Sunday, November 25, 2007

10 Most Common Mistakes for Weight Loss Surgery Postops

1st Mistake: Not Taking Vitamins, Supplements, or Minerals
Every WLS patient has specific nutritional needs depending on the type of surgery you have had. Not only is it a good idea to ask your surgeon for guidelines, but also consult with an experienced WLS nutritionist. Understand there is not a standard practice that all surgeons and nutritionists follow in guiding WLS patients. So, it is important to do your own research, get your lab tests done regularly, and learn how to read the results. Some conditions and symptoms that can occur when you are deficient in vitamins, supplements, or minerals include:

Osteoporosis; pernicious anemia; muscle spasms; high blood pressure; burning tongue; fatigue; loss of appetite; weakness; constipation and diarrhea; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; being tired, lethargic, or dizzy; forgetfulness, and lowered immune functioning.

Keep in mind, too, that some conditions caused by not taking your vitamins, supplements, or minerals are irreversible.

2nd Mistake: Assuming You Have Been Cured of Your Obesity
A "pink cloud" or honeymoon experience is common following WLS. When you are feeling better than you have in years, and the weight is coming off easily, it's hard to imagine you will ever struggle again. But unfortunately, it is very common for WLS patients to not lose to their goal weight or to regain some of their weight back.

A small weight regain may be normal, but huge gains usually can be avoided with support, education, effort, and careful attention to living a healthy WLS lifestyle. For most WLSers, if you don't change what you've always done, you're going to keep getting what you've always gotten -- even after weight loss surgery.

3rd Mistake: Drinking with Meals

Yes, it's hard for some people to avoid drinking with meals, but the tool of not drinking with meals is a critical key to long-term success. If you drink while you eat, your food washes out of your stomach much more quickly, you can eat more, you get hungry sooner, and you are at more risk for snacking. Being too hungry is much more likely to lead to poor food choices and/or overeating.

4th Mistake: Not Eating Right

Of course everyone should eat right, but in this society eating right is a challenge. You have to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Eat all your meals--don't skip. Don't keep unhealthy food in sight where it will call to you all the time. Try to feed yourself at regular intervals so that you aren't as tempted to make a poor choice. And consider having a couple of absolutes: for example, avoid fried foods completely, avoid sugary foods, always use low-fat options, or only eat in a restaurant once a week. Choose your "absolutes" based on your trigger foods and your self knowledge about what foods and/or situations are problematic for you.

5th Mistake: Not Drinking Enough Water

Most WLS patients are at risk for dehydration. Drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water per day will help you avoid this risk. Adequate water intake will also help you flush out your system as you lose weight and avoid kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps with your weight loss, too.

6th Mistake: Grazing

Many people who have had WLS regret that they ever started grazing, which is nibbling small amounts here and there over the course of the day. It's one thing to eat the three to five small meals you and your doctor agree you need. It's something else altogether when you start to graze, eating any number of unplanned snacks. Grazing can easily make your weight creep up. Eating enough at meal time, and eating planned snacks when necessary, will help you resist grazing. Make a plan for what you will do when you crave food, but are not truly hungry. For example, take up a hobby to keep your hands busy or call on someone in your support group for encouragement.

7th Mistake: Not Exercising Regularly

Exercise is one of the best weapons a WLS patient has to fight weight regain. Not only does exercise boost your spirits, it is a great way to keep your metabolism running strong. When you exercise, you build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even at rest!

8th Mistake: Eating the Wrong Carbs (or Eating Too Much)

Let's face it, refined carbohydrates are addictive. If you eat refined carbohydrates they will make you crave more refined carbohydrates. There are plenty of complex carbohydrates to choose from, which have beneficial vitamins. For example, if you can handle pastas, try whole grain Kamut pasta--in moderation, of course. (Kamut pasta doesn't have the flavor some people find unpleasant in the whole wheat pastas.) Try using your complex carbohydrates as "condiments," rather than as the center point of your meal. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of brown rice on your stir-fried meat and veggies.

9th Mistake: Going Back to Drinking Soda

Drinking soda is controversial in WLS circles. Some people claim soda stretches your stomach or pouch. What we know it does is keep you from getting the hydration your body requires after WLS--because when you're drinking soda, you're not drinking water! In addition, diet soda has been connected to weight gain in the general population. The best thing you can do is find other, healthier drinks to fall in love with. They are out there.

10th Mistake:
Drinking Alcohol
If you drank alcohol before surgery, you are likely to want to resume drinking alcohol following surgery. Most surgeons recommend waiting one year after surgery. And it is in your best interest to understand the consequences of drinking alcohol before you do it.

Alcohol is connected with weight regain, because alcohol has 7 calories per gram, while protein and vegetables have 4 calories per gram. Also, some people develop an addiction to alcohol after WLS, so be very cautious. Depending on your type of WLS, you may get drunker, quicker after surgery, which can cause health problems and put you in dangerous situations.

If you think you have a drinking problem, get help right away. Putting off stopping drinking doesn't make it any easier, and could make you a lot sick.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Looking for lighter dessert ideas for Thanksgiving??

I have some "covered dish" events in early December for our 4-H club and the bariatric support group I attend. I've been surfing the web looking for desserts that I can enjoy too. Here's links to several I've bookmarked/printed. Now, most of these are "diabetic" and take sugar into consideration, but not really carbs so much. For many of these, I'd play with the all purpose flour and use something else as well as adding some protein powder, but that is just me! These use sugar subs instead of sugar... There are also several pumpkin recipes in my blog.

The whole list is over 900 recipes for low sugar/diabetic desserts. You can look at what's offered there at,desserts?categ=155%2C87&ls=d

chocolate wafers (to crumble for cheesecake crust)

chewy coconut bars

diabetic carrot cake w/ cream cheese icing

easy fruit cobbler

pumpkin cream cheese squares

low-carb frosted pumpkin bars

low-sugar peanut butter cake

healthy chocolate nut squares (have some sugar that could be converted to Splenda)

Splenda angel food cake

absolutely sugar free frosting

low carb peanut butter pie (I like the sound of the crust on this one...)

low carb strawberry cobbler

low sugar coconut cream pie


Splenda blend sour cream pound cake

pumpkin roll (on Equal site, but could use Splenda)

Maybe those will get you started thinking??? There are some there that look pretty good!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Collecting My Recipes...

It probably seems as if I've posted a LOT of recipes all of a sudden. And, that is actually the case. Since I can label each one as a recipe and search my blog posts for just the recipe posts, I decided to copy over some recipes I had posted on my Obesity Help profile blog as they are so hard to find over there when it has been a while since you posted them. Lots of scrolling and clicking through pages... Not pretty! SO, yes, there are a lot of recipe posts all of a sudden, but I promise it will get back to normal now!

Weight Update

So, I'm almost 15 months postop. Well, I will be 15 mos the end of November... I'm now at 215 pounds, down from 410, so 195 pounds lost. I also have lost just over 160 inches from all over my body.

This week, I've had my labs drawn and yesterday I had a dexascan to determine bone density. I'm not quite sure what those numbers mean (BMD is 1.187). I was told that I needed to be doing more weight-bearing exercise to build bone strength... Anyone got more info on that?

Recipe: Peanut Butter Muffins with Protein

This one is adapted a bit from one Phyllis posted on and I used more protein in mine too. This makes a thick batter. You have to sort of smoosh the batter into the bottom of the muffin cup before you add your jelly and top off.

1 cup peanut butter (brand and type are your choice)
1 egg
1/3 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/3 cup Splenda granulated
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 scoops) Unjury unflavored
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
strawberry SF preserves (18 tsp)

Mix peanut butter, both Splendas and the egg. Mix till creamy. Add milk a bit at a time while mixing. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, protein powder, and baking soda and baking powder. Stir to break up any clumps. Add powdered mix to wet mix and mix well. Line muffin tin with paper liners OR spray with non-stick spray. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Then, put just a teaspoon of jelly or preserves into each muffin cup. (Note: If you add too much jelly/preserves, it will leak out the side of the muffins.) Finally, top each muffin off with more batter. Bake at 375 till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean--about 15 minutes. This recipe makes 18 muffins.

Nutrition info will be 150 cals, 8.5 grams of fat (1.7 sat, 0 trans), 12.9 cholesterol, 94 sodium, 11.8 carbs (1.8 fiber, 5.3 sugars) and 8.6 protein PER muffin.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recipe: Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip/Pecan Cookies with Protein

I've made these several times now and everyone loves them. In fact, most "normies" can't even tell that they are no-sugar-added OR that I added protein powder to them!

Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip/Pecan Cookies with Protein Powder
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine
3/4 cups Splenda brown sugar
1 cup granulated Splenda
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 scoops Unjury unflavored protein powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 to 1 tsp salt
4 cups oats
1 bag chocolate chips (there is a sugar free chocolate chip/chunk available now!)
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped nuts

Blend the margarine and both Splendas. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. In a seperate bowl, combine the flours, protein, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix those really well and then add to the wet mixture. Mix well. Then stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (can use walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, whatever!). Once those are well distributed, add the oats but add like 3 cups and then add more till you get a nice thick mix that isn't terribly wet. It usually takes 4 cups, but I've used as little as 3 1/2 when I added coconut once (unsweetened of course!).

These bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Store in cookie jar, tin, or just a rubbermaid or tupperware bowl with lid. This recipe makes about 40 large cookies (2 1/2 to 3" in diameter). Each cookie is about 150 calories, 18 carbs (2 fiber) and about 4 grams of protein when computed using pecans as the nuts.

NOTE: If you choose to make these cookies withOUT the protein powder, you must add in 1/2 cup of flour (of your choice) to make this recipe work!

Recipe: Pumpkin/Blueberry/Pecan Muffins with Protein

These turned out pretty good. We made them for breakfast one morning this past week. I am posting the recipe AS I PREPARED it, not as I originally found it and there are enough changes to it that I feel safe in calling it my own now! LOL

Pumpkin/Blueberry/Pecan Muffins with Protein
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
3 tbsp rice bran oil (or olive or canola, whatever oil you normally use)
1 can pumpkin (not pie mix! just pumpkin--15 ozs)
1/4 cup milk (original recipe called for skim but I used 2%)
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup soy flour
1/4 cup Splenda granulated
2 scoops unflavored Unjury protein powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ground flax seed (flax meal)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
3/4 cup ground/chopped pecans (you can use walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)

1) mix brown sugar blend and oil till well mixed
2) add pumpkin, milk, sour cream and egg and mix again
3) in seperate bowl, mix all flours, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, Splenda granulated, protein powder, and flax meal till well blended and lumps are gone
4) add wet mix to dry mix and blend thoroughly
5) fold in berries and nuts
6) bake in center of oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 24 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

This batch made 18 regular cupcake sized muffins. With those stats, each muffin is about 130 cals, 6.4 grams of fat but only .9 saturated, 12.8 grams of carbs that are 2.3 fiber and 5.4 sugars, and each muffin has about 5.4 grams of protein!

These rose nicely and were very moist and spongy, not dense like some recipes where you use the protein powder can be. I think that the next time I try these I'll sub some oats for part of that all purpose flour! And then sprinkle a few dry oats on top before baking! I used fresh blueberries and they were soooooo juicy that they burst as you ate them! Yummy! I'm certainly not advocating making these an every day thing, but I recently commented to another postop that when you get a sweet tooth, you are probably better off to cave right away and have a bit of something (like a muffin!) than putting it off and putting it off till you eat a whole plate of muffins, cake, cookies, whatever! I was able to eat two of these muffins as breakfast twice this past week. But, that was my whole breakfast and added up to 260 calories, 25.6 carbs, and 10.8 grams of protein. I will still be able to balance my day's budget of calories, carbs, and protein VERY easily! These are supposed to freeze and reheat well, so I've bagged the rest and tossed them in the freezer for another sweet tooth day or a day when I want something like this for breakfast!

NOTE: If you choose to make these withOUT the protein powder, you must substitute another 1/2 cup of some sort of flour (your choice) for that amount of ingredients.


no-sugar-added dessert recipes (mostly pumpkin stuff)

Below is a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin pie. Just don't
forget that you can always make a IDS vanilla/cinnamon shake and add canned
pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) and some extra pumpkin pie spices or extra
Splenda to taste.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (may use
regular or reduced fat or fat free cream cheese)
1/2 cup Splenda Granular
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
1/3 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs (****MAY OMIT IF DOING LOW
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP FREE Whipped Topping

MIX cream cheese, Splenda and vanilla with electric mixer on medium
speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Do not over beat
after adding eggs. Remove 1 cup batter; stir in pumpkin and spices.

Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray; sprinkle bottom with

POUR remaining plain batter into crust. Top with pumpkin batter.
BAKE at 325°F for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool.
Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top each serving with 1 Tbsp. of
the whipped topping.

********If you omit the graham cracker crumbs then this is a SF
pumpkin cheesecake.

Or substitute ground nuts or finely chopped nuts for the graham
cracker crumbs. Better for you & still gives you a bit of that crust feeling.

8 minute Cheesecake

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
Splenda to equal 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream (1/2 pt.)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 8 oz. Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust or finely chopped nuts, instead
1 can no sugar added strawberry pie filling or cherry pie filling (optional)

Beat cheese until smooth; gradually beat in sugar substitute. Blend in sour
cream and vanilla. Fold in whipping topping, blending well. Spoon into
crust. Chill until set, at least 4 hours. Garnish with fresh berries or add
a can of s.f. strawberry or cherry pie filling on top and chill.


2 cups cold milk (can substitute cream, Plain Soy Milk or Hood Carb
Countdown Milk, if you choose)**
2 pkgs. (4 serving size) sugar free Jello Vanilla pudding powder**
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. Cool Whip
1 baked 9-inch pie shell (or no pie shell, or just eat the pudding mix out
of the crust)

Combine milk, pie filling mix, pumpkin, spice and whipped topping in a deep
narrow bottom bowl. Beat at lowest speed of electric mixer for 1 minute.
Pour into pie shell. Chill until set, at least 3 hours. Garnish with
additional whipped topping and pecans, if desired.

**Or use 1 (6 serving size) sugar free Jello Vanilla pudding powder and 1
1/2 cups cold milk (or substitute).

FROZEN Pumpkin Pie

1 c. canned pumpkin
2/3 cup s.f. syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg & ginger
1/2 c coarsely chopped Walnuts or Pecans
3 1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip
1 graham cracker crust or use pecans and butter for a crust

Combine pumpkin, syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & nuts. Fold in whipped
topping. Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Before serving,
let stand 15 minutes at room temperature.

BAKED Pumpkin Pie

1 1/2 c. cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk (or substitute)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
Pie Crust, unbaked.

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

FEATHER-LIGHT Pumpkin Soufflé

6 tbsp. parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 c solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1 c. milk (or substitute)
6 eggs, separated
1 c. finely chopped ham
1 c (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter six 10 oz. custard cups;
dust with 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese. Chill. In medium saucepan melt
butter. Add pumpkin, flour and mustard; mix. Gradually stir in milk. Cook,
stirring constantly, until boiling. Stir 1/4 c pumpkin mixture into egg
yolks; add to saucepan and cook over low heat stirring constantly, 2
minutes. Remove from heat; stir in ham and Swiss cheese and remaining 4
Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Folk into
pumpkin mixture. Pour into cups and bake for 25 minutes.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

15 oz. can pumpkin

12oz can skim evaperated milk

3/4 cup egg substitute or 3 egg whites

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup splenda

combine all ingredients & beat until smooth .Pour into greased (pam) 9 1/2" glass pie plate . Bake @ 400* for 15 minutes , then @ 325* for 45 minutes until knife comes out clean from the center .

You can make a crust with finely ground pecans, some splenda and butter and cinnamon to moisten and press into a pan. Or just use regular crust and scrape out of it.

I've made this for family dinners and gatherings with friends and everyone really liked it. I served it with SF Cool Whip and NO one noticed that it was no sugar added. I make the filling, fill a 9" deep dish pie crust (frozen, store bought) and then pour the remaining filling mixture into ramekins sprayed with non-stick spray. I can eat a piece of the regular pie OR eat one of the crustless ones in the ramekins.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What to do with leftover rotisserie chicken??

Today, for my lunch, I pulled about half the meat off of a cold chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken I picked up Friday afternoon. I cut it into small pieces (smaller than 1/2 a teaspoon). Then, I put 1 tbsp of olive oil into a skillet. Into the warming oil, I chopped some onion and let it start to brown and soften. Then, I added about a tsp of minced garlic, a tbsp of chopped green pepper (frozen, always in my freezer!) and a tbsp of diced tomatoes (always on hand in my fridge or cupboard). Once this was all warm and yummy smelling, I added the chicken meat and stirred and stirred till it was all hot and ready to eat. I did not eat this with anything else... I ate it just as it came out of the skillet. It was yummy and I did not even add any seasoning of any sort. The only seasoning was whatever the grocery store deli put on the rotisserie chicken.

The only bad part? The olive oil had more calories and fat than all the other ingredients together! Anyone got a better suggestion? Non-stick spray won't cut it as you need a good bit of wet to brown and cook those onions and such!

I was thinking again (ouch, that hurts!). I prefer onions, peppers and tomatoes myself, but you could use any sort of veggies that you can saute--mushrooms, zucchini, etc. I think folks should take that chicken, whatever their favorite veggies are, and go for it! Make this recipe idea their own creation!

Article: Stress, depression and the holidays: 12 tips for coping

Stress, depression and the holidays: 12 tips for coping


Original Article:


For some people, the holidays bring unwelcome guests - stress and depression. And it's no wonder. In an effort to pull off a perfect Hallmark holiday, you might find yourself facing a dizzying array of demands - work, parties, shopping, baking, cleaning, caring for elderly parents or kids on school break, and scores of other chores. So much for peace and joy, right?

Actually, with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress and depression that often accompany the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

The trigger points of holiday stress
Holiday stress and depression are often the result of three main trigger points. Understanding these trigger points can help you plan ahead on how to accommodate them.

Here are the three areas that commonly trigger holiday stress or depression:

· Relationships. Relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time. But tensions are often heightened during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflict can intensify - especially if you're all thrust together for several days. Conflicts are bound to arise with so many needs and interests to accommodate. On the other hand, if you're facing the holidays without a loved one, you may find yourself especially lonely or sad.

· Finances. Like your relationships, your financial situation can cause stress at any time of the year. Overspending during the holidays on gifts, travel, food and entertainment can increase stress as you try to make ends meet while ensuring that everyone on your gift list is happy.

· Physical demands. The strain of shopping, attending social gatherings and preparing holiday meals can wipe you out. Feeling exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep - good antidotes for stress and fatigue - may take a back seat to chores and errands. High demands, stress, lack of exercise, and overindulgence in food and drink - these are all ingredients for holiday illness.

12 pre-emptive strategies for holiday stress
When stress is at its peak, it's hard to stop and regroup. Take steps to help prevent normal holiday depression from progressing into chronic depression. Try these tips:

· Acknowledge your feelings. If a loved one has recently died or you aren't near your loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness or grief. It's OK now and then to take time just to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

· Seek support. If you feel isolated or down, seek out family members and friends, or community, religious or social services. They can offer support and companionship. Consider volunteering at a community or religious function. Getting involved and helping others can lift your spirits and broaden your social circle. Also, enlist support for organizing holiday gatherings, as well as meal preparation and cleanup. You don't have to go it alone. Don't be a martyr.

· Be realistic. As families change and grow, traditions often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to. But understand in some cases that may no longer be possible. Perhaps your entire extended family can't gather together at your house. Instead, find new ways to celebrate together from afar, such as sharing pictures, e-mails or videotapes.

· Set differences aside. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. With stress and activity levels high, the holidays might not be conducive to making quality time for relationships. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are, they're feeling the effects of holiday stress, too.

· Stick to a budget. Before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and other items. Then be sure to stick to your budget. If you don't, you could feel anxious and tense for months afterward as you struggle to pay the bills. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Donate to a charity in someone's name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.

· Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make one big food-shopping trip. That'll help prevent a last-minute scramble to buy forgotten ingredients - and you'll have time to make another pie, if the first one's a flop. Allow extra time for travel so that delays won't worsen your stress.

· Learn to say no. Believe it or not, people will understand if you can't do certain projects or activities. If you say yes only to what you really want to do, you'll avoid feeling resentful and overwhelmed. If it's really not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

· Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Some indulgence is OK, but overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and schedule time for physical activity.

· Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Steal away to a quiet place, even if it's the bathroom, for a few moments of solitude. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that clears your mind, slows your breathing and restores your calm.

· Rethink resolutions. Resolutions can set you up for failure if they're unrealistic. Don't resolve to change your whole life to make up for past excess. Instead, try to return to basic, healthy lifestyle routines. Set smaller, more specific goals with a reasonable time frame. Choose only those resolutions that help you feel valuable and provide more than only fleeting moments of happiness.

· Forget about perfection. Holiday TV specials are filled with happy endings. But in real life, people don't usually resolve problems within an hour or two. Something always comes up. You may get stuck late at the office and miss your daughter's school play, your sister may dredge up an old argument, you may forget to put nuts in the cake, and your mother may criticize how you and your partner are raising the kids. All in the same day. Expect and accept imperfections.

· Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for several weeks, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. You may have depression.

Have it both ways
Remember, one key to minimizing holiday stress and depression is knowing that the holidays can trigger stress and depression. Accept that things aren't always going to go as planned. Then take active steps to manage stress and depression during the holidays. You may actually enjoy the holidays this year more than you thought you could.


By Mayo Clinic Staff
Oct 20, 2006

© 1998-2006 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

my time in DC

I drove to Washington, DC this week for the CHADD conference. I was there from Tuesday through Thursday. I must admit that while there I didn't count anything other than protein. I pretty much ate what I wanted but made sure to get my protein in each day. And, I am happy to say that I still managed to lose a pound this week! That is pretty good considering I go for weeks with no loss sometimes nowadays! Maybe it was all the walking we did on Capitol Hill on Weds and Thursday. We had appointments to see our state reps for the House and Senate and discuss some policy points that we want to see them support. It meant a lot of walking and some of it at a pretty brisk pace just to make appt times. I think I walked about 2 miles while on the hill each of the two days. Not a marathon by any means, but a good bit of exercise for a trip like this! This puts me at 215 pounds, down from 410!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Recipe: Chili

Chili is one of those comfort foods for some folks on chilly fall/winter evenings. It is simple to prepare and ingredients can vary greatly depending on your own likes/dislikes and what you have on hand! It is a great source of protein and fiber. I always keep a few packets of chili seasoning on hand. I also always have canned beans of some sort and canned crushed and diced tomatoes in the cupboard. All you need with those things is some ground meat. This could be ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken or even ground venison (deer) or pork. It is all up to you and what you like or have on hand! I've even mixed beef and turkey or beef and venison depending on what was thawed and ready for use. The following is a simple, dump it together and simmer sort of recipe. The only real consideration is that if you are on a low sodium diet, this may be a bit high in sodium for you depending on the portion you eat.

ground meat (your choice--beef, turkey, chicken, pork, venison), 2 pounds
canned beans (your choice--kidney, pinto, chili, black, etc), 4 cans of about 15 ozs each
canned diced tomatoes, 2 cans of about 15 ozs each (could also use Rotel type chilies/tomatoes mix)
canned crushed tomatoes, 2 cans of about 15 ozs each
2 packets chili seasoning (2 mild OR 2 hot OR one of each--to your taste)
1/2 cup chopped onion, fresh or frozen (optional)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, fresh or frozen (optional)

Put ground meat in skillet. Add onions and peppers if you wish. Cook till meat is cooked completely, chopping into bits as you go. Drain away any grease/fat. (You may rinse if you normally do, but it is not required.) Put meat into soup pot. Open and pour in (do NOT drain or rinse) all canned items (tomatoes and beans). Add chili seasoning packets. Add just enough water to bring liquid level above other ingredients. Stir to mix well and bring to boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour to allow flavors to meld. You can also put these ingredients into a slow cooker (crockpot) and allow to cook for several hours.

Note: For those who like their chili HOT and spicy--stir in some hot sauce and/or some red chili peppers!

Serving Suggestions--Chili always goes well with corn bread. Some like chili served over rice. Another suggestion is to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese into the top of a hot bowl of chili! A good side is a nice green salad.

Leftovers--Store what you can eat in a couple of days in the fridge. Any excess can be packaged in smaller portions and frozen for later use. I normally pour single servings into small baggies and then put all the small baggies into a larger freezer bag for protection from freezer burn. When I want chili, I can take out one small baggie, peel away the ziploc, and place the frozen chili in a bowl to microwave till hot.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dinner Tonight--Meatza (meat crust pizza)

I've heard many other WLS postops mention making a "pizza" of sorts with a meat crust. There have been numerous recipes circulated and they all have a somewhat common theme--a meatloaf sort of meat sheet below sauce and cheese and other toppings. SO, rather than follow what others had suggested, I went with my gut and made my own creation.

1 pound ground beef (any type of ground beef)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the shaker jar stuff)
2 fresh eggs
shredded mozzarella cheese (or Italian cheese blend)
shredded cheddar cheese
additional Parmesan cheese
pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
pizza toppings of your choice

In a bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, 1/8 cup Parmesan and eggs till very well blended into a meatloaf sort of mixture. On a baking sheet with at least a 1/4 inch side (can be a cookie sheet, pizza pan, etc), press this mixture down to about 1/2 inch thickness and not touching the side edges of the pan. This allows a bit of room for any "grease" to gather. Bake at about 350 degrees till cooked completely. Remove from oven and pour off any grease/fat from the pan. Spread pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce over the top of it leaving just a very slight edge of uncovered meat. Layer on whatever toppings you like on your pizza--Canadian Bacon, ham, pepperoni, sausage, onions, mushrooms, peppers, olives, etc. Finally, layer on a good layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Then, sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly across the top (helps bind the cheeses together). And, finally, sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar cheese across the top. Bake this at 350 till the cheese is all melted and hot and you're ready to eat!

Aunt Flow Left & Took Her Baggage With Her!

As many women know, that monthly visit from "Aunt Flow" also means a good bit of water retention. This water retention can also hide any weight loss that happens just prior to your period. You actually lose weight, but those pounds are replaced simultaneously with the weight of the retained water, hence a zero loss for several days or even weeks. Then, as your period winds down, you can miraculously lose one or many pound(s). This time, as Aunt Flow left, she took 3 pounds with her, taking me from the 220 pounds I've been at for a month now to 217 pounds. The week of or after my period seems to be the only time I see any serious weight loss these days, so I sort of look forward to it!

New Blog, First Post!

This is a new blog for me. I've previously used the blog function at to journal a bit now and then. I did not use it regularly and often used it as a place to "save" bits from here and there for later use or viewing.

My goal in creating this blog is to have a place to share my weight loss journey, foods/recipes we try, and more. I read and post often at, but want someplace more personal for my own thoughts and comments. I invite serious feedback and encourage you to share your own thoughts and the link to your blog as well!

View my profile at Obesity Help (see links in sidebar) to find out more about me!
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