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Monthly Archives: August 2020

25 WLS Years, 25 Pound Regain, 25 Lessons Learned

Yes, it’s been 25 years since I took control of my weight, improved my health and changed the direction of my life by choosing weight loss surgery. In 1995, many looked down on a surgical option as an intervention for the disease of obesity and making the decision to go under the knife was not an easy one. Especially when my insurance would not cover the cost. But I am so glad I did. My journey has been full of ups and downs, weight loss, weight gain, mistakes made, thrilling successes, and many lessons learned. 

Throughout my years as a WLS patient, I have worked in the bariatric community. (Bariatric Support Center Int’l). It has been my great privilege to provide education, inspiration, and motivation to tens of thousands of patients. I have lost with you, learned from you, and celebrated with you. I will be forever grateful for my place in the bariatric universe.

As I look back, reviewing my life’s decisions, mistakes and accomplishments, the choice to have weight loss surgery a defining decision was surely a life changer for me.  Since that new beginning, I have tried to focus on paying it forward, on supporting and encouraging others. Willingly, sharing the things I have learned along the way.

This year is a milestone; worthy of notice and a bit of reflection. I would like to share with you the following list of 25 lessons I have learned in my 25 years as a weight loss surgery patient. I have written books, many articles, blogs, produced videos, given keynote speeches, and I have referenced some of those in my list should you like to learn more about those lessons. Please learn and enjoy and may the next 25 years, (Oh my, I’ll be 85!) be full of more happiness, hope, and good health.

  1. Learn from long term losers. (Back to the Beginning Videos)
  2. Honeymoons are awesome! 5 Clues That Your WLS Honeymoon is Over and What to Do About It!
  3. Sugar is evil (Sugar Free Me)
  4. Don’t stop short of your goal. (Goal-Getting)
  5. Gluten is a problem for me.
  6. I must exercise every day. (Just Do It!)
  7. Always pay it forward (Paying It Forward Feature Article)
  8. I have learned to eat to live instead of living to eat.
  9. Good food is expensive, but so is chocolate!
  10. Peanut M&M’s are not really a protein.
  11. Old habits die hard. (Exchanging Habits)
  12. Intermittent Fasting works for weight maintenance. (Ways Intermittent Fasting Works For Me)
  13. My “Why’s” have become more important to me.
  14. I have both supporters and saboteurs in my life.
  15. Regain sneaks up; one pound a year… 25 years, 25 pounds
  16. I’ve learned to listen and to respond to my body’s signals.
  17. My food choices effect how I feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  18. Water rules (The Dangers of Dehydration)
  19. Vitamins are a must (Bariatric Vitamins)
  20. Embracing the Moments (Embracing Moments That Matter)
  21. Positivity is a choice every day (15 Positive Ways to Spend 15 Days)
  22. Knowing & understanding myself is essential Top 5 Things Every WLS Patient Must Know About Themselves
  23. I am my best self when I live in gratitude.
  24. To succeed, I must learn what successful patients know, and do what they did. (The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients 
  25. God is good, life is short. No Tomorrow?

Finding Your Peace

Perhaps like me, you wake up each morning wondering if there was an earthquake, or an explosion? If the government is still fighting? If COVID cases are going up or down? Our world is filled with crazy, chaos and confusion. And that’s exhausting.

So many things are simply out of our control, and that leaves us feeling helpless and so very unsettled.  We know that things will never be normal again. But wonder what will our new normal be? Perhaps you have asked yourself these same questions, I share from a song, lyrics by Emma Lou Thayne from our hymn book:

“Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace When other sources cease to make me whole? When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice, I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?

“Where, when my aching grows, Where, when I languish, Where, in my need to know, where can I run? Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish? Who, who can understand? He, only One.” 

So where do you find peace? The photo I used for this article shows my little dog and I kayaking last week on a beautiful, Star Valley, Wyoming day. Looks peaceful, doesn’t it? Yes, but I have come to know that peace is not a place. Peace is not a person or a thing. In fact, peace is inside each of us. Peace can be found even among chaos. It’s hard to find and even harder to keep, but I am grateful for still, calm moments that provide opportunity to connect with my Father in Heaven, find strength to meet my life’s challenges, and gather renewed  hope for a bright, beautiful tomorrow.

May I share with you a few things that I do regularly to find calm among the chaos.

  1. Find a place of solitude and stillness. I love our rivers, lakes, and streams, but you may have a favorite park, a tree in your yard, a patio or even a quiet corner in your home. 
  2. Turn off the noise, turn off the news! For more years that I can count, I have kept my cell phone on my nightstand. No more! It is in my room, (in case kids, grandkids call) but not within reach when I wake up. I spend my first moments of each day in prayer and meditation, quietly in my own mind before I let the world in.
  3. Try Yoga & Tai Chi. Though I am not the best at it, I enjoy these occasionally. They help me connect with my body, balance myself and clear my mind. I am intrigued by the history and science of these ancient rituals. I enjoy learning about energy and how it flows. 
  4. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. There are so many things to complain about these days. It’s easy to find problems; they are everywhere. In these trying times it is more important than ever, to focus on all that is right, good and positive. Work to see the good and be the good each day.
  5. Connect with higher power. Those of you that know me personally, know that I am a Christian, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). I cherish spending time in study and prayer. I love learning and serving. I draw strength, direction and most importantly peace from my Savior. Whatever your beliefs, may you find ways to draw closer to your higher power and may you find your peace.
  6. Change your tune. Music has always been a powerful motivator for me. I have several energy up music playlists that I listen to when I exercise. Just as music can energize, it can also calm and soothe. Here is one of my favorites songs I listen to when I am seeking peace. Enjoy. There Is Peace in Christ.

I challenge you to spend some time focusing on your personal well-being. Commit today to create the time and space you need to reconnect to all that is good and right in your life. And may you find comfort, strength and peace.