Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breaking a Plateau

I am almost 9 years out from surgery. Everyday, I think about what I am putting in my mouth. I know if I eat too much and don’t exercise I will gain weight. I AM LIKE EVERYONE ELSE (like people who have not had the surgery)!!!!

So, many people have weight loss surgery and think. This is the answer, this is the magic pill….I am sorry to say…..they are so wrong…..initially, yes, the weight comes off pretty easily……but as time goes on….if you have not created healthy eating and exercise habits. You either WILL NOT reach your weight loss goal or you WILL start gaining the weight back.

I urge you during the “honeymoon stage” (the time when weight is coming off the easiest 1 year to 18 months) work your tool for all it is worth. And yes it does come off easier for some than others. And the bigger you are the faster it initially comes off.

This is not a diet!!!! A diet is something you go on and go off and go back to your old habits and usually put the weight back on plus additional pounds. THIS IS A LIFESTYLE CHANGE!!!!! A change that you will be doing for the rest of your life. I have said so many times….it is not a destination to a particular weight….this is a journey “we” will be on the rest of our lives…..

If you are at a plateau evaluate what you are doing….

Are you getting a minimum of 64 oz in everyday, are you eating your protein first (minimum of 60 grams per day), are you drinking with your meal? (You shouldn’t be).

Don’t graze all day….think about it are you really stomach hungry or are you head hungry? There is a difference and you need to learn your body.

Start every meal with your protein first, then veggies, then fruit and if, only if there is room left eat a starch. I chose not to eat bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and sugar. It helps me maintain my weight. These items were my down fall before and I know it so I just don’t go there. I do not feel deprived because I have broken the cravings and there are so many other things to eat. Also are you going to support group? It is very important.

As always, do what your surgeon tells you to do….they do know best….and they know your history and know what you need from your labs.

Remember your body is like a machine…if you eat the same thing every day and do the same exercise it will get used to it and it will plateau. So you have to shake it up a little….change things around…and you will start losing again.

Have you incorporated strength training? If you are not doing this as part of your program or lifestyle, then it's time to start. Working your muscles will help to strengthen bone tissue, increase lean mass and ultimately boost your metabolic rate.

Change your exercise Routine...So you go walking a lot? Then try jogging, or swimming, or cycling..anything that will change the way your body is working. If you are doing low intensity cardio (ask your surgeon first) then try some high intensity exercise.

When I initially had surgery I could not walk on the street because of heal spurs and a bad knee. My surgeon told me if I walked in a pool for 30 minutes it would equal 1 hour on the street. It is a very good workout and you will sweat in the pool.

I want everyone to succeed and feel good about their accomplishments. For me it is not about what I look like….it is about all the things I can do in this body. I am 48 years old and I can physically do things I could not do when I was 25 years old. Life is so good!!!!!

Do the steps you need to be a healthier you!!!! And keep doing them…..your body will thank you for it!!!!!!

Take care,


Monday, October 19, 2009

Holiday Tips to Maintain Weight Loss and even Lose Weight

To make the Holiday Season a healthier one, experts say, it's important to do three things: Practice awareness, manage your stress and emotions, and plan in advance.

Imagine how you'll feel on New Year's Day when you begin the New Year knowing you got through the Holidays and you didn’t gain any weight or perhaps you lost weight! This is the beginning of what is the hardest time of the year for most….including me to keep the weight off.

So, keep your weight loss goals in mind daily. Empower yourself…. Be in control…..I personally stay on track by weighing every morning around the same time. This tells me where I am for the day and what I need to do. If I am up a couple of pounds I know to really watch my caloric intake, make sure I am getting my water in and definitely exercise. We can all do this…but it isn’t magic…

Create a plan ahead of time. Before the holidays sneak up on you, incorporate fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine and stick to it.

Schedule time to exercise. The best way to avoid weight gain from Halloween to New Year is to stay on track with your regular exercise routine. It's a busy time of year for everyone, but don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Where you want to be! Mark your exercise on your calendar and set-aside time to complete it. Consider your exercise appointments as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar. And if you have to cancel your exercise for some reason do what you do with other important appointments….put it back into your schedule somewhere else. If you have to do a shorter version of your regular routine do it, some exercise is better than none. Also you can use stairs instead of elevators and escalators will add to your overall workout. Park your car further from the entrance of a store. We also know there are many benefits to exercise besides the physical ones of burning calories; it can help with stress and elevate your mood and help you sleep better. Who couldn’t use that this time of year!

If you are going to a party bring a Healthy Dish - This is one way to ensure you'll have something healthy to eat, while sharing something nutritious with your family and friends. If you're tempted by desserts or feel the pressure to join others in eating them, bring a healthy dessert as well. This way you will not feel deprived.

Eat Before You Go - A common strategy for attacking a holiday meal or party is to skip breakfast and lunch, this way when the party gets started there is plenty of room to indulge in an abundance of junk food for the rest of the day. This way of thinking doesn't really work for someone who is trying to avoid eating foods that are harmful to the body. Instead, it would make more sense to start off the day with a hearty protein based breakfast. Also, to avoid having to eat more compromised foods than you'd like to, eat a small protein based meal before you leave for the party.

At the party use a smaller plate (tricks your mind into thinking you are eating more than you really are). Start with lean protein, veggies and fruit, and then go to the dessert table and partake in the healthy dessert you brought. (Avoid second and third servings by walking away from the food. I know it is hard sometimes but be conscious of what you eat and how much, When there's a lot of food available.

Learn to say "no," in a courteous manner, to activities and food that aren't in your best interest. Many people think food is love, and we know it isn’t.
People may grow to respect it, and may even emulate it.

Limit alcoholic beverages. (We don’t do well with alcohol anyway) Drinking at parties may be tempting, but it will be hard to maintain your weight through the holidays if you indulge in too many alcoholic beverages. Set a limit of one or two drinks and then switch to water to prevent dehydration and save on the calories). Spend the rest of the party walking around with a full glass of water with a lemon wedge. Keeping your hands occupied accomplishes two purposes: first, the hosts will not ask if you need a drink (you have one), and second, it’s harder to eat with one hand wrapped around a glass.

You might consider having the Party at Your House - This is the best way to ensure that you'll have something healthy to eat while celebrating the holidays with your friends and family. Hosting a party gives you a little more control over what kind of foods will be served. Suggest that your guests bring salads or some of the healthier family favorites. And you can provide recipes that you have altered to make healthier. . Reduce the fat in holiday recipes. There are plenty of low fat and low calorie substitutes that are amazingly tasty. Try using applesauce in place of oil in your favorite holiday breads; use egg substitutes in place of whole eggs; try plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream. Magazines are full of reduced calorie and reduced fat holiday recipes. Give them a try, and share your cooking creations with friends and family.

Take the Focus Off of Food - Make celebrating the holidays with your family and friends more about fun, and fellowship rather than grazing on food. Bring some games that get everyone involved; Plan in advance for everyone to bring an ornament or small gift to do an exchange game. Sharing stories, looking through old photos or activities such as making scrapbooks, wreaths or ornaments is always fun. Celebrate traditions that don't involve eating.

When running errands or shopping perhaps eat something before you go and pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.

In conclusion remember these tips…perhaps post them somewhere so it will remind you. You can stay on track maintain your weight and even lose weight…

Have a wonderful holiday!!


1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up if you fall off the wagon just jump back on
2. Don’t Skip Your Workout
3. Don’t Eat Mindlessly
4. Buy Healthy Food
5. Don’t Shop Hungry
6. Don’t use Food as Entertainment
7. Don't Skip Meals

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curried Chicken with Fresh & Dried Cranberries

I love new recipes and I really enjoy the Eating Well recipes!



Curried Chicken with Fresh & Dried Cranberries

October/November 2005
8 servings, 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 50 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour

• 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 3 tablespoons mild or medium-hot curry powder, divided
• 2 teaspoons butter
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
• Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cloves
• 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
• 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1 1/3 cups sweetened dried cranberries
• 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed, coarsely chopped (see Note)
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a nonreactive Dutch oven (see Note) over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces and sprinkle with a generous 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the pot. Add the remaining chicken; sprinkle with another generous 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate.

2. Add butter, onion and mustard seeds to the pot; cook, stirring, until the seeds pop and the onion begins to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot, sprinkle with the remaining curry powder and cardamom (or cloves); stir to coat the chicken with the spices. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, broth, dried and fresh cranberries, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly and the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes more. Serve garnished with cilantro.


Per serving : 246 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 66 mg Cholesterol; 24 g Carbohydrates; 25 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 224 mg Sodium; 267 mg Potassium

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Notes: To make quick work of chopping cranberries, place whole berries in a food processor and pulse a few times until the berries are coarsely chopped.
• A nonreactive pan—stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as cranberries, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.

Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli & Tomatoes

From EatingWell: September/October 2007

This dish of roasted broccoli and tomatoes is tossed with bright Mediterranean ingredients just before serving.
4 servings, about 1 cup each | Active Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes

• 12 ounces broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)
• 1 cup grape tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 10 pitted black olives, sliced
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice, olives, oregano and capers (if using) in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables; stir to combine. Serve warm.

Per serving : 76 Calories; 5 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 7 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 264 mg Sodium; 328 mg Potassium

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Head Hunger vs Stomach Hunger

I am 8 1/2 years out from RNY. For me one of the hardest things to learn was the difference in Head Hunger and Stomach Hunger. The surgeon does surgery on our stomach not our head; we have to do the work on that. And if you are like me I was (am) a compulsive eater, emotional eater, stress eater, grazer and also addicted to carbs/sugar. I am still all these but am able to manage them (for the first time in my life).

I remember when I had surgery a couple of weeks later I cried for Pizza, I wanted it so bad. Food (especially) sugar/carbs) have been my drug of choice since I was a little girl! Breaking the cravings and being disciplined didn't come over night. But because I do not eat bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, or sugar (ever) I have broken the cravings, I don't want them or think about them. It is kind of second nature, now. Sometimes we have to get counseling to help us with this. There is nothing wrong with that, I did it myself. Also, find a support group and attended. It is so important.

Whether it is true stomach hunger or head hunger you are feeling you need to learn how to handle it. Find something to do when you want food. Take a walk; call a friend, what ever it takes to make you stop thinking about food. Also, our stomach growls all the time, it is the remnant stomach working it doesn't mean we are hungry. I can eat and 5 minutes later it is growling so loud the neighbors can hear it! LOL

WLS is is NOT A DIET; it is a life style change. I hate to tell you this, but the further out you get the more you can eat and if you don't learn healthy eating and exercise habits, it will be much harder later. This is manageable and you can do it!!! You just need to learn the skills to do it!

No one ever said WLS was easy and if they did they didn't know what they were talking about! WLS is a tool to use to lose weight and keep it off.....learn to use your tool!!! As time goes by it does get easier to manage if create healthy habits from the start.




Monday, October 5, 2009

Can I Really Lose Weight and Keep It off?

Many people think that Weight Loss Surgery is like a "Magic Pill"! You have the surgery and never have to worry about it again. This is a "False" statement. It is the "tool" I needed to give me a "Full" feeling (full switch). I now know when I am full. I actually feel "normal" now. This is the first time in my life I have been able lose the weight and maintain the weight loss and I have lost hundreds of pounds in the past and gained it back plus more.

The way I do it is eating healthy and exercising regularly. Sounds so simple doesn't it! Well, when you make it a "lifestyle change" it does come easier. I have to stay on top of it every day, but it is so worth it!! For me WLS was the best thing I ever did in my entire life!!!

I read this article and thought it was very good and wanted to share it with you. Now, all of it doesn't exactly pertain to a WLS patient but in a lot of ways it does.

Remember to always follow your surgeon's guidelines. And never forget how important it is for us to get our protein in and take our vitamins.

Take care,


Can I Really Lose Weight and Keep It Off?

By Martica Heaner, Ph.D., M.A., M.Ed., for MSN Health & Fitness
MSN Health & Fitness Exclusive

Q. I find it so hard to lose weight, and when I do, I seem to gain it right back. Is it true that the body has a set point when it comes to weight? Am I fighting a losing battle?

A. It seems that there is a fairly stable weight range where the body tends to hover. But “set point” is not the preferred term in scientific circles because it implies that there is a gauge or mechanism somewhere in the brain or body that is responsible for maintaining weight at a specific point on the scale. While research has identified a number of mechanisms that kick in to regain lost fat, there is no specific area that has been identified that determines a certain set point. So the concept is usually discussed in terms of the body’s ability to regulate its weight or, specifically, fat mass, around a fixed level, give or take a few pounds.
While it seems that this body-weight or body-fat regulation keeps fat mass stable in both directions, there are stronger mechanisms for protecting against weight or fat loss than against weight gain. So it’s easier to regain weight you lose from dieting and harder to take pounds off. In theory, the body’s ability to regulate a stable supply of fat is a good thing, since fat is the body’s main energy source. A resistance to permanent weight or fat loss is a way to ward off starvation by keeping energy ready in times of famine.

The set point isn’t necessarily permanent, however. That’s because if you do get heavier, new fat cells can develop. Once fat cells exist, you can’t get rid of them and they have a biological need to be filled. So, a higher weight or level of fat mass becomes the new “normal.“
Body weight and body fat mass are used a bit interchangeably here. It’s true that body “weight” represents more than just body fat mass and fluctuations on the scale can represent differences in the different components that constitute body weight—such as fluids, fat and muscle. But there is a relationship between increased fat mass and increased body weight. It appears that it’s the amount of fat mass that is preserved rather than the scale weight changes, although scale weight is likely to be a reflection in fat weight changes—especially when the pounds are higher in number. For example, if someone gains 15 or 30 pounds, chances are that the increases are mostly fat tissue, as opposed to water or muscle weight.

Obesity researchers aren’t sure exactly when a modified set point, or fat mass range, is triggered, and there appear to be individual variations—some people might gain more fat and do so more quickly. But the more you gain and the longer you are at the higher weight or, more precisely, increased fat mass, the more likely you are to create a higher regulated bodyweight or a higher set point. That’s why public health efforts in combating obesity address not only weight loss, but the prevention of weight gain. For many people who find themselves on a weight gain trajectory, often the first step is do what it takes to stop gaining, and then to think about losing.

It would be convenient for those trying to lose, if a new lower set point could also be established. That appears to be less likely, probably because of the body’s survival mode. Preserving fat makes more sense than wasting it. But data from the National Weight Control Registry suggests that the longer one maintains weight loss, the easier it becomes. Whether this is because the healthier lifestyles become a habit after a while or the body puts up less of a fight to regain the weight over time, is unclear.

OK, so that’s the bad news. But can you overcome your set point? Yes!
Many people have successfully lost weight and kept it off for years. It’s true that many people lose weight and gain it back, but it is possible to become a successful loser. It requires dedication and discipline, but it can be done.

Dieting alone is not the only way to lose weight or to keep it off since you can eat less and decrease fat from the cells, but a variety of biological mechanisms kick in to encourage the fat regain. What’s interesting is that energy-preserving mechanisms kick in whether you’re a lean person trying to lose 5 pounds or you’re overweight and trying to drop 50. Successful “losers” adopt long term lifestyle strategies to keep weight down including:

Work out every day.
Exercise guidelines suggest that those trying to manage their weight need to fit in at least 60 to 90 minutes of moderate and/or vigorous exercise on most days of the week. Although even 30 minutes of exercise is helpful, very few people who have lost weight are able to maintain it without doing significant amounts of daily exercise. Although any kind of cardio workout counts, walking is the most common.

Focus on fiber.
Eat a high-fiber diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables. Overweight and formerly-obese people may have defective satiety mechanisms—it takes more volume to feel full and satisfied from a meal. Eating lots of plant foods allows one to fill up with fewer calories. Watch the dietary fat. Consume good fats found in foods such as avocados, nuts and oils, but keep your diet low fat. People who have higher-fat diets tend to consume more calories.

Keep a food and exercise diary.
Write down your daily meals and bouts of activity. This helps keep you on track by identifying when you’ve diverged from your plan. If you get super busy, it’s easy to go several days without exercising or to skip meals and fall into unfavorable eating patterns. Keeping a log keeps you focused.

Weigh on a regular basis.
There is some debate about this practice because some people believe that body-weight numbers on a scale are less important than body composition or that regular weighing leads to obsessive fixations on body weight that can lead to disordered eating or exercise behaviors. There is some truth to both of these perspectives; however, research suggests that those who do weigh are better able to keep their weight in check. Just like the food log, it’s a gauge by which a person can detect wild fluctuations. Since body weight can vary daily by as much as five pounds simply from fluids shifts, one or two days of dramatically different weights aren’t as important as the trends in weight over time. So if you do weigh, keep track and compare over days and weeks. If two weeks from now you are consistently three to five pounds heavier for another few weeks, and your food log shows an increase in fast-food eating and a decrease in working out, you can assume that you have gained more fat and adjust your behaviors accordingly.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great Recipes for the Cooler Weather

Tomato Pie

• 4 – 5 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
• Pesto (you can buy or make it see recipe below)
• 1 (9-inch) pre-baked deep dish pie shell (I don’t use a pie shell)
• 1 cup grated mozzarella
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• 8 slices provolone cheese
• Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
Layer the tomato slices, then pesto in pie shell, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and then place provolone cheese on top, and then start another layer with tomatoes. (Kind of layer like lasagna) ending with cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.
To serve; Let cool a little, cut into slices and serve warm.

Basil leaves
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil

I put basil leaves in my food processor (it takes a lot) and put in about 6 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic you can use less if you like) and turn it on and drizzle in about ¼ cup of olive oil. Makes a great pesto that you can even freeze and take out a spoon at a time when you need it.

Mexican Soup

3 cans pinto beans
2 cans rotel
4 – 6 chicken breast (boiled- save broth)
½ - 1 lb pasta
2 Cups shredded cheese (Cheddar)
6 cloves fresh garlic (diced)

Boil chicken in about 8 – 10 cups water. Take chicken out of broth when fully cooked and dice. Pour beans, rotel and garlic into broth and bring to a boil. Add diced chicken to broth with other ingredients (except pasta)

Cook pasta in separate pot and drain. (This gives you an option if some people like me don’t eat pasta)

In a bowl put a scoop of pasta and add soup. Top with shredded cheese.



Taco Soup

4 chicken breast (boil in 8 – 10 cups of water and save broth)
2 packages of taco seasoning
2 cans pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
olive oil
2 large scallions (diced)
1 large sweet onion
4 cloves garlic (finely diced)
Cheese (your choice)
Fresh spinach (couple of handfuls)

Boil chicken until done. Take out of broth and dice.
In broth add taco seasoning and wish. Then add all canned ingredients (do not drain beans).

In a separate sauce pan sauté garlic, onions, whites of the scallions in olive oil. When finished add to the broth. Bring to a boil. Add diced chicken and the green part of the scallions. Add spinach stir until spinach is wilted.

Put into a bowl and top with cheese.