Sunday, December 28, 2008

Living the Postop WLS Life in an everyday (non-op or preop) world...

This last week or two has been a long time of temptation for those of us who are postop from WLS and trying to walk the straight and narrow path... For many postops, the straight and narrow is a strict, low carb and high protein diet. Some folks refuse to allow themself even 30 grams of carbs per day. Others lose their weight and begin to live life as a "normal" person. This means eating a well balanced diet of 2000 or less calories per day and exercising somewhat regularly. It means taking whatever vitamins and supplements their new insides make necessary in order to remain "normal" and healthy.

So, when we attend holiday parties and family gatherings where for many folks it is all about the food and tasting all the delightful goodies put out on the table, it can be hard! For those who sternly regulate their carb intake,it can be even harder as soooooo many of the goodies we see put out are sweets and carb-laden foods. So, you either just plain refuse to eat or even taste those items, or you teach yourself to try just a bit of this and that AFTER you eat your protein!

In the "real world" of non-ops, this can sometimes earn you funny looks and questions you don't want to deal with. "Oh come on, try just a taste!" "One little bite won't hurt!" "Why won't you try any of this great stuff?" And, even after you say no sometimes, they just won't let it drop. If these are the kind of things that bother you, be armed with comebacks! "Sorry, I ate before I came..." Or, perhaps, "I'd rather try these yummy shrimp/ham/whatever..." Have a line ready to give them rather than finding yourself standing there trying to come up with something to get them to move on... It really is none of their business, but you know how the world can be!

Christmas is gone for another year... New Year's resolutions?

Christmas has come and gone for 2008. Another year has almost passed as well. Just another few days and we'll be ringing in the New Year--2009! What will the year bring for you? Are you making any New Year's resolutions this year? Will one of them once again be to get back on track and lose weight? Or, has your journey brought you past that point now?

I know that I am happy at this point in my journey. No, my weight is not quite where I'd like it to be and I've never reached my goal of 185 pounds. But, I saw Dr. Stickler the other day in his lobby and he gave me a great big hug and said, "Well, you look like you're keeping the weight off!" Wow, how great does that feel to hear after being 410 pounds?? AWESOME, I tell you...just awesome! I mentioned that we were getting different/new health insurance after Jan 1 and that I was hoping that at some point in the future, I'd have insurance to cover a tummy tuck and get rid of that 5 or more pounds of skin... He said, "Oh, those are just the finishing touches..."

I guess that got me to thinking again about where I am and where I've been. He is right. They ARE just finishing touches. I can (and will) live without them. I will love getting that skin removed at some point in the hopefully not so distant future, but I will not fret over it while I still have it. Heck, getting that skin lopped off will involve a painful recovery AND the need to once again buy clothes as I know I will go down one or maybe even two pants sizes with that change!

So, I guess my only new year's resolutions this year will be to continue to eat healthfully, try to exercise a bit more, and just enjoy life! We could all do that a bit more!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Review: Oh Yeah Vanilla Creme RTD Shake

Remember that this review is written by someone who hardly EVER likes a protein drink/shake product!

On Tuesday, I stopped by my surgeon's office to pick up something our support group leader left for me. When I get by there, which is not very often these days, I try to remember to check out his protein selection and look to see if he has anything new in the shoppe. Well, this time he did! And, I picked up a couple items to try. Item one was a ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shake made by Oh Yeah.
Not only do they sell them, but they also have a drink cooler and offer them pre-chilled for folks in the gym. So, I grabbed one of the cold ones and figured I could go ahead and try it as I headed out to finish my shopping. The stats looked pretty good. Just needed to pass a taste test.

32 grams of protein in this little 14 oz drink? Heck yeah! I asked the receptionist if she'd tried it before and she said, "Yeah, and I liked it a lot better than I did the Muscle Milk." Well, I didn't care much for the Muscle Milk RTD, so that sounded promising! I paid the lady and hit the road.

I had my daughter with me (mom to the worlds' greatest grandbaby), and we tried it together. It tasted like a thin vanilla milkshake. Even she liked it! I did not discern any real protein-y aftertaste either. 14 ozs is totally finishable even for someone just 3 or 4 months postop! In case that pic above is hard for you to read, one bottle is one serving.
Per serving numbers:
calories: 220
fat: 9 grams (1.5 sat, no trans)
total carbs: 4 grams (1 gram fiber, 3 grams sugar)
protein: a whopping 32 grams!

This was tasty. It was ice cold and refreshing too. I would definitely buy this one again. I will probably look somewhere else to purchase as doc's prices are usually a bit more than say GNC as he offers these items for convenience. It is also available in a chocolate milkshake flavor. I'm not huge on chocolate RTDs, so I may or may not try that one!

From the ISS website at

The Best Tasting, Premium Quality Ready To Drink, Period.

Portable nutrition at the highest level, the OhYeah!® RTD delivers a pure and natural taste profile because it is made with fresh diafiltered milk. This high quality, clean taste wasn’t achieved with loads of sugar, preservatives or fat as the OhYeah!® RTD has only 3 grams of sugar and is lactose free. So delight your senses with 32 grams protein and flavors that will make you say…OhYeah!® It’s That Good®.

Available at health and vitamin stores, gyms and retailers nationwide.

Nutrition Facts

Product Name: Oh Yeah RTD Vanilla Creme Protein Drink

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc):
meal replacement, protein shake

Where Can I Get/Find It? not sure locally, perhaps GNC PLUS several online retailers

Cost: single bottle is in the $3.49 to $3.69 each range, case of 12 is roughly $33 to $38

Pros: tastes great, ready to drink so makes a good "cooler" item but can store at room temp till opening, great to take to work and keep in fridge for a meal in a pinch, 32 whopping grams of protein in a 14 oz serving, lactose free for those postops who can't tolerate milk

Cons: a bit pricey for some at roughly $3 per serving

Overall Rating:
Yeah Baby! I'll definitely buy this one again!

Merry Christmas One and All!

Kay's Naturals Update--Cinnamon Toast Pretzels BACK and better than before!

If you're a fan of Kay's Naturals and their Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks, you will be pleased to hear that they are FINALLY back in stock! Kay's also announced that they are now Gluten Free! That is a big plus for those looking for gluten free and protein rich snacks. Kay's is also offering a 20% discount for the holidays. That discount code is "happyholidays" and is good through December 28th. Of course you can still use the code "minichallenge" after Dec 28th to continue to get 20% off all products! For more information OR to order some yummy Kay's goodies, click over to

181 down, 19 to go!

So, I noticed today that my blog has 181 posts since I started... That means that in just 19 more post, I'll hit 200 posts! Let's see how close I can get before Jan 1st!

What can I post about? LOL

Oh, I tried a new ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shake the other day. I can review that. I've got a note about a beloved Kay's product that I need to share... We'll see what else I come up with!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


A member of our local support group brought this dip to our holiday party. It was yummy! And, it is flavorful while still being good for us! A dip with lots of protein--always a winner! This could be eaten with a spoon if you were in the pureed stage... She used chicken breast she cooked herself and then shredded instead of the canned chicken. I am doing the same thing today! I boiled the chicken breasts the other night (boneless, skinless) while preparing dinner. After they cooled, I put them in a ziploc baggie and put it in the fridge. When I make this dip today, I'll just shred that chicken and use it! The chicken breast was on sale for $1.99 a pound, so I got a pound of chicken for $2 instead of one can for a bit more, while needing two cans! I also think that I'll add some shredded cheese on top before baking...

Servings: 3 1/2 cups dip | Prep Time: 5 min. | Cook Time: 20 min.

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup FRANK'S® REDHOT® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (9.75 oz. each) SWANSON® White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast
in Water, drained


1.HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
2.MIX in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
3.BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

1.Microwave Directions: Prepare as above. Place in microwave-safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 5 min. until hot, stirring halfway through cooking.
2.Tips: You may substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.
3.Slow Cooker Method: Combine ingredients as directed above. Place mixture into small slow cooker. Cover pot. Heat on HIGH setting for 1 1/2 hours until hot and bubbly or on LOW setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir.
4.Tailgating Tip: Prepare dip ahead and place in heavy disposable foil pan. Place pan on grill and heat dip until hot and bubbly.

Rules of Christmas Cookies and Surviving Christmas While Dieting

First, a funny bit...

Chistmas Cookie Rules

If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories (water has the same properties here).

If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, rule #1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free, as well.

Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

Any calories consumed during the frosting of The Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. (Make more red ones!)

Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have NO calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

As always, cookie "pieces" contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. (We all know how calories like to CLING!)

Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. (It's a rule!)

Now, with the funny part out of the way...
Dieting during the holidays takes on new meaning after WLS. We all know "the reason for the season," but Christmas is often just one long feast! We get gifts of goodies from friends, neighbors and coworkers. We attend parties and get-togethers where there is a mile-long buffet table of not the greatest food choices. And, to top it all off, you have a huge holiday meal on or about Christmas day followed a week later by yet another chance to feast at New Year's dinner or on New Year's eve while out celebrating with friends/family. It is no longer about just not overindulging. It is also about finding items that make good food choices on the average party platter or buffet.

ALWAYS go for protein first! This will come in many, many forms on buffets! Good sources to look for are things like shrimp (usually put out for cocktail), meat and cheese that can be rolled up without the crackers or bread that some folks will choose to accompany it, meatballs, chicken wings, and more. These are all common party finger foods these days and great sources of protein.

Always be careful to look for hidden sugars though. Meatballs, for example, might be in a brown gravy (good) OR they might be in a sugary barbecue sauce (could be bad!). If they are in a sauce that you are concerned about, just try one meatball and wait... Then, see how you feel in a few minutes. Dumping can be a fast reaction. I've personally dumped on 1 teaspoon of regular barbecue sauce drizzled over lean, smoked beef! No way it was anything else! The beef sure wasn't the culprit!

Recently, I've attended several gatherings where there were numerous hot dip items that were also good sources of protein. One yummy one was a buffalo chicken dip that I'll post a recipe for in my next post. YUMMY!! Another was a multi-layer Mexican dish that was refried beans, cheese, olives and more. Both of those items could be good choices for even an early postop as they were something even someone on pureed foods could do!

The key here is to remember your protein sources--meats, cheeses, beans, nuts and such. Then, once you've filled your pouch with protein, if you are able, you might try a bite or two of those other items that you just want a taste of to soothe that savage craving you've had since arriving at the gathering and seeing some of the items on the buffet! Perhaps try Susan Maria's 3 bite rule! It goes like this:

The 3 Bite Rule--
The first bite is to get a good taste.

The second bite is to verify it was as good as you thought it would be.
The third bite is your last bite, so savor it.

I try to follow this rule when trying things like stuffing, potatoes, carb-heavy casseroles, sweets, and other things that I know may either make me sick or just plain make me feel bad that I caved in and ate them... And, as long as I wait till after I've eaten my protein for the meal, I can't eat too much of that stuff anyway!

SparkPeople has an article up now about dieting during Christmas... Check it out!

I will admit that this year--over two years postop, was the first holiday season when I felt comfortable making my normal Christmas goodies and knowing that I could make them without eating much of them. I made my family fudge recipe. I made the decorated sugar cookies that I made every year for over 10 years till I had my surgery. And, I will admit that I ate a cookie! I ate some fudge crumbs as I cut it up for the gift boxes. I can make the goodies that my family and friends love and enjoy without feeling deprived...without eating them till it makes me sick... And, I get a lot of joy from giving those items to folks who can eat them in limitation and enjoy them sensibly. And, to soothe some of the folks who can't tolerate the sugar, I even included my Splenda pumpkin cake baked as mini-muffins!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wow, 25 years just around the corner...

While chatting with a friend from high school via email last night, I realized that our 25 year high school reunion will be summer of 2010. He still lives in the area where we grew up. He's actually an elementary school principal there. I'm a teacher here in WV. During this conversation, it dawned on me that the last time I saw these people, I was at pretty much my highest weight ever--410 pounds! They saw me graduate high school at about 275 pounds in 1985 and then "grow" over the next several years till 1998 when I moved away from that area. I was probably about 375 or so then... Now, after my RNY, I am about 202 to 205 most days and am so much healthier and more active than ever before. What a trip it will be to attend that reunion and see all those jaws drop!! WOW!!
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