joined Weight Watchers.

Unfortunatly, I am one of the small percentage of people that WW doesn't work for. I lost about 25 lbs and got stuck. I was at 285 for close to two years. NOTHING I did helped. Absolutely nothing. It was so frustrating. My weight was still high, my cholesterol was bad, my blood pressure and blood sugar were on the rise, and I was doing nothing but maintaining an unhealthy weight.

After much discussion with my doctor and husband and much prayer, I decided this year to have weight loss surgery (the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy). You can read all about that decision here and here.

Here I talk all about the good, the bad, and the mortifying. It's been a rough ride, but so far it's working - I've lost just over 50 lbs and feel and look better than I have in years. My ultimate goal is to reach 150 lbs or a size 10 - whichever comes first. I haven't been a size 10 in . . . well, EVER!

I hope you enjoy your visit to my little happy place on the internet! Thanks for visiting - hope to see you all soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weekly Update Vlog: Accountability

I talk about accountability a LOT on this blog, and that's because I have my own personal issues with it! I have a hard time keeping myself accountable - as evident in the fact that I haven't blogged in a week and a half!! 

Remember last week's attempt at Menu Monday? Well, that didn't work out - at ALL. First off, I didn't stick to my menu. Second, I didn't follow through. Seriously, kids, I have issues.

Why is accountability important? Because without it, you have a lessened chance of long-term success. Holding yourself accountable means that you can go back and look at past mistakes to fix them, and not repeat them. Holding yourself accountable means that you are improving daily - training yourself, if you will, to a new, better, and more healthy lifestyle. And holding yourself accountable means that you are taking ownership for your own action and not blaming other people when you do something that sabotages your efforts.

As I say in my vlog: it is NOT easy always. But it is ALWAYS rewarding. 
Enjoy this week's update, and don't forget to like the video, subscribe to my You Tube page, and COMMENT! :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Monday!

This week I'm starting a new accountability series: Menu Monday. The objective is to post my menu for the week on Monday and then the next Monday tell how well I followed up with it!

So here's this week's menu!

BF: Oatmeal with Almonds
AM: Cheese stick
L: Refried Beans
PM: Nuts and Cheese
D: Chilli
AD: Jello

BF: Ezekial French Toast with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar
AM: Nuts
L: TBD (out to lunch with my mommy!)
PM: Protein bar
D: Sausage and Peppers w/ Spaghetti Squash
AD: Pudding Pop

BF: Gluten Free Waffle w/ peanut butter
AM: Nuts
L: Leftovers
PM: Triscuit and Cheese
D: Roasted Chicken, sauteed squash, green salad
AD: Coffee

BF: Oatmeal with Berries
AM: Cheese
L: Leftovers
PM: Nuts
D: Leftovers
AD: Pudding Pop

BF: Ezekiel french toast w/berries and almonds
AM: Nuts
L: Leftovers
PM: Cheese
D: Shrimp Stir Fry
AD: Jello

BF: Kashi Cereal
AM: Cheese
L: Meat, Cheese and Crackers
PM: Nuts
D: Makeover meal w/ chicken
AD: Coffee

BF: Gluten Free pancake and sausage muffins
AM: Nuts
L: Leftovers
PM: Cheese
D: Leftovers
AD: Pudding Pop

Be sure to check back next week to see how I did!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Update and Good News!

Well, it has been a while since my last update - there have been a few mini-crisis this past couple of weeks!

I was initially worried a few days ago because the scale showed that I had GAINED 2 lbs! My thoughts were "REALLY?? HOW can I GAIN weight? I barely have a stomach!" But then . . . well, mother nature arrived for her monthly visit, and I lost the 2 lbs, plus another 2 almost overnight.

As far as eating goes, I am ALLOWED to eat whatever I like. My sleeve would disagree with my doctor and nutritionist, however. Slim (My sleeve's nickname) doesn't like untoasted bread or meat (of all things!!). I can see the bread - after all, it is pretty hard to digest anyway. But the meat could pose a problem. I mean, I'm SUPPOSED to be eating a high-protein, low-carb diet! It's kinda hard to do that when you can't digest the #1 source of protein on the market!! I also can't seem to stomach shakes and protein powders. And I've tried just about every one I can think of on the market! So, I'm eating a lot of beans (and I mean a LOT - I have beans in one way or another at every meal!). I am not sure if I will be able to eat tofu, so I've kinda avoided that. I was eating greek yogurt, but Slim is tired of it (it's easy to get tired of after a while). So, it's beans and nuts and cheese and eggs. I do try meat almost daily. There are some that I can tolerate better than others - steak and shrimp so far are the two I do best with.

I have started a new workout program - Body Gospel. Now, it's in conjunction with a supplement shake program called Shakeology, but since I can't do the shakes I'm just doing the workouts. And I have to say I love it so far! As a Christian, this program is GREAT. I get to workout and worship all at once. I've also been doing a "Christian alternative to yoga" called Praise Moves that I like a lot as well.

So that's what I've been up to lately, now on to the good news!

My mother had the lap-band surgery about 7 years ago. Since then, she has had issues with stalled weight loss, weight gain, and other issues. After speaking with our surgeon (Dr. Frank Veninga, if you're interested!), she has been approved by her insurance to have a revision surgery (band-to-sleeve)! This is very exciting news, and we know that this will solve 85% of her problems with weight loss. Plus, because she won't have to keep returning to the doctor for fills every so often, it will save them money in the long run!

Thanks for taking this journey with me - I will post a new vlog very soon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Holy Shart, Batman!

So, you're walking around, minding your own business, doing your thing. 
Suddenly you feel a bubbling in your tummy and slight pressure you know where. 
So you look around to see if anyone's around watching 
(you wouldn't want to embarrass anyone, lest of all yourself) 
and decide to let 'er rip. 
Then you realize something. Something horrifying. 
That gas you just passed . . . wasn't gas! 
There goes not embarrassing anyone!

If you understand what just happened there, congratulations, 
you're now an official memeber of the Shart Club! 
If you have no clue what a shart is, then you haven't experienced one. 
Trust me when I say they're not fun.

The thing is, this phenomenon is a part of the life of a person that has had WLS. 
That goes for by-pass, lab-band, sleeve, duodenal switch . . . 
EVERYONE goes through it at some point in time or another. 
The lucky ones know what's coming and make it to the restroom in time. 
But the rest of us
. . . yeeeeaaah . . .

So how many times has this happened to me? 
Um . . . Never . . . Yeah, that's it. 
I've NEVER had THAT problem 
*crossing fingers behind my back whistling a jaunty tune* . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

The More I Learn, The Less I Know . . .

Let's face it, eating healthy is not easy in today's society. In fact, it's darn near impossible. Food - and large quantities of it - are thrown at us from every direction. It's everywhere. On TV, in magazines, on the radio, on billboards - and it's not going to get better. We have to make the choice to stick with one diet plan for a longer length of time then five or ten minutes. This includes saying no to all of those food fests shoved in our faces.  Sabotage can come from anywhere, but the key is ourselves.

When I made the choice to have surgery, it was so that I could change my lifestyle for the better. To be honest, I didn't have the will or the strength to say no to what others threw at me. I knew more about nutrition than your average fat girl, but I ignored everything I knew for five minutes of pleasure. The surgery gave me the will to get through that. It made it so that, essentially, I HAVE to say no. I couldn't eat a cheeseburger if I wanted to!

It makes me sad when I see people "give up" on their lifestyles and give in to temptation. And then they justify it. "I barely ate anything today, so this is within my calorie count" or "Oh, I haven't had this is so long, one's not going to hurt . . ." And then the cycle begins again.

To be honest, bad food is bad food and your body is going to react to it in a bad way. Something one of my favorite chefs, George Stella said really hit home with me: "Starving yourself all day so that you can order a pizza and still stay below your daily carb limit isn't going to work for you in the long run. A small chocolate candy may have the same amount of carbohydrates as a cup of broccoli, but these foods are so fundamentally different that it makes counting them seem inane." (George Stella's Good Carb Family Cookbook, 15) I can't tell you how I nodded my head in agreement and had to share this passage with my husband. It's one of the cycles I threw myself into - "Oh, I'm under my points today, I can have a snickers bar!" or "Hmm . . . If I eat only carrots today I can have fried chicken tonight!" No WONDER at best I was maintaining at 285!

I am finding that the more I learn, the less I actually know. Low carb, for example, does not always result in ketosis if you're eating the RIGHT carbs (fruit, veggies, whole grains). But the key is IN MODERATION. Low calorie doesn't mean nothing but lettuce and carrots all day long. Meat is essential in a low calorie diet because of the amount of protein it contains. And justification is justification no matter how you look at it.

So, here's to the end of my cycle. I am so glad it's finally broken.

Tomorrow is my 6 week appointment with Dr. Veninga. I am so excited for him to see where I'm at right now, and to get some of my burning questions answered. My prayer is to this week be released for more vigorous exercise and do be able to finally get in some AB WORK!!

PS School has started today for the kids so look for more frequent posting! And don't forget to visit my weekly VLOG on YouTube. Post comments, ask questions, and don't forget to like and subscribe to my feed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Progress - and LOTS of it! And . . . What's the deal with Carbs??

It's amazing the changes one is forced to go through after life-changing surgery.

For one, my attitude and outlook on life has changed dramatically. I no longer dread getting up in the morning. I no longer dread exercise. I no longer let depression rule me and fuel my desire to eat.

I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery on July 11 of this year. Since then, I have lost a total (as of this morning) of 30 lbs. I have gone (so far) from a size 26 to a size 22 (!!!). I am officially thinner than I was when I met my husband!! I have yet to try on my wedding dress - although I think that's going to be fun.

I no longer am able to turn to food when I am depressed or upset, so I have found other outlets for that. Crafting is coming back into my life, for one thing. Interestingly enough, I'm also starting to develop recipes specifically for sleeve patients. Our issues are different than other WLS issues. There are some similarities, but several differences as well. For example, lap-band patients have problems with many foods whereas most sleeve patients can pretty well eat what they like (within reason). So, be on the lookout for future recipes!

This week is the pivotal 6 week mark. This week I get to start a regular diet. Next week I go in for my 6 week follow up, and I have a ton of questions for my doctor. For one thing, I'm confused on carbs. Being on a couple of online forums and a facebook group, I'm noticing that every doctor and nutritionist are different on their guidelines. AND some doctors and their nutritionists have differing opinions! Some say low carb, some say no carb, some say don't worry about counting carbs. So you can see where the confusion comes in.

Something else to wonder about is protein - HOW is one supposed to get protein without resorting to protein supplements and powders? The problem for me is, I can't drink them. They're WAY too sweet. I have yet to find one that I like. And I'm supposed to be getting 60-80 grams of protein a day (!!!). I can't seem to eat enough food at a time to get to that point. So, I'll have to ask my doctor about all of that as well.

One thing that I've been asked about is complications. I haven't had any real complications thus far - no leaks, no gall bladder issues, etc. I HAVE had really bad heartburn (I take an OTC medicine for it) and I've thrown up once or twice (my own fault!). But otherwise, nothing major. As long as I take my vitamins, I'm usually good energy wise, so that's not an issue either.

Now for the good.
I need some new clothes already. Not a whole lot - just a few things for church and going out. My shirts are all falling off of me and I need new bras. My husband told me one night as we were snuggling in bed that I felt smaller to him.

Speaking of my husband, he's been dieting along with me and has ALSO lost around 30 lbs! I am so proud of the two of us doing this for our health.

Don't forget to check out my weekly vlog on youtube! My channel link is:

Don't forget to subscribe to my you tube channel so you can get weekly updates!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Week's Vlog: Rollercoasters and Suitcases

Today I ramble a bit about the emotional rollercoaster before surgery and I talk about what I'm taking with me to the hospital.

My dog decides to get in on the conversation as well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

And Now . . . One For the Support Team

My last post was geared toward those that were still negative about my decision to have the Gastric Sleeve.  Today, I have decided to write one for those of you that have stood beside me 100%. For my followers and friends that understand my struggles and know how important this surgery is to my life:

To My Husband: I love you with every ounce of my being. Thank you so much for being there every step. You encourage me daily and love me unconditionally. You strive to not just aid me in my own journey, but in making positive, healthy changes in our entire family. Without you, this journey is fruitless, and may not have even happened. Thank you, LOML. ♥

To My Children: My little cheerleaders: each of you push me a little farther. When I'm struggling, you tell me "you can do it Mommy!" I am doing this for each of you - so I can see you graduate, watch you get married, and hold my grandchildren (in 50 years, of course). I love you each more than you can imagine.

To My Parents: You have stood by me and lifted me up. Mom, you have inspired me more than you can possibly know. Daddy, your love and support have been the world and more to me.

To My Brothers: I know how much you understand what I'm going through. Thank you so much for cheering me on.

To My Sisters: My very best friends: You guys push me to be the very best person I can be, regardless of my weight.

To My Friends: You each have supported me in so many ways - dieting with me, calling me to check on me, distracting me, and even yelling at me sometimes. And that's just the beginning. Many of you have known me since elementary school and know just how far back my struggles have gone, yet you never judged me based on my weight. True friendship lasts through the ages, and I thank you for yours.

In less than a day I will be making the biggest change of my entire life. Every emotion known to man has gone through my mind - from joy and excitement to fright and sadness. I am ready for this - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. And those of you that have supported me on this venture are part of the reason why. I can't wait to see the real me. And I can't wait for all of you to see her too.

Love and Hugs,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why Weight Loss Surgery?

First of all, let me say that the unbelievable outpouring of support that I have received over my decision to have surgery has been TREMENDOUS. I am very excited about this stage in my life, I am excited about the positive changes about to happen, and I am excited about the new me that will be emerging like a butterfly from this fat, unhealthy pupa.

That being said, there are still those that don't quite understand why I've chosen this route. Some are afraid of my going into surgery. Some think that I could do it on my own if I wanted to. And some think that surgery is, quite frankly, a cop-out.

Today, I'm going to shed some light on the truth about WLS, in particular the sleeve (Vertical Sleeve), I'm going to address some of those worries, concerns, and misinformed statements, and I'm going to give a little more insight about how I got to this point.

I have been overweight since childhood. From the time I was about eight years old, to be precise. The weight started coming on sometime after I had my tonsils out as a kid, and it never really stopped. I went on my first diet (unbeknownst to my mother) when I was around 10. This led to a 26 year long string of failed attempts. I have been on every diet known to man, and some not-so-known. I have done Atkins, South Beach (4 times), Lean Bodies (three times), juice fasting (twice), Weight Watchers (twice), Slim Fast (A lot), the blood type diet, the eden diet, vegetarianism, and many, many more. I would lose a grand total of up to 20 lbs, and stop. I would continue, sometimes for months. But would always be stuck at that first 20 lbs. The last attempt I made before deciding on surgery was Weight Watchers. I lost 20 lbs and got down to around 276. And that's where I stayed for three months. I exercised daily, I counted my points religiously, I did everything I was supposed to do. I changed things up - lowering my points slightly, raising them slightly, working out more, changing my routine, EVERYTHING you can think of. And the weight did. not. move. I finally gave up. And gained 20 lbs back. The best I was ever doing was maintaining an unhealthy weight.

I love exercise. I love eating healthy. I try to do both on a regular basis. And yet, I am still maintaining or gaining, NOT losing.

One thing I have learned is that even eating healthy, you can still overeat. Eating a delicious meal of grilled chicken, vegetables, and quinoa doesn't help if you eat the whole panful. That's where the surgery comes in.

The surgery I have opted to have is called the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (aka, Vertical Sleeve, Gastric Sleeve, VSG . . .). The purpose of this particular surgery is to remove 75-85% of your stomach, leaving a "pouch" that is about the size and shape of a banana. This process will also remove glands (Ghrelin gland) or portions of glands in the stomach that cause hunger. The purpose is to re-train your body to think of food in a different way. No longer will I be able to live to eat, I will have to eat to live.

The procedure will be laparoscopically, which means there will be a few small incisions on my belly and the doctor will use special instruments, including a camera to see what he's doing, to complete the procedure. The stomach will be stapled off then the unused portion will be removed. The doctor will then stitch along the staple line and remove the removed portion of my stomach through one of the incisions. Then I will be stitched up and sent to recovery. From there I will go to a hospital room to stay at least 24 hours.

There are risks with this surgery, it is, after all, a huge procedure. But the risks are far smaller than the gastric by-pass, the duo-donal switch, and even the lap-band. The biggest risk with the sleeve is possible leakage around the staple line, but even this is less than a 1% risk. In other words, a gastric sleeve procedure is even safer than a c-section.  Yes, there is the risk of not waking from anesthesia. But then, I'm 288 lbs (as of yesterday). There's a chance I won't wake up tomorrow morning. There's a greater chance that 10 years from now, without surgery, that I won't wake up to watch my daughter graduate from high school.

To those that believe that weight loss surgery is an easy way out, I want you to consider my situation for a moment. Suppose you have been obese all your life. Suppose that every diet you have ever tried has failed after a set amount of time. Suppose you do everything right, and still don't lose weight. At which point do you say, "maybe it's time for a drastic change?"

With this surgery, I will still have to diet and exercise. I will still have to pay attention to what I eat and my portion sizes - even more so now than ever before. I will be on a strict eating regimen to ensure that I am getting enough nutrients and protein to heal my body and keep it healthy. I will have to take multiple vitamins each day and continually have a water bottle on hand at all times. The point of this surgery is not to be an easy way out. It is, rather, a tool for me to use to finally, after 26 years of struggling, have success. It is a way for me to have a "re-set button", if you will. I will have to re-train my body to eat again. I will finally have the attitude about food that I have been praying about for so long.

Thank you for reading this, and thank you for joining me on my journey. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or you can email me at

God Bless,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Vlog, Plus Recipes!

This week I'm talking about the joys of the liquid diet. Okay, well, maybe JOYS is a bit strong of a word. It's not bad. It's not GREAT but it's not bad either! Enjoy!

And HERE are the recipes! (Plus a few bonus)

All shakes have the following instructions:

In shaker or blender combine all ingredients except ice (if using). Blend or shake until well mixed. If using ice, add ice and blend until the ice is crushed. Enjoy immediately!

Morning Coffee

1 packet or serving scoop(s) vanilla protein powder
Water according to package/surgeion instructions
1 packet Taster's Choice or Folger's single serve instant coffee
@ 1 T sugar free chocolate syrup
dash cinnamon
1/2 C ice (optional)


1 Packet or serving scoop vanilla protein powder
water according to package/surgeon instructions
1 tsp sugar free caramel coffee syrup
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash ground cloves
dash ground ginger
1/2 C ice

Banana-Berry (or Banana Split)

1 Packet or serving scoop vanilla protein powder
water according to package/surgeon instructions
@ 1 T sugar free strawberry syrup
1 tsp. banana extract
1/2 c ice

Coconut Cream Pie

1 Packet or serving scoop vanilla protein powder
water according to package/surgeon instructions
1 T caramel flavored coffee syrup
1 tsp coconut extract
dash cinnamon
1/2 c ice

Mounds Shake

1 Packet or Serving scoop vanilla protein powder
water according to package/surgeon instructions
1 T sugar free chocolate syrup
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 c ice

Shamrock Shake

1 packet or serving scoop vanilla protein powder
water according to package/surgeon instructions
1 tsp mint flavoring
1 T caramel coffee syrup
1/2 C ice

After adding seasonings, heat each recipe in microwave or on stovetop until just steaming.

Taco Soup Broth

1 Can chicken or beef broth (or 1 1/2 cups)
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning

WonTon Soup Broth

1 Can (about 1 1/2 C) Chicken broth
1 tsp soy sauce
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder

French Broth

1 can beef or chicken broth
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning OR 2 tsp herbes de provance

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jen's WLS Journey ES. 02

Here's Part 2 in my WLS Journey.
Today I talk a little bit about the non-health WHYS
and ...
(be afraid. be. very. afraid.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A LIfe-Changing Decision . . .

Ever since I decided to have the Vertical Sleeve procedure, it has been my every waking thought.
Every moment of every day, I dream of what it will be like to not have to physically struggle.
I have dreams at night of waking up in the hospital to my surgeon telling me that everything went beautifully.
For those of you that have been following this journey, you know exactly what I've been through.
I've tried everything known to man.
Diet, exercise - those things are IMPERATIVE. But sometimes, even those things are not enough.

I recently had someone tell me that I could do this on my own.
I have been obese for - literally - 26 years.
I am 36 years old - you do the math.
If it was SO easy . . . If I COULD do this on my own, it would have already been done.
This surgery is a TOOL. If I said it was going to be an easy fix - I'd be lying. It's going to be hard as hell.
It's going to change my life.

I've been thinking lately about how my life has been moving thus far, and there's something that I've realized.
80% of my life revolves around food.
Many of my friends and I have a food relationship.
I am a cook at heart, and love trying and creating new recipes.
When I'm joyful, I eat to celebrate. When I'm sad, I eat to mourn.
When I'm pissed off at my kids, I eat to keep from duct-taping them to the wall.
That's all going to change. Food will no longer be my crutch.
Will I still have the same friendships and relationships in a year that I have now?
I hope so.
But I hope that they'll change.
I hope that those friendships and relationships will become less self-sabotaging on my part.
I am so excited to see the changes that this decision will bring to me.
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

Monday, June 11, 2012

WLS Vlog!!

Here's the Vlog I promised a while ago!
I hope it answers your questions - feel free to let me know anything you'd like covered in this series and I'll make sure it gets in! Thank you guys again for joining me on this journey! Love to you all!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming Soon . . .

Things have been hectic in SuperMom Jen land, and I haven't had the time - or the energy! - to blog the way I've wanted to. My weight loss efforts have struggled from all of this too, but that's turning around as well.

Tomorrow I will be posting my first ever VLOG! I have some exciting news that I want to share with all of you, and plus I've always wanted to do a vlog.
Nervous and excited, to say the least.

"See" all of you tomorrow!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Made to Crave: The Urge . . .

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.*   

There's a question that many of us Christians are asked frequently. "How do you grow close to God?"

How would you answer that question?

I'm sure there are a myriad of answers: pray, read scripture, go to church . . . Those are almost a given.
But at the same time, you can go through the motions all you like, and never get close to God.
That's because, as Lysa says, "God can't be reduced to a checklist".
Quite frankly, you cannot get close to God unless you want to.
The one part of the equation that many of us forget to tell is that you have to have a desire to grow close to God: You have to have the urge.
It's exactly the same when it comes to a healthful journey.
If you don't have the urge to change, then change won't come. Period.

Recently my Made to Crave group has been dwindling.
As of right now we are down to less than five women, and possibly even less than that.
This has been discouraging for me.
We've been told more than once, "My heart just isn't in this" or some equivalent.
And that's kind of the point of this post.
These women will not be successful right now because their hearts aren't in it. They don't have the desire. They don't have the urge.
I can't say that I blame them: This is a hard road paved with ugly stones of the past that we have to face and trip over one by one.
I haven't always had the urge myself.
But what's discouraging is that I am led to believe that perhaps these women have been at this for all the wrong reasons.
Perhaps they've just been in this for weight loss alone.
Perhaps they've no intention of making any sacrifices.
Perhaps they're just fearful for some reason or another.
Whatever their reason, I pray that they come back. I pray for them to find their urge.

Something else I would like to throw in here, since we're talking about urges . . .
This weekend I had the biggest urge for chocolate chip cookies.
These are quickly becoming my weakness, because every time I have an urge for them, I bake them.
Then I eat half the batch single handedly, which is what happened yesterday.
Not only did I give in to my own weakness and my own temptation, but I dragged my best friend down with me.
I confess, those cookies tasted REALLY good.
But looking back on it now, the guilt I felt after eating them, and the guilt I felt after my best friend partook (I felt like Eve in the garden, let me tell you!) was SO not worth it!
But this morning, God got me up (by way of my Great Pyrenees).
It was a reminder to do all the things that I promised I would do every morning, and have yet to: read my devotional, pray, write . . . And God led my heart to this today.

Now, I have a project for you guys this week.
I want you all to make a list of the things that you have urges for.
Food, money, sex, television, cars . . . whatever. Then scrutinize it.
Then, rip it up, burn it, crumple it and throw it away, whatever you have to do to get rid of it.
Then make a new list:

Things I Have An Urge For
1. GOD

Because God made us to have urges.
He made us to crave: God, not food.
God bless you all,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tracking Update

One of the things that I vowed to do this time was track everything. Not necessarily to stick to a certain calorie count, but more to keep track of what I'm eating, what I'm not eating and make decisions and changes based on that.

Last week, my sweet best friend bought me a journal to use as a food tracker.

The first few days, I was a rock star. Then I petered out. Then I stopped.
So, I haven't been great as of today.
But that's okay, because today is a new day, so I can start from scratch and keep it moving.

My goal is to hit 270 by February 10 (my birthday).
As of this Friday (January 20) I was at 278.
I have three weeks to lose 8 lbs in order to reach my goal.

Now, let me be perfectly clear.
This is not a HAVE TO.
The scales do not define me.
My world will not cease to turn if I don't make this goal.
This is just something that I have set for myself in order to keep me motivated and on track. It may not be in God's plan  for me to be 270 that quickly. I may hit 272 or 274, and that's okay too. But I'm going to work to hit that goal so that I can at least say that I worked hard for it.

In about three weeks I will be 36 years old.
Weather I make goal or not, I will still weigh less on my birthday than I have for the last five years.
And that's something to celebrate.

God bless you all!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weight Update, And a Question Answered

I was getting frustrated and discouraged because I had gained so much weight over the holidays. But as of this morning, I am back down below 280. 278 to be exact. I was so excited to see that number this morning - that was just the motivation I needed to stay on track.

I've had a lot of people ask me what plan I'm on, am I using any pills or surgery?

The answer is quite simple, really: diet and exercise.

No secret plans, no secret pills, no going under the knife. Just diet and exercise, plain and simple.

A typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast: Breakfast flatbread made with one egg, one cup spinach, two slices canadian bacon, 1 foldable flatbread, 1 slice reduced-fat cheese
Post-workout snack: banana
Lunch: Spinach salad with light vinagarette, craisans, almonds, and sliced grilled chicken
PM Snack: Carrots and Almonds
Dinner: roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes
Bedtime Snack: Almonds and Light Beer
Exercise: 45 Minute Pilates workout

Now, there's not a whole lot of carbs in there, but it's not low-carb. There's not a whole lot of sugar, but it's low-sugar. The point is, eat lots of the good stuff (veggies, fruit, meat) and eat the not-so-good things in moderation. And the workout isn't killer either.

I keep a food journal so that I know what I've eaten, and so that I can look back if I have a gain and say "oh, THAT'S why" and figure out what I need to change. It's all about finding what works and sticking with it.

Gimmicks, fads, pills . . . Don't work. Or, at best, they're a temporary solution to a permanent issue. It HAS to be - and I can't stress this enough - a complete lifestyle change.

That's the only thing that will work.

God bless you all!

So, that's it. That's what I'm doing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Made To Crave: "Made for More"

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.*  

Lately, my Made to Crave study group has been on hiatus. My sweet, amazing mother-in-law, Linda, and my father-in-law, Ray, are on a SANMA mission trip to India. We are so proud of them and are praying every day for their safe return. But until then, MtC is slightly on hold. I didn't realize how much I really needed this group before this, honestly. 

Lately I've been back and forth. I'll have a fantastic day, I'll have a horrible day. I'll have a day that starts off rocking, and ends up stinking. I suppose that's normal for everyone, really. It won't always be sunshine and roses, but then it won't always been wind and rain either.  But sometimes, especially lately, it's discouraging. I'll "give in" then think: "well, I messed THAT up" then proceed to eat the remainder of anything tasty in the house.   I forget one very important little detail. This - this brownie, pop tart, cookie, chip, whatever. THIS is not my purpose in life. God didn't create me for this. He didn't create me to be a poor miserable fat slob sitting on my recliner crying into my lucky charms as I watch The Biggest Loser for the millionth time. No, He didn't. He created me to be an amazing, strong woman for Christ. He created me for His pleasure, for His glory.

As Lysa says in Chapter 4, I am made for more.

I am made to be a wife, mother, friend, daughter, cousin, sister, writer, minister, Child of God.  And in order to be that - the full potential of what God wants from me - I have to learn to ask. I have to learn to ask day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment. In order to reach my full potential, I have to stop focusing on the food, and start focusing on the Lord. 

I am Jennifer, and I am made for more. 
We are all made for more.
We are made to crave God, not food.

God bless you all,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Made to Crave: Having a Journey Partner . . .

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.* 

fully rely on God

I have tried to make it a point to stay away from certain words . . .
Ahem . . . Diet
I call it a journey instead.
I like to think of this process as kind of a road trip, if you will.
I am on the road to better health and an improved closeness with God.
And, lets face it, road trips are so much better with two.

My "Journey Partner" for the past year has been my best friend - 
We have shared our strengths, weaknesses, struggles and successes.
Laura has been such a value to me through this whole thing, because she can completely empathize with what I'm going through and she has a great ability to be able to push me through when no one else can.
Could I do this without her?
Probably, but I wouldn't want to. 

Alone, I get discouraged and break out the funyun's.
Together, we get discouraged and pray for each other then have a grilled chicken salad.
Alone, I step on the scale and get upset when I gain or don't lose anything.
Together, we remind each other that the purpose of this journey is not about weight, but about God.
Alone, I spend too much on snacks and treats "for the kids".
Together, we help each other avoid that aisle and focus on healthy snacks the entire family can enjoy.

I have another journey partner - my husband. 
He is also there to encourage and guide me when I need it.

And a group of wonderful women at my church: our Made to Crave Girls Bible Study Group.
They are amazing women that I don't know what I would do without.

But beyond Laura, and my husband, and my bible study group . . .
Beyond all that there is one Journey Partner that I have to have, 
One that I have to 100%, fully rely on.
Because, really, this journey is not about me, or weight loss, or my friends or family. This journey is about Him and my relationship with Him. This journey is about me re-focusing all my desire and cravings onto God, not food.

Because we are Made to Crave God, not food.

This week I will be starting a food journal. I won't necessarily be writing down calories or anything like that, but I think that it will be a great tool for me to see what I'm eating and not eating. I would love to hear your personal experiences with food journals! Feel free to comment below and tell me what you think about them!

God bless you all!