Six Months Out - Full Body Picture

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dealing with Cravings

We all have them... those foods that our minds tell us we just can't live without. It may be something good for you like chicken breasts or steak, or it may be that, like me, you always seem to crave something that the world tells us is "bad".

Now, I don't believe in good or bad foods, but I know there are some foods that help us reach our goals and some foods that don't help us reach our goals. I tend to crave the latter.

Those who "know" me from VST, Bariatric Pal, and Facebook know that I have a major addiction to Cheetos. Early post-op, eating a few Cheetos here and there wasn't a problem. I could have a handful and move on, mostly because I had too much restriction to eat more than a handful. The problem with that is that the restriction eases up as you get further and further out from surgery, so you can eat more of any food. Add that Cheetos are a slider food, meaning that they don't truly fill you up, and I could do some serious damage to a family size bag, even with my little sleeve!

Today there was a discussion about whether post-WLS patients are Abstainers or Moderators. Sadly enough, I'm neither.  I crave certain foods fiercely, even 2.5 years out. What works best FOR ME is to allow myself one serving of my craving food per month. I will buy one serving size package of whatever the food is... used to be Cheetos, now it's Hershey's bar with almonds. Then I will sit down and eat that one serving size package with all the pomp and circumstance I can muster, enjoying every single morsel. Then I will not allow myself to have another serving for a month. It's a weird head game that I play with myself, but I cannot tell myself that I can't have something forever and ever or I will crave that food until I end up binging on it. This works for me. Your mileage may vary.

So, what are you? Are you an Abstainer or a Moderator? Or do you use some other method to handle your food cravings?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bucket List

So, there are a few things I want to accomplish in the next few years and I've decided that I need to hold myself accountable for them. Most are not weight loss related, but, this is my blog, so I'm going to use this space to start my list. I'm sure I will revise this list as I think of things, but here's a start:

1. Spend more time doing charity/volunteer work. Goal is 10 hours a month.
2. Spend more time with my grandson and kids. This involves travel, but it's definitely worth it!
3. Walk daily.
4. Get a bicycle, preferably one that has a big basket and foot pedal brakes.
5. Use the bicycle instead of my car as much as possible. Bonus: Built in exercise.
6. Visit the Grand Canyon
7. Visit Washington D.C.
8. Learn Spanish. I speak a little, but I'd like to be fluent.
9. Travel more. Maybe even give up living in a house and be a gypsy for a year or two.
10. Buy an RV/pop up camper to help accomplish goal 9.
11. Do more genealogy research on my family.
12. Sew more of my own clothes.
13. Sew a wedding dress for someone.
14. Sing at a wedding... and a funeral (morbid? No. Just think it's a huge honor to be asked to help someone depart this world)
15. Travel outside the US (Scotland, England, France?)
16. Write a book and have it published.
17. Dream bigger.
18. Be bolder, stronger, wiser.
19. Own a little cottage on a piece of land somewhere where I can garden and have chickens.
20. Love more.
21. Spend more time at the beach. It's my calm, happy place. Maybe ride my bike there at least once a week.
22. Have a white picket fence.
23. Get one more tattoo. I know what I want and I have four already.
24. Run a 5k, 13k, full marathon.
25. Live off-grid. (probably not something I can do full time, but I'd love to do it.)
26. Make a king-size quilt.
27. Burn great-smelling candles every day
28. Be happy. Practice gratitude.
29. Walk the Camino de Santiago.
30. Win the lottery. ;)

Okay, that's my start. What do YOU want to accomplish?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico Caution

Some of you may know that I am "Lissa" on Vertical Sleeve Talk, now I'm an old-timer there, having been on those boards since March of 2011. I've been away from the boards for quite some time, but not because I don't love them. Life just has a tendency to get in the way.

The reason I tell you all of this is so that you can follow my posts there and know that I have always advocated for people to do their own research about doctors and make the best decision for their own journeys. And, I've always been the one who says that Mexico IS a viable option for many people to have WLS. I even sent one of my best friends to Mexico with all my blessings because of research I had done on VST/Bariatric Pal.

I did that based on the experiences of quite a few people, but some of those people were more influential for me than others. Susan Lackey, an administrator at Bariatric Pal, is one of those people. She has always been level-headed, posting good information and positive affirmations for those who felt nervous about any aspect of WLS. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Susan.

Lately, though, several people (Susan, Lil Miss Diva/Irene, and others) who have had surgery in Mexico have posted that they are having major problems with their sleeves. One has an hour glass shaped stomach and another discovered that she was never even sleeved!

I'm going to reiterate to do one's research, but I see a huge backlash coming against Mexico... and maybe that's what NEEDS to happen at this point.

I am posting Susan Lackey's experience from Mexico. The doctor is Albert Aceves. For verification purposes, here is the original link for Susan's post AND, just so you know, I have asked Susan Lackey for permission before reposting her words here.

BY NO MEANS am I saying anything negative about anyone, just posting information because the topic has been raised.

Everything below is a direct cut and paste from the Bariatric Pal website.

First off, I have nothing to gain by posting this topic. I do not represent any doctors, I do not work for a doctor, I have no financial gain whatsoever! I am a long-time member and administrator of Bariatric Pal. I am an advocate for your safety! Learn from my experience and learn from my knowledge!

Before considering weight loss surgery in Mexico, make sure you consider all the possible ramifications of doing so. Is it really going to save you money if you don't have insurance? Is it really worth it just to avoid jumping through insurance hoops? Is it worth risking your health, or even worse, your life?

Here is my story...

I had my sleeve surgery done by a doctor in Mexicali. I have now learned my surgery was botched. He did not properly sleeve me. I now have severe side effects, including a major hiatal hernia that is pressing against my heart, a malformed/malfunctioning stomach and major acid reflux that has done severe damage to my esophagus. The only way to fix everything is for me to convert to gastric bypass. Today, my surgery was denied. I am stuck with this problem because I do not have the financial means to cover surgery myself. Had I had this done in the US, I would have some sort of recourse, but because I had it done in Mexico, my hands are tied.

Like so many employers in the US, mine has opted to not cover any obesity or weight loss surgery issues because they believe it will save them money. They fail to think about how much more money all of the medical issues that arise as a direct result of obesity will cost them. Please, we need to educate our employers on this issue, they are costing themselves money and adversely effecting their employees. Like it or not, obesity is a true medical diagnosis, and it is time it be treated as such.

Now, to continue, I personally know two other people who used the same surgeon I did, and are having the same exact problems. Not only that, this surgeon also recently had a death and tried to cover it by stating the patient had not disclosed heart issues to them. Well, guess what, at the time, I was coordinating for a medical tourism company owned by this very site (please note, I am no longer coordinating for anyone, I am now all about being an advocate for patient safety, lives are more important than the almighty dollar!). The patient that died, I referred her to the doctor. I am devastated and have to live with the guilt of this. I spoke with the spouse of this patient, she did not hide any medical issues, she had none!

Through the course of coordinating, I became friends with another doctor's coordinator. She trusted him, not only as her employer, but her surgeon. She had him perform sleeve surgery on her. Or so she thought. It turns out, he didn't remove any portion of her stomach, instead he just stapled it. Upon doing some research, she has found six other patients he did this to, and who knows how many more are out there. When she confronted him, his response was, "us doctors lie". Needless to say, she is no longer coordinating either.

So please, think twice before leaving the US for your surgery. I know personally how desparate we become because we want to lose the weight, our insurance won't cover it and we think we have no other recourse. However, if I knew now what I now then, I would have never stepped foot out of the United States, even if it meant not having surgery. Even though Bariatric Pal offers you discounted surgeries in Mexico, the site owner himself said he would never have surgery in Mexico. What does that tell you?

There are some good doctors there, but truly, how do we know for sure which ones are good and which ones aren't. I thought the doctor I went to was the best, he had the best reputation, was the most well-known and most recommended. Where did that get me? The other doctor I mentioned above, he is extremely popular with members of this site right now. That scares me, it really, really scares me.

If you want more information, you may contact me on facebook at