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I thought I would post some good, high protein meal ideas for those who are either new or can’t think of any new protein ideas.

One of the BEST meals from the beginning is chili.  I use turkey breast meat or lean burger.  You could also put in chicken or sausage-whatever you like for meat will work.  I use 4 beans.  I use chili hot beans, kidney beans, butter beans and black beans.  ALL beans (legumes) are very high in protein.  Then I put in some diced seasoned tomatoes and chili mix.  I cook it all day in the crock pot.  I always have plenty to freeze as well as leftovers for a few days.

Noodle free lasagne.  Make it just like you do a usual pan of lasagne just leave out the noodles.  The meat, cheese and cottage cheese are all good, high protein foods.

When you are able to eat salads it is a great lunch or supper base.  You can put just about any protein in it.  Chicken, steak, tuna, kidney beans, cottage cheese, low fat cheeses, eggs, turkey bacon and then lots of veggies like tomatoes, cukes, radishes, carrots, pea pods, broccoli, califlower, anything you like.

Philly cheese-steak without the roll.  I buy the steak ums steak meat and cook it up with onions, or onions and peppers.  Add in low fat american cheese until melted and eat.  You can add sauce too if you like.

Egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad made with light mayo or light miracle whip is a great beginning food when you are allowed the first foods.  Add it to some light club crackers.  In the beginning you will only eat one or two crackers with something on it but it is a good, moist meal to get down.

Deviled eggs

Ground turkey breast or lean burger with onions cooked in, add in a jar of salsa, light cheddar cheese and you have a shell-free taco.

And of course, the easiest meal is any meat – steak, chicken, pork, turkey, all cooked lean on the grill or baked in the oven with a side of any vegetable that you like.

Hope this helps!!  Stay tuned for great high protein snack ideas!!


I thought I would put down a sort of bullet list of things on my mind that I tell people who are having (or have just had) this surgery.  I seem to be seeing more and more people who are in need of this info so here you are:

  • If you think you will be that *ONE* person that this will not work for, think again.  I thought it.  I was sure I would lose a little bit of weight and then stop like was true with everything else that I tried.  This surgery allows you the ability to lose it this time and there is no way you can stop it from happening.
  • This bring me to my TOOL speech.  When the Doctor goes in there and moves your insides around he is NOT giving you a crutch to use for the rest of your life.  He is giving you a TOOL.  You have to work with this tool, respect to tool, use the tool the right way.  You do what the Doctor tells you – and you do this for the   Follow the rules.  Like the Capri Sun commercial says “Respect the pouch!!”
  • You will have pain after surgery.  Everyone is different in how they handle pain and the kind of pain they have.  You may have a little or a lot.  Either way you are given something to take the pain away – use it.  Don’t be a hero.  Don’t be afraid of sleep.  Take the pain meds, rest, eat and drink like you are told, rest, rest, and rest and you will heal a lot better.
  • Eat by the clock.  You will not be hungry in the beginning.  You will not feel hunger – real hunger- for a very long time.  You will crave things and be “head hungry” on and off, but you will not have the hunger in your stomach for a long time.  You need to eat about every 3 hours to keep your metabolism up and your strength up.  And watch the clock while you eat.  You should eat very very slowly and eat for about 20 minutes and then stop.
  • Make sure to do your walking.  This keeps things moving, improves your stamina, and makes you feel better.
  • When you are given the go ahead be sure to take your vitamins.  All of them, everyday, don’t miss a dose or a day.  Get a pill box to put some in to take with you in case you are out for a long time.
  • You WILL have hair loss.  This is mostly from the shock your body is in.  It also has to do with vitamin levels being low, but for the most part it is your body trying to cope.  You will NOT go bald.  You will think you are going bald, but you won’t.  And it will stop eventually.  Have patience.
  • The most important part of this surgery other than following what you are taught is SUPPORT.  If you do not have a support group to attend once a month then you need to find one.  You do not have to go to your hospital for support- any will do.  But you need to go.  You also need to surround yourself with people who will support you.  I told people I was not asking for their permission but for their support so if they could not give me that I did not need to hear from them.  I did not want to hear “stories” and I would not listen.  If you pay attention, the vast majority of people who have heard stories of people having problems do not actually KNOW the people- it is just “stories”  And really, who cares!  You know you will do what the Doctor says so why worry about what is going to happen?  The risk of this surgery FAR outweighs the risks that you will have for being overweight for the rest of your life.  And the risk is low.  You may as well weigh your risk of getting hit by a bus vs something going wrong during surgery.  AND the majority of people with real issues afterwards are because they did not follow their Doctors orders the way they should have.  So- find a good support system and keep this system in place at all times.

My friend Vikki is having gastric bypass surgery on Monday August 16th.  She has done amazing at sticking to the fight and after about 3 years she is all set.  She stuck to the program and already lost 22 pounds before surgery!  I want to wish her all the luck in the world and send her a ton of love.   Everyone who reads here please say a prayer for her on Monday!  I know she will do fantastic.  WE LOVE YOU VIKKI!!

Get ready for a whole new life, a whole new you!  LOTS of changes will be coming very, very fast!  And your brain will take a very long time to catch up with your body and all the changes in your life.  It is exciting, it is scary, it is a TON of work–hard hard work!  There is not one step in this whole process that is easy, but every step is worth it.  When you are laying in your bed crying, and you will lay in your bed and cry, that you made a mistake, that you think you may die (esp. if you have a dumping episode), wondering what you did, just remember that this will pass.  And you will look back in a few months and say everything was worth it.


**Warning – as you can see from the question, this is a touchy subject to read so read at your own risk**

I heard that it is very common to throw up after the surgery,  and do you ever get it under control?

As with just about every aspect of having gastric bypass surgery, this too is individual.  My husband had the surgery on April 20, 2009 and it was June of 2010 before he ever threw up!  And it was because he ate something way too fast.

I started throwing up a few weeks after surgery and the last time I threw up was a couple of months ago.  I throw up when things bother my stomach, when I have eaten too much or when I eat too fast.  Mostly it is just something bothered me.  I have noticed I CANNOT mix foods.  You know when you go on the hunt for what you are hungry for and kind of “graze” on several different things?  A bite of this, a nibble of that – I can’t do it.  It makes me sick.  I threw up pretty frequently in the beginning, but some of that was due to my gallbladder going bad also.  It does get under control.  It is not something that happens to everyone and it is not something that goes on forever.  And remember, when you have a stomach that holds a couple ounces you are not bringing up a whole lot when you do throw up.  The worst part of it is the heaving.  But, as far as what comes out it is very minimal.  There is something gastric surgery patients call “The Foamies”  This is because you sort of just throw up foam.  It’s common in the beginning.

I will repeat every time I get the chance – there is NOTHING I went through that I would not do again, this included, to get to the outcome that I have had.

From Connie:  Did you hit plateaus where the weight was not coming off? And what should one do to get past it?

When having a large weight loss, or any loss for that matter, you are going to hit stalls.  The body is changing as you are dropping weight so it has to catch up with itself.  This does not mean it is over.  A true stall will last several weeks.  A plateau usually lasts a couple weeks for me.  Then all of a sudden it would start coming off again.  I lost 7 pounds over 2 weeks and in 2 weeks have not lost any.  Changing up things usually cures the stall.  The biggest part is eating more- not less.  When you hit a stall take a day or two and add some extra calories.  If you are doing low carb, add in some complex carbs (meaning good carbs, not sugar carbs) then go back to your low carbs in 2 days.  Also, be sure you are drinking plenty of water, no sugar drinks and low to no caffeine.  You can add any flavor packets you like to your water or make yourself some decaf iced tea.  Upping your exercise and changing your routine also helps with a stall.  Patience is your best bet.  It will start coming off again.  Don’t look at a stall as a reason to say “screw it I am done”  I did that way too many times because I was not patient.  Now, I know it will continue when my body is ready.  This extra weight we have did not come on us overnight (although it does seems like it) and it is not going to come off that way.  And more important it is not going to STAY off if you do a fad diet to lose it.  Lifestyle change is the key- not diet.  I have said it before and I will keep saying it.  I will never diet again.  This is my life now.

Q:      How do you make the decision to start NOW and not – after the next holiday or the next birthday or the next Monday whatever?

A:  Obviously, this is a personal process and decision.  For me,  I was at the end of my rope.  I knew I could not possibly let myself get any bigger or feel any worse!  I actually walked around every single day worried I was going to drop over dead or not wake up in the morning when I went to sleep.  I felt horrible all the time.  My legs hurt to walk.  My knees could not stand the weight.  I felt sluggish and tired no matter how much I slept.  I had only a few items of clothing I would and could wear and felt half decent in.  Most things looked awful on me and did not fit right.  I wanted to be able to have fun with my daughter and keep up with her being so active.  She told me “you are always sick”  because I used to say I was sick in order to not have to move and do things with her.  It broke my heart.  I knew I had to get up, get moving and get some weight off.  I used to say to my husband, everyone has to have a wall they get to and I got to mine.  I can’t understand how people get to the point of weighing 500 or 700 pounds.  How did they not hit that wall on the way up?  How did they no longer care?  I have no answers for that.  I just know what my wall was and why I did not want to have to keep restarting over and over again.  You have to look to the future and see what you want to be.  You have to be the you that you can love.  If you love yourself at a size 16, a size 12 or a size 2 then that is where you should plan to take yourself to on your journey.  To me, I don’t see people as a size or a weight, I see if they are healthy or not.  I have a post on here a few posts back about people lying to themselves about being a “healthy fat”  To be, that is like being a smoke free smoker.  It is impossible!  Just because you do not have high cholestorol and your heart seems to be beating right when the Dr listens does not mean you are not taking years off of your life and ruining your body by have an extra 100 plus pounds on it.  You can be non-healthy at a normal weight also if you do not treat your body right so clearly being heavy AND not treating your body right does not make for health.

The bottom line is mind over matter.  Don’t DIET!  I will never, ever be on another diet again.  I eat high protein, low fat and no sugar and that is just it.  I never order a dessert.  I make the correct choices at home and when we go out.  I do allow myself some wiggle room – I exercise so I can eat M&Ms is what a friend of mine says.  She runs several miles every day and is very fit, trim and healthy.  She makes good choices for herself and her family so every now and then she eats M&Ms.  This is how life should be lived.  Normal.  I actually planned my way of eating after her suggestions.  And it works.  So, that is how I eat now.  No diet- just my lifestyle.  I am happy with working to maintain the weight I am because this is where I am feeling my best.  If a pound or two come off or come on I am OK with it.  I am just doing my best in this life.

Good luck to anyone starting or continuing a journey of health.  I hope you stay here with me, ask questions and share ideas!

What is dumping, and why am I experiencing it?
Answer provided by Taghreed Almahmeed, MD, FRCSC, and Michel Murr, MD, FACS

Dumping syndrome is a group of symptoms caused by rapid passage of undigested food into the small intestine. The stomach has a valve at the top and bottom, and serves as an acid-filled storage tank, breaking food intake down into small, component parts and passing it to the small bowel in small increments.

After gastric bypass, ingested food passes directly into the small bowel, mixed only with saliva, but not the stomach acid. The component parts of the undigested food remain fairly intact and therefore large.

The small intestine responds by diluting the ingested food through a process of “water recruitment.” The “richer” the food, in terms of sugar content, the more water will rush into the small intestine to dilute it. This is referred to as “early dumping.”

Early Dumping and Late Dumping

Early dumping occurs a few minutes to 45 minutes after eating. Symptoms are not life-threatening, but can be frightening to the unsuspecting patient. Symptoms of early dumping are:

  • Weakness and fainting
  • Sweating
  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and cramps

Late dumping occurs two to three hours after eating. It is caused by excess insulin produced in response to rapid entry of food and fluids into the small intestine. The high insulin levels lower low blood glucose level and cause symptoms including:

  • Perspiration
  • Hunger
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Exhaustion
  • Faintness

The diagnosis of late dumping syndrome can often be confirmed through frequent blood sampling to measure blood glucose.

You can prevent early and late dumping by avoiding the foods that cause dumping. In other words – sugars, starches and fried foods. Eat at least five to six small, evenly spaced meals a day. Take meals dry (i.e. without water or beverages, and drink fluids only between meals). Because carbohydrate intake is restricted, protein and fat intake should be increased to fulfill energy needs. Examples include meats, cheeses, eggs, nuts, toast, potatoes and rice crackers. Milk and milk products are generally not tolerated and should be avoided.

Each person has a different tolerance, and you will discover what your personal safe foods might be throughout your post surgery life. Person “A” might have no problem with strawberries and person “B” might experience dumping every time a few strawberries are eaten and person “C” might be able to eat strawberries only if they are a little unripe. You will learn what your own trigger foods might be. Be aware that these may change over time as your bypass matures.

General Measures to Treat Dumping

For early dumping, lie down for 45 minutes until symptoms pass to minimize the chances of fainting. For late dumping, eat small amounts of sugar candy or drink sweetened juice until the symptoms of low blood sugar resolve. Additionally you can supplement food with dietary fibers such as fruit, vegetables and grain products. Many medical therapies have been tested, including pectin, guar gum and glucomannan. These dietary fibers form gels with carbohydrates, resulting in delayed glucose absorption and therefore avoiding a sharp increase in insulin. However in 3 to 5 percent of instances, severe symptoms of dumping can continue despite dietary changes. This results in marked weight-loss, fear of eating and outdoor activities, or even an inability to maintain full time employment.

Medical management of dumping includes acarbose or octreotide. Acarbose delays absorption of food and maintains an even blood glucose level. Octreotide is an analog of a hormone in the digestive system that can alleviate dumping by inhibiting insulin release and by slowing transit of food in the small intestine.

Dumping is Common

Dumping syndrome is a common post-surgical complication after gastric surgery. The symptoms of dumping may cause considerable morbidity. If medical management fails to provide adequate symptom relief, remedial surgery should be offered with the understanding that even surgical intervention may not be successful. Normally most patients have a spontaneous recovery as the digestive system adapts after surgery. Early dumping syndrome usually occurs for three to four months after surgery. Late dumping syndrome can occur for an entire year, but may persist for many years. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health provider to review your food diary and implement changes to help you.

I am having a life changing …well, life!  So, I am going to do some changes here too and hope it catches on with many people who it can help!!  I am going to change the name of my blog and make the focus of the blog Weight loss…surgery, non-surgery, exercise, after losing it issues, recipes, advice, support and chatter.  Whatever the person who lands here needs, suggests or asks.  I would like to do a question a day to answer from readers.  I need to get my blog out there and a good friend who Blogs at

is going to help me.  I need to learn a lot about getting my blog noticed and noticed by the people who need it.  She is at BlogHer in NYC right now!  She already has met someone else going this.

Now- for this time, I Would like to ask for suggestions on my new blog name!  I was thinking something along the lines of

“The fat girl in my head”

“Too skinny to still be so fat”

Something that captures the way myself and so many others feel after a massive weight loss.  The brain can NOT catch up to the head after so many years of being overweight.  You can post your comments here with name suggestions or on my facebook page where I have this linked.

Thanks for the help and wish me luck!!

I have no idea why but I have been having awful and/or strange dreams for several nights now.  Nothing dramatic happened to me in the past couple weeks.  I have people die, people being hurt, someone shooting themselves, a sick baby…all very disturbing.  Maybe too much protein causes my brain to over react.  I do not know but I sure would like them to stop!

In other news- Princess had her very first professional eye exam today.  She has 20/20 in her left on and 20/25 in her right.  He said it was not worth getting glasses and fighting with her, once the novelty of having them wears off, to keep them on.  He said what can happen at this age is she could grow an inch and need them- that is how quickly they can change.  And the fact that Brian had them in Second grade and I had them in Sixth grade is a good indication that she will need them, but it is not a guarantee.  She thinks she wants them, but I tried tell her she really does not.  Having glasses may be a fashion statement to her, but in the long run they are a pain in the neck.  Keeping up with them, keeping them clean, remembering them, swimming, exercise, just a general nuisance.

August 2010
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