Discovering Life After Weight Loss Surgery

We set off this weekend for our annual family vacation. Several years back we discovered a great place to go white water rafting. We have gone every year for the past 5 years. As the kids get older we have moved up through the different class of rapids. If you ever have the opportunity I highly suggest you give it a try.

Rafting

No…it’s not me rafting.

I remember the first trip we took. It was several years after my weight loss and I still didn’t grasp how much I had changed. I worried that they would not have a life jacket that fit (you are fitted at the site for one that belongs to the rafting company). I was worried I wouldn’t be able to climb in and out of the boat. I was worried that I wouldn’t tire quickly and not be able to keep up with the paddling pace. Even worse, my ultimate fear was I would fall out of the boat and no one would be able to help lift me back in. I almost cancelled the trip.

In the end we went and I was surprised to find that everything I feared did not come true. They had life jackets that fit. I actually wear a medium. I could easily climb in and out of the boats and paddled the entire three hour trip without being tired.

As for my biggest fear…..falling out of the boat. It actually happened but the ending was nothing like I had expected. At the end of the trip, where the water is calmer, the guides do different tricks with the boats. One of them is called a wheelie. They basically pile all the people at the back of the boat and then use a rope to life the entire front of the boat out of the water. Sort of like a person on a bicycle popping up on one wheel. If everything goes as planned you can hold that position for a while. If things go wrong the boat tips over spilling everyone out into the water. Our boat tipped and then we had to all be pulled by our life jackets back into the boat. When my turn came I began to panic. I know the fear of being embarrassed when your weight interferes with something like this. I could only imagine the guide struggling to pull me in and then needing to ask for assistance from someone else to help. I did as I was told and moved to the side of the boat then held my breath as the guide reached over, grasped the straps of the life jacket and…..yanked me up and over the side of the boat so fast I yelled out in surprise.

When I weighed almost 300 lbs I avoided so many things in life. Now I’m out there and actively participating in discovering all the things I passed on due to my weight. This trip each year really makes me remember how much has changed.

How about you? What things have you discovered that you now enjoy since having weight loss surgery? What did you avoid before surgery that you now do?

Choosing A Healthier Frozen Dinner

Tvdinner

Every now and then I have one of those days when I haven’t packed anything to eat at work and just wish I could toss something prepared in my bag. Having a few frozen dinners on hand would make this type of day so much easier. I started checking around and realized that much of what is out there isn’t really suitable to those of us who have had weight loss surgery. Actually, no one should eat them since they are all highly processed. But sometimes you just need to look past that point and make the best choice possible.

So, what type of frozen dinner would be best suitable for someone after WLS?

First you need to realize that the base of all most every frozen dinner is some time of carb. Rice, noodles, potatoes, etc. These are low cost foods that help to provide bulk for the meal and helps to fill people up. If your carb sensitive then you may want to keep an eye out on how much you eat.

Buying “diet” type meals does not mean that they will be better for you. Always read the nutrition label.

Add in healthier sides if a meal isn’t filling enough. This might include a salad, a piece of fruit or even additional frozen veggies that can be microwaved along with your dinner.

Check out the nutrition label on the package and look for meals that have the following in them:

  • 300-500 calories per meal
  • 10-18 grams of total fat, or less than 30% of total calories
  • Less than 4 grams of saturated fat
  • Less than 800 milligrams of sodium
  • 3-5 grams of fiber
  • 10-20 grams of protein

Here’s a list of a few frozen dinners that fall within these guidelines:

Healthy Choice

* Cajun style chicken and shrimp

* Roast Beef Merlot

* Golden Roasted Turkey Breast

* Café Steamer 5 Spice Beef & Vegetable

Kashi

* Black Bean Mango

* Chicken Pasta Pomodoro

* Sweet and Sour Chicken

* Chicken Florentine

* Mayan Harvest Bake

Smart Ones

* Cranberry Turkey Medallions

* Chicken Marsala

Lean Cuisine

* Glazed Chicken

* Cafe Classics Steak Tips Portabella
Lean Cuisine now has a new line of meals called Honestly Good. And they do look quite good but I haven’t tried them yet.

How about you? Do you use frozen dinners? If so which ones are your favorite and why?

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

You may be saying to yourself “what?? Grilled lettuce??”

Having never heard of this before myself that’s exactly what I said. But, as my friends know, I’m willing to give just about anything at least one try. I am so glad that I did. This stuff is out of this world amazing!

I first came across the recipe over at the Grillin Fools website. I would highly suggest that if you like any type of grilled food to check them out. The grilled romaine tutorial/recipe is great and shows all the steps in detail. While I would love to create my own set of step by step photos I’m too busy tossing more lettuce on the grill.

Here’s a photo of someone’s beautiful grilled romaine:

Grilled lettuce

I gave up trying to post my own photos. My photography skills were lacking since we were too busy trying to put our grilled salads together to stop and take pictures.

What does grilled romaine have that regular, plain romaine doesn’t? It has the most wonderful smokey flavor and it goes great will just about anything you can throw on it. We grilled chicken as well as the romaine and then created grilled Caesar salads with homemade dressing. They were fabulous.

From now on, whenever we are grilling burgers, I will be tossing some lettuce on as well. That would make a great burger even better.

How about you? Have you ever tried grilled romaine (or any other type of lettuce) before?

Low Carb and Gluten Free Blueberry Zucchini Bread

While some people dread it I love it when there’s a garden full of zucchini. With a little prep work you can end up with a freezer full of fresh zucchini to be used throughout the fall and winter. Sadly I don’t know if I will end up with an overabundance of them this year due to the incredibly amount of rain followed by several heat waves. The tomatoes have taken a beating and the cukes are nearly dead but the zucchini are hanging on so far.

In preparation for what will hopefully be more vegetables than I can handle I decided to test out this recipe. The original recipe used both all purpose flour and wheat flour along with lots of brown sugar. I dialed back the sugar and replaced some of it with Splenda for baking. Sugar helps baked goods brown and keeps them moist. When I’m trying to make multiple changes in a recipe I like to leave at least a little sugar so the texture isn’t changed so drastically.

I already make muffins with low carb bake mix so I used some of that to replace the flour. The texture of the muffins is good but it’s definitely different than flour based muffins. Instead of using all low carb bake mix I decided to try including a bit of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour to see if I could get the bread to have a texture closer to one made with flour. Of course this means it does add more carbs back in since the flour is not made with low carb ingredients. But the bread makes 16 pieces so I figured a few extra carbs would be worth it if the texture was more bread like.

BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI BREAD

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Low Carb and Gluten Free Blueberry Zucchini Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
While I used a combination of low carb bake mix and gluten free flour this could easily be made with all of either one.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups of zucchini grated, squeezed and drained
  • ½ cup Splenda for baking
  • ½ cup yogurt (vanilla or plain)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup low carb bake mix
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a 8 X 8 inch pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix the zucchini, Splenda, brown sugar, oil, yogurt and egg.
  4. In another bowl blend the low carb bake mix, gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in blueberries and pecans only until just mixed in.
  7. Spoon batter into the baking pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes and then cut.

The texture was great! More bread like than the muffins made with only low carb bake mix. I used frozen wild blueberries but fresh would have worked just as well. Topped with a little bit of butter it was even better.

What To Say When They Tell You WLS Is The Easy Way Out

If I had a dime for every time someone has made that comment that bariatric surgery is the easy way out I would probably be set for life. Taking the easy way out would have been to simply stay overweight. The moment you do anything else, whether it’s diet or surgery, you are certainly not taking the easy way out.

Then I came across this article in Obese From The Heart.

Angelina

It compares Angelina Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy with bariatric surgery. I couldn’t agree more with the comparison. I would highly recommend reading this article. For those of you who struggle with what to say when people feel the need to make comments such as “surgery is the easy way out” this article may allow you to offer people a comparison that makes sense to many. While some will continue to believe WLS is “cheating” others will be given something to think about.

Personally, when people make comments, I tell them that working as a nurse I have seen the long term affects of diabetes. Surgery gave me a chance to prevent this complications. Unfortunately, complications from diabetes take years to see and people do not make the connection. They think that it is old age that is causing the heart disease, neuropathy and many other health issues that diabetic suffer.  I think the Angelina story might work better in allowing people to understand that there really is no easy way out.

How about you? Have people commented that you took the easy way out? If so, how did you respond….if they were even worth responding too?

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