Sunday, March 30, 2008

Recipe: Light General Tso's Chicken

Another one from my support site! I'm sort of craving flavor this weekend and may make this one for dinner... Hope you enjoy it too!

Light General Tso's Chicken
Ingredients:
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp splenda
2 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 Tsp ground ginger
2 medium scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used the garlic in a jar)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces (I used chicken breast tenderloins because they are thinner and cook faster)
2 Tsp canola oil

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, corn starch, splenda, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. Set aside.
Heat oil in skillet and sauté scallions, garlic, and pepper flakes for about 2 min.
Add chicken and cook till brown, about 5 min.
Add reserved sauce to pan and continue cooking until thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 3 min.

Serve this alone or eat it over brown rice.

Author's Note: I got this from the weight watchers web site as a core recipe

This sounded wonderful. I went on Fitday and figured the nutritional count. This is what I came up with for 4 servings; if it makes more let me know:

Calories - 285
Fat - 10
Cholesterol - 94
Sodium - 786
Potassium - 370
Carbs - 12
Fiber - 1
Protein - 35

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Product Review: Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe Protein Bar

This was a new one for me... I have a lot of protein bars to review that I use regularly these days or that I've tried a while back. This one, on the other hand, is one that I just bought yesterday to try and to review for you guys. I've heard lots of other folks comment on using the Pure Protein bars regularly. I have never tried any of them. I have a couple other flavors to try still.

This is one DENSE bar! Even the Atkins bars I love so much are more of a nougat texture than this bar. It is very tight/dense/solid. And, the package picture of the bar is deceiving as well. Here's a comparison pic:

See the difference??
The pic on the wrapper makes it look like it has little crispies in it and is sort of oozy with something that looks fudgy. And, it IS a chocolate DELUXE after all! But, in reality, it is a very simple and solid bar that I found to have a protein-y aftertaste. I prefer a bar that does not have any distinct protein taste--while eating OR afterwards. This one did. And, while I know that some folks would say that it is what it is--a protein bar, I eat them as snacks usually and it is nice to eat something that is reasonably good for you while not really tasting like you're eating protein. Does that make sense?? I would have NO problem keeping the kiddo out of this one as she won't eat a protein bar that tastes like protein! LOL

FROM THE MANUFACTURER'S WEB SITE:
For many of us, chocolate is heaven. With the Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe high protein bars, you get all the flavor of chocolate without all of the sugar . It’s loaded with 20 grams of high quality protein, packed with vitamins and minerals…. and has 0 grams trans fat. With Pure Protein Bars… heaven isn’t too far away.

INGREDIENTS: Protein Blend (Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Isolate), Coating (Maltitol, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Whey Protein Concentrate, Cocoa Powder (processed with alkali), Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Glycerin, Cocoa Powder, Water, Milk Protein Isolate, Milk Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Whole Milk Powder, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Flavor), Maltitol Syrup, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Peanut Flour, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Ascorbic Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin), Sucralose, Soy Lecithin, Wheat Germ, Almond Meal.

Directions: Adults, for best results drink 8 fl. ounces of water or other liquid with

this bar.
WARNING: This product contains sugar alcohols, which may cause
gastrointestinal discomfort. Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.
©2007 Manufactured exclusively for
Worldwide Sport Nutritional Supplements, Inc.
Bayport, NY 11705
Questions? Call toll free 1-800-854-5019
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT www.eatgoodlookgreat.com

Nutrition Facts (click to go to their site)
Serving Size 1 Bar (50g)
Servings Per Container 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 40
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3.5g 17%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 105mg 4%
Potassium 110mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Sugar Alcohol 4g
Protein 20g 39%
Vitamin A 25% Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 25% Iron 10%
Vitamin E 20% Thiamin 25%
Riboflavin 25% Niacin 25%
Vitamin B-6 20% Folic Acid 25%
Vitamin B-12 20% Biotin 20%
Pantothenic Acid 25% Phosphorus 10%
Iodine 20% Magnesium 6%
Zinc 25% Copper 30%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


LOVIN' LIFE WITH LEA INFO
Product Name: Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe Protein Bar

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

Where Can I Get/Find It? some grocers (I got mine at Krogers), Walmart, Target, etc...


Cost: single bar at Krogers is about $1.39, boxes of 5 at Walmart are about $5


Pros: This bar is nutritionally sound. BUT, since I didn't really like this one, I'll go by my rules for protein bars--calories are decent at 180, carbs are 17 with only 2 fiber (I like to see more), so 15 net carbs which compared to the 20 grams of protein is cool, and the sugars aren't too high--2 sugars and 4 sugar alcohols. It is also a small (1.76 oz) bar which is good for folks with very limited pouch capacity. It is also cheap and easily found at local retailers.


Cons: definite protein-y aftertaste and deceptive pic on wrapper leads you to think this bar is different than it actually is


Overall Rating: Maybe Baby! I am not sure if I'll buy this one again or not. It would depend on my needs at the time. It is nutritionally worthy, but just not up to my taste standards. I know literally hundreds of folks who love them though!

Missing again!

I just realized it has been 3 days since I last posted! Things are still crazy here at home due to hubby's job change. He's trying to get used to this new job and the difference between what he is doing now and what he'd been doing. He's still trucking, but what he hauls and where he is spending his time is different.

The scale is stuck again... As long as it stays somewhere below 200, I am fine with it though! Stuck bouncing between 198 and 199 is so totally far from where I started! 410 pounds seems like another planet now... My life has changed so very much since then. I can do and want to do so much more than I ever imagined at 410 pounds.

I picked up a few new protein bars yesterday. Watch for the reviews!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gardening Season Is Upon Us!

Being in West Virginia, we still aren't past the possibility of frosty mornings, but that time is approaching soon! It has been years since I've had a garden. Why? Because I was not able to properly tend to one and no one else around my home was interested in anything other than eating whatever came from the garden. They couldn't be bothered to pull weeds, water, etc... That was just too much work! And, it wasn't like they were the ones who had to try and make the grocery budget stretch to cover fresh produce! LOL SO, this year I approach gardening season 200 pounds lighter than the last time I had a garden. I am physically able to hoe, rake and tend a garden and I am SO looking forward to all that great fresh produce and the exercise gardening can be. Last year, I was fortunate enough to get some tomatoes and beans from a good friend and some from a family member, but it wasn't nearly what I would have been getting from my own garden. We could eat fresh veggies ALL summer in this house and it is an expensive endeavor to purchase them from the local grocers.

This year, my biggest hurdle in the garden will be keeping the deer out! I've got a great area to use that was part of our horse pasture, so it has already been well fertilized. I have access to my brother-in-law's roto-tiller, so no issues there. All I need to do is start buying seeds and put up the electric fence. What are YOU planting? Here's my shopping list for seeds at this point:

veggies--
tomatoes (both for slicing as well as cherry or grape varieties)
cucumbers (for salad use as well as for pickling--been 10 years since I made pickles!)
green beans (usually pole)
yellow squash
pumpkins
lettuce (probably romaine)
peppers (bell and hot)
perhaps some cabbage
okra
CORN!!

root veggies--
carrots (my rabbits need them!)
potatoes (probably just some red ones)
onions (green, red and white)

fruits--
cantaloupe
strawberries
maybe blueberries

I need to determine what I need to make good salsa... Anyone got a recipe? I know tomatoes, onions and peppers, but need to figure out more specifically which varieties of each work best for good salsa. And, I want to make and can my own spaghetti/marinara sauce as well this year... I hope to find some good recipes for both the salsa and the marinara sauce!

We will also be purchasing and planting some fruit trees this year. I have meant to do this every year for the 8+ years we've been here and it just never has happened. This year, things are different. It WILL get done this year even if it is just a couple to get me started!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Product Review: Pop Secret Cheddar Popcorn

So, as a WLS postop, we still crave some of the same carby things others do... We may tell our self that we are stronger now and can avoid these items, but every once in a while, we CAVE! I will admit that I love popcorn. And not the air-popped variety either--the greasy microwave sort is my thing. So, I do it very rarely and most often go for the kettle corn variety made with Splenda instead of sugar (not greasy). But, in a moment of "ummm, that looks good" ignorance at a Super Target store lately, I purchased Pop Secret's 1-Step Cheddar Premium Popcorn. It looks all cheesy on the box! And, cheese is protein, right?? Well, a quick glance at the label info would have told me better in this case:

See much in the way of protein in there? Nope, me neither! LOL It IS orange... But, it is also greasy. The orange sort of wipes away onto your hands and leaves you a mess. Not a powdery, cheesy mess like oh, say Cheetos might, but a greasy, slick and orange mess... Yuck! The box says "Pops Up Cheesy!" What a bunch of crap!

Ingredients: Whole Grain Popcorn, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Corn Oil, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Colored with Yellows 5 and 6 Lake, Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk, Freshness Preserved with Propyl Gallate.

And, had I not been in a carboholic haze that day, I would never have bought an item with that much TRANS fat in it! Yep, I know better! And, for some reason I never noticed it--not then in the store OR today in front of the microwave... In an average week, I get maybe 1 or 2 grams of trans fat. I am home most days (work from home) and eat out on very rare occasions, so it is very easy to control this part of my diet.
Product Name: Pop Secret 1-Step Cheddar Premium Popcorn

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

Where Can I Get/Find It? most grocers, Walmart, Target, etc...


Cost: box of 3 packets is about $3.00


Pros: popcorn is a whole grain


Cons: This stuff was greasy, full of trans fats, and not cheesy at all. It was messy and has no real redeeming qualities.


Overall Rating: No Way Baby! This stuff will never see my shopping cart again and I'll be more careful when considering other popcorn products due to the trans fats...


Danged Food Shows...Jonesing!

First, let me comment that preop I never (as in EVER) watched the Food Network or even the occasional food/cooking show. I'm a good cook and am pretty creative in the kitchen all on my own...no help necessary! Heck, I weighed 410 pounds. You can get that way from Little Debbie and such, but I preferred real food!

Now, like SO many WLS postops, I now tune in to the Food Network and such for my doses of FP (food porn). My preferred shows would be Rachel Ray (30 minute meals) and that Giada chick (Everyday Italian). I avoid Paula Deen and her fatty concoctions even with the malabsorption of RNY... I don't watch these shows often, but when there is nothing else on TV, I'll click over to the Food Network and see what's up. Over the weekend, I was laid up with some severe knee pain. And, as will usually happen when you can't get outside and DO something, there was nothing on TV. SO, I ended up doing the food shows... One I happened across was called Phantom Gourmet and it was all about bakeries! What former fat chick wouldn't get into a show about baked goodies??? Sugary concoctions that we no longer eat but can still fantasize about.... LOL At one point in the show, they highlighted a bakery that does only brownies... Simply Divine Brownies has a wide variety of brownies all made with love for the brownie efficianado... And one brownie he highlighted set me to Jonesing for brownies! Now normally I would not care for a brownie that combined so many different tastes/flavors as for me it would have been all about the gooey, fudgey chocolateness of the brownie itself. But, for whatever reason, I cannot get this danged brownie out of my head!
They call it "Love Affair..." It is a chocolate peanut butter brownie with pieces of peanut butter cups in and on top of it. It has peanut butter cream cheese frosting and it looks so danged yummy that you just want to lick the screen! As I said already, normally the combo of chocolate, peanut butter, cream cheese, etc would not do it for me, but for some reason now, I can not get it out of my head. I keep thinking about how I could make peanut butter cream cheese frosting into something healthy! LOL Look at that picture and tell me how it could be healthy! LOL Scrumptious, YES! Mouth-watering, YES! Healthy? Well, no, not really. Would I try it if I had one handy? You bet your butt! Would it make me sick? I pray yes! But who really knows...fudge didn't back at Christmas. Barbecue sauce does it to me every time though. Figure THAT one out! LOL If I figure out some way to conquer this peanut butter cream cheese thing, I'll let you all know! LOL Maybe a peanut butter cream cheese dip for fruit? Something tells me it just won't be the same! LOL

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Recipe: Easy Sugar Free Strawberry Pie

Easy Sugar Free Strawberry Pie
ingredients
1 baked 9 inch pie shell
4 c. sliced or whole strawberries, washed and hulled

glaze ingredients
1 box Jello sugar free vanilla pudding, cooked type (not instant) 4 serving size
1 box Jello sugar free strawberry Jello, 4 serving size
2 1/2 c. cold water
In a saucepan mix pudding mix, Jello mix and 2 1/2 cups water.
Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil.
Remove from heat.
Cool in refrigerator until slightly thickened.
Arrange strawberries in pie shell.
Pour cooled mixture over berries.
Chill until set.
Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Missed a few days...

Every once in a while, life intervenes... I've missed posting a few days and I was getting into such a good habit of posting daily or even more than once a day!

My hubby is changing jobs. He's a trucker and has been working for a company that just isn't giving their drivers enough miles to get by. When you get paid by the mile, the more miles you drive, the more money you make. But, when you need a certain number of miles to be able to pay your bills and you just aren't getting them, it is time to do something. SO, here we are in the middle of his job change. He came home on Weds via Greyhound and will leave late tonight to go to the new job. It is also a new job in the sense that he will be pulling flatbeds and has not done much of that in his 20+ years and over 2,000,000 miles as a driver. He is looking forward to the added physical intensity this job will offer with chaining things down and tarping loads. And, he may be able to get home most weekends as opposed to only every 14 to 18 days. That will be a pleasant change! And, the best part of all--it pays more per mile than he was making at his last job!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Recipe: Beef... It's What's For Dinner!

Having just commented how easy I was to please when it comes to restaurant selection (anywhere that serves a decent steak is okay by me!), I guess it makes sense that we're having beef for dinner tonight. More specifically, it is a very thinly sliced beef steak that Walmart (ah, glorious meat market that it is--NOT!) refers to as Milanesa.
When I hit Walmart, I usually throw a tray of these in the buggy. We love 'em! I slice up an onion and toss it and some fresh mushroom slices (grabbed while in Sam's Club) in the bottom of my pan with some water (yep, water--not oil) and turn the heat on about medium high under the pan.
Then, I stretch these steak slices out over top of the veggies and season them liberally with Everglades Seasoning, (Beth--it has MSG in it!) which is a spice/seasoning blend that was created in the teeny little town of LaBelle, FL (where I grew up).
I use this stuff quite liberally on all meats/fish/poultry, in veggies, on eggs, in soups/casseroles and more. I miss it when we eat at other people's homes--especially when grilling. I've actually been known to carry some along with me when attending an event of this nature. Offer to man the grill for a few minutes and you can sprinkle away! LOL BTW, if you live in the SouthEast, you can get this stuff at WinnDixie supermarkets.

After the meat gets about half way cooked through (turning more brown than red), I flip it over and continue to cook till done (still on top of the veggies which are simmering in the water and now meat juices below). When done, pull the meat out and place on plates and top with the veggies. You could also throw in some pepper slices for added color/flavor. And, you can spoon some salsa over top of it when done... Lots of things you can do to this meal--even a sprinkle of shredded cheese is good! High protein, low carbs and they are complex carbs to boot!



And, of course, enjoy! Now on nights when I'm not watching carbs, I might eat a nice green salad a half hour or so before dinner. This allows me to eat both! Tonight, I ate just the meat/veggies and Mandy made some canned peas/corn (her favorite veggie blend) to go with hers. If we'd had salads, she would have eaten just the salad and meat/onions/mushrooms.

A 5 oz serving of steak (many WLS postops can't eat quite that much) plus 1/4 cup mushrooms and about 1/2 a medium onion adds up to the following nutrition info:
calories--290
fat--3.5 (2.5 sat fat, 0 trans)
cholesterol--65 mgs
sodium--95 mgs
total carbs--7.6 grams (1.8 fiber, 2.4 sugars)
protein--about 40 grams

Tasty, delicious, and sooooooo good for ya!
Lea

Answers to the Sunday 7

In response to She's A Rebel, She's A Saint's Sunday 7 post...

1. Who was the first friend you can remember having that your parent(s) didn't like?
You know, I had so few friends when I was a kid that I can actually say that I didn't have any that my Mom or Dad didn't like... I had the kind of friends that fat kids have--the loyal kids who have issues of their own and appreciate your issues... I had the kind of friends that your parents will take along with them on family trips to Disney and such because they're "good kids and so quiet..." LOL We grew up together. We were band geeks together. We grew apart after graduation as we each went our own ways, but it was good as kids.

2. What song did you and your spouse dance to at your wedding reception (or what's "your" song)?
Well, hubby and I did the JP thing and didn't have a reception. And, I think we've danced twice in 20 years (how sad is that?). But, when I think of "our song," it is "Still the One." We're still havin fun and you're still the one.... Love that man!

3. What's the most fun you've ever had with your clothes on?
Wow. For someone who sat and watched others live life for about 20 years, this one is hard! I honestly think I had more fun at the marathon in Myrtle Beach (Feb 16 this year) than I have had ever, anywhere. I was with a group of folks from my WLS support group. There were about 14 of us. And, these were folks who have walked in the same shoes I wear. When we went to eat, no one was watching what we ate, whether we drank with our meal, whether we ordered something fried or dessert... You get the drift! And, we were at a FITNESS event! How odd is that for someone who weighed 410 pounds 18 months ago? To state that the most fun they've ever had with their clothes on was at a marathon where I walked 5 miles as one leg of a relay team! Ha! Who'd have thunk it??

4. What's the worst injury you've ever experienced?
The worst injury I've ever experienced was ugly and painful, but no broken bones. I fell (again) down the steps in front of my home. I weighed 410 pounds. The steps were not even wet, but my poor knee gave out on me and buckled which sent me to the ground. I sort of skidded and slid, but my left leg was bent back under me as I went the distance to the ground (4 steps from where I started to where I ended. I actually have pics of it! Such pretty colors....

5. Who wears the pants in your household?
Well, it depends on what day of the week it is and what is going on! In child rearing/discipline issues, I wear the pants for the most part. For money decisions and such, hubby and I try to work together and no one is in charge. And, we're both pretty good about discussing things we want to do and coming to decisions together. We get along better that way as no one (besides the kids) feels like they've been told what to do.

6. What did you want to be when you were little?
My Mom says that I have wanted to be a teacher since I could walk and talk. Guess I got my wish! Now, if I could just find a Jay O Bee! I'm doing the adult education thing right now (working with parents of kids with special needs), but it is not the classroom I want to be in...

7. If we go out to dinner together, what kind of restaurant do you want to go to?
If we go out to dinner together, we can go ANYwhere that serves a decent steak. If you want seafood, find a seafood joint with a nice cut of red meat on their menu and we're a go! That makes me pretty easy to please food-wise as most restaurants have a steak on the menu these days!

Feel free to comment to this post and respond with your own answers!
Lea

Product Review: Atkins Advantage Caramel Double Chocolate Crunch Bars

This is another one of the Atkins protein bars. So far, I've not tried one I didn't like. And, it is also another one of their "caramel" line. The caramel bars are a bit smaller (this one is 44 grams) than the regular Atkings Advantage bars (such as the Advantage Chocolate Peanut Butter or Smores which are about 60 grams), but they are just the right size for a WLS postop for snack or even the occasional light meal replacement. They are tasty, delicious and make a good after-workout recharge as well. This particular bar is coated with chocolate on the outside and full of a dark, crunchy chocolate cookie sort of inside that also has a layer of caramel on top. Simply yummy! I have not even let the kiddo try this one as there were only 5 in that box and there just wouldn't be any left after she got done! LOL This bar has a bit of a cookie crunch to it while still having a great nutritional breakdown...

Nutrition Facts--
serving size: 1 bar
calories: 150
calories from fat: 65
total fat: 7 grams (4.5 saturated, 0 trans)
cholesterol: 0
sodium: 200 mgs
total carbohydrates: 19 grams (9 fiber, 1 sugar)
protein: 11 grams



FROM THE ATKINS SITE:

You know you have something divine when a double dose of chocolate and a gooey layer of caramel are infused with the optimal mix of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low sugar. The Atkins Advantage® Caramel Double Chocolate Crunch bar provides active chocoholics with both the flavor and fuel they need to keep going all day.

Nutrition Advantage Points: 11g protein, 9g fiber, 1g sugar, 19 vitamins and minerals, including an excellent source of Calcium, 150 calories, 0g sugar alcohols.

Ingredients:
Soy Nuggets [Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium Carbonate, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali)], Polydextrose, Glycerin, Inulin, Palm Kernel And Palm Oil, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Cookie Pieces [Enriched Wheat Flour, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin, Chocolate Liquor, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose], Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Non Fat Dry Milk, Butter, Cellulose, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Olive Oil, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Maltodextrin, Sucralose, Mono And Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Acesulfame Potassium.
Vitamins And Minerals Blend: Calcium (Tricalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate), Magnesium (Magnesium Oxide), Vitamin A (Vitamin A Palmitate), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin), Vitamin E (DL Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Vitamin B-3 (Niacinamide), Biotin, Pantothenic Acid (D-Calcium Pantothenate), Zinc (Zinc Oxide), Folic Acid, Chromium (Chromium Chelate), Vitamin K (Phytonadione), Selenium (Sodium Selenite).

THIS PRODUCT IS MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT USES PEANUTS, OTHER NUTS, AND SEEDS.


LOVIN' LIFE WITH LEA INFO
Product Name:
Atkins Advantage Caramel Double Chocolate Crunch Bars

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

Where Can I Get/Find It? These are available at many pharmacies as well as most Walmart stores, Sam's Club, GNC, and various online retailers including the Lovin Life with Lea Shoppe at Amazon.com


Cost: box of 5 at Walmart is about $6, GNC is about $1.49 a bar, Amazon.com sells a 15 count box for $18.64 with free shipping on orders over $25


Pros: meets my rules for protein bars, good protein amount (11 grams), high fiber (9 grams), only 150 calories, yummy chocolate outside and crunchy cookie inside, individually wrapped and great purse size item, tastes more like a cookie bar than a protein bar, makes a great snack or would be a good protein/carb boost after a workout. The kids would definitely eat this one! If you gave it to them out of the wrapper, they'd never know it wasn't a candy or cookie bar... Also a very affordable protein selection at about $1.20 a bar in the 5 count box from Walmart.


Cons: so yummy you may want to eat another!
also yummy enough that the family may steal them all and you won't get another!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! This one's a keeper!


Post at OH that links to this review and has comments on this product can be found at http://www.obesityhelp.com/forums/amos/a,messageboard/action,replies/board_id,4856/cat_id,4456/topic_id,3559788/


Recipe: Skillet Mexi-Chicken

Another one from my support web site. As noted previously, these recipes were contributed by WLS postops. Some I've tried, some I haven't and some I contributed myself...


Skillet Mexi-Chicken
This dish is a great family dish. It came from a moment of desperation over what to do with yet another package of boneless/skinless chicken breasts.... We've all had that dilemma at one time or another!
Ingredients:
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 to 4 tablespoons ground coriander (depending on your taste)
1 to 4 tablespoons ground cumin (depending on your taste)
Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy (to taste)
1 onion, sliced
minced garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
vegetable or chicken broth

Note: You can also add peppers, tomatoes, and/or chilies and make this more of a fajita type dish!

Directions:
Sprinkle spices over chicken and stir to coat well. Use a bit less if you like mild flavor and a bit more if you enjoy a stronger flavor.
Add olive oil to a wok or non-stick skillet and stir fry the chicken in two batches over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
Remove chicken from pan and stir fry the onion until caramelized.
Add garlic and continue to stir till the garlic is beginning to brown.
Add a bit of vegetable broth (or chicken broth) to the pan and stir to loosen the bits in the bottom of the pan. This will make a small amount of sauce to toss the chicken with.
Add chicken back to skillet and toss/stir to coat.
Serve in low-carb tortillas with cheese and whatever other toppings you like. You can also serve spooned over rice instead of in tortillas.

So far, so good!

I've got to admit that ever since the scale dropped below 200, I've been waiting on the rebound. Since about 6 mos postop, that has just been the way my weight loss has gone! Lose a few pounds to reach a new all-time low and then bounce back up part of the way... Then I bounce around for a few days before getting back to that low spot and dropping even lower again.

This time, for whatever reason, it hasn't happened. This morning, I'm at a new low of 197.4. I honestly had given up hope of seeing onederland. I'd been stuck between 201 and 205 for so many months, bouncing around and not really hitting below 202 very consistently. Then, all of a sudden--BAM, 198! WTF? Where did that come from? LOL I got off the scale at my surgeon's office with that printed slip in my hand saying 198 and thought--"I must be dehydrated! And, I haven't eaten... It won't last...." I just knew that when I got home my own scale would say 200 point something. But, low and behold, even with eating dinner on the way home and having some iced tea later, the scale still said 198 point something at home that night. And, the next day it went to 197.8. Now, 197.4. Maybe I will see 185 at some point. But, just seeing that one makes this whole journey--all 18 months of it--worthwhile!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Recipe: Beef Asian Lettuce Wraps

This is taken from my support web site. All the recipes there are contributed by other WLS postops!

Beef Asian Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef
½ tsp minced garlic
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
½ c hosein sauce
2 tsp. Freshly graded ginger
1 tsp. Asian hot Chile pepper sauce (opt)
2 tablespoon peanut butter (opt)
8 iceberg or butter lettuce leafs
2 carrots coarsely grated

Directions:
1. in a 10 –12 inch non stick frying pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef garlic and onion. Drain fat
2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, ginger, chili pepper sauce and Peanut butter. Add to beef mixture and continue cooking until heated through.
3. To serve allow each person to spoon ¼ cup of beef mixture into lettuce leaf. Top with 2 tablespoons grated carrots, wrap the lettuce leaf to enclose the filling.

Calories 346
Protein 28g
Carbohydrates 24g
Fat 16g
Cholesterol 40mg
Sodium 930mg
Fiber 4 g

Product Review: Atkins Advantage Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bars


We all want a protein bar/snack that tastes more like a sweet treat, right? Well, I know that I do! And, for this reason, I have a very hard time finding a protein bar I can tolerate. Well, for this reason AND my rules for protein bars... I hold a protein bar to a certain set of standards and it makes it harder to select one as so many of them just won't measure up! This one does and is yummy to boot! While it may not be a Snickers bar, it is about as close as I figure a protein bar can come! And, it has NO protein taste or after-taste. That is big for me! This bar, one of the Advantage Caramel bars, is nutritious and delicious!





Nutrition Facts:
Serving size--1 bar
Calories--150
Calories from fat--60
Total fat--7 grams (3.5 saturated fat, 0 trans fat)
Cholesterol--5 mgs
Sodium--130 mgs
Total Carbohydrates--17 grams (9 fiber, 1 sugar)
Protein--11 grams

FROM THE ATKINS SITE:

The most decadent flavors come together for this healthy surprise. The Atkins Advantage® Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat bar might sound like dessert, but this low-sugar, nutrient-packed bar is a satisfying meal or snack for active people who won’t sacrifice taste or nutrition.

Nutrition Advantage Points: 11g protein, 9g fiber, 1g sugar, 19 vitamins and minerals, including an excellent source of Calcium, 150 calories, 0g sugar alcohols.

INGREDIENTS: PROTEIN BLEND (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN, WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SODIUM CASEINATE), GLYCERINE, POLYDEXTROSE,CARAMEL LAYER (POLYDEXTROSE, INULIN, BUTTER, NONFAT DRY MILK, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, VANILLIN), PALM KERNEL AND PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), SOY NUGGETS [SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE,CALCIUM, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), SUCRALOSE], COCONUT OIL, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CARAMEL COLOR, OLIVE OIL, DEHYDRATED COCONUT (SODIUM METABISULFITE), CITRIC ACID, MALTODEXTRIN, SUCRALOSE, MONO AND DIGYLCERIDES, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM. NUTRITION BLEND: TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, ASCORBIC ACID, SODIUM ASCORBATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, CYANOCOBALAMIN, ALPHA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, NIACINAMIDE, BIOTIN, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, ZINC OXIDE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHELATE, PHYTONADIONE, SODIUM SELENITE.

CONTAINS: SOY, MILK, PEANUTS, WHEAT AND SULFIDES.
THIS PRODUCT IS MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT USES PEANUTS AND OTHER NUTS AND SEEDS.


LOVIN' LIFE WITH LEA INFO
Product Name:
Atkins Advantage Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bars

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

Where Can I Get/Find It? These are available at many pharmacies as well as most Walmart stores, Sam's Club, and various online retailers including the Lovin Life with Lea Shoppe at Amazon.com


Cost: box of 5 at Walmart is about $6, Amazon.com sells a 15 count box for $21.36 with free shipping on orders over $25


Pros: good protein amount (11 grams), high fiber (9 grams), only 150 calories, yummy chocolate outside, individually wrapped and great purse size item, tastes more like a candy bar than a protein bar, makes a great snack or would be a good protein/carb boost after a workout. The kids would definitely eat this one! If you gave it to them out of the wrapper, they'd never know it wasn't a candy bar...


Cons: so yummy you may want to eat another!


Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! This one's a keeper! And that is a good thing since I bought a box of 15!


Post at OH that links to this review and has comments on this product can be found at http://www.obesityhelp.com/forums/amos/a,messageboard/action,replies/board_id,4856/cat_id,4456/topic_id,3559056/

Saturday, March 15, 2008

And it stuck!

I have to admit that while the scale said 198 yesterday, I fully expected to rebound a bit today and be higher. Granted, I was praying it would still be below 200, but I expected to be up a bit. That is just how my body works normally. I hit an all time low and then I bounce up and down a bit before it really sticks as my true weight. So, for example, I would hit that 198 and then go back to say 199.8 or even 200 point something the next day. Then, I might be at 199 for a few days before ever seeing that 198 on the scale again. Then, I would normally drop another pound or two to a new all time low and the process would start over again.

This time, for whatever reason, it stuck! The scale said 197.8 this morning! I guess I can "own" that 198 now, huh?? It feels pretty freaking fabulous!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

198.0--onederland at last!

So, I have yo-yoed up and down since early December in the 201 to 205 weight bracket. Is there a fight class for that weight zone? LOL I guess it would be heavyweight, huh? I finally made it to onederland tonight! At my surgeon's office just prior to our support group meeting tonight, I got weighed and the scale read 198.0 which is the first time I've weighed less than 200 pounds since about 7th grade which would have been the 1978 to 1979 school year--just shy of 30 years ago!

I told many people going into this journey that I'd be happy with any weight and clothing size that started with a one. I've made the clothing size months ago and had on a pair of size 16 khaki slacks tonight that were baggy in the seat! But, that one at the beginning of my weight was starting to feel like an impossible dream. Alas, I have finally seen it happen. Now, to keep on track for my final goal weight of 185! Won't that be sweet!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Format and Rating Scale for Product Reviews

So, what makes an item good? What factors go into an overall rating?

A big factor these days is cost. You have to factor in local availability versus shipping from online sources, but with the cost of gasoline steadily climbing and many websites offering flat rate shipping ($4.95 to $8.99 many places no matter how large your order and so on), it is often cheaper to have it shipped than to drive across town to get it. For those of us in the boonies who have to drive a half hour to an hour to get anywhere that you can actually get anything good, online shipping can be a huge savings!

Taste is a huge factor for many, many people. If you have to choke it down, is it worth it? I know that I personally have to choke down most protein drinks, but that doesn't make them NOT worth the effort when I'm having a really bad food day. While I may not enjoy the taste and/or flavor, it doesn't take away from the convenience of getting in 26 grams of protein in just 134 calories!

Since I just mentioned it, we'll go with convenience next. Is the packaging convenient? Is the item easy to eat while on the go? Is the source convenient for you to pick up or order from? And, if whether the supplier is online or local, are they good to deal with? There's a lot more to convenience than we sometimes realize!

Pouchworthy? (A term from Melting Mama, LOL, that I use with her permission...) If you are a gastric bypass postop, is the item being reviewed worthy of filling up your teeny pouch's space with it? If you eat this, could you have made a better choice towards getting your protein in for the least amount of refined carbs and such? If I eat something that is pouchworthy for me, it means that I got a suitable amount of protein out of the meal or snack that it was part of. It was not smack full of refined/simple carbs. And, the fats and such were at reasonable levels. As I've mentioned before, I prefer that an item have fewer net carbs (total carbs minus fiber grams) than it has grams of protein. So, a pouchworthy item might, for example, be a protein bar with 20 grams of protein, but less than 20 net carbs and no more than 250 calories. Then, it could also be a crunchy/salty snack that serves to suppress a craving while getting me 9 or 10 grams of protein from a lower carb snack option such as my Kay's Naturals butter pretzel twists! And, when I stop and look at my day so far, I like to see that I have at least one gram of protein in per 10 calories eaten and no more grams of net carbs than I have grams of protein for the day. So, if I have eaten 530 calories, I like to see 50 or more grams of protein and less than 50 net carbs (way less if possible!). And, if those numbers were not close to this range, then I'd often alter my eating plan for the rest of the day so as to bring things back into perspective for the day.

Pros and Cons of each item will be part of my product reviews. I think that it is important to look at all angles when considering making a product part of your regular intake. Convenience can be important for an on the go item and if that convenience factor means that you'll get your protein in though you get in a few more calories than otherwise, it may still be a good item for you. On the other hand, if you like something simply because it tastes sinfully good, then the cons may make you realize that it is an okay occasional treat, but probably not a regular meal choice... Lots to consider!

I'm thinking that the following will be my "format" for product reviews:

Product Name
Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc)
Where Can I Get/Find It?
Cost
Pros
Cons
Overall Rating

And, that overall rating will range from "Yeah Baby!" to "No Way Baby!" for me. Yeah Baby items will be tasty, affordable, convenient, and SO totally pouchworthy! No Way Baby items may be too high in refined carbs, too lacking in flavor or taste, not high enough in protein for the calorie/carb counts, and so many other things may factor into a No Way Baby rating! Yeah Baby is a 5 on a 1 to 5 scale where 5 is the best you can get. On that same scale, No Way Baby might be a 0 or a 1! Somewhere in the middle, you will find "Maybe Baby" (a 3 perhaps?). Pouchworthy items would be a solid 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the best rating.

Please take a minute to comment on items you'd like to see reviewed--both specific items as well as types of items and what sort of things you look for in a product!

My Rules for Protein Bars

I'm going to start doing more product reviews. So, I thought I'd write out what I expect in a protein bar... I'm not sure what different types I'll review here, but I have sort of a pass or fail test that I put ALL protein bars through before I even put them in my shopping basket.

1) Calories--I prefer that a protein bar have about 200 calories even when it will be used as a meal replacement. I find that a lot of the ones I do buy end up in the 230 to 260 zone though. If it has 300+ calories, it has to meet other criteria AND be large enough to split into two filling snacks at least.

2) Carbs--Have you ever noticed how many protein bars have over 30 grams of carbs in them? And most of them have less than 20 grams of protein! I prefer that a protein bar have less net grams of carbs (carbs minus fiber grams) than it does grams of protein. So, if a bar has 19 grams of protein, I prefer it have less than 19 net grams of carbs. If it has more, I often won't even try it. I see bars with more carbs than protein grams as those intended more for energy or for body builders who mean to add body mass.

3) Fiber! I love a bar that has 5 or more grams of fiber! Fiber is a big issue for us WLS postops! We don't get near enough in the average day of eating. Any boost from a product like a protein bar is gravy!

4) Sugars--Many bars out there are sweetened with sugar. And, this can mean even 12 to 20 grams of sugar in a lower protein bar. I try to stay below 10 grams of sugar per serving AND prefer bars sweetened with artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols.

5) Coatings--You are starting to see more and more bars made with a chocolate coating or a yogurt coating. Those are great if you just have to have that coating to make the bar more tolerable. However, they may also mean a higher calorie count and/or a higher sugar number. While not the greatest comparison, I sometimes think of this like Poptarts--frosted or not???

6) Balance--By this, I mean that there is a fair balance of calories/carbs/fats/protein. We each have our own idea of "balanced," but that is all about personal preference! I would love to see a 50% protein, 25% fats and 25% carbs balance, but it is not all that common...

SO, with all that said, we all know that number 7 here would be taste, right? So, while taste is important as far as us tolerating something, it is not imperative to making a bar a better choice than another. And, if something is just so danged yummy that it is like protein candy, we are more likely to abuse it as a snack and not a meal replacement. If it is a PLANNED snack, then that is cool. But, if it is the temptation in our cupboard, then perhaps it isn't truly the best option? If I found myself thinking of a bar as a treat, then I'd have to take another really good look at its nutrition facts....

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Article: 8 Sneaky Things That Could Be Making You Fat

Link: http://www.webmdhealth.com/nl/nlv.aspx?id=gbeGjLIjl30=&s=10556&p=8211%0d%0a%0d%0a%0d%0a

8 Sneaky Things That Could Be Making You Fat

Cues in your environment can trigger overeating, experts say.

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH,RD,LD
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

You're stuffed after a big restaurant dinner -- but then the dessert cart rolls around, and you just have to order that gorgeous chocolate mousse. Or you're munching from a big bag of chips while checking emails, and when you look up, the bag is empty. Sound familiar?

Environmental factors -- like package size, portion size, the variety of food you're served, and the size of your plate -- can influence your eating more than you realize, experts say. Indeed, if we always ate only when we were really hungry and stopped when we were full, there would be no obesity epidemic.

The key, experts say, is to become more aware of these overeating triggers, which can help you resist the temptations and avoid weight gain .

"Once you become aware of the environmental cues that can sabotage your diet, you can react accordingly and make smart decisions," says Susan Moores, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Simple things such as bringing tempting snacks into your house, moving the candy jar at work out of sight, making fruits and vegetables more visible in your refrigerator, and eating more deliberately and slowly, can cut down on overeating and help you lose weight , Moores says.

Here are eight factors that can trigger overeating and weight gain:

1. Sights, Sounds, and Smells

Overeating can be triggered by the alluring smell of bacon cooking, the sound of popcorn popping, advertisements for junk food, and so on. "You are influenced by your surroundings, and our studies show these kinds of cues result in eating more food," says Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindful Eating.

2. Distracted Eating

"Eating amnesia" is the act of unknowingly putting hand to mouth, usually from a big bag or bowl while sitting in front of the television, reading a book, checking emails, or during happy hour. Multi-tasking can lead to overeating because you're not paying attention to what you are eating. When you eat more mindfully, you really taste the food -- and are more likely to feel satisfied sooner. "Food should touch more of your senses to be satisfying, instead of just filling in the hole," Moores says.

3. Food, Food Everywhere

Everywhere you turn, there are opportunities to eat -- at drive-through restaurants, vending machines, even gas stations. And when food is in front of us, we tend to eat more of it, experts say.

Wansink and colleagues found that when candy was easily accessible on workers' desks, they ate an average of nine pieces a day, and didn't realize how many they ate. But when the candy was kept in their desk drawers, they ate about six pieces per day. And when they had to get up from their desks to reach the candy six feet away, they only ate four pieces.

Curb your instinct to overeat sweets and snacks by moving them out of sight -- and putting more healthful foods into plain view. Resist the urge to splurge on unhealthy foods by carrying your own healthy snacks.

4. Food that's Fast, Convenient, and Inexpensive

Fast-food restaurants on every corner offering inexpensive food also encourage us to eat more and more often. Combo meal deals sound like a bargain, but they are loaded with fat, sodium, and calories.

Also, "when you eat lots of fast food, it all starts to taste the same, and you can become satisfied with a small range of flavors and sometimes it is hard to get enough," says Moores.

To help yourself resist the temptation, work on developing a taste for the subtle, natural flavors of food, suggests Moores.

Dietitians recommend limiting visits to fast-food restaurants to once a week. And, they say, choose the healthier menu options -- like salads and grilled chicken sandwiches -- even if they cost a little more.

5. Portion Distortion

Our idea of a normal portion has become skewed, in part because so many restaurants serve oversized portions. "Giant portions seem to have evolved into the norm, and many people have trouble understand how much they should eat," Moores says.

To understand what a portion should look lie, pull out the measuring cups and see how your portions stack up against the standards from the U.S. government's mypyramid.com web site.

Another answer to the portion dilemma is to eat more foods that are less calorically dense. These are foods that contain lots of water and fiber, but not many calories -- like fruits, vegetables, and broth-based soups. Researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, and colleagues at Penn State University found that it's possible to reduce calories without increasing hunger by eating more of these types of foods.

Mindful eating can help here, too. "Eat slowly, taste the food and become more in touch with what you are eating and how it tastes so you can enjoy it more and start to appreciate satisfaction with smaller portions," Moores says.

6. Giant-Size Packages

You'll find plenty of bargains on mega-sized packages at super-discount stores like Costco or Sam's. But unfortunately, experts say, these giant containers can affect us on an unconscious level and cause us to eat more. Researchers have found that when you eat from a large container, you are likely to consume 25% to 50% more than you would from a smaller package -- especially when you're eating snacks and sweets.

"First, try to get out of the habit of always eating something while you are sitting, relaxing, or watching television," says Tara Gidus, MS, RD. "Try a cup of tea, glass of water, or chew a piece of sugarless gum. If you want a snack, portion it out of the bag or container or buy smaller packages like the 100-calorie snack packs."

7. Not-So-Dainty Dishware

Researchers have found that we tend to eat more when we're served from larger containers. Wansink and colleagues found that when students were given food in larger bowls, they served themselves 53% more and consumed 56% more than those who used smaller bowls.

When you use smaller bowls, plates, and cups, you won't feel deprived because the food will look plentiful, Wansink says. Daintier dishware and smaller utensils can also help slow your eating.

8. Too Much Variety

A buffet restaurant can be a dieter's nightmare. Too many choices encourages having a taste (or more) of everything, and before you know it, your plate runneth over. "Too much variety on your plate at one meal can often mean too much food overall," says Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, director of nutrition at Washington University and president of the American Dietetic Association.

So use variety to help meet your nutritional needs, but concentrate on the right foods. Eating a variety of foods is great, as long as the foods are low in calories and rich in nutrients -- like fruits, beans, vegetables, broth soups, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.


SOURCES: Susan Moores, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association. Brian Wansink, PhD, director, food and brand lab, Cornell University; author, Mindless Eating.Tara Gidus, MS, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association. Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, president, American Dietetic Association; nutrition director, Washington University. Rolls, B., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2006:83. Wansink, B., et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 293:14 (April 13); 1727-1728. Wansink, B., Annual Review of Nutrition, 2004, vol 24, pp. 455-479. Painter, J., et al, Appetite, June 2002; 38:3; 237-238. Burton, P., et al, Appetite, July 2007; vol 49; pp. 191-197.

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Canned answers from a WLS postop...

A darling man named Jim from Pittsburgh, PA posted the following in response to someone who'd been told that all the postops a friend knew had gained back the weight. She'd posted looking for sage advice in how to handle the situation. Here's Jim's comments:

The amount of "experts" out there on this surgery who have never had it is staggering.
I've developed canned answers over the last year:

1) "Everyone who gets this surgery dies in 10 years."
Really??? I'll have to find my friend Tim who had this surgery 15 years ago and drive a stake through his heart then, because he is obviously undead.

2) "It's just a tool, not a magic bullet!"
Yeah, thanks. I think I figured that out one year and 190 pounds ago.

3) "So and so had it and gained all the weight back."
Wow, they must have really tried hard to do that. Fortunately, I don't have the underlying psychological issues that goes along with the small percentage of people that have that issue.

4) "Don't you miss eating like a normal person?"
An extremely small price to pay being able to look and feel like a normal person. And with few exceptions, I DO eat like a normal person, only smaller amounts.

5) "Everyone I know who had this surgery regrets it and / or is sick from it."
Then you need to get out more, because that is an extremely small minority of people who get this surgery.

6) "You took the easy way out."
No, staying fat and dying young would have been taking the easy way out. And there is nothing wrong with taking the path of least resistance. That's like telling a woman who had difficulties giving birth that she took the easy way out having a C-section. Or like telling a cancer patient that they took the easy way out by getting chemo.

7) "If you would have just quit eating, you wouldn't have gotten so fat and needed this surgery."
And if you would just quit talking, less people would think you are an ignorant a$$hole. The best thing was that this was told to me by a smoker who had tried to quit and failed at least five times. Ah, sweet irony.

I've learned that the worst thing about ignorance is its insistence.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Am I Done? And, Alternate Day Dieting...

It is quite common amongst WLS postops to hear someone say, "I'm not losing... It has stopped. Do you think I'm DONE??" And, most of the time, this person is still very early into their WLS journey and nowhere near done losing the weight they will lose. Most of the time they are still in that "honeymoon" window. For those of you who don't know what the "honeymoon" period is, it is the first 6 to 18 months after a person has weight loss surgery. It is usually the period of prime losing time. Many people will lose the bulk of their weight during this timeframe. It is somewhat easier to lose during this time as it is also the time when you have the most malabsorption from a procedure of this nature. It will depend on how well you work the tool/program you were given. The more time passes, the more your body adapts and attempts to make up for the bypass you've had done. The body tries to compensate for the bypass by developing the little absorption receptors farther down the colon. It doesn't mean that your body WILL work better at absorbing later. It just means that it COULD.

Not every person's experience is the same! Same goes for weight loss patterns. We did not gain the weight in the same way and we won't lose it in the same way or at the same pace. Some folks will lose weight like water running off a hill (seemingly effortlessly and nothing slows it down) for the first 6 months and be at goal by 7 or 8 months out. Others will lose at a bit slower pace and take a year to reach goal. And yet more will lose even more slowly and take 18 mos to 2 years to reach goal. It is all individual! I'm 18 months postop and still 20 pounds away from my goal. I lose less each month. It seems I can go for weeks just eating sensibly and getting my protein in each day and not gain or lose. BUT, I have to knuckle down to lose anything again. I'm hoping this means I'll do okay once I decide to just maintain and not try to lose any more.

All of this leads us to look for what will get the weight loss going again... We try anything another WLS postop suggests.
We've upped our protein.
We've increased our water intake.
We've upped our calories and lowered our calories.
We've increased our exercise and even changed our exercise to shake things up.
We've cut carbs thinking we were eating too many and even added carbs to keep out of starvation mode or give increased energy for hard workouts.
If another WLS postop says it worked for them, many of us will give it at least one try if we feel we may be done losing but don't really want to stop just yet.

This weekend, I read an article about Alternate Day Dieting. I've actually had a similar recommendation from a WLS postop. She called it ZigZag dieting. After reading the article, I realized we were talking about very similar things. The article talks about eating a normal diet one day (whatever your "normal" diet is) and then a reduced calorie day the next and alternating continuously like that. During maintenance, you would still follow the alternating day plan, but would eat a bit more on the lower intake days as your goal would not be to lose. The ZigZag dieting that had been mentioned to me was cutting back calories and carbs to a really low point for a couple of days in a row and then upping calories for a couple of days to sort of shock your system and prod your body to start losing again. It keeps your system from becoming used to or adjusted to a particular eating program and finding a "comfort zone" of sorts. For example, if you normally ate 1200 calories and 80 carbs per day, on the "low" days of this diet, you might eat 700-800 calories and 30-40 carbs and on the "high" days you might eat 1500 calories and 100-120 carbs. Your body won't know what happened and you may just get that losing engine back into gear. Quite often, this same diet strategy may be paired with a kick in the pants to your exercise program, so you really don't know if the loss you see is from one or the other or even just from a couple of low cal/low carb days and the subsequent water loss that low carb days can prompt.

Does any of it really work better? Or, is your body just ready to start moving down again? This article mentions studies with lab animals that "experienced profound health benefits" when fed only every other day. There is mention of longer life and slower progression of age-related diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even Alzheimer's. They state that this alternate day dieting can help keep you from becoming bored with your diet as on the up days, you can have more food, more calories, and can even indulge in beloved food items when you take a notion. While on the low days, you eat that boneless, skinless chicken that you might otherwise become sick of looking at... LOL But, the article also states, "
Of the different ways to impose caloric restriction, he said, overall calorie restriction yields the most robust results. Eating 30 to 40 percent fewer calories every day translates to an increase in longevity of the same percentage." Well, we already KNEW that! Fewer calories in equals more weight loss potential! So, if they felt the need to point this out, then will the proposed up day--down day alternate day diet plan really make a bigger difference than just an overall calorie reduction? Or, is this just another fad diet in the making??

Friday, March 7, 2008

Maybe maintenance won't be so bad?

I stayed at basically the same weight from early December till the very end of February. I was not watching what I ate. I was not counting anything other than protein. I kept a running tally in my head as to how much protein I had eaten and just made sure I got in my 80 to 100 grams a day. And, I exercised some, but not a lot. All the while, I stayed between 203 and 206 pounds. For 3 whole months. Then, I kicked myself in the butt and started watching things again and the scale is slowly edging down once more a tenth of a pound at a time. I'm currently at 201.2 and working towards onederland and my goal weight of 185.

But, I was thinking today that if I could go for months eating sensibly but not tracking anything other than protein (even had one day where I did look at totals and hit 2000 calories) and not exercising like crazy or even semi-regularly, would it maybe mean that I will have a bit easier time maintaining when I get to that point of my journey? Or, is it perhaps attributed to the level of malabsorption I currently have and may not have later on? I'd say I was averaging 1500 to 1600 calories a day. I was getting in 80 to 100 grams of protein each and every day. I exercise a bit but not a lot and not terribly regularly (always has been my hold back on getting to goal). I'd like to think that as long as I eat healthfully and get my protein in, I may do just grand at maintaining... But, I am curious what the rest of you think! I don't plan on getting lax again any time soon, but it is a nice thought that the maintenance part of my journey won't be a daily battle to keep from regaining!

I posted this same post to ObesityHelp's message board. Click Here to see the thread and everyone's responses.
Lea

The scale is dropping!

Apparently this effort to get back on track is slowly paying off. I've not had any miraculous drops of 1 to 2 pounds overnight, but I am slowly inching towards 199 with a tenth of a pound dropping most days. Today, I am at 201.2 which is an ALL time low for me so far. I've never even seen that number on the scale for 10 minutes before going back up to something else! You know how every once in a while, you will see a much lower number than you've been averaging but then the next day you are right back where you were two days before? Not even in those situations have I ever been this low! So, 201.8, 201.6, 201.5, 201.4 (for a couple days), and now 201.2. That is more progress this last week than in the last month!
Lea

Advice from those who've been there...

When asked what was the best advice anyone was given about having weight loss surgery, the following comments were posted:

1) Eat slow and chew, chew, chew!

2) Sip, sip, sip!

3) Clean and disinfect your living space before your surgery. It will keep you busy and keep your mind off the stress of the upcoming surgery in those last few days of preop time. AND, it will make it easier to avoid infection after you return home.

4) Stop worrying!

5) Make up a schedule for meals, water, vitamins, and exercise.

6) Eat every 2 to 3 hours and drink water with a protein supplement between meals.

7) Do not drink (anything!) for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after your meals.

8) Keep meals to what would have been "snack sized" portions as a preop.

9) Work your tool to the maximum potential in order to make the most of your honeymoon period.

10) Just because you CAN eat it doesn't mean you SHOULD eat it!

11) Lay your fork down between bites. This helps keep you from eating too fast!

12) RESEARCH! Research every form of WLS. Research your surgeon/hospital and any follow-up plan offered. Research postop life. Research yourself and be sure you can handle life as a postop!

13) Put away the scales and only weigh monthly the first few months. This will save you TONS of frustration!

14) Exercise as MUCH as possible as SOON as possible to help maximize your honeymoon period.

15) Lose as much weight as you can BEFORE surgery. That is that much less you have to lose after surgery and it makes your surgery and your healing time easier.

16) Work out with weights!

17) BEFORE surgery, increase your protein and start a vitamin supplement regimen so that you are used to it in advance.

18) Increase your activity level however you can. No matter how sedentary your life is, you can do something! Try leg lifts while sitting in a chair.

19) Don't Give Up! You will have good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes it will seem like months! But keep exercising and eating right!

20) Remember that everyone is different. Just because one person lost 50 pounds in a couple of weeks does not mean you will. And, you will stall at about 3 weeks out. Don't worry! That is just your body adjusting to the rapid loss.

21) Visit your surgery date forum. You will find that many of those people are going through similar things at the same time!

22) Measure yourself before surgery and periodically after surgery. This will save your sanity during stalls when the scales are not moving! Use Thinner Self or another tracking site to track the changes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is YOUR Deepest Fear?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
by Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"There's noooooooooooooo crying in baseball.....!!!!!!"

The following is a copy/paste of a bit by Leilani, another WLS postop. She doesn't sugar coat things for anyone! I think it is a great piece and needs to be shared!

"There's noooooooooooooo crying in baseball.....!!!!!!"

That's the sentiment (scenario) that comes to mind sometimes when I hear some of the comments from people who've already had the surgery. In case you haven't made the connection, that's a line Tom Hanks made famous in the movie "A League of Their Own." Resorting to tears or just giving up every time the going gets tough. Or your sick of taking vitamins, getting in protein is hard, water doesn't taste good, etc. That kinda' thinking is NOT going to make you successful or keep you healthy. ENOUGH already! It's time to LOVE yourself enough to get "TOUGH" with your aftercare. Your long term health is worth it!!

Success comes with a backbone, NOT a wishbone!

First and foremost, you have to keep it POSITIVE. As with everything in life, if you think you can't - you WON'T! Simple enough?

I have to wonder when "we" (as adults) finally take ownership for our actions, our life and our health? We have been given a gift, a second chance to actually LIVE life again instead of merely existing on the sidelines. It's up to each of us to do that as healthy and productively as possible.

We're ALL statistics waiting to happen and the insurance companies are chomping at the bit. The bean counters are eager to drop Weight Loss Surgery ("WLS") from the policies; some already have. Don't you know that any negative feedback thrown into the mix only strengthens their cause? I may not be able to control every thing that happens to my body after WLS, but most things I can. I CHOOSE to take control and I will be a positive statistic when the numbers get counted.

We live in a spoiled society, expecting everything in life to come with a buncha really cool choices. Well, guess what? When it comes to your health, you're not always going to get a choice. You either DO IT and stay healthy, or you DON'T and your body pays the price.


The way I saw it, I had a 90 day healing and adjusting period after surgery. My 'super morbidly obese' body had more then enough stores to survive the learning curve. In turn, it gave me plenty of time to heal, adjust and learn. For those of you OVER 90 day's Post-Op, the probation period is over - its time to get serious and LIVE what you've learned.


~*~ You say you can't get in enough liquids through out the day, don't like the taste of water, or just keep forgetting? -- TOUGH! It's not an option anymore. Find a way to do it, get suggestions and tips from others in support groups, message boards, etc. Read, learn and JUST DO IT!! Why do you think there is a choice here?


~*~ You say you don't like the big horse pill type vitamins, or the tart chalky chewables? ...it's, just too many to bother with? Or maybe you just can't remember to take them? -- TOUGH! You gave up the option NOT to take vitamins when you agreed to have your insides rerouted. FIND a way to get them in; crushed, minced, chopped, liquified, in a shake, etc. No exceptions, your health depends on it.


~*~ Protein is a must. So you can't get it all in via foods and you don't like the way the shakes taste? -- TOUGH! Either get it through your meals (and there are a gazillion food choices out there) or supplement it with protein shakes and bars.


Trust me, I don't drink my protein shake every morning because I think it tastes like a chocolate blizzard from Dairy Queen. I’ve tried many varieties over the last 2 years. I'd even venture to say 25 of the top sellers/flavors have crossed my lips. For the record? I've yet to find one that is as 'delicious' as boasted by the distributor. So what. I still drink one every morning. My HEALTH dictates that I need "X" grams of protein per day. If I'm not getting enough from my meals then I supplement a shake. 'Nuff said.


This surgery is a gift, I owe it to me and everyone else fighting the approval process, to do it right! I will continue to choke down my vitamins, my water and my protein every single day, for the REST OF MY LIFE. Some days will be easier then others, regardless, no days will be missed.


It's all about discipline. Create a routine, set a timer, develop a pattern, tie a string around your finger, glue a note to your forehead, whatever it takes.


You're an adult - take responsibility! If this surgery doesn't slap a back bone into you, not much will.

* Leilani * [Original draft written: June 2004 -- Revised: April 2006]

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day 4 of back on track...

Things are still going okay (not great, but not bad either) with getting my eating back on track. I missed my 100 grams of protein today, but the carbs were better than yesterday even with that danged banana I ate...

breakfast--Atkins Advantage protein bar

lunch--ham and cheese Egg Beaters ommlette
snack--mixed nuts and a small banana
dinner--ground beef patty with slice of cheese and sauteed onions on top
snack--Kay's Naturals white cheddar Kruncheeze

Totals for the day are not terrible, but not the lowest so far either! LOL 1200 cals, 60 net carbs and 95 protein and I got in over a gallon of liquids (actually working on the 5th 32 ozs right now). Tomorrow is my 18 mos postop appt with my surgeon. I've lost 207 pounds and am at 203 from 410. I know he thinks I've done good, but I sooooooo wanted to be below 200 by now! The really bad part is that with being on the go all day tomorrow, I'll either not eat enough OR eat too many calories but be low on protein. We'll see how it turns out!
Lea

Questions to ask your surgeon at your pre-op visits...

The following list of questions to ask potential surgeons was gathered from a conversation on the GastricBypass-InfoCentral group at YahooGroups.

1) How many cms of intestine will you bypass???

2) How much common channel will I have?

3) Do you transect the stomach? Do you remove the remnant stomach? IF NOT--Will you transect if I have or revert to an Open vs. lap surgery???

4) How common are staple line disruptions?

5) How common are ulcers around the stoma?

6) How many surgeries of this type have you done???

7) How many deaths are on your record??? (Please keep in mind that the more experienced the surgeon is and the more complicated cases he takes on the higher this number can be so you need all of the facts to make a determination.)

8) Will I wake up with an naso-gastric tube or JP drains in???

9) Will I go straight to a regular room if there are no complications or
wake up in ICU???

10) What will I do if I have complications and you are unavailable (i.e.
sick, on vacation, away from the office, etc.)? Is there a partner or other
doctor who knows as much about RNY that can help me. (It's been my
experience that docs that practice with another surgeon or surgeons is
better when and if you have complications and your surgeon is unavailable. It's hard to find a surgeon willing to take on complications of a different surgeon outside of their practice.)

11) How long will you follow up with me??

12) What kind of aftercare program do you offer and what kinds of
information and help will I receive during the weight loss process?

13) How often do I need labs done? Will you agree to order the lab tests necessary to keep me in good health?

14) How many supplements should I take? (protein and vitamins both)

15) How big is the pouch you create?

16) How do you feel about milk in the diet? sugar? fats?

17) How long am I off foods?

18) How strict a "diet" will I still be on?

19) If I am still sick/nauseated/vomiting after 3 weeks, what will you do for me?

19) Of my excess weight, what percentage can I expect to lose?

20) Of the weight that I lose, what percentage can I expect to keep off long-term?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Doing More, Expecting More

Now that I am over 200 pounds lighter, I am able to do sooooo much more. I mow my own yard with a push mower--around 3 acres. I walk more and can even jog a bit if I take a notion. I actually DO chores I used to depend on my daughters to do. I exercise and actually enjoy it and look forward to it. I am back to work part-time and have just completed the things necessary to renew my teaching certificate (paperwork already mailed off!) and pursue full-time work again as a teacher.

But, I am also noticing that I expect more--of myself AND those around me. Things I used to do before I lost the weight draw criticism from me when done by others. I'm talking about when my hubby will call someone to do something for him that is right within the same room where he is at and he just has to get up and do it for himself. When I was sick all the time and less able, I did the same thing. But, now I do it myself and I expect him (and our girls) to do the same. Why does it bother me now but didn't when it was me doing the asking? Why do I see it as just plain old lazy out of him when for me it was a real help? Is it just that old saying "What is good for the goose is good for the gander..."??????
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