Last Chance to Do This - Auburn, NY

I have had issues with weight for most of my adult...

I have had issues with weight for most of my adult life. I have tried every diet to come down the pike and have had some success with each. Trouble is they all worked for a while, and sometimes I even lost mega pounds. BUT, those pounds always came back and brought all of their friends with them. Slowly the numbers crept up through the years, until, here I am with several health issues at nearly 70 years of age.

I was as pre-diabetic, I have hypertension, a compressed disc in my back, sleep apnea and insomnia. I just got tired of being tired all the time. So, I started thinking about weight loss surgery. It took me a couple of years to make the decision, but now, here I am.

I am extremely motivated, because I know the surgery works. Also, I have been reading everything about gastric sleeve, how to prepare for it, and how to live with it. It is a major change in my life, but a really GOOD change. This group has been incredibly supportive, and has lots and lots of knowledge I can draw on.

Like so many others, I wish I had done this long ago, but better late than never, for sure. When I first met with my surgeon, he told me he was going to give me back 20 years of my life. I AM READY!!!!!

Finally Got It Right

It only took me two months to get through the approval process. When I got my date for surgery, I went through so many emotions, from dread and fear to absolute joy. I decided to ignore the fear and just concentrate on the positives of this experience. From that point on, I read everything I could on bariatric surgery. I started the pro-op diet shortly after I went to my first support group meeting. I found that I started losing weight at a faster pace, and I was not getting hungry. I think that also helped keep me from the "Last Pig-out" before surgery.

Another way I prepared for surgery was to freeze single portions of those foods I could have in each post op phase. Every time I thought of new things, I would puree them and make up single serve (3 ounces) containers. That really paid off for me, because I was not getting bored with my limited diet. Some examples were: pureed turkey and cranberries, pork and applesauce, turkey meatballs and sauce. My food options, while not limitless, were pretty wide-based.

Following surgery, I was very fortunate in that I had very little pain (mostly just the first day) and needed pain meds only one day. When they brought me my first "breakfast" which consisted of beef broth, I could not take in any more than a teaspoon. I did not feel sick, just did not want anything. By the time I was ready to leave on the second day, I was able to take in everything they brought me. It has been pretty uneventful since surgery.

It has been about two months since surgery. I have been able to eat almost anything I want. I am able to eat around a half cup of food before I really feel full. At this point, my recommendation would be to eat VERY SLOWLY, because it takes time for your brain to realize your stomach is full. Also, like they say, chew, chew, chew. Not only does that "mash" up your food, but you actually enjoy the taste of what you are eating.

At two months out, I have lost about 68 pounds (including pre-surgery loss). I hope to lose another 50 or 60 pounds by my 12 month anniversary. For the first time in my life, I feel that there is NO chance for failure. All I have to do is follow the program - PROTEIN first, then vegetables and only if there is room, carbs. I usually have no room for carbs. If I do miss something (i.e., bread), I go ahead and have it, but in a limited quantity. For example, I will have a fat free cheese sandwich made with 1/2 slice of lite bread. I can avoid cravings without binging. I used to love going to Chinese buffets, but I knew that would not be a good choice now. But, since there was a group of us who would go about once a month, the buffet was not the main event, but the socialization was. Still, I had issues with paying about $15 for a 1/2 cup of food. So, I got the bright idea to do a to go box instead of the buffet. I eat what I can out of the box, then take the rest home and eat what I want for about a week, no more than once a day. I try to choose high protein foods and lots of veggies/fruits.

Every Day Brings New Adventures

12 weeks post-op.

WHAT A GREAT DAY!!!! Today I set foot in One-derland! It seems that I was there once before in my life, for about 15 minutes, but the memory is really fuzzy. Even though I know differently, I was not always a fat person. I am super stoked to know that soon (relatively) I will never be one again. I remember speaking to a member of my team at the hospital and she asked me how long I wanted to take to reach my goal weight. I told her a year. She then asked me what would happen if I could not do that. I told her, "Well, then I will give myself another year."

That has been pretty much my approach to this whole process: Each day offers its own challenges, and rewards. With each challenge we are offered choices. The best I can do is try to make the right choice each time. And, keep my eye on my target.

Even though I was always a carb fiend, I am finding that I don't miss my carbs (mostly breads and mashed potatoes) that much. I keep hearing my support group leader repeating the mantra "protein, protein, protein". Then veggies fruits and if I have room, carbs. I pretty much have found that by the time I get around to the carbs, I just don't have room for them, nor do I even want them. The second, and maybe most important mantra is "STOP EATING when you are full." It has taken me a while to get that second one down, and I have still not mastered it, but I am not putting myself into serious pain like before. If I do eat a little too much, I try to get up and go for a vigorous walk to settle everything. The overeating pain is just way too serious for me and that is one pitfall I can control all by myself.

When I started this journey, I needed (wanted) to lose between 110 and 130 pounds. I am now beyond the halfway point. I think the rest will be an adventure. I am still having fun!!!!!!

A Wakeup Call and I Am LOVIN' It!!!!

I am four months post op on 11/21 and I have lost a total of 76 pounds pre and post op. I love that number and I love the way I feel, but I have been whining about the scale stickin' a mite for the past three weeks or so. It is so frustrating to know how well you are behaving on the program, and getting all the exercise in, and - NOTHING! My head knows that my body is just figuring out what to do, it has been through so much. AND I cannot forget that with each pound lost I am getting closer to my goal, so each pound from here on will be harder to get off. Still, even down a half pound would be nice . . . .

Well, I went out grocery shopping today and decided to take advantage of the cheapo turkeys this week. I went to three stores and brought home three turkeys - a couple of 10 pounders and a 15 pound. I tried to carry all three downstairs to the freezer and my legs said "NO WAY!". When I thought that what I tried to carry was half the weight I have lost so far, I wondered how on earth I was able to do anything before.

The answer is in reality I did not do much. Stairs were horrible. Even getting dressed in the morning was exercise. I need to stick with the big picture. I am feeling great, my endurance is through the roof and I DO NOT GET HUNGRY!

BOY, I sure wish I had had this surgery long ago!!!

On The Move Again

YAY!!!!!!! Happy, happy, joy, joy. The plateau is finally busted! Four more pounds gone! Three weeks of going nowhere was getting frustrating. But, I kept thinking it was going to change, and that I just needed to stay with the program. And, here it is!

Here is the history: Jan. 1, 2015 (my last "diet") weight 270. May 12, 2015 my first visit with the bariatric team weight 252. July 21, 2015 my surgery weight 232. Today (almost five months), weighed 189. Total lost since I began - 81 pounds. Only 29 to go to hit my goal, but I am beginning to think it would be possible to get to my "original goal". We will see how it goes.

I can't believe I am wearing size Medium. I am very happy.

I Finally Made the Lasagna

I finally got the chance to make my noodle-less lasagna. It turned out to be really good. Like most baked dishes, it was even better the second day. I am including the recipe, which I got from Pinterest:

Low Carb High Protein Lasagna

Makes 4 generous sleever servings, probably 6
Ingredients

o For Meat Layer
• 1/2 tsp olive oil
• 1/8 cup diced celery
• 1/8 cup diced red onion
• 1/2 pounds ground beef - I used Turkey Italian Sausage instead of beef -less fat and better protein.
• 1 cup marinara sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

o For Cheese Layer (Mix all ingredients together in a bowl)
• 4 oz ricotta cheese
• 1/2 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 large egg
• 1/8 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/16 teaspoon black pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion & ground beef and cook until meat is no longer pink.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients of the meat layer and let it cook on a gentle heat. Pour into a small pie pan.
4. Meanwhile, mix up your cheese layer (saving half your mozzarella cheese) and spread it gently over the top of the meat mixture.
5. Cover the top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top starts to become golden and bubbly.
7. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing (the lasagna will hold together better).

On The Move Again

I'm back with my latest update. Today, I am down a total of 82 pounds since 1/1/15 and 45 pounds since surgery 7/21/15. The last two months have been dreadful for me, but I came flying through. Although I have only lost a total of one pound in the past two months, unlike my many past lives, I also did not gain an ounce!!! I consider that to be a HUGE win!

The shingles are abating, although if I touch any of the healed blisters, it feels like my scalp is on fire. I guess that takes a while to go away. Other than that, my old energy is back and I am once again on the straight and narrow in terms of exercise and menus.

I did not lose the 100 pounds I wanted to lose by Jan. 1, but I really don't care. I love the new me and it can only keep getting better. Now I am hoping to hit my goal weight by of 160 by my 1 year anniversary on July 21, 2016. That is another 28 pounds in almost 6 months. I think it is doable. If not, I don't care. I LOVE ME!!!!!!

A Really Yummy (almost) Carbless High Protein Casserole - Lower Fat

I tried this recipe and it is out of this world!!! I cut the fat anywhere I could in the recipe (using lite mayo and fat free sour cream) and it still full of flavor, truly delish. If you think you would like to try it I will hopefully post the recipe here:

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Bake

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 lb broccoli florets (about 4-5 cups)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 8oz block sharp cheddar, shredded & divided
Salt & pepper

Place the cubed chicken in a large bowl.

Steam the broccoli florets. I like to do this in the microwave - simply place the broccoli in a microwave-safe container (I use a Pyrex dish), add a bit of water (anywhere from 2-4 Tbsp), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for about 5 minutes or so. You'll know when the broccoli is done when you can smell it. Just be really careful when removing the plastic wrap, since there will be a lot of steam in the container. Add the broccoli to the chicken.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened and translucent. Add to the mixture.

Add the sour cream, mayonnaise and half of the shredded cheddar. Mix until thoroughly combined, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a greased casserole dish.

Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake in a 350° oven for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

I could not post the photo for some reason. I will make this dish this weekend and take a photo of it to post.

Not sure where I got this recipe. I am thinking it is from the Low Carb Eating group on Facebook.

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Bake Photoo

I finally got around to making this again so I could post a photo. The original recipe said it was supposed to serve 6, but I cut mine into nine servings. At almost 7 months post op, I was barely able to finish it. And once again, it was awesome!!! I did some ciphering it comes out to about 200 calories per serving AND it contains about 20 GRAMS OF PROTEIN. (if you use fat free sour cream and full fat mayo, which I did today). I also did not use low fat cheese, which I normally do. I had only had 317 calories before dinner, so I thought I could a little extra fat. I am looking forward to some kind of treat tonight - fruit or sugar free fudgsicle. And, I will still be a little shy on calories. I still have to work on getting all of my calories in.

New Recipe: Zero Carb Gummie Candies

Zero Carb Gummy Candy

Once I realized how easy it was to make this gummy candies, I couldn’t stop!
All you need are three ingredients and a candy mold:
• 0.3 oz packet of sugar free jello
• 1 packet unflavored gelatine
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup cold water*
*The amount of water used depends on how chewy and firm you want your gummy candies. 1/4 cup water makes them really quite firm – but I quite like that! Candies made with 1/3 cup water are softer and of course it makes a few more!
Note: Quick-setting Jello or products that set with carrageenan may not work so well.

Add all three ingredients to a small saucepan, stir well, and heat over a low heat. It will start off as a thick paste but as the gelatine melts it will become more liquid.Cook until all the granules have dissolved – it only takes 2-3 minutes.
Use a jug, squeeze bottle or a spoon to carefully pour the mixture into the mold. I used a variety of molds, purchased from Amazon:
• Square Tiered Candy Mold
• Hearts and Round Candy Mold
• Spiral Candy Mold
Place the filled mold on something firm like a small chopping board (to stop the mold twisting). Let the jello cool then place in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until set. The candies will just pop out of the mold!
I made several batches of these with different Jello flavors: Lemon, lime, peach, black cherry, and strawberry. They looked so lovely all together!

Recipe From: stayawayfromthecarbs.com

Welcome to My First Reveal

I was going through some photos on my laptop and found some I did around Christmas. Although I am still a ways away from my goal, I thought maybe I should post one of the photos, so I can remember just how far I have come in 7 months. I also am posting a photo of me about three months before my surgery (I really never had many "before" photos - I never let anyone take my photo). I went from a size 22 to a 16 loose.

I Will Try the Photos Again

I tried to upload a "before" picture, but all I got was a big shot of my boobs. I give up. Here is the after shot from 12/15

Another Recipe !!!! Pepperoni Chips

I just stumbled upon this today and I can't wait to try it. All you need is pepperoni and an oven :-)

Crispy Pepperoni Chips

Recipe courtesy of George Stella, George Stella's Livin' Low Carb: Family Recipes Stella Style, Simon and Schuster, 2005

Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 15 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
Ingredients
• 6 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Lay the pepperoni slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and soak up the excess grease by pressing paper towels against the pepperoni chips. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 2 to 4 minutes, until the pepperoni slices are very crispy.

Serve as a snack anytime or use in place of crackers for dipping or for topping with your favorite cheese! They'll stay fresh and crispy for 1 to 2 days if you store them in an airtight container.

I have read on other sites that you can use regular or turkey pepperoni. I would choose the 75% less fat turkey pepperoni. I am pretty sure you can avoid the soaking up the grease step that way.

I am already dreaming of these things, using them to dip in marinara sauce, or sticking a little fat free cheese on them. AND, I want to try the mini turkey pepperonis. I bet you could eat them like peanuts. How about pairing these with the Parmesan Cheese Crisps?

Finally My Before Picture

This photo was taken about three weeks before my surgery, so I was down about 20 something pounds from my starting weight. I love seeing the difference.

Banana Egg Berry Muffin

I have not tried these yet, but soon will.

Only 3 ingredients to make delicious muffins? Yes, please! Not only that, but these incredibly simple muffins are also very healthy. Flourless and sugarless, you can put whatever berries you want inside and make these muffins totally your own. Perfect for a quick snack or a healthy dessert, these muffins are sure to be a family favorite.
INGREDIENTS
? 2 bananas, super ripe
? 4 eggs (or egg whites/substitute)
? Berries of choice
PROCEDURE
1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Mash bananas.
3. Whisk in the eggs.
4. Spray down your mini muffin tin. Add a few berries to each compartment.
5. Pour your banana egg mixture on top.
6. Bake for about 12 minutes.
7. Cool slightly, remove and devour!

Another Low Carb Chicken Casserole - Chicken Broccoli and (Sweet) Red Pepper Casserole

I just made this tonight, and I have to say I think I like it almost as much as my first Chicken Casserole. The "real" recipe calls for Cream of Mushroom soup, which I do not care for, so I used Cream of Chicken instead. The recipe also calls for bread cubes drizzled with butter as a topping. I omitted this also, in order to make it low carb. I am posting a photo of the casserole I made tonight.

Here is the recipe:
CHICKEN BROCCOLI AND RED PEPPER CASSEROLE

Serves 6-8
Ingredients
• 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
• 2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
• 2 cups red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 cups cubed bread
• 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
• 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
• 1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and saute red pepper and broccoli until tender crisp. 8-10 minutes.
3. Add onion and cook for another 5 minutes, or until softened.
4. Season everything with salt and pepper and garlic powder.
5. Combine chicken and veggies in a 9×13-inch baking dish and stir in mushroom soup.
6. In a bowl, drizzle melted butter over bread cubes and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread bread out over the chicken mixture, then top evenly with cheddar cheese.
7. Place baking dish in oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.
8. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes for serving.

The one thing I would do differently next time is I would leave the cheese off the casserole and bake for about 15 minutes, then add the cheese for the last 15 or 20 minutes. The cheese on my casserole tonight got a little to crispy - I like it gooey.

Soul Bread Recipe

I am posting the recipe for the loaf of Soul bread I made this morning, along with the nutrition facts. I reduced the fat where I could, so the numbers do not reflect this.

This bread can be used like real bread and does not seem to get soggy or dry out. One Note: In one of the recipes I saw online, the poster indicated that the top of the loaf tends to get dry while baking. I brushed the top as soon as it came out of the oven, and that seemed to do the trick.

Soul Bread

Minutes to Cook: 45
Number of Servings: 16

Ingredients
1 2/3 c unflavored Soy Isolate Protein Powder (zero carb)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp Baking Soda
1/3 tbsp Xanthan Gum (Thickener)
2.5 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 c Olive Oil
1/4 c Butter, unsalted
2 drops liquid Stevia (or to taste)
4 large Eggs
12 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 tsp Cream Of Tartar
Prego® Pasta Sauce
Add the Zesty Italian Sauce Sure to Make Your Pasta a Hit. Try Prego®! www.Prego.com

Directions
Directions

Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare a bread pan (9? x 5?) or molds.

Soften cream cheese. (45 seconds to 1 minute in a microwave works well.) Melt butter and add to cream cheese. Add in olive oil, heavy whipping cream (or half and half) and eggs. Blend well using a stick blender or hand mixer.

Add baking powder and xanthan gum to an empty salt shaker and shake over the liquid mixture. Mix well after each shake to avoid lumps.

Add protein powder, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar to a flour sifter. Sift over the wet ingredients. Stir by hand just until mixed. (Do not use a mixer or blender.) Do not over stir or the bread will become dense.

Pour into a greased pan or silicone mold and bake at 325 F for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. The bread may be dry on top but adding melted butter helps if you’re eating it right away. Once cool, wrap in plastic to store.

Serving Size: 16 slices

Number of Servings: 16

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user PROVERBS31JULIA.

Grilled Cheese with Soul Bread - Almost No Carbs

I made this for breakfast and it was pretty good. I think I will look for ways to ramp up the texture, although the flavor is excellent. And, it kept me full for the better part of the day.

Low Carb Pork and Vegetable Skewers

Here is the recipe. Enjoy !!!!!

"Low Carb Pork and Vegetable Skewers"
INGREDIENTS:

Pork fillet (this can be changed with Lamb, Veal, Beef or Chicken)
Bell peppers (red and yellow) - cut into bite size pieces
Zucchini - sliced
Optional - (Eggplant, Mushroom, Onion are all low carb vegetables you can swap or add)
Olive Oil
Garlic - crushed
Thyme
Rosemary
Optional - (Sage, Basil and Oregano can be substituted or added for extra flavor)
Salt and Pepper to taste
METHOD:

1. Cut Pork fillet into thick bite size chunks
2. Cut zucchini into thick slices
3. Cut peppers into strips then bite size pieces
4. Assemble with hydrated skewers, alternating the meat with the colors and favors of the vegetables.
5. Place skewers in a flat baking dish
6. Crush garlic, and chop the Thyme and Rosemary finely. Then combine with the Olive Oil in a small pouring jar
7. Brush the skewers with the Herbal Oil mixture.
8. Cover dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours to tenderize.
9. Grill over medium heat, and turn frequently so all sides cook evenly. Brush occasionally with reserved marinade.
10. When cooked through, remove, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Credit goes to the YouTube Channel of (CulinartMedia)

For Some Reason the Low Carb Pork and Veggie Skewers Photo Did Not Upload the First Time

Try, try again.

Easy Cheese Crisps

I was using my countertop griddle to make some of my low carb pancakes, and I got to wondering if I could use the rest of the griddle to make some cheese crisps, instead of heating up the oven. So, while the pancakes cooked, I dropped little piles of cheese on the rest of the grill, and the crisps came out just fine! I also found that a LOT of oil came out of the cheese, which I think is a good thing. Just be sure to keep an eye on the cheese so it does not burn.
Dr. Carl Weiss

Dr. Weiss is a very personable surgeon. He is willing to listen to whatever is going on in your head. And he treats you with respect and a little comedy. He is very thorough in his review of your medical history and by the time your surgery date rolls around you feel like there is nothing else you need to know. Dr. Weiss makes you feel relaxed and ready.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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