Two under two and I’m tired through and through!

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of watching my two grandbabies while my daughter worked her usual 12 hr shift. This turned out to be an eye opening whirlwind of an experience.

One would think things would go quite well, our daughter and her two cherubs live with us after all, so I have ready access to ALL of the things. I have swinging things, bouncing things, feed/change them things and play things. Even more arrogantly I thought “I myself have managed to keep alive four children, 3 into kidulthood…I got this!” SPOILER: I did not have this.

Breakfast time alone was a warning as to what the day would hold. The toddler didn’t want to eat his usual cereal but was willing to eat an apple which I promptly peeled and provided him. Meanwhile the 5 month old woke up, so I changed her diaper and dressed her for the day, only for her to have a near blow out of stool as is so common with breast fed babies. While I’m changing her for a second time, my husband provided the toddler with some Greek yogurt with frozen blue berries. When I returned to the kitchen, said 1 yr old toddler was enjoying the way the juice from frozen blueberries in the yogurt worked as a perfect paint medium across my kitchen table. Picking and choosing my battles, I focused on thawing a bag of breast milk for the baby who is now crying heavily because it isn’t heating fast enough for her now starving tummy.

By the time their hardworking mama returned home that evening, my husband and I felt tired and ragged. Carolyn looked around the house which now looked like a small tornado had made its way through earlier in the day and asked with a worried look “how did it go?” We realized in that moment we owed our dear daughter an apology for all the times we were annoyed with her for all the times she had failed to do her part around the house on her days off. We need these days, these days that remind us just how difficult it is to juggle the demands of high energy, little tyrants along with all the other daily tasks!

What in the Bariatric Surgery is Going on?

I had bariatric surgery more than a year ago and I have gained 10 lbs!

I wish I could say that bariatric surgery makes it to where you NEVER crave “bad foods” again, or that you NEVER have to worry about gaining weight. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case and battling obesity will remain a lifelong endeavor. According to an article printed in Surgical Endoscopy, abstract available from, 1 in 6 people will regain more than 10% of their weight. Some of the contributing factors such as genetics, the gastric volume following surgery, gastrojejunal stoma diameter and the length of time since surgery are not within our control. On the other hand, there were several patient driven contributors to weight regain, these were sweet consumption, emotional eating, large portion size, binge eating, and loss of control/disinhibition when eating. The bottom line, we must be forever vigilant. Weight loss surgery can absolutely catapult you forward on your weight loss journey, but if we never work on those parts of ourselves that brought us to weight loss surgery in the first place, we may be setting ourselves up for failure. So be ever vigilant, it’s easy during the first few months following surgery, but then the cravings come back. The longer you can continue to remain on plan, the better off you will be in the long run. Pubmed Abstract

Slow and steady wins the race.

We all want to see significant weight loss results when we start that new diet fad. The problem with this mindset is that you are starting a diet in the first place. What you truly need are permanent lifestyle changes. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but as an endocrinology nurse practitioner, I can assure you that good old fashion nutrition and exercise is the only way to take your life back from obesity.

It has taken me a year and a half just to lose nearly 40 lbs. How did I do this? By gradually changing my eating habits. Am I perfect at this? Of course not, but I get up each day and put serious effort into making sure I’m feeding my body the nutrients it needs.

Spinach, sweet peppers and mushrooms will all be added to the pan this morning (with cooking spray) and made into an omelette to start the day.

I spend my day trying to choose foods that are lower on the glycemic index and thus require the body to produce less insulin (which makes us gain weight). Sure, you can choose a protein shake in the morning, but I find those types of habits never teach you how to eat real food.

Remember, this isn’t just about losing weight, it’s learning how to change your relationship food, learning how to love and nourish your body. This takes time. The weight didn’t go on in a month or a year, and it isn’t going to come off in that time. Stay the course, keep moving forward, love and nourish your body….I promise it will thank you!.

What happens when we change our relationship with food?

Food. It’s one of those things we simply can not live without, yet in our current society is actually killing so many of us. This is because many of us have an unhealthy, indulgent relationship with food. We no longer eat to live, instead we live to eat.

For some people food has become an addiction, particularly high carbohydrate foods. I myself had a terrible problem with sugar addiction. I LOVE sweets. Notice I say this in the present tense and not the past tense. This is because an addiction never truly goes away and I’m very aware that if I am not careful, I can end up right back where I was a couple of years ago.

The longer you can avoid your trigger foods, the easier it gets to say “no” all together or to begin eating only modest amounts. Where I would have gone on a wild binge in the past, I am now able to put aside small amounts of things I would like eat without eating the entire container! Sounds like a small victory to some, but for me this has been a huge improvement.

Today I went grocery shopping and simply had no craving for the things I use to binge on. Today I walked right on past!

Become friends with your food scale!

Meet your new best friend….the food scale.


If you are heavily over weight (like me), a food scale is a must! I readily admit, I have had a food scale for years, but never used it for food. What did I use it for? Well, mostly for weighing my packages that I planned on shipping via priority mail. It’s great for that! Then I began the true efforts to gain control of my eating habits and realized the scale would be my perfect partner in this journey.

I can not even begin to tell you how many times I hear people say they are eating healthy foods, they stay away from junk food, and yet they still can’t lose weight. Let me introduce you to portion sizes! Yes, you have heard this over and over, but have you ever really taken the time to understand exactly what that means?

Lets say you are going to have “some” or “a bowl” of ice cream. I’ll use my favorite which is chocolate peanut butter cup from Stewart’s Shops.

  1. If your bowl looks like this, then good job! You have one serving of this ice cream, which is a hefty 210 calories, for a 1/2 cup or 71 gram serving of this particular brand and flavor.Ice_cream1

2. If your bowl looks more like this, then you have approximately 2 servings which comes out to 420 calories in your bowl or eye ball measurement of “some” ice cream. 420 calories is pretty much equal to my entire lunch on a daily basis and is by no means a “snack.”Ice_cream2

3. Last, if your bowl looks like this one (which mine certainly did in the past), you have approximately 3 servings of this particular ice cream which comes out to 630 calories. That truly is an entire meal. If you are on an 1800 calorie diet, this bowl contains 1/3 of your entire day’s calories!Ice_cream3

You see, we often consume far more calories than we realize. This is easy to display with ice cream. Let’s move to something less likely to be perceived as junk food, how about a steak? Go to any restaurant and the smallest possible serving of steak is some where between 6-8 ounces. Well guess what? A single serving of meat is just 3 ounces. Now think of the number of times you have happily ordered a steak that was anywhere from 10-24 ounces! If you some how manage to eat an entire 24 oz steak, well you have had 8 servings of meat in one sitting.

Weigh your food, make sure you eating the appropriate portion size. Do not let yourself be sabotaged by “guestimates” based on just looking at your dish. Our brains have been trained over the years to believe bigger is better and our guestimates severely under estimate the amount of food on that dish.

Stick to your caloric goal and you will have much better results!

Check out some of the food scales available at

The problem with food replacement systems.

There is plenty of advice out there and plenty of weight loss systems that promote their products. Some of these come with a ginormous cost and very little comparative reward or satisfaction. What do I believe to be the biggest problem with these systems?

Well, besides the cost and the fact that many are barely palatable, many of these are total or near total food replacement systems, and so these companies are completely dependent on you never learning how to eat properly. Do you understand what this means? These companies make their money by keeping you dependent on their food products and never truly changing your underlying eating habits that caused you to gain so much weight in the first place. They are treating a symptoms and not the cause. It’s like taking pain medication for a toothache but never actually fixing the tooth!

My advice, beware of companies offering complete, or near complete food replacements systems-particularly ones with a high cost. You might be successful while on the product, but if you never learn how to control your eating habits you will very likely gain much of your weight back as soon as you stop using the product. This can lead to terrible feelings of failure and negative self worth which in turn contributes to a cycle of emotional overeating and weight gain.

Those who are most successful and keep the weight off long term actually lose their weight gradually. The weight didn’t go on in a day, a month or even a year so don’t expect healthy weight loss to happen in such a small amount of time either. Instead, set yourself up for success by slowly learning to create and enjoy wholesome meals, manage portion sizes, reading food labels and trying new fresh fruits and vegetables-these are natures snacks!

Where to begin?

How do we reach our goals? Sometimes they can seem so far away and just thinking of the steps needed to get there becomes overwhelming.


When we allow that panic to set in, we allow our fears and doubts to take control. We begin to tell ourselves “I can’t” rather than “I can.” We start thinking about past failures, automatically allowing our negative self talk to set us up for failure yet again. Avoid negative self talk, trust me, you are listening and you will believe those words that pass through your mind!

Don’t linger on decisions that will bring you towards wellness. Have you been thinking of joining that gym down the street for several months now? Well guess what, you have been thinking about it for several months too long! Make a decision and commit. The time to act is now.

I truly believe people can return from the depths of self neglect and obesity no matter how far gone they believe themselves to be. You just need to work on it one step at a time. Don’t look up at the stair case, look down at the step your foot is on and move it forward one step at a time. Eventually you will not be so fixated on how far away the top of that stair case is, instead you will be looking behind you and feel amazed at how far you have come.

In the beginning…

…there was chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream, chips, cream horns and cake.

When did you reach your personal rock bottom? Perhaps you haven’t quite reached it yet, but can feel yourself spiraling downwards. Perhaps, if you are lucky, you have yet to experience this eye opening moment.

For me, this moment of realization occurred just after boarding my plane to Florida. I sat down in my seat and watched as the cabin crew went through their usual instructional routine. That’s when it happened. I found myself seriously struggling to close the clasp on my seat belt! I had some how allowed myself to gain so much weight that I’m now bordering on being a “customer of size.” How did this happen? Lucky for me, I suddenly had four and a half hours to contemplate that very question.

One reflection that struck me deeply is that I am a health care provider, making me a complete and total hypocrite. How can I possibly look my patients in the face and tell them they need to eat healthier foods, exercise more, lower stress levels and lose weight when I’m not actively pursuing such a lifestyle myself?

It’s time for a total make over! I don’t mean getting my hair and nails done while shopping for new clothes. I’m talking about total mind, body and spirit. I invite you to join me and share in what will no doubt be a very long, tumultuous journey of self discovery and perseverance as I learn to practice what I preach and move towards a state of total health & wellness.