Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What did I ask for? Oops..it's exactly what I got.

Butterfly blonde
Butterfly Blonde by Yvonne
What did I ask for? Let's think about this....

I wanted to lose the weight and be just like "normal" people right? What did I beg for, pray for every day for over thirty years? I would have made a deal with the devil if I could have found him to ask. It's embarrassing when I admit to myself the lengths I would have gone to if I could have mustered a little more courage. My fondest wish was to lose the weight that put me in the most severe prison I could ever imagine. My obesity was like living dead.

Today I was answering a message and wanted to share my response. I was explaining that fighting a twenty pound regain made this wonderful lady normal and this is what I said.

"I know without a doubt that my pouch is stretched. I can eat a lot of food but that's OK because my greatest wish was just to get back to normal.... to get a second chance and be like everyone else. I'm just like everyone else now fighting to stay at a normal weight...where it's easy to gain the 10-20 pounds if I'm not careful. I got exactly what I asked for didn't I??"

Unfortunately it is easy to forget that I would have given up a toe or a finger to have only twenty or thirty pounds to lose. That was an impossible dream but now a regain of that much scares me to death. Perception changes everything. I also told her to be careful about the holidays and to recommit right now. Yep the food is awesome during the holidays but how long do we enjoy it? Our high only lasts for few minutes. We even chose a sucky high. Legal...but sucky. Next thing we know we are facing the beginning of the year with another ten pounds that kills our heart and soul. We don't even remember at that point what we ate and how it tasted.

Is it easy? Nah...it's never easy but the things worth doing are worth working for.
So be careful for what you wish for...you just might get it.
Then when you get it...remember that it's what you asked for.
And most of all...be grateful for today because like my friend Ramon says, be happy for any day you're above the dirt.

Hugs, Y

p.s. that's a little art piece I did, hope you like it.


Click to see it on my new blog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A brand new blog on bariatricgirl.com!


I have a new blog.
And there's lots of cool new stuff!
I will be leaving this blog up because there are some features I cannot duplicate on the new one and vice versa.
I will be posting here each time there is a new entry on the new site to make sure to cover all the bases. Every post here is already copied to the new blog but I couldn't copy the comments...but that's OK.
Check it out when you get a chance....
Many blessings in love and light, Y

Friday, October 29, 2010

Give your review on WLS!

Just a quick post because I'm off to Houston for the Obesity Help Houston event next week and it's been BUSY!! I'm trying to pull the fashion show together, speak, take clothes for the clothing exchange etc. It's not too late to come!

There's a site called realself.com and they contacted me for info to write a blog post about my story. You can find a very well written and very kind article here:

http://www.realself.com/blog/bariatric-girl-second-chance-at-life

Most importantly they have a section where you can review your weight loss surgery and I'd love for you to go there and tell your story. Here's that link!

http://www.realself.com/Gastric-bypass-surgery/reviews

See you after big fun and inspiration in Houston!
Love and Light
Yvonne

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Surviving to Thriving! You've got to see this!

What an incredible job! Congrats to everyone at WLSFA.org. Toni you rock! BTV you rock too! Please take a moment to watch and give to the WLSFA. (the announcer guy is my husband)


Sunday, September 26, 2010

You've lost the weight, why aren't you happy?


I look at the person I photographed in Cabo San Lucas. Is the lady happy standing out there on the beach? Maybe...or maybe not. Some might question "How could she not be happy standing on the beach and looking at that beautiful sunrise?" Well the truth is that some people would be standing out there complaining about the sand in their shoes.

Some might also question "How could you not be happy after losing 100, 200, 300 or more pounds?" For people that haven't lived that situation they couldn't possibly understand why some of us aren't.

I have stared into the anxious faces of pre-surgery women that long for the simple things like being able to tie their shoes, play with their children, fit in an airplane seat without an extender and many of the things others take for granted.
We buy into that dream. You know the one....where our life becomes this perfect pink cloud life of thinness....sheer normalcy. No more struggles or pain, everything is rainbows and fairy dust because we lost the weight.

Lately there have been an overwhelming number of posts from unhappy post-ops. If you are one to relate to this situation, have you asked yourself why? So many set themselves up for failure because they are SURE that losing the weight will make them instantly happy. I've talked to many pre-ops as they nod their heads and say "I understand, all I want is to do normal things." How can we blame them for wanting more? The first year is made of all these incredible highs from losing weight like we've never lost before! Friends and relatives are telling us how GREAT we look. We get so excited that we can't help but want more! The honeymoon period ends and unless we are prepared, we may wonder what on earth will I do now to replace those "bouncing off the wall highs" we have lived for a year.

We needed to address why we needed to self medicate before we got to this phase but we certainly have to NOW. Why do you think that only having a thin body would make you happy? Think about a friend who has been thin all their lives. I'm pretty sure they don't get out of bed in the morning thinking "OH WOW, I'M SO HAPPY BECAUSE I'M THIN!" They are just like everyone else trying to live their life the best they can with the best attitude they can.

HAVE YOU REALLY FORGOTTEN WHERE YOU CAME FROM?

Perhaps one of the most useful rituals I do each morning is a walking meditation with my dog. "I am truly grateful for my thin healthy body" (that's the first one followed by many more) While I'm saying that I see myself the night before surgery. I remember exactly where I was and I remember to be grateful for where I am today. Is post-op life hard? It is if you believe it is. Wasn't it hard to live in your pre-surgery body? Some of us just can't help ourselves from looking over that fence thinking the grass is greener. I have been discussing this lately but if you really REALLY think about it why do you believe that what you want is always in a place you cannot have? What is the point in that? I will say this again....you have to decide the grass is green enough for right now and when you do, you totally forget to want to climb that fence because even if you do, there's just another fence waiting on the other side. Do you want to enjoy where you are or spend your life climbing fences?
I have found that when I start to see the green grass all around me that the fences fall down because they don't matter any more. After spending 30 years of wanting to be "not obese", I am done with concentrating on what I don't have and ready to enjoy what I have! The magic that happens is that you open yourself to the new stuff that can come into your life because your energy is tied up on useless endeavors.
Open your life to new experience. Quit spending your time concentrating on what you don't have and remember how far you've come. I promise it will make a difference!
Try it you'll like it Mikey!
Love and Light,
Yvonne

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inspirational posts from post-ops

I have a group on Obesity Help called WLS Success. If you are a member of Obesity Help (it's free) please feel free to click on the link and join in on the fun!

This week we've had two particularly inspirational posts. The first one is from Molly who had gastric bypass in 2004. Molly decided to fight that nasty regain monster who tagged her with 80 pounds, Molly is truly an inspiration to those that don't think you can win against that mean ole regain monster so I asked her if I could share her progress.


Here is her post:

In March 2010 when I set out to get back on track, I knew it would be hard. I knew I had to take some drastic measures to get my mind in the place I needed to be to lose 170 more pounds - 80 of which I had regained. In my 20's, 30's and with weight loss surgery the pounds came off a lot more easier than they did this time around. But I was determined to use all of my knowledge to just stick out the bumps in the road I have had over the last 6 months.

In June I had a relapse. I gained over 12 pounds and then spent the whole month of July and part of August getting that weight off. August I did everything right 90 percent of the time and only lost 3 pounds. But at least I had not gained, but still disconcerting because I knew with what I was eating and the exercising I was doing almost daily that I should have been losing at least 2 pounds a week.

Now it is September 13th and I have lost 8 pounds already for a total of 30 pounds, My BMI is back in the 40's. My body finally realized I was not going to let it win. I was going to stick it out. When I started out my goal was 8 pounds a month. That would mean now I should have lost 42 to 48 pounds. So I am a little behind. Wouldn't it be something if I caught up some how in the next 4 to 6 weeks. I am not sweating it. But I still think about it. I am not complaining or upset I have lost only 30 pounds. I am just reflecting.

I am very happy with the 30! I am happy because I have stop the bleeding (gaining). I am so on my mission now to reach all my goals. Maybe I will not reach them on the timetable I set but as long as I do not give up I am on my way. I still have a long ways to go and plenty of soul searching to do but I am on my way. I am making a come back. You can get back on track! I am back on track and I feel good about it. I am going all the way.

My many friends and support programs has helped me remain positive and mindful of my ultimate goals. Encouraging others has help me stay on track also. Thanks again for your support!


The second post is from KristineA, a new post-op. This is truly uplifting and I couldn't be more excited for her.

Hi everyone, just checking in. I went on a business trip last week, first time I have flown since starting this journey. I have always carried most of my weight around my belly, as I heard somebody else describe it, my body type is "imaginary fetus." So belting a seatbelt in any car could be an issue but was always an adventure on a plane! Trying to buckle it under your belly, and hoping the attendant wouldn't think you were faking it and ask you to lift your fat. I remember one flight where I was determined not to ask for the extender belt, and I braced my feet and pushed as far back into the chair as I could to get the seatbelt done up. And was depressed and very uncomfortable the rest of the flight. I was afraid to get up and use the bathroom and have someone see me getting the belt done up again!

Well. This time, I had a good 4 inches of extra unused on the belt. 4 inches! And for the first time in my adult life, I could put the tray table down and not have it hit my belly. How many meals have I eaten with the tray ready to slide off because my body pushed the tray up at an angle? I could not believe it. I left that stupid tray down, and put my book on it, just because I could. Halfway through the flight I realized, not only did I have the tray table down, I had crossed my legs without thinking about it. Crossed my legs! In a plane!!! I used to look over at other people doing that and be so jealous. I know it's a little thing in some ways, but I almost cried. I got my coworker's attention and hissed at him, "Look! Look at me! I'm crossing my legs!" I also showed him how I could move my hand between the table and my body. He was smiling for me, it was AWESOME.

I am very grateful for those members in that group who are so much like a family...too many to mention. I want to thank JEllen for being the glue that holds us together and Traci for offering to rally the troups. Again, too many to name.

I hope that Molly gave some of you a glimpse into kicking the "regain monster" in the butt. The second post makes me smile and feel all warm inside.

I hope they made you feel that way too...

Love and Light, Y

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Forgiving the Fat Girl


Last weekend I was speaking at the Obesity Help Cincinnati Event and as usual I showed some of my before pictures.

Today I received an email from a dear friend of mine Barbara and she asked me this:

After weight loss surgery, and having lost 116 pounds and counting, do I eventually become and stay for life, a fat girl in a slim body, or do I evolve (with personal work and therapy) into a slim girl in a slim body with a fat girl buried under the tree in my backyard?

This was my answer....

B. You evolve (with personal work and therapy) into a slim girl in a slim body with a fat girl buried under the tree in my backyard.

I have buried the fat girl in the backyard but I keep a picture to show others what is possible. I know that by looking at the before pictures I have the ability to move past painful emotions and can come to peace with that pain. Any time I looked at those pictures for the first several years after weight loss surgery I would feel the shame and blame and guilt but now I have forgiven her...the fat girl.

She was doing the very best she could.
She kept trying to find the solution and she didn't give up.
The fat girl saved my life.
She died to save me and I’m grateful for that.

She suffered for 30 years and carried the physical and emotional pain every day but even with that….she thought that one day there might still be a way out. Even at 47 years old when some cultures consider that old age and way too late to start over, she kept trying! The fat girl believed that it was possible to still live a life with purpose and meaning.

I look back at her now with love because even though she wanted to just give up and die, she didn't.

I participated in the fashion show at the event and something happened that I was fortunate enough to get video of. This is something the former fat girl in me only dreamed of....to wear a dress and heels and walk a catwalk or runway. We had all done our "one at a time" walk and we were all coming back out for one last walk when a very nice looking man nearly half my age said "I'm walking with you!" A great song came on and I decided to have a good time. Pursing my lips and doing my very best strut, I proceeded down the runway. Not knowing what would happen next was really scary.

Would I fall?

Would I do something stupid?

I decided it didn't matter. Jared was the perfect partner and he dipped me!
So thank you fat girl....thank you for allowing me to live that slice of life I never thought possible.

I'm not ashamed of you anymore.
Love and Light,

Yvonne


p.s. I'm including the video. Click in the middle of it if you can't see the whole frame and it will take you to you tube.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Out of tragedy came a miracle

I have that comedian’s syndrome.

You know the one where the person on stage can make the whole room laugh but when one person doesn’t….HORRORS! Apparently there had been some discussion about “repeat” speakers at events so I thought I would tell a story of the miracles that come from being a repeat speaker.

My dad wanted me to be a Dale Carnegie Course graduate for speaking when I was in my 20’s and I didn’t get to use my certificate much because no one really had a need for an obese speaker. I wasn’t a stranger to the stage because of playing Cello and singing and playing guitar but speaking was different. After losing the weight I fell into it totally by accident. My dear blogger friend Traci asked me to explain how I got the opportunity to speak and it evolved from an unusual storyline. It involves some tragedy that was followed by a miracle.

When I attended my first weight loss surgery event (Obesity Help 2004 Arlington, TX) I was too afraid to go alone. I volunteered to be the official photographer. After working closely with staff and continuing to volunteer for the next 3 years I had worked hard and begged to get a coveted break out session at the upcoming national California event. It was a magical experience and the 80’s party was one of the best times I’ve had dancing in years. I even wore some clothes I saved from that crazy time in life. This is Debra, Ramon and myself at that party.

Again because of the contacts made at that conference I was given more opportunities to speak and each time I spoke was as much like birthing a baby as I can imagine. Working for hours putting together my information…trying my best to figure out if what I say is relevant to as many as possible. I appreciate each and every person that attends, I don’t want to let them down, and I pray that I say just one thing that can change their lives.

In September of 2007 we had an Obesity Help conference in San Antonio, Texas. Besides preparing a talk I had also spent hours making some centerpieces for the tables for the Texas themed event. They were dancing cowgirls with hats and lassos. My friend Debra had brought the huge candles from her son’s wedding and we were rushing to get it all set up in time. I had a raging eye infection and was trying desperately to shoot pictures when I really couldn’t see. Rushing back to the room to get ready I was waiting for my husband to arrive for the dance when I got a phone call that would bring me to my knees.

Earlier in the day I had spoken and had also done a yoga demonstration and decided to use some music and photographs in the background. The images were of beautiful flowers sent to me by an incredible woman named Alice Neff that I actually met on Dr. Phil's forum. I had corresponded with Alice for 9 months and as a gesture of appreciation for my support she sent me flowers when she could barely afford to feed her special needs daughter Hillary and the many stray cats she helped. We bonded over the cats and we discussed how each day it was harder and harder for her to lift and properly take care of her daughter. She was scared to death about allowing the state to take care of her because she had experienced some abuse by the system before. She loved her daughter Hillary so much that she rarely ever allowed herself to dream but she knew if she got the surgery that she would be able to take care of Hillary. We wrote everybody we could think of for help.

The call was about Alice.

She had committed suicide by leaving the car running in the garage.

She had put her daughter in the car too and even rounded up the strays that she knew no one would take care of.

When I picked myself off the floor I had no choice…there was a function to go to and not many would know until the next day.

Out of tragedy come miracles.

To tell this properly would require a novel so the shorter version was that Dr. Carcamo from Nix Health Care heard the story. He heard that Alice committed suicide because she was unable to have weight loss surgery and he said he wished he could have saved her. As I rode in the elevator with him to his office to be photographed, he told me an incredible story about dealing with death that his father who was also a doctor had told him. He said he couldn’t save Alice but he could save another and that’s what he did. He arranged surgery for our beautiful Monica who had tried to have surgery for 4 years. There were so many people involved in this story and with each story there are so many layers, so many reasons one person talks to another and does a favor for another and so on and so on. This doctor saved my friend’s life and each time I see her face I see the life that was given to her.


Monica joined in with Debra, Ramon and I to help a teenager named Corina. Dr. Alvarez was our angel that day as well as Nina who rode with Corina on the day of her surgery.

Although I have been a repeat speaker at these functions, I could not be more appreciative at the last event because my dad finally got a return on the Dale Carnegie course. My mom had passed away from cancer when I was at my heaviest and never saw me thin. I will be forever grateful that my dad was in the audience with my step mother Betty, my husband Kevin and sitting at that same table was Monica….the life that was saved when Alice lost hers.


It has taken me a long time to tell this story but now there is a good reason why. A wonderful woman named Toni decided there should be more stories just like this....finding a way for those in need to get weight loss surgery or even reconstructive surgery! She formed WLSFA.org which is a non-profit organization that does just that. They have already designated who the first grant will go to and you can read about it here. If you have a moment and can give you can either contribute by writing a check or clicking on the pay pal button on the top left of my blog. (If you write a check they get all of it but they will take a pay pal donation too). Anything you send makes a difference and if you'll join the site you can also donate your talents too. I honestly can't think of anything I've felt better about in a long time.
When I look at the picture of Monica and Corina above I see two beautiful women that just needed some help. I see the possibilities of the miracles that the WLSFA can make happen for so many. (By the way, Monica and Corina will be attending the Obesity Help Houston Event in November.)
Out of tragedy came a miracle.
WLSFA is going to make some more...
Love and Light and Smooches,
Yvonne




Long overdue! Part 2 Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event

I promised over 3 posts ago to do a part 2 for the Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event so here it is.

What do you get when you venture out of your bariatric comfort zone? You get to meet new and fascinating people from all different genres of the bariatric world. Here I am with Gastric Bypass Barbie and what a lovely soul and shining bright light she is. Where did I first "find" her? On You Tube. There are times when you meet someone and you feel like you've known them for years and that's exactly what happened with her. I know Cari has gotten some flack over the "Barbie" part of her name but if you allow this to keep you away from this bariatric ball of energy, you will be losing out. I am looking forward to seeing her very soon and hopefully more pictures will follow. I have her blog linked here so please check it out...and her You Tube channel of course.

I have written a long post (not published yet) about a tragic event in my life that I will share later. It involved a suicide because a beautiful woman was denied surgery. Long tragic tale that will make more sense when I write about it. Because of a very caring doctor some things fell into place that allowed another very deserving woman to get surgery. She had tried for years and because of the efforts of many it happened for her. I will save that post for another time but the reason I am mentioning it is because of an organization that is looking to do what one of my organizations did but on a much larger scale.


Please meet Toni from WLSFA.

(she's in the middle)
Again...because I ventured outside of my "usual" bariatric stomping grounds I met Toni and she met me. After an appropriate amount of begging, I talked her into coming to the Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event. She's been a very busy woman on You Tube with all the wonderful "bariatric tubers" so she didn't know much about the Obesity Help world...hence the need for begging.

What a power house of a woman that has started with a vision and is making it happen! She is all business but lots of fun and if you saw her "Onederland Dance" on You Tube, you would have been most appropriately entertained.

Please visit the site and join:


WHY?

Because Toni has taken this dream to help others and turned it into a reality. Please click on the logo and read about "The Vision" and "The Inspiration".

I have a little group called RYD Obesity and we put together two events and were able to make some surgery happen for some very deserving women. Imagine what could be done with a national group!

There is no greater way to put yourself on the road to weight loss surgery success than to give back or pay it forward. You can give what you can give...whether it's a few dollars or volunteering your skills or whatever you can do. Maybe you know someone who is deserving of help. Make sure to read about the first grant recipients and I think you'll fall in love.
Got to put one more picture of the wonderful ladies that let me sit with them when there were no places to be had. They were great company and it makes me think back to when I would have never had been brave enough to just sit down with complete strangers. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.
I believe some great things happened that weekend that will turn into greater things and it all started with several people breaking out of their comfort zones. Sure it gets all cozy where you are, "where everyone knows your name", but take a moment and check out some other avenues every once in a while. Even if you don't upload videos you can create an account so you can comment or at the very least... view a few.
Hope to see you on the WLSFA site!
Bariatric smooches, Yvonne

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let go...see opportunity in all things!

If you assume in favor of yourself and act as if it is possible, then you will do the things that are necessary to bring about the result. If you believe it is impossible you will not do what is necessary and you will not produce the result. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. ~ Jack Canfield

If you take the approach that "good" is not an accident...that everyone and everything that shows up in your life is there for a reason and that everything is moving you toward your ultimate destiny for learning, growth, and achievement, you'll begin to see every event (no matter how difficult or challenging) as a chance for enrichment and advancement in your life. If you don't feel this way then just stop, give up and don't even try...just wait for the inevitable.
Doesn't choosing the first option sounds like the best path? It is the only path for me and I hope it sounds that way for you too. Is it so wrong believe things can really happen for us?

Nope...but you have to put some effort in your journey. This has never been about the magic pill, the easy way out ....but it does open doors for you that were previously closed to you. The only reason those doors were closed to us before is because we believed we didn't deserve it.

RELEASE THE BRAKES!
Release the brakes and get out of your comfort zone because it is a largely self created prison. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."


Most people drive through life with their psychological emergency brake on. They hold on to negative images about themselves or suffer the effects of powerful experiences they haven't yet released. They stay in a comfort zone entirely of their own making. They maintain inaccurate beliefs about reality or harbor GUILT and self-doubt...and when they try to achieve their goals, these negative images and preprogrammed comfort zones always cancel out their good intentions no matter how hard they try.


The ones that walk a successful journey have discovered that instead of using increased WILLPOWER as the engine to power their success, it's simply easier to "release the brakes" by letting go and replacing their limiting beliefs and changing their self-images. Isn't that a relief? It isn't about willpower....it's about letting go and letting it happen the way you want it to.


Jack Canfield also talks about baby elephants that are trained from a young age. If you tie a rope around a baby elephant's leg it cannot escape. As the elephant gets larger it could certainly get loose but it doesn't know it because the elephant has been trained that it cannot. The elephant believes it is real ...so as silly as it is, the elephant's belief makes it true. We do the same thing by continuing to buy into those self limiting beliefs! Here are his three suggestions to break out of your comfort zone.

1. You can use affirmations and positive self talk to affirm already having what you want, doing what you want, and being the way you want.

2. You can create powerful and compelling new internal images of having, doing, and being what you want.

3. You can simply change your behavior.


Quit being that baby elephant and take that rope off your leg.

Run like there is no tomorrow and see yourself where you want to be.
Lose the self limiting beliefs and replace them with affirmations. Sure it's uncomfortable in the beginning but isn't everything that's worth having? Practice, practice, practice and then see if you can truly get your mind in a place where you can believe the following:
"I believe the world is plotting to do me good today. I can't wait to see what it is!"
Progress not perfection and every step you take is getting you closer to what you really want out of your journey.
Let go and love yourself,
Yvonne



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unconditional Love


Unconditional love means keeping your heart open all the time. To do so, you may need to let go of the expectations you have of other people, of wanting them to be anything other than what they are. It means letting go of any need for people to give you things, act in certain ways, or respond with love. Many of you wait for other people to be warm and loving before you are. Unconditional love is learning to be the source of love rather than waiting for other to be the source. ~ Sanaya Roman

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is it Kind, True and Necessary?

There's been much discussion of late about the rules of weight loss surgery. Sometimes it is difficult to decide just how compliant you should be when the rules seem to be constantly changing or being challenged by seasoned post-ops or even professionals. We are involved in a field still in it's infancy so research is in short supply and most often comes from the internet where you can find a dozen different answers to the same question. After spending nine years participating on forums and attending events I have had to make decisions on which information I consider valid. My first indication of the validity of what someone is offering is whether they are walking or working a successful journey. My first few years attending talks included a person I will not name that preached hard at us on how not to regain but each time I saw this person they had nearly doubled in size. I do not judge this person's regain but their information on how to prevent regain had to be questioned in my mind. It serves no good purpose for me to find fault in this person's regain or information...I merely moved on to someone that was walking the walk and talking the talk.

Online we have a large population of very vulnerable post-ops that may have spent much of their lives feeling "less than". Sometimes they are pulled like sheep into following others that have given them attention and when a mob mentality starts the followers often pile on too because it makes them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves....much like gangs pull in young men and women because they provide them with a perceived family. So how do you decide if you are being a good sheep or a misled sheep? Perhaps you ask yourself if anything that is being said would be something you would allow someone to say to you. As I have talked and written about many times I have three rules before I post.

1. Is it kind?

2. Is it true? (really true, not something you heard, don't even believe a picture because I can fake the best of them)

3. Is it absolutely necessary?

Assuming can get you in trouble too. Just because I carry on a dialogue with someone on a forum or Face Book don't assume that I approve of this person's every word. Guilty by association is not fair. Judge me (if you must) by my written or spoken word. I would really prefer you not judge me at all and redirect your energy to a place that will be beneficial instead.

Sheep groups that push shame/blame/judgment/guilt will suck the life out of us and those emotions are not conducive to a successful journey. When you see the occasional bully mosh pit, step away from the drama. No matter the actions of the attacked we only lower our standards by wallowing in the mud and I will repeat for the dozenth time that I spent 30 years in the mud while being obese and I don't wish return.

Also know that we are rarely upset for the reason we think. I have these words recorded by someone but I'm not quite sure who it was but I will share this.

Rarely are we upset for the reason we think. Upon deeper examination, you will find that it is a recreation of an earlier pain, played out over and over in changing scenery with different people until you resolve it. It may be a reenactment of a childhood drama in which you were accused of things you didn’t do. Pain, anger, or resentment you feel almost always comes from a similar childhood experience. You recreate the pain so that you can move beyond it. Next time you feel angry at someone, stop. Close your eyes and go within. See that you have had similar experiences before. Realize that you are reliving some childhood decision and that now is an opportunity to end this pattern in your life and come from your deepest truth. Realize other people are only drawn to play out certain roles with you to help you evolve. Let go of any anger or blame you have towards them.


If this doesn't speak to you then just realize "pain is only triggered by another person when there is already pain within you".


Who's WLS rules are the best? The ones that work for you. If your journey is not going where you want it to go then I would suggest a change. You are like a radio that can receive many stations. What you receive depends on what you pay attention to. Also remember compassion is the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Do not make the other person wrong and as you grow it is important to develop wisdom, release pain and rise above negativity.

Hang with the winners.
Fly with the eagles.
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Show others the respect you wish for yourself.
Be kind to each other...life is so very short...
Words hurt so think before you give them immortality on this thing we call the internet because once it's out there you can't take it back.
Love and light,
Yvonne




Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dealing with regain and enjoying the OH Costa Mesa Event

Last weekend I attended the Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event and a phenomenal experience it was! I was fortunate enough to participate in a panel mostly comprised of professionals and I believe we all walked away with newly founded insight. (Kudos to OH's Kim Gyurina for the panel idea) Dr. Connie Stapleton was one of the panelists and wow does she get us! After spending over an hour with me gushing with my WLS patient advocacy passion, I don't think I scared her at all....in fact it just cemented the fact that she does indeed understand the many areas of need in the WLS community and just how far we have to go to understand our disease. It is a disease with the new phase of weight loss surgery that is still in it's infancy and there is so much to learn.



During the session there was a lovely woman who bravely asked a question about whether or not she was self sabotaging because she could never quite break into Onederland (weight in the 100's for those that don't know). The first thing I asked was whether or not she was sure she felt like she deserved it. It was obvious she did not.


We get so caught up in how much we have to lose instead of how far we have come. The first thing I suggested was to remember how desperately we wanted to become "normal". Over 9 years ago I would sit in front of the computer for hours with tears streaming down my face....I just wanted to be one of those women....one of the hundreds of women that lost all their weight.

Now that some have regained some weight we ARE normal...just like many of the population who has that 20, 30, 40 etc. pounds to lose. Instead of saying "WOW, I'VE LOST OVER 100 POUNDS!" we are miserable over the regain. I suggested that she approach it by being in the attitude of gratitude and realizing that the regain can be handled! Compared to losing 100, 200 pounds it is a flash in the pan. We cannot possibly begin to get in the successful frame of mind if we continually see ourselves as a failure. Looking at the regain as a huge monster makes it exactly that....a huge monster that we give more power to each day.





If only we realized that each day we start out as innocent as a newborn babe. Dragging the baggage from the past only does us harm and makes us weigh more! We cannot change the past...it is true that it made us exactly who we are today... but using precious energy to drag it forward each day uses up our resources to change the things we can. When we really get that....I mean really get that....we can devote all that energy to the things we have control over.




Amazingly enough I am told that I couldn't possibly know about regain because my life is perfect since I have maintained goal weight. What "they" don't know is that I still suffer from severe low self esteem and sometimes debilitating depression. Also life is life. The only way I know how to fight it is to give back, pay it forward, and stay out of my scary head.




I would like to thank Beth (melting mama) for the pictures of the event. I was in the fashion show and just love the picture I had taken with my friend Teresa (with Celebrate Vitamins) in the photo booth.

Make sure and visit Beth's link to view her images which reflect her "oh most talented" photographic eye.

More to follow in part two about Toni with the WSLFA and meeting Gastric Bypass Barbie and many others.

MELTING MAMA'S IMAGES


These events can certainly recharge your batteries as well as educate but most importantly they give you the opportunity to give back and that alone can put you well on the road to recovery.

Accentuate the positive.
Go around the negative.
Get back on the horse.
See yourself where you want to be because if you see yourself as a failure you will rarely disappoint yourself.
It will NEVER be perfect but it can be pretty good.

Love and kisses, love and light,
Yvonne
(Bariatric Girl)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calling all WLS peeps! Need your help!


This will be short and sweet. I'm getting ready to go to California for the Obesity Help Southern California event. Pictures will be posted when I return!

Today I opened People Magazine and saw something I haven't seen in a long time.... a story that was positive about weight loss surgery. After writing People magazine for some time I have been begging for something positive and it's finally happened!

I've got a favor to ask.

I would consider it a huge favor if you could shoot an email to editor@people.com and tell them how much you appreciate the story on WLS. By the way it's about Zulekha Haywood (daughter of supermodel Iman) who had surgery and lost 157 pounds. If we do this during this next week I am hoping they will publish someone's email. You can also sign it "anonymous" if you wish.

Thanks so much in advance for anyone willing to participate!
WLS smooches...
Yvonne


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Discussing scales and regain


This was a post on ObesityHelp.com that I answered and I'd love to share my response because I think it helps to share real stuff and real answers. I hope you'll see something you can relate to.

Here's the original post:

For those of you who had RNY, are past your “honeymoon" stage, and are now sailing smoothly, not struggling or falling back into your obese lifestyle, what personality shift did you make that helped you become a long term success. I don’t mean the golden standards like keep a food diary, drink all your water (sip, sip, sip), or get regular exercise, not the habits you changed. I mean the head stuff, the light bulb moment, the trigger that made you do turn around and say I’m not doing this anymore and I’m not looking back.

This is what I shared:

I will be 9 years out next week. I don't think I would call it smooth sailing but more a comparison to the "regular" people you know that are constantly fighting that 5-10 pounds. The thing that works for me is changing my relationship with food. It is fuel and no longer "sex in a plate". I have discovered so many wonderful other things in life that I can take part in now that I couldn't before. I am hyper aware that if I eat things that are bad for me that I will only experience a momentary time of pleasure followed by self loathing and then a need to eat again to self medicate the pain away for beating myself up. I actually don't keep a food diary. My food diary is the scales. Every morning I check to see where I am and I do damage control when I go over the magic number and fix it while it's small. It is a black and white thing....no "I'll wait until tomorrow". I fix it then and when I get back under that number I just eat carefully but I don't journal or count calories. Let me state that this is my way. I also don't eat more than 8 grams of sugar and I totally believe that the way to stop cravings is to stop eating the things you don't want to crave. I spent years trying to stop drinking Coke and couldn't but after surgery I had to. I don't even remember what it tastes like. If you stop doing certain foods you will forget the cravings. I am not suggesting that you go in a bakery and press your face in freshly baked bread that you won't get some euphoric recall so I don't do that. There's a great saying "If you hang around a barbershop, eventually you'll get a hair cut". Keep yourself away from things and triggers that will tempt you.The other way I keep it fresh in my mind is that every morning I seriously concentrate on my before picture that was taken the night before surgery. I remind myself just how miserable I was and how much I don't want to go back under any circumstances. I don't ever want to take for granted the little things that I wanted so badly. As long as I am vigilant about doing that damage control while the problem is small, I can handle what comes my way.




This picture was taken the night before surgery. I was the happiest 260 pound woman on earth because I had hope for the first time in 30 years.
















I would rather be doing these things.


She then responded that she liked the concept of doing damage control early on and I continued with this:

That's one of the reasons I very carefully stated "this is my way". I was told once that someone considered getting on the scale every day made us a prisoner to our scale. I only do it in the morning and once a day. I record it on my daily calendar on my iPhone. I visualize what I expect to see and I'm very nearly right every day. I then forget the scale and my weight until the next morning. I don't look at it as the scale ruling my world. I use it as a measurement to keep me in line. I could gain 5 plus pounds in a week. 5 pounds is more difficult to fix than 2 or 3. I don't freak out, I just fix it. If I don't weigh I would be more likely to worry about what it is. Knowledge is power. Worrying about what "might be" is more damaging for me. Dealing face on with "what is" is far easier for me and it makes me accountable.

I was listening to a bariatric surgeon speak a few years ago and he was talking about post-ops needing to keep food journals and emotional journals (write down what they were feeling before they ate the wrong things) and many other things. Later on he was asked how he stayed thin and he said he got on the scales every morning and adjusted his activities for the day when he went over his weight he wanted to be. I immediately questioned why we couldn't be the same...just be a normal person that maintains their weight. For me the scales are my friend and knowing where we are is called feedback. How do you solve a problem if you don't know all the information involved?

If you are a person that doesn't care about a 20 pound difference you will not need to check that often. Sometimes men are that way. Many women care very deeply about 20 pounds. If you are the type that is deeply affected by 10 or 20 pounds, it is very important to check your progress and do the damage control or else it will eat you alive and it seeps into every area of your life. I call that "regain strain" or "looking at everything through regain glasses". I don't want to write a novel here but you have to find what works for you. I just know that the majority of successful post-ops have some things in common and one of them is doing damage control on the small regain. Please let me know if I can help any further OK? hugs, Y




Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are you an anchor or a motor?


"There are two types of people - anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because motors are going somewhere and they're having more fun. The anchors just drag you down" - Wyland - World renowned marine artist


We have these people in our lives that are called dream stealers...they tell you that your dreams and goals are a waste and constantly try to drag you back down to their level. You can easily identify those people with their victim mentality and mediocre standards. They are toxic people and you would be doing yourself a big favor by being totally alone than to expose yourself to these people that suck the life out of you. Surround yourself with winners... with people that believe in you and celebrate your victories.
Drop out of the "ain't it awful" club. My husband is a radio talk show host and many days he was forced to talk about the "ain't it awful" stories. Not a great deal of deep, meaningful discussions. Lots of talk about how awful the story was.
We do a good enough job on our own thinking we are going to fail so why do we waste any time with anyone that wants to help us get there? The day I decided to have weight loss surgery was the day I decided that failure was not an option. 30 years of failure but this time failure was NOT AN OPTION.
"Confidence is contagious So is lack of confidence" - Vince Lombardi
Whether it's certain friends or someone on Facebook or the person on the discussion boards that is a constant stream of negative judgments, criticisms, blaming and complaining. Misery certainly loves company so why would you expose yourself to that mindset? So many of us want to fix those people....I did for a lot of years but I learned my lesson. Instead of hanging with the dream stealers, I want to hang with the winners. Raising the bar is the way to get yourself up out of the mud. There will always be people who find it necessary to say something unkind about someone else in order to make themselves feel more important and it's even worse when they acquire vulnerable followers and start this mob mentality that grows and grows. Pretty soon the toxicity is infectious. Step away from the toxic people....run away from the anchors. When you hang with the winners you'll start to think and act like them and your dreams and goals will be celebrated instead of shot down every time you express an opinion.
Will you stumble sometimes? Sure you will. Get back up, try another way, try going over, around or through and if that doesn't work, you do it again. And when you're in the midst of trying again, who do you want next to you? An anchor or a motor?
Ladies and gentlemen....start your engines....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Musings from a Post-op January 2010


This is some incredibly important information from my friend Lulitu's profile and since she offered it in her signature, I'm sure she won't mind me sharing it. Very important stuff about artificial sweeteners.
From my friend Lulitu: (thanks Lulitu)
I begin my anti-maltodextrin (spenda/equal) crusade today!
A little background:
I am a Sugar Addict. After my RNY I became completely sugar intolerant, so to "Feed the Need" I switched to the fake stuff. I was at the point that I was adding it to everthing I ate. I do mean everything. At work I would go out and get a salad and add equal to the salad dressing, A Lot! Then 2 1/2 hours later I would be a Shakey Mess (low blood sugar) and have to eat again. It crossed my mind that it might be the sweetners but I wasn't willing to look at it.
So this summer I had a Total hip replacement and have been off work. This gave me time to start learning about these substitutes and what they were doing to me. So here is what I've found: Maltodextrin turns into a Carbohydrate in my body, and when eaten in larger amounts drives up my blood sugar, and because I am a hypoglycemic drops it, dangerously low at times. As a carbohydrate it also makes me want to eat more. Since cutting out adding these substitues to my meals I have dropped about 18 lbs (weight that I had started to put on) and Feel much better.
If you're having trouble with your blood sugar, or beginning to regain weight, or feeling hungry a lot, you may want to take a look at how much artificial sweetners you taking in. I am amazed at what has maltodextrin in it. I know I am sounding a bit 'Preachy'. But I feel SO strongly about this, and I want to see all my oh family succeed, and be healthy.
Be Well My Friends

Musings of a post-op - January 2010


So someone gave me a great idea about sharing some of my posts of various forums. I want to share them here. We were discussing Carnie Wilson's show and were questioning her decision of occupational choices. I have edited it a bit so that I could make some things clearer.
I understand totally about questioning her choices but alas, it is something that is totally out of my control. I know she is looking to following her bliss but if I'm a sex addict, I don't think making porn movies would be a healthy choice but this is not my decision and I haven't traveled in her shoes. Truly I have my hands full with my journey and I am almost 9 years out and stayed at goal. I will be totally honest with you....my weight loss journey is not "that" hard but the reason is that I made some choices early on from the very beginning. Before I had surgery I coudn't quit drinking Coke but because I knew I would get sick and because I was so determined to do this thing right, I gave it up. To this day I don't miss it and can't for the life of me figure out why I was so addicted. I came to figure out that by continuing to eat or drink certain things that it kept the craving alive. When you quit eating them, you stop wanting them...you will stop craving them. People will argue with me on this and think that having a little taste will get you past the craving and make you not feel deprived. I use the analogy of an alcoholic. Would you give an alcoholic a taste to get past the craving? Now....if you are one that can eat a little bit of that stuff and you are easily maintaining your goal weight, GO FOR IT! I don't know but a handfull of those people and the reason they succeed is because they log those calories and count them. Regarding deprived??? Deprived to me is regaining my weight and depriving me from the miracle of the surgery I worked so hard to get. After nearly 9 years I have a pretty good system down and that's avoiding sugar like it's poison and even a lot of artficial sweetener because there has been some incredible info regarding the effects of that stuff. It does horrible stuff to your body like depression. You may ask, "well what in the hell am I supposed to do about sweet stuff?" Eat fruit. Get over it. Decide what you want. I weigh daily and fix problems when they are small. I don't even log my food but that's not for everyone. My log is getting on the scale and that keeps me in check. If you believe something is hard, it is. If you appreciate the fact that you got this miracle tool and that you can do less to stay at a normal weight than what you would have to do before you had surgery, it's a breeze! It is hard if you make it hard. It is also hard if you live in this angry, resentful world where everything and everyone pisses you off. I did this to live and to live happy. I avoid the crappy people that want to gripe and whine, show them compassion and move on down the road because I am the one responsible for taking care of my body and part of success is hanging with the winners. Sorry I got so winded..I often do you know.hugs, Y