Kindness – The Key to Inexplicable Joy


I’m convinced that what all of us need is kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves before we can be kind to others. How hard is that though? I can’t even count how many times that I thought I needed to be completely self-sacrificing in order to experience soul-deep joy. Yes, it is true that all of us need to practice being grateful for what we have and helping one another. But what about being kind to ourselves? What does that word “kind” mean? Does it going to bed a little earlier each night allowing our bodies adequate rest? Does it mean sleeping in on the weekends, if that’s what we truly want? What about telling someone no? Or eating better? Or incorporating more play in our lives?

I haven’t written on here in quite a while. I thought that I just didn’t have any more to say about weight loss surgery and the journey I’ve been on for the last 16 months. I seriously considered shutting this blog down. One thing that I’ve realized is that each person’s weight loss journey is their own. No two paths are the same. What works for me may not work for others. I doubted my ability to really make a difference or contribute anything. After all, I don’t have a degree in Nutrition. I’m not an exercise expert. I am not a physician or surgeon. What could I possibly say to others that would offer any help? Then I realized that it’s precisely those reasons just mentioned that I am a perfect candidate to continue sharing this journey with others. I am an ordinary person trying to cultivate the most out of life, like many of you. I am not an expert, but I am someone who knows exactly what it feels like to live life from the sidelines. I know what it feels like to have others look at you with scorn or pity because of your size. I know what it feels like going into a department store and realizing that nothing that have for sale will fit. I know how it feels to struggle to get out of bed in the mornings knowing that I’m going to gorge myself on food and feel like dying by nightfall. I know because that was my life too.

My weight loss has stalled for several weeks. It’s been more than a year since weight loss surgery. I can honestly say that food cravings are minimal. The desire for and thinking about food all day long is gone. It really doesn’t matter to me whether I eat tofu or a steak. I eat for fuel. My stomach has stretched a little, but that was expected. I can go longer periods of time between meals. The way that I have been eating for the last 16 months is normal to me now. It no longer feels odd. I slacked off on exercise for about 5 or 6 months. I don’t know what happened. I was focused on weight loss so much that I forgot to stop and enjoy myself along the way. What I was doing and my attitude from before was making me miserable. I have a tendency to really push myself in the beginning of any new project. I can be quite intense at times.

I’ve recently experienced an inexplicable shift within my mind. I no longer see myself as that “poor obese girl with the pretty face.” I feel like the me from more than 20 years ago has resurfaced; that bubbly, vivacious girl who experiences life to the fullest is back. Except this time, I am wiser and much bolder. I went to my local YMCA yesterday and got in the swimming pool for the first time in years. I did some underwater exercises for about 40 minutes and got quite a workout and then I just hung out in the pool with my kids and had fun. I went out of my house with no makeup on and my hair pulled back into a ponytail. I got in that pool and didn’t care one bit about what I looked like or what anyone thought of me. It was glorious and liberating!

This summer I took a Clinical Medical Assisting class at my local university. Before weight loss surgery, I would not have had the courage to do it. I would have wanted to, but not had the self-confidence to just do it. Although I don’t have a job yet, I received much more than a new skillset. I received a huge dose of confidence. I took a Nursing entrance exam at a local college last week and passed! If all goes well, I will be starting Nursing school in January, 2016. Me? In Nursing school? At my age? Yes! Now I’m not saying that I don’t question myself about whether I can actually do this from time to time, but before weight loss surgery, this idea would have been just that – an idea. I would have never actually done anything about it.

I’m not suggesting that weight loss surgery is a cure-all. It’s not. It’s a tool. It’s a way to help me to control myself. I can’t eat large amounts of food when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I can’t stuff myself with carbs and sugar when I’m depressed. I’ve been forced to find alternatives to stress. Exercise really is, at least for me, the best way to relieve stress. I was feeling really out-of-sorts the other night and instead of indulging in some chocolate, like I would have done pre-weight loss surgery, I went for a walk. I was so stressed out from the day that I ended up walking a mile in 15 minutes. That’s the fastest that I have ever walked a mile in my life. Actually, I didn’t just walk, I jogged. I haven’t jogged in over 20 years. I walked for a few minutes then I jogged for a couple of minutes. Walked and jogged, walked and jogged. I did that until I found myself back home with sore muscles, but all my worries and frustrations gone!

If you’ve made it to the end of this post….woohoo! If you get anything from this post at all….know this – be kind to yourself. You have to take care of yourself before you can effectively take care of others. When you begin to be kind to yourself you will find joy. When you are joyful you can accomplish anything. You won’t accept anything but the best treatment from others. You won’t allow others to put you down and you’ll also stop comparing yourself to others. You’ll begin to love yourself unconditionally. You will start to see your flaws as your greatest strengths. When you are joyful you will begin to attract good things into your life. You will be like a magnet to all the great things in life. Accept yourself where you are and love yourself enough to create the life of your dreams. Be courageous and be bold. You only live once. Make the most of it. And whatever you do, be kind to yourself.

just the way that I AM


I’ve made an intentional decision to stop eating “fake” food; that includes protein bars, (which are quite addictive). I am reserving the right to an occasional protein shake, ONLY if I absolutely need it. Protein shakes have never been a problem for me. The chalky aftertaste leaves little to be desired. This current weight loss plateau has been going on for far too long and it is time to take the reins back. I have decided that I will no longer eat foods that do not provide some sort of pleasure for me. I will eat moderately and cleanly, meaning that I will endeavor to eat delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. I don’t want to eat anything processed. For the most part, I don’t eat any of that stuff. The problem is protein bars. I have been eating them for a few years now. Before weight loss surgery, they did not help me lose weight and now after having had weight loss surgery a year ago, they still haven’t helped me lose weight. They have been great to have when I am out and about and have nothing else to eat. It is still preferable to eat a protein bar in a pinch rather than subjecting my delicate stomach to fried, greasy junk food from a fast food restaurant. However, I have been eating far too many of them. I don’t need three protein bars a day on top of eating my regular meals. It is simply too many calories. No wonder my weight loss has stalled. Too much protein in the diet will get stored as fat. Starting today, I am eating whole, clean, unprocessed food. I will enjoy each bite and no longer worry about the weight loss. When we give something too much negative attention, then guess what? The negative emotions that are attached to our main focus becomes our biggest fear manifested as weight stalls and plateaus or the dreaded words, weight gain.

I’ve started back into counseling and I’m learning more and more about myself everyday. I am facing my weaknesses head-on. My biggest weakness is trying to find perfection in things, people and worst of all, myself. I am not perfect and it’s okay. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have had to say those words out loud and deal with the repressed emotions that surface from deep within me. This weight loss journey has truly been just that – a weight loss JOURNEY. Just like how one would encounter many possible dangers in a real physical journey trekking across the world, by oneself, this journey has been one of tears, triumphs, overwhelming sadness and overwhelming joy. I have struggled and I have overcome. This journey has been one of “ebb and flow.” Just as I celebrate one small victory, then I must go through and over the valleys of disappointment. It has been a learning experience, to say the least and it is not for the faint of heart. This has not been the easy way to weight loss, by no means. For those who would scoff and say that I took the easy way out, walk in my shoes for a day and then tell me otherwise. We are all on our own paths and none of them are easy, least not for the person who is blazing their own way through unchartered territory.

I am learning that I will fall down, but every 24 hours we get another chance to start all over again and do it until we get it right. I’ve always been the type who learns by making mistakes. I excel when I have exhausted every other way until I find the right way for me. I am reminded of a quote that came to me several years back. “In order to teach, the teacher must first learn the lesson.” I feel that I was put upon this earth at this time to help others or to teach others. How could I possibly know how to help others unless I have dealt with failing and then picking myself back up and trying again and again and again? I am more than a physical body. I am more than the color of my skin or the length of my hair. I am more than the dimensions of my body. I am more than the numbers on a scale. I am more than my height, my age, my status within my community. I am wonderfully and beautifully made, just the way that I am. If all of us all over the world could realize our truest and deepest potential is within ourselves and each another what could we as a WHOLE accomplish? We must learn, if we don’t already, to love ourselves enough to make the necessary changes to have the best life possible. We can only experience this life right now. It’s too late to fix the mistakes in the past and the future is not here yet so there is no use worrying about something that may or may not happen. All we have is right now. Will you live today as if it is your last day on Earth?

Breaking the Mold


It’s been a while since my last post. Suffice it to say that I have had a bit of an existential crisis going on. I can’t eat to numb my feelings so I vent my rage, and it’s scary sometimes. Before weight loss surgery, I thought I was quite a laid-back and calm type of person. I now realize that I only thought I was calm. I could stuff my emotions down with copious amounts of food. I am no longer afforded that course of action so I have to deal with an entire plethora of emotions that come tumbling out of me through tears of frustration and a litany of curse words that have no business existing in my mind, let alone coming out of my mouth. I am exhausted by the daily dialogue of thoughts coursing through my brain each and every day. The only time I get any relief from my thoughts is when I am physically active. I have been faithfully attending to my physical needs through exercise at least three times a week. I feel most peaceful when I am in nature. I have found that taking regular walks/hikes through the woods help to alleviate my daily frustrations. If I don’t get to go because of bad weather then unfortunately, my mood mimics the weather patterns. Thus begins a buildup of excess thoughts and feelings that are in desperate need of being dealt with in a positive manner. I was always aware that I ate for all the wrong reasons, but I didn’t know why. After going through weight loss surgery which obliterated my vice of bingeing, I now know that I am a food addict/emotional eater. It’s been 10 days shy of a year ago that I had weight loss surgery. I don’t regret it at all. I am healthier. I feel better. I have loads more energy. I have dropped 4 sizes in clothing. I have lost countless inches and 70 pounds of fat. However…….I miss food of all kinds. I was feeling a little depressed about it yesterday and then I was reminded that before weight loss surgery I was unable to eat alot of the foods that I so desperately craved without getting sick somehow. I had been pre-diabetic for years. I was borderline hypertensive. In fact, whenever my blood sugar spiked, my blood pressure spiked and then I was in dire danger of developing a debilitating type of migraine headache. In fact, before surgery I sometimes had up to 7-8 migraines per month – all from my diet and also my inability to handle stress. I had a mild migraine a couple of weeks ago, but it was nothing like before. Thanks to weight loss surgery, my entire health has improved. Now I’ve got to focus on healing the mind/body connection with food. I am going to a Counselor today and I am hopeful that this will be the beginning of finally, once and for all, healing my mind and emotions and breaking old habits and patterns. I most likely have an addiction problem. Almost all of my family members have addictions, from smoking to drugs to alcohol to promiscuity. Some family members are addicted to all of the above plus some. I am working against brain chemistry and my family environmental history. I am CHOOSING to break the pattern, the cycle, the mold…..whatever name it is….I am breaking it! Starting today! Wish me luck!

I’m Taking My Life Back One Bite At a Time

I’m Taking My Life Back One Bite At a Time

I’m taking my life back one bite at a time……

I deleted My Fitness Pal account and I have no regrets! I religiously used the site for the purpose of holding myself accountable to what I put into my mouth. However, for someone like me, the site is counterproductive. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with food. I obsess and calculate and then I begin eating less and less each day until one day I crash. Then the emotional roller coaster comes and it can take a while for me to find my emotional center again. I discovered the reason for this self sabotage after talking to my son yesterday. He plans to become a Psychologist and will be attending college in a just a few months’ time. I’ve got to give him credit. He has some amazing insight for an 18-year-old. He explained it thusly: The calorie restrictions that I placed for myself on My Fitness Pal was at a level that would be almost impossible to maintain. Therefore, every time I measured my progress, old feelings of lack came rushing back to the surface of my mind. I cannot reach perfection, although I keep trying. I know why I do this, but I really don’t want to get into the why’s right now. Suffice it to say, I feel so much relief after deleting my account. The pressure is off and I feel like I can finally relax. In fact, I slept like a baby last night – a full 8 hours of sleep, the first time in weeks. Worrying over every bite that I put into my mouth all day long everyday would be most detrimental to my psyche. Don’t get me wrong, the site can be most useful for others. Especially for those who don’t have such heavy emotional baggage as me.

So I decided to delete my account and I’ve never felt better. However, I feel like a big ball of exposed nerves now. The emotional damage I inevitable caused myself has leaked into other areas of my life, mainly my relationships. I tend to distance myself from others when under stress. I realize that it’s time to get out of my “head” and back into my “body,” so I will diligently try to go out for a walk in the frigid temperatures today. Talk about a way to get back into the body….Brrrr!

During all these recent revelations, I’ve come to understand that I must make some difficult decisions. I need to put myself first ALL the time, not just some of the time, but ALL the time. If there is only a small part of me that is present, then I have hardly anything to give of myself to my children or my husband. After all, they are the most important people in my life. Through much contemplation, I have determined that I MUST learn to love myself just as I am. I have lost about 50% of my excess weight after having had weight loss surgery last May. According to the medical guidelines that my surgeon explained to me, that figure is what the average person should lose through weight loss surgery. So with that explanation, I must find a way to be happy with myself just as I am. What if I never lose another pound? Should I be unhappy for the rest of my life because the much-anticipated numbers that I want to see never appear on the scales? Will I live the rest of my life feeling despondent because I am not the dress size I have envisioned for myself? Am I not more than a physical body? I would really like to lose another 80 pounds, but if I don’t………? What if this is the size that I will be from now on?

My husband has reassured me that he finds me most attractive at my current weight. My children don’t love me any less. So what I am worried about? There again, I am trying to live up to some invisible line of perfection, some imaginary mark, the finish line……..Why do I sabotage myself? I think it’s time I begin forgiving those who have played a part in destroying my self-confidence. I have to go all the way back to my earliest formative years. Get down on my knees and ask for God to help me forgive those who hurt me the most. Help me to forgive those who abandoned me, those who let me down, those who have lied about me, and those who did not see the value in me. God help me! I’ve got to let go of it all. I’ve got to heal from it and move on. I thought I had already worked through all of this. I have learned all along through my weight loss surgery that losing the physical weight requires a shift in my consciousness. I have to be willing to let go of the emotional baggage that preceded the weight gain in the first place.

I’m taking my life back……One bite at a time…….

Truth Cannot Stand on a Foundation of Fear


This post has a long title for the simple fact that these things have become my reality as of late. I really don’t want to admit this, but it’s true. It all started sometime last fall. I accepted a job assignment through a temporary agency, not because I was even interested in the work but because I felt that it was all that I could get. I didn’t deserve better. I took a job that I was not very familiar with and had zero interest in. My bosses, from day one, took advantage of me and I allowed it. Next, my coworkers began taking advantage of my work ethic and began piling more and more work on top of my own. I had received almost no training, but was expected to perform the duties as if I was a lifelong veteran. And still, I said nothing, Why did I allow these things to happen to me? Because I didn’t feel like I deserved any better and that is the plain and simple truth.

I worked at that job for far too long and when I did quit, the residual feelings crept into my fragile state of mind and began destroying me from the inside out. Having gone through weight loss surgery made me realize that I had been eating for all the wrong reasons for most of my life. The problem, however, is low self-esteem. It creeps up on me like a shadow in the darkness. It is the panicked fear that binds one to paralysis. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve better treatment. It is the false belief that if I do more and more than someone will surely see my worth and value. And then I will be treated better, but that’s not reality. Truth cannot stand on a foundation of fear.

The more I study about humanity in the very basic form as energy, the more I understand that like attracts like. That’s why it’s so important to NOT allow oneself to fall down the rabbit-hole of self-denial and self loathing. So many of us do damage to our bodies out of self-hatred. That statement sounds so very harsh, I know. However, if you truly love yourself then it seems only fair to say that you would never do anything to harm yourself, such as exposing yourself to harsh chemicals through smoking and abusing prescription drugs or allowing a pathway of destruction to enter in through addictive behaviors like sex with strangers. What about gambling away your life’s earnings through a few moments of internal ecstasy? The same concept corresponds with food. Eating for the sake of feeding an emotional response to something outside of the body. Eating for all the wrong reasons. Eating when not hungry, but to fill a void within the mind. Mindlessly eating oneself into a chasm of disease and psychological despair. Most of us are guilty of torturing ourselves through destructive behaviors at one time or another throughout our lives. Why do we do it? What is the real reason for laziness and complacency, self-denial and self-hatred?

In retrospect, I realize that I spiralled out of control last fall. It lasted for a good six months until one day not too long ago, I “woke” up out of the fog of misery and wondered why my weight loss had stalled. I had stopped tracking my food and water intake. I had almost completely stopped exercising and I had begun eating too many protein bars as a catalyst for comfort. I can no longer eat sweets because of weight loss surgery so I turned to a so-called healthier alternative in chocolate-flavored protein bars. I had developed a very expensive habit of eating 3 protein bars a day plus my normal meals. Each bar has an average of 230 calories and double-digit grams of fat. I had also begun drinking more caffeinated tea everyday and less water which was causing me to go around dehydrated all the time. Tea, in my opinion, is a wonderful supplement to a healthy diet. However, it is no longer healthy when one is drinking 3-4 cups of Chai tea made with 1/8 cup of full fat cream mixed in each cup every day. Don’t even get me started about peanut butter. I thought I had found a healthy way to imbibe in an occasional peanut butter and apple slice treat. Consumed maybe once or twice a week, it can be a very healthy addition to the diet. However, I ate several tablespoons of the stuff multiple times a day until one day my body couldn’t take anymore and I experienced dumping syndrome. These are all ways in which I found ways to abuse my body. I was eating my emotions again. Instead of demanding respect from others and believing that I was worthy, I believed the lies inside my mind telling me that I would never be good enough.

I am currently eating a delicious meal as I am writing this post right now. Normally, I would have reached for another protein bar out of convenience and then experienced hunger about an hour later. Most bars are around 1 ounce and my stomach is able to hold around 6-8 ounces now. Throughout this entire weight loss journey I have learned so much about myself. In fact, I imagine that this will be a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs. The point is that I will most likely fall down again, but I have to find a way to pull myself back up, brush off the dust and move forward without lapsing into a 6-month mental fog again. It’s been 10 months since I had weight loss surgery and I am still re-learning how to eat. It has been incredibly frustrating, but also fantastically rewarding, too. I am learning that I am made of stronger stuff and like with anything else worth having in life, I have to work at it everyday. Running from the realities of this world is not a life worth living. In fact, it’s not living at all, but simply existing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to exist halfway in this world. I want to experience life to the fullest. After all, we only have one life to live in this existence. It’s time to get busy living.

The Dreaded “D” Word – Dumping Syndrome


For those of you that have never had weight loss surgery, I’m sure you have no idea what Dumping Syndrome is. I know, because I didn’t understand it either even though my husband had weight loss surgery 4 years before I did. He tried to explain it to me, but I had no idea what it felt like until it happened to me. Fortunately, it’s only happened twice in the last nine months since surgery. But let me tell ya – it’s NO fun! So what is this weird sounding syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is when ingested foods bypasses the stomach too rapidly and passes into the small intestine, mostly undigested. The body goes into a form of “shock” in order to get everything back to normal. The symptoms include a fast heartbeat, diarrhea, bloating, dizziness, weakness, sweating, nausea and then fatigue once the body resumes back to “normal.” The symptoms can occur anywhere between 15 minutes up to 3 hours after a meal, usually one high in sugar or simple carbohydrates. Basically, the pancreas “dumps” an excessive amount of insulin into the bloodstream setting off a domino effect of reactions within the body. Even though I am completely aware of what is going on within my body, it is still a very unpleasant sensation. to say the least.

The culprit for my dumping experience yesterday was peanut butter and apple slices. Apparently I ate too much. I usually measure the amount of peanut butter that I eat, but for some reason I didn’t do it yesterday. I have eaten reduced-fat peanut butter and apple slices many times in the last few months, but only in very small amounts. Yesterday, I estimate that I must have eaten around 3-4 tablespoons of the stuff. Reduced fat peanut butter has 8 grams of sugar per a 2 Tablespoon serving. Add in the sugar from 1/3 of the apple that I ate and I ended up consuming around 25 grams of sugar from that one “snack.” I hadn’t eaten much food all day beforehand. All it took was one time of relaxing my ever-vigilant watching over my post-sleeve diet to make me realize that my body will take over if I screw up. That is the most disconcerting feeling ever. My body seemingly had a mind of its own yesterday. It was akin to feeling really drunk, but without the benefit of feeling good and relaxed.

The gravity of my new altered stomach has actually been quite depressing since this most recent experience. I will never be able to eat like I did before surgery. It’s a blessing, on one hand, but then again it’s not. The alternative was to stay a prisoner in my former morbidly obese body and slowly die from diabetes and heart failure or I could forever alter my body in such a way that if I eat the wrong foods I will get sick. I will admit, however, that after having had the surgery, most of the food cravings went away. It took a few weeks after surgery for them to completely dissipate, but for the most part, they are gone. I no longer salivate over the mention of pizza or steak or macaroni and cheese. My taste buds changed as well.Eating food is no longer pleasurable like it was for so many years. Nowadays, I have to remember to eat about every 4 hours and continually drink sugar-free non-carbonated drinks in between meals, take a crap-load of vitamins everyday and aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days. So, the question you might be wondering at this point: was having the surgery worth it? The answer is a resounding Yes! I feel like I am slowly, but surely getting my life back. I have lost about half of my excess weight and still have a way to go, but I am very confident that I will be able to reach my weight loss goal by utilizing the most expensive weight loss tool out there – weight loss surgery.

Until next time……..Namaste” and God Bless!

Leaky Gut Syndrome


As I was talking with my best friend this afternoon I was reminded again of what I am supposed to do with my life. If you don’t have someone in your life that totally understands and supports you on your journey, then my hope is that you will find that special someone in life who will. I am fortunate that I have my best friend and I have my husband. I am doubly blessed.

I have been sick for the last few days after my middle son suffered through it first. He probably caught this horrible cold from someone at school. Since having had weight loss surgery nine months ago I have hardly been sick or taken antibiotics. Before surgery and the subsequent weight loss I stayed sick all the time and was on a continuous cycle of antibiotics. Looking back at my diet before and how it is now I am convinced that I have a sensitivity to wheat. This time last year I subsisted on eating lots of carbohydrates by way of whole wheat bread. Consuming whole wheat bread is just fine for those of you who are not negatively affected by it, however, for people like me it can be devastating to our overall health. I’ve been studying about Leaky Gut Syndrome here lately and I think that is what I suffered with for years.
Mainstream, or western medicine, doesn’t even understand what this condition is. Some argue that is some mumbo-jumbo-metaphysical-crap that has no real merit for diagnosis and yet others know that it is a real concern for some, but they have no knowledge on how to treat it. If you suffer from the symptoms, you don’t need anyone telling you that it doesn’t exist because you know that it does. So what is leaky gut syndrome anyway?

In very basic terms, it is a condition in which the lining of the intestines have thinned to the point of allowing toxins, bad bacteria, gluten and even undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream causing the body to react. The body wants to protect itself at all costs so it begins to rectify the problem through an inflammatory response. The body is trying to get rid of what it perceives as “invading toxins” by causing bloating, fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, food sensitivities, constipation, diarrhea, frequent colds and sinus infections, depression, anxiety, thyroid dysfunction and even skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis. All of the above-listed symptoms are a direct cause of systemic, (spread throughout), inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes and eventually death.

However, gluten alone cannot be totally blamed for this condition. Other foods in the traditional American diet can also contribute to the spiraling effects of inflammation. Consuming copious amounts of sugar, genetically modified foods, pasteurized cow’s milk, and even chronic stress can cause a myriad of problems. The body is in a constant state of repair. If you don’t get enough rest or eat the right kinds and amounts of food or de-stress from daily life on the regular basis then the body cannot effectively fight off infection. It’s amazing how the body heals itself to maintain homeostasis – a process by which the body maintains stability while adjusting to conditions for optimal health.

So now that we have talked about what leaky gut syndrome is, what can be done to help improve our overall health? Consuming raw pastured dairy, such as yogurt, kefir, butter and raw cheeses can help replace the probiotics needed to maintain a healthy flora in the gut. If you have taken alot of antibiotics, like I once did, then you definitely need to add these products into your diet. You can also try probiotic supplements. Try to add some fermented vegetables into your diet in order to help balance the intestinal pH levels in support of the gut. Some good choices are sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, (fermented soybeans), miso soup, kombucha, (fermented green or black tea – be careful with this one because some preparations have been found to have a small amount of alcohol in them. If you abstain from alcohol for whatever reason, you might want to disregard kombucha). Drinking coconut kefir has natural probiotics in it and again can be conducive to helping support a healthy gut. You might be wondering what coconut kefir is exactly. It is a simply fermented coconut water. Please check out this link as it explains the health benefits of coconut kefir in a very understandable way,
Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, can also help restore balance through fiber. If the cost of buying organic is a concern for you, there are some fruits and veggies that don’t necessarily have to be organic for you to gain the benefits, usually those with thick skins that have to be peeled in order to be eaten. You might also want to consider going on a bone broth fast. Bone broth is simply that – a broth made from bones which have preferably been roasted first and then simmered for at least 24 hours – to the point where the bones should crumble when pressed with your fingers. I know, I know, bone broth may seem a little gross but the benefits are wonderful for the body. Bone broth is a great source of protein and minerals, It contains collagen, which is great for the skin, and amino acids which help improve the immune system, support muscle development, and helps maintain a healthy central nervous system.

So that about sums up this post. I wish you good health and as I mentioned earlier in this post, find some positive people to help support you along your journey to optimal health. A few minutes of encouraging words from a trusted friend can go along way in helping you stay on track. Namaste’ and God Bless!

Love & Peace – may you find it, embrace it and spread it around!

For your listening pleasure:



Over the last week, while writing my book, I have gone through much pain and turmoil. Writing has brought up memories that I would rather not ever deal with again. I thought that I had gotten over the things of my past, but obviously I needed to go through them again. I am writing a book about my journey through weight loss surgery. The beginning of the book starts in my childhood. I am connecting the dots of my memory to different points in time that started my lifelong eating disorder. The questions of why, when, where, how have plagued me. It’s as if I have been inside of a dark, gray fog for many years trying to figure out how I got there and better yet, how to get out. It’s been a lifelong struggle. It’s been horrible and painful, but this morning the fog dissipated and I could see clearly for the first time in more years than I can remember. Right this moment while I am writing this I feel an immense relief; a flood of tears that have been bottled up inside me are streaming silently down my cheeks. A dam has burst inside of me and I am now weeping for the young girl who always thought there was something wrong with her. I am grieving for the awkward teenager who really wondered if she was the crazy one is a highly dysfunctional family. Through the tears I am finally able to release the hold of fear and anger that has robbed me of happiness for so long. I have transcended the brick wall inside my mind that has prevented me from moving forward. I am finally free and am ready to heal and forgive. I can finally say the words out loud that “there is nothing wrong with me; I am loved and I am worthy to receive love.”

Transcendence has come and I welcome it with open arms.

Get Up on This!!!

Get Up on This!!!

Happy First Day of February!

Are you still working out? Still eating healthy foods? Still working towards your weight loss and fitness goals? If so, congratulations! If not, why not? What are you really hungry for? Remember what motivated you in the first place and get back on the wagon. You can do this!

If walking or running on a treadmill is not your thing, then go outside and walk to your heart’s content… permitting, of course. I have found a way to walk in the cold of wintertime while also being ever-conscious of my asthma. I have a large scarf that I have learned to tie around my ears, nose and mouth while walking. It’s a beautiful teal color and brings out the color of my eyes. It’s not only functional but pretty too!! That’s a win-win in my opinion. I’m hoping to add a pair of ankle-high trail/hiking shoes to my “want” list so that I can be more comfortable while out walking in nature. I went on a small hike yesterday and my ordinary athletic shoes don’t provide enough support and protection from the elements. I will definitely buy a pair just as soon as the money appears.

I have begun changing my thoughts on a pretty regular basis too. I have discovered, to my chagrin, just how many negative thoughts run around inside my head everyday. I truly believe that if we change our thoughts we can change our world. Obviously, just thinking about something all the time without doing anything about it is not going to really do much good. In order to manifest what you think about into reality requires action. You can’t just say, “I want to lose weight,” while gorging on chocolate cake. You have to get up and get moving. Find something you enjoy to do and you’ll never have to work out another day of your life. You will look forward to the activity and you will plan your days around it too.

If you have indulged too many times in the last month on not-so-healthy foods, don’t beat yourself up. Get back on track and learn to appreciate every morsel of food you put into your mouth. Really think about what foods are going to give you the most energy and help improve your overall health. Food is fuel, plain and simple. If you want to indulge in a slice of pizza one day then do so, but get back on track the next day and work off those extra calories. It’s all about balance. If you eat more just make sure that you burn off the extra calories. Clean your house, go through your closet and donate the stuff that you haven’t worn in a while. If it no longer fits, get rid of it. Make room for some new stuff. Start spring cleaning your house now. Reorganize a closet. When is the last time you cleaned out your linen closet? Or the refrigerator? All of those things require energy. When you engage in those activities you are burning calories. Get up and move! Your house will be cleaner while your body gets leaner………….woohoo! Ah….that sounded so corny, but whatever gets you up and moving!!!!







Food Addiction

Food Addiction

For those of you who have read any of my previous blog posts, you already know that I had weight loss surgery last May in 2014. Prior to surgery, I had been morbidly obese for about 20 years. I had tried to lose weight many times over those 20 years. I was miserable. I felt like I sat on the sidelines watching everyone else live and enjoy their lives. I didn’t live true to my natural extroverted self. I was very self-conscious of how I looked. I tried to blend in so that no one would notice me. I wore alot of black clothes and not because I particularly liked wearing black. I thought that it was slimming. It definitely helped me to blend in, but it also made me look worn out and haggard. My complexion is way too light to wear black close to my face.

When my family and I went to amusement parks I could not fit on any of the rides. I tried a couple of times, but I was too big. It was humiliating. It was difficult to keep my house clean. I would completely wear out going to the grocery store. I would get my sons to bring in the groceries from the car. I would put the perishable items away and then leave the non-perishables on the countertop while I rested on the couch, usually eating a peanut butter sandwich or drinking some diet soft drinks. Eating peanut butter and drinking diet soft drinks was healthy, right? Or so I thought to myself……..Sure, eating one tablespoon of reduced-fat peanut butter with a 1/4 of an apple is a great snack, but I never ate just one tablespoon of peanut butter. I would eat 3 or 4 tablespoons of peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread and think that I was eating healthy. I drunk diet sodas all day long, never realizing how much sodium was in one 12-ounce can. The plain and honest truth was that I was a food addict. I never realized what that actually meant until I had to go through a 10-day liquid protein diet prior to weight loss surgery. I actually had withdrawal symptoms from sugar and carbs for about the first 4 days. I was beyond irritable. I had headaches. I felt weak. I had aches and pains like how it feels with the flu. I was a MESS! I thought I was going to die. I cried, I cursed, I prayed, and then I cried some more. I got through that pre-op diet by the skin of my teeth and the Grace of God. When I got about halfway through the 10-day liquid protein diet I started to feel a bit better. The first thing that I noticed was my face cleared up. By the time I went in to have surgery I had lost about 10 pounds.

Up until surgery I really thought that I ate pretty healthily. For the most part I did. I simply ate way too much food. I ate about 3-4 times the amount of what I eat now. I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which means that I had about 80% of my stomach removed. My stomach can only hold between 6-8 ounces now. In the mornings, after I haven’t eaten for about 12 hours, I can’t even eat that much, usually only 2-3 ounces. Food addition is a real thing. It’s awful because you have to eat in order to survive. You can’t NOT eat. I had to learn to drastically change my diet, but mostly it’s all about portion control and exercise. The fad diets don’t work, not for long-term anyway. Trust me, I tried them all.

Over the years I saw a Nutritionist, I joined Weight Watchers, I tried every new fad diet, I bought every fad diet cookbook. I joined a gym. I tried fasting. I tried working out excessively. I prayed. I was always on a diet or having failed at one. I was either bingeing or doing pretty well. I was pre-diabetic. I was borderline hypertensive. I had been prescribed medication for high blood pressure. I had frequent migraines. I had frequent irritable bowel problems. I had acne breakouts. My hair felt like hay and had been slowly receding for several years. I didn’t have a clue that I was losing hair at my hairline until after I had surgery and started taking Biotin. A few weeks after I started taking Biotin I began to grow hair where it had obviously fell out over time. I was tired all the time. I had no energy. I was depressed or extremely anxious. I had alot of pent-up anger inside. I was miserable. My thyroid developed nodules, which are currently benign. My blood tests showed that I had alot of inflammation in my body. I suffered with joint pain. I was slowly getting to the point of not being able to stand for longer than 30 minutes at one time and I had chronic back pain. I weighed 270 pounds at my highest weight, which is alot for someone who is 4’11”. Yet…..I still ate and ate and ate. That’s what an addict does – they fuel their addiction over and over and over fully knowing what they are doing to their body, but they must have that thing that is holding them captive. In my case, it was food. Having 80 percent of my stomach removed was drastic, but drastic measures were needed for the ever-drastic deterioration of my mind, body and spirit. I was dis-eased. Doctors would treat me for one condition at a time, but what I needed was a body reset. I needed to push the proverbial “reset” button and try again.

Nowadays, I focus on gathering information on how best to attain optimal health and wellness and then I write about it here. My passion is to share this information with those of you who are suffering like I was, whether it’s a food addiction or any other kind of addiction. The root problem is not the “thing” that we are addicted to, it’s the addictive behavior itself. Why do we intentionally harm our bodies? To harm the body is to hate the body. When we truly love ourselves, we treat our bodies with tender loving care and respect. We don’t put harmful substances into it. We don’t neglect it. We don’t focus on the negatives. If you are reading this and are dealing with addiction, you have to love yourself enough in order to make the necessary changes. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. There is no room in life for regret, shame or guilt. What I mean by that is this……..there is no room in life for regret, so don’t do anything that you will later regret. There is no room in life for shame, so don’t so anything that you will later feel ashamed for. There is no room in life for guilt, so don’t do anything to feel guilty about. Love yourself. Enjoy this day, this moment. You can’t live in the past. You can’t live in the future. You only have this moment. That’s all you have. There is no second time around the merry-go-round of life. This is it! Make the most out of your life and find happiness in the small things. Find Joy in the Journey.

Peace & Love – may you find it, embrace it and spread it around. Namaste’ and God Bless!