"Two and half years ago, I was in big trouble. I was at my highest weight yet. I had stopped exercising. My blood pressure required medicine to control. I had plantar fasciitis and my allergies (I thought) were getting worse every year. Toward the end, I started to get very bad heartburn that would not respond to medicine and my cholesterol, normally excellent, was inching towards 200. I was getting to the point where I had to sit down to tie my shoes and I was moving less and less. I looked into the future and it was not pretty.
I had been dieting for 35 years and it obviously hadn't worked. I was hungry all the time so I knew, even if I lost the weight, I’d just gain it all back like I had done so many times before.
Then I ran into my neighbor, who had had gastric bypass about 6 months before. And contrary to the media portrayal of WLS, he had lost weight and looked good – healthy, so I started looking into it.
I had the Vertical Gastrectomy (VG) with Dr. Cirangle on September 24th, 2009 and had a hiatal hernia repaired at the same time. As a result, my GERD subsided to manageable levels. It turned out a lot of my "allergy" symptoms were caused by the hiatal hernia and they got better as well.
At first my weight loss was slow. I was eating to plan but I was only exercising 2 days a week at most. When I went to see Dr. Cirangle for my three-week check-up, he told me to exercise more. So I did.
I worked my way up to four days a week, but now I had a new problem. Riding the stationary bike 4 days a week was boring. I wanted to do something else. I tried a few classes at the gym, but they didn't float my boat.
This is when I felt the treadmills calling to me. I resisted at first. I had never had much luck running before even at lower weights. I heard about the Couch-to-5K program and people swore by it so I gave it a whirl. And, suddenly, I was running. I was a runner! It wasn't fun exactly, but it was rewarding and, if I could run, I could do a triathlon. Maybe not right then, but some day. I found out about the Sprint distance: a 1/2 mile swim, the bike only 13 miles and the run was a 5k. Hey, that sounded completely doable if I worked at it. I signed myself up for one and started training.
At this point, the weight was coming off much faster than at first. Every time my weight loss slowed down, I added in another workout or increased the time of an existing workout. I needed to do this anyway to get ready for the triathlon.
Things just took off from there. I started training for longer and longer distances and improving my times and looking for new challenges. I went from not being 100% sure I could finish a Sprint Triathlon to training for an Ironman! The race that looked so impossible is now actually within my grasp.
In the meantime, I've lost over 100 pounds, my body fat percentage is < 20 and my resting heart rate is < 60. I am also off my blood pressure meds, my plantar fasciitis is under control -- even with all the running I do -- and I have cut back significantly on my allergy meds as well.
I don't think any of this would have been possible without the VG and Dr. Cirangle. If he hadn’t been straight with me at the first appointment, I probably would have continued to putter about the gym doing the minimal amount of exercise; I certainly wouldn’t have become an athlete. The VG also does its part by allowing me to maintain a healthy weight with a minimum of fuss, as I am no longer ravenously hungry. I am thankful every day that I came to a point in my life where I could accept WLS as an option and that it has worked out so well."
Making Up for Lost Time|
The longer you were overweight, the more likely it is that your weight loss will bring up sentimental thoughts about your former life as a heavy person. These emotions might range from extreme happiness and gratitude for where you are now or sadness and mourning about where you have been.
Thinking about the things that you missed out over the years due to your weight can be very upsetting. However, although these memories may be hard to deal with, it’s important for you to work through them and feel good about where you are now.
If you find yourself feeling down, flip the coin and think about the positive things that have resulted from your struggles. Research shows that people who have experienced a trauma or major loss in their life end up not only surviving - but thriving - when they think of the positive aspects of the difficult event. Try not to regret your experiences, but embrace them. For example, maybe you are now more empathetic, nurturing, driven, or determined because of the experiences you’ve had as an overweight person.
Also, make a list of all the important things you feel you missed out on before you lost weight. Then think about why these things are important to you and whether it is appropriate, beneficial, and/or possible for you to incorporate these lost situations into your current life. If so, it’s time to start planning and making the best use of each and every day! Take that vacation, ride that motorcycle, run that race, or buy that cocktail dress and throw yourself a party!
- Tara Griffith, MFT
The Benefits of Yogurt|
1. Rich in protein, calcium, and potassium. A 6 oz serving of plain, nonfat yogurt provides 366 mg of calcium. Some yogurts are fortified with vitamin D for additional bone health.
2. It's probiotic properties maintain the integrity of the gut microflora. Some of these probiotics can increase tolerance of anitbiotics, help regulate immune function, and improve GI issues such as constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
3. The versatility. You can have it as the main meal. Add a couple berries or sprinkle in some cinnamon for added flavor. Try replacing mayonnaise in some recipes with yogurt (ie. when making tuna salad). Use it as a dip for veggies instead of heavy Ranch dressing.
French Onion Dip:
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Greek fat-free yogurt.
Cook onions and brown sugar in oil in skillet over medium-low heat until very soft and medium brown in color, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in paprika, salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour. Stir into yogurt and serve!
Per 1/3 cup: 70 calories, 7 g carb, 7 g protein.
Bring this to your next pot-luck, and serve with veggies such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks, celery sticks, red/yellow/green pepper slices.
Upcoming Seminars & Support Groups|
Petaluma Seminar & Support Group
Saturday, September 18th from 9am - 12pm
Sheraton Sonoma County- Petaluma, 4th Floor
745 Baywood Drive
*Dr. Jossart will not be attending. Amy Ingols, RD will hosting the seminar and support group.
Sacramento Seminar & Support Group
Saturday, September 25th from 9am - 11am
Red Lion Hotel at Arden Villiage, 1401 Arden Way
Stockton Seminar & Support Group
Saturday, September 25th from 1pm - 3pm
3252 West March Lane
Eureka Seminar & Support Group
Monday, September 27th from 6pm - 8pm
Red Lion Hotel Downtown
**Hawaii Seminar & Support Groups To Be Announced**
San Francisco Seminar & Support Group
Monday, October 18th from 6pm - 8pm
2100 Webster Street, Suite 106 in the Spivey Room
Monterey Seminar & Support Group
Monday, October 18th from 7pm - 9pm
Hyatt Regency, 1 Old Golf Course Road
New patient seminar begins at 7pm, post-operative support group begins at 8pm
San Jose Seminar & Support Group
Wednesday, October 20th from 6pm - 8pm
2425 Samaritan Drive *Located in the teleconference trailers in the East parking lot.
*Guest presenter, details to follow.
click here for calendar of events
--The Team at Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco and the Surgical Weight Loss Center of Hawaii