Physically, I'm half the woman I used to be, but as a result of my journey with gastric bypass surgery I've gained a lot. I'm Julia, and this blog is about the miles I've traveled in transforming my body, soul, and spirit while shedding more than 160 of the 300-plus pounds I carried before surgery.
I'll share my personal experiences of restoring my health and changing my lifestyle, and I'll offer spiritual encouragement, social and emotional tools, nutritious recipes, health information, and more. I've had a few challenges along the way, but through all the struggles I've grown stronger and regained my health and my life. I had my surgery on Easter Monday, 2006, which I call my personal resurrection day. Because of my transformation, I now look forward to many more "miles to go", and I invite you to travel with me on the road to a happier, healthier lifestyle...yes you can...I just did!
September Support Meeting
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Cape Fear Site 3rd Floor Education Room
Topic: Testimonies & Introduction to Bariatric Eating Products
Facilitator: Kim Joyner, RN, CNOR NHRMC Bariatric Outcomes Manager
I frequently receive emails from those who are struggling with whether or not to undergo weight loss surgery, wondering if it is the right choice for them. There are so many questions to be answered?
- What will life look like after surgery?
- How do I know if surgery is the right choice for me?
- How can I enjoy life without my favorite foods?
- Will I always be hungry?
I remember asking the same questions when I was considering surgery. If you are asking yourself these questions, you need answers. You need to know how to make these decisions. You need to understand the truth about weight loss surgery.
The reasons to have surgery will vary from person to person, however, the reasons one chooses to undergo such a life-altering surgery are extremely important.
Bariatric surgery does have risk, but living with obesity carries risk too. My advice is to:
- Learn all the facts you can about bariatric surgery procedures.
- Make a list of your personal goals and reasons to have surgery.
- List the pros and cons of surgery and ask yourself if you are willing to make permanent lifestyle changes.
- Find a reputable, qualified, bariatric surgeon and discuss your current health and your weight loss options. Your surgeon determine if you qualify for surgery and also assist in choosing the surgery that best fits your health needs.
Surgery isn't just about how much you weigh, it's also about improving your overall health and gaining a better quality of life. It's based on your personal health and quality of life.
Weight loss surgery creates a smaller stomach and curbs your appetite—allowing you to make changes in your eating habits. It physically helps you eat less food, further mal-absorptive surgeries assist and weight loss occurs as a result. But you must also take an active role in choosing healthier food options, eating smaller portions, and getting more physically activity and exercise for a lifetime. In turn, you lose weight, change your quality of life and discover how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Making healthier food choices for a lifetime must become, not only a priority but a focus. Appetites do return. But that doesn't mean you have to give up all your favorite foods, forever. During the weight loss phase, you can learn to assume a "normal" well-balanced and healthy diet—and still control your weight.
Personally, I found that gaining long-term success requires a change of mindset, learning how to overcome challenges, and refocusing my attention to attaining health. I had to change the way I viewed food and I had to discover why food was controlling me. I had to be willing to learn how to control my emotional eating and how to make the choices that would result in maintaining my weight and my health—enjoying my new-found health and food at the same time. I do have to give up certain indulgences to maintain my health, I still enjoy food more than ever, without "dieting" or feeling deprived or "cheated".
No matter why you decide to have surgery, your strong motivating factors and personal convictions will lead you into better health so that you can enjoy life to the fullest. Much success in your journey. Yes, you can. You have many more miles to go!
After weight loss surgery, we are told to chew, chew, and chew some more. But why do we need to do all that chewing?
After surgery our new stomach pouch does not operate the same as our old stomach.
Our new pouch doesn't have as many digestive enzymes (or hydrochloric acid (HCI). Nor does the food leave our stomach in the same way as it did before surgery.
The opening or stoma, (or pouch exit) doesn't allow food to stay in our pouch as long as it did before. Therefore, the food we eat doesn't have as much time to digest as it did before.
Our new stoma, also has a smaller opening for food to leave. If the food gets stuck in the opening, it could cause vomiting or dehydration. If the food is too big to pass from the stomach soon enough, it could have to be surgically removed.
All that to say this, all this chewing does more than just crush up or moisten our food so that it goes down well and prevents food from getting stuck leaving our tiny pouch—chewing sends signals to our brain to release digestive enzymes. Our saliva contains enzymes that begin to chemically break down foods, such as carbohydrates and fats, even while we chew. So chewing is greatly needed to help digest the food we eat so that our body can use it properly. Besides, undigested food can cause bloating or gas, and there is no room for air in our tiny new pouch. So, especially after weight loss surgery, chewing our food becomes an extremely important habit to develop!
As a side note, there is one thing that we shouldn't chew—and that is chewing gum. Chewing gum causes us to swallow air which can cause pain. But more importantly, chewing gum stimulates your appetite, tricking your body into thinking it's time to eat.
So now you know why we must chew! Yes, we can. We have many more miles to go!
With all the summer vegetables in season, meal time can offer us an array of bright colors and garden fresh goodness. But healthy meals means time in the kitchen—but it doesn't have to mean hours, it can be done in minutes! We can have meals that not only taste good and are good for us but we can have healthy delicious meals that are also fast and easy. So how do we get fast, easy and healthy?
I have found an easy way to steam veggies that retain their sweet summer flavor. A quick solution for jumping into the kitchen and preparing a meal in minutes. I use Ziploc's Zip'n Steam steaming bags.
Just cut up your veggies, toss them in the bag, add a teaspoon of water, your favorite seasoning and seal it up. The directions for cooking times are right on the bag. Pop it in the microwave safe steaming bag and into the microwave oven. It's ready in a jiffy. In as little as three minutes you can have perfectly steamed broccoli, squash, green beans or corn on the cob. Yep. That's right! Corn on the cob in 3 minutes. And clean up is a breeze.
Now I can serve up simple summer meals and be in and out of the kitchen in no time at all. And so can you. So why not spend less time in the kitchen and more time tossing veggies in a steaming bag.
Once airborne, a plane is governed by a new law—a new set of rules. Defying the law of gravity, it operates in a new dimension.
There are four basic forces that govern flight—gravity, lift, thrust and drag. Two of these forces are positive and two are negative.
The Positive Forces
The positive forces are lift and thrust. They are created by forward movement, pushing the plane upward—causing it to break free from the law of gravity operate in a new law—the law of motion.
So, you may be asking—what does all of this have to do with weight loss surgery?
Just like a plane, we have that same potential. Weight loss surgery gives us the opportunity to propel ourselves forward—to be lifted out of our negative circumstances. We have been given a tool that will allow us a new start—giving us the opportunity to leave our past behind, live a new and healthier life, overcome the things that have held us powerless to change—freeing us from the grip of obesity.
Just as the plane is driven upward by forward motion, so are we. Our forward momentum is powered by our willingness to alter our lifestyle patterns, adapt healthier eating habits, make changes in our social environment, and commit to regular exercise routines. These positive forces work to propel us forward. They assist us in attaining a better quality of life—so that we can sail into a new place of freedom—soaring into our intended destiny.
The Opposing Forces
However, just as with the plane, there are also two opposing forces. For the plane, these are drag and gravity. As the forward speed of the plane increases, the more drag increases. The more drag the plane encounters, the more power or thrust is needed to overcome the drag.
Likewise, life after surgery also presents itself with opposing forces. As we attempt to break free, the downward force of gravity and the drag of forward motion begin to pull or drag us back into our old lifestyle. It seems the harder we try to adhere to positive lifestyle changes the more pull we encounter.
But just as with the plane, even though gravity and drag are working against it, it has the ability to defy the forces that work against it. With the positives forces: the power of the engine and forward motion, the plane has the ability to overcome—soaring over and above the very things that hold it down.
We, also, need power to propel us onward into our destiny. We have already found that our willpower will only take us just so far. If you are like me, you have already discovered that our own power to make changes is inconsistent and weak, even at best. We don't just need willingness to alter our course, we need the ability to accomplish it and to steady our course so that we can make a flight out of obesity for a lifetime. So, where do we find the power we need to succeed?
A Change of Course
Just like the scenario with the plane, whenever there is a change in the four forces of flight (gravity, lift, thrust and drag), it causes the plane to change. We need change; and weight loss surgery does bring many changes in our lives. I have seen a remarkable restoration in my life since my surgery over 8 years ago. But in order to succeed, I didn't just need to change things in my outward physical environment, there were (and still are) internal things that pull against me.
Weight loss surgery may have changed some physical part of me, but changing my habits didn't take care of the whole problem. It didn't change the "whole me". I had to find healing for the inner emotional wounds that attempted to drag down my emotions, mind and spirit.
As I move in step with a new way of life, it also becomes necessary to be governed by another dimension—a higher one—one of faith. In order to soar, I have to place my faith in The Lord. He promises more than physical restoration. That doesn't mean that all my problems go away, but I can put my trust in God. God works in us and through us to accomplish things we could never accomplish on our own. He gives us the ability to rise above our circumstances—making the transition into a new dimension of living in every area of our lives—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
But that's not all. There is another important dimension to explore. I am also learning to have faith in myself. Yes. Faith in me. In order to succeed, I have to believe I can attain it. I have to exercise my faith to accomplish the impossible. Faith that my life has changed and that it will continue to change for a life-time.
And so must you. You must believe it can happen to you. You can make the decision to change your life. So, whether your challenges are physical, relational, emotional or spiritual, you can believe that through Christ, you, too, have the power to overcome the forces that work against you. When we put our trust in God, we can fly right through the realm of impossibility. He has already set us free....we just have to believe it and apply it to our lives. We, too, can soar into a new dimension. Yes we can. We have many more miles to go!
...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2