Our Why

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Our decision to leave the city and build a log home in the mountains of Star Valley, Wyoming was brave, drastic and life-changing. As we have shared our plans, many of our friends and family members ask “Why?” “How can you leave your grandkids?” And my personal favorite, “Really? At your age?”

This decision was made with our family in mind. To create a peaceful, comforting retreat from the crazy busy of life. A sanctuary to connect with self, family and a loving Father in Heaven who has created this beautiful world.

May I refer you to this photo I took about 20 minutes ago. It is of our grandson’s first experience Kayaking. This week he has hiked, (saw a deer this morning) rode a 4-wheeler, learned to make a proper wood pile, ate s’mores, enjoyed fireworks and earned a BB Gun. He has a new appreciation for the outdoors.

These experiences and the many more we will have, explain our “why”don’t you think?

 

5 of 5 Ways you know the WLS Honeymoon is Over

Even at 20 years post op, I still clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the “End of Invincible” That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Here is the fifth of five installments in this series.  (Subscribe to this blog)

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#5 You stop attending support groups, telling yourself “They are just for the newbies anyway.”

We always suspected that those who regularly attend support groups after weight loss surgery are more successful than those who don’t. Thanks to our collaboration with Stanford University Medical Center, we now have the hard data to prove it.  Put simply, “Successful WLS patients are 3 times more likely to participate in support groups than their less successful counterparts.” (Read Research)

Unfortunately, sometimes we find that support groups focus on and cater to the newbies, leaving the veteran patients bored, un-motivated and less likely come back. If the topics in support group are not of interest to you, suggest some that would be.  Work to be part of the solution. Perhaps offer to do some research, share your experiences or even prepare and teach a lesson.

If you have found that you have lost interest in your support group, please consider that if you don’t need the support group, perhaps the support group needs you.

I, for one am so very grateful to the two WLS patients who at 10 years post op volunteered month after month to share their story, coach, encourage and teach those of us coming along behind them. Perhaps it’s time to give a little back by paying if forward. (Become a BSCI Certified Support Group Leader) There is nothing more motivating than having people look up to you, learn from you and help keep you on track as a good example.

For many, support groups go way beyond, “What is the topic?” People view support group attendance as a commitment to themselves to stay connected and accountable. Support groups offer opportunities to connect a network of like-minded people who understand your journey as many do not. So many life-long friendships are established at support groups.

Make support group attendance a must do on your calendar to help you stay on track and accountable. If you are unable to attend a live group, web-based forums, Facebook groups and telephonic groups are easily found. BSCI’s DreamTeam of educators host free telephonic support groups every week. Fun, easy and a great way to stay connected. Telephonic Support Group Schedule

Read our  Support Group Survey and gain insights and perspective from over 1,000 bariatric patients and how they view their support groups.

4 of 5 Ways you know your WLS Honeymoon is Over.

Even at 20 years post op, I still clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the “End of Invincible” That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Here is the fourth of five installments in this series.  (Subscribe to this blog)

Learning

#4 You Realize You Should Have Paid More Attention to your Bariatric Team

It seems that through the years the bariatric medical community has made great progress in ensuring that prospective patients are better educated and more prepared for surgery. As many of you know, there is a long checklist of todo’s prior to surgery. Consultations, evaluations, exams, tests, support groups and the list goes on and on.

An interesting thing happens though. When surgery is imminent, our focus is primarily on the details surrounding the actual procedure, hospital stay, pain management, how it will feel, etc. The classes and information are helpful, but unfortunately, we are not really listening. We are trying; we nod our heads at what our dieticians, nurses, mental health and exercise professionals are telling us. We commit to being compliant, eat right, exercise, take our vitamins and attend our follow up visits.  But are we really listening? Are we learning?  Perhaps not.

Following surgery, it’s “Whew, I am alive!” And once we are released from the hospital we begin our journey, sticking closely to what we have been advised. We start to really pay attention. Then, something magical happens. Our  surgical tool starts to work, just like we had hoped. The weight starts to fall off!  But, then we learn that no matter what we do, whether we follow the rules or not, the weight still continues to fall off.  A dangerous realization.  You see, once we think of ourselves as invincible – we stop listening.

Sadly, we see that it is only when people reach a plateau or heaven forbid, begin to gain weight that they are really ready to listen and learn. We are told so often, surgery is a tool, it’s a tool, it’s a tool. Again, we nod our heads. Now that our honeymoon is over we must be ready to learn. I mean really ready to learn.

We have “graduated” or are have been “released” from our bariatric clinic and may wonder if we missed our shot to learn. Surgery was a success; we have lost weight and now we need to learn how to maintain. Wishing we would have paid more attention earlier on, we might wonder where can turn.

For me, I turned to all of the successful patients I could find, to learn what they knew and do what they did.  As I expected, there are very particular habits that those most successful have made part of their lives. In fact, I have spent the last 20 years seeking out the most successful wls patients, identifying their habits, learning from these long term losers and sharing my research all over the globe. Read research here:

Learn more about The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients.

So often, we hear struggling patients comment that they did not learn these important principles during their initial weight loss. If that is the case with you, it is not too late. Read the book, take a class, participate online. Remember your surgical tool will serve you well for a lifetime as long as you learn to use it properly. Learn what you might have missed, learn what successful patient have to teach you, learn all you need to know about your own body, metabolism and food addictions. It’s never too late.

Subscribe to this blog to receive: #5 You stop attending support groups, telling yourself “they are just for the newbies anyway.”

3 of 5 Ways you know the WLS Honeymoon is Over

Even at 20 years post op, I still  clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the “End of Invincible” That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Here is the third of five installments in this series.  (Subscribe to this blog)

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#3 THE SCALE STARTS TO GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

Perhaps like me,  you spent many years not knowing what you weighed. I hated the scale and would avoid it at all costs. But, I loved nothing more than weighing myself during the first year after my surgery.  It seemed as though I could weigh in the morning and lose even more weight by the time I returned home in the evening! Talk about motivating.  For the first time in almost forever, the scales were tipping in my favor and it was exciting!

As many do, I reached a plateau a time or two on my way down to my goal. So, perhaps you too have plateaued along the way, but this time, you sense it is different. You have reached your goal, stayed there and celebrated your success, but then, your weight starts to climb back up. Panic sets in and you know that glory days are over. Thoughts like, “I was afraid this was too good to be true.” or “I knew this couldn’t last.” keep surfacing. Self- doubt sets in and you worry that like so many times in your life, you lose, then gain. (And often with a bonus). You hoped it would be different with a surgical intervention, you hoped it would be easy. And in some respects, it has been but now reality hits and you know it’s time to pay attention.

At this critical juncture. it is time to ensure that you have put into place the Success Habits you must rely upon every day for the rest of your life in order to maintain your weight. We all know how to lose weight, we have spent so many years on diets, off diets, thinking about a diet, researching a new diet, cursing diets, getting on and falling off diets. But learning how to maintain weight is a completely different mindset. Take this time as you transition from losing to maintaining to remind yourself that obesity is a disease. And one that you will struggle with for your entire life; surgery or not. You have a remarkable surgical tool to help you manage it as long as you learn to use it properly. Commit the time and effort to learn about your own personal metabolism, your triggers, and your relationship with food. It is up to you to evaluate your behaviors, stop doing what you might have gotten away with during the rapid weight loss phase and focus on everything you have learned. Memorize and internalize Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients.

Subscribe to blog for #4 You Realize You Should Have Paid More Attention to your Bariatric Team

 

2 of 5 Ways you know the WLS Honeymoon is Over

Even at 20 years post op, I still  clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the “End of Invincible” That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Here is the second of five installments in this series.  (Subscribe to this blog)

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#2 PEOPLE STOP RAVING ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK

Boy, do I remember this. Of course I would, it was all about me! Like many of you I enjoyed months and months of friends, family neighbors, work associates and even strangers, raving about how great I looked. One of my favorite comments was “Look at you, you are going to blow away!” Loved it!

I think I even walked at little taller, and had a new strut and swagger as I showcased my success. When I knew would be seen by someone who didn’t know about the new me, I was ecstatic!  Then over time, people started to get used to my new size. I slowly began to fade into normal, the newness wore off and all of the attention nearly stopped. I missed the rave reviews, I kept wondering to myself, “Do I look fat?” Am I gaining weight?” “Why doesn’t someone say something!” Messed with my mind to be sure.

If that has not happened to you yet, trust me, it will. And it is important to be prepared for the emotional and mental grief it may cause. When it does, it will be a good time to do a little evaluating of your true motives for choosing weight loss surgery. Ask yourself why you made this decision in the first place. Did you do this for someone else? To look feel better for yourself? For revenge? To improve your health? This is a time to reconnect to your personal why. Remind yourself of what motivated you in the first place. Pat yourself on the back and learn to improve your ‘self-talk.’

Then, move on. Rather than having it be all about you, now is a great time to turn and support those coming along behind you. Opportunities abound for successful patients who want to give back by paying it forward. Motivate, encourage and support new and prospective WLS patients.  Help with an event or patient celebration, work as a hospital volunteer, become a Support Group Leader. Share your successes online and participate in one or more of the many Facebook Group discussions. You look great – now be great by helping others.

Subscribe to this blog for #3 THE SCALE STARTS TO GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

1 of 5 Ways you know the WLS Honeymoon is OVER

Even at 20 years post op, I still  clearly remember that fateful day when I reached the “End of Invincible” That fateful moment when the honeymoon phase ended and the real work began. I am anxious to share with you what I have learned about the top 5 ways to recognize that your personal WLS honeymoon is over and what to do about it. Here is the first of five installments in this series.  (Subscribe to this blog)

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YOU START ‘FREEWHEELING’ AND FORGET ABOUT YOUR GOOD HABITS

We are so careful early on. We are committed and sure we will become the most compliant patient ever! We measure our food and water, use a shopping list at the store, prepare meals in advance and eat what we plan, exercise, weigh weekly and take our vitamins.  Then, one day it seems that we can forego one or more of these good habits and still loose weight. “Hmm, this is awesome! This surgical tool is my answer, hooray!”

If you find yourself boasting about how you ate… or how you don’t exercise… or how get away with things you were warned not to do. BEWARE! I promise it will catch up to you. Our research clearly shows exactly what successful long term patients do to reach and maintain their weight. Learn what they know and do what they did.

It is important to realize that you will not be the exception to the rule and while you may feel invincible now – know that it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. There is a reason it is called the ‘honeymoon phase.’ When it ends, if you have not used the time to commit to, implement and own your Success Habits, you will be in find yourself struggling to learn how to maintain your weight. Commit once to a specific set of daily habits and stick with them. All of them!

Subscribe to this blog to continue to #2 PEOPLE STOP RAVING ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU LOOK

 

Baby Mine

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What a tender and unexpected moment.  I was grateful to attend a dance performance by our grand daughter, Baylee. She is a darling 6 year old full of talent and skill. Her first performance was to an old song from Disney’s Dumbo, “Baby of Mine.” The dance was sweet, beautiful and well done. But the words and message caught me off guard. I suppose it was my vantage point.  I was sitting behind my daughter watching her watch her daughter.

Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

Little one, when you play
Don’t you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine

If they knew all about you
They’d end up loving you, too
All those same people who scold you
What they’d give just for the right to hold you

From your hair, to your toes
You’re so sweet, goodness knows
You are so precious to me
Sweet as can be, baby of mine

Songwriters
NED WASHINGTON, FRANK CHURCHILL

This baby of mine, my precious little girl now has two babies of her own.  She is a wonderful mother and wife. She is an example of all the things right with this world. And is full of goodness and grace.  When the stresses of life overwhelm,  as they sometimes do, I just want to stop the world for just a few minutes to be her mom and wrap her in love, safety and support.

As I watch her as she navigates the challenges of  her life with faith and strength. I am both proud and inspired by this baby of mine.

Oh What Tangled Web We Weave..

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“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”

Sir Walter Scott

As I walked by this web this morning, this quote buy Sir Walter Scott  came to mind. Honesty has always been so very important to me.  I try to be honest in all my dealings and respect and admire those to strive to do so as well. It can be tricky sometimes. For instance, I have found myself having to decide if I should tell someone the truth even though I knew it would likely hurt them.  I have also been in a spot where I had to decide if I should break a confidence because I believed doing to would ultimately benefit that person. Perhaps you too, have found yourself in similar situations and struggled with what to do.

A few years ago I attended a workshop at BYU  taught by Dr. Quinn McKay, Author of “Is Lying Sometimes the Right Thing for an Honest Person to do.”  It was an engaging and  fascinating discussion about honesty and integrity and how often in today’s world people justify dishonesty for a number of reasons. We discussed an example of a corporation sending out a batch of checks unsigned, in order to buy time buy time to make sufficient deposits to cover them. Was that deliberate stall dishonest? He shared a story of a time when the Boy Scouts of America, short of the funds needed to maintain their charter in a particular area, falsified the numbers in order to continue their work, justifying their actions for the good of their very worthy cause. Was that dishonest act justified?

Dr Mckay used a variety of real life examples of people who did not straight up lie, but left out some important details, in essence leading the other person to draw their own inaccurate conclusions.

So interesting all! I very much enjoyed the workshop and the book. My take away from both is this a new personal definition of honesty.

“Honesty is not just to tell the truth, but to convey a true impression.”

May we strive each day to be an example of honesty and integrity in all we do.

A Way Around

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Do you notice anything odd about this gate?  It sure seems strange to me.  It is a nice gate, well built, strong and sturdy.  And the sign is clear that “No Trespassing” is allowed. I don’t want to trespass, but it seems that if I did, it would be very easy.  I could go around to the left, around to the right, over the top or perhaps even under.If I, or anyone else decided to ignore the gate – we could.

Like an experience I shared in an article several years ago: Hog Tight – Horse High, I instantly drew a comparison to my surgical weight loss tool. Those who have had weight loss surgery have a tool, or a gate if you will. The tool is designed to help us reach and maintain a good, healthy weight, by restricting how much we can eat.  For most, it works as it should, it does exactly what the tool was designed to do.

However, it seems that through the years we discover ways around, over and under it. I have heard comments like “She has learned to eat around the band” or “If I eat sugar with _____ then doesn’t cause dumping” or, “I can eat a lot more if I drink a little with my meals”  And I admit that I have sometimes said, “I cannot eat much at one time, but can eat the wrong thing all day long.” Hello?

Do any of these sound familiar to you?   If so, then essentially you are not using your tool as it was intended. You are finding ways around, under and over the “gate”. Find out why. After all you have been through, what is it that would would cause you to cheat yourself out of the success you once desired? What is it that is causing you to sabotage your success by not taking full advantage of the surgical tool? Hard questions, all.

May I invite you to do a quick self evaluation of your behaviors. Are you taking full advantage of your surgical tool?  Ask yourself, “Am I allowing my surgery to do what it was designed to do? Or am I looking for ways to cheat, go back to old habits and still maintain my weight loss?

Our surgical tools will serve us well for a lifetime as long as we commit to using them properly.  Years of research (Read Research) have taught us all that there are very specific habits that successful long term patients have made part of their life. Learn what they know and do what they did to take full advantage of your surgical tool.  The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients

As shown in this picture, the gate and weight loss surgical tools work. They do exactly what they are designed to do. That is, unless we choose to go around, over or under.

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